Gail Binkly

Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal. She is currently a freelance writer as well as the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.

Austin Cope / KSJD

A divided Cortez City Council gave narrow approval Tuesday to an ordinance allowing outdoor drinking and dining on approved portions of city streets and sidewalks downtown. The 4 to 3 vote came after the council heard from three citizens concerned about safety and loss of parking. The ordinance was the result of a proposal by KSJD Radio and Sunflower Theatre Executive Director Jeff Pope. He told the council in June that he would like three parking spaces on Market Street near the theatre to become a temporary portable deck where people could enjoy refreshments before and after events.

StillWorksImagery / Creative Commons

Recent monsoon rains prompted the Montezuma County commissioners to lift the countywide fire ban on Monday. A total of 1.66 inches of rain fell in Cortez in July, according to local weather observer James Andrus. That’s 130 percent of the total for an average July. For the year so far, Cortez is at 143 percent of average.

skeeze / Creative Commons

Multiple sightings of bears in the town of Dolores may prompt the town board to consider an ordinance requiring the use of bear-resistant trash containers. This summer there have been numerous reports of bears digging through waste containers the night before morning pickup. Sheriff Steve Nowlin fired a rubber slug into the rear end of one bear he spied roaming through town August 1st, driving it away. Town Manager Lana Hancock tells KSJD the sheriff’s office has been very active in patrolling for bears, but an ordinance may be deemed necessary.

Wikimedia Commons

A panel in Utah is recommending no change to the name of Negro Bill Canyon, a popular hiking location near Moab. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the state’s Committee on Geographic Names voted 8 to 2 Thursday to keep the name. The vote came after representatives of the NAACP told the group they don’t find the name offensive because it recognizes the history of a canyon named for a black rancher, William Grandstaff. However, the Tribune reports the Utah Martin Luther King Jr. Commission disagreed, saying the name represents “blatant racism.” The U.S.

Hans / Creative Commons

Montezuma County weed manager Bonnie Loving got the go-ahead from the county commission  Monday to get tough on landowners who ignore regulations designed to prevent the spread of noxious weeds. Loving showed the commissioners striking pictures of fields of flowering musk and Canada thistle as well as other invasive species directly adjoining crops of alfalfa. The county is allowed to take action to eradicate such weeds on its own if property owners ignore certified letters notifying them of the violations.