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Regional News Roundup

Cold Case Reopened
A 35-year-old missing persons case in Salida has been reopened after new DNA testing has revealed the identity of the person missing.
Beverly England disappeared on June 12, 1980 after last being seen in Riverside Park in Salida. In 1992, human bones were found at a site on Mount Shavano and were sent for testing with no conclusive results. Then, in late September of this year, tests involving DNA samples from England’s children led researchers at the University of North Texas to determine that the remains belonged to the missing woman.
The Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office and the Salida Police Department confirmed that foul play was now suspected in the case and have opened up a full investigation.

Whole Foods Drops Inmate-Produced Goods
Austin, Texas-based grocer Whole Foods has decided to stop selling products produced by Colorado prison inmates on a work program through Colorado Correctional Industries (CCI).
The company made the decision after some customers at one of its Houston stores protested the low wages paid to the inmates. Among the products being phased out are tilapia, which is processed at the East Cañon City Prison Complex, and cheese made from nearly 1,200 goats milked at the Cañon City farm.
CCI programs help inmates learn new job skills for use when they are released. Inmates who volunteer for the program are paid 74 cents to $4 a day and are eligible for performance bonuses.
Dianne Tramutola-Lawson, the chairwoman of Colorado Cure, a prisoner advocacy group, called the decision “really unfortunate,” according to The Denver Post.

Castle Returned to Owner
Bishop Castle, which has been under construction near Wetmore for 40 years, is going back to its original owner, Jim Bishop, who hand-built the landmark attraction.
The Bishop family claimed they were tricked into turning over the deed to David Merrill after Jim was diagnosed with cancer. Merrill planned to turn it into a church. The Bishops’ won a restraining order against Merrill and won the right to reclaim the deed. The judgment was not without cost. The Bishop family has about $20,000 in legal fees to pay.

CEO Under Microscope
The CEO of Life Care Centers of America, which operates Columbine Manor Care Center in Salida, The Bridge, San Luis Care Center and Evergreen Nursing Home in Alamosa, as well as Berkley Manor Care Center in Cañon City, is being added to a case involving Medicare and Tricare fraud.
Forrest Preston, who is also Life Care’s sole shareholder and chairman of the board, is suspected of being involved and having benefitted from the alleged fraud. The company is accused of having a “systematic scheme” to maximize payments it received from the two government programs, according to The Mountain Mail.
Another Mine Spill
A spill from a holding pond at the Standard Mine near Crested Butte had residents worried after a similar incident in Durango this past August.
An estimated 2,000 gallons of water and gray-colored sediment was accidentally discharged by a contractor who had been dewatering the pond, according to the EPA. The Town Department of Public Works determined there was no negative impact to the town watershed or its drinking water.
Shorts …
• Cañon City prisons are among those being studied by the Pentagon as possible sites to house Guantanamo detainees in the event of the closure of that prison.
• The Leadville National Fish Hatchery has begun breeding Wyoming toads, one of the most endangered amphibians in North America, in hopes of maintaining that species as well as staving off future budget cuts for the hatchery.
• The town of Buena Vista held its second BV Strong Community Dinner on Sept. 28 to celebrate their unity and care for one another. More than 2,500 residents filled up nearly 320 tables to dine on East Main Street.
• Western State Colorado University is reporting the school’s enrollment has grown for the fourth year in a row, for a total of 2,637.

“Notable Quotes”

“Prison labor? But everything at Whole Foods is supposed to be cage-free.” – Late Night host Stephen Colbert, referring to the decision by the grocery chain to stop selling food produced by inmates through Colorado Correctional Industries. Oct. 5, 2015

“I’m so excited, if you lit me with a match I would explode!” – Phoebe Bishop, after finding out that she and her husband Jim would be getting back the title to Bishop Castle, near Wetmore. – ABC 7 News, Sept. 30, 2015

“It really gives the town a Mayberry vibe.” – Chaffee County Economic Development Director Wendell Pryor, one of nearly 2,500 residents who turned out for the BV Strong Community Dinner. – The Chaffee County Times, Oct. 1, 2015

“I always thought Leadville, Colorado was stone America. This system makes no sense at all. You can buy the board; you can buy the votes.” – Leadville resident Al Slavin, at a Lake County Board of County Commissioners meeting, questioning the funding of the Lake County Economic Development Corporation.
– The Leadville Herald-Democrat, Oct. 8, 2015

“Since there is no longer a quorum, you can’t even recognize their resignation.” – Westcliffe town attorney Jay Printz, after two trustees, Audrey Gluschke and Paul Wenke walked out of a town board meeting – all over controversy about a series of downtown murals.
– Wet Mountain Tribune, Oct. 8, 2015

“It’s not a disease. It doesn’t prevent kids from learning, so we’re not telling the students to stay home if they have head lice.” – Buena Vista School Superintendant Sue Holmes, responding to an outbreak of head lice at Avery-Parsons Elementary School. – The Chaffee County Times, Oct. 15, 2015