Region Briefs

Suspect in Fort Collins fire headed to trial

FORT COLLINS – A new trial is scheduled Feb. 4, 2013, for a man accused of setting a fire in Fort Collins that caused an estimated $10 million in damage.

Benjamin Gilmore had gone on trial starting in August on charges of burglary and two counts each of arson, attempted murder and criminal mischief, but a judge declared a mistrial Wednesday after jurors split on all counts against him.

The Coloradoan of Fort Collins reported Gilmore and prosecutors declined to comment Wednesday on the mistrial.

The fire that Gilmore is accused of setting destroyed a building under construction and spread to a residential complex in October 2011.

Snowmass expansion put on indefinite hold

ASPEN – A lawsuit by an environmental group has put Aspen Skiing Co.’s plan to add skiing on 230 acres of Burnt Mountain at Snowmass ski area on hold.

The Ark Initiative filed a lawsuit Sept. 5 contending that the U.S. Forest Service unlawfully granted the ski company permission to cut trees in what it maintains is a roadless area with special protection.

The company started removing dead and living trees last month after getting approval from the White River National Forest supervisor’s office.

According to The Aspen Times the court battle has temporarily stopped the ski company’s work higher on the mountain.

Farmington Daily Times editor to step down

FARMINGTON – The Daily Times of Farmington Editor Troy Turner has resigned to accept a position in New York with the newspaper’s parent company.

The Daily Times announced Thursday that Turner will serve as an editor at Thunderdome, an initiative by Digital First Media to provide international and national news content to its local newspapers throughout the country.

Turner served as The Daily Times’ top editor since 2006. He also served as the newspaper’s editor in 1999 and 2000.

John Elchert, publisher of The Daily Times, said the newspaper will miss his leadership.

The New York-based Digital First Media jointly manages MediaNews Group and Journal Register Company, and runs more than 70 other daily newspapers and websites around the country, including The Denver Post, The Salt Lake City Tribune and El Paso Times.

Utah’s foreclosure rate No. 16 in August

SALT LAKE CITY – Utah’s August foreclosure rate is the 16th highest in the nation, skipping up from No. 26 a month earlier.

Data released Thursday by RealtyTrac Inc. shows that one in 911 Utah housing units saw a foreclosure filing in August. That’s up 41 percent from July, but down 49 percent from last August.

Nationwide, the number of default notices, scheduled auctions and bank repossessions in August were up 1 percent from July but down 15 percent since last August.

Illinois, Florida, California, Arizona and Nevada had the highest foreclosure rates in the nation in August.

Meatball seeks his Colorado home

ALPINE, Calif. – A Colorado wildlife refuge that hopes to house a California black bear known as Meatball has filed a lawsuit to try and overturn a regulation that prohibits wild animals from being kept at sanctuaries.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary in Colorado recently challenged a state law that says no animal taken from the wild can be kept at a refuge.

Meatball was captured twice earlier this year after foraging for food in suburban trash cans and taking a dip in a pool in the foothills above Los Angeles. The 400-pound bear is living in a San Diego County rescue facility.

The 5-year-old bear, given his name because he stole packaged meatballs from a refrigerator, was headed for Colorado until wildlife authorities there invoked the state regulation.

Associated Press