Colorado news roundup: Conductor dies after fall from train (05.30.16)
May 30, 2016
Here's what's going on around Colorado today:
TRAIL RIDGE ROAD IN ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK OPENS
ESTES PARK, Colo. — Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park is open in time for the Memorial Day weekend, but with limited hours.
Park officials say the road will close overnight because of ice.
The highway, which is the highest continuous paved road in the nation above 12,000 feet, was scheduled to open Friday, but it had to be delayed because of whiteout conditions.
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Both Independence and Cottonwood passes have both re-opened in time for the weekend.
CONDUCTOR DIES AFTER FALL FROM ROYAL GORGE TRAIN
CANON CITY, Colo. — The Royal Gorge train is closed while investigators look into the death of a train conductor along the scenic route.
It's unclear how 28-year-old Leslie Cacy may have fallen from a moving car Saturday night near Canon City.
The train is being transported from the bottom of Royal Gorge canyon for examination.
An autopsy is planned and Fremont County authorities are investigating.
Cacy's husband has been notified.
Investigator Randy Keller says the husband is very upset and asked that people "keep him in their thoughts and prayers."
There were about 100 passengers on board the train at the time of the death.
Deputies were still interviewing people as of 10 p.m. Saturday.
The National Transportation Safety Board has been notified.
The rail line is closed as of Sunday, but KRDO-TV reports the Royal Gorge bridge and park remain open.
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT QUESTIONS ALAMOSA AIRPORT SUBSIDY
ALAMOSA, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Transportation is questioning why the Alamosa airport deserves a federal airline subsidy and wants the county to show why the rural area in southern Colorado needs help getting air service.
A federal program called Essential Air Service provides a subsidy to airports across the country it believes need air service because of their distance or isolation from airport hubs.
Several airlines are seeking permission to serve Alamosa, but the federal government says it isn't worth the cost. Subsidies for each passenger cannot exceed $200 unless another qualifying airport is 210 miles or more away from a large or medium hub airport. The nearest large airport for Alamosa is Albuquerque, New Mexico, which is 199 miles away.
The current subsidy in Alamosa is $268 a ticket for each passenger.
The county hopes to prove that a decline in passengers is not because people do not want to fly, but because of undependable air service recently, According to the Alamosa Valley Courier.
Alamosa County Administrator Gigi Dennis said Alamosa has until June 9 to answer the Department of Transportation's questions and will work with air carriers on a proposal.
Dennis said she had a recent experience when she and three others were scheduled to fly out of Alamosa, but the flight was cancelled, so they had to drive to Denver. Dennis said it is always a possibility that Alamosa could lose the federal designation, but Alamosa can petition for a waiver.
The regional airport at Alamosa had about 6,120 passengers through the end of September 2015.
CHILD CASEWORKER SHORTAGE A CONCERN IN LARIMER COUNTY
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Larimer County is trying to find caseworkers for the Department of Human Services who deal with child neglect and abuse amid concerns that a shortage of workers will hurt some clients because of heavier workloads.
Director Laura Walker says the department has lost about 20 of more than 100 employees, many citing low pay.
Some caseworkers are in charge of up to 30 children, compared with a dozen children recommended by professionals.
According to the Loveland Reporter-Herald, the county has approved one-time retention bonus totaling $550,000 to be distributed among 115 employees.
— The Associated Press