Friday, July 15, 2011

It's War! Palisade Scientist Uses Bugs To Attack Toxic Plants

By Matt Kroschel

Its all hands on deck to keep a non native species of weed from taking over the Western Slope. For scientist in Palisade a very small fly they are raising may hold the answer to eradicating the toxic Russian Knap weed on the Western Slope.

Thousands of the little bugs are being breed right now at the US department of Agriculture facility. Experts I spoke with say they might hold the key to stopping this plant from doing even more damage here. Since entomologist Dan Bean was 6-years-old he wanted to work with bugs.

Now he is on the front lines in the battle against the Russian Knapweed. It's biological warfare. The bugs are brought in because they will only feed on the knapweed. Like  laser guided missiles, they seek out the weed and move on into the plant, literaly.

This is not the first time the Palisde operation has raised bugs to attack non native plants. I am told the beetles released to tackle the tammarask problem is doing great.

SO knapweeds listen up! The flys are coming you have been warned!
I am told the first stop for the bugs will be some Buearu of Land Managment property out near Loma.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

BLM Spending Part 2, Special Report

By Matt Kroschel

In part two of our special report, we travel to capital hill to pin down where the money is going and see what can be done to get rid of the fees all together.

With accusations of 'cost shifting' flying from the Western Slope, Bureau of Land Management officials go on the defense.

Last year $57,200 were collected at the Gunnison George Conservation site near Montrose. Nationwide, the BLM alone took in 18 million dollars in user fees.

The deputy director at the BLM Anthony Bobo, Jr., told NewsChannel Five 100 percent of the money collected goes back to the site where it was taken.

As for alleged cost shifting, Bobo said those claims are just flat wrong. He said his job is to audit the money collected at each of the sites across the country. For the BLM all of that money is supposed to go directly back to the ground where they are taken from.

Less than 1 million dollars of the 18 million collected was used on administration costs in 2010, according to documents provided to NewsChannel Five.

That money is used to enforce the user fees, maintain the areas where the fees are being used.

It took an act of Congress to get even allowing the BLM to charge the added fees to users back in 2008. Colorado Senator Mark Udall (D) said In a perfect world the fees would be repealed today, but the reality is with massive federal budget deficits, that just is not in the cards.

"Everyone should be able to use their public lands and not be obstructed from doing that but the reality is that we have some serious budget problems and the money is just not there to maintain these areas without it," Senator Udall said. "I will work to make sure those fees are being spent at the sites and not being misused," he added.

As for Bobo, he said he will keep working to make sure our money is used wisely at the federal level.

"We have a good pulse of what is going on on the ground and we are not sitting up here at the palace making designs without knowing how they will effect the people," Bobo said.

And back on the Western Slope, activists will keep fighting, even if their efforts seem future right now.

"This is my land I have to fight for it, because they they are doing is wrong and someone has to stand up to it," Western Slope No Fee Coalition founder Kitty Benzar said.

Former Montrose D.A. Jury Trial For Sex Crimes Charges Pushed Back

A jury trial for Former Montrose D-A Myrl Serra won't start Monday like it was scheduled.

In a Mesa County Courtroom Thursday afternoon Serra's defense team asked the judge for a continence. They claim the prosecution did not provide them with enough time to look over hundreds of electronic files containing communications from Serra.

You may remember Serra is accused of forcing a former employee to perform sexual acts. The judge has ordered a new trial date for October 31st starting at 9:00 AM.

Meanwhile another bond violation jury trial will still begin August 29th.

More at

BREAKING NEWS: Suspect in Armed Bank Robbery in Salida Captured

A manhunt is over in Chaffee County after the armed man who robbed the Bank of the West in Salida Thursday morning was captured moments ago.

According to residents in Salida, a reverse 911 call went out from police telling everyone the man was in custody.

Reports from the scene say the wanted man was found on Tenderfoot Mountain.

--Matt Kroschel

If you have pictures from the scene email them to

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

BLM Fees: Where Does The Money Go?

PART 1 Of My Special Report

Fruitvale Mass-Stabbing Suspect Arrested

Suspect Claims He 'Blacked Out' During Attack

Matt Kroschel

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Crazy Thunderstorms On The Western Slope

By Matt Kroschel

Intense storms pack a punch across much of the state. Strong storms moved across the Western Slope Monday night and Tuesday leaving flooding in their wake.  It was coming down so hard earlier this evening I was forced to pull over my news car and wait out the storm. There was lots of standing water and some small flash floods reported near the Mesa/Delta county lines.

Standing water on Hwy. 50 made travel a bit tricky!

I have heard reports from the Hotchkiss area of flooding on Mainstreet and in the downtown area.Firefighters I spoke with from the scene tell me they are clearing up right now from the storm.

Check out this live radar feed here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Olathe Sweet Corn Festival Turns 20-Years-Old!

I Just got back to the newsroom from Olathe where farmers are working around the clock to get ready for the harvest of the world famous Olathe Sweet Corn. This year, a late spring cold snap has forced farmers to push back their harvest date. Last year they got their first harvest July 19, this year they are shooting for the 24th.

The Olathe Corn Festival starts August 5th in Olathe.

-Matt Kroschel

Manhunt is on in Delta County After Car Chase

Photo from the scene. -- Matt Kroschel
By Matt Kroschel

A manhunt in on in Delta County after a man in a stolen car leads police on a chase.

According to authorities, several law enforcement agencies are on the hunt for a suspect who stole a car from Grand Junction, and tried to escape south.

Authorities tell us Sunday night the Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force spotted a stolen car in Grand Junction.

They monitored the vehicle's activity overnight and then tracked it to Delta County Monday morning.

A Delta Police Officer then spotted that car and the driver took off through some corn fields.

According to reports, Delta County Sheriff's Deputies caught up with the Lincoln Continental and that's when the suspect abandoned the car and fled on foot near Cactus Park in Escalante Canyon.

The Delta County sheriff told me they belive the man might have used a log to make a raft and got into the Gunnison River to evade search teams.

A state patrol plane is being used to search for the suspect in the canyon.

Multiple other agencies are assisting in the search for the suspect including the Western Colorado Auto Theft Task Force, a BLM Ranger and Delta Sheriff's Deputies.

The Department of Corrections also has a tracking team in the area.

More at

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clifton SWAT Standoff with Armed Hostage-Taker Is Over

By Matt Kroschel

After a five hour standoff on Jackson Street in Clifton a man armed with a shot gun who had shot at police officers, was taken down without anyone harmed.

I got to the scene and had to duck for cover as bullets rang out. The SWAT team responded and then a standoff for over five hours went on.

I spoke to people who were inside the home when the man busted inside and held them at gunpoint before releasing them. They say he was "Tweeking" and that he held the gun to their head.

The whole incident began with a reported attempted armed car jacking at a gas station about a block away from the house.

At about 5:00 PM the suspect was taken into custody. Mesa County Sheriff, Grand Junction Police, Colorado State Patrol, Palisade PD and other emergency teams responded for the call.