Whats News 1.12.16

What’s News
Hwy. 24 Crash claims the life of local resident
Rick Langenberg

The 2016 year got off to a fatal start with a three-car crash on Hwy. 24 that killed an 87-year-old Florissant woman.

The incident also shut down west-bound Hwy. 24 near Woodland Park for an extended period.

On Jan 6 at approximately 6:30 p.m., officers were dispatched to U.S. Hwy. 24 near the intersection of County Road 25 for a serious accident.

Originally, Woodland Park Police authorities reported that a sedan turned east-bound on Hwy. 24 into the westbound lanes. But now, authorities say it can’t be determined for sure why the vehicle ended up in the wrong lane.

The sedan struck another vehicle, a SUV, head-on. Another vehicle then rear-ended the SUV a few minutes later.

As a result of the head-on crash, the driver of the sedan, Elizabeth Jean Wynkoop, 87, was killed. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to Teller County Coroner Al Born. No other serious injuries occurred from the fatal crash. “There were no other emergency transports,” said Woodland Park Police Commander James Halloran.

The accident victim reportedly lived in Florissant and was attending classes at Charis Bible College.

Also, preliminary reports indicate that alcohol or drugs was not a factor, or any medical condition that may have forced the accident victim to veer into the wrong lane.

Halloran stated that officials from the Woodland Park Police Department have concluded their investigation.

A Safe, Bustling Community
The city of Cripple Creek has snagged many nicknames over the years, some of which aren’t printable.

But one of the safest communities in Colorado hasn’t been on the list. However, this is the newest designation for Cripple Creek, based on the findings of the ConsumerAffairs.com, a consumer news and advocacy organization that compiles many reviews. The group, according to its most recent report that analyzed 2014 data, rated Cripple Creek as among the 10 safest cities in Colorado.

The city fared extremely well in the number of police officers per capita, ranking in the top five in the state.

Also, the study estimated that the town averages hardly any property crimes per day.

About the only category that indicated a red alarm dealt with increase in overall criminal activity. Cripple Creek and the other Colorado gaming towns rank quite well, according to the consumer report.

Overall, the consumer group reported that throughout the country, an estimated 8.3 million property crimes are reported by law enforcement, with financial losses reaching $14.3 billion. Out of this list, larceny-theft account for the vast majority of crimes, with burglaries and vehicle thefts nearing the 30 percent mark.

A Boom Time for Creek Infrastructure
While the city may garner good reports from a safety perspective, city officials see 2016 as a promising year economically. “We are hopeful,” said City Administrator Ray DuBois, who believes the city can continue its forward momentum from 2015. “We are looking forward to a better 2016.”

With a new convenience store nearing the final stage and the prospects of new hotel rooms and a $30 million sales deal with a major casino operator, Cripple Creek has rediscovered its economic footing, according to many economic experts.

And the coming year may also serve as another boom for infrastructure. Depending on grants from the state Department of Local Affairs, the city may embark on a $2 million-plus safety enhancement, sidewalk and trail project along Teller One on the west side of town. DuBois sees this as a continuation of an overall campaign to make the town more pedestrian-friendly. This project would address a dangerous intersection on Teller One near Mt. Pisgah, address much curb and gutter work and create new sidewalks and trails, with the establishing of safe pedestrian access from the CC/V schools to the Venture Foods grocery outlet.

Funding for the Teller One enhancements have been in the works since 2012. But the town opted to put most of its emphasis on a nearly $5 million Bennett Avenue facelift, which was completed in 2014. DuBois says the new project is still contingent on grant dollars.

The city has already received a preliminary award from the Colorado Department of Transportation, but is waiting on more commitments from the state Department of Local Affairs and another local grant.

If this occurs, the city would still have to foot the bill for about 10 percent of the costs, according to the city administrator.

Popular Festival May Be In Limbo
One of the more popular festivals in Green Mountain Falls may be looking for a new home in the near future.

According to a report made at a local board of trustees meeting last week, some leaders of the group sponsoring the Thin Air Nationals Car Show in Green Mountain Falls, the Colorado Springs Road & Custom Car Club, have mulled the idea of looking for a new location. The main problem the club faces deals with growing expenses and struggles with limited revenue. The all-day event that showcases more than 200 vehicles ends up costing close to $10,000 in total expenses, based on current statistics. Luckily for the club, it garners about $3,500 in cash donations.

However, town trustees want to do what they can to keep the festival intact, and even suggested making changes to allow for more cars at the show. A representative of the club last week, though, didn’t know if that was possible with the current layout of the Gazebo and lake area, where most of the custom cars and classics are displayed. Instead, the representative favored any way the town could consider fee reductions by possibly having club members take over some of the security obligations.

The festival has been a mainstay of Green Mountain Falls for years.

The board of trustees will discuss the issue again on Jan. 19 and will finalize the permits for this summer’s gala. Regardless of any decision regarding the festival’s long-term future, the stage is set for the popular car show to occur in Green Mountain Falls this summer on July 16.