No tickets yet under texting ban while driving

The Colorado State Patrol in Fruita said no citations were issued locally Tuesday regarding a new state law addressing cellular phones and driving.

The statute, which became law on Tuesday, prohibits drivers from sending text messages, e-mails and tweets while operating a motor vehicle, in addition to banning all cell phone use by drivers under age 18.

Major Barry Bratt, with the State Patrol’s Fruita troop, said he wasn’t surprised by the lack of citations under the new law during its initial 24 hours. Bratt said the Fruita troop averages 50 tickets daily, covering all manner of traffic violations.

“We’re not going to be sitting on street corners looking for kids texting,” Bratt said of the troop’s enforcement philosophy.

According to the statute, a law enforcement officer must witness the alleged criminal cell phone use.

Officers can’t bring charges on the basis of witness statements, and officers cannot seize drivers’ cell phones.

The law allows for drivers to use cell phones in vehicles when they are pulled over onto the shoulder of a roadway, or otherwise lawfully are parked.

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Western Slope Conservative Alliance will have its monthly meeting at 6:30 tonight at the Grand Junction City Hall.

Jon Caldera, president of the Independent Institute, and Scott Tipton, candidate for the 3rd Congressional District, will be the guest speakers.

Call Rose Pugliese at 589-3755 for information or e-mail .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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The Career Center’s fourth annual Christmas open house will be from 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. Friday at 2935 North Ave.

Items available for sale will include fresh Christmas wreaths, silk arrangements, centerpieces, kissing balls, gift baskets and candy bouquets.

Christmas tree raffle tickets will be sold for $2 for a large tree and $1 for a small tree. The drawing will be Dec. 11.

Children 10 and younger can build gingerbread houses. Cost is $1 per house. Santa Claus will arrive at 4 p.m. and be available for photos. Call 254-5112 for information.

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Mesa County’s elected officials will host a County Coffee event from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Friday at Aspen Street Coffee, 136 E. Aspen Ave. in Fruita.

Commissioners Craig Meis, Steve Acquafresca and Janet Rowland will be joined by Assessor Barbara Brewer, Clerk and Recorder Janice Rich, Treasurer Monika Todd and Surveyor Lee Stiles. The public is invited to attend, ask questions or share opinions with their elected leaders.

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The Mesa County Republicans and Mesa County Republican Women will have their annual Christmas luncheon at noon Friday at Two Rivers Convention Center.

The Sweet Adelines will entertain, and there will be door prizes. Cost is $15 per person.

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The city of Fruita and Mesa County Libraries will have a ground-breaking event for the new Fruita Community Center and Fruita branch of the library at 1 p.m. Saturday at 324 N. Coulson St.

People can bring shovels to be painted gold at 12:30 p.m. Hot dogs and drinks will be served.

Call 858-0360 for information.

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The Western Slope Harley Owners Group will have its 30th annual Toy Run on Saturday for the benefit of The Salvation Army.

Registration begins at 9 a.m. at Grand Junction Harley Davidson and the parade will begin at noon. From Horizon Drive, the bikes will travel south on 27 1/2 Road to Patterson Road, east on Patterson to 29 1/2 Road, south on 29 1/2 Road to North Avenue and east on North Avenue to Axis Nightclub.

Entry in the Toy Run is one new unwrapped toy per person. Toys and donations collected will go to The Salvation Army for distribution.

For more information or to download a registration form, go to http://www.gjhog.com or call Kristy Hale at 985-0045.

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Continuing a tradition of more than 30 years, the Downtown Grand Junction Rotary Club and the Downtown Grand Junction Kiwanis Club will have their annual Christmas Kettle Bell Ringing Competition on Saturday for the benefit of The Salvation Army.

Last year, the clubs rang bells at approximately 30 locations and raised more than $44,000, an amount equaling approximately 36 percent of the Grand Junction Salvation Army’s total Christmas Kettle net proceeds for the holiday season.

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Christmas tree cutting permits are available from all offices of the White River National Forest.

Cutting is allowed in most areas on the White River National Forest with the following exceptions: wilderness areas, commercial timber sales, recreation and ski areas, administrative areas, Glenwood Canyon and No Name Road near Camp Hale.

Maps showing where Christmas tree cutting is allowed are available at all offices where permits are sold. Permits cost $10 each and may be purchased with cash, check or money order. Call 945-3237 for more information.

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The Bureau of Land Management is accepting nominations for the 10 positions on the advisory council for the newly designated Dominguez-Escalante National Conservation Area, which comprises 209,610 acres in Mesa, Delta and Montrose counties. The area includes the Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Area.

Nominations are being accepted through Dec. 21. Call 244-3049 for information

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The following Mesa State College students have been inducted into the Colorado Gamma chapter of Alpha Chi: Jordan Adams, Alecia Allred, Tessa Andrews, Robert Archer, Rose Doerr, Michael Garlitz, Katrina Hartfield, Lynnsey Lambrecht, Larisa Merrell, Stephanie Nesbit, Jamie Pace, Melanie Rogers, Ashley Rowley, Stefanie Royster, Kayla Severson, Erica Shed, Mark Shoberg, Lori Sommers, Eric Stiasny, Brandon Straw, Sue Ann Troxel, and Carrie Williams.

Alpha Chi is a national honor society that invites high-achieving juniors and seniors from all academic disciplines to join. Alpha Chi inductees not only maintain high grade-point averages but are acknowledged by faculty to be of upstanding character.

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The Bureau of Land Management Grand Junction Field Office has implemented its seasonal road closures on specific BLM roads through April 30.

The roads are closed to motorized use beginning Dec. 1 to protect critical big-game winter range and other sensitive areas as well as to prevent road damage.  Affected areas include the Beehive, Chalk Mountain, Grand Mesa Slopes, Lands End, Big Salt Wash and Coal Gulch.

The Coal Canyon road in the Little Book Cliffs Wild Horse Area closes to motorized use Dec. 1-May 31.

While gates will be locked on some roads, other areas will be closed through signing. All of the areas continue to be open to non-motorized recreation such as hiking and horseback riding.

For more information call BLM wildlife biologist Heidi Plank at 244-3012.

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Dec. 9 is the deadline to submit photos to the annual Monumental Memories Exhibit that will be on display in the Visitor Center at the Colorado National Monument throughout the holiday season.

Local residents are invited to submit photos highlighting families and friends creating memories at the monument through hiking, biking, picnicking, rock, climbing, wedding ceremonies, gatherings, school trips or vintage photos from years past. The photos should be a standard 3 by 5 or 4 by 6 snapshot size. Include a description caption with each photograph.

Photos will not be returned.

Call 858-3617, ext. 360, for information.


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