House fire on Sandia Drive displaces six

Grand Junction Fire Department firefighters helped put out a residential structure fire in the 400 block of Sandia Drive on Friday. The American Red Cross is assisting one adult and five children displaced by the fire.

One room of the home was reportedly on fire by the time the GJFD was called. All occupants made it out safely and crews were able to extinguished the fire by 7:35 a.m, the GJFD reports.

The interior of the home suffered heavy smoke damage. There are no known injuries. The origin and cause of the fire is under investigation, the GJFD reports.

Colorado guv appoints Supreme Court justice

Colorado Gov. Jared Polis announced Friday that he is appointing former 20th Judicial District (Boulder County) Judge Maria Encarnacion Berkenkotter to the Colorado Supreme Court.

“I’m thrilled to appoint Judge Berkenkotter to the Colorado Supreme Court,” Polis said in the press release. “Throughout her career, she has shown a keen ability to render sound and wise decisions on a broad range of issues. She has deftly presided over high-profile, complicated, and often emotional cases, and has implemented beneficial operational changes within the Judicial Branch. She has decades of experience in her field and is universally respected among the Colorado bar. I have no doubt she will be an asset to the State and add immense value to the Supreme Court.”

Judge Berkenkotter currently servers as an arbiter with the Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc., a group of former judges who reportedly provide professional dispute resolution and litigation services. Her practice focuses on mediation, arbitration, judge pro-tem appointments and civil and domestic dispute resolution. Judge Berkenkotter is also a judicial coach for the Colorado Judicial Department. She has held both positions since 2018.

“I’m honored to be selected by Governor Polis for this important position,” Judge Berkenkotter said in the press release. “It is essential for the foundations of our democracy, including our courts, to remain strong during these unprecedented times.”

Previously, Judge Berkenkotter served in Colorado’s 20th Judicial District as a district court judge from 2006 to 2017. She was appointed to chief judge of the 20th Judicial District by Chief Justice Michael Bender in 2013 and served in that capacity until her retirement in 2017. During her time on the 20th Judicial District Court bench, she presided over civil, criminal, domestic relations and juvenile cases.

She was also a First Assistant Attorney General with the Colorado Attorney General Consumer Protection Section (2000-2006); an Assistant Attorney General with the Colorado Attorney General Regulatory Law and Consumer Protection Sections (1990-2000); and an associate with Holmes & Starr, P.C. (1988-1990). Judge Berkenkotter received her undergraduate degree from Western Michigan University in 1984 and her J.D. from the University of Denver Sturm College of Law in 1987, according to the press release.

Berkenkotter is the first appointment to the Colorado Supreme Court by Gov. Jared Polis.

Glenwood Canyon rest areas reopen

The Colorado Department of Transportation has reopened two rest areas in Glenwood Canyon along Interstate 70.

The No Name (Exit 119) and Bair Ranch (Exit 129) rest areas have been determined to be safe for motorists to use as the canyon continues to recover from the impacts of the Grizzly Creek Fire. The Grizzly Creek (Exit 121) and Hanging Lake (Exit 125) rest areas in the canyon continue to be closed. The bike path and hiking trails also remain closed.

CDOT continues to monitor the canyon for potential debris flow, mudslides, rockslides and other impacts from the Grizzly Creek burn scar. CDOT will enact a safety closure for I-70 and all rest areas if weather forecasts show potential for debris flow, mudslides or rockslides.

City offices closed for Thanksgiving

City of Grand Junction offices will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26–27, in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday.

There will be no trash collection on Thanksgiving Day. Trash collection will be one day late for the remainder of the week. For the recycling collection schedule, call 242-1036. Parking will be free in downtown metered parking spaces and in the Rood Avenue parking garage on those days.

Also, most Mesa County offices will be closed Nov. 26–27. Go to for more information.

Drive-thru food drive continues through Nov. 22


The Ferrellgas food drive will continue through Nov. 22, at The Salvation Army Grand Junction Corps building, 1235 N. Fourth St.

The public is invited to pick up a “wish list” of items needed at the entrance of the 24 Road City Market. After shopping for the requested items, take them to the drive-thru drop-off location at The Salvation Army office.

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