The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado on December 31, 1975 · 1
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The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado · 1

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Grand Junction, Colorado
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Wednesday, December 31, 1975
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1
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By DON FREDERICK Sentinel Staff Writer I Discrimination charges brought against Mesa County School Dist. 51 by a iij: group of local Mexican-Americans have iiji been dismissed by a U.S. district judge. In a strongly-worded decision released $ in Denver this morning, Judge Fred Win-ner found no basis for charges that the :;i; district was discriminating by not pro-;i;i viding bilingual education or in its hiring practices. He also had a large amount of praise for the districts efforts in instructing and hiring Mexican-Americans. The discrimination charges were filed against the district in 1974 and were the subject of a three-week trial, presided iji; over by Winner, held in Grand Junction in April. School Supt. Donald Oglesby said this morning he was "very pleased by the I; decision and added, We felt all along that the district was doing the right things. Its a shame that it took so long and the court process to prove that. A spokeswoman for the local branch of I Colorado Rural Legal Services,- which f: helped represent the Mexican-Ameri- cans filing the discrimination suit, said !;!; today her office had not yet seen a copy of Winners decision. The spokeswoman said that until the ". . .1 do not believe that a federal judge should step in where the school board and the school officials are doing their best and are doing a good job. The only injunctive order r could in good faith enter would be one which ordered the school board to 'Keep up the good work " Fred M. Winner, U.S. district judge decision is reviewed and the persons after obtaining recommendations of bringing the suit contacted, no decision qualified, duly appointed school offi-of possible appeals could be made. cials . . . Winners ruling addressed itself Winner noted that the lower socio-eco-rnainly to the claim that Mexican-Amer- nomic level of many local Mexican--ican students in the school district had a American students compared to Anglo constitutional right to bilingual educa- students makes the obtaining of an ediL tion. cation more difficult. He stated that the plaintiffs wanted to But he goes on to say the evidence pre-restructure the curriculum of the dis- sented at the April trial is quite weak in trict and they want to tailor it to accom- proving that the problems of a single modate plaintiffs concept of the alleged Mexican-American in Dist. 51 are fairly needs of an astonishingly small number attributable to language deficiency. of students. About eight per cent of the District officials introduced tests at districts students are Mexican-Ameri- the trial showing that almost all local can. Mexican-American students speak Eng- Winner added, What the plaintiffs lish better than Spanish, really want is to substitute their judg- Lawyers for the Mexican-Americans ement for the thoughtful, independent disputed these results, but Winner said judgement of the elected school board he found the tests fair and in good which, for the most part, has acted only faith. He also noted that the tests against Mexican-Americans in Dist. 51, Winner declared, Every reasonable effort has been made to hire qualified Mexican-American teachers, but there just arent very many of them available, and with the nation-wide push on bilingual education, these teachers are blessed with a sellers market." Winner also found no evidence of discrimination in the hiring for non-academic district jobs and added that in this area the district has adopted an af-showed the language problems of local firmative action program to increase the Mexican-American students are less se- employment of Mexican-Americans, vere in Grand Junction than they are and it is doing a good job . . . across the nation. Oglesby pledged today the district As a general statement, Winner ruled would continue this affirmative action Dist. 51 has made and it is making a hiring program pnd also special recruit-real effort to meet the needs of its mi- ment trips it has conducted over the last nority students. few years to hire Mexican-American He added, "I could do no better, and I teachers, do not believe that a federal judge should In a footnote to his decision, Winner step in where the school board and the mentioned the involvement of state and school officials are doing their best and federal employes in support of the dis-are doing a good job." . -crimination charges and said that be- Oglesby noted today that a committee cause of the nature of this participa-of local parents and district educators tion, he could not help but question the are currently working on plans for a bili- alleged impartiality of certain state and ngual program in area schools. Such a federal bureaucracies. plan will probably be submitted to the Winner noted that before reaching his state in the spring in hopes of obtaining decision, he reviewed more than 10,000 state aid. pages of evidence and testimony present- On the charge of hiring discrimination ed at the April trial. X 12 pages Newsstand price 1 5c The -Daily Wednesday, Dec. 31, 1975 Grand Junction, Colo . Several inches of snow were removed from around the First National equipment are Bill Williams in the tractor cab and Jamie Mackley on Bank North in Grand Junction this morning. The men operating the the small tractor, The equipment is owned by a private company. i - Sentinel photo by Robert Grant Two storms hit West Slope Blowing snow makes holiday travel hazardous There was a brief lull today in the Grand Valley between two snow storms. The cold front of the first storm moved across the valley Tuesday evening, and snow soon began to fall. The cold front of the second storm will probably arrive by tonight. Wind accompanied the snow in many communities in the valley and made accurate measurement of snow difficult. The peak gust at the National Weather Service station at Walker Field was 24 miles an hour at 10:52 p.m. The sun broke through the clouds in a few places in and near the valley this morning, but general clearing will probably await the end of the second storm. When the clearing does occur, temperatures will probably drop sharply. The State Patrol this morning reported snow falling I throught most of the state. Chains' or adequate snow tires were required for travel over Red Mountain, Douglas, Lizard Head, and Wolf Creek passes. Roads on all passes and in most valleys of Colorado West were snowpacked and slippery. Grand Junction and most of the Grand Valley from Fruita to Palisade received four to five inches of snow, but Loma in the Lower Valley received an inch and one-half. New Liberty at the western end of the valley received half an inch. In the Delta-Montrose area, snowfall ranged from a low of two inches at Delta to four inches at Paonia and Ceda-redge and five inches at Montrose. It i. was still snowing in all those areas late this morning. Despite snowpacked roads, only a few minor fender-bender accidents have been reported in the area. However, travelers on U.S. 50 very early this morning had to buck bumper-high snowdrifts and blowing snow in the area between Whitewater Hill and Fools Hill. . Other depths included: Glade Park Store, six inches; Mesa Lakes Resort on Grand Mesa, 14 inches; Norwood, six inches; Meeker area, four to five inches; Eagle, one inch; Glenwood Springs area, two to five inches; Car-bondale, two inches Gateway, two and one half inches; Rifle and Blanding, Utah, three inches; Salt Lake City, six inches; and Moab, Utah, five inches and still snowing at 11 a.m. City, County and State Division of Highway crews were out clearing, salting, and sanding streets and highways Fruita has bad day FRUITA - No heat for up to eight hours Tuesday night and a lack of water this morning made the areas heaviest snowstorm of the winter a little more uncomfortable for up to 1,200 home-owners and their families. A construction crew accidentally sliced through the main gas pipe feeding the Fruita area and t,200 Public Service Co. customers were without heat up to eight hours Tuesday night, a utility company spokesman said. Division Manager N. J. Temple saiija crew for Redlands Construction Co., 2473 Commerce, cut the pipe around 3 p.m. while operating a ditching machine at the junction of roads 19 and 0. The pipe is owned by Western Slope Gas Co., a pipeline subsidiary of Public Service, he added. He said the line Was repaired and gas -J flowing again at 6 : 17 p.m. when 30 crewmen from Grand Junction, -Rifle and Denver began relighting 1,100 of the furnaces, a process which took until 11 p.m. Seventy homeowners in the area relit their own furnaces, Temple estimated, and 30 more who werent at home Tuesday night were to be contacted today. Town Clerk Elena Musselman said the water treatment plant went off between 6.30 and 7 a.m., but using two taps on the Ute Water Conservancy District line, water was being provided to residents. She said the plant began building pressure back dp at 8a m., but could not explain the breakdown. The plant operator was out cleaning snow off Jhe streets and wasnt available either, she added. throughout the night. Most drivers slowed down and proceeded cautiously as they went to work this morning in Grand Junction, and there was not an unusual number of accidents. In Glenwood Springs, road were very slipper and there were several minor accidents. Frontiirf Flight 673 from Denver to Grand Junction was cancelled because of the storm, but Frontier flight 672 from here to Denver was not cancelled. Continental Trailways had no problems because of the snow, and mail trucks coming to Grand Junction were only a few minutes late. Mountain Bell reported a few individual service loops out of order because of the snow, but Grand Valley Rural Power Lines and Public Service Co. had no troubles. The National Weather Service continued a heavy snow warning for West Central Colorado through tonight throughout the area and in the Upper Colorado and Roaring Fork Valleys through Thursday. Four more inches of snow are possible in the Upper Colorado, and Roaring Fork Valleys. The extended outlooks for Colorado and Utah indicate snow Friday and Saturday but clearing by Sunday. Low temperatures predicted for Thursday morning included Fruita 5, Grand Junction 8, Palisade 10, 5 above to 10 below in Upper Colorado and Roaring Fork Valleys, and 5 to 15 in the North Fork and Uncompahgre Valleys. Murder developed State Patrol-city communication gap City Police Chief Ben Meyers admitted Tuesday his department should have offered more information to the State Patrol Saturday night about the murder of Deborah Kathleen Tomlinson, 19. State Patrolmen heard about the murder quickly only because a private citizen who owns a police radio called their headquarters. The communications breakdown was a problem because a state patrolman had arrested a motorist he thought may be a prime suspect in the killing. Miss Tomlinson was found murdered about 6 p.m. in her apartment at 1029 Belford. By 10 p.m. the state patrol Rad not been officially informed of the case by city policemen despite repeated requests for details. The state patrols problems in getting information that night are spelled out in detail in the units blotter. Meyers, while conceding more inf or- mation should have been released and quicker, said the state patrol should have handled the investigation into the motorists story and not dumped the responsibility onto city police. The man, Richard W. Clifton, was later cleared of any involvement in the case. But when he was arrested on a drunk driving charge at 7 : 43 p.m. Saturday in Plateau Canyon, the arresting state patrol officer noticed he had scratch marks on his face. This is what followed, according to the State Patrol log: State Patrolman Earl Groblebe brought Clifton to Ifie Mesa County Jail about 8:30 p.m. and contacted city police to see if the man was wanted for Scholarship i With the assistance of Mesa College administrators the parents of Deborah Kalhleen Tomlinson are creating a physical education scholarship at the school in her memory. The 19-year-old woman, slain in her Grand Junction apartment Dec. 27, will be buried Saturday at Elmwood Cemetery in Fruita. According to Jay Tolman, Mesas dean of students, Mr. and Mrs. Jimmy Tomlinson of Mack contacted Mesa College President John Tomlinson to make scholarship arrangements. The womans parents are requesting that donations be made to the scholarship fund in lieu of flowers, Tolman said. The award will serve as a memorial to Debi," who was a sophmorepbys-ical education major and sportswriter at the school, he added. Contributors may send their donations to the Mesa College business office with a note designating what the money is for. Donations will also be accepted at the mortuary. Funeral services for Miss Tomlinson will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday in Calla-han-Edfast Chapel with Rev. Kermit Brubaker and Rev. Robert Haberman officiating. Police Chief Ben Meyers said Tuesday he has a lot more confidence investigators will break Miss Tomlinsons murder than the unsolved murders of Linda Benson, 24, ; ' questioning. When Groblebe specifically asked about the murder, Police offered no information. - Curiously, city police had been to State Patrol headquarters on S Ninth at 7:10 p.m. to borrow rope. Police didnt say why they needed the rope. They actually wanted it to rope off portions of the murder scene. At 8:45- p.m. the state patrol dispatcher tried to get information again from city police. A city dispatcher said a sergeant would call back. No one had returned the call by 10 p.m. Finally? after Mesa jail personnel completed paperwork on Clifton, Groblebe managed to get ahold of City Lt. Robert Kibler. Kibler brought Cliftons 'existence to the attention of other city investigators. Chief Meyers said in an interview Tuesday that it was not normal procedure to contact other law enforcement agencies immediately following the discovery of a murder unless a suspect has been pinpointed or if police believe the murder has taken Some object which may incriminate him. Neither situation was present in the Tomlinson case, he said. - -. Ive always been one to really cooperate on thislype of thing, Meyers said of exchanges of information between police agencies. As it happened, Meyers was out of town on vacation Saturday when the murder happened. So he was not in charge of the murder probe Mesa Sheriff Dick Williams said he would not necessarily contact other police agencies immediately after his de- ( Continued on Page 0 is memorial and her daughter Kelley, 5, stabbed to death in their Grand Junction apartment July 25. To my knowledge I don't think it is connected to the Benson case, Meyers said. He said police will interview a number of residents who knew the woman and classmates and friends returning to Mesa College after winter break. Meyers said individuals will be finger-, printed when they are interviewed to provide comparisons with fingerprints found in the apartment Saturday night. From all the evidence weve got, it appears she was expecting someone -and apparently it was the killer, Meyers said. The partially clad woman was found by a landlord at 6 p.m. face down in her bathtub bound with her hands behind her back and strangled. An autopsy performed on the body Sunday indicated she had been sexually molested. Presently, Meyers said, seven officers are working on the case under the direction and including sergeants, Fred Albrecht and Jerry Frazier, and Lt. Robert Evers. Meyers said some department polygraphs will be administered on possible suspects. If a prime suspect is fingered, he added, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation may be called in to administer another polygraph. t t

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