The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado on July 24, 1999 · 7
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The Daily Sentinel from Grand Junction, Colorado · 7

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Grand Junction, Colorado
Issue Date:
Saturday, July 24, 1999
Page:
7
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THE - DAILY Sentinel SECTION TELEVISION SATURDAY. JULY 24. 1999 aa i i 0 SAM MEYERThe Daily Sentinel WALT RAMINGTON OF GRAND JUNCTION buys a basket of peaches from Valley Fruit Stand owner Jessie Jacobs, who co-owns the stand with her mother. Jacobs said even with this spring's freeze, there are still about half a million peaches available from the summer harvest Palisades bounty draws people from all over By IRISH W1DDOWS The Daily Sentinel Is this piece of fruit ripe? Dont squeeze it; look at it By TRISH W1DD0WS The Daily Sentinel People come from across the country to get a taste of a Palisade peach, according to local vendors. They come from all over, said Marianne Bouwmeester, who works at the 1-70 Fruit Stand just off of Interstate 70 in Palisade. Ive had people here from Alaska, Canada, all over. They come down here just to get the peaches. Many peach lovers come from the Front Range, said Shirley Craig, Palisade Chamber of Commerce director. But there are also a lot of people who come annually from the Midwest for fruit. Probably 70 percent of our business is from out of town and out of state," said Renee Herman, owner of Herman Produce, which is about half a mile from Interstate 70. There are some people who plan their vacations around the peach harvest. We have regulars that come out every year, Herman said. While many make a special trip, some just happen upon the fruit stands while traveling along 1-70. Most, however, have heard of the famous Palisade peach. We just came by, said Mary Bretz, of Los Banos, Calif., as she walked out of Hermans Produce with a bag of peaches. Theyre supposed to be the best peaches in the world. We always buy them when we come through because of their reputation, said Dennis Tate of Las Vegas. "They are so good. Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Ament tested out See PEACHES, page 2B Dont squeeze the peaches, warned hand-painted signs at Palisade fruit vendors. There is an easier way to tell if a peach is ripe without touching it, said Mikhaela Miller, 15, who works summers at Hermans Produce a half mile off Interstate 70. If they are yellow in the center instead of green, then they are perfect to eat, Miller said. Produce shoppers can choose ripe peaches just by looking at the color near the stem. It's so you dont have to pinch them, Miller said. With too many customers squeezing the fruit to see if they are soft enough to eat, the peaches become bruised and no one will buy them. It ruins the peaches, said Michael Grove, who works at 1-70 Fruit Stand, just off Interstate 70 in Palisade. Miller said the only way to ripen a peach is through patience. Just leave them right on your counter for a day or so, she said. Take tobacco cash in lump Coffman says state should sell its share of the settlement By GARY HARMON The Daily Sentinel Colorado should play it safe and arrange to sell what might be $2.9 billion over 25 years in its settlement with Big Tobacco for an immediate $900 million lump-sum payment, state Treasurer Mike Coffman said Friday. Coffman said its by no means a sure thing that Colorado would collect the full $2.9 billion, especially considering that the stated aim of the settlement was to reduce smoking. If it were to be successful in that regard, the settlement provides for a reduction in the revenues from the tobacco Companies revenues that state officials already are earmarking for various programs, Coffman said. Were on a fiscal collision course with the settlement, Coffman said. Were as addicted as smokers when it comes to tobacco. The settlement, he said, established a bizarre relationship that could lead to strange circumstances as established in the settlement. Legislators may have to encourage tobacco use to obtain full funding or existing programs will have to compete with new initiatives for funding when tobacco revenues decline, Coffman said in papers describing his proposal. In what Coffman likens to selecting cash over annuity when buying a lottery ticket, he said Colorado should protect its settlement by selling it to private investors, who would take the risk that it actually will pay out over time. Under the 1998 settlement, Colorado is scheduled to receive $32.9 million to $117 million per year over the next 25 years. Already since the settlement, though, a Florida jury' has found against the tobacco companies in a class-action suit. The federal govern ment and Indian tribes, meanwhile, are considering filing their own suits, putting the long-term stability of the companies in doubt, he said. Another threat to the likelihood of realizing the full value of the settlement is competition from foreign tobacco, which isnt subject to the same payments that domestic cigarette makers have to pay, whether theyre party to the settlement or not, he said. One such competitor, Bidi, a rough-cut, filterless cigarette from India, sells for $2.75 a pack, 25 cents less than the current cost of a domestic brand, he said. Not only that, but Bidis are trendy, threatening to undercut both the health-related and financial goals of the settlement, he said. Coffmans proposal calls for the state to continue receiving 75 percent of the settlement over time. Conservative investment of the $900 million lump sum from the sale of asset back securities into a diversified portfolio returning 6.25 percent could result in interest payments of at least $56 million annually. That, combined with the hazy prospect of receiving $25 million a year from the remainder of the settlement, could result in some$79 million annually flowing into state coffers, he said. Selling off a revenue stream of such magnitude as the tobacco settlement is a roll of the dice, but one that he recommends because the risk factors are so extraordinary, Coffman said. When youre-dealmg with public monies, you need to be risk-averse. Coffman said it might be possible for him to arrange such an asset sale under his authority as the treasurer, but that he prefers to let the Legislature and Gov. Bill Owens make the decision. Were as addicted as smokers when it comes to tobacco. MIKE COFFMAN State treasurer Accused murderer declines to enter plea By AARON PORTER The Daily Sentinel DELTA The man accused of stabbing Robert Kuzov to death on Feb. 6 declined again to enter a plea in court on Friday. Walter Sepulveda, 21, is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing the 20-year-old Delta man at his home, according to court documents. Authorities allege that Sepulveda stabbed Kuzov more than a dozen times with a kitchen knife. Former Delta Police Chief Paul Suppes had said that detectives were investigating possible ties to a Grand Junction murder case. Kuzov apparently witnessed the shooting death of Timothy Lanham in July 1998. Manuel Sepulveda, Walters brother, has pleaded guilty to killing Lanham, but he is currently trying to withdraw the plea. An alleged conspirator in Lanhams death is now on trial in Grand Junction. Walter Sepulveda asked to postpone his plea hearing for another three weeks until his family hires a defense attorney, public defender Stephens Dooley said on Friday. Dooley did not say why Sepulveda preferred to hire his own attorney. Despite Sepulveda's lengthy period in jail since the killing, his right to a speedy trial has not been violated because he has not entered a plea in the case, District Court Judge Robert Brown said. Brown granted the request, ordering Sepulveda back to court on Aug. 13. Uranium workers to discuss compensation for illnesses By SENTINEL STAFF Uranium industry workers and their families from western Colorado, as well as members of the Navajo, Shoshone and Ute tribes today at the Lincoln Park Barn will discuss efforts to gain compensation for people afflicted with radiation- related diseases. The Families of Colorado Uranium Workers and members of the tribes organized the event, which organizers said would attract 300 to See WORKERS, page 2B 2 - DARLYNE MERKELThe Daily Sentinel Fountain Fun -i Brandon Ritter, 10, left, and his friend Travis Robb, 8, both of Grand Junction, cool off in the fountain at Third and Main streets. Dogs used in search for missing Nucla man By AARON PORTER The Daily Sentinel NUCLA - Authorities used dogs on Friday to search a number of abandoned mines near here in the latest search for a missing Nucla man. Dale Williams, 42, vanished under suspicious circumstances from this small community in rural western Montrose County on May 27. He was last seen at the Family Market grocery store at 6 p.m. in Naturita that night, according to investigators. A group of swimmers discovered Williams pickup on July 4 in the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores rivers The truck was empty and there was no evidence specifically indicating foul play, Undersh-eriffDickDeinessaid. The Montrose County Sheriffs Department used dogs on Friday to search for Williams at a series of abandoned mines near the confluence of the two rivers. Denies said. The search was not tied to any new leads, he said See MISSING, page 2B

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