O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
August 2016

Columnist — Joyce Trent

COLORADO SPRINGS — Bottled water is flying off the shelves of convenience stores in three cities just south of Colorado Springs after notices were sent to 80,000 residents that their water is contaminated.

Levels of PFCs (perfluorinated chemicals) exceed new EPA standards in Fountain, Widefield and Security. Tests of one district well showed twenty times the amount of PFCs considered safe.

The utilities of those cities have not said to refrain from drinking the water but warned pregnant women and infants may be at risk.

Colorado flag

Many people are not taking a chance, rushing to stock supplies of bottled water available at area retailers. A local food bank distributed cases of bottled water and promises to do more but it may not be enough to satisfy the demand.

A survey of convenience stores in the area showed sales are up as much as double, even triple, from usual levels.

"We're selling a lot," said a clerk at a 7-Eleven. A clerk at a Diamond Shamrock said, "We're definitely selling more, about double the usual amount."

A clerk at a Loaf 'n' Jug who also noticed doubled sales commented that people don't appear scared, "just cautious."

So far the stores have had no trouble getting supplies.

The Air Force is investigating to see whether the contamination in the Fountain Creek watershed north of the three cities is coming from firefighting foam used a decade ago at nearby Peterson Air Force Base, but PFCs are also in carpet, clothing, food packaging, and even microwave popcorn bags.

PFCs have been linked to cancer and other ailments. There are no statistics to show there is an increase in disease in the three populated areas from drinking the water.

One convenience store took advantage of the problem to put a sign in its window advertising "cheapest price for water in the area south of Colorado Springs."

Some residents are scouting for the lowest price; others are just filling up at the closest location.

THORNTON — When it took Jin James twenty-five minutes to fill her gas tank she said she should have had a clue. But it wasn't until she reached home, barely making it as warning signs flashed, that she realized something was wrong.

She claimed her call to Bradley Petroleum, owner of the Sinclair station, was rebuffed, but she was vindicated when a local TV station's investigation triggered an inspection by the Colorado Division of Oil and Public Safety.

The state found a wholesaler had dumped water into the underground storage tank. By the time inspectors arrived the station had apparently reconsidered and was already pumping out the tank and replacing the water with fresh gasoline.

A spokesperson for the state said they find contaminated water at gasoline stations five to ten times a year but James may be out of luck in getting someone to pay for the damage to her car. The state has no authority to force compensation. However an inspector said he was told Bradley did intend to make her loss good.

The car had to be towed to a repair shop.

DENVER — AAA Colorado estimated 720,000 Coloradans took to the road over the Fourth of July, the highest for any Fourth, and 50,000 more than on Memorial Day.

Eighty percent apparently were motivated by falling gasoline prices, which were down by thirty-seven cents from the previous year.

In Colorado Springs four months of rising prices came to a halt, leveling out at $2.24 a gallon, a 1.7 percent decrease from the previous week.

The low was reached in February with a gallon costing $1.50. After that prices rose steadily.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS — It could have cost a customer at a 7-Eleven a lot more than he paid for the soda he purchased if a crook hadn't returned for his belongings.

The customer reported he had left his truck running as he went inside to grab a quick drink only to find it gone when he returned. He was able to give a description to police of a man who had been lurking nearby. But they hadn't even had time to write up the report when a man of that description came up to an officer and said, "You have my cell phone." He had left it, along with a half-consumed Coke and empty pack of cigarettes on the ground where he had been sitting.

He said he had stolen the truck because he had been laid off and needed transportation to return to his home in Denver.

He intended to take off at that point but he was re-routed to jail. The truck was found parked a short distance away.

COLORADO SPRINGS — You need to be more careful when you carry a handgun to the restroom at a gasoline station, as a man recently learned.

The man shot himself in the leg. Then his day went further down the tube. He was arrested on suspicion of unlawfully carrying a concealed weapon and illegal discharge of a firearm.

FEDERAL HEIGHTS — A car wash owner had her car stolen by a customer. Now it's being used to steal other cars.

Patty McDougall, owner of Wash Me Klean Car Wash, recalled saying hello to a regular customer as she entered her office that day. When she came out she was busy painting on the other side of the building.

After completing the job she returned to find her car missing. The keys had not been in it. They were in the office — she thought.

An extensive camera network showed the office door had not latched and the man she had greeted entering the office was stealing her keys.

On his way back to his red Dodge pickup he stopped, tying his shoes and sneaking a look to see if she was still occupied with the painting. Seeing that she was, he stole her purse from her vehicle. A few minutes later he got bolder and drove off in her car, followed by an accomplice in his truck.

Since then, her vehicle has been spotted around town as the thieves take more cars. The pickup he had been driving to her car wash was also stolen, she learned.

"They are regular customers and then they come and rip us off," her daughter, April, said in disbelief. Her mother had mocked her husband for insisting they install so many cameras on site. Now she hopes they will aid in catching the crooks.

COLORADO SPRINGS — A car wash always hopes someone will drop in on the spur of the moment, but not this way!

Two cars, within minutes of each other, slid on a slick street and careened into the nearby Jiffy Lube.

The first one hopped a curb and rolled through one bay door of the car wash and out the other before coming to a stop.

Police were still investigating that incident when to their horror another car slid on the same street and was barreling right toward them.

Fortunately, that driver was able to stop before hitting anything.

No drugs or alcohol were involved.

AURORA — Is the convenience store haunted?

Some say between midnight and 2 a.m. strange things occur at the 7-Eleven here. Stock falls off the shelf, strange voices and disembodied footsteps can be heard and glowing red eyes appear in the back of a cooler.

One explanation offered was that the store was built on the grounds of an old Indian reservation.

But others say it is all baloney and no proof exists if the land was ever the site of reservation. Corporate is not commenting — maybe because the legend might attract more customers.

COLORADO SPRINGS — Gas pump skimmers are on the rise here.

Authorities report that they have found 16 skimming devices on area gas stations in the last 18 months. Customers can't detect them because they are inserted inside the credit card machine.

Warrants have been issued for two suspects.

Police are urging motorists to use the pumps nearest the store as skimmer operators like to set up as far from sight as possible.

Originally published in the August 2016 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2016 by KAL Publications Inc.

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