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KSJD Local Newscast - April 5, 2024

Two people died outside in the elements in Cortez this winter, but neither was actually homeless. That’s according to Montezuma County Coroner George Deavers. He told KSJD that one victim was a man who had a home north of Cortez, but was in the city drinking. When he did not show up at home, his sister searched for him in the places he usually frequented, but could not find him. Deavers said he died of hypothermia in Montezuma Park. He said the other victim was a woman whose mother was staying in a motel. He said the daughter left with a man who was reportedly planning to drop her back at the motel, but they became separated and she died of alcohol toxicity near a downtown business. Like many other cities, Cortez has long worked to handle the problem of unsheltered people. The Bridge Emergency Shelter was founded in 2006 to offer overnight emergency housing from mid-October through mid-April. In a written report to the Cortez City Council in March, Bridge Executive Director Theresa Wilson said the shelter served 221 different individuals, both sober and intoxicated, during the last season.

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Gail Binkly is a career journalist who has worked for the Colorado Springs Gazette and Cortez Journal, and was the editor of the Four Corners Free Press, based in Cortez.