VICTIMS IDENTIFIED IN CHRISTMAS MORNING FIRE IN CRAIG
Authorities have released the names of the two people killed in a trailer fire in Craig Christmas morning. The victims were identified at 54 year old Charles Hurtt and 60 year old Francis Burkelo. Firefighters say the blaze started in an enclosed porch area, and engulfed the entire home. The fire may have been started by combustibles being stored too close to a wood burning stove overnight. The flames threatened to ignite an adjacent vacant trailer, but firefighters were able to stop it from spreading.
ENGINEER RESPONSIBLE FOR MEEKER SCHOOL’S STRUCTURAL PROBLEMS HAS HIS LICENSE SUSPENDED
The engineer responsible for structural problems at the new Meeker Elementary School has had his license suspended while the State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors looks into the matter. The board suspended Gary Howell’s license temporarily, and issued a subpoena to Howell and the Neenan Company, to gain additional information about the project. It’s only the second time in the last 17 years that an engineer has had his license suspended without first doing an extensive investigation. The board determined there was an imminent danger to the public if Howell were to be allowed to continue to practice. Engineers who reviewed the Meeker project after its completion said the building was designed to a building code that applied to storage sheds and agricultural buildings, rather than a school. They say the design failed to properly consider wind, seismic and snow loads, when making use of undersized structural components.
INSTRUCTIONAL MEMORANDUMS ISSUED BY B.L.M. TO TEMPORARILY GUIDE SAGE GROUSE PLANS
While the Resource Management Plans of the various BLM field Offices that deal with Sage Grouse are being updated, the Interior Department has issued a couple of Interim Instructional Memorandums to govern Sage Grouse habitat. The I.M.s are intended to guide both immediate and long-term conservation actions for the bird and its habitat, and affects 10 western states, including Colorado, Wyoming and Utah. BLM Director Bob Abbey says the goal is to be able to protect the bird, while at the same time preserving energy exploration, and recreational opportunities. Other topics covered under the I.M.s include wildfire mitigation, grazing, and wild horse management. Here are links to both I.M.s. IM 2012-043 IM 2012-044
SENATOR JEAN WHITE GIVEN “COMMON SENSE” AWARD
The Colorado Civil Justice League has announced their “Common Sense in the Courtroom” awards for the year, and Senator Jean White was one of the recipients. According to the CCJL, the awards are given to legislators that take a stand against abusive lawsuits. The group says there were several attempts to increase litigation in the assembly this year, including a bill that would have provided new opportunities for employees to sue their employers. One bill claimed to hold drunk drivers financially accountable for damages or injuries, but the league counters that it would have done nothing to deter drunk driving and instead would simply allow for more lawsuits against employers and auto manufacturers. The group also supported a bill to overturn a decision by the State Supreme Court which ruled that injured persons could recover medical expenses that they never actually payed or owed. White was among 15 senators that received the “Common Sense in the Courtroom” award.
STATE ED BOARD APPEALS LOBATO VS. STATE DECISION
The State Board of Education has voted to appeal the recent Lobato versus the State of Colorado court decision. The courts decision came December 9th stating that the state’s school funding system was underfunded and did not meet the requirement in the Education Clause of the Colorado Constitution of a “thorough and uniform” system of public education. The Board held a special meeting this month, in which they voted to authorize the Attorney General to file a notice of appeal in the Colorado Supreme Court on their behalf. The appeal was also filed on the behalf of the Colorado Commissioner of education. The court has not said whether it will take up the issue.
INSURANCE COMPANY OFFERS CASH TO ALL COLORADO ADULTS THAT LOSE WEIGHT
Insurance company Kaiser Permanente Colorado is offering cash to Coloradans to lose weight and keep it off. Companies have been making similar offers to their employees for years as a way to reduce obesity in the workplace and lower health costs, but Kaiser is taking it one step further and making the offer to any adult in Colorado. It’s one of the first programs in the nation to make such an offer to all adults. Participants in the “Weigh and Win” program earn anywhere from $15 to $150 every three months to lose weight and keep it off. Twelve kiosks with scales and a video camera to record progress are located in medical facilities, recreation centers, libraries and even a furniture store throughout the state. The insurer is spending $500,000 to help jump start the program, which it hopes will eventually be funded by the cities and other health care groups that it’s working with. Kaiser hopes to expand Weigh and Win by adding 10 kiosks next year as part of its community outreach programs.