BILL WOULD ALLOW COUNTIES TO KEEP F.M.L. FUNDS
Senator Jean White’s bill to allow cash strapped communities to keep the full amount of Federal Mineral Lease Payment coming to them has passed the Senate. The measure passed unanimously yesterday. White was determined to get the bill passed as more than half of the land in her district is owned by the federal government. Federal Lease Payment money comes back to communities who can’t collect property taxes on federally owned land. Under the bill, counties can form their own FML districts which will be independent of the county, and will be solely responsible for receiving and distributing all FML funds. The money is typically used to fund local schools, road construction, firefighting and police services. The bill is now headed to the House for consideration.
STATE PATROL WARNS OF ROCK FALLS ALONG HIGHWAYS
An accident that shut down I-70 yesterday is prompting State Troopers to remind motorists to look out for rocks on the highway. Nobody was injured in yesterday’s accident, which destroyed a semi and closed the interstate for about 4 hours in the Glenwood Canyon. The accident comes just as the Colorado Department of Transportation starts to prepare for rock mitigating efforts through the Mount Harris Canyon on Highway 40 west of Steamboat. There were several rock falls in that stretch over the last couple of years that have resulted in accidents, injuries, and even a death. As the weather warms up, the ground softens, leaving ideal conditions for large rocks to come loose and fall on the road. State Troopers warn motorists to be especially aware of falling or fallen rocks when driving through canyons. The Mount Harris work will begin next month, and is expected to continue through the summer.
SLASH PILES TO BE BURNED ON B.L.M. LAND NEAR RANGELY
This morning’s snow may prevent any work getting done on a slash pile burning operation in Rio Blanco County today. Fire managers from the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit started the project yesterday. They’re burning about 300 piles of pinyon and juniper slash about 18 miles south of Rangely, on BLM land. It’s expected to take up to three weeks, but windy and snowy weather could keep them from making any progress today. The project is being conducted to prevent future wildfires, and to improve wildlife habitat in the area. Smoke will be visible from nearby county roads.
STAGECOACH STATE PARK ANNOUNCES FIRST ICE FISHING TOURNAMENT
Stagecoach State Park has announced their first ever ice fishing tournament. The tournament is being organized and sponsored by Steamboat Great Outdoors. There will be a limit of 200 adults and 50 kids. There will be prizes for catching the biggest fish. The contest is limited to trout fishing and participants will be able to use OHV’s and snowmobiles during the tournament. Youth entries are free. Adults registration is $45 and a portion of the proceeds will go to the Oak Creek Fire Corps. The tournament will be held March 10th from 9 to 3 at the reservoir. For more information click here.
STEAMBOAT PARKS AND REC PLANS A “TEENS ON TOUR” TRIP
The Steamboat Parks and Rec Department is sponsoring a “Teens on Tour” event next month. The Department will take a group of teens to Glenwood Springs for a couple of days of activities, including rock climbing, swimming, a pass to the Glenwood Caverns Adventure Park, and shopping at the Glenwood Mall. The trip includes hotel accommodations, and food. Steamboat teens interested in taking the trip need to make their reservations quickly. While a press release doesn’t indicate how many kids will be allowed to take the trip, it does say reservations will be taken on a first come-first served basis. The trip will be March 8th and 9th, but registration will only be taken until Thursday. The cost is $85. You can find out more by calling Steamboat Parks and Rec.
RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA USE MEASURE WILL BE ON 2012 BALLOT
A ballot question to legalize and tax marijuana for recreational use qualified for this November’s ballot. Unlike the question that failed in 2006, Initiative 30 would create an excise tax on wholesale pot in addition to the sales tax paid by the end user. Another key difference is that this time it’s on the ballot in a presidential election. Proponents had collected what they thought was twice the needed signatures to get the measure on this year’s ballot, but had to gather a few thousand more, when the Secretary of State ruled over half the original signatures invalid.
LAWMAKERS DISCUSSING T.H.C. LIMITATIONS FOR DRIVERS
Colorado’s legislature held a hearing over where to draw the line for DUI when a driver is high. A measure to define that line calls for limit to be 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood. THC is marijuana’s active ingredient. The measure’s sponsor, Senator Steve King says it’s about setting a level for use in criminal cases, just like .08 for blood alcohol content. Opponents argue THC works differently than alcohol and can show up on tests even after a user has sobered up. Opponents did concede that driving while high on pot is dangerous, saying it’s best to wait at least four hours after consuming marijuana before getting behind the wheel.
KU KLUX KLAN SAYS THEIR MEMBERSHIP IS GROWING IN COLORADO
The Ku Klux Klan says membership is booming in Colorado because of the growth of the radical right. Imperial Grand Wizard Cole Thornton says the United Northern and Southern Knights of the KKK is active and successful recruiting in Colorado, but no membership numbers were available. Southern Poverty Law Center spokesman Mark Potuck says the radical right in the U.S. has grown enormously in the last 10 years, particularly since President Barack Obama’s election in 2008. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit civil rights organization, 12 white supremacist groups are currently active in Colorado.
COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE TO HOLD BIG-GAME LICENSE MEETINGS
Colorado Parks and wildlife is holding a series of meetings in the Denver area next month, to help hunters understand the license process. The meetings will teach hunters how the draw and preference point system works, how to determine their odds of drawing a limited license, the difference between limited and over-the-counter licenses, and when they can have more than one big-game license, among other things. Wildlife officials say the seminars are excellent for any hunter that wants to better understand how big game licensing works in Colorado. Staff will be on hand to answer question and help fill out license applications. You can find out when and where the meetings will be held by clicking here.