Daily Archives: August 31, 2012



Fire Restriction Changes In Dinosaur

Dinosaur National Monument Reduces Fire Restrictions.  Superintendent Mary Risser announced today that fire restrictions within Dinosaur National Monument will be reduced from Stage II to Stage I as of Friday, August 31. The cooler weather and increased moisture have lessened the fire danger somewhat, but not to the point that all restrictions can be lifted.  To protect visitors and park staff in Dinosaur National Monument and the natural and cultural resources, open fire restrictions remain in place.  Building or using any open fire, campfire, or charcoal fire except within National Park Service-provided fire grates at developed campgrounds located at Green River, Split Mountain, Rainbow Park, Echo Park, Gates of Lodore and Deerlodge Park is prohibited. Charcoal fires or the use of charcoal in grills along the Harpers Corner Road and at Plug Hat Butte Picnic Area are still prohibited at this time due to the dry and windy conditions in this area. Stoves that use pressurized gas or liquid fuel are permitted. All backcountry camp fires are prohibited, including along the Green and Yampa Rivers. This includes building any type of fire in a fire pan.  Smoking is permitted only in enclosed vehicles, developed recreation site, or in areas cleared of all flammable material. Fireworks are strictly prohibited in Dinosaur National Monument.  These restrictions will remain in effect until such time as the fire danger in the park becomes less severe .  You can read more about area fire restriction and other tips for staying safe in the outdoor this weekend here.


Resource Advisory Councils Appointments

Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar announced the 2012 appointments to the Colorado citizen-based Resource Advisory Councils, or RAC, which advise the Bureau of Land Management on public land issues. Each RAC is comprised of 15 members representing a balance of public land resources and users. In Colorado the BLM has three RACs, one assigned to each district. The RAC members from Northwest Colorado district are…returning member Kai Turner of Meeker who will represent the public-at-large  and returning member Dona Shue of Meeker representing wild horse and burro interests.


Warning to Colorado Drivers

As Coloradans prepare to head out on the roads this Labor Day Weekend, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) and statewide law enforcement agencies have a warning: Don’t even think about drinking and driving because DUI patrols will be out in force.  Sobriety checkpoints and increased DUI patrols are under way across the state through early Tuesday morning.  The enforcement is part of the summer-long “100 Days of Heat” campaign and coincides with the National DUI Crackdown.  Since Colorado joined the national effort on Aug. 17th, law enforcement officers have averaged over 50 DUI arrests per day.  That number is expected to go way up because only half of the 110 participating agencies have reported their arrests so far, according to CDOT. During last year’s national DUI crackdown, police made 1,442 DUI arrests.  “There’s no day off this Labor Day weekend for hundreds of troopers, police officers and deputies who will be working tirelessly to keep impaired drivers off our roadways,” said Colonel James Wolfinbarger, Chief of the Colorado State Patrol.  “Now is the time to make a plan for a designated driver or public transportation.  There are many big events across Colorado this weekend, from the Rocky Mountain Showdown in Denver, to the Four Corners Motorcycle Rally in Ignacio, and the Colorado State Fair in Pueblo.  No matter where you are in the state, please take the time to designate a sober driver and don’t forget to buckle up.”  Here are “DUI Arrests By the Numbers”: Since the “100 Days of Heat” campaign began Memorial Weekend, Colorado law enforcement agencies have made 2,097 DUI arrests in Colorado during enforcement periods and at checkpoints.  According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s annual crime report, 26,146 adults and juveniles were arrested for DUI in 2011, making it an average of 72 DUI arrests per day in the state.    In addition to increased patrols and saturation patrols, the following agencies are conducting sobriety checkpoints:



The City of Steamboat has contracted with a local logging company to remove more than 90 mature Douglas-fir trees from the Howelsen Hill Ski Jump Complex on Sept. 15 and 16. A forest health assessment conducted by the Colorado State Forest Service indicated that many of the Douglas-fir on the hill are infested by Douglas-fir beetles — close relatives of the mountain pine beetles that have affected millions of acres of lodgepole pine forest in Colorado. Removing the trees at Howelsen Hill will help prevent further spread of the beetles.  The harvesting operation is one of several recommended treatments which will improve the stand’s health while creating a safer environment for recreational users. Logs will be removed by helicopter to minimize the impact on remaining vegetation and existing trails.  The Colorado State Forest Service completed the forest health assessment of the Howelsen Hill Ski Jump Complex in June and recommended an integrated management approach. This integrated approach includes harvesting treatments, pheromone deployment, and further monitoring and evaluation. Preventive spraying can be effective at preventing bark beetle infestation in some cases, but will not be used at Howelsen Hill because of concerns with the difficulty of spray operations on steep slopes and potential concerns regarding the use of chemicals close to water.  The project area’s extreme slope requires a technically complex operation, which consists of the removal of all trees affected by the Douglas-fir beetle.  “The removal of all infested trees will provide the best opportunity for controlling the present infestation,” said Carolina Manriquez, forester with the CSFS Steamboat Springs District. “However, the Douglas-fir beetle is an endemic species in this area, and could still pose a problem in the future.”  Manriquez says another significant reason for removing the trees is that, when dead, they represent a hazard to recreational users and the ski jumps themselves. Trail closures may be necessary during the removal phase of this work and the City of Steamboat Springs requests that all trail users respect these closures for safety reasons.  Sawyer crews will be working on site felling dead and infected trees during the next few weeks and future updates will be provided as we prepare for removal of these trees off site.

Woman Gets 30 Years

An Oregon woman has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for her role in a carjacking and attempted murder south of Rock Springs in 2011.   Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said Jessica Fritts, 36, and her husband, 34-year-old Roy Fritts, were arrested near Echo, Utah, in 2011, following a multi-state crime spree that included carjackings in two states, a shooting in Sweetwater County, and a law enforcement pursuit that culminated in the pair’s capture.   Roy Fritts was already wanted for parole violation at the time of the capture, having just served 10 years in prison for the attempted murder of an Oregon sheriff.  He and Jessica Fritts – herself an ex-convict as the result of a botched bank robbery – were hitchhiking in Nebraska when they were picked up by the California-bound Edmund Thornell three days before the shooting.  The three camped in the Firehole Canyon and The next morning, Roy Fritts shot the 54-year-old Thornell several times.   Thornell was found laying alongside the road by a Rock Springs family, who alerted authorities.  The van was spotted on Interstate 80 and the pursuit that led to the Fritts’s capture ensued.  Though critically injured, Thornell survived the shooting.   In June, Jessica Fritts pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit carjacking, aiding and abetting carjacking, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.   Federal District Judge Nancy Freudenthal handed down her sentence in Cheyenne Wednesday.   In July, Roy Fritts pleaded guilty before District Judge Nena James in Green River to state charges of attempted first degree murder and larceny.  He is scheduled to be sentenced on October 1st.  Attempted first degree murder carries a maximum possible penalty of life imprisonment without parole, and larceny a maximum term of imprisonment of not more than 10 years, a $10,000 fine, or both.

In High School Sports this weekend

In Football

Steamboat travels to play Eagle Valley at 7pm
SoRoCo will host Gilpen County at 7pm
Meeker will plays Grand Valley at home at 7pm
Hayden hosts Belleview Academy at 7pm
Rangely in on the road to play Dove Creek at 7pm
The defending state champions, Little Snake River Valley travel to play 10 Sleep

Moffat County will host Ridgeview Academy at noon in a game which will be broadcast live on 93.7 102.3 KRAI and on-line at KRAI.COM.  The broadcast pregame will begin at 11:45.   Preceding the game the Moffat County boosters club will hold a tailgate party fundraiser beginning at 10.  They will be serving hamburgers, beans, chips, dessert and pop for $5.

Girls Volleyball
SoRoCo is at home against Eden Baptist

Today and Tomorrow
Moffat County, Meeker, Rangely and Steamboat travel for tournament play in Glenwood

Today in Cross Country
Moffat County, Rangely and Steamboat will run at Cheyenne Mountain

In Boys Soccer tomorrow
Steamboat will host Centarus at 10am

Tomorrow in Rodeo action
Moffat County will compete at Motezuma-Cortez