A Craig man has been sentenced to 13 years to life in the Colorado Department of Corrections. 39-year-old Johnnie Ellifritz was found guilty by a jury of three felony counts of sexual assault on a child with a pattern of abuse, two charges of sexual assault on a child under 15 years old, and one misdemeanor count of sexual assault. District Attorney Brett Barkey says the sentence will ensure Elliftiz cannot do this to any other children because Ellifritz will likely spend the rest of his life in prison.
A fire that broke out near Maybell Thursday has been contained and no structures were lost. And there weren’t any injuries, to people or livestock. The fire was on private property near mile marker 63 on Highway 40. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Department is investigating what caused the fire.
At least five fires continue to burn in or near Colorado, and there is a red flag warning in Moffat County. The fires are impacting tourism, especially in southern Colorado, where the biggest fire is in Durango. Over 32,000 acres have burned, but amazingly no buildings or structures. The San Juan National Forest is closed, as is Purgatory Resort and the Durango and Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.
Several wildfires were burning north of Craig, along Colorado Highway 13, but have been contained. When that fire broke out in Maybell, most of the firefighters who were north of Craig, headed to Maybell to help.
About 11,000 acres have burned in the Badger Creek Fire which is near the Wyoming border, and can be seen from parts of Routt County. (Photo courtesy Shannon Lukens.)
The Buffalo Mountain Fire in Silverthorne has not had any new growth, and residents near it were allowed to go back in their homes, but they are still on pre-evacuation notice.
In Utah, a fast-moving brush fire destroyed eight homes Tuesday night in Moab.
In news from Colorado Parks and Wildlife, officers caught a man who was illegally baiting and killing bears in rural Fremont County. It’s near Canon City.
Someone took a picture of a tree with a salmon filet, honey, and some dog food attached to it. Cameras were watching. The officers took the card from the camera to download the pictures and see who was using the bait to get the bear.
They eventually tracked down a man from Salida who admitted to baiting the bear even though he knew it was illegal. Ronald Wilkins was eventually tried and found guilty, and sentenced to a $1,400 fine, 180 days in jail, and a five-year ban from hunting.
Someone in Colorado Springs thought they were doing the right thing when they found a baby fawn, and they brought it into the Southeast Regional Office for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. They weren’t doing the right thing. The best thing to do if you see young wildlife is to leave it alone. The fawn that someone thought was orphaned was taken to a licensed rehabber. Colorado Parks and Wildlife says to never touch young wildlife.
Craig City Council recognized a member of the Craig Police Department at their meeting Tuesday. Corporal Bryan Gonzales was recognized with a commendation for his role in preventing an attempted suicide, of a man in the Sand Rocks area.
Annette Norton is the new executive director of Moffat County United Way. Norton has been in Craig for 20 years, working with the 14th Judicial District probation Department. She is also a member of the Moffat County Fair Board, and helped form the Inspire Youth Leadership Summit. Norton replaces Amanda Arnold who is now working with Northwest Colorado Health.
Thursday was Flag Day, where the stars and stripes celebrated its 241st birthday. The American flag was first adopted on June 14, 1777. The Rotary Club placed flags along Victory Way. Members of the local Daughters of the American Revolution presented a program at the Boys and Girls Club of Craig, and then went to Veterans Hall for a flag retirement ceremony. They then gave away some new flags around town.
The Bear River Young Life Car and Motorcycle Show starts Friday afternoon with a free barbecue at Yampa Valley Bank. It’s the 14th year for the show, which features vintage vehicles of all types. Cars and bikes will be set up Saturday on Yampa Avenue.
The downtown Craig Farmers Market starts Saturday in Alice Pleasant Park. Hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and it runs every Saturday through Sept. 1.
The weather in Northwest Colorado today will be hot and breezy. High of 86 degrees with some sunshine and clouds. Saturday, expect some rain with a high in the lower 70s. A few thunderstorms will continue on Sunday and Monday.
In sports, there is the Wake the Whittler 5K and Fun Run Saturday morning at Loudy-Simpson Park, hosted by the Friends of Moffat County Education. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office Scholarship Fund Golf Tournament is also Saturday morning.
This weekend is the Moffat County Horse Power Draft Horse and Mule Show at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, and the Craig Sea Sharks are hosting a swim meet at the Craig Pool Complex.