Heavy snow in Colorado is making ski resorts happy. For a seven-day period this month, Steamboat and Wolf Creek picked up 28 inches of snow. Around the corner, Winter Park had 21 inches. It snowed 11 out of the first 14 days in January in the Yampa Valley. Nine of those days were officially “Powder Days in the ‘Boat,” at Steamboat Resort. The Denver Post reports that every river basin in the state has above-average snowpack. The Yampa and White River drainage, which includes Northwest Colorado is 18 percent above average. With all the snow comes the threat of avalanches. Conditions are rated at considerable, which means, “dangerous” according to the Colorado Avalanche Information Center.
The Garfield County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that a New Castle Police officer shot and killed an armed man Saturday. 43-year-old Eric Reynolds of New Castle fled the scene of an attempted robbery in Glenwood Springs. Reynolds headed west on I-70, but eventually lost control and crashed. He tried to run, and had a weapon. Reynolds didn’t obey the officer’s commands and was ultimately shot and killed by New Castle Police. A woman who was with Reynolds surrendered without incident. I-70 had to be closed for several hours. Court records show Reynolds had spent time in the Department of Corrections for multiple felonies.
A Craig Man has entered a not guilty plea. 53-year-old Rick Barnes is accused of sexual assault. He has requested a 12-member jury trial in 14th Judicial District Court. The five-day trial was approved by Chief Judge Michael O’Hara III and will start May 4. Barnes had received a plea deal from prosecutors but instead opted to try his case in front of a jury.
Courtesy of the National Weather Service in Grand Junction
A winter storm warning remains in effect for the Yampa Valley until 8 p.m. tonight. The National Weather Service in Grand Junction says this latest storm could bring up to a foot of snow with heavy winds up to 35 mph. Be careful on the roads.
Tri-State Generation is closing all three of its coal-fired power plants and coal mines in Colorado and New Mexico by 2030. The Craig Station Unit 2 and 3 power plant, and the Colowyo Mine in Northwest Colorado will close in ten years. The Escalante Power Plant in New Mexico will close by the end of this year. The power provider serves nearly 20 rural electric cooperatives. The Craig Press reports that Tri-State is working with state and local leaders to support affected employees and communities. The closures will impact about 472 employees in Moffat and Rio Blanco Counties.
A preliminary hearing is underway for the three suspects charged in the murder of Steamboat resident Elliot Stahl. 26-year-old William C. Ellifritz, 21-year-old Brooke L. Forquer, and 23-year-old Skyla Marie Piccolo-Laabs are all from Craig. A timeline of events that led to the discovery of Stahl’s body near the Flat Tops Wilderness Area was the focus during the two days of testimony at the Routt County Judicial Center. A fisherman found the body. The timeline includes Stahl being involved in a traffic stop west of Hayden, and then getting a ride to the Kum & Go in Craig after the driver of that car was arrested. There was also surveillance video from Casey’s Pond before the murder that showed Stahl and the suspects. There’s also video of the car they were in passing through Oak Creek, and then heading back more than an hour later. There was an autopsy. Cause of death is loss of blood due to stab wounds. The preliminary hearing will resume Jan. 16.
Wolves have been confirmed in Moffat County. Hunters in Irish Canyon found a bull elk carcass. It was reported to Colorado Parks and Wildlife who tested it, and confirmed the tracks were wolves. Because of another sighting in October, the Craig Press reports that parks and wildlife officials are confident a wolf pack appears to be active in northwest Colorado, and that there are at least six wolves. The reintroduction of wolves to Colorado will be on the 2020 ballot statewide. Moffat County Commissioners are on record as being against the reintroduction of wolves, and Moffat County was the first county in the state to do so.
Craig Fire/Rescue has eight new firefighters signed up for its 2020 rookie class. The eight new members are joining the local fire rescue after three months of recruiting, interviewing, and testing. They’ll now start the fire academy, which happens every year. Craig Fire/Rescue hosts the academy on Fridays and Saturdays twice a month, which trains and develops state certified firefighters. The Craig Press reports that it’s the same certification and training that any career firefighter would have to complete in Colorado, or anywhere in the country.
A man has been arrested for the recent car thefts in the Rifle area. 28-year-old Ryan Owens was arrested near the Western Star Inn in Rifle, where he was sitting in a stolen Jeep Cherokee. That car was stolen from Parachute. Officers also found a loaded handgun on Owens when he was arrested along with nearly 12 grams of white crystals which is suspected to be meth. Owens faces multiple felony charges, including three counts of motor vehicle theft. He was out on parole after serving a three-year prison sentence. Bond was not set because he was on parole.
Moffat County Sheriff’s officers responded to a two-vehicle accident near milepost 95 on Highway 40 Thursday. That’s just east of Craig. A Chevy Impala collided with a pickup truck. The Craig Press reports an EMT crew and Craig Fire/Rescue loaded at least one person into a waiting ambulance. The sheriff’s office is investigating.
Someone illegally shot a mule deer in Craig Tuesday. Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials want to know who did it. Officials responded to the injured mule deer buck in the 700 block of Barclay Street in Craig on Tuesday. The injured deer had an arrow sticking from his left rear hip. Wildlife Officer Mike Swaro says the deer seems to be doing OK.
Swaro says the wound was fresh and the black carbon arrow looked new, like it could have been a Christmas gift. They would like to know who did it, and if it might have been a mistake. They will take that into account if the person comes forward.
If you have any information on who left the arrow in the buck in Craig, call Swaro directly at 970-942-8275. Or you can remain anonymous by contacting Operation Game Thief. There could be a monetary reward.
Museum of Northwest Colorado. Photo by Shannon Lukens.
The Museum of Northwest Colorado in Craig is officially part of the City of Craig, as opposed to a Moffat County entity, as of today. The museum says there will be new exhibits ahead, and they thank the City of Craig for the successful transition.