A lighting ceremony for the 2012 U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, a 73 foot Engelmann Spruce from the White River National Forest will take place on Tuesday afternoon at 3 Mountain Time, on the West Front of the Capitol. Congressman Scott Tipton, who participated in the tree’s harvest near Meeker, will speak at the ceremony, as will Colorado Senators Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.  The tree traveled across the country on a truck and trailer driven by former U.S. Senator Ben Nighthorse Campbell. It will be decorated with nearly 5000 ornaments that were handmade by Coloradans and embody the ‘Celebrating Our Great Outdoors’ theme.  Youth ages five to 19 were eligible to submit ornaments and be entered to win a trip to Washington, D.C. to light the tree with Speaker John Boehner at the ceremony.  17-year old Ryan Schuster, from Colorado Springs, was selected in a random drawing and will assist Speaker Boehner with the Capitol tree lighting.



A taxpayer advocacy group is objecting to a Texas Republican’s proposal to subsidize research on developing oil from oil shale.  Representative Ralph Hall has introduced a bill in Congress that proposes $10 million in annual subsidies for five years for research on oil shale, which Representative Doug Lamborn, of Colorado, has called a promising energy resource.  Taxpayers for Common Sense co-founder Jill Lancelot said her group generally opposes any subsidies, but she said subsidies for oil shale are especially worrisome because companies are still trying to find a commercially viable and environmentally responsible way to extract oil from it.  Unlike shale oil resources, oil shale must be heated to high temperatures before getting oil.  A handful of companies have leases on federal land in Colorado and Utah for oil shale research.



A Rock Springs woman on the Sweetwater County’s Most Wanted list, sought for felony drug charges and probation violation, was arrested in Colorado earlier this week.  On August 31, 2011, Valorie Juanita Draney, then 25, pleaded guilty to a charge of Conspiracy to Deliver a Controlled Substance and was sentenced to 5 to 7 years of imprisonment at the Wyoming Women’s Center. Her charges were the result of an undercover drug operation in Green River.  Draney’s sentence was suspended and she was placed on four years of supervised probation in District Court in Green River.  On August 2nd of this year, an affidavit was filed by the Wyoming Department of Probation and Parole accusing her of violating her probation and a warrant was issued for her arrest.  Detectives traced Draney to a motel in Golden, Colorado, where she was arrested without incident by officers of the Golden Police Department.  The sheriff’s office said arrangements are being made for Draney’s return to Sweetwater County.



Farmers, ranchers, and anyone with a passion for promoting and supporting Colorado agriculture now have the unique opportunity to support three statewide agricultural nonprofits.  Tuesday, the Colorado Agricultural Leadership Foundation (CALF), Colorado Cattlemen’s Agricultural Land Trust (CCALT), and Colorado Foundation for Agriculture (CFA) will be participating in Colorado Gives Day – 24 hours to give where you live.  Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Last year more than $12 million was raised for Colorado nonprofits in one day of giving. CALF, CCALT and CFA work throughout the year to support agricultural literacy and ag land conservation, and are asking for support from all who value agriculture and the agricultural way of life. Donors can donate to any one or all three of these organizations by clicking here.



Former U.S. Senate candidate Jane Norton is asking federal election officials to forgive hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign debt.  Norton lost the 2010 Republican Party nomination to Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck.  She still owes about 18 creditors nearly $476,000. So far, she has only raised a few thousand dollars.  Most of the creditors are in other states.  Jane Norton for Colorado Inc. filed a debt settlement plan with the Federal Election Commission offering to pay about 4.6 cents on the dollar.



The holidays are here. Unfortunately, so are the scammers who take advantage of the season with a wide range of Internet ripoffs.  Sheriff Rich Haskell and the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office have issued a Holiday Scam Alert that provides a list of recommendations to help people avoid being victimized by Internet cybercriminals.  The list offers advice regarding phony gift cards, fake charities, spam, social media scams and others.  You can view the list below.

Phony Gift Cards
Be wary of emails you receive from third parties offering special deals on gift cards. Gift cards are a great idea for Christmas presents, but should you buy a bogus card, not only do you find yourself ripped off, but your credit card information winds up in the hands of crooks.  Buying gift cards locally eliminates that risk.

Fake Charities
Emails soliciting funds for fake charities are common around the holidays.  Cynical crooks count on the generosity of good people to make this scam work – restrict your donations to organizations you know to be legitimate and always think twice before donating to any groups you’re not familiar with.

Holiday Spam and/or Phishing
There is always a rise in holiday-themed spam and phishing emails at this time of year offering wonderful deals on everything from Rolex watches to pharmaceuticals.  Exercise extreme caution with such communications; crooks who are “phishing” are after information such as passwords and credit card numbers.  Remember, anyone legitimately selling valuable merchandise doesn’t need to send out hundreds of thousands of emails to do business.

Social Media Scams
Cybercriminals learned very quickly that social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are rich hunting grounds featuring endless numbers of potential victims. They use social media just they also use email and websites to scam consumers.  Be wary of “wonderful deals” you encounter on social media just as you would with suspicious emails and websites.

Holiday Gift Scams
Scammers take full advantage of crazes for popular “must have” items like the iPhone 5, Ipad Mini, etc., creating bogus contests and surveys offering free iPads and other too-good-to-be-true deals, while they are phishing away the whole time, trolling for credit card numbers and passwords.

Holiday “SmiShing”
SmiShing is nothing more than phishing via text messages.  The scammers want your financial information:   don’t give it to them.

Travel Scams
Those who plan to travel during the holidays, whether it’s for a special trip or a visit to distant relatives, look for hotel and flight deals on the Internet.  Cybercrooks are fully aware of that, and often set up bogus travel sites offering incredible deals at rock-bottom prices.  Be very careful before you submit your personal and financial information online and check out the company thoroughly before you book.

Bogus Classified Ads
Online classified ad sites for wonderful gift ideas and even part-time jobs to raise money for Christmas presents may seem like a good idea, but are often used by scammers.  When you are asked for too much personal information or requested to wire funds via Western Union, you are almost certainly dealing with a scam.

Phony “New Neighbor” Calls
Haskell said the Sheriff’s Office has recently received reports of telephone calls from persons who announce themselves as “your new neighbor.”   The caller chats amiably for a few moments, then begins requesting personal information, such as email addresses.  These calls, of course, are just clumsy “phishing:”   authorities recommend simply hanging up.

“Con artists and scammers depend on everyone’s holiday spirit,” Haskell cautioned.  “They are counting on people’s generosity and good will.  Given the chance, they will twist it to their own criminal ends. Don’t let them. Be cautious, be wary, and remember always – What was true long before there was an Internet or even home computers continues to be true:   If something sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Haskell recommended the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s website at as an excellent source of information to help people protect themselves against fraud and scams of all kinds.

In high school sports:
In basketball:
The Hayden boys beat Soroco 65-45.
The Rangely girls topped Hayden 34-15.

In basketball:
Steamboat’s boys and girls play at Roaring Fork.
The Meeker girls host their shootout with Rangely attending.

In basketball:
The Moffat County girls go to Uintah.
Steamboat’s boys and girls play at Basalt.
The Meeker girls continue hosting their shootout.

In wrestling:
Moffat County goes to Colorado Mesa University for a tournament.
Steamboat travels to Middle Park.
Meeker is on the road to Grand Junction.

The Denver broncos host Tampa Bay Sunday.  You can catch all the action live on 55 Country with the pre-game at noon and the kick-off at 2.


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