NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR MONDAY, DECEMBER 17TH

CRAIG MAN ARRESTED ON THEFT AND DRUG CHARGES

A 20 year old Craig man faces theft and drug charges after two separate incidents last week.  Craig Police officers went to Kenneth Arnett’s house in the Shadow Mountain subdivision late Thursday night, while investigating the theft of a laptop from Wal-Mart.  Officers found the laptop, and in the process, observed material in a backpack that is commonly used for making methamphetamine.  The officers booked Arnett on the theft, and then notified the All Crimes Enforcement Team of what they observed while at the residence.  A probable cause warrant was obtained Friday, and during the following search of the residence, more equipment and chemicals were found.  The house was secured and a hazmat team went through the house in full protective gear, to determine whether the house was contaminated.  ACET representatives say they don’t believe methamphetamine was being cooked in the house, due to the lack of contamination, and the home has been released.  Arnett faces two drug related charges, along with the theft charge.

 

BLM TO CONDUCT SLASH PILE BURNING NEAR RANGELY

Smoke could be visible south of Rangely as early as tomorrow as fire managers from the Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit plan to burn about 180 piles of pinyon/juniper slash accumulated during a thinning project.  Firefighters will be burning the piles 18 miles south of Rangely, next to Rio Blanco County Road 23. The project is designed to reduce wildfire risk near oil and gas facilities to improve firefighter and public safety.  The piles should take two to three days to burn and will only be ignited if weather conditions allow for a safe, effective burn.

 

The Following Is An Open Letter
From Moffat County Superintendent
Of Schools, Joe Patrone, Regarding the Tragedy In Connecticut

December 15, 2012

Dear Moffat County School Community,

We know that most of you heard about the tragic events, which took place at a Connecticut school on Friday, December 14. Our entire community is devastated to learn of the many lives lost in this horrific shooting.

Our grief is profoundly deep and intensified when we think of the innocence of lives lost and the heroic efforts of teachers and administrators. Their quick and deliberate actions undoubtedly saved lives.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the students, staff and families of Sandy Hook Elementary School and the city of Newtown, Connecticut. The thought of so many innocent children and caring adults lost is sobering and extremely sad. The parents, extended families and friends of the victims will forever be affected.

This is a devastating reminder that we must continue to be mindful of the need for strong safety protocols in our schools. Therefore, in the aftermath, we turn our thoughts to safety of our children in Moffat County. This horrifying massacre has aroused worries and questions about our readiness and our ability to counsel children as they cope with senseless death. Some parents will be requesting advice on how to speak with children about this frightening development. Following this letter are several articles and web links to information. We think this information has the potential to be directly helpful.

We honor the range of emotions and we will address collectively and individually any of the issues, which surface from any one of our constituencies, especially our students and their parents. Our immediate aim is to help our children, families and community cope with this tragic loss of innocent lives.

Our District’s highest priority is the safety and security of our students and staff, and we will emphatically renew our commitment to maintaining a safe and secure learning environment.

We are fortunate to have a strong partnership with our police and fire departments. As you know, the City of Craig supports us daily with two Security Resource Officers, and we meet regularly with them, and more widely with law enforcement partners, to continually improve the safety and security of our District’s campuses.

We have a crisis plan in place for each school campus and conduct regular drills. Our teachers also work with students on drills that prepare them to respond in the safest manner possible, if there is a dangerous situation at school. We encourage vigilance when it comes to securing our entrances and requiring that all visitors check in at our school offices. We use a variety of communication tools to help ensure that families and staff are informed about any incidents as needed.

Our counselors and psychologist are equipped to work with students and their families and provide guidance about ways to discuss the tragedy in an age-appropriate manner. This group of professionals, along with principals and other administrators, are convening early morning, December 17. We will be preparing for student and staff questions and the variety of emotions certain to be present when our children and teachers arrive to school on Monday.

Finally, you might wish to access several helpful links to information regarding talking to your children about school violence and subsequent emotions. The articles, which (are linked), are as follows:

Also, please know, any question your have is a good one.  We stand ready to assist you, our children and wider community, as we process this atrocious event.

Sincerely,
Joe Petrone, Superintendent
Moffat County School District Re-1

HICKENLOOPER SAYS NEW BUDGET PLAN WILL MEAN MORE MONEY FOR TRANSPORTATION PROJECTS

Governor John Hickenlooper and the head of the state’s transportation department say more construction projects will get under way sooner because of a new budgeting plan expected to free up $300 million annually over five years. Hickenlooper and Colorado Department of Transportation Executive Director Don Hunt say projects will begin based on the money the state currently has saved up for projects. It’s a change from the current system of waiting to save all the money needed to begin a project, which takes years. The change is expected to free up the money over five years. The governor’s office says speeding up construction is expected to create or sustain more than 10,500 jobs during that time. Hickenlooper and Hunt made the announcement Friday. Hunt says the new budgeting plan being implemented now.

 

CALIFORNIA FAMILY INJURED IN WYOMING CRASH

A California man is in the intensive care unit at Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County and his wife and nephew were helicoptered to the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City after a crash at Little America around 10:30 Friday morning.  Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said 49 year old Loren Veldhuizen, of Stevenson, California is in stable condition. As of press time, there was no word on the condition of his wife, 49 year old Linette Veldhuizen, and his nephew, 18-year-old Aaron Powers.  Haskell said Veldhuizen told deputies that he’d been driving west on Interstate 80 and got off at the Little America exit when he “blacked out.”  The pickup traveled across the parking lot at a high rate of speed and crashed into a Little America shop building.  Haskell said no one at the Little America complex was injured. Officials said alcohol is believed to have been a factor in the crash, as the investigation continues.

 

XCEL FILES FOR NATURAL GAS RATE HIKE

Natural gas rates for 1.3 million people in Colorado could be going up to pay for pipeline upgrades. Xcel Energy has asked state regulators for a 10-year rate hike so it can raise about $800 million to replace about 100 miles of old pipelines. Xcel is proposing a 10.7 percent increase over this year’s base natural gas rates. Small-business customers would see a 10.4 percent overall rate hike by 2015. Xcel said if the increase is approved, it won’t ask for another natural gas hike to go into effect until at least 2016. The Minneapolis-based utility still is required to raise or lower natural gas rates every quarter depending on commodity prices.

 

PARKS SERVICE MAY HAVE TO MAKE CHANGES DUE TO FISCAL CLIFF

The National Park Service is trying to find at least an 8 percent cut in spending in case Congress fails to reach a decision on the “fiscal cliff.”  Colorado, home to 17 National Park Service properties, could see cuts that impact the state’s tourism industry, including curtailment of hours for visitors centers, curtailment of the number of rangers and cuts in research.  The potential federal cuts are a result of legislation passed last year after a “super committee” composed of members of Congress couldn’t strike a deal on ways to decrease the federal budget.  Should Congress fail to reach a deal, an 8.2 percent cut from the National Park Service budget would take effect in January. The Park Service would lose almost $212 million from the agency’s $2.58 billion budget.

 

PARKS AND WILDLIFE TO STORE SEEDS ON WESTERN SLOPE

To aid in the restoration of wild landscapes on the Western Slope, Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently completed construction of a specialized warehouse where seeds of native plants will be stored and distributed.  Located at the Escalante State Wildlife Area west of Delta, the $1.2 million, 9,000-square-foot facility will play a critical role in wildlife habitat conservation far into the future. The money was appropriated by the Colorado General Assembly through the Species Conservation Trust Fund.  Using native plants that are suited to Colorado’s landscape and climate is critical for properly restoring areas that have been disturbed by forest fire, resource development, grazing or other activities.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife will also store seed for other agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service and the BLM.

 

CLUE #6 IN THE STEAMBOAT YULE LOG HUNT

The 33rd Annual Yule Log Hunt, sponsored by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, continues. As well as posting the clues here, KRAI and 55 Country will also air the clues each day. A new clue will be released each weekday. Unless the Log is found sooner, the 10th and final clue will be released on Friday, December 21st. When the log is found, the finder should immediately call the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 879-2214 to end the search and have their name announced. The winner will get a $150 Steamboat Chamber gift certificate and a framed piece of historical artwork. Today’s clue is:

A dandy meal for big Jim.
Drive on down, fill ‘er up to the rim.
Dip and dive, but don’t get wet.
Solve this clue, and you’ll be set.

In high school sports:
Over the weekend:
In Basketball:
The Steamboat boys beat Rifle (35-33) while the girls lost (44-29)
The Little Snake River Valley girls beat Rangely (31-20)
The Hayden boys and girls beat Encampment; (the boys won 62-47;  girls 39-34)
The Little Snake River Valley boys and girls topped Hayden (boys 56-54; girls 68-26)
The Moffat County boys and girls both lost to Roaring Fork; (boys 57-54; girls 51-41)
The SoRoCo girls beat Beth Eden (64-48)
The Steamboat boys and girls both fell to Glenwood; (boys 47-45; girls 46-39)

In Wrestling:
At the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction, Garrett Stewart placed 4th at 145 pounds and Jessie Demoor took 6th at 182 pounds.

In Hockey:
Steamboat topped Aspen (4-3)