NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR MONDAY, FEBRUARY 18TH

MEEKER OUTFITTER SENTENCED FOR BAITING WILDLIFE

An eight-year investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has culminated in U.S. District Court Judge Christine Arguello sentencing 72-year old Dennis Rodebaugh, owner of D & S Outfitters of Meeker, to 41 months in federal prison. He must also pay $37,390 in restitution to the state and forfeit two all-terrain vehicles and a trailer used in the crimes. In September, a federal jury found Rodebaugh guilty of six felony violations of the Lacey Act, a federal law that prohibits the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines. Baiting wildlife is illegal in Colorado and most of Rodebaugh’s clients were out-of-state hunters. As part of his sentence, Rodebaugh must also pay a $7500 fine that will go to the Lacey Act Reward Fund. Judge Arguello also ordered that Rodebaugh terminate his outfitting business and pay for the reclamation of more than 40 sites in the White River National Forest where the salt he placed caused damage to the environment. In addition, he will face a hearing with state wildlife officials that could result in a lifetime suspension of his hunting and fishing privileges in Colorado and 37 other states. Although suspected of profiting from illegal baiting for approximately two decades, state and federal wildlife investigators say that between 2002 and 2007 – the years that the investigation covered – Rodebaugh and his employee, 56-year old Brian Kunz, of Wisconsin, used hundreds of pounds of salt to attract elk and mule deer to an area where the outfitter had installed tree stands. They then guided their clients to the area where hunters shot the big game from the stands. According to the indictment, Rodebaugh earned nearly $250,000 from the illegal hunts during the period of the investigation. However, wildlife officials believe that he may have earned much more from his illegal activity over the twenty years he operated his outfitting business. Charged as an accomplice, Kunz pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor charges of violating the Lacey Act. He received one-year’s probation and was ordered to pay a fine of $2,000. According to the indictment, most of Rodebaugh’s clients were unaware of the illegal activity but wildlife officials did charge two individuals for knowingly taking wildlife over bait while hunting with D & S Outfitters. Colorado Parks and Wildlife investigators first learned of Rodebaugh’s activities in 2005 when local sheep and cattle ranchers reported finding large salt deposits under tree stands in the White River National Forest.

 

STATE OF THE COUNTY TO BE HELD FRIDAY

Colorado Northwestern Community College President Russell George will be the keynote speaker at this year’s seventh-annual Craig Chamber of Commerce and KRAI/55 Country State of the County event February 22nd. George, who has served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation, Department of Natural Resources and Division of Wildlife and served as the speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, will talk about the role of “community” in “community education.” The State of the County is the Chamber’s annual meeting and was expanded seven years ago from a Chamber-specific luncheon to include State of the City, State of the County and State of the Chamber addresses. In years past, Governor John Hickenlooper, and Senators Al and Jean White have headlined the event, as well as representatives from the Division of Wildlife, Bureau of Land Management, Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, Moffat County Tourism Association and more. The event gives participants the opportunity to hear an overview of local government without sitting through innumerable meetings and wading through the day-to-day information. Mayor Terry Carwile will give the address for the city of Craig and Commissioner Tom Mathers will represent Moffat County. In addition to the speeches, the Chamber will present awards for Small and Large Business of the Year and Businessperson of the Year. The State of the County is February 22nd at 6 at the Holiday Inn of Craig. Tickets are $40 for Chamber members and $50 for non-members and are available at the Chamber.

 

GESSLER SAYS ELECTION INTEGRITY IS GETTING BETTER IN COLORADO

The 2012 election cycle was the most successful in Colorado history. Through proactive management and innovative solutions, Colorado saw a jump in voter participation, had better election integrity than ever before, and saw far fewer election day problems.  That’s according to Secretary of State Scott Gessler.  Last week the Secretary of State’s office published an official report on the 2012 election entitled “A Colorado Success Story”.  Gessler says Colorado’s turnout increased almost two percent in 2012, compared to the 2008 election, while turnout nationwide plummeted almost seven percent.  He says Colorado was top three among all states in turnout by eligible voters.  Gessler also says Colorado saw fewer election day problems than in past years, even though the state was a hotly contested battleground state.  He says the state and counties worked closely together to solve election problems as they arose.  And finally, while Gessler has come under fire for some of his methods of cleaning up voter rolls , he says Colorado’s election integrity is now at an all-time high.

 

AUTO THEFT GROUPS REMIND RESIDENTS “PUFFING” IS ILLEGAL

Colorado Auto Theft Investigators (CATI) and Coloradans Against Auto Theft (CAAT) are teaming up on a statewide awareness and enforcement effort to put the brakes on “puffers”-a term coined by car thieves to describe a vehicle left running unattended.  Leaving a vehicle running unattended is illegal in Colorado, yet at least 40 percent of Colorado drivers admit they have left their car running while unattended.  CATI will lead a concentrated effort by law enforcement agencies across the state to prevent puffer activity crimes by issuing warnings and citations to drivers who leave their vehicles running unattended.  CATI represents one of the many partners that make up the CAAT coalition, which receives funding from Colorado Auto Theft Prevention Authority (CATPA) to combat auto theft through on-going statewide public awareness campaigns, education and citizen engagement.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 50 percent of cars stolen have the keys in them.

 

ROCK SPRINGS FUGITIVE CAPTURED

Another fugitive on the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Most Wanted list has been captured.  Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said the Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team traced Christopher Jerry Rasmussen, 25, to Utah where he was arrested on February 12 by authorities in West Jordan.  He is charged with Probation Violation and Conspiracy to Commit Larceny and Battery.  Rasmussen has been replaced on the S.O. Most Wanted list by 39-year-old Heather Ann Beller of Rock Springs, who has been charged with Possession of a Controlled Substance (methadone) and Child Endangerment (methamphetamine), Heller is a white female with brown hair and brown eyes, height 5’5″, weight 150 pounds.  Haskell asked that anyone with information on her whereabouts contact the Sheriff’s Office or other law enforcement agency.

In high school sports:
Over the weekend:

In basketball:
The Moffat County boys and girls beat Cedaredge (girls= 62-35; boys= 69-59).  The girls also beat Roaring Fork (65-44), while the boys lost (54-51).

The Steamboat girls beat Battle Mountain (62-12) and Eagle Valley (52-30), while the boys lost to both (57-56; 43-40).

The Rangely boys and girls fell to Paonia (girls= 55-26; boys= 57-53). The boys also lost to Hotchkiss (54-47).

The Hayden boys and girls topped Plateau Valley (girls= 39-25; boys= 74-47).  The boys also beat Debeque (66-21).

The Soroco boys defeated Debeque (77-34).  The boys and girls topped Plateau Valley (boys=59-46; girls=46-26).

The Meeker girls topped Hotchkiss (53-31), and lost to Paonia (62-38).

The Little Snake River Valley boys and girls beat Encampment (girls= 41-18; boys= 37-28), and H.E.M. (boys= 53-22; girls= 62-23).

In wrestling:
After a weekend of regional tournaments:

Moffat County will take 3 to the State Tournament beginning Thursday:
120 – Issic Herod 4th
138 – Brayden Peterson 4th
182 – Jessi Demoor 3rd

Meeker will take 8 to State:
113 – Tristin Pelloni 2nd
120 – Kylloe Goedert 4th
126 – Aaron Cochran 3rd
132 – JC Henderson 2nd
138 – Anthony Watt 3rd
152 – Devon Pontine 2nd
160 – TJ Shelton 1st
170 – JR Crawford 3rd

Hayden will take 5 to State:
106 – Judd Magee 4th
113 – Tanner Guire 4th
132 – Kent Miller 4th
160 – Taylor Lewis 4th
182 – Ryan Domson 1st

SoRoCo will Take 2 to State:
120 – Colton Martindale 3rd
195 – Cody Constine 2nd

Rangely will take 4 to State:
145 – Lucas Heinle 4th
152 – Ethan Allred 4th
160 – Colton Coombs 3rd
195 – Drew Collins 4th

North Park will take 4 to State:
126 – TJ Richards 4th
170 – Derrick Richards 2nd
195 – Adrian Cereceres 3rd
220 – Anjel Arrendondo 2nd

Steamboat failed to advance any wrestlers to State.

Broadcast coverage of all three days of the 2013 State Wrestling Tournament on 93.7 102.3 KRAI and KRAI.COM will begin this Thursday afternoon at 2:45pm with the 2A and 3A preliminary matches.  Calling the action will be Former NCAA National Champion wrestler Tanner Linsacum and former Moffat County state champion Mark Hastings who will follow the Northwest Colorado wrestlers through the tournament.  If you would like to sponsor our live coverage of the State Tournament contact KRAI at 824-6574.  Our planned broadcast schedule is below (end timeS are approximate):

Thursday February 21st:
2A/3A Preliminaries 2:45 to 6:15pm

Friday February 22nd:
2A/3A Championship Quarterfinals and 1st Round Consolation 9:45am to Noon
2A/3A 2nd Round Consolation and Semifinals 5:30 to 9pm

Saturday February 23rd:
2A/3A 3rd Round Consolation and Semifinal Consolation 10:15am to Noon
2A/3A 5th place and 3rd Place matches 1:45 to 4pm
Parade of Champions and 1st place matches (all classes) 6:15 to 10pm

In hockey:
Steamboat tied Summit (3-3), and lost to Ralston Valley (2-1).

In skiing:
Steamboat’s boys and girls Nordic teams each placed 4th at state.  The girls alpine team took 4th, while the boys alpine team took 7th.

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