NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR MONDAY, FEBRUARY 4TH

BUILDING IN CRAIG COLLAPSES

A building located just behind Go-Fer Foods on the east side of Craig collapsed without warning yesterday morning. The building was not occupied at the time. According to Craig Fire Chief Bill Johnston, the cause of the collapse is not known at this time. The building, which is owned by Marathon Oil, is located just feet from the back of Go-Fer Foods. When the collapse occurred a Go-Fer employee thought there had been an earthquake. When Craig Firefighters arrived on scene, there was no fire, but they were concerned about the danger of a natural gas explosion. 2 or 3 homes in the area and Go-Fer Foods were evacuated as a precaution, while Atmos Energy, the City of Craig and Firefighters combined efforts to locate, dig up and secure the gas line leading to the collapsed building. Once the gas was shut off, some sections of the building’s walls were still standing, and in danger of falling into Go-Fer Food. Contractors were brought in to devise a method to collapse the walls without impacting Go-Fer Foods which remained closed all day yesterday.

 

SCHOOL IN HAYDEN FLOODED OVER THE WEEKEND

A water leak over the weekend at Hayden Valley Elementary flooded a number of rooms at the school. Due to the water damage, there will be no classes today. Classes at all other schools in the district are not effected. According to Hayden Superintendent of Schools, Mike Luppes, when the leak was discovered Saturday morning, the water was ankle deep in the gymnasium and there was standing water in the cafeteria and one class room. Water also seeped into three additional classrooms and the school kitchen. Luppes stated he hopes that the damage to the gym floor wood is minimal and will only require the floor to be sanded and refinished and not totally replaced. It is anticipated that clean up efforts will be finished today, and that Hayden Valley Elementary School will resume classes tomorrow. The flood, which was caused when a filter housing failed, was discovered by a faculty member who stopped by the school.

 

BLM APPROVES LEASE SALE FOR N.W. COLO COAL MINE

Friday, the Bureau of Land Management signed a final decision to offer 3,157 acres of federal coal reserves in Rio Blanco and Moffat counties in a future competitive coal lease sale. Blue Mountain Energy Inc. submitted a Lease by Application for this parcel adjacent to its Deserado Mine, which is seven miles northeast of Rangely, and currently employs 164 people. The BLM estimates the parcel contains 21 million tons of saleable coal. The BLM conducted an environmental assessment that included two opportunities for public comment on the proposed lease. A 30-day appeal period follows Friday’s decision. A sealed bid, competitive coal lease sale will be scheduled following the appeal period. The decision and final environmental assessment is available by clicking here. About 90 percent of coal deposits in Colorado occur on public lands. Currently, there are nine producing coal mines – seven underground and two surface operations – encompassing 75,000 acres in the state. In Fiscal Year 2011, coal energy production on BLM Colorado’s public lands directly contributed $884 million to the economy.

 

STATE LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR MAY GET CABINET APPOINTMENT

Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor could be President Obama’s newest cabinet member.  Joe Garcia is being reported as Obama’s top pick for Secretary of Labor.  The move is seen as the president’s attempt to bring diversity to the White House.  Obama has been criticized recently as having a lack of women and minorities on his staff.  Garcia would replace Hilda Solis, another hispanic that is leaving Obama’s cabinet.  Colorado’s Ken Salazar has also left Obama’s staff.  Garcia is a graduate of C-U Boulder, and Harvard Law.  He was employed by Colorado State University in Pueblo, before being tapped by Governor Hickenlooper as his running mate.

 

STATE WORKERS IN LINE FOR PAY RAISE

Colorado state workers may be getting bigger pay raises this year. State employees have not had a raise in four years and they were forced to take furloughs and pay cuts during the recession. Governor John Hickenlooper had recommended a 1.5 percent pay raise for state workers, with the potential for similar merit raise. State lawmakers on Wednesday proposed a 2 percent pay hike.

 

BILL ELIMINATING SALES TAX EXEMPTION FOR CIGARETTES MOVING THROUGH STATE LEGISLATURE

A bill is making its way through the Colorado House that would result in a permanent sales tax on cigarettes.  The bill won initial approval Friday, but faces Republican opposition.  Republicans say it’s a regressive tax on working families.  It would effectively eliminate the state sales tax exemption on cigarettes on a permanent basis.  It’s expected to generate about $28 million dollars for the state.  Some lawmakers are supporting it, simply to balance the state budget.  The House will officially vote on the measure, and if passed, it will move to the Senate for approval.

NATIONAL PARKS SERVICE SEEKS TO UPGRADE INTERNET SERVICE

The National Park Service is partnering with a trade association to expand Internet service in national parks. Proponents say the plan is not to wire every nook and cranny within the 59 national parks, which cover nearly 52 million acres across the U.S. Instead, the emphasis by the National Park Hospitality Association is on boosting cellphone and Internet coverage at park entrances, lodges, visitor centers and major traffic corridors. Rocky Mountain National Park, one of the crown jewels of the national park system, is not on the list of up to a dozen parks on the list for the experiment, but other Colorado national parks, including Mesa Verde in the southwest part of the state, may not be out of the woods yet.

In high school sports:
Over the weekend:

In basketball:
Moffat County’s boys and girls beat Olathe (boys=36-35; girls=38-35), and Gunnison (boys=55-46; girls=45-27).

The Steamboat boys and girls topped Summit (boys=39-35; girls=63-23), and then lost to Rifle (boys=39-29; girls=44-35).

Soroco’s boys and girls fell to Meeker (boys=64-43; girls=54-37), and Rangely  (boys=53-27: girls=36-29).

The Hayden boys defeated Rangely (49-42) and Meeker (62-58) while the girls lost to both (49-35; 82-19).

Little Snake River Valley’s boys and girls beat Encampment (boys=38-36; girls=46-29), and Manilla, Utah (boys=63-53; girls=50-42).

In wrestling:
Moffat County fell to Meeker (43-24).

In hockey:
Steamboat fell to Regis Jesuit (7-0), and tied Dakota Ridge (4-4).

In nordic skiing:
Steamboat’s girls finished 1st over the weekend, while the boys took 7th.

Tomorrow:
In wrestling:
Steamboat goes to Rifle.

 

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