NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15TH


THE AMAZING GRACE HOLIDAY HOUSE

GOVERNOR SAYS NEW BUDGET PLAN WILL BENEFIT HIGHWAY PROJECTS

Gov. 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.

HICKENLOOPER PREVIEWS UPCOMING LEGISLATIVE SESSION

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and legislative leaders will be giving a preview of what to expect at the session that begins next month.  Gun control, the possible expansion of Medicaid eligibility, and oil and gas drilling are among the topics expected to be garner heated debate in the 2012 session. The event Friday with legislative leaders could provide a glimpse of what the conversations will look like.  Hickenlooper and leaders from the House and Senate will be speaking at the annual event hosted by the Colorado Press Association.  The Legislature convenes Jan. 9.

XCEL FILES FOR ANOTHER GAS RATE HIKE

Natural gas rates for 1.3 million 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.

GESSLER’S OFFICE TO BE INVESTIGATED FOR MISUSING CAMPAIGN FUNDS

Colorado lawmakers opened the door for an investigation of Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler’s use of public funds to attend the Republican National Convention in Florida and a GOP election law training event.  Members of the state’s audit committee on Thursday unanimously gave auditors approval to conduct research for an audit. Lawmakers will vote at a later meeting whether to conduct an audit of Gessler’s use of discretionary funds.  The Republican elections chief is under scrutiny for travel to the political events, for which he was reimbursed $1,570. Democrats and left-leaning groups have questioned whether that was appropriate.  Denver prosecutors are also conducting a criminal investigation.  Gessler has said he welcomes a full review of his expenses.

MOFFAT COUNTY TEEN NOMINATED TO WEST POINT

Yesterday, U.S. Representative Scott Tipton announced that Moffat County High School senior Jacob Teeter was one of 19 students from the Third Congressional District, Tipton has nominated to U.S. Service Academies.  When announcing the names Tipton added that “It’s a true honor to nominate these talented and deserving students to our nation’s Service Academies,” Tipton stated that he had the opportunity to call and speak with each of the nominees, and went on to say that he was confident that all will go on to achieve great things in their lives.  Teeter was nominated to West Point Military Academy.

In high school sports:

Yesterday:
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 (boys 62-47;  girls 39-34)

In Hockey:
Steamboat topped Aspen (4-3)

Today:
In Basketball:
The Little Snake River Valley boys and girls host Hayden…the girls play at 2:30…the boys play at 4
The Moffat County boys and girls travel to Roaring Fork…the girls play at 12:30…the boys play at 2
The SoRoCo boys and girls play at Beth Eden…the first game starts at 11:30
The Steamboat boys and girls host Glenwood…the girls play at 2…the boys play at 3:30

In Wrestling:
Rangely, SoRoCo, Steamboat and Meeker are at the West Grand tournament which starts at 9 today
Moffat County is at the Warrior Classic in Grand Junction

In Swimming:
The Moffat County swimmers are at Montrose for a meet

In Nordic Skiing:
Steamboat is at Vail Mountain at 10

In Alpine Skiing:
Steamboat will compete at the Loveland Ski Area

DENVER BRONCOS

The Denver Broncos play at Baltimore tomorrow.  You can catch all the action live on 55 Country, with the pre-game at 9 and the kick-off at 11.