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 Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, 72, 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 commission of his crimes. In September 2012, a federal jury in Denver 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, Brian Douglas Kunz, 56, 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 approximately 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 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 NEXT WEEK
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 on 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 to follow those actions and expenditures that have a direct impact to residents. 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 at 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.
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:
The Moffat County boys and girls beat Cedaredge. (girls= 62-35; boys= 69-59)
The Steamboat girls beat Battle Mountain (62-12), while the boys lost (57-56).
The Rangely boys and girls fell to Paonia (girls= 55-26; boys= 57-53).
The Hayden boys and girls topped Plateau Valley. (girls= 39-25; boys= 74-47)
The Soroco boys defeated Debeque (77-34).
The Meeker girls topped Hotchkiss (53-31).
The Little Snake River Valley boys and girls beat Encampment (girls= 41-18; boys= 37-28).
Moffat County’s Ashlee Griffiths, Issic Herod, Shandon Hadley, Brayden Peterson, Jacob Teeter, Curtis Dunlap, and Jesse Demoor, all won matches.
Steamboat’s Nathan Park, Dane Koepfer and Cole Sittig advanced to today’s semifinal matches at regionals in Montrose. Brandon Yeager and Guerin Lewis are also still alive.
Soroco’s Colton Martindale and Cody Constine are in the semifinals. Shad Covalt, Andrew Schupner, Dillon Koler and Nate Ragan are in the consolation bracket.
Hayden’s Judd Magee, Kent Miller, Taylor Lewis and Ryan Domson advanced to the semifinals. Tanner Guire, Tate Montieth and Colton Jensen will wrestle in the consolation bracket.
Steamboat tied Summit (3-3).
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.
Steamboat heads to Eagle Valley. The girls play at 2 and the boys at 3:30.
Rangely goes to Hotchkiss. The girls play at 2:30 and the boys at 4.
Soroco is home against Plateau Valley. The girls start at 1 and the boys at 2:30.
Meeker travels to Paonia. Both teams play at 3.
Little Snake River Valley hosts H.E.M.
The Hayden boys host Debeque at 2:30.
In Games heard on 93.7 102.3 KRAI and KRAI.COM. Moffat County girls beat Roaring Fork 65-44. The Moffat County boys lost to Roaring Fork 54-51.
Moffat County will take 3 to the State Tournament beginning Thursday:
120 – Issic Herod placed 4th
138 – Brayden Peterson placed 4th
182 – Jessi Demoor placed 3rd
145 – Garrett Stewart placed 4th then lost a challenge match and will not be heading to State.
Steamboat continues at regionals in Montrose.
Hayden, Soroco, Meeker and Rangely continue at regionals in Grand Junction.
Steamboat hosts Ralston Valley at 3.