NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR SATURDAY, JANUARY 26TH

ACCIDENT CLOSES HIGHWAY 40 BETWEEN HAYDEN AND MILNER

Highway 40 was closed between Hayden and Milner this morning, as emergency crews cleaned up a multiple vehicle accident.  Details of the accident aren’t yet available, but it’s believed that hazardous road conditions played a part.  A mixture of rain and snow has been falling on already icy roads in Northwest Colorado over the last couple of days.  That can make for extremely slippery conditions, and law enforcement suggests motorists drive slower than normal when traveling this weekend.  More snow and rain are in the forecast for the next couple of days.

NO POT CLUBS IN CRAIG FOR NOW

The Craig City Council has passed a temporary moratorium on private marijuana clubs in town while the state decides what new regulations are needed under Amendment 64.  The amendment approved by Colorado voters in November allows for legal possession of small amounts of marijuana under state law, but legislative and regulatory issues need to be resolved before retailers can start selling the drug for non-medical uses. The law also restricts public use of marijuana. In the meantime, some Colorado entrepreneurs have moved to open private clubs where people can pay a fee, bring their own marijuana and smoke with others.

HICKENLOOPER WANTS TO USE EXTRA TAX MONEY TO STUDY OIL AND GAS

Colorado should use unexpected tax money to study the effects of oil and gas drilling on air quality. That’s a request by Gov. John Hickenlooper in a letter to lawmakers about tax collections that exceeded expectations last year.  The Democratic governor has said the drilling practice known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is safe. But skeptics remain. The governor told lawmakers Friday that they should spend about $11 million for the state Health Department to study the impacts of oil and gas extraction on environmental air quality.  Hickenlooper has also requested $12 million more for schools and $10 million for wildfire prevention.  Hickenlooper’s spending plan has been adjusted because the state knows more about taxes than it did in November, when Hickenlooper made his formal budget request.

QUAKE MAY HAVE BEEN CAUSED BY DRILLING

A federal agency says a minor earthquake in Colorado and Utah might have been caused by a high-pressure well that injects brine 16,000 feet into the Earth.  Justyn Hock of the Bureau of Reclamation said Friday the well has caused hundreds of tiny quakes in the past. Officials are looking at whether it caused Wednesday’s 3.9-magnitude quake as well.  The well is part of a project that removes excess salt from the Colorado and Dolores rivers. Officials say the project disposes of the brine by injecting into the Earth in the form of brine.  Agency officials say the brine is forced into fissures that sometimes crack open wider under the pressure and cause earthquakes.

WYOMING ASSOCIATION OF SHERIFFS AND CHIEFS OF POLICE ISSUES POSITION STATEMENT ON GUN CONTROVERSY

WASCOP, the Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police, issued a statement on the current controversy over guns at their annual meeting this week in Cheyenne, Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said yesterday.

“The chiefs and sheriffs at the meeting put a lot of work, time, and effort into this,” Haskell said. “Public safety is every law enforcement agency’s prime concern; especially the safety of those who are most vulnerable.”

The statement issued by WASCOP is as follows:

“On December 14, 2012, a horrific event took place in Newtown, Connecticut. That event took our country to a visceral awareness of vulnerability the likes of which have not been experienced since 9/11. The horror was magnified by the targeting of innocent children. This awareness of vulnerability has created a cause for action, emboldened by the consciousness that our schools should be safe havens for our children, and not the stage for evil opportunists to perpetrate harm; on that there is no debate.

“As a country, we are now confronted with determining the means by which our vulnerability is lessened and our children are safer. Unfortunately, arriving at those determinations comes with complexities that, at best stir controversy, and at worst, turns American against American.

“The Wyoming Association of Sheriffs and Chiefs of Police (WASCOP) seeks to de-emphasize the political wrangling over gun control, and turn the focus to purposeful answers to how we can improve our children’s safety. To that end WASCOP members:

“1) Fiercely support and defend both the U.S. and Wyoming Constitutions.

“2) Support the strong gun heritage that has existed in Wyoming for generations and we continue to stress gun safety as a paramount tenet of gun ownership.

“3) Acknowledge that unless we set our schools up like prisons, if a person is determined to enter a school with evil intent, they will succeed unless someone is there to stop them.

“4) Do not believe banning certain weapons will create the safety we seek; it will only serve to continue the gun control controversy and prolong the failure to focus on the real issue.

“5) Support a statewide effort to conduct a target hardening approach to our schools, identifying best practice methods.

“6) Endorse legislation that will assist in financing an increased ‘armed’ presence at the schools.

“7) Look to our law makers to provide legislation based on meaningful discourse that addresses the complexity of evil, mental health, public safety, and preservation of civil rights.

“Community policing tenets affirm that broad based involvement by law abiding citizens is the solution to such complex societal issues. It is counterproductive to legislate law abiding citizens out of the process by hindering their inherent right to self defense. We will remain patient as our country muddles through the process of determining its official response but as for us, we will endeavor to keep our communities safe while preserving our civil liberties.”

Haskell termed the last sentence of the WASCOP statement a powerful summary:   “We are committed to keeping our communities safe and, at the same time, preserving our civil liberties and constitutional rights as Americans.”

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In basketball:
The Soroco boys beat Vail Mountain (68-35).
Hayden’s boys and girls topped Vail Christian.  (boys= 62-51; girls= 39-28)
The Little Snake River Valley boys beat Cokeville (53-37).  The girls lost (60-30).
The Rangely boys defeated Plateau Valley (43-34).
The Moffat County boys and girls beat Coal Ridge.  (boys= 77-64; girls= 54-46)

In hockey:
Steamboat fell to Mullen (6-2).

Today:
In basketball:
Moffat County is on the road to Grand Valley.  The girls tip off at 12:30 and the boys at 2.
Steamboat heads to Glenwood.  The girls play at 12:30 and the boys at 2.
Soroco travels to Vail Christian.  The girls play at 4 and the boys at 5:30.
Meeker goes to Plateau Valley.
The Hayden boys host Vail Mountain at 1.
Little Snake River Valley travels to Farson-Eden.
The Rangely boys host Debeque at 2:30.

In wrestling:
Moffat County goes to Rifle.
Steamboat hosts a tournament, with Hayden, Soroco, and Rangely attending.
Meeker heads to the Paonia Tournament.

In hockey:
Steamboat goes to Standley Lake at 5:15.

In Nordic skiing:
Steamboat goes to Summit.