NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 18TH

WILDLIFE INVESTIGATION ENDS WITH PLEAS FROM THE ACCUSED

A joint investigation by Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources has concluded with the convictions and sentencing of eight men for their roles in illegal hunts that took place in the King Mountain area of southern Routt County.  35 year old Ole Thorson of Prescott Michigan entered his guilty plea March 28th, bringing the two-and-a-half year joint investigation and prosecution to an end. His brother, 40 year old Travis Thorson, and their father, 64-year-old Jerome Thorson, all from Prescott, had previously pleaded guilty.  Wildlife officials say the multi-state investigation began when a concerned hunter called to report the three men who were believed to be hunting in Colorado without licenses.  Several other individuals also pleaded guilty for their roles in the case. 49 year old Tim Oestmann and 24 year old Andrew Oestmann of Bailey, Colorado pleaded guilty to the illegal transfer of a hunting license. 63-year old Jeffrey Kuhn of Prescott, Michigan pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a bull elk as did 42 year old Todd Osier, of Sterling, Michigan.  41-year old Troy Allen of Jamestown, Indiana also pleaded guilty to transfer of a license.  Wildlife investigators from Colorado and Michigan worked undercover for over a year, making numerous contacts with the Thorsons in both states.  The investigation revealed several violations in Colorado that spanned a 4-year period, including the illegal take of at least three bull elk, one black bear and a bobcat. Search warrants were served in three locations in Prescott and in the hunting camp belonging to the men, located south of Yampa.  Penalties ranged from jail time and community service to thousands of dollars in fines and the revocation of hunting privileges.

 

KIDDERS HONORED AS VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR

The annual luncheon for Moffat County, the City of Craig and the Moffat County United Way agency volunteers, was held yesterday. During the luncheon, volunteers that have served ten years or more were recognized with certificates of appreciation, and George and Ann Kidder were honored as Volunteers of the Year.  Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe, while presenting the award, highlighted the Kidders volunteer efforts, including arranging personal Santa visits for children in the community, and their work with Horizons, the Boys and Girls Club of Craig, the KRAI and 55 Country Holiday Drive, Colowyo Christmas, Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab, Sunrise Daycare and more.  Grobe described the Kidders as “role models and avid supporters of people in our community.”

 

BRIGHTON MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN ROUTT COUNTY CRASH

A man involved in a single-vehicle rollover crash that killed his passenger south of Steamboat has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless driving resulting in death.  Mark Hendrixson of Brighton struck a deal with prosecutors and pleaded guilty to the charge last week.  Prosecutors dropped charges of vehicular homicide, DUI, careless driving, driving without insurance and driving under restraint.  Authorities say Hendrixson was driving on Colorado 131 south of Toponas last October when he lost control of his car, which went off the roadway and rolled over.   Killed in the crash was 72-year-old Robert Bratz of Denver.

 

WATER GROUP WILL ALLOW CAR WASHING DURING WATER RESTRICTIONS

While Steamboat has announced they will implement Stage 2 water restrictions beginning May 1st.  The Community Water Providers Group says they will allow residents to wash their cars on scheduled water days.  There are some restrictions that come along with the allowance.  For example, residents will not be allowed to use hoses without spray nozzles that shut of when not in use.  The group also asks people to use biodegradable detergent and to do their washing where the water won’t wash debris into the storm sewer system.  If you would like to know what is involved with Stage 2 water restrictions, click here.

 

GOVERNOR TO RETURN TO WORK TODAY

Colorado’s governor is returning from a weeklong personal trip to Israel.  He’ll have some big decisions to make when he gets back on the job.  Hickenlooper’s weeklong trip was a personal visit he took at his own expense. While he was away, state lawmakers sent him some bills he’ll have decide whether to sign.  The governor was to return late yesterday, returning to work today.  The biggest item is a budget for next fiscal year that adds money to K-12 and higher education after years of cuts.  But lawmakers rejected an idea the governor asked them to fund. They rejected his idea to renovate a former prison in southeast Colorado to transform it into a treatment center for the long-term homeless.

 

DEMOCRATS FIGHTING AMONGST THEMSELVES OVER LABOR ISSUES

Colorado Democrats are closer to an intraparty showdown over labor rights. The Democratic state House has approved a firefighter labor bill that the Democratic governor has threatened to veto.  The bill approved yesterday evening enhances the rights of professional firefighters to talk about working conditions, even if their communities have voted to ban their use of collective bargaining. The measure is a watered-down version of a proposal vetoed in 2009 by former Democratic Governor Bill Ritter.  The current Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, threatened to veto this year’s version, too. Local government groups argue labor decisions should be left to them.  One more vote is required in the House. The bill has already passed the Senate.

 

LEGISLATURE DEBATING HOW TO SPEND EXTRA TAX MONEY

It’s a natural result of Colorado’s improving finances: Instead of arguing over budget cuts, state lawmakers are arguing over how to spend additional tax dollars.  The state Senate gave final approval yesterday to a state version of the federal earned-income tax credit aimed at the working poor.  The tax cut inspired a sharp partisan debate over whether the tax cut for about 15 percent of the population is appropriate.  Democrats argued that the tax cuts help lift working people out of poverty.  Republicans countered that earned-income tax credits are ripe for fraud and are a subsidy to some who don’t earn enough to owe income taxes.  The bill passed on a 20-15 party-line vote and heads to the House.

In high school sports:
Today:

In baseball:
Meeker goes to Grand Valley at 6.

In girls soccer:
Rangely goes to Roaring Fork at 4.

Tomorrow:
In soccer:
Moffat County hosts Grand Junction Central at 4.
Steamboat is on the road to Rifle at 6.

In track:
Moffat County, Meeker and Soroco go to Fruita Monument at 3.
Little Snake River Valley runs at the Douglas Twilight at 2:30.

In boys swimming:
Moffat County goes to the Jeffco Invite.