NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, APRIL 25TH

I-70 Traffic Stops in Idaho Springs/Georgetown areas

Lane closures and traffic stops are taking place on Interstate 70 at Fall River Road and Georgetown Hill next week for rock scaling and fence installation, weather permitting.

Monday, April 29, through Thursday, May 2

-   Right lane closed westbound from Georgetown to Silver Plume – 10 a.m. to sundown
–   Traffic stops of 20 minutes on eastbound and westbound I-70 throughout the day (approximately twice each hour) from 10:30 a.m. until sundown.  All traffic will be stopped east and west of Fall River Road, one mile west of Idaho Springs.

The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) must stop traffic whenever rock work is taking place above the highway to maintain safety through the area for the traveling public.  CDOT personnel from this project and the I-70 Twin Tunnels widening project are coordinating traffic stops to minimize wait times for motorists.  The goal is to avoid double stops for drivers.  However, backups are still possible at the Twin Tunnels due to lane closures.  Removing loose rocks and securing additional rocks and boulders west of Idaho Springs and at Georgetown Hill is providing I-70 drivers with long-term safety enhancements in an area that can be prone to rockfall.

PROPOSED ORDINANCE WOULD MANDATE GUN OWNERSHIP IN CRAIG

The Craig City Council is pondering a request that would require heads of households within city limits to have a modern sporting rifle capable of accepting high-capacity magazines.  Craig resident Craig Rummel said Tuesday coal, power and hunting are the city’s life-blood and all three are under attack by lawmakers.  Council members questioned how such a law would be enforced, but they didn’t reject the suggestion outright.  Rummel says he wants city leaders to send a message that new laws and regulations are hurting their economy.

 

TIPTON VOTES TO PUSH THROUGH KEYSTONE PIPELINE

Yesterday, Representative Scott Tipton voted in the House Natural Resources Committee to advance House Resolution 3, to build the Keystone XL pipeline. Stressing the importance of new jobs and affordable energy for our nation’s economic recovery, Tipton urged his colleagues on the Committee to support The Northern Route Approval Act. The bill would remove the requirement for a presidential permit for the Keystone XL pipeline, and approve the construction, operation and maintenance of the pipeline.  Tipton says the Keystone pipeline will help provide American energy certainty in a responsible way, decrease dependence on OPEC oil, and create new jobs on American soil.  He also said “the President has made excuse after excuse to not move forward with this responsible project, despite numerous studies and environmental assessments that have deemed it environmentally safe.”  Environmental impact statements, studies and assessments have concluded that the Keystone pipeline would not cause harm to the health and safety of the land, air, water or people with which it may come in contact with. The company building the pipeline has even offered to address one of the biggest environmental concerns by rerouting the pipeline around the Ogallala aquifer in the Nebraska Sandhills, voluntarily incurring millions in additional costs.  Tipton says it’s time to take advantage of a “rare opportunity to create thousands of jobs immediately, and do so in a responsible way.”

 

HABITAT GRANT AWARDED FOR ENHANCEMENTS NEAR MAYBELL

Colorado Parks and Wildlife’s Habitat Partnership Program has awarded $100,000 for habitat enhancement projects on public lands near Maybell.  The Bears Ears Winter Range Habitat Enhancement Initiative will improve conditions on the Bitterbrish State Wildlife Area and allow it to hold more big game animals longer, before they move to the adjacent private property.  The goal of the HPP grant program is to address the substantial damage to agricultural operators caused by big game – typically deer and elk – that spend much of their time on private land.  The Colorado General Assembly and the Colorado Wildlife Commission established the Habitat Partnership Program in 1990 with a goal to reduce wildlife conflicts by facilitating cooperation between landowners, land managers, sportsmen, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife.  The size and scale of treatments and the type of improvements proposed were among the criteria the HPP State Council evaluated prior to awarding the grants.

 

WILDLIFE OFFICIALS URGE RESIDENTS TO BE BEAR AWARE

Black bears have emerged from their winter dens and Colorado Parks and Wildlife is urging Colorado residents to take precautions to help keep bears wild.  Because of dry conditions in some parts of the state, wildlife officials are cautioning residents that bear activity in towns and residential areas may be high again this year. With some simple actions residents can help to significantly reduce conflicts between humans and bears.  The biggest issue is the availability of human sources of food — garbage, pet food, livestock food, compost piles, bird feeders, chicken pens, etc. Bears have a phenomenal sense of smell and can pick up odors of food sources from miles away.  Once black bears have discovered a food source they may defend it and can become dangerous.  Bears will go to the areas with the best food availability, and it’s best that they find their food in the wild. If food sources in town are limited, bears will likely spend more time in wild lands.  More tips on reducing your chances of coming into contact with a bear are listed below:

-          Obtain a bear-resistant trash can or dumpster. Check with local authorities or your trash service to determine what types can be used where you live. Keep garbage in a well-secured location; and only put out garbage on the morning of pickup.

–     Clean garbage cans regularly to eliminate food odors. If you don’t have secure storage, put food scraps and items that might become smelly into the freezer. Then put them in the trash on pick-up day.

–          Don’t leave pet food or feeding bowls outside.

–          Attract birds naturally to your yard or garden with flowers and water features. For those who use bird feeders, suspend them high above the ground so that they’re inaccessible to bears; clean up beneath them every day and bring them in at night,

–          Tightly secure any compost piles. Bears are attracted to the scent of rotting food.

–          Clean-up thoroughly after picnics in the yard or on the deck. Don’t allow food odors to linger.

–          If you have fruit trees, pick fruit before it gets too ripe. Don’t allow fruit to fall and rot on the ground.

–          If you keep chickens or other small livestock, build a secure enclosure and bring the animals inside at night. Clean up pens regularly to reduce odors.

–          Keep the bottom floor windows of your house and garage doors closed when you’re not at home. Lock car doors.

–    Never intentionally feed bears or other wildlife. It’s illegal and dangerous.

–    When backcountry camping, hang food high in trees; at campgrounds, lock food and trash in vehicles.              .

–    For more information, go to the Living with Wildlife section on the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website.

 

HIGHWAY 9 TO BENEFIT FROM LARGE PRIVATE DONATION

State Highway 9 from Kremmling to Silverthorne will get some needed improvements thanks to a large donation from a private citizen.  Paul Jones the 2nd announced this week he’ll give $4million dollars to make the highway safer.  That’s the largest donation the state’s transportation department has ever received for an improvement project.  The money will be used to widen the highway, as well as provide 5 overpasses and 2 underpasses for wildlife to cross.  There were over 200 car versus wildlife accidents on the road last year alone.  The donation comes with a community match.  C-DOT and federal grants will cover the rest of the costs.  The project is expected to begin in June.

 

SENATE VOTES TO GIVE ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS DRIVERS’ LICENSES

People in the U.S. illegally could get driver’s licenses in Colorado with a Democratic bill supporters argue is meant to ensure everyone on the roads knows the rules and has car insurance.  The bill would make Colorado one of a handful of states that currently allows driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country illegally.  The Democrat-controlled Senate gave initial approval to the proposal yesterday on an unrecorded voice vote. A final vote will send it to the House.  New Mexico, Illinois and Washington allow driver’s licenses for those illegally in the country. Utah grants immigrants a driving permit that can’t be used for identification.  Republicans who oppose the bill called it a form of amnesty.  The licenses would be clearly labeled to say the immigrants are not legal residents.

 

SENATE GIVES INITIAL APPROVAL TO STATE FIREFIGHTING FLEET

The Colorado Senate gave initial approval to establishing a state firefighting fleet to supplement a fleet managed by the federal government, even though lawmakers have not allocated money for it.  The Senate advanced the proposal yesterday on a preliminary voice vote. One more vote is needed to send it to the House.  Lawmakers say the bill was prompted by last year’s devastating fire season. Two people died in the Waldo Canyon Fire, which burned 346 homes and 28 square miles in Colorado Springs, and one died in the High Park Fire, which destroyed 136 square miles and 259 homes west of Fort Collins. The Lower North Fork Fire left three people dead.  Under the bill, a new division would have the power to buy or lease firefighting aircraft.

In high school sports:

Today:

In girls soccer:

Moffat County goes to Aspen at 4.

Tomorrow:

In girls soccer:

Rangely travels to Grand Valley for a game at 4.

In track:

Moffat County hosts a meet at noon with Soroco, Steamboat, Meeker and Hayden attending.

Little Snake River Valley goes to the Carbon County Invite in Rawlins at 11.