NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 14TH

GAS LEAK CLOSES 4TH STREET IN CRAIG YESTERDAY

One block of 4th Street, east of Yampa Avenue in Craig, was closed for an hour yesterday as a precaution, following a natural gas pipe break at the 4th Street Business Center. The pipe was broken when ice fell from the roof onto a gas meter located next to the building. The buildings owner who was near the gas meter when the ice fell, heard the sound of gas escaping from the broken pipe. The Fire Department and Atmos Energy responded, and Police closed off the area surrounding the incident, including 4th Street. Once gas to the area was shut off, the broken pipe was repaired and service was restored.

 

TIPTON REINTRODUCES HYDROELECTRIC POWER BILL

Yesterday, Representative Scott Tipton reintroduced a measure to increase the production of clean, renewable hydropower and create rural jobs. Tipton first introduced The Bureau of Reclamation Small Conduit Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act last Congress, and passed it through the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. In September of last year, the bill received a hearing in the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, but time ran out in the session to pass the bill.  The Hydropower and Rural Jobs Act streamlines the regulatory process and reduces administrative costs for small hydropower development at the Bureau of Reclamation’s facilities while supporting the creation of rural jobs. It also provides more permitting certainty to those seeking to inject non-federal financing of these projects. This legislation could help facilitate hydropower development in at least 373 of the federal agency’s canals and pipelines, as identified in a Bureau of Reclamation March 2012 report.

 

TASK FORCE DEBATING MARIJUANA BLOOD LEVEL LIMITS FOR DRIVING

Marijuana blood-level driving limits could finally be coming to Colorado.  Colorado lawmakers have failed three times to agree to a driving blood limit standard for marijuana. The proposal comes before the Legislature for a fourth time today, when the proposal is heard in the House Judiciary Committee.  The proposal would set a marijuana equivalent to blood-alcohol limits. But pot activists who have successfully derailed earlier driving-high bills insist the fight isn’t over.  Drugged driving is already illegal. But the bill would set a standard of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood for the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. This year’s version would give defendants the opportunity they were unimpaired though they exceeded the blood limit.  Washington state already has a 5 nanogram driving limit.

 

COLORADO SENIOR PROGRAMS FACE CUTS OVER FEDERAL BUDGET PROBLEMS

Potential cuts in federal funding for programs such as Meals on Wheels and other programs that help frail seniors would not only reduce the quality of life for older Coloradans, but it would also hurt Colorado’s economy.  That’s according to a report released yesterday by the Colorado Center on Law and Policy.  Meals on Wheels is one aspect of a host of services provided by the Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) that helps older Coloradans remain independent by providing assistance. The AAAs provide services such as low-cost meals, transportation, chores around the house and legal aid. Without those limited, but basic, services, many older Coloradans would no longer be able to live on their own and would be forced to move into nursing homes at a much greater cost to the state.  According to the Center, if the process of automatic spending cuts known as sequestration comes to pass, that group of services, known collectively as Senior Services, is expected to see an eight percent reduction in spending beginning March 1. That could cut off care to thousands of Colorado seniors who depend on that aid to remain healthy and living independently in their homes.

 

BILL TO BAN GUNS FROM COLLEGE CAMPUSES MOVING ALONG

Public college campuses in Colorado would be off-limits for concealed weapons under a bill that passed its first legislative test yesterday.  The bill to end Colorado’s status as one of the few states where concealed weapons can be carried on college campuses passed the Education Committee 7-6. It was the latest in a package of Democratic gun-control measures under consideration this year.  Another House committee planned to consider a bill to revive fees for required instant criminal background checks for gun purchasers.  The gun-control bills are in response to mass shootings at a suburban Denver movie theater and an elementary school in Connecticut.

 

SUPER BOWL WEEKEND D.U.I. ARRESTS UP THIS YEAR

This year’s Super Bowl weekend DUI arrests were higher than any other Super Bowl weekend since the statewide DUI enforcement period was introduced in 2009. And according to preliminary reports there was one alcohol-related fatality in the state during this year’s enforcement period, which ran from Friday, February 1st to Monday, February 4th.  For the first time, Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado State Patrol authorized ALL local law enforcement agencies to participate in the enforcement, rather than just the agencies in the Denver metro, Front Range and Mesa County areas, and they attribute the rise in arrests to the heightened enforcement.  Law enforcement agencies across the state arrested 421 drivers suspected of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs; 138 of those arrests took place on Super Bowl Sunday.

 

STEAMBOAT PARKS AND REC HOLDING REGISTRATION FOR “TEENS ON TOUR”

Registration is going on now for the Steamboat Parks and Recreation Teens on Tour overnight trip to Denver on Thursday, March 14th and Friday, March 15th. The program is for teens in 6th, 7th and 8th grades and includes shopping at the Cherry Creek Shopping Center, swimming at the Holiday Inn Select Cherry Creek, three games of Laser Tag at Laser Quest and rock climbing at the Rock’n and Jam’n Indoor Climbing Facility. The deadline to register with Parks & Rec is Thursday, March 7th.  The registration fee is $100 and covers transportation, activity fees, dinner Thursday, breakfast and lunch Friday and hotel accommodations. Participants must bring a sack lunch for Thursday.  To register online, click here.

 

NEW SHERIFF’S UNIT IN WYOMING PICKING UP WANTED SUSPECTS

A special new Sheriff’s Office unit in Southern Wyoming has made over 30 arrests since January 22.  Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell says the unit has been designated the Fugitive Apprehension Team. Its mission is to track down and apprehend those for whom arrest warrants have been issued.  The Team has made 33 arrests over the last three weeks. Charges range from misdemeanor warrants issued by the Circuit Courts in Rock Springs and Green River and by other courts and jurisdictions to felony offenses including drug trafficking and conspiracy.

In high school sports:
Today:

In nordic and alpine skiing:
Steamboat goes to Middle Park at 3:30.

Tomorrow:
In basketball:
Moffat County goes to Cedaredge.  The girls play at 6 and the boys at 7:30.
Steamboat hosts Battle Mountain.  The girls tip off at 6 and the boys at 7:30.
Rangely is home against Paonia.  The girls start at 5:30 and the boys at 7.
Hayden heads to Plateau Valley.  The girls play at 5:30 and the boys at 7.
The Soroco boys are on the road to Debeque at 4.
Meeker hosts Hotchkiss.  The girls tip off at 5 and the boys at 6:30.
Little Snake River Valley goes to Encampment.

In Wrestling:
Moffat County goes to Grand Valley for the Regional Tournament.
Steamboat is at regionals in Montrose.
Hayden, Soroco, Meeker and Rangely go to regionals in Grand Junction.

In hockey:
Steamboat hosts Summit at 7:30.

In nordic and alpine skiing:
Steamboat continues at Middle Park.