NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR THURSDAY, MAY 2ND

BENNET COMING TO NORTHWEST COLORADO!

State Senator Michael Bennet is coming to Northwest Colorado.  The Senator is making a rare appearance in the Yampa Valley tomorrow.  He will host a town hall meeting in Steamboat to hear from constituents there.  It’s not clear when, or if the senator will visit the area again during his term, so residents from all over Northwest Colorado are encouraged to attend.  Bennet doesn’t have a specific agenda for tomorrow’s meeting, but will hear from constituents on all concerns about federal government.  Bennet will have staff visiting Craig and Meeker next week to talk with veterans about veteran specific issues.  Tomorrow’s meeting is at 12:30 in the Colorado Mountain College Auditorium, and is expected to last about an hour.

 

STEAMBOAT TO HOST CONSTRUCTION COMPLIANCE FORUM

All Construction Industry Professionals, landscapers, erosion control suppliers and interested parties are invited to attend the 2013 Construction Forum next week in Steamboat.  This year there will be a mini exposition featuring updated information on City inspections and services.  Protecting water quality is an essential role in Construction Management. Soil disturbance on site can lead to stormwater runoff that pollutes the Yampa River and its tributaries with unwanted sediment. The City of Steamboat’s Construction Services Department works with contractors to ensure “EPA Clean Water Act” compliance on site.  those who would like to learn more about how to stay in local, State and Federal EPA compliance for stormwater activities should attend the forum.  If you would like more information, call 871-8273.

 

MARIJUANA REGULATION BILL GETS INITIAL APPROVAL

One of two marijuana regulation bills pending in the Colorado Legislature won initial approval in the state Senate yesterday.  Senators rejected a controversial proposal to amend the bill to clarify that private, adults-only marijuana clubs be exempted from clean indoor air requirements. The proposal would treat pot clubs like cigar clubs, allowing members to share and use weed inside as long as they’re not selling the drug.  The club proposal had supporters and opponents from both parties. Some argued that the clubs exist now and that Colorado should allow private use of a drug it has already made legal. But the proposal was rejected amid concerns it would give the state a black eye and invite a federal pot crackdown.  The remainder of bill concerns largely non-controversial regulatory procedure. One more Senate vote is required before the bill heads to the House.

 

LICENSES FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS UP FOR VOTE IN HOUSE

Driver’s licenses for immigrants living in Colorado illegally will be up for a first vote in a state House committee.  The proposal has already cleared the Senate on a party-line vote, with Republicans in opposition.  The bill would make Colorado one of a handful of states that allows driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country without legal permission. Licenses would be labeled to say the immigrants are not legal residents, and the identification could not be used to board a plane, vote, or to obtain public benefits.  Supporters say immigrants already drive regardless of legal status and should learn the rules of the road and have insurance. But Republicans worry the bill will send a message that illegal immigration is permissible.

 

GROUP SAYS NEW TELECOM BILL WILL HURT RURAL COLORADO

With just a handful of days left in the 2013 session, lawmakers have introduced a measure to “reform” communications and broadband Internet service in Colorado.  The Colorado Community Access Alliance is opposing the bill, calling it “misguided”.  The group says SB287-touted to promote broadband investment-in reality is a special-interest handout for one company looking to expand its market on the backs of consumers and cherry pick customers from local telephone companies. SB287 would transfer much of the High Cost Fund-collected from consumers to support landline phone service in sparsely populated areas of Colorado-to a government program controlled by Denver regulators, which the group says is far removed from the economic and communications needs of rural Colorado communities.  They also say if it’s passed, essential services like landline phones and Internet access for rural residents, businesses and public institutions will be jeopardized as highly regulated rural telephone companies are cut out of the process in favor of a single unregulated company.  The alliance asks residents of rural Colorado to urge their lawmakers to vote against the measure.

 

GOVERNOR TO SIGN MEDICAID EXPANSION BILL

A Colorado bill to expand Medicaid to needy adults has cleared the state Legislature and awaits the signature of Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper.  The governor has already said he wants Colorado to expand health assistance as part of the federal health care overhaul. But he needed the Legislature to make some statutory changes to allow the expansion.  Most Republicans voted against the expansion bill, saying the costs could spiral out of control once the federal government stops picking up the tab for the expanded Medicaid.  The change could add some 160,000 Colorado adults to public health care assistance.

 

MEETING TO BE HELD IN BAGGS REGARDING STATE SUPERINTENDENT

An informational meeting about the referendum seeking to repeal Senate File 104, which transferred most of the duties of the elected State Superintendent in Wyoming to an appointed Director, will be held in Baggs next week. Voters will have an opportunity to hear about what the measure means, and to sign the petition to put the issue on the ballot.  State Superintendent Cindy Hill will be speaking, also informing citizens about the potential risks of the new Common Core Standards that have been adopted by most states.  Hill was stripped of many of her responsibilities after lawmakers and Governor Matt Mead determined she was not performing her duties adequately.  The meeting will be held Tuesday night at 7 in the conference room of the Valley Community Center in Baggs.

 

COLORADO RIVER WATER RIGHTS TO BE PROTECTED

A broad-based stakeholder effort to protect the Colorado River received a boost last month when a state court granted water rights designed to keep flows in the river, creating three important instream flow water rights.  The year-round water rights range in flows from 500 to 900 cubic feet per second and will include about 70 miles of the Colorado River from the Blue River near Kremmling to the Eagle River. These rights were decreed to the Colorado Water Conservation Board, the only entity allowed to appropriate instream flow water rights for habitat benefits in Colorado.  The decreed amounts reflect minimum flows necessary to “preserve the natural environment to a reasonable degree” – as provided by state law. In this case, the flows are designed to protect fish species, particularly trout.  The Colorado Water Conservation Board filed for the water rights in state water court at the request of the Upper Colorado River Wild and Scenic Stakeholder Group, a diverse group representing key interests, including Front Range water providers, Western Slope governments, affected landowners, conservation groups and recreation interests. The stakeholders have developed a local management plan designed to balance protection of the outstanding values within that segment of the Colorado River with water supply needs. The plan is awaiting approval by the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service.

In high school sports:
Yesterday:

In girls lacrosse:
Steamboat lost to Grand Junction (15-10).

Today:
In boys lacrosse:
Steamboat hosts Summit at 4.

In girls tennis:
Steamboat continues at regionals in Grand Junction.

Tomorrow:
In girls soccer:
Rangely hosts Roaring Fork at 4.

In track:
Moffat County and Hayden go to the Tiger Elite in Grand Junction.
Little Snake River Valley hosts a meet at 11.

In boys swimming:
Moffat County goes to Glenwood at 4 for league championships.