NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR TUESDAY, APRIL 23RD

PARKS AND WILDLIFE REMINDS RESIDENTS NOT TO FEED WILDLIFE

Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials are reminding the public about the negative consequences of feeding wildlife. The agency cautions that in addition to being harmful for the health of wild animals, it is illegal to feed deer, bighorn sheep, mountain goats, pronghorn, bears and elk in Colorado.  Violators may be fined.  The warning especially applies to those living in areas where bears will forage for food in city limits, where failure to have bear proof trash cans, or store pet food indoors can result in one of those fines.  It also applies to residents who, with good intention, attempt to feed an animal they perceive as starving.  In those situations, feeding an animal can be harmful to its health if the diet isn’t right.  It can also cause an animal to lose its natural instinct to avoid human contact.  Wildlife officials say those that feed wildlife to keep them from nibbling on their bushes and flowers, will find that they attract more animals, causing more damage than they would have had they not provided the food.  For more information click here.

 

STORMS ADD MUCH NEEDED SNOW TO COLORADO’S MOUNTAINS

The latest string of storms has been a huge benefit to Colorado’s snowpack.  The snowpack along the Colorado River is above the 30-year average, and even the South Platte is at 90%.  While reservoir levels are still below normal, the snowpack levels are good news for farmers that use the runoff for their crops.  Despite the good news, water restrictions are still expected in some areas of the state this summer.  That includes in Steamboat, where officials are already planning for water rationing.

 

LAWMAKERS CAN’T AGREE ON STONED DRIVING LIMITS

A marijuana blood limit for drivers has failed in Colorado, the fourth time lawmakers have failed to agree to a pot analogy to blood-alcohol limits.  This year’s stoned-driving bill at first appeared likely to pass. That’s because pot use is expected to increase because of legalization for adults over 21. Also, the bill was weakened from previous years to give defendants a chance to argue they were sober despite blood levels above the legal limit.  The measure failed 1-4 yesterday in a Senate committee. It had already passed the House.  Driving under the influence of any drug is illegal in Colorado. The bill’s failure means that prosecutions will have to continue to rely on officer observation of impairment, such as erratic driving.

 

HOUSE PASSES TWO MORE GUN BILLS

The Colorado House passed stricter restrictions on gun ownership by domestic offenders and required in-person training for concealed-carry permits.  The bills approved yesterday are the final two from the Democrats’ package of new gun legislation responding to mass shootings last year.  One bill would allow some online gun education for permit-seekers but would require them to prove handgun competency in person, such as showing how to safely carry a gun. Another bill strengthens a ban on gun ownership by domestic offenders by establishing a process for them to relinquish their firearms.  Debate on the bills was not as tense as other gun legislation already passed, including expanded background checks and limits on ammunition magazines.  The training bill heads to the governor. The domestic-offender bill has amendments that lawmakers still need to agree on.

 

BILL EXPANDS DNA COLLECTION

Colorado lawmakers moved to expand DNA collection for some misdemeanor convictions after a debate that drew both support and opposition from members of both parties.  The bill received initial approval yesterday in the House on an unrecorded voice vote.  Democratic Representative Dan Pabon, the bill sponsor, says it will help solve crimes. But opponents argue the bill goes too far because DNA contains more identifying information about people than fingerprints.  The bill would apply only to criminal misdemeanors, including some assaults or thefts. But opponents worry the bill also includes less serious offenses.  A final vote is still needed to send the bill to the Senate.  Most states, including Colorado, already collect DNA in felony cases.

 

LAWMAKERS CONSIDER CHANGES TO WILDFIRE INSURANCE

Colorado lawmakers are close to agreement on a slate of insurance changes inspired by homeowners’ complaints after last year’s wildfires.  The state Senate gave final approval yesterday to a bill aimed at making homeowner insurance easier to use. Changes include giving homeowners more time to file an inventory of the contents of their house after a total-loss claim for reimbursement.   The bill also requires homeowner insurance policies to be written more plainly, so customers understand their coverage.  The bill has already cleared the House, but in a slightly different form. That means lawmakers will keep negotiating before the bill heads to the governor’s desk.

 

SWEETWATER COUNTY APPREHENDS 125 FUGITIVES IN THREE MONTHS

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Fugitive Apprehension Team recently racked up its 125th fugitive arrest in three months.  A special unit created by Sheriff Rich Haskell in January, the Team’s mission is to track down and apprehend wanted individuals who have so far evaded capture. Charges range from misdemeanor offenses to major felonies carrying lengthy potential prison sentences.  The list includes people wanted for drug possession, child pornography, assault, theft and other crimes.  Haskell said another fugitive has been added to the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office Most Wanted List.  48-year old Annette Arreola is wanted for Probation Violation. She is a white female 5’2″ in height, weight about 150 pounds with brown hair and hazel eyes.  According to court documents, in November of 2012 Arreola assaulted her boyfriend, Patrick Torian, with a kitchen knife at Torian’s camper trailer in Granger, then rammed the camper twice with a pickup truck.  On February 20, 2013, Arreola pled No Contest to two counts of Aggravated Assault in District Court in Green River.  She was given a suspended sentence of four to six years in prison, and put on probation for four years.  Haskell asks that anyone with information on Arreola and her whereabouts not confront or contact her, but get in touch with law enforcement immediately.

In high school sports:
Today:

In girls soccer:
Moffat County hosts Roaring Fork at 4.
Rangely is home against Colorado Rocky Mountain at 4.

Tomorrow:
In baseball:
Moffat County hosts a double header with Cedaredge, with the first game starting at 4.