NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR TUESDAY, DECEMBER 18TH

Fire Destroys Barnes Home West Of Craig

A fire which spread from a wood burning stove pipe engulfed a home in the Behrman Subdivision west of Craig, last night.  The home, owned by Rick Barnes, and its contents were completely destroyed.  No one was injured in the blaze.  The Craig Fire Department, returned to the scene of the fire again this morning when embers in the remains of the structure flared up.  The flare up was quickly extinguished.

Commissioners Remove MCTA Board Members

The Moffat County Commissioners, today, removed Bryce Jacobson and Leona Hemmerich from the Moffat County Tourism Association Board.  Commissioner Tom Mathers cited insubordination as the reason, saying that both have been publicly disrespectful of the commissioners.  The core of the issue seems to be the MCTA’s relationship, or lack thereof, with the Craig Visitors Center.  The two entities have been at odds over finances.  While having signed a memorandum of understanding to provide 17% of its budget to the Visitors Center, board members say they feel they are being bullied into following the agreement.  Mathers agreed that he may have a conflict of interest, due to the fact that his daughter works for the Visitors Center, but pointed out that the entire MCTA Board is comprised of members with a conflict of interest, due to the fact they are representing their own interests.  Board members spoke up for the two, but Commissioners Mathers and Tom Gray voted for the removal.  Commissioner Audrey Danner voted against the motion.  She also suggested the MCTA and Visitors Center seek outside mediation to resolve their differences.  New members will be appointed to the board after the new board of Commissioners is seated in January.

 

FEDS ATTEMPTING TO SET ASIDE LAND FOR BLACK-FOOTED FERRET

A memorandum of understanding between federal and state agencies would allow routine grazing for property owners who agree to set aside land as black-footed ferret habitat.  The Safe Harbor Agreement announced yesterday by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is part of an effort to boost the wild population of the endangered animal from 500 to 3,000 in the next 10 years. Black-footed ferrets are the only species native to North America and were once thought extinct until their rediscovery in Wyoming in 1981.  Private, public and tribal lands would eligible for the conservation effort in several states, including Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.  A 30-day public review and comment period will be announced in the Federal Register tomorrow.

 

MEEKER’S NEW DISTRICT ATTORNEY IS MAKING CHANGES

The new district attorney for Garfield and surrounding counties is firing four assistant attorneys and promising to change prosecution priorities.  Sherry Caloia says changes include plea bargains and negotiations with defense attorneys in an effort make prosecutions smoother and more efficient.  The new district attorney wants to review a policy of no plea bargains for first-time drunk driving suspects and spread out law enforcement to cover more territory.  Ninth Judicial District Attorney Martin Beeson lost a narrow race to Caloia in the November election.

 

KINKAID SAYS HE’LL KEEP HIS PROMISE TO RETIRE NEXT MONTH

Moffat County Commissioner-elect John Kinkaid is making sure voters know he will be living up to a campaign promise he made months ago.  While campaigning for the commissioner position, Kinkaid said, if elected, he would quit his job at Tri-State’s Craig plant.  Kinkaid says he’s heard rumors that he would back out of that promise.  He says his final day as a Tri-State employee will be January 4th.  Kinkaid will be sworn into office January 8th, at 8 at the Moffat County Courthouse.

 

SENIORS INVITED TO TAKE TOUR OF STEAMBOAT’S CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

The City of Steamboat is offering a free bus tour for Seniors through Steamboat tomorrow to view Christmas decorations and lights throughout town.  Interested seniors will be picked up at the Selby Apartments at 6:00 tomorrow evening.  The other two pickup locations are the Mountain View Apartments at 6:15, and the Community Center at 6:25.  If you’d like to join the tour, call to RSVP at Parks and Recreation at 879-4300 and let them know where you need a pick up. Space is limited.

 

MAMMOVAN TO STOP IN BAGGS TODAY AND TOMORROW

Wyoming is among the states with the fewest mammograms performed.  The group Wyoming Women First is looking to change that, by providing a Mammovan, a van that travels the state providing low cost mammograms.  G.E. is funding the operation.  The van will be at the Little Snake River Education Center in Baggs from 9 to 3:30 today and from 9 to 11 tomorrow.  Support and funding is available to under or uninsured women.  If you’d like to schedule an appointment, call (307) 383-6861.

 

MSEC OFFERS GUIDANCE TO EMPLOYERS AFTER PASSAGE OF AMENDMENT 64

The Mountain States Employers Council has come up with a set of guidelines to help employers deal with the ramifications of the passing of Amendment 64.  The measure made smoking marijuana legal in Colorado for recreational purposes, which has left some employers scratching their heads over drug testing issues.  They have come up with 4 guideposts for employers, which they believe will be helpful as employers revise their policies.  The Colorado Association of Comerce and Industry will keep its members up to date on legal challenges and changes.  The guideposts are as follows:

  1. An employer, whose supervisors are trained in reasonable suspicion of drug use and who require an employee to undergo a urinalysis, saliva or blood test after documenting signs and symptoms of drug use, will have a stronger chance of surviving a legal challenge if the employer terminates that employee.  (This assumes that the worker tests positive for Tetrahydrocannabinol [THC], the active ingredient in marijuana).
  2. Colorado’s legal off-duty activities law (CLODA) prohibits employers from terminating employees for legal, off-duty conduct.  Exceptions, however, are provided in law.
  3. If a worker is in a safety-sensitive occupation, employers may have a stronger legal basis to terminate employees who test positive for marijuana.  A worker who is impaired through the use of marijuana in these occupations creates risk for the employer and other workers, which can fall under CLODA’s exceptions.
  4. CLODA refers only to employees, not to job applicants. Thus, pre-employment drug screening remains a lawful practice and may continue to be conducted by employers.

STATE’S VOTES RATIFIED YESTERDAY

Colorado’s nine electoral college voters gathered at the state Capitol yesterday to ratify the results of the state’s presidential race.  They were joined by Governor John Hickenlooper, Secretary of State Scott Gessler and Colorado Supreme Court Justice Michael Bender to make sure the process went smoothly.  When voters cast their votes in November, they were actually voting for the slate of electors that were chosen to represent that ticket in the Electoral College. Colorado voted for President Barack Obama.  Colorado is entitled to nine electors because it has two members of the U.S. Senate and seven members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

CLUE #7 IN THE ANNUAL STEAMBOAT YULE LOG HUNT

The 33rd Annual Yule Log Hunt, sponsored by the Tread of Pioneers Museum and the Steamboat Springs Chamber Resort Association, continues. As well as posting the clues here, KRAI and 55 Country will also air the clues each day. A new clue will be released each weekday. Unless the Log is found sooner, the 10th and final clue will be released on Friday, December 21st. When the log is found, the finder should immediately call the Tread of Pioneers Museum at 879-2214 to end the search and have their name announced. The winner will get a $150 Steamboat Chamber gift certificate and a framed piece of historical artwork. Today’s clue is:

Take a bath where the battle was lost.
Modern progress has its cost.
Twist and turn, or ring the bell.
Solve the riddles, and you’ll do well.

In high school sports:
Tomorrow:
In Basketball:
The Soroco girls host Vail Christian at 5.
Meeker hosts Little Snake River Valley.  The girls play at 5:30 and the boys at 7.