NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR TUESDAY, JANUARY 15TH

RECORD NUMBER OF BACKGROUND CHECKS IN 2012

A combination of deadly attacks and pending gun control measures by the Obama administration has led to a surge in gun sales.  Reports say there were more background checks for gun sales in 2012 than any other year, both in Colorado and nationwide.  Nearly 415,000 checks were done in the state alone last year, an increase of over 78,000 checks in 2011, and over 114,000 more than were done in 2010.  Nationwide, last year saw 19.6 million background checks processed,, which is 3.1 million more than the year before.  The biggest surge has been recently, in the wake of Obama’s stated intention of skirting Congress to create gun control legislation.  Today, a task force headed by Vice President Joe Biden is expected to offer numerous proposals to the president on gun control matters.  Background checks in Colorado have been taking nearly 2 weeks.

 

HOUSE TO VOTE ON WATERSHED FUNDING IN DISASTER BILL

The House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a Hurricane Sandy disaster aid package today. A similar package passed the Senate in late December and included $125 million for the Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program. However, the House of Representatives failed to vote on the bill before adjourning its session on January 2. Now in a new Congress, there is no guarantee the EWP funding will be included in the House’s version of the bill.  The federal EWP program is designed to support efforts to restore eroded watersheds and damaged drinking water infrastructure, resulting from last summers major wildfires.  The wildfires damaged watersheds throughout the state, increasing the risk of flash flooding and road washouts and compromising clean drinking water supplies.  Lawmakers are fighting to keep the program funding included in the disaster package.

 

STATE DEMOCRATS POISED TO LOWER TUITION FOR ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Colorado Democrats, who now control both chambers of the state legislature, plan to push a bill that would allow illegal immigrants to attend public colleges and universities at the in-state rate of tuition.  The move comes after two years of failed attempts to pass a compromise bill permitting illegal immigrants to pay tuition lower than out-of-state rates but higher than in-state rates.  Proponents of the plan say they want to give all Colorado students the same opportunity for higher education.  Opponents say lowering rates for illegal immigrants only provides false hope, as the students still won’t be able to find meaningful work without citizenship.  They also say it’s not fair to foreign students that are in the country legally, who still must pay out-of-state rates.

 

GESSLER STILL BATTLING VOTER FRAUD

Colorado Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler is defending his search for noncitizens registered to vote and says the voting system remains vulnerable to fraud.  The state’s election chief says his office spent about $8,000 to mail letters to 3,903 suspected noncitizens on voter rolls. It’s the first time he’s publicly offered a price tag for how much it cost to print and mail the letters.  Democrats remain doubtful the search was effective and note the cost doesn’t include staff time.  Gessler’s office says federal records show about 441 people who received letters are not citizens and registered to vote. But Gessler critics question the accuracy of the records.  Gessler spoke to lawmakers yesterday during an annual briefing about his department.

 

STUDENTS ENCOURAGED TO PARTICIPATE IN JUNIOR DUCK STAMP PROGRAM

All students in Kindergarten through 12th grade are invited to participate in the Junior Duck Stamp Program. The free art and science program is designed to teach wetlands habitat and waterfowl conservation to America’s youth. Program participants employ scientific and wildlife observation principles to learn about the subject matter, and then communicate that knowledge visually by creating an entry to the JDS art contest. The goal is to bring new interest to both the sciences and arts to students throughout the state, while fostering a greater awareness of and conservation ethic toward natural resources.  Students submit their artwork to their state coordinator. Then students at the state level are judged in four groups, according to grade level. Three first, second, and third place entries are selected for each group. A “best of show” is then selected by the judges from the first-place winners. Each state’s best of show is submitted to the Duck Stamp Office in Washington D.C., and entered into the national contest.  If you’d like more information, click here.

 

WYOMING DEPUTIES LOOKING FOR STOLEN TRUCK

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is asking asking the public for help tracking down a stolen vehicle.  Sheriff Rich Haskell says it was around 8 Sunday night when patrol deputies discovered that several vehicles in Clearview Acres, west of Rock Springs, were broken into, and one of them, a green and tan four-wheel-drive 1997 GMC extended cab was stolen.  The license plate number on the truck is 4-16052.  Officials said the keys were apparently left in the vehicle.  Haskell said that anyone who spots the vehicle or has information on its whereabouts should not take any action themselves or approach it, but immediately contact the Sheriff’s Office or other law enforcement agency.

In high school sports:
Today:

In basketball:
Soroco hosts Denver.  The girls play at 4 and the boys at 5:30.
Rangely hosts Meeker.  The boys play at 6 and the girls at 7:30.
Hayden hosts Steamboat’s JV squad.  The girls play at 4:30 and the boys at 6.