SALAZAR TO STEP DOWN AS INTERIOR SECRETARY
Ken Salazar will likely step down from his post as Interior Secretary in March. That’s according to his office, which says Salazar wants to return to Colorado to spend time with family. Salazar has been heralded by President Obama, and has been urged to stay on, but Salazar reportedly wants to return to the private sector. There are thos on the Western Slope who aren’t necessarily sad to see him go. Local officials have been at odds with the interior department over land use, oil and gas development, and endangered species issues since the beginning of the Obama Administration. Many House republicans describe Salazar as one of the worst Interior Secretaries in history, due to his energy development positions. It’s not clear who Obama may tap for that position in the future. Salazar has not given any insight as to whether he will continue a life in politics.
FOREST SERVICE GETS OVER $13 MILLION THROUGH “SECURE RURAL SCHOOLS”
The U.S. Forest Service has announced that Colorado will receive over $13 million through the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. The resources will be used to support local schools and roads as part of the reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools and Community Self-Determination Act. The SRS program was reauthorized for one year, along with Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program as part of last year’s reauthorization of the nation’s transportation bill. The program provides resources for public schools, road improvement and maintenance projects, and forest restoration and improvement projects in and around National Forests. The reauthorization clarifies that funds for eligible Title III projects under the program must be obligated by the end of the following fiscal year but not necessarily initiated.
STATE SEEING SIGNIFICANT FLU ACTIVITY
The state is seeing significant flu activity. That’s according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. 674 cases of people being hospitalized with the flu have been reported so far this season. Four children have been killed by the virus. The Department says the best prevention method is vaccination. If you haven’t gotten your flu shot yet, the department recommends doing that as soon as possible. There have been spotty cases of vaccination shortages around the state, which is one of the reasons health officials say you should get yours now. A flu shot will not guarantee prevention, but will significantly lessen the chance of hospitalization. Whether you’ve been vaccinated or not, health officials say if you get the flu, you should treat it with antiviral medication.
TIPTON READS FROM CONSTITUTION ON THE HOUSE FLOOR
Congressman Scott Tipton was one of several House members that read yesterday from the U.S. Constitution. It was only the second time in history that the Constitution was read in it’s entirety in the House of Representatives. Tipton’s portion was Article 2, Section 1, Clasues 5 and 7, which pertain to the eligibility requirements and compensation of the President. Tipton says reading the Constitution was an appropriate way to begin the Congressional session, and speaks to the House’s commitment to uphold the nation’s laws. He says the Constitution guides him in every decision he makes in Congress, and he was proud to be a part of the reading.
Watch the video here.
AGRICULTURE SECRETARY ANNOUNCES MICRO LOAN PROGRAM
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack yesterday announced a new microloan program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) designed to help small and family operations, beginning and socially disadvantaged farmers secure loans under $35,000. The new microloan program is aimed at bolstering the progress of producers through their start-up years by providing needed resources and helping to increase equity so that farmers may eventually graduate to commercial credit and expand their operations. The microloan program will also provide a less burdensome, more simplified application process in comparison to traditional farm loans. Vilsack says the new microloans represent how USDA continues to make year-over-year gains in expanding credit opportunities for minority, socially-disadvantaged and young and beginning farmers and ranchers across the United States. The final rule establishing the microloan program will be published in the January 17th issue of the Federal Register.
GARDNER SECURES COMMITMENT FOR WATERSHED PROTECTION
Congressman Cory Gardner was able to secure a commitment from Chairman Hal Rogers, head of the Appropriations Committee, to support funding for Emergency Watershed Protection in future legislation. Last week, Gardner also offered an amendment to add additional funding to the EWP program for states that suffered from designated natural disasters, like Colorado. The EWP program allows for watershed and infrastructure restoration and would help areas affected by the High Park and Wald Canyon fires protect their drinking supply from debris runoff. Rogers assured Gardner that they could work together to address this funding issue in future legislation.
PICK-UP STOLEN IN WYOMING IS RECOVERED
The GMC pickup stolen from Clearview Acres west of Rock Springs on Sunday has been recovered. Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell had issued a bulletin describing the truck, which was stolen around 8 Sunday night, and asking that the public keep an eye out for it. The unoccupied pickup was found northwest of the White Mountain Library near the base of White Mountain. It had sustained a degree of damage and is believed to have been involved in a hit-and-run crash not long after it was taken. Officials said the pickup’s keys were apparently left in the ignition and reminded citizens that doing so is risky. Investigating deputies believe the suspect or suspects kept trying vehicles in the area, looking for an unlocked one with the keys available, a common technique for car thieves. Anyone with information on the theft and/or the hit and run crash are asked to contact either the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office or the Rock Springs Police Department.
YOUTH FOR UNDERSTANDING LOOKING FOR EXCHANGE STUDENTS
Youth For Understanding, one of the oldest and largest high school exchange programs is looking for students that would like to study abroad. The non-profit organization is dedicated to multicultural learning. There are over 40 countries the group serves. Students would get thechance to learn about a different culture, while continuing their education. If you’re interested in the program, you can find out more, by clicking here.
NEW POLL ASKS ABOUT SOCIAL SERVICES FRAUD
Social programs have come under attack, while the federal government is working to trim the federal deficit. President Obama is being urged to consider spending cuts to help balance the budget, and social or entitlement programs are being targeted. A new KRAI poll asks visitors whether they know of people illegally taking advantage of social services programs. The poll is anonymous, and doesn’t ask for information. You’ll find the question on the right hand side of this page.
In high school sports:
The Soroco boys and girls beat Denver (boys= 72-26, girls= 43-31).
Steamboat travels to Eagle Valley.
In alpine skiing:
Steamboat goes to Beaver Creek.