NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JULY 12TH

COMMENTS SOUGHT ON BREEZE STREET PARK UPGRADES

Craig Parks and Rec is asking residents to comment on their proposed upgrades for the Breeze Street Park.  Plans include adding bathrooms, a paved parking lot, a community gardens, a gazebo, picnic shelters, and more.  The upgrades would also make the playground area handicapped accessible.  A map of the plan can be found in the lobby of Craig City Hall.  Parks and Rec Director Dave Pike says they need to gather as many comments from the public as possible to show community support, which increases the chances of getting a Great Outdoors Colorado grant to help pay for the upgrades.  The entire cost of the project is expected to be around $340,000.  The city hopes to get about $215,000 of that through the GOCO grant.  If the grant comes through, city officials hope to start the project in the spring.

 

CRAIG RELAY FOR LIFE KICKS OFF JULY 19TH

Craig Relay for Live takes place a week from tonight at the Moffat County Fairgrounds.  Relay for Life is an overnight walking event, that raises awareness and money for the fight against cancer.  The relay kicks off with the opening ceremony at 6 in the evening July 19th.  The public is invited to participate, by showing up and supporting the walkers.  Cash donations can be made online by clicking here.

 

CARPET CLEANING VAN DESTROYED IN FIRE

A firefighter taken to The Memorial Hospital at Craig after suffering heat exhaustion while on the job, was released without complications.  The blaze he was fighting yesterday afternoon at 530 5th Avenue West in Craig completely destroyed the Just Done Right carpet cleaning van owned by Jared Kitchen. According to Troy Hampton with Craig Rural Fire, a mechanical failure in a piece of carpet cleaning equipment in the back of the van is suspected to have ignited the fire. No other property was damaged in the blaze which took about 30 minutes to extinguish.

 

GARDNER AND TIPTON PRAISE FARM BILL PASSAGE

Republican Congressman Cory Gardner is praising passage of the House’s version of the farm bill.  Gardner says the bill is an important piece of legislation that provides certainty for America’s farmers while modernizing and streamlining our agricultural policy.  He says while it’s not perfect, it represents a major step forward in consolidating and reducing outdated or inefficient programs, while reforming and improving programs like crop insurance.  The bill includes two amendments authored by Gardner. One would provide greater assistance and prioritization for wildfires through the Emergency Watershed Protection Program (EWP).  The other would make it easier for rural electric cooperatives to comply with federal environmental law by allowing more flexibility to perform environmental reviews.  Representative Scott Tipton also praised the bill’s passage.  However, Democratic Senator Michael Bennet had less positive things to say about the bill.  He prefers the Senate version, which includes a number of his own amendments.

 

PETITIONERS TRYING TO GET ED FUNDING BILL ON BALLOT

Colorado voters likely have a big decision to make this fall on taxes. Education groups are hoping Colorado approves the biggest permanent tax increase ever posed to voters in an effort to correct years of flawed school funding.  It’s a decision that could determine the future of public education in the state, not to mention the political futures of politicians taking sides on it.  Education advocates have less than a month to gather signatures needed to put the question on ballots. After that, they’ll have to sell Colorado on the tax hike and what it would fund. The money would go to statewide full-day kindergarten, more funding for special-needs students and enhanced interventions to make sure kids can read by third grade.

 

STATE REGULATORS JOIN FRACKING LAWSUIT

A judge in Boulder County is allowing state regulators to join a lawsuit the Colorado Oil and Gas Association has filed challenging Longmont’s ban on hydraulic fracturing.  The decision lets the trade association add the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission as another plaintiff.  Longmont voters passed the ban on hydraulic fracturing last November. Fracking involves blasting underground rock formations with water, sand and chemicals so oil and natural gas can escape.  Industry officials are challenging the ban because they want to be able to extract oil and gas through hydraulic fracturing, which they have done for years. Meanwhile the commission says it has regulatory authority over technical aspects of drilling.  The commission also is suing Longmont over drilling regulations passed by City Council.

 

STATE REPUBLICANS ELECT NEW HOUSE LEADER

Colorado House Republicans selected Loveland Representative Brian DelGrosso as their new leader after Colorado Springs Representative Mark Waller stepped down from his leadership post to run for state attorney general.  Republicans unanimously voted yesterday to select DelGrosso. He has served in the finance and appropriations committees of the legislature and is one of the most highly-regarded members of the GOP caucus.  He’s also a business owner and runs three Domino’s Pizza franchises. DelGrosso told his colleagues he was humbled by their vote.  Waller announced his candidacy for attorney general last week. He joins a field that includes former Adams County District Attorney Don Quick, a Democrat, and Republican Cynthia Coffman, the chief deputy for current Attorney General John Suthers.  Suthers is term-limited. The election for his position is November 2014.

 

STAPLETON WILL SEEK ANOTHER TERM AS TREASURER

Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton says he will seek another term in office.  Stapleton, a Republican, made the announcement yesterday. He was first elected in 2010 when he unseated Democratic Treasurer Cary Kennedy.  He said in a statement yesterday that his mission has been to safely invest taxpayer money and focusing on finding efficiencies in government, not making headlines.  Stapleton is being challenged by Democrat Betsy Markey, a former congresswoman who represented Colorado’s 4th District.

 

STATE OFFICIALS SAY MORE RECORDS WERE LOST IN HARDWARE MALFUNCTION

Colorado officials say a hardware failure that destroyed some computer files regarding gambling and medical marijuana licenses also has affected recordings of driver license hearings held from March 1 to May 17.  In June, state officials said the problem had destroyed files regarding the gambling and marijuana industry licenses.  Yesterday, officials said recordings of some driver license hearings were lost. They said the Governor’s Office of Information Technology recovered some, but other recordings of hearings held from April 8 through May 17 were lost as a result of the hardware failure and couldn’t be recovered from a back-up system.  The office and the state Department of Revenue are working to have an independent assessment of the department’s recording systems to prevent more file losses.