NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR FRIDAY, JULY 5TH

PUBLIC INPUT SOUGHT IN TRANSWEST PROJECT

The BLM’s Wyoming State Office and the Western Area Power Administration (Western) are looking for public input on the TransWest Express Transmission Project Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS). The public has until September 30th to review and comment on the draft EIS.  TransWest Express is proposing the project, a 725-mile long extra-high voltage (EHV), direct current (DC) transmission line extending from south-central Wyoming to southern Nevada. The project is intended to provide the transmission infrastructure and capacity necessary to deliver up to 3,000 megawatts of electric power from renewable energy resources in south-central Wyoming to a substation hub in southern Nevada.  The BLM and Western are working with cooperating agencies in Wyoming, Colorado, Utah and Nevada. Members of the public, government agencies, and Tribes are encouraged to provide comment on the draft EIS during the 90-day public comment period. The BLM and Western will host public meetings in the proposed project area during the public comment period.

 

SITE MADE AVAILABLE TO EXPLAIN FIRE RESTRICTIONS

The Bureau of Land Management is the latest agency to enact fire restrictions in Northwest Colorado.  That leaves the majority of land in the area as off limits for most fire activities.  The Stage 1 restrictions went into effect Tuesday.  If you are planning an activity that may include fire, but aren’t sure if that activity is restricted, you can see a full definition of Stage 1 restrictions by clicking here.

 

UDALL’S BROTHER FOUND DEAD IN WYOMING

Teams looking for the brother of Colorado Senator Mark Udall in western Wyoming’s Wind River Range have found his body.  61-year old James “Randy” Udall had left June 20th for a weeklong solo backpacking trip, setting off from a trailhead 10 miles northwest of Pinedale. He was due back a week ago.  Senator Mark Udall’s office released a statement from the family saying Randy Udall’s body was found Wednesday. The family said that while an autopsy is forthcoming, it appears he died of natural causes.

VEHICLE HITS 5 PEDESTRIANS IN GRAND COUNTY, KILLING ONE

A vehicle crash last night in Grand County cost the life of at least one individual.  According to Grand County officials at around 10:30 last night, emergency medical and law enforcement personnel responded to a collision between a vehicle and several pedestrians on Highway 34.  The preliminary investigation indicates that five members of a family of ten were struck by the vehicle.  One individual was pronounced dead at the scene, and four people were transported by air to Denver for medical treatment.  The Colorado State Patrol, with the assistance of the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the Grand County Coroner and the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, is currently investigating the case.  The driver of the vehicle is in custody and charges are pending the outcome of the investigation.

 

PADDLE BOARDERS WARNED TO FOLLOW BOATING RULES

With the increasing popularity of stand-up paddleboards on local rivers and state park reservoirs, Colorado Parks and Wildlife remind users that they are considered hand-powered vessels and are subject to the same boating rules and regulations.  Anyone operating canoes and kayaks, a surfboard, inner tube, paddleboard or any similar watercraft is required to wear a personal flotation device per the agency’s boating regulations.  CPW says that there were nine boating deaths in Colorado in 2012, including a stand-up paddleboarder.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife says stand-up paddleboards are a great way to exercise and enjoy local state parks from a very unique perspective; however, when you take yours out, remember that staying safe is should be your primary goal.  More tips can be found below.

  • A U.S. Coast Guard approved personal floatation device must be available for each individual onboard
  • All children under 13 years of age are required to wear a properly fitting, U.S. Coast Guard approved personal flotation device at all times while on the paddleboard or other watercraft that requires their use
  • A sound producing device such as a whistle is required on a paddleboard
  • Contact information including a name and phone number and/or address must be written on the paddleboard
  • Paddleboards are not permitted in designated swim areas in state parks
  • Operating any type of watercraft while under the influence of drugs or alcohol is strictly prohibited

 

USDA MAKES FUNDS AVAILABLE FOR DROUGHT ASSISTANCE

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 Colorado counties suffering from severe losses due to drought as natural disaster areas. The designations mean that farmers and ranchers in these counties are eligible for additional Farm Service Agency assistance.  Fourteen counties were declared primary natural disaster areas, while 24 counties were designated as contiguous disaster counties.  Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, Grand and Eagle Counties are among those eligible for assistance.  Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the disaster declaration to apply for assistance. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers and ranchers with additional information.

 

STATE GETS OVER $1.3M TO PROTECT FISH

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and its partners are providing $12 million during the next three years to support 75 fish habitat conservation projects in 27 states.  The agency has identified the 75 projects through the National Fish Habitat Partnership, a diverse coalition of public and private organizations that works to reverse declines in fish habitat through voluntary, non-regulatory actions.  The projects are expected to benefit aquatic species by protecting, restoring and enhancing stream, lake and coastal habitat, giving a boost to local communities that benefit from the outdoor recreation economy.  Colorado will receive $1, 337,100 for three projects this year. They are a fish passage on Fountain Creek to benefit native plains fishes; phase I of a sediment mitigation project on Bear Creek and a fish passage on Milk Creek for Native Colorado Cutthroat Trout Habitat Restoration.

 

AUTHORITIES WARN AGAINST LEAVING KIDS IN CARS

With temperatures in the 90s lately, the Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office has issued an advisory about the dangers of leaving children in parked vehicles.  According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, heat stroke is the leading cause of non-crash, vehicle-related deaths among children under the age of 14.  The Sheriff’s Office recommends that a child never, ever be left behind in a parked car, not even for a minute, and even with the windows cracked open and the air conditioning running.  Sheriff’s office spokes person Dick Blust also urges people not to be afraid to get involved.  He says if you see a child alone in a parked vehicle, call it in immediately.  He says law enforcement prefers false alarms and close calls, to tragedies.

 

RECALL PETITIONS DEEMED VALID, ELECTIONS WILL MOVE FORWARD

Recall elections will continue to move forward for Colorado Senate President John Morse and Senator Angela Giron, two Front Range lawmakers that pushed for more restrictive gun laws in the state.  Petitions were circulated, and more than enough signatures were gathered to put the issue to an election.  While both Senators tried to fight the recall by protesting the wording of the petitions, the Secretary of State’s Office says both petitions are sufficient.  Governor Hickenlooper will set an election date.