According to wildlife officials, bats are facing significant challenges from human disturbance, a lack of overall knowledge about several of the species and ‘white-nose syndrome’, an often deadly, fungal disease that has led to a significant and worrisome decline in their numbers across the eastern United States.  To provide the public with more information about bats, the challenges they face and the latest data compiled by state wildlife researchers, Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the Yampa Valley Land Trust and Yampatika will host a presentation and field trip, Friday night at 6, beginning at their Steamboat office, followed by a field trip to the Rehder Ranch near Lake Catamount.  White-nose syndrome is a fungus that displays as a white, fuzzy growth around a bat’s ears and nose while they hibernate. The discomfort and irritation associated with the disease wakes bats at a time when they should be dormant. The earliest evidence of WNS was found in a cave in New York in 2006. Since then, over a million bats have died from the disease.  Registration for the field trip is required and is limited to 30 participants. Call Morgan Moss with Yampatika at 871-9151 to reserve your spot. The program is recommended for adults.



Colorado Parks and Wildlife recently formed the statewide Sportsmen’s Roundtable, a group of appointed and elected delegates charged with representing their constituent’s outdoor-related concerns at bi-annual meetings with CPW officials. As part of their ongoing effort to engage the public in discussions, the northwest region delegates to the roundtable will hold a public caucus meeting July 25th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Public Library in Eagle.  The delegates encourage everyone to attend and offer their suggestions, ideas and concerns during this and future caucus meetings they plan to hold in various parts of northwest Colorado.  At the local level, topics that have been brought before the region’s delegates includes changes in the landowner voucher process, mule deer population decline, predators, auction and raffle, gun laws and the ratio of non-resident to resident license distribution.  For more information about the Sportsmen’s Roundtable, click here.



Representative Scott Tipton has recently joined with a group of his House colleagues, including Representative Mike Coffman of Colorado, in a letter to the President urging that he “take direct action and involvement in ending the current Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) disability claims backlog.” In the letter they point out that the VA Backlog has grown by over 2000 percent over the past four years despite an increase in the VA budget of more than 20 percent. As of March 28th, the VA reported there are 606,007 backlogged claims and 865,989 total claims.  Nearly 900,000 veterans are not getting their benefits, or the care they need.  Despite the inability for the VA to process claims in a timely manner, Tipton says the Agency continues to waste money on unnecessarily expensive conferences.  To address this problem, Tipton helped pass an amendment in the House to target $10 million dollars in wasteful spending on conferences from the Secretary’s $403 million budget and reprioritize these funds to assist with addressing the VA backlog. The amendment passed the House this month, attached to the House Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, and now awaits action in the Senate.



State Senator Greg Brophy has started his campaign announcement tour.  Brophy will challenge John Hickenlooper in next year’s gubernatorial race.  Brophy is a republican who comes from Wray.  He and others have been critical over decisions by Hickenlooper during the legislative session.  That includes Hickenlooper’s warning to democrats not to approach him with a bill repealing the death penalty, followed by his decision to stay indefinitely the death sentence of a Colorado prisoner.  Brophy was elected as a state representative in 2002.  He has served in both the State House, and the State Senate.  His campaing says he has built a long conservative record of standing for individual liberties, and standing against the overreach of government.  You can learn more about Brophy by visiting his website.



The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 14 counties in Colorado as primary natural disaster areas due to damages and losses caused by the recent drought.  Those counties include Moffat, Routt, and Rio Blanco in Colorado, and Albany, Carbon, and Sweetwater Counties in Wyoming.  All counties listed above were designated natural disaster areas July 3rd, making all qualified farm operators in the designated areas eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of the declaration to apply for loans to help cover part of their actual losses. FSA will consider each loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of losses, security available and repayment ability.



An analysis by the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy says Colorado would gain almost $43 million in tax revenue if undocumented immigrants in the state were allowed to work legally.  The institute says undocumented immigrants already are paying more than an estimated $152 million annually in state and local taxes, including sales tax and property taxes as renters or homeowners. Some also pay income taxes.  It estimates that if undocumented immigrants could work in Colorado legally, the state would gain $6.6 million more in personal income taxes, $1.4 million in property taxes, and $35 million more in sales and excise taxes.  The institute used population estimates from the Pew Hispanic Center, income estimates from the U.S. Census Bureau, and its own computer model for its figures.



Representative Cory Gardner has introduced legislation aimed at preventing future politicization at the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). The Preventing Unionization of Revenue Service Employees (PURSE) Act would add the IRS to a list of government agencies whose employees are specifically prohibited from joining unions that enter into collective bargaining agreements with their agencies. That group currently includes employees of the Government Accountability Office, the FBI and CIA, and the Secret Service.  Gardner’s bill comes on the heels of allegations that the IRS improperly targeted groups based on their political beliefs.  Gardner said he believes the bill is, “an important first step in divorcing the IRS from any politically motivated actions.”  The bill has garnered support from groups like Heritage Action and the National Right to Work Committee.


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