NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR MONDAY, JUNE 24TH

MOFFAT COUNTY RANCHERS INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL DUMPING

70 year old Leland (John) Smith, and his younger brother, 65-year old Bradford Smith, both from Craig, were indicted by a federal grand jury in Denver on Tuesday, charged with two counts of committing crimes on BLM land. The brothers appeared in U.S. District Court in Grand Junction Thursday afternoon, where they were advised by a U.S. Magistrate Judge of their rights and the charges pending against them. They were released on a personal recognizance bond, and ordered to return to court in Grand Junction for arraignment.  According to the indictment, the defendants dug trenches on BLM land, into which they dumped and buried garbage, waste, and debris generated from their private property. They are also accused of using heavy equipment to excavate pits, create artificial ponds, and affect the flow of the Woodbury Gulch water channel – specifically at a riparian area along the Woodbury Gulch, again on BLM land.  If convicted, each defendant faces up to 10 years imprisonment and up to a $250,000 fine per count.

UPDATE ON LOCAL WILDFIRES

Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit crews gained containment on some area fires and over the weekend continued to battle the Wild Rose and Collins fires. New fire activity decreased over the weekend allowing area crews to start gaining containment and control on area fires. The previously unnamed fire near Willow Creek, the Razorback Fire, is now contained and controlled. Quick deployment of air assets to that fire prevented it from spreading providing crews time to respond before increased winds could spread the fire. The Wild Rose Fire is burning near Texas Mountain, south of Rangely and is over 1,000 acres.  It is 86% contained.  The Collins Fire is burning in the Piceance Basin.  It has consumed about 380 acres, and is 48 percent contained.

 

ROEM OFFERS WILDFIRE SAFETY AND PREVENTION TIPS

In light of the number and intensity of wildfires burning across the state, the Routt County Office of Emergency Management has released a list of tips that will prevent fires, as well as help you survive a wildfire incident.  Prevention tips include campfire strategy, advise on where to park your car and property management among other things.  Survival tips cover what to do when an evacuation notice has been given.  You read the tips by clicking here.

 

SMALL PLANE CRASHES NEAR WOLCOTT

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board are investigating a plane crash near Wolcott.  The Eagle County Sheriff’s office responded to the crash of a small airplane yesterday morning.  Authorities say two people have been killed, but the identities of the deceased haven’t been released.  They say the plane was likely coming out of, or heading back to the Eagle County Airport, where the plane was based.

 

WEST NILE DETECTED IN BOULDER COUNTY

Health officials are urging residents to be cautious after the West Nile virus was detected in mosquitoes in Boulder County.  The virus-carrying insects came from a pool of mosquitoes from five of the 11 locations that are sampled in the city each Sunday.  So far this year, mosquito pools in two other Colorado counties – Larimer and Mesa – have also tested positive for the virus.  Human infections can occur without symptoms or can cause mild or severe illness, fever and aches. Infections can also lead to chronic disability and even death.  Health officials encourage people to wear insect repellent, drain standing water and limit outdoor activities at dusk and dawn when mosquitoes are most active.

COLORADO UNEMPLOYMENT RATE UNCHANGED/NATIONAL RATE RISES

Colorado’s unemployment rate held steady in May at 6.9 percent. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said Friday the figure has not changed since April.  The state saw a decrease of 5,000 nonfarm payroll jobs from April to May for a total of 2.3 million jobs.  The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of a percentage point over the month to 7.6 percent.

BENNET SAYS AMNESTY AMENDMENT WILL GET MORE REPUBLICANS ON BOARD

A Republican amendment has been added to the Amnesty Bill being pushed by the Group of 8. The Group of 8 is a committee of lawmakers from both sides of the aisle charged with fixing the country broken immigration system. The amendment deals with border security and benefits among other provisions. Colorado democratic Senator Michael Bennet is one of the Group of 8. It’s not clear if he supported the amendment, but does say he thinks it will make more republicans favorable to the entire bill, and he says it won’t affect illegal immigrants’ ability to become citizens. He also said “it will build upon the progress we’ve made on the border over the last decade”. Some are curious about that comment, as violent incidents at the border have increased over the last decade.