NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR THURSDAY, JULY 18TH

ROUTT COUNTY PREPARES TO LIFT FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Tuesday, The Routt County Commissioners will consider rescinding fire restriction implemented earlier this month.  County officials want to remind people, though, that the move doesn’t mean there is no fire danger; simply that the danger has somewhat lessened.  Residents are urged to remain cautious and continue fire safety practices whether on private or public lands.  Those precautions include not leaving a campfire unattended, clearing away flammable material before building a fire, and putting fires completely out before going to sleep, or leaving the area.  Routt County Officials say those precautions should be observed until the area’s first significant snow fall.  The commissioners will make their decision at Tuesday’s County Commissioners meeting.

 

Medicine Bow-Routt National Forests to Lift Fire Restrictions

In coordination with other federal, state and local agencies in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming, Stage 1 fire restrictions will be rescinded on the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests at 12:01 a.m. on July 19, 2013.  While several factors are considered in fire restriction decisions, increased moisture in fine fuels such as grass and shrubs, plus favorable fire weather forecasts helped influence this decision.  Despite recent monsoon rains providing much-needed moisture, overall drought conditions are predicted to persist over the coming weeks.  Larger fuels, which require more precipitation to recover from drought, remain dry and are still prone to burn.  Forest visitors are advised to use caution when building and maintaining campfires.  Always make sure that campfires are dead out, meaning that coals and other burned materials are cool before leaving a fire unattended.  Several counties and other agencies in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming are also rescinding fire restrictions. For current information about restrictions on lands outside of the Medicine Bow and Routt National Forests, contact the appropriate county, state or other federal agency.

BALLOON FESTIVAL NEEDS VOLUNTEER HELP

Moffat County Balloon Festival organizers need help with this year’s event.  The Festival needs volunteers for their balloon crew, kids’ activities, and other duties.  The festival will be held August 3rd and 4th at Loudy Simpson Park in Craig.  There will be balloon glows and launches, food and vendor booths, and activities.  “Bennie and the Jets”, an Elton John tribute band will play the night of the 3rd.  If you would like to volunteer, call 826-4444.

 

GARFIELD COMMISSIONERS SEEKING FEDERAL PROTECTION OVER ROAN LEASES

Garfield County commissioners are seeking protection if any existing federal oil and gas leases on the Roan Plateau northwest of Rifle are canceled. The county is trying to protect itself from having to pay back millions of dollars of federal mineral lease funds, including money already invested in projects from Parachute to Carbondale. The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is re-examining the Roan Plateau oil and gas resource plan following complaints from environmentalists.

National High School Finals Rodeo Contestants Involved in Golf Cart Crash 

The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a golf cart crash at the Sweetwater Events Complex yesterday involving nine National High School Finals Rodeo contestants.  Sheriff Rich Haskell said that around 2:00 PM, a total of nine juveniles in two rental golf carts were roughhousing with water balloons when the driver of one cart, a female, drove under the gooseneck portion of a camper trailer and collided with a horse trailer. A boy who had leapt onto her cart from another cart struck his head on the gooseneck trailer. He was transported by ambulance to Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County, where he was treated and released.  Both golf carts were confiscated by the cart vendor. No citations were issued and no arrests were made. Haskell said alcohol was not a factor.

 

CONGRESS ASKED TO GET INVOLVED IN COLORADO RIVER ISSUES

Government officials are urging Congress to find solutions to deal with possible water shortages in the Colorado River basin.  Colorado Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Udall told the Water and Power Subcommittee on Tuesday strategies include reducing demand through innovation, conservation and better management of the water supplies.  A two-year study by the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation found the river will not be able to provide enough water for its nearby communities in 50 years.  The Colorado River basin and its tributaries supply water to nearly 40 million people in seven states, including Colorado.

 

TIPTON GRILLS IRS ABOUT DOUBLE STANDARDS AND TAX CODE

Yesterday, during a House Small Business Committee hearing Representative Scott Tipton questioned acting Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Daniel Werfel on the agency’s double standard with regard to its treatment of American taxpayers.  Tipton pressed the Commissioner on the recent IG report that stated the IRS wasted millions of taxpayer dollars on lavish conferences and costly conference videos.  Werfel assured that since then, “strong, robust procedures were put in place to constrain both conference spending and any spending on extraneous cost on videos.”  Tipton explained the frustration of the American people when the IRS says “we’re correcting the problem.  Sorry, it won’t happen again”.  He asked “Is that the same standard you apply to American taxpayers?”  Tipton also blasted the agency for their tax code, noting that IRS officials have just as little understanding of the 70,000 plus pages of tax code as the American taxpayer.  In his questioning, Tipton indicated favor for a “flatter, fairer and simpler tax code”.

VIDEO OF TIPTON QUESTIONING WERFEL

 

TIPTON TO HOLD HEARING ON PRESIDENT’S CLIMATE ACTION PLAN

The House Small Business Subcommittee on Agriculture, Energy and Trade, under the chairmanship of Representative Scott Tipton, will hold a hearing today titled, “The President’s Climate Action Plan: What Is the Impact on Small Businesses?”  The purpose of the hearing is to examine potential small business implications of emissions regulatory limitations outlined in the President’s Climate Action Plan and review the EPA’s compliance obligations under the Regulatory Flexibility Act.  According to the Small Business Administration, small businesses carry energy costs that are 2.7 times higher than large businesses.  Tipton says, as a result, they are more likely to be affected by the spikes in energy costs that could result from the President’s proposal.  Several business people from several states will testify at today’s hearing.

 

WEST NILE SPREADING IN COLORADO

Colorado health officials say the West Nile virus is spreading in Colorado.  The state health department said the first case of a person becoming ill with the mosquito-borne disease this year was reported earlier this month in Delta County.  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.  Last year Colorado reported 131 cases of West Nile, with five deaths.  Colorado’s peak year for the mosquito-borne disease was in 2003, when 2,847 cases and 63 deaths were reported.

 

A.G. SAYS GESSLER IS CORRECT IN TRYING TO FORCE RECALL ELECTION DATES

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers says Republican Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler is justified hiring an attorney in a court battle trying to force Governor John Hickenlooper to set election dates in the recall elections of two Democratic state lawmakers.  Suthers said Tuesday his office recommended Gessler hire outside counsel because the attorney general represents both the secretary of state and governor in a court challenge where attorneys are trying to stop the recall elections.  Gessler claims Hickenlooper, a Democrat, is required to set a date for recall elections of Democratic Senate President John Morse of Colorado Springs, and Democratic Senator Angela Giron of Pueblo.