NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR THURSDAY, MARCH 14TH

EMERGENCY REPS PLAN FOR LARGE SCALE EMERGENCY

How the Moffat County community might respond to a critical incident and its effects, was the subject of a meeting held yesterday in Craig. Colorado Northwestern Community College, the Craig Police Department, and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office brought together firefighters, mental health professionals, elected officials, school district administrators, law enforcement officers and the media, to begin a conversation about what may be missing from existing plans that dictate how the community would respond to the aftermath of a large scale incident. The conversation at the meeting ultimately focused on the need to prepare a plan on how to organize an “Emergency Operations Center”, which would coordinate all of the needed services during such an incident. The meeting was in response to a number of tragic events over the past few years, such as the large fires on the Front Range and recent mass shootings.

 

14TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT SEATS FIRST GRAND JURY IN 30 YEARS

Tuesday, the 14thJudicial District seated a Grand Jury.  A Grand Jury is an investigative body made up of members of the community. It will hear matters arising in Grand, Routt or Moffat Counties and will sit for a year. The Grand Jury has the authority to subpoena witnesses and documents. Based on the investigations it conducts, the Grand Jury will determine whether criminal charges ought to be brought in a particular case. The Grand Jury’s proceedings are secret as are the identities of the Grand Jurors.  This is the first Grand Jury to be seated in Grand, Routt or Moffat Counties in over 30  years. District Attorney Brett Barkey says the grand jury is “a critical investigative tool where representatives of the community assist in investigating and making charging decisions in some of the most challenging cases we have.” He also said he looks forward to working with the group and appreciates their willingness to serve.

 

ANTLER COLLECTORS WARNED NOT TO STRESS WILDLIFE

As antler collectors travel the backcountry in search of fresh sheds this coming spring, Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds them to avoid stressing wildlife still struggling to survive the cold weather and the lack of forage.  Many collectors use freshly shed antlers to create artwork, furniture and other goods. Although most are responsible, state wildlife officers occasionally receive reports of people on motorized vehicles chasing elk or deer herds in hopes of collecting a fresh pair of antlers dropped by a startled animal.  Colorado Parks and Wildlife reminds the public that harassing wildlife is unethical and illegal and can result in significant fines for violators.  Some areas of Colorado are closed to all human activity during winter and into early spring to protect wildlife, including big game that migrates to lower elevations.  For example, anyone caught bringing antler sheds out of Dinosaur National Monument could be fined up to $5,000, and could be sent to jail for 6 months.  Public land management agencies say checking the latest rules and regulations regarding the use of motorized vehicles may prevent costly fines issued by their officers and local sheriff departments.

 

TIPTON CO-SPONSORS BILL TO RESTORE SOLDIERS’ TUITION HELP

Representative Scott Tipton is fighting to protect a program that many troops rely to further their education while serving. Tipton is a co-sponsor of The Save Military Tuition Act, which would restore funding for military tuition assistance programs.  As the result of a Department of Defense memorandum announced last week, the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Cost Guard have suspended their respective programs that provide tuition assistance of up to $4500 a year for active-duty troops and reservists as well as members of the National Guard. According to the Army, the tuition assistance program assisted more than 200,000 Army soldiers in 2012, and is directly related to retaining quality Soldiers, enhancing their career progression, increasing the combat readiness of the Army, and returning Soldiers to civilian careers.  Restoration of the funding for these programs is fully paid for in the bill by cutting $500 million in unspent foreign aid from the $1.5 billion the U.S. currently sending to Egypt.  Tipton has also co-sponsored legislation in Congress to ensure access to quality health care for veterans in rural areas, as well as a measure to protect the integrity of military awards.

 

MARIJUANA TASK FORCE FINISHES ITS WORK

Colorado’s marijuana task force to study how the drug should be grown, sold and taxed has finished its work.  The group is making its recommendations final Wednesday in a report to be released to lawmakers.  The Amendment 64 Task Force included pot advocates, law enforcement and government regulators.  The task force looked at everything from potential tax rates, to potency and labeling standards, to recommendations for keeping the drug away from children.  The task force report is just a series of suggestions, though. The final marijuana regulations will be made by state lawmakers, who have created a special marijuana committee to look at nothing but pot regulation. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.  The U.S. Department of Justice has not said whether it will sue to block Colorado’s law.

 

HIGH CAPACITY MAGAZINE BILL REACHES GOVERNOR’S DESK

A bill to limit magazine capacity on guns in Colorado is headed to Governor Hickenlooper’s desk.  The bill passed the House yesterday after lawmakers there decided to accept changes made by the Senate.  The governor is expected to sign it.  Another bill to establish universal background checks was sent to a conference committee.  There are differences is the House and Senate versions that need to be ironed out.

 

PARKS AND WILDLIFE OFFER ONLINE TURKEY HUNTING SCHOOL

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Outreach program has begun a new online education program called the CPW Turkey School.  The articles and information provided in the school are focused on providing information to the novice hunter who needs some basic skills to begin their hunt. The format of the school is similar to the format used in Elk Hunting University–lessons are written with the novice hunter in mind. The school does not profess to teach all there is to know about hunting spring gobblers, but is intended to give the novice a place to begin learning about turkey hunting.  The school can be accessed by clicking here.

 

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