NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR TUESDAY, AUGUST 6TH


Moffat County Hot Air Balloon Festival 2013

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WEEKEND FIRES POP UP IN NORTHWEST COLORADO

The lightning caused Kodiak Fire, reported Saturday afternoon, is burning in thick pinion and juniper trees on BLM land one mile east of Little Bears Ears peak 25 miles northwest of Maybell.  Firefighters are managing the blaze for multiple objectives including wildlife and range enhancement and hazardous fuel reduction. The fire is burning into an area that has a prescribed fire plan in place and is part of the buffer area for the Bears Ears prescribed fire project.  No structures are threatened and no injuries have been reported.  In Rio Blanco County two smaller fires were reported and contained Sunday. Both were on BLM land and lightning caused. The Pinto Mesa Fire was one tenth acre and the Drop Kick Fire was one half acre.  The fire danger is high in Moffat County and moderate in Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson and Grand Counties.

 

STEAMBOAT TO PARTICIPATE IN “NATIONAL NIGHT OUT”

Today, neighborhoods throughout Steamboat are being invited to join forces with thousands of communities nationwide for the “30th Annual National Night Out” crime and drug prevention event. National Night Out, is sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. In all, over 37.5 million people are expected to participate nationwide.  National Night Out is designed to heighten crime and drug prevention awareness, generate support for and participation in local anti-crime efforts, strengthen community partnerships with authorities, and send a message to criminals letting them know neighborhoods are organized and fighting back.  From 7 to 10 tonight, residents are asked to lock their doors, turn on outside lights and spend the evening outside with neighbors and police, and take the time to speak with your children about preventing alcohol and drug abuse.  Grand Futures Prevention Coalition also participates.  If you would like more information about tonight’s event, call 879-4344.

 

TEENAGERS CAN PRE-REGISTER TO VOTE

Colorado teenagers who are 16 and 17 years old will be allowed to pre-register to vote in future elections beginning tomorrow.  Teen pre-registration is available in several states. In Colorado, it was approved by the Democratic-led Legislature this year, and the law takes effect tomorrow. Teens who pre-register can’t vote until they’re 18, but signing up early allows political parties to start reaching out to teens ahead of their eligibility.  Supporters say the new law is a way to get young people invested in the democratic process. Hawaii, Florida and Texas are among the states that allow underage pre-registration.

 

BLM TO TAKE ANOTHER LOOK AT POLLUTION FACTORS IN GARFIELD COUNTY

In a settlement with environmental groups, the Bureau of Land Management has agreed to take another look at potential air pollution associated with more than 1,300 oil and gas wells proposed in the Garfield County area.  Conservation groups said yesterday that no new drilling permits for 34 contested projects will be approved until the review is complete. The groups say the BLM also will establish a public online tracking system for federal drilling permits in its Colorado River Valley field office.  According to settlement documents, the BLM has agreed to pay $98,000 to cover the groups’ attorneys’ fees and costs.  The agreement settles a lawsuit filed by groups who contended the BLM hadn’t fully considered environmental effects in approving the wells.

 

SWEETWATER COUNTY AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING POSSIBLE CAR BOMB

A car believed blown up with binary explosives was discovered near Rock Springs Friday.  Sweetwater County Sheriff Rich Haskell said his office received calls at around 8 Friday night, concerning a grass fire east of Rock Springs and south of Interstate 80.  The blaze turned out to be a vehicle on fire. Sweetwater County firefighters and deputies responded and put out the flames.  However, the extent and nature of the damage to the vehicle, resulted in the Sweetwater Bomb Squad being notified of the incident.  Squad technicians found evidence at the scene that binary explosives, an ammonium nitrate/aluminum powder mixture sold and used in exploding firearms targets, were used to destroy the car. Nobody was hurt in the incident.  Authorities are working now to trace the vehicle’s ownership history.  The Sheriff’s Office is asking that anyone with information about the fire contact authorities. Calls will be handled with discretion.

 

POWERBALL JACKPOT GROWS TO $400 MILLION

The jackpot for tomorrow night’s multi-state Powerball drawing has increased to $400 million! The winning ticket will be worth an estimated $230.3 million in cash. The highest Powerball jackpot ever was $590 million last May.  Proceeds from the Colorado Lottery’s games stay in Colorado to improve the quality of life in the state. The Lottery has returned more than $2.5 billion to the state of Colorado since it was established. Through Great Outdoors Colorado, the Conservation Trust Fund and Colorado State Parks, the Lottery has provided funding for new trails, open space and wildlife protection.

 

LAWMAKERS COLLABORATE ON WATER INFRASTRUCTURE BILL

Republican Congressman Cory Gardner and Democratic Senator Michael Bennet, have come together on bipartisan legislation that would ensure farmers and ranchers have access to modern and safe water infrastructure.  The Water and Agriculture Tax Reform Act of 2013 was introduced last week. The bill would reform outdated tax provisions that hinder ditch and irrigation companies’ ability to raise capital to invest in infrastructure. Current law dictates that mutual ditch and irrigation companies must receive 85 percent of their income from shareholder investment to maintain its non-profit designation. The bill allows these companies to receive other sources of income for operations and maintenance and still maintain its non-profit status. The legislation requires that the extra revenue be used exclusively for operations and maintenance of the ditch and irrigation company.  Currently, when ditch and irrigation companies incur a large capital expense, such as replacing a dam in disrepair, they are severely limited in how they can collect revenue. This legislation eases restrictions while still ensuring that the revenue is used solely for operations and maintenance expenses.