NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 21ST

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MOFFAT COUNTY TO JOIN SECESSION EFFORT?

COLORADO-STATE-FLAGThe Moffat County Commissioners are supportive of northeastern counties that are attempting to secede from Colorado.  In fact, the commissioners are wondering how they can join them.  Commissioner John Kinkaid says he plans to put a question on the November ballot, but how the question will read is unclear.  The board says there are three ways Moffat County could separate itself from Colorado.  The county could join the current secession effort, although it would mean the new state’s land would also be divided.  The county could also create a state of its own.  Or it could join another state, such as Wyoming.  The latter choice would be logistically the easiest choice.  While Kinkaid isn’t sure yet how he will form the question, he said there WILL be a question on the ballot.  The commissioners also agreed that while any move to separate the county from the state is unlikely to be successful, it sends a clear message to Denver lawmakers, that rural areas of Colorado are unhappy with the way they are being ignored.  Gun laws and oil and gas regulations are at the height of the issues upsetting rural Coloradans.  Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said yesterday that “If we had a governor that actually acted like a governor, instead of acting like a Denver Mayor, there would be no secession effort”.  Five counties in Northeast Colorado have placed secession questions on their upcoming ballots, and a handful of other counties are still considering it.

 

SAFEWAY SAYS STORE NOT CLOSING, EMPLOYEES PREPARE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT

SAFEWAYWhile Craig Safeway employees maintain their store is closing next month, corporate officials are singing a different tune.  Director of Public Affairs Kris Staaf says there has been a lot of confusion surrounding the fate of the store, but she says there has been no decision made to close their Craig location.  She says they have decided to sell the pharmacy, but that is the only decision that has been made.  In the meantime, Craig Safeway employees and managers say they have dates scheduled for trucks to empty out the store next month.  They also say Human Resources came in earlier this week to help employees fill out their paperwork for unemployment benefits.  Employees say they have been told the closing date for the store is September 21st, around the same time Staaf says the pharmacy will be sold.

 

STEAMBOAT APPROVES NIGHT SKIING PLAN DESPITE CONCERNS

NIGHT SKIINGThe Steamboat City Council has voted to approve a plan by the Steamboat Ski Area to add night skiing this winter.  The Council voted unanimously last night to approve the resort’s plan to light 1,100 vertical feet of terrain on the lower mountain for skiing after the sun goes down.  The ski area plans to initially offer night skiing from 6:30 to 8:30 Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, extending those hours to 9:30 in the spring and to 11 for some special events.  Supporters say night skiing could revitalize the base area, which usually seems deserted after dark. Other residents near the ski area say they are concerned about light and noise pollution.

 

TRAFFIC ON HIGHWAY 40 TO BE AFFECTED BY BIKE RACE

bike-race-300Riders in the USA Pro Challenge (USAPC) will be traveling from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs today, impacting two state roadways along the 106-mile route.  Highway 9 southbound from Silverthorne to Kremmling will be closed from noon to 3.  Eastbound U.S. Highway 40 will also be closed from 1 to 5.  To avoid the race, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) suggests motorists use I-70, and State Highways 131 and 134.  The times for delays and closures are estimates only and may be subject to change depending on the pace of the riders, weather, and other unforeseen circumstances.  In addition to the state highways, other impacted roadways include Swan Mountain Road from State Highway 9 to U.S. 6, and Heeney Road around Green Mountain Reservoir.  For more information, click here.

 

COMMISSIONERS REDRAW AMBULANCE SERVICE LINES

AMBULANCEThe Moffat County Commissioners yesterday redrew the lines of the Maybell Ambulance Service Area to include a portion of the county that was previously covered by the Rangely Ambulance Service.  Rangely has decided to discontinue service to southern Moffat County, forcing County officials to bring those areas into Maybell’s service area.  At the same time, the commissioners approved an M.O.U. with Gold Cross Ambulance Service, a private company in Vernal, to provide service to the far western part of Moffat County.  County officials have been scrambling to replace the Rangely ambulance, after Rangely made the decision to discontinue its service.

 

CRASH ON 13 SENDS ONE PERSON TO HOSPITAL

Vehicle-Accident-300Emergency workers responded to a single car roll-over accident yesterday evening on Highway 13.  The accident happened about 2 miles south of Craig.  The driver was transported to The Memorial Hospital at Craig, with undisclosed injuries.  There were no other passengers in the vehicle.

 

 

STEAMBOAT HOSTS MEETING ON EMERALD MOUNTAIN PARK PLAN

emerald-mountain-300The City of Steamboat is hosting another meeting to gather input from the public on creating a Master Plan for Emerald Mountain Park.  The 586 acre parcel being discussed, was acquired by the City in 2010, and is home to various trails, wildlife, and scenic resources that are currently used recreationally by residents and visitors alike. The trails at Emerald Mountain Park are currently used for hiking, biking, skiing, and horseback riding. Part of the process of creating the master plan is finding out from the public what is working and what isn’t.  For those who can’t attend the meeting, there is an interactive website where people can answer questions on potential trails or improvements, vote on ideas or submit their own, and view the notes from the public meetings.  The meeting will be held on August 28th from 5:30 to 7:30 at the Steamboat Community Center, with a subsequent meeting to be held in October to unveil a draft of the master plan.

 

VOLUNTEERS SOUGHT FOR HAHN’S PEAK RESTORATION PROJECT

forest-service-signThe U.S. Forest Service is partnering with HistoriCorps to conduct some emergency stabilization of the Hahn’s Peak Lookout near Columbine, and they’d like some volunteers to help them out.  The volunteer day will be Saturday.  Those interested should meet at the Hahn’s Peak Trailhead at 9:00.  The Hahn’s Peak Lookout can be seen from the trailhead.  A 4-wheel drive or higher clearance vehicle is recommended.  There is an approximate one and a half hour hike to the Lookout. Volunteers should bring a lunch and plenty of water. Safety equipment will be supplied, but you can bring your own work gloves.  If you’d like to take part, RSVP at 870-2148.

 

NORTHWEST RAC TO DISCUSS SAGE GROUSE AND ROAN PLATEAU

sage_grouse-300The Bureau of Land Management’s Northwest Resource Advisory Council will meet tomorrow in Grand Junction at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Hunter Education Building. This is a new location from what was previously announced because of scheduling conflicts.  Agenda items include a draft Roan Plateau resolution, the Northwest Colorado Greater Sage-grouse Environmental Impact Statement, comment summary from the Grand Junction Field Office Regional Management Plan, conditions of approval on grazing leases, special recreation permits, and field manager updates.  The Northwest Colorado RAC meets quarterly in northwestern Colorado. It is one of several citizen advisory councils to the BLM. Its 15 members are appointed by the Secretary of the Interior and represent a broad range of public land interests, including environmental, local government, wild horse and burro, and commercial activity.  Tomorrow’s meeting runs from 8 to 3 and is open to the public, with public comment periods scheduled for 10 and 2.

 

POT INDUSTRY HOPEFULS WILL NEED CAPITAL TO OPERATE

MARIJUANA-300If you want to be in the legal pot industry in Colorado, open your checkbook. Colorado’s pot regulators launched three days of hearings yesterday to lay out licensing specifics before retail sales begin in January.  Would-be entrepreneurs will be charged up to $5,000 just to apply to be in the recreational pot business, and operational licenses run $3,750 to $14,000 under the proposed rules.  Successful applicants must also pass gauntlet of criminal background checks and residency requirements.  The result is expected to be an industry that will have as much red tape as green leaves.  Colorado is trying to show it can strictly regulate and control a drug that has been operating in the shadows for decades, despite the advent of medical marijuana licensing.