NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 26TH

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BACKGROUND CHECKS HIT RECORD NUMBERS

State authorities say requests for background checks for firearm purchases in Colorado are coming in at an unprecedented rate since the mass shooting at a Connecticut elementary school.  Colorado Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Susan Medina said Monday that the agency is getting about 3,000 requests a day. She called the figures “unprecedented.” The state has received more than 8,800 background check requests in the last week and Colorado set a single-day record for checks with about 4,200 on the day after the Connecticut shooting.  The shooting has prompted calls for gun control, including legislation to ban assault weapons.  Medina says the increase in requests means background checks are taking up to 68 hours to process. It usually takes minutes.

 

ENERGY LEASES BRING RECORD MONEY INTO THE STATE

Energy leases brought in record revenue to Colorado in the past fiscal year, boosted by big sales in Weld and Arapahoe counties.  The Colorado State Land Board manages land set aside at statehood to support schools, including state land leased for oil and gas drilling.  The board collected $146 million for energy leases for the fiscal year which ended in June. About $100 million came from bonus payments paid upfront by companies to be able to drill on government land. The rest came from royalties paid on oil and gas produced from those leased lands.  Director Bill Ryan said revenues are expected to decline in the current fiscal year because companies have now acquired all the prime land they were interested in, and due to the energy policies of the current administration.

 

NORAD FIELDS RECORD NUMBER OF CALLS WHILE TRACKING SANTA

Volunteers for the North American Aerospace Defense Command’s Santa tracker answered a record number of calls from children – and some adults – curious about when the man in the red suit will land at their house.  NORAD Spokeswoman 1st Lt. Stacey Fenton says that as of midnight yesterday, trackers answered more than 111,000 calls. That’s more than last year’s record of 107,000.  Trackers started taking calls early Monday. They included service members and first lady Michelle Obama, who picked up the phone while vacationing in Hawaii.  NORAD Tracks Santa began in 1955 when a newspaper ad listed the wrong phone number for kids to call Santa. They wound up calling the Continental Air Defense Command, NORAD’s predecessor.  The operation is based at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado.

 

ONE COUNTY BANS POT SHOPS OVER A YEAR AHEAD OF THEIR EXPECTED APPEARANCE

Douglas County is banning commercial marijuana operations before businesses can set up after Colorado voters approved the drug for recreational use.  State officials are still trying to figure out how to regulate the new industry, and shops are not expected to open until at least January 2014. But Douglas County’s ban takes effect tomorrow.  The ban would impact only pot stores and commercial growing operations, not personal use of the drug.  The county is the first in the state to approve a complete ban on pot operations.  The Colorado Department of Revenue is expected to have rules for the industry after July 1. The Colorado Municipal League says many other cities and counties are likely to wait until then to decide on bans.

 

TURKEYS HAVE MADE A COMEBACK IN COLORADO

Once nearly wiped out in Colorado, there are more wild turkeys in the state now than ever before. According to biologists at Colorado Parks and Wildlife, that makes it easier to find places to see America’s largest game bird.  According to Brian Dreher, a senior terrestrial biologist for CPW, the increase is due to the turkeys’ adaptability, high reproductive capability and careful management of hunting.  Dreher said that Colorado wildlife managers began developing strategies to increase the wild turkey population in the early 1980s. Over the ensuing years, the agency successfully transplanted wild turkeys into most of the available habitat in the state.  Turkeys were plentiful in the North America at the time the Pilgrims landed, but as the colonists spread west, turkey populations plummeted to around 30,000 birds by 1900.

 

TREATING A COLD CAN DIFFER DEPENDING ON SYMPTOMS

While last year’s cold and flu season was mild, experts say this year could bring you a wallop of sniffles and sneezes.  While there is no cure for the cold or flu, despite what mom says about her soup, over-the-counter medications can provide relief for the most common symptoms.  The Centers for Disease Control has  a list of tips for selecting the right medication for your symptoms.  Doctors say no matter what your symptoms are, it’s important to get some rest and stay hydrated if you come down with a cold.  Doctors recommend six to eight hours of sleep every night to fight and prevent illnesses and keep the immune system healthy.  To see the CDC’s recommendations, click here.

 

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