NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS FOR WEDNESDAY, JULY 24TH

CRAIG CITY COUNCIL INTRODUCES ORDINANCE TO OPT OUT OF POT SALES

The Craig City Council introduced an ordinance last night that details their ability to opt-out of allowing recreational marijuana sales within the city.  Representatives of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union spoke to the council regarding the benefits of allowing sales in town.  They talked about how it would improve the tax base, and create jobs, without compromising public safety.  In fact, they suggested forcing people to drive to Steamboat for marijuana could actually create more of a danger, if people decided to smoke before driving back to Craig.  The ordinance still has to go through two readings before it becomes city law.  Union reps will stick around this week to talk to council members individually.

CAR ACCIDENT IN CRAIG SEND 6 TO HOSPITAL

A two car accident on Highway 40 in Craig sent six people to the hospital yesterday afternoon.  Emergency responders say a pick-up truck t-boned a sedan in front of Walmart, as the sedan was trying to make a left hand turn.  The accident happened just a little before 5 yesterday afternoon.  All occupants of both vehicles, a combination of kids and adults, were taken to The Memorial Hospital at Craig.  None were believed to have had serious injuries.  It’s not clear whether any citations have been issued.

 

NORTHWEST COLORADO FIRES STILL BURNING

The Citadel Fire continues to burn 40 miles northwest of Meeker.  The fire is estimated at just under 1,900 acres, and is burning in Pinon-Juniper and sage bush.  It was caused by lightning during a storm on Sunday.  At this time, officials estimate they have the blaze 10% contained.  The East Tschuddi Fire is 20 miles northwest of Meeker.  It was also caused by lightning and is about 435 acres in size.  Firefighters have that fire 25%contained.

 

AMBULANCE SERVICE RETURNING TO DINOSAUR SOON

Dinosaur residents are closer to getting ambulance service, but it will be through a private company operating out of Vernal, Utah.  Officials in Dinosaur have been talking with Gold Cross Ambulance Service about service to the Dinosaur area.  They told the Moffat County Commissioners yesterday, that Rangely hospital officials have decided they don’t want to provide service any longer to outlying areas of western Moffat County.  The service was costing the town and the county each $6000 per year.  Because Gold Cross is a private business, it doesn’t charge a fee, but rather charges by the call, something that was attractive to Dinosaur.  The company also provides EMT training, so that others in the community can act as first responders and prepare patients for transport.  One concern was whether or not the service would transport strictly to Vernal, however the company has assured the community that they will transport to whatever hospital is requested by the patient, as long as it doesn’t put that patient’s health in further jeopardy.  The commissioners are putting together a Memorandum of Understanding, regarding Gold Cross services, and have directed Dinosaur officials to move forward with the plan.

 

CURLING COMING TO LOUDY SIMPSON ICE ARENA

Moffat County is getting a curling league together.  The county has been looking to fill ice time at Loudy Simpson Ice Arena through new opportunities.  Curling is an Olympic sport, and is growing in popularity.  Both Parks and Maintenance Director Lenny Gillam and County Commissioner Chuck Grobe say they had their doubts when they traveled to Glenwood earlier this year to look more into the sport.  Both say they were surprised at the popularity of the sport, and the diversity it provided.  Grobe says the sport is popular among veterans, the disabled, and young athletes alike.  The commissioners also liked the idea of bringing a sport in that is not available in nearby communities.  Gillam reported that Steamboat doesn’t have a curling league, and adding the sport to the Loudy Simpson Ice Arena would likely draw significant participation from the Steamboat area.  Gillam says they have heard from nearly 100 people interested in starting up a curling team.

 

ROUTT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS RESCIND FIRE RESTRICTIONS

As expected, the Routt County Commissioners rescinded Stage 1 Fire restrictions at their regular meeting yesterday.  However, the commissioners want to remind citizens that just because the restrictions have been rescinded, doesn’t mean there is no danger of fire.  Precautions should still be taken by campers and backyard burners, such as never leaving a fire unattended, clearing away flammable debris before lighting a fire, and always making sure fires are completely out before leaving the area.  The City of Steamboat has also lifted their Stage 1 restrictions.  Moffat and Rio Blanco County restrictions remain in place for now.

 

GARDNER WANTS HOLDER TO CLARIFY COMMENTS ON “STAND YOUR GROUND” LAWS

Representative Cory Gardner sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder asking him to clarify recent comments attacking “Stand Your Ground Laws.”  Gardner’s letter comes a week after the Attorney General gave a speech that called into question self-defense provisions like Stand Your Ground Laws. In the letter, Gardner called Holder’s comments “highly disturbing,” noting that they raised serious constitutional questions and threaten the ability of people to protect themselves.  In the letter, Gardner wrote, “You have recently claimed that there is a duty to retreat, but this is a relatively new concept which would be better called a duty to live in fear.”  Gardner has been a leading proponent of self-defense provisions in the past. As a Colorado State Representative, he introduced legislation that would expand the state’s “Make My Day Law” to cover places of business in addition to homes.  In the letter, Gardner pushed for clarification of the Attorney General’s comments and requested assurance that the Justice Department does not intend to interfere with state self-defense provisions.  You can read the full letter by clicking here.

 

STATE SUBMITS MITIGATION PLAN FOR PUBLIC REVIEW

The state of Colorado has made its draft drought mitigation and response plan available for public comment.  The plan was revised as part of the state’s natural hazard mitigation plan. It includes updates on the state’s progress toward efforts to help mitigate the impacts of drought, such as increasing public awareness and encouraging conservation.  It also includes an updated assessment of areas that would be most vulnerable to loss and damage due to drought, plus a revised response framework.  The public has until August 20th to comment on the draft. Nearly all of Colorado is experiencing some level of drought, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor, which shows southeast Colorado experiencing exceptional drought.

 

COLORADO TOURISM NUMBERS GOING UP SLOWLY

Colorado tourism is on the rise, but the state is still trying to catch up with other states.  State tourism officials estimate a record 60 million visitors last year spent about $17 billion in Colorado.  The 2 percent increase last year compares with a 9 percent increase nationally.  Officials believe weak spring snow or wildfires limited last year’s increase.

 

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