NORTHWEST COLORADO NEWS AND SPORTS FOR FRIDAY, NOVEMBER 1ST

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BLACK FOOTED FERRETS RELEASED INTO THE WILD

FERRETAbout 30 black-footed ferrets that are natural predators of prairie dogs have been released in Colorado by wildlife officials, which is welcome news for ranchers who say the prairie dogs are destroying prime rangeland.  Biologists have bred thousands of black-footed ferrets in captivity, but they are not a self-sustaining species in the wild. That could soon change.  In 1967, the black-footed ferret was listed as endangered and protected. Colorado law prohibited any state role introducing endangered species without legislative approval. However, state law was relaxed this year to let ferrets be released on private land under new deals with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  The federal agreements allow the release of endangered species such as the black-footed ferret onto private land without holding the landowner responsible for incidental deaths. Neighboring landowners also are protected if they do not intentionally kill the wild ferrets.

 

RETURNING TO MOUNTAIN STANDARD TIME

TIME CHANGEThis weekend is time change weekend. We return to Mountain Standard Time early Sunday morning.  Remember the key phrase: “Spring forward – Fall back”, and set your clocks back one hour before going to bed tomorrow night.  The Routt County Office of Emergency Management says this is also a good time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.  If you have home disaster kits or emergency fire escape plans, the Office says it’s also a good time to go over those with your family.  If you have not put together a disaster preparedness plan, the Office suggest visiting the Ready Colorado website to learn how.

 

LAWMAKERS TRYING TO PROTECT WATER RIGHTS

SCOTT-TIPTON-300Yesterday, U.S. Senator John Barrasso (R-WY) introduced companion legislation to Congressman Tipton’s (R-CO) Water Rights Protection Act (H.R.3189) adding further momentum to the bipartisan effort to prevent federal agencies from requiring privately held water rights be turned over to the federal government.  Tipton introduced H.R. 3189, the Water Right Protection Act, in September with bipartisan support, and it has been endorsed by a broad coalition of local, state and national stakeholders.  The water Rights Protection Act prohibits agencies from implementing a permit condition that requires the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government in order to receive or renew a permit for the use of land.  It also prohibits the Secretary of the Interior and the Secretary of Agriculture from imposing other conditions that require the transfer of water rights without just compensation.  The Act upholds longstanding federal deference to state water law, and has no cost to taxpayers.  The U.S. Forest Service is attempting to require the transfer of privately-held water rights to the federal government as a permit condition on National Forest System lands. There is no compensation for the transfer of these privately-held rights despite the fact that many stakeholders have invested millions of their own capital in developing them.

 

CPW HAS SUCCESS IN STOPPING SPREAD OF ANS

colorado parksThe effort to stop the spread of harmful Aquatic Nuisance Species continued successfully during the 2013 boating season. Watercraft inspection and decontaminations stations were available at more than 75 locations across the state this year including 41 Colorado Parks and Wildlife stations. Colorado Parks and Wildlife and their numerous partners performed more than 420,000 inspections in 2013, each of which is an important public educational contact.  The threat of ANS hitchhikers coming into Colorado on watercraft from another state is still quite real. Quagga or zebra mussels were found on 14 boats this year, which were intercepted and decontaminated prior to entering Colorado waters.  The infested watercraft came from Wisconsin, Texas, Kansas, Arizona, Michigan, Minnesota, Oklahoma and Kentucky. This year’s interceptions bring the total to 64 contaminated boats kept from Colorado waters in the last five years.

 

INSURERS TELL WYOMING THEY’RE CANCELLING RESIDENTS’ POLICIES

HEALTH-SYMBOL-300Private insurers have told the state of Wyoming that they plan to cancel more than 2,600 health insurance policies for state residents largely because of increased regulation and higher minimum standards set by the federal Affordable Care Act.  Wyoming Insurance Commissioner Tom Hirsig said yesterday most of the cancellations will take effect in December and March. Other companies already have cancelled more than 500 health policies in the state, mostly earlier this year. More cancellations could come as federal deadlines kick in early next year.

 

GAY COUPLE FILES LAWSUIT TO OVERTURN BAN ON SAME-SEX MARRIAGE

civil-union-3001A Colorado gay couple has filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriages.  Dr. Rebecca Brinkman and Margaret Burd filed the lawsuit Wednesday in Adams County District Court after they say they were denied a marriage license earlier the same day. Colorado voters outlawed gay marriage in 2006.  This year, Colorado passed a same-sex civil unions law. But Brinkman and Burd’s attorneys argue civil unions are inferior to marriage and more like a business relationship. The attorneys say Colorado’s ban is unconstitutional and cite the U.S. Supreme Court ruling from June that invalidated part of the Defense of Marriage Act.  Brinkman and Burd have been in a relationship for 34 years.

 

IRS WARNS OF TELEPHONE SCAM

SCAMS-300The Internal Revenue Service is warning consumers about a sophisticated phone scam targeting taxpayers, including recent immigrants, throughout the country.  Victims are told they owe money to the IRS and it must be paid promptly through a pre-loaded debit card or wire transfer. If the victim refuses to cooperate, they are then threatened with arrest, deportation or suspension of a business or driver’s license. In many cases, the caller becomes hostile and insulting.  The IRS says if you know you owe taxes or you think you might owe taxes, call them at 800-829-1040. The IRS employees can help you with a payment issue – if there really is such an issue.  If you know you don’t owe taxes, they advise you to call the Treasury Inspector General and the Federal Trade Commission.  You can also call local authorities.  Taxpayers should be aware that there are other unrelated scams, such as a lottery sweepstakes, and solicitations, such as debt relief, that fraudulently claim to be from the IRS.

 

JUDGE DENIES MOTION TO DECLARE DEATH PENALTY UNCONSTITUTIONAL

death penaltyU.S. Senior District Judge John Kane has denied a motion from lawyers of a Florence inmate who faces the death penalty to declare the federal death penalty law unconstitutional.  Gary Watland’s lawyers argued the sentencing procedures deprive a jury of the ability to make an informed choice between life and death.  Defense attorneys contended that jurors sometimes don’t understand the instructions given by a judge.  Watland is accused of killing a fellow inmate during a struggle between white supremacist gangs seeking to control the yard at a federal prison in Florence in 2008.

agenda tile -450Routt County Planning Commission Agenda for 11-07

Steamboat Redevelopment Authority meeting agenda for 11-19

Steamboat City Council meeting agenda for 11-12

SPORTS

In high school sports:
Yesterday:
In volleyball:
Little Snake River Valley beat Kaycee (3-1) in the first round of the state tournament.

Today:
In football:
Little Snake River Valley plays at Guernsey-Sunrise at 2 in the first round of the state playoffs.
Steamboat goes to Delta at 7.
Moffat County hosts Palisade.  You can catch that game live on KRAI with the pre-game at 6:45 and the kick-off at 7.  You can also listen online.

In volleyball:
Little Snake River Valley plays Lingle-Fort Laramie at 4:30 at the state tournament in Casper.

Tomorrow:
In volleyball:
At the 4-A regional tournament, Steamboat will compete with Montrose and Mountain View at Montrose High School.
At the 2-A regional tournament, Meeker competes with Ridgway and Telluride at Ridgway High School.