BORD GULCH RANCH MANAGER TO BE HONORED TONIGHT
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will honor two winners as Landowners of the Year for 2013 before the Pro Rodeo at the National Western Stock Show tonight, one of which is Bord Gulch Ranch Manager Ray Owens. Owens manages the sprawling 15,000+ acre Bord Gulch Ranch in Moffat County. The ranch is prime habitat for greater sage-grouse and mule deer, winters thousands of elk, and is a year-round home to dozens of other species. Owens works closely with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and wildlife conservation groups to manage the traditional ranching property in a way that benefits the area’s native wildlife. He showed off those measures earlier this week to Governor John Hickenlooper, National Fish And Wildlife Director Dan Ashe, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell, and the BLM’s top official, Neil Kornze. The Wildlife Landowner of the Year Award is part of the Colorado Parks and Wildlife Landowner Recognition Program, which has worked to highlight exemplary land management practices and recognize landowners who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in wildlife conservation since 1982. Pictured: (l-r: Tom Mathers, Dan Ashe, Ray Owens)
RIO BLANCO COUNTY TO BE CELEBRATED AS “STORMREADY”
National Weather Service officials have recognized Rio Blanco County as a StormReady county. The StormReady program helps community leaders and residents better prepare for hazardous weather and flooding. StormReady counties have made a strong commitment to implement the infrastructure and systems needed to save lives and protect property when severe weather strikes. John Hutchins, the county’s Emergency Manager, says, “Rio Blanco County contains lower elevation areas vulnerable to flash flooding and severe thunderstorms, as well as high elevation areas such as the Flat Tops Mountains which experience frequent winter storms and strong wind events.” To be recognized as StormReady, a county must maintain a 24-hour warning point and emergency operations center; have more than one way to receive National Weather Service warnings and to alert the public; be able to monitor local weather and flood conditions; conduct community preparedness programs; and ensure hazardous weather and flooding are addressed in formal emergency management plans. Ben Moyer, Meteorologist-In-Charge of the National Weather Service forecast office in Grand Junction, will present county officials with a certificate and special StormReady signs during a recognition ceremony at the Fairfield Center in Meeker Monday morning at 11.
MOFFAT COUNTY REPUBLICANS PREPARING FOR LINCOLN DAY DINNER
The Moffat County Republican Party is gearing up for their annual Lincoln Day Dinner next month. The event is over two weeks away, but organizers say space is limited and they suggest reserving your spot as soon as possible. The night will feature elected officials and candidates for local office. State Party Chairman Ryan Call is listed as the special guest of the evening. The cost is $50 per person, which includes dinner. The Moffat County Lincoln Day Dinner will be February 8th at the Clarion Inn and Suites, formerly the Holiday Inn of Craig, at 7. You can make your reservation by calling 629-9762.
BENNET CONTINUES TO PUSH FOR PILT IN FARM BILL
Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet continues his push to include crucial funding for the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program in the conference report for the Farm Bill. Payments are used to help rural communities with nontaxable federal lands provide critical services, such as police, fire protection, emergency response, and public education. Bennet is a member of the conference committee negotiating a final bill that is expected in the coming weeks. On Monday, he met with leaders from the West Slope to discuss the importance of these resources. Tomorrow, he’ll be meeting with county leaders throughout the state at the monthly Colorado Counties Inc. conference in Denver. Pictured: Michael Bennet
LAWMAKERS WANT TO REVIEW CANCELLATION NOTICES
Senate Republicans yesterday sent a letter to the Commissioner of the Colorado Division of Insurance (CDI), Marguerite Salazar, requesting further data on the cancellation of insurance policies in Colorado due to Obamacare. A recent report issued by CDI indicated that the number of Coloradans who have had their insurance policies cancelled due to Obamacare experienced a dramatic jump from 249,199 cancelled policies in November 2013 to the current number of 335,000 cancelled policies. The lawmakers are asking that the CDI report back to the Senate with an updated number of how many individual policies have been cancelled due to Obamacare and how many employer-provided plans have been cancelled due to Obamacare. They would also like a geographic breakdown of policy cancellations by county to better illustrate which parts of the state have been impacted the most by cancellations. Finally they would like information on the price difference between old policies and the proposed replacement policies in the case of cancellation notices that included an offer to renew at a higher price, including both differences in premiums and in deductibles. They want the information within a month.
BILL WOULD CHANGE THE WAY SAME-SEX COUPLE FILE TAXES
A bill that would change the way some same-sex couples in Colorado file their taxes has passed the Senate despite Republican objections that the measure chips away at the state’s constitutional ban on gay marriage. The tax measure passed 18-16 yesterday, with all Democrats voting for it and all Republicans present voting against it. The bill now heads to the House, where Democrats have a wider majority. The measure requires partners in a civil union to file their Colorado taxes using the same filing status on their federal tax return. That means that partners who are married in another state and file joint federal returns would also be able to file joint Colorado returns.
BILLS CONSIDERED FOR MORE AFFORDABLE HOUSING
Colorado lawmakers are considering increasing funds for the development of more affordable housing in the aftermath of flooding and wildfires last year. A bill getting its first hearing yesterday would pay for the construction of up to 800 affordable housing units. The proposal would also allow the state to use a portion of a grant fund for temporary housing and foreclosure prevention. Democratic Representative Crisanta Duran, one of the bill sponsors, says the total cost to the state would be about $5 million. Lawmakers say there’s an increased need for affordable housing because of historic flooding and wildfires last year.
SWEETWATER COUNTY SHERIFF WARNS OF PHISHING SCAM
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office issued an alert yesterday concerning an email phishing scam circulating in the county. Sheriff Rich Haskell said his office has received a number of reports from people who have received emails, purportedly from Pacific Gas & Electric, (PG & E), a California-based utility company. The emails are fraudulent “energy statements” advising the recipient that their “account” is overdue and directing them to click a link in the email to view their “account statement.” Once the link is clicked, a file is launched that places malicious software on your computer. This malware is then used by criminals to obtain sensitive information such as user names, passwords, and credit card data; the process is called “phishing.” Officials recommend that such emails be deleted immediately.
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Soroco girls beat Vail Christian (58-41). The boys lost (83-78).
Moffat County travels to a triangular with Delta and Hotchkiss.
Rangely hosts a Triangular meet.
Hayden heads to Vail Christian. The girls play at 7 and the boys at 8:30.
The Meeker boys host Debeque at 7.
Moffat County hosts Coal Ridge. The girls tip off at 5:30 and the boys at 7:30.
Little Snake River Valley is home against Cokeville. The girls play at 4:30 and the boys at 6.
Rangely hosts Plateau Valley. The girls start at 5:30 and the boys at 7.
Soroco heads to Belleview Christian. The girls tip off at 3 and the boys at 4:30.
Hayden hosts a triangular with Soroco and Glenwood at 6.
Steamboat hosts Battle Mountain at 6:30.
In alpine skiing:
Steamboat goes to a meet in Aspen.