ALLEGED POACHERS INDICTED
Colorado Parks and Wildlife, the US Fish and Wildlife Service and Utah Division of Wildlife Resources are announcing the indictments of outfitters 55 year old Christopher Loncarich of Mack, and his assistant guide 30 year old Nicholaus Rodgers of Medford, Oregon for allegedly conspiring to lead clients on illegal hunts in western Colorado and Utah between 2007 and 2010. According to the indictment, the pair is accused of illegally capturing and caging mountain lions and bobcats, often incapacitating them by shooting them in the paws or keeping them in place with leghold traps. Then, with the aid of radio communications, the outfitters brought their clients to the area where the maimed or restrained animal was released, ensuring a kill for their clients. Ron Velarde, Northwest Regional Manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife said in a statement, “If they are found guilty of these charges, it is easily among the worst cases I have seen in my 40-plus years in wildlife management.” The indictment also states that Loncarich and Rodgers took several clients on illegal hunts in Utah without the proper tags, then would bring cat’s hides back to Colorado to ‘check-in’ with CPW using falsified records to obtain the required seals. Many of the hides were then transported to the clients home state, a violation of the Lacey Act – a felony. Federal law prohibits the transportation of illegally taken wildlife across state lines. To date, four assistant guides have also pleaded guilty to offenses arising from the conspiracy.
STANKO APPOINTED TO CATTLEMEN’S BOARD
On December 31st, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the appointment of Joanne Stanko, of Steamboat, to the national Cattlemen’s Beef Promotion and Research Board. She joins 40 other new appointments to the 103-member board and will serve a three year term. Stanko is an active member of Routt County CattleWomen, Colorado CattleWomen and National CattleWomen having served many positions of leadership in all three organizations. She currently serves on the Colorado Agriculture Commission per an appointment by Governor Hickenlooper. The Beef Promotion and Research Board is authorized by the Beef Promotion and Research Act of 1985. Research and promotion programs are industry-funded, authorized by Congress and date back to 1966.
EPA PUBLISHES NEW RULE FOR POWER PLANTS
The Environmental Protection Agency has published its revised proposal to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from new power plants, also know as the New Source Performance Standard. The rule would limit carbon dioxide emissions to 1,000 pounds per megawatt-hour (MWh) for gas plants and 1,100 pounds per MWh for coal plants. While it’s expected that gas fired plants will be able to comply with relative ease, coal-fired plants will have to install an expensive carbon capture and storage (CCS) system, a risk few utilities are willing to take due to the cost, the liability and questions about CCS technology. Energy experts say it will nearly double the cost of building a new coal fired plant. The rule was published yesterday, and the public now has 60 days to comment.
PARKS AND WILDLIFE SEEKS INPUT ON HUNTING SEASONS
Colorado Parks and Wildlife will soon be seeking public input on the structure of the state’s big game hunting seasons for 2015 through 2019. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission sets big game season structures in five-year blocks, which provides consistency for sportsmen, hunting-related businesses, landowners and communities. The season structure process is designed for the public to provide agency staff and the Commission with input on major hunting issues like the number of seasons for each species, the overlap among different seasons, breaks between seasons and the beginning and ending dates of hunting seasons. Changes to the “preference point” system, which is used to award licenses for Colorado?s premium hunting opportunities, will also be considered. In February and March, Colorado Parks and Wildlife will offer public meetings throughout the state, will reach out to established stakeholder forums, and will provide other opportunities for people to provide information, opinions and thoughts. The structure of the 2015-2019 big game seasons will be guided by input from the public and stakeholders. To learn more, click here.
COLORADO LEGISLATIVE SESSION BEGINS
Proposals providing tax relief for people who lost their properties during the September floods and incentives for wildfire mitigation are among the first bills of the Colorado legislative session. The first House bill of the year would reimburse property taxes for people whose properties were destroyed by flooding last year. Another bill seeks to expedite the repair of irrigation ditches damaged by the floods by allowing people to bypass water court to begin work immediately. Lawmakers also want to create a tax credit for homeowners who conduct fire mitigation on their properties. The 2014 legislative session started yesterday. Other bills that have been introduced include a Republican attempt to allow people to carry a concealed firearm without a permit. Democrats want to allow gay couples to file state taxes jointly.
VIOLENT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT ARRESTED IN WYOMING
A violent felon wanted by U.S. Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement was apprehended by Sweetwater County deputies on January 3rd. Sheriff Rich Haskell said Deputies stopped a speeding mini-van with Texas plates at about 2:30 in the morning on I-80 just east of Rock Springs. In the van were a total of 12 men and women, all illegal aliens, mostly from Guatemala, headed for Los Angeles, Las Vegas, and Reno. Deputies identified one of the men as Luis Lopez-Herrera, aka Luis Enrique Lopez, a 39-year-old Mexican national paroled from the Texas prison system in 2013. The Houston Police Department arrested Lopez-Herrera for Aggravated Assault in 2004 when he stabbed his wife. He was convicted, sentenced to prison for 14 years, served nine years, and was paroled in January of last year. Authorities believe Lopez-Herrera was returned to Mexico, then reentered the United States, earning the I.C.E. classification of fugitive deported felon. Haskell said I.C.E. officers will pick up Lopez-Herrera within a few days. On parole until 2018, he now faces the prospect of four more years in a Texas prison.
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
The Meeker girls host Plateau Valley at 5.
Moffat County hosts Hayden at 6.
Meeker is home against Paonia.
In alpine skiing:
Steamboat goes to Loveland.
Hayden hosts West Grand. The boys play at 5:30 and the girls at 7.
Meeker is home against Hotchkiss. The girls tip off at 5:30 and the boys at 7.
Steamboat is on the road to Palisade. The girls play at 6 and the boys at 7:30.
Soroco hosts South Park. The girls play at 3 and the boys at 4:30.
Rangely welcomes Paonia. The girls tip off at 5:30 and the boys at 7.
Little Snake River Valley goes to Manila. The girls play at 4:30 and the boys at 6.
Hayden, Rangely and Meeker go to the Tournament of Champions in Vernal.
Steamboat hosts Dakota Ridge at 6:30.
In girls swimming:
Steamboat travels to Aspen for a meet.
Moffat County goes to Summit.
In Nordic skiing:
Steamboat goes to Summit at 10.