MAYBELL COUPLE WANTS TO GROW MARIJUANA
A Maybell couple showed up to the Moffat County Commissioners meeting yesterday morning, announcing their intent to grow marijuana at their residence. The Commissioners reminded Kris and Ed Brannan that, as of now, the practice is illegal in Moffat County. That’s due to a moratorium the commissioners have against growing operations within the county. Kris urged the commissioners to reconsider their stance on the issue, however Commissioner Chuck Grobe again pointed to past election results showing a slight majority of Moffat County voters that voted against making the drug legal to possess in Colorado. The Brannans say now that the drug is legal, some voters might change their minds about being left out of the economic benefits of the industry. The commissioners have the ultimate say in what issues make the county ballot. The Brannans will do more research and gather petition signatures to show the interest of county residents.
KINKAID TO TESTIFY FOR BILL TO REDUCE RENEWABLE ENERGY MANDATE
Moffat County Commissioner John Kinkaid is heading back to Denver to testify for Representative Ray Scott’s bill, which would reduce the Colorado renewable energy mandate from 20% to 15% in last year’s Senate Bill 252. Kinkaid testified in favor of a bill earlier this month that would have completely nullified last year’s bill, however that proposal failed in committee. Kinkaid is hoping the reduction will be seen as a compromise to Democratic leaders. His testimony will take place at 10 tomorrow morning in Denver. Pictured: John Kinkaid
TMH FOUNDATION RECEIVES $10,000 DONATION
The Memorial Hospital Foundation has been given a $10,000 check from Trapper Mine to improve healthcare for Moffat County. The money will help purchase equipment for the TMH Rehabilitation Center – Physical Therapy Department. The hospital’s physical and occupational therapy services have increased in the last year. Outpatient physical and occupational therapy visits grew by 11.5%, while inpatient physical and occupational therapy visits grew by 15%. The equipment includes a new Patient Lift and Transfer system to replace the current system. The new lift will allow mechanical assistance with standing as well as walking for rehabilitation patients.
SKI RACE AT HOWELSON MEANS TRAILS CLOSED TO PUBLIC
A college ski race will close portions of Howelson Hill this weekend. The Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club will host the University of Colorado (CU) Invitational Nordic Race at the Howelsen Hill Nordic Center tomorrow through Saturday. About 350 competitors are expected for to show up for the event. Nordic Trails used for the race include portions of the Rodeo Loop, Hakan Spar and the Bluffs Loop. These trails will be closed to all Fat Bikes and snowshoers during the race. All remaining trails will remain open to approved trail users. The event will also force the closure of alpine ski trails including Lower Long John, Timbers, Rolling Pitch and Straight Shot. For more information, call 879-4300.
FEDS ALLOW STATES TO GROW HEMP
The federal government is ready to let farmers grow cannabis – at least the kind that can’t get people high. Hemp – marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin that’s used to make everything from clothing to cooking oil – could soon be cultivated in 10 states under a federal farm bill agreement reached late Monday that allows the establishment of pilot growing programs. The plant’s return to legitimacy could clear the way for U.S. farmers to compete in an industry currently dominated by China. Even though it hasn’t been grown in the U.S., the country is one of the fastest-growing hemp markets. In 2011, the U.S. imported $11.5 million worth of legal hemp products, up from $1.4 million in 2000. Most of that growth was seen in hemp seed and hemp oil, which finds its way into granola bars and other products. Ten states, including Colorado, already allow the growing of hemp, though federal drug law has blocked actual cultivation in most.
COLORADO LAWMAKERS REACT TO STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS
Several lawmakers and legislative hopefuls have issued statements regarding last night’s State of the Union Address. Representative Scott Tipton said in part ““While I welcome the President’s call for a year of action on the economy, it remains to be seen what form that will take. Circumventing Congress through a series of executive fiats to entrench already failed economic policies and further expand government is not the answer to encouraging growth, creating jobs, and shrinking the income disparity.” Amy Stephens, candidate for the Senate seat held by Mark Udall expressed similar concerns. She said the president “failed to offer any new ideas to address the challenges facing our country and instead focused on plans to undermine the Constitution by side stepping Congress and expanding executive power.” Senator Michael Bennet, an Obama supporter, focused more on what needs to be done this year, rather than what the president said, but said at one point, “It was good to hear the push for respecting the roles that women play in the workforce through pay and flexibility for those who need to balance work with care for their families.” Pictured: Barrack Obama
TEACHER’S UNION OPPOSES TEACHER RATING PLAN
Colorado’s largest teachers union says it is suing over a 2010 law that gives educators a new rating system. The education law includes a statewide teacher-grading system that sorts educators from “highly effective” to “ineffective.” Teachers with too many consecutive low ratings could lose tenure, while new teachers and those on probationary status will need passing marks before achieving tenure, or non-probationary status. The Colorado Education Association says the law has “proven flaws.” The union announced the intention to file the lawsuit yesterday but didn’t elaborate which parts of the law they would challenge. The union said it would announce more details today. The teachers’ group says it is also backing new legislation to change the law. The effectiveness ratings began for all 178 Colorado school districts this fall.
COLORADO GETS EDUCATION GRANT
Colorado is one of seven states to win a competitive School Improvement Grant (SIG). The state will use the $5,024,226 grant to turn around low-achieving schools. SIGs are awarded to State Educational Agencies (SEA) that then turn them into competitive subgrants for school districts demonstrating the greatest need and the strongest commitment to increasing student achievement.
STATE UNEMPLOYMENT RATE DROPS
The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says Colorado’s unemployment rate has dropped to its lowest rate in five years. The department said yesterday the 6.2 percent jobless rate for December is the lowest since it hit 6.1 percent in December 2008. The largest month-over-month job gains were in leisure and hospitality and professional and business services. The national unemployment rate in December was 6.7 percent.
IN HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
Moffat County boys and girls beat Roaring Fork (B=68-54; G=54-36).
Moffat County lost to Meeker (54-30).
Steamboat goes to Summit. The girls play at 5:30 and the boys at 7:30.
Meeker goes to a triangular in Palisade at 5.
Moffat County is on the road to Grand Valley.
In alpine skiing:
Steamboat goes to Loveland.
The Denver Broncos will play the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII February 2nd at the Meadowlands in New Jersey. Due to NFL restrictions, 55 Country will not be allowed to carry the game.