MINK FARM UNDER SCRUTINY BY MOFFAT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS
The Moffat County Commissioners tabled a decision yesterday on whether or not to grant a Conditional Use Permit for a mink farm north of Craig. The operators of the farm are under fire for not living up to an agreement with the commissioners already. The mink farm was first started in the Western Knolls area, without the proper permits. After getting complaints about the smell and environmental concerns, the operators were told the set-up was illegal. At that time, resident Sherman Romney asked the commissioners for a Conditional Use Permit to move the operation further into the county. The permit was granted, provided they were moved out of the Western Knolls area, and the property cleaned up by the end of June. That still hasn’t happened, Romney is no longer a part of the operation, and the location for the new farm has changed, leaving the commissioners uncertain about issuing the permit. While the commissioners say if the farm meets all stipulations of a conditional use permit, they won’t be able to deny it, they would like to include in the agreement some repercussions if those stipulations aren’t met. Homeowners located near the new location, along with some that lived near the old operation, showed up yesterday to protest the permit. The issue will be revisited at next week’s meeting.
MOFFAT COUNTY COMMISSIONERS APPROVE PROPOSED BUDGET
The Moffat County Commissioners approved their proposed budget for 2014 yesterday. The entire budget is projected to be a little over $78.5 million. That’s about $3.5 million less than last year’s budget. The decrease is attributed mainly to a reduction in property tax collection and mineral lease revenue. The numbers are preliminary, as the budget from The Memorial Hospital has not yet been submitted. The county uses last year’s numbers until current numbers are provided. The decrease also means there will be no pay raises within the county this year.
RISSER LEAVING DINOSAUR MONUMENT FOR NEW POSITION
Mary Risser, a 32-year career employee of the National Park Service (NPS), and Superintendent of Dinosaur National Monument has been chosen to serve as Superintendent of Natchez Trace Parkway. Risser is currently on assignment as Acting Deputy Regional Director and Chief of Staff for the Intermountain Region of the NPS until the end of November. Since 2005, Risser served as the Superintendent of 210,000-acre Dinosaur National Monument. She made the highly controversial decision to close the old Quarry Visitor Center because of its structural instability. She then secured the funding and oversaw the construction of the new Quarry Visitor Center and rehabilitation of the Quarry Exhibit Hall, which protects the 100-foot long by 50-foot high wall of almost 1,500 dinosaur fossils. She reorganized the paleontology program, which has resulted in the park leveraging $200,000 into well over $1 million worth of paleontological research in the last five years. The Natchez parkway spans 444 miles through three states, 25 counties, and 20 communities. Risser says the change will be a big one for her, but one she’s looking forward to.
QUESTAR DONATES TO THE MEMORIAL HOSPITAL
Questar Corporation has presented a $5,000 check to The Memorial Hospital Foundation in support of new software for the Emergency Department. The funding will assist with the purchase of a new electronic medical record system for the Emergency Department., which the hospital says will refine their ability to provide the best quality emergency department care. The Memorial Hospital Foundation also received funding in the form of a $50,000 grant for their electronic medical record system from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). Hospital officials expressed their appreciation for the contribution.
PARKS AND WILDLIFE TO CONSIDER BIG GAME LICENSE FEES AT MEETING
The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission will finalize 2014 fishing regulations and consider increases in 2014 non-resident big game hunting license fees when the Commission meets in Lamar on Thursday and Friday. Most non-resident big game license fees are set in statute and adjusted annually according to the Denver-Boulder Consumer Price Index; however, the Commission will consider adjustments to previous policies that reduced the fees non-residents pay for cow elk licenses. In past years when elk populations were above statewide and herd management objectives, Commissioners lowered non-resident cow elk license fees to promote harvest and bring populations in line with management objectives. Having successfully achieved the biological management goal for elk populations, Commissioners will now consider reducing the discount.
TIPTON TALKS HEALTH CARE ON FOX
Yesterday, Congressman Scott Tipton (R-CO) appeared on FOX News to discuss concerns with the Affordable Care Act. Tipton spoke about the stories he’s hearing from constituents who are experiencing challenges signing up for insurance through the exchanges, have lost their existing coverage, and are facing increased health care costs. On Friday, the House will vote on H.R. 3350 to allow Americans to keep their existing health insurance plans if they wish. Tipton is supportive of patient-driven health care solutions like the Empowering Patient’s First Act (H.R. 2300), of which he is a co-sponsor. To see Tipton’s interview, click the link below.
SWEETWATER COUNTY SHERIFF WARNS OF IRS SCAM
The Sweetwater County Sheriff’s Office has issued a warning about a “delinquent taxes scam” circulating throughout the country, including local communities. Sheriff Rich Haskell said his office has received a number of reports from people in Rock Springs and Green River who have received telephone calls from people claiming to be agents of the Internal Revenue Service, demanding payment of delinquent or otherwise unpaid income taxes. Haskell said the pattern is for the caller to demand prompt payment with a credit or debit card or through a wire transfer. If the person called refuses or begins asking questions, the caller often threatens a visit from law enforcement, arrest, or a driver’s license revocation. Officials said legitimate communications from the IRS begin with a letter, not a phone call. If you get one of these calls and feel it is not legitimate, call your local law enforcement.