News briefs for Dec. 23

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The Bureau of Land Management Little Snake Field Office has scheduled three public "scoping" meetings to gather public input and ideas for the area's Resource Management Plan revision. The RMP provides a framework for management of BLM Lands.
The meeting schedule is:
n Jan. 4, Steamboat Springs, OIympian Hall, Howelsen Hill, 845 Howelsen Parkway, from 3 to 8 p.m.
n Jan. 5, Craig, Shadow Mountain Clubhouse, 1055 Moffat County Road 7, from 3 to 8 p.m.
n Jan. 6, Maybell, Maybell School Gym, 30 Haynes Ave., from 6 to 9 p.m.
The meetings will bc conducted in an open house format. People need not arrive at the scheduled time nor stay the duration but may enter and leave at their convenience during the scheduled hours.
The RMP will provide a framework for management of 1.3 million acres of BLM public land and an additional 1.1 million acres of subsurface mineral estate. The planning area includes portions of Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties.
"We hope that the public will find time to attend one or more of these meetings to help us determine the major issues driving management on BLM lands in the Little Snake Field Area," said Little Snake Field Manager John Husband.
In preparing the RMP, the BLM will consider a range of alternatives for management of activities ranging from oil and gas to range, natural and scenic values, and recreation management. The EIS will providc specific information about the environmental impacts of the alternative management scenarios, in accordance with federal laws like the Federal Land Policy Management Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.
Additional information on the RMP/ElS can be found online at www.co.blm.gov/lsra/rmp. Or, contact Jeremy Casterson, 970-826-5071 or Jeremy_Casterson@co.blm.gov, at the Little Snake Field Office, 455 Emerson St., Craig, CO 81625.

Elks host New Year's sleepover for children

The Elks Lodge is hosting a New Years Eve sleepover for children ages 1 to 14 in the Elks Lodge basement beginning at 9 p.m. The fee is $10 a child and all proceeds go to Laridan Hall. Please bring a sleeping bag, pillow, pajamas and playpens for little ones. The Elks will have movies and games and will serve a pancake breakfast from 9 to 11 a.m. Breakfast also will be served to those who don't sleepover at $5 a plate. No sick children. Call Dora at 824-2251.

Mountain Plains Farm Credit declares dividend
The Mountain Plains Farm Credit Services board of directors has declared a 2004 cash dividend of $10 million which will be distributed to the association's eligible borrowers in March.
Terry Anders, president and CEO, said the Ownership Dividend program was approved by the board of directors in 2003, and dividend checks will be based on the amount of 2004 interest paid by each borrower.
"We have worked hard since 1931 to build a financially strong and stable local lending institution to ensure competitively priced credit will be available no matter the economic condition of agriculture. Our borrowers can take pride in knowing we've achieved our goal, and now we are able to refund a meaningful portion of this year's profits to them. The Ownership Dividend Program is one of the many ways our profits stay in the rural communities we serve," Anders said.
Mountain Plains Farm Credit Board Chairman, Robert Bray, said the lender's Ownership Dividend program is also one of the benefits of becoming a borrower.
"Mountain Plains Farm Credit is the area's only major agricultural lender that is owned by its borrowers. And because ownership has its privileges, the Ownership Dividend program is designed to refund a portion of the association's profits to the farmers and ranchers we serve, reducing their cost of borrowing money."
Because the Internal Revenue Service considers cash dividends taxable income, borrowers also will receive a 1 099-PATR form.
Mountain Plains Farm Credit Services, a $746.8 million lending cooperative, serves farmers, ranchers, agribusinesses and rural residents from offices in Greeley, Grand Junction, Montrose and Durango.

Craig Daily Press seeks Ed Board members
The Craig Daily Press is accepting nominations for community representatives on its Editorial Board. The community representatives would serve a four-month term starting Jan. 1.
The Editorial Board includes two community representatives and three members of the newspaper staff.
Newspaper staff members on the board are publisher Samantha Johnston, editor Andy Smith and reporter Rob Gebhart. The Editorial Board formulates the "Our View" position expressed on the Opinion page of the newspaper.
Readers interested in serving on the Editorial Board should send a letter of 500 words or fewer expressing their interest in the board to Smith at asmith@craigdailypress.com or 466 Yampa Ave., Craig, CO 81625. Letters also may be dropped off at the Daily Press office.
Nominations are due Friday. Call Smith at 824-7031 with questions.

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