Craig briefs for Nov. 15

Village Inn celebrates 50 years

— Village Inn Restaurant, operated by Family Restaurants, a franchisee of Vicorp Restaurants of Denver, announces a celebration of our first 50 years of operation.

On Nov. 17, 1958, the first Village Inn Pancake House opened in Denver.

"To commemorate this golden anniversary milestone, Village Inn invites the community to come in and join in our celebration," Village Inn announced in a news release. "We will have 50th anniversary balloons and special coloring pages for the kids. And, during the week of Nov. 17, each member of our wait staff will award one Golden Anniversary Ticket to a personally selected family of their choice. This 'random act of gratitude' is our way of allowing each member of our service team to say thank you to our loyal customers. We also will be arming some members of the local community with Golden Tickets to issue to deserving families of their choice outside of the restaurant. Each Golden Ticket will earn a free meal for that family up to a one-time value of $50."

Village Inn has been in Craig for 29 of its 50 years. The company, the news release states, is "grateful for the friendships that we have formed in that time."

Xcel Energy files for electric rate increase

Xcel Energy proposed Friday a $174.7 million electricity rate increase for Colorado, expected to become effective next summer.

"The increase is the result of the company's efforts to meet state energy needs through power generation expansion, continued emission reductions work, and system reliability improvements," Xcel reported in a news release.

The filing today with the Colorado Public Utilities Commission would increase electricity bills for typical residential customers by $5.13 a month to $66.31, or 8.4 percent, based on use of 625 kilowatt-hours. Small-business customers would see an increase of $7.84 a month to $105.83, or 8 percent, based on use of 1,025 kilowatt-hours.

"Xcel Energy has made significant investments in recent years in our generation, transmission and distribution systems, to ensure that we have adequate, reliable, cost-effective and environmentally sound resources to meet the energy needs of Colorado," Tim Taylor, president and CEO of Public Service Co. of Colorado, an Xcel Energy company, said in the news release.

The implementation of the new rates most likely will not occur until next summer, as Xcel Energy has noted, to allow for extensive hearings on the request.

Xcel Energy filed its last electric rate case in April 2006. Before that time, Xcel Energy had not filed an electric rate case since 2001. The 2006 electric rate case resulted in a 7.7 percent increase for typical residential and small-business customers.

Taylor noted that the company has invested or will invest nearly $1.7 billion in major new electricity infrastructure since the last rate case and through 2009. He noted that continued investment in utility infrastructure is critical, even during difficult financial times, to ensure the state will be poised for economic recovery.

"We know our customers' budgets are stretched, but we also know they count on us for the electricity they need in their homes and businesses. We would not ask for an increase unless it was truly needed," Taylor said.

Wildlife Commission adopts regulations

On Thursday, the Colorado Wildlife Commission approved regulations for the 2009 fishing and turkey hunting seasons with minimal changes. The Commission also adjusted fees for nonresident big game hunting licenses that, by statute, increase along with the Consumer Price Index, which increased by 3.7 percent in the past year.

The 2009 spring turkey seasons runs April 11 to 26 or April 27 to May 17, depending on the unit. The 2009 fall season runs Sept. 1 through Oct. 5. Commissioners voted to open game management unit 101 to limited either sex fall turkey hunting, establish private-land-only spring turkey licenses in GMU 102 and open GMU 138 to limited spring and fall turkey hunting. Colorado offers over-the-counter turkey licenses or limited licenses based on population estimates within each unit.

Beginning in 2009, anglers will be limited in the number of mountain whitefish they can take from the upper Yampa River drainage. The daily bag limit will be four fish, with a total possession limit of eight. There are no bag or possession limits on mountain whitefish anywhere else in the state.

Commissioners were briefed about a number of proposed changes to the 2009 big game hunting seasons. Among the new proposals were suggestions for new seasons for bighorn sheep in Glenwood Canyon and Mount Zirkel and closing bighorn sheep hunting in Taylor Canyon.

Other issues included a proposal for a new moose season on the Grand Mesa and a statewide mandatory check of harvested moose. Other topics included expanding elk management hunting seasons to reduce crop damage in the San Luis Valley, modifications to Private Land Hunting seasons in certain areas to address herd management, game damage and changes to the hunting season dates in Fort Carson. Final actions on the proposals are scheduled for the January commission meeting in Denver.

Commissioners also were briefed about a proposed regulation change to allow the Division of Wildlife Director to enact emergency closures on Division-controlled properties to protect wildlife or habitat in addition to his current authority relative to public safety.

Commissioners also heard information about a proposal to remove the bald eagle from the state threatened species list. A citizen petition for rulemaking was heard, asking the commission to expand the seasonal closures on shed-antler collection within the Upper Gunnison River Basin to protect Gunnison sage-grouse.

Division of Wildlife staff gave a presentation regarding the five-year Review of Big Game Hunting Season Structure. Colorado's current five-year Big Game Hunting Season Structure expires at the end of the 2009 hunting seasons. Members of the public who wish to submit comments regarding the Big Game Hunting Seasons can do so on the DOW Web site at www.wildlife.state.co.us.

The Colorado Wildlife Commission is an 11-member board appointed by the governor. The Commission sets DOW regulations and policies for hunting, fishing, watchable wildlife, nongame, threatened and endangered species. The commission also oversees DOW land purchases and property regulations.

Craig Ducks Unlimited annual banquet today

The Craig Chapter of the Ducks Unlimited will host its 28th annual banquet today. Mike and Mardi Anson are the co-chairpeople this year.

The evening event will start at 5 p.m. with cocktails, followed by dinner at 6 p.m. The auction will start at 7 p.m.

Tickets cost $75 for a couple, $50 a person, $25 a child and $500 for a corporate table of 10.

For tickets or information, call Mike or Mardi Anson at 824-0382.

USDA commodities distribution Tuesday

USDA commodities will be distributed by the Moffat County Department of Social Services in Craig from 9 to 11 a.m. Tuesday at 595 Breeze St., (northeast alley entrance only). Distribution takes place from 9 to 9:30 a.m. at the Maybell Community Center.

Distribution in Dinosaur takes place from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesday at the Dinosaur Social Services building.

All households that receive commodities must be recertified each year. A picture ID, proof of address and income or current eligibility is required.

For more information, call the Moffat County Department of Social Services at 824-8282.

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