News for Saturday, April 14, 2012



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John Raftopoulos’s Angus bull program recognized as best in the state

The Raftopoulos name has been synonymous with Moffat County ranching for almost a century. The family is best known for its connection to the sheep industry. But on March 31, John Raftopoulos, 60, of Raftopoulos Ranches, was recognized as the 2011 Promoter of the Year by the Colorado Angus Association for his ability to raise some of the best performing, high-altitude Angus cattle in Colorado. Raftopoulos Ranches expanded into the commercial and registered Angus seed stock business 10 years ago.

Playing on the ranch

Some of my fondest memories of growing up on the ranch involve playing with my sisters. (Our brother came along when I was 14, so I didn’t get to play with him.) Most of our play involved imagination. Sometimes I wonder what we girls would have thought of all the electronic toys on the market today. We didn’t even have electricity on the ranch until (I’m guessing) I was at least 10, so there was no television, though we did have a battery-powered radio. We lived 23 miles from Craig but didn’t go to town as often as people would now.

NJ mayor carries woman out of her burning home

In a smoky stairwell, with embers falling from the ceiling and his neighbor slung over his shoulder, Cory Booker called it his "proverbial come-to-Jesus moment." The mayor of New Jersey's largest city was carrying out a constituent he had rushed into a burning home to save, first pushing aside his security detail who tried to hold him back by his belt. He didn't feel like a hero: "I felt terror," he told reporters on Friday, holding a children's fire safety video with his burned, bandaged right hand. The 42-year-old mayor, who has dug out snowbound residents in a blizzard, lived in a rundown housing project to make a point and tagged along on police patrols to lecture drug dealers, took on a new status Friday: the politician who can do almost anything. Thousands took to Twitter, calling Booker Superman and inviting him to solve the North Korean missile crisis or run for president. The governor called it a "brave move" and the fire director said the mayor was one of the most heroic men he'd ever met.

Amtrak says Kansas rail service could move by 2016

If money to upgrade and maintain Amtrak's Southwest Chief route through Kansas isn't promised by 2014, the passenger rail service will start the process of moving the route out of the state by 2016, Amtrak officials told a group of legislative and transportation officials. The poor condition of the track between Hutchinson and Garden City forces Amtrak to slow down its passenger trains, which go through western Kansas on a daily route between Chicago and Los Angeles. The track is owned by BNSF Railway, which maintains the lines just enough to allow its freight trains to go 30 to 40 mph. BNSF's investment in maintenance has dropped in recent years as freight traffic has declined.

Colo. GOP choosing more delegates for convention

The Republican race for president appears settled, but Colorado Republicans are anything but united behind apparent nominee Mitt Romney. On a second day of choosing delegates to the Republican National Convention on Friday, Colorado Republicans split their choices. Some candidates pledged to Romney advanced, while others who vowed to keep looking for a more-conservative alternative won, too. The mood was rocky, with some activists cheering for delegate hopefuls who urged unity behind Romney, and others cheering just as loud for delegates who said they're not sold on Romney. Nobody summed it up better than 78-year-old Dan Cleveland of Littleton, who voted in precinct caucuses for Santorum, who scored a surprise win in Colorado two months ago. Cleveland said he wants to see a candidate who is a combination of Santorum and Romney — "which we know we can't have."

Investigation into Thursday bank robbery in Meeker ongoing

Twenty-four hours after the first bank robbery in Meeker in 116 years, Mountain Valley Bank President and Chief Executive Officer Terry Jost praised his employees for following company protocol. “We have established procedures for dealing with these kinds of threats and basically tellers are trained to treat it (a robbery) as a transaction,” Jost said. “The goal is to get the person off the premises as soon as possible, secure the building and make sure they don’t come back.” Jock Thacker, a Louisiana man, alleged robbed Mountain Valley Bank on Thursday. He was arrested on suspicion of bank robbery a short time later. Authorities reported he did not use a weapon.

Sports Briefs for April 14: MCHS girls golf results from Tuesday, Wednesday tournaments

The Moffat County High School girls varsity golf team competed Tuesday and Wednesday in Montrose, first at Black Canyon Golf Course and then at The Bridges Golf Course. On Tuesday at Black Canyon, senior Sam Fox led the way for the Bulldogs, taking seventh place with a score of 94. Sophomore Caitlin Harjes took second on the team with a 105. On Wednesday at The Bridges Golf Course, the Bulldogs formed two, three-player scramble teams.

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LSRV coach/teacher thriving, winning at small school in Baggs, Wyo.

If the doors of the Little Snake River Valley School are open, chances are Mike Bates is somewhere to be found on the small campus in Baggs, Wyo. Monday through Thursday, Bates is a social studies teacher, tutoring students on his favorite subject — history — at LSRV. After school days in the fall, Bates is on the football field preparing his six-man football team for the next opponent and in the spring, he is on the track helping sprinters develop speed. Even in the winter, when Bates isn’t a coach for the Rattlers, he is often seen sitting in the corner near the door watching the school’s successful basketball teams defend their home court.

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Sidewalk project near local schools progressing, construction date unknown

Students at Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School will, at some point, have a safer way to walk to and from school. But exactly when the City of Craig can start a grant funded-sidewalk project is still “up in the air,” City Manager Jim Ferree said. The city plans to install sidewalks along portions of Yampa Avenue and Russell, Tucker and Rose streets between Eighth and Ninth streets, just south of CMS and Sandrock Elementary. Proposed walkways also are planned on portions of Ninth Street, Breeze Street and 10th Street, the last of which lies northeast of Sandrock Elementary.

Editorial: Fire district violated public trust

Moffat County voters sent a clear message to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District in 2002. When local residents went to vote that year on a proposed mill levy increase for the district, which would have paid for a fire training facility, they shot it down, 849 to 270. The answer to whether Craig needed a new training facility was a resounding “no.” Now, fire district officials have resurrected the proposal, only this time they’re sidestepping voters altogether.

‘Chili MacCheese Dog,’ a cheap but fun meal for those on the go

I’ve been inundated by paperwork this week. That, and calving season have gotten me way behind. When I mentioned this to our grandchildren in Bailey, they said they would send me a recipe for this week’s column. Kenny is 18 and enrolled in a pre-engineering program at Red Rocks. Megan, nearly 15, is a freshman at Platte Canyon High School. Both of them enjoy cooking, especially their own recipe creations. Their dad, Jamie, encourages them. The three enjoy nothing more than taking leftovers out of the refrigerator and adding other ingredients to make delicious meals.

New program makes info sharing easier for veterans

Virtual Lifetime Electronic Records is a program designed to help veterans by sharing health information electronically, safely and privately between Veterans Affairs, the Department of Defense and selected private health care facilities that are members of the secure Nationwide Health Information Network. So, if you have been treated for something in a private hospital and go to a VA hospital, the VA hospital can contact the private hospital and get an instant update on your condition without putting you through many tests. This also pertains to going to a private hospital and health care personnel being able to access your health information from the VA hospital. If there is a life-threatening situation that arises, this program will speed up the time it takes to treat you. I have the form in my office.

Briefs for April 14: Medicare counseling in Craig

Medicare consultations take place from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday in room 106 of Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Bell Tower Building, 50 College Dr. Betsy Packer, with the State Health Insurance Assistance Program, is available the first and third Tuesdays of every month to offer one-on-one help to residents with Medicare and their families. The consultations are free and confidential, and they are open to residents who receive Medicare, which is for people 65 and older, or who will be receiving Medicare services in the near future. For more information, call Packer at 819-6937 or call 1-888-696-7213.