News for Saturday, April 21, 2012



The pitfalls, scars and tradition of branding day

Calving season is winding down and ranchers are turning their attention to branding. During elementary school presentations, retired Moffat County Brand Inspector Floyd Martin tells students that brands are like return addresses — that’s how ranchers get their cattle back if they stray. So, branding is an important ranch job, indeed, especially since it won’t be long until cattle will be turned out onto summer pasture. Branding varies somewhat from ranch to ranch.

Sports Briefs for April 21: MCHS girls soccer triumphs over Rifle

The Moffat County High School girls varsity soccer team had one of its best games of the season Thursday in a 5-3 win over Rifle. Coach Harry Tripp attributed the victory to a new defensive system his team has been practicing over the week. “We went with a 4-5-1 (formation), and it’s really been paying off,” he said. Offensively, it was the highest scoring game thus far for MCHS, with senior Kelly Ciesco scoring four goals, the first hat trick of the year for the team, whose record is 2-8 overall and 1-6 in the Western Slope League.

Stinky fish helps limit potfest at Colo university

Stinky fish fertilizer and two dozen law-enforcement officers kept pot smokers away from a grassy quad at the University of Colorado on Friday, but a few hundred protesters defied the crackdown and rallied on another field, where some lit up at 4:20 p.m. It was a far cry from last year's April 20 pot celebration, when more than 10,000 people gathered on the university's Norlin Quadrangle for the annual ritual of enjoying a smoke and demonstrating for legalizing marijuana. That made the university the scene of one of the largest campus celebrations of cannabis in the nation — a reputation that prompted university administrators to take extraordinary steps to stamp out this year's rally. They banned unauthorized visitors from campus, and spread smelly fertilizer on the Norlin Quad and declared it off-limits. They even booked Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean for a free concert timed to coincide with the traditional 4:20 p.m. pot gathering.Stinky fish helps limit potfest at Colo university

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Report reveals Moffat County residents among unhealthiest in the state

According to a report by County Health Rankings & Roadmaps, Moffat County residents are among the unhealthiest in the state. The report data was compiled by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said Lisa Brown, chief executive officer of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association. The report ranks counties in categories such as mortality, morbidity, health behaviors, clinical care, social and economic factors, and physical environment. Overall, Moffat County ranks 50th out of Colorado’s 59 counties. By contrast, neighboring Routt County ranked ninth overall.

Editorial: Live strong, live better

Pick a word to describe Moffat County's rankings in a recent health report: failing, embarrassing, regrettable, unfortunate. Those are just a few, and the more politically correct ones, that come to mind. But there's another word that certainly can't be applied — surprising — and another that certainly can — crisis. The health rankings, put before the community front and center on today's front page, indicate Moffat County's physical and mental health in many areas is among the worst in the state.

Letter: Fire board does enough

You can only crawl under so many fire trucks to simulate SCBA, search and rescue, hose advancement and fire streams. I know a little about quality training as I had the privilege of being in charge of training for around five years. I know how difficult it is to find an abandoned structure to train in and eventually burn. I know how the NFPA regulations have changed regarding live fire training and burning abandoned buildings. Asbestos abatement. The dangers to firefighters in abandoned buildings set on fire. The danger of burning a structure next to other residents. Live fire certifications became a part of firefighter 1 requirements when I was in charge of training. We had to travel to Frisco or Rifle for the rookies to be tested.

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Five agencies respond to oil well fire in Powder Wash

Five agencies responded Thursday to a report of an oil well fire that consumed a semi-truck and trailer. No injuries were reported. Dennis Jones, a battalion chief with Craig Fire/Rescue, said a page came in at approximately 11:15 a.m. Thursday that an oil well was on fire near Powder Wash, a camp approximately 75 miles northwest of Craig. Deputies from the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, firefighters from Maybell Fire Department, and emergency medical technicians from Maybell and The Memorial Hospital in Craig all responded to the fire.

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East Elementary 3rd-graders looking back in time at Craig’s past

Children born in the Information Age may be shocked to learn the gadgets that surround them — TVs, cell phones, game consoles — didn’t exist until recently. Case in point: “They thought it was hilarious that I had never seen a cell phone until college,” Adrienne Burch, an East Elementary School third-grade teacher, said about her students. “And many of them have had cell phones since they were 5.” Burch, who is tasked with teaching Social Studies for East’s third-graders, is launching a project this week designed to get children more in touch with the past.

Zimmerman apologizes for shooting; gets $150K bail

A routine bail hearing for George Zimmerman took a surprising turn into remorse and explanation Friday when the neighborhood watch volunteer got on the witness stand and told Trayvon Martin's parents: "I am sorry for the loss of your son." "I did not know how old he was. I thought he was a little bit younger than I am. I did not know if he was armed or not," Zimmerman said, marking the first time he has spoken publicly about the Feb. 26 shooting of the unarmed black 17-year-old. The hearing wrapped up with a judge ruling Zimmerman can be released from jail on $150,000 bail while he awaits trial on second-degree murder charges. Zimmerman, who has been in jail for more than a week, could be out within days and may be allowed to live outside Florida for his own safety once arrangements are made to monitor him electronically. Defendants often testify about their financial assets at bail hearings, but it is highly unusual for them to address the charges, and rarer still to apologize.

2,116 seat belt tickets issued in rural campaign

The Colorado Department of Transportation says a campaign to enforce seat belt laws in rural areas resulted in 2,116 seat belt citations from April 1-8. The citations included 98 violations for drivers with children under age 16 who weren't restrained. Colorado State Patrol Chief James Wolfinbarger says the goal was to encourage people to buckle up. He says 187 people were killed in crashes on rural roadways last year representing 60 percent of the state's total fatalities. He says 58 percent of those killed in rural areas were not wearing a seat belt, compared with 34 percent in urban areas.

Residents share feedback with Craig fire board on proposed training center

A proposed training facility was a primary topic Thursday at the monthly meeting of the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board. Since discussing construction of a new training tower and fire simulator on property near The Memorial Hospital and Colorado Northwestern Community College at its March meeting, the board offered residents an opportunity to voice their opinions on the plan. After a video and PowerPoint presentation by board president Byron Willems about the benefits of having such a structure in the area and the breakdown of safety measures involved, the floor opened to public comment. The first to speak was Craig resident Bruce Timberg, who accused board members of “lies and deceit” regarding the training facility. Timberg said he was not arguing for or against the idea of a training location, but he questioned the history of the funding for the estimated $1.5 million project. Specifically, he believes funds received from a 2006 mill levy approved by local voters are being misappropriated to build a structure similar to the one rejected by voters in 2002.

Briefs for April 21: Talent show tonight at MCHS

The Craig Concert Association will host its annual talent show at 7 p.m. today in the auditorium at Moffat County High School, 900 Finley Lane. Local musicians and performers will take the stage in this year’s incarnation of the show first hosted in 1978. For more information, call 824-8326.

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MCHS joins with national initiative to get books into students’ hands

Heather Fross, a Moffat County High School science teacher, refers often to a source some consider an unusual one for biology class. It’s called “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” a piece of investigative journalism authored by Rebecca Skloot. It retraces the history of the book’s title character, an African-American tobacco farmer whose cells were taken without her knowledge and became a powerful tool in modern science. The book touches on cell biology, genetics and science ethics — all topics Fross covers in her classes — but it also addresses more universal issues. “Besides the science involved, this book is about race, class, ethics, humanity and family,” Fross wrote in an email. “These are subjects that we can all relate to.” On Monday, Fross will have 20 copies of the book to give away to students, compliments of World Book Night. The national initiative’s goal is to put books in the hands of young adults who may not otherwise read on their own.

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Rattlers girls coach Jodi Stanley has won and won often at LSRV

When she was 5, Jodi Stanley went to Casper (Wyo.) College with her father. It was her first time in a city bigger than Baggs, Wyo., and her first time on a college campus. One thing above all others stuck out to Stanley on the trip — an outdoor basketball court. With lights surrounding the court, Stanley said she was fascinated by the idea of being able to play ball at any time of the day.