News for Saturday, June 2, 2012

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Flags at half staff for slain Englewood officer

An Englewood police officer killed in a hit-and-run collision has been posthumously awarded the rank of detective. Hundreds of people applauded as 39-year-old Jeremy Bitner was awarded the rank at a memorial service Friday. Bitner died after he and a motorist he had pulled over were struck by an SUV shortly after midnight Monday. The motorist survived. Twenty-year-old Conner Donohue was arrested after the accident. KUSA-TV reports prosecutors have filed vehicular homicide charges against him. He was originally arrested on suspicion of vehicular homicide, vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence. It wasn't immediately clear if those charges still stand.

Government Update for June 2: Moffat County Commission meeting

When: 8:30 a.m. Tuesday Where: Moffat County Courthouse, 221 W. Victory Way Agenda: • 8:30 to 8:35 a.m. Call to order, Pledge of Allegiance, moment of silence

Letter: St. Michael's Community Kitchen thanks Craig

St. Michael's Community Kitchen would like to thank Craig for the past support, present support and support in the future. We've had a banner year, friends helping friends. The April fundraiser was a huge success on all levels. We would like to invite any organizations, employers, groups or individuals to join us in the Community Kitchen on a Tuesday for lunch or Thursday for dinner, to cook and/or serve a meal. It's as easy as signing up on a calendar. Individuals will be needed for our many tasks, including cooks, prep-cooks, servers, clean-up, drivers, and someone to pick-up food donations from various venders.

Letter: MCHS graduation a successful event

I would like to express my gratitude to the teachers, staff, parents and community for making the Moffat County High School Commencement Ceremony such a successful event. Additionally, my thanks go out to the high school band and choir. You did a great job and provided such a pleasant ambiance for this event. I know many people were moved. Finally, congratulations to the Class of 2012. You are an amazing group of young adults and it has been my pleasure to work with you. All the best with your future plans, and I will treasure your "unique gifts" always.

Obama says economy will come back stronger

President Barack Obama said Friday the latest employment report shows that the economy is not creating jobs "as fast as we want," but he pledged that the economy will improve. "We will come back stronger. We do have better days ahead," Obama said at a Golden Valley, Minn., Honeywell plant where the company has taken steps to hire veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. The president was responding to the government's jobs report for May, which showed that only 69,000 jobs were added during the month. That was the fewest in a year, as the unemployment rate increased to 8.2 percent from 8.1 percent in April. Obama, in a tight re-election campaign against Republican Mitt Romney, said the economy still faces a number of challenges, including Europe's debt crisis and higher gas prices, which have hurt families.

New sports reporter on board for the Craig Daily Press

There’s a new face in the newsroom at the Craig Daily Press. Nathan Waggenspack, 22, began Thursday as the newspaper’s sports reporter, responsible for covering Moffat County School District athletics and local sports, clubs and community events. Waggenspack graduated in 2011 from the University of Dayton in Ohio with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has worked as a news reporter for the Dayton Daily News. The Kettering, Ohio, native said he’s excited to work in Moffat County.

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Little Snake River Valley looks to maintain dominance

Little Snake River Valley School has enjoyed unprecedented success over the past three years. Now the trick will be to keep it going. With six boys state titles in the past two years and two more for the girls, the Baggs, Wyo., School has enjoyed something of a golden age in athletics recently. The school’s athletic fortunes started to improve during the 2009-10 school year, when the state of Wyoming introduced a new 1A 6-man division in football.

Diane Prather: A busy year for Farm Bureau

You might have seen them as you were driving along highways in the county, such as north Highway 13 or west Highway 40. They’re little billboards printed with the following message: “If you ate today, thank a rancher or farmer.” These little signs are an example of one of the projects taken on by the Moffat County Farm Bureau Federation. The organization meets year-round.

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Model United Nations conference elicits global awareness in CMS students

Tyler Simon dug deep into the problems plaguing a country halfway around the world and came back with alarming statistics. Ten percent of Afghani children will die before their fifth birthday, giving the country one of the highest child death rates in the world, he and other Craig Middle School students wrote in a resolution they presented to a Colorado Model United Nations conference last month. These and other ominous statistics left an indelible impression on the 12-year-old’s mind as he probed into the Middle Eastern country’s social and economic dilemmas. “I think it kind of made me feel a little bad because most of it is because of the war,” said Tyler, who recently finished seventh grade.

Letter: World No Tobacco Day

World No Tobacco Day was Thursday, and this year’s theme was “Stop Tobacco Industry Interference.” The World Health Organization selected this theme because the tobacco industry continues to undermine tobacco prevention and control by developing and marketing products that appeal to youth to make sure that they have two youth or young adult “replacement” smokers for the 1,200 smokers who die each day in our country. In the last 15 months, the N-CTRL Coalition has been actively raising awareness about tobacco, including how the tobacco industry markets their deadly products to youth. Educating about the health consequences from tobacco is just not enough to prevent youth from starting to use tobacco. But, adding information about the tobacco industry’s manipulation of youth really gets their attention.

TMH officials enthused by increased market share

George Rohrich beamed Thursday night as a graph flashed on the projector screen. The sharp peaks and valleys, followed by a steadily rising line, charted The Memorial Hospital’s market share, a metric that, in simple terms, gauges how many people locally are getting their medical care at TMH. To Rohrich, the hospital's chief executive officer, the graph told the story he and other hospital officials have waited to hear. “We’re winning them back, and that has been our top goal,” he told hospital board members at their regular meeting Thursday.

Craig man reaches plea agreement in child porn case

A 39-year-old Craig man arrested in December 2011 in Moffat County on child pornography charges and again in March on suspicion of sexual assault on a child has reached a plea agreement with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office resolving both cases. The suspect’s name is being withheld in accordance with newspaper policy not to release the identities of suspected sexual offenders unless convicted. Prosecutor Han Ng said stemming from the December 2011 arrest the suspect pleaded guilty to possession of sexually exploitative material, a Class 3 felony, and possession of child pornography, a Class 4 felony, with a stipulated sentence of 12 years in prison.

Briefs for June 2: Library hosting summer reading program

The Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries will begin accepting applications for its 2012 Summer Reading Program on Monday. The program is free and open to all ages. Registration is available online or at the library, 570 Green St. The program includes weekly activities and a weekly story time for children at 11 a.m. every Thursday.

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Twentymile's presence at Romney event part of shifting focus

Pat Sollars, vice president and general manager of Peabody Energy’s Colorado operations, said the company has historically kept information about operations under wraps. But, with stricter U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations on the horizon targeting methane gas emissions at coal mines, and new rules on greenhouse gas and mercury emissions at coal-fired power plants, Sollars said Peabody recently decided to take a more aggressive position focused on public education. That new strategy is what motivated Sollars to pull 148 Twentymile Mine workers to the surface to attend Tuesday’s Mitt Romney presidential campaign rally at Alice Pleasant Park in Craig. More than 300 weekend shifters, friends, family members and vendors joined the miners in an effort to show industry support.

Cheryl Arnett: Romney in small-town America: Coal vs. Kids

Tuesday was a historic day in the rural Northwestern community of Craig, Colo. With a population of fewer than 10,000 people, it was an unlikely campaign stop for Mitt Romney. But thanks to the hard work and passion of some local residents, to Craig he came, ready to discuss coal and energy concerns. The event was everything a small town could ask for. I could not begin to sum it up better than local newspaper columnist Janet Sheridan in her beautiful post, "Americana in Craig." I was honored to be asked to participate in a small roundtable discussion with Governor Romney before the community event.

Dad pleads guilty to child abuse in baby's death

A man accused in the death of his infant daughter in Colorado Springs has pleaded guilty to child abuse resulting in death. The Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/LOO0Y8 ) that at a plea hearing Friday, 22-year-old Nicholas Patrick Smith admitted shaking Elise Martinez-Mosley in December. Authorities arrested him after the girl was hospitalized with head injuries. She later died. Smith faces 16 to 48 years in prison at a sentencing hearing set for Aug. 10. First-degree murder charges were dropped as a result of the plea agreement.

Sports Briefs for June 2: LSRV girls basketball team raises $3,800 for charity walk

As part of the sixth annual Little Snake River Valley Walk for Life, the LSRV High School girls basketball team started the “Charity Stripe” program to help raise money. Each member of the team went outside the Baggs community to seek sponsors who would donate money for each foul shot made by the girls this season. For every foul shot missed, the girls themselves would be the donors. The team raised $3,800 over the course of the season, and will be presenting the money at the end of the Walk Saturday to the family of Ryan SixKiller-Allen, a former Craig resident who died earlier this year after battling various forms of cancer her entire life and whose daughter, Hannah, is being treated for cancerous brain tumors. The Walk for Life was started by cancer survivor Kathi Terkla-Herold, and benefits people with cancer in the Little Snake River Valley. It costs $25 to join the walk, which goes from Dixon to the Savery Museum. Terkla-Herold praised the efforts of the girls basketball team. “It’s a great example of teenage girls stepping up to the plate and doing something good for the community,” she said. “Ryan was such an inspiration to so many people in this community while she was here, and by doing this, the team has inspired others as well.”