News for Wednesday, June 6, 2012

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Ugly campaign fliers hit Northwest Colorado

A GOP Senate primary that was expected to get down and dirty has lived up to its billing, with attack campaign mailers hitting mailboxes in Northwest Colorado at about the same time mail ballots went out.

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Whittle on the way: Craig preparing for annual summer event

Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation director, scanned Loudy-Simpson Park on Wednesday afternoon. He was trying to imagine what the grassy lawns would look like with a stage, arts and craft booths, wood carvers and anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people who turn out for the final day of the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Hosting one of the city’s biggest events at a new location posed challenges to Pike and his staff. “When we were at City Park (now known as Veterans Memorial Park), we’d done it so many years in a row that it kind of ran like clockwork for us,” he said. A wood-carving competition headlines the four-day event as competitors from around the region and nation transform wood stumps into sculptures that sell to the highest bidder at an auction June 16.

How DOW overspent by $32 million

(AP) — Sloppy accounting at Colorado's Division of Wildlife caused the agency to overspend $32.4 million between 2007 and 2011, according to a state audit released Monday. Here's a breakdown of what happened, and how the agency plans to fix the problem:

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No injuries after home catches fire in Oak Creek

Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said firefighters were dispatched to the fire at about 1 a.m. after the resident saw flames outside the house.

On the Record for June 6, 2012

On the Record for June 6, 2012

Firefighters work to contain northern Colo. fire

LIVERMORE (AP) — Firefighters are working to build more containment lines around a northern Colorado wildfire that has scorched more than 200 acres. Crews also hope to start mopping up some areas of the blaze on Wednesday. The Stuart Hole fire is 45 percent contained and hasn't grown lately despite strong winds. The residents of 13 homes that were evacuated have been allowed back home.

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Museum attendance numbers swell in wake of exhibit’s opening

The Museum of Northwest Colorado unveiled an exhibit in mid-May showcasing one of America’s most well-known artists. Nearly a month later, the crowds are still coming. “We have been busy, there’s no two ways about it,” museum registrar Mary Pat Dunn said about the foot traffic generated by a display of Norman Rockwell’s art for The Saturday Evening Post. The exhibit opened May 14 and features all 323 covers Rockwell illustrated for the Post, as well as “Spirit of Education,” an original painting on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. Although it’s difficult to pin down exactly how many visitors came to the museum specifically for the exhibit, museum staff members believe Rockwell’s art has had an impact on attendance numbers. In May, nearly 2,200 visitors streamed into the museum. Compare that to May 2011, when about 1,400 people walked through the museum’s doors. “There’s been a lot of people that mentioned that they come specifically for Rockwell,” Assistant Director Janet Gerber said. The surge follows a four-month period from January through April when the museum’s attendance numbers lagged by 8 percent from the same time in 2011, she said. “(Attendance) was down significantly, and now it’s up even more significantly, so it’s exciting,” Gerber said.

Former high school coach, teacher sentenced

A former Fountain-Fort Carson High School coach and teacher has been sentenced to five years of community corrections for having sex with a 17-year-old girl. Anthony Ribaudo also was sentenced Tuesday to serve 10 years of sex offender intensive, supervised probation. He pleaded guilty earlier this year to child sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust. Ribaudo apologized for his actions at his sentencing hearing, while the victim said in a letter to the court that Ribaudo didn't take advantage of her and didn't harm her.

Northern Colorado wildfire blamed on lightning

Residents of 13 homes that were evacuated because of a 227-acre wildfire in northern Colorado are back home, but Larimer County sheriff's officials say they should be ready to leave again if fire conditions change. Authorities said Tuesday that lightning started the wildfire, which has damaged at least two outbuildings since it started Monday. The blaze was 45 percent contained Tuesday night, when residents who were told to leave were allowed to return. The fire is about 40 miles northwest of Fort Collins in rocky terrain north of where a camp stove ignited a wildfire last month. In eastern Colorado, authorities think a cigarette thrown from a passing car may have ignited a 4-acre fire near Akron. Meanwhile, a nearly 8-square-mile fire near Pagosa Springs is still smoldering.

Walker survives recall election in Wisconsin

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker beat back a recall challenge Tuesday, winning both the right to finish his term and a voter endorsement of his strategy to curb state spending, which included the explosive measure that eliminated union rights for most public workers. The rising Republican star becomes the first governor in U.S. history to survive a recall attempt with his defeat of Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett and the union leaders who rallied for months against his agenda. In an interview, Walker said it was time "to put our differences aside and find ways to work together to move Wisconsin forward." The governor said he planned to invite lawmakers to meet as soon as next week over burgers and brats to discuss ways to bridge the political divide. With nearly 80 percent of precincts reporting, Walker had 55 percent of the vote, compared with 44 percent for Barrett, according to early returns tabulated by The Associated Press. In his concession remarks, Barrett said the state had been left "deeply divided" by the recall battle. "It is up to all of us, their side and our side, to listen. To listen to each other," Barrett said. Democrats and organized labor spent millions to oust Walker, but found themselves hopelessly outspent by Republicans from across the country who donated record-setting sums to Walker. Republicans hope the victory carries over into November and that their get-out-the-vote effort can help Mitt Romney become the first GOP nominee to carry the state since Ronald Reagan in 1984. Romney issued a statement saying Walker's victory "will echo beyond the borders of Wisconsin." Walker "has shown that citizens and taxpayers can fight back — and prevail — against the runaway government costs imposed by labor bosses," Romney said. "Tonight voters said no to the tired, liberal ideas of yesterday, and yes to fiscal responsibility and a new direction." The recall was a rematch of the 2010 governor's race. Throughout the campaign, Walker maintained his policies set the state on the right economic track. Defeat, he said, would keep other politicians from undertaking such bold moves in the future. "We're headed in the right direction," Walker said many times. "We're turning things around. We're moving Wisconsin forward."

Sports Briefs for June 6: Rodeo Jr. High team headed to national competition

All five members of the Moffat Country Junior High Rodeo Team qualified for the national finals in Gallup, N.M., June 24. The Colorado state championships were held the weekend of May 25-27 in Monte Vista and participants had to place in the top four in each category in order to qualify for nationals. Eighth grader Trent Vernon qualified in the breakaway roping and team roping, while his team roping partner and fellow eighth grader Cutter Barnes also qualified in goat tying. Eighth grader Dusty Taylor won the state rodeo in calf roping while qualifying for nationals in shoot dogging, ribbon roping and team roping. Garret Uptain, the fourth eighth grader on the team, qualified in bull riding. The final member of the team, sixth-grader Kasen Brennise, qualified in the breakaway roping as well. The national rodeo event in Gallup starts June 24 and lasts through the 30th. According to Moffat County High School and Junior High Rodeo coach Janice Edwards, the national event brings in competitors from across the U.S. and some other countries as well, such as Australia. The Moffat County competitors will now be scored as part of a statewide Colorado team for the Gallup, N.M. rodeo.

Senate District 8 candidates lay out positions in local forum

The two Republican candidates vying for the Colorado Senate District 8 seat agreed on some points during a forum Monday night, and got in a few digs at one another. The debate featured State Sen. Jean White, of Hayden, the incumbent in SD 8, and State Rep. Randy Baumgardner, who represents House District 57 and is from Hot Sulphur Springs. The two are facing off in a primary election this month, thanks to the 2011 redrawing of House and Senate district boundaries in the state. The new Senate District 8 takes in Moffat, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Routt, Jackson, Grand and Summit counties. The winner will face Democrat Emily Tracy, of Breckenridge, who is a former Cañon City Council member, in the general election. Questions for the candidates came initially from moderator Ron Milhorn, news director at KMTS-FM radio, and from a panel of three citizens — Chris Treese and Bob Spuhler, both of Glenwood Springs, and Dallas Diaz, of Silt. About 40 people attended the event at the Garfield County Administration Building. Both candidates said they opposed the idea of cutting tuition rates for the children of illegal immigrants, which came up in the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions but was killed by the Republican-led House. But they disagreed on civil unions. "I do support civil unions. It is not about gay marriage," White said, but is about civil rights for a minority group. She said her position is in line with her belief in what she described as the "Republican principles of individual freedoms, personal responsibility and limited government. I just think it¹s the right thing to do." Baumgardner, who said he twice voted against civil unions, indicated that it is a legislator's duty to oppose such legislation.

Letter: In support of Jean White

To the editor: I've known Jean White for more than 30 years. She's as strong as a supporter of Second Amendment rights as any ranch kid ever was. If Randy Baumgardner has to resort to telling tall-tales to embellish his Stetson, he ought to ride on out of here. Jon De Vos

Editorial: The great land grift

Be prepared, Craig and Moffat County residents. Not once, but twice, your money and property will most likely be taken for a project most of you neither want nor approved. At 6 p.m. Thursday night, in room 255 at Colorado Northwestern Community College's Craig campus, 2801 W. Ninth St., the college board is likely to approve giving away land — your land — to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District for its $1.5 million training facility, also known as the first phase of a second station. The money the fire board plans to use for the training facility? Also yours, gained through broken campaign promises. At this point, it's not worth arguing the merits of the training facility or the second station. There aren't any. Numbers don't call for it, the need doesn't exist, and neither does public support. The most glaring absence to the whole idea? Common sense. Anonther referendum on the project is that both the Craig Police Department and Moffat County Sheriff's Office — agencies on duty 24 hours a day — somehow manage to train personnel within the framework of current facilities.

Briefs for June 6: Bears Ears Tea Party to host debate

The Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots will host a public debate with Colorado Senate District 8 candidates at 7 p.m. Thursday at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. The forum will include Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis, Colorado House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner and incumbent Jean White. Attendees are encouraged to bring questions for the candidates. For more information, email Matt Winey at winey55@hotmail.com. Chamber mixer Thursday The next Craig Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors Business After-Hours Mixer is scheduled for 5 to 7 p.m. Thursday at Gino’s Neighborhood Pizzeria & Grill, 572 Breeze St. The event is free to the public. For more information or to RSVP, call 824-5689 or email office@craig-chamber.com.

Burn restrictions likely coming to Moffat County

Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz recommended Tuesday the Moffat County Commission consider enacting an ordinance restricting open fires in the county. Jantz cited his agency’s participation in a 300-acre fire currently burning near Powder Wash during his visit with commissioners. He said funding for state and federal aid has already been stretched thin because of the early start to the fire season on the Front Range.