News for Friday, June 8, 2012



On the Record for Friday, June 8, 2012

On the Record for Friday, June 8, 2012

Craig resident's death at Sandrocks ruled accidental

Last month's death of Craig resident David Burns has been ruled accidental. Moffat County Coroner Kirk McKey said this morning that Burns, whose body was found May 12 at the base of the Sandrocks in north Craig, died from blunt force trauma impact and that nothing in the autopsy results suggested foul play or suicide.

Kansas family killed in plane crash in Fla. swamp

A Kansas businessman, his wife and their four children were killed Thursday when their small plane crashed into a swampy area of central Florida, and word quickly spread to their hometown where the family was known for their charitable work and always having a house full of neighborhood kids. The single-turboprop, fixed-wing plane was heading home to Junction City from the Bahamas when it broke apart and went down about 12:30 p.m. in the Tiger Creek Preserve, according to the Polk County Sheriff's Office in Florida. Deputies reached the area by helicopters, but it was clear there were no survivors, the sheriff's office said. The cause of the crash wasn't immediately known, and parts of the plane were found nearly 3 ½ miles away, investigators said. Ron Bramlage, a prominent businessman in Junction City who owned Roadside Ventures LLC, was piloting the 2006 Pilatus Pc-12/47. The 45-year-old, his wife, Rebecca, 43, and the couple's children — Brandon, 15; Boston, 13; Beau, 11; and 8-year-old Roxanne — were killed. "It's just a horrific loss," Junction City Mayor Pat Landes said, adding that the couple supported many local projects and provided college scholarships. The family was well known in town and at Kansas State University, where the basketball arena is named for Ron Bramlage's grandfather. At least two dozen bouquets of flowers lined the black wrought-iron fence surrounding the family's ranch-style home by Thursday evening. A trampoline sat in the front lawn, and a hammock hung between two large trees in the wooded yard. Standing in his front yard across the street, Rick Bazan said he'd been friends with Ron Bramlage since childhood. He said his friend would often help local families financially, such as paying for kids to go to wrestling camps if their parents couldn't afford to send them. He said Rebecca, who was president of the local school board, "never stopped working. She was tireless." She would be embarrassed by the outpouring of support now at her home, where at least a half-dozen friends of the couple's children were always running around, Bazan said. "It's going to be a long time getting over this one," he said as he watched the family's neighbors and friends gather outside.

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Senate District 8 candidates find common ground on various issues

Ray Beck, a Craig resident and city council member, may have said it best when asked Thursday night if there was an obvious standout among candidates vying for Colorado Senate District 8. “I don’t know if there is a clear winner yet,” Beck said. “Seriously, there was a lot of agreement on the big issues (facing the state).” Ray’s assessment of Thursday night’s debate between SD8 incumbent Jean White, R-Hayden, current House District 57 Rep. Randy Baumgardner, R-Hot Sulphur Springs, and Libertarian candidate Sacha Weis was a logical reaction among the more than 50 local voters who attended the event hosted by the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. Although the candidates seemed to agree on state issues such as taxes, energy, education and protecting Colorado’s water rights, their level of preparedness left an impression on some local voters. “Sacha, I thought, was unprepared. I think she presented herself all right, but I didn’t think she was aware of the issues,” said Robert Whitehead, of Craig. “I thought Randy did a great job and so did Jean, to be honest. I don’t have to say who my preference is, but I think Randy and Jean knew the issues and prepared themselves well.” Though linked in their arguments favoring a flat tax and in defending Northwest Colorado’s coal industry, there was a divide on a particular social issue that has long been a topic of debate in Colorado and around the country. In May, following Gov. John Hickenlooper’s calling of a special session of the General Assembly, the House Committee on Veterans and Military Affairs voted down Senate Bill 12-002 by a 5-4 vote. SB12-002, Concerning the Authorization of Civil Unions, would have granted same sex couples the right to marry.

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CNCC opts out of fire district land transfer

A resolution granting land for a $1.5 million fire training facility in Craig met an obstacle Thursday night during the Colorado Northwestern Community College Board meeting. A motion was made to accept the resolution with the Craig Rural Fire Protection District. However, all four college board members present — Richard Haslem, Mike Anson, Rick Johnson and chairman Jim Loughran — declined to second the motion. CNCC Board member Earlene Sauer was out of the area and did not vote. Haslem said a "significant number of people” contacted him in the weeks leading up to Thursday’s meeting. “And 100 percent of the people that contacted me did not want us to do this,” he said. For that reason, “I cannot nor will I support the resolution to transfer the land, on a personal basis,” he said. About 15 local residents attended the college board meeting to voice opposition to the proposed transfer. “I’m not against the facility,” longtime local resident Pete Pleasant said. “I’m against the location proposed for the facility.” Pam Foster echoed his words. She said she's not opposed to a fire training center in Craig, but “I do think there are much better locations for it,” she said. She argued that the nearly 15-acre parcel south of The Memorial Hospital could be used for purposes more suited to the surroundings. “I would very much like to see you vote no on this tonight,” Foster said. “I do think there are a lot of other locations within Moffat County where the burn tower and the fire house could go and still be very appropriate.” Craig resident Jim Simos joined in speaking against the training center, which is the fire district's proposed first phase of a second station. “We’re just a handful of people here, but you go out on the street and the people that really are against it are more than just a handful," Simos said.

Colorado governor signs bill on bath salts

DENVER (AP) — Gov. John Hickenlooper has signed a bill establishing criminal penalties for the illegal use of synthetic drugs known as bath salts. Hickenlooper signed the bill Thursday. Earlier this year, authorities said a 19-year-old Grand Junction man who was acting violently under the influence of a substance marketed as bath salts was strangled when his friends tried to subdue him. Friends took him to a hospital, where he died. Congress is considering legislation to ban chemicals marketed as bath salts.

Letter: CNCC should block land transfer

In the Wednesday edition of the Craig Daily Press, the editorial board took on the topic of Colorado Northwestern Community College transferring land the college owns to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District. I agree with what the paper printed. CNCC should not allow this to happen. CNCC already gave land to the hospital, should it now give more land to the fire department? No. If CNCC is so willing to give away land, maybe they should use the balance of the property they own and give it away to families of need so they could build homes for themselves. Both CNCC and the CRFPD asked voters in 2006 for mill levy funding for projects and improvements. In respect to both entities, the promises made to the taxpayers of Moffat County have not been kept. Yes, the new college is built, but there still are not residence halls and CNCC still “buys” student enrollment with the tuition buy down. The fire board with this dream of wanting to build the training facility and new firehouse is only a step towards the bigger plan of Bill Johnston. Craig does not need a training facility when there are three such facilities located within a 100-mile radius of Craig. The training facilities in Hayden, Rangely or Rifle are more than sufficient. The argument that it is too difficult scheduling time to utilize these facilities is ridiculous. I drive by them frequently and seem to find they are not being used at that time.

Group seeks hydraulic fracturing ban in Longmont

LONGMONT, Colo. (AP) — The city clerk in Longmont says supporters of a proposal to ban hydraulic fracturing within the city can start petitioning to get the measure on the ballot. The Times-Call reports ( ) a group backing the measure must gather 5,704 signatures of registered voters by Aug. 28 to put the issue before voters in November. Hydraulic fracturing involves blasting underground rock formations with water, sand and chemicals to free oil and natural gas. City Councilman Brian Bagley has said he fears a hydraulic fracturing ban, if adopted in the city, might draw a legal challenge. The state and some local communities have disagreed over what aspects of drilling communities each can regulate. The Colorado Supreme Court has said cities can't completely ban drilling but can regulate land use.

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Lincoln Street tennis courts getting more use as summer begins

In Moffat County, typical outdoor activities talked about usually include hunting, golfing, tubing and swimming. Ask a Craig resident, and tennis is probably not high on the list of things to do outside during the summer. But among the younger generations, it is gaining some ground. The Lincoln Street tennis courts have become a hot spot for some in the area. The courts, which have been updated twice in the past 15 years, are in good condition and provide an alternate form of exercise and fun for people in the area. Craig Parks and Recreation offers tennis lessons for 8-12 year olds to help them prepare for the Parks and Rec city league. Lani Cleverly, who teaches the classes, says the kids enjoy playing a great deal. “The group of 8,9,10 year olds, none of them have played before, but honestly they’ve picked it up quickly,” Cleverly said. “They are already doing so much better than before, and I think that’s also a result of the kids really enjoying playing, which is great.” Cleverly grew up in Seattle and California, and brought her love for tennis from those places. She knows tennis is not what people think of when they think of Craig, but believes it is a great thing to have available to a community. “I guess its really about the kids wondering, ‘what is tennis?’ and then us making sure we provide a good lesson program that gets them excited about coming,” she said. “Craig is not about these type of sports. It’s more hiking and fishing and hunting, but all these kids who have done it keep signing up, so that’s something to feel good about.”

Karen Gibson: Home is where the heart is

Wow, what an awesome morning I had. The temperature was perfect, and sitting out on the back deck in the sunshine was like a gift from God. Other than the birds chirping it was completely quiet. You and I both know these moments of tranquility are short-lived. When we are able to capture one of these special moments, we appreciate them. I also appreciate the gift of a home and a deck where I can sit outside whenever I choose. There is no law that says everyone must be given a place to live. “You have to earn it,” the pundits say. Occasionally someone buys a raffle ticket and wins a house (however, I don’t recommend raffles), sometimes it comes with the occupation one has, but most of the time it takes money to get a place to live. Is it necessary the community of faith accepts the burden, responsibility or privilege of helping people find places to live? I support the Love In the Name of Christ model of providing help in the community. I know there are other good agencies in Moffat County that provide rental money. However, Love INC recognizes the need for emergency housing and accountability at the same time.

Letter: Hospital should be allocated empty land

Why doesn't The Memorial Hospital get up in arms regarding the give away of the land next door to the fire district? It would make much more sense if the college gave the land to the hospital for future expansion and also does away with any and all air problems from the proposed training center. Hopefully enough Craig attended the meeting and attempted to persuade the college to change its mind and give it to the hospital. As to all the reasons the fire district gives for needing a $1.5 million cement training tower when they have free access to one within 17 miles doesn't make any sense at all.

Janet Sheridan: What was I thinking?

Sometimes, remembering offenses I committed in the past, I think, “Why did I do that? Why did I say that?” Other times, I wonder, “Why didn’t I do something?’ Why didn’t I say something?” And I have no answers. As a student teacher, I let my anxieties overwhelm me and offended another. My error was unintentional, and others laugh when I describe it; but they didn’t see the look on Mrs. Phillipi’s face. “She’s worried about the progress of her daughter, Rose,” said Mrs. Miller, my student-teaching mentor. “I’d like you to handle the conference. I’ll be here. You’re well prepared, it’ll be a worthwhile experience.” Standing by a window overlooking the school grounds, I watched a robin attack a worm, and related to the prey. “Greet her, identify yourself, encourage her to talk. And, Janet, try not to look at her nose. It’s huge. I’ve known her for years, and she’s sensitive about it.” I studied the construction-paper daffodils dancing above the chalkboard and thought, “I’ll soon be home, eating left-over Easter candy, with only 10 days of student teaching to go. I can do this.” Rose’s mother entered. I stood and stared: “Good afternoon, Mrs. Philippi. I’m Janet Bohart, Mrs. Miller’s student teacher. I understand you want to discuss the progress of your daughter, Nose.” She pretended not to hear, but hurt widened her eyes. Why did I say such a thoughtless thing?

Letter: Baumgardner defends voting record

It has come to my attention that information that is untrue has been circulating throughout Northwest Colorado. A flyer has been distributed that seems to be anonymous as it is not signed. In it, the author claims that I voted in favor of the so called “Faster Bill,” which raises vehicle registrations and late fees. The bill number is SB9-108. SB stands for Senate Bill. The nine is the year it was introduced and 108 is the bill number. If the author of this false information would go to, click on prior sessions and then click on 2009a House & Senate Bills, they could use the pull down menu and find the bill number. Then they could go to the column for third reading votes and click on H 2/25/2009. If they would scroll down through the journal to page 552 to the section that contains the final vote after the amendments, they would see the actual final vote on this bill. There were 34 yes votes and 31 no votes. I was one of the no votes. I have only voted for one tax or “fee” increase since I was elected to the House of Representatives. SB11-002, co-sponsored by Sen. Al White, was a $1 fee added to the vehicle registration to help fund emergency medical response in rural areas, including Northwest Colorado.

Letter: 'Coal vs. kids' a flawed argument

Cheryl Arnett’s article, “Romney in small-town America: Coal vs. Kids,” was an interesting read for me. Personally, I was offended because Arnett insinuates in her article that we must choose between coal (one of the reasons this community exists at all) and our children’s education. I am a Moffat County High School graduate and I have better critical thinking skills than to believe that. I disagree with Arnett’s belief that standardized testing is crippling our educational system. I believe it is a necessary component of our system. How else do we know what our children are learning? There are certain educational benchmarks that allow the student to progress in a future career. These benchmarks must be standardized so that an American high school diploma means each graduate has acquired the same skills as other graduates. Besides, aren’t college entrance exams, graduate school entrance exams and other professional certification exams standardized?

Briefs for June 8: DAR to meet Saturday

The Augusta Wallihan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution will conduct its regular monthly meeting at 10 a.m. Saturday at the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265, 419 E. Victory Way. Visitors are welcome. For more information, call Shannan Koucherik at 824-9518. Pioneer Picnic slated for Sunday in Steamboat Springs The Routt County Pioneer Picnic is scheduled for Sunday at the Steamboat Springs Community Center. Registration begins at 12:30 p.m. Beef and drinks are provided. Each family is encouraged to bring a covered dish to share, dinnerware and cups or glasses. Humane Society meets Monday The Humane Society of Moffat County will meet at 6 p.m. Monday at the Golden Cavvy, 538 Yampa Ave. Anyone interested in learning more about the organization is welcome to attend. For more information, call Ann at 620-2014.