News for Saturday, March 3, 2012

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Walsh: No pot shop safe from federal enforcement

The U.S. attorney in Colorado says there is no such thing as "safe harbor" for pot shops. U.S. Attorney John Walsh sent a letter Friday to a lawyer representing medical marijuana dispensaries, saying safe harbor doesn't exist for such shops because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. It was the latest in an exchange of letters between Walsh and lawyer Robert Corry regarding the location of dispensaries and how far they need to be from schools. Walsh said in the new letter that it is at his office's discretion to take enforcement action against any and all medicinal marijuana dispensaries. "That's an awesome amount of power that the law does not intend to hand to a single federal prosecutor," Corry said Friday.

Government Update for March 3: Moffat County Commission meeting

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

Passenger: Plane seemed to stall before YVRA crash

Scott Humpal, the owner of the plane that crashed just short of the runway at Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden earlier this month, told investigators the twin-engine Cessna 414A seemed to stall and then fall straight to the ground. The Feb. 19 crash killed Humpal’s wife, Gaby Humpal, as well as pilot Hans Vandervlugt. The crash happened during a snowstorm, and airport officials have said visibility was near zero at the time. A National Transportation Safety Board report dated Monday states that Scott Humpal, of Corpus Christi, Texas, told investigators about the flight’s last few seconds. The report is preliminary and doesn’t list the cause of the crash. According to the report, there was no indication of any distress call from Vandervlugt in the moments before the crash.

Quicksilver's 2nd well at Wolf Mountain gets nod of approval

The Routt County Planning Commission voted, 7-2, Thursday night to recommend approval of a permit for Quicksilver Resource’s second exploratory oil well on Wolf Mountain about six miles northeast of Hayden. The permit application next goes to the Routt County Board of Commissioners at 5:30 p.m. March 12 for a possible final decision. The vote came at the end of a 3 1/2-hour hearing including 90 minutes of comment from the public with roughly equal numbers of people expressing their support or opposition for the proposed well. In the end, Planning Commissioner John Ayer moved to send the application on to the next level, saying he felt the combination of Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission regulations and the county’s conditions of approval were adequate to protect the public interest. He added that he thinks unusually robust conditions in the surface rights agreement that Wolf Mountain Ranch owner Bob Waltrip negotiated with Quicksilver provide county residents with even more assurances.

Editorial: Weight of written words

In today’s break-neck pace of life, there’s an infinite list of time-devouring distractions — for adults and students. There are endless channels to surf on satellite radio and television, updates to tweet and post on Facebook, a galaxy of websites to peruse online, hours to waste while downloaded into video games, and crazier than ever work and recreational schedules. But note one thing absent from the list of most people, and curiously so: reading. Friday was Read Across America Day, a refreshing event that encourages elementary school students to read and also urges parents and educators to promote reading.

CIA thriller ‘Safe House’ takes no chances

For the protagonist of “Safe House,” bouncing a ball against a wall for hours on end is the most exciting part of his day. After watching it, you may wish you had used your admission to invest in a SuperBall yourself. In the eyes of agent Matt Weston (Ryan Reynolds), being part of the CIA should be about making a huge difference in the world. In actuality, his sole duty is holding down the fort at an agency safe house in Cape Town, South Africa. Weston’s humdrum days of waiting for his contact (Brendan Gleeson) to update him about a possible promotion continue to weigh on him more and more as his girlfriend (Nora Arnezeder) pushes him to be more open with her. When the day finally comes when he sees some action, it’s much more than his training could have prepared him to handle.

Police blotter for March 3

Chad David Hettinger, 29, of Craig, was booked into Moffat County Jail on a warrant. Paul Edward Marshall, 23, of Newport, R.I., was booked into Moffat County Jail on suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs, multiple-beam road lights violation, possession of drug paraphernalia and possession of marijuana.

Court martial recommended for 1 AF Academy cadet

An Air Force Academy commander recommended a court martial for one cadet charged with sexual misconduct and dismissed charges against another, the school said Friday. Brig. Gen. Richard Clark recommended that Stephan H. Claxton face a court martial on charges of attempted abusive sexual contact, wrongful sexual contact, assault and underage drinking. Clark is the academy's commandant of cadets. The decision on whether to convene a court martial will be made by the academy's superintendent, Lt. Gen. Michael Gould.

LSRV girls basketball team rebounds from slow start for 52-31 victory in semifinals

The Little Snake River Valley School (Wyo.) girls varsity basketball team hadn’t faced many deficits this season. In 26 wins, the Rattlers closest game was a 37-31 win over Farson-Eden. On Friday, Farson was the last team standing between LSRV and the 1A state championship game in Casper, Wyo. And, in the two teams’ fourth meeting this season, Farson jumped out to an 8-4 lead early in the first quarter.

Craig man arrested for allegedly aiding escape of CAPS detainee

A Craig man with an unusual history in the Moffat County court system was arrested this week for allegedly trying to help a person at the Correctional Alternative Placement Services facility escape. William Kurtis Baird, 21, was arrested at about 6:45 p.m. Wednesday and booked into Moffat County Jail on suspicion of aiding an escape, a Class 3 felony. About the same time, Christopher Lelland McAndrew, 23, of CAPS, was booked into Moffat County Jail on a flight-escape warrant issued by the Colorado Department of Corrections. CAPS officials began searching for McAndrew when he did not return to the facility on time, and found he was in Baird’s company, said Bill Leonard, Craig Police Department division commander.

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Local teens recall cold night spent in Routt National Forest

Dig a pit and get ready to wait. That was 17-year-old Moffat County resident Justin McAlexander’s first thought when he realized he and his two friends, brothers Jesse and Mason Burke, 17 and 13 respectively, had become stranded Feb. 19 while snowmobiling on Black Mountain near Freeman Reservoir. “It’s instinct, you’ve got to do this to survive,” said McAlexander, who’s been involved in Boy Scouts since fifth grade and attained the rank of Life Scout. The group set out from Craig with two snowmobiles about 7 a.m.

Baxter Black: The mud bath

Just because some women have an occupation involving farming and livestock, it doesn’t mean they’re not concerned about their appearance, hair, skin and body care. Kadie is one of them. She’s on a family ranch in Montana. Both she and her husband share the calving duties in the spring, but cold windy weather plays havoc with her beauty regimen. Last Christmas, she clipped out an ad for a spa that included hot tubs, massage, pedicures, manicures and mud baths. She even posted a sample page from the ad on her bathroom mirror listing the services she might need. At 4:30 a.m. one insomniac morning, she rose to check the heavy heifers. Her back ached and she couldn’t sleep.

Letter: Moffat County Democratic Party

The Moffat County Democratic Party once again reminds and invites all interested people to attend our next event. Both the caucus and the county assembly will be at 7 p.m. Tuesday at American Legion Post 62. You must be a registered Democrat to participate in these two activities, and be aware if you’re not there at or before 7, you will not be allowed to participate. In addition, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on the same night at the same site, everyone is invited to participate in a potato bar supper. Donations will be accepted to defray the expenses, but are not required. It will be an opportunity to socialize and to discuss issues of the day in an informal setting. If you need transportation or have questions, call 824-3049.

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Craig elementary schools celebrate Read Across America Day

The signs of Dr. Seuss were everywhere Friday at Sandrock Elementary School. Students in Crystal Lytle’s first-grade classroom made Truffula trees while Michele Conroy’s third-graders made Seuss-inspired hats out of paper. Friday was the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, legendary author of “The Cat in the Hat” and a score of other children’s books. March 2 was also Read Across America Day.

‘This Means War’ means a good time

You know the old saying about the only time when “all’s fair” no matter what the conditions. In “This Means War,” the two environments of that old chestnut combine like you’ve never seen before. In their operations as CIA agents, FDR Foster (Chris Pine) and Tuck Henson (Tom Hardy) always have each other’s backs even when things don’t go as planned. Such is the case with their latest mission, in which a renowned terrorist (Til Schweiger) eludes their capture and swears to track them down and kill them. But, there are worse things than being responsible for a dangerous criminal on the loose. For Tuck, the stresses of the job are nothing compared to his need to find someone to come home to at night.

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Rockwell exhibit a reflection of America’s past

Mary Karen Solomon remembers the attraction The Saturday Evening Post held for her as a child. It wasn’t the articles that appealed to Solomon, now 60, the chairwoman of the arts and science departments at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus. She was a young girl then, she said. Instead, it was the magazine’s cover art by Norman Rockwell that captured her attention.

Briefs for March 3: Second Kiwanis play tonight

The second showing of the 66th annual Craig Kiwanis Club Play is scheduled for 8 p.m. tonight at the Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Ticket sale proceeds fund Kiwanis Club scholarships. Call Jeff Pleasant at 824-9359 for more information.

LSRV boys basketball plays today for second straight state title

The Little Snake River Valley (Wyo.) School boys varsity basketball team saw five players score in the first half of Friday’s semifinals game against Ten Sleep. Compared to Ten Sleep’s two players who scored, Rattlers head coach Paul Prestrud said statistically, LSRV should have been up big. But, the Rattlers only went into halftime with a nine-point lead. The Rattlers didn’t panic, Prestrud said, and the team’s three seniors again led LSRV to a 63-41 victory and a spot in today’s 1A championship game in Casper, Wyo.

2012 market beef animals weighed and tagged

Fifty-six market beef animals were weighed in and tagged during Moffat County’s 4-H/FFA Market Beef Weigh-In and Tagging on Feb. 5 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. That’s an increase of 16 from 2011’s 40 market beef animals. Jackie Goodnow, of Colorado State University Extension, suggested a reason for the increase in 4-H/FFA Market Beef this year. “We have several members this year, plus siblings of older members who are now eligible for 4-H,” she said.

Stacy’s Beef & Bean Green Chile Stew

Each year calving season starts early for the 5 Bar Angus Ranch, owned by Aric Gerber and Stacy and Adrian Gray, of Craig. That means lots of hours spent at the corral and in the calving barn and not a lot of time to cook. This week’s column features a recipe Stacy uses during calving season. The recipe is special because it’s Stacy’s own. She experimented with ingredients until she came up with “Stacy’s Beef & Bean Green Chile Stew.” “Here is an easy recipe I like to use during calving season,” she wrote. “It does take a little planning ahead, though. Serve it with bread, salad, and dessert and you can easily feed a small group for brandings, etc. Or leftovers freeze well for busy days.”

Advocates-Crisis Support Services in Craig looking for volunteers

Advocates-Crisis Support Services, a nonprofit service agency in Craig, is searching for volunteers to work with victims of sexual assault and domestic violence. Desirae Pearcey, the organization’s outgoing shelter manager volunteer coordinator, said the agency is hosting domestic violence and sexual assault response training in early March “for individuals interested in helping others in the community.” Advocates currently has four volunteers who respond when paged to the Moffat County Public Safety Center, The Memorial Hospital in Craig, or the homes of victims. Volunteers advocate for victim rights by assisting them through the court process or by lining up support services, Pearcey said.

Moffat County nonprofits to receive El Pomar grant money

Three nonprofit agencies designed to assist Craig and Moffat County residents will receive emergency grant money from the El Pomar Foundation, the Colorado Springs organization announced this week in a news release. The Community Budget Center is slated to receive $7,500, Advocates-Crisis Support Services $2,000 and Love In the Name of Christ of the Yampa Valley $1,500. The organizations were recommended to receive funding by the Northwest Regional Council, an advisory board of leaders representing seven counties in Northwest Colorado. Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner is a council member.

Candidates for state, Congressional office address Craig voters

Congressional candidate Tisha Casida stood her ground Thursday night when pressed by local voters about how she’d vote on controversial social issues. Casida, an Independent candidate for Colorado’s Third Congressional District, spoke to the Bears Ears Tea Party Patriots to outline her campaign platform and field questions from more than 40 local residents at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave. A debate was sparked when Craig resident Ken Wergin asked Casida if she would vote in favor of a law banning abortion if that was the position of the majority of constituents in her district. Casida preceded the discussion by telling the audience she is anti-abortion.

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MCHS grad Angie Charchalis rebounds from injury to help lead Orediggers to strong finish

Nothing about Angie Charchalis’ fast-break opportunity during a December 2010 game was out of the ordinary. It was the sixth game of the 2010-11 season for the Colorado School of Mines women’s basketball team, and Charchalis had a two-on-one opportunity in a close game against Colorado Christian at home. But when Charchalis, a 2008 Moffat County High School graduate, tried to stop to pass the ball on the break, her feet halted but her body didn’t. She ended up tearing her anterior cruciate ligament and missed the rest of her junior season.

Storms wreck Indiana towns, kill 28 in 3 states

Powerful storms leveled small towns in southern Indiana, transforming entire blocks of homes into piles of debris, tossing school buses into a home and a restaurant and causing destruction so severe it was difficult to tell what was once there. As night fell, dazed residents shuffled through town, some looking for relatives, while rescue workers searched the rubble for survivors. Without power, the only light in town came from cars that crawled down the streets. From the Gulf Coast to the Great Lakes, the storms touched nearly all walks of life. A fire station was flattened. Roofs were ripped off schools. A prison fence was knocked down and scores of homes and businesses were destroyed. At least 28 people were killed, including 14 in Indiana and 12 in Kentucky, and dozens of others were hurt in the second deadly tornado outbreak this week. It wasn't immediately clear how many people were missing. The threat of tornadoes was expected to last until late Friday for parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Indiana and Ohio. Forecasters at the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center said the massive band of storms put 10 million people at high risk of dangerous weather.