Craig briefs: Budgeted improvements to Loudy-Simpson pond approved

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Moffat County Commissioners approved a project Tuesday to dredge Loudy-Simpson pond. The project has a budget of $300,000, but it may cost well less than $240,000 since the bidding process returned an affordable option.

The project is long overdue, said Roy Tipton, director of Moffat County developmental services. The last time any work had been done on the pond was in the 1950s, he said. Only 3 feet of free water stands in the pond, as it’s packed with sediment and algae.

“Once it’s done, there will be more shoreline, and the water will be better,” Tipton said. Besides that, he said, it also will improve the irrigation in Loudy-Simpson Park, improving the grass. It also will bring back fishing opportunities to the area since they plan to restock the pond with fish, he said.

“It will greatly improve that park overall,” Tipton said.

The project will start in the fall and should be completed by March 2014.

Sept. 19 marks end of Do It Downtown events

The Do It Downtown initiative will run from 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 19 in downtown Craig.

Sponsored by the Downtown Business Association, the program is an effort to increase consumer presence in businesses along the 400 and 500 blocks of Yampa Avenue by offering attractions like local artists and other special features.

These will be the last two weeks Do It Downtown will be in action, as well as the weekly Farmers Market, which will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Thursday and Sept. 19, weather pending.

For more information, call 970-824-8244.

Stage 1 fire restrictions lifted in Moffat County

Stage 1 fire restrictions have been lifted on all lands in Moffat County, according to a press release from the Bureau of Land Management. The Browns Park National Wildlife Refuge and Dinosaur National Monument rescinded fire restrictions as of noon Tuesday, and the BLM Little Snake Field Office will rescind Stage 1 fire restrictions Wednesday. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office also rescinded fire restrictions on all state and private lands as of Tuesday.

Recent rainfall received in Northwest Colorado significantly has reduced fire danger and the potential for large wildfire growth. Monsoonal rain is expected to continue through the end of this week with a return to drier conditions next week. With hunting seasons now in full swing in northwestern Colorado, hunters in particular are asked to be vigilant with their campfires.

Semitruck rolls Sunday on Rabbit Ears Pass

On Sunday, a 2001 Freightliner belonging to CDC Transport, of Florida, rolled onto its right side on U.S. Highway 40 at mile marker 141 descending westbound Rabbit Ears Pass, about 6 miles east of Steamboat Springs, according to a press release.

The truck was pulling a 2000 Wabash box trailer with a load of bagged calcium chloride powder. When it entered a left-hand curve, it rolled onto its right side and slid off of the right side of the roadway into the embankment. The fuel tanks ruptured during the rollover and spilled approximately 150 gallons of diesel fuel.

The driver was identified as 44-year-old Fidel Pena, of Florida, who sustained minor injuries as a result of the crash. Pena was transported to Yampa Valley Medical Center and was issued a ticket for careless driving after he returned to the scene.

The cause of the crash still is under investigation. However, excessive speed and driver unfamiliarity with the area are contributing factors.

International film series starts Friday at CNCC

Colorado Northwestern Community College is running an international film series this semester on the second Friday of every month. The first film will be “Pan’s Labyrinth,” and it will be shown at 7 p.m. Friday in Room 175. This event is free and open to the public. There will be an opportunity to discuss the film with professors and other community members afterward. Attendees are welcome to bring their own refreshments to the screening.

1,342 arrested for DUI in Labor Day period

The Colorado Department of Transportation’s “The Heat Is On” campaign along with the Colorado State Patrol and law enforcement agencies across the state reported that 1,342 people were arrested for driving under the influence during the Labor Day enforcement period from Aug. 16 to Sept. 3, according to a press release. There were nine alcohol-related fatalities preliminarily reported during this period. 

“The Labor Day crackdown is one of the annual enforcement periods where we see significant increases in impaired driving arrests,” said Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT. “We are very thankful to have law enforcement officials who put in extra effort to keep our roads safe during one of the busiest travel times of the year.”

More details about these enforcement periods and arrest results can be found at www.heatisoncolorado.com.

Take caution driving off-highway vehicles

A recent crash on a back road in Montezuma County serves as a reminder to drivers of off-highway vehicles to be extra careful, according to officials with Colorado Parks and Wildlife.

The man operating the OHV was driving on a dirt road in the San Juan National Forest that is open to OHV travel. He drove into the oncoming lane at a blind curve and collided with a car. The man swerved to avoid a head-on collision but was ejected from the vehicle, hit the windshield of the car and sustained two broken toes and plenty of serious scrapes and bruises. He was transported to a local hospital, where he was treated.

The man driving the OHV was ticketed and fined $75. In Colorado from 1982 through 2011, the Colorado State Patrol reported that 157 people were killed in OHV-related accidents — including 26 children younger than 16. Nationally, from 1982 to 2010, 11,000 people died in OHV accidents, 25 percent of them younger than 16.

OHVs can carry a lot of speed, but they’re also light, narrow and have a short wheelbase. As a result, they are not as stable as regular vehicles on rough roads and trails where an operator might drive over boulders, rocks and tree roots. Even dirt roads in washboard condition present hazards to OHV drivers.

Even though there are no regulations governing how many people can ride on an OHV, passengers often interfere with the driver. Drivers can be ticketed in those situations.

On trails, OHV drivers should be extra careful if they see horses approaching. Some horses spook easily if they see something they don’t recognize. It is recommended that drivers pull off the trail, then get off the vehicle to allow a horse to recognize a human form.

Reporting of OHV accidents is required by Colorado law. Any crash that cause injuries resulting in hospitalization or death or more than $1,500 in damage to a vehicle must be reported “by the quickest available means of communication” to a local law enforcement agency. The operator involved in the accident, or someone acting on his or her behalf, also must submit a written report about the accident to Parks and Wildlife within 48 hours. The report must be compiled on the form available at the Parks and Wildlife website.

To learn more about OHVs safety and regulations, visit the Colorado Parks and Wildlife website at www.parks.state.co.us and click on “OHVs & Snowmobiles.”

Reading programs are available at the library

Moffat County Libraries recently launched 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten, a program intended to prepare children to learn to read upon entering school, according to a news release. Families are asked to sign up before their child enters kindergarten, and the library will provide reading logs to track reading. Children will receive a free book when the family reaches certain reading milestones. Families who read 1,000 books to their child before he or she reaches kindergarten successfully have completed the program.

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