Craig briefs: DUI enforcement higher for St. Patrick’s holiday

The Colorado Department of Transportation encourages Coloradans to “Drink & Don’t Drive” as they embrace Irish heritage during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, according to a news release.

CDOT sent out the reminder before heightened DUI enforcement began at 6 p.m. Friday. The heightened enforcement will run through 3 a.m. Tuesday. Through The Heat Is On campaign, the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies throughout the state will work towards removing impaired drivers from Colorado roadways.

To reduce the number of DUIs in Colorado during the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement period, March 14 to 18, CDOT has partnered with the Colorado State Patrol and local law enforcement agencies to educate citizens about impaired driving and emphasize designating a sober driver or taking an alternate mode of transportation to keep the roads safe during the weekend.

“Last year, our law enforcement partners made 486 DUI arrests during St. Patrick’s Day weekend,” Darrell Lingk, director of the Office of Transportation Safety at CDOT, said in a statement. “This year we are hoping that more people will make the right choice and designate a sober driver.”

Nearly 90 law enforcement agencies throughout Colorado will participate in the St. Patrick’s Day enforcement event.

To support the heightened DUI enforcement, CDOT is distributing The Heat Is On campaign information to bars throughout the state, focusing specifically on those with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The posters spread the message “Embrace your 24-hour Irish heritage. Drink & Don’t Drive yourself home this St. Patrick’s Day.”

The Heat Is On runs the entire year with 12 specific DUI enforcement periods centered around national holidays and large, public events. More details about the DUI enforcement plans and arrest results can be found at HeatIsOnColorado.com.

Community searching for senior center name

The Moffat County Council on Aging is leading several committees interested in establishing a central location for senior activities. One of the committees is the Naming Group, which will have a contest to pick the most popular name, according to a press release.

The contest will be open to all. People can vote with money for their favorite name, among ideas including Yampa Valley Senior Sage Center or Craig Community Center. Jars with the names selected will be in booths at the Centennial Mall Spring Expo on March 22 and Mother’s Day on May 10. Contestants also can enter their own selection in another jar. Be sure to participate to support the efforts of the council.

Free carpool matching service available online

Residents of Routt, Moffat and Rio Blanco counties have access to a free, online carpool matching service sponsored by Yampa Valley Data Partners, according to a news release.

Organizers hope the website, www.carpoolworld.com/northwestcolorado, will be a resource to help Northwest Colorado residents save on transportation costs. The project was created as part of the Northwest Colorado Energy Education Plan, which was funded by a grant from the Colorado Energy Office.

Questions remain about industrial hemp rules

Late last year, the Colorado Department of Agriculture adopted the first industrial hemp rules in the state’s history; producers were able to begin registering with CDA’s industrial hemp program on March 1, according to a press release. However, potential registrants should be aware of uncertainties that still exist because of federal law.

“While the state passed legislation legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp, there are still many unanswered questions on the federal level,” said Colorado Deputy Commissioner of Agriculture Ron Carleton. “We want producers to be fully aware of the issues and challenges facing this crop.”

CDA’s regulatory role with industrial hemp is limited to registration of growers and inspection of crop. Colorado has no jurisdiction over many other factors that producers are faced with. While Colorado legalized the production of hemp (Cannabis spp), growing it commercially is still considered illegal under federal law. The Department of Justice has issued guidelines that will, if followed, limit the likelihood of federal enforcement against commercial producers.

Producers must register with CDA by May 1, if they would like to grow industrial hemp during the 2014 growing season.

The entire rule and additional information about industrial hemp can be found by visiting www.colorado.gov/ag/dpi and click on “industrial hemp.”

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