Craig briefs: Tunnels to be renamed in honor of veterans

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The Colorado Senate approved a resolution Friday allowing the Colorado Department of Transportation to name tunnels along Interstate 70 in Clear Creek County the Veterans Memorial Tunnels, according to a news release from the state Capitol. Until now, the tunnels were referred to as the Twin Tunnels. The new name will be marked on the east and west entrances.

Clear Creek County is an original territorial county in Colorado, and it has a history of involvement with active duty troops and veterans. The tunnels were part of the original Victory Highway established in 1921 in honor of the American forces who lost their lives in World War I, and this section of I-70 also was designated as a Blue Star Highway in the 1940s in honor of those who served in World War II.

“We hope that every veteran who drives through the tunnels, which are now to be named the Veterans Memorial Tunnels, will see the name and recognize our appreciation for their service and sacrifice. We also hope that everyone who is not a veteran will be reminded that we owe a great debt to our veterans. This is a symbol of our appreciation, but our true appreciation has to be in the real benefits and services that we provide for our veterans when they come back home,” Democratic Sen. Jeanne Nicholson said in the release.

Scam alert is issued for all YVEA members

We have received several calls from members alerting us that they have received calls from people fictitiously representing Yampa Valley Electric Association. The people are telling members that they have not received payment for their November bill and power will be disconnected if a payment is not received. This is a scam. The number from caller ID is 866-373-4410 and when called is answered as “Disconnection Department.” This is a not a legal or recognized representative of YVEA. If you receive a call of this nature, call your local police department or YVEA at 970-879-1160 and report it. Remember to never give personal or bank information to unknown parties.

Wise electricity usage saves money in winter

Atmos Energy is encouraging its customers to save money on their winter heating bills by reducing their energy usage.

“A little planning goes a long way when it comes to reducing winter heating bills,” Colorado/Kansas Division President Gary Gregory said.

Energy-saving tips:

■ Change or clean furnace filters once each month during the heating season.

■ Set your water heater’s temperature at 120 degrees.

■ Set your thermostat to 70 degrees during the day and 58 degrees when away from home for more than a few hours.

■ Close vents and doors in unused rooms and close cabinet and closet doors on outside walls.

If you are having trouble paying your utility bill, visit www.atmosenergy.com to learn more about energy assistance programs. Low-income customers are eligible for federal energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps pay energy bills and weatherize homes.

Guided sage grouse tours in March, April

Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Conservation Colorado along with partners Rocky Mountain Wild, The Wilderness Society and Friends of Northwest Colorado are offering an opportunity to get a look at mating greater sage grouse during guided viewing tours in Northwest Colorado from March 28 through April 13.

For thousands of years, sage grouse have returned to their traditional breeding grounds to perform a dramatic and complex dance as they compete for mates. Watching male sage grouse spread their spiked tail feathers and pop their large air sacs is a treat for birdwatchers or any wildlife enthusiast.

CPW provides a viewing trailer for the guided tour so that people can sit inside and not disturb the grouse on the lek.

The public is reminded that the locations are remote and primitive. Parents with young children or anyone with special needs are asked to inquire about accommodations by contacting Sasha Nelson at sasha@conservationco.org.

For dates, times, information and to reserve your spot, visit www.conservationco.org and click on “Sage Grouse Tours.”

Conservation Hawks hosts photo contest

Bigfork, Mont. — Sportsmen and women throughout the United States are encouraged to enter their photos in a contest hosted by Conservation Hawks, a group of hunters and anglers working to defend the nation’s sporting heritage, according to a release.

The photo contest runs through Friday. Photographers are urged to submit photos in two different categories: “Angling” and “Climate Change.” Photos that receive at least 25 “Likes” are eligible to win prizes that include Patagonia waders, wading shoes, packs, jackets, gear bags and hats. The retail value of the prizes is more than $5,000.

Contest rules, along with a full description of the prizes, are available on the Conservation Hawks website.

Driver safety touted during spring break

With schools dismissing for spring break this month, many Coloradans are planning a road trip. AAA Colorado recommends that motorists know these rules of the road before embarking on interstate travel or renting a car at their spring break destination. In Colorado, text messaging is prohibited for all drivers. People younger than 18 are prohibited from using a wireless telephone while driving.

CPW: Keep dogs safe, away from wildlife

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is issuing a warning to people whose dogs chase wildlife: Keep them under control and away from deer, elk and other wild animals, or face the possibility of steep fines and the loss of a beloved pet.

Dogs that chase wild animals can cause them extreme stress and injuries from bites, wildlife officials said.

By late winter, many big game animals susceptible to dog harassment are pregnant females. As they run to escape, deer and elk expend crucial energy that can lead to an increase in the mortality rate of the animals or their unborn calves and fawns.

To report any instance of dogs chasing wildlife, the public can call the local Colorado Parks and Wildlife office or Colorado State Patrol. In Colorado, the fine for knowingly or negligently allowing a dog to harass wildlife is $274, including surcharges.

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