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Bridget Manley

Stories by Bridget

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Moffat County foreclosures on the rise as Front Range recovers

Moffat County Treasurer Elaine Sullivan and her staff mainly deal with the concrete and quantifiable. But she sometimes sees the painful human impact of the statistics, particularly when they relate to a homeowner’s worst nightmare come true. “I do know that there’s been several people that have come in, and they’re just horrified that they’re going into foreclosure,” Sullivan said. “They’ve all stated that they’ve tried to work out some sort of payment plan with the banks,” but to no avail, she said.

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CNCC trips offer travelers a 1st-hand view of history, culture

Colorado Northwestern Community College’s adult learning trips aren’t for the faint of heart. “We get up early, we stay up late and if people are tired, they sleep on the bus,” Mary Morris said, laughing. The CNCC director of community education and public information is helping organize an adult learning excursion to Tennessee and Alabama this winter that will give travelers a taste of the South. The tentative itinerary includes a tour of Graceland, a visit to the Grand Ole Opry and a ticket to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular.

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Book signing with granddaughter of area pioneer school teacher slated for Sunday

Two young women step from a train in Hayden, the second-to-last stop on the Denver, Northwestern & Pacific Railway. The date is July 27, 1916, and these women of refinement are far from home. Dorothy Woodruff and Rosamond Underwood were educated at one of the first women’s colleges, and they have tasted the finer hints of Europe, Woodruff’s granddaughter, Dorothy Wickenden, would write nearly a century later. Yet, this trip isn’t merely sightseeing excursion or a detour on the way to a gilded future in the East. The women are leaving that life behind for a new one in the West.

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Wyman Living History Museum adds Korea-era tank to its permanent collection

A few people lingered June 27 at Wyman Living History Museum, their eyes trained on the road. Finally, the tractor-trailer came into view. It turned from U.S. Highway 40 into the museum’s driveway towing its long-awaited cargo: an M47 tank, an Army green behemoth with a fighting weight of about 100,000 pounds. “I was just pleased to see it,” museum founder Lou Wyman said Tuesday.

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The makings of a fine Fourth

Parade, picnic scheduled to commemorate Independence Day in Craig

If the turnout for this year’s Independence Day parade is anything like last year, Johnny Garcia anticipates seeing a crowd. At least 1,500 people lined the parade route last year, said Garcia, the parade’s organizer and chaplain for Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 in Craig. He wouldn’t be surprised if 1,000 or more spectators turn out when the parade begins at noon Wednesday. “I’m kind of expecting this to be a big deal,” he said.

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Yarmer to begin seeing patients Monday

Educational presentation July 11 to feature new pediatrician

A wing of The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic is in the final stages of a gradual transformation. Chairs furnish two waiting rooms in the nearly completed pediatric ward, and future examination rooms are painted in vibrant colors that will serve as a backdrop for circus animals and other child-friendly décor. And on Monday, the first of two pediatricians to practice in the remodeled wing began her first day on the job. Dr. Kristie Yarmer will complete a week of orientation before she begins seeing patients July 9.

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Firefighters contain blaze Saturday night near Colowyo

Officials: Downed power line sparked grass fire

Multiple agencies responded Saturday night to a fire near Colowyo Coal Co. As of about 8:30 p.m., the blaze had consumed an estimated 80 acres, Craig Fire/Rescue Chief Bill Johnston said. At that time, the fire was not fully contained. Craig Fire/Rescue sent three apparatuses to the blaze, reported at about 7:45 p.m. and which firefighters named the Colowyo Fire. One engine each from Colowyo and the Moffat County Sheriff’s Office also helped battle the flames that burned on land belonging to the mine.

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Ranchers face hay loss, livestock sellout in ‘extreme’ drought

Ervin and Arloa Gerber’s yard looked like an oasis. A rock fountain burbled near their front door, and peacocks strutted nearby, flaunting iridescent plumes of sapphire and emerald. If this was all you saw of the Gerbers’ cattle ranch west of Craig, you could believe Mother Nature had been good to them this year. But their well-tended yard belied the wasteland that waited not far from their doorstep.

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Library summer reading program coincides with statewide initiative

The Craig branch of the Moffat County Libraries kicked off Independence Day festivities a little early this year. With small American flags in hand, children marched through the bookshelves Thursday morning, singing “You’re a Grand Old Flag.” The miniature parade capped off a weekly summer story-time with a Fourth of July flair, complete with a read-aloud of children’s books commemorating the holiday. Story-time, along with other activities during the library’s summer reading program, are part of a larger effort to keep students turning pages when school is out.

School board passes 2012-13 budget calling for $200K in deficit spending

The budget the Moffat County School Board passed Thursday didn’t change much from the proposed document the board reviewed earlier this month. The sinking student enrollment numbers were still there, as were dwindling state funding and “the negative factor” — the gap between what the state was initially required to pay school districts and what it can afford to pay them in a still-sluggish economy. Faced with the prospect of another year in lean times, the board gave its approval to a 2012-13 budget that calls for about $200,000 in deficit spending. “You know I think it’s a little bit of a risk,” Finance Director Mark Rydberg told the board before the vote.

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Humane Society to celebrate anniversary, recognize volunteers Saturday

A reduced-cost spay and neuter program. Monthly adopt-a-thons. Fundraisers benefiting the county’s unwanted or abandoned pets. A lot has changed in the six or seven years Ann Anderson has been with the Humane Society of Moffat County, she said.

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Best of Moffat County: Perfect fits at local gym

Husband and wife enjoy running Trapper Fitness Center together

Trapper Fitness Center co-owners Barb and Jim Gregoire are proof business partners don’t have to think the same to be successful. Jim, 65, approaches fitness with a precise and scientific eye, his wife Barb said. The softer touches, including flowers and a mellow dog that lounges at their feet, is her influence, she said. But, the couple can agree that providing an outlet for better health is crucial. “That’s the whole thing,” Jim said. “It’s our passion.”

Craig City Council passes fire ban

The Craig City Council took swift and unanimous action Tuesday to enact a fire ban in the wake of searing temperatures and raging wildfires throughout the state. “To me, this makes so much sense,” council member Byron Willems said before the vote. “It’s so obvious. In my lifetime, I’ve never seen it this dry.” The ban takes effect immediately and prohibits all fireworks and open burning inside city limits. Lighting campfires in permanent pits at recreation sites also is off-limits.

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Firefighters honor fallen ‘leader, scholar and a friend’

Tree-planting ceremony in Craig recognizes 3-year anniversary

The Northwest Colorado Fire Management Unit will recognize today the three-year anniversary of a firefighter who died while in the line of duty, according to a news release. "On June 26, 2009, the firefighting community lost one of our own (while) felling hazard trees in Northwestern Colorado," the release stated. Brett Stearns, an engine captain, died during a hazard tree abatement project at Freeman Reservoir, 15 miles northeast of Craig. He was struck by a falling tree. Stearns was 29.

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Summer series encourages children to read while school is out

In one respect, reading isn’t unlike sports. Excelling at either activity takes practice, said Sarah Hepworth, East Elementary School principal. “That’s really the key to being a successful reader is just practicing your reading every day, like practicing swimming or practicing running or practicing golfing,” she said. “You’ve got to just read.” She and other elementary school principals, as well as Moffat County School District literacy coordinators, are introducing a new summer reading program this year to sharpen elementary school students’ reading skills.

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CMS seventh-grader to attend inauguration in Washington, D.C.

The words “Presidential Inaugural Conference” glistened in gold against the invitation’s dark blue background. At first, Tristan Farquharson didn’t know what to think. “When I figured out that I got to go, I was really excited,” the 12-year-old said. “But yet, then again, I was like, ‘Somebody from Craig is actually going to this?’” Tristan said with awe in his voice.

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Senate incumbent talks issues as primary nears

When asked how she spends her free time, Jean White laughed. “Well, first of all, I don’t have free time,” the Colorado state senator from Hayden said. “But if I did, I have a little bit of an artistic bent to me and … I enjoy just practicing watercolor painting and other types of art,” she said. White also enjoys reading — “I love Steinbeck,” she said — but finding time to get into a good book is no easy task, either. It’s no wonder. The first-term Republican senator has her hands full, and her schedule isn’t likely to relax now that she’s running for re-election.

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Residents reacted to the oncoming Sand Fire on Tuesday

Tyler Gerber, 15, was taking out the trash Tuesday night at the family ranch west of Craig when he saw the beginnings of a blaze that would soon threaten their home. He was “praying that it wouldn’t get on our place, but that didn’t work,” he said. His father, Wade Gerber, also saw the fire, which was burning west of their house. He drove closer to investigate, and discovered the wildfire “was a lot closer than we even thought it was,” he said. Rick Barnes, who lives south of where the fire burned, also saw the fire.

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Longtime Hayden public servant seeking Moffat County office

What's kept Chuck Grobe in the Yampa Valley for three decades? The Moffat County Commission candidate didn’t have to think long before answering. “The best thing is the people here are great,” said Grobe, 62. “You can’t find better people anywhere.” Grobe is vying with incumbent Audrey Danner for the District 2 seat and is a relative newcomer to Craig. He moved to the city a year and a half ago from Hayden, where he lived for more than 30 years and served as town mayor for six years and mayor pro-tem for four years.

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Blaze burns estimated 2,000 acres

A fire first reported as 2 acres Tuesday about 10 miles west of Craig is believed to have burned roughly 2,000 acres and prompted evacuations in the Westview Subdivision. No injuries or fatalities were reported in the blaze and no structures were burned. One home was threatened by the fire but was saved, Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz said. He stressed that figures on the blaze’s acreage are still rough estimates.

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Presentations reveal details about Rockwell’s life and inspiration

A man puts his arm protectively around a woman’s waist as she fills out a form in an office. In this illustration Norman Rockwell painted for The Saturday Evening Post, the woman stands on her tiptoes to reach the desk where she writes. A sign behind them reads “marriage licenses,” explaining the reason for their visit. What the casual viewer may not know is the young man and woman who posed for the painting were actually engaged to be married, Tom Daly, Norman Rockwell Museum curator of education, told a group of about 25 people Saturday morning.

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Whittle the Wood draws thousands to Loudy-Simpson Park

As the music started late Saturday afternoon at Loudy-Simpson Park, a few bold dancers stepped out onto the grass. Before long, a crowd had gathered in front of the stage, swaying singly or in pairs as Alter Eagles: The Definitive Eagles Tribute performed for a crowd that covered the lawn. The performance was the capstone of the 13th annual Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation Department director, said the event was an unquestionable success.

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Free concerts in Craig round out Whittle the Wood

When asked about selecting the band for one of two free performances today at the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous, Dave Pike’s answer was short and to the point. “Who doesn’t like Eagles music?” the City of Craig Parks and Recreation Department director said Friday afternoon. Alter Eagles: The Definitive Eagles Tribute will take the stage at 5:30 p.m. today at Loudy-Simpson Park, capping off a four-day marathon of wood carving. The concert follows a 3 p.m. performance by Fire and Rain: The James Taylor Experience.

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Craig campus VP: Meager state funding a factor behind postponement

College students who hoped to move into new student housing in Craig this year shouldn’t start packing just yet. Plans to build a residence hall at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus are on hold for another year or two, Campus Vice President Gene Bilodeau said. “We’ve had to hold off now just given the budget climate and some of the other needs of the institution,” he said. Bilodeau and CNCC President Russell George discussed the postponement with CNCC Board members Thursday.

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Carvers converge in Craig for Whittle the Wood Rendezvous

Wood carvers in the 13th Whittle the Wood Rendezvous began transforming logs into pieces of art Wednesday morning at Loudy-Simpson Park. The 11 competitors planned to sculpt the raw material into a variety of forms, including a pirate ship, the scales of justice and whimsical bears. Residents can watch the carvers in action from 9 a.m. to dusk today, Thursday and Friday and throughout the day Saturday. For more information about Whittle the Wood, call 826-2029 or visit www.whittlethewood.com.

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Norman Rockwell Museum curator to offer insights into artist’s work

The images captured on the covers Norman Rockwell painted for The Saturday Evening Post are more than mere paint on canvas. They are a record of a growing nation as it endured two wars, watched Charles Lindbergh take flight and entered the Civil Rights era, said Tom Daly, curator of education at the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. The images “really give us a pretty good view of the majority of the 1900s,” he said. Daly will offer presentations at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday at The Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave., to give audience members a peek into the historical background of the artist’s work and his creative process. The presentations are free and are offered in conjunction with a temporary display at the Museum of Northwest Colorado showcasing all 323 covers Rockwell illustrated for The Saturday Evening Post.

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‘Cowboy Saturday night’: 1st Wild West Weekend draws a crowd with traditional lineup

Sure, bull riding and barrel racing are entertaining to watch, Stephanie Ahlstrom said. But for rodeo-goers who want a taste of what happens on a working ranch, the bronc riding and sheep hooking events at the first Wild West Weekend hosted Saturday were the real deal, said Ahlstrom, one of the event’s volunteers. Wild West Weekend also featured a barbecue and dance with live music provided by the Baggs, Wyo., band “Train Wreck,” and drew an estimated 300 to 400 people to the Moffat County Fairgrounds. “For a first-year event … we were thrilled with the turnout,” said Glenda Bellio, one of the event’s committee members.

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Local teacher weighs in for Obama campaign

A local teacher offered her view Tuesday about the Republican presidential frontrunner’s recent comments about public sector jobs. “I guess I should have been surprised when Mitt Romney said that the path to economic prosperity is to cut teacher jobs, but honestly, I wasn’t shocked,” said Cheryl Arnett, a Sunset Elementary School first- and second-grade teacher. She and Mark Ferrandino, Colorado House of Representatives minority leader, were invited to weigh in on education during a conference call Tuesday with President Barack Obama's campaign staff. The call was in response to comments Romney made Friday during a campaign rally in Iowa. Romney, who visited Craig last month on the campaign trail, criticized the president’s job creation plan, saying, “(Obama) says we need more firemen, more policemen, more teachers,” ABCnews.com reported. “Did he not get the message in Wisconsin?” the website quoted Romney as saying in reference to a failed recall election last week to oust Republican Gov. Scott Walker. “The American people did. It’s time for us to cut back on government and help the American people.” Romney’s remarks drew fire from Ferrandino, D-Denver.

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Parks and Rec director turned passion for outdoors into a career

Dave Pike doesn’t fit the profile of a button-down public official. His skin is tanned to dark bronze, and a baseball cap and sunglasses look as natural on him as a collared shirt and tie would on his colleagues in other Craig City Hall offices. What Pike does for a living doesn’t jive with the popular notion of municipal government, either. City council meetings and budget season factor into his work, but they aren’t what his department is all about. “Everyone says we’re the Fun Department,” the Parks and Recreation director said Friday morning. He’s coached every sports program the department offers — basketball, football, soccer and T-ball are just a sampling — and he’s not shy about officiating if he’s shorthanded, he said. “Whether it’s kids learning to swim or the first time that they get up and get a base hit in baseball … it’s kind of rewarding to know that you were part of that process,” said Pike, 55. He landed in the Parks and Recreation director’s chair after taking a detour that required a uniform and a firm hand. As a newly minted Colorado State University graduate with a degree in outdoor recreation and park administration, he tried being a park ranger at Steamboat Lake State Park. But, as Pike would realize, he wasn’t cut out to be an enforcer. He wasn’t keen on the idea of “writing tickets when people were having fun,” he said. He found his niche in municipal government, taking a job at the Fort Collins Parks and Recreation Department and later landing the director’s role in the Monte Vista Parks and Recreation Department. His career in the field now 28 years and counting, he said, Not long after his arrival in Craig in 1996, he stumbled upon what would likely be a crown jewel in his career. It began with a problem. Trees that had graced what was then known as Craig City Park were dying and posing a hazard to park-goers, he said.

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Moffat County School District reading scores edge upward

The Moffat County School District is seeing gains in third-grade reading scores on the state’s standardized test. According to preliminary data the Colorado Department of Education released last month, 68 percent of the school district’s third-graders, on average, scored proficient and advanced on the Transitional Colorado Assessment Program test. That’s a 4-percent gain from last year’s Colorado Student Assessment Program results. Assistant Superintendent Brent Curtice lauded the students’ performance. “I’m pleased with our third-grade class,” he said. “I’m very pleased. I think they’ve done very well as compared to the third-grade classes before them, as the data represents. “They have a lot of work to go, but we all do.” Launched this year, TCAP is a temporary test “designed to support school districts as they transition to the new Colorado Academic Standards,” the Department of Education reported in a news release. School districts are scheduled to receive official third-grade TCAP reading scores, along with results from all other test areas, in mid-July, said Jo O’Brien, Colorado Department of Education assistant commissioner. Curtice cited Sandrock Elementary School’s scores as a high point. Preliminary results show 71 percent of the school’s third-graders scored proficient and advanced on the reading test, compared to 45 percent in 2010. Sandrock Elementary Principal Kamisha Siminoe was not available for comment Friday. Scores at Sunset and Ridgeview elementary schools were similar, with 74 and 70 percent of students scoring proficient and advanced, respectively. Data was unavailable for Maybell Elementary School. East Elementary School was the sole outlier, with 58 percent of its students scoring proficient or better on the test. That figure falls in line with the school’s third-grade reading score during the past several years. “We’re not happy with our scores,” East Elementary Principal Sarah Hepworth said. “We’re glad they didn’t go down … but we anticipate that they’ll get better because we’re getting better at analyzing the data."

School district budgets for $200K in deficit spending for FY 2013

With enrollment expected to inch downward and state funding still bleak, the Moffat County School District is budgeting to be $200,000 in the red for fiscal year 2013. The school district slashed spending by more than $2.5 million since fiscal year 2011 and hasn’t purchased textbooks or curriculum supplies in two years, Finance Director Mark Rydberg told Moffat County School Board members during a special meeting Thursday. A possible increase in specific ownership tax revenue and future mineral lease royalties could add to school district coffers. But Rydberg didn’t encourage being overly optimistic Thursday as board members conducted a public hearing on the proposed budget. “We’re not out of the woods,” he said. A dwindling student count, coupled with reduced state funding, were the major players in the budgeted $200,000 deficit. Districts receive state money based on a formula that multiples student enrollment by the amount the state pays per pupil. Moffat County’s enrollment continues to decline, and it’s expected to drop by 3 percent in the 2013 fiscal year alone, according to school district budget documents. The negative factor — or the difference between what the state should be paying districts per school finance laws and what it can afford to pay them — also continues to pummel the district’s bottom line. Colorado legislators passed an amendment in 2011 allowing for the negative factor when the state can’t afford to pay its mandated share for K-12 education. The school board will appropriate the school district’s reserves when it adopts the budget June 28, so it won’t be required to pass a budget amendment if it dips into rainy-day funds. Budgeting a deficit was a choice to “support our teachers” and other staff members, Superintendent Joe Petrone said.

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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.

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CNCC Board opts out of fire department land transfer

The Colorado Northwestern Community College Board allowed a proposal to transfer land to the Craig Rural Fire Protection District for a new training facility to fail during a special meeting tonight. A motion was made to accept a resolution, which would have granted the fire district a nearly 15-acre parcel upon which it would have built a training tower and live fire simulator, or the first phase of a second station. However, college board members declined to second the motion after about 15 people turned out to the meeting to oppose the land transfer. “I’m not against the facility,” said Pete Pleasant, a longtime Moffat County resident. “I’m against the location proposed for the facility.” For more on this story, see Friday’s Craig Daily Press or visit www.craigdailypress.com.

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Whittle on the way: Craig preparing for annual summer event

Dave Pike, Craig Parks and Recreation director, scanned Loudy-Simpson Park on Wednesday afternoon. He was trying to imagine what the grassy lawns would look like with a stage, arts and craft booths, wood carvers and anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000 people who turn out for the final day of the Whittle the Wood Rendezvous. Hosting one of the city’s biggest events at a new location posed challenges to Pike and his staff. “When we were at City Park (now known as Veterans Memorial Park), we’d done it so many years in a row that it kind of ran like clockwork for us,” he said. A wood-carving competition headlines the four-day event as competitors from around the region and nation transform wood stumps into sculptures that sell to the highest bidder at an auction June 16.

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Museum attendance numbers swell in wake of exhibit’s opening

The Museum of Northwest Colorado unveiled an exhibit in mid-May showcasing one of America’s most well-known artists. Nearly a month later, the crowds are still coming. “We have been busy, there’s no two ways about it,” museum registrar Mary Pat Dunn said about the foot traffic generated by a display of Norman Rockwell’s art for The Saturday Evening Post. The exhibit opened May 14 and features all 323 covers Rockwell illustrated for the Post, as well as “Spirit of Education,” an original painting on loan from the Norman Rockwell Museum in Stockbridge, Mass. Although it’s difficult to pin down exactly how many visitors came to the museum specifically for the exhibit, museum staff members believe Rockwell’s art has had an impact on attendance numbers. In May, nearly 2,200 visitors streamed into the museum. Compare that to May 2011, when about 1,400 people walked through the museum’s doors. “There’s been a lot of people that mentioned that they come specifically for Rockwell,” Assistant Director Janet Gerber said. The surge follows a four-month period from January through April when the museum’s attendance numbers lagged by 8 percent from the same time in 2011, she said. “(Attendance) was down significantly, and now it’s up even more significantly, so it’s exciting,” Gerber said.

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Moffat County business owners share concerns Monday with Romney campaign

Anson Excavating & Pipe Inc. could once land jobs totaling $500,000 to $1 million or more, co-owner Mike Anson said. But that was before a recession undermined the economy and, by extension, consumers’ faith in it. Now, his biggest jobs usually top out at around $200,000, he said, or only 20 percent of what he once made in better days. “There’s a lot of uncertainty out there in the world,” he said during a media conference call with the campaign for Republican presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney. “We just can’t get anybody to spend any money.” He and Scott Cook, owner of Cook Chevrolet, were invited to give the campaign a boots-on-the-ground view of the challenges facing small business owners. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., joined them in the call, directing criticisms at President Barack Obama.

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Model United Nations conference elicits global awareness in CMS students

Tyler Simon dug deep into the problems plaguing a country halfway around the world and came back with alarming statistics. Ten percent of Afghani children will die before their fifth birthday, giving the country one of the highest child death rates in the world, he and other Craig Middle School students wrote in a resolution they presented to a Colorado Model United Nations conference last month. These and other ominous statistics left an indelible impression on the 12-year-old’s mind as he probed into the Middle Eastern country’s social and economic dilemmas. “I think it kind of made me feel a little bad because most of it is because of the war,” said Tyler, who recently finished seventh grade.

TMH officials enthused by increased market share

George Rohrich beamed Thursday night as a graph flashed on the projector screen. The sharp peaks and valleys, followed by a steadily rising line, charted The Memorial Hospital’s market share, a metric that, in simple terms, gauges how many people locally are getting their medical care at TMH. To Rohrich, the hospital's chief executive officer, the graph told the story he and other hospital officials have waited to hear. “We’re winning them back, and that has been our top goal,” he told hospital board members at their regular meeting Thursday.

TMH tobacco-free policy revised

A policy that prohibits smoking on The Memorial Hospital grounds is still set to go into effect next month, but with a few changes. Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence, presented an amended policy to the hospital board Thursday night that eliminates elements staff members found “troublesome,” she said. Changes included removing a provision that directed staff members to call law enforcement if visitors or patients refused to comply with the policy. The amended document, which will require board re-approval, also provides employees with nicotine patches, gum and other smoking cessation tools for a limited time after the policy goes into effect July 1.

CNCC Board to vote on land transfer Thursday

A vote is one of the few items left before the Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board can break ground on a proposed new training facility. The Colorado Northwestern Community College Board is scheduled to consider a land transfer with the fire district during a special meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in room 255 at CNCC’s Craig campus, 2801 W. Ninth St. If the board approves the transfer, the facility could be finished before the snow flies. “Ideally, if everything works out right, we should see that thing built by the fall,” said Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president. “But if anything goes wrong, then it may be next spring.”

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Gerber to take reins as MCSD finance director

Students and staff can expect to find changes at Moffat County School District when the 2012-13 school year begins this fall. Tinneal Gerber, current Moffat County budget analyst, will step into the role of school district finance director on July 1, according to a personnel report the Moffat County School Board approved at its regular meeting May 24. She will replace Mark Rydberg, who is leaving the school district in late June to take a job as business services director for Summit School District.

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‘History in the making’: An estimated 2,000 people jam Alice Pleasant Park for campaign visit

The line to enter Alice Pleasant Park grew quickly Tuesday morning, winding its way around the Museum of Northwest Colorado. As the morning wore on, the line would only grow longer as more residents gathered to catch a glimpse of the first presidential candidate to speak in person in Craig history. “I think this is a piece of history,” Craig City Council member Ray Beck said before Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney’s speech Tuesday. “I think this is monumental, I really do. This is history in the making.” An estimated 2,000 people, more by some estimates, filed through metal detectors staffed by Secret Service agents at security checkpoints before entering the park.

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Mitt means business: Craig residents meet with Romney for business roundtable

Scott Cook, a Craig and Steamboat Springs businessman, said new finance regulations are hindering him in the marketplace. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act was drafted to create more accountability in the financial system following the sweeping bank failure at the dawn of the recession. However, Cook said the act has “created some huge compliance issues” in the finance and insurance departments of his business, Cook Chevrolet, which has locations in Craig and Steamboat. He took his concerns Tuesday to someone who, depending on what happens in November, may be able to help.

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‘We can do anything’: MCHS seniors turn new chapter at graduation ceremony Saturday

In front of an audience of nearly 3,000 people, Moffat County High School senior John Kirk issued a challenge to his classmates. “Ladies and gentlemen of the Class of 2012, do not let the fire die,” he said, his words echoing through the MCHS gym. “Continue to perform and raise the bar. “We can do anything. Class of 2012, rise to the challenges. Never doubt yourself.” Kirk was one of three graduating seniors who addressed the MCHS Class of 2012 during a graduation ceremony Saturday.

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CMS student Kaylee Buckley a state winner in 'If I Were Mayor' essay contest

Kaylee Buckley could see clearly two characters in her mind when she wrote her submission to the “If I Were Mayor” contest this spring. One was a farmer, “an old guy in coveralls,” she said, who was complaining to his local city council about having to pay taxes. The other was the mayor himself, who explained that taxes go to pay for a broad range of services, from roads to parks. It was, in some ways, an experiment in conflict resolution.

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Mitt Romney … meet Craig, America

Frank Moe, owner of Deer Park Inn and Suites in Craig, sent Mitt Romney's presidential campaign a video earlier this year produced by Energy America. The video, titled "The Perfect Storm Over Craig, Colorado," highlighted the community's economic dependence on the energy industry. Along with the video was an invitation from Moe to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee to visit Craig. "We (thought) this would be a good place for him to make the point that he is (in favor of) all forms of energy," Moe said.

School Board takes action on policies Thursday

At its regular meeting Thursday night, the Moffat County School Board: • Conducted an executive session to discuss personnel and negotiations. • Approved, 5-0, clubs for the 2012-13 school year that included Moffat County High School Future Farmers of America, Craig Middle School student government and Sandrockers, a student choir at Sandrock Elementary School. The school board approves clubs annually. • Adopted, 5-0, the school board's 2012-13 meeting schedule.

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MCHS meat judging team win state title, headed to national championship

Makayla Goodnow may never look at steak the same way again. The Moffat County High School senior now knows what constitutes a good piece of meat, where the most tender cuts can be found on an animal, and what it means when a cut is labeled “select” or “prime,” she said, thanks all to the school’s Future Farmers of America meat judging team. She and her teammates — senior Emily Wellman and juniors Brady Martinez and Tyler Hildebrandt — had to become intimately familiar with meat production to prepare for an FFA state competition this spring. “It was fun realizing how much you’re actually learning and how you can use it in everyday life,” Wellman said.

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The call of commencement

MCHS gears up for graduation, year-end ceremonies

A painting with the numbers “2012” in fiery red lettering hung in the Moffat County High School gymnasium Monday morning. “It’s not the end,” it read. “It’s just the beginning.” The artwork and a stage set up beneath it were among the first signs that both an end and a beginning are approaching for the class of 2012. Graduation ceremonies are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the MCHS gym, 900 Finley Lane. Doors open at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, and attendees are encouraged to arrive early, “because you’re not going to find a seat at 10 o’ clock,” MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger said.

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Craig sisters pay tribute to late mother at spring concert

The audience that filled the Moffat County High School auditorium sat silent Thursday night as sisters Rebekah, Christa and Kaitlen Bird began to play. Up until this point in the spring band concert, the combined voices of brass, strings, drums and woodwinds reverberated through the auditorium as Craig Middle School and MCHS band members performed rousing marches and slower, deeper pieces. But as the trio’s clear notes of trombone and French Horn alone blended together in a rendition of “Three Precious Gifts,” the mood in the auditorium changed. Although about 600 people filled the auditorium that night, Christa, 13, Rebekah, 14, and Kaitlen, 18, dedicated their music to one person: their late mother, Sherry Bird.

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