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Bridget Manley

Stories by Bridget

Fire District representatives to update TMH Board on proposed training facility Thursday

The words “live fire simulator” conjure images of black smoke pouring from a burning building. Yet, the fire simulator included in a proposed firefighter training facility south of The Memorial Hospital is different, said Byron Willems, Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board president. “There’s a concern that it puts out a lot of smoke,” he said. “It really puts out very little smoke. … Actually, you get more smoke out of a wood-burning fireplace than you do out of our live fire training facility.” Willems and Chris Nichols, fire board secretary/treasurer, hope to clear up this and any other misconceptions about the training facility when they address TMH Board members Thursday.

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Friends with a focus: New education group launches first project

Although Bill Lawrence’s two children have long since graduated from Moffat County High School, he still has reason to be involved with local schools. “I just think it’s so important that we try to enhance the educational opportunities for our students,” the 67-year-old Craig resident said. Lawrence is one of 10 board members with Friends of Moffat County Education.

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MCHS theater students rally for theater director and her late mother

The house lights dimmed and the audience went quiet Thursday night in the Moffat County High School auditorium. All eyes were trained on the curtain, waiting for the premier of “Rehearsal for Murder,” a 1930s-era mystery, as the cast waited in the wings. It was, it appeared, an opening night not unlike others on the MCHS stage since Heather Dahlberg took the helm of the theater department about two years ago. Yet a day before, a shadow had fallen over the 15-member cast of the play.

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CMS 8th-graders try their hands at poetry through annual contest

It all started with a headache. Jake Vallem’s head was pounding the day he wrote his poem for the Carol Jacobson Memorial Poetry Contest, so the Craig Middle School eighth-grader pulled down a thesaurus and culled words that described how he felt, he said. “I am feeling terrible, malicious, mean and mad,” his poem begins, “And dreadful and deplorable, snappy, sick and sad.” Although Vallem wasn’t feeling so hot the day he put pen to paper, his untitled poem piqued the interest of Craig Poetry Society members who judged the contest.

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Craig family entering new chapter, reflects on nearly 15 years in the community

David Dempster takes a look around the comfortable living area in the Craig house he and wife Julie have called home for 11 years. “We will definitely miss this place,” he says. He’s not the first to say those words. He’s not the first to realize a chapter in life closes even as another begins. Yet, the words are apt.

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MCHS play moving forward in spite of tragedy

Heather Dahlberg, a Moffat County High School teacher, lost three relatives in a plane crash Wednesday who were en route to Craig to watch a school play she had been directing. The play continued as planned at the request of Dahlberg and her theater students, MCHS Principal Thom Schnellinger said. “The kids determined that … in the tradition of any theater, the show must go on,” Schnellinger said. He lauded the student actors’ wishes to continue with the production, “Rehearsal for Murder,” a 1930s-era mystery.

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A path unplanned: CNCC nursing director lauded

Kelly Martin-Puleo doesn’t leave the future to chance. Instead, she plans. She always has a five-year blueprint for her life, “and I pretty much stick to it,” said Martin-Puleo, Colorado Northwestern Community College’s nursing program director. The college nursing program has blossomed under Martin-Puleo’s guidance, CNCC nursing instructor Julie Alkema said. She attributes its growth to the director’s characteristic ability to look past the immediate future. “She’s just got a great vision for what we can be … that we can be a center of excellence, even though we’re in rural Colorado,” Alkema said. “… I feel we’re very lucky to have her as a leader here.”

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MCHS spring play offers dramatic suspense with 1930s flair

The setting: An empty stage at the Palace Theatre on Broadway. The time: the late 1930s. Exactly one year ago, Monica Welles, a complex prima donna, was found dead after her performance on this very stage. Police concluded she took her own life.

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Steamboat-based occupational health program brings services to Craig

What’s the difference between an injured worker and a sidelined player for the Denver Broncos? Not much, in Greg Holm’s view, at least when it comes to rehabilitation. Both need to get back into action — whether it’s on the field or in the workplace — as soon as possible, said Holm, a nurse practitioner with Steamboat Springs-based YampaWorks Occupational Health Services. YampaWorks, a program affiliated with Yampa Valley Medical Center, has provided services to Craig workers at its Steamboat Springs office for some time, said Christine McKelvie, Medical Center public relations director.

Health center shuttered in Baggs, Wyo.

The Noyes Health Care Center in Baggs, Wyo., shut its doors permanently Tuesday, the agency reported in a news release. A staff member will be retained for two weeks as patients transition to other health care providers. The agency will advertise dates when patients can get copies of their medical records, according to the release.

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Journey of the heart: Tour through Israel leaves Craig pastor with ‘great hope’

In the heart of Jerusalem stands a ruin from a distant past. It may not look like much to the curious tourist. The stones in the ancient wall are worn, and a few weeds sprout in the cracks between them. But if you know the Bible like Len Browning does, you know the significance of this place. It’s a reminder of the Jewish temple destroyed nearly two millennia ago. The temple housed the Holy of Holies, which is believed to be the place where God himself dwelled.

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Proposed literacy act sparks debate about holding back struggling readers

If a third-grader falls behind in reading, should he or she be allowed to move on to the next grade? The question is at the center of a debate concerning a proposed literacy act moving through the Colorado House of Representatives. House Bill 12-1238, also known as the Colorado Early Literacy Act, shines a spotlight on students in kindergarten through third grade who fall behind in reading. The bill requires schools to provide programs to ensure students are reading at grade level by the time they finish third grade.

Bridget Manley: A lingering question

I met Todd and Kathy Hildebrandt and their 16-year-old daughter, Katelynn, at a Moffat County High School basketball game about a month ago. During breaks from action on the court, I did what reporters are supposed to do — I asked questions, verified names and ages, and got the basics. Then, I went home and began to grapple with one of the most difficult stories I’ve ever written. Katelynn's voice would never be a part of my story because she couldn't talk. She is legally blind and deaf and she cannot feed herself.

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Rural and loving it: New TMH pediatrician excited about move

Dr. Kristie Yarmer knows a thing or two about practicing medicine in a small town. The pediatrician’s first clinic was on an unpaved road in rural Georgia, and the woods waited just outside her back door, she said. So when an opportunity came to become a pediatrician at The Memorial Hospital Medical Clinic in Craig, she jumped at it.

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A parent's 'privilege': Disabled Craig teen a source of hope, inspiration for family

In Katelynn Hildebrandt’s room there are no posters of teenage heartthrobs, no pictures of friends, no cell phone, no computer or any other trademarks of a typical 16-year-old girl. Instead, a group of dolls holds silent conference on a dresser near her bed. Mickey and Minnie Mouse dolls smile placidly from the top of a nearby bookcase, while plush lambs and rabbits fill a shelf above a row of books. Katelynn did not choose the toys, the books or anything else in her bedroom, the typical bastion of teenage self-expression and freedom.

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College moving forward with residence hall, art reception

A new residence hall at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus may not open as early as expected, but plans to build it are falling into place. The project has entered the design phase, and crews could break ground as early as April 30, said Gene Bilodeau, Craig campus vice president. Preliminary plans call for a two-story, 5,088-square-foot building featuring room for 30 beds and two small laundry areas. The building was initially scheduled to open this fall, but college officials pushed the projected completion date back to January 2013.

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VNA gauging interest this month in elder care program

Caring for an aging parent and young child share at least one similarity: They’re both time- and energy-intensive undertakings. “When you are the caregiver for somebody, that’s a huge responsibility,” said Karen Burley, director of The Haven, an assisted living center in Hayden. But while most parents get a much-needed reprieve from round-the-clock care when their children go to school, adults who care for an elderly loved one have no such respite.

New TMH program gives year-round access to basic wellness tests

A new program at The Memorial Hospital in Craig offers the same tests found at most health fairs. The difference is residents don’t have to wait for the next fair to get tested. Lab Direct, which the hospital launched in late 2011, offers a spectrum of wellness tests year-round that may help residents detect and address potential health problems early. The program includes prostate-specific antigen screenings, which can help identify patients who may be at risk for prostate cancer, and Hemoglobin A1C, a test commonly used by diabetics that provides “a snapshot of your glucose for the last three months,” said Kristine Cooper, TMH laboratory manager.

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MCTA to host open house Saturday in new Centennial Mall location

A move can make a noticeable difference. Just ask Melody Villard, director of the Moffat County Tourism Association. Since MCTA moved its office from the Museum of Northwest Colorado to Centennial Mall, the agency’s foot traffic has increased dramatically, she said. “I definitely see a lot more people,” Villard said. “I’m able to sell Moffat County to a lot larger audience.”

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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.

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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.

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MCHS speech and debate team sending six competitors to state

Qualifying for state speech and debate competition is a tradition at Moffat County High School that spans longer than co-coach Eric Hansen can remember. “It’s been a long time since Moffat County hasn’t taken somebody to state,” said Hansen, also an MCHS social studies teacher. The team will continue the tradition later this month. Juniors Morgan Carrico, Ben East, Matt Balderston and Rose Howe, along with seniors Skyler Leonard and Cullen Dilldine, earned a berth at state during a district competition Feb. 24 and 25 in Durango.

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MCHS speech and debate team to send six competitors to state

Qualifying for state speech and debate competitions is a tradition at Moffat County High School that spans longer than co-coach Eric Hansen can remember. “It’s been a long time since Moffat County hasn’t taken somebody to state,” said Hansen, also an MCHS social studies teacher. The team will continue the tradition later this month. Juniors Morgan Carrico, Ben East, Matt Balderston and Rose Howe, along with seniors Skyler Leonard and Cullen Dilldine, earned a berth at state during a district competition Feb. 24 and 25 in Durango.

Thursday choir performance designed to reinforce need for music education

To say Tanya Young’s fourth- and fifth-grade vocalists are looking forward to a concert Thursday is an understatement. “They are so excited,” said Young, East Elementary School music teacher. “It’s amazing how much kids want to perform.” The annual performance, titled “Music Lasts a Lifetime,” starts at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Craig Middle School auditorium, 915 Yampa Ave. The event is free and open to the public.

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‘This is what I want to do’

A.J. Stoffle found his calling at 4 years old. He watched his cousin in a snowmobile race in Steamboat Springs and decided he wanted to try it, his mother Teresa Stoffle said. His family happened to have his tyke-sized snowmobile with them that day in 2002, Teresa Stoffle. That afternoon, they bought him the safety equipment he needed to race that night. A decade later, A.J. is still certain of his calling.

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Little cowboy, big dreams

Kasen Brennise’s dream is to rodeo in one of the biggest arenas of them all: the National Finals Rodeo. The 12-year-old Craig resident is well on his way to realizing that goal. Kasen secured the title of world champion barrel racer during the 2008 National Finals Little Britches Rodeo. He was only 8 years old at the time. The Craig Middle School sixth-grader also won several saddles during his rodeo career and “I don’t know how many buckles,” said his father, Scott Brennise, 46.

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MCHS grad divides energies between work and education

A smartphone, complete with a digital calendar, isn’t an indulgence to Dorina Fredrickson. It’s a necessity, considering Fredrickson is trying to fit two major time commitments into her schedule. The 20-year-old Craig resident is a full-time student at Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus. She also works full-time as a receptionist at Country Living Realty. Any time she gets in between is partly devoted to preparing for her real estate license.

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Entrepreneur learns by doing

Clint Gabbert doesn’t put too much stock in learning through books. “I’ve always learned better by just doing something,” the 20-year-old said. It’s no surprise, then, that he chose business as a career. In March 2010, a little more than two years after he graduated from Moffat County High School, he and his mother, Leona, opened The Jungle Pet Shop at 565 Yampa Ave.

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TMH rehab relocation postponed

Plans to relocate The Memorial Hospital’s Rehabilitation Center to TMH Medical Clinic are on hold for now. “We’ll put together a plan and go back to the board,” said Jennifer Riley, TMH chief of organizational excellence. The hospital’s initial plan was to move the rehabilitation center from its current location in Suite 116 in Centennial Mall to the east end of the clinic in April. The move would have placed rehabilitation closer to physicians in the clinic, thereby making it a more convenient location for patients, Chief Financial Officer Bryan Chalmers said during an interview in early February.

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Becca Pugh overcame fears to win a seat on MCHS Student Council

Becca Pugh is nothing like the student body president portrayed in most teen movies. She wasn’t the popular girl in school, at least not initially. The 18-year-old Moffat County High School senior is quiet by nature, and learning to speak publicly was sometimes a painful process, she said. In short, Becca’s ascent to the student council presidency wasn’t a product of effortless charm or graced social status. She earned it through hard work and by extending herself far beyond her self-perceived limitations.

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TMH recognized as Craig Chamber’s Large Business of the Year

Service. Volunteerism. Commitment. These attributes make The Memorial Hospital in Craig stand out in the Craig business community, Craig City Councilor Don Jones said during Friday night’s State of the County event.

Advocates, SAFE, shedding light on abusive teenage relationships

Where are you? What are you doing? Who are you with? For a teenager entangled in an unhealthy relationship, the stream of text messages from a boyfriend or girlfriend can be constant, Carol Romero-Crossman said.

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Mayor highlights Craig’s fiscal health in 2012 State of the City address

Signs indicate the City of Craig’s financial picture is improving, leading city officials to adopt an attitude of “cautious optimism,” Craig Mayor Terry Carwile told an audience of more than 80 people Friday night at the State of the County. Carwile highlighted the fiscal factors that will impact the city now and in the future during his State of the City address, on of several speeches given by state and local officials during the annual event at Holiday Inn.

School board accepts resignation of nearly 20-year educator

The Moffat County School Board unanimously accepted the resignation of a longtime administrator Thursday night. Bill Toovey will step down as Craig Middle School’s principal at the end of the 2011-12 school year and head into a future yet unknown. “We’re just framing up our options and we’ll decide down the road,” he said before Thursday’s meeting. His last day is June 30.

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‘Live for Levi’ event elicits stories of pain, loss and hope

In late September 2011, the clouds seemed to lift for Jeana Weber’s 22-year-old son, Levi. He had been going through a difficult time in life, Jeana told a group of about 45 people Tuesday night at The Journey at First Baptist. His father, Jim Weber, and Jeana’s husband of almost three decades, had taken his own life Christmas Day 2010. But on Sept. 21, 2011, “he was the happiest I had seen him for a long time,” she said.

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New MCHS reading program hopes to gain momentum with best-selling trilogy

Robin Weible knew “The Hunger Games” was popular. She heard about the first book in Suzanne Collins’ best-selling series from students at Craig Middle School and Moffat County High School. Finally, Weible, MCHS library technician, decided to see for herself what all the excitement was about. She was sucked into the novel, which follows Katniss Everdeen, a 16-year-old girl living in a post-apocalyptic future, who must compete against other young teens in a government-mandated fight to the death.

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ACET investigating possible meth lab in Craig

The All Crimes Enforcement Team is investigating what officers believe is a dormant methamphetamine lab found in a vacant home at 826 Colorado St. “(Officers are) in the process of sampling right now” to determine if methamphetamine was created in the residence, ACET Commander Marvin Cameron said Friday afternoon.

Great American Spit Out urges chewing tobacco users to quit

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Saturday fundraiser to support MCHS, CMS students bound for Costa Rica

If there’s one thing Patty Hebert wants students to learn from an upcoming trip to Costa Rica, it’s that a big world waits to be explored. “I just hope they have an incredible cultural experience,” said Hebert, 43, a Moffat County School District substitute teacher. “I hope that they gain a love and a knowledge of other cultures outside of Craig (and) outside the United States.” In early June, Hebert will lead three Moffat County High School students and two Craig Middle School eighth-graders on an excursion to the Central American country. The trip costs about $2,600 per student, and some participants have been working for more than a year to earn or save the money, Hebert said.

Great American Spit Out urges chewing tobacco users to quit

Every so often, Rodney Kowach is reminded of the habit he gave up more than 15 years ago. “Today, I still smell a fresh-opened can of Copenhagen and you go, ‘Oh, that smells good,’ but I know better,” said Kowach, 47, a lifelong Craig resident. He tried to quit chewing tobacco at least four times before he finally succeeded, he said. His story isn’t an uncommon one.

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Wyman Living History Museum gears up for annual winter festival Saturday

Fat flakes of snow fell Wednesday morning as a truck slowly lumbered to the pond below Wyman Living History Museum. It just arrived from the Rifle Falls State Fish Hatchery and contained an unusual cargo—about 200 rainbow trout that, with any luck, will end up on hooks Saturday during a free ice fishing derby for children ages 16 and younger. The derby is just one of the events slated for the museum’s first Not-So-Winter Festival. The Colorado Division of Wildlife will provide poles and bait to children who want to try ice fishing but don’t have the gear.

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Amateur chocolatier’s bid at Taste of Chocolate yields sweet reward

A casual observer would probably never guess Deborah Behringer’s kitchen was the scene of a chocolate-coated frenzy. A pan of rising bread dough sat neatly atop a warming oven in her Craig home Monday afternoon. Her counters were nearly spotless and her Kitchen Aid sat neatly in a corner. But it was a different scene Saturday, the end of a two-day marathon to prepare Behringer’s chocolate mocha truffles for the sixth annual Taste of Chocolate, she said. Bits of chocolate covered both sides of her cutting boards, and there was even a smidge of it on the pepper grinder, she said.

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Commitment to Excellence member seeks volunteers to lend teachers a hand

Ann Marie Roberts, a local business owner and Maximum Commitment to Excellence member, believes community support and student achievement go hand-in-hand. If the community backs teachers and students, the latter “are going to want to be successful and they’re going to want to improve because they know … the community’s behind them,” said Roberts, who owns the Craig-based R & R Catering and Double Barrel Steakhouse in Hayden with her husband, Pat. She’s spearheading an effort to accomplish that goal by getting more volunteers into Moffat County School District classrooms

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CNCC hosts event to help college-bound students with finances

Getting accepted to Colorado Mesa University was the easy part, Morgan Knob said. Now, the Moffat County High School senior has to figure out how to pay for her education. She’s applied for three scholarships —“I’m going to apply for a lot more,” she said — but there’s one looming item on her to-do list. The Free Application for Federal Student Aid is the gateway to getting grants, student loans and any other financial help from Uncle Sam.

Dance, dinner events to celebrate Valentine’s Day

Listen up, lovebirds: two events on the horizon offer a gateway to the romance of the upcoming holiday. The festivities begin today with a St. Valentine’s Dance from 7:30 p.m. to midnight at Maybell Elementary School, 30 Haynes Ave. Admission costs $10 per person or $12 per couple. The night kicks off with the traditional Western style of The John Wayne Band, which features local musicians John Allen and Wayne Davis. At 9 p.m., The Blue Rooster Band, featuring local musician Brian Ghirardelli among others, takes the stage with its “rocking Van Halen-type” of music, said Bill Ronis, event organizer and Maybell Elementary teacher.

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High school FBLA in the midst of banner year

The results were staggering to Krista Schenck. “I just couldn’t believe it,” the Moffat County High School business, marketing and technology teacher said. Seventeen of the 20 MCHS students who went to a Future Business Leaders of America district competition Monday earned a berth at the state championship. That number constitutes the high school’s largest FBLA state team in Schenck’s seven-year career at MCHS, she said.

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Business developments give officials cause to believe better economic days are ahead

The winter months are usually not prime for construction or economic development. This winter, though, defies the norm. Dave Costa, City of Craig planning and community development director, approved and issued Wednesday foundation permits to Boulder-based Tebo Development for the construction of Tebo Center. The company broke ground on the 10,477-square-foot retail structure Thursday.

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Investigator: fire’s cause remains undetermined

Preliminary reports suggest Tuesday night’s fire in Craig that claimed Craig resident Ursula Hunter was accidental. However, officials said a definitive cause has not been determined. John Forgay, a sergeant with the Craig Police Department, is investigating the fire at 1912 Woodland Ave. He said Wednesday the fire department views the fire as accidental. But, he said there are some concerning issues, and he and fire officials have theories on what sparked the blaze.

Moffat County School District on track to erase $340K deficit

Finance director: Long-range view is more uncertain

The Moffat County School District’s financial situation is looking brighter than it did eight months ago. In June 2011, school district finance director Mark Rydberg unveiled proposed changes to what was then a draft 2012 fiscal year budget that introduced $340,000 in deficit spending. The quarterly general fund report he recently gave to Moffat County School Board members, however, painted a more promising picture. Projected mineral revenues came in at nearly $346,000 more than budgeted. The unbudgeted windfall more than made up for the $170,000 less the district is expected to receive in total program funds, or the number of students multiplied by how much the state gives the district per student.

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Sandrock Elementary singers chosen to participate in first elementary honor choir

Julie Laur believed Courtney Smith, Tiffany Hildebrandt and Alyssa Zimmerman had what it took to shine on the big stage. “They’re excellent,” said Laur, Sandrock Elementary School music teacher. Laur handpicked the three Sandrock Elementary vocalists to represent Moffat County at the Colorado Elementary All-State Choir on Jan. 28 the Broadmoor Hotel’s International Center in Colorado Springs. The performance, presented by the Colorado Music Educators Association, was the first of its kind in the state and was designed to showcase Colorado’s best up-and-coming singers.