CNCC official working on new signage
If looking for the new Colorado Northwestern Community College campus in Craig without knowing where it was, it would be easy to become wind up in the wrong place. Although the new campus has been open over a year now, highway signage still directs people to the old location at the CNCC bell tower. Marketing director Jeff Stoddard has been working ardently on getting signage corrected and pointing to the correct campus.
Layle Dees knows how and what to feed people. In her previous role as general manager of dining services for Colorado Mountain College in Steamboat, Dees had to have plenty of food for the college kids she served, and the right kind too. “College kids need comfort food,” Dees said. “Especially freshman. If you can make college kids happy you can definitely make adults happy.” In her new role as the executive chef for The Memorial Hospital at Craig, the Texas native brings a wealth of knowledge and experience with a little bit of southern charm.
The fresh start of a new life entering the world is something to be celebrated whenever it occurs. But Khyler Edmond Fross, born at 4:01 p.m. January 4, 2013 to Amber and Chris Fross of Craig had even more to be celebrated, being the first baby born in Craig in the new year. “We really had no idea. We weren’t planning on being the first,” Chris said. “Everything went really well.” Joining sister Shaelynne Fross, 2, Khyler came into the world weighing 9 pounds, zero ounces and was 19 ¼ inches long.
Northwest Colorado Legal Services coordinator Sherri Ferree is reviving the meet with a lawyer forum and giving it a technological update. A new take on an old idea, Northwest Colorado Legal Services has teamed up with The Memorial Hospital at Craig to bring Moffat County residents Skype–A-Lawyer night. The second Thursday of every month, the next meeting time is 5:30 Thursday at the Memorial Hospital at Craig.
Guided Online Academic Learning Academy of Craig, GOAL, will host its second family night Thursday to engage parents with their students learning. Having had a family night earlier this month, GOAL parent coordinator Nikki Frederickson said she wasn’t quite at her full potential accounting for what she considered lower participation. Frederickson joined the GOAL Academy team in November and said she hopes to increase attendance from the 12 students and their parents who attended the first family session.
Recalling a pool of sweat in front of his face while his arms rhythmically pumped up and down doing endless pushups, Zach Hansen calls boot camp the most fun he’d never like to have again. The 18-year-old 2012 Moffat County High School graduate recently returned home for a ten-day leave after completing boot camp in San Diego and Camp Pendleton in California. Enlisting before graduating high school, there was never a doubt in Hansen’s mind he’d be joining the marines.
The Friends of Moffat County Education group is seeking to help local students in kindergarten through second grade get a jump on their education through technology. What initially began as a grant request to FMCE from kindergarten, first- and second-grade teachers at Sunset Elementary School, has turned into a district wide initiative to purchase iPads for students in kindergarten through second grade.
After a presentation from Jeff Comstock during a special county commissioner board meeting Monday morning, Moffat County commissioners unanimously voted to protest the White River field office’s decision to defer spring grazing on the Bureau of Land Management administered lands, reduce grazing by a minimum of 50 percent through the summer and winter of 2013-2014 and reduce utilization thresholds and minimum stubble heights on BLM lands. Comstock, director of the Natural Resources Department for Moffat County, said Moffat County acknowledged the drought and resulting reduced forage, but said the BLM made a mistake by administering a blanket decision rather than looking allotment by allotment, not considering the economic impact, violating their own regulations and not giving deference to range practices or variation in vegetation communities.
The Die Hard Acafellas, the newly formed youth barbershop chorus from Craig, is hoping to be a group contender at the International Youth Chorus Festival in Orlando, Fla., this year. The competition, which features chorus groups from around the world, takes place from Thursday to Sunday, but the group still is trying to raise funds to cover the cost of plane tickets and meals.
The end of the holidays has inevitably come, and as families return to work and schedules, kids who have yet to return to school have been able to have fun at the Boys & Girls Club in Craig. With the help of Yampa Valley Bank, $8,000 was raised to help both the Boys & Girls Club in Craig and Steamboat stay open Wednesday through Friday during the winter break. “As families have to go back to work and life resumes as normal, kids have a safe place to be,” said Dana Duran, executive director for the Craig Boys & Girls Club.
The debate continued Thursday night at The Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees regular meeting, as many of Craig’s residents came for the public comment section of the meeting. Ranging from those who wanted proof the board was listening and acting upon concerns from some residents, to those who thought the newspaper and others were leading the charge for a witch hunt, a variety of community members gave their input on the administration and staffing procedures at The Memorial Hospital.
A tank battery explosion Thursday morning on Moffat County Road 103 about seven miles north of Craig has resulted in the death of a local male resident. Jon Herod, 49, of Craig, was pronounced dead at the scene after a 300 barrel tank exploded. The incident, which Moffat County Sheriff's Office deputies are investigating as an accident, occurred at approximately 10:30 a.m. Thursday at Axia Energy's Bulldog rig site 531. The Moffat County Sheriff’s Office, an ambulance crew from The Memorial Hospital in Craig, and multiple engines from Craig Fire/Rescue responded to the incident.
Balloons began venturing down from the ceiling, sitting stagnant in the empty rooms at Mather’s Bar early on in the evening New Year’s Eve. A type of calm before the storm, the earlier part of the evening was not an indicator of the party that took place later as Craig residents came to Mather’s to ring in the new year. As the countdown neared, resolutions were on the mind, and a quick survey of some of Mather’s patrons found most we’re just hoping to make the new year better than the last.
Local health care professional bringing weightloss program to Moffat County
With the New Year upon us and resolutions being formulated, losing weight, sticking with goals and taking on new challenges are often at the forefront of many minds. Moffat County resident Jona Ely, a Certified Family Nursing Practitioner, started working on her resolution back in August: improving the health and well being of Craig and Moffat County’s residents. After discovering Moffat County was ranked 50th out of 59 Colorado counties in overall health — and last in health behaviors including substance abuse, exercise and diet — Ely took it upon herself to provide a resource local residents actually would utilize. “As a healthcare provider, as a resident, it was really disheartening to see that we were at the bottom of the heap in Colorado,” Ely said. “It really hit me how few resources Moffat County really has and how little those resources are used.”
Residents searching for high-powered rifles on Walmart’s website or in-store at the Craig location will quickly find most are sold out. A Sig Sauer M400 with prismatic scope, Sig Sauer M400 Enhanced Carbine ODG, Colt LE6920 Carbine Semi-Auto Rifle, and a host of others including AR 15’s are all out of stock. As many fear for their safety and right to bear arms in wake of the Newtown, Conn. shootings, gun sales have soared through the roof.
Though a well-known face around town, Joel Browning is a new face to the Moffat County School District Board of Education. Barely making the deadline to apply for the vacancy, Browning was chosen and joined the board representing District 5 at the December board of education meeting.
Moffat County Social Services and Connections 4 Kids to offer Parenting the Love and Logic Way course
Parenting the Love and Logic Way, a course teaching simple and practical techniques to help parents with kids of all ages is available to Moffat County residents beginning Jan. 15. Brought to residents by the Moffat County Department of Social Services and Connections 4 Kids, the six-week course is held from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays from Jan. 15 to Feb. 19 at the Moffat County Department of Social Services, 595 Breeze St. in Craig.
As Craig residents continue to receive some much-appreciated snow, the cold that accompanies it is less than enjoyable. Former Craig resident and Moffat County High School graduate Andrew Drake headed for warmer weather the day after Christmas, traveling to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to complete an internship with Disney’s ESPN Wide World of Sports.
Claudia Molina, of Craig, was able to see her daughter Yoselin, 5, and son Diego, 2, tear into their presents this morning when they woke up at 5 a.m., excited to see if Santa had come. Yoselin had stayed up until midnight, attempting to catch Santa delivering presents until Molina told her Santa wouldn’t come if she were awake. “As soon as she went to bed I ran to the closet and put the presents under the tree,” Molina said. “I even left a note from Santa, thanking her for the cookies and milk. She wants to put the note in a photo album.” A perfect start to Christmas, Molina’s spirits weren’t dampened even though she had to go in for an afternoon shift at the Kum n’ Go on Yampa.
What Christmas lunch at St. Michael’s Catholic Church was lacking in attendance, it made up for in laughter and love. Three generations of the Bolton and Jarvis families served lunch, told jokes and shared smiles with everyone who came through the line.
It’s inevitable. The harried last-minute shopping on Christmas Eve, time spent searching the shelves for that specific item that should’ve been bought a month ago. David Ross, assistant manager at K-mart in Craig for 11 years, said the store has been open on Christmas Eve as far back as he can remember. And for good reason.
Sandrock Ridge Care and Rehab hosted its Christmas party Saturday, much to the enjoyment of its residents. Served lunch and offered time to visit with family and friends, residents munched on sweets and watched as Santa and Mrs. Claus visited with children. Mary Gillingham, activities director at Sandrock Ridge, said Santa and Mrs. Claus have been coming for eight years, always to the delight of residents and visiting grandkids.
Most would like to believe that people are, at their core, honest and good. But there’s always the few who will take advantage of a system meant to benefit those who truly need it. For the Moffat County Social Services Department, welfare fraud is happening more frequently than it would like to see. Investigating 18 fraud cases in the past two years, and filing seven of those cases with the district attorney, welfare fraud is not something the department takes lightly, self-sufficience supervisor Laura Willems said.
The Colorado Northwestern Community College Cosmetology program has always been good, but with new program director Erica Dreckman, the program is on its way to being even better. Dreckman came to run the program nearly four months ago, leaving a teaching position in Fort Collins to do so. And although Dreckman said the program was good before she got there, she has some changes in mind to help improve the program, including a change in curriculum.
Craig local, Chief Petty Officer Travis Doolin of the United States Navy, returned home last week to spend the holidays with his family, Travis attended the annual VFW Christmas dinner Monday as the guest of honor, where he received recognition for his quick rise through the ranks after enlisting in the Navy ten years ago. “He flew up the ranks,” VFW commander Guy Bradshaw said addressing those at the dinner. “That’s one hell of an achievement.” Travis was advanced to the rank of Chief Petty Officer in September during a pinning ceremony, following a six-week induction process unique to the Navy.
The popular Grand Junction based Williams Brothers Band will help Craig residents celebrate the Mayan prophesized end of the world tonight at 9 p.m. the Holiday Inn of Craig’s End of the World Party. Playing what they call east bay funk and high desert boogie, James Williams of the band said the band has much of their musical roots grounded in their musical experiences growing up in California’s east bay. Members of the band include James Williams, Phillip Williams, Jared Schmidt, Allen Bradley and extras Donny Morales, Andy Schmidt and Glenn Patterson.
Moffat County Youth United Way and Key Club wrapped up its last night in a series of Thursday activities this week for its Festival of Trees. Twenty-two non-profits decorated trees in the Moffat County Courthouse for the community to enjoy throughout December.
The unthinkable became a nightmarish reality last week in Newtown, Connecticut, when a gunman entered Sandy Hook Elementary School, releasing fire that resulted in 26 deaths of students and staff. Taking the lives of 20 innocent children and six of those charged with their safety, the gunman also took the peace of mind, safety and security that parents across the nation had in sending their child off to school each day. As the nation deals with the tragedy, Craig is not exempt from coping and attempting to rebuild their trust that its students will be safe at school. In an attempt to alleviate parents concerns and answer questions, Moffat County School District hosted two community meetings this week, one at Moffat County High School and one at Sandrock Elementary School. Addressing those in attendance at Sandrock Wednesday night, Moffat County School District superintendent Dr. Joe Petrone, told parents the meetings were held to give parents a sense of what the district had in place for the security and safety of the children.
Winners of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Patriot’s Pen Essay Contest were announced at Craig Middle School Tuesday afternoon. Open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders, the contest required students write a 300-400 word essay about what they would tell America’s founding fathers.
Stella Hall has been a fixture in Craig for many years. A retired teacher, Hall spent 42 years teaching in Moffat County. Having taught science in high school, junior high and elementary school, Hall said she didn’t have a favorite, enjoying the unique experiences each grade level provided.
The Moffat County Commissioners voted to enact tax exemptions at the county level on renewable energy components, beetle wood products, school related sales, farm equipment and the occasional sale by charitable organizations at their regular meeting Tuesday morning. The commission held off on voting on other items the state is now exempting from taxes such as food, until they said they could better know the impact it would have.
Moffat County commissioners voted 2-1 Tuesday to remove Bryce Jacobson and Leona Hemmerich from the Moffat County Tourism Association’s board of directors. Commissioner Tom Mathers made the motion to remove Jacobson — the board’s chair — and Hemmerich, saying the two board members had been insubordinate and disruptive. Tom Gray also voted for their removal, while Commissioner Audrey Danner dissented. Jacobson is publisher of the Craig Daily Press. Mathers said he initially considered dissolving the entire MCTA board and starting over, then decided against it after discussion with MCTA director Melody Villard.Tuesday’s county commissioner’s meeting was packed, as people crowded outside the door to hear discussion and give comment on commissioner Tom Mather’s motion to remove Bryce Jacobson and Leona Hemmerich from the Moffat County Tourism Association board.
Kenneth Layton Arnett, 20, of Craig, was arrested Thursday on theft and shoplifting charges. On Monday he was charged with one count of criminal attempt for possession of materials to manufacture methamphetamine and one count of possession of two or more chemicals with the intent to manufacture amphetamines.
The Moffat County School District will be hosting two community meetings to assist parents in understanding safety procedures as a result of last week’s tragic event in Connecticut. The first is at 6 p.m. Tuesday, at Moffat County High School, the second will be at 6 p.m. Wednesday at Sandrock Elementary School in the cafeteria. District administrators, school administrators and school counselors will be on hand to answer questions and assist parents.
Sandrock Elementary School third graders had the opportunity to see just how tough life would’ve been back in the 1800s Monday afternoon at the Wyman Museum. During a field trip to the museum, students helped make applesauce, learned about daily chores such as churning butter, saw a real blacksmith at work and met JR the elk.
Ken Prescott has worn many hats, having been a marine, EMT, CNA, manager, a mobile DJ and event planner and most recently the new general manager at the Craig Pizza Hut. Prescott began managing Pizza Hut at the beginning of November, and his customers have noticed his management style.
Driving to the Christiansen’s house, watch the mile markers until coming to two, a mile and a half from the Utah border. Nearly a two-hour drive from Craig through windy roads filled with plenty of wildlife, the Christiansen’s live on the Brown’s Park Wildlife Refuge headquarters. A long commute is putting it mildly, but Faith Christiansen, 16, James Christiansen, 12 and Trevor Christiansen, 10, wake up around 4 a.m. everyday, leave the house at 5:10 to catch the bus at 5:30, for a two hour bus ride to school in Craig.
Madison Simonette, 5, runs circles around the Simonette family's living room, with little brother, Jase, 2, in tow. Talking up a storm, you’d never guess Madison once worked with a Horizons Specialized Services speech therapist. Only saying mom, dad and hi by 18 months, Madison’s pediatrician recommended Ashley and John Simonette consider contacting Horizons and utilize their early intervention and family support programs.
Waiting until the last minute to get projects done, whether it be in work, school or personal life, can sometimes result in sub-par work. But Craig resident Renata Beason is re-evaluating that notion after she decided to enter a quilting contest only two weeks before the deadline and experienced success on a national level.
The Colorado Northwestern Community College first free movie nights received a mix turnout, with no one coming for the Tuesday showings, but getting a sizable crowd Wednesday. A festive movie, Jim Carey as “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” played at 5 and 7:30 p.m. for students and community members to enjoy.
With the first big snowfall of the year, students are bundling up to head out for recess and play in the flakes. Although it can be quite the process to bundle up adequately, Ridgeview third and fourth graders don’t seem to mind. Fourth grader Gwenevere Doizaki said she was still hoping for snow reminiscent of years ago, where snow piled up in hills, “as tall as you,” Doizaki said. Students worked on snow forts, slides and snowmen during their afternoon recess, slipping and sliding down the hills they created.
Wyman Museum hosts its Christmas for Kids from 1-4 p.m. this Saturday out at the Wyman Museum. Nicky Boulger, of Wyman Museum, said the event features numerous craft tables where kids can make an ornament or Christmas craft, something to give grandma or grandpa. “It’s a fun thing for the kids,” Boulger said. “Some kids don’t have that opportunity at home to do it, but this gives them a place to do it with their family.”
Quality of care issues, the board’s role and community communication
At the end of the day, what matters to most regarding a hospital is that it meets their health needs without forcing them to leave the community they live in. With much talk about physicians leaving the The Memorial Hospital in Craig to go elsewhere for employment, those on both sides of the issue — hospital administration, employees and employees who left — have spoken out about the hospital’s process for addressing quality of care issues as well as the community impact that results when a physician departs. The following is part three of a three-part series examining the issue of physician retention at TMH — if the current administration’s policies regarding review of quality care issues are causing doctors to depart as well as how the hospital’s board factors into the situation — told from the perspective of current and former hospital employees, as well as current administrators and board members.
It’s official, Craig is now the Elk Hunting Capital of the World, as local businessman John Ponikvar trademarked the phrase for the community. Having spent five years building the brand, Ponikvar said he thought it was time to trademark the phrase, beginning the process last March. “I think it’s fantastic,” Executive Director for the Craig Chamber of Commerce Christina Oxley said. “I have a lot of respect for a community member that took this entire effort on, supported it with his own dollars, really marketed it and went through with the process of having it trademarked.”
Moffat County High School’s first annual Kennel Club Talent Show went off without any technical difficulties and to a what organizer Evan Gaffney said was a surprisingly large crowd. Nearly 100 people attended, which Gaffney said shocked him considering the date of the show was changed only seven days in advance.
In the middle of the holiday season, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hustle and bustle and forget to take time for the little things. Connections 4 Kids is helping people to remember to take the time with its second annual Cherish the Little Things children’s art show. Although not until February 7, Connections 4 Kids is seeking contributions now.
There was plenty to celebrate at the Moffat County School DIstrict Board of Education meeting Tuesday night. Kristin Ingalls was again honored for her Peabody Energy Leaders in Education award, Norm Yoast for his Excellence in Science Education 2012 award from the Colorado Association of Science Teachers and Cheryl Arnett and Melany Neton shared their experience attending the Partners in Learning Global Forum. Arnett and Neton recently traveled to Prague in the Czech Republic for the forum.
Recruitment and the administration’s influence on workflow
Keeping a community’s residents healthy is no easy task. Getting patients in and out and treated correctly depends heavily on resources and available physicians in an area. As some doctors depart The Memorial Hospital in Craig harboring some ill feelings, residents are becoming concerned with how they’ll be affected as patients. The following is part two of a three-part series examining the issue of physician retention at TMH ¬¬— whether what’s happening in Craig is a problem caused by the current administration or part of a national trend — told from the perspective of current and former hospital employees, as well as current administrators.
Stepping out of the blustery snow and into Gabriel and Joy Daigle’s restaurant Mom and Pop’s B.B.Q. is like visiting grandmas. Warm food, great smells and friendly faces invite visitors to come in and make themselves at home. The Daigle’s have opened where Pankey’s B.B.Q. used to be, 1740 E. Hwy. 40, and are serving Cajun style barbecue, along with malts, shakes, ooey gooey cakes and famous cheesecake. It’s famous for a reason.
Disagreements about administration’s role over retention
Dr. Jeffrey Womble, a general surgeon at The Memorial Hospital in Craig, compares a physician choosing a place of employment to a serious, personal relationship. “Everyone describes it, whether you go into private practice, are employed or whatever, as getting married,” Womble said. “Sometimes it works out, and we all work and do everything we can to make sure it works out. Sometimes it doesn’t.” But what happens when it doesn’t? Divorce can be messy.