It’s the time of year for the county to take a look back to see how best to move forward. The annual State of the County, at 6 p.m. Friday at Clarion Inn and Suites, will host addresses by Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers and Mayor Terry Carwile, as well as keynote speaker, Steven Summers, president of the Colorado Hospital Association. The Craig Chamber of Commerce will also announce the recipients of the Business of the Year awards.
Leaders from Moffat, Routt and Rio Blanco counties gathered Wednesday to discuss economic development as part of a Stronger Economies Together meeting. The meeting at Colorado Northwestern Community College in Craig followed a nearly year-long training program that brought together the three counties to help them understand how to formulate an economic strategy and pool resources.
Lieutenant KC Hume, operations chief at Moffat County Sheriff’s office, announced his candidacy for the office of Moffat County Sheriff. Hume, who is also fire chief for Craig Fire/Rescue and a school board member for Moffat County School District, said he came to the decision after Moffat County Undersheriff Charlene Abdella announced she would be dropping out of the race.
Two structure fires threatened homes in Craig with one igniting on Tuesday night and the other early Wednesday morning, but no one was injured and no homes were destroyed. Craig Mayor Terry Carwile’s attic caught fire at around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday night. “Last night was a fire in an attic space,” said Fire Chief KC Hume. It was extinguished “relatively quickly.”
Moffat County Undersheriff Charlene Abdella on Tuesday announced her withdrawal from the Moffat County sheriff’s race. “I have taken time over the past week to reflect on my personal and professional goals and have determined that serving as an elected official is not going to be the next course for me,” Abdella said in a press release.
Craig police officer arrested in Grand Junction for disorderly conduct and obstructing government operations
Craig Police Officer Eric Montes was arrested Sunday in Grand Junction for disorderly conduct and disrupting government operations. Craig Police Department released a statement Monday disclosing the arrest and the steps they intend to take regarding the issue.
Keeping up good health depends not just on checking into the doctor when feeling ill, but also maintaining a proactive attitude. Preventative healthcare is a vital part of staying healthy. “We definitely encourage everybody to establish care: meaning to come when they are not acutely ill,” said Gisela Garrison, director of the Visiting Nurses Association health center, “This is one of the principles in preventative health care.”
The Lincoln Day Dinner, a fundraiser for the Moffat County Republicans, provided several residents the opportunity to announce their bid for elected office. “We’re really excited to have so many people interested in serving the community,” said Brandi Meek, Moffat County chairwoman for the Colorado Republican executive committee.
A bill that would take Safe2Tell — a program that provides a hotline for K-12 students to call or text authorities if they feel threatened or bullied — out of the nonprofit sector and places it within the Colorado Attorney General’s office is moving smoothly through the legislative process.
When Colorado voters approved the sale of recreational marijuana, Maybell resident Kris Brannan was looking forward to growing the product and opening a retail pot shop and dispensary. It would be a far more profitable way to use her 300 acres than just growing alfalfa, she said. “There’s a huge economic benefit for us now in the marijuana industry. I get ten cents a pound on my hay out here in May, or I can make $4,000 a pound selling marijuana,” she said. “To me, as a farmer, I feel this is a huge economic advantage for all of us.”
Moffat County Republicans will celebrate their annual Lincoln Day Dinner on Saturday with keynote speaker, Ryan Call, the Colorado State Party chairman. Call also serves as a chair on the Republican National Committee’s budget committee. The fundraiser will bring in money to the GOP and some of the funds will pay for part of the delegate fees at the state assembly, said Brandi Meek, Moffat County chairwoman for the Colorado Republican executive committee.
An economic development committee met Tuesday to plan an event to attract entrepreneurs and business owners to Craig in June. The planning group is the economic development subcommittee of the Craig Community Assessment Committee, which kicked off its meetings at the beginning of the year after receiving an assessment performed by the state program Downtown Colorado Inc. The state program helps guide small communities through the processes it takes to boost local economies.
An elderly woman crashed her station wagon into Craig City Hall Monday afternoon. She didn’t suffer any injuries from the crash but her vehicle was wedged into the entry-way of the building. The crash took out the front door completely. Sgt. John Forgay of the Craig Police Department said she was suffering from medical issues that may have led to the crash.
A documentary following the story of the Villard sheep ranch is moving into post-production. Yuri Chicovsky sought funds for his film, Sage Country, via the crowd-funding site, Kickstarter, and as of Friday surpassed his goal by more than $6,000. His next step is to pull the film together — and most of the work, from the soundtrack to the editing, Chicovsky will do himself.
Since New York-based Jacobs Real Estate Advisors purchased the former Holiday Inn, and turned it into a Clarion Inn & Suits, the new owners have been working to revamp the establishment. One way they’re doing that is by changing up the restaurant. Tim Richardson, their brand-new chef, is the face of that change.
A bill that would have made concealed carry legal without a permit was rescheduled for a Tuesday vote in the Judiciary Committee on Thursday afternoon. Co-Sponsor Rep. Chris Holbert, R-Douglas, has been pushing for this legislation for years, but said he is confident it will be killed in committee. “It’s a great bill because it points out a lot of wrong assumptions about carrying a handgun either open or concealed,” he said. “Currently in Colorado law, it is a Class 2 misdemeanor to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.”
Craig City Council appointed City Council member Don Jones as the new mayor pro-tem at its Tuesday night meeting.
Compromises on the Farm Bill could mean good news for Moffat County’s budget. PILT (payment in lieu of taxes) funding was attached to the Farm Bill as part of compromises to move the legislation forward, much to the relief of Moffat County Commissioner Chuck Grobe. “We knew it was being connected to the Farm Bill but we weren’t 100 percent sure it would,” he said. “It was a compromised agreement, so there’s a 99 percent chance (it will pass.)”
Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz will not be running for Moffat County Commissioner in the November election. He posted an inquiry on his Facebook page earlier this month, asking people why they think he should run for commissioner. While he said he was “overwhelmed” by the show of support from his friends and the community, Jantz said he is opting out.
Cervical cancer used to be one of the primary killers of women in the U.S. But, due to regular pap smears and the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine, those numbers have dropped dramatically. On average, about 12,000 women each year are diagnosed with cervical cancer in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Cold and dark winter days call for some girl time, and KRAI and 55 Country wants to help. The radio station is sponsoring its third annual Girls Day Out, an event that brings several women-centric activities together under one roof. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Centennial Mall.
Linda Peters, chief deputy of the Moffat County Treasurer and Public Trustee office, announced her bid to run for county treasurer Monday. The current treasurer and public trustee, Elaine Sullivan, is nearing the end of her first term, and instead of running again, she plans to retire.
U.S. Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Gov. John Hickenlooper landed in Moffat County as part of such collaboration. Jewell came with the head of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the head of the Bureau of Land Management to tour the Bord Gulch Ranch owned by Ray Owens. His ranch is an example of how a private landowner can further a conservationist goal, Jewell said. “Ray Owens is a model of the 21st century western rancher with his outstanding stewardship of this working landscape,” said Jewell in a press release. “He represents the spirit of partnership that can be replicated across the West as we develop landscape-level strategies to lessen the threats to the sage grouse and conserve its habitat.”
U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will be stopping in Moffat County Tuesday to talk sage grouse.
More kayakers may want to check out Craig if resident Robert Schenck and the Moffat County Tourism Association get their way. Schenck came to the MCTA with a plan to revamp the section of the Yampa River that extends from Loudy-Simpson Park to Pebble Beach so that it will appeal to kayakers and floaters.
With a new legislative session underway, lawmakers already are challenging energy regulations that were signed into law in 2013. State Sen. Ted Harvey, R-Highlands Ranch, proposed Senate Bill 35, a bill that effectively would gut the renewable energy mandate. Now law, Senate Bill 13-252 requires cooperative electric associations to get at least 20 percent of their energy from renewable resources by 2020. SB 35 was swiftly introduced into the State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee on Wednesday and just as swiftly killed in committee.
More than $500,000 of Moffat County’s budget still is up in the air at the federal level. The money is tied to Payment in Lieu of Taxes funding that is playing a central role in debates in the U.S. Congress. PILT funds are given to counties that have public land they cannot tax. While the funds can be used in many ways, they usually help communities such as Moffat County cover costs of infrastructure.
Craig Ford/Mercury opened its doors for business Thursday after facing seizure the day before by the Colorado Department of Revenue.
Craig City Council appointed Kent Nielson as the new council member. Nielson, manager of United Supply of the Rockies and a bishop for Craig’s first ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has some experience working on council. He was a council member for two consecutive terms, starting in 1999. Now, he will act as an interim council member until the next election in 2015.
Betsy Overton has long volunteered in the Craig community, but now she gets to apply her philanthropic side to her career. Overton was made the new early child coordinator at Connections 4 Kids. She’s taking over Michelle Balleck’s position who worked at Connections 4 Kids for two years before leaving to be the director of marketing and public relations for Middle Park Medical Center in Grand County.
The Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board of Directors appointed KC Hume as Fire Chief in December. Hume has been acting as interim fire chief since former Fire Chief Bill Johnston announced his effective-immediately retirement in October. Hume said he is excited to take on the position.
Getting everyone vaccinated is in the best interest of the community, said Dr. Rachel Herlihy, adviser to the immunization section of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. So the department is considering removing “personal beliefs” as a reason parents can exempt their children from getting standard vaccinations for diseases such as measles and chickenpox.
In February 2013, Moffat County passed a yearlong moratorium on recreational marijuana sales and Craig City Council followed in August, unanimously passing their own ban. Since the county’s moratorium is up, county commissioners are working on a permanent ordinance that would ban recreational sales. The commissioners heard the first reading of the ban in December and will vote on it in an upcoming meeting. While it is legal to grow, smoke, consume and even drink marijuana products in the privacy of your own home in Moffat County, because of the city and county’s bans residents cannot open a shop.
Gov. John Hickenlooper saw standing ovations from both sides of the aisle for his State of the State speech Thursday. He led the speech with a look at the improving Colorado’s economy. “In 2010 this state was ranked 40th in the nation,” he said. “Now three years later, Colorado is the fourth fastest job growth state in the country.”
The new owners of the Clarion Inn & Suites, formally the Holiday Inn, hosted a meet and greet with the community Wednesday night at the hotel. Wine and appetizers were on hand as the hotel owner Sholom Jacobs, principal at New York-based Jacobs Real Estate Advisors, mingled with local business leaders and government officials for the first time.
The Colorado State Legislature opened at 10 a.m. Wednesday for the first day of the 2014 session. The Senate started with the swearing-in of the second female senate president in Colorado history, Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora. She made a call for unity in the legislature – noting the tensions of 2013, but pressing for a more collaborative year.
The Craig hotel formerly known as the Holiday Inn officially will be branded as a Clarion Inn & Suites.
The steering committee for an economic development project met for the first time Tuesday. Community leaders got together to hone a vision for a better Downtown Craig. “I have an extreme interest in trying to save this town,” said Karen Brown, president of the Downtown Business Association and lead of the steering committee. Downtown Colorado Inc. performed an assessment on Craig’s downtown and business community in spring 2013 and presented the report in December.
Moffat County Sheriff Tim Jantz passionately defends gun rights, but he will no longer be taking part in the lawsuit challenging controversial gun-restriction laws passed in 2013. It wasn’t his choice. “We’re still named but we’re not a part of the actual suit,” Jantz said.
State Rep. Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, spent the day in Craig on Friday. He visited the community to share his vision for the 2014 legislative session, which convenes Wednesday. His plea to residents of rural Colorado was to stay involved with state politics. “Because you’re remote, because you’re energy dependent, because you’re west, people know who you are. We need to use that,” he said. “Rural Colorado — western Colorado — is so outnumbered that we need to stand up. I want people to get more involved in state issues.”
Looking back on the past year, the staff of the Craig Daily Press has compiled the following list of some of the top stories of 2013 for Craig and Moffat County. Some topics are ongoing, some have had effects on state and national levels, but all have been significant to Northwest Colorado.
Effective Jan. 1, the minimum wage in Colorado will increase by 22 cents per hour. That means minimum wage employees will be paid $8 per hour while tipped minimum wage employees will be paid $4.98 per hour. This wage raise in accordance with the state constitution that requires the wage be adjusted with inflation.
Shirley Seely retired from her position as city clerk and personnel director Dec. 20. She’s held her position with the city for 31 years, but said she was now ready for retirement. “I’ve worked a long time; most of my life,” she said. “Now I’ve got to find something else to do, but it’s going to be good.”
Matt Herschberg grew up in Craig, and while now in school at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, he still considers himself shaped by the community. As a teenager he experienced bullying and tragedy: both pushing him to do something proactive.
Horizons Specialized Services is reaching out to Moffat County for their annual Little Points of Campaign. They sent out requests for donation Dec. 1 and will end the campaign Jan. 15. The fundraiser directs money from community donations to Horizons’ early intervention and family support programs. “The money is going directly to families,” said Susan Mizen, director of Horizons.
Water and wastewater rates are likely increasing in Craig starting Jan. 1. Craig City Council did their first reading of an ordinance Dec. 10 that would permit the city to raise water rates by about six percent and wastewater rates by about 12 percent. The average water use fee for residents is approximately $55 a month and $20 for wastewater, said Craig City Manager Jim Ferree.
Kim Shreeve, child and family advocate for Advocates Crisis Support Services, moved from Salt Lake City to Craig in March. She admits the change came with some culture shocks. Some of those shocks had to do with the weather; getting used to mud season and enduring sub-zero temperatures that made her reconsider her wardrobe.
Susan Domer is a food geek. She has the gadgets: crocks, a dehydrater, pressure cooker, slow-cooker and is always looking to start up a new food project. She preserves, ferments, cans, candies, but most of all, she plays. She calls herself the “mad scientist in the kitchen.”
EAGLE-Net Alliance Regional Representative Dave Kavanaugh released a statement declaring that broadband fibers put in place in Craig are lit up and ready for use. “EAGLE-Net is open for business to provide broadband services to government entities, Internet service providers and telecommunication carriers in Craig,” Kavanaugh said in a statement. “The providers and carriers are in the best position to take advantage of the EAGLE-Net open access middle-mile and help improve broadband in Moffat County to areas outside of Craig.”
The Community Budget Center has been a helping hand in Craig since 1980. It’s been a local resource for people who fell on hard times and also the only nonprofit thrift store in town. Since then, it’s expanded and changed locations, but the mission to help the community has remained strong.