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Scott Schlaufman

Stories by Scott

Business Beat: New deli appeases late night appetite

When Ryan Rowley opened Rhino’s Deli inside Mathers Bar last month, he said it would be the only late night open kitchen in Craig. The upside, he said, is being able to cater to a late night crowd. “Thursday, Friday, Saturday, I’m open until 2 a.m. and I deliver all that time, so it gives people an option and a niche that isn’t currently out there,” Rowley said.

Moffat County 5th-graders graduate from DARE program

At Friday’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education graduation, Craig Police Officer Norm Rimmer told area fifth-graders that they didn’t have to take the program’s pledge. “(Officer) Tony (Gianinetti) and I aren’t going to be able to hear you guys pledge, but I want you to ask yourself, with the last 10 weeks of hard work that you guys put in, why wouldn’t you?” he said. “Not once in any of your essays did I see you guys say, ‘I want to grow up and be a druggie,’ ‘When I grow up, I want to be an alcoholic,’ ‘When I grow up I want to make poor choices in my life.’ “Not one of your essays said that, so I would ask you guys, why wouldn’t you promise this to yourself and to your friends and to Tony and I?”

VFW voices membership, lease concerns to Craig Chamber

Mark Wick, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4265 commander, presented concerns to the Craig Chamber of Commerce Board during its Thursday meeting. He said members feel the organization wasn’t getting what it should out of its Chamber membership. “Everyone said, ‘What are we getting for our money?’” Wick said. “That’s basically why I come over today, to let you know we’ve got a lot of heartburn, and it’s been (happening) over years.”

MCSD responds to ACLU allegations

The Moffat County School District responded Friday to a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union regarding the district’s actions on students wearing breast cancer awareness bracelets. In a news release, the school district stated that administrators never banned the bracelets, which read “I (heart) Boobies. Keep a Breast Alive!” The school district “did try, in isolated individual instances, to find alternatives to the bracelet that did not cause interruptions to our primary goals of teaching and learning,” the district said in the release.

MCTA given approval for 2nd staffer

Kandee Dilldine, chairwoman of the Moffat County Tourism Association Board, said having only one paid staff member has kept the organization from accomplishing as much as it would like at times. The problem, she said, comes from administrative duties that take time away from the MCTA director. “That’s what happens a lot of times when you have a director like that, they’re doing more administrative (work) than the director part of it, the marketing part, which is what we want from that position,” Dilldine said.

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Craig Police officer awarded for helping inmate facing a heart attack

When Ryan Fritz, an officer for the Craig Police Department, heard a request for help in the Moffat County Jail early in the morning April 3, he said his instincts kicked in. At around 4:30 a.m., an inmate suffered a heart attack, was unconscious and had quit breathing. By Fritz’s knowledge, the progression was simple — the man’s heart would stop.

Craig City Council updated on Elkhead Reservoir

Elkhead Reservoir Manager Ron Dellacroce told the Craig City Council on Tuesday night that while the water at the reservoir northeast of Craig is murky, residents looking to get out and boat will soon get their chance. “Most of the folks that have been around here very long know that it’s chocolate milk (colored water) up there right now, and they probably won’t be running a boat,” Dellacroce said. “For those who just really have to do it because it’s been a long winter, we thought we’d give them an opportunity.”

Moffat County tweaking election format

Moffat County Elections Supervisor Stephanie Beckett said Moffat County has been behind the curve by not conducting coordinated elections by mail-in ballot only. “Most of the state already does that,” Beckett said. “We were one of four counties last year in the election that did not have an all-mail ballot election, and it just seems like voters are leaning that way, to have their ballots mailed to them.” At Tuesday’s regular Moffat County Commission meeting, commissioners Tom Gray and Tom Mathers approved a resolution to have this year’s November coordinated election done by mail ballot only. Commissioner Audrey Danner was absent.

Craig man sentenced in Weld County motorcycle crash

A 31-year-old Craig man was sentenced to prison last month for his role in a Weld County traffic fatality. Tyrell Kochenower appeared April 28 in front of Weld County District Court Judge Thomas Quammen. He was sentenced to six years in the Department of Corrections for the 2007 death of 21-year-old Bethany Gibson.

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Craig campus bolstering CNCC graduation numbers

Russell George, president of Colorado Northwestern Community College, said the school had to break out as many chairs as it could for Saturday’s commencement ceremony. “We had this sea of colors of the robes,” George said. “Gosh, there was just row after row after row. It just was fun.” Much of that, he said, was due to Craig campus students, who made the 100-mile drive to Rangely to participate and made up nearly half the graduates at the ceremony.

Business Beat: Plenty of local options for aspiring gardeners

Andrea Meckley, an employee at Tunies & Such, said opening for the season has been hard work. “It’s nice to see color though, not just a bunch of snow,” said Meckley, one of the family employees who works at the business. Tunies & Such, 690 Yampa Ave., is one of several local businesses selling trees, flowers, shrubs and other items to scratch the itch of any restless green thumb.

Moffat County Officials prepared for possible high river flows

Tom Soos, Moffat County Office of Emergency Management coordinator, said the county is doing what it can to prepare for potentially high river flows this year. “At this time, all we’re doing is watching and waiting and being vigilant , keeping an eye on temperatures and flows, and that’s about all we can do at this stage,” Soos said.

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Assessed residential property value down in Moffat County

Moffat County Assessor Robert Razzano said trying put an average on the change in assessed values of homes throughout the county is not an easy task. “It’s going to be hard to get any numbers out there that are going to be useful as far as putting a percentage out there,” Razzano said, noting how large and diverse the county is. But, he said, one thing was clear across the board.

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School bus crashes into trees near home south of Craig

Four people were transported to The Memorial Hospital without serious injury after a school bus went off the road Thursday morning south of Craig. The accident occurred around 7 a.m. at 1679 County Road 35. The bus, driven by Patricia Hering, 70, was headed south to pick up students when it went off the right side of the road and crashed into trees in the front yard of a house, Colorado State Patrol Trooper Adam Winsett said.

Moffat County Tourism Association updated on marketing survey

Hill-Aevium president Linda Hill told the Moffat County Tourism Association board Wednesday that in order to improve tourism locally, there will need to be an improvement in communicating what opportunities are available. “Right now, it’s not apparent to somebody coming in what there is to see or do here,” Hill said.

Commission votes to move forward with safety center agreement

Moffat County Commissioner Audrey Danner said Tuesday it is important for the county to reach an agreement with the City of Craig to lease space at the Moffat County Public Safety Center. “I know, from talking to the three law enforcement agencies out there, they work well together,” Danner said. “We, as elected officials … I believe we all must make a conscious decision to work together for the good of our community.”

White sentenced to 15 years in prison in sexual exploitation case

A 29-year-old Craig man who pleaded guilty to nine felonies relating to sexual exploitation of children was sentenced to 15 years in prison Tuesday. As part of a plea agreement with the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office, Stephan White pleaded guilty in January to three counts of sexual exploitation of children, a Class 3 felony; four counts of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, a Class 4 felony; and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child, also a Class 4 felony.

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Craig veterans react to death of Osama bin Laden

Craig resident and former Marine Greg Hixson said the death of Osama bin Laden Sunday had a bit of meaning to it. “I went over there twice. My brother (Cory) has been over there twice,” said Hixson, who served in Iraq in the early 2000s. “It’s just good that we finally got him. It just makes all my time in the Marines worth it.”

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Horse drive gallops on Sunday in Maybell

Sombrero Ranches President Rex Walker said he doesn’t understand the appeal of the company’s annual Great American Horse Drive. “I’m amazed that people come up to see horses run up and down the road and I have been for 40 years, at least,” Walker said. “A lot of people like to do it.” This weekend, the company will once again take its annual horse drive through Maybell.

Business Beat: NAPA’s Ponikvar reaches milestone anniversary

John Ponikvar, owner of T&H Napa Auto Parts in Craig, said his time at the store has gone by too fast. “I used to look at other people who had been at their job for 25 or 30 or 40 years and say, ‘How could they do that?’” Ponikvar said. “I couldn’t possibly fathom that 30 years ago, and here it came upon before I even knew it.” Last month, Ponikvar, 54, hit his 30th anniversary at the store.

Golden guitarist to bring Celtic tunes to Moffat County Libraries

When finger-style guitarist Jerry Barlow moved to the Appalachian Mountain region of Tennessee in the mid-1990s, he found himself heavily influenced by Celtic music. “When you live there, you start to hear a lot of Celtic influence in the music, and the reason for it is the Irish and the Scots settled in those mountains in about the early 1700s,” Barlow said. “Their influence is still heard and felt there quite strongly.” The more Celtic music he heard, the more he enjoyed it. Not long afterward, he made the decision to take that Celtic influence and put it to use with his own guitar.

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New CNCC campus in Craig on track for August opening

Gene Bilodeau said when he came to Craig in 1994, he had an understanding that a new building was in play for Colorado Northwestern Community College’s Craig campus. Now, almost 17 years later, the college is only a few months away from opening two new buildings that Bilodeau said will be a big improvement for Craig’s community college.

Residents voice concern over proposed fire station

At Thursday’s Craig Rural Fire Protection District Board meeting, board chairman Byron Willems posed a question to Craig resident Bruce Timberg about the fire board’s exploration of a second fire station. “I would ask you, if you were sitting in this chair, what would you do?” Willems asked.

Lakewood suspect with Craig ties found dead

Authorities believed Nelson may have been coming to Craig

A man wanted on the Front Range for attempted murder whom the Craig Police Department was keeping an eye out for was found dead in a motel room Tuesday, authorities reported. Melvin “Catfish” Nelson, 60, had at least one relative in Craig and had lived in the city before, police said. He was wanted by the Lakewood Police Department for allegedly robbing and shooting a woman.

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City to build sidewalks near Craig Middle School, Sandrock Elementary

Craig City Manager Jim Ferree said a lack of sidewalks near Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School presents a safety issue for pedestrians. “On a lot of these streets, we not only don’t have sidewalks, we have on-street parking, so the street gets fairly constricted with cars parked on the street,” Ferree said. “You add pedestrians to that and it gets fairly congested.” An upcoming city project will help remedy the problem by adding more sidewalks near the schools.

Craig city officials optimistic safety center deal can get done

Craig City Council member Gene Bilodeau said he and council member Don Jones were willing to compromise while negotiating a new lease with Moffat County for space in the Moffat County Public Safety Center. “The negotiations have been somewhat arduous,” Bilodeau said Wednesday. “The point for us is if that’s what it takes to get something done and move forward, that’s what we want to do.” The city and county are discussing a two-year deal — at a price of $60,000 per year — for the Craig Police Department to remain at the safety center, the same facility that houses the Moffat County Jail, Moffat County Sheriff’s Office and Colorado State Patrol.

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City, county moving closer to safety center agreement

The City of Craig and Moffat County have moved a step closer toward an agreement on lease space at the Moffat County Public Safety Center, Craig City Council member Gene Bilodeau said Tuesday night. The city and county have discussed a two-year deal for the Craig Police Department’s continued use of the safety center at $60,000 per year. Bilodeau informed the city council of the new development in city and county negotiations during Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.

Moffat County Commission moving forward with energy efficiency building improvements

Moffat County Commissioner Tom Mathers said some of the county’s buildings are starting to show their age. “Dollar-wise, we’re not in any shape to build a new building, so we’ve got to take care of the buildings we have,” Mathers said. At Tuesday’s regular Moffat County Commission meeting, the commission authorized Aurora-based Ennovate Corporation to draft a contract for improvements that will increase energy efficiency in 13 county-owned buildings.

Lakewood man who was flight risk to Craig found dead

A man wanted on the Front Range for attempted murder and whom the Craig Police Department was keeping an eye out for was founded dead in a motel room Tuesday, authorities reported. Melvin “Catfish” Nelson, 60, had at least one relative in Craig and had lived in the city before, police said. He was wanted by the Lakewood Police Department for allegedly robbing and shooting a woman.

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Organizations partnering to offer Moffat County Quality of Life Project

Earlier this year, Craig resident Chris Jones helped revise the Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership’s economic development plan for Moffat County. During his research, Jones said he repeatedly heard a phrase used to describe one of the county’s biggest strengths — “quality of life.” “It’s always been viewed as a strength, but I don’t know if it’s ever been defined,” Jones said.

Craig man pleads not guilty in highway fatality case

Moffat County Court judge sets Oct. 5 trial date for Nicholas Peroulis

A Craig man charged in a December 2010 traffic fatality pleaded not guilty Monday morning. Nicholas Anthony Peroulis is charged in Moffat County Court with careless driving resulting in death, a misdemeanor. On Dec. 29, 2010, the vehicle Peroulis was driving allegedly struck Craig resident Justin Bliss, who later died from injuries.

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Festival for children draws 300 to Centennial Mall in Craig

Rosie Crosthwaite, chairwoman of the Moffat County Early Childhood Coalition, said the purpose of Saturday’s Celebrate Children Festival was to raise awareness of the importance of early education. “(Educators) are constantly pushing for higher scores on all these (standardized) tests and everything,” Crosthwaite said. “(Early education) is the key … not just the cognitive area of it, but learning to function in a group, get along with their peers, listen and take direction from another adult.” But, the awareness was approached in a fun manner for about 300 children and their parents who participated in the free event at Centennial Mall.

Business Beat: Dinosaur’s BedRock Depot opening for the year

With winter fading and spring trying to arrive, the town of Dinosaur is getting back into action. The Canyon Area Visitor Center of Dinosaur National Monument opened April 15, and the park’s Harpers Corner Road opened last week. And, starting Friday, visitors to the city will be able to get a shake, sandwich or other treats before heading to the monument when BedRock Depot opens.

Possible scam attempt prompts woman to consult Craig Police

A possible scam attempt Wednesday morning left Craig resident Donna Stewart nervous for her safety and that of others in the community. As she was getting ready for work, Stewart said she received a call telling her she had won $900,000 and two men would be bringing a check to her home.

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Moffat County Jail food supervisor emphasizes quality meals, treatment for inmates

When Mary Buchanan was interviewing for her position at the Moffat County Jail, she was asked a hypothetical question. How would she handle seeing a person in church one day and in jail the next? “I said, ‘I hope no differently than I treat them in church,’” said Buchanan, the jail’s food service supervisor for almost five years.

EDP reviews Moffat County’s land use plan

Darcy Owens-Trask, Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership director, said she was cautious when implementing Moffat County’s land use plan into the county’s economic development plan. “I didn’t see anything that was grossly incompatible between the two, which was important because if the county was saying to us, ‘Please send this as a partner document,’ I didn’t want to send it and then find something in our plan was in direct opposition,” she said.

Law enforcement agencies to conduct DUI checkpoint next week in Craig

Craig Police Department officers, with assistance from other agencies, will conduct a DUI checkpoint next week, police announced in a news release Tuesday. Commander Jerry DeLong would not disclose where or when the checkpoint will take place. The Colorado State Patrol and Moffat County Sheriff’s Office will assist police with the operation.

Yampa Valley Partners rolls out regional energy education plan

Kate Nowak, a Steamboat Springs resident and executive director of Yampa Valley Partners, said Craig’s recycling center isn’t always convenient for families. “If you’re a busy household and you both work and you have a family, sometimes you don’t get over there,” Nowak said. For that reason, the Northwest Colorado Energy Steering Committee will soon be exploring the feasibility of curbside recycling in both Moffat and Rio Blanco counties as one of the action items on its regional energy education plan released last month.

Business Beat: Anniversary approaching for Wildflowers Salon in Craig

Wildflowers Salon in Craig is coming up on the one-year anniversary of its opening. The salon, located at 1596 W. Victory Way, opened May 1, 2010. “We wanted to bring something new and fresh to Craig,” said Rachel Lowe, who owns the business with Jessica Trujillo and Britney Fluty.

Dinosaur National Park approaching full opening

Dan Johnson said Dinosaur National Monument should be fully open in time for Easter, if all goes as planned. “Barring any kind of major blizzard or something blowing in … our hope is to try to get things open before the end of April,” said Johnson, the monument’s chief of interpretation. The Canyon Area Visitor Center, located off U.S. Highway 40 near Dinosaur, and all campgrounds in the park opened Friday. Entry to the monument is free, although there are fees for some campgrounds.

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Moffat County Sheriff inspired by father who died in line of duty

On an early morning in August 1961, two patrol officers with the Sauk County Sheriff’s Department in Wisconsin app- roached a car carrying three men from Chicago. A shootout ensued between the law enforcement officers and suspects.

MCTA pitches separate website to Craig Chamber

Marilynn Hill, executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association, said having joint websites with the Craig Chamber of Commerce and Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership is limiting at times. “The way that our website has been built is really a template website, and that template website is very limited on expansion of what we can do,” Hill said.

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Annual Craig Police report reveals decrease in calls for service

Calls for service to the Craig Police Department decreased by 821 last year, according to the department’s annual report. “It was not what I would call an absolutely eventful year,” Craig Police Chief Walt Vanatta said. According to the report, there were 16,753 calls for service in 2009 and 15,932 in 2010. Vanatta presented the report Tuesday to the Craig City Council. The 22-page report outlines the department’s operations last year.

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Yampa Valley Relay for Life seeking funds, participants

Craig resident Ryan Rowley said there’s a simple reason why the annual Relay for Life fundraiser lasts overnight. “Cancer doesn’t sleep,” Rowley said. Rowley took over last month as chairman of Yampa Valley Relay for Life, formerly the Craig Relay for Life. The event, a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, is scheduled for July 15 and 16 at the Moffat County High School track.

MCTA considers plan to replace executive director

Marilynn Hill, executive director of the Moffat County Tourism Association, told board members Tuesday her position is slightly more expansive than the four-page description on file. “I do all these things (in the description), but then there’s various extra marketing things done on top of this,” said Hill, who will be leaving her position May 19. “There’s probably 30- to 40-percent more stuff (that I do.)”

County commission addresses safety center during night meeting

Craig resident Tony St. John expressed concern Tuesday night that the Moffat County Commission and Craig City Council hadn’t attended meetings each governing body has hosted about the Moffat County Public Safety Center. “We need to get on the same page,” said St. John, a former Craig City Council member. “It seems like the bottom line is that the citizens of Moffat County and Craig are going to be the ones affected by what’s going on. I just think the city and the county — we need to get you together.”

VNA official to lead Craig seminar tailored for nonprofit groups

As someone who has worked for nonprofit groups, Steamboat Springs resident Summer Laws said it’s hard to find workshops that benefit them in the Yampa Valley. “What a lot of people are saying is to get something like this they have to drive to Denver or Grand Junction and spend all that time and money to travel,” said Laws, the regional manager for Northwest Colorado Rural Philanthropy Days, a Steamboat Springs-based organization that “brings together grant-seekers and grant-makers to meet the needs of Colorado's rural communities,” according to its website.

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Volunteers contribute to Fuller Center project in Craig

Craig resident Donna Johnson said she was amazed at how many people volunteered Saturday to help tear down the Simmons Rooming House on Yampa Avenue. “We were expecting nine or 10 people, but we had about 16, all together,” she said. Johnson is the deconstruction superintendent for the Moffat County Fuller Center for Housing, a faith-based group that is renovating the Simmons House into affordable housing for local families.

Business Beat: State Auto names local agent ‘PaceSetter’

State Auto Insurance recently named Joe Padon, an agent for Mountain West Insurance and Financial, a “PaceSetter” agent. “We were very selective in choosing our PaceSetter agents who come from only our very top agencies,” State Auto Chairman and CEO Robert Restrepo said in a news release. “This group is truly our ‘cream of the crop’ and we’re proud to have members of Padon’s caliber in the group, representing State Auto in Colorado.”

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Man finds piece of Russian rocket in Moffat County

While hiking near Moffat County Road 9 last month, Robert Dunn heard a noise he said sounded like scraping. “It was just an odd noise, it just wasn’t natural,” Dunn said. “It wasn’t an airplane and it wasn’t my cell phone. I listened, and that was it.” Several hours later, Dunn, a 57-year-old resident of Dixon, Wyo., who was searching for horns shed by deer and elk at the time, found what he believes caused the strange noise — a pressurant tank from a Russian rocket.