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Time changed for monthly Moffat County School Board of Education workshop

CRAIG — The monthly workshop for the Moffat County School District Board of Education has been moved from 4 to 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27.

During the workshop, the board will receive a presentation by Lindsey Simbeye, of Grand Futures.

The board will hold policy hearings to update policies concerning tobacco-free schools, use of transportation equipment, school year/school calendar, grading/assessment systems, corporate sponsorships, and the distribution/posting of printed, non-curricular materials.

Policy discussions will be held regarding policies for the waiver of state law and regulation, notification of school board meetings, staff conduct, negotiated policy, student absences and excuses, and administration of medical marijuana to qualified students.

The workshop will be followed by a first reading of the policies discussed and second reading and approval of the policies heard during the workshop. The board will also consider approval of a consent agenda and regular reports from community, schools, and administrative staff.

The regular monthly school board meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. Both the workshop and the meeting will be held in the boardroom of the Yampa Building, 775 Yampa Ave.

To view the complete agenda, click the agenda tile at moffatsd.org.

Catch fine foliage on the run at Friends of Moffat County Education Leaf Cruncher 5K

CRAIG — Friends of Moffat County Education will the Leaf Cruncher 5K and One-Mile Fun Run on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Loudy-Simpson Park.

Registration begins at 7:15 a.m., with the 5K kicking off at 8 a.m. The Fun Run will follow.

The cost is $20 for adults, and free to those age 17 and younger.

Participants are encouraged to stay afterward for the Moffat County High School Cross Country Invitational at 9 a.m., which will feature Moffat County High School and Craig Middle School runners as part of Homecoming weekend.

Funds benefit FMCE's work with local schools.

For more information, contact info@moffatcountyeducation.org.

Dig in for Moffat County’s ‘Spoonful of Homecoming’ beginning Monday

Moffat County High School’s annual celebration of Bulldog pride kicks off next week as part of the Homecoming festivities with activities new and old for students and community members.

The theme this fall is “A Spoonful of Homecoming,” and among the dress-up days for students and teachers are Breakfast Club, Meme Day, Superhero Day, Sports Team Day, and Friday’s Blue and White Day. Craig Middle School will also host its own dress-up days.

The MCHS fall sports teams will be busy throughout the week starting with a double dose of pigskin Monday with junior varsity football versus Meeker followed by the Powder Puff Football tournament, as well as Tuesday’s seventh-grade gridiron game at CMS. Also in store are Tuesday’s soccer game against Aspen, volleyball’s Thursday and Friday games with Roaring Fork and Olathe, and Bulldog cross country’s Saturday home meet at Loudy-Simpson Park complete with the CMS race and Friends of Moffat County Education’s Leaf Cruncher 5K.

Among the changes this year is that the usual bonfire provided by Craig Fire/Rescue will not take place due to fire restrictions in the area.

The Friday parade takes place in downtown Craig starting at Craig City Park and moving along Victory Way. Community groups and businesses are encouraged to join the promenade, with registration available at MCHS or Craig Chamber of Commerce with an entry fee of $25 for floats due by Sept. 26.

MCHS students will work on their own floats throughout the week at Moffat County Fairgrounds, including Monday and Thursday afternoon and Tuesday and Wednesday evening. MCHS staff is looking for creative parents who have some skill in float-building to assist with the process and promote school and community pride. The more students who participate in building floats, the more PRIDE points their class will receive.

A new feature for this year’s Homecoming week is a Saturday tailgate party leading up to the varsity football game against the Basalt Longhorns. Organizers will provide music by a DJ, as well as food trucks and TVs with college football games, as well as multiple activities during the afternoon game.

The week concludes with the Saturday night dance for students only.

For more information on Homecoming activities, call 970-824-7036.

Weekend Roundup: Banquets, bowling and the evening sky

Fall is officially here this weekend, and however you celebrate the change of seasons, get out and about to join in some fun.

Net some wins

Moffat County High School volleyball teams will host the Gunnison Lady Cowboys Saturday afternoon at MCHS. Games include C-Team, JV and varsity.
When: Games at noon, 1 and 2 p.m. Saturday
Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane
Cost: Contact organizers
For more information: 970-824-7036

Bulldog banquet

The Moffat County High School wrestling program will host its annual prime rib dinner fundraiser Saturday at Center of Craig.
A delicious meal and an auction are part of the night to support the Bulldogs heading into the program's winter season.
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Where: Center of Craig, 601 Yampa Ave.
Cost: $25 per ticket, $100 for five
For more information: 970-629-1084

Bowled over with generosity

The fifth annual bowling fundraiser hosted by Humane Society of Moffat County and Bank of Colorado rolls out Saturday at Thunder Rolls Bowling Center.
Admission buys bowling, dinner and entry into multiple drawings for door prizes. Bowlers are encouraged to wear tropical shirts.
When: 5:30 p.m. Saturday
Where: Thunder Rolls Bowling Center, 990 Industrial Ave.
Cost: $25 per person
For more information: humanesocietyofmoffatcounty.org or 970-620-2014

Under the stars

Colorado Mountain College's Sky Club will host a Star Party Saturday at Yampa River State Park in celebration of the Fall Equinox.
Professor Paul McCudden will provide a presentation, and those in attendance are encouraged to bring their own telescopes if possible.
When: 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday
Where: Yampa River State Park, 6185 US Highway 40
Cost: Free to attend, park pass required
For more information: Facebook.com/YampaRiverStatePark

Pigskin primer

While Moffat County High School's varsity football team is on the road this weekend, Bulldog JV will host Meeker Monday afternoon, followed by the ladies Powder Puff Football Tournament at the Bulldog Proving Grounds as the school kicks off its Homecoming week.
When: JV at 4:30 p.m., Powder Puff at 7 p.m. Monday
Where: MCHS, 900 Finley Lane
Cost: Contact organizers
For more information: 970-824-7036
Do you have an upcoming weekend entertainment item to promote? To submit events for Weekend Roundup, email details including time, date, place, cost and a description of the event to news@craigdailypress.com.

Constitution Week celebrations continue in Craig

CRAIG — School children learned more about colonial times during Constitution Week, celebrated Sept. 17 through 23.

“The United States Constitution stands as a testament to the tenacity of Americans throughout history to maintain their liberties, freedoms. and inalienable rights,” according to the Daughters of the American Revolution, who petitioned Congress in 1955 to set aside Sept. 17 through 23 annually for the observance of Constitution Week.

The resolution was adopted and signed into law by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on Aug. 2, 1956.

Local festivities began at noon Monday, as school children and teachers from Moffat County Christian Academy joined members of the Augusta Walihan Chapter of DAR in ringing bells at the corner of Victory Way and Yampa Avenue.

DAR members organized displays and posters across town, proclamations by local government, and about 16 school programs to educate, inform, and celebrate.

On Thursday, DAR constitution committee chairperson Debbie McClain brought history to life for fourth-grade students at Ridgeview Elementary School when she arrived dressed in the garb of a colonial gentleman. She carried parchment and a quill pen to show students what it would have been like to write America’s most important document.

Teacher Lori Stammler said her students were “elated, mesmerized and enchanted” by the presentation.

As Constitution Week continues, McClain hopes DAR activities will remind all Americans of their responsibilities for protecting and defending the Constitution, the basis for America’s heritage and the foundation for America’s way of life.

Moffat County graduate demonstrates agriculture education excellence

CRAIG — Last month, Moffat County High School Class of 2017 graduate John T. Peroulis achieved a "gold standard" in agricultural education when he received a Future Farmers of America America FFA Degree, completing a process that began with an application during the spring.

"American FFA Degree recipients show promise for the future and have gone above and beyond to achieve excellence," according to ffa.org.

Less than 1 percent of FFA members receive the honor.

To attain the degree, Peroulis was judged on classroom and laboratory time under teacher supervision, extracurricular and work-based learning, and supervised agricultural experiences.

Much of his work-based learning occurred through helping with the family ranching operation, where he demonstrated skill in cropping and sheep and cattle management.

After graduating high school, Peroulis went to the University of Wyoming, where he has been studying mechanical engineering. However, he is taking this year off to serve as an advocate for agricultural education.

Peroulis was elected to serve in state office in June, becoming a member of the executive committee of Colorado FFA. He will spend the next year traveling to represent Colorado agriculture.

It has been 10 years since Moffat County had a state officer, when Eric Wellman held the post in 2008, Peroulis said.

"It was a pretty important decision, personally,” he said. “… Colorado and Moffat County are home. I'm stepping out of the comfort zone of going to school for four years and then into a career to give back to the state and students.”

The duties of a state officer include being an advocate for agricultural education, helping plan parts of the Colorado State Fair, and traveling across the state and county to visit FFA chapters at each high school.

"I appreciate the people here and the association with Colorado FFA. There is no place like home," Peroulis said.

He credits his success to the support and opportunities provided him by his parents, his teammates, and FFA advisors, particularly Ray Sanders.

"Mr. Sanders really opened the door for me. He had come from a state where FFA is predominate and nationally renowned in Georgia," Peroulis said.

Sanders left the school district at the end of the 2018 school year and was the latest FFA advisor to depart the program.

"We've had seven different advisors in Moffat County in the past five or six years. The turnaround has been tough," Peroulis said.

Despite the challenges, Moffat County's vocational agriculture program has brought home many state and national awards, including Peroulis' first-place individual finish at nationals in the agricultural mechanics division.

He said the experience was an "eye-opener" for him, explaining that, "to be a part of something bigger than myself was a big motivation to become a state officer."

Peroulis thinks even bigger things are on the horizon for FFA in Moffat County, after the school district invested in the program by adding a third agricultural educator, whom he thinks will be a "game changer."

During the next year, Peroulis will also work to draw attention to the important role of agricultural education.

"I want to make an impact for other students in new ways that haven't been done before," he said. 

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Dave Ulrich: Positive academic achievement

We have good news to start the school year and yet another reason to choose Moffat County School District! Our district earned the rating of Performance (Accredited) from the Colorado Department of Education for the 2017-18 school year! This is the second year in a row our students and staff have earned this rating.

The district's rating is a combination of many elements, including the Colorado Measures of Academic Success, or CMAS, Assessments; Post-Secondary Workforce Readiness; PSAT; and SAT. In English Language Arts/Literacy and Math assessments, the district performed better than last year. While math saw a slight increase, the district English Language Arts/Literacy scores increased by 7 percent in the top two levels of performance.

Each element is measured in two ways. First is Status Scores. Status is the percentage of students who score in the five levels defined by Colorado Department of Education (Did Not Yet Meet Expectations, Partially Met Expectations, Approached Expectations, Met Expectations, or Exceeded Expectations). The second way each element is measured is Growth Scores. Growth Scores are the measure of students' expected growth compared to their Colorado peers. I refer to this as the "value added" of our teachers.

For Status Scores, districtwide, fourth-grade students exceeded the state’s average percentage of students achieving in the top two levels in English Language Arts/Literacy. This is the first districtwide, whole grade level to top the state average on status scores since we began taking CMAS Assessments!

The 2017-18 Growth Measures showed gains, as well. Combined, as a district, students exceeded the state average growth in English Language Arts/Literacy. This is the first year for a whole subject, districtwide, that MCSD exceeded the state average growth! Gifted and Talented students exceeded average state growth by 19 percent!

While it is clear we still have much work to do, I want to say congratulations and thank you to the staff, students, parents, and community members who contributed to this result. We will continue working to ensure our teachers have the resources and professional development necessary to keep student achievement moving in a positive direction and give everyone a reason to continue to say, "I Choose Moffat County Schools."

Smooth start of school

Given the changes that marked the start of this school year, I want to highlight that we have had another smooth start. Throughout the 2017-18 school year, we went through a process of closing East Elementary School and creating a new Early Childhood Center on the East campus. The MCSD staff worked throughout the summer to ensure our spaces were ready for our teachers and students.

Members of the MCSD maintenance staff, as well as central office administration, were present at Craig Middle School and Sandrock Elementary School to monitor the new drop-off procedures. After a couple of days, it appears parents and staff have settled into a routine that is an improvement over previous years.

The maintenance staff and administration also helped with the drop-off procedures at the Early Childhood Center. After a couple of days there, I can report that parents have settled into a routine that is quick and safe for our youngest students. The new, flexible drop-off time is proving to be a popular addition to the Early Childhood Center day.

Our, students, parents, staff, and community deserve positive achievement news and a smooth start of school. I am proud of everyone's efforts to ensure we are living the district's mission statement: to educate and inspire students to thrive in an environment of change.

Dave Ulrich is superintendent of the Moffat County School District.

Free tuition increases fall enrollment at Colorado Northwestern Community College

CRAIG — Enrollment at Colorado Northwestern Community College has increased.

Across CNCC’s two campuses, FTE — full-time equivalent, the measure used to determine how much per-student funding the state will provide — is up 3.1 percent from the prior year, according to fall semester student census data from Kelly Scott, director of institutional effectiveness.

The data show the Craig campus FTE was up 7 percent, with Rangely’s campus down by 4 percent.

Ron Slinger, Craig campus’s interim vice president, said 4 percent of the increase in FTE at the Craig campus was directly related to the offer of free tuition. He also noted that additional growth might occur when mid-semester classes — such as the new Introduction to Drones, Mine Training and Emergency Medical Services — begin.

Headcount — the actual number of students — is also up across both campuses, showing an increase of 6.3 percent compared to the prior year. Craig is up by 6 percent, and Rangley is up by 5 percent, compared to the previous the prior year, according to the census data.

The increase in enrollment at the Craig campus comes despite the loss of the women's soccer team, which would have resulted in the enrollment of about 10 more athletes.

The Moffat County Affiliated Junior College District Board dipped into reserves to support both 100 percent free tuition for Moffat County residents and the Automotive/Diesel, Emergency Medical Services/Emergency Management Technologist programs, along with the development of new programs for drone, medical assisting, equine studies, and nursing.

The board also has promoted extra marketing for programs offered on the Craig campus.

Some of the programs are behind recruitment targets, while others are on track to meet or exceed expectations, CNCC President Ron Granger said. He added that CNCC will be using Perkins Grant money to hire a new recruiter, who will focus on increasing enrollment in career technical programs, such as automotive/diesel.

In addition to hearing enrollment and quarterly reports during Monday’s meeting, the college district board — following an executive session — amended its agenda to table a request by Memorial Regional Health for a letter of support for the sale of property to the hospital for a proposed expansion of services to patients and the college.

Andy Daniels and Terry Carwile abstained from the vote to amend the agenda to avoid conflicts of interest in their roles. Daniels is MRH’s CEO, and Carwile serves as a board of trustee for the hospital.

No other decisions were made pertaining to the issues discussed during executive session.

In other business:

• The board received invitations during public comment to attend "Let the Sun Shine" — a workshop on government transparency — to be held from 8 a.m. to noon Monday, Oct. 1 at the CNCC library.

• Board members expressed appreciation for a recent visit to Craig and Rangley by new Colorado Community College System President Joe Garcia.

"We were fortunate to have the visit that supplied a lot of feedback. … I've had two conversations since then, and we are working to resolve some issues. I think, in my opinion, that things will be moving forward," said Board President Mike Anson.

• The board unanimously voted to approve minutes and the treasurer’s report.

• Board members were invited to open forum meetings with candidates to fill three vice president positions. Meetings with candidates for the vice president of instruction took place Sept. 18 and 19. Meetings with candidates for the vice president of student affairs and the Craig campus are scheduled for Sept. 24 and 25. More information about these forums may be obtained by contacting Director of Human Resources Angie Miller at 970-675-3235 or Keely Winger at 970-675-3219.

• As liaison to the CNCC Foundation, Carwile reported that the foundation retreat held Sept. 7 resulted in a foundation pledge to help with the push for on-campus student housing in Craig.

"The housing committee just needs to tell the foundation what we want them to do for us," Carwile said. "I was quite satisfied with the outcome of the retreat."

• Board member and student housing committee chair Lois Wymore said the housing committee would not meet this month while awaiting clarification on figures from Granger and the CCCS office.

Contact Sasha Nelson at 970-875-1794 or snelson@CraigDailyPress.com.

Moffat County commissioners briefed on Amendment 73 by superintendent

Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct an error regarding Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant for $10,000, which will fund a study for improvements at Maybell Park.

CRAIG — Moffat County School District Superintendent Dave Ulrich gave the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners a presentation about Amendment 73 during the body’s regular meeting, held Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Ulrich said Amendment 73, if approved by voters, will help fund Colorado schools by increasing income taxes for C corporations and decreasing property taxes for most business property owners, farmers, and ranchers.

“I want you to have confidence and facts surrounding Amendment 73,” Ulrich said. “Others in the county will look to you as folks who are informed on the issues that will appear on the ballot.”

If approved, Amendment 73 would generate $2.6 million for the Moffat County School District annually, Ulrich said. Some school districts in Colorado are still struggling in the wake of the Great Recession, and though Ulrich acknowledged this year’s district budget has recovered to levels similar to pre-recession years, he added it was a long process that took years.

If the amendment passes, it will increase the school district’s budget by approximately 10 percent, Ulrich said, which would be a “game changer.” He added he plans to continue promoting the amendment across Moffat County.

Under the amendment, Ulrich said, only 8 percent of Moffat County’s population would see an increase in income taxes, and those are people who earn $150,000 or more per year. Additionally, he said, Colorado has the fourth-lowest concentration of C corporations in the nation, and the amendment would raise taxes on such corporations by 1.37 percent. Statewide, the tax increase would raise an estimated $1.6 billion annually, specifically for education.

As an example, Ulrich said that for the Moffat County School District to generate funds equal to those the amendment would supply, it would have to ask voters for a 6.9 percent mill increase, something he said he never wants to do.

The school district would use the money based on community needs, Ulrich said. Examples of such needs include programs supporting mental health and safety, as well as more opportunities for students.

Commissioner Ray Beck said he encourages county residents to do their own research into the ballot issues to make an informed decision.

In other business, county commissioners:

• Accepted a bid of $20,250 from from Intrawest, a Fountain-based company, for landfill tire disposal. Other bids came from Colorado Tire Recycler, a Denver-based company, for $19,375; and Liberty Tire Recycling, a Utah-based company, for $29,700.

• Approved a grant from Colorado Department of Local Affairs for $10,000 for a study for improvements at Maybell Park.

• Approved an agreement with Ellen Dana to clean the restrooms at Irish Canyon Rest Stop for $300 per month for a term of six months. Natural Resources Department head Jeff Comstock said that, after meeting with the Bureau of Land Management — which manages the rest stop — both agreed the county should help, and it was a reasonable request. The county wants the restrooms to operate even during winter months, because they are important to visitors in the area. Commissioner Don Cook added Dana is not a county employee, but rather an independent contractor.

• Signed a proclamation declaring Sept. 17 through 23 as Constitution Week. Daughters of the American Revolution Augusta Wallihan Chapter member Ann Dodd said it is fitting for Americans to remember the important document, which helped define the nation.

• Approved a letter of support to apply for a grant from the NRA Foundation to help make improvements on the trap shooting field a few miles west of Craig.

Celebration of the U.S. Constitution underway in Craig

CRAIG — Bells rang out at noon Monday on the corner of Victory Way and Craig to mark the beginning of Constitution Week.

School children and teachers joined members of the Augusta Walihan Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in ringing bells of all shapes and sizes. DAR members have organized displays and posters across town, proclamations by local government, and about 16 school programs to educate, inform, and celebrate.

Since a declaration by Congress in 1956, Constitution Week has been celebrated annually the week of Sept. 17 through 23.

How are you celebrating Constitution Week? Readers are invited to submit patriotic photos to news@CraigDailyPress.com.