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John Kinkaid: Candidates’ plans raise concerns

After reading the city council and mayoral candidates' plans for the city in the Craig Daily Press, I'm pretty concerned about the future of Moffat County and Craig, specifically.

It seemed like there was a common thread running through all of the candidates’ answers: Build a recreation center and raise our taxes to pay for it. That's after already raising the city sales tax recently. Now, the candidates want to raise taxes again for a recreation center or rec district, that we may not be able to keep the doors open on. It's one thing to get grants and build something, but it's a whole other thing to be able to pay for operations, maintenance, and mortgage payments.

As an aside, Yampa Valley Electric has raised rates twice now in just over a year. My monthly electric bill will be $180 for the next year. A little here and a little there adds up for people. Every week, I work with people who are just barely getting by, by the skin of their teeth. The city should not make the burden worse. We've already seen an increase in trash rates. The new water treatment equipment will likely increase water rates, as well. Just a guess.

What happens when the Hayden Station shuts down and people move or have to cut back on their expenses? Xcel Energy has stated that they intend to close (and profit from) the closing of all of their coal-fired generation power plants.

What happens when Craig Station shuts down Units 1 and 2 under pressure from the feds, the state, and the co-owners? There will be fewer of us to pay the bills to keep government services running. It's likely that our population is going to drop in the next several years. It could easily hit 11,000 in Moffat County.

We should keep working on creative ways to keep the libraries and museum open for business (without raising taxes). That's the priority.

I just don't see how opening a rec center is a prudent financial decision given our present economic forecast. Sure, it would be nice to have a recreation district and a nice rec center, but at the present time, we have an economic contraction staring us in the face. Taking on a large financial obligation is a bad idea at this time. I just don't see how the math works without an undue burden on taxpayers.  Am I wrong?

By the way, I'm still hoping and praying for a serious miracle in Moffat County! We could really use a break.

John Kinkaid

Craig

Freedom Hooves Therapeutic Riding of Northwest Colorado: Horses valuable partners in human healing

Did you know that horses can read human emotions, such as sadness or nervousness, even before we've even consciously registered them? Horses are known to provide "mirroring" and biofeedback of human emotions, allowing participants a compassionate partner who responds and reflects in a way that brings awareness, opens neural pathways to healing patterns, and reduces stress and anxiety. Experiencing the rhythmic motion of a horse can be very beneficial, as well. Riding a horse moves the rider’s body in a manner similar to a human gait, so riders with physical needs often show improvement in flexibility, balance, and muscle strength. The research is solid; horses are valuable partners in healing the human body, mind, and spirit.

Through Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies, about 70,000 children and adults, including more than 6,700 veterans, find a sense of health, wellness, independence, and fun worldwide. Freedom Hooves Therapeutic Riding of Northwest Colorado is beginning its seventh year of impacting lives in our region by connecting the healing power of the horse with the needs of our community. Whether it’s a 5-year-old with Down syndrome, a 45-year-old recovering from a spinal cord injury, a senior citizen recovering from a stroke, or a teenager struggling with depression, research shows individuals of all ages who participate in equine-assisted activities and therapies can experience physical and emotional rewards.

Under the helm of our new Program Director Talisha Christiansen, participants and volunteers will engage with horses throughout our 2019 season, running May through October. This year's lineup of programs includes the following

• Therapeutic Horsemanship — Provides therapies for riders with needs (cognitive, developmental, emotional, physical, sensory)

• Ranch Hands — Teaches youth ages 12 to 21 to overcome challenges

• Horsemanship and Job Skills, Horizons Specialized Services — expands opportunities for individuals with developmental disabilities

• Family Services — Supports the healing process for family units

• Veterans and First Responders Program — comes alongside heroes through horsemanship activities.

If you or a loved one is facing mental, emotional, or physical challenges, consider participating in one of our programs. If the thought of helping others through horsemanship interests you, please consider serving our community through volunteerism or financial support.

Did you know horses can smile? Join us this year as we share smiles, and learn with us. Community members, regardless of prior experience, are welcome to come and help us train our therapy horses on Tuesday evenings through the season, beginning April 16. Additionally, volunteers to assist participants or to care for our equine partners are encouraged to join our wonderful horse care team. Are you interested in being a participant, but not sure if you qualify? Please connect us for more information.

March 30 claims the date for our annual fundraiser dinner, set for 5 p.m. at the Moffat County Fairgrounds. Join us as we celebrate the beginning of another great season and learn about all we have to offer. Participant and volunteer applications will be available, along with all the fun and activities. If the weather is just right and the stars all align, perhaps our unicorn will make an appearance at this special event.

Save the date of June 1 and join us on our family-friendly trail ride at the Bureau of Land Management's Duffy Mountain along the beautiful Yampa River in Moffat County, Colorado.

For more information, visit freedomhooves.org, come by the BBQ Dinner Fundraiser 5 p.m. March, 30 at the Moffat County Fairgrounds, email freedomhooves@gmail.com, or call 970-701-9085.

Connie Sue Ellis is the facility owner and instructor and was recently appointed executive director of Freedom Hooves. 

Are you safe from injury at your workplace?

From a fall down the stairs to respiratory problems, people need medical attention for all kinds of work-related injuries or illnesses. Physician Assistant Carol Bolt is one of the providers at Memorial Regional Health who treats workers' compensation injuries and accidents.

Workplace injuries can cause physical, emotional and financial hardship for families. For employers, they can cause significant direct and indirect costs such as wage costs, administrative time, training costs, lost productivity and more, according to the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA).

"OSHA believes that adoption of injury and illness prevention programs based on simple, sound, proven principles will help millions of U.S. businesses improve their compliance with existing laws and regulations, decrease the incidence of workplace injuries and illnesses, reduce costs (including significant reductions in workers’ compensation premiums) and enhance their overall business operations," according to a 2012 white paper published by OSHA about injury and illness prevention programs.

Through WorkWell — MRH's occupational health program — Bolt and other providers not only treat employees from several companies around Craig, they also provide pre-employment physicals, wellness visits, and go on site and educate work teams on how to stay safe at work.   

"A requirement of the coal mining industry is to have workers get regular chest X-rays and education on how to limit exposure to coal dust, and on quitting smoking, as smoking compounds their risk for respiratory problems," Bolt said.

Workplace injury prevention resources

Employers in the area are encouraged to sign up with WorkWell, a complimentary service provided by MRH that works hand-in-hand with local employers to increase healthcare access and lower workplace injuries and healthcare costs. The program provides a convenient way for employees to receive education on injury prevention, care for injuries when they occur, fulfill workplace health requirements, and distribute general health and wellness information. A 24/7 service line is available to schedule healthcare appointments.  

The MRH Medical Clinic providers support the program by performing physicals, treating workers' comp injuries, and providing education and drug testing.

WorkWell helps oversee the healthcare needs for over 50 companies in Craig, including several of the mines. Healthcare providers also travel to these companies to give safety talks and assessments for how to prevent common injuries.

Bolt said it's common to see patients with injuries that resulted from a slip or fall at work. In the mining industry, respiratory problems, and back and shoulder pain are common.  

"People who work in the mines seem to have shoulder issues from all the above-head work they do, and back injuries from the heavy lifting," Bolt said.

To prevent injury at work, heed this general advice: Be aware of your surroundings. Wear protective equipment that's advised or required, even if it's not always comfortable. Avoid taking shortcuts to get the job done faster. Travel safely. Prepare for extreme temperatures. Stay hydrated. Get adequate sleep. Ask questions if you are unsure how to do a task. Slow down and be careful.

"Don't hesitate to report injuries when they happen. I've seen people be afraid to report health problems because they think their employer will think negatively of them, but if someone waits too long the injury can become chronic, and may not be covered under workers' compensation coverage," Bolt concluded.

Northwest Colorado Health: Thank you for supporting Hospice Daffodils

Relief, gratitude, closure. You are likely to hear these words if you speak to individuals who have received support from our hospice team during a loved one's end-of-life journey.

They will tell you about feeling relieved to have help from our nurses and medical staff to manage a loved one's pain. They'll say they were grateful to have had more quality time with that person thanks to our support. They may also describe our compassionate social workers, bereavement, and spiritual care staff and volunteers, and how our team helped a family find hope and closure, even while navigating final months, weeks, and days and the grief process that follows.

We are grateful to you, Moffat County residents and businesses, for purchasing Hospice Daffodils to help these families and patients who need our care. Your display of daffodils in your homes, offices, schools, restaurants, organizations, and businesses shows that you understand the importance of having hospice in our communities. Your donations and support for fundraisers such as Hospice Daffodils ensure we have a dedicated, experienced staff and are able to deliver care to residents anywhere in our large rural region.

We want to extend a special thank you to volunteers who contribute countless hours (and mileage) collecting orders, delivering daffodils, and helping with many aspects of this event. Without your help, we would not have these early heralds of spring to adorn our communities and remind us of the beauty that is possible, even at the end-of-life.

Sincerely,

Stephanie Einfeld

CEO Northwest Colorado Health, Steamboat Springs and Craig

Editorial: Have you thanked a plow driver?

When a snow storm blows through the Yampa Valley, inundating much of Moffat County, those of us who live in the Craig city limits have it pretty darn good.

While most residents were sleeping in their warm beds March 13, oblivious to the frigid, 15-foot-deep blanket that — to this day — coats much of the landscape outside town, snow plow crews with Moffat County and Colorado Department of Transportation were hard at work trying to break through the white wall isolating our beautiful town from the rest of the outside world.

A picture posted on social media by Dan Miller, the county's road and bridge director, confirmed what many of us already knew — those of us who live outside the city were buried, and some still are.

Miller and his crew of plow trucks and motor graders aren't invincible. They were forced to stop their attempts to beat back the snow March 13 after blizzard conditions reduced visibility to nearly zero. Moffat County Sheriff KC Hume activated the county's emergency operations center and said wind was the most significant risk factor for maintenance personnel still working in the elements.

"It’s unsafe for those crews to be out," Hume said March 13. As a result of Hume's and Miller's actions, no one on Moffat County's plow crew was injured — though some vehicles became stuck in the snow — but the fact remains; snow plow drivers risk their lives to make our lives easier.

The day following the March 13 blizzard was beautiful — sunny skies prevailed as kids walked about Craig enjoying a rare snow day. Some might rush to judge Moffat County School District for canceling school a day too late. The reality is the school district canceled school on the correct day because the roads were not safe for school buses. Can you imagine a bus full of our kids getting stuck — or worse — after trying in vain to navigate Moffat County's frigid and isolated county roads a day after a major blizzard?

All it took was one more day for Miller and his crews to knock back enough snow to open the major arterial roadways so most kids could get back to school before spring break.

"The crews did all the work. I just sat in my office and looked pretty," Miller said jokingly Tuesday before acknowledging he did personally take quite a number of calls.

"I did get 150 calls Monday on my cellphone," he said.

You read that right. Moffat County residents can pick up the phone and call the county road and bridge department, and someone — maybe even the head honcho himself — will come dig you out with a heavy piece of machinery.

As one of the largest counties in Colorado, our wide open spaces make for scenic recreation, peace, and quiet. But with those wide open spaces come challenges posed by mother nature, and we all must face them. There are several thousand of miles worth of road in Moffat County. That's why we offer our heartfelt thanks to the plow crews for all their hard work in dangerous conditions during Moffat County's storm. We must also remember to have patience with such crews and know that, once they get a call from a stranded Moffat County resident, rancher, or visitor, help is on the way.

It took city, county, and state crews a little less than a week to open up Moffat County's roads after mother nature utterly buried them. That's pretty incredible, so from the bottom of our hearts — thank you.

Frank and Kerry Moe: Appreciative of Maybell store hospitality during snowstorm

During the past week's incredible Bomb Cyclone snowstorm events, we believe there are many heroic stories to be shared, and we would like to share one that we are aware of.

We would like to thank Mary at the Maybell General Store for the excellent hospitality she offered to all of the stranded travelers this past Wednesday, March 13.

Our Best Western quality assurance inspector, traveling from North Carolina and driving down from Wyoming, was scheduled to review our hotel this past Wednesday. Inspector Jessica got stranded in Maybell when U.S. Highway 40 closed from the Bomb Cyclone snowstorm. Our inspector told us how gracious and friendly Mary was to not only her, but also to all the other travelers who became stuck in Maybell during the closure. Jessica told us how comforted she felt at the Maybell store after experiencing a harrowing drive on U.S. 40 getting into Maybell, and especially not being familiar at all with our area.

Mary also supplied our inspector with some gas, since her rental car arrived on fumes into Maybell, and did so on a complimentary basis from a reserve because the internet was down, credit cards could not be processed, and the pumps were not working due to the power outage from the storm.

We are sending Mary and her husband Joe a certificate for a complimentary stay at our Best Western PLUS Deer Park Hotel and Suites simply to express our appreciation for her superior hospitality during a time of great need. Mary truly exemplifies what hospitality service is all about, no matter what industry one works in.

By the way, we passed our assessment with 992/1000, which places us in the top 5 percent of the 2,100 Best Western Hotels and Resorts in North America!

So again, with sincere appreciation not only from us but also from our Best Western inspector Jessica, thank you, Mary!

Best wishes,

Frank and Kerry Moe

Owners/operators Best Western PLUS Deer Park Hotel and Suites

Hayden Library: Thanks extended for book fair support

We would like to thank the community of Hayden and surrounding areas for supporting our annual Scholastic Book Fair. This year was exceptional, and we are grateful for the support of parents, children, teachers, and community members who stopped by and purchased books and other items from the fair.

Reading is so important, and this little event gets books into the hands of kids and will provide us with new shelving, furnishings, and decorations for our remodeling project in the children's area.

Congratulations to our book fair drawing winners Lisa Vannoy and Levi Flemming.

From all of us at the Hayden Library, "Thank you!"

Ana Lash, library director, and library staff

Hayden

From Pipi’s Pasture: The worst blizzard in 19 years

County residents are still talking about the recent blizzard so there's not a lot left to tell. However, we're still dealing with the storm's aftermath so that's what is on my mind this week. We've experienced plenty of blizzards in the approximately nineteen years that we've lived here at Pipi's Pasture, but this one is the worst we can remember.

The evening of the blizzard, after it had blown all day, Lyle and I headed for the shop to feed two bottle calves. We had to climb over deep, deep drifts around the front porch, and then we found snow drifted to about two feet. It was crusted so making a path wasn't easy. Lyle went ahead of me, but my short legs just couldn't follow his long-legged gait. We made it, though, and came back to the house. I did fall down in the snow about halfway to the house which required some tricky maneuvering to get upright again.

It is my usual habit to go to the corral to fill stock tanks each afternoon, but this time (the first time ever) I knew that I couldn't make it through the drifted snow. The corral cattle had been fed and watered that morning so I decided that the safest thing to do was stay at the house until morning.

The next morning, Lyle warmed up the tractor and made a tractor-tire path to the shop and another to the corral, remarkable considering that one of the big gates to the hay yard/corral wasn't drifted shut and he was able to gain entry to the corral area.

So after feeding the calves, I took my bucket of grain and a shovel and followed the tire path to feed the cattle at the corral. I found that the snow had drifted up against the corral fence so that I had to walk on the crusted snow to put out hay. Luckily, I had left the gate leading into the smaller part of the corral open a little bit after the first big snowstorm of the season. That way I could squeeze into the corral without opening the gate, but the cows couldn't push themselves out. With a little shoveling, I was able to get into the corral. However, finding the water tanks was a little more difficult since they were under drifted snow. I uncovered one tank and planned to find another one elsewhere that day.

The two animals in the larger corral share a stock tank with feedlot cattle. The snow had drifted off the ground around the water hydrant, and the cattle had not consumed the water in the tank during the blizzard. Everything was in good shape there.

I had to do lots of shoveling to make paths along the corral fence, places where there had not been paths before. The paths are on top of buckets, feed pans, mineral tubs, and a lot of other stuff that I've forgotten about.

While I was busy shoveling snow and finishing chores, Lyle plowed a path through a gate so that we could feed cows in the feedlot. A thoughtful neighbor drove his tractor over and helped Lyle plow the driveway, the lane into the house, and the area around the haystack. He even helped Lyle feed the cows while I worked away at the corral.

Our sons and families called to check on us; they heard about the blizzard and told us about all of the closed roads. We were fine. We got plowed out, we had food, the house was warm, the animals got fed and watered, and the baby calves in the feedlot survived the blizzard — even those born the day before the blizzard. I was able to work by phone.

And at this writing, it is the first day of spring, and a robin is sitting in the crabapple tree that's next to the dining room window.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Jessica’s cookies

This week's recipe for "Cowboy Cookies" was sent to me by our granddaughter, Jessica Prather, who lives in Vernal, Utah. She got it from her friend Lucia. Jessica says that her dad and brother, Jaycee, are "addicted" to the cookies. Please note that you need to use the exact amount of flour as called for in the recipe. Thanks, Jessica!

Who doesn't like Oreos? "Oreo Ice Cream Dessert," the other recipe in this week's column is from my files. It might be a great dessert for Easter.

Cowboy Cookies

• 1 cup butter

• 1 cup brown sugar

• 1 cup sugar

• 2 eggs

• 1 teaspoon vanilla

• 2 cups flour (* Be careful because this can make or break the recipe.)

• 1 teaspoon baking soda

• ½ teaspoon baking powder

• ½ teaspoon salt

• 1 cup coconut

• 2 cups oatmeal

• Chocolate chips/nuts, optional

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cream butter and sugars. Add the eggs and vanilla. Add in dry ingredients. By hand, add coconut, oatmeal, and chocolate chips/nuts (optional). Bake for 8 to 10 minutes. (*Note: Jessica wrote that after experimenting she found that 10-12 minutes baking time is better.) Let cool and enjoy. (* Note: Use the exact amount of flour.)

Sent in by Jessica Prather, Vernal, Utah. Recipe from Lucia.

Oreo Ice Cream Dessert

• 1 pound package Oreo cookies

• Half gallon ice cream

• Medium to large container Cool Whip

• 1 Cup chopped pecans

Crush the Oreos. Mix the ice cream (your choice of flavor) with the Oreos. Stir in Cool Whip and pecans. Pack into an angel food pan or 9×13-inch glass dish. Wrap well and freeze. Enjoy!

Do you have recipes that you would like to share with readers? If so, please send them to me at Box 415, Craig 81626 or call me at 824-8809. Think Easter. It will be here before we know it.

Carolyn Walsh: Grateful for senior snow removal

I wish to thank the Moffat County Commissioners for the senior citizen snow removal program once again!

And a grateful thank you to the Moffat County Road and Bridge Department and the operators!

Carolyn Walsh

Craig