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Moffat County swimmers balance competition with service work

As the final stretch of the season comes up, Moffat County High School swimmers are keeping pace as they refocus their efforts in the pool and within the community.

MCHS girls finished fifth Saturday at the Glenwood Springs Demon Winter Invite, narrowing down their finishes in multiple races as they look toward the league finals and beyond.

Alexa Neton continues to chase state qualification in the 50- and 200-yard freestyle events, gaining the team’s best results of the season to date in each during the weekend, placing eighth in the 50 with a time of 28.92 seconds and sixth in the 200, 2:22.28.

She is just over one second from the 3A state time of 27.8. In the 50, Katelynn Turner placed 11th and Jeni Kincher 13th, with Alyssa Chavez and Ellina Jones each hitting their fastest times in 19th and 21st.

Mackenzie Anderson likewise hit her best time in the 200 in 19th, and Jones reached a best in the 100 free at 1:10.31 and 18th place, with state-qualifier Molly Neton ranking 11th.

Kelsey McDiffett got back in the swing of things in the 100 butterfly for the first time since the team was in Glenwood in December, trimming about 1.5 seconds for 1:17.15 and seventh place. She also gained her best time of the season in the 200 individual medley (2:38.94) for fifth, with Molly Neton right behind in sixth (2:40.14).

At 12th and 3:22.04 in the 200 IM, Allison Jacobson chopped a full 15 seconds off her last time in the race in November.

Turner led the team with 11th in the backstroke, in which Chavez and Anderson each hit their season bests, while Kincher brought her time in the 100 breaststroke to a personal best 1:29.56.

In relays, Kincher, Jacobson, Jones and Chavez were the lone Bulldog foursome in the 200 free, placing eighth (2:09.76).

Having already clinched state in the free event, Turner, McDiffett and the Netons placed seventh (2:15.99) in the medley, in which Anderson, Kincher, Chavez and Jones were 11th (2:34.58).

However, it was the 400 free relay where the team saw its best placement, as Turner, McDiffett and the Netons were fifth (4:21.2).

“We had some great cuts by girls, and we still have our sights set on qualifying two more relays for state and some more individual events,” coach Meghan Francone said.

Swimmers will have a week off from competition as they keep up with their training leading up to the Southwest Conference Championships Feb. 1 and 2 at Colorado Mesa University.

Apart from the water, MCHS girls spent last week volunteering as well as practicing. The team performed a clean-up of the Craig Fire/Rescue facilities, with firefighters later providing a tour of the headquarters.

“We are grateful to the fire department to allow us to come in and give back in a very small way,” Francone said.

Memorial Regional Health: Support essential in quest toward weight loss — Research shows emotional, social, practical support bolster weight-loss goals

Editor's note: The following article is sponsored by Memorial Regional Health.

Year after year, Americans make New Year's resolutions to lose weight, but research shows many completely give up on their goal by February.

Many weight loss resolutions include some kind of quick-fix fad diet, which research shows is one of the worst plans a person can follow in terms of long-term success. Fad diets usually claim to help you lose weight quickly — more than 1 or 2 pounds per week — often without exercise. Fad diet marketing campaigns show promising before and after photos, contain boasting endorsements from people who are likely being paid as part of the advertising, and usually require you to spend money on things like pills, books, seminars, prepackaged meals, protein powders, and more, according to the American Academy of Family Physicians.

At Memorial Regional Health, a new monthly weight loss support group is aiming to help patients who have had bariatric surgery succeed the healthy way by providing education, tools, and social support for living a healthier lifestyle.

The third Thursday of every month, MRH will host a different speaker to discuss various weight loss-related topics before opening the discussion for attendees to ask questions, said Adysen Jourgensen, registered dietitian at Memorial Regional Health. While the group is geared toward bariatric surgery patients, others can attend.

"These topics can vary from exercise to nutrition, and we are hoping to get some guest speakers who can come in and talk about the different bariatric surgeries and various other topics related to weight loss," Jourgensen said. "We are covering all of these topics in hopes of providing attendees more knowledge and various tips that individuals can use to achieve their weight loss goals."

Support works

Support, whether emotional, practical, or inspiring, is a major factor in achieving weight loss goals, according to The Mayo Clinic. Emotional support might be a shoulder to lean on when you're feeling discouraged, while practical support could involve someone watching the kids while you exercise. Inspiring support might include an exercise partner who motivates you on days you feel like giving up.

Psychological research shows it's easier to stick to a weight loss plan when you have support, according to the American Psychological Association. And just in October 2018, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported the findings of a weight loss study that showed intensive, multicomponent behavioral interventions in adults with obesity can lead to clinically significant improvements in weight status. These interventions focused on nutrition, physical activity, self-monitoring, identifying barriers, problem solving, peer support, and relapse prevention.

MRH's weight loss support group includes all of these components, and Jourgensen said she thinks it has the potential to truly benefit attendees.

"Being able to discuss practical ideas when it comes to meeting physical activity goals, different nutrition tips, and various other topics of interest in the weight loss realm with peers can be great," she said. "Support is huge when trying to achieve any type of goal, and building relationships with others who are experiencing the same things you are can really help with staying on the right track. I think the comradery that will come from this group will be huge in helping our participants."

Why fad diets aren't the answer

Unfortunately when it comes to weight loss, there are no quick fixes. That's not to say you can't lose a fair amount of weight quickly with a fad diet, but keeping it off becomes the challenge.

"Slow, steady weight loss is more likely to last than dramatic weight changes. Healthy plans aim for a loss of no more than 1 to 2 pounds per week," according to the American Academy of Family Physicians. "If you lose weight quickly, you’ll lose muscle, bone, and water. You also will be more likely to regain the pounds quickly."

Jourgensen said her rule of thumb is that, if you don't think you can eat a certain way for the rest of your life, then you probably shouldn't start it.

"Quick results are much more exciting and satisfying than long-term lifestyle changes," she said. "I think all of us enjoy instant gratification, so it is much easier to get discouraged when you aren't seeing immediate results."

So what's the best answer? Jourgensen said it's eating healthfully — including lean meats, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and limiting eating out — and in the appropriate portion sizes, and getting 150 minutes or more of physical activity per week.

One of the best tips Jourgensen has is to write things down — your weight loss goals, the "why" behind those goals, grocery lists, workout schedules.

"As simple as this sounds, seeing your goals each day and reminding yourself why you started the journey can serve as a huge motivator to continue working towards achieving them," she said. "Those who make a life-long commitment to eating healthier and exercising have the most success in terms of weight management in the long run."

Ruin the Bruins: Moffat County hoopsters crush Cedaredge

It may have been the visiting school that boasted the ursine team name, but it was Moffat County High School athletes who were giving their latest opponents a bear of a time Saturday.

MCHS varsity teams swept the Cedaredge Bruins in a pair of big wins, as girls picked up their fourth consecutive victory against a 3A Western Slope League foe at 52-33 while boys put an end to their run of bad luck with a hard-fought 57-32 triumph.

Grin and bear it

After a narrow victory the night before, MCHS girls had another team within the Top 10 of the 3A RPI rankings on their hands.

Perhaps it was the extra boost from the win over Grand Valley, but Lady Bulldogs wasted no time racking up a 7-0 lead, with the Bruins prevented from gaining a bucket until nearly five minutes into the game.

MoCo’s quick start only get better, finishing the quarter 13-5, heading into an all but unstoppable second period in which they compiled 15 straight points, five of which came off a Kinlie Brennise corner triple that, thanks to a Cedaredge foul, put her back at the charity stripe for a pair of free throws.

MCHS girls coach Jim Loughran said he was surprised by Cedaredge’s slow entry, though he was far from shocked that his players made the most of it.

“They really put a lot of pressure on them,” he said.

The 35-16 opening half gave way to a slower but solid third quarter as Brennise and Halle Hamilton kept after it in three-pointers with Quinn Pinnt and Jenna Timmer nailing buckets closer to the hoop in the 11-7 stretch.

With the game just about won, Bulldog girls chewed the clock in the last minutes while limiting the Bruins to another 10 points.

Hamilton led in scoring with 14 points and a trio of threes, with 11 for Brennise, and six for Tiffany Hildebrandt.

“I don’t know if Cedaredge didn’t bring it or it’s just because we were working well together, but we were ready for them,” Hamilton said.

Bull(dog) market for buckets

While both MCHS junior varsity teams fell in close games to the Bruins — girls JV in a 34-32 overtime heartbreaker and boys JV 50-46 — boys varsity took a page from the girls’ playbook and did them one better.

Between attacking the hoop from the get-go and shutting down the Cedaredge effort, Bulldog boys held a double-digit advantage with 12 points on the board before the Bruins finally responded after more than six minutes.

A 14-7 quarter became a 32-15 half, with a fully energized crowd all the more spirited thanks to the halftime entertainment by the Moffat County Junior Cheer Clinic, with 57 young kids joining the MCHS and Craig Middle School pep squads.

MoCo boys didn’t slow down in the slightest coming back from the locker room, renewing their resolve near the rim with layups and jumpers galore in another 18-point quarter.

Like the girls, boys didn’t strain themselves coasting to the conclusion, though Jerod Chacon took advantage of a chance for some shooting practice to add a corner three and get his scoring total to 11 points, tied with Colby Beaver for the evening, followed by Landen Najera with 10.

Connor Murphy mixed it up with one triple and layups for his seven points, though he credited the night’s success to the group effort.

“It all came down to teamwork, everybody did really great tonight,” he said. “Everybody brought a lot of heart, clicking tonight.”

Connor Etzler concurred the crowd was a huge part of the win.

“All that positive energy in the building pushed us, helped us play a lot better,” he said. “It was really loud.”

By the numbers

The W was one the boys varsity team has been striving toward for the past month. A win in December against Denver Christian during Glenwood Springs’ Demon Invitational was the last game Bulldogs recorded in the left column, feeling the effects of eight consecutive losses.

Now 3-10, MoCo boys have a conference victory under their belts, 1-3 in WSL play, which they will seek to build on moving along in the schedule, next hosting Basalt Jan. 26.

The Longhorns have had the roughest run in the league, 2-10 after a 67-48 Saturday loss to Gunnison. Before they come to Craig, they’ll face off with Cedaredge Friday.

“You never know with this league, everything can be pretty inconsistent,” Murphy said, noting that after high rankings for much of the early season, WSL’s Coal Ridge has already fallen twice this month to league opponents.

MCHS girls will see their RPI status rise considerably after their win, and at 4-0 in the conference, the 10-3 team remains one of the Western Slope’s greatest threats.

Basalt (1-11) will be the focus heading into the coming week of practice, but the bigger picture is Delta, which the Lady Dogs host Feb. 1.

The Panthers moved to 10-1 with a Jan. 18 win against Coal Ridge, 52-49, putting them at the top of the RPI list.

Still, athletes are confident moving forward.

“I’m really impressed with our teamwork and how we’ve all come together lately,” Hamilton said.

Eight orphaned bear cubs get second chance at freedom in artificial dens made by CPW

PIKE NATIONAL FOREST – Hopefully, eight orphaned bear cubs are now sleeping peacefully on Pikes Peak, snug inside artificial dens built by Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers, staff and volunteers during a recent snowstorm.

Four cubs share two dens built with downed logs, timbers and small branches, pine boughs and a mix of straw, hay and alfalfa.

The cubs should be exhausted after the day they experienced Tuesday when officers from Area 14 in Colorado Springs retrieved them from Wet Mountain Wildlife Rehabilitation in Wetmore. The bears spent the summer and fall there after their mothers died either due to being hit by cars, trains, at the hands of poachers or after being euthanized because they entered a home in search of human food.

Each cub was tranquilized, weighed (they ranged from 110 to 140 pounds each) and placed in a trap for transportation to the den sites on Pikes Peak about an hour away. On the mountain, each bear was blindfolded and hobbled, in case they were to awaken from their drug-induced sleep, then carried by sled through deep snow to their winter home.

And CPW officers, staff and volunteers performed this work under the glare of eight TV news cameras and other media who assembled to report on the bear-release project.

It took about two hours to get all eight bears tucked into the dens. Work was delayed at times as a couple cubs did awaken, abruptly sitting up on their sleds to the surprise of CPW officers who quickly administered second doses of tranquilizer so release work could resume.

Over and over, officers crawled into the dens to precisely position the bears so they could easily breath and rest comfortably. The officers were soaked and covered with hay when they finally administered the drugs that would reverse the tranquilizers – the final act before the dens were sealed with alfalfa and packed with a thick layer of snow.

“It was a great day on the mountain," said Frank McGee, area wildlife manager who oversees Area 14. "This is the kind of experience that motivates every CPW wildlife officer. We all chose this career to work with wildlife, so this is very personal with us. It's so rewarding to release wildlife back into their native habitat. It was really gratifying to know we gave them a second chance to be wild bears."

Ideally, the bears will remain in the dens until spring when they'll emerge as one-year-old bears and disperse into the forest to eat natural grasses, nuts and berries with a healthy fear of humans.

Moffat County basketball looks to set tone for four-game home stretch after matches with Grand Valley

For one Moffat County High School basketball team, Friday night was a chance to catch up with old friends. For the other, well, the night was far from congenial.

MCHS girls hoops took its third straight win in the 3A Western Slope League with a 40-37 defeat of visiting Grand Valley, while the cold streak continued for Bulldog boys, who lost 67-48 to the Cardinals.

Friendship among rivals

As MCHS’s junior varsity squads were laying a beatdown on Grand Valley — girls JV won 39-14 and boys 65-23 — girls varsity was getting their heads in the game.

But, before warmups, Stephenie Swindler and Jenna Timmer took a moment to greet one of their former teammates, sharing a hug with Megan Olinger, who previously lived in Crag before transferring to the Parachute school.

“It was a little weird,” Swindler chuckled. “I think it would have been a little weirder if we’d had to play against her, too.”

That pre-game pleasantry aside, it didn’t take long for Lady Bulldogs to bear down on the Cardinals, who have routinely been one of their toughest opponents in the conference, as well as their final foe in last season’s district tournament.

Shaya Chenoweth — last year’s WSL overall points leader and 3A leader in average points per game — was on their minds but not in their heads despite another high-scoring night, with 17 total points.

Chenoweth remained quiet on offense for most of the first half, apart from a few free throws, but she and her comrades were nonetheless keeping the Bulldogs in check.

A three-pointer by Halle Hamilton kicked off the MoCo scoring, followed by foul shots for Tiffany Hildebrandt and Jaidyn Steele.

A 7-all score after the first quarter led to more instances of mirror matches, as Chenoweth swiped the ball from Hamilton beneath the Bulldog basket only for Hamilton to nab it back at half-court seconds later.

Likewise, Grand Valley’s Jordyn Pittman stuffed an outside shot by Kinlie Brennise that Brennise would pay back in spades later in the game with some punishing blocks.

Slow but steady scoring by Brennise, Hamilton and Hildy kept the Lady Dogs ahead 14-13 at halftime, and while Chenoweth immediately came roaring back in the third period with five quick points to get the Cards their biggest lead of the game at 18-14, the same Moffat trio put together eight unanswered points with the help of takeaways and rebounds.

With a 31-24 lead to close the third — capped off with a triple by Emaleigh Papierski — Moffat County girls weren’t taking any many risks to cinch the win, though Chenoweth and Pittman evened it up twice at 33 and 35.

Still, staying fierce in the paint was key as Timmer and Hamilton elbowed their way to the rim late in the game.

“It was nerve-wracking for sure,” Timmer said. “I feel like our team works better like that, when we have all that adrenaline.”

A final field goal by Brennise — who led the team for the night with 13 points — had the Dogs ahead by one bucket, but a timeout with less than three seconds remaining meant there was still time for Grand Valley to push it into extra minutes.

An inbound pass to the Cardinals’ Bailey Radel put the game in her hands, but the three-point attempt was no good, much to the delight of Bulldog fans.

The loss was only the second of the season for 8-2 GV, who fell in overtime in a 53-51 game against Meeker. They’ll look for conference redemption as they host Aspen Saturday.

Raining 3’s

From there, Bulldog boys varsity sought to put on a good show for members of the crowd, who had their admission handled for the night thanks to Craig Association of Realtors.

Both teams had long ball aspirations from the start as Cale Scranton and Wesley Counts nailed three-pointers in the first quarter.

However, the Cardinals were draining threes like a freshly unclogged bathtub, as Wade Wiese alone hit three from outside, with one each for Emilio Garcia and Alex Cornejo to lead 17-13 after eight minutes.

Torin Reed added one from the arc to begin the second period, and a free throw by Scranton tied it at 17.

That was as close as the Bulldogs would get for the rest of the night. Aided by fouls, Grand Valley put together 10 points to respond, interrupted briefly by a free throw from Counts.

As MoCo increased their pressure inside, the Cards went back to the perimeter, and Cornejo, Garcia and Blade McCormick each added one more tre heading into the break, with put-backs on the other end by Landen Najera keeping the Dogs alive but behind 39-27.

Grand Valley remained ahead by double digits for the full second half, 53-38 going into the fourth quarter. And, though Jerod Chacon and Connor Murphy got in on the three-spree for the Bulldogs, the Cardinals weren’t giving up much breathing room beneath the rim.

In his first varsity basketball game, Logan Hafey was among the cavalry sent in with about one minute remaining, sinking a pair of free throws as soon as he stepped on the court.

“They had really, really tough defense, they were just not letting us in there,” he said of the Cards.

Just getting warmed up

Bulldog hoopsters will have little time to rest with Saturday home games coming up against Cedaredge.

At 2-10, MoCo boys badly need a win, and while the Grand Valley game was humbling, it may have toughened them up for the Bruins, who remain in the middle of the conference at 4-5, playing their first match for league credit in Craig.

“I think we can do well if we come out strong and work on what we didn’t do well tonight,” Hafey said.

Alternately, 9-3 Lady Dogs will have another challenge in store against 7-2 Cedaredge girls, who fell to league leader Delta 57-36 in December tournament play.

Their only other defeat was against Centauri, 45-40, a team which Moffat County also lost to by a five-point margin.

“If we play like we did tonight, we’ll do great,” Timmer said.

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Always learning: Craig instructor Paul Cruz looks back on 3 decades in martial arts

The number 12 bears special significance for Paul Cruz.

It was the 12th day of the 12th month of the calendar at the start of his 12th year of life that he first began down a path that would last for decades to come.

Cruz recently celebrated 30 years in the world of martial arts with a gathering with his students at Northwest Colorado Tae Kwon Do/Hapkido.

The Craig Press recently caught up with the local teacher on his time in the discipline and how he’s honed his instruction across the years.

Craig Press: How did it first start for you getting in the field?

Cruz: I was up at my babysitter’s house, and she was doing (martial arts) moves. She told me she was doing karate and she had a test coming up. I said, “Oh, I’m a black belt! I know karate!” She said, “Oh, well, can you help me with this?” And I said, “Oh, I was just kidding, I don’t know any of that.” But, then I found out there was a karate school in town, and my parents asked we what I wanted for my birthday, and I just happened to start lessons exactly on my 12th birthday, 12-12-88, just two doors down from where I am today. The old studio where I started was where The Embroidery Shoppe is now. Every time I have a birthday, I like to celebrate this more. Getting older is one thing, but 30 years in this has been a big deal for me.

When did you first start getting serious about the discipline?

I remember traveling to Missouri for a convention, and my instructor’s wife asked me what I wanted to do with my life, and she was really into education. I told her I wanted to teach karate, and she said, “I know you can do that.” That was when I was about 14, and I started taking more classes, some in Denver, and I knew that’s what I exactly what I wanted to do. It took me about five years to get my first-degree black belt, and I just got my fifth-degree last June.

I started teaching with my first instructor, he was taking me around to schools and seminars. We opened a school in Vernal (Utah) and one in Rawlins (Wyoming), like seven different schools in three states. I went with him everywhere he went, sat in the front seat and got to learn everything you could teach. I didn’t really learn the business side of it until I had another instructor who taught me how to run and maintain a school.

What kind of changes have you had throughout the years?

Jason Thomas is my master now, he’s a seventh-degree in tae kwon do, a fifth-degree in hapkido and first-degree in karate. I’m also a second-degree in hapkido and red belt in karate. The reason I left my first instructor was I was learning how to kick and punch, but I really wanted to learn the self-defense side of it as well.

The self-defense of most tae kwon do schools isn’t exactly the same as what I do. We use knives and sticks and learn how the weapon itself can turn into moves if you don’t have it. Say I have two sticks and then get my hands moving really fast and take the sticks away. Those moves are still intersecting the attacks coming after you, and I really wanted to learn close quarters stuff. I was always the guy with the long legs keeping people away from me, but if somebody got in really close and took me to the ground, what would I do? I wasn’t learning that kind of stuff, and I wanted to learn all martial arts not just tae kwon do, learn what everyone else is doing. With my students, I take them to open tournaments where you’ve got karate guys, judo guys, kung fu guys, and we put ourselves up against people we don’t train with. We know what we can do, but we go up against other cities and find out these guys train just as hard as we do. A lot of it’s universal, punching is punching, kicking is kicking, but how do those instructors teach them to put it all together?

When you get to master’s, fourth- or fifth-degree, you start to learn it’s not just all these kicks, punches and blocks, now you learn how to make a move out of it. Instead of just block and strike, you can turn one technique into three techniques. Once you get up there, you can teach better because you understand the level that it took to get you to that point. I’ve heard from a lot of people, “Well, this is just a hobby for me.” For me, this is a way of life. I’ve put everything I have into teaching this and learning from as many different people as I can.

How do you believe the culture of martial arts has evolved? Do students take it as seriously as you’d like? 

A lot of people treat a tournament like tag, if you will; you’re just trying to touch the other person and get a point. Here, we’ll put on our gear and we won’t go for knockouts, but we’re also not going to take it easy on each other. We’ll know what it’s like to get hit. If you’re walking down the street and get hit for the first time, it’s going to phase you. In here, we’re not beating them up, but we’re hitting pretty hard. You want to be able to protect yourself or your parents or whoever else you’re protecting. This is a contact sport, not knitting. We want to do realistic stuff, and you never what someone’s going to do on the street. What are the clues if someone tries to hit you, like raising the elbow.

Some of my students have gotten bullied, and they think I’m going to kick them out if that kind of stuff happens. No, I’m teaching you this so that doesn’t happen. You’d better not be the one starting it, but if you’re defending yourself for real, that’s what I’m teaching you, and how to be a good person outside of the school. It begins and ends with courtesy. I have a kid who’s been with me for eight years, and another kid at school just kept choking him and pushing him down. Finally, I started doing private lessons with him and taught him two moves. This is all you’ve got to do to escape. Guess what; that kid didn’t pick on him ever again. He didn’t have to hurt him, but he did a move to put him on the ground and ask, “Do you want anymore?” and the kid’s like, “No, no!” If they’re going to be attacked, I’m going to let them use it. They’re protecting themselves, and there’s no reason it should be any other way.

What does this three-decade milestone mean to you?

It’s been my dream. People say you can dream whatever you want and do anything you want, and this has allowed me to do everything better. Say you want to play a game of pool. I understand what focus means and understand the angles in it. Training like this has helped my mind to accept everything that comes my way. There’s always going to be a barrier, but it’s how you accept that barrier. You can either quit and go on or face it head-on. A lot of people don’t like to learn new things, the fear of not knowing something makes them feel like a child again. It’s a great feeling, almost spiritual. I just learned something new and it makes me feel even better because I’m not afraid of it. I’ve learned how to accept everything in a manner that’s beneficial to everybody around me. If I can’t take care of myself, there’s no way I can take care of these guys.

It means everything to me. I never thought I would be here as a kid. Maybe it was just a dream then, but as I got older, I saw this is what I wanted to do, not just learn martial arts but teach it. A teacher is just a student that hasn’t quit. A white belt that hasn’t quit. I’m always going to be a white belt because they’re always learning. If I have that mentality, I could wear a white belt, and these kids won’t even care because they know what I can do. It’s what I’ve put into it that makes it count.

Weekend Roundup: Happy hoops, poker power, snowshoe speed

Indoors or outdoors, there are a handful of options for sporting entertainment in Moffat County this weekend.

Bulldog ball

Moffat County High School basketball teams play their first Western Slope League home games Friday and Saturday against league opponents Grand Valley Friday and Cedaredge Saturday afternoons.
The game schedule include girls junior varsity, boys JV, girls varsity and boys varsity.
C-Teams also take on Battle Mountain Saturday morning at Craig Middle School.
Friday games are free for all spectators, with admission covered by Craig Association of Realtors.
When:  Varsity, JV games start at 3 p.m. Friday, noon Saturday; C-Team games start at 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: Varsity, JV games at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane; C-Team games at CMS, 915 Yampa Ave.
Cost: Friday games free; Saturday games $5
For more information: 970-824-7036

Dashing through the snow

The Dinosaur 100 Trail Race Series snowshoe races run January and February at locations in Moffat and Routt counties.
Each race is designed to be approximately 3.2 to 4.2 miles, a 5K or longer, with all experience levels welcome.
When: 10 a.m. Saturday
Where: First race at Loudy-Simpson Park, 600 S. Ranney St.; additional races Jan. 26 at Rabbit Ears Pass, Fox Curve; Feb. 2 at Stagecoach State Park; Feb. 9 at Steamboat Lake
Cost: Advance entry $25
For more information: snowshoesteamboat.com or Dinsoaur100.com

Pick a card…

Northwest Colorado Snowmobile Club also will host its annual Poker Run fundraiser Saturday, starting at the Freeman Reservoir parking lot.

Snowmobilers head along the path to several stations and pick up a playing card to form a poker hand. Those with the best results win 25 percent of the total collected with 15 percent for second place and 10 percent for third.

Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony that night, with additional door prizes donated by local businesses are also up for grabs. Money raised during the Poker Run goes to the group's scholarship efforts, last year awarding $1,000 apiece to two local students, the majority of which was raised during the event.

When: Registration begins at 9:30 a.m., awards at 6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Poker Run at Freeman Reservoir; awards at Vallarta’s, 2705 W. Victory Way
Cost: Hands $10 apiece, $25 for three
For more information: northwestcoloradosnowmobileclub.org

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.

Denver Film Critics Society names Netflix feature ‘Roma’ best picture of 2018

Regional cinematic group Denver Film Critics Society recently announced its selections for the top movies of 2018.

The Spanish-language feature “Roma” took multiple honors, including Best Picture, Best Foreign Language Film and Best Director for Alfonso Cuarón.

The movie, produced through streaming service Netflix, focuses on the struggles of a middle-class Mexican family in the 1970s, as seen through the eyes of their housekeeper.

The film is partially based on Cuarón’s own childhood in Mexico City.

Two of DFCS’s acting honors both went to the period piece “The Favourite,” about the court of Britain’s Queen Anne in the early 18th century.

Olivia Colman won Best Actress as the temperamental royal, while Rachel Weisz took Best Supporting Actress as Anne’s manipulative confidante and best friend, Sarah Churchill.

Ethan Hawke received Best Actor for his portrayal of a conflicted clergyman at odds with faith in the modern world in “First Reformed.”

Mahershala Ali gained Best Supporting Actor for “Green Book,” a true story about an African-American musician traveling through the Deep South in the 1960s.

John Krasinski, Scott Beck and Bryan Woods won Best Original Screenplay for the suspense film "A Quiet Place," about a family attempting to survive in a post-apocalyptic world dominated by sound-sensitive aliens. The film also gained Best Sci-Fi/Horror honors, tying with the female-driven action movie “Annihilation.”

Best Adapted Screenplay went to Spike Lee, Kevin Willmott, Charlie Wachtel and David Rabinowitz for "BlacKkKlansman," a screen version of a 1970s Colorado Springs police officer’s efforts to infiltrate the Ku Klux Klan.

Superhero films took multiple awards as "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" received Best Animated Film, "Avengers: Infinity War" won Best Visual Effects, and composer Ludwig Goransson’s music for "Black Panther" garnered Best Original Score.

The selection for Best Original Song was from the remake of “A Star Is Born” — the tune “Shallow,” written by Lady Gaga, Mark Ronson, Anthony Rossomando and Andrew Wyatt, which was performed in the movie by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

The dark humor satire about Soviet government, "The Death of Stalin," earned Best Comedy, while Best Documentary went to "Won't You Be My Neighbor?" about the efforts of Fred Rogers to shape child development through television.

Denver Film Critics Society includes area Colorado-based writers ranging from Denver Post’s Lisa Kennedy to Craig Press’s Andy Bockelman.


Across the Street: Colorado legislature working to improve education

During our monthly meeting, as the first week of the 72nd legislative session began, the State Board of Education walked across the street to attend the State of the State address, where Gov. Jared Polis reiterated his primary education related promise.

“Our top priority this session is empowering every single Colorado community to offer free, full-day kindergarten while expanding free preschool to 8,000 more Colorado children,” Colorado's new governor said.

The state already pays for kindergarten students to attend for half-day classes, and many school districts offer full-day kindergarten, using district funds and parent-paid tuition to fund the additional half day. If the state agrees to pay for free, full-day kindergarten for all kindergarten students in Colorado, the estimated cost will be an additional $250 million per year.

In the first week of the new session, 107 new bills were introduced, and 17 of these involved education. Of the 17, five were sponsored by Democrats, four by Republicans, and 8 bipartisan. From their introduction, the bills will pass through the Senate and House committees and to both the Senate and House Chambers before they become law. Many never get that far, but for now, legislators worked into the night to get their five bills written and submitted by the Jan. 10 deadline.

In addition to following all the legislative activity at the Capitol, the State Board of Education met for two days. One of our duties involved a vote to approve the monthly allocation of state funds to the 178 school districts in Colorado.

Under the public-school finance act of 1994 (Section 22-54-115, C.R.S.), the state board is responsible for determining the monthly amount of money each school district receives from the state. At our January meeting, we certified the December 2018 calculations and distribution. All districts and state distribution amounts were listed. The calculations for January through June will be certified at the February meeting. All information is available on the State Board of Education website.

Following are examples of the state distribution for districts in three counties I represent:

• Roaring Fork, with 5,524 students — $1,825,907.67.

• Garfield, with 1,163 students — $681,911.92.

• Meeker, with 700 students — $191,591.25.

• Rangely, with 483 students — $288,488.64.

• Moffat County, with 2,106 students — $595,107.88.

Throughout Colorado, the December distribution totaled $367,678,953.24.

In another vote, the state board approved a Charter School appeal for the SKIES Academy. The SKIES Academy Charter application was initially granted, but later revoked, by the Cherry Creek School District. The state board found this was not in the best interest of students, families, and the community and remanded the charter to go back to the local district to work together for a resolution. Charter SKIES Academy, based at Centennial Airport, will be a hands-on, project-based curriculum for sixth- through eighth-graders. It will focus on students desiring a possible career in aerospace engineering, piloting. and other aspects of aviation.

Thus we begin the first month of the 2019 Legislative Session and the first state board meeting of the new year.

Joyce Rankin represents Colorado's 3rd Congressional District on the State Board of Education. She writes the monthly column “Across the Street” to share with constituents in the 29 counties she represents. The Department of Education, where the State Board of Education meets, is located across the street from the State Capitol.

Moffat County boys basketball keeps it close in Summit game

It all came down to the last eight minutes for the Moffat County High School boys basketball team Tuesday night.

Bulldogs hoops fell 66-60 to the 4A Summit Tigers in a non-conference road match-up.

The boys in blue held their own at the start, with a 21-16 lead after one quarter, including nine points from Jerod Chacon.

MoCo held a one-bucket advantage at halftime at 36-34, but Summit’s Wyatt Buller came alive in the third quarter, scoring all the Tigers’ 15 points in the period as part of 26 he’d have throughout the night.

With the tally tied at 49 heading into the fourth, it was anyone’s game, yet a handful of field goals by the Bulldogs couldn’t match a pair of triples by Corbin Furrey and 11 points amassed by Buller and Brendan Collins.

Jordan Carlson led scoring for Moffat County with 12 points, 11 for Chacon and nine by Colby Beaver.

MCHS, 2-9 overall, hosts 3A Western Slope League opponents Grand Valley and Cedaredge, Friday and Saturday, respectively. Friday’s games begin at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s at noon at MCHS, 900 Finley Lane.