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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

Craig’s 13th annual State of the Community set for April 1

The date is set for the 13th annual State of the Community event.

“The State of the Community is a great way to get an overview of important facets of our community,” according to an event announcement from Craig Chamber of Commerce officials.

The chamber will present awards for Businessperson of the Year, Business of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, and special recognition. The evening will also include presentations on the state of the city, county, tourism, and chamber, as well as industry updates from area mines, the Craig Station Power Plant, Yampa Valley Bank, and Memorial Regional Health.

Northwest Colorado Arts Council is also organizing an art show and sale to showcase the work of area artists as part of the event.

State of the Community begins at 6 p.m. Monday, April 1, at Moffat County Fairgrounds Pavilion. Tickets are $40 and include the program, dinner, and dessert. There will be a cash bar.

Reserve tickets online at craigchamber.chambermaster.com/eventregistration/register/53532.

For more information, contact 970-824-5689 or info@craig-chamber.com.

United Mines Workers of America Union #1799 in Craig gifts $2K to community kitchen

The local mine workers union has made a final contribution to the community ahead of its dissolution.

“Once Fran Lux knew that the local United Mine Workers of America Union #1799 was to be disbanded, he set about wondering how some of the final funds could help support our community,” Diane King wrote in an email on behalf of St. Michael’s Church.

She added that he requested the union donate $2,000 to the Community Soup Kitchen operated at the church, and his request was granted by union members. 

“These funds will help our local community kitchen to continue to serve meals 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Tuesdays and 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays to anyone who enjoys a good meal and good company,” King said. The kitchen is located in the basement of St. Michael’s Parish, 678 School St.

The community kitchen is funded entirely by donations and volunteers. 

“Thank you, United Mine Union #1799, for supporting this Craig Community Outreach Program," King said. 

The Network to host Craig candidate meet-and-greet Thursday

Craig residents may have read about them in the newspaper or watched them speak during the recent candidate forum, but now, the community is invited get to know the candidates for municipal office in a more casual setting.

The public is invited to meet the candidates for Craig City Council and Craig mayor in a social gathering, set for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, March 28, at Vallarta’s, 2705 W. Victory Way.

This event is organized by The Network, a membership organization for locals working to positively impact the community. The group hosts a variety of events to give members the opportunity to make social and business connections through professional, fun events and community impact projects.

For more information, visit facebook.com/thenetworkyvyp.

Personnel decisions on agenda for Moffat County School Board’s Thursday meeting

The Moffat County School District Board of Education is expected to take action on recommendations for non-renewal of some staff contacts and consider the adoption of a number of policy changes during its upcoming meeting.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday,  March 28, in the board room of the administration building, 775 Yampa Ave.

A workshop will precede the regular meeting at 4 p.m.

An announcement about the Colorado Northwestern Community College welding program, updates on the facilities master plan, recreation center, and financials also top the agenda.

The school district agenda has a new look after the board adopted a policy to include strategic goals alongside each item. To see the changes and view the complete agenda, click on the document below.

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

Northwest Colorado’s Chris Hahn remembered for his humor, benevolence


Chris Hahn, far left, died Tuesday of an aortic aneurism. Here he sits with his family, from left, wife, Mary Grace, and two sons Kieran and Liam on a ski vacation. (Courtesy photo)

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Laughter is the best medicine, and although it cannot cure all, it helps the family and friends of Chris Hahn in his absence.

Hahn died suddenly Tuesday, March 19, from an aortic aneurism while filming his son Kieran’s lacrosse game in the press box at Gardner Field.

IF YOU GO

What: Chris Hahn memorial service
When: Noon Monday, March 25
Where: Holy Name Catholic Church, 524 Oak St., Steamboat Springs

“He was doing exactly what he loves,” Hahn’s wife, Mary Grace, said. “Nothing brought him more pleasure than watching his children participate in everything.”

Mary Grace and Chris met at William & Mary University in Virginia at a fraternity party.

Chris, a computer science major, started helping Mary Grace with her computer science homework. The two of them found themselves in the same tennis class during Mary Grace’s junior year and Chris’s senior year, and they started dating.

Mary Grace moved to Steamboat Springs after graduation to spend a winter skiing, and Chris followed. The two married six years later and spent their lives traveling the globe together. The two were married for 28 years.

The Hahns planted their roots in Steamboat in 1990 then enjoyed a year in Venezuela from 1996 to 1997, five years in London from 2008 to 2013 and 18 months in Switzerland from 2013 to 14. Their sons Liam, now a sophomore at Middlebury College in Vermont, and Kieran, now a Steamboat Springs High School senior, shared in the adventures abroad.

Chris loved listening to people’s stories and learned them by learning their languages. He spoke Italian, Spanish and some French.

“When we lived in Switzerland, they had this big building that his work owned and Chris made it a point to each day to take his lunch and sit with a different group of people at a different table in the cafeteria,” Mary Grace said. “It didn’t matter if it was a group of maintenance workers, the administrative people or the executives, he just made it a point to get to know everybody to and to relate to people."

Chris' charisma

Chris’ fearlessness to try new things, like languages, is what drew him to be a part of a wide range of activities in Steamboat, from mountain biking to yoga to C-league hockey.

“Chris wasn’t afraid to try something new because he wasn’t going to be good at it,” Mary Grace said. “He didn’t mind going out and playing hockey and falling on his face or going out and shooting 100 at golf — none of that bothered him. We played 15 years of adult C-league hockey, neither one of us were good, it was just for fun.”

That same fearlessness was passed down to his sons. Liam joined an improv comedy group without any stage experience and joined the sailing team in college, while Kieran decided to try competitive cross-country skiing at the beginning of high school.

Friends and family said Chris walked into every room and was able to read the people in it and make witty comments to shift a mood.

At times, he was almost too daring with his humor, according to longtime friend Gardner Flanagan.

“I visited him when he lived in England, and we were driving somewhere, and we were coming up to a rotary and I asked him, ‘Chris is it hard to drive in a rotary when you’re learning how to drive on the other side of the road?'” Flanagan said. “And he said, ‘No, it’s no problem at all,’ and then he proceeded to drive right over the rotary."

Jim Boyd, Chris' longtime college best friend, recalls Chris was always able to effortlessly charm a waiter into free appetizers, drinks or desserts. But it was never for himself.

“When we went home from Switzerland, he had a bazillion miles and points and stuff and he had the VIP card, and I just got the cheapest ticket I could to get over there,” Boyd said. “He talked me into the VIP lounge, to the front of the early boarding line, through the short line to security, and I just had a regular ticket. Chris was flying first class, and I was sitting back in the nose-bleeders and … I’m turning to go back to my seat … He gives me a big hug and thanks me for everything, and he pushes me up to first class.”

Chris' fun personality was a quality that made him a leader people wanted to follow, whether it was during his 10 years at Smartwool or in his everyday life.

“He could motivate you to do anything,” Liam said. “My friend and I spent an entire summer where he decided to dig up the yard at our house and re-turf it with grass. It was the worst work you’ve ever done because he wanted this grass to look really flat, but somehow, he managed to motivate me and my buddies to sit for hours a day just raking dirt.”

The Hahn family celebrates Liam Hahn's graduation from Steamboat Springs High School. From left, Liam, Mary Grace, Kieran and Chris. (Courtesy photo)

Giving back

Chris’s benevolence came before his humor. He was the man who gave the kids on the streets of Venezuela money for food and prioritized his time for the benefit of friends and family.

The Hahn family’s home always had the table set for friends of Kieran's or Liam's, where Chris entertained them as family.

“As fun as it was and as cute as it was when they were little, the teenage years have just been great, and everybody crosses their eyes when I say that,” Mary Grace said. “It’s just been fun going to all the sports games and having conversations and having debates and discussing what they’re learning in school.”

As a parent of two athletes, Chris volunteered at ski events, filmed lacrosse games or even made friends with the parents of the opponents sitting in the stands.

Chris was working in IT consulting, but dreamed of retiring and becoming a high school teacher in math, Spanish or computer science because he believed he could open kids’ minds.

“Someone who was here the other night said that he was the most alive person they’ve ever known,” Mary Grace said. “He lived every second of every day. It’s sudden and awful but it’s how he lived … and for whatever reason it was done. He didn’t suffer and, truly, he would’ve been OK with that. But I think he would’ve liked another 20 years.”

To reach Leah Vann, call 970-871-4253, email lvann@SteamboatPilot.com or follow her on Twitter @LVann_Sports.

Jury delivers split verdict in trial of attempted murder of police officer

WELD COUNTY — A Weld County jury returned a split verdict Friday in the attempted first-degree murder trial of Eaton resident John Lockhart.

Lockhart was charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder, illegal discharge of a firearm and vehicular eluding following two separate shooting incidents during the early morning hours of June 11, 2017 in Greeley and Milliken. One of those two victims was an on-duty Milliken police officer.

After almost two full days of deliberations, the jury convicted Lockhart on the vehicular eluding charge, which is a Class 5 felony punishable by up to three years in prison. The jury found Lockhart not guilty of attempted first-degree murder and illegal discharge of a firearm.

As for count 3, attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer, the foreman said the jury was deadlocked. Weld District Court Judge Thomas Quammen declared a mistrial on that charge.

John Lockhart

The Weld District Attorney's Office has the option to retry Lockhart on the attempted first-degree murder of a peace officer charge, which appears to be the plan as Weld Chief Deputy District Attorney Tony Perea requested a status conference to discuss the case's next steps. The hearing takes place at 4:30 p.m. April 8.

Sentencing on the vehicular eluding conviction likely will be delayed until after Lockhart is retried.

Shortly after midnight June 11, 2017, Lockhart was involved in a road rage incident with Faustino Garcia while driving north on 8th Avenue through Greeley. Garcia, who took the stand this week, admitted to having a hazy recollection of the incident, as he had been drinking heavily at the White Horse Bar in Garden City.

Lockhart's version of the event included Garcia barreling down in his Ford SUV on Lockhart and his passenger, Amber Eaton, who were riding a Harley Davidson motorcycle. Lockhart told police he opened fire on Garcia, shooting seven rounds in total, but only after his Harley had been rear-ended or sideswiped two or three times.

But investigators say Lockhart stopped during the altercation to un-holster his semi-automatic pistol. Police say Lockhart then pulled in behind Garcia and fired on him, breaking out the rear window. Neither Garcia nor Lockhart were injured during the incident.

About an hour later, Milliken officer Katherine Lines encountered Lockhart and Eaton as they sped into town. Lines attempted to pull over Lockhart, but he accelerated to over 100 mph.

During the chase, Lockhart fired three rounds at Lines. One bullet entered her cruiser near the driver's side headlight. She also was uninjured.

Lockhart has been referred to numerous times since his arrest as a member of the Hells Angels. Greeley police Gang Unit Det. Mike Prill clarified on Friday Lockhart was a prospect with ambitions of joining the motorcycle gang at the time of the shootings.

Lockhart had painted his house black and red, the colors of the Hells Angels gang, Prill said. He wore a sleeveless jean jacket, or cut, with a small white patch on the right side, which is a symbol of the Nomads Chapter based in LaSalle, according to court records.

There is no evidence Lockhart was acting on behalf of the gang at the time of the 2017 shootings, Prill said.

Craig City Council making moves on improving local businesses

The city of Craig is unveiling its business grant program to the public Monday, March 25.

The program will be discussed along with other economic opportunities for residents and businesses at the city’s Economic Development Committee meeting at 2 p.m in the lower level of city hall.

For more information, see the meeting agenda below.

Pearl Harbor survivor living on Western Slope turns 101

RIFLE — While he doesn't spend much time out of the new recliner chair in his room at the Rifle Veterans Nursing Home these days, Bernie Weber, one of Garfield County's oldest residents, reflects on his full life with pride.

The Colorado native, who has spent the past three years at the VA Home in Rifle, turns 101 on Thursday.

"I'm just lucky I guess," he said when asked what his big secret was. "Now I like to just sit and think back on old times … when gas was 9 cents a gallon and things like that."

Weber plans to spend his birthday celebrating with friends and family in Rifle.

Bernie and his wife Maxine moved around quite a bit when their daughter Bev was young, including spending time in Craig before moving to Moab for 40 years.

He moved to be closer to his daughter in Gypsum before moving into the Veterans Community Living Center in Rifle three years ago.

Though it may not have always been an easy journey to get to 101, he said he fondly looks back on a life that included 67 years of marriage and a seven-year stint in the Navy during World War II.

Weber survived two capsized ships during the war. The first occurred on that very Day of Infamy, Dec. 7, 1941, during the attack on Pearl Harbor.

At the time, Weber was a member of the USS Oklahoma. The battleship was hit by multiple torpedoes and capsized that day.

A total of 429 members of the crew died, according to the Oklahoma Historical Society, and a memorial now sits on Ford Island at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii to commemorate the loss. Weber was listed as MIA for 10 days after the attack before word reached his family that he was okay.

Nearly a year later, Weber was on the USS Northampton when it sank in the Battle of Tassafaronga on Nov. 30, 1942.

Weber said he still vividly remembers that ship sinking in the Guadalcanal.

After his tour in the Navy, Weber returned home to Fort Lupton where he farmed with his father for a number of years.