Craig briefs: Hickenlooper lowers flags for firefighter

Hickenlooper lowers flags for firefighter

DENVER — Gov. John Hickenlooper today ordered flags be lowered to half-staff on all public buildings statewide in memory of Breckenridge’s Red White & Blue firefighter, Todd “TJ” Johnson.

Flags should be lowered from sunrise to sunset.

Johnson, 46, died Aug. 1 of complications from brain cancer, a disease he sustained through his work as a firefighter. He was a nine-year veteran of the department after serving with Lake Dillon Fire for two years. Johnson is survived by his parents, three brothers and a sister.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, at the Riverwalk Center, 150 Adams Ave. in Breckenridge from 7:50 to 8:20 a.m. Following the service, there will be a “Celebration Of Life” at 10 a.m. at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Both services are open to the public.

CDOT unveils “Ejection Exhibits”; buckle up

STATEWIDE — You’re 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle if you’re not buckled up, said the Colorado Department of Transportation in a news release.

With that statistic in mind, the CDOT has developed three eye-catching exhibits to spark the seat belt conversation in Pueblo County, which has the lowest seat belt use in the state. Using crash test dummies, the “Ejection Exhibits” simulate, but clearly show, the deadly consequences that can happen when you don’t wear your seat belt.

“Not taking the few seconds to put on a seat belt can have disastrous results, including ejection through the windshield, which is an often deadly consequence for unrestrained occupants,” Carol Gould, highway safety manager for CDOT, said in a statement. In the past two years, 18 (60 percent) of the 30 passenger vehicle fatalities in Pueblo County occurred when the occupants weren’t buckled up.

Moffat County Library Board to meet Monday

Moffat County Libraries regular monthly board meeting is 5:30 p.m. Monday at the Craig Branch located at 570 Green St. For more information, call 970-824-5116.

Visit Dinosaur National Monument to stargaze

Jensen, Utah and Dinosaur, CO — To paraphrase paleontologist Earl Douglass, August in Dinosaur provides beautiful sights, day or night.

Monument staff and community partners are offering a variety of Dark Sky & Dinosaur Discovery themed events in the month of August as part of the Dinosaur Centennial.

Less than two thirds of U.S. residents can see the Milky Way from their homes. On moonless nights, thousands of stars shine bright in the naturally dark skies that stretch over Dinosaur National Monument. Each year, more people add stargazing to their list of things to do at national parks since developed areas often have lighting that obscures the stars.

From Wednesday to Aug. 16, join monument staff to celebrate the night with the Skies Over Dinosaur Astronomy Festival.

During the day, observe our closest star with Junior Ranger Night Explorer activities and afternoon solar viewing at the Quarry Visitor Center from 2 to 4 p.m. Planisphere (Star Chart) Talks at the Quarry Visitor Center from 3 to 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday will help you identify when and where to look for certain features in the sky once it gets dark.

On Wednesday, Friday and Saturday evening, join the Green River Campground evening program at 7:30 pm, followed by Stargazing with Telescopes at the Split Mountain Campground at 9:15 pm. If you have your own telescope, and don’t mind sharing the view with other visitors, set up takes place in the closed loop at the south end of the Split Mountain Campground at 8:30 pm.

Note that the peak of the Perseid Meteor Shower is Thursday about 3 a.m. There will not be any formal program for the meteor shower, but it is a great excuse to find someplace dark and look up.

From Aug. 22 to 25, Earl Douglass Discovery Days mark the initial discovery Aug. 17, 1909 of what was to become the Carnegie Quarry and the anniversary of the first recorded visitors to the site Aug. 22, 1909. Activities include special talks each day at the quarry, off-trail hikes to see more recent dinosaur discoveries, and a Green River Campground evening program at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 22 led by Earl Douglass’ granddaughter, Diane Iverson. Documentary Night at 7 p.m. Aug. 25 at the Uintah County Library in Vernal, Utah will also feature Diane Iverson, sharing excerpts from the book based on her grandfather’s journals, “Speak to the Earth and Let it Teach You: The Life and Times of Earl Douglass” 1862-1931. Books will be available for purchase.

Aug. 25 will be a Fee Free Day in honor of the National Park Service’s 99th Birthday. Entrance fees will be waived that day; however, camping fees will still be collected.

For more information, call 435-781-7700, visit or follow DinosaurNPS on social media to learn more about visiting Dinosaur National Monument and joining the Dinosaur Centennial celebrations.

Senators reintroduce bill for wildfire mitigation

Washington, D.C. — U.S. Senators Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, and Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, reintroduced a bill to provide targeted investments for wildfire mitigation. The bill would help save future costs related to wildfire response efforts and the damage to property and land without adding to the deficit.

“Colorado has experienced catastrophic wildfires that have caused immeasurable damage,” Bennet said in a statement. “We need to do more to prepare for these disasters to help save lives and protect property. This bill targets investments at mitigation efforts to help reduce the size and scope of fires and in some cases prevent them from occurring altogether.”

The Prepare, Ready, Equip, and Prevent Areas at-Risk of Emergency Wildfires Act directs the Federal Emergency Management Agency to establish a funding stream specifically for wildfire mitigation. The bill would authorize $20 to $30 million per year for a five year wildfire mitigation pilot program, as part of agency’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Fund. States and local governments would provide matching funds, leveraging federal dollars for maximum efficiency. The bill would also allow the President to provide post-wildfire mitigation assistance to states that have received Fire Management Assistance Grants.

The Forest Service reported Wednesday it will spend more than half of its budget just to help fight wildfires across the country. Additionally, in a new report the Forest Service released, the agency estimates within a decade it will spend more than two-thirds of its budget to battle the increasing threat of wildfires. This makes it even more important that we invest in cost-saving mitigation efforts.

Free park entrance to active-duty, veterans

DENVER — Colorado Parks and Wildlife is offering free park entrance to active-duty military and veterans during the month of August as a result of House Bill 15-1045, signed into law May 27.

“We invite Colorado’s military community to enjoy all of the beauty and recreational opportunities Colorado state parks have to offer,” CPW Parks and Recreation assistant director, Margaret Taylor said in a statement.

CPW encourages eligible individuals to get their pass in advance at any CPW office or state park to avoid delays at the gate on a planned recreation day.

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