Craig briefs: MCHS 50th class reunion to take place in August | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig briefs: MCHS 50th class reunion to take place in August

The Moffat County High School Class of 1964 will have its 50th class reunion Aug. 15 through 17. Activities include:

Aug. 14 — Early arrivals meet at O.P. Bar & Grill, 6 p.m.

Aug. 15 — Informal meet-and-greet at O.P. Bar & Grill, 6 p.m.

Aug. 16 — Catered dinner at Hampton Inn, 6 p.m. BYOB after-dinner drinks

Aug. 17 — Breakfast buffet at O.P. Bar & Grill, 8 a.m. to noon, optional

The cost is $25 per person. The class still is missing addresses for the following: Floyd Berham, Jim Gerber, Gray Hibbard, Tom Maneotis, Betty Manley, Cheryl McCall, Laurel Osborn Kuhlen, Glen Turner, Rodney Updike, Ervan Watson and Larry Zimmerman. Send information to Bill and Linda Kitzhaber at 211 Avenue. NE, Childress, Texas, 79201, billkitz@att.net or 970-585-8967.

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USDA is now accepting applications for funding

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture began accepting applications Monday from energy facilities interested in receiving forest or agricultural residues to generate clean energy. The support comes through the Biomass Crop Assistance Program, which was authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, according to a press release.

The program provides financial assistance to farmers and ranchers who establish and maintain new crops of energy biomass, or who harvest and deliver forest or agricultural residues to a qualifying energy facility. Of the total $25 million per year authorized for BCAP, the 2014 Farm Bill provides as much as 50 percent ($12.5 million) each year for matching payments for the harvest and transportation of biomass residues. BCAP matching payments will resume this summer, while crop incentives will begin in 2015. Some matching payments will support the removal of dead or diseased trees from National Forests and Bureau of Land Management public lands. This will be turned into renewable energy while reducing the risk of forest fire. Agriculture residues, such as corn cobs and stalks, also may qualify as energy-producing feedstock.

With the 2014 Farm Bill requiring several regulatory updates to BCAP, the resumption of payments for starting and maintaining new sources of biomass (Project Areas) has been deferred until a later date when the regulatory updates occur.

The USDA Farm Service Agency, which administers BCAP, is accepting applications from biomass conversion facilities through July 14.  Information on funding availability can be found in the Federal Register notice at http://go.usa.gov/8FSH. For more details on applications and deadlines on BCAP, visit a local FSA county office or visit http://www.fsa.usda.gov/bcap.

For more information, visit http://www.usda.gov/farmbill.

Tipton urges BLM to collaborate on grouse

Congressman Scott Tipton, R-Colorado, stressed that state and local involvement is a necessity as the Bureau of Land Management revises 11 resource management plans in Colorado and Utah, according to a press release. The BLM proposal, which would impact 800,000 acres in the states, comes on the heels of a district court decision in May to grant a six-month extension of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decision deadline on the proposed endangered species listing of the Gunnison sage grouse.

"We were encouraged by the six-month extension in May on the deadline for the Fish and Wildlife Service to make a listing decision on the Gunnison sage grouse. Effective efforts at the state and local level are currently underway to preserve the bird and should be allowed to continue without federal interference," Tipton said in a statement. "As the BLM revises the RMPs, I strongly urge them to work closely with local stakeholders and states who know the habitats best, and use sound, transparent science to ensure the grouse is protected while maintaining the ability of local communities to responsibly utilize and access the land. To achieve this, collaboration with state and local stakeholders is an absolute necessity. Another critical element to ensuring the success of grouse preservation efforts is for the federal government to provide measurable species preservation goals — something that the Interior Department has failed to do to date despite numerous requests."

Western communities have been working to conserve the Gunnison sage grouse for years. Colorado has been a leader in Gunnison sage grouse recovery with successful locally tailored efforts that take into account the unique geography and environment of the region in order to best preserve the species. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife's proposed Endangered Species Act listing for the Gunnison sage grouse would designate more than 1.7 million acres of critical habitat in Western Colorado and Eastern Utah in a one-size-fits-all federal approach.