Craig briefs: Monument status eyed for Brown’s Canyon | CraigDailyPress.com

Craig briefs: Monument status eyed for Brown’s Canyon

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Gov. John Hickenlooper sent a letter to President Barack Obama asking him to designate Brown's Canyon as a national monument under the Antiquities Act to protect the invaluable economic and natural resource for Chaffee County and the state. They urged the president to protect current uses, including grazing rights, if he takes action. The Antiquities Act of 1906 allows the president to preserve valuable and historic sites as national monuments and has been used by 16 presidents.

In the letter to President Obama, Bennet and Hickenlooper wrote:

"We appreciate that the Administration recently sent several officials to Salida, Colorado, to gauge support for the proposal. Based on the sentiments expressed at the meeting, coupled with impressive attendance, it is clear that the local community and Coloradans across the state support an Antiquities Act designation. We would like to add our voices to the community's sentiment, and hope we can work with the Administration and the state of Colorado as a cooperating agency, to construct a management plan for the area that protects the values of this incredible area while preserving existing uses within the Monument."

Bennet was a co-sponsor of The Browns Canyon National Monument and Wilderness Act of 2013, originally introduced by U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., to designate 22,000 acres along the Arkansas River as a national monument to preserve the pristine wilderness area and ensure recreational access for years to come. The Arkansas River is particularly popular for whitewater rafters, representing almost 40 percent of all rafting in Colorado. According to a recent study by the Colorado River Outfitters Association, commercial rafting brought in roughly $141 million for the state in 2013, $55 million coming from rafting on the Arkansas River alone.

Throughout his time in the Senate, Bennet has been a leader in preserving Colorado's open spaces. His bill to protect more than 100,000 acres of Hermosa Creek Watershed in the San Juan National Forest recently was signed into law after years of community-driven efforts. He also fought to secure the designation of Chimney Rock in southwestern Colorado as a national monument in 2012 and to preserve the Thompson Divide area on the Western Slope.

CDOT says use caution, good tires for I-70 travel

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The Colorado Department of Transportation is urging drivers to check the condition of the tires on their vehicles, as a heavy snowstorm that hit the Western Slope and Northwest Colorado has made travel dangerous.

"Winter conditions will make traveling on the corridor challenging Sunday and Monday. Snow plow crews are working to maintain the best conditions on the roads, but drivers need to make sure they have adequate snow tires or snow chains and ensure they do not drive too fast for conditions," Colorado Department of Transportation I-70 Corridor Operations Manager Patrick Chavez said in a statement. "We are expecting up to 19 inches of snow on Vail Pass by Monday morning."

CDOT crews across the state have prepped vehicles and are scheduled for round-the-clock storm patrol shifts. For the I-70 mountain corridor (Golden to Dotsero), the incident management team is ready to employ numerous strategies to help motorists travel the interstate slowly and safely. These include ramp management, snowplow escorts, quick clearance of traffic incidents and real-time traveler information through http://www.cotrip.org, 511 and the CDOT mobile app. I-70 motorists can receive traffic information from a live audio stream on Saturday and Sunday mornings and afternoons during peak traffic times through the website or mobile app.

"We have many measures that we implement on the corridor to maintain safe conditions, but a critical component to keeping roads clear is drivers being aware of the conditions and having good tires to handle the roads when they do get slick," Chavez said.

A key focus for CDOT incident management during I-70 storms is the Eisenhower Tunnel. The tunnel has no shoulders, so when traffic volumes reach a point where back-ups into the tunnel could occur, vehicles must be stopped, or safety metering implemented, to allow traffic to clear.

The highest travel delays of the winter occur when heavy traffic congestion necessitates metering at Eisenhower Tunnel.

Coffman, group partner up on drunken driving

The holiday season is always a festive time of gatherings, celebrations and parties. That makes it the right time to remind people to drink responsibly and to not drive drunk. To help send that message, the Beer Institute is partnering with U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., to record and distribute public service announcements asking consumers to share the industry's commitment to responsibility.

To date, more than 30 members of Congress have agreed to participate in the Beer Institute's nationwide holiday PSA program. Working with these elected officials, the Beer Institute hopes to send a powerful message: "Get a designated driver. Find a safe ride home. Drink responsibly."

"We want to remind the public that drunk driving is never acceptable," said Jim McGreevy, Beer Institute president and CEO. "The nearly 60,000 men and women in Colorado who work for our country's brewers, beer importers and industry suppliers are committed to this issue. We are parents and neighbors ourselves and want the roadways safe in our communities. It's an honor to work with Rep. Coffman to help his constituents."

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, drunken-driving fatalities have decreased 52 percent since 1982. Brewers and beer importers are committed to ending this preventable issue and investing in a host of community-level programs to promote safe rides home, designated drivers and responsible drinking.

To learn more about the Beer Institute's Commitment to Responsibility, visit http://www.beerinstitute.org/responsibility.

Village Inn launches 1st responders campaign

To celebrate the holiday season, Village Inn is kicking off its second annual Serving Those Who Serve Us campaign to honor those who serve the community and cannot always be home for the holidays, according to a press release.

Whether it's a doctor or nurse on call, a firefighter working on Christmas Eve, a police officer on duty Thanksgiving night or active or retired military personnel from the local community — Village Inn wants to make sure these first responders still have a sweet and happy holiday.

With Serving Those Who Serve Us, Village Inn gives people the chance to nominate local heroes to enjoy The Best Pie In America by receiving a dozen free whole pies to enjoy and share with their family and colleagues during the holidays. Launched last year, the Serving Those Who Serve Us program received hundreds of nominations and honored first responders all across the country for service to their local community.

Nominators are limited to one nomination per holiday that can be made online through http://www.villageinn.com/servingthosewhoserveus or by clicking on the link to the nomination form on Village Inn's Facebook page. Selected winners will be notified and a pie delivery will be coordinated.

Nominations for Village Inn's "Serving Those Who Serve Us" began at 9 a.m. Nov. 3 and ends at 9 a.m. Wednesday.