Craig briefs: Pilot crashes his small plane intentionally

The pilot that survived the plane crash off Rabbit Ears Pass on Jan. 25 talked with CBS4 on Monday and confessed to intentionally flying the plane into the mountain.

Mark Darling, of Eaton, was flying his Cessna 172F high-wing airplane alone from Baggs, Wyoming, to Greeley when he crashed on top of Green Creek between Sarvis Creek and Harrison Creek.

In an interview with CBS4, Darling said he was overcome with grief thinking about his son, Travis, who died in a car crash two years ago. He said he then wanted to die.

“I make a bad decision at this point. I turn the airplane east toward the mountains,” he said on CBS4. “The plane started busting through the trees. I do not have a bruise from the seatbelt, not a scratch on me.”

Hayden superintendent Vader returns to work

Hayden Superintendent Trudy Vader returned to work Tuesday and will be on probation for the remainder of her contract, which is up for renewal June 30.

Vader was placed on administrative leave with pay Friday after being arrested Jan. 27 on suspicion of DUI.

The Hayden School Board met Monday morning to discuss the incident. President Brian Hoza said they reviewed policies and procedures and Vader’s contract, which does not include a moral clause.

“There is nothing specifically relevent to this particular incident so we’ll treat it more as a personnel matter,” Hoza said.

After meeting in executive session, Hoza said the board voted to place Vader on probation, which Hoza said will involve “intermittent reviews.”

“We had a thorough conversation considering all types of options, and this is just where the board landed in the end,” Hoza said.

VNA releases wellness schedule for February

The Visiting Nurse Association hosts Wellness Wednesdays for senior citizens each week. The following is this month’s events that take place at The Journey at First Baptist, 1150 W. 9th St.:

February schedule

■ 8:15 to 10:15 a.m.: Memoir Writing

CNCC fee class. Sign up required: 970-824-1135

■ 8:30 to 11 a.m.: Foot Care Clinic

$20. Appointment required: 970-871-7676

■ 9:30 a.m. to noon: Senior Wellness Clinic

Drop in. Donations appreciated.

■ 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.: Fitness Classes

— Intro. to Movement and Exercise

— Advanced Movement and Exercise

Drop in. $3 donation appreciated.

■ 11:30 to 1:00 p.m.: Lunch ($3) and guest speaker

Feb. 4: Chili, corn bread, salad, cupcakes; Charity Neal, VNA Director of Public Health

Feb. 11: Tex Mex minestrone, salad, roll, cranberry apple crisp; Linda Pinnt, CNCC quilting instructor

Feb. 18: Mexican potluck, no speaker

Feb. 25: Pizza, salad, dessert; Maureen Wilkey and Teresa Stoffle, Centennial Home Care

1 to 3 p.m.: Pinochle

 For more information, call 970-871-7676.

Gas prices set to increase slightly this week

Average retail gasoline prices in Colorado have jumped 0.4 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.87 per gallon on Sunday, according to GasBuddy’s daily survey of 2,158 gas outlets in Colorado. That figure compares with the national average that has increased 2.7 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.05 per gallon, according to gasoline price website

Craig gas prices linger around $2.09 per gallon — higher than the state and national average.

Including the change in gas prices in Colorado during the past week, prices on Sunday were 131.2 cents per gallon lower than the same day one year ago and are 22.9 cents per gallon lower than a month ago. The national average has decreased 15.7 cents per gallon during the last month and stands 122.7 cents per gallon lower than this day one year ago.

“The four-month slide in gasoline prices has indeed come to a halt. A reduction in refinery output has been matched in recent weeks by sharp increases in wholesale gasoline prices,” Gregg Laskoski, senior petroleum analyst with GasBuddy, said in a statement. “Since Jan. 7 through Jan. 30, wholesale prices on average are up 20 cents per gallon so there’s no doubt now that the first-quarter climb is under way and is already being reflected in rising prices at the pump.”

Flathead catfish state record has been broken

A La Junta man has crushed the previous state record for flathead catfish, according to a press release from Colorado Parks and Wildlife. On Jan. 19, Tony Chavez pulled a monster from the stilling basin below John Martin Reservoir. Chavez’s catfish weighed nearly double that of the previous record fish that was caught back in 2011.

Chavez said he lured his new record-setting 39 9/16 inch, 27 pound 3.68 ounce flathead catfish with chicken livers. The previous record holder was a fish from Pueblo Reservoir that weighed 15 pounds 6 ounces and was 32 2/8 inches long. Flathead catfish were stocked at John Martin sporadically from 1994 to 2009. These fish were acquired from the state of Arkansas through special trades. Although no flathead catfish have been stocked since 2009, populations of these fish continue to be evident and appear to be self-sustaining.
Flathead catfish have tremendous growth potential.

Fish weighing well over 50 pounds are common in the midwestern states. The angling world record for flathead catfish is more than 120 pounds. CPW aquatic staff have sampled several large flatheads at John Martin in recent years, so this record may be broken again in the near future.   

“We are really excited for Tony and for John Martin Reservoir,” Jim Ramsay, CPW Aquatic Biologist, said in a statement. “It is gratifying to see a fish of this size caught in southeastern Colorado. This fish was taken from the stilling basin below John Martin Dam which means the fish escaped from the main reservoir during water releases.”

Ramsay added that many more flatheads could be available to catch in this area. The best opportunity to catch flatheads is in the main lake, Ramsay said. These fish can be found along the dam and the rocky points of the north and south shorelines. Parks and Wildlife tracks fish records by weight in 46 different species categories. Potential record-holders must have a valid Colorado fishing license or be under the age of 16. The fish in question must be weighed on a state-certified scale, and a weight receipt must be signed by a person who witnessed the weighing. The fish, before being frozen, gutted or altered in any way, must be examined and identified by a CPW biologist or district wildlife manager before an application is submitted.

Community photos are accepted by community

The Craig Daily Press welcomes photo submissions from community members. If you have cool photos you took while on vacation, camping or hunting, or even photos of your child’s birthday party, submit them to

Photos must be at lease 1 megabyte in size and clear, meaning blurry photos should not be submitted. Include the name of those in the photo along with the date and place where it was taken. The newspaper prefers recent and timely photos.

If you have questions, call Daily Press Managing Editor Noelle Leavitt Riley at 970-875-1790.

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