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Craig City Council agrees to take over ownership of Yampa Building

Craig City Council agreed to take over ownership of the Yampa Building from the Moffat County School District Tuesday night during its by-weekly meeting.

Councilors unanimously adopted Resolution No. 6 (2020), determining a public need and instructing staff to move forward with the acquisition of the Yampa Building from the school district.

The vision of the building is that the Yampa building will be a community pillar serving as the Visitor Center, Tourism and Sportsman Headquarter and Chamber Business Hub. Partner agencies and businesses, events, programming and services will focus on engaging visitors, advancing small business and economic and community development.

“I would personally say I applaud this council, all the organizations, the Chamber, Jennifer Holloway…everybody,” Mayor Jarrod Ogden said. “This is the ideal, picturesque thing the community has been looking for for all these entities to come together and produce something like this for the community…it’s been a long process and it’s been tedious, but I feel like it’s a worthwhile project, and I think with the LMD coming onboard it’s going to be worth it. “

Previously, the Local Marketing District’s board unanimously approved funding of $262,590.00 for the Chamber and Visitor Center March 12 inside the City of Craig’s Council Chambers.

The facility will offer shared co-workspace, a group meeting room and resting areas for travelers.

Councilman Chris Nichols and Councilwoman Andrea Camp raised some concerns about long-term sustainability regarding tenants and potentially being stuck with the Yampa Building if funding from LMD were to dry up, but both were still fully in support of moving forward with the project.

On Thursday night at it’s monthly meeting, the Moffat County School District Board of Education unanimously approved the transfer of ownership of the Yampa Building from the school district to the city.

Dr. Elise Sullivan, who sits on the Board of Education, expressed her gratitude to the board and those involved with the Yampa Building project.

“I think we should be really pleased that an opportunity like this presented itself that met our goals, serves the public, and is very good for economic development,” Dr. Sullivan said. “This should be one area that the board feels very proud about.”

Tri-State supports COVID-19 pandemic relief and recovery funds in four states

As the COVID-19 pandemic begins to hit close to home, Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, Inc. is stepping up to help the communities it serves.

Donations totaling $200,000 for Colorado, Nebraska, New Mexico and Wyoming coronavirus relief and recovery efforts are being made by Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association on behalf of its 46-member distribution cooperatives, public power districts and non-utility members.

“Concern for Community” is one of the seven Cooperative Principles that guide the not-for-profit cooperative business model, according to a press release from the organization. Electric cooperatives, which were formed by their members, have a long history of supporting their communities in times of crisis. Tri-State will re-allocate funds to be distributed to relief efforts in all four states served by the association’s members.

“We are proud to support each governor’s efforts to provide relief in their state,” said Rick Gordon, chairman of Tri-State and director of Mountain View Electric Association in Limon, Colo. “Cooperatives know well that we are all stronger when we combine our resources and work together to serve our communities.”

Tri-State is working with the governors’ offices in all four states in which it operates to identify relief fund needs. Tri-State will donate to the Colorado COVID Relief Fund and the All Together New Mexico Fund, as well as funds designated for COVID relief in Nebraska and Wyoming.

Tri-State’s electric system is operating normally to deliver power to its members, and the wholesale power supply cooperative has implemented well-planned procedures to address pandemics that ensure reliable power and protect the health of its employees and its communities.

“Tri-State is focused on safely delivering power and ensuring the reliability of the regional power grid while protecting the health of our employees and the communities we serve,” said Tri-State CEO Duane Highley. “Our employees continue to do the hard work of ‘keeping the lights on’ while taking good care of each other and their communities.”

From Pipi’s Pasture: Staying home

These days we’re all staying closer to home, doing what we can to help halt the spread of the coronavirus. It means a change in lifestyles—that’s for sure. It means working from home, helping kids with their homework, and finding things to keep adults and children occupied. This week’s column features some ideas for keeping ourselves from getting bored, no matter our ages.

*Get your children to help you cook. Cut up fruit and vegetables and let your children arrange them on trays. Mix up a batch of sugar cookies. Cut out bunnies and chicks and those shaped like eggs. Use colored sugar or frosting to make Easter cookies. Try new recipes. Be creative. Use what you have on hand.

*Talk to your children about “making do,” a valuable life lesson. What do you do if you don’t have milk

or toilet paper? Suggest all kinds of substitutions. Let kids share their ideas.

*Get out odds and ends of art supplies (be creative; recycle) and make Easter cards. When you’re finished, put them in envelopes (you can make these, too) and address them to friends.

*Put out a jigsaw puzzle and let it be a family fun project. Find games that you haven’t played for awhile. Enjoy family time together.

*Pop some popcorn. Watch a movie.

*If you have a button jar, filled with different kinds of buttons, put it out on a table and let younger children play with them. Kids absolutely love buttons. The can sort them or make pictures by gluing buttons to flowers that they draw and color. Use them as a learning activity, sorting big from little or putting them into color groups. No button jar? Make one.

*Let the kids make a tent somewhere in the house, draping blankets over chairs or a table. Kids love tents, too.

*Clean out a closet. Set out spring clothes. Toss out what you don’t need. (Cut off buttons and save them for the button jar.) Clean your kitchen cupboards. Take inventory of your pantry supplies. Go through magazines and catalogs. Toss out what you have read or that are outdated. (Kids can have fun with old magazines, too.)

*Dig out seed catalogs and make plans for this year’s garden.

*Read a book, listen to music, work on a hobby.

*Do you have a box full of photographs? Go through them with your children. Share family memories and history. Write information about each photo on its back. Put photos in an album.

*Following guidelines for not gathering in groups, go outdoors and ride bikes or clean up the yard.

*Write a long letter to a friend. Encourage your children to do the same. Call a friend or family member. Check up on a neighbor, relative or friend.

Be creative. This is a wonderful opportunity to spend quality time with family members or to catch up on things you have been wanting to do.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife promotes outdoor health benefits and trail safety etiquette during COVID-19 pandemic

As COVID-19 cases spread like wildfire across the state of Colorado, Colorado Parks and Wildlife is working diligently to keep state parks open so the public can enjoy the health benefits associated with being outside. 

As Colorado adjusts to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to find or maintain healthy pastimes that strengthen your physical and mental health. A healthy mind and body can strengthen your immune system, and nature proves to be a valuable refuge for Coloradans, especially in unprecedented times like the one the world is facing.

“Our goal at Colorado Parks and Wildlife is to minimize the effects of COVID-19 on people’s recreation experiences in Colorado, especially now when they need them the most,” State Trails Program Manager Fletcher Jacobs said.

Research shows spending time in nature has physical and mental health benefits. 

  • The outdoors helps you get exercise.  Physical activity is one of the best things people can do to improve their health. Daily exercise decreases the risk of chronic diseases.
  • Sunshine gives your body vitamins. Natural sunlight exposes your body to vitamin D, which is essential for a well-functioning immune system. 
  • Being in nature reduces anxiety. The outbreak of COVID-19 is stressful for people. Fear and anxiety about illnesses can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in adults and children. Walking outside improves your mental health and reduces stress. 
  • The outdoors provides aromatherapy that boosts your immune system.Scientists studied that breathing in phytoncide, airborne chemicals produced by plants, increases our levels of white blood cells and helps fight off infections and diseases.  

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff remain dedicated to our mission to provide a quality state park system and enjoyable outdoor recreation opportunities for our communities, even during this time of uncertainty,” CPW Director Dan Prenzlow said.

Based on guidance from government and public health officials, all Coloradans should take proactive steps to slow and mitigate the transmission of coronavirus to one another. This will help “flatten the curve” in an attempt to keep too many cases from happening at the same time and overwhelming medical facilities across the state.

Park visitors are encouraged to enjoy parks responsibly during the COVID-19 outbreak. Please consider the following when visiting a Colorado state park and comply with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) social distancing guidelines.

  • If you are sick, stay home. Follow CDC guidelines and avoid spreading the virus to others.
      
  • Keep a social distance from others. Coloradans have access to 41 state parks that offer a variety of outdoor activities. CPW recommends activities done alone or with people that live in your home, such as walking, hiking, biking and fishing. These activities can be enjoyed while keeping you at a distance from others. CDC recommends six feet of distance from others.
  • Avoid high-risk or remote activities. Accidents stemming from high-risk types of activities may require extensive resources. Colorado Search and Rescue teams are prepared and ready to respond, but could become overloaded if the number of calls increases and the number of available responders decreases. Being responsible outdoors can also help prevent additional burdens on our first responders and healthcare workers.
  • Announce your presence to others. Help maintain the recommended six feet of social distance. Signal your presence with your voice or a bell when passing others. 
  • Stay regional. Front Range residents should avoid traveling to the high country or small mountain communities that are closed to visitors. 
  • Avoid times and places of high use. To avoid creating large crowds and groups at popular trails or outdoor areas, spread out to less popular spots, and avoid times of highest use if possible. If an outdoor area is more crowded than anticipated, do not hesitate to adjust plans. Use COTREX to discover and explore other local trails in your area to help disperse traffic.
  • Practice good hand hygiene. Wash your hands, use hand sanitizer and cover coughs with your elbow.     
  • Be kind, say hi. The risk of COVID-19 is not at all connected with race, ethnicity, or nationality. Blaming others will not help fight the illness. Do your part to be kind, say hi or wave hello, respect your fellow humans when you are out on the trail in these challenging times. Share smiles! 

CPW says it understands there is uncertainty surrounding how long the pandemic will impact people’s lives, so seek experiences that can still be shared while the current outbreak is underway.

To learn about the most recent COVID-19 cases and updates, visit the CDC website or the CDPHE website.

Craig woman pleads guilty in concealing death case

Craig resident Mikayla Dianne Hoppe, 26, appeared by phone in District Court Wednesday and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of concealing death of an infant, and violating probation in a separate case.

Hoppe was arrested, along with her boyfriend Ronald Martin Chovanec, January 26 at the Colorado Inn on East Victory Way on drug possession and concealing death charges after police responded to the room following reports of a baby crying for hours on end, according to the arrest affidavit.

Mikayla Dianne Hoppe, 26
Moffat County Jail / Courtesy Photo

When police arrived on scene Jan. 26, they arrested the pair on drug charges, but both were later charged with tampering with physical evidence and concealing death after police found a backpack in the hotel room that contained the remains of a 30-week-old baby.

Chovanec previously pleaded guilty to concealing death and a felony drug possession charge from the Jan 26 arrest on March 6.

Both Chovanec and Hoppe now await a pre-sentencing investigation before sentencing can be handed down by the district judge.

Memorial Regional Health announces it will not transfer assets to SCL Health

Memorial Regional Health will not be entering into a purchase agreement with SCL Health, the health care organization announced Friday afternoon.

On Friday morning, leadership from SCL Health and two of its board members, along with leadership from Memorial Regional Health, met to discuss the Letter of Intent to between the two entities. In December the two entities entered into the Letter of Intent that, if approved, would transfer operations of Memorial Regional Health to SCL Health. MRH’s Board of Trustees voted to extend the LOI window into late April during February’s BoT meeting.

The due diligence process included an extensive analysis of Memorial Regional Health’s operations as well as an analysis of the current and future market outlook for Northwest Colorado. This process took place over several months, according to a press release from MRH.

During Friday’s meeting, both parties agreed that Memorial Regional Health should remain independent while maintaining the current Care Affiliation Agreement already in place with SCL St. Mary’s. SCL St. Mary’s will continue to provide provider outreach to Craig for neurology and oncology.

This decision does not change current operations for Memorial Regional Health. MRH will continue to provide critical healthcare services to the residents of Northwest Colorado.

Steamboat man, 23, faces felony charge after posting threatening video on Facebook

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — A Steamboat Springs man is now facing a felony charge after a video was posted on social media that showed him inciting harm to others amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Numerous people contacted the Steamboat Springs Police Department after the video, featuring local resident Jonathan Perez, was publicly posted this week on Facebook and subsequently shared on a popular Routt County community page.

Perez has been issued a summons to appear in Routt County District Court on charges of inciting destruction of life or property, which is a Class 6 felony.

In the video, Perez instructed youth to begin licking various items around the community to further spread the novel coronavirus and claimed that the COVID-19 pandemic was fabricated. Perez also made direct threats toward vulnerable populations in the video, according to Steamboat police.

The video has since been removed from Facebook.

Our community vigilance to public safety threats is commendable. This type of behavior is alarming and dangerous; it will not be tolerated,” Steamboat Police Commander Annette Dopplick said. “I am proud to be part of a community that values the wellness of all of our citizens.”

To report a non-emergency incident or violation of the state’s current stay-at-home order, contact the Routt County Dispatch non-emergency number at 970-879-1110. 911 must only be used for emergencies.

Craig Police sees uptick in thieves entering vehicles due to opportunity

While a large portion of the state of Colorado was ordered to stay home earlier this week by Gov. Jared Polis amid COVID-19 concerns, that same message hasn’t really applied to thieves in and around the City of Craig in the last week or so.

Earlier this week, Craig Police Department put out a message on Facebook asking residents to please lock up their cars and sheds. In the last week and a half or so, Craig Police Officers have responded to a number of complaints about items being stolen from cars and sheds around town. Vehicle break-ins are a common crime in the City of Craig, especially as the weather turns warmer.

According to Craig Police Department Captain Bill Leonard, they’re not exactly break-ins because residents are leaving their vehicles and sheds unlocked, leading to moments of opportunity for criminals.

“We’re really just trying to get people to lock up their cars and sheds,” Capt. Leonard said. “We would appreciate it if people would lock up their vehicles. We’ve had instances like this in the past where there have been stretches of items being stolen from vehicles, and it’s because people are leaving their cars unlocked.”

Capt. Leonard added that the instances where someone enters an unlocked vehicle to take something is usually a situation where they can get in real quick, take what they need and leave. When it occurs, it’s almost always items that are inside the car that are easily picked up and able to leave the scene with quickly without alerting anyone.

Craig Police is asking residents to take extra precautions when it comes to their vehicles and items inside:

  • Never leave anything visible inside your vehicle. This is the single most important thing you can do to prevent your car window from being smashed and your valuables stolen.
  • Roll up your car windows all the way, and lock your doors. Engage your car alarm, but understand that car alarms do not deter thieves from breaking into your vehicle. The amount of time necessary for a thief to break into your vehicle and steal your property is less than 30 seconds, not enough time for them to be scared away by the alarm.
  • Put your junk in the trunk. And put items attractive to thieves in your trunk before you arrive at your destination. Putting the items in your trunk while at your parking spot can tip off a thief that you have good property to steal.

Coronavirus in Moffat County: Two more positive cases Friday pushes county total to 3

One day after reporting its first positive case of coronavirus in the county, Moffat County Public Health is reporting two additional positive cases of COVID-19, or coronavirus, in the county Friday morning.

The first individual is a female in her 20s who resides in Moffat County.  The second individual is a female in her 30s.  Both individuals are working with the local public health department in the ongoing investigation to identify close contacts and are being issued isolation orders.

Officials will not be releasing the resident’s name, as they explained that would violate the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) Act.

This is a developing story. The Craig Press will provide more information as it becomes available.

Over a Cup of Coffee: Hearty beef recipes

This week’s column features a beef recipes from “Cattlemen’s Favorite Beef Recipes,” an old cookbook printed in 1957. The recipes came from members of the Colorado Cowbelles. Thanks go to Beverly Counts who gave me the cookbook. This week’s nutritious recipes are good to make on stay-at-home days.

Cowbelle Beef Stroganoff

  • 2 pounds shredded beef (sirloin preferred) without waste (like fat or gristle)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • ¼ pound butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ½ cups tomato juice
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 1 large can mushrooms
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Salt, pepper, paprika
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 pint sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce

Rub the skillet with garlic and when hot add half the butter and saute the beef. Pour off the juices when brown into a double boiler. Dredge the beef with half the flour and add the tomato juice, stirring constantly. When sauce is smooth and thick, set aside. Saute the onions and mushrooms in another skillet using the remainder of the butter. Pour off liquid and mix with beef stock in the double boiler. To this mixture add bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika, and soy sauce. Make a medium sauce, using the rest of the flour. Pour all of the mixtures into top of double boiler and when the mixture bubbles, add sour cream and Worcestershire sauce. Serve on rice with a tossed green salad.

Recipe from Mrs. Tom Field, Gunnison Valley Cowbelles

With all of the shortages at the grocery stores these days, you might find the following substitutions helpful.

  • 1 cup whole milk: Mix ½ cup evaporated milk with ½ cup water.
  • 1 cup light cream: Mix 1 tablespoon melted butter plus enough milk to make 1 cup.
  • 1 cup tomato sauce: Mix 1/3 cup tomato paste with ½ cup water.
  • 1 cup sugar: Use 1 cup brown sugar or 2 cups sifted powdered sugar.
  • 1 cup buttermilk: Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough whole milk to make 1 cup.
  • No bread? Try rolling up lunchmeat or cheese in a warmed tortilla.

Do you have recipes or tips about “making do” to share with readers? If so, please call me at 824-8809 or write to me at Box 415, Craig 81626.