Sunday, March 27, 2016

Agriculture and Legislature

As the 2016 Colorado Legislative Session passes the midway mark, Colorado Farm Bureau is working diligently with legislators and industry groups representing Colorado’s farmers and ranchers.
“Colorado Farm Bureau has reviewed every one of the nearly 520 bills that have been introduced,” said Don Shawcroft, president of Colorado Farm Bureau. “We have taken positions on nearly 60 bills, nearly a quarter of which deal with water. We stand firm in protecting the Colorado Prior Appropriation Doctrine and continue to make our voice heard on all water legislation trickling in throughout the 2016 Legislative Session.”

Staying true to our grassroots, Colorado Farm Bureau members have spoken out with hundreds of CFB members sending postcards telling the Colorado State Legislature that any legislation discussed in Colorado needs to protect the Prior Appropriation Doctrine.

"Colorado farmers and ranchers are voicing their concerns, and the intensity of the message has been increasing with more and more responses flooding the mailbox each day," continued Shawcroft. "The stack of petitions stressing the importance of our water system is nearly a foot tall and growing."

Prior to the start of the general assembly, Colorado Farm Bureau designated the following six areas as priorities for the legislative session: water, property rights, infrastructure, animal welfare, energy and wildlife. Midway through the 2016 legislative session, CFB has addressed bills concerning water, conservation easement landowner relief, agricultural innovation grants, mandatory employer E-verify, broadband deployment, transportation, property rights for mineral owners and anti-oil and gas bills.

“Food, water and ag issues are non-partisan, so we work hard with the leaders and individual members of both chambers to promote and protect agriculture and the Colorado way of life,” Shawcroft stated.

The Colorado Legislative Session lasts for 120 days from January to May and is scheduled to adjourn on May 11.

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Senator Sonnenberg reaches out to the people

To the Editor:

The Environmental Protection Agency, along with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, are set on a destructive path in their quest for clean power.  Determined to blaze a legacy trail for President Obama, EPA and CDPHE don’t care who gets harmed in the process of implementing the Clean Power Plan.  Quite apart from the questionable legality of the rule, let’s consider the social and economic damage this plan will wreak on Colorado’s communities.

Implementation of the CPP is estimated to cost $300 billion by the National Economic Research Associates. Who will pay for this? You and me. Anyone who relies on electricity to heat their home, power a grain elevator, keep the lights on in the school gym or run the coffee makers in the local cafĂ©.  Electricity is a key component of our economic lifeblood.

EnergyBiz Magazine said it best in their Winter 2016 issue, “The CPP will usher in an era of escalating electric bills and stifled economic growth that will harm the people least able to afford sharp increases in utility bills: the farmers, small business owners and families served by the country's more than 900 electric cooperatives. Hardest hit will be families living on fixed incomes or in poverty.”

Hugo Candidates Attend Public Forum

By Will Bublitz

The community had the opportunity to question Hugo’s mayoral and trustee candidates during the “Meet the Candidates Night” held at The Depot on Monday, March 21.

All seven trustee candidates, plus the three candidates for mayor, participated in the 90-minute question-and-answer forum hosted by the Hugo Improvement Partnership (HIP). Judy Vick was the moderator for the event. About 30 residents attended and submitted questions to the candidates.
The purpose of Monday’s community forum was to inform the voters about the candidates prior to the April 5 municipal election. A new mayor and four of the six members of the Board of Trustees will be elected that day.

 HUGO’S CANDIDATES – Tcn candidates participated in the “Meet the Candidates Night” community forum Monday evening at the Depot. The seven trustee candidates (top row, l-r) are Les Swanson, Michael Gaskins, Richard Johnson, Lucy Monroe, Sam Emmerling, Kristie Constrance and Ken Stroud. The three mayoral candidates (bottom row, l-r) are: Kyle Lay, Richard Hoefler and Tom Lee.
At the start of Monday’s forum, the candidates were asked to briefly explain who they are and why they are running.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Arriba man jailed on narcotics charges

 By Will Bublitz

An Arriba man is now behind bars at the Lincoln County Jail after he was found in possession of a large amount of methamphetamine last week.

James Spaulding, 38, was arrested on Wednesday, March 9 by the Lincoln County Sheriff’s deputies. He is being held on a “no-bond hold” until his arraignment.

What led to Spaulding’s arrest was the Sheriff’s Office investigation into a alleged domestic violence situation that took place at his residence about two weeks previously.

“We got a call about the assault and had it under investigation,” said Capt. Michael Yowell of the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office. “We finally obtained a search warrant on March 9.”
A dozen Sheriff’s deputies converged on Spaulding’s residence in Arriba that same day.

“We executed the search warrant,” Yowell said. “Once we got inside the house, we found the narcotics.”

Friday, March 18, 2016

Mind your lights

“Tips From A Trooper” by Trooper Chris Beaverson

There are many laws in the State of Colorado concerning lights on a motor vehicle.  These laws cover a variety of topics ranging from the authorized height of headlights to the required number of taillights.  These laws also regulate the proper and required use of all these lights.

While working the night shift recently, I noticed several vehicles displaying different colored lights.  Most of the popular colors I have seen are green, red, and blue. All three of these colors are illegal to display on a civilian motor vehicle, and will result in a summons into court, or a citation with a fine, depending on the color.

I will start with an explanation of why green lights are illegal to display on a civilian vehicle.  Colorado Revised Statute (C.R.S) 42-4-213 states: “Any authorized emergency vehicle…may be equipped with green flashing lights…  Such lights may only be used at the single designated command post at any emergency location or incident…  Any other use of a green light by a vehicle shall constitute a violation of this section.”

This means only the highest ranking law enforcement, medical, or commanding supervisor responding to an emergency incident is allowed to display a green light on their vehicle.  If you are not an incident commander, you are not allowed to display any kind of visible green light on the exterior of your vehicle.

Economic Development

Lincoln County EDC Article for Limon Leader/Eastern Colorado Plainsman

Today’s topic:  Reducing infrastructure cost barriers to the economic development process.  What does this topic really address?  Simply put:  if a new business would like to expand or locate to a particular area, say in Lincoln County, one of the leading barriers to making their location feasible is the cost of utilities, streets, and access with automobile, rail, and pedestrian traffic.  Oftentimes this set of costs that we refer to as infrastructure, can amount to as much as 40 percent of the overall costs of setting up the new location.  The current costs of materials such as fiber Internet line, underground PVC piping for water and sewer, roadbed and asphalt material, and concrete for the curb and sidewalk portions are significantly higher than they were just 15 years ago.  These costs have increasingly become a bigger and bigger obstacle to the process of economic development.

What can our local county and its municipalities do to lower infrastructure costs?  Where none of us can reduce the actual costs of what I mentioned, there are some tools in today’s economic development realm that can help pay for the upfront costs that can be recovered over a 15 to 25 year timeline following the implementation of the improvements, providing there are active commercial participants in the improved area.  In short, a portion of the increased tax revenues experienced by increased property valuation and greater sales tax collections can go to retire the fronted costs for infrastructure if set up properly.

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Thin Blue Line

PRO-POLICE FLAG – Greg King, chairman of the Lincoln County Commissioners, shows off his “Thin Blue Line” flag that he displays at his home in Limon. He explained the purpose of the flag is to show support for all law enforcement  officers across the nation. “Law enforcement officers are our only defense between us and a lot of bad people,” he said. “I encourage others to also show their support for them.” King plans to place another “Thin Blue Line” flag above the Law Enforcement Memorial in the lobby of the Lincoln County Courthouse.

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pirates Dominate District play

Both Pirate basketball teams dominated and took first place in district play. Pick up this week's Eastern Colorado Plainsman for the full story on both games.

 Sharla Book
Back Row, left to right: Assistant Coach Brian White, Nicholas Knutson, Jake McClendon, Cody Hurtado, Caid Smith, Brandon Ravenkamp, Ben Miller, Wade Yoder, Andrew Burke, Ty Withington, and Head Coach Jason Smith.
Front Row: Manager Levi Miller, Greg Tidquist, Shawn Ashmore, Austin Clymer, Trey Boger and Manager Trey Smith.

Sharla Book
Head Coach Kenny Book, Manager Dixie Lockhart, manager Tessa Smith, Kora Houder, Samantha Winterberg, Madaline Carr, Ariel Bray, Mariah Bray, Taryn Book, Heather Graham, Aubry Lindt, Alia Kraxberger, and Assistant Coach Aaron Hood.

Airport funding

The Colorado Aeronautical Board (CAB) has approved this year’s airport grant funding for Colorado airports.

The unanimous decision authorized the distribution of $2.7 million in state aviation fuel tax revenues through grants to 27 Colorado public use airports under the Aviation Discretionary Grant Program administered by Colorado Department of Transportation’s Division of Aeronautics.

The grants ranged in size from $8,333 to $250,000.  They represent State of Colorado participation in a wide variety of projects, totaling $71.7 million, to improve safety and infrastructure at airports all across the state.  Airport projects must include local and/or federal fund participation in order to receive Colorado discretionary aviation grants.

“I am pleased to approve these grants and to see that we are continuing statewide efforts to upgrade our airports,” said CAB Chairman Ray Beck.  “The economic multipliers provided by our airports through the moving of people, goods, and services are tremendous.  CDOT’s vision is to help develop and maintain an efficient transportation system, and this grant program certainly helps put that vision into practice.  This is an excellent partnership.” 

A 2013 Economic Impact Study of Colorado Airports showed that the airports support 265,700 jobs statewide and create a total economic output of $37.6 billion annually.