Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday January 30, 2013

CMU-Montrose students have a new scholarship available, The Doyle E. Burns Scholarship.  The 93 year old Burns has lived in Montrose since 1980 and his daughter and others in the community kicked off the scholarship fund with a $150,000 donation.  The scholarships will be available based on need, to CMU Montrose students with a grade point average of at least 2.5.

Colorado's state treasurer says any K-12 education funding legislation should include Colorado's Public Employees' Retirement Association's role in school finance.  Walker Stapleton says PERA has $26 billion in unfunded liability.  He says if left as it is, PERA contributions from school districts will equal more than 20% of their teacher salary budgets.

Democratic Colorado Senator Mark Udall and Republican Kansas Senator Jerry Moran have introduced bipartisan legislation to ensure members of the military continue being paid, even if Congress allows a government shutdown.  Both say its the least congress can do for those who give so much.

Montrose State Representative Don Coram is in town this weekend holding a meeting with constituents.  It's Saturday at 1:00 at US Tractor on North Townsend.  Coram will be talking about proposed water legislation, a proposed Hemp bill and taking questions. Anyone can attend.

The sudden resignation last week of Mesa County Administrator Chantal Unfug left alot of questions.  Some answers coming now, the result of an open records request by the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.  The county says Unfug received six months pay, or $62,500, and accrued benefits which are private. The Sentinel also is asking for e-mails between county commissioners and Unfug before the resignation. Only one email was provided.

45% of students in School District 51 receive free or reduced cost meals, and if a bill just passed in the House Education committee becomes law, 5 elementary schools will begin serving mandatory breakfasts after class starts.  According to the Daily Sentinel, schools where 70% of students qualify for free and reduced price meals would be required to provide breakfast sometime after class starts.

Governor John Hickenlooper is on record backing universal background checks on private gun sales and a ban on ammunition magazines of more than 10 cartridges. Now the head of the NRA is coming to town to meet with the governor.  The Denver Post says the NRA confirmed next Thursday's meeting but wouldn't talk about what might be discussed.

The Colorado department of agriculture is investigating a confirmed case of equine herpes virus of a horse that was stalled at the National Western Stock show in Denver. 7 horses have been quarantined as a result.  Horse owners who traveled to the stock show and participated in events in the coliseum should monitor their horses for clinical signs and contact their veterinarian immediately if their horse becomes ill or has a fever.

A report released by CSU researchers says the pollution in Fort Collins during the High Park fire was on par with the worst air pollution days in Mexico City and Los Angeles over the last 10 years. prior to the fire, air pollution levels were some of the cleanest in the country.

The Gunnison Sheriff's office acted quickly Monday after getting a tip about threats made on Facebook.  The Montrose press reports the sheriffs office interviewed a man after Facebook comments threatening to put Gunnison on the map along with references to recent violence were brought to a school resource officers attention.  Following the threats, security was temporarily heightened at all 3 schools before the man was picked up by police.  the press reports no arrest has been made in the case as of Monday night.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is seeking volunteers to serve on their new statewide advisory panel.  The Sportsmen's Roundtable is panel that will provide feedback to the CPW on hunting, fishing and wildlife management in Colorado.  The group will meet twice a year with hopes of identifying important issues and providing advice and ideas to tackle issues in the state.  A short application is available at the Colorado parks and wildlife website.

5 positions are available on the BLM's Western Slope Advisory Council, Northwest Colorado district.  the council, composed of citizens chosen based on their expertise, advises the BLM on public land issues.  Individuals may nominate themselves or others. The positions open are for public land ranchers, representatives of environmental groups, and representatives of local and state agencies.  Nominations are due by March 14, the forms can be found on the BLM website.