News, April 22nd

AVALANCHE DANGER HIGH IN COLORADO MOUNTAINS

Denver—The avalanche danger is high in Colorado’s northern and central mountains following one of the nation’s deadliest avalanches.      The Colorado Avalanche Information Center says the danger for slides is considerable in the Vail, Aspen and Front Range regions on Monday.      Five men died in an avalanche Saturday in a backcountry area on Loveland Pass.  All were experienced in extreme terrain and were participating in a snowboarding event called the Rocky Mountain High Backcountry Bash to raise money for the avalanche center.      Those killed were 32-year-old Christopher Peters of Lakewood; 32-year-old Joseph Timlin of Gypsum; 33-year-old Ryan Novack of Boulder; 36-year-old Ian Lamphere of Crested Butte; and 33-year-old Rick Gaukel of Estes Park.
Another snowboarder, identified by friends as Jerome Boulay, was buried and survived.

COLORADO PRESCRIBED FIRE INSURANCE

DENVER (AP) – Colorado lawmakers are close to agreement on a slate of insurance changes inspired by homeowners’ complaints after last year’s wildfires.
The state Senate gave final approval Monday to a bill aimed at making homeowner insurance easier to use. Changes include giving homeowners more time to file an inventory of the contents of their house after a total-loss claim for reimbursement.
The bill also requires homeowner insurance policies to be written more plainly, so customers understand their coverage. The bill has already cleared the House, but in a slightly different forms. That means lawmakers will keep negotiating before the bill heads to the governor’s desk.

WESTERN  SLOPE OIL AND GAS PRODUCERS LAGGING BEHIND

GREELEY (AP) – Weld County is on pace to produce almost 80 percent of the state’s oil output this year, once again making it the oil-drilling center of Colorado.
Last year, Colorado hit a 50-year record in oil production of 49 million barrels, with Weld County oil and gas producers pumping almost 75 percent of that. The Rangely Field in Rio Blanco County was the top oil producer in the state years ago. By the end of 2012, the county produced just 10 percent of the state’s oil, according to state regulators.

TOUGHER GUN LAWS PASSED BY STATE LAWMAKERS

DENVER (AP) – The Colorado House passed stricter restrictions on gun ownership by domestic offenders and required in-person training for concealed-carry permits.
The bills approved Monday are the final two from the Democrats’ package of new gun legislation responding to mass shootings last year.  One bill would allow some online gun education for permit-seekers but would require them to prove handgun competency in person, such as showing how to safely carry a gun. Another bill strengthens a ban on gun ownership by domestic offenders by establishing a process for them to relinquish their firearms. Debate on the bills was not as tense as other gun legislation already passed, including expanded background checks and limits on ammunition magazines.
The training bill heads to the governor. The domestic-offender bill has amendments that lawmakers still need to agree on.