News, September 19th

DENVER (AP) – Water regulators are asking farmers, ranchers and other water users to share their ideas for dealing with the current drought. The Colorado Water Conservation Board is holding a conference Wednesday in Denver to share new approaches to drought preparedness. They also want information on what drought may look like under future climate change conditions. Nearly all of Colorado has been declared a crop disaster area, and the entire state has been in either a severe, extreme or exceptional drought this summer.

ASPEN (AP) – Aspen police are using a paint ball gun to convince bears it’s time to get out of town or else. Police used the non-lethal weapon on Monday go get one bruin off Main Street. The paint ball contained pepper spray. The animal was seen fleeing town around 1:15 a.m., hobbling north down Mill Street. Police are also using other hazing tactics, including bean bags shot from a shotgun and air horns.

DENVER (AP) – The federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing an appeal over a disputed highway right of way located in an ecologically sensitive streambed in Canyonlands National Park in southern Utah. The National Park Service closed the stream to off-road vehicle use in 2005 because of water pollution, crushed vegetation, degraded wildlife habitat and other impacts. San Juan County and the state of Utah sued the Park Service, arguing that the Park could not close the streambed to four-wheel-drive vehicles because it was a county and state highway. A trial court ruled that the few travelers who had ventured up the stream before Canyonlands became a national park in 1964 did not convert the creek into a highway under federal law.

DENVER (AP) – Marijuana legalization pending in three states this fall could turn the drug into a serious cash crop and a tax windfall. But there are more questions than answers about the tax implications of legalization measures before voters in Colorado, Oregon and Washington. The debate over how much tax money recreational marijuana laws could produce is playing an outsize role in the campaigns for and against legalization. Both sides concede they’re not really sure what would happen. At one extreme, pro-pot campaigners say it could prove a windfall for cash-strapped states with new taxes on pot and reduced criminal justice costs. At the other, state government skeptics warn legalization would lead to costly legal battles and expensive new bureaucracies to regulate marijuana.

CRAIG (AP) – The administration of Gov. John Hickenlooper is refusing to back a proposed new casino in western Colorado.
The Sleeping Giant Group has proposed building an off-reservation, Indian-owned casino near the Yampa Valley Regional Airport in Hayden.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia says most Coloradans do not support more gaming and it doesn’t have the administration’s support. Supporters say a casino would provide new jobs. Opponents say a casino would hurt the Yampa Valley’s image as a family vacation destination. They also say most new casino jobs would pay low wages and taxpayers would have to pay for access improvements.