News, September 21st

MEEKER – Federal jurors have convicted a western Colorado big game hunting outfitter accused of baiting deer and elk with salt. 72 year old Dennis Eugene Rodebaugh, of Meeker, was convicted Thursday of six counts of violating the Lacey Act, which governs the interstate sale of wildlife taken in violation of state regulations. An indictment alleged Rodebaugh’s business, D&S Guide and Outfitter, had out-of-state clients who would shoot elk and deer in the White River National Forest near where he had placed hundreds of pounds of salt in the spring and summer. Using bait to take big game is illegal in Colorado. Rodebaugh could face prison time and a fine at a sentencing hearing set for Jan. 7.

OMAHA, Neb. (AP) – The economy in rural parts of 10 Midwest and Western states continued to look weak in September as the drought weighed down agricultural businesses. A new survey of bankers in the region shows the overall economic index remained in negative territory at 48.3 in September. That was slightly better than August’s 47.1 and July’s 47.9, but any score below 50 on the 1-to-100 index suggests that the economy will contract in months ahead. Creighton University economist Ernie Goss says the drought is already hurting businesses linked to agriculture like ethanol and farm equipment dealers.

AKRON (AP) – Gov. John Hickenlooper is meeting with agriculture and elected officials to discuss the drought.
The meeting is being held Friday in Akron on the eastern plains. 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.

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS (AP) – A group calling itself Citizens for Less Intrusive Government wants voters to annex western Routt County into Moffat County. A pamphlet cites Colorado statutes that allow taxpaying residents of a county to petition to be annexed into a neighboring county. The group wants to take the ballot question to voters in November 2013. Officials say the issue apparently involves tax rates that vary widely between the two counties.

ESTES PARK, Colo. (AP) – School officials are blaming a substitute bus driver for leaving a kindergarten student stranded eight miles from home. Melissa Bean says a driver spotted her son Aiden crying on Tuesday and took him to his mother. The school district wants to know why district policies were not followed. School officials told parents that drivers would not let kindergarten students off the school bus unless a parent is there. The bus driver has since resigned.