Ranch2Ranch XC Trek Fest this Saturday

Join Grand Nordic for a cross-country point-to-point ski trek from Snow Mountain Ranch to Granby Ranch via the Fraser to Granby Trail. Enjoy the 12K trek or ski 24K out and back for no extra charge! Skate, classic, touring skis and snowshoes welcome. Snowshoers should plan on starting by 9:30 to avoid cut off times. Lunch at Granby Ranch Grill included with registration. All proceeds will benefit youth XC skiing here in Grand County. Registration is $40 for Grand Nordic Members / $50 Non Members / Kids (under age 18) 2 for 1 is $50. On Saturday, February 9th, onsite “day of” the trek registration is an additional $5. To learn more and register online, visit grandnordic.org.

Two decades of giving
Since 1999, through its Operation Round Up® Program, Mountain Parks Electric (MPE) has donated $1.2 million to individuals and local organizations. MPE uses these funds to assist its income-qualified member-consumers pay expenses related to health care, living expenses and other pressing needs. Through the years, numerous local organizations have also received Operation Round Up® funding – enabling them to provide programs and services like hospice care, workshops for those struggling with poverty and assistance for children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities.
“Mountain Parks Electric genuinely cares,” said Stacie Dellamano, MPE’s CFO and liaison to the Operation Round Up® Board. “And because we live here, concern for the community is always on our minds. Our Operation Round Up Program is one shining example of this.”
In 2018, MPE’s volunteer Operation Round Up® Board disbursed more than $90,000 to 30 applicants. Notable organizational beneficiaries included:
Northwest Colorado Health
Horizons Specialized Services
The National Sports Center for the Disabled
Grand County Historical Association
Operation Round Up® is funded through voluntary contributions from 11,000 of MPE’s 20,000-plus member-consumers. Contributors round up their monthly electric bill to the next dollar. Their pennies are then disbursed through the program which is administered through a volunteer board and Granby’s Mountain Family Center. The average donation of each program contributor is less than $6 annually. Donations are tax deductible.
Local individuals or organizations in need can request an application form for Operation Round Up® funds by emailing StacieD@mpei.com.
Any MPE consumer can donate to the program by calling MPE at (970) 887-3378 or by filling out and submitting an online form at: mpei.com/content/operation-round-contribution-form.

Support NSCD volunteer programs

The NSCD has launched an online fundraising campaign to offset the costs of volunteer fees in support of their volunteer program. Help NSCD raise these important dollars by engaging your friends and family to help. The Volunteer2Peer Challenge is off to a great start! So far, a handful of incredible volunteers have raised nearly $6,500, which is AMAZING!  Special thanks to Matt Bryant, Mike Michaelson and Mari Shirley for leading the pack!
You can help NSCD reach their goal of $20,000 by creating a fundraising page of your own. Just click on: crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/volunteer-donations, and choose “Join Campaign”.

Grand County Historical Association High School Summer Internship

GCHA is currently seeking applications for our 2019 summer internship program! There are two paid internships available for Grand County high school students: the museum-based intern and the community relations intern.

If you are (or know) a Grand County high school student who is reliable, hardworking, and has an interest in history, art, or education, apply today.

Interested applicants should submit a statement of interest addressing which internship you’re most interested in, what about the position most interests you, and any relevant work experience; a list of three things that you would like to learn more about in this position; and, a letter of recommendation from a non-family member (i.e., a teacher, coach, pastor, or work supervisor) to Executive Director, Shanna Ganne: shanna@grandcountyhistory.org by April 1, 2019. Call (970) 725-3939 with any questions.

IRS Scam Alert
The Fraser Winter Park Police Department has received numerous calls from citizens reporting that someone claiming to be from the IRS has called them, and threatened them with arrest by the “local police” if they don’t make immediate payment to the person calling. These scammers even use the IRS website, phone number, or an actual IRS employee name to try and sound more legitimate. The IRS will never do the following:   
Demand that you use a specific payment method, such as a prepaid debit card, gift card or wire transfer. The IRS will not ask for your debit or credit card numbers over the phone.
Demand that you pay taxes without the opportunity to question or appeal the amount they say you owe. Generally, the IRS will first mail you a bill if you owe any taxes.
Threaten to bring in local police, immigration officers or other law enforcement to have you arrested for not paying. The IRS also cannot revoke your driver’s license, business licenses, or immigration status.

Man pleads guilty to possession with intent to distribute
Last week, Matthew Etten pleaded guilty to one count of possession with intent to manufacture or distribute methamphetamine, a class 2 Drug Felony. Grand County District Court Judge Mary Hoak set April 11, 2019, at 1:30 pm for his sentencing. Mr. Etten plead guilty to the highest charge without any sentencing concessions from the prosecution. He faces a maximum term in the department of corrections of eight years.
On August 27th of 2018, Mr. Etten was observed in the parking lot of the City Market gas station in Granby passed out in his vehicle in a state of undress.  Mr. Etten was found to be in possession of large amounts of drug paraphernalia, drug kits, tools of drug distribution, over 40 grams of methamphetamine.
The investigation was conducted by the Granby Police Department with assistance from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Deputy District Attorney Kathryn L. Dowdell.
District Attorney Brett Barkey stated “Methamphetamine and other drugs present a real danger to Grand County. We will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those who want to profit from bringing such hazards to our community.”

Firefighters continue burning slash piles  

Firefighters from the Northwest Colorado Interagency Fire Management Unit will continue burning slash piles on several locations on Bureau of Land Management lands managed by the Kremmling Field Office.  

Crews only burn slash piles when a minimum of three-inches of snow is on the ground and weather conditions allow for a safe, effective burn and good smoke dispersal. The number of days required to complete each area may vary. The slash is the result of past work to thin and clear vegetation to reduce the risk of unwanted wildfires and improve wildlife habitat.

Firefighters are planning to continue burning piles through April as conditions allow in the following locations:   

  • North of Tabernash in the Strawberry area in Grand County. Approximately 50 piles that should take about two days to complete.  Smoke may be visible from Tabernash, Granby, and U.S. 40.
  • East of Kremmling and north of Hot Sulphur Springs in the Smith Mesa area in Grand County. Approximately 500 piles that should be completed within 20 days. Smoke may be visible from Hot Sulphur Springs as well as U.S. 40.
  • Northeast of Rand in the Owl Mountain area in Jackson County. Approximately 100 piles that should take up to 10 days to complete.  Smoke may be visible from Jackson County Roads 27, 21, and Highway 125. These may also temporarily close the groomed snowmobile trail in the area.  
  • Gore Lakes subdivision in Grand County.  Approximately 100 piles that should take up to five days to complete.  Smoke may be visible from Highway 134 and Grand County Road 134.
  • Grouse Mountain, Northeast of Kremmling and Northwest of Parshall. Approximately 50 piles should take about three days to complete.  Smoke may be visible from Highway 40 and surrounding county roads in the area.

Prescribed fire smoke may affect your health. For more information see www.colorado.gov/cdphe/wood-smoke-and-health. Please contact CW Portell, fuels specialist, at 970-724-3033 for more information.

CAIC Update: How does this season compare to other years?

As of January 31, we have documented 57 people caught in 42 separate avalanche events. Seven of the people have been critically (head under the snow) or fully buried, and two have died. 60% of the involvements this season occurred in January alone, including both fatalities.
Those are impressive and scary numbers.
How does this season compare to previous years? Before answering that question, there are several things to consider when we talk about avalanche accidents. We do know how many people avalanches kill. Fatal accidents are investigated and documented, which gives us confidence in the data. We do not know how many people are caught, injured, or buried in avalanches. We only know what people tell us. Many involvements go unreported, for reasons varying from embarrassment to people not knowing that we are collecting information or even that the CAIC exists. When there are well-publicized incidents, we tend to learn about other events. Thus, the number of people caught is an approximation, but we think it is indicative of patterns in avalanche involvements. The number of fatalities and incidents is relatively small, too. That means a single large event, like the 2013 accident in Sheep Creek, has a large impact on annual and multi-year trends.
So, caveats in mind, how does it look like 2018-19 will compare to previous years?
Comparing fatalities, 2018-19 looks similar to recent years. In four of the previous six winters, there were two or three fatalities by the end of January. The differences in total seasonal fatalities over recent winters tend to appear in February or April. Over the last few decades, most fatal avalanches occur in January, February, or March. Accidents in the spring separate typically tragic from exceptionally tragic seasons.
Comparing involvements paints a different picture. There were 32 people caught in avalanches in January 2019. That is nearly three times more people than in previous Januaries. Of the past 40 months with avalanche incidents, we only recorded more involvements in February 2013. The 56 cumulative involvements this year are far more than we recorded for all of 2017-18, 2015-16, and 2014-15. If we project similar rates to the end of the season, 2018-19 will be by far the most people involved in avalanche that we have recorded.
Only 6% of the people caught in avalanches in January died. That is slightly better than the long-term annual fatality rate of 8%. Several months, like February 2016 or April 2013, we documented relatively few involvements compared to fatalities and the fatality rate was over 20%. Those months highlight the potential uncertainty within monthly comparisons and the sensitivity of the small numbers in the dataset.
While these comparisons are interesting, there is not a single, easy explanation. There were 1,113 avalanches record in January 2019, making it among the highest monthly totals. More avalanches were recorded in January 2017, though, with no fatalities that month. It is not simply a function of more avalanches. The type of avalanche may contribute. This winter, many of the avalanches ran on persistent weak layers while many in January 2017 ran on storm instabilities. More people are recreating in the backcountry, which could increase the number of interactions with avalanches. Those people may be reporting their involvements more often than in the past. We are learning about more close calls and successful companion rescues, possibly improved avalanche safety equipment. The line between avalanche tragedies and close calls may only be a matter of luck. A few events go slightly different–someone misses a tree, someone is caught further out on the slab–and our season could look very different.
Know before you go (KBYG). Check colorado.gov/avalanche for more detailed information in the areas you are planning to travel.

PRC banquet raises funds for continued outreach

Pregnancy Resource Connection (PRC) is gearing up to celebrate their 37th year of service and continued outreach to the people of Grand County. Each year, funds are raised through many events; the largest of which is the annual fundraising banquet.

This year, the event is set for Sunday evening, February 17 at Young Life Crooked Creek Ranch in Fraser. The event begins at 5 pm and will be filled with games, music, and laughter.  

Comedian Mike Williams returns again this year, providing entertainment during the evening. Mike and his wife were moved by the conditions of young girls being trafficked to American tourists in the Dominican Republic and they could not just stand by. In 2009, they established the CUPS mission to rescue young girls, and feed children living from the garbage dump. Now, there are twelve full time mission staff and fifteen mission buildings.

The evening will also include playing Heads and Tails, and, there will be a 50-50 raffle. Plan for a night of celebrating a common goal, while meeting new friends and catching up with old ones! The event is free, but pre-registration is required. To register, visit pregnancyresourceconnection.org.

Grand County Higher Education announces Class
Grand County Higher Education is offering an Online QuickBooks class on Thursday, February 21st. The class is tailored towards beginner- intermediate users and those who wish to refresh their learning on the basics of QuickBooks Online. This course will cover the foundations of QuickBooks Online, QBO Products including features and limitations, Navigating, Set- up, Linking Bank, Running Records, Invoicing and more.
The course is offered through Grand County Higher Education and is priced at $75. Some scholarships are available based upon need. The course will be held at the Headwaters Center from 9 until noon. Participants will need their own computer with QuickBooks Online loaded.  If participants do not currently have QuickBooks Online, it can be installed by accessing this link: quickbooksonline.com. They offer a 30 day free trial. Course registration and more information can be found at: http://gchighered.org