Steamboat briefs for Feb. 5 |

Steamboat briefs for Feb. 5

Deceased driver identified as Oak Creek man

— Deceased driver identified as Oak Creek man

The 81-year-old man found dead behind the wheel of his pickup Sunday morning off Routt County Road 25 has been identified as Douglas Robert Jones of Oak Creek.

Routt County Coroner Rob Ryg said Jones apparently died of natural causes while driving. His truck then struck a snowbank about five miles east of Oak Creek.

Ryg said Jones had some prior medical issues; a cause of death has not been determined.

“Nothing looked suspicious. It looks like he just passed out; we are not sure what happened,” Ryg said Sunday. He noted that members of the Oak Creek Fire Protection District responded to the scene about 15 or 20 minutes after Jones drove off the road.

Medical access expanded for combat veterans

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Combat veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan are now eligible for special access to Veterans Affairs medical care for five years after discharge. Prior to this, their special access expired after two years.

The program covers not only regular, active-duty personnel who served in Iraq or Afghanistan, but also reserve or National Guard members serving in the combat theaters. Veterans with service-related injuries or illnesses always have access to VA care for the treatment of their disabilities without any time limit, as do lower-income veterans.

Paul Sweeney, chief of customer relations for Grand Junction Veterans’ Affairs Medical Center, said details about the extended access are forthcoming. Call (970) 256-0957.

Teacher of the Year

nominations sought

Nominations for the 2007-08 Colorado Teacher of the Year are being accepted through April 30 by award sponsor Teachers’ Insurance Plan, a car insurance program for members of the educational community. The award includes $1,000 to the winning teacher and a $500 grant to the teacher’s school. The Colorado winner also will be eligible for national recognition.

Teachers, students and parents can nominate any of the state’s more than 58,000 accredited teachers, with nomination forms available at Nominees will be judged on their ability to motivate students, special talents and contributions to their school, students and educational community. Winners will be announced at the start of the 2008-09 school year. Call 203-634-7251.