ACET, VNA collect federal funds through act

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— Local law enforcement and public health entities are poised for a funding boost, thanks to the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008 passed by Congress earlier this week.

The bill's funding inclusions from Sen. Ken Salazar, D-Colo., included $89,300 for the All Crimes Enforcement Team, formerly the Greater Routt and Moffat Narcotics Enforcement Team, to fight methamphetamine in the area, and $119,000 for the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association, which is based in Steamboat.

The bill was approved Tuesday night by the U.S. Senate and Wednesday by the House of Representatives, and is expected to receive President Bush's approval shortly, Salazar spokesman Cody Wertz said.

Hayden-based ACET will use the funds in its work to fight methamphetamine use and drug trafficking in Northwest Colorado.

ACET has had a turbulent year, with the Routt County Sheriff's Office withdrawing from the task force in February and the unit cutting its budget by 34 percent.

Funds requested by the VNA will help pay for capital improvements at its primary care facilities in Walden, Hayden and Craig. The VNA is the local public health provider for Routt and Moffat counties and is home to many community programs.

The funds will be used to buy equipment and furnishings, and help pay for operating costs at the VNA's facilities, VNA public information coordinator Suzi Mariano said. Exactly what will be purchased will depend on where the greatest need is at the time the funds are received, she said.

Other appropriations requested by Salazar include nearly $500,000 for reconstruction, resurfacing and safety improvements on the 17-mile stretch of Colorado Highway 13 south of the Wyoming state line, and an increase in mileage reimbursement for veterans living in rural areas who must travel to receive medical care. The mileage reimbursement amendment, co-sponsored by Sen. Jon Tester, D-Mont., provides $125 million to increase compensation for veterans from 11 cents to 28.5 cents per mile.

- To reach Melinda Dudley, call 871-4203

or e-mail mdudley@steamboatpilot.com

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