The Home Front: Energy company wants to drill 35 wells north of Paonia

Your morning digest of stories on the front pages of newspapers across Colorado

The Home Front: Energy company wants to drill 35 wells north of Paonia

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on plans by the Gunnison energy firm to drill 35 wells over three years about 12 miles north of Paonia, “and adjacent to where SG Interests wants to drill 146 wells. The Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Forest Service are accepting public comment on what’s being called the North Fork Mancos master development plan proposal. The wells would be drilled down and then out horizontally from four new well pads and one existing pad. Three of the new pads are on national forest land, and the fourth would be on private land but reach nearby federally owned minerals. The project area covers nearly 35,000 acres in Gunnison and Delta counties, including nearly 26,000 acres of national forest land, 8,648 acres of private land and 468 acres of BLM-administered land, and the work would require up to 4.6 miles of new roads.”

Farmers in LaSalle have sold their water rights to the city of Aurora— and it made them feel a little guilty, reports The Greeley Tribune. “It’s rare for farmers to just sell their water, so when he approached the city of Aurora about buying shares, it was something officials weren’t going to turn down. But those in Aurora are just in planning mode, accounting for an expected population increase within the next 40 years, according to Greg Baker, manager of Aurora Water public relations. Since Aurora didn’t immediately need the 33 total shares — 17 of which were Sylvester’s — both families are leasing the water back from Aurora. This will allow the families to continue their operations as they’ve been. The sale gives him a chance to continue farm operations for the time being. But how long he could sustain those crops is a bigger question, which prompted his decision to sell.”

“The Longmont Planning and Zoning Commission considered two possible developments that would add housing units to the city,” reports The Times-Call. “The commission did not make a decision on either of the items by print deadline Wednesday night. First, the commission heard presentations on The Parkes at Stonebridge plan, where developers asked to subdivide a 17-acre property into 92 townhome lots within 19 buildings and a 2.32-acre single-family home lot.”

The Steamboat Pilot & Today follows up on the city’s new PR program. “Steamboat Springs City Council members have different views on the city’s controversial new PR tactic of having a public relations manager manufacture quotes for city leaders in news releases. While most of the council members say they won’t let quotes be written for them, some supported the practice. “I don’t have such a problem with it,” Councilman Tony Connell said. “I think a professional person is much clearer than I am. I’m just not that articulate. I appreciate having a script and answers scripted for me.”

“A Colorado task force recommends changing state law to prevent law-abiding citizens suffering a mental health crisis from ending up behind bars,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “A multi-agency report spearheaded by the Colorado Department of Human Services at the request of Gov. John Hickenlooper urges the Legislature to modify laws that permit involuntary 24-hour incarceration for individuals experiencing mental health emergencies but who have not committed a crime. Just five other states allow for so-called “M-1″ holds at county jails — New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas and Wyoming.”

The Pueblo Chieftain reports Gov. John Hickenlooper wants a hike in pot taxes for schools. “The tax by the state is currently 10 percent, and political entities such as counties and cities add more of their own. The state tax was scheduled to be reduced to 8 percent on July 1, but the governor wants to raise it to 12 percent, which he said would bring in $42 million for Colorado’s struggling public schools. The tax may be raised to as much as 15 percent without a vote of the people. The governor’s other proposal, to slash the senior homestead property tax exemption in half, didn’t bring any positive vibes from Pueblo’s two state senators.”

More students equal more money, The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports. “The Thompson School District will receive $813,000 more than anticipated in state funding because of more students who enrolled in Thompson schools. Gordon Jones, the district’s chief financial officer, presented a budget amendment to the school board on Wednesday that reflects about 145 more students than anticipated, leading to a net increase of $813,000. The board unanimously approved the changes to the budget for this school year, adding to a budget that has required the district to dip into reserves for several years in order to operate at the current level. “This is good news,” said Lori Hvizda Ward, president of the board.”

The Durango Herald reports on a suicide prevention effort in La Plata County. “Reeling from a string of recent deaths, a coalition of local health advocates, school representatives and others gathered Wednesday night to start taking action on the longstanding issue of suicides in La Plata County,” the paper reports. “‘It’s not a conversation anymore,’ said Jackie Oros, chief of student support services for Durango School District 9-R. ‘Now, it is work. We can keep talking about it, but what we really need now is action, as a community.'”

“In its quest to establish a high-speed fiber-optic network without breaking the city budget or ceding too much control to a private company, Boulder may ask voters in November to support a new broadband tax, City Manager Jane Brautigam said,” according to The Boulder Daily Camera. “Late in Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Brautigam floated such a tax as one “possibility” in a series of measures that Boulder that could place on the 2017 ballot. Advertisement It’s not clear how much money, exactly, voters would be asked to cover, but the consulting firm Boulder hired to investigate broadband options has reported it would cost $100 million to $140 million to turn the city’s existing 100-plus miles of fiber into a citywide fiber-to-the-home network.”

The Denver Post reports Colorado’s GOP lawmakers are criticizing as “wasteful” the suicide-proofing of bathrooms at mental health hospitals. “The reaction to the proposal in the context of a $28 billion budget illustrates the intensity of the spending battles expected in the 2017 session as Colorado lawmakers negotiate a deal to find more money for big-ticket priorities, such as a potential $500 million bond to improve roads and transit.”

“Days after the appearance of a new website containing unsubstantiated allegations against El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder, he still hasn’t seen it,” The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports. “Nor does he intend to. “This is the largest Sheriff’s Office in the state,” Elder said, according to the paper. “The last thing I can do is sideline myself worrying about what some anonymous website says.” The paper continues: “During a 70-minute interview in his downtown office, the county’s top law enforcement officer dismissed many of the accusations, including the claims that he has torn up his policy manual and upended his disciplinary process to benefit a favored deputy. He chalked up the allegations to “disgruntled” employees and former employees bent on ‘impugning him.'”

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About the Author

Corey Hutchins

is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review's Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.

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