The Home Front: On same day lawmakers tried to repeal the death penalty a Colorado prosecutor says he’s seeking it in a case

Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of Colorado newspapers

The Home Front: On same day lawmakers tried to repeal the death penalty a Colorado prosecutor says he’s seeking it in a case

“Senate Democrats were looking to have Colorado join 19 other states that have eliminated the death penalty but the measure died on a 3-2 party line vote late Wednesday night,” The Durango Herald reports. “Senate Bill 95, which would have repealed the death penalty as the maximum sentence for Class 1 felonies in Colorado, was heard and killed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday.”

Meanwhile, The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports “El Paso County prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the first time in a decade. The 4th Judicial District Attorney’s Office made the announcement Wednesday at a hearing for Glen Law Galloway, who is charged in back-to-back fatal shootings in Colorado Springs last year. Separate trials scheduled for April and June may now be postponed. Galloway, 44, is due to return to court at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday for a hearing to decide the next steps in his case.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports how a “half-Latino” comment sparked a dustup on the floor of the Colorado House. “It shouldn’t matter what Rep. Dave Williams’ ethnic background is, even at a time when the Colorado House is celebrating having its first Latina speaker,” the paper reports. “And that ancestry shouldn’t be used in an attempt to diminish his position on issues facing the community, Hispanic or otherwise, the Colorado Springs Republican said. Without naming anyone on the House floor Wednesday, Williams said in a rare admonition of a fellow member that he was publicly insulted by that colleague for his political position on immigration reform when that representative said at a recent political rally that Williams was only ‘half Latino.’ ‘The term was used to demean my standing on this policy issue and to lessen my credibility with the Latino community,’ Williams said, adding to the tension that has been mounting for many in the statehouse over President Donald Trump and his policies about Hispanics and immigration.”

“Sen. John Kefalas’ bill to expand Colorado’s open records law is set to get a hearing after all,” The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports. “Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, chair of the senate’s State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee, pulled the bill hours before it was scheduled for a hearing earlier this month. It’s back on the docket for a Feb. 22 committee hearing. Kefalas’ bill would require government and entities funded with taxpayer dollars that are subject to the Colorado Open Records Act to provide records in a digital, searchable format, provided they are kept that way. Kefalas, a Fort Collins Democrat, started the push last year after the Coloradoan’s effort to acquire the digital version of Colorado State University’s salary increase exercise.”

The Aspen Times reports a local restaurant won’t be serving today “because the tavern’s husband-wife owners decided to close the landmark Aspen-area bar today in solidarity with their immigrant workers for the Day Without Immigrants stance.” “If I didn’t do it, I’d be a hypocrite,” Kevin Willson, the tavern’s co-owner and a former British citizen who’s lived in the Roaring Fork Valley since 1991 and is now a U.S. citizen, told the paper. “Day Without Immigrants is a national boycott in which immigrants pledge not to attend work, open businesses, spend money or send their children to school to demonstrate the effect they have on the country.”

The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports how the Thompson school district might close two schools. “If the decision is made to close the schools, the students would be transitioned into other schools, and Van Buren and Stansberry would close for the 2018-19 school year. While none of the school board members relished the idea of closing schools, all agreed they should look at this option in light of the district budget, which has been pulling from reserves each year.”

“With all eyes trained on Washington, D.C., local leaders along U.S. 34 want a study of the corridor that could one day host more traffic than Interstate 25 completed sooner rather than later,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “It’s important because it looks like Congress and the new administration are committed to doing a major infrastructure bill this year,” said Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway. ‘Having the (study) done sooner puts us in position to compete sooner for new federal and state funding, which means we may be able to get the safety improvements done years ahead of time.'”

The Longmont Times-Call reports on an alleged head-butting of a manager at a local Walmart. “After a man became agitated at Longmont’s north Walmart on Wednesday afternoon, customer Roman Avila’s instinct was to stop him by tackling him,” the paper reported. ‘I always tell myself I would do that if it happened, and it happened,’ Avila said. Police identified the man as Dustin Robinson-Beaty, 23, who they arrested outside the north entrance of Walmart, 2514 Main St.. Police said when store managers approached his camper that had been parked for several days, they told him to leave and he began yelling obscenities. Cmdr. Joel Post said police believe Robinson-Beaty followed the managers back through the parking lot to the store, where he began throwing things at the employees and another manager approached. He then reportedly head-butted the female manager, possibly breaking her nose. Avila, of Longmont, said he was checking out after shopping and noticed the argument turn physical.”

“Boulder County Planning Commission members voted 5-4 Wednesday night to reject any changes to the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan’s current land-use designations for 20 acres of now-vacant government-owned land along Twin Lakes Road in unincorporated Gunbarrel,” The Daily Camera reports. “The county planning panel’s action likely halts — or may at least stall, possibly for several years — the Boulder County Housing Authority’s and Boulder Valley School District’s proposals to develop an affordable housing project on their properties. The Housing Authority and the school district had sought a medium-density residential comprehensive-plan designation for most of those 20 acres as a step toward seeking annexation and zoning by the city of Boulder in order to proceed with that project.”

The Denver Post reports on a double whammy for first-time home buyers along the Front Range. “The recent rise in mortgage rates could price even more prospective homeowners out of the Front Range housing market. The average interest rate on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has increased sharply in the months since the election, hitting a two-year high of 4.32 percent in late December, up from 3.54 percent in early November, according to Freddie Mac. Rates have stayed above 4 percent so far this year, averaging 4.17 percent last week. And while the change may seem relatively insignificant compared with historic mortgage rates, it’s enough to take a noticeable bite out of borrowers’ buying power.”

Cañon City has a new police chief, reports The Daily Record. “Daric Harvey, 42, will takeover as chief June 5, according to a news release from the city. Harvey replaces former Police Chief Paul Schultz, who left Cañon City in early January after he accepted a new job in Fort Morgan. Deputy Chief Allen Cooper has been acting as interim chief. Schultz was sworn in as interim chief in July 2012 after the resignation of former Chief Duane McNeill, who previously had been placed on administrative leave after an internal audit report overwhelmingly revealed negative feedback toward the administration. Schultz later accepted the position as Chief of Police.”

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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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