The Home Front: Violence in Denver jails, old Ted Bundy pics, and a lawsuit against a state oil-and-gas panel

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

The Home Front: Violence in Denver jails, old Ted Bundy pics, and a lawsuit against a state oil-and-gas panel

“Proponents of a bill intended to make Colorado public records easier to analyze fear the University of Colorado is manipulating the bill to make records more difficult to obtain,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Senate Bill 40 concerns public access to government files, or the Colorado Open Records Act. The bill’s original intent is to ensure digital records requested are provided in a searchable format. For example, if a member of the public wants to see a public database, they could receive that file in a format such as an Excel spreadsheet that would allow them to analyze the data rather than a PDF document, which just shows a static printout of the data. “The whole idea is that the public should be able to understand the records as much as possible,” said Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition. “If you’re talking about a database of public records, sometimes those can be thousands or hundreds of thousands of records long, or even a million, and you need to be able to analyze that. So if you get a printout of that, it’s not so easy. If you get a PDF of it, it’s not so easy.” But, Roberts tells the paper, the Colorado University system wants amendments added to the bill that “would change something that’s been in CORA since the mid-’90s.”

“Inmates inside Denver’s two jails assaulted each other six times as often in 2016 as they did four years ago, just one indicator that sheriff’s deputies are dealing with more violence on their jobs,” reports The Denver Post. “Last year, the sheriff’s department also recorded more assaults on staff and a higher number of deputies using force against inmates. The department is struggling to figure what is driving the surge amid a jail population that is bursting at the seams and putting pressure on every level of Denver’s criminal justice system. “We know assaults are up,” Sheriff Patrick Firman said. “What we’re trying to get our arms around is why is that happening.”

“Colorado Springs’ fourth City for Champions project— the city’s proposed World War II aviation museum downtown— isn’t going to happen, Mayor John Suthers told the City Council during a luncheon meeting Tuesday,” reports The Gazette. “An essential piece of state legislation got shelved Thursday, killing hopes that Regional Tourism Act money could go to the downtown aviation museum. The city originally wanted to create a downtown stadium and events center as one of the projects. But when a study showed in February that the center wasn’t economically feasible, operators of the National Museum of World War II Aviation offered to expand their museum at the Colorado Springs Airport into southwest downtown to become that fourth City for Champions project.”

“A group of residents in east Greeley, along with some heavy-hitting national lobbying organizations, have filed a lawsuit against the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, claiming unfair treatment in allowing drilling near a low-income, primarily Latino school,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The complaint comes just in time for a bill regarding setbacks from school playgrounds to be heard today at the Capitol. The Senate Agriculture, Natural Resources and Energy Committee will hear a bill seeking 1,000-foot setbacks from an entire school’s campus — not just the main building. The groups claim the COGCC erred in approving drilling permits for the Vetting 15-H Well Pad and Vetting Facility in east Greeley, a project that was approved by the Weld County commissioners this past summer, as the site is just outside Greeley city limits.”

“An effort to knit together medical and human-service organizations on the Western Slope to provide seamless — and lower-cost — medical outcomes is getting a boost from the federal government,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Rocky Mountain Health Plans will coordinate distribution of $4.5 million over the next five years from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to draw physicians, social services caseworkers and others closer together to provide better, and ultimately, less expensive care. There are plenty of services available to people whose conditions, such as diabetes, depression, obesity and other chronic conditions, can lead to expensive hospitalization, or worse, said Patrick Gordon, associate vice president of Grand Junction-based Rocky Mountain Health Plans.”

“Four Longmont teenagers answered questions from Colorado legislators about sexting on Tuesday afternoon,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The Colorado General Assembly House Judiciary Committee heard testimony on two different bills that would revise how state law treats teens and others caught possessing or distributing explicit images of minors. The problem that two representatives are attempting to solve with the bills is that prosecutors do not have enough tools to charge people with various levels of offenses if someone’s caught possessing or distributing an explicit image of a minor. The only options currently are felony-level offenses for child porn or sexual exploitation of a minor. Both offenses require registering as a sex offender, which puts prosecutors in a bind in certain cases where everyone involved is a minor.”

“Former utility executives and senior officials wouldn’t be able to be appointed to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission for at least four years after leaving the company, according to legislation being sponsored by Rep. Daneya Esgar and Sen. Leroy Garcia, both Pueblo Democrats,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “House Bill 1323 would also create a new position in the PUC — called ethics ombudsman — to receive complaints about the performance of the commissioners. The legislation seems to be the offspring of the controversy over Commissioner Wendy Moser’s appointment to the PUC in January. Moser was a senior attorney for Black Hills Energy from 2011-14.”

“Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan hasn’t decided how he’ll vote next month on a controversial proposal to privatize a short, scenic county road known for its wildlife-viewing opportunities south of Lake Catamount,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “But he’s hearing from several constituents about it, and he thinks the decision will come down to a balancing act. “My bias is typically to maintain as much public access to open areas in Routt County as we can,” Corrigan said Tuesday. “But on the other hand, there’s certainly a balancing of the costs … If in fact we do choose to vacate that road, my idea would be to take a portion of that money (that we currently spend maintaining it) and set it aside for other multimodal kinds of projects.”

Post Independent employees for years have walked by an old Glenwood Post safe, its combination long forgotten and its top most recently used as a table,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The thought that this safe might hold something consequential didn’t keep anyone awake at night. But when a local locksmith eyed the old safe and volunteered to take a crack at it, our curiosity was aroused. No one imagined it held the artifacts of a disturbing era of Roaring Fork Valley history — several photos of serial killer Ted Bundy and the search for him after his escapes from both the Garfield and Pitkin County jails in 1977. Glenwood Post brass at some point decided negatives and contact sheets from the big story should be locked away — which probably was a good thing, because the PI — the Post’s successor — disposed of its non-digital photo files when it moved to its current office in 2011. But the safe made the move.”

“As Colorado Early Colleges expands its Fort Collins campus, the charter school is growing new opportunities and programs for the hundreds of students enrolled,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The school is currently remodeling a 93,000 square-foot building into a high school campus to open next fall with much more space, added college and professional programs, an auditorium and gym, a farm-to-table kitchen and a 6,000 square-foot maker space. It’s fitting that the address is 4424 Innovation Drive because to hear Sandi Brown, head of the school, talk about the school’s mission, Colorado Early Colleges is all about finding innovative ways to meet students’ needs as they work toward high school and college degrees.”

“The man accused of leading local law enforcement on a 14-hour manhunt has been formally charged with attempted murder,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Adam Fulford, 33, appeared via video conference from the Larimer County Jail for a hearing Tuesday. He was read 29 charges stemming from a series of alleged crimes that began March 30 and ended the next day. The Loveland man is accused of leading authorities on a manhunt west of Fort Collins, where he escaped capture until the next morning when he led police on a high-speed chase. He allegedly carjacked a Toyota Prius, fled and crashed it into a vehicle in Loveland, injuring a mother and her two children.”

“Proposed changes to U.S. 50 in an effort to increase pedestrian safety have some business owners concerned their own businesses will be negatively impacted,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The City of Cañon City, Colorado Department of Transportation, the Wilson & Company consultant team and community representatives visited with the public during an open house Tuesday at City Hall to explain the project. A community-member based committee has met regularly with members of council and representatives from the city and CDOT to talk about project goals and preferred alternatives. The committee will meet one more time to consider public feedback before presenting their final recommendation to the council May 1.”


Like this story? Steal it! Feel free to republish it in part or in full, just please give credit to The Colorado Independent and add a link to the original.

Got a tip? Story pitch? Send us an e-mail. Follow The Colorado Independent on Twitter.

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.

Leave a Response

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>