The Home Front: Pay increasing in northern Colorado, Erie looking at gas odors, and a charter school in Colorado Springs is in turmoil

The Home Front: Pay increasing in northern Colorado, Erie looking at gas odors, and a charter school in Colorado Springs is in turmoil

“A combination of extra traffic-monitoring cameras at key locations through Glenwood Springs and a dedicated dispatcher will help emergency responders navigate through town during the Grand Avenue bridge detour,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Emergency response during the 95-day bridge closure and detour that begins Aug. 14 has been the subject of some intense discussions among police, fire and ambulance services and area hospital officials in recent months.”

“Employers in northern Colorado plan to raise average wages about 3.2 percent next year, one of the largest percentage increases in the state, according to a survey conducted by Mountain States Employers Council,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The annual survey asked employers what they plan to pay the average employee in 2017 and 2018, then compared those wages with what employers paid workers in 2016, according to Sue Wolf, director of surveys at MSEC, whose employers consist of large and small businesses across the state. About 60 organizations from Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld counties participated in the survey for northern Colorado, and other surveyed areas include Denver/Boulder, southern Colorado, the Western Slope and resort areas. A total of 491 organizations participated in the state, reaching nearly 45,000 workers.”

“Mesa County wants the U.S. Department of Justice to kick $875,000 into a program that in less than two months already has shown signs of discouraging crime and heartening frustrated neighbors,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The County Commission on Monday voted unanimously to submit a grant application seeking funding for three years. The application is based on the Sheriff’s Office’s successful use of school-resource officers this summer to reach out to crime-ridden areas and victims with its new Crime Reduction Unit. Typically, school-resource officers are rotated into patrol duties over the summer. But this summer, Capt. Todd Rowell, patrol commander for the Sheriff’s Office, assigned them instead to work in areas where there were classic indicators of problems.”

“What a man might call his man cave, Suzette Rodriguez calls her ‘chica cave,'” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Family portraits decorate the walls and a collection of purple mementos — knitted boxes, stuffed animals and candles — are displayed on a thrifted bookshelf. Little by little, Rodriguez is unpacking boxes and organizing their contents in the Longmont apartment she has lived in for seven months now, after facing homelessness from October 2014 to December 2016. ‘I love my bed; I love taking showers,’ she said. ‘I’m still working on it, rearranging things here and there. And I’m like, oh, now it looks like a living room.'”

“Public access to a Loveland-area reservoir popular with anglers will come to an end next year after a private entity outbid Colorado Parks and Wildlife for the lease,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. The loss of Lonetree Reservoir might become more common in the future as CPW deals with budget constraints, officials warned. CPW has held a recreational lease for the 500-acre reservoir south of Loveland popular with hunters and fishers, since the 1970s. But after June 30, 2018, the recreational rights will belong to an unidentified high bidder for the property, which is owned by Consolidated Home Supply Ditch Co.”

“A Loveland schoolteacher says he is making average homeowners’ dreams come true by selling them kitchen cabinetry fit for million-dollar homes,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The trick is that he finds whole kitchens’ worth of cabinets that the owners of those houses think are no longer fit for their million-dollar homes. ‘There are wealthy homeowners taking out nice kitchens that have nothing wrong with them,’ said Ben Laning, owner of Ben’s Repurposed Cabinetry. ‘The waste in the construction industry is mind-boggling.'”

“Erie officials will consider an emergency ordinance Tuesday night amending the town’s ‘public health and safety’ code to consider complaints against oil and gas odors,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The potential measure marks a significant effort by trustees to retain more local control over the industry’s reach in the face of political stasis at the state Capitol. If approved, such charges would be investigated by local police, according to the proposal’s language, and could ultimately result in a summons or a ticket for companies found in violation.”

A 412-acre fire west of Durango will cost about $2 million, the Durango Herald reported today. The tab for the Lightner Creek fire, which is now 100 percent contained, will be paid for primarily by the state of Colorado and the federal government, although the city also will cover the costs associated with firefighting during the blaze’s first six hours. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.

A Fremont County woman charged with 40 counts of animal cruelty intends to plead not guilty to all charges, according to the Cañon City Daily Record. The Fremont County sheriff’s office seized 63 horses from Penny Gingrich last January, although 24 of those horses have since been returned to Gingrich. She disputes the charges, claiming the case arose after a neighbor claimed she was not feeding or providing water to the animals. The Fremont County sheriff’s office has refused to release information on the condition of the horses.

Eagle County Clerk and Recorder Regina O’Brien said she has received 10 requests from voters to make their voting records confidential, the Vail Daily reported today. And reaction to the request from a commission set up by the Trump administration for voter information appears to divide along party lines. “Joy Harrison, of the Eagle County Democrats, stated the action is ‘based solely on Trump’s paranoid and delusional claims of widespread voter fraud…This is not an independent, bipartisan commission studying states’ election processes. This is a deeply divisive and partisan effort to amass an enormous amount of data without any clear explanation of how it will be analyzed or safeguarded.” Kaye Ferry, of the Eagle County GOP, said “When you register to vote, this information becomes public record…Privacy in this country any more is pretty much a figment of people’s imagination.”

“Colorado’s driver’s license program for people living in the U.S. illegally has been hobbled since its start three years ago, and efforts to fix and better fund the initiative have been caught in partisan gridlock,” according to the Denver Post. “An application backlog, possibly years long for some, is estimated to run in the tens of thousands. Just three Division of Motor Vehicles branches across Colorado offer the licenses, and in a year only one in the Denver area might be left to serve the entire state.”

“A schism this spring between its top brass has left a small Colorado Springs charter school rebuilding, some of its former leaders working on a new charter school and each side blaming the other,” reports the Colorado Springs Gazette.  “Mike Miles, hired in June 2016 as chief executive officer to improve the K-12 charter school east of downtown, left his job Feb. 9. Miles said he resigned but declined to elaborate.” Miles is also being sued for “breach of contract, unlawful use of the company’s time and resources and improperly forcing students ‘he found too difficult to manage out of the school,’ among other complaints. Those claims are without merit, said Miles attorney Ian Kalmanowicz.”

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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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