The Home Front: Is a smoke-free proposal for downtown Denver a war on the poor?

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The Home Front: Is a smoke-free proposal for downtown Denver a war on the poor?

“A proposal that would make the 16th Street Mall smoke-free isn’t about public health, opponents say, but about creating another means to push homeless and impoverished people out of Denver’s public spaces,” reports The Denver Post. “The Denver City Council’s safety, housing, education and homelessness committee on Wednesday approved moving the “Breathe Easy” ordinance along for consideration by the entire council later this month. The measure, introduced by council president Albus Brooks, would ban all forms of traditional tobacco smoking and the use of vaporizers and e-cigarettes on the high-traffic, public mall. It would apply to all public areas on 16th Street from Broadway to Chestnut Place, and within 50 feet of where the mall’s public right of way ends in either direction.”

“While a new statewide computer system designed to process Medicaid payments to health care providers has had its issues, it really is the providers themselves who are to blame for getting paid late, state officials said Wednesday,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Chris Underwood, who oversees implementation of the new system for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, told a legislative panel that the bulk of the late payments health care providers are seeing are because many of them haven’t been using the complicated new system correctly. Some of that was because some providers didn’t register with the system as a qualified provider, while other issues arose from qualified providers who weren’t filling out their billing requests properly, Underwood told the Legislature’s Joint Technology Committee, which oversees capital funding requests for state computer systems.”

“Boulder County Commissioners in a letter sent Tuesday to state regulators are objecting to Crestone Peak Resources’ handling of the public hearing process on a large-scale drilling project on the county’s eastern edge,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The county charged that the company has pre-selected drill sites before hearing the public’s input, hasn’t provided enough time for stakeholders to review plans, and hasn’t included everyone impacted by the oil and gas operations, including the county, in its meeting invites.”

“Pueblo’s most superlative citizens, businesses, hot spots and novelties were front and center on the red carpet Wednesday, as hundreds gathered at the Pueblo Convention Center for The Pueblo Chieftain’s sixth annual Best of Pueblo Bash,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “More than 600 people and establishments were crowned bronze, silver, or gold winners in upward of 200 categories at the event, in a fun-filled night packed with food, libations and live music from the Indigo Way Band.”

“City rules that used to force developers in Steamboat Springs to help build affordable housing units are being suspended for a fifth time despite strong public support for the policy,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The Steamboat Springs City Council on Tuesday night agreed to extend the suspension of the affordable housing rules again until February. Before the extended suspension becomes final, the council will have to take a second vote on the issue later this month.”

“John Gates played the part of experienced steward, the eight-year Greeley City Council veteran answering questions and mostly passing on the chance to engage his challenger in the race for mayor during the Greeley Chamber of Commerce and Greeley Tribune Candidate Forum and Mayoral Debate,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “That challenger, Patrick Wardell, was pleased with his own performance, even if he ventured off topic into the realm of Snickers bars, the world’s tallest slide or a moratorium on speeding tickets. The civil discussion, moderated by Tribune Publisher Bryce Jacobson, lasted an hour, capping a night of mingling and information at Aims Community College, 5401 20th St.”

“Dr. Christine Ebert-Santos, M.D., is on a mission,” reports The Summit Daily News. “The longtime Summit County pediatrician has, for several years, been trying to spread the word on an acute altitude illness that even locals can develop no matter how long they’ve been residents. If not diagnosed or treated properly, the results can be fatal. “All the doctors who work up here know that this occurs, but it’s not widely recognized outside of the mountain community,” said Ebert-Santos, who’s operated her family medical practice in Frisco for approaching two decades. “They think that kids and people who live up here are acclimatized and they won’t be as likely to get it. We just have to keep an open mind so that we can help people with simple treatments that could really keep them out of trouble.” High-altitude pulmonary edema, or HAPE, can be difficult to identify because there’s no particular test for the disorder. Complicating matters is the fact that the symptoms — characterized by a bad cough, congestion, fatigue and/or sudden respiratory issues — often mirror those of pneumonia or asthma.”

“The five old Army veterans sat patiently, waiting to be honored for their action in battle more than 70 years ago,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Two sat in wheelchairs, one had a cane propped between his knees. Each one is well into his 10th decade of life. The event that brought the five Northern Colorado residents together, along with a crowd of about 100 family members, friends and well-wishers, was a ceremony conducted by the French government to honor the soldiers for helping liberate France from Nazi control in 1944 during World War II.”

“Suicide kills an American every 12 minutes, 44,000 Americans every year and 10 in Eagle County so far this year,” reports Vail Daily. “‘Think about that,’ said Andrew Romanoff, with Mental Health Colorado. ‘If someone attacked the United States and killed an American every 12 minutes and wiped out 44,000 of us in the course of a year, we would declare war.’ ‘In some ways, we have declared war, and this is a war we can win,’ Romanoff said.”

“The number of law enforcement involved shootings in Larimer County this year seems to be on the rise compared with previous years,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “So far in 2017, five police shootings have taken place throughout the county. Four were fatal. Four of the five shootings have been ruled justified by the Larimer County district attorney, with the most recent occurring Oct. 1 and no ruling yet from the district attorney.”

“Having worked in law enforcement for 10 years in Fremont County, Clint Wilson considers himself to be the top preference for Fremont County Sheriff,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Wilson is one of seven candidates who has filed paperwork to run in the 2018 Fremont County Sheriff’s Election. According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, these people include Wilson, current FCSO Undersheriff Ty Martin, Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis, FCSO Deputy Cyrus Young, former officer Clint Robertson, and Fremont County residents Skip Moreau and James Boyd Canterbury. Wilson, who currently works for the FCSO as the school resource officer in Cotopaxi, has been with the FCSO since 2007.”

“In stark contrast to Boulder’s 2011 and 2013 elections, there’s much more money being dedicated to advancing municipalization than to defeating it,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “According to the city clerk’s latest campaign finance reports, four issue committees that support municipalization have raised a cumulative $37,247, while the lone committee in opposition has raised $6,866. Of course, the trend can be easily explained by the fact that Xcel Energy — the incumbent electric provider from which Boulder has long sought to separate, in the interest of forming a municipal electric utility — is not campaigning this time around. Xcel spent nearly $1 million in 2011 and another $772,000 in 2013, dwarfing the totals of the pro-municipalization campaigns.”

“A Colorado Springs man on trial for hitting four children in a school crosswalk – pinning one under a rear wheel – has an unlikely advocate in his corner – the detective who investigated the crash,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “In the latest friction between Colorado Springs police accident investigators and the El Paso County District Attorney’s Office, a 15-year veteran officer is expected to take the stand on behalf of defendant Douglas Clubb, whose trial began Wednesday. At issue is whether Clubb, 61, should have been charged with child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury as a result of criminal negligence – a felony count that Detective Jeffrey Rymer called ‘unheard of’ in a traffic case.”

“A group of nationally prominent conservative organizers on Wednesday called on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other Republican Senate leaders to resign, charging they’ve failed to pass any substantive legislation even as the GOP controls every branch of government,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “Republicans were given full control of the federal government,” the leading conservatives wrote in a lengthy letter to McConnell. “They – you – have done nothing. Worse, it is painfully clear that you intend to do nothing because, as is most apparent, you had no intention of honoring your solemn commitments to the American people. You were not going to ‘drain the swamp.’ You are the swamp.” The group also rips McConnell for refusing to back Darryl Glenn, last year’s Republican U.S. Senate nominee in Colorado, and other ‘good conservative GOP nominees.'”

“The motels that line Colfax are faded remnants of the avenue’s glory days, vital housing for people who might otherwise be living on the streets or in their cars and havens for prostitution and drugs,” reports Denverite. “Tom Fesing, past president and board member at-large of the East Colfax Neighborhood Association, is keenly interested in the revitalization of the corridor and desperate for city officials to take a harder stance.”

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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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