The Home Front: Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet are working on a deal to ‘satisfy’ Trump’s ‘changing priorities’

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

The Home Front: Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet are working on a deal to ‘satisfy’ Trump’s ‘changing priorities’

“Colorado Sens. Cory Gardner and Michael Bennet are still working on a bipartisan plan to get Congress over its budget deadlock and satisfy the changing priorities of President Donald Trump,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Gardner, a Republican, and Bennet, a Democrat, told reporters Thursday that lawmakers should stay in Washington and work on a spending and immigration solution instead of allowing the government to shutdown this weekend. They have been working for a bipartisan plan by six senators that would resolve immigration obstacles that have crippled efforts to pass a spending bill.”

“The race for Senate District 7 could be heating up,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Republican Sen. Ray Scott, who currently holds that seat, may have a Democratic opponent this fall, but that depends on whether Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, decides to challenge Scott for the position. That Democratic opponent could be Grand Junction City Councilor Chris Kennedy, who has already filed a campaign account with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office seeking the office but hasn’t decided whether he’ll actually challenge Scott. “I don’t know if I’m actually going to commit yet. I’m just hedging my bet at this point,” Kennedy said Thursday. “There’s just so much going on between Thurlow and Scott, and I’m just kind of sitting back waiting for a public declaration.” That declaration may be coming soon. While Thurlow declined to comment on his future political intentions, he did say he was planning to make an “important” announcement within weeks.”

“Greeley-Evans School District 6 increased its graduation rate and lowered its dropout rate in 2017 compared to 2016, according to data released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Education,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The reduction in dropout rate to 2.3 percent from 3.4 percent per year represents 111 students who stayed in school. That reduction brings District 6 in line with Colorado’s statewide dropout rate, which is also 2.3 percent.”

“Opening the so-called ‘Blake gate’ that for three decades has blocked through access along a section of south Blake Avenue near the Walmart store would free up traffic flow in the area, according to Glenwood Springs city planners and engineers,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “But it’s not a critical condition for access in and out of a controversial 79-unit apartment project at that location to function adequately, both city staff and the project applicant said during a public hearing Thursday night.”

“Boulder County average monthly rents hit an all-time high last year, with apartment dwellers paying more than $1,600, up nearly 5 percent from 2016,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “That increase is almost twice the national average, according to data from real estate analytics company RealPage. However, price growth in 2017 was slower than the county had seen in previous years.”

“Airbnb hosts in Steamboat Springs brought 31,000 guests to the city last year and made $4.5 million in income from renting out their bedrooms and homes, according to a report from the company that markets short-term lodging rentals,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Steamboat’s Airbnb market had the sixth-highest guest count in Colorado and ranked above other resort towns including Vail, which brought in 21,000 guests. Steamboat was second in the resort market only to Breckenridge, which reportedly brought in 89,000 guests while making $16.5 million in host income.”

“Summit County’s local governments are inching toward unified regulations for short-term rentals, potentially following Breckenridge’s lead in establishing more stringent rules to ensure owners don’t shirk town rules or avoid paying taxes,” reports Summit Daily. “So far, Breckenridge is the only town to mandate that owners include business license numbers in rental listings. But Dillon is considering that approach as well, and the Summit County government could implement similar regulations as soon as May. Should Frisco and Silverthorne follow suit, officials would likely have a better handle on how widespread short-term renting is, which reduces the area’s tight housing stock but also allows homeowners to boost their incomes.”

“A real estate professional and an economist offered a familiar message Thursday night about Northern Colorado’s hot housing market: Expect more of the same in 2018,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “At Windermere Real Estate’s annual market forecast, Windermere president Eric Thompson and Seattle-based company economist Matthew Gardner used reams of statistics to paint a national picture of steady economic growth and an inevitable recession that’s still a couple of years away, and, regionally, a continued shortage of houses to buy and rising home prices. Thompson showed how the average price of single-family homes in Northern Colorado has broken through barriers in recent years. In 2014, it was the $300,000 price point; just four years later, the average in Loveland and Fort Collins broke $400,000.”

“Winter in the Eagle River Basin has gotten off to a slow start, leading water managers to keep a close eye on snowpack and spring streamflow predictions,” reports the nonprofit Aspen Journalism for Vail Daily. “As of Wednesday, Jan. 17, the Upper Colorado River headwaters were at 84 percent of normal precipitation for this water year, which runs from October 2017 through September 2018. The current snow totals could have big implications for the region’s water provider, the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District.”

“Which came first? A commitment from mega-sporting goods store Scheels to build near the junction of Interstate 25 and U.S. Highway 34 and attract new retailers, or an influx of new retailers that drew Scheels to the highly traveled intersection?” asks The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “It’s hard to know how much one had to do with the other, but regardless, Johnstown’s northern edge is growing at a furious pace. Johnstown Plaza at 2534, a development project started more than a decade ago, is coming into its own in 2018.”

“First steps toward creating a special stormwater district soon may be set in motion,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The Cañon City Vision Committee on Tuesday agreed to move forward with the process of creating the district that would require an election in November 2019, while at the same time continuing to look at a rate increase that would take effect April 1.”

“Boulder County average monthly rents hit an all-time high last year, with apartment dwellers paying more than $1,600, up nearly 5 percent from 2016,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “That increase is almost twice the national average, according to data from real estate analytics company RealPage. However, price growth in 2017 was slower than the county had seen in previous years.”

“Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers is leaning against a plan to put a downtown sports and event center in city-owned Antlers Park, although he hasn’t ruled it out,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Suthers, back in town Thursday after a two-day economic development trip to China, said he’s worried about legal questions raised by City Attorney Wynetta Massey related to Antlers Park. In an opinion last year after the proposal surfaced, Massey said a sports and event center would violate restrictions designed to protect public use of the park.”

“The hunt for more water to sustain the Colorado Front Range development boom has driven metro Denver suppliers to try to tap a new source: defunct mountain gold mines,” reports The Denver Post. “And proponents say this emerging approach could help fix the West’s long-ignored environmental problem of old mines draining acid metals-laced muck into streams. Aurora Water officials on Thursday revealed they’re pursuing a $125 million purchase of underground water at the London Mine complex south of Breckenridge. Discharges from that mine for years have contaminated Denver’s and Aurora’s South Park watershed with cancer-causing cadmium and fish-killing zinc. The deal, if Aurora council members approve it, would give Aurora up to 5,400 acre-feet of fresh water — enough for 30,000 new residents. Aurora Water would pump the water up from an underground reservoir that holds 100,000 acre-feet of water beneath the mine, perched along the Continental Divide, using two 1,000-feet-deep stainless steel wells.”

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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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