Early Bird Special: Panhandling remains legal in Grand Junction

Here’s our daily roundup of some of the news around Colorado that caught our attention:

• It’s not illegal to ask for spare change on the streets of Grand Junction — at least not yet, anyway, the Daily Sentinel reports. The town’s city council shot down two proposals at its Monday meeting. One would have criminalized begging in most situtations, but city officials worried it might also have made it illegal to hawk wares door-to-door or even for politicians to campaign. The other proposal would have barred soliciting within 50 feet of major intersections. Roughly 80 people — many holding signs, including one that read “Homelessness is not illegal” — packed the city council meeting to testify against the proposed ordinances. Officials have asked city staff to redraft them.

• The computer system that had been frustrating Coloradans applying for jobless benefits by going on the fritz for a few days was working again Tuesday morning, The Denver Post reports. The newspaper first reported Monday that the system, called CUBline Online, stymied applicants Sunday, when half of the 36,000 trying to use the system were unable to process or update their claims. Phone lines for updating claims also had problems. A Colorado Department of Labor spokeswoman said things appeared to be working but bureaucrats weren’t sure what had happened.

Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper had too many friends on Facebook — bumping up against the social-networking site’s limit of 5,000 buddies — so the Democrat is ditching his profile and establishing a fan page, Westword’s Jonathan Shikes reports. The gregarious Hickenlooper can have an unlimited number of fans, and everyone who was a friend will be switched over effortlessly. As of Tuesday evening, the mayor had 6,790 fans at his new digs. Hizzoner’s latest update? Hickenlooper is one of seven named America’s “greenest mayors” by the Mother Nature Network.

• The Colorado Capitol’s famous gold dome will have to keep crumbling for a few more years, The Denver Post’s Claire Trageser reports. Gov. Bill Ritter said Monday that it was more critical while times were tight for the state to pay for safety improvements, including fire exits and a sprinkler system, than to repair the dome. Visitors have been banned from the dome’s walkway since a chunk of cast iron fell off a couple years ago, but officials say the rusting structure is safe. Earlier this year, the State Historical Fund ponied up $3 million to fix the dome, but legislators balked at appropriating the required $8 million to match it so the the history buffs revoked their funds. Sign up for tours of the Capitol dome here — but bring a hardhat.

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Ernest Luning

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