News Nuggets, 10 August 2009: Atomic Age redux in Naturita

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NUCLEAR SIREN: The Durango Herald today launched the first in a series on a proposal to open a uranium mill near the town of Naturita, between Durango and Grand Junction. People are frightened, recalling the experience of radiation sickness and death they know well from the past. The area processed uranium for the first atomic bomb. Uranium town Uravan, just a few miles north of Naturita, was wiped off the map after being declared ultra-contaminated in the 1980s. Yet locals are also lured by the return of mining money and jobs.

“My vegetables came out of the garden at Uravan. My dad died of it at an early age. There’s a lot of people here whose fathers died of it. But we wouldn’t want it here unless we thought it was safe for our children and grandchildren.”

OIL AND GAS CON: Petroglyph Energy came to Walsenburg to extract methane gas from coal. Unlike traditional drilling, Petroglyph went after coal seams in drinkable water. The grand enterprise didn’t go exactly as planned. Residential structures have been blown to smithereens. “We’ve been asked to live with something that’s colorless and odorless and not to live in fear,” says Melanie Bounds crying. “I don’t feel safe in my own home.”

CROSSING THE RUBICON: Does Colorado really need government regulations and codes hobbling the oil and gas industry? Never mind methane in the water blowing up the dream homes of mountain residents. We’ll tell you where regulators need to be watching. They need to focus on the unsafe, tiny, nascent medical marijuana business! We have to move real slowly there and with an excess of caution.

FUR CON: Cute cuddly purrfectly normal grown-up people who like dressing in furry animal costumes held a convention in Denver this weekend. “It’s fun to pretend to be a cat, to be completely honest. Mine’s a jaguar,” Furry Jennifer Westfall said.

UFO CON: They take a very scientific approach. They investigate with the FAA and the military. They look at wind direction. The research is based strictly on facts. Of course, if you experience an unusual sighting, a purple or green hazy something in the nighttime sky, a spinning disc, an unearthly someone in a passing winged contraption, you can report it anonymously at the group website.

Compiled with Ernest Luning.

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