Wiretap: Water woes, silver linings and a Big Pharma pariah – and today’s front pages across Colorado

Sunshine and water

Conservationists in California had a novel idea for tackling that state’s water woes: requiring water agencies to reveal how much water businesses like golf courses and farms are guzzling. The bill started out as an ambitious attempt to shine light on the amounts of water and electricity that are used by companies and public institutions in a time of drought and climate change, but later was limited just to water. The newspaper industry and other freedom of information advocates loved the idea (as do we at The Independent). But California lawmakers scuttled even the pared down version last week. Via The Desert Sun.


Senator’s daughter becomes the latest Big Pharma pariah

Remember when Martin Shkreli became the nation’s most reviled businessman for jacking up prices on an AIDS drug from $13.50 a pill to $750? Well, consumers have a new big pharma exec to revile for skyrocketing prescription prices: Heather Bresch, is the head of Mylan, the drug company accused of jacking up price of the EpiPen, which treats severe allergic reactions. As it happens, she’s the daughter of Joe Manchin, a Democratic U.S. senator from West Virginia and the state’s former governor. Hillary Clinton chimed in about the EpiPen price hike Wednesday, callingit “outrageous.” On Wednesday, the Senate Special Committee on Aging asked Bresch to turn over information used by Mylan’s board of directors related to the price increases. As national ire grows over drug price hikes, this is a story to watch. Via Bloomberg


Silver linings

Wanda Witter, a homeless woman in D.C. , long has told anybody who’d listen that the Social Security Administration has been ripping her off. Nobody much listened. That is, until a social worker took the time to hear Witter out and comb through years of un-cashed Social Security checks written for the incorrect amount. Witter’s claims weren’t as crazy as they sounded. “If I just cashed them, who would believe me that they were wrong?” Witter told the Associated Press. The feds, as it turns out, owe her $99,999 – enough not only to vindicate Witter, but also do get her off the streets and into an appartment. Via The Associated Press.


A new type of forest dweller

Speaking of homelessness, The New York Times takes a look at the growing number of people for whom national forests are a retreat of last resort. Colorado’s national forests are a case in point, as we saw last month when the 600-acre Cold Springs fire was started by wanderers camping out on U.S. Forest Service land near Nederland.


Take two Tylenol before reading this

We’re all well aware of Facebook’s enormous power. But John Herrmann writes about a strange new kind of media outlet that’s overtaking political discourse at an alarming pace. The title of Hermann’s reported essay, “Inside Facebook’s (Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan) Political-Media Machine,” speaks volumes. Be warned: this must-read could make your head hurt. Via The New York Times.


Plus, here are your front page headlines across Colorado for Thursday, Aug. 25:
The Greeley Tribune has a piece about how the oil and gas slump in Colorado is causing concern for school districts in Weld County. SPOILER: “A substantial decrease recently in natural gas resource production affected the assessed valuation of the district in a very negative way.”

The Boulder Daily Camera fronts a piece about a local ballot measure that county staffers say might violate state law.

The Pueblo Chieftain has a story about a local traffic fix for Pueblo West.

The Fort Collins Coloradoan runs an A1 piece about a local contractor paying thousands for a fish kill on the Big Thompson River. “Something went wrong that day.”

The Loveland Reporter-Herald has a story about how hard it can be to identify local voters who can vote on local ballot measures that affect them.

The Boulder Daily Camera runs a story about an overnight manhunt to capture a bleeding gunman on the loose. (They found the 34-year-old suspect, who might have shot himself in the head.)

The Durango Herald fronts a story about a local school district ramping up security. Locks, buzzers, stuff like that. (The online story comes with a video.)

The Canon City Daily Record has a story about Republican State Treasurer Walker Stapleton touring the area in opposition to the ColoradoCare universal healthcare ballot measure.

The Aspen Times fronts a local debate over building a new City Hall and what to do with the old one. (A fight over new and old Aspen, apparently, with a joke for a lede.)

The Denver Post has the backstory to a deadly February shootout with Martin Wirth, a man a local sheriff’s office was trying to evict. (“Multiple threats made.”)

The Gazette in Colorado Springs has Gov. John Hickenlooper on the front page today, with a headline saying he might “order ambitious cuts” in Colorado’s carbon emissions.


Photo credit: Global Panorama, Creative Commons, Flickr 

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.