The Home Front: Gas patch jobs, utility rate hikes, marijuana sales and Donald Trump

Stories about higher utility rates populate the front pages of newspapers from Longmont to Durango and Fort Collins— and all for different reasons. Meanwhile, marijuana sales are through the roof in one town, while another deals with a new state law allowing its use in schools. There’s news about jobs on the gas patch and about a wild fire. In other words, a typical Colorado day on the home front.

An oil company’s purchase of assets in the Gulf of Mexico will bring jobs to Weld County, reports The Greeley Tribune. “Anadarko Petroleum announced late Monday a $2 billion buy of some assets in the Gulf of Mexico. The bottom line for Weld is the deal will free up $3 billion which Anadarko will use to enhance operations in its top U.S. oil plays, the Delaware Basin in Texas and the Denver-Julesburg Basin in Colorado. Weld provides the fertile drilling ground in the DJ Basin for several companies, and Anadarko is the largest operator.”

A story in The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent today reports the Lost Solar fire is “more a marathon than a sprint.” Burning since last month after a lightning strike started it, “the Lost Solar Fire in the western Flat Tops Wilderness has grown to about 4,500 acres. But U.S. Forest Service personnel say they could hardly have prescribed a better fire.”

Longmont’s city council is considering hiking local power rates, reports the Times-Call. “If the council approves the ordinance on a second reading, then Longmont electric rates would rise an average of 3.4 percent starting Jan. 1. Longmont Power & Communications needs to raise the rate primarily to cover a cost increase on wholesale power from Platte River Power Authority, LPC General Manager Tom Roiniotis told the council in July.”

Man Bemoans Free Money. Pueblo resident Bob Hufford tells his local paper, The Chieftain, that he can’t unravel the bureaucracy of a government program and keeps getting child support checks after his foster children have been returned to their birth parents. “I’ve had a check as small as $6 and I’ve had $195,” Hufford told the paper. “And $65 was the last check I got Monday. I’m like, ‘Why are you continuing to send me these checks?’ ”

Colorado’s Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, is considering an executive order to cut carbon emissions. And that could mean “additional restrictions or costs for Rawhide Energy Station, which produces coal-fired electricity for Fort Collins, Loveland, Estes Park and Longmont. Those costs would likely be passed on to consumers through the various utilities Rawhide serves,” reports The Fort Collins Coloradoan.

Steamboat Today has a front-page feature about how the local marijuana industry is, ahem, in the green. “Through July, marijuana dispensaries in Steamboat Springs sold almost $900,000 more in product than they did during the first seven months of 2015. And by the end of the year, city officials are expecting more than $10 million worth of marijuana will have been sold in the city.”

The Loveland Reporter Herald today takes a look back at a bad flood a few years ago.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports a local district attorney is calling a Fox News story about a local case a “ridiculous cheap shot.” The story, says the DA, “was very inaccurate and based totally on defense sources of what the evidence was. We’ve already contacted Fox News and asked why they did not contact us and get a fair and valid story, but we have not heard back.” The Fox News story, the paper reports, paints a man convicted of stalking as a victim in a plot by a woman to help her obtain a visa.

“The Basalt Town Council voted Tuesday night to ease restrictions on where marijuana shops can open but kept buffers intact to keep pot shops off the main drag,” reports The Aspen Times. “Opening up more zone districts will allow potential shop operators to look at more places in town. For example, a portion of the commercial center off Basalt Center Circle will be eligible for pot shops. Large portions of Orchard Plaza, where City Market is located, and Willits Town Center also will be eligible, if desired, by making changes to their land-use approvals.”

In Durango, utility bills are set to jump, the local paper, The Durango Herald, reports. “Water, sewer, trash and recycling rates will likely increase next year, but the average city utility bill won’t be as high as expected. The average residential utility bill is expected to be about $109 per month next year, up from about $99 per month this year, according to city estimates.”

A local school board in Cañon City is deciding how it will handle a new state law allowing students to use medical marijuana while at school, according to the local newspaper. “‘Jack’s Law’ was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper on June 6 and the law states that students with a valid prescription for medical marijuana will be allowed to receive treatments on school property with or without help from a school nurse.”

Donald Trump has his foot in the door in Colorado, a recent poll shows, and The Donald will be in Colorado Springs on Saturday, according to this morning’s Denver Post. “Democratic strategist Rick Ridder said the polling trend is a natural phenomenon in Colorado, where party registration is evenly split and independents make it a swing state..”

Ever driven down South Nevada Ave. in Colorado Springs and ogle all the old iconic signs for crumbling hotels and motels? Well, now those pieces of Americana can be yours. They’re for sale, reports The Gazette. “Two 1950s-era signs, whose brightly lit neon once beckoned guests to the now-shuttered Chief Motel and Stardust Lodge, are for sale – prized pieces of Americana that sign aficionados say harken back to a different time.”

The Colorado Springs Independent, the city’s alt-weekly, has a cover story out today about pickling.

Denverite asks if “Menver” is a myth, and does the math. “The rumors of Denver as a buffet for heterosexual single women stretch at least back to 2010, when my high school best friend told me of the mythical “Menver,” a city where available men grossly outnumber women.”