The Home Front: ‘Ballot-selfie’ law questioned in federal court, homicides spike in Denver

The Gazette continues its investigation into water contamination caused by a fire-fighting foam used by the Air Force. “A top Air Force official strongly defended the service’s use of toxic firefighting foam Wednesday, saying airmen never ‘knowingly and intentionally’ put the community at risk, despite Air Force studies dating to the 1970s that showed chemicals like those in the foam were harmful to laboratory animals.” The Wednesday news conference “came 10 days after a Gazette investigation revealed decades of research from military scientists, including a string of Air Force studies, warning of the foam’s danger. In 1991, the Army Corps of Engineers called for a ban on the foam’s use at Fort Carson, citing environmental concerns. In 1997, the Corps issued a wider directive telling soldiers to treat the foam as a hazardous material that shouldn’t be put down sewers.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on the latest technological advancement to curb pollution from oil-and-gas sites: microbes. That’s right, germs. “A pilot facility at the county’s landfill at the base of the Roan Plateau near Rulison is using microbes to clean petroleum-contaminated soil. The facility is the first of its kind in Colorado, officials say, and unique for a public facility in terms of the blend of technologies it incorporates.”

“On Thursday, artists John and Sally King will ask Boulder County commissioners to overturn a county staff denial of the Kings’ proposal to continue to have a detached garage on their 618 Apple Valley Road property that’s bisected by the North St. Vrain Creek near Lyons.” You can decipher what that means by reading the rest in today’s Longmont Times-Call.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports on what might happen if voters pass a local ballot measure called Prop 200: “several projects funded with Pueblo County’s marijuana excise and excess tax revenues will be eliminated, the commissioners said Wednesday.” The measure would ban the sale and production of commercial marijuana.

“The fight for Colorado is in full swing — and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence took umbrage Wednesday night at the idea it was anything but,” reports The Fort Collins Coloradoan. Donald Trump’s running mate rallied a crowd at the Larimer County fairgrounds. “Colorado was never fooled on this thing,” the governor of Indiana told the crowd. “This thing is on.”

The Boulder Daily Camera reports today how kombucha is an unexpected casualty to a local sugary drink tax proposal. “The tax, which appears on ballots as measure 2H, would install a 2-cents-per-ounce excise tax on distributors of drinks with at least 5 grams of added sugar per 12 fluids ounces; three of Dunn’s probiotic teas, which retail on average for $3.29, would barely cross that threshold and thus would be taxed.”

A so-called Ballot-Selfie law concerned a federal judge yesterday during a hearing over whether Colorado should keep the 125-year-old law on its books, according to The Durango Herald. Two lawsuits, one brought by a Republican lawmaker, the other by the spokeswoman for the state Libertarian Party, were the cause of the hearing. “The crux of both cases is that the law is unconstitutional, with the effect of chilling free speech,” the newspaper reports. “Sharing a marked ballot is a misdemeanor crime, punishable by up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine. The 1891 law was enacted to protect against voters being coerced into voting a certain way. Other Colorado laws, however, also protect against voter fraud and coercion.”

The Cañon City Daily Record explains what an advisory vote is on your ballot, like a local question asking voters if a marijuana cultivation center should be allowed in Florence. “Ben Schler, with the Colorado Secretary of State, said advisory votes are common and have been used by city councils or county commissions, especially when attempting to regulate marijuana. Schler explained that certain provisions and statutes under the state law require local governments to use an advisory vote during the general election to make decisions regarding marijuana.”

Denver homicides spiked in October, largely because of domestic violence, The Denver Post reports. “Denver is on pace for another violent year after 12 people were killed in October, putting the number of homicides so far in 2016 at 44 — already the third-highest total in the past decade with two months remaining.”

Bill Clinton will be in Denver Friday. Denverite has the news about where and when.

Proving that TV coverage isn’t the only stereotype for this kind of news genre, The Greeley Tribune reported a front-page story about a cat stuck on top of a local water tower and the efforts of rescue crews to get the cat down. “The animal wasn’t trapped in the typical neighborhood tree; the 21st century kitten in distress opted for a water tower converted to hold cellular infrastructure.”