The Home Front: Would new federal Land Management rules limit free speech?

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel today reports how critics of proposed Bureau of Land Management rules in Colorado “say they would limit free speech, and mark an escalation in efforts to squelch public comment also reflected by a shift to online oil and gas lease sales.” The BLM Colorado office “received some 560 comments by Monday’s deadline in the case of supplementary rules the agency says it is proposing to better safeguard the public and reduce resource damage.” BLM spokesman Steven Hall told the newspaper the vast majority of comments consisted of form letters raising concerns that the rules infringe on First Amendment rights.

More from the Sentinel:

The proposals causing a stir include ones barring actions such as disrupting BLM meetings and gatherings, keeping people from entering or leaving BLM facilities, impeding BLM employees in carrying out their duties, and demonstrating outside designated demonstration areas, when the agency has issued a written finding that such an area needs to be established.

“Others would prohibit disorderly conduct and engaging in rioting or inciting five or more people to riot, and would bar people from remaining at BLM facilities past posted business hours unless authorized,” the paper reported.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports how Black Hills Energy’s household customers “will only pay an additional 60 cents a month or $3.70 for small businesses after the Colorado Public Utilities Commission cut the utility’s requested electric rate hike by more than 80 percent last week.”

“Four years after being skipped over for a new building in favor of a more-worn-out school sibling, Greeley West High School is more crowded than ever, according to finalized student count data released this week,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The high school, 2401 35th Ave., was built 51 years ago — along with a few others. At the time, Greeley West was true to its name, one of the westernmost structures in Greeley and bordering cornfields. Now as Greeley’s growth has surrounded the high school. The number of students roaming the hallways has grown, too.”

Steamboat Today is reporting that suspects in need of detox will be taken to the Routt County jail because of the high cost of a detox facility. “It’s not how we want it to be, but the cost got so high that we could no longer afford it,” Sheriff Garrett Wiggins told the newspaper. Up until October, “the city and county had been contracting with Mind Springs Health to run detox out of a room in the Routt County Justice Center. Before that, Mind Springs workers would come to the jail to monitor people brought in for detox,” the paper reported.

Meanwhile, jail capacity is a big concern for the sheriff in the circulation area of The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. He told the paper, “we don’t have any preconceived notions” about what’s next for short-term imprisonment in Larimer County. Smith said the county will enlist consultants and construction experts to determine its next moves.

The Boulder Daily Camera fronted a piece about Heisman Trophy winner Rashaan Salaam who went to CU-Boulder and was found dead of an apparent suicide in a Boulder park Monday. “Police on Wednesday would not confirm or deny the existence of a note, saying the investigation was ongoing. While the suicide has not been confirmed, some who knew him were not surprised.”

“The clock is ticking on the number of days left to get packages in the mail if residents want them to arrive before Christmas Day,” reports The Durango Herald. “Durango Postmaster Victoria Delsid said she expects Monday to be the busiest shipping day of the year, but residents have until Dec. 15 if they want ground-delivery packages to arrive by Dec. 25.”

The Cañon City Daily Record, reporting on its departing police chief, couldn’t resist running a photo of the local lawman waving from inside an Oscar Mayer Wiener mobile. You know, a traveling hotdog. “Paul Schultz turned in his resignation Tuesday after being offered a new position in Fort Morgan,” the paper reported. “Schultz, who has 44 years of law enforcement experience, said the job offered to him is something new and an opportunity that he could not turn down.”

Colorado’s new law that allows terminally ill patients to obtain drugs from a doctor so they can end their lives could go into effect within 10 days, reports The Denver Post. “I fully expect people to begin requesting prescriptions on the first day that the law is effective,” Kat West, national director of policy and programs for Compassion & Choices, which ran the end-of-life options campaign in Colorado, told the paper.

The Gazette reports how Colorado Springs police officers and shelter operators “urged homeless people Wednesday to seek shelter from the season’s first winter storm after dozens of beds went unused earlier this week.”