The Home Front: a giant praying mantis at Colorado Mesa University, a problem with used syringes and what’s behind those reports from Xcel about your energy use?

A retiring professor at Mesa State University is donating a sculpture of a praying mantis to the school, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports today. Bruce Baurle, something of a local legend for his entertaining teaching style, has been on the faculty of the university for 46 years. In addition to the sculpture, Baurle also gave a $25,000 scholarship, which will be matched by the university.

Retail sales in Glenwood Springs are up 3.8 percent, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Sales, which are expected to set a record this year, have generated some $14.3 million in sales tax.

The Greeley Tribune today says that the increase in the minimum wage, approved by voters last month, will cost the University of Northern Colorado about $75,000 in the first six months of 2017. That’s not pay for university staff; it’s the $1 per hour raise that students working on campus will get. Of the 1,467 employees making minimum wage, the story said, all but six are students.

Loveland Fire Rescue fought 131 wildfires in 2016, a jump from 100 in 2015, according to today’s Loveland Reporter-Herald. Weather is the biggest determinant on the number of fires each year, according to fire officials; a wet spring means the wildfire season holds off until August or September.

Steamboat Today reports that more than half of the remaining rooms at the Steamboat Sheraton Resort will be converted to timeshares. Under the plan, approved unanimously by the Steamboat Springs planning commission, 188 hotel rooms will be converted to 112 timeshares.The hotel was built in 1981.

A five-year old Fort Collins boy picked up what he thought was a pen from the floor of a local Target. It was a syringe, and the boy accidentally stuck himself with it, according to the Fort Collins Coloradoan, which says the incident points to the need for safe syringe disposal in this northern Colorado community.

The Longmont Times-Call has a story today on a local man’s efforts to promote art therapy. Bradley Books runs the Art of Possibility at the Firehouse Arts Center, which helps developmentally disabled people heal through artistic expression. But the program has a second benefit: it also helps Books recover mentally and physically from his own problems with chronic pain.

The city of Boulder held a menorah party on Monday night, to celebrate the third night of Hanukkah, the Boulder Daily Camera reports today. The festivities, sponsored by the Center for Judaism featured a 10-foot menorah and was attended by about 300 people.

The lack of affordable housing in Durango has become an issue for the disabled and seniors, according to the Durango Herald. The Southwest Center for Independence attempts to help people move from nursing homes to their own places, but Durango also suffers from a shortage of affordable and accessible homes.

The Denver Post today looks at those reports you get from Xcel Energy that compares your energy use to that of your neighbors. As it turns out, how Xcel categorizes who your neighbors are might differ from how you see it.

State rules about the number of marijuana plants grown by caregivers will change on Jan. 1, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. In 2017, caregivers will be required to grow fewer plants compared to the hundreds now that law enforcement says are making their way to the black market.


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.


  1. Folks it is the “Fort Collins Coloradoan” NOT coloradan. Newbs to our state chose to call themselves coloradans over the past decade but for 137 YEARS our paper has been the Coloradoan. Those of us around for this state’s first century all refer to themselves as Colordoans, reason why our paper is named as such. So please if nothing else get the name of your source, the Ft Collins Coloradoan right. It isn’t just you others in the media have done the exact same thing in regards to the paper’s name.

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