The Home Front: A Colorado lawmaker found swastikas carved in his local playground

“City employees were dispatched today to quickly cover up a series of swastikas that someone carved into playground equipment at Longmont’s Loomiller Park,” reports the Times-Call newspaper. A local lawmaker discovered and reported the vandalism to the city. Democratic Rep. Jonathan Singer, who lives in Longmont, told the paper he and his wife, Allison Barrett, “were taking their 16-month-old daughter Gwen on a ‘post-New Year’s walk’ through the park at 1700 11th Ave. when they came upon the swastikas that had been scratched into at least four locations in the playground, including a children’s slide.” Singer told the paper “They were very visible,” and, “Honestly, I was really shocked.” The paper reported that Singer, “who was brought up Jewish, said that while there have been reports of the symbol, most often associated with Nazi Germany, having shown up at other locations in Colorado in recent months … ‘it’s certainly something I hadn’t seen for a long time in Longmont.'”

The Gazette in Colorado Springs tracked local homicides for the year and found 29 in the area for 2016. “City police’s clearance rate is less than perfect, but it’s still higher than the national average,” the paper reports. “Numbers turned over by the department show the solve rate for homicides hasn’t dropped below 78 percent in the last seven years, and peaked at 91.3 percent in 2012. This year, it’s currently at 87 percent, with three of the city’s 22 homicides unsolved.”

As the Obama era ends, here’s one potential impact in Colorado: Unclear regulations for oil-and-gas development. Specifically, a federal government proposal “to change royalty rates and other regulations pertaining to oil shale leasing and development remains to be finalized more than three years after being floated, raising the question of whether a final rule will be issued before President Obama leaves office,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

Smoking a cigarette in downtown Glenwood Srpings could cost you $200, according to today’s edition of the Post-Independent. “After Glenwood Springs City Council last summer passed a ban on smoking in downtown between 5 a.m. and 10 p.m., police officers first took a public education approach by spreading the word and fliers to ease the shock of the potential $200 fine for a first offense,” the paper reports. “The second offense in the same calendar year is up to $300, and the third is up to $500.”

The Greeley Tribune today fronts a piece about the devastating effects of identity theft. “According to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation’s website, identity theft “occurs when someone obtains, possesses transfers or uses the personal identifying information of another without that person’s permission.” The crime encompasses theft of financial information, such as bank account numbers or passwords. It’s not a crime that grabs headlines often, but its effects can be devastating for victims,” the paper reports.

Federal changes are likely to impact Colorado, according to Steamboat Today’s second installment of a three-part series on government. “Among the issues lawmakers will likely address are the state’s affordable housing crisis, a rapidly evolving healthcare climate — exacerbated by uncertainty surrounding the ultimate fate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican-controlled Congress have vowed to repeal — and an estimated $500 million state budget shortfall,” the paper reports.

The Coloradoan fronts a story today about Fort Collins business owners who already pay more than the state’s minimum wage, which is going up. “Thanks to the high cost of living in Northern Colorado, some Fort Collins business owners say they are unable to attract employees at the previous wage of $8.31 an hour, while others say they didn’t want to pay so little in this economy,” according to the paper.

Winter is coming. To Boulder at least. “Boulder County temperatures nudged above the 50-degree mark this morning, but for much of the rest of this week, Coloradans can expect a wintry start to the new year, according to local meteorologist Matt Kelsch,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. Kelsch cautioned “there could be some areas of icy fog or freezing drizzle developing along the Front Range by Tuesday morning,” reported the paper.

Colorado’s public employee retirement account, or PERA, finds itself under scrutiny again, reports The Denver Post. “Slower than expected investment growth, coupled with longer retiree lifespans and lower investment assumptions have combined to tip the bulk of the state retirement system well below recommended funding levels, with one division’s mounting unfunded liability setting off alarm bells that could trigger further corrective measures by the legislature,” the paper reports. “As of its most recent financial reports at the end of 2015, the Colorado Public Employees’ Retirement Association has dropped to 62.1 percent funded with a $26.8 billion unfunded liability — nearly seven percentage points less than the 68.9 percent funding ratio it sported before lawmakers enacted reforms in 2010.”