The Home Front: Ex-Colorado sheriff employee told to ‘keep quiet’ about jail death

“A former Fremont County Sheriff’s Office employee who was told to keep quiet about the death of an inmate at the jail in April 2014 has come forward in the wake of the release of a deposition taken as part of a lawsuit,” The Pueblo Chieftain reports today. “Former Fremont County sheriff’s Capt. Don Pinover said at the time of the death of John Patrick Walter, 53, of Florence, it was his responsibility to write and send out press releases for the sheriff’s department. ‘I was basically told to keep quiet,’ Pinover told The Pueblo Chieftain this week. ‘I was told to have no involvement and that there would be no press release.'” Fremont County authorities “are being sued in connection with Walter’s death,” according to the paper. “The attorneys who filed the suit allege Walter died due to withdrawal from prescribed medications.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel lays out the opening the day of the latest legislative session. “The state’s first Latina speaker of the Colorado House said during Wednesday’s opening day of the Legislature that she’s not going to put up with any kind of hate or fear-mongering,” the paper reports. “Denver Democrat Crisanta Duran, who took charge of the 65-member House on the first day of the 71st Colorado General Assembly, said there are forces at work that are trying to divide the state and nation, particularly against women and minorities. ‘There is a dangerous movement afoot that threatens to rip our social fabric and unwind decades of good work by members of both political parties,’ Duran said. ‘It goes beyond mere partisan jockeying. It is an elevation of hate and fear. If we do not call out hate and racism when we see it … our democracy itself is at risk.'”

“Colorado’s favorite vehicles will need dramatic makeovers to meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s aggressive fuel efficiency standard of 54.5 miles per gallon by 2025,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “From the No. 1 Subaru Outback to the Honda Accord, all 10 of Colorado’s most popular vehicles will have to roughly double or triple their fuel economies to make the mark. That means, if the rule holds, the Colorado car market will look drastically different in the coming years.”

Steamboat Today reports how the Steamboat Springs City Council “does not appear to be willing to buy another piece of property on Yampa Street that some community members have eyed as another riverside park with a new pedestrian bridge. Council President Walter Magill said the city has higher priorities downtown. “This investment isn’t the best investment of the city’s funds,” Magill said. But some council members appear open to the possibility of at least purchasing a trail and bridge easement on the parcel under certain conditions.”

“He’s been hit by lightning twice, infested by bugs, a home for hawks and bees, and now pushed by the wind,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. That would be Redman, “a woodcarving in the image of a Native American that has been an unofficial landmark in Loveland for decades, is showing his age. Due to the recent high winds, the piece is now leaning a little toward the southeast. Although barely noticeable from the road, the base is lifted a few inches showing the jack screws that have anchored him for more than years.”

The Longmont Times-Call reports how “a water tap and a contentious Longmont City Council meeting are at the center of a lawsuit against the city filed in November. Robert Gourley, who lives in Longmont, asked council in October to approve changing a residential water tap in Hygiene to a commercial water tap so he could construct an indoor marijuana grow at 7593 Hygiene Road. The question about Hygiene came about because the water tap ties into Longmont’s existing system and Longmont law says council can offer a water tap outside of city limits if there is a clear benefit to Longmont residents.”

“During a regularly scheduled Johnstown-Milliken Re-5J School District Board of Education meeting Wednesday, more than 100 residents packed into a meeting room at the district office, with much of the crowd asking for the resignation of Roosevelt High School principal Trevor Long after four years on the job,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “While other concerns were raised about Long, a prominent portion of the discussion focused on the insinuation that Rough Riders football coach Noland Eastin was forced out by administrators, notably Long.”

The Durango Herald reports how a home owners’ tax break spells trouble for La Plata County’s budget. “Colorado properties will be reappraised this year, which happens every two years and means each property receives an updated market valuation based on recent sales of similar properties,” the paper reports. “Some values are expected to increase. La Plata County Assessor Craig Larson said based on preliminary analyses, the county could lose $800,000 in revenue because of a 35-year-old state constitutional amendment intended to keep residential property taxes in check.”

“A family of four, including two young children, were found dead Tuesday night, victims of an apparent triple murder and suicide that shocked their neighbors at a southeast Colorado Springs mobile home park,” reports The Gazette. “Five-year-old Laela Barcenas Badillo, 8-year-old Rodolfo Barcenas Badillo Jr. and 26-year-old Lucero Badillo Castillo died of gunshot wounds, according to Colorado Springs police. Their deaths were ruled homicides by the El Paso County Coroner’s Office. Police suspect that Rodolfo Barcenas Alcantara, the fourth person found dead in the residence on El Morro Road, shot himself after shooting the three other victims. His death was ruled a suicide, police said.”

The Boulder Daily Camera reports how “in June, city officials say, the $5.4 million underpass currently being constructed at Baseline Road just east of Broadway will open to the public, offering a new passage for non-motorized travelers between the University of Colorado campus and the Basemar Shopping Center. By the year 2020, Boulder expects to add another six underpasses.”

“The Aspen School District removed all seat belts from its largest school buses during the past month and a half because of safety concerns,” officials told The Aspen Times. “Lap belts can be more damaging to the human body in frontal accidents than none at all,” Gary Vavra, the district’s transportation director, told the paper. “For the safety of the children, … we decided it was safer to take them off than leave them on there.”

Partisanship in the Donald Trump era overshadowed the first day of the Colorado legislative session, reports The Denver Post. “Colorado’s top lawmakers struck starkly different tones to open the 2017 legislative session Wednesday, with Democratic leaders in the state House calling for cooperation even as Republicans outlined an agenda that includes repealing the state’s health insurance exchange. House Speaker Crisanta Duran, who became the state’s first Latina speaker, made a plea for lawmakers to keep ‘Washington-style politics’ — marked by cynicism, divisiveness and broken promises — out of Colorado.”

Denverite has a feature about fishing on Colorado’s frozen lakes. “Although it’s difficult to quantify, ice fishing is on the rise in Colorado. The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Department can’t put a number on it because it doesn’t keep tabs on ice fishing specifically, but the most avid ice fishermen say they’ve seen frozen-over lakes get more and more traffic in recent years.”

ColoradoPolitics previews Gov. John Hickenlopper’s legacy-locking State of the State address.