The Home Front: The latest issue facing Boulder is … slacklining in parks

The latest issue to hit Boulder: Slacklining in parks. The city “is on the cusp of allowing slacklining in several city parks with a proposed rule change that could be brought into effect by the city manager’s office by the end of January if everything goes according to plan,” according to The Boulder Daily Camera. “An idea is also being floated to install posts at Tantra Park to be used for the sport, which is becoming increasingly popular and has professionals who compete around the world. In October, professional slackliner Taylor VanAllen walked a 500-foot-long line across Eldorado Canyon south of Boulder.” One college student told the paper he got a $250 ticket for slacklining in a park last year. “I learned the hard way,” he said. “I am pleased that the city is at least willing and open to facilitate the conversation.”

The Longmont Times-Call reports on the people who camp in the parking lot of a local JC Penny, like a man named Sam Wells. “He said he ventures out on most days to spend food stamps in nearby King Soopers, walk at Golden Ponds Park, stops at Native Roots and Salud Family Health Centers, always thinking about where he might park next,” the paper reports. “The only reason I’m here is because I can’t afford anywhere else,” Wells told the paper. “I’m running out of my special needs trust money, so as a result I go around looking for places like this.” The Times-Call continues: “In the lot off South Hover Road, campers and lived-in vehicles have clustered for several weeks. Their owners comprise of a fraction of the city’s homeless and mobile population relying on free spots to stay overnight.”

“Citing work demands and his desire to spend more time with his family, Steamboat Springs City Councilman Tony Connell plans to step down from the council next month,” reports Steamboat Today. “In a long goodbye letter to the council, Connell cited the downtown improvement project, police station planning and the hiring of a new city manager and police chief as accomplishments of the current council.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports on Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper’s plan to create a broadband office for the state. In his State of the State speech Thursday, “the governor vowed to get at least 85 percent coverage around the state by the time he leaves office in 2018, and get broadband everywhere in Colorado by 2020,” the paper reports. “Fiber optic cables are today’s power lines for farmers, ranchers and rural small businesses,” the paper quotes the governor saying. “These entrepreneurs helped pull us out of the Great Recession. Now, we need to pull together for them. We need to make sure they’re fairly connected to other counties and countries. If they can’t play on a level field, our economy suffers and we all lose.”

The state of the state, by the way, is strong, reports The Pueblo Chieftain, quoting the governor and excerpting from his speech.

“A Berthoud teen was bound over for trial Thursday on charges of first-degree murder and second-degree kidnapping in the death of his former girlfriend, Ashley Doolittle,” The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports. “In a preliminary hearing Thursday, 8th Judicial District Judge Gregory Lammons ruled 19-year-old Tanner Flores would face both charges after being presented evidence from prosecution and defense attorneys. Flores will enter a plea to each charge at an arraignment Feb. 23.”

The Durango Herald reports on a 14-year-old Durango girl “who broke her pelvis going off a jump at Purgatory Resort” and how she “received words of encouragement Thursday from someone who has endured a similar pain.”

For a proposed new school in Greeley, no desks and no walls are no problem, reports The Greeley Tribune. That would be the Fred Tjardes School of Innovation, “a school based on natural learning through projects, discussions and guidance that will likely open this fall in downtown Greeley. Each of the three founders has their own story that explains how they arrived at the model that literally breaks down walls (the school will have open, but adjustable spaces) takes away desks, chairs and lectures and gives kids experiences and opportunities to explore. Their stories center on what they call the disconnect between what research shows about how kids learn and how schools actually try to teach kids.” The Greeley-Evans School District 6 Board of Education has to approve the school.

The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports the “Poudre School District has 330 fewer students than it expected this year, according to enrollment data released Thursday by the Colorado Department of Education. PSD projected adding 392 students this year, not including those educated at district-authorized charter schools, and growing enrollment by 1.5 percent. Instead the district added 62 non-charter students. Total enrollment including charter schools grew by 155 students, but charter students aren’t included in growth projections.”

The Cañon City Daily Record follows up on a report in yesterday’s Pueblo Chieftain about a former sheriff’s employee in charge of public relations who says he was told to keep quiet about a jail death. The paper couldn’t reach Former FCSO Capt. Don Pinover, but reported how attorneys working on the case are not surprised. “We’ve believed all along there was a cover up. There’s lots of evidence that corroborate this,” one of them told the paper.

American soldiers from Fort Carson in Colorado Springs “rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream some Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia,” reports The Associated Press in The Gazette today. “U.S. and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO’s eastern flank in past years, but the new deployment — which includes some 3,500 U.S. troops — marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally.”

The Denver Post focuses on part of the governor’s speech in which he called for a tax to fix the state’s transportation needs and asked lawmakers to refer a measure to voters about it on the next November ballot. “We’ve had this debate for too long,” the paper quoted the governor saying. “If talk could fill potholes, we’d have the best roads in the country.”

Denverite wanted to know: “What was that red thing next to Gov. Hickenlooper at the State of the State address?” And found it was a pillow version of a bottle of Sriracha hot sauce “nestled on the podium next to the governor’s elbow. But why? Could he find comfort in its soft chile presence? Denverite asked if the governor could comment on the cushion, but he apparently wasn’t even aware it was there.” But photographer Kevin Beaty got to the bottom of it. “As it happens, newly-elected Speaker of the House Crisanta Duran is a big fan of the stuff, and she’d received it as a gift earlier in the day. She left it on the podium, and so this cute little consumer good got to come along for the State of the State.”

ColoradoPolitics reports how mayors along I-25 are applauding the governor’s transportation talk.