The Home Front: From panhandling in Pueblo to graffiti in Glenwood Springs

The Pueblo Chieftain reports the city’s hands are tied on panhandling. “The courts have determined that panhandling is a form of free speech,” City Attorney Dan Kogovsek said during a City Council work session, according to the paper. “And Colorado courts in particular have been liberal in protecting the rights of people to ask you for money on the street.” The Chieftain reports “Council hasn’t been much concerned about begging but periodically the issue crops up. The increase in homeless people coming to the area in recent years also has translated into more beggars — standing at roadsides, on medians or approaching people in parking lots.”

“With as many as six or seven local tax initiatives possibly heading for the ballot in 2017, some community groups are starting to take steps they hope will prevent a case of tax heartburn in the electorate that dooms them all,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “I think everyone recognizes that if we all go with a (tax) question, there’s a likelihood most, if not all of us, would not be successful,” a local school district superintendent told the paper.

“Loveland City Council members broke established practice Tuesday night when they responded to public comments on a familiar topic: the employment status of Loveland police detective Brian Koopman,” The Reporter-Herald reports. “Commenters in the council chambers Tuesday night alleged negligence on the City Council’s part for its inaction to fire the detective they accuse of lies and misconduct. Several commenters called for council members to be taken off their ‘pedestals’ and to be recalled by voters.”

The Longmont Times-Call carries a dispatch from a city council meeting last night. The open forum “offered residents the chance to spout off about anything they wanted, and they did on everything from retail marijuana to inconsiderate motorists. But one topic came up far more than others — fracking.”

Meanwhile, “Lafayette’s City Council on Tuesday night voted to table an anti-fracking ordinance that could impede oil and gas development within Lafayette through sanctioning acts of civil disobedience and non-violent protest,” The Boulder Daily Camera reports. “The decision, which was stalled on first reading to an unknown future date due to a lack of council members in attendance, came in front of an emotional and unwavering standing-room-only crowd that battled for nearly three hours of public comment over the future of fracking within Lafayette. “We are not afraid of you — none of these people out there are afraid of you,” one resident told representatives of Colorado Oil and Gas. “We can’t avoid this fight,” he added, according to the paper. “It’s in our living room right now. It’s not one of those times in history where being afraid is going to help you.”

The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports on local progressives who are feeling a post-election urgency.

“Future city council members and mayors in Greeley will earn a little more money for their work for the first time since 2004,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The Greeley City Council on Tuesday approved a 25 percent raise for each position, but none of them will see that money unless they’re re-elected. In Mayor Tom Norton’s case, as well as council members John Gates and Sandi Elder, they may never see that money. They’re all term-limited. “I just want to clarify, most of us will not see these increases,” Council member Robb Casseday said. “We’re not voting ourselves raises.” That setup is thanks to the city charter.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel has a bizarre story about a local motorist suing a jet pilot who buzzed him while on the road, slicing through power lines and causing the motorist permanent hearing loss and injuries to his hands and wrists from gripping the steering wheel so tightly in fear.

A graffiti spree swept Glenwood Springs, and police are looking at video to find out whodunnit, The Post-Independent reports. “First the Glenwood Springs Freemasons discovered Monday morning that their lodge had been tagged with graffiti that appeared intended to be satanic. Investigators suspected the perpetrators were also responsible for a couple more small incidents of spray-paint graffiti nearby. The 86-year-old Masonic lodge was marred by a giant red star painted on the front doors, and a blue pentagram and the words “Hail Satan” were painted on a second-story door. By Tuesday morning, several more locations were hit, including Glenwood Springs High School, the Glenwood Springs Post Office, some businesses and the Christian Science church. Police Chief Terry Wilson said authorities didn’t have any suspects in the vandalism Tuesday but are reviewing security camera footage.”

The Durango Herald reports how Democrats in the Colorado House of Representatives “came under fire Tuesday from their Republican counterparts for assigning several bills to a committee with a reputation for being the place where legislation is sent to die.” A release from the House GOP said, “House Speaker Crisanta Duran, D-Denver, has already departed from her bipartisan commitment by sending seven Republican-sponsored bills to the heavily Democrat-weighted House State, Veterans and Military Affairs committee – better known as the kill committee,” the paper reports. “The list includes bills that focused on Second Amendment rights, free exercise of religion and several that govern tax exemptions in Colorado. In response, Duran said, ‘every bill introduced this session, in every committee, will get a fair hearing and get an up or down vote.'”

“About 18 months after landslides started shaking and destroying 27 Colorado Springs homes, a rewrite of the city’s geological hazards ordinance was deemed Tuesday to be ready for a vote,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “City Councilmen Don Knight and Tom Strand have spent six months working on the law, chiefly to ensure that state geologists get more say on how to build appropriately in the landslide susceptibility zone. Knight initially called for a moratorium on building in that zone west of Interstate 25, citing a culture that valued developer rights over residents’ safety.”

The Cañon City Daily Record reports on the re-opening of old wounds in a cold case murder of a 17-year-old girl, Candace Hiltz, that rocked the town in 2006 now that evidence from it was found in the personal storage unit of a sheriff’s employee.

Vail native Mike Johnston is running for governor, reports Vail Daily. The Democratic state senator announced Tuesday in Denver. “Colorado was built on a sense of ‘frontier fairness,’” Johnston said, according to the paper. “That hard work under the right conditions leads to opportunity, that opportunity allows us to define our own future. It’s time to make real the sense of frontier fairness that will carry us through the next 150 years.”

The Aspen Times reported on local women preparing to march on Washington, D.C. this weekend in protest to Donald Trump.

“Nurses and doctors seeking professional licenses in Colorado would have to pass fingerprint-based criminal background checks — a requirement in most states — under a proposal backed by state regulators,” The Denver Post reports. “The Department of Regulatory Agencies is pushing for the change. Rep. Janet Buckner, a Democrat from Aurora, is the primary sponsor of the legislation the state agency is backing.”