The Home Front: Airport-style body scanners in a Colorado jail?

The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports on how a local jail will spend $200,000 for airport-style body scanners to X-ray inmates. “A smuggled lighter, a baggie of drugs and a few stamps can get you a long way if you’re an inmate in the Larimer County Jail,” the paper writes. “But jail officials say a newly implemented full-body X-ray scanner — similar to what travelers encounter at airport security — has already stopped contraband from sneaking into the county lockup. At the same time, the new device is practically eliminating invasive and degrading strip searches, a protocol change that top brass say benefits inmates and staffers alike.”

“After a year of rising rents, Greeley residents can expect a difficult time trying to find affordable rentals in the city,” The Greeley Tribune reports. “A survey from the Colorado Department of Local Affairs Division of Housing shows the rental market in Greeley is tight, with a vacancy rate of only 3.7 percent at year’s end. In Fort Collins, the vacancy rate is even lower at 3.3 percent. Loveland has a higher vacancy rate of 8.7 percent. The ideal vacancy rate is about 5 percent, providing enough demand for landlords to stay in business while also giving them time to make repairs between renters.”

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel follows a local police officer around as he checks on homeless shelters, and calculates the taxpayer tab for cleaning them up. “The scene isn’t much different from a cleanup under the Fifth Street Bridge last year, which also cost the city about $2,000. Just steps off the Colorado Riverfront Trail behind bridge supports, hypodermic needles littered the ground. Household items were stowed in the dirt and strewn about.”

“Amidst the dawn of a new presidential administration and the ongoing Dakota Access Pipeline issue, demonstrators, it seems, are a more frequent sight both nationally and in Durango,” reports The Durango Herald. “To many, sign-wielding protesters are little more than nuisances, cliches and whiners. But Anthony Nocella, an assistant professor at Fort Lewis College, insists that it matters. Nocella teaches sociology, criminology, gender and women’s studies, environmental studies, and peace and conflict studies, frequently instructing, literally, by demonstration. Last November, he led students to Standing Rock to join tribes across the nation in protest of the Dakota Access Pipeline, and to bring protesters warm clothing.”

The Denver Post fronts a piece about the appeal of a 114-year sentence for a convicted child abuser whose daughter went missing. “Appellate lawyers for convicted child abuser Aaron Thompson say the 114-year sentence he received — much of it for the disappearance and presumed death of his daughter, Aaroné — should be tossed because he was not allowed to keep his original attorney, a constitutional guarantee,” the paper reports. “In a 142-page document filed with the Colorado Court of Appeals, Thompson’s lawyers cite nine reasons that either necessitate a new trial or, at the minimum, a lighter sentence. His appeal is to be heard this month.”

“A dozen people face racketeering charges in a scheme involving a three-month burglary spree in which new cellphones were swiped from store shelves in Colorado Springs and later sold at a discount by a local electronics dealer,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “An El Paso County grand jury investigated in secret before handing up an indictment Jan. 23, records show. Colorado Springs police and local prosecutors did not announce the arrests. At the center of the allegations is Carlos Rene Trejo, the owner of GT Electronics, 3846 Maizeland Road, where authorities say new cellphones could be purchased for cheap.”

The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent reports how despite budget cuts, libraries in Garfield County gain popularity. “We’re not just the gatekeepers to information anymore,” Jesse Henning, executive director of the Garfield County Public Library District, said. “Libraries and library staff are becoming information navigators. We have this huge deluge of information that’s hitting us all the time, and sifting through what is fact and what is fictional, what is vetted and what is spurious — that’s the service we offer.”