The Home Front: Vandalism and assaults leads a West Slope post office to limit hours

A West Slope post office limiting hours because of vandalism, assaults and vagrants, a local police force on the front lines of overdose medication, road funding, and local killings all grace the front pages of today’s Colorado newspapers. Here’s the roundup:

“Officials will no longer allow 24-hour access to Grand Junction’s downtown post office, after continual problems involving vagrants sleeping in the lobby, vandalism and assaults created safety concerns for patrons and the mail staff,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The U.S. Postal Service announced earlier this month that it would discontinue overnight access to the lobby, which includes a self-serve kiosk for mailing packages and purchasing stamps, as well as post office boxes. The decision came after a pattern of trespassing, loitering, fights and harassment incidents, some involving drugs and alcohol and repeat offenders. In 2016, the Grand Junction Police Department responded to the post office’s address, 241 N. Fourth St., for 99 incidents, including periodic checks on the premises. Officers have already dealt with 20 incidents so far in 2017, according to information provided by the department.”

The Greeley Tribune reports on how local police champion the use an overdose-reversing medicine. “Colorado is just ahead of the game on how to put together a cooperative effort to handle drug issues,” said Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman. “I feel good about where we are at.”

“Pueblo County was granted a motion Thursday that allows the county to join in a federal/state lawsuit against the city of Colorado Springs,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District also was allowed to join the case as an intervenor to protect the district’s interest during the litigation. “We are extremely pleased that the judges granted us the ability to intervene in the case,” said Commissioner Terry Hart. ‘We believe that we have an interest in the case to protect our citizens from anything that happens on Fountain Creek, and the judge apparently recognized that interest.'”

The Steamboat Pilot & Today reports how young professionals have emerged as the most vocal supporters of a new housing proposal. “The professionals see the proposal as a lifeline for younger community members who currently cannot afford to buy homes already available in the city limits,” the paper reports. “‘Will you make room for the future teachers and emergency service workers of this community, or are you guys going to be known as the council that was too scared to move forward, that was too obsessed with fiscal conservatism to think about where to put all the humans?’ realtor Matt Eidt asked the City Council Tuesday night.”

“The latest chapter in the long-running debate over the Northern Integrated Supply Project, or NISP, centers on who should be talking about the project,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “At issue is whether the city of Fort Collins should potentially enter into negotiations with NISP’s main proponent, the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District, on how to mitigate the project’s impacts on the Poudre River within the city. City staff members have proposed beginning in-depth discussions with Northern Water to explore areas of “mutual interest” and possibly negotiate an agreement. City Council would have to approve any agreement, if one were reached.”

The Durango Herald reports how a school district is set to vote on whether to help fund local road improvements. “The school board is scheduled to vote Feb. 28 to commit as much as $375,000 to bring the road up to La Plata County standards, which is required before the county will agree to acquire the road and assume maintenance costs,” the paper reports. ‘The homeowners associations are in partnership to bring closure on the road issue,’ district spokeswoman Julie Popp said. ‘We’ve been in discussions for a few years now.’ Popp said the school’s pledge would likely come from the fund balance. Private homeowners would help cover the remainder of improvements.”

“Recruiting and retaining law enforcement officers and the fight against illegal drugs are two issues the Cañon City Police Department and the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office are challenged with daily,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Sheriff Jim Beicker and Interim Police Chief Allen Cooper were two of several featured guest speakers Thursday during the 2016-17 Leadership Cañon class, hosted by the Cañon City Chamber of Commerce, at the Fremont County Judicial Center, both of whom talked about these issues and more. “We do have a significant drug problem in our county, our state and our nation — it is an epidemic,” Beicker said. ‘In southeast Colorado, we are part of the ‘hot zone’ for the opioid epidemic and overdose.'”

The Denver Post begins a story about an aging sewer pipe in Littleton with this imagery: “A methane-fueled fireball hurls manhole covers hundreds of feet, like giant circular saw blades slicing the air. A pipe more than 60 years old collapses 50 feet underground, causing millions of gallons of raw sewage to back up until the noxious stew flows into the South Platte River. It’s a disaster that hasn’t come to pass yet, but sanitation officials in the south suburbs say the doomsday scenario is “not beyond the realm of possibility.’ ‘This is something that has to be dealt with really quickly,’ said Platte Canyon Water & Sanitation District manager Patrick Fitzgerald.”

“The owner of an east Colorado Springs liquor store, described as someone a thief could not intimidate, was shot and killed during an armed robbery just minutes before closing time at midnight Wednesday, police said,” according to The Gazette. “The victim’s name has not been released by police, but employees of other businesses in the largely vacant north Academy Boulevard strip mall identified him as Donat Herr, owner of Empire Liquor. According to police, he was in his 60s.” Meanwhile, “employees of Falcon School District 49 were stunned after learning the district’s transportation director had been found shot to death on Valentine’s Day near his home in Denver. Richard Hammond, 63, was shot sometime early Tuesday morning while reportedly on his way to work, Denver police said Thursday. He had left his house between 3:30-4 a.m., police said. Hammond was found behind the wheel of his 2012 silver Subaru Impreza, shot to death in an alley half a mile from his house near Bruce Randolph Avenue and York Street, police said.”