The Home Front: a dry February leads to fires and agriculture woes

A recent evaluation of the superintendent of the Poudre School District showed she was rated “partially effective,” according to today’s Fort Collins Coloradoan. Sandra Smyser’s review showed she needed better communication and transparency with the board of education and the community. Her performance dropped in four of the six areas tied to working with the school board and in three of the six areas dealing with community relations.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that the city council appears divided on whether to invest $70 million in bringing high-speed broadband to the area. The Grand Junction City Council will decide Wednesday whether to move into a second phase of a three-phase effort on the project, but council members raised concerns about costs that could be passed on to residents if the project fails or if not enough residents sign up with the provider chosen for the project.

Longmont City Council is growing close to a decision on an ordinance regulating home-growing and production of marijuana, the Longmont Times-Call reports today. The city currently does not limit the number of marijuana plants that can be grown in a home.

Downtown Durango businesses had record-setting sales during the holiday season, according to The Durango Herald. Businesses also set a new record for annual sales, although growth in general was slower than in previous years.

Several northern Colorado newspapers, including the Loveland Reporter-Herald, covered the crash of a single-engine plane into the Berthoud-area Culver Reservoir. The plane’s two male passengers both perished in the crash.

Four record high temperatures were set in Greeley during February, according to the Greeley Tribune. The high temperatures, coupled with a lack of precipitation for the month, are worrying farmers who grow winter wheat and have seen little moisture since mid-January.

The Denver Post reports today that the Salvation Army plans to demolish its Crossroad shelter, located in the River North Arts District. It will rebuild in the same location, but the shelter faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in fines for safety violations tied to the current facility.

Healthy Kids Boulder, which pushed for a tax on sugary drinks in last November’s election, wants the city to remember the purpose of the tax – to dissuade people from consuming sugary drinks. The tax, approved by voters in November, is expected to generate about $4 million per year, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

Aspen is experiencing one of its worst pothole years ever, the Aspen Times reports. City crews are patching potholes on a daily basis, but the most significant work won’t start until the spring thaw. The city saw an unusual amount of snow in January and above-normal temperature in February, which is blamed for the problem.

A grass fire north of Hanover, southeast of Colorado Springs, has burned 3,275 acres and closed the community’s schools, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette. Evacuation orders were lifted Monday evening. The cause of the fire and whether any structures were lost has not been determined.

The preliminary hearing for a Florence woman who is accused of child abuse resulting in death has been delayed so she can hire an attorney, the Cañon City Daily Record reports. Christine Humphrey, who operated a daycare n Florence, has struggled to find an attorney. She is charged with the death of a nine-month old baby who was in her care.