The Home Front: I-25 expansion, wild turkeys a-roamin’ in Loveland and a housing lottery in Vail

Violent crime is on the upswing in Grand Junction, the Daily Sentinel reports today. That’s in almost all categories, including robberies, weapons violations, trespassing and theft. The Grand Junction Police Department said it handled six homicides in 2016, including two officer-involved shootings and two cases of child abuse resulting in death.

Carrie Couey of Rifle, the incoming chair of the Garfield County GOP, traveled to Washington, D.C. last week to meet with President Trump, according to the Glenwood Springs Post Independent. Couey initially had doubts about Trump leading the country, but now believes he’s right for the job. Couey was invited to the White House to participate in Trump’s listening tour on the Affordable Care Act; she has been a vocal opponent of the health care law.

The Greeley Tribune reports that the Greeley City Council is hoping it will not have to reduce the number of summer jobs for the city’s youth in the wake of a voter-approved hike in the state’s minimum wage.  The hike will cost the city about $500,000 by 2020, most of it going to seasonal employees like lifeguards and other parks and recreation employees.

Five wild turkeys were spotted in a west Loveland neighborhood Wednesday, according to the Loveland Reporter-Herald. One jumped onto the roof of a parked car and another wandered into an open garage. A spokesperson for the state division of parks and wildlife said their presence is a good sign of environmental health, although the birds can become aggressive around people.

An expansion of I-25 in Pueblo has so far produced an economic impact of $23 million, according to the Colorado Department of Transportation. CDOT officials discussed the impact of the project, now in its second year, in Pueblo Wednesday, according to The Pueblo Chieftain.

And in Larimer County, its commissioners pledged $1 million to work on an interchange also tied to I-25, the Fort Collins Coloradoan reported today. That pledge, added to others made by Loveland, Johnstown, Weld County and businesses brings the total to about $16 million.

A long-time stalker has been granted permission for supervised trips outside of the state mental hospital in Pueblo, according to the Longmont Times-Call. Robert Vinyard was sent to the state hospital in 2005 after stalking a local woman since the 1970s. Vinyard is in declining health, both mentally and physically, the newspaper reports, and staff at the hospital believe the trips will help him socialize and get over his obsession with the victim.

The Vail Daily today said that 160 applicants have entered a lottery to buy one of 32 available townhomes in West Vail. The townhomes at Chamonix will range in price from $400,000 to $700,000 with at least a $200,000 subsidy. The deadline for entering the lottery is Friday; the lottery will be held on May 3.

Four new volunteers for children in abuse or neglect situations were sworn in yesterday, The Durango Herald reported. The volunteers, known as “Court Appointed Special Advocates,” or CASA, will assist children caught in the legal system through no fault of their own.

A 20-year old woman will spend the next 21 years in prison for her role in the stabbing a former teacher, according to today’s Canon City Daily Record. Courtney Plante accepted a plea deal that meant she will not face charges of attempted murder.

The Boulder Daily Camera today reports on a rally outside Tuesday’s county commission meeting to support the county’s anti-fracking moratorium. Inside the meeting, county residents spoke in favor of the moratorium and against the oil and gas industry, calling it “agents of death.”

The Denver Post today has a story on questions regarding the certification of breathalyzer machines. Lawyers who represent accused drunk drivers are challenging the validity of breathalyzer certification tests conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, after a technician reported his signature had been forged and the certification documents still contain the signature of an official who left the department a year ago.

has been a political journalist since 1998. She covered the state capitol for the Silver & Gold Record from 1998 to 2009 and for The Colorado Statesman in 2010-11 and 2013-14. Since 2010 she also has covered the General Assembly for newspapers in northeastern Colorado. She was recognized with awards from the Colorado Press Association for feature writing and informational graphics for her work with the Statesman in 2012.