The Home Front: Colorado’s budget is ‘really painful on K-12 education and hospitals’

“The Joint Budget Committee completed most of its work in a marathon session Wednesday that stretched to 11 p.m. as lawmakers huddled in private to make the last-minute decisions,” reports The Denver Post. “They put the final touches on the $28 billion spending plan Thursday ahead of the bill’s debut next week. “It is really painful on K-12 education and hospitals — those are two things that concern me greatly,” said Rep. Bob Rankin, a Carbondale Republican and budget writer.”

The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports on a mix-up that leaves the opening of a 350-student charter school in jeopardy. “Several hundred Colorado Springs-area students’ plans to attend a military-style charter school this fall are in jeopardy after organizers failed to get state approval instead of linking up with a local district,” the paper reports. “Without state approval, Colorado Springs School District 11 would have to agree to accept the charter school – which it had previously rejected because of the cost – or the Colorado Military Academy would likely never open, a school official said Wednesday. Several hundred Colorado Springs-area students’ plans to attend a military-style charter school this fall are in jeopardy after organizers failed to get state approval instead of linking up with a local district. Without state approval, Colorado Springs School District 11 would have to agree to accept the charter school – which it had previously rejected because of the cost – or the Colorado Military Academy would likely never open, a school official said Wednesday.”

“The Colorado Court of Appeals has ruled that the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission erred in its rationale for rejecting a rulemaking petition by youth activists,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “In the process, the court disagreed with the agency’s longstanding position that its mandate under state law is to strike a balance between energy development and protection of public health, safety and welfare. Instead, the court said, the agency is mandated to protect health, safety and welfare as a condition of development. The 2-1 ruling released Thursday came in a case in which the six Colorado youths sought to have the commission initiate action on a rule to suspend oil and gas development until it can be shown that it wouldn’t harm public health, wildlife and the environment or contribute to climate change. The ruling overturns a district court ruling affirming the commission’s rejection of the rulemaking petition. The commission had concluded it lacked the authority to enact such a rule under the state Oil and Gas Conservation Act because the law requires a balance between oil and gas development and protection of public health, safety and welfare.”

The Greeley Tribune pays tribute to a longtime city councilman who died. “Born and raised on a farm, Charlie Archibeque knew what nurturing life was all about. Caring for plants — and people — was instinctual, and it was his daily vocation. He died Thursday after a seven-month battle with lung cancer. He was 84. But his legacy lives on — through the plants his grandchildren put in the ground this week in his stead, to the many people he gave a hand up to in his east Greeley affordable housing project and his nearly 40 years of service to the city of Greeley. He spent a lifetime nurturing a community. And it all started with the garden, which spanned his entire backyard.”

“Longmont Meals on Wheels would be unaffected by any cuts the federal government could make to money that some states and counties use to fund the independent nonprofits,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “But Tri-Town Meals on Wheels — which serves Frederick, Firestone and Dacono residents — would likely see a budget reduction if that money from the federal government dried up. Meals on Wheels programs, which provide meals to needy seniors, have a national lobbying organization, but are run independently on the local level. As such, whether President Donald Trump’s proposed federal budget cuts will affect Meals on Wheels would be determined on a case-by-case basis. In the case of the Longmont Meals on Wheels program, it wouldn’t be affected because the Longmont program doesn’t receive federal or state funding. Karla Hale, executive director of Longmont Meals on Wheels, said the program relies on local grants and donations.”

Steamboat Springs police officers got body cameras, reports The Steamboat Pilot & Todayand the police say cameras can work in their favor. “A body camera helped prevent former Arkansas police officer Brandon Davis from having to pay $2.5 million to the family of the man he shot and killed,” the paper reports. “Today, Davis is a trainer for Taser International, the manufacturer of the body cameras being issued to local police. He was in Steamboat Springs this week teaching local law enforcement officers how to use the cameras. “The cameras are what’s going to save us,” Davis said, referring to wrongful death and use-of-force lawsuits.”

The Coloradoan in Fort Collins reports how most Northern Colorado felony DUI offenders avoid prison. “While 48 cases resulted in a sentence involving some form of incarceration, most habitual offenders served jail sentences of less than six months. Only 10 felony DUI cases prosecuted in Larimer County ended with an offender spending time in prison.”

“Seriously disabled people in Colorado are afraid they will lose their independence and even their lives if the federal Medicaid program is refashioned into a block grant, as outlined by the Republican health care plan being debated in Congress,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Kristen Castor, 62, and a well-known disabled activist in Pueblo, said she and other disabled people aren’t over-reacting. ‘We think this debate over Medicaid could be deciding who is going to live or die,’ she said Thursday.”

The Loveland Reporter-Herald localizes the Neil Gorsuch Supreme Court hearings. “A Berthoud man testified this week during U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court justice nominee Neil Gorsuch that a 2008 appeals court decision by the judge ‘eviscerated the educational standard’ guaranteed to disabled students,” the paper reports. “Jeffrey Perkins spoke about his son, Luke, who is severely autistic, and how Gorsuch’s 10th Circuit ruling in a lawsuit filed against Thompson School District affected the Perkins family and many others to follow. ‘On behalf of all children — disabled, typical and gifted — I urge you to deny confirmation of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States,’ said Perkins.”

“Federally funded research facilities in Boulder and the rest of Colorado contributed about $2.6 billion to the state’s economy in 2016 and supported more than 17,600 jobs, according to a report issued today by the University of Colorado’s Leeds School of Business,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Of that $2.6 billion, the largest share of economic benefit by county was seen in Boulder County, at $1.1 billion. Statewide, the report showed that Colorado’s federally funded labs directly employed nearly 7,800 people in fiscal year 2015, and supported an additional 9,800 jobs through the multiplier effect — that is, people employed by instrument manufacturers, utility companies and more.”

 

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