The Home Front: In parts of Colorado, healthcare can cost more than housing

The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent covers why healthcare in parts of Colorado can sometimes cost more than housing. And that’s saying something. “How did we get here? How did western Colorado reach a point where for some people, health care costs more than a large mortgage? It has to do with the idiosyncrasies of Obamacare, but it also has to do with the American health care system and various attempts to make it either uniquely our own or more like the rest of the world’s, say health policy experts. The United States spends 18 percent of its gross domestic product on health care — way more than any other nation, according to the Commonwealth Fund. Other developed nations spend an average of about 10 percent.”

Under the headline “The Young Killers of Mesa County,” The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports today on the difficulties of trying juveniles as young adults. “If a teen is 16 or 17 and charged with serious crimes, prosecutors can choose to ‘direct file,’ or file criminal charges directly in adult court,” the paper reports. “Under a 2012 update to Colorado law, defense attorneys can now ask a judge to reverse that decision after a ‘reverse transfer’ hearing.” … “For prosecutors, the initial decision of whether to bring adult charges is no small matter. Pete Hautzinger, who served as Mesa County’s elected district attorney from 2004 until 2015, said he considered a variety of factors when he was considering “direct filing” a child’s case in adult court. “As a general rule, when I made the decision, the closer someone was to 18, the more likely I was to look at direct file,” Hautzinger said. “The more violent and repetitive the behavior is, the more likely I am to look at direct file.”

One hundred years ago this week, “on the Saturday before a city council election, an unknown group sent a circular around Greeley, urging residents not to vote for any of the candidates,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “‘It is not good wisdom to support any of these candidates for alderman or mayor.’ The writers said the residents of Greeley can lead themselves. They don’t need a city council.” Anonymous mailers in a local election? Some things never change.

“If you dislike daylight saving time, you’re not alone,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “And it turns out, science might back you up. We’re all familiar with the dreaded ‘spring forward’ that meant two weeks ago we were an hour short on sleep, and, in many cases driving to work in the dark and driving home straight into a blinding sun glare. A 2014 study from a researcher at the University of Colorado found the changes in light as well as drivers running on less sleep correlated with higher rates of traffic crashes. That increased risk lasted for the first six days after the spring daylight saving time change. In Fort Collins, where many people get around town on two wheels instead of four, this shift in sleep pattern and change in light can mean a higher risk for pedestrians and cyclists because drivers have a harder time spotting them.”

The Longmont Times Call looks at concerns over how President Donald Trump’s budget might affect the local arts community. “People need to stop and think about it, what would happen if everybody turns off their music and covers up their paintings? What would the world look like if we had no art?” Joanne Kirves, executive director for Arts Longmont, told the paper. “Especially at this time when the world is so crazy. The world is so divisive and the arts bring us together. They allow us to be in the same room and enjoy something and you’re not thinking ‘Is the person next to me a democrat or a republican?'”

“Stock for Intrawest, the parent company of Steamboat Ski and Resort Corp., closed at a record high Friday,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “Local financial advisers think the increase signals that stockholders believe Intrawest’s assets and ski areas are on the market. “The stock is telling us that assets will probably be sold,” said Dan Foley, founder of Sleeping Giant Financial.”

“In a cluster of subdivisions just west of U.S. 115, dozens of residents have been served almost identical court summons – the consequence of speaking out against a proposed quarry that they believe could put their water supply at risk and harm wildlife,” The Gazette in Colorado Springs reports. “The 90 individuals and organizations, now defendants, believe the legal complaint is an attempt to bully residents into silence just as the company behind the plan reapplies for the state’s permission to build the mine. “The message to us is pretty clear: If you’re objecting, we’re going to sue you,” said Kristan Rigdon, who lives near the proposed quarry site. ‘We just think that’s outright infuriating.'”

The Durango Herald profiles Julie Levy Duvall, 33, the state director of Democratic U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, who moved to Denver from Durango in 2001. “As the state director for the Bennet office, she focuses on facilitating constituent services, a catch-all for reaching out to stakeholders to ensure the congressman’s policy decisions reflect Colorado’s values, and fielding calls from voters who need assistance navigating governmental bureaucracy.”

The University of Colorado at Boulder is hosting a forum about the movement to opt out of standardized testing, reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Organizers of the event, hosted by CU’s School of Education and the Office for Outreach and Engagement, say they want to explore “what is gained and what is lost when choosing to opt out of standardized tests.” Other panelists include Kevin Welner, director of the National Education Policy Center; Derek Briggs, director of the Center for Assessment, Design, Research and Evaluation; Allison Atteberry, assistant professor; and Alison Boardman, Boulder Valley parent.”

“The fight over Judge Neil Gorsuch enters its final round this week, starting with a preliminary vote Monday in the U.S. Judiciary Committee and likely ending Friday with a full Senate vote on his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court,” reports The Denver Post. “At this stage, two months after President Donald Trump nominated the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judge, the odds are good Gorsuch will earn the backing of the Republican-controlled Senate and become Colorado’s first justice on the high court since Byron White retired in 1993. But the way Gorsuch gets there — and the role U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., plays in that process — could say a lot about the future of the Senate and the Supreme Court.”