The Home Front: Newspaper series on the ‘human toll’ of Colorado’s ski industry

The Summit Daily News kicked off its first installment of a three-part series, called “Whiteout,” on the human toll of Colorado’s ski industry. “It could have been a crisp, winter morning, with the sun showing near the top of the ski lift, or maybe it was lower down the mountain on a biting, blustery afternoon when it happened,” the paper reports. “It probably occurred between Feb. 16 and March 6. Few can say for sure. According to the data, the unknown skier was probably a 37-year-old man from the Front Range. More than likely he would have been tearing down advanced terrain at a ski resort in either Summit or Pitkin counties when he hit a tree. Odds are he was wearing a helmet, but statistics suggest he would have been going far too fast for it to do him much good.” The piece was also published in its sister paper, The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent.

“Congressman Doug Lamborn gave an update on business in Washington during a town hall meeting Thursday at the Fremont County Administration Building,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The topic of health care, specifically Obamacare, sparked a great deal of back and forth dialogue. Many of the audience members wanted to know what the Republicans are considering if they insist on repealing and replacing Obamacare. “The Republicans had a plan, which did not have quite enough votes to pass,” Lamborn said. “We do feel strongly that Obamacare needs to repealed and replaced, and the reason for that is because it is in what insurance companies call a ‘death spiral.'” Large insurance companies are withdrawing their participation in major markets across the country, he said, and in about one-third of U.S. counties, there is only one choice for a private provider under Obamacare.”

“As a few dozen people wandered the halls of the former R-5 High School on Thursday night during an open house, some liked the plans for the area’s future, but others not so much,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The ideas played out on the walls with sketches that included a housing development with ground floor retail space at the site of the former White Hall. Townhomes would encircle a courtyard in the parking lot of the former school, and in a third phase, the former two-story school would be converted into loft studio apartments.”

“Six-year-old Mila Makovec and her family are in the trenches of a war against a doggedly fatal enemy — Batten disease,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Advertisement Batten disease is a rare neurodegenerative condition that has robbed Mila of her sight. It is a disease without a known cure and leaves children blind and unable to walk, talk or swallow. No child has survived Batten disease and the particular type that Mila has means she is currently unlikely to reach her late teens.”

“Flows on the Yampa River this week more closely resembled conditions typical of mid-July than mid-April, and federal scientists who keep an eye on the entire Colorado River Basin are now predicting that flows in the river, which runs through the heart of downtown Steamboat Springs, will trend below average through mid-summer,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today.

“The Fort Collins police officer videotaped throwing a young woman to the ground over the weekend has been placed on paid administrative leave,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Officer Randall Klamser arrested 22-year-old Colorado State University student Michaella Surat around 11:30 p.m. last Thursday, according to Surat’s arrest affidavit. A video of Klamser throwing Surat to the ground face first was shared thousands of times online and garnered international media attention. Surat, who allegedly intervened in officers’ investigation of a fight, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault and obstructing a peace officer.”

“Investigators with the Pueblo Police Department and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, along with personnel from Pueblo Parks and Recreation, are searching the former home of Donthe Lucas, the ex-boyfriend of missing woman Kelsie Schelling,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain.

“Congressman Jared Polis didn’t hide his excitement Thursday when he heard about the Thompson School District’s new graduation guidelines at a meeting with district staff and the Board of Education,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “There are three types of diplomas students can receive to graduate, one of which requires concurrent enrollment of a course to receive college credit. The goal, according to Chief Academic Officer Margaret Crespo, is for every student to at least be exposed to advanced-level academics. “You guys have that?” Polis, D-Colo., asked, adding his congratulations. “That’s my favorite thing to talk about.” Polis said after the meeting that he’s excited about the district implementing such a guideline.”

“During a study session this week, the Boulder City Council spent several hours discussing big-picture goals for housing and development,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Council members then zoomed in on a specific property — the hotly contested 1.3-acre plot at 3303 Broadway — and supported a land-use designation that none of them seemed to like, paving the way for new housing types that none of them seem to think Boulder needs. Late last year, developer Margaret Freund brought forth a proposal for a mixed-use development, with a cafe, “wellness center” and 50 middle-income housing units.”

“Colorado Springs is moving forward with its long-awaited bicycle master plan, announcing Thursday an open house to gather public input before the plan’s anticipated finalization and presentation to the City Council late this summer,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Scheduled for the evening of May 3 at the Penrose Library, the meeting will be hosted by Kate Brady, the city’s bike planner, as well as representatives of Toole Design Group, the contractor that spent nearly a year compiling a report on the existing conditions of the city’s multimodal transportion. The report confirms what advocates preach: that the city must make strides for a more bike friendly community.”

Colorado’s teacher shortage is in a crisis, The Denver Post reports. “Stephanie Wujek grew up a small town girl with dreams of becoming a teacher in a small town school. Wujek, 24, got her wish after graduating with a biology degree from the University of Northern Colorado,” the paper reports. “She now teaches science and coaches track in tiny Wiggins Middle School in Morgan County on the plains northeast of Denver. She’s lucky. Wujeck has a supportive principal and has mentors who help her create lesson plans and share tips to gain traction in her classroom. “This has worked out well for me,” said Wujek, who attended high school in Windsor. ‘I’ve always been drawn to the rural side of life. I knew I could connect with students better in this atmosphere. And I think you can give them more attention in a smaller school setting.'”

*A previous version of this post misstated where the “Whiteout” series originated.