The Home Front: The Gazette says Colorado Springs city council has ‘a new progressive majority’

“Only a few hours after being sworn in to the Colorado Springs City Council on Tuesday, a new progressive majority made itself known, electing Richard Skorman council president and re-electing Jill Gaebler to be president pro tem,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The 5-4 votes on each choice found Councilmen Merv Bennett, Andy Pico, Don Knight and Tom Strand suddenly in the minority as Skorman – a downtown businessman with seven years of previous council experience – won the support of Gaebler, Councilman Bill Murray and new members Yolanda Avila and David Geislinger. Nominated but not elected were Bennett to serve another two years as council president and Knight to be president pro tem.”

“When a Weld County Council member said he thinks the council should ask for Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway’s resignation, he was met with a weighty silence from his colleagues,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Councilman Charles Tucker made the statement Monday during the council’s monthly meeting, in reference to the results of an investigative report on Conway conducted by Mountain States Employers Council. That report was sparked by a November complaint from county employees, who claimed Conway yelled and swore at them repeatedly. “To create a hostile work environment at a job site is unacceptable,” Tucker said. “We need to look at requesting he resign or leave it up to the voters to do a recall.”

“The Glenwood Springs Police Department is in the midst of an investigation involving finances at the Glenwood Springs Center for the Arts, coming on the heels of the resignation of the center’s executive director, Christina Brusig,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Police Chief Terry Wilson said Tuesday that the probe might take several weeks and that he could provide no details because it’s an open investigation. The Post Independent was referred to Wilson when it asked the art center board president and City Attorney Karl Hanlon about Brusig’s resignation.”

“The hugely popular Hanging Lake Trail in Glenwood Canyon has suffered yet another indignity at the hands of humans, this one in the form of graffiti, helping prompt the U.S. Forest Service to consider the drastic step of closing the trail for the short term,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The agency is considering shutting down the trail east of Glenwood Springs until summer rangers are in place in late May, following heavy spring visitation during which other chronic problems also have continued there. These include illegal parking at the Hanging Lake Rest Area of Interstate 70, and prohibited activities including having dogs on the trail, swimming in the lake, and walking on a floating log there.”

“If Longmont lifts its pot-shops ban and allows a limited number of businesses to sell marijuana, none should be in the city’s core central downtown business district,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “That was one point on which most Longmont City Council members agreed during a Tuesday night study session. The council resumed more than a year of discussions about whether to proceed with steps toward possibly allowing as many as four retail marijuana businesses to open up — as long as they met local regulations that have yet to be decided or adopted.”

The Pueblo Chieftain drops a Tom Wolfe reference on the front page today with “WWII veteran pilot Ernie DeGraw still has the right stuff at 94.”

“Amid a series of high-profile firestorms, Fort Collins Police Chief John Hutto announced on Tuesday plans to step down after five years at the department’s helm,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “During his tenure as chief, Hutto led the department through an expansion of body-mounted camera technology. He was chief when the disgraced officer at the center Timothy Masters’ wrongful conviction for the murder of Peggy Hettrick resigned. And as issues of population growth compounded, Fort Collins remained a destination under his watch, in part due to low violent crime rates. But in recent months, his department has been embroiled in damaging criminal and civil cases involving allegations of racial discrimination and excessive force.”

“Wildlife officials are urging residents to take precautions as black bear activity increases in the Steamboat Springs area. On Friday night, a homeowner in the 1800 block of Clubhouse thought he had been robbed,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “Police found paw prints, and neighbors saw the bear jump out a window.”

“An hours-long Loveland City Council discussion about a request for $500,000 in matching funding and about $34,000 in building fee waivers for the Food Bank for Larimer County ended in approval Tuesday night,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “But barely. City Council members approved the request on a 4-3 vote, with Councilmen Dave Clark, Don Overcash and Steve Olson voting against. Members of food bank staff and board of directors, representatives of other agencies that work with the food bank, a member of the city’s Human Services Commission and even a high school freshman spoke in support of the project, first brought to council in a study session last month.”

“The House Transportation & Energy Committee will hear a bill on Wednesday introduced by Rep. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette, to limit the influence of oil and gas companies’ “forced pooling” procedure, a controversial fracking practice currently playing out in the eastern reaches of Erie,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The concept is known as statutory, or compulsory, pooling, first born when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court set the “rule of capture” in 1889 during the early days of the oil boom, differentiating an underground mineral right from a surface landowner’s right. The law would evolve over time to enable oil and gas companies the right to access underground minerals even when they didn’t own them or acquire the rights to lease them.”

“Pitkin County commissioners on Tuesday wholeheartedly supported a U.S. Forest Service plan to limit overnight access to popular backcountry areas near Aspen,” reports The Aspen Times. “I applaud the Forest Service for finally undertaking this endeavor,” Board Chairman George Newman told the paper. “For me personally, I don’t think the Forest Service is looking far enough or fast enough at these changes to policies.” The Forest Service is proposing an Overnight Visitors Use Management Plan that will eventually require backcountry visitors to obtain a permit for five currently overused areas. Those areas include Conundrum Hot Springs, Crater Lake, Snowmass Lake, Capitol Lake and West Maroon Valley.”

“The District Attorney’s Office dropped the number of counts of animal cruelty against a Penrose woman from 64 to 40 on Tuesday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Penny Gingerich, 42, had 63 horses seized from her property Jan. 20 by the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office. Gingerich has pleaded not guilty to the original 64 counts of cruelty to animals and renewed her not guilty plea Tuesday as she appeared in court for a status conference. In addition to the DA dropping 24 counts of animal cruelty, Gingerich’s attorney also asked for a continuance for the jury trial because of the large amount of discovery involved with the case.”

“The rules of the Ice Cream Challenge are simple: Adam Lefkoff challenges his son, Escher, to a goal,” reports The Denver Post. “If Escher meets it, Adam buys him an ice cream cone. Over the past couple of weeks, the arrangement has gotten a lot more complicated. “In the car on the way to the facility he said, ‘If you win PAPA (The Professional & Amateur Pinball Association), I will buy you an entire ice cream truck.’ That’s how realistic it was at that point,” Escher said of his father. “Now everyone’s wondering when he’s going to get me the ice cream truck.” That’s because Escher, a home-schooled 13-year-old from Longmont, won the A division of PAPA’s world championships in Carnegie, Pa., on April 9, making him the best pinball player in the world.”