The Home Front: Colorado police found ‘heroin laced with an extremely powerful elephant tranquilizer’

“Police discovered pills containing heroin laced with an extremely powerful elephant tranquilizer at or near the El Jebel-area home where two men were found dead last month, according to a lab test from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation obtained by The Aspen Times,” the paper reports. “Law enforcement officials seized nine clear capsules from the scene in the Blue Lake subdivision that each contained an off-white powder, according to an email from the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office distributed to other area law enforcement agencies.”

“Uncertainty in the White House is causing more Boulder pot businesses to journey outside U.S. borders for growth opportunities, even as the world’s fifth-largest economy looks to legalize weed by early next year. Californians in November voted to allow growth, sales and consumption of recreational marijuana across the state,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “With a population of nearly 40 million, it will be the largest U.S. market for weed, and a great opportunity for well-established Colorado companies to expand. But with that size comes increased complexity in implementing new systems. Already, the state is governed by a patchwork of laws and quasi-legal operations that have caused some brands to approach the market with caution. ‘California is the wild, wild west,’ said Charles Jones, CEO and founder of Boulder’s Chooze. ‘There’s so many things that are gray, law-wise, at the state level that it makes things challenging.'”

“Facing a sometimes raucous crowd, Rep. Scott Tipton said he wouldn’t support Republican health care reform unless it guaranteed coverage for pre-existing conditions and provided sufficient money for Coloradans getting Medicaid,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Tipton, the Republican who represents Pueblo and the 3rd Congressional District, faced a town-hall meeting crowd of more than 100 people at Pueblo West High School– many of whom were clearly Democrats — but he took questions for 45 minutes and stayed after to talk informally with those who came Thursday night. Even so, a large number didn’t like what he had to say.”

“A game of chicken is going on in the Colorado Legislature over a measure to help fund transportation projects and help free up money in the state’s budget for other programs, and rural hospitals are caught in the middle,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The battle has even claimed its first victim, the virtual death of a separate measure to ask voters to raise sales taxes to fund transportation projects. The fight has pitted not only Republicans against Democrats and the House against the Senate, but has led to infighting inside the two parties. While the end of this story won’t be known for days or even weeks as the 2017 legislative session nears adjournment on May 10, the battle bubbled to the surface in a big way Thursday when some lawmakers accused others of interfering, stonewalling and refusing to negotiate in good faith.”

The Greeley Tribune ran Part III in the “Whiteout” series on the human toll of Colorado’s ski industry produced by The Summit Daily News. “There have been 137 confirmed fatalities at Colorado’s ski resorts over the past decade. Kevin Pitts became the state’s first for the 2016-17 season.”

“Longmont and Boulder County officials took a ride on the city’s new Zagster bicycles Thursday afternoon to celebrate the bike-share program and the pedestrian underpass that goes under Ken Pratt Boulevard,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Longmont Transportation Planner Phil Greenwald reminded the crowd that the pedestrian underpass came about because of a death. In 2005, a 65-year-old man was killed as he attempted to cross Ken Pratt Boulevard to reach one of the RTD bus stops. Walk signs and crosswalks were later installed.”

“Before the umbrella bars, hot tubs and aprés ski deals, life at the base of Storm Mountain required grit,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “Lots and lots of grit. Walter Arnold would regularly show up to his family’s breakfast table near what is now the Meadows Parking Lot covered up to his waist with water and ice. Someone had to chip away at the frozen stream from Fish Creek that the family’s dairy cows would drink from in an old barn.”

“When you’re working on a roadside construction project, Chris Ukowich says you practically need eyes in the back of your head,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. Ukowich, a Colorado Department of Transportation safety officer, got his start working on highway maintenance. Now charged with auditing sites and providing training for employees, he remembers how unnerving it is to hear cars ping roadwork signs and see them send cones flying. “There’s really no safe time to be out there given the number of distractions people have in their cars now,” he said. “They’re like soundproof cocoons.”

“A mock car accident that included a helicopter landing for a medical airlift alerted Loveland High School students to the dangers of driving drunk on Thursday,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The simulation was part of the “Every 15 Minutes” program that educates teens on the risks of intoxicated and distracted driving. Emergency response crews with Loveland Police Department, Thompson Valley Emergency Medical Services and Loveland Fire Rescue Authority rolled into the west parking at LHS, where the school’s students watched several of their peers get loaded onto stretchers.”

“The future of Colorado’s roads and rural hospitals grew dimmer Thursday at the state Capitol when it was announced that measures aimed at providing relief could die in the closing days of the legislative session,” reports The Durango Herald. “The two bills, House Bill 1242 and Senate Bill 267, are representations of bipartisan compromise that have derailed for different reasons in the growing gridlock that has characterized the final weeks of the 2017 General Assembly. These two bills are deemed critical for fixing the state’s crumbling highways and ensuring hospitals don’t face a $264 million cut as a result of efforts to balance Colorado’s $28.3 billion budget.”

“Rain didn’t stop more than three dozen people Thursday night as they marched the streets of Cañon City for a cause,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Take Back the Night,” the 11th annual march hosted by Family Crisis Services, Inc., is aimed at bringing awareness to sexual assault and as a way to take a stand against sexual assault. Marchers held signs that read, “No means no” and “No more shame, no more blame.” Family Crisis Services is a private, nonprofit organization that provides safety and support and promotes justice for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and their families in Fremont and Custer counties. Services are private and confidential and provided at no cost. In 2015, Family Crisis Services served 283 individuals, including children, and provided more than 1,100 shelter nights.”

“The City of Colorado Springs has agreed to pay $212,000 to settle a racial profiling lawsuit claiming city cops unlawfully targeted two African-American men during a 2015 traffic stop,” reports The Gazette. Ryan Brown, 31, recorded the stop on his cellphone, which showed Colorado Springs police officers aggressively pulling him and his 22-year-old brother, Benjamin Brown, from their vehicle at gunpoint for reasons officers declined to reveal. The video made national news, getting more than 165,000 views. Benjamin Brown was cited for obstruction of view because of a cracked windshield, to which he pleaded guilty. Charges alleging Ryan Brown obstructed a peace officer were dropped.”

“This week’s approval of a $1 million settlement with the parents of Jessica Hernandez was just the latest in a string of payouts on large legal claims involving the Denver police and sheriff’s departments — a sum that has hit $14.5 million in the last three years,” reports The Denver Post. “Go back to 2004, and the city has paid nearly $28 million on police and jail claims, according to the latest review by The Denver Post of data provided by the Denver city attorney’s office. Claims involving civil rights, use of force and other justice issues accounted for the bulk of the money.”


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