The Home Front: Colorado embraces government drones

“With drones, government officials can zoom through rugged canyons in search of missing hikers, hover over charred landscapes to assess wildfire damage and float above roads and bridges for inspection,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Like many other public agencies across the country, El Paso County is moving forward with plans to use drones to save time and money on government work. County officials aren’t sure exactly what roles the devices will play, although they have a myriad options. Local governments in Colorado are using drones for an array of purposes, from making sure stormwater drainage systems are properly functioning to digitally preserving crime scenes.”

“Millions of dollars have flowed into state legislators’ campaigns in recent years from both sides of the contentious construction defects debate, even as opposing camps managed to reach a key compromise last week on what has proved to be an intractable issue,” reports The Denver Post. “Construction defects reform has pitted condominium developers and other business interests against trial lawyers, who benefit from suing developers over defects in their buildings. The groups altogether have spent more than $2 million on state legislative races since 2010. According to a Denver Post analysis of campaign finance reports filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office, the Colorado Trial Lawyers Association and law firms that specialize in defects cases have given more than $1.1 million to Democratic legislative candidates and political action committees since 2010 while builders, bankers and Realtors have given close to $900,000 to candidates and groups on the GOP side during that time.”

“Only a few pieces of the home that sits on the Lakota Creek Ranch Miniature Horses property remain after the house accidentally caught fire early Sunday morning in Briggsdale, leaving one man dead,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “At 3:50 a.m. Sunday, the Weld County Sheriff’s Office responded to a house fire in the 39000 block of Weld County Road 68 near Briggsdale, according to a news release sent from the sheriff’s office. The home is in a quiet, rural neighborhood about 11 miles south of Briggsdale and 20 miles east of Lucerne. An elderly man and woman were inside the house when it caught fire. A member of the family identified the woman as Kris VandeBerg and the deceased man as Art Henderlong.”

“Mark Lorenzo was roused from his sleep Sunday morning by the sting of smoke and the smell of barbecue. He and girlfriend Kim Thorson were asleep at their Orchard Mesa home when the smoke started creeping in,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Lorenzo doesn’t know how long it took for him to wake up. ‘I started tasting barbecue,’ he said. Sleepy and confused, Lorenzo opened his eyes. Closed them. Opened them again, and realized the room was full of smoke. ‘I screamed fire,’ said Lorenzo, whose 19-year-old son and 9-year-old stepdaughter were asleep elsewhere in the house. ‘It was just a freak deal.'”

“Motorists trying get through Glenwood Springs while the Grand Avenue bridge detour is in place later this year can expect hour-long delays unless traffic is reduced by a third during peak weekday morning and evening commutes, according to a new draft engineering review of the detour plan,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “To get there, bridge construction project officials are taking their “plan ahead, team up and drive less” campaign to the public over the next few months to hammer home the point that everyone — from upvalley commuters and Glenwood workers to parents of school-age students, teen drivers and people just trying to get to and from places around town — needs to seriously rethink their daily travels ahead of the 95-day bridge closure and detour that will begin Aug. 14.”

“A Boulder County proposal to create a limited season for hunting elk at Rabbit Mountain Open Space is stirring the passions of people on both sides of the issue,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Carol Walker has lived within a mile of Boulder County’s Rabbit Mountain Open Space northeast of Lyons for the better part of two decades, on property where she cares for three formerly wild mustangs, which she adopted.”

The Steamboat Pilot & Today continued the “Whiteout” series on Colorado ski deaths produced by The Summit Daly News. “Kristine Gustafson wakes up each morning with the same thought: What really happened on Jan. 12, 2017? Late in the afternoon on a chilly but clear powder day, the Centennial resident, her close friend, Sean Haberthier, and three other skiers were standing at the top of Breckenridge Ski Resort’s Peak 8 Contest Bowl. They stopped to take a break and appreciate the near-perfect conditions they had marked with fresh tracks the whole day. They all agreed to meet at the bottom of the E Chair before a final run to the base.”

“Longmont’s City Council on Tuesday night is to get a request that it take steps toward officially designating Longmont to be a sanctuary city that offers the same protections to its undocumented and documented immigrant residents that it provides to the community’s U.S. citizens,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Several organizations, including the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, has been inviting those organizations’ members and supporters to show up at Tuesday’s meeting to argue for that designation.”

“A bill that would slow down potential lawsuits against condominium developers cleared an important hurdle in the state House of Representatives this week, and Fort Collins’ legislators couldn’t be happier,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. ‘It’s about time,’ Rep. Joann Ginal, D-Fort Collins, said of the bill after a town hall Saturday. The bill represents a bipartisan effort for construction defect law reform.”

“The Cañon City School Board is set to decide Monday whether or not it will renew the contract of Harrison K-8 School Principal John Pavlicek, who submitted and then withdrew a letter of resignation during the course of 24 hours,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The board, which originally planned to approve Pavlicek’s resignation during a special meeting Friday, decided to table the issue after he rescinded his letter.”

Denverite shows us five Denver homes that sold for more than their asking price last week.

ColoradoPolitics profiles Boulder Democratic Congressman Jared Polis as he considers a run a for governor.