The Home Front: Investigators confirm probe into gas well near house explosion

“Investigators confirmed Wednesday that they’re looking at a 24-year-old well operated by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation as part of their probe into the house explosion that killed two men in Firestone last week,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “That revelation followed an announcement by Anadarko that it has shut down more than 3,000 similar vertical wells across northeast Colorado, including the well that sits about 170 feet from the home at 6312 Twilight Ave. that exploded April 17. Investigators have not announced the origin or cause of the explosion.” (Indy Editor’s note: Oil and gas resources are accessed by drilling vertical, horizontal or multi-lateral wells. Read The Colorado Independent’s own breaking news coverage from yesterday.)

“The Interior Department is to review large-scale national monuments in Colorado and Utah under an executive order that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke said gives new voice to rural Americans,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Finally, rural America has a voice again,” Zinke said Wednesday as President Donald J. Trump announced the executive order to study the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Colorado and Grand Staircase-Escalante and Bears Ears national monuments in Utah. Trump’s order also calls on Interior to study the 1906 law under which those monuments and others were established, the Antiquities Act. U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., criticized the order as an “unprecedented attack on national monuments.”

“Weld County Coroner Carl Blesch has identified the man who police believe was the victim of a homicide Tuesday morning,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Alberto Ruiz, Jr., 33, of Greeley was the victim of what police believe may have been a road rage incident that turned deadly. Blesch was still unable to confirm the cause of death, and said the investigation is continuing. Ruiz’s Facebook profile is largely private, but it does state that although he lived in Greeley, his hometown is San Elizario, Texas. It’s the latest public development in a story that sent ripples through Greeley on Tuesday.”

“A tougher U.S. policy on North Korea seems to be getting some results because that nation hasn’t done any missile or weapons testing on its two most recent holidays, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said after leaving a White House briefing Wednesday on the tense relations with North Korea,” according to The Pueblo Chieftain. “I came out of the classified briefing with a pragmatic but sober realization that we face a significant threat from North Korea but we are changing course and are going to put more pressure on that regime,” the Republican senator said. Gardner chairs a Senate subcommittee on East Asia and has become an often-quoted authority on North Korea.”

“Fort Collins could see Sunday public transit service beginning in August, although where Transfort buses would roll still needs to be decided,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “City Council members say they support running buses 365 days a year, but they are divided on how many routes should operate on Sundays and holidays given the availability of funding. Transfort currently runs Monday through Saturday. Officials presented three options for expanded service during a council work session Tuesday that included a variety of routes and cost estimates.”

“Local state lawmakers who co-sponsored a bill that could have injected billions of dollars into transportation shared their frustrations after the bill failed to pass committee Tuesday,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “As you can imagine, I was very disappointed,” said State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush, a Democrat. “All of us had hoped … that at least one (Republican) member of the Senate Finance Committee could vote ‘yes’ and move it onto the floor.” The two Democratic committee members voted in favor of the bill. The three Republican members were fundamentally against raising taxes.”

“One student at Garfield Elementary School piled his lunch tray with cherry tomatoes. Another added two bananas and a pile of cucumbers, while still another chose broccoli, lettuce, green peppers, carrots, oranges and pineapples,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “That, school district officials said, is the beauty of a salad bar — students can choose what and how much fresh fruits and vegetables they want at lunch. “It seems like we’re throwing away less,” said faculty assistant Michelle Ellis, who works in the lunchroom at Garfield, which rolled out its salad bar a week ago. “They can choose what they want. They’re eating tons of fruits and vegetables.”

“The controversy over the treatment of prairie dogs on the future site of a north Boulder housing development was to have been settled eight months ago,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “It’s roared back to life, though, as prairie dog allies have made new allegations against the developer, who’s responded by calling them defaming “extremists.” In late August, Boulder made the announcement that a colony of more than 100 prairie dogs would be spared, after a very public, monthslong spectacle in which animal rights advocates pressured developer Bruce Dierking not to kill the critters simply because they lived on his construction site. Dierking says he has spent close to $100,000 to date on the relocation of the animals from north Boulder’s Armory site, 4750 N. Broadway, to city open space on the southern end of town.”

“An Aspen city councilman said this week he erred by voting in favor of potentially damming Castle and Maroon creeks, but he failed to persuade his fellow elected officials to rescind their unanimous decision from October,” reports The Aspen Times. “Bert Myrin conceded that it was “my mistake” when he voted in favor of the city’s pursuit of preserving its water rights on the two pristine streams. Myrin’s proposal, which was not on the council’s Monday meeting agenda and had not been formally noticed to the public, came eight days before the May 2 municipal elections.”

“A Mexican man who lived in the basement of a Denver church seeking sanctuary from deportation for nine months until July 2015, when he was told he was no longer an immigration priority, was arrested Wednesday morning by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement,” reports The Denver Post. “Arturo Hernandez Garcia was taken into custody without explanation while he was working as a flooring contractor, according to Jennifer Piper, of the American Friends Service Committee in Denver. “I was at work when my brother called me,” Hernandez Garcia’s wife, Ana Sauzameda, said. “He and Arturo were together. They had gone to the shop to pick up materials, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement detained Arturo when he was coming out.”

“The future of the local detox center that harbors substance abusers is again in limbo,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Reportedly facing pressure from local hospitals, El Paso County is considering major changes to its 40-bed detox center, including finding another organization to run the program. County officials say UCHealth Memorial and Penrose-St. Francis Health Services hospitals, which provide about $600,000 a year of the center’s roughly $2.1 million expense, have warned the county that they won’t help foot the bill past 2017 if the program doesn’t evolve into a model that’s able to provide more medical services and admit a greater range of patients. But officials from the hospitals denied that the institutions threatened to pull their contributions.”