Most newspapers in Colorado carried stories today about the results of an investigation into a fatal home explosion in Firestone, which was caused by an uncapped, abandoned gas line. Read our full coverage on that here.
As for what else made the Wednesday fronts across the state:
“The High Plains dairy complex reflects the new scale of the U.S. organic industry: it is big. Stretching across miles of pastures and feedlots north of Greeley, Colorado, the complex is home to more than 15,000 cows, making it more than a hundred times the size of a typical organic herd,” reports The Washington Post, re-printed in The Denver Post. “It is the main facility of Aurora Organic Dairy, a company that produces enough milk to supply the house brands of Walmart, Costco, and other major retailers. “We take great pride in our commitment to organic, and in our ability to meet the rigorous criteria of the USDA organic regulations,” Aurora advertises. But a closer look at Aurora and other large operations highlights critical weaknesses in the unorthodox inspection system that the USDA uses to ensure that ‘organic’ food is really organic.”
“A felony drug and weapon possession case was dismissed in court last week at the request of the 10th Judicial District Attorney’s Office after it was discovered that a Pueblo police officer reportedly reenacted body camera footage of a search of the defendant’s car after the initial search of the vehicle had already been conducted,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The case involved [a 36-year-old man] who was facing charges of possession with intent to manufacture or distribute a controlled substance, possession of a controlled substance, possession of a weapon by a previous offender and special offender; all felony charges.” Text messages revealed what the officer had done.
“Greeley will pay $225,000 to the man injured in October 2015 when a retired Greeley police officer struck him with his unmarked police car,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Jerry Hill suffered numerous injuries, including to both shoulders, knees and his head, when he was hit Oct. 20, 2015, in the crosswalk at 9th Avenue and 10th Street. Steve Duus, who has since retired form the Greeley Police Department, eventually pleaded guilty to driving too fast for conditions and paid $181.50 in fines. The $225,000 settlement marks at least the third Greeley has paid out this year, totaling at least $725,000 for a variety of claims.”
“A new annual report from the Garfield County coroner’s office shows that the number of accidental deaths in the county nearly doubled from 2015 to 2016,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “However, it’s difficult to call this or any other figures in the report a trend yet, said Robert Glassmire, Garfield County coroner, because the office wasn’t compiling these numbers prior to 2015, before his term in the office. But Glassmire hopes that tracking statistics about his office’s investigations will produce some valuable information in the future for public health, hospitals and budgetary projections. Garfield County saw an estimated 329 total deaths last year, and the coroner’s office investigated about 38 percent of those, or 126 deaths. All together, 229 deaths were reported to the office. The office performed 61 autopsies, which accounts for about 18 percent of all deaths.”
“Longmont City Council members did not direct the city staff Tuesday night to study and review a proposal to protect undocumented immigrants by designating a Longmont to be a sanctuary city,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Instead, council members voted unanimously to approve a suggestion from Mayor Dennis Coombs that the city staff prepare a public presentation “on what our practices and policies are,” insofar as police and city employees’ dealings with undocumented immigrants. “And let us digest that information,” Coombs said.
“U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner has introduced a bill that would authorize the move of the Bureau of Land Management’s headquarters to the West, as Gardner reiterated his view that Grand Junction would be the ideal location for the office,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Colorado Republican’s measure would require the Interior secretary to develop a strategy to move the headquarters from Washington, D.C., to a Western state “in a manner that will save the maximum amount of taxpayer money practicable.” The bill spells out that by Western state, it means Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington or Wyoming. U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Colo., introduced a companion measure in the House.”
“Becca Bleil has a fundamental beef with Colorado State University. A university that prides itself on being green should not slaughter animals on campus, no matter how noble the purpose, she said,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Bleil, a member of the animal rights club on campus, began a petition through change.org to protest a small animal harvesting facility included in the $20 million JBS Global Food Innovation Center planned to open on CSU’s Fort Collins campus in 2018.”
“Extended business hours might help explain why Steamboat Springs’ three marijuana stores had record sales in March,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “Stores began extending their hours Feb. 17, which means March was the first full month they were allowed to be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. “We were really surprised by the number of people we got in here after 7 p.m.,” Golden Leaf manager Paige O’Brien said.
“Loveland City Council members on Tuesday voted to spend as much as $500,000 of their special projects fund as a matching grant to the Food Bank for Larimer County,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The City Council approved the request on April 18 for as much as $500,000 and almost $34,000 in fee waivers for the nonprofit’s purchase of a new warehouse facility — the former building of High Country Beverage. Council members approved the request on second reading 6-2 (Councilmen Dave Clark and Steve Olson voted against for the second time).”
“Opting against an outright ban on ground-floor banks along Pearl Street downtown, the Boulder City Council instead decided to adopt a softer measure with a wider geographic scope,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “By an 8-1 vote on Tuesday night, with Bob Yates representing the lone voice of dissent, the council passed on second reading an ordinance that requires any banks seeking to locate downtown to undergo a special use review. This plan will apply not just to Pearl Street between Ninth and 18th streets — the stretch affected by the temporary bank ban approved in February — but rather to three different downtown zoning districts that include portions of Canyon Boulevard, Walnut Street and Spruce Street.”
“Durango business owners upset with panhandlers ‘who are impacting the safety, charm and allure of our community’ have come up with some creative – and potentially unconstitutional – ideas for dealing with the problem,” reports The Durango Herald. “According to a survey circulated last week by the Business Improvement District, ideas to combat panhandling include more police in downtown Durango, informing panhandlers of community resources available to assist them, recruiting volunteers to work in opposition to panhandlers and bringing back no-loitering laws.”
“Jenny Cristelli said she didn’t know about the silver toy gun that was pointed at her daughter’s head until she came home from school,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “This incident might have played a role in the Cañon City School Board’s decision not to renew Harrison K-8 School Principal John Pavlicek’s contract, according to district emails obtained by the Daily Record through a Colorado Open Records Act request. In recent weeks, a flood of parents and educators have come forward in support of Pavlicek, who said he was pressured into submitting a letter of resignation. At an April 24 school board meeting — where the board decided not to renew Pavlicek’s contract — a crowd of supporters shouted chants of “recall” at board members and yelled questions.”
The Gazette continues its series about legalized marijuana with an installment about how Pueblo is becoming the Napa Valley of weed.