The Home Front: The University of Colorado creates social justice dorms

“The University of Colorado is creating a Social Justice Living Environment with communities for students who identify as black, LGBT and passionate champions of diversity,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Boulder’s Hallett Hall, a dorm known for supporting LGBTQ students, is adding two new areas of focus in the fall, culminating in the creation of a new community that’s drawing praise from some and eye rolls from others. Black-identifying students and allies can sign up for the Lucile B. Buchanan Living and Learning Community, and students passionate about diversity can choose to live in the Multicultural Perspectives community. The new program stemmed from student concerns following a campus climate survey revealing only a quarter of African-American undergraduates and less than half of undergraduates, in general, felt welcome on campus.”

“Less than two years after promising up to $12,000 toward college for every Weld County high school graduate or honorably discharged veteran, county commissioners are considering deep cuts to the program to keep it alive,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Unveiled in September 2015, the Weld County Bright Futures program promised up to $3,000 per year for four years to every Weld County high school graduate or honorably discharged veteran. It originally was supposed to be funded through donations, and the county set up a property tax rebate program for resident donors. But donations have not kept pace with program costs, expected to reach $10 million per year in three years.”

“Anadarko Petroleum Corporation announced on its website Tuesday that it is permanently disconnecting 1-inch diameter return lines from all vertical wells in Colorado — the same type of pipe that carried odorless gas that fueled the Firestone house explosion,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The company also plans to fund methane detection equipment for Oak Meadows homeowners as well as the cleanup of the neighborhood park adjacent to the leveled house, the website says. “I think the main reason why is to provide some greater transparency around the actions we’ve taken,” spokesman John Christiansen said, adding that officials are ‘doing what we can to help folks feel safe in their homes and to give them some confidence around the things that we are doing.'”

“A fatal home explosion linked to a natural gas well is prompting heavy pressure for Gov. John Hickenlooper not to appeal a recent ruling holding that the state must protect public health and safety as a condition of allowing oil and gas development,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Hickenlooper faces a court deadline of Thursday to decide whether to ask the Colorado Supreme Court to consider the matter. The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, the defendant in the case, voted unanimously May 1 in favor of proceeding with the appeal. A day later, authorities said an investigation into an April 17 explosion that killed two men in a home in Firestone revealed that it was caused by gas originating from a cut, abandoned flow line that remained attached to a nearby oil and gas well and hadn’t been capped. The same day, Hickenlooper ordered a statewide review of oil and gas flowlines, including inspections and pressure-testing of lines within 1,000 feet of occupied buildings, with his office declaring in a news release, “Public safety is paramount.” Appealing the recent Colorado Court of Appeals ruling “will telegraph to the public you don’t mean what you say,” a letter submitted Monday to Hickenlooper and including signatures from a number of local government officeholders said.”

“The Pueblo group wanting a ‘strong mayor’ form of city government has picked up its organization papers and intends to make a presentation to City Council next Monday,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Council has said it’s willing to refer the mayor question to city voters this November and a initial version of the question is expected to be in front of council Monday for routine first-reading consideration. City voters were asked the question in 2009 and strongly voted it down. Supporters claim there may be fresh interest because of the city’s nagging problems with gangs, heroin and the lack of money for streets and infrastructure.”

“Fort Collins officials say they will review a proposed ordinance suggested by community groups aimed at protecting immigrants from discrimination. The proposed Community Trust Ordinance would prohibit police and other city employees from asking community members about their immigration status or nationality,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Supporters of the ordinance packed city hall Tuesday night to address the City Council. Every seat in council’s chamber was taken; many people stood in the back of the hall or sat on the floor. Several wore yellow stickers stating: “Confianza el la comunidad: Community trust.”

“Friends used words like “family,” “integrity,” “honor,” “humble” and “humility” to describe the man who helped keep the Steamboat Springs community safe for more than three decades,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Former Steamboat Springs Police Chief JD Hays died Saturday morning after being diagnosed six weeks ago with terminal brain cancer.”

“The Loveland Downtown Development Authority has shrunk by 107 residential properties Tuesday through an 8-1 Loveland City Council vote — a move designed to help a funding measure pass on the third try in this November’s election,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Twice since the authority was formed in 2015, property owners within the DDA have voted against a measure to allow it to take on debt to be paid back from future taxes for public improvements. Surveys show that many people who own homes and apartment buildings within the boundaries opposed that because they would incur an unfair tax burden without receiving direct benefits. So, the city decided to remove the residential properties from the DDA and take the issue back to the remaining commercial property owners this November. A vote to change the boundaries passed 8-1 at Tuesday’s council meeting.”

“Police have arrested three people in the slaying of a Durango man who was shot Sunday in the Lightner Creek Mobile Home Park west of Durango,” reports The Durango Herald. “The victim was identified Monday as David Antonio Gaytan, 34, said Dan Bender, spokesman for the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office. He was shot about 11:35 a.m. while at a friend’s home at Lightner Creek Mobile Home Park.”

“Downtown Colorado Springs could be getting its first food hall— an increasingly popular urban concept that mixes eateries and businesses in an indoor, market-like setting,” reports The Gazette. “The owners of Independent Records & Video have contracted to sell their building at 123 E. Bijou St. to a Denver group that plans to make over the property, said Lewis Lambert, a co-owner of Independent Records. The group’s plan: Gut and remodel the nearly 7,000-square-foot, 97-year-old building and transform its first floor into a multi-tenant space, while constructing a second floor to accommodate a bar and two outdoor decks, says a proposal submitted to the city’s Land Use Review Division.”

“Ben Casias pulled his maroon 2002 Silverado under the large tent, parking it behind another vehicle in line,” reports The Denver Post. “Casias has put love into his truck — $15,000 worth of love. He removed the handles, opening the door, instead, with a keyless remote. He beefed up the motor. He enabled the truck to drop to the floor. He shaved the taillights. And he custom-painted the truck. Casias joined dozens of car and truck owners outside Mile High Stadium on Tuesday so that State Farm Insurance inspectors could assess the smashed windshields, dented roofs and other damage from last week’s massive hailstorm. Sitting with fellow owners under the white tent, he pointed out his Silverado with pride. But when talking about what brought him there, nervousness crept into his voice.”