The Home Front: ‘This is the first I’ve viewed the legislation,’ says Cory Gardner, one of 13 senators tasked with writing new healthcare law

Nine out of about a dozen of the state’s largest newspapers carried news on the front page today about a healthcare bill Republicans in the U.S. Senate unveiled and say they want to pass within a week. Here’s what else hit the Friday fronts. 

“For the moment, U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner isn’t backing the health care plan that fellow Republicans in his chamber unveiled Thursday — a caution that could spell trouble for the long-awaited legislation,” reports The Denver Post. “Hours after its release, Gardner said in a statement that he was ‘carefully reviewing’ the 142-page proposal. In an interview later that day, the Colorado Republican said he wasn’t sure whether he would vote for it, and he suggested that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, consider abandoning his goal of holding a vote next week on the legislation. … ‘This is the first I’ve viewed the legislation, so I am beginning to carefully review it as we continue to look at ways to rescue Colorado from the continued negative impacts of the Affordable Care Act on our health care system,’ Gardner said in a Thursday statement.”

“The bark of gunfire rang in the air as 17 Colorado teachers and school administrators squeezed off round after round from their pistols Thursday afternoon,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The event marked the end of a three-day, highly specialized class in Weld County — at an undisclosed Weld County Sheriff’s Office site — designed to teach education professionals how to stop active shooter situations and deal with related injuries. This is the first time Colorado educators have had the chance to take this specific advanced course, designed to train concealed weapon carriers to stop threats in a school environment. It took place in Weld County because Sheriff Steve Reams agreed to let the class use a sheriff’s office site for the training.”

“If it strikes, flicks or sparks, don’t use it,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “So, no matches, no lighters and especially no fireworks, not even the legal ones. OK, you can keep matches and lighters and you can still buy fireworks, but the risk of using any of them in the Grand Valley for the foreseeable future is so great that it might be best to avoid any kind of flame that isn’t fueled by propane and contained in a cooker or a fire pit. That’s the gist of fire restrictions that went into effect today.”

“Longmont Power & Communications General Manager Tom Roiniotis set a Comcast senior director straight when the director lied to a Fort Collins resident about NextLight, Longmont’s municipal internet service,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “It all started when Fort Collins resident Glen Akins emailed his City Council to ask why Comcast is offering 1 gigabit service to Longmont residents for $70 per month but charging Fort Collins customers between $110 and $120 per month.”

“Asking city voters for a slender 1/5-cent sales tax strictly for hiring 24 more police officers may turn out to be a winning strategy for City Council in November,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Council sharpened the purpose of its planned ballot question at Monday’s work session, discarding a previous idea to ask for a bigger tax that also would pay for remodeling city fire stations and buying two new pumper trucks. “I decided we needed to keep it really simple,” District 1 Councilman Bob Schilling explained afterward. He’s been pushing for a police-related tax increase this year and initially thought voters might support a quarter-cent increase to pay for fire department improvements as well.”

“An awkward situation created when Roaring Fork Schools decided to build the new Riverview School south of Glenwood Springs has resulted in a lot of hardship for several teachers who, as a result, found themselves without a job,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The new elementary/middle school (preK-8), part of the school district’s $122 million bond package approved by voters in 2015, is meant to take some of the load off of existing schools that had been experiencing overcrowding for several years.”

“A world in which local law enforcement agents and firefighters use unmanned aircraft to gather crime scene evidence, monitor hazardous accidents and measure fire conditions has arrived,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Representatives from emergency response agencies across Larimer County gathered Thursday at Poudre Fire Authority’s training grounds in Fort Collins to demonstrate how drones can be used to enhance public safety in a variety of situations. Expediting the process of gathering evidence in serious motor vehicle accidents, measuring the heat produced by flames in a structure fire, identifying chemicals spilled in a train derailment and mapping routes to locate stranded hikers were among the applications for drone use by local fire, police and rescue crews.”

“A day after a body was found floating in the lake at Fort Collins’ City Park, details about the situation remained under wraps,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The only update came on Thursday morning, when Fort Collins police told the Coloradoan the body found in Sheldon Lake was that of a deceased woman. The Larimer County Coroner’s Office conducted an autopsy on Thursday afternoon but didn’t release the woman’s name or cause and manner of death for unspecified reasons.”

“The cost of sailing briskly along the Express Lanes on U.S. 36 and Interstate 25 could soon be going up on average — although in some spots, rates may go down — if proposed rate adjustments announced Thursday are approved,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The High Performance Transportation Enterprise, which operates as a government-owned independent business within the Colorado Department of Transportation, said Plenary Roads Denver is proposing the rate adjustments in order to manage congestion and ensure reliable travel times for users of the Express Lanes, including RTD’s Flatiron Flyer buses.”

“This summer will be the first full work season since the Bonita Peak Mining District Superfund site was declared last September, and the Environmental Protection Agency is wasting no time trying to figure out one of the biggest mysteries in the watershed: The American Tunnel,” reports The Durango Herald. “EPA hydrologist Ian Bowen said this week the agency plans to drill 500 feet into the San Juan Mountains to install a monitoring well between the second and third bulkheads on the tunnel.”

“Vice President Mike Pence will be in Colorado Springs Friday to speak at Focus on the Family’s 40th anniversary celebration,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “As a ministry, we’ve long cared about life and having a public official of his stature address the organization is quite an honor,” spokesman Paul Batura said. Pence is expected to address the Christian nonprofit around 10:30 a.m. but the time is subject to change. ‘He’s a Christian like we are and stands for a lot of the same values that we do,’ said the group’s senior publicist, Allison Meggers. ‘We’re excited to have him.'”