The Home Front: Firefighters in conservative Colorado Springs want collective bargaining

“The union representing Colorado Springs firefighters filed a petition with the city last week indicating it intends to seek collective bargaining status,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The petition was signed by 80 percent of the Professional Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 5’s members, president Dave Noblitt said. Collective bargaining has been a right of firefighters in the state since 2013, when the Colorado Firefighter Safety Act was passed. Since then, departments in Denver, Fort Collins, Aurora and Pueblo have earned the status, according to their websites. But Colorado Springs doesn’t seem to want to follow suit, Noblitt said.”

“An experimental wildlife-detection system installed nine years ago on U.S. Highway 160 east of Durango has fallen into disrepair and is no longer operational,” reports The Durango Herald. “The $1 million system was designed to detect wildlife, such as deer and elk, on either side of the road and alert drivers of potential hazards. But after several years of research and making repairs, the Colorado Department of Transportation has largely given up on the technology in favor of cheaper fencing and wildlife tunnels to reduce animal/vehicle collisions. ‘It was a lot more maintenance than we were anticipating,’ said Mike McVaugh, transportation director for Region 5. What’s more, the 40-inch by 60-inch lighted signs that read ‘Wildlife Detected’ had little effect on driver behavior, McVaugh said.”

“An environmental assessment of a proposal to drill more than 100 oil wells south of Palisade and west of the Grand Mesa has been released for public comment after it was revised to account for impacts such as anticipated hydraulic fracturing of the wells,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The updated analysis by the Bureau of Land Management evaluates a proposal by Fram Operating LLC, to drill 108 wells from 12 new pads over four years. The BLM had issued an environmental assessment for the project in 2014, but then received a request for a state director review from the Western Colorado Congress, Citizens for Clean Air, and the Western Environmental Law Center acting on behalf of Citizens for a Healthy Community. The BLM then determined the project can’t occur without the wells being subject to some sort of hydraulic fracturing or acid wash completion process, and that required more analysis of potential impacts on things such as air and water quality, traffic, and water use.”

“The former president of Ault Fall Festival organization could face a felony theft charge after police say he stole at least $9,599.95 from the board, and maybe as much as $19,000 over the course of a year,” reports The Greeley Tribune.

“Children walk down the sidewalk, the bustle of downtown is heard in the distance and the postman makes his rounds on Wednesday afternoon, as if the 110-year-old house at 330 Collyer St. was never one to avoid,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Last year, Fort Collins house flippers Cat and Matt Gibson were lured to the classic cottage in the Historic Eastside residential neighborhood of Longmont for its infamous past as a flophouse and lesser-known early 20th century history. Finally, after an estimated two weeks of meth remediation turned into six months, and then another delay after the birth of their twin boys in March, the house will be listed on the market Friday for $425,000 and shown off to potential buyers at an open house starting at 10 a.m. Saturday.”

“A ‘punitive’ administration at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo is the cause of the hospital’s staffing problem, veteran employees claimed Wednesday at a union rally across the street from the 449-bed hospital,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Complaints ranged from not being allowed to take time to eat during 16-hour shifts to being warned by supervisors against giving staff high performance ratings because that would trigger higher pay. ‘It’s an intentionally hostile environment,’ said one staffer with nearly 30 years experience, as surrounding colleagues nodded.”

“Peter and Kim Kreissig, of K and K Builders, Inc., the successful developers of Rocky Peak Village townhomes on Willett Heights Trail, are shifting their focus to a different category of housing and studying the feasibility of developing up to 48 “entry-level,” two-bedroom condominiums on a parcel of land set back from the intersection of U.S. Highway 40 and Hilltop Lane, which they have under contract to purchase,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “It’s not a coincidence that the very tentative target price range begins at $245,000.”

“Heather ‘Helena’ Hoffmann walked out the doors of McDonald’s one week ago Wednesday,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Seventeen hours later, her body was pulled from one of Fort Collins’ most visible lakes, where thousands will convene in less than a week for the city’s Fourth of July festivities. Fort Collins police remain relatively mum about what has — and has not — changed in the days since they first labeled the death of the 23-year-old mother of a 4-year-old as ‘suspicious.’ The agency has stopped short of saying publicly whether her death was the work of an assailant or whether any suspects were being investigated.”

“A mosquito carrying West Nile virus has been found in a trap in Berthoud, according to Vector Disease Control International, formerly known as Colorado Mosquito Control,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The positive test is from Berthoud’s inaugural testing of mosquitoes for the virus. The trap that collected the infected mosquito is located near Loveland Reservoir at County Road 17 south of U.S. 287.”

“An art exhibition that opened this month at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art has been taken down following staff resignations at the museum,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “‘It is unfortunate that staff issues BMoCA has recently experienced have encouraged one collector with art currently on exhibition to withdraw that collection from our galleries,’ wrote BMoCA executive director David Dadone in response to a Camera inquiry about the show.”

“In a nondescript office building on the north side of this conservative enclave [of Colorado Springs], more than a dozen volunteers spent hours making calls to educate voters about a new initiative that will allow parents to use taxpayer dollars to send children to private schools,” reports The Denver Post. “At the same time, just miles down the road, the political network behind the effort gathered hundreds of its wealthiest donors at a posh mountainside resort to raise money to support the campaign to remake the education system. The confluence of policy and politics epitomized how the conservative billionaires Charles and David Koch flex their organization’s muscle and spread an ideological agenda in states across the nation.”