The Home Front: A ‘shift in the wind’ saved Breckenridge from a wild fire, 450 homes evacuated

“A shift in the wind Wednesday afternoon prevented an intense, fast-growing wildfire from moving into the town of Breckenridge,” reports The Denver Post. “Nevertheless the blaze prompted the evacuation of about 450 homes and led officials to put residents and visitors in the resort town on notice to leave. About 3 p.m., a thick, black plume of smoke rose into the sky from the blaze, which began near a section of the Colorado Trail. But by sundown, only white smoke was wafting into the air from the 82-acre burn, called the Peak 2 fire.”

“State Rep. Diane Mitsch Bush is running for Congress,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Steamboat Springs Democrat and former Routt County commissioner is to make that announcement later today in Pueblo. In an exclusive interview with The Daily Sentinel earlier this week, Mitsch Bush said she was running because she’s tired of seeing the expansive 3rd Congressional District operate ‘without a real representative,’ referring to U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton, a Republican from Cortez who’s held the seat since 2011. ‘A real representative actually listens,’ Mitsch Bush said. ‘A real representative actually reads bills. A real representative understands the issues that we face. He’s not the representative that I would be.'”

“A 5-2 Longmont City Council majority decided Wednesday night to ask voters’ authorization to sell an estimated $36.3 million in bonds to help finance the city’s share of costs for the Windy Gap Firming Project,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “If voters approve the measure that the council will formally act on later this month and in August to advance to November’s municipal election ballot, Longmont would not increase water rates again this year. But the city’s water customers would pay higher rates in 2018, with rates increasing by an average 13 percent above 2017 levels. There would be another 10 percent increase in 2019 and a 6 percent increase in 2020 as the city makes annual principal and interest repayments on the 20-year bonds.”

“Weld County emergency services dispatchers received 145 calls concerning fireworks between 5 p.m. Tuesday and 2 a.m. Wednesday morning, and Greeley police officers responded to 127 of those calls,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “According to a news release from Sgt. Joe Tymkowych, the Greeley Police Department designated four officers to respond to firework-related calls Tuesday. Those four officers handled 81 calls. In addition, the department’s other officers responded to 46 calls related to fireworks, according to the release. Officers ended up writing citations for people in four of those calls, according to the release. Tymkowych did not provide details about what the citations were for. However, he said most of the time officers arrived on scene, they found fireworks were being used legally and the calls were related to noise complaints.”

“A standout East High School wrestler and grandson of a Pueblo city councilman was seriously injured in a fireworks explosion Tuesday,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Aaden Valdez, grandson of Larry Atencio and son of Zach Valdez, executive director of La Gente Youth Sports, was airlifted to a Denver hospital after suffering severe damage to his left hand and left eye in the explosion, specific details of which were not disclosed by authorities. News of the accident was posted on Zach Valdez’s Facebook page, which also contains a link to a gofundme account set up for his son’s medical expenses.”

“Where there’s fire, there’s smoke and regional wildfires are generating enough smoke that state health officials issued an air-quality advisory,” reports Vail Daily. “The Gutzler fire grew overnight Monday to more than 850 acres in remote northern Eagle County. When the wind shifted Tuesday afternoon, the smoke began blowing into the Interstate 70 corridor and the Vail Valley. That prompted the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to issue an air-quality health advisory due to wildfire smoke in Eagle, Summit, Lake and southern portions of Grand counties.”

“Steamboat Springs residents who walked by the Ski Town ball fields Sunday evening saw the dark side of a busy Fourth of July weekend,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Dozens of beer cans and other pieces of trash were strewn next to an overflowing trash can at the vacant fields. It wasn’t on the scale of the Denver Civic Center trashing that recently grabbed headlines. But some residents who noticed the litter in Steamboat were irked. Bud Light cans sat on the bleachers and empty beer boxes were on the ground. Some of the garbage made a trail to a nearby sidewalk.”

“A proposal to create a ‘winter wonderland’ event at Loveland’s Chapungu Sculpture Park using lodging tax revenue and a state grant stirred up some anti-Centerra sentiment at Wednesday night’s City Council meeting,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The proposed event, the brainchild of visitor services manager Cindy Mackin, would transform the sculpture park adjacent to The Promenade Shops at Centerra in east Loveland for six weeks with light displays and free nightly shows choreographed to music. Mackin likened the Winter Wonderlights project to the Denver Zoo’s popular Zoo Lights attraction.”

“Pens flurried across postcards with seashell stamps in a small conference room,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In the corner, the younger generation taught an older, yet no less involved, generation about a new way to resist. About 20 community members with disabilities, their families and allies gathered Wednesday in the Association for Community Living office in Lafayette for #HoldOutForHealthcare. There, concerned citizens were encouraged to reach out to their representatives and senators via email, phone and postcard about the looming Better Care Reconciliation Act. The act, which would begin to phase out Medicaid expansion in 2021 and put caps on funding for all individuals on Medicaid regardless of need, is being vehemently opposed by those who have the most to lose.”

“A Fort Collins nonprofit called out by Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith for potentially drawing transients to the Fort Collins area with its services says it doesn’t serve those traveling through,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “David Rout, executive director of Homeless Gear, sent a statement to the Coloradoan on Wednesday afternoon clarifying the nonprofit’s role following Smith’s comments about Homeless Gear’s gear distribution in a recent Coloradoan article about the arrest of Jeffrey Etheridge. Smith criticized Fort Collins leadership and service providers who ‘enable and encourage’ criminality among transient people and travelers in an 876-word Facebook post last week.”

“A Fremont County Sheriff’s Office deputy — the seventh this year — was placed on paid administrative leave Wednesday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. Detention deputy Sarah Brassfield, 37, of Cañon City, was arrested and charged with child abuse on Monday after she allegedly left two small children, whose ages are unknown, in a parked car for several hours, according to the arrest affidavit. Brassfield, who was later released by the Cañon City Police Department, is accused of leaving her foster children in a Ford Mustang convertible that was sitting in the parking lot of the Department of Human Services. There, a bystander reported the scene to two people working at the front desk.”

“Firefighting operations were disrupted at least four times in four days by drones flying over the Lightner Creek Fire, according to the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office,” reports The Durango Herald. “Local law enforcement made contact with three suspects, and a fourth case remained under investigation Monday, said sheriff’s spokesman Dan Bender.”

“Ex-El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa wanted to knock a sheriff’s candidate out of the race when he drew attention to a missing disciplinary file, a key witness testified on Wednesday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “(Maketa) told me that if everything went the way he wanted it to go, then the media and community would see that Bill Elder was crooked and dirty, and it would knock him out of the election,” Lt. Cheryl Peck said. The so-called Elder file again took center stage at Maketa’s corruption trial, consuming much of the third day of testimony as prosecutors highlighted claims that the term-limited sheriff sought to influence the 2014 election to pick his successor.”