The Home Front: Cory Gardner is ‘under siege’ amid his ‘hunker-down strategy’ on healthcare

“U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is under siege,” reports The Denver Post. “For weeks, protesters have rallied outside his offices in Washington and Colorado with the demand that he oppose Republican efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act. Several were arrested this week on Capitol Hill, joining more than a dozen activists who met a similar fate in Colorado. Meanwhile, Gardner has faced growing pressure from conservatives to make good on his campaign promise to repeal Obamacare, a goal Gardner has supported with dozens of symbolic votes since he joined Congress in 2011. That force will be on display this weekend when thousands of activists descend on Denver for the Western Conservative Summit.”

“Sen. Ray Scott is peddling a state tax on bicycles, but he might be spinning his wheels,” reports The Grand Junction Dailey Sentinel. “In President Trump-like fashion, Grand Junction’s GOP state senator went onto social media this week saying he is considering introducing a measure into next year’s legislative session similar to one Oregon approved earlier this month, to put an excise tax on the sale of bicycles. “We will be proposing something similar,” Scott posted. “They use the roads also.” Later, the senator suggested that instead of a tax, maybe the state should require bicycles to have license plates, paying the state a fee to get them. His posts say he’s just spit-balling, and wants to know what people think about the concept, saying that bicycles are using the roads but paying nothing to maintain them. While some expressed support for both ideas, many didn’t, even questioning whether Scott has suddenly become a Democrat.”

“Beginning July 31, Boulder County will allow leashed dogs on a small stretch of the Picture Rock Trail on the county’s Heil Valley Ranch Open Space area south of Lyons,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The 1,000-foot section of Picture Rock Trail runs between Red Gulch Road on the west and on the east by a connection to Lyons’ Bohn Park, which also features a dog park. On Thursday morning, Boulder County Commissioners Elise Jones and Deb Gardner voted to approve permitting leashed dogs on that short trail section, although dogs will continue to be prohibited — both on leash and off leash — on the rest of Picture Rock Trail and Heil Valley Ranch’s other trails.”

“When Greeley police dog Rocko turned his head to the left and snapped his jaws as he stood outside the car about 12:45 Saturday morning, officer Kevin Clarey knew there were drugs inside,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Rocko is trained to react that way if he smells illegal narcotics, such as methamphetamine or heroin. Rocko’s reaction led officers to search the car and then the driver, who they’d found slumped over the steering wheel asleep not long before. As one of two dogs used by the Greeley Police Department, Rocko stays busy. He often conducts sniffs like Saturday’s. Many times they are a key step in arresting someone on suspicion of drug charges.”

“Six weeks after failing a state inspection on its staffing, the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo still has more than 80 vacancies in the key ‘direct-care’ staff positions that caused federal officials to put the hospital in ‘immediate jeopardy’ of losing its Medicare funding,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “When state inspectors failed the hospital June 5, there were 97 vacancies among the 723 direct-care positions. That shortage had apparently existed all spring. For inspectors, it triggered concerns about both patient and staff safety. That’s when the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services said the hospital was in jeopardy of losing Medicare funding if the problem wasn’t immediately fixed.”

“A model teacher education program at Colorado Mountain College may require some model solutions to help aspiring educators make it through their student teaching year on solid financial footing,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The first batch of students in CMC’s elementary education teaching program — one of five bachelor degrees now offered by the college — are entering their senior year this fall. The program requires them to put in 1,200 hours of student teaching in a classroom setting in order to graduate.”

“Call it Extreme Home Makeover: Routt County Elk Edition,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Large machines that resemble giant lawnmowers will spend the coming weeks cutting down old vegetation in two parts of the National Forest around Steamboat Springs to make better homes for the elk. When it’s over, the elk and deer will have a better, more nutritious food supply and winter range. The work will also reduce the risk of wildfires in the area.”

“Decreasing the frequency at which painkiller prescriptions are filled for Colorado residents insured by the state’s Medicaid program is the most recent step taken by authorities to combat what has become known as an opioid epidemic,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Opioids are drugs such as morphine, heroin and popular prescription pain pills with similar effects, such as OxyContin, Percocet and Vicodin. Alleged over-prescribing of such pain pills in recent years has led to a highly documented nationwide uptick in opioid abuse that includes a rise in overdose deaths from both prescription drugs as well as illegal narcotics such as heroin.”

“The latest spacing applications filings by Extraction Oil & Gas, Inc. have some Broomfield residents concerned about more wells coming into Broomfield, but the company says it will stand by the promise it made to the community,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “When wells aretallied on six applications submitted July 13 to the Colorado Oil & Gas Conservation Commission, they show up to 120 proposed wells. The Sept. 11 and 12 hearings for the applications will be in Durango. Extraction Spokesman Brian Cain said all wells in the application that exceed the 99 the company promised will be drilled outside of Broomfield.”

“A Denver-based corporation wants to take over the non-operating Cotter Corp. uranium mill in Cañon City -— a Superfund site — for the purpose of remediating the contaminated land and acting as a steward of the land in the future. Colorado Legacy Land, a Delaware LLC based in Denver, is currently in negotiations with Cotter to obtain the former uranium mill, along with the Central City Schwartzwalder Mine,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Doing so would mean the company owns the Cañon City land and would be responsible for clean up. Even so, Cotter always will remain a potential responsible party because the company caused the contamination. If Colorado Legacy Land fails to clean up the land, the burden would fall back on Cotter.”

“A two-car crash killed one person and injured four others west of Hesperus on Thursday evening,” reports The Durango Herald.

“When Amy Davis and her partner moved out of their house in South Florida and into a 399-square-foot cottage on wheels, they had no problem adjusting to the close quarters,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. But finding a spot for their “tiny house” proved a challenge until they stumbled upon a like-minded community nestled on a hillside in Woodland Park. Peak View Park is host to more than 40 of the units, each less than 400 square feet in size and mounted on trailers, that have been touted by HGTV shows and magazine articles as the gateway to an affordable, alternative lifestyle. But, as the new form of dwelling has made its way into housing markets, a problem has emerged: Governments aren’t quite sure how tiny houses fit in with zoning regulations and land-use codes. “The trouble is finding a place to put them,” Davis, 50, said from her miniature living room.”