The Home Front: A Colorado town council just approved an ‘odor’ ordinance aimed at fracking

“Erie trustees Tuesday night approved an ordinance amending the town’s ‘public health and safety’ code to consider complaints against fracking-related odors, a measure that marks the region’s first step toward local regulation over the industry,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Trustees voted 5-2 to pass the ordinance officially on first reading without bringing the motion back next month for a second approval; the board’s only two “no” votes came from Trustees Dan Woog and Scott Charles. Ordinances typically take effect 30 days after approval, according to town code. The lasting impacts of the ordinance may not be known immediately, though precedent for expanded local control sought along the Front Range could be realized under the measure’s reshaping how violations are levied against companies.”

“The Air Force on Tuesday acknowledged potential guilt in fouling the drinking water of thousands of its neighbors but offered no apology and said work on a federal remediation plan likely would not begin until sometime in the 2020s,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “In a first-of-its-kind admission for the service, Air Force investigators confirmed that toxic firefighting foam chemicals used at Peterson Air Force Base had leached into the surrounding groundwater. To fix the problem, Air Force officials are proceeding under a process similar to the federal Superfund program – a yearslong procedure for cleaning up complex environmental contamination. No Superfund designation, however, has been made. The findings were outlined in a report unveiled Tuesday that examined dozens of soil and water tests over the last year at the east Colorado Springs base.”

“Water providers and residents south of Colorado Springs chafed as the U.S. Air Force on Tuesday unveiled a nine-month study verifying that firefighting foam used at Peterson Air Force Base contaminated water and soil with toxic perfluorinated chemicals at levels more than 1,000 times higher than a national health advisory limit,” reports The Denver Post. “Air Force officials pledged to conduct further investigations that, sometime after 2019, may include analysis of human health risks. This initial investigation focused on contamination at the base. The spread of contaminants to where tens of thousands of people live remains a mystery, the officials said. Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment leaders have said the state was waiting on the Air Force for information on how far and how fast PFCs have moved. El Paso County and CDPHE officials at a public meeting here Tuesday night said their agencies lack money to track the PFCs moving in groundwater at unknown concentrations south toward Pueblo.”

“Greeley’s tightening housing market was enough to convince Greeley leaders on Tuesday to reverse their earlier denial of an infill apartment project near the Highland Hills Golf Course in west Greeley,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The Greeley Planning Commission voted 6-1 to rezone a long-vacant lot at 50th Avenue and 20th Street, amid a packed meeting room in which neighbors accused the Richardson family, the property owners, of bullying them and using scare tactics to gain approval of a 200-unit apartment project called Alpine Flats.”

“One of the least popular things Mesa County has done is cut to one the number of offices in which folks can get new vehicle license tags. And one of the potentially most popular is the addition of automation,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “That’s what clerks in the county Motor Vehicles office, at 220 S. Spruce St., said they hear from customers who stream in daily to pay taxes, change titles, deal with liens and any number of other vehicle-related issues.”

“The Longmont City Council on Tuesday night gave initial approval to place three issues on the November ballot — a public safety tax, a retail marijuana tax and a bond issue question for the Windy Gap Firming Project,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The public safety tax first would increase the city’s .325 percent public safety sales and use tax to .58 percent. The proceeds of the public safety tax will, should the measure pass, go toward hiring more police officers, dispatchers and firefighters as well as fund more equipment and facilities, according to city records.”

“Fremont County Sheriff Jim Beicker on Tuesday announced that one of the four patrol division supervisory staff members placed on administrative leave this week is already back at work and he has plans to meet one-on-one with the other three,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “‘It is not the norm for me to come out and speak to some of these issues, but there is a ton of misinformation out there. There are no criminal investigations on any of these officers and there are no internal investigations,’ Beicker said during a press conference Tuesday.”

“Routt County officials have lost patience with a rural property owner whose partially completed home has been an eyesore and, they say, a dangerous building for more than a decade in the Whitecotton subdivision 9.4 miles south of Steamboat Springs,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The Board of County Commissioners agreed unanimously July 25 to authorize County Attorney Erick Knaus to pursue legal remedies against a Fort Collins man, Kevin Murnane, who has not responded to recent efforts to contact him and compel him to remove the nuisance structure from his property in the bucolic Whitecotton neighborhood. Murnane pulled his first building permit for his new home 16 years ago.”

“Headed to Casper, Wyoming, for the celestial spectacle of a lifetime?” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The city offers one of the best viewing options for this year’s total solar eclipse within driving distance from Fort Collins. The three-and-a-half hour drive will be worth it for skygazers. Casper is the largest nearby population center in the area and it’s located in the eclipse’s “path of totality,” which passes through Wyoming, Nebraska and the northeast part of Kansas, among other states. Viewers in the path of totality will experience day turning into an eerie twilight on the morning of Aug. 21.”

“A closer examination of how the city of Loveland accounts for its revenues under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights reveals that several funds have been misclassified over the years, Loveland City Councilors were told Tuesday,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The end result was that more money than required was directed into TABOR excess revenue accounts, meaning the city has not run afoul of any state laws or constitutional issues. When voters passed TABOR in 1992, it stipulated that government revenue could grow only by the amount of inflation plus the percentage of population growth. Any income that came in over that amount would have to be refunded to taxpayers unless they voted to allow the entity, in this case the city of Loveland, to spend it on specific purposes.”

“Locals have poured out compassion and cash for a woman who was severely beaten early Monday morning,” reports Vail Daily. “Dita Richterova was the only one working in Eagle’s Brush Creek Saloon at 1:18 a.m. Monday, when security video shows her being savagely beaten allegedly by Pedro Gonzalez, 34, the only patron in the bar at closing time, according to the arrest affidavit. Locals started a fund at the Brush Creek Saloon, as well as a GoFundMe page. Richterova saved herself, Eagle Police said. “It appeared that if (the female bartender) had not escaped the violent, continuous and deliberate assault, she would have been killed,” said the arrest affidavit from the Eagle Police Department.”

“Three La Plata County Sheriff’s investigators were on their way to intercept Mark Redwine’s truck late Friday or early Saturday as it drove through Washington state to New York,” reports The Durango Herald. “But unexpectedly, Redwine’s rig was turned around at a weigh station for being overweight – not an uncommon situation for truckers. He was forced to return to Bellingham, Washington, where his trailer would be reloaded. “Because of the turnaround of his truck being overweight, they (investigators) were out of position by about six hours in order to assist directly in that (arrest),” La Plata County Sheriff Sean Smith said Tuesday at a news conference held in Durango to discuss the indictment and arrest of Redwine, who is suspected of killing his 13-year-old son, Dylan, in November 2012. By the time investigators arrived, Redwine had exercised his right to speak to an attorney, preventing investigators from questioning him.”

“Four officers with the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office were placed on leave this week because of an internal department issue -— not a criminal matter,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “FCSO Sheriff Jim Beicker said during a news conference Tuesday afternoon that a lot of misinformation and rumors are spreading on social media regarding the last round of officers to be placed on leave.”