The Home Front: Cory Gardner’s protesters win in court

“The lobby of the Chase building where U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner had his Denver office until this week might be private property, but it’s public enough — people come and go without having to pay money or state their purpose — that police should not have cited protesters there for trespassing in a January protest, a Denver judge ruled Tuesday,” reports Denverite. “‘It’s a fantastic ruling by an excellent judge because this sends the message to law enforcement that if people are exercising their rights in a quasi-public forum, the police have to let them do it,’ said David Lane, a prominent civil rights attorney who represented Dawn Russell and Elizabeth Moseley in the case. Charges against people involved in more recent protests at Gardner’s office have been dropped in one of those cases and are still pending in the other.”

“Weld County commissioners on Tuesday hosted the first of several public meetings that could change the way the county regulates oil and gas,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The meetings have been promised for more than a year and a half, since a small working group helped commissioners develop standards and definitions related to oil and gas pipelines. The ensuing months have included a high-profile, deadly home explosion in Firestone, the result of a gas leak from a flow line, and led to a packed events center room at the Weld County Administration Building, 1150 O St.”

“You may very well get away with smoking in downtown Glenwood Springs, but you’re taking a pricey gamble,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Glenwood Springs police have issued 34 smoking tickets in downtown over the first year since the law took effect. The smoking tickets are up to $200 a pop for first offenders. Police Chief Terry Wilson said that expensive fine is probably sending the message, as officers haven’t issued many second-offense tickets.”

“Six Colorado counties would be among 90 nationwide that would benefit from legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet to assist communities struggling economically due to the slowdown in the coal mining industry,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. Bennet, D-Colo., last week introduced the Coal Community Empowerment Act, which his office said seeks to encourage investment, workforce training, economic growth and job creation. It would designate 90 counties as Coal Community Zones, making them eligible for incentives provided by the bill. In Colorado, Delta, Gunnison, Las Animas, Moffat, Rio Blanco and Routt counties would be designated for assistance.”

“As art lovers wander around the big three art shows this weekend, they might take a second to look at how the pieces are staying upright,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The base might be from The Base Shop in Loveland. “We make all the bases and all the pedestals, and all the fun stuff to finish off the art. It’s like framing the picture,” said Bryan Wright. The Base Shop has been in business for 23 years, started by John Peonio. Wright took over the business almost seven years ago. He has been in the fine art and sculpture business since 1984, doing installation, casting and other manufacturing work for art pieces.”

“Dozens of local and federal investigators fanned out across the still-smoking ruins of the Windsor mill on Tuesday and began to piece together what caused the Sunday blaze,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives deployed nearly 30 investigators to assist Windsor Severance Fire Rescue in the investigation this week. About 10 investigators are from ATF’s field offices in Denver and Cheyenne and the rest are part of the agency’s national response team.”

“Routt County residents are again facing an onslaught of scams from individuals looking to steal their money,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The Routt County Building Department issued a notice Monday warning of a scam where people posing as a roofing company have asked for half of the money up front and then never performed any work. The scam has specifically targeted elderly individuals. Assistant County Manager Dan Weinheimer said the scam was first detected in neighboring Eagle County, and officials there sent out a warning to neighboring communities because they thought it could spread.”

“In a split 4-3 vote late Tuesday night, Longmont City Council members upheld the Planning and Zoning Commission’s June 21 approval of the preliminary plat and preliminary planned unit development plan for the Shadowgrass Apartments project,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The council majority’s decision that the preliminary plat and PUD plan met the city’s review criteria will allow the developer to proceed with the next steps toward constructing a 256-unit apartment complex on 13 acres southwest of 17th Avenue and East County Line Road.”

“Boulder staffers have proposed a plan for funding the maintenance and enhancement of public infrastructure between now and 2023, calling for $484 million spread across 145 different projects and nine city departments,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “On Tuesday, the Boulder City Council held a study session to review the plan known as the city Capital Improvement Program — more commonly referred to as the CIP. The majority of CIP funding goes toward upkeep and basic improvements to existing city infrastructure, from roadways to water utilities to building retrofits to parking lot renovations.”

“More than half of the revenue from a proposed county-imposed marijuana tax would fund mental health programs, the interim county manager said Monday,” reports Vail Daily. “Bryan Treu, the county’s interim manager, estimated a countywide pot tax would generate $2 million per year. Of that, $1.2 million would fund mental health facilities and programs, Treu said. The tax question will probably be put before voters in the Nov. 7 election, Treu said.”

“A highly productive natural-gas well tested in the San Juan Basin could encourage more new drilling in the San Juan Basin’s Mancos Shale,” reports The Durango Herald. “The well test started in June about seven miles south of the Colorado state line and had the highest production rate seen in the San Juan Basin in the past 14 years, a BP news release said. The well achieved an average 30-day initial production rate of 12.9 million cubic feet per day. “This result supports our strategic view that significant resource potential exists in the San Juan Basin, and gives us confidence to pursue additional development of the Mancos Shale, which we believe could become one of the leading shale plays in the U.S.,” said Dave Lawler, CEO of BP’s U.S. Lower 48 onshore business in a statement.”

“The Fremont County Board of Commissioners unanimously denied a second request by Mile High Green Cross, LLC to expand an existing indoor marijuana grow operation in Penrose,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The board also presented written findings to support the decision. “The second modification application is virtually identical to the first modification application that we had before us,” said Commission Chair Debbie Bell. ‘The applicant offered no comments or explanations of how the circumstances have changed in the neighborhood to mitigate or eliminate the board’s findings that were expressed in a previous resolution.'”

“It’s a steamy Friday morning, and Christi Turner is elbows-deep in compost. Armed with yellow gloves and an equally sunny smile, she is undeterred as flies buzz and a strong stench rises around the Dumpster where she’s tossing animal skins, pizza dough and other heavy-duty food refuse,” reports The Denver Post. “Removing straws and recyclables from the fresh pile of waste, Turner cleans her gloves and the newly empty compost bins. Job done, she hops on her bike and sets off for another pick-up point. This smelly operation is all part of a day’s work for Scraps, a small-scale, bike-based composting company that Turner launched this year. She uses a bike with a trailer to collect compost from restaurants and apartment buildings that otherwise would throw their extra food in the garbage. Multiple times a week, she takes to the side streets and thoroughfares of Denver to wheel organic waste to a container in the heart of downtown.”

“Though acknowledging that questions and concerns still remain on the topic, the Colorado Springs City Council approved an ordinance revamping the city’s long-defunded stormwater enterprise fund,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The vote, opposed by Councilmen Don Knight, Bill Murray and Andy Pico, is the council’s first official step toward placing a set of stormwater fees on El Paso County’s November ballot. It also constitutes a hard-fought but preliminary victory for Mayor John Suthers, who has strongly advocated for the fees since June. The ordinance approved during Tuesday’s regular council meeting rewords the city’s existing code on stormwater fees, which is left over from 2009 when an earlier council put the enterprise in mothballs after voters approved a ballot measure leaving its legality in question. The enterprise fund was originally imposed in 2005 without a vote from city residents.”