The Home Front: Colorado’s Xcel energy company plans to retire a coal plant operation early

“Xcel Energy would cut about 90 jobs in Pueblo under its proposal to retire early about half of the Comanche coal-fired power plant and replace the power by developing new natural gas, wind and solar plants,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The Comanche plant’s 7-year-old Unit 3 would keep operating but Unit 1 and Unit 2, refurbished within the past decade, would close by the mid-2020s, or at least a decade before their next scheduled refurbishment or ‘book life’ dates in 2032 and 2035, the utility said Tuesday in announcing the proposal.”

“Some conservation groups fear proposed oil and gas leasing north of Mack could eclipse, as it were, the possibility for solar energy development in an area the Bureau of Land Management has identified as having good potential for the latter,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Wilderness Society, Conservation Colorado and Western Colorado Congress say oil and gas leasing there would preclude the ability of the area to be used for producing clean, renewable energy — a point disputed by the BLM and David Ludlam, executive director of the West Slope Colorado Oil and Gas Association.”

“The Larimer County District Attorney’s Office has declined a request for more information about the case of a Greeley municipal judge accused of official misconduct,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Brandilynn Nieto, Greeley’s municipal judge, on Aug. 9 was removed from the bench and put on paid administrative leave after the Weld County Sheriff’s Office produced a misdemeanor summons against her for official misconduct. Almost no information was made public about the case. On Aug. 10, Cpl. Matt Turner of the Weld County Sheriff’s Office told The Tribune Nieto ‘used her position to have some of her employees go online and make comments that would benefit a local company.’ Turner did not name the company nor did he offer more information.”

“Longmont’s city staff on Tuesday night unveiled a $316.32 million package of spending proposals for city government in 2018,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Under the staff’s proposals, Longmont would start with an operating budget that represents an 11.9 percent increase from the $282.69 million budget the City Council originally adopted last October for the current 2017 calendar year. Next year’s budget would include some fee increases, including a 9 percent average hike in water users’ rates that the council had previously approved for 2018. The council also is expected, before adopting a final budget, to increase sewer fees percent by an average of 3 percent.”

“A local carpenter who has felt the impacts of this city’s affordable housing woes is running for a seat on the Steamboat Springs City Council,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Peter Arnold filed for the at-large seat before Monday’s application deadline. He will face incumbent Scott Ford in the only contested council race in the November election. ‘I’m just trying to be more involved and bring a different perspective to the council,’ Arnold said. ‘There’s a lot of discussion about certain issues (on council), but I don’t see a lot of action.'”

“A man was arrested in connection with a Timnath explosion that critically burned three people and triggered a major emergency response in June,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Two men and a 12-year-old child were injured in the June 13 explosion. Michael Williams, 35, reportedly began excavating an underground bunker several months before the explosion — a bunker that authorities say lacked proper ventilation or reinforcements to ward against collapse, new court documents show.”

“The public colleges and universities in Northern Colorado account for nearly one-tenth of the economic output in Larimer and Weld counties, local public officials learned on Tuesday,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “A new report on the economic value of the public institutions of higher education outlines the impact the schools have not only as employment centers of their own, but also as the creator of an army of graduates who start their own business or create innovations. The four leaders of Colorado State University, University of Northern Colorado, Front Range Community College and Aims Community College talked about the missions of the schools as well as how they offer taxpayers — and tuition payers — a strong return on their investments.”

“Nine-year-old Robbie Bond is on a mission to protect the country’s national monuments and parks, and in the process, he’s well on his way to visiting all 27 sites by the end of the year,” reports The Durango Herald. “On Tuesday, he checked Canyons of the Ancients in Southwest Colorado off that list. “They don’t teach national parks and monuments in schools, and I’d like to change that,” Robbie said on a visit to The Durango Herald offices Monday. ‘I hope to educate kids because I think it’s a really important subject.'”

“A horse was forced to be euthanized after it was hit by a motor vehicle Monday night, officials said,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis said in an email Tuesday night that officers from the Florence Police Department responded to a vehicle versus horse on Colo. 115 and county road 117 in Florence at about 6:39 p.m. Monday.”

“A public hearing Tuesday night on the monitoring, and lack thereof, of ‘sexually violent predators’ in Boulder left many in the City Council chambers feeling more concerned than they were previously,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “No decisions were made at the meeting, but the council expressed a clear desire to take any of a number of possible actions to reassure citizens fearful of the fact that there are four sexually violent predators — all of whom assaulted either children or strangers — currently living in Boulder, and largely without supervision.”

“After scientists concluded the microscopic squiggles in samples of Green Mountain Reservoir water were dangerous mussel larvae, Colorado bumped up its war against a worst-case scenario that threatens fisheries, power generation, water quality, water distribution, access and recreation across the state,” reports The Denver Post. “If those little bugs become mussels, reservoirs and lakes will close to boats. Colorado’s water-based recreation economies will suffer. Water prices will skyrocket. Countless users downstream from Colorado — and the entire West is downstream — will be impacted.”

“If El Paso County does not get voters’ permission in November to adjust a state-mandated revenue cap, the resulting budget cuts could have ‘devastating’ effects, the county’s chief financial officer warned at a Tuesday hearing,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Members of the public expressed support at the meeting for a proposed ballot measure that would ask voters to allow the county to retain about $14.5 million in excess revenues to pay for disaster recovery repairs, park projects and infrastructure improvements, including the widening of Interstate 25 between Monument and Castle Rock. But the proposed question includes a more esoteric provision that officials say could hold equal importance for county residents’ quality of life.”