The Home Front: Hickenlooper says homelessness can be a sign of prosperity in some cities

“Homelessness, Gov. John Hickenlooper reasoned Wednesday morning, is a sign of prosperity,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Not a sign to be celebrated — he was at that moment talking with folks who dedicate their careers to combating homelessness — but a sign nonetheless. Hickenlooper noted the snake-belly-low unemployment rates in Fort Collins and how areas without those kind of job figures also don’t typically have large homeless populations. People in struggling cities tend just to leave. Further, Hickenlooper reasoned, low unemployment makes it easier to demand higher wages. He cited an anecdote of a restaurateur friend in Denver struggling to keep dishwashers around at $11 an hour. So, as businesses struggle to find workers, there’s no better time to help steer the chronically homeless into stable jobs, he said, even if it takes outreach and cajoling of business owners.”

“An ordinance banning plastic bags in Avon cleared its first hurdle Tuesday en route to a May 1, 2018, roll out,” reports Vail Daily. “The ban applies to all retailers in town who — if the ordinance passes on second reading Sept. 26 — will have to use paper bags and charge customers 10 cents apiece for them. Those retailers will then be able to keep the profits on those bags. The Town Council allowed comment on the first reading of the ordinance Tuesday and heard from community members both for and against the bag ban. The vote on the issue was 6-1, with council member Megan Burch opposing.”

“Boulder County officials announced Wednesday night that a company has filed paperwork with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission to begin the process of seeking a state permit for exploring for oil and gas in two unincorporated areas of the county,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “One of the sites, county officials said in a news release, is a 1,280-acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads, at the far eastern edge of the county along East County Line Road. The second site is a 2,720-acre area between Oxford and Quail roads, also along East County Line Road. ‘As proposed, these operations would have significant and massive impacts on residents on the east sides of Lafayette and Longmont, around Erie, and in the unincorporated areas of east Boulder County,’ Boulder County Commissioners Deb Gardner, Cindy Domenico and Elise Jones said in a joint statement.”

“Two cousins arrested last week at the site of a massive illegal marijuana grow were being paid a pittance by someone in Sinaloa, Mexico, to manage some 9,200 plants on two Colorado River islands in De Beque Canyon, according to a statement one of the alleged farmers gave to federal agents,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Santos Ramirez-Alvarez, 37, and Santos Ramirez-Carrillo, 32, both Mexican nationals, were arrested Sept. 7 at a campsite on one of the islands after months of surveillance by federal, state and local officials. Each is facing at least 10 years in prison if convicted on drug conspiracy charges. The islands are a quarter-mile apart, both in full view of Interstate 70 between mile posts 53 and 54.”

“Nearly a month after receiving recommendations from an independent auditor, Weld County commissioners have readied a response, agreeing fully with just two of the auditor’s eight recommendations,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Commissioners unanimously approved the response at their Wednesday meeting, and discussed timing for implementing recommendations with which they agreed. In a letter posted Tuesday night as part of the agenda for the commissioners’ 9 a.m. Wednesday meeting, commissioners took each recommendation, line-by-line and issued a response to each.”

“After months of consideration, St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center announced Wednesday it will continue to provide birthing services in Pueblo, after financial concerns originally left the hospital’s labor, delivery and neonatal care services in jeopardy of being shut down indefinitely,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The discontinuance of birthing services had been under debate by St. Mary-Corwin stakeholders since June, after financial concerns such as low patient volume, a shifting payer mix and rising levels of underinsured patients prompted the hospital to assess the future viability of its programs through Centura Health’s Values In Action process.”

“Drones being used for surveillance at the Deep Creek Fire, which is burning nine miles northeast of Hayden, revealed something unexpected Tuesday,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Flying drones by members of the public at the fire is not allowed, but the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting and the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention and Control flew the drones to scout bulldozer lines on the western edge of the fire. The area is too dangerous for firefighters, and fire managers wanted to determine what fuels were burning within the perimeter of the fire, which is 80 percent contained. What they were not expecting to find was what appeared to be a coal seam that was on fire within the perimeter south of Routt County Road 56. “We don’t know exactly what it is,” Routt County Emergency Management Director David “Mo” DeMorat said. “We have to get some heavy equipment and do some digging to determine what it is.” Firefighters have discovered coal while digging fireline at the fire, and DeMorat said they believe there is an old mine of some kind in the area.”

“Loveland residents will see another increase in utility costs beginning in 2018, according to a draft of the city’s new budget that is scheduled to be voted on by City Council in three weeks,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “City staffers estimate that, next year, households will pay an average of $12.26 more per month for services than last year. During a study session Tuesday evening, the Loveland City Council reviewed a presentation of the draft 2018 city budget given by city staffers.”

“Economics 101 was the topic of discussion during a roundtable meeting at the Upper Arkansas Area Council of Governments office Wednesday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Cañon City Economic Development Director Ryan Stevens not only explained economic development and its importance, but he also talked about striving for balance and how to grow jobs in the community. ‘Economic development is a long process,’ he said. ‘There is no silver bullet, there is no quick fix — it takes a concerted effort to work on economic development and try and put in place the programs that are needed to grow.'”

“Colorado announced Wednesday that it plans to join more than a dozen other states in a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s move to dismantle the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals initiative, which protects from deportation young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally,” reports The Denver Post. ‘”President Trump’s decision to end the DACA program is outrageous and risks the futures of more than 17,000 Coloradans,’ Gov. John Hickenlooper said in a statement. ‘Colorado benefits when (DACA recipients) have the opportunity to thrive in our communities and the only country they’ve ever known. These young people should not have to suffer because of our broken immigration system.'”

“The U.S. secretary of education toured the Air Force Academy campus, chatted with cadets over lunch and even hopped into the cockpit of a T-53 aircraft training simulator during a visit to the school on Wednesday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “But if Betsy DeVos shared any ideas about her vision for America’s education system, it wasn’t apparent. The academy was a stop on DeVos’ “Rethink School” tour, a showcase of different education models in the West and Midwest, from private schools to public institutions. High-ranking academy officials touted the school’s mission as they walked with her across campus, highlighting the athletic center, airfield, and other student spaces, such as the CyberWorx innovation center.”


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