The Home Front: Angst hits ‘fever pitch’ as drilling company plans to drill ‘in the heart of the fractivist enclave’

“A slew of residents poured into Lafayette’s City Council chambers on Tuesday night to demand a call to arms against future drilling operations — a week after a company announced plans to drill in the heart of the “fractivist” enclave,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Boulder County commissioners announced last week that the county had learned that 8 North LLC, a subsidiary of Extraction Oil and Gas LLC, had applied to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission for a “drilling and spacing order.” It’s the first step in a process that could lead to the company applying for a permit to drill in the 2,720-acre area between Quail and Oxford roads. More urgently for Lafayette residents, the oil and gas company also applied for a state drilling and spacing order for a 1,280-acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads in the Lafayette-Erie area.”

“An independent auditor’s recommendations and four types of analyses weren’t enough to persuade Weld County commissioners that Weld County Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes needs more staff. Koppes during a Tuesday budget work session with county commissioners requested 11 new positions, saying the positions would further Koppes’ goal of decreasing wait times at motor vehicles,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The proposed cost was $454,712. Weld County Finance Director Don Warden, and most commissioners, weren’t buying it. Warden pointed to errors in the auditors’ comparison of Weld with other counties, saying it wasn’t apples-to-apples.”

“Judy Finchum is the kind of person who buys socks for her grandkids at Christmas,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “She clips coupons to save money and worried that driving a Lincoln Aviator SUV might seem too fancy when she first bought it. When she was 12 years old, she started cleaning houses for money to buy clothes. They all pitched in to help make ends meet in a family with eight children and a disabled father who was paralyzed. She remembers picking fruit to make money to afford things they needed, and her practical ways continued when she grew up and made a home of her own. This week is the first time in 30 years that Finchum hasn’t purchased a Powerball ticket. That’s because she won the largest jackpot in Colorado history on Sunday, when her ticket matched all six numbers, earning her $133.2 million in winnings.”

“Longmont City Council members indicated their support Tuesday night for hiking fees for single visits and multiple-visit passes to the city’s recreation facilities,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Most council members also expressed informal support for raising the fees the city charges Longmont residents and non-residents visiting Union Reservoir. The council members cast no actual votes, however, during their study-session review of the recreation and Union Reservoir fee increases — and the income from those fees — that the city staff has proposed including in Longmont’s 2018 budget.”

“The winds came with fury on Tuesday, but they were too late to rouse the Tenderfoot 2 Fire near Dillon,” reports The Summit Daily News. “By the afternoon, its once-fearsome plume of smoke had reduced to pale wisps, and in the evening fire officials declared it 50 percent contained. Firefighters and aircraft hammered away at the fire early in the morning when the day was still calm, and their work paid off, keeping the blaze from growing even when the wind howled as fast as 50 miles per hour.”

“The Loveland City Council narrowly voted Tuesday evening to approve the appropriation of funds to hire contractors to advise city staff on the process of requesting a sales tax increase for the purpose of funding capital projects,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The vote in favor was 5-4; Councilors Richard Ball (Ward 1), Joan Shaffer (Ward 2), Leah Johnson (Ward 2) and John Fogle (Ward 3) as well as Mayor Cecil Gutierrez were in favor, while Councilors Dave Clark (Ward 4), Steve Olson (Ward 3), Troy Krenning (Ward 1) and Don Overcash (Ward 4) were against. The appropriation will provide up to $85,000 for the city to contract with two outside experts, Paul Hanley of George K. Baum and Co. and Diane Jones, who would help guide staff through the process of asking the public to approve the tax increase. Funding would come from the city’s general fund.”

“When a Yampa Valley youth baseball coordinator who just had his wisdom teeth extracted four hours earlier stepped up to the podium in Citizens Hall Tuesday night to lobby for an expansion of the Howelsen Ice Arena, it became clear residents here were very passionate about how the city will spend $1.2 million of its lodging tax revenue,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “At the end of the fierce lobbying effort from several residents, the Steamboat Springs City Council narrowly decided that about $900,000 of the lodging tax reserve should go toward the ice arena expansion to accommodate a second sheet of ice and a covered practice space for baseball and other sports teams, and $286,000 of the funds should go toward a major renovation project at the Old Town Hot Springs.”

“Skyline Theater has closed its doors as a movie theater, but its owners plan to offer some community activities involving non-digital movies until it sells,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The 99-year-old single-screen theater located at 606 Main St. hasn’t been self-sustaining, which has forced owners Karen and Steve Nothdurft to make some difficult decisions.”

“The city of Denver could pursue community land trusts and help its partners buy up small apartment buildings under a five-year proposal to create and maintain affordable housing for thousands of residents struggling to stay in the city,” reports The Denver Post. “Called “Housing an Inclusive Denver,” the report is the city’s first long-term plan since the City Council approved the creation of a 10-year, $150 million housing fund last year. It will be paid for in large part by a new property tax that costs about $12 a year for the owner of a $300,000 home, plus a range of impact fees that apply to new buildings, although those fees aren’t yet bringing in much money.”

“Gunther Ott is part of America’s next generation of farmers and ranchers. He is the first of the third generation to continue the agricultural stewardship of the James Ranch,” reports The Durango Herald. “Ott, 24, manages Whey-Good Pork and irrigates the land on his family’s Animas Valley ranch. He took a three-year gap period after high school, during which he worked on a ranch in Montana, a vineyard in Germany and joined the National Guard. In 2015, Ott said it was time to return home. ‘I’ve always wanted to come back and work on the farm,’ he said. ‘There are benefits and disadvantages to working on the ranch. You don’t get much vacation time, and you don’t have set hours. But the benefits are everything around you. You produce something from nothing every year. It is a beautiful finished product.'” Who will be the next generation of farmers when the average age is almost 59?

“Frontier Airlines said Tuesday it will add four nonstop destinations to its Colorado Springs schedule in April – Minneapolis; San Antonio, Texas; Seattle and San Jose, Calif. – boosting the number of cities served to 11,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs.