The Home Front: Gov. Hickenlooper blames ‘partisan politics’ for a do-nothing special lawmaking session that didn’t make any laws

“Colorado lawmakers’ abbreviated special session ended Tuesday in political finger-pointing without resolving a mistake by lawmakers that is costing the Regional Transportation District and other entities across the state millions of dollars,” reports The Denver Post. “A Republican-led Senate committee killed the second of two Democratic measures to allow special districts to collect a voter-approved tax on recreational marijuana sales — which lawmakers inadvertently repealed with the passage of a bill earlier this year. Democrats blamed the Senate for its decision to ‘waste this opportunity to get this right.’ The Senate blamed Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper for the ‘unfortunate waste of time and tax money.’ And Hickenlooper blamed ‘partisan politics’ for derailing the session.”

“The Fruita City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved a lease arrangement for a Fruita couple to operate a cable wakeboarding park on a city-owned lake near Interstate 70,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Kodi and Victor Imondi expect to open Imondi Wake Zone by next spring, the state’s first-ever cable wakeboarding park at a 30-acre lake near Fruita’s Greenway Industrial Park off 16 Road. ‘It allows people to enjoy water sports without the need for a boat,’ Victor Imondi told councilors at the meeting.”

“Millions in capital improvements, including water treatment plant renovations and road repairs, highlight Greeley’s 2018 budget, which had its first reading and public hearing Tuesday at the Greeley City Council meeting,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Presented intermittently throughout the fall, various parts of the city’s budget will see changes from this year. They’ll also see some changes from 2016, when the city approved a two-year budget for planning purposes.”

“Longmont City Council members on Tuesday night suggested no specific spending changes in the $315.2 million budget the city staff has proposed for 2018. In a 7-0 vote, council members directed the staff to proceed with preparing budget-adoption ordinances and resolutions that will be up for initial council action on Oct. 10 and final council decisions on Oct. 24,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Prior to that council directive, three people spoke at Tuesday night’s public hearing on the proposed budget. Two of them, Twin Peaks Circle residents Gayle and Clark Allen, objected that the budget fund that’s supposed to cover the expenses of Vance Brand Municipal Airport is not a truly self-sufficient ‘enterprise fund.'”

“Larry Hjermstad is a pioneer of cloud seeding, so naturally he has some frontier tales,” reports The Summit Daily News. “Back in the 1970s, farmers in the San Luis Valley stalled his efforts to set up the area’s first seeding operation, which aimed to increase precipitation by spraying dust into the skies. Wary of what he was up to, they blew up his radar dishes and shot at airplanes, Hjermstad recalled. “They said, ‘We’re not sure you know what you’re doing,'” he said. “So I set up a committee, and told them, ‘Before each seeding, I’ll tell you exactly what I’m going to do.’ After the third one they said, ‘You don’t have to call us anymore.'” Hjermstad and his company, Western Weather Consultants, now run cloud seeding programs across the state, including in Summit County.”

“Friends and family of both Ashley Doolittle and Tanner Flores will have to wait overnight for a jury’s verdict in the first-degree murder trial of Flores,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “After deliberating for about four hours Tuesday following attorneys’ closing arguments, the jury was released for the evening at 5 p.m. and will resume deliberating 8:30 a.m. Wednesday. Flores, a 19-year-old Berthoud man, is accused of shooting and killing Doolittle, 18, his former girlfriend, in June 2016. He faces life in prison on first-degree murder allegations, as well as up to 32 years on a felony kidnapping charge in the case.”

“If Steamboat Springs City Council President Walter Magill has his way, the historic Howelsen Hill ski area will be home to $1 lift tickets this season,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “During the council’s day-long budget planning session Tuesday, Magill pitched the idea to his fellow council members, and most seemed to like it. ‘I just want more skiers out there,’ Magill said. “More people using the park.” The $1 tickets would apply to both Nordic and Alpine skiing terrain. The idea comes as the community struggles to figure out the future of the ski area, which is in need of some expensive improvements.”

“Street maintenance in Fort Collins would get a bit rougher through proposed changes to the city’s 2018 budget, although motorists might not notice,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “With sales tax revenue coming in lower than expected in early 2017, less funding is projected to be available to support city services in 2018. City staff members have proposed $2.3 million in cuts to ongoing expenses budgeted for next year, including $900,000 from the Street Maintenance Program.”

“Scammers have become so brazen that an Eagle County Sheriff’s detective received a call, on the office phone, from a scammer claiming to be an Eagle County Sheriff’s detective,” reports Vail Daily. “The scammer then requested the detective’s Social Security number, claiming that he wanted to pull up a warrant, said Jessie Porter, a public information officer with the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office. “The scammer didn’t realize that he was actually speaking to a detective from the (sheriff’s office). We receive calls almost daily reporting phone scams,” Porter said. So it should surprise no one that the tentacles of the massive Equifax hack, and scams that inevitably followed, have reached into Eagle County.”

“Residents in the Shenandoah subdivision say they are caught off guard after learning about the possible development of a gas and oil field next to several homes,” reports The Durango Herald. “They take issue with not being notified of a public comment period that ends in less than a week. The Bureau of Land Management started the public comment period on Sept. 7 for a lease sale, which is scheduled for March 8. The comment period ends Oct. 10.”

“The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office found that accusations of sexual misconduct against a Cotopaxi School District staff member appear to be unfounded, according to a news release Tuesday evening,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The accusations, which claimed that a district employee was having an inappropriate relationship with a student, began circulating among Cotopaxi residents Sunday night after a fake Facebook profile was created to accuse the employee of sexual misconduct. Cotopaxi School District Superintendent Randy Bohlander wrote in a note to parents Monday that the district is seeking more information both about the accusations and the post itself.”

“There was no ethics violation by three Boulder City Council members and another three city government staffers named in a recent citizen complaint, the Fort Collins city attorney has concluded,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In June, citizen and onetime council candidate Mark Gelband filed a complaint against Mayor Suzanne Jones, council members Matt Appelbaum and Sam Weaver, and three top city officials: Executive Director of Energy Strategy and Electric Utility Development Heather Bailey, Senior Environmental Planner Brett KenCairn and Environmental Affairs Manager Jonathan Koehn. Gelband’s complaint stemmed from a June 18 fundraiser by the group Empower Our Future, which advocates in favor of Boulder’s ongoing effort to form a municipal electric utility separate from Xcel Energy.”

“In America, we commonly think of press freedom and censorship in terms of the First Amendment, which focuses in part on the press itself, and limits on the power of government to restrict it,” reports The Colorado Springs Independent. “But the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, drafted in the aftermath of World War II, presents a broader framework. Article 19 reads: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

“A 28-year-old Navy veteran and gym manager from Colorado was among the 59 people killed when a gunman opened fire on concertgoers in Las Vegas Sunday night,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Christopher Roybal’s death was confirmed Tuesday by an employee of Crunch Fitness on North Academy Boulevard, where Roybal worked. Roybal was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with his mother, Debby Allen, who survived the shooting. Allen said it was the ‘saddest day’ of her life.”