The Home Front: Energy company gift to Weld County commissioner under scrutiny

“Weld County Commissioner Julie Cozad is the subject of a state Independent Ethics Commission investigation following a complaint from a Weld County resident. Cozad, the Board of Weld County Commissioners chairwoman, is accused of improperly accepting a gift after attending a North Colorado Medical Center fundraiser in late January,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “At the fundraiser, Cozad, along with her husband, were guests of Noble Energy, which later had business before the county commissioners. Johnstown resident Ellen DeLorenzo filed the complaint July 20, and the Independent Ethics Commission agreed to investigate it on Sept. 29. The complaint was posted publicly online Thursday by the Independent Ethics Commission. Cozad has until Oct. 30 to file a response, but she said she would provide one to The Tribune and the Independent Ethics Commission within the next few days.”

“The Bureau of Land Management has approved a 146-well North Fork Valley oil and gas development plan that has been about a decade in the works and has been one of the flashpoints in the controversy over drilling there,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The agency approved what’s called the Bull Mountain master development plan for leases operated by SG Interests. The action included approval of a permit to drill just one of the wells, but the plan provides a framework for developing the nearly 20,000-acre area, with future drilling applications subject to site-specific review, the BLM said. Robbie Guinn, an SG Interests vice president, said he’s pleased that the Trump administration got the environmental impact statement process for the project finished.”

“Boulder County open space farmers facing a forced transition away from GMO crops are asking for a time out as the process to find a suitable crop replacements has stalled amid controversy and criticism,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “‘The transition clock has been running and nobody has been paying attention to it,’ said Paul Schlagel, a farmer who grows GMO sugar beets on leased county land. ‘It’s time to put that on hold for awhile until we have a clearer direction of where we’re going.’ Two entities are currently in the running to head an agricultural research center — tasked with finding financially viable alternatives to GMOs — for Boulder County: Colorado State University and Western Sugar, a cooperative of sugar beet farmers.”

“Steamboat Springs residents and visitors looking to catch a bus ride home in the evenings this winter might have to wait a little longer for that ride thanks to a city budget cut,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Steamboat Springs Transit’s night-line buses, which start running at 8:30 p.m., will arrive at stops every 30 minutes this winter instead of every 20 minutes. The service reduction aims to save the city around $55,000 in operating costs.”

“Before any developer can decide to move forward on plans for the site of CSU’s Hughes Stadium, the former football stadium will need to be demolished,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “On Thursday, the Colorado State University System Board of Governors unanimously approved the demolition or deconstruction of the venue off Overland Trail in west Fort Collins. The nine- to 14-month process could cost $4 million to $6 million, according to Executive Vice Chancellor Amy Parsons. Part of the cost will depend on efforts to deal with hazardous materials such as asbestos. The plan is to recoup the cost to demolish the building through the sale of the property.”

“The Arkansas River Levee reconstruction project is set to resume,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain in Fort Collins. “A district court judge has approved the Pueblo Conservancy District board’s motion to increase the current levee maintenance fund assessment fee, thereby opening the door to the additional funds needed to complete the project. While property owners in the city have been paying this assessment, based on property values, since 2008, and those in the county since 2013, the judge’s green light allows the board to increase the assessment by as much as 35 percent.”

“Residents of modern-day Northern Colorado may not often think about what cities used to be like -— or smell like,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “But in the post-war era, concerns over safety and overcrowding in cities prompted members of the privileged class to head for the hills and start a nationwide trend: suburban living. The undoubtable health and welfare benefits provided to those able to afford their own “little boxes on the hillside” during this renaissance of personal space may have made the system work for a time, but given the modern-day fiscal climate, developers have found that home buyers are now looking for a more diverse set of options in both size and price.”

“A Colorado Springs-based concrete company is once again seeking permission to mine a rugged patch of land on the Hitch Rack Ranch property in southwestern El Paso County,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Transit Mix Concrete submitted a second application for a permit from the state’s Mined Land Reclamation Board on Thursday, nearly a year after the board denied its first request, sounding the bell for another round in what proved a heated clash with residents worried the project could jeopardize their groundwater supply and area wildlife.”

“After three years of steep utility rate increases for Durango residents, their average bill might level off next year,” reports The Durango Herald. “The Durango City Council was weighing 3 percent increases to water and sewer rates next year and on Thursday decided not to raise water rates. A water rate increase would have bumped up the average bill by about $4, Assistant City Manager Amber Blake said. The council discussed every department’s spending at an all-day meeting and will continue holding budget meetings until early December.”

“The former site of Robb’s Boulder Music on 30th Street will become a hub for homeless services for about two years, then be redeveloped into up to 50 units of affordable housing, according to a newly announced plan,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “This fills what had been a critical missing piece in the city’s new homelessness strategy, which relies upon a central site for “coordinated entry,” at which homeless clients can be assessed and then referred to appropriate programs or services, such as the Emergency Family Assistance Association or the “higher-needs” program planned for the shelter on north Broadway.”

“Regardless of age, socio-economic status, gender or race, domestic violence is an epidemic that can impact all people from communities across the globe,” reports The Cañon City Daily Camera. “In the U.S., one in every three women and one in every four men have been physically abused by an intimate partner in their lives. On a typical day, domestic violence hotlines received an average of 15 calls every minute, equating to 21,000 calls a day. In Colorado, about 16,700 people reported one or more domestic violence crimes to Colorado law enforcement in 2014, while many other domestic violence victims or survivors do not contact law enforcement at all.”

“Food For Thought lacks a lot of things, including salaries, fancy offices, a marketing team and workers with huge egos,” reports The Denver Post. “But its members are full of determination, heart and can-do attitude. The low-key nonprofit, working from its “headquarters” under the Colfax viaduct near Interstate 25, provides weekend meals for thousands of Denver’s poorest kids. Since its inception in 2011, Food For Thought has supplied food to 5,300 students enrolled at select Denver Public Schools institutes who otherwise might go hungry from Friday night until Monday morning.”