The Home Front: Colorado U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet unveils public-option health insurance bill

“Americans living in rural counties would get a public option for health insurance under a bill introduced by two U.S. senators,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Medicare-X Choice Act by Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., and Tim Kaine, D-Va., would establish public-option insurance that would operate alongside employer-sponsored and individual health plans, as well as Medicaid. Many rural counties, including 14 of Colorado’s 64 counties, have only a single health-insurance option, Bennet said Tuesday in a telephone conference with reporters. The Affordable Care Act “still costs too much and covers too few,” and has now been “sabotaged” by President Donald J. Trump, Bennet said. Medicare-X would be the “true public option” that he sought when the ACA was passed, Bennet said.”

“Frisco has missed an ambitious goal to start building a workforce-housing project by the fall after a contractor’s bid came in $600,000 over budget, pushing construction of the nine-unit complex to next spring,” reports The Summit Daily News. “Ballooning construction costs, fueled by a statewide building frenzy and devastating Gulf Coast storms that have strained materials markets, mainly caused the setback. Lumber prices, for instance, have gone up 28 percent in the past two months, town staff said.”

“Growing Great Schools, the issue committee supporting the passage of a mill-levy override for Greeley-Evans School District 6, has raised $134,717.77 in contributions as of Tuesday, according to campaign finance disclosures,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Supporters of Ballot Issue 3A were ecstatic about the amount as the district tries to pass an MLO for the second year in a row. “It shows a lot of community support for the whole operation,” Greeley Mayor Tom Norton said. “I’m pleased we were able to do that well.” The committee has received 185 donations, 158 personal and 25 corporate. While some Greeley residents contributed large amounts — Colorado Rockies owners Charlie and Dick Monfort gave $1,100, for example — the average personal contribution was $294.43.”

“Fort Collins’ Foothills Unitarian Universalist Church took in a Peruvian immigrant Tuesday morning, hours before her scheduled deportation flight,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Ingrid Encalada Latorre, 33, of Denver, was ordered to deport to her native country due to a 2010 conviction for possessing falsified or stolen identification papers. She initially sought sanctuary at a Quaker meeting house in Denver from November 2016 until May. That deportation order was put on hold while she appealed it. The appeal was denied, and Gov. John Hickenlooper refused to pardon her.”

“Shoppers are doing a better job this year of filling Loveland’s coffers, contributing to sales tax collections that are running almost 6 percent ahead of last year,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “According to a monthly report, the city of Loveland has collected $33.3 million in sales tax revenue over the first three quarters of 2017, a 5.9 percent year-to-date increase. For just the month of September, which reflects taxes collected on sales in August, revenue is 5.2 percent ahead of September 2016.”

“Members and supporters of Sustainable Resilient Longmont’s efforts to have Longmont provide all of its electrical power from renewable energy sources were unsuccessful Tuesday night in urging Mayor Dennis Coombs to sign a commitment to have the city transition to a fossil-fuels-free future by 2030,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “People are going to remember these as the Coombs years,” Aron Arnold told the mayor during the public-comment period at the start of Tuesday night’s City Council study session. Coombs is completing six years in the office he’ll be turning over next month to the winner of the Nov. 7 election for the post, a tenure Arnold said people will remember as a time “when Longmont got cool.'”

“A continuing study about Eagle County’s ECO Transit system didn’t have to dig very deep to learn what most people want: better, faster, more frequent service,” reports Vail Daily. “The study is focusing on how many of those wish-list items the service can provide. The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Oct. 17, received an update on that study from ECO Transit Director Chris Lubbers and Geoff Slater, of Nelson/Nygaard, a national consulting firm hired to do the study. That study is expected to produce recommendations and a proposed plan by spring of 2018.”

“More than 900 people and 111 businesses support a petition calling for the city to commit to transitioning to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2050,” reports The Durango Herald. “Advocates presented the signatures to the Durango City Council on Tuesday and called on the city to work with La Plata Electric Association on the petition goals. Concerned residents want 80 percent of the city’s electricity to be generated locally and complete the transition to renewable energy by 2050.”

“The proposed 2018 budget for the City of Florence’s general fund is estimated to be more than $3 million, a slight increase from last year’s budget,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “On Monday, the draft of the 2018 budget was presented to the Florence City Council. City Manager Mike Patterson briefly went through the budget’s general fund, stating the city would go over the water budget at a later date. A review date and public hearing to further discuss the budget has been scheduled. Patterson said additional meetings to review the public also can be set if needed because he anticipates changes within the budget as they move forward.”

“The decision to annex, or not, the Hogan-Pancost parcel will be made by the next City Council, it was agreed late Tuesday night,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “With just a few weeks before the election, 100 people were still waiting in line as of 10 p.m. to deliver public comments on the proposed annexation. That was going to take about four hours. And only then could the council begin deliberations, which would also require several hours. The council seemed to agree that the Hogan-Pancost question — should Boulder annex the 22-acre county enclave for the purpose of eventual development of housing? — would need not one, but two extra meetings before a vote would be possible.”

“For weeks, 16-year-old Natalie Partida had a target on her back,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The teen and two of her girlfriends were allegedly marked for abduction, torture and possibly rape – part of a gang-related scheme to get them to disclose who might have shot up two apartment buildings in Colorado Springs. Whether the Coronado High School sophomore had a role in a feud between the South Side Soldados and a rival gang called the Meadows isn’t clear, but according to Angelita Prado, it’s what motivated Partida’s March 11 kidnapping and murder. Partida’s body was found a day after her abduction on a dirt road south of Fountain, alongside that of 15-year-old classmate Derek Greer. Both were shot repeatedly, including in the head, while made to kneel for a double-execution near the Pikes Peak International Raceway, authorities say.”

“It wasn’t long ago that north-metro residents were envisioning the winter/spring of 2018 as a time they could hop on a commuter train at 104th, 112th or 124th avenues and ride into Denver unburdened by their cars,” reports The Denver Post. “Those people might now want to invest in snow tires. The train isn’t coming early next year. It may not even come early the year after that. The Regional Transportation District is looking at an estimated 18-month construction delay for the North Metro Rail Line, officials say. The first phase of the project, including six of eight planned stations, was originally scheduled to open in the first quarter of 2018. The delay puts the opening in late 2019, though RTD officials will not commit to that time frame and have vowed to make up the time as best they can.”