The Home Front: Boulder County residents ask if a meeting about drilling is really ‘public’ if it’s invite-only

“East Boulder County landowners are sharply questioning whether a Denver energy company with plans to drill nearby is meeting the spirit of a state regulation designed to encourage public participation in proposed drilling plans,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Two meetings held last week, though described as public, were invite-only. ‘Anybody should be allowed to go and neither of those two meetings was public,’ said Nanner Fisher, owner of Orvilla West Farm. The farm is in the middle of the drilling area, but Fisher was not allowed inside the in-person meeting on Wednesday at Vinelife Church in Longmont. ‘I think they need to have two real public meetings that are actually posted as public meetings somewhere.’ But state regulators on Monday said the definition of ‘public’ differs when a private company is leading the planning process, as is the case with Crestone Peak Resources which is soliciting some input from landowners for its plan to drill in a 12-square mile swath of eastern Boulder County.”

“John Camper’s time in Grand Junction was supposed to be nothing more than a stopover,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “In 2009, Camper was a high-ranking officer and 28-year veteran with the Lakewood Police Department, and while he was receptive to the idea of filling in as interim police chief after the sudden departure of Grand Junction Police Chief Bill Gardner, he had no plans to stick around. “I had no intention of staying,” Camper said. “(But) I developed a real affinity for this police department and the people here. We went through some early crises together. Ultimately as we got close to six months, the thought of staying was getting more appealing.” Camper, who eight years ago changed his mind and beat out more than 70 applicants for the permanent chief position in Grand Junction, announced his imminent departure Monday.”

“Members of the University of Northern Colorado faculty presented a petition to UNC’s Faculty Senate Monday afternoon expressing their lack of confidence in university President Kay Norton’s ability to ‘act with honesty and integrity,'” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The accusation stems from the sudden transition of former provost Robbyn Wacker into a fundraising role. After hearing the petition, the senate opted to further survey their constituents — the university’s professors — before it takes further action. On Oct. 12, an email from the provost’s office was sent to the campus stating Wacker decided to leave her position as provost to become a fundraiser, referencing the fundraising responsibilities of university presidents and the “several” institutions that offered Wacker that position.”

“Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter is optimistic the city’s elected officials will soon take another step toward finding a new home for city hall,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Suiter on Tuesday night will ask the City Council to spend between $5,000 to $6,500 for an appraisal of Steamboat Pilot & Today’s current headquarters at Elk River Road and U.S. Highway 40. “I think (the council) has expressed enough interest that it’s likely to go forward,” Suiter said of the appraisal funding request. The city has also prepared a list of ways it could pay for the building should the council continue to express interest in the idea. Suiter is recommending that before the city pull the trigger on any purchase of the newspaper building, it should first look at the cost of other options, including renovating the existing city hall on 10th Street.”

“The third victim and only survivor of last week’s deadly shooting west of Colorado State University’s campus has been identified,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Megan Dierker, 21, was shot in the Thursday attack that killed three others, including the suspected shooter. Dierker has undergone three surgeries, according to a video statement that her family provided to the Coloradoan’s news partner, 9NEWS. Investigators say Dierker, 22-year-old Savannah McNealy and 26-year-old Tristian Kemp took a rideshare vehicle to the apartment complex at 720 City Park Ave., where 30-year-old Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Zamora ambushed them with gunfire. McNealy and Kemp died, and police said Zamora turned one of the three firearms he brought to the scene on himself.”

“Downtown Loveland business owners Norm and Pat Toman have been helping put art on people’s walls for 22 years,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “When they retire Oct. 31, their lives will change, but their business will keep going. The Tomans have owned Art of the Rockies, a framing business at 233 E. Fourth St., since buying Art Erickson Gallery from its founder, Art Erickson, in 1995. They renamed the business two years later. Art of the Rockies moved from 440 N. Lincoln Ave. to its current location five years ago and scaled back its gallery business. Independence Gallery, owned by artist Billie Colson, shares space in the rented building and will continue to feature art from a variety of artists.”

“The elimination of course and program fees at the University of Colorado is one link in a yearslong chain of events focused on financial efficiency at CU, university officials said Monday,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The slashing of more than 60 fees tied to funding resources for different classes and academic programs starting in 2018 was touted as saving students more than $8 million, but its end was also a relief on the university’s strained resources and budget. Processing each student’s potentially multiple course and program fees was estimated as taking about 3,000 hours of labor per academic year, costing about $150,000 in CU salaries and benefits to cover the employees doing the work, said Senior Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Kelly Fox.”

“Of the Pikes Peak region’s 17 public school districts, nine have uncontested board of education races in the upcoming election,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The trend is happening statewide, said Kathy Shannon, legal and policy counsel for the Colorado Association of School Boards. “My sense is this is the highest number of canceled elections we’ve seen,” she said. She cites a combination of factors as to why fewer candidates are running.”

“Denver oil tycoon Jack Grynberg, whose prolific use of the courts to uncover misdeeds and profiteering by the world’s largest oil companies — and pocketing a fortune as a result — now finds himself dependent on an Arapahoe County jury to help him retain control of his vast holdings,” reports The Denver Post. “But his adversaries this time are not BP, Conoco, Shell or the handful of other petroleum conglomerates and foreign governments he has chased around the globe with accusations of cheating and wrongdoing. Rather, Grynberg, 85, is fending off a hostile takeover of his life’s work by his own family: his wife, Celeste, 81, and their three children — Rachel, 56, Stephen, 54, and Miriam, 52. The 2016 case has remained hidden from public view, with thousands of pages of court documents filed under seal and few details emerging. The family has steadfastly protected its privacy, saying in court filings that any of the inside details, if known, could seriously damage the Grynberg dynasty of companies that, according to paperwork in the case, are worth more than $1 billion.”

“With just over two weeks to go until Election Day, more than 36,000 voted ballots had been received by Colorado election officials by early Monday, the secretary of state’s office reported,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “That’s out of the 3.36 million active registered voters in Colorado at the beginning of October — split nearly evenly between Democrats and Republicans with slightly more unaffiliated voters. Mail ballots went out to every registered voter beginning a week ago, and voters have until 7 p.m. Nov. 7 to return them or to vote in person. The U.S. Postal Service recommends mailing ballots at least a week before they’re due — postmarks don’t count — to make sure they arrive in time to be counted. That means this year’s deadline is Oct. 31, or Halloween. Republicans and older voters were returning their ballots at a faster clip than Democrats, unaffiliated voters and youngsters, according to data released by the secretary of state, though ballots have been arriving at a trickle compared to the same point last year.”

“There was no discussion and no objections when the Denver City Council gave initial approval Monday night to a ban on smoking and vaping on the 16th Street Mall,” reports Denverite. “The ban had appeared to be a tad more controversial when it was heard earlier this month by the City Council’s housing and safety committee, but the council members who had the most concerns about it said Monday they aren’t sure they have the votes for a sunset clause. The Breathe Easy Ordinance would allow police officers to issue tickets up to $100 to anyone smoking or using an e-cigarette on the mall or within 50 feet of either edge. It was introduced by Council President Albus Brooks, who said his main concern is the health and welfare of the people of Denver who have to breathe secondhand smoke as they walk down the Mall. It also has the support of the Downtown Denver Partnership. Denver City Council holds a final vote on Monday, Oct. 30. There is no public hearing scheduled.”