The Home Front: ‘Please do something about this,’ say rural Coloradans about broadband

“Ultimately, it comes down to money,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “That’s what it’s going to take to build out a broadband network in rural Colorado, those close to the issue say. But whether that money should come from the private sector, from government or both still is a matter of debate for some. ‘There was a time when this was not something that counties or cities were looking into at all,’ said Eric Bergman, policy director for Colorado Counties Inc., a lobbying and advocacy group that represents the state’s counties. ‘This was a business service. However, over the years, as the rural-urban divide disparity has grown greater, we’ve had to get involved. We’ve had no choice. Our constituents keep coming to us saying, ‘Please do something about this.’’ Decades ago, the state and nation embarked on an effort to ensure that all parts of the nation had telephone lines, regardless of how remote they may be.”

“A juvenile male was shot and killed and two were wounded early Sunday outside a 24-hour Mexican restaurant in northeast Colorado Springs hours after a triple shooting at a house party three miles away, police said,” according to The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Police have not identified the boy, but Diane Michele Keegan-Czajkowski posted on Facebook that her son, Nathaniel Czajkowski, had been killed in the shooting. ‘Just know that my son was not in a gang and didn’t deal drugs,’ she wrote. ‘The shooting appears to be a random act of violence.'”

“Around this time last year when Venancio ‘Veni’ Noya was in the hospital for an infection related to his spina bifida, members of the Longmont branch of YMCA of Boulder Valley were eager to know when the employee would return,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Noya, who emigrated with his family from Mexico when he was 5 years old but considers Longmont home, was hired after graduating from Skyline High School in 2010. He has become a beloved figure at the organization in the after-school programs, child care division, and the health and fitness department. “There’s just so many people that love him,” said his boss, Jessica Collins. “I can’t imagine him never being here.” And to think of what could happen to him if he was deported or if his father is deported and he follows — it’s unfathomable, she said.”

“Boulder should retain the banking services of JP Morgan Chase, which is one of the banks funding controversial pipeline projects, city financial staff advised in a memo this week to the City Council,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In December, the council approved a resolution in support of the Standing Rock Sioux and allies who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline, which has been operating since June. The resolution condemned what the council called a “militarized and disproportionate response” from law enforcement agents who arrested more than 600 protesters over a period of months. Some council members wanted to explore taking action locally by breaking from JP Morgan Chase, the city’s bank since 2004. JP Morgan Chase is helping fund the $3.7 billion Bakken pipeline project, of which the Dakota Access is one part.”

“An old well that was capped in 1984 began spilling oil on Colorado 60 east of U.S. 287 on Sunday, and emergency crews used special equipment and dirt piles to keep it from flowing down the highway,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “It was just kind of bubbling up from the ground,” said Lt. Justin Rupert of the Berthoud Fire Protection District. A resident in the 2500 block of East Colorado 60 called for help about 9:10 a.m. on Sunday after seeing the oil spill at the edge of his driveway, running onto Highway 60. The Loveland Fire Rescue Authority first responded but then handed command over to Berthoud because of where the spill was located. Initial reports were that about 4 gallons per minute were spilling, but when crews arrived, they believe it was actually an estimated 5 gallons to 6 gallons every minute. Officials did not know how much had spilled throughout Sunday.”

“A group of residents from Routt and Eagle counties chose Dylan Roberts to advocate for them in the Colorado House of Representatives,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Roberts was chosen Saturday to fill the Colorado House District 26 seat vacated by Diane Mitsch Bush, the Democrat who resigned to focus on her campaign for U.S. Congress. “It was a good and exciting day,” said Roberts, who grew up in Steamboat and now lives in Eagle, where he is a deputy district attorney. There were nine delegates from Eagle and six from Routt who met at the historic Crossan’s Market in Yampa to decide between Roberts and Eagle County Commissioner Jill Ryan.”

“Lois Bartlett was in junior high school when she called her parents together,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “She realized it was finally time to tell them what she’d been up to for the past couple months. Her mom, she remembers, was nervous about the reveal. What could her daughter have gotten herself into? It was then Bartlett told them she’d been taking bass lessons. The junior high orchestra announced it needed someone for the part so Bartlett took lessons. She fell in love with the instrument. Bartlett, now 81, moved to Greeley in 1965 and joined the Greeley Philharmonic Orchestra shortly after. After 52 years performing with the group, Bartlett retired this year.”

I-70 traffic concerns pushed this piece about a rise in local suicides off the front page of Summit Daily“In 2017, Eagle County has seen more suicide deaths than in any other year since the creation of SpeakUp ReachOut in 2009,” the paper reports. “The Colorado Violent Death Reporting System shows Eagle County suffered 35 suicide deaths between 2010 and 2015. Annually, Eagle County sees between four and seven deaths by suicide, but there have been 11 deaths by suicide in 2017, according to the Eagle County Coroner’s Office. Substance abuse, including of alcohol, prescription and illegal drugs, continues to be strongly associated with suicides. While opiate use is dominating the national media headlines, there are several times as many suicide deaths than deaths from unintentional opiate overdose, according to Susan Marie, advocacy chair of the Suicide Prevention Coalition of Colorado.”

“Bill Bader’s handmade wooden toys can be found throughout La Plata County,” reports The Durango Herald. “His passion for woodworking stems from a 40-year career as a manager at various lumberyards around Durango. “People deal with retirement in different ways. For Bader, who retired in 2011, that coping mechanism was crafting toys. “I couldn’t sit around all day, it would drive me crazy,” he said. “I had to do something. I was making toys for fun and for relatives, and it went over really well.” The next year, Bob Harrington, Bader’s longtime friend and president of The Liberty School board of directors, asked him to donate toys for the school’s benefit auction.”

“The crime that consigned Marion Jetton to a sentence of nearly a century in prison wasn’t all that salacious or particularly heinous,” reports The Denver Post. “Convicted killers have received far less prison time in Colorado, where the sentencing guidelines allow a person guilty of second-degree murder to be sentenced to as little as eight years in prison. A jury convicted Jetton of being the leader of a six-person theft and forgery ring that used fake IDs and forged checks to steal modest amounts from grocery stores and banks. Testimony showed the sum total of Jetton’s theft, which he maintains fed an addiction to cocaine, was about $8,800.”

“Charissa Tvrdy worked away at her desk in an office filled with cubicles and computer screens in an high-rise building off Colorado Boulevard in Denver,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “If you didn’t know better, she could have been handling life insurance claims. The florescent lights overhead are turned off. The shaded lights in each cubicle passively lower the emotional temperature of the room. Voices murmur, like the sound like friends chatting. “You’re doing fine,” one voice rises. Another takes its place: “What makes you feel that way?” This is how time bombs get defused in a tragic world full of guns, loneliness and simmering desperation. A dozen workers or workers around the clock in this everyday office are taking the edge off dangerous situations. Rocky Mountain Crisis Partners mans the 24/7 hotline for Colorado Crisis Services, a program proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper and created by the legislature in 2013, after the Aurora theater shooting. So much danger was overlooked in gunman James Holmes leading up to that hot July night in 2012.”

“For nearly a year, landlords and business interests tried to get the city to agree to a program in which the city would subsidize rents for vacant apartments, including for higher end units,” reports Denverite. “That effort started around the time when the city of Denver was establishing its first-ever affordable housing fund, which charges apartment and condo developers a $1.50 per square foot fee on new buildings. Nancy Burke, vice president of governmental affairs for the Apartment Association of Metro Denver, said their organization wasn’t excited to learn about the fee.”