The Home Front: ‘It’s a crazy world we live in,’ says police spokesman after 3 killed in random Colorado Walmart shooting

“Thornton police have identified the suspect in the apparently random Walmart shooting in which a man almost casually fatally shot two men and a woman before turning around and walking out of the store Wednesday night,” reports The Denver Post. “Scott Ostrem, 47, is being sought on nationwide extradition homicide warrant. He was seen driving a red 2017 Mitsubishi Mirage. The Colorado license plate number is 882TQB. “He is armed and dangerous,” according to Victor Avila, Thornton police spokesman. According to several witnesses the 6:10 p.m. shooting at the Walmart Supercenter, 9901 Grant St., appeared to be random, Avila said. “He walked in very nonchalantly with his hands in the pockets, raised a weapon and began shooting. Then he turns around and walks out of the store,” Avila said. ‘From what we have right now it appears to be random. It’s a crazy world we live in.'”

“This story comes from Rick Mondt, but it could have been told by any superintendent from any school district in any corner of northeast Colorado,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “A teaching position opened up in Mondt’s Briggsdale Re-10 district, and the superintendent interviewed a candidate who’d made the 50-minute drive from Fort Collins to the tiny unincorporated community on the edge of the Pawnee National Grassland. The candidate had five years of teaching experience and had expressed interest in teaching in the district that prides itself on its 10:1 student-teacher ratio. They had a productive, engaging interview, but Mondt could see it in the candidate’s eyes as he walked them out the door: “They didn’t want anything to do with it.” Seven to 10 years ago, Mondt said he’d have 20-plus applications for any open teaching position. Now he’s lucky if he gets five. Colorado’s schools are experiencing a critical shortage of teachers, and the state’s rural districts are getting hit hardest.”

“Teenagers in Mesa County experience depression at more than triple the rate of their peers across the country, according to data released by Mesa County Public Health on Wednesday,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The 2017 Children’s Health Report is a compilation of six national, state and local studies on the health of children and teenagers in Mesa County. Data about emotional well-being, which was collected from 652 Mesa County teenagers for the 2015 Healthy Kids Colorado survey, showed that 40 percent of teenagers felt sad or hopeless almost every day for two weeks or more. Those symptoms are also known as a major depressive episode, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.”

“Longmont police said that a shooting that injured a 19-year-old man was not accidental, and a 17-year-old could be facing charges in the case,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The shooting was reported at 4:17 p.m. Monday in a house in the 100 block of Sunset Street, according to Longmont police. Police said the shooting was initially reported as “accidental,” but have since come to believe the shooting was criminal in nature. They did not give any more details as to what led them to believe that or what led to the shooting.”

“Colorado’s growing wind-power industry could provide jobs to former miners and other coal workers in the state, Gov. John Hickenlooper said after meeting with top Vestas turbine makers Wednesday,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “In a telephone interview with The Pueblo Chieftain, the second-term Democrat said the cost of wind, solar and natural gas have made them the cheapest sources of future electric power and that Vestas officials said the wind industry could help employ former coal workers facing a declining industry. President Donald Trump has promised to revive the coal industry, but Hickenlooper said the cost of mining the dirtier fuel means it will continue to diminish in use.”

“Some campaign materials sent to Fort Collins voters regarding the city’s broadband ballot issue in the Nov. 7 election are putting a twist on the truth,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “While not outright false, in most cases, claims made in mailers as well as through digital, radio and television advertisements aren’t completely accurate.”

“Taking steps to prevent cancer in firefighters by limiting the amount of poisonous toxins they breathe in has been emphasized more by the Loveland fire department recently,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “For past generations of firefighters, heading back to the fire station still covered in soot and ash from a blaze was a point of pride, but those toxins absorbing into the skin and getting breathed in may have caused cancer in many firefighters. Loveland Fire Rescue Authority is now urging its firefighters to use a process to mitigate the risks of exposure to such hazardous materials.”

“Taking a step back can sometimes be helpful. Developer Pete Carlson believes that’s the case with a proposal for a combination of condos and deed-restricted apartments near Vail Village,” reports Vail Daily. “Carlson is the developer of the Mountain View Residences Phase II project, east of the Vail Village parking structure. When the proposal came in the summer of this year to the Vail Town Council, the idea was to build a combination of 12 condos with 15 lock-off units for short-term rentals, 10 deed-restricted apartments and 19 hotel rooms.”

“Dogs typically are known as man’s best friend, but in Kevin Johnson’s case, his service dog, Reese’s, is more than that,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “She’s a lifesaver. Johnson, 64, went to enter his detached garage to get food for his chickens Oct. 19, but because of Reese’s insistence that he not open the door, Johnson went on to work in the garden instead. He didn’t think much of it until the next morning when Reese’s was even more persistent that he not open the garage door. Johnson realized something must be wrong, so he flagged down a passing Atmos Energy truck. Reese’s led men to an area behind the garage where a leak in the gas line later was discovered. “It was filling my garage with gas,” Johnson said. Had he opened the door and turned on the light switch, things could have been bad, he said.”

“Enforcement against illegal accessory dwelling units will continue in Boulder as the City Council considers a revised law that would make some of those units legal, city staff said,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In fact, according to data provided by the city, enforcement activity on that front has been trending upward for several years. Talks of a possible moratorium — or, at least, a slowdown of enforcement — were accelerated following an Oct. 14 story in the Camera about Keeli Biediger, a south Boulder woman who rents two rooms in an accessory apartment in her basement to a painter and a city Parks and Recreation employee. Biediger ran into trouble when the city learned that she was failing to satisfy the city’s requirement for one parking spot per accessory unit. The options city staff relayed to her, she said, were to either move her house by 2 feet to create room for more parking, or demolish the unit.”

“While Mayor John Suthers touts stormwater fees as a route to financial stability for Colorado Springs, others see them as a symptom of the city’s insatiable appetite for cash,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Some worry the city will inevitably raise the fees, which appear on El Paso County’s November ballot as Issue 2A. According to the ballot language, the city can raise the fees if ordered to do so by a judge, to come into compliance with state and federal laws or to abide by any intergovernmental agreements preceding June 1, 2016. A high-profile lawsuit filed against the city by state and federal governments or an intergovernmental agreement the city entered into with Pueblo County last year are the two most likely causes of future fee increases.”

“The budget proposed by Gov. John Hickenlooper for the fiscal year that starts July 1, 2018, calls for public sector employees to pay more to stabilize their pension fund and for the state to maintain a 7 percent reserve, more than the current goal of 6 percent but far less than economic analysts recommend,” reports Denverite. Colorado has raided its rainy day fund repeatedly in recent years, but now it’s time to save for the inevitable next recession, said Henry Sobanet, director of the Office of State Planning and Budget. ‘Am I expecting another recession? Absolutely,’ Sobanet said. ‘The problem is, I can’t tell you when. If we’re not saving money, the next downturn is going to be all that much worse.'”

“The Nov. 7 election, dominated by school board races, is shaping up as a referendum on school choice, in the form of both charter schools, as in Denver and Jefferson County, and vouchers, as in Douglas County,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “And just how much is at stake can be seen in how much money is being spent, nearly $2 million as of October 13, with two weeks to go before the November 7 election. The biggest fights are bringing in hundreds of thousands of dollars from outside groups battling for and against school choice in Denver and Douglas County. Nowhere is that fight bigger, or is more at stake, than in Douglas County.”