The Home Front: A Fort Carson Green Beret was killed in combat in Afghanistan

“A Fort Carson Green Beret was killed Saturday in combat in Afghanistan, the Pentagon said. Sgt. 1st. Class Stephen B. Cribben, 33, died after being wounded in Afghanistan’s eastern Logar Province,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group at the Colorado Springs post. Cribben, of Simi Valley, Calif., had been awarded the Bronze Star Medal during a previous overseas deployment, the Army said.”

“The nation’s drug epidemic kills someone in Colorado about every 9 hours and 36 minutes, a fact that rings like a siren for state leaders who are combating the leading driver: prescription and illicit opioids,” reports The Denver Post in a piece re-published by The Greeley Tribune.  “A bipartisan panel of lawmakers last week supported a package of six wide-ranging bills designed to prevent and treat the state’s drug overdose crisis, building on five years of work from Gov. John Hickenlooper’s administration to identify holes in the current system. The approach — which, according to experts, puts Colorado in the top tier among states nationwide for its response — has been boosted by a $35 million infusion from the federal government to test solutions to what President Donald Trump has labeled a national public health emergency.”

“The latest round of specialty crop grants awarded by the Colorado Department of Agriculture will directly impact three projects in Mesa County, help orchardists and grape-growers and explore the possibility of a new niche crop for farmers,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The department awarded more than $600,000 in grants statewide for various projects, ranging from a study to determine the quality of greenhouse-grown hops to developing coatings to help potatoes store longer. The three projects with a local implication involve a study to determine the extent a tiny insect has infested vineyards, a project centered on finding treatments for a destructive orchard fungus that kills trees and a study to see if a new berry can be grown with less water in Colorado’s growing conditions.”

“Potentially four new Lafayette City Councilmembers could begin their tenure at the onset of a controversial new fracking moratorium this month — and at the helm of what may prove a trailblazing overhaul of the city’s oil and gas regulatory process,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Officials will vote on the drilling stay’s second reading, and likely approve it, Monday evening; it would stay new oil and gas development until late 2018, unless the council fleshes out revamped drilling regulations before then, officials say. The vote comes on the eve of an election that may shift half of the city’s leadership.”

“The historic armory building in downtown Loveland was built in 1926 as a community hub and military training center and has served many different purposes in its 90-year life,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “After 35 years as home to a National Guard Unit, the iconic structure at 201 S. Lincoln Ave. also served as storage for Hewlett-Packard, school district headquarters, city offices and most recently a church. The church, whose members in 1993 painstakingly remodeled and saved the aging piece of Loveland history, and had it listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is now selling the building.”

“The ability to send a text message with a cell phone has helped save lives in Routt County, and people can now text 911 operators directly,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Routt County Communications recently completed testing the 911 texting system, and they know it works with mobile carriers AT&T, Spring, T-Mobile, Verizon, Comcast and Union Wireless. Communications manager Jason Nettles said actual phone calls are still the quickest and most effective way to contact 911 dispatchers, but there are some cases when that is not possible.”

“Marijuana use in Larimer County spiked following legalization of recreational use, according to a survey by the Health District of Northern Larimer County,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Almost a third of adults used it in the 12 months prior to the survey, which was conducted in fall 2016, including almost half of people ages 18-34. Of those respondents who did use marijuana, more than a third used it an average of once a week or more in that time frame. About half used it between one and 12 times.”

“The famed neon sign that hung above Louisville’s Blue Parrot restaurant for more than half a century may see a resurrection of sorts with the site’s new digs, according to the building’s new owner — though it comes with a bit of “rebranding,'” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Louisville’s City Council will soon consider a landmark and preservation grant proposal for the shuttered restaurant’s famed sign. The 98-year-old Italian cuisine restaurant, at 640 Main St., closed its doors in January. While officials say the “look and feel” of the sign will be preserved — featuring neon and the prominent blue, red and yellow background — the “Blue Parrot” name itself, will not. It will instead read “The Corner in Louisville,” the name for the 11,000-square-foot building’s reimagined collection of shops.”

“The freedom to pee in ‘Urinetown: The Musical’ helped start a conversation with local officials about regulations and planning for the future following a performance of the show on Sunday,” reports The Durango Herald. “The show focuses on the trials of a drought-stricken town where private bathrooms have been outlawed and everyone must pay to use public restrooms, hurting some of the town’s poorest people. Lifting the restrictions on restrooms pollutes the town’s water and eventually the water supply dries up.”

“Written with marker on cardboard signs, the statistics lined the perimeter of Veterans Park on Saturday as people walked by,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “On Jan. 23, 2017, 10,550 people were homeless in Colorado,” read one sign. Another told walkers of the 1,300 families in Fremont County who are registered to received food from the Loaves & Fishes pantry. “Fifteen percent of our shelter guests stay 90 days or longer,” another sign said. Not far from the signs were some of the people who make up those statistics. But their stories went further than the numbers.”

“The mismatch between the number of people moving to the metro area and the inventory of homes and apartments available to buy and rent has long fed a plot line that is only too familiar to new arrivals to the state — your hunt for a home will be harder than you thought,” reports The Denver Post. “But even as thousands of newcomers each year try to stake a claim on metro Denver’s drum-tight housing supply — the Denver Metro Association of Realtors reported Friday that the number of homes and condos available for sale at the end of October hit a record low for the month — concerns about the potential for runaway development are never far below the surface. In Lakewood, Colorado’s fifth-largest city, a drawn-out effort to limit new home permits to no more than 1 percent of existing units a year attracted more than 7,600 signatures this year, with the city concluding that enough people backed the anti-growth measure to move it along to the ballot for a vote.”

“Voters in more than 80 municipalities across Colorado are electing members to city councils and town boards, as well as deciding a range of ballot measures covering everything from tax and bond questions to pot sales and high-speed internet, according to data compiled by the Colorado Municipal League,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “For the first time since 2009, there isn’t a statewide question on the ballot. Six rural counties without contested races or local measures have canceled their elections entirely — Cheyenne, Dolores, Grand, Hinsdale, Mineral and Washington counties — and voters in some districts elsewhere won’t receive ballots because there isn’t anything for them to decide. Through Friday morning, election officials reported receiving ballots from 612,589 of the state’s 3.37 million active registered voters. The turnout so far is about one-third what it was a year ago with the presidency, Congress, the state Legislature and county offices up for grabs.”

“On a Friday afternoon, Brownie Troop 67478 files into a shipping container to eat crickets,” reports Denverite. “The modest facility, hidden just off Morrison Road, is the global headquarters of the Rocky Mountain Micro Ranch, an urban farm that raises bugs for human consumption. “Who wants to see the mealworms?” asks Wendy Lu McGill, micro ranch co-founder. Nearly every kid raises her hand in delight. Who wants to try a cricket? Fewer hands this time. Claire, who’s 7, considers the whole cooked cricket in her hand for a good long while. Then she makes a face and passes it off to another girl who eagerly pops it into her mouth.”