The Home Front: A ‘startling statistic’ about youth suicide in Mesa County, Colorado

“Nearly 60 percent of people who attempted suicide in Mesa County during a roughly six-month period earlier this year were under the age of 30,  that local health officials say affirms the need to educate and intervene with K-12 students,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The fact that 123 of the 214 suicide attempts recorded in Mesa County were made by people between the ages of 10 and 29 was one of the most stark to come from a Mesa County Public Health study conducted earlier this year. The study tracked local hospitalizations for suicide attempts between April 2 and Sept. 16. The highest number of attempts, 46, occurred in teenagers 15 to 19 years old. The next highest occurrences were in people 20 to 24 years old and 25 to 29 years old. There were 28 attempts in each of those age groups. After that, more children ages 10 to 14 (21) tried to take their own lives than any other age category.”

“Already on pace to be the second- or third-hottest year on record, 2017 also will be remembered for another milestone: the most natural disasters in the United States costing more than $1 billion in the shortest time span,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Fifteen catastrophes resulting in more than $1 billion in federal and private insurance claims hit the U.S. in the first nine months of 2017 – an unprecedented pace, according to the National Centers for Environmental Information. If the California wildfires surpass $1 billion, as expected, 2017 would tie 2015’s record of 16 $1 billion disasters. According to some experts, it’s no accident and not entirely natural. “It irritates me to hear all these described as ‘natural’ disasters,” said Kevin Trenberth, a senior scientist in the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder. ‘Yes, hurricanes and wildfires are natural phenomena, but they are made worse by climate change and human actions.'”

“On Thursday, The Cannabist reported that Colorado marijuana sales notched $136 million for the third month in a row in September, bringing total revenues to $1.16 billion over the first nine months of the year,” reports Summit Daily. “Along with the industry’s healthy growth, however, come concerns about stoned driving, which public safety officials worry is prevalent and deemed acceptable by more than half of marijuana users.”

“For the educators and administrators of Greeley-Evans School District 6, the years of work that went into passing a mill levy override to fund the district with more property tax money have given way to more work now that the day they never thought would come is here — the district has its MLO,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “That’s $14 million per year for the next seven years. Now district officials must follow through on their promises with the sorely needed cash. At the district’s jubilant watch party Tuesday night, superintendent Deirdre Pilch said the district’s top priorities are raising support staff salaries so it can pay people such as custodians, bus drivers and kitchen workers competitive wages; funding elementary summer schools; updating high school curriculum and technology; and improving security infrastructure.”

“Doug Phelps wore a suit and tie for pictures,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “His light hair was always neatly cut and combed. Camera flashes bounced off the thick lenses of his black, plastic-rimmed glasses. At Colorado State University, he was the student who asked professors to mail him his final grades — on a postcard — at the end of each semester. He couldn’t wait for report cards. He didn’t drink, either. Not even beer. But in the fall of 1968, in front of 3,000 fellow classmates piled into CSU’s student center grand ballroom, Phelps stood behind a podium, cracked open a Coors and held it to his lips. The moment would go down in CSU history as the famed “drink-in” or ‘beer-in,’ which set changes into motion on a conservative campus that now embraces its town’s exploding beer culture.”

“It’s been some time before anyone in Boulder County has been able to say, ‘There’s a new sheriff in town,'” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Judging by recent elections, that is just fine with voters. Yet another extension of the term limits for the Boulder County sheriff — this week, voters approved Question 1B, which will allow sheriffs to see a fifth, four-year term — has shown that, when it comes to law enforcement, residents value experience and leadership over turnover. “There are some offices in the county that are not as political and require certification and training and expertise,” said Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle, who has been the Boulder County sheriff since 2002. ‘If the title were modernized, the sheriff would probably be titled manager of public safety or something like that. We have a responsibility for the jail, alternative sentencing, fires, search and rescue. None of those things should be affected by partisan politics.'”

“As a roboticist, Ryan Smith has monitored algae blooms off the coast of Southern California and mapped the Great Barrier Reef in Australia,” reports The Durango Herald. “Smith uses robots to gather data in dangerous and toxic environments where it is extremely difficult – if not impossible – for humans to explore. That data is then passed along to biologists, marine biologists, ecologists and oceanographers. “Robots are used for the three Ds: dull, dirty and dangerous,” he said. “I focus on dirty or dangerous, such as going underwater or to other places humans can’t go.” Smith is professor of physics and engineering at Fort Lewis College, specializing in control theory and path planning for autonomous underwater vehicles. Autonomous robots are machines capable of performing tasks without explicit human control. Using sensors and side-scan sonar, robots are able to measure water temperature, pH balances and efficiently create three-dimensional images of underwater environments. Smith is the winner of the 2017-18 Fort Lewis College Featured Scholar award for his work to monitor water quality across the region.”

“The first spacecraft in the nation’s next generation of polar-orbiting satellites is set for launch in the pre-dawn hours Tuesday, and the mission has strong Boulder ties,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The Joint Polar Satellite System-1, or JPPS-1, was designed and built by Boulder’s Ball Aerospace, and once it enters polar orbit, it will be known as NOAA-20, feeding National Weather Service models for Boulder’s National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The first in a series of four planned satellites in the nation’s newest generation of polar-orbiting operational environmental satellite system, JPSS-1 had originally been slated for launch on Friday, but was rescheduled to take off on Tuesday to address a battery issue on the lift rocket’s flight termination system. Its launch, aboard a United Launch Alliance Delta II from Space Launch Complex-2W at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif., is set for 2:47 a.m. MST Tuesday. The mission is a joint effort between NOAA and NASA.”

“Denver’s massive, $937 million bond package proved exceptionally popular with Denver voters last week,” reports The Denver Post. “All seven components cleared two-thirds support among the nearly 143,000 voters who turned out, with the transportation package exceeding 75 percent. But when will the roughly 460 projects, from small repaving plans to big new buildings, get started? A celebratory Mayor Michael Hancock said last week that his administration was putting in motion a decade of construction that will touch many parts of the city. First up is a forthcoming request for bids from consultants for a project management contract.”

“U.S. Rep. Jared Polis spoke to a standing-room-only crowd Saturday during a meet-and-greet event at Mugs, sharing why he feels he’s the best candidate for Colorado’s next governor,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The Boulder Democrat said as governor, he has plans to improve Colorado’s education, environment and economy. “We need bold action at the state level on all of the issues that we as progressives care about to move our state forward, and that’s why I am running for governor,” he said. “I’ve always believed in a bold vision and a real plan to make it happen; that’s what I have always done in my life and what I want to do as governor.” If elected governor, Polis wants to make available free, full-day kindergarten and preschool to every child in the state. “It’s not even a red or blue issue — there are red states that have universal free preschool,” he said. “We need every kid to get the right start here, prevent some of those learning gaps — geographic, economic — from arising by making sure that every kid can get that good start, not just the parents that can afford it.”

“The producers of “Strong Sisters,” a documentary that tells the story of elected women in Colorado, are sponsoring a panel discussion about the same topic at History Colorado,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “Written and produced by Laura Hoeppner and Meg Froelich, “Strong Sisters” is built around interviews with 76 current and former female elected officials, historians, journalists and campaign strategists. The film takes its title from something former state Sen. Ruth Stockton, R-Denver, once said: “The other 90 legislators don’t see my way all the time, but I’m ready to sit down and work it out. When the going gets rough, they know I’m not the weak sister.” The panel discussion is scheduled 1-3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, at 1200 Broadway in Denver. Dani Newsom will moderate, following a screening of clips from the documentary. It’s free, but space is limited and advance registration is required here.”

“City planners put in almost $1 million worth of overtime last year while swimming through the tidal wave of Denver development projects coming their way,” reports Denverite. “As of Nov. 3, the Denver Community Planning and Development department already had surpassed the number of permits approved in all of 2016, but the recent addition of 28 staffers could reverse the trend of rising overtime costs, said department spokeswoman Laura Swartz. “Our overtime is projected to be $820,000 by the end of the year this year,” Swartz said. If that pans out, CPD will have cut its overtime spending by 11.7 percent — $108,886 — year over year.”