The Home Front: Why a clean-air advocate is suing Colorado Springs for defaming her character

“A Monument clean-air advocate filed a defamation suit against the city of Colorado Springs on Monday, alleging that city officials and elected leaders smeared her reputation for exposing concerns about pollution from the controversial coal-fired Martin Drake Power Plant,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The action in U.S. District Court in Denver comes six months after Leslie Weise first lodged her allegations in a notice of claim. Her complaint alleges a “nearly yearlong campaign” that “sought to discredit her and ruin her reputation in her community for exposing the fact that the Martin Drake Power Plant was spewing noxious pollution in violation of Environmental Protection Agency regulations in the backyard of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs residents.” Twelve defendants are named, including the city of Colorado Springs. Also being sued are council members Andy Pico, Bill Murray, Tom Strand, Jill Gaebler, Don Knight and Merv Bennett and former council members Helen Collins, Keith King and Larry Bagley. City Attorney Wynetta Massey and Colorado Springs Utilities spokeswoman Amy Trinidad also are named.”

“A Denver attorney for Greeley Municipal Court Judge Brandilynn Nieto called charges against her part of a witch hunt and promised to expose corruption in Greeley’s government — from the mayor to the police chief — during a public hearing at the Greeley City Council meeting tonight,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Nieto in August was charged with official misconduct in a case The Tribune later learned centered on her requests that employees work to promote a local bail bonds business on social media. Charges against Nieto were dropped in September, and records related to the case were sealed. Nieto was suspended pending a decision from the Greeley City Council about whether she will return to the bench. That decision would have to be public, but discussion beforehand would typically be allowed in an executive session, a type of meeting that’s done outside of the public eye.”

“Mesa County and several other western Colorado local governments owe more than $1 million to Oxy USA Inc. in tax overpayments, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “State law “gives taxpayers the right to seek abatement and refund for erroneously or illegally levied taxes resulting from an overvaluation caused solely by taxpayer mistake,” the high court ruled in the case, which stretches back to the 2011 tax year. The more than $1 million owed by local governments in Mesa County doesn’t include interest payments totaling $14,000 a month. For Mesa County itself, about $400,000 was at issue and interest payments would be about $4,000 a month. Under Colorado law, Oxy could be paid 1 percent in simple interest per month of the total tax at issue.”

“Longmont officially has two new City Council members and a new mayor. On Monday night, Ward 2 Councilwoman Marcia Martin and Councilman at-large Aren Rodriguez took their oaths of office and began the freshman year of the four-year terms they won in last Tuesday’s election,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Newly elected Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley, center, receives the gavel from former Mayor Dennis Coombs, right, while standing with new Councilman at-large Newly elected Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley, center, receives the gavel from former Mayor Dennis Coombs, right, while standing with new Councilman at-large Aren Rodriguez during Monday’s Longmont City Council meeting inside council chambers. (Jeremy Papasso / Staff Photographer) Brian Bagley, who won the election contest for a two-year term in Longmont’s mayoral contest, moved from his Ward 1 seat at the council table to the mayor’s chair after being sworn in. Also taking her oath of office was re-elected Councilwoman at-large Polly Christensen.”

“A clear vote of confidence on Election Day will fund The Ranch events complex until 2040 via sales tax collections that will probably top out around $200 million,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “But with supporters of the sales tax extension still basking in the afterglow of a 17-point victory, the path forward for The Ranch is not so concrete. Larimer County officials adopted a 350-page master plan outlining the potential future for The Ranch weeks before the election. It describes a multitude of possibilities for the facility, from an indoor swim and ice arena and shooting range to the more mundane — though, supporters say still vital — possibilities: better meeting space and expo venues for events.”

“A corner of downtown Loveland will be a little less colorful come spring, after the closure of Gateway Garden Center in December,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Jim DuBois, the fourth-generation owner of one of the oldest businesses in Loveland, said it’s just time to scale back. He made the announcement Saturday on the store’s Facebook page. “I’m 65. I can’t be doing what I’ve been doing. My body’s giving up,” said DuBois, who grew up in the business and took over 45 years ago. The store at the southeast corner of Sixth Street and Garfield Avenue put almost everything on sale Monday — 50 percent off — and will sell whatever is left in an auction Dec. 16, Dubois said.”

“It’s been a while since measurable snow fell on Vail Mountain — Nov. 7, to be precise. But there may be a well-timed storm on the way,” reports Vail Daily. “Most of Colorado’s Western Slope has seen warmer-than-normal temperatures this fall. The region is also a bit more dry than normal. In fact, the U.S. Drought Monitor website lists much of Western Colorado as “abnormally dry,” the first stage on its five-step scale of drought conditions. Still, this fall’s weather isn’t all that far outside the norm.”

“Less than one week after winning their bids for re-election, the Cañon City School Board’s secretary and treasurer were sworn in Monday for their next terms,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Secretary Mary Kay Evans and Treasurer Shad Johnson, who both ran for their seats unopposed, are set to retain their titles for their four-year terms. At Monday’s meeting, the board also decided to maintain the board’s current leadership, with Larry Oddo serving as president, Lloyd Harwood as vice president and Kristyn Econome as the assistant secretary and treasurer. On Election Day, Evans garnered 5,229 votes and Johnson received 4,901 votes.”

“The founders of Boulder’s Alfalfa’s Market have sold the natural grocer to two Denver-based investors who plan to revamp the Boulder location and expand across the Front Range,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Mark Retzloff and Barney Feinblum sold their majority shares in the company to Mark Homlish, vice president of property management firm Lincoln Property Company, and William “Tripp” Wall, vice president of wealth management company Alliance Bernstein. Financial terms of the private deal, including price and amount of shares sold, were not disclosed. Founded in 1979 as Pearl Street Market, Alfalfa’s was an early natural and organic grocery. Growth forced it to move to 1651 Broadway in 1983, bringing along a name change. By 1996, it had grown to 11 locations and was acquired by Boulder’s Wild Oats, only to be divested when Whole Foods purchased Wild Oats in 2007.”

“Colorado will be the site of a first-of-its-kind test track for a futuristic transportation system that could one day whisk passengers from downtown Denver to Boulder in eight minutes,” reports The Denver Post. “Arrivo, a Los Angeles startup, will partner with the Colorado Department of Transportation to build the half-mile track alongside the E-470 tollway near Denver International Airport, and open a research and development center in Commerce City. Arrivo is one of a new breed of high-tech companies, including the speedier and better-funded Virgin Hyperloop One, attempting to bypass road congestion with dedicated tracks for faster travel.”