The Home Front: Ex-Colorado GOP chairman charged with voter fraud blames diabetic episode for casting his ex-wife’s ballot

“In the first day of testimony in Weld District Court on Tuesday, a former Colorado Republican Party chairman accused of committing voter fraud blamed a diabetic blackout for his filling out his ex-wife’s ballot during the 2016 election,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Steve Curtis, 57, who from 1997-99 served as chairman of the Colorado Republican Party, is charged with one count of voter fraud and one count of forgery after prosecutors say he filled out and mailed in the ballot of his ex-wife, Kelly Curtis, from his Firestone home in fall 2016. After a day of jury selection Monday, attorneys delivered their opening arguments in his trial at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, during which Curtis’ attorney, Christopher Gregory, told the jury Curtis has lived with Type 1 diabetes for about 30 years and he was prone to serious diabetic episodes. “He has a notoriously bad history of monitoring and controlling his blood sugar,” Gregory said. Curtis, who since his political career has hosted a talk show on the conservative Aurora radio station KLZ-AM 560, remained stoic behind a set of sunglasses as his ex-wife, the prosecution’s first witness, took the stand. She and Curtis were married for only nine months, she said, during 2015. During that time, she lived with him at his house in Firestone, and she registered to vote at that address.”

“The Boulder District Attorney’s Office has concluded that New Era Colorado did not violate any election laws in offering rides to the polls and slices of pizza to prospective voters at the University of Colorado last month, Chief Trial Deputy Sean Finn wrote a letter Tuesday in response to a complaint filed by citizen Patrick Murphy, who had claimed in his complaint that “New Era was offering something of value in exchange for a vote, whether that is a ride to the polls or a piece of pizza. This is a huge no no.,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The complaint was based on a Daily Camera article that detailed the get-out-the-vote efforts by New Era, an advocacy group strongly in favor of Boulder’s municipalization effort, on the CU campus during November’s election. But after opening an investigation into the claims, Finn said he found no wrongdoing.”

“A 2018 candidate for Fremont County Sheriff shot a family’s pit bull in apparent self-defense Thursday, according to a sheriff’s office report,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Sheriff’s office deputy Clint Wilson, who works as the school resource officer at Cotopaxi School, wrote in the incident report that he shot the dog after it began growling and lunging toward him. Wilson wrote that he went to a Cotopaxi home at about 2:45 p.m. Thursday to talk with Thomas Plante about an incident that happened at Cotopaxi School with his daughter, who attends school there.”

“Longmont Mayor Brian Bagley’s statement of his personal commitment to working toward achieving a ‘100 percent clean, renewable energy supply’ for the city by the year 2030 drew applause from about 20 people who showed up for Bagley’s reading of his proclamation at Tuesday night’s City Council meeting,” reports The Denver Post. “Many of those expressing support for Bagley’s promise were members or supporters of Sustainable Resilient Longmont and other organizations that have been working on getting such a commitment from the city. The renewable-energy goal — and the abandonment of the city’s reliance on carbon-based fuels such as coal and natural gas — is one already shared by many Longmont residents, Karen Dike told Bagley and the council.”

“Some neighbors in the area of H Road heaved a sigh of relief after learning the developer of a proposed 303-lot subdivision pulled its application Monday afternoon,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The Grand Junction City Council had been slated tonight to determine whether to allow an outline development plan and rezone for the Weeminuche subdivision, a 151-acre tract north of Holy Family Catholic School. The parcel is one of the largest remaining developable parcels for homes in the city. More than two dozen neighbors submitted petitions against the subdivision citing traffic concerns, the lack of conformity with homes in other neighborhoods in the area, and the density of the proposed subdivision.”

“As the meeting’s duration neared midnight, the Board of Larimer County Commissioners voted 2-1 to allow WOLF Sanctuary to move its 30 wolf dogs to the Red Feather Lakes area,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The commissioners approved a compromise, stating that there is potential for another special use review process for a future expansion to include 60 wolves as requested, and the number of scheduled tours of the site should be scaled back from four tours of 10 people five days a week to two tours of 10 people five days a week, according to WOLF Executive Director Shelley Coldiron. Final estimates of attendance at the meeting approached 300 people.”

“The absence of a body as evidence in a homicide case makes the prosecutor’s job of getting a conviction daunting but far from impossible, according to an attorney based in Washington, D.C., who has successfully prosecuted a no-body homicide case,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The interesting thing about no-body cases is, yes, they are very difficult to prosecute. But when they do go to trial, the conviction rate is actually quite high. Right now, it’s running at about 88 percent,” said Tad DiBiase, who successfully prosecuted a no-body murder case tried in Washington, D.C., in January 2006 when he worked as an Assistant U.S. Attorney. “So that seems very counter-intuitive because they’re really difficult to do.” DiBiase has a website where he tracks no-body murder cases, trials and investigations.”

“A poor working relationship between Routt County Treasurer Brita Horn and the county commissioners and their attorney is forcing county taxpayers to pay a premium for an outside law firm retained by the treasurer’s office,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Horn recently hired Denver-based attorneys at a price of $350 an hour to help handle a grievance hearing regarding a terminated employee that county officials say their own attorney could have handled under normal circumstances for half the hourly rate that Horn paid the outside counsel. But Horn has clashed with the county commissioners and the county attorney in recent years on several issues, a situation that officials say has strained their relationship and resulted in a policy from the commissioners that prevents Horn from using the more-affordable county attorney.”

“You don’t have to crack open a book to learn about history. Sometimes a peek into the past can be found on your morning run, on your walk to class or even on your way to, well, crack open a book. Various monuments — from the bronze border collie sculpture that greets visitors of the Old Town Library to the imposing cannon in City Park’s playground — dot the Fort Collins area,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “‘Monuments are a great way to learn about your city, the people who have been there before,’ said Thomas Cauvin, a Colorado State University professor of public history and the mind behind a recent Northern Colorado monuments project.”

“In a town with a lot of rules, it can be hard to accomplish something simple. That’s the case with clearing property to help protect homes against wildfire,” reports Vail Daily. “The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, Dec. 5, gave town staff the go-ahead to present an ordinance to change the town’s zoning code to allow property owners to clear vegetation from their property without going to the Vail Design Review Board for approval. Paul Cada, the Vail Fire Department’s wildfire specialist, told the council that the current requirement is making it more difficult for property owners to follow fire department recommendations. That’s becoming more important, especially during dry years when the threat of wildfire grows with every rainless day.”

“The La Plata County Humane Society has already incurred at least $67,200 in costs associated with caring for about 115 animals that were seized last month as part of a massive animal-cruelty case, according to court filings,” reports The Durango Herald. “Elizabeth Miera, who is charged with 105 counts of animal cruelty, filed a motion Nov. 24 seeking to stop the fees and costs and to set the case for a probable cause hearing, in which prosecutors must convince a judge that a crime was committed and she is connected with it. The motion also asked prosecutors to show the fees and costs being assessed by the Humane Society are reasonable and necessary.”

“The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday heard arguments in a Colorado case about a same sex-wedding cake that ultimately could determine where the legal system draws the line between discrimination and religious freedom,” reports The Denver Post. “The legal fight stems from the refusal of Lakewood baker Jack Phillips in 2012 to make a wedding cake for fiancés Charlie Craig and David Mullins. Phillips argues he shouldn’t be compelled to violate his religious beliefs by creating a custom dessert for the couple; they argue they are being discriminated against because of their sexual orientation, which is protected by Colorado law.”

“El Paso County could greenlight financial boosts for a variety of projects and programs, including the widening of Interstate 25 from Monument to Castle Rock, through its annual budgeting process,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Other tentative beneficiaries are an initiative that could help ease overcrowding at the El Paso County Jail and an effort by the Sheriff’s Office to bust illegal marijuana grow operations. On Tuesday, county commissioners directed administrators to tweak a proposed 2018 budget document accordingly; however, the allocations won’t be finalized until next week, when commissioners will vote to adopt next year’s spending plan. The beefed-up appropriations would come from projected increases in sales tax collections and operational savings, according to Nicola Sapp, the county’s chief financial officer.”

“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and his Oregon counterpart, Kate Brown, took to the phones today to urge Congress to reauthorize the federal health insurance program for kids and pregnant women,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “Hickenlooper told reporters on the conference call that about 75,000 children and 800 pregnant women are at risk of losing their federally-funded health insurance. Money for the program, known as the Children’s Health Insurance Program Plus, or CHIP+, runs out in Colorado at the end of January. In Oregon, Brown said more than 80,000 children and pregnant women would lose coverage, although the state has enough funding to keep it going until April. As one of the nation’s lowest-tax states, Hickenlooper said, continuing the program on the state’s own dime just isn’t possible. Colorado pays about $159 million into the program, but the state can’t continue to cover that and the federal match as well, which is around $315 million, he said.”

“Denver Arts & Venues will provide $300,000 for ‘need-based funding for creative space tenant safety and building improvements’ in a Safe Creative Spaces Fund,” reports Denverite. “The announcement comes right between the anniversaries of the Dec. 2 fire at the Ghost Ship DIY art space in Oakland killed 36 people and the Dec. 8 shutdown of Denver DIY spaces Rhinoceropolis and Glob. The fund is an extension of the Safe Occupancy Program the city created earlier this year, which was meant to give people living in spaces like Rhinoceropolis and Glob a way to legalize their buildings without losing their housing.”