Colorado Springs ‘remains committed to coal’ as other Front Range utilities move to renewables

“While other Front Range utilities are accelerating the switch to renewable energy, Colorado Springs remains committed to coal to a much greater degree to keep rates from spiking,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The change is now driven by economics,” said Xcel Energy Colorado president, David Eves, at the Colorado Communities Symposium early this month. “In the words of Gov. Hickenlooper, ‘I don’t know what people are opposed to, cleaner air or lower costs.’ Truthfully that’s where we’re at.” Xcel Energy Colorado, which supplies power to Metro Denver and many other areas of the state, is on track to produce more than half its power – 55 percent – from renewable sources by 2026. Platte River Power Authority – a public utility that serves Estes Park, Fort Collins, Longmont and Loveland – generates about one third of its energy from renewables, and is finishing a 150-megawatt wind farm project that would push it over the 50 percent renewable mark.”

“Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election exposed hundreds of thousands of Colorado voters to misinformation and propaganda through media outlets and social networks, a new analysis of Twitter data shows,” according to The Denver Post. “The majority of the Colorado-related messages broadcast by Russia-linked Twitter accounts appeared to favor Republican Donald Trump and foster discontent in the nation’s political system, according to a Denver Post review of more than 200,000 tweets sent by the Kremlin-backed operation. And more than a dozen of the posts appeared in news stories published by Colorado media organizations before and after the election, further extending their reach.”

“Boulder County may spend $1.95 million to buy about 116 acres of privately owned farmland northwest of Longmont to preserve it as undeveloped open space,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The dryland farming acreage, which lies northeast of North 75th Street and Woodland Road and is near Boulder County’s Ron Stewart Preserve at Rabbit Mountain to the west, is now vacant. Vance Brand, former NASA astronaut and Longmont High School graduate, during an appearance in May 2017 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center. Land Vance Brand, former NASA astronaut and Longmont High School graduate, during an appearance in May 2017 at the Longmont Museum and Cultural Center. Land eyed by Boulder County for a potential open space purchase is owned in part by the Vance and Beverly Brand Family Trust. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer) But it is platted for four potential future residential building sites and has a Longs Peak Water District domestic water tap that could serve any of those homes if they were to be built there.”

“Black Hills Corp. is getting out of the business of oil and gas development, selling off assets including its sizable holdings in the De Beque area,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The action comes after the company stopped pursuing efforts in Colorado and other states to be able to participate in a “cost-of-service” gas program, under which the company would have invested in drilling projects and sold that gas to its regulated utilities. Black Hills said that approach would have provided customers with a long-term hedge against natural gas price volatility. But in 2016, Colorado’s Public Utilities Commission rejected Black Hills’ application for approval to participate in such a program, saying it failed to provide information needed to evaluate the costs and benefits to ratepayers.”

“Construction is underway — and the dirt outline is visible — on the second paved trail that will connect Loveland and Fort Collins, this one on the west side of the cities,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Construction is happening over the winter, and so far, it has stayed on schedule,” said Zac Wiebe, resource specialist with Larimer County, one of the partners on the Long View Trail.”

“Climbing its way to an ultimate goal of $1 million, the South Routt Education Endowment Fund earned an extra $4,027 in 2017 by taking advantage of a Matching Challenge sponsored by the Yampa Valley Community Foundation,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “And they can raise more, as nonprofit organizations with endowments held by the YVCF are eligible to earn up to $10,000. Through the Matching Challenge, YVCF is donating 25 cents for each dollar raised.”

“It’s 2040. Your car maybe has a few more cup holders, a fancy new navigation screen and maybe it’s autonomous. There are a few more lanes on Interstate 25, too,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “There are also a few more cars on the road when you head out of town for your job at the Future Factory. By a few, we mean almost 56,000 more commuters in and out of Fort Collins every day. That’s on top of the almost 59,000 commuters we see today. All told, it would mean something close 114,430 people churning in and out of the city every day, according to projections cited by the city of Fort Collins. That’s more than the current populations of Loveland, Windsor, Wellington and Timnath combined, going to and fro via mass transit, carpools or, as happens three-fourths of the time now, driving alone.”

“Lafayette’s proposal for its new oil and gas regulations will likely look similar to those already in place at the county level, city records detailing the city’s first update to its drilling rules in nearly two decades suggest,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The potential overhaul — specific language was unveiled on Friday — comes amid a City Council sanctioned moratorium on all new oil and gas development approved last fall to sort out its drilling rules. Some of the proposal’s requirements range from the routine to the foreign: a mapping of flow lines throughout the city, setback requirements, community engagement and ground and air mitigation, among a litany of others, according to the draft language.”

“For the second year in a row, the Gypsum Recreation Center showed a bottom line profit in 2017,” reports Vail Daily. “The number isn’t huge, but considering the fact that the operation was expected to require a subsidy from the town of Gypsum, it’s a big deal to report that the facility came out $6,769 ahead in 2017. That comes after a surplus of $8,915 in 2016.”

“Tents, tiny shelters, temporary and permanent houses are all potential solutions to ending homelessness, an advocate said Saturday during a day-long forum on the subject,” reports The Durango Herald. “’Ultimately, we have to create lots of different alternatives,’” said Don Burnes, founder and board chairman of the Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness at the University of Denver. Creating communities for homeless residents, such as campgrounds and villages, gives them safe, stable places to live and helps them reconnect with other people. “The single most universal characteristic of people experiencing homelessness is social isolation,” he said. What doesn’t work, he said, is criminalizing homelessness by enforcing camping bans because it forces law enforcement to chase the problem around because people have nowhere to stay.”

“Democratic gubernatorial candidates Mike Johnston, a past State Senator, and Donna Lynne, Colorado’s Lieutenant Governor, made time for a Q&A session with the Daily Record while separately hosting a meet-and-greet and housing tour Saturday in Cañon City,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record.

“Mary Margaret Cox needed a job. Her husband had passed away, and she had to provide for her three children,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “She learned about a program in Loveland called Meals on Wheels. She can’t remember now who loaned her the $50 she needed to start a business bank account, but she’s grateful they did. Greeley’s Meals on Wheels launched April 1, 1970. That first day, eight volunteers showed up to serve 24 meals. One of the volunteers accidentally let a client’s cat out and it ran up a tree. Cox had to call her son to climb up the tree and get the cat down. After launching the program and working as executive director for nearly half a century, Cox, now 81, retired Friday.”

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