The Home Front: In post-Trump Denver, progressive candidates flood the zone

“On a recent Friday afternoon, I decided that I should write something big about the state of liberal and progressive politics in Denver,” reports Denverite. “How would I do that? Well, for some reason, I emailed every candidate across four different state elections to ask for interviews. An hour later, I realized that I had made a huge mistake.”

“The El Paso County Sheriff’s Office has called off the planned cleanup of a homeless encampment at Rocky Top Resources – arguing they have no legal authority to force people off the property,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Sheriff Bill Elder said the business owner told a nonprofit the campers were allowed to live there. Despite Rocky Top’s owner having changed his mind, as their landlord he needs to follow the civil eviction process for removing tenants, Elder said. The development highlighted the legal implications that private property owners can encounter by allowing homeless campers to live on their property. And it came amid a growing debate over how best to address the region’s persistent and growing issue of homelessness – whether it’s sanctioned camping, nonprofit-led initiatives or stiffened law enforcement campaigns.”

“Kimberly Bode still remembers the time one of her regular customers at Woody’s Newsstand came into the store at 940 9th Ave. one day and changed her usual coffee order,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The woman, Bode said, asked for a decaffeinated drink this time. It was because — as Bode rightly guessed — the woman recently found out she was pregnant. Bode had known her a while before that, both as a customer and a friend. During the 17 years she’s spent as the store’s manager, she’s developed many such relationships, watching and listening as her customers grow older and get married and have children.” Now, with a decline in sales of print media, Woody’s is closing.

“State Sen. Ray Scott wrapped up a fraught discussion on proposed concealed carry in school laws Thursday in time to step into an arguably more contentious setting: the murder trial of Michael Blagg,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Scott was called as a witness during the 12th day of proceedings against Blagg, who is accused of shooting his wife Jennifer in 2001 while she slept in the couple’s home at 2253 Pine Terrace Court.”

“Mental health professionals testified Thursday that 15-year-old murder suspect Aiden von Grabow claimed he planned to kill kids who bullied him on Facebook in the weeks before the stabbing death of Longmont resident Makayla Grote,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The teen’s nine-day stay in a Highlands Ranch psychiatric hospital beginning Oct. 16 — a little more than a month before Grote, 20, was killed at her Longmont apartment on Nov. 18 — is one focus of a weeklong hearing in Boulder that will determine whether he will face first-degree murder and 10 other charges in a juvenile or adult court.”

“Rifle will again be without a city manager this spring as the City Council announced on Thursday that it has signed a separation agreement with City Manager Jim Nichols after only three months together,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Nichols signed on for a two and half year term with the city in November of last year following an extensive search to replace former manager Matt Sturgeon. Terms of the city’s separation agreement with Nichols are being finalized, the city said in a press release.”

“Northwest Colorado residents may soon find it easier and more convenient to sit back and surf the web on Wi-Fi while bus drivers take them to and from the Front Range,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “State transportation officials recently spoke to officials in Steamboat Springs about a possible new bus route that would start in Craig and go through Steamboat and Frisco on the way to the Front Range. The route would be an extension of the state funded Bustang, which has already been ferrying skiers and other passengers along the Interstate 70 corridor and up and down Interstate 25 between Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.”

“The bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Pueblo assures the community that the pastoral care at St. Mary-Corwin Medical Center will remain at the same level that it has historically,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The Most Rev. Stephen J. Berg said Thursday that he will continue to pray for those who are set to lose their jobs at the hospital. St. Mary-Corwin CEO Mike Cafasso announced Thursday that the hospital would be laying off nearly 300 people by May. 7.”

“Pressure caused by new drilling coupled with an improperly plugged well is suspected to have caused drilling mud to bubble out of an old well near Berthoud in late October,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The cement and abandonment did not happen correctly,” Stuart Ellsworth, engineering manager for Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, said this week. “The records that we found were paper records that said the cement was there.” But after digging up the well site to investigate the spill, officials learned that the required amount of cement plugs were, in fact, not installed. In a previous interview, Ellsworth explained that the general process of capping a well requires at least four layers of cement plugs at strategic locations.”

“Thanks to new U.S. tax law, Vail Resorts will increase its minimum wages at its U.S. and Canadian resorts and has announced a 40 percent increase in its quarterly dividend to shareholders,” reports Vail Daily. “During a Thursday, March 9, earnings call, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said the company will see a cash savings of about $40 million in the 2018 calendar year. The savings will allow the company to increase its minimum wage in the United States from $11 per hour to $12.25 per hour. In addition, the Vail Resorts Board of Directors recently approved an increase in the quarterly dividend paid to shareholders. That dividend will be $1.47 per share — up from $1.053 per share — beginning with the dividend payable on April 11 to those who hold stock as of March 27. Katz said the “investment in wages is critical” in an era of low unemployment and rising prices.”

“A ski trip doesn’t have to wipe out your whole paycheck. Most Colorado’s ski areas won’t close for another four to six weeks — with the notable exception of “does-it-ever-close” Arapahoe Basin — which means you’ve got time to plan a few outings for cheaper than you think,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Here are some of my tried-and-tested tips for saving money on skiing (and snowboarding) in Colorado.”

“Sleep is important for any person to function throughout the day and it is especially important for students to learn in the classroom,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “That is why a new proposal will be presented to the Cañon City School Board suggesting the start time for the high school is pushed back one hour.”

“An Erie candidate forum Thursday evening played like a greatest hits album of the town’s most revisited issues each election cycle — variations on questions surrounding growth, housing and commercial development and approaches to oil and gas regulation abounded,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The residents who turned out to fill the Vista Ridge Academy gymnasium were treated to some more specific dialogue in the forum’s second half, with topics including townwide recycling operations, likely far-off plans for expanded public transportation and how potential trustees would receive requests from its police department amid population growth and possibly an eventual uptick in crime. Questions near the end of Thursday’s forum veered more toward the specifics of why Erie has yet to usher in development geared for senior and assisted living, and candidates’ thoughts on transitioning to a home rule municipality in the coming years.”

“Colorado companies in landscaping, construction, hospitality and tourism are getting unwelcome notices that the federal government has denied their visa applications to bring in foreign workers to meet the summer rush,” reports The Denver Post. “We don’t know how we will get the workers,” said Jake Leman, construction division manager at Singing Hills Landscaping, one of the firms rejected. “If we could bring back the guys we had from last year, we would be able to survive and fulfill all of our contracts.” The Aurora company applied for 40 slots under the H-2B visa program to bring workers from Mexico to handle the surge in business during the warmer months, a request made every year after local hiring efforts fail.”

“Denver District Attorney Beth McCann Thursday gave a strong “no” to Republican Senate President Kevin Grantham’s request for her to investigate sexual harassment claims in the General Assembly,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “In a letter obtained by Colorado Politics, McCann wrote that the state Constitution “gives the General Assembly authority to establish rules governing the conduct of its members,” including sexual harassment and workplace harassment rules and policies. The response indicates the ball is back in Grantham’s court to act within his existing authority. A back-and-forth between McCann and Grantham has been going on for a week, ever since Grantham, in a March 1 news conference, announced that he believed some of the sexual harassment allegations against lawmakers could rise to the level of sexual assault. He asked McCann that day to open an investigation, even if she didn’t have formal complaints from the victims.”

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