The Home Front: Lawmakers look at loophole to put ‘Internet gaming cafes’ out of business

“Internet gaming cafes that boast slot machines that offer payouts to winning customers could be in danger of going out of business if a bill moving through the state’s House of Representatives is ultimately approved,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The bill — HB18-1234 — is meant to clarify language in a previous bill that declared any gambling establishments outside of Blackhawk, Central City and Cripple Creek as illegal. However, many businesses still operate by calling their devices “games of skill.” Bill sponsors and supporters say this is a loophole they would like to close.”

“The last piece of space used mainly for company waste and ‘special projects’ at the Denver Regional Landfill in Erie will shutter its operations by 2021, the town announced Thursday, following a request from state health officials for a clearer closing date as the depot nears its capacity and a promised land deal for a piece of town-owned property,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “As part of the agreement, Waste Connections Inc., which owns the Denver Regional site as well as the adjacent Front Range Landfill, will donate $4 million to Erie’s town hall expansion project. Officials on Thursday said the contracts for the closure were still being finalized, but suggested that the impetus for the company’s compliance to close as well as donate to Erie were inspired by the town’s offer to give the company a piece of property aimed at furthering the other landfill’s future.”

“A judge will likely decide whether to release personnel records for a former Steamboat Springs Police Department officer who has filed to run for sheriff,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “On Feb. 1, current Routt County Sheriff Garrett Wiggins filed the request for Kristin Bantle’s records with the city of Steamboat Springs. Wiggins requested any and all personnel records including her application for employment, annual reviews, complaints and anything allowable under the Colorado Open Records Act and the laws that govern criminal justice records. Bantle filed an affidavit on Jan. 20 stating she was a Democratic candidate for sheriff in the November election, but she said she was still deciding whether or not to run. On Feb. 7, six days after Wiggins submitted his records request, Bantle terminated her campaign, according to Colorado Secretary of State records.”

“Rifle City Council has finalized a severance deal with former City Manager Jim Nichols, who was released last week by the city under a mutual separation agreement after just three months on the job,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “City Council agreed after a special meeting Wednesday night to pay Nichols three months’ compensation, or $36,000, based on his contract salary of $144,000. Nichols will also receive three months’ of COBRA insurance coverage. Nichols had signed on for a two-and-a-half-year term with the city in November of last year following an extensive search to replace former manager Matt Sturgeon. The city is launching yet another search for a permanent replacement.”

“Black Hills Energy’s electric utility is not for sale although the company was surprised by a $1.1 billion purchase offer from San Isabel Electric Association,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “San Isabel is a rural cooperative with 23,000 customers and I don’t see how they could acquire Black Hills or be as well-positioned to service our customers as we are,” Vance Crocker, Black Hills vice president, said Thursday. City Council’s decision last year to look at creating a municipal utility or some other alternative has kept the pressure on Black Hills.”

“Christopher David Parker, the man accused in the June 2015 shooting death of William Connole, had been placed on a mental health hold after police found ‘an arsenal of weapons in his home,’ according to a civil protection complaint filed in 2017,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Guaranty Bank and Trust Company on May 5, 2017, requested a civil protection order against Parker in Larimer County Court, due to ‘physical assault, threat or other situation.'”

“Nearly three years after Northern Colorado residents were terrorized by a series of seemingly random shootings that killed two and injured one, law enforcement officials announced they have made an arrest that connects a suspect to two of the shootings,” reports The Denver Post. “But members of the task force working to solve those crimes released no information about how they determined a Loveland man is responsible for trying to shoot at a motorcycle rider before shooting and killing another Loveland man out on his evening walk.”

“Three years have passed, and the family of 48-year-old John Jacoby, who was shot and killed in Windsor in 2015, is still waiting for answers,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “On Thursday, the Northern Colorado Shooting Task Force announced the arrest of a suspect in connection with two of six shootings the group has been investigating since 2015. But Jacoby’s homicide remains unsolved.”

“Mark Jacoby found out about Christopher Parker’s Tuesday arrest from a Windsor police detective,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Jacoby knew the officer — he’d been checking in with the Jacoby family for years now, after Mark’s brother John Jacoby was shot and killed May 18, 2015, in Windsor. The news was bittersweet. Yes, the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office had made an arrest in connection with the shootings — including John’s killing — that plagued northern Colorado in the spring and summer of 2015. No, it didn’t appear Parker was the one who killed John. ‘I guess we went from excitement to disappointment to being glad for (the other victim’s) family,’ Mark said. ‘Obviously, we’re in the same boat.'”

“The Boulder County Land Use Department has cited Tebo Properties for illegally leasing three cabins at the former Red Lion Inn in Boulder Canyon,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Tebo, one of Boulder County’s largest property owners and landlords, purchased the inn in 2013 and has since converted it to the Wedgewood Wedding and Banquet Center. Under a 1987 agreement with the county, seven of 15 historic cabins at the site can be legally leased, but several more have also been occupied in violation of the agreement, according to county officials. The county said it became aware of the problem last May after a tenant, John Walton, complained about potential code violations and non-permitted construction activity.”

“In considering mountain lion danger, it’s important to remember the old adage ‘predators follow their prey,'” reports Vail Daily. “Those are the words of Colorado Department of Wildlife spokesperson Mike Porras, who said the recent sightings in our area probably are not out of the ordinary considering the weather. In late February, we saw the coldest period of the winter thus far, with temperatures dropping into the single digits in Vail. National Weather Service data shows the coldest day of the winter occurring on Saturday, Feb. 24. On Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Eagle County Sheriff’s Office reported mountain lion activity in Edwards and Eagle-Vail, sharing a video of a nearby mountain lion on social media. ‘Don’t forget to look up, as lions often climb trees,’ the sheriff’s office warned.”

“A former Florence High School student was charged with a misdemeanor after allegedly creating a threatening social media post ahead of school walkout protests planned for Wednesday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Florence Police Chief Mike DeLaurentis said that the student, a juvenile, was questioned by detectives and investigators with the district attorney’s office early in the morning Wednesday. The post, which featured emojis and depicted part of a weapon, happened as Fremont County students planned to walk out of school to protest deadly school violence. The protests were planned nationally, one month after a gunman killed 17 students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. But instead of walking out, students stayed inside Wednesday as schools in the Florence-Penrose and Cañon City School districts moved into lockout status as a precautionary measure. In lockout status, no one is allowed to enter or exit the building, but class inside proceeds as normal.”

“The Durango Police Department typically has only four officers roaming the city at any given time,” reports The Durango Herald. “With such limited resources, it is crucial to deploy them to the most strategic locations. That may be school zones in the morning, the Animas River Trail mid-afternoon and downtown bars around closing time. But those are the obvious go-to spots for those times of the day. Police hope a closer look at crime data can reveal more insights into where patrols should be placed during certain times of the day, certain days of the week and certain months of the year. Tessa Reinhart of the Durango Police Department spends her days poring over crime reports to best determine where problem areas are developing and how best to deploy resources.”

“A local transportation official is concerned that removing toll lanes from a proposal to widen the Interstate 25 ‘Gap’ could hurt El Paso County’s chances of obtaining a $65 million federal transportation grant,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “State Transportation Commissioner Rocky Scott told The Gazette on Thursday he’s worried that the county will not be able to revise the pitch it made in its November grant application if officials come out against toll lanes in widening the roughly 18-mile stretch from Monument to Castle Rock. Amid a public outcry over the proposed toll lanes, the Board of County Commissioners passed an emergency resolution less than two months after submitting the application declaring their opposition to them. Commission President Darryl Glenn, who signed a cover letter for the application stating the proposal is to “construct a tolled express lane in each direction” of The Gap, has said he had no control over the letter’s content and that the county was required to use a template dictated by CDOT.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.

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