The Home Front: Potential new oil and gas wells could go in near the Great Sand Dunes

“Environmentally concerned residents of the San Luis Valley are alarmed over the possibility of new oil and gas wells being developed on or near pristine land,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Those folk also are wary of damage to water resources and air quality, as well as other environmental impacts where they live from new wells. The wells would be in Huerfano County, not far from the Great Sands Dunes National Park and Preserve, a national geological treasure on the west side of the Sangre de Cristo mountains and adjacent to Huerfano County.”

“Colorado State Patrol troopers believe distracted drivers played a role in a head-on collision Thursday that killed Jamie Willert, 31, and her 4-year-old daughter Emma Willert on Interstate 76 near Roggen,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “That crash also left two more people in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. Troopers have yet to say what sort of distracted driving they think caused Willert’s SUV to drift into oncoming traffic, but news of the fatalities still was emotional for Beals.”

“Lawmakers drew lines Tuesday in the Colorado Legislature over transportation funding, centering not only on how much money to spend on roads and bridges, but how to spend it,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Meanwhile, other funding issues are at stake, including $5.2 million the Colorado Department of Human Services has requested for new group homes to relocate residents of the soon-to-close Riverside Parkway campus of the Grand Junction Regional Center.”

“Longmont’s City Council voted 6-0 late Tuesday night to direct that the city staff prepare a proposed ordinance that would require all public and private property owners to get city permission before exterminating colonies of 25 or more prairie dogs,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The property owners would have to demonstrate, before the city could OK the killing of those animals, that good-faith efforts had been made to try to relocate the prairie dogs to new sites elsewhere. The new rules shouldn’t have to be a complete rewrite, several council members said, of current city code provisions that impose prairie-dog relocation-effort requirements on property owners with development applications pending.”

“With bears continuing to find easy food in and around Garfield County towns each summer and fall, several Carbondale residents, concerned students and wildlife officials met with the county commissioners on Monday to discuss how to better keep bears at bay,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife official Perry Will explained at Monday’s meeting in Glenwood Springs that once a bear hits a trash can or other food source and is rewarded, it can be impossible to get rid of them.”

“Banner Health, which operates McKee Medical Center in Loveland and two other Northern Colorado hospitals, has eliminated “a handful” of positions at those facilities, company officials say,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Margo Karsten, CEO of Banner in Northern Colorado, confirmed last week that the Phoenix-based health system had cut some jobs in January and February but declined to specify how many. Banner spokeswoman Sara Quale described the number of positions as “a handful” and said some of the people whose jobs were eliminated were being rehired in other roles in the organization, which employs about 4,800 people in Colorado.”

“Fracking tensions have seeped down to the elementary school level in Lafayette, where a meeting is set this week after a principal took steps to limit bannering activities relating to oil and gas issues,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “East Boulder County United, which has been vocal in opposing plans for large-scale expansion of oil and gas development across broad sections of the area along the U.S. 287 corridor, has drawn attention to the school’s stance and is contesting the school’s actions. The school community’s interest in the subject is more than just academic. One example of the drive to dot the eastern county with hundreds of wells is the application by Extraction under its subsidiary 8 North for a state drilling and spacing order on a 1,280-acre area between Arapahoe and Baseline roads in the Lafayette-Erie area, which encompasses at its southwest corner the Escuela Bilingue Pioneer Elementary property.”

“The Vail Nature Center is one of the town’s quiet gems, a piece of largely untrammeled mountain terrain in the middle of a busy resort,” reports Vail Daily. “But the nature center is in trouble. The biggest trouble was revealed during a study in September 2017. The building that houses the exhibits and offices dates back to the 1940s. A couple of subsequent renovations were finished in the 1970s. Today, the building needs a new roof, the walls are substandard and the place has a rodent problem. It’s essentially unusable for the coming summer season.”

“Tootle used to hate going to the vet,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The purebred dachshund didn’t like the humans poking and prodding his nose with all kinds of different medicines. But he got used to it. And his nose started to get better. Tootle, 12, first came to the Colorado State Veterinary Teaching Hospital about a year and a half ago with a drug-resistant strain of MRSP. It’s essentially the dog version of MRSA, which causes skin infections or can infect surgical wounds. Tootle also has a form of lupus, which hinders his immune system. The infection ate away at his nose and for a while he didn’t get better with regular antibiotics.”

“The Fremont County Clerk and Recorder was arrested on three felony charges and one misdemeanor, county commissioners said in a news release Tuesday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Katie Barr, accused in one charge of embezzling public property, is being held at the Fremont County Jail on a no-bond hold, the news release said. She was investigated by the Cañon City Police Department with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation for ‘irregular financial activity.'”

“The political firm that obtained private data on millions of Facebook users helped Republicans in Colorado win a crucial majority in the state Senate, taking $444,000 in ‘dark money’ payments over two years,” reports The Denver Post. “Cambridge Analytica used personal data from the social-media platform and voter records to create “psychographic” profiles that allowed Republican operatives to target specific voters based on personality and political issues, according to interviews and tax filings obtained by The Denver Post. The effort in Colorado served as a precursor to the London-based firm’s work in 2016 to help elect President Donald Trump and is connected to data mining operations now under investigation in two countries.”

“The La Plata County Sheriff’s Office said it will not manage a proposed campsite adjacent to the Durango Dog Park where Durango City Council plans to allow homeless residents to sleep,” reports The Durango Herald. “City councilors want the existing homeless camp north of the Tech Center closed to help mitigate fire danger and to address safety concerns of residents on the west side of town. They plan to prohibit setting up semi-permanent camps but will allow people to pitch tents and sleep overnight on the property.”

“The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has taken command of a Fountain-area tire fire that is emitting ‘extremely poisonous’ smoke, is expected to contaminate Fountain Creek and spurred the closure of an elementary school Tuesday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs.

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