The Home Front: In Colorado, ACLU settles lawsuit ‘over a man who spent 52 days in jail without getting a bail hearing’

“The ACLU of Colorado has settled a federal lawsuit over a man who spent 52 days in jail without getting a bail hearing, the civil liberties group said Thursday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Under the settlement agreement, Pueblo and Teller counties agreed to bring new arrestees before a judge or magistrate for bail consideration within two “court days.” They also agreed to make a “substantial monetary payment” to Michael Bailey, who lost a job and his home while incarcerated for nearly two months, much of it in Teller County, without a chance at being released. In a suit filed in September, the ACLU attributed Bailey’s ordeal to a bureaucratic standoff between the counties after Bailey’s arrest on assault charges.”

“Mesa County lags behind the state in almost all indicators related to the economic, education, health and well-being of children, according to the latest KIDS COUNT in Colorado! report,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “For example, Mesa County’s rate of confirmed child abuse and neglect cases was nearly twice the state average. Mesa County’s rate is 16.7 percent per 100,000 children, compared to the state’s average of 8.4 percent.”

“Republican Wayne Williams is running two campaigns. In one, he’s asking voters to re-elect him as Colorado’s secretary of state,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “In the other, he’d just like people to vote. Since voters passed Proposition 108 in 2016, turning the primary world on its head, there have been numerous outreach efforts at the state and local level with the simple goal of letting voters know what it actually means. Here it is, simply: Unaffiliated voters will be allowed to vote in the Republican or Democratic primary for the first time. If it seems simple enough, don’t tell Williams, whose office is spending $900,000 on an educational campaign focused mostly on the word “or” in that previous sentence. As in: Unaffiliated voters can vote in either the Republican primary or the Democratic primary — not both. Here’s Williams’ big problem: Unless unaffiliated voters mark a preference by the first week of May by going to http://www.govotecolorado.com, they’ll be sent two ballots in the mail. And if those unaffiliated voters mark and return both, neither will count.”

“When it comes to organizing, there’s a fine line between independent voters staying independent and suddenly becoming a new political party,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “That was one of the dilemmas a group of about 30 unaffiliated voters from Garfield County grappled with Thursday at what is believed to be a first-of-its-kind Independent Voter Town Hall Caucus held at the Glenwood Springs Library. Unaffiliated voters in Colorado stand to have unprecedented sway this election year, as a result of the decision by state voters two years ago to open the Republican and Democratic primaries to unaffiliated voters without making them register with one party or the other.”

“The emerald ash borer, an invasive and destructive tree pest, has been detected in Lyons,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The pest’s arrival in Colorado was confirmed when it was discovered in Boulder in 2013. Since then, it has been found in Longmont, Lafayette and Gunbarrel. An ash tree infested with emerald ash borer typically dies within two to four years, according to a Colorado State Forest Service news release. It usually takes between six and eight years for a community to hit the peak of the emerald ash borer death curve, meaning ash trees will die in exponentially higher numbers and peak in roughly eight years.”

“Snowmobilers who are not following the rules in the Routt National Forest are paying the price,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “According the the U.S. Forest Service, 14 snowmobilers from Colorado, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Nebraska have been cited this winter for going into the Mount Zirkel Wilderness northeast of Steamboat Springs. Mechanized equipment, including snowmobiles, cars, bicycles, drones and even chainsaws are forbidden in wilderness areas, which are set aside to limit the impact from humans.”

“The family of a woman who died after an in-custody suicide attempt in 2016 filed suit on Wednesday against the Summit County Sheriff’s Office, claiming jail staff ignored the woman’s signs of distress, failed to provide her medication and showed ‘deliberate indifference’ to her safety,” reports Summit Daily. “Jacqueline Bickford, 31, died in a hospital in April 2016 after hanging herself in her cell. The lawsuit claims her death fits a pattern of misconduct at the jail, including another death in 2013 and a serious assault the year before. Last year, Summit County reached a pair of settlements totaling $3.7 million for those two incidents. “Summit County has a shameful history of exhibiting deliberate indifference to the serious needs of inmates,” claims the suit, filed in Denver federal court by civil rights attorney David Lane.”

“Last fall’s pay raises for nurses and other staff at the Colorado Mental Health Institute at Pueblo should continue, the state’s Joint Budget Committee decided this week, although they questioned the worsening shortage of nurses and staff at the state hospital,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The bipartisan committee decided on Tuesday to include the $8.9 million pay request in the proposed state budget that the General Assembly must adopt before adjourning in May. But the decision didn’t come without questioning.”

“The church that bought the former House of Neighborly Service building in downtown Loveland is getting ready to celebrate its grand opening in the space on Easter Sunday, April 1,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “‘We’re all set. We’re in the building already,’ said Jeff Dillon, executive minister of Redemption Church. “We’ve had our services there the last two weeks — a soft launch of the new building.” Redemption, a church plant from the nondenominational Mountain View Community Church in Fort Collins and part of the Crossway Chapel network, has been meeting at temporary locations since its formation in June 2015.”

“A program to charge for summer overnight parking will probably be a money-loser for the town,” reports Vail Daily. “But opening up more spaces is worth the cost, officials say. The Vail Town Council on Tuesday, March 20, set in motion a plan that will result in the first-ever charges for summer parking. In this case, the charges will be assessed only for overnight parking — with some exceptions.”

“Huddled around a cell phone inside her tidy KRFC office, Jen Parker and I listened to the trills of a flamenco guitar Tuesday afternoon,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “As the song played over its small speakers, Parker rattled off names of musicians she loves, from guitarists and singer-songwriters to a London-based jazz-rap group. “I’m from a very funky town in England called Totnes,” Parker said, describing the eclectic Elizabethan community as a hub for arts and music. Now, far from Totnes — and with many stops in between — she is at the helm of a different kind of hub for art and music.”

“Doug Robinson, a Republican candidate for governor and the nephew of Mitt Romney, made a campaign stop Tuesday in Cañon City, where he talked about health care, infrastructure, education and regulation of the marijuana industry,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “One of more than 30 candidates running in the 2018 gubernatorial race, Robinson characterized himself as a political outsider, highlighting his experience as a businessman. Robinson is a former investment banker.”

“Former Boulder Mayor Bob Greenlee was spared prison but was sentenced to one year of home detention and 10 years of probation for his role in a high-speed crash that killed a woman in southern Colorado in late 2016,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Greenlee was also ordered to perform 200 hours of community service, a $100,000 fine — the maximum allowed — and, for the length of the 10-year probation term, a yearly contribution of $100,000 to a charity of the prosecutor’s choosing that will not be tax deductible. Greenlee, 77, was sentenced by Judge John Kolomitz in Costilla District Court on Thursday, two months after he pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide, two counts of careless driving causing injury and reckless driving in the death of Patricia Lucero.”

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife staff and volunteers gathered at the Lake Pueblo State Park for the annual Colorado Parks and Wildlife walleye spawn operation March 22, 2018,” reports The Denver Post. “Over several weeks, the Colorado Parks and Wildlife hope to collect over 130 million walleye eggs, which will produce game fish for anglers around the country. Thursday morning, two crews set out twice and collected both male and female walleye from 32 nets to separate them and collect both milt, roe and eggs. The state-wide goal is to collect over 130 million eggs to spawn to then re-populate the state’s lakes.”

“Homeless campers living west of downtown Durango are concerned the city’s plan to move their camp and require campers to pack up their belongings every morning is not practical and will disperse them into the woods,” reports The Durango Herald. “City councilors want the existing camp closed to help mitigate fire danger. They may vote on an emergency ordinance April 3 that would pave the way for city workers to establish an alternative site adjacent to the Durango Dog Park, City Manager Ron LeBlanc said.”

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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