The Home Front: Three students at Greeley high schools killed themselves in a week

“On Tuesday, after three students at three Greeley high schools died by suicide within a week, students filed into the office at Greeley Central searching for something to ease the pain,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Some wanted a counselor, someone to talk to, a shoulder to cry on. The office staff set them up with professionals from North Range Behavioral Health. Others found a way to keep busy around the office. Tuesday marked the first day back at school since news broke about the deaths because Monday was a previously scheduled professional development day for faculty. At Central, Greeley West and Northridge, the schools that lost students, thousands of kids are navigating an emotional gauntlet, more than a few for the first time. Teachers and administrators are trying to help them while dealing with their own grief. Eventually they’ll try to work back to a new normal. District officials said they’ve never experienced something like this — three deaths by suicide in a week — in their careers.”

“Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights is a ‘ghost of what it once was’ and a state lawmaker from Mesa County has much to do with that, the head of the Independence Institute said Tuesday,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Jon Caldara told about 85 people that state Rep. Dan Thurlow, R-Grand Junction, and others ‘colluded’ with Democrats in the Capitol to increase taxes under the guise of calling them a fee during the last legislative session. The hospital provider fee took $600 million a year outside the state’s revenue limits under the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, Caldara said in an appearance at Colorado Mesa University sponsored by the Republican Club and the Mesa County Republican Party, and did it without seeking voter approval. Mesa County Republicans should reject Thurlow’s bid to oust state Sen. Ray Scott, R-Grand Junction, in the June primary election, Caldara said. “I’ve never felt so betrayed by Colorado Republicans” as he did with the hospital provider fee, Caldara said.”

“A fate is nearly decided for the abandoned house and barn that have sat on semi-trailers in an empty field north of the Walmart at 2514 Main St. for 13 years as the result of a long-standing dispute,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Unless Mark Powell — the man whose company was once hired to haul the structures away by a member of the family that formerly owned them — finds a buyer who can afford to transport them in a last-ditch effort, Walmart will demolish the deserted dwellings. Longmont officials contacted Walmart in late August following reports of transient campers occupying the old buildings, Planning and Development Services Director Joni Marsh said in an email. City staff has since deemed the building unsafe due to asbestos and lead contamination, but people have continued entering.”

“The secret is out, and the U.S. Forest Service is open to suggestions for handling the crowds of people that seek out the powder on Buffalo Pass during the winter,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘It’s a well-loved spot,’ District Ranger Chad Stewart told Routt County commissioners during a Forest Service update Tuesday. The popularity of Buffalo Pass during the winter was the focus of the discussion, but there are also concerns about the high usage during the summer.”

“The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission approved a fine of $29,600 for Ursa Resources at its monthly meeting in Denver last week,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Ursa Vice President of Business Development Don Simpson explained the situation arose from an error related to the company’s use of directional drilling. The fine was issued for a well near the Battlement Mesa community in western Garfield County. Simpson said Ursa chose the site after moving the well farther away from Grand Valley Middle School. He added that moving the well farther away made directional drilling more challenging, which resulted in the error. The $29,600 penalty was for a 38-day violation of Ursa’s authorized permit to drill related to well spacing. The fine came out to just under $779 a day. Simpson added that officials with the company have had discussions with COGCC officials who understood that the error was related to a beneficial move for the schools.”

“Pueblo Animal Services officials appeared before City Council on Monday night and explained why they euthanized a dog featured in a National Geographic Wild TV show, a death that alarmed some in the community and resulted in numerous calls to council members,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The dog, a German Shepherd named Ethan, was featured in a series that National Geographic Wild is televising called “Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue” that chronicles the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region, which includes PAS. The show gives a behind-the-scenes look at how local shelters work to save animals in need and features animal rescues, medical emergencies and adoption stories. When Ethan was euthanized and word got out about it, angry citizens called council members to voice their displeasure and question the decision. Council President Chris Nicoll took to social media to criticize PAS.”

“Big Thompson Elementary School students are on a mission — save the heirloom apple trees, remnants of an orchard from the past, from grape vines that are choking out the 80- to 100-year-old trees,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald.

“You’ll pay more for water in Eagle, and the more you use, the more you’ll pay,” reports Vail Daily. “The town board at its Tuesday, March 27, meeting moved toward part of a water rate increase package, necessary to pay for a proposed water treatment plant, now projected to cost $29 million. The bill will be split among all 3,100 housing units in Eagle. That includes units in multi-family projects, which should spread the payments more equitably, said Brandi Reitter, Eagle town manager.”

“A bison calf known as IVF 1 represents a research milestone for Northern Colorado’s genetically pure bison herd,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The Laramie Foothills Bison Conservation Herd now has 44 members after the mid-March addition of four calves and their mothers, according to a Colorado State University press release. The herd has more-than-quadrupled in size since the initial bison release at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area and Red Mountain Open Space in November 2015. The animals are related to the Yellowstone National Park bison herd, preserving rare American bison genetics.”

“The inmate who reportedly escaped from Skyline Correctional Center was found Tuesday afternoon in Cañon City, according to the Colorado Department of Corrections,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Robert Roberts, 22, was apprehended by the department’s escape team and local law enforcement at about 12:19 p.m. at the Parkdale Quarry, which is just outside of Cañon City. Roberts, sentenced to 18 months in prison for forgery, was unaccounted for Sunday at the correctional center’s noon count. After his alleged escape, he was believed to be on foot near the river between Mackenzie Avenue and Pathfinder Park. He was scheduled to be released from prison July 23.”

“Unexpectedly low tax revenues have prompted a projected $4 million shortfall in Boulder’s 2018 budget, and the city is facing cutbacks as a result, City Manager Jane Brautigam has informed her staff,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In an email sent Friday, Brautigam wrote, “I want to update you about a challenge we face to an important source of city funding and what we are doing to address it.” She informed city staff, “Over the past year, we have seen a trend of flattening revenues from retail sales tax. These revenues represent a significant source of funds for the city’s General Fund, which supports many of the core services we provide to the community and the organization. ‘This flattening of overall sales and use taxes indicates a projected 2018 General Fund shortfall of $4 million in ongoing revenues versus ongoing expenses, which means that if we do not act now to reduce expenses, there will be a budget deficit.'”

“An enormous project revitalizing West Colorado Avenue from Colorado Springs into Manitou Springs will cost far more than predicted,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The revamp of the stretch from 31st Street to U.S. 24, to be finished in December, will cost nearly $4 million more than the $30 million estimate given when crews broke ground in late 2016. But El Paso County officials said the increase in design and construction costs was anticipated from the start of the Westside Avenue Action Plan project. About $24 million is covered by sales tax collected by the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority.”

“Closing Durango High School’s campus, a debate that springs up about once a decade, has been rekindled – returning this year after a rash of shootings at schools across the country, including in Aztec,” reports The Durango Herald. “A group of parents have formed Parents for Safer Schools to examine increased security and safety precautions in Durango’s schools. The group also contemplates starting a GoFundMe account to raise money to help pay for enhanced security measures and security officers at Durango’s schools. “A closed campus keeps strangers out of the building. It increases attendance at school,” said Laura Bohachevsky, a group member. ‘It’s unfortunate we have to discuss this. It’s so hard. “All the parents are concerned, as they should be because I don’t think it’s going to get better.'”

“A federal district judge has blocked the state of Colorado from enforcing a key piece of Amendment 71, a voter-approved ballot measure that makes it significantly harder to change the state constitution,” reports The Denver Post. “In his court order, issued Tuesday morning, Judge William J. Martinez struck down the new petition requirements of Amendment 71 — also known as “Raise the Bar” — as unconstitutional, saying they violate the principle of “one person, one vote.” The order could have major implications for the 2018 ballot, with advocacy groups pushing constitutional amendments on education funding, redistricting and taxes. The Colorado secretary of state’s office plans to appeal the ruling and to request that the order be stayed while the case is heard — a move that could keep the tougher requirements in play for the November election.”

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