The Home Front: ‘Rabid skunk’ isn’t the name of a pot product or punk band, it’s an actual CO public health problem

“An ‘unprecedented’ spike in rabid skunks is gripping El Paso County and the state – even in traditionally uncommon areas like Colorado Springs’ Old North End, Palmer Park and Widefield,” reports The Gazette. “So far this year, 23 skunks have tested positive for rabies across the county – more than any other year on record, said Robyn Weber, an El Paso County Public Health epidemiologist. It mirrors a similar trend along Colorado’s Front Range, which has nearly matched the 93 skunks confirmed rabid in all of 2017, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data show. Myriad factors – a warmer-than-average winter, rising skunk populations and the fatal virus’ continued spread across Colorado – appear to be playing a role, state and county health officials say.”

“The day of their meeting with oil and gas representatives pitching a cryogenic gas processing plant in their neighborhood, some of the homeowners along a quiet stretch of Weld County Road 63 in the southern part of the county decided they needed to see a plant like that in action,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The group traveled 25 miles northwest, near Fort Lupton, to see a similar plant. What they saw — and heard — was in sharp contrast to the lives they’ve built a few miles south of Keenesburg in the past few decades. In an interview Monday evening at their home, Robb and Sara Phelps, as well as neighbors John Carlson and Robert Haines — all of whom have been in the area for about a decade — likened the sound to a jet engine.”

“The British data firm that helped Republicans win key U.S. seats in the 2014 election created personality and psychological profiles for at least 136,000 Colorado voters — data derived in part from Facebook, according to a new report,” reports The Denver Post. “Cambridge Analytica said it deleted the personal information harvested from Facebook and any derivative data sets after reports exposed the firm’s work to influence elections in the United States, including its work on behalf of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. But Channel 4 News in Great Britain reported Wednesday that it obtained a cache of the Colorado data from a Cambridge Analytica source, confirming it still exists and raising questions about who possesses the information.”

“The Colorado House began the hard work of reviewing next year’s proposed $28.9 billion budget package Wednesday, but the highlight is a proposal to spread some of the surplus revenues to local governments to fund transportation projects,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “While it’s not exactly known for sure how much money Mesa County, Grand Junction and other local governments would receive — or even if they will — it could be in the millions.”

“The birds are back in town. Ospreys have returned to both of the camera-equipped nest sites in Boulder County, and wildlife officials expect that they will be laying eggs in a few weeks,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “At the city of Boulder’s nest near Valmont Reservoir, the resident male arrived on March 25. “As soon as he got back, he started setting up the nest, getting new sticks and greenery to make it nice and soft,” said Boulder wildlife resource coordinator Ryan Prioreschi, who added that the resident female then arrived on Wednesday.”

“Now that the decision to move to a four-day week has been made by the Pueblo City Schools (D60) board of education, there are plenty of specifics that have to be worked out before the 2018-19 school year starts in August,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “During Tuesday’s regular board meeting, which only The Pueblo Chieftain covered, a resolution doing away with the traditional five-day week in favor of the shortened one was passed by a 4-1 vote, with Board President Barb Clementi dissenting. While the vote was relatively swift, the discussion that preceded it was much more lengthy — centered around an in-depth report presented by Eric DeCesaro, D60’s executive director of human resources, on behalf of the four-day week task force.”

“North Park, just across the Continental Divide from Steamboat Springs, is ranch country like the Yampa Valley but without the luxury homes,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The region, sandwiched between the Park Range and Mount Zirkel Wilderness, has a stark, windblown, beauty of its own. The park is home to Jackson County, population 1,356. Montana novelist Thomas McGuane might call it, “The High Lonesome.” North Park is where local Realtors Pam Vanatta and Ren Martyn of Steamboat Sotheby’s International Realty served as the listing brokers in the $18.5 million sale this month of sprawling Grizzly Ranch — a working cattle spread that has six residences (none of them grand homes) on 8,686 deeded acres plus 15,000 leased acres.”

“On the outskirts of Fort Collins — behind the doors of an unsuspecting events center — ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’ filled an airy, fluorescently-lit roller rink Thursday night,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Clusters of roller-skate-clad women circled the rink as the music built and the songs changed. Soon, they’d be clawing at each other, falling hard and racing the rink for another heart-pumping FoCo Roller Derby scrimmage. With a current of uncertainty running through the league’s ranks, teams have to practice while they still can.”

“A record-breaking number of female participants experienced free private flights at the Northern Colorado Regional Airport this month during a six-day event designed to expose women and girls to careers in aviation,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “From March 5 to 11, the “Fly it Forward” campaign gave 1,696 women and girls the chance to fly for 10-15 minutes with a volunteer pilot in an airplane or a helicopter at NoCo Regional Airport. The FlyWOAW event occurred during Women in Aviation Worldwide Week, which has been designated since 2010 as the week of March 8. It is the anniversary of the first recorded issuance of a pilot’s license to a woman, Raymonde de Laroche of France, in 1910, according to the Institute for Women of Aviation Worldwide, the organization behind the event.”

“No sexual allegations were made by the 31-year-old local woman who was found in a dumpster with her hands zip-tied at 5:37 a.m. on Tuesday, March 27, police said Wednesday, March 28,” reports Vail Daily. “As the investigation continues into the puzzling case, Detective Sgt. Luke Causey said Vail Police are currently pursuing a lead. Video will be examined from all buses that drove past the dumpster on Tuesday evening, Causey said, adding that the bus driver did not notice anything suspicious as the Sandstone bus passed the dumpster at approximately 2:08 a.m. Tuesday.”

“Fremont County Clerk and Recorder Katie Barr made her second court appearance with a newly-hired attorney Wednesday, more than one week after she was arrested on charges of embezzlement of public property, harassment, intimidation of a witness and fraud by check,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Barr, 37, appeared out of custody with Colorado Springs attorney David Foley for the hearing, which wrapped up in minutes. There, District Judge Ramsey Lama granted more time to the district attorney’s office to file formal charges in the case. Barr, who is out of the Fremont County Jail on a $50,000 personal recognizance bond, reportedly has not returned to work since her March 20 arrest, which happened after a six-month investigation into financial discrepancies found in her office.”

“Asked for his take on the fact that Boulder’s retail sales tax revenues have declined to the point of creating a projected $4 million budget shortfall, Steve Fisher, the city’s former chief budget officer, said, ‘It’s big. It’s huge,'” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Not big and huge in numbers, necessarily — $4 million is only about 3 percent of city General Fund expenses in the 2018 budget — but significant in the sense that this downslide may signify a new normal in which Boulder retail sales tax revenue remains stagnant for some extended period. ‘Back in the ’80s, when I was working at the Municipal Building, Boulder was the only show in town for retail and for entertainment,’ said Fisher, the city budget director from 1983 to 1991. ‘But that trend has changed. Louisville, Lafayette, Broomfield and Longmont grew, and Boulder was no longer the only one.’ The current shortfall, he added, appears to be ‘another step in a long process that’s not going to change.’ City officials offer a sunnier outlook.”


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