The Home Front: To ‘avoid conflict,’ police in Boulder, Colorado let protestors carrying ‘AR-15-style rifles’ break city guns laws

“It’s illegal in Boulder to openly carry a firearm unless it’s held in a ‘carrying case’ — a holster for a handgun, for example, or something larger and easily recognizable in the case of a larger weapon,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “And, yet, on Saturday afternoon in downtown Boulder, some among the group that lined Broadway to rally in opposition to the City Council’s proposed ban on assault weapons stood with AR-15-style rifles slung over their shoulders. This was an open violation of city law, and one that the Boulder Police Department allowed to take place. On Monday, Boulder police and city communications staff declined to be interviewed about that decision, but they did issue a statement from City Attorney Tom Carr, who said the police did not intervene as open-carry laws were being broken because doing so might have escalated the situation. ‘To avoid conflict during protests, the police sometimes make a tactical decision not to enforce a particular law, if enforcement would create more conflict. Their primary job is to protect public safety,’ Carr said in that statement.”

“A second investigation of sexual harassment complaints against Sen. Randy Baumgardner found that he’s known as a ‘boob grabber,’ adding to allegations that the Western Slope Republican grabbed the buttocks of a female staffer in the Colorado Legislature,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “According to a Monday news report by legislative reporter Bente Birkeland, who covers the Statehouse for several public radio stations, including those in Paonia and Carbondale, two additional complaints lodged against Baumgarnder also were deemed credible.”

“Close to 90 Cañon City School District educators are set to join a growing movement of teacher protests Friday at the state Capitol, where they will seek improvements in funding for education,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “In preparation for the teacher absences expected as a result of the protest, the district announced Monday that classes with be canceled at all schools Friday. “Our goal is always to let the community know as soon as possible should a cancelation be necessary,” the Cañon City School District said in an announcement posted on Facebook. “We apologize for any disruptions to personal schedules this may cause our parents. As a district, we value our staff and respect the constitutional right of our employees to assemble and to petition our government.” Superintendent George Welsh said he was approached by representatives from the Cañon City Education Association last week about the potentially high number of educators who showed interest in attending the event. After going through district policies, he said, the district decided to treat the day as an emergency cancelation for dangerous weather.”

“Retail sales in Glenwood Springs dropped off some in February, but what that means in the grand scheme of Glenwood’s economic picture as the first quarter closes out remains to be seen,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “According to the city’s monthly sales tax report, sales took about a 2 percent dive in February compared to the same month last year, well before the impacts of the Grand Avenue Bridge closure took hold. After a decent start to the new year in January, sales for the year are running just about even for the year to date, and with March/first quarter numbers still coming in.”

“Greeley-based novelist John A. Daly has created a popular protagonist and the third book in his Sean Coleman Thriller series, ‘Broken Slate,’ is one of three finalists in the 2018 Colorado Book Awards’ thriller category,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Daly’s own story is a bit of a page-turner, too, but he is not a “phenomenon.” Truth is, few novelists are. He’s not getting rich, but he is enjoying the process and building a loyal following as he takes advantage of the revolution — and evolution — in publishing. In the changing marketplace, there usually are better novels out there, somewhere, than many of those cranked out by the usual suspects and displayed at airport shops. His fans would argue Daly has written three of them.”

“Lane Iacovetto has one less obstacle to overcome in her bid to be Routt County’s next treasurer after the county’s Democratic party did not field a candidate to run against her in the general election,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Catherine Carson, chairwoman of Routt County’s Democratic Party, said Monday Iacovetto’s resume and experience as the county’s deputy clerk and recorder was a factor in dissuading some potential Democrats from running.”

“A crane tipped over at a Colorado State University construction site Monday,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “No one was hurt in the incident at the C. Wayne McIllwraith Translational Medicine Institute research facility, said Kris Browning-Blas, a spokeswoman for the university. The site is closed and under investigation, she said. Dustin Liljehorn, vice president of operations at construction company JE Dunn, said the incident happened around 8 a.m. Monday. The cause of the incident is unknown, he added.”

“There are 19 homeless families and 158 homeless individuals currently living in Loveland, according to recent figures obtained by the Loveland Community Partnership Office,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The Loveland City Council and the Loveland Housing Authority will hold a joint meeting Tuesday evening to discuss ways to help Loveland’s homeless achieve stable housing via a regional program. The council study session will include no voting or opportunity for public comment. Loveland’s Community Partnership Office is part of a regional team of housing-related service providers, government organizations and community members implementing the Coordinated Entry system, which helps homeless families and individuals in Larimer and Weld counties move into permanent housing.”

“A woman driving to The Peaks Care Center in Longmont to visit someone Monday at about 3:30 p.m. drove into and through the front of the building while attempting to park her car, according to a news release from the center,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The visitor accidentally hit the throttle instead of the brake, the release says, sending her car through the exterior wall and windows of the center before it stopped in a living room area. The Peaks Care Center is a continuing care retirement community that provides assisted and independent living accommodations for seniors, nursing care and rehab-to-home services. While Longmont police Cmdr. Joel Post said that three residents were injured, the center’s statement says that four were impacted by the crash.”

“It’s an issue that’s been studied to death, but the problem seems very clear: Health insurance premiums on the individual marketplace on Colorado’s Western Slope are insanely high and part of a trifecta of economic forces crippling small businesses and entrepreneurs,” reports Vail Daily. “Coupled with the high cost of living and tight housing market, health insurance rates for everyone who doesn’t get their insurance through their employers — more than 50 percent of people statewide — are prohibitively high. “What people are coming to realize on both sides of the aisle down here (at the State Legislature) is that this health insurance cost is never going to go away, so it’s about time we start looking at the fundamental problems and not be so partisan about it,” said Democrat Dylan Roberts, who represents Eagle and Routt counties.”

“The Utah Bureau of Land Management has sold oil and gas leases near Hovenweep National Monument, despite requests by monument officials to defer them to protect archaeological and natural resources,” reports The Durango Herald. “In March, 43 parcels totaling 51,400 acres in southeastern Utah were sold for oil and gas development for $1.5 million. The National Park Service requested that 13 of the parcels located within 15 miles of Hovenweep National Monument units be deferred, according to an Oct. 23 comment letter on the BLM lease sale plan. The request was denied. Industrial development threatens to impact qualities enjoyed by visitors, such as scenic views, air quality, soundscapes and night skies, according to comments submitted by Kate Cannon, superintendent of the Southeast Utah Group, which includes Hovenweep. Visitation to Hovenweep ruin sites increased by 60 percent between 2014 and 2016, according to National Park Service data. Visitation to nearby Natural Bridges National Monument increased by 10 percent.”

“About 500 District 11 teachers from Colorado Springs will join other educators to swarm the state Capitol on Friday to demand more money for education,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Leslie Miller spends about $500 every school year on snacks, project materials and other supplies for her English as a Second Language students at Monroe Elementary School. She’d like to cut that expense from her household budget but said that won’t happen unless lawmakers pony up more money for education. “Our schools are underfunded, understaffed, unprotected, and now our legislators are messing with PERA (the Public Employees’ Retirement Association),” Miller said.”

“Former Colorado Speaker of the House Terrance Carroll occasionally suits up for the Colorado Rangers as a reserve law enforcement officer to help smaller communities, a throw-back to his early days as a campus officer at the University of Colorado Boulder,” reports The Denver Post. “‘It really is a good way to give back to the community in a proactive way’ said Carroll, the newly minted chief of legal and external affairs for Denver Public Schools. Reserve officers such as Carroll receive different levels of training in Colorado. Some, including Rangers, are certified through the state’s law-enforcement process — there are about 400 of them. Many have firearms training, but others have no training at all. Sheriffs can appoint just about anyone they want as members of their county posses. Most don’t carry guns, but some may, provided they have a permit. State certification is not required. Their duties and the level of supervision they have are decided by the sheriffs and police chiefs that use them.”

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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