The Home Front: The Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs is ‘cracking down on hazing’

“The Air Force Academy is cracking down on hazing across the campus in the wake of incidents involving the school’s swimming and lacrosse teams,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Academy boss Lt. Gen. Jay Silveria on Wednesday told the school’s civilian oversight board that investigations into the incidents are wrapping up, and for the first time he confirmed they involved hazing. For lacrosse, the hazing led the academy to discipline coaches; as many as 10 players could face sanctions.”

“A state judge has rejected Thornton’s rules requiring 750-foot buffers and pipeline safety to protect residents from intensifying oil and gas activity inside its boundaries — declaring these rules illegal because they conflict with more permissive state law,” reports The Denver Post. “And industry leaders on Wednesday issued a warning: Colorado cities that do what Thornton did will face a similar fate. The Colorado Oil and Gas Association and the American Petroleum Institute had filed a lawsuit attacking the rules that Thornton made in August. But cities, including Broomfield, are pressing ahead carefully, prepared to face legal consequences. Colorado District Court Judge Edward Moss, a former mayor of Westminster, relied on a 2016 state Supreme Court ruling that he interpreted as meaning municipalities ‘cannot authorize what state law forbids or forbid what state law allows.’ He ruled that the state’s Oil and Gas Conservation Commission rules for the industry trump 15 different rules Thornton made, including the buffer requirements. However, Moss declined to reject other rules requiring companies to consolidate wells and minimize ‘site disturbances.'”

“A lawyer with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office says the state, and for that matter most Colorado River Basin states and the federal government, are “not OK” with an Arizona water district’s reported strategy of avoiding conserving water so it can generate larger-than-normal releases of water from Lake Powell,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Karen Kwon, who works on water issues for the office, was sharply critical of the Central Arizona Water Conservation District as she spoke in Grand Junction Wednesday at a joint meeting of four roundtable groups representing various basins of the Colorado River watershed in western Colorado. The meeting focused on efforts to continue studying, and working to minimize, the risk of Lake Powell levels falling too low amid drought conditions that have been prevalent not just this year but for much of the current century. Low Powell levels could jeopardize hydropower generation and the ability of Colorado and other states in the Upper Colorado River Basin to meet legal obligations to deliver water downstream.”

“The High Plains Library District in late February named Matthew Hortt as the district’s new executive director, but Hortt just began working for the district this month,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Hortt comes to Weld County after being the city librarian for Santa Clarita Public Libraries in California, and he has 16 years of experience in public libraries at all levels. Hortt agreed to an interview with The Tribune to provide a little more information about his background and what he sees as the future for the High Plains Library District.”

“Does a controversial plan to funnel Poudre River water to Thornton consist of one pipeline or three? The answer, as with many water-related questions, is complicated,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Project opponent No Pipe Dream announced in a press release last week that the Thornton Water Project “is much larger than the single pipeline described in Thornton’s application” and actually includes three pipelines, citing late ’90s city documents obtained through a Colorado Open Records Act request. Although it’s true that long-term plans could include more pipelines, the city is currently proposing just one, Thornton Water Project director Mark Koleber said. This much is clear: Thornton is moving through the permitting process for a single pipeline, not three, to convey water from reservoirs north of Fort Collins to the growing Denver metro city. The 70-mile pipeline, if approved, will eventually funnel an average of 14,000 acre-feet of Poudre River water annually along Douglas Road, then south to Thornton.”

“Tests have revealed elevated lead levels at 33 faucets or fountains across 10 schools within the Thompson School District, leading to new fixtures to eliminate the issue,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “It is not in the water source,” said Kristen Battige, interim director of operations for the district. “We haven’t had any widespread issues. It’s localized. It’s likely a fixture issue.” The school district has partnered with Colorado State University and the city of Loveland to test water at several locations in schools throughout the district as a proactive safety measure. A $70,000 grant from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment is paying for the first round of testing, which covers 22 schools within the Thompson district. ‘We focused on the oldest schools with the youngest kids,’ said Battige.”

“The Firestone Board of Trustees unanimously voted on Wednesday to restore a memorial honoring a 3-year-old boy who died in a tragic blind cord mishap in 2010, ending a controversy that erupted shortly after the town removed the memorial in March while the boy’s parents were out of town,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “My family is extremely happy that this newly configured Board of Trustees has listened to the people in the community and our family’s wishes,” Andrea Sutton said following the vote. Sutton, who has since moved to Berthoud, said that she was happy the board has “finally given the town staff direction to put the original memorial for our son Daniel back where it was, as it was.”

“Up to a dozen local teachers will be in Denver on Friday, April 27, to tell state lawmakers that, among other things, schools need more money,” reports Vail Daily. “Eagle County Schools are on spring break, so classes won’t be canceled due to teachers being in Denver to demonstrate at the Colorado Capitol.”

“The city of Durango’s rules on signs — commercial, political, religious or otherwise — will be updated this summer to be content neutral,” reports The Durango Herald. “The change will bring the city into compliance with a Supreme Court ruling that found regulating signs based on content violates freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment. For example, Durango will no longer have rules specific to political, real estate or construction signs. Instead, the city will likely have regulations that apply to yard signs and signs in vacant lots, said city consultant Martin Landers, owner of Plan Tools. Residents gathered at the Durango Public Library on Wednesday for an open house to learn about the possible changes to the code, which could include a variety of updates, in addition to revisions to eliminate rules on content.”

“Discussions among the Cañon City Council and local volunteer residents representing Cañon City’s Energy Future continue as the city moves forward in drafting a franchise renewal agreement with Black Hills Energy,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record.

“Faculty members in the University of Colorado’s College of Arts and Sciences were surprised to learn that interim Dean Jim White had been reappointed to serve another year, according to the chair of their governing body,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “They wish they’d had a larger voice in the decision-making process, said Arts and Sciences Council Chair Stephen Mojzsis, who is also a geological sciences professor.”

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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