The Home Front: Durango won’t ‘assess potential hazards’ of a planned homeless camp on a former uranium mill site

“A planned homeless camp expected to open near the Durango Dog Park may pose health risks to residents, but the city does not plan to assess potential hazards before allowing people to sleep on the former uranium mill site,” reports The Durango Herald. “The state health department recently sent a letter to the city to recommend officials complete a health-risk assessment because radioactive materials were left on the site and the risk to those staying overnight on the land is unknown. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment restricts the use of the property through an environmental covenant because hazardous materials remain on the site. City officials do not believe setting up the camp violates the covenant, and the city is not seeking approval from the state to set up the camp, the letter states. ‘The city undertakes this effort at its own risk,’ the health department’s letter states.”

“A proposed smoking ban in Greeley’s public parks, trails and open spaces lost some steam Tuesday as members of the city council tabled first reading of the ordinance, sending it back to city staff for more research,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The ban, originally presented to the council by the city’s Youth Commission in a work session April 10, would stretch from sidewalks to playgrounds, encompassing all parks, trails and open spaces except for a few designated smoking areas at Island Grove Regional Park. It originally was on Tuesday’s agenda for first reading.”

“He was supposed to be there for everything,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “He was supposed to teach his son to drive, teach him what he needed to know about girls. He was supposed to walk down the aisle with the daughter he and his wife adopted from China. Together, the couple joked often about how cute their grandchildren would be, dreamed about the life they’d have when they were old.”

“With the board of education of Pueblo City Schools (D60) mandated by the state to adopt its 2018-19 budget by the end of the month, work continues on what is in essence a ‘fluid’ document,'” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Tuesday, during a three-hour retreat, the board members, Superintendent Charlotte Macaluso and Chief Financial Officer David Horner took a more in-depth look at line items within the proposed budget. While the district is anticipating that student enrollment will continue to drop next year, the financial impact from fewer children in seats will, fortunately, be mitigated.”

“The empty building once known as Longmont’s Old City Jail, located north of Ninth Avenue and Main Street, was condemned by the city Tuesday and is slated to be demolished later this week,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Public pressure mounted Tuesday for the city to do something about the building at 915 Main St. a day after Longmont Matters Radio posted a Facebook Live video about transient drug users squatting at the dilapidated structure. The building — built in 1969 with then-old materials on the site of North Longmont’s combination town hall and jail — is currently littered with trash, stained mattresses and used drug paraphernalia.”

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife has issued a citation to the owner of the off-leash dog that attacked an elk calf Thursday near the Blackmere Drive trailhead,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The citation was for harassment of wildlife, and it carries a $200 fine plus surcharges. The name of the dog owner was not released Tuesday. “The individual in this case was extremely cooperative,” Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen said.”

“As the weather warms up, you’re likely to spot more makeshift campsites on Fort Collins Natural Areas, especially near the river,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Leave them be and report them to the city for cleanup, Fort Collins officials urge. The city has spent more than $20,000 cleaning up roughly 260 camps on natural areas in the last year, the Coloradoan found. The camps, left behind by homeless or transient dwellers, often contain potentially dangerous items, like needles, glass, alcohol, drugs and human waste.”

“The meeting lasted 5 minutes. On Thursday, May 31, the Avon Town Council voted in favor of terminating Town Manager Virginia Egger,” reports Vail Daily. “Egger was an at-will employee, and council members do not have a legal obligation to explain their reasoning in letting her go. Mayor Pro Tem Sarah Smith Hymes made the motion to terminate ‘without cause.’ Prior to that motion being made, the council had met in closed session to discuss Egger’s annual performance review.”

“The company many people know for its hardy cellphones will work with the city of Loveland to design and engineer a detailed plan for its future municipal broadband network,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “We felt that their engineering experience and background was a very good fit,” said Brieana Reed-Harmel, broadband project manager for the city. The 12 respondents to the city’s request for proposals for the project were assigned scores based on eight initial qualifications, including their safety records, experience and cost as illustrated in their proposals. The vendors were narrowed to four finalists, who were interviewed in person. Reed-Harmel said city staff were comfortable with the fiber optic construction team, Bear Communications, and have a ‘very strong’ level of confidence in the team.”

“The push to widen Interstate 25 from Monument to Castle Rock just got a $65 million federal boost, a key chunk of funding for the project,” reports The Gazette. “The grant comes from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program, state transportation officials said Tuesday. The Colorado Department of Transportation wants to add two toll lanes to “the Gap,” a two-lane stretch of about 18 miles, widening it to three lanes in each direction. CDOT also is getting $25 million from the feds to add an additional 12-mile shoulder lane on Interstate 70 in Clear Creek County. ‘The Gap’ plan from Monument to Castle has outraged some residents, who say toll lanes will only help those who pay the toll, and they’ll amount to double taxation because local taxpayers already are contributing to the project.”

“School nurses in Colorado now can administer nonsmokable medical marijuana to students whose parents have given permission,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Colorado law already permitted parents to give their children medical marijuana at school, typically for treating seizures. A new law signed this week by Gov. John Hickenlooper allows parents to bring the medicine to a school nurse’s office for a child who has a medical marijuana card. The law requires that the medicine be kept in a locked storage container and that the school principal and a parent have a written agreement. It also says the parent must bring a doctor’s note that instructs the school nurse about dosage and timing.”

“Colorado U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman said he and about two dozen like-minded Republican lawmakers have built enough support to force a vote in the U.S. House on a raft of immigration measures — including proposals that would protect from deportation young immigrants who were brought illegally to the U.S. as children,” reports The Denver Post. “Whether Coffman and his colleagues actually move forward with that plan is another question. A divided House Republican caucus is scheduled to meet Thursday in a last-ditch effort to hash out an intra-party compromise on immigration before Coffman and his colleagues try their end-around of House Speaker Paul Ryan and other GOP leaders.”

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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