The Home Front: Durango ‘may test for radon at a proposed homeless camp.’ But…

“The city of Durango may test for radon at a proposed homeless camp, but residents and the state health department say the test will not answer all the questions about radioactive materials on the former uranium mill site,” reports The Durango Herald. “Durango City Council voted in April to establish a camp for homeless residents west of the Durango Dog Park. However, it is “yet to be determined” whether homeless campers will move to the former uranium mill site parallel to Lightner Creek from a site near Greenmount Cemetery, Assistant City Manager Kevin Hall said in an email to The Durango Herald. It is also unknown how much a radon test might cost, he said. Campers cannot stay at the Greenmount Cemetery site long term because it was acquired as open space to preserve the viewshed, Councilor Dick White said. The council anticipated having more time to weigh options for a homeless camp while campers were staying at Escalante Middle School during the 416 Fire evacuations. But they had to make an immediate decision about where campers could stay when the evacuations ended, White said.”

“Colorado, which is on the fringe of the habitat for greater sage-grouse, also is far from ground zero when it comes to the battle over proposed changes to 3-year-old plans for protecting the bird’s habitat around the West,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Conservation groups, however, warn that the state could share in the fallout if revisions in other states reduce protections and revive the prospect for the bird being listed for protection under the Endangered Species Act. The Bureau of Land Management in May released draft resource management plan amendments and environmental impact statements governing greater sage-grouse management in Colorado and several other states. The proposed Colorado revised plan — which has drawn praise from Gov. John Hickenlooper, who says it will better protect the species — also is eliciting some support from those who want those protections to allow activities such as oil and gas leasing and development to still continue.”

“Lafayette has inked a deal worth nearly $2 million in incentives to bring a Kohl’s to the city’s new Promenade development, an agreement some say may herald the end of the department store’s neighboring Louisville location and accelerate a feared “economic crisis” along the McCaslin corridor,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Lafayette spokeswoman Debbie Wilmot said the specific Kohl’s site plans may arrive in front of planning commissioners later this month. If approved, the site will join the recently installed Tractor Supply and upcoming 24-Hour Fitness near the Arapahoe Road and U.S. 287 intersection — the subject of continued litigation between Lafayette and neighboring Erie.”

“As the final seconds of stoppage time rolled off the clock in Russia and officials declared the World Cup quarterfinal game over Friday afternoon, Belgium’s celebration of the 2-1 victory over Brazil began,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “In The Tavern at St. Michael’s Square in west Greeley, Debra Reichert, 60, nodded toward the screen. “Look at those people,” she said of the Brazilian fans in yellow. “They’re crying in the stands.” She wasn’t going that far, but squeezed into one side of a booth with her partner, Paul Speck, 64, to face the screen at the side of the room, Reichert had been noticeably rooting for Brazil.”

“It was a Monday night — April 30, 2012, to be exact — when a small group of federal and state health officials appeared at a City Council work session to talk about testing soil in the Eilers Heights neighborhood,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “In fact, they said the South Side neighborhood needed to be on the federal Superfund list of areas that have risky levels of industrial contamination. Council was stunned. Hearing Pueblo linked with the word Superfund was like your doctor calling and saying he needs to talk to you about your latest x-rays. It couldn’t be good news.”

“As businesses began ushering customers back into the heart of downtown Basalt on Sunday, local and national fire crews continued battling the Lake Christine Fire not far above the small town’s main drag,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “Just up the road from popular eateries and well-known watering holes, a Snowmass Village police officer blocked and made sure those entering Sopris Drive had the proper credentials — no residents and absolutely zero sightseers got waved through the barricades. Farther up was another checkpoint, manned by a Pitkin County sheriff’s deputy, who doubled down on making sure only authorized personnel entered the volatile area.”

“The chairlift on Steamboat’s historic ski area, Howelsen Hill, is soon expected to get a lift. Contractors from Utah are expected to complete repairs on the Barrows Chairlift later this month,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “City council approved the construction up to $35,000. The repair will keep the lift operational for this winter’s Ski Free Sundays and the free learn to ski program for second graders in the Steamboat Springs School District. In a June meeting, council approved continuing both programs this winter.”

“Peter Yu, a Loveland native hoping to take over Jared Polis’s seat in the U.S. House of Representatives, says his campaign against Democrat Joe Neguse will be all about facing the facts,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Yu visited Loveland last week and spoke to a small group about his philosophies on topics such as the national debt and child separations at the border. “We’re having a situation where the fabric of our society is being challenged in regard to what direction we want to head,” Yu said. “The part that terrifies me now is we’re having a little bit of a shift of our culture.” Yu, a 45-year-old Republican, said he is seeking to challenge voters in what he knows is a dependably Democratic district. Polis beat out competitors for the seat every two years beginning in 2008, and the last Republican to do so was Don Brotzman, who left office in 1975.”

“The Quarry Fire that erupted Saturday night near Fremont Peak is 90 percent contained, according to fire officials,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “In an update late Sunday afternoon, officials said 67 fire personnel are working the fire with one KMAX helicopter assigned to the incident. The fire, which officials said was started by a lightning strike, is estimated to be at 8.5 acres. Firefighters battled two fires in Fremont County on Saturday evening. The Twin Fire off of CR 3A near the former Buckskin Joes and the Royal Gorge Park was less than one acre and was fully contained Saturday night.”

“As anyone who has watched as more and more cars stack up during the morning commute can attest, the population here keeps booming,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “But if that’s the case, why is the city’s water use continuously going down? Seriously. In 2000, the city of Fort Collins treated 31,594 acre-feet of water. In 2017, the city treated three-fourths of that, or 23,512 acre-feet — despite an additional 15,400 people tapping into the city’s water. (Fort Collins Water serves the majority of businesses and residences in the city limits, but not all.)”

“A feud that came to a head with an unsatisfactory review of the Monument police chief’s performance has since led to the firing of the town manager, two municipal employees wondering if they still have jobs and a deadlocked Board of Trustees,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Town government in Monument has been in turmoil since ex-Town Manager Chris Lowe cited issues with Police Chief Jacob Shirk’s performance, including IT security lapses noted in an audit of the department by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation. In addition, Lowe faulted the chief for mishandling evidence, sex offenders not being registered correctly and what he claimed was insubordination by Shirk.”

“Residents near Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport say they’re fine with noise from slurry bombers that land and take off from the airport to assist in fighting wildfires across Colorado,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “However, some in Broomfield and Superior are increasingly upset about noise from regular airport operations, including the Rocky Mountain Flight School. Superior resident Diane Marsella said that she understands fires are ongoing and planes delivering slurry are necessary, as are the crafts that take off at 3:30 a.m. from the airport for a medical flight to deliver harvested organs.”

“The University of Northern Colorado will soon be led by a 50-year-old expert in hotel management who aims to extend a welcoming hand to anyone who wants to help raise the profile and steady Colorado’s fiscally challenged underdog university,” reports The Denver Post. “I am going to be fully engaged with the community and the university community,” Andy Feinstein said. “I am going to do my absolute best to move this university forward and build on its successes in the past. I think we’ve got a good story to tell here, and I look forward to getting that story out.” Feinstein begins his new job of president at the 13,000-student UNC on July 9, replacing the retiring Kay Norton.”

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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