The Home Front: ‘Major victory’ for grass-roots effort ‘to see Colorado schools funded more equitably’

“For those behind the statewide, grass-roots effort to see Colorado schools funded more equitably and at a higher level, Wednesday marked a major victory,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Proponents of the Great Schools, Thriving Communities ballot measure (Initiative 93) — which would increase educational funding through tax increments on income earned above $150,000 and on corporations — announced in Denver’s Alamo Placita Park that the signatures needed to place the measure on the November ballot have been collected, prepared and delivered to Secretary of State Wayne W. Williams for certification.”

“Brian Sullivan looked around his home one day and counted 15 devices that were connected to the internet,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “TVs, gaming sets, cellphones, washers, driers, air conditioners and garage door openers were among his devices. It’s a number he expects to keep growing. ‘And so, they’re all using bandwidth,’ Sullivan, the city’s manager of Geographic Information Systems said. By 2021, according to an analysis by NEO Connect, a Glenwood Springs-based broadband consulting firm, more than 30 billion devices — from laptops to cellphones and clothing to cars — will be connected to the internet. That’s 13 devices per person.”

“Longmont’s City Council has directed the city staff to provide a report on a possible food-tax rebate program that might offset the municipal sales tax amounts that elderly, disabled and low-income residents now pay when they buy food,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Councilman Aren Rodriguez on Tuesday night moved to have the staff generate the report and received unanimous support from the council members at the meeting. Longmont’s council has not formally discussed — at one of its weekly meetings, at least — UnTax Food, a proposed ballot initiative that would ask voters in November to end collecting the city’s 3.53 percent sales tax on groceries.”

“One friend of Matthew Shelters describes the past 11 weeks as an emotional roller coaster and the past few days as a very difficult ride,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘Matt was always in a good mood and happy to see any of his friends,” Nicole Shively said. “He would always greet you with a big hug and smile no matter what was going on in his life.” Shively was one of several friends who helped organize and conduct searches after the 38-year-old Steamboat Springs man vanished April 24 after leaving Back Door Grill in downtown Steamboat Springs.”

“For Lynne Klish, having a dog everywhere she goes is a matter of life and death. Karina, her service dog, is trained to guide her safely around town,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The yellow Lab golden retriever mix was highly trained by The Seeing Eye dog program — so much that she will stand in front of Klish and block her from taking another step if there’s something dangerous approaching, like a quiet Prius stealthily gliding through a parking lot.”

“Due to many complaints from small business owners in the past year who say the cost of installing a code-mandated fire suppression system is just too high, the city of Loveland is examining programs to help with the costs,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Complainants have cited the cost of installing sprinklers in nearly century-old downtown buildings as prohibitive to opening a business in Loveland. Including labor costs, a system typically runs between $80,000 and $100,000, city staff said. To make matters worse, a surprise visit from a city building official or fire department member to a private building, including stores, hotels or apartment complexes, could lead the city to demand that the building owner install a system to comply with life safety provisions in the city code.”

“Larimer County could shared governance of a taxpayer-funded behavioral health system with the county’s cities and towns in the hope of drawing votes from rural areas,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The county commission is gearing up to ask voters in November for sales tax money to pay for countywide behavioral health services. Its goal would be to “fill the gaps” in behavioral health services, a catch-all term for mental health and substance abuse disorders. Larimer County Behavioral Health Project Director Laurie Stolen said it wouldn’t be an effort to grow government or the county getting into the business of providing behavioral health services. She described it as the county wanting to convene “a conversation on a community-wide solution.”

“The Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad plans to resume coal-fired steam engine service to Silverton on Thursday, after more than 40 days stuck in the depot,” reports The Durango Herald. “We are preparing to run on that day,” General Manager John Harper said Tuesday. Harper said the train will work with local agencies and fire districts in the next couple of days to make sure they agree it is safe to run coal-fired engines, which are known for sending off cinders and starting small fires. On Wednesday, La Plata County commissioners will discuss whether to downgrade current Stage 3 fire restrictions, which ban the use of coal-fired steam engines. Lowering fire restrictions would effectively allow D&SNG officials to decide whether it’s safe to run coal-fired engines.”

“Laying their heads by the riverside or at some other bucolic bivouac has proven not to be the way most Dead & Company fans roll, so the band’s return to Boulder this weekend likely will impact local merchants more than it does park rangers or the law enforcement community,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “In advance of the first shows at the University of Colorado’s Folsom Field by the remnants of the Grateful Dead in 2016, coming as they did just before the Fourth of July, many officials were concerned about an influx of so-called “travelers,” itinerant tie-dyed campers that might pour into foothill forests to put down a bedroll — stoking concerns about everything from wildfire danger to rampant illegal drug use. But as the band has aged, so have its most fervent fans. With a third round of Dead & Company concerts looming this weekend, they can likely be found more easily at the posh St. Julien Hotel & Spa in downtown Boulder than at Nederland’s West Magnolia campground.”

“Eagle’s second water treatment plant has been talked about, thought about and planned for two decades,” reports Vail Daily. “This week, the town set about starting to build it. A groundbreaking ceremony saw the first shovels of dirt turned Tuesday, July 10. Excavation should continue through the summer, and concrete should follow in the fall. Water is scheduled to begin flowing in the fall of 2020.”

“Cinders spewed out of the vintage coal train’s smoke stack as the locomotive chugged up a drought-stricken mountain canyon between Durango and Silverton in late spring,” reports The Denver Post. “Following behind was a small crew of certified firefighters flying a helicopter, rolling on the tracks in two “speeder” cars and riding in the rear train car beside a 1,000-gallon tank armed with a water canon in case embers ignited spot fires. In May, the layered fire protection system worked to extinguish five spot fires that sparked to life along the rails in heavily forested La Plata County, according people who helped put out the flames. But now locals are wondering if the train that draws tourists from around the world is to blame for a devastating fire that has burned through 54,000 acres north of Durango and continues to flare up.”

“The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office has terminated deputy Christopher Pape,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The sheriff’s office confirmed Wednesday that Pape was fired a few days after his arrest and before Monday when he formally was charged. Pape, 30, who is free on a $1,000 personal recognizance bond, is facing charges of attempting to influence a public servant, theft between $5,000 and $20,000, and tampering with physical evidence, all felonies; and abuse of public records and first-degree official misconduct, both misdemeanors.”


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