The Home Front: Advocates in Lafayette hope fracking laws can save ‘dozens of prairie dogs marked for eradication’

“Last week, as dozens of prairie dogs marked for eradication sat caged for hours in the sweltering afternoon heat, advocates calling on Lafayette leaders to spare the colony were quick to cite protections afforded under the city’s Climate Bill of Rights — the same law invoked by protesters who, only weeks earlier, had hijacked a City Council meeting in an effort to thwart a vote new drilling regulations,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Officials eventually stayed the prairie dogs’ removal — and have since suspended any vote on new oil and gas codes for the time being — but the momentary drama — and lasting uncertainty about the colony’s future — has sparked a conversation about whether the anti-fracking bill’s environmental protections reach beyond the effects of energy extraction to shield the removal of wildlife.”

“While U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke speaks at the Steamboat Grand, opponents to his policies will gather on The Routt County Courthouse lawn in downtown Steamboat Springs for a ‘Stand For Our Land’ rally,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Zinke, the cabinet official who oversees management decisions on most federal public lands, is speaking at The Steamboat Institute’s Freedom Conference on Aug. 10. Cody Perry, one of the rally’s organizers, sees Zinke’s visit is an opportunity to show Zinke the values of the Steamboat Springs community. Perry also explained some of the reasons he decided to work to organize a protest.”

“The U.S. House gave final approval to a $719 billion defense spending bill Thursday, a sign-off that won’t sit well with some northwest Colorado residents,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “A House and Senate conference committee struck out an amendment to the bill to hold harmless the four counties that received royalty money in long-delayed payments from the defunct Anvil Points Naval Oil Shale Testing Facility in Garfield County.”

“Mark Jones might be the first homegrown Greeley police chief in at least 50 years, but there was time when the veteran cop didn’t see the law enforcement profession as a viable career option,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Well, two times. Born in Kansas, Jones moved to Colorado with his family when he was a child and considers Glenwood Springs his hometown. An aspiring police officer since he was a toddler, Jones was a high school senior when he crossed paths with a Denver cop who pushed him away from the profession.”

“UnTax Food organizer Paul Tiger announced Thursday afternoon that he will not be turning in petition signatures he and others collected in their effort to get a Longmont grocery tax repeal question onto the city ballot,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “I possess 2,861 signatures, which is not sufficient to file,” Tiger wrote in an email to the Times-Call. Tiger and other advocates of his proposal to end Longmont’s collection of its 3.53 percent municipal sales tax on groceries needed to get at least 5,657 valid signatures from registered Longmont voters during their 21-day petition drive that began June 30 and ended last Friday. Tiger said in Thursday’s email that there were seven petition circulators who failed to return eight petition booklets.”

“Eugene Polk Sr. has the unique distinction of being one of only two black firefighters to work in Pueblo, and the only one since the 1800s,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “As such, he and the Pueblo Fire Department are working together to recruit and hire black men and women. “The response was very good,” Polk said of his meeting with Pueblo Fire Chief Shawn Shelton and Deputy Chief Rick Potter. “This group really wants to see more black applicants and wants black firefighters. I just asked if there’s anything I can do to help them out. It’s long overdue for a city this big. The fire department has been proactive in taking steps to attract more black applicants, Polk said. They have been working with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and have met with several black ministers in Pueblo.”

“Native cottonwoods, mink, deer, wild turkey and brown trout inhabit a 12-acre natural area along the Big Thompson River in southeast Loveland,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Raptors soar over land that borders Boedecker Lake, acres filled with chokecherry and cottonwood trees as well as wild rose. Mule deer, elk, coyote and a variety of birds thrive on a vast expansive prairie, which is being restored with native plants southwest of Loveland. Residents are being asked to look at the specific features of each of these three natural areas as inspiration for names for the sites, which are owned by the city of Loveland and planned for future public access.”

“From the start, supporters have hoped Beloved Community Village would help people beyond the 13 residents who moved off Denver’s streets and into its 8-foot-by-12-foot tiny homes last July,” reports The Denver Post. “The village, 11 homes, a bathhouse, two portable toilets and a circular common building bounded by a brightly decorated chain-link fence at the corner of 38th and Blake streets, was meant to be a pioneer. It’s a pilot project designed to demonstrate tiny homes, arranged in a community where rules are set by the residents themselves, should be part of the solution to combating homelessness in Denver. It’s had its challenges. Two of the original residents returned to the streets after their neighbors asked them to leave for violating village rules. The village had to move about 200 feet in January — from one side of its lot to the other — at a cost of $25,000 because of now-changed city rules governing temporary residential structures. The city chipped in $10,000.”

“No one doubts the toughness of rodeo competitors, but at the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo on Friday, July 27, rugged cowboys will play tribute to folks who are every bit as tough as they are — breast cancer patients and survivors,” reports  Vail Daily. “For the past eight years, the Eagle County Fair & Rodeo has been part of Wrangler’s national Tough Enough to Wear Pink campaign for rodeo and Western events. Since 2012, the program raised more than $45,000 locally for Shaw Cancer Center.”

“Restoring places and people and reviving small towns is what Unbridled Contractors does, and when company representatives saw the potential in the Hotel St. Cloud, they felt it was a natural fit with their mission,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The vacant hotel sold for $80,000 Thursday to Unbridled Contractors, a branch of its parent company, Emergent, during a live and online auction hosted by Top Dollar Realty & Auction, LLC. The bidding was between two on-site individuals and three online bidders from Colorado, California and New York.”

“Damage to Manitou Springs from Monday’s hail, heavy rain and flooding will cost at least $1.5 million — about 15 percent of the city’s general fund budget — prompting Mayor Ken Jaray to declare a local disaster emergency,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The disaster status will enable the city and local residents and businesses to apply for or receive state and federal relief funding. The amount of damage to local businesses and residents has not yet been determined. “The use of the word disaster doesn’t mean it’s not OK to come here,” Police Chief Joe Ribeiro said. “Everything else is working. We’ve just got some things going on in the background that are going to take us a while to recover from, that are very expensive to recover from.”

“The number of homeless campers has dwindled drastically at a site near Greenmount Cemetery since Durango police forced some protesting residents to leave earlier this week,” reports The Durango Herald. “About 10 residents remain at the site, a temporary overnight camp established by the city, and some say they plan to remain until the city closes the site on Aug. 25. “I am going to stick it out,” Alan Scaggs said. When the camp was established at the end of June, about 35 people were registered to stay there. It’s been quiet at the site since police visited Tuesday evening and required all those who were previously cited for failing to obey city rules to leave, he said.”

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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