The Home Front: Under public scrutiny, Fremont County’s sheriff resigns citing ‘personal reasons’

“Fremont County Undersheriff Megan Richards in an email Tuesday confirmed that Sheriff Jim Beicker tendered his resignation effective Sept. 1,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “No other information was included in the statement, but the Daily Record did reply to Richards, who also serves as the public information officer for the FCSO, asking for more details surrounding the announcement. Fremont County Commission Chairman Tim Payne said he received the letter Tuesday afternoon that cited ‘personal reasons’ for the resignation. The board will meet Wednesday to discuss the process to fill the position. … The sheriff’s office went through a difficult year in 2017 when several issues ranging from criminal charges to routine procedures resulted in a dozen officers being placed on administrative leave. With every officer that was placed on leave, the more the public began to scrutinize the FCSO and Sheriff Beicker. The scrutiny began when former FCSO detective Robert Dodd was placed on administrative leave after suspected murder evidence was found in a personal storage unit in December 2016.”

“A federal jury is in deliberations in Denver to decide if the family of Barton Grubbs is entitled to up to $10 million in damages following his 2014 death at the Weld County Jail,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Grubbs, 52, of Montrose, was arrested shortly after midnight March 28, 2014, by the Colorado State Patrol on suspicion of DUI. After failing roadside sobriety maneuvers and declining a breathalyzer, Grubbs was arrested and placed in the back of a state patrol cruiser. An out-of-work stonemason suffering from back, wrist and hand pain, Grubbs asked the arresting officer, Trooper Travis Tyndall, to retrieve his medication from his car so he might have access to it at Weld County Jail.”

“Jared Polis, the Democratic candidate for Colorado governor, is snubbing Club 20 — again. Polis has decided not to attend the group’s long-standing September debate, something that no gubernatorial candidate has done in the 30 years the Western Slope lobby and promotional organization has held them,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “‘It makes western Colorado feel like it’s such an afterthought, and that the (Polis) campaign is really focused on the Front Range,’ Club 20 Executive Director Christian Reece said. ‘He is, for whatever reason that I haven’t been given, choosing not to give the citizens of western Colorado the opportunity to hear from their potential next governor, and I think that’s a shame. All Republicans and Democrats, whomever, throughout western Colorado should feel slighted by this move.’ Instead of coming himself, Polis’ campaign said he will send Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne, one of his opponents during the primary. Club 20, however, doesn’t allow surrogates at its debates, and its board will have to decide if the group will let Lynne speak in his stead. … ‘”We’re excited about doing 13 debates and forums, and we just can’t participate in everything,’ [Polis campaign spokeswoman Mara] Sheldon said.”

“Despite the objections of numerous Boulder County residents and elected officials, the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Tuesday voted to approve two drilling and spacing orders that will drain minerals from 4,000 acres in east Boulder County,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Applications filed by Extraction Oil and Gas affiliate 8North to drill a total of 52 wells — including 20 within the town of Erie — from two separate surface sites were moved forward by the nine-member state agency with votes of 8-1 on each application. Commission member Erin Overturf cast the sole dissenting vote on each.”

“Fire officials believe it is going to take significant rain or maybe even snow to douse the Silver Creek Fire burning in Routt National Forest,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “As of Tuesday, the fire on Gore Mountain in Sarvis Creek Wilderness Area has burned about 250 acres and is growing. “It looks like it’s picking up a bit,” U.S. Forest Service spokesman Aaron Voos said Tuesday. Lightning is suspected of starting the fire that was first reported July 19. There are about 25 firefighters managing the blaze, but none of them are directly fighting the fire because the remote location with beetle-killed lodgepole pine trees is unsafe.”

“Loveland grew up around railroads and agriculture. The northern Colorado city incorporated in 1877 along a line of the Colorado Central Railroad, and its early economy relied on crops such as sugar beets and sour cherries,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The city’s Feed and Grain building, built in the 1890s, is one of its oldest remaining structures. Today, Loveland also is known for its public art. The city’s collection includes about 300 pieces, ranging from murals to sculpture. More than 100 of those sculptures are on permanent display in the Benson Sculpture Garden. And since the early 2000s, residents have worked to incorporate the city’s agricultural history with its artistic present.”

“When it comes to a shelter for Pueblo’s homeless, there apparently is no room anywhere in the inn,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Soon after word leaked out that the vacant Colorado Department of Transportation campus in the 900 block of Erie Avenue was one of the sites being eyed as a potential new home for the Pueblo Rescue Mission, a groundswell of dissent began to swirl. The overriding concern, voiced primarily by parents of children who attend Fountain International Magnet School and some East Side residents, is the proposed shelter’s one-block proximity to that Pueblo City School (D60) elementary institution.”

“Proponents of running the Thornton pipeline down Douglas Road have argued that route keeps the pipeline primarily in the public right of way, under a county road,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “But the proposed route would require the city of Thornton to acquire a section of resident Dick Brauch’s tree farm on Douglas Road — property he hopes to keep in his family. Standing in the driveway of his farm near the shop out of which he has worked for decades, Brauch pointed to a map and then to a large section of his property behind a row of towering cottonwoods. There, in a rectangle 380 feet long and 28 feet wide, Thornton hopes to build its pump house.”

“A Durango man has been ticketed for intentionally feeding bears – for the third time in eight years – resulting in a $1,000 fine and a likelihood the bears will have to be euthanized,” reports The Durango Herald. “’You just scratch your head why somebody would do this,’ said Matt Thorpe, wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “This selfish behavior is not only dangerous to his neighbors, but also to the bears.” Last week, a concerned resident told Colorado Parks and Wildlife that a person living in the Animas View Drive area, in northern Durango, was scattering pet and animal food in his backyard and using containers to feed bears. The resident took pictures and provided them to Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Thorpe said.”

“A flat map is about the only place where it makes sense to place Basalt and El Jebel within the confines of Eagle County,” reports Vail Daily. “Even a topographical map will demonstrate the impracticality of the designation that’s existed for 135 years. The boundary line on the west end of the county, along with the majority of the southern and northern county lines, are as straight as the box that delineates Colorado itself. But in real life, the county’s southwest boundaries are decidedly impractical. … This geographic issue has been debated for decades, most recently on Tuesday, July 31, before the Eagle County commissioners, when a delegation from the Basalt and El Jebel area asked the county to bring a referendum to the voters this fall to see if there is support to change boundaries and have their part of southwestern Eagle County placed in Pitkin County. ‘We are bringing up an issue that is brought up every 10 years, honestly,’ said Michael McVoy, one of the Roaring Fork Valley residents proposing the vote. He suggested it’s time to determine the issue, once and for all.”

“The office tasked with handling Boulder County’s real estate transactions continues to decline as its financial crisis worsens and two of its three employees have submitted their resignations,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “No clear plans are in place for its rescue. Public Trustee Jim Martin on July 23 tendered his resignation to the governor, who appointed him, effective at the end of August, citing the ongoing budget fiasco and his own health. Martin is currently fighting cancer and has not received a salary since June 15. Deputy Trustee Christine Marsh followed suit Friday. Her last day will be Aug. 16. As of September, the office will have one employee.”

“The U.S. Olympic Training Center brought race walker Carl Schueler to Colorado Springs in the early 1980s,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Flexible employers kept him here. “I wanted to work. Frankly, I needed to work,” said Schueler, now the city’s comprehensive planning manager. “I started back in 1983 and haven’t left. A job did not get me here, but what kept me here was the career opportunities.” City officials want to repeat such successes by partnering with the U.S. Olympic Committee to find flexible city jobs for Olympians and Team USA athletes.”

“The man shot and killed by Aurora police was defending his family from a naked stranger who had burst through the front door of their East Montview Boulevard home in the wee hours of Monday morning, grabbing an 11-year-old boy who was sleeping on a couch and attacking him,” reports The Denver Post. “The 73-year-old man, who has been identified as Richard ‘Gary’ Black and was the boy’s grandfather, shot the intruder with a 9-mm pistol while the stranger was choking and trying to drown the boy in a bathtub, said Siddhartha Rathod, an attorney representing Black’s family. The intruder died. Soon afterward, an Aurora Police Department officer shot and killed Black after police arrived at the home at 10609 E. Montview Blvd. ‘This is a horror movie scenario,’ Rathod said. ‘There’s no question Mr. Black is a hero, that Mr. Black saved his grandson’s life. This truly is a tragedy.'”

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.

1 COMMENT

  1. Club 20 doesn’t represent the Western Slope, just insiders from the O & G industry and the GOP. Their debate is a fundraiser for Club 20.

    Jared will be attending a debate in Grand Junction sponsored by the GJ Daily Sentinel, Colorado Mesa University and RMPBS which appears to be a much broader forum than Club 20’s exclusive affair.

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