The Home Front: Group trying to restrict fracking in Colorado accuses signature gatherer it hired of being ‘paid to stop’

“For the second time in just over a week, a group hoping to restrict oil and gas operations in Colorado says a contractor it hired to circulate petitions for Initiative 97 has hurt instead of helped get the measure on the ballot,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The pro-97 group, Colorado Rising, on Wednesday issued a statement saying that one of its signature-gathering contractors had admitted that “he was paid to stop circulating Initiative 97 and to immediately leave Colorado instead of fulfilling his commitment to collect thousands of signatures for the measure.” Colorado Rising provided an audio recording that it said documented an admission by a representative of petition contractor Petition Connection that it had been offered a buyout to back away from working on Initiative 97.”

“Lawyers representing the city of Lafayette have asked the Colorado Supreme Court to hear its case to condemn 22 acres at the corner of U.S. 287 and Arapahoe Road, an effort that could continue to tie-up Erie’s long-slated Nine Mile Corner development for the foreseeable future,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The litigation, stretching back more than two years, already has cost the two communities more than half a million dollars. The petition for writ of certiorari, filed last Wednesday, comes nearly two months after a panel of appellate judges ruled against the city’s claim to its neighbor’s land. A Boulder County judge originally dismissed the case in early 2017.”

“Noel Johnston was already stressed out when he received a call from the IRS about some tax violations,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “OK, we already know what you’re thinking. So does Johnston. Who hasn’t gotten one of those false phone calls? But hear him out. He had just arrived home from an appointment with his neurologist, where he discussed his family history of Alzheimer’s. He also knew that at the end of that day, July 10, he had to pick up his daughter from the airport after a long trip from Paris. She hates flying, he said, and he and his wife always have to talk her through getting on and off the plane. So, it’s easy for him to see why, on the same day, he let phone scammers clean out a large portion of his bank account, fresh with $8,000 intended to repair his hail-damaged roof. Johnston, a Greeley resident, just wants to make sure other people don’t fall for the same scheme.”

“Larimer County did not approve a permit allowing Thornton to build a water pipeline along Douglas Road north of Fort Collins — but the county commissioners didn’t deny the application either,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “All three elected commissioners on Wednesday, the third installment of a public hearing, said the application as presented was not best for Larimer County residents, did not delve deep enough into alternatives for delivering water to the Denver suburb and did not consider public input enough. But instead of outright denying the application for the stretch of the 75-mile pipeline that runs through Larimer County, the commissioners implored Thornton to work with residents to find an alternative that most residents and the county commissioners can endorse.”

“The Grand Junction City Council on Wednesday signed off on increasing the city’s budget with nearly $12.8 million in supplemental appropriations, adding to the $162 million 2018 budget the city had already approved,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Among the budget additions are salary increases for City Manager Greg Caton and City Attorney John Shaver. The appropriations approved during the Wednesday night meeting are a combination of city savings, increases in sales tax revenue, grant dollars and carryover funds from some capital improvement projects that were started this year but will run into next year.”

“Pueblo County Commissioners again have extended a moratorium on the licensing of any new commercial and medical marijuana businesses as well as any new marijuana cultivation facilities in Pueblo County,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The moratorium, which does not impact the city of Pueblo nor the town of Boone, was extended last year as well. The commissioners voted unanimously Wednesday to extend the moratorium to Jan. 1, 2020. It was set to expire at the end of this year.”

“New messaging from Logan County Economic Development seeks to lure city dwellers to Logan County,” reports The Sterling Journal-Advocate. “‘We’ve updated what we call our ‘one pager,’ which is for recruiting purposes,’ Laurie Jones, LCEDC, told a group of business leaders at the July Business Roundtable held at the CSU Engagement Center July 27. The new recruiting messaging can be found on the LCEDC website under the Living in Logan County tab. Clicking on the tab will open up the one pager with the new Logan County “Space to Find Your Place” logo and the bold header: ‘Only 100 Minutes from Metro Denver. Close enough to enjoy big city amenities. Far enough away to experience small town living.'”

“The haze that socked in the Yampa Valley on Wednesday can again be attributed to wildfires burning in Northern California,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Meteorologist Matt Aleksa with the National Weather Service in Grand Junction said there is a ridge of high pressure to the west of Colorado. That is causing wind to flow clockwise around the high pressure system and send smoke into Northwest Colorado. ‘That’s causing the widespread smokiness and decreased visibility,’ Aleksa said.”

“Summit County’s Board of County Commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday that added a measure on November’s ballot asking voters to approve a mill levy that would raise $8.8 million a year for a variety of county programs,” reports Summit Today. “The funds would provide for wildfire mitigation, mental health services, affordable early childhood care and education as well as revamping the county’s recycling program. The 4.7 mill levy would raise commercial and residential taxes for county residents annually by $33.96 for every $100,000 of property value. So for a property worth $1 million, the owner will pay $340 in additional property taxes each year for the next decade.”

“The Fremont County Board of Commissioners is working to finalize the process that will determine who will serve as the county’s interim sheriff after the resignation of Jim Beicker, which will be effective Sept. 1,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Beicker tendered his resignation Tuesday, citing personal reasons. Fremont County Commission Chair Tim Payne said the board will seek letters of interest from qualified individuals until Aug. 15. Candidates likely will be interviewed the next week with an appointment expected to be made Sept. 4, Payne said. The board is expected to release more information on the qualifications and the selection process soon.”

“The push is on for supporters of an initiative to put a measure on the state’s November ballot that would prohibit the location of oil and gas wells within 2,500 feet of an occupied building to get the signatures they need by Monday’s deadline,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Colorado Rising, the Boulder-based advocacy group pushing Initiative 97, claims it has been targeted by an orchestrated campaign to send people out to sites where they are collecting signatures, in order to harass them and discourage them from signing. “What the harassers would do is they would get in between the signature gatherers and the signer, and they would start yelling and trying to intimidate the people, to scare the signers away — yelling things like, ‘You don’t know who these people are, or who are you giving your information to,” said Colorado Rising volunteer Holly Wheeler of Boulder. ‘They were, like, a foot away from people in their face, and yelling.'”

“Legendary actor and film director Clint Eastwood made a stop in Fort Morgan on Tuesday as he and his crew shot scenes for his upcoming film ‘The Mule,'” reports The Fort Morgan Times. “His team could be found camped out near the intersection of Morgan County Road R and Morgan County Road 17. Eastwood and his crew departed Fort Morgan on Wednesday morning in route back to New Mexico to continue shooting. According to Internet Movie Database, “The Mule” is a film about a 90-year-old horticulturist and World War II veteran caught transporting $3 million worth of cocaine through Michigan for a Mexican drug cartel. The film is being produced by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Eastwood, who is still going strong at 88-years-old, is both acting in and directing the film. Other Hollywood names starring in the film include Bradley Cooper, Michael Pena, Laurence Fishburne, and Eastwood’s daughter, Alison Eastwood.”

“The saying ‘if it’s not one thing, then it’s another’ can definitely be applied to the employment situation in Eagle County,” reports Vail Daily. “When the national recession hit in 2008, the bottom fell out of the local construction industry and lots of people were looking for work. A decade later, the national and local economy have rebounded, but the valley’s labor shortage has re-emerged. During a Tuesday, July 31, meeting with the Eagle County commissioners, Chris Romer, of the Vail Valley Partnership, relayed a recent discussion he had with the Colorado State Demographer’s office. The state estimates there are currently 1,600 open jobs in Eagle County.”

“As Environmental Protection Agency investigators turn their attention to Colorado and its perfluorinated chemicals that won’t go away, they face demands to determine how much of an infinitesimally tiny amount is too much,” reports The Denver Post. “At the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment — where state officials have begun making a list of sites where perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, may have been spilled — agency chiefs say they will enforce any limit the EPA sets. At a north metro Denver water supply plant, systems manager Kipp Scott focuses on 70 parts per trillion (ppt), a nonbinding health advisory target, as he dilutes and filters supplies for 50,000 residents following last month’s discovery that municipal wells are contaminated. ‘Our finished water now is around 27 ppt,’ he said, ‘… after shutting off the wells.'”

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