The Home Front: Court fight over policy to police pot doctors was ‘hidden from public view’

“A lawsuit that accused Colorado regulators of quietly and illegally concocting a policy to police doctors who recommend medical marijuana to patients was entirely hidden from public view during a nearly three-year court battle, secreted behind a judge’s order to keep it that way, The Denver Post has found,” reports The Denver Post. “Nine physicians filed the lawsuit in Denver District Court in March 2015 against the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, which regulates and maintains the state’s medical marijuana registry, and the Colorado Medical Board, which regulates doctors. A judge initially agreed with the doctors’ assertion that the policy was created illegally, but an appeals court overturned that decision late last month. ‘There is no justification for concealing the entire file of a case with such a high-degree of public interest,’ said Frank LoMonte, director of The Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida. ‘This is more egregious because you have a case that implicates the behavior of a government agency.'”

“As the dog days take hold, Boulder County’s summer stands as average in several ways, and that is both good news and bad news,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The positive news is that, as it relates to temperatures and moisture, statistically, the area has seen nothing too remarkable. Sure it’s been hot at times, but not too much more so than usual. And the rain that has fallen has been within a few drops of normal. However, the crisp mountain air and brilliant sunshine that draw so many to these climes have been muted in recent days by particulates in the smoke that is spreading across the western United States, including the massive Carr Fire in Shasta County, Calif., the sixth largest wildfire in that state’s history. That, too, is becoming commonplace for summer in the western U. S.”

“Today marks the one-year anniversary since Windsor residents were awakened in the wee hours of a Sunday morning to flames engulfing one of the town’s most well-known historic landmarks,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Around 2 a.m. Aug. 6, 2017, the Windsor Mill, 301 Main St., burned, and investigators continue to search for the people or person involved in starting the blaze. Officials from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, who were called upon to assist the Windsor Police Department and Windsor Severance Fire Rescue in the fire’s investigation, announced in a news conference in the week following the fire that it was intentionally set.”

“The Colorado River District has agreed to boost water levels to help fish in the Roaring Fork River watershed while also conserving water for use by local irrigators later in the season and improving the chances for boosting flows this fall for endangered fish,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The action also could help protect water quality in the case of anticipated ash in waterways due to expected flooding and debris flows resulting from the Lake Christine Fire near Basalt.”

“Colorado Parks and Wildlife offices statewide are gearing up for two of the biggest days of the year: ‘leftover day’ on Aug. 7 and ‘OTC day’ on Aug. 9,” reports The Sterling Journal-Advocate. “On leftover day, CPW sells licenses that have gone through the draw process but still have a quota remaining. In the past, lines for leftover day have resembled crowds waiting to purchase the newest smartphone or attend the opening of a Hollywood blockbuster. Some people even camp out at CPW offices to ensure they get first shot at prime hunting licenses left over from the draw. The crowds come because leftover day is a chance to buy tags that were previously offered during the draw and often represent prime hunting opportunities. CPW staff are reminding hunters that they can avoid the crowds this year by purchasing their license online at cpwshop.com. Hunters can also purchase by phone at 800-244-5613, at CPW offices, and license retailers.”

“Extremely low flows on the Crystal River near Carbondale have led to action by state officials, including turning down a diverter’s headgate and placing a call for water,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “On Friday, the Colorado Water Conservation Board placed a “call” on the Crystal River, asking Division of Water Resources officials to administer an instream flow right on the river. The CWCB has an instream flow right on the Crystal for 100 cubic feet per second between Avalanche Creek and the confluence with the Roaring Fork River from June 1 through Sept. 30 each year. The CWCB used the river gage near the state fish hatchery outside Carbondale to determine that flow conditions were too low. As of Friday morning, the Crystal at that location was running at roughly 8.8 cfs.”

“Routt County officials will consider advancing fire restrictions in unincorporated portions of Routt County to Stage 2 fire restrictions this week,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘We do perceive there being a trend developing that would lead us to go into Stage 2, but we’re not necessarily at that tipping point yet,’ said Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat. If enacted, Stage 2 restrictions would take effect Wednesday morning.”

“The overall number of calls for service made to local law enforcement agencies steadily continues to rise in Pueblo,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The Pueblo Police Department has already fielded nearly 83,000 calls thus far in 2018 — more than 391 calls per day, and 4,700 more calls than the same period last year. The growing number of calls continues a trend that has seen the police department’s overall call volume rise more than 30 percent from 2011 to 2017. ‘It’s certainly up,’ said Pueblo Police Chief Troy Davenport about the number of calls for service. ‘It has continued to climb every year for as long as I can remember.'”

“Right on schedule, the Morgan County Treasurer’s Office submitted their quarterly report to the Morgan County Board of Commissioners,” reports The Fort Morgan Times. “With data from their accounting system, Morgan County Treasurer and Public Trustee Bob Sagel was able to provide to the board valuable information regarding the county’s financials. With the second quarter being the time that the county collects the most of its property taxes, there were several important figures in the report. “This year, it was about 70 percent of the total taxes due,” said Sagel, citing what was completed in the second quarter.”

“Glen and Shari Johnson truly embodied the heart of 4-H. The couple and their grown daughters, Jodi, Dakotah, Samantha, and Brandi, were named the 4-H Family of the Year on Sunday during the Fremont County 4-H Livestock Sale,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “The award is presented each year to a family for meritorious service during the current and previous Fremont County fairs. “It was emotional for us,” Shari Johnson said about receiving the award. “We were very surprised.” The family has been involved in 4-H for about 25 years. Their daughters were active 4-H members in their youth, taking part in projects ranging from cake decorating to rabbits. They served their club as officers and were active in 4-H council. “It’s an honor to be selected by other 4-H families,” daughter Samantha said.”

“Louisville has rolled out its ‘encroachment campaign,’ reaching out to — and potentially penalizing — residents found to be in violation of the city’s open-space rules,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “According to the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, which began reaching out to residents about the campaign on Aug. 1, encroachment can be perceived in a variety of ways. Among them, officials say, the installation of private renovations, including of “gardens, landscaping, fences, paths, compost piles, mowing in excess of the city’s 10-foot buffer allotment, or storage of any personal property, yard clippings, tree trimmings, or other debris on city-owned public land.”

“When Colorado College’s men’s hockey team moves to a new on-campus venue from The Broadmoor World Arena in a few years, Old Chicago Pizza & Taproom regional manager Todd Wyatt expects the loss to feel a little like a solid check against the boards,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs.” Old Chicago opened in a small, 10,400-square-foot retail building in Colorado Springs near the World Arena in December 2015 and gets plenty of Colorado College fans who stop in before or after hockey games for pizza, burgers, sandwiches and beer, Wyatt said. But without those fans, Wyatt said, Old Chicago could see a loss of several thousand dollars in sales on game nights, which typically take place on Fridays and Saturdays.”

“Longtime La Plata County resident Ed Zink is facing increasing criticism for illegally closing off access to a public road near Falls Creek, but it’s not clear what La Plata County or the Sheriff’s Office intend to do about it, if anything,” reports The Durango Herald. “About a decade ago, Zink put up a gate near his sister’s property on County Road 203 at the entrance of a dirt road known as Falls Creek Road, which people have historically used to reach the U.S. Forest Service’s Falls Creek trail system. The property was purchased about two years ago, and the gate was taken down by the new property owners after learning it was public. But the gate has since been reinstalled.”

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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