The Home Front: Windsor is ‘the safest community in Colorado,’ according to new FBI crime data

“Six Weld County municipalities were named among Colorado’s 20 safest cities, according to 2016 FBI crime data analyzed by safewise.com,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Windsor claimed the top spot as the safest community in Colorado with 0.13 violent crimes per 1,000 residents and 10.67 property crimes per 1,000 residents, according to the report released Monday. Violent crimes analyzed include murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Property crimes include burglary, theft and motor vehicle theft. Milliken, Firestone and Erie all cracked the top 10, being named the fourth, fifth and seventh safest cities, respectively.”

“City Council on Tuesday night gave final approval to the first set of major updates to Longmont’s Land Development Code in 17 years,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The council made no changes to the ordinance to which they gave initial approval on July 24 — a 300-plus-page set of revisions in a municipal code section that contains regulations, restrictions and conditions for annexing, zoning, subdividing and developing properties. The Land Development Code details what the city considers appropriate uses for specific properties, as well as rules about placement, height and design of buildings, and parking, lighting and landscaping regulations.”

“The city of Grand Junction’s acrimonious divorce with Municipal Judge Caré McInnis was fueled by disagreements over whether McInnis was crossing ethical and legal lines in her handling of both adult and juvenile cases, according to emails obtained by The Daily Sentinel,” the paper in Grand Junction reports. “McInnis was in her second year of a four-year term when she left the city in mid-July by accepting a $165,200 settlement agreement. The settlement offered no details about the nature of the dispute that simmered for months between her and City Attorney John Shaver.”

“Before City Council voted to hire a consulting firm on Monday night that will study the viability of the city ending its pact with Black Hills Energy early, Vance Crocker, the vice president of Colorado electric operations for the utility, gave a presentation to council about changes Black Hills has made to help customers and its commitment to working with the city,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “During a work session, Crocker told council members that monthly costs have been lower for most customers effective July 1 as a result of a lower customer charge. The Colorado Public Utilities Commission approved a new rate schedule proposed by the company that lowered the monthly rates for many customers.”

“The Sterling City Council took steps toward annexing the city’s property on the South Platte River bottom Tuesday,” reports The Sterling Journal-Advocate. “At their regular meeting, the council unanimously approved the “findings of fact and conclusion” stating that the property, now known as the River Bottom Flats Addition to the City of Sterling, is eligible for annexation, as the property belongs solely to the city and is contiguous to the city boundary. By doing so, they opened the door to the next two items on their agenda: ordinances annexing the property and zoning it as open space. The council voted 7-0 on first reading of both ordinances, and will take final action on the items at their next meeting on Aug. 28.”

“Drought conditions in the Sand Wash Basin have volunteers hauling an increased amount of water to the wild horses in the area,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “The Bureau of Land Management, the agency that manages most wild horse herds, has estimated between 650 to 750 horses live in Sand Wash Basin. The BLM has determined the land can support between 163 to 362 horses without detriment to the ecosystem. This overpopulation increases the drought’s impact on vegetation and availability of water for other animals.”

“More than a dozen people of Latino or Hispanic descent from Fort Morgan have represented Morgan County at quite a few state-level ‘Telling Our Story’ forums held by the Latino Community Foundation of Colorado (LCFC) in Denver over the years,” reports The Fort Morgan Times. “But on Tuesday, they did not have to go very far for such an experience because LCFC held a regional forum in Fort Morgan.”

“Boulder voters in November will get the chance to decide for themselves if the city’s tax on sugar-sweetened beverages is helping more than it hurts,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “City Council on Tuesday voted unanimously to place on the ballot a measure that, if passed, would allow the city to keep extra revenue raised by the tax, citing its positive impacts in the community. ‘When you’re trying to modify behavior, you do two things,’ said councilmember Sam Weaver: tax the behavior you don’t want and use the money to encourage behavior you do. The soda tax is a ‘shining example’ of that principle at work, he said. A majority of voters (54.7 percent) approved the tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in 2016. Since then, more than $3.2 million has been given to groups working on health and nutrition for Boulder’s low-income residents and those with chronic diseases and illnesses often linked to sugar consumption.”

“The U.S. Forest Service will host an open house Wednesday, Aug. 15, to discuss some new proposals regarding the Berlaimont Estates Road Improvement Project,” reports Vail Daily. “The informational meeting will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Holy Cross Ranger Station located at 24747 U.S. Highway 24 in Minturn. Forest Service and town of Avon staff will be available to answer questions. The purpose of this meeting will be to introduce new changes to the proposed Berlaimont Estates Road Improvement Project. These changes are a result of the most recent public comment period and focus on mitigation of wildlife and recreation impacts.”

“Durango City councilors informally agreed Tuesday to ask voters to approve a property and a sales tax increase in November,” reports The Durango Herald. “The increases could raise about $7.5 million in 2019 for general city services such as street maintenance and police. The additional city revenue would cover projected budget shortfalls and long-term construction needs, including a new police station and $15 million in other facilities costs. The councilors agreed to ask for a 5.4 mill property tax increase and a 0.55 percent increase on sales taxes. The sales tax increase would raise the total sales tax rate in Durango from 7.9 percent to 8.45 percent. If the 5.4 mill increase were approved, homeowners would pay $140 more per year on a home with an assessed value of $400,000, Assistant City Manager Amber Blake said.”

“Alexander Ponton thought it was a bomb,” reports The Denver Post. “Debris smashed into Ponton’s car as he drove east on West 4th Avenue near Santa Fe Drive. The 24-year-old Thornton man got out and heard screams for help coming from a six-unit residence complex.  It had exploded. Ponton jumped into action, assisting a man and woman out of the rubble who had cuts and scrapes on them. “First when I got out of the car, delirious, you don’t really think to help anyone right away, but when they’re crying for help, it doesn’t matter your situation,” Ponton said. “If I was still standing, I could still go help them out, so that’s kind of what I did.” Nine people were injured in the natural gas explosion Tuesday afternoon in Denver’s Baker neighborhood, according to the Denver Fire Department. Two people were hospitalized — one in critical condition.”

“Conduent plans to lay off 410 employees and close its call center at 2424 Garden of the Gods Road on Oct. 12 as it restructures operations,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The New Jersey-based outsourcing company sent a notice Friday to the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment that the affected employees are 361 customer care associates, 37 customer care supervisors and managers, 11 workforce administration and training associates and one other manager. Conduent laid off 350 employees from the center in 2016.”

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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