The Home Front: Durango’s decision to close a homeless camp near a cemetery left ‘homeless residents feeling angry and exasperated’

“The city’s decision to close a homeless camp near Greenmount Cemetery last week has left some homeless residents feeling angry and exasperated with nowhere to sleep overnight,” reports The Durango Herald. “‘They are violating our civil rights,” said Micheal ‘Raven’ Cooper, a six-year homeless resident. The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado sent a strongly worded letter to the city last week asking officials to suspend enforcement of the camping ban. The temporary camp near Greenmount closed Aug. 24. The letter said it was cruel and unconstitutional to punish residents for camping in public places when they have nowhere else to go. Some people have started sleeping during the day because of the camping bans said A.J. Singh, a homeless resident.”

“Hoping to additionally strengthen its stature among cancer care facilities in Colorado, Banner Health’s North Colorado Medical Center on Thursday announced a collaboration with the world-renowned University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The Greeley hospital’s cancer care unit now will be known as Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at North Colorado Medical Center. The partnership went into effect Aug. 1, but the official announcement came Thursday night at a news conference and celebration at NCMC. A similar function was hosted earlier in the day to announce a Banner-MD Anderson collaboration at what now will be known as Banner MD Anderson Cancer Center at McKee Medical Center in Loveland.”

“School District 51 Board of Education members did not release an investigative report into the cost of an administration reorganization as originally planned on Thursday night, postponing discussion and any official action until tonight,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The board initially called a special meeting for Thursday to discuss “the nature and cause or causes of the reported discrepancy between the actual cost of the superintendent’s reorganization of the district’s administrative and support staff and the cost information previously provided to the Board of Education regarding such reorganization” and “personnel matters regarding the superintendent in light of the aforementioned investigation.”

“Construction started this week on a new 20-mile, $44 million steel pipeline that will deliver water from Carter Lake in Larimer County to the city of Boulder, town of Berthoud, and Left Hand and Longs Peak water districts,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Work on the pipeline, known as phase two of the Southern Water Supply Project, is being overseen by Northern Water, which manages Carter Lake as part of the Colorado Big-Thompson Project. Once complete, the pipeline will improve water quality and delivery reliability compared to the open, above-ground Boulder Feeder Canal that currently brings water from Carter Lake to Boulder Reservoir.”

“The voluntary fishing closure on the Yampa River from Chuck Lewis State Wildlife Area through Steamboat Springs is now an all-day closure,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking anglers to explore other fishing holes to protect trout and other aquatic life in the stream as flows in the Yampa fall. Kris Middledorf, area wildlife manager for Parks and Wildlife, said trout have evolved to function best in 50 to 60 degree Fahrenheit waters. Higher temperatures slow feeding and make the fish more susceptible to disease.”

“When a mental health advisory committee with representation from the Roaring Fork and Eagle River valleys was formed, its members discussed numerous issues pertaining to the topic of mental health, which has already generated a national discussion,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The committee, which includes health professionals, parents and those who have been affected by mental health, identified many pertinent concerns for schools in the neighboring valleys, but highlighted one in particular. ‘School-based counselors was the overwhelming need,’ Eagle County Commissioner Jeanne McQueeney said. ‘Schools are really in charge of educating our children. They’re not really experts in mental health, and what they needed was people who could respond when kids are in crisis.'”

“Call ’em the final 16,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Sixteen candidates have been certified to run for Pueblo mayor by the city clerk’s office, which notified the final two qualifiers Thursday. Those two are Alex Lucero-Mugatu and Z. Marie Martinez. That’s a smaller field than the 22 candidates who turned in voter petitions, which needed 100 valid signatures from city voters to get on the ballot. Six were disqualified during petition verification. All the candidates will gather Thursday to draw for their name’s position on the ballot and the City Council will have a special meeting at 5:30 p.m. to approve the ballot.”

“The possibility of a municipal broadband network connecting Loveland internet users faster and cheaper has people asking a lot of questions, especially: how?” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Loveland locals had the opportunity to ask their questions of city staff members and community members of the Loveland Communications Advisory Board Thursday evening during a public meeting at the Loveland Chamber of Commerce, 5400 Stone Creek Circle. But, only two community members — including the Reporter-Herald — attended. The following is a summary of answers to questions experts say they think the public might still have about what is proposed.”

“City Council voted unanimously late Wednesday night to move forward with new rules for accessory dwelling units in Boulder that will allow less parking and bigger structures in exchange for limited rent, in an attempt to provide housing for the city’s middle-income earners,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Most of the 11 regulation changes — including expanding occupancy and allowing ADUs in more zones — will apply to either market-rate or rent-restricted units. But key changing in parking requirements and size will only apply to affordable dwellings. The compromise comes from a proposal by councilmen Sam Weaver and Bob Yates advancing the arguments of community members that the hoped-for proliferation of ADUs should provide affordable housing. Capping rents provides much-needed middle-income housing, Weaver said. “It keeps it in the target range of the people we claim to be trying to serve.”

“After more than 360 days in a dark, top-secret storage facility somewhere in Silverthorne, thousands of rubber ducks are reportedly rearing to hit the water this weekend in Breckenridge,” reports Summit Daily. “‘They definitely are,’ said Elisabeth Lawrence, director of community relations for The Summit Foundation, two days ahead of the nonprofit’s biggest fundraising event of the year. ‘These ducks are ready to go.’ A longstanding Summit County tradition, the Great Rubber Duck Race has supported the community for over three decades now with Saturday marking the 31st running of the rubber ducks in Breckenridge.”

“Fremont County Economic Development’s TechSTART is opening the door for students who want to get some valuable hands-on learning in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Yumi Sakamoto, 18, is a tech intern with a dream to one day be a video game programmer. She graduated from Cañon City High School in May and has spent the summer as an unpaid intern with math instructor and computer programmer Gregory Carlson, who is based at FEDC TechSTART.”

“Despite a summer of drought and fire, the season’s fall colors appear to be on schedule — maybe,” reports Vail Daily. “In this part of the state, peak leaf season hits between roughly the last week in September and the first week in October. Thanks mainly to cooling temperatures and declining sunlight, northern areas can put on their fall displays a little earlier, while the south’s colors may peak a bit later. Colorado State Forest Service Entomology Program Specialist Dan West said it’s hard to tell with any precision just how one leaf season may change from another. There’s a lot at play, from geography to elevation to weather to whether a hillside gets more or less daylight.”

“U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn on Thursday called on the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Colorado Civil Rights Commission for what he calls its ‘anti-religious’ bias in its dealings with Masterpiece Cakeshop baker Jack Phillips of Lakewood,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The Colorado Springs Republican accused state civil rights officials of “an attempt to discredit (Phillips’) religious beliefs and destroy his business” in a pair of cases targeting the baker, both of which sparked ire among religious conservatives. In the earlier case, Phillips refused in 2012 to make a custom wedding cake for two gay men, Charlie Craig and David Mullins. The state Civil Rights Commission determined that Phillips’ refusal violated anti-discrimination laws. The Colorado Court of Appeals upheld the determination; the state Supreme Court declined to hear the case.”

“U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet attacked the Trump administration’s “incoherent and backward-looking” marijuana policy following a news report that the White House formed a committee to push a negative narrative about the drug,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “According to BuzzFeed News, the White House formed the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee and instructed federal departments to provide “the most significant data demonstrating negative trends, with a statement describing the implications of such trends.'”

“Ten-year-old Roane Nitta drifts into another realm when he reads a good book, something that doesn’t happen when he watches television or plays video games,” reports The Denver Post. “When I find a book that I like, I’m not even aware of the world around me,” said Roane, a fifth-grader at Sierra Elementary School in Arvada. He’s pulled mostly toward science fiction, but he also reads about ancient mythology or any other books that spark an interest. A schoolwide culture of letting students at Sierra read what they want while earning good grades doing it is one of the reasons educators believe boys at the Jefferson County K-5 are catching up to girls on English language arts exams. This year, Sierra’s boys even surpassed girls in combined grades fourth-through-sixth on the statewide reading and writing test.”

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.