The Home Front: Energy company’s turn away from coal ‘put the national spotlight’ on Colorado

“Xcel Energy’s plan to turn away from coal-fired energy by decommissioning two units at its Comanche Station is being watched by energy-industry observers as a potentially landmark judgement about changing the U.S. power grid towards renewable energy,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “When the Colorado Public Utilities Commission voted last week to approve Xcel’s Colorado Energy Plan, the story immediately spread across energy news sites and put the national spotlight on Xcel and Pueblo. Renewable energy supporters immediately celebrated the PUC’s approval for Xcel to replace 660 megawatts of coal-fired power with 1,100 megawatts of wind power, 700 megawatts of solar and 275 megawatts of battery storage — as well as purchasing another 360 megawatts of gas-fired power.”

“The idea to melt a gun down and remake it into a gardening tool came from Sandy Hook, when 20 kids aged 6-7 and six adults were killed in the 2012 school shooting,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Yet the idea also came decades ago from perhaps the most important core belief of the Mennonite church. “We work to ensure that we practice peace every day in our lives,” said Zach Martinez, the pastor of the Sojourn Mennonite Church, which has about 25 members in Greeley, as well as up to 50 in Fort Collins. “The question is, what does that peace look like?” Martinez will host a RAWtools event in Greeley at 11 a.m. Saturday at the First Congregational Church parking lot. He and the founder of RAWtools, Mike Martin, will reforge a gun into a garden tool, probably something that looks like a hoe.”

“Lafayette City Council will convene a discussion today on the city’s prairie dog policy, according to an agenda for the meeting,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Though it’s unclear if city leaders plan to make any changes, or even discuss the policy itself. According to spokeswoman Debbie Wilmot, officials will most likely decide what to do with two potential relocation efforts: a pending removal of a colony near a city-owned water utility property that was scuttled earlier this summer and a potential relocation near the city’s future solar garden site. In July, officials were forced to halt the removal of a colony — located south of Baseline Road and west of Rowena Place, near a water utility property — and release the trapped rodents after residents complained the caged animals were left sitting out in the scorching sun.”

“Firefighters worked to contain the Irwin Fire south of Hayden on Monday as officials expected to reach full containment on the Murphy Fire northwest of Hayden late Monday,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘It was a team effort,’ Routt County Emergency Operations Director David “Mo” DeMorat said. All five fire protection districts in Routt County fought the fire along with firefighters from neighboring Craig Rural Fire Protection District and federal partners. ‘We appreciate all the help that we got from our partners.'”

“Despite efforts to save the program, a long-standing addiction recovery program run by The Salvation Army in Grand Junction will close later this month,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The nonprofit agency suffered several setbacks this year that led to the demise of the already overextended recovery program that has helped hundreds of Western Slope residents break free of drug and alcohol addictions during its 40-year run. A fire in mid-March at the men’s home at 903 Grand Ave. displaced 16 men who had been living there, but the agency later found housing closer to The Salvation Army’s headquarters, 1235 N. Fourth St. The program, which costs about $500,000 a year to operate, was on track to sink the nonprofit agency $1 million in debt by next year, said Salvation Army Capt. Steve Stan-eart.”

“Author Anthony Doerr wraps a larger message about the power of technology into two smaller worlds, those of a blind French girl and of a German orphan pressed into service, during World War II in his Pulitzer prize-winning novel, “All the Light We Cannot see,'” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Advertisement The children’s experiences in the war that had far-reaching impacts around the globe are connected by the cutting-edge technology of the time — radio. Though the novel takes place about seven decades ago, the message about the power of technology is pertinent still today, and in fact, it was today’s technology that inspired the book, said Doerr, who will talk about his novel in Loveland on Sept. 24 as part of the communitywide Loveland Loves to Read.”

“Just 63 days separate you and the end to all the horrible political advertisements that are about to take over your televisions, mailboxes and social media accounts. But during these two months of uninterrupted noise, Colorado voters will make decisions that are sure to shape Colorado — and the nation — for years to come,” reports The Denver Post. “Will Colorado elect its first Republican governor in 12 years by choosing Walker Stapleton, or will the state take a step closer to becoming a Democratic stronghold by selecting Jared Polis? Is this the year a Democrat knocks off U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman? Or are Coffman’s retail politics — a campaign style of selling oneself and one’s policies by talking to as many voters as possible — strong enough to rebuff the so-called “blue wave” that Jason Crow hopes will help him secure a seat in Congress? These are a few of the questions The Denver Post is asking this election season — questions only you can answer by voting.”

“Back in November 2016 when local voters approved school construction projects up and down the valley, completion seemed to fall in the distant future,” reports Vail Daily. “The future is now. Opening ceremonies and receptions are scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 5, for Eagle Valley Elementary School ($23.1 million) and Eagle Valley Middle School ($25 million) and Thursday, Sept. 6, for Eagle Valley High School ($31.2 million). “I’m excited for the students and staff to return to school and invite the entire community to visit our beautiful new campus on Third Street and the significant addition at the high school on Sept. 5 and 6. These are wonderful legacy assets for the community,” Eagle County Schools Superintendent Dr. Carlos Ramirez said.”

“Fears regarding youth football participants suffering long-term brain damage are changing the way the game is played and raising questions about the sport’s future,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Participation in the city of Fort Collins’ football program for children in grades 3-6 dropped 40 percent in one year and 73 percent over the past 10 years, recreation supervisor Marc Rademacher said Wednesday. And the Northern Colorado Pop Warner Association program, which had eight teams a half-dozen years ago, only has enough players to field one team this season, a league spokesman said.”

“Authorities captured two escaped inmates Monday who somehow scaled the walls of Territorial Correctional Facility,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “According to a press release from the Cañon City Police Department, George Roloff, 41, and Luke Tanner, 61, escaped from Territorial on Monday morning and attempted to elude officers. The CCPD responded to Territorial at 10:30 a.m. after a report that the two men had escaped from the prison. Authorities were able to locate Tanner, who attempted to run from officers, according to the press release. He was detained and transported to Fremont County Jail.”

“The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting to discuss for the first time the official search for President Bruce Benson’s replacement,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The meeting will be Wednesday in Denver. In July, Benson announced he would retire effective July 2019. On Wednesday, the regents will recess into executive session to discuss the presidential search, after which they’ll convene a public session and potentially take formal action, such as electing a search committee chair and vice chair from their ranks. “What I expect is the board will be discussing some of the immediate tasks in front of them, including selection of a chair of the search committee, selection of a search firm and composition of the search committee,” CU spokesman Ken McConnellogue said.”

“Veloy and Michael Montano, who have fallen victim to two roofing scams in the past five years, say they feel robbed of more than just their money,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “One of those botched jobs left carbon monoxide steadily leaking into their home for months. The leak led to chemical poisoning that’s unraveled some of Michael’s basic cognitive abilities and left him unable to work, according to a lawsuit the couple filed in 2015 against the now-defunct roofing company that did the repairs. These days, Michael’s movements are slow and his speech is soft. He no longer can drive, enjoy 3- to 5-mile runs several times a week, or play the guitar while singing along with Veloy, whom he met while performing in a band when they were young. “I did have an active life. And I’d love to have it back,” he said. The Montanos, Security-Widefield residents who are in their 70s, are among the many households that have been targeted by “storm chasers” — companies that invade an area after extreme hail and weather events. The Pikes Peak region has been battered by several such storms this summer.”

“Southwest Memorial Hospital is struggling financially, but a robust recovery plan has been implemented to right the ship, top managers told a crowd of 50 concerned citizens and staff at a recent board meeting,” reports The Cortez Journal. “Two organizations – the public Montezuma County Hospital District and the private nonprofit Southwest Health System – are responsible for hospital management.”

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.