The Home Front: Meth ‘made a deadly comeback in El Paso County and across Colorado last year’

“Methamphetamine use made a deadly comeback in El Paso County and across Colorado last year while festering in the shadow of the nation’s opioid epidemic,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “Meth-related deaths in the county nearly doubled from 2016 to 2017, from 36 to 67, while meth ranked among the fastest-growing drugs in fatalities elsewhere in the state. The rise in meth deaths helped push Colorado’s drug fatalities above 1,000 in 2017 for the first time on record — hundreds more than the state’s traffic death toll for the year.”

“A national nonprofit that bills itself as boosting public support for law enforcement is fundraising off of Fort Collins’ supposed sanctuary city status,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The problem: Fort Collins has not formally declared itself a sanctuary city. ‘The City of Fort Collins does not have policies or procedures to shelter illegal immigrants, nor does Fort Collins Police Services have restrictive policies in regard to prosecuting illegal immigrants,’ a letter from Mayor Wade Troxell and City Manager Darin Atteberry to the National Police Association reads. ‘Fort Collins Police Services cooperates with the enforcement of federal immigration law.’ A sanctuary city generally limits its cooperation with federal immigration authorities. Fort Collins Police Services policy prohibits officers from asking about immigration status of crime victims and witnesses or taking action against them based on immigration status. The policy does not prohibit cooperation with federal, state or local law enforcement and government agencies.”

“Erie’s leadership may soon hand over the reins of oil and gas reform to its citizens,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Two months after enacting a moratorium on all new drilling through the rest of the year, trustees on Tuesday will convene a discussion on the possible formation of an oil and gas ad-hoc citizen group to address certain aspects of the issue moving forward, officials say. The criteria for how such a committee would be formed, how it would operate, or what specific issues it would advise on and what weight it would carry has yet to be decided; Town spokeswoman Katie Hansen said Tuesday’s discussion would likely center around those questions.”

“State health officials are discouraging people living in areas of oil and gas development from getting their blood tested for possibly related pollutants, saying environmental monitoring is the better way to respond to such concerns,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Air monitoring around those oil and gas sites really is the best approach,” Sean Hackett, oil and gas liaison for the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said at a recent Garfield County Energy Advisory Board meeting.”

“Longmont’s city staff last week posted an incorrect version of a ‘Firearms Awareness and Safety Day’ proclamation that its mayor plans to read Tuesday night, he said Sunday,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The version of the proclamation the city posted as an attachment to the agenda item for Tuesday night’s council meeting ‘is not the document I approved,’ Mayor Brian Bagley said. Bagley said the proclamation he intends to issue emphasizes the need for responsible gun ownership and the safe storage and use of firearms, a proclamation Bagley said he did not want to stir up renewed arguments between gun control activists and gun ownership rights advocates. Bagley said he, as Longmont’s mayor, has the final say on any proclamation he reads at council meetings. He said he thought the original version presented to him “would cause too much potential drama” in the midst of ongoing local and national debates over gun ownership and gun control. The proclamation the city posted online last week — one that Bagley said did not contain his revisions — still contained some of the original language the mayor said was submitted by Longmont resident Jerry Britton, with co-sponsors identified by Britton as Rod Brandenburg, owner of Grandpa’s Pawn & Gun shop in Longmont, and Rally for Our Rights, a Second Amendment advocacy organization.”

“When the Honor Flight Northern Colorado trip to Washington D.C. began Sunday morning with the boarding of buses at the Embassy Suites in Loveland, then a ride to Denver International Airport, the lineup of veterans was scheduled to be: 113 who served during the Vietnam War. 7 who served during the Korean War. 3 who served during World War II,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Let that last number sink in. Three. For many years, we’ve heard and said it about American World War II veterans. We’re losing them. Those who served and fought against the forces of Germany and Japan. Before we know it, they will be gone.”

“Bessemer Park was transformed into a medieval realm of lords, ladies, barons, baronesses and knights this weekend as the small park on Northern Avenue hosted the 2018 Outlands Fall Crown Tournament,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The two-day event saw more than 300 people from the Kingdom of the Outlands – a region of the Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA) that spans as far north as Wyoming and as far south as Texas – feasting, frolicking, dancing and sword fighting in an event resembling a medieval combat tournament.”

“A handful of Summit County citizens are emerging as advocates for an indoor athletics facility — also called a field house — that they say would be a great benefit for a wide range of players,” reports Summit Daily. “The timing of the latest push for a field house comes as an intergovernmental group comprised of the county and towns of Breckenridge, Frisco and Silverthorne is gathering information about the need, programming, feasibility, funding options and possible locations for such a facility.”

“A body recovered on Emerald Mountain on Sunday morning is believed to be the body of a Steamboat Springs man who was reported missing on Saturday, Sept. 8,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Authorities believe the deceased is 64-year-old Marc Sehler, who was last seen at about 9 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, according to a news release issued by the city of Steamboat Springs. Sehler’s wife, Gretchen, reported him missing around noon Saturday. Steamboat Springs Police Department officers opened an investigation and requested assistance from Routt County Search and Rescue.”

“On Sept. 13, 2013, Joyce Kilmer lost her home, nearly all her belongings and — most importantly — her neighbor and friend, Evelyn Starner, when floodwaters rushed through their small canyon community of Cedar Cove,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Kilmer and Starner had been trying to get to safety when Starner returned to her house to get something just before it split apart.”

“Suicide does not discriminate. It affects people of all ages, races and genders from all walks of life, statuses and religions,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “About 200 participated in the second annual Out of the Darkness Fremont County Walk on Saturday along the Arkansas Riverwalk in an effort to bring awareness to suicide prevention and to honor those they’ve lost to suicide.”

“When the votes are tallied in the Avon Town Council election in November, the four winning candidates could set the town’s direction for years to come,” reports Vail Daily. “The Avon Town Council is a seven-member body, and issues that come before the council are decided upon based on a four-person majority. Four seats are up for grabs, with eight candidates hoping to fill them. Two of the candidates are incumbents seeking re-election.”

“Laureen Gutierrez was part of the last-stand attempt to block Donald Trump from earning the party’s nomination at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland,” reports The Denver Post. “Now, nearly two years into President Trump’s first term, the chairwoman of the Mesa County party can be spotted with a life-size cutout of him at GOP events around this Western Slope town. “Everybody is really pleased with what he’s accomplished in such a short time,” Gutierrez said as Grand Junction bustled with visitors in town for the annual Club 20 gathering of statewide politicians and regional leaders. “I think he’s doing fantastic.” Gutierrez’s growing admiration for the president — including his active Twitter account — holds true for many Grand Junction residents. Voters in the state’s 11th-largest county overwhelmingly supported Trump during the general election: 64 percent checked his name on the ballot. He lost statewide by about 5 points.”

“An 8-mile natural gas pipeline and a handful of wells are being proposed in the Fosset Gulch area, east of Bayfield,” reports The Durango Herald. “The project – the Northern Extension Pipeline and associated Fruitland Coal Gas Horizontal Drilling Project – is proposed by Petrox Resources Inc. and is up for public comment until Sept. 28. Because much of the proposed development would occur on National Forest land, the U.S. Forest Service is preparing an environmental analysis, which includes a list of preferred actions and alternatives, and opportunity for public comment. According to the Forest Service’s preferred action, the project would consist of a 16-inch natural gas pipeline and a 4-inch pipeline to carry produced water that would be buried across National Forest, state and private land near the HD Mountains. The project would be mostly located in Archuleta County, just east of the La Plata County line.”

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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