The Home Front: Longtime mystery spring water well near Cripple Creek ‘will be capped in November and public use prohibited’

Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of newspapers across Colorado

“Rumors that have been circulating among Teller County residents were confirmed Tuesday night at a Florissant Water and Sanitation District board meeting: The free spring water that flows continuously from a spigot on the side of South Colorado 67 at Gillette Flats will be capped in November and public use prohibited,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “What’s considered good news for the water district, which expects to add customers as a result, is devastating for residents, who for decades have hauled the water home for cooking, cleaning, drinking and their livestock. ‘We have five children and animals, and that’s the only way we can really get water,’ said Don Brownlow, who lives outside of Cripple Creek and has been filling containers from the wellhead for five years. ‘It’s all about money and the government, and the fact that we’re getting the water for free.’ The well, which for years has had an unclear ownership among locals and area governments, appears to be located on Colorado Department of Transportation land, said Tracy Kosloff, assistant state engineer for the Colorado Division of Water Resources.”

“Randy Ray said every local water manager remembers years like 2002 and 2012,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “‘That’s one thing water managers don’t forget: the dry years. We always forget about the wet ones, except for the catastrophic floods,’ said Ray, executive director of the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District. ‘How did their water supplies react to the dry years?’ Water officials try to answer when they look toward the future of their systems. That’s why the Central Colorado Water Conservancy District will place a $48.7 million bond question on the ballot this November in an effort to address priorities that, officials said, would help the district plan for droughts such as the ones that ravaged this part of the state in 2002 and 2012. Another drought currently bakes portions of the state this year, as well. Central’s boundaries stretch through parts of Weld, Adams and Morgan counties and serve about 550 farmers who operate about 1,000 irrigation wells.”

“Investigators believe a baby who died in his home in late August had the breath squeezed out of him by his father, who had woken early to tend to the fussing child, according to court records,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel.

“Anticipation more than 15 years in the making will give way to adrenaline come spring when a new water park meant for kayaking and tubing opens at Dickens Farm Nature Area,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The new 52-acre nature area also will bring Longmont its first true access point to the St. Vrain River from a public park or open space. “I find that exciting. People like to touch the water, play and fish in the water,” Longmont Senior Project Manager Steve Ransweiler said. “I think the other areas we’ve developed along the river just didn’t have this type of (access) feature.”

“The Silver Creek Fire southeast of Steamboat Springs blew up and got very angry Wednesday, prompting evacuations and sending the fire over containment lines,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Early Wednesday afternoon, the fire was 4 to 5 miles south of U.S. Highway 40. It was not clear whether or not the fire could cause U.S. 40 to be closed. It was the first time a large plume of smoke from the fire could be seen from Steamboat, prompting some community members to think it was a new fire.”

“Bullying and substance use are growing concerns for middle and high school students all around the state, but are things worse here in Summit County?” asks Summit Daily. “The Summit School District recently released their “School Snapshot” results from the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey — a biennial survey conducted by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment meant to shed light on students’ opinions and conduct regarding things like mental health, substance use, safety, violence, physical health and more.”

“The city of Pueblo has identified a property for a potential homeless shelter and is in the final stage of having the building appraised, according to City Councilman Mark Aliff, who earlier this year took up the task of finding a permanent solution to Pueblo’s shelter crisis,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The property has been appraised, but as of Wednesday the city had yet to receive the final appraisal numbers and are waiting on that, Aliff said. Those figures are expected soon. Once the appraisal process is finished, the city will negotiate with the property owners and the deal will be brought before council for more discussion and consideration.”

“Anyone who has gone outside over the past couple of days knows it’s been hot in Loveland,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “In fact, the recent temperatures, which have broken into the 90s, have been so unseasonably hot as to approach the record highs for Sept. 11 and 12. But were any weather records actually broken? “It looks like Loveland could have reached or exceeded its record high for Sept. 12 based on weather data from surrounding communities,” National Weather Service forecaster Natalie Sullivan said Wednesday.”

“Poudre school district is another step closer to building three new schools approved by voters in 2016,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins.

“Colorado is growing, and most of the state is thriving — except for the transportation system,” reports Vail Daily. “For some insight on the problems with, and possible solutions for, the state’s transportation system, the Vail Symposium and the Vail Valley Partnership on Tuesday, Sept. 11, hosted a seminar, Rocky Roads or Smooth Sailing? A Discussion on the State of Transportation in Colorado, at Colorado Mountain College in Edwards. The seminar featured three speakers: Herman Stockinger, of the Colorado Department of Transportation; Chris Lubbers, director of Eagle County’s ECO Transit; and Eagle County Commissioner Jill Ryan.”

“Officials from Boulder and the University of Colorado are concerned over proposed rate increases and service cuts from RTD that they say will add millions of dollars in expenses to the city and CU budgets,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “A preliminary vote on Tuesday night advanced fare increases across the metro area, including jumps in local and regional fares and the A-line to the airport. Also being bumped up is the cost for some popular pass programs that employers and the university provide to workers and students.”

“Christopher Watts, the Frederick man charged with murder in connection with the deaths of his pregnant wife and two young daughters, wants an investigation into whether prosecutors or police leaked information about the case to reporters, court documents show,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Prosecutors denied the accusation in a court filing and said that much of the information reported by news outlets came from the defense’s own court documents. “There is no evidence any lawyer or other employee of the (Weld County) District Attorney’s Office has violated any rule of professional conduct or corresponding order of this Court,” the document states. Police arrested Watts last month on suspicion of the deaths of his family after a two-day search for his wife, Shannan Watts, and their daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste. During the search, Watts appeared on local TV stations and asked for help in finding the missing mom and girls.”

“In an election season full of proposed tax hikes, one of the less familiar ballot measures facing voters across the Denver metro area this fall comes from a regional district that aids dozens of cities and counties in flood control,” reports The Denver Post. “The little-known Urban Drainage and Flood Control District hasn’t asked for an increase in its property tax since its formation nearly five decades ago. That means it has actually lost ground, with its tax rate falling by 44 percent since the early 1990s under revenue growth limits in the voter-passed Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights. On the Nov. 6 ballot, the district’s Ballot Issue 7G asks voters across its jurisdiction for permission to restore its full taxing authority, as many cities, counties and other special districts have done. The district covers 1,600 square miles across Denver and all or part of Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.”

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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