The Home Front: Sugary drink tax in Boulder is ‘confusing customers and stores alike’

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

“Boulder’s tax on sugary drinks is confusing customers and stores alike, unsure of when the tax is really a tax, and when it’s a price hike,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Violations are rare, the city contends, but at least one alleged infraction led to a complaint that worked its way up to the federal government. Michael Raposo last month purchased a single 20-ounce bottle of Coke from a Boulder King Soopers. There on the receipt was an item he didn’t expect: beverage tax, 40 cents. He knew of the tax, passed by voters in November 2016 to levy a 2-cents-per-fluid ounce tax on distributors of soda and other beverages with added sugar. But he was surprised it was being charged to him, a recipient of federal benefits under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, colloquially referred to as food stamps.”

“Several simmering local, state and interstate controversies involving oil and gas development were aired out Monday in western Garfield County as the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission met in Rifle and opponents of local drilling projects and the proposed Jordan Cove gas export terminal in Oregon visited the county’s gas patch,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Glenwood Springs resident Cheryl Brandon told the state’s oil and gas regulators that she moved from Battlement Mesa ‘with a lot of sadness’ after seeing drilling impacts that included nearly impossible-to-remove pollutants coating her windows and floors.”

“Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper on Monday put out one of the strongest signals yet that he’s strongly considering a run in 2020 against President Donald Trump,” reports The Denver Post. “The two-term Democrat, who will leave office early next year, filed paperwork to form a federal political action committee that’s known as a leadership PAC — a common step by presidential aspirants that allows them to raise money on the federal level, tapping it to donate to candidates or pay political and policy staffers. Such PACs, which have contribution limits of $5,000 a year from individual donors and other PACs, also can be used to pay for travel. “Leadership PACs are designed for two things: to make money and to make friends, both of which are crucial to ambitious politicians looking to advance their careers,” according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics’ website.”

“The Plaza Convention Center — which has provided space for local organizations’ events and celebrations since 1983 — will no longer be a convention center come October,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Owner Chernoff Boulder Properties LLC was leasing the 37,000-square-foot convention center to Shamin Hotels, which bought the adjacent Best Western Plus Plaza Hotel in February. Shamin terminated the lease on the building in May, effective this month, Chernoff Boulder Properties CEO Seth Chernoff said. His group bought the building and the adjacent office park on Industrial Circle in 2016.”

“Trent Sieg sought out Phillip Lindsay as part of the middle-of-the-field milling around after the Broncos’ 20-19 win against the Raiders on Sunday at Broncos Stadium at Mile High,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “What did Sieg tell Lindsay as they shook hands? “I told him I was glad to see a Colorado boy out there doing good things,” Sieg said a little later in the Raiders’ dressing room. They had been rivalry opponents on the same field the previous four seasons. In four consecutive Rocky Mountain Showdowns, Lindsay, from Denver South High School, was Colorado’s offensive catalyst, and Sieg, from Eaton High School, was Colorado State’s long-snapper specialist.”

“Jensen Arms, a locally owned gun store that has operated in Loveland for 24 years, will be closing its doors as soon as it liquidates its merchandise, owner John Burrud said Monday,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The shop at 285 E. 29th St. in Orchards Shopping Center sent out letters to its customers over the weekend and put up large signs in the windows Sunday, announcing a closing sale. “We’re calling it a retirement sale, but I will not be retiring,” Burrud said, explaining that he will shutter the store but continue selling guns and accessories online. “I think we’re going to keep the Jensen Arms name,” he said. “The Jensen name, it’s iconic. It’s been in Loveland for many, many years.” Burrud said competition from the internet and big-box stores, plus his own desire to simplify, finally did in Jensen Arms.”

“Lynn Clark, the Historic Arkansas Riverwalk of Pueblo executive director, outlined the vision for the plan to expand the Riverwalk east to South Santa Fe Avenue to City Council at its work session on Monday night,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The project would consist of extending the Riverwalk channel to South Santa Fe as well as the construction of a Gateway Center Boathouse, Clark said during her presentation.”

“Brent Hildebrand, a vice president at Alpine Waste & Recycling, sets on a table a mangled piece of metal,” reports The Colorado Sun. “In a previous life, it was a horseshoe. ‘That little piece of metal caused our equipment to be down for a couple of hours. That’s huge for us. We just couldn’t find it, it was so small,”’said Hildebrand, whose office is adjacent to the company’s material recovery facility, or MRF (pronounced ‘murf’). ‘I know what people are thinking: It’s metal. But no horseshoes.’ Recycling in Colorado is a tedious, cost-prohibitive business that remains largely voluntary for residents. Costs rose this year when China, the largest buyer of recyclable materials, imposed new restrictions to clean up its own country. China now accepts sorted materials, such as paper or plastic, so long as they are no more than 1 percent contaminated with aluminum cans, plastic bags or, yes, horseshoes. That was a tough, new standard for many U.S. companies, which often collected, sorted and baled cardboard boxes, plastic bottles or paper with contamination rates of at least 10 to 20 percent.”

“The Lake Agnes community, currently under a pre-evacuation notice, sits in a secluded enclave with remarkable views of the east side of Rabbit Ears Pass,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “There are two miles of shoreline with multi-million-dollar homes on 19 lots. The gated community is about 35 miles from Steamboat Springs. Some residents have heeded the warning and left, leaving it up to firefighters to protect their homes from the Silver Creek Fire, which is located just a couple of miles southwest from their neighborhood. Other residents have already packed up for the summer and left independently of the pre-evacuation notice.”

“Winning the democratic primary in June, the congressman from Boulder is set to face Republican Walker Stapleton in the November election,” reports Summit Daily. “While many in the GOP believe surging state and national economies will rank high on voters’ minds at the ballot box, Colorado Democrats are appealing to people with promises of lowering the cost health care and framing it as an economic issue. “You know, health care is an important issue because it’s a big part of our economy and it’s a big cost factor that affects Colorado families,” Polis said before his running mate, Dianne Primavera, added that the Medicaid expansion brought roughly 20,000 new jobs to Colorado alone.”

“Action sports athlete Windham Miller, of Edwards, starting riding a dirt bike when he was 3,” reports Vail Daily. “And for the next 18 years, his family was on a constant mission to find him a place to practice. Motocross families across the state share similar stories. As interest in the sport climbs, places to ride decline. With motocross as their sole motivation for travel, families journey hundreds of miles to and from destinations around the West.”

“About halfway through Phoenix’s set on the first day of Grandoozy, frontman Thomas Mars took a look at a lone beach ball bopping over the sweaty crowd before him,” reports Denverite. “‘This is a rock show’ and this is the first Grandoozy, the 10-year-or-so veteran of music festivals said. It starts with a beach ball and then someday it’s pink flamingo pool floats and it’s just like every other major festival. ‘You don’t have to be that.’ He’s right, in a sense. The festival could be anything and what it becomes is as much up to the people in the crowd as it’s up to Superfly, the production company behind Bonnaroo and Outside Lands that birthed this new festival in Denver.”

“A Cañon City man accused of stabbing a man at the Sand Gulch Campground earlier this year waived his right to a preliminary hearing in exchange for a plea agreement Monday,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record.

“Colorado Springs Utilities’ top job as CEO was offered Monday to Aram Benyamin, general manager of the enterprise’s Energy Supply Department, after a unanimous vote by the Utilities board of directors,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. ‘I’m a happy man,’ said Benyamin, who has worked for Utilities since 2015. ‘I’m honored, humbled, all of those emotions that come with this responsibility. And we will work very hard to make sure that everybody’s proud of this utility.’ Several members of the board, which also serves as the City Council, acknowledged that selecting the Utilities CEO might be the most important decision they make. Benyamin will replace Jerry Forte, who stepped down in May after more than 12 years.”

“Bait trapping is the favored procedure if wild horses need to be removed from the Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area, according to a decision released Friday by the Tres Rios Bureau of Land Management office,” reports The Durango Herald. “About 60 wild horses roam the 22,000-acre Herd Management Area in Disappointment Valley between Dove Creek and Norwood. The BLM and volunteer horse groups manage the bays, sorrels, grays and pintos under the Wild Free-Roaming Horse and Burro Act of 1971. The appropriate management level for the Spring Creek Basin Herd Management Area is 35 to 65 horses.”

“A controversial locker program for people for people who are homeless is up and running at a Fort Collins church, despite pending appeal from the city council,” reports The Coloradoan.

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.


  1. People buying junk food, like soda, with food stamps lies at the heart of the problem with government social welfare programs.

    They’re called “food” stamps. Buy something nutritious.

    There is often a highly blurred line between food & junk food anymore (with so much added sugar to so many regular foods), but there is nothing truly food-like about items like soda.

    This is an abuse of a supposed helpful program.

    And yes, there is a difference between natual sugars, like those found in pure fruit juices, and highly refined sugars, like those found in soda’s & juice cocktails.

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