The Home Front: In western Colorado, natural gas drilling is ‘on a pace similar to last year’s’

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

“Natural gas drilling activity in western Colorado’s Piceance Basin is on a pace similar to last year’s as companies wait to see how a November state ballot issue may affect their 2019 plans,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “As of Sept. 2, drilling had started on 196 wells in Garfield County so far this year, according to Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission data. At that rate, the county likely will finish 2018 with a well-start count similar to the 307 well starts in 2017. Mesa County had 67 well starts as of Sept. 2, putting it a bit behind last year’s drilling pace, when 123 wells were drilled in the county for the year. The drop-off might be partly because Laramie Energy, which has largely been responsible for recent drilling activity in Mesa County, has been operating a one-rig program and that rig was drilling in Garfield County in early August, as Garfield oil and gas liaison Kirby Wynn and the organization Community Counts reported then at the Northwest Colorado Oil and Gas Forum.”

“If you find driving Interstate 25 a massive time suck today, your stress level will only mount over the next three years as two major stretches of Colorado’s busiest thoroughfare go under the knife at the same time,” reports The Denver Post. “In the span of a week, work began this month on a 14-mile segment of I-25 between Johnstown and Fort Collins and an 18-mile chunk between Castle Rock and Monument. Nighttime lane closures and other slowdowns are expected as crews tackle what will amount to a nearly $700 million effort to unclog worsening traffic on both sides of the metro area. ‘I-25 is an abject failure right now,’ said Johnstown Mayor Scott James, who travels the highway in and out of Loveland every day. ‘The need to do something is astronomical.’ Colorado Department of Transportation traffic data show that the average daily number of vehicles on I-25 directly south of Fort Collins ranges between 61,000 and 76,000, while the number south of Castle Rock — known as The Gap — is between 71,000 and 77,000 vehicles per day. Both segments have two lanes in each direction.”

“The Regional Transportation District will hold meetings in Longmont and Lafayette over the next two weeks to gather feedback about proposed cuts to the LD bus routes that runs from Longmont to downtown Denver,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “RTD officials say the grant-funded routes have low ridership and must be cut as RTD struggles amid driver shortages. Boulder County officials say that the route is an important way for residents to get back and forth to Denver and forcing people to transfer buses halfway through will hurt ridership even more.”

“Eva Serrano’s voice caught. She managed to fight off tears as she continued, but it was touch and go for a second,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “’I was given the opportunity to give back to kids over there,’ she said at Dos Rios Elementary School in Evans last week. ‘It’s priceless. A lot of kids can’t go to school because of clothing, and that’s so unfair because every child should have an opportunity of education, so it’s personal to me.’ Serrano, 41, is a Spanish teacher at Dos Rios. She came to northern Colorado — Pierce, to be exact — from her native Honduras when she was 15, then came to Greeley and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education from the University of Northern Colorado. She has been teaching in Greeley-Evans School District 6 for 18 years and at Dos Rios for 10.”

“Coconut, a pure white, 3-year-old cat, goes to behavioral school each and every day at the Fort Collins Cat Rescue Spay and Neuter Clinic,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “There, Cheryl Kolus, a veterinarian with a special interest in behavior, patiently works with the feline, who has been adopted and returned twice due to aggressive behavior around food. Using treats and knowledge of animal behavior, she has worked with Coconut so he will associate someone near his food with a positive reward — an effort she believes has worked so that Coconut can find a permanent home.”

“A new medical and recreational marijuana establishment, Glenwood Station LLC, earned the approval of Glenwood Springs City Council at its regularly scheduled meeting last Thursday,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The applicant, which recently opened another installment of The Station in Basalt’s historic downtown, faced scrutiny through a special-use review permit, but ultimately earned approval to sell its green products in the building that formerly housed Chomps Delicatessen located at 172 W. Sixth St. Chomps has since relocated down the street. On Aug. 28, the Glenwood Springs Planning and Zoning Commission recommended that council approve the application in a 5-1 vote. Thursday night, council did not deliberate nearly as long as they did when the industry first began to grow in Glenwood.”

“Incident command on the Silver Creek and Ryan fires expect an active fire day Sunday. A localized red flag warning is in place Sunday in the area of both fires, mostly in Jackson and Grand counties,” reports The Steamboat Pilot.

“A rain-soaked weekend cast a pall on the 2017 Loaf ‘N Jug Chile and Frijoles Festival, but the sun came out in full force for the 2018 affair, bringing along with it massive crowds of people hungry for food, fun, entertainment and lots of Pueblo Chile,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The official attendance and sales numbers for the 24th annual gala celebrating Pueblo and its signature pepper won’t be available until next week, but after three days of perfect weather and tens of thousands of people flooding Downtown Pueblo, Greater Pueblo Chamber of Commerce President Rod Slyhoff said this year’s festival appears to have been a huge success.”

“Walker Stapleton moves from pantry to kitchen to backyard smoker with the focus and grace of a New York chef,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “At his spacious home in Greenwood Village, he serves up politics — taxes, balanced budgets and an economic future for his three kids — while he preps lamb chops, wild rice with bits of Alaskan king crab and whole lemon-spiced green beans as tender as his grandmother’s heart. Democrats have characterized the Colorado state treasurer and Republican gubernatorial nominee as a bumbler who trips over his words, saying things ripe for opposition spin. The characterization falls apart in his real life, which speaks of family tradition and optimism as well-defined as lines in a ledger.”

“Two years ago, voters in the Gypsum Fire Protection District approved a property tax increase with the understanding the additional money would beef up the paid firefighter corps and replace aging equipment,” reports Vail Daily. “But before the department could even allocate those dollars, they disappeared courtesy of Colorado’s Gallagher Amendment.”

“A strong economy plowed through another summer month with Summit County’s four largest towns all experiencing growth in July’s sales tax receipts, though just barely in Silverthorn,” reports Summit Daily. “Propelled by dramatic spikes in its high-dollar grocery (40.66 percent), restaurants (20.46 percent) and general retail (11.52 percent) categories, Frisco led the way across the county with July’s net taxable sales up 13.54 percent over July 2017.”

“The Fremont County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado Bureau of Investigation are investigating a homicide in the Cotopaxi area,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “According to a press release from Undersheriff Megan Richards, the sheriff’s office responded at 10:45 p.m. Saturday to the area of K Path and 30th trail in Cotopaxi on a report of a shooting. Deputies confirmed a man had been shot and died. Authorities said the identity of the victim is being withheld pending positive identification and notification to next of kin.”

“Poet Jovan Mays led writers through three exercises around the words ‘beyond,’ ‘underneath’ and ‘inside,'” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “For beyond,” he used pictures from nature to spark their ideas. For “underneath,” he asked them to go on a “mental dig.” For “inside,” he asked them to think of a favorite place and five elements of that place, then use parts of the human body to create poetry. His examples included ‘inside the hands of my basement are the best horror stories I’ve ever known.'”

“Matt Payne had a goal: climb Colorado’s 100 highest peaks,” reports The Durango Herald. “It may have taken the Durango resident 39 years to do it, but he logged his last trip this month. During the last decade of climbing, Payne has captured more than 60,000 images of nightscapes, sunrises and sunsets from more than 70 mountain peaks that sometimes took hours or hundreds of photographs to compose. He has lugged dozens of pounds of camera equipment up some of Colorado’s most rigorous trails. He has gone more than a day without sleep for a picture.”

“Usually, if a giant piece of construction equipment is in a river, some project manager would be readying words that wouldn’t suit a church on a Sunday,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins.

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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