The Home Front: After ACLU letter, Durango has ‘stopped issuing citations to people who camp overnight in public open spaces’

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

“The city of Durango has stopped issuing citations to people who camp overnight in public open spaces, excluding parks and sidewalks, city officials said,” according to The Durango Herald. “The city stopped issuing the citations after receiving a letter from the American Civil Liberties Union admonishing the city for its practice and in the wake of a ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said prosecuting homeless people for sleeping on public property when there is no shelter available violates the Constitution’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment. A panel of three judges for the 9th Circuit Court opined Sept. 4 that ‘a municipality cannot criminalize such behavior consistently with the Eighth Amendment when no sleeping space is practically available in any shelter.’ The city does not have a dedicated shelter for homeless people, although it is looking at options to build one near the Manna soup kitchen, said Assistant City Manager Amber Blake.”

“Dillon became a battleground for free speech Thursday when six pro-choice advocates posted up outside the Women’s Resource Center of the Rockies holding picket signs calling it a ‘fake clinic,'” reports Summit Daily. “The National Abortion Rights Action League, or NARAL, is promoting similar protests across the country accompanied by the hashtag “#FakeClinic” for social media, as abortion rights advocates try to flip the script on the pro-life movement, which has been protesting abortion providers for years.”

“One can’t help but overemphasize the ‘brew’ in OktoBREWfest, and that’s exactly what the Greeley Downtown Development Authority wanted,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “DDA Associate Director Bianca Fisher said BREW is not an acronym, but a small way to differentiate Greeley’s event from other Oktoberfests by highlighting local craft breweries. ‘We recognize that we’re kind of in the Napa Valley of breweries in Colorado,’ Bianca Fisher said. Besides having traditional German food, an assortment of music and a kids area bursting with activities, Greeley’s annual OktoBREWfest returns to Lincoln Park, 8th Street and 9th Avenue, on Friday and Saturday boasting more than 50 brews from 11 breweries in Northern Colorado.”

“The good news was they hadn’t gathered here for two and a half years,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The bad news was that another child’s name was added to the memorial on the old courthouse lawn, joining the others who died too young, as a result of abuse.”

“A Longmont man accused of stabbing his brother to death made his first appearance Wednesday in Boulder County Court,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Daniel Lopez, 29, was arrested Monday on suspicion of first-degree murder, animal cruelty and three counts of felony menacing. No bond has been set in his case. Lopez is scheduled to appear in court again Thursday to be formally charged.”

“It’s difficult to make improvements without funding. For years, Steamboat Springs’ downtown business improvement district has been an organization without a budget,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “This November, for the third time, the BID is seeking businesses’ approval on a ballot measure that would fund the BID. On Sept. 18, the Steamboat City Council approved the BID’s final operating plan, which outlines services and improvements the BID would seek to make downtown. The BID includes businesses, nonprofits and government offices on Yampa Street, Lincoln Avenue and parts of Oak Street from Third to 12th streets.”

“It was hard to miss the towering column of smoke that filled the Roaring Fork Valley skyline when the Lake Christine Fire erupted the first week in July,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The catastrophic blaze burned devastatingly close to the towns of Basalt, El Jebel and the neighboring community of Missouri Heights, where numerous horse ranches are located. The fire took a toll on many, impacting families, their livelihoods and even some businesses. Located in the heart of Missouri Heights near the base of Basalt Mountain, WindWalkers Equine Assisted Learning and Therapy center employs a staff of four to eight, depending on the time of year, plus 11 independent contractors and over 70 volunteers. They care for 13-18 horses, a tribe of goats, and a handful of smaller farm animals on the 18 acres of land northeast of Carbondale.”

“A continuation of a public hearing over a proposed 100-megawatt solar energy generation facility in Stem Beach has been set for Oct. 16,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The project — proposed for an area north of Burnt Mill Road about a mile west of Interstate 25 — is facing stiff opposition from neighbors in the adjacent St. Charles River Estates community south of Pueblo. Commissioner Terry Hart asked that the regular agenda on that date be short so the commissioners can devote their full attention to the hearing. At the last hearing, the proponents and the opposition had to wait more than two hours before their item was heard.”

“Sean Dougherty, a local real estate agent, eight-year veteran of the Larimer County Planning Commission and candidate for the District 1 seat on the Larimer County Board of Commissioners, will serve out the remainder of Commissioner Lew Gaiter’s term on the board,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Dougherty will replace Gaiter, who died Sept. 18 at 58 after a decade of battling cancer. Dougherty will serve the remainder of Gaiter’s last term, through the end of 2018. Larimer County Republican Party delegates appointed Dougherty Thursday night by a unanimous voice vote from the 169 delegates in attendance; 148 were needed for a quorum of the body of over 300 members.”

“Chief Trial Deputy Catrina Weigel will be taking over as chief of the sexual assault unit at the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Weigel, who had been serving as the County Court Chief with the DA’s office and has been a prosecutor since 2001, is succeeding Caryn Datz, who left the office to become a judge in the 17th Judicial District. ‘Combating sexual abuse is an important issue for our community and one that the Boulder District Attorney’s Office takes seriously,’ Weigel said. “I am honored to be part of a group of dedicated deputy DA’s, law enforcement, and professionals who work tirelessly on behalf of the survivors of these horrible crimes.”

“Chris Mailliard was a first responder when he was dispatched to the Columbine High School massacre April 20, 1999, and now he uses his skills and real-world experience to help prepare other organizations for similar instances,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Mailliard, an emergency preparedness specialist, played the role of a shooter during an active shooter training Thursday at St. Thomas More Hospital, where staff joined forces with the Cañon City Police Department and other agencies to evaluate and train for active shooter response tactics.”

“You know that $144 million you said the school district could spend on new schools? It turned out to be $159 million, and the extra money won’t cost taxpayers an extra dime,” reports Vail Daily. “That $159 million does not include Vail’s $14 million parking garage on the Red Sandstone Elementary School site, for which the town of Vail and the ski company picked up the tab — so that didn’t really cost you anything, either.”

“A Colorado Springs murder suspect known as ‘Devious’ escaped custody in Pueblo County last April by squeezing through the sliding window between the back and front seats of a Colorado State Patrol car and driving away through a crowd of officers,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “One trooper had to dive out of the way of the stolen patrol car as William Camacho Jr. made his getaway, prosecutors said Thursday. Camacho crashed minutes later, capping a high-speed pursuit that began April 25 when he fired shots at a different state trooper on Interstate 25 in southern El Paso County. The trooper wasn’t hit. The escape was detailed Thursday at an evidentiary hearing in 4th Judicial District Court.”

“Two sons of immigrants laid out starkly different views of the United States on Wednesday night: One of a booming economy with unemployment at a snake-belly low; the other, a country where new graduates are saddled and struggle with housing, while others worry a sudden healthcare crisis will bankrupt them,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins.

“At some point, Stacy Lambright’s husband had to ask why she was keeping a huge bundle of glossy political mailers in their suburban Thornton home,” reports The Denver Post. “‘It’s obscene,’ she explained. Nearly every day, Lambright fetches another full-page ad from her mailbox — most of them about the state Senate race in which Democrat Faith Winter is challenging Republican incumbent Beth Martinez Humenik — and files it into a folder in a small cabinet. Along with the parades of canvassers and the constant Facebook ads, the advertising is a clear signal: The Lambrights have some of the most important votes in Colorado’s 2018 elections. When Nov. 6 comes, this will be one of five down-ballot districts that makes or breaks Democrats’ hopes of taking over both chambers of the Colorado General Assembly.”

“We know you’re seeing political ads even if you don’t watch TV,” reports The Colorado Sun. “They’re showing up on YouTube videos, Twitter, Instagram, and, especially Facebook. In his most recent campaign filing, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis reported spending $500,000 for social media advertising at the end of August. By comparison, his Republican opponent Walker Stapleton, has spent $19,434 on digital advertising during the general election campaign. Facebook ads purchased by Russian interests targeting American voters may have had an impact on the 2016 elections. And since then, social media companies are ramping up transparency efforts amid scrutiny from Congress and consumers.”

“The women from Globeville and Elyria-Swansea who put the C in community land trust wear bright pink T-shirts and speak softly, with determination and often in Spanish,” reports Denverite. “The T-shirts were out in neon force this week in the first of two back-to-back neighborhood gatherings that offered a glimpse of the urgency and anguish Denver residents feel as they seek ways to control rising housing costs. At Tuesday’s meeting in the auditorium at Bruce Randolph School and the next night in a small conference room at the Montbello Branch Library, dozens of participants discussed a trust model in which the land under a group of homes is owned communally and never sold, putting a brake on appreciation.”

“A meth bust. A stolen car with secret documents. A shy young woman who finds herself in political peril. All of the elements you’d want for a good political thriller — yet this isn’t fiction,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “And this tangled tale has a Colorado connection. The documentary Dark Money is part thriller and part exposé on illegal coordination between candidate campaigns and dark-money groups that have taken place in Montana in the past decade. Such so-called “outside spending groups” — nonprofits that spend money to influence elections without disclosing their donors — are not allowed to coordinate their activities with candidates or campaigns. Those violations have been the subject of numerous lawsuits and a criminal trial against a state representative.”

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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