The Home Front: The Animas River ‘appears to have hit an all-time low’

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

“The Animas River appears to have hit an all-time low,” reports The Durango Herald. “For the past week or so, the river in Durango has registered the lowest flows ever recorded at a water-level gauge, which has been in operation for 107 years, located behind the Powerhouse Science Center, according to data maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. Around Sept. 26, the Animas River dipped below 100 cubic feet per second – the measurement used for waterways.”

“Northern Colorado developers are wary of the potential effects of an oil and gas-related ballot issue, with one Greeley project put on pause while the developer awaits election results,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “The anxiety mirrors that of many Weld County political leaders, including six of seven Greeley City Council members, who voted Tuesday night to pass a resolution opposing Proposition 112, a measure that would increase the distance between oil and gas wells and schools, homes and bodies of water to 2,500 feet. Under the state’s current regulations, setback requirements are 500 feet from homes and 1,000 feet from schools. Tom Morgan, owner of the Gateway Place Apartments in west Greeley, said he has everything planned out to start construction on a $32 million, 144-unit addition to the apartment complex by the spring. But the project is temporarily on hold, he said, until he knows whether Colorado voters approve Proposition 112.”

“The Grand Junction City Council on Wednesday postponed a vote on an ordinance that would bring significant change to the structure and relationship between the city and its municipal court judge and some city court functions,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “Pushing off a vote on the proposed ordinance — which has come under fire from a retired former Grand Junction municipal judge who cited what she says are some major flaws in the document — is not expressly because of the former judge’s concerns, Councilor Phyllis Norris told the audience during the council’s Wednesday night public meeting.”

“Dozens of residents turned out at Tuesday’s Longmont City Council meeting to request a pause on development near the banks of the St. Vrain River,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Proponents for protecting the St. Vrain River from infringing construction dropped off 724 postcards to council members asking the 150-foot setback of development from the stream’s banks be maintained and enforced. While that setback is in place, it was only in August that updates to the Land Development Code moved the authority to grant a variance to the 150-foot river buffer solely to City Council instead of the city’s planning director.”

“The city of Pueblo’s 911 surcharge fee that pays for costs incurred for the continued operation of emergency telephone service within Pueblo hasn’t been raised since 2009, and because it has not kept up with inflation and falls short of what many other agencies in Colorado have established, Police Chief Troy Davenport wants the surcharge to be doubled,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Davenport said the Pueblo Police Department is working on drafting an ordinance to present to City Council that would raise the monthly surcharge all cellphone and landline customers are charged on their bill to $1.50 from 70 cents.”

“One of four men accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Silverthorne on St. Patrick’s Day in 2016 was sentenced on Wednesday in front of an emotional crowd at the Eagle County Justice Center,” reports Summit Daily.

“Residents and officials rejoiced as rain began to fall on wildfires burning near Steamboat Springs,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “‘Well you wished for it!’ posted William Cotton on a Facebook group for the Old Park and Gore Pass communities near the Silver Creek Fire. ‘It looks like rain every day through next Tuesday with one to three inches of snow likely next Monday.’ Old Park resident Ellen Buras was also celebrating.”

“After an emotional public comment and several hours of discussion Tuesday night, members of the Loveland City Council voted that City Manager Steve Adams should request to extend the state-mandated period for written objections to the oil and gas drilling project planned for southeast Loveland,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Objections are filed with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, and would otherwise be due by Oct. 5, 30 days after Magpie Operating Inc. sent a letter to the city of Loveland, as well as to mineral rights owners in several southeast Loveland neighborhoods, alerting them to the project.”

“Greg Hall has worked in Vail’s public works department for nearly 30 years. In his memory, the Colorado Department of Transportation’s executive director had never come to town,” reports Vail Daily. “That changed on Tuesday, Oct. 2. Department director Mike Lewis and department chief engineer Josh Laipply spent about an hour with the Vail Town Council on Tuesday to talk about past, present and possible future projects.”

“It’s official: Fort Collins wants 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night to support a resolution to that effect, joining eight other Colorado cities aiming to be fossil-free.”

“The suspect in a reported burglary and shooting in Florence has not been identified, according to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Office,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Undersheriff Megan Richards stated in an email Wednesday afternoon that the department is actively investigating tips and leads in the reported shooting. On Tuesday afternoon, authorities responded to CR 119 in Florence on a report of a burglary with shots fired. A homeowner reportedly was shot during the incident.”

“The appearance of high-profile conservative provocateurs and leaders of the national Turning Point USA organization on the University of Colorado campus Wednesday remained peaceful,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “CU was the first on an 11-stop tour by Charlie Kirk and Candace Owens that they dubbed the Campus Clash tour. Turning Point has chapters at high schools and colleges across the country, including a chapter at CU, and has a stated goal of identifying, educating, training and organizing students ‘to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government.'”

“The unemployment rate in the Colorado Springs area surged in August to a nearly three-year high of 4.1 percent, even as another set of data is showing the strongest job market in more than 18 years,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The area’s jobless rate in August was the highest since November 2015 and puts the Springs unemployment rate above the national average for the first time since April 2014, according to data released Wednesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in July and 3.4 percent just over a year ago in August 2017.”

“For Eagle County resident Bobby Bank, the cost of health insurance is incomprehensible,” reports The Denver Post. “Bank, like many Coloradans who live in the mountains, faces some of the highest health insurance premiums in the country. ‘Everyone in Colorado should pay the same price,’ he said. ‘I should be able to buy the insurance you get.’ So it’s with keen interest that he and others are watching the state’s gubernatorial race, in which both candidates — Republican state Treasurer Walker Stapleton and Democratic U.S. Rep. Jared Polis — have pledged to bring down health care costs. While many issues separate the candidates, the starkest contrast may be in their approaches to improving the health care system.”

“Exiting a Democratic campaign office in the Atlanta suburbs, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper sheds his suit jacket in the simmering, humid morning and folds his lanky frame into the back seat of a local volunteer’s car,” reports The Colorado Sun. “He orders the Colorado state trooper assigned to protect him to ride in another vehicle and soon begins to tell stories sprinkled with references to the band OneRepublic, Abraham Lincoln and being the first brewer elected governor since Samuel Adams in 1791. Hickenlooper is sitting in the middle seat and leaning forward as he talks. One of the volunteers reaches behind him and taps me on the shoulder. She tries to whisper, but she’s too excited to keep it quiet. ‘He’s sooo cool,’ Bola Tilghman, 55, tells me with a huge grin.”

“A poll commissioned by non-partisan public policy organization Healthier Colorado released on Tuesday has Democrat Jared Polis leading Republican Walker Stapleton by 7 points in the state’s gubernatorial race,” reports Denverite. “The results show 47 percent of respondents support Polis, compared to 4o percent for Stapleton. Eleven percent of respondents said they are undecided. The non-profit organization focusing on health and public policy hired Keating Research and Magellan Strategies, two-well Colorado-based pollsters, to conduct the poll.”

“Over the last three years, opening day for the Colorado General Assembly was Jan. 13, Jan. 11 and Jan. 10 respectively,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “All three opening days were on a Wednesday. In 2019, the legislative session will begin on Friday, Jan. 4. Yes, you read that right, a Friday. So the next question, for those who may have to cut holiday vacations short, is why? It’s actually required by the Colorado Constitution, and it has to do with this year’s elections of the five top statewide officers: governor, lieutenant governor, secretary of state, treasurer and attorney general.”

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. Hi, I am a new subscriber. Heard some of your staff speak at a lecture forum I attend. Loved what they had to say. Have enjoyed reading this week’s edition. My question is, will you write about Prop. 109 and 110? i read articles in the Post on Sunday from Suthers and Brough. As a 3rd generation Coloradoan, I love the growth of our city and state, but wish we had proper taxation to fund roads, education, police, fire, health. Why is it always cut, cut, cut instead of trying to figure out what is enough/adequate to fund the needs of our communities?? We brag about our highly educated workers, but they come from out of state. We are at the lowest end of pay for our teachers, who are teaching out next generation of leaders, educators, scientists, doctors, nurses. Must we bring them from elsewhere??

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