The Home Front: Russians ‘targeted the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’ with hacking and a ‘smear campaign’

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

“Russian military intelligence targeted the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Anti-Doping Agency with a four-year hacking and smear campaign, according to a federal indictment unsealed Thursday,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The indictment, handed down by a grand jury in Pennsylvania, charges seven Russian military intelligence agents with “computer hacking, wire fraud, aggravated identity theft, and money laundering.” Federal prosecutors say the goal was to discredit the Anti-Doping Agency after it “exposed a Russian state-sponsored athlete doping program.” The hackers targeted anti-doping agencies in Canada and Europe, too.”

“The Greeley Police Department is exploring a body camera program, Chief Mark Jones announced this week,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “On Saturday, the new chief presented his draft budget to the Greeley City Council during a weekend work session, which included line item expenses for body cameras, video storage and the addition of at least one officer to manage the administrative needs of the program. The move is in contrast with Jones’ predecessor, retired Greeley Police Chief Jerry Garner. Despite conducting a pilot program in 2016, Garner was often quoted in The Tribune as being opposed to body cameras either because of the cost or a lack of a significant public outcry or because he wanted other departments to serve as the guinea pigs and work out the bugs.”

“A hearing on Crestone Peak Resources’ plans to drill 140 wells north of Erie was indefinitely postponed Thursday as a Boulder County lawsuit against the oil and gas company makes its way through the courts,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission — the state agency tasked with reviewing oil and gas drilling applications — granted the county’s motion to delay a hearing on Crestone’s plans to drill five multi-well pads on three sites along Colo. 52 north of Erie that would drain 10 square miles of hydrocarbons through horizontal drilling.”

“A Colorado State Patrol trooper working out of Steamboat Springs has been fired after allegations surfaced that he acted inappropriately with women he had arrested for driving under the influence,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Kris Hammond, who has been practicing law in Steamboat for 32 years, brought the allegations against Trooper Jules Higgins to the attention of the District Attorney’s Office, which subsequently notified State Patrol. ‘Never seen anything like this before,’ Hammond said.”

“When the doors of the building at Fourth Street and Rood Avenue first opened 100 years ago, the world was a radically different place,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “For one, the building — which now houses several federal agencies including the FBI and a federal courtroom — was a post office back then.”

“A long-term power contract between EVRAZ Rocky Mountain Steel and Xcel Energy was given final approval by the Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The largely confidential agreement guarantees the steelmaker a fixed electricity rate for the next 23 years and and also calls for a 240 megawatt solar power array at the plant. That agreement also requires the steelmaker to make substantial investment and modernization at its Pueblo mill.”

“The 12 horizontal wells planned to be drilled beneath Loveland neighborhoods represent only the northernmost fraction of Magpie Operating Inc.’s plans for southeast of Loveland near Colo. 402, a company engineer said this week,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Magpie Operating Inc. is planning to drill about 60 horizontal oil and gas wells southeast of Loveland beginning in 2019 and continuing for five years, according to petroleum engineer Sam Bradley. The operation will call for five more well pads to be built due south of the 12-well operation — slated to be built near First Street and North Boyd Lake Avenue — that Loveland residents heard about earlier this month. The six well pads in total are for the purpose of extracting oil and gas from formations in the Loveland Field, which stretches about four miles into Larimer County from Colo. 402.”

“As the moon rose over the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge one night last week, two small planes waited on a runway across town, ready to receive highly finicky travelers that traditionally haven’t been part of the jet set: endangered baby black-footed ferrets,” reports The Denver Post. “They’re dying elsewhere, but proliferating here at this refuge established on military-industrial wasteland northeast of Denver. Suddenly, wildlife managers outside Colorado are eager to import the animals. It fell to a team of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and technicians, gathering at the refuge near four large trucks mounted with bright-light scopes, to round up 14 wild-born ferrets from the underground burrows of prairie dogs — their prey.”

“On Saturday, Sept. 29, a second wildfire in four months started near the shooting range in Minturn,” reports Vail Daily. “While the investigation is ongoing, it has been declared ‘human caused.’ The first wildfire there on Saturday, June 9, was started by someone shooting “exploding targets,” which is illegal. On Wednesday, Oct. 3, the Minturn Town Council started the discussion about possibly shutting down the shooting range — which has been there for 100 years, some residents say — and finding a new location for it, something that could take an act of Congress, due to its current location on federal land. The call to action is about the safety of the town and its residents.”

“The Fort Collins City Council on Tuesday approved a new three-year contract for police officers’ salaries and benefits,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “Ninety-eight percent of the Northern Colorado Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 3 members who voted on the contract voted in favor of approval. In 2017, the contract was voted down by a margin of 3-1 after the FOP reached an impasse with the city for the first time in 10 years.”

“A dead issue with the city council was resurrected during Wednesday’s General Government meeting,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “A proposed expansion of the deer hunting season within city limits to control deer herd populations was brought back to the table for discussion. ‘We’re not recommending any changes to the city ordinance,’ Area Wildlife Manager Jim Aragon said. ‘This is an expansion of the program that’s currently there.'”

“Another witness has provided an attorney for Deborah Ramirez, the Boulder woman who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual misconduct, a statement regarding the incident Ramirez says happened at Yale University,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “John Clune, a Boulder-based lawyer representing Ramirez, tweeted the second letter containing the statement sent to FBI Director Christopher Wray just before noon Thursday. Both the new and earlier letters are signed by William Pittard, a partner at Kaiser Dillon PLLC, the law firm representing Ramirez in Washington, D.C.”

“A new Facebook page called ‘The Farmington Tribune’ that aims to be a satirical online news site for the Four Corners is causing some ruckus and confusion because its creators haven’t explicitly identified its intent,” reports The Durango Herald. “The website’s posts are often filled with borderline true stories that change only a few key details – using a different tactic than many similar satirical publications like The Onion and Clickhole utilize.”

“Brian Watson, the Republican candidate for Colorado treasurer, isn’t ashamed to talk about his personal financial history, including tax liens and other troubles during the Great Recession,” reports The Colorado Sun. “In fact, he’s written a book about it and even says it gives him a unique experience that makes him better suited to handle the state’s assets. Brian Watson, the Republican candidate for Colorado treasurer. ‘We all went through a down economy, and you learn lessons,’ he said. ‘I’m thankful for those lessons. We did the best that we could. I want to use that personal experience of growing through such an economy to represent the people of Colorado.'”

“Two dozen artists and artist groups will receive Urban Arts Fund grants to paint murals around the city, Denver Arts & Venues announced today,” reports Denverite. “Sixteen of the grantees are Colorado-based and eight of them are from Denver. The hometown cohort includes Melanie Kerwin, Leslie Minnis, VSA/Access Gallery with Josiah Lopez and Javier Lopez, Youth Employment Academy Students, Annie Holyfield and Miguel Robledo aka MPek, Casey Kawaguchi, Daniel Chavez and Anthony Garcia Sr./Birdseed Collective, according to a press release. They’ll receive between $1,000 and $8,000 each for their work.”

“Colorado is awash in suds, and that means more jobs are on tap,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “That’s the point of a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau, which apparently has been busy counting breweries as well as people.”

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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