The Home Front: After ‘brutal years of rising teen suicides’ in El Paso County, numbers spike again

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

“After several brutal years of rising teen suicides in El Paso County, the numbers have been trending downward,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Spring. “Two county youths 17 and younger killed themselves through September of this year, reports the county Coroner’s Office. But the numbers spiked again this month, when three more youths died by suicide.”

“Peering over his dash at an intersection in Hudson, Cpl. Chad Hayes carefully scanned each passing driver and counted out loud,” reports The Greeley Tribune. ‘She does not,’ he said. That’s one. ‘He does not,’ he said. That’s two. As he continued his survey, some drivers spotted the Colorado State Patrol’s flying wheel emblazoned on his car and, alerted, sat up, quickly evaluating their driving. But Hayes was conducting a test to illustrate a problem.”

“The Federal Aviation Administration is still investigating the death of a man who was scheduled to jump Thursday afternoon at Mile-Hi Skydiving, which is based at Vance Brand Municipal Airport. Logan Polfuss, 23, was found dead Friday morning in a field in unincorporated Boulder County, near the airport,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “His girlfriend reported him missing the night before around 9 p.m., according to police.”

“Referendum 2C, a ballot measure that city of Steamboat Springs voters will be deciding, would allow challenges to the city’s land-use decisions to be heard in district court,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “In the city, lawsuits challenging the Steamboat Springs City Council’s decisions on land use have historically been filed in the 14th Judicial District Court.”

“A federal judge has ruled that the area Bureau of Land Management’s recently submitted Resource Management Plan failed to adequately weigh environmental impacts, and said the agency will have to go back and discuss the plan with various environment-focused organizations,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The Silt-based Colorado River Valley Field Office administers nearly 3 million acres of public land, and the approval of an RMP is required. The approval of an RMP is considered a major federal action, significantly affecting the quality of the human environment, Judge Lewis T. Babcock said in his ruling.”

“The community’s love of the steel industry, its workforce and a package of state and local economic development incentives leaves EVRAZ confident of its proposal to convert its Pueblo steel mill into the most modern rail mill in North America, a top company executive said Monday in Pueblo,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “Conrad Winkler, chief executive of Chicago-based EVRAZ North America, traveled to Pueblo on Monday to personally announce the selection of the Pueblo mill for the company’s proposed $480 million modernization project that will include the construction of a new unit to produce longer rails.”

“Loveland residents love the Devil’s Backbone Open Space and want to see it maintained but do not necessarily like the idea of paying a fee at the open space that has been free for 18 years,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Those opinions were prevalent among the steady stream of people who attended an open house Monday to learn about the Larimer County Department of Natural Resources’ proposal to add a fee at the popular open space west of Loveland starting in January.”

“Eagle County’s high school mountain bikers wrapped up their most successful season to date on Sunday, Oct. 21, as Vail Ski & Snowboard Academy and Eagle Valley High School finished one-two in Division 3,” reports Vail Daily. “Battle Mountain High School, a Division 2 team, continued its streak of being the best in the conference, but in beating out all the other teams in the north conference, Battle Mountain still finished fourth overall as the teams from the talented south conference swept the top three spots.”

“Community leaders are again urging Cañon City residents to approve a measure that would increase the city’s lodging tax to garner profits for a marketing initiative that would potentially attract visitors to the Royal Gorge Region,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Ballot Issue 2A boosts the lodging tax rate to five percent from two percent for those staying in short-term lodging facilities, such as motels, hotels and campgrounds starting in 2019. Properties lying outside the city limit would not see the increase. In June, the City of Cañon City approved an ordinance to place Issue 2A on the November ballot after a nearly identical measure, 2B, was narrowly defeated by 180 votes in 2017.”

“The Frisco Historic Park & Museum is coming off a banner year, with attendance numbers reaching new heights and more people than ever choosing to engage with the town and county’s fascinating history,” reports Summit Daily. “But as visitors rise, the museum is looking to the future to determine how best to keep the park fresh and vibrant for new guests.”

“While election season might have officially gotten underway with the mailing of ballots, or maybe with the airing of the first campaign ad, it became a little more official Monday when Voter Service and Polling Centers opened in counties across the state,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The centers — at which people can vote in person, drop off mail ballots, get replacement ballots or register to vote — will be open through Election Day, Nov. 6.”

“Amendment 74 is getting bashed. Whether it’s Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, calling it ‘one of the worst initiatives that I have seen’ or Republican Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers labeling it ‘stupid’ and ‘a disaster for taxpayers of our state and local governments,’ Amendment 74 has elicited high-profile opposition far and wide,” reports The Denver Post. “The measure, which would amend the Colorado constitution to require that property owners be compensated for devaluation of their property due to government action, has been condemned by dozens of city councils across the state. It has also taken on heavy fire from the Colorado Municipal League as an unwise policy replete with unintended consequences.”

“Like a bread bowl before the pasta course, the state blue book and separate pamphlet for local ballot issues are signs of things to come,” reports The Coloradoan in Fort Collins. “The ballot, in this case. The two voter guides aren’t handed down from on high; they’re compiled by flesh-and-blood folks hoping to give a neutral perspective on issues that will steer the future of the state and our local communities. But the compiling agencies go about the work in different ways. Here’s a peek behind the curtain of the government voter guides.”

“As Colorado’s marijuana industry continues to grow, per capita recreational sales in Montezuma County in the first eight months of 2018 were nearly double the per capita sales in neighboring La Plata County,” reports The Cortez Journal. “From January through August, dispensaries in Montezuma County, population 26,000 according to recent census estimates, sold $15.1 million in recreational marijuana, amounting to $580 per person. Dispensaries in La Plata County, with a population of 56,000, sold $16.3 million in recreational marijuana during the same time period, totaling $293 per person.”

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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