The Home Front: Major settlement reached in case of dead jail inmate

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

“A correctional health-care provider has agreed to pay $4.25 million in the case of a Fremont County jail inmate who died of prescription drug withdrawal, attorneys said Monday,” The Colorado Springs Gazette reports. “John Patrick Walter, 53, lost 30 pounds in less than three weeks before dying naked on the floor of his cell April 20, 2014. ‘We believe it is one of the highest jail death settlements in Colorado,’ said attorney Edwin Budge of Budge and Heipt in Seattle, which alleged civil rights violations in a 2016 lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver.”

“Climate change is already impacting the Yampa Valley,” writes The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “A report released last week shows warming global temperatures caused by human activity is affecting communities nationwide. The fourth National Climate Assessment, a federal report compiled with input from more than 350 experts and reviewed by 13 federal agencies, details these impacts and the research behind them. In the Southwest region, which includes Colorado, Utah, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada and California, impacts to water resources, ecosystems, indigenous communities, human health and food and energy production were identified as key regional issues.”

“The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office has ruled Longmont police were justified in the fatal shooting of a wanted man outside a movie theater earlier this fall,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “In a letter released by the DA’s Office, Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty said that no charges would be filed against the two officers who shot and killed Gillie Thurby III, 28.”

“It appears the Dead will rise again at Folsom Field next summer, as the University of Colorado let the cat out of the bag on Dead & Company’s plans to play Boulder for the fourth straight year,” reads a story in today’s Boulder Daily Camera. “The band — featuring John Mayer and three of the four surviving members of the Grateful Dead — has not announced details of a summer 2019 tour. But CU’s Athletic Department posted event and ticketing information online last week for a pair of Folsom Field concerts, scheduled for July 5 and 6, to be co-presented by promoters AEG Live and Live Nation.”

The Greeley Tribune ran a story on today’s front page about how a unique flower helped Greeley become known as the Glad City.

“The city of Loveland is creating a strategic plan for addressing homelessness in the city with assistance from University of Denver experts,” writes The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The Loveland City Council will hear a presentation on this plan, among other items, at its study session Tuesday. The city spent $77,027 to hire six project team members from the University of Denver’s Burnes Center on Poverty and Homelessness at the Graduate School of Social Work to help create the plan.”

“About 30.8 percent of Poudre School District students self-reported e-cigarette use, commonly called vaping, in 2017, according to a Healthy Kids Colorado Survey. That’s higher than the state average of 27 percent. And both figures are significantly higher than the national average of 11.7 percent in 2017,” reports The Fort Collins Coloradoan. “And while Colorado sees some of the highest youth vaping rates, there has also been a significant increase nationwide. According to the FDA, e-cigarette use from 2017 to 2018 increased 78 percent among high school students, from 11.7 percent to 20.8 percent nationwide.”

“Denver voters this month approved sales tax increases worth more than $100 million per year, but they didn’t give all that money to City Hall. More than half will be spent by outside groups that don’t yet exist, pushing Denver into uncharted territory for Colorado cities,” The Denver Post reports. “The new groups — two nonprofits and a commission — will use tax dollars to provide mental health services, college scholarships and healthy food for kids. It’s an expansion of a “privatization” model that has caused problems for Denver in the past, according to Councilman Kevin Flynn.”

“The Colorado River District’s board endorsed a new state policy that largely incorporates the Western Slope protections the district wants to see included in any program to reduce water demand, if needed to address falling reservoir storage levels in the river basin because of drought,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The board in a conference call Monday also supported in concept the passage of federal legislation that would be needed to implement drought contingency plan agreements that have been reached among states in the Colorado River Basin. But it is withholding full support until it gets a chance to see an actual bill, which has yet to be formally proposed.”

“Fried turkey is often a staple of Thanksgiving meals, but making one produces a pesky byproduct: used oil,” writes The Durango Herald this morning. Dumping it down the drain can cause all kinds of problems for residents and for the city – it’s hard on garbage disposals and residential pipes, and it clogs city pipes. And often, when frying a turkey, there’s too much grease to throw in the garbage. That’s why the city of Durango, around the holidays, offers a way to get rid of that used oil. The Durango Santa Rita Water Reclamation Facility accepted used cooking oil from dozens of residents over the holiday weekend, at no cost. The oil, which once produced energy in the form of food for humans, will be used to generate electricity for the water reclamation facility, said Assistant Utilities Director Jarrod Biggs.”

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.