The Home Front: Boycott of Salvation Army causes bell-ringer shortage

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“A year ago, bells were ringing outside City Market and all was jolly as Durango residents knew that every dollar they put into the Salvation Army kettle would stay in the community, donated to local nonprofits,” reports The Durango Herald. “Then came spring, and with it, representatives from the Salvation Army’s corporate offices in Denver who announced plans to take the Durango chapter from an entirely volunteer-led effort to a service center with an office staffed by a paid employee. Local board member Sweetie Marbury, who is also Durango’s mayor, called for a boycott of the charity for making a change that would create overhead expenses and allegedly take local dollars away from the region. Several board members resigned in protest, including Marbury. ‘All these years, the money raised in La Plata County stayed here,’ Marbury said in May. ‘And now, they’re going to take our money and do what they want.’ Fast-forward seven months, and the bells are ringing again, residents are stuffing the kettles and a service center is operational in Durango. The trouble is that the upheaval from seven months ago has made it hard for the nonprofit to enlist bell-ringing volunteers, said Michelle Brown, chairwoman of the board for the Salvation Army in Durango.”

“A pair of small-magnitude earthquakes struck north of Glenwood Springs early Tuesday morning, according to the U.S. Geological Survey’s Earthquake Hazards Program reporting center website,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post Independent. “The first quake hit about 3:02 a.m. just a little over a mile north of Glenwood Springs and at a depth of 3.2 miles beneath the earth’s surface. It registered at a magnitude 3.4 quake. The second quake was about 3.7 miles north of town at 4:13 a.m., also at a depth of 3.2 miles, and registered 3.6 magnitude, according to the earthquake information site. According to the educational website UPSeis, an earthquake of 2.5 to 5.4 magnitude on the Richter scale is often felt, but only causes minor damage. About 30,000 such quakes are reported worldwide each year, according to the site.”

“Family members and witnesses had been waiting in the halls of Moffat County Courthouse Monday afternoon to learn the jury’s verdict in the trial of former Moffat County High School teacher and coach Justin Folley. And as they seated themselves in the courtroom, they did so according to whether they were on the side of the defense or the side of the prosecution. District Court Judge Shelley Hill read the verdict. ‘As to all counts, we the jury find the defendant not guilty,'” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “Folley was charged with 10 felony counts of sexual exploitation of a child based on evidence that he allegedly elicited three nude photographs of a female student over the course of a sexually explicit text message exchange and that he sent her a video of himself masturbating.”

“Missing 29-year-old mother Kelsey Berreth apparently had planned to be gone from her job as a flight instructor for Doss Aviation in Pueblo for a week after Thanksgiving. But she still hasn’t returned home. Now a nationwide search is underway for Berreth, who moved to Woodland Park in 2016 with her fiance, the father of her 1-year-old daughter,” reports The Colorado Springs Gazette.

“A complaint was filed with the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office on Monday challenging whether Rep.-elect Matt Soper can legally serve in the Colorado House when it convenes next month,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “The complaint, filed by Palisade resident David Edwards, claims Soper may not have actually lived in House District 54 for the required 12 months prior to being elected to the seat last month.”

“Renovations to turn two Thompson School District elementary schools into an early childhood center and a technical education center — a proposal before the school board — would cost just more than $11 million,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “That figure does not include the costs of moving Ferguson High School on site with the career and technical education center (CTE) — a second piece of the proposal that would add another nearly $6 million in costs. District staff says revenue set aside for repairs at the schools, sale of other buildings and a grant would cover about two-thirds of the associated $17 million total costs. And they hope that revenue from the sale of voter-approved bonds will be enough to cover the last $6 million.”

“It’s a classic catch-22. Longmont needs housing to support its growing workforce, but its roads can’t effectively accommodate the increased use without upgrades the city can’t pay for without the additional revenue provided by new developments. During a neighborhood meeting at Front Range Community College on Monday, Trailbreak Partners , a Denver based development firm that was attempting to gather feedback on its preliminary plans for a 250-unit mixed-use development at 1901 Hover St., ran head-on into this conundrum,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Despite the fact that Doug Elenowitz , a co-founder of Trailbreak Partners, said the development was specifically designed to provide attainably priced homes for those unable to qualify for affordable housing, but who are also being priced out of market-rate housing — a segment of the community the Longmont as identified as a key need — the 20 or so attendees could not get beyond how the project would affect traffic in the area.”

“Transit experts say the ongoing troubles plaguing completion of metro Denver’s commuter rail system are among the worst in the country — even as its ridership is growing,” reports The Denver Post. “The big sticking point — which has prompted 2 1/2 years of delays and produced dueling lawsuits — is the timing of the safety gates at crossings on the University of Colorado A-Line to the airport and the yet-to-open G-Line to the west suburbs.Last month, federal regulators demanded that the Regional Transportation District submit a plan by the end of this week that identifies a fix for the issue once and for all — or face the possibility of a shutdown of the 23-mile A-Line.”

“University of Colorado faculty leaders are continuing to provide input on student evaluations of instructors, which they say have the potential for bias, while emphasizing that the evaluations should only be one piece of information used to assess performance,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “Students on Monday completed faculty course questionnaires, which ask them a series of questions about their courses and instructors. However, two questions in particular — which ask students to rate their professor and rate their course overall — ‘may be biased against members of several protected classes, including race, ethnicity, and/or gender,’ according to the Boulder Faculty Assembly.”

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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