The Home Front: Travel season expected to smash records

Your daily roundup of the biggest stories from newspapers across Colorado

“Anyone who can get an early start on their holiday travel might want to this year,” reports The Colorado Springs Gazette. “Nearly a third of Coloradans — a record 1.8 million people — are expected to take to the roads, rails, seas and skies from Saturday through New Year’s Day, reports AAA Colorado.”

“The operator of two downtown Aspen skin-care boutiques faces civil allegations that its employees used strong-armed sales tactics, overcharged customers and possibly drugged them with spiked Champagne,” reports The Aspen Times. “Separate lawsuits filed Wednesday in Pitkin County District Court by a couple from Durango and an individual from Las Cruces, New Mexico, leveled those and other allegations against Aspen Retail Management, which runs Aspen Beauty Boutique on the 500 block of Cooper Avenue and Lux Skin Spa on the Hyman Avenue pedestrian mall.”

“The dominance of the Front Range economy isn’t a new topic in Colorado. But that massive center of gravity is attracting nearly all the growth the state has mustered, and that is creating even more concentration of economic activity,” reports The Denver Post. “Colorado has 64 counties, but just 10 of them, stretching contiguously from Larimer and Weld in the north through metro Denver and down to El Paso in the south, accounted for 85 percent of the state’s economic activity in 2015, the most recent year available. Put another way, those 10 counties are contributing 85 cents on the dollar in the goods and services sold in the state. The next 10 counties are throwing in a dime and the remaining 44 counties are digging deep to put in a nickel.”

“The first homes in the still unapproved West Steamboat Neighborhoods development will be deed-restricted to residents of Routt County and divvied up through a lottery system,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “On Tuesday, the Steamboat Springs City Council told city staff and Brynn Grey, the developers seeking the annexation of 190 acres west of city limits, that they wanted to see the lottery included within the ordinance annexing the land or as a condition of approval in annexing the land.”

“In an interview with The Pueblo Chieftain, Police Chief Troy Davenport said he would be against having a safe injection site in city limits,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “‘It’s asking the government to be complicit in a felony and perpetuating something that is harmful to an individual and society,” Davenport said. Davenport also said any city considering this would have to consider the facility location and the impact it would have. When Denver City Council passed the ordinance for a supervised injection site pilot program, the Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Colorado issued a joint response that was a sharp rebuke of the plan that made clear the operation of a safe injection site is not legal under federal law.

“A Lafayette couple around midnight Thursday began moving a nearly 100-year-old house from University Hill to their property in Old Town Lafayette,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “With assistance from the Colorado State Patrol blocking intersections when needed and support from PS Piloting Service, Star House Moving transported the house — sans its roof to limit its height — through darkened streets to make the approximate 11-mile journey. ‘We’re gluttons for punishment, so we took it on,’ Tim Shafer said. Shafer said he and his wife, Kate Williams, responded to a request for proposals from Boulder to acquire a home at 744 University Ave., which they are moving to Geneseo Street in Lafayette, where they already have a historic home.”

“Local air travelers will soon have a new destination to travel to as United Airlines is adding a direct flight between Chicago and Grand Junction,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “United announced Wednesday it will start a seasonal flight between Grand Junction Regional Airport and Chicago O’Hare International Airport in June.”

“Longmont city staff got city council go-ahead Tuesday to proceed with establishing a program to refund to low-income residents at least part of the 3.53 percent municipal sales tax the city charges on groceries,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “As is the case with many Colorado cities and towns, Longmont does not exempt food purchases from its municipal sales and use tax. Staff had suggested, and council members informally agreed Tuesday night, that Longmont will probably base eligibility for the rebates on eligibility guidelines for Boulder County’s Low Income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP). Those guidelines take into account the number of members in a family with incomes below 160 percent of the federal poverty level. According to a staff memo to council, an individual with income of $19,296, a couple with income $26,796 or a family of three with income of $33,696 would be eligible for the rebate.”

“This year will long be known as the year of the wildfire, as a perfect storm of drought, high temperatures and dangerously poor forest health combined to turn large parts of Colorado into huge, standing bonfires. In 2018, 11 megafires burned a combined 359,991 acres across the state — dwarfing acreage from years prior,” reports The Summit Daily. “The Buffalo Mountain Fire came within yards of destroying homes in Summit County this summer, but no closer due to planning, prevention and mitigation efforts over the years. The Forest Health Task Force convened for the final time this year to go over those efforts at the local, state and federal level, the impact that they had on protecting the community and nature, and what’s in store for 2019.”

“Loveland City Manager Steve Adams authorized emergency funding Tuesday to help quickly repair a series of leaks in one of the city’s primary water transmission pipelines, which runs along Wilson Avenue,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “The leakage will cause one lane of Wilson Avenue to close between Eisenhower Boulevard and 22nd Street for a few weeks while the pipe is replaced, though neither an exact project schedule nor lane closure has been determined. Eight leaks have occurred in the line in the past three weeks. It’s leakage at an ‘unprecedented’ rate, said Joe Bernosky, director of Loveland Water and Power. The declaration of emergency does not indicate a threat to anyone’s safety; it merely declares an immediate need for a fix and allows the work to get done right away. The city can now select a contractor without needing to wait for approval from the City Council.”


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.