The Home Front: New images from the Kuiper Belt

Your daily roundup of the biggest stories from newspapers across Colorado

“The team behind the Boulder-born New Horizons mission on Wednesday released the clearest image to date from its New Year’s Eve flyby of Ultima Thule, the Kuiper Belt Object on which the spacecraft set its sights after a historic brush with Pluto more than three years and a billion miles ago,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The initial images reveal two conjoined spherical lobes, what planetary scientists call a contact binary, that is already being likened to a dusky, celestial snowman.”

“A Woodland Park man who admitted participating in the murders of his mother and stepfather when he was 15 has been resentenced to 60 years in prison, giving him hope for eventual release,” reports The Colorado Springs Gazette. “Jacob Ind’s new sentence was imposed by 4th Judicial District Judge Lin Billings Vela in a written order Tuesday night. Now 41, Ind had faced 32 to 72 years in prison under a new plea agreement in the 1992 murders of Kermode and Pamela Jordan.”

“Six animal-welfare groups … joined forces to form the coalition and target the 81501 zip code as the low-hanging fruit in their first efforts to trap, neuter and release cats to try to stem the population,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “An initial grant from the Animal Assistance Foundation paid for project director Cree Roberts’ salary, and other funding from Grand Rivers Humane Society, Denver Metro Cats Around Town and Best Friends Animal Society as well as donations to the six participating organizations helped pay for the campaign. Since the coalition formed last year and Roberts started educating, enlisting and engaging those willing to help, more than 1,700 cats have been sterilized by the coalition and its partners. In turn, more than 10,000 kittens have been prevented from becoming conceived, according to a formula assuming that each female cat would have had 10 kittens. This doesn’t tally the number of kittens born to that second generation, which would result in exponential population growth over a short amount of time, since cats can have more than one litter of kittens in a year.”

“Snowpack in the Yampa Valley is just above average,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “As of Dec. 31, 2018, the Yampa and White River basin had 107 percent of the median snow water equivalent, which is a measurement of how much water is contained within snowpack. At the same time last year, the valley had received 65 percent of the median.”

“For the past two years, the Silverton Flying Sled Dog Races hasn’t been able to catch a break, but event organizers are confident conditions will be just right this winter to hold the competition for the first time,” reports The Durango Herald. “The first year the event was planned, 2017, there was too much snow. A storm dumped on the San Juan Mountains the day before the race, creating risky avalanche conditions on Molas Pass, where the race was to be held. In 2018, there wasn’t enough snow. A record drought year left the track too bare to safely run the dogs. The event, which was planned for January, was moved to February in the hopes conditions would change. But snow never arrived, and the race was ultimately canceled. This year, event organizers are optimistic the race on the weekend of Jan. 12-13 will be a go.”

“Construction firms in Colorado expect to do more work this year than last, even as they continue to struggle with worker shortages that are delaying projects and driving up costs, according to a construction outlook survey released Wednesday by the Associated General Contractors of America,” reports The Denver Post. “The markets where Colorado contractors said they expect to see an increase in dollar volume compared to last year are education, water infrastructure, public buildings, private offices, federal projects and transportation, not including highways. The construction industry employed 170,900 people in the state in November, according to the U.S. Department of Labor. The average hourly wage earned by construction workers was $30.10, up from $28.34 in 2017.”

“Local birdwatchers counted Loveland birds New Year’s Day as part of the National Audubon Christmas Count,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Birdwatcher Denise Bretting reported that she and 63 other participants compiled sightings of 99 different species, including a barn owl, very rare in winter. Other highlights included a gyrfalcon, glaucous gull and northern mockingbird.”

“The federal government shutdown has stopped the review of numerous projects proposed on the White River National Forest, but it will only create a problem if the furlough continues for an extended time, according to White River National Forest Supervisor Scott Fitzwilliams,” reports The Aspen Times. “White River staff and contractors were reviewing scores of projects at the time the furlough started Dec. 21. The projects include Aspen Skiing Co.’s expansions of snowmaking systems at Aspen Mountain and Snowmass. Another project in the process was the addition of a chairlift and terrain on the Pandora section of Aspen Mountain. Fitzwilliams had issued a draft decision notice approving those projects prior to the shutdown. They were subject to a 45-day objection period by eligible parties. That process will be placed on hold.”

“Telluride Ski Resort has halted horse-drawn sleigh rides indefinitely after a New Year’s Eve ‘incident,’ according to Matt Windt, the resort’s vice president of sales and marketing,” reports The Telluride Daily Planet. “A sleigh, which was being pulled by a team of Haflingers (Loki and Thor), was stopped on Lower Village Bypass to take in Monday night’s fireworks display in Mountain Village, but during the grand finale, the horses began to backpedal, causing the sleigh to slide off the edge of the ski run, according to Telluride Wranglers owner Noah Gregory. Before the sleigh tipped over, Gregory had the four passengers evacuate. Paramedics checked the guests, but no injuries were reported; the horses weren’t harmed during the incident.”

“The smiles and general optimism of a swearing-in ceremony for Weld County’s elected officials lasted less than an hour Wednesday before a Board of Weld County Commissioners meeting featured a decidedly different tone,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “In the commissioners’ first meeting of the year, hosted at the Weld administration building shortly after a ceremony at the Weld County Courthouse, infighting that has cast a shadow over the board for nearly three years was front and center. During the meeting, Commissioner Sean Conway took himself out of the running for a coordinator position over a county department, marking the third year in a row he won’t serve as a liaison between the board and a department. The topic was a point of contention in 2017 and again in 2018, when Conway’s fellow commissioners froze him out of a leadership role, citing a lack of trust in him. This time around, the decision to be kept away from a coordinator role was Conway’s.”

“Aurora police officials are asking for the public’s help in identifying multiple robbers investigators say surreptitiously entered a Family Dollar store by burrowing through a hole they cut in the wall,” reports The Aurora Sentinel. “Officials are looking for three different ‘persons of interest’ suspected of entering the Family Dollar at 15081 E. Mississippi Ave. on Dec. 13 and cutting a wire in an alarm system, disabling it. The trio were able to snip the wire without staff noticing, according to police.”


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  1. Howard R. Levine, Chairman of Family Dollar parent Dollar tree made over $4.37 million in 2016.
    Gary Philbin, President & CEO of Family Dollar parent Dollar tree made over $9.7 million in 2016.

    These salaries are between 220-466 percent of the average employee wage of Family Dollar.
    Put another way, it would take the average employee 220-466 YEARS to make what these corporate executive crooks make in ONE SINGLE YEAR.

    That’s perverse.


    In the fight against RAPIDLY RISING wealth inequality (with the WTID wealth inequality index at its HIGHEST LEVELS EVER IN U.S. HISTORY), these “robbers” are heroes, in my book.

    Plus, Dollar tree has been cited numerous times for selling low-quality products, including many childrens toys and items, that have been found te be tainted with LEAD, ASBESTOS, and other toxins.


    America’s “Founders” were considered criminals in their fight against injustice.

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