Your morning roundup of stories from the front pages of newspapers across Colorado
“After years of legal challenges, weather might be the only remaining obstacle to Arch Coal beginning work in a national forest roadless area in hopes of expanding its West Elk Mine near Somerset,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “U.S. District Court Judge Philip Brimmer denied a request Thursday by environmental groups for a temporary restraining order that would have kept Arch Coal from beginning to clear roads and build pads to do exploratory drilling in the Sunset Roadless Area.”
“The U.S. Forest Service has released its draft Environmental Assessment (EA) for the proposed Hanging Lake area management plan, kicking off a final 30-day public comment period before the plan is to be implemented next May, the agency announced today,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post-Independent. “The EA spells out the environmental effects should the proposed management plan be put into place. The plan calls for a permit-only, 615-visitor-per-day cap year round, as detailed in the preliminary proposal put forth in August. It also establishes a fee-based, reservation-system shuttle service to be implemented during the peak time of year from May through October.”
“Behind him, still visible through the screen of the month’s first snowfall, a collection of police vehicles was parked up and down the road, lights flashing in silence,” reports The Greeley Tribune. “Further away, in a large open field, more police vehicles stood still in the fresh snow alongside a gold four-door Sedan. Every now and then, when the wind was right, they vanished into whiteness. That scene didn’t change much into the afternoon, as officers began to investigate the Greeley Police Department’s second officer-involved shooting this year. It ended here, in the 3800 block of Two Rivers Parkway, but the incident began about 9 a.m. Wednesday, a little more than nine miles away, in the 1400 block of 8th Avenue, according to a news release from Cpl. Francisco Saucedo, spokesman for the Critical Incident Response Team, which is investigating the situation.”
“On Feb. 10, four Pueblo police officers assigned to a community-oriented policing project were conducting surveillance in an East Side neighborhood when they spotted a suspicious man and woman in an alley on the 800 block of East Eighth Street,” reports The Pueblo Chieftain. “The officers made contact with the individuals, but neither person provided any form of identification. Upon being contacted, the man became agitated and wanted to know why police were talking to him and the woman.”
“Professional cycling’s return to Vail in August 2018 means the Colorado Classic will not take place in Breckenridge for the second consecutive year,” reports Summit Daily. “The Vail Town Council at its Tuesday, Dec. 19, evening meeting approved $310,000 in town funding for two days of racing in Vail. The town will also provide roughly $65,000 in in-kind services, including police and fire protection, as well as traffic control. The funds were requested by the Vail Valley Foundation, which is working with the relatively new Colorado Classic, organized by RPM Events Group, which has worked to bring back professional racing to the state.”
“The recent $3.4 million sale of a 2,688-square-foot condominium in One Steamboat Place at the edge of the ski trails is emblematic of the luxury market and the leading property at Steamboat Ski Area coming full circle,” reports The Steamboat Pilot. “Senior Sales Executive Todd Allsberry at One Steamboat Place’s in-house real estate office agreed the recent sale is a positive sign for the local real estate market.”
“A 51-year-old Berthoud woman was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of shooting her husband in the head with a shotgun at their home in the 600 block of South County Road 31 in November,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald.
“The last-minute rush is on. At Amazon’s Prime Now hub in Denver, gifts like Lego sets and Nintendo Super NES Classic systems are still in stock, at least as of Thursday,” reports The Denver Post. “There are still Instant Pots, Echo Dots and ugly sweaters — at a discount. Starting Friday, delivery extends to midnight through Christmas Eve. That means orders placed by 9:15 p.m. will be delivered by midnight. Even on Christmas Eve. This last-minute delivery option — available for the first time in the Denver area from Parker to Boulder — targets procrastinating Amazon Prime members, or consumers who pay the annual $99 membership fee.”
“A Montrose woman died in a crash Thursday five miles west of Cañon City on U.S. 50, according to the Colorado State Patrol,” reports The Cañon City Daily Record. “Brenda Kay Robinson, the passenger of a 2011 Buick, was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash, which involved two other vehicles, including a 2012 Kenworth Tractor pulling a utility trailer.”
“The Trump administration’s vow to streamline energy development has helped La Plata County’s only running coal mine receive quick approval for an expansion that will extend operations until at least 2023,” reports The Durango Herald. “Preparing for its coal reserves to run out, GCC Energy, which has operated the King II coal mine near Hesperus since 2007, asked the Bureau of Land Management for an expansion of 950 acres of underground workings. The request for expansion was granted Dec. 15 by the Interior Department in Washington, D.C., rather than going through the BLM’s state office in Denver – a process that sped up the approval and eliminated the possibility for appeal.”
“More than 7,500 Fort Carson soldiers are now on official orders to Afghanistan next spring and hundreds more are expected to join them as the 4th Infantry Division headquarters and two of its combat brigades head back to war,” reports The Gazette in Colorado Springs. “The deployment, rumored for months and made official by the Army Thursday, involves the 3,500-soldier 2nd Brigade Combat Team and the 4,000-soldier 1st Brigade Combat Team. The division’s headquarters, including its boss Maj. Gen. Randy George, are expected to head out to lead the brigades in battle.” (But don’t miss this story, too, in which a reporter recreates 48 hours of terror on El Paso County roads through 911 calls before a fatal crash.)
“Pueblo’s police department — which the city council has said for years is significantly understaffed — is poised to spend $40,000 on two drones,” reports ColoradoPolitics. “The Pueblo Chieftain reports the unmanned aircraft will be mainly for conducting searches, as they’ll be equipped with cameras. One will be for indoor use. “The small drones would fly at about 30 miles per hour and up to 400 feet high. They could be airborne about 30 minutes before needing to be recharged,” the paper reported. “The City Council raised no objections to the plan, agreeing that the propeller-driven drones could make some investigations and situations safer for officers.” While Pueblo’s lawmakers aren’t opposed to the drones, studies show that Americans in general aren’t thrilled about police forces using them. According to a survey from Rasmussen Reports, 39 percent of adults oppose local law enforcement utilizing drones while 36 percent favored drone programs.”
“On a chilly Saturday morning at Chatfield State Park, Urling Kingery holds up an iPod and speaker that spews owl screeches into the trees,” reports Denverite. “She and some fellow bird nerds stare into the distance in anticipation. Suddenly the branches around them are teeming with chickadees fooled into thinking they’ve located a predator. Kingery begins counting them out loud. This is the National Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count, a species tally that’s been held across the northern hemisphere now for 118 years. Kingery and her team are responsible for counting every species they see on a single day inside a 15-mile circle in the south Denver metro area. She’s been leading this count for more than three decades, one of the first to occur each year during a monthlong counting period. There are counts scheduled all over the state, including two more around Denver in January.”
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is a journalist in Colorado, and Columbia Journalism Review’s Rocky Mountain correspondent for the United States Project. Follow him on Twitter @CoreyHutchins and email him at CoreyHutchins [at] gmail [dot] com.
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