Regional News Roundup – June 2009

Uranium processing company is at it again

CANON CITY – The Cotter Corporation in Cañon City wants to reopen their troubled plant for the chemical leaching and crushing of 500,000 tons of uranium per year for 25 years beginning in 2014.

The plant, which sits above the Arkansas River on the south side of Cañon City, has been operating on a “stand-down basis” allowing Cotter to retain their operating license despite a 25-year old Environmental Protection Agency ruling ordering the plant to do a Superfund cleanup. That cleanup has been stalled and has had repeated violations over the years.

Local leaders and residents are against the proposal given the company’s unwillingness to clean up the toxic site. The plan would call for hauling 12.5 million tons of ore from a protected mountain in New Mexico by train to the facility in Cañon City.

The EPA opposes any use of the facility until it is cleaned up.

Black Canyon of the Gunnison gets a scrubbing

GUNNISON – A huge dam release occurred May 13 at the Crystal Dam on Blue Mesa Reservoir after a 36- year fight by the National Park Service to win an annual spring discharge allowing them to mimic the natural river runoff into the Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

The discharge will help remove sediment and algae and assist in removing encroaching riverbank vegetation, scouring the Gunnison River as it runs through the canyon.

The Park Service has been attempting to obtain a water right for the Black Canyon since 1972. A decree was finally filed in January with the Colorado water court.

The flow during the discharge was around 7,500 cubic feet a second.

Denver Post to quit daily print distribution to many parts of the state

DENVER – In another sign of financial trouble for the print publishing industry, the Denver Post newspaper will discontinue its weekly print distribution to many parts of the state by mid-July.

A spokesperson for the Denver Newspaper Agency said that the print version of the Sunday Denver Post will still be available to outlying areas of the state but residents will have to subscribe to a “replica” electronic edition of the paper in order to get their daily Denver Post news fix. Annual subscription costs for that service are currently $30 per year.

The replica edition differs from the Denver Post website in that it displays all pages of the paper as they are laid out for the print edition rather then in a web format.

Additionally, readers who received the Sunday Denver Post as part of an arrangement with their local smaller newspaper will have to pay for that service as the Denver Newspaper Agency is also discontinuing that program.

Communities affected by the Post’s decision include those west of Monarch Pass on U.S. 50 including Gunnison and Montrose. Towns and cities west of Rifle on I-70 will also be affected as well as most outlying areas of the state in the southwest, southeast, northeast and in towns in states bordering Colorado.

For the time being, Salida, Buena Vista, Leadville Alamosa and other communities on the eastern side of the Continental Divide will not be affected by the decision.

Colorado senators back amendment to weaken reform bill, permit concealed weapons in national parks

WASHINGTON D.C. – An amendment introduced in the U.S. Senate by ultra-conservative Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla to simultaneously weaken a consumer-friendly credit card reform bill and reverse a hold on a controversial Bush Administration rule to allow concealed guns in national parks won U.S. Senate approval May 12.

The measure was backed by both Colorado senators, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. Udall’s vote came as a surprise to many as he earlier was a leading proponent of the reform bill.

Bennet votes against mortgage modification proposal

WASHINGTON D.C. – Speaking of Colorado senators, newly appointed Senator Michael Bennet voted against Illinois Senator Dick Durbin’s mortgage modification bill on May 1 which would have allowed judges to have mortgages renegotiated for Americans facing foreclosure on their primary homes.

Bennet was one of only 12 Democrats to vote against the bill.

Ritter signs cyclist rights bill

DENVER – Colorado Senate Bill 148, aimed at protecting the rights of the state’s bicyclists, was signed into law on May 11 by Governor Ritter. The measure requires that drivers give cyclists at least three feet of space when passing or risk a ticket.

Those caught throwing an object at a cyclist could be charged with a class 2 misdemeanor, which carries a fine between $250 and $1,000 and a possible sentence of three to 12 months in jail.

Notable Quotes:

“When you’re peering at your news product via a small monitor, or through the even smaller (and increasingly prevalent) hand-held device, via inconsistent Internet connections, this fine art of newspaper production is rendered just about meaningless. It’s all about headlines and pointing-and-clicking.” – Gunnison Country Times editor, Chris Dickey on the Denver Post’s decision to cease it’s Western Slope print delivery.

Gunnison Country Times, May 7, 2009

“If it barks and wags, it needs a tag.” – Advice from the Saguache Crescent for residents looking after a friend’s dog.

Saguache Crescent, May 7, 2009