The Weld County Commissioners put the North Colorado secession question on the fall ballot

Here’s Ms. Hood’s writeup of the vote and meeting on KUNC. Here’s an excerpt:

Weld County Commissioners voted Monday to approve ballot measure language that will appear in front of county voters this November. It will be up to Weld voters to decide if the county should further pursue the formation of a 51st state separate from Colorado.

Three other counties–Cheyenne, Sedgwick, and Yuma–have also decided to put similar measures in front of voters. Counties still deciding whether to put the issue on the ballot include Logan, Phillips, Washington and Kit Carson.

Morgan County Commissioners have decided to leave it up to citizens to get the issue on the ballot. Residents there have until August 26 to gather signatures from 15 percent of active voters.

Westword (Patricia Calhoun) gives the secessionists all the serious attention the proposal deserves:

If at first you don’t secede, try, try again. Ten counties in northeastern Colorado are still considering seceding from the state. Cheyenne County (population 1876, appropriately enough) has already gotten the proposal on the November ballot; Weld County could do the same soon. In this week’s Westword, we offer some alternative slogans, symbols and names for this proposed 51st state, including Uncolorado, Near Nebraska, Southern Wyoming and Coloraduh. But why should northeast Colorado have all the fun?

Here are nine other possible spinoffs:

Potopia : Perfect should Denver and Boulder, as well as that handful of other spots around the state that are respecting the will of the voters on Amendment 64, decide to secede as other local governments ban recreational marijuana sales. (Pairs nicely with Methopotamia, a potential title for the 51st state.)

Crackpotopia: Early contender for the name of the new 51st state, but also available to other crackpot quarters.

Crankerado : Adams County as well as any other county that has more than three curmudgeons show up at county commissioner meetings — not counting the commissioners themselves.

Little Texas: Vail

Little L.A.: Aspen

Coolerado: The Capitol Hill, RiNo, Baker and LoHi neighborhoods of Denver; a slice of Boulder; La Veta, Salida and Crested Butte (the original town, not the resort).

Western Kansas (or Might as Well Be Kansas): An alternative for all those eastern counties that don’t want to be part of Near Nebraska.

Almost Oklahoma: An alternative for all those southeastern counties that don’t want to be part of Might As Well Be Kansas.

New New Mexico: Following the green chile trail from the southern border up to the San Luis Valley, with a few strongholds in Pueblo and metro Denver.

More North Colorado Secession coverage here.

Denver Water: Antero Dam rehabilitation project


Here’s the release from Denver Water (Stacy Chesney/Travis Thompson):

A project to bring Antero Dam in line with current engineering standards will begin Monday, Aug. 19. The $14 million undertaking will ensure the safety and functionality of the dam for another 100 years.

Denver Water, in coordination with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the Office of the State Engineer, lowered Antero Reservoir by 2 feet in May 2011 as a safety precaution to reduce water pressure and seepage within the dam. The reservoir has been operating at a height of 16–17 feet since that time. Antero Dam was built in 1909 by Canfield and Shields of Greeley, and purchased by Denver Water in 1924. The dam has experienced substantial seepage since it was built and as a result, has been operating under reservoir storage restrictions by the state since the early 1900s to ensure public safety.

The rehabilitation project will be done in phases. The first phase, which begins Aug. 19, is scheduled for completion by late November 2013. During this phase, Denver Water’s contractor, Geo-Solutions, Inc., will build a sand trench to filter the normal seepage from the dam to help ensure the safety of the foundation.

Denver Water will keep the popular reservoir open to recreation, and Colorado Parks and Wildlife will continue to manage the fishery during the project. The construction will take place on the east side of the dam, which will not be accessible to the public. There will be an increase in truck traffic along Highway 9 and Highway 24 at various times during phase one as sand is brought in to complete the filter trench. Trucks will enter the site through an access road on the south side of the dam.

The subsequent phases of the project are embankment grading from May 2014 through November 2014, and spillway and valve improvements May 2015 through November 2015.

When all three phases are complete, the water levels at Antero will return to and be maintained at a level of 18 feet, which is expected to occur after spring runoff in April 2016.

Wildlife questions regarding fishing at Antero can be directed to Colorado Parks and Wildlife at 303-291-7227.

More Denver Water coverage here and here.

Lincoln Park/Cotter Mill: Cleanup awaiting state go ahead


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Tracy Harmon):

State health officials have preliminarily ordered Cotter Corp. Mill officials not to do any cleanup work pending future decommissioning and reclamation guidelines. Cotter Corp. Uranium Mill Manager John Hamrick had requested permission to excavate the ore pad area after uranium ore was removed and shipped to the White Mesa Mill in Blanding, Utah.

The state health department’s Jennifer Opila, unit leader, said although an earlier work pause has been lifted, Cotter will not be authorized to proceed with, “New decommissioning or reclamation activities.” She said the decision to deny the request was made after health officials and the Community Advisory Group discussed the issue. The public is invited to comment on the state’s preliminary decision.

Comment will be accepted Monday through Sept. 20. The public also can comment during the same time frame on completion reports for Lincoln Park water wells.

More Lincoln Park/Cotter Mill coverage here and here.

Arkansas Valley Conduit update: $15 million needed for engineering


From The Pueblo Chieftain (Chris Woodka):

The exact route and cost of the Arkansas Valley Conduit won’t be known until engineering is complete, but the water line to serve 40 communities in Eastern Colorado is becoming a reality. “There are a whole lot of people who thought we’d never get to this point,” Jim Broderick, executive director of the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District told the board Thursday. “The work we’ve done so far is preliminary. We still have to get this done.”

The Bureau of Reclamation’s environmental impact statement on the project was released Aug. 9. A record of decision is expected to be issued after a 30-day comment period, meaning work on the actual project can begin. It took just two years for the EIS to be completed, which is less time than a typical project would take. However, the conduit was approved by Congress in the 1962 Fryingpan-Arkansas Project Act.

District officials and members of Congress are working on strategies to get the estimated $15 million needed for engineering in the 2015 fiscal year, and possibly to shift some Reclamation funding sooner than that. Construction of the conduit could begin as soon as 2016, largely depending on funding. The EIS also covers Southeastern’s master storage contract that will serve 37 communities and a federal project to interconnect the north and south outlet works.

Negotiations still are ongoing to build the first leg of the conduit, which would go from the south outlet works to Pueblo Boulevard. From there, the pipeline would head to the Pueblo Board of Water Works Whitlock Treatment Plant, where it would be filtered and moved south through City Park, along Pueblo Boulevard and then south of Pueblo and the Comanche Power Plant. It would run east from there to the St. Charles Mesa treatment plant, then head north of the Arkansas River where it would begin its route eastward with spurs to serve communities along the way.

In all, there would be 227 miles of pipeline tapering from 48 inches in diameter to 6 inches.

More Arkansas Valley Conduit coverage here and here.