The definition of a ‘wow’ photo. A nighttime photographer @ArchesNPS takes it all in

Lyons: Water and natural gas were restored in some areas Saturday, residents heading back home #COflood

Flooding St. Vrain River September, 2013 via Voice of America
Flooding St. Vrain River September, 2013 via Voice of America

From the Longmont Times-Call (John Fryar):

Hundreds of Lyons families were able to begin moving back into their homes this weekend as utility crews circulated through several of the town’s neighborhoods to restore flood-interrupted natural gas, water and sewer service. And starting Monday, visitors from outside Lyons can once again get into town during daytime hours to resume patronizing the town’s businesses and visiting the town’s residents, according to town administrator Victoria Simonsen…

Power, gas, water and sewer service is back on in about half of Lyons’ neighborhoods now — most of them north of Main Street — and other residents of the area are expected to be returning in phases as their neighborhoods’ utilities are back working in the weeks ahead.

Colorado water supply gap: ‘The entire state is threatened by this scenario’ — Alan Hamel

SWSI II Baseline Water Demand via the Colorado Water Conservation Board
SWSI II Baseline Water Demand via the Colorado Water Conservation Board

From The Pueblo Chieftain (Alan Hamel):

In the Arkansas Basin, we are well aware that water is an essential ingredient in what makes Colorado special. Here in our basin, on the Western Slope and along the Front Range, water is what supports Colorado’s productive farms and ranches, our thriving recreational industry, our beautiful environment, and our vibrant cities and industries.

Water also is in short supply. In the coming decades, there could be a gap between water supply and demand of a half a million acre-feet or more per year. The entire state is threatened by this scenario, and it is particularly threatening to Colorado’s rural communities. Unless we do something to manage our water future, more and more agricultural water will be bought to supply our growing cities, drying up hundreds of thousands of acres of productive farm and ranch land and jeopardizing the economy and livelihoods of rural Colorado.

Northeastern Colorado alone is expected to lose approximately 20 percent of agricultural land currently under production from purchase agreements already in place. Here, closer to home in the Arkansas Basin, it is projected that, without a plan of action, we could lose an additional 73,000 acres of our valued irrigated agricultural land. This would be devastating to our economy, our rural way of life, open space, wetlands and wildlife habitat. This water supply future is unacceptable. We must have a plan that provides a secure water future for all Coloradans.

In May of this year, the governor issued an executive order directing the Colorado Water Conservation Board to develop Colorado’s Water Plan. This is an unprecedented undertaking for Colorado, but fortunately much of the work that is needed to develop the plan is already done.

During the drought of 2002-03, the state commissioned the most comprehensive study ever done of Colorado’s current and future water demands and supplies — the Statewide Water Supply Initiative. The SWSI study is continually being updated so it includes the most current information available. In addition, in 2005 the state Legislature created nine Basin Roundtables, groups of water leaders in each major river basin that have been taking an in-depth look at their basin’s water challenges. It also created the Interbasin Compact Committee, a group of 27 water leaders representing every major river basin and water constituency, including two representatives from each roundtable. For the last several years, these groups have been engaged in thoughtful dialogue while working hard to understand Colorado’s water challenges and ways they could be addressed.

The CWCB, IBCC and Basin Roundtables have reached consensus on a variety of actions that will lead to a better water future, including support for alternatives to permanent buy-and-dry of agriculture, conservation, projects that meet certain criteria and more. Colorado’s Water Plan will not be a top-down plan full of state mandates and requirements. Instead, it will be built on the foundation of the work of the Basin Roundtables and the IBCC. That is a strong foundation.

To create the foundation, each basin roundtable is developing a water plan for its region. And this includes the Arkansas Basin. At the same time, the IBCC is developing no- and low-regrets strategies for meeting future water needs that could be applied statewide.

Because these efforts are underway, we don’t yet know all that Colorado’s Water Plan will include. What we do know is that Colorado’s Water Plan will be a balanced one and will reflect Colorado’s values.

The governor’s executive order specifies that Colorado’s Water Plan must promote “a productive economy that supports vibrant and sustainable cities, viable and productive agriculture, and a robust skiing, recreation and tourism industry; efficient and effective water infrastructure promoting smart land use; and a strong environment that includes healthy watersheds, rivers and streams and wildlife.”

Utilizing the basin plans and the work of the IBCC, the CWCB will deliver a draft of Colorado’s Water Plan to the governor’s office by Dec. 10, 2014.

The CWCB will then work with the governor’s office to finalize Colorado’s Water Plan no later than December 2015.

To provide your insights and perspectives, participate in the next meeting of the Arkansas Basin Roundtable at 12:30 p.m. Nov. 13 at Colorado State University-Pueblo’s Occhiato Center.

To learn who the members of the roundtable are and other times when they meet, visit cwcb.state.co.us and go to the IBCC and Basin Roundtable link. You can also submit your comments to the CWCB by emailing cowaterplan@state.co.us.

For more information, visit Colorado’s Water Plan online at coloradowaterplan.com. A new website is planned for release on Nov. 1.

Alan Hamel is the Arkansas River Basin representative and chair of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

More CWCB coverage here.

Gov. Hickenlooper appoints new justice to Colorado Supreme Court

William Hood III via the Denver Bar Association
William Hood III via the Denver Bar Association

Bump and update: Matt Arnold (Denver Examiner) has been looking into Mr. Hood’s political connections. Of course, it is not unusual for a political appointee to have been active in their party’s efforts. Here’s his report. Here’s an excerpt:

Hood also has close ties to Democrat Party attorney (and frequent Colorado Supreme Court litigator) Mark Grueskin, dating from their time as colleagues in the politically connected (and politically active) Isaacson Rosenbaum P.C. law firm – associations that may have been related to his removal from the 2011 Congressional redistricting lawsuits, before the case was reassigned to Denver District Court Chief Judge Robert Hyatt…

Given Hood’s close associations with Democrat party attorney and frequent Colorado Supreme Court litigant Mark Grueskin, this pick could lead to a number of recusals in some high-profile, politically-charged cases that might come before the Colorado Supreme Court.

From Law Week Colorado:

Before his appointment to the Denver bench in 2007, Hood worked at Isaacson Rosenbaum, the firm that until recently employed Democratic Party lawyer Mark Grueskin.

Asked about a possible conflict between himself and the judge, Grueskin said, “Even before you get to the issue that he and I were formerly colleagues, he may have a docket that’s full.”

Here’s the release from Governor Hickenlooper’s office:

Gov. John Hickenlooper announced today the appointment of Judge William Hood III to the Colorado Supreme Court. Hood will replace Supreme Court Chief Justice Michael L.Bender, who is retiring Jan. 7, 2014, after serving on the Supreme Court since 1997 and as chief since 2010.

“William Hood has consistently demonstrated an ability to fairly apply the law while effectively administering justice,” Hickenlooper said. “He has broad experience as a prosecutor, criminal defense attorney and civil litigator. Hood’s reputation for collaboration will make him an effective member of the Colorado Supreme Court.”

Hood, 50, is the 103rd person in the state’s history to be appointed to the Colorado Supreme Court.

Hood is currently a District Court Judge in the 2nd Judicial District in the City and County of Denver, a position he has held since 2007. He is also an adjunct professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Prior to becoming a judge, Hood was in private practice at Isaacson Rosenbaum P.C. He previously worked for the Office of the District Attorney for the 18th Judicial District serving Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincoln counties, where he served different times as the Chief Appellate Deputy, a Chief Trial Deputy and Violent Crimes Unit Deputy. Hood also practiced as an associate at McKenna & Cuneo and Holme Roberts & Owen in commercial litigation.

Hood earned a bachelor’s degree from Syracuse University and a J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law.

Hood’s nomination was supported by the Colorado Women’s Bar Association, the Colorado GLBT Bar Association, the Asian Pacific American Bar Association, the Sam Cary Bar Association, the Colorado Civil Justice League and the Colorado Criminal Defense Bar, among others.

The next Colorado Supreme Court Chief Justice, which was decided by the court, will be Justice Nancy E. Rice. Hood will serve a provisional term of two years. If retained by voters, he will then serve a 10-year term.