Volume 13 • Edition 01
January 2, 2020
Serving rural Adams, Morgan, and Weld Counties
“Truth will ultimately prevail where there is pains taken to bring it to light” George Washington “If we are to guard against ignorance and remain free, it is the responsibility of every American to be informed” Thomas Jefferson
Weld County 4 H Showcase Held at Island Grove Regional Park at the 4H Exhibition Hall
The 4-H Showcase was held at the Extension Exhibition Hall at Island Grove Regional Park from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Kim Sterkel, Weld County Extension 4-H Youth Agent, was there coordinating with the many volunteers who put the program on. There was an opportunity for young people and their parents to have hands on with model rocketry, cake decorating, pinwheels, leather craft, scrapbooking, live animals and a whole bunch more. A special feature was the 4-H Shooting Sports trailer which offered hands on target practice. A big thank you to all the 4-H volunteers including parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers and uncles and aunts and just those who believe in helping our young people. You can tell by the photo’s that this is a group that enjoys what they do as well as helping our young people. Keep up the good work! Any questions feel free to contact Kim Sterkel whose email is: email@example.com
Keenesburg Election for Local Offices Tuesday, April 7, 2020
The Town of Keenesburg April 7th, 2020 election will have the position of Mayor and three Trustees positions up for election. There will be one drop off collection point for ballots at the Two Hall. This location will be open Monday – Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm and will begin accepting ballots on March 16th, 2020. On Election Day the polls open at 7:00 am and will close at 7:00pm. All ballots must be received by 7:00 pm to be counted. The ballot will ask voters to consider candidates for the Mayor’s office and Trustee positions. The Mayor in the Town of Keenesburg serves a two-year term and member of the Board of Trustees serve four year overlapping terms. Qualifications for Office: Each candidate at the time of the nomination and election, shall be United States Citizen, at least eighteen (18) years of age by the date of the election, a registered elector of the Town of Keenesburg and shall have been a resident of the Town of Keenesburg for twelve(12) consecutive months immediately preceding the election. Petition Requirements: Candidates must submit a minimum of ten (10) valid signatures of registered electors residing in the Town of Keenesburg limits, on the Nomination Petition provided by the Clerk’s Office. Nominating Petitions maybe circulated beginning January 7th, 2020 and must be returned to the Clerk’s Office no later than close of business (4:00 p.m., on Monday January 20th, 2020. The petition turned in must include a Circulator’s Affidavit. Candidates must also submit a completed form of Acceptance of Nomination. All materials should be returned to the Town Clerk’s Office at 140 South Main Street, Keenesburg, Colorado. Fair Campaign Practices Act: The reporting requirements of the Fair Campaign Practices Act apply to all Town candidates. ALL FORMS ARE TO BE FILED IN DUPLICATE WITH THE Town Clerk. It is the responsibility of the candidate to become familiar with and comply with the provisions of the Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA). For any questions, please contact the Keenesburg Town Clerk’s Office at 303-732-4281
Sean Conway Announces Resignation as Weld County Commissioner at Large Effective End of January 2020
by Troy Coverdale
Weld County Commissioner Sean Conway has tendered his resignation from the board, telling 1310 KFKA that there are personal reasons for him stepping down effective the final day of January. Conway has held an at-large seat on the County Commission the past 11 years and previously worked in Washington D.C. for former U.S. Senators William Armstrong and Wayne Allard. Today’s board meeting would’ve marked the first of his final year on the panel as he would have been term limited. Current State House 49th District Representative Perry Buck had previously announced a bid for that seat, though the County Council will now be tasked with naming a replacement.
WHAT’S IN THIS ISSUE:
Page 2: Way of the World
Page 4: 2019 Recount Concluded Page 7: Town of Erie Misdirects $1 Million Page 8: 2019 Weld County 4-H Mardi Gras Page 9: Colorado Population Getting Older Page 10: Billionaire Leftists Going for Your Guns Page 13: Colo. Red Flag Law Goes Into Effect Jan. 1 Page 16: The Future of Cable TV
– Way of the World –
Lost Creek Guide
by Bob Grand Our world never seems to get simpler. Taking out the major leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and head of the Iranian Quds force, Major General Qassem Soleimani has been front page news. Included in that event were a couple of bad players from other organizations. It is the job of the President to protect and defend America. We should respect the President’s decision. It is his job not ours. I do not know how you explain to an American’s family that has lost a loved one because of the terrorism perpetrated by theses kinds of people. Weakness is not something they understand or respect. We all wait to see how this all develops. The President has long said we need to get ourselves out of the police business in the middle east. This is another step toward that end. The latest Roadrunner update from Washington has the Speaker of the House holding the Articles of Impeachment until she sees what the playing field is. Well maybe if the House investigation was not so weak, she would move forward. We will watch to see how the next steps proceed. I think it is clear to many people that this impeachment is just the latest device from ACME Construction in the Democrats efforts to remove the President. There are many unaffiliated voters and middle of the road democrats who are seeing what this is really all about. I understand the thought behind appeasing to the major donors (i.e. money) and the extreme of the party but I still do not understand how that helps you to win a national election. But what do I know? On December 11th, 2019 the 2020 Budget was presented to the Weld County Board of County commissioners, all 538 pages of it. It is obviously pretty detailed. On page three, Finance Director Don Warden points out that the assessed value of property in the County increased 34.21% or $3.948 billion dollars over last year. On page 10 he relates that the mill levy remains at 15.038 mills. Oil and Gas represents about 45.34% of the total. The other, approximately 55%, represents new construction or increases in assessed value. Translated that means that the notices you received earlier in the year with your new assessed values for your property means they will be taxed at the old mill levy rate. Sounds good but grade school math will tell you if your assessed value went up and the mill levy is the same you will be paying more taxes this year. Just how much financial reserves should the County maintain? Well County Commissioners Mike Freeman, Scott James, Barb Kirkmeyer and Steve Merino obviously felt what they had was not enough so all of you who saw your property valuation go up will paying more to keep the reserves up and fund the projects these Commissioners have considered necessary. Remember what they said or did not say when they are running for office again. Our government representation seems to be getting further and further away from the people. That has to change. Try and participate, let your voice be heard. Register to vote if you are not. If you are, make sure you vote. Over 1.4 million Americans have died protecting that right, do not let it go unused. We are a nation of immigrants as such we should respect other people’s customs and heritages. That should work both ways. Tolerance is one of the things that make America great. Intolerance is something that is supposed to happen in other places, not here. As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated: Publisher@lostcreekguide. com
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January 2, 2020
Man Who Wears Hats as Both IT Expert and Elected Official Pans Municipal Broadband
By Sherrie Peif JOHNSTOWN, COLO — One man who knows both the information technology side of the internet and the elected official side of government can sum up local governments jumping into the broadband business in four words. “Broadband is not simple,” said Johnstown City Councilman Troy Mellon. Mellon has made his personal living as an internet network engineer, and for the past 20 years, he’s served on the Johnstown Town Council as both a councilman and mayor. Johnstown is located about 10 miles southwest of Greeley in Weld County. It is one of the fastest-growing communities in Colorado. Government officials there boast a debtfree budget. “I’ve been on the mechanical network side of the house and the government philosophy side of the house,” said Mellon, who aside from serving on the town council is the Sr. Engineer for Banner Health, overseeing its network in Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming, Nevada and California. “Seeing it from both sides, it’s not something government wants to be in.” Mellon said by getting into municipal broadband, the government is entering a space that is already being provided for by private industry. Citizens should be concerned anytime the government wants to tinker in private industry, he said. It causes him concern for many reasons. “It’s not the government’s position to do that,” he said. “And I don’t think the government can do it better.” Municipal broadband has been all the rage along the front range for the past several years and continues to gain traction, in part due to an unproven public perception that municipalities can supply a superior service at a lesser cost. Voters have approved millions in new debt to take on a decades-old private industry based on the idea that government-run internet service will be faster, more Troy Mellon reliable and cheaper. Voters are told the economic development of the city will improve, and that the city will be able to partner with its anchor institutions to offer super-fast speeds and improve their services. For some communities, such as Fort Collins, Loveland and Longmont the answer has been to go it alone by developing, installing and operating a new utility all on their own, using other city-run utilities to back the multi-million dollar investments. Those communities all operate their own electric utility, so their municipal broadband bonds are guaranteed against their electric enterprise revenues. If the broadband venture fails, electric customers will see their rates increase. Others such as Fort Morgan and Centennial — and possibliy Greeley — have entered into public/private partnerships with internet providers. Complete Colorado has investigated, extensively, the other side of the issue. Mellon’s perspective is unique to the topic because he understands both sides. “People get frustrated in a part of town where maybe they only have a couple of options and in their opinion, it is not reliable,” Mellon said. “They think government should come in and swoop down and fix the problem. But that’s not why we’re here.” Mellon said he’s faced that very issue in Johnstown with what he calls the RF black hole of the world in downtown where cell phone service is nonexistent. “It doesn’t matter what service you have,” he said. “None of the big three work. That has been the drumbeat for 20 years, why can’t we fix the cell service.” Mellon said fiber will have the same issue, agreeing with Comcast and others who have said they won’t lease fiber laid by the government because they don’t have control over issues that may arise. “For that and other reasons,” Mellon said. “All fiber isn’t created equal from just a mechanical point of view. You have one kind that runs for one reason, and others that run for another reason.” Mellon said Johnstown has explored the idea of requiring new development to include empty underground conduit that providers can fill later, but even that is a bad idea, he said “Conduit has to go from somewhere to somewhere, and you don’t know how a prospective broadband operator is going to run their fiber,” Mellon said. “Plus, you have to protect that conduit. If there is fiber in it, and a backhoe or something hits it, you know it. If a backhoe hits it empty, you won’t know it. You have to find a way to protect that.” Perhaps the biggest issue for Mellon, however, is the privacy issue. “When municipalities get involved in broadband, they are getting involved in people’s data and moving that data around,” he said. “You will have net neutrality issues and data privacy issues. Do we really want our governments having the ability to look down into our data streams and see what we’re doing?” Mellon said the idea of “smart cities,” which many proponents of municipal broadband push as the main reason for the investment, could expand beyond the promises of simply using the technology to manage traffic control devices, detect water main leaks, read meters, etc. It could include many other more invasive things. “Depends on how smart you want your city,” he said. “They already use Bluetooth pings off of cell phones to monitor traffic flows. If they know the unique identifiers to your phone, they can track you on the road. There is more of a vested interest for private companies to protect your privacy than government.” In the end, Mellon said government investing in technology that is rapidly evolving is not a proper role. “5G is another game-changer in how home service will be delivered,” he said, calling equipment and infrastructure perishable, with lifespans of 5-7 years at most. “People have cars that last longer than that. We will be cutting the wire. The next evolution of the system will be a little receiver in your window that picks up the service and then redistributes it around your house the way you want.” Mellon added that private companies, which already offering speeds faster than municipal broadband, invest billions yearly to keep up with the changes in the industry. “Fiber is not future proof,” he said. “I’d maybe call it future resistant, but there is going to be a time where there is a breakthrough in transmission technology where something is bigger, better and faster. There is always a push for bigger, better and faster. You can get stuck behind technology quickly if you bet on the wrong horse. Governments are not set up for that kind of turnover.”
January 2, 2020
Lost Creek Guide
Gardner Releases Year-End Message, Highlights Accomplishments for Colorado
Senator Recaps Work and Accomplishments for the People of Colorado in 2019
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) released the following message wishing Coloradans a Happy New Year and recapping his work and accomplishments in 2019 on behalf of the people of the Centennial State. “This holiday season as we spend time with our families, look back on the past year, and plan for the year ahead, I want to share some highlights of our successful efforts for Colorado this year,” said Senator Gardner. “This year, we successfully passed permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund and moved the Bureau of Land Management headquarters to Grand Junction – to better protect our public lands and better serve the people impacted by the BLM’s decisions. And we’ve made great progress to lower the cost of health insurance in Colorado. Our state’s reinsurance waiver will lower costs for Coloradans on the individual market by more than 20 percent, and the full repeal of the health insurance tax will save Colorado families hundreds of dollars a year. As we head into the next year, I feel honored to represent the greatest state in the country and I will continue to fight every day for what’s right for Colorado.” Notable achievements for the state of Colorado in 2019 include: Gardner’s push to designate 9-8-8 as the national suicide prevention hotline took two critical steps forward. A day after the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation unanimously approved Gardner’s legislation, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) voted 5-0 to move forward with establishing the 9-8-8 suicide hotline. Gardner secured an increase of funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund in the year-end spending package, which was signed into law. The Senate passed Gardner’s bipartisan VA Provider Accountability Act, which would bring much needed accountability to the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). This bill is part of Gardner’s VA Readiness Initiative, which he launched to ensure the government is always ready to assist veterans and prepared to fulfill the promises our country has made them. Gardner secured the repeal of the costly Health Insurance Tax (HIT) and Medical Device Tax with passage of the year-end federal spending package. Gardner and previously introduced S. 172, a Senate bill to stop the HIT from raising costs on Coloradans. Congress provided $425 million for states to improve election security with Gardner’s support. The National Defense Authorization Act was signed into law and included numerous Gardner-supported provisions, including authorization of $322 million for military construction projects in Colorado, the largest pay raise for troops in a decade, and 12 weeks of paid parental leave for all 2.1 million federal employees. Gardner’s measure to provide potentially billions of dollars to fund rural broadband expansion was approved by the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation. Gardner’s amendment to increase funding for the COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program (CAMP) was included in the year-end spending package and signed into law. The bipartisan TRACED Act is headed to the President’s desk to be signed into law, which Gardner cosponsored to crack down on illegal robocalls and scams. Coloradans receive 2.5 million robocalls every day, and El Paso County has the highest rate of robocall complaints per capita in the United States. The bipartisan FUTURE Act was signed into law, which included Gardner’s legislation to simplify the federal student loan application process for nearly 20 million students and their families. Gardner’s legislation to reauthorize Brand USA and support international travel to Colorado and the U.S. was signed into law. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed Gardner’s bipartisan bill to provide full, permanent funding of the Land and Water Conservation Fund. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation approved Gardner’s bipartisan legislation with U.S. Representative Diana DeGette (CO-1) to establish the Commission on the State of U.S. Olympics and Paralympics. Two bipartisan Gardner bills to protect firefighters from harmful PFAS chemicals advanced in the Senate. The Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee unanimously passed the Protecting Firefighters from Adverse Substances (PFAS) Act, and the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously passed the Guaranteeing Equipment Safety for Firefighters Act. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources unanimously passed the bipartisan Energy Jobs for our Heroes Act, introduced by Senators Gardner and Bennet to help ease the transition back to civilian life for service members and connect veterans with jobs in the rapidly expanding energy sector. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously passed the Expanding Findings for Federal Opioid Research and Treatment (EFFORT) Act, introduced by Senators Gardner and Chris Coons (D-DE) to support research on opioid addiction. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee passed the bipartisan NASA Authorization Act, which included a number of provisions supported by Gardner to bolster the Colorado aerospace sector. The Senate passed a bipartisan resolution authored by Senators Gardner and Bennet to recognize the 100th anniversary of the Colorado Farm Bureau Federation and celebrate the long history of the Farm Bureau representing farmers and ranchers in Colorado. The Senate passed Gardner’s bipartisan Deepfake Report Act to assess deepfake technology, its uses by foreign and domestic entities, and available countermeasures to deepfakes, and to help policymakers and the public better understand the threats deepfakes pose to our national security and election security. U.S. Space Command was established at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. Gardner has long pushed for the Department of Defense to reestablish U.S. Space Command in Colorado. The federal government released the first measure of state-level data for the outdoor
recreation economy. Prior to Gardner’s Outdoor REC Act becoming law in 2016, the federal government did not measure the state-level economic impact of outdoor recreation. The Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources passed three bills authored by Gardner and a number of bills cosponsored by Gardner to enhance energy storage, enhance state energy security planning, and provide physical and cyber security assistance to electric utilities. Gardner applauded the final repeal of the Waters of the United States (WOTUS) rule, a burdensome regulation that would have been harmful to Colorado’s economy and agriculture community. Gardner has consistently opposed WOTUS since it was first revealed and celebrated the announcement as preventing an unconstitutional takeover of Colorado’s rivers, streams, and local waterways. The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services finalized a new rule to provide reimbursement for time that residents spend training at Critical Access Hospitals (CAH), which serve rural communities. This policy was included in Gardner’s bipartisan Rural Physician Workforce Production Act. Colorado’s reinsurance waiver was approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), which will lower health insurance premiums on the individual market by more than 20 percent across Colorado. Gardner directly pushed CMS, the Department of the Treasury, and the Department of Health and Human Services in support of Colorado’s waiver application. Gardner announced the Bureau of Land Management will relocate its headquarters to Grand Junction, an idea Gardner first raised in June, 2016. Gardner’s legislation to permanently reauthorize the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund (VCF) was signed into law. The VCF provides financial compensation to first responders and individuals injured in the September 11th attacks, like Colorado’s Task Force One, which deployed to Ground Zero in the aftermath of the deadliest terrorist attack on American soil. Gardner announced the formation of the Roosevelt Conservation Caucus, which will embrace and promote constructive efforts to address environmental problems, promote economically viable policies to improve the environment, and base policy decisions on science and quantifiable facts. Gardner-supported legislation to help prevent law enforcement suicides was signed into law. The Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation unanimously passed Gardner’s bipartisan Developing and Growing the Internet of Things (DIGIT) Act, which would convene a working group of federal entities and experts from the private and academic sectors to recommend to Congress how to facilitate the growth of connected Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee advanced bipartisan legislation written by Senators Gardner and Mark Warner (D-VA), co-founders of the Senate Cybersecurity Caucus, to improve cybersecurity of Internet-connected devices. The Senate passed Gardner’s legislation to permanently reauthorize the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program, which law enforcement agencies use to purchase lifesaving bulletproof vests. Gardner chaired a hearing on climate science research to examine research advancements on climate issues and the developments in climate science. Senators Gardner and Bennet secured congressional passage of the Colorado River Drought Contingency Plan Authorization Act, which was then signed into law and authorized the implementation of the Drought Contingency Plan agreements forged between the seven Colorado River Basin states and Indian tribes. Gardner secured permanent reauthorization of the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), which was signed into law in March. Gardner has championed the LWCF in the Senate and currently pushing for full, permanent funding of the LWCF. In 2019, Gardner was recognized for his work across the aisle: Gardner was ranked the 5th most bipartisan Senator in the 115th Congress by the Lugar Center, moving up three spots from number eight in 2017. Quorum Analytics analyzed Congress’ legislative data in 2019 and found Gardner was one of the most bipartisan Senators at this point in the 116th Congress. Notable efforts to promote democracy, human rights, and American interests around the world include: The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Gardner’s hard-hitting Russia sanctions package to deter the Russian Federation’s malign actions around the world. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed Gardner’s legislation to determine if Russia is a State Sponsor of Terrorism. Gardner secured $2.5 billion to implement the Gardner-Markey Asia Reassurance Initiative Act, a comprehensive Asia policy framework which was signed into law in 2018. Gardner’s legislative provision expressing U.S. support for democracy in Hong Kong was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). Gardner’s provision to impose sanctions on North Korea was signed into law as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). The Senate passed Gardner’s bipartisan resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide, marking the first time in history the Senate recognized the Armenian Genocide. Gardner applauded the announcement that the Federal Communications Commission would ban telecommunications providers from using federal subsidies to purchase equipment or services from Huawei or ZTE. Gardner has long warned about the risks of ZTE and Huawei technologies and his resolution warning allies of the risks of Huawei and ZTE products was passed by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee unanimously in June. The U.S. Senate unanimously passed the Taiwan Allies International Protection and Enhancement Initiative (TAIPEI Act), authored by Senators Gardner and Chris Coons (D-DE), to strengthen Taiwan’s standing around the world and respond to increased pressure and bullying from China. Gardner commended new sanctions placed on North Korea, which were mandated by his 2016 North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act. Gardner hosted President of Taiwan Tsai Ing-wen and high-ranking Taiwanese officials in Colorado. President Tsai’s visit marked the first time a sitting president of Taiwan visited the state of Colorado. Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.
Clerk and Recorder Koppes: 2019 Recount concluded
Lost Creek Guide
Greeley, December 5, 2019 – Clerk and Recorder Carly Koppes announced today that the 2019 Recount for the City of Greeley At-Large and RE-5J Johnstown – Milliken School District has been completed. The City of Greeley At-Large race and RE-5J ballot issue 5A fell under C.R.S. 1-10.5 automatic recount requirements which is one half of one percent separation. Candidates Kristin Zasada and Stacy Suniga trigged the recount for the City of Greeley and ballot issue 5A trigged the recount for the RE-5J Johnstown-Milliken School District. Here are the final Recount totals: City of Greeley At-Large (Vote for two) Stacy Suniga 8008 Kristin Zasada 8023 5A – RE-5J Johnstown-Milliken School District (this does not include Larimer County totals) Yes 3027 No 3031 The Recount has been certified and made official. Koppes stated “everything went smooth with the recount and the Election Team and Election Judges did phenomenal work to complete it in a timely manner. The process once again has proven the secure, transparent and accurate elections we run in Weld County.” The Election department is already working on the 2020 March 3rd Presidental Primary Election.
Rockin K Family Rodeos to be Held at SEWC Fairgrounds in Keenesburg this Summer
by Madison Richmond Every summer at the SEWC fairgrounds in Keenesburg, Rockin K family rodeo takes place for several weekends. Rockin K rodeos are the perfect place to take your whole family no matter how old. There are different age groups starting at 5 and under, through adults, so that everyone can participate. The events you can compete in are, barrel racing, pole bending, goat tying, flag race, mini bulls, mutton bustin, breakaway roping, and team roping. The kids under 5 can participate in a goat tail pull and stick horse race along with lead line barrels, poles, and flag race. Rockin K family rodeo is put on by great people who volunteer to help families grow their love for rodeo. At the end of the season with Rockin K, great prizes from buckles to saddles are given to the year end champions. The 2020 schedule for the Rockin K family rodeos is below. May 30-31 June 13-14 July 18-19 August 1-2 Weather related make up dates: August 22-23 To support this wonderful family rodeo association you may contact Rockin K family rodeo, Mike and Brandy Gieger for sponsorship information. Facebook: Rockin K Family Rodeo Brandy Giger 970-371-1193 Email: email@example.com
Publisher’s Comment: And you don’t think your vote Counts!!!
The Fort Lupton Police Department and our community were shocked and then saddened after the officer shooting that occurred on the night of December 2nd. As the shock was at its peak, we noticed that others were at our sides. Fellow officers, officers from nearby agencies, and members of both our and other communities stepped in to help manage all the things that needed to be done. It is a tremendous relief when this happens. It immediately provides hope that the situation will work out the best it can. All of those immediately involved and those pulled into it as time progressed were able to breath and accomplish what need to be done. We really don’t know how to thank all those who stepped up. Whether it was being with our officers, providing food and comfort, providing financial support for Sgt. Pelton, visiting both the Department and Sgt. Pelton, and most of all the prayers. Sgt. Pelton has progressed faster and farther than we could have wished. We are thankful and look forward to him being in a position to return. Having fewer worries helped in this process. Even though some will be missed on this list, we don’t want to miss thanking all. We would like to mention some of those who helped: The officers and deputies from the Dacono PD, Weld County Sheriff’s Office, Platteville PD, Colorado State Patrol, Loveland PD, and Greeley PD who were at the scene. I can’t forget the Dispatchers from the Weld County Communications Center, firefighters from the Fort Lupton Fire District and EMT’s and Paramedics from the Banner ambulances that lived through it with us. The officers from the Erie PD, Dacono PD, Brighton PD, and our Chaplains who helped with Peer Support. The Victim’s Advocates from Weld County. The Chavarria Family. The Fort Morgan PD for their urgent response. The medical staffs at the Northern Colorado Medical and the Swedish Medical Centers. All those who brought food for our staff during the initial days including both individuals and churches (Destiny & First United Methodist). Sara Metz from Code-4 Counseling The Centennial Crisis Team. ColoradoFallenHeroes.org NOCO Police and Fire Families. Colorado Police Foundation. Jennifer Witkowski and Blue Lives Matter/Colorado Those who contributed to the Pelton Family sponsored “Go Fund Me” account. There is a special thanks for the Brighton Police Department (in total) who stepped up with Peer Support in so many ways, City coverage while we had recovery meetings, and so much more. The Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 48 for their help with fund raising (through Chase Bank), in support of Sgt. Pelton’s family and counseling services for our staff. Again for the Englewood PD (Supervisors, officers, advocates and the therapy dog) who helped so much at Swedish with being there and caring for Sgt. Pelton, his family and those of us who sat vigil. They welcomed us all. All those who visited and were so concerned about Sgt. Pelton’s recovery from Brighton PD, Denver PD and their Union Reps, Cherry Hills Village PD, Commerce City PD, the Colorado Rangers, Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office, Adams County Sheriff’s Office, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation, the Morgan County Sheriff’s Office, Longmont PD, Greeley PD, Sheridan PD, Aurora PD…. And so many other individuals who helped. I won’t be able to say how thankful we are. In support of all the thanks, Sgt. Pelton continues to improve rapidly and should be leaving Swedish for longer term rehabilitation at the Craig Hospital weeks ahead of schedule. An example of his strength, character and drive to get well facilitated by those we have listed. Chief John Fryar
Matt M., Journeyman Lineman
January 2, 2020
1/8/2019 9:34:18 AM
January 2, 2020
Page 5 January is National Radon Action Month –
Lost Creek Guide
Greeley Senator Sponsors Bill to Prohibit California Emissions Standards
By Sherrie Peif Denver — Sen. John Cooke, R-Greeley, has sponsored a bill that would prohibit the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) from enacting air standards on vehicles mandated by former Gov. John Hickenlooper. Senate Bill 19-053 would align Colorado’s standards on vehicle emissions with federal standards under the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and specifically prohibit the commission from adopting standards and test procedures identical to California standards unless they are identical to the federal regulations. States may adopt either the federal standards or the California standards. Currently 13 states, including Colorado, and the District of Columbia have adopted California Low Emission Vehicle (LEV) standards, which are more stringent than the EPA’s. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Health and Human Services Committee, it is expected to be heard in February. Last year, Hickenlooper signed an executive order directing the AQCC to adopt rules identical to California’s LEV standards. Those rules became official in November. Hickenlooper stopped short of mandating Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) sales. However, the AQCC is conducting stakeholders’ meetings on the matter and is expected to ask for a hearing to consider ZEV regulation in May. CLEAR or the Colorado Low Emission Automobile Regulation requires manufacturers of new light-duty (less than 8,500 pounds) and medium duty (less than 14,000 pounds) vehicles to meet California’s low emissions standard for vehicles sold in Colorado beginning with the model year 2022. Any change to California’s standards would automatically apply to Colorado as well, effectively putting Colorado’s emissions standards under the control of the California governor and that state’s version of the AQCC. The AQCC did not initially require the piece of California legislation that requires a growing percentage of all vehicles (capped at 10 percent) to meet a Zero Emissions Vehicle (ZEV) standard by certain timelines. ZEV is highly controversial as it requires auto manufacturers to purchase “credits” from competing companies if they fail to make the minimum mandates of ZEV automobiles in a given year. Currently, the only auto manufacturer of 100 percent electric vehicles that could sell and benefit from the credits is Tesla. Tesla’s owners, Elon and Kimbal Musk are close friends with Hickenlooper. In fact, Hickenlooper is currently under investigation by the Colorado Ethics Commission for accepting travel on the brothers’ private planes. Cooke said he’s been fighting Hickenlooper’s mandate since he announced it. “He wanted to do this legislatively last session, and couldn’t get it done,” Cooke said. “So he does it through Executive Order. This isn’t a dictatorship. It’s going to hurt people because they can’t afford new cars. The (manufacturers) aren’t going to lose money on it because they’re going to jack up the price of teir cars.” Tim Jackson, President of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association said his organization supports the bill, which is facing an uphill battle, with Democrats in control of both chambers of the legislature. “It becomes an economic development issue for California because that’s where Tesla’s based,” Jackson said. “So long as (auto manufacturers) are having to buy the credits, they have to add on the cost of those credits to the consumer.”
Weld Central High School Boys Varsity Basketball
by Chris Piper at Chrispiper@re3j.com Wednesday, December 18th, 2019 Weld Central High School Boy’s Varsity Basketball fall to Gunnisi High School 73-47 The Rebels ran into a tough Cowboy team for the final game before Christmas break. Bryce Andrews had 14 points. Thursday, December 19th, 2019 Weld Central High School Boys Varsity Basketball start the Holiday Tournament with a win. Rebels played host team Florence and were able to win. Bryce Andres – 17 points Kevin Shaffer – 16 points Daniel Begler – 10 points Noah Sena – 9 points Layton Utecht – 6 points Friday, December 20th, 2019 Weld Central High School Boys Varsity falls to Salida High School 53-44 Rebels had a slow start and fought back hard but fell short. Kevin Shaffer – 19 points Noah Sena – 12 points
Weld County Health Department Urges Homeowners to Test Their Homes, Offers FREE Short-Term Test Kits
Weld County, Colorado – Radon is an odorless, colorless, radioactive gas caused by the breakdown of uranium. Uranium is found mostly in rock formations but can also be found in soil and water. Radon typically moves up through the ground to the air above and into your home through the miniscule cracks in your home’s foundation or smalls spaces around utility pipes. Long-term radon exposure is the leading cause of lung cancer among nonsmokers and the second leading cause of lung cancer among smokers. Approximately 50% of Colorado homes have radon levels in excess of the EPA recommended action level and all 64 Colorado counties are rated at high risk for elevated radon. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that radon is responsible for more than 20,000 lung cancer deaths per year. “However,” says Dr. Mark Wallace, MD, MPH, Executive Director of the Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment, “because you can’t see or smell radon, people tend to downplay the health effects and ignore the possibility that there might be a silent killer in their homes.” The Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment urges residents to take action during this year’s National Radon Action Month, by testing their homes for radon. Weld County residents can received a free radon test kit (one per household, while supplies last). Test kits can be requested online at http://drhomeair.com/ weld. Testing is easy and it’s the only way to know for certain if your health is at risk. For more information on radon, radon testing, and radon mitigation call the Weld County Department of Public Health & Environment at (970) 400-2226 or visit: http://www. weldgov.com/go/radon.
BINGO Third Saturday of the Month 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm There is also “pickle/pull tabs” available everyday! Please come join us for some fun and socializing!
Weld Central High School Girls Varsity Basketball
By Scott Poole: firstname.lastname@example.org Thursday, December 19th, 2019: Weld Central High School Girls Varsity Basketball beat Florence High School 41-33 The Lady Rebels defeated Florence 41-33 in the opening game of the Huskie Holiday Tournament. The Lady Rebels were led by Kaydee Sims and Sydney Pevler who both scored 14 points. The Lady Rebels are next in action on Friday, December 20th against Salida High School. Tipoff is set for 4:00 p.m., at Florence High School. Friday, December 20th, 2019: Weld Central High School Girls Varsity Basketball beat Salida High School 49-19 The Lady Rebels defeated the Salida Spartans 49-19 in the second game of the Florence Holiday Tournament. The Lady Rebels were led by Kaydee Sims who scored 26 points and Sydney Pevler who chipped in with 11 points. The win improves the Lady Rebels to 7-2 on the season. The Lady Rebels look to capture the Holiday Tournament Championship going against Gunnison High School on Saturday December 21st. Go Lady Rebels! Saturday, December 21st, 2019: Weld Central High School Girls Varsity Basketball beats Gunnison High School 58-15 The Weld Central Lady Rebels captured the Florence Huskies Holiday Tournament with a convincing 58-15 victory over Gunnison High School. The Lady Rebels finished 3-0 for the tournament enroute to winning the Championship! The Lady Rebels were led by Kaydee Sims who scored 25 points and by Taylor Weber who scored 8 points and Sydney Pevler who chipped in with 7 points. The win improves the Lady Rebels record to 8-2 before the Christmas break. Congratulations to the Ladies!!!
Lost Creek Guide
Armed parishioners saved ‘untold number of lives.’ This law made it legal to have guns in church
By Hollie Silverman, CNN White Settlement, Texas, officials respond to church shooting 01:39 Those parishioners, who were also volunteer members of the church’s security team, are able to carry guns into church due to a law passed by Texas Gov. Greg Abbott in response to another deadly church shooting that took the lives of 26 people in 2017. Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick referred to the law during a Sunday night press conference, saying that it was passed following the deadly shooting at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs. It took effect in September, Patrick said. Senate Bill 535 took effect in September and clarifies possession of firearms at places of worship. The bill allows licensed handgun owners to legally carry their weapons in churches, synagogues and other houses of worship. One month after Texas church shooting, pastor says his faith is stronger than ever “We have learned many times over that there is no such thing as a gun-free zone. Those with evil intentions will violate the law and carry out their heinous acts no matter what,” state Sen. Donna Campbell, co-sponsor of the bill, said in a statement when the bill was passed in September. “It makes no sense to disarm the good guys and leave law-abiding citizens defenseless where violent offenders break the law to do great harm.” Lt. Gov. Patrick also mentioned a second law that was recently passed that waives the fees charged to private institutions that have their own security teams. He lauded the heroic actions of those volunteer security members. “They were well trained, well trained. The heroism today is unparalleled. This team responded quickly and within six seconds the shooting was over,” Patrick said. “Two of the parishioners who are volunteers on the security force drew their weapons and took out the killer immediately saving untold number of lives.” CNN’s Faith Karimi and Christina Maxouris contributed to this report.
By GLAD Club
January 2, 2020
Weldon Valley News
Prayer for the New Year
Lord, we thank Thee for this place In which we dwell’ For the love that unites us; For the peace accorded us this day; For the hope with which we expect the morrow; For the health, the work, the food; And the bright skies that make our lives delightful; Or our friends in all parts of the earth. Give us courage, gaiety, and quiet mind. Spare to us our friends, soften to us our enemies. Bless us, if it may be, in all our innocent endeavors. If it may not, give us the strength To encounter that which is to come, That we may be brave in peril, Constant in tribulation, temperate in wrath And in all changes of fortune, And, down to the gates of death, Loyal and loving one to another. Amen Robert Louis Stevenson We got the wind the weather man reported said would come. Although we didn’t get much snow. But, the cold was here and it was a good time to stay indoors if you could. Best Wishes for the New Year! Smile a little: The troops were being taught to jump from a plane: One rookie asked, “What if my parachute doesn’t open?” “That,” said the instructor, “is known as jumping to a conclusion.” Community news: Pat and Don Wickstrom, the snow birds, have been enjoying their time back in the Valley for the holiday. They enjoyed Christmas Eve with the family of about 27 members hosted by Cary and Tara Wickstrom and Leigha and Andrew Mertens. On Christmas day they enjoyed the day with the family at Sheri and Don Kembel’s. There was much delicious food and they enjoy time with the eight great grandchildren as they open their Christmas gifts. They also traveled to Fort Collins and had a good visit with Bill Elman. Todd Wickstrom and Pat and Don had a great holiday visit with Kyle Wickstrom in Eaton. They enjoy the holiday time before returning to Arizona. There were signs that Santa Claus was traveling in the Valley on Christmas Eve. One of the stops he made with the Lorenzini Family. Kathy and Larry, Katie and Chad and Vivianne and Rick hosted the annual event. This tradition began 80 years ago. Family and friend joined in the evening of food, fun and more food. The special guest, Santa Claus, made his enter with a couple of helper wearing red hats. Santa has gift for all. The young kids and older all took a turn sitting on Santa’s lap. They all sang “Jingle Bells “ as Santa rang his bell and went to the next stop. It was a family gathering at the home of Kim Deganhart on both Christmas Eve and Christmas day. Everyone enjoy the food, gifts and a special time to celebrate. There was a full house at the home of Gertie Chapin on Christmas day. All the family and guests gathered for a delicious meal and gift giving. Dessert was enjoyed following a fun game. It was a great time together. Gerri Cooper enjoy the Christmas holiday time in Greeley with her family. It was a great celebration. Church chat: The St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Church will celebrate Mass on Sunday morning at 7:00 a.m. Pastor Reverend Erik Vigil Reyes and Parochial Vicar Reverend Francis Saleth, HGN will share the services. Confession will be celebrated before mass. Weldon Valley Presbyterian Church in Goodrich has Christian education and worship at 10 a.m. Next Sunday Denise Shannon will be with us and will celebrating “Star “ Sunday. The congregation continues to donation food items for the food bank at Rising Up in Fort Morgan. School scoop: The 6th grade is doing a fundraiser in January. They will use the funds for the YMCA trip in April. They are selling Smencil and Kneadable smelly erasers. The sales will be at the home basketball games. Or contact a sixth grade student. Teacher in service on January 6. Students return on January 7. 4-H News: 4-H members are developing their project for the new year. First meeting of the year on January 5, at 5:30 p.m. What’s cookin’: Cheese Balls-8 ounces cream cheese, 1 jar Old English cheese, 1 tablespoon mince onions, chopped nuts. Cream together cream cheese and Old English cheese and minced onions. Refrigerator overnight. Shape into balls or logs. Roll in hopped nuts. Store in refrigerator. Until served. Great for a New Year gathering. Enjoy! First facts: 1648-Boston shoemakers were authorized to form a guild to protect their interests: it’s the first American labor organization on record. Weldon Valley History: 1895-The first Ladies Aide was organized in 1895 with membership of 12- 14 Women. It was knowns a the Will Workers . Calendar of event: Schools Out! January 1, 2020, Happy New Year! Saturday, January 4, 2 p.m., senior high basketball at home with Fleming. Sunday, January 5, 5:30 p.m., 4-H meeting. Tuesday, January, 7, Back to School Wednesday, January 8, 1:30 p.m. G L A D Club. Thought for the Day: “Little candles can light the darkness. Little memories can last for years. It’s the little things in life that bring the Greatest Happiness.”
January 2, 2020
Lost Creek Guide
National Debt Disappears as 2020 Campaign Issue – but it Keeps Growing
By Fred Lucas | Fox News Almost a decade after out-of-control spending and borrowing fueled the Tea Party revolution in a historic midterm election, no major presidential candidates from either party seem interested in the national debt that now stands at more than $23 trillion, leaving every American citizen owing almost $70,000. Meanwhile, the federal deficit—or the annual budget shortfall—is more than $1 trillion. With Democrats proposing ever-more spending in the form of massive government-funded benefit programs, and the Trump administration endorsing spending packages that further swell the deficit, budget hawks aren’t sure when and whether the situation could stabilize. “Democrats don’t care about budget deficits and the national debt, and it’s an incredibly frightening problem,” said Jason Pye, vice president for legislative affairs at FreedomWorks, a major player in rallying the Tea Party movement of the 2010 election. “The president has said it’s a fifth-year priority, but that’s assuming he’s re-elected. He’s already signed two budgets that increase discretionary spending. Republicans have abandoned any pretense of fiscal responsibility. Not being the Democrats is not good enough.” In a June report, the Congressional Budget Office forecast that by the end of 2019, debt held by the public would be 78 percent of the gross domestic product—the highest level since right after World War II. Within 15 years, the debt will be larger than the economy and, by 2049, will almost double to 144 percent of the GDP—with entitlements projected to make up about three-fourths of the debt in 30 years, according to the CBO. Interest on the debt is the fastest-growing part of the federal budget and will total more than $6 trillion over the next decade, according to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, a nonpartisan group advocating fiscal restraint. The foundation projects that interest on the debt will crowd out future spending on education, highway spending, and research and development. “Unless Congress acts, with some presidential buy-in, we are going to be growing at the rate of a European welfare state,” Pye told Fox News. “Trump has been great on the deregulation and tax side, but spending is the ultimate issue.” Pye added the Tea Party election of 2010 had some positive results, with about 65 to 70 House members persistently voting against big-spending budgets, aided by senators like Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah. But, he added, Republicans gave away their major victory from the Budget Control Act of 2011. Democrats generally blame the Trump tax cuts for the rising budget deficit. But both parties have gone along with more spending. Just last week, Congress passed and Trump signed a $1.4 trillion budget package that boosts spending levels and is expected to add hundreds of billions to the debt over the next decade. In July, the Democratic House and Republican Senate passed, and Trump signed, a budget to temporarily suspend the debt ceiling and hike federal spending by $300 million. Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, in a longshot challenge to Trump for the Republican nomination, has attacked Trump’s fiscal record. Weld backs “zero baseline budgeting,” meaning that Congress wouldn’t automatically fund every federal program at or above the same level as the previous year, requiring each program to justify its budget. Weld noted he was on the campaign trail talking about fiscal responsibility back in 2010. “In 2010, Republicans fought against spending. I was campaigning for [former Massachusetts Sen.] Scott Brown that year when he won,” Weld told Fox News. “Both parties are asleep on the issue. The national debt is a generational issue, just like climate change. I’ve been talking to millennials about it and they get it. I’ve told them unless you take action now, you can forget about Social Security.” “Change has to come to Washington. Republicans have to get their act together,” Weld said. “I’m the opposite of most Democrats that are just proposing throwing more money at everything.” On the Democratic side, debt and deficits rarely are mentioned on the debate stage or on the stump. Instead, candidates like Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders are pitching sprawling programs like “Medicare-for-all” and free college. Democratic support for budget-busting plans like the Green New Deal marks a departure from a decade ago when Democrats at least acknowledged the problem of deficits, said Jenny Beth Martin, founder of the Tea Party Patriots, one of the key organizations in the 2010 elections. “By and large, Democrats have abdicated even a pretense of caring about fiscal responsibility,” Martin told Fox News. “At the same time, the reason Democratic candidates like Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg have attacked Liz Warren and Bernie Sanders is because Medicare for All would add $20 trillion to the national debt.” Those candidates technically have plans to fund “Medicare-forall,” though Warren has faced skepticism in claiming she could do so without raising middle-class taxes. Meanwhile, on the Republican side, the only place where the deficit is regularly discussed is among the diminishing field of low-key primary challengers. Perhaps no moment better illustrated the dying issue of the debt than former South Carolina governor and congressman Mark Sanford showing up in New Hampshire to suspend his GOP presidential campaign, while carrying an oversized $1 trillion check representing the 2019 deficit and made out to “Burden of Future Generations.” Since the Tea Party revolution, Martin has learned that it’s tough to get politicians to talk about spending. She sees some promise
from the Trump administration, arguing that protecting the border will mean less spending in the long term. Further, she said there is broad support behind the “penny plan,” which would take out one cent of every $1 in federal spending. Trump’s fiscal year 2020 budget proposal includes a version of the penny plan. “What President Trump has done in his first term is reform government and cut regulation. He has begun to reduce the size and scope of government and his policies are also growing the economy,” Martin told Fox News. “The only way to get a balanced budget is to cut spending and grow the economy. He has proposed budgets that balance to Congress. Congress under Obama and Trump have ignored presidential proposed budgets.”
Town Of Erie Misdirects $1 Million For Bridge Contractor To Fraudulent Account
ERIE, Colo. (CBS4) – The town of Erie recently fell victim to financial fraud after sending more than $1 million to a fake account. According to Town Administrator Malcolm Fleming, officials sent the money to an unknown person claiming to be a construction company the town had hired to build the Erie Parkway Bridge. On Oct. 21, officials said the suspect submitted an electronic form on the town’s website, requesting a change in payment for the bridge’s primary contractor, SEMA Construction, Inc. The form requested an electronic fund transfer instead of a check. Staff checked the form for accuracy, according to officials, but did not verify the change with SEMA Construction. Erie issued two payments to SEMA on Oct. 25 totalling $1,016,233.80. The town sent these payments via electronic funds transfer to an account that did not belong to SEMA. “Once the payments were in that account, the perpetrators of this fraud sent the money via wire transfer out of the country,” said Fleming. Erie Parkway Bridge (credit: CBS) After the bank notified Erie officials about the fraud, the town cut two physical checks for SEMA Construction totaling $1,016,233.80. Officials have since removed the form from the town’s website and discontinued vendor payments via electronic funds transfer unless they are verified. Before the town fell victim to fraud, the Erie Board of Trustees approved the creation of two new positions in 2020: Accounting Manager and Finance Manager. The Trustees also voted to make the part-time Risk Manager position full-time. “These additional positions will provide additional support, oversight, segregation of duties, and management of the Town’s financial operations, which have expanded significantly in magnitude and complexity as the Town has grown in population,” Fleming said. The Erie Police Department is working with the FBI to investigate the fraudulent account. Meantime, officials are working with the town’s insurance providers on a loss claim.
Lost Creek Guide
January 2, 2020
2019 Weld County 4-H Mardi Gras
By Madison Richmann On November 23, 2019 Weld County hosted the annual 4-H Mardi Gras at Island Grove Park in Greeley, Colorado. Mardi Gra is a fundraiser for the Weld County 4-H Foundation. This years theme was “Let’s Luau.” 4-H clubs from around Weld County made booths; some carnival games, and others had food and drinks. Each club also made a basket for the silent auction. The Magic Spurs 4-H club, leaders Sam Dudley and Shelly Jacobucci, made a “tiki bar” with snow cones, popcorn, and candy for sale. Magic Spurs basket theme this year was “A Day at the Beach,” featuring a large bull floaty, a cooler donated by OtterBox, and many other awesome items. Some of the other booths consisted of human bowling, air gun target shooting, basketball shooting, and mini golf. After the carnival games and fun, the evening ended with a dance. Mardi Gra was open to the public and all 4-H members and families. Thank you to everyone who supported Weld County 4-H and its members.
January 2, 2020
Lost Creek Guide
2020 forecast: Colorado is getting older and narrowing the housing gap, but really needs middle-wage jobs A look at Colorado’s past and future for predictions about the state’s aging population, how the current construction boom compares to the ’70s and more
by Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun This article contains new, firsthand information uncovered by its reporter(s). This includes directly interviewing sources and research / analysis of primary source documents. As a news piece, this article cites verifiable, third-party sources which have all been thoroughly fact-checked and deemed credible by the Newsroom in accordance with the Civil Constitution. Learn more about Civil’s Credibility Indicators If you’re feeling kind of crowded on Colorado’s roads or hiking trails, or it seems that housing costs have crept up to unheard of levels, or you find it’s hard to get good service at businesses short on staff, there’s data to back up the sentiment. But you have to look further than the decade we just left to understand how Colorado got here and what must be done to keep the economy steady. While the state’s population is at its highest, Colorado’s economy has adapted since the slowdowns of past decades. The state’s businesses and industries are more diverse. Colorado has focused on attracting companies offering higher-wage jobs or that pay at least 100% of a county’s average wage. And we’re still attracting young people even as aging adults stick around after retirement. But there are hints that point to an economic disruption in Colorado if we don’t pay attention — from types of desperately needed housing that aren’t being built to missing categories of jobs that can create a more sustainable community, said Elizabeth Garner, Colorado’s state demographer. Just pursuing more housing or high-paying jobs without looking at all the variables isn’t going to cut it. “Something that we forget about in economic development is that when we create highwage jobs that also creates low-wage jobs,” said Garner, pointing to a lack of what she calls mid-wage jobs, paying somewhere in the middle to higher five figures. “Maybe (the) big picture question is, are we going to be alright? What’s important is that every variable is connected.” Garner helped take us through some of the more important demographic trends that connect Colorado’s history — and its future. Who lives here The state’s population is expected to reach 5,842,076 people in 2020. That means we’ll have added a 1.5 million people in the past two decades, growing faster than most of the U.S. Nearly 91% of the newcomers settled in the Front Range. About 8% moved to the Western Slope. What interests economists is who is living here. A small segment of the population already having an impact on the state’s economy is older adults. People age 65 and older have become the fastest growing age group. Young people have been moving here since the 1970s and are now hitting retirement age. While it’s great to have a solid base of younger adults — “They typically are all working and they also tend to be our next source of creating families,” Garner said — it’s older adults who are expected to become a large contributor to the state’s economy. “One of the best things about young adults is they become older adults,” she said. “And older adults spend a lot more money than young adults, especially on goods, which are taxed. So, when you buy a home and you furnish that home you’re buying goods that are taxed, and that’s where we get all of our sales tax from.” The growth of adults age 65 and older is expected to have a long impact on jobs, housing and other sectors in the years to come. Wanted: health care workers, mid-wage jobs As the state’s population has grown older, there’s already been an increase in health care jobs, like home health aides, as well as workers who offer rides or meal service. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the health care and social assistance industry has some of the fastest annual employment growth nationwide, with 3.4 million new jobs expected to be created by 2028. In Colorado, health care support jobs are expected to be the fastest growing occupation over the next decade, according to the state’s Department of Labor. These sorts of jobs also fit into the mid-wage category, with annual salaries between $48,100 to $56,472, depending on where one lives in Colorado. Garner said Colorado doesn’t have a particularly strong mid-wage sector, which might include high-pay blue collar or manufacturing jobs. “But what’s interesting is that if you create mid-wage jobs, you create fewer low-wage jobs because their ability to spend is lower.” Mid-wage earners don’t eat out every night, but maybe once a week. They spend less, though they still contribute to housing demand and traffic congestion. With the state’s low unemployment rate — a low 2.6% in November — this mid-wage category provides higher-paying options for entry-level workers. “A lot of those (low-wage jobs) are just simply created because we’ve got these highwage jobs and sometimes that’s what makes me angry when people will start talking about, ‘Oh we’re gonna do a better job of creating good jobs.’ I’m like, ‘All right, that’s fine. But when you create that high-wage job that has a trajectory and gives you a career path, you’re also creating that waiter or waitress job. And that’s not going to go away, unless you just have robots everywhere.’” Needed: Smaller, accessible housing Housing prices in metro Denver have continued to inch upward, though at a slower rate than in recent years. The median sales price in Denver was $490,000 in November, up 7.3% from a year earlier, according to the Colorado Association of Realtors. The number of homes available for sale, however, is down 35.4% during the same period. The housing market is already tight and is likely to continue as Coloradans age. Older adults who want to downsize end up competing with younger, first-time homeowners for the same house because those entry-level homes tend to be more affordable and smaller. The other issue is that construction costs have soared, said Richard Wobbekind, executive director of Leeds Business Research Division at the University of Colorado, who oversaw the recent Colorado Business Economic Outlook 2020 report. “We hear a lot from the construction industry that it’s hard to bring anything in the (Denver) metro area under $400,000 with the permitting and stuff,” Wobbekind said. “And I think that’s where the disconnect is coming from. The housing that’s available is more expensive than the wage levels of the people who can afford it.” In 2018, the average cost to build a housing unit in Colorado was $240,001, compared with $124,956 in 2000.
The state’s greatest housing boom was in the 1970s with a peak in 1972, when 65,664 permits were issued for single-family homes, apartments and other dwellings. By comparison, 2018 had about two-thirds the number, coming in at 42,627 permits, according to the U.S. Census. And after the 2008 recession hit, new home construction dropped dramatically, falling to 9,355 in 2009. Building stalled for about seven years, Garner said, but new household creation didn’t stop. “People kept moving to Colorado, kept having babies. People kept leaving the home and graduating from high school and college in starting a household,” Garner said. “So we got to a point in about 2015, where we had the tightest housing market that we had had in I believe, since, well, 1970.” Home construction continues to grow but builders should pay attention to what type of construction makes the most sense, Garner said. During the residential boom of the ‘70s and ‘80s, houses tended to be two and three stories, with lots of stairs. And it was well before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. There’s a need to build more housing that is accessible for all ages — an architectural style called universal design — or to modify existing homes to suit older adults. Garner, a Colorado native, points to her mother as an example. Her mother still lives in the 4,000-square foot home Garner grew up in. It’s paid for, but selling it and buying a smaller home in the neighborhood is cost-prohibitive. Putting her demographer’s hat on, Garner said this contributes to the shortage. “But if we think strategically about housing, she is completely wasting a housing resource still living in the house that I grew up in because that really should be accommodating five to six people, not one,” she said. “And putting her into a smaller unit that is right sized for her makes more sense.”
Lost Creek Guide
Billionaire leftists are coming for your guns
By Rick Manning, LEFT-WING FOUNDATIONS, RESEARCH Limousine liberals are endangering your Second Amendment rights. While these celebrities and billionaires can afford armed and trained bodyguards, homes surrounded by walls, high-tech security and surveillance systems, panic rooms, and even armored cars, they want to disarm average citizens who live in much more dangerous neighborhoods and can’t afford such elaborate security measures. And now in Congress they might be about to get their way in the wake of the El Paso and Dayton mass shootings. In 2013, then-New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg spent $12 million on an advertising campaign promoting background checks. The following year, Bloomberg announced his plan to spend $50 million on gun control and founded Everytown for Gun Safety. Everytown was formed from the merger of Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, which Bloomberg had co-founded in 2006. Bloomberg also recruited Warren Buffett to the advisory board of Everytown. In 2015, the Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund began meddling in Virginia politics. That year, the Action Fund spent $2 million to help Democrats running for the Virginia Senate. Just two years later, the Action Fund spent $1 million to help elect Democrats Ralph Northam and Mark Herring to statewide office; Virginia voters subsequently learned that both had worn blackface. Also in 2017, it was reported that Bloomberg had spent $135 million on gun control. Last year was a busy one for Everytown. The gun-grabbing group teamed up with the March for Our Lives and the March for our Lives Action Fund to organize the anti-gun rally in DC. Everytown also joined with the Giffords Center and NextGen America to register high school students and spent $5 million to defeat Republican members of Congress. Finally, Everytown partnered with Levi Strauss to try to ban all private gun sales except for those made in retail stores. Of course, many well-known names joined Everytown in its support of the March for Our Lives. For example, George and Amal Clooney, Jeffrey and Marilyn Katzenberg, Oprah Winfrey, and Steven Spielberg and his wife Kate Capshaw, all contributed $500,000 to the march. Taylor Swift also contributed. Fortunes created by Microsoft have been used to fund anti-gun ballot measures in Washington State. In 2014, billionaires Bill and Melinda Gates, Steve and Connie Ballmer, and Paul Allen gave over $2 million collectively to an anti-gun ballot measure. Four years later, Allen and the Ballmers once again collectively gave over $2 million in support of another anti-gun ballot measure. Gabby Giffords’ anti-gun super PAC has also proven popular with liberal billionaires. Unsurprisingly, Bloomberg and Connie Ballmer have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to the super PAC. Sean Parker, the former president of Facebook, and Marc Benioff, the chairman of Salesforce, have also contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last year, the Laura and John Arnold Foundation announced that it would be contributing $20 million to the National Collaborative on Gun Violence Research. The Arnold Foundation planned to raise an additional $30 million from other funders. While gun
January 2, 2020
violence research might not sound very concerning, one need look no farther than the Arnolds’ choice to lead their research effort to see in which direction the research is likely to go. They have hired Jeremy Travis, an anti-gun extremist, to serve as the Executive Vice President of Criminal Justice at the Arnold Foundation. Travis clerked for Ruth Bader Ginsberg and played a key role in crafting New York City’s gun ban. Of course, no list of liberal billionaires who oppose gun rights would be complete without George Soros. In 2013, Soros’ Open Society Foundations gave $150,000 to the Joyce Foundation’s Fund for a Safer Future, which was set up to advocate for gun control. Soros also gave $50,000 to the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence. These celebrities and billionaires represent just a tiny fraction of the hordes that would happily seize your guns, but they represent a significant source of funding for the anti-gun agenda. Be sure to keep the contributions of these people in mind the next time you are considering going to a movie starring George Clooney or to a Taylor Swift concert, buying a pair of Levi’s or insurance from Geico (which Buffett owns), or watching Oprah or Bloomberg’s TV channels. Billionaire leftists like George Soros, Bill Gates, Michael Bloomberg and John Arnold are spending millions of dollars to exploit the tragedies of El Paso and Dayton to undermine the individual right to keep and bear arms. Whether it be Soros’ campaign to elect anti-gun prosecutors who fail to fully enforce the law against violent criminals while aggressively pursuing enforcement of fraudulent red flag claims without due process, or Gates, Bloomberg and the Arnold Foundation that have spent their resources convincing so-called moderate Republicans that they can be just a little bit pregnant when they support slippery slope measures leading to gun confiscation, it all leads to the same outcome. Every American gun owner who simply believes in individual liberty should contact their Congressmen, Senators and the President and tell them to say no to the billionaire leftists and support the right to keep and bear arms and due process. Rick Manning is the President of Americans for Limited Government Foundation.
California’s Latest Act of Idiocy: Killing Freelance Work
Jarrett Stepman / @JarrettStepman / December 30, 2019 / 77 Comments Jarrett Stepman is a contributor to The Daily Signal and co-host of The Right Side of History podcast. Send an email to Jarrett. He is also the author of the new book, “The War on History: The Conspiracy to Rewrite America’s Past.” If there’s one thing the California government is good for these days, it’s failing to address crises that glaringly exist while creating new crises that shouldn’t exist—and then shifting the blame when everything goes wrong. A new California law set to go into effect in the new year is the latest example of misguided legislation hurting the very people it was aimed to “protect” in the Golden State. The law, Assembly Bill 5, puts severe restrictions on who is qualified to be an independent contractor or freelancer. The law puts heavy restrictions on how much work freelancers can do before being considered full-time workers. The legislation was passed to reduce the negative impact of the “gig economy,” where workers do various jobs on their own time but don’t get the benefits or long-term employment guarantees of a traditional, full-time job. Next year, absolutely everything is on the line. Defend your principles before it is too late. Find out more now >> The problem is, it appears that instead of aiming to hire more full-time workers, companies are simply getting rid of freelancers and independent contractors in favor of a smaller number of full-time employees. Of course, the freelancer law has major implications for ride-sharing services like Uber— which is battling the law and working with other companies to amend it with a ballot initiative—but it’s having a huge impact on freelance writers in particular. Vox Media, which supported the new law, announced that it would be doing away with most of its California contractors who provide content for its sports websites on SB Nation. “In the early weeks and months of 2020, we will end our contracts with most contractors at California brands,” SB Nation Executive Director John Ness wrote in a post, according to Fox Business. “This shift is part of a business and staffing strategy that we have been exploring over the past two years, but one that is also necessary in light of California’s new independent contractor law, which goes into effect Jan. 1, 2020.” There’s no question as to where the problem lies: The new law limits freelance contributions to 35-a-year to a single company, which in many cases is a tiny number for freelancers. Billy Binion, writing for Reason, pointed out what this means for writers: “The 35-piece per publication limit comes out to less than one piece per week. Anyone who writes a weekly column, for instance, is likely out of a job if their publisher cannot hire them as an employee.” Businesses and publishers in general now have an incentive to stay away from California workers and writers. “If I’m a publisher from out of state,” said David Swanson, a San Diego writer who is the outgoing president of the Society of American Travel Writers, according to the Los Angeles Times, “and I have a choice of hiring a writer from California to do a job, or somebody from Colorado or Texas or Canada or India—and I’d have no chance of being sued—who do you think I’m going to hire? AB 5 simply makes it unattractive to hire writers from California.” The gig economy might not be the best arrangement for everyone, but needlessly killing thousands of jobs is the last thing California lawmakers should be doing. The impact on businesses will likely be bad, but for those now out of a job in the new year, it will be far worse. For many, the flexibility of independent contract work is highly appealing and in some cases necessary. As Laura Baxter wrote for The Federalist, the law could fall particularly hard on parents, students, and the disabled. For others, freelancing is an important supplement to income that will now be lost. And for those who pursue the dream of writing for a living, freelance work is often the only opportunity to do so. With this law, many California writers are now being forced to choose between ending that dream or leaving the state. California, the richest state in the union, is seemingly perfecting the art of encouraging mass homelessness and putting people out of work. (And right behind it is New York, which may soon be adopting a similar law.) Instead of blaming their problems on President Donald Trump, maybe California leaders ought to reexamine the broken ideology that has caused their state—which has every advantage of wealth, climate, and geography—to become a national laughingstock whose residents can’t get out fast enough.
January 2, 2020
— Obituaries —
Lost Creek Guide
JODY COVELLI Jody Covelli, 66, longtime Morgan County resident, passed away on December 19, 2019, at Denver Hospice following an extended illness. She was born December 18, 1953, in Denver, CO to Keith & Betty Robertson. When Jody was a toddler, the Robertson family moved to Fort Morgan. In September 1973 Jody married Bill Covelli. They lived in the Weldona community after their marriage. She attended Morgan Community College and later taught a computer class for MCC. Additionally, she was a contractor selling and providing technical computer support for area businesses. She worked as bookkeeper for Jensen Farms and Don Neb / Sodbuster Turf Farms. In 1988, Jody & Bill started Covelli Landscape Services LLC. Jody served as bookkeeper and income tax specialist for their company. She also provided her muscle and labor skills for the business. Jody loved spending time with her family. She especially enjoyed camping, helping Adam when he was racing motorcycles, taking trips to Las Vegas, and visiting her grandchildren in New Mexico. She enjoyed yardwork and took great pride in her landscape designs. Survivors include her husband, Bill; children Heather (Jose) Sintas of Capulin, NM and Adam (Jennifer) Covelli of Weldona; her father, Keith (Marion) Robertson of Fort Morgan; her brother, Larry Robertson of Fort Morgan; and 2 grandchildren, Tyson and Isabel. She was preceded in death by her Mother and Brother, Ben. The family is planning a celebration of life gathering in mid-April. More details will follow. The Heer Mortuary is entrusted with the cremation arrangements.
PATRICK WILLIAM WALKER Patrick William Walker, 64, of Hudson, Colorado, passed away on December 17, 2019. He was born July 3, 1955 in Terre Haute, Indiana and completed High School in Germany while serving in the Army. Later in life he married Lanette (Johnson) Walker on December 28, 1974 in Henderson and they remained together for over 40 years. For labor, Patrick worked as a plant operator for Xcel Energy at the Zuni Plant in Denver for the last 30 years until he retired in May of 2017. Patrick treasured and enjoyed riding his Harley motorcycle, taking it on numerous trips to Sturgis and Montana. He loved to fish, hunt big game animals and upland game birds, traveling, and he thoroughly enjoyed working on the family farm since 1994, in Hudson, which he was most proud of. His joy was spending time with his family and extended family, going out to the family lake and enjoying summer trips to Illinois that will be cherished by his loved ones forever. Patrick is survived by his mother: Shirley Walker, Kankakee, IL, his wife, Lanette (Johnson) Walker, Hudson, CO, his son, Markus (Traci) Walker, Greeley, CO, along with his siblings; Mike (Ginger) Walker, Kankakee, IL, Rusti Merrill, Teri Boudreau, Kelly (Brian) Hanlon, Strasburg, CO, Chris (Jamie) Field, Brighton, CO and Jim Field, six grandchildren, brother in law Kenny Johnson, sister in law Debbie Johnson and numerous nieces and nephews. He is preceded in passing by his father and son; William Walker (2014) and Clinton Walker (2007), his brother Dennis Walker (1987) and father in law Leo Johnson (2006). Funeral services for Patrick will be held on Friday, December 27, 2019 at 11:00 AM at Tabor-Rice Funeral Home, 75 S. 13th Ave., Brighton, Colorado followed by a graveside service at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, at 2:15 PM that same day. Family, friends and all of those whose lives Patrick touched are welcome to attend. Memorials may be made in Patrick’s name to TRU Community Care, 2594 Trailridge Drive East, Lafayette, CO 80026. Please share your memories of Patrick and condolences with his family by visiting the tribute wall at www.TaborFuneralHome.com
What South Park Gets Right About Government Regulation
What can a vulgar cartoon about kids with a talking towel and marijuana farmers teach us about public policy? It turns out, quite a bit. For over two decades, South Park has masterfully combined social commentary with juvenile humor. For those who don’t know, the show follows four young boys and their misadventures in the small and quirky town of South Park, Colorado. South Park’s season 23 premier came out swinging, combining a satirical take on Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with themes from the much talked about Joker movie starring Joaquin Phoenix. But being a nerdy policy wonk, I was immediately struck by the character of Randy Marsh and the B plot. The storyline provides an excellent explanation of how the regulatory process works, better than James Buchanan directing an episode of School House Rock. Randy and his partner Towelie own and operate Tegridy Farms, which grows and sells weed in the legalized and expanding Colorado marijuana market. By the end of season 22, Tegridy Farms was expanding rapidly because of their ability to offer convenience that their competitors could not match. However, advantages in business don’t last forever, and before long Randy finds that marijuana sales are slumping because the townspeople begin growing their own weed. Homegrown weed cuts into Tegridy’s profits, concerning Randy. But rather than trying to once again innovate and offer a superior product, reduce costs, or become more convenient, he turns to a different tactic: crony capitalism. Tegridy Farms appears before the city council, seeking to ban homegrown weed. Through his son Stan, Randy cites the supposed dangers stemming from people growing weed in their own backyards. Stan reads his father’s warning, “People could grow it wrong and poison themselves,” and “unscrupulous growers can use cheap irrigation and drown babies,” a line which elicits confusion from Stan and laughter from the audience. We laugh because of how blatantly hollow, self-serving, and ridiculous the argument sounds. That is, it seems ridiculous. Unfortunately, South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone perfectly capture the regulatory process in action. Randy’s attempt to use the government to stifle new competitors is an example of rentseeking. Rent-seeking is the process by which firms seek to obtain additional profit (rents) through the political process. These special privileges often take the form of subsidies, protective tariffs, or regulations. Because inefficient existing firms are helped at the expense of innovators and entrepreneurs, and because the money spent lobbying is not used for productive purposes, the process of government picking winners and losers is economically wasteful. While real life examples of rent-seeking in the regulatory process don’t involve a government-designed sentient towel with substance abuse problems, it can be strikingly similar to South Park’s characterization. Occupational licensing is a great example of rent-seeking. It is the professional associations that benefit from licensing, not consumers, who typically lobby state legislatures to enact licensing laws which make it harder for new businesses to compete with them. Like Randy and Towelie, those already in the profession benefit from the new barriers to entry, while those seeking to the join the occupation face new additional costs. The benefits of licensing for existing businesses can be substantial; researchers have estimated that licensing laws increase average wages by 15 percent compared to unlicensed occupations. When professional associations lobby for occupational licensing, they typically cite consumer safety as a concern. While arguments for protecting consumers from low quality services in occupations like healthcare may make sense, many are almost as laughable as South Park’s example. Here are some examples:Florida requires that interior designers be licensed in order to practice. When the governor considered delicensing the profession, licensed designers fired back, claiming they protect the safety and welfare of Floridians in public spaces Licensed hair braiders maintain that licensing laws protect clients from braiders dropping combs on the floor and using them without cleaning. In 2009, Philadelphia began requiring tour guides become licensed in response to “telling tall tales” about the Founders. Ben Franklin would have been rolling in his grave had it not been weighed down from all of the pennies. In Louisiana, the only state to license florists, the professional association successfully argued that diseases in the dirt and flowers posed such a threat to consumers that licensing was required to protect them. Parker and Stone have created some masterfully outrageous storylines over the years, but even this might be too far for them. Tegridy Farms lobbying to erect barriers to entry provides a humorous, yet realistic example of incumbents using regulation to insulate themselves from competition. Rentseeking is pervasive because using the government to restrict competition is an easy way to profit. The negative effect for consumers of one additional occupation licensed or one fewer falafel shop is relatively small. But combined, the effect on consumers is quite large. This negatively impacts almost everyone, both those prevented from entering professions and competing, and those who miss out on the option to purchase their services.
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January 2, 2020
Trump’s Anti-Semitism Executive Order Undermines Campus Free Speech
By TYLER COWARD President Trump’s executive order targeting anti-Semitism on American college campuses is the wrong solution to a pressing problem. There is little doubt that in recent years, anti-Semitic incidents on campus have risen at an alarming rate. But in fighting such bigotry, we must always be mindful of the free-speech rights of college students and faculty. Both the Constitution and the president’s prior executive order aimed at protecting free speech on campus require it. The “Executive Order on Combating Anti-Semitism” requires the Departments of Justice and Education, the federal agencies responsible for enforcing Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, to “consider” the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance’s definition of anti-Semitism: “a certain perception of Jews, which may be expressed as hatred toward Jews.” The definition’s primary author, Ken Stern, has repeatedly opposed its use in the campus context because of the clear threat it poses to constitutionally protected (Mike Segar/Reuters)The president is right to take campus expression. anti-Semitism seriously, but he must not sacrifice the First What is that threat? For Amendment in attempting to address it. starters, the definition is impermissibly vague. What does it mean to have “a certain perception of Jews?” It could mean many different things to many different people, which presents an obvious problem: When rules that will predictably be used to limit speech are so vague that they do not give a person of reasonable intelligence notice of what is prohibited, then those people decide to self-censor, wary of finding themselves on the wrong side of an imperceptible line. It’s what courts call a “chilling effect” on speech, and it’s why vague regulations are struck down by the judiciary as violations of the First Amendment. There is a reason the IHRA definition was developed to track incidents of anti-Semitism internationally and not to regulate on-campus speech and debate. The order also requires agencies to “consider” the IHRA’s examples of anti-Semitism, which include “denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination” and “drawing comparisons of contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis.” But like the definition itself, these examples directly implicate protected speech. There is no question that the First Amendment protects a student’s comparison of Chinese Uighur camps to Nazi concentration camps. The same goes for comparisons of Syrian, Russian, or even U.S. policies to those of the Nazis. Similar criticisms of Israel and Israeli policy toward Palestinians, accurate or not, also enjoy constitutional protection. Under the new executive order, students and faculty must be cautious about criticizing Israel in ways that they could permissibly criticize any other country. This is unlawful viewpoint discrimination under long-standing First Amendment jurisprudence. Proponents of the order argue that its direction not to “diminish or infringe upon any right protected under Federal law or the First Amendment” provides a sufficient safeguard against censorship. But that’s akin to closing the barn doors after the horses are a mile down the road. Simply gesturing in the direction of First Amendment rights at the end isn’t enough to fix an unconstitutional policy. What’s more, there is a massive financial incentive for universities to err on the side of censorship over the right to free speech. They risk losing millions of dollars in federal funds if an agency finds that they did not sufficiently respond to incidents of anti-Semitic speech on campus. We know how this goes: Under the Obama administration, we saw the same perverse incentives play out in the systemic dismantling of due-process protections for students accused of Title IX violations. President Trump declared in another executive order in March that it is the policy of the federal government to “encourage institutions to foster environments that promote open,
intellectually engaging, and diverse debate.” The language in the anti-Semitism order is squarely at odds with this prescription; it will discourage open debate of issues relating to Israel and Israeli policy, and place one side’s political opinions above another’s. There is also the question of why the administration is trying to define anti-Semitism at all. Federal agencies responsible for fighting discrimination on campuses don’t define racism, sexism, or any other -ism. They’re supposed to prohibit discrimination against protected classes, which allows them (and courts) to determine whether, under the totality of the circumstances, an individual has been the target of discriminatory harassment. The order does the first part well: It reiterates longstanding Department of Education policy finding that Jewish students are protected by Title VI for anti-discrimination purposes. But the ensuing definition and list of examples from the IHRA leave much to be desired. The use of the IHRA’s definition is already threatening students’ speech rights. Students citing the definition have already threatened to file federal complaints against fellow students and faculty alleging Title VI violations if universities don’t censor the latter’s speech. At the University of Minnesota, pro-Israel groups threatened to file a federal complaint if the university didn’t cancel a pro-Palestinian conference that was to be held on campus. Students at UC Berkeley filed a complaint because, at a vigil honoring victims of a synagogue shooting, some wanted to also honor three children killed by an Israeli missile strike in Gaza. They argued that such a gesture would constitute prohibited anti-Semitism under the IHRA definition, which even if true is beside the point, because it would also constitute protected speech under the First Amendment. 29 There’s a constitutional answer to the problem of anti-Semitism on campus. Congress could protect Jewish students from discriminatory harassment by passing a law including religion as a protected class under Title VI. The United States Supreme Court held in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education that student-on-student conduct rises to the level of discriminatory harassment when a student from a protected class is targeted based on membership in that class, and when that conduct is “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive, and that so undermines and detracts from the victims’ educational experience, that the victim-students are effectively denied equal access to an institution’s resources and opportunities.” Such a formulation would ensure that Jewish students are protected for Title VI purposes without infringing on constitutionally protected speech. President Trump should be applauded for taking anti-Semitism on campus seriously, but the First Amendment cannot be sacrificed in the process. The executive order will certainly be used to punish constitutionally protected speech, and should be revised or rescinded accordingly. TYLER COWARD is a legislative counsel at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
Pope Francis Warns of ‘Rigidity,’ says Church Must Adapt or it will Become Increasingly Irrelevant
By Bradford Betz | Fox News Pope Francis, in a Saturday message delivered from the Vatican, took aim at conservative Catholics, warning that “rigidity” in living out the Christian faith was turning people away, and that the church must adapt to a post-Christian west. Francis called for Vatican bureaucrats to embrace change during his annual Christmas greeting Catholicism’s conservative wing has increasingly voiced opposition to Francis’ progressive-minded papacy. Their criticisms have accelerated in the past year, amid Vatican financial and sex Pope Francis exchanges greetings with Cardinal Anabuse scandals. gelo Sodano, left, on the occasion of the pontiff’s ChristFrancis acknowledged in his admas greetings to the Roman Curia, in the Clementine dress that Christianity no longer holds Hall at the Vatican. (AP) the influence in society that it once did. He cited the late Cardinal Carlo Maria Martini, a leader of the progressive wing of the Catholic Church, who lamented before dying that the church found itself “200 years behind” because of its fear of change. “Today we are no longer the only ones that produce culture, no longer the first nor the most 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. listened to,” Francis told the prelates. “The faith in Europe and in much of the West is no longer an obvious presumption but is often denied, derided, marginalized and ridiculed.” As a result, he urged the Catholic hierarchy to embrace the necessary pastoral reforms that will make the church attractive so that it can spread the faith. “Here we have to beware of the temptation of assuming a rigid outlook,” Francis said. “Rigidity that is born from fear of change and ends up disseminating stakes and obstacles in the ground of $1.54 per gallon the common good, turning it into a minefield of will call or route misunderstanding and hatred.” Traditionalist Catholics have denounced Francis’ openness on issues such as sacraments for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics. They have also sharply criticized his recent synod on the Amazon, which called for the ordination of married men as priests. Francis has defended his stance as a reflection of the Gospel, and the axiom that the true tradition of the church is one of a continuous, discerned path of change. “Tradition is not static, it’s dynamic,” he said Saturday. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
January 2, 2020
Lost Creek Guide
Colorado’s Red Flag Law Goes Into Effect Jan. 1. This Is What People Are Watching For By Hayley Sanchez Hart Van Denburg/CPR News Colorado’s red flag law will go into effect Jan. 1, 2020 -- it’s the one that allows a judge to temporarily remove somebody’s firearms if they’re a danger to themselves or others. The law has raised a lot of questions for Coloradans about how it’ll be implemented, who will enforce it and how it’s different from other states with similar laws. CPR News spoke with two experts on gun rights and gun laws to address some concerns. Dave Kopel teaches law at the University of Denver and is with the Independence Institute, a Libertarian think tank. Shannon Frattaroli works in the Center for Gun Policy and Research at the Johns Hopkins School For Public Health, where researchers are looking at ways to reduce gun violence. These are some of the points of the law and its implementation that they’re watching. How is Colorado’s Red Flag Law different from other states with similar laws? Colorado is just State Rep. Tom Sullivan watches as Gov. Jared Polis signs HB 1177, the Red Flag bill, into law on April 12, 2019. Sullivan, a freshman one of 17 states and lawmaker, campaigned for office in part to enact tougher gun control the District of Colaws after his son Alex was murdered in the Aurora theater shooting. lumbia who have He was a leading sponsor of the bill. some version of a red flag law. Frattaroli said Colorado’s law is similar to other states, for the most part. “What has been different about Colorado is the response amongst some within the state and the level of concern about due process in Colorado is certainly something that we haven’t seen in other places around the country,” she said. Kopel said that from his perspective, Colorado’s law is better than other states’ in one way but worse in a number of other ways. “The way it’s better is Colorado has a provision that says if somebody is accused under this law when they finally get into court, which is only later in the process, that if they want an attorney to be provided by the government, the government will provide that,” he said. Does the law infringe on due process rights? Kopel said it will ultimately be up to courts to decide whether or not it’s unconstitutional. But he thinks it does violate due process in a “common-sense way.” When a firearm is removed from somebody, only the accuser’s side of information is presented in court, Kopel said. There is also no opportunity for the accuser to be cross-examined and questioned. “That’s a fundamental thing in any fair system is when somebody makes an accusation, the accused person, if they want, can have a lawyer cross-exHayley Sanchez/CPR NewsA man attend a gun rights rally at the amine the accuser Colorado State Capitol on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. and may bring out inconsistencies of the story and give the court the opportunity to observe the accuser in person and make a determination about the accuser’s credibility,” Kopel said. Frattaroli said there are other protections put in place that shield those being accused. “The judge listens to the case, listens to the perspective of the petitioner and considers that case and the risks to the public, the risks to the person,” she said. “Then there’s this secondary line of due process where the person has an opportunity that’s built into the system to be heard in court.” She compared those protections to the same ones used in restraining orders for domestic violence cases. Who can file a petition? The law says only law enforcement and family or household members can ask a judge to remove somebody’s firearms. Lesley Hollywood, founder of the gun-rights group Rally For Our Rights, strongly opposes the law and said the definition of who counts as a family member is broad. “There’s a lot of concern that people will be falsely reported by ex-husbands… former roommates, dating partners, people they’ve had an affair with,” she said. “One of the things I worry about as a woman is that stalkers and abusers can actually use it to have their victims disarmed.” Frattaroli said a family or household member would not include a dating partner unless they’re living with them. Only a domestic partner who has lived with the respondent within the last six months can file a petition, according to the law. If somebody has a child with a respondent, they can file a petition at any time. A domestic partner can also file a petition but it’s not clear if there’s a statute of limitations. Kopel argued somebody who dated a person 15 years ago, for example, could file a petition. What is the likelihood of being falsely accused? In order for an extreme risk protection order to be considered by the court, a petitioner would have to fill out paperwork, go to court to submit it and then appear in front of a judge to have the case heard, Frattaroli said.
“That isn’t an easy thing to do,” she said. “It’s not something that I think people enjoy doing.” She said from talking with law enforcement around the country who deal with extreme risk protection orders and see how they’re actually used, false reports haven’t come through. Kopel said the law is structured in a way that promotes false accusations. An earlier version of the bill had a protection against false accusations. He said the likelihood of somebody being prosecuted for perjury is not high. Somebody wrote to CPR News asking if the law would impact veterans with PTSD and make them targets. We asked the experts. Kopel said it would depend on the case and evidence presented. Frattaroli said the law isn’t designed to target specific groups of people and whether or not someone has PTSD is irrelevant. “It doesn’t have Hart Van Denburg/CPR NewsGov. Jared Polis signed HB 1177 anything to do with if in March, making Colorado the 15th state in the country to have someone is depressed a so-called “red flag” gun law. During the ceremony he was suror if someone is sort of rounded by family and friends of those killed by firearms. unpopular,” she said. “It’s all about what are people doing? What are people saying and are those actions, are those words, do they constitute a real actionable threat to their own safety or to the safety of others?” At least a dozen Colorado counties have designated themselves “second amendment sanctuaries.” And some law enforcement officials have said they won’t enforce the law. What happens if they refuse to comply? Kopel compared law enforcement refusing to comply with other sanctuary issues. “You can argue about it all you want, but it’s pretty hard to make government officials do something they don’t want to do, especially when there’s a lot of support within their jurisdiction for them not wanting to enforce a law that they and a lot of the public see is abusive and unfair.” Frattaroli said she hasn’t seen as much pushback elsewhere from law enforcement about a red flag law as she has in Colorado. She said law enforcement and the community will ultimately decide if and how they’ll use the extreme risk protection order as a tool for when somebody is in crisis or threatening harm. Colorado’s Red Flag Law is named after Deputy Zachari Parish who was killed in Douglas County while trying to take somebody in for a mental health hold. If the law had been in place then, would it have made a difference in that case? Frattaroli said it’s hard to look back and say definitively if it would have made a difference but cases like Parish’s are examples of the driving force behind extreme risk laws. Kopel cited Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock, who thinks it would have. “He knows more about the facts of that particular case then than I do so I wouldn›t disagree with him,” he said. “And that›s why I›m in favor of the (red flag) laws if they›re well structured, which this one is not.”
Lost Creek Guide
January 2, 2020
RTD non union pension funds cost taxpayers millions while employees benefiting contribute nothing
By Sherrie Peif DENVER — The Regional Transportation District (RTD) is still trying to fully fund an archaic and costly retirement system for some of its employees, costing taxpayers inside the eight-county RTD taxing district millions of dollars. Perhaps the bigger problem, for at least one RTD Board of Directors member is that RTD also continues to remain the sole source of contributions into all non-union employee pension plans. The plans combined amount to more than $11 million per year in contributions, funded with taxpayer money. “I have done extensive outreach look for a comparable guide for the average contribution by public employers,” said District M representative Natalie Menten. “I got frustrated because there is little to be found. But there was still no evidence of a public agency where employee contribution was zero.” RTD has split representation of its employees. Train operators and bus drivers are paid under union contracts with their retirement accounts similar to the Public Employee Retirement Association (PERA) where the employee pays a portion of his or her retirement contribution and RTD pays an additional portion. However, salaried employees are non-union, and their retirement accounts are paid entirely by RTD. The employee is not responsible for any portion of it, and that practice does not appear to be changing anytime soon. For salaried employees, there are two plans, a defined benefit plan and a defined contribution plan. The defined benefit plan is an idea that is becoming obsolete in most government sectors because of the high cost of payout. RTD stopped offering the defined benefit program more than a decade ago. However, it must continue to pay benefits for those who were originally part of the previous plan. PERA, which covers most teachers in Colorado is the most recognized of defined benefits plans that are struggling to operate because payouts are “defined” and in many cases are transferred to surviving family members once the covered employee dies. RTD’s plan also offered survivor benefits. The funds in many government-operated defined benefit plans are underfunded because contributions to the plans were too low and the expected return rate of return on that money was too high to satisfy the commitments. By contrast under a defined contribution system, employers define how much they will put into the employee’s retirement account, such as a 401K. At retirement, the employee has a specified total amount of money to collect. Currently, RTD defined contribution members get an amount equal to 9 percent of their income added yearly, for 2020, it is predicted that cost will amount to $4.7 million. For defined benefit employees, RTD contributes a flat rate yearly that staff has determined will “catch up” the fund by a specified date, so that all benefits will be paid as planned. For 2020, there were two options. An actuary recommended $8.1 million per year until “catch up,” which would be 2031, while RTD’s Chief Financial Officer recommended $6.1 million to assume a “catch up” date of 2040, all things remaining equal. The $6.1 million recommendation assumes an annual return rate of 7 percent. Predicting a return rate is a problem no matter what the amount, said Joshua Sharf, senior fellow in fiscal policy, who headed up the PERA Project at the Independence Institute*, a free-market think tank in Denver. “We have been in a declining interest rate for so long we don’t know what the other looks like,” Sharf said. “It’s almost impossible to know what the rate of return should be.” Sharf said the problem with assuming that the rate of return for RTD is twofold. First, the 7 percent return rate is higher than the rate used by investment genius Warren Buffett. But also, using a higher rate of return makes the liability look small. “It goes back to how you measure tomorrow’s promises in today’s dollars,” Sharf said. “Public pension plans use a higher rate to make that promise look smaller.” Sharf added that taking a higher rate of return introduces volatility. “If you’re underfunded, the volatility is your enemy,” Sharf said. “One bad year is worse than several good ones.”
At RTD’s most recent meeting, Menton proposed reducing the current defined contribution rate of 9 percent to 7 percent, which would have saved taxpayers about $1 million in 2020. The proposal failed, 12-3. According to Menten, few are willing to look at the issue seriously, and she does not see anything changing anytime soon. RTD taxpayers will continue to be the sole source for funding retirement benefits, she said. “We postponed this vote for two months as people pretended they might be willing to make a change,” Menton said. “Each year it comes to the board, and they’ve just rubberstamped it. We’ll make our final vote next week, but I don’t think much of anything will change.” Menten said the only argument RTD administrative staff has given for why the amount donated should not be decreased or split among RTD and the employee is that it will reduce moral. But that recommendation itself is an even bigger problem. “The ones who are benefiting from these pension plans are the ones writing it,” she said. *Editor’s note: Complete Colorado is a project of the Independence Institute.
January 2, 2020
Lost Creek Guide
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Many accomplishments at United Way of Weld County over last decade
As we end 2019 and close out the decade, it is always good to take time to reflect on the past. In preparation for a recent meeting of the United Way of Weld County board of directors, I was asked by our Board Chairman Randy Watkins to share the top accomplishments in the last 10 years. As I reflected, I realized how many there were and yet my list excludes so much. All of these are thanks first, to our donors. All are also thanks to dedicated volunteers, professional staff, and our agency, government, faith based and business partners. All of these people are committed to working together to improve the lives of our most vulnerable neighbors and to work in a collaborative manner to strengthen our community. All are committed to living united. Here is the list: Response to the 2013 floods with immediate relief for households and facilitation of Weld Recovers for long-term recovery helping over 500 households. Creation and growth of Weld Project Connect helping between 850 to 1,200 people per year. Secured and developed the Providers Advancing School Outcomes (PASO) Program for Weld County exempt childcare providers helping some of our most vulnerable children be ready for school. Secured and managed AmeriCorps VISTA Program to Weld and northeast Colorado who have helped build the capacity of nonprofits, schools and programs working to alleviate poverty. Partnership with Better Business Bureau for accreditation of nonprofit agencies to meet standards of excellence. Response to increased homelessness in Weld and development of the Weld’s Way Home Plan: programs developed include Coordinated Assessment and Housing Placement System (CAHPS), Housing Navigation Center, Cold Weather Shelter, support for Affordable Housing Developments, High Plains Housing Corporation, North Colorado Continuum of Care. Partnership with Weld County Department of Human Resources and Weld County Department of Health in addressing issues related to child care availability and quality and the work of Thriving Weld. Growth of 2-1-1 and partnership with Mile High United Way to bring more efficient and effective services to our region. Secured and partnered to bring Colorado Reading Corps to Weld County and GreeleyEvans School District 6. Growth of our Cornerstone partners program to more than 40 companies covering United Way of Weld County fundraising and administration costs so that 100 percent of giving from others to United Way goes to direct service programs. Number of children, families impacted by our Promises for Children programs including Bright by Three, Best Start for Babies and Child Care Quality Improvement. Adoption of Collective Impact business model which will help nonprofits work in a more collaborative manner. Presence and funding of programs in south Weld County including donation to the United Way of Weld County of a Fort Lupton building location. Growth in our partnerships with nonprofits, government agencies, faith-based organizations and businesses and the number of Weld County residents impacted each year. Resource development growth and resilience including adopting new fundraising strategies and communication tools and methods to respond to the changing philanthropic market place. Resource development partnerships with private and public grantors, securing grants and provide good grant management. Thriving Weld Dashboard Partnership which has provided a public facing website showing outcomes achieved by United Way of Weld County and our partners. Nonprofit and financial management excellence demonstrated accountability and systems that have received accreditation from the Better Business Bureau, United Way Worldwide, Charity Navigation and GuideStar. Strength, leadership, expertise and engagement of our Board of Directors and professional staff. Over $1 million saved in prescription drug costs for Weld County residents due to FamilyWize program. Recognized leader in northern Colorado and State of Colorado because of staff involvement in regional and statewide organizations. Jeannine Truswell is the President and CEO of United Way of Weld County.
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Lost Creek Guide
January 2, 2020
The future of cable TV, an industry once driven by Colorado, may be in its past Technology helped Denver’s cable pioneers dominate the video world, but now the industry wonders if video is still its future
by Tamara Chuang - The Colorado Sun Before pay TV’s heyday, a movement was literally afoot in Colorado. Back in 1952, insurance salesman Bill Daniels caught a glimpse of TV while traveling through Denver and ended up moving to Cherry Creek North and helping to launch an industry. For a time, Denver was the nation’s cable capital, with the three largest cable companies headquartered here. And while those companies have consolidated or moved east, they left their engineering teams here and the region is still home to a significant cable workforce. Major operations of Comcast and Charter Communications are based in Colorado, along with technology shop CableLabs in Louisville and the Cable Center, a monument to the history of cable TV housed at the University of Denver. The Cable Hall of Fame lives inside The Cable Center at the University of Denver. It’s in Denver because many of the industry’s early pioneers called Colorado home. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun) As the industry expanded, consolidated and rolled out new technologies, like broadband internet access, it’s the video business — and legacy business model — that is being forced into a corner as programming costs continue to soar and more consumers gravitate toward cord cutting. “The Cable Center, for one, (is) looking at what’s it going to be like in 2025. One of the committees is trying to define the new ecosystem,” said Paul Maxwell, who started industry news publication CableFAX Daily in the 1980s and sits on the Cable Center’s board of directors. “What business are we all really in?” The slow-moving industry is rethinking video, its raison d’être for the last half of the 20th century. Some smaller cable companies are getting out of video entirely, though sticking with internet service. The rising costs of programs and TV channels has resulted in the largest companies letting channels go dark. Customers experienced a record number of blackouts this year as contract disputes hit a wall, according to the American Television Alliance. Companies are reconfiguring, trying to figure out the future. Denver-based Liberty Global, the international cable company chaired by former TeleCommunications Inc. head John Malone, started off the year with a reorganization to cut costs and went on to sell off a bunch of its European cable businesses “as a result of purposeful rebalancing,” CEO Mike Fries said during an August earnings call. Comcast is battling with Denver-based channel Altitude Sports over how cable TV programs traditionally make money. Comcast wants out of the old business model, which relies on the majority of cable subscribers pay for the majority of channels whether viewers watch or not. Stalled negotiations have left Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche fans without the ability to watch the games on Comcast since early September. Meanwhile, long-time disruptor Charlie Ergen, founder of Dish Network in Douglas County, testified last week in federal court in support of the T-Mobile and Sprint merger. If approved, T-Mobile would sell $5 billion worth of prepaid customer accounts and some wireless spectrum to Dish, which in turn would pivot into becoming a wireless service to offset declines in its satellite TV business. “Cable companies are not cable companies anymore,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, which tracks broadband and video providers. “The cable companies are broadband companies. Broadband is their growth engine. Broadband is a higher margin product. That’s the one thing Charter and Comcast have. They have the bundle but they look at video now as being a part of the bundle that helps them with their broadband product, which is really their core service now.” How cable got this far: Technology When Leslie Ellis moved to Denver in 1990 to cover the cable industry for MultiChannel News, she recalls 18 cable companies headquartered in Denver. “You’ve heard Bill Daniels,” said Ellis, now president of Ellis Edits, a technology writing service. “… He stopped at a bar in Denver on the way back to Wyoming and saw TV for the first time and said, ‘I want to have this.’ So it kind of all started in Denver.” Bill Daniels, pictured stepping into the CABLEVision bus, is one of the cable TV industry’s pioneers. He created the first cable system in Casper, Wyoming, piping in broadcast signals from Denver using microwave technology. Daniels went on to start a cable brokerage, connecting buyers and investors to cable systems nationwide. The picture is in The Cable Center’s timeline of the industry’s history. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun) Back in the 1950s, if you lived too far away from the broadcast signal, you couldn’t watch TV. So Daniels, who was born in Greeley, used microwave technology to broadcast TV signals from Denver to Casper more than 200 miles away, according to the Cable Center. Daniels went on to start several cable systems nationwide. Over the next two decades, Glenn Jones bought a cable system in Georgetown and turned it into Jones Intercable. Gene Schneider started United Cable Television Corporation in Denver. And Texan Bob Magness started up Tele-Communications Inc, bringing in Malone to run the Denver-based operation. But what really contributed to the industry’s continued growth was its technology innovation, Ellis said. After satellites started going up in the 1970s, HBO broadcast the “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier nationwide and cable companies thought, “Why don’t we do more of this?” she said. “And then after that it was like, ‘Well, maybe we should build for 12 channels’ and people were like ‘Why would we ever need more than 12 channels? That’s ridiculous,’” she said. “It (basic cable) just kind of took off because it was the ‘80s when the programming deluge began with MTV. I was in high school in the ‘80s and some of my friends had it. We would all go over there and watch it because they had MTV.” By the late 1980s, the nation’s three largest cable providers were in Denver: TCI (now part of Comcast) was the largest, followed by the American Television and Communications Corp. (now part of Charter) and United Cable after it merged with United Artists (and now part of Liberty Global). Because cable companies literally strung cables throughout a city, local governments would have to step in and approve a video franchise agreement with the cable service. Typically, only one cable franchise was granted per city, which meant no competition, Ellis said. Not having to worry about a direct competitor helped technology develop as companies willingly shared technical problems with one another and worked together to solve issues. In 1988, Malone and other cable leaders started CableLabs as an industry-sponsored organization aimed at experimentation and a place to test new ways to get more video into people’s homes. “We were really, at that point, taking over television technologically in America,” Malone said in a video documenting the organization’s 30th anniversary last year. “The broadcasters
were conceding, I would say, technology leadership to CableLabs and that was a critical turning point as well.” Out of the group came today’s digital video standard known as MPEG, increased capacity over cable lines, and, eventually, data over cable to make use of a new thing called the internet. “Back then, video in fact was important,” CableLabs CEO Phil McKinney said. “The industry came together, including the content producers and CableLabs led the effort for the development of MPEG, which is the digital standard. So if you like watching videos over MPEG format, that’s a CableLabs technology. And that started the digital revolution for video.” In more recent years, CableLabs has focused on the network which became the distribution for services like Netflix, Google and anyone making money online. CableLabs is now working on security and privacy of the network, speeding up sluggishness between a user’s command and what happens on screen, and the next generation of internet tech that it calls 10G, short for 10 gigabits per second. But even with the focus on internet, major cable providers are not giving up on video entirely even if they have to cover some of the cost increases programmers ask for. “They still see value in providing (video) because the customers provide value. A customer who has video is less likely to (leave), they tend to be a longer term customer,” McKinney said. “But you’re also seeing unique partnerships — what Comcast has done with Netflix and Hulu and Prime. Now, you get single search on the (Comcast) X1 platform so you don’t have to go ‘I want to watch that show, oh shoot, is it on Hulu? Is it on Netflix?’” Consumers still love their TV Cable and satellite companies are still losing video customers. According to Leichtman Research Group, the major satellite and cable companies have lost 4 million subscribers in the first nine months of this year. Last year? They shed 2.9 million customers for the entire 12 months. Despite the losses, consumers still watch a lot of TV, according to MRI-Simmons, a market research firm that surveyed 24,000 people about their TV viewing habits. And the majority of American consumers still pay for “corded” TV, said Karen Ramspacher, senior vice president of Innovation & Insight for MRI-Simmons, a consumer insights firm. “This is not a quick thing that people do,” Ramspacher said. “Cord cutting makes it sound like you’re just going to pull out a pair of scissors and clip it, but you don’t do that because this bill is often tied to your internet and often on autopay.” According to MRI-Simmons’ 2019 Cord Evolution Study, traditional customers are adding on to their cable bills by subscribing to the alternatives. Approximately 64% of cord loyalists streamed video in the past 12 months, compared to 89% of cord cutters and 78% of cord nevers. At home, Netflix, Amazon Prime and others are being integrated into the cable box so customers can use the same remote to access non-cable content. New services also continue to launch. Most notably, Disney+ signed up 10 million users in its first 24 hours last month. The company, which charges $5.99 a month for the new service, doesn’t expect Disney+ to be profitable until the end of fiscal 2024, according to a Wall Street Journal report. The majority of consumers are still “Corded & Keeping it,” category of customers in the MRI-Simmon’s study that still pay for traditional TV. But the category is in decline, at 65% in November compared with 71% a year ago. “The steady, but slow decline is what we did expect to see,” Ramspacher added. “And when I think of what will be different a year from now, it’s the entrance of these new offerings, many of whom have made special offers right now — get a year for free or get a year for a reduced rate. What will that do to people’s viewing and their feelings towards the different offerings? That’s what we’ll be keeping an eye on.” Behavior change coming from within industry That said, the larger pay-TV companies aren’t sitting still, although it’s taking time to figure out their own streaming services. While the TV-everywhere feature was rolled out earlier this decade, giving existing cable customers access to the same content online, there’s a push to reach more potential video customers. In February, Charter unveiled its $15-a-month Spectrum TV Essentials service that’s available to its internet-only customers. Comcast is investing $2 billion in a standalone Peacock streaming service, scheduled to launch in April. “Netflix was a big wake up call for the video side of the business,” Ellis said, pointing to the pivotal years around 2008 or 2009, when Netflix switched from mailing out DVDs to streaming. “You could stream a title and pay them $9.95 a month versus whatever you were paying your cable company. That was when the whole cord cutting thing started. And the operators said, ‘Holy crap, we’ve got to turn this ship around.’” The floor of The Cable Center is taken from the image of a satellite from above. The Cable Center is housed at the University of Denver. (Tamara Chuang, The Colorado Sun) Companies are taking a hint from rival technology Dish, which launched its streaming service Sling TV in 2015. Perhaps more importantly for its bottomline, Dish shifted company focus to profitable customers for its satellite business, while pushing those looking for cheaper deals to the lower-priced SlingTV, Leichtman said. “There’s this perception that people are flying out the door of the pay TV companies. The reality is,” Leichtman said, “the disconnect rate of pay TV, overall, is actually no different from the disconnect rate of Netflix.” In other words, people cancel Netflix at the same rate as their pay-TV accounts. But by not chasing those finicky customers, Dish and others have the latitude to focus on higher-paying customers. Dish, for its part, has seen subscribers grow thanks to SlingTV and its recent earnings were better than financial analysts had expected. “It’s not just about the consumer behavior,” Leichtman said. “It’s also about provider behavior, and which consumers they want to retain and acquire.” Another change, Ellis added, is that companies are making a renewed effort to focus on customers. “It’s all consuming, especially Comcast. Any meeting I’ve been to at Comcast — and I do a lot of work to them — there’s always a chair in the room that has like a wrapping on it that says customer, because they want to remind themselves that anytime they’re talking about a plan that the customer is always in the room,” she said. “I think that’s kind of cool.” In many ways, Denver’s cable pioneers built the cable system to link people to content and that’s still very much the case, said Paul Maxwell, with The Cable Center. “Those guys, they really changed the world in how they created the infrastructure that made so many other things possible,” Maxwell said. “The cable industry kept metamorphosing, you know, every decade almost since the ‘50s. And that’s what they’re still doing.”
The Lost Creek Guide. January 02, 2020