Posts tagged extension
Temporary moratorium extended until June 10 to allow for development of Implementation Work Plan
Boulder County, Colo. – Tonight, following a public hearing on recently-adopted regulations for oil and gas development in unincorporated Boulder County, the County Commissioners voted unanimously to extend a temporary moratorium on new oil and gas drilling applications (currently set to end on Feb. 4) until June 10, 2013, and to further assess fees relative to the land use and transportation impacts of local oil and gas operations.
Expressing both a desire to see more work around developing renewable energy options for Boulder County and seeking support from county residents to take their concerns about oil and gas development to state legislators who are currently considering new state rules for drilling operations, the County Commissioners acknowledged that while they don’t think they can go far enough to satisfy all constituent concerns, they are doing everything they can to make sure “we have the most comprehensive and restrictive regulations around oil and gas drilling in the State of Colorado.“
County staff had requested an extension of the Temporary Moratorium on Boulder County’s Processing of Applications for Oil and Gas Development in order to develop a plan to implement the regulations adopted by the Board of County Commissioners in December 2012. Due to the complicated nature of the new restrictions, requirements, standards and conditions that replaced 19-year-old rules for how oil and gas development can occur on unincorporated lands, staff had asked for adequate time to create an Implementation Work Plan.
County staff also presented information from the Oil & Gas Roadway Impact Study to seek direction from the County Commissioners on how to ensure impacts of oil and gas development on the public transportation system are mitigated and the cost of such mitigation is fairly and equitably allocated. Actual fees were not considered for adoption at the hearing, but the Commissioners asked staff to come back in two to three months with a proposal for the maximum legally-defensible fees allowable to mitigate local impacts or an alternate mechanism to recover costs from industry’s impact on the county transportation system.
Staff estimated – and County Commissioners affirmed – that in order to prepare for processing of new drilling and well operation applications, four additional months were necessary. The major components of the Implementation Work Plan will include:
· Development of RFQ/RFP and hiring of consultants / outside expertise
· Staff trainings
· Coordination with involved departments and agencies
· Preparation of application materials, handouts, and public information including website
· Development and adoption of planning and permit fees
· Inspection schedules
· Updating internal databases and tracking systems
· Coordination with Industry on submission of applications
· Coordination with the COGCC to harmonize new State rules with County regulations
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) will open the new Chapman Drive Trail and Trailhead to the public on Jan. 7, 2013. This trail is an extension of the current Chapman Drive Trail that begins at Realization Point on Flagstaff Drive. Visitors will be able to travel from Boulder Canyon Drive (SH 119) at the Red Lion Inn all the way to Flagstaff Drive.
The new trail was made possible by the recent purchase of the Schnell property. The 2005 Visitor Master Plan proposed the use of Chapman Drive as a multi-use trail and the new section was included in the recent West Trail Study Area Plan. There is a small trailhead with parking at the northern end of the trail along SH 119.
“At this time, we are opening the trail to pedestrians, equestrians, telemark skiers and snow shoers,” said Annie McFarland, OSMP Visitor Access Coordinator. “Bikes will also be allowed, going uphill only. Cyclists not able to complete the 2.5 mile ride uphill, must dismount and walk bicycles downhill if they wish to return to the trailhead at SH 119. Cyclists completing the trail have the option of riding down Flagstaff Drive to Canyon back to the trailhead.”
All users must remain on the trail and no dogs are permitted north of the Tenderfoot Trail intersection.
Throughout January OSMP will meet with key stakeholder groups and interested parties to seek feedback on how best to manage visitor use – in particular bike and dog access on the lower part of Chapman Drive. OSMP will conduct an analysis of each alternative and then develop a matrix of possible management options. The department will host a mid-February open house for public feedback. Individuals may also submit comments regarding visitor use by email. Go to www.osmp.org and click on ‘Contact us’ on the bottom right of the home page. In your email, specify ‘Chapman Drive Trail’.
More information including a map of the area can be found at: http://www.bouldercolorado.gov/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2996&Itemid=1035
For additional trail updates on OSMP properties, please call 303-441-3440 or visit www.osmp.org.
The application deadline for the city’s Solar Grant Program has been extended to 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 31. The deadline extension provides more time for Boulder-based nonprofits and affordable housing owners to complete applications. For applications and program information, visit the city’s Solar Rebate and Solar Grant Programs website at www.bouldercolorado.gov/lead/solargrant.
More than $80,000 is currently available for the second grant funding cycle of 2012.
The Solar Grant Program is dedicated to providing financial assistance through grants for the installation of solar electric or solar thermal systems on housing for low- to moderate-income residents and on the facilities of nonprofit organizations operating in Boulder. The grants are funded by revenue generated through sales and use taxes from the purchase and installation of solar technologies in Boulder. A portion of the revenue is also used to provide tax rebates for solar installations within the community.
Since the Solar Grant Program began in 2008, it has contributed to the installation of approximately 700 kilowatts of solar power systems, which collectively save grant recipients $90,000 annually in energy costs.* Subject to funding availability, there will be another opportunity to apply for grants in 2013.
The Boulder Climate Action Plan promotes energy efficiency, renewable energy, and transportation options for Boulder residents and businesses. For more information, contact Residential Sustainability Specialist Megan Cuzzolino at 303-441-3452.
Boulder County expanding access to quality child care assistance by raising qualifying income limits
Boulder County, Colo. – As increasing numbers of families in Boulder County struggle with economic challenges, the county is expanding access to quality child care assistance to help them re-establish their self-sufficiency.
Effective July 1, Boulder County will raise Child Care Assistance Program (CCAP) income limits by over 25%. Previously, a family with income above 185% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL) was ineligible for financial assistance for child care. Under the expanded eligibility guidelines, a Boulder County family can now have income up to 225% of the FPL and still qualify. As an example, for a family of three, this increases monthly income limits from $2,857 to $3,580. The expansion was requested by the Boulder County Department of Housing and Human Services (DHHS) and approved by county commissioners.
“Work supports are a crucial part of an economic recovery,” said Jennifer Eads, director of DHHS’ Self-Sufficiency and Community Support Division. “The more we can do to help parents find jobs or complete their education, the better their chances are for re-building a lasting foundation for their families.”
An important part of Boulder County DHHS’ mission is removing barriers to work for families struggling to sustain themselves. CCAP provides crucial supports for parents and caregivers who are looking for a job or who are employed but are unable to afford quality care for their children. Boulder County’s expansion of this program recognizes both the ongoing employment challenges and the high cost of living in the county.
Boulder County Commissioner Deb Gardner said she was happy to support the eligibility expansion. “This has been a difficult past few years for so many of our neighbors,” Gardner said. “If we are going to have a real and lasting recovery, we need to help people get back on their feet.”
Currently, parents and caregivers of nearly 1,000 children are receiving child care assistance through CCAP in Boulder County. Quality child care providers across Boulder County accept CCAP payments. The county currently receives about ten applications per month from families above 185% of the FPL. Of the seventeen Colorado counties now allowing incomes up to 225% of the FPL, Boulder County is the largest in terms of population.
Christina Ostrom, Boulder County’s Family and Resident Support Services Division Manager, oversees the CCAP program and the county’s partnership with Aspen Family Services, which administers the eligibility portion of the program. “I’m thrilled that Boulder County is able to increase the income limit for families struggling to pay child care costs,” she says. “Many families don’t realize they are eligible, and hopefully now they’ll call for a screening.”
The CCAP expansion will be funded through revenue generated by the Temporary Human Services Safety Net (TSN). The TSN (Ballot Initiative 1A) was approved by voters in November 2010, and is a five-year increase in property taxes that is designed to backfill cuts to state funding for human services in Boulder County.
CCAP Eligibility and other requirements are available at www.bouldercountychildcare.org or by calling Aspen Family Services at 303-604-1043, extension 2828.
Boulder County, Colo. – Nonprofit human service agencies and housing authorities in Boulder County may now apply for capital funds through Boulder County’s 2013 Worthy Cause pool.
The Worthy Cause Request for Funding application for 2013 pool funding is available on the Boulder County website atwww.BoulderCounty.org/gov/tax/pages/worthycause.aspx. Applications must be submitted by June 22.
During the 2008 General Election, Boulder County voters approved an extension of the .05 percent Worthy Cause sales tax with 73 percent of the vote. The 10-year initiative allocates a portion of sales tax revenue to Boulder County nonprofit human service agencies for capital projects, including the purchase of land or buildings; construction; renovation or debt reduction.
Revenues from the sales tax will be divided into two allocations: dedicated funding for nonprofit human service agencies that were identified in the ballot initiative, and competitive “pool” funding, for which qualifying nonprofit agencies may now apply via the Request for Funding process.
Throughout the course of Worthy Cause III, sales tax revenues have been leveraged through fundraising and other grants to strengthen our community services in early childhood learning, family support services, basic needs services such as food, clothing, housing and shelter, domestic violence and healthcare. To date, 28 local nonprofit human service agencies have been awarded approximately $5.5 million in capital awards since voters reapproved the tax in 2008.
For more information about Worthy Cause and the application process, contact Megan Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org or 303-441-3562.
This story came to us yesterday/Tesla Motors seemed too good to be true when they launched their first show room here in Boulder. And it was. We looked at the new car when it came out and immediately saw, it was impossible to get into unless you were a 135 lb skinny person. The outrageous price on an electric sports car made it so niche, that it did not rate a review then. In a City like Boulder where the money came from for this Hi tech kid car, everyone drank the cool aide. As professional Auto reviewers our team didn;t see it. Below is a blistering report on the Tesla Failure
By Michael Degusta
Tesla Motors’ lineup of all-electric vehicles — its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X — apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle. If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street. The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Tesla’s warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss. Here’s how it happens.
Despite this “brick” scenario having occurred several times already, Tesla has publicly downplayed the severity of battery depletion risk to both existing owners and future buyers. Privately though, Tesla has gone to great lengths to prevent this potentially brand-destroying incident from happening more often, including possibly engaging in GPS tracking of a vehicle without the owner’s knowledge. UPDATE!
NOTE (UPDATED!): The argument outlined in this story by Michael DeGusta that originally appeared on theunderstatement.com has been confirmed by Tesla with the following statement:
All automobiles require some level of owner care. For example, combustion vehicles require regular oil changes or the engine will be destroyed. Electric vehicles should be plugged in and charging when not in use for maximum performance. All batteries are subject to damage if the charge is kept at zero for long periods of time. However, Tesla avoids this problem in virtually all instances with numerous counter-measures. Tesla batteries can remain unplugged for weeks (even months), without reaching zero state of charge. Owners of Roadster 2.0 and all subsequent Tesla products can request that their vehicle alert Tesla if SOC falls to a low level. All Tesla vehicles emit various visual and audible warnings if the battery pack falls below 5 percent SOC. Tesla provides extensive maintenance recommendations as part of the customer experience.
How To Brick An Electric Car
A Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.
The amount of time it takes an unplugged Tesla to die varies. Tesla’s Roadster Owners Manual [Full Zipped PDF] states that the battery should take approximately 11 weeks of inactivity to completely discharge [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF]. However, that is from a full 100% charge. If the car has been driven first, say to be parked at an airport for a long trip, that time can be substantially reduced. If the car is driven to nearly its maximum range and then left unplugged, it could potentially “brick” in about one week. Many other scenarios are possible: for example, the car becomes unplugged by accident, or is unwittingly plugged into an extension cord that is defective or too long.
When a Tesla battery does reach total discharge, it cannot be recovered and must be entirely replaced. Unlike a normal car battery, the best-case replacement cost of the Tesla battery is currently at least $32,000, not including labor and taxes that can add thousands more to the cost.
Five Examples And Counting
Of the approximately 2,200 Roadsters sold to date, a regional service manager for Tesla stated he was personally aware of at least five cases of Tesla Roadsters being “bricked” due to battery depletion. It is unknown if there are additional cases in other regions or countries.
The 340th Tesla Roadster produced went to a customer in Santa Barbara, California. In 2011, he took his Roadster out for a drive and then parked it in a temporary garage while his home was being renovated. Lacking a built-in Tesla charger or a convenient power outlet, he left the car unplugged. Six weeks later his car was dead. It took four men two hours to drag the 2,700-pound Roadster onto a flatbed truck so that it could be shipped to Tesla’s Los Angeles area service center, all at the owner’s expense. A service manager then informed him that “it’s a brick” and that the battery would cost approximately $40,000 to replace. He was further told that this was a special “friends and family” price, strongly implying that Tesla generally charges more.
As a second Roadster owner discovered, the Tesla battery system can completely discharge even when the vehicle is plugged in. This owner’s car was plugged into a 100-foot long extension cord for an extended period. The length of this extension cord evidently reduced the electric current to a level insufficient to charge the Tesla, resulting in another “bricked” Roadster.
A third bricked Tesla Roadster apparently sits in its owner’s garage in Newport Beach, California. That owner allegedly had a similar prior incident with a BMW-produced electric vehicle. He claimed BMW replaced that vehicle, but Tesla refuses to do the same. The owner either couldn’t afford or didn’t want to pay Tesla the $40,000 (or more) to fix his car.
A fourth customer shipped his Tesla Roadster to Japan, reportedly only to discover the voltages there were incompatible. By then, it was too late, the car was bricked, and he had to ship it back to the US for repairs.
The whereabouts and circumstances of the fifth bricked Roadster the Tesla service manager expressed knowledge of are unknown.
No Warranty, No Insurance, No Payment Plan
Tesla has a “bumper to bumper” warranty [Page 3: PDF], but the warranty text allows Tesla to hold the owner responsible for any damage related to “Failure to maintain the Battery at a proper charge level at all times” – the meaning of “proper charge” doesn’t appear to be specifically defined. Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Vice President of Sales & Ownership Experience George Blankenship, and Vice President of Worldwide Service J. Joost de Vries all became directly involved in at least one “brick” situation, with de Vries stating in writing that since Tesla’s documentation and warranty “identify in clear language to keep the Roadster on external power when parked” the decision to decline any warranty or financial relief was “correct and justified”.
Unfortunately for current and future Tesla owners who encounter this problem, it’s also not covered by normal automobile insurance policies. This makes the situation almost unique in modern car-ownership: a $40,000 or more exposure that cannot be insured. After all, car insurance is designed to protect owners and drivers even when they are neglectful or at fault. The affected customers probably would have been in a better financial situation if they’d accidentally rolled their Teslas off a cliff, as insurance would generally cover much of those costs.
Due to Tesla batteries naturally decaying over time, Tesla offered Roadster customers a $12,000 “battery replacement program”. This program is intended to replace a Roadster battery with a new one seven years after purchase. When asked, the Tesla service manager said even if owners had paid in advance for this replacement battery program, they would not be allowed to use it to replace an accidentally discharged battery – they would have to pay the full $40,000-plus cost.
The Santa Barbara owner was also informed that no other financing or payment plan would be made available to pay for the replacement battery, and that he needed to either pay in full or remove his dead vehicle from the Tesla service center as soon as possible.
Understated Warnings to Owners
With such a large price tag for a bricked vehicle, it would be reasonable to expect Tesla to go to great lengths to ensure their customers were fully aware of the severity of battery discharge. Instead it seems that Tesla, while working to make it clear their vehicles should always be left plugged in, also appears to have focused on trying not to spook their current and future customers about the potentially severe ramifications of complete battery discharge.
The Tesla Roadster Owners Manual begins with several “Important Notes About Your Vehicle” [Page 1-2: PDF], none of which make any mention of battery discharge. In Chapter 5 of the manual, where vehicle charging is addressed, Tesla states that the vehicle is “designed to be plugged in” and that allowing the charge level to fall to 0% “can permanently damage the Battery.” [Page 5-2: PDF] It does not specify that a completely discharged battery may need to be replaced, entirely at the owner’s expense, at a cost that could be the majority of the value of the vehicle.
Tesla did begin handing out a “Battery Reminder Card” [PDF] when a Roadster was brought in for servicing. However, the card gently and cheerfully prods owners to “Remember – a connected Roadster is a happy Roadster!” with no mention of the possible consequences of a complete discharge.
There is no warning regarding battery discharge on the actual power port of the vehicle itself, where a gas-powered car often contains warnings about issues like the use of leaded gasoline in an unleaded vehicle. There is also no warning on the power port or in the Roadster Owner’s manual regarding the use of extension cords.
for more on this story see understatement.com where it first appeared.
The Naked Curmudgeon by Dan Culberson
The Naked Curmudgeon
curmudgeon n [origin unknown] (1577) a crusty, ill-tempered, and usu. old man. naked adj 6: devoid of concealment or disguise. Attempting to cover everything that annoys me, Dan Culberson.
Here’s what gets me.
I think it is agreed by all parties that this abortion problem is a nasty business. Tempers have flared, curses have been shouted and people killed, not to mention both innocent and guilty bystanders swept by their emotions to commit unnatural acts in the name of decency and the “right thing to do”–and I’m just talking about outside the clinics.
Ever since Jan. 23, 1973, and the sexual peak of Baby Boomers everywhere, no solution proposed so far is going to satisfy everyone, because both sides currently have valid arguments. The pro-choice proponents believe that a woman has the right to do what she wants to her body and she can choose to prevent an unwanted child just as readily as she can choose to prevent an unwanted tumor, although certainly with more emotional involvement.
The pro-life proponents (or, by extension, the anti-choice people) believe that the “state,” the government, society, other people or even God has the right if not the duty to do what it wants in order to prevent people from living a life of free will.
Hasn’t anyone else recognized that this argument was angrily conducted centuries ago with great acrimony, hard feelings and probably lost lives and that therefore society is moving backwards?
Well, Ladies, Gentlemen and Others, I have a solution to the problem as plain as your own backyard or living-room easy chair: namely, our pets.
The idea came to me when I acquired a kitten from the Humane Society and afterwards watched a disgusting, predestination-disguised, anti-choice commercial that was crude in its production values, but just as slick in its manipulative techniques as any Madison Avenue, truth-mangling, morality-bending, self-aggrandizing advertisement.
When I bought the kitten, I was pressured into having it neutered. I was amazed that both the Humane Society and my veterinarian were so cavalier about a practice that is nothing more than a subversive act that eventually should put them both out of work.
Of course! Neither the Humane Society nor veterinarians would be so naive as to work toward putting themselves out of business, so something noble must be behind their desire to have a world full of aging, non-procreating pets.
And therein lies the solution to the problem of pro-choice, pro-life, anti-choice, anti-life, free-will, predestination, pro-abortion, anti-abortion dilemma: Whenever a child is born or whenever a child is adopted, neuter it. Snip-snip.
Only then can we cease this senseless anger, fighting, demonstrating and killing that is pitting sister against sister, brother against brother and family against family over a matter that should be between a woman and her conscience.
“What?” you say? “That would be silly!” you say? “Not to mention stupid and inhuman!” you say?
Not if we call it “humane.” The time-honored tradition of society and Madison Avenue is to use language to sway thinking. Therefore, we simply call the act of desexing all children at birth and adoption the “Humane Solution,” and all our worries about unwanted children, the agonizing of abortion and the morality of the way we live others’ lives is over. Snip-snip.
“Wait a minute!” you say? “If all children are prevented from having children of their own, then how does that affect future generations?” you say?
Now, I don’t want to sound callous or unfeeling, but another time-honored tradition of society and government is to answer “That’s their problem.” I am sure that pro-choice advocates, pro-life advocates and busybodies everywhere are more concerned with the immediate problem: how to prevent unwanted children and how to prevent women from destroying society by doing what they want to their own bodies.
Otherwise, we need only look at our own backyards and living-room easy chairs again. The practice and pressure of neutering our pets certainly hasn’t created a shortage of pets. The unnatural but humane act of forcing our will upon the nature of pet procreation hasn’t caused us any sleepless nights, and those pets are coming from somewhere.
Perhaps it’s as simple as “Nature always finds a way.”
Now, to head off any accusations that I have a personal interest in my proposal, I have no other motive than the public good of society by relieving the suffering of women, satisfying the desires of the religious and giving some short-term business to doctors. I have no children by which I can get a single penny, the youngest being 42 years old, and I am not a doctor nor do I play one on TV.
I rest my case.
EnergySmart will cover 50 percent of commercial heating, cooling system tuneups
$200k now available to businesses, commercial property owners
Boulder County, Colo. – A new energy efficiency service is available to Boulder County businesses and commercial property owners looking to make building and equipment improvements that save energy and money.
Through its Heating and Cooling Optimization Service, EnergySmart is offering to help businesses and commercial property owners tune up existing heating and cooling systems to operate most efficiently. EnergySmart is offering to cover 50 percent of the cost of the optimization service, but only until the end of October.
Applications are available at www.EnergySmartYes.com. Interested business or commercial property owners should contact an EnergySmart Advisor at signupbiz@EnergySmartYES.com or 877-505-6722, extension 4. To be eligible, the commercial building must be located in Boulder County and must be between 5,000 and 50,000 square feet.
Based on findings from a 2010 pilot program in Boulder, heating and cooling equipment in commercial buildings often operates inefficiently due to age, improper installation or poor control systems. This can lead to increased energy bills and comfort issues for building occupants. Businesses participating in the pilot had an annual average energy cost savings of $1,600.
“The optimization service quickly uncovered the issues impacting the efficiency of our systems and implemented solutions that not only reduced our energy bills but kept our employees comfortable,” said Eileen Holtry, Chief Operating Officer of the Boulder Chamber, which participated in the 2010 pilot program.
EnergySmart provides a full suite of services to help Boulder County businesses identify valuable energy-saving opportunities. The service provides free energy assessments, advisor assistance in finding contractors, and rebates for energy efficiency upgrades. For more information, call an EnergySmart Advisor at 877-505-6722 or visit www.EnergySmartYes.com.
EnergySmart services are also available to all residents in Boulder County.
The program is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act through the U.S. Department of Energy’s BetterBuildings grant program and is sponsored in partnership by Boulder County, the cities of Boulder and Longmont, Xcel Energy and the Platte River Power Authority.
Boulder City Council, at a meeting this evening, Tuesday, Aug. 16, approved several ballot questions to be considered by voters between now and Nov. 1, 2011. These include questions related to the following issues:
- · Creation of a local electric utility (municipalization) and the expansion and extension of the Utility Occupation Tax to raise interim funding;
- Issuance of bonds to fund capital improvement projects without raising taxes;
- Clean-up of Charter provisions; and
- Local resolution for an the amendment of the U.S. Constitution to abolish corporate personhood.
Council approved ballot language that will ask voters two separate questions related to the possible creation of a municipally run electric utility.
In general terms, one question asks voters to decide whether to authorize the creation of a locally run electric utility. Based on specific limitations in the ballot language and a related ordinance, council would not be permitted to issue bonds until all start-up costs are finalized, and only if customer rates would be no more than those charged by Xcel Energy at the time of acquisition.
Another question asks voters to consider extending and increasing the Utility Occupation Tax for a limited amount of time to fund the costs associated with determining those concrete start-up expenses and taking the interim steps to set up a local utility.
Council agreed to ask voters if the city should issue bonds of up to $49 million to catch up on significant deficiencies in its infrastructure. These capital improvement projects could include repairing and maintaining streets, structurally deficient bridges, repairing aging city facilities, and replacing outdated software systems.
If approved, the bonds would be paid for through existing revenues without any increase in any city tax.
Council agreed to ask voters if they would approve updates to the Charter. The provisions would allow the clerk to rename city positions and departments to reflect the titles that are in use today; to change the fine from $100 to $1,000 for any violation of the Charter; to update election practices and terminology; and to amend the requirements for submitting initiative petitions to the city.
Council agreed to ask voters if they will approve a measure that calls for the amendment of the U.S. Constitution to reflect that human beings, not corporations, are entitled to constitutional rights and that money (specifically in the form of political contributions) is not a form of speech.
This year’s election is by mail-in ballot. Ballots will be mailed to active voters between Oct. 10 and Oct. 14. People will be able to return the ballots by mail or drop them off at Boulder County’s Election Division anytime after receiving them until 7 p.m. on Nov. 1.
Seventy-one percent of City of Boulder voters indicated that they either strongly support or support municipalization, according to the results of a statistically valid telephone survey conducted last month. The results were made public by the city today in advance of an important council meeting tomorrow night.
Other key findings include:
Seventy-one percent of those surveyed said the city would be better at offering renewable sources of energy and reducing carbon emissions than Xcel Energy.
A smaller, but majority, percentage (57 percent) thought the city could do a better job at finding innovative solutions to energy problems than Xcel Energy.
Xcel Energy, on the other hand, scored higher (67 percent) in providing reliable energy and (52 percent) in keeping monthly energy bills stable.
Reliability, service, control, energy sources and cost all received high marks as community priorities. Three of these were weighted against each other – low cost, increased renewable sources and having a say in utility decisions. Increasing renewable sources of energy were considered the prevailing priority among these by a majority of residents.
Sixty-five percent of those surveyed indicated they support the issuance of bonds to purchase Xcel’s system. Seventy-seven percent said they would either strongly support or somewhat support the extension/expansion of either the Climate Action Plan or Utility Occupation Tax to cover interim legal and engineering expenses necessary to determine final acquisition and start-up costs.
Ninety-one percent of those surveyed said they would support an increase of between 5 percent to “as much as it takes” in their monthly electric bills to reduce carbon emissions and/or increase renewable sources of energy.
Voters were even more likely to support the creation of a city-owned electric utility if there was a possibility of spending limits, a re-evaluation of final costs before a decision is made about whether to issue bonds and rates within 10 percent of those offered by Xcel Energy. Education about the existence of the 29 other locally-owned utilities in Colorado also made a positive difference.
“The decision our community makes regarding our energy future will be a historic one. These results show that the City of Boulder has listened carefully to our community as we have set our objectives and studied our energy supply options,” City Manager Jane S. Brautigam said. “While we are on the track that many voters support, we also know that taking a measured and prudent approach to this analysis is crucial. We pledge to continue working responsibly and objectively to understand the potential impacts and benefits to all segments of our community.”
The survey, conducted by National Research Center Inc. in Boulder, reached 1,265 registered voters and resulted in 400 completed responses. The response rate of 32 percent was one of the biggest the survey firm has seen in recent years. The results have a margin of error of +/-4.5 percent. The survey occurred between July 6 and July 18.
Tomorrow night’s council meeting will begin at 5 p.m. tomorrow, Tuesday, Aug. 2, in Council Chambers, 1777 Broadway. Elected officials are expected to hear a brief presentation about the survey findings and ask questions before discussing and then voting on ballot language related to how Boulder gets it energy in the future. There will be an opportunity for public input. The decisions council makes at this meeting are expected to form the basis for a third – and final – reading of ballot language on Tuesday, Aug. 16. The election is Tuesday, Nov. 1.
The complete survey report is available at http://www.boulderenergyfuture.com.
City staff recommends that voters be asked to support a local power utility
City Manager Jane S. Brautigam and a city staff team analyzing Boulder’s energy future recommended today that City Council ask voters to support the creation of a local power utility so that the city can pursue final costs and continue its rigorous analysis about whether to purchase Xcel Energy’s system.
“I am proud of the solid analysis that has gone into the city’s exploration of its energy supply options so far,” Brautigam said. “The data we have shows that the creation of a local power utility can be accomplished in a financially responsible way. Such a utility would have a unique ability to chart a future that positions Boulder to be a successful leader in both economic and environmental sustainability.”
Brautigam also said she is confident that the process following a vote for municipalization will provide adequate opportunities to address concerns raised by some that the cost of purchasing the system from the current provider, Xcel, could exceed current estimates.
A positive vote is required before the city can enter into acquisition negotiations and/or condemnation proceedings. During this process, the city would determine what the final price would be. If the costs of buying Xcel’s system turned out to be significantly higher than anticipated or would result in rate increases that were unacceptable to the community, council would be under no obligation to issue the bonds necessary to pay for buying the system and launching a utility. The city could then re-consider how to proceed.
“There are off-ramps in place that allow the city to move forward with its eyes wide open,” the city manager said. “Our community has spelled out both its goals and its expectations. City staff and elected officials take the responsibility of balancing these very seriously.”
The recommendation follows more than two years of discussions about whether to enter into another 20-year franchise agreement with Xcel Energy. In 2010, City Council rejected that option, determining that a business-as-usual contract for two decades was too long and would limit Boulder’s ability to take advantage of exciting changes in the energy industry. Since then, the city and the community have been involved in an intensive study and discussion of other options.
The Boulder community has set clear energy future goals. These include cleaner energy, with as much local generation as possible; reliability; rate stability and more local decision-making and control.
The city hired industry specialists to conduct a detailed financial assessment of the possible creation of a local utility. They have concluded that Boulder could buy the system from Xcel, pay off the debt associated with those costs, start a utility and operate it reliably while still making money. The local utility would be able to keep customers rates lower or equal to what they would be under Xcel, maintain emergency reserves and still have a net present value of $112 million over 10 years. The cost model developed by the consultants has some room for increased costs. This flexibility is spelled out in more detail in a staff memo to council.
The staff recommendation also includes support for an increase and extension of the Climate Action Plan tax. While a locally owned power utility would cover its costs entirely through its revenues once it was up and running, the city would need additional money to cover engineering and legal expenses before that time. It is estimated that the city would need about $1 million a year for three to five years before a final determination could be made about whether to issue bonds to buy Xcel’s system. This funding mechanism would allow the city to continue this process without impacting existing programs and services.
City Council is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, July 19, starting at 5 p.m., to discuss items for the November ballot. The full memo and other valuable information about the energy future project are available at http://www.boulderenergyfuture.com. There is also a comment form on this website if community members wish to give input to the staff team and City Council.
Boulder County, Colo. – The Boulder County Transportation and Parks and Open Space departments, along with the Town of Superior, will celebrate the grand opening of the Coalton Trailhead and Meadowlark Trail on Thursday, June 2 at 3 p.m.
A ribbon-cutting will take place at the trailhead – located near the new roundabout intersection of McCaslin Boulevard and Coalton Road in Superior (map) – followed by a guided nature hike.
Amenities for the two-acre area include a shelter with two picnic tables, restrooms, bike racks, trash cans, a dog station, and an information kiosk. The parking lot accommodates 27 cars, two handicapped spaces and three horse trailers, one with horse hitching rails. The trailhead also includes native varieties of trees, shrubs and grasses.
The new 2.7-mile, multi-use Meadowlark Trail extends from the Coalton Trail at its south end to the Mayhoffer-Singletree Trail at the north end. This trail extension completes an approximately 10-mile loop that includes the City of Boulder’s Greenbelt Plateau, and Community Ditch and Cowdrey Draw trails that now connect to the Town of Superior and Boulder County trails. The project area includes the former route of the Morgul-Bismarck Loop of the Coors International Bicycle Classic from the 1980s. This new trail also provides a highly anticipated link to the City of Boulder’s Marshall-Mesa trails, and the county’s Rock Creek and Coal Creek trail systems.
Funding for the improved intersection, trailhead, and multiple phases of the trail system has come from the Boulder County Transportation Improvements sales tax, federal transportation funds distributed through the Denver Regional Council of Governments’ Transportation Improvement Program, and the Town of Superior. Planning was a joint effort of the county’s Transportation and Parks and Open Space departments.
The majority of the land provided for the trailhead and trails is Boulder County Open Space property purchased with Parks and Open Space sales tax funding, with additional parcels provided by Superior.
For more information, please visit the Coalton Trailhead web page.
An ancient, bipedal hominid sporting a set of powerful jaws and huge molars that earned it the nickname “Nutcracker Man” likely didn’t crack nuts at all, preferring instead to slurp up vast quantities of grasses and sedges, says a new study.
The hominid, known as Paranthropus boisei, ranged across the African landscape more than 1 million years ago and lived side-by-side with direct ancestors of humans, said University of Colorado Boulder anthropology Professor Matt Sponheimer, a study co-author. It was long assumed Paranthropus boisei favored nuts, seeds and hard fruit because of its huge jaws, powerful jaw muscles and the biggest and flattest molars of any known hominid in the anthropological record, he said.
In the last several years, research on the wear marks of teeth from Paranthropus boisei by other research teams has indicated it likely was eating items like soft fruit and grasses, said Sponheimer. That evidence, combined with the new study that measured the carbon isotopes embedded in fossil teeth to infer diet, indicates the rugged jaw and large, flat tooth structure may have been just the ticket for Paranthropus boisei to mow down and swallow huge amounts of grasses or sedges at a single sitting, he said.
“Frankly, we didn’t expect to find the primate equivalent of a cow dangling from a remote twig of our family tree,” said Sponheimer.
Published in the May 2 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the study was led by University of Utah Professor Thure Cerling. Other authors included Emma Mbua, Frances Kirera, Fredrick Manthi and Meave Leakey from the National Museums of Kenya, Fredrick Grine from Stony Brook University in New York and Kevin Uno from the University of Utah.
“Fortunately for us, the work of several research groups over the last several years has begun to soften prevailing notions of early hominid diets,” said Sponheimer. “If we had presented our new results at a scientific meeting 20 years ago, we would have been laughed out of the room.”
For the new study, the researchers removed tiny amounts of enamel from 22 Paranthropus boisei teeth collected in central and northern Kenya, each of which contained carbon isotopes absorbed from the types of food eaten during the lifetime of each individual. In tropical environments, virtually all trees and bushes — including fruits and leaves — use the so-called C3 photosynthetic pathway to convert sunlight into energy, while savannah grasses and some sedges use the C4 photosynthetic pathway.
The isotope analysis indicated Paranthropus boisei individuals were much bigger fans of C4 grasses and sedges than C3 trees, shrubs and bushes. The results indicated the collective diet of the 22 individuals averaged about 77 percent grasses and sedges for a period lasting at least 500,000 years, said Sponheimer.
The research team also compared the carbon isotope ratios of Paranthropus teeth with the teeth of other grazing mammals living at the same time and in the same area, including ancestral zebras, hippos, warthogs and pigs. The results indicated those mammals were eating primarily C4 grasses, virtually identical to Paranthropus boisei. “They were eating at the same table,” said Cerling.
Paranthropus was part of a line of close human relatives known as australopithecines that includes the famous 3-million-year-old Ethiopian fossil Lucy, seen by some as the matriarch of modern humans. Roughly 2.5 million years ago, the australopithecines are thought to have split into the genus Homo — which produced modern Homo sapiens — and the genus Paranthropus, that dead-ended, said Sponheimer.
“One key result is that this hominid had a diet fundamentally different from that of all living apes, and, by extension, favored very different environments,” he said. “And having a good idea of where these ancient creatures lived and what they ate helps us understand why some early hominids left descendants and others did not.”
The first skull of a Paranthropus boisei individual was discovered by co-author Meave Leakey’s in-laws, Mary and Louis Leaky, in 1959 in Tanzania.
In 2006, a team led by Sponheimer found that a cousin of Paranthropus boisei known as Paranthropus robustus had a far more diverse diet than once believed, clouding the notion that it was driven to extinction by its picky eating habits. Published in Science magazine, the study showed that Paranthropus robustus had a diverse diet ranging from fruits and nuts to sedges, grasses, seeds and perhaps even animals.
So what led to the end of the line for Paranthropus? It could well have been direct competition with Homo — which was becoming skilled in extensive bone and stone technology — or it could have been a variety of other issues, including a slower reproductive rate for Paranthropus than for Homo, he said.
The new study was funded by the National Science Foundation and the CU-Boulder Dean’s Fund for Excellence.
The application deadline for City of Boulder Solar Grant Funds has been extended and now must be received by 5 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19. For applications and more program information, visit the city’s Solar Rebate and Grant Programs website.
The City of Boulder Solar Grant Fund (formerly known as the ClimateSmart Solar Grant Fund) is dedicated to providing financial assistance through grants toward installation of photovoltaic (PV) or solar thermal systems on:
· Housing included in the city’s permanently affordable housing program;
· Lower-income housing developed and/or owned by nonprofit organizations; and,
· Facilities of nonprofit organizations.
The program is funded by revenue generated through a solar rebate ordinance that the Boulder City Council approved in 2006. The city collects taxes on the sales and installation of solar technologies, using the revenue to fund the City of Boulder Solar Grant Fund and to provide sales-tax rebates to those who pay solar sales and use taxes. Approximately $150,000 is currently available for solar grants.
Since the first grant cycle in March 2008, a total of $232,784 has been awarded to nonprofit organizations and homeowners participating in the city’s affordable housing program. The grant funds have resulted in 22 solar PV systems, 315 kilowatts of installed PV, and two solar thermal systems, which save approximately $38,000 annually and prevent about 265 metric tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) from being emitted per year.
LEAD programs promote energy efficiency, renewable energy, and alternative transportation options to Boulder residents and businesses. For more information, visit www.bouldercolorado.gov/LEAD.
BOULDER – It was the news many people had been expecting: Dan Hawkins fired from his position as the head football coach of the University of Colorado Buffaloes.
It came after the Buffs had a massive collapse in the fourth-quarter on Saturday, the biggest in Colorado history. CU gave up 35 points to the Kansas Jayhawks to erase a 45-17 lead.
The Buffaloes are 3-6 this season and 0-5 in the Big 12, the last time the team will play in the Big 12 because it joins the Pac 12 next season. The Buffs have also lost 17 straight road games. If the Buffs had won, it would have been their first road win since 2007.
CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn had reportedly planned to wait until after the season ended to terminate Hawkins, but the collapse in Kansas forced his hand.
In his time with CU, Hawkins accumulated a record of only 1939.
Associate Head Coach Ryan Cabral will take over as interim head coach while the school runs a national search for Hawkins’ replacement.
Hawkins’ son, Cody Hawkins, will remain as the Buffs’ quarterback. He is the only healthy quarterback on the roster because Tyler Hansen is recovering from a hard hit that hospitalized him two weeks ago.
Hawkins was one of the hottest coaches in the nation when he took over at Colorado in 2006 after going 53-11 at Boise State. He replaced Gary Barnett, who lost his job after two scandal-plagued years and a 70-3 loss to Texas in the Big 12 title game after the 2005 season.
Meanwhile, Hawkins’ former assistant, Chris Petersen, has built Boise State into a national championship contender, leading many critics to suggest that Bohn hired the wrong man away from the Broncos.
Bohn, Chancellor Phil DiStefano and President Bruce Benson took heavy criticism for not firing Hawkins after the Buffs finished 3-9 last season.
Hawkins also alienated alumni and former players by saying the program was “burned to the ground” when he got there even though the Buffaloes had reached the league championship game several times under Barnett.
This year, Hawkins moved practices from their traditional afternoon time slot to early mornings and took players’ names off the backs of their jerseys. The culture of losing and Hawkins’ curt public persona in the face of so much criticism has stayed the same.
After starting 3-1, the Buffs have lost five straight and will have to beat Iowa State and Kansas State at home and Nebraska on the road to avoid a fifth straight losing season.
Hawkins’ contract runs through Jan. 31, 2013. He was awarded a contract extension in 2008 following his only bowl appearance in 2007 and signing a nationally ranked recruiting class that year.
SOURCE: from 9 NEWS AND The Associated Press