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GRANBY, Colo. (CBS)– A temperature inversion Friday was an enormous help to firefighters worried about more homes being lost in the vicious East Troublesome Fire. A firefighting source told us 300-400 structures are lost in the area south-southwest of Grand Lake, between Highways 125 and 34. There are more losses north of the core of Grand Lake as well, but with the Grand County sheriff unable to enter many areas with active fire and dangerous trees, there was no way to begin to count.

(credit: CBS)

“We live basically behind the golf course in Grand Lake and right above Winding River Ranch,” said Schelly Olson about her dream home. It was a large log structure, sited on some of the most beautiful property around.

“We sold our assets in the city and made the leap and moved to the mountains for our kids to grow up in this wonderful mountain community of Grand Lake and it was the most wonderful place and the most wonderful life,” she said.

But now it’s gone. She shared pictures of the home in ashes.

Schelly had taken a few days break to get out of town because she’s been working the Williams Fork Fire. She is assistant chief of Grand Fire Protection and has devoted her life to helping prevent disaster, teaching people how to mitigate and be fire safe. She heads a local organization to help. But only her husband was home when the fire raced through like none other in known Colorado fire history.

“It sounds like a freight train coming at you. It is loud, it is midnight even if it’s daytime,” she said. He got out with little time, but safely with their dog.

Larry Cooper and his wife had a second home in Grand Lake in Sun Valley Ranch. Just about everything around their home is gone. They’ve owned it since the ’80s. It too was a log home.

“Incredibly, we just finished remodeling the whole house. It was gorgeous, we were thrilled with it.”

Also built into it were the memories. They loved the snowmobiling and the wintertime at first.

“Ultimately we fell in love with the summers up there, the moose and the elk, nature and wildlife and flowers. Just a gorgeous opportunity to have our kids up there and have our kids bring their friends up there.”

He was aware of how beetle kill and the lack of rain put them in danger, but the loss of the home still hurt.

“We knew the possibility was always there. We never expected this kind of a firestorm to destroy so much so fast.”

Schelly Olson described a mix of emotions over their loss.

“It’s really like the death of a lifetime,” she said from a Westminster hotel room where she and her husband have set up house. “You know it really is something that we’re grieving and you know we’re going through those stages in my neighborhood and like all the other neighborhoods and the folks that have lost.”

She said she felt guilt at being away, but when we asked, could name nothing more she could have done from a fire that stunned the experienced firefighters around her and a town that has lost so much.

“We’re first responders, we’re Type A, we want to do everything for everybody and I have to realize that we just can’t.”

She did have words for the people in the town she and her husband love so much.

“We can’t have the mindset that it can’t happen to us because it can. That’s my message, that Grand County is strong, and Grand County is beautiful and wonderful and will come back.”





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Theres a reason why Trump cant admit that wealthier, educated suburbanites are one reason he lost

The entire “voter fraud” shtick emanating from the White House is already rancid well beyond its shelf life, but this needs to be pointed out, if it hasn’t already.

Despite his squealing about “fraud” in the cities of Milwaukee, Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta, Donald Trump didn’t lose this election by twice the number of votes that he lost to Hillary Clinton in 2016 because of these cities. In fact, he did better in Detroit and Philadelphia, the two biggest targets of his accusatory, much-ballyhooed ire, than he did in 2016.

As Holly Otterbein notes, writing for Politico, it was not the big cities at all—but the largely whiter, wealthier suburbs around these cities that sealed Trump’s fate.

Otterbein writes:

[I]t was suburbia—not large cities—that delivered the over-the-top margins that put Joe Biden in the White House. And in at least a handful of cities in key battleground states this month, Trump actually ran slightly better than in 2016.

This is simply a basic, irrefutable fact, confirmed by a number of reputable sources. Broadly speaking, Trump didn’t do significantly worse in this country’s major cities in 2020 than he did in 2016. As the Politico article notes, he managed to do this by pitting races against each other.

But trying to pin the blame on the suburbanites who coalesced to vote him out is a much more complicated task. While the suburbs of large metropolitan areas have grown increasingly diverse, they’re not dramatically more diverse than they were in 2016.

While big cities delivered large tranches of votes for Biden in battleground states, it was the increasingly diverse and Democratic-trending suburbs that provided the blowout margins for him. The suburbs in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan came out strongly for Biden, making up for the fact that he matched Clinton while Trump grew his support in key cities.

And yet we have heard not a peep about this voting bloc from the Trump campaign. Where are the hysterical allegations of fraud, and ballot-stuffing, and whatever other nonsense he’s leveled at inner cities?

Nowhere. Because they don’t fit the narrative he’s fed to his credulous, susceptible voting base. The fact that people wealthier, more educated, and worst of all (to them)—mostly of the same race as that base—flushed Trump’s hopes of reelection down the proverbial toilet is just too inconvenient for Trump to face.

To accept that fact would mean acknowledging that some of those fabled “elites,” for many of Trump’s voters, are their own children, who left the so-called “heartland” for the Big City. It would mean acknowledging that these voters have actually experienced life among people of other races (unlike the Fox News-watching crowd who get all their information about Black and Latinx people filtered through a lens of racist propaganda), and that those people might actually know a little bit more than they do.

It would mean conceding that all of Trump’s claims blaming his loss on “voter fraud” in the inner cities are in themselves fraudulent.

It would mean admitting their Dear Leader is a big fat liar. It would blow a big hole in their soothing self-assurance that the whole electoral process was somehow illegitimate.

And that would just be too painful a truth to bear.

But perhaps even more importantly, it would totally undercut that same theme of Democratic “illegitimacy” that Trump intends to wield like a cudgel as he plans to enrich himself at everyone else’s expense over the next four years and beyond.  And it would also, incidentally, blow a huge hole in the strategy of the opportunistic Republicans who intend to follow this line of thought all the way through 2024.

In other words, it would show that this whole charade about voter fraud is in fact, a bald-faced lie. And that could bring the whole Trump con job crashing down.

Trump can't handle the truth. And neither can his voters.

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