Headlines July 13, 2020

Headlines July 13, 2020

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There are 9 finalists for potential new names for the Stapleton neighborhood in Denver. The list of 9 comes out of more than 300 suggestions submitted to the advisory board tasked with leading the name change process.

Stapleton was named for a former mayor of Denver who was a Klu Klux Klan member.

Some of the 9 names include historical figures like Mosley – after John Mosley a Tuskegee Airman from Denver who attended Manual High School; Peterson – after Helen Peterson, a Cheyenne-Lakota activist and lobbyist who worked at the University of Denver and Randolph – after Daddy Bruce Randolph, a famed Denver cook who provided free meals for those in need.

Other more general names were suggested including Concourse, Central Park and Sky View.

Online voting for the first round started today and goes until Saturday.  The first round will whittle the list to 4. Then the public will be able to vote on those from July 20 to 24.

A candlelight vigil was held in Aurora on Saturday to remember Elijah McClain and to call for justice in his death. The 23-year-old Black man died last August after police put him in a chokehold and administered ketamine. Police had responded to a 9-1-1 call from someone who described McClain as suspicious. He had committed no crime and was stopped coming home from a convenience store.

People brought flowers, art, signs, and candles to Saturday’s vigil in Utah Park in Aurora. One of the speakers, Tay Anderson, a Denver Public School Board member and one of the community organizers of the recent Black Lives Matter protests in Denver, criticized Greenwood Village and other communities that have passed resolutions effectively opting out of the recent state legislation that increases police accountability and transparency.

“I’m disgusted when we see our sister cities to the south pass resolutions, I call them protect the police resolutions…trying to protect the law enforcement officers because they don’t want to be labeled as a city that’s not supporting their cops,” he said.

Colorado has joined 16 other states and the District of Columbia in a lawsuit against the Trump administration in an effort to block a new rule that would revoke the visas of foreign students who take classes entirely online in the fall.

The lawsuit, filed today, says the new rule could force many students to return to their home countries during the pandemic, where their ability to study would be severely compromised.

The Colorado Attorney General’s Office said the policy change impacts 11,316 international students attending 31 public and 85 private colleges around the state.

Governor Jared Polis today signed several bills into law to give increased protection for the LGBTQ community. One bill simplifies the requirements for a new birth certificate for transgender Coloradans and another bans the use of a gay/trans panic as a legal defense in court cases. Colorado becomes the 11th state to pass such legislation.

Governor Polis said at today’s signing ceremony that a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity are never a reason to excuse someone from committing a crime against them.

 

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Faculty members at the University of Colorado Boulder are raising concerns about returning to in-person classes in the fall amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The Daily Camera reports that more than 170 professors, instructors and others wrote a letter to Chancellor Phil DiStefano in late May wondering whether the virus’ spread can be curtailed on campus and how it will impact teaching.

But conditions have changed since that letter was sent, and some are thinking that the situation is more dire.  Senior Instructor David Paradis said he’s worried about students coming to Boulder from places where the virus has increased this summer, including Texas and California.  He added that a second letter should be sent.

 

CU Boulder spokesperson Melanie Marquez Parra said DiStefano met with faculty before the fall plan was announced and administrators are intent on continuing the dialogue to address health and safety.  She added that decisions about who teaches in-person or remotely will be made at the department level to best address individual needs and concerns.

On Friday, officials announced that students living in residence halls will be required to be tested for COVID-19 within five days prior to moving in. Alternatively students can take a test upon arrival on campus; however, the number of those tests will be limited.

Yesterday Governor Jared Polis extended his order requiring landlords to give 30 days’ notice to tenants who are late on their rent before initiating an eviction.

The Colorado Sun reports that the order comes as fears grow that hundreds of thousands of Coloradans are at risk of losing their homes because of the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 30-day notice requirement is now in effect through Aug. 11. It was initially set to expire on today.

Normally, landlords have to give tenants 10 days’ notice that they are behind on their rent before initiating an eviction.

While the extended order doesn’t halt evictions, it’s aimed at giving tenants more time to secure enough money to prevent being removed from their homes.

With the state unemployment rate above 10 percent and hundreds of thousands seeking benefits, housing advocates are warning that as many as 450,000 renters could face eviction in the coming months.

More than two hundred vehicles followed each other on a slow tour of Aurora Sunday demanding action in the death of Elijah McClain and changes in the Aurora Police Department.

McClain died in August 2019 after a call to police alleged he was “sketchy.” Aurora police placed him in a chokehold and EMTs injected him with ketamine as a sedative, rendering him unconscious. He died later in the hospital.

Isabella Dominique one of the organizers of the vehicle procession told KDVR that protesting in cars is a really convenient way of demonstrating – especially during COVID.

She said that the Aurora Police Department has done nothing in the McClain case and neither has the state, so they were out there to try to educate the community.

The protest lasted about three hours, during which they blocked lanes of traffic causing backups in the area.

In the evening on Saturday, people brought flowers, art, signs and candles to Utah Park in Aurora, to remember McClain and call for justice. The gathering was organized by the organization, We Shall Overcome Now!

Boulder has hired its first independent police monitor to oversee the department and work toward transforming the relationship between police and the public. The city announced Friday that Joseph Lapari will assume the position starting July 27th.  Lapari mostly recently served as Chicago’s deputy inspector general for public safety within the city’s Office of inspector General. During a virtual town hall question-and-answer last month, Lapari explained why he was interested in coming to Boulder.

‘My response to that is why wouldn’t I want to come to Boulder?  First of all, I like setting up new oversight agencies.  That’s what I do. Boulder has progressive and engaged population that has clearly demanded  the highest quality policing and some effort to re-imagine how we do policing.  I have a young family.  I am interested in access to nature outdoor activates, so I end where I began on this question why wouldn’t I want to come to Boulder?”

Hiring an independent monitor was determined to be critical after an  incident in 2019 where an African American Naropa student was confronted by a police officer while picking up trash in his yard. The officer questioned whether he belonged there, and called for backup officers. The incident drew national attention and outraged local residents, prompting the city to create the position.

Firefighters extinguished a half-acre fire overnight near Panorama Point off Flagstaff Mountain Road west of Boulder.  The Daily Camera reports that a resident reported seeing flames a little after midnight Saturday, and the sheriff’s office said the fire appeared to grow quickly with flames reaching an estimated 20 feet.

By 4:30 a.m. Sunday, the fire was fully contained.

On Friday, Boulder County Sheriff Joe Pelle instituted level two fire restrictions for western Boulder County, which includes the area where the Flagstaff Fire occurred. Fires on public and private land including barbecues and charcoal grills, and the use of fireworks are prohibited among other restrictions.

In the southwest part of the state near Telluride, firefighters have been attacking the Green Meadows wildfire near Placerville both from the ground and the air.  The fire was last reported to be 60 acres in size.