Headlines July 9, 2020

Headlines July 9, 2020

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The JBS meat packing plant in Greeley is facing another coronavirus outbreak. The Denver Post reports that five interns with have contracted the virus.

In a statement today a JBS spokesperson said that contact tracing shows the interns contracted the virus outside of the workplace, possibly while gathering together socially. Most of the interns live in individual dorm rooms on the University of Northern Colorado campus and frequently socialize together.

The interns and all of their close contacts at JBS have been put into 14-day quarantine.

The company has been heavily criticized for its handling on an outbreak amongst workers at the plant.

In April, a coronavirus outbreak in the plant led to 287 workers being infected. Six died. According to data from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment, that outbreak is still active however the pace of new infections has slowed in recent weeks.

Local Boulder groups that want voters to have a say in the controversial CU South annexation process are pushing back on a newspaper article that suggested their effort had folded.

A Daily Camera story suggested a charter amendment ballot initiative the groups Save South Boulder and PLAN-Boulder hoped voters would decide on this fall’s ballot was kaput.

The groups say, however, that the article is misleading and they will continue their effort. When it comes to petitions and initiatives for the fall ballot – and there are several pending – the coronavirus pandemic has created confusion about deadlines for signature collection.

The measure, assuming adequate signatures were obtained, would have allowed voters input on the terms of annexation of the CU South property. The property, at the south entrance to Boulder, is where the University plans to build new facilities sometime in the future. Both groups oppose that scenario and instead would like to see a land swap between the City and CU that would move the new campus elsewhere, leaving the land in the South Boulder Creek floodplain free from development.

As far as getting something on the ballot, groups’ claim the city has denied their right to collect signatures even though they were relying on information posted to the City’s website, which has since been removed. Save South Boulder and Plan-Boulder have clarified they won’t end their fight to protect the South Boulder Creek floodplain against the CU development and say “all lawful means” will be used to limit the use of the property to flood mitigation and open space-related purposes.

Aurora City council members have voted against temporarily increasing occupancy limits during the coronavirus pandemic.

Governor Jared Polis had asked local authorities to waive regulations that prohibit large numbers of unrelated people to live in a single family home, in an effort to ease the economic burdens facing many who have lost jobs.

The Aurora Sentinel reports that Mayor Mike Coffman cast the tie-breaking vote against a temporary allowance of six unrelated people to occupy a housing unit. Currently, the limit in Aurora is four.

 

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The City Council of Greenwood Village, a suburb of Denver, has unanimously approved a measure that ensures that police officers won’t be sued if they mistreat or harm a citizen.

The resolution was passed on Monday and says that the city will never find its officers have acted in bad faith. This shields them from having to face personal financial liability for misconduct on the job.

The vote is a reaction to the recent legislation that brought sweeping police reform including the removal of qualified immunity. Senate Bill 217 was signed into law last month.

The Aurora Police Department is once again facing criticism for excessive use of force after a video has gone viral showing an officer pulling a gun on a doctor who was trying to park in the garage on his own property.

9 News reports that Dr. P.J. Parmar is the owner and founder of Mango House in Aurora, a shared space for refugees. On March 1 he was trying to drop off Boy Scout equipment at the location but a police vehicle was blocking his way.

Dr. Parmar said he honked at the officer to move but instead the officer approached him and held the doctor at gun point.

Dr. Parmar, whose parents emigrated from India, wrote about the incident on Medium.com in a post called Building Owning While Brown.

In June the Aurora Sentinel reported that the Aurora Police Department was investigating the incident but it now has renewed attention in the wake of the Elijah McClain protests in Aurora and the subsequent police handling of the protests.

Dr. Parmar and his attorneys are considering filing a federal lawsuit.

Residents in Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties will be required to wear face coverings when entering indoor public spaces as well as in outdoor public spaces when social distancing can’t be observed.

The requirement comes after a 5-4 vote yesterday by the Tri-County Health Department‘s Board of Health.

Municipalities within the three counties will have the ability to opt out. Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman said Tuesday that he supports a mandate requiring face coverings, but he told the Aurora Sentinel that he would prefer keeping the Aurora Police Department out of enforcing the rule in favor of city code enforcement staff.

Wednesday’s vote comes after data from the state health department shows growing numbers of coronavirus cases around the state.

Adams County has almost 4,500 cases, Arapahoe County has almost 5,500 cases and Douglas County has more than a thousand cases.

Statewide there are more than 35,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus with more than 1,700 deaths.

The Tri-County face covering order is similar to mandates already in place in Denver, Boulder and other Front Range municipalities.

Boulder County reported 16 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, bringing the county total to almost 1,500. While three outbreaks have been resolved in the county, state data shows that a new outbreak has happened at the Kidney Center of Longmont.

To date, 73 people in Boulder County have died of the coronavirus.