Headlines August 12, 2020

Headlines August 12, 2020

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A resolution to provide a tuition rebate to students at the University of Colorado, lost by one vote at today’s CU Regents’ meeting.

The Denver Post reports that the proposal to give a rebate of $1000 per semester to full-time students, and $500 per semester to part-time students, was rejected by five regents, the president of CU and campus chancellors.

CU Regent Heidi Ganahl, a Republican, had proposed the resolution, saying she recognized that students and families were hurting right now.
CU’s chief financial officer said the resolution would have cost CU about $130 million for the academic year.

CU President Mark Kennedy said the resolution would cause upwards of 850 additional staff and faculty to be terminated in addition to furloughs.

The university is facing huge budget shortfalls for the upcoming year. In May, CU regents voted not to raise tuition for the upcoming year. Some university employees have seen pay cuts, others have been laid off, and some furloughs were instated.

Boulder City Council has agreed to put a measure on the ballot this November that would allow voters to elect the mayor.

Boulder is the largest city in Colorado that does not directly elect its mayor. Our Mayor, Our Choice is a charter amendment petition which, If approved, will see voters elect the mayor, replacing the current system where City Council members select the mayor.

Boulder City Council has agreed to put the measure on the ballot with revisions after the city attorney gave the group incorrect information about the number of signatures needed and date for submission.

See KGNU’s full coverage here.

The Grizzly Creek fire near Glenwood Springs has grown to 3,700 acres.

I-70 remains closed in both directions through Glenwood Canyon and some nearby residents have been evacuated.

The fire has crossed the Colorado River and I 70. The Hanging Lake hiking area has been closed due to its proximity to the wildfire.

The Pine Gulch fire near Grand Junction is burning more than 51,000 acres, making it one of the largest wildfires in Colorado history.

Fire officials say low humidity and dry fuel make the conditions ripe for further growth in both fires today.

 

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The Colorado Attorney General’s Office has been conducting an investigation into the patterns and practices of the Aurora Police Department amidst national outrage over the death last year of Elijah McClain and growing criticism of the agency.

The Colorado Sun reports that a spokesman for Attorney General Phil Weiser, said the probe was started several weeks ago and they are evaluating actions that might deprive individuals of their constitutional rights under state or federal law.

Newly appointed police chief Vanessa Wilson said on Twitter that she supports Weiser’s new probe and pledged her department’s full cooperation.

The Attorney General can investigate police under authority recently granted by State Senate Bill 217, passed after George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

The AG’s review is separate from his ongoing investigation into the death of McClain, a 23-year-old unarmed Black man who died six days after officers placed him in a now-banned control hold last August.

McClain’s parents on Tuesday filed a federal lawsuit against the Aurora Police Department in which they claim their son’s rights were violated.

The Aurora Sentinel reports that the AG’s investigation was confirmed less than an hour after city leaders announced that they have named a national consulting firm to conduct a separate review of Aurora police department practices and protocols.

The Boulder City Council delayed a decision last night on whether to expand lethal control of prairie dogs on agricultural lands managed by the city north of Jay Road and west of the Diagonal Highway.

The recommendation for lethal control comes from the city’s Open Space Board of Trustees because staff and other land managers can’t keep up with the rates of the spread of prairie dogs on irrigated open space lands.

Colorado’s First Gentleman Marlon Reis was among the of speakers who pleaded with council not to use lethal control.

“Prairie dogs are a keystone species which means they’re a species upon which other animals depend. And the removal of these species from the ecosystem would make changes to ecosystem function,” he said.

But others who spoke supported the proposal.

If approved by council, starting next year the city would begin to remove some prairies dogs through relocation, some by installing fences and some by lethal control.

After noting the public hearing began after 9 p.m. with 105 speakers signed-up to testify, councilmembers agreed it would not be wise to begin their own discussion past 11 p.m. and will make a decision later this month.

Three Boulder residents who oppose the Bedrooms-Are-For-People ballot initiative are seeking to intervene in the campaign’s lawsuit against the city.

The thee citizens who seek to join the lawsuit are David Raduziner, Linda Sparn, and Valerie Yates, who is not related to Boulder Mayor Pro Tem Bob Yates.

The Daily Camera reports the three asked the court to prevent the initiative from getting on the ballot.  The proposal would change occupancy limits to allow one person per bedroom in a house, plus one other.

The three intervenors claim that certifying the measure for the ballot would violate state and city election law, and they say the organizers of the campaign are seeking to fundamentally change election laws by giving cities the ability to rewrite ballot requirements.

The campaign supporting the initiative has sued the city because officials gave incorrect information on petition signature requirements and deadlines.

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s administration is moving forward with sweeps of homeless encampments even though there is no sanctioned site where displaced people can move.

The Denver Post reports that the coliseum parking lot is no longer under consideration but no other site has been seriously proposed in its place.

The time table for any possible site for the encampment is now pushed back at least a month according to Cole Chandler, executive director of the Colorado Village Collaborative.

Denver officials continue to sweep out existing encampments even though the actions are contrary to federal pandemic recommendations.  However, the encampments, which are considered by the city to be illegal, have grown in size and number during the pandemic.

Next week officials will clear out the encampment at 12th Avenue and Acoma Street and an encampment at 13th Avenue and Washington Street.

Interstate 70 remains closed in both directions through Glenwood Canyon this morning due to the Grizzly Creek wildfire burning in the area. The fire grew to 3,200 acres as of last night.  Travelers should check with CDOT for alternative routes.

Meanwhile, the Pine Gulch fire further west near Grand Junction continued to expand Tuesday and has burned more than 42,000 acres, with low humidity and gusty winds expected to fuel the fire today.