Headlines October 21, 2020
Boulder County Fires Update
Containment of the Cal-Wood Fire in Boulder Country grew Tuesday to 21% while containment of the Lefthand Canyon fire remains at 4%.
Tuesday night in a virtual community update the County Sheriff’s office said that they had made progress on the fires.
Sheriff Joe Pelle said no additional structures have been destroyed or damaged beyond the 25 announced Sunday night.
The Cal-Wood fire was active through the morning Tuesday, fanned by stronger morning winds, which kept aircraft grounded through the morning, but as the winds died down, aircraft were able to assist ground crews in the afternoon.
Combined, both fires are burning more than 10,000 acres in Boulder County.
Officials said at the virtual community meeting that the weather is forecast to get worse before it gets better. Derek Williams, the Incident Meteorologist, said today will bring critical weather conditions from noon until 8 a.m. tomorrow. He said a strong cold front will then move over the fire area dropping temperatures and rising relative humidity.
Many residents asked about the status of evacuations in Lyons and Jamestown. Sheriff Pelle said that, if officials decide to evacuate Lyons, residents would be notified via cell phone, a reverse 911 and from deputies canvassing the town.
According to Pelle, the status of Jamestown, which is under an evacuation warning, was made based on the topography of the town and the ability to evacuate through two paths.
All National Forest lands in the Front Range from Jefferson County to the Wyoming border were closed to visitors last night at midnight due to the fires. According to the US Forest Service, the closure will be re-evaluated daily.
A representative of the Forest Service said that people, who live in a national forest and are not under an evacuation order, will not be evicted and access to their property will be managed.
State Officials Say Virus Cases Continuing to Spike
Cases of COVID-19 cases continuing to rise in the state and Colorado Governor Jared Polis is continuing to sound the alarm.
At a news conference yesterday, Polis warned that the number of people currently hospitalized is equivalent to nearly a quarter of the state’s intensive care bed capacity. According to Polis, currently, hospitalizations have reached 417, their highest since May 23. The Colorado Sun reports state health officials say not all of those patients are in intensive-care beds. But statistics show the potential burden on the healthcare system should those people become more ill and should more people require hospitalization because of the disease.
The governor said the trend is worrisome because Colorado’s health care system could eventually be overwhelmed if it continues. Polis added the state cannot go on as it has and the status quo is not acceptable. He says residents need to do a better job of wearing masks around others, staying apart from others, and reducing social interactions.
Colorado’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases — at just under 1,000 — has eclipsed anything the state has seen since the start of the pandemic.
The state’s test positivity rate is above 5%, indicating the virus is spreading at an alarming rate, and it’s not just that more cases are being identified.
In Boulder County, a new coronavirus-related death was recorded yesterday, while current hospitalizations reached their highest number since May 1.
Boulder City Council Passes Budget, Renames Municipal Building
The Boulder City Council passed a $341 million dollar budget for 2021 last night, a nearly $28 million dollar reduction from this year’s spending and caused by the economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Also, the city moved forward with renaming its municipal building to honor the city’s only Black mayor to date, Penfield Tate the 2nd. Tate was the first Black person elected to Boulder City Council in 1971, serving from 1972 to 1976 and elected mayor in 1974.
The city is hoping for some private donations to help fund 30-thousand dollars in signage for the building, and hopes to host an in-person ceremony in the spring or summer, depending on COVID-19 restrictions.
Tate, who died in 1993, helped pass the city’s human rights ordinance, which protects residents against illegal discrimination within the Boulder city limits.
Boulder Valley School Board Supports Ending SRO Program
Members of the Boulder Valley School Board showed their support for ending the District’s school resource officer program.
Boulder Valley’s new Equity Council and the District Accountability Committee are recommending an end to the program, which uses police officers in schools.
The Daily Camera reports that Boulder Valley agreed to have a community conversation about school resource officers after the NAACP’s Boulder County chapter asked the district to remove police officers from schools.
The NAACP cited data that students of color in Boulder Valley are disciplined — sent out of the classroom, suspended or referred to police — at higher rates than their white classmates.
Instead of the 10 current police officers in the schools, the District Accountability Committee is asking for culturally competent, trauma-informed health professionals to work with students before they end up in crisis and in trouble.
At an upcoming meeting, the Board plans to vote on a resolution to remove police officers from schools by a specific date likely in August next year.