Headlines December 24, 2020

Headlines December 24, 2020

Listen here:

(Download Audio)

COVID-19 Deaths Declining in the State

COVID-19 deaths in Colorado are dropping, according to data released Wednesday.   State epidemiologist Rachel Herlihy told reporters that deaths from COVID-19 peaked last week and have been declining since then.  Overall cases and hospitalizations are also dropping.

State officials continue to urge Coloradoans to celebrate the holidays at home only with people they live with and to avoid crowded stores and public places.  There were three new coronavirus deaths and 104 news cases reported in Boulder County Wednesday.  Two of the new cases were elderly people who lived in long term care facilities.

Bike Thefts Increase in Boulder County in 2020

Both Boulder and Longmont reported stolen bicycles increased in the past year. In Boulder, more than 1,000 bicycles were stolen with a value of about $1.9 million. Boulder’s annual average of bike thefts in past years was 700 bikes. Longmont showed an increase of almost 10% with 211 reported stolen.

Boulder and Longmont Police Departments have teamed up with Bike Index, a nonprofit that helps people register their bicycles. The free service helps law enforcement contact people when bikes are found.

Bryan Hance, co-founder of Bike Index, said it helps having a central place for both bike shops and cyclists to register and search for their stolen bikes.

The Boulder Police Department will soon introduce an interactive dashboard with stolen bicycle statistics, maps of hot spots, and other data.

According to the University of Colorado Boulder, bike theft is the No. 1 crime on campus.

Using a U-lock, pairing it with a sturdy steel chain, and looping the chain through the wheels is suggested to protect against bicycle theft.

PUC Gives Xcel Green Light for Electric Transportation

The Colorado Public Utilities Commission on Wednesday gave Xcel Energy the go-ahead to invest in electric transportation.

The commission voted to support Xcel Energy’s plan to spend $102 million over three years to build charging stations, incentivize homeowners to install charging equipment and provide support for converting school buses, government and business fleets to electric. The Denver Post reports that the three members of the PUC split on the utility’s proposal to offer rebates to people who buy electric vehicles. The proposal to the utility’s plan would offer rebates to get more electric vehicles on the road.

The PUC will issue a written decision later. Xcel Energy submitted its electric transportation plan after a 2019 law opened the way for regulated utilities to invest in equipment and programs to boost the use of electric vehicles.

The 2019 law would also allow Xcel Energy and other investor-owned utilities to recover the costs of building the charging stations and other expenditures from its customers. The PUC voted to allow Xcel Energy to add a charge to customers’ monthly bills. If approved, the average residential customer would pay 67 cents more per month.

Nature Programs in Lafayette Get Million Dollar Boost

Nature programs in Lafayette got a million-dollar boost this week.  Great Outdoors Colorado announced a $1 million dollar grant to fund environmental education and outdoor recreation opportunities for underrepresented Lafayette youth and their families.  Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) is funded by state lottery proceeds.  Local nonprofit Thorne Nature Experience will lead the programming.