Headlines January 11, 2021
Protest in Denver Urges Removal of Trump
In Denver, yesterday protesters took to the streets in their cars demanding that President Donald Trump be removed from office.
The protest was organized by Denver School Board member Tay Anderson in response to the riots after a Trump rally in the US Capitol on Wednesday that killed five people.
The protesters drove through the city to the state Capitol honking horns and waving signs.
Denver in Middle of COVID-19 Spike
The city of Denver is experiencing an uptick in COVID-19 cases which is likely related to the holidays.
Denverite reports that infection rates were on the steady decline in the city after reaching record highs last fall.
But last Tuesday, over 1,000 new cases were recorded in Denver, while the previous day saw less than 200. That was the same day Governor Jared Polis eased restrictions on restaurants allowing them to reopen on a limited basis.
During a press conference on Friday, Governor Polis said many people weren’t tested over the holidays, so the new record set last Tuesday was probably an over-correction once people finished their end-of-year celebrations.
However, Denver’s positivity rate – the ratio of tests taken compared to tests that came back positive – grew in the last week, which means the spike is about more than people rushing to get tested.
Boulder County Has New COVID Cases but no New Deaths
Boulder County on Sunday reported 95 new coronavirus cases, but no new deaths.
However, On Friday the county reported an additional 14 COVID-19 deaths, according to Boulder County Public Health spokesperson Chana Goussetis. In a notice, she said that 9 of those deaths involved residents of long-term care facilities, that happened over the holidays. She added that the deaths were in the age ranges of their 50s to their 90s.
BOCO Extends Deadline for Denver water Response over Gross Reservoir
Boulder County has extended the deadline for Denver Water to respond to questions and issues from agencies and individuals about the expansion of Gross Reservoir Dam. Now Denver Water has until February 19, after it wrote to Boulder County Planning saying that it had to catalog and organize the comments, and had just completed an initial review.
The Daily Camera reports that the Gross Reservoir Expansion Project would, among other things, increase the reservoir’s current capacity and if approved would be the biggest construction project in Boulder County history.
The project has been contested by residents and environmental advocacy groups.
Attorney General Weiser Opens McClain Grand Jury
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser has opened a grand jury investigation into the death of Elijah McClain.
Weiser’s office announced the investigation on Friday, about six months after he was appointed by Gov. Jared Polis as a special prosecutor to review McClain’s death.
In a statement, Weiser said that the grand jury is an investigative tool that has the power to compel testimony from witnesses and require production of documents and other relevant information that would otherwise be unavailable.
The Colorado Sun reports that McClain, 23, died after he was stopped by Aurora police officers responding to a report of a suspicious person in 2019. An altercation ensued, and a responding paramedic then gave McClain an injection of ketamine, a powerful tranquilizing drug, after which McClain stopped breathing and no longer had a pulse.
Dave Young, the District Attorney for Adams and Broomfield counties had reviewed McClain’s death and had determined not to file charges against police officers and paramedics involved in the encounter with McClain.
Governor Polis appointed Weiser to review the case following the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota, which put a national spotlight on McClain’s death.
Overhaul of State’s Unemployment System Completed
An overhaul of the state’s unemployment system was completed yesterday, but the new system is still not ready to handle the new extended federal jobless payments for gig workers and those who’ve exhausted state benefits.
The Colorado Sun reports that getting the system ready for the new federal benefits will take more time, and state officials said the latest date for that could be sometime in early February.
Nearly 30,000 out-of-work Coloradans requested an unemployment payment on the state’s upgraded computer system by Sunday evening. The new system was available only to people on regular unemployment, or those whose employers paid into the state’s unemployment insurance fund.
The new computer system has been years in the making. The state was in the middle of a planned technology upgrade scheduled for April when the pandemic hit putting the overhaul on hold.
State Democrats Plan Gun-Control Measures
Democratic state lawmakers in Colorado are planning to introduce at least three pieces of gun-control legislation this year, including a measure that would require a waiting period of potentially five days — between when someone purchases a firearm and when they can access that weapon.
The Colorado Sun reports that the other two bills would require gun owners to safely store their weapons and to report to authorities if one of their firearms is lost or stolen.
Other gun-control policies put forth by Colorado Democrats in the past decade have been focused on mass shootings. The bills this year mainly are aimed at reducing accidental shootings and suicides, according to the sponsors of the measure.