Headlines January 19, 2021

Headlines January 19, 2021

Listen here:

(Download Audio)

More Colorado Seniors to get Coronavirus Vaccine

Another change in vaccination plans means 40,000 older Coloradans will get their first shots earlier than expected. Governor Jared Polis on Monday directed hospitals to stop holding back doses for people who need second shots of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. Both vaccines require two shots spaced a few weeks apart. Instead of stockpiling some doses for second shots, the state now wants to use most of the current supply to get older people their first shots.

Colorado is expecting to receive about 80,000 new doses this week. Some of those will then be used as second shots for people who have already received their first dose. Polis told the Denver Post that the state is trying to vaccinate people 70 years old and up as quickly as possible. The goal is to have 70% of all state residents who are 70 and older vaccinated by the end of February.

Agreement Reached to Rename Lafayette Apartment Complex

Lafayette’s City Council and the development group behind the new Miller apartment complex in Lafayette have agreed to rename it.

Some feel that the deal to rename the complex in the Lafayette City Center was triggered by a petition locals started last August saying that the name promotes the racist history associated with some of the Miller family members. The Daily Camera reports that the complex was to be named after Mary Miller, who founded the city of Lafayette in 1888 and naming it after her late husband. She became wealthy from royalties paid by mining companies on coal-rich land she owned.

Mary Miller had two grandsons, Frank and Fay Miller that, according to historical records, were members of the Ku Klux Klan.

According to documents for today’s Lafayette City Council meeting, the council and a subsidiary of Boulder-based Rubicon Development LLC agreed to a deferment in paying building fees and associated interest. The document suggests that one of the reasons for the agreement was based on the economic toll from the corona-virus pandemic. The council’s documents don’t mention the petition.

No historical evidence has shown that Mary Miller herself was involved in the Klan. The petition, as of Monday has 742 signatures.

Weld County DA Won’t Prosecute Cases Involving Officer who Killed Unarmed Man

The Weld County District Attorney says he will not prosecute any cases involving a Fort Lupton police officer who the DA calls an unreliable witness and “a danger to the community.” In 2019, Officer Zachary Helbig shot and killed an unarmed man. He was indicted by a grand jury but acquitted of charges. But Weld County DA Michael Rourke says he will not file charges or will dismiss any case involving Helbig as a witness. The officer remains employed by the Fort Lupton police department but is on paid leave.

Colorado Sues to Overturn BLM Plan That Allows Drilling

Colorado is suing to overturn a federal Bureau of Land Management plan that would open more public lands in southwestern Colorado to oil & gas drilling. The BLM plan was approved last April and is supposed to guide the use of lands in six counties for the next 20 years.

In the lawsuit filed in federal district court, the state says the plan is invalid because the person appointed by President Trump as acting BLM director did not have the authority to take such actions.

William Perry Pendley never went through the Senate approval process that is required for a BLM director and other top-level federal officials. Because he was never approved, the state of Colorado argues that his actions while at the BLM are invalid. A similar lawsuit against Pendley’s actions in Montana was successful.