Headlines February 19, 2021
COVID-19 Cases and Hospitalizations Trend Down, Vaccines Up
Colorado health officials said yesterday more than one million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered to Coloradans. That means officials are nearing their goal of inoculating 70% of all people 70 and older. They also said cases and hospitalizations are trending down, but Colorado has had difficulty receiving the vaccine in the past week because of snowstorms across the U.S.
Unemployment Checks Going Out to More Coloradans
There’s some hopeful news for the hundreds of thousands of Coloradans still waiting to receive Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, or PUA, payments. Administrators with the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says Phase Two of the PUA rollout plan will start Saturday. That means claimants who had exhausted their previous benefits will now receive more unemployment money from the federal Continued Assistance Act signed in December.
Major Wind Turbine Company Lays Off Colorado Workers
A wind turbine company based in Denmark has laid-off 450 workers from Colorado’s manufacturing plants. The wind turbine company Vestas Wind Systems A/S, announced Wednesday that they laid off 120 workers at the tower manufacturing plant in Pueblo. The Pueblo Chieftain reports that Vestas also laid off 50 workers at its Windsor blade factory and closed its Brighton blade factory where 280 people worked. At its peak, Vestas employed more than 800 workers at its Pueblo tower plant.
The company said that the workforce reduction was due to market demand. Also, in employment news, an additional 12,000 Coloradoans filed for traditional unemployment benefits last week. The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment said that marked a drop of about 1,900 from the week prior.
Another Democrat Joins 2020 Race Against Colorado Congresswoman Boebert
Another Colorado representative has jumped into the race to challenge District 3 Congresswoman Lauren Boebert in 2022. State Rep. Donald Valdez, a Democrat representing parts of southern and southwestern Colorado, announced Thursday morning that he is vying to unseat Boebert. The announcement came in a video posted to his Twitter page in which he said Boebert “egged on” the participants in the Dec. 6 insurrection at the U.S. capitol. State Sen. Kerry Donovan, also a Democrat has already announced her intention to run for the seat, and several other Democrats are exploring a candidacy.
CU American Indian Students Could Benefit from Legislation
University of Colorado representatives testified before a legislative education committee Thursday in support of a bill moving through the Colorado General Assembly that would grant in-state tuition to members of American Indian nations with historical ties to Colorado. The bill requires the state’s public colleges and universities to provide in-state tuition classification to American Indian students from communities with cultural, geographic, and other historical ties to Colorado. Members of dozens of Indigenous groups stand to benefit if the bill passes into law. Currently in Colorado, nonresident American Indian college students, including those from Indigenous communities with Colorado roots, are required to pay out-of-state tuition rates.
Distance Ceremonies Planned for BVSD Spring Graduation
The Boulder Valley School District announced Thursday that spring graduation will be socially distanced, in-person ceremonies the third weekend in May for the class of 2021, similar to the ceremonies held for last year’s graduating seniors. The district said graduates will be limited to two guests each, with families sitting together in groups of three. Some of the schools will need to have two ceremonies to keep the audience a reasonable size – but all ceremonies will be streamed live.
Mars Rover Honors Colorado School Shooting Victim
When the Perseverance Rover touched down on Mars Thursday, it carried the spirit of a Colorado hero. Perseverance is carrying the name of Kendrick Castillo, who was killed while trying to stop a shooter at STEM School Highlands Ranch in May 2019. His parents say their son was obsessed with science and robotics and it was a fitting tribute. The rover embarked on a 2-year search for life in a crater on Mars after a 239-million mile journey that took seven months.