Headlines May 20, 2021
Denver To Resume In-person Office Hours
As cases of COVID-19 continue a downward trajectory, the City and County of Denver expects employees to begin returning to the office on June 1. Most employees have been working remotely for more than a year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The city of Denver said the return to in-person work would happen in phases. Masks and social distancing will not be required in city offices as the requirements were lifted in Denver on Sunday; however, officials said the precautions are still “strongly encouraged” for people who are not vaccinated. In Boulder, City Council has announced it will return to council chambers for in-person proceedings starting July 13 – but hasn’t announced when city employees are expected back.
Unemployed Offered Financial Incentives to Get a Job
To help Colorado recover from the pandemic, Governor Jared Polis is offering a financial incentive to those who are still unemployed and get a job. The executive order issued by Gov. Polis on Wednesday is called Colorado Jumpstart. The Denver Post reports that to qualify, a person will have had be verified through the website ID.me and have received at least one week of unemployment benefits of at least $25 between March 28, of this year and May 16. Those who return to work between May 16th and May 29 will be eligible for up $1,600 for no longer being unemployed. For people who return to work May 30 through June 26, will be eligible for up to $1,200. But they’ll have to stay employed to get the full benefit.
Loveland Officer Faces Excessive Force Charges
A Loveland police officer is facing criminal charges of excessive force after pushing a 73-year-old woman with dementia to the ground and pinning her against the hood of his patrol. Prosecutors said Wednesday his partner on the scene is also accused of failing to stop or report the actions. Austin Hopp is facing charges of second-degree assault, attempting to influence a public servant and official misconduct in last year’s arrest of Karen Garner in Loveland. Officer Daria Jalali, who arrived after Garner was handcuffed, is facing charges of failing to report use of force, failing to intervene and official misconduct. Both officers have since resigned.
FBI Investigates Colorado Hate Crime
The FBI says it’s investigating the death of an Asian American teenage female in Colorado more than three years ago as a possible hate crime. Maggie Long was killed at her family’s home in Bailey. Authorities released composite sketches of at least three men they believed were involved in her death, but no arrests have been made. The FBI did not provide any information about why agents are looking at the possibility of a hate crime and did not immediately respond to telephone and email messages from The Associated Press on earlier this week.
Climate Bill Stalls at Colorado Capitol
Colorado legislators are still negotiating a bill about climate change with no timeline for its advancement. Colorado Politics reports that Senate Bill 200 is designed primarily to make the state’s air quality Control Commission meet goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that have already been enacted. But some Democratic lawmakers and climate activists worry that a “road map” to meeting the 2050 goal released by Gov. Jared Polis earlier this year could fall short without clear, enforceable standards. Last month Polis told the Gazette that, if Colorado is going to meet carbon and air quality goals, it should be done through legislative debate and not through an unelected board. Senate Majority Leader Steve Fenberg, Democrat of Boulder, said there is no timeline for advancing the bill. He added that he personally supports the legislation and is working with all sides right now, to see what the path forward is.
Boulder’s Marpa House Slated for Renovation
Despite opposition from three of the nine members, Boulder City Council on Tuesday approved the renovation of a University Hill property known as the Marpa House. When the building is redeveloped, it’s set to become 16 apartments with three bedrooms apiece housing a total of 48 residents. There will be stringent conditions imposed once renovation of the Marpa House is complete, including longer quiet hours, parking restrictions and a complaint review process that will continue for the first 10 years. The building, at 891 12th Street, was originally built in 1923 as a fraternity house and was later occupied by Buddhists with the Shambhala community.