Headlines May 27, 2021
BOCO Health Latest on COVID
In what Boulder County Public Health officials said would be the last COVID-19 virtual update for the foreseeable future, information was shared Wednesday about workplace vaccine clinics. Officials emphasized that businesses can still require mask use and continued to encourage people to get inoculated against the coronavirus. Boulder County Public Health Acting Executive Director Lexi Nolan said there’s been a decline in daily coronavirus case numbers noting the average daily numbers per 100,000 people in the past seven days has dropped to 4.1. At the same time, Boulder County has had 71% of its eligible population vaccinated with at least one dose. Public health data also showed that about 60% of the county’s population has received a full course of the vaccination.
DPS Hires New Superintendent
Colorado’s largest school district has a new superintendent. The bilingual New Yorker will assume the top position after the former DPS superintendent resigned last November. The Denver school board has chosen Alex Marrero, a school district administrator from suburban New York to lead Denver Public Schools as it recovers from the pandemic. The 38-year old Marrero served as interim superintendent of the City School District of New Rochelle for the past eight months after the previous superintendent resigned. He was previously the assistant superintendent in curriculum and instruction in New Rochelle and before that an assistant superintendent in East Ramapo, New York.
“Colorado Option” Progress Toward Governor’s Desk
Legislation to create a state-backed health insurance plan is one step closer to the Colorado Governor’s desk after the State Senate on Wednesday passed a bill that includes several amendments added to placate insurance groups, doctors, and others who have reservations about the bill. The Senate voted mostly along party lines, and the bill will now go back to the House for concurrence with amendments. The “Colorado Option” would create new health insurance plans to be offered on the individual and small-group markets. It would not directly affect employer-provided insurance.
Reproductive Care Bill Heard at State Capitol
A bill heard by the House Health and Insurance committee at the State Capitol Wednesday would provide free contraceptives and reproductive care to people living in the U.S. illegally. According to the Associated Press, the legislation would create a reproductive health care program within the state health department to provide contraceptives, management of birth control products or devices and counseling to people who do not qualify for Medicaid because of their citizenship or immigration status. Oregon and Washington already have similar programs.
Denver Public Safety Group Convenes
Denver is convening a new Public Safety Working Group to review and determine the next steps based on recommendations from its Task Force to Reimagine Policing and Public Safety. The task force provided 112 final recommendations to transform Denver’s public safety model that were endorsed by a diverse group of community members as well as more than 40 local organizations and non-profits. Denver City Council President Stacie Gilmore said the goal is to re-frame public safety from an anti-racist lens. The meetings will be open to the public. Gilmore said the working group would partner with the Office of Social Justice and Innovation to help evaluate and dismantle racism within Denver’s institutional and structural government systems, policies, and practices.
Barker Reservoir Snowmelt Headed to Boulder Creek
Warmer weather and increased snowmelt and runoff will likely mean Barker Reservoir at the top of Boulder Canyon near Nederland will start spilling as early as this Friday – increasing flows on Boulder Creek. The annual event means residents should use caution near the creek during the high flow period, which may last for several weeks. The Barker spill typically occurs between mid-May to late June, with the exact date dependent on weather, snowpack and early spring reservoir levels. Barker Reservoir has relatively limited storage space and that means when the reservoir is full, snowmelt passes over the spillway and continues downstream into Boulder Creek.
Gardening Beings, Will Bees Return
As the spring gardening season gets into full swing – groups fighting to save bees and other pollinators are asking nurseries and consumers to avoid plants grown with harmful pesticides. Some pesticides are sprayed on but others are systemic and poison the nectar. Sharon Selvaggio with the Xerces Society says gardeners may end up harming the pollinators the Xerces has published a tip sheet for consumers on what to ask, and another for nurseries on how to offer bee-safe plants. More than a quarter of all North American bumblebees are nearing extinction. And the Western Monarch butterfly population has plunged more than 99 percent since the 1980s – a situation experts blame on pesticide use, climate change and destruction of habitat.