Headlines May 28, 2021
ACLU Pushes for Vaccinations for Persons in ICE Custody
The American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado has taken action to get vaccinations for those in the custody of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The ACLU sent a letter to the Secretary of Homeland Security demanding that vaccine access be made available to the 563 people in detention at the Aurora ICE Processing Center. They are making a similar demand for the more than 15,000 people in ICE custody nationwide. The ACLU said over the course of the pandemic, ICE detention facilities have been some of the worst hotspots for the spread of COVID-19, with positivity rates five times greater than prison and 20 times greater than the general U.S. population.
EPA Reverses Course and Persues Tighter Oil and Gas Regulations in Weld County
Last year, a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals decision sent northern Weld County’s status back to the EPA because the agency didn’t appear to be accounting for the ozone-creating potential of oil and gas operations across the entire county. The decision also centered on an apparent geographic mistake by the EPA which had said the Cheyenne Ridge formation on the border of Wyoming helped keep northern county pollutants out of the metro area. Environmental groups had to point out that the ridge is actually farther north.
The EPA reversal will now place northern Weld County and potentially thousands of oil and gas wells in the area inside the northern Front Range “nonattainment” zone for ozone standards. The current line for the nonattainment area stops at about Wellington, north of Fort Collins.
The EPA must designate geographic areas as meeting (attainment) or not meeting (nonattainment) the National Ambient Air Quality Standards, NAAQS.
The EPA decision also reverses the recommendation of the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission, which urged the EPA to exclude northern Weld from tougher rules in 2016. The U.S. Court of Appeals called the exclusion arbitrary.
The EPA said it is sending the reversal back to Colorado officials and giving them 120 days to add to their arguments.
Number of Americans Seeking Unemployment Drops to Pandemic Low
The number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits dropped last week to a new pandemic low. As the economy opens up, Thursday’s report from the Labor Department showed that applications declined 38,000 from 444,000 a week earlier. The number of weekly applications for jobless aid — a rough measure of the pace of layoffs — has fallen by more than half since January. While the employment rate remains above six percent, many businesses nonetheless complain that they can’t find enough applicants for open jobs.
The Front Range to Begin New Area Code
The Front Range is getting a new area code next spring. In early 2022, the prefix 983 will join 303 and the more recent 720 area codes, according to the Colorado Public Utilities Commission, which said the existing area codes are projected to run out of available phone numbers by the fourth quarter of 2022. The new 983 area code is expected to last 25 years. The original 303 number was established as Colorado’s area code in 1947. The 303/720/983 area codes will cover central Colorado, mainly Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams, Boulder and Douglas counties, along with some land just outside metro Denver.
Red Rocks “Settler’s Park” in West Boulder To Become “The Peoples’ Crossing”
Long known as “Settler’s Park,” the area below the Red Rocks formation in west Boulder is soon to be known as “The Peoples’ Crossing.” The City of Boulder announced the new name yesterday – developed by representatives from federally recognized American Indian Tribes. The name honors the area as a crossroads for Indigenous Peoples who first traversed and lived in the mountains and plains of the Boulder area. “The People” or “Our People” are English translations for how many American Indian Tribal Nations refer to themselves in their native languages. In the announcement, the city said the Tribal Representatives’ recommendation to rename “Settler’s” advances city racial equity plan goals and helps the city fulfill its Indigenous Peoples Day Resolution to “correct omissions of the Native American presence in public places, resources and cultural programming.”
CU Boulder Announces $25 Million in Diversity Initiatives
The University of Colorado Boulder announced Thursday it will invest $25 million over the next five years into diversity initiatives. That will include programs to recruit, retain and support students, faculty and staff from underrepresented communities. A CU press release said the Chancellor and other campus leaders will work with students, faculty and staff to define exactly what those programs will look like.
Boulder Offering Free, Walk-up Vaccines Tomorrow through Thursday
In partnership with Governor Jared Polis’ “Vaccine for All” plan, Boulder is offering free, walk-up vaccine clinics in downtown Boulder tomorrow through Thursday, June 3 from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at 1300 Canyon Blvd. The clinics are free and no insurance or ID is required. While anyone is welcome, city staff and nonprofit partners are working to make the clinic accessible and welcoming for unsheltered homeless community members and for downtown area workers. The vaccine provided will be the one-time Johnson & Johnson.
Free Park to Park Chautauqua Shuttle Service Resumes
Beginning this Saturday, the City of Boulder will again run the free Park to Park shuttle service to Chautauqua Park from two satellite free parking lots as well as downtown Boulder. The shuttle helps reduce vehicular and parking impacts on neighbors to Chautauqua and the area’s natural and cultural resources. Free Park to Park shuttle service will be offered from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please remember to bring your face covering – which will be required.
22nd Veterans Memorial Day Tribute Tomorrow
The public is invited to virtually attend the 22nd Veterans Memorial Day Tribute tomorrow at 10 a.m. Military groups, veterans, Gold Star families and community members from across Colorado will honor the service and sacrifice of fallen military personnel from wars past and present over Memorial Day weekend. The event, coordinated by the Veterans Memorial Day Tribute is designed to give family members, veterans and the community a way to remember, reflect and honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. It can be watched on YouTube.
Quinnipiac University Polls the Public on UFOs and Interest in Space Travel
This Friday before Memorial Day, Quinnipiac University typically conducts polls on political issues – but with all the news about UFOs making headlines in recent days, they decided this week to poll folks about UFOs and their interest in space travel. Next month, intelligence agencies are expected to deliver a report to Congress about unidentified aerial phenomena – or UFOs. Asked what they think about unexplained sightings by military aircraft – 42 percent of Americans say they think they’re man-made aircraft; 35 percent believe they’re aircraft from another world, and 22 percent did not offer an opinion. Tim Malloy with Quinnipiac University says keeping track of trends is a full-time job. Malloy says a majority of those polled said if the Moon and Mars were colonized in their lifetime – they would NOT want to travel there.