Headlines May 3, 2021

Headlines May 3, 2021

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Governor Polis Says Masks No Longer Required Inside with Proof of Vaccination

People gathering inside in groups of 10 or more are no longer required to wear masks, if at least 80 percent of the group is vaccinated against COVID-19. Colorado Governor Jared Polis made the announcement yesterday as he continued to loosen the state’s restrictions.

The governor’s order says that people must show “proof of vaccination” to take off masks in those situations, but it did not explain what proof would be considered acceptable or how it will be verified.

A release from the governor’s office yesterday says people across the state are still required to wear masks in schools, child care centers, indoor children’s camps, prisons, jails and health care settings, and public-serving state government facilities.

Almost two million people in Colorado are fully vaccinated, according to data maintained by the state, and 2.6 million people have received at least one dose.

The state department of health reports that as of yesterday, 625 people were hospitalized with COVID-19 and the seven day moving average of positivity was just over 6 percent.

Demonstration In Support of Karen Garner after Police Officers Resign

People in Loveland gathered on Saturday to demand justice for Karen Garner who was arrested and held by police. Garner is 73 years old and has dementia.

She was confronted by police two blocks from her apartment after employees at a Walmart called police accusing her of attempted shoplifting. An officer took her to the ground and lawyers for Garner say her shoulder was dislocated. A video inside the police station shows officers laughing about the incident while Garner was in a cell 10 feet away.

The Denver Post reports that on Saturday Demonstrators gathered at the corner of Monroe Avenue and 10th Street to share their experience with the Loveland Police Department and, above all else, show their support for Garner and her family. Many of those at the rally wore purple to recognize elder abuse awareness and flowers were handed out to be placed in front of the police building.

Five members of the Loveland Police Department were named in a civil rights lawsuit filed as a result of Garner’s arrest and jailing, and on Friday Police Chief Bob Ticer announced that three have resigned and are no longer with the department.

Garner’s arrest occurred last June, and has gained international attention after a video of the incident surfaced.

E.P.A. Finds Soils Contaminated Soils from Gas Spill

Officials with the Environmental Protection Agency said over the weekend that they discovered contaminated soil that is inaccessible near the site of a recent gasoline tanker spill outside Lyons.

A tanker carrying 8,500 gallons of gasoline crashed Tuesday spilling roughly up to 1,600 gallons of gasoline, according to the EPA, and some of the fuel leaked into the North St. Vrain River, killing a number of fish.

Officials working at the cleanup site on Friday discovered free-flowing pockets of gasoline in the soil near the crash site and crews worked through Friday night to mitigate the situation.

The Daily Camera reports that the public information officer for Region 8 of the EPA said that some of the contamination can’t be reached without damaging of removing part of U.S. Highway 36.

The EPA is determining the next steps to take – whether to contain or remove the soil; although a tweet by the agency said that removal of the soil had been completed.  That message was sent before the difficult-to-reach soils were discovered.

On Saturday, Colorado Parks and Wildlife was on scene assessing the impacts to the fish and algae in the North St. Vrain River.  Dead fish were found as far as four miles from the spill site.

Newsmax Apologizes for Airing False Allegations against Dominion Voting Systems Employee

A conservative news network has apologized for airing false allegations that an employee of Dominion Voting Systems manipulated machines or vote tallies on election day last year to the detriment of former President Donald Trump.

The Associated Press reports that Newsmax was sued for airing false information made by Trump and his supporters against Eric Coomer of the Colorado-based Dominion. Coomer, the security director of the firm, dropped Newsmax from the defamation suit after the apology and admission that there was no evidence the allegations against him were true.

Wyoming Warns Other States It Will Sue Over Coal 

The state of Wyoming is warning other states including Colorado that it will take action to protect its dwindling coal industry. A recently passed law in Wyoming puts other states on notice that, if they still get electricity from that state’s coal-fired plants while also being supplied from renewable energy like wind or solar, they may be sued.

It is not clear exactly on what basis Wyoming could bring any legal action.

The Associated Press reports that prospects for Wyoming’s coal industry are as dim as ever, even after then-President Donald Trump rolled back regulations on mining and burning the fossil fuel. Wyoming coal production, which accounts for about 40% of the nation’s total, has been in decline as utilities switch to cheaper gas. Solar and wind power also are on the rise as coal’s share of the U.S. power market shrinks from about half in the early 2000s to less than 20% now.

A spokesperson for the Sierra Club’s Wyoming chapter said the state should put its tight budget to more productive use than coal lawsuits.

Human Remains Found in Two Bears 

Human remains have been discovered in the digestive systems of two bears suspected of committing a rare fatal attack on a 39-year-old woman on Friday near Durango. Colorado Parks and Wildlife say the remains were in a female bear and one of two yearlings that were found with her.

The woman’s name hasn’t been released. The Colorado Sun reports that she told her boyfriend she was taking her dogs for a walk on Friday morning. When she wasn’t home when he returned that evening, he searched for her and found her body. The bears were found by authorities nearby and euthanized.