Headlines May 31, 2021

Headlines May 31, 2021

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Death Rates from All Causes Rose During 2020 in Colorado

The rate of death among Coloradans from all causes jumped last year by nearly 25 percent in comparison to what would be considered a normal year. An analysis by the Denver Post shows that in 2020 almost 9,000 more residents died in the state than compared to the previous 5 years.

The analysis of death certificates shows that coronavirus contributed to more than half of Colorado’s excess mortality last year.  COVID-19 became the third leading cause of death in the state, behind cancer and heart disease. Other causes of death, including chronic liver disease, Alzheimer’s and drug overdoses, also rose.

The rate of deaths for people of color rose much more in the state than among whites.

For the Latinx population and Asian American and Pacific Islanders, death rates last year from all causes rose by close to 35 percent and over 30 percent for Black Coloradans and just under 20 percent for Native Americans.

In comparison, the overall mortality for the white, non-Hispanic group rose less than 8%, with a decline in deaths from cancer, heart disease, strokes and suicides offsetting some of the impact of COVID-19.

Fatal drug overdoses in Colorado surged in 2020. Jeff Holliday, of the Denver health department said the uncertainty and isolation brought on by the pandemic is likely a contributing factor to the rise in overdoses.

Two Denver Sheriff Deputies Die from COVID-19

The Denver Sheriff Department announced that two deputies who contracted the virus have died in less than two weeks. One had worked for the sheriff for 25 years and the other for 7. The Colorado Sun reports that like other workplaces, the sheriff’s department does not require its employees to be vaccinated; although, it has tried to educate employees about vaccinations.

As of yesterday, just over 470 people are hospitalized in the state with COVID-19 and Colorado’s 7-day positivity rate decreased to 2.85 percent.

Denver School Board Member to Step Down during Investigation

Denver School Board member and activist, Tay Anderson will step away from his duties while an independent investigation is conducted into allegations he committed sexual misconduct, according to an announcement from the board. Anderson was already under investigation by the school district for a single sexual assault allegation since early April.

The Denver Post reports that last week a parent of a D.P.S. student told a legislative committee that more than 60 people had come to her for help regarding a single individual, but she did not name that person. She described their experiences ranged from unwanted touching to “violent acts of rape.” She said sixty-one of them lacked documentation or were recipients of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, and the youngest was 14.

Denver Public Schools said that its board and the Denver Police Department are aware of new sexual assault allegations against Anderson after the woman testified about a sexual predator within the school system who has targeted students. In a statement Friday night, the Board said that it was later informed that the accusations were against Anderson, and that the police are aware of them.

Yesterday Anderson described on Twitter that the allegations are false and have caused a great deal of trauma to the entire district and have put his family and him in harm’s way.

Presumed In-Coming Denver Public School Superintendent Sued by Former Medical Director in New York

The man who is expected to be confirmed as the new superintendent of Denver Public Schools has been sued for conduct at his prior job in New York State. Alex Marrero was the interim superintendent at the New Rochelle school system for less than a year.

Dr. Brooke Balchan, the former medical director of that district has filed a case against him and other members of that district saying that she was sidelined, silenced and retaliated against in connection with the district’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The president and vice president of the Denver board said in a statement that they have full confidence in Dr. Marrero, and they stand behind their choice of him for superintendent.

Marrero’s appointment is set to be approved by the Denver Board of Education on Thursday.

Governor Signs Affordable Housing Bill into Law

Gov. Jared Polis on Friday signed a law that allows cities and counties to required affordable housing in new rental developments. The Colorado Sun reports the law effectively reverses a 20-year-old court precedent that has blocked jurisdictions from forcing developers to build affordable housing.

The law comes as communities, from Front Range cities to mountain towns, are facing an unprecedented housing crisis with largely low- and moderate-income workers being priced out of housing.

At the bill’s signing ceremony, the governor said that communities are strongest when people who work in them can live in them which is sadly something that the state has been losing.

Activist Sues Aurora over Provision Barring Felons from Office

An activist who wants to run for a seat on the Aurora city council has sued that city because a charter provision precludes her from seeking office due to a decades-old felony conviction.

Candice Bailey, represented by the ACLU, claims that barring felons from running for office violates the state constitution, and that people who complete their criminal sentences regain their full rights, including the ability to run for public office. The Aurora Sentinel reports that Bailey declared her intent to run for an at-large council seat in February.  She was convicted in 1999 of second-degree-assault and sentenced to two years in prison.

In a statement Bailey said that mistakes of your life shouldn’t stop you from living life to the fullest or being of service, adding that it’s not just about her, but about making sure that all future candidates with felony convictions won’t face the same barrier she has, and ultimately, for voters to decide who they want to represent their communities.