Headlines June 14, 2021

Headlines June 14, 2021

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Boulder County Celebrates Pride

Yesterday, Boulder County residents celebrated Pride month in cars covered with streamers, banners, balloons and inflatable unicorns moving along streets in Longmont, Boulder and Lafayette.

Sunday’s motorcades gave the LGBTQ community and its supporters a chance to be seen and to feel support from their communities. The Daily Camera reports that the various festivities were organized on the same day in lieu of the typical parades held during Pride month and in culmination of a week of activities planned by Out Boulder County.

Neguse Calls for Justice Department to Support Ban on Private Prisons

U.S. Congressmember, Joe Neguse, Democrat from Lafayette, has joined other representatives in urging Attorney General Merrick Garland to consider dropping a legal challenge to a proposed ban on privately operated prisons and detention centers.

The Justice Department recently filed a brief in the federal appeals court opposed to California’s statute prohibiting private prisons and immigration facilities. The government’s position is aligned with that of private prison operator Geo Group.

Neguse and over 20 other lawmakers have sent a letter to the Attorney General noting that the Department of Justice’s position is contrary to President Joe Biden’s goal to ensure the federal government does not use private facilities for incarceration.

In a statement Neguse said that there was an expansion of the use of private prisons for immigration detention under the Trump administration with less transparency and accountability; but now, Neguse said that with President Biden, it’s time to turn the page and support the ban on private prisons.

In a separate matter, Neguse is introducing a bill that would ban the use of the sedative ketamine during arrests and detentions.

Colorado Public Radio reports that use of the drug in non-hospital settings has been under intense scrutiny after the death of Elijah McClain, who was injected with the drug by paramedics after police in Aurora detained him.

Neguse’s bill builds on legislation that Colorado’s state legislature passed this year that limits the use of ketamine by first responders.

Longmont Trying to Combat Drag Racing

The City of Longmont is trying to combat drag racing at high speeds on popular streets in response to recent complaints.

The police department told residents on Facebook, that it recognizes the ongoing issue and urges them to report any street racing they see.

The Denver Post reports that Longmont’s Public Safety Department is just one of many other agencies, including Boulder County that has joined a task force against illegal street racing in Colorado.

According to a deputy chief of Longmont Public Safety, some cities are getting stricter with how they enforce street racing, and some are looking at enacting vehicle seizure laws.

Arvada to Decide Whether to Allow Amazon Distribution Center to Be Built 

Tonight, the Arvada City Council will decide whether to allow Amazon to build a distribution center of over 100,000 square feet next to homes and popular walking and biking paths.

The Denver Post reports that opponents say Amazon’s project will “destroy approximately 450 mature trees” and create 23 acres of new parking lots. They say it will increase the amount of impervious surface with potential water runoff that could worsen flooding along Ralston Creek.

Opponents also say that the traffic Amazon’s facility will produce exceeds zoning limits. An Amazon spokesperson responded that the amount of trucks entering and leaving are within those allowed for light industrial facilities.

The Arvada planning commission has recommended the project go forward; but public comment has been overwhelmingly against it.

Jurors in STEM School Highlands Ranch Murder Case to Hear Closing Arguments

The jury in the STEM School shooting case in Highlands Ranch is scheduled to hear closing arguments today and then begin deliberations. Twenty-year-old Devon Erickson faces first-degree murder charges from the events in May 2019 that resulted in the death of Kendrick Castillo and 8 others being injured at the high school. Another defendant who was a juvenile at the time of the attack pleaded guilty.

Defense attorneys rested their case Friday without testimony from Erickson. A toxicologist testified that Erickson had become such a chronic drug user in the months before the shooting and that he likely “couldn’t think, concentrate or understand” events around him that day.

Straight Creek Fire Fully Contained while Platte River Fire Continues

The Straight Creek wildfire that burned 8 acres two miles east of Dillon, was reported as 100% contained yesterday. Two Hot Shot crews completed reinforcing containment lines and mopping up Sunday afternoon. Local crews will continue to monitor the fire burn area.  The fire was first reported on Thursday night.

And firefighters have contained 50% of the Platte River Fire in Jefferson County which is burning about 10 miles southeast of Deckers. Fire officials at the U.S. Forest Service say they don’t expect to have full suppression for several weeks because of the extremely rugged terrain.

Excessive Heat Warning for Western Colorado 

The National Weather Service in Grand Junction has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for parts of the Western Slope starting at noon today and lasting until midnight on Friday.

The forecast for extreme western Colorado calls for high temperatures to reach between 100 and 110 degrees for several days and overnight lows will be in the 70s and lower 80s. Grand Junction may reach an all-time record high of 106 degrees which was recorded in 2005.

Ozone Alert for the Front Range

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and the Regional Air Quality Council have issued an OZONE ACTION DAY ALERT  for the Front Range Urban Corridor from Douglas County north to Larimer and Weld counties, including the Denver-Boulder area, Fort Collins and Greeley. The alert continues until at least 4 p.m. this afternoon.