Headlines June 7, 2021

Headlines June 7, 2021

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Boulder Pride Week Begins with Some Flags and Banners Vandalized

Today, Pride Week will be launched by Out Boulder County which is asking all community members including LGBTQ and others to hang flags from their homes, cars and businesses.

The organization said in a statement this weekend that for the first time the city of Louisville and Boulder’s 29th Street Mall have made an outward effort to celebrate the LGBTQ community, but there has been vandalism.

Out Boulder says that in Louisville the Pride Flags were removed and a confederate flag was planted. And in Boulder, a Pride banner was cut in half and another stolen.

Out Boulder is now asking for a show of flags to outnumber those who are invested in keeping the community as second-class citizens.

Farmworkers Bill Advances in State House

A bill that would grant farmworkers the right to join labor unions won preliminary approval by the State House of Representatives on Friday after debate that stretched for more than 5 hours.

Senate Bill 87 intends to afford farmworkers the same protections available to other workers such as the right to strike and bargain collectively.

Colorado Politics reports that the bill would also require minimum wage and overtime pay, and allow agricultural workers to seek protection in the courts from retaliation or based on other complaints.

The bill is backed by legal advocates and unions, but has been opposed by every major agricultural organization in the state, as well as numerous business groups.

The measure will be up for a final vote in the House and if approved will have to head back to the Senate for a review of amendments.

Winner of Vaccination Sweepstakes Announced

The first $1 million winner of the Colorado COVID-19 vaccine sweepstakes was announced on Friday.

Sally Sliger, from Mead was randomly selected from more than 3 million Coloradans who have received at least one dose of coronavirus vaccine. Four more people will get the prize.

In total, the Comeback Cash program comprises $6.25 million.  It also includes 25 drawings to award $50,000 college scholarships to kids 12 to 17 years old. The money comes from federal dollars meant to help states promoting their vaccination campaigns.

The Colorado Sun reports that, after peaking in late-March and early-April, the pace of vaccination in Colorado has declined. A little over 140,000 doses of vaccine were administered last week in Colorado. At the peak, Colorado health care providers administered more than 400,000 doses a week.

Colorado Governor Jared Polis has expressed dismay that more people have not gotten vaccinated — noting that COVID-19 case rates are generally highest in counties where vaccination rates are the lowest.

Meanwhile, coronavirus cases and hospitalizations are rising in Mesa County on the West Slope.  The Denver Post reports the community is struggling with widespread transmission of a highly contagious variant and lagging vaccination rates.

Close to 100 percent of that county’s hospital beds were filled with patients on Friday. Most of the hospitalizations are occurring among unvaccinated residents, although at least one health care system said it also is treating more patients with non-COVID injuries.

Boulder DA Announces Charges against Man in Disappearance of Longmont Woman in 2018

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty has announced that murder charges have been filed against a man in the disappearance of a woman more than three years ago. Rita Gutierrez-Garcia was last seen during a night out in Longmont in March 2018 when she celebrated St. Patrick’s Day with friends and family.

Juan Jose Figueroa, Jr., was indicted by a Boulder County grand jury on various charges in the incident. While no body has been recovered, police have said they presume Gutierrez-Garcia is dead.

Dougherty said a number of factors contributed to the lack of charges for three years, with the “significant issue” being that Gutierrez-Garcia’s body has yet to be found.