Headlines July 14, 2021
Wildfires Continue Leading to Smokey and Hazy Skies
The metro area was hazy again yesterday because of fires burning in Colorado and the West Coast. The Daily Camera reports that some of the smoke is also from the Pack Creek fire that is just west of the Colorado-Utah border.
The Morgan Creek Fire, which is north of Steamboat Springs is not contained to any extent and has burned nearly 4,000 acres.135 firefighters are working the blaze.
And south of Steamboat Springs, the Muddy Slide Fire has been 50% contained. And more than 250 are fighting that fire which has also consumed about 4,000 acres
The Sylvan Fire south of Eagle, a little less than 4,000 acres is about 70 percent contained.
An Air Quality Alert continues today for the Front Range urban corridor until 4 p.m. this afternoon.
Christine Wiedinmeyer, an atmospheric scientist at CU Boulder, told 9News that wildfire smoke can have different effects on air temperature, depending on the type of particles, their color, and where they are located in the atmosphere.
She said the smoke particles that have been hanging out lately in the Colorado sky are mostly made up of the lighter particles so there’s been a slight cooling effect over the past few days.
The Colorado Department of Transportation had to close I-70 through Glenwood Canyon again yesterday for three hours because of a flash flood warning which could have led to mudslides from a wildfire burn scar.
The highway has been shut down several times due to the problem.
Neguse and Fudge Discuss Affordable Housing
U.S. Representative Joe Neguse, and Marcia Fudge, the federal Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, toured the Lee Hill apartment building in Boulder yesterday. The complex is a partnership between Boulder Hosing Partners and the Boulder Shelter for the Homeless.
The Daily Camera reports the two discussed the affordable housing crisis. Sam Weaver, Boulder’s mayor also attended the conference and said that the community faces the most difficult challenge of having affordable housing space for those of all income levels.
The website Realtor.com says that the median sales price for home in Boulder is $915,000, and the state has one of the largest gaps between renter’s income and the cost of housing in the country.
Boulder Council Discusses Affordable Commercial Space
Yesterday the Boulder City Council discussed ways to provide affordable commercial space. The city’s planning staff proposed a number of methods to meet the need for space for nonprofit organizations, small businesses, arts or human service groups.
The Daily Camera reports that staff offered four options, one being the possibility of a capital program for such space and another, the creation of an excise tax on bonus floor area.
Council has been inclined to allow the city’s moratorium on requests for height limits up to 55-feet lapse on August 31. The moratorium has been extended multiple times. The staff said that there are few places in Boulder where taller building are suitable. Any such projects would have to go through the regular planning process.
Boulder County Health Monitoring Delta Variant
Boulder County Public Health is continuing to monitor the Delta variant of COVID-19, as cases continue to rise in the state and the county.
Angela Simental a spokesperson for the health department told the Daily Camera that they are learning more about the Delta variant from the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment. The variant is the dominant strain, and has a 60 percent increased risk of transmission, she said.
As of yesterday, 26 cases of the Delta variant have been found in Boulder County.
Simental was unable to say what would cause to reinstatement of a mask order, or social distancing at restaurants or concerts
She added that the county has seen more “breakthrough cases” associated with the Delta variant that it did not see with past strains of the virus. A breakthrough is an infection of someone who has been fully vaccinated and tests positive for COVID-19.
It is possible, according to Simental, that the recent rise in cases can be attributed to a loosening of restrictions and the more contagious variants in circulation. Vaccines are effective against the variants she said.
Idaho Springs Officer Charged with Assault
Authorities have charged a police officer in Idaho Springs with felony assault for using excessive force on a 75-year-old man.
Officer Nicholas Hanning is alleged to have used a Taser on Michael Clark causing him to suffer heart complications and a stroke, according to his family’s attorney.
The Denver Post reports Clark has been hospitalized since the incident more than six weeks ago.
An affidavit from the Colorado Bureau of Investigation described that officers knocked on Clark’s apartment door just before 11 p.m. on a night in May after his neighbor said he punched her in the face after a dispute about noise.
The officers did not announce themselves as police, and after Clark opened the door armed with a sword, the officers yelled at him and told him to get on the ground. Then without warning or a command, officer Hanning fired his Taser at Clark, who immediately fell to the ground and struck a dining room chair as he fell.
Clark said he answered the door holding the sword because he thought it was his partying neighbors and he did not know the people knocking were police.
Officer Hanning could face one year to 18 months in prison and a fine of up to $100,000.