Headlines July 21, 2021

Headlines July 21, 2021

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Flooding in Poudre Canyon Kills One, Another Missing

One person has died and one is missing after flooding yesterday in Poudre Canyon in Larimer County.  The Sheriff said that five homes have been damaged.

Officers went door-to-door for several hours to notify people after a mandatory evacuation order was in place in the area of Highway 14 from Rustic to Ted’s Place at Highway 287.

The sheriff’s office is concerned about today’s weather and asks residents to remain alert to the weather conditions in the event additional evacuations may be necessary.

State Health Department Releases COVID Guidelines for Back-to-School

Colorado state health officials released back-to-school guidelines yesterday for COVID-19. In a release, the Department of Public Health and Environment says it is not imposing requirements. Instead, the state is recommending masking for all unvaccinated individuals age two and older when indoors.

The department suggested that local public health agencies and school districts consider mask requirements for unvaccinated individuals, particularly in higher-risk environments.

CDPHE said that best practices for schools include among other things, ventilation, maximization of outdoor activities, screening for symptoms, cleaning and disinfecting, and handwashing.

Colorado’s guidelines are closely aligned with those of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In the release, health director Jill Hunsaker Ryan said that residents must continue to remain vigilant because many students have yet to be vaccinated, and those under 12 are still not eligible for vaccines.

She also said that unvaccinated Coloradans remain vulnerable to the new variants, especially the Delta variant, which appears to be more likely to make young people ill than previous variants.

Boulder City Council Approves Development

Yesterday the Boulder City Council approved the development of an apartment complex near the Celestial Seasonings factory in Gunbarrel.

The Daily Camera reports that 230 units, a library, café and other facilities will be built on the nearly 10-acre site.

The council voted against having a public hearing for the development despite the fact that many members of the public who commented during the meeting opposed the project.

Boulder to Continue Search for City Attorney

In other news about Boulder, the city will continue to search for a suitable replacement for its attorney. Two finalists had been named, however, the Daily Camera reports that feedback from staff indicated an interest in finding a candidate with more direct experience.

The council will discuss a revised job listing on July 27, and the search is expected to continue possibly into the early fall.

Air Quality Commission Relaxes Proposed Rules Even as Metro Area Likely Misses EPA Deadline

Yesterday was another deadline for the Front Range area to come into attainment with EPA air quality limits, but, as the Colorado Sun reports, state health officials and others expect the agency to downgrade the Front Range zone from the current “serious” level to the “severe” category.

The result of such action would mean local governments must revisit regulations to lower pollution by limiting driving or demanding cleaner fuels.  It could also mean tougher regulations on the venting of chemicals by oil and gas producers.

However, environmental groups are criticizing state health officials, not only for missing the deadline yesterday, but also for weakening proposed rules to reduce air pollution caused by commuters.

The Colorado Air Quality Commission will consider new rules in August, but the staff of the Department of Health and Public Environment has moved away from mandatory commuting cuts next year, to more aspirational goals.

Conservationists had wanted tougher enforcement provisions, and said earlier proposals were a good start toward finally attacking the transportation-related sources of air pollution and greenhouse gases.

However, CDPHE then issued a statement this week saying it had run into opposition from business, employers and their associations, and would shift to aspirational goals for reducing miles driven and employer-run surveys of commuting habits. The Colorado Chamber of Commerce praised the more lenient direction.

Danny Katz, the executive director of the consumer advocacy group, CoPirg, said in a release that, as the state is stuck in a series of dirty air days, now is the time not to gut the commuting rule but to put out the fire and have clean air that every Coloradan deserves.

AFL-CIO Says It’s Excluded and Will Not Make Donations to Democratic Campaign Committees

Colorado’s branch of the nation’s largest group of unions will not make donations to legislative campaign committees of the Democratic party at least until May next year.

According to the Colorado Sun, the decision by the AFL-CIO in the state is made in protest over what it sees as the Democrats excluding labor interests from state policy decisions.

In a letter obtained by the Sun, Dennis Dougherty, the Colorado AFL-CIO’s executive director said that they have been excluded from caucus discussions about policy in favor of bringing business and opposition groups to the table.

He wrote that they have been disregarded as allies and relegated to afterthoughts.  The letter did not mention specific complaints.

In a statement, Colorado House Speaker Alec Garnett said that he was surprised to hear about this letter for the first time through the press, and Democratic party values the strong partnership it has with their brothers and sisters in the Colorado labor movement.

I-70 Closed in Glenwood Canyon

Interstate 70 is closed in both directions again this morning due to the potential of flash flooding. Travelers should check their driving plans with CDOT.