Headlines July 22, 2021
Attorney General Announces $26 Billion Nationwide Opioid Agreement
A coalition of state attorney generals yesterday announced a $26 billion nationwide agreement with three opioid pharmaceutical distributors – Cardinal, McKesson, and AmerisourceBergen – and the opioid manufacturer marketer Johnson & Johnson.
The settlement results from coordinated legal action by Attorney Generals from 14 states, including Colorado. Ratification of the agreement will resolve lawsuits and investigations initiated by numerous states and local governments concerning the companies’ roles in the opioid crisis.
Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said in a press conference yesterday the companies will pay out settlement money over a span of 18 years.
Colorado could potentially receive at least $300 million if local governments in Colorado agree to the deal. According to Weiser’s announcement, ratification of the agreement is contingent on a critical mass of states and their local governments participating with maximum payments being issued if each state and its local governments support the agreement.
The states will have 30 days to sign on to the agreement and then local governments of the participating states will also have an opportunity to join the settlement.
Boulder Police Ending Investigation of University Hill Riot
Boulder Police say they are winding down their investigation into the University Hill riot that occurred on March 6th.
According to Boulder Police, the riot started out as a small party near 10th Street and Pennsylvania Avenue and then grew with hundreds participating as the day went on.
The gathering – which violated COVID-19 restrictions in place at the time – turned destructive and violent as officers attempted to disperse the crowd.
Participants in the disturbance threw rocks and bricks at officers and damaged vehicles of community members.
Investigators spent hundreds of hours reviewing over a thousand video submissions and tips resulting in 10 arrests with three warrants still outstanding.
The Boulder Police also report that the CU Boulder Office of Student Conduct and Conflict Resolution received approximately 200 referrals of possible violations under the student code of conduct.
Dr. Nicki Gonzales Named Colorado’s State Historian
History Colorado has announced that Dr. Nicki Gonazales, professor of history and vice provost for diversity and inclusion at Regis University, will begin the one-year term as the state’s official historian on Colorado Day, Saturday, August 1st.
Gonzales will be making history herself as the first Latina to be Colorado’s State Historian, a position established in 1924.
According to History Colorado, Gonzales’ expertise focuses on Chicano history and Southwest social and political movements.
Gonzales plans to incorporate youth in the exploration of Colorado’s past and support more inclusive practices of historical inquiry and raise more awareness about historical events with significant contemporary legacies, such as the Sand Creek Massacre of 1864.
Suspect in ‘Brazen’ Shooting Arrested, Victim’s Identity Not Yet Released
Fort Collins Police announced Tuesday they have arrested a man suspected in a fatal shooting that occurred earlier this week. The victim – who has yet to be publicly identified – was killed in broad daylight on Monday at the 2400 block of South College Avenue. The identity of the victim will be released after family members have been notified. Police say the suspect was arrested in Berthoud as he was stopped in a stolen vehicle tied to the shooting.
Exchange Insurance Premiums Expected to Stay Stable Next Year
The Associated Press reports that insurance premiums are expected to stay stable next year for individuals buying coverage on Colorado’s insurance exchange as the State continues a reinsurance program covering the most expensive cases.
Governor Polis issued a statement on Tuesday indicating individuals buying on the exchange are expected to save more than 24% next year as compared to what they would pay without the state reinsurance program.
The Associated Press also reports that preliminary estimates suggest that the average cost will be 1.4% more than this year and final plans and rates will be released in October for the buying period that begins November 1st.
Body Recovered from Poudre Canyon Flood
The Loveland Reporter-Herald reports that the body of an adult woman who died during flooding in Poudre Canyon on Tuesday has been recovered and officials have identified a third missing person.
The identity of the woman has not been released.
Two adult males were reported missing Tuesday night and officials have also identified another adult female who is missing.
A flash flood occurred in Poudre Canyon on Tuesday night causing a flurry of evacuations.
Poor Air Quality Across the Front Range
Wildfire smoke has the Front Range experiencing an increase in levels of both ozone and fine particulate matter as smoke from multiply fires in northern California, Oregon, Wyoming and even British Columbia drifts into the area.
The Daily Camera reports that Colorado will continue to see smoke through the summer, until the end of active wildfire season.
For the Front Range today, NOAA has ozone concentrations expected to reach the unhealthy for sensitive group category.
Dan Welsh, an air quality meteorologist with the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division said that ozone levels are typically higher in the summer than other times of year, but the wildfire smoke is contributing to make the air quality index higher than it would normally be.
Colleen Reid, an environmental epidemiologist and health geographer at the University of Colorado Boulder said that the particulate matter from the smoke is so small it can get deep into people’s lungs. Reid recommends that people look at the air quality index and be cautious when it gets into orange, red or purple level.
You can find the air quality index at the Colorado Air Quality website, Colorado.gov/airquality. You can also sign up for email alerts at the Regional Air Quality Council website, RAQC.org. Or you can find the EPA’s free air quality app called Air Now at most app stores.