Headlines August 13, 2021

Headlines August 13, 2021

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Mesa County Election Equipment Decertified After Possible Security Breach

Some of Mesa County’s election equipment has been decertified after county clerk Tina Peters allowed an unauthorized individual into a secure facility during an upgrade of the county’s election software. That’s according to statements made yesterday by Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold.

Griswold’s investigation also alleges that video surveillance of the voting equipment was turned off by county clerk staff before the equipment upgrade in late May.

The unauthorized individual is alleged to have taken photos and videos during the upgrade and passwords images of the Dominion Voting Systems election equipment were later posted online by right wing and conspiracy groups.

As a result of the security breach, Griswold has decertified forty pieces of the county’s election equipment, including a server, scanners, and tablets and as a result of the breach and decertification Mesa County will need to replace the equipment.

The Mesa County district attorney’s office is performing its own investigation of the alleged security breach.

Consumer Products a Major Source of Ozone-causing Air Pollution

New research from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration suggests that volatile chemicals from consumer products are another major culprit behind ozone-causing air pollution.

According to the Colorado Sun, studies led by Matt Coggon, a chemical engineer and researcher with NOAA’s Chemical Sciences Laboratory, have shown that chemical evaporation from a range of products including sunscreen, bug spray, perfume, deodorant, shampoo, and even scented trash bags, make up 42% of the human-caused volatile organic compounds in the atmosphere and transportation emissions make up nearly all the rest.

Coggan recommends consumers use water-based products to limit ozone causing air pollution.

Northern Front Range Breaks Single Season Record for Poor Air Quality

There have been 53 ozone action alerts since May which breaks the record for number of alerts issued in a single season since record keeping began in 2011.

In recent days, due to climate change-fueled wildfires burning across the American West, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment has issued action alerts for multiple pollutants that include both ozone and fine particulate pollution from smoke. The Denver Metro North Front Range has reached 39 consecutive days of ozone action alerts.

The smoke and ozone levels we are seeing are caused by wildfire activity worsened by climate change and air pollution sources that cause climate change. High ozone levels are produced when volatile organic compounds (VOCs) mix with combustion emissions in the presence of sunlight. In Boulder County, VOCs predominantly come from oil and gas operations to the northeast and combustion byproducts from vehicles.

More smoke and high temperatures are predicted to continue this summer. Individuals can sign up for Colorado’s action alerts and check air quality conditions at the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s website and search for “Air Quality”.

More Local Health Providers Issuing Vaccine Mandates

Boulder Community Health announced yesterday it will require all employees to get vaccinated against COVID-19 by November 1st.

The Daily Camera reports the spokesperson for Boulder Community Health has indicated 94% of the provider’s employees and physicians have been fully vaccinated.

If employees do not vaccinate or qualify for a medical or religious exemption, those employees can face suspension without pay or termination.

Children’s Hospital Colorado also announced yesterday it will require all staff, vendors, and volunteers to complete a COVID-19 vaccination series by October 1st but stopped short of a full mandate.

The hospital said in its statement that personnel who do not fully vaccinate by October 1st will be subject to increased PPE requirements as well as routine COVID-19 PCR testing.

Boulder Parks and Recreation Adjusts Hours and Services as Students Return to School

The Boulder Parks and Recreation Department announced yesterday it will change operating hours and implement service adjustments to its facilities as children return to school and summer ends.

The Department did announce it will open after Labor Day the North Boulder Recreation Center leisure pool on weekdays, an opening that has not occurred since March 2020.

Community members are urged to check the city’s website for the latest updates to the park and rec facilities.

Colorado Health Insurance Sign-up Extension Ends Sunday

The state is urging anyone who currently needs health insurance coverage to submit an application to the state’s health insurance exchange program by the end of the day Sunday, August 15th.

August 15th is the final day of the extended open enrollment period.

The state also encourages anyone who currently has coverage, but did not qualify for free or low-cost health insurance before, to re-apply by Sunday in order to find out how much financial resources are available.

More information is available at the website ConnectforHealthCO.com or by phone at 855-752-6749.

Scooter Program and E-bike Access to Begin in Boulder

Boulder officials announced earlier in the week that B-Cycle in the next few months will convert its fleet to a fully electric pedal assist e-bike system with new stations in East and South Boulder and more stations in Central and North Boulder.

Along with e-bikes, the city has announced that the company Lime has begun a pilot program by deploying 200 e-scooters for East Boulder, east of 28th Street.

East Boulder was chosen for the e-scooter pilot program as it has several commercial areas, is home to CU’s East Campus, and has many employment centers.

The e-scooters will be inoperable west of 28th Street, including CU’s main campus.

According to the Daily Camera, the e-scooter and e-bike programs are a result of the City Council in September allowing dockless electric bikes and scooters to operate in the city.

Stargazing Lights Out Lyons Event Takes Place Tonight

This evening, starting at 8:30 pm, the Lyons Parks and Recreation Commission will hold a stargazing event at Bohn Park called “Lights Out Lyons”.

The event includes guided talks with live music afterward.

To limit light pollution and to support dark sky awareness and stargazing appreciation, Lyons officials are encouraging community members and businesses to turn off their lights.