Headlines August 25, 2021

Headlines August 25, 2021

Listen here:

(Download Audio)

COVID Cases Reported as Denver Schools Begin Year

In Denver, schools started back in session on Monday, and in the first two days 10 students and eight staff members have tested positive for COVID-19.

Some schools in the Denver system started earlier, and nearly 50 more including 12 students tested positive in August.

A district spokesman told the Denver Post that because of the situation they are consulting with public health partners, but so far it’s going well in keeping students in the classroom

Meanwhile, families of elementary students at the STEM School Highlands Ranch have been told to prepare for the possibility of transitioning to virtual learning. Several students there have either tested positive for COVID-19, are presumed positive.

BVSD Hears School Update

Last night The Boulder Valley School Board was updated on the start of the school year.

The Daily Camera reports that Superintendent Rob Anderson and other district leaders said their goal is to keep students attending in person five days a week. Masks are required for all students and staff regardless of vaccination status, as they are in St. Vrain Valley Schools.

Aurora Schools to Require Vaccinations for Employees 

The Aurora public schools will require all employees to get a vaccination against the coronavirus. The district’s personnel officer told staff that those who are not fully vaccinated by early October will be disciplined.

Parents Protest in Douglas County

On Monday morning, hundreds of parents in Douglas County gathered outside the school district building in Castle Rock protesting a mask mandate for children 2 to a11 years old passed by the Tri-County Health Department.

9News reports that many Douglas County parents have said that, if the school district didn’t reverse the mandate, they would pull their children out of school.

Students Protest Private High School’s LGBTQ Policy

Controversy has erupted at a private religious high school in Highlands Ranch, over two teachers who were pushed out of their jobs allegedly because they are gay.

About 50 students at Valor Christian Highschool walked out of classes yesterday in support of volleyball coach Inoke Tonga. He told the Denver Post that the campus pastor and athletic director berated him over his sexual orientation, calling his gayness a danger to the school and children. According to Tonga, they also told him that parents pay too much to attend the school for their children to be coached by a gay man.

Another former coach at the school has told 9News that she was confronted by officials about her relationship with a woman and that she couldn’t believe she was being questioned about something so personal.

Lauren Brenner who coached lacrosse resigned last year because she felt the school was no longer a safe space for her.

RTD Board Votes to Study Scaled-Back Plan for Rail from Longmont and Boulder to Denver 

The Regional Transportation District has approved a study of a scaled-back plan for commuter rail service from Boulder and Longmont to Denver.

Last night the board voted 12 to 3 to approve $8 million dollars to produce new data.

Colorado Public Radio reports that Governor Jared Polis and residents in the northwest metro, have pressured RTD to kick-start the project.

Angie Rivera-Malpiede, the chair of RTD, said that they did make a promise to the people in that area but they have old data and information is needed to understand where they are and what is needed.

Some RTD board members have said that the agency should abandon the proposed B Line extension entirely.

Mesa County Board Approves Dominion Systems 

The Mesa County Board of Commissioners has approved an extension of its contract with Dominion Voting Systems.

The unanimous action by the all Republican board came after the protests of more than 30 who made public comments quoting from the Declaration of Independence and Scripture urging the commission to choose a different equipment company or use hand counts instead of Dominion

Various agencies including the FBI are currently investigating allegations that Tina Peters, the Mesa County Clerk and Recorder, allowed the election security system to be breached.

The Grand Daily Sentinel reports that Peters has been in hiding since appearing at a voter-fraud conspiracy event in South Dakota.

Allegations of Illegal Lobbying by Republican Operatives  

Yesterday allegations surfaced that a group of secretly funded political operatives have been illegally lobbying the state’s redistricting commissioners.

Colorado Politics reports that a complaint filed with the Secretary of State alleges that Frank McNulty, the former Republican Speaker of the State House of Representatives, and Greg Brophy another former Republican legislator have not formally registered as lobbyists.

In 2018, Colorado voters approved the creation of independent redistricting commissions including requirements that anyone who lobbies the redistricting commissioners must register and report their activity.

The complaint asks the Secretary of State to look into the alleged lobbying violations, and if found to be credible, order McNulty and Brophy to register as lobbyists and report all their compensation, as well the imposition of penalties.