Headlines September 10, 2021

Headlines September 10, 2021

Listen here:

(Download Audio)

800 Denver city employees have submitted exemptions from the city’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate

Denver released data last week indicating close to 800 city employees have turned in requests to be exempted from the city’s covid vaccine mandate. The city’s dashboard shows a little over 70% of the city’s full-time work force have gotten vaccinated. The city is expected to update its employee vaccination numbers today.

The Denver Post reports Mayor Michael Hancock has set a September 30th deadline for all of the city’s employees to be fully vaccinated. As of last week, close to half of the exemption requests remain under review with 55 denied. As established by the city’s own public health order mandating vaccinations for certain employers including city government, Denver must accommodate workers who have valid religious or medical reasons not to be vaccinated. According to The Denver Post, the city does not have a breakdown of exemption requests under each department or agency. Discipline procedures could begin October 1st for those workers not exempt and not fully vaccinated.

Local and State Elected Officials Call on Congress and the President to Prioritize Immigrants in all Economic Recovery Legislation 

Yesterday, close to 40 state and local elected officials met to ask members of congress and President Joe Biden to prioritize undocumented immigrants in all economic recovery legislation including through budget reconciliation. The group of state and local elected officials along with the Colorado People’s Alliance and the American Friends Service Committee Denver are also calling on congress and the President to divest from immigration enforcement agencies and to provide a clean pathway towards citizenship for essential workers, dreamers, farmworkers, temporary protected status holders and their families. 

The local lawmakers are urging federal leadership to recognize the sacrifices and the economic role of undocumented immigrants during the pandemic and towards economic recovery and long-term global competitiveness. According to the group’s letter to congressional leaders and the President, there are 5 million undocumented immigrants working in vital industries that have risked their lives and the lives of family members during the pandemic. As a result of their sacrifices, the group is advocating that undocumented immigrants have earned the right to pursue citizenship. 

South Side of Heil Valley Ranch in Boulder County will Remain Closed Through Spring

This week, Boulder County Parks and Open Space announced that the south side of Heil Valley Ranch, including trails and park amenities, will remain closed through the spring as burn area instability remains from last year’s Calwood Fire. 

According to the county’s press release, modeling shows the burn area and the upper watershed may continue to experience significant flooding and debris flows during the weeks ahead with impacts to park amenities, roads, and downstream communities. The northern section of Heil Valley Ranch is open to on-trail use only with trail access at the Picture Rock Trailhead near Lyons.

Congressman Joe Neguse Takes Credit Stimulus Money

U. S. Congressman Joe Neguse is taking credit for getting more than $50 billion in stimulus money for the proposed 21st Century Climate Conservation Corps. Neguse, the U.S. Representative for Colorado’s 2nd congressional district, said that the money would go to the Climate Conservation Corp to hire thousands of young people and veterans starting out at $15 an hour, and for local resilience and wildfire preparedness projects and other work to cut emissions. Part of the money will also go for vegetation and watershed management, trail maintenance and restore burn areas.

Neguse said that from the beginning they wanted to include the Climate Conservation Corps (CCC) in the Build Back Better Act. The new CCC will invest in a new natural resources workforce to put more people to work on the nation’s public lands, and scale up investments in programs run by the Department of Interior and U.S. Forest Service.

The Build Back Better Plan is President Biden’s budget reconciliation package that would cover COVID-19 relief, the nation’s future financial side and infrastructure aid.  The CCC is included in Biden’s plan called the Infrastructure and Jobs Act.Neguse revealed the project in April and Democrats are united behind the idea.

Bureau of Land Management Ends Wild Horse Roundup Early in the Sand Wash Basin of Moffat County

Yesterday, the Bureau of Land Management ceased its roundup of wild horses in the Sand Wash Basin area of Moffat County. According to the Denver Gazette, the BLM removed an estimated 608 wild horses during the period of the roundup but was short of the agency goal of 783. The Denver Gazette reports the agency’s spokesperson has not responded to a request for comment on why the BLM ended the roundup early. The roundup began September 1st and was termed an “emergency gather” as the BLM cited reasons of overpopulation, drought, and scorched habitat from wildfires as its justification in proceeding with the herd reduction.

Prior to the roundup’s commencement, advocates urged the Secretary of Interior and Congress to stop the wild horse removal as the BLM’s actions concerning the roundup have been under scrutiny. According to observers, recent monsoons restored watering holes and drought conditions no longer existed to impact the herd population and other habitat.  Advocates are now calling for a congressional investigation into how the roundup was conducted as removal practices were considered inhumane by observers and advocates.