Headlines September 20, 2021
Mass Vaccination Sites to Open Today
Today authorities in Colorado will open new sites for mass vaccinations against COVID-19 as mandates by employers start this fall requiring employees to show proof they’ve received shots. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said there will be four locations which will be able to handle as many as 1,000 doses of vaccine each day. The sites will be at the Aurora Municipal Center, the Southwest Plaza Mall in Littleton, Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, and at the Chapel Hills Mall in Colorado Springs. The sites will be open 7 days a week through September 30 and appointments are not required.
Dr. Jonathan Samet, of the Colorado School of Public Health, told KDVR that the epidemic has been worsening in the state since July. Some experts are saying the state is in the middle of a fifth wave of hospitalizations. The reasons for the increase include unvaccinated people, kids being back in school, people going about their regular activities, and mask policies that differ around the state.
Jefferson County Sues Three Christian Schools over Failure to Follow Mask Mandates
Health officials in Jefferson County have sued three Christian schools asking a judge to order them to comply with COVID-19 mask mandates. The Jefferson County Public Health department sued Beth Eden Baptist School, Augustine Classical Academy and Faith Christian Academy claiming that they are not enforcing the county’s mask requirement and that each of them refused to let some inspectors into their schools.
The Denver Post reports that county officials say they had noticed three classes of 30 to 40 students who were all unmasked at one of the schools as well as unmasked teachers and administrators. When health officials sought to conduct follow up visits, the school would not let them inside. A hearing in the case is scheduled for tomorrow.
CU Boulder Enrollment Up to Pre-pandemic Levels
The University of Colorado in Boulder has seen a enrollment return to pre-pandemic levels. The Daily Camera reports that more undergraduate, graduate and transfer students enrolled this fall. Nearly 36,000 students have registered, about 1,000 more than last year and in 2019. A spokesperson said in a statement that a return to pre-pandemic enrollment means the university will have greater stability of resources to invest in students’ classroom experience and campus life.
Proposed Methane Rule from Colorado Air Commission Meets Opposition
Colorado’s air quality regulators voted on Friday to move forward with a controversial rule aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions for oil and gas operators. However, the rule has been met with opposition from environmental groups and local government officials.
The Colorado Sun reports that the proposed rule–geared to the intensity of production–would limit emissions based upon the amount of oil and gas that a company produces, with larger operators more restricted than smaller ones. Instead, several people who offered comments said the commission should use direct regulations that would reduce emissions in the short term.
Matt Jones, a Boulder County Commissioner, told the Air Quality Control Commission that its approach was unproven, inaccurate and costly. He also criticized the two years it will take to implement the rule. A staff member of the agency told the commission that the proposed intensity rule is only one part of a package that would tighten allowable emissions during well maintenance and controls on pipeline equipment. The agency will set a hearing in December on the proposed intensity rule.
Longmont and Northern Arapaho Tribe Become Sister Cities
At a ceremony on Saturday at the Longmont Museum, the Northern Arapaho Tribe was recognized as the city’s newest sister city. The Times Call reports that it is the first time in U.S. history of such a relationship between a sovereign tribal nation and a city. Lee Spoonhunter, co-chair of the tribe told his fellow Arapahos that they are home. The crowd erupted with a burst of applause.
The Northern Arapaho have made their ancestral home in Colorado, but a treaty in the 1860s led to the tribe being forced onto the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. Longmont Mayor Brian Bagely acknowledged that his city sits on traditional territory not only of the Arapaho but also the Cheyenne, Ute and other indigenous people.
Enrollment at Colorado’s Community Colleges Still Well Below Pre-pandemic Levels
Colorado community college enrollment figures remain down over 10% from pre-pandemic levels but officials are encouraged that the enrollment at the schools did not drop drastically again this year as previously anticipated.
According to Chancellor Joe Garcia, many students waited to enroll until the start of the school year in August which made enrollment determinations difficult. According to Chalkbeat Colorado, the community college system educates the most students of any state system and typically educates older students seeking training in high-demand jobs.
Chalkbeat Colorado reports that during the pandemic, community colleges statewide have seen a significant drop in the number of older students with families and those facing financial hardships.
DPS Board Censures Tay Anderson
On Friday the Denver public school board censured Tay Anderson, one of its members during a special meeting after a report was released about his alleged misconduct.
While the investigation did not substantiate allegations of sexual assault by Anderson, it did find that he engaged flirtatiously with a 16-year old DPS student and made social media posts that could be seen as attempts to intimidate witnesses in the investigation. Colorado Politics reports that censure was the only punishment the Board could impose. The Board’s vote was 6-1, with Anderson the only no vote.
BLM to Move Headquarters Back to D.C.
The Bureau of Land Management will no longer be headquartered in Grand Junction. On Friday Deb Halland, the U.S. Secretary of the Interior, announced that the agency’s main office will return to Washington, D.C. Former President Donald Trump moved the BLM to Colorado’s West Slope. The agency will maintain its Colorado office and expand its presence in western Colorado.
The Denver Post reports that the decision comes despite the efforts of politicians in the state who had lobbied to keep the headquarters in Colorado where about 36% of the land is managed by the federal government.