Headlines September 27, 2021
Protesters March in Denver over Immigration and the Crisis at the Mexican Border
On Saturday, protesters marched through downtown Denver Streets in hopes of drawing attention to the issue of immigration into the U.S. and the humanitarian crisis at the border with Mexico.
The marchers were also calling for a pathway to citizenship for Afghan refugees as well as undocumented immigrants.
Boulder County COVID-19 Transmission Rates Too High for Ending Mask Mandate
Boulder County Public Health officials have said that they would stop requiring masks indoors if there were 21 consecutive days of low or moderate rates of COVID-19 transmission. But so far, those rates have been too high during September.
The mask mandate was implemented in the county three weeks ago, but Angela Simental of Boulder County Health told Denver 7 that the Delta variant has changed the whole landscape.
Recent county data show there was a seven-day cumulative incidence rate of 165 cases per 100,000, which is significantly over the low or moderate transmission rate.
Simental added that the rate is slowly going down. But the delta variant is unpredictable.
Report of Investigation into State Air Pollution Division Released
An investigation into alleged misconduct at the Colorado Air Pollution Control Division has concluded that violations were not intentional, and officials did not falsify data.
The Attorney General’s Office released a report after whistle blowers made various allegations. It shows that the Director of the Division, Garry Kaufman, had a potential conflict of interest in permitting a gold mine in Teller County, which his former law firm represented. The report finds that the conflict was resolved, but not reported in violation of department policy.
The Colorado Sun reports that three employees of the Air Pollution Control Division initially complained that department managers unlawfully approved permits for industry without required monitoring or modeling. They also complained to the EPA that their superiors ordered them to stop using modeling required by the Clean Air Act.
The report says there are multiple problems in how the division interprets EPA policy but states that the instances cited by the whistleblowers do not appear to have resulted in pollution violations.
Denver Ballot Measure Could Impose Tax on Landlords to Fund Free Legal Services for Tenants Facing Eviction
With the goal of keeping people in their homes as they could face eviction, a group in Denver has submitted a petition that would allow voters to decide if tenants should have free legal services.
9News reports that the group backing the effort is called NEWR Denver, an acronym standing for No Evictions Without Representation, and it has collected more than 13,000 signatures.
The measure, if approved by voters, would place a tax on landlords of $75 a year for each rental unit they own. The money would be used to fund free legal services for those facing legal action to remove them from their homes.
A representative of the Colorado Landlords Association said paying for the fees of tenants should not be the responsibility of property owners.
However, Wren Echo, one of the proponents of the free legal services, said they expect they are going to get a wide degree of support, with the only negative comments coming from landlords. A determination on whether they have received enough signatures to make next year’s ballot could be made in the middle of next month.
University Hill Riot Defendant Gets Probation
A person who was charged after the rioting on Boulder’s University Hill in March pleaded guilty on Friday. Henry Chardack admitted he engaged in criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. Other more serious charges were dismissed, and he was sentenced to one-year probation.
The Daily Camera reports that Chardack was the first person to turn themselves in.
As many as 800 college-aged people gathered at a large outdoor party that became destructive. A car was flipped and other vehicles and property were damaged near 10th street and Pennsylvania.
The Deputy District Attorney who prosecuted the case said that the reason Chardack was offered a misdemeanor plea deal was because he quickly stepped up to the plate to take responsibility.
Person Who Distributed Flyers in Longmont Disparaging Toward Blacks Won’t Be Charged
At least 11 flyers – that were disparaging toward the Black community – were left at downtown Longmont businesses last week.
On Saturday Police said that they had spoken with a person involved in distributing the flyers but added that no charges can be filed at this time.
The contents of the flyers have not been made public, but one store owner told the Daily Camera that the flyers’ contents were “appalling and icky.”
The Boulder County District Attorney’s Office said in a statement to 9News that the First Amendment to the Constitution protects many forms of speech regardless of how intolerant or disgusting it may be. And the person who posted the flyers did not trespass or damage property. The office said that the person violated human decency but not criminal laws.
Sports Betting Brings in Millions for Water Projects in Colorado
Last year sports betting was legalized in Colorado, and the state has brought in much more money than expected that it will use to fund water projects.
The Gazette reports that those projects will get almost $8 million from taxes on sports betting.
A representative of the Colorado Water Conservation Board said that the money will be used on work on conservation, protection of natural habitats, and improvement of infrastructure, among other projects.
Since sports betting was approved, bettors in Colorado have wagered over $3 billion.