Headlines September 3, 2021
Boulder’s City Manager Releases Proposed 2022 Budget
According to the city’s press release, the operating portion of the budget is an 11% increase from 2021 and the capital portion has a 128% increase. The capital portion increase is largely due to a planned Utilities Fund bond issuance. The city manager is expecting revenue to go up in 2022 after the pandemic’s sharp decline. In the report, the city manager’s budget said it prioritizes, “renewal and restoration, with a goal of bringing relief to a weary community and stretched employees”.
Denver Launches New Housing Stability Initiative With 100-Day Deadline
The Denver Department of Housing Stability and Mayor Michael Hancock launched an initiative yesterday with a goal of housing 200 homeless residents within 100 days. The city is calling the new initiative a housing surge. It plans to connect homeless Coloradans with housing resources and a new surplus of housing vouchers. The city will also expand an existing contract with the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless. This contract provides housing under the group’s property portfolio along with identifying private landlords who want to participate. According to the press release, new emergency housing vouchers were made available to the Denver Housing Authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development with funds established under the American Rescue Plan Act.
State-Level Abortion Restrictions Drive Patients To Colorado
As states restrict access to safe and legal abortions, women from those states are seeking abortions in Colorado. One Colorado fund has seen a several fold uptick in women from other states requesting assistance.
The fund, managed by the nonprofit abortion rights group Cobalt, provides medical costs plus travel expenses to drive or fly to a clinic that provides abortions, including procedures later in pregnancy. The Colorado Sun reports that Cobalt helps women from Colorado, other states and other countries. Colorado is one of only seven states without restrictions on when, during pregnancy, a woman can get an abortion. There has been an increase in the fund activity as numerous other states pass laws restricting abortion.
The abortion fund was established in 1984 by volunteers at First Universalist Church of Denver in response to a law that banned the use of public money to pay for abortions, meaning women who qualified for Medicaid could not use the government insurance to get abortions. Organizations in Colorado that help pregnant women keep their babies or seek adoption services have grown in recent years. According to a Colorado Sun investigation, Colorado has more than 50 religious-based pregnancy centers that encourage adoption.
National Forest Service Reopens East Troublesome Fire Area
The National Forest Service announced this week that the area of the 2020 East Troublesome Fire has been reopened. Closures remain in place for this year’s Black Mountain, Morgan Creek, and Muddy Slide fires. Land charred by the East Troublesome Fire roughly covers 193,000 acres spanning Grand County, Rocky Mountain National Park, and the edge of Estes Park. As part of the burn area restoration, the Denver Post reports crews worked on addressing erosion, flooding and debris flows along with clearing and stabilizing trail paths. According to the Denver Post, although the burn area is now open, it remains susceptible to flash flooding, debris flows, and unstable trees.
Northern Colorado Hospitals Reach ICU Bed Capacity
Hospital and health officials in Northern Colorado have reported that intensive care units are meeting or exceeding capacity due to the recent surge in COVID-19 cases. Unvaccinated patients make up the majority of hospitalizations. As of yesterday morning, UC Health Hospitals in Fort Collins, Loveland, and Greeley reported ICUs that were exceeding capacity. The system has had to turn away many transfer requests from other areas in Colorado and out-of-state hospitals said the press release. On Thursday, Larimer County reported their ICUs within the county were at 100 percent capacity.
Bats Found In Hygiene, Longmont, Lyons Test Positive For Rabies
Boulder County Public Health has announced that bats found last week in Longmont, Hygiene, and Lyons have tested positive for rabies. Boulder Health Department released a statement saying an infected bat was found in a Longmont home on August 25th. On the following day, the county reported two more cases. A cat captured a rabies infected bat in Hygiene and a dog sniffed out the second. Risk assessments were done for all individuals and pets exposed to the bats and both pets were current with their rabies vaccinations. Bats are the most common animal source of rabies in Colorado. Boulder County Public Health urges residents to contact the department as soon as possible if there is any chance an individual, child, or pet has come in contact with a bat.