Headlines October 11, 2021
Challenges to Congressional Redistricting Maps Filed
On Friday challenges to proposed state Congressional districts were filed with the Colorado Supreme Court. The Colorado Sun reports that Latino advocacy groups, national Democratic organizations and Colorado Common Cause claim the new map would dilute the influence of Latinos. The objections came as the state high court begins its review of the new districts, after a state independent commission drew them for the first time since 2018 when voters approved a constitutional amendment setting up the process. Supreme Court review and approval is the final step But the court could send the redistricting proposals back to the commission for revision.
A director of a national organization that is representing the League of United Latin American Citizens said that the commission’s map falls short of reflecting the growth of the Latino community. An organization associated with the National Democratic Redistricting Committee claims that the new plan dilutes the voting strength of Hispanic residents particularly in the new 8th district that would extend from the northern Denver suburbs to Greeley. Tomorrow the court will hear arguments about the redistricting proposal and has until November 1 to either approve or send it back to the commission.
Idaho Springs Rally Protests Police Conduct
People rallied in Idaho Springs on Saturday morning calling for reforms in the city’s police department. Denver 7 reports that the protest comes after a 75-year-old man sued the city claiming officers used excessive force in an incident in May. The man still suffers from injuries he received according to his daughter.
Another man who is deaf had his statement read at the protest. He has sued the Idaho Springs department and says in court filings that police attacked him, slammed him to the ground and Tased him after he couldn’t hear their commands. One of the officers involved in both incidents has been fired, but the other remains in her job.
Colorado Health Officials Concerned About New Rate of Infections
Health authorities in Colorado expressed their concerns on Friday that the number new COVID-19 cases across the state is no longer falling, and hospitalizations rose over the past week. Colorado’s epidemiologist, Rachel Herlihy, said that the state’s rate of infection had been lower than the national average, but now, as cases fall across the country, the state’s rate is about the same: about 200 infections for every 100,000 people. New cases in Colorado have risen among children aged 12 to 17, but have fallen across most other groups. As of Friday about 980 people were hospitalized in the state with the virus.
Salmonella Outbreak Linked to Denver Fish Processing Company
More than 80 residents of Colorado have become sick from salmonella connected to seafood processed at company in Denver. Samples of food from Northeast Seafood Products of Denver collected last week were positive for the strain that caused the sickness. So far, 19 people have been hospitalized with the illness. Fish products from the company were sold to Albertson’s, Safeway, and Sprouts supermarkets in Colorado as well as restaurants. A full list of recalled products can be found at the FDA’s website. Northeast Seafood Products has temporarily stopped production. Consumers who may have bought recalled fish are advised not to eat any of the recalled products and to throw them out.
DA Dismisses Sexual Assault Charges Against Former Spiritual Instructor
Last week, Boulder County Prosecutors asked the court to dismiss a sexual assault case case against a former teacher at a Buddhist meditation center. The Daily Camera reports that the DA’s Office said in a court document that the victim declined to testify and refused to meet with them due to trauma from the case.
The charges had been filed against 72 year-old William Karelis and the case was set to go to trial today. According to prosecutors, he met an 8 year-old girl through the Shambhala center in the 1990s, when he was her meditation instructor. Later when she was 13, she claimed that Karelis abused her multiple times when she stayed at his home. She is now in her 30s. Investigators became aware of the case about three years ago.
Defense attorney Paul McCormick released a statement Thursday calling Karelis an innocent man and said the case as “punctuated by numerous lies.”
Vandalism at Catholic Cathedral in Denver
The Catholic Cathedral on Colfax Avenue in Denver was vandalized with graffiti over the weekend. Denver Police are investigating tags that were spray painted. A church spokesman told 9News they were some of the worst graffiti the staff had seen in decades, and included swastikas and the messages that said “Satan lives here” and “white supremacists.” Other churches in the metro area have recently been vandalized including Sacred Heart of Mary in Boulder.