Headlines – November 17, 2021

Headlines November 17, 2021


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Plane Fighting Wildfire Crashes Killing Pilot

The pilot of a single-engine plane fighting the Kruger Rock Fire near Estes Park died yesterday evening when his plane crashed. Crews found the crash site south of the town at around 9:30 PM about 3 hours after the accident was first reported. The Larimer County Sheriff’s Office said that the pilot was the only occupant of the tanker plane.

Meanwhile, the Sheriff’s office said that the fire was first reported about 7 a.m. yesterday. As of last evening, the fire department estimated the fire had spread across 130 acres and was 15 percent contained. Multiple evacuations were ordered and no structure damage had been reported.

Denver Metro Health Officials Urge Governor To Mandate Masks 

Health officials in agencies around the Denver metro area have urged Governor Jared Polis to issue a statewide mask mandate. The Metro Denver Partnership for Health is also asking that vaccine passports be required for indoor settings. 

The group sent a letter to Gov. Polis late last week because of the surge in COVID-19 cases hitting hospitals. They wrote that high-risk places such as bars, restaurants, gyms, sporting events and other large gatherings should require face coverings where vaccine passports are not required. 

The Denver Post reports that the group urging the action includes Boulder County Public Health, Denver’s agency, as well as Jefferson County and Tri-County health. 

On Sunday the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, announced that beginning this Friday, people attending large, indoor events in the Denver metro area will be required to have been vaccinated against COVID-19. That order applies only to events attended by 500 people or more. 

The governor has been reluctant to issue a statewide masking order, even though he has said the entire state is considered at high risk of infection.

Health Leaders Say Funds Should Be Used for Children’s Mental Health  

Health leaders in the state are asking the governor and lawmakers to use $150 million of the Federal American Rescue Plan Act to rebuild Colorado’s mental health system for children and teens. 

Representatives of Children’s Hospital Colorado joined by other providers say that there are not enough services to address the growing crisis. They noted that younger people are experiencing higher rates of anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, and other issues. The Denver Post reports that yesterday morning Children’s Hospital had over 20 kids waiting in emergency departments for an in-patient bed.    

Aurora Agrees To Police Reform

The police and fire departments in Aurora have agreed to reform various policies in a settlement with prosecutors from the state attorney general’s office asking the city to improve its use-of-force policies and training. They will also develop a new system for collecting data about police interactions with the community.

The Colorado Sun reports that Aurora agencies will ensure police administer chemical sedatives, like ketamine, lawfully. In September, the AG’s office had released a report damning the Aurora police department for consistently violating state and federal law in a pattern of racially biased practices.

Aurora Offering Reward For Information On Monday’s Shootings

Auroa Police Department said that two of the victims from Monday’s shooting at Nome Park which left six teenagers in the hospital, have a long physical recovery from their wounds.

The police have issued an award offering $7,000 for information leading to the identification and arrest of those responsible for the shootings.

Boulder City Council Sworn In 

Boulder swore in a new city council, yesterday. The Daily Camera reports that incumbent Mark Wallach was joined by new members Matt Benjamin, Lauren Folkerts, Nicole Speer and Tara Winer at a ceremony in the morning. Aaron Brockett was selected by the council to be mayor.

At last night’s meeting, the council approved a referendum that will require voters to decide whether they want to repeal the CU South annexation agreement. The council had approved the agreement in September. They have not yet decided how it will move forward.

Suncor Permit Draft Released, “Forever” Chemicals Would Be Limited 

The state could require the Suncor refinery in Commerce City to monitor and limit the runoff of dangerous forever chemicals.

According to The Colorado Sun, yesterday the state released a draft of a new water quality permit for the company, which officials say demands rigorous benzene cleanup and other controls besides the PFAS limits.

However, it’s expected that advocacy groups and neighborhood residents will ask for tougher limits during the 90-day public comment period on the proposed permit. 

Environmental Group Questions Gas Burning Plants As Denver Pledges To Switch To Renewables

The Sierra Club released a report yesterday along with community groups questioning the continued operation of gas-fired power plants in Denver. The environmental groups are pushing for the closure of the Arapahoe and Cherokee electric generating stations.

The Colorado Sun reports that the organization says Denver has pledged to be using 100% renewable electricity by 2030, but some of Xcel’s turbines at those facilities are scheduled to burn gas through 2055. The plants in question no longer burn coal, but they rank near the top of polluters in the state.