Headlines November 9, 2021
Denver City Council Approves Federal COVID-19 Spending
The Denver City Council approved a plan last night to spend nearly a third of its pandemic recovery funds designated under the American Rescue Plan Act. The Denver Gazette reports plans for the funding include close to $74 million for housing and homelessness, community recovery, and business recovery.
Just over $25 million will restore services among the city’s 15 plus agencies and $1.3 million will go to contract support to assure fund compliance. The approval passed by a 12 to 1 vote, with councilperson Amanda Sawyer voting no.
Sawyer told The Denver Gazette she voted no as the plan delegates $4 million for managed homeless camps, which is something she said her district feels strongly about and is not a long-term solution.
Spending of the funding will begin in 2022.
Last night, the city council also approved Mayor Hancock’s $1.49 billion budget for 2022 with a no vote coming from councilperson Candi CdeBaca. Cdebaca voted against all 14 proposed budget amendments.
Governor Polis Announces Emergency Spending For Psychiatric Youth Treatment Beds
Governor Polis is funding $12 million in emergency money, effective immediately, to Colorado’s youth mental health crisis. The Colorado Sun reports that 22 out of the 23 state’s district attorneys say there is a shortage of beds for kids in distress who’ve been arrested but don’t fit the criteria to go to a detention center.
The nearly $12 million in emergency discretionary funds comes from federal COVID-19 aid and is expected to create 45 additional youth treatment beds. Officials estimate that there are around 50 kids in Colorado waiting for a bed in a psychiatric hospital or a residential center.
Another spending measure is for kids who’ve been accused of less serious crimes and, under the law, cannot be sent to a detention center. The money helps support the cost of living with a family, a suitable adult, or a shelter.
Federal stimulus funds are headed for adult mental health, as well. The money will be to house adults who have been found incompetent to face criminal charges because of mental illness.
Justice Department Sues Over Looted Goods At Denver Art Museum
The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York filed a civil complaint yesterday to recover four Cambodian antiquities that make up part of the Denver Art Museum’s collection.
According to the complaint filed on behalf of the United States Government, the pieces were stolen and fraudulently sold to the Denver Art Museum by a now deceased art dealer, Douglas Latchford.
The Denver Post reports federal prosecutors charged Latchford in 2019 with a host of crimes associated with the pillaging and illegal selling of ancient artifacts. Latchford died in 2020, having never stood trial for the charges.
The government’s forfeiture stems from last month’s published investigation by a team of international journalists, dubbed as the Pandora Papers, which revealed how the world’s powerful and rich hide and shield assets.
The Pandora Papers identified at least 27 relics tied to Latchford that are still sitting in museums around the world. The Denver Art Museum has six of the relics – four from Cambodia and two from Thailand. According to The Denver Post, museum officials welcomed the news of the government’s lawsuit and will await the next step in the process to transfer the artifacts The museum is reportedly still conducting research on the two objects from Thailand.
Arvada Officer Gets Off After Killing “Good Samaritan” Who Stopped Active Shooter
First Judicial District Attorney Alexis King announced yesterday Arvada officer Kraig Brownlow will not face criminal charges for mistakenly shooting and killing Johnny Hurley who stopped an active shooter in Old Town Arvada last summer.
On June 21st, Brownlow fatally shot Hurley, who was holding the rifle of the active shooter Hurley had just shot. According to The Denver Post, the shooter, Ronald Troyke, had one minute earlier ambushed and killed Arvada police officer Gordon Beesley and fired several rounds in the busy dining and shopping district.
King said in her announcement that Brownlow had objectively reasonable grounds to believe he and others were in imminent danger of being killed, and that Brownlow’s decision to shoot Hurley was legally justified despite Hurley’s heroic actions.
Prescribed Burn Planned Today For Hall Ranch
Fire crews from Boulder County Parks and Open Space, and the Sheriff’s Office Fire Management Program will conduct a prescribed burn on 20-40 acres of Hall Ranch, west of Lyons, today. If there is suitable weather, fire crews plan to black-line the Nelson Loop project area to prepare for a larger scale burn planned this winter.
According to the county’s press release, black-lining is a firefighting technique that burns fuel next to containment lines such as roads and trails. Smoke and flames may be visible for days to weeks following today’s burn and there may be heavy smoke in the air. According to county officials, crews will monitor areas to ensure the fires are completely out.