Headlines – December 15, 2021

Headlines December 15, 2021


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Heavy Damaging Winds Expected in Area

The National Weather Service is forecasting very strong winds to hit Colorado today, including the metro area, and gusts could reach hurricane-force, as high as 100 miles per hour in the foothills. Almost the entire eastern part of the state will be under a high wind warning lasting until about 5 PM.The winds result from a storm system moving in from the Pacific.

The Boulder County Sheriff’s Office said that Stage 1 fire restrictions are in place in western parts of the county and no open burning is allowed in the eastern parts. Authorities ask residents to avoid any outdoor activities that could cause a spark.

The Sheriff’s Office said that people should already have secured loose outdoor items like lawn furniture and holiday decorations. According to 9News, Xcel energy has staged workers in places to get electricity back on as quickly as possible in case winds cause power outages. Drivers should plan for delays and be prepared for obstacles on roads, blowing dust, and lower visibility.

COVID-19 Deaths Pass 10,000 in Colorado 

The state of Colorado passed a tragic milestone yesterday as more than 10,000 people have died in the state from COVID-19. State health officials report unvaccinated individuals made up almost 75 percent of Colorado’s deaths in October. The elderly and those with a weakened immune system are also continuing to die despite inoculation.

The U.S. passed 800,000 deaths, with more occurring this year than in 2020.

The virus conditions in the state appear to be improving. Cases of positive tests and hospitalizations are dropping, but are still higher than they were during the first surge in the spring of last year.A spokesperson for Governor Jared Polis said in an email to Colorado Politics that it is now largely a pandemic of the unvaccinated who are at high risk of hospitalization from the virus.

Boulder City Council Passes New Oil and Gas Rules 

The Boulder City Council passed new oil and gas regulations that will apply to the few areas in the city available for development. The Daily Camera reports that the new rules go into effect immediately and will be in place as the city’s moratorium on oil and gas development ends this year.

Boulder County Commissioners Hear Prairie Dog Update

The Boulder County Commissioners heard an annual update last night about prairie dogs, and its moratorium that prohibits extermination of the animals in certain areas for three months starting March 1.

The Daily Camera reports that many residents said lifting the moratorium on lethal prairie dog control is well overdue.  Officials discussed their hope to have the prohibition rescinded.

If the moratorium is lifted, the county could use direct lethal control in areas that are determined not suitable for the animals. Public comments on changes to the county’s policy can be made starting today and will be presented to the Parks and Open Space Advisory Committee at the end of January.

Challenge To State’s Paid Family Leave Program Dismissed 

A lawsuit that challenged Colorado’s new Paid Family and Medical Leave Insurance Program has been dismissed.

Voters passed the insurance in the 2020 election with 58 percent support. The program provides 12 weeks of leave funded from payroll contributions shared equally between employers and workers.

The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports that a construction company partially owned by one of the county’s commissioners filed the lawsuit in Mesa County. They claimed the new program was unconstitutional. But Judge Michael Martinez in Denver disagreed and ruled that the act is not subject to the TABOR amendment because it is not an income tax law.

EPA Funding For Longmont And Wheat Ridge Businesses 

Some small businesses in Colorado will receive funding from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop new technologies for public health and environmental problems.

The agency announced TDA Research in Wheat Ridge and CleanRobotics in Longmont are among 30 companies across the country that are using innovative approaches to sort waste, capture airborne bacteria and viruses, and map methane concentrations.