Headlines – December 2, 2021

Headlines December 2, 2021


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Colorado Democratic Lawmakers Vow To Protect Abortion Rights

Democratic state lawmakers signed a proclamation yesterday to uphold Coloradans’ rights to abortion. Their plan to introduce a bill next year comes in response to a Mississippi law under debate in the Supreme Court. That law bans abortions after 15 weeks of pregnancy, and is similar to restrictions passed this summer in Texas, where most abortions are now banned after about six weeks. Abortion rights advocates worry the current Supreme Court case could overturn the landmark Roe v. Wade case of 1973.

In 1967, Colorado was the first state to make abortion a free choice. While Republican lawmakers have introduced anti-abortion measures, Colorado voters have consistently rejected them.

State Democratic lawmakers are working with local reproductive rights organizations to form legislation that would formally set abortion rights into state law. The bill is expected to be introduced in January.

Colorado Health Department Releases Ketamine Usage Recommendations

A state health department review committee has released a set of recommendations for the use of the drug ketamine in non-hospital emergency situations.

Emergency responder use of the chemical sedative has been under scrutiny since the 2019 death of 23-year-old Elijah McClain in Aurora. During an arrest, paramedics injected McClain with a large dose of ketamine. McClain went into cardiac arrest and died a few days later.

The state’s ketamine waiver program allows paramedics of emergency medical service agencies to administer ketamine when responding to various situations. The recommendations released yesterday reaffirm a state health department order rejecting excited delirium syndrome or agitation as an acceptable excuse to inject ketamine into someone. The panel’s other recommendations include dose administration based on body stature of the patient, statewide monitoring of emergency medical services, and paramedic curriculum with modalities covering patient handoff from law enforcement, racial equity and implicit bias training, and verbal de-escalation.  

The Colorado legislature passed a law earlier this year restricting the use of ketamine in emergency settings. The law requires responders to prove a medical emergency for ketamine for someone suspected of criminal behavior, to weigh a person and if that is not possible, to get a weight assessment by two trained experts, and bans police from directing medical personnel to administer the drug or influencing them.

Fentanyl Stockpile Seized In Denver-Based Drug Trafficking Sting

Federal and state officials announced the grand jury indictment of 19 people yesterday accused of felonies in connection to a multi-state drug trafficking ring based in the Denver metro area. Defendants face charges of racketeering, distribution of controlled substances, and money laundering. 

The Denver Post reports law enforcement seized 110,000 fentanyl pills, 13 pounds of meth, eight pounds of heroin, 24 pounds of cocaine, and $450,000 in cash. Along with the drugs and cash, officials also seized guns, ammunition, ballistic vests, 100-round drum magazines, and three hand grenades. 

The indictment comes as drug overdose deaths have hit record highs in Colorado and nationwide, largely fueled by the proliferation of fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid often found in counterfeit prescription pills. Eight of the 19 named defendants remain at large.

Boulder Climate Team Opens Applications For 2022 Sustainable Food System Fund 

Boulder County’s Office of Sustainability, Climate Action & Resilience is taking applications for next year’s environmental sustainability funding. Farmers, agricultural producers, the private sector, and non-profit organizations can apply for funding to accelerate and launch environmental sustainability projects that benefit Boulder County’s food system.

These regenerative agriculture practices are to increase soil nutrient levels, support local food and crop production, create a healthy ecosystem, sequester carbon, and help crops become more resistant in the face of climate change.

Any registered business, official non-profit organization, or government entity can apply for funding. Pending Boulder County Commissioner formal board approval of the 2022 budget, $405,000 has been set aside for sustainability-focused initiatives.

The voter-approved Sustainability Tax supports the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Fund. Last year, Boulder awarded $305,000 to 11 farms and organizations that were chosen from 58 applications.

Those interested in applying must submit application materials by Jan. 5, 2022 for consideration. To apply, visit boco.org/SustainableFoodAgFund

Boulder King Soopers To Reopen In January

The grocery store chain King Soopers announced plans to reopen its Table Mesa location in South Boulder, which was the site of a mass shooting in March. The store, a Boulder fixture for almost 50 years, has been under renovation since the massacre of ten people. Boulder Mayor Aaron Brockett told The Denver Post that the January 20th reopening was “an important milestone for the community.”

According to King Soopers representatives, about half of the employees will return. The company held hiring events in November to staff the store ahead of its reopening.

The shooting suspect has undergone two psychiatric evaluations to determine if he is mentally competent to stand trial. A status update regarding the alleged shooter’s second evaluation is set for tomorrow.