Headlines December 6, 2021
King Soopers Shooting Suspect Found To Be Mentally Incompetent
The suspect in the Boulder King Soopers shooting last March that killed 10 people has been found to be incompetent to stand for trial. Boulder District Chief Judge Ingrid Bakke ordered Ahmad Alissa to undergo treatment at the Colorado Mental Health Institute in Pueblo.
Alissa’s attorneys had raised the issue of his competence and his ability to assist in his own defense. Subsequent evaluations found that he was not fit to go forward.
The Daily Camera reports that at a hearing on Friday District Attorney Michael Dougherty said four doctors had now reached the same conclusion; however, based on the evaluations, it appears that Alissa could be restored to competence with the right medication and treatment.
Judge Bakke ordered that she be updated every thirty days and scheduled a review hearing for March 15.
Polis Expresses Frustration about Vaccine Misinformation
On Friday, Colorado Governor Jared Polis criticized those who are spreading misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines. The governor’s remarks came as he addressed the legislature’s Joint Budget Committee.
Polis said that he is frustrated about the misinformation and blames it for endangering public health, filling hospitals with those who are unvaccinated and, in many cases, killing Coloradans. The governor said he was proud that 80 percent of those in the state have been vaccinated. However, the Denver Post reports that close to 30 percent in the state remain unvaccinated
Health officials are reporting several thousand new cases every day and as of last Thursday, only about 400 general hospital beds were available in the state and under 70 intensive care beds.
In his remarks about his budget for Colorado’s next fiscal year, the governor said that he is doubling down on his commitment to put more money in people’s paychecks.
Colorado Politics reports that members of the Joint Budget Committee quizzed him on why he wasn’t putting more money into higher education and how he intends to address the looming budget deficit.
Omicron Variant Confirmed in Boulder County
The first case in Boulder County of the omicron variant of the coronavirus was confirmed on Friday. Boulder County Public Health said that a male who had traveled to South Africa tested positive.
The man is isolating and health officials are notifying people who had close contact with him.
On Thursday, the state health department said that an adult woman was the first confirmed case of the omicron variant in the state. She had traveled to various countries in southern Africa where omicron was first identified.
The omicron variant has now been detected in at least 17 states.
Vaccine Mandate Protests in Boulder County
On Saturday about 200 people protested in Boulder over the requirement for vaccine passports for indoor settings. The Daily Camera reports that the rally started outside Governor Polis’s condominium near Pearl Street.
There were also protests against vaccine requirements in Longmont. However, it’s not clear how many of the protesters both in Boulder and Longmont are actually residents of Boulder County.
According to the state health department 88 percent of those in the county who are eligible have received at least one dose of vaccine. And a recent high-profile attempt to force a recall of three Boulder Valley School Board members over their support of public health measures in schools failed when petitioners were unable to get the necessary signatures to put it on the ballot.
Carjacking Attempt Reported on Flagstaff Road
A woman reported that two men attempted to carjack her in Boulder on Saturday. The incident occurred early in the morning around Realization Point in the 3400 block of Flagstaff Road. The woman said that two young men approached her as she was walking out of a parking lot.
One of the men showed a rifle and demanded the keys to her car but fled on foot when she said she would not hand them over. She was not injured. The police used a drone to look for the suspects, but they were not located.
Fires Break Out as Windy and Dry Conditions Continue
The warm, dry and windy conditions led to the outbreak of wildfires yesterday. In Clear Creek county near Idaho Springs, the Miners Candle Fire was about 50 percent contained. At least two structures were destroyed but no injuries were reported. The fire quickly spread over about 20 acres due to high winds. And evacuations were ordered.
Another fire in southern Jefferson County near Ken Caryl Valley burned about six acres on Sunday. 9News reports it’s named the West Ranch Fire, and was not threatening any structures.
And a grass fire in Denver burned about seven acres in the Lowry neighborhood Sunday afternoon. Firefighters were able to contain it before any structures were affected.
The Denver metro area including Boulder is now considered to be in extreme drought conditions according to the National Drought Monitor. The worsening conditions occur as the area has long gone without measurable snow for record periods of time and has experienced high temperatures.