Headlines — January 11, 2022

Headlines Jan. 11, 2022

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King Soopers Union Rejects Mediation, Company Claims Unfair Practices

Negotiations remain strife between King Soopers management and the union representing employees of the company’s Front Range stores. Over 8,000 workers at dozens of stores plan on striking tomorrow beginning at 5am. Union members are demanding better pay and working conditions.

The United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 rejected a proposal by the company yesterday to have a federal mediator brought in for contract talks alleging it would not be productive and demanded the company negotiate directly with its workers.

The company shot back with its own resistance yesterday, saying it filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board accusing the union of unfair labor practices. Company representatives say the union is refusing to bargain in good faith.

Representative Perlmutter Will Not Seek Reelection

United States Representative Ed Perlmutter of Colorado’s 7th Congressional District announced yesterday he will not seek another term. Perlmutter, a Democrat, said in a statement it is time for him to move on and explore other opportunities. Perlmutter entered Congress in 2006.

The announcement comes as the boundaries of the 7th Congressional District will change for the upcoming election. As part of the once-a-decade redistricting process, the state’s inaugural independent redistricting commission redrew the district last year to cover more rural regions.

Political analysts predict the new district is less favorable to Democrats, but still has a significant partisan lean based on recent voting and registration data. Perlmutter said in a statement he thinks Democrats will continue to win in his district.

Boulder County Public Health Urges Extra Precautions Amid Case Surge

The Boulder County Health Department reports nearly 1 in 4 individuals have tested positive with COVID-19 in the county as of yesterday. The rates for the past two weeks are the highest since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Health officials attribute the surge to the highly transmissible omicron variant.

According to the county’s health officials, positive cases are climbing in nearly every age group, with positive cases increasing over 82% for people in the age group of 23 to 34. The county’s reported tallies are for the date range from December 20th to January 10th.

Health officials are urging community members to get fully vaccinated, including flu and booster vaccines, wear a snug fitting high quality multi layer mask, increase airflow and ventilation, avoid large gatherings, and to get tested and isolate if sick.

FEMA Awards Colorado Millions More For COVID Response

The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced yesterday it has awarded Colorado more than $19 million in additional public assistance funding for the state’s COVID-19 response. The federal government made the funding available under the major disaster declaration issued in March 2020. Under the additional funding, the state health department will contract communication services to inform the public about the COVID-19 vaccine.

The public assistance includes translation and language services, media campaigns, temporary staffing, disease modeling, general supplies and materials, and contractor support for modeling efforts, behavioral assessments and consulting. FEMA has awarded Colorado more than $1.6 billion in public assistance for the COVID-19 response to date.

Denver City Council Approves Further Funding For DIA Great Hall Project

The Denver City Council voted 10 to 3 last evening approving contracts with construction and architectural firms that will aim to complete the long delayed and over budget Great Hall Project at the Denver International Airport. The approved contracts will allocate $1.1 billion of additional funding towards the renovation of the airport’s main terminal.

Council members Candi CdeBaca, Paul Kashmann, and Amanda Sawyer voted no and argued the council process was too rushed and urged a third-party review of the contracts. Council members in favor argued the contracts could not wait because of the current state of the airport.

The main terminal renovation began in 2018, with completion targeted for 2021. Airport officials halted the project in 2019 after they fired the original contractor. Crews recently completed phase one of the renovation in November and are attempting to complete phase two by mid 2024. Airport officials are projecting the third and final phase of the renovation will be completed by the summer of 2028.

According to the Denver Gazette, the first two phases have cost the airport $770 million.

Nebraska Governor Announces Plan To Divert Colorado Water

Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts claims that a 99-year-old agreement allows Nebraska to seize access to Colorado land along the South Platte River and build canals.

The Associated Press reports that Ricketts said Nebraska would invoke its rights under the South Platte River Compact because of concerns that Colorado has plans that could reduce water flows into his state by as much as 90%.

Colorado had released a report this month that identified 282 new projects within the Colorado side of the South Platte River Basin. The compact, approved in 1923, is a water-sharing agreement between the states that entitles Nebraska to a specified amount of water from the South Platte River.