Headlines Feb. 10, 2022
Denver Schools To Lift Mask Mandates
Denver health officials announced Wednesday that they won’t be requiring masks in schools and childcare facilities starting February 25th. Officials cited a decline in COVID cases and higher rates of immunity. However, Denver Public Schools superintendent, Alex Marrero, emailed parents strongly encouraging students to continue to wear their masks.
The county of Denver allowed its mask mandate for most indoor spaces to expire on February 4th. About 80% of Denver residents over the age of five have at least one dose of the vaccine.
JeffCo School Leaders Get Mask-Related Threat
Jefferson County officials reported an incident involving a threat against the superintendent and district leadership regarding masks. According to 9News, an unknown person left a voicemail prompting school board members to secure the building where that day’s council meeting was being held. The meeting was closed to the public, but was live streamed. The school district announced last week that masks will not be required starting February 18th.
Fenberg Chosen For Colorado Senate President
Senate Democrats chose Senate majority leader Steve Fenberg as the next president of the Colorado Senate. Fenberg’s selection needs approval by the full Senate, though Republicans don’t have enough votes to oppose it. Fenberg will replace current chamber leader, Pueblo Democrat Leroy Garcia, who is resigning to take a post at the Pentagon.
Coal Mine Fire Cleanup Funding
Colorado will receive $10 million in infrastructure money to battle decades old coal seam fires. The infrastructure funds will more than triple the annual coal mine cleanup budget. The Colorado Sun reports that the state will allocate the new funding toward combating seam fires like those on the Marshall Mesa and in Glenwood Springs that have caused brush fires in the past.
Jeff Graves, director of Active and Inactive Mines in the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety said the new funding could add $10 million a year for up to 15 years for Colorado.
Colorado has monitored dozens of coal seam fires around the state for decades. State officials are currently using mitigation methods, including gravel dumps into open vents, excavating burning coal to separate smoldering material from other fuel, and by injecting either firefighting foam or grout to build containment walls for the underground burning.
Front Range fire officials are investigating coal fires from old mines in Marshall Mesa as a potential cause of last month’s Marshall fire.
Hydro-Mulch Work To Begin In Marshall Fire Burn Areas
Starting this week, Boulder County workers will begin applying an organic, non-toxic mulch, called hydro-mulch around properties destroyed by the Marshall Fire. The mixture helps prevent potential toxins in ash and debris from becoming airborne, or polluting waterways.
Residents are not required to receive the mulch application and can still contact Boulder County to opt-in or out. County workers will start the application process to properties once they have been sifted for valuables.
The county is also asking property owners to list personal items on a right-of-entry form so that debris removal contractors can look for the items during cleanups. The deadline for submitting the right-of-entry form is February 14th.
Arrest Warrant Issued For Mesa County Clerk
Grand Junction police issued a new arrest warrant for Mesa County Clerk and Recorder Tina Peters over alleged obstruction of a peace officer.The Mesa County DA’s office sought to obtain Peter’s iPad as part of an investigation into allegations that Peters illegally recorded a court hearing. Police detained the Republican clerk at a bagel shop on Tuesday while investigators tried to get her iPad.
Officers say Peters actively resisted handing over the iPad and kicked a police officer during her brief detention Tuesday. The officers later released Peters, who complained of injuries to her wrists. A grand jury recently investigated Peters for allegations of election equipment tampering and official misconduct in Mesa County.
College Scholarship Applications Open For Denver Immigrant Youth
The nation’s largest college access program opened applications this week for Denver area immigrant youth. TheDream.US welcomes applications for immigrant students who came to the country prior to age 16, before November 1st of 2016, regardless of their DACA or Temporary Protective Status. The scholarship is open to undocumented first-time college students and community college grads living in Colorado. Chosen candidates can receive over $35,000 to use for tuition, school supplies and other fees required to get a bachelor’s degree. The application deadline is February 28th.
Colorado Pays Rancher For Cattle Killed By Wolves
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is paying a local rancher for cattle killed by wolves. According to the Coloradoan, they pay ranch owners for other wildlife-caused destruction to their property, such as mountain lions killing goats and elk eating hay, but that this situation was the first of its kind.
The organization paid Rancher Don Gittleson of Jackson County $1,800 for an Angus calf killed by a wolf pack in December. Gittleson says he is also expecting payment for two pregnant heifers, that the same pack of wolves killed in January.
Park officials say the pack migrated to Colorado from Wyoming. Laws passed in recent years support gray wolf reintroduction and earmark funds to reimburse livestock depredation. Last spring, six wolf pups were born in Colorado – possibly the first litter born in the state in 80 years.