Headlines Feb. 22, 2022
Police Link Fentanyl To 5 Found Dead In Commerce City Apartment
Three women and two men found dead in a Commerce City apartment over the weekend likely died from ingesting fentanyl-laced cocaine. That’s according to 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason. Commerce City police found the victims around 3:45 PM on Sunday. Authorities have not publicly released their identities, but their ages range from 24 to 32.
Police also found a 29-year-old woman and a 4-month-old infant alive in the apartment with medical services transporting them to the hospital for treatment. According to The Denver Gazette, doctors released the infant from hospital care under the help of Child Protection Services while the woman remains hospitalized.
The deaths come as Colorado continues to deal with a surge in fentanyl overdose fatalities. Harm reduction advocates warn that many of the recent overdose deaths result from poisonings in which drug users unknowingly consume fentanyl added to a different substance of choice.
Denver Shelters Expand Capacity During Cold Snap
As the region experiences an arctic blast and snow this week, Denver area shelters have expanded their bed capacity to ensure unhoused residents stay warm. 9News Denver reports the Salvation Army, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Denver Rescue Mission, and Catholic Charities are among the Denver shelters that have expanded their capacity to prepare for this week’s cold snap.
According to 9News, the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless also has a street outreach program that will pick up people and transport them to shelters. The street paper, The Denver Voice, a publication created by unhoused individuals, has a resource list of where people can go to get help if they are experiencing displacement or homelessness. Resources are also available at the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless and the Denver Rescue Mission.
For those wishing to provide cold weather aid to those outside of Denver, SAFE or Safe Access for Everyone in Boulder and Foothills Mutual Aid Collective in Fort Collins, are accepting donations and volunteer help.
Colorado Senators Oppose Plan To Export Water From San Luis Valley
U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper hand-delivered a letter opposing a proposal from Colorado-based Renewable Water Resource (RWR) to the U.S. Department of the Interior Secretary Deb Haaland and U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack.
The Colorado Newsline reports that RWR’s proposal would take water from the San Luis Valley, which is experiencing drought conditions, to Douglas County.
The proposal has Douglas County spending part of $62.2 million of federal funding received through the American Rescue Plan Act to export approximately 20,000 acre-feet of water per year from the San Luis Valley.
The groundwater is underneath the Great Sand Dunes National Park, Baca National Wildlife Refuge and the Closed Basin Project.
Their letter says that the San Luis Valley’s drought has placed a severe demand for the valley’s residents, which includes farmers, ranchers, and business owners. Since 2005, in response to this drought, local farmers have undertaken a collaborative effort to reduce their own water use with the goal of achieving sustainability.
The senators’ letter also pointed out that the Wirth Amendment, passed in 1992, raised the standard of environmental review for the transfer of groundwater out of the basin that may negatively affect public resources.
RTD To Hold Public Information Meetings On Proposed Service Changes
The Regional Transportation District — RTD — continues to seek public input on proposed service changes. It has extended the comment period to its draft System Optimization Plan to March 9th. According to The Denver Post, the agency is emerging from pandemic restrictions by ushering in the most extensive changes to its bus network in decades.
The agency aims to restore services by 2027 to just 85% of pre-pandemic levels, up from the current restoration level roughly at 70%. The Denver Post reports the agency’s proposal includes an elimination of more than a dozen bus routes experiencing low ridership and to replace them with the on-demand, shared-ride FlexRide service.
The agency is also hosting two public meetings by zoom with the first one scheduled for Feb. 28 and a second conducted in Spanish on March 3rd.
Boulder Completes Anemone Loop Trail Construction
The City of Boulder announced last week crews have completed the construction of the new Anemone Loop Trail located west of downtown Boulder. The three-mile trail is now open for usage seven days a week. Boulder began construction on the trail in May 2020 as fulfillment of a study completed in 2011.
According to the city, helicopter crews hauled over 85 tons of stone to the site to construct steps and retaining walls. Crews also restored native vegetation surrounding the trail and constructed two spurs for users to enjoy scenic viewpoints.