Headlines Feb. 25, 2022
Polis Urges Energy Independence As Ukrainians Rally Against Putin
Ukrainians living in Colorado rallied in solidarity outside the state Capitol Thursday as Russian troops waged war on their homeland. Governor Jared Polis released a statement condemning Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the Ukraine. He offered support to the thousands of Ukrainians living in the state, saying that quote “Colorado stands on the side of freedom.”
Polis said he and other federal leaders are urging Congress to suspend the federal gas tax and push forward with renewable energy to prevent severe economic fallout. Polis stated that clean resources would insure energy independence from volatile world affairs.
Polis pledged to restrict Colorado’s state resources from supporting the Russian government or Russian state-owned companies.
In a separate statement, Colorado Treasurer Dave Young said his department reviewed the state’s investment portfolio and found no Russian-owned assets.
Colorado Joins Rocky Mountain State Push For Hydrogen Hub
Colorado and three other Rocky Mountain states are seeking federal funding for a regional hydrogen hub to meet climate change goals.
Governor Jared Polis and the governors of New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming announced plans to compete for $8 billion of funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
Polis created a clean hydrogen plan in 2021 to process and store the alternative fuel. The state’s greenhouse gas reduction plan targets a 50 percent decrease in emissions by 2030 and a 90 percent reduction by 2050.
Denver Public Schools Avoid Layoff With Pandemic Relief Funds
Denver public schools said that it received $16 million for schools in the 2021-22 school year from the federal government. The Denver Post reports that the schools also received and used an additional $3 million last semester in relief money to avoid laying off employees as declining student enrollment cut into school budgets.
Along with fewer students, DPS is facing nurse, bus driver, food service and teacher shortages. They will use $6.5 million next school year to help staff schools but, in the long term, the district will need to downsize.
Recently, the district placed a hiring freeze on vacancies in its central office and said it will cut the number of executive-level positions. It plans to have employees in senior leadership positions reapply for their jobs. A committee made up of families and other community members will determine criteria in coming years to decide which schools need to close.
Multiple Arrests At Union Station
Denver Police arrested over 40 people at Union Station’s bus terminal on Thursday, as part of a large scale operation to arrest people with outstanding warrants and those engaging in illegal activities.
In December, RTD announced it was taking action to curb activities such as drug use in bathrooms. Thursday’s arrests included 10 felony charges, such as dealing drugs. The other arrests were for misdemeanor warrants and drug possession.
Since January 1st, police have made over 500 arrests at the station.
New Metering System For I-25
The Colorado Department of Transportation will begin monitoring a pilot system Monday that’s expected to reduce traffic congestion on a portion of I-25.
The Smart 25 Pilot Project is the first of its kind in North America and is modeled after a successful system in Australia. There, the system increased traffic flow by 25 percent and speeds improved by up to 60 percent during rush hour equivalent to an additional lane.
The system uses vehicle detectors and times green lights according to vehicle speeds and the number of cars waiting to get on the freeway to optimize vehicle wait time.