Headlines — April 7, 2022

Headlines April 7, 2022

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Elijah McClain’s Mother Condemns Ouster Of Aurora Police Chief

Aurora city officials fired reformist Police Chief Vanessa Wilson Wednesday. The city hired Wilson in 2020 in the wake of the death of Elijah McClain, a young black man who died after police put him into a now-illegal choke hold and paramedics administered a heavy dose of a powerful sedative.

Wilson’s lawyers say conservative city council members who did not agree with her policy changes wanted to damage her reputation. Aurora City Manager Jim Twombly gave no specific reason for firing Wilson, but was under increasing pressure from the council. McClain’s mother, Shereen McClain, told The Sentinel that the police department of Aurora, “has a history of killing people and justifying it with their rules. She was cleaning it up and they got rid of her.” 

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser says the consent decree requiring police reforms in Aurora will continue with the next police chief.

Wind Farm Company Pleads Guilty To 150 Eagle Deaths

A federal judge ordered ESI Energy, a renewable energy company, to pay over $8 million dollars in fines and restitution after at least 150 eagles were killed at its wind farms. The farms are located in eight states, including Colorado. ESI representatives pleaded guilty to criminal charges, which include three counts of violating the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Prosecutors say most of the eagles were struck by wind turbine blades. ESI is a subsidiary of NextEra Energy, one of the largest U.S. providers of renewable energy.

New Tarmac Boarding For Frontier

Denver International Airport proposed a plan to allow Frontier Airlines to board and de-plane passengers on the tarmac instead of through a jet way. The airport would spend over $180 million dollars to expand a ground loading area in Concourse A. Denver-based Frontier would get exclusive use of 14 gates. Officials say ground boarding is more efficient and would save Frontier money. Passengers can load at two airplane doors simultaneously. That means more planes scheduled per day. If approved, the plan would commit Frontier to an unusually long 10-year lease.

Conspiracy Trial Against DaVita Former CEO Opens In Denver

Jurors in Denver heard opening statements on a federal criminal conspiracy trial that is charging a CEO and company for non-poaching agreements. 

This unprecedented criminal conspiracy trial is the first time a CEO and company have been criminally charged for non-poaching agreements under the 132-year-old Sherman Anti-Trust Act. The Denver Post reports that the trial that started Monday and held in U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado, and the proceedings and outcome are expected to resonate nationally.

Attorneys focus on whether DaVita Incorporated’s former CEO Kent Thiry violated federal antitrust law when he agreed with three competitors not to recruit each other’s workers.

Prosecutors argued that the agreements were criminal and stymied competition, thus limiting DaVita employees’ ability to land new jobs and advance their careers. Defense attorneys admitted the agreements existed but said they were not illegal, did not limit the free market and in some cases increased competitive opportunities for DaVita employees.

DaVita and Thiry were indicted last year on three conspiracy counts. The indictment alleges DaVita and three other companies agreed not to actively recruit each other’s employees at various times between 2012 and 2019.

Thiry had moved the headquarters of DaVita, one of the country’s largest providers of kidney dialysis services, from El Segundo, California, to Denver in 2009.

 

Boulder Bus Stuck In Sinkhole

Emergency crews were called in after a bus fell into a sinkhole in Boulder on Wednesday. Police say the bus hit a pothole after a water main burst at the intersection of Arapahoe and Commerce Streets. The broken pipe was about a foot in diameter and flooded the street. The six passengers on the bus were evacuated without injuries. The bus was towed out safely and the water had mostly receded by early evening. Boulder Police closed westbound Arapahoe at 55th Street and are asking drivers to avoid the area.

South Boulder Shanahan Ridge Fire Quickly Contained 

On Wednesday afternoon a brush fire ignited near the north fork of the Shanahan Trailhead, just south of the NCAR burn area. The Boulder Fire Rescue closed off all hiking trails in the area which remained closed throughout the night.

Boulder Fire Rescue brought the fire to 100% containment after an hour–burning only 0.6 acres according to a post sent out by Boulder Fire Rescue. Personnel from both Boulder Fire Rescue, and the Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks service will monitor the area for any additional fires including areas that burned during the NCAR fire where firefighters continue to monitor hotspots

Red Flag Warning In Effect Through Thursday

Gusty winds and critical fire weather will continue today, according to the National Weather Service. Red Flag conditions are expected. Officials warn against burning or doing outdoor activities that might produce a spark.