Headlines — May 17, 2022

May 17, 2022

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Denver Bans Concealed Of Firearms At City Buildings And Parks

The Denver City Council passed an ordinance Monday to ban the concealed carry of firearms at city facilities and parks. The ordinance prohibits guns in libraries, rec centers, museums, parks and concert venues, including Red Rocks. 

Council members passed the measure 9-3, with council members Kevin Flynn, Candi CdeBaca and Jamie Torres opposed.

According to the Denver Post, officials expect the law will take effect once crews post signs at city buildings and around the city’s parks. 

The advocacy group Colorado Ceasefire notes Denver is the first city to pass restrictions on firearms after the Colorado legislature repealed most of its preemption on local firearms prohibitions in the wake of the mass shooting at King Soopers. 

The cities of Boulder and Louisville are considering other local measures to limit the carry of  firearms in public spaces.

Investigators Allege Partner Of Ousted Aurora Police Chief Falsified Child Abuse Claim

Investigators with the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office are alleging the partner of fired Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson called in a fabricated child abuse hotline tip against Aurora Council member Danielle Jurinsky, an outspoken critic of the former police chief.   

According to the arrest warrant issued Monday, Robin Niceta is facing charges of retaliation against an elected official and making a false report of child abuse. Investigators claim Niceta called in an anonymous tip claiming Jurinsky abused her two-year-old son at restaurants she owns and during a holiday party for employees. 

The Arapahoe County Department of Human Services, the same agency where Niceta worked as a caseworker, received the anonymous call on January 28th, the day after Jurinsky appeared on a radio talk show and issued critical comments about the police chief including a comment that Chief Vanessa Wilson is “trash”.

The Department of Human Services found no wrongdoing by Jurinsky in February. 

Arapahoe County law enforcement eventually picked up the matter in April to determine who made the false report and, as part of their investigation, interviewed Jurinsky and others. 

The Arapahoe County Attorney and the Arapahoe District Attorney’s office traced the number of the anonymous caller to Niceta’s cell phone and law enforcement recovered additional information from Niceta’s electronic devices and from her cell phone records, showing strong evidence of her involvement with the fabrication.

Niceta resigned from her position without explanation on May 4th, the day after law enforcement interviewed Niceta about the incident.

State Approves Boulder Valley School District Request For Elementary Reading Curriculum Extension

The Boulder Valley School District has received a deadline extension for shifting its reading curriculum for K through 3rd grade students. Classrooms across the state are preparing to replace the reading curriculum for elementary grades Kindergarten through 3rd grade. 

The 2019 READ Act requires districts to use a so-called evidence- backed reading curriculum to teach students. However, some school districts – including the one in Boulder Valley – have successfully appealed to state regulators for more time. 

One concern brought up by BVSD administrators is that funding such large replacements for supplies and training can be difficult without providing the funds for such a significant change. Teachers have also expressed that the curriculum shift compounds disruption and stress from factors that include the pandemic, the Marshall Fire and the King Soopers tragedy. 

A few state-rejected programs have been used in elementary schools and are criticized by experts for encouraging students to guess at words rather than sounding them out. 

In the fall, BVSD’s reading department plans to solicit feedback on these new programs. They will also include discussions with educators from culturally diverse backgrounds and from the district’s Dyslexia Advisory Team.

Longmont City Council To Consider Library Funding Options And Models

The Longmont City Council will discuss alternative funding for the city’s library during tonight’s work session. This comes after the release of a consultant’s report that indicates a library district or annexation into the High Plains Library District could be sustainable options for the city’s library.

During the consultation process, Longmont residents also stressed that if the city does not want to increase its library funding, the city should then support a different funding model and library service operation. 

Other funding models proposed by residents include a county-or-city-governed Early Childhood Education District, a county library, a city-governed Cultural District, or a joint library system with the St Vrain Valley School District. 

Longmont’s consideration of new funding models comes shortly after Boulder City Council and the county commission failed to agree to form a Boulder Library District. The advocacy group Boulder Library Champions reports its members have collected enough signatures to put a library district question to voters on this year’s fall election ballot along with asking voters for a dedicated property tax of up to 3.5 mills.