Headlines — May 18, 2022

May 18, 2022

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Boulder Loses Top Spot in “Best Cities” Ranking

Boulder has lost its top spot in the U.S. News and World Report rankings of best places to live in the U.S. Boulder held the top spot for two years in a row but dropped to #4 in the new list released Tuesday. The more affordable Colorado Springs has surpassed Boulder to take a  #2 ranking. Denver and Fort Collins plummeted to 54 and 55 respectively on the list.

Dramatic Rent Increases Continue In Denver Metro Area

Denver saw an average increase of over 14 percent in rent prices in the last year, according to the University of Denver and the Apartment Association of Metro Denver. Their survey found average apartment rents are now at $1,765 a month. 

A different analysis by real estate tech company Zillow found year-over-year home prices in Denver Metro shot up by 42 percent.

Caleb Dickinson, co-owner of Fox Property Management in Louisville, told 9News that occupancy rates are currently 96%. This means rent and home prices will continue to rise. 

The hikes in housing costs come as inflation in prices of other consumer goods – from groceries to gas – are pinching the pockets of many workers and far outpacing cost-of-living wage increases.

Denver Metro Averaging Nearly 100 Stolen Cars A Day

According to a new report released by The Colorado Metropolitan Auto Theft Task Force or “C-MATT,” theft of motor vehicles has increased by 24% in the first quarter of the year. On average, nearly 100 vehicles are stolen each day in the Denver metro area. 3,290 have been stolen this year. Arapahoe County is second for rates of stolen vehicles with 1,931 vehicles, and Adams County is third with 1,685 vehicles stolen.

When asked why so many vehicles are being stolen, Mike Greenwell of C-MATT said, “We’re arresting the same people and putting them in jail and then re-arresting them.” Because of court delays and overcrowded jails, officials have eased penalties for car thieves charging them with fines, probation, or even dismissing the charges, said Greenwell.

Paraprofessionals In Denver Public Schools Are Calling For A Wage Increase

On Monday, about two hundred district employees, parents, and community members rallied at Valdez Elementary in Denver demanding that Denver Public Schools raise pay for “paraprofessionals” to $20/hr. 

Paraprofessionals are individuals who provide support and instruction beyond that done by teachers.

DPS pays paraprofessionals less than $16 an hour and many reports leaving their jobs or having to work two jobs. At the rally, one district worker said her daughter qualifies for free lunches despite being a district employee. 

During the 2021-22 school year, DPS temporarily moved three schools online because of staffing shortages. In a statement, the district said that the “superintendent is committed to increasing salaries” and “looks forward to continued discussion.”

Breckenridge Contractor Fined Half A Million Dollars In Safety Violations 

This week the Department Of Labor found a Breckenridge Contractor willfully exposed workers to trench hazards after a building caved in on three workers–one who could not escape and suffered fatal injuries.

OSHA, or the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, fined A4S Construction close to half a million dollars in safety and building violations and placed the company in the “severe violator enforcement program.”

An investigation found the trenches at the building site had caved in on three previous occasions. The company failed to put in trench protections and exposed workers to “serious hazards,” said a press release. 

A4S has 15 days to pay fines and meet with OSHA. According to an OSHA press release, “from 2011 to 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that 166 workers died in trench collapses. In 2019, OSHA reports at least 24 workers died while working on trenching and excavation projects with all of them preventable had required safety measures been taken.”

Free Chautauqua Shuttle And Satellite Parking Begin May 28

 Beginning May 28, a Chautauqua Park-to-Park shuttle service will start back up and will be free for everybody. The service allows people to park at two designated locations so that they can get picked up by a shuttle and dropped off at Chautauqua Park. These locations are the New Vista High School parking lot and the CU Regent Parking Lot. Riders can also get picked up Downtown.

The shuttle will run from 8 AM to 8 PM every weekend and on summer holidays as well.

The City of Boulder reinstated the program as a means for locals to have access to a cheaper, stress-free way to travel to Chautauqua Park without struggling to find parking or worrying about taking a large group of people.

Baby Born Miles Above Earth During Flight From Denver To Orlando

A baby was born on a Frontier Airlines flight from Denver to Orlando. While mid-flight, the mother went into labor and began giving birth. Flight attendant Diana Giraldo then proceeded to assist the woman while she was giving birth. She was noted as being “exemplary” and “calm” by Captain Chris Nye, who was the pilot for the flight. The mother fittingly chose the middle name “Sky” for the baby as a result of the incident.