May 23, 2022
COVID Cases Trending Upward In Colorado
COVID cases in Colorado are making a comeback after a sustained dip coming out of the initial Omicron wave. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment data shows a steady upward climb in confirmed cases in recent weeks. The BA.2 Omicron sub-variant has dominated sequenced samples since late March.
Late last week, the state health department extended a public health order to require face coverings in healthcare settings and in congregate facilities like homeless shelters and jails. The order remains in effect until June 18.
State health officials have also begun administering COVID-19 booster doses to children 5-11 years old after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voted last week to recommend third Pfizer doses for that age group.
Final 25 Thousand People Have Power Back After A Late-Season Storm Knocked Power Out
A spring snowstorm left about 200 thousand residents around the Denver metro area without power this weekend. According to a tweet from the official Xcel Energy twitter, the heavy snow weighed down tree branches and knocked out power for residents and businesses across Denver and Boulder.
By Saturday more than a 1,000 crews had turned power back on for 185,000 residents–leaving 25,000 residents in the dark until Sunday evening.
According to a press release, all residents should have power restored. If your power is not back on today, they ask you to please call 1-800-895-1999.
Federal Judge Vacates Fracking Plan For Western Colorado
On Friday, a U.S. District Court judge struck down a federal plan that would have allowed 35 new fracking wells across 35,000 acres of Colorado’s Western Slopes. The order came from a lawsuit filed in 2021 by conservation and climate groups. They say the U.S. Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service failed to evaluate how fracking might cause possible water and climate pollution.
The North Fork Mancos Master Development Plan would have covered parts of the Grand Mesa, Uncompahgre and Gunnison national forests. Opponents of the plan say the judge’s order is a victory for a biologically and economically diverse area.
U.S. land and forest officials will have to start the process of analysis again if they want to form a new fracking plan.
Two People Dead After Plane Crash In Broomfield Neighborhood
On Sunday, two people died when a single-engine plane crashed in Broomfield. The Piper PA32 plane came down in near Lowell Blvd and Las Brisas Drive in the Anthem Ranch neighborhood. According to North Metro Fire, no homes or vehicles were hit.
The plane took off from the Erie Municipal Airport with an unknown destination. Federal aviation authorities are investigating the cause of the crash.
It was the second fatal plane crash in the region in as many weeks.
Boulder County Considers Accessory Dwelling Units
Boulder County may allow victims of the Marshall fire to build Accessory Dwelling Units as they redevelop their properties. The expanded building codes would apply to properties outside of incorporated towns and cities.
County Commissioners will listen to feedback about the proposed change later this week.
Forest Service Pauses Prescribed Fire Operations On Public Lands
The National Forest Service announced Friday they will halt prescribed burns on national forest system lands due to increased fire risk.
The Forest Service established a 10-year plan to address the wildfire crisis. The plan includes prescribed burns AND an increase in prescribed burns in the West. Forest Service Chief Randy Moore said the temporary pause will have little impact on the long-term and short-term plans as 90% of prescribed burns occur outside of June, July and August.
Wildfires continue to burn across Colorado– In Southern Colorado, the Plumtaw fire which began last week, prompted evacuations near Pagosa Springs.
As of this morning, crews say it has burned over 700 acres, and that the fire is at 33% containment.
CU Boulder Scientists Say The Moon May Hold A Large Reserve of Water
The moon may have pools of water larger than Lake Michigan hidden under ice within the lunar surface. That’s according to CU researchers who published their findings earlier this month in The Planetary Science Journal.
Researchers speculate this might be a potential water source for astronauts and can also create rocket fuel. The next step in the research is to find the exact location of the body of water to test it. This discovery pushes NASA’s idea of sustainable moon research.
CU Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics planetary scientist Andrew Wilcoski told The Denver Post, “We’re entering a new era of lunar exploration where we’re thinking about longer-term missions and resources like water are going to become more and more important.”
NASA’s Artemis research programs are slated to begin within two years, with the goal of sending astronauts to the surface of the moon.