May 31, 2022
Crowds Gather For Local Memorial Day Events
Memorial Day commemorations drew crowds to multiple Front Range events yesterday.
The VFW Post 2601 and the American Legion Post 32 in Longmont led ceremonies at Mountain View Cemetery, Stephen Day Park, and Foothills Garden of Memory to honor those who died in military service.
The Daily Camera reports a crowd of over 100 people attended the event at Mountain View Cemetery.
Hundreds also gathered at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver as the Department of Veterans Affairs hosted a wreath-laying ceremony.
According to the Denver Gazette, the ceremony also included the playing of Taps, a moment of silence, a rifle volley, a F-16 flyover, and speeches from notable figures in the military including a keynote from Brig. Gen. Scott Sherman of Colorado’s National Guard.
The largest Memorial Day event in Boulder was the Bolder Boulder citizens race. While not necessarily an event to honor fallen soldiers, several veterans – including some who lost limbs during service – participated in the race.
Governor Polis Circulates The State With Bill Signing Tour
Governor Jared Polis signed a number of bills late last week as he toured the state touting the legislative significance of each measure signed into law.
Polis started on Friday by signing a Pollinator Study bill at the Butterfly Pavilion in Westminster.
As part of the study, the Department of Natural Resources will seek to gain a better understanding of the state’s pollinators and their importance within the ecosystem and the state’s food supply chain.
Later on Friday, Polis signed two education bills at CSU Pueblo. One of the bills will allow veterans and national guard members to audit college courses for a $10 fee but for no credit. The other law creates the Southern Colorado Institute of Transportation Technology to advance sustainable transportation options.
Later at the Pueblo County Courthouse, Polis signed a bill granting collective bargaining rights to county public employees.
The Governor ended the day by visiting the Smokey Jack Observatory in Westcliffe to sign the bill designating and promoting so-called dark sky locations in the state.
Polis Signs Bill Providing Stipends To Student Teachers And Loan Forgiveness For New Teachers
A new state law will help new teachers with stipends and student loan forgiveness.
Under the new law Colorado student teachers will have access to up to $22,000 in stipends, and teachers who started and continued their careers during the pandemic can qualify for up to $5,000 in loan forgiveness.
Chalkbeat Colorado reports that the bill dedicates $52 million from federal relief money to getting new teachers into the classroom and keeping them there during a time when schools across the state are dealing with shortages. Fewer teachers were entering the profession before the pandemic, and shortages have only worsened.
One of the sponsors of the bill, State Representative Cathy Kipp, a Fort Collins Democrat, says that those who are in position to be student teachers are dropping out of educator prep programs because they can’t afford to work for free and pay tuition.
The new law will cover the costs of test fees for eligible educators, and creates alternative ways of getting a license for teacher candidates who struggle to pass Praxis exams.
The new law also sets aside $10 million for loan forgiveness for an estimated 2,000 teachers who started in the 2019-20 school year or more recently and are still in the classroom.
CDOT Launches Express Bus Service From Denver’s Union Station To Mountain Communities
The Colorado Department of Transportation launched a new microbus service last week that will transport 11 passengers per hour from Denver’s Union Station to various I-70 mountain locations.
CDOT calls the new service “Pegasus” and has outfitted each van with power outlets, bike racks, and ski/snowboard compartments.
The service, ranging with a cost of $6 to $20 each way, will run Thursday through Sunday on an hourly basis and will stop in Idaho Springs, Frisco, Vail, and Avon with each mountain stop having connections to local bus services.
Governor Jared Polis and legislators joined CDOT leaders last Thursday at Denver’s Union Station to unveil the shuttle service which officials hope will help ease congestion on Interstate 70.
During Thursday’s unveiling, Polis also signed a bill allowing free RTD rides this August and August 2023 along with funding for free rural transit services for this summer and next.
The free rides aim to incentivize public transit during the month that historically has the worst air quality.
Left Hand Watershed Center Hosting Webinar On NEPA Process For St. Vrain Forest Health Project
The Left Hand Watershed Center is hosting a webinar Thursday at 5:30 PM to share information about the United States Forest Service National Environmental Policy Act process for forest management of the St. Vrain watershed and its proposal with the St. Vrain Forest Health Partnership.
The public can sign up for the webinar through the Left Hand Watershed Center website. The forest service’s 30 day public comment period on the NEPA process begins June 8th.
The public and stakeholders can view materials at the US Forest Service website under the title of Saint Vrain Forest Health Project.
Boulder County Moves From Medium To High COVID-19 Community Levels
Boulder County moved up to high COVID-19 community levels last Friday based on metrics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the county’s press release, COVID cases are high in the community and the strain on hospitals and other healthcare facilities within the county is rising.
The case rate as of last Thursday is around 318 per 100,000 population. New COVID-19 hospital admissions are at around 10 per 100,000.
Due to higher levels, staff and visitors at jails, treatment centers, adult day centers and day programs, and other similar facilities are required to wear facial coverings. City employees are also now required to wear face coverings at public facilities.