Headlines — January 11, 2023

January 11, 2023

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Flights Resume At DIA After Overnight Outage

Denver International Airport announced on Twitter that flights will resume after an overnight outage grounded air traffic across the nation. Federal aviation administration officials say the system that air traffic controllers use to communicate with pilots in real time went down last night. They have not identified the cause of the system failure but in a tweet said that they had not found evidence of a cyberattack. 

DIA  officials say passengers should expect delays and check flights before heading to the airport. 

Governor And Other State Leaders Take Oath of Office 

Gov. Jared Polis started his second term Tuesday by taking the oath of office at the steps of the state Capitol. Tuesday’s ceremony included 38 ceremonial cannon blasts and a flyover of 16 fighter jets.

Polis said in his inauguration speech he will work towards affordable housing, transitioning the state to renewable energy by 2040, reducing crime rates, and lowering costs such as taxes, transportation, medical bills, and business fees. Polis starts his new term with increased Democratic majorities within both legislative chambers. 

Secretary of State Jenna Griswold, Attorney General Phil Weiser, and Treasurer Dave Young also renewed their oaths of office. 

County Officials Start Their Terms With Swearing-In Ceremony

Boulder County Elected officials started their new terms Tuesday by taking their oaths for office. Incoming Boulder County Commission and former Louisville Mayor Ashley Stolzmann replaced Matt Jones, who did not seek re-election. Longtime Sheriff Joe Pelle ended his law enforcement career Tuesday with the swearing in of Curtis Johnson, who was previously a Division Chief at the Sheriff’s office. The Boulder County incumbents starting a new term are Clerk and Recorder Molly Fitzpatrick, Assessor Cindy Braddock, Coroner Emma Hall, and Surveyor Lee Stadele. 

Larimer County also swore in six elected officials Tuesday. Newly elected officials there are Sheriff John Feyen, surveyor Tom Donnelly, and coroner Stephen Hanks. Clerk and Recorder Angela Myers, assessor Bob Overbeck, and county commissioner John Kefalas also took their oaths of office as incumbents. 

Adams County also held a swearing-in ceremony Tuesday with seven elected officials and six judges taking oaths of office. Sheriff Gene Claps and Treasurer Alex Villagran are two Adams County officials that are newly elected. 

RTD Confirms High Meth Levels In Restrooms Of Downtown Boulder Transit Facility

The Regional Transportation District, through a third party tester, confirmed that the restrooms and their adjacent hallway at the downtown Boulder transit facility have detected residue of methamphetamine and other similar substances. RTD said on its website Tuesday that the levels exceed limits by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the agency has closed the restrooms and the adjoining hallway until remediation can remove the contamination. 

The transit center is the second Boulder facility in recent weeks to detect meth contamination. Library officials closed the downtown branch late last month after testing found meth residue in restrooms. 

RTD did not rule out closing areas around the bus station if further testing shows contamination.

New State Data Shows Both High School Graduation Rates And Dropout Rates Are Increasing  

Newly released data released from the Colorado Department of Education indicates the state’s four-year high school graduation rate increased to about 82% last year. That’s a turnaround compared to 2021, when the graduation rate fell for the first time in more than a decade. However, the state’s dropout rate went up. About 2% of students, grades 7–12, dropped out in 2022—that’s slightly more than 10,500 students across the state.

The state’s graduation rates for students who earned a diploma over six and seven years also increased. And the four-year graduation rate for students of color in 2022 also increased above the mean. Still, achievement and opportunity gaps persist between students of color and their white peers, who are about 12% more likely to graduate.

This is the first year Colorado expanded ways that students can earn enough credits to graduate. Individual school districts can use a “menu” provided by the state that allows students to demonstrate their readiness for their next step, including through standardized assessments like the SAT and ACT, an extensive capstone project, or completion of courses that earn them college credit while they’re still in high school.

Longmont Considering Snow Removal Abatement Program For Residents And Businesses That Fail To Clear Their Sidewalks 

Longmont code enforcement officials along with the city’s public works department are working on a proposal that would allow a contractor to clear snow from sidewalks of businesses and residences that have failed to comply with warnings. Under the program being considered, Longmont would also bill property owners for the cost of the clearance. 

Longmont’s code enforcement manager Dane Hermsen told the Longmont Leader he and other officials hope to present the program to the City Council by summer. Hermsen also said the program would require a change in city code to make the system feasible as Longmont currently does not have a mechanism to recoup money to pay a contractor. 

Fort Collins Considering Transfort Bus Service To Remain Free For Users 

The city of Fort Collins is looking for input on a decision to make its pandemic-era free bus travel permanent. Officials say money from fares makes up less than one percent of the operating costs of the city’s “Transfort” program. Fort Collins residents can submit input about the program until Feb. 15 at the city’s website.