Headlines — January 18, 2023

January 18, 2023

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Winter Storm Warning Gives Rise To Cancellations And Closures 

A winter storm has closed numerous schools, businesses, and government offices today as weather officials predict the winter storm will dump several inches of snow across the Denver metro and foothill regions. Schools that announced cancellations yesterday evening include those in Denver, Jeffco, Aurora, and the Boulder and Saint Vrain Valley School Districts. The campuses of the University of Colorado and the Colorado School of Mines are also closed today. As of 6 am this morning, airlines at Denver International Airport had canceled 262 flights and delayed 36 flights. 

Denver officials announced Monday that the city is planning on plowing side streets with crews making one pass down the center of each side street.  The Denver plow pledge comes after residents criticized Denver for not clearing snow from side streets following a late December snowstorm. Denver officials say they were caught off guard by an incorrect forecast and prolonged cold temperatures. 

Colorado Launches Application Process For Free Universal Preschool 

Colorado launched on Tuesday the parent application process for the state’s new universal free preschool program, which begins in the fall. Funds for the program come from a voter approved nicotine tax. The new Pre-K program will provide at least 15 hours per week of free, voluntary preschool for 4-year-olds, some 3-year-olds with qualifying factors, and some 5-year-olds who are too young to enter kindergarten. Some families may be eligible for additional hours of free preschool based on income and other criteria. 

The online application system for families is available at upk.colorado.gov and is available in English, Spanish, and Arabic. The first application window ends Feb. 14, with families finding out the program match for their child around March 17.  

Governor Sets Sights On Affordable Housing As Major Theme In Address To Lawmakers 

Governor Jared Polis gave his State of the State address Tuesday in which he emphasized priorities for affordable housing during a significant portion of his speech. Other priorities for the Governor include health care affordability and tax relief. 

In a press release after the address, the Colorado Fiscal Institute said the governor’s call for cuts to the state income tax rate is a disappointment because such cuts disproportionately benefit corporations and the wealthy at the expense of social services.

Polis also read the names of those killed during the Club Q shooting in Colorado Springs and called for an expansion to the state’s extreme-risk protection order or the red-flag law to allow district attorneys to pursue interventions against those who are at risk to others or themselves.  Polis said he wants to put an end to untraceable ghost guns, but did not announce Democrat proposals such as raising the minimum age to buy guns and potentially banning assault weapons. 

DIA TSA Agents Seized 156 Guns In 2022 At Security Checkpoints  

The Transportation Security Administration said on Tuesday agents at the Denver International Airport seized 156 firearms from carry-on luggage last year, a record setting amount for the airport and an increase of 15 guns from the year prior or 2021.  Although there was an increase, DIA’s nationwide ranking dropped from sixth to seventh. 

The Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport took the top spot in 2022 for the most gun seizures, with agents seizing 448 firearms. 

According to the Denver Post, while gun interception dipped during the pandemic at the nation’s airports, it has increased by 48% since 2019. 

Aurora Democrats Announce Their Candidacies For Mayor And City Council 

Aurora Councilperson Juan Marcano has announced his intent to run for mayor. The announcement came during a joint press conference with five other Democrats seeking seats on Aurora’s City Council. 

Current councilperson Alison Coombs for Ward V says she is vying for an at-large seat. Other candidates include Pastor Thomas Mayes for an At-Large seat, anti-gang activist Jason McBride for Ward IV, community organizer Chris Rhodes for Ward V, and attorney Brian Matise for Ward VI.

According to the Aurora Sentinel, the Aurora city council is technically non-partisan, but critical city council decisions have become hyper-partisan and polarizing in recent years as registered Republicans carry a 6 to 4 majority on the city council. 

Aurora Mayor Mike Coffman, who narrowly won his seat in 2019, said he will run for a second term during a TV interview in December but has not made an official announcement.  

Boulder County Announces Dispersal For The Initial Round Of Opioid Settlement Money

Boulder County officials announced last week the county plans on dispersing $1.8 million in opioid settlement money to 25 local programs. As part of the disbursement, county officials will hire a new opioid case manager for the Boulder County Jail and new harm reduction staff at Boulder County Public Health. The money will also fund new investigation equipment for the Boulder County Sheriff’s office. 

According to the Longmont Leader, the settlement funds result from nationwide lawsuits with opioid distributors and manufacturers and will be distributed over an 18-year timeline with $1.8 million for year one.