Headlines — January 24, 2023

January 24, 2023

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Starbucks Union Vote Today

Workers at the Boulder Starbucks at Baseline and Broadway will vote today on whether to unionize.

The National Labor Relations election had been scheduled for last week, but was postponed due to a snowstorm.

If employees vote to join Starbucks Workers United, the store would become the first union Starbucks in Boulder, and the ninth in Colorado. Nationwide, more than 270 Starbucks outlets have voted to unionize.

Voting will take place through the day, with the ballot count beginning at 5:00 PM.

Trial Begins in ACLU Lawsuit Challenging Teller County Sheriff’s Enforcement of Federal Immigration Law

Teller County’s Sheriff goes on trial today in Cripple Creek, Colorado. He is facing a lawsuit that is the first of its kind in the country. 

The Colorado office of the American Civil Liberties Union filed a complaint in 2019 against Jake Mikesell, Teller County’s Sheriff, for enforcing federal immigration law.

A Colorado Statute from 2019 prohibits local law enforcement from detaining people on the basis of immigration status without a judicial order.  

Detainees under Mikesell’s authority remained in prison, and were turned over to ICE after posting bond despite Colorado law requiring their release. 

Additionally, Mikesell sent deputies to an out of state immigration law training, which, according to the ACLU’s complaint, was paid for by the Teller County Sheriff’s Office. 

Mikesell denied using taxpayer dollars for something prohibited by Colorado Law.

The plaintiffs include *five Teller County taxpayers represented by the ACLU of Colorado.

Correction: a previous version of this headline stated six plaintiffs. There are five. 

CDPHE Asks For Feedback On System For Public To Share Pollution Concerns

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment is asking for public feedback on a new complaint system that lets anyone in the state share concerns about environmental pollution.

The system is meant to provide citizens with a centralized place to report possible air and water pollution, illegal dumping, and many other environmental and public health issues. 

For now, the system is a prototype. It’s expected to be fully operational in mid-April, after incorporating feedback from the public, and from the Environmental Protection Agency.

The complaint system will be available in English and Spanish, but concerns can be submitted in any language.

Denver Homeless Youth Center Groundbreaking

On Monday, Denver broke ground on a new homeless shelter for young people. 

The old Urban Peak shelter began serving young people experiencing homelessness in 1998. The Denverite reports that the shelter became overcrowded and in need of repairs.

The new building will increase shelter capacity from 30 to 136 residents, plus on-site case management and health services. It will also include a separate wing for people ages 21 to 24, who legally cannot stay in shelters for minors, but often do not want to stay in adult shelters.

During construction Urban Peak is serving youth at The Spot on Stout St. in Denver.

The new $37 million shelter, nicknamed the “Mothership,” is set to open at Urban Peak’s old site on Acoma St. in 2024.

Data from a research group studying young people experiencing homelessness found youth without a high school diploma or GED, youth with children, youth earning less than $24,000, as well as LGBTQ, Black and Hispanic youth are all at increased risk.

The Denver Rescue Mission reports that homelessness has become more complex with all people experiencing homelessness. It includes other factors like Denver’s housing market, the nationwide opioid epidemic and family homelessness.

2022 Saw Most Traffic Deaths In Colorado Since 1981

Colorado had more car-related fatalities last year than in any year since 1981.

According to a State Department of Transportation report, about 750 people lost their lives in traffic accidents last year–a nearly 60 percent increase over the last decade.

At a news conference yesterday, officials introduced their new Advancing Transportation Safety Program, meant to reduce traffic deaths. The program calls for safer roads, safer drivers, better pedestrian safety, and improved emergency responses to crashes.

A C-DOT official said that while their report paints a dismal picture, he is confident the trend of traffic fatalities is reversible.

Community Invited To “Biodiversity, Climate And You” Celebration

City leaders from the Cool Boulder campaign are inviting the public to celebrate biodiversity and local climate action on January 31st.

The free event at the Junkyard Social Club on Frontier Avenue runs from six to eight PM. People can attend in person or virtually.

The celebration includes a presentation from Boulder’s Senior Ecologist, and a panel discussion. In person attendees can sample food from a local chef, and learn about sustainable food systems.