AI Detects Wildfires
Xcel Energy is hoping that artificial intelligence can help stop fires in Colorado, before they become destructive wildfires. They’ve entered a contract with San Francisco-based Pano AI that grants them 21 AI fire detection stations.
Each station is equipped with two high resolution cameras that can see up to twenty miles and rotate 360 degrees every minute. The cameras feed information to a system that detects whirls of smoke. If smoke is detected, the system alerts a human working in the Pano AI center, who confirms the smoke and notifies local authorities.
The stations cost $50,000 each and are part of Xcel’s five year contract with Pano AI.
Robert Kenney, the CEO of Xcel Energy’s Colorado subsidiary, says the contract is part of the company’s wildfire mitigation plan. It was formulated after the 2021 Marshall Fire, one of the most catastrophic fires in the state’s history. Boulder County investigators concluded that Xcel Energy was responsible for some of the fire due to their distribution line coming loose. Xcel has disputed that conclusion.
The cameras will be installed in 40 areas around the state by the end of this year, including the Marshall area.
According to FOX31, Xcel plans to lay off more than 100 employees across the country in the coming months, including those who work in Colorado.
Safe2Tell Reports High Volumes
Safe2Tell’s annual report was released, with higher numbers than ever before.
The program launched in 2004 and was created as a violence intervention and prevention tool for community members to anonymously report threats to their own or others’ safety – such as suicide attempts and drug abuse.
Over 22,000 reports were made during the 2022-2023 school year, a 16% increase from the previous year.
Threats of suicide were the most reported category, with almost 3,000 reports made. Bullying, school complaints, drug use and general threats follow closely behind in numbers.
140 reports were made by individuals about their own mental health crises, with 52 callers successfully receiving counseling services. Seven of those calls resulted in hospitalization.
Of all the reports made during the year, 2.8% were false.
Jared Polis Addresses Rising Property Taxes
Gov. Jared Polis is calling a special legislative session to address rising property taxes in Colorado. KGNU’s John Kelin has more.
He announced the special session, due to begin next week, just two days after voters rejected Proposition HH, a tax relief measure.
Calling high property taxes a crisis that affects Coloradans statewide, the governor is tasking lawmakers with developing a replacement for Proposition HH that would address property tax hikes that are just months away. Otherwise, he said in a press release, property taxes could go up forty to fifty percent, according to certain projections.
Democratic lawmakers admit to being disappointed by the failure of Proposition HH, the governor’s signature proposal. But House Speaker Julie McCluskie told the Denver Post that it’s the lawmakers’ responsibility to find a solution to high property taxes.
The special session is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. on November 17.
The governor says he aims to bring the parties together, in hopes they “put people over politics”.
Rep. Lauren Boebert Wants Gray Wolves Off Endangered Species List
A U.S. Representative from Colorado co-sponsored a bill proposing to remove gray wolves from the nation’s endangered species list.
Representative Lauren Boebert from Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, along with other government officials, successfully passed “The Trust the Science Act” on November 3 – just under two months before Colorado reaches an end-of-year deadline to reintroduce a gray wolf population to the state.
The proposed legislation would reinstate a 2020 U.S. Fish and Wildlife rule that delisted gray wolves as endangered species. That decision was challenged and overturned in February 2022.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife is tasked with creating regulations surrounding the killing of gray wolves once they are on the ground. Before the creation of the rules, an individual could only kill a wolf to save a human life.
Dish Network To Fire 500 Employees In Colorado
Dish Network announced Wednesday that they’ll be laying off about 500 employees in Colorado.
The downsize comes from lower demand in business, according to a Dish spokesperson, and the layoff will ensure the long-term success of the company.
According to 9News, Dish’s 2023 third quarter revenue decreased by about half a billion dollars compared to last year.
Employee lay off notices will be sent by the end of today.