Auraria campus update, BoCo tests election equipment, ski slope deaths, and the new Clean Slate Act

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    05_21_24_am_heads Jackie Sedley

Protests at Auraria Campus 

Leaders on the Auraria Campus in Denver say now that a three-weeks-long encampment by pro-Palestinian demonstrators is over, they’ll be reviewing the outcomes at other universities where similar protests have played out recently.

Demonstrators ended their encampment on Auraria’s Tivoli Quad on Saturday, and the area is now fenced off. Photographs of the area show numerous rectangles of dead grass where tents once stood, and campus officials say they’ll probably have to replace the entire lawn.

The campus is shared by Community College of Denver, Metropolitan State University, and CU-Denver. Pro-Palestinian protestors told 9News they did not get most of their demands but vowed to continue the fight in the months ahead.

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Air National Guard Space Force transfers 

Colorado officials are pushing back against a plan to move hundreds of Air National Guard members into the Space Force. The proposal by the U.S. military is meant to strengthen the Space Force, the country’s newest military branch.

It could result in members of the Guard in Colorado being moved into the Space Force. The Denver Post reports that those National Guard members are under the authority of Governor Jared Polis, who is pushing back against the proposal. He says that unilaterally transferring members would undermine local authority and emergency readiness. He said it could also affect the morale of guard members who did not mean to enlist for the Space Force.

The U.S. Air Force is asking Congress to waive a requirement that makes them gain the approval of a governor before transferring members. The possible transfer of Guard members to the Space Force is part of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, which is expected to be considered by the House Armed Services Committee this week.

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BoCo tests election equipment 

Boulder County is about to begin testing the election equipment that will be used in statewide primary elections next month. The county’s Elections Division will conduct logic and accuracy tests on equipment and ballots starting next week, to make sure all systems work properly. They’ll make the results, and its documentation, available online.

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Clean Slate Act removes convictions

Colorado’s new Clean Slate Act, passed in 2022, sets up an automatic record-sealing process for certain lower-level crimes. It removes the convictions from most background checks, so that years-old crimes don’t block people from housing, jobs, or other opportunities.

By early May, district attorneys across the state had objected to about 4.5% of some 109,000 criminal cases eligible for automatic sealing. The rate of prosecutor objections varies widely by jurisdiction according to the Denver Post, and much of the data also shows the objections are racially skewed.

The Clean Slate Act was spearheaded, in part, by the nonprofit Expunge Colorado. Its co-founder said the lack of uniformity by prosecutors makes them want to dig deeper into the rate of prosecutor objections, to ensure they’re all following the rules.

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Ski slope deaths

At least fourteen people lost their lives on Colorado ski slopes this past ski season. A survey of ski resorts by the Colorado Sun found that those who died ranged in ages from fourteen to seventy-eight, ten of whom were male.

Six of the deaths were from collisions with trees, while another six had to do with medical events like heart attacks. Of those resulting from collisions or falls, all happened on beginner or intermediate slopes.

The Colorado Sun says that resorts do not release details about deaths on their slopes, and that the figures are from their own annual survey.

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Gas-powered lawn equipment in Boulder

Gas-powered lawn equipment can still be used in Boulder, at least for the time being.

Boulder City Council has voted down a regulation that would have put restrictions on gas-powered equipment such as leaf blowers. One of the reasons they voted against the idea was that some businesses would be able to afford to replace existing gas-powered equipment, while others wouldn’t, according to Boulder Reporting Lab.

Supporters of restrictions say gas-powered equipment contributes to air and noise pollution.

Instead of restrictions, the city will continue with a pilot program that offers a point-of-sale voucher for people buying electric lawn equipment. That program runs through the end of this year.

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BVSD 2024 graduates

More than 2,400 students are graduating from the Boulder Valley School District this week. Some of the seniors from the district’s twelve high schools have already received their diplomas, while others will get them at commencement ceremonies throughout the week.

The largest class is from Fairview High School, where 491 seniors capped their year at a graduation ceremony at the CU Events Center Sunday. The smallest class, 27 Boulder Prep students, has commencement this Friday, according to the BVSD website.

The district is posting photos from all of its graduations on its Facebook page.

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