Boulder ramping up on encampment sweeps and FTC files lawsuit to block Kroger merger

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    02_26_2024 headlines Alexis Kenyon

Flatiron Fire Likely Caused by Humans

The wildfire near Boulder’s Second Flatiron late Saturday was likely caused by humans, according to the wildland chief for Boulder Fire Rescue. Chief Brian Oliver also said the exact cause of the fire is still unknown, adding that first responders were not focused on preserving evidence while fighting the blaze. Boulder Reporting Lab quotes Oliver saying natural causes can be ruled out. He speculated that hikers may have been careless with matches, enjoying the view from where the fire likely began. Oliver said the fire began 75 to 100 yards above the Flatiron Loop Trail and was extinguished by 1 a.m. Sunday. There were no reported injuries or evacuations. 

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Denver 2024 #Goals

During a news conference Monday, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston outlined his goals for 2024, including moving another 2,000 unhoused people off the streets and into temporary housing. For those in temporary housing, he aims to find permanent shelter. Johnston also said the city plans to build 3,000 new affordable housing units this year. Another goal is to reduce gun violence in Denver by 20%. Special cross-departmental teams will be responsible for each of the mayor’s goals. Johnston mentioned that the city has already formed a team to address the migrant crisis, having spent more than $42 million on the issue over the last year. He promised an update on the situation later this week and announced new online dashboards for the public to track progress.

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Boulder Homeless Sweeps Policy Change

The City of Boulder is acting on a voter-approved measure that allows more latitude in carrying out homeless encampment sweeps, particularly near schools. The measure, dubbed “Safe Zones 4 Kids,” was supported by about 60% of voters last November and prioritizes the removal of tents and propane tanks near schools. Boulder Reporting Lab reports that the city has updated its rules to give law enforcement more leeway in enforcing the city’s camping ban. However, opponents argue that it doesn’t address the underlying causes of homelessness. The ACLU has filed a lawsuit challenging Boulder’s camping ban, set for trial in August. 

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Boulder Minimum Wage Meeting

A public meeting in Boulder today will discuss a potential increase in the local minimum wage. In December, Boulder County Commissioners agreed to raise the minimum wage in unincorporated areas from $13.65 to $15.58, a 15% increase, with plans to reach $25 by 2030. The city of Boulder’s current minimum wage is $14.42 per hour. The meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. at the Boulder Chamber, is part of a series seeking public input on the issue. Additional meetings are scheduled for March and April, with Spanish interpretation available. 

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Safeway-Albertsons Merger Lawsuit

Colorado officials are supporting a federal lawsuit to block the merger of Kroger and Albertsons, citing concerns over competition and potential price increases. The Federal Trade Commission filed the lawsuit in Oregon, arguing the nearly $25 billion merger could harm consumers and weaken collective bargaining, especially in areas like Denver. State Treasurer Dave Young criticized the merger as beneficial only to executive-level managers.

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Denver Ebike Vouchers

Denver residents can apply for E-bike voucher rebates starting at 11 a.m. today, in the first of five rounds this year. Four types of vouchers are available, including for low- and moderate-income qualified individuals, as well as standard and adaptive vouchers for people with disabilities. Proof of residency and, if applicable, income qualification documents are required. Successful applicants will receive a verification email with a voucher code for use at participating bike shops. The next round of rebates is scheduled for April 30. 

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Universal Pre-K Class Size Limit

Colorado is considering lowering the maximum number of children allowed in its universal preschool program classes. Currently, the program permits 24 children per class, with one staff member for every 12 children. Critics argue this ratio compromises the quality of care. The state’s $322 million Universal Pre-K program, which began last August, offers free preschool for children the year before kindergarten. A final decision on class size limits is expected by late next month. 

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Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon is an experienced radio reporter with more than 15 years of experience creating compelling, sound-rich radio stories for news outlets across the country. Kenyon has master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism in radio broadcast and photojournalism. She has worked in KGNU's news department since 2021 as a reporter, editor, and daily news producer. In all her work, she strives to produce thought-provoking, trustworthy journalism that makes other people's stories feel personal. In addition to audio production, Kenyon runs KGNU's news internship program and oversees the department's digital engagement.
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