Headlines – April 18, 2023

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    Headlines – April 18, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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DPS Board Of Education Hear School Safety Comments

The parents of students at Denver’s East High School are demanding that school officials enact new measures to protect their kids at school.

During a public comment session at a school board meeting last night, one parent after another told the Denver Schools Board of Directors that the time to make changes in safety policy is now.

The session was the first time parents had a chance to address board members since two East High administrators were shot by a student during a weapons pat-down last month. Both administrators survived, but the student later committed suicide.

That incident came just weeks after sixteen-year-old student Luis Garcia was shot and killed just off campus.

The two shootings prompted school officials to bring armed police officers back into the city’s high schools, reversing a district-wide policy that removed so-called School Resource Officers.

School superintendent Dr. Alex Marrero said a comprehensive safety plan is in development. An early version will be made public on May first, with a final version expected at the end of June.

Christian Glass And Possible Change Of Venue

Two former Clear Creek County Sheriff Deputies charged in the death of a Boulder man may seek a change of venue in their trial.

Andrew Buen and Kyle Gould appeared in court yesterday for the first time since a judge ruled against dismissing their case. 

Buen is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of 22 year old Christian Glass nearly one year ago.

Gould, who was not at the shooting scene but approved the use of force by on-site deputies, is charged with criminally negligent homicide and reckless endangerment. 

Glass had called 911 after his car got stuck in Silver Plume. After deputies arrived he reportedly showed signs of mental distress and wouldn’t get out of his car. Prosecutors say Buen broke into the car, tasered Glass, and then shot him five times, killing him.

Threats Towards Colorado Secretary of State

A 52 year old man is facing two years of court-supervised probation following his conviction on a charge of threatening an elected official. 

Kirk Wertz was convicted on felony charges last week, and sentenced in a Denver court yesterday.

Prosecutors said Wertz called Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold’s office last summer and said the “angel of death was coming for her in the name of Jesus Christ.”

Wertz refused to tell a state trooper investigating the call whether he meant his threat. The trooper quoted Wertz as saying he was an “oath taker and an oath keeper,” and that he didn’t have to explain himself to investigators.

Wertz told the court he is not a member of the far-right “Oathkeepers”, and that calling himself an “oath taker” was a reference to when he registered for possible military service when he turned 18.

At sentencing, the judge said he did not believe Wertz really planned to hurt Griswold, but that the threat had to be taken seriously.

As part of his probation, Wertz is not allowed to own a firearm, according to the Associated Press.

Denver Homeless Sweep Settlement

The city of Denver has agreed to a 350-thousand dollar settlement in a lawsuit brought by a man who said police tackled and beat him when he protested a homeless encampment sweep.

More than a dozen officers were named in the suit, stemming from a July 2020 incident in Denver’s Civic Center.

City Council unanimously approved the settlement yesterday.

Douglas CO School Board Settlement

The Douglas County School Board, meanwhile, has settled a discrimination lawsuit brought by a former school superintendent. 

The district paid former superintendent Corey Wise more $830,000. In announcing the settlement yesterday, Wise’s attorneys said the district subjected him to illegal termination and discrimination after he backed masks in schools and advocated for students of color and students with disabilities.

Wise told The Denver Post that there have to be consequences when politics enters public education.

Suncor Plant Shutdown

Suncor is temporarily shutting down one of its three Commerce City plants for what the company is calling planned, preventative maintenance.

They said the shutdown is part of a $100 million maintenance project that will reduce emissions, and is expected to last until early June.

Suncor did not specify the nature of the work being done.

More than 700 workers over two shifts will come to the refinery during the maintenance, which will likely impact traffic in the area. People living nearby may also notice more noise, and flares from its smokestacks. 

ICE Impact on Immigrants

A joint study by CSU and the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition reports on mistreatment against immigrants by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. 

A new study by the Colorado Immigrant Rights Coalition, or CIRC, and Colorado State University School of Social Work depicts the mistreatment immigrants have faced by ICE in Colorado. Researchers and advocates are now asking the state to end state and local collaborations with ICE through Intergovernmental Service Agreements, or I.G.S.A.s, which permit immigrant detainees to be jailed for a daily fee. 

17 people shared their past ICE encounters with researchers. There was an overwhelming depiction of ICE agents’ behavior as “aggressive” and “dehumanizing.” 

CIRC’s Policy Director said that in the past, Colorado legislators have stood behind the state’s immigrant community and against the cruel treatment it has faced. She said that it is time for them to prove their commitment by passing state bill HB23-1100, which would end the I.G.S.A. contracts that rent jail space to ICE. 

CSU Professor Elizabeth Kiehne, who led the study, said the treatment by ICE is unnecessarily inhumane and traumatizing.  

University Hill Ambassador Program Expanded

CU Boulder is joining with the City of Boulder, and the Downtown Boulder Partnership, to expand an ambassador program to the University Hill commercial district.

The program will feature full-time ambassadors working the Hill area throughout the year. Their responsibilities will include maintaining a clean environment, and providing information, like directions, to people in the area.

The stated objective is to create a more positive visitor experience.

The Hill Ambassador Program expands on a 2021 initiative focused on Boulder’s downtown business district and Civic area.

Students and community members are eligible to become Hill ambassadors. For more information, visit The Hill-Boulder.com/Ambassadors.

Starbucks BYO Cup Pilot Program

Starbucks outlets in Colorado are testing a new “bring your own cup” program, as part of the company’s efforts to reduce waste sent to landfills.

As many as 192 of Starbuck’s nearly 500 Colorado stores are taking part in the pilot program, which runs until June 30th.

Customers who bring their own cups will get a discount for at-the-counter and drive-through coffee purchases.

Starbucks says their goal is to create a cultural movement toward reusables by 2025.

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    Headlines – April 18, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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