Headlines – August 24, 2023

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    Headlines – August 24, 2023 benita

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King Soopers Shooting Suspect Found Competent To Stand Trial

The Boulder County District Attorney’s office announced Wednesday that the man accused of fatally shooting ten people at the Table Mesa King Soopers is now mentally competent to stand trial. The mass shooting occurred on March 22, 2021.

Twenty-four-year-old defendant Ahmad Al Aliwi Alissa was found unable to stand trial in December 2021, when his attorneys said he had schizophrenia.

Alissa has been receiving treatment and several evaluations since that first postponed trial date.

Prosecutors say doctors at the Colorado Mental Health Hospital in Pueblo have determined Alissa does not currently have a mental or developmental disability that would prevent him from being able to understand the criminal proceedings or to consult with his lawyer.

Migrant Arrivals To Denver Sharply Increased This Week

There has been an influx in migrant arrivals in Denver over the past week, which appears to have taken the city government off guard.

City data shows 104 migrants arrived this Monday, 68 on Tuesday, and 61 yesterday. More than 300 new arrivals in Denver have been recorded since late July.

At the start of the summer, the city transitioned emergency shelters in recreation centers back to their intended use, meaning the city currently lacks physical spaces in which to provide the large number of migrants with service.

In June, Denver Human Services proposed a $40 million contract with private security contractor GardaWorld Federal Services, to oversee migrant shelters, meals and other logistics. This proposal was shut down after nonprofit groups questioned the role of a warzone security company in humanitarian services. 

Instead, Mayor Mike Johnston has drafted a proposal for local organizations to aid the migrant influx through meals, shelter, transportation and other donations.

Officials say most of the migrant arrivals only temporarily stop in Denver on their way to somewhere else.

Colorado Sues EPA Over Request To Make Pollution Data More Accessible

The state of Colorado is suing the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop public access to air pollution records. The EPA says Colorado agencies, as well as citizen watchdogs, cannot properly enforce the Clean Air Act unless everyone has open access to polluters’ records of what they spew into the air.

The EPA says it won’t fully approve Colorado’s required plan on how it will address ozone and other air pollution issues until state regulators make it easier to find those records.

Colorado’s tactical response was to sue the EPA, to fight off opening records.

Robert Ukeiley is a Colorado attorney on air pollution issues at the Center for Biological Diversity. Ukeiley told The Colorado Sun, “The attorney general’s office is spending hundreds of times more taxpayer money on suing the EPA than it would cost to agree with the EPA that more transparency from polluters is a good thing and give the public access.”

On the flipside, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser said state health officials believe there is adequate public access to things like polluter permits and company reports, and that making easier access would divert money and time from fighting pollution.

The EPA said Tuesday that it cannot comment on pending litigation.

DIA Holds 400-Person Mock Air Crash Training

An emergency response exercise was held at Denver International Airport on Wednesday.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) requires that the airport and its staff exercise emergency procedures every three years. The simulated emergency this week was a plane crash and leveraged over 400 airport volunteers.

The exercise prepares airport staff as well as partnering police, fire, and medical agencies for a number of emergency scenarios.

During the exercise, the airport emergency response center was activated and procedures were executed that involved notifying the public, requesting and receiving assistance from authorities, and reuniting families, according to KDVR and 9news.

Airport media contacts said the staff executes emergency response procedures more than they have to; however, these exercises are rehearsed more intensely and thoroughly when they are doing so to meet compliance with Part 139 of the federal code, which requires these preparations.

Longmont Council Approves City Planning Ballot Initiatives

Longmont City council members approved three questions for the November 7 election ballot.

Voters will decide whether to fund a new $72 million recreation center, a $25 million library and an $80 million arts and entertainment center.

If approved, taxpayers would kick in $45 million towards the new developments.

Also slated for the ballot is the question of whether the City should swap land with the local YMCA.

Longmont would use the YMCA’s current location for affordable housing in exchange for $12 million and Centennial Pool.

Colorado Springs Aerospace Company To Create Hundreds Of New Jobs 

An aerospace company based in Colorado Springs will nearly triple its facilities and create over 600 new jobs.

Boecore, established in 2000, was considering expansion in Huntsville, Alabama or Ogden, Utah.

According to The Denver Gazette, the company was swayed by over $7 million in Job Growth Incentive Tax Credits awarded by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT). Other, local city incentives, are pending final approval.

Boecore representatives also said the Biden administration’s recent announcement that Space Command would stay in Colorado Springs rather than move to Huntsville, Ala., also factored into their decision.

Colorado May Get Leftover Rain From Tropical Storm Harold

Tropical Storm Harold may be making some appearances in Colorado this week.

Harold made landfall over southeastern Texas on Tuesday. Leftovers from the storm are expected to bring periods of heavy rain in Colorado on Friday and Saturday.

Meteorologists say tropical downpours are possible. Up to three inches of rain could hit northeastern Colorado, including the Denver metro area, on Friday. The San Juan mountains may start experiencing some of that heavy rain today.

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