December 15, 2022
Headlines — December 15, 2022 Stacie Johnson
Department of Interior Announcing Funds For Wildfire Mitigation and Recovery
The Department of the Interior announced Wednesday that it will allocate $228 million towards a program that will help states fight and recover from wildfires. United States Deputy Secretary of the Interior Tommy Beaudreau made an appearance at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge Wednesday, alongside Governor Jared Polis, announcing that Colorado will receive seven million of those federal dollars.
With the one-year anniversary of the Marshall Fire approaching, Beaudreau said they chose Colorado for the announcement as the December 30th firestorm underscores the ever present danger of wildfire in a hotter and drier West and the impacts from climate change. The announced funding comes from the 2021 federal infrastructure bill which allotted the Interior Department to spend $1.5 billion on wildfire mitigation over the next five years. According to the Department of Interior, pay increases for firefighters, fuel management, and scientific research on fire management in the face of climate change are among the Department’s priorities for the infrastructure bill allotment.
Club Q Co-Owner And Survivors Testify Before Congress
Two survivors from the Colorado Springs Club Q mass shooting, along with the Club Q’s co-owner, testified Wednesday during a congressional hearing by the House Committee on Oversight and Reform which covered the rise of anti-LGBTQ violence, rhetoric, and extremism within the country. The survivors described the terror they and others experienced the night of the shooting, while also pleading with lawmakers to change how they talk about their community.
Michael Anderson, a Club Q bartender, scolded lawmakers who say the LGBTQ community grooms and abuses children. Anderson also urged lawmakers to ban assault weapons. Matthew Haynes, co-owner of Club Q, read hate messages during his testimony that are among the hundreds he says he has received since the shooting.
The committee’s chairperson, Rep. Carolyn Maloney, from New York, said the hearing was meant to show that violence against LGBTQ people does not happen in a vacuum. Maloney also opened the hearing with a summary of Republican legislative efforts that she says villainizes LGBTQ people.
Colorado School of Mines Powering Campus With Solar Panel Array Designed By Students
Colorado School of Mines, located in Golden, has installed nearly $5 million dollars of solar panels on buildings and parking lots around the campus to produce at least 1.5 megawatts of the 8 peak megawatts needed to run the engineering school’s daily life. The Colorado Sun reports School of Mines students designed much of the array as part of their senior capstone projects.
Lauren Poole, School of Mines sustainability director, points out even renewable energy products require mining for lithium and cobalt for batteries. Poole says the school has been shifting towards more sustainable forms of mining and production in recent years.
School of Mines partners with the nearby National Renewable Energy Laboratory to offer graduate degrees in advanced energy systems. Between students, faculty and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, this makes the city of Golden a hotbed of solar experts.
RTD To Permanently End C&F Light-Rail Lines
The Regional Transportation District says it will permanently end running the C and F light-rail lines, starting January 8th, as part of a System Optimization Plan approved by its board last summer. RTD suspended operations for the two light-rail lines in 2020 at the start of the pandemic and has not resumed them since.
The C-Line route went from Union Station to Littleton, while the F-Line went from central downtown to Lone Tree. RTD consolidated the two lines with other routes in the southwest and southeast rail corridors, making some riders transfer to the E and D lines south of downtown.
The agency said it will consider running limited service along the former routes during special events.
As part of the January service changes, RTD will also expand weekday service hours and reroute some regional and FlexRide bus routes.
Civil Rights Attorneys Seeking Criminal Investigation Into The Use Of Force By Colorado Springs Police Officers
Attorneys for Dalvin Gadson, a 29-year-old unhoused Black veteran in Colorado Springs, are calling for a criminal investigation into the use of force by three Colorado Springs police officers. The body camera footage released Tuesday shows a Colorado Springs police officer pulling over Gadson for no license plates on October 9th and then calling for backup when running the identification of Gadson and his passenger. As Gadson pulled himself back into the car after being told by the officers he would be detained, the officers then charged at him and punched him repeatedly as they pulled him out of the vehicle.
Prior to removing Gadson from the car, officers noted a knife on the center console.
According to his attorneys, Gadson suffered injuries to his eye, a ruptured eardrum, and PTSD.
The Colorado Springs Police Department says an administrative review found the officers’ actions to be within policy and an internal affairs investigation remains open.
El Paso County Jail Inmate Dies
There has been another death in the Colorado Springs, El Paso County jail this week. This was the 11th death since 2020 and 9th death at the jail this year. According to the Colorado Springs, Indy 24-year-old Savanah Popell was found unresponsive in her jail cell on December 11th. She had been booked into jail days earlier for a number of nonviolent crimes including speeding, shoplifting less than 300 dollars and possession of a controlled substance.
Boulder City Council To Discuss Modular Factory Agreement and Annexation Approved By BVSD
School board members for the Boulder Valley School District approved an intergovernmental agreement on Tuesday that outlines the creation of a new modular home factory at the District’s Education Center, located at 6500 Arapahoe Road. As part of the construction details of the modular factory, BVSD officials are also seeking to have the District’s 48 acre Education Center property be annexed into Boulder.
Boulder City Council will discuss the intergovernmental agreement as well as the proposed annexation during tonight’s meeting.
During a November city council meeting, council members voted to continue the public hearing on the annexation in order for staff to evaluate suggested changes after several residents complained about potential noise levels, increased traffic, and impacts to the Sombrero Marsh open space.
Headlines — December 15, 2022 Stacie Johnson