December 27, 2022
Headlines — December 27, 2022 Stacie Johnson
DIA Flight Cancellations Continue With Southwest Airlines Under Heightened Scrutiny
Holiday travel woes continue at Denver International Airport due to flight cancellations and delays. Airlines blame the snarl on the winter storm that blew through much of the north and west of the country in recent days.
According to FlightAware, DIA at 5 PM Monday had 461 flight cancellations and 469 delays with Southwest Airlines accounting for most of Monday’s delays. A Southwest Airlines spokesperson told the Denver Post the airline is still experiencing disruptions because of lingering effects from winter storms. But the spokesperson also confirmed a leaked memo suggesting the airline had an operational emergency last week because of a high number of absences by ramp agents. The spokesperson could not say if staffing issues are still causing problems and denied any coordinated activity by the airline’s employees.
A president of a union representing some Southwest flight attendants criticized the airline Monday by telling CBS Colorado that despite many union demands to modernize, the company’s management has failed its employees.
Boulder County’s Federal Emergency Rental Assistance To End By Mid January
Boulder County says the federal pandemic relief funding for the county’s Emergency Rental Assistance Program will run out in early 2023. The county’s online application portal for the program will shut down on Jan. 14th with no applications accepted after that date. County officials are encouraging anyone who is eligible to apply for pandemic rental assistance while federal funds remain for the program.
More information is available at www.BoCoRentAssistance.org.
The Daily Camera reports the county dispersed more $9.5 million in rental assistance between March 2020 and October 2022 just for households in Longmont and Boulder while also distributing assistance to applicants in other countywide communities.
Colorado Federal Lawmakers Urge Insurance Companies To Extend Coverage For Marshall Fire Victims
United States Representative Joe Neguse and Senators Michael Bennet and John Hickenlooper are urging over 65 insurance companies to extend the living expense coverage of those affected by the Marshall Fire for another year. The 12 month additional living expense coverage will expire with December 30th marking the one-year anniversary of the firestorm. The coverage applies to people whose house was burned down and need money for them to live elsewhere.
The three lawmakers say many Marshall Fire residents are still working to rebuild their homes with many families starting the rebuilding process until recently. The three federal lawmakers sent a letter to insurance providers last week which includes major carriers such as Travelers, State Farm, USAA, Liberty Mutual, Progressive, and All State.
Early in December, the Colorado Division of Insurance, also sent an open letter to insurance providers, urging them to extend the coverage up to 24 months.
Boulder County To Host January 11th Marshall Fire Rebuild Meeting
Boulder County officials will soon present information on rebuilding resources available to people impacted by last year’s Marshall Fire. A community meeting, set for Jan. 11, will gather fire affected residents of unincorporated Boulder County and their design professionals who have been assisting with rebuilding. The meeting will focus on what has worked well and what hasn’t – and the lessons learned along the way. The in-person meeting will take place from 6 to 8pm at St. Ambrose Episcopal Church – Barcelona House, at 7520 South Boulder Road, in Boulder.
In related news, Boulder County residents who lost homes in the Marshall and Calwood fires are getting some help in defraying the cost of rebuilding. Boulder County Commissioners approved a plan this month to reduce the cost of permit fees for people rebuilding homes lost to those fires. Commissioners say the move is an acknowledgement that rising construction costs have outpaced insurance coverage, and is aimed at property owners in unincorporated Boulder County.
Several CU Buildings Experience Freezing Pipes And Flooding
A power interruption at the University of Colorado Boulder campus early Thursday morning caused the university’s main boilers to trip and go offline with a further ripple effect of lost steam pressure or heat and freezing and bursting pipes to ten campus buildings. Damage also included flooding.
A spokesperson for CU told the Daily Camera the damaged buildings are not in one area and are throughout campus, including parts of the Engineering Center and a building at East Campus. Each building also has a varying amount of damage. CU has not determined a cause for the power interruption and expects mitigation crews to have everything cleaned and back to normal prior to students returning for the spring semester.
Internal Investigation Reveals Failures At Boulder Police Detective Unit
After repeated requests for transparency by journalists and an oversight panel of citizens, the City of Boulder released an internal investigation summary last week detailing alleged misconduct involving detectives in the Boulder Police Department. According to a report released to journalists at Boulder Reporting Lab, management issues down the chain of command at the Boulder Police Department resulted in dozens of reported crimes going uninvestigated. Boulder Police Chief Maris Herold discovered the backlog of uninvestigated cases earlier this year. In July, Deputy Chief Steve Redfearn filed a complaint that launched the internal investigation.
The probe centered around Officer Kwame Williams, a detective who told investigators he had been having to “triage” his caseload for the past few years. His former supervisor, Sgt. Brannon Winn, told investigators that Officer Williams came to him in 2021 saying he was stressed and “underwater”. Sgt. Winn told investigators Williams was not lazy or incompetent, but lacking help because of staff shortages, COVID disruptions, and restrictions to reduce overtime.
Between 2019 and 2022, Williams was assigned almost 90 cases. But when Williams left the detective unit to take on patrol duties, he still had 46 open cases. The Boulder County District Attorney’s office is now reviewing them. The statute of limitations expired in five of those open cases.
Chief Herold disciplined four officers for violation of compliance with values, rules and general orders. Disciplinary action ranged from five days’ suspension without pay for Officer Williams to an involuntary transfer for a commander in the detective unit.
When asked who was to blame for the situation, Sgt. Winn told investigators, quote “We all own a piece of this.”