Headlines – July 11, 2023

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    Headlines – July 11, 2023 Por Jaijongkit

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Xcel Energy Named in Marshall Mesa Fire Lawsuit

A new lawsuit stemming from the Boulder County Sheriff’s report on the December 2021 Marshall Mesa Fire, has been filed against Xcel Energy.

Filed Monday in Boulder County District Court, the lawsuit alleges that Xcel’s failure to implement safety measures with its power lines on the day of the fire, “directly resulted in widespread destruction.”

Boulder County residents John and Julia Uridil filed the lawsuit for the “substantial losses and harm, which remain ongoing,” caused by Xcel.

The plaintiffs, who are represented by a national law firm known for wildfire lawsuits, allege that Xcel had a duty to safely design, operate, and maintain its infrastructure, but failed to do so.

The lawsuit claims that one of these duties was to decrease the chance that a power line causes a fire, and that Xcel knew of the high fire risk on Dec. 30, 2021, but did not take action.

The suit alleges willful and wanton conduct and negligent infliction of emotional distress, among other claims, by Xcel. 

The sheriff’s report last month found that there were actually two causes to the Marshall fire: one from Xcel power lines, and another from embers from a fire on a residential property six days earlier, thought to have been extinguished. 

On the day the investigation results were made public, Xcel released a statement disputing the findings, saying it strongly disagrees with any suggestion that Xcel Energy’s power lines caused the second ignition.

The suit asks for a trial by jury and a reasonable amount of compensation to be determined by the court.

The Marshall Fire destroyed over one thousand homes and businesses, took two lives, and is considered to be the most destructive and costly fire in Colorado history. 

Garfield County Wildfire Update

In western Colorado, meanwhile, the Spring Creek Fire is reportedly over 50% contained, but officials say full containment is still months away.

The wildfire began on June 24 southwest of Parachute in Garfield County, and as of yesterday has burned some 3,200 acres. About 500 firefighters have been battling the fire on the ground, and by helicopter.

Their efforts have been made more difficult by the rugged terrain. Because of that, containment is not expected until about Oct. 1.

There have been no evacuations, and the fire’s cause is under investigation.

State Lawmakers Allege Open Meetings Violations

Two state Democratic lawmakers are suing their own caucus for what they are calling pervasive violations of Colorado’s open meetings laws.

The suit by Representatives Elisabeth Epps of Denver and Bob Marshall of Highlands Ranch says that regular meetings of House Democrats are not always publicly noticed, and that minutes from those meetings are not always recorded and made public.

It also says that the use of an encrypted smartphone app called Signal is in violation of open meeting and public records laws.

Epps and Marshall say they brought their concerns to party leadership, but no action was taken, according to the Colorado Sun.

House Speaker Julie McCluskie and House Majority Leader Monica Duran said in a written statement that they are committed to open, transparent, and fair government.

The lawsuit also names Republican Mike Lynch, the House Minority leader, and the entire GOP caucus.

Colorado Officials Work To Reduce Traffic Deaths

A record number of people lost their lives in traffic accidents on Colorado roadways last year. Now state officials are taking measures they hope will keep those numbers in check. 

763 deaths have occurred on Colorado’s roads this year, according to the state Department of Transportation. Just this past Fourth of July weekend, more than 745 crashes and seven fatalities were reported.

State troopers are planning to expand their visibility on major roads by partnering with local law enforcement across the state. 

According to the Denver Post, speeding, lane violations, distracted driving, and driving under the influence caused the majority of accidents last year. 

New Mental Health Homes Opening in Denver

The Colorado Department of Human Services is opening a new, 52-bed Mental Health Transitional Living Home in Denver this September.

The facility will open in four phases at the Sequoia Cares Partners, LLC. 

It will serve Coloradans whose mental health conditions don’t meet the criteria for hospitalization, but are unable to live independently.

Patients can receive appropriate care, and stay as long as necessary.

I-70 Tolls Start Today

Beginning today, motorists will have to pay a toll when using express lanes on a ten-mile stretch of Interstate 70 through northeast Denver and Aurora.

The amount of the tolls will vary, depending on the type of vehicle and time of day. Tolls are higher during the morning rush hour, and also higher for those not using ExpressToll transponder tags.

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    Headlines – July 11, 2023 Por Jaijongkit

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