Headlines – July 24, 2023

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    Headlines – July 24, 2023 Por Jaijongkit

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Unhoused Group Challenges Johnston’s Emergency Declaration 

A Denver rights organization run by unhoused people is warning that Mayor Mike Johnston’s declared state of emergency could be used to further marginalize people living on the streets.

In a press release Sunday, Housekeys Action Network Denver (HAND), said that while the emergency declaration could open up resources for aid, it could also increase the sweeps and the criminalization of the unhoused.

HAND urged that efforts go towards permanent housing solutions, rather than controls that might simply move people who camp in the city to, “hidden areas, shelters, out of town or jail in order to create the appearance that houselessness is decreasing.” 

Johnston built his winning mayoral campaign on the promise of ending homelessness. Last week, one of his first acts as mayor was to issue the emergency declaration, calling the situation a “humanitarian crisis.”

Denver City Council will consider extending the emergency declaration today. State law requires that Council approve an extension so that an emergency order can last beyond seven days.

BLM Releases Proposed Oil and Gas Rule

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has issued a proposal rule primarily focused on fiscal reforms to the federal oil and gas leasing program. 

The draft rule includes some considerations for protecting wildlife habitat and cultural sites. However, critics including the Western Environmental Law Center point out that it doesn’t go far enough to address the climate crisis ramifications of the oil and gas leasing program.

The environmental nonprofit notes that climate-related aspects only received one mention in the 322-page document. 

Some stakeholders also believe stronger and more explicit measures should have been included to ensure better protection for these important aspects. 

CPW Midnight Rescue on Arkansas River 

Colorado Parks and Wildlife announced Friday that a river ranger saved three people on the Arkansas River earlier this month after their boat flipped on rapid waters.

According to a Colorado Parks and Wildlife press release, ranger Jeff Hammond carried out a dramatic nighttime rescue of three people in dangerous waters. 

Hammond received a call from the Chaffee County Sheriff’s Office at approximately 10 p.m. on July 6. Three people had been flung into dangerous waters in Browns Canyon, a 13-mile long gorge. Hammond, accompanied by a search and rescue team, rode an ATV at the river’s side, until hearing shouts for help. 

He spotted the victims and lowered his kayak into the water, making his way through the whitewater in darkness. 

After locating the three people, Hammond paddled them across the river until they reached the ATVs, who took the group back to safety. 

The experienced river ranger said it was an unnerving experience. He advises that in situations of distress, rafters call search and rescue sooner than later to avoid extreme mishaps. 

This has been a particularly dangerous season on Colorado Rivers, with at least a dozen fatalities. Parks officials have said heavy rains and a longer snow runoff are creating faster flowing waters.

Largest Food Bank in Colorado Sees Jump in Clients

40% of people in Colorado and Wyoming are in need of food assistance. 

According to a survey from the Food Bank of the Rockies, rising inflation and the end of COVID era federal relief programs are contributing to the widespread food insecurity. 

Food insecurity disproportionately targets lower-income households and marginalized communities. Experts say children who experience food insecurity have higher rates of asthma, and poor general health. Not having access to affordable food is associated with higher blood pressure, cholesterol levels, anxiety and depression in adults.

For every one dollar donated, the food bank of the rockies says they can provide 3 meals. Prior to her first show in Denver, Taylor Swift donated 75,000 meals to the Food Bank of the Rockies. 

Longmont, Ft. Collins Spraying to Prevent West Nile Virus Infections 

Fort Collins, Longmont, and other cities along the Front Range are spraying pesticides in mosquito-infested areas to combat high numbers of the insects and to prevent the spread of West Nile Virus to humans. 

The virus was discovered this month in mosquitoes in Boulder, Larimer, Weld and Delta Counties. There have been no human cases reported in Colorado so far this year.

State health officials have been monitoring the insects to determine which areas to spray to avoid potential spread of the disease.

West Nile is transmitted to humans by female mosquitoes infected with the virus. Officials say that although most infections are mild, some can lead to serious complications such as meningitis, vision loss, and paralysis, or even death. The virus can lead to flu-like symptoms, such as fever, headache, and body aches.

Residents who wish to opt out of spraying in front of their homes can submit a request to VDCI, the mosquito management contractor used by Longmont and Fort Collins at vdci.net/colorado.

200 Lucky Boulder Residents Granted eBike Rebates

The City of Boulder closed its first application window for e-bike vouchers Wednesday.

The program, inspired by Denver’s successful eBike rebate pilot program that started up last year, received a lot of attention. 

A grand total of 1,207 individuals applied for 200 eBike vouchers. Recipients were chosen at random. The city approved 100 standard eBike vouchers, and 100 income-qualified vouchers.

The city will open a second application window in September.

Lafayette Breaks Ground On Affordable, Zero Emissions Housing

The Boulder County Housing Authority broke ground last week on the future site of 400 new affordable homes in Lafayette.

Boulder County Commissioner Claire Levy said Willoughby Corner development at the corner of Emma and 120th Street will be the largest neighborhood in the state with zero emissions.

The neighborhood’s design features solar, geothermal, and other sustainable technologies.

The first phase will include rental apartments for adults 55 and over, and is scheduled for completion next summer.

For-sale affordable homes are also in the plans, plus green space and trails.

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    Headlines – July 24, 2023 Por Jaijongkit

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