Headlines – July 25, 2023 Por Jaijongkit
Homelessness Census Shows Increase Across Denver
The number of people experiencing homelessness in Denver is up by more than 31% this year over last year.
That’s according to a new survey by the Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. Their point-in-time survey counts the number of homeless in the city in January of each year.
The 2023 count took place on Jan. 30, and included people staying in shelters and outdoors. All told, they counted 9,065 unhoused people.
The survey showed a sharp increase in the number of people, including families, who are unhoused for the first time.
The Initiative’s Executive Director said the increase reflects the full economic fallout from the COVID-19 era.
The count of the city’s homeless is a requirement of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
Denver Council May Extend Emergency Homeless Declaration
At the same time, Denver Mayor Mike Johnston’s emergency order on homelessness is being extended into next month, following a vote by the Denver City Council.
The City Council voted 12 to one last night to extend the mayor’s emergency order until Aug. 21.
That emergency order, issued last week, aims to house at least 1,000 people by the end of the year.
According to the Denver Gazette, Councilmember Amanda Sawyer petitioned to delay the decision pending further clarification. Sawyer said, “City council is not a rubber stamp for the mayor’s office.”
In contrast, council members Darrell Watson and Amanda Sandoval voiced their support for the Mayor’s initiative to reduce the city’s homelessness issue.
Denver yesterday also activated a new Emergency Operations Center to address the problem.
Johnston said the center was a morally driven initiative to get everyone in Denver indoors.
BVSD School Vandalism
Police in Boulder are investigating vandalism at four Boulder Valley School District schools.
The Daily Camera reports the vandalism occurred over the weekend. In one case, at Foothills Elementary, a large swastika was painted on the side of the building. Police say that was the only one that involved hate speech.
The other schools were Boulder High, Crest View Elementary, and Horizons K-8.
The schools are currently on summer break.
DPS Secret Meeting
Denver Public Schools’ Board of Education held a secret meeting in March to change a policy that allowed police officers in schools.
The DPS Board of Education unanimously voted last Friday to release the video of the March 23 closed-door executive session. The vote came after a coalition of news outlets sued the Board of Education for the release of the recording. The closed-door meeting occurred one day after a shooting at East High School in Denver.
The recording showed that DPS board members and the Superintendent secretly made the policy that allowed armed Denver police officers to return to campuses of Denver Public Schools. This reversed a 2020 policy that removed officers from school campuses.
The video showed an oftentimes heated debate between board members and DPS Superintendent Alex Marrero on the decision to reintroduce school resource officers onto campuses and the backlash board members faced.
First 2023 Colorado Case of West Nile Virus
Colorado’s first human case of West Nile virus of 2023 has been reported.
State health officials said yesterday the West Nile virus was detected in someone in La Plata country.
They add that most people who are infected don’t have any symptoms. But some people do get sick, and can even die. People over 60, or who have certain pre-existing medical conditions, are especially at risk.
West Nile virus is commonly transmitted by flying insects, mosquitoes in particular, which are greater in number this year because of so much rain. Experts advise limiting outdoor activity at dusk and dawn, when mosquito activity is greatest; covering as much skin as possible; and using strong insect repellent.
Colorado June Unemployment
The unemployment rate in Colorado remained at 2.8% for the month of June, according to a Colorado Employment Situation report issued last week.
The report said that private sector payroll jobs jumped by about 3,300, while the government added 1,400 new jobs.
State economists say it’s the first time in more than a year that a positive number of private jobs were added for three months in a row.
Colorado’s jobless rate remains at pre-pandemic levels.
Seat Belt Enforcement
From now through Aug. 4, law enforcement in Colorado will step up its enforcement of the state’s seat belt laws.
The Colorado Department of Transportation and other agencies began the increased enforcement yesterday, in an effort to reduce the number of lives lost on Colorado roadways.
479 people died in traffic accidents last year, according to a press release. Nearly half of those people were not wearing a seat belt.
During this phase of increased enforcement, adult drivers and passengers can be ticketed for not wearing a seat belt, if they’re pulled over for some other violation. Fines begin at $65. For drivers with children not wearing seat belts, the minimum fine is $82.
During a similar period of greater enforcement earlier this year, the number of seat belt citations increased 52%, compared to the same time a year before.
Denver E-bike Rebates Today
Denver is opening a new round of e-bike rebates today.
This new round offers Denver residents one of three types of e-bike vouchers: a standard rebate of $300 off the price of an e-bike, or $500 off the price of a cargo e-bike.
There’s also an adaptive rebate of up to $1,400 for people with disabilities.
Income-qualified residents can save $1,200 on an ordinary e-bike, and up to $1,400 dollars on a cargo e-bike.
The e-bike rebate portal opens at 11 a.m. today on the city’s website. Applicants must first be registered as a user, and will get a verification code by email.
There are two more scheduled rounds of e-bike rebates in Denver this year.
New Longmont Museum Director
There’s a new Director at the Longmont Museum.
Erik Mason, who has been the museum’s Curator of History for 27 years, began his new duties yesterday.
He has an M.A. in History Museum Studies from the Cooperstown Graduate Program of the State University of New York, and is the author of Longmont: The First 150 Years.
Erik Mason has been the museum’s interim director since April. The previous director left at the end of March.
Headlines – July 25, 2023 Por Jaijongkit