Headlines — May 24, 2022

May 24, 2022

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    Headlines — May 24, 2022 kiara

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Section Of I-70 Closed After Car Chase And Shooting

The Adams County Sheriff’s Department closed all I-70 eastbound lanes at Airpark Road near Watkins early this morning in response to an  incident involving an officer shooting. 9 News reports the incident began when police attempted to make a traffic stop overnight and a chase ensued. 

According to an early morning tweet from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office social media account, the suspect is in critical but stable condition at an area hospital.

Officials are asking anyone needing to travel through the area to use an alternate route.

EPA And Xcel Energy Reach Settlement Terms On Coal Ash Disposal At Pueblo Comanche Power Plant

On Monday, The Environmental Protection Agency announced that has reached an agreement with Xcel Energy over its noncompliance in managing coal ash waste at the Comanche power station in Pueblo. 

Under the settlement, Xcel will design and implement a groundwater monitoring system along with other corrective measures. Xcel Energy will also pay a fine of $925,000.00 and develop a closure plan for the coal ash impoundment. The EPA says it will oversee all of Xcel’s work. 

According to the EPA, coal combustion residual waste can contain harmful levels of contaminants like mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. Without proper management, the waste can pollute waterways, groundwater, drinking water, and the air.

Polis Signs Bill Streamlining Adoption For Parents Conceiving Kids Using Assisted Reproductive Technology 

Governor Jared Polis signed legislation Monday simplifying the adoption process for parents who conceive children through assisted reproductive technologies. 

Under state law, a parent must adopt their own child when their partner has given birth using assisted reproduction. 

An LGBTQ+ parent attempting to become the legal parent of their own biological child can encounter a costly, burdensome, and lengthy process involving in-home evaluations, background checks, legal fees, and court appearances.   

The new law will remove many requirements, such as criminal record searches, fingerprinting, home visits, and in-person court hearings and instead will allow parents to file a petition supplying basic information such as a birth certificate. 

The court will then certify proper petitions within 30 days. 

According to the Denver Post, lawmakers later in the legislative session voted to rename the bill “Marlo’s law” in honor of the baby daughter of Colorado House Majority Leader Daneya Esgar of Pueblo and Esgar’s wife, Heather Palm who recently underwent adoption of their own daughter.

Aurora Mental Health Center To End Day Treatment Programs For Youth

The state of pediatric mental health in Colorado received another blow as the Aurora Mental Health Center will discontinue day treatment programs for youth.

The Aurora Mental Health Center (AMHC) announced it is discontinuing its regional Hampden Youth Campus programs at the end of the school year. Sentinel Colorado reports that this will put additional strain to the already stretched-thin resources for pediatric mental health.

The programs AMHC is discontinuing include Metro Children’s Center, which serves kids in grades kindergarten through eighth grade, and Hampden Academy, which serves youth in eighth through 12th grades. A third program, Intercept Day Treatment, was not in operation this year because the health center was not able to hire enough teachers to staff it.

AMHC leaders decided to halt the three-day treatment programs after careful consideration of current operating challenges, including diminishing referrals and enrollments, and decreasing financial viability due to changes in how behavioral health programs receive funding from the state.

Mental Healthcare providers have said in the past that the state’s system is convoluted and inefficient.

AMHC did say that Intercept Outpatient Services, a program for children and youth with overlapping behavioral health and intellectual/developmental disabilities will continue uninterrupted.

Boulder County Launching Pilot Assisting Homeowners In Unincorporated East County To Prepare For Wildfires 

Boulder County is teaming up with a wildfire preparedness organization to assess properties for fire risk. 

A group known as “Wildfire Partners” is currently assisting over 3,000 Boulder County residents to assess their properties with fire mitigation in mind. The foothills and mountain areas have been the primary region for preparedness, but the group is launching a pilot program to add the eastern part of unincorporated Boulder County to the service area. 

Services include a free, on-site, home assessment with a Wildfire Mitigation Specialist in which residents can learn how to secure their homes and create defensible space to reduce the ignition potential of their property. 

The initial rollout of this program will include 100 homes in the eastern part of Boulder County; the area that was hardest hit by December’s Marshall Fire.

Residents that are interested can apply through the program’s website at www.WildfirePartners.org. Applications are due by June 30, 2022. 

EPA Announces $2 Million Grant For CDPHE To Advance Environmental Cleanups In Five Communities 

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment announced Monday it has received a $2 million grant from the United States Environmental Agency to advance cleanup and revitalization of brownfield sites in Cortez, Evans, Firestone, Longmont, and Lyons.

The CDPHE defines a brownfield as a property where environmental contamination may complicate or hamper redevelopment.

Sites considered for the grant award include historic, vacant commercial and industrial buildings, gas stations, dry cleaners, sites with abandoned equipment and vehicles, and a former turkey farm with abandoned structures.

The CDPHE said it partnered with the five communities in submitting the grant proposals and it will work with local governments to inventory and prioritize cleanup at the sites.

The agency also plans to conduct environmental site assessments which will research the current and historical uses of the properties and determine if the uses have affected soil and groundwater and posed environmental or human health risk.

According to the CDPHE, the award is the first time the EPA has offered statewide grants to states and tribes and, for a majority of the communities selected for this year’s funding, the proposed projects are in historically underserved areas. 

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