Headlines – May 4, 2023

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    Headlines – May 4, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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Colorado Wildlife Officials Approve Wolf Restoration Plan 

The Colorado Parks and Wildlife Commission made history yesterday, unanimously approving the state’s final wolf restoration and management plan. 

Commissioners held a marathon, nine-hour meeting at Colorado Mountain College’s Spring Valley campus near Carbondale, and they’ll do it again today. But the heavy lifting is now done, after a multi-year process involving stakeholder and technical working groups, dozens of opportunities for public engagement, and more than 4,000 written and verbal comments on the draft plan released in December of last year. 

Wolves are slated to have paws on the ground on the last day of this year, but a coalition of ranchers, outfitters and rural county commissioners have found bipartisan support in the state house for bills that could delay the restoration.

Navajo Nation Vetoes Buffer Around Historical Park

The Navajo Nation has rejected the U.S. government’s plan to create a buffer around historic Native American lands in New Mexico.

The plan was intended to protect the Chaco Culture National Historical Park from oil and gas drilling and create environmental and economic justice for Native Americans.

But tribal leaders say Navajo property owners could lose close to $200 million over the next 20 years in oil and gas royalties, pushing them further into poverty.

Interior Secretary Deb Haaland first announced the land withdrawal process in 2021.

According to a Western Energy Alliance press release, tribal officials say Haaland has mismanaged the process, failing to consult with the Navajo people.

The Interior Department’s proposed 10-mile buffer zone would cover about 35,000 acres.

The Navajo Council made its recent announcement after their compromise plan to reduce the buffer zone from 10 to 5 miles was not considered by the Interior Department.

Boulder Officials Warn Of Deadly Horse Tranquilizer In Illegal Drugs 

The Boulder County Drug Task Force has found the veterinary tranquilizer Xylazine in the county’s illicit drug supply, and are warning citizens to be aware and safe.

Also known as Tranq, Xylazine can be mixed into pills or powder, making it hard for those using the drug to know it’s present. The drug has not been approved for human use, and has been linked to deaths across the country. It can cause drowsiness, slowed heart rate and memory loss. Xylazine can lead to an increased risk of fatal overdose, especially when used with opioids or alcohol.

Unlike fentanyl and other opioids, Xylazine is not responsive to overdose reversal drugs like Narcan.

If you come across someone who is overdosing, officials say to call 911 immediately. 

Three Teens Charged With Murder In Rock-Throwing Death

Prosecutors formally charged three teens Wednesday with first-degree murder and other offenses for throwing landscape rocks at several moving vehicles in the Denver Metro area.

18-year-olds Nicholas Karol-Chik, Joseph Koenig and Zachary Kwak were charged with killing 20-year-old Alexa Bartell on April 19. The teens allegedly hit six other cars during their rock-throwing spree. Two other drivers suffered minor injuries.

According to The Associated Press, Karol-Chick told Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office investigators that he and Koenig had thrown rocks at vehicles on at least 10 other days before Bartell was killed.

Other charges included attempted first-degree murder, second-degree assault and attempted second-degree assault. Karol-Chick and Kwak gave different accounts about who threw the rock that killed Bartell.

Westminster Starbucks Unionized 

Workers for a Starbucks in Westminster won their vote to unionize on Tuesday.

The Starbucks on 144th and I-25 is the tenth store to unionize in Colorado. 

Workers petitioned for their unionization and held a one-day strike in late March calling for improved team hours and safety in the café. 

Starbucks Workers United said in a press release that  the formation of the union isn’t the end of the fight, “It’s time for a change, we need to have more partners standing up to corporate and letting them know that without us, there is no Starbucks.”

The Westminster workers join a nationwide movement of 8,000 baristas and over 300 locations.

Rocky Mountain National Park Shifting To Cashless Fee System

Rocky Mountain National Park soon won’t accept cash for permit and entrance fees. Starting June 1, the park will only accept mobile or electronic payments.

Visitors who must pay with cash can still buy a prepaid pass from the Rocky Mountain Conservancy Nature Store at some visitor centers.

Officials say the transition to a cashless system will reduce the amount of time staff spend managing cash and increase the amount of funding available to support park resources.

Air Quality Reports Gives Boulder County Low Grade 

The American Lung Association gave Boulder County an “F” grade for ozone pollution in a recent air quality report.

According to Longmont Leader, almost a dozen Colorado counties received the lowest grade for their high number of ozone alert days.

The study linked wildfires in Western states and nearby oil and gas development to higher levels of pollution in Boulder County.

Air pollutants are linked with asthma, pulmonary disease and heart disease.

Both Denver and Fort Collins rose higher this year in the study’s list of worst ozone pollution in U.S. metro areas.

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    Headlines – May 4, 2023 Alyssa Palazzo

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