Headlines – October 2, 2023

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Justice Dept. Suing Colorado Over Elderly Care

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) is suing the State of Colorado for alleged civil rights violations in nursing homes.

The lawsuit, filed Friday, claims the state violated nursing home residents’ civil rights by not helping those with “low care needs” transition to home health care.

The Denver Post reports the DOJ sent a letter in March, warning state officials that they were not following the rules of the Americans with Disabilities Act. By federal law, states must pay for support services like housekeeping and help with medicines through Medicaid to allow low-income citizens with disabilities to live in the least restrictive setting possible.

DOJ attorneys claim Colorado has made the cost of in-home providers too expensive because, over time, the state has been tipping the scales of its funding toward nursing home care.

Colorado Medicaid officials said they were “disappointed” by the lawsuit. They say over 80 percent of people with disabilities covered by Medicaid are able to live in the community instead of in a nursing home.


Officers Arrest Suspect Linked To Blue Alert

The Colorado Bureau of Investigation sent out a Blue Alert to cell phones throughout Colorado last week.  Thursday’s alert followed the death of Officer Christine Guerin Sandoval, a parole officer who worked for the Colorado Department of Corrections. 

According to CBS News, Sandoval was on duty in Colorado Springs when a car struck and killed her. Officials say tips from the public helped catch the suspect, who was identified as 41-year-old Justin Kula.


Denver Officials’ Data Predicts 12,000 Evictions 

Evictions in Denver have skyrocketed, according to the Denver Department of Housing Stability. 

City housing officials estimate there will be 12,000 eviction filings in Denver this year. Mayor Mike Johnston said at a public budget hearing that there are about 1,200 evictions in Denver every month, and called the situation a crisis.

An evictions attorney at the hearing blamed the skyrocketing rate of evictions on the rising cost of rent, combined with the end of federal rental assistance.

Evictions are the second highest reason for homelessness, according to Metro Denver Homeless Initiative. In most circumstances, people self-evict, meaning their realization of not being able to afford rent leads them to leave their homes. 

Denver has budgeted $12.6 million for rent and utility assistance in order to combat the housing crisis. This is about $10 million dollars less than the budget for the previous two years. 


AG Weiser Charges Former Officers Of Falsifying Training Records

Attorney General Phil Weiser is suing Adams county law enforcement officers for falsifying information about the completion of state-mandated peace officer standards training or POST. 

The lawsuit alleges Former Adams County Sheriff Richard Reigenborn, former Undersheriff Thomas McLallen, and former Division Chief Michael Bethel, signed training rosters for classes they did not attend and submitted falsified POST training certificates. 

The arrest affidavit also alleges that Bethel used McLallen’s account password to log onto one of McLallen’s online accounts to complete training for McLallen. 

Colorado peace officers are required to complete a minimum of 24 hours of annual in-service training, including at least 12 hours of perishable skills training in arrest control, driving, and firearms. 


Iron Fire Burning Over 7,000 Acres

A wildfire that started Friday in Moffat County has already grown to over 7,000 acres with about 30 percent containment by firefighters.

Called the Iron fire, it spread quickly due to dry, windy conditions. According to The Denver Post, the blaze is consuming tall grass and sagebrush in an area that already burned in 2018.

The fire is just north of Craig and has been burning through private ranchland and Bureau of Land Management property.


Body Recovered From Chatfield Reservoir

Rescue crews have recovered a body after a man went missing while paddleboarding in Chatfield Reservoir in Littleton Sunday. 

South Metro Fire Department divers searched the waters throughout the evening, first as a rescue, then as a recovery operation.


NCAR Predicts El Niño Snow Dump In October

Weather researchers in Boulder say El Niño conditions may create record-breaking snowfalls this winter. 

According to the National Center for Atmospheric Research or NCAR, the Front Range may see storms similar to El Niño systems in 1997 and 1998. In 1997, a single snowstorm dumped almost 30 inches in Boulder over 24 hours at the end of October.

NCAR experts say it’s not too early to get snow tires and have shovels at the ready as this October begins.


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