Headlines – September 13, 2023 Ivonne Olivas
Congress Under Pressure To Pass Farm Bill
Food pantry organizations are pushing congress to pass a new Farm Bill they say is urgently needed in order to deal with growing food insecurity. The current farm bill expires September 30th.
Programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, that provides grocery funds for low-income families, are at risk if the Farm Bill isn’t passed. The Emergency Food Assistance Program or TEFAP is also at risk. This program provides the food that food banks distribute to communities in need.
Allison Taggart, program director at Integrated Family Community Services told Denver7 that the food pantry located in Englewood saw about 800 families a month in 2018. That number has now increased to about 1,500 families a month.
According to Denver7, TEFAP has stocked 30% of the food at the Food Bank of the Rockies’ over the years but that number has dwindled to about 13%. Food banks across Colorado are struggling to close the gap between need and funds.
The Farm Bill was signed into law by President Trump and is to be renewed every five years.
North Boulder Fire
Boulder Fire Rescue extinguished a fire on Jay Road and Sunnyside Place Tuesday morning. The fire occurred at approximately 8 a.m. and no injuries were reported. Boulder residents were asked to stay clear of the area while police investigated the cause of the fire. The investigation is still ongoing.
Colorado Deputies Fired After Excessive Tasing
Two former Colorado Sheriff’s deputies are facing possible criminal charges, after being fired for excessive force violations against a man in their custody. KGNU’s John Kelin has more.
The Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that the two deputies were fired late last month.
The firing of Mikhail Noel and Henry Trujillo followed an investigation that found they repeatedly used Tasers against Kenneth Espinoza, while Espinoza was handcuffed. The investigation also found that the two fired deputies did not accurately describe what happened when they filed reports on the November 29th, 2022 incident, according to the Pueblo County Sheriff’s Office.
The case began when Espinoza’s son was pulled over on a traffic stop. Espinoza had been following his son in his truck, and he pulled over too, to see what was going on.
At first the two deputies ordered Espinoza to leave, then told him to stay.
According to the official investigation, the deputies falsely claimed Espinoza tried to hit them with his truck and then resisted arrest, before being handcuffed, taken to the patrol car and repeatedly tased.
The investigation further said neither of the now-fired deputies tried to de-escalate the situation, and has recommended a criminal probe.
Meantime Espinoza is suing the Las Animas County Sheriff’s Office for not properly training its employees.
Two Unhoused People Murdered In Denver
The Denver Police Department is investigating the fatal shootings of two unhoused people they say might be connected.
The shootings occurred on different days last week, but may be connected, police say.
Denver Police spokesperson, Sean Towle, said in both cases, callers heard gunshots and contacted the police immediately, leading them to believe the shootings happened right around the time they were called in.
At approximately midnight on Wednesday, Lluvia Robles-Banuelos was found dead on the South Platte River Trail. The following Saturday, Jeremy Hutcheson was found dead on the same trail at approximately the same time. The department said neither of the bodies were found near homeless encampments.
The department asks that anyone with information regarding the shootings call Metro Denver Crime Stoppers.
Boulder Receives Funds for RTD
The Regional Transportation System, or RTD, has given Boulder $650,000 for an expansion of transit systems in the Gunbarrel area.
The on-demand, flex route will provide transit for a 4.4 square-mile area in Gunbarrel and unincorporated Boulder County. Karen Worminghaus, Senior Manager of Transportation at the Boulder Chamber, said the route will make transit more accessible for over 9,000 employees and 11,000 residents in the Gunbarrel area.
The flex route has been in the works for two years and RTD will provide funds for the service from 2023-2026.
Bear Spotted on CU Campus
A black bear was spotted on the University of Colorado Boulder’s campus yesterday.
The bear was spotted on the corner of Colorado Avenue and Folsom St, in a tree by the Engineering Center.
The university’s police were on sight at around 10am, and cordoned off the area. The bear remained in the tree throughout the day, forcing an area closure on campus. The university’s police were waiting until later that day, when students weren’t around to attempt to scare off the bear.
At dusk, the bear climbed down from the tree and left the area.
Black bears are not known to be aggressive. The situation was still cause for concern given the amount of students in the area.
Attorney General warns of student loan payment scams
Student loan repayment begins in October and Attorney General Phil Weiser issued a warning to look out for potential scams.
Weiser said the best way students can protect themselves is by ensuring they are logging onto official websites and contacting legitimate entities.
Students can visit studentaid.gov to check their balances, identify loan providers and update personal information. The website can also provide students with a payment plan based on their income, lowering the usual monthly payment.
Loan interest started accruing Sept. 1st and monthly payments that are missed between Oct. 1st, 2023 and Sept. 30th, 2024 could be considered delinquent or referred to private collection agencies.
New Roundabout Law Begins In October
A new roundabout law takes effect in Colorado on Oct. 1st, giving large vehicles using the traffic circles the right of way. Under the new state law, trucks, buses, emergency vehicles and recreational vehicles longer than 35 feet and wider than ten feet are classified as “large vehicles”..
Drivers that violate the law will be penalized under a Class A traffic infraction and can be fined $70. The bill was passed earlier this year and signed into law by Gov. Jared Polis in March.
Other than the new addition, roundabouts will still function in the same way. Cars must yield to to traffic that is already navigating the roundabout and enter the traffic circle when a safe gap has emerged between cars.