Headlines – September 28, 2023

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    09_28_23_AM_headlines benita

Colorado Receives Funding For Alternative Energy Storage 

U.S. Senators John Hickenlooper and Michael Bennet announced Monday that the U.S. Department of Energy has granted Colorado $44 million to fund a long duration energy storage project in Pueblo. Xcel Energy will team up with Form Energy to install the technology, called LDES, to replace the Comanche coal-fired power plant’s system. 

LDES technology allows the storage of renewable energy from sources like wind and solar power.

The federal funding, which comes from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, will also go towards two research projects at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.


Former Police Official Testifies In Elijah McClain Case

The trial of two Aurora police officers charged in the 2019 death of Elijah McClain enters its sixth day today. 

Randy Roedema and Jason Rosenblatt have both pleaded not guilty to charges of manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, and assault.

Former Aurora Divisions Chief of Operations Stephen Redfearn testified Wednesday that in his opinion, department policy did not require the two officers to stop Elijah McClain, just because someone had made a 911 call about a so-called “sketchy” person in the area.

McClain was walking home, and hadn’t done anything wrong, when police stopped him and eventually put him in a carotid hold. Prosecutors  asked Redfearn how often, based on Aurora police department policy, any officer would have to use such a hold, which is believed to have contributed to McClain’s death. Redfearn said it was not used very often.

Paramedics arrived soon afterward and gave McClain a powerful sedative. He was hospitalized, but died several days later.

The two paramedics and a third officer will be tried separately.

Coloradan Files Lawsuit Over Ban From Officials’ Facebook Page

Denver Public Schools and school board Vice President Auon’tai Anderson are being sued by a parent who alleges she was illegally blocked from Anderson’s personal Facebook page. Eve Chen of Denver says this violates her First Amendment rights to free speech.

In response, Anderson released a statement saying that because of online harassment and death threats, he is monitoring his social media presence, and is  in compliance with Colorado law.

Earlier this year, Colorado lawmakers passed a law allowing elected officials to block anyone from their private social media accounts, but not from their public ones. It’s the first such law in the nation.

Chen’s attorney told The Denver Post that the suit, filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, is the first to challenge the new Colorado law.

The issue of whether officials can ban anyone from their social media pages has come up in other states. The U.S. Supreme Court will examine two similar cases in its upcoming session.


DPS Joining National Lawsuit Against Social Media Giants

In related news, Denver Public Schools is joining a class action lawsuit against social media platforms, alleging that they are harming children. Jefferson County Public Schools voted to join the lawsuit a week earlier.

The lawsuit challenges social media giants such as Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, and YouTube.

In May, the U.S. Surgeon General issued a health advisory warning that social media adversely affects the mental health of children and teens. A month later, a whistleblower leaked documents that indicated Facebook may have known of these negative impacts.

Four law firms are preparing the case for over 200 plaintiffs.


Wildfire Mitigation Chipping Program Has Successful Start

Boulder County announced Wednesday that about 350 homeowners have already engaged its Wildfire Partners Community Chipping Program.

The free program was launched earlier this month to support residents in managing vegetation that could pose wildfire risks.

To be eligible for the program, at least five neighbors must host a chipping event. For more information, go to wildfirepartners.org.


Boulder County To Hold Minimum Wage Listening Sessions

Boulder County is seeking community feedback about  raising hourly minimum wages for people in unincorporated Boulder County.

The sessions, at a Town Hall in Niwot next month and online, follow on the heels of an August announcement about the new hourly minimum wage, which would rise to $15.69 per hour on January 1, 2024 for workers in unincorporated Boulder County. The new amount will be 15 percent 2023’s amount.

In 2019, new Colorado legislation gave counties and municipalities the authority to set their own minimum wage by up to 15 percent per year above the state’s minimum wage. The law was put in place to help the lowest paid workers meet rising living costs.


Meteorologists Tally Colorado’s ‘Water Year’

If you’ve felt like this was an especially wet year in Colorado, scientists tracking the weather would agree with you.

According to meteorologists, most of the past “water year,” counted from October 1, 2022 through the end of this month, was the 22nd wettest on record in the state since 1896. 

According to The Colorado Sun, experts say they will watch how the snowpack season starts for hints of what 2024 will bring in the way of precipitation.




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