Headlines – September 7, 2023

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Colorado Lawsuit Aims To Remove Trump From Ballot

Six voters filed a lawsuit in Denver Wednesday demanding that Colorado’s secretary of state not put former President Donald Trump’s name on the Republican ballot for the 2024 primary election. 

According to The Denver Post, the plaintiffs consist of Republican and unaffiliated voters, many of whom are former lawmakers. The plaintiffs argue that because Trump is accused of inciting insurrection, he is not eligible for office under the Constitution’s 14th amendment. On Jan. 6, 2021, dozens of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol after Trump gave a speech nearby claiming that the presidential election was stolen from him.

Both Trump and Colorado Secretary of State Jenna Griswold are named as defendants. The deadline to certify Colorado’s presidential primary ballots is in January. 


Aurora Police Officer Who Shot Teen Will Not Face Criminal Charges

Arapahoe County’s district attorney announced Wednesday that he will not file charges against an Aurora police officer for the shooting death of 14-year-old Jor’Dell Richardson.

On June 1, officers Roch Gruszeczka and James Snapp chased Richardson into an alley after he allegedly threatened a convenience store clerk with a pellet gun, then stole vaping products. 

District Attorney John Kellner wrote in his decision letter that Gruszeczka acted within the law when he shot Richardson after the teen disregarded warnings to take his hand off what police thought was a gun tucked into his waistband.

While both officers tackled Richardson to the ground, footage from their body cameras and a surveillance camera nearby do not show a gun. Jor’Dell Richardson is heard saying, “Stop, please, you got me,” moments before the officer shoots him.

Jor’Dell’s mother, Laurie Littlejohn, said during a summer protest that her son should have been able to face the consequences of his actions and stated, quote, “Whatever went on that day, it was not a death sentence.”


Rock-Throwing Suspects Face Charges For Earlier Incident

Three young men accused of killing 20-year-old driver Alexa Bartell by throwing a large rock at her windshield were scheduled for a preliminary court hearing this Friday. But new allegations against two of the suspects, Joseph Koenig and Nicholas Karol-Chik, might delay those proceedings.

Koenig, Karol-Chick and Zachary Kwak were already facing murder charges for a spate of rock-throwing incidents between Jefferson and Boulder Counties on April 19. First Judicial District officials say cellphone data now ties two of them to an April 1 attack in Arvada during which the head of a statue was thrown into an occupied and moving vehicle.

According to The Denver Post, it was not clear from court records whether that victim suffered injuries in the attack.

Koenig’s attorneys have asked the judge to delay Friday’s hearing so that the defense team can review the new information. One of the suspects told police that since February, the young men had thrown rocks at vehicles on at least 10 other days.


City of Boulder Partners with National Civic League 

Boulder is partnering with the National Civic league to increase civic engagement in public meetings. 

The National Civics league chose Boulder as one of three pilot communities across the U.S. to test new public engagement practices. 

According to a press release, The National Civic League and the City of Boulder want to make public meetings possible, sustainable, and measurable by implementing an online feedback tool available in all public meetings from September 7 through December 7. They will also interview community members.

The league will use the feedback from both the online tool and interviews with community members to generate suggestions that improve civic participation in these public meetings. 

An open community forum will be held at the beginning of 2024 to receive feedback on those suggestions and improvements.


BLM Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Oil & Gas Fees 

The federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) has proposed new rules that could restrict oil and gas leasing on millions of acres of public land

The proposed rules include increases to oil and gas lease rates, and new fees for expressing interest in BLM land for leases.

They would also increase the amount of money companies must set aside ahead of leasing, if funding for clean-up is needed in the future.  Cultural and wildlife preservation considerations would also hold more sway under the proposed rule, which implements portions of  the Inflation Reduction Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. 

According to The Colorado Sun, the BLM controls 8.3 million acres of land and 27 million acres of mineral rights in Colorado alone.

The public can comment on these proposed rules on-line or by mail through September 22. The final informational meeting on the rules will be held virtually on September 19 at 12:30 pm MT.  Registration is required.


Boulder Police Make Multiple Drug Arrests Following Overdoses 

Boulder Police made several drug arrests in Central Park Wednesday on the heels of overdoses downtown.

The overdoses occurred in the Central Park and Pearl Street Mall areas. Police arrested at least seven people Wednesday who were allegedly under the influence or in possession of illegal drugs like meth and fentanyl.

Among those arrested was a man who was charged two weeks ago for an alleged stabbing during the daytime on Broadway. He had been released without a cash bond a few days after the incident. New charges Wednesday alleged the man was carrying fentanyl for distribution and riding a stolen bike.


Polis Names New Colorado Poet Laureate

Gov. Jared Polis has named Boulder-based author and queer activist Andrea Gibson, Colorado’s new Poet Laureate.

Gibson is a four-time Denver Grand Slam Champion in poetry, whose work addresses themes of love, gender, and sexuality, to name a few.

The role of state Poet Laureate is essentially to act as an art ambassador. Gibson’s new role will mean participating in readings at schools, libraries and festivals and presenting a poem for the opening of the Colorado legislative session.

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