High winds but no pre-emptory energy shutoffs; legislative news; Auraria campus

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    05_07_24_am_headlines John Kelin

High Wind Outages and Cancellations

Winds are calming down along the front range, but the after-effects of yesterday’s powerful wind gusts are still being felt.

About ten thousand Xcel Energy customers lost power yesterday because of the high winds, which gusted up to 86 miles an hour in some places. More than two thousand of those customers were in Boulder County, according to Fox 31. However, there were no preemptive shutoffs by Xcel.

The power outages yesterday stretched from Boulder to the northwest, along the foothills corridor. But most of them were in Jefferson County, affecting more than eight thousand Xcel customers. Another 2600 Xcel customers in Golden also lost power.

Xcel said that its power system is designed to restore power automatically within a few seconds of an event like a tree making contact with a power line. But under yesterday’s windy conditions, settings were changed to prevent that automatic restoration. Instead, power must be restored by work crews.

About 55,000 Xcel customers in Boulder County lost power last month because of a preemptive shutoff by the energy company. It took up to three days for some to have power restored, and state regulators are still investigating that case. 

At Denver International Airport, the high winds yesterday forced the cancellation or delay of more than 1,000 flights, according to the Denver Post, citing FlightAware.

High winds also forced the cancellation of a Monday night show at Red Rocks. Those who had tickets to see the indie band Hippo Campus will be refunded, according to the Post.

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Auraria Campus

An anticipated Monday meeting between Metropolitan State University Denver officials and one of the leaders of a student pro-Palestinian group didn’t happen.

In a message posted to a Metro State website yesterday, the university said that the student they approached about the meeting declined the offer, unless other members of the group that has been encamped on the Auraria campus were allowed to attend. That stipulation was apparently unacceptable to the university.

The pro-Palestine demonstrations have been on the Tivoli Quad at the Auraria campus since April 25th. The campus is shared by Metropolitan State University, the Community College of Denver, and CU-Denver. Demonstrators have vowed to stay there until their demands are met.

Students at the Auraria Campus started a sit-in outside of the admin offices yesterday afternoon. They moved outside after a meeting was agreed upon for tomorrow at 11 a.m., with folks from the Auraria Campus Board of Directors.

That’s according to The Metropolitan, MSU Denver’s student-run newspaper.

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Property Tax, and Other Bills

With time running out on this year’s legislative session, Colorado lawmakers have introduced a bi-partisan bill to lower property taxes. 

Supporters on both sides of the aisle say if Senate Bill 233 passes, it will bring Coloradans meaningful property tax reductions.

The bill was negotiated over the weekend by state lawmakers, the governor’s office, and advocacy groups.

It would hold residential and commercial property tax rates steady this year for taxes owed in 2025, according to the Colorado Sun.

In other legislative news, the House of Representatives approved Senate Bills 229 and 230. The two measures lay the groundwork for a production tax on the oil and gas industry. Most of the revenues from the tax would pay for public transit, according to the Denver Post, with some of it going to public land restoration.

Senate Bill 229 still needs fine-tuning in the Senate, according to the Sun, while Bill 230 is ready for Governor Jared Polis’s signature. 

Finally, a House bill that would have banned the sale, purchase and transfer of assault weapons in Colorado has failed. In shelving the bill, State Senator Julie Gonzales said that more conversations need to take place outside of the pressure cooker of the Capitol.

The regular legislative session ends on Wednesday.

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Boulder County Mobile Home Program

Boulder County has launched a new pilot program aimed at improving and repairing mobile homes at two mobile home parks.

The Mobile Home Communities program is starting with the Columbine and Orchard Grove parks, both are in Boulder.  They decided to begin with Columbine and Orchard Groove because they have the greatest need. The project will address energy efficiency, health and safety concerns, accessibility issues, and general repairs in more than thirty mobile home units. 

The work will include improvements like adding insulation, weatherproofing, bringing units up to code, and other physical improvements.

The program is funded by $400,000 from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Boulder County will combine what they learn from the  Columbine and Orchard Grove projects with the results from a  2023 survey of mobile home park residents in Longmont and Lafayette.  With this combined information, what they learn will be applied to future mobile home repair initiatives.


Magnus White Ride

A memorial bike ride in memory of  honoring a rising Boulder cycling star is scheduled for next August.

The “Ride for Magnus: Ride for Your Life” memorial ride will be held on August 11th.

The ride is in memory of Magnus White, a member of the USA Cycling National Team who was struck and killed by a driver along the Diagonal Highway last summer.

At the time of his death, the 17-year-old was training for the Junior Men’s Mountain Bike Cross Country World Championships in Scotland. He was also about to enter his final year at Boulder High School.

The route covers thirteen-and-a-half miles and, organizers say, has minimal elevation gain.

Magnus White’s father said that every pedal stroke of the ride will be in honor of his son.

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John Kelin

John Kelin


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