More tension over Boulder’s Police Oversight Panel and rental assistance for thousands of Coloradans

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    02_21_24headlines Franziska Stangl

Applications for temporary rental assistance open soon

Colorado’s Temporary Rental Assistance Grant Program will start processing applications on February 20th.

The Program aims to provide temporary rental assistance of either five months of rent or $10,000 to people who make below 80 percent of the area median. For Boulder and Denver, that number is around 60 thousand dollars. 

The legislature passed the program in November of 2023 in the wake of rising eviction numbers in the state. According to data from Denver County Court, there were 1,500 eviction filings in January 2024.

The next application period will start again on the 15th of March on the Colorado Department of Local Affairs website.

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POP members upset over private meeting

Controversy is again brewing around Boulder’s Police Oversight Panel or POP.  Panel co-chair Victor King said at yesterday’s meeting that two members, Mylene Vielard and Soledad Diaz, had an inappropriate private meeting with leadership members of the NAACP. 

King said Vielard and Diaz were not being transparent.

Annette James, head of NAACP of Boulder County, said in a statement that the meeting with Vileard and Diaz felt like– one of the first times that the panel was “finally engaging with the community.”

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First state-tribal meeting paves the way for future collaboration

The Colorado Department of Agriculture and two Native American tribes met yesterday to discuss future collaboration.

According to a press release, the Ute Mountain Ute Tribe and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe met for the first time ever, to join a partnership that will be beneficial for both – state and tribes.

They are planning to work together in areas like water, agriculture, and infrastructure.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture also plans to create a tribal liaison position within the department and funding opportunities for the tribes for agricultural projects.

Lorelei Cloud, vice-chairman of the Southern Ute Indian Tribe, said, quote, together, we will find solutions and forge partnerships that ensure a sustainable future for our communities.

 

Work clinics in Denver help migrants with employment process

Denver has opened new work clinics to help migrants navigate the employment authorization process. 

According to Denver7, about 400 migrants have already benefited from the clinics. 

Denver has received more new immigrants in the last year than any other state in the nation. According to Jon Ewing from Denver Human Services, less than 25% of the newcomers meet the eligibility requirements to apply for work permits. 

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Denver e-bike voucher rebates

Denver added a third income tier for their e-bike rebate program. Now, people who earn between 60 to 100 percent of the area median income are eligible for an e-bike or cargo e-bike voucher. 

People who earn more than the median income, which is around $90 thousand a month can get vouchers of 200 bucks. People who earn less than that but more than most can get a $700 voucher. People who earn less than the median or below 50 thousand are eligible for a $1200 voucher. 

The next round of applications opens next Tuesday at 11 am. 

The city will use a lottery system to determine who receives a voucher, and those who are chosen have 90 days to redeem it.

According to the Climate Office, since the program launched in 2022, it has reduced vehicle travel by nearly 170,000 miles per week.

Apply here

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Colorado oilfield worker awarded $30 million in compensation, only gets half

A Jury has awarded $30 million to a Colorado oilfield worker, but according to the Denver Post, the worker will only get half. 

Steven Straughen, the father of two and a US Air Force veteran, was awarded $30 million by a Colorado jury for severe injuries sustained when a fracking tank exploded in Weld County four years ago.

Because Colorado law limits the amount companies are required to pay for damages after losing a lawsuit, he will not be able to collect the total amount. Straughen, who will likely need to use a wheelchair for the rest of his life, says the law does little to help people who have been hurt and is 100 percent to project insurance companies. 

A group known as Coloradans for Accountability is planning to organize a ballot measure that would eliminate the cap. 

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New plans for RTD railway

Colorado State officials have unveiled a new strategy to finally get started on the long-awaited rail service connecting Denver with Boulder and Longmont. This initiative, part of the broader Fastracks project approved by voters in 2004, seeks to overcome years of delays and underfunding by tapping into about $102 billion worth of federal funding.

The proposal is seen as a crucial step toward the establishment of an expansive 160-mile Front Range Passenger Rail System, which would span 13 counties and include connections to Colorado Springs and Pueblo.

To realize this vision, Colorado residents may be called upon to contribute through a new sales tax, as state lawmakers in 2021 laid the groundwork for the Front Range Passenger Rail District, a taxing authority poised to spearhead the project’s funding.

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Franziska Stangl

Franziska Stangl

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