Social worker falsified child abuse claims and Boulder County launches wildfire mitigation grant

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Election Results

Results from yesterday’s election are trickling in. 

A statewide ballot measure, Proposition HH, which would lower property tax rates over the next 10 years, is failing to pass. About 60% of Coloradans voted against it and about 40% voted for it.

The other statewide ballot measure, Proposition II, is passing, with 66% of voters for it while 33% voted against it. Proposition II will allow the government to use tobacco and nicotine product tax for the Universal Preschool Program. 

Ballot Issue 2A, allowing the city of Boulder to allocate half of sales tax towards the funding of arts and culture, is passing. The other half will go into the city’s general fund. About 73% of voters were for the measure, with about 27% voting against it. 

Boulder’s Safe Zones 4 Kids, also appears to be passing. The measure proposes an amendment to an existing provision, prohibiting tents and propane tanks from being located closer than 500 feet from a school and fifty feet from a sidewalk About 62% of voters approved the measure while about 38% voted against it. 

In Boulder, Bob Yates is in the lead by a small margin in the mayoral race and in Longmont, incumbent Joan Peck leads in her re-election for mayor. 

 

Forensic Scientist Under Fire After DNA Discrepancy 

A top Colorado Bureau of Investigation forensic scientist is facing an internal affair and criminal investigation.

Over her three decades of work as a forensic scientist, Yvonne Woods has testified in over 500 court cases. The investigation into anomalies in her work could call into question the integrity of cases she has worked on. The Colorado Bureau of Investigation has yet to release which cases could be compromised.

According to a press release, the bureau will bring in an out-of-state investigative body and conduct a comprehensive investigation of her prior work. 

Woods’ attorney, Ryan Brackley, says Woods will comply with the bureau’s investigation.  

 

Gray Wolf Management Rule Finalized

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service published rule 10(j) Tuesday, granting the state power to create its own rules for gray wolf management. The rule will go into effect Dec. 8. 

This flexibility gave Colorado Parks and Wildlife the green light to have gray wolves on the ground by the end of December. 

It also allows the state to decide when an individual will be able to kill a gray wolf, which is an endangered species. Previous to the rule, an individual could only kill a gray wolf to save a human life. 

According to 9News, ranchers advocated for rule 10(j), saying the killing of wolves would be necessary in cases where their livestock was in danger.

 

Social Worker Convicted After Making False Claims 

A former Arapahoe County social worker, Robin Niceta, was convicted Tuesday of false reporting of child abuse and attempt to influence a public servant. 

In 2022, the Arapahoe County Department of Human Services received an anonymous call, saying they had witnessed Aurora City Councilwoman Danielle Jurinsky sexually abuse her son. Jurinsky was investigated and the claim was proven incorrect. 

The anonymous call was traced to Niceta. At the time of the call, Niceta’s partner was former Aurora Police Chief Vanessa Wilson, whom Jurinsky had bashed on a podcast. According to 9News, this was a potential reason Niceta had made the call to human services.

Niceta was taken into custody but her trial was postponed in March earlier this year due to terminal illness. She presented medical records of a brain tumor, but these records turned out to be false. 

Niceta was indicted on charges of medical record fabrication.

She faces up to six years in prison. 

 

Boulder County Launches Wildfire Mitigation Grant

Boulder County announced the launch of a Strategic Fuels Mitigation Grant Program aimed at alleviating risk of wildfire catastrophes to properties, homes and other infrastructure this month. 

Chris O’Brien, Fire Chief of the Lefthand Fire Protection District says the grant gives landowners resources to protect their properties, gives Boulder County greater resiliency against wildfire incidents and protects essential watersheds. 

The grant money comes from a wildfire mitigation sales and use tax approved last November. 

If chosen to receive funding, recipients can use the money to improve wildfire protection plans in communities, private land mitigation, prescribed fires, creation of fuel breaks or wildfire risk management projects.

Eligible applicants of the grant include local government entities of Boulder County, private utility providers, homeowner associations, nonprofit groups and land management agencies. 

Applications can be found on the grant website and will close on Dec. 11.

 

 

Picture of Ivonne Olivas

Ivonne Olivas

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