The word “bungle” was used several times last night during PUC’s community input meeting to discuss Xcel’s decision to cut power in early April; Republicans vote down sex abuse amendment

Photo of Xcel powerline from Boulder.gov

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    04_18_24_am_headlines Alexis Kenyon

Community Input meeting reveals widespread and severe losses from Xcel power outages

Last night, during a Colorado Public Utilities Commission (PUC) meeting, the word “bungle” was used several times. 

PUC Commissioners held the virtual public input session as part of their investigation into Xcel Energy’s decision to shut off power to more than 55,000 customers earlier this month during a high wind event. 

Over nearly two hours, the commission heard from business owners, disability advocates, hospital workers, and elected officials. They told the Commission that the last-minute power shutoff over several days resulted in millions of dollars in financial losses, several “near misses,” and serious threats to public safety.

Lorri Brovsky, director of Agilent Technologies, a Boulder-based pharmaceutical manufacturer, said their company lost millions of dollars.

“Providing a two-and-a-half-hour notice via a telephone voice message on an automated line on a Saturday that power was being shut down for over 24 hours was extremely disruptive to our manufacturing process and will result in product loss of several million dollars,” said Brovsky. 

Boulder mayor Aaron Brockett told the Commission that Xcel failed to take the steps that would have resulted in better and more manageable outcomes for seriously impacted communities. 

“Executing the shutoff was not a spur-of-the-moment decision by Xcel. It is something that they have been considering for some time. This leads us to the following questions: why was Xcel not proactively working with communities like ours to develop a shared plan for executing the shutoff? Why weren’t steps taken to work with us to protect our critical infrastructure? And there were major gaps in notifications to our business community. And why did that happen?” Brocket said. 

The Commission said that in the weeks ahead, Xcel Energy should submit a plan for handling future outages.

Members of the public who would still like to share their comments on the power outage can leave a comment at Puc.colorado.gov. 

A PUC representative said the investigation into the outage will likely take months.

A deaf woman alleges that Boulder Police took her child away from her without providing an ASL interpreter

The Boulder City Council is expected to vote tonight on approving a $75,000 settlement awarded to a deaf woman alleging discrimination.

Joslynn Montoya, who is deaf, had been at a domestic violence shelter in Boulder with her children two years ago and said she understood that she needed to leave by 7 p.m. This was not the time indicated by the shelter; it was the beginning of an apparent misunderstanding that was not resolved by the time Montoya left the shelter that day.

According to the Daily Camera, Montoya’s lawsuit says Boulder Police were called to the shelter several hours before Montoya thought she was required to leave. The responding officers were assisted by another officer who could finger-spell words in English. However, the lawsuit says she requested an American Sign Language interpreter and did not understand the finger-spelled communication.

Ultimately, the officers had the impression that Montoya could not make a deposit for lodging that evening, which had been arranged by an advocacy service. Consequently, the officers separated Montoya’s children from her for the night. The oldest was two years old at the time.

Montoya filed her lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act. City Council will vote tonight on whether to settle the suit in accordance with a current set of settlement terms, which include requiring the city and police department to make changes to comply with the ADA and awarding Montoya $75,000.

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Colorado Republicans vote down sex abuse amendment that would get rid of statute of limitations

State senators fell one vote short Wednesday of approving a proposed amendment to the Colorado Constitution that would have allowed lawmakers to remove the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases.

The proposed law would have enabled victims from old sex abuse cases to sue their abusers.

Had the proposal passed, it would have placed the state constitutional amendment question before voters. Democrats failed to secure the one Republican vote needed to pass the proposal.

According to The Denver Post, Senate Republicans said in a statement issued after the vote that while they were united against those who commit crimes against children, retroactively ending the statute of limitations on such crimes would have “upended numerous constitutional and legally settled rights” that everyone depends on.

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Buen Trial Update

The mother of a 22-year-old Boulder man shot to death by a former Clear Creek County deputy took the stand in the former deputy’s second-degree murder trial yesterday.

Sally Glass testified that her son Christian was driving back from Moab when the fatal shooting happened in June of 2022.

Defense lawyers for Andrew Buen had indicated Christian Glass had been in an accident with a white car the night Buen shot him five times.

But Sally Glass said the white scratch marks on her son’s car were from an accident several years earlier.

She also said her son had gathered some rocks at Moab because of his interest in them. The defense said earlier that Buen considered the rocks potential weapons.

Prosecutors say that Christian Glass was having a mental health crisis when his car was stuck in Silver Plume, and he called 911 for help. 

Body camera video shows that after responding to that 9-1-1 call, former deputy Buen broke the window of Glass’s car, shot him with bean bag rounds, used a Taser on him, and finally shot him five times in the chest, according to 9News.

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Police say they found a big-time bike thief

A 29-year-old man has been sentenced to eight years in prison after accepting a plea deal for his involvement in a series of bike thefts and burglaries across the Front Range, which spurred an investigation called Operation Vicious Cycle.

During a virtual court appearance from Denver County Jail on Tuesday, Gerald Garcia pleaded guilty to theft, burglary, and aggravated motor vehicle theft. The sentence was carried out immediately. The plea agreement includes a three-year parole term following his prison term.

This case highlights a larger criminal operation involving 29 bike shop burglaries and 22 auto thefts.

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Alexis Kenyon

Alexis Kenyon is an experienced radio reporter with more than 15 years of experience creating compelling, sound-rich radio stories for news outlets across the country. Kenyon has master's degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, Graduate School of Journalism in radio broadcast and photojournalism. She has worked in KGNU's news department since 2021 as a reporter, editor, and daily news producer. In all her work, she strives to produce thought-provoking, trustworthy journalism that makes other people's stories feel personal. In addition to audio production, Kenyon runs KGNU's news internship program and oversees the department's digital engagement.
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