Woman Vaping behind the wheel


Colorado confirms more cases of vaping-related illness

Colorado health officials have confirmed six cases of vaping-related illness since the state announced its first case in August.

The state Department of Health previously announced four known reports before confirming two more Sept. 18.

Officials say the illness has hospitalized four in Colorado and is affecting mostly young people who reported vaping marijuana, nicotine or both.

Health officials continue to urge people to quit vaping until more is known about what is making people sick.

Officials say the illness has been identified in 530 people in 38 states, including seven deaths.

Symptoms could include coughing, shortness of breath, chest pain, and fatigue and can worsen over a short period of time.



Protesters march on immigration detention center

Protesters marched several miles from Denver to an immigrant detention center in Aurora where dozens of counter-demonstrators were waiting.

Police shut down streets and were out in force Sept. 21 as the demonstrators walked from Denver's City Park to the privately run U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement detention center in Aurora.

Protesters and counter-protesters were separated by barricades manned by police in riot gear.

The ICE center run by GEO Group has been the scene of multiple protests by people opposed to the Trump administration's immigration policies and enforcement actions.

Some 100 people participated in the march, and there were dozens of counter-protesters.

The two groups dispersed peacefully shortly after the marchers arrived.



Coal power plant is retired well ahead of planned 2022 closure

Tri-State Generation and Transmission, which provides wholesale power to rural electric associations across Colorado, has officially closed one of its coal power plants ahead of schedule.

Westminster-based Tri-State said the Nucla Station in far western Colorado ran through its last supply of on-site fuel Sept. 9 and was officially retired Sept. 19. The 100-megawatt facility was originally scheduled to shut down at the end of 2022.

Tri-State said in a statement that the closure allows it to meet its deadline for ending operations under Colorado’s plan to cut regional haze.

“While our generating station has been a significant part of Nucla and Naturita communities for many years, it made the most sense to come offline at this time in a controlled fashion, while maintaining compliance with all of our federal and state environmental regulations,” said Duane Highley, Tri-State CEO.

The utility said it will provide $500,000 over the next five years to the community to help with the transition. The 35 employees will stay to help start decommissioning the plant.

Dismantling of the facility, which started operating in 1959, is expected to begin during the first half of 2020.



Weather radar proposal to improve forecasts

A national weather agency has announced plans to lower its radar system elevation to better track weather in the Four Corners region including southwest Colorado.

The National Weather Service has proposed adjusting its Grand Junction radar to track areas that were originally blind spots.

Department officials say major radar hubs in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado track data at an elevation higher than where storms usually occur resulting in weather forecasters missing numerous incoming storms.

Officials say the proposal could take up to two years to implement and requires a software adjustment to the system that would not alleviate blind spots in La Plata County or Durango.

A permanent weather radar system in Durango received funding earlier this year, but there is no project timeline.



Mom of teen shot by officers seeks money from victims' fund

The mother of a teenager who was fatally shot by Colorado Springs police officer has requested money from a state victims' fund to help pay for her son's funeral expenses.

The El Paso County District Attorney's Office has tabled Delisha Searcy's request until they complete their review of the Aug. 3 shooting of De'Von Bailey.

Searcy says she was told she's ineligible for assistance until prosecutors determine whether the officers acted lawfully.

Police body camera footage shows Bailey running away from two officers as he and another man are about to be searched. Bailey was shot in the back and elbow. Officers say they found a gun in Bailey's pants.

Prosecutors haven't announced the results of a police investigation. The FBI also says it's reviewing the shooting.



River suffers high fish deaths due to wildfire ash

Officials say fish populations in a Colorado river have been severely depleted due to suffocation caused by debris from a 2018 wildfire.

Animas River fish populations are down about 80% due to runoff filled with ash from the 416 Fire.

The fire burned an estimated 84 square miles of mostly U.S. Forest Service land in the Hermosa Creek watershed in southwest Colorado.

State wildlife officials say heavy rains and flooding from July to September 2018 caused the runoff.

The first full-scale Colorado Parks and Wildlife survey conducted since then found a 64% decline from the river's historical average amount of trout.

Officials say there was a 95% decline from the river's historical average of fish longer than 14 inches.



Suspect sought in mosque vandalism

Police are investigate vandalism at a mosque.

Grand Junction police say security camera footage appears to show a male in light-colored clothing and a baseball cap at the Two Rivers Mosque on the night of Sept. 17.

They believe that person defaced the sign for the mosque with black spray paint.

The Grand Junction Sentinel reports the vandal also damaged flowers below the sign. Much of the spray paint has been removed at the mosque, also known as the Islamic Center of Grand Junction.

Police ask anybody with information to contact Crime Stoppers of Mesa County.

A GoFundMe campaign to address the vandalism has raised over $5,000.



Colorado unemployment rate dips to 2.8%

The jobless rate in Colorado declined to 2.8% in August, down a tenth of a percentage point from the previous month and down from 3.4% a year earlier, the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment reports. That's compared to the national unemployment rate of 3.7% in August.

Non-farm payroll jobs were up 9,000 in August from the previous month, to 2,799,600, and up 64,900 from a year earlier. Private sector payroll jobs were up 5,300 from the previous month, and up 54,900 from a year earlier, while government jobs were up 3,700 from the previous month, and up 10,000 from a year earlier, CDLE said.

Colorado's largest month-to-month private sector job gains were in educational and health services, financial activities, and trade, transportation, and utilities. The biggest private sector monthly declines were in information.

Meanwhile, the state's largest private sector job gains from a year ago were in professional and business services, educational and health services, and leisure and hospitality. The largest year-over-year decline was in information.


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