Post Premium: Top stories for the week of Jan. 25-31, 2021 – The Denver Post

Last year was an exceedingly violent one in Denver, with non-fatal shootings more than doubling from 2019 and the number of homicides spiking to a level not seen in nearly 40 years.

As public safety reporter Elise Schmelzer reports in today’s Denver Post, 95 people were killed in homicides in Denver in 2020, the highest number since 1981 and a 51% increase from 2019.

Combined with the extraordinary increase in non-fatal shootings, that means someone was shot or killed in Denver at least once a day on average last year.

Elise talks to experts and law enforcement officials about what might be behind this staggering increase in violence during our pandemic year, and, more importantly, shares the stories of some of the lives sensely snuffed out in 2020.

“What words do you even come up with?” a mother tells Elise about having to inform her children their father had been shot to death. “I didn’t have the words to use.”

— Matt Sebastian, The Denver Post 

Homicides in Denver soared last year to highest level since 1981 as communities navigate “state of normlessness”

“I won’t fly with them.” 10 months after COVID-19 first upended air travel, Frontier Airlines still the focus of ire

Five months ago, Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser put one of the state’s most recognizable companies on blast.

In a letter to then U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao on Sept. 1, Weiser urged an investigation into Frontier Airlines‘ flight change policies and customer service practices during the COVID-19 pandemic and pushed for fines if misconduct was confirmed.

Weiser said his office had received more than 100 complaints about Frontier from people in 30 states, including Colorado, since the COVID-19 pandemic began upending American life and shredding flight schedules in March. Flash forward to late January. Pete Buttigieg is poised to be the country’s next transportation secretary and Weiser’s office has received more than 600 complaints about Frontier from people in 40 states. Read more…

Colorado teachers and child care workers to get COVID-19 vaccine first among essential workers

Colorado teachers and child care workers will be the first essential workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after most people over 70 have received their shots, the head of the state’s vaccine distribution efforts announced Monday.

High-risk health care workers and residents of nursing homes — making up Phase 1A of the state’s distribution plan — were first to get the coronavirus vaccines when shipments began arriving in Colorado last month.

At the end of December, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment said essential workers, ranging from grocery store employees to teachers, would be included in Phase 1B, along with people 70 and older. A week later, it clarified that those workers would be below a “dotted line” in Phase 1B, and would have to wait until more older people had gotten their shots. Read more…

Denver police arrest 3 teens in arson fire that killed 5 family members in Green Valley Ranch home

A community haunted for months by ghostly images of three masked figures who set the fire that killed five members of a Senegalese family — including two young children — finally received some long-sought answers Wednesday.

Denver police arrested three teenagers on suspicion of first-degree murder in connection with the Aug. 5 arson fire in Green Valley Ranch that killed Djibril Diol, his wife Adja and their 2-year-old daughter Khadija Diol, as well as his sister, Hassan Diol, and her infant daughter, Hawa Beye.

The arrests were the culmination of a six-month investigation by Denver homicide detectives with assistance from the Denver Fire Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and the Secret Service. Read more…

Colorado plans more lenient coronavirus restrictions through “Dial 2.0”

Confident it can prevent mass death and an overwhelmed hospital system moving forward, Colorado is preparing to relax restrictions even in counties where coronavirus cases rates remain high.

On a call Saturday with city and county leaders, state officials presented a new guideline for more lenient county-level rules, with more changes planned for mid-2021.

The changes will allow for greater economic and social freedoms, reflecting the state’s confidence that it can avoid overwhelming hospitals with cases, as the oldest and most at-risk populations of Colorado are gradually being vaccinated. Read more…

Rockies-Cardinals finalizing trade for Nolan Arenado, according to source

Nolan Arenado’s golden era in Colorado is close to its end.

The Rockies and St. Louis Cardinals are finalizing a trade for the five-time, all-star third baseman, a source close to the negotiations confirmed Friday night. Details are still emerging, but according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, who broke the story, the Rockies will send around $50 million to the Cardinals in the deal. Read more…

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