Posts tagged US
According to a University of Colorado Boulder study, Chicago is the funniest city in the United States.
Boston is the No. 2 wise guy, followed by Atlanta in third place. Denver made the top 10 list at No. 8.
The study out today is the most comprehensive analysis of humorous cities and was led by Peter McGraw, associate professor of marketing and psychology at CU-Boulder’s Leeds School of Business. His team collected data across the nation using an algorithm created at his Humor Research Lab (HuRL).
According to the findings, the following are the top 10 funniest cities in the United States:
4. Washington, D.C.
5. Portland, Ore.
6. New York
7. Los Angeles
9. San Francisco
Everything you have wanted to know about high winds in Boulder, and then some.
In a nut shell: In 42 years worth of data, 175 days recorded winds of 70 m.p.h. or greater. Eighty six of these occurred in December and January. The highest wind gust recorded was 137 m.p.h. on Jan. 16-17, 1982, with 20 gusts of greater than 120 m. p. h. Forty percent of all Boulder buildings sustained damage. Most of the highest winds were in south Boulder.
Boulder has some of the highest peak winds of any city in the US.
For data and tables, go to:
Improvements to enhance bus operations and increase pedestrian safety to reopen Saturday
On Saturday, Oct. 5, the Boulder Transit Center is scheduled to reopen to bus, bike and pedestrian traffic, thanks to funding from the 2011 voter-approved Boulder Capital Improvement Bond, a Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) FASTER grant, and the Regional Transportation District (RTD). The area around the Boulder Transit Center area has been under construction since late May 2013, with buses and passengers temporarily relocated to 14th Street between Arapahoe Avenue and Canyon Boulevard.
The Boulder Transit Center Area Improvements will provide better access and accommodations for buses, bicycles, and pedestrians, including:
- saw tooth bus bays for improved transit operations and passenger access;
- crosswalk bulb-outs to shorten pedestrian crossing distances;
- new urban design elements throughout the area; and
- through-traffic restrictions to minimize conflicts.
BTC before improvements
To enhance the efficiency of bus operations and increase pedestrian safety, the one-block section of 14th Street between Walnut Street and Canyon Boulevard has been permanently closed to auto traffic.
“The Boulder Transit Center improvements are made possible through regional cooperation and in direct response to community input,” states RTD Board Director Chuck Sisk, District O. “This is a vital bus transit hub that will see more than 600 scheduled bus departures daily.”
“With these improvements, the Boulder Transit Center is better prepared to accommodate the regional service increases anticipated with the addition of FasTracks Bus Rapid Transit on US 36,” said Director of Public Works for Transportation Tracy Winfree. “We appreciate passengers’ patience during the construction of these enhancements.”
For more information about the Boulder Transit Center Area Improvements, visit bouldercolorado.gov/bond-projects and select “Downtown Improvements” or call 303-441-3266.
For bus routes and schedules, visit www.rtd-denver.com or call RTD’s Telephone Information Center at 303-299-6000 or 303-299-6089 for the speech and hearing impaired.
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Boulder County, Colo. – The entire Northern Front Range and Northeastern plains region has experienced the most devastating flood in Colorado History. Over a 5-day period, more than 15” of rain fell on Boulder County alone, causing extensive road and infrastructure damage throughout the county. Larimer and Jefferson Counties have also incurred significant infrastructure damage.
Despite all county Transportation resources being deployed within the county since the beginning of the storm, there is much roadwork damage that will require extensive repairs over the next several weeks and months, and even years.
“Many residents will be impacted for a long time by the total loss of roads and bridges in some areas,” said Boulder County Transportation Director George Gerstle. “We want to make everyone aware of the amount of work taking place in the county and give you an accurate picture of the preliminary damage assessments that are guiding our efforts as we move forward.”
Since the moment the floodwaters began affecting our county roads, county crews have been out working to provide access for emergency responders, utility companies, and residents cut off by floodwaters. Additionally, crews have been closing dangerous roads, hauling water to communities without water and arranging transportation for evacuees.
Here are some recent major emergency roadway repairs:
· Established connection to Jamestown for residents by replacing several temporary culverts and bridging drainages 20 feet deep and 50 feet across
· Reestablished access to Lee Hill and Olde Stage Rd.
· Reopened Flagstaff Road
· Kept Sunshine Canyon open as only east-west connection to the mountains for residents, utilities and emergency vehicles
· Provided access from Gold Hill nearly to Salina via Gold Run and are working up the Fourmile Canyon, giving access to Logan Mill residents
· Opened up Linden through Pinebrook Hills
· Kept many of the roads in the eastern county open for business throughout the storm
Our focus has now shifted to providing access to communities that remain cut-off by the storm, such as Fourmile Canyon, Lefthand Canyon, Wagon Wheel area and Bow Mountain connections to Pinebrook.
This work has involved building new roads in areas where previous roads have completely disappeared. In many cases, these roads are temporary and for local resident access only. As we gain access to many of the areas that have been severely impacted, we will be evaluating damage and determining how best to quickly restore more permanent access. However, it will take some time before these roads are completely restored.
We have also been evaluating damage of all major roads throughout the county and have identified multiple bridges and structures that have washed out that will need to be reconstructed along with roads that need reconstruction in both the plains and mountains.
“The damage has been so significant that our commuting and recreational patterns have been changed dramatically, and we ask that the community be patience as we work to restore access and infrastructure over the next months and years,” Gerstle said.
Current Status update:
· Access North to South in Boulder County is largely intact east of Broadway Ave. (Hwy 93 South/US36 North).
· 95th street between Valmont and Lookout, N.83rd at the Larimer County line, and East County Line at SH 119 near Longmont is still closed.
· West of Broadway, the only North/ South access between Estes Park on the North to I-70 on the South is Hwy 72/119, the Peak to Peak Highway.
· The only East/West route is Sunshine Canyon from Peak to Peak to Boulder. We are limiting access to Sunshine Canyon in the following way:
o Local residents
o Utilities and contractors with verifiable business to residential homes or businesses
o No recreational traffic will be allowed on Sunshine Canyon.
· Hwy 72 (Coal Creek Canyon) is closed to all but emergency traffic and utilities. Access to some residents can happen from Hwy 72 (Peak to Peak) down to Wonderview.
· Flagstaff has been damaged from Gregory Canyon to Panorama Point. The road is down to one lane controlled by cones and one-way traffic light. Access limited to residence and legitimate business. Gross Reservoir is closed to recreational activities. Gross Dam Road is closed to through traffic.
· Boulder Canyon is closed indefinitely after CDOT engineer’s assessment not only of the road integrity by the canyon wall stability. There is no access to Boulder Canyon from Nederland, Magnolia, Sugarloaf, or Hurricane Hill. These areas to go west to SH 72 (Peak to Peak)
· Limited access from SH 119 will be given to residents of lower 119, and we’re working right now to provide access to Fourmile Canyon Drive through to Gold Hill
· We are asking that those residents confine their trips as the traffic on the roads is interfering with CDOT crews working in the canyon as well as Fourmile Canyon.
· Linden is open to residents, utilities and verifiable business only
· USFS has closed the National Forest to all recreational purposes in Boulder County East of the Peak to Peak Highway.
· Lee Hill is closed at 4th street. Access will be granted to residents and legitimate business
· US 36 north is closed at the Middle Fork Bridge. Residence of Crestview Estates can access their homes.
· Lower Left Hand is open to the 1.3 mm for residence. It is closed from the 1.3 mm to the Peak to Peak.
· James Canyon is closed from the Junction of Left Hand to Jamestown.
· Overland Rd from Hwy 72 is closed to residents, utilities and emergency vehicles only
· US 36 closed at Hwy 66 due to structural damage to the bridge.
· US 36 closed into and out of Lyons to Estes Park
· Hwy 7 closed from Lyons to Hwy 72 (Peak to Peak)
As Winter Approaches
As we approach winter, crews will continue to plow roads as close to our normal routes as possible, and we’ll be working throughout the winter to keep these roads open to the extent poss. However, people should expect more closures should it be a bad winter. Particularly in the mountains, residents will have to be extremely cautious as they are temporary and will be subject to wash-out and require frequent repairs.
Especially during the coming months, as CDOT works to restores the major routes throughout the county, we ask people to stay out of the mountains and ask that the road be used by residents and those working to help residents restore their lives.
The City of Boulder Open Space and Mountain Parks (OSMP) is temporarily closing areas in order to protect nesting and roosting burrowing owls and osprey. Properties where burrowing owls nest will be closed from March 15 through Oct 31. Properties closed for the protection of nesting osprey will be closed from March 15 through Sept. 10. Closures may be lifted early if monitoring indicates it is appropriate.
The following property will be closed for the protection of osprey:
Axelson (northwest of Boulder Reservoir; portions closed).
The following properties will be closed for the protection of burrowing owls:
- Damyanovich/Yunker (north of Marshall Drive, between Cherryvale Road and US 36);
- Jafay/Lynch (north of Lookout Road and east of 75th Street);
- Cosslett/Knaus (South of Lookout Road and east of 75th Street);
- Kelsall (north of High-Plains Trail, trail remains open);
- Mesa Sand and Gravel (east of 66th Street, south of Marshall Drive); and
- Superior Associates (north of High-Plains Trail, trail remains open).
These closures were established to protect sensitive species. Burrowing owls nest in prairie dog burrows and their populations are declining in Colorado. This bird is listed as threatened by the Colorado Division of Wildlife has been listed as endangered or as a species of “special concern” in 12 US states and in Canada. Staff will be monitoring these sites and others during the spring and summer to understand more about the distribution and breeding biology of this owl on city property.
City of Boulder relies heavily on the public to respect the closures, and the cooperation of visitors to avoid these areas is greatly appreciated. Trespass violations can result in a summons with penalties up to 90 days in jail and/or a $1,000 fine.
More detailed information and maps can be found on the Open Space and Mountain Parks’ website: www.osmp.org. or call 303-441-3440.
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(Photos by Ambrose Cruz)
Yesterday a highly militarized police force arrived at the home of 63 year old Sahara Donahue to evict her from her residence of 24 years. She was petitioning US Bank for an additional 60 days to remain in her home, so she could have some time to find a new place to live, secure her belongings and leave her home with dignity. She came to the Colorado Foreclosure Resistance Coalition and Occupy Denver General Assembly to ask for our help. She knew no one in Occupy Denver prior to reaching out. We immediately started mobilizing to try to get her the assistance she needed and a group went up to her house for the first rumored eviction on Thursday 10/25. When that eviction didn’t happen, we planned an in-town action at US Bank on Monday for Sahara to try to find someone to speak with about her situation, with carpools up to her house later that day as the eviction was said to be scheduled for Tuesday 10/30. Occupiers laid barricades from fallen trees to prevent moving trucks and workers from entering the property and were able to stave off the eviction for a few hours. At 2:45pm ten or more truckloads of police in full combat gear armed with live-ammo AR-15’s, and grenade launchers arrived on the scene & forced occupiers to the ground at gun point. Police then made their way to the house, broke down the front door, threw Sahara to the ground in her own kitchen and pointed their guns at the heads of a mother and son who were in the house with Sahara along with others. They continued to break items in the house as they searched it. They unplugged the modem, which was the only mode of communication as there was no cell phone coverage in the area, in order to stop the livestream and all communications. After the livestream cut out, the occupy denver legal team spent a harrowing hour in communication blackout wondering if they would be receiving calls from the hospital instead of the jail this time. This psychological violence did not stop one brave activist from jumping into the bucket of the bulldozer that was going to tear through the barricades and forced the operator to stop for several minutes. Three arrests were made, two activists were assaulted and all have been released. Many of the people on the ground have survived multiple occupations and riot cop lines but all agree that this was the most surreal and violent state repression they have experienced protesting. There has been overwhelming community support as other activists and concerned people watched the unnecessary militarized drama unfold online. Everyone is asking “Seriously, why are they in military gear?” All captions for the following photographs are actual comments made on the Occupy Denver Facebook Page.
Sheriffs, SWAT, and Assault Rifles – A Foreclosure Story by Michael Steadman
Idaho Springs, Colorado may seem like a quiet, peaceful, and even quaint little town off I-70 in the mountains west of Denver. However, in the early afternoon of October 30, 2012, the Clear Creek County Sheriff’s office proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that looks can be extremely deceiving. Make no mistake; this is not a kind hearted Mayberry RFD type of law enforcement. This was a tactical, military style assault against unarmed, peaceful protesters.
But first, let’s go back a bit in order to give you a little better understanding of the events leading up to, as well as during their demonstration of excessive use of force.
Sahara Donahue has lived in her home for over 20 years, has been a volunteer in her community, and was a decent law abiding citizen. She suffered injuries from a near-fatal accident, including a head injury that was not properly diagnosed until over a year after the accident. She could no longer perform the duties of her job, and therefore was forced to rely on the generosity of friends to help pay her mortgage for several years. She made every attempt to communicate and work with the banks, and even retained the services of an attorney, in the hopes of finding some resolution to keep her home. However, the banks (as well as a corrupt realtor) apparently had different plans.
After she was given a run-around by US Bank, several of us made our way up the canyon to stand with her and support her in case the eviction went through the following day. Later in the day we were informed that the only compromise offered to Sahara involved her immediate eviction – BUT – they would be magnanimous enough to store her things for 30 days. Those of us at the house began planning our course of action for the remainder of the night as well as for Eviction Day.
We barricaded the driveway with fallen trees in order to limit access to the house, and held several impromptu meetings in order to discuss our tactics. Sahara’s wishes were for us to be respectful when the Sheriff arrived, since she has a history with this community. We agreed that we would all respect her wishes and approach the situation in a peaceful manner. We were led to believe that the realtor would be arriving with a crew of workers to remove items from the house, and the Sheriff would be there to “keep the peace.” Sahara had also asked one of the group’s members to be a spokesman. He would speak directly with those who arrived and deliver legal letters to the Sheriff. This way things would proceed smoothly and help eliminate any unnecessary escalation.
As night closed in we shared stories, discussed ideas, and enjoyed each other’s company in a very peaceful positive environment. Eventually people began to settle down for the night. Most were sleeping in the house on couches or on the floor, while I and another went out to sleep in our tents beside the barricade in case of any unexpected late night surprises.
The following morning we all began to stir as coffee was brewing. There seemed to be an overall sense of optimism among the group. We received word of some more people coming up to join us, and we had another meeting to determine tactics regarding the expected arrivals for the eviction. Several of us collected more timber to fortify the barricades, others were making food, and everyone was ready for whatever was coming (or so we thought).
The first arrival of the day was a truck hauling a dumpster that was apparently to be left there for the workers to put her things in. Seeing the barricades, he got out and spoke with us. He was very friendly and supportive towards us, and then called his supervisor who after several minutes instructed him to bring the dumpster back. We had our first victory of the day and the excitement filled the air.
A while later a white van filled with workers from a “day labor” company pulled up and stopped. These were the men who were supposed to remove her belongings from the house. They needed to wait for the Sheriff to arrive, and since there is no cell phone service in the area, they just relaxed and spoke with us for a while. We even tried to recruit a few of them to stand with us, but to no avail. Finally they decided to leave in order to go back down the mountain to find a place with better reception to make calls. We all began a second celebration as we filled the air with singing, “Na na na na, hey hey hey, GOOD-BYE!”
Things were really starting to look up for us. We felt we had made some incredible progress. Then we heard a vehicle coming. Around the corner I saw a Sheriff’s vehicle through the trees as it was approaching. Then I saw behind it another, and another, and another. About 10 vehicles filled with men in what appeared to be full battle gear (and assault weapons already in hand) began to fill the road in front of the house. In all our planning and meetings, we never expected this kind of response. After all, we were led to believe that the Sheriff was only going to be there to “keep the peace.” And don’t forget to keep in mind that we were unarmed, peaceful demonstrators.
The spokesman of our group got on the megaphone and began trying to get everyone to converge up at the house, but it was already too late. The Tactical Response Team had already reacted. As we were rushing up the driveway, we were cut-off by several men gripping their assault rifles as they began shouting at us to get on the ground on our knees. To my left, the spokesman was coming up, shouting on the megaphone, attempting to discern who was in charge since he had the letters to deliver. The officers didn’t care, in fact as the spokesman was telling them he had letters, one of the officers shouted back, “No, you don’t have letters!” and they continued ordering us to get on our knees. We remained standing and continued trying to open up some kind of conversation.
At this point, I was standing there with the spokesman, and a few others. Mind you, I am about 6’2” tall and about 200 lbs. The others standing with me were as big, if not bigger, with the exception of an older gentleman to my left. Since none of us would get on our knees, these fully armed, militarized officers decided to arrest the smallest and oldest person there. With all their firepower and intimidation techniques, they targeted the least imposing person there. They put him face down in the dirt and gravel, and cuffed his hands behind him with their zip-tie handcuffs.
Finally, the man in charge came forward, but when he was presented with the letters, he informed us that he would take them but it didn’t matter. He then folded them up without even really looking at them. It was obvious that those with the money and the guns couldn’t have cared less about the injustice taking place, and they were ready and willing to do whatever was necessary to shut us down.
I was offered a ride by one of the activists, since the Sheriff was so gracious to let some of us go without further incident. As we made our way down the private drive, we saw at the bottom of the hill; the bulldozer that was just waiting to tear through our barricades, and the van of day labor workers ready to fulfill their job descriptions. After a couple turns down Hwy 103 another realization occurred to me. There on the shoulder of the road was an ambulance waiting on stand-by. Maybe I am mistaken, but it would appear that the Sheriff’s Department was prepared to do, and had every intention of doing, whatever was necessary to obey their bank’s wishes.
We pulled into a local convenience store after making it into town. As we sat collecting our thoughts, and trying to decompress after the events that had transpired, I was struck by something else. I watched the people of the town as they nonchalantly passed by and it occurred to me that this was a sort of metaphor about our entire society today. Just up the hill, innocent people were having guns shoved in their faces, people were being evicted from their homes, and much more. At the same time, the rest of the town went about its daily routine, completely oblivious as to what was going on just around the corner. – M.S.
Later around 6:45pm Occupiers and other residents returned with Sahara to help her sift through her things which were now thrown in piles on the outskirts of the property. Many of her possessions were destroyed by the movers. One Occupier who was there for the armed raid, and stayed to help said, “Seeing these things that represented a large cross-section of this woman’s life strewn across the front yard was one of the worst things I have ever had to witness in my life. Why is the general population letting the big banks do this to us?” As the temperature started to drop as night set in, the only thing people could do was to cover her piles of belongings with tarps, as there was nowhere for her to take her things. Sahara was only able to take her two dogs, Rodeo and French Fry, and what ever she could fit in her small vehicle. She is currently staying in a motel, and is uncertain as to where she will be able to live next. Occupiers will continue to assist her until her living situation has stabilized.
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We can burn 565 more gigatons of carbon and stay below 2°C of warming — anything more than that risks catastrophe for life on earth. The problem is, the fossil fuel corporations now have 2,795 gigatons in their reserves, five times the safe amount. And they’re planning to burn it all, because the industry thinks that their bottom line is worth more than a livable planet like the one we grew up with.
All of the climate catastrophes we witnessed this summer — the nation’s breadbasket drying out, the historic Arctic melting, and fires sweeping the West — are the product of that calculation by the fossil fuel industry.
This November, Bill McKibben and 350.org are embarking on a nationwide trek — the Do the Math Tour – that will explain the scary math of climate change, and lay out the plan to take on the fossil fuel industry before they trade away our future for a quick buck.
On December 2nd, Bill McKibben, and 350.org will be in Boulder — and we want you to be there with us. The energy is already running high (a few of the other tour dates are beginning to sell out) — in the future, you’ll look back to this night. You’ll remember it as the moment things really kicked into high gear, when we laid the groundwork for the epic fight ahead of us.
Can you join Bill in Boulder? Click here to RSVP: www.eventbrite.com/event/4507249304
This will be a different kind of event. For one, it’s not just Bill talking — we’ll have music and special guests both in person and via video, plus all of the best climate organizers we can find in and around Colorado.
It’s also the springboard to the next phase of climate change organizing in the US. All across the country people are planning new campaigns targeting the fossil fuel industry’s financial might, using divestment, civil disobedience and strategic pressure campaigns. It’s quite a task — and if we expect to have a shot at success, we’ll need everyone we can find to be working together.
I hope that you’ll be with us. Click here to RSVP: www.eventbrite.com/event/4507249304
Due to the delay in completion of Northwest Rail for the foreseeable future, President Benson and the coalition believe that it is critical to complete true Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) as soon as possible. The President has pledged his help to engage corridor executives and our transportation partners to ensure the BRT system is in place by the opening of the managed lanes in 2015, including a dedicated vehicle fleet, greater service frequency, real-time travel info and station area improvements.
Benson said that success will only come through collaboration and stressed the importance of working with RTD, CDOT, businesses, communities and groups such as 36 Commuting Solutions to collectively solve the problem. “We all have a vested interest, and working together will help us all meet our common goal,” said Benson.
DRCOG Approves $15 million for Phase 2 of the US 36 Express Lanes Project
<during their August board meeting, the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) committed $15 million for Phase 2 of the US 36 Express Lanes Project, which will extend the express lanes from 88th Street to Table Mesa.
“This new funding from DRCOG brings us closer to completing Phase 2 of the project,” said 36 Commuting Solutions Chairperson, George Gerstle. “Though progress has been made, it is imperative that we secure the remaining funding needed to finish Phase 2 in order to make US 36 a truly multi-modal corridor.”
For more information on Phase 2 of the US 36 Express Lanes project,