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Albany County coronavirus update, September 22



102 new positive cases Albany County’s Sept. 17 COVID report

Posted: Updated:

Albany County

ALBABY COUNTY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Albany County Executive Dan McCoy provided the latest report on the county’s progress on vaccinations and controlling the spread of the coronavirus. 

As of Tuesday, it is reported that 71% of all Albany County residents have received at least the first dose of the vaccine, and 65.1% have been fully vaccinated. The first dose vaccination rate for the county’s 18+ population is now up to 82%. More information on vaccination rates can be found at the New York State COVID-19 Vaccine Tracker at the link here.

County Executive McCoy announced that the total number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Albany County is now at 28,158 to date, with 79 new positive cases identified since Tuesday. The county’s five-day average of new daily positive cases is now down to 82. Albany County’s most recent seven-day average of percent positive rates remained at 4.5% and the Capital Region’s average rate is now up to 4.0%.

Among the new daily cases of COVID identified in the county, 12 reportedly had close contacts to positive cases, 61 did not have clear sources of infection at this time, one reported traveling out of state and five are healthcare workers or residents of congregate living settings.

Health officials say there are now 512 active cases in the county, down from 536 Tuesday. The number of people under mandatory quarantine decreased to 1,064 from 1,119. So far 88,374 people have completed quarantine to date. Of those who completed quarantine, 27,646 of them had tested positive and recovered – an increase of 94 additional recoveries.

The County Executive reported that there were six new hospitalizations since Tuesday, and 39 county residents are now hospitalized with the virus – a net decrease of one. There are currently ten patients in ICU’s, unchanged from Tuesday. There are no new COVID deaths to report, and the death toll for Albany County still stands at 400 since the outbreak began.

Upcoming Community COVID-19 Vaccination Clinics (all offering Pfizer vaccine):

  • Wednesday, September 22, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

DePaula Auto Group

1101 Central Ave, Albany, NY

  • Wednesday, September 22, 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Shaker Middle School

475 Watervliet Shaker Road Latham, NY


Lucas: Baker, Biden, Trump and Diehl all on political dance card



Lucas: Baker, Biden, Trump and Diehl all on political dance card

Will Joe Biden now endorse Charlie Baker?

Unlikely. It is a Republican primary for governor we are talking about, and an endorsement by the Democrat president of a GOP governor — even if he is a RINO — would do more harm than good.

Biden is a train wreck of a president who has plummeted so far down in the polls that Republican Gov. Charlie Baker may have to endorse him.

Besides, there are already three Democrats running for governor, with the possibility of Attorney General Maura Healey becoming the fourth. And right now, it is not known whether Baker will even seek a third term.

If he does, conservative Republican Geoff Diehl, 52, who was endorsed Monday by Donald Trump, will be waiting to knock him off in the GOP primary. If Baker doesn’t run, then Diehl has a path to the Republican nomination for governor.

Diehl was co-chair of the Trump re-election campaign in Massachusetts.

The former president’s endorsement is no small thing. That is because it is a Republican primary we are talking about and not a general November election. It will help Diehl raise funds.

There are only 469,000 registered Republicans in Massachusetts, most of whom probably voted for Trump in the last election.

While Biden easily defeated Trump in the state, 60.6% to Trump’s 32.1%, Trump did amass 1,167,202 votes. Biden got 2,382,202.

Diehl will not get most of those Trump votes in a GOP primary. But if he can get enough support from voters disaffected with Biden’s swing toward socialism, along with a hefty chunk of Republicans, he has a shot.

Diehl has shown that he can get statewide votes on his own. While he was soundly defeated by Democrat U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren in 2018, he did get 979,507 people to vote for him in the general election. Warren got 1.634,213 votes, however.

Baker, going on eight years as governor, is still a popular figure. The moderate/liberal chief executive scores well with Independents and Democrats. It is among conservative Republicans where Baker has problems.

This is partly due to the takeover of the Republican Party apparatus — namely the Republican State Committee — by Chairman Jim Lyons, a Trump enthusiast, along with a team of Trump supporters.

Lyons and the committee will control the Republican Party convention, which could be a major embarrassment to Baker should the convention endorse Diehl.

Baker is a longtime critic of fellow Republican Trump. He did not support Trump for president in 2016, or when he was president, or when he sought re-election. He let people know that he did not vote for Trump either. So now it is payback time.

In a typical Trump disjointed statement, Trump called Baker a RINO “who has done nothing for the Republican Party.”

“He has totally abandoned the principles of the Republican Party, never cutting taxes and undermining our agenda,” Trump said.

“Baker is bad on crime, disrespects our police, does nothing for our veterans, has totally botched the vaccination rollout, presided over the collapse of the MBTA, and has seen crime go to record levels,” the former president said.

Trump’s endorsement, along with Diehl’s reaction, indicates that Trump and his policies will be a major part of Diehl’s campaign. It is a given that he will go after Baker on the vaccine rollout, the scandalous death of 77 veterans at the Holyoke Soldiers Home, the MBTA and a host of other issues.

But Diehl will openly campaign on Trump’s “America First” agenda, which has a lot of appeal among Republicans and conservatives who want to halt the illegal immigrant invasion of the country.

Diehl said, “I am inspired by the president’s (Trump) America First agenda, which he backed up by delivering on his promises during his time in the White House.”

“Like President Trump, I want to ensure a strong economy … I want families to feel safe,” Diehl said. Like Trump, he added, “I want people to feel like government isn’t working against them and that they can enjoy the individual freedoms our state and country were founded on.”

We are in a fascist-like, authoritarian Biden era of mandates. Now the FBI is tasked with monitoring the behavior of parents at local school committee meetings as in the old Soviet Union. Watch what you say, comrade.

A Diehl “Massachusetts First” campaign will appeal to a lot of people.

Peter Lucas is a veteran Massachusetts political reporter and columnist.

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Patriots defense can’t let the Texans get up off the mat



Patriots defense can’t let the Texans get up off the mat

The Patriots defense had a coming out party, of sorts, against the Buccaneers last Sunday.

Holding Tom Brady to just 19 points, with less than 300 yards passing, and no touchdown passes was a step in the right direction.

And yet, it wasn’t perfect.

The unit continues to have issues stopping the run. And, prior to the set of kneel downs by Brady to end the game, the Bucs also produced points on their final three drives with a touchdown and two field goals.

So there’s always work to do for Bill Belichick’s defense.

The good news?

The Texans are on deck, and right now, their offense is a mess. Quarterback Deshaun Watson is on the sidelines hoping to be traded. Starter Tyrod Taylor is on injured reserve with a hamstring injury, and Davis Mills hasn’t provided much in relief. The rookie looked completely overwhelmed and overmatched against Buffalo last week, throwing four picks in the 40-0 slaughter.

No doubt, Belichick will want to have the Patriots continue to torment the young Texans quarterback.

Here’s how the Patriots defense can keep the Texans off the board:

1. Spook Mills 

The Patriots got a bit creative in defending Brady last week. And while they might not need to use all the same bells and whistles to try and unnerve Mills, they’ll still want to use a healthy dose of disguise to keep the rookie’s head spinning.

Mills probably had nightmares all week, after going 11 for 21 for just 87 yards, with four picks.

The former Stanford star, a third-round draft pick, is going through some of the usual growing pains, but it also doesn’t help not having much of a team around him.

Last week, he had minus-23 net yards passing in the first half. His overall passer rating for the three games he’s played is 50.4.

He’s accounted for five of the team’s seven turnovers. At this stage, he’s an interception waiting to happen.

Belichick praised Mills, but wasn’t over the top, which is how he typically responds when asked about the opposing quarterback.

“Pro-style quarterback. I think he’s got a good base,” said Belichick. “Like any rookie quarterback, he’s learning all the time, but I think you see a good talent level and a good ability to make the throws, and I think they’re doing a good job of trying to bring him along.”

It was hard for Belichick to say much more, given Mills has thrown five interceptions, with just two TD passes.

2. Eliminate Cooks

Brandin Cooks is their best receiver, and judging by the stats, the favorite target of Mills.

Through four games, Cooks has 28 catches for 369 yards and one TD. He has 20 more catches than the next closest receiver, which is running back David Johnson, who has eight.

“He’s probably targeted as much as any receiver in the league, and he’s dangerous on everything,” Belichick said of the former Pats receiver. “Obviously, he has tremendous speed. He’s a great deep-ball player. Super competitive. Tough kid … he can turn a 5-yard gain into 20 in a hurry.”

The mission of eliminating Cooks falls on J.C. Jackson, who is now officially the top gun in the Patriots secondary, with Stephon Gilmore not returning after being traded to Carolina on Wednesday.

Last week, Jackson did well marking Bucs top receiver Mike Evans. Cooks is simply the next man up on his dance card. Take him away, and that should go a long way toward stifling Mills and the offense.

“He’s certainly a go-to guy for them in the passing game,” Belichick added about Cooks. “We’ve got to do a good job on him.”

3. Ground the run game

Given the Patriots struggles, the Texans are going to try to run the ball. And they’re going to keep running it, until the Patriots force them to stop.

If the Texans are successful pounding the rock, that would take some pressure off their rookie quarterback. But if the Pats can rise up and clamp down on the Texans running game, that will force Mills to pass more and put him right in their wheelhouse.

Last week, the Bills held the Texans to 48 yards on 18 carries.

Mark Ingram (52 carries, 171 yards) is the top back. David Johnson (16 carries, 67 yards) and Phillip Lindsay (24 carries, 31 yards) are also in the mix, while old friend Rex Burkhead is also a member of the Texans backfield.

Bottom line, if the Patriots want to flummox Mills, they’re going to have to stop the run first.

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Editorial: Cash-flush state dilutes case for millionaires tax



Editorial: Cash-flush state dilutes case for millionaires tax

Numbers-crunching aside, let’s just say that fiscal 2022 so far has been a banner year for the state treasury.

But numbers do tell the story of this embarrassment of riches, and the implications this surfeit might have on the millionaires tax referendum’s prospects.

The state collected $3.992 billion in tax revenue in September, far exceeding September 2020 and half a billion dollars more than the Baker administration was expecting to collect.

The Department of Revenue announced Tuesday that September’s haul was $848 million, 27%, more than actual collections in September 2020, and $501 million, 14.3%, above the month’s estimates.

September typically brings in about 10% of the state’s annual tax revenue, DOR said.

“September collections increased in all major tax types relative to September 2020 collections, including withholding, non-withholding, sales and use tax, corporate and business tax, and ‘all other tax,’ ” Revenue Commissioner Geoffrey Snyder told the State House News Service.

“The increase in withholding is likely related to improvements in labor market conditions while the increase in non-withholding tax collections is due to an increase in income estimated payments. The sales and use tax increase reflects continued strength in retail sales and the easing of COVID-19 restrictions.”

Since the July 1 start of fiscal 2022, the DOR has collected $8.751 billion from residents and businesses. The year-to-date total is $1.501 billion, 20.7%, greater than actual collections during the same time period of fiscal 2021, and $525 million, 6.4%, above the administration’s year-to-date goal.

During fiscal 2021, Massachusetts state government collected $5 billion more from residents, workers and businesses than it was expecting, leading to a sizable surplus.

The $34.137 billion total for fiscal 2021 was $5.047 billion, 17.3%, above the state’s benchmark and $4.528 billion,15.3%, more than the actual amount collected in fiscal year 2020.

That $5 billion-plus fiscal 2021 total also matches the $5 billion in federal American Rescue Plan funds the state has yet to allocate.

By the time fiscal 2022 ends on June 30, DOR expects to collect $34.401 billion in tax revenue. Revenues for the month of October, which DOR said is “among the lower months for revenue collection,” are due to be announced Nov. 3.

DOR has set the monthly collection benchmark at $2.248 billion.

Given what’s already transpired, that fiscal 2022 revenue estimate might need to be revised higher.

The only people on Beacon Hill not excited by these gaudy tax receipts are the lawmakers and special-interest groups behind that so-called millionaires tax. A joint session of state lawmakers in June took a final procedural step, voting 159-41 to clear the way for the proposal to be placed on the ballot after years of prior attempts stymied by political and court battles.

At the time, the surtax appeared to have the backing of the state’s voters; a poll by Boston-based MassINC Polling Group showed that 72% supported the wealth tax.

Lawmakers have promised the estimated $2 billion in added revenue will target transportation infrastructure and public-school needs, but opponents argue the gains won’t outweigh the potential loss of job-creating entrepreneurs and relocated businesses.

That 4% surcharge on yearly income exceeding $1 million becomes less necessary — and more punitive — after each successive revenue-beating month. And if that’s the case, why should voters in the 2022 statewide elections approve that ballot question — overwhelming backed by Democrats — when the state’s awash in cash?

That’s a valid ballot question.

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How the Patriots offense can find its groove against the Texans



How the Patriots offense can find its groove against the Texans

The Patriots haven’t lost their season yet.

But drop Sunday’s game in Houston, and it will most certainly be slipping through their fingers.

At 1-3, the Pats’ offense has largely been to blame for the team’s surprisingly slow start. Opponents have treated rookie quarterback Mac Jones like a piñata, and bottled up their run game. The Patriots were built to bully opponents, and instead have been put on their heels.

They’ve failed to score 20 points in all three defeats and trailed entering the fourth quarter of all three of those games. A fast start will be vital to flipping that script against the Texans, who should offer a soft landing spot.

Here’s how the Pats can get back in the win column Sunday:

1. Roll out 12 personnel

It’s time for the star tight ends to star.

The Texans rank 29th in pass coverage against tight ends, according to Football Outsiders’ opponent-and-situation-adjusted metric, DVOA. Previous opponents averaged 13 yards per pass attempt and 5.2 yards per carry this season against Houston when playing from 12 personnel (one running back and two tight ends). None of those teams boasted a duo like Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.

Both players scored touchdowns last week against Tampa Bay, and could find the end zone in Houston. They just need more opportunity, taking only nine snaps together against the Bucs and seven the week before against New Orleans.

“The sky’s the limit,” Smith said this week of the Patriots offense. “We come in here and work every day, and we’re never going to be perfect, but I think the reason why we know what we can do is because we try to reach perfection. … I definitely know for this offense, the sky’s the limit.”

2. Max protect Mac Jones

The kid needs help.

Jones was pressured on 33% of his snaps against the Bucs, a percentage that felt a lot higher, but only because the pressure was so taxing. He took four sacks and more than a dozen hits. The Texans aren’t a high-pressure team, but if the Pats are forced to field mostly backup offensive linemen, it won’t matter.

The answer is keeping backs and/or tight ends in protection to give him extra time.

They must do a better job of protecting the future of the franchise, who’s shown he can survive the blitz. According to Pro Football Focus, Jones has completed 69.8% of his passes for 408 yards, two touchdowns and two picks this season in the face of extra rushers. But when pressured, that completion percentage drops to 57.4% and his average yards per attempt is barely five.

The Patriots’ best pass catchers — including Smith and Henry — will find soft spots in Houston’s preferred zone coverages if given the time. And Jones will find them if afforded three-plus seconds in the pocket, too.

3. Force the Texans to tackle in space

Houston’s defense has whiffed a league-high 37 times this season, most in the NFL.

Look for offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels to dial up a variety of screens, plays that should both ease the Pats’ issues in pass protections and exploit the Texans’ sloppy tackling. Damien Harris leads all Patriots with 16 missed tackles forced, per PFF, followed by Kendrick Bourne with six. Bourne and Agholor have each rushed one time this season, as has Smith.

Normally a tackle-breaking machine, Smith has yet to generate the type of yards after contact the Pats expected when they made the former Titan the third-richest tight end in the NFL in free agency last March. Sunday should be a perfect time to break out against an old division foe.

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One man’s endless hunt for a dopamine rush in virtual reality



One man’s endless hunt for a dopamine rush in virtual reality

By Cade Metz, The New York Times Company

On a recent Thursday evening at the City Life Community Center in Missoula, Montana, Wolf Heffelfinger played laser tag.

Wearing a pair of heavy goggles, he bobbed across the gymnasium, firing faux laser guns with both hands. It was not all that different from any other game of laser tag — except he was playing in virtual reality.

As he and a friend raced around the gym, he saw himself sprinting down the neon-lit corridors of a spacecraft. So did his friend. With virtual reality goggles strapped over their eyes, they could not see each other. But they could chase each other in an imaginary world.

For Heffelfinger, a 48-year-old musician, entrepreneur and free spirit, the game was another step in a decadelong obsession with virtual reality. Since the arrival of the seminal Oculus headset in 2013, he has played games in virtual reality, watched movies, visited distant lands and assumed new identities.

He sees his virtual adventures as a relentless search for the dopamine rush that comes when the technology takes him somewhere new. When he reaches the edge of what the technology can do, the rush wanes. He has put his many headsets on the shelf, where they have sat for months. But when advances arrive, he leaps back in.

Heffelfinger’s on-and-off preoccupation synchronizes with the tech industry’s on-and-off affair with virtual reality, investing billions in a concept that has for several years appeared just a few steps from going mainstream without quite getting there.

Now virtual reality technology may be another step closer to a mass market, with Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and other well-known executives heralding the arrival of “the metaverse” — a digital world where people can communicate via virtual reality and other new and yet-to-be-invented technologies — and repeated rumors that Apple will jump into the mix.

There is a question, however, if virtual reality is truly ready for mainstream consumers. Over the years, improvements have never quite matched expectations. It is as if science fiction — decades of novels, movies and television about virtual reality — has set people up for perpetual disappointment.

“I want it to be part of my life, and I always think it will be,” Heffelfinger said. “But the dream always ends.”

As Heffelfinger prepared for his game of laser tag in the Missoula community center, a group of teenagers were playing paintball one floor below. It was largely the same game: goggles, faux guns and pursuit around a gym. But the teenagers remained in the real world.

When asked why he did not just sign up for a game of old-fashioned paintball, Heffelfinger said playing in a world of science fiction made all the difference. He enjoyed being taken away. “I can enter the movie,” he said.

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New FEMA rules mean higher flood insurance rates for most Coloradans



New FEMA rules mean higher flood insurance rates for most Coloradans

Most people in Colorado who use the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program can expect to see premiums go up soon, state and national experts say.

The agency revised the way it underwrites flood risks across the country, with the changes taking effect on Oct. 1.

Existing customers with lower-valued homes have been paying too much for flood insurance, according to the agency’s website, and those with higher-valued homes have paid too little.

Carole Walker, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Association, said the rate changes will balance out that disparity and also take into account increasing flood risks as climate change worsens and wildfires lead to more flooding.

The average customer currently buying flood insurance through the NFIP pays $958 a year, said Mark Friedlander, spokesman for the Insurance Information Institute in New York City. Those in Colorado deemed “low to moderate risk” generally pay under $500 a year.

New customers’ policies will begin under the new system, Friedlander said. But existing customers won’t see a change in their rates until after April 1, 2022, assuming they renew their insurance plans.

FEMA is by far the largest flood insurance provider in Colorado and across the country, Walker said. Friedlander estimated that of the about 21,000 Coloradans that buy flood insurance through FEMA:

  • 43% will see a decrease in their premiums.
  • 48% will see an increase up to $120 a year.
  • 5% will see an increase up to $240 a year.
  • 4% will see an increase greater than $240 a year.

Representatives for FEMA declined The Post’s interview requests.

While private companies that offer flood insurance charge higher rates because they better assess that risk, Walker said, FEMA’s rates have been too low.

But also the flooding risk across Colorado is increasing, Walker added, pointing to the widespread 2013 floods as a pivot point in the state’s history. They killed 10 people, destroyed more than 1,800 homes and caused $4 billion in damage.

Foods inevitably follow in wildfires’ wake, and wildfires in Colorado are growing bigger and more frequent; the three largest in the state’s history happened in 2020.

Because the threat of floods increases due to burn scars left by wildfires, those areas are specifically included on the Colorado Flood Threat map, according to Micki Trost, spokeswoman for Colorado’s Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Colorado shattered its flash flood warning record by September 2021, with 282 warnings across the state compared to a 10-year average of about 100 warnings annually. The previous record, set in 2013, was 176 flash flood warnings.

FEMA uses flood threat maps like the state’s to assess flooding risk and set its insurance rates with its new system, Friedlander said.

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For flagging Amazon games unit, “New World” “has to be our breakthrough”



For flagging Amazon games unit, “New World” “has to be our breakthrough”

By Kellen BrowningThe New York Times Company

Amazon has been successful in nearly every industry it has entered, from books and grocery shopping to cloud computing and movie streaming. So it has been puzzling to many that success in the lucrative video game business has eluded the tech giant.

On Tuesday, Amazon gave producing its own video games another try. After more than a year of delays, it released “New World,” an online multiplayer game in which players join factions, fight monsters, fight one another and colonize a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean.

The $40 computer game, which has received generally positive reviews as players tested early versions over the past few months, comes at a crucial time for the tech giant’s disappointing gaming efforts.

After spending by some estimates hundreds of millions of dollars, neither of the other two big-budget games Amazon announced it was producing in 2016 alongside “New World” exist today. Some of its top gaming hires have departed over the years without putting out any notable titles. Last year, the company also removed another game from storefronts after a poor reception.

“New World” “has to be our breakthrough game — there’s no doubt about it,” said Christoph Hartmann, the vice president of Amazon Games. “Just for morale of people, at some point you want to see some success.”

Amazon’s biggest accomplishment in the gaming industry so far has been the acquisition of Twitch, the livestreaming video site, which the company bought in 2014 for about $1 billion. Amazon has also forged ahead with a new gaming subscription service, called Luna, and recently announced a new development studio in Montreal.

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“Stalkerware” apps are proliferating. Protect yourself.



“Stalkerware” apps are proliferating. Protect yourself.

By Brian X. Chen, The New York Times Company

It looked like a calculator app. But it was actually spyware recording my every keystroke — the type of data that would give a stalker unfettered access to my private life.

That’s what I concluded after downloading the free app Flash Keylogger onto an Android smartphone this week. The app described itself as a tool to monitor the online activities of family members by logging what they type. Once it was installed from Google’s official app store, its icon could be changed to that of a calculator or calendar app. In my tests, the app documented all of my typing, including web searches, text messages and emails.

Flash Keylogger is part of a rapidly expanding group of apps known as “stalkerware.” While these apps numbered in the hundreds a few years ago, they have since grown into the thousands. They are widely available on Google’s Play Store and to a lesser degree Apple’s App Store, often with innocuous names like MobileTool, Agent and Cerberus. And they have become such a tool for digital domestic abuse that Apple and Google have started in the past year acknowledging that the apps are an issue.

From last September to May, the number of devices infected with stalkerware jumped 63%, according to a study by security firm NortonLifeLock. This month, the Federal Trade Commission said it had barred one app-maker, Support King, from offering SpyFone, a piece of stalkerware that gains access to a victim’s location, photos and messages. It was the first ban of its kind.

“It’s extremely invasive, it’s a very big deal and it’s linked to some of the worst abuse I’ve seen in intimate partner abuse,” Eva Galperin, a cybersecurity director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights organization, said of the apps.

Stalkerware is a thorny issue because it lives in a gray area. There are legitimate uses for surveillance apps, like parental control software that monitors children online to protect them from predators. But this technology becomes stalkerware when it’s stealthily installed on a partner’s phone to spy on him or her without consent.

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Denver election 2021: Who should appoint the city’s independent police watchdog?



Denver election 2021: Who should appoint the city’s independent police watchdog?

Denver has been operating without a dedicated, independent police watchdog since January

And while a committee is searching for candidates who could fill the permanent independent monitor job full-time, voters on Nov. 2 will get to decide who appoints independent monitors in the future — the mayor or the volunteer Citizen Oversight Board. 

Referred Question 2G asks voters to approve a few changes to the way the city’s Office of the Independent Monitor works.

The monitor is tasked with investigating alleged misconduct by Denver police officers and sheriff’s deputies; recommending policy changes to the Department of Public Safety; and looking into incidents like how police handled the George Floyd protests in 2020.   

If 2G is approved, not only would the oversight board be in charge of appointing future monitors — contingent on a City Council confirmation vote — but the monitor’s office also would be allowed to hire outside legal counsel. Staff members in the office would be reclassified from at-will employees that can be fired without cause to career service workers with more insulation from potential retaliatory firings. 

“The monitor and that office’s ability to do their job depends on independence,” Denver City Councilwoman and 2H supporter Jamie Torres said. “What we want to do is maintain trust in that office and provide distance from political bodies whether it’s the mayor’s office or our own.” 

The oversight board, created in 2004 and added to the city charter by voters in 2016, has nine members; four are picked by the mayor, four by the council and one jointly. 

Torres is part of the search committee waiting to interview monitor candidates. She said 2G is not the byproduct of events like the protests but lots of public input.

“We’ve heard these things not just recently but for years,” she said. “It’s about time.” 

There is no organized opposition to 2G, and no one submitted comments against the measure in time to be included in the city’s ballot guide. 

Mayor Michael Hancock said he is neutral on the measure. He viewed his appointment role as taking recommendations for the search committee and making a final choice. It comes down to the committee identifying good candidates, he said.

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Week 5 NFL Picks: Buffalo, Kansas City meet in re-match of last year’s AFC title game



6 NFL playoff teams show no panic in Week 2, avoid 0-2 starts

Game of the week

Buffalo at Kansas City

Here’s hoping this Sunday night’s game is better than last Sunday night’s Tampa Bay-New England snooze-fest. The Chiefs are a 2 1/2-point favorite and quarterback Patrick Mahomes already has 14 touchdown passes. He’ll throw two to win this AFC title game re-match.

Chiefs 24, Bills 20

Lock of the week

Philadelphia at Carolina

Too bad Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts (leading rusher and 101.1 passer rating) can’t play QB. Philadelphia has allowed 83 points in the last two games and Carolina, a four-point favorite, will cruise to 4-1 with a convincing victory even if injured tailback Christian McCaffrey remains out.

Panthers 34, Eagles 14

Upset of the week

N.Y. Jets vs. Atlanta

The NFL returns to London for this Falcons “home” game. The Jets are a three-point underdog, but enter after last week’s overtime win over Tennessee. Receiver Corey Davis has proved to be an astute free-agent signing — he has three touchdowns and is averaging 16.1 yards per catch.

Jets 20, Falcons 17

Dylan Buell, Getty Images

Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals warms up against the Jacksonville Jaguars before an NFL football game at Paul Brown Stadium on Sept. 30, 2021 in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Around the AFC: Measuring-stick game for Cincinnati against Green Bay

Reid makes history. Kansas City ended a rare two-game losing streak by throttling Philadelphia last week, allowing coach Andy Reid to make history. Reid, 63, became the first NFL coach to win 100 games with two franchises. He was 140-102-1 (including playoffs) with the Eagles from 1999-2012 (0-1 in Super Bowl) and is 100-45 with the Chiefs (1-1 in Super Bowl), who hired him in January 2013 shortly after he was fired by Philadelphia. Most impressive about Reid’s track record is his teams have had a losing record only three times (none in Kansas City) and have won 11 division titles.

Jaguars in disarray. It was a long week for embattled Jacksonville coach Urban Meyer and it had nothing to do with his team’s 0-4 record. After the Jaguars’ loss at Cincinnati, Meyer didn’t fly back with the team to Florida, opting to stay in Ohio to visit family. Owner Shad Khan should have fired Meyer for cause for turning his back on his players. Meyer said general manager Trent Baalke knew about him not flying back. If true, Baalke should also be fired. The Jaguars host Tennessee on Sunday, followed by a trip to London to host Miami.

Bengals’ measuring stick. Cincinnati is 3-1, but its wins have been over Minnesota (1-3), Pittsburgh (1-3) and Jacksonville (0-4). The Bengals host Green Bay on Sunday, a chance to show they should be considered an AFC wild-card contender. Quarterback Joe Burrow has been terrific so far, posting a 113.8 passer rating and he has picked up with rookie receiver Ja’Marr Chase, who is averaging 17.5 yards per catch (tied for fourth) and has four touchdowns (tied for second).

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields passes ...

David Banks, The Associated Press

Chicago Bears quarterback Justin Fields passes during the second half of an NFL preseason football game against the Buffalo Bills Saturday, Aug. 21, 2021, in Chicago.

Around the NFC: Justin Fields Era starts for Chicago against Las Vegas

Panthers aggressive. Carolina has traded for two first-round cornerbacks in the past month. The Panthers, after losing rookie Jaycee Horn (foot), acquired C.J. Henderson, a second-year player, from Jacksonville, and followed that by giving up a sixth-round pick to New England for Stephon Gilmore. The Panthers are going for it, either the NFC South title if Tampa Bay falters or a wild-card spot. Gilmore, who is from the region, is a free agent next March, but the Panthers could conceivably re-sign him because Horn and Henderson are on their affordable rookie contracts. Good job by general manager Scott Fitterer and coach Matt Rhule.

Cardinals flying. We keep waiting for Arizona to stub its collective big toe, but it hasn’t happened yet. The Cardinals are the NFL’s lone unbeaten at 4-0 (their best start in 47 years) and host San Francisco on Sunday. The Kliff Kingsbury-called/Kyler Murray-quarterbacked offense leads the league in yards (440.5) and points (35.0) per game. They have scored at least 30 points and gained at least 400 yards in their four games. Only Oakland (2002), New England (’07) and the Broncos (’13) achieved that. All lost in the Super Bowl.

Fields takes over. Chicago coach Matt Nagy stopped fiddling around and named rookie Justin Fields his starting quarterback. He was 11-of-17 passing for 209 yards (no touchdowns) in last week’s win over Detroit. Here’s hoping the Bears’ infrastructure is solid enough to keep Fields from getting battered. He has already been sacked 12 times. “Not just the last week or two, this whole entire time, we’ve seen incremental growth,” Nagy said. “This isn’t something that happened just right away. He’s earned it. He’s worked hard.” The Bears (2-2) play Sunday at Las Vegas (3-1).

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