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5 things you need to know for Tuesday, May 18

Posted at 5:52 AM, May 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-18 08:05:21-04

Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Tuesday, May 18.

If you'd like to read the full story, be sure to click on the story headline.

Get your latest First Alert 5 Weather forecast

We've seen VERY heavy rain across the central and southern portion of I-25 from Monday night into early Tuesday morning with 2 to 4 inches of rain reported in and around the Wet Mountains!

More rain and a few storms will fall through the morning with a general break in the rain this afternoon from I-25 east to the plains, but scattered showers and storms will return late today and tonight. The heaviest afternoon and evening rains will fall generally in Walsenburg and areas south, west into the Sangres, and east into Las Animas county.

This mid-level Circulation will keep a deep easterly upslope flow over the region, with the best chance of showers and isolated thunderstorms over the I-25 corridor region, and all of the higher terrain and valleys.

Rainfall rates are not expected to be all that intense today so flash flooding is not likely on the burn scars, but creeks will likely be running high due to the persistent steady rain. Mountain tops, generally above treeline may see some locally heavy snow accumulations.


Case dismissed for protester who helped block I-25

Judge Stephen Sletta ruled a case is unconstitutional regarding a Black Lives Matter protester who helped block northbound I-25 on June 30, 2020. More than a dozen people were charged as a result of the incident.

Molly Avion said she attended many George Floyd protests during the summer of 2020. On June 30, she said she grew concerned about the safety of protesters heading to the interstate and was one of the cars parked sideways on the highway to block traffic. "Cops did watch overhead on the bridge, but then never approached us or told us to disperse... If it was a public safety issue, they would have approached us and gotten us off the road as soon as possible," said Avion.

According to court records, Avion was cited two weeks later with a class 3 misdemeanor obstructing a highway. She was set to go to trial this summer, until her attorney told her the case was dismissed.

Judge Sletta wrote in his reasoning for the ruling that the statute failed to "provide fair notice to what conduct is prohibited or permitted." He continued to say the statute could be used for discriminatory or arbitrary enforcement.

Howard Black of the 4th Judicial District said the office is in the review phase of Judge Sletta's decision. He cited a statute, saying they have a responsibility to appeal the decision. "It has nothing to do with whether we agree or disagree. We're in a position based on requirements from the state to move that case into a mandatory appeal," said Black.

If the case is appealed, it would go to district court next.


New guidelines on masks prompt concerns from parents

With new federal and state guidelines on face coverings, some local school districts are making big changes the last week of the school year.

During a press conference last Friday, Governor Jared Polis announced mask mandates would be phased out of schools on June 1st, with fully vaccinated teachers and students allowed to stop wearing masks now — if their districts agree.

Falcon School District 49 was the first district tono longer require masksfor elementary students effective immediately. Other students and staff won't be required to wear one after June 2nd.

Pueblo school districts announced on Monday schools are sticking with masks through the end of the school year.


Restaurants struggling to stay open amid hiring shortage

For the many people COVID-19 put out of work, there is good news. Job openings just keep coming. But there’s a problem. No one seems to want open jobs in one particular industry.

“This time of year is always a little bit challenging anyway. We’re ramping up getting ready for the busy summer months, ” said Mike Sandoval, who owns seven McDonald's franchises in the Denver area.

The problem is, he is far from alone. “There's tens of thousands of jobs open in El Paso and Teller County,” Pikes Peak Workforce Center Executive Director/CEO Traci Marques said.

The signs are everywhere. Businesses, especially restaurants, need employees, and they need them now. But why don’t people want these jobs?

“There’s a skills gap of what’s needed currently in the open positions, and the skills that those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 currently had in their last job," Pikes Peak Workforce Center Executive Director/CEO Traci Marques said.

Major chains are stepping up their recruiting. McDonald's is hosting a hiring event to meet its goal of bringing 3,200 new employees to the Colorado region.

Applebee's says it’s looking to hire 10,000 people across the country, offering free appetizers to anyone who showed up at a location for an interview Monday.


Whataburger planning on multiple locations in Colorado Springs

In March, we learned that Texas-based Whataburger was planning to expand to Colorado and the first location would be right here in Colorado Springs.

Now, it appears that BurgerWorks, a franchisee for the burger chain, is planing for three locations in Colorado Springs.

In March, the city told News 5 that they had received an application to build the first restaurant in the Interquest Marketplace, on the north side of Colorado Springs.

A new proposal submitted to the city shows that BugerWorks plans to build another location at 6154 Vickie Lane, east of Powers and Dublin on Colorado Springs’ northeast side.

Additionally, another proposal shows a third location planned at 5905 Constitution Ave., east of Powers and Constitution.

A timeline for when the restaurants will open is not known at this time.

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