Good morning southern Colorado and here's what you need to know on your Thursday morning.
If you'd like to read the full story, be sure to click on the story headline.
El Paso County 5-star certified businesses can begin operating under Level Blue guidelines
Colorado Springs announced Wednesday that 5-star certified businesses can immediately begin operating under Level Blue guidelines on the state COVID-19 dial.
For this to happen, the state needed to achieve a 70% vaccination rate among those 70 years and older. Gov. Jared Polis announced Tuesday that the state had reached that goal. Under Level Blue, most businesses can move to operate at 50% capacity. Businesses can still apply for the variance in the link above.
Rain and snow collide today with locally heavy snowfall tonight
Complicated weather day with a mix of showers, thunderstorms, and snow all happening from the afternoon through the overnight hours. Snow levels today will stay at or above 6,500 feet, meaning it'll fall and collect in the Rampart Range and some of western El Paso/eastern Teller counties during the day. Snow levels will fall to 5,000 feet tonight, meaning that snow could fall over all of Colorado Springs down to Fountain and Fort Carson.
District Attorney says murdered witness was going to provide bombshell testimony
An upcoming witness killed in Denver last week was slated to testify in the Donthe Lucas murder trial and was going to provide bombshell testimony, according to the district attorney. Roxann Martinez, 31, was found dead on Feb. 25 from a gunshot wound and her death has been classified a homicide. The Denver Police Department has said that they don't believe her death was connected to the trial.
New5's Colette Bordelon reports that the District Attorney has confirmed that Martinez was going to testify for the prosecution this week that Lucas confessed to her that he killed Schelling.
CDLE hiring more staff to investigate widespread unemployment fraud
Leaders of the state unemployment system are still working to get benefits out to those who need it the most as they combat a wave of fraud attacks impacting many people who have never experienced identity theft before.
News5 is still hearing from our viewers on almost a daily basis that they are struggling to secure unemployment benefits, or they're still getting fake unemployment claim mail.
Dems tighten relief benefits, firm up support for virus bill
President Joe Biden and Democrats agreed to tighten eligibility limits for stimulus checks Wednesday, bowing to party moderates as leaders prepared to move their $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief bill through the Senate.
At the same time, the White House and top Democrats stood by progressives and agreed that the Senate package would retain the $400 weekly emergency unemployment benefits included in the House-passed pandemic legislation.