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Updated: 58 min 18 sec ago

Fighting gun violence after Florida shooting gives teens purpose

1 hour 16 min ago

PARKLAND, Fla. — Chris Grady was a theater kid counting down the days until he reported for duty in the U.S. Army this summer, when a gunman opened fire at his school. As he huddled in his classroom at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School last Wednesday listening to shots ring out nearby, what he felt wasn’t fear, but anger.

“Full-on anger,” the thin, curly haired 19-year-old said.

Grady’s anger deepened the day after the shooting, when he heard news that the FBI had failed to follow up on a tip about the former student who police say gunned down 14 students and three staff members with an AR-15 styled rifle. News also emerged that Nikolas Cruz had legally purchased the gun despite a documented history of mental health issues.

The FBI received a tip last month that Cruz had a “desire to kill” and access to guns and could be plotting an attack, but agents failed to investigate, the agency acknowledged Friday. Others had received warnings as well: Records show the Florida Department of Children and Families investigated, but concluded Cruz wasn’t a danger to himself or others.

On Friday, as gun-control debates raged anew on social media, one of Grady’s close friends created a Twitter account, @NeverAgainMSD, to channel the students’ anger and frustration.

“The Never Again movement started formulating, and we got to work,” Grady said.

Grady and his friend are among about 100 Stoneman Douglas students who are heading to Florida’s capital, Tallahassee, to push lawmakers to do something to stop gun violence. They also plan to maintain the momentum by attending what they hope will be a massive march on Washington next month.

The efforts have offered students a way to channel their anger and sadness into action. Grady’s life was upended by the shooting. But now, as one of the organizers behind the students’ call for stricter gun-control laws, he is laser-focused on planning and media interviews.

On Tuesday, he will ride a bus to Tallahassee. On Wednesday, he and a small group of Never Again organizers will fly back to Parkland for a televised Town Hall meeting about the shooting. Then their focus will turn to the planned March for Life on the nation’s capital on March 24.

That doesn’t leave a lot of time for school.

“If we’ve got to take some extra days off, that’s fine to continue the movement,” he said. “Academics have been put on the back burner.”

Prior to the shooting, Chris’ time was spent studying theater and working out to get his body in shape for the Army, where he wants to pursue a career in information technology. The second-oldest of four kids, he moved to Parkland from Massachusetts when he was 6. His mother is a property manager, and his step-father is an electrician.

Given his interest in a military career, Chris said he is not anti-gun and supports the Second Amendment. But he believes assault rifles such as the AR-15 styled rifle that authorities say Cruz used should be reserved for the military.

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“They’re weapons of war made to kill as many people as possible in as short a time as possible,” he said.

Grady said he’s ready to work as much as it takes to keep the gun-control movement’s momentum going until he ships out.

“The kids in Newtown were too young to understand what happened and were too young to have their own voice,” he said, referring to the 20 first-graders killed in the 2012 Connecticut school shooting. “We want to be the voice for those kids and thousands of others who have been affected by tragedies like this.”

___

Follow Jason Dearen on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/JHDearen



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Freezing day in store for Front Range after Monday snow showers dump up to 9 inches

2 hours 54 min ago

The snow has stopped for now, but don’t expect it to melt anytime soon.

The Denver metro area won’t see temperatures above freezing today after Monday’s snow showers dropped 4 to 6 inches of precipitation. Denver International Airport received 2.9 inches of snowfall, with Boulder and areas to the northeast of the city waking up to between 6 and 8 inches.

Areas just northwest of Louisville were hardest hit in the Front Range, with up to 9 inches accumulating Monday.

Schools in Denver, Douglas and Jefferson counties, the St. Vrain Valley School District and Greeley-Evans School District 6 are operating on normal hours this morning.

Westminster Public Schools, Mapleton School District and Adams 14 schools, as well as Mullen High School and Regis Jesuit High School, will have a two-hour late start. Ricks Center for Gifted Children has a one hour delay.

Denver Public Works said plow drivers will be working on both main and side streets. Fort Collins, Aurora and Loveland warned of transit and other driving-related delays today as their city crews similarly plow streets.

The National Weather Service predicts a maximum temperature of 19 degrees in Denver Tuesday with wind chill values as low as minus-13 degrees.

There’s a 30 percent chance of snow showers this afternoon that could potentially add to the accumulation, although National Weather Service Boulder meteorologist Cody Ledbetter doesn’t expect more than a half-inch.

“Tonight will gradually clear out (and) get down into the single digit lows with wind chills in the single digits, as well,” he said.

Heath Montgomery, a spokesman for the Denver International Airport, said Monday evening that the Presidents Day snowfall did not affect traffic at the airport.

“Airport operations are normal tonight,” he said in a phone message.

“We have not seen a significant impact due to the snowstorm and we’re not anticipating significant impacts overnight.”

Forecasters expect Wednesday to be sunny and slightly warmer with a high of 28, while a chance of snow showers returns later in the week. Ledbetter said the next chance for accumulation is Thursday night into Friday.

The weekend should be warmer still with the mercury tipped to reach the 40s through Monday.

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Latest version of Denver’s Blueprint plan recognizes that not all neighborhood change is created equal

2 hours 58 min ago

Denver’s latest stab at guiding development and land use for the next decade or two in the growth-fatigued city has added even more complexity to an evolving plan.

City officials are proposing four classifications to promote varying degrees of change or stability, neighborhood by neighborhood, as part of the updated “Blueprint Denver” plan. Their aim is for a new level of sophistication that might stave off some of the intense development and rezoning fights seen in recent years.

Planners are taking that and other proposed changes on the road in coming weeks to community workshop meetings across the city. The first is Tuesday night at 5:30 p.m. at Thomas Jefferson High School in southeast Denver.

The 2002 Blueprint Denver land use and transportation plan is one of four plans undergoing updates or being written for the first time as part of a two-year citywide planning effort called “Denveright.”

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The original Blueprint plan’s simplicity — pegging every inch of the city as an area of change or stability — was hailed as innovative 16 years ago, but during the recent population boom its classifications have fed into disputes during heated rezoning fights.

In an overview of the latest changes since the last round of meetings in September, principal city planner David Gaspers and Denver planning chief Brad Buchanan said the four proposed categories for types of change would allow for the highlighting of prevailing needs in different parts of the city.

“It weights different kinds of change over another,” Buchanan said.

Only in some areas, such as the parking lots around the Pepsi Center and Elitch Gardens, is there such a demand for redevelopment that a transformation of their character is warranted in coming decades, Gaspers said.

On the other end of the spectrum are the quiet, stable single-family neighborhoods that have been most resistant to denser development. Those might land in a category currently dubbed “enrich” — a delicate way of saying that residents might be open to light redevelopment that provides more diversity of income, education and housing stock, such as backyard cottages or townhomes on busy corners. But they don’t want huge changes.

In between are “connect” neighborhoods that are similarly stable but in need of closer proximity to amenities such as grocery stores, education, jobs or shopping. And another category, called “integrate,” might apply to areas where longtime residents are at risk of being squeezed out, with a need for city policies and development that improves housing affordability.

Denver Department of Community Planning and DevelopmentDenver city planners have proposed designations for areas across the city based on corridors, centers, districts and residential areas, with some of those further broken down. This view from a September 2017 version shows part of the map, from Highland in the northwest to Cherry Creek North in the southeast.

A map showing where the categories would be applied wasn’t yet available. But the concept joins other still-evolving proposals for a more concrete mapping of the entire city that labels places with neighborhood contexts, ranging from suburban to different levels of urban to downtown. That map also differentiates between travel corridors and community nodes and centers of different types, and it classifies residential areas by the density of buildings desired, from low to high.

Denver’s Department of Community Planning and Development is aiming to produce a draft Blueprint plan in coming months, with adoption of a final plan by the City Council this summer.

In formulating a new Blueprint roadmap, city planners are navigating conflicting pressures. Urban advocates have stood up at Blueprint meetings to argue for a plan that prepares a wider swath of the city to absorb the future population growth projected by demographers, resulting in wider-scale densification.

But some fiercely protective neighborhood advocates want assurances that their smaller-scale areas will survive intact.

“Blueprint Denver is so hard to understand for the public,” said Councilman Wayne New, who represents central Denver, during a recent council committee briefing. He urged Gaspers to make it easy for attendees of the upcoming meetings to understand how the new Blueprint plan will affect their neighborhoods — and to dispel any misconceptions about changes that might be in store.

“I don’t want people to be scared about what’s going to happen,” New said.

Blueprint Denver meetings

Most meetings are set to run two hours:

  • 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at Thomas Jefferson High School, 3950 S. Holly St.
  • 5:30 p.m. Wednesday at Laradon, 5100 Lincoln St.
  • 6:30 p.m. Thursday at Potenza Lodge Hall, 1900 W. 38th Ave.
  • 6 p.m. Thursday at District 3 Police Station, 1625 S. University Blvd.
  • 5:30 p.m. Feb. 27 at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library, 1498 Irving St.
  • 6 p.m. March 1 at All Saints Parish Hall, 2559 S. Federal Blvd.
  • 5:30 p.m. Mar. 6 at Community of Christ Church, 480 N. Marion St.
  • 6 p.m. March 7 at Evie Garrett Dennis Campus, 4800 Telluride St.
  • 6 p.m. March 8 at Valverde Elementary, 2030 W. Alameda Ave. (Primarily in Spanish.)
  • 6 p.m. March 14 at DSST Byers School, 150 S. Pearl St. (No Spanish interpretation available.)
  • 5:30 p.m. March 15 at DSST Stapleton High School, 2000 Valentia St.

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RTD to shut down parts of A-Line rail service this weekend

2 hours 58 min ago

The Regional Transportation District will put in place its second partial closure of rail service on the University of Colorado A-Line this weekend, with buses covering the segment between Union Station and Central Park Station.

The rail closure, which is necessary for crews to do work on the yet-to-open N-Line, will go into effect at 3 a.m. Saturday and last until 3 a.m. Monday. Buses will shuttle passengers between Union Station, 38th and Blake, 40th and Colorado and Central Park stations every 15 minutes between 4:15 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

Outside of these hours, shuttles will run at 30-minute intervals. Travelers are advised to plan on an additional 45 to 60 minutes of travel time between Union Station and Denver International Airport. A-Line trains will continue to run as normal between the airport and Central Park Station.

The partial shutdown on the A-Line, which is similar to the closure that occurred the weekend of Feb. 10-11, is necessary so that general contractor Regional Rail Partners can do track and systems integration work along the N-Line. The N-Line, construction of which is behind schedule, will serve Northglenn, Thornton and Commerce City.

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This weekend’s disruption of A-Line is the second of four scheduled interruptions to occur in the coming months.

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Colorado’s Aaron Blunck, Alex Ferreira, Torin Yater-Wallace go 1-2-3 in Olympic halfpipe qualifying contest

5 hours 47 min ago

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — Colorado was represented well in the PyeongChang halfpipe on Tuesday, with the state’s three best halfpipe skiers topping the qualifying contest heading into Thursday’s destined-to-be-epic Olympic final.

With a dozens of cheering and flag-waving family and friends lending a home-turf vibe, Crested Butte’s Aaron Blunck finished first, followed by Aspen’s Alex Ferreira and Basalt’s Torin Yater-Wallace. Their teammate, David Wise, who won the first gold medal in ski halfpipe in the Sochi Olympics, finished eighth. The strong showing fueled hopes for a Team USA sweep of the halfpipe podium.

“Chances are pretty good,” Wise said.

“It’s definitely a possibility,” Ferreira said.

“That would be unreal,” Yater-Wallace said.

The fiercest foursome of pipe riders ever assembled loves to throw the largest hits in the pipe. And the extra-long PyeongChang pipe can accommodate their magnitude. Where all four skiers have been known to run out of room when they are boosting five hits, this Olympic pipe easily fits their biggest hits, including left and right double-corks both forward and switch.

“Conditions are optimal not just for pipe skiing but the conditions are optimal for us American pipe skiers because all four of us really like to go big,” said Wise, whose deep bag-of-trickery might be the most technical in all of halfpipe skiing. “We are going to be able to do the tricks we want to do.”

Blunck finished first with a huge second run in the best-of-two qualifier. Blunck led the group of 27 of the world’s top skiers — which was whittled down to 12 for the best-of-three finals — with a near-flawless run that culminated with a lofty rightside double-cork 1260.

Blunck, who competed in the 2014 Sochi Olympics at age 17, refocused on his skiing after the common Olympic hangover left him questioning his love for competitive pipe skiing. Up at the top of the pipe on Tuesday, he needed to land his run clean to make the finals. He relied on the mantra he deployed through the grueling Olympic season that packed four consequential qualifying contests into a two-month span: focus on fun.

“I just thought about it and I didn’t care about the results. I just wanted to ski. I really wanted to land a run but at the same time, I’m just happy to be here and honored to be on this team of really talented people,” said the 21-year-old Blunck.

Coaches for the American ski and snowboard teams intentionally sculpted an intensive qualifying process to reach the Olympics, including four contests this season at Copper Mountain, Breckenridge, Snowmass and California’s Mammoth. It was purposely pressurized and physically exhausting; designed to hone the skiers and snowboarders for the Olympics. It worked with the snowboarders for sure, with Red Gerard and Jamie Anderson winning gold in the snowboard slopestyle contests and Shaun White, Chloe Kim and Arielle Gold taking home medals in the halfpipe. On Tuesday, California’s Brita Sigourney won bronze in the halfpipe and the entire U.S. men’s team qualified for finals, giving further support to the demanding qualification process that sharpened the Olympic pipe skiers.

Alex Ferreira of Aspen skis to second in the PyeongChang Olympic halfpipe skiing contest on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the Phoenix Park ski area in Bongpyeong, South Korea. Photo by David Ramos / Getty Images.

“That’s what the U.S. Team is trying to do, make it as rigorous as possible so we can endure the different types of conditions and pressure,” said Ferreira, who had a massive cheering section with friends and family waving signs and wearing “Go Alex” hoodies. “I guess it was a good thing. We are doing well, right?”

Torin Yater-Wallace’s lead-up to PyeongChang was even more exacting as he recovered from injuries and didn’t lock his spot until the final qualifying contest in Mammoth in late January.

He stuck his first qualifying run with aeronautical precision, giving him enough points to secure his spot in finals, allowing him to take it easy on his second run without risking a crash.

Putting down the first run, he said, was unreal. Especially considering his first Olympics, when a punctured lung and broken ribs slowed his ramp-up to Sochi. The next year he suffered an infection that nearly killed him. Those hurdles made sticking his first run even more special.

“Regardless of the circumstances, it’s always an amazing feeling and obviously I’ve had some unfortunate instances I have dealt with that just added to that feeling,” said the 22-year-old Yater-Wallace. “It was just such a relief to land that first one after my less than stellar performance in Sochi dealing with my lungs and ribs back then.”

PYEONGCHANG-GUN, SOUTH KOREA – FEBRUARY 20: Torin Yater-Wallace of the United States competes during the Freestyle Skiing Men’s Ski Halfpipe Qualification on day eleven of the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympic Games at Phoenix Snow Park on February 20, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

All four Americans said they were hoping for a finals showdown that highlighted the athleticism and progression of their sport. With New Zealand brothers Byron and Beau-James Wells joining their 16-year-old Kiwi teammate Nico Porteous along with Canadian pipe veteran Mike Riddle and the podium-threat Kevin Rolland of France competing in Thursday’s contest, the Olympic pipe finals most certainly will be one for the ages.

“I’m really, in all honesty, just excited about the sport putting on a show. That’s the one thing that was lacking in Sochi is that we didn’t get to put on a show the world deserved to see,” said Wise, who won gold despite competing in a snowstorm in a poorly maintained halfpipe.

First-time Olympian Ferreira agreed.

“I just hope everyone skis to their best ability and we showcase halfpipe skiing on the world stage in a great light,” he said, giddy that his journey includes Yater-Wallace, his friend since they first started pushing each in the pipe as grade-schoolers. “I can’t believe I get to compete with Torin, one of my best friends, at the Olympics. I did not see that coming when we were ten years old, but it’s super cool.”

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KFC restaurants in the U.K. have a problem. They don’t have chicken.

8 hours 2 min ago

“The chicken crossed the road, just not to our restaurants.”

So said an announcement Saturday that tried to find humor in KFC’s chicken shortage, which has prompted the fast-food chain to temporarily close hundreds of its restaurants in the United Kingdom. KFC said the shortage was caused by “a couple of teething problems” with its new delivery partner, DHL.

“We know that this might have inconvenienced some of you over the last few days, and disappoint you when you wanted your fried chicken fix – we’re really sorry about that,” KFC said Saturday. “Shout out to our restaurant teams who are working flat out to get us back up and running again.”

As of Monday, about 300 of KFC’s 900 locations in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are open, according to a list on KFC’s website. Some restaurants are operating on a limited menu or shortened hours. It remains unclear when all restaurants will be open.

DHL said that a number of its deliveries had been “incomplete or delayed” because of operational issues, CNN Money reported.

The mishap came just months after KFC partnered with DHL as part of the fast-food chain’s ambition to “revolutionize” the food service distribution market in the United Kingdom. A news release from October said DHL will manage KFC’s warehouse and distribution service, with a “greater focus on innovation, quality and service performance” and a promise to “provide a faster turnaround of orders.”

Some customers aren’t happy.

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“So we’re going have to hit a McDonald’s up,” says a customer who posted a video on YouTube showing a closed location in Manchester, England. “This is s— mate. We like our chicken. You know we like our chicken.”

Still, KFC assured its customers that “the Colonel is working on it,” a lighthearted reference to the late Col. Harland Sanders, the chain’s founder.

Sanders acquired a service station in the 1930s in Corbin, Kentucky, and later transformed it into a restaurant, where he cooked his signature fried chicken. He franchised Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1952 at the age of 62 and sold it for $2 million 12 years later. Sanders, whose image is featured in KFC’s logo, is now known in more than 100 countries for his fried chicken recipe.

KFC is owned by Yum! Brands, a Kentucky-based company that also owns Pizza Hut and Taco Bell.

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Traffic deaths in Colorado reached highest number in more than a decade in 2017 while number fell slightly across U.S.

8 hours 17 min ago

DETROIT — Traffic deaths on U.S. roads fell slightly in 2017 after two straight years of big increases, but a leading safety organization that compiled the numbers says it’s no cause for celebration.

The National Safety Council on Thursday estimated that 40,100 people were killed in traffic crashes last year, down just under 1 percent from the 2016 total of 40,327. The group said it’s too early to tell whether the small decline means a downward trend after a two-year spike in deaths that was blamed largely on people driving more miles as the economy improved as well as an increase in distracted driving.

In Colorado, 642 people died in traffic in 2017, the highest number since 2004, when 667
were killed. More than 50 have died so far this year.

“We’re treading water, essentially,” said council spokeswoman Maureen Vogel. “We’re not making progress. This is the second year in a row we’re seeing over 40,000 people killed in this country on the roadways.”

Fatalities rose 7 percent in 2016, on top of a 7 percent increase from 2014 to 2015, the steepest two-year increase in over 50 years, according to the council, which gets its data from states. Prior to 2016, annual deaths had not hit 40,000 since 2007, the year before the economy tanked.

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Motor-vehicle injuries in 2017 also fell 1 percent to an estimated 4.57 million, and the estimated cost of vehicle deaths, injuries and property damage was estimated at $413.8 billion, also down 1 percent. The number of miles driven last year by Americans grew only 1 percent, easing back from the 3 percent increase in 2016. An estimated 1.25 deaths occurred per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, the council said. That’s 2 percent lower than the 2016 rate.

Traffic deaths began dropping in 2008 and reached their lowest point in six decades in 2011 at 32,000. They fluctuated slightly over the next two years, but started climbing in the last quarter of 2014.

Experts say as the economy recovered, people began driving more, and they also increased riskier behavior such as going out on weekends or taking longer trips on unfamiliar roads. Teens, who have the highest fatal crash rates, also started driving more after the recession, during which many couldn’t afford to travel.

The council’s fatality estimates differ slightly from those of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The government counts only deaths that occur on public roads, while the council includes fatalities that occur in parking lots, driveways and private roads.

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Video of a shivering, abandoned puppy in Florida goes viral — and has a happy ending

8 hours 51 min ago

It was 27 degrees, one of the coldest mornings anyone could remember in Daytona Beach, Florida, when the call came in about a puppy in distress on the banks of the Halifax River.

Daytona Beach police officers John Pearson and James Lee arrived and found a tiny pit bull, not more than a few weeks old, shivering alone under the Seabreeze Bridge. No one knows how she got there. But she was drenched. The officers figured she’d probably been in the river and somehow made her way to shore.

They took her back to their truck and turned up the heat, filming a cellphone video as they wrapped the shivering pup in a towel.

“I’m just trying to warm him up a little bit, dry him off,” Pearson said. ” … I want to take her home.”

But Pearson seemed to say that more from emotion than practicality, and the officers ended up taking the pup to the Halifax Humane Society’s shelter.

When the Daytona Beach Police Department posted pictures of the dog on its Facebook page, hundreds of people reacted and commented.

Patrol Officer Kera Cantrell had a habit of going to the Halifax shelter on her lunch break to visit the dogs and feed them cookies she would take along in a bag. Word had gotten around the police department that the dog the officers rescued was there, and Cantrell wanted to see the pup. The veterinarian at the shelter had named the dog River.

“She was this teeny tiny little thing. I grabbed her and pulled her out of the kennel she was in,” Cantrell said, recalling the first time she met River. “I put her up to my chest and she snuggled up under my neck – and went to sleep.”

Cantrell said she did not have designs to adopt another pet. She already had three rescue dogs at her house.

“But I looked at her and I said, ‘I love her, I’m taking her home,'” Cantrell said.

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Cantrell got her home about two weeks ago, and said her other dogs took to River right away. Around that time, officers Pearson and Lee mentioned they had the video of the minutes after they rescued River, and the police department put it on its Facebook Page. It was viewed more than 140,000 times.

One of those viewers was Cantrell. For the first time, she saw the moments after her chilled-to-the-bone puppy was rescued from under the bridge. She watched as her coworkers tried to warm River, holding her directly in front of the truck’s heating vents until she started making small puppy grunts.

“It’s heart-wrenching,” Cantrell said. “I sat there and bawled my eyes out.”

Now, Cantrell often keeps River in a onesie made for a human baby, especially at night when the temperature dips down into the 40s.

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Troy Terry has 3 assists as U.S. men’s team beats Slovakia in Olympic hockey

10 hours 22 min ago

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Ryan Donato scored two goals, Troy Terry had three assists and the United States beat Slovakia 5-1 in the qualification round Tuesday to advance to face the Czech Republic in the Olympic quarterfinals.

College kids again led the way for the U.S., which scored more against Slovakia then it did in all three preliminary-round games. James Wisniewski, Mark Arcobello and Garrett Roe also scored for the Americans, who took advantage of a 5-on-3 power play for hits on Donato and goaltender Ryan Zapolski.

Shaking off a collision with Ladislav Nagy, Ryan Zapolski had arguably his best game of the tournament, stopping 21 of the 22 shots he faced. Zapolski and the U.S. also beat Slovakia 2-1 in the preliminary round when Donato scored twice. With his second two-goal game, Donato equaled his father, Ted, who scored four goals for the U.S. at the 1992 Games in Albertville.

Slovakia goaltender Jan Laco allowed five goals on 33 shots and Peter Ceresnak scored a power-play goal for Slovakia, which became the first team eliminated from the men’s side.

After a listless first period with no goals and few scoring chances, the U.S. wasted little time getting on the board early in the second. Terry, as he has done all Olympics, used his speed to get to the net, and Donato picked up the loose puck and beat Laco 1:36 into the period.

The Americans got not one but two scares 26 seconds later when Nagy ran over Zapolski and Slovakia defenseman Michal Cajovsky put a shoulder into Donato’s head in the neutral zone. Trainers attended to Donato and Zapolski as backup goaltender Brandon Maxwell stretched and prepared to go in.

Donato got stitched up on the bench and Zapolski took a few minutes before deciding not to leave the net. The ’90s hit “Tubthumping” by Chumbawamba blared over the speakers when both players got to their feet and provided a fitting soundtrack for the next few minutes.

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With Cajovsky given a match penalty — a five-minute major and an ejection — and Nagy in the penalty box for goaltender interference, the U.S. scored 18 seconds into its 5-on-3 power play with Donato screening Laco for Wisniewski’s first goal to make it 2-0 at the 2:20 mark. Terry took advantage of all the time in the world behind the net and found an open Arcobello for a one-timer to put the U.S. up 3-0 at 13:30.

After Jordan Greenway was penalized for slashing, Slovakia scored on the power play 16:54 into the second to cut it to 3-1, but the lightning-fast line of Roe, Brian O’Neill and Broc Little combined for a tic-tac-toe goal to make it 4-1 at 9:52 of the third. O’Neill flashed his speed down the right wing, took a hit while making the pass to Little who found Roe for a tap-in.

Donato scored his second of the game, this time on the power play, 16:46 into the third.

NOTES: St. Cloud State defenseman Will Borgen was a healthy scratch again for the United States. … Veteran forward Jim Slater returned to the lineup, replacing Chad Kolarik. … Former NHL player and coach Craig Ramsay coaches Slovakia.



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Committee hearing for Colorado’s homeless Right to Rest Act delayed

10 hours 31 min ago

The committee hearing for the Colorado Right to Rest Act, a bill that proposes to decriminalize various behaviors associated with homelessness, has been delayed, Rep. Jonathan Singer of Longmont said Monday.

It was to be heard on Wednesday, but now likely won’t be heard for about two weeks, according to Singer, who chairs the Local Government Committee in the state House. No new hearing date has been set.

The bill’s sponsors, Rep. Jovan Melton of Aurora and Rep. Joe Salazar of Thornton, both Democrats, “asked for time to discuss amendments with the stakeholders,” said Singer, also a Democrat, “and as chair I’m inclined to give them the benefit of time.”

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According to its summary, the Right to Rest Act — which is known to some as a “homeless bill of rights” — seeks to establish certain rights for homeless people in Colorado, including “the right to use and move freely in public spaces, to rest in public spaces, to eat or accept food in any public space where food is not prohibited, and to have a reasonable expectation of privacy of one’s property.”

Read the full story at dailycamera.com.

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Turmoil shakes up agency in charge of vast U.S. lands

10 hours 39 min ago

BILLINGS, Mont. — A year of upheaval at the U.S. Interior Department has seen dozens of senior staff members reassigned and key leadership positions left unfilled, rules considered burdensome to industry shelved, and a sweeping reorganization proposed for its 70,000 employees.

The evolving status quo at the agency responsible for more than 780,000 square miles (2 million square kilometers) of public lands, mostly in the American West, has led to praise from energy and mining companies and Republicans, who welcomed the departure from perceived heavy-handed regulation under President Barack Obama.

But the changes have drawn increasingly sharp criticism from conservationists, Democrats and some agency employees. Under President Donald Trump, the critics say, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has curbed outside input into how the land is used and elevated corporate interests above the duty to safeguard treasured sites.

The differing views illustrate longstanding tensions over the role of America’s public lands — an amalgam of pristine wilderness, recreational playgrounds and abundant energy reserves.

A year into his tenure, Zinke, a former U.S. Navy SEAL and Montana congressman, has emerged as the point person for the administration’s goal of American “energy dominance.” He’s targeted regulations perceived to hamper development of oil, natural gas and coal beneath public lands primarily in the West and Alaska.

He’s also made plans to realign the agency’s bureaucracy, trimming the equivalent of 4,600 jobs — about 7 percent of its workforce — and proposed a massive overhaul that would move decision-making out of Washington, D.C., relocating headquarters staff to Western states at a cost of $17.5 million.

The intent is to delegate more power to personnel in the field who oversee activities ranging from mining to livestock grazing to protecting endangered plants and animals.

Staffing reductions would be achieved through natural attrition and reclassifying some positions to lower pay grades as employees are moved outside the D.C. area, Zinke spokeswoman Heather Swift said Monday.

Zinke’s actions have stirred dissent within and outside the agency — from his claim that one-third of Interior employees were disloyal to Trump to a proposal to allow more drilling off America’s coasts while carving out an exception for Florida at the request of Republican Gov. Rick Scott.

Along with Zinke’s full-throated promotion of the Trump administration’s new agenda came the transfer of at least 35 senior Interior employees. Among them was Matthew Allen, who was demoted from assistant director of communications at the agency’s Bureau of Land Management.

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He’s now in a new position, performing “nonspecific duties” in an Interior branch that oversees offshore drilling. Allen sued in December, challenging his reassignment as retaliation for his support of government transparency.

“There appears to be a collective effort to suppress information being shared with the public, the press and the Congress,” he said.

At the agency’s highest levels, 11 leadership positions are vacant a year after Trump took office, including the directors of the Fish and Wildlife Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service.

Panels such as the National Park System Advisory Board have languished, according to a letter submitted by board members who resigned last month. Board Chairman and former Alaska Gov. Tony Knowles, a Democrat, complained that requests to engage with Zinke’s team were ignored and members were concerned stewardship and protection of the parks was being pushed aside.

When the Park Service in October proposed increasing entrance fees at 17 of the most highly visited parks — from Grand Canyon to Yellowstone and Zion — the board wasn’t consulted, said Carolyn Finney, a University of Kentucky geography professor who was among those who resigned.

“How do we make parks more accessible? It’s cost,” Finney said. She said the fee increase would hinder the ability of a “more diverse and wider group of the public to visit the parks.”

The board’s charter expired in December after it collected comments from more than 100 experts on how parks should deal with climate change, increase visitor diversity and protect wildlife.

Zinke’s associate deputy secretary, Todd Willens, called the resignations a “political stunt” because another meeting was planned and because the agency was working to renew the board’s charter.

Similar action has been promised for idled advisory boards at the Bureau of Land Management. Under Trump, the charters for 22 state-level resource advisory councils — composed of local officials, representatives of business and environmental groups and others — expired in January.

Some expired months ago and at least 14 remained so as of Friday. Interior representatives did not respond to numerous requests for information on the status of the other councils.

The councils make recommendations on activities on public lands, such as whether off-road vehicles should be allowed in wildlife habitat or whether logging could help prevent wildfires.

Zinke suspended the panels for five months in May as part of a review of more than 200 boards and advisory committees. Some had not met in years. Congressional Democrats objected, saying the move would stifle non-governmental views on how U.S.-owned land is used.

Swift said it was “common practice” to periodically renew and refine the panels’ charters.

Oil and gas groups in particular have embraced the concept of change for an agency once seen as an obstacle to drilling. The withdrawal or cancellation of Obama-era rules on fracking and methane emissions from oil and gas exploration were positive first steps, they say.

Next comes getting Interior staff on board, said Kathleen Sgamma with the Western Energy Alliance, which promotes giving oil and gas companies’ access to federal lands.

U.S. Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, the House Natural Resources Committee’s ranking Democrat, said Zinke’s actions have made it easier to pollute federal lands and waters while giving special interest groups more influence.

“He’s in over his head,” Grijalva said.

 

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Suspect in triple homicide in Kentucky is arrested in Colorado

February 19, 2018 - 9:59pm

A suspect in a triple homicide in Kentucky was arrested Monday in Colorado.

The suspect, who was not named, was taken into custody on the Eastern Plains in the town of Sedgwick, according to the Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office.

The sheriff’s office was notified at about 4:20 p.m. that the suspect was in the area. Deputies looked for a stolen vehicle, believed to be “occupied” by the suspect and spotted the vehicle. After a short chase the suspect was taken into custody without further incident.

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An investigation is ongoing and Colorado authorities are assisting Kentucky state police.

A Kentucky television station, 13WBKO, reported that the suspect arrested in Colorado is wanted in connection to the deaths of two males and a female in Allen County.

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City of Aspen stepping up its security at public buildings

February 19, 2018 - 9:54pm
Anna Stonehouse, The Aspen TimesGabriella Rand, who works for the Community Development Department at Aspen City Hall enters through the back door of the building on Thursday.

During a time when mass shootings and attacks in public buildings are on the top of officials’ minds, the city of Aspen is making moves to better secure its facilities.

As staff continue to assess its nearly two dozen buildings, they’ve realized there are deficiencies in many places.

“Anyone can walk into our buildings at any time and that’s not good,” said Jack Wheeler, the city’s capital asset director.

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He added that as he and his team began planning a new municipal office building and looking at the design of Aspen police’s public safety facility, the city’s aging infrastructure has security breaches.

Read the full story at aspentimes.com.

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Colorado oil production rises as prices rebound

February 19, 2018 - 9:46pm

DENVER — Oil production continues to increase in Colorado as energy companies respond to a recent rebound in crude prices, according to U.S. government data.

The Energy Information Administration says drillers in the Niobrara region that includes much of northern Colorado will produce 580,000 barrels daily in March. That’s a 6 percent increase over February’s expected production.

Oil prices have risen sharply since last summer’s low of $43 a barrel, to over $60 a barrel in recent weeks.

Gas production also is expected to increase in the Niobrara in March, according to the energy agency.

The Niobrara includes portions of neighboring states, but the energy patch’s sweet spot is in Colorado’s Weld County, which has almost 24,000 active oil and gas wells.

Amid the industry’s resurgence, the number of drill rigs working in the state has remained relatively flat.

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“Rigs are only one part of the picture,” Bernadette Johnson, vice president of Market Intelligence at DrillingInfo in Littleton, told Colorado Public Radio . “What matters more is how quickly those rigs can drill wells, and how big those wells are.”

Operators also are drawing down their stockpiles of “drilled but uncompleted wells.” These are wells that were previously drilled, but not finished.

Drilling applications suggest more new wells are on the way.

The Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission reported receiving 5,548 applications to drill last year, a 70 percent increase over 2016 and the most in at least six years.

Information from: Colorado Public Radio

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Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir win Olympic ice dance gold. American Shibutani siblings earn bronze.

February 19, 2018 - 9:41pm

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir were the last couple to leave the ice after their warmup early Tuesday, the Canadian ice dancers soaking in every second before their final Olympic performance.

They sure made it a memorable one.

After watching their training partners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron break the world record with a flawless free skate, Virtue and Moir took the ice one last time with a dazzling, dramatic interpretation of “Moulin Rouge.” Every movement was synchronized, every element raw and emotional, and the only question left at the end was whether it would be enough.

They wound up with a personal-best 122.40 points for a record 206.07 total, pushing them past their French rivals’ score of 205.28 and making them the most decorated figure skaters in Olympic history.

It was the second gold medal of the Pyeongchang Games for Virtue and Moir, who were instrumental in helping Canada win the team event. It was also their third gold overall after winning their home Olympics in Vancouver in 2010, and their fifth medal overall after two silvers at the Sochi Games four years ago.

They retired for two years after that disappointment, content with their place in history, only to decide a couple years ago to make one more run at Olympic glory.

They finished it off exactly how they had imagined.

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Their medal total broke a tie with Russia’s Evgeni Plushenko and Sweden’s Gillis Grafstrom for the most in Olympic figure skating, and their golden haul matched the record shared by Grafstrom, Sonja Henie of Norway and Irina Rodnina of the Soviet Union.

American siblings Maia and Alex Shibutani won the bronze medal with a near-flawless free skate that totaled 192.59 points, edging teammates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue by just under five points.

Still, the race for the gold medal came down to two teams a cut above the rest.

Vitue and Moir have been the standard bearers for the better part of a decade, the longest-tenured ice dance team in Canadian history. They carried the Maple Leaf flag into the opening ceremony, and their rock-inspired Latin short dance broke their own world record the previous day.

Papadakis and Cizeron were the new rivals on the scene, bringing a fresh, contemporary style that had won the judges over. They upset the Canadians at the Grand Prix Final in December, then set the world record with their elegant, mesmerizing performance at last month’s European championships.

The French couple, whose wardrobe malfunction in the short dance made them a trending topic worldwide, drew the penultimate starting number for Tuesday’s free dance. They put on a program that former ice dancer Meryl Davis described as “art in motion” — their lifts were effortless, choreographed elements smooth and synchronized twizzles as if they were tied together.

Their score of 123.35 points was exactly what they needed to make a case for gold.

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The unflappable Virtue and Moir answered the challenge with 4 minutes to last a lifetime, a program certain to go down in Olympic history. The throaty, gritty portion of “El Tango de Roxanne” had the crowd roaring, and the finishing lift was a fitting conclusion to an exemplary performance.

Not to mention their exemplary careers.

The Americans had assured themselves a medal when the “Shib Sibs,” who helped the U.S. win the team bronze , put on their best performance of the season. Their sharply choreographed show to “Paradise” by Coldplay made up the two-hundredths of a point they trailed Hubbell and Donohue after the short dance.

The third American team, Madison Chock and Evan Bates, were also within sight of the podium after their short dance. But a rare and stunning fall entering their combination spin was enough to damage an otherwise beautiful performance to “Imagine” that still drew an emotional applause.



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Eric Hosmer and San Diego Padres finalize $144 million, 8-year deal

February 19, 2018 - 9:32pm

SAN DIEGO — Eric Hosmer and the San Diego Padres have finalized their $144 million, eight-year contract.

The team announced the signing Monday night after Hosmer passed his physical. The first baseman, who spent his first seven major league seasons with Kansas City before becoming a free agent this offseason, can opt out of the deal after five years.

The contract is the largest in Padres history.

Hosmer gets a $5 million signing bonus payable within 30 days of the contract being approved by the commissioner’s office. His salary is $20 million each year from 2018-22 and would be $13 million annually from 2023-25 if he doesn’t terminate the deal.

A four-time Gold Glove winner and 2016 All-Star, Hosmer will be introduced during a news conference Tuesday morning at Padres camp in Peoria, Arizona.



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Ex-NFL and CU Buffs player Rae Carruth apologizes for death of mother of his son and makes bid for custody

February 19, 2018 - 8:57pm

Former Panthers wide receiver Rae Carruth is eligible for parole in October, and at some point after that, he wants to take custody of his 18-year-old son. That young man requires special care because he has mental and physical challenges, the result of being a seven-month-old fetus when Carruth arranged to have his mother shot to death in 1999.

Carruth, a former first-round pick by Carolina, was sentenced to 18 to 24 years in prison in 2001, and he has remained nearly silent about that episode, including at his trial, when he did not take the stand. Now 44, he broke that silence Monday, sending a letter to a Charlotte, North Carolina, TV station and subsequently telling it in an interview from prison that he was apologetic for the death of Cherica Adams.

Carruth directed his apology to Adams’ mother, who has taken care of his son since he was delivered by emergency Caesarean section, with Adams dying several weeks after being shot four times while in her car. For her part, Saundra Adams said Monday that while she wants Carruth to have a role in her grandson’s life, the ex-NFL player will never have custody.

“I’m apologizing for the loss of her daughter. I’m apologizing for the impairment of my son,” Carruth said of Saundra Adams to WBTV. “I feel responsible for everything that happened. And I just want her to know that truly I am sorry for everything.”

Carruth, though, said in the interview and his 15-page letter that he was making his thoughts public to rebut the “lies” he claimed Adams has made about his state of contrition and the nature of his past relationship with herself and her daughter. “If I say publicly, ‘Ms. Adams, I apologize; Ms. Adams, I take responsibility for what happened,’ that she can no longer get on television and do an interview and say Rae has never apologized to me,” Carruth told the station.

In his letter, Carruth told Adams, “For too long, you’ve used my silence against me, and for once I feel the need to speak to finally speak up for myself and hopefully put an end to this.” He also thanked the 60-year-old for the “unconditional care, compassion, love and support” she had given his son, Chancellor Lee Adams.

“I mean come on, Ms. Adams, the reality is you aren’t going to be around forever,” Carruth wrote. “At some point someone else will have to be responsible for Chancellor’s care. . . . I would like to be in a position to be seriously considered as a viable option.”

“I’ve forgiven Rae already, but to have any type of relationship with him, there does have to be some repentance,” Saundra Adams told the Charlotte Observer. “And I think this opens the door. But I can say definitively he’s not ever going to have custody of Chancellor. Chancellor will be raised either by me or, after I’m gone, by someone else who loves him and who knows him.

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“He will never be raised by a stranger — someone he doesn’t know and who tried to kill him.”

Carruth was acquitted of first-degree murder but convicted of three other felonies, including conspiracy to commit murder, while two other men also went to prison for pulling the trigger and driving a getaway car, respectively. Adams called 911 after being shot, and the recording of her account of having gone to see a movie with him before following his car home, only to have him stop unexpectedly, allowing the shooter’s car to pull up alongside her, was a major factor in his conviction.

“If I could change anything, I’d change the whole situation,” Carruth said in the interview. “His mother would still be here, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at. So that’s what I’d want to change. I want the incident to never have happened at all.”

Of his desire to eventually gain custody of his son, Carruth said, “I let him down as he came into this world, and the only way that I can make that right and the only way I can work out my relationship with my son is to be there for him.”



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With signing of J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox added much-needed power to lineup

February 19, 2018 - 8:30pm

The Boston Red Sox reached agreement on a reported five-year, $110 million contract with outfielder/designated hitter J.D. Martinez on Monday — the day of their first full-squad workout of spring training — taking the best power hitter off this slow-developing free agent market and giving the Red Sox a powerful answer to the impressive winter moves of their American League East archrivals, the New York Yankees.

Martinez, 30, hit 45 homers with a major-league-leading .690 slugging percentage in 2017, which he split between the Detroit Tigers and Arizona Diamondbacks. In just 62 games in Arizona, he hit 29 homers, drove in 65 runs and propelled the Diamondbacks into the NL Division Series.

While agent Scott Boras attempted to drum up big-money interest in Martinez elsewhere, reportedly seeking $200 million or more at the outset, it always seemed almost predestined that he would wind up with the Red Sox, who desperately needed his bat to anchor an offense that hit just 168 home runs last season, by far the fewest in the AL.

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The contract with Boston reportedly contains two opt-out clauses for Martinez, the first of which comes after just two seasons — giving him the option of retesting free agency at a point when the market may be more robust.

Despite winning back to back AL East titles in 2016 and 2017, the Red Sox fired manager John Farrell and replaced him with rookie skipper Alex Cora, then watched as the Yankees, after coming within a game of making it to the World Series, acquired slugger Giancarlo Stanton from the Miami Marlins in the blockbuster trade of the winter and re-signed veteran starter CC Sabathia.

With the Red Sox prepared to start an outfield of Andrew Benintendi, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Mookie Betts, Martinez could see the bulk of his at-bats in the DH role, which was manned primarily by Hanley Ramirez in 2017. Ramirez, meanwhile, appears destined to platoon at first base with veteran Mitch Moreland.

With Martinez and Eric Hosmer (eight years, $144 million from the San Diego Padres) coming off the board in the past few days, third baseman Mike Moustakas is the best available hitter on the market, while Jake Arrieta heads the list of still-available starting pitchers.



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PHOTOS: Colorado Rockies spring training — February 19, 2018

February 19, 2018 - 8:16pm

The Colorado Rockies during the teams workout on Monday, February 19, 2018 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Editor’s note: Ad blockers can cause photos and captions to appear out of order or show information unrelated to the photo displayed.

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WATCH: Brita Sigourney’s bronze-medal-winning run in the freeski halfpipe at the Winter Olympics

February 19, 2018 - 8:11pm

#bronze for @BritaSig!

Brita Sigourney earned the medal for @TeamUSA on her final run in women’s freeski halfpipe. #WinterOlympics https://t.co/0RLwnI9dSx pic.twitter.com/wYAEIbfGUb

— NBC Olympics (@NBCOlympics) February 20, 2018

American Brita Sigourney scored 91.60 in her third and final run in the freeski halfpipe final on Tuesday, to claim a bronze medal at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Canada’s Cassie Sharpe won the gold, while Marie Martinod was awarded the silver.

Each of the competitors have three runs. Their best score of the three will be recorded for the final standings.

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