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Knife-wielding man suspected of causing Greyhound bus crash on I-25 in Fountain

August 20, 2018 - 8:17pm
City of FountainA Greyhound bus crashed into a guardrail early Monday night, Aug. 20, 2018.

A Greyhound bus crashed into a guardrail on Interstate 25 in Fountain on Monday evening and police responding to the incident encountered a man on board armed with a knife threatening passengers.

The bus, headed north to Denver, hit the guardrail at about 7 p.m., according to a police department news release.

Officers were able to take the armed man into custody without further incident. His name was not released. Police did not say why he was threatening passengers. He is suspected of causing the bus to crash, according to the release.

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Several people on the bus suffered minor injuries in the crash. No other vehicle were involved. An investigation is ongoing.

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Ohio State trustees set Wednesday meeting on Urban Meyer’s future

August 20, 2018 - 8:06pm

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State trustees set a private meeting for Wednesday to talk about the future of coach Urban Meyer as the university seeks to quickly move past a scandal that has consumed the football program for nearly a month.

Meyer has been the subject of an investigation into the handling of domestic-abuse allegations against former assistant coach Zach Smith.

The university said factfinders briefed the board on Monday. The panel will convene in a public session on Wednesday morning before going behind closed doors to discuss the next steps. President Michael V. Drake will have the final say on whether Meyer keeps his job or faces other consequences.

“(Monday’s) briefing is to ensure that board members are adequately prepared to discuss this matter at Wednesday’s meeting,” Ohio State spokeswoman Emily Caldwell said Monday in an email.

No timetable was given for final resolution of the matter, which has overshadowed the team’s preparation for the 2018 season that begins at home Sept. 1.

The trustees hired an outside law firm for $500,000 to do the investigation, which took two weeks.

The investigation centers on what Meyer knew and did about allegations of abuse against Smith, who was fired July 23 after his wife sought a protective order. Smith hasn’t been charged or convicted of abuse, but his ex-wife Courtney Smith alleged her husband shoved her against a wall and put his hands around her neck in 2015.

Meyer has said he handled the accusations properly when he found out about them, but acknowledged he lied to reporters at first when he said he hadn’t heard of the incident. Ohio State put Meyer under investigation after Courtney Smith went public, giving a reporter text messages and pictures she traded with Meyer’s wife, Shelley Meyer, in 2015.

Drake, the Ohio State president, is rarely in the public spotlight, unlike his predecessor, Gordon Gee, who prided himself on his reputation as a fast-talking, ubiquitous, and sports-loving Ohio State fanatic.

Drake surprised Ohio State fans in 2014 when he fired the school’s marching band director after an investigation uncovered band traditions and rituals that were racy, raunchy or suggestive.

The band director, Jonathan Waters, said he had been trying to change many of the activities before he was terminated, but Drake stood his ground despite intense criticism over the firing. He and the university insisted that Waters controlled the band at the time of the probe and was answerable for all of its practices, even those that evolved out of old traditions.

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Associated Press writer Andrew Welsh-Huggins contributed to this report.

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More AP college football: http://apnews.com/tag/Collegefootball and http://twitter.com/AP_Top25

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Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy

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Colorado, U.S. West struggle with smoke as wildfires continue to burn

August 20, 2018 - 7:07pm

SEATTLE — Smoke from wildfires clogged the sky across the U.S. West, blotting out mountains and city skylines from Oregon to Colorado, delaying flights and forcing authorities to tell even healthy adults in the Seattle area to stay indoors.

As large cities dealt with unhealthy air for a second summer in a row, experts warned that it could become more common as the American West faces larger and more destructive wildfires because of heat and drought blamed on climate change. Officials also must prioritize resources during the longer firefighting season, so some blazes may be allowed to burn in unpopulated areas.

Seattle’s Space Needle was swathed in haze, and it was impossible to see nearby mountains. Portland, Oregon, residents who were up early saw a blood-red sun shrouded in smoke and huffed their way through another day of polluted air. Portland Public Schools suspended all outdoor sports practices.

Thick smoke in Denver blocked the view of some of Colorado’s famous mountains and prompted an air quality health advisory for the northeastern quarter of the state.

The smoky pollution, even in Idaho and Colorado, came from wildfires in British Columbia and the Northwest’s Cascade Mountains, clouding a season that many spend outdoors.

Portland resident Zach Simon supervised a group of children in a summer biking camp who paused at a huge water fountain by the Willamette River, where gray, smoky haze obscured a view of Mount Hood.

Simon said he won’t let the kids ride as far or take part in as many running games like tag while the air quality is bad.

“I went biking yesterday, and I really felt it in my lungs, and I was really headachy and like, lethargic,” Simon said Monday. “Today, biking, you can see the whole city in haze and you can’t see the skyline.”

One of Colin Shor’s favorite things about working in the Denver area is the view of the high peaks to the west. But that was all but gone Monday.

“Not being able to see the mountains is kind of disappointing, kind of sad,” he said.

Forest fires are common, but typical Seattle-area weather pushes it out of the way quickly. The latest round of prolonged smoke happened as hot temperatures and high pressure collided, said Andrew Wineke, a spokesman for the state Ecology Department’s air quality program.

It’s a rare occurrence that also happened last year, raising concerns for many locals that it may become normal during wildfire season. Wineke said climate change is expected to contribute to many more fires.

“The trend is clear. You see the number of forest fires increasing, and so there’s going to be wildfires,” Wineke said. “There’s going to be smoke. It’s going to be somewhere.”

The Federal Aviation Administration said airplanes bound for the Sea-Tac International Airport, Seattle’s main airport, may be delayed because of low visibility.

In Spokane, air quality slipped into the “hazardous” range. Thick haze hung over Washington’s second-largest city, forcing vehicles to turn on their headlights during the morning commute.

The air quality was so bad that everyone, regardless of physical condition or age, will likely be affected, according to the Spokane Regional Clean Air Agency.

In California, wind blew smoke from several wildfires into the San Francisco Bay Area, where haze led authorities to issue an air quality advisory through Tuesday. They suggested people avoid driving to limit additional pollutants in the air and advised those with health problems to reduce time outdoors.

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Health officials say signs of smoke-related health symptoms include coughing, scratchy throat, irritated sinuses, headaches, stinging eyes and runny nose. Those with heart disease may experience chest pain, irregular heartbeats, shortness of breath and fatigue.

Patients at Denver’s National Jewish Health, a respiratory hospital, were reporting worsening symptoms, hospital spokesman Adam Dormuth said.

In Portland, six tourists from Lincoln, Nebraska, posed for a photo in front of the Willamette River with the usual Mount Hood backdrop shrouded in haze. The group of siblings and friends rented an RV and drove in to visit a sister who recently moved to the area.

“We are disappointed that we can’t see the mountains and the whole city, because our relatives live here and tell us how pretty it is, and we’re missing it,” Bev Harris said. “We’re from tornado alley, and we don’t have wildfires. It’s a different experience.”

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Flaccus reported from Portland, Oregon. Associated Press reporters Nicholas K. Geranios in Spokane, Dan Elliott in Denver and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed to this story.

Wildfires in Colorado and the U.S.

The map shows active wildfire locations and all 2018 fire perimeters*. The map defaults to Colorado; to see all wildfires, click “U.S.” in the view area. Click the map layers icon in the top right corner of the map to change map backgrounds and to toggle active and contained fires, and perimeters. Click a marker or perimeter for details. To view the full map and a table of all 2018 wildfires, click here.

*Data comes from two sources, GeoMAC and InciWeb, and could contain inconsistencies. Map by Kevin Hamm and Daniel J. Schneider.

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Colorado buyers hold onto their Subarus tight — and their Hondas even tighter

August 20, 2018 - 6:45pm
Mandel Ngan, AFPA Subaru logo is seen at the 2016 Washington Auto Show on Jan. 27, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

Colorado consumers may have a love affair with Subaru, but when it comes to settling down for the long haul, they prefer Honda, according to an analysis from iSeeCars.com.

iSeeCars.com examined 6 million used car sales to determine what makes and models consumers kept the longest. On average, the holding period for the top-selling models purchased new was 7.4 years in the U.S. and 7.8 years in Colorado.

Nationally, the Ford Expedition and the Chevrolet Corvette were the two new vehicles held for the longest time, 9 years on average. Three Toyota models — the Sequoia, 4Runner and Avalon — were the next three when it came to longevity of ownership.

“While the average car buyer gets rid of their car 7.4 years after purchasing it new, there is a wide variety of cars that owners are more likely to keep for longer,” said iSeeCars CEO Phong Ly, in the report.

The Honda Accord doesn’t show up until the eighth spot and the Honda Odyssey the 10th, both at 8.3 years. But in Colorado, a Honda Accord is held an average of 9.6 years and the Odyssey 9 years, ranking first and fourth.

When looking at manufacturers, Honda models purchased new in Colorado are held 8.6 years on average, followed by Toyota at 8.1 years. Subaru comes in fourth at 7.7 years.

Metro Denver buyers are even more bound to Honda. Of the 10 vehicles held onto the longest, five are Honda models, led by the Accord, with an average holding period of 9.7 years. The Honda Odyssey ranks third at 9.1 years, the Honda Civic, fourth at 8.8 years, the Honda CR-V sixth at 8.2 years, and the Honda Pilot ninth at 8.1 years.

The Subaru Outback was held 7.9 years, ranking 12th. Right behind it was the Subaru Forester.

Subaru ranks as the sixth or seventh best-selling make nationally, but in Colorado it ranks third. If Colorado car buyers are so attracted to Subaru, why don’t they keep them as long?

Tim Jackson, CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, has a theory.

Because Subaru produces all-wheel drive vehicles, they are more likely to be taken off road or driven in bad weather than a two-wheel drive Honda Accord.

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“The people who are buying Subarus are putting tougher miles on them. They are probably getting more abuse than the Hondas during their lives,” Jackson said.

Also, Honda rarely changes its models — an Accord is an Accord is an Accord. But Subaru likes to roll out new models, like the Crosstek, which can create a desire in Subaru loyalists to swap out, Jackson said.

On the whole, Colorado consumers tend to hang onto their vehicles longer. The average age of the U.S. auto fleet is 12.8 years, but in Colorado it is 13.7 years, Jackson said.

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Bicyclist dies in collision with side of semi-truck in Berthoud

August 20, 2018 - 6:20pm

A 62-year-old bicyclist was killed Monday in Larimer County when his bicycle collided with the passenger-side of a semi-truck.

The fatal collision happened at about 11:50 a.m. at Berthoud Parkway and Bunyan Avenue in Berthoud, according to the sheriff’s office.

The bicycle and truck were both southbound when the fatal collision happened. The bicyclist is from Fort Collins. The 71-year-old truck driver, from Fort Morgan, was not injured.

No other vehicles were involved. Investigators do not suspect drugs, alcohol or speed as factors in the incident.

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Berthoud Parkway was closed for about five hours after the collision. An investigation is ongoing.

Anyone who witnessed the incident, who has not talked with investigators, is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 970-498-5530.

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New-look roundabout northwest of Fort Collins gets distinct Colorado look

August 20, 2018 - 6:13pm

The largest roundabout on a highway in Colorado was opened to traffic last week northwest of Fort Collins. And center of the roundabout, which is 228 feet in diameter, has a particularly Colorado look.

The roundabout is the centerpiece of a three-year project by the Colorado Department of Transportation to make the stretch of U.S. 287 from Colo. 1 to Laporte feature two 12-foot traffic lanes in each direction along with a center turn lane, according to a news release.

CDOT project manager Justin Pipe found a way to give the project a signature look without adding cost to the work, according the news release.

A bird’s-eye view of the roundabout shows the iconic Colorado “C” in red, with brown and white sections filling out the rest of the circle.

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“I started exploring different options with the contractor about what could be done without increasing costs. … One day while I was out on the project, it hit me that the Colorado ‘C’ would fit perfectly in the circle and it grew from there,” Pipe said.

CDOT’s release said the U.S. 287 project is slated to be completed by the end of the year.

 

 

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Man’s body pulled from lake in Wheat Ridge on Monday afternoon

August 20, 2018 - 5:41pm

A man’s body was pulled from a lake in Wheat Ridge on Monday afternoon.

The body was found in Tabor Lake, just south of West 44th Avenue and Interstate 70, according to police.

WRPD at Tabor Lake off 44th investigating. Adult male found in the lake. Declared dead just now. No additional info at this time. @ArvadaFire conducted water rescue @WestMetroFire dive team stood by to assist

— Wheat Ridge Police (@WheatRidgePD) August 20, 2018

A water rescue team with the Arvada Fire Protection District retrieved the body and brought it to shore. Members tried to resuscitate the man, but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A passerby called 911 at about 4:30 p.m. to report seeing a man in the water who was in distress, police said. Investigators could not immediately say how the man came to be in the lake.

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The 25-acre reservoir is open to fishing, but boating and swimming is not permitted.

A police investigation into the death is ongoing.

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“Lowering of the head” penalties confound Broncos, players across the league

August 20, 2018 - 5:26pm

Broncos cornerback Isaac Yiadom charged toward Bears’ tight end Adam Shaheen just as he caught the football in Saturday’s preseason game against Chicago. At that point, countless hours of practice became second nature in making the stop.

“I was in coverage and had a 6-7, 250 (pound) tight end running at me, so I’m just going to hit him low,” Yiadom told The Denver Post after practice Monday. “I’m never going to try and hit with my head because I’m not trying to hurt myself or anybody else.”

The tape doesn’t lie. Yiadom dove low and connected his right shoulder pad with Shaheen’s left shoulder pad and the Bears’ beefy pass catcher tumbled to the grass. A textbook tackle — had Yiadom made it last year. Seconds later, a flag sailed through the air, and the biggest headache across the NFL this preseason made its presence felt in the Mile High City.

A personal foul for “lowering the head and initiating contact” resulted in a 15-yard penalty and an automatic Chicago first-down, a new rule instituted for the 2018 season.

More than 48 hours later, Yiadom still shook his head.

“I lowered my shoulder and had to try and hit him low. Then they threw the flag,” Yiadom said. “There’s nothing much I can do about it. I understand they’re trying to protect the players, but they’re going a little overboard this year with it.”

Prior to the Colts-Ravens game Monday night, 47 personal fouls for lowering the head and initiating contact had been assessed through 32 preseason games. And, Yiadom is not alone in feeling too many flags are being tossed.

49ers cornerback Richard Sherman called the rule’s enforcement “idiotic.” Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer told local reporters that, “It’s going to cost some people some jobs.” Even Broncos defensive end Derek Wolfe got on Twitter to vent:

These penalties are getting ridiculous. Tough to take someone to the ground without landing on them, whipping them down, grazing their head or hitting their legs. This is a tough game for tough people.

— Derek Wolfe (@Derek_Wolfe95) August 19, 2018

HEAD STRONG

What you need to know about the NFL’s new policy aimed at reducing head injuries.

The rule: It is a foul if a player lowers his head to initiate and make contact with his helmet against an opponent. Contact does not have to be to an opponent’s head or neck area – lowering the head and initiating contact to an opponent’s torso, hips and lower body is also a foul. Violations of the rule will be easier to see and officiate when they occur in open space — as opposed to close to the line play — but this rule applies anywhere on the field at any time.

The penalty: Loss of 15 yards, and if committed by the defense, also an automatic first down. The player is also subjected to ejection if; player lowers his helmet to establish a linear body posture prior to making contact with the helmet; has an unobstructed path to his opponent; contact clearly unavoidable and player delivering blow had other options.

The impact: Through Week 2 of preseason play, there have been 47 calls for the rule violation.

“It’s really gray right now,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “I think they’re calling it conservatively because they want to get it right and they want to change the behavior. But the problem I’m having with the call right now is it’s been bang-bang plays and it’s hard to tell if the head is hitting the body. And that’s the rule. If the head’s down and it hits the body, that’s the penalty.

“Isaac’s head was down, but it didn’t hit the body — it was placed to the side of the receiver and it was shoulder on the body. Not a foul. … But it’s hard to tell because you tackle with your shoulder and it’s led by the head. It’s hard to officiate that really cleanly so we’ll see how it shakes out.”

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Joseph added that “common sense” must prevail in the regular season when the ramifications for all calls escalate.

Dating back to organized team activities, Broncos players have practiced helmets-up tackling techniques to avoid lowering-of-the-head penalties. That will continue, no matter what calls are made on game day.

“I see that’s going to be a huge problem this year just because the NFL is so violent,” Broncos cornerback Chris Harris said. “It’s so hard to slow down. Someone runs a slant down the middle of the field, it’s hard to tell a safety to slow down and not try to kill that guy. It’s going to be a huge impact.”

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Man sentenced to 30 years in prison for Thornton infant’s death

August 20, 2018 - 4:43pm

A 20-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 30 years in prison for the death of an infant.

Isaiah Marquez pleaded guilty on May 9 to child abuse causing death, according to the Adams County District Attorney’s Office.

Isaiah Marquez

On May 1, 2017, Thornton police were called to 9198 Gale Blvd. where they found a 3-month-old boy, Leo Garcia, unresponsive.

Marquez was caring for the infant while his girlfriend and the baby’s mother, Samantha Garcia, left the house to get their dinner, according to a news release.

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Leo suffered severe head trauma including a skull fracture and brain hemorrhages. He was pronounced dead at North Suburban Medical Center.

During the investigation into Leo’s death, Marquez gave various versions to police about what had caused the  infant’s fatal injuries, prosecutors said.

 

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Motorcyclist hits deer, then is hit by sedan in fatal Morgan County collision

August 20, 2018 - 4:30pm

A motorcyclist was killed early Monday morning in Morgan County when he hit a deer and was then hit by a sedan.

The driver of the sedan fled the scene, on I-76 near Fort Morgan, but later turned himself in, said Trooper Josh Lewis, a Colorado State Patrol spokesman.

The fatal collision happened at about 1:50 a.m., Lewis said. A Medina Alert looking for the driver of the sedan was issued at about 7:15 a.m. The driver contacted authorities in Fort Morgan on Monday afternoon and the alert was canceled.

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State patrol investigators will interview the driver Monday afternoon. The name of the 62-year-old motorcyclist was not released. An investigation is ongoing.

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New spaceport license for Adams County means new name for Front Range Airport

August 20, 2018 - 4:04pm

Hand in hand with Front Range Airport’s new role as home to Colorado’s first and only spaceport, the nearly 35-year-old general aviation facility got a new name Monday: Colorado Air and Space Port.

The new moniker was unveiled at a formal ceremony to celebrate the Federal Aviation Administration’s decision last week to award a long-awaited site operator license to what had been known since 2011 as Spaceport Colorado. A collection of Adams County officials, along with U.S. Reps. Ed Perlmutter, D-Arvada, and Mike Coffman, R-Aurora, were on hand to make remarks.

“This is a big first step, and there are many more to come,” Perlmutter said.

With the operator license in hand, Colorado Air and Space Port is poised to be the launching and landing zone for a series of next-generation space planes that will take off and land like regular jets but will use rocket power once in flight to zip scientists and travelers hundreds of thousands of miles into suborbital space.

The flights could be used by companies looking to deploy compact satellites, do micro-gravity experiments or ferry space-curious tourists into the heavens to experience weightlessness and a one-of-a-kind view 350,000 feet above earth’s surface.

“I believe the exploration of space and the colonization of other planets is inevitable,” Adams County Commissioner Erik Hansen said at the county’s headquarters building Monday, where more than 100 people were in attendance. “This is not the end — this ceremony is about the beginning.”

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That’s because the first launch from the spaceport’s dual 8,000-foot runways may be as far as 10 years away, as aerospace companies like Airbus, Virgin Atlantic, Reaction Engines Ltd. and Rocketplane Global work on getting their space planes designed, built, tested and certified for celestial travel.

Several speakers at Monday’s ceremony noted that the spaceport, located 8 miles southeast of Denver International Airport near Watkins, will help contribute to the state’s burgeoning aerospace sector by attracting companies and top-notch talent to the area. Ron Sega, a systems engineering professor at Colorado State University and former Space Shuttle astronaut, said the state’s existing aerospace muscle gives it a leg up as Colorado Air and Space Port becomes the nation’s 11th licensed facility of its kind.

“This is a place with a very robust aerospace infrastructure as well as intellectual capital,” he said.

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Superstar Sam Smith cuddled a stranger’s Denver dog and posted it to Instagram

August 20, 2018 - 4:02pm

You’re probably a little more likely to let a complete stranger hold your dog if that stranger has multiple Grammy Awards.

Before pop superstar Sam Smith takes to the Pepsi Center stage tomorrow night, he took the time to explore the streets of Denver — and hold a random puppy.

The “Stay With Me” crooner also added “Love this place.”

There is zero chance he was “Too Good At Goodbyes” with a dog that cute. His show doesn’t start until Aug. 21 at 8 p.m., so keep an eye out for some more dog-holding if you’re in the city.

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El Paso County Jail hits record high for number of inmates

August 20, 2018 - 3:37pm

The inmate population at the El Paso County Jail reached a new high Monday at 1,839 inmates, according to the sheriff’s office.

The previous record of 1,791 inmates was set in August 2017. The new record-high number puts pressure on inmates and staff, the sheriff’s office said in a news release.

“The only jail in El Paso County is again bursting at the seams,” Sheriff Bill Elder said.

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The population of the jail has steadily increased over the past five years as the daily population increased from 1,375 inmates in 2012 to 1,839 as of today.

The jail, at 2739 E. Las Vegas Street, is at a critical point in terms of safety as increased numbers of inmates in over-crowded conditions leads to more fights and assaults, the sheriff said.

“My number one priority is the impact this situation has on our deputies in the jail. We will continue to focus on jail staffing until we find a more permanent solution,” Elder said. “Building a new jail or adding to the existing facility is just not an option. My jail command staff and I continue to explore and implement ways to manage our jail population, including moving inmates to other facilities within the state.”

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Judge freezes assets of Denver’s former Writer Square owner

August 20, 2018 - 3:20pm

A Denver judge has frozen the assets of the former owner of Denver’s Writer Square as part of the state’s growing inquiry into allegations he swindled millions of dollars from unsuspecting investors through a complex real-estate scheme.

The order against Gary Jule Dragul, 56, came last week in the state’s civil lawsuit against him and his business, GDA Real Estate Services, in which the Colorado Division of Securities alleges about 175 investors paid more than $52 million into a variety of companies Dragul ran. He allegedly used more than a dozen companies to draw investors into plans to purchase commercial real estate, but often didn’t tell them he’d already sold the land and co-mingled the profits with other accounts.

Along with the state’s lawsuit, Dragul faces nine felonies for securities fraud following a grand jury indictment in April. That case, prosecuted by Attorney General Cynthia Coffman’s office, is ongoing and Dragul is free on $300,000 bond. He is represented by Harvey Steinberg, among others. Dragul is scheduled to be arraigned formally on the charges on Sept 14.

His attorneys have said Dragul was never involved in any scheme or scam and he “strongly denies” any of the allegations against him.

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GDA was part owner of Writer Square until 2013. Prosecutors say Dragul allegedly ran his investment scam as far back as 2007, but the indictment involves only conduct since 2013. Though never licensed to deal in securities in Colorado, Dragul allegedly failed to tell his latest investors of troubles he had with investors from his 2007 venture, in which funds were used to buy and manage commercial real estate ventures and shopping centers, such as Writer Square.

The civil lawsuit alleges that between 2008 and 2015, Dragul sold investments that were primarily in the form of membership interests in the companies. One of those ventures was the Plaza at the Mall of Georgia, which Dragul purchased in 2008 through one of his companies for $25.9 million.

Dragul sold the property in 2017 at a profit, but allegedly failed to tell any of his investors, instead flowing the money into other accounts while continuing monthly distribution payments to the investors. He allegedly used business profits for personal expenses such as tabs at Las Vegas casinos, travel on private jets, liquor stores and credit cards.

Securities officials have asked Denver District Judge Martin Egelhoff to appoint a receiver in the lawsuit. A hearing on that request is scheduled for Wednesday.

Writer Square has been owned since 2016 by companies controlled by Stan Kroenke, who also owns the Colorado Avalanche, Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Rams, Colorado Rapids, Colorado Mammoth and the Arsenal soccer club of the English Premier League.

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Adams County residents can now text 911 for help

August 20, 2018 - 3:07pm

Adams County residents who can’t call 911 can now text for help from their cell phones.

The Adams County Communications Center, which covers Northglenn, Brighton and Commerce City, announced the new feature in a press release Monday. Denver residents have been able to text 911 for two years.

But just because you can text 911 doesn’t mean you should.

Texts to 911 should only be used when it’s not possible to make a phone call, according to the communications center. Some examples of when to text are when a person is hearing impaired, when a cell phone doesn’t have enough battery to make a call or when it’s not safe to talk on the phone.

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“Voice calls to 911 continue to be the most efficient way to reach emergency help,” according to the release. “During voice calls the dispatcher is able to quickly ask questions and obtain information from the caller, while two-way communications by text can take more time.”

One important thing to know about texting 911 is, unlike phone calls, text messages don’t send a location to the dispatcher. It’s critical that a text to 911 include an address or location.

Another thing to know about texting 911 is cell phones need to have a service plan that includes texting. You can make a voice call to 911 with a phone that doesn’t have a service plan, but it doesn’t work that way for texting.

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Want to hang out with Neil Patrick Harris? Denver’s Alamo Drafthouse has your ticket

August 20, 2018 - 3:03pm

Neil Patrick Harris will visit the Alamo Drafthouse Sloan’s Lake location on Thursday, Sept. 27 for a book talk, movie screening and “meet-and-greet opportunity,” the Drafthouse announced today.

The “How I Met Your Mother” co-star and Tony-award winning stage actor, known as much for his rabid online fan base as his activism and agreeable media presence, will read from new book “The Magic Misfits: The Second Story” before screening a yet-to-be determined film.

Tickets for the event, which is presented by the Tattered Cover and runs from 7 to 10 p.m. at 4255 W. Colfax Ave., are on sale now for $10 each via drafthouse.com. (Limited tickets are available as of this writing.)

“There will be a raffle for 5 people (and their +1’s) to meet Neil Patrick Harris,” according to a Facebook event posted today by the Drafthouse. “Stay tuned for additional event details! End time may vary.”

Harris’ new book, which will be published a couple of days before his Denver appearance, is the second in his “Magic Misfits” series — a middle-grade narrative that follows the character Leila and her friends as they use cunning and magic tricks (Harris is a skilled, real-life magic devotee) to solve mysteries.

His “HIMYM” co-star Jason Segel is also an author of young adult books, and he came through Colorado last year.

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EPA waits to release comments on Gold King Mine cleanup plan

August 20, 2018 - 3:01pm

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says it won’t release public comments on its interim cleanup plan for southwestern Colorado mines until it has reached a final decision on the plan.

The Durango Herald reported the EPA’s position Sunday.

Last June, the EPA outlined the next steps it plans to take to protect rivers from toxic metals flowing out of the Gold King Mine and other sites while it comes up with a longer-term solution.

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EPA spokeswoman Cynthia Peterson said the agency usually doesn’t release public comments on this type of plan until a decision is reached.

The EPA inadvertently triggered a spill from the Gold King in 2015, tainting rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.

The agency designated the Gold King and 47 other sites a Superfund district in 2016.

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Frederick man told police he killed wife after catching her strangling child, court records say

August 20, 2018 - 2:35pm

GREELEY — The Frederick man charged with murder in the deaths of his pregnant wife and two preschool-aged daughters told police he caught his wife strangling one of their children, leading him to strangle her to death in “a rage.”

An arrest-warrant affidavit released by the courts Monday offered new details about the investigation of Christopher Watts, 33, and the deaths of his 34-year-old wife, Shanann, and two daughters, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste.

The court document claims that Christopher Watts told investigators he “observed Bella ‘sprawled’ out on her bed and blue and Shanann actively strangling Celeste” before he, in turn, killed Shanann.

After first claiming his family was missing, Christopher Watts later told police that following the strangling incident, he loaded the bodies of his wife and children into the back seat of his work truck and drove them to an oil field, burying Shanann Watts near two oil tanks and dumping his daughters inside the oil tanks.

Detectives discovered over a two-day investigation that Christopher Watts was “actively involved in an affair with a coworker,” a claim he denied in previous interviews, the affidavit said.

The revelation that Christopher Watts saw his wife strangling one of their children came after Christopher Watts insisted he would tell the truth if he could speak with his father, who was present at the police department.

After speaking with his father, Christopher Watts admitted to police that he told Shanann he wanted a separation early Monday morning, walked downstairs momentarily, and returned to his bedroom, where he saw the strangulation over a baby monitor located on his wife’s nightstand, the documents said.

Weld County prosecutors charged Christopher Watts on Monday with first-degree murder in the deaths of Shanann, Bella and Celeste. He is accused of putting their bodies in a shallow grave and an oil tank, according to authorities and court documents.

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The criminal charges include five counts of first-degree murder, one count of unlawful termination of pregnancy in the first degree and three counts of tampering with a deceased human body.

During a 4 p.m. news conference, Shanann’s father, Frank Rzucek, spoke to the public and media, thanking law enforcement and the community for coming out to a Friday vigil commemorating his pregnant daughter and granddaughters.

“Keep the prayers coming for our family,” Rzucek said.

Weld County District Attorney Michael Rourke was tight-lipped during the news conference, citing the ongoing investigation. Rourke said it was too early to say whether he’ll consider the death penalty in this case, to which he has assigned three prosecutors.

In Colorado, district attorneys can’t charge murder over the death of a fetus. Dynel Lane, who cut an unborn child out of Longmont woman Michelle Wilkins’ womb in 2015, was charged and convicted of unlawful termination of a pregnancy along with attempted first-degree murder and four counts of assault.

Watts’ charges will be read at his next court hearing 10 a.m. Tuesday. Watts has been held without bond in the Weld County Jail since his arrest.

Christopher Watts worked for Anadarko Petroleum Company until Wednesday, when he was fired. Authorities said the bodies were recovered on an Anadarko property.

The Weld County Coroner’s Office completed autopsies on the three bodies Friday and confirmed that they were those of the mother and the two girls.

A family friend reported on the afternoon of Aug. 13 that she hadn’t heard from Shanann Watts and was concerned over her pregnant friend’s health. Police responded at 1:40 p.m. to the Watts’ home in the 2800 block of Saratoga Trail in Frederick to check on the family, but did not find Shanann or her daughters.

As detectives came to the scene, one observed the master bedroom bed was stripped of its bedding, which was lying on the floor. Detectives checked the bedding for foul play, but didn’t find anything.

Christopher Watts went on TV pleading that if anyone took his family that they return them to him. Swaying back and forth as he stood during the interviews, he told reporters he didn’t know where they were.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

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Redskins reach deal with Adrian Peterson, former NFL MVP, to fill void at running back

August 20, 2018 - 2:25pm

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins addressed their running back woes by adding a big-name veteran on Monday: Seven-time Pro Bowler Adrian Peterson. According to a source with knowledge of the situation, the 33-year-old running back is expected to officially sign a one-year deal, pending a physical.

Peterson spent 10 seasons in Minnesota before splitting time in New Orleans and Arizona during 2017. The former 1,000-yard rusher signed a two-year deal with the Saints but was traded to the Cardinals on Oct. 10 and was released at the end of the season. But despite his accolades — Peterson, a four-time all pro selection and 2012 NFL MVP, is 12th on the all-time rushing yards list — he remained unsigned after posting only 529 rushing yards in 10 games last year.

But after working out for the Redskins on Monday, “AP” is set to be in D.C., at least for one season.

Roughly two hours before news of Peterson’s imminent signing broke, the Redskins’ second-round pick, rookie running back Derrius Guice, tweeted a photo from a Florida hospital, where he’s set to undergo knee surgery. The promising playmaker tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the first quarter of the Redskins’ preseason opener in New England. And over the past two weeks, the position group has been dealt more injury blows.

Samaje Perine (sprained ankle) and Byron Marshall (lower leg) were injured in Washington’s second preseason game against the New York Jets and rookie Martez Carter was waived with an injury designation on Saturday. That left running backs coach Randy Jordan with only three healthy players in practice this past weekend: Rob Kelley, Chris Thompson and Kapri Bibbs.

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The organization also hosted former Kansas City Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles and former New York Giants running back Orleans Darkwa for workouts but didn’t sign either player. Following Sunday’s practice, head coach Jay Gruden said he wasn’t looking for a starter, but rather he wanted more depth at the position.

“We want to bring them in to get physicals on them just in case,” Gruden said, when specifically asked of Charles and Peterson. “Like I said, we have had very (unlucky) situations with our running backs with obviously Guice and Marshall and Samaje. If something else happens, we are going to be really, really, really thin. So we just want to make sure we are covering all our bases right now, and we will address it when we feel like we have to.”

Peterson has amassed 12,276 rushing yards in his career and rushed for a career-high 2,097 during his MVP season in 2012. But the veteran has been beset by injuries since then. After rushing for 1,485 yards and 11 touchdowns for the Vikings in 2015, Peterson has gained 601 yards and two touchdowns on the ground in 13 games over the past two seasons.

Washington opens the regular season on the road against Peterson’s former team, the Cardinals, on Sept. 9.

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Broncos Briefs: Despite guaranteed salary, Menelik Watson not in plans

August 20, 2018 - 2:14pm

The emergence of other players combined with his pectoral injury led to the Broncos giving up on veteran offensive lineman Menelik Watson. The Broncos informed Watson early Monday they were placing him on injured reserve with the intention of releasing him when he becomes healthy.

Signed to a three-year, $19 million contract in 2017, Watson’s 2018 salary of $5.5 million became guaranteed when he remained on the roster in March.

According to the industry website Over The Cap, the Broncos will have “dead cap” hits of $6.83 million this year and $1.33 million in 2019 due to the move. Watson started seven games at right tackle last year before being sidelined by a foot injury. The Broncos traded for Jared Veldheer in the offseason to play right tackle, moving Watson to right guard.

On Monday coach Vance Joseph praised the play of backups Elijiah Wilkinson and Billy Turner.

“It was more about Billy and Eli and Max Garcia is having a heckuva camp and playing like a starter,” Joseph said. “It was more about those guys than (Watson) not being a fit.”

Watson split first-team right guard snaps with Connor McGovern during organized team activities, but McGovern took hold of the spot when camp started. Garcia could make the team because he can play left guard if Ron Leary is injured. Turner and Wilkerson can work at tackle and guard, which helps their chances.

Keenum’s lament. Quarterback Case Keenum said he found the reason why he was off target on multiple throws against Chicago.

“For me, mechanically, I need my feet to get better,” Keenum said. “I was a little unsettled in the pocket at times and it caused a few balls to sail when we had a few guys open. Looking back, my feet weren’t as good as they normally are in the pocket.”

Keenum also took blame for the one time he was sacked.

“That was on me,” Keenum said. “I could have had better feet in the pocket; I (should) have slid, gotten off my first read, got on down the road and (had) the ball out of my hands.”

Joseph encouraged. The improved play by the starting offense and defense, but also roster-wide gave Joseph reason to be pleased with the Broncos showing Saturday night against the Bears.

“After really watching the tape, I was really impressed with our guys,” he said. “We didn’t win the game and that’s always the most important thing, but we made a lot of progress offensively and defensively. Offensively, we got off to a better start and scored some points. Defensively, I was impressed with our guys stopping the run. It was a nice sign.”

Cravens still out. Safety Su’a Cravens remains out with a sore knee. He has not practiced since July 31.

“He had a setback about a week ago but he’s actually getting better after this weekend,” Joseph said. “His next step is to get back to the practice field before he plays in a game.

“He’s a guy that joined us in the spring and the position he plays is the ‘dime backer,’ spot, which is a critical spot for us so absolutely he has to play eventually so we can see what we’ve got in him.”

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Will Parks has taken advantage of Cravens’ absence to play the third safety in the Broncos’ dime (six defensive backs) package.

Injury report. Besides Cravens, tight end Troy Fumagalli (groin), center Sam Jones (back), guard J.J. Dielman (knee) and cornerbacks Marcus Rios (leg) and Michael Hunter (migraines) did not practice. Parks (knee contusion) did not participate in team drills but did half-field sprints. Cornerback Chris Harris (oblique) and receiver Demaryius Thomas (wrist) practiced after missing the Chicago game….Joseph on punt returner/receiver Isaiah McKenzie, who fumbled after a reception late against the Bears.  “I want him to remain confident. He’s done some really good stuff. I don’t want him to go in the tank because of one play. He’s got to continue to push and compete and right now, he’s in a good spot. I wouldn’t want him to take a step back.” … On the Broncos’ unofficial depth chart, Chad Kelly remained the No. 2 quarterback.

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