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Updated: 1 hour 22 min ago

Analysis: Andrew Luck is officially back, and the Colts look like a playoff team

2 hours 8 min ago

It has happened quietly, so surreptitiously that many NFL onlookers perhaps have not noticed yet. But it is unmistakable now: Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts matter again.

Their return to relevance officially became serious Sunday when the Colts beat the Dallas Cowboys, 23-0, in Indianapolis to boost their own playoff chances and keep the Cowboys, at least temporarily, from clinching the NFC East title.

The Colts improved their record to 8-6 with their seventh victory in eight games since a 1-5 beginning to the season. They are in the thick of the AFC wild-card chase and they have a good chance to finish 10-6, with a home game against the New York Giants and a road game at Tennessee left on the schedule.

Luck seems like the obvious choice as the NFL’s comeback player of the year. Frank Reich probably won’t be named the coach of the year, but he really should be in the conversation.

Don’t forget where the Colts were after last season. Luck had missed the entire 2017 campaign as his return from shoulder surgery went awry. The Colts had fired Chuck Pagano as their coach and had a deal lined up with Josh McDaniels, the offensive coordinator of the New England Patriots, to be Pagano’s replacement, only to have McDaniels back out of that unofficial agreement following the Super Bowl to remain with the Patriots.

But general manager Chris Ballard calmly regrouped in his coaching search and landed the offensive coordinator who won the Super Bowl, the Philadelphia Eagles’ Reich, rather than the offensive coordinator who lost the Super Bowl. A convincing argument can be made at this point that the Colts are fortunate to have lost McDaniels. Take a look at what has happened this season with the Eagles and their offense. Reich has been missed in Philadelphia. That is further evidence that he is a very good coach.

He kept things together this season in Indianapolis following the 1-5 start, which included a loss to the Houston Texans in which Reich left his offense on the field for a fourth-and-four gamble from his own 43-yard line in overtime. That gambit backfired and set up the Texans’ winning field goal. In retrospect, having a tie instead of a loss in that game would come in handy for the Colts right now in the jockeying for the AFC playoffs. But in the bigger picture, Reich perhaps established the aggressive mindset that he wanted.

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Luck is back to resembling the franchise quarterback that he was drafted to be. The seamless transition from Peyton Manning to Luck was to have resulted in a Super Bowl triumph by now, the way the Colts once viewed things. But those notions were shelved by Luck’s shoulder issues, which produced a period of uncertainty volatile enough to wonder if Luck never would return to this level. After Sunday’s win, it’s clear that he has.

The issue with Luck and the Colts earlier in his career generally was the quality of the team that the organization put around him. His offensive lines were weak. The team’s defenses weren’t good enough.

These days, things are looking better. Suddenly, the Colts have the makings of a very good offensive line. That could be the best sign of all for Luck’s career going forward. He didn’t have a huge game Sunday. But running back Marlon Mack ran for 139 yards and two touchdowns, and the Indianapolis defense took it from there by bottling up the Dallas offense.

The first half was particularly frustrating for the Cowboys, who moved the ball well but couldn’t score. They had a field goal blocked. They had a goal line sequence in which fullback Jamize Olawale had what should have been an easy touchdown pass slip through his grasp. With Olawale wide open, quarterback Dak Prescott lobbed the pass instead of zipping it to his fullback. The throw came up a bit short and Olawale couldn’t make the catch. Running back Ezekiel Elliott then was stopped and lost a fumble on a fourth-and-one run. The Colts never looked back.

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Lindsey Vonn plans to return to racing next month, U.S. coach says

2 hours 14 min ago

SELVA DI VAL GARDENA, Italy — Lindsey Vonn is hoping to return from injury next month and resume her pursuit of the all-time World Cup wins record, according to the U.S. Ski Team’s head coach.

“That’s what we’re hopeful for. That’s the plan,” Paul Kristofic told The Associated Press on Sunday.

Vonn hyperextended and sprained a ligament in her knee during a training crash on Nov. 19. She also suffered a bone bruise in the crash, in which she fell on a turn, did the splits and went into the protective fence.

January would be an opportune time for Vonn to return, since there are three consecutive weekends of speed races, downhill and super-G — which are Vonn’s specialties.

The series opens Jan. 12-13 in St. Anton, Austria, followed by stops in Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany. A win or two in that stretch would move Vonn closer to the mark of 86 victories set by Swedish great Ingemar Stenmark.

Vonn has 82 wins.

However, Vonn has not returned to on-snow training yet.

“She’s just doing rehab and strength and conditioning,” Kristofic said, adding that there is no precise date set for her return to ski training. “It really depends on how things go when she’s not on snow. It’s sort of day by day.”

The 34-year-old Vonn was planning to retire at the end of this season but the injury prompted her to announce recently that she plans to come back for one more series of speed races in Lake Louise, Alberta, next season.

Kristofic said Vonn is also expected to compete in one more final major event — the world championships in Are, Sweden, in February.

“It’s in the plans to do it,” he said.

Meanwhile, Olympic downhill champion Sofia Goggia is also hoping to return from injury in January.

Goggia broke a bone in her right ankle during a fall in giant slalom training in Hintertux, Austria, in October.

“She has a doctor’s appointment on or about Dec. 21 and hopefully she’ll be cleared for on-snow training before the end of this month,” Italy coach Giovanni Feltrin said.

“The idea is for her to return in January,” Feltrin added. “The exact date I don’t know but it would be great if it’s in Cortina.”

Both Goggia and Vonn won downhills in Cortina last season.

Mikaela Shiffrin will also be missing from speed races Tuesday and Wednesday in Val Gardena. The overall World Cup leader is resting after winning her last three races and with a big set of events coming up in her specialties of slalom and giant slalom.

“I won’t be racing as my team and I needed a rest and reboot after the busy last six weeks,” Shiffrin wrote on social media Sunday.

The next downhill on Shiffrin’s schedule is in Cortina on Jan. 19, Kristofic said.

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With Breezy Johnson, Jacqueline Wiles, Alice McKennis also out injured, that leaves only Laurenne Ross and Alice Merryweather to represent the U.S. team in Val Gardena.

The Gardena races were originally scheduled for Val d’Isere, France, this weekend but were moved due to a lack of snow in the French resort.

While the U.S. has plenty of starting spots available in Gardena, Kristofic said that the team’s younger athletes “are not ready to race World Cup downhill, especially on a men’s track.”

It’s the first time that the Saslong course will host women’s World Cup races, having been a classic stop on the men’s circuit for a half-century.

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The Broncos are eliminated from the playoffs. Time to focus on draft and potential Vance Joseph replacements.

3 hours 13 min ago

“We’re playing to win, not to keep it close and not to lose. That’s the message to our entire team.”

— Broncos coach Vance Joseph last Tuesday

What changed in a span of four days? What happened to turn Joseph’s go-for-broke mindset into one of cautiousness and passiveness?

Trailing by four points and less than five minutes remaining Saturday against the Cleveland Browns, Joseph opted for a field goal instead of going for it on fourth-and-1 from the Browns’ 6-yard line.

“I trust our defense to get a stop there (after the field goal),” Joseph said.

The decision flopped when the Browns drove down the field before giving up possession with 1:49 left and the Broncos reached only midfield in a 17-16 loss.

Denver’s playoff elimination was sealed on Sunday when Tennessee won, 17-0, at the New York Giants.

The Broncos (6-8) will be postseason observers. Again.

Since winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos have three consecutive playoff-less seasons, tied for their second-longest drought in 41 years (1980-82) behind a five-season streak (2006-10).

After the 2010 season, John Elway returned to the Broncos and hired experienced head coach John Fox and, a year later, signed quarterback Peyton Manning, to kick-start an organizational revival that included five consecutive AFC West titles and two trips to the Super Bowl .

As much as Broncos fans via social media want Elway to be culpable for the failures, his status isn’t expected to change. After all, the team is run by a three-person trust that is unlikely to make such a move.

The focus now shifts entirely toward Elway. If he fires Joseph, Elway will run his fourth coaching search.

If he so chooses, Elway can point to several turning points this year as reasoning to make a change.

Showing no discipline at Baltimore (13 penalties). Showing no close-out ability against Kansas City (10-point lead squandered in the fourth quarter) and Houston (missed field goal as time expired). Showing no resolve six days later against the New York Jets (323 rushing yards allowed).  And simply no-showing in the first half against San Francisco (trailed 20-0).

But Saturday night was the topper.

“It’s like every loss; I’m not happy about it,” Joseph said. “17-16 is a tough loss.”

Joseph should have felt emboldened with his decision making. He had just won a challenge — just his second in nine attempts; not to mention it was a spot-of-the-football challenge, which is difficult to win. The Broncos had first down at the 15-yard line, which turned into a second down from the Browns’ 8 after Phillip Lindsay’s seven-yard run.

Definite four-down territory given the score (down by four), and time remaining (around five minutes), right?

Running against an eight-man Browns box, Lindsay ran up the middle for two yards. On third down, a toss to the left went for no gain when cornerback T.J. Carrie ducked under left tackle Garett Bolles to get enough of a piece of Lindsay to stop him for no gain.

The Broncos were 5 of 7 on fourth down against the 49ers in Week 14, so they had plays that could have worked against Cleveland.

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The issue: If Joseph trusted his defense, why didn’t he go for it? Had they failed to convert, hope remained because Cleveland would have started inside its own 10-yard line. Force a three-and-out and the Broncos’ field position would be manageable.

But that game and the would’ve-could’ve-should’ve part of the Broncos season are over. All thoughts should look forward. Get through the final two games and see where the Broncos are drafting and where they rank among the desirable head-coaching openings.

One more loss will clinch consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1972. Sweeping changes should be in the offing.

“I’m very fortunate to be a part of an organization that went to the playoffs and two Super Bowls,” linebacker Von Miller said. “We’ve still got a great team and it’s a great organization (that’s) just in a tough period right now.”

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Broncos briefs: Case Keenum’s interception-free streak ends versus Browns

4 hours 52 min ago

Broncos quarterback Case Keenum played 17 consecutive quarters without an interception this season.

That streak ended Saturday.

Keenum tossed a pair of picks in the Broncos’ 17-16 loss against the Browns — in the second quarter to cornerback Jabrill Peppers on a deep fade to the end zone intended for wide receiver Courtland Sutton; and in the fourth quarter to cornerback T.J. Carrie on a deep crossing route intended to wide receiver DaeSean Hamilton near midfield.

“First one, it was man coverage. Heck, when we’re in field-goal range, I’ve got to be more careful with the ball,” Keenum said. “Trying to give (Sutton) a chance and (Peppers) made a heck of a play coming from the middle of the field and intercepting that one. I need to get that ball up and down a little bit sooner. The second was just a really poor read by me. We were feeling good, wanted to take a shot, and they did a good job disguising the coverage. They rolled to a different form of cover two, and I didn’t see (Carrie). It’s not an excuse, but it’s ultimately what lost us the football game because they went down and scored right after that.”

Coach Vance Joseph stressed the need for Keenum to be more aggressive passing after five games without an interception but only five touchdowns through the air. Keenum did not complete a touchdown pass Saturday.

“I think it let me play loose,” Keenum said. “There are a few plays I want back, sure. I can’t make those mistakes, so there’s a fine line to play there. But I think you’ve got do a little it more.”

Ray, Cravens benched. Joseph said the decision to deactivate linebacker Shane Ray and safety Su’a Cravens was based on production.

“We’re playing the best players,” Joseph said. “Trying to win a game. Simple as that.”

That created an opportunity for linebacker Jeff Holland and safety Trey Marshall, two undrafted rookies who made their NFL debuts. Holland played 21 snaps and had two tackles. Marshall played 11 snaps on special teams.

The Broncos have used 11 true rookies this year (players who were in college in 2017).

Coaching to win. After Joseph’s decision to kick a field goal with 4:35 remaining, Browns interim coach Gregg Williams faced a go-for-it-or-kick call with 1:53 remaining.

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The Browns had fourth-and-1 from the Broncos’ 10. A field goal would have been a four-point advantage, but Williams opted for a Nick Chubb run. He was stuffed for a two-yard loss by defensive end Adam Gotsis.

“The big thing was, we came here to win the ball game,” Williams said. “That’s the aggressive nature of this team.”

Second disqualification. The Broncos had their second player ejection of the season when cornerback Jamar Taylor was penalized for throwing a punch at Browns receiver Breshad Perriman in the third quarter. Perriman was called for unsportsmanlike conduct but not ejected.

Running back Phillip Lindsay was ejected in the first half of the Broncos’ Week 3 loss at Baltimore.

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CU Boulder students going hungry: “This really is a problem”

5 hours 22 min ago

Sometimes, Natalie Sharp slept when she got home to avoid the hunger pangs from missing dinner.

Other times, the University of Colorado graduate student ate from CU’s emergency food boxes and frequented campus events with free food to avoid going hungry. She joined mailing lists to keep an eye out for departmental events that might end with leftovers.

Now in her third year of graduate school, Sharp has secured a position with better pay, but she estimates that in her first two years of graduate school she skipped meals at least twice a week, an estimate she describes as conservative.

“You can’t learn,” she said. “You can’t think. It messes with your mood.”

CU students are going hungry, but nobody is sure how many. CU officials do not yet have an estimate, and local service providers see and serve CU students but do not track their numbers. They are in agreement, though: Food insecurity affects CU students, as it does college students around the country. The USDA defines food insecurity as “a household-level economic and social condition of limited or uncertain access to adequate food.”

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Read more at dailycamera.com.

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Three separate fires ignite in Denver metro area over past day; two injured in Thornton

6 hours 28 min ago

Three separate fires ignited in Denver area residences Saturday evening and Sunday morning, including a Thornton fire that injured two.

An apartment building in the 700 block of West 91st Avenue in Thornton was the first building to ignite when a fire started in a bush just after 4 p.m., according to the Thornton Fire Department. The fire then spread to the building and caused two people to be transported to the hospital with minor injuries before it was extinguished.

Two of the units at the complex, The Overlook, were deemed uninhabitable. The families in those units were moved to other apartments in the same complex, according to the fire department. Crews continued to investigate the cause of the fire Sunday.

Shortly after, Littleton firefighters battled a blaze in a Highlands Ranch garage on Briargrove Way. Gas in cars inside the garage helped fuel the flames, which were extinguished about 8:26 p.m., according to the Littleton Fire Department. Nobody was injured in the fire.

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On Sunday morning, crews with South Metro Fire Rescue contained a chimney fire in a Greenwood Village home.

Firefighters responded about 8:16 a.m. to the 3700 block of East Willamette Lane and found the fire had spread to the roof of the home.

The crews kept the fire from entering inside the building and nobody was injured in the incident, according to the fire agency.

Littleton and MSouthMetroPIO Firefighters are battling a fully engulfed residential garage fire on Briargrove Way in Highlands Ranch. No injuries reported, no other homes threatened, updates to follow. pic.twitter.com/KonP6QPqno

— Littleton Fire (@Littleton_Fire) December 16, 2018

Crews were dispatched to a structure fire at Overlook Apts, 753 W. 91st Ave. Fire started on the outside and spread to units on 1st and 2nd floor. Two parties transported with minor injuries. Mgmt working to relocate families in other units. pic.twitter.com/17MoFLrZ7D

— Thornton Fire Dept. (@ThorntonFire) December 16, 2018

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U.S. Air Force set to launch 1st next-generation GPS satellite

6 hours 43 min ago

After months of delays, the U.S. Air Force is about to launch the first of a new generation of GPS satellites, designed to be more accurate, secure and versatile.

But some of their most highly touted features will not be fully available until 2022 or later because of problems in a companion program to develop a new ground control system for the satellites, government auditors said.

The satellite is scheduled to lift off Tuesday from Cape Canaveral, Fla., aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket. It’s the first of 32 planned GPS III satellites that will replace older ones now in orbit. Lockheed Martin is building the new satellites outside Denver.

GPS is best known for its widespread civilian applications, from navigation to time-stamping bank transactions. The Air Force estimates that 4 billion people worldwide use the system.

But it was developed by the U.S. military, which still designs, launches and operates the system. The Air Force controls a constellation of 31 GPS satellites from a high-security complex at Schriever Air Force Base outside Colorado Springs.

Compared with their predecessors, GPS III satellites will have a stronger military signal that’s harder to jam — an improvement that became more urgent after Norway accused Russia of disrupting GPS signals during a NATO military exercise this fall.

GPS III also will provide a new civilian signal compatible with other countries’ navigation satellites, such as the European Union’s Galileo system. That means civilian receivers capable of receiving the new signal will have more satellites to lock in on, improving accuracy.

“If your phone is looking for satellites, the more it can see, the more it can know where it is,” said Chip Eschenfelder, a Lockheed Martin spokesman.

The new satellites are expected to provide location information that’s three times more accurate than the current satellites.

Current civilian GPS receivers are accurate to within 10 to 33 feet, depending on conditions, said Glen Gibbons, the founder and former editor of Inside GNSS, a website and magazine that tracks global navigation satellite systems.

With the new satellites, civilian receivers could be accurate to within 3 to 10 feet under good conditions, and military receivers could be a little closer, he said.

Only some aspects of the stronger, jamming-resistant military signal will be available until a new and complex ground control system is available, and that is not expected until 2022 or 2023, said Cristina Chaplain, who tracks GPS and other programs for the Government Accountability Office.

Chaplain said the new civilian frequency won’t be available at all until the new control system is ready.

The price of the first 10 satellites is estimated at $577 million each, up about 6 percent from the original 2008 estimate when adjusted for inflation, Chaplain said.

The Air Force said in September it expects the remaining 22 satellites to cost $7.2 billion, but the GAO estimated the cost at $12 billion.

The first GPS III satellite was declared ready nearly 2½ years behind schedule. The problems included delays in the delivery of key components, retesting of other components and a decision by the Air Force to use a Falcon 9 rocket for the first time for a GPS launch, Chaplain said. That required extra time to certify the Falcon 9 for a GPS mission.

The new ground control system, called OCX, is in worse shape. OCX, which is being developed by Raytheon, is at least four years behind schedule and is expected to cost $2.5 billion more than the original $3.7 billion, Chaplain said.

The Defense Department has struggled with making sure OCX meets cybersecurity standards, she said. A Pentagon review said both the government and Raytheon performed poorly on the program.

Raytheon has overcome the cybersecurity problems, and the program has been on budget and on schedule for more than a year, said Bill Sullivan, a Raytheon vice president in the OCX system.

Sullivan said the company is on track to deliver the system to the Air Force in June 2021, ahead of GAO’s estimates.

The Air Force has developed work-arounds so it can launch and use GPS III satellites until OCX is ready to go.

While the first GPS III waits for liftoff in Florida, the second is complete and ready to be transported to Cape Canaveral. It sits in a cavernous “clean room” at a Lockheed Martin complex in the Rocky Mountain foothills south of Denver.

It’s expected to launch next summer, although the exact date hasn’t been announced, said Jonathon Caldwell, vice president of Lockheed Martin’s GPS program.

Six other GPS satellites are under construction in the clean room, which is carefully protected against dust and other foreign particles.

“It’s the highest-volume production line in space,” Caldwell said.

For the first time, the Air Force is assigning nicknames to the GPS III satellites. The first one is Vespucci, after Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian navigator whose name was adopted by early mapmakers for the continents of the Western Hemisphere.

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Broncos vs. Browns: 5 key plays from Denver’s loss against Cleveland

7 hours 20 min ago

Looking back at five key plays in the Broncos’ 17-16 loss against the Browns.

1. BAKER COOKING

WHAT A DIME.

Mayfield finds Perriman on third-and-nine for the TD! pic.twitter.com/NZe7JY0Qfp

— Cleveland Browns (@Browns) December 16, 2018

Situation: The Broncos defended third-and-9 from their own 31-yard line with 11 minutes left in the first quarter. Scoreless.

The Browns wasted little time getting on the scoreboard after the Broncos went three-and-out on their first offensive possession. Quarterback Baker Mayfield received his fourth snap of the evening with wide receiver Breshad Perriman in the slot right. Perriman, in single coverage with cornerback Tramaine Brock, broke inside on a deep corner route toward the near pylon. Brock blanketed Perriman, but never turned his head around, and Mayfield threw an absolute perfect strike just over Brock’s helmet. Perriman hauled it in for a touchdown.

2. CASE ON THE RUN

QB's got wheels.#BeatTheBrowns pic.twitter.com/733abjYa00

— Denver Broncos (@Broncos) December 16, 2018

Situation: The Broncos faced third-and-goal from the Browns’ 1-yard line with 3 minutes remaining in the first quarter. Cleveland led 7-0.

Coach Vance Joseph asked quarterback Case Keenum to be more aggressive. Is this what he meant? Keenum received the snap under center with fullback Andy Janovich and running back Royce Freeman in the backfield. Keenum utilized play action intended to throw a quick pass to tight end Matt LaCosse, but the Browns sniffed it out. Keenum scrambled right, just escaped a shoe-string tackle by Browns’ defensive end Myles Garrett and Keenum dove into the end zone. Not the most brilliant display of athleticism, but a nice showing of guts at a critical juncture.

3. PEPPERS PICK

Jabrill Peppers with the INT in the end zone!

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Broncos Review: Browns’ blitzes causes end-of-game problems

7 hours 20 min ago

A final look at the Broncos’ 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns on Saturday night:

1. Starting with the finish (Part 1): With 49 seconds remaining, the Broncos had third-and-10 from the 50. They had to know Cleveland was going to send extra rushers (five-plus) and they blocked accordingly (seven-man protection). But the route combination was flawed. All three receivers ran straight ahead beyond the first-down marker. Under pressure, Case Keenum threw out of bounds before being hit. Why not have one player run a five-yard route, just in case, which would have made fourth down semi-manageable? Unknown is whether one of the receivers should have made a sight adjustment when they saw a blitz.

2. Starting with the finish (Part 2): On fourth-and-10, the Browns rushed six against a six-man protection. But safety Jabrill Peppers blitzed unblocked from the Broncos’ right side. On the left side, the Broncos had a double team, which allowed the Browns to have a numbers advantage via Peppers, whose sack came in 2.51 seconds and ended the game.

3. The Browns sent five or more rushers at Keenum on 19 of his 53 drop-backs (35.8 percent). The 19 was a season high against Keenum and the rate was the third-highest, behind Baltimore (37.2) and Arizona (40.0). Keenum was 11 of 12 for 112 yards against extra rushers. Both of Cleveland’s sacks came with six-man pressures.

4. The Broncos rushed five or more players on 16 of quarterback Baker Mayfield’s 38 drop-backs (42.1 percent), their second-highest rate of the year (45 percent at Kansas City in Week 8). The two sacks came with a four-man rush. Defensive end Adam Gotsis beat left guard Joel Bitonio in 2.82 seconds, also forcing Mayfield to fumble. And linebacker Von Miller set the career franchise record when he looped inside for the sack in 2.91 seconds.

5. We booked the Broncos with five missed tackles, one apiece by cornerback Bradley Roby, linebackers Todd Davis and Bradley Chubb and defensive lineman Zach Kerr and Domata Peko. In rush defense, the Broncos had 11 “stuffs” (gain of three or fewer yards, not including plays that resulted in a first down).

6. The Broncos’ run game is nearly broken, if not already there. Against the 28th-ranked Browns run defense, the Broncos rushed 20 times for 32 yards. The 1.6-yard average was fourth-worst in team history in a game of at least 20 rushes. The record remains a 1972 win over Oakland (24 rushes, 13 yards, 0.54 average). Against Cleveland, the Broncos had 14 rushes of two or fewer yards.

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7. Following two three-and-outs, the Broncos woke up with a 13-play, 88-yard drive to tie the score at 7. On third-and-6, Keenum threw a good back-shoulder pass to receiver Tim Patrick (15 yards). Five plays later, on third-and-10, tight end Matt LaCosse turned a one-yard catch into an 11-yard gain. And on third-and-goal, the Broncos ran a one-man route, but LaCosse was covered and Keenum scrambled for the touchdown.

8. On their opening series of the third quarter, the Broncos moved into Cleveland territory before a missed opportunity. On third-and-8 from the 24, Keenum had time (2.88 seconds, four-man rush vs. six-man protection), but inexplicably scrambled right. His on-the-move throw was low and Patrick could not corral it on his shallow crossing route. Brandon McManus kicked a 42-yard field goal for a 13-10 lead.

9. The lead-up to Vance Joseph’s decision to kick a field goal from the Browns’ 6-yard line to cut the lead to one point. Phillip Lindsay gained seven yards on first down to the Browns’ 8 thanks to blocks by Patrick and LaCosse and a bad pursuit angle by cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun. But Lindsay gained two yards (missed block by right tackle Jared Veldheer) and no yards on the next play.

10. Joseph wanted Keenum to take more shots downfield, and he did, but with little success. On attempts that traveled at least 16 yards in the air, Keenum was 0 of 4 with two interceptions. (His first attempt had 25 “air” yards and receiver Courtland Sutton drew a pass interference penalty). The other results were 29 yards/interception, 28 yards/interception, 24 yards/incomplete and 32 yards/incomplete.

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Boulder nurse spent time in migrant camps in Tijuana, Mexico

7 hours 42 min ago

Beverly Lyne rode in a 44-vehicle strong caravan to Tijuana, Mexico on Dec. 8 to help deliver clothing and other supplies to thousands of mostly Honduran migrants taking refuge in the border city.

“They were very well organized,” Lyne said of the immigration advocacy group Border Angels, which has been taking much needed items into Mexico. The group also leaves water along migrant-crossing routes along the border and serves the immigrant community in San Diego, Calif.

“We split up and I think seven or eight cars went to Benito Juarez (Sport Complex),” Lyne said. “The rest of us went to El Barretal.”

The Mexican government last month moved most of the migrants who arrived in November and had been staying at the sports complex to El Barretal, a former nightclub further away from the border. Some of the migrants are living in the street outside of the sports complex.

“The situation is just horrific,” Lyne said of El Barretal. “It’s like, how do we as human beings do this to one another? But at least they have an area that has a roof on it where they are having the moms with children under 2. … Those little tiny people don’t have to necessarily be out in the general population.”

Read more via Daily Camera

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Boulder County eyes end of cash bonds

7 hours 45 min ago

Statewide and county-wide data show that alleged offenders released on personal recognizance bonds — which don’t require cash up front — were less likely to commit another crime or miss their court appearances than those released on a cash bond.

It brings to question why monetary bonds are, in most cases, mandatory, while some counties in the state don’t have pretrial supervision services, which data shows may reduce risk regardless of a person’s background. In recent years, more states are taking stock of their bond systems and enacting reforms. Some, like New Jersey, have eliminated monetary bonds altogether.

Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty also believes in eliminating monetary bonds, but says it will take a statewide vote on a constitutional amendment to make that a reality. Meanwhile, Dougherty and other stakeholders in Boulder County are evaluating who is being held pretrial and creating programs meant to divert offenders from the criminal justice system.

“The details matter”

Dougherty expects that a statewide commission addressing bond reform will be ready to present a constitutional amendment to the state legislature in time to get the proposal on the 2020 ballot. A pretrial release task force started by the Colorado Commission on Criminal and Juvenile Justice has been working on the issue since June 2017.

Read more via Daily Camera

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More than 75 people complete search of property owned by fiancé of missing Woodland Park mom

8 hours 14 min ago

More than 75 people finished searching the property of the fiancé of a missing Woodland Park mother but did not find the young woman, police announced Sunday.

Searchers from various law enforcement groups on Friday and Saturday scoured Patrick Frazee’s 35-acre property outside Florissant, according to a news release from the Woodland Park Police Department. The searchers used a backhoe during the search, but authorities have not found Kelsey Berreth, who has not been seen since Thanksgiving.

“Investigators continue to conduct interviews and this case remains our number one priority,” according to the release.

An anonymous donor created a $25,000 reward Saturday for any information about Berreth’s location.

Berreth was last seen in public at a Safeway grocery store on Nov. 22, video surveillance from the store shows.

Berreth is engaged to Frazee and the two have a 1-year-old daughter, Kaylee. The couple do not live together and Kaylee remains with her father as the search for her mother continues.

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Frazee is the last known person to see Berreth when he picked up Kaylee the afternoon of Thanksgiving Day.

Berreth’s phone pinged a cellphone tower near Gooding, Idaho, on Nov. 25, investigators previously said. She also texted people at her workplace, Doss Aviation in Pueblo, that day to say she wouldn’t be at work the following week. Berreth worked as a flight instructor.

Berreth’s mother reported the 29-year-old missing on Dec. 2.

Frazee has cooperated with the investigation and provided DNA samples, his attorney has previously said.

Anyone with information is asked to call Woodland Park police at 719-687-9262 or send an email to kelsey@city-woodlandpark.org.

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White House digs in on border wall demand, Democrats are firm against it as partial government shutdown looms

8 hours 37 min ago

WASHINGTON — The White House on Sunday pushed the federal government closer to the brink of a partial shutdown later this week, digging in on its demand for $5 billion to build a border wall as congressional Democrats stood firm against it.

“We will do whatever is necessary to build the border wall to stop this ongoing crisis of immigration,” said White House senior adviser Stephen Miller.

Asked if that meant having a government shutdown, he said: “If it comes to it, absolutely.”

Trump said last week he’d be “proud” to have a shutdown to get Congress to approve a $5 billion down payment to fulfill his campaign promise to build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. But the president doesn’t have the votes from the Republican-controlled Congress to support funding for the wall at that level.

Democratic congressional leaders, Sen. Chuck Schumer and Rep. Nancy Pelosi, have proposed no more than $1.6 billion, as outlined in a bipartisan Senate bill. The money would not go for the wall but for fencing upgrades and other border security. Democrats also offered to simply keep funding at its current level, $1.3 billion.

Showing no signs of budging, Schumer said Sunday that it was up to Trump to decide whether parts of the federal government shut down at midnight Friday over his border wall, sending thousands of federal employees home without pay during the holidays.

About one-quarter of the government would be affected, including the departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Agriculture, State and Justice, as well as national parks.

“He is not going to get the wall in any form,” Schumer said.

Both parties in Congress have suggested that Trump would likely need to make the next move to resolve the impasse. The House is taking an extended weekend break, returning Wednesday night. The Senate returns Monday after a three-day absence.

Trump had neither accepted nor rejected the Democrats’ proposal as of Friday, according to the Democrats, telling them he would take a look. Trump will need Democratic votes either way, now or in the new year, for passage.

Wyoming Sen. John Barrasso, the No. 3 Republican in the Senate, said Republicans remain hopeful they can come up with a proposal that can be acceptable to Trump and pass both chambers. He suggested that could take the form of a stopgap bill that extends funding until January, or a longer-term bill that includes money for border security.

“There are a lot of things you need to do with border security,” he said. “One is a physical barrier but also the technology, the manpower, the enforcement, all of those things, and our current laws are in some ways an incentive for people to come to this country illegally, and they go through great risk and possibly great harm.”

Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, urged senators to revisit a bill she helped push earlier this year that would provide $2.5 billion for border security, including physical barriers as well as technology and border patrol agents.

Schumer declined to say whether Democrats would be willing to consider proposals other than the two options that he and Pelosi offered.

Republicans “should join us in one of these two proposals, which would get more than enough votes passed and avoid a shutdown,” Schumer said. “Then, if the president wants to debate the wall next year, he can. I don’t think he’ll get it. But he shouldn’t use innocent workers as hostage for his temper tantrum.”

Miller and Barrasso spoke on CBS’ “Face the Nation,” Schumer appeared on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” and Collins was on ABC’s “This Week.”

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Hertz, Clear partner to speed car rentals with biometric scans

8 hours 37 min ago

Biometric screening is expanding to the rental car industry.

Hertz said Tuesday it is teaming up with Clear, the maker of biometric screening kiosks found at many airports, in an effort to slash the time it takes to pick up a rental car. Clear hopes it will lead more travelers to its platform, which has 3 million members in the U.S.

It’s the latest place consumers will find biometric technology, which has migrated over the last 50 years from secure government facilities and banks to airports, stadiums and even smartphones that unlock with the touch a fingerprint. Hertz is the first rental car company to use the technology.

Improvements in cameras and other technology have made it cheaper to install scanners that can read fingerprints, faces and irises. More than 100 airports worldwide use biometric readers from Clear, Vision-Box and other companies to scan passengers. Walt Disney World verifies visitors’ identity by scanning fingerprints.

The advancements will likely keep coming. Microsoft is working with Australia’s national bank on cardless ATM machines that would let people withdraw cash using a facial scan and personal identification number. Universities in London and Copenhagen have on-campus groceries that let students pay with their finger. Some laptops can now be unlocked with a fingerprint scan.

Hertz with Clear launched their biometrics scans this month at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. It will be rolled out to 40 more U.S. Hertz locations next year, including John F. Kennedy Airport in New York, San Francisco International Airport and Los Angeles International Airport.

Hertz Gold Plus Rewards loyalty program members with access to Clear will be able to bypass the counter, pick up their car and head to the exit gate. There, Clear pods equipped with cameras and touchscreens can read their face or their fingerprints. If they match up with Hertz’s reservation data, the gate will open. Hertz will have at least one lane dedicated to Clear members at each location.

Hertz President and CEO Kathy Marinello expects Clear to shave 1.5 minutes off what’s now a two-minute checkout process.

“In the world of travel, I think time is of the essence,” she said.

The service is free for members of the Gold Plus Rewards program, which also has no fee. Travelers can sign up for Clear at a Hertz location. To upgrade to airport service, which promises to move Clear members through security lines more quickly, travelers must pay a monthly fee of $15.

Clear says it’s the first time it will be identifying members based on their face instead of their iris or their fingerprints. Clear CEO Caryn Seidman-Becker says the cameras can take measurements and identify minute differences in facial features.

Amil Jain, a professor at Michigan State University who researches biometrics, says facial screenings work by comparing an original photo to a new one. That could be tough in a rental car lane, where the lighting may differ substantially and drivers could be wearing makeup or winter scarves that change their features.

“If you don’t do the biometrics right, you’ll turn off the customer more,” he said. But biometric scanning done well could be more robust and secure than having an employee see if a driver’s face matches their license, he said.

Jain doesn’t think customers need to be particularly worried about facial scans. He points out that millions of people have shared photos of their faces on Facebook and other platforms already.

But Justin Brookman, director of consumer privacy and technology for Consumer Reports, said consumers should think twice before sharing personal identifiers.

“Once your biometric data gets leaked or compromised, you can’t really do anything about it,” he said. “The more people who potentially have it, the more potential for things to go bad.”

Seidman-Becker said Clear will not sell or share the data it collects. She noted that the company has been certified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

But Jeramie Scott, the national security counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said sharing biometric data is still risky, because there are no federal laws governing the collection, use and retention of biometric data.

“An individual might sign up for one use only to find out that down the road their data is being used in another manner,” he said.

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Marinello said Clear approached Hertz about the partnership and Hertz agreed to pay for the installation of the Clear pods. Marinello wouldn’t say how much Hertz is investing, but said the company expects to recoup that through increased customers and return visits.

Hertz has been eager to adopt new technology and partner with other companies in an effort to prove there is still a future in rental cars despite pressure from ride-hailing companies and self-driving cars. It’s a partner with Volvo in an autonomous driving incubator in Israel, for example.

Clear, too, has been trying to boost its membership through partnerships after Seidman-Becker bought it out of bankruptcy in 2010. Delta Air Lines bought a 5 percent stake in the company in 2016 and offers discounted Clear membership rates for its frequent flyers.

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Giuliani: “Over my dead body” will Mueller interview Trump

9 hours 10 min ago

WASHINGTON — With a number of probes moving closer to the Oval Office, President Donald Trump and his attorney unleased a fresh series of attacks Sunday on the investigators, questioning their integrity while categorically ruling out the possibility of a presidential interview with the special counsel.

Trump and Rudy Giuliani used Twitter and television interviews to deliver a series of broadsides against special counsel Robert Mueller and federal prosecutors in New York. Giuliani said he was “disgusted” by the tactics used by Mueller in his probe into Russian election interference, including in securing guilty pleas from the president’s former national security adviser Michael Flynn on a charge of lying to federal investigators.

Trump, Giuliani said, would not submit to an interview by Mueller’s team.

“They’re a joke,” Giuliani told “Fox News Sunday.” ”Over my dead body, but, you know, I could be dead.”

The special counsel, who is investigating possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, has continued to request an interview with the president. Last month, the White House sent written answers in response to the special counsel’s questions about possible collusion. The White House has resisted answering questions on possible obstruction of justice.

Giuliani sarcastically said that the only thing left to ask the president was about “several unpaid parking tickets that night, back in 1986, ’87 that haven’t been explained.”

If the president officially refuses an interview request, the special counsel’s team could theoretically seek to subpoena him to compel his testimony. Such a move would almost certainly trigger an immediate court fight.

The Supreme Court has never directly ruled on whether a president can be subpoenaed for testimony in a criminal investigation, though the justices have said that a president can be forced to turn over records that have been subpoenaed and can be forced to answer questions as part of a lawsuit.

The special counsel’s investigation has spun out charges and strong-armed guilty pleas from Trump underlings while keeping in suspense whether the president — “Individual-1,” in Mueller’s coded legalese — will end up accused of criminal behavior himself. This past week, his legal exposure grew as his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting he issued hush-money payments to women who alleged sexual trysts with Trump. Prosecutors and Cohen say he acted at the president’s direction, which Trump and Giuliani deny.

Trump and Giuliani have repeatedly tried to paint Cohen as untrustworthy, with the former New York City mayor calling him a “pathological liar.”

“Which is the truth?” Giuliani said of the competing stories from Trump and Cohen. “I think I know what the truth is. Unless you’re God, you’ll never know what the truth is.”

Trump and Giuliani have also accused prosecutors of intimidating the president’s associates into making false claims.

“Remember, Michael Cohen only became a ‘Rat’ after the FBI did something which was absolutely unthinkable & unheard of until the Witch Hunt was illegally started,” Trump tweeted. “They BROKE INTO AN ATTORNEY’S OFFICE!”

It was not a break-in. The FBI executed a search warrant obtained from a judge in conducting a raid in April on Cohen’s home, office and hotel room and seizing records on a variety of matters, among them a $130,000 payment made to porn actress Stormy Daniels by Cohen. The application for the warrant was approved high in the Justice Department.

Prosecutors have said Trump directed Cohen to arrange the payments to buy the silence of Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal in the run-up to the 2016 campaign. Federal prosecutors in New York say the payments amounted to illegal campaign contributions because they were made at the height of election season to keep voters from learning of Trump’s alleged infidelities.

Giuliani has argued the payments were made to protect Trump’s family, not to influence the election.

“If there’s another purpose, it’s not a campaign contribution,” Giuliani told ABC. “Suppose he tried to use campaign funds to pay Stormy Daniels. It wouldn’t be illegal. These are not campaign contributions.”

The hush money wasn’t initially reported on campaign finance documents and, in any case, far exceeded the legally acceptable amount for in-kind contributions. The federal limit on individual contributions is $2,700.

Cohen also pleaded guilty to lying to investigators about the Trump Organization’s goals to build a tower in Moscow. His representative, Lanny Davis, told CBS’ “Face the Nation” on Sunday that his written statement to Congress, which contained the lie, was published ahead of his testimony and Cohen then spoke to the White House.

“Not one person from the White House ever said, ‘Don’t lie,'” Davis said.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, the top Democrat on the House oversight committee and the likely chairman come January, said he wanted Cohen to testify before Congress about what he told prosecutors. Meanwhile, Trump’s fellow Republican, Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, acknowledged on CNN that “it was not a good week for President Trump” and urged “that the special counsel be allowed to complete his investigation unimpeded.”

Trump compared his situation to one involving President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign. The Federal Election Commission, which typically handles smaller campaign finance violations when the actions aren’t willful and with civil penalties that are typically fines, docked the Obama campaign $375,000 for regulatory civil violations. The fines stemmed from the campaign’s failure to report a batch of contributions, totaling nearly $1.9 million, on time in the final days of the campaign.

But legal analysts said the accusations against Trump could amount to a felony because they revolve around an alleged conspiracy to conceal payments from campaign contribution reports — and from voters. It’s unclear what federal prosecutors in New York will decide to do if they conclude that there is evidence that Trump himself committed a crime.

Trump has not yet laid out a detailed defense, though he could conceivably argue that the payments were made not for the purposes of advancing his campaign but rather to prevent salacious stories from emerging that would be personally humiliating to him and harm his marriage.

That argument was advanced by former Sen. John Edwards, a North Carolina Democrat, in a similar campaign finance case that went to trial in 2012. But that may be tougher for Trump than it was for Edwards given the proximity of the president’s payment to the election — timing that, on its face, suggests a link between the money and his political ambitions. Edwards was acquitted on one count of accepting illegal campaign contributions, but jurors couldn’t reach a verdict on the five remaining counts, including conspiracy and making false statements.

___

Associated Press writer Eric Tucker contributed to this report.

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How to plan your smart home — and weigh privacy risks

9 hours 37 min ago

NEW YORK — You might have heard of lights that turn off with an app or voice command. Or window shades that magically rise every morning.

Technology companies are pushing the “smart home” hard, selling appliances and gadgets that offer internet-connected conveniences you didn’t know you needed. But before you succumb to the temptation — for yourself or others — consider that these devices might also give companies and hackers a key to your homes.

Here’s how to get started on your smart home and what to worry about along the way.

Starting that smart home

A smart home can encompass features as simple as remote-controlled lamps and as sophisticated as thermostats that know when you’re home and turn up the heat automatically. Down the line, you may want to mix and match these tasks into routines, such as a wake-up ritual that automatically starts the coffee maker, lifts the window shades and plays the news.

With the right tools, you can check remotely whether you remembered to lock the doors — and lock them if you forgot. Some systems can also create temporary digital keys for guests and contractors.

Many people start thinking about a smart home when they get a voice-activated speaker such as Amazon’s Echo or Google Home, although such gadgets aren’t strictly necessary. Nor do you even need actual smart lights and appliances, as you can buy smart plugs, adapters that control existing lights or whatever you plug into them.

If you catch the smart-home bug, you can add appliances with the smarts already built in as you replace your existing ones. Major remodels also offer an opportunity to make bigger smart-home plans. You probably wouldn’t want to get new window shades now only to replace them with smart ones a year later.

The risks

There are some concerns to keep in mind. Many devices are constantly listening for commands and connect to corporate servers to carry them out. Not everyone is going to be comfortable with live microphones in their homes (though your phone may already be doing the same thing, if you had enabled assistive features such as “Hey Siri” and “OK Google”).

For the most part, recordings will leave home only when you trigger the device, such as by speaking a command phrase such as “OK Google” or pressing a button to get the device’s attention. But an Amazon device mistakenly recorded and sent a family’s private conversation to an acquaintance after the device mistakenly thought it heard the trigger word followed by a “send message” request.

Check what safeguards a device offers before buying. Smart speakers, for instance, typically have a mute button to disable the microphone completely. Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included project seeks to warn consumers about products with security or privacy problems. A general web search also might turn up complaints.

In general, it helps to stick with major brands, as their corporate reputations are at stake if they’re caught taking shortcuts. Bigger companies can also quickly fix security holes that crop up. Gadgets from startups and no-name brands may offer little or no protection; those companies may be more concerned with rushing a product to market.

Bigger companies, however, are also more likely to use your data for marketing. So consider the trade-offs.

Leaving a digital trail

Even if a product works as intended, it may be leaving a record that can resurface after hacks, lawsuits or investigations.

Manufacturers, for instance, typically store the voice commands their gadget send over the internet and use that data to help them personalize their services — and, potentially, advertisements. These voice snippets may include music or conversations in the background. Reputable brands let you review and delete your voice history; be sure to do so regularly.

Think twice about smart locks and their digital keys. In a child-custody dispute, for instance, your ex might subpoena the records to learn that you’ve been staying out late on school nights. If you rent, a landlord might suspect an unauthorized occupant if you create a guest key that’s used daily.

Choosing a system

As cable and internet services become commodities, the companies behind them are turning to smart homes for new sources of revenue. AT&T’s Digital Life and Comcast’s Xfinity Home offer cameras, door controls and other smart-home devices. The packages are good for those who prefer one-stop shopping, though you might save money and get more choices by shopping around.

For the do-it-yourself approach, consider which company’s services you’re already using heavily.

If it’s Amazon, then devices powered by its Alexa digital assistant might work best. There’s a range of Alexa products, including refrigerators and washing machines. You can command an Alexa microwave oven to “reheat one potato” instead of having to look up how many seconds. It’ll also reorder popcorn with a command — from Amazon, of course.

Likewise, if you’re a heavy Google user, choose devices that support Google’s Assistant. Apple has products under the umbrella of HomeKit, while Samsung has SmartThings. Some products will work with more than one digital assistant.
Some devices, especially cameras, come with extra fees for extended storage and other features. But in most cases, you have to pay only for the product.

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Temperatures could break into the 60s this week as unseasonably warm Denver weather continues

9 hours 37 min ago

Temperatures could reach a high of 61 degrees on Monday as a stretch of sunny and unseasonably warm weather continues in Denver.

Sunday temperatures are expected to reach 59 degrees and highs throughout the week are forecast to remain in the 50s and 60s, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. Skies will remain mostly sunny and there’s no chance of precipitation through Saturday.

Normal high temperatures for Denver in December generally hover in the low 40s, according to National Weather Service data. High temperatures this week don’t look like they’ll break any records, however.

The highest temperature ever recorded in Denver in December was 79 degrees on Dec. 5, 1939. The warmest Christmas ever recorded in the Mile High City was in 2005 when temperatures hit 69 degrees.

The mountains around Vail and Breckenridge could receive a little snow Tuesday and Wednesday.

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Sunny & mild today. #cowx pic.twitter.com/1Q7GnbYyKj

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) December 16, 2018

 

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PHOTOS: Denver Beer Festivus at the Sports Castle

14 hours 2 min ago

While it may have been created on “Seinfeld,” the Festivus was oh-so-alive and well inside Denver’s Sports Castle this weekend.

The seventh annual Denver Beer Festivus united craft beer, tasty treats and 1990s nostalgia for one big non-denominational partay. The event also included Lucha Libre, comedy, a silent disco and a holiday market. Six food vendors and more than 50 breweries and cideries kept those bellys full like a bowl full of jelly.

See the photos on The Know.

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On philanthropy: U.N. Sustainable Development Goals falling short; how to apply an SDG lens to your giving

14 hours 36 min ago

In 2015, the United Nations adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. It established 17 Sustainable Development Goals that address critical areas of economic, social and environmental development that impact billions of people.

These SDGs were ratified by 193 governments and apply to every country — including the United States.

The categories are: no poverty; zero hunger; good health and well-being; quality education; gender equality; clean water and sanitation; affordable energy; decent work and economic growth; industry, innovation and infrastructure; reduced inequalities; sustainable cities and communities; responsible consumption and production; climate action; life below water; life on land; strong institutions of peace and justice; and partnership to achieve these goals.

Bruce DeBoskey.

Alarmingly, three years into the project’s 15-year timetable, the U.N. reports little progress. Funding is trillions of dollars short. The U.S. ranks last among the G20 nations in achieving the SDGs, and 36th among all the countries in the world.

Led by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, foundations and other philanthropists are stepping up and committing billions of dollars to achievement of SDGs. There is much more to be done, however, and every philanthropist — whether giving through a family or corporate foundation, donor-advised fund or personal funds — can apply an SDG lens to their giving decisions.

Where do we start?

Although the giant foundations tend to act globally in their pursuit of the SDGs, it is equally important for the rest of the philanthropic sector to act locally, regionally or nationally.

Donors frequently ask, “Where do we start?” Begin by asking this question: “Does our mission or passion align with one or more the SDG goals and targets?” Given the breadth of these issues, the answer is usually “yes.” Identify an SDG. Then, dig deeper to determine the specific targets established within the broader goals — and how these targets mesh with your own interests.

Next, since the SDGs address problems much larger than any one funder can tackle, ask: “Who else is focusing on the same issues?” For example, there are several funding collaboratives for the SDG focusing on climate change – such as The Climate and Energy Funders Group and the Climate Works Foundation. For the SDG focused on gender equality, consider the Women’s Funding Network. For the SDG to protect life below water, see Funding the Ocean. And so on.

Once you locate appropriate funding collaboratives, learn about their initiatives and “best practices.” Attend their meetings, read their publications and ascertain how your contribution – at any level in any place –- can help advance the broader SDG goals.

Promote the SDG paradigm

Ask the beneficiaries of your philanthropy how their work fits into the SDG paradigm. Requesting that even local nonprofits seeking your support align their work with the SDGs enhances awareness of (and focus on) these important issues. This holds true for formal grant application processes as well as less-formal giving efforts.

Lastly, communicate your SDG-centric approach on your website or in your newsletters (if you have them) — and in your less-formal communications with other stakeholders in the philanthropic sector. Intentionally incorporate your role in the SDG effort in all communication efforts.

Achievement of the U.N. SDGs by 2030 will require that all three legs of the stool – government, business and philanthropy –- do their part.

Natalie Ross, Vice-President of External Relations for the Council on Foundations, defines philanthropy’s role as “essential because of what we can bring to these goals — collaboration, engagement with grassroots leaders, a willingness to take risks and leverage resources — which are critical components of global development. Funders should bring this experience and expertise to bear as they work to align their domestic grant-making within a global development framework.”

For more information, see SDG Funders and SDG Philanthropy Platform.

Nonprofit of the Month

Since March, 2012, Food for Thought has helped to address weekend hunger for Denver’s Title One students. Providing a Powersack of nonperishable items to every student in their school, FFT has grown to serving 33 schools and over 10,000 students. FFT is 100% volunteer driven with zero overhead – fueled by impassioned volunteers who insist our children should have this critical component to their growth. https:// foodforthoughtdenver.org

Bruce DeBoskey, J.D., is a philanthropic strategist working across the U.S. with The DeBoskey Group to help families, businesses, foundations, and family offices design and implement thoughtful philanthropic strategies and actionable plans. He is a frequent keynote speaker at conferences and workshops on philanthropy. Visit deboskeygroup.com.

Categories: All Denver News.

STAR offers the homeless a beacon on road to self-sufficiency

14 hours 36 min ago

Yvonne Carruthers and her boyfriend moved from Florida to Boulder in 2016 on the promise of a construction job that never materialized.

It wasn’t long before Carruthers blew through her savings and the couple found themselves living in a car. After three months of doing that, they were desperate for an alternative.

Leah Steenson moved to Denver from rural Iowa in 2006, trying to escape a drug addiction she picked up as a young teen. For a few years she did better, but by 2012 she was addicted again and spiraling down a path that would leave her homeless and with a felony drug conviction.

It took the birth of her daughter Daviella in 2017 for her to find the will to stay clean and seek outside help to get off the streets.

Moving from homelessness to permanent housing can require several steps, not just one big leap.

The Denver Rescue’s Mission’s STAR transitional program has offered Carruthers, Steenson and hundreds of other participants a way to independence.

STAR, which stands for Strategic Transition Assistance and Recovery, operates out of 107 rooms at The Crossing, a once dilapidated hotel on Smith Road. It offers a more stable alternative for housing than a shelter, one with a lot of support services.

“Anybody can leave when they find housing and become self-sufficient,” said Jessica Winslow, senior director of residential programs at the Denver Rescue Mission. That’s the goal at least.

Hyoung Chang, The Denver PostYvonne Carruthers, 36, has been in the transitional housing program at the Denver Rescue Mission’s The Crossing for a year and half. The Crossing’s STAR transitional program helps homeless individuals and families get back on their feet.

Rent runs $620 a month for a room with a bath. A cafeteria provides meals for $60 to $120 a month, depending on the size of the household. Residents must hold a steady job or receive Social Security or disability payments to cover those expenses.

To be eligible, participants must stay free of alcohol and drugs and take tests proving their sobriety. Counseling sessions on a variety of topics, including life skills, parenting and budgeting, all designed to prepare them to live on their own, are part of the program.

“It has been a big help,” said Steenson. “It has given me stability and helped me get on my feet.”

Steenson said STAR has allowed her to raise her daughter in a safe environment and stay free of drugs. She holds a steady job, has saved $5,000, and rediscovered both her faith and hope in the future.

With stable housing, Carruthers was able to land a job with U.S. Bank, has made new friends and sees a way to a better future.

“If it wasn’t for this place, I would still be living in my car,” she said.

Once residents complete the program, which was reduced from two years to one this summer, they are provided with a donated car if they need one. Participants are also helped with housing assistance and furniture vouchers.

STAR Transitional Program

Address: The Crossing at 6090 Smith Road, Denver

Year it started: 2005

Number of employees: 5 full-time, 1 part-time

Annual budget: $3,086,564

Percentage of funds that goes directly to client services: 80%

Number served last year: 455

Winslow said many participants come from out-of-state. Some moved here without realizing how expensive Denver is. More seniors struggling to keep up with rising housing costs are also showing up, she said.

About 200 people are in the program, which runs with a core staff of six and a host of volunteers to fill the gaps. Those volunteers serve three meals a day and take on a variety of other tasks.

Students from Regis help tutor the children. Boy Scouts have refurbished benches and done other work. Women in the community plant flowers in the spring. Denver Broncos players furnished a youth room and together with the team’s cheerleaders host a holiday party for residents every year.

“I would recommend the program to anyone who is willing to change,” Steenson said.

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