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Updated: 1 hour 4 min ago

Pedestrian hit, killed on West Colfax Avenue late Thursday

4 hours 13 min ago

DENVER — Police are investigating a crash that left a man dead in the West Colfax neighborhood late Thursday evening.

The crash happened at the intersection of W. Colfax Ave. and Raleigh St. sometime before 10 p.m. The Denver Police Department tweeted it involved a car and a pedestrian, but did not release any other details pertaining to the crash via social media.

DPD spokesman Kurt Barnes told Denver7 the victim was a man in his 20s who died at the scene. While the cause of the deadly crash hasn’t been released, Barnes did say the driver stayed at the scene of the crash, adding alcohol and drugs were not suspected to be a contributing factor in the crash at the moment.

The intersection will be closed while investigators comb the scene.

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Read more at thedenverchannel.com.

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Interior boss order aims to protect U.S. public land access

4 hours 35 min ago

BILLINGS, Mont. — Acting U.S. Interior Secretary David Bernhardt ordered federal land managers on Thursday to give greater priority to access for hunting, fishing and other kinds of recreation when the government considers selling or trading public land.

The secretarial order comes amid longstanding complaints that millions of acres of state and federal land in the American West can be reached only by traveling across private property or small slivers of public land.

Bernhardt’s order requires the Bureau of Land Management to come up with alternatives to access routes that could be lost during land sales or exchanges. It also helps prevent land from being selected in the first place for potential sale.

The move could help boost Bernhardt’s conservation credentials ahead of a Senate confirmation hearing March 28, in which Democrats are likely to highlight his past work as an energy industry lobbyist.

Bernhardt has been nominated to replace former Secretary Ryan Zinke, who resigned in January.

Several hunting and conservation groups voiced support for the action, including the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation and the Association of State Fish and Wildlife Agencies. But others said it appeared politically calculated to curry favor among lawmakers ahead of the hearing.

The critics pointed to drastic cuts in President Donald Trump’s proposed budget to the Land and Water Conservation Fund, which supports conservation and outdoor recreation projects nationwide.

Bernhardt said in a statement that the administration “has and will continue to prioritize access so that people can hunt, fish, camp and recreate on our public lands.”

Hunting and fishing advocates had pressed the administration to close what they considered a loophole in federal land policies that allows some sites to be sold.

The Bureau of Land Management oversees almost 400,000 square miles (1 million square kilometers) of federal land. A 1976 law requires agency officials to identify lands for potential sale or exchange, but not to look at potential effects on recreational access.

As a result, the bureau has identified for potential sale sites such as 11 parcels of land totaling 4.3 square miles (11.3 square kilometers) adjacent to the Bighorn National Forest west of Buffalo, Wyoming, said Joel Webster with the Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership.

The area sits beneath the towering peaks of the Bighorn Mountains. One of the parcels identified for potential sale has a hiking trail passing directly through it, Webster said.

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Another area identified for potential sale — an 8-square mile (20-square kilometer) tract of mostly grasslands near Miles City, Montana — is popular for deer, antelope and bird hunting and can be accessed from a nearby highway.

“It is one of the best mule deer hunting areas in the nation,” Webster said. “The BLM just has not been thinking about recreational access when they’ve been looking to sell lands. We think this order means much fewer acres with access are going to be available for sale.”

National Parks Conservation Association Vice President Kristen Brengel said the order’s timing — exactly one week before Bernhardt appears in front of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee — casts doubt over the administration’s purpose.

“They’re paying lip service to an issue a lot of people care about,” Brengel said. “When the president’s budget doesn’t fund the most prominent program that would guarantee this access, this is completely empty.”

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Ex-Starbucks executive Schultz slams Trump for Syria pullout during Colorado visit

4 hours 43 min ago

DENVER — Former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on Thursday slammed President Trump’s hastily-announced withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria as he kicked off a Colorado tour while exploring a presidential bid as an independent.

Schultz spoke at town halls in Denver and Boulder on Thursday. The 65-year-old billionaire said he’ll decide whether to formally run later this spring or early in the summer.

Most of Schultz’s speech in Denver was focused on his standard criticism of both Trump and Democrats, whom he said have veered too far to the left and are part of the two-party stranglehold on U.S. politics. But, in response to a question, he ventured into relatively new terrain of foreign policy.

Schultz called China a “fierce competitor” to the U.S. rather than an enemy but said that Russia is indeed an “enemy of the United States.” And he said that Trump’s abruptly-declared withdrawal from Syria in December created a power vacuum in the Middle East that China and Russia can now fill.

“We’re going to look back on that decision as a terrible decision for our foreign policy,” Schultz said.

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Trump’s abrupt decision led to the resignation of Secretary of Defense James Mattis. The president has since agreed to allow a smaller U.S. force to remain in Syria, which is still reeling from a long civil war.

Democrats fear that Schultz could peel off enough moderates from their candidate to re-elect Trump. Schultz dismissed that possibility Thursday, saying that if Democrats nominate a socialist candidate to challenge Trump “then the spoiler is that Democratic socialist.”

Only one of the more than a dozen Democrats competing for the party’s presidential nomination, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, identifies as a socialist. But Schultz said in an interview that Democrats espousing socialist-style messages were getting more attention and support in the primary.

Schultz will hold another town hall in Colorado Springs on Friday.

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Louisville-born Dream Chaser passes latest NASA review, priming spacecraft for 2021 mission

5 hours 7 min ago

Sierra Nevada Corporation announced Thursday that its Dream Chaser spacecraft had passed the latest in a series of NASA milestone tests, likely setting the stage for the aerospace firm to launch the first of its unmanned supply missions in early 2021.

Heralded as the successor to NASA’s space shuttle, the Louisville-born vehicle will bring supplies, science experiments and other cargo to the International Space Station without any crew on board. After several years of design and development, the project was given the official go-ahead from NASA in December.

The latest test, described in a news release as NASA’s Integrated Review Milestone 5, included demonstrations of the vehicle’s flight computers and software, mission simulator and mission control center. The company also was tested on its cargo capabilities using “high fidelity mock-ups of the vehicle and its cargo module, showing loading and unloading time and efficiency.”

In a statement, Sierra Nevada’s CRS-2 Program Director John Curry said, “This milestone is a great accomplishment for the team focused on operations development and demonstration. It shows we can operate the Dream Chaser from the ground, including getting critical science in and out of the vehicle.”

When the spacecraft does eventually take flight, the plan is to launch it atop a rocket from Florida’s Cape Canaveral and for the craft to use the facility’s runway on its return.

Read more at dailycamera.com.

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Philipp Grubauer’s 44 saves help Avalanche overcome Stars 3-1

March 21, 2019 - 8:39pm

DALLAS — Philipp Grubauer made a season-high 44 saves, including 23 in the third period, defensemen Erik Johnson and Tyson Barrie scored goals and the Colorado Avalanche beat the Dallas Stars 3-1 on Thursday night to make the Western Conference playoff race even tighter.

Grubauer has allowed only two goals while facing 104 shots and carrying Colorado on a three-game winning streak.

Carl Soderberg added an empty-net goal with 49 seconds left for the final margin, helping the Avalanche leapfrog idle Minnesota for eighth place in the conference standings. Colorado took a deep tiebreaker lead over Arizona, which lost Thursday, for the second wild card. Colorado and Arizona have 78 points each, and the Avalanche currently would advance based on a better goal differential. The Coyotes will play at Colorado on March 29.

Tyler Seguin scored the lone goal for Dallas with 5:01 to play. Goalie Ben Bishop’s personal winning streak ended at six games.

Dallas retained the first wild card by a four-point margin, but fell four points behind third-place St. Louis, a winning team on Thursday, in the Central Division.

The Stars killed the only power plays in a scoreless first period.

On the first power play five minutes in, the Avalanche had only one shot on goal. Shortly afterward, Bishop stopped two in-close attempts by Tyson Jost. Less than a minute later, Bishop foiled a breakaway by Nathan MacKinnon by saving a wrist shot and MacKinnon’s rebound attempt.

Colorado outshot the Stars 13-9 in the first.

Momentum shifted in Dallas’ direction in the second period – until the Avalanche scored at 17:20. Samuel Girard sent a pass to Johnson high in the left faceoff circle. Johnson one-timed a slap shot inside the left goalpost.

After two periods, the shots were even at 21.

Barrie scored at 5:19 of the third, sending a wrist shot from the top of the right circle in off the left post.

Seguin, frustrated by Grubauer on close-in shots, finally scored from the outside edge of the right circle.

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NOTES: Johnson’s goal, his first in 20 games, came on his 31st birthday. … Barrie’s 11th goal, his fourth in the past three games, was his 300th career point. … Colorado acquired Grubauer in a trade with Washington completed during the 2018 NHL draft at the American Airlines Center, the Stars’ home ice. … Seguin’s 28th goal ended a nine-game drought.

UP NEXT

Avalanche: Return home Saturday for the first game of a back-to-back, home-and-home series with Chicago.

Stars: Complete a five-game homestand against Pittsburgh on Saturday before taking a four-game trip to western Canada.

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Colorado all-state boys, girls basketball teams announced by CHSAA for 2018-19

March 21, 2019 - 7:38pm

The Colorado all-state boys and girls basketball teams have been announced by CHSAANow for the 2018-19 season.

Below are the first-team selections for 5A boys and girls hoops.

The full results of first team, second team and honorable mention selections for 4A through 1A can be seen at chsaanow.com.

All-state boys selections for 2018-19

All-state girls selections for 2018-19

5A all-state boys FIRST TEAM NAME SCHOOL YEAR POS. Kenny Foster Smoky Hill Senior G Quincey Jewett Rangeview Senior P Luke O’Brien Columbine Junior SG Dayne Prim Grandview Senior C/F Kobe Sanders Chaparral Junior PG/SG 5A all-state girls FIRST TEAM NAME SCHOOL YEAR POS. Francesca Belibi Regis Jesuit Senior PF/SF/C Alisha Davis Grandview Senior – Kasey Neubert Highlands Ranch Senior PF Ashley Steffeck Fossil Ridge Senior PG Jana Van Gytenbeek Cherry Creek Junior PG
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Rockies manager Bud Black likes that starting pitcher Tyler Anderson can “change speeds”

March 21, 2019 - 6:49pm

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A lot of attention has been paid to left-hander Kyle Freeland and right-hander German Marquez, the Rockies’ formidable one-two punch at the top of the rotation.

Right-hander Jon Gray, the third starter, possesses the firepower to be difference-maker, I If he can avoid the roller-coaster season and big-inning meltdowns that resulted in him being left off the postseason roster last season.

But what of left-hander Tyler Anderson, the man penciled in as the fourth man in the rotation? Does he have the talent and mind-set to be an asset in 2019?

Manager Bud Black is convinced Anderson does, even if Anderson doesn’t throw a blazing fastball or wow batters with his stuff.

“Why? Because he can change speeds,” said Black, who acknowledged that he was a similar pitcher during his 15-year major-league career. “If you’re changing speeds, even though you’re still throwing strikes, you might not need to have your best command. So disrupting the hitter’s timing is part of something that’s advantageous for him.

“He’s got to throw enough strikes, enough quality strikes, to work his way through a game. That’s part of what makes him who he is.”

Anderson’s spring numbers are not impressive:  7.71 ERA with four walks, 14 strikeouts and three home runs allowed over 14 innings. But then again, it’s just the Cactus League and Anderson says he’s strong and confident.

The three home runs allowed, however, are a red flag, because Anderson served up 30 home runs last season, tied with Milwaukee’s Chase Anderson for the most in the National League.

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Like any other pitcher, Anderson gets in trouble when he allows traffic on the bases and then gives up a big hit. For example, in Wednesday’s night’s Cactus League start against Kansas City, the left-hander pitched well into the fourth inning, but he hit Alex Gordon with no outs, then walked Chris Owings with two outs. That set the table for a 452-foot, three-run homer by Hunter Dozier.

Not only do the Rockies need Anderson to cut down on the number of longballs, they need him to put together a full season. Last year, he finished 7-9 with a 4.55 ERA over 32 starts. He started off well (6-3 with a 3.72 ERA before the all-star break) but was 1-6 with a 6.06 ERA afterward.

Gray’s day.  The Rockies were off Thursday, but Gray pitched on a back field in a minor-league intrasquad game. His final line: six innings, seven hits, two runs (one earned), eight strikeouts and one walk. Among the hits he gave up were a triple and two doubles.

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The Spot: Bennet is nearing an announcement, budget week is — almost — here, and more on transportation money

March 21, 2019 - 6:48pm

One of the biggest issues at the legislature that hasn’t been discussed as meaningfully as some advocates and legislators would like is money for transportation. However, that is starting to change — and my colleague Jon Murray dug into some possible options earlier this week. Now, Spot subscribers are getting some fresh details. Here’s Jon with more on this story:

This week has been a bit of a bit roller coaster for people who want the state to do more to patch and expand the state’s pothole-riddled roads — and maybe even beef up its public transit options, too.

Despite a budget disappointment for transportation advocates Tuesday, there’s still hope that state lawmakers in both Democrat-controlled chambers will figure out how to raise more substantial funding than the $30 million that was added to next year’s budget.

But some prospects may take another year — or more.

House Speaker KC Becker got the ball rolling Wednesday with her newly unveiled proposal to “de-Bruce” the state budget. If voters sign off in November, the plan could result in the forgoing of certain tax refunds, with the retained money — potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars — split between schools, higher education and transportation.

Meanwhile, other ideas have been echoing around the Capitol for new fees or taxes.

“I honestly believe that we need a new, dedicated source of revenue for transportation,” state Sen. Dominick Moreno, who chairs the Joint Budget Committee, said in an interview.

State Rep. Matt Gray, the Broomfield Democrat who chairs the House transportation committee, has been part of talks about a gas consumption fee that, like the gas tax, would be charged at the pump. One proposal batted around was for 5 cents per gallon, which could raise more than $115 million in the first year.

Another idea under discussion: a mileage-based charge of some kind that could start with electric vehicles.

But Gray and Moreno both say those ideas probably won’t be ready for prime time during the current session, which ends in May.

In part, some legislators are wary of voters’ recent rejection last fall of two big transportation proposals, including a sales tax. But by considering new fees, they may be courting controversy — since those are seen by some as an end run around the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.

“Generally there’s some concern about continuing to tack on these fees,” Moreno said, “and I think folks get upset when we’re not being mindful of the impact to consumers.”

So stay tuned — this discussion could take a while.

Hi there, I’m Nic Garcia a Denver Post politics reporter and welcome to The Spot, our weekly political newsletter. Keep the conversation going by joining our Facebook group today! Forward this newsletter to your colleagues and encourage them to subscribe. And please support the journalism that matters to you and become a Denver Post subscriber here. Send tips, comments and questions to ngarcia@denverpost.com.

Colorado’s Sen. Michael Bennet near presidential announcement, sources say Joe Amon, The Denver PostColorado Sen. Michael Bennet speaks to a crowd of Polk County Democrats at Doc’s Lounge Feb. 22, 2019, in Johnston, Iowa.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet is taking the final steps toward becoming the second Colorado Democrat in the 2020 race for president, with a possible announcement coming soon, sources familiar with his plan have told The Denver Post. Continue reading

Countdown

4 days until the budget is introduced in the state Senate; 43 days until the General Assembly adjourns; 319 days until the Iowa caucus.

Political Digest
  • Democratic support for death penalty repeal softening in Colorado Senate. Denver Post
  • Full-day kindergarten works, educators say. Paying for it remains Colorado’s challenge. Denver Post
  • Full-day kindergarten is mostly funded – for now – in win for Gov. Jared Polis. Denver Post
  • U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette moves to regulate Suncor Energy pollutants over north Denver. Denver Post
  • Robert Kraft and another Florida sex-sting defendant donated to Colorado political parties and candidates. Denver Post
  • Two committees have announced they are organizing campaigns to recall Polis. Pueblo Chieftain
  • Denver’s mayoral challengers propose construction moratorium, rezoning restrictions as Hancock pushes 2040 vision. Denver Post
  • Violence against women is overlooked in its role in opioid epidemic. The Conversation 
  • The notion that white men are disadvantaged in a U.S. presidential race is patently absurd. HuffPost
  • Bernie Sanders just hired his Twitter attack dog, Coloradan David Sirota. The Atlantic
  • Could the Twitter primary cost Democrats the Oval Office? National Review
  • President Donald Trump is way ahead on Facebook ad buys. Axios
Capitol Diary Here’s what to expect when you’re expecting — a budget

Next week marks an important milestone in the 72nd General Assembly: The state’s budget will be introduced into the Senate to begin debate. The Joint Budget Committee finished its work on the tome Wednesday night, and it is being prepared for the upper chamber’s deliberation.

Here’s the process:

  • The long bill, as the budget is called around the Capitol, will be introduced Monday.
  • On Tuesday, the Appropriations Committee will debate the bill.
  • On Wednesday, the Senate will hold its first debate and vote on the bill. This is where all the fun happens. Lawmakers from both parties may offer amendments. And in a normal year, there’s a lot. But this is no normal year.
  • On Thursday, the Senate will hold its final vote on the bill.

Here’s the politics:

  • The budget is being introduced at a precarious time in the Senate. Republican leadership feels like Democrats still haven’t gotten the hint about their requests to be at the table.
  • And the GOP has a tool — backed by a judge — to make life a lot more difficult for Senate Democrats: Bills that are requested to be read at length must be read at an intelligible speed. While the budget doesn’t run 2,000 pages, it would still take a long time to read it if Republicans go there.
  • For the record, Minority Leader Chris Holbert told The Post Wednesday that he does not want it to come to that. However, nothing is off the table.
  • What will be most telling is the number of amendments Republicans and Democrats bring to the budget.

Here’s what’s actually in the budget:

  • $185 million to pay for all-day kindergarten. That’s about 80 percent of what Gov. Jared Polis asked for, but it’s about what his office estimates will be the actual percentage of kids who enroll this fall.
  • $77 million to buy down the budget stabilization, or negative factor.
  • Money to hire 17 new field inspectors for oil and gas.

My colleague Anna Staver, who contributed to this dispatch and who will be following the budget for the next two weeks, also had this to say: “What the JBC didn’t include was any of the $25 million Polis wanted to help cover all-day kindergarten implementation costs like hiring teachers or buying supplies. There’s still some debate about the best way to dole out these dollars. They also didn’t allocate any money to expand preschool or provide state government employees the eight weeks of paid family leave Polis requested. To pay for kindergarten, the JBC had to make some cuts to other budget requests like capital construction and tighten their purse strings in other places, like transportation.”

Statewide paid family leave bill held up

A Senate committee has put the breaks on a bill that would establish a state-run family leave insurance program.

The bill, sponsored by state Sens. Faith Winter and Angela Williams, has been tabled while legislative analysts “run numbers” on different amendments. Perhaps the most significant change being considered is one that would allow businesses and local governments to opt out of the program if they offer similar or better benefits.

“We’ve always been clear that we’re open to amendments and we’re open to working with everyone,” Winter said. “We have to see what it does to the fund and make sure it’s solvent and it doesn’t make it unaffordable.”

Winter said she expects the committee to revisit the legislation in two weeks, after the Senate has finished its work with the state budget.

Keep your eye on state Sen. Nancy Todd, a Democrat who represents Aurora. She’ll be a key vote on the committee. Her county commissioners and chamber of commerce are opposed to the bill, which she’s very aware of.

Colorado could lose 19,200 jobs due to Trump’s trade war

As the state Capitol celebrated Agriculture Day with a spread of food from the state’s farms, a free-trade group is sounding the alarm over President Donald Trump’s trade war. Colorado will lose 19,200 jobs if tariffs on imports from China are raised to 25 percent, according to new data from the Tariffs Hurt the Heartland campaign.

The group has sent a letter to Gov. Jared Polis outlining its data, which you can read here.

Given that we’re not farmers, we turned to the local experts for insight. While the Colorado Farm Bureau said it could not independently verify the shocking stats from the campaign, Don Shawcroft, the organization’s president, did issue a statement: “Free and open trade is vital to the current and future success of agriculture here in Colorado. Colorado Farm Bureau hopes the Trump Administration can come to an agreement with China that satisfies everyone’s needs, both agriculture and business alike. Tariffs targeting agriculture put pressure on already low markets, but luckily Colorado’s farmers and ranchers have been spared the brunt of these impacts so far.”

Mile High Politics Joe Amon, The Denver PostMayor Michael Hancock (Photo by Joe Amon/The Denver Post) At student forum, Denver mayor candidates snipe about money

The subject of money divided the candidates for Denver mayor at a forum hosted on the Auraria Campus this week.

Penfield Tate joined Lisa Calderón in attacking Hancock for his funding from developers.

“Why on Earth would you take the word of this side of the room who’s largely funded by the developer industry … as opposed to listening to the people and the impacts,” Calderón said, motioning toward Mayor Michael Hancock and Jamie Giellis, another candidate.

Hancock defended the donations as one part of a broader base, and said that Tate chased the same money.

“It’s amazing that Pen keeps going back to that, but he’s calling every single one of those people and asking for donations,” Hancock said, prompting laughter from a room stacked with his staff and supporters.

Tate responded: “I have called the people who are funding you, because I’ve asked them, ‘Do you want to do the right thing and support people in the community?’” He argued that developers won’t support him because he would hold them accountable.

At this, Hancock laughed aloud. “That’s good,” he said, smiling broadly and seeming to relish the tit-for-tat. Separately, Giellis has said her funding from local developers like the Zeppelins was an initial boost and that she has since diversified her donor base. — Andrew Kenney

Colorado in Washington Confusion about construction

For weeks, there have been questions about whether Colorado’s military projects are on the chopping block to fund the president’s border wall. That question was answered this week – sort of.

Late in the day Monday, Rhode Island Sen. Jack Reed’s office published a Pentagon letter he had received. It listed current or upcoming military construction work, along with the Defense Department’s guidelines for choosing the projects that will be scrapped.

The list grabbed a lot of attention. The guidelines? Not so much.

Several Colorado projects are on the list. But, as I wrote Monday, the guidelines make clear that they won’t be cut if they’re awarded on time. At least two other news outlets in the state missed that part and jumped to the conclusion that Colorado work is at imminent risk.

Democrats cited those news reports as proof that Sen. Cory Gardner – who had received assurances from the Trump administration that Colorado projects are safe – had lied. That’s not accurate.

The projects could be scrapped in the future, but for now they appear safe. Unfortunately, bad news travels faster than the truth sometimes, especially in politics. — Justin Wingerter

The Stump Trump still underwater in Colorado, but not all is lost

Earlier this morning, we reported on a survey from the GOP polling firm Magellan. While it mostly focused on the National Popular Vote Act, it also asked respondents about President Donald Trump.

No surprise, Colorado voters have not warmed to him since the midterms. However, pollster David Flaherty pointed out in an interview that the numbers could have been much worse.

One of the numbers that stuck out to him was the percent of voters — 16 — who said they wouldn’t vote for either Trump or the Democratic candidate if the election was held today.

Of course, it’s still early. However, these numbers matter for the U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner’s re-election and other down-ticket races.

Hickenlooper heads back to New Hampshire

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper is headed back to the Granite State after his CNN televised town hall. Hickenlooper is scheduled to crisscross the state Friday through Sunday. Then he’s off to stump in Nashville, according to his campaign’s website.

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Nuggets survive “hangover effect” to beat Wizards for fifth win in a row

March 21, 2019 - 6:31pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Nuggets didn’t let a beleaguered opponent stop their momentum.

Denver survived a late run from the Washington Wizards to hang on for a 113-108 victory Thursday night, running its winning streak to five. The win improved the Nuggets’ record to 48-22 and kept the pressure on the first-place Golden State Warriors, who entered Thursday up a half game in the standings in the race for the No. 1 seed.

“I was really worried about this game just because of the hangover effect of clinching in Boston (on Monday),” Nuggets coach Michael Malone said. “To pull this out, even though it wasn’t pretty, speaks to our team and not being satisfied.”

Rather than the Nuggets relying on any one singular star, Thursday’s win was a democratic effort with eight of their nine rotation players logging double-digit scoring nights. In addition, five guys — Nikola Jokic, Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Torrey Craig — all finished with exactly 15 points.

Boxscore 

Will Barton, who had 13 points, drained a clutch 3-pointer with just over a minute left to create some distance. The Wizards were led by 25 points from all-star Bradley Beal but were undone by the Nuggets’ 3-point shooting. Denver finished 14-of-30 from long range.

After two days off following the Nuggets’ emotional, playoff-clinching win in Boston, Malone was curious how his team would respond, especially since the Wizards were coming off an overtime loss against the Chicago Bulls on Wednesday night.

“It’s about us,” Malone said, getting to the heart of his team’s motivation with 12 games remaining. “Who do we want to be? Do we want to be a young, immature team that doesn’t know how to handle success? Or do we want to be a team that’s yes, young, but understands the importance of handling that success but finding ways to strive to be better.”

Malone seemed to test his young team midway through the third quarter. The Wizards ran off a 26-5 run to build a 10-point lead, and Malone opted to let his team play through it, unwilling to give them a lifeline. The Wizards, ironically, called a timeout, and the Nuggets closed the quarter on a 10-0 run to tie it at 85.

“It’s tough to coach effort sometimes and urgency,” Malone said. “I wanted to see how we were going to respond. Our guys have to understand, especially the players that have zero playoff experience, in the playoffs, every possession matters. You can’t take possessions off.”

Jokic had two big baskets and a couple helpers to help stamp out Washington’s momentum.

Denver’s all-star center, who entered Thursday’s game with 39 double-doubles, hasn’t garnered the same MVP chatter as Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo or Houston’s James Harden, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be part of the conversation.

Malone said people who fail to consider his candidacy may be skewed by the highlight-reel plays of more athletic stars.

“For us to be in the position we’re in is largely because of Nikola Jokic,” Malone said. “He may not be on Sportscenter’s top 10 with alley-oop dunks, blocking shots, all that kind of stuff, but his passing, his playmaking, his scoring, his rebounding, his IQ, his vision are all off the charts.”

Wizards coach Scotty Brooks wasn’t lacking in any praise.

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“He makes passes that guards and Magic (Johnson) didn’t even make,” Brooks said. “He reads the play way before the play is even halfway into the play. He throws the ball, and the guy all the sudden has a layup. I’ve seen it time and time and time again. I rewind it all the time.”

The Wizards blitzed the Nuggets to start the game and exposed a team that looked like it had little interest in playing much defense. After allowing 21 points over the first five-plus minutes, Malone went to his second unit, who promptly played like the game mattered.

Monte Morris, Malik Beasley and Craig restored order, and all contributed to the Nuggets’ 3-point assault in the first half. Denver hit 7-of-15 triples to build a 61-53 first-half lead. After the lackluster start, both Harris and Jokic made significant impacts. Harris had a team-high 13 points and was aggressive going to the rack. Jokic played bully ball down low, finishing with 10 points in the half on 4-of-7 from the field.

 

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Climate change bill lands in the Colorado House

March 21, 2019 - 6:23pm

Colorado House Speaker KC Becker wants the state to take the lead on addressing climate change.

On Thursday evening, she introduced a bill that seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 2005 levels and empowers the state’s Air Quality Control Commission to establish regulations for public utility companies as well as the oil and gas sector.

According to Becker’s office, the bill requires carbon pollution to be reduced by at least 25 percent by 2026, 50 percent by 2030, and 90 percent by 2050 compared to 2005 levels. The bill contains no new fees for pollution, Becker said.

“States are really leading on their own because there is no national policy here,” Becker, a Boulder Democrat, said in an interview with The Denver Post. “Colorado needs to lead in this area.”

One of the largest companies that would face new regulations is Xcel Energy.

“As a company, we made an announcement in December that we plan to reduce carbon emissions,” said Rachel Nance, director of regional government affairs. “And we look forward to working with the speaker.”

Becker and House Democrats have worked on similar bills in the past. However, those bills ran into opposition in the state Senate, which until the 2018 election was controlled by Republicans.

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Becker said now that Democrats have a trifecta, they can pass what she called “national leading climate policy.”

The new legislation is the latest in a string of bills Democrats have introduced this year to address climate change and pollution. Becker is also one of the lead sponsors of a bill that is overhauling the state’s oil and gas regulations, which has drawn sharp criticism from the oil and gas industry.

The climate bill should have little effect on oil and gas companies as long as they follow methane regulations, she said.

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PHOTOS: Arturo Hernandez Garcia receives stay of deportation March 21, 2019

March 21, 2019 - 6:10pm

Arturo Hernandez Garcia, who in 2014 became one of the first people in Colorado to seek sanctuary, was given a two-week stay of deportation Thursday by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. Hernandez Garcia reported Thursday for a scheduled hearing with about 50 supporters, including members of his family.

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Kiszla: How did Broncos fall to dead last in power rankings of Denver’s big four sports franchises?

March 21, 2019 - 6:06pm

This is a Broncos town. It always has been. But is the future guaranteed? In the current power rankings of the Denver’s big four professional sports franchises, our local NFL team ranks dead last.

Nobody puts baby in a corner. But the Broncos are locked in the basement, listening to the footsteps, as the Nuggets, Rockies and Avalanche get to work.

How did that happen?

At a time when our worldview is framed by the corners of a cellphone, two pieces of recent video illustrated how far the Broncos have slipped in the local pecking order.

In the first video clip, Nuggets players danced in their locker room under showers of bottled water, after coach Michael Malone saluted the team’s first playoff bid since 2013 with this happy declaration: “We got no champagne, but we got some water. We ain’t satisfied, but we’re going to celebrate.”

And then there was: Woody! TMZ released a video of (now former) Broncos quarterback Chad Kelly dressed like our favorite cowboy from “Toy Story,” after his trip to a Halloween party took a ridiculously bad turn and he was chased from a stranger’s home with a vacuum cleaner tube.

From the top of the organization to the last man on the 53-man roster, the Broncos often seem more like fodder for a bad reality TV show than championship material. How long will it be before they can again match the fun factor of the Nuggets, instill the same civic pride as the Rockies or even be as much of a playoff contender as the Avalanche?

The four main elements that define success for a pro sports franchise are star power, coaching, management and ownership. To understand the depth of the Broncos’ problems, consider this: They rank closer to the bottom than the top in every category, when compared to our local NBA, major-league baseball and NHL franchises.

Franchise player

No. 1: Nolan Arenado, Rockies. By signing a jaw-dropping $260 million deal, he not only became the new king of Denver sports, Arenado made LoDo one of the more happening spots anywhere between Boston and Los Angeles in the major leagues.

No. 2: Nikola Jokic, Nuggets. We can’t make this stuff up. That a dude with a belly taken 41st in the 2014 draft has turned into a legitimate MVP candidate is almost as delightfully unfathomable as not one (David Fizdale of the Knicks), but two (Scott Brooks of the Wizards) coaches have compared the Joker to Magic Johnson.

No. 3: Von Miller, Broncos. With all due respect for the MVP of Super Bowl 50, the nature of his job does not allow Miller to have as much impact on his team during a game-in, game-out basis as either Arenado or Jokic does.

No. 4: Nathan MacKinnon, Avs. There’s no shame in finishing fourth on this list. What’s more: At 23 years old, MacKinnon has yet to reach his prime, while it’s fair to wonder if Miller’s best football is behind him.

Coaching

No. 1: Malone, Nuggets. He’s got my vote as NBA coach of the year. How about you?

No. 2: Bud Black, Rockies. First manager in team history to look fearlessly at the beast that is Coors Field through the eyes of a pitcher.

No. 3: Vic Fangio, Broncos. Beautiful football mind. Better man. But as even Fangio admits, there’s stuff a 60-year-old rookie head coach can only learn by going through it the first time.

No. 4: Jared Bednar, Avs. Are we certain he’s the right guy for this job?

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Management

No. 1: Tim Connelly, Nuggets. From Jamal Murray (No. 7 in the first round, 2016) to Monte Morris (No. 51 in the second round, 2017), maybe we should give John Elway some of whatever magic elixir Connelly is drinking.

No. 2: Jeff Bridich, Rockies. He has a firm vision of how to win at 5,280 feet above sea level and an even stronger belief Colorado can compete with the mighty Dodgers.

No. 3: Elway, Broncos. Hoping Joe Flacco has one more Hail Mary in him. No Plan B? Flacco is Plan E, F or G. I’ve lost count.

No. 4: Joe Sakic, Avs. Took over as front-office chief in May 2013, and his five-year plan to restore the team to its Stanley Cup glory might require a decade.

Ownership

No. 1: Josh Kroenke, Nuggets and Avs. Got both jobs too young. Grew up fast. Kudos.

No. 2 Dick Monfort, Rockies. Reinvesting money of loyal fan base in team payroll.

No. 3: The Pat Bowlen trust, Broncos. Let’s celebrate the induction of Mr. B in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in August, then get down to the business of asking: For the good of the franchise, would it be best if the family sold the Broncos?

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Juvenile skier dies after hitting tree at Breckenridge Ski Resort

March 21, 2019 - 6:01pm

A juvenile skier died Thursday after hitting a tree at Breckenridge Ski Resort.

The Summit County Sheriff’s Office responded about 11 a.m. to a report of a skier hitting a tree on Peak 10, according to a news release.

The skier, a girl, was taken to Breckenridge Medical Clinic, where she was pronounced dead, the sheriff’s office said.

Her name was not released. The incident is under investigation.

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How top NFL draft quarterbacks performed at their local Pro Days

March 21, 2019 - 6:00pm

Several of the nation’s top NFL draft eligible quarterbacks took another step forward in their evaluation process with the completion of Pro Day workouts. Below is a breakdown of five players whose recent strong showings in front of league scouts could potentially boost their stock. The NFL draft is April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

Kyler Murray, Oklahoma

Pro Day: March 13

Highlights

What they’re saying

NFL Network analyst Daniel Jeremiah: “Easy. That would be the world I would use to describe this workout. Everything was just easy, from his footwork to the way the ball jumped out of his hand. Showed the variety of throws you want to see; was able to drive the ball, he was able to layer the ball, use some different trajectory. Maybe you could say two or three balls got away from him a little bit, but overall a very clean, crisp workout for Kyler Murray.”

Yahoo senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson: “Kyler Murray right on track. Checked that box at his pro day. The easy-breezy 50-yarder down the seam was nice. Didn’t run the 40, but he’ll get the Lamar Jackson “plenty fast on tape” latitude from teams. Nothing changed today.”

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Pro Day: March 20

Highlights

What they’re saying

New York Giants coach Pat Shurmur: “It was excellent. We obviously have spent a lot of time evaluating him, and this is one piece of it. We got the chance to work with him on the board and take him to dinner, and he certainly is an accomplished and impressive young man.’’

FOX NFL analyst Charles Davis: “Nice day for @OhioStateFB QB Dwayne Haskins at his Pro Day. Big arm as expected, good footwork/movement in/out of the pocket, too.”

Drew Lock, Missouri

Pro Day: March 21

Highlights

THAT ARM.

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Thousands gather to mourn killed Cpl. Daniel Groves of State Patrol

March 21, 2019 - 5:45pm

The weariness was palpable Thursday during a funeral service for Cpl. Daniel Groves of the State Patrol.

Colorado State Patrol via TwitterCpl. Dan Groves of the State Patrol

Ceremonial bagpipes played a mournful song as fellow troopers gathered Thursday for the fourth time in four years to grieve for a trooper who was killed after being run over while working on a roadside.

This time, they said goodbye to a man who joined the State Patrol 12 years ago at an age that is considered old for a cadet. And Groves’ fellow troopers never let him forget it.

But Groves, who always wanted to be a cop, never let his age hold him back.

RELATED: Colorado State Patrol mourns the loss of trooper struck, killed during blizzard

“Dan told me when he got hired by Colorado, it was one of the best days of his life,” his former trainer Trooper Randy Noftsger said during the memorial service.

Groves, 52, was an Illinois native who moved to Colorado to start his law enforcement career after getting turned down by agencies in the Midwest. He accepted half the salary of what he was making in the information technology industry to pursue his passion.

On Thursday, Groves’ friends and colleagues acknowledged he died doing what he loved, and  they called his death senseless.

Groves was struck by a vehicle and killed while assisting a motorist on Interstate 76 during the March 13 bomb cyclone. Thus far, no charges have been filed in connection with the death.

The funeral took place at the LifeBridge Church in Longmont, where thousands of people, including law enforcement officials and first responders from 37 states, gathered to pay their respects. The funeral was preceded by a public procession along Colorado 66.

As the procession entered the church parking lot, local residents stood along the route to pay their respects. Muffled sniffles could be heard from community members standing along the highway.

The tragedy hit close to home for Kathy and Keith Wood, whose son, Chris Wood, has served 17 years in the State Patrol. Kathy Wood held a bouquet of American flags as her husband talked about the daily risks troopers face.

“You never know when the last time you will speak with him will be,” Keith Wood said.

Speaker after speaker at Groves’ funeral spoke of a man whose life was committed to service. He was known as the person to call if you needed help or if you couldn’t figure something out. He was spiritual and loving and was committed to his partner, family and his profession.

He thrived being in the middle of the action but not the center of attention, his friend Chris Remington said. Groves was also “everyone’s biggest fan,” he said.

“Dan was the glue that held us all together,” Remington said.

And Groves was quite the grammar nerd, his colleagues and friends joked. State Patrol Capt. Dan Haley lamented how one of his tweets about Groves had a misplaced apostrophe — something that would have driven his friend crazy.

As colleagues, bosses and friends shared memories of Groves, different pieces of his life were displayed on the stage, from a college fraternity shirt to a sports jersey to a flag with the thin blue line representing law enforcement

Haley and Trooper Carin Lawrence shared stories of their time at the police academy with Groves, describing his positive attitude, his work ethic and his constant inquisitiveness.

Gov. Jared Polis addressed the crowd of mourners at the funeral, telling them he had spent the last few days talking to people who knew Groves and they all described him in “glowing terms.”

“Cpl. Groves died doing what he spent his life doing in different ways: helping and lending a hand,”  Polis said.

The service was a reminder to other first responders of just how dangerous their work can be. And news of a Phoenix police officer dying while directing traffic came as troopers were preparing for Groves’ memorial.

Law enforcement funerals are never easy, said El Paso County sheriff’s Deputy Chief Lora Robblee after the service. She has been part of an honor guard for eight years and has participated in about 20 law enforcement funerals since she joined.

For honor guard members, the grieving process happens before and after the funeral, Robblee said. During the service, the members have to focus on one job: honoring the person who died and their loved ones.

On a personal level, though, it’s different.

“It’s challenging,” Robblee said. “It certainly makes you think it could have been me or any one of us.”

Longmont Police Deputy Chief Jeff Satur looked through his Class A uniform dress hat after Groves’ service. It was filled with programs from other law enforcement funerals over the years.

“It’s really hard,” Satur said. “These are a lot of your friends, colleagues you’ve worked with on cases.”

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Satur said his agency, as well as the fire department and Boulder County Sheriff’s Office, didn’t think twice about working with the State Patrol to plan the procession and funeral routes.

But they wish they didn’t have to, especially if motorists would pay attention, slow down and move over when they see wrecks, Satur said.

At a news conference after Groves’ death, State Patrol Col. Matthew Packard pleaded with drivers to follow the law, which he reiterated Thursday. Remington brought up the same message during the funeral as did others after the service.

Satur called Groves’ death “particularly senseless.”

“It easily could have been avoided,” he said.

Reporter Jackson Barnett contributed to this report.

Categories: All Denver News.

Denver weather: Why is March the city’s snowiest month?

March 21, 2019 - 5:14pm

For most of the country, March is a windy month of transition from winter to spring.

For Denver, March is a month of snowstorms and wild temperature swings. In fact, Denver’s snowiest month of the year, on average, is March. Denver averages 11.4 inches of snow during the third month of the year.

So why is March so snowy in Denver and along the Front Range?

There are several reasons, but one big one sticks out: In general, Denver is more susceptible to a big snow storm in March, and those storms tend to boost the monthly average. March is usually a boom-or-bust type of month for snowfall in Denver.

Consider this: In 136 years of Denver weather records, 56 March months have either had more than double or less than half of the month’s average snowfall of 11.4 inches. In other words, more than 40 percent of the time, Denver either finishes way above or way below its “normal” March number.

RELATED: Denver weather: Metro area likely having its coldest March in decades

In those 136 years of official weather records, Denver has recorded 10 months with 30 or more inches of snowfall. Four of those have come in March — more than any other month.

At the same time, Denver has had 44 March months with 5.6 inches or less of snowfall. That’s almost a third that receive less than half of the monthly average snowfall.

With the boom-or-bust nature of spring snow in mind, it’s probably worth mentioning why storms tend to be especially powerful this time of year. Big storms tend to form during the spring months due to an increasing clash of temperatures. Though colder, Arctic air typically begins its annual retreat back to the North Pole during March, there is still plenty of cold air hanging around in late winter and early spring across the Northern Hemisphere.

In response to increased sunlight, however, warmer pushes of air from the south begin to infiltrate the southern United States more frequently. Those same warmer pushes of air increase during April and May, also leading to heightened chances for severe weather for Colorado and much of the Plains. Also, those sharp air mass clashes tend to create sharper pressure gradients, which leads to windier than usual weather for much of the country.

Critically, though, those increased temperature differences help to crank the jet stream, the all-important narrow ribbon of strong winds in the upper levels of the atmosphere. A volatile jet stream can help form strong areas of low pressure, such as last week’s historic bomb cyclone.

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But in March, there’s usually just enough cold air hanging around Colorado that heavy, wet snow events can be fueled by these strong lows. For snow lovers, it’s the perfect sweet spot of stormy weather coupled with cold air. Though April is Denver’s second snowiest month on average, it usually starts to get a bit too warm for big snows, especially by the end of the month.

Rapid City, South Dakota and Cheyenne, Wyoming also average their highest monthly snowfall in March for the same reasons.

As we mentioned at the start of the month, this March has trended colder and snowier for some time. Denver has received 11.4 inches of snowfall so far this month – oddly enough, the exact March snowfall average.

Categories: All Denver News.

Colorado universities say they already comply with Trump’s executive order on campus free speech

March 21, 2019 - 5:04pm

President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to commit to protecting speech rights on campus or lose federal research funding, claiming many schools “have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the First Amendment.”

But Colorado higher-education institutions — including the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, the University of Northern Colorado and Metropolitian State University of Denver — say they already are dedicated to the free expression of ideas and opinions on their campuses, and are in line with the executive action.

Free speech has long been a focus at the University of Colorado, and we feel like we’re not only ahead of the game but leaders, nationally, with this issue,” said Ken McConnellogue, spokesman for the CU system, which includes the Boulder, Denver, Colorado Springs and Anschutz campuses.

Trump’s order follows a growing chorus of complaints from conservatives who say their voices have been stifled on campuses across the U.S., including on CU’s Boulder campus. It would apply to certain education grants but not to federal financial aid for students, and mandates that colleges receiving research grants from federal agencies agree to uphold free-speech policies.

“Even as universities have received billions and billions of dollars from taxpayers, many have become increasingly hostile to free speech and to the First Amendment,” Trump said at a White House signing ceremony. “These universities have tried to restrict free thought, impose total conformity and shut down the voices of great young Americans.”

RELATED: Student protest at Adams County charter school escalates into First Amendment lawsuit

Separate from the free speech requirement, the order also calls for measures intended to promote transparency in the student loan industry and in how well colleges prepare students.

Trump proposed the order during a March speech to conservative activists, holding up an activist who was punched in the face during recruitment for conservative student group Turning Point USA at the University of California, Berkeley as an example of why it was needed. Neither the activist nor the man arrested for the attack were affiliated with the university.

The federal Office of Management and Budget would be tasked with ensuring colleges that earn research grants “promote free speech,” including through compliance with all applicable federal laws, regulations and policies, although it was unclear how the government would enforce the order or what could trigger a loss of funding.

CU’s policy updates

In September, after months of discussion on the subject, the CU Board of Regents unanimously approved policy changes redefining academic freedom and freedom of expression on the university’s four campuses. Among the new policies: Faculty have the freedom to teach the truth as they understand it, subject only to the controls of the methods of establishing knowledge in their field.

During the board’s meeting in September, Regent Sue Sharkey, R-Castle Rock, and the board chair, asked whether the concept of truth could be subject to a faculty member’s biases in the face of another’s “separate understanding of a different truth.”

Early drafts of CU’s policy changes — spearheaded by Regents Heidi Ganahl, Republican at large, and John Carson, R-Highlands Ranch — said speech related to political, academic, artistic and social concerns at the university should not be censored “even when others construe that speech as wrong or insensitive.”

Ganahl previously told the Daily Camera of Boulder that her motivation for pushing for free-speech policies was in response to conversations she had with conservative or libertarian students who didn’t feel comfortable expressing their views on the left-learning Boulder campus.

The political nature of the national debate surrounding freedom of speech at universities has played out among the CU regents and administration, who agreed that campuses should promote the free exchange of ideas and opinions but disagreed as to whether anything was hindering free speech in the first place.

McConnellogue said CU’s policy changes were important because they clearly articulated commitment to freedom of speech where there once was potential ambiguity.

“There was always the notion that universities are marketplaces of ideas, but I don’t think the way we talk about it has been as clear as it has been in the past decade,” McConnellogue said.

CU’s reframing of its free-speech policies was driven in part by state legislation, McConnellogue said.

In 2017, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed into law the abolishment of free-speech zones on public college campuses, which were sometimes used to confine public demonstrations to designated areas. The bill allowed colleges to impose “reasonable time, place and manner” restrictions on speech to ensure protests didn’t interrupt student’s classroom learning.

Other schools say they’re in line

Nate Haas, spokesman for the Greeley-based University of Northern Colorado, said UNC recognizes and supports freedom of speech on its campus.

“It is fundamental to the learning experience and helps foster an academic setting where the vigorous exchange of ideas flourishes,” Haas said.

David Fine, general counsel for Metropolitan State University, said MSU Denver has “a robust free speech policy in place” and already complies with the new executive order.

“MSU Denver is proud of our culture of academic rigor, courage, mutual respect and inclusive excellence,” Fine said. “This culture is founded on two key related principles: freedom of expression and academic freedom. We expect our students, faculty and staff to engage in this mission in a spirit of mutual respect.”

Dell Rae Ciaravola, a spokeswoman for Colorado State University, said CSU is still reviewing the order.

“It essentially requires us to continue to comply with the First Amendment, a responsibility Colorado State University has always taken seriously because it’s constitutional law and fundamental to a public university,” Ciaravola said.

Ted Mitchell, president of the American Council on Education, agreed that academic freedom and free speech are essential to the core mission of colleges and universities, but he didn’t think Trump’s order was needed.

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“We continue to believe that this executive order is unnecessary and unwelcome, a solution in search of a problem. In addition, it is not clear what happens next. Executive orders are not self-implementing. What remains to be seen is the process the administration develops to flesh out these requirements and the extent to which it is willing to consult with the communities most affected — especially research universities.”

Mitchell said the order could lead to “unwanted federal micromanagement” of the nation’s university research.

“To minimize the order’s ill effects, we urge the Trump administration to consult with a diverse set of stakeholders and take a wide range of views into account before implementing its provisions,” Mitchell said.

The Associated Press and the Daily Camera contributed to this report.

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Ja Morant’s triple-double leads Murray St past Marquette, 83-64

March 21, 2019 - 4:41pm

HARTFORD, Conn. — Ja Morant logged the ninth triple-double in NCAA Tournament history as Murray State trounced fifth-seeded Marquette 83-64 in the first round of the West Region.

Murray State continued a trend of a No. 12 seed winning at least one game in all but three tournaments since 2001 — including last year’s — but this looked nothing like an upset.

Morant had 17 points, 16 assists and 11 rebounds as he sliced through Marquette on Thursday and showed the Racers (28-4) were better in every way than their opponent from the Big East. The Ohio Valley Conference champions face fourth-seeded Florida State on Saturday as the Racers next try to take down an Atlantic Coast Conference foe.

Murray State can always count on having the best player on the floor no matter who they play.

With 4:36 left in the second half and Murray State up 20, Morant grabbed his 10th rebound. The Racers fans began chanting “triple-double” to mark the first one since Draymond Green did it for Michigan State in 2012 against LIU-Brooklyn.

The lanky 6-foot-2 Morant this season has rocketed to stardom and into a sure-fire NBA lottery pick — maybe second only to Duke’s Zion Williamson — and answered the hype against Marquette.

The game was billed as a showcase of two of the nation’s best point guards and Morant and Markus Howard delivered plenty of highlights. Howard scored 16 in the first half on a mix of 3s off screens and hard drives to the hoop.

Marquette promised to make Morant see walls of defenders. The Golden Eagles collapsed on Morant every time he went to the basket and often double-teamed on the perimeter instead of switching on screens. Time and again, Morant found an open shooter while surrounded by defenders. He had eight assists in the first half, five that led to 3-pointers for the Racers, who led 42-35 at the break.

Howard finished with 26 points and Sam Hauser added 16.

As Murray State pulled away early in the second half, Morant had a two-handed slam off a nifty bounce pass from Darnell Cowart. Moments later, Morant fired a cross-court, no-look pass to Shaq Buchanan for a corner 3 that made it 57-40. Morant paused to glance toward the Murray State section and made finger goggles around his eyes. The sophomore seems to see it all on the court.

BIG PICTURE

Murray State: Morant had lots of help from his teammates: Tevin Brown scored 19 points and was 5 for 9 from 3. KJ Williams had 16 points working in the paint and Buchanan added 14 points. The Racers shot 53.6 percent from the field and held Marquette to 32.4.

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Marquette: The Golden Eagles struggled to finish near the basket, had only six assists and simply had no answer for Morant. They finished the season losing six of seven.

UP NEXT

Murray State: The Racers will have to deal with a long and tall Florida State team next.

Marquette: Did Howard play his last game for the Golden Eagles?

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Florida man pleads guilty to mailing bombs to Trump foes

March 21, 2019 - 4:17pm

NEW YORK — A Florida man pleaded guilty Thursday to sending pipe bombs to CNN and prominent critics of President Donald Trump in a wave of attacks that harmed no one but spread fear of political violence across the U.S. for days leading up to last fall’s midterm elections.

This Aug. 30, 2015, file photo released by the Broward County Sheriff’s office shows Cesar Sayoc in Miami.

Cesar Sayoc, 57, shackled at the ankles, briefly sobbed as he entered the plea before a New York federal judge.

“I’m extremely sorry,” he said, speaking so softly that sometimes he was told to repeat himself. Though he said he never meant for the devices to explode, he conceded he knew they could.

He could get life in prison at sentencing Sept. 12 on 65 counts, including 16 counts of using a weapon of mass destruction and mailing explosives with intent to kill. In exchange for his guilty plea, prosecutors dropped a charge that carried a mandatory life sentence.

One charge carries a mandatory 10-year prison term that must be served in addition to his sentence on 64 other counts.

Sayoc sent 16 rudimentary bombs — none of which detonated — to targets including Hillary Clinton, former Vice President Joe Biden, several members of Congress, former President Barack Obama and actor Robert De Niro. Devices were also mailed to CNN offices in New York and Atlanta.

The bombs began turning up over a five-day stretch weeks before the hotly contested midterms, contributing to an already tense political environment. They were mailed to addresses in New York, New Jersey, Delaware, California, Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, Georgia.

Sayoc was arrested in late October at a Florida auto parts store. He had been living in a van plastered with Trump stickers and images of Trump opponents with crosshairs over their faces.

On Thursday, he told the judge he made objects designed to look like pipe bombs and filled them with explosive powder from fireworks, fertilizer and glass shards, accompanied by wires and a digital alarm clock.

“Did you intend they would explode?” Judge Jed Rakoff asked.

“No, sir,” Sayoc said.

“What would prevent powder from fireworks from exploding?” Rakoff asked.

“I was aware of the risk they would explode,” Sayoc said.

The first bomb was discovered Oct. 22 in a padded envelope in a mailbox at an estate in New York City’s northern suburbs owned by the billionaire George Soros, a liberal political activist and frequent subject of conspiracy theories.

A device addressed to the home of Hillary and Bill Clinton was discovered the following day, followed a day later by a slew of bombs found at the homes or offices of prominent Democrats. One, addressed to former CIA director John Brennan, was sent to CNN in New York.

Others targeted included California Sen. Kamala Harris, New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, Rep. Maxine Waters, former Attorney General Eric Holder and billionaire liberal activist Tom Steyer.

Over several days, investigators tracked the packages to a mail center in Florida. Prosecutors said the evidence against Sayoc included DNA that linked him to 10 of the devices and fingerprints on two of them.

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Manhattan U.S. Attorney Geoffrey S. Berman, who attended the plea proceeding, said in a statement afterward that he was grateful nobody was hurt by the devices, but added that Sayoc’s “actions left an air of fear and divisiveness in their wake.”

Assistant Attorney General for National Security John C. Demers added: “Our democracy will simply not survive if our political discourse includes sending bombs to those we disagree with.”

He said Sayoc’s crimes “are repulsive to all Americans who cherish a society built on respectful and non-violent political discourse, no matter how strongly held one’s views.”

___

This story has been corrected to fix the wording of the first quote from the defendant.

Categories: All Denver News.

Colorado fund that would help insurers cover sickest patients could reduce premiums by 23 percent, study finds

March 21, 2019 - 4:13pm

A bill that would create a state fund to help insurers cover their sickest and most expensive patients could reduce individual health insurance premiums in Colorado by almost 23 percent, the state Division of Insurance said Thursday.

Colorado legislators are considering legislation to create a state reinsurance program, which, if passed, would help insurance companies cover costs once a patient reaches a set amount of health care claims.

The Division of Insurance had an actuarial firm, Lewis & Ellis, review the proposed program, which would affect health insurance bought on the individual market.

“This study shows that our innovative Colorado Reinsurance funding model works,” said Michael Conway, state insurance commissioner, in a statement. “It also disproves the argument that people with commercial health insurance have to pay more to make up for what Medicare and Medicaid pay.”

RELATED: Colorado hospital prices jumped 60 percent in 9 years despite hope Medicaid expansion would curtail costs, reports say

In introducing the bill, legislators said monthly insurance premiums could be cut by 10 percent to 35 percent by the start of the next open enrollment period later this year.

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“The initial review of this report makes us very hopeful that our approach to funding reinsurance will work,” said the bill sponsors in a statement. The sponsors include Sens. Kerry Donovan, D-Vail, Bob Rankin, R-Carbondale, and Reps. Julie McCluskie, D-Dillion, and Janice Rich, R-Grand Junction.

Under the program, hospitals would be paid at a lower rate through the program, which has drawn concern from the Colorado Hospital Association. The program would reduce the amount hospitals and other providers are paid by having the commissioner of insurance create a list of set prices for health services.

Categories: All Denver News.