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German Marquez, Colorado Rockies bullpen shine in win over Los Angeles Dodgers

The Denver Post - 6 hours 26 min ago

LOS ANGELES — Hitters were an endangered species on a cool Monday night at Dodger Stadium. Indeed the Rockies managed just three hits — a home run and two singles — and won a strange game.

Fortunately for the Rockies, they had young right-hander German Marquez starting and Adam Ottavino and Wade Davis coming in from the bullpen. The trio combined for a three-hitter as Colorado hung on for a 2-1, gut-churning victory. And with the Arizona Diamondbacks losing to the Milwaukee Brewers, the Rockies are in first place in the NL West.

“It was arguably the best game German has pitched all year,” manager Bud Black said. “I’m really happy for him. In his last couple of side sessions he worked — a lot — on a couple of different things mechanically and also on his fastball command. It was good to see the results.”

Pinch-hitter Carlos Gonzalez won the game for the Rockies with an infield single in the eighth inning to score catcher Tony Wolters from third base. It marked just the 11th time in franchise history that the Rockies won a game with only three hits. They improved to 11-65 in three-hit games all time. They have never won a game with fewer than three hits.

The game concluded in bizarre fashion. With Davis working to close out the game, Matt Kemp scorched a grounder toward the hole between third and second base, where shortstop Trevor Story scooped up the ball and threw to first. But the one-hopper got by first baseman Ian Desmond and Kemp made a very slight move toward second. Fortunately for Colorado, Wolters hustled down the line, grabbed the ball and fed it back to Desmond, who tagged Kemp for the final out.

“We made the play and Desmond made a really good tag. Kind of a cool way to end the game,”  Wolters said. “I could have just stayed in my squat and saved my legs, but you never know.”

“I’ve never had (a play) like that before,” added  Davis, who notched his 17th save in 19 opportunities. “Tony is like the the most exciting guy to watch play baseball. Everything he does is exciting. He plays full tilt.”

Marquez, 23, allowed one run on two hits across seven innings, striking out five and walking two. The right-hander has struggled at Coors Field, but he’s been dynamite on the road, posting a 2.06 ERA with four quality starts in six trips to the mound.  In those six road games, Marquez has struck out 34 batters vs. only 12 walks.

“The key for me was my tempo and my aggressiveness tonight,” Marquez said. “I was able to stay in the moment. I wanted to take it one pitch at a time and I did that pretty well.”

BOX SCORE: Rockies 2, Dodgers 1

Dodgers rookie right-hander Walker Buehler, also 23, finished with a Clayton Kershaw-like line (minus the gobs of strikeouts): one run allowed on two hits, with no walks and six strikeouts over seven innings. The rookie right-hander owns a 2.38 ERA.

The Rockies arrived at the eighth inning with just two hits on their scorecard, but when they received a golden chance to win the game, CarGo delivered.

Wolters drew a one-out walk, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Yasmani Grandal. Reliever Pedro Baez struck out slumping Pat Valaika for the second out, but then Gonzalez delivered his game-winning, groundball single to second baseman Chase Utley, scoring Wolters.

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Every at-bat mattered in this game.

In the fourth, first baseman Max Muncy crushed Marquez’s 96 mph fastball deep into the right-field bleachers to lead for a 1-0 L.A. lead. At that point, considering how Buehler was mowing down the Rockies, it looked like one run would be enough to win the game.

Marquez, to his credit, kept his cool and kept the Rockies in the game.

“Marquez threw a great game, and his stuff was lightning,” Wolters said. “He made adjustments out there, from pitch to pitch. He executed. He threw his curveball, threw his slider, and he threw a bunch of changeups. He mixed. That’s Marquez.”

Wolters especially liked how Marquez responded after giving up the home run.

“He just got back on the mound and executed,” Wolters said. “He slapped his glove and gave a little fist pump and was like, ‘Let’s go.’ ”

Colorado’s Gerardo Parra finally cracked Buehler. The veteran left fielder led off the fifth with a solo blast; an opposite-field launch to left off Buehler’s 2-2, 96 mph fastball.  For Parra, batting cleanup, it was the third homer of the season.

“I just put it in my mind to swing hard,” said Parra, who has recorded a hit in five of the seven games on the road trip, batting .307 (7-for-23) with two homers, a double and four RBIs. “I’m feeling good at the plate now and seeing the ball better.”

The game almost did a 180-degree turn when Story came to the plate following Parra’s homer. Story smoked a line drive off Buehler, who made the play to throw out Story, but then crumpled to the ground. It looked as if Buehler might have to leave the game, but he pitched for two more innings.

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LeBron James scores 44 as Cleveland Cavaliers even series with Boston Celtics in Game 4

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 8:30pm

CLEVELAND — LeBron James scored 44 points, surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar atop a postseason list and helped the Cleveland Cavaliers even the Eastern Conference finals at 2-2 on Monday night with a 111-102 victory over the Boston Celtics, who are looking forward to getting home.

Pushed by a raucous crowd that wasn’t so confident a few days ago, the Cavs held off Boston’s comeback in the fourth quarter and squared a series that is now a best-of-three.

Cleveland is trying to become the 20th team — out of 300 — to overcome a 2-0 deficit and James, who has already orchestrated two such rallies, is a step closer to a third.

But to do it again the Cavs will have to win in Boston, where the Celtics are 9-0 this postseason.

Game 5 is Wednesday night at TD Center.

Kyle Korver added 14 points with several hustle plays, and Tristan Thompson had 13 points and 12 rebounds for Cleveland.

Jaylen Brown scored 25 and Boston had all five scorers in double figures, but the Celtics fell behind by 19 in the first half and didn’t have enough to catch Cleveland.

And, of course, they didn’t have James, who moved past Jabbar (2,356) for the most field goals in playoff history. James also recorded his 25th career postseason game with at least 40 points — his sixth in this postseason.

The Celtics hung around in the second half and pulled within 100-93 on Marcus Smart’s basket with 4:29 left. But Thompson got free for a dunk, and after a miss by Boston, James recovered after making his seventh turnover by making a steal and layup.

Moments later, James drilled a 3-pointer from the left wing to finally put away the young Celtics, who will now feel the immense pressure of trying to hold off the three-time champion.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens considered changing his starting lineup, but decided to stick with the same first five — Brown, Jayson Tatum, Marcus Morris, Al Horford, and Terry Rozier — as the first three games.

Boston’s starters held their own, but none of them was able to match James when it mattered most.

The Celtics couldn’t afford another slow start and that’s exactly what happened.

Boston got some open looks in the first quarter, but the Celtics shot just 27 percent (7 of 26) and both Tatum and Brown missed dunks. Also, Morris picked up three fouls and his teammates all seemed tentative as the Cavs pushed their lead to 15 at halftime.


Celtics: Stevens was deliberately evasive about his starting lineup during his pregame news conference, not wanting to give the Cavs any advance notice. “We will start five people. I promise,” he said, drawing laughs from media members. … Injured stars Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving are not traveling with the team so they can continue their respective rehabs. Both have been sitting on the bench with their teammates in Boston.

Cavaliers: Won their seventh straight playoff game at home. … James also recorded his 106th 30-point game in the postseason. Only Michael Jordan (109) has more. … Love threw one of his patented “touchdown” passes in the first quarter to James, who outmaneuvered Smart and Brown like a wide receiver to make the catch and score. … Browns rookie quarterback Baker Mayfield, the No. 1 pick in last month’s NFL draft, attended the game. Improved to 9-3 vs. Boston in the playoffs at Quicken Loans Arena.


Like most fans, Lue has been stunned — but not necessarily disappointed — by the number of lopsided wins in the playoffs, especially in the semifinals.

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The first six games between Boston-Cleveland and Houston-Golden State were decided by an average of 24 points. The Warriors won Game 3 on Sunday night by 41, the largest margin of victory in franchise history.

“It does surprise me,” he said. “All four teams are really good. But the home court has shown it’s been a factor.”


Game 5 is Wednesday in Boston.

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Colorado native Jennifer Kupcho finds redemption with NCAA golf title

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 8:27pm

STILLWATER, Okla. — Wake Forest junior Jennifer Kupcho found redemption Monday by winning an NCAA title she squandered a year ago.

Kupcho overcame a rough three-hole stretch on the front nine at Karsten Creek with five birdies over her final eight holes for a 1-under 71 and a two-shot victory over Andrea Lee of Stanford and Bianca Pagdanganan of Arizona.

Kupcho — who graduated from Jefferson Academy in Broomfield — became the first Wake Forest woman to win an NCAA golf title.

Redemption! After coming up one shot short last year, Jennifer Kupcho wins the Women's #NCAAGolf individual title and earns a start in the @MarathonLPGA!

— Golf Channel (@GolfChannel) May 22, 2018

She thought she had it last year at Rich Harvest Farm until she took triple bogey on the 17th hole of the final round when her 9-iron came up just short into the water and then she three-putted for a triple bogey, losing by one shot to Monica Vaughn of Arizona State.

Kupcho had a bogey-double bogey-bogey stretch in the middle of the back nine before she poured it on.

“My assistant coach was in my ear saying, ‘There is going to be mistakes down the stretch, just keep fighting, just keep fighting.’ Kind of got annoying to the point, but obviously it worked,” Kupcho said. “I came back and did it.”

Lee closed with a 65, while Pagdanganan had plenty to celebrate with her 72. Arizona was on its way to a collapse until Pagdanganan made eagle on the 18th hole to get the Wildcats into a playoff with Baylor for the eighth and final spot that advanced to match play for the team title.

Arizona wound up advancing and will face top-seeded UCLA in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

“I just had so much confidence in myself and it was an amazing feeling knowing it means so much for the team,” Pagdanganan said. “It has always been my dream to make it to nationals as a team and making that putt, I got goose bumps. I was speechless. I was overwhelmed with all of the overflowing emotions going on and I was just glad I could help the team.”

Alabama is the No. 2 seed and faces Kent State. Southern California (No. 3) faces Duke, while Northwestern (No. 4) will play Stanford.

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What is lava haze? A look at Hawaii’s latest volcanic hazard

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 8:21pm

By Jae C. Hong and Audrey McAvoy, The Associated Press

PAHOA, Hawaii — Lava from Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano is pouring into the sea and setting off a chemical reaction that creates giant clouds of acid and fine glass.

The lava haze, or “laze,” is created when molten rock hits the ocean and marks just the latest hazard from a volcano that has been generating earthquakes and spewing lava, sulfur dioxide and ash since it began erupting in Big Island backyards on May 3.

The dangers have forced at least 2,000 people to evacuate and destroyed more than 40 buildings. It’s also created anxiety for thousands of others about the possibility of lava heading their way or cutting off roads they depend on to get to work, school and grocery stores.

Here are key things to know about the latest volcanic threat:


It is made of dense white clouds of steam, toxic gas and tiny shards of volcanic glass. Janet Babb, a geologist with the Hawaiian Volcano Observatory, says the plume “looks innocuous, but it’s not.”


Laze is formed when lava enters the ocean and triggers a series of chemical reactions.

The seawater cools the lava, which forms a glass that shatters. Tiny pieces are picked up by the steam cloud, which contains hydrochloric acid that also is created by the interaction of lava and the ocean.

“Just like if you drop a glass on your kitchen floor, there’s some large pieces and there are some very, very tiny pieces,” Babb said. “These little tiny pieces are the ones that can get wafted up in that steam plume.”

Scientists call the glass Limu O Pele, or Pele’s seaweed, named after the Hawaiian goddess of volcano and fire.

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The clouds contain hydrochloric acid, which is about as corrosive as diluted battery acid. It can irritate the skin and eyes and cause breathing problems.

Babb says protective masks that officials have been distributing to protect people from volcanic ash will filter particles from lava haze but not the hydrochloric acid.

Laze itself is not enough to cause serious burns, Babb said, unless someone is right on top of where lava enters the ocean. Waves also can wash over molten lava and send scalding water onshore, so people should maintain a safe distance.

No major injuries have been reported from lava haze. The U.S. Geological Survey says laze contributed to two deaths in 2000, when seawater washed across recent and active lava flows.


Mostly people who are on the coast, either on land or in boats just offshore. Where the plume wafts depends heavily on wind direction and speed.

The gas clouds initially appear on the shoreline, but trade winds on Sunday carried plumes about 15 miles (24 kilometers) to the southwest. The cloud was offshore, running parallel to the coast.

When the winds die down, the plume can flatten out. Its size, meanwhile, depends on the volume of lava falling into the sea.

The hazards minimize once the shards fall to the ground because the glass would mix with the Earth.


Methane explosions could be a problem as lava flows into areas with a lot of vegetation. Babb said that is because decaying vegetation creates pockets of methane, which the lava’s heat can ignite.

McAvoy reported from Honolulu. Associated Press journalist Sophia Yan contributed to this report from Honolulu.

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Washington Capitals beat Tampa Bay Lightning, force Game 7

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 8:02pm

WASHINGTON — T.J. Oshie and Devante Smith-Pelly scored, Braden Holtby stopped all 24 shots he faced and the Washington Capitals beat up the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0 Monday night to even the Eastern Conference final and force a deciding Game 7.

Alex Ovechkin, Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik led the charge, throwing their bodies around all night in Game 6. Tampa Bay got 31 saves from goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy in another impressive showing but had no answer for Washington’s hit-everything-that-moves approach facing elimination at home.

Game 7 is Wednesday night at Tampa Bay. The winner faces the Vegas Golden Knights, who are in the Stanley Cup Final in their first season.

The Capitals outhit the Lightning 39-19 and outshot them 34-24, bruising and battering them all over the ice. Orpik separated Cedric Paquette from the puck twice on one shift, Ovechkin leveled rookie Yanni Gourde and Wilson was his usual self, dishing out a handful of crushing body checks.

With a physical tone set, the Capitals kept testing Vasilevskiy and eventually cracked him. There wasn’t much he could do on Oshie’s second-period power-play goal from the slot after a deft pass from Nicklas Backstrom gave Vasilevskiy little time to adjust for the one-timer.

Drawing a penalty made all the difference for Washington, which hadn’t had a power play since the second period of Game 4. Lightning defenseman Braydon Coburn hooked Smith-Pelly to give the Capitals that opportunity, and their penalty kill kept Tampa Bay’s potent power play off the board for just the second time in the series.

With the Lightning pressing and Holtby shining under pressure, the Capitals had chances to go the other way. Smith-Pelly scored Washington’s second goal midway through the third, beating Vasilevskiy after fellow fourth-liners Chandler Stephenson and Jay Beagle did the work on the forecheck to set it up.

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As strong as Vasilevskiy was, the physical game took a toll on the Lightning, who weren’t able to muster a comeback. Oshie iced it with an empty-netter in the final minute.

The Lightning missed a chance to close out an opponent for the first time in these playoffs. They eliminated New Jersey and Boston in five games apiece but are now on the brink themselves.

The Capitals improved to 10-2 in the Ovechkin/Backstrom era when facing elimination any time before Game 7. They’re 3-7 in Game 7 over that time.

NOTES: Washington improved to 4-5 at home in the playoffs. The Lightning dropped to 5-2 on the road. … An assist on Oshie’s goal extended Capitals C Evgeny Kuznetsov’s point streak to nine games, tied with Backstrom in 2009 for the longest in franchise playoff history. … F Andre Burakovsky returned to the Capitals lineup after being a healthy scratch for Game 5. Burakovsky replaced Alex Chiasson.

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Incoming Colorado Buffaloes football freshman Dimitri Stanley ready for next step

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 7:55pm

Dimitri Stanley could have not picked a better way for his high school athletic career to end, standing atop the podium at Jefferson County Stadium on Saturday with his Cherry Creek teammates.

After helping the Bruins to the state championship in the Class 5A 400-meter relay, Stanley walked off the podium and, in a few short weeks, will begin his collegiate career with the Colorado football team.

“I’m ready for the challenge, honestly, to get up there and compete and try to earn my spot, earn my stripes and get to work,” he said. “Hopefully we can get some national championships.”

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Next month, Stanley will move to Boulder and follow in the footsteps of his father, Walter, who was a receiver and kick returner with the Buffs in 1980 and 1981.

Stanley comes to CU after a stellar career at Cherry Creek, where he starred in football, basketball and track and field.

In basketball this past season, Stanley led the Bruins in points (12.1 per game), assists (2.3) and steals (2.1).

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Humans account for little next to plants, worms, bugs

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 7:51pm

WASHINGTON — When you weigh all life on Earth, billions of humans don’t amount to much compared to trees, earthworms or even viruses. But we really know how to throw what little weight we have around, according to a first-of-its-kind global census of the footprint of life on the planet.

Humans only add up to about one ten-thousandth of the life on Earth, measured by the dry weight of the carbon that makes up the structure of all living things, also known as biomass.

The planet’s real heavyweights are plants. They outweigh people by about 7,500 to 1, and make up more than 80 percent of the world’s biomass, a study in Monday’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences said.

Bacteria are nearly 13 percent of the world’s biomass. Fungi — yeast, mold and mushrooms — make up about 2 percent. These estimates aren’t very exact, the real numbers could be more or less, but they give a sense of proportion, said study lead author Ron Milo, a biologist at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel.

The Associated PressChart shows breakdown of carbon mass by types of life in billions of metric tons

“The fact that the biomass of fungi exceeds that of all animals sort of puts us in our place,” said Harvard evolutionary biology professor James Hanken, who wasn’t part of the study.

Still, humans have an outsized influence on its more massive fellow creatures. Since civilization started, humans helped cut the total weight of plants by half and wild mammals by 85 percent, the study said.

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Now domesticated cattle and pigs outweigh all wild mammals by 14 to 1, while the world’s chickens are triple the weight of all the wild birds. Instead of children’s books about elephants and lions, a more honest representation of Earth’s animals would be “a cow next to another cow, next to another cow next to a chicken,” Milo said.

Milo and colleagues took earlier research that looked at biomass for different types of life, combined them, factored in climate, geography and other environmental issues, to come up with a planetwide look at the scale of life on the planet. Taking water out of the equation and measuring only dry carbon makes it easier for scientists to compare species. About one-sixth the weight of a human is dry carbon. Humans are about two-thirds water.

“Even though short in numbers, we have managed to throw a lot of sand in the air and mess up a lot of things,” said noted Harvard biologist E.O. Wilson, who wasn’t involved in the study.

The Associated Press Health & Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

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U.S. Postal Service issuing scratch-and-sniff stamps

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 7:51pm

WASHINGTON — Letter writers will soon be able to express their sentiments in words and smells.

The U.S. Postal Service announced Monday that it will soon issue its first scratch-and-sniff stamps. The stamps feature illustrations of ice pops. The agency says the stamps will “add the sweet scent of summer” to letters.

The 20 stamps depict watercolor illustrations by California artist Margaret Berg. Each of the 10 stamp designs includes two different treats. The words “FOREVER” and “USA” appear along the bottom of each stamp.

The stamps will be issued on June 20 at a children’s museum in Austin, Texas.

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A Boulder man was ordered by police to take an Uber to avoid driving drunk — but he took the ride-share car to his own vehicle and was arrested

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 7:49pm
Boulder County Sheriff via Daily CameraJustin Torkildsen

A Boulder man was arrested after police officers say they ordered him a ride-share car to prevent him from driving drunk, only for the man to direct the Uber driver to take him to his vehicle.

Justin Christopher Torkildsen, 37, was arrested Sunday on suspicion of DUI and reckless driving.

According to a police report, two officers were called to the St. Julien Hotel, 901 Canyon Blvd., at 12:32 a.m. Sunday after staff at the hotel called to say Torkildsen was drunk and they were worried he would try to drive.

The two officers found Torkildsen in the hotel, where he appeared to be visibly intoxicated. Torkildsen told the officers he was not going to drive and said he was going to order an Uber home, but had trouble ordering the ride.

One of the officers took Torkildsen’s phone and noticed the Uber app was not installed, so he downloaded the app for Torkildsen and ordered him a car.

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Trevor Story good as gold, according to his Colorado Rockies teammates

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 7:48pm

LOS ANGELES — The play had a Superman feel to it.

Able to pull off an amazing, across-the-body throw in a single bound, Rockies shortstop Trevor Story stunned the crowd at AT&T Park on Sunday in San Francisco with a play that ended the second inning. Story’s throw from deep in the hole at short just nipped the Giants’ Gorkys Hernandez as Hernandez dived into first base.

For Story’s teammates, the highlight was simply the latest illustration of the fielder Story is becoming — a fielder, they say, who deserves Gold Glove consideration.

“Trevor is athletic and powerful, and he’s got a great arm,” said first baseman Ian Desmond, who played shortstop for six full seasons for Washington. “He’s got it all. I really think that last year, Trevor deserved consideration for a Gold Glove, I really do. I’m not slighting anybody else, but Trevor is that good.”

For the record, the Giants’ Brandon Crawford has won the NL Gold Glove for three consecutive seasons.

A lot of factors were at play in Story’s superhero play. His natural athletic ability, to be sure, but also increased confidence. And practice. Lot and lots of practice.

“The different, hard plays that he’s making, he’s actually working on them during BP (batting practice) now,” five-time Gold Glove third baseman Nolan Arenado said Monday before the Rockies took on the Dodgers. “In the past, I really didn’t see him working on those plays as much. Whereas now he does, and now those hard plays are coming more naturally for him in games. He always seems ready now, and it looks like he wants to make those plays.”

In Story’s signature play, he’ll gobble up a grounder near the second-base bag and then make a spinning throw to first. Sunday’s gem against the Giants was different, and more reminiscent of former Rockies all-star Troy Tulowitzki, who won Gold Gloves in 2010 and 2011.

“I worked on that play a lot with Tulo, and just growing up, I tried to make that play like Derek Jeter did,” Story said, referring to the Yankees’ icon. “It’s a play I practice a lot. too, just like I do the play near second. I try to use my legs as much as possible. It’s tough to get much on that throw, so I try to use my legs.”

Story’s defensive numbers this season are certainly not eye-popping. Entering Monday’s game, his .979 fielding percentage (four errors in 179 total chances) ranked eighth in the NL, and his 0.2 DWAR (defensive wins above replacement) ranks just 18th. But there are some factors that downgrade Story’s metrics, chief among them the Rockies’ use of a shift that leaves Arenado alone on the left side of the infield.

But more and more, Arenado is learning to share the left side of the diamond with Story.

“Our communication has been way better than in the past,” Arenado said. “I don’t get some of those balls to my left as much anymore. I mean, I want to, but Trevor is already there. It’s easier for him to make that play than me, so I have to let him do it.”

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Second baseman DJ LeMahieu, a two-time Gold Glove winner, hopes Story will start receiving more recognition.

“Defensively, he’s having a great year and he’s getting more consistent,” LeMahieu said. “Those unbelievable plays he makes are coming more and more frequently. He’s an elite defender, and I’m not sure why he’s not consider that yet. Maybe it’s because he has Nolan over there with him. But Trevor is as elite as it gets.”

Footnote. LeMahieu, on the 10-day disabled list with a small broken bone in his left thumb, played catch in the outfield and ran sprints Monday afternoon. He didn’t catch the ball with his mitt. Instead, he had a Rockies trainer catch for him.

“It’s getting better, but it’s tough to judge right now,” LeMahieu said. “There isn’t much pain, but there is no timeline yet.”

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Trump honors Martin Truex Jr. at the White House

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:59pm

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is honoring NASCAR Cup Series champion Martin Truex Jr. and Furniture Row Racing at the White House, praising Truex’s vow to “never give up.”

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Trump is paying tribute to Truex’s championship on the South Lawn of the White House and admiring the No. 78 Toyota Camry. The president says, “I want to get in that thing and drive it right away.”

The president is noting that Truex’s team bonded through tragedy, including the death of crew member Jim Watson and Truex’s girlfriend Sherry Pollex’s battle with ovarian cancer.

Trump says the team’s motto of “never give up” was the “story of the 78 team.”

Trump says the NASCAR field spent the season “chasing 78,” pointing to eight victories. Trump asks, “Does it get lonely being in front?”

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Alterra Mountain Co., entrepreneur spar over who owns the “Ikon” trademark

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:58pm

The debut of the Ikon Pass from the newly created Alterra Mountain Co. is intended to spur competition with Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass, but it’s also shaken loose an entrepreneur who claims his intellectual-property rights have been violated.

Carbondale resident Cary Thompson, founder of Glenwood Springs-based Ride In Harmony Athletics, a ski and snowboard instruction program, recently sent a cease-and-desist notice to Alterra and its partners.

Thompson claims he holds the rights to the use of the word “icon” or any of its derivatives, such as “Ikon” being used by Alterra. Alterra, however, says it had the term “Ikon” federally trademarked in November.

“It’s been federally registered,” Alterra chief operating officer David Perry said last week. “There are no issues with it.”

Upon receiving Thompson’s cease-and-desist letter in April, Alterra responded on May 11 with its own cease-and-desist letter to Thompson, Perry said.

“He has taken the liberty of sending this letter to a number of our partners about the Ikon trademark,” Perry said. Had he not sent the letter to Alterra’s partners, Alterra would not have demanded that Thompson stop using “Ikon” and its derivatives in his business programming.

“We’ve used ‘icon’ in our online presentations since at least 2012. Our brands, and product are identified with icons, images that make lessons easy to recall,” Thompson said in an email responding to questions from The Aspen Times. “

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So far he had not hired an attorney but suggested he will.

“We’ll be crowdfunding legal fees, if necessary to keep our rights and presence in the industry intact,” Thompson said.

To read more of this story go to

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Broncos QB Case Keenum voted No. 51 among NFL Top 100 for 2017

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:38pm

For the first time since Peyton Manning retired, the Broncos have a quarterback in the NFL Top 100.

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Case Keenum, who played with the Minnesota Vikings last year, was voted in by his peers at No. 51 on this year’s list. This is his first appearance on the annual rankings.

Keenum, 30, completed 67.6 percent of his passes last year for 3,547 yards, 22 touchdowns and seven interceptions. He led the Vikings to the NFC championship game, losing to the eventual Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

Cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. (No. 86) and Aqib Talib (No. 53) also made the list so far.

Denver signed Keenum to a two-year, $36 million contract in March.

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Utility maintains Pueblo power stations during negotiations

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:37pm

PUEBLO — A utility is paying to maintain and secure a pair of retired power stations in Pueblo as negotiations continue to redevelop the site.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports Black Hills Energy, which owns the stations, is working with the developer Riverwalk North Alliance on a deal to transform the site into spaces for retail, restaurants and a hotel.

Black Hills spokesperson Julie Rodriguez says the utility spends about $100,000 per year on maintenance and security. She says they hope to have a deal finalized in the coming months.

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The Pueblo City Council designated the power stations as a local historic landmark Monday to help prevent them from being demolished.

Rodriguez says it may take a year or two before construction could begin due to regulatory filings and other requirements.

Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain

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Former Colorado sheriff’s detective rejects deal on charges of mishandling evidence

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:30pm

CANON CITY — A former Colorado sheriff’s detective charged with mishandling evidence from a homicide has turned down a proposed plea agreement.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports Robert Dodd declined the deal Friday. Details of the proposed agreement weren’t available.

Dodd is charged with abuse of public records, criminal possession of an identification document and official misconduct.

The charges were filed after evidence from the 2006 shooting death of 17-year-old Candace Hiltz was found in a storage unit that Dodd once rented. Items included bloody socks and a shell casing. They were in envelopes marked “evidence.”

The items turned up when the contents of the unit were auctioned off for non-payment of rent. The buyer turned them over to the Fremont County Sheriff’s Department.

No one has been charged in Hiltz’s death.

Information from: The Pueblo Chieftain

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Nearly 500 Denver households received help with rent during a pilot city program that’s getting a $1 million extension

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:14pm

The city of Denver’s first foray into cutting checks on behalf of residents who face a rent hike, past-due utility bills or another housing crisis was nearly overwhelmed by the demand.

After 486 low-income households received about $1,200 on average in rent assistance in late 2017 and early 2018, the City Council on Monday approved a $1 million extension of the program through the end of this year.

City officials tapped into the city’s affordable housing fund in November with the aim of providing limited assistance to individuals and families who need short-term help. The idea was that the assistance would help avert some evictions amid Denver’s ongoing housing affordability crisis.

“This is the next frontier of housing policy,” Councilwoman Robin Kniech said. “Over the past 12 months and in the future two years, you’re going to see us focus more on policies that keep people in place.”

Data provided by the city shows the program served as a stop-gap in most cases, with more than 95 percent of participating households receiving rent assistance for just one month.

The pilot phase ended in February, after the Temporary Rent and Utility Assistance program exhausted $865,000 set aside last fall from the city housing fund, which largely is fed by property taxes.

A map shown as part of a presentation to a City Council committee on a Denver rent and utility assistance program shows where the pilot phase’s beneficiaries lived. The markers are labeled by color depending on the provider that helped each household.

A total of 570 households received rental assistance or help with water and energy utility payments — far exceeding the 182 households that the city had estimated the pilot would serve. All payments go directly to landlords or utility providers, the city says.

Another renter-friendly program is in the offing. As soon as June, the city and Colorado Legal Services plan to publicly launch an eviction legal defense pilot offering attorney advice to renters facing eviction. That program was spurred by donations from City Council members totaling $130,000, mostly from their office budgets.

With Monday’s unanimous approval of more money for the rent and utility assistance program, the city’s nonprofit partners will resume accepting applications soon, though a date hasn’t been announced. To qualify, applicants must meet household income limits that amount to 80 percent of the metro area median income (AMI) — or $50,350 a year for an individual and $71,900 for a family of four.

During the pilot, two-thirds of households that received help had incomes at or below the 30 percent AMI level, or about $27,000 for a family of four, according to the city’s Office of Economic Development.

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The city has granted separate $500,000 contract extensions to Brothers Redevelopment and Northeast Denver Housing Inc. Those groups also recently received $125,000 in grants from the Wells Fargo Foundation, money that the city says will help pay for added support services for program beneficiaries.

City officials estimate that more than 770 households will receive rental payment assistance during the second phase, and another 118 applicants will qualify for utility assistance. Applicants must provide evidence that they are facing a financial crisis, such as a lost job or a notice of rent increase that makes their housing unaffordable.

Residents also could qualify if they face unsafe housing conditions or an energy shutoff notice.

Here is a presentation given earlier in May to a City Council committee:

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Aqib Talib voted No. 53 among NFL’s top 100 list for 2017

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 6:07pm

Former Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib is still among the NFL’s best, according to his peers.

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Talib, 32, was voted in at No. 53 on the NFL Top 100 list. This is Talib’s fourth appearance on the list and joins cornerback Chris Harris Jr. (No. 86) as the only 2017 Broncos to land on the annual rankings so far.

Talib started 15 games for Denver last season, tallying seven pass defenses and 23 tackles. His one interception — tied for the fewest in a season in his career — was a doozy: a 103-yard pick-six against Dallas in Week 2.

The five-time Pro Bowler was traded to the Los Angeles Rams in March for a 2018 fifth-round draft pick. The pick was traded back to the Rams in exchange for two sixth-round picks. Denver picked offensive lineman Sam Jones and linebacker Keishawn Bierria with the selections.

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“Critical” violation of animal welfare: Federal inspectors fault National Jewish Health for treatment of guinea pigs during smoking study

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 5:57pm

The study was supposed to expose guinea pigs to cigarette smoke a few hours a day, five days a week inside a specially designed “smoking machine.”

But, when the U.S. Department of Agriculture conducted a routine inspection of the lab at National Jewish Health in Denver earlier this year, it discovered research that had gone off the rails.

One group of guinea pigs had been exposed to more smoke — five hours a day for six days — than the study’s approved guidelines called for. Two guinea pigs were described in research records that an inspector reviewed as having bloody discharge from the nose. One of those had to be euthanized after also being observed with labored breathing and displaying “vocalization.” And medicine that was supposed to be administered to the guinea pigs during the study had been given after the animals’ exposure to smoke ended because the researcher didn’t obtain it in time.

The failings caused the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service of the USDA to hit National Jewish last month with a “critical” violation of animal welfare practices. On Monday, the animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals filed a complaint with officials at the National Institutes of Health, seeking more information about the study.

Alka Chandna, a PETA vice president who specializes in laboratory oversight, said people don’t need to care about the suffering of guinea pigs to find the inspection report troubling. The departures from previously approved study protocols also places the research’s validity into question.

“You’re basically throwing monkey wrenches into what was designed,” she said.

The inspection report, which is dated April 17, tells National Jewish to correct the problems “from this date forward.”

In an email, a National Jewish spokesman said that the institution had made fixes as a result of the report.

“National Jewish Health is dedicated to the humane care and use of animals that help us understand the treatment and mechanisms of disease,” spokesman Adam Dormuth wrote. “We take these matters seriously and have taken appropriate steps to correct the protocols surrounding the issue cited.”

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National Jewish Health is a 119-year-old health center focused on respiratory diseases. It is consistently ranked among the best hospitals in the country for treating respiratory illness.

It also is a thriving research center, and Dormuth said National Jewish sometimes uses animals in its research.

“This research has been invaluable in helping our scientists understand disease and develop new drugs and treatments for millions of people who suffer from disease,” he wrote in the email. “Research protocols are regularly reviewed internally, and we work closely with regulatory agencies, to ensure the highest quality of care of these animals.”

He declined to say more about the particular study cited in the USDA report, other than that it focused on the effects of exposure to cigarette smoke by duration.

There are about 20 research facilities in Colorado registered with the USDA to conduct studies on animals. Critical violations — which indicate that an animal died or was seriously harmed as the result of the violation — are uncommon.

The USDA hit the University of Colorado with a critical violation in 2016 after two research rabbits escaped from an enclosure. One of the rabbits was later discovered with a leg injury and had to be euthanized.

“That is rare,” PETA’s Chandna said of the USDA finding a critical violation, “and it’s always very concerning.”

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Last year’s massive storm in Colorado generated 13 percent of hail claims nationally

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 5:41pm

More than half of all hail-damage claims made against home insurance policies in the United States due to catastrophic storms came from just two states — Colorado and Texas, according to LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

The two states accounted for 51 percent of hail-related home claims suffered between March and May of last year, with Colorado alone accounting for 13 percent of the total of catastrophic storm claims.

“Colorado was an outlier in terms of the number of claims coming in,” said George Hosfield, senior director of home insurance at LexisNexis Risk Solutions.

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A storm that dropped massive hail stones across the metro area during rush hour on May 8 last year generated $2.3 billion in home and auto claims, making it the most damaging in state history.

That storm was so powerful it contributed to a 10-fold jump in catastrophic storm claims against home policies due to hail versus 2016.

Hosfield said the public tends to think of tornadoes and hurricanes as the most devastating homewreckers. But it is actually hail, which hits Colorado’s eastern third with some of the highest frequency of any part of the country.

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He lost his fingers trying to climb Everest. On his eighth attempt, he lost his life.

The Denver Post - May 21, 2018 - 5:32pm

For Nobukazu Kuriki, the 2012 attempt to summit Mount Everest was costly.

Strong winds from a sudden blizzard had derailed the Japanese climber’s fourth attempt up the world’s tallest mountain. For two days, he cowered inside an improvised emergency shelter that mountaineers call a snowhole as winds howled, and temperatures plunged below zero.

The snow shelter kept him alive — but by the time he emerged, Kuriki had frostbite so bad, he would ultimately lose parts of nine fingers. For a few despondent days in a hospital, he also lost the will to climb.

“Before my fingers were amputated, I phoned my father,” he said in recounting the incident on his YouTube channel. “The first thing he said was, ‘Congratulations.’ I asked him what for; he said because I survived.”

But, he continued: “My dream is not only climbing Mount Everest. My real goal is (to) overcome the barrier of negativity.”

Two years later, he made a triumphant return to climbing, scaling Broad Peak in the Himalayas — the 12th-highest point in the world.

The next year, he was back on Everest. But the summit would forever remain out of reach.

Kuriki died Monday during his eighth unsuccessful attempt to climb to the top of Everest, tourism officials told the Japan Times.

During this most recent climb, Kuriki had suffered from a persistent cough, fever and unspecified pain, according to a post on his Facebook page.

But the post said he was feeling better, and intended to press on.

“The cough and fever that (I had) in the first half are almost gone,” he said Saturday, ending the note optimistically. “I think there is a chance now … Everyone, thank you for your support.”

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He went missing about 11:30 p.m. Sunday night and sent an emergency radio message to his climbing guides from Camp III, the Japan Times reported.

They attempted a rescue, but it was too late.

Every year, about 1,200 people attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest, an often congested dash to the top during the short climbing season in May, according to the New York Times.

And for most of the last decade, Kuriki was among them.

He was born in Hokkaido and began to pursue his dream of climbing the world’s highest peaks in college. By the time he was 35, he had climbed the tallest points of six continents.

He had made successful solo attempts on Mount McKinley, the highest peak in North America, in 2004, and also had successfully climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina, Mount Elbrus in Russia, Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania and the Carstensz Pyramid in Indonesia, according to the Himalayan Times.

This year, Kuriki was climbing Everest the hard way, going without supplemental oxygen, making him susceptible to the hallucinations and pulmonary edema of altitude sickness in the dangerously thin air.

Succeed or fail, he wanted to bring the world with him, hiking with a team that recorded his ascent and broadcast his adventure on his Facebook page and his website.

“My real goal is for people to share experiences of overcoming failures and setbacks,” he said in one video. “Through sharing my adventure I also share my failures and setbacks.”

The life as a mountaineer had brought him fame in his home country.

He had a publicist and had written two books and appeared in several TV series and documentaries. He gave 80 lectures a year, according to his website, “motivating people through team building and new employee training sessions, as well as education to realize dreams at school.”

He told people he was not bitter about his failures, even the one that had left him permanently disfigured.

“In my experience, the mountains that I could not summit made a greater impression on me than the ones that I successfully climbed,” he said in the video.

“I don’t have bitter memories at all. Rather, that they overwhelmed me, and taught me modesty and humility. That is to say, being challenged means that you can benefit from something that rises above success, failure, victory, and defeat.”

In the end, he frequently told people, his climbs up Everest and other peaks had taught him perseverance through pain.

This, he said, is what he wanted people to say about him: “He suffers so much and he’s still climbing.”

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