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Graeme McDowell makes the cut before home crowd at Royal Portrush

The Denver Post - 1 hour 2 min ago

PORTRUSH, Northern Ireland — Graeme McDowell knows pressure, from delivering the winning point for Europe in the Ryder Cup to winning the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach. All he was trying to do Friday in the British Open was make the cut.

And he felt it.

“Anytime you’re trying to make a cut on a Friday afternoon, especially at a major championship, you’re always a little tight, a little nervous,” McDowell said. “But this one obviously means a lot, to play the weekend here.”

McDowell was among three Ulstermen at Royal Portrush, but no roots run deeper. He was born and raised here, and grew up playing the Valley Links of adjacent Rathmore Golf Club and Royal Portrush.

He began the British Open having to flick a tear from his eye. He finished the opening round with a triple bogey. And with four holes to go, he was right on the cut line and couldn’t buy a putt. But he finished with four straight pars for a 70 and gets two more days.

“Just how much this meant, how symbolic this weekend is, and to make sure I was in there was very important to me,” McDowell said. “And I couldn’t seem to get a putt to drop 15, 16, 17. And thankfully, made two nice swings at the last and gave myself a look. It was satisfying.”

McDowell was so bothered by his finish Thursday that he went home instead of going to the range. His goal Friday, along with making the cut, was to reset and put on a good show for the home crowd.

“That was part of what I wanted to do today was have a great attitude for them,” he said. “I don’t want anybody out there feeling sorry for me, whether I triple the last or not. I’m in a very privileged position and I need to keep my head high and obviously show these people I’m proud to be here. … I managed to kind of reset and come out with the right attitude today and continue to hit some pretty good shots.”

GOING HOME

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the two star attractions at the British Open, won’t be around for the weekend.

They had plenty of company.

U.S. Open champion Gary Woodland, Phil Mickelson and Zach Johnson were among those who missed the cut in a major for the first time this year. Also missing the cut was Jason Day, Brandt Snedeker and Hideki Matsuyama.

Woods now has missed the cut in 10 majors for his pro career. Mickelson has missed the cut in majors 14 times. But this was the first time in 77 majors they have played together as pros that they missed the cut at the same major.

CALLED OUT

Bob MacIntyre, the 23-year-old Scot in his British Open debut, says he had a few words with one of his playing partners after a tee shot went into the crowd and hit his caddie’s mother.

MacIntyre said he was angry with Kyle Stanley, not because of the wayward shot on the 17th hole, but because he didn’t yell “Fore.”

“We’re shouting as it’s coming into the crowd and he’s just standing watching it,” MacIntyre said. “People don’t have enough time to react after we shout. It hits Greg (Milne), my caddie’s, mom. And so I told them how it was.”

MacIntyre said both he and his other playing partner, Andrew Johnston, shouted as the ball was coming down, but it was too late.

Milne’s mother was not injured, he said.

MacIntyre made the cut after shooting 72 to stand at 2 under for the tournament. Stanley, who made par on the hole, shot 67 and is at 4 under.

I CAN HEAR YOU

Shane Lowry sent his tee shot on the 17th well to the right and into the gallery, and he was visibly upset about a distraction during his swing.

He heard television commentary — about his swing.

“There’s a little tented village with a TV screen about 80 yards from the tee box,” Lowry said. “And I could hear Jay Townsend commenting on my shot. Just on my backswing, he said, ‘He’s got 295 to the top of the hill.’ Yeah, that put me off.”

But his ball was found on a trampled path, so he had a good lie. And even though he went long, Lowry made another superb pitch and saved par. Lowry said he had no plans to seek out the R&A to turn down the volume on the television.

“Maybe they might hear this,” he said with a smile.

MAN’S BEST FRIEND

J.B. Holmes was leading the British Open when he signed for a 68 and faced the media.

Nearly half the questions were about his dog.

“His name is Ace,” Holmes said. “We got him at a charity auction.”

Holmes didn’t want a dog when he was about to embark on a season of travel, but they found a way to travel with the miniature Golden doodle. Now they go just about everywhere with Ace and their 18-month-old son.

“It’s a little pain getting him through the airport sometimes, but it’s worth it being able to travel with a piece of home with you,” Holmes said. “He’s like a family member. You ask my 18-month-old son who’s his best buddy, he says Ace. It’s nice to have him around.”

Almost everywhere.

Holmes had to leave Ace — and his son — at home because of all the paperwork required for overseas.

“We FaceTime the son, and the dog is in the background,” Holmes said. “They’re never too far apart.”

Holmes didn’t mention the charity auction, only that he wound up paying $5,000 for Ace.

“That’s been the cheapest thing about the dog so far,” he said.

___

AP Sports Writer Tim Dahlberg contributed to this report.

Categories: All Denver News.

Former Rockies star DJ LeMahieu thriving with New York Yankees

The Denver Post - 1 hour 33 min ago

NEW YORK — Let’s address the elephant in the room.

A bunch of baseball pundits and a number of major-league front offices considered DJ LeMahieu something of a Coors Field creation. But the Yankees’ all-star infielder is not the least bit surprised that he’s thriving outside the Mile High City.

“I feel like I’m a good hitter no matter what ballpark I’m hitting in or what pitcher I’m facing,” LeMahieu said Friday afternoon before his new team hosted the Rockies at Yankee Stadium. “But I’ve got to say it’s nice to not be asked a bunch of questions about Coors Field.”

LeMahieu, who signed a two-year, $24 million deal to come to New York, entered Friday’s game leading the American League with a .329 average and batting .439 with runners in scoring position, second in the majors behind Detroit’s Miguel Cabrera. LeMahieu, 31, has already driven in 65 runs, one shy of his career-high with the Rockies in 2016 when he won the NL batting title with a .348 average.

Last season, however, he batted just .276 with a .321 on-base percentage. On the road, he hit .229 with a .277 OBP. He also went on the injured list three times after having never been on the IL before. Those facts made many in baseball skeptical.

RELATED: Kiszla: Big reason the shine is off Rockies’ season? D.J. LeMahieu, the all-star Jeff Bridich foolishly let get away

Still, the Yankees kept their eye on LeMahieu. Special assistant Jim Hendry, who knew LeMahieu when he played at LSU and drafted him in 2009 as general manager of the Cubs, lobbied all winter for New York to sign him.

LeMahieu, one of the Rockies’ most dependable and popular players during his seven seasons in Colorado, exchanged hugs and fist bumps with several of his former teammates Friday, including close friend and former roommate, all-star outfielder Charlie Blackmon.

“Sure I miss Colorado, and I especially miss the guys,” LeMahieu said. “Charlie, of course, but Nolan (Arenado) and Trevor (Story) and Chris (Iannetta). I miss everybody over there, but we have a really good group of guys here.”

Rockies manager Bud Black remains fond of both LeMahieu and former Colorado reliever Adam Ottavino, who signed a three-year, $27 million deal with the Yankees.

“Two of my favorites,” Black said. “I think about 2017 and ’18, our two playoff years with DJ, and I think about what a steady, dependable player he was for us. Not just between the lines when the game started, but he’s truly a thinking man’s player. That translated well to the entire team. I think the result was a comfort level in having him out there for the other guys.”

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In New York, LeMahieu’s been tagged “LeMachine,” and he’s loving life in the Big Apple, where the Yankees are the toast of the town with a 62-33 record that gives them an eight-game lead over Tampa Bay in the AL East.

“It’s been a fun clubhouse to be a part of and it’s a very talented group,” he said. “I enjoy playing at Yankee Stadium and this is a cool division to be part of, especially with the Red Sox-Yankees series and the intensity of those games. I have really enjoyed it.”

Footnotes. Outfielder David Dahl, originally slated to start in left field Friday night, was a late scratch. He’s dealing with a bruised left foot after fouling a ball off it in Wednesday’s game vs. San Francisco. … There is a ray of hope for the Rockies’ pitching staff as it opened a crucial 10-game, 11-day road trip. Colorado’s road 3.96 ERA ranked second in the NL entering Friday’s game. Over the past 18 road games, the bullpen had posted a 2.62 ERA.

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Here’s why CDOT says U.S. 36’s westbound lanes won’t also collapse

The Denver Post - 1 hour 34 min ago

Colorado transportation officials have assured the public that the westbound lanes of U.S. 36 through Westminster are structurally sound and safe — despite the utter collapse of the eastbound span just across the median, caused by soil shifting dramatically beneath it.

What makes them so sure the westbound side is safe?

The question is even more pointed since the westbound side is now pulling double duty, carrying an emergency configuration of two lanes in each direction while the eastbound side continues buckling and sinking.

A 300-foot stretch of the eastbound lanes and a retaining wall in the highway’s run-up to a railroad overpass began cracking, then collapsing, late last week just north of Church Ranch Boulevard in Westminster. The Colorado Department of Transportation has begun an investigation to figure out why.

RELATED: U.S. 36: CDOT will start search for answers, and blame, on 5-year-old section that’s crumbling

The Denver Post spoke Friday to Josh Laipply, the chief engineer for CDOT, to get a better sense of the reasons behind CDOT’s assurances.

He detailed several key differences:

Distance above the ground

On the east side, the retaining wall was roughly 30 feet tall, and it was atop a 15-foot embankment. The west side’s wall is less than half as tall, and the embankment isn’t as steep, since the ground level is higher north of the highway.

As water-saturated clay weakened in the eastbound side’s embankment and behind the wall, there was significantly more soil above it, piling on weight.

“When we talk about slope failures, it’s that extra height that causes the extra strain,” Laipply said, adding: “The majority of weight on that is the soil — the cars (on the highway) are kind of de minimis in terms of the amount of soil pressure you have.”

Separate retaining walls

The independence of the two sides’ retaining walls provides additional safety, he said. Each was built with industrial-strength straps that are embedded in the soil, going for 30 to 40 feet toward the median. Even as the eastbound side’s soil has shifted down the embankment, he said, the westbound’s wall structure has remained secure.

Initially, Laipply said, the failure on the eastbound side showed through cracks in the pavement and bulges in the wall, as the structure was overwhelmed by the force of the soil shifting.

Bruce Finley, The Denver PostA large crack along eastbound U.S. 36 between Wadsworth and Church Ranch boulevards is pictured on July 14, 2019. Nearby wetlands

CDOT is still investigating whether the water that saturated the clay came from rainstorms in the wet spring, from groundwater or, likely, from the adjacent wetlands south of the highway.

“The westbound is inherently drier than the eastbound,” Laipply said. On the westbound side, “that clay layer is present, and may not be as wet. But it certainly doesn’t have the same amount of load” above it as on the eastbound side.

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Of course, the eastbound side was supposed to be engineered to withstand wet and shifting soil, too. For now, though, CDOT is confident the westbound side won’t follow suit, since it hasn’t shown any of the troublesome early signs that were spotted on the eastbound side July 11, the day before CDOT closed the eastbound side and the deterioration accelerated.

But CDOT workers remain on the lookout just in case, Laipply said, performing detailed and recurring surveys with inclinometers in hand. (Haven’t heard of that tool? Think of incline, since those tools can be used to detect changes in slope and ground movement.)

“We’ve seen no cracks and we’ve seen no movement” on the westbound side, Laipply said. “If we do see movement, we’ll have plenty of time to say we’re concerned and pull people off.”

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Denver weather hits 101 degrees, tying 14-year-old record, as summer heat scorches Colorado

The Denver Post - 1 hour 57 min ago

Denver tied a 14-year-old record Friday, hitting 101 degrees a little after 3 p.m.

The National Weather Service announced the tie for the hottest July 19 on record, noting it was the 42nd year Denver has had a high greater than 100 degrees in the 147-year period of record.

Denver (DIA) reached 101° at 3:13pm this afternoon. This ties the daily record high set back in 2005. This is the 92nd 100°+ high in the 147 year period of record for the Denver area and the first in 2019. #COwx

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) July 19, 2019

Temperatures were scorching throughout most of the rest of the state.

Pueblo, for example, hit 105 degrees at 3:19 p.m., breaking the record of 104 set in 2018. And Colorado Springs hit 97, matching the record high set in 2005.

A break from near-record heat is expected, however. Temperatures should drop significantly when a cold front moves into the state on the weekend.

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Jefferson County man charged with 34 counts after 17-hour standoff with police

The Denver Post - 2 hours 9 min ago

A Jefferson County man has been charged with 12 counts of attempted first-degree murder after a 17-hour police standoff where he exchanged shots with police.

John Cruz Jr.

John Cruz Jr., 40, faces 22 other charges in connection with the July 12 incident on 2500 block of Fenton Street. Those additional charges include four counts of attempted first-degree assault, eight counts of menacing and arson, according to a news release from the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

When police arrived they rescued Cruz’s father and his wife from the house. The father told police that his son was armed with several weapons, the news release said.

The standoff, which included exchanged gunfire, ended at 12:30 a.m. July 13. There were no injuries.

Cruz appeared in court Friday where he was advised of these charges. He is being held at the Jefferson County jail on $500,000 bond. His preliminary hearing has been for Aug. 15.

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Trump administration’s plan to slow Western wildfires would clear large strips of land

The Denver Post - 2 hours 43 min ago

SALT LAKE CITY — The Trump administration is proposing an ambitious plan to slow Western wildfires by bulldozing, mowing or revegetating large swaths of land along 11,000 miles of terrain in the West.

The plan that was announced this summer and presented at public open houses, including one in Salt Lake City this week, would create strips of land known “fuel breaks” on about 1,000 square miles of land managed by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management in an area known as the Great Basin in parts of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah.

The estimated cost would be about $55 million to $192 million, a wide range that illustrates the variance in costs for the different types of fuel breaks. Some would completely clear lands, others would mow down vegetation and a third method would replant the area with more fire-resistance vegetation.

It would cost another $18 million to $107 million each year to maintain the strips and ensure vegetation doesn’t regrow on the strips of land.

Wildfire experts say the program could help slow fires, but it won’t help in the most extreme fires that can jump these strips of land. The breaks could also fragment wildlife habitat.

An environmental group calls it an ill-conceived and expensive plan that has no scientific backing to show it will work.

A U.S. Geological Survey report issued last year found that fuel breaks could be an important tool to reduce damage caused by wildfires, but the agency cautioned that no scientific studies have been done to prove their effectiveness and that they could alter habitat for sagebrush plants and animal communities.

The Bureau of Land Management says it has done about 1,200 assessments of fuel breaks since 2002 and found they help control fires about 80 percent of the time.

The strips of land that would be 500 feet or less would be created along highways, rural roads and other areas already disturbed such as right of ways for pipelines, said Marlo Draper, the Bureau of Land Management’s supervisory project manager for the Idaho Great Basin team.

They won’t prevent fires, but they should reduce the costs of having to battle major blazes because fuel breaks reduce the intensity, flame length and spread of fires and keep firefighters safe, Draper said.

It cost about $373 million over the last decade to fight 21 fires that were larger than 156 square miles (404 square kilometers) on lands managed by the bureau in Utah, Nevada and Idaho, according to a report explaining the proposal.

“It gives us a chance to get in front of it and put fires out more quickly,” Draper said.

Western wildfires have grown more lethal because of extreme drought and heat associated with climate change and by housing developments encroaching on the most fire-prone grasslands and brushy canyons. Many of the ranchers and farmers who once managed those landscapes are gone, leaving terrain thick with vegetation that can explode into flames.

The proposal is out for public comment and pending environmental review. If approved, some of the land could be cleared as soon as next year while other projects could take several years, she said.

The plan comes after President Trump last December issued an executive order last December calling on the Interior Department to prioritize reducing wildfire risks on public lands.

This proposal doesn’t include U.S. National Forest Service lands. Most states have their own separate plans for fire prevention, which sometimes include thinning of forests.

These fuel breaks are a useful tool if used along with other wildfire prevention methods that can keep firefighters safer and potentially help out in broad scopes of land because they are long and thin, said Lenya Quinn-Davidson, the area fire adviser for University of California Cooperative Extension. They can especially helpful by providing perimeters for prescribed burns. But they must be in the right places and don’t stop fires, she said.

David Peterson, an ecology professor at the University of Washington and former federal research scientist, said the plan will likely produce mixed success slowing down fires. But Peterson said the plan will not help with extreme fires that produce embers and flames that jump over these fire breaks. He said the risk of fragmenting important habitat and harming animals like sage grouse is real.

The U.S. government must also be committed to the chore of maintaining the areas or the plan won’t help and could open the door for more cheat grass to grow in, which fuels fires.

“We are buying into a long-term commitment of funding,” Peterson said.

Patrick Donnelly, the Center for Biological Diversity’s Nevada state director, said the plan could break up habitat for sage grouse, deer and the Pygmy rabbit. He said the money would be better spent planting native seed and sagebrush to get rid of non-native plants that make fires worst.

“This seems like the Interior is trying to demonstrate they are doing something, and they want something that is impressive to people, like: ‘Look at us, we’ve bulldozed 11,000 miles of desert,’” Donnelly said. “Ultimately, this is a misguided effort.”

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Iran’s seizure of UK tanker in Gulf seen as escalation

The Denver Post - 2 hours 54 min ago

LONDON — Britain’s foreign secretary said Iranian authorities seized two vessels Friday in the Strait of Hormuz, actions signaling intensifying tensions in the strategic waterway that has become a flashpoint between Tehran and the West.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said one of the seized ships was British-flagged and the other sailed under Liberia’s flag. Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency tweeted shortly after Hunt’s statement that the second tanker had left Iran’s territorial waters.

“These seizures are unacceptable,” Hunt said as he prepared to enter an emergency government meeting Friday night. “It is essential that freedom of navigation is maintained and that all ships can move safely and freely in the region.”

The seizing of the British tanker marked perhaps the most significant escalation since tensions between Iran and the West began rising in May. At that time, the U.S. announced it was dispatching an aircraft carrier and additional troops to the Persian Gulf, citing unspecified threats posed by Iran.

The ongoing showdown has caused jitters around the globe, amid fears that any misunderstanding or misstep by either side could lead to war.

Details of what took place Friday remained sketchy. Iran said earlier Friday that it had seized a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, which is at the mouth of the Persian Gulf and serves as the passageway for one-fifth of all global crude exports.

The tanker Stena Impero was taken to an Iranian port because it was not complying with “international maritime laws and regulations,” Iran’s Revolutionary Guard declared.

Britain’s Royal Marines assisted in the seizure of an Iranian oil supertanker on July 4 by Gibraltar, a British overseas territory off the southern coast of Spain.

Britain said it would release the vessel if Iran could prove it was not breaching European sanctions on oil shipments to Syria. The seized vessel was loaded with over 2 million barrels of Iranian crude oil.

A statement from Stena Bulk, which owns the tanker, said it was unable to contact the ship after it was approached by unidentified vessels and a helicopter in the Strait of Hormuz.

The company said the tanker, with 23 crew members aboard, was in international waters when it was approached but subsequently appeared to be heading toward Iran.

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U.K. Chamber of Shipping chief executive Bob Sanguinetti said the seizure represented an escalation in tensions in the Persian Gulf and made it clear more protection for merchant vessels was urgently needed.

He claimed the action is “in violation of international regulations which protect ships and their crews as they go about their legitimate business in international waters.”

The British government should do “whatever is necessary” to ensure the safe and swift return of the ship’s crew, Sanguinetti said.

Crude oil prices climbed following Iran’s announcement as traders worried the escalating tensions could affect crude supplies. The price of oil was lower earlier in the day. U.S. stocks also fell as traders sold to avoid holding stocks into the weekend. The S&P 500 dropped 0.6% Friday after being up 0.4% in the morning.

The incident came just two days after Washington claimed that a U.S. warship downed an Iranian drone in the Strait. Iran denied that it lost an aircraft in the area.

President Donald Trump said U.S. officials would talk with Britain about the unfolding crisis.

“This only goes to show what I’m saying about Iran: Trouble, nothing but trouble,” he said.

Trump said “Iran is showing their colors” and “in big trouble right now” because its economy has been crippled by U.S. economic sanctions.

The U.S. has asked Mideast allies like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in past weeks to contribute financially and militarily to a Trump administration proposal called the Sentinel Program — a coalition of nations working with the U.S. to preserve maritime security in the Persian Gulf and keep eyes on Iran.

On June 20, Iran shot down an American drone in the same waterway, and Trump came close to retaliating but called off an airstrike at the last moment.

Tensions in the region have been escalating since the Trump administration withdrew from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers and imposed sweeping sanctions on Iran, including its oil exports, that have hit its economy hard.

Iran’s government has desperately tried to get out of the chokehold, appealing to the other partners in the deal, particularly Europe, to pressure the U.S. to lift the bruising sanctions. Europe wants to maintain the nuclear deal, but has not been able to address Iranian demands, particularly concerning the sale of oil, without violating U.S. sanctions.

On Friday, Iran and the United States emphatically disagreed over Washington’s claim that a U.S. warship downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz. American officials said they used electronic jamming to bring down the unmanned aircraft, while Iran said it simply didn’t happen.

Neither side provided evidence to prove its claim.

At the White House, Trump said flatly of the Iranian drone: “We shot it down.” But Pentagon and other officials have said repeatedly that the USS Boxer, a Navy ship in the Strait of Hormuz, actually jammed the drone’s signal, causing it to crash, and did not fire a missile. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive technology.

Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, said, “There is no question this was an Iranian drone, and the USS Boxer took it out as the president announced yesterday because it posed a threat to the ship and its crew. It’s entirely the right thing to do.”

In Tehran, the Iranian military said all its drones had returned safely to their bases and denied there was any confrontation with the USS Boxer, an amphibious assault ship.

“We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else,” tweeted Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on its website Friday said the drone recorded three hours of video of the USS Boxer and five other vessels Thursday beginning when the ships first entered the Strait of Hormuz. There was no immediate explanation as to how the video was evidence that no Iranian drone was destroyed.

The Revolutionary Guard said its forces continue to monitor all movements by foreigners — especially “the terrorist forces” of the U.S. and the British in the Strait and the Gulf.

After Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Iran nuclear deal with world powers last year and imposed economic sanctions against Tehran, the Iranians have pushed back on the military front in recent weeks, with Washington accusing Tehran of threatening American forces and interests in the region.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, suggested in New York as he arrived for a meeting at the United Nations that Iran could immediately ratify an agreement to allow broader checks of its nuclear facilities by U.N. inspectors if the U.S. dropped its sanctions.

China urged Washington to consider the offer, calling it “a positive signal that Iran is willing to seek a compromise solution.”

The Pentagon said Thursday’s incident happened in international waters while the Boxer was entering the Gulf. The Boxer is among several U.S. Navy ships in the area, including the USS Abraham Lincoln, an aircraft carrier that has been operating in the North Arabian Sea for weeks in response to rising tensions.

The Iranians and Americans have had close encounters in the Strait of Hormuz in the past, and it is not unprecedented for Iran to fly a drone near a U.S. warship.

Zarif blamed Washington for the escalation and accused the Trump administration of “trying to starve our people” and “deplete our treasury” through sanctions.

___

Jill Lawless in London and David Rising in Berlin contributed.

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Littleton church camp counselor charged with sexually assaulting 11-year-old girl

The Denver Post - 3 hours 23 min ago

A 20-year-old camp counselor at the church-sponsored Eagle Lake Day Camp in Littleton has been charged with sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust, a spokesperson for the Jefferson County District Attorney said.

JeffCo District Attorney's OfficeTolar Locke

Tolar Mitchell Locke was advised of the charge Friday in Jefferson County District Court, said Pam Russell, spokeswoman for the First Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Locke has been released from jail on a $15,000 bond.

Eagle Lake Camps is a religious organization that sets up camps at churches across the United States. Eagle Lake is affiliated with The Navigators, a Colorado Springs-based ministry.

Someone from the Eagle Lake Camp at Foothills Bible Church, 6100 S. Devinney Way, called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and reported a sexual assault on an 11-year-old girl who was attending the church day camp.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Aug. 15 in Locke’s case.

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Pace of hiring picks up in June in Colorado

The Denver Post - 3 hours 59 min ago

Colorado employers added a net 8,100 jobs between May and June, with the strongest gains coming in professional and business services, construction and government, according to an update Friday from the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.

May’s monthly gain, which initially came in at an anemic 2,200 jobs, was revised higher as well to 7,000 jobs added. For the year, nonfarm employment in the state is up by 52,800.

Professional and business services added 4,900 jobs, the most of any sector. Construction firms added 1,500 jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis, while government employment rose by 1,600 on the month.

Mining employment, which includes oil and gas, was flat, as was trade, transportation and utilities. Manufacturing and leisure and hospitality shed jobs between May and June.

Wilfredo Lee, The Associated PressIn this 2015 file photo, job applications and information for the Gap Factory Store sit on a table during a job fair at Dolphin Mall in Miami.

Colorado’s unemployment rate to 3 percent, compared to a 3.2 percent rate in May and a U.S. rate of 3.7 percent.

Monthly job gains were concentrated entirely in metro Denver and Colorado Springs. Boulder, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, and Pueblo all showed a drop. For the year, El Paso County has added the most jobs, followed by Denver, Arapahoe, Jefferson, Adams and Larimer counties.

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16-year-old accidentally shoots himself, sister in Aurora

Denver Post Aurora - 4 hours 1 min ago

A 16-year-old accidentally shot himself and his 14-year-old sister Thursday in Aurora, but survived their injuries, police said.

Both sustained non life-threatening injuries and were treated at the hospital, police spokesman Anthony Camacho said.

The siblings were in a house in the 3800 block of South Fraser Street when the 16-year-old accidentally discharged the gun, hitting himself. The bullet went through the wall and struck his sister, Camacho said.

Police could not confirm where the teens were shot or how they acquired the weapon.

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16-year-old accidentally shoots himself, sister in Aurora

The Denver Post - 4 hours 1 min ago

A 16-year-old accidentally shot himself and his 14-year-old sister Thursday in Aurora, but survived their injuries, police said.

Both sustained non life-threatening injuries and were treated at the hospital, police spokesman Anthony Camacho said.

The siblings were in a house in the 3800 block of South Fraser Street when the 16-year-old accidentally discharged the gun, hitting himself. The bullet went through the wall and struck his sister, Camacho said.

Police could not confirm where the teens were shot or how they acquired the weapon.

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Minus Todd Davis, Broncos begin looking at fill-in inside linebackers

The Denver Post - 4 hours 6 min ago

Before his first training camp practice as the Broncos coach was over Thursday, Vic Fangio had lost last year’s leading tackler.

Inside linebacker Todd Davis sustained a calf strain late in the workout and an MRI confirmed the damage.

“He’s going to be out for a couple of weeks and then we’ll see from there,” Fangio said after practice Friday.

A league source said Davis’ recovery time is expected to be 3-4 weeks.

Take the high end of that timetable and add a week for conditioning/re-acclimation. Davis could play against the Los Angeles Rams on Aug. 24. But does that make sense? The most prudent plan could be adopting patience to make sure Davis is ready to play Sept. 9 at Oakland.

RELATED: Broncos’ Bryce Callahan embraces role as player bridge to Vic Fangio defense

While Davis is out, the Broncos have a period of discovery, choosing which backups should make the initial 53-man roster and who should be Davis’ top fill-in.

Davis played 842 of 1,077 defensive snaps last year and led the team with 114 tackles. Joe Jones and Kieshawn Bierria played 25 and 18 snaps, respectively.

But during Friday’s practice, Alexander Johnson worked alongside Josey Jewell with the first-team defense. Johnson played no defensive snaps last year for the Broncos.

“You saw (Johnson) out there running with the first group and probably (Saturday) or (Sunday), it will be somebody else,” Fangio said. “We’re going to even off the work.”

The breakdown during 11-on-11: First unit base — Johnson/Jewell. First nickel — Jewell/rookie Justin Hollins. Second unit base — Jones/rookie Josh Watson. Second nickel — Hollins/Jones. Third unit base — Bierria/rookie Joe Dineen.

“I think we’ve got depth,” Jewell said. “People will have to step up, come to work, play with the 1s and get comfortable out there. It will be good for those guys.”

Johnson did not play football from 2015-17 after being charged with rape (he was acquitted). He signed with the Broncos last summer and spent most of the season on the active roster.

“He’s got good size (6-foot-2, 255 pounds) and he’s a thumper in there,” Fangio said. “He just has to improve his overall understanding and execution. He’s a guy who missed a lot of football in his career and he has a lot of catching up to do, not just in our system but learning how to play in the NFL and overcoming the lack of action he’s had.”

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Said Johnson: “The coaches know I’m a physical, fast guy. I’m pretty sure they want to see me be able to get out there, line guys up, play fast and do my assignments. That’s the biggest thing. If I (know) the playbook like the back of my hand, I’ll be able to fly around.”

Hollins was primarily an outside linebacker at Oregon, but was drafted in the fifth round by the Broncos with the idea of working him outside (base package) and inside (sub personnel).

“I’m just trying to show the coaches I’m capable of playing both positions,” Hollins said. “It takes a little bit more time in the film room and a little more time with the coaches.”

Staff writer Kyle Fredrickson contributed to this story.

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Jeffco jury convicts woman of first-degree murder in death of man picking up barbecue

The Denver Post - 4 hours 45 min ago

A Jefferson County jury has convicted a 21-year-old woman for her role in the fatal shooting death of a man who was picking up barbecue for dinner when he was robbed.

JeffCo District Attorney's OfficeAlicia Elena Valdez

The jury returned its verdict against Alicia Elena Valdez on Thursday after deliberating for one day, according to a news release from the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office.

Following a six-day trial, Valdez was found guilty of first-degree felony murder, attempted aggravated robbery and conspiracy to commit robbery, the news release said.

Two other accomplices are already serving life prison sentences in the April 5, 2018, shooting death of 27-year-old Andrew Jenicek of Edgewater. Jenicek was picking up barbeque for dinner when Caleb Joseph Vigil, 20, approached him in a parking lot at 20th Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard.

Vigil attempted to rob Jenicek and shot him in the chest while Valdez and 21-year-old Devon Drizzt Howard waited in a car, the news release said.

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After shooting Jenicek, Vigil got back in the car and Howard ran over Jenicek as they made their getaway, the news release said. Jenicek died at the scene.

Witnesses testified during the trial that Valdez and her two alleged accomplices acquired a gun a few days before the shooting and planned to use it to make money, the news release said.

Howard and Vigil were tried together in April.

On April 30, a jury found Howard guilty of 18 counts, including first-degree murder, attempted murder, aggravated intimidation of a witness, retaliation of a witness and aggravated robbery. On the same day, the jury found Vigil guilty of 16 counts including first-degree murder, second-degree murder, attempted murder, murder conspiracy and robbery, the news release said.

On May 31, Howard was sentenced to life in prison plus 279 years and Vigil was sentenced to life in prison plus 118 years, the news release said.

Valdez is scheduled for sentencing on Aug. 23. She faces a mandatory sentence of life in prison without parole on the murder conviction alone, the news release said.

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PHOTOS: Protest organized by Never Again Action calls for closing the detention camps

The Denver Post - 5 hours 3 min ago

Never Again Action organized a rally outside the Federal Courthouse, Thursday. The group opposes U.S. detention camps and calls for closing the camps as well as permanent protection for all immigrants.

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Denver’s Porter Adventist Hospital in “final stages” of restarting organ transplants a year after suspending services

The Denver Post - 5 hours 11 min ago

Denver’s Porter Adventist Hospital, which suspended its organ transplant operations last summer, is in the “final stages” of restarting the program, with a hospital spokesman saying Friday that it’s possible it will open by late summer or early fall.

Porter, which provides kidney, pancreas and liver transplants, suspended operations voluntarily last year, a decision that came after the departure of experienced employees that the Denver hospital had difficulty replacing.

More than 230 patients had to find another hospital for their procedures after the program was suspended.

In a statement, spokesman Joel Malecka said the facility is rebuilding the transplant program and has hired more than 20 new staffers, including surgeons. The hospital worked with the Florida Hospital Transplant Institute to retool the program.

RELATED: At least one death, “hundreds of severe infections” linked to Porter hospital’s use of contaminated surgical instruments, lawsuit alleges

“In addition to a highly specialized medical expertise, we combined a cultural element that further refined the requisite qualification to join our team,” Malecka said in a prepared statement. “While this process has taken longer than we anticipated, we are excited to be fully staffed and are in the final stages of opening our program.”

While Porter has not performed transplants since last year, the hospital still treats post-transplant patients, Malecka said.

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Porter suspended its transplant program a few months after the state health department found issues with how the hospital cleaned its surgical equipment. The hospital now faces a lawsuit from more than 60 patients who allege that the breach in sterilization procedures led to severe infections and at least one death.

Centura Health, which operates Porter, said in a statement last month that the hospital currently meets the state’s guidelines for sterilization. There is no indication that the sterilization issues affected the transplant program, which Porter has called a “separate issue.”

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Broncos’ Bryce Callahan embraces role as player bridge to Vic Fangio defense

The Denver Post - 5 hours 12 min ago

No player on the Broncos’ roster knows first-year head coach Vic Fangio quite like cornerback Bryce Callahan.

Callahan agreed to a three-year contract with Denver in March, but he spent the past four seasons with the Chicago Bears under Fangio as defensive coordinator. Callahan has practiced with the first-team defense through two days of Broncos’ training camp and spoke on a variety of team topics in a Friday interview with The Denver Post.

On rejoining forces with Fangio: “I was happy. It was something familiar and I didn’t have to learn a whole new scheme. I could come in with feet on the ground rolling.”

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On teaching the defense to teammates: “In OTAs when everybody was first learning the terminology and all that stuff, they were asking me questions. That’s kind of what I’m here for. You can learn better from a player sometimes than you can from a coach. In that aspect, I can help the guys a lot. … It’s the same message but just worded differently. We’re out on the field playing together. So when you hear it from a teammate it kind of rings different.”

On where he’s played during training camp: “I’ve been on the outside for the most part, but we’re kind of all rotating through the nickel position and just seeing what best fits for the team.”

On his time so far with the Broncos: “I’m loving the vibe. There are great guys here. I love the staff and I love Denver. There’s some nice scenery out here and it’s not freezing cold.”

This story will be updated.

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Broncos training camp rewind, Day 2: Hogan intercepted three times

The Denver Post - 5 hours 23 min ago

PLAYER ATTENDANCE

Did not practice: LB Todd Davis (calf). He was injured late in Thursday’s practice.

Returned to practice: TE Bug Howard (illness) and P Colby Wadman (personal) were back after missing Thursday.

NEW INJURIES

WR Romell Guerrier did not practice.

THUMBS UP

*CB De’Vante Bausby. Two interceptions in as many days for the cornerback trying to win a reserve roster spot. “He’s had a pretty good first couple days,” coach Vic Fangio said. “He’s been doing better. Hopefully, he is a guy slowly but surely maturing and growing into being a professional football player.”

*LB Alexander Johnson. With ILB Todd Davis out several weeks, Johnson got the first chance to work with the starters.

*WR Courtland Sutton. He bounced back with a quality practice on Friday, including a leaping catch near the sideline in which he also had the awareness to get his feet in as he fell out of bounds.

THUMBS DOWN

*QB Kevin Hogan. When does Drew Lock get a significant chance with the No. 2 offense? Hogan was intercepted three times during 11-on-11. “Why can’t you look at those as good plays by the defense?” Fangio asked/half-joked. “It’s way too early to start any thoughts (of moving Lock up).” Fangio said the coaching staff hasn’t finalized a plan for which quarterback plays how much during the preseason.

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*Pass protection. We charted six aborted plays that were whistled to a stop because of pressure on the passer. Hogan’s third interception came via forced throw when OLB Dekoda Watson won around the corner. How is the depth? “I think our O-line is in good shape,” Fangio said. “Hopefully we have a good unit in our front five. We’re looking for the next guys.”

*No music. But Fangio is giving himself a thumbs up for this decision. “Anybody that’s been a position coach, they don’t like music because it makes it hard to talk to your guys,” he said. “I don’t see the benefit of having music out there. … When it comes to the point where we need to simulate crowd noise, which we will do, it will be noise and not music. Noise, by definition, is annoying. Music sounds nice.”

ODDS AND ENDS

  • The Broncos ran 63 snaps of 11-on-11 and 30 snaps of 7-on-7.
  • Quarterback snaps (11-on-11): Joe Flacco 26, Kevin Hogan 17, Drew Lock 14 and Brett Rypien six. Quarterback snaps (7-on-7): Flacco nine, Hogan six, Lock 10 and Rypien five.
  • Interceptions: CB De’Vante Bausby, S Su’a Cravens and LB Joe Jones.
  • WR Emmanuel Sanders (Achilles) and TE Jake Butt (ACL) were again limited to individual drills.
  • RB David Williams signed with the Broncos Friday morning and took part in all parts of practice.
  • LB Josh Watson was attended to by trainers midway through practice but returned to team work.
  • Flacco’s was 3 of 3 during his first segment of 11-on-11 work: A diving catch by WR Juwann Winfree and catches by WR DaeSean Hamilton and RB Devontae Booker. His second segment ended with an incomplete pass intended for TE Noah Fant when the timing was disrupted by a low shotgun snap from C Connor McGovern.
  • Hogan’s first segment of 11-on-11: RB Royce Freeman carry, Jones interception, RB Devontae Jackson carry and aborted play (bad shotgun snap by C Austin Schlottmann). On the interception, Hogan was looking for an intended receiver in the left flat and slightly under pressure.
  • Highlights from 7-on-7: At one point, the quarterbacks completed 14 consecutive passes. Having 3-of-3 passing segments were Hogan (twice) and Lock/Flacco (one apiece). The streak ended when Rypien threw wide of TE Bug Howard. On the next play, Howard made a nice play to high-point the football in traffic.
  • Good insight from Fangio about Lock’s ability to adjust his arm angle to make a throw. “A quarterback that can change his arm angle is a positive, when it’s needed. I don’t think you want to do it when you don’t have to. If I’m strong in the pocket, I want to throw over the top, nice and strong and not rely on (the) sidearm. His college offense (at Missouri) really had no carryover to pro offenses and he was under duress a lot of times so a lot of plays, he was running around. I don’t think he’s as far along being a ready NFL quarterback as he could have been. He’s not a quarterback yet. He’s a hard-throwing pitcher that doesn’t know how to pitch yet. The faster he (learns), the better off he’ll be and we’ll be.”
  • Penalties emerged late in practice. DE Adam Gotsis jumped off-side and then the third-team offensive line was called for two false starts.
  • Catching punts from the machine early in practice: WR Brendan Langley, RB Phillip Lindsay, WR Kelvin McKnight, WR River Cracraft, RB Devontae Jackson and WR Trinity Benson. Catching punts from P Colby Wadman (no live returns): McKnight, Jackson, Cracraft and Lindsay.
  • The third-team offensive line: LT John Leglue, LG Sam Jones, C Ryan Crozier, RG Chaz Green and RT Quinn Bailey. On the second-team offensive line, LT Elijah Wilkinson moved to right tackle for parts of practice. Late in 11-on-11 work, Jake Brendel took some of the first-team snaps from RG Ron Leary.
  • Rypien ended practice with a long touchdown pass to an unidentified receiver.
  • Fans attending Sunday’s practice are encouraged to wear purple in support of Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. All fan donations, which can be made at camp or online at www.dbron.co/alz, will be matched by the Broncos. The Broncos raised $40,614.13 last year on Alzheimer’s Awareness Day. Owner Pat Bowlen died due to Alzheimer’s on June 13.

SATURDAY’S SCHEDULE
9:15 a.m.-noon practice (open to the public).

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PHOTOS: Annual Tube To Work Day sends workers, laptops down Boulder Creek Friday morning

The Denver Post - 5 hours 28 min ago

On Thursday, the first trailer for a new “Top Gun” movie made its debut, giving us a glimpse of the all the jet-flying, motorcycle-riding and (presumably) Kenny Loggins-backed action we have been waiting for.

It isn’t exactly the highway to the “Danger Zone,” but on Friday, hundreds of brave Boulder residents took to Boulder Creek for the same reason as those pilots: The need for speed.

OK, so Tube To Work Day was actually founded by Jeff Kagan and Andy Gruel in 2008 as a celebration of alternative transportation. But that doesn’t mean the thrill isn’t part of the experience.

“I’ve got the rapids churning inside of me I’m so excited,” Kagan said. “It’s my favorite morning of the year.”

Twelve years ago, Kagan and Gruel were the Boulder Maverick and Goose, two lone commuters drifting down Boulder Creek. But the event has grown every year as a paragon of Boulder wackiness, and there will be about 1,000 people joining Kagan this time around.

See the photos on The Know Outdoors.

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El Chapo arrives at Supermax in Florence Friday morning

The Denver Post - 5 hours 54 min ago

Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, the notorious Mexican drug kingpin, has arrived at the federal maximum security prison in Florence to serve his prison sentence after being whisked away early Friday from a secret location in New York City, his attorney told The Denver Post.

“He’s there,” Jeffrey Lichtman, Guzman’s attorney said a few minutes after noon.

Guzman arrived Friday at Administrative Maximum U.S. Penitentiary, or ADX, in Florence. The reputed highest security prison in the country is also called the “Alcatraz of the Rockies.”

Guzman, 62, was sentenced Wednesday to life plus 30 years in prison in a Brooklyn court and was ordered to repay $12.6 billion in restitution in connection to his cocaine trafficking in the U.S.

Lichtman said he likely will file an appeal on Guzman’s behalf on Friday. He said ADX is just awful.

“It’s basically some more torture,” he said in a phone interview.

Another of Guzman’s attorneys, Mariel Colon Miro, said her client has a right to see his lawyers to prepare for his appeals. Miro also did not have a favorable opinion of ADX.

“It’s supermax. He’s pretty much going to be in a box most of the time,” Miro said. She added that he will be allowed to go outside for an hour a day if it is not raining.

Miro said it was a pleasure to represent Guzman and she looks forward to continuing to be his lawyer during appeals.

“He’s a very humble person who always thanks his attorneys for representing him. He’s a very likable person,” Miro said during the phone conversation on Friday.

A federal judge in Brooklyn handed down the sentence, five months after Guzman’s conviction in an epic drug-trafficking case.

Guzman was extradited from Mexico to the U.S. in 2017 to face a host of criminal charges including murder, bribery and drug smuggling after he escaped from Mexican prisons two times. He has been kept in solitary confinement in an ultra-secure facility at a Manhattan jail.

Most inmates at Supermax are given a television, but their only actual view of the outside world is a 4-inch window. They have minimal interaction with other people and eat all their meals in their cells.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Man sentenced to life in prison for shooting, killing his girlfriend after argument

Denver Post Aurora - 6 hours 2 min ago
18th Judicial District Attorney's OfficeCleveland Grimes

An Arapahoe County judge last week sentenced a 36-year-old man to life in prison without parole for shooting and killing his girlfriend in her car last year, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

A jury last month found Cleveland Vernon Grimes IV guilty of first-degree murder for shooting 28-year-old Kiara Livingston as she tried to back out of a driveway.

On April 14, 2018, Livingston and Grimes got into an argument at an apartment on South Iola Street in Aurora. As Livingston got in her car to leave, Grimes walked to the driver side of her car and shot her five times, prosecutors said.

Courtesy of Livingston's familyKiara Livingston with her daughter

Livingston died at the hospital, leaving behind two young daughters, the DA’s office said.

Grimes fled the scene and was arrested a week later.

“Another selfish, hateful, evil act of domestic violence has left two girls, 9 and 2, to go through life without the love, guidance, and protection of their mother,” 18th Judicial District Attorney George Brauchler said in a statement.

Prosecutors described Grimes as jealous and possessive, a man angry at being disrespected in front of his friends by a woman.

Livingston’s friends remembered her as beautiful, genuine and smart, the news release said.

“This was a senseless killing of a wonderful human being,” senior deputy district attorney Laura Wilson said during sentencing.

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