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Updated: 1 hour 9 min ago

Noise is the biggest source of oil and gas complaints in Colorado

2 hours 2 min ago

To find the biggest fault line in the clash of homes and oilfields in Colorado, listen for the rumbles.

“Noise is continuous,” one resident in La Plata County complained to state oil and gas regulators earlier this year.

“My house is vibrating again,” a man in Erie reported.

“I haven’t slept in weeks due to this noise,” another Erie resident complained. “It’s wrong to do this to people.”

Over the past eight years, as houses and well pads inched closer across the state, complaints to the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission boomed, according to a Denver Post analysis of complaint data.

In 2010, state regulators fielded 240 complaints. By 2013, that number had risen only to 252.

But last year, 419 complaints were filed with the state. Through July of this year, the tally is already higher — 704 complaints.

The biggest reason for the jump in those complaints is not concern about water safety or fear over explosions. It’s noise. More than one noise complaint per day on average has been filed so far this year.

“It’s intrusive; it really is,” said Matt Lepore, the director of the COGCC, which is in charge of regulating oil and gas production in the state. “You feel like your house is being violated in some kind of way.”

But the COGCC often doesn’t punish noisy oil and gas operators, in part because there is only so much companies can do about it.

The commission’s rules set baseline noise levels that operations aren’t supposed to exceed. But they also provide exemptions for the noisiest activities, such as drilling, that allow for higher levels.

And regulators have no ability to punish companies that repeatedly violate limits for the most pernicious kind of industrial noise — the low, basslike rumblings that are felt as well as heard. The strongest action the rules allow the COGCC to take is ordering a company “to obtain a low frequency noise impact analysis by a qualified sound expert.”

Lepore said, as the number of noise complaints rose, state regulators over a year ago contemplated putting more teeth into that rule and requiring operators to take specific steps to control low-frequency noise. But officials, after consulting with the industry and noise experts, determined there weren’t any reliable measures that could be ordered.

Following a Colorado State University study and a year-long work group process, the COGCC created a new list of best practices for industry that Lepore described as “helpful hints.”

But there is still no unified plan on how to cut down on low-frequency oil and gas noise, even as complaints pile up. Lepore is trying to persuade major oil and gas players in Colorado, including Anadarko and Encana, to sign onto the new best-practices list.

“I felt that would give it more gravitas within the industry,” Lepore said. “In other words, we needed industry partners saying these are do-able things.”

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostA large Crestone Peak Resources drilling operation, with large noise dampening walls, has Longs Peak in the background near Frederick.


In the farmland just north of Erie’s downtown rise the imposing green walls surrounding the Woolley-Sosa drilling site. Four miles to the south, two more sites — Waste Connections and Pratt — rise next to neighborhoods.

These three sites account for more than 60 percent of the complaints filed so far this year, and it’s not hard to see why.

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Homes sit just across the street from all three sites. Woolley-Sosa looms in the background of a community dog park. Waste Connections and Pratt nuzzle up against a neighborhood of half-million-dollar homes, a drill rig whining in the background as golfers putt on the second green at the adjacent Colorado National Golf Club.

“Sounds like a diesel truck is running in my driveway again,” one resident near Woolley-Sosa complained to the COGCC late last year. “It’s giving me a headache.”

“I cannot sleep due to the constant humming noise outside,” a resident near the Pratt site reported earlier this month.

Those complaints make these three sites some of the most monitored, most mitigated sites in the state’s history. And they show why controlling noise at oil and gas operations is so difficult.

When talking about industrial noise, experts often divide sounds into two groups. There are the higher-frequency sounds that people generally associate with noise — things such as clanging or banging. This is sometimes referred to as “A-scale” noise.

Then there is “C-scale” noise, the lower bass rumblings of motors, fans and shakers.

When Cameron Radtke, an industrial hygienist who in 2014 was in graduate school at Colorado State University, set out that year to measure oil and gas noise in the state, he found that A-scale noise was generally well-controlled. The large walls that surround many sites in northern Colorado, including all three near Erie, do a good job of muffling sound, and the only measurements of A-scale noise he took that exceeded baseline COGCC standards fell within the exemption.

“The major issue that I found,” Radtke said, “is that they didn’t address low-level C-rated noise as well as they should have.”

While those towering barrier walls smother higher-frequency sound waves, lower-frequency waves cut right through. Setback distances are also less reliable in providing a buffer for low-frequency noise. And technology for controlling bass noise has historically lagged.

“There’s some pretty intense engineering that has to go into most of the equipment to control for low-frequency noise,” said Radtke, whose research on oil and gas noise was published this summer in the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene.

Radtke said it can also be difficult to separate noise caused by oil and gas drilling and noise from other sources.

That creates something of a paradox. Noise complaints, especially near the drilling sites in Erie, are ubiquitous. Residents complain of rattling windows and thrumming sounds that cause headaches and nausea.

But the COGCC, when checking out these complaints, repeatedly finds the noise levels are within the rules. The Town of Erie has hired its own noise consultants. And, while those consultants have found instances when C-scale noise exceeded the COGCC’s limits, they haven’t pinned the noise solely on oil and gas operations, noting that measurements before activity at the site also sometimes spiked above the limits.

“It is possible,” the consultants wrote in a noise-monitoring report for Waste Connections last month, “that some degree of the increase in C-weighted noise is attributable to activity in the neighborhood adjacent (to the site).”


When Donald Behrens, an industrial sound expert who often works with oil and gas companies, talks about noise-control efforts in northern Colorado, he doesn’t talk about it in terms of conflict. Instead, he talks about progress.

Despite the noise complaints — more than 180 at the three sites near Erie so far this year — the oil and gas industry sees the Erie sites as possibly the beginning of a solution to a problem that has bedeviled the industry.

For years, there has been a lack of test data on materials that work to control low-frequency noise, Behrens said. The terrain around a site and the proximity of houses add extra variables. As do the listening humans, who have different tolerances for basslike sounds.

“It’s a complicated problem,” said Behrens, who founded Environmental Noise Control, a California-based company with an office in Longmont. “It gets deeper and deeper as you dive into it.”

But the Erie sites also provide an opportunity for Behrens’ company to field test its newest technology: SK-8, a sound-barrier system that can cut low-frequency noise levels by as much as 20 decibels, Behrens said. New technology in drilling equipment could also cut down on low-frequency noise, he said. The whole industry seems to be focusing more than ever on controlling sound, he said.

So, while homeowners grow more frustrated — “Do you even do anything about these complaints?” a resident near Woolley-Sosa complained to the COGCC in February — Behrens is growing more optimistic.

“Everybody we talk to every day is working on ways to make things quieter,” Behrens said. “And that’s never happened before.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Airlines make it harder to earn free flights for loyalty

2 hours 49 min ago

DALLAS — Airline loyalty programs are losing much of their allure even for frequent flyers, and the rules for navigating the system have changed.

Flying is no longer the best way to earn miles or points. The biggest bang for your buck comes from signing up for the right credit card.
And those come-ons from the airline to sell you miles? Ignore them unless you are very close to a qualifying for a big trip.

Frequent-flyer programs get relatively little attention from Wall Street, and their financial importance to the airlines is not widely understood by travelers, who just hope to earn a free flight now and then.

Airline profits are subject to vagaries like the price of fuel, the actions of competitors on key routes, even the weather. Amid all that uncertainty, the airlines have found a reliable source of revenue in selling miles to banks, which then use the miles to persuade consumers to sign up for the cards and use them as much as possible.

“The bottom line is that the business of selling miles is a very profitable one and has proven historically to be far less cyclical than the core airline,” Joseph DeNardi, a Stifel analyst who tracks airlines, said this month in a note to clients.

The downside for airline customers is that the world is awash in frequent-flier miles, and the airlines are constantly making each mile, or point, less valuable. Many trips don’t earn as many miles or points as they once did, and the price for claiming a reward flight keeps going up. In many cases, availability of reward seats on flights has gotten worse.

“It is harder to use miles at the price that people are expecting to pay,” says Gary Leff, who writes the View from the Wing travel blog.

Even for frequent flyers like Leff, a once-cherished benefit of the miles — using them to upgrade to first class — has been diminished because airlines sell more of those upgrades for cash.

That doesn’t mean travelers shouldn’t sign up for the airline programs. After all, there is no charge for joining.

It does require rethinking how to earn, keep and redeem miles. Many of the strategies revolve around credit cards:

— Watch credit card offers for bonuses. Banks often offer the biggest bang. JPMorgan Chase shook up the sector last year with a 100,000-mile bonus for signing up for the Sapphire Reserve card, which came with a hefty annual fee.

— Even if you make purchases with another card, consider getting the card of the airline you usually fly to enjoy benefits such as priority boarding and free bag-checking, even on so-called basic economy tickets. If you check a bag a few times a year, you will more than offset the annual fee.

— To stretch your miles, redeem them to fly midweek. Brian Karimzad of says it takes an average 30,574 miles for a Tuesday flight but 41,332 for a Sunday trip.

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— Don’t let miles expire. On American Airlines, which runs the biggest frequent-flyer program, you don’t have to fly, you just have to make a purchase within 18 months on partners that range from other airlines to restaurants and flower shops. Miles on Delta Air Lines and JetBlue Airways don’t expire.

— Ignore your airline when it sends yet another email asking if you’d like to buy miles. The exception is when you are just a few miles short of earning a big trip, says John DiScala, who runs the travel website.

—Use ’em while you’ve got ’em. The value of your miles won’t go up.

Airlines often raise the number of miles needed for certain flights, with United Airlines being the most recent example. Airlines used to announce big mile-price increases once every several years but now make smaller hikes more frequently. “Either way you’re going to pay more three years from now,” says Karimzad.

Over the past several years, American, Delta, United and Southwest have all linked rewards to how much customers spend, not how many miles or flights they take. That means frequent-flyer programs are a better deal now for people who buy expensive tickets, such as business class.

The change has put an end to “mileage runs,” the cheap but long flights that die-hards would take just to puff up their frequent-flyer accounts.
“It has weeded out a lot of people who were gaming it — you can’t blame the airlines for wanting to do that,” DiScala says, “but it stings as a consumer.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Americans are buying more food at Walmart

2 hours 57 min ago

Competition is heating up among U.S. grocery chains, but Americans are increasingly buying their food at Walmart.

The retailer on Thursday said food sales had grown to their highest level in five years, as Walmart expands its grocery business both in stores and online by adding more organic produce. The company is also testing grocery delivery in New York, and has taken aggressive steps to compete with, which is the process of buying Whole Foods Markets for $13.7 billion, as well as European discounters like Aldi and Lidl, which are ramping up their presence in the United States.

“We’ve seen strong results from the rollout of online grocery, which is now in more than 900 U.S. locations,” Doug McMillon, president and chief executive of Walmart,said in a Thursday call with analysts. “We’re expanding this service in many of our markets around the world.”

Earlier this year, Walmart created its own “designer” cantaloupe that it says tastes as sweet in winter as it does in summer, and a company spokeswoman says its next goal is to develop a more flavorful tomato. The company has also expanded its line-up of exclusive snacks, including Oreo O’s cereal and Jelly Donut Oreos.

Food sales make up more than half of Walmart’s revenue, accounting for nearly $200 billion worth of groceries each year, said Joseph Feldman, an analyst for Telsey Advisory Group in New York. (By comparison, the country’s second-largest grocery chain, Kroger, brought in $115.3 billion last year.)

“There’s been a real effort to improve fresh foods – produce, meats – and they’ve been very aggressive in keeping prices low,” Feldman said. “Big picture, we’re feeling pretty good about Walmart.”

In all, the company said e-commerce sales increased by 60 percent in the most recent quarter. is now the second-largest online retailer, behind, following its $3.3 billion acquisition of last year. (Jeffrey P. Bezos, the founder and chief executive of Amazon, owns The Washington Post.)

Sales at stores open at least one year rose 1.8 percent from a year ago, marking the 12th quarter in a row of gains. Second-quarter revenue rose 2 percent to $123.4 billion, up from $120.9 billion a year ago. Earnings, meanwhile, fell 20 percent to 96 cents per share, from $1.21 per share a year ago.

Walmart – the country’s largest retailer and its biggest employer – has been moving quickly to build its Internet presence. So far this year the company has bought a number of e-commerce businesses, including ModCloth, ShoeBuy, MooseJaw and Bonobos. It is also beefing up its own website: now offers more than 67 million products, a 30 percent increase since the first quarter of this year, according to McMillon.

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“Our strategy is to make every day easier for busy families,” he said in the call. “To accomplish this, we continue our transformation to become more of a digital enterprise that moves with speed and agility.”

He added the Walmart is also testing new delivery strategies by enlisting store employees to deliver online orders on their way home from work. It is also offering discounts to customers who pick up online orders in-store, and plans to have 100 automated pick-up towers in stores around the country by year’s end.

“Having stores within 10 miles of approximately 90 percent of the U.S. population allows us to serve customers in ways that are most convenient for them,” he said in the call.

Earlier this week, McMillon criticized President Donald Trump for not “unequivocally rejecting the appalling actions of white supremacists” in Charlottesville. But although he spoke out against the president, McMillon said he planned to remain on Trump’s economic advisory council. (The president later disbanded the group following the resignation of a number of business leaders.)

Categories: All Denver News.

L.L. Bean boosting production of iconic boot

3 hours 46 sec ago

LEWISTON, Maine — L.L. Bean hopes to give the boot to backlogs of its most iconic product.

The Maine-based retailer is expanding production to keep up with demand for its leather-and-rubber “duck boot” with a new manufacturing center with another machine used to make the rubber soles. The company also plans to hire more than 100 additional production workers at two locations in Maine.

“With the addition of the second molding machine here, we’ve significantly increased our capacity for Bean boot production,” said Steve Smith, the company’s president and CEO, told workers and guests Thursday.

The old boot has done more than soldier on: Annual sales have grown from fewer than 100,000 pairs a decade ago to this year’s projection of 750,000 pairs. The company hopes to hit the 1 million mark next year.

The boots have been so popular that backlogs have been commonplace around the holiday shopping season, something that’s going to change.

The 106,000-square-foot (9,847-square-meter) building doubles the production space in Lewiston, which is home to two of the company’s three injection-molding machines used to make the rubber soles. The other molding machine is in Brunswick, where the leather uppers are stitched to complete the boots.

The new production center gives L.L. Bean flexibility for boot production to provide for “new innovations and designs that our customers are craving,” Smith said. It also provides room to expand production of other products, as well.

All told, L.L. Bean plans to hire about 160 additional production workers, including about 40 in Lewiston, Maine’s second-largest city, bringing the total to more than 700 workers, said Carolyn Beem, a company spokeswoman.

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L.L. Bean’s original “hunting shoe” was first designed and manufactured more than 100 years ago, and they’re synonymous with the brand.

There’s a giant boot outside the main store in Freeport, and there are two Bootmobiles rolling around North America. There’s even a Bootmobile in Japan.

The “Made in the USA” label is rare in shoe-making these days. Well-known Maine brands like G.H. Bass, Sebago and Dexter are now made overseas. But L.L. Bean had made a decision to production of the boots in Maine.

“L.L. Bean manufacturing is both our history and our future. Unfortunately not too many companies can say that anymore,” said company Chairman Shawn Gorman, great-grandson of founder Leon Leonwood Bean.

Categories: All Denver News.

See the hipsters lined up outside that new restaurant? This app pays them to stand there.

3 hours 9 min ago

Pretend for a moment that you’re walking through your neighborhood and notice a line of people wrapped around the block outside a newly opened restaurant.

Local food bloggers haven’t written about the venue, so you assume the trendy-looking crowd must be the result of contagious, word-of-mouth buzz.

There was a time when that may have been undoubtedly true – when you could trust that a crowd of people was, in fact, a naturally occurring mass of individuals.

But that time may be passing thanks to Surkus, an emerging app that allowed the restaurant to quickly manufacture its ideal crowd and pay the people to stand in place like extras on a movie set. They’ve even been hand-picked by a casting agent of sorts, an algorithmic one that selects each person according to age, location, style and Facebook “likes.”

They may look excited, but that could also be part of the production. Acting disengaged while they idle in line could tarnish their “reputation score,” an identifier that influences whether they’ll be “cast” again. Nobody is forcing the participants to stay, of course, but if they leave, they won’t be paid – their movements are being tracked with geolocation.

Welcome to the new world of “crowdcasting.”

Surkus raises new questions about the future of advertising and promotion. At a time when it has become commonplace for individuals to broadcast polished versions of their lives on social media, does Surkus give businesses a formidable tool to do the same, renting beautiful people and blending them with advertising in a way that makes reality nearly indiscernible? Or have marketers found a new tool that offers them a far more efficient way to link brands with potential customers, allowing individuals to turn themselves into living extensions of the share economy using a structured, mutually beneficial transaction?

The answer depends on whom you ask.

Stephen George, Surkus’s 30-year-old chief executive, said he considers his app an online matchmaker, one that pairs companies with the people who want to hear from them. If successful, he said, Surkus threatens to disrupt the expensive role that promoters and public relations firms have traditionally played in advertising and brand-building.

“So many companies know their core demographic, but they don’t know how to get a hold of those people,” George said.

“They hire promoters and marketers and PR agencies to connect, but it’s a one-sided interaction that involves blasting out a message to get people engaged, but they don’t necessarily know if that message is being received.”

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Not everyone, however, is convinced that Surkus – which makes it easier for promoters and marketers to filter crowds according to people’s attractiveness – will improve that reception.

“I understand the need for quick results and attendance and that sometimes brands need people lined up at their door,” said Kerry O’Grady, a professor at New York University’s School of Professional Studies who teaches courses on public relations.

“Okay, you have a bunch of pretty faces at a party, but what does that do?” O’Grady continued. “It’s not going to do anything if they just want to get paid to party and have no attachment to the brand itself.”

George, a Chicago native, got his start working with Groupon as a sophomore at DePaul University. He went on to make millions from the company’s stock before investing $250,000 in Surkus in 2015.

The company’s tagline: “Go out. Have fun. Get paid.”

George said the company has amassed 150,000 members in Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Miami and San Francisco. Anyone can download the app. The members are of all ages and backgrounds, George said, noting that people are drawn by the chance to be social and get paid.

After quietly launching two years ago, Surkus members have attended 4,200 events for 750 clients, including big-name brands, hospitality groups, live-ticketed shows, movie castings and everyday people who want to throw a party. George said users can be paid as little as $5 and as much as $100, though the average for most events is between $25 and $40. Prolific users, he said, can earn as much as $4,000 a year. And Surkus takes a portion of the client’s budget for each event.

The app is supposed to help with these transactions.

Once an event has been scheduled, Surkus’s algorithm sorts through users’ profiles using the client’s desired search criteria. For example: A gaming company throwing a launch party might ask Surkus to find men and women ages 18 to 32 who like comic books, day parties, dance music and the company’s product.

Once potential attendees have been identified from Surkus’s user profiles, the app sends “availability requests” to users’ phones.

Participants are paid within 24 hours via PayPal. During events, participants are asked to remain discreet about the origin of their invitations. Oftentimes, women are paid considerably more than men.

Caroline Thompson, 27, a contributing writer for Vice, said she downloaded Surkus and attended an event last year at a Chicago club full of “finance bros” on a Thursday night.

“It was a little weird that probably 80 percent of the women at the club were there because of the app,” she said.

Thompson said she was paid $40 to attend the event.

O’Grady called the system “scary” and said it raises ethical questions for companies that turn to the app for crowds.

“Good PR is all about transparency,” she said. “But in this case you’re telling people to be discreet, but you’re also telling us the events are organic and that people want to be there, and that’s not okay.”

George rejected the idea that Surkus allows brands to create fake events that manipulate consumers.

“We want to know as much as possible about you, so we can make sure we’re on target with your interests and what you love to do, so that you just can’t say no to an invitation,” he said.

Entertainment companies aren’t the only ones turning to Surkus for crowdcasting. George said a research company recently used the app to find 750 people to fill movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York to compare how reactions varied from city to city.

In Los Angeles, Surkus has allowed one up-and-coming comedian to fill shows and refine material.

The comedian requested that their name and gender be withheld from publication because of fear that using the app would tarnish their professional reputation. At many comedy clubs, filling seats is a prerequisite for performing.

The comedian used to be desperate, passing out fliers and asking homeless people to attend so that the performance could go on.

Now, the comedian turns to Surkus.

“Initially, I thought my jokes would appeal to educated white hipsters,” the comedian said. “Now I’ve realized, ‘Oh, wow, my act is appealing to Hispanic women and men in their 50s and old people – like, we’re talking people in their 70s.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Worker productivity might take a hit during solar eclipse

3 hours 21 min ago

If the 1,400 workers at Emerson Electric’s St. Louis headquarters choose to head out and watch the solar eclipse at work on Monday, they’ll get a pair of company-issued ISO-certified glasses and some detailed guidelines to follow.

“You must walk to your viewing location without looking at the sky,” the manufacturing company will tell its employees in a bulleted instruction sheet. Then, “turn your back to the sun, bend over, and then put on your solar eclipse glasses.” When it’s over, reverse the instructions and “walk back into the building without looking up at the sky.”

Such careful precautions are just one way businesses are grappling with what’s sure to be a major disruption in many workplaces come Monday. The first solar eclipse to cross the continental United States in nearly a century comes at an especially inopportune time for many employers. From 10:15 a.m. Pacific until just before 3 p.m. Eastern time — some of the busiest hours of the workweek — the moon’s shadow will hit land in Newport, Oregon, and leave the continent near Charleston, South Carolina.

For many workplaces, it’s bound to be a drain on productivity. That’s why many are embracing it: handing out glasses, giving employees flexibility to deal with long commutes or school closings, hosting parties with astronomy-themed snacks or even giving workers the day off.

“We started talking about this a couple of months ago — people will take the day off or they may not be productive,” said Cydney Koukol, chief communication officer at TalentPlus, a human resources consulting firm in Lincoln, Nebraska, that lies in the 70-mile-wide stretch of land that will fall directly in the moon’s shadow known as the “path of totality.” So her company decided to throw a viewing party on its building’s outdoor deck, complete with a chef-prepared meal of eclipse-themed food and drinks like Corona beer and Capri Sun. “It’s about being human in the workplace.”

Monsanto, meanwhile, is closing its St. Louis headquarters, giving its 4,000 workers there the day off. “About 70 percent of our workforce are in science-based roles,” said Melissa Harper, vice president of global talent for Monsanto. ” We want them to be able to witness it.”

Before the decision was made, she said, “people were thinking about ways to plan, ways to structure meetings around going to view things around the prime time. We thought, ‘why not just let everyone equally share in this experience without concern about other things distracting them?’ It was a no-brainer.”

At many other businesses, meanwhile, the opposite will be happening. As millions surge into the cities along the main path for the best viewing opportunities, plenty of other businesses – from hotels and restaurants to city and emergency services — will expect all hands on deck. Carrie Tergen, the mayor of Jefferson City, Mo., and the owner of a Hallmark store there, said she told all her employees to be available all weekend and all day Monday. “I’m sure we’re all going to be going out and looking at the eclipse, but we’re open for business as usual and in fact, more than usual.”

Many companies may not be prepared for the disruption, said Shirley Lerner, an employment lawyer at Littler Mendelson in Minneapolis. The solar eclipse, she said, “hasn’t really caught businesses and employers’ attention in that way they need to be thinking about,” she said.

“It’s Monday. It’s the middle of the workday. It’s right in the middle of a lot of people’s lunch hour,” she said. “Will they be making a press to get out of the building? Will they be backing up elevators? Will there be people who just won’t come to work?”

She also said companies will be dealing with the many last-minute requests for the day off that employees are likely to make: “If you have a team of 15 people and you really, truly need at least half of them on the phone during the prime viewing time, you can still only have so many people leave.”

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Others aren’t planning anything special, but expect employees to take advantage of flexible work policies to deal with disruption from the eclipse. At Lexmark in Lexington, Kentucky, spokeswoman Emily Rardin said that with a couple of local school systems closed, she assumes many employees will take advantage of the company’s flexible work or unlimited vacation policies and work from home.

Other companies – both large and small — are making an event out of the day. Firms like advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy in Portland, Ore., HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee, and The Motley Fool in Alexandria, Virginia, are doing everything from handing out viewing glasses for a roofdeck viewing to hosting parties with Blue Moon beer.

Katherine Kummerow, an adviser for the human resources organization Archbright in Seattle, said they’d be handing out Sun Chips and “moon cheese” on Monday.

“I did see someone suggest moon pies,” she said. “We liked that, but it doesn’t really fit in with our wellness program.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Craft beer: The new weapon in New Mexico sports rivalry

3 hours 27 min ago

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One is a special recipe designed to appease even the most snobby of craft beer drinkers. The other is billed as a mellow ale with hints of caramel and the breezy aroma of New Mexico’s high desert.

Officials at New Mexico’s two largest public universities are unveiling custom-made brews just ahead of their first round of fundraisers as the fall sports season kicks off.

New Mexico State and the University of New Mexico are now among the handful of U.S. colleges and universities to have licensing agreements for branded beers, a move aimed at boosting marketing exposure for the schools and generating more revenue at a time when fundraising has become more challenging for higher education institutions nationwide and lawmakers look to trim their budgets.

“This is a very recent innovation, if you will,” said NMSU President Garrey Carruthers, noting that school officials are unsure of how much money it will bring in for Aggie athletics.

To be unveiled at Bosque Brewing Co.’s taproom in Las Cruces on Thursday, NMSU’s “Pistol Pete’s 1888 Ale” pays homage to the Aggies’ popular gun-slinging mascot and recognizes the year the university was founded.

The beer will be available first on draft at Bosque’s taprooms and at university sports and fundraising events. By early next year, it will be ready for statewide distribution — packaged in special cans that are expected to feature the school’s colors and fight song. Designs are awaiting regulatory approval.

For rival Lobo fans, their beer will be available at breweries in Albuquerque and Santa Fe and at select Lobo athletic events. Plans also call for eventual distribution to grocery and liquor stores statewide.

“This venture allows us to take our brand into an entirely new product category, and responsibly and respectfully create a unique touchpoint for fans both in-game and with great businesses throughout the state of New Mexico,” said Brad Hutchins, a deputy athletic director at UNM.

It has taken months of planning by both universities and their brewery partners. At NMSU, marketing students even got to vet some of the proposed names for that school’s beer.

“We recruit very heavily in New Mexico so it’s just another way of identifying the university,” said Carruthers, explaining that great care was used in making the decision to license the beer given that alcohol can be a sensitive issue on college campuses.

More universities have been turning to alcohol sales at sporting events and the popularity of college-affiliated beers is beginning to take off.

In Louisiana, university leaders embarked on similar branding deals to help fill budget gaps as lawmakers have stripped hundreds of millions of dollars in state financing from their campuses. LSU’s officially licensed beer is Tin Roof Brewing Company’s Bayou Bengal Lager. The University of Louisiana-Lafayette has a partnership with Bayou Teche Brewing for Ragin’ Cajuns Genuine Louisiana Ale.

Earlier this summer, Tulane partnered with a New Orleans brewer to produce Green Wave Beer, which will be packaged in cans featuring the school’s logo. It’s expected to be flowing from taps at the stadium in time for the upcoming season opener. Plans also call for distribution in the New Orleans area this fall.

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The Louisiana beers did spur some debate among lawmakers in that state, but a proposal to prohibit colleges and universities from authorizing an official alcoholic beverage affiliated with school branding was shelved.

Colorado State has teamed up with Fort Collins-based New Belgium Brewing — known for Fat Tire and many more craft beers — to deliver the official Old Aggie Superior Lager in time for the football season. A portion of the sales will be donated to CSU’s fermentation science and technology program, the athletic department and alcohol awareness programs.

At NMSU, officials also see the new beer as a chance to boost interest in the university’s agricultural and chemical engineering programs that relate to the burgeoning craft beer industry, one of the state’s economic bright spots.

“There are opportunities for employment and education so I think this touches a lot of bases,” said NMSU athletic director Mario Moccia.

Categories: All Denver News.

Made in America: The last baseball-glove maker refuses to die

3 hours 35 min ago

This little brick factory isn’t supposed to be here. It should be in the Philippines, or Vietnam, maybe China. Not here, in the heart of Texas.

Baseball gloves, like many other things, aren’t really made in America anymore. In the 1960s, production shifted to Asia and never came back. It might be America’s favorite pastime, and few things are more personal to baseball-lovers than their first glove — the smell, the feel, the memory of childhood summers. But most gloves are stitched together thousands of miles away by people who couldn’t afford a ticket at Fenway Park.

One company didn’t get the memo. Since the Great Depression, Nokona has been making gloves in a small town outside Dallas with a long history of producing boots and whips for cowboys. There’s a livestock-feed store next door to the factory, which offers $5 tours for visitors who want to see how the ‘last American ball glove’ is made. You can watch employees weave the webbing by hand, feed the laces through the holes with needles, and pound the pocket into shape with a rounded hammer. The American flag gets stitched into the hide — and that, they say at Nokona, is more than just a business matter.

“Made in America means you believe in our country,” said Carla Yeargin, a glove inspector and tour guide at Nokona, where she worked her way up from janitor. “We have the love for the ballglove, because we made it here.”

And the final product could cost you 25 times more than a foreign-made version at the local discount store. Yes, that’s partly a reflection of the premium nature of the Nokona line but still it represents a huge challenge for the company, as well as for Donald Trump.

“Making it here” is a big deal for the president. Last month Trump staged a week of events to celebrate U.S. manufacturing, showcasing products from Campbell’s soup to Caterpillar construction gear. July 17 was declared “Made in America Day.”

“Restoring American manufacturing will not only restore our wealth, it will restore our pride,” Trump said.

The president loves to use his bully pulpit to advance the cause, but it doesn’t always work. Trump threatened Ford over its plan to shift assembly of Focus cars to Mexico — and so the automaker moved operations to China instead. Plus, modern factories rely more on automation than ever, so even if production comes back, it might be done by robots.

There’s nostalgia in Trump’s rhetoric — critics would call it fantasy. He harkens to a time when the U.S. was the world’s biggest manufacturer, and Fords rolled off the assembly line into the driveways of upwardly mobile households.

By now, though, “supply chains have been so heavily outsourced that it’s no longer possible to buy American for some products,” said Mark Muro, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution in Washington who studies advances in manufacturing. “The suppliers don’t exist. In some instances, it’s too little, too late.”

Trump’s message also represents a break from the globalization gospel preached by his predecessors, as they pushed for trade deals that would bring emerging giants such as China into the capitalist fold. Offshoring production was seen as acceptable, because it would make American economies more competitive. That, added to cheap imports, would leave the U.S. economy better off.

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Economists are waking up to the limits of that logic. Voters have been awake for a while — especially in the Rust Belt towns, hollowed out by industrial decline, which swung last year’s election for Trump.

“For 30 years, this country all but neglected any serious challenge to a globalist view of sourcing,” Muro said.

Nokona refused to follow the herd.

After the Civil War, ranchers drove longhorn cattle through Montague County to livestock markets in the north. The town of Nocona, located some 100 miles northwest of Dallas and named after a Comanche chief (hence the Native American-in-headdress logo on Nokona gloves), developed a reputation as a leather-goods hub.

The company’s name is spelled with a ‘k’ because it was told in the 1930s that the town’s name couldn’t be trademarked. Today, Nocona is home to about 3,000 people and a few stoplights. ‘God Bless America’ banners line the street, and locals wish you a ‘blessed day.’

Founded in 1926, the company originally made wallets and purses. It was a former Rice University baseball player named Roberts Storey who steered Nokona into ballgloves.

In the early days of baseball, it was considered unmanly to use a glove. Broken bones were common. The first mass-produced gloves had little padding and no fingers. In the 1920s and ’30s, companies started producing gloves with a web between the thumb and forefinger, to create a pocket.

The shift to Asia in the 1960s nearly put Nokona out of business. Storey wouldn’t budge. “It hit him all wrong that we would have to go to Japan,” said his grandson Rob Storey, now the company’s executive vice president. “One of his favorite sayings was: ‘If I have to tell my employees we’re closing up and they don’t have jobs any more, I may as well get a bucket of worms and go fishing.’ ”

It hasn’t been an easy faith to keep. The company went bankrupt in 2010, but kept producing after a Phoenix-based maker of football gloves bought a majority stake. And cracks are starting to show in Nokona’s claim to be all-American. It recently started importing partially assembled gloves from China, made of Kip leather, a luxury cowhide.

Still, 98 percent of its gloves are made at the factory in Nocona. The nutty scent of leather fills the place. In the lobby, samples of the company’s work over the decades are displayed on the wall, from wallets to football pads. When you buy a glove, the cashier Helen — who’s worked there for 55 years — writes out a receipt by hand.

Making a glove involves about 40 steps and can take four hours. Hides, mostly from Chicago or Milwaukee, are tested for temper and thickness. Workers lower presses onto metal dies to cut the leather. The pieces — some models require 25 of them — are sewn together, joining the inner and outer halves. The product is turned right-side-out and shaped on hot steel fingers. A grease used during World War II to clean rifles is lathered under the pocket, to keep it flexible.

The company emphasizes the craft that goes into each glove, and that’s reflected in the bill. Rawlings has gloves for all budgets: Its top-end models cost plenty, but you can get a 9-inch children’s version for less than $8. Nokona’s equivalent-sized mitt costs $220, and its pro model runs to $500.

Like many made-in America holdouts, they’re always going to be niche products. Making them isn’t going to generate jobs on the scale Trump wants.

Nokona ships about 40,000 gloves a year, a fraction of the 6.2 million sold annually in the U.S. It employs about 35 people at the Texas plant. Storey won’t disclose the privately held company’s revenue. ‘Will we ever be Nike? No.’ But he says it’s profitable. Trump got 88 percent of votes in the county and Storey counts himself a supporter. He welcomes White House support for domestic manufacturers: ‘It’s music to our ears.’

It’s also hard to compete with the big brands — Rawlings, Wilson, Mizuno — for Major League endorsements. Some companies pay players to use their gloves. Nokona has one superstar admirer: Texan legend and Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan, whose first glove was a Nokona, and who’s appeared in the company’s ads. But it only has about a dozen current top-level players signed up.

Up against so many odds, why doesn’t Nokona give in and go offshore?

“Because I’m crazy,” says Storey. “This is all I know how to do.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Peer pressure, applied well, boosts financial health

3 hours 45 min ago

When you’re training for a fitness goal, a workout buddy can be your best asset. She’s the one who cheers you on good days and pushes you on bad days.

When you’re working to reach a financial goal, friends can be equally helpful. Peers can influence how much you save for retirement, determine when you choose to retire and even shame people into paying their taxes, studies show.

People don’t change their habits when the stakes are low, says Dean Karlan, a Yale economist who has studied incentives and accountability. Placing your money or reputation on the line with a goal raises the cost of failure, which acts as a motivator, he says.

That’s why Karlan and two colleagues created, a goal-setting website that uses peer support to help people stick to goals, including financial ones. Assigning a “referee” to keep you honest doubles your chance of success, according to an analysis of Stickk’s users. Other apps like Lifetick and offer similar goal-setting plans that can be shared with others.

Let peers motivate, not discourage

On the flip side, peers’ money habits can undermine your own, whether or not they’re sound choices.

In a study published in 2011 by the National Bureau of Economic Research, employees at a manufacturing firm who either hadn’t participated in their company’s 401(k) plan or contributed enough to get the company match received letters encouraging them to do so. The letters also noted how many of their colleagues had made those good financial moves.

In both cases, employees who received this information were less likely to enroll in the plan themselves or increase their contributions to get the match. The researchers determined that when employees compared themselves to others, they were discouraged about their own choices.

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If your peers are making responsible financial choices that you’re unable to match, don’t lose heart, says Lara Lamb, a certified financial planner at Abacus Wealth Partners in Los Angeles. Instead, use it as motivation to get started. The feeling of progress will keep you going, she says.

What if your peers are doing the opposite — spending money on things you can’t afford? Lamb says focus on your long-term goals to avoid temptation.

Think about the effect that splurging today will have on your goals tomorrow, she says.

Here are some tips on using peer support to make smart financial decisions:

Have the money talk

“There’s a lot of shame and cultural sensitivity in the United States about talking about your financial status,” says Rebecca Rouse, director of the Financial Inclusion Program at Innovations for Poverty Action, a nonprofit based in New Haven, Conn., that promotes solutions for global poverty.

Debt is an especially difficult subject, says David Weliver, who chronicled his successful efforts to pay off $80,000 in debt on his blog Money Under 30. Weliver says he wasn’t comfortable talking about his debt with friends or family, but he found a supportive community online.

“Paying down debt is a lot like trying to lose weight,” he says. “Reading other people’s stories gave me the motivation I needed to take those steps day after day.”

Weliver’s tip: Even if it’s a tough conversation, talk to a loved one about your financial goals. You could pick up helpful ideas or gain the support you need to keep going.

Give and receive tough love

Choose a friend or family member who will give you honest feedback about your money habits — and be prepared to take it.

“People get guarded about money because they’re afraid of being judged, but nobody’s perfect,” Weliver says.

If you’re the one people turn to for support, be compassionate but also show them some tough love, he says.

Trust, but verify

While friends and family can be great for motivation, you shouldn’t necessarily rely on them for financial guidance.

Taking basic advice like saving for retirement or opening a college fund for your child is OK, says Byrke Sestok, a certified financial planner at New York-based Rightirement Wealth Partners. He recommends doing your own research for decisions about investments or retirement contributions, which are more personal.

People tend to trust financial advice from their parents and friends, but they should verify what they’ve learned with an expert source, Sestok says.

For example, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau provides information about financial products and consumers’ rights. You also can search for local nonprofit credit counselors for a free consultation about topics such as budgeting and managing your debt.

Categories: All Denver News.

Indivisible Denver hosts workshop aimed at confronting white privilege and supremacy

3 hours 53 min ago

Following the events in Charlottesville, Va., the Movement for Black Lives called for white people and non-black people of color to gather and address how they can help dismantle white supremacy.

The request spurred Indivisible Denver, along with University of Denver professors Erica Chenoweth and Marie Berry, to plan a last-minute workshop. Chenoweth thought it would attract 40 or so people. But on Saturday, the Shorter Community AME Church’s pews, which seat about 1,000, were nearly full.

“It’s a time when people of privilege have to step up and denounce racism and white supremacy in all of its forms,” Chenoweth said. “This was one tiny action I could take in fulfilling that responsibility.”

The workshop took participants through a range of activities aimed at getting them to recognize different types of oppression, examine their privilege and discover what makes mass movements successful.

At the end, participants were asked to brainstorm concrete actions to help dismantle racism in today’s world, including supporting black-owned businesses and joining protests when asked by communities of color. People wrote down ideas on notecards, which organizers collected so they could run them past Movement for Black Lives.

The predominantly white audience ranged from babies to people with gray hair. When asked who was attending their first workshop of this kind, more than half the participants raised their hands.

Democratic State Rep. Joe Salazar and Jeanette Vizquerra, who sought sanctuary in a church for 86 days to avoid immigration authorities and was named one of TIME’s100 most influential people, both attended.

The workshop was led by white people and was for people who were not black. Organizers said the goal was to avoid putting the onus of education on the black community. The workshop was meant to be an introduction, Berry said. Participants will be given resources so they can self-educate and learn more about the issues.

“This isn’t the end,” Berry said “This isn’t enough. This is just the beginning of the conversation.”

Charlottesville was the tipping point for many, Berry said, adding that racism and white supremacy didn’t start with the white supremacist and Nazi marchers in Virginia, but has been ingrained in America since its foundation.

For Rev. Dr. Valerie L. Jackson, Charlottesville was a source of deep sorrow and anger. It also kept her up all night wondering how she, a black pastor, was going to address her 98 percent white congregation at University Park United Methodist Church. But Jackson said her congregation needed to hear her preach as much as she needed to preach.

“I’m in awe and sad at the same time,” she said Saturday, looking around the crowded church. “I’m in awe to see so many come out on a Saturday in support of racial equality and justice. I’m sad because before now, most would not be willing to hear from anyone who looks like me that this is a problem.”

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She said racial tensions are a complex issue and she was glad that the mainly white participants could hear about it from people with privilege, not just those who are being prosecuted.

She had at least two hopes for people at the workshop.

First, that they have an intentional commitment to get involved and speak out against racism. Passivity cannot continue, she said. Second, that they leave the church contemplating their past actions and realize how they may have unintentionally harmed marginalized communities.

Shorter Community AME Church will be hosting another event focused on racism on Aug. 31 at 7 p.m. Called “Getting Real” A Raw Conversation About Race,”  it will be moderated by Dr. Nita Mosby Tyler with the Equity Project and Rev. Dr. Timothy E. Tyler with the church.

Daniel Brenner, Special to the Denver PostAdrienne Ruhnow, left, and Mark Stalmaker discuss suggested topics at an Urgent Call to Action for White Allies workshop<br />Aug. 19, 2017 at Shorter Community AME Church.

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Prize-winning Polish-US playwright Janusz Glowacki dies

4 hours 12 sec ago

WARSAW, Poland — Renowned Polish-U.S. playwright and screenwriter Janusz Glowacki, who won top prizes for his bitter, ironic analysis of the difficult lives of immigrants, died Saturday at 78.

His wife, actress Olena Leonenko-Glowacka, announced his death but its cause was not immediately revealed.

Popular in New York and Polish artistic and intellectual circles, Glowacki was the author of award-winning plays “Antigone in New York” and “The Fourth Sister,” which set classic themes in the contemporary world. A keen observer of reality, Glowacki’s works are permeated with sarcasm but also with sympathy for the often-futile struggles of his characters.

Born in 1938 in Poznan, western Poland, he made a name for himself in the 1960s with short stories and screenplays, including for the movie “Hunting Flies” by Poland’s leading filmmaker Andrzej Wajda. His dark and absurd humor was also helpful in protecting his works from censors, like the 1970 movie “The Cruise” that in a convoluted way showed the absurdities of life under communism in Poland.

He settled in New York in the early 1980s, choosing not to return to Poland after its communist authorities imposed martial law. He was in London for the opening of his play “Cinders” when the clampdown was announced.

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Glowacki did return to Warsaw after the 1989 ouster of communist rule.

In 1987, his drama “Hunting Cockroaches” won the Hollywood Drama League Critics Award. “Antigone in New York” was awarded the Le Balladine Award in Paris for the best play of 1997, and “The Fourth Sister” won the main Grand Prize at the International Theatre Festival in Dubrovnik in 2001.

Funeral arrangements are still pending.

Glowacki is also survived by his daughter, Zuzanna Glowacka, and his ex-wife, Ewa Zadrzynska.

Categories: All Denver News.

Boy and family walks across country for diabetes cure

4 hours 6 min ago

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — Noah Barnes, 11, has spent more than 200 days walking on foot across the country. He’s covered hundreds and hundreds of miles and has been through eight states. When asked recently what his favorite part of the journey has been, he was quick to answer.

“I like Colorado because of the mountains,” Noah said with a smile as he and his father, Robert, took a quick break on Highway 6 in Glenwood Springs early August.

Noah and his family are traveling across the country — from Key West, Florida, to Washington state — to raise awareness and funds for Type 1 Diabetes research. They call it Noah’s March. An article about a diabetes walk fundraiser first prompted the idea. But Noah wanted to do more. After seeing the documentary “Into the Wind” about Terry Fox running across Canada after losing one of his legs to cancer, he was even more inspired.

“Noah thought, if Terry Fox can do it on one leg, he could definitely do it with two,” Robert Barnes said.

Robert said Noah begged him to let him make the trip a reality. When he pointed out the necessary money to sponsor such a journey — a billion, the dad guessed — Noah asked, “Don’t you have that?”

When reminded how large the country is, Noah didn’t budge on his positivity of it being possible.

Robert and Noah did interval training in the sand to prepare for the long days on foot.

“I would ask him, ‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ And he’d always say ‘yes,’ “Robert said.

So Robert quit his job, cashed in his 401k and the entire family hit the road together on Noah’s March.

Robert and Noah average about 20 miles a day, but the mountains and altitude have slowed them in the past couple of days.

The two travel with provisions such as Gatorade and insulin to closely monitor Noah’s blood sugar levels. Usually Sunday is a rest day, and a well-deserved one at that.

They’re doing this without a plan. The original intent was for the family to travel alongside in an RV. When the RV broke down on New Year’s Eve, the night before they started, they packed up everything into the family Jeep and started anyway.

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The goal is to be in Blaine, Washington, by November — nearly 4,000 miles from home. The vision is to raise enough money to find a cure for diabetes.

“I’m doing this because I want to be cured,” Noah said.

Categories: All Denver News.

American Indian tribes hope for renewal in solar eclipse; not all will watch

4 hours 10 min ago

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — While much of the country gawks at the solar eclipse, Bobbieann Baldwin will be inside with her children, shades drawn.

In Navajo culture, the passing of the moon over the sun is an intimate moment in which the sun is reborn and tribal members take time out for themselves. No talking. No eating or drinking. No lying down. No fussing.

“It’s a time of renewal,” said Baldwin, a Navajo woman from Fort Defiance, Arizona. “Kind of like pressing the alt, control, delete button on your computer, resetting everything.”

Across the country, American Indian tribes are observing the eclipse in similar and not-so-similar ways. Some tribal members will ignore it, others might watch while praying for an anticipated renewal, and those in prime viewing spots are welcoming visitors with storytelling, food and celebration. For the Crow Tribe in Montana, the eclipse coincides with the Parade Dance at the annual Crow fair, marking the tribe’s new year.

Many American Indian tribes revere the sun and moon as cultural deities, great sources of power and giver of life.

The Crow’s cultural director, William Big Day, said the sun is believed to die and come back to life during an eclipse. In more nomadic days, Crows would offer each other “good wishes” for their travels, and elders would advise them to do a cleansing ceremony to start anew, he said.

U.S. Bureau of Indian Education spokeswoman Nedra Darling said the agency’s schools, most of which are on the Navajo Nation, were given the option of closing Monday. Navajo Nation employees have Monday off, and other schools on and off the reservation that extends into Arizona, New Mexico and Utah earlier decided to close in respect of the culture that teaches that looking at the sun during an eclipse can be harmful not only to one’s eyesight but for overall well-being.

“You’re welcoming negativity into your life, or turmoil, or troublesome times ahead of you, as well as socially, health-wise and spiritually,” Baldwin said. “You’re observing something that should not be observed.”

Farther east near the Great Smoky Mountains, the Eastern Cherokee tribe is expecting thousands of spillover visitors from the national park.

Stickball games during a two-day event will reinforce a lesson about cheating and the appearance of the moon. Fairgrounds supervisor Frieda Huskey recalled a legend of a player on the losing team picking up the ball, which is against the rules, and throwing it against the solid sky, so its appearance is small and pale.

When the moon or sun is eclipsed, it’s because a great frog is trying to swallow it, she said.

In response, Cherokees beat drums and fire guns to scare off the frog and ensure the moon or sun don’t disappear forever — just as they will do during Monday’s solar eclipse, she said. Once the eclipse is over, Cherokee warriors will dance to celebrate the great frog’s defeat.

When the sun and the moon disappeared during eclipses in the past, it frightened indigenous people who believed they displeased the gods, said Stanford “Butch” Devinney, an Eastern Shoshone spiritual leader and teacher at Wyoming Indian Schools on the Wind River Reservation. The way he sees it now, the eclipse is an opportunity for renewal.

“Maybe our way of thinking might change, our behavior,” he said. “People will have a different outlook on life. Maybe it will change for the better. Be a different person.”

Students at two Northern Arapaho schools that share a reservation with the Eastern Shoshone will be using telescopes donated by NASA and special glasses to view the eclipse. Principal Elberta Monroe said teachers have been talking to students about the solar eclipse for months.

It’s “something students are going to remember for a lifetime,” she said.

Baldwin will call her children into the living room Monday, share traditional Navajo stories and ask them to meditate and reflect on what they want out of school, athletics and life, she said.

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For one daughter, the focus would be acceptance from elders on her role in rodeo. Baldwin will ask the children to concentrate and wish for happiness and health for their family, friends and all of humanity.

“There’s a little conversation, but there’s that constant reminder that we need to be quiet,” she said.

Categories: All Denver News.

Ian Sharman wins Leadville 100 trail run for fourth time

4 hours 22 min ago

LEADVILLE — Throwing up during the middle of a 100-mile race is, as you might imagine, not entirely uncommon.

But for 36-year-old Ian Sharman of Bend, Ore., it had happened only one other time in a running career that has lasted more than a decade and included dozens of ultramarathons. On Saturday during the 35th Leadville 100 trail run, with about 20 miles to go in the race (and aided by a can of ginger ale) it happened again.

But by then, at mile 80 during the climb up the Powerline portion of the course, Sharman was so far ahead of second place that throwing up wasn’t going to stop him. In fact, he felt better afterward.

“I knew I had a big lead by then, because my pacer was checking on his phone — every time he got reception, he could check to see where people were. So it’s kind of useful,” Sharman said. “But you never know if they miss someone, so I had to assume the worst: That someone was right behind me.”

Sharman won his fourth — and third straight — Leadville 100 in 17 hours, 34 minutes, 47 seconds with a relentless focus on hitting consistent splits. He called this the hardest of his four victories.

“I was a little tired from the rest of the season,” said Sharman, who finished seventh in the Western States 100 two months ago in California and a downhill run that dropped 5,000 feet — the kind of effort that typically trashes an athlete’s legs.

Sharman has been a mainstay at this event for five years. To date, his only loss has come to Rob Krar in 2014, when he finished third.

“I kept telling myself when I was struggling today — and I had so many more low points than normal — that if I don’t start thinking better, I’m going to just walk it in for the next 10 hours. Overcoming those at the time isn’t as fulfilling, but you have to tell yourself the next day, the next month and the next year it’s going to mean a lot.

“This is going to mean more than the other ones because I had to overcome more.”

While many athletes have blazed ahead of Sharman in years past during the early parts of the event, he never seems to show any worry when he’s behind, sticking with a metronome-like pace that has proved effective. It may not be flashy, but it’s consistent — and it’s earned him four wins.

Saturday was no different. At the Twin Lakes aid station at mile 39.5, Sharman was about five minutes behind then-leader Anthony Kunkel. Last year, Max King tore through 80 miles near course-record pace before falling apart. Sharman — who won his first title in 2013 — passed him and won. In 2015, it was competitor Mike Aish who started too hot and eventually folded.

“The whole point over 100 miles is how you can avoid slowing down,” Sharman said. “It doesn’t matter what your top speed is. It doesn’t matter what you do in the first half. I just try to get into a good pace and not be too tired at halfway.”

Sharman’s vomitting episode was one of many low moments during the the 100.4-mile race — which was longer this year by roughly 2 miles after some trail changes near the turnaround point in Winfield. After the turnaround on the out-and-back course, Sharman — then in second place — got lost and added about 0.8 miles more. In total, he ran just over 101 miles.

“He (Kunkel) had an eight-minute lead on me. Then I added on a bit, then (he got lost) and added even more and was behind me,” Sharman recalled. Kunkel — who had been leading Sharman most of the race by that point — eventually dropped out near mile 70.

“Even though I don’t live at high altitude, I find I do well with it,” Sharman said. “And when you win a race, it’s nice to come back.”

But Sharman said he would not be returning next year, hoping instead to run the Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc ultramarathon in the Alps to gain a qualifier for the Hardrock 100, the brutal 100-mile run that takes place annually in the San Juan Mountains (Leadville is not a qualifier for Hardrock). But Sharman said he absolutely planned to return to Leadville to go for a fifth title.

“It’s a big ticket race,” Sharman said of the Leadville 100, “and this year we didn’t have quite the depth of competition we’ve had in some years, but there’s no easy 100-milers. This totally proved it to me.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Wildfire evacuation orders affect hundreds in California, Oregon

4 hours 26 min ago

SISTERS, Ore. — Evacuation orders affecting hundreds of people were issued in California and Oregon as wildfires neared small towns, including one that’s a prime location for viewing the eclipse.

About 600 residents were told to leave the tourist town of Sisters, Oregon, and authorities said Saturday another 1,000 people had been told to be ready to leave if necessary.

Sisters is located on the edge of a 70-mile swath of the state where the moon will completely blot out the sun.

No structures had been lost and no injuries have been reported since the fire began last week. The cause is under investigation.

Kurt Wilson/The Missoulian via APExhaustion reads on the face of a firefighter from Noorvik, Alaska, while he and his team were working the primary fire line on the Lolo Peak fire near Carlton Ridge, watching for and extinguishing spot fires that threatened to jump the line, Friday, Aug. 18, 2017 in Missoula, Mont. The Lolo Peak Fire in western Montana blew up overnight leading law enforcement officers to order the evacuation of up to 400 more homes west of the town of Lolo. (Kurt Wilson/The Missoulian via AP)

Crews were expecting a tough day Saturday with winds gusting to more than 20 mph.

On Monday, they will have to contend with the solar eclipse that fire officials say will ground all firefighting helicopters and most fixed-wing aircraft for about 35 minutes as the moon’s shadow passes over the area.

Shopkeepers were hoping the fire would not inhibit business as tourists arrive to watch the eclipse.

“If you look up at the sky it’s not an orange cloud anymore,” said Andrew Bourgerie, co-owner of Sisters Bakery. “So it’s simmering down a little bit.”

Some campsites and recreational areas were shut down due to the 12-square-mile (31-square kilometer) wildfire in Deschutes National Forest that jumped fire lines Friday.

Officials say the blaze is producing heavy smoke while burning in forests at higher elevations and sagebrush in lower areas.

“We have a few days before the eclipse to see if the smoke is in the area,” fire spokeswoman Lisa Clark said.

Officials said only aircraft with instruments allowing them to fly at night can fight the fire during the eclipse. Clark said that eliminates the bulk of the firefighting fleet, though large air tankers will be able to fly.

In California, authorities issued an evacuation order for the small town of Wawona as a week-old fire in Yosemite National Park grew and air quality reached a hazardous level.

The U.S. Forest Service said the fire grew to more than 4 square miles (more than 10.36 sq. kilometers) overnight due to winds from thunderstorms. Authorities ordered people to leave as air quality was expected to worsen.

Wawona, with a population of 1,000 to 2,000 people at any given time, is less than 2 miles (less than 3.22 kilometers) from the fire. The evacuation order included the historic Big Trees Lodge, formerly known as the Wawona Hotel.

The fire has closed campgrounds and trails in the national park since it began a week ago. It was 10 percent contained.

In Montana, 155 National Guard troops arrived to monitor about three dozen security checkpoints in an area south of Missoula that was evacuated due to a fire that flared up after burning since at least July 15.

The fire destroyed two homes and several outbuildings Thursday. It burned an additional 14 square miles Friday and has charred an estimated 44 square miles (113.96 sq. kilometers) of wooded, mountainous terrain west of Lolo.

The troops will relieve law enforcement officers so they can return to other duties.

The Missoulian reported that heavy smoke has settled into valleys and officials warned of poor air quality.

Idaho’s two largest wildfires were burning mostly in wilderness areas.

One fire burned 17 square miles (44 square kilometers) in Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, and another in Gospel Hump Wilderness had burned 21 square miles (54 square kilometers).

In Arizona, officials say charges have been dismissed against Gene Carpenter, 54, who was arrested on suspicion of operating his drone in restricted airspace over a fire in June.

Deputy Yavapai County Attorney Dennis McGrane said new evidence was being investigated.

Categories: All Denver News.

Pennsylvania woman falls ill, dies on Colorado hiking trip

4 hours 35 min ago

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. — A Pennsylvania woman has fallen ill and died during a backpacking trip in Colorado.

Pitkin County sheriff’s officials say the unidentified woman got sick Thursday while hiking with three friends to Conundrum Hot Springs. They planned to camp at the hot springs but instead set up a tent after the 20-year-old woman began vomiting.

Two of the hikers went for help and a third remained with the woman in the backcountry.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reports ( ) a helicopter sent for the woman overnight was unable to land, possibly because of the weather.

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The woman had died by the time another helicopter arrived early Friday morning.

Deputy Coroner Eric Hansen says the cause of death likely won’t be known until an autopsy is performed.


Information from: Post Independent,

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Email scammers rob Colorado town of almost $60,000

4 hours 37 min ago

SNOWMASS VILLAGE — Email scammers have robbed the Colorado resort town of Snowmass of almost $60,000.

Town officials say they aren’t optimistic about getting the money back.

The Aspen Daily News reports the fraud happened July 18. The culprits mimicked a town email account to request a money transfer. The transaction appeared related to construction materials and the town’s finance department paid the money.

Town officials noticed the crime the following week and reported it to police.

Town Manager Clint Kinney says no employee’s personal information was compromised.

Categories: All Denver News.

Wheat Ridge Police break up massive street racing gathering

4 hours 39 min ago

WHEAT RIDGE, Colo. – The Wheat Ridge Police Department, along with four other law enforcement agencies, broke up a massive street racing event that police said got out of hand Friday evening.

Police started getting reports of the gathering after the street racers began causing several traffic issues and accidents in the area of 44th Avenue and Kipling Street. They were also trying to close 44th Avenue to through traffic, according to the Wheat Ridge Police Department.

The crowd, estimated at over 500 vehicles and more than 1,200 people, was becoming hostile toward police and were refusing to leave. At one point, police said, beer bottles were thrown toward a marked patrol car.

Read the full story at Denver7.

Categories: All Denver News.

QB competition over? Paxton Lynch fails to “take the reins” in preseason start vs. 49ers

4 hours 48 min ago

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — Broncos coach Vance Joseph and receiver Demaryius Thomas told Paxton Lynch that the key for him this week, more than ever, was to relax. R-E-L-A-X.

With a start against the 49ers on Saturday, Lynch faced the biggest test of his young NFL career in trying to secure the Broncos’ starting quarterback job. So he heeded the advice and took his parents to In-N-Out Burger for a pregame meal alongside a youth soccer team and many others uninterested in his name, his status or his impending major moment. Hours later, Lynch strolled into Levi’s Stadium with a pair of shades and headphones. Totally relaxed.

But the plan didn’t help him enough when he needed to shine the most and sway his judges.

In fact, he might have lost his final opportunity, in a 33-14 Broncos victory.

In his quarter and a half of play against the 49ers, Lynch went 9-of-13 passing for 39 yards (3 yards per attempt), zero touchdowns, zero interceptions and a 72.3 passer rating. He also took one sack.

Lynch opened with promise, though, hitting Bennie Fowler and C.J. Anderson for short completions and taking a boost from the 49ers with a personal foul for unnecessary roughness. He guided the Broncos to three scoring drives for a 13-0 lead: an 11-yard drive that began on a muffed punt recovered by Will Parks and culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Anderson; a 26-yard drive that ended with a field goal by Brandon McManus; and an 11-yard drive capped by a 51-yarder by McManus.

When he decided to scramble, Lynch showed a get-off that makes him appealing as a dual-threat quarterback, totaling 27 yards on three runs.

But his persistent struggles in reading and reacting to the defense were scattered throughout. He overshot Thomas and, on a third down, was nearly picked off on a pass intended for Virgil Green, who was in double coverage while Thomas was wide open in the middle of the field. On his third drive, Lynch was late on an audible on a third-and-1 and threw a pass behind a tightly covered Green to force a punt.

His flash of potential was obvious. But so, too, were his rawness and inexperience.

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Trevor Siemian took over with 3:23 remaining in the second quarter and quickly picked apart the 49ers, avoiding a sack and overcoming a fourth penalty on rookie tackle Garett Bolles that negated a touchdown pass. When Siemian’s 9-yard touchdown to De’Angelo Henderson was called back, Siemian responded with a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Taylor on the next play.

The drive might have sealed Siemian’s victory in the quarterback battle — his second in as many years. But it wasn’t his only scoring drive of the night. He came back with a 13-play series that set up McManus for a 42-yard field goal. Siemian’s third and final drive spanned four plays and 19 yards, ending with a punt.

His stat line for the night: 8-of-11 passing for 93 yards (8.5 per attempt), one touchdown and a 128.2 rating.

“Very solid, both guys,” Joseph said at the half. “Obviously, Paxton made some plays with his legs, which he should. Trevor made a good touchdown pass to No. 87. Very pleased.”

Third-string quarterback Kyle Sloter subbed in with about a minute left in the third and played the remainder of the game.

Entering the contest, Siemian owned an edge over Lynch with his consistency in practices and against the Bears, when he went 6-of-7 for 51 yards, a scoring drive, no interceptions and a 97.0 passer rating. In practice, Lynch has displayed a number of big throws, but also a number of interceptions and misreads that often killed his confidence.

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Thursday’s practice marked one of Lynch’s finest, going a perfect 12-for-12 in a joint workout with the 49ers.

Neither Joseph nor general manager John Elway put a timetable on the quarterback competition — on purpose — but Lynch’s hope was that his comfort and recent consistency would carry over to his first start and force the Broncos to extend the race to three games.

“We’ve talked about that decision being made by itself,” Elway said. “We want one of them to take the reins — and take over it would be the ideal situation.”

On Saturday, it was Siemian who did just that.

Quarterback Breakdown

Paxton Lynch: 9-of-13, 39 yards (3 avg.), 1 sack, 0 TDs, 0 INT, 72.3 rating

Trevor Siemian: 8-of-11, 93 yards (8.5 avg.), 1 TD, 0 INT, 128.2 rating

Kyle Sloter: 7-of-7, 50 yards (7.1 avg.), 0 TD, 0 INT, 96.4 rating

Categories: All Denver News.