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Above normal temperatures before a snowstorm in Denver

November 15, 2018 - 6:39am

Denver has two more days to enjoy above-normal temperatures before a winter snowstorm arrives, forecasters say.

The high temperature Thursday will be around 56 degrees, which is 4 degrees above normal for this time of the year, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. The low will be around 31 degrees.

A cold front will sweep through northeastern Colorado Thursday with winds gusting up to 30 mph over the mountains and plains.

Friday’s high of 61 degrees in Denver would be 9 degrees above normal, the NWS says. The low temperature will take a dramatic dip to 24 degrees overnight as the storm moves into Denver.

A cold front moving across northeast CO this morning will bring cooler temps & gusty northwest winds to 30 mph over the mountains, foothills & eastern sections of the plains. The next storm system will bring colder temperatures & light snow Friday night-Saturday night. #cowx pic.twitter.com/ioFPptAuxh

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) November 15, 2018

There’s a 50 percent chance of snow on Saturday, when the high temperature will climb to only 29 degrees, the NWS says.

The storm will clear out and temperatures will begin to rise on Sunday, when the high will be around 41 degrees.

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On Monday through Wednesday, it will be dry, sunny with high temperatures in the lower to mid 50s, forecasters say.

Categories: All Denver News.

“It’s not easy”: Colorado wildlife officials say decision to euthanize sick, injured wildlife is taken seriously

November 15, 2018 - 6:00am

Larry the elk laid on the ground outside the entrance to a Boulder travel business Wednesday, the side of its head resting against the pavement, a purple band wrapped over its eyes and around its mouth.

A group of people inside gathered at the tall glass windows, watching the animal take its final breath.

Just two days earlier, a sickly mountain lion strolled into downtown Evergeen, where it attacked and killed a dog before posting up outside a candy store.

Over the course of three days, these two creatures of Colorado’s wild drew the attention, affection and awe of children, business owners and everyday citizens. But despite the public infatuation, state wildlife officials deemed both of these unexpected visitors too sick to go on, and euthanized each animal.

It’s simply part of living in a state defined by its wildlife and outdoors.

“We share a lot of habitat with wildlife,” said Jason Clay, spokesman for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. “Because of that, there’s bound to be some conflicts.”

Courtesy photo from Rachel NicksThe mountain lion captured in Evergreen on Monday, Nov. 12, 2018.

In cases such as these, wildlife officials weigh every possible option before euthanizing, Clay said. They’d prefer to relocate the animals, or get them help, but that’s not always in the cards.

“There’s a lot of decision-making that goes into it all,” he said. “Could we get it to a rehabilitation center? We consult with the veterinarians, and we always look for other means or what can be done.”

Both the elk and the mountain lion, Clay said, were deemed not well enough to survive on their own.

Named “Larry” by neighbors, the elk had become somewhat of a Boulder sensation in recent weeks, charming both humans and canines alike. Mapleton Hill resident Carie Lemack said Larry had built a special relationship with her dog, noting the elk’s “beautiful eyes” and “beautiful energy.”

“I have been amazed and am in awe of the natural beauty that Larry represents right in my neighborhood,” she told the Daily Camera newspaper.

But Larry suffered from a jaw injury, which became abscessed and infected with visible swelling. Workers at Cultivate, the travel business, called city wildlife officers at 8 a.m. to inform them Larry had shown up at their back entrance.

After tranquilizing the elk, Colorado Parks and Wildlife veterinarian Dr. Lisa Wolfe noticed Larry’s injured jaw, and decided that it was best for him to be euthanized.

“It’s a shame to have to put it down,” Wolfe said. “But it’s hard to see him suffer, at the same time.”

Wildlife officials hope to learn more about how the elk became ill through a necropsy, Clay said.

Larry, ultimately, met the same fate as the mountain lion in Evergreen.

Parks and Wildlife responded on Monday after a dog owner called, saying they had heard commotion in their backyard. Their dog was dead, and the mountain lion had run off.

Eventually, wildlife officers located the lion outside the Seasonally Yours candy shop off Highway 74. Curious people gathered outside the shop, including parents picking up their children from a nearby bus stop.

“There was about 75 people standing there,” said Rachel Nicks, owner of Seasonally Yours. “It turned into an educational thing for the kids.”

The wildlife officers noticed how skinny the mountain lion looked, with one able to pick up the tranquilized cat by the scruff of its neck.

The lion was transported to Fort Collins and euthanized Monday night, Clay said.

Initial results from a necropsy showed the mountain lion weighed just 61 pounds, Clay said, noting a healthy female adult lion normally weighs 120 pounds. In a recent 10-year study of 50 female lions on the Front Range, not one lion had weighed less than 90 pounds, Clay said.

Given Colorado’s outdoor-centric lifestyle, Clay knows these incidents strike a chord for people in the community.

“The public really cares for wildlife in the state,” he said. “Wildlife is what makes this state so great. There’s a lot of passion here.”

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Wildlife officials, he said, do not take their responsibility lightly.

“Do we enjoy when an animal has to be put down? No,” Clay said. “We work really hard to save them. When our people do have to put them down, it’s not easy for them.”

The Daily Camera contributed to this report.

Categories: All Denver News.

House hunting in Denver metro? Better bring in $90K a year to get an average home

November 15, 2018 - 6:00am

The salary needed to afford the typical home in metro Denver is catching up to Washington, D.C., and exceeds Miami, Portland, Ore., and Sacramento, according to an analysis Wednesday from HSH.com.

Keith Gumbinger, HSH.com’s vice president, calculates a metro Denver buyer in the third quarter needed to earn $91,276.61 to afford a loan on the median-priced home, which the National Association of Realtors lists at $450,100.

That ranks as the ninth highest salary requirement among the 50 large metros included in the survey.

The calculation assumes buyers put 20 percent down. If they only put 10 percent down, then the salary requirement increases to $105,319.45 in metro Denver. The estimate also used a 4.69-percent interest rate on a 30-year mortgage.

In perhaps the most controversial assumption, the mortgage payment was limited to 28 percent of income, a “front-end” ratio some lenders criticize as too conservative in today’s market. A higher ratio means lenders are willing to accept a smaller income.

Over the past year, metro Denver’s median home prices are up 7.65 percent. But the salary required to purchase that median home in Denver is 14.9 percent higher. Higher interest rates explain the difference.

The top four metros on the list for lack of affordability, all out of California, are San Jose, San Francisco, San Diego and Los Angeles. Boston comes up fifth.

San Jose homebuyers needed a household income of $256,877.50 to qualify for the median home of $1.3 million with a 20-percent down payment of $260,000. No wonder Colorado looks like a bargain.

Just ahead of Denver in the rankings for income required were New York City, Seattle and Washington, D.C.

In metro Washington, D.C., which covers a huge area, a buyer would need a salary of $93,380.86 to afford the median-priced home versus $91,275.61 in metro Denver, using the conservative underwriting assumptions from HSH.com.

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But here’s the rub. In metro Denver, the median household income is just under $72,000, according to the most recently available counts from the Census Bureau. In D.C., it tops $95,000.

Pittsburgh, Oklahoma City and Cleveland represented the most affordable of the 50 large metros studied. In metro Pittsburgh, with a median home price of $155,000, a buyer would need a salary of $38,879.97.

Oklahoma City, Cleveland, Memphis and Indianapolis all had salary requirements of under $42,000 a year to buy the median-priced home in those markets.

Categories: All Denver News.

Denver Sports Omelette: Martin Truex Jr. wins big race over Joey Logano, Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick on the Tonight Show

November 15, 2018 - 6:00am

Martin Truex Jr. of Furniture Row Racing took part in a big race on Tuesday in New York City as he made an appearance on the Tonight Show with host Jimmy Fallon and the rest of the NASCAR Championship 4 drivers, Joey Logano, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick.

The big race was on a smaller scale where the four NASCAR drivers raced remote control cars around a New York themed obstacle track in the Tonight Show studio. The R.C. Pro Am race was dominated by Truex and his No. 78 R.C. car.

This isn’t the only race Truex had on his mind though, as he really has his sights on winning back-to-back Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championships this fall. Truex is ranked third in the standings heading into Championship Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Nov. 18, 2018. You can watch the race Sunday at 1 p.m. on NBCSN.

Make sure to check out the full R.C. Pro Am race below.

Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post

NEW 
Categories: All Denver News.

Broncos’ Royce Freeman working toward healthy return at Chargers

November 15, 2018 - 6:00am

Royce Freeman’s durability as a college running back was never in doubt.

As a rookie in the NFL, it’s already been tested.

Oregon played 53 games between 2014-’17. Freeman appeared in 51. And, he never missed consecutive games in one season. It’s what made recent events so difficult for Freeman, who sustained an ankle injury in Denver’s Week 7 victory against Arizona and has missed the past two games.

“I try to miss as little time as possible, but things happen and I take it upon myself to get back as quickly as I can,” Freeman said. “But you miss it so much, especially when you’re out.”

It appears his football hiatus is nearing an end, however. Freeman returned to practice Wednesday as a limited participant and head coach Vance Joseph is optimistic he’ll be ready to play Sunday at the Chargers.

“(Freeman) looked OK. It wasn’t perfect, but he wants to be out there,” Joseph said. “If I’m a betting man, I’ll bet on Royce that he plays Sunday.”

Added Freeman: “I always listen to the (medical) staff and what they have for me. They’ve done a great job of helping me get back to where I am.”

Broncos’ undrafted free agent running back Phillip Lindsay‘s role grew with Freeman’s absence. In losses at Kansas City and versus Houston, Lindsay carried 35 times for 155 yards and one touchdown. Third-down back Devontae Booker also stepped in with 93 yards on the ground including a long scoring scamper against the Chiefs. While not stagnant without Freeman, his addition to the Denver backfield provides a wealth of positives.

“It helps (offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave) with his play calling because Royce has his specialties that he’s really good at,” Joseph said. “It keeps the defense off-balance when you have a runner like Royce and a guy like Phillip who can be in the backfield or flex out of the backfield.”

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The Broncos’ rushing offense ranked No. 10 overall in the NFL with Freeman through his first seven games (124.2). It didn’t slip in his absence, jumping to ninth with a 2-yard increase. Lindsay nevertheless looks forward to once again sharing the backfield with his fellow rookie.

“For one, it’s going to help us all stay healthier,” Lindsay said. “Two, it brings a different element. He’s a bigger dude. I’ll take pressure off of him and he’ll take pressure off of me — and we can keep things rolling.”

The Chargers are vulnerable to big ground gains with their four previous opponents all eclipsing 100 yards rushing.  Freeman spent the past three weeks, including the bye, serving as another pair of eyes in film breakdowns with teammates. He lauded Lindsay’s performance: “He’s capable of everything on the field. I think that’s what makes him so dynamic. He’s not just a one-trick pony.”

But Freeman’s always-churning legs don’t take kindly to extended in-season rest. A California comeback sure sounds sweet.

“Being able to practice is definitely something that was very exciting,” he said. “I was looking forward to it all week.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Trump torpedoed Colorado Republicans’ appeal to unaffiliated voters, new post-election poll says

November 15, 2018 - 6:00am

A post-election poll of unaffiliated voters released Thursday has a sobering message for the Colorado GOP: President Donald Trump’s unpopularity may have accelerated the party’s growing disadvantage in state politics by sinking its chances with independents.

The phone poll, conducted by a Republican firm Nov. 7-9, confirmed that unaffiliated voters — whose participation surged to historic levels for a midterm election — broke with tradition by favoring Democrats by huge margins on Nov. 6. Unaffiliated voters who turn out in midterms in Colorado tend to break for Republicans, while leaning left in presidential elections.

And unlike previous Democratic electoral routs, the poll suggests, it’s less likely Republicans will be in a position to bounce back in two years, when Trump is up for re-election.

“What is still the most important voting bloc is all of the unaffiliated voters,” said David Flaherty, the founder and CEO of Louisville-based Magellan Strategies. “And the bottom line is that boy oh boy, they did not like what Republicans were offering up. And boy oh boy, they do not like this president. … It could not have been a darker day.”

Colorado Election Results

The poll of 500 Colorado unaffiliated voters who participated in the election found a 34 percentage-point advantage within that group for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis over Republican Walker Stapleton. Among all voters, Polis’ winning margin was 10.5 percentage points, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

At the same time, the poll says that unaffiliated voters who cast ballots have a dismal view of the Republican Party, with only 25 percent of the sample reporting a favorable impression of the GOP.

Flaherty said respondents’ recurring responses to an open-ended question about their impressions of the GOP — including hostility toward immigrants, perceived racism and antipathy toward the working class — suggested Trump was a prevailing factor in that distaste.

In last week’s election, Democrats notched across-the-board statewide victories that exceeded the party’s national performance, including a sweep of state constitutional offices. Democrats also retook the state Senate majority and expanded their state House majority.

Unaffiliated voters played an outsized role, Flaherty said, as both their turnout (878,360) and that of registered Democrats (849,610) each outpaced Republican ballot returns (813,644) for the first time ever in a midterm election in Colorado.

More poll findings

Here are among the most notable findings from the poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.38 percentage points:

  • Trump’s job approval rating among unaffiliated voters was 31 percent, while 62 percent disapproved. Nearly half of respondents said Trump influenced their vote, and among those, the president harmed Republicans’ appeal nearly 3-to-1.
  • Fifteen percent of women in the survey said they considered candidates from both major parties equally, compared to 36 percent of unaffiliated female voters who said so in a 2016 poll. Flaherty said this was a symptom of increased polarization.
  • Polis, a congressman, won the votes of 59 percent of respondents, compared to 25 percent for Stapleton, the outgoing state treasurer. Four percent supported other candidates, and 12 percent refused to say who they voted for. Though women supported Polis more strongly than men, he won majority support among both groups.
  • Polis heavily outspent Stapleton by largely funding his own campaign, though outside groups filled some of the gap by running a steady diet of attack ads against Polis. The poll found Polis won the messaging war among unaffiliated voters, while some respondents mentioned perceptions that Stapleton was dishonest or a liar — suggesting, Flaherty said, a potential backfiring of the attack ads against Polis.
  • The fact that Polis is gay was cited by a handful of respondents as a negative factor in their vote, but it was just as likely to be cited positively by others as a reason they supported Polis.
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In the last decade, Democrats have overtaken Republicans slightly in voter registration, while the bloc of unaffiliated voters has outpaced both. Current registration stands at about 29 percent Republican, 30 percent Democrat and 39 percent unaffiliated — compared to nearly equal one-third shares for each group in 2008.

“Time will tell if the 2018 election was an acceleration of the Republican Party’s waning ability to win statewide elections in Colorado, or a sobering period of clarity that sparked a new direction for the GOP,” Flaherty wrote in a polling memo.

“There is an abundance of survey data and voter trends to support our claims, and all Colorado Republicans should be worried.”

Document: Polling memo and topline results

Categories: All Denver News.

Judge says Florida election problems make it a “laughingstock”

November 15, 2018 - 5:58am

By Gary Fineout and Brendan Farrington

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A federal judge slammed Florida on Thursday for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems and said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.

U.S. District Judge Mark Walker also rejected a request to extend the deadline later in the day for all of the state’s counties to submit the results of a machine recount.

“We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this,” Walker said in court.

Walker vented his anger at state lawmakers and Palm Beach County officials, saying they should have made sure they had enough equipment in place to handle this kind of a recount.

The overarching problem was created by the Florida Legislature, which Walker said passed a recount law that appears to run afoul of the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, by locking in procedures that do not allow for potential problems.

Florida’s 67 counties faced a 3 p.m. Thursday deadline to finish recounts that could determine the next senator and governor in one of America’s top political battlegrounds.

A total of six election-related lawsuits are pending in Tallahassee. Earlier Thursday, Walker ordered that voters be given until 5 p.m. Saturday to show a valid identification and fix their ballots if they have not been counted due to mismatched signatures.

State officials testified that nearly 4,000 mailed-in ballots were set aside because local officials decided the signature on the envelope did not match the signature on file. If those voters can prove their identity, their votes will now be counted and included in final official returns due from each county by noon Sunday.

Meanwhile, the recount threatened to stretch into the weekend. The election supervisor in Palm Beach County, a Democratic stronghold, warned that her office may not meet Thursday’s initial deadline.

More than a week after Election Day, an immediate resolution seems unlikely.

Once the machine recount is complete, state law requires a hand review of races with margins of less than 0.25 percentage points. That almost certainly means another recount in the Senate race, with unofficial results showing Republican Gov. Rick Scott ahead of Nelson by 0.14 percentage points.

Also, the election will not be certified until Tuesday, even though the machine recount may essentially bring a conclusion to the governor’s race, where Republican Ron DeSantis leads Democrat Andrew Gillum by 0.41 percentage points in unofficial results.

Nelson, a three-time incumbent, has defended his legal strategy that resulted in Walker’s ruling, saying in a statement Wednesday that his goal was to “to make sure that every lawful vote be counted correctly in this Senate race, and that Floridians’ right to participate in this process is protected.”

Republicans say in their own lawsuits and motions that Democrats are trying to change the rules after the voting did not go their way.

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“We will continue to fight to defend Florida law and uphold the will of the voters,” said Chris Hartline, a spokesman for Scott.

Nelson and Democrats had wanted Walker to order the counting of all mail-in ballots rejected for a mismatched signature, arguing that local election officials are not handwriting experts.

Walker said he could not go along with that suggestion.

“Let this court be clear: It is not ordering county canvassing boards to count every mismatched vote, sight unseen,” Walker wrote in his 34-page ruling.

Lauren Schenone, a spokeswoman for Scott, called Walker’s ruling “baseless” and said they were “confident” it would be overturned by the Atlanta-based appellate court.

The developments are fueling frustrations among Democrats and Republicans alike. Democrats want state officials to do whatever it takes to make sure every eligible vote is counted. Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued without evidence that voter fraud threatens to steal races from the GOP.

Just when state officials will get recount results from all counties remains unclear. Tallying machines overheated earlier this week in Palm Beach County. That caused mismatched results with the recount of 174,000 early voting ballots, forcing staffers to go back and redo their work.

The county’s Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher said the machines underwent maintenance right before the election, but “I don’t think they were designed to work 24/7.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Breckenridge removes divisive giant wooden troll Thursday

November 15, 2018 - 4:43am

BRECKENRIDGE — The town of Breckenridge in central Colorado is removing an art piece of a troll that has become a tourist attraction but also rankled nearby residents.

The Summit Daily News reports that town employees started removing the 15-foot wood troll in the ski resort town Thursday.

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The Town Council cited public safety concerns in its Tuesday decision to get rid of the artwork that Danish artist Thomas Dambo was built for a summer arts festival that ended in August.

The original plan was to leave the troll in place as long it could withstand the elements and wasn’t vandalized.

However, throngs of troll-seekers have caused numerous problems for some of nearby homeowners, who have complained about illegal parking, littering and a loss of privacy, among other issues.

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Categories: All Denver News.

Ask Amy: Want to break up? Some people just can’t take a hint.

November 15, 2018 - 4:30am

Dear Amy: A few months ago, I started casually dating “Robert.” We first met online.

Robert told me from the beginning that he had a very strict diet, didn’t drink alcohol and paid close attention to ingredients in products that he used. I thought he was just an extremely healthy guy.

Robert recently told me that he has a degenerative disease, which will cause issues with his motor functions, speech and vision. He thinks that he has another three or four years left of being able to fully care for himself, before he can’t do things like drive, or even walk. His condition is genetic, and he’d likely pass it down to any children he may have.

Robert is a sweet guy with a big heart, but we’ve only dated for about four months, and I don’t know if I want to sign up for years of being someone’s caregiver.

I’m only 31, and I want to experience everything life has in store for me, including children.

I decided to end it with Robert. I started to pull back, and tried to make it obvious that I was losing interest. He apparently didn’t notice the signs, so I told him that I felt it was better if we just remained friends.

Amy, it’s like he didn’t even register what I said! He stills calls and texts daily, talks about how much he likes me, and about going on vacation together and meeting his family.

I don’t feel right ghosting him, so I respond to him, but I try not to make plans with him.

Amy, I really think he’s looking for someone to take care of him. I don’t want to hurt him or be cruel, but how do I make a clean break?

— Unsure

Dear Unsure: From your reporting, “Robert” has been very candid and upfront with you. He has actually said the words — out loud — that give you a pretty complete understanding of who he is and what he is dealing with.

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You have every right to break up with him — and I agree with you that you should. You obviously have no intention of staying with him, so don’t you think he deserves to hear the truth from you?

Hinting, pulling back, avoiding, saying, “Hey, let’s remain friends” isn’t working with him. Because when you say, “Let’s remain friends,” he believes you are being honest (you are not), and he thinks, “Great! We’re friends now, and so yes, let’s remain friends!” Stop wasting his time.

Tell him, “I’m breaking up with you. I appreciate your honesty, but I find your health challenges overwhelming. You are a great guy, and I hope you will find the right person to be with, but I’m not that person.”

Dear Amy: My dad’s wife (not my stepmother), whom he married when I was in my 20s, has always hated me. Amy, she hated me from Day One.

I figured her animosity toward me is because I am a reminder to her that he had a life before her. She is also only 10 years older than I am.

Her latest attempt to mess up my life is to try and seduce my boyfriend.

What should I do?

We all live together and both of them work from home.

— Sick and Tired

Dear Sick and Tired: Move out.

Your father is an adult; he has made a choice that seems hostile toward you, because he has brought a disrupter into your life (and into his household).

But — guess what? It’s his life, and (I’m assuming) his house.

You are at least well into your 20s. The beauty of adulthood is that — just as your father has done — you, too, can change your life by making concrete choices about where (and with whom) you will live.

Move out.

Dear Amy: “MeToo!” wanted to reply to a “happy birthday” email she received from a doctor — a man who sexually abused her years ago when she was a teenager. Thank you for giving her the words to say in her reply to him.

This line especially stood out: “Mainly, I want you to know that even though you victimized me at a young age, your sexually aggressive and criminal behavior toward me does not define me, but for me it will always define you.”

Wow!

— Grateful

Dear Grateful: I come from a long line of pithy note-writers, with a special shout-out here to my late mother, Jane, who was a one-liner wrecking ball.

Categories: All Denver News.

Work for that Thanksgiving meal at one of these turkey trots

November 15, 2018 - 2:46am

The not-so-sound rationale behind running Turkey Trot road races is to offset the calories sure to come at the Thanksgiving dinner table. You try not to think about the fact that the 400 calories you burn in a 5K race will be canceled out by the appetizers you chow down long before you even get to the turkey, stuffing, cranberries and pecan pie.

Another reason is they’re just a great way to make some memories with your family. Those memories are even better when they’re free, right?

The Louisville Turkey Trot 5K has no fee to enter, certainly something to celebrate if you spent a fortune on extra holiday groceries. It also supports a good cause: runners are asked to donate non-perishable food and/or winter clothing in lieu of registration fees. (Even though it’s free, you must register to run.)

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Created in 2013 to assist victims of Boulder County floods, the inaugural race drew about 1,000 people. Last year, the race attracted 13,000 and collected more than 20,000 pounds of food and more than 1,500 cubic feet of clothes, organizers said. This year’s race will benefit Sister Carmen Center’s food bank and thrift store in Lafayette.

This year’s race begins Thursday at 9 a.m. at the Louisville Public Library, 951 Spruce Street. Online registration closes on Wednesday, but walk-up registration is available on the day of the race. That’s yet another bonus to this race: Since there’s no entry fee, there’s also no annoying procrastination penalty to pay for race day registration. Register and find more information at sistercarmen.org/louisville-turkey-trot.

Here are some other Turkey Trots to consider in the Denver metro area:

Mile High United Way Turkey Trot

Where: Washington Park
Distance: 4 miles

Marking its 45th year, this race figures to attract about 20,000 runners and walkers with proceeds going to Mile High United Way. $45 for ages 13-59, $35 for seniors, $30 for children 12 and under. First wave goes off at 10:15 a.m. unitedwaydenver.org/turkey-trot

Broomfield Turkey Day

Where: Broomfield County Commons
Distance:
5K/10K

There is pumpkin pie waiting at the finish, so it’s nice that there is a rare 10K option in addition to the 5K. Races start at 9 a.m. Until Monday, adult prices are $50 (10K) and $40 (5K). Prices go up $5 on Monday and another $10 on race day. broomfieldturkeyday.com

Highlands Ranch Turkey Day 5K

Where: Shea Stadium
Distance:
5K

Starting and finishing at the stadium (3270 Redstone Park Circle), there is a free pancake breakfast (donations of $5 or more are suggested to benefit the Douglas County Fallen Officer Fund) along with free coffee, hot chocolate and a beer garden. The race begins at 9 a.m. thechambernwdc.org/pages/AnnualTurkeyDay5k

Stanley Harvesting Hope 5K

Where: Central Park, Stapleton
Distance:
5K

Benefiting a foundation that funds research into Prader-Willi Syndrome (a genetic disorder that causes life-threatening childhood obesity), runners will receive long-sleeve baseball-style T-shirts, free race photos with family or friends, and a finisher’s medal. Organizers say 100 percent of the proceeds go to charity. The race starts at 10:15 a.m. Registration is $35 through Monday, then increases to $40. harvestinghope5k.com

Gobble Wobble 5K

Where: Clement Park, Littleton
Distance: 5K

A fundraiser for AeroAngel, a Denver-based charity that provides free air transportation for medical care or “make-a-wish” requests. Race start is at 8:30 a.m. Registration is $35 through Sunday, $40 on race day. gobblewobblerun.org

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Categories: All Denver News.

As the death toll rises to 56, hope fades for those missing in Paradise wildfire

November 15, 2018 - 1:59am

By Nicole Santa Cruz, Alene Tchekmedyian and Colleen Shalby

John Digby was on the phone with his son when there was a knock at his door in Paradise. The 78-year-old was in bed sick, unaware of the raging inferno outside, so he didn’t get up to answer it.

Hours later, Roman Digby called again to see if his father’s health had improved. Static met him on the other end. He tried the police, to no avail.

The younger Digby then searched “Paradise” on Google and learned that a wildfire had taken the town. He realized the knock on his father’s door must have been a neighbor urging him to evacuate.

His worst fear was confirmed Wednesday when he got a call from the coroner: His father — like 55 others — had perished in the blaze, which started a week ago. The Camp fire death toll increased when search crews recovered eight more bodies in Paradise.

“He was loved and he’ll be missed,” Digby said of his father. “He was a very kindhearted man.”

Others who fear their loved ones dead, authorities said, may never know for sure. About 130 people remain unaccounted for. Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said family members interested in offering a DNA sample could do so — it could help investigators identify the remains.

More than 460 people, along with 22 cadaver dogs, are involved in recovery efforts.

Since they began collecting names of those missing, investigators have found more than 200 people safe.

“I think that’s a pretty positive number,” Honea said.

As of Wednesday evening, the deadliest wildfire in state history has destroyed more than 10,300 structures and scorched 138,000 acres in Butte County. It was 35% contained, according to California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection officials.

As crews strengthened containment lines around the fire’s footprint, public health officials were dealing with another problem at an evacuation shelter in Chico, a city near Paradise.

A norovirus outbreak was confirmed at Neighborhood Church, where about 200 evacuees are staying, said Lisa Almaguer, a spokeswoman for the Butte County Department of Public Health. She did not know how many people were ill but said that the sick have been separated from the healthy.

Such outbreaks are “not uncommon” in relatively small spaces where lots of people are living, she said. Shelter staff members are working to clean handles, counter tops and anywhere else the virus might be.

Elsewhere, some residents built their own makeshift resource center for those displaced. In the Walmart parking lot in Chico, people brought a variety of food items, including enchiladas and pastries. A man made patties out of a large tray of ground beef. Another served homemade minestrone.

There was an area for pets, with dog beds and pet food piled high.

Maggie Missere, 61, and her partner, Michael Crowder, 64, spent five days sleeping in their truck in the Burger King parking lot with their dog, Coco.

Missere has heart problems and had difficulty living out of the truck. So earlier this week, they headed to Walmart for a tent and met a pastor who set them up with donated supplies.

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On Wednesday afternoon, the couple sat outside their red tent, clutching mugs of coffee while Coco slept on a new bed beside them. By the afternoon the camp had swelled with more than 100 people. Many had pets with them.

“You can’t go hungry here,” Missere said.

The couple’s home in Magalia is still standing, but they haven’t been allowed back.

“I feel relieved that we have a home,” Crowder said. Many of their friends weren’t so lucky.

Crowder has been overwhelmed by the support at the camp. The couple spent most of what little money they had on hand before the fire on fast food when they were sleeping in their vehicle. On Wednesday, a man walked up and gave Crowder $60 in cash, bringing him to tears.

Soon after, two middle-school-aged girls walked up to the couple, one with a tray of patties and the other with the fixings including mustard and pickles.

“See? They just come to you,” Missere said. “It’s like being at a restaurant.”

Santa Cruz reported from Chico, Tchekmedyian and Shalby from Los Angeles.

©2018 the Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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As Paradise burns around it, the local newspaper rises to keep displaced community informed

November 15, 2018 - 1:59am

By Benjamin Oreskes

It’s an iconic if horrifying shot of the Camp fire pulverizing Paradise — a large ball of grayish-black smoke with fire radiating on the right, taken less than two hours after the Northern California inferno started a week ago.

The photo ran on the websites of the New York Times, Washington Post and Time magazine. It was taken on an iPhone from the roof of the Chico Enterprise-Record’s office by the paper’s editor, David Little.

The responsibility fell to the Chico native because the newspaper’s only photographer is on medical leave. The image also ran prominently in the Enterprise-Record’s Friday print edition.

“It was just the first photo we posted on our website that morning and stayed there till [the] afternoon,” Little said. Until “we got some real photographers in town.”

Little has run the small paper and several others, which are part of the Digital First Media Group, for almost 20 years. The Enterprise-Record’s staff was 45 when he started; now it’s 10 with four part-timers pitching in. Journalists from their sister papers in the San Francisco Bay Area were dispatched to assist with coverage.

The last week has been like nothing else the 40-year-newspaper veteran has experienced. Like the community they’re trying to keep informed, members of Little’s staff have been displaced and are worried about missing friends and lost loved ones.

For several days after the fire started, two employees were missing. Both were found alive and well. Throughout it all, Little’s staff continued to perform at the highest of levels. Informing the community in times of crisis is why many of them got into the business after all.

“We have had a lot of help from a lot of people,” Little said in an interview, his tired voice hoarse from the smoke.

“Everyone has been dealing with evacuations, sheltering family and friends, and yet they’re down here working hard all the time. That’s why people are doing this, because they know people depend on it. It gives you hope that people appreciate newspapers in a time like this.”

The boxes of free pizza sent by the Las Vegas Review-Journal and Redding Record-Searchlight tasted pretty good too.

Little also manages the Oroville newspaper, which covered last year’s dam spillway failure that led to the evacuation of about 180,000 people.

That experience, he said, prepared his staff for the last week.

They came to understand what, with their limited resources, they should be focusing on — and that’s getting out facts as fast as possible. With a bigger staff a lot more is possible, and for Little, his focus has been on maximizing what they — with the help of photographers and reporters from the East Bay Times and Mercury News — can do.

“The beautiful, heart-wrenching stories are fun to tell, but they take longer, whereas the nuts-and-bolts information is what’s essential.”

No one can get back into Paradise. So, the paper posted an interactive map Wednesday that allows readers to search by address to see what’s been destroyed in the small town and its surrounding environs.

The twice-weekly Paradise Post also falls under his supervision, and its staff of two has been in overdrive, he said. They work in the Chico office, and the paper is printed there as well — along with a dozen other dailies and six weekly and semiweekly papers from Monterey to Eureka. The challenge, though, has been where to deliver the Paradise Post.

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“How do you distribute a newspaper to a town that’s not there?”

So they have been taking the full press run to evacuation centers while updating the website constantly. Little said he hasn’t paid too close attention to readership numbers but was told they’re receiving record traffic.

The 55-year-old has also found time to write as well. His regular Sunday column was about his heartbreaking return to his grandmother’s home in Butte Creek Canyon. The house survived, but the surrounding area didn’t fare well.

“I only cried three times. I thought I did pretty well,” he wrote.

The other was a searing unsigned editorial about President Trump’s baseless tweet from the weekend concerning the state’s “gross mismanagement of the forests.” He pulled this together with longtime staffers Steve Schoonover and Laura Urseny. (Steve was supposed to retire this week but agreed to stay on to help out.)

Their response to the leader of the free world? “ Zip it.”

“One thing we will always do is stand up for our area,” Little said. “If some outsiders want to try to run roughshod over our area, we’re always going to fight back.”

©2018 the Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Once upon a time, your Thanksgiving turkey took a very long walk to get to your table

November 15, 2018 - 1:58am

In the days before refrigeration, livestock trucks and a highway transportation system that crisscrossed the country, the only way to get turkeys to market for the holidays was to march the birds, like condemned men, to the nearest slaughterhouse.

These long journeys were called turkey drives, similar to the cattle drives romanticized in film and literature, but without the cowboys, the Old West myths or the threat of a stampede from 1,000-pound steers. There was no romance in driving these unruly beasts, trying to keep them from wandering off into neighboring flocks or falling prey to coyotes and other predators.

“As impractical as they may sound today, turkey drives were a common sense solution to a major problem: how to get the surplus of farm-raised turkeys in Vermont to the mass market of Boston,” wrote historian Mark Bushnell in “Hidden History of Vermont.”

“In the days before trains, slaughtering them and shipping them on ice wasn’t an option,” Bushnell continued. “So, the turkeys had to arrive alive at the market. The only way to get them there en masse was to make them walk.”

Turkey drives can trace their history to England, where the first reference to the practice dates to the mid-17th century. In a footnote to his authoritative book, “The Turkey: An American Story,” author Andrew F. Smith unearthed a contemporary report from the Battle of Dunbar in 1650, in which an observer noted that Oliver Cromwell marched his 5,100 Scottish prisoners “like turkies” down the road.

Turkey farming had become an important commercial business in 17th-century England, Smith wrote. Most of the turkey farms, however, were in East Anglia on the eastern side of the country, far from London, the primary market.

“While touring England in 1724, the English novelist Daniel Defoe, famous for ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ observed that turkeys filled the roads from East Anglia to London in the autumn,” Smith wrote. “The journey took a week, and in one season as many as three hundred droves passed over a single Stratford Bridge. Defoe noted that droves contained from three hundred to a thousand birds each, so he estimated that between ninety and three hundred thousand birds crossed that one bridge in a single year.”

Driving turkeys was a common practice across the United States, too. From Vermont to Ohio to Texas to California, turkey drives were a familiar sight in the fall. The trick was to drive the animals without losing too many along the way – and without the birds losing too much weight during the trek, which could be 30 miles. Or more.

To keep the turkeys plump – and to encourage them to march – farmers would load a covered wagon with feed. The workers (called “drovers”) who guided the birds would scatter feed along the path to keep the turkeys motivated over the long march. Aside from predators and an occasional poacher who would try to steal a bird for his own dinner table, farmers had to be mindful of covered bridges.

In “Turkey,” Smith quotes from a 1964 novel, “The Great Turkey Drive” by Charles Morrow Wilson, whose story was “informed by the oral tradition about drives,” Smith notes. When the turkeys entered a covered bridge, Wilson wrote, the birds mistook the darkness for nightfall and would promptly fall asleep halfway across the span.

“The solution that Wilson’s drovers found was to carry hundreds of birds, one at a time, across the bridge and into the sunlight,” Smith wrote. “Sometimes, the drovers carried lanterns, Wilson explained, to try to trick the birds into walking a few extra minutes each day.”

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Dusk was the enemy of all turkey drivers. As soon as the sun set, the birds would stop walking and start roosting.

“When the shades of evening had reached a certain degree of density, suddenly the whole drove with one accord rose from the road and sought a perch in the neighboring trees,” Smith wrote. “The experienced drover just drew up his wagon beside the road, where he passed the night.”

The vast majority of these drives were practical and transactional, just a routine part of being a turkey farmer during the era. But Cuero, a town in Southeast Texas, would take drives to a new level. Cuero was already home to a processing plant, which attracted ranchers and farmers from around the area, but in 1912, some entrepreneurial-minded townspeople decided to turn the annual march of turkeys into a tourist attraction. They dubbed it the Turkey Trot, after a dance craze of the period.

The 1912 Turkey Trot attracted 30,000 sightseers, who watched a reported 18,000 birds parade down Main Street. The Texas governor attended. The turkeys were followed by turkey-related floats and prominent groups, such as the local Boy Scouts. Cuero would host Turkey Trots, off and on, for decades until the early 1970s, each one a spectacle in itself. For each event, a secret society selected a “sultan” and “sultana,” the Trot’s version of a king and queen, who wore lavish caftans or gomleks to channel the dress of the Ottoman Empire. (This early 20th-century equation, Turkey Trot equals Ottoman Turks, would not fly today.) There was even a sumptuous coronation.

“Sultans were men of high distinction and success, and tradition held that sultanas were college-aged women of local pedigree,” intoned a narrator in the 2007 documentary, “Ruby’s Town” about Cuero. “The royals ruled the fictional land of Turkeydom.”

So what killed the Turkey Trot in 1970s? Industrialization. The broad-breasted white, a turkey bred for an abnormally large breast, had become the preferred bird on American tables. The problem for Cuero is that the bird is so big and so top-heavy, it can barely walk – let alone trot.

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Two separate crashes, one fatal, shut down two highways in southwestern Colorado

November 14, 2018 - 11:15pm

Two separate traffic crashes in southwestern Colorado shut down two highways on Wednesday night.

A two-vehicle crash on U.S. 491 left one dead and shut down the highway south of Cortez, about five miles north of the New Mexico border, according to the Colorado State Patrol. The crash happened before 8 p.m. and the highway remained closed at 11 p.m. The cause of the crash is under investigation.

UPDATE: Highway 550 remains closed between mp 49 (near Cascade) and Silverton due to HazMat Tanker Crash. Crews are working to offload the flammable and dangerous cargo before it can be towed. H550 will be closed for 4 to 10 hours, possibly longer. pic.twitter.com/3hyrOLMI7O

— CSP Durango (@CSP_Durango) November 15, 2018

On U.S. 550, a semi-tanker truck carrying hazardous material rolled onto its side in a single-vehicle crash just before 8 p.m., shutting down the highway, according to the state patrol. The crash happened just south of Silverton.

Crews were working to offload the flammable material so the truck could be towed and the highway reopened.

There was no report of injuries. An investigation into the cause of the crash is ongoing.

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Four-hour Grateful Dead documentary to be released Friday on DVD

November 14, 2018 - 10:38pm

A great many Deadheads will be grateful with the Friday release, on DVD and Blu-ray, of the Grammy-nominated  Grateful Dead documentary — “Long Strange Trip: The Untold Story Of The Grateful Dead.”

The career-spanning documentary on the iconic American jam band, formed in 1965 in Palo Alto, Calif., arrives on the home video market Friday, more than a year after the four-hour film premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival. It will be available on Amazon.

Directed by award-winning documentary filmmaker Amir Bar-Lev, whose credits include “Fighter” (2000), “The Tillman Story” (2010), and “Happy Valley” (2014), the documentary features never-before-seen concert footage, vintage interviews, and other materials from the Grateful Dead’s vaults. Martin Scorsese served as executive producer on the long-awaited project, which had been in the works since 2003.

AOMA Sunshine FilmsLong Strange Trip

Founding member of the Grateful Dead, Jerry Garcia, died in 1995 and the band disbanded. The documentary includes recent interviews with surviving band members Mickey Hart, Bill Kreutzmann, Phil Lesh and Bob Weir.

The film includes “some of the most remarkable, candid, and interesting footage in existence of the Grateful Dead and we’re thrilled to be releasing the entirety of this wonderful historical document,” said David Lemieux, the band’s archivist, in a news release.

Among the rare footage is a clip of founding member Ron “Pigpen” McKernan, along with his band mates, at a Warner Brothers Records party in London. “Pigpen surrounded by suits!” Lemieux said. McKernan died in 1973.

A double-DVD release of Long Strange Trip is $24.98 and a single Blu-ray is $27.98. A deluxe edition featuring unreleased bonus content will be available exclusively from Dead.net on Friday for $26.98 and on Blu-ray for $30.98. Production of the deluxe edition is limited to 6,500 copies each on DVD and Blu-ray.

The documentary has been available for streaming on Amazon Prime since June of 2017. It had a one-night nationwide theater screening May 25, 2017, followed by limited theatrical runs in New York City and Los Angeles.

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Colorado State senior leadership leads Rams to comeback victory over Montana State

November 14, 2018 - 10:32pm

There’s something about senior leadership that a basketball team needs. J.D. Paige confirmed that Wednesday night in Moby Arena, leading the Rams to a comeback 81-77 victory over Montana State.

Trailing by two possessions midway through the second half, Paige took it upon himself to ignite a rather lethargic Rams offense. While the ball was not falling from deep, Paige did exactly what was needed — attack the basket and finish through contact. Maybe even more important, he locked down the Bobcats’ leading scorer, Tyler Hall, for the final portion of the victory.

“We like to play in transition, and I saw the lane a lot so I took advantage of it,” Paige said. “I was just out there being aggressive. If I see the rim and I can get there, I’m gonna lay it up. But if somebody steps up, I’m gonna dish it off.”

After two blowout victories to begin the season that featured a 50-percent clip from 3-point range, things were bound to change. Coach Niko Medved recognized it after their last victory, saying he expects to learn more about his team soon when they played a competitive game.

In a game that saw the Rams make just 6-of-30 3-pointers and need a late push to earn the victory, Medved surely got that opportunity during the win.

“Guys like (Paige) showed a ton of leadership tonight,” Medved. “I thought they showed fight and fought their way through some adversity tonight against a team that was ready to play … This is how you get better. I think you really learn from these situations.”

The Rams’ offensive struggles were evident early. They failed to match their ball movement from the first two games, leading to late shot clocks and contested attempts. And when they did find open attempts from 3-point range, the Rams struggled to capitalize. Lorenzo Jenkins kept the lethargic offense alive, making 3-of-4 from deep in the frame. Despite the first poor half of basketball this season, CSU held a slim 34-32 lead at the break.

The back-and-forth affair only intensified in the second half as each team found success in spurts. Hall found life after a relatively quiet first half when he knocked down three 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to open up a five-point lead for the Bobcats with 8:22 to play.

“You’ve got to tip your hat to him,” Paige said. “He was hitting some amazing, difficult shots. All I really wanted to do was just make him put it on the floor. He was in rhythm, so if I could get up in him a little bit and make him dribble, make him uncomfortable.”

That’s when Paige decided enough was enough. He willed his way to the hoop on the dribble-drive, keeping pace with Hall and the Bobcats. Paige scored eight straight points for the Rams, and after forcing a steal on the other end, Masinton-Bonner hit a transition 3-pointer to give them a three-point advantage, one they maintained for the rest of the game.

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“The funny thing is, before that, he came up to me and said, ‘Next open 3, I’m knocking it down,'” Carvacho said of Masinton-Bonner. “I said, ‘I know’ and that’s what he did.”

On the other end of the floor, Paige halted Hall, allowing just two free throws in the final 7:26. The performance culminated in the most fitting way — Paige bringing fans to their feet during a timeout in the final minute.

Along with Paige’s team-leading 23 points, Carvacho registered his third double-double in as many games with 15 points and 13 rebounds. Defensively, CSU forced 15 turnovers, leading to 23 points. The Rams will now travel for a road tournament, something Medved believes his guys are ready for.

“It’s another opportunity for us to get better, a lot of really quality teams in this tournament,” Medved. “At the end of the day, you want to win every game, but hopefully we walk out of there a better team than when we got there.”

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El Paso County Sheriff’s deputy sentenced for smuggling meth into jail in KFC meal

November 14, 2018 - 9:39pm

COLORADO SPRINGS — A former Colorado sheriff’s deputy has been sentenced to six years in prison for smuggling methamphetamine into jail by having it hidden in food.

The Colorado Springs Gazette reports former El Paso County sheriff’s deputy Steven D’Agostino was sentenced Wednesday. Investigators say the 35-year-old picked up drugs from inmates’ associates and then distributed the contraband at the jail.

The day D’Agostino was arrested, a woman dropped off a chicken meal from KFC for the deputy, and investigators found a balloon containing 7.5 grams of methamphetamine in the mashed potatoes.

___

Information from: The Gazette, http://www.gazette.com

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Dog stolen off Denver porch on Halloween returned to owner

November 14, 2018 - 9:13pm
Denver7Over the last two weeks, Lisa Cook has been plastering fliers of her family’s 6-year-old Party Yorkie Stella.

DENVER — Over the last two weeks, Lisa Cook has been plastering fliers of her family’s 6-year-old Party Yorkie Stella.

Back on Halloween, her 9-year-old son was handing out candy on their front porch in the Bonnie Brae neighborhood, when a large group of trick-or-treaters came and went along with Stella.

The crime connected the community, with hundreds sharing posts on Facebook and Nextdoor to help find the family’s dog. Late Monday night, she got the answer she had been waiting for.

A woman called and claimed she had bought Stella from a man in a red van outside Hobby Lobby, and then saw the missing dog reward fliers.

Read more at thedenverchannel.com.

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CU Boulder professor accused of sexual harassment placed on leave amid investigation, according to report

November 14, 2018 - 8:59pm

A University of Colorado professor has been placed on leave, and reportedly banned from campus, as CU officials investigate misconduct allegations against her.

Amy Wilkins, an associate professor of sociology, is accused of “a pattern of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct that spans more than a decade,” according to reporting by the Chronicle of Higher Eduation. The Chronicle also reported that Wilkins has been banned from campus and ordered not to contact seven people as university officials investigate.

CU spokesman Ryan Huff confirmed that Wilkins has been on paid administrative leave since Oct. 1. He declined to comment further, citing personnel privacy laws and policies. Excluding someone from campus is a decision made on a case-by-case basis, he said.

Wilkins did not respond to an email request for comment, and calls to a landline listed under her name showed the number has been disconnected. It appears that her nameplate has been removed from outside an office, listed as hers on her CU employee page, in the Ketchum Arts and Sciences building. In addition to her duties as a professor, she has been overseeing the department’s undergraduate honors program. Between 2014 and 2016, according to her online CV, she was also the department’s graduate program director.

Herbert Covert, the chair of the sociology department, confirmed that other faculty members were covering her courses and her oversight of the honors program in her absence, but he declined to comment further and said he was instructed to direct inquiries to Huff, the CU spokesman.

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Read more at dailycamera.com.

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California wildfire death toll reaches 56 as National Guard troops search for more victims

November 14, 2018 - 8:19pm

PARADISE, Calif. — With at least 130 people still missing, National Guard troops searched Wednesday through charred debris for more victims of California’s deadliest wildfire as top federal and state officials toured the ruins of a community completely destroyed by the flames.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke joined Gov. Jerry Brown on a visit to the leveled town of Paradise, telling reporters it was the worst fire devastation he had ever seen.

“Now is not the time to point fingers,” Zinke said. “There are lots of reasons these catastrophic fires are happening.” He cited warmer temperatures, dead trees and the poor forest management.

Brown, a frequent critic of President Donald Trump’s policies, said he spoke with Trump, who pledged federal assistance.

“This is so devastating that I don’t really have the words to describe it,” Brown said, saying officials would need to learn how to better prevent fires from becoming so deadly .

Nearly 8,800 homes were destroyed when flames hit Paradise, a former gold-mining camp popular with retirees, on Nov. 8, killing at least 56 people in California’s deadliest wildfire, Sheriff Kory Honea announced Wednesday evening. There were also three fatalities from separate blazes in Southern California.

Honea said the task of searching for bodies was so vast that his office brought in another 287 searchers Wednesday, including the National Guard troops, bringing the total number of searchers to 461 plus 22 cadaver dogs. He said a rapid-DNA assessment system was expected to be in place soon to speed up identifications of the dead, though officials have tentatively identified 47 of the 56.

It will take years to rebuild the town of 27,000, if people decide that’s what should be done, said Brock Long, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains looks like a wasteland.

“The infrastructure is basically a total rebuild at this point,” Long said. “You’re not going to be able to rebuild Paradise the way it was.”

Temporary schools and hospitals will be brought in, Long said. Officials are also looking to bring in mobile homes for thousands of people left homeless.

Debris removal in Paradise and outlying communities will have to wait until the search for victims finishes, he said.

That grim search continued Wednesday.

On one street, ash and dust flew up as roughly 20 National Guard members wearing white jumpsuits, helmets and breathing masks lifted giant heaps of bent and burned metal, in what was left of a home. Pink and blue chalk drawings of a cat and a flower remained on the driveway, near a scorched toy truck.

The soldiers targeted homes of the missing. If anything resembling human remains is found, a coroner takes over.

After the soldiers finished at the site, a chaplain huddled with them in prayer.

The number of missing is “fluctuating every day” as people are located or remains are found, said Steve Collins, a deputy with the Butte County Sheriff’s Department.

Authorities on Wednesday released the names of about 100 people who are still missing, including many in their 80s and 90s, and dozens more could still be unaccounted for. Sheriff’s department spokeswoman Megan McMann said the list was incomplete because detectives were concerned they would be overwhelmed with calls from relatives if the entire list were released.

“We can’t release them all at once,” McMann said. “So they are releasing the names in batches.”

Authorities have not updated the total number of missing since Sunday, when 228 people were unaccounted for.

Sol Bechtold’s 75-year-old mother was not on the list. Her house burned down along with the rest of her neighborhood in Magalia, a community just north of Paradise.

“The list they published is missing a lot of names,” said Bechtold, who’s still searching shelters for his mother, a widow who lived alone and did not drive.

A sheriff’s deputy asked Bechtold on Wednesday for information that could identify her remains, like any history of broken bones. He told the officer she had a knee replacement. Bechtold predicted that the death toll would rise sharply.

“I feel horrible for the sheriff. I feel horrible for the people of Paradise and Magalia,” he said. “It’s just a no-win situation unless a few hundred folks just show up out of nowhere.”

To speed up identification of remains, officials are using portable devices that can identify genetic material in a couple of hours, rather than days or weeks.

Accounts of narrow escapes from the flames continued to emerge. More than a dozen people who were trapped by a wall of fire survived by plunging into a cold lake.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Wednesday that a family of four, their 90-year-old neighbor and their pets sought safety in the chilly Concow Reservoir after the roaring fire surrounded their homes.

The family stood in shoulder-deep water as flames singed the vegetation on the shore behind them. Not far away, at least a dozen others rushed into the lake after the caravan of vehicles they were in was cut off by flames.

Before the Paradise tragedy, the deadliest single fire on record in California was a 1933 blaze in Griffith Park in Los Angeles that killed 29.

The cause of the fires remained under investigation, but they broke out around the time and place that two utilities reported equipment trouble.

People who lost homes in the Northern California blaze sued Pacific Gas & Electric Co. on Tuesday, accusing the utility of negligence and blaming it for the fire.

Matt Nauman, a spokesman for PG&E, said in an email that the company was aware of the lawsuits but was prioritizing safety and restoration of gas and electricity.

“It’s important to remember that the cause has yet to be determined,” he added.

___

Selsky reported from Salem, Oregon. Contributing to this report were Associated Press writers Janie Har and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco.

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