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Denver police investigating after man shot Tuesday morning

February 20, 2018 - 11:40am

Denver police are investigating a shooting that sent a man to a local hospital with a gunshot wound Tuesday morning.

The victim’s injuries appear to be non-life threatening, according to Denver Police.

The shooting happened in the 5500 block of N. Tulsa Way, just south of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in the Montbello neighborhood.

Police alerted the community to the shooting just before 10:30 a.m.

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No suspect information was available at this time, and police remain on the scene.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Doug Martin released by Tampa Bay Buccaneers after disappointing season

February 20, 2018 - 11:26am

TAMPA, Fla. — Two-time Pro Bowl running back Doug Martin has been released by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who may look for a replacement in free agency.

Martin rushed for a career-low 406 yards in 2017, when he averaged just 2.9 yards per carry after missing the first three games of the season while serving the remainder of a four-game ban for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancers.

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The release comes less than two years after Martin signed a five-year, $35.75 million contract that would have paid him $6.75 million in 2018.

The 29-year-old was a first-round draft pick out of Boise State in 2012. He rushed for 1,454 yards and 11 touchdowns as a rookie, but was slowed by an assortment of injuries for much of the past five seasons.

He agreed to his big contract after rushing for 1,402 yards in 2016, finishing second in the league behind Adrian Peterson.

Martin lost his starting job to second-year pro Peyton Barber late last season. Tuesday’s move leaves the Bucs in the market for a new featured back, which the team may seek in free agency or the draft.

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Greeley-area nurse practitioner accused of sexually assaulting a child

February 20, 2018 - 11:25am

A Greeley-area nurse practitioner now has a court date scheduled after his arrest Saturday on suspicion of 16 criminal charges, including four counts of sexual assault on a child. Lance Zabler, 47 (Photo courtesy of Denver7)

Lance Zabler, 47, was arrested after a traffic stop in Larimer County, according to Sherri Wagner, spokeswoman for the Timnath Police Department. Wagner said although Larimer County Sheriff’s deputies made the arrest, they acted on a warrant filed by the Timnath Police Department. Wagner said the investigation into Zabler’s actions has been ongoing, and is continuing, but declined to release any more information.

Zabler is an employee of Banner Health, according to Becky Armendariz, spokeswoman for the healthcare provider. In an email, she confirmed he “will be on leave until more information becomes available on this matter,” but did not elaborate. Banner Health operates North Colorado Medical Center.

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Read the full story at

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“We all knew”: Devin McCourty speaks, but the mysterious Patriots benching of Malcolm Butler goes on

February 20, 2018 - 11:17am

What is it with the New England Patriots? Why must there always be an unsolved mystery after they appear in a Super Bowl? (Well, any time, really, but especially after a Super Bowl.) A year ago, everyone was wondering who had stolen Tom Brady’s jersey from the locker room. This year, the explanation for the vanishing of Malcolm Butler remains unknown and, if Bill Belichick has his way, perhaps unknowable.

The cornerback, whose interception delivered victory in Super Bowl XLIX, was MIA on the field on Feb. 4, benched for all but a special teams play despite being in on 97.8 percent of the Patriots’ regular-season snaps. It made no sense, particularly given how the Philadelphia Eagles marched up and down the field, scoring almost at will. At the time, unnamed sources speculated to NFL reporters that Butler was being disciplined for his behavior during Super Bowl week, but Devin McCourty, one of the first New England players to speak about the matter, said that wasn’t the case.

“As far as I know, all of that is the furthest thing from the truth,” McCourty told NJ Advance Media. “We all knew he wasn’t starting all week. That wasn’t a secret to the guys on the team. I get why people are fishing. The guy played 98 percent of the plays. I just hate that for him character-wise going into free agency. It’s just not true. As far as I know — and I was there all week — not one time did anything come up.”

But did teammates know why he wasn’t playing? If McCourty did, he wasn’t saying, which would be in keeping with Belichick’s passionate embrace of omerta.

“It sucked for him,” McCourty said. “He put a lot of time and effort in. However it falls, the last thing you want to do is not play a snap [on defense]. To me, the worst part was to see all that [anonymous] stuff come out after.”

Owner Robert Kraft has professed to not know the reason, either, and it may not matter if Butler departs the Patriots when free agency begins in March.

As for Butler, he’s also said he’s in the dark, but denied accusations from unnamed sources that he misbehaved.

“During my four-year career with Patriots I have always given it everything I have to play at a high-level, and would never do anything to hurt my team’s chances of winning a game, including this year’s Super Bowl where I visited with my family every night,” he wrote on Instagram. “During Super Bowl week I never attended any concert, missed curfew, or participated in any of the ridiculous activities being reported. They are not only false, but hurtful, to me and my family. Although I wish I could’ve contributed more to help my team win, I have to get ready for the next opportunity. Moving forward I will do what I have always done to work hard, and prepare for next season to be the best I can be on and off the field.”

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His post drew one eyebrow-raising response. “Love you Malcolm!” quarterback Tom Brady responded in the comments. “You are an incredible teammate and player and friend. Always!”

Butler said he believes he could have changed the outcome of what became the Patriots’ third loss in eight Super Bowl appearances in the Brady-Belichick era. As for the man who could end this, he’s saying nothing.

“We put the players and game plan out there that we thought would be the best, like we always do,” Belichick said.

So the mystery lives on. At least we know what happened to Brady’s jersey.

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Colorado State basketball practice transparency moving in right direction

February 20, 2018 - 11:06am

The Field House. College Sports coverage from The Denver Post’s Kyle Fredrickson.

Colorado State is still seeking closure for the resolution of Larry Eustachy’s tenure as head men’s basketball coach.

However, it appears the Rams are already taking steps to eliminate the culture of fear and intimidation the university alleges Eustachy created by reversing one of his longstanding policies — opening practices to reporters.

Interim coach Jase Herl will allow local media to view the first 30 minutes of afternoon practice Tuesday before the Rams host Boise State the following night at 7 p.m. Herl also allowed reporters to watch the first portion of practice last Wednesday. A team spokesman said it won’t be routine the remainder of the season, but the Rams’ willingness create any practice transparency is certainly a step in the right direction.

Sean Star, Loveland Reporter-HeraldColorado State interim coach Jase Herl took over head coaching duties for the Rams for their game Saturday against San Jose State.

A Denver Post survey of Mountain West men’s basketball programs last month found that only three teams regularly granted full practice access to local media: Nevada, New Mexico and Air Force. Meanwhile, reporters covering Wyoming, Boise State, UNLV, San Diego State and San Jose State were given at least partial access. Two schools did not regularly open practices for the media: CSU and Fresno State.

Those policies, as set by each team’s head coach, are subject to scrutiny in the wake of CSU’s investigation into long-running allegations against Eustachy for abusive behavior toward players and staff.

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CSU (11-17, 4-11 MW) must take continued action to ensure public confidence in the program’s ability to create a positive learning environment for its men’s basketball players. Allowing reporters to see it for themselves can’t hurt.

J.D. Paige to return?

A broken hand has kept CSU junior guard J.D. Paige sidelined for six games. The wait for his return now might be over.

A post from Paige’s Twitter account Tuesday indicates he will suit up against Boise State on Wednesday.

Tomorrow 💯

— RamPaige_22 (@JeremiahPaige22) February 20, 2018

Paige averaged 10.4 points in 22 starts prior to his injury. The Rams are 1-5 in his absence.

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Matt Lepore, Colorado’s top oil and gas industry regulator, resigns

February 20, 2018 - 10:58am

Colorado’s official charged with regulating the oil and gas industry will resign effective March 2, and an assistant director of natural resources will take over, state officials confirmed Tuesday morning.

Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission director Matt Lepore will step down after serving for just over five years. Lepore ran the COGCC at a time of booming oil and gas industry operations increasingly close to Front Range cities, directing the agency in its mission of facilitating the extraction of fossil fuels while protecting people and the environment.

Lepore will join Adamantine Energy, a consulting firm led by former Colorado Oil and Gas Association chief Tisha Schuller.

Gov. John Hickenlooper on Tuesday credited Lepore with performing “one of the most demanding jobs in state government.”

Lepore did the job, Hickenlooper said in a news release, “with style and substance that provided calm over an area often at the center of controversy. Matt always put safeguarding public safety and the environment first. Under his leadership, Colorado developed regulations that have been used as models across the country.”

Colorado Department of Natural Resources director Bob Randall has appointed Julie Murphy, assistant director of energy and minerals for the state, to regulate the industry after Lepore’s departure.

Murphy has worked on policy, legal and technical issues around the industry. She previously managed hearings and “regulatory affairs” for the COGCC, directing agency attorneys. She also has worked for the state attorney general representing state mining regulators, and for five years in private practice as a lawyer. Her educational background includes degrees in wildlife biology, natural resources management and policy and law.

COGCC board chairman John Benton said Murphy “brings a steady hand to the agency helm.”

“We’re fortunate to have someone of Julie’s capability and competency ready to step into this role and oversee the responsible and balanced development of Colorado’s oil and gas resources,” Benton said.

Lepore drew much criticism from local governments and anti-industry community groups, who lauded his departure.

“People will be heartened that they will no longer have to listen and watch Lepore dance around issues that are life and death issues to them,” said Phil Doe, a leader of the Be The Change group that has rallied opposition to oil and gas industry operations near communities.

But the Colorado Oil and Gas Association praised Lepore for his openness and transparency.

“Matt had a difficult job and, at times, drew the ire of both industry and activists,” COGA president Dan Haley said. “That’s probably when you know you’re doing your job properly. He led massive change, with many first-of-their kind regulations implemented on his watch. He was very transparent in his leadership, and always willing to discuss concerns or issues, which I always appreciated.”

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Industry officials “look forward to working more with Julie Murphy,” Haley said. “She is someone that industry knows and respects.”

Groups opposed to oil and gas operations near people indicated they don’t know much about Murphy.

“We need someone who is going to take seriously the protection of public health and the environment over the interests of the oil boys,” Doe said. “Given the past history of this administration in protecting the industry, most recently the decision to appeal the Martinez case, I think the selection process should be more open to public input and discussion.  Another factotum in a very big hole is not going to quiet the unrest out there. It is real and growing.”

Lepore issued a statement saying that “leading this agency has been the professional privilege and challenge of a lifetime.”

He lauded Colorado residents, industry representatives and COGCC staff for “working together in good faith through the inherently difficult issues that can arise in balancing increasing energy production within a growing state.” He said the agency has “made it a priority to engage with a broad range of stakeholders to forge durable regulatory solutions.”

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Rockies considered a longshot to win NL West by Las Vegas oddsmakers

February 20, 2018 - 10:47am

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — The Rockies spent $104 million this winter to upgrade their bullpen, but that has not made the Las Vegas oddsmakers bullish on the club’s chances in 2018.

Bovada released its odds Tuesday, pegging the Rockies 18-1 long shots to win the National League pennant. Though the Rockies won 87 games last season and qualified for the playoffs for the first time in 2009, the oddsmakers are not impressed.

In fact, Bovada is betting that Colorado will finish fourth in the National League West, ahead of only San Diego. The Rockies are given a 6-1 shot of winning what many consider the toughest division in baseball.

“It’s a really good division,” manager Bud Black said Tuesday. “And I think you have heard analysts, baseball executives, scouts … say that the NL West is the best division in baseball. I wouldn’t disagree.”

While Black won’t comment on odds, or project which team should be favored, he does think the Rockies will improve from a year ago. He’s told his players as much.

“I told them this is a group I was very proud of last year,” Black said. “A lot of guys are returning. (Making the playoffs) was a great first step for us as an organization. As a team, we have work to do. There are still places to go for this team that ultimately lead to where we want to be, and that’s a world championship.”

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;;pd.src='';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

Here is the complete list of odd from Bovada:

2018 AL Pennant — Odds to Win

Houston Astros 11/4

New York Yankees 11/4

Cleveland Indians 13/4

Boston Red Sox 6/1

Los Angeles Angels 14/1

Minnesota Twins 18/1

Seattle Mariners 18/1

Toronto Blue Jays 20/1

Baltimore Orioles 40/1

Tampa Bay Rays 40/1

Texas Rangers 45/1

Chicago White Sox 75/1

Kansas City Royals 75/1

Oakland Athletics 75/1

Detroit Tigers 150/1

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2018 NL Pennant — Odds to Win

Los Angeles Dodgers 9/4

Washington Nationals 7/2

Chicago Cubs 15/4

St. Louis Cardinals 9/1

San Francisco Giants 10/1

Arizona Diamondbacks 12/1

New York Mets 12/1

Milwaukee Brewers 16/1

Colorado Rockies 18/1

Pittsburgh Pirates 40/1

Philadelphia Phillies 50/1

Atlanta Braves 75/1

San Diego Padres 75/1

Cincinnati Reds 100/1

Miami Marlins 250/1

AL East — Odds to Win

New York Yankees 1/1

Boston Red Sox 7/4

Toronto Blue Jays 17/4

Baltimore Orioles 12/1

Tampa Bay Rays 12/1

AL Central — Odds to Win

Cleveland Indians 1/5

Minnesota Twins 5/1

Kansas City Royals 12/1

Chicago White Sox 25/1

Detroit Tigers 28/1

AL West — Odds to Win

Houston Astros 1/3

Los Angeles Angels 19/4

Seattle Mariners 7/1

Texas Rangers 14/1

Oakland Athletics 20/1

NL East — Odds to Win

Washington Nationals 1/2

New York Mets 5/2

Philadelphia Phillies 10/1

Atlanta Braves 12/1

Miami Marlins 50/1

NL Central — Odds to Win

Chicago Cubs 4/7

St. Louis Cardinals 15/4

Milwaukee Brewers 4/1

Pittsburgh Pirates 16/1

Cincinnati Reds 25/1

NL West — Odds to Win

Los Angeles Dodgers 1/2

Arizona Diamondbacks 5/1

San Francisco Giants 11/2

Colorado Rockies 6/1

San Diego Padres 28/1

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Kim Muir, skating coach, making emotional return to South Korea at Winter Olympics

February 20, 2018 - 10:40am

FARMINGTON HILLS, Mich. — A 6-month-old girl was left next to a trash bin on the streets of Seoul in the winter of 1974 and wound up in an orphanage for a few years. She later stood at the bedside of her adopted parents as they slept, making sure they weren’t going to leave her, too.

Kim Muir was a toddler then, in Michigan, far from her homeland.

She is making an emotional return to South Korea this week as a renowned skating coach. She will cheer for a handful of her clients playing hockey at the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang. And the single mother is also planning to take her two children to Seoul, her home until a U.S. couple adopted her at the age of 4. She plans to meet with adoption agency officials and visit a facility intended to emulate life in an orphanage.

“I’ve lived the American dream,” Muir, now 45, said recently in an interview with The Associated Press. “And, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for my parents and this country.”

Albert and Lois Muir met their adopted daughter Sept. 1, 1976, in Chicago and brought her home to Trenton, a figure skating and hockey hotbed in the suburbs south of Detroit. She had a difficult transition because of the language barrier and fearing men simply because there were so few of them at the orphanage. She also remembers refusing to do anything, including going to the bathroom, without permission after she was adopted.

Trust was a tricky concept for the little girl to wrap her head around.

“She would get up during the night and come into our bedroom and just stand there and stare at us,” Lois Muir recalled. “Then, she would turn around and go back. Just making sure we didn’t leave her.”

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Soon after moving to the U.S., Kim Muir took to figure skating and began competing at local events at the age of 7. She performed her first solo to “Daddy’s Little Girl,” and the memory still brings a twinkle to her proud parents’ eyes. As the daughter of a hockey coach and sister of two older brothers, both of whom played hockey, she spent endless hours on and around sheets of ice and could understand the language of hockey as if it was her native tongue.

When Muir was 15 and didn’t think she could become an Olympic-caliber skater, she chose to focus on coaching instead of competing. The ambitious teen launched her business, “Can’t Skate, Can’t Play,” with two students, Tony and Brad Zancanaro, and within six months she had 200 clients. At Lake Superior State University, she put herself on a pre-med path with degrees in biology and chemistry while working as a skating instructor for the school’s national championship-winning hockey teams.

She used her degrees to get a job at Detroit Receiving Hospital at the age of 22, but the pull of teaching hockey players how to skate won the battle.

Plymouth Whalers coach Peter DeBoer, who now leads the San Jose Sharks, hired her to instruct his Ontario Hockey League team a year later. She went on to work for the Carolina Hurricanes and Detroit Red Wings under former coach Mike Babcock.

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“She taught my kids to skate, and she helped the Red Wings a lot when I was there,” said Babcock, who now coaches the Toronto Maple Leafs. “She’s a passionate lady who clearly knows what she is doing.”

Muir put 10 of her clients, including some already drafted in the NHL, through some drills recently. She gracefully and effortlessly glided on the ice — twisting, turning and pointing — to give the hockey prospects an edge over the competition.

“I’m known for my skating and it’s all because of her,” said 16-year-old Antonio Stranges, who has committed to play for the University of Michigan.

Muir strives to teach hockey players how to become more efficient, creative and confident skaters. She begins her instruction without a puck and then simulates situations to help hockey players skate their best when shooting, passing and taking a hit.

When U.S. Olympic hockey players James Wisnewski and Megan Keller were growing up in the Motor City, they were among Muir’s many pupils.

“You see these figure skaters: They’re pretty unbelievable at skating,” Wisnewski said. “To be able to learn your edges from those people is always great.”

Bobby Sanguinetti, who is playing for the Americans at the Olympics, became a client after connecting with her in Carolina. Muir counts two other Olympians among her former clients: Canada’s Marc Andre Grignani and the Czech Republic’s Michal Jordan.

Muir’s clients say her expertise on how to get the most from their skating, particularly their stride and their edge work, is unparalleled.

“When it gets down to the technical stuff, she’s obviously probably one of the most knowledgeable and just helps you with little things,” Sanguinetti said. “For a defenseman that pivots, trying to keep (turns) it, she was a lot of help for me.”

Anyone who knows Muir raves about her and can’t be in her presence without giving or getting a hug.

“Kim has so much energy that she lights up any room she’s in,” said Jim Wisnewski, whose son, a former NHL defenseman, played for the U.S. at the Olympics. “On the ice, my kid would always say, ‘I wish I could skate half as good as her.’ Off it, she’s got an energetic walk. And, she’s always smiling ear to ear.”

Her dad was, too, sitting on a stool next to his wife and reflecting on the life his daughter has had. Talking about it, though, was tough to do.

“It’s wonderful,” Albert Muir said, fighting back tears.

Kim Muir and her children live in suburban Detroit. Her only memory from the orphanage was getting in trouble for taking shoes off another child in what she describes a survival-of-the-fittest environment. She didn’t want to go back to Seoul — she was scheduled to arrive Wednesday — without sharing the experience with her 9-year-old son, Vincenzo, and 8-year-old daughter, Alexis, along with the thrill of witnessing the Olympics.

“I didn’t make it to as an athlete, but I’m making it as a coach,” she said. “To be able to support my clients and take my kids back to the orphanage that I came from, that’s going full circle.”

AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno contributed to this story.

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What the Broncos’ 2014 offseason spending spree can tell us about 2018

February 20, 2018 - 10:22am

This story always begins with a plane ride, because that was when the message was fully received. DeMarcus Ware, en route to Colorado to discuss the possibility of becoming a Bronco in March 2014, looked behind him and saw cornerback Aqib Talib sitting a few rows back. Both were bound for Dove Valley, both would sign on a dotted line and both would later be introduced as the newest members of the Broncos’ remade defense.

The moment, 30,000 feet in the air, is when Ware knew what was happening. He could see John Elway’s vision for the Broncos after their embarrassing Super Bowl XLVIII loss to Seattle.

“Just their mentality is a ‘now’ mentality. A mentality of, ‘I’m not looking forward to the next season or the season after that — the time is now,’” Ware told a crowd of reporters on his first day as a Bronco. “So when I looked back there in that back seat and I see Talib, I’m like, ‘You know what? They’re trying to get the job done.’”

Those two joined free agent safety T.J. Ward, as well as Emmanuel Sanders, a former Pittsburgh Steeler who would sign days later to be Denver’s No. 2 receiver in the wake of Eric Decker’s departure.

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The payout of nearly $125 million in veteran talent happened in the span of about five days, ensuring the Broncos were the talk of the offseason as Elway opened their checkbook and gave Peyton Manning a defense that would soon match their prolific offense.

But the truth is the moves took months of planning and shuffling names on their free-agency board, and lengthy negotiations with others, including cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, receiver Brandon LaFell and defensive end Jared Allen.

Elway’s plan for remaking the Broncos four years ago, however, could provide a loose blueprint to his approach this year, as they’re expected to pursue quarterback Kirk Cousins, a soon-to-be free agent who will become the highest-paid player in the NFL, and will begin to remake the current roster.

In 2014, the Broncos entered free agency with nearly $29 million in salary cap space based on the accounting of their top 51 contracts — the top 51 are the only ones that count against the cap in the offseason — before their massive shopping spree. They cleared another $10.1 million when they released veteran cornerback Champ Bailey and later received $4.1 million when offensive lineman Chris Kuper retired.

This year, the Broncos are projected to have around $26 million in cap space. But they could save even more if a pair of veterans are let go. Talib, 32, has two years remaining on his contract and carries a cap charge of $12 million for next season. If he’s released, the team would save $11 million cap space.

The impetus for parting with Talib is primarily two-fold: money and younger talent. The Broncos think highly of cornerback Bradley Roby, and his fifth-year salary rises to $8.526 million. Keeping Roby, Talib and veteran Chris Harris would eat about $30 million in cap space.

It’s quite possible the Broncos part with C.J. Anderson, too, to save an additional $4.5 million. Anderson, a 1,000-yard rusher last season, has two years remaining on his contract but no guaranteed money, which would allow the Broncos to release him without having anything count against their cap.

Rarely does a 29-year-old quarterback at the top of his game hit the open market, and Cousins will come at a cost much greater than the $125 million the Broncos shelled out to their four big additions in 2014. The floor for his next deal was reset when Jimmy Garoppolo signed a $137.5 million contract with the 49ers and, according to early projections, Cousins could easily seek $30 million a year and $100 million in guarantees.

“At the end of the day, I want to win,” Cousins said during Super Bowl LII week in Minnesota. “I was talking with Coach (Charlie) Weis earlier and he made it clear, ‘Hey, go where you can win.’ That’s exactly what the plan is.

“Now … there are a ton of variables that decide, ‘Do we think we can win?’ But that will ultimately be what makes the decision.”

And that’s where the comparison to the 2014 Broncos diverges.

Four years ago, the Broncos had leverage and appeal that allowed them to configure the contracts in a way that helped their cap. A month prior, the Broncos were playing in the Super Bowl with the most prolific offense in history led by Manning. New deals were heavy on incentives and escalators.

The Broncos don’t have that appeal this year. After winning Super Bowl 50 in 2016, Denver has been shut out of the playoffs for two seasons and has an offense in disarray.

What they do have, however, is a defense that ranked among the top five in total, passing and rushing yards allowed. They also have history.

Despite their recent lull, the Broncos remain one of the NFL’s marquee franchises run by a Hall of Fame quarterback in Elway who, for the most part, has been unafraid to make the tough decisions. They will also likely have a pair of elite receivers in Demaryius Thomas and Sanders, who figure to stick around as they pursue a change at quarterback. And to boot, they have potential, with likely 10 draft picks this year and options to manipulate cap room and acquire veteran talent.

If they play their cards right, Cousins might just be the next guy on a flight en route to Denver, knowing full well the Broncos have embraced a “now” mentality.

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Denver-region ICE arrests up 20 percent, but they still remain lower than the national average

February 20, 2018 - 10:19am

Despite a 20 percent jump in Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrests last year, the Denver region was on the lower end of the scale when compared to the rest of the country.

The Denver region, which includes Colorado and Wyoming, made 2,746 ICE arrests in 2017, which put it 20th out of the country’s 24 regions, according to data from the Pew Research Center. When considering the percentage increase in arrests, Denver ranked 18th.

ICE arrests went up across the board — no region reported a decrease — reaching a three-year high in fiscal 2017, according to a Pew report published in early February. There were a total of 143,470 arrests, which is 30 percent higher than the year before.

The Miami region, which includes all of Florida, saw the greatest percent increase with a 76 percent jump, according to Pew. But the Dallas region, which encompasses northern Texas and Oklahoma, had the largest number of arrests with 16,520.

The agency has previously given credit for the increase in arrests, as well as the deportation of individuals living in the country illegally, to the change in policy under President Donald Trump.

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Former President Barack Obama had ICE narrow its focus to undocumented immigrants convicted of serious crimes, the report noted. Trump widened the agency’s lens to include most immigrants regardless of their criminal record.

Denver city officials have pushed against the increased enforcement, putting in place policies to prevent police and city employees from asking about or sharing an immigrant’s legal status.

Notably, the number of arrests in 2017 is still half of where it was in 2009 — the year Barack Obama took office — when 297,898 people were arrested by ICE.

Additionally, arrests made by U.S. Customs and Border Protection, which enforces immigration laws on the border, still outnumber those of ICE despite a more than 45-year low, according to the report. CBP agents made 310,531 apprehensions last year, down 25 percent from the year before.

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Risks far outweigh the potential rewards if Redskins franchise tag Kirk Cousins

February 20, 2018 - 10:11am

There is, at first glance, some merit behind the notion that the Washington Redskins could apply the franchise-player tag to quarterback Kirk Cousins to trade him.

The Redskins already have lined up a trade for Cousins’s replacement, Alex Smith, and Cousins seems poised to land the richest contract in league history on the free agent market. So why wouldn’t the Redskins capitalize on all that interest in Cousins among quarterback-needy NFL teams by getting something in return for him rather than allowing him to walk away in free agency?

On further examination, though, such an approach by the Redskins could be highly problematic, potentially leading to a clash with Cousins under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement or a stare-down with him that could weigh heavily on the team’s salary cap.

NFL teams can begin franchise-tagging players Tuesday. That is the opening of a two-week window that closes with the deadline to tag players on March 6 at 4 p.m. If this year’s activity follows the usual pattern, there will be little-to-no movement until the final days or even the final hours before the deadline.

In the Redskins’ case, this would be a third straight franchise tag for Cousins and it would cost the team about $34.5 million on a one-year deal. The Redskins already have decided that Smith, not Cousins, will be their quarterback next season, having agreed to send a third-round draft choice and cornerback Kendall Fuller to the Kansas City Chiefs for Smith, the league’s top-rated passer this past season. The trade cannot become official until March 14, also the day that the free agent market formally opens.

A franchise-tagged player can be traded and teams can work out any compensation they like; they can deviate from the two first-round draft picks that a franchise-tagged player’s new team must give to his previous team if the player is signed to an offer sheet not matched by his previous team. So it might be tempting for the Redskins to take the tag-and-trade approach with Cousins. The idea would be to get back more for Cousins that the compensatory draft pick in 2019 (possibly a third-rounder) that would result from him leaving in free agency.

The San Francisco 49ers dealt a second-round selection to the New England Patriots during the 2017 season for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. The Cleveland Browns were prepared to send second- and third-round choices to the Cincinnati Bengals for backup quarterback AJ McCarron; that trade-deadline deal fell through when the Browns failed to file the necessary paperwork with the league office. The Smith trade landed a third-rounder and a promising young cornerback, in Fuller, for the Chiefs from the Redskins.

That would be the prospective upside for the Redskins. Cousins, coming off three straight 4,000-yard passing seasons, certainly has value, enough to believe that his next contract will surpass the record-setting five-year, $137.5 million deal that Garoppolo just signed to remain with the 49ers. If the Redskins could get teams that are potential landing spots for Cousins — like the New York Jets, Denver Broncos, Browns, Jacksonville Jaguars, Arizona Cardinals, Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings — bidding for Cousins in a trade, the return could be substantive.

But the potential problems with that strategy could outweigh the prospective benefits.

First, there is the prospect that Cousins and his representatives could file a grievance alleging that the Redskins would be in violation of the CBA if they tag Cousins to trade him. The CBA says that a team which extends a tender offer to a player, as with a franchise-player deal, must negotiate with that player in good faith.

“A Club extending a Required Tender must, for so long as that Tender is extended, have a good faith intention to employ the player receiving the Tender at the Tender compensation level during the upcoming season,” the labor agreement says.

But it’s not altogether clear that tagging Cousins to trade him necessarily would represent a violation of the CBA. That determination would be left to an arbitrator.

The CBA says it is a violation for a team to insist, while a tender offer is outstanding, “that such a player agree to a Player Contract at a compensation level during the upcoming season below that of the Required Tender amount.” But it also says that particular provision “shall not affect any rights that a Club may have under the Player Contract or this Agreement, including but not limited to the right to terminate the contract, renegotiate the contract, or to trade the player if such termination, renegotiation, or trade is otherwise permitted by the Player Contract or this Agreement.”

There also would be a practical impediment to the Redskins tagging Cousins to trade him, however. Such a maneuver would require a degree of cooperation by Cousins that Cousins almost certainly would not provide.

It’s unlikely a team would want to trade for Cousins — and give up something meaningful in exchange for him — and then merely inherit his one-year, $34.5 million deal. That would be cumbersome to the new team’s salary cap, and would provide no guarantee that Cousins would be more than a one-year rental player. Any team trading for Cousins almost certainly would want him to agree to a new contract as part of the deal.

But why would Cousins do that? Why would he cooperate to facilitate a tag-and-trade approach by the Redskins? He would be better off being on the free agent market, free to sign with the team of his choosing without the Redskins being involved. Why would he help the Redskins, especially given that it’s clear his side would regard a tag-and-trade strategy as spiteful?

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The result could be a standstill. The Redskins could tag Cousins to trade him. He could refuse to sign his franchise-player deal. That would keep the Redskins from trading him, since an unsigned player cannot be traded. He could tell any team interested in signing him to an offer sheet while he’s franchise-tagged that his 2018 value is, in his view, $34.5 million. Meanwhile, Cousins would be counting against the Redskins’ salary cap, hindering their attempts to upgrade their roster.

But, for all the threats and demands Cousins and his representatives could make, so long as he is under the tag, he would remain in limbo. Who would blink first? Would Cousins sign an offer sheet that would amount to a new contract with another team — a team that would be willing to work out trade parameters with the Redskins? Or would the Redskins, in effect, surrender by rescinding Cousins’s franchise tag to get the $34.5 million off their salary cap?

If and when Cousins were to sign his franchise-player deal, his $34.5 million would become guaranteed. So even if Cousins were to sign his franchise-player deal relatively quickly, the Redskins still would face the issue of needing to work out a trade with a team that probably would want Cousins to agree to a new long-term, cap-friendlier contract.

For the Redskins, the easiest thing is to let Cousins leave in free agency, collect their future compensatory draft pick and get ready for their new era with Smith at quarterback.

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Colorado snow totals for Feb. 20, 2018

February 20, 2018 - 9:58am

The following Colorado snow totals have been reported by the National Weather Service for Feb. 20, 2018, as of 10:00 a.m.

Arvada — 7.2 inches

Berthoud — 0.9 inches

Boulder — 7 inches

Broomfield — 5.9 inches

Denver — 3 inches

Denver International Airport — 2.9 inches

Eldorado Springs — 8.1 inches

Englewood — 4.0 inches

Erie — 7.5 inches

Estes Park — 5 inches

Evans — 1 inch

Evergreen — 6 inches

Federal Heights — 4 inches

Fort Collins — 4.5 inches

Fort Morgan — 1 inch

Holyoke — 0.5 inches

Horsetooth Mountain — 1 inch

Hygiene — 1 inch

Ken Caryl — 1 inch

Lafayette — 8.5 inches

Longmont — 4.2 inches

Louisville — 87 inches

Loveland — 5.6 inches

Lyons — 1 inch

Niwot — 6.7 inches

Northglenn — 3.4 inches

Parker — 3.2 inches

Raymer — 4.6 inches

Virginia Dale — 0.9 inches

Westminster — 4.8 inches

Wheat Ridge — 5.5 inches

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Newberry: Elizabeth Swaney has no business competing in the Winter Olympics

February 20, 2018 - 9:49am

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — Liz Swaney deserves kudos for dedication.

And she had enough sense not to attempt anything on the halfpipe — and we mean anything — that might’ve resulted in a serious injury.

She had no business competing in the Olympics.

The same can be said for all those skiers representing snow-challenged countries such as the Philippines, Eritrea and Pakistan.

Plucky underdogs like Eddie the Eagle, a bespectacled daredevil flinging himself off the ski jump, and Eric the Eel, flailing desperately to stay above water at the Olympic pool, aren’t that charming anymore.

The games can do without them.

Swaney reignited the debate over just what it should take to be an Olympian with her laughable, trick-free performance in women’s halfpipe skiing at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

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In a sport that’s supposed to feature all sorts of death-defying flips and spins on a cylinder-like course, Swaney turned in a leisurely run down the hill, gently rocking back and forth, doing nothing more than easing up to the edges before turning the other way.

Swaney was thrilled to simply make it to the bottom. The crowd looked on in stunned silence, no doubt wondering if they’d made a wrong turn on the way to the course and wound up at the bunny slope, watching some novice learn to ski.

Her performance sparked much-deserved outrage and derision on social media.

“It’s not some adult Disney world where you go to take selfies,” one responder wrote on Swaney’s Instagram account. “The Olympics are a showcase of the BEST athletes in the world and Swaney made a mockery of that. She made a mockery of people’s life work. She made a mockery of halfpipe skiing in general. She did this so she could flaunt the title of Olympian. Unbelievable.”

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While Swaney’s case is extreme — and should immediately lead to reforms that prevent it from happening again — she’s hardly alone in lacking the world-class credentials that most Olympians are expected to have.

At least two North Koreans skiers who finished a combined 98 seconds behind the gold medalist in men’s giant slalom were part of a last-minute delegation intended to bring a bit of reconciliation to this divided land.

No such justification could be made for the skier who finished just ahead of them, 17-year-old American Charles Flaherty, competing for Puerto Rico and more than 38 seconds behind the winner.

He took up skiing after watching the 2014 Sochi Games. Four years later, he was able to represent Puerto Rico — where his family moved when he was 9 — at the Winter Olympics.

It should be harder than that to get here.

Of course, Flaherty is a grizzled veteran at his craft compared to German Madrazo.

The 43-year-old Mexican only took up cross-country skiing a year ago, which was somehow enough time to land a spot in Pyeongchang. Not surprisingly, he crossed the line last among the 116 competitors who finished the 15-kilometer event — nearly 26 minutes behind the winner.

Eine wahre Olympia-Heldin. 💪👍😄 #swaney #pyeongchang2018 #freeskiing

— Marco (@MarcoSk__) February 19, 2018

“It doesn’t matter if you’re 43 years old and it doesn’t if there is no snow in Mexico and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have the money to pursue the sport,” Madrazo said. “What matters is that if you want to do it, you can do it.”

That might be a heart-warming sentiment, but imagine being one of those worthy athletes stuck watching from home, knocked out of the games through legitimate qualifying methods.

The International Olympic Committee always makes the claim that opening up spots to under-qualified athletes such as Flaherty and Madrazo might spark interest in countries that have little to no winter sports heritage.

But rest assured: Puerto Ricans will never have any interest in Alpine skiing; Mexico is not about to become a cross-country skiing hotbed.

These athletes — quite often the only member of their country’s Olympic team — seem to serve mainly as a conduit for well-connected suits to land an all-expenses-paid trip to the Olympics.

If you had actually looked past shirtless, oiled-up Pita Taufatofua when he marched into the stadium during the frigid opening ceremony, Tonga’s lone athlete at the Pyeongchang Games, you would’ve seen at least three well-bundled officials from the South Pacific island following behind him.

Taufatofua finished 114th in the 15K, beating out only Madrazo and Colombia’s Sebastian Uprimny.

“Everyone was at the front racing to come first,” Taufatofua said. “We were racing not to come last.”

While you can make a strong argument that athletes such as Taufatofua and Madrazo, not to mention the bobsled team from Nigeria following in the tracks left by the Jamaicans, bring some much-needed diversity to these largely white games, the same cannot be said of Swaney.

The Californian simply scammed a hugely flawed system, turning up at enough events to gain an Olympic spot by doing nothing more than not falling. She had no chance of qualifying for the U.S. team, but was able to represent Hungary because her grandparents are from there.

“I still want to inspire people to get involved with athletics or a new sport or a new challenge at any age in life,” the 33-year-old said.

This wasn’t the way to do it.

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Ice dancing is sensual. The Shibutanis try to portray passion of a different kind.

February 20, 2018 - 9:41am

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The night before they won their first Olympic medal, Alex and Maia Shibutani were frustrated. They skated what they believed to be their best short dance of all time, but weren’t scored like it. They finished two-hundredths of a point out of medal position, but five points out of gold medal position. None of it felt right.

But as they wrestled with pride in their skate, the pressure of the moment, and frustration with their scores, 23-year-old Maia pulled out her computer and found some old home videos.

“We started watching these old family videos we have of us when we were little kids, off the ice, just dancing together,” her older brother said, before trailing off into tears.

The ShibSibs are the second set of siblings to win an Olympic ice dance medal, first in more than 25 years. Over the years they’ve heard the comments from those who don’t understand, or even the concerns of those inside the sport who do. Can siblings really succeed in this sport? Should they? Aren’t they limited from the steamier showings of those who tend to climb the podium? And in those moments of close physical proximity and high emotional intensity, is something just … off?

“With ice dance, it’s just generally grouped into ‘oh, it’s romantic. Oh, it’s sensual.’ That’s not fair to ice dance. You’re probably hurting ice dance’s feelings,” Alex Shibutani said. “Ice dance wants to be whatever it can be… We’re all put here to hopefully find something that we’re passionate about, and hopefully connect in some way to the people around us. We found ice dance. We’re siblings. We’re doing it the way we know how to do it.”

Alex and Maia grew sterner as questions along that line continued. No, they’ve never had to ditch a program because it was too romantic, and therefore too awkward. No, these programs do not have to be about romantic passion. They can be about different kinds of passion, too.

“Think of all the different stories there are or types of dance … or different types of anything,” Maia Shibutani said. “Just because we didn’t see a team that we could directly look up to when we first started skating doesn’t mean it’s not possible. We worked really hard. We found our way. We did it. Hopefully, for other teams coming up after us, if they’re brother and sister, if they’re Asian, they’ll believe it’s actually possible.”

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The Shibutanis are the first Asian-Americans to medal in Olympic ice dance, too. They are not the norm in this sport, which used to be dominated by classic European couples and — since Vancouver — by all-white couples from North America, too. Over and over these last few weeks questions about race and the nature of their partnership leave the siblings to answer for things they cannot change — and they do answer. They might not always be happy to do so. But they realize that succeeding despite lacking similar role models often means becoming some yourselves.

“If you’re sitting through an event full of ice dance teams and seeing the same story told over and over again, that’s not good for the growth of the sport. That’s not entertaining for the viewers at home,” Alex Shibutani said. “Having a different point of view, which we naturally bring because we are coming from a different place, is something that we’ve embraced.”

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But that different point of view, that different journey, costs them — or so the Shibutanis believe. They tried not to say it outright, dancing around the point for nearly 10 minutes Tuesday as they addressed their race and relationship. Then Alex broke.

“The adversity we mention is — you can’t control the marks you get in this sport. You try to learn the rules. You do your very best,” Shibutani said. “… But we have had a lot of results where we haven’t been satisfied, or we’ve been told we should be receiving more.”

Monday’s short dance was, at least in their minds, one of those moments. It didn’t matter in the end. When frustration mounted, when doubts rose, and when the moment got big, they withstood the pressure when so many others couldn’t.

“The family bond we have is the strength that no other team in this field has. It sets us apart,” Alez Shibutani said. “For all the people who think it’s a deficit, we’ve made it our strength.”

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Lindsey Vonn in Olympic downhill: What you need to know

February 20, 2018 - 9:34am

Lindsey Vonn stands on the brink of one of the biggest races of her career with the Olympic women’s downhill now only hours away.

The 2010 Olympic downhill champion has been aching for this race since she had to miss the 2014 Olympics due to a pair of injuries and surgeries on her right knee. The race Wednesday in South Korea (Tuesday night in Denver) will be covered live by NBC starting at 7 p.m.

Tomorrow I will push out of the starting gate in what will most likely be my last Olympic Downhill race. I’m trying to enjoy the moment as much as I can and I am thankful to share this race with such amazing teammates. I know everyone expects a lot from me, and I expect even…

— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 20, 2018

More of myself….however there’s only one thing I can guarantee; I will give everything I have tomorrow. Count on it.

— lindsey vonn (@lindseyvonn) February 20, 2018

Downhill is Vonn’s best event, with 42 of her women’s record 81 World Cup wins coming in that event. She has won four medals in downhill at world championships events, including gold in 2009.

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In the super-G last week she drew the unenviable No. 1 start bib and seemed to have a medal-worthy run going until she made one bad turn seconds before the finish and finished sixth. This time she’s racing seventh, which should be a good number. She will get to see six women race before her on a TV monitor at the start, and that may help her avoid trouble spots. While that is a bigger issue in super-G than downhill because there are no training runs, it should work to her advantage.

Vonn finished first, third and fourth in downhill training runs there this week. Alice McKennis of Glenwood Springs was third, ninth and 17th.

Others to watch: Sofia Goggia of Italy, Tina Weirather of Liechtenstein

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Western Slope high schools posting extra security officers after gun scare

February 20, 2018 - 9:33am

GRAND JUNCTION  — Security is being tightened at some schools in western Colorado in an effort to reassure students and parents following the school shooting in Florida.

Extra contract security officers are being posted at Fruita 8-9 school and Fruita Monument, Grand Junction, Central and Palisade high schools starting Tuesday. Mesa County Valley School District 51 says that putting extra officers at its largest schools will allow current safety officers to be spread out at its other schools.

It says there is no new or specific threat to any of its high schools.

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The Daily Sentinel reports that a 15-year-old Grand Junction high school student was arrested the day after the Florida shooting after allegedly bragging that he could have done more damage and fantasized about shooting up his school. 

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Unlikely Denver bobsledder Lauren Gibbs in medal position at midway point

February 20, 2018 - 9:00am

So far, so good for Lauren Gibbs, Denver’s unlikely bobsledder.

Gibbs, a push athlete who thought her athletic career was long past before discovering and pursuing bobsled in 2014, and her driver Elana Meyers Taylor are sitting in second place after two of four runs on the Olympic bobsled track in PyeongChang.

The Meyers-Gibbs team won the first run and finished second in the second run. Their cumulative time is only 0.07 of a second behind the German duo of Mariama Jamanka and Lisa Buckwitz, who finished second in the first run and won the second.Related Articles

“We still have room in the tank,” Meyers told reporters at the race. “We’re ready to come out and lay it down tomorrow. We’re going to come out and do the best we can. Lauren pushed us really well today.”

The race will conclude Wednesday with runs at 4:40 a.m. and 6 a.m. Denver time.

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GPS steers detoured I-70 motorists on wrong winter route to Ruedi Reservoir

February 20, 2018 - 8:58am

EAGLE — Just because a GPS system recommends it, doesn’t mean it’s the right way to travel.

The staff at Sylvan Lake State Park near Eagle highlighted this fact with a recent case in point.

When motorists along Interstate 70 initiate a search for the shortest route to Ruedi Reservoir, their GPS may advise Crooked Creek Pass. During warm weather months, it’s a viable alternative. In the winter, not so much.

“GPS will tell people to come up this way, and that’s fine in the summertime, but in the winter, the Forest Service doesn’t plow the road above the lake,” said Sylvan Lake State Park Supervisor Michael Wall. “It’s very clear the road isn’t open when they get here, it just isn’t clear on GPS.”

Wall said a handful of misguided motorists convinced the Sylvan Lake State Park staff to turn to social media to share the message that Crooked Creek Pass isn’t open in the winter.

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During the winter, the only route to Ruedi is via Colorado Highway 82, south of Glenwood Springs.

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Avalanches “large enough to kill” pose hazard near Aspen, San Juan mountains

February 20, 2018 - 8:51am

The Colorado Avalanche Information Center warned the public Tuesday morning about “very dangerous” avalanches “large enough to kill you” following heavy snowfall along the Front Range and the backcountry.

In the mountains, storm totals from the past two days are around 12 to 18 inches of snow, mostly near Wolf Creek Pass, according to the center.

“This rapid and substantial load will overload our weak snowpack, and avalanches large enough to kill you are likely today,” read an update from the center at 6:20 a.m.

Experts don’t recommend traveling in avalanche terrain on Tuesday, noting that avalanches can release naturally and plummet all the way to the valley floors.

Conditions also remained dangerous in the valleys south of Aspen with heavy snow and winds packing steep slopes full of thick slabs that can break off with ease.

The President’s Day snow storm hit Aspen and the upper Crystal River with 10 to 15 inches of new snow compared to 5 to 8 inches elsewhere.

The spree of large, natural avalanches persisted through seven of the past eight days, the center said, although poor visibility hindered observations.

Areas to avoid include slopes steeper than 30 degrees, which can be checked using an inclinometer or phone app.

“With snowfalls and winds tapering off this morning, the avalanche danger will diminish to just plain dangerous by tomorrow,” the center wrote.

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Considerable avalanche dangers were also scattered throughout the state including along the Front Range Zone.

Last week, a solo skier uninentionally triggered a soft-slab avalanche just west of the summit of Berthoud Pass. The skier was carried to the bottom of the slide path and assisted.

There have been seven avalanche fatalities in the West so far this season, including one in Colorado. Abel Palmer, 27, of Durango, was buried in a skier-triggered slide in an area off of Red Mountain Pass near Silverton known as Sam’s Trees.

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Firestone workers on lunch break spot clue pointing to man accused of stealing $50,000 in oil, gas equipment

February 20, 2018 - 8:39am

A chance encounter on the way to lunch led cops to issue an arrest warrant for a Firestone man they say stole a truck and equipment worth more than $50,000 from an oil and gas site.

According to the warrant that was recently made public, Daniel Ross, 40, in late December sneaked onto an oil and gas site near Weld County Road 3½ and Colorado 52. Police believe he stole a work truck from the site as well as “numerous hand tools and two Honda generators from locked trailers.”

When police arrived, all they found were two trailers on the site with cut padlocks.

The work truck was equipped with GPS tracking technology, though, and police were able to use it to find the vehicle later that day. According to the warrant, they tracked it to a church parking lot in Frederick. It was empty, and stripped of all tools as well as its battery. Officers did find a piece of purple tow strap on the truck’s rear bumper, which oil company employees said had not been there before.

Two hours after that, the oil company employees were on their way to lunch when they caught sight of a similar piece of purple tow strap, they later told police. It was tied to a red Chevrolet pickup parked in front of a home in the 100 block of John Drive in Firestone. When police checked the license plate, they found the truck belonged to Ross.

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