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Colorado Buffaloes still searching for an identity after blowout loss to Washington

September 23, 2017 - 10:14pm

BOULDER — The University of Colorado was a football team without an identity before Saturday night. Undefeated but underwhelming. Promising but premature. Through a September mist at Folsom Field, the Buffaloes sought clarity against No. 7 Washington.

Retribution, too, in a rematch of last season’s lopsided Pac-12 championship defeat.

Different game. Same story.

The Huskies defeated the Buffaloes, 37-10, with a formula all too familiar from their last meeting: CU scores a first-quarter touchdown, trails by one possession at halftime, and then gets blown out.

“We just didn’t handle business,” CU safety Afolabi Laguda said, “simple as that.”

Rain poured relentlessly in the hours before kickoff as a late-arriving crowd filled out at 47,666. Soaking-wet grass prevented CU mascot Ralphie from making either of her runs, however, it didn’t stop UW players from warming up without shirts in sub-50 degree temperatures. The Buffaloes, in the beginning, were hardly impressed with Huskies’ machismo.

CU (3-1, 0-1 Pac-12) received the opening kickoff and drove 75 yards on 11 plays, capped with a Phillip Lindsay goal-line rushing score. Laguda then intercepted UW quarterback Jake Browning on the Huskies’ first possession. UW (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) reached the red zone one drive later, but the Buffs held stout on a third-and-seven, and UW kicker Tristan Vizcaino missed a 32-yard field goal attempt.

“We were in it,” CU coach Mike MacIntyre said.

But one Buffaloes’ special teams mistake flipped momentum.

Forced to punt early in the second quarter, CU’s Alex Kinney’s boot was blocked and recovered by UW defensive lineman Levi Onwuzurike at the Buffaloes’ 12-yard line. UW tied the game four plays later with tailback Myles Gaskin’s rushing score, and after a chip-shot field goal, led 10-7 at halftime.

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Suddenly, CU’s 2016 Pac-12 championship woes appeared resurrected with elements of that 41-10 defeat on full display some nine months later. Like Sefo Liufau before him, quarterback Steven Montez threw three interceptions and a pick-six. The Buffaloes once again couldn’t stop the run, especially in the second half, with 161 of UW’s 254 rushing yards coming after the break. MacIntyre called it “pitiful.”

It all begs the question: Has CU taken the next step as a program, and if so, in which direction?

The Buffaloes touted their offensive line as among the most talented units through MacIntyre’s five seasons in Boulder, and yet even with the return of formerly suspended left tackle Jeromy Irwin, Montez was sacked four times against the Huskies.

CU’s defense hadn’t allowed a red-zone touchdown through nonconference play and limited the Huskies to 10 rushing yards in the first quarter. But the Huskies offense feasted on the Buffaloes with five consecutive scoring drives after halftime.

CU has eight more regular season games to prove it belongs among Pac-12 royalty, but as the calendar nears October, the jury is still out on the Buffaloes’ identity.

Is CU still a contender to win the league?

“Most definitely,” Montez said.

Said MacIntyre: “I hope that we always keep plowing along. Teams have won it before with three loses, I think. You just keep playing. You never know what happens.”

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At 94 and 86 years old, Longmont newlyweds find love later in life than most

September 23, 2017 - 10:11pm
Lewis Geyer, Times-CallFlora and Bob Hanlin were married Sept. 16. Flora is 86 and Bob, a World War II veteran, is 94.

Bill and Flora Hanlin will celebrate their one-week wedding anniversary Saturday.

They’re like most newlyweds — still adjusting to married life between staring lovingly at each other.

But the two have known each other since 1952.

Bill is 94 years old and his new bride, Flora, is 86. The two met when both Bill’s first wife, Opal Hanlin, and Flora’s first husband, James Johnston, were alive, 65 years ago.

“He and his wife came to my town as pastor, so that was how we met. His wife, Opal, and I were very good friends. We played violin together and sang in choir together. The four of us — James and Flora and Bob and Opal — did lots of fun, fun things together,” Flora Hanlin said.

Read the full story at TimesCall.com.

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As Catalan independence vote nears, Europe supports keeping Spain intact

September 23, 2017 - 9:57pm

By Pamela Rolfe and James Mcauley, The Washington Post

MADRID – A week before a highly contentious Catalonia independence referendum, the Catalan president continued to defy warnings from Spain’s national government to call off the October 1 “self rule” vote.

“It will proceed because we had foreseen a contingency plan to guarantee it, but moreover it will proceed because it has the support of the immense majority of the population,” Carles Puigdemont said in an official televised statement from Catalonia’s capital city, Barcelona.

The remarks fanned the flames of the latest separatist campaign in an embattled European Union, a bloc of 28 member states with their own respective histories and often-fragile national identities. Brussels said it would not interfere with the Catalan referendum. But while most European leaders have avoided speaking out against the referendum directly, many wish to avoid a successful precedent for a breakaway region welcomed into the bloc, given the number of similar regions across Europe that might soon try to do the same. Most share the opinion of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose representatives told Reuters that Berlin has “great interest in the maintenance of stability in Spain.”

EU officials have sought to make clear the uncertain future that would befall any newly independent region. “If there were to be a ‘yes’ vote in favor of Catalan independence, then we will respect that opinion,” said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, in a YouTube broadcast earlier this month. “But Catalonia will not be able to be an EU member state on the day after such a vote.”

That warning has been enough to discourage similar separatist campaigns in recent years, such as the Scottish referendum in September 2014, when 55.3 percent of voters ultimately opted to remain in Britain, then still an EU member.

Recent polls suggest that the same may hold true in Catalonia: a majority of the roughly 7.5 million Catalans say they want the right to vote, but less than half supported a split from Spain, according to a survey conducted by the Catalan government in July.

But those statistics have not deterred Catalan officials.

Puigdemont’s latest statement came hours after he openly defied Madrid by tweeting the link to a newly created webpage listing where the polls would be located on Oct. 1. The move was the latest step in a week marked by escalating tensions between Spain’s national government and leaders from the northeastern region. The previous webpage was ordered shut down by a judge six days after launching.

A climax of the conflict came Wednesday, when Spanish Civil Guard officers raided the Catalan regional government’s offices, effectively halting preparation for the secession vote, which Spain continues to deem unconstitutional.

In images that shocked observers around the world, police confiscated election material, including 10 million ballot papers, and arrested 13 officials on a warrant from a Barcelona-based judge. Among those arrested was Josep Maria Jové, secretary general of economic affairs for Catalonia, the right hand of the region’s vice president, Oriol Junqueras.

That court-ordered search was the Spanish government’s clearest attempt at blocking the secession vote since the Catalan parliament approved a law two weeks ago to hold the referendum on Oct. 1, claiming that the region would declare independence within 48 hours if the majority were to vote “yes.” There will be no minimum voter turnout.

“If you care about the tranquility of most Catalans, give up this escalation of radicalism and disobedience,” Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said Wednesday night in a 10-minute statement to news organizations that reaffirmed his commitment to protecting Spanish law.

Tens of thousands of people protested Wednesday by waving the pro-independence flag and chanting slogans in Catalan. By Thursday, smaller rallies saw them occupy Barcelona’s main thoroughfare and gather in front of the High Court of Justice in Catalonia, demanding the release of those being held.

While Catalan leaders accused Spain of a “totalitarian attitude,” Spanish authorities denounced the “attacks and pressure tactics” that the pro-independence coalition government is using to push what they called an illegal vote. Both sides call the other “undemocratic.”

Spanish prosecutors warned Catalan mayors last week that any official participating in preparations for the vote would be charged with civil disobedience, abuse of office and misuse of public funds. Some 700 mayors responded days later by meeting with Puigdemont in a public show of support.

Barcelona Mayor Ada Colau defied Madrid by committing to open polls in Spain’s second-largest city. The Catalan National Assembly, a pro-independence civic group, boasts thousands of volunteers and 6,400 ballot boxes across Catalonia to facilitate the vote.

The latest political jockeying comes after years of brinkmanship. Critics of the referendum say that the regional leaders have intentionally misled the Catalan population, harassed opponents at home and orchestrated a standoff with Madrid. Critics of the Spanish government, however, argue that Rajoy’s unwillingness to negotiate with the locally elected secessionists only fueled resentment and missed the chance to nip the movement in the bud.

Supporters of Spanish unity also question the credibility of a vote that flouts the law, with lopsided voter turnout and no legal oversight or census. By comparison, the Scottish referendum of 2014 took place with the British government’s full approval.

For now, the Spanish government has responded to the escalating tensions mostly with stopgap measures.

Earlier this week, Spain’s finance minister signed an order limiting new credit and requiring central authorities’ supervision for every payment of nonessential services in Catalonia to ensure that no public money is used for the referendum.

That move caused jitters among Catalan civil servants, who were concerned that salaries would not be paid at the end of September. But the Catalan government calmed fears by transferring salaries five days early.

Meanwhile, the Spanish government decided to delay calling the vote on the 2018 General Budget, which was scheduled for Friday.

Some analysts suggested that the move pointed to the government’s need to keep the door open for negotiating greater financial autonomy for Catalonia as a deterrent for the vote. In fact, in an interview with the Financial Times published Thursday, Spain’s economy minister reiterated the government’s offer to discuss giving Catalonia more money if it gives up the October referendum.

With little more than a week to go, both sides are refusing to flinch.

The Catalan government has digitized the ballot so voters can print it out and take it to the polls.

Spain’s Interior Ministry has deployed four cruise ships packed with 4,000 police to three ports in Catalonia to prevent the independence referendum, amid concerns over the divided loyalties of the regional police.

Local authorities were forced to let the ships dock because they carried a ministerial order. But Barcelona’s dockers association announced that, if asked, they would refuse to service the vessels.

But as they also noted, the Spanish ships had not requested any such service.

 

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Giancarlo Stanton hits No. 57, Marlins delay D-backs clinch

September 23, 2017 - 9:56pm

PHOENIX — Giancarlo Stanton extended his club record with his 57th home run and set a team mark with his 125th RBI, lifting the Miami Marlins over the Arizona Diamondbacks 12-6 on Saturday night.

Arizona could have clinched a playoff spot with a win, but will have to wait another day at least. The Diamondbacks can lock up an NL wild card on Sunday with a win or losses by Milwaukee and St. Louis.

Arizona lost for the fourth time in six games, having given up 30 runs in the last three games.

Justin Bour added two run-scoring singles and a late two-run home run for Miami, which has won four of five.

The Marlins scored five runs – taking advantage of a pair of errors by Arizona starter Taijuan Walker (9-9) – in the third to take a 5-1 lead. Miami chased Walker after 3 2/3 innings, getting seven runs and six hits off him. Walker struck out six, walked three, hit a batter and had a wild pitch.

Miami starter Dillon Peters, in fifth career start, went four innings, allowing five runs, six hits and three walks. Brian Ellington (1-1) earned the win after pitching the fifth and sixth, allowing just J.D. Martinez’s 43rd home run of the season.

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Miguel Rojas led off Miami’s third inning with a double down the right-field line, and then Walker couldn’t field Peters’ sacrifice bunt to the third base side of the mound. Dee Gordon followed with a tapper on the first-base side that Walker also couldn’t handle, allowing Rojas to score from third and Peters to go to second. Stanton doubled to left, scoring Peters and Gordon, and Bour later singled in another run.

Paul Goldschmidt hit his 36th home run of the season, a three-run shot to left in the third to cut the lead to 5-4. He has 120 RBIs. Brandon Drury added his 13th home run of the season.

UP NEXT

Arizona and Miami finish their weekend series on Sunday with RHP Dan Straily (10-9, 4.17) scheduled to face Patrick Corbin (14-13, 4.14).



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No. 4 Penn State beats Iowa 21-19 with TD on final play

September 23, 2017 - 9:53pm

IOWA CITY, Iowa — It was happening like it had so often in the past.

A once-sluggish Iowa team had come to life in the fourth quarter at home under the lights, and another top-five opponent was set to go down.

Trace McSorley, Juwan Johnson and the resilient Nittany Lions flipped the script, scoring on the game’s final play to survive a wild Big Ten opener.

Johnson caught a seven-yard TD pass as time expired and fourth-ranked Penn State rallied to stun Iowa 21-19 Saturday night.

Saquon Barkley had 211 yards rushing and 94 yards receiving for the Nittany Lions (4-0, 1-0), who outgained Iowa 579-273 but nearly blew a game that could’ve been crippling to their postseason hopes.

“Felt like with (Johnson) we had a height advantage and we could slip him through the middle of the field,” Penn State coach James Franklin said of the winning play.

Akrum Wadley had a 70-yard TD reception midway through the fourth quarter and a 35-yard touchdown run with 1:42 left to put the Hawkeyes (3-1, 0-1) ahead 19-15.

Penn State went 80 yards on 12 plays and just 1:42 to close out the game, and McSorley found Johnson in a crowded end zone on fourth down.

McSorley finished with 284 yards passing on 48 tries.

Wadley had 80 yards rushing and 75 yards receiving and Nate Stanley threw for 191 yards and two TDs for Iowa.

“It’s a tough loss for all of us,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. “You can see first-hand why they were the Big Ten champs last year.”

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THE TAKEAWAY

Penn State: Michigan came into Iowa City in a similar spot a year ago and lost 14-13, so the Nittany Lions should be happy they avoided a loss that would’ve erased their margin of error for the playoffs. Barkley was unstoppable and Penn State’s defense was brilliant. But the Nittany Lions didn’t do a ton in the passing game until the final drive — when McSorley’s final pass was right on the money.

Iowa: The Hawkeyes’ defense, led by preseason All-American linebacker Josey Jewell, played its heart out. Wadley then put Iowa in position to make a major statement nationally, but the Nittany Lions simply made one more play than they did. “This game sucks. But you’ve got to move on,” said Jewell, who finished with 16 tackles.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Third-ranked Oklahoma struggled with a winless Baylor on the road, and Iowa is clearly better than the Bears. But it’s unclear if Penn State did enough to leapfrog the Sooners — who have a win over Ohio State to their credit.

SAQUON’S BRILLIANCE

Penn State faced a 3rd-down-and-6 up just 15-13 midway through the fourth quarter. McSorley threw a swing pass to Barkley, who was pinned to the sideline. But Barkley charged up the field, leapt over a Hawkeyes defender and got the first down — keeping alive a drive that burned the clock. “The big difference in the game was that running back. He’s a phenomenal player,” Ferentz said. Barkley also caught 12 passes.

THE NUMBERS

Penn State ran 99 plays. Iowa had just 45. …Stanley has thrown for 12 touchdowns against just one interception in his first four starts. …Johnson finished with 92 yards on seven catches. …Penn State gained 29 first downs, while Iowa had just 11.

HE SAID IT

“I cannot imagine there is a better player in all of college football. The guy is special,” Franklin said of Barkley.

UP NEXT

Penn State hosts Indiana on Saturday.

Iowa plays at Michigan State next weekend.



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Trump pardon pains those who feel like Joe Arpaio’s victims

September 23, 2017 - 9:48pm

PHOENIX — Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio is taking a victory lap now that President Donald Trump has pardoned his recent conviction, giving political speeches, raising money and boasting he’s been vindicated following a politically motivated prosecution.

To people like Joe Atencio, the pardon for a misdemeanor contempt-of-court conviction ended the only real accountability for a lawman accused of a range of misconduct over his 24 years as metro Phoenix’s sheriff.

Atencio’s son was killed in a 2011 altercation with Arpaio’s jail officers, who were accused of shooting him with a Taser and beating him as officers held him down and he cried out in pain.

Atencio is among several people who say they were victimized by Arpaio and are upset at the pardon. They include Hispanic drivers, victims of sex crimes whose cases weren’t properly investigated, people whose loved ones died in his jails and political opponents charged with crimes after feuding with the sheriff.

“I was highly disappointed, and I’m a Trump supporter. That was devastating,” said Atencio, who believes the pardon was in return for the sheriff’s support during the presidential campaign.

Trump said Arpaio exemplified public service and protected the public from crime and illegal immigration.

Arpaio rejected criticism that the pardon was payback for supporting Trump, denied that the clemency allowed him to get away with a crime and groused that his opponents are dredging up years-old controversies.

“Why are these same people going back into my history when I have already been re-elected?” Arpaio said last week. He was defeated last year after six terms in office. “Why didn’t they fight me back then? This is old stuff.”

He said his critics would never cut him a break.

“What did I get away with? A misdemeanor? Is that what I got away with?” Arpaio asked.

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The Associated Press interviewed several people who felt wronged by Arpaio after his pardon:

BOTCHED SEX-CRIMES CASES

Vikki Morrison is haunted by what happened to her 13-year-old daughter and how it was handled by Arpaio’s officers.

Her daughter’s rape was reported to Arpaio’s office. Deputies told her that they didn’t find her daughter’s account credible, and the suspect went on to attack her again and again over several years.

“If you would have known this was happening to a child and didn’t do anything about it, you’d be in jail,” Morrison said.

Her daughter’s case was among more than 400 sex-crimes cases that Arpaio’s office inadequately investigated or didn’t review at all over a three-year period ending in 2007.

An internal review attributed the failures to understaffing and mismanagement. A former supervisor in the sex-crimes squad said her investigators were pulled away to help with training and the immigrant smuggling squad.

Maricopa County agreed to pay $3.5 million in 2015 to settle a lawsuit on behalf of Morrison’s daughter. The man who attacked her eventually was sentenced to 24 years in prison.

The Associated Press doesn’t normally identify sexual assault victims or their family members. But Morrison agreed to reveal her identity.

She said her daughter, who has developmental difficulties, has suffered post-traumatic stress disorder. Morrison described the difficulty of having to tell her daughter, now 24, that the president let Arpaio off the hook.

“How is that fair to any of the families going through this trauma? But the sheriff is going home every night,” Morrison said.

IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWNS

When Arpaio was convicted, Daniel Magos said he was elated because he believed the former sheriff had finally been held accountable for his actions. That changed with the pardon.

Magos, a Mexican native who became a U.S. citizen 50 years ago, was a key witness in a 2012 civil rights trial in which Arpaio’s officers were found to have racially profiled Latinos. Arpaio was found guilty of intentionally disobeying a court order in that case.

A deputy pulled over Magos in 2009, yelled at him and his wife and was slow to explain the reason for the stop.

Magos said the officer asked him whether he had drugs or guns in the truck, and Magos replied that he had a legal handgun on the floor. He said the officer humiliated him by patting down his groin area.

“My wife was witnessing all of this,” Magos said. “That’s what traumatized her — a guy with a gun searching me.”

The officer eventually said the stop stemmed from a license plate missing from the trailer Magos was pulling.

Magos wonders how the officer could have known because he was traveling in the opposite direction. He is confident he was pulled over because of his race.

JAIL DEATHS

Jaron Norberg’s son died a gruesome death in one of Arpaio’s jails in 1996.

Detention officers had forced Scott Norberg into a restraint chair and pushed his head into his chest after his arrest on suspicion of aggravated assault. A lawsuit claimed he was beaten and suffocated, and it led to the county paying $8.25 million to Norberg’s family.

Arpaio insisted his officers didn’t do anything wrong.

“Just the absolute disregard for the laws he was sworn to uphold — that, to me, is the most troublesome aspect of his 24 years as sheriff,” Jaron Norberg said.

Joe Atencio, whose son also died in jail, said the sheriff created a culture of cruelty. Norberg agreed.

Arpaio became popular for jailing inmates in tents amid Phoenix’s triple-digit summer heat, making them wear pink underwear and using them to work on old-time chain gangs.

Atencio rejects the notion among Arpaio supporters that jail is never supposed to be a pleasant experience.

“I would say that you shouldn’t have to die,” Atencio said.

OTHER MISCONDUCT

Critics say the pardon removed the last chance to hold Arpaio accountable for criminal investigations of his political foes, arrests of journalists and misspending $100 million in jail funds.

A federal grand jury conducted a nearly three-year investigation into Arpaio’s public corruption investigations of county officials and judges who were at odds with him in legal and political disputes.

The federal investigation was closed in 2012 without charges. But Maricopa County paid $8.7 million to settle lawsuits from officials targeted by Arpaio on now-discredited allegations.

Among those investigated were then-Judge Gary Donahoe, who ruled against the sheriff in a legal dispute. He said the pardon dashed victims’ hopes of Arpaio finally being held accountable.

“It just denigrates everything that all these people have stood up for and sends a message that one person who is politically powerful is exalted above all these other courageous people who stood up to him,” Donahoe said.

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Congressman to flood victims: “God is telling you to move”

September 23, 2017 - 9:35pm

DALLAS — The chairman of the House Financial Services Committee says victims of repeat flooding should consider Harvey’s devastation a sign from on high.

U.S. Rep. Jep Hensarling, a Republican from Dallas, said on CNBC during a segment on flood insurance Thursday that U.S. taxpayers should not have to foot the bill for at-risk homes that have flooded over and over again.

He said, “At some point, God is telling you to move.”

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Evacuees sit on a boat after being rescued from flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Volunteer rescuer workers help a woman from her home that was inundated with the flooding of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Photo by Scott Olson, Getty Images

    Rescue workers and volunteers help to rescue residents of an apartment complex after it was inundated with water following Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi Aug. 25, has dumped nearly 50 inches of rain in and around Houston.

  • Us Coast Guard / Brandon Giles / Restricted To Editorial Use - Mandatory Credit "afp Photo / Us Coast Guard/brandon Giles/handout" - No Marketing No Advertising Campaigns - Distributed As A Service To Clients Brandon Giles, AFP/Getty Images

    This US Coast Guard photo obtained Aug. 31, 2017 shows the Coast Guard responding to search and rescue requests in response to Hurricane Harvey in the Beaumont, Texas, area on August 30, 2017. The Coast Guard is working closely with all federal, state and local emergency operations centers and has established incident command posts to manage search and rescue operations.

  • Us Coast Guard / Brandon Giles / Restricted To Editorial Use - Mandatory Credit "afp Photo / Us Coast Guard/brandon Giles/handout" - No Marketing No Advertising Campaigns - Distributed As A Service To Clients Brandon Giles, AFP/Getty Images

    TOPSHOT - This US Coast Guard photo obtained Aug. 31, 2017 shows the Coast Guard responding to search and rescue requests in response to Hurricane Harvey in the Beaumont, Texas, area, on August 30, 2017. The Coast Guard is working closely with all federal, state and local emergency operations centers and has established incident command posts to manage search and rescue operations.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People wait on a strip of dry land for rescue boats after being driven from their homes by the flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

    Rescue workers begin mandatory evacuations in the area beneath the Barker Reservoir as water is released after Hurricane Harvey caused widespread flooding in Houston, Texas on Aug. 31, 2017. Hurricane Harvey hit the Texas coast with over 3 feet of rain and 125 mph winds.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People are led down a staircase to a rescue boat after the flooding of Hurricane Harvey inundated their apartment complex on Aug. 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People look out the window of a hotel at the flooding of Hurricane Harvey that surround the building on Aug. 30, 2017 in Port Arthur, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Erich Schlegel, Getty Images

    The Martinez family evacuates the apartment complex they live in near the Energy Corridor of west Houston, Texas where high water coming from the Addicks Reservoir is flooding the area after Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi August 25, has dumped more than 50 inches of rain in some areas in and around Houston.

  • David J. Phillip, The Associated Press

    Beth Kendrick pauses while sorting through belongings damaged by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey at her parents home Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2017, in Houston.

  • Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

    People wait in line to shop at a Food Town grocery store during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 30, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Monster storm Harvey made landfall again Wednesday in Louisiana, evoking painful memories of Hurricane Katrina's deadly strike 12 years ago, as time was running out in Texas to find survivors in the raging floodwaters.

  • Win McNamee, Getty Images

    The Tellez family is evacuated from their home after severe flooding following Hurricane Harvey in north Houston Aug. 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards of 40 inches of rain over the next couple of days.

  • Scott Olson, Getty Images

    People make their way out of a flooded neighborhood after it was inundated with rain water following Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi August 25, has dumped nearly 50 inches of rain in and around Houston.

  • Water from Addicks Reservoir flows into neighborhoods as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston.

  • David J. Phillip, The Associated Press

    Residents evacuate their homes near the Addicks Reservoir as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston.

  • Erich Schlegel, Getty Images

    An elderly woman leaves her home and is helped into a boat after flooding caused by heavy rain during Hurricane Harvey Aug. 29, 2017 in the Bear Creek neighborhood in west Houston, Texas. The neighborhood flooded after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir.

  • Michael Ciaglo, Houston Chronicle via AP

    A rescuer moves Paulina Tamirano, 92, from a boat to a truck bed as people evacuate from rising waters from Tropical Storm Harvey, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017 in Houston.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Mark Ocosta and his baby Aubrey Ocosta take shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center after flood waters from Hurricane Harvey inundated the city on Aug. 29, 2017 in Houston, Texas. The evacuation center which is overcapacity has already received more than 9,000 evacuees with more arriving.

  • LM Otero, The Associated Press

    People rest at the George R. Brown Convention Center that has been set up as a shelter for evacuees escaping the floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017.

  • Evan Vucci, The Associated Press

    President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as they arrive on Air Force One at Corpus Christi International Airport in Corpus Christi, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, for briefings on Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

  • Evan Vucci, The Associated Press

    Supporters of President Donald Trump cheer outside Firehouse 5 in Corpus Christi, Texas, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, as the president received a briefing on Harvey relief efforts.

  • Evan Vucci, The Associated Press

    President Donald Trump, accompanied by, third from left, acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and first lady Melania Trump, participates in a briefing on Harvey relief efforts, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, at Firehouse 5 in Corpus Christi, Texas.

  • Evan Vucci, The Associated Press

    President Donald Trump is greeted as he tours the Texas Department of Public Safety Emergency Operations Center, Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

  • Armando Bustsamante walks along the street over Buffalo Bayou as flood waters from Tropical Storm Harvey flow toward downtown Houston Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017. More than 17,000 people are seeking refuge in Texas shelters, the American Red Cross said. With rescues continuing, that number seemed certain to grow.

  • Erich Schlegel, Getty Images

    Matthew Koser looks for important papers and heirlooms inside his grandfather's house after it was flooded by heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey Aug. 29, 2017 in the Bear Creek neighborhood of west Houston, Texas. The neighborhood flooded after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    A man waves down a rescue crew as he tries to leave the area after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People catch a ride on a construction vehicle down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    A person walks through a flooded street with a dog after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    A Coast Guard helicopter hoists a wheel chair on board after lifting a person to safety from the area that was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People walk down a flooded street as they evacuate their homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    People wait to be rescued from their flooded homes after the area was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP

    Volunteers assist police in making welfare checks on flooded homes, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Dickinson, Texas, in the wake of Tropical Storm Harvey. Floodwaters reached the rooflines of single-story homes Monday and people could be heard pleading for help from inside as Harvey poured rain on the Houston area for a fourth consecutive day after a chaotic weekend of rising water and rescues.

  • Charlie Riedel, The Associated Press

    People evacuate a neighborhood inundated by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston, Texas.

  • Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News via AP

    Volunteer Aaron Crump, center, and a police officer search a Dickinson, Texas, property on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in the wake of flooding due to Tropical Storm Harvey.

  • Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

    A truck driver walks past an abandoned truck while checking the depth of an underpass during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas.

  • Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

    Rescue crews search for people in distress after Hurricane Harvey caused heavy flooding in Houston, Texas on Aug. 27, 2017. Massive flooding unleashed by deadly monster storm Harvey left Houston -- the fourth-largest city in the United States -- increasingly isolated as its airports and highways shut down and residents fled homes waist-deep in water.

  • Erich Schlegel, Getty Images

    Evacuees fill up cots at the George Brown Convention Center that has been turned into a shelter run by the American Red Cross to house victims of the high water from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 28, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in areas of Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP

    Tomng Vu holds her one-year-old granddaughter, Fatima, as they rest in a display chair at a store where they and other area residents took shelter after their homes flooded as Tropical Storm Harvey makes its way through the area on Monday, Aug. 28, 2017. (Elizabeth Conley/Houston Chronicle via AP)

  • Karen Warren, Houston Chronicle via AP

    An overhead view of the flooding in Houston, from Buffalo Bayou on Memorial Drive and Allen Parkway, as heavy rains continued falling from Tropical Storm Harvey, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Houston. Houston was still largely paralyzed Monday, and there was no relief in sight from the storm that spun into Texas as a Category 4 hurricane, then parked itself over the Gulf Coast.

  • Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

    This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Harvey hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

  • Gabe Hernandez/Corpus Christi Caller-Times via AP

    This aerial photo shows a view of damage in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, Monday, Aug. 28, 2017, in Corpus Christi, Texas. Harvey hit the coast as a Category 4 hurricane.

  • Charlie Riedel, The Associated Press

    People push a stalled pickup to through a flooded street in Houston, after Tropical Storm Harvey dumped heavy rains Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground.

  • Steve Gonzales/Houston Chronicle via AP

    Neighbors used their personal boats to rescue Jane Rhodes, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Friendswood, Texas. Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. By Saturday afternoon it had been downgraded into a tropical storm, but it had dumped over a dozen inches of rain on some areas and forecasters were warning that it could cause catastrophic flooding in the coming days.

  • Thomas B. Shea, AFP/Getty Images

    People walk through the flooded waters of Telephone Rd. in Houston on Aug. 27, 2017 as the US fourth city city battles with tropical storm Harvey and resulting floods.

  • David J. Phillip, The Associated Press

    Evacuees wade down a flooded section of Interstate 610 as floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey rise Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground.

  • Charlie Riedel, The Associated Press

    People watch heavy rain from the relative safety of a flooded gas station caused by Tropical Storm Harvey on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston. The remnants of Hurricane Harvey sent devastating floods pouring into Houston Sunday as rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground.

  • Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP

    A man drives by debris cluttered properties in Port Aransas, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. Harvey made landfall in Texas on Friday night as the strongest hurricane to hit the U.S. in more than a decade. By Saturday afternoon it had been downgraded into a tropical storm, but it had dumped over a dozen inches of rain on some areas and forecasters were warning that it could cause catastrophic flooding in the coming days.

  • Nick Wagner/Austin American-Statesman via AP

    Melani Zurawski cries while inspecting her home in Port Aransas, Texas, on Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Aaron Tobias who said he lost everything stands in what is left of his home after Hurricane Harvey blew in and destroyed most of the house on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Mr. Tobias said he was able to get his wife and kids out before the storm arrived but he stayed there and rode it out. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days.

  • Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

    TOPSHOT - Damaged boats in a multi-level storage facility are seen following passage of Hurricane Harvey at Rockport, Texas on Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Scott Olson, Getty Images

    Rain from Hurricane Harvey inundates the Cottage Grove neighborhood on Aug. 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Scott Olson, Getty Images

    Volunteers and officers from the neiborhood security patrol help to rescue residents in the upscale River Oaks neighborhood after it was inundated with flooding from Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Harvey, which made landfall north of Corpus Christi late Friday evening, is expected to dump upwards to 40 inches of rain in Texas over the next couple of days.

  • Daniel Kramer, AFP/Getty Images

    A big rig lies on it's side on Hwy 59 near Edna, Texas, south of Houston, in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

    People wait in a city dump truck on an I-610 overpass for evacuation during the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey Aug. 27, 2017 in Houston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee.

  • Jon Shapley/Houston Chronicle via AP

    Precinct 6 Deputy Constables Sgt. Paul Fernandez, from left, Sgt. Michael Tran and Sgt. Radha Patel rescue an elderly woman from rising water on North MacGregor Way, near Brays Bayou, after heavy rains from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in Houston.

  • Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

    People make their way down partially flooded roads following the passage of Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas.

  • Melissa Phillip/Houston Chronicle via AP

    Ruby Young waits with her husband, Claude Young, after being rescued from their flooded home by boat and taken to a pickup point along Edgebrook Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017. The elderly man had many medical issues from a stroke in May. Rising floodwaters from the remnants of Hurricane Harvey chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground Sunday in Houston, overwhelming rescuers who fielded countless desperate calls for help.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Billy Raney and Donna Raney climb over the wreckage of whats left of their apartment after Hurricane Harvey destroyed it on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Donna and Billy were hiding in the shower after the roof blew off and the walls of her home caved in by the winds of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday.

  • Eric Gay, The Associated Press

    A trailer overturned in the wake of Hurricane Harvey lies upside down, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Aransas Pass, Texas. Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, smashing homes and businesses and lashing the shore with wind and rain so intense that drivers were forced off the road because they could not see in front of them.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Daisy Graham reacts to the news that a friend of hers may still be in an apartment that was destroyed by Hurricane Harvey on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. The friends were found alive but still hiding in the shower stall after the homes roof was blown off and walls blown in by the high winds. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Lee Guerrero tries to kick open a door of an apartment after hearing his friends say they were hiding in the shower stall and were okay after Hurricane Harvey destroyed the apartment on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Donna Raney makes her way out of the wreckage of her home as Daisy Graham tells her she will help her out of the window after Hurricane Harvey destroyed the apartment on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Donna was hiding in the shower after the roof blew off and the walls of her home caved in by the winds of Hurricane Harvey. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday.

  • Mark Mulligan, Houston Chronicle via AP

    As a preventative measure, empty Metro buses are lined up in the center lanes of Interstate 59 near Cavalcade in case their bus shelters flood, Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Houston.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Valerie Brown walks through a flooded area after leaving the apartment that she road out Hurricane Harvey in on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    A Rockport firefighter goes door to door on a search and rescue mission as he looks for people that may need help after Hurricane Harvey passed through on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall in the next few days.

  • Mark Ralston, AFP/Getty Images

    A lies abandoned after heavy damage when Hurricane Harvey hit Rockport, Texas on Aug. 26, 2017. Hurricane Harvey slammed into the Texas coast late Friday, unleashing torrents of rain and packing powerful winds, the first major storm to hit the US mainland in 12 years.

  • Ralph Barrera, Associated Press

    Gov. Greg Abbott receives a briefing at the State of Texas Emergency Command Center at Department of Public Safety headquarters in Austin, Texas as they monitor Hurricane Harvey Saturday morning, Aug. 26, 2017.

  • Jack Fischer, NASA via Getty Images

    In this NASA handout image, Hurricane Harvey from the cupola module aboard the International Space Station as it intensified on its way toward the Texas coast on Aug. 25, 2017. The Expedition 52 crew on the station has been tracking this storm for the past two days and capturing Earth observation photographs and videos from their vantage point in low Earth orbit.Now at category 4 strength, Harvey's maximum sustained winds had increased to 130 miles per hour.

  • Mark Mulligan/Houston Chronicle via AP

    Two kayakers try to beat the current pushing them down an overflowing Brays Bayou from Tropical Storm Harvey in Houston, Texas, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017.

  • Brendan Smialowski, AFP/Getty Images

    People walk through flooded streets as the effects of Hurricane Henry are seen Aug. 26, 2017 in Galveston, Texas. Hurricane Harvey left a trail of devastation Saturday after the most powerful storm to hit the US mainland in over a decade slammed into Texas, destroying homes, severing power supplies and forcing tens of thousands of residents to flee.

  • David J. Phillip, The Associated Press

    Jennifer Bryant looks over the debris from her family business destroyed by Hurricane Harvey Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017, in Katy, Texas. Harvey rolled over the Texas Gulf Coast on Saturday, smashing homes and businesses and lashing the shore with wind and rain so intense that drivers were forced off the road because they could not see in front of them.

  • Joe Raedle, Getty Images

    Jessica Campbell hugs Jonathan Fitzgerald (L-R) after riding out Hurricane Harvey in an apartment on Aug. 26, 2017 in Rockport, Texas. Jessica said is became very scary once Hurricane Harvey hit their town. Harvey made landfall shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, just north of Port Aransas as a Category 4 storm and is being reported as the strongest hurricane to hit the United States since Wilma in 2005. Forecasts call for as much as 30 inches of rain to fall by next Wednesday.

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Hensarling says homeowners in flood-prone areas should make their properties more resilient or move out of the flood zone.

Earlier this month, President Donald Trump signed a bill providing $15 billion for Hurricane Harvey disaster relief, which incorporated an extension of the federal flood insurance program.

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Trump trying to turn around GOP holdouts on health bill

September 23, 2017 - 9:27pm

WASHINGTON — Unwilling to concede defeat on a bedrock GOP promise, President Donald Trump on Saturday tried to sway two Republican holdouts on the party’s last-ditch health care hope while clawing at his nemesis who again has brought the “Obamacare” repeal-and-replace effort to the brink of failure.

Trump appealed to Sen. Lisa Murkowski, a possible “no” vote, to swing around for the sake of Alaskans up in arms over high insurance costs, and suggested that Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul might reverse his stated opposition “for the good of the Party!”

Arizona Sen. John McCain, whose announcement Friday that he would not vote for the proposal seemingly scuttled efforts to revive the repeal, came under renewed criticism from the White House. It was the second time in three months that McCain, at 81 in the twilight of a remarkable career and battling brain cancer, had emerged as the destroyer of his party’s signature and yearslong pledge to voters on health care.

“He campaigned on Repeal & Replace. Let Arizona down!” Trump tweeted. He jabbed at the senator with another tweet later in the day: “Democrats are laughingly saying that McCain had a “moment of courage.” Tell that to the people of Arizona who were deceived. 116% increase!”

The effort to rally support for the bill took another hit Saturday when the nation’s doctors, hospitals and health insurance plans unified in opposition to it. In a joint statement, major groups such as the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association, America’s Health Insurance Plans and the BlueCross BlueShield Association called on the Senate to reject the bill and said, “Health care is too important to get wrong.”

With Senate Democrats unanimously opposed, two is the exact number of GOP votes that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., can afford to lose. McCain and Paul are in the “no” column, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, is leaning against the bill and Murkowksi is also a possible “no.”

But Trump isn’t letting go, as seen by his series of tweets while he spends the weekend at his New Jersey golf club.

Aiming at Murkowski, Trump cited increases in premiums and other costs in Alaska under the Affordable Care Act. “Deductibles high, people angry! Lisa M comes through,” he wrote.

Trump, without offering support for his assertion about former presidential rival Paul, said: “I know Rand Paul and I think he may find a way to get there for the good of the Party!”

But there was no doubt where Trump stood on McCain.

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“John McCain never had any intention of voting for this Bill,” Trump said. The measure was co-written by South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, McCain’s closest Senate ally, and Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La.

“McCain let his best friend L.G. down!” Trump said, adding that the health bill was “great for Arizona.”

McCain, in explaining that he could not “in good conscience” vote for the legislation, said both parties “could do better working together” but hadn’t “really tried.” He also he could not support the measure “without knowing how much it will cost, how it will affect insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it.”

His opposition all but ensured a major setback for Trump and McConnell, and appeared likely to deepen rifts between congressional Republicans and a president who has begun making deals with Democrats out of frustration with his own party’s failure to turn proposals into laws.

During the election campaign Trump had pledged to quickly kill the Affordable Care Act — “It will be easy,” he contended — and he has publicly chided McConnell for not winning passage before now.

Up until McCain’s announcement, McConnell allies were optimistic McCain’s relationship with Graham might make the difference. GOP leaders hoped to bring the legislation to the full Senate this coming week. They face a Sept. 30 deadline, at which point special rules that prevent a Democratic filibuster will expire.

Democrats hailed McCain’s announcement and pledged to commit to the bipartisan process he sought. GOP Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington have been working on a package of limited legislative fixes to the health law’s marketplaces.

“John McCain shows the same courage in Congress that he showed when he was a naval aviator,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y. “I have assured Sen. McCain that as soon as repeal is off the table, we Democrats are intent on resuming the bipartisan process.”

Trump charged that Schumer “sold John McCain a bill of goods. Sad.”

The Graham-Cassidy bill would repeal major pillars of the health law and replace them with block grants to states to design their own programs.

“Large Block Grants to States is a good thing to do. Better control & management,” Trump tweeted.

But major medical groups said millions of people would lose insurance coverage and protections. A bipartisan group of governors announced their opposition.

The House passed its own repeal bill back in May, prompting Trump to convene a Rose Garden celebration, which soon began to look premature.

After the Senate failed in several attempts in July, the legislation looked dead. But Cassidy kept at it with his state-focused approach, and the effort caught new life in recent weeks as the deadline neared. Trump pushed hard, hungry for a win.

The bill would get rid of unpopular mandates for people to carry insurance or face penalties. It would repeal the financing for Obama’s health insurance expansion and create a big pot of money states could tap to set up their own programs, with less federal oversight. It would limit spending for Medicaid, the federal-state program that now covers more than 70 million low-income people. Insurance rules that protect people with pre-existing conditions could be loosened through state waivers.

Over time, the legislation would significantly reduce federal health care dollars now flowing to the states. But McConnell had little margin for error in a Senate split 52-48 between Republicans and Democrats, and could lose only two votes, counting on Pence to break the tie.

Associated Press writers Erica Werner, Alan Fram and Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar in Washington contributed to this report.

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North Korea’s top diplomat says strike against U.S. mainland is “inevitable”

September 23, 2017 - 9:13pm

North Korea’s foreign minister warned Saturday that a strike against the U.S. mainland is “inevitable” because President Donald Trump mocked leader Kim Jong Un with the belittling nickname “little rocketman.”

U.S. bombers escorted by fighter jets flew off the North Korean coast in a show of force shortly before Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho strode to the podium to address the United Nations General Assembly in New York, capping an extraordinary week of militaristic threats from both nations before an organization founded to maintain international peace and security.

Ri said that Trump’s bombast had made “our rockets’ visit to the entire U.S. mainland inevitable,” and linked it to the Trump’s insulting shorthand references to Kim.

Harsh sanctions placed on North Korea’s trade with the outside world will have no impact on its ability to complete building a nuclear bomb capable of reaching the United States, Ri said, suggesting that stage is imminent..

“Through such a prolonged and arduous struggle, now we are finally only a few steps away from the final gate of completion of the state nuclear force,” he said.

“It is only a forlorn hope to consider any chance that the DPRK would be shaken an inch or change its stance due to the harsher sanctions by the hostile forces,” he said, using the acronymn for North Korea’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

A mass rally was also held Saturday in central Pyongyang to express support for “final victory” over the United States, the regime’s KCNA news agency reported. The rally in Kim Il Sung square was attended by over 100,000 people, KCNA reported, “full of the spirit of annihilating the enemies.” Speaking at the rally, a Pyongyang official said the people of the capital were “aflame” with the desire to wipe their sworn enemy, the U.S. imperialists, off the globe.

The rhetoric between Trump and Kim has grown exceptionally personal. At a rally Friday night in Alabama, Trump called Kim “little rocketman,” magnifying the disparaging label he slung at King in his U.N. speech Tuesday in which he threatened the United States would “totally destroy” North Korea in defense of itself or its allies. He said Kim was on “suicide mission”

Kim in turn called Trump a “frightened dog” and a “mentally deranged U.S. dotard.” Ri echoed those sentiments on Saturday, calling the president a “mentally deranged person full of megalomania” and at one point referring to him “President Evil.”

“None other than Trump himself is on a suicide mission,” Ri said in broad denunciation of Trump that brought applause from the North Korean delegation. “In case innocent lives of the U.S. are harmed because of this suicide attack, Trump will be held totally responsible.”

Ri emphasized that North Korea has the know-how to carry out its threat. He said Pyongyang has a hydrogen bomb that that can fit on an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching the U.S. On Friday, Ri said Korea was prepared to test a hydrogen bomb over the Pacific Ocean.

“Trump might not have been aware what is uttered from his mouth, but we will make sure that he bears consequences far beyond his words, far beyond the scope of what he can handle even if he is ready to do so,” Ri said.

On Friday, Trump kept up his verbal fusillade against Kim, tweeting that Kim is a “madman” who will be “tested like never before.”

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Tensions are escalating so quickly that when an 3.5 magnitude earthquake was detected in northern North Korea Saturday in the vicinity of a nuclear test site, it briefly aroused suspicions that North Korea had conducted another underground nuclear test. It was quickly confirmed as just an earthquake.

The heated exchanges between Trump and the North Korea’s leader come at a time when diplomatic pressure may be starting to bear fruit. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said last week that sanctions are beginning to have an effect. China, North Korea’s economic lifeline, has gradually imposed greater economic sanctions on its neighbor, including caps on oil. On Thursday, Trump signed an executive order giving the Treasury Department more authority to cut off trade that helps finance North Korea’s weapons and nuclear programs.

While Tillerson has insisted that diplomacy still has a chance to work, military force appears to be increasing as an option.

Just before Ri spoke at the U.N., the Pentagon disclosed that the U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bombers flew in international airspace east of North Korea. The Pentagon said it was the farthest point north of the Demilitarized Zone separating North and South Korea that any U.S. planes have flown in this century. The bombers took off from an air base in Guam, which North Korea has threatened to target. They were escorted by F-15C fighter jets from Okinawa, Japan.

 

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Chad Bettis and postseason discussions tabled as Rockies offense goes AWOL again in San Diego

September 23, 2017 - 9:10pm

SAN DIEGO — The question never fully formed before Bud Black snapped it off.

“I know it’s early and you haven’t figured out a postseason rotation, but …” the Rockies’ manager was asked, almost.

“Way too early,” Black interrupted.

“… is he a guy who …”

“No. Way too early.”

Black knew the question was about Chad Bettis, the senior member of Colorado’s pitching staff, the right-hander who returned from cancer in August and quickly grounded a rookie-heavy rotation. He was back on the mound Saturday night at Petco Park facing a Padres team deeply out of contention.

But in San Diego’s 5-0 victory over the Rockies, Bettis was pitching for a potential postseason spot, and in his abbreviated outing, despite just one run allowed, the Rockies will face a difficult decision. If they even reach the postseason.

Black’s hesitation, perhaps, was more about a tightened National League wild-card race than a commitment to Bettis. A fifth loss in their past six games dragged the Rockies back into a breach after the Brewers knocked off the Cubs. Milwaukee climbed, again, to one game behind Colorado. The Cardinals, who got trounced by the Pirates in Pittsburgh, are 1 1/2 games back.

“It’s crunch time right now,” Bettis said. “But we’re not there yet. Every game matters.”

The Rockies (83-72) can table a discussion of future pitching assignments. There are other more pressing concerns. Against San Diego’s Jhoulys Chacin, their offense barely reached base.

“We’re not making good contact overall,” Black said. “It’s sort of been a common theme. Not a lot of hard-hit balls consistently.”

Chacin parted ways with Colorado at the end of spring training in 2015, walking through the back door at Salt River Fields with watery eyes. The Rockies had no more use for the right-hander with seven years in purple. Three seasons later, he is San Diego’s best pitcher.

And after Chacin whipped through six one-hit innings, after DJ LeMahieu finally broke up a no-hitter with a line-drive single to center in the sixth, the 29-year-old Venezuelan right-hander entered elite territory. He lowered his home ERA from an NL-best 1.91 to a baseball-best 1.79, lower even than Cleveland’s Corey Kluber, an AL Cy Young Award candidate.

Through five innings, Carlos Gonzalez’s line-drive out to center field in the first inning was the only well-struck ball off Chacin. In their past two games — including against another Colorado castoff, Jordan Lyles — the Rockies’ offense has been held hitless in 12-of-18 innings.

After LeMahieu’s single, Chacin walked Gonzalez and Nolan Arenado to load the bases. But Gerardo Parra flied out to left field. After Ian Desmond and Jonathan Lucroy singled in the seventh off San Diego reliever Craig Stammen, they remained in place. Raimel Tapia and Charlie Blackmon struck out.

“I still believe we’re a better team and when we’re right, there aren’t many teams who can hang with us,” said Desmond, the only Rockies player with multiple hits.

Boxscore: San Diego 5, Colorado 0

Bettis’ turn fell between troubling and middling. He stranded two runners on in the third after forcing Yangervis Solarte to fly out and grounding out Hunter Renfroe with a dribbler in front of the plate. But when he walked Wil Myers in the fifth, then let loose with a wild pitch to the backstop to move him over, Solarte singled in a run.

“When’s he on, there are grounders, early contact,” Black said. “If he’s on, there will be balls in play, should be groundballs, and outs.”

Bettis’ potential replacement, Kyle Freeland, gave up two hits and a run in relief.

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The Padres outhit the Rockies 10-1 through six inning before they broke open the eighth inning. Erick Aybar grounded out to Desmond at first base to score a run from third, but Desmond’s throw home sailed to the netting. His error let Austin Hedges score from second base.

“I was relying on instincts — instincts I don’t really have at first base,” Desmond said of his error. “Now I have one to file away.”

Three runs in total came home — far too many for Colorado to rally back. The Rockies struck out 12 times. They have been shut out in three of their past four games, the first time that’s happened in their history.

“We have to turn it around,” Black said of the Rockies deficient offense. “I wish I had the answer.”

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Trump turns sports into a political battleground with comments on NFL, Curry

September 23, 2017 - 8:26pm

President Donald Trump turned professional sports into a political battleground Friday night into Saturday, directing full-throated ire toward African American athletes who have spoken out against him and prompting a sharp rebuttal from the National Football League and several prominent sports figures.

In a span of roughly 12 hours, as the sports world would typically be gearing up for college football and baseball’s pennant races, Trump ensnared and agitated the most powerful sports league in North America and angered NBA superstars Stephen Curry and LeBron James. His comments set the stage for potential mass protest Sunday along NFL sidelines.

At a political rally Friday in Huntsville, Alabama, Trump called on NFL owners to release players who demonstrated during the national anthem in the manner of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt last season to draw attention to police violence against African Americans. Saturday morning on Twitter, Trump rescinded a White House visit invitation to Stephen Curry of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors, although it is unclear whether the Warriors had been invited in the first place.

“Going to the White House is considered a great honor for a championship team. Stephen Curry is hesitating, therefore invitation is withdrawn!” Trump posted at 7:45 a.m. Saturday.

The tweet came on the heels of comments he made Friday night at a rally for Republican Sen. Luther Strange, who is running in a special GOP primary election to remain in the seat vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’ ” Trump said. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy that disrespects our flag, he’s fired.’ And that owner, they don’t know it [but] they’ll be the most popular person in this country.”

Saturday afternoon, Trump doubled down on Twitter.

“If a player wants the privilege of making millions of dollars in the NFL, or other leagues, he or she should not be allowed to disrespect our Great American Flag (or Country) and should stand for the National Anthem,” Trump wrote. “If not, YOU’RE FIRED. Find something else to do!”

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who has waffled in either supporting or decrying Kaepernick, responded to Trump in a statement released Saturday morning.

“Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities,” Goodell said.

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Saturday evening, Trump responded once again on Twitter.

“Roger Goodell of NFL just put out a statement trying to justify the total disrespect certain players show to our country,” Trump said. “Tell them to stand!”

As of late Saturday afternoon, NFL players were still deciding if and how they would respond Sunday. Many players felt it would be difficult to organize a leaguewide protest on short notice, especially because Trump’s volatility made the situation tenuous.

“Guys got hit in the face [Friday] night,” said one person familiar with the NFL Players Association’s thinking, who requested anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.

Many players called the union to ask what kinds of protests are permissible under league rules, according to the person. Some, for example, wanted to know if they could wear a T-shirt over the shoulder pads during warmups, but that would be a violation of NFL equipment rules.

Some players also worried Trump had put them in a bad position: If they protested, Trump could reassert talking points to his base. If they observed the anthem, Trump could claim responsibility.

“Comments like we heard from the president are inappropriate, offensive and divisive,” two of the NFL’s most prominent owners, John Mara and Steve Tisch of the New York Giants, said in a statement. “We are proud of our players, the vast majority of whom use their NFL platform to make a positive difference in our society.”

San Francisco 49ers owner Jed York, the man who last employed Kaepernick, called Trump’s comments “callous and offensive” and “contradictory to what this country stands for.”

Various NFL owners collectively donated more than $7 million to Trump’s presidential campaign, and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft gave Trump a Super Bowl ring this summer. Saturday, a Patriots spokesman did not respond to a request for comment from Kraft.

“In calling upon his NFL ownership cronies to ‘fire the SOBs,’ he has effectively thrown these owners under the bus in exchange for a moment of applause in Alabama,” said Harry Edwards, a sociology professor at the University of California Berkeley. “Every owner, and especially the seven who supported him with both money and public association, are going to have to answer the questions: ‘What side of history are you on? Do you agree with Trump?’ If they agree or have no comment, they will be aligned against both the NFL commissioner and league office and the NFLPA. If they do not agree with his Alabama statements, they will in effect have separated themselves from both Trump and his alt-right constituency.”

Once again, Trump has placed himself squarely at the center of a wrenching national debate over race. But unlike past presidents who have given at least some voice to a desire to bridge the historic divides in American life, Trump seems eager to lean into those disputes.

For years as a private citizen, Trump was the most vocal proponent of the falsehood that President Barack Obama was not born in the United States, a racially tinged conspiracy theory that thrived in fringe corners of the right. And during the presidential campaign, he was accused by his opponents of using his social media account to amplify anti-Semitic and racist voices.

As president, facing his first major test on issues of race, Trump fumbled. After a group of white supremacists and neo-Nazis descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia, to rally in favor of preserving confederate monuments, Trump was widely condemned for arguing that the violence that ensued was the result of “both sides,” including counterprotesters who had taken to the streets to oppose the racist marchers.

“Trump has no interest in trying to bridge racial tensions,” said Tim Miller, a Republican operative. “He wants to play into white grievance policies. He wants to continue to divide the country further and to expand the wedge.”

Miller added: “It’s particularly the case on racial issues; Donald Trump is obviously more animated by perceived reverse racism and white grievance than he is by other racial justice issue in this country.”

For many African-Americans, the trend has left no doubt about Trump’s true feelings on matters of race.

“This is the biggest white guy in the world trying to take on black America in total,” said Michael Eric Dyson, a professor of sociology at Georgetown University.

At the Huntsville rally, Trump called for fans to boycott the NFL in the face of player anthem protests after bemoaning rules penalizing dangerous hits.

“But do you know what’s hurting the game more than that?” Trump said. “When people like yourselves turn on television and you see those people taking the knee when they’re playing our great national anthem. The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway.”

Despite a clear case that his performance and ability warranted at least a chance at a roster spot, Kaepernick remains unsigned.

At the rally, Trump went on to criticize the NFL for rules meant to improve player safety.

“The NFL ratings are down massively,” he said. “Now, the No. 1 reason happens to be they like watching what’s happening with yours truly. They like what’s happening. Because you know today if you hit too hard – [game officials penalize the offending team] 15 yards! Throw him out of the game! . . . They’re ruining the game! That’s what they want to do. They want to hit. They want to hit! It is hurting the game.”

DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, said in a tweet early Saturday morning, “The union . . . will never back down when it comes to protecting the constitutional rights of our players as citizens as well as their safety as men who compete in a game that exposes them to great risks.”

Trump’s veering into sports Friday night comes after months of simmering tension between high-profile sports figures and the president. Warriors Coach Steve Kerr and San Antonio Spurs Coach Gregg Popovich both offered stinging critiques of Trump after his election. Many Patriots skipped the White House visit after winning February’s Super Bowl. A raft of athletes, University of Virginia alums Washington Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and Philadelphia Eagles defensive end Chris Long among them, blasted Trump’s response to the violence in Charlottesville.

Curry, the star of the NBA champion Warriors, attracted the president’s attention Friday afternoon. The Warriors announced they would vote as a team whether to attend the White House, as is tradition for champions from all sports. Curry said he would vote against going.

“We don’t stand for basically what our president . . . the things that he said and the things that he hasn’t said in the right terms that we won’t stand for it,” Curry said. “And by acting and not going, hopefully that will inspire some change when it comes to what we tolerate in this country and what is accepted and what we turn a blind eye to.”

Curry said Saturday that he woke up to 20 text messages, then discovered why the messages had come when he checked Twitter.

“It’s surreal, to be honest,” Curry said. “I don’t know why he feels the need to target certain individuals rather than others. I have an idea of why, but it’s kind of beneath a leader of a country to go that route. That’s not what leaders do.”

Presidential White House invitations to championship teams are typically straightforward, celebratory affairs. In 2016, President Obama called Coach Tyronn Lue four days after the Cleveland Cavaliers won the title to offer congratulations and invite them to the White House. Administration officials and team executives then worked out scheduling details.

After Trump said he rescinded Curry’s invitation, LeBron James slammed Trump on Twitter.

“U bum @StephenCurry30 already said he ain’t going!” James said. “So therefore ain’t no invite. Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!”

In a video uploaded later Saturday to the social media product Uninterrupted, James further criticized the president.

“I think it’s basically at a point where I’m just a little frustrated,” James said. “Because this guy that we’ve put in charge has tried to divide us once again, and obviously we all know what happened with Charlottesville and the divide that caused.”

James’s statements illustrated a new paradigm in athlete activism. In the past, athletes have commented on the actions of politicians. This weekend, they are acting on the comments of a politician.

“The players are asking the right question,” University of Richmond Law School Chair Carl Tobias said. “When we speak out about political issues, why are we told to stick to sports?”

The Washington Post’s Tim Bontemps contributed from Oakland, California.

 

Categories: All Denver News.

A Michigan woman chose to die so she could give birth. Now her newborn is dead, too.

September 23, 2017 - 8:13pm

The headaches began in March. The couple didn’t think much of them — until Carrie DeKlyen began vomiting.

An initial scan showed a mass in her brain. More tests showed that it was a form of cancer, possibly lymphoma, but treatable. But a pathology exam revealed a more grim diagnosis. The 37-year-old mother of five from Wyoming, Michigan, had glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer. If lucky, she could live for five more years.

The tumor was removed during surgery in April, said her husband, Nick.

Then, not even a month later, the couple received two pieces of shocking news. Carrie’s tumor was back – and she was eight weeks pregnant.

Michelle Werkema, Courtesy of Sonya Nelson via APThis Oct. 2013 family photo shows Carrie DeKlyen and husband Nick DeKlyen in Grand Rapids, Mich. Carrie DeKlyen sacrificed the chance to prolong her life to give birth to her sixth child. Doctors removed Carrie’s feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017, a day after her daughter, Life Lynn, was born at University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich. DeKlyen chose to forgo clinical trials and chemotherapy to treat her brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy. Their daughter was born prematurely, at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy and weighing 1 pound, four ounces.

They had two options: They could try to prolong Carrie’s life through chemotherapy, but that meant ending her pregnancy. Or they could keep the baby, but Carrie would not live long enough to see the child.

It was a wrenching but obvious choice for the DeKlyens: They would have the child, their sixth.

Life Lynn DeKlyen was born at 5:30 p.m. Sept. 6 – 24 weeks into Carrie DeKylen’s pregnancy. She weighed 1 pound 4 ounces. The couple came up with her name together.

Carrie DeKlyen was buried six days later.

Then Life died as well, 14 days after she was born.

The infant’s death was announced Thursday on the couple’s Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness and a absolutely broken heart that I tell you Life Lynn passed away last night,” the post read. “Carrie is now rocking her baby girl. I have no explanation of why this happened, but I do know Jesus loves us and someday we will know why. The grief we feel is almost unbearable, please be praying for our family.”

Nick DeKlyen could not be reached for comment Thursday.

But he told The Detroit News just one day earlier that Life Lynn nearly died Sept. 12, the same day Carrie DeKlyen was buried.

“I know God can turn this around,” he told the News on Wednesday. “And I am going to keep believing that Life is going to be fine.”

Life was delivered by Caesarean section as Carrie DeKylen was dying.

“That’s what she wanted,” Nick said earlier this month. “We love the Lord. We’re pro-life. We believe that God gave us this baby.”

In the spring, after a second surgery to remove the tumor, the couple had gone home, knowing Carrie had only months left to live.

By the end of June, the tumor was back again.

This time, it was inoperable: Doctors told the DeKlyens that all they could do was to keep taking out the fluid accumulating in Carrie’s brain to relieve the pain, her husband said.

Carrie was rushed back to the University of Michigan hospital in Ann Arbor in mid-July. She was screaming in pain and convulsing. That was the last time she was conscious, her husband said.

“They said that she had a massive stroke,” Nick DeKlyen told The Washington Post this month. “They said the fluid built up so much the cranium had no place to go.”

Carrie was 19 weeks pregnant by then. Nick said doctors told him they would do what they could to keep the child growing.

But Carrie would probably not wake up again – and if she did, she wouldn’t recognize her family. She had suffered significant brain damage from the stroke. For the next several weeks, a feeding tube and a breathing machine would keep the mother and her child alive.

Two weeks later, there was another stroke. Carrie’s brain was so swollen that doctors had to remove a portion of her skull, Nick said.

By the time Carrie was 22 weeks pregnant, her baby wasn’t growing fast enough, weighing only 378 grams, or eight-tenths of pound.

To survive birth, the baby had to be at least 500 grams, a little more than a pound, Nick said.

Another two weeks went by, and some good news came: The baby weighed 625 grams.

The bad news was, the baby was not moving.

Nick said he was given two options: He could do nothing and hope the baby began moving and continued growing, but doing nothing meant his child could die within an hour. Or he could authorize a Caesarean section.

He chose the latter, and Life was born – an extreme preterm who would never know her mother.

“It was kind of bittersweet,” Nick recalled, noting that Carrie was “not awake” during or after giving birth. Instead, “she [was] going to pass away,” he said.

Nick DeKlyen, Courtesy of Sonya Nelson via APIn this photo provided by Sonya Nelson Life Lynn DeKlyen lies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Mich., Saturday, Sept. 8, 2017. Life Lynn’s mother, Carrie DeKlyen sacrificed the chance to prolong her life to give birth to her sixth child. Doctors removed Carrie’s feeding and breathing tubes on Thursday, Sept. 7 a day after Life Lynn, was born at the University of Michigan Hospital. DeKlyen chose to forgo clinical trials and chemotherapy to treat her brain cancer, since it would have meant ending her pregnancy. Their daughter was born prematurely, at 24 weeks and five days into the pregnancy and weighing 1 pound, four ounces.

“After that, I went to the surgeon and said my wife had enough. She’s gone through so much pain these last five months.”

Carrie lived briefly after doctors removed her from life support.

“I sat by her the whole time. I kind of held her hand and kissing her, telling her that she did good,” Nick said. “I told her, ‘I love you, and I’ll see you in heaven.’ ”

On Sept. 8, early in the morning, Carrie opened her eyes, then closed them again, Nick said.

She clenched her hands tightly, then slowly stopped breathing. She died before dawn.

Carrie’s story was chronicled on a Facebook page called Cure 4 Carrie.

Four days after his daughter was born and two days after his wife died, Nick said he was dividing his time between planning a funeral and visiting his newborn, who remained in intensive care.

He was living temporarily in the Ronald McDonald House in Ann Arbor, a short walk from the hospital, and driving back to Wyoming on weekends to visit his other children, ages 18, 16, 11, 4 and 2.

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The 39-year-old said at the time that he was still figuring out his family’s future.

Four years ago, he said, he started a vending machine company that he later sold to his brother. But he did not have a source of income.

“My wife’s gone. I have six kids, three are under the age of 5. I’m just going to focus on my daughter right now, getting her home,” he said. “As far as what I’m going to do after that, I can’t tell you.”

A GoFundMe page to help the family has raised more than $150,000.

Earlier this month, Nick dismissed critics who questioned the couple’s decision to put their faith first, saying keeping their child showed his wife’s selflessness.

“She gave up her life for the baby,” he said, adding later: “I just want people to know that my wife loved the Lord. She loved her kids. She put anybody in front of her needs. . . . She put my daughter above herself.”

Categories: All Denver News.

PHOTOS: Denver Oktoberfest 2017

September 23, 2017 - 8:01pm

The 48th annual event covers two weekends and draws 350,000 people, earning accolades as one of the best in the U.S. To add an American touch, it included a long dog derby and stein hoisting and brat eating contests. The best part of the festival: the traditional Spaten amber lager Oktoberfest. It takes place on Larimer Street between 20th and 22nd streets.

Categories: All Denver News.

Get ready for pea milk. It doesn’t taste like peas and it’s not even green.

September 23, 2017 - 7:54pm

It’s never been easier to avoid dairy, thanks to an ever-expanding array of plant-based milks: Rice, soy, hemp, oat, coconut, almond, macadamia, hazelnut, cashew.

But some people can’t drink some of those milks due to nut or soy allergies. Some aren’t good for the environment: Many words have been written about the water that almond milk production wastes. Women may be concerned about the estrogen-like compounds in soy. And alternative milks can be lacking in certain vitamins and nutrients, such as protein.

Enter pea milk, the newest nondairy beverage on the block. It’s vegan, nut free, soy free, lactose free and gluten free. It’s better for the environment than almond milk. And it has more protein and calcium than other alternative milks.

Yes, it’s funny to say “pea milk” out loud. Let’s all pause here to get all of those very mature pea milk jokes out of your system. Shall we carry on?

The biggest brand in pea milk thus far has been Ripple, a company that obtained $44 million from Google and Silicon Valley venture capitalists, according to Bloomberg. But it’s about to get competition from Bolthouse Farms, the Campbell’s-owned brand that is releasing its own line of pea milks this month. The milk will soon be available in grocery stores including Kroger, Shaw’s, Publix and Safeway’s eastern division. It comes in four flavors: Original, which is creamy and lightly sweetened; unsweetened, which has an earthier flavor; and kid-friendly vanilla and chocolate, which taste just like milkshakes.

Pea milk — yes, milk made from peas — is your new favorite vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, lactose-free drink. https://t.co/Sob0SeyH6X pic.twitter.com/a0s5RNUgAo

— Post Food (@WaPoFood) September 22, 2017

Pea milk doesn’t taste like peas, and it’s not made in the same way almond milk is, by soaking in water. At Bolthouse Farms, it begins with harvesting yellow peas and milling them into flour. That flour is processed, separating the pea protein from the fiber and starch. The pea protein is further purified and blended together with water and other ingredients, including sunflower oil and sea salt, as well as such vitamins as B12.

“There’s some taste trade-offs and some calcium trade-offs and most certainly protein trade-offs with all the alternative milks on the market,” said Suzanne Ginestro, the company’s chief marketing and innovation officer. Consumers “shouldn’t have to compromise on those three things.”

The Bolthouse Farms’ milks have 10 grams of protein per serving, as compared to one gram in many almond milks. It has more calcium than dairy milk. It is fortified with 110 percent of a consumer’s daily requirement for B12, which came out of consumer research that “found that vegetarians have a very difficult time getting sources of B12,” which is found naturally in animal products, Ginestro said. And environmentally, pea milk “has a much lower water footprint than growing almonds, and a much smaller carbon footprint than raising dairy cows.”

Plant-based milk sales are on the rise, while sales of traditional dairy milk continue to decline – though sales of yogurt and cheese are staying strong. Recent research from Nielsen has found that the plant-based milk category is up 3.1 percent since last year, while cow’s milk sales are down about 5 percent over the same period. According to Nielsen research from 2016, almond milk is the top-selling milk substitute in America, with sales growth of 250 percent from 2011 to 2015.

Because of the category’s success, there’s a surprisingly heated legislative battle over the word “milk” and whether it should be allowed to be used to describe products that do not come from animals. Bills in the House and Senate backed by the dairy industry have aimed to ban the makers of plant-based products from using the terms “milk,” “cheese” or “yogurt.” The dairy industry says the plant milks could cause consumer confusion; plant-food advocacy groups counter that consumers are buying nondairy milks precisely because they know they do not have the same origin or nutritional profile as conventional milk.

Both Bolthouse Farms’ and Ripple’s pea-based milks are found in the refrigerated aisle, alongside dairy milk – as opposed to being packaged in the shelf-stable Tetra Paks that several brands of alternative milks use. This is because the milk does not contain preservatives, Ginestro said, and it’s also to grab consumers’ attention.

“People are used to buying their milk in the dairy aisle,” she said. “We want to be where consumers are, and where they can get greater access to these alternatives.”

It has a more mass-market style of packaging than Ripple, which features a very millennial-appealing design motif, quirky font and gold packaging. The brands seem to be going after different markets, too: Ripple is found in Whole Foods and Target, while Bolthouse is aiming for a wider audience in more traditional grocery chains.

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“Being a part of Campbell’s gives us the resources to have access to broad distribution footprints, and how to get product from here to there,” Ginestro said. “That’s why we’re starting out with stores like Krogers and Safeway.”

And you’ll notice one other thing about Bolthouse Farms’ packaging: the fact that it’s made from peas isn’t a major part of their branding. The milks are called “Plant Protein Milk,” reflecting consumers’ interest in more plant-based foods, as well as placing a higher priority on protein in their diets. Recent Nielsen research found that 35 percent of American households follow a protein-based diet such as Paleo or low-carbohydrate. The number of products labeled an “excellent source of protein” grew 12 percent this year in the U.S.

Ginestro says the company considered a lot of names, but found that “people really resonated with the plant protein milk descriptor.”

When they were asked about the name pea milk, “They were concerned it wasn’t going to taste great. They were concerned it was going to taste like peas,” she said. “It’s the protein from the peas that is what’s inside the bottle. Taste being so important, we wanted to make sure that whatever we called it, signaled that it was going to taste good.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Cake fundraiser supports gay marriage as Supreme Court case involving Colorado baker looms

September 23, 2017 - 7:19pm

By Roxanne Roberts, The Washington Post

WASHINGTON – Let them eat cake. Let everybody eat cake!

In the pastry world, wedding cakes are the epitome of love and celebration, not a political statement. But this is 2017, and even a cake can be controversial: This fall, the Supreme Court will hear the case of a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple based on his religious beliefs.

Which brought us to a delicious counterprotest with the theme “Who Can Resist!” in the form of 18 multitiered cakes at Tuesday’s sixth annual Chefs for Equality party at Dock5 in Union Market in Washington, D.C.

“If you like cake and dessert and want to get married or celebrate anything, you should be able to get it – as long as you pay for it, right?” said Tressa Wiles of Bayou Bakery, who has created a cake for the event every year. Wiles says that she’s never turned down a cake order and is behind the Colorado couple 100 percent. “They wanted their damn cake, and they couldn’t get it. They just wanted to be happy and celebrate. This baker kind of ruined it for them,” she said.

Wiles made a blue-and-yellow cake – the colors of the Human Rights Campaign, host of the fundraiser – for this year’s party. The cakes were displayed along the back wall of the converted warehouse space, most of them variations on a rainbow: Multicolored hearts, flowers, and Fluffy Thoughts Cakes’ inventive play on cake as the ultimate dessert: an oversized purple layer cake topped with a slice of blueberry pie, a green macaron, a yellow pastry and a red cupcake – all rendered in cake, fondant and edible glitter.

This party was founded in 2012 when Washington food writer David Hagedorn teamed up with the HRC to benefit Maryland’s Question 6, the state’s same-sex marriage law. Hagedorn wanted the event to be fabulously chic, so he recruited Amaryllis Floral & Event Design, the Ritz-Carlton, and dozens of local chefs and bartenders to participate. They named the event Chefs for Equality – for marriage equality, but also for other issues facing the LGBTQ community.

The format was simple: a few tables for high-ticket dinners (now $10,000 to $30,000 a table) prepared by celebrity chefs, 50 or so tasting stations prepared by local restaurants, designer cocktails, live auctions, drag queens and dancing.

And wedding cakes – an entire wall of them, symbolizing both the purpose of the party and the optimism that same-sex marriage would be recognized nationwide.

The event was a success, and was held annually for the next four years with plenty to celebrate: The Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act in 2013 and in 2015 ruled that states could not ban same-sex marriage. Polls showed that public support for same-sex marriage was growing faster than anyone had dared dream.

And then Donald Trump was elected president, and the Supreme Court agreed to hear Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a lawsuit to determine whether a business can deny service to same-sex couples based on religious beliefs.

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“We knew we still had a long way to go in terms of equality, but the outlook was positive,” said Hagedorn. “And then the rug was pulled out from under us. But as LBGTQ people, we’re used to having the rug pulled out from under us and we know it can happen at any moment.”

The case coming to the Supreme Court “would have huge ramifications if we lose,” he said.

The case originated in 2012, after David Mullins and Charlie Craig asked Colorado baker Jack Phillips to make a cake for their wedding reception. Phillips refused, saying that he believed marriage should be restricted to a man and a woman and that creating a cake for a gay wedding would violate his Christian faith.

Mullins and Craig sued based on Colorado’s antidiscrimination laws, which prevent businesses open to the public from refusing service based on race, gender, marital status or sexual orientation.

The case rests on a First Amendment argument: Phillips claims forcing him to sell wedding cakes to same-sex-couples violates his right to free speech. He lost in Colorado courts, which ruled that providing a wedding cake was a business transaction, not a personal endorsement of any specific marriage, and that Phillips was free to express his faith in other ways.

But in June, the Supreme Court agreed to take the case and is expected to hear arguments in November. LGBTQ activists fear that a ruling in favor of Phillips would allow legal discrimination – from bakers, florists, restaurants, photographers, jewelers and any other business – based on a claim of religious belief. The Justice Department recently filed an amicus brief supporting Phillips’s argument.

This is uncharted territory for bakers, who are in the business of making cakes for anyone with a sweet tooth and a reason to celebrate. As the legendary Julia Child once said, “A party without cake is just a meeting.”

So we had to ask: Have you ever turned down an order?

Not one, said the bakers.

Would you make a cake for Attorney General Jeff Sessions, given his department’s support of Phillips?

“Absolutely!” said Wiles. “No questions asked. Zero.”

Tiffany MacIsaac of Buttercream Bakeshop said that she was recently faced – for the first time in her career as a pastry chef – with an order that she wasn’t quite comfortable with, although she declined to share details.

“We wanted to be inclusive, because we don’t believe that anyone should ever be discriminated against if they have a different opinion than us,” she said. “We made the cake and donated the proceeds to a charity we felt strongly about. So if Jeff Sessions wanted a cake, I would make him the best cake I could possibly make – and then I might just give that money to a charity. You can’t expect tolerance if you’re not tolerant as well, no matter how hard it is.”

Besides, cake is supposed to bring people together, right?

“This event is about not discriminating and accepting all human beings,” said Heidi Kabath of the Ritz-Carlton. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions, and as long my opinions are respected, I should respect yours as well.

“And everyone should eat cake.”

Categories: All Denver News.

CU Buffs football eclipses 20,000 season tickets sold, Colorado State sets record

September 23, 2017 - 7:16pm

BOULDER — The University of Colorado opened Pac-12 play Saturday night against No. 7 Washington with the program’s most football season tickets sold since 2012.

CU had sold 20,785 as of kickoff, an increase of 2,774 season tickets from last fall. From 1990 to 2012, the Buffaloes hadn’t dipped below the 20,000 mark, but the 2017 total is just the third time since 2010 that CU has broken the threshold.

Colorado State, on a bye this week, had sold 15,507 season tickets this week in the inaugural season with its new on-campus stadium. It is the highest total in program history.

Before Air Force hosted No. 22 San Diego State, the Falcons had sold 14,000 season tickets, which is the most since 2013.

Categories: All Denver News.

African wildlife protectors get a hand in detective training in Commerce City

September 23, 2017 - 6:55pm

By Sam Brasch, Colorado Public Radio

DENVER — Saving African wild cats, elephants and other species from extinction takes serious police work. That’s why some of the continent’s conservation officers came to Commerce City, Colorado.

They came to train with their U.S. counterparts at a sort of mausoleum for animals lost to poachers and wildlife traffickers: the National Wildlife Property Repository.

Coleen Schaefer, a specialist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, led the delegation of 42 conservation officials through the warehouse. She held up a business card holder fashioned from an elephant toenail.

The object is one of 1.3 million at the repository. There’s also skin lotion made with caviar and pencil holders made from baby rhino feet.

“It makes me feel bad,” said Georgina Kamanga, the lead intelligence officer for the Zambian Department of National Parks and Wildlife. She looked through a box of elephant skin wallets and accessories. “The products are just too much.”

  • Denver Post file

    Taxidermy animals are seen sitting on a shelf at the National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal on Monday, June 23, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    Boots made from pythons are seen on a shelf at the National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal on Monday, June 23, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    Former U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman gestures while talking as he stands between two taxidermy tigers on a tour of the National Wildlife Property Repository at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal on Monday, June 23, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    A wildlife repository specialist evaluates the talons of a bald eagle at the National Eagle Repository in Commerce City on February 27, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    A wildlife repository specialist evaluates a bald eagle at the National Eagle Repository in Commerce City on February 27, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    A wildlife repository specialist evaluates a bald eagle at the National Eagle Repository in Commerce City on February 27, 2014.

  • Denver Post file

    A wildlife repository specialist evaluates a bald eagle at the National Eagle Repository in Commerce City on February 27, 2014.

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Kamanga recently gained a bit of international fame. She appears in “The Ivory Game,” a Netflix documentary centered on international ivory smuggler Boniface Matthew Maliango. In the film, Kamanga leads a raid against one of his syndicates.

In 2016, a Tanzanian court sentenced Maliango to 12 years in prison for poaching crimes. Kamanga said success had a lot to do with what happened after the excitement of the raid: regular, mundane police work.

“Evidence was secured. It was properly labeled. Everything went according to plan,” she said.

That kind of attention to detail is important according to Dave Hubbard, who oversees U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agents who work abroad. He said the value of the products can be a temptation for law enforcement officers with low pay.

“The seized wildlife, through corruption or other means, can go out the back door and there’s no accountability for it,” he said.

During the training at the repository, USFWS IT specialist Mike McCloud led the delegation through techniques to keep evidence secure and carefully cataloged.

“So I have this lovely handbag,” he said of a tiger print purse made from stingray skin. He assigns it a barcode, takes a photo and then enters all the information into a laptop.

Even though the process seems high-tech, McCloud said it doesn’t need to be. A notebook can be a database. He also recommended regular checks to make sure no evidence has gone missing.

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“The best evidence handling, even the best lab analysis — if it’s not documented properly, consistently, easily retrievable it’s worthless,” he said.

Zambian wildlife officer Kamanga said she’ll take that tip to heart.

“I have to be sure that when I go back home I share this with other colleagues I work with,” she said.

In the repository, Kamanga saw proof of both the size of the wildlife trafficking problem and the international commitment to fighting it.

“What has been detected is more like a tip of an iceberg,” she said. “There is more and we need to collaborate further and work so hard to make sure these poachers are nailed before they cross borders.”

As the U.S. Fish and Wildlife attache for Southern Africa, nailing poachers is Ed Newcomer’s job. He said the repository is a teaching lab, but it should be seen for what it is: “a collection of some of the most iconic species in the world that are no longer living. You will not have an opportunity to see those elephants or those tigers or those lions ever again because now they are in a warehouse in Colorado.”

Information from: KCFR-FM

Categories: All Denver News.

Avalanche fall to 1-2 in preseason after loss to Wild

September 23, 2017 - 6:51pm

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Devan Dubnyk stopped 28 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild to a 2-1 preseason win over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday.

Mikael Granlund scored and assisted on Matt Dumba’s winning goal early in the second period for the Wild.

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Andrew Agozzino scored for the Avalanche, and Jonathan Bernier had 22 saves.

Granlund’s goal on a wrist shot at 7:48 of the first period put Minnesota ahead 1-0, and Dumba’s slap shot doubled the lead 2 1/2 minutes into the second. Both scores came on the power play.

Agozzino pulled the Avalanche within one a little more than 2 minutes later.

Minnesota finished 2 for 5 with the man-advantage, and Colorado was 0 for 8.



Categories: All Denver News.

Recent Northern Colorado homicides raise question: Is Larimer County less safe?

September 23, 2017 - 6:24pm

By Saja Hindi, The Coloradoan

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Sara Mondragon said her daughter still asks about great-grandmother Kathy Mondragon “all the time.”

“Whenever the moon comes out, she says, ‘There’s Grandma.’ … We talk about our memories of her. … She misses her. We all do,” Sara said.

The 61-year-old woman’s life was tragically cut short in a double stabbing in Fort Collins in February last year, and her family is struggling to make sense of it all.

Sara, along with her daughter, lived with Kathy at the time. Sara was the other victim of the stabbing that night. Though she survived, she has at least months of recovery ahead of her.

In August, Sara’s ex-boyfriend Tolentino Corzo-Avendano was sentenced to life without parole for Kathy’s murder and the attack on Sara. Tomas Vigil, the man with Corzo-Avendano that night, took a plea deal for a first-degree burglary charge.

Sara had broken up with Corzo-Avendano, whom she’d dated for a few months after reconnecting with the former middle school classmate. But on the night of Feb. 9, 2016, she said he pushed his way into her grandmother’s house after both Sara’s daughter and Kathy had fallen asleep.

“I never expected him to actually hurt me or my family,” Sara, now 27, said in an interview about her ex-boyfriend. “I never expected him to hurt anybody like that, especially me.”

Sara is still haunted by the fact that she believes her daughter witnessed almost everything — her mother’s stabbing and assault, her great-grandmother being stabbed to death, and even at one point, the young girl herself getting thrown across the room.

“She had talked about seeing Grandma with blood on her face,” Sara said.

For Kathy’s children, Shauna and her brother Adam Mondragon, Fort Collins is a very different place than it was when they were growing up.

Adam remembers his mom’s only concern for them as kids when they were playing outside: Be home when the street lights come on.

Even with the changes the family members saw in their beloved town over the years, they never expected such a situation to hit them personally.

But it did.

HERE’S WHAT THE NUMBERS SAY

Although the number of homicides in Larimer County has varied over the past 10 years, and in some years even dipped, in the past three years it has risen.

In 2016, the county saw the number of homicides hit double digits for the first time.

According to a Coloradoan analysis, from 2007 to 2016, the number of homicides outpaced growth, going from about 1.4 homicides per 100,000 in 2007 to about 2.9 in 2016.

So far in 2017, the number of homicides recorded in the county is six, three of which were officer-involved shootings.

Still, compared to numbers in other parts of the state, Larimer County’s homicide numbers remain low. CBI data show that 1 in 3 homicides in the state occur in Denver. In 2016, Denver police responded to 57.

Larimer County Sheriff Justin Smith said, as with other crime categories, the trend is “disturbing.”

“Homicides are a little unique, because they are low frequency, but obviously a very high consequence,” he said.

Larimer County law enforcement agency representatives recognize there’s a perception that the county is getting more dangerous.

A killing at City Park in Fort Collins in June, where it’s unclear whether the man accused of sexually assaulting and brutally killing Helena Hoffmann knew her, had residents questioning the safety of the city.

Whether Fort Collins is too welcoming to those living a transient lifestyle became a topic of heated discussion. The suspect, Jeffrey Etheridge, described himself as a transient on a sex offender registry, though he came to Fort Collins with a family that had relocated here.

Police, however, stress that random killings are the exception, not the norm.

And despite an increase in news traveling through social media at a much faster — and sometimes more dramatic — rate, law enforcement agency representatives say Fort Collins, and Larimer County, are still relatively safe.

Smith said in his 26 years in the county, he has found that Larimer is often insulated from issues other communities have to face.

The county’s cities have below-average crime rates compared to other similar-sized cities, he said, and he attributes it to the community’s economics.

“The whole region is economically upper-middle class with a higher-educated-than-normal population,” Smith said.

Still, the entire state saw a 3.4 percent increase in violent crime last year from 2015 per 100,000 people, according to CBI data, and in the same time frame, the number of felony filings the Larimer County District Attorney’s Office saw a 30 percent surge.

“From a law enforcement perspective, we were riding a very successful wave of reduction in crime numbers for years, and for those of us that have been in the business for a while, (we knew) it was only a matter of time before we saw the increase,” said interim Fort Collins Police Services Chief Terry Jones.

First, the population is growing. And with growth, Jones notes, crime numbers also go up.

“Fort Collins is growing, it’s thriving, it’s expanding, and so unfortunately, as a result of the growth, you are going to get unfavorable numbers when it comes to crime statistics,” he said.

Being close to several metro areas also tends to affect the county, with some of that crime seeping into Larimer County, Smith said.

Smith also points to the years when the national population was increasing but violent crimes were going down. Between 1991 and 2014, the population was rising year after year, but crime rates weren’t seeing the same increase, he said.

When the recession hit, however, crime rates spiked, Smith said.

But he also attributes some of the changes in crime rates to societal shifts in attitude, especially how they play out on the state and federal levels.

When it appears government is “tough on crime,” then the crime rates drop, he said. But in Smith’s view, actions from the state or federal government such as giving parole officers in Colorado “almost zero discretion” when dealing with those on probation, creates the opposite effect.

“My belief is that’s emboldening a generation that’s showing less respect for the law, fellow citizens’ property” and leading to more crimes against individuals, he said.

FACTORS IN MURDER

While statistically, an area with a larger population has more homicides, Jones said, it’s not typically a “stranger-on-stranger” type of crime, nor does he expect to see a surge in the number of homicides in the county any time soon.

“Homicides, unfortunately, will occur, but invariably, they occur because one person feels affronted, offended, or some kind of misguided interpretation of a relationship that goes awry,” Jones said.

Police point to the involvement of drugs or alcohol in many incidents of homicide.

The environment has a lot to do with crimes committed, they say. Narcotics, mental health issues and personal vendettas, whether individual, gang-related or otherwise, all play a part. Smith says transient-based crime is one component.

The difficulty with tracking crimes committed by people who are living transient lifestyles, said Sheriff’s Office Capt. Robert Coleman, is oftentimes, “they’re unknown to us.”

Officers may not know their backgrounds the same way they know the histories of offenders they’ve apprehended numerous times.

“Chances are in a normal size community … there’s always that small core that’s out there doing 80 or 85 percent of the crime,” Coleman said.

So when a violent crime occurs and police have something to go off of, they know who to look for, he added.

Jones said while not all individuals who are living a transient lifestyle commit violent crime, there are other factors to consider within the population, including issues of mental health.

For Loveland Police Chief Bob Ticer, another grave concern is a type of homicide people don’t generally think about in the traditional sense of the crime: impaired drivers killing others.

That type of behavior — typically caused by a person who doesn’t know the victim — leads to death on a daily basis across the country.

WHAT LAW ENFORCEMENT IS DOING

Law enforcement agencies say while homicides are difficult to prevent (other than those caused by impaired drivers), focusing on other problem areas can help.

“Oftentimes, if you address quality of life issues, you’ll see a major reduction in crime issues,” Jones said.

If officers focus on “taking care of” misdemeanor issues, Jones said it can reduce felonious crimes.

That’s a tactic the Larimer County Sheriff’s Office also takes.

“Maintaining public trust is a big part of this agency’s culture,” Coleman said.

So the Sheriff’s Office looks to “inundate” areas that may have a higher number of transient people in a public area; they have deputies serving as school resource officers in schools; deputies participate in community programs such as Community Night Out.

Jones said any modern-day police agency is going to engage the community significantly, and in Colorado in particular, agencies appear to be going back to the days of the “beat cop” where officers cover specific areas and are known to the people who live and work in those areas.

That’s why the Loveland Police Department has enacted a new approach that focuses police presence in areas where crimes and crashes overlap, called Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety.

For example, Ticer points out that in many incidents of sexual assault, there’s a “drug and alcohol nexus,” or in cases of property crimes, many are tied to drug abuse and addiction.

The department is increasing its presence through bike and foot patrols, and like both the Sheriff’s Office and Fort Collins Police Services, continues to staff schools with school resource officers.

Ticer said the Loveland Police Department’s goal is to “really be in tune with the community.” Loveland police are also making DUI prevention and enforcement efforts a focus in an attempt to prevent further deaths by impaired drivers.

Plus, the agencies in northern Colorado are working together, Ticer said, and that’s a huge asset.

“We know that people who commit crimes do not stop at jurisdictional boundaries,” he said.

Through that better communication, coupled with improved technological capabilities to solve crimes, including homicides, law enforcement agencies are more cognizant of what’s happening in their communities, Coleman said.

RECOVERY AND REFLECTION

Regardless of the numbers, Jones is quick to point out that homicides happen to real people and they affect families.

Kathy Mondragon was a mother, a grandmother, a neighbor, a loved one.

Her family members speak fondly about how much she loved to bake for other people — and how she was good at it.

But most of all, her granddaughter Sara remembers how she made everyone around her feel — she always put others first, even if it meant hiding her own discomfort.

That applied the most to Sara’s now 4-year-old daughter, whom Kathy took care of and loved so much that it brought Kathy to tears when the young girl started preschool. Sara recalls how much her grandmother hated having her picture taken, but when Kathy started caring for Sara’s daughter after they moved in with her, she started to take more photos and even sent out a selfie of the two of them together.

“My mom was an amazing woman; she brought us all together,” added Kathy’s daughter Shauna Mondragon. And Kathy did that even in her death.

Shauna’s brother Adam recalls talking to his mother about his childhood and how much he and his sister loved it, and Kathy response that she was glad, because there were some days where she was brought to tears with worry over whether the single mom would be able to feed her children.

“She hid it so well,” he said. And after she died, her children took on her workload and were amazed that she never asked for help.

The Mondragon family feels that despite the support they received after the stabbings — though they also faced detractors — one thing was forgotten throughout the aftermath: who Kathy Mondragon was as a person.

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So her family is working on raising funds to build a memorial bench in her honor at Spring Park in Fort Collins, where Kathy often would take Sara’s now-4-year-old daughter to play.

For the Mondragons, dealing with the aftermath of Feb. 9, 2016, the night that completely upended their lives, is a constant challenge.

Sara keeps replaying that night over and over in her head.

“He not only ruined my family, he ruined his family, too,” Sara said of Corzo-Avendano.

She never expected what happened to her and her grandmother to ever occur, and she hopes others will heed her advice: Don’t wait to ask for help until someone becomes violent.

Sara was facing emotional harassment from her ex-boyfriend before the night of the stabbing, she said, but didn’t think to tell anyone.

“He would make it known that he always knew where I was and what I was doing, and he would make it known that he could without warning show up,” she said.

Sara and her daughter now live with Shauna and Sara’s younger brother in Wyoming.

She could no longer imagine living in her grandmother’s home, and she became unable work because of her head injuries, trauma and inability to walk without assistance.

And as hard as the family members looked, they couldn’t find anywhere suitable or available for them to live in northern Colorado.

Then there’s the recovery period — both physically and emotionally, it’s grueling. Sara was used to working daily while she received help from her grandmother. She was used to being able to do things independently each day. She was used to being able to walk in Fort Collins without something triggering traumatic memories. And she was used to not constantly worrying about her daughter’s trauma.

But Sara remains determined on her path to recovery: “I will walk again.”

Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan

Categories: All Denver News.

Kiszla: Who’s the real MVP of the Rockies’ playoff push? Sorry, Charlie. It’s Nolan Arenado.

September 23, 2017 - 6:18pm

A heartfelt message to the Rockies: Hey, fellas. Relax. It’s only baseball. And so long as you have Nolan Arenado on your side, why worry about such trivial nuisances as the Cardinals, Brewers and playoff pressure?

“This is what we wanted. These games are all meaningful. This is fun,” Arenado told me by telephone from San Diego, where the Rockies enter the final week of a 162-game regular season trying to nail down the franchise’s first playoff berth since 2009. “It feels so much better to win at this time of the year. When you lose, it’s heartbreaking. But when you win one game, it feels like you’ve won five in a row.”

Let’s get something straight: Arenado is the man for the Rockies. Not only is he blessed with more talent than anybody else in the clubhouse, he is one of the truly elite players in the sport. He’s the one Colorado player most capable of carrying a team for the most critical week of the season with his bat or his glove.

Yes, outfielder Charlie Blackmon has been the X factor in this joy ride for the Rockies, producing statistics so seldom seen from a leadoff hitter his gaudy offensive numbers would be a terrible thing to waste. And the signing of closer Greg Holland was a game-changer for a team that spent way too much time a year ago waiting for something bad to happen in the late innings. So here’s a standing ovation for Blackmon and Holland.

Arenado, however, is the real MVP of this team. Any other narrative is balderdash. He is the lone irreplaceable part on the roster. He is the one ballplayer in purple pinstripes that causes foes in the opposite dugout to nod in appreciation. He leads the National League in runs batted in and the planet in jaw-dropping stops at the hot corner. When the Rockies were reeling, in the deep funk of a four-game losing streak and a 24-inning scoreless streak, it was Arenado’s opposite-field home run Friday night that made baseball fun again for pressing teammates.

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The Rockies’ window for playoff contention is however long Arenado stays in Denver. We know Colorado has contractual control of him through 2019. But time flies when you’re in the presence of Hall of Fame greatness. So I don’t want to hear about this young team being a year ahead of schedule, or how missing the playoffs now would be only a minor disappointment in the grand scheme.

That’s not how Arenado thinks. He wants to win. Now. Embrace the urgency. Arenado does.

“In years past, I got to the last week or 10 days of the season, and it was like I couldn’t wait for it to end, go to the beach and be with my family,” said Arenado, smitten by the championship feeling when he won the World Baseball Classic in March as a member of Team USA. “It’s a lot of fun, having the opportunity to play for something, especially after not being in the position to make the playoffs all these years.”

With the 26-year-old Arenado in the no-worries side of his prime, money will follow him wherever he plays baseball. Whenever his next contract is negotiated, the dollars will be so large as to be mind-numbing. It should be a deal in excess of $300 million if it’s a penny.

Arenado is an unapologetic baseball geek. All he wants to do is win, win, win, so he can keep playing as deep into October as possible.

If there’s any pressure on the Rockies this week, it’s to show Arenado he can win big and win often in Colorado.

 

Categories: All Denver News.