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Sheryl Sandberg: Almost half of male managers are uncomfortable doing certain work activities with women

February 19, 2018 - 5:15pm

Facebook’s chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg said a recent survey by Lean In, her women’s advocacy foundation, revealed almost half of male managers in the U.S. are afraid to do certain work activities with women following the wave of recent sexual assault and harassment allegations surfacing with the #MeToo movement.

The survey found male managers today in the U.S. were 3.5 times more likely to hesitate before having a working dinner with a young, female colleague than a young male colleague. High-level male managers were also 5 times more likely to hesitate before going on a work trip with a young, female colleague than a young male.

The two surveys were online polls done in late January and early February among a national sample of nearly 3,000 and 5,900 employed adults, respectively.

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“One of the things I’ve been worried about in the wake of #MeToo is that we were going to let people use this as an excuse not to invest in women,” Sandberg said to a crowd of Coloradans during a Denver campaign event Monday afternoon for gubernatorial candidate Mike Johnston. “Let me be clear: #MeToo will have the biggest impact if we set out institutional reform, and we make sure to invest in women.”

When young men get mentorship that female employees lose out on, this puts women at a career disadvantage that snowballs, Sandberg said. What’s the fix? More women in leadership roles, increased mentoring opportunities for women and education for male leaders addressing equal access to success for male and female colleagues.

Sandberg added it seemed like common sense to be able to have a work dinner where everyone simply behaved appropriately.

“If you aren’t comfortable having dinner with women, don’t have dinner with men,” Sandberg said.

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J.D. Martinez, Boston Red Sox agree to $110 million, 5-year deal

February 19, 2018 - 5:03pm

J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox have, at long last, come to an agreement.

The slow dance between the free agent slugger and the power-deficient team wrapped up Monday when they settled on a $110 million, five-year contract.

A person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press about the deal, speaking on condition of anonymity because it was subject to a successful physical and had not been announced. Martinez has the right to opt out of the contract early and become a free agent again.

Speculation Martinez and the AL East champions would eventually wind up together had been swirling ever since he became a free agent last November.

Boston was seeking to add power to a lineup that hit an AL-low 168 home runs. The 30-year-old Martinez has changed his swing to improve his launch angle and become one of the top home-run threats in the majors.

The move helps the Red Sox counter the huge deal their biggest rivals pulled off in December. The New York Yankees, who finished two games behind Boston in the division last year, acquired NL MVP Giancarlo Stanton — who led the majors with 59 home runs — in a trade with Miami.

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Martinez hit .303 with 45 homers and 104 RBIs last year for Detroit and Arizona, which acquired him on July 18 for three prospects. He had 29 homers and 65 RBIs in 62 games with the Diamondbacks, and hit a record-tying four home runs in a game.

Martinez started a combined 112 games in right field last year. He figures to become the primary designated hitter for the AL East champion Red Sox, which would turn Hanley Ramirez into a platoon player at first with Mitch Moreland.

The righty-swinging Martinez, who began his big league career with Houston in 2011, has played only seven career games at Fenway Park, batting .444 (12 for 27) without an RBI. He figures to knock in plenty of runs when he takes aim at the Green Monster in left.

Martinez was among several prominent free agents still available over the weekend. Eric Hosmer is in the process of finalizing a $144 million, eight-year deal with San Diego while third baseman Mike Moustakas and pitchers Jake Arrieta and Alex Cobb are among the stars looking for places to play.



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Read the Russian troll tweets that targeted Colorado during the 2016 election

February 19, 2018 - 4:59pm

The indictment last week of 13 Russian nationals pointed to a sophisticated propaganda campaign to influence the U.S. presidential election in 2016 using social media networks.

A review of more than 200,000 recovered tweets from Kremlin-linked accounts, first published by NBC News and analyzed by The Denver Post, shows that the Russians took interest in Colorado politics as part of their effort to boost Republican Donald Trump and denigrate Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Here’s a look at some of the hundreds of Colorado-related posts made by the Russian accounts, some of which are original and others retweets of other Twitter users. The Russian accounts had anywhere from a couple dozen to more than 10,000 followers but are now suspended, and the tweets are deleted.

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The tweets below represented an edited sample from the Russian accounts, showing the variety of messages that mentioned “Denver” or “Colorado” or contained the hashtag #copolitics. The bogus tweets are organized by date and show the Twitter user and date and time of the post. Active links are hyperlinked; inactive links or links that go to suspended Twitter accounts are not.

Tweets that mentioned “Denver” and/or “Colorado” Tweets that mentioned #copolitics

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January was slow, but as the mountains fill with snow, ski town hotels fill with visitors

February 19, 2018 - 4:57pm

Colorado’s lodging revenue mirrored the bleak snowpack in the high country in January, according to a report by Colorado Hotel and Lodging Association. It just makes sense — when snow is slow to fill the ski slopes, fewer people occupy the hotel rooms.

In resort towns statewide, about 63.6 percent of hotel rooms were booked in January, compared with 68.2 percent last January. Breckenridge stayed even, with about 77 percent occupancy this year and last, as did Steamboat Springs, where about 69 percent of rooms were booked. Aspen did the best, with 78.6 percent occupancy, compared to 81.3 percent last year.

The resort towns that took the biggest hits in January were Vail and Winter Park.

In Vail, only about 63 percent of hotel rooms were occupied in January, when not all the lifts and terrain at Vail and Beaver Creek were open. Snow conditions were better last January, and 78 percent of rooms were filled.

Things are looking up in Eagle County, though, with 4 to 8 inches forecast by Tuesday morning and a base packed at about 45 inches. About 121 inches has fallen so far this season, 11 inches of that in the past seven days.

The occupancy rate in Winter Park was 48 percent in January, down from 57 percent in January 2017.

But, there’s been snow to ski in Winter Park — the resort reports 57 to 62 inches at the ski area base, according to Lisa Kriederman, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Boulder.

And February continues to bring the powder — 43 inches of snow this month alone, Winter Park spokesman Steve Hurlbert said.

“There’s this sort of doom and gloom sentiment particularly as it relates to snow, that’s not been the case,” he said.

The snowpack is at about 96 percent of the 30-year average, he said. Since the snow started before Christmas, about 175 inches has fallen at Winter Park, the average year-to-date for mid February is 204 inches.

And word is starting to get out. Hurlbert said there’s been a spike in last-minute bookings. “February is looking strong and March is looking strong.”

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The snow has come just in time for spring break, which typically draws Texans and Midwesterners to the Centennial state.

“Spring break is a huge time for us,” he said. “People kind of waited to make sure the snow had come and now that the snow has come they’re ready to pull the trigger.”

By the time the storm that started Monday winds down, 6 to 8 inches of snow is expected to have fallen in Grand County, Kriederman said.

It’s been an uphill battle for us, but now that snow is starting to come were kind of starting to see the tide turn,” Hurlbert said. “A couple of snowy weeks at the end of February and we should be right back on par with average.”

Multiple hotels in Winter Park reported an increase in reservations this week.

“Every time it snows there’s more people coming up here,” Joe Ligas, front desk clerk at Valley Hi Motel in Winter Park, said Monday. “Usually when there is snow, the following day a lot of Denver people take a day off and they come up for ‘powder day.’ Today we’ve kept busy.”

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“Women” or “Ladies?” At the Winter Olympics, that depends on the sport.

February 19, 2018 - 4:56pm

GANGNEUNG, South Korea — It has been 50 years since Peggy Fleming won gold at the 1968 Grenoble Olympics, dazzling judges with graceful choreography and a flawlessly executed single Axel. On Wednesday, another Californian figure skating phenom, Mirai Nagasu, will launch her quest for Olympic gold with a triple Axel.

While figure skating’s technical rigor has evolved dramatically over time, its terminology, in one significant regard, has not.

Nagasu is competing in “ladies” figure skating at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics, while many other female athletes here vie for medals in women’s ice hockey, women’s curling and women’s luge.

The nomenclature of “ladies” figure skating is more than a century old, included in the Constitution and Regulations of the sport’s international governing body, the Switzerland-based International Skating Union, founded in 1892. And it has stood since, regarded as a designation worth honoring, in the view of many.

To others, “Ladies” sounds increasingly archaic — especially given that male skaters compete in the “Men’s” event rather than the equivalent “Gentlemen’s.”And there are rumblings, albeit polite rumblings, that it’s time for figure skating to update its lexicon.

Count 1998 Olympic gold medalist Tara Lipinski among those ready for change.

“The term ‘Ladies’ has been long-standing in figure skating, and while I generally respect tradition in the sport, I do think the terminology has become antiquated and uneven, considering we refer to male skaters as ‘men,'” wrote Lipinski, who’s enjoying a second career as an NBC analyst, in an email exchange Monday. “I would support a change from ‘ladies’ to ‘women.'”

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Scott Hamilton, the 1984 gold medalist who is in South Korea as a commentator for NBC Sports Network’s “Olympic Ice” program, indicated his support for a change as well in a social media exchange with a viewer who took issue with his co-analyst, Tanith Belbin White, making on-air references to “ladies” figure skating.

Tweeted Hamilton in reply: “I totally understand your point, but skating is a very old and traditional sport in many respects. When referring to the women’s competition, everywhere that it’s mentioned refers to it as Ladies. I know. I know. But @TanithWhite is correct. #letschangeit”

Nagasu, for one, has no preference.

“I definitely don’t have a view on that,” Nagasu said in an interview earlier this week. “I don’t mind either way. I’m a strong, proud woman and also a lady, I guess. I’m for feminism.”

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Figure skating isn’t alone in using the “ladies” distinction. Of the 14 winter sports contested by women at the PyeongChang Olympics, eight are called “ladies'” sports (including Alpine skiing, ski jumping, speedskating and snowboarding) and six are “women’s” sports (including bobsledding, curling and ice hockey).

The discrepancy exists because the international governing body of each sport chooses the names for its events. The International Olympic Committee, in turn, adopts the titles used by the federations. That’s why, at present, there’s no uniformity nor apparent logic.

Canadian figure skating officials ushered in their own nomenclature change roughly a decade ago, opting to use the neutral designations of “men’s and women’s” — rather than “men’s and ladies'” — in their national championships.

Canada’s public broadcast system, the Canadian Broadcast Corporation, has followed suit after discussing the question for multiple Olympic Games, according to Greg Stremlaw, who heads CBC Sports and its coverage of the Olympics. The CBC now encourages its on-air commentators to use the term “women’s” rather than “ladies.” Explained Stremlaw, via a CBC spokesman: “We have increased efforts around this topic over the last few years as it is important to the network as a global leader in sports broadcasting to also be leaders in terms of equity in how women’s and men’s sports are presented and reported on.”

The Post’s convention is to use “women’s” instead of “ladies.”

NBC, however, is squarely in the “ladies” camp when it comes to figure skating, following the lead of U.S. Figure Skating, which adheres to ISU style on the question.

The U.S. Olympic Committee hasn’t taken a formal position but would support a change in terminology, according to an official, in the interest of equity. The IOC might seize the initiative first, as an upshot of its ongoing Gender Equality Review Project.

If the French aristocrat Pierre de Coubertin had his way more than a century ago, women wouldn’t participate at all. The founder of the modern Olympics in 1896, de Coubertin once stated that the Olympics were created for “the solemn and periodic exaltation of male athleticism,” with “female applause as reward.” He further opined that women were biologically ill-suited to sports — “not cut out to sustain certain shocks.”

With this as a starting point for modern-day female Olympians, why does it matter what they’re called on the field of play?

Doctoral dissertations have been written about the politics of the term “lady.” In the context of sports, the debate isn’t whether “lady” is an insult or an honorific. It’s a question of equivalence.

“Men and women” are neutral terms. “Ladies (and gentlemen)” are more specific, implying a standard of manners and comportment.

Wimbledon recognizes a “gentlemen’s” and “ladies’ ” champion of its grass-court tennis tournament. No one has an issue; they are equivalent titles. The U.S. Open, by contrast, honors a “men’s” and “women’s” champion — also equivalent. But a sport with a “ladies” and “men’s” champion is an inequitable mash-up.

Sports with multiple governing bodies present even more confusion. Every summer, the best women’s golfers in the world play the U.S. Women’s Open and the Women’s British Open, conducted by the U.S. Golf Association and the R&A, respectively, and then return to the Ladies Professional Golf Association tour. The week before the Women’s British Open, about 200 miles north, the Ladies Scottish Open will be held.

U.S. figure skating coach Tom Zakrajsek, who counts Nagasu among his pupils, finds the issue interesting.

“Having been around the sport for many years, I think if you go back to the history and origin of the sport in Europe, it was probably a proper term: ‘ladies’ skating,'” Zakrajsek said. “I think everybody just keeps saying it — maybe not for a good reason, but we’ve all accepted it. I think that it’s embedded in our jargon.”



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Taking stock of the winners and losers from NBA All-Star Weekend

February 19, 2018 - 4:39pm

LOS ANGELES — This year’s NBA All-Star Weekend was capped off by the league holding it’s 67th All-Star Game here at Staples Center on Sunday night, with Team LeBron emerging with a 148-145 victory over Team Stephen in the first year of the game’s new format.

Here is a rundown of the winners and losers from this weekend’s festivities.

Winners

The NBA

The league knew it had problems with the way the All-Star Game was going. The players clearly didn’t put in much effort over the past few years, and last season’s game — a 192-182 farce in New Orleans — was a nadir for the league.

So the NBA took a big swing, blowing up the format and instead having teams captained by the top two vote-getters — LeBron James and Stephen Curry — who then picked their respective teams. Additional financial incentives for both the players and the charities of the captains’ choosing were also included.

It wound up being a grand slam. The product on display Sunday night outpaced even the NBA’s wildest expectations. There are still improvements that could be made, including televising the draft, something that several players endorsed this weekend and feels very likely to be part of the process next year. But this was a massive success, turning this event into something worth watching.

LeBron James

Not only was James the best player on the court Sunday night, finishing with 29 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists in 31 minutes, but he set the tone for how the game would play out from the opening moments by leading the charge from a defensive standpoint.

The only way there was going to be meaningful change was if players such as James did what he did, and, even at 33, he’s still quite clearly the player from whom everyone takes their cues.

Donovan Mitchell

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The Utah Jazz rookie guard continued his rapid ascent to superstardom by winning Saturday night’s Slam Dunk Contest in style. A rookie of the year race that once seemed sure to favor Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons is now a legitimate head-to-head battle thanks to Mitchell’s inspired play, combined with Utah’s current 11-game winning streak that’s gotten it back into the West’s playoff picture.

Mitchell has the total package, as he showed Saturday not only by the way he won, including dunking over his younger sister, but with quotes such as this one, when he was asked why he included her:

“Growing up, she’s been to so many games,” Mitchell said. “She’s missed so many parties with friends. It’s tough sometimes being a popular athlete’s sibling. Lot of people don’t know that. She’s sat in the car for hours while I’ve had games. She’s done a lot, and I’m getting kind of emotional just saying all this. But, yeah — she’s a trooper. She’s been there. She’s driven in the car 14 hours with my mom to Louisville and watched the game and then drove back the same night.

“To have a sister that’s dedicated to doing that, to bring her out here for All-Star Weekend, she met Gabrielle Union, she freaked out. She took a picture of Odell Beckham. And all she does is show me videos of that guy: Did you see him do this, did you see him do that?”

Get used to hearing Mitchell’s name as part of all-star weekends for years to come.

Anthony Davis honoring his teammate

DeMarcus Cousins was supposed to be starting, before an Achilles tear prevented him from doing so and ended his season. So it was pretty neat to see Anthony Davis, Cousins’s teammate with the New Orleans Pelicans and close friend, wear Cousins’s jersey at the start of the game.

The NBA’s mascots pranking DJ Khaled

During one of the many in-game skits (some of which were good, and some of which most definitely were not), the NBA mascots began dunking off a trampoline. After a minute, Benny The Bull — the GOAT of all mascots — gestured to rapper DJ Khaled to get out of his courtside seat and head to the court.

Long one of the most entertaining personalities in the league, Mike D’Antoni won the night with his response to a question about what was happening in huddles during the game.

“The Golden State guys kept taking my clipboard and trying to draw up plays, and I had to fight them,” D’Antoni said with a smile, referring to the Warriors coaching themselves during a recent win over the Phoenix Suns. “I don’t understand that one.”

Losers

Paul George

With so much attention surrounding George and his potentially joining the Lakers as a free agent this summer, the Los Angeles native was expected to have a big weekend here.

Instead, he flamed out in the three-point contest Saturday night, scoring just nine out of a possible 30 points to finish last among the eight competitors, before putting up a solid but unspectacular performance (16 points on 15 shots) in Sunday’s showcase.

It was a chance for George to show off on a big stage in his home town. Instead, it was a dud.

Fergie’s rendition of the national anthem

It was at the 1983 NBA All-Star Game — which also took place here in Los Angeles — that Marvin Gaye performed one of, if not the greatest, renditions of the national anthem of all time.

Let’s just say Fergie’s rendition of the anthem will not be considered in the same pantheon.

As her performance played out, the reaction on social media quickly made clear that her attempt to do … something with the anthem did not work out the way she must have hoped.

Jordan Brand’s All-Star Game jerseys

The jerseys Jordan Brand created for this year’s game — the first year of Nike’s new apparel contract with the league — looked more suited for the rec league than the NBA.

Obviously the league was in a unique spot because of the way the teams were constructed this season. But did the jerseys have to look like they had the logos ironed on right before handing them out to players at a local YMCA?

Hopefully there are improvements for next year’s game. especially considering it will be in Charlotte, North Carolina, where Michael Jordan’s Hornets will be the hosts.

The pregame introductions

First of all, it took 41 minutes from when the pregame introductions began to when the game started. That is just far too much time to take to simply announce everyone who is playing.

Second, do we need some kind of Kevin Hart story leading up to him announcing the players? If there is a need to have him be the announcer, can’t he just do it without all of the additional acting and histrionics? That could have saved 15 minutes, at least, right there.

The Property Brothers were doing what, exactly?

In what was the strangest of the many in-game entertainment portions of the game, Drew and Jonathan Scott from “Property Brothers” had a bizarre battle inside inflated bubbles — which only started after they began arguing about which team would win.

The obvious question here: Why? There is no answer. It was exceedingly strange.

The crowd

While the game was great, the crowd inside Staples Center was largely awful, just as it was for most of Saturday night. That is less of a commentary on the people of Los Angeles than a common problem at events like these — seats filled not with regular fans but receivers of corporate gifts.

At least people got into the game in the final couple of minutes, but it was largely a sterile atmosphere, even as the game was being played at a far higher level than in the past.



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Vail’s Chris Del Bosco ski cross racing for Canada in PyeongChang Olympics

February 19, 2018 - 4:26pm

BONGPYEONG, South Korea — The gratitude hasn’t faded over the years for Vail-raised Chris Del Bosco. He still loves Canada, the country he says saved his life with a second chance 12 years ago.

The Colorado Springs-born veteran of Canada’s powerhouse ski cross team was on top of the world in the early 2000s. He was a rising star on the U.S. Ski Team. He had national alpine ski titles and even a national mountain bike title. After a string of trouble following battles with alcohol and marijuana, he found himself close to death in a ditch after a drunken blackout. He was 21. He went to rehab but lost his berth on the U.S. Ski Team. He was stripped of those best-in-the-U.S titles.

Team Canada’s veteran ski racer Chris Del Bosco, a Colorado native, is skiing in his third Olympics. Photo by Jason Blevins / The Denver Post.

But Canada came calling, rolling the dice on a scarred but gifted young athlete. With a Canadian father, he joined the Canadian ski team and helped build an international force in ski cross, becoming a legend in the sport. This week he will compete in his third Olympics, stronger than ever and a contender for the Olympic medal missing from his well-stocked trophy shelf.

“I thought the Olympic dream was long gone and right when I was getting my act together the opportunity presented itself in Canada and I wanted to make the most of a second chance,” said the 35-year-old with a world championship gold and five ski cross medals from the X Games, which first seeded skiing’s most thrilling sport at the second-ever Winter X Games in Crested Butte in 1998. “And Canada has been so good to me and this team is so strong.”

Del Bosco is vying for Canada’s first men’s Olympic medal in ski cross, which debuted at the 2010 Vancouver Games after its birth more than 20 years earlier in California. The horse race on skis – with six-at-a-time skiers weaving down a steep and narrow track of jumps and berms — is one of the most popular events among spectators.

“Everybody gets it. First one down wins,” said Del Bosco after training on the PyeongChang Olympic course on Monday with his Stockli skis nicknamed “Silver Fox” after his favorite NASCAR racer, David Pearson. (All his skis are named after his NASCAR heroes.)

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Chris Del Bosco nicknames his skis after his favorite NASCAR racers.

France’s formidable men swept the podium at the Sochi Winter Olympics and the gold and silver medal winners are back to defend their medals. Canada brought four athletes, with Brady Leman, Sochi’s fourth-place finisher, joining Del Bosco as the veterans on the team.

After a couple days of practice at the Olympic course at Phoenix Park Resort, the ski cross athletes are working with race organizers to adjust the course. Racers have been carrying too much speed into the drag race out of the final turn and skiers are flying deep off the three final jumps. Dangerously deep.

“They need to find a way to slow us down in here and it’s just not happening,” said Leman as medical crews carted off a woman injured on the final jump during practice. “It’s pretty gnarly. You have to be prepared to go deep on these last three features.”

Del Bosco, who missed the podium in both the 2010 and 2014 Olympic show, said the PyeongChang Olympic course plays to his strengths and his experience.

“I’ve been around a while so I’ve seen a bit of it all and these are definitely the kinds of tracks I like the most. The bigger the better,” he said. “We don’t see a lot of these kinds of courses on the world cup so some of the newer guys might not have the experience. I feel comfortable up there.”

Del Bosco tends to shine when racing side-by-side. He says he performs better on skis when he’s in pursuit or getting chased.

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“I love racing head-to-head. I tend to do better when it’s head-to-head and it’s all on the line,” said Del Bosco, who has been sober now for more than a dozen years and is dating Canadian gold-medal cross boss Marielle Thompson. “It’s so awesome.”

Del Bosco never questions his move to Team Canada. Especially since ski cross is withering in its birthplace. The U.S. sent two cross skiers — Aspen’s Casey Puckett and alpine veteran Daron Rahlves — to the 2010 Olympics. There was one American — John Teller, who has the only ski cross world cup victories ever by an American — who raced ski cross in Sochi. There are none in South Korea.

“The U.S. guys, they’re struggling because there’s just no support, which is frustrating,” Del Bosco said. “We are very well supported.”

Men’s ski cross qualifications and finals begin at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday (Denver time).



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Top Rockies prospect Brendan Rodgers going to school early in camp

February 19, 2018 - 3:56pm

SCOTTSDALE, ARIZ. — About an hour before the Rockies held their first full-squad workout of spring training Monday morning, Brendan Rodgers sat in front of his locker, lacing up his spikes and getting ready for his debut.

Rodgers, 21, is ranked as the top prospect in the Rockies’ organization. He received an invitation to his first big-league camp, and there is a chance he’ll make his debut in the second-half of the regular season. But now is the time to soak up everything he can.

“I’m excited,” the infielder said. “I’m really looking forward to this. My job in this camp is to learn, so I’m picking the brains of all the guys, picking up whatever I can.”

Specifically, Rodgers is concentrating on honing his fielding skills by watching shortstop Trevor Story and second baseman DJ LeMahieu. Rodgers has quickly discovered that the highlight-reel plays turned in by established Rockies players is not simply a matter of athleticism or instinct.

“I’ve talked to Story about his favorite play: fielding that groundball up the middle and making that spin move to get off the throw,” Rodgers aid. “He practices that play all of the time. It’s like riding a bike for him.

“I told him, ‘Work with me on that, because I need some help with the rhythm of it and the throw.’ It’s a very tough play, but Trevor seems to have it down pat, so I’m learning all I can from him.”

Rodgers used his 2017 season as a springboard. He hit a combined .336 with 18 home runs, a .567 slugging percentage and 64 RBIs at High-A Lancaster and Double-A Hartford last season.

“We’ll see how he reacts to this (spring), but all indications are from our player-development staff that he’s making great strides,” said manager Bud Black, adding that Rodgers is likely to begin the season at Double-A. “Last year was a big year for him. For the most part, he stayed healthy. He performed. We’re excited to see what he can do.”

State of the team. Black spoke to the entire team Monday for the first time this spring. What was the topic?

“Oh, I gotta tell you this. So I led it off with — I’m not going to tell you,” Black said, keeping his address private to the clubhouse. A hint of the speech, at least?

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

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Then Black paused and broke out a sly grin.

“And I told them some other things I won’t tell you about,” he said.

Footnotes. During batting practice, Nolan Arenado, Ian Desmond, Charlie Blackmon, Pat Valaika and Ryan McMahon took turns hammering pitches over the fence. When the session was over, Valaika had hit the most homers. McMahon, the left-handed hitting rookie who could end up as the starting first baseman, put on a show of his own.

“Beautiful swing,” Desmond commented. “It’s like he was born with it.”

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Denver bobsledder Lauren Gibbs may be in contention for Olympic medal

February 19, 2018 - 3:29pm

Lauren Gibbs was working as a sales manager in Denver four years ago when a friend who saw her working out at Front Range CrossFit encouraged her to consider trying out for bobsled. It seemed outlandish at the time, but Gibbs is in PyeongChang as the push athlete for driver Elana Meyers Taylor, and it would appear they have legitimate medal hopes in the competition that takes place Tuesday and Wednesday.

The Meyers-Gibb duo finished fourth, seventh, first, second, fourth and fifth in training runs the past three days, so they bear watching.

“Tomorrow is going to be loud and it’s going to be crazy and I’m just going to focus on what I’ve been working on the past four years,” Gibbs told reporters after the final training run.

Gibbs won a bronze medal with Meyers at the 2016 world championships. Meyers won a silver medal at the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games as a driver and a bronze medal in 2010 as a push athlete.

“We’re going to throw down, and try to throw down some solid runs,” Meyers said. “This course has been tricky for everybody.”

Growing up in California, Gibbs was a long jumper and triple jumper in high school who was recruited to compete in track at Brown University, but when she got there she decided to pursue volleyball instead. She was graduated in 2006 and moved to Denver in 2013, working as an area sales manager for ADT Security Services. In 2014 she became a regional sales director for Trumaker men’s wear.

Denver’s Jillion Potter, a 2016 Olympian in rugby, saw Gibbs working out at Front Range CrossFit the summer of 2014, and after being wowed by her explosive strength, encouraged her to consider trying out for bobsled. Potter knew something about the sport because she had tried to recruit Meyers for rugby. Gibbs was skeptical at first.

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“I said she’s crazy,” Gibbs said in an interview before leaving for South Korea. “It was crazy because I was like, ‘I’m 30 years old, I can’t bobsled.’ ”

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Gibbs went to a combine that summer in Colorado Springs, tested well and was invited to a rookie training camp in September. In a push competition with other the tryout athletes, Gibbs placed first and was invited back a month later to participate in a training camp with America’s top bobsledders.

“After that camp,” Gibbs said, “I decided I wanted to be a bobsledder.”

She was named to the national team a month after that and has competed on the World Cup ever since. She has spent the past two summers training in Colorado Springs at the Olympic Training Center.

“At the end of the day this is potentially a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I don’t want to walk away from this having shut myself in and not experiencing it,” Gibbs said Monday, reflecting on her time in PyeongChang. “I think the most special part about this is being able to meet other Team USA athletes, and it’s like an instant extended family. I wanted a piece of that as well, because at the end of the day, all life is is what you make of it and I just wanted a (great) story at the end of it all.”



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New-look Rapids host MLS champions in Champions League match Tuesday night

February 19, 2018 - 3:08pm

COMMERCE CITY — A team in transition with a new coach midway through his first preseason with the club, the Rapids will get a challenging progress report Tuesday when they host Toronto FC in a CONCACAF Champions League match.

The visitors won the “treble” last season, claiming the MLS Supporters’ Shield (best regular-season record), along with the MLS Cup and the championship of Canada.

“Best team in league history, that’s your scouting report,” said Colorado’s goalkeeper and captain Tim Howard. “Toronto is a finished product. We are growing by leaps and bounds every day. We’re trying to get better, and we have our sights set on some great things this year.”

Head coach Anthony Hudson has been in charge since November, after Pablo Mastroeni was fired last summer in mid-season with Steve Cooke finishing out the regular season as interim coach. Hudson is implementing a new formation (3-5-2) with a healthy dose of new players. Two more signings were announced Monday: striker Joe Mason, currently with Wolverhampton in England, and midfielder Enzo Martinez, from Colorado’s USL affiliate in Charlotte.

“It’s kind of a strange situation in a sense that we’re sort of halfway through the preseason,” Hudson said. “We’ve got 10-plus guys that are new on the team, new coach, new staff. We want a little bit more time, but also, this is a great game for us at this stage of preseason. If we didn’t have this game now, we would want a game like this now.”

Colorado will finish the two-leg series — the team’s first Champions League action since 2011 — next week at Toronto. The MLS opener comes March 10 at New England.

And the predicted temperature for Tuesday’s 8 p.m. kickoff? Seventeen degrees.

This was the scene today at the home of the Colorado Rapids. On Tuesday they will host Toronto FC in Champions League action. Predicted kickoff temperature: 17 degrees. pic.twitter.com/hqwvM4wdQG

— John Meyer (@johnmeyer) February 19, 2018

“When a new coach comes in, not many people want to hear, ‘We’re a work in progress,’ and we understand that,” Hudson said. “We are pushing forward every day, almost forcing our way into making sure we speed things up as quickly as possible, but we have players who have only just arrived – key players. It is early days, but for sure our target is the first game of the regular season.”

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Hudson isn’t trying to lower expectations for his team this season. Just the opposite.

“This is not just a trial season for us (or) an experimental season,” Hudson said. “We want to be there in the playoffs at the end of the season, challenging. We’re a young team, but for sure at the end of the season, we’ll be there, or thereabouts.”

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Colorado Rapids could play the coldest match ever between MLS teams, giving Commerce City a potential second game for the record books

February 19, 2018 - 3:03pm

COMMERCE CITY — When the Colorado Rapids play their first meaningful game under new coach Anthony Hudson Tuesday night, it could be a record-breaking event. But not the sort of history Rapids players or the visiting Toronto FC hope to experience.

The temperature forecast for 8 p.m at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park for the CONFACAF Champions League game is 17 degrees, with a “feels like” temperature in the single digits. According to Major League Soccer, the record low temperature for a game involving two Major League Soccer teams is 19 degrees. That was for last year’s home opener for Minnesota United on March 12.

On the bright side, there is only a 15 percent chance of snow for Tuesday’s game.

“Conditions are what they are,” Tim Howard, the team’s goalkeeper and captain, said. “We don’t get much of a choice in the matter. Most of our guys will have played in similar games somewhere along the way. It’s never ideal, but it’s not really that much of an issue. Today was fine, we had a good training, so whatever may come tomorrow we’ll be prepared.”

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park has been the site of a historic weather game before. On March 22, 2013, the U.S. men’s national team played Costa Rica in a World Cup qualifying game there that was pummeled by a blizzard. Playing with a yellow and purple ball, the U.S. won 1-0 in a game known ever since as the Snow Clasico.

Call this one Frostbite Fiesta.

“Players, staff, nothing’s changed in the preparation and the game plan,” Hudson said. “Unless we’re told otherwise, we just prepare as normal and we’re ready for the game.”

This was the scene today at the home of the Colorado Rapids. On Tuesday they will host Toronto FC in Champions League action. Predicted kickoff temperature: 17 degrees. pic.twitter.com/hqwvM4wdQG

— John Meyer (@johnmeyer) February 19, 2018

https://platform.twitter.com/widgets.js

Hudson was named the team’s coach in November following the firing of Pablo Mastroeni mid-season last summer, with Steve Cooke serving out the rest of the season as interim coach. Hudson is implementing a new formation with lots of new faces. The team is midway through its preseason, preparing for the MLS opener set for March 10 at New England.

Toronto FC is the reigning MLS champion.

“This is a fantastic game for us,” Hudson said. “It’s just a great test for us at a great time of the preseason as well. We’re looking forward to it. We’re ready for this game.”

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Most of the Broncos’ draft picks in the John Elway era have one thing in common

February 19, 2018 - 3:03pm

Von Miller has said that he knew he would be a Denver Bronco when he met with Broncos general manager John Elway for 15 minutes at the 2011 NFL scouting combine. Miller’s performance that week, still mind-boggling seven years later, said plenty. But it was in that meeting that Miller said he knew where he was headed.

He was right.

In 2014, when the Broncos were just weeks removed from their Super Bowl XLVIII loss, more clues were dropped about the Broncos’ draft intentions when Elway spoke of the value of “athleticism” and “numbers” in evaluating prospects at the combine. That year he drafted cornerback Bradley Roby in the first round, one of the fastest players at the combine and someone who would eventually become a key piece of Denver’s remade defense.

And in 2016, Elway continued to reveal more hints at the combine when he spoke of Peyton Manning‘s impending decision to retire and Brock Osweiler‘s then uncertain future with the team. Elway would lose both quarterbacks a month later, and, after a failed attempt to acquire Colin Kaepernick, out-bid the Cowboys to nab Paxton Lynch in the first round.

While the NFL scouting combine has morphed into an annual spectacle for the league, with around-the-clock coverage and increased fanfare, it has been a constant for the Broncos’ draft selections. Of the 54 players drafted by the Broncos since Elway joined the front office in 2011, 47 have been NFL combine invites.

“I think with 15 minutes there are certain things that you can do. You can’t hide,” Elway said at the combine in Indianapolis last year. “You put a play up on the board and ask them to explain the play or put some tape up there and have them walk you through a play. You can generally find out how much they know about football. There is no question that they are prepared for everything by the way.”

Linebacker Corey Nelson (2014); nose tackle Darius Kilgo, quarterback Trevor Siemian, cornerback Taurean Nixon and safety Josh Furman (all in 2015); safety Will Parks (2016); and quarterback Chad Kelly (2017) are the only picks by Elway who were denied combine invites. Ironic considering Elway skipped the combine as a player back in 1983.

When the Broncos return to the combine this year (Feb. 27-March 5), they’ll do so armed with a different perspective. They have more information, thanks to a week in Mobile, Ala., in late January.

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The Broncos’ staff coached more than 50 draft prospects on the Senior Bowl’s North Team, including quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield. Unlike in years past, where their close-up with players entailed brief combine interviews and pre-draft visits, the Broncos received hours of access to many players expected to participate in Indianapolis.

“They get to know the players. I think that is the biggest part of it. You get to spend time and spend a week with them. Usually you go to the combine and you get 15 minutes with them. Pre-draft, we get 30 visits from young players,” Elway said in Mobile. “This way we get to see 50-55 of them and be around them and coach them a little bit. It’s a big plus to spend a week with them.”

With so much access in Alabama, the Broncos not only head to the combine knowing more than most teams about some of the prospects, but they can also spread out their allotted 60 interviews among players they know less about. And those 15 minutes, while brief, can reveal much about players’ readiness for the next level.

The Broncos have numerous roster holes to fill after a 5-11 finish. And if history is a guide, they’ll see most players of their future in Indianapolis.

Who to Watch

Five prospects to keep an eye on in Indianapolis at the 2018 NFL scouting combine:

Josh Rosen, QB, UCLA
The Broncos received an up-close look at quarterbacks Josh Allen and Baker Mayfield at the Senior Bowl. The combine will provide a good look at Josh Rosen, the standout from UCLA who is regarded by many analysts to be the most starter-ready quarterback in the draft.

Writing up the good and the bad with UCLA QB Josh Rosen.

He’s fearless in the middle of the field, for better or for worse.

Results in some great throws and a few head-scratchers.

This was excellent#PFFDraft pic.twitter.com/GpdbmURplZ

— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) February 12, 2018

Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
Of the four QBs projected to go in the first round, most eyes may be on Darnold at the combine. He has the size (6-foot-4, 220 pounds) and arm strength, and has even drawn comparisons to Andrew Luck. But will his throwing motion and turnovers (13 turnovers and nine fumbles in 2017) turn away NFL teams?

your daily Sam Darnold training video. his throwing motion really does look so much more compact already pic.twitter.com/bZ8eCK7Y13

— Jordan Zirm (@clevezirm) February 2, 2018

Quenton Nelson, G, Notre Dame
Though many analysts have the Broncos pegged to draft a quarterback in the first round, Denver’s first move could surprise depending on who they land in free agency. If they get a high-priced veteran QB, they’ll need to improve their offense line protect him. Nelson, a 6-5, 329-pound left guard, could be their answer.

How about this for awareness from Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson?! One of 5 best players in this draft. pic.twitter.com/jrXlipnyZw

— Todd McShay (@McShay13) February 9, 2018

Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
With Aqib Talib possibly on the outs in Denver, the Broncos will need depth in their secondary. Fitzpatrick could be their answer. With a versatility similar to Bradley Roby — he can play slot, outside, nickel linebacker and even safety — Fitzpatrick could be a key piece of the Broncos’ remade defense for the near and long-term future. And remember: John Elway loves his defense.

Watching Bama-A&M tape. Check out DB Minkah Fitzpatrick on this play…Crossing route. Close on the ball. pic.twitter.com/Kgk9n9gdeB

— Matt Bowen (@MattBowen41) February 6, 2018

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
The Colorado native impressed at the Senior Bowl, where he bulldozed defenders and took advantage of his 6-2, 227-pound frame. With an impressive showing at the combine, Ballage may skyrocket on draft boards.

Arizona State’s RB, Kalen Ballage with the carry. He forced 18 missed tackles on 157 carries in 2017. #SeniorBowl pic.twitter.com/1oT9lJ2jM3

— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) January 23, 2018

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DU hires Karlton Creech as athletic director, who’s determined to not mess up Pioneers’ success

February 19, 2018 - 2:42pm

Karlton Creech was nearing graduation in 1995 with a North Carolina State political science degree and needed a job — a real one, and not the gig that got him through college working at a golf course in his hometown of Durham.

Then a close friend told Creech about an internship opening in the University of North Carolina athletic ticket office. Creech idolized Tar Heel players and coaches growing up. He was 10 years old when the UNC men’s basketball team won the 1982 national championship behind Michael Jordan’s game-winning jumper and Creech’s dad pulled him out of class to attend the welcome-home celebration.

Creech applied for the internship — and got it. Nothing has been the same since.

“I realized, ‘Oh, wait a minute. I can make this a career?’” Creech said. “I knew right away once I started this job that I wanted to work in this industry.”

More than two decades later, the dream continued with Creech, 45, introduced Monday as the University of Denver’s next vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center operations effective May 1. Creech replaces outgoing athletic director Peg Bradley-Doppes who in August announced her planned retirement.

Creech, previously the athletic director at the University of Maine, had not stepped foot in Denver before arriving this weekend for a round of in-person interviews and was offered the job late Sunday. DU declined to release the contract details and is not required by law to do so as a private institution.

“When I first learned of the opportunity here at Denver, I immediately called Gene DeFilippo at Turnkey Search and said, ‘I want that job. Let’s make it happen,’” Creech said. “When I started to research Denver, it was all about academic excellence, a winning tradition, championship-level resources and great people everywhere.”

The start of Creech’s athletics administration career was unorthodox. Although it’s easy to understand why he was an attractive fit to bring the Pioneers into a new era. His leadership at several stops on his path to DU proved transformative.

After more than 13 years combined working in fundraising for athletic booster clubs at North Carolina State and UNC, Creech was hired as the Tar Heels’ senior associate director of athletics where he coordinated an $88 million expansion of UNC’s football stadium.

Maine hired Creech as its athletic director in 2014. He is credited with restructuring the program’s fundraising model that led to a 20 percent increase in annual giving, plus more than $1.5 million in gifts for an endowed fund to support the men’s ice hockey program. Creech signed a four-year contract extension at Maine in January 2017 with a $100,000 buyout clause, per the Bangor Daily News, should Creech leave for another position within the first two years.

DU declined to address its role in facilitating Creech’s buyout. A Maine spokesman told The Denver Post that Creech will return to campus late Tuesday to discuss the terms of his contract buyout with university president Susan Hunter.

“Over the four or five years (Creech) was there, he produced some really amazing results with very limited resources,” said DU board of trustees chairman Doug Scrivner.

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“He is a perfect fit to our very strong culture of people and values,” added DU chancellor Rebecca Chopp.

Creech was welcomed to Denver with a news conference early Monday in a jam-packed Gottesfield Room inside the Ritchie Center. Among the audience were several DU coaches who had met Creech for the first time earlier that morning. While Creech is ambitious in his quest to develop success in all aspects of the Pioneers’ athletic department, he’s also aware of the program’s well-established history.

Under Bradley-Doppes’ leadership, the Pioneers won seven NCAA Championships, nine NCAA I-AAA Directors’ Cups, 97 conference titles and 69 coach-of-the-year honors. DU’s most recent graduation success rate came in at 93 percent, tops in the Summit League and highest among major college athletic programs in Colorado.

“My role early is going to be learning how we got to where we are and make sure I don’t mess that up in any way,” Creech said. “Then it’s about creating the next challenge. At a place like the University of Denver, we can be whatever we envision ourselves to be. We’ve just got to establish what’s next and go get it.”

Opening remarks from Karlton Creech’s introduction as DU’s new athletic director this morning pic.twitter.com/cnDZrIUNNg

— Kyle Fredrickson (@kylefredrickson) February 19, 2018

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Sans two defensemen, Avalanche begins three-game Canadian trip

February 19, 2018 - 2:35pm

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Avalanche traveled here Monday afternoon without defensemen Erik Johnson and Anton Lindholm, both out indefinitely after being injured in Sunday’s 4-2 loss to the visiting Edmonton Oilers.

Johnson, who leads Colorado in ice time, is believed to have a wrist injury, and Lindholm, the rookie who has become a regular on the blue-line, likely has an arm injury. The team is saying both injuries are “upper-body.”

Another defenseman, Mark Barberio, missed his 11th game with a lower-body injury Sunday, and his recovery does not yet include skating.

“I don’t have a timeline on (the injuries),” Avs coach Jared Bednar told Rick Sadowski of the NHL.com after Monday’s brief practice in Centennial. “We have three D out, so the job gets tougher now, but we’ll focus on the guys who are in the lineup and the guys we recall and help them as much as we can and keep trying to improve with the guys we got.

“It is what it is. We play with the players that we have. With three guys out they’ll be guys playing in situations that they don’t normally play in. Different guys are going to have to step up. if we’re going to win.”

The Avs will recall a defenseman, maybe two, from San Antonio of the American Hockey League, and he, or they, will meet the team in Vancouver, where it plays the Canucks on Tuesday. The available defensemen who practiced Monday  were Nikita Zadorov, who was Johnson’s partner on the top pairing,  Tyson Barrie, Patrick Nemeth and rookies Sam Girard and Duncan Siemens.

Goalie Jonathan Bernier also didn’t travel with the team Monday. He remains out with a head injury, sustained in Friday’s 6-1 loss at Winnipeg. So Semyon Varlamov will make his second consecutive start Tuesday, backed-up by Andrew Hammond, who was recalled from the minors Sunday.

“Right now it’s Varly’s net,” Bednar said. “We need Varly to be exceptional, right? We need a lot of guys to be better than what they’ve been, better than average or just good if we’re going to win now — especially with the guys that are out of the lineup.”

Colorado’s trip continues Thursday at Edmonton and Saturday at Calgary. Because of Sunday’s blown third-period lead and costly loss to Edmonton and Minnesota’s 5-3 win at the New York Islanders on Monday, the Avs are now five points behind the Wild for the last Western Conference playoff spot. They also trail Los Angeles by a point and Calgary by one.

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“It’s going to be a slow go”: Weather and volume will pair up for a long I-70 drive back from the Colorado mountains Monday

February 19, 2018 - 2:26pm
Provided by CDOTInterstate 70 just west of the Continental Divide on Monday.

A blast of winter weather paired with an rush of people returning from the long holiday weekend will mean back ups on Interstate 70 from the Colorado’s high country back to the Front Range on Monday.

“With weather conditions, obviously it’s going to be a slow go coming home from the mountains,” said Amy Ford, a Colorado Department of Transportation spokeswoman.

Moderate to heavy traffic is forecast in the interstate’s eastbound lanes between Silverthorne and Denver until about 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

A traction law is in effect from Idaho Springs to C-470, meaning that passenger vehicles need to have mud or snow ties, use chains or have all-wheel or four-wheel drive.

*TRACTION LAW- EB/#I70West b/t ID Spgs & Denver/C-470;Passenger vehicles R required to have snow or mud/snow tires,use chains/alternative t

— CDOT (@ColoradoDOT) February 19, 2018

There was moderate traffic on I-70 eastbound Sunday night.

Motorists can visit cotrip.org or @coloradodot on Twitter for the latest road information.

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Fort Carson’s new, game-changing drones can strike targets deep behind enemy lines

February 19, 2018 - 2:14pm

Fort Carson’s newest weapon is also its most revolutionary, allowing ground-pounding units to strike targets hundreds of miles behind enemy lines and giving commanders an unprecedented view of enemy movements.

All without risking lives.

Meet the Gray Eagle, a hulking drone with a 56-foot wingspan that packs four Hellfire air-to-surface missiles and can stay aloft for a full 24-hours with its thrumming diesel power plant. Fort Carson has a dozen of the drones and they will soon be ready for war.

“We are reaching full-operational capability,” said Col. Scott Gallaway, who commands the post’s 4th Combat Aviation Brigade.

The Army has gone to war with drones for nearly two decades. But those drones have been toys compared to the Gray Eagle.

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The biggest was the Shadow — with 14-foot wings. It had a range of 68 miles, compared to the Gray Eagle’s more than 1,500-mile range. The small one was the Raven — with a 4-foot wingspan and a range of 6 miles.

To read more of this story go to gazette.com



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PHOTOS: USA defeats Finland 5-0 in Women’s Olympic Hockey

February 19, 2018 - 1:53pm

The United States Women’s ice hockey team defeated Finland 5-0 in a semifinal game at the Gangneung Hockey Centre February 19, 2018 in PyeongChang, South Korea. The United States will face Canada for the gold medal on Thursday (Wednesday night in Colorado, 9:10 p.m. MT).

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PHOTOS: “Lie-in” protest outside White House over gun control

February 19, 2018 - 1:46pm

Protesters held a “lie-in” demonstration supporting gun control reform near the White House on Feb. 19, 2018 in Washington, DC. According to a statement from the White House, “the President is supportive of efforts to improve the Federal background check system.”, in the wake of last weeks shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida.

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For the weary White House, Florida shooting offered a “reprieve” from scandals

February 19, 2018 - 1:39pm

The White House was under siege.

Domestic abuse allegations against a senior aide were ignored, pointing to a potential high-level coverup. Two Cabinet secretaries were caught charging taxpayers for luxury travel. A Playboy centerfold alleged an extramarital affair with the president. And the special counsel’s Russia investigation was intensifying.

The tumult was so intense that there was fervent speculation that President Donald Trump might even fire his chief of staff.

But a gun massacre at a Florida high school last Wednesday, which left 17 dead, seemed to shift the media glare away from the Trump scandals and gave embattled aides an opportunity to refocus on handling a rare crisis not of their own making. While the White House mourned the loss of life in Parkland, Florida, some aides privately acknowledged that the tragedy offered a breather from the political storm.

A tentative plan for White House Chief of Staff John Kelly to address the media from the briefing room Wednesday – where he would have faced intense scrutiny over his own role in the mishandling of the domestic abuse allegations against former staff secretary Rob Porter – was scuttled.

Press staffers cited the tragedy as a reason to cancel on-camera briefings for the remainder of the week, allowing them to avoid questions about the swirling controversies. The White House could hold its next briefing on Tuesday, a full week since press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders last faced reporters.

“For everyone, it was a distraction or a reprieve,” said one White House official, speaking anonymously to reflect internal conversations. “A lot of people here felt like it was a reprieve from seven or eight days of just getting pummeled.”

The official likened the brief political calm to the aftermath of the October 2017 gun massacre in Las Vegas that left 58 dead and hundreds more injured. That tragedy united White House aides and the country in their shared mourning for the victims and their families.

“But as we all know, sadly, when the coverage dies down a little bit, we’ll be back through the chaos,” the official said.

In the few instances in which officials answered questions, the focus was mostly on the shooting. In two appearances last Friday on Fox News Channel, deputy press secretary Raj Shah was not asked about Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin charging taxpayers for his wife’s lavish travel – a controversy that in a normal media environment might have prompted questions about whether the president would fire Shulkin.

“From an awful, cynical, purely-political point of view, the tragic events in Florida probably helped the White House this week by distracting from the awful wave of scandal and bad news they have faced,” said Michael Steel, a Republican strategist.

The three-day Presidents’ Day weekend added to the hiatus, with Trump traveling to his private Mar-a-Lago estate in Palm Beach, Florida, with only a few aides and giving others on his beleaguered staff a chance to rest and recuperate.

Among those accompanying the president was Kelly, who earlier in the week appeared in serious jeopardy of losing his job. The chief of staff had lost the support of some senior aides, and last Tuesday evening rumors were rampant that his days – or even hours – were numbered because Trump had been sounding out friends and advisers about possible replacements.

Last Wednesday’s shooting, however, effectively stabilized Kelly’s standing internally, officials said, shifting the media glare away from him and giving the retired four-star Marine Corps general a chance to perform his job in helping coordinate the federal response. Though Trump remains frustrated and at times angry with his chief of staff, Kelly’s presence on the weekend trip to Mar-a-Lago was interpreted as an indication that he was on firmer ground with his boss.

But last Friday’s indictments by the Justice Department’s special counsel of 13 Russians for interference in the 2016 presidential election – as well as Trump’s furious and defiant cascade of Twitter responses this weekend – offered an early glimpse of the mayhem that likely awaits the administration when it returns to work on Tuesday.

The Russia matter – a tender spot for the president, which often prompts him to behave erratically – adds to the growing list of crises the White House expects to be forced to address this week in Washington.

Although they have not had to fully grapple with the Porter saga or other controversies in recent days, aides said privately that they have been working behind the scenes to square their accounts and strategize for when the issues inevitably resurface in the media.

For instance, Kelly released a five-page memo last Friday outlining changes to the security clearance process – a move to silence scrutiny about a process aides acknowledged had grown out of control, but one that raised another perceived problem, that of senior adviser and presidential son-in-law Jared Kushner’s temporary clearance.

“The national tragedy in Florida has really, for now, turned the page on some of these crises,” said Ron Bonjean, a Republican strategist close to the White House. “They’re going to come back, but what it does do is give the White House a chance to collect itself and, if they can, organize a communications strategy and get their ducks in a row.”

In addition to the controversies, the White House will come under pressure this week to champion changes to the nation’s gun laws and to make progress on a stalled immigration deal that both parties believe could prove determinative in the 2018 midterm elections.

And the scandals of last week are also likely to reemerge. Kelly, as well as White House counsel Donald McGahn, have yet to explain what they knew about the allegations against Porter, when they knew it and why the declined to act until The Daily Mail reported about them two weeks ago. The public accounts offered by the White House differed from sworn testimony by FBI Director Christopher Wray last week.

In addition, the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, chaired by Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., has launched its own inquiry into the White House’s handling of the Porter allegations.

The White House has said little publicly about the travel expenditures of two Cabinet secretaries – similar to the travel scandal that forced the resignation last year of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price.

A damning VA inspector general report last week about Shulkin’s travel charges that the secretary’s chief of staff doctored an email and made false statements to create a pretext for the government to pay for Shulkin’s wife’s expenses on a 10-day trip to Europe last summer. The report also found that Shulkin improperly accepted tickets to a Wimbledon tennis match and directed a government aide to act as a “personal travel concierge” to him and his wife.

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, meanwhile, has drawn scrutiny and ethics questions about his pricey first-class travel, both domestically and internationally. Last week, Pruitt canceled an extensive tour of Israel, amid the renewed negative attention surrounding his expensive trips.

There are still more distractions, including the now-routine dishing about the West Wing by ousted senior aide Omarosa Manigault-Newman, whom Kelly dismissed at the end of last year and has since joined the cast of the reality television show “Celebrity Big Brother.”

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There are also personal scandals brewing for the president. Last week, Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model, spoke with the New Yorker about an alleged extramarital affair she says she had with Trump starting in 2006, a little over a year after his marriage to his third wife, Melania.

Separately, a lawyer for Stephanie Clifford – the pornographic film star known as Stormy Daniels who has also alleged an extramarital affair with Trump starting in 2006 – said last week that Clifford is now free to tell her story. Clifford’s attorney argued Trump’s longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, violated their nondisclosure agreement by publicly acknowledging he personally paid her $130,000 not to share her account. Clifford has announced a national tour, with appearances from coast to coast between now and November.

Even as the president was sequestered this weekend between Trump-branded properties in his private South Florida paradise, the outside turmoil nonetheless intruded. As Trump’s motorcade drove between Mar-a-Lago and the Trump International Golf Club on Sunday night, it passed by the Ultra Gentleman’s Club. A sign outside advertised an event taking place April 13-14: “Stormy Daniels Making America Horny Again.”

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Listen Live: Arapahoe at Rangeview in Class 5A boys basketball first round playoff action on Post Preps Radio

February 19, 2018 - 1:12pm

Rangeview hosts Arapahoe on Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the first round of the boys basketball state playoffs.

The Class 5A battle will be streamed live via Post Preps Radio, as well as archived afterward on The Denver Post site.

Senior forward Ryan Ongala and the East Metro champion No. 17 Raiders (17-6) defeated Arapahoe 58-50 on Dec. 22, but senior wing Braxton Reinders and the No. 48 Warriors (4-19) are capable of a tournament run after being molded by the toughness of the Centennial League.

Kyle Newman and Nick Vinson have the call starting at 6:55 p.m. from Aurora. See the full Post Preps Radio schedule here.

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