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Manitou Incline the perfect place to train for sport of tower running

May 23, 2019 - 6:06am

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — You probably haven’t heard of Steve Stermer’s sport. “The hardest sport you’ve never heard of,” it’s been described.

Tower running. Stair racing. Call it what you prefer.

It’s been going on in this country in an organized manner since 1978, when an eccentric New Yorker named Fred Lebow invited 15 vertical pushers to the base of the Empire State Building’s 1,576 steps. (The first winner set the standard at 12 minutes, 32 seconds.)

That’s where Stermer, 61, was earlier this month. Of the thousands who put their name in the lottery, the Colorado Springs, Colo., man was one of the lucky ones drawn for the Empire State Building Run-Up. He finished in 52nd place overall, third in his age group.

Lucky? Stermer considers himself that, but you should see the scene at the end of these races.

“There’s a lot of carnage,” he says. “People cross (the finish line) and collapse in heaps.”

He loves it. That’s why he’s on the Manitou Incline every morning.

“All the top climbers in the U.S. are kind of envious of me because I have this in my backyard,” he says.

He’s among them, by the way, perennially one of the top 15 or 20 stair-running men. Towerrunning USA currently has him No. 2 in his age group.

Stermer was No. 1 in 2016, the last time he ran the Empire State Building as one of the few elites invited. Among the dozen-plus tower races he does every year, this one’s special. For the exclusiveness, yes. And yes, for the historic element.

But also for its uniqueness: Unlike every other race where they dash up the staircase in waves, all 200 here start at the same time, causing a great, jumbled mess at the doorway. Also unlike every other race, the Run-Up starts at night, leading to an unforgettable, shimmering view of the city.

He fully expects this to be his last attempt in the Empire State Building. “This whole age thing is no joke,” he says.

But if you saw Stermer on the Incline, you wouldn’t think he was slowing. Twice a day he ascends the railroad ties that gain nearly 2,000 feet in less than a mile.

Make that three or four times on Saturdays and Sundays.

He got serious about the Incline after 2009. That year he got a company email asking employees to join the team for the annual race in Denver’s tallest skyscraper, Republic Plaza.

“I thought, ‘It’s just climbing stairs. How hard could that be?’ About 15 floors into the race, I realized it was not easy.

“I started looking where other races in the country were, and I found out they have them in almost every state. All these big, iconic buildings have races. I thought that’d be cool to say I climbed the biggest buildings in the United States.”

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The biggest: One World Trade Center, all 2,226 of its steps. The 105 floors of the next biggest: Chicago’s Willis Tower. Buildings in Los Angeles, Dallas, Indianapolis, San Francisco, Las Vegas; Stermer has scaled them and many more, 28 towers in 12 states. The Empire State Building will be his 81st race.

“The reason I keep doing it is just the community of people and the friends that you make,” he says.

He always has a place to stay when he travels, because he always knows some fellow tower runner.

Of course, it’s usually him doing the hosting.

“They all wanna climb the Incline,” he says.

Categories: All Denver News.

Devastating tornado tears through Jefferson City, Missouri, causing multiple injuries, extensive damage

May 23, 2019 - 5:53am

A violent tornado ripped through Jefferson City, Missouri, late Wednesday, with multiple reports of injuries, people trapped in buildings and “catastrophic” damage to homes and businesses in the Missouri capital.

The National Weather Service confirmed that it received word of damage from the “Wedge Tornado” – wider in its funnel than it is tall – at 11:47 p.m. local time, urging residents to “shelter now!” The tornado moved at 40 mph through the city in central Missouri and shot debris about 13,000 feet into the air.

“At this point, it’s too early to tell how large the scale of damage will be,” Jefferson City Police Lt. David Williams said at an early-morning news conference. “It’s a chaotic situation right now. We are trying to identify the people that need our help the most.”

Missouri State Highway Patrol via APThis Tuesday, May 21, 2019 photo released by Missouri State Highway Patrol shows the storm damage from a suspected tornado in Wright County at the Town and Country Supermarket in Hartville, Mo. Forecasters say parts of Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas could see more severe weather Wednesday. (Missouri State Highway Patrol via AP)

He said police had received calls from people saying they were trapped in their homes.

There were no confirmed fatalities by 5 a.m. local time, police said, but multiple injuries were reported, with approximately 20 people transported to hospitals by EMS.

Thousands in the area were without power, authorities said, and police said utilities in damaged homes and businesses would “present a hazard as power is restored.”

The tornado came on the eight-year anniversary of a tornado that killed 161 people in Joplin, Mo.

Emergency services identified the tornado sirens in Jefferson City around 11:10 p.m., with the tornado’s first rotation happening 20 minutes later, Williams said.

“When it hit . . . it felt like an earthquake,” resident Cindy Sandoval-Jakobsen told CNN.

The Jefferson City Fire Department said that all of its firefighters are on duty and are continuing rescue operations.

“Please Pray for our Citizens,” the department said in a Facebook post.

Tornado and thunderstorm warnings were extended into early Thursday.

Missouri Republican Gov. Mike Parson said that authorities would “continue to monitor and assist throughout the severe storms lasting until morning.”

“We’re doing OK but praying for those that were caught in damage, some are still trapped,” the governor tweeted, adding that local emergency crews were on site and assisting.

Parson later said that there was “damage to state buildings” and asked nonessential state employees in the city to stay at home.

The destruction in Jefferson City is the latest in a week of severe storms across the central United States. More than 60 tornado reports and nearly 400 river gauges in the region had exceeded flood stage as of Wednesday, resulting in several deaths and inundated communities, The Washington Post’s Jason Samenow reported.

A separate tornado in the southwestern part of the state killed three people on Wednesday, police said. That tornado touched down “in the Golden City area,” about 45 miles from Joplin, officials said.

The Missouri Department of Public Safety tweeted that local first responders were going door-to-door in an effort to rescue any residents who might be trapped, while urging people to stay out of areas with damage.

David Carson, St. Louis Post-Dispatch via APTony Brinker, a volunteer with the Augusta Fire Protection District, cuts trees that were blocking Highway 94, Tuesday, May 21, 2019, near Augusta, Mo. A long north-south line of storms hit the St. Louis area Tuesday evening. The storms are part of a weather system moving across the Midwest that began last weekend and will continue through the week, according to the National Weather Service. (David Carson/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

KOMU reported that Matt Lindewirth, chief of Cole County EMS, said Jefferson City’s hospitals had entered “disaster mode,” with staff scrambling back to address the injuries.

On the Jefferson City Fire Department’s scanner, there were reports of multiple people trapped in apartments. There were also reports of blocked roads, gas leaks and “extensive tree and structural damage.” Officials have reached out to the National Guard for additional operators and heavy equipment, according to the Kansas City Star. The newspaper reported there was also “a possible amputation” among those injured.

Kayleigh De Rosa, a resident at the Hawthorne Apartments complex in Jefferson City, shared a cellphone video with KRCG that showed how her home had been blown out by the tornado, leaving her family homeless.

The family’s balcony was now on her mother’s car and her next-door neighbor’s home was equally dismantled by the sheer force of the natural disaster. Missouri Task Force 1, an urban search-and-rescue team dispatched by FEMA to help with recovery efforts, was searching for victims at the complex early Thursday.

“As you can see over here, my bedroom window and everything is completely blown through, bricks everywhere,” she said. “It’s bad, guys.”

On social media, residents and concerned citizens shared photos and videos of the tornado and the damage it left in its wake.

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A video captured by one resident featured a pitch-black Missouri sky and a howling siren. Only in the scattered lightning could people see the wide tornado making its way from nearby Eldon, Missouri, toward Jefferson City.

“Holy crap, I see it,” remarked one onlooker.

When reached by The Washington Post early Thursday, an official with the Jefferson City Police Department hung up, saying she had no time to provide comment during the emergency situation.

“I’m going to have to let you go,” she said. “We’re handling life and death.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Denver weather: Thunderstorms and rain in the city as snow continues to fall in the mountains

May 23, 2019 - 5:46am

Denverites will have one more day of afternoon thunderstorms, cool temperatures and rain before a warming trend will lead to a pleasant Memorial Day weekend with temperatures in the 70s, authorities say.

It will be cloudy Thursday along the Front Range. The high temperature in Denver on Thursday will be around 50 degrees, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder.

Rain showers are likely, with thunderstorms possible after 3 p.m. Winds could gust up to 33 mph. The chance for precipitation is 60 percent. The temperature will drop to about 36 degrees.

Light to moderate snowfall is expected over the mountains through early evening, according to the NWS. Anywhere from 2 to 6 inches of snow is expected.

Light to moderate snowfall over the mtns through early evening. Warmer & drier Friday through Sunday. #cowx pic.twitter.com/AgmxUJxIrb

— NWS Boulder (@NWSBoulder) May 23, 2019

The high temperature on Friday will be about 69 degrees, which would be nearly 20 degrees warmer than Thursday, according to the NWS.

Over the Memorial Day weekend temperatures will rise to the mid 70s on Saturday and Sunday. On Monday, the high will be around 69 degrees, the NWS says.

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It will be mostly sunny on Memorial Day, but clouds will gather in the afternoon and there will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening, forecasters say.

Afternoon thunderstorms and showers are possible Tuesday and Wednesday of next week.

Categories: All Denver News.

Jamie Giellis’ RiNo legacy includes a pricier office. Thinking big or wasting money?

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

The new offices of the River North Art District are bigger, brighter and more expensive.

In 2018, with the guidance of then-President Jamie Giellis, the organization’s board voted to move from an $800-a-month room on Blake Street to an $8,200-a-month suite in Zeppelin Station, a new indoor marketplace.

The new space is three times as large and includes a retail storefront with racks of RiNo-branded merchandise and goods from local artists.

The new headquarters reflects the growth of what started as an artist’s organization and now has a multimillion-dollar budget. Giellis’ work in River North is the most prominent local experience that the urban planning consultant can point to in her bid to run Denver, a city with a population of about 700,000. Her supporters credit her for winning urbanist improvements in the district, including bioswales and bike lanes along Brighton Boulevard and artistic lighting on the 38th Street underpass.

But since Giellis left to run for mayor, the organization’s board has been divided over its finances. The new office space was among the most contentious issues raised by insiders as The Denver Post reviewed the candidate’s time in River North. More than a one-off decision, it’s the latest flashpoint among developers, artists and residents in the development zone.

RELATED: Denver elections: Jamie Giellis has a chance to make history, but history shows that won’t be easy

“We had an affordable office that was accessible,” said Tai Beldock, one of the property owners who funds the district through taxes on her family’s motorcycle dealership and warehouse property.

“As a small business owner — that (money) could pay for crosswalks,” said Beldock, a Hancock supporter and former RiNo board member. “Or maybe it would pay for the study the city needs to turn Walnut into a two-way street. But no, it’s going into the pockets of the Zeppelins.”

Since Giellis’ departure, RiNo’s new leader has asked for a 50 percent reduction in rent from the Zeppelin company, which already granted months of free occupancy. The Zeppelin family — among Giellis’ chief financial supporters in her mayoral run — also has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the art district for events and other causes. The company’s five-year lease with RiNo includes an exit option at two years.

“We’ve been flexible to work with (the board) if at any point it doesn’t work,” Kyle Zeppelin said.

The topic came up at a 9News debate Tuesday, with incumbent Mayor Michael Hancock questioning the spending. Giellis downplayed her involvement in the deal.

“My name is not on any lease,” she said. “The board made that decision, not me.”

The lease was approved in a 5-2 vote of the district’s central oversight board, with three members abstaining, according to meeting minutes. Andy Feinstein, a Hancock supporter, was among the approving votes.

“My role in it was really presenting the idea to the board, presenting the numbers and kind of working through all of that,” Giellis said in an interview.

She thought that the idea of the store and expanded space was an “interesting opportunity” but acknowledged that it caused a debate on the board: Should the organization spend more to promote itself and its artists, or should it run more conservatively?

Ultimately, she said, the 2,400-square-foot space was “an interim move that was at times a bit of an experiment.” The store makes up about a quarter of the footprint.

Room for a growing organization

John McCaskill, a gallery and store owner in the district, said the new space fits a growing organization. It represents how RiNo is “positioning itself for the district that it’s going to be,” he said, joking that Teslas now outnumber bicycles. “You can’t get cheap rent in this neighborhood. You might as well get a nice place.”

But, for now, the organization is struggling with the new expenses.

In March, Sonia Danielsen, a board member for the River North Art District, said the store was “bleeding the (art district) dry,” according to meeting minutes. The store was supposed to pay about half the rent of the new office, but sales haven’t met costs.

RiNo Made sold about $8,800 worth of goods in March, according to internal documents, but needs to do $24,000 in monthly sales to break even, said Tracy Weil, the district’s new president. The store delivered about $4,800 in commissions to artists that month. Giellis noted that it can take time for a retail store to find its footing.

To Giellis’ critics, including some of the district’s biggest funders, it’s an example of the organization’s excessive appetite and poor financial decisions. “There’s a number of us that felt like we would like to see the property taxes go back down,” said Bernard Hurley, a Hancock supporter who’s planning a major development in the area.

But her supporters say she was an expert navigator of the district’s cross-currents, bridging the needs of artists, developers and residents.

“My observation of Jamie was she was very adept at handling a pretty powerful, strong-opinioned board,” said Fiona Arnold, a local landowner and former economic development chief under Gov. John Hickenlooper, now the treasurer of Giellis’ campaign.

“She seems to be able to stand up to those interests, and she’s very strong on that.”

RiNo’s origins

To understand the tension in RiNo, it helps to know a little history.

In 2014, Brighton Boulevard was the “next” hot spot for the development that was spreading out of downtown Denver. The big pieces were already in place: The city planned to rebuild the busy road, developers were buying land, and the art scene was thriving.

But there was a divide, according to Jason Winkler, co-founder of the Industry office spaces.

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On one side were a handful of large property owners. They wanted to fund physical improvements and put their major projects in sync. On the other was the River North Art District, a culture-focused organization that had formed in the mid-2000s. Weil was a co-founder.

In came Jamie Giellis — then Jamie Licko — a 30-something consultant who had built her reputation working around the world with local districts to fund and manage development.

“She started to kind of bring everything together into one group,” Winkler said. With Giellis playing coordinator, the art district and the property owners laid the groundwork for a pseudo-municipal juggernaut.

Property owners agreed to pay extra taxes — from 4 to 8 mills or more, depending on the location. The organization’s scope would range from maintenance to cultural events such as Crush Walls, the street-mural festival. It also contributed several million dollars to the rebuilding of Brighton Boulevard, one of the district’s biggest city projects.

Today, the River North Art District commands a budget of more than $2 million from extra taxes on property within its borders, and it has five full-time staffers. The district has not disclosed what Giellis’ company, Centro, was paid for her work before she departed.

But the district’s financial decisions have rankled some of its most powerful figures.

A group of landowners — Hurley, Winkler and Tom Gordon — attempted to terminate Giellis’ contract with the general improvement district in January 2017. They failed in a 4-3 vote.

“Jamie’s hanging her hat on the business success in RiNo, when in reality the business community hasn’t supported her, and she hasn’t worked for the business community,” Winkler said. “The artists have supported her, and they should, because she’s done certainly a better job on the art district side.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Will Denver’s drinkers soon be able to carry their booze from place to place?

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

A couple are walking around a restaurant and shopping plaza in Denver. They decide to grab some drinks. One of the two wants an IPA beer from a bar, while the other wants a merlot from a nearby winery. They can’t purchase the drinks and sit together outside, so they either have to choose one or wait until the other finishes their drink.

At least, for now.

Denver may soon join a handful of other Colorado cities where bar patrons can take their drinks from one bar or business to another in a designated area. The example above is one often cited by advocates who want Denver to join Aurora and Fort Collins in allowing “common consumption areas.”

In 2011, the Colorado General Assembly passed a law allowing communities to set up special entertainment districts where people can drink alcohol more freely.

Denver City Council’s business committee is studying the possibility of allowing the areas through a five-year pilot program. The committee will hold another hearing on the idea in June.

RELATED: Denver’s Dairy Block to host debut location of new retail concept Free Market

“We’re taking this very cautiously, but we’re excited about the possibility,” said Department of Excise and Licenses spokesman Eric Escudero.

But Escudero wants to make one thing clear: This would not turn Denver into another Bourbon Street in New Orleans or Las Vegas Strip. Common consumption areas are not the same as open container across the city.

Businesses that are interested in applying would have to comply with certain regulations, Escudero said, including:

  • Show evidence of community support before applying and host a public hearing.
  • Comply with existing laws and ordinances.
  • Close by 2 a.m.
  • Provide additional security and cleanup.
  • Close roads to traffic if they’re outdoors or have them indoors.
  • Restrict event-only common consumption areas to 15 days a year.

Aurora, Fort Collins and Greeley have seen success, which prompted Denver to explore the idea.

“We’ve had people in the community and businesses express an interest in doing this in Denver,” Escudero said. “With strong protections in place for neighborhoods, this new license could be a new amenity for communities who want it in Denver.”

Escudero believes it would benefit not only the restaurants that serve alcohol but other small businesses such as clothing stores and gift shops in the same area if they wanted to allow it.

People would be able to take their drinks out of one bar and sit in common areas or visit a business within the district’s boundaries. They couldn’t take their drinks from one bar to another.

Dairy Block in Denver’s LoDo neighborhood is a mixed-use development that has shops, restaurants, bars and a hotel. When the owners planned the development, they knew they wanted to pursue a common consumption area, general manager Don Cloutier said.

Joe Amon, The Denver PostDon Cloutier, General Manager of the Dairy Block in the LoDo neighborhood of downtown Denver May 21, 2019.

Everyone who leases space in Dairy Block is interested, and if any retailers aren’t, they can opt out, he said. If approved, customers could stroll the shops and a lighted alley outside with drinks in hand.

“It doesn’t change the way liquor is served at all,” Cloutier said. “It really provides guests and visitors the opportunity to enjoy the activated alleyway and the rest of the shops.”

Cloutier believes people will “behave themselves,” and it won’t be a “free-for-all” because of the rules that would be in place.

Other districts that have expressed interest or could be eligible for common consumption areas include the Great Hall at Denver International Airport, The Source, the Santa Fe Arts District, segments of the 16th Street Mall and the Denver Center for Performing Arts.

In the Santa Fe Arts District, it would allow people partaking in First Friday festivities to carry drinks in stores or galleries in the designated area.

But that doesn’t necessarily seem like a good idea to everyone, including Jami Fynboh, owner of mmm…COFFEE! A Paleo Bistro.

“We’re expanding our intoxication to too many levels in the world, and I think we’re obviously losing control of everything,” Fynboh said.

Though some owners feel the common consumption areas will bring more business to the area, Fynboh called First Friday “already an explosion,” and she said oftentimes, people will stagger into her coffee shop while drunk or stoned, particularly homeless people. She encourages people to think of the consequences of implementing these districts.

But others say the environment will be controlled and regulated — it just allows people to move more freely while enjoying their beverages.

Tami Door, president and CEO of the Downtown Denver Partnership, said it’s about having a “centralized square of activity.” She believes common consumption areas increase commerce, reduce crime and enhance visitors’ experiences.

The common consumption areas will be in places with a concentration of restaurants and experiences, Door said, and they will require collaboration between businesses to create the districts.

“A great deal of thought goes into bringing these types of policies to life,” she said. “We, as a city, just need to continue to be innovative and forward-thinking about opportunities for businesses and visitors and residents in how they experience the city.”

That’s the experience the city of Aurora has had with its common consumption areas, according to the city’s tax and licensing manager.

Joe Amon, The Denver PostChris Dunsmoor, bar manager at the Populist in Denver, tries Heaven Hill Distillery Mellow Corn Whiskey during Bourbon through Bluegrass, a whiskey education program for industry people held in the Run For The Roses, an underground Cocktail Bar at the Dairy Block in the LoDo neighborhood of downtown Denver May 21, 2019.

Trevor Vaughn said the community has been appreciative of the opportunities and the ability to drink in the common areas.

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Aurora established two common consumption areas in 2017: The Southlands retail center — with 10 liquor-licensed businesses — and the Stanley Marketplace — with 12 liquor-licensed businesses.

“I think the retail centers are far enough away from residential areas that it was a benefit to the retail centers and kind of a benefit to the communities that surrounded them there,” Vaughn said.

With an open dining concept, the common consumption areas add more of a social atmosphere, he said.

In the Southlands retail center in the southeastern suburbs, the special drinking areas are used for events such as a summer concert series where the main street is closed, allowing people to walk around with a drink as if they are at a festival.

State law allows local governments to set the number of entertainment districts, their sizes with some restrictions, and the hours they operate, Escudero said.

Aurora pays close attention to what’s happening in the common consumption areas and meets regularly with the associations in charge, ensuring all laws and regulations are followed, Vaughn said.

So far, most if not all of the feedback has been positive, he said.

Categories: All Denver News.

As Denver falls in national parkland rankings, mayoral contenders grapple with how to improve acreage

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

Denver slipped to 29th place in a new national ranking of cities’ park access and quality, buoyed by a wide distribution of parks but hurt by an overall lack of acreage. Mayoral run-off candidates Jamie Giellis and Michael Hancock on Wednesday grappled with this challenge.

Denver Post fileDenver mayors candidates Michael Hancock, left, and Jamie Giellis.

Giellis told The Denver Post she’d add 2,816 acres of new parkland in Denver and committed to an increase of 4 new acres per 1,000 residents. She pledged to make sure at least 10 percent of the city area is parkland.

Hancock, the incumbent mayor, declined to commit to a number of new park acres, but said he’d aim to reach the national norm for parkland.

“It is not as simple as stating, ‘We want XX% of the city to be parkland,’ ” Hancock said in a statement, “though we should aim to meet the national median.”

RELATED: As development eats away at Denver’s green space, the “city within a park” is becoming a concrete metropolis

The Trust for Public Land’s new park rankings, released Wednesday, showed that, while 90 percent of Denver residents can reach some sort of park within a 10-minute walk, only 8.3 percent of Denver is parkland. According to the trust’s researchers, the national parkland median is 9.4 percent of the area inside a city.

City officials noted Trust for Public Land researchers counted Denver International Airport as part of Denver, which Hancock said “skews our percentage of park acreage.” The officials also pointed to the 14,000 acres Denver owns outside city boundaries in mountain foothills including Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, Lookout Mountain and Summit Lake.

Denver’s percentage of parkland ranks among the lowest percentages compared with other major U.S. cities in the Trust for Public Land rankings (New York is at 22 percent; Washington, D.C., is at 21 percent; and San Francisco is at 20 percent).

This ranking system — based on a Trust for Public Land formula that factors in access to parks, public spending on parks and “amenities” such as dog parks and playgrounds, in addition to acreage — is designed to help city leaders deal with intensifying climate change impacts and improve community health and cohesion.

Denver fell from 26th place last year and 14th place in 2014. Neighboring Aurora now outperforms Denver, ranking 23rd with 11 percent of its area being parkland and having a larger median park size (8 acres compared with Denver’s 6.7) and higher public spending ($145 per resident compared with $115 in Denver).

Starting this year, however, Denver officials have about $37.5 million to spend after voters approved a parks ballot initiative, and have indicated they’ll use $16 million to acquire land for new parks.

Washington, D.C., ranks first overall on the Trust for Public Land list, followed by St. Paul, Minnesota, and Minneapolis. The trust’s researchers identified 23,727 parks in the 100 largest U.S. cities, yet 11.2 million people in those cities cannot reach a park within a 10-minute walk.

A growing body of research has found people need to connect regularly with nature and that children, in particular, spend much of their lives indoors looking at computer screens.

“You need to offer parks close to home, even if just a small space,” said Charlie McCabe, director of the trust’s Center for Park Excellence. “Once you are in a green space, surrounded by nature, it lowers heart rates, increases respiration. It’s the mental and emotional combining with the physical.”

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This week, ballots went out to voters in Denver’s mayoral runoff.

The Denver Post on Wednesday asked Hancock and Giellis how they’d deal with the city’s the lagging parkland, how many new park acres they’d add to keep pace with population growth, and what target they’d set for parkland as a percentage of the city area (which is 155 square miles).

Giellis committed to add 2,816 acres and criticized the approach under Mayor Hancock, who has served two terms coinciding with rapid development and a booming population. Growth without adding significant new parks — diverging from Denver’s tradition as “a city within a park” — has led to a park space decline to 8.9 acres per 1,000 residents, below the national median of 13 acres and projected to fall to 7.3 acres by 2040.

“We have neglected one of the crown jewels of the city, and care of our parks is in free-fall,” Giellis said in a statement. “Parks are a critical component of any healthy, vibrant city. Previous city leaders made bold moves to incorporate green space throughout the city, and it is time to return to that strategy.”

Giellis also pledged to:

  • Require new green space in all city-backed developments
  • Review city holdings and “select appropriate sites for new neighborhood parks”
  • Establish new green space with “pocket parks” along city right-of-way corridors and new transit routes
  • Plant 1 million trees
  • Renew efforts to make the South Platte River “a generous green ribbon through the city”

Hancock campaign officials pointed to the city’s latest “Game Plan for a Healthy City” document to guide growth, which emphasizes increased housing for more people. Hancock said parkland as a percentage of city area should be increased to reach the national median.

“We cannot commit to a specific number of acres at this time,” Hancock said. “The city will continue to identify parcels and acreage in communities that need and deserve high-quality parks and prioritize acquiring lands in these neighborhoods.  We are committed to adding parks where they are needed most.”

Categories: All Denver News.

Colorado State vs. CU basketball rivalry is in jeopardy, and why the Buffs could kiss all in-state games goodbye

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

If you happened to witness the Colorado Buffaloes’ men’s basketball win at Air Force last November, best hang on to those pictures, whether they’re on your phone or in the back of your mind. Because those type of in-state college basketball matchups figure to become rarer for the Buffs in the years to come.

The Pac-12’s new scheduling mandate, handed down Monday, could put the kibosh on CU seeking future games with the likes of Air Force, Northern Colorado and Denver, three of the Buffs’ nearest in-state Division I brethren. And the future of the CU-Colorado State series was in flux even before the Pac-12 demanded each league member upgrade its respective men’s hoops dance cards.

“It’s a struggle with some of the haves and have-nots,” CSU men’s basketball coach Niko Medved said. “And it really affects those lower-level teams, where it’s just like, because (the Power 5 leagues) are looking at the data and they’re looking at the money, they say, ‘Listen, if we play 20 conference games and we completely block out the bottom half (of Division I), that just means that many more bids for the NCAA Tournament, more money, more exposure.’”

The current CU-CSU contract, which was obtained this week by The Denver Post, features a rollover extension whose length is dependent entirely on the Rams’ RPI for 2018-19 and 2019-20. Summing up:

• If CSU’s average RPI over last season and the next averages out between 1 and 150, the contracted two-game series extends to another home-and-home, with a contest in Boulder in 2020-21 and a return game in Fort Collins in 2021-22.

• If CSU’s average RPI checks in between Nos. 151 and 351, the series would roll over into a one-game extension, played in Boulder during the 2020-21 season.

• Any new games in the series will be played the first Saturday of December, “unless mutually agreed upon by both parties in writing.”

The contract stipulates that RPI determinations will be based on the final rankings “provided by the NCAA at the end of each season.” The NCAA canned the RPI as its official metric last year, replacing it with the NET for the 2018-19 season and beyond. A CSU official said there hasn’t been a formal discussion on what the standard would be moving forward, but it’s clear, regardless, that the Rams would have some lifting to do.

CSU ranked 232nd nationally in CBS.com’s final RPI rankings for 2018-19, Medved’s first season at the helm. Which means the Rams would need to rank No. 68 or better in next season’s final RPI for the CU-CSU series to return to Moby Arena in 2021-22 under the current contract.

“A series is two programs playing each other and both programs have to want to play each other, and that’s what it comes down to,” Medved said. “Neither side can make the other side do anything. We obviously want to continue to play CU; I think it’s great for the state, I think it’s great for basketball.

“Do we plan on getting better? Yeah. We need to get better. But I think, at the end of the day, in order to play a series, it takes two people who want to play. And thankfully, right now, we have an agreement and I hope we can continue doing it.”

Because of new Pac-12 scheduling standards, CU from the 2020-21 season and beyond is required to produce a non-conference slate that averages out to a five-year NET ranking average of 175 or better among all its dance partners. And after next season, the Buffs can’t schedule road games against non-conference teams with a five-year average NET ranking of 200 or worse. As the NET has only been in use for a year, Pac-12 officials said KenPom.com rankings will be used for the other seasons in the sample.

In either case, most of Colorado’s Division I basketball schools don’t project to make that cut. Based on one year of NET rankings (2018-19) and the previous four seasons of KenPom.com, only one in-state men’s basketball program other than CU meets the sub-200 threshold: CSU, with a five-year average of 143.8.

Northern Colorado’s five-year average is 224.0, while Denver and Air Force have posted a 228.0 and 229.8, respectively. The Buffs have played at least two in-state Division I programs in each of the last eight seasons, and visited the Academy last November to close out an eight-game series — but the rivalry won’t be renewed again unless the Falcons’ average NET ratings improve significantly. AFA ranked 244th in Division I this past winter, the second-worst in-state ranking behind DU’s 324.

Wyoming is safe for now with an average of 168.6, and would have to finish next season at 263 or worse to miss the cut. The Buffs and Cowboys most recently played a four-game series from 2011-14 with two games in Boulder and two in Laramie.

RPI tumblin’

The Pac-12 will not allow member schools to schedule road games against opponents that have a five-year average NET ranking of 200 or worse beginning in 2020-21, which jeopardizes some regional rivalries for CU. Here’s a look at how well teams need to finish next season to be eligible to host the Buffs.

Team … 5-year average … Needed 2019-20 NET

Air Force … 228.0 … 52

Northern Colorado … 229.8 … 129

Denver … 228.0 … 79

Wyoming … 168.6 … 263

Categories: All Denver News.

Rockies Insider: The Rockies’ pitching rotation is a disaster — minus German Marquez

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

There’s no sugarcoating it: The Rockies’ rotation has been a disaster, with the lone exception being right-hander German Marquez.

Kyle Freeland has a 6.02 ERA while looking little like the Cy Young-caliber pitcher of last year. Jon Gray and Antonio Senzatela have been inconsistent. Tyler Anderson is headed for knee surgery, with his return this summer very much in doubt. And overall, the rotation’s 5.46 ERA ranks last in the National League.

All those shortcomings, underscored by the club’s 21-25 start that has the Rockies looking way, way up at the Dodgers in the divisional standings already, means that Marquez (5-2, 3.38 ERA) must be exceptional every time out — no ifs, ands or buts about it.

Though the calendar has yet to turn to June, Colorado can’t afford any more missteps from the power pitcher who must act as the club’s trusted stopper every time out. Marquez did just that in Tuesday night’s series opener in Pittsburgh, tossing eight shutout innings to snap the club’s four-game slide.

That means no more giving up five quick runs to put Colorado in an early hole, as Marquez did May 15, even if it was on the road against the defending World Series champion Red Sox. And that means no more lapsed outings, as happened in a loss to Atlanta on April 9 when Marquez turned in his worst performance of 2019 via five runs (and two homers) in five innings.

It’s an extremely high bar for a 24-year-old who only truly began to find his big-league form last season, but Colorado can’t afford to have Marquez not meet it. The sense of urgency to get back into the playoff picture is real, and if “Easy Cheese” can’t lead them back into it — every reliable fifth day at a time — then the Rockies are in much deeper trouble.

Kyle Newman, The Denver Post

What’s on Tap
  • At Pittsburgh Pirates, 10:35 a.m. Thursday
  • Baltimore Orioles, 6:40 p.m. Friday, ATTRM
  • Baltimore Orioles, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, ATTRM
  • Baltimore Orioles, 1:10 p.m. Sunday, ATTRM
Must-Read Joe Sargent, Getty ImagesDaniel Murphy #9 of the Colorado Rockies celebrates his three-run home run during the first inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park on May 7, 2019 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Rockies put on overall good show in 9-3 victory against Pirates

After losing four straight games in the middle of the current eight-game road trip, the Rockies have won two straight games at PNC and have a chance to complete a rare road sweep over the Pirates on Thursday afternoon. Read more…

David Zalubowski, The Associated PressColorado Rockies relief pitcher Wade Davis heads to the dugout after giving up the go-ahead run to the San Diego Padres during the ninth inning of a baseball game Saturday, May 11, 2019, in Denver. Rockies closer Wade Davis goes on IL; Jairo Diaz called up from Triple-A

Davis’ stint on the IL is retroactive to Sunday but there is no timetable for his return. Read more…

Andy Cross, The Denver PostBrad Hawpe, Colorado Rockies, hits a two run home run against the San Diego Padres in the first inning of play at Coors Field on May 30, 2009 in Denver. How ex-Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe’s baseball life has come full circle

The 39-year-old coaches his son out of the same baseball facility he founded in Fort Worth when he was in Class-A in 2001. Read more…

Quick Hits

+ The making of Brendan Rodgers: How his neighbor and a Blake Street Bomber enabled “a natural” to flourish

+ Check out the Rockies’ bobblehead designs for Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Kyle Freeland

+ Rockies’ Brendan Rodgers brings hot bat, sweet swing to his MLB debut

+ Rockies should consider signing Dallas Keuchel after the MLB draft

+ German Marquez leads Rockies’ shutout over Pirates

+ Rockies Tyler Anderson will undergo knee surgery; season in limbo

+ Rockies’ rotation failing to meet high expectations as NL West hopes fade

+ Kyle Freeland’s woes continue as Rockies ace has plenty of issues to resolve

+ Jon Gray still not producing as Rockies fall to Phillies

+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.

Want to chat about the Rockies? Ask to join our closed discussion group on Facebook.

By The Numbers

.573

Newman vs. Kiz: Are the Rockies toast in the N.L. playoff race?

Newman: It’s hard to offer tons of optimism here, Kiz. To play .573 ball from here on out, a number of concerning trends must quickly reverse. Read more…

Parting Shot Tony Dejak, The Associated PressCleveland Indians’ Carlos Gonzalez watches his ball after hitting a sacrifice fly off Baltimore Orioles starting pitcher Yefry Ramirez in the first inning of a baseball game, Sunday, May 19, 2019, in Cleveland. Indians designate outfielder Carlos Gonzalez for assignment

POLL: Should the Rockies bring CarGo back since he was designated for assignment? Vote here… 

Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at jbailey@denverpost.com or tweet me @beetbailey.

Categories: All Denver News.

Abortion cost Colorado Democrats in 2014. They’re counting on defeating Cory Gardner with it in 2020.

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

One day in mid-2015, Mark Udall sat down with an interviewer and thought back on his failed re-election race the year before — on the man who barely beat him, on the money spent and, perhaps most notably, on the overwhelming focus his campaign had placed on abortion.

“The rationale was that by showing that Congressman Gardner had extreme positions on women’s reproductive rights, people would see his other extreme positions,” Udall said. “It didn’t happen with those swing voters.”

Cory Gardner, a freshman U.S. senator, is facing a tough re-election fight in 2020, just as then-Sen. Udall did in 2014. And there’s another parallel: Democrats, at least for now, believe abortion is a winning issue for them in 2020, just as Udall did five years ago.

NARAL, the abortion rights group, plans to remind voters of Gardner’s views, and Colorado’s field of 11 Democratic Senate contenders have jumped at the opportunity to show they’re the strongest abortion rights supporters. Secretary of State Jena Griswold, who is considering a Senate run, prohibited her employees from traveling to Alabama because of its strict anti-abortion law.

Among many Democratic strategists, a new conventional wisdom has emerged about the 2014 race. Udall had the right idea, they say. Criticisms of Gardner on abortion will stick in 2020, even if they didn’t in 2014, they say.

RELATED: These Colorado Democrats are vying to take on U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner in 2020

“Here’s what’s changed: Trump’s election and the courts,” said Laura Chapin, a Democratic consultant who has advised NARAL and is now aiding Alice Madden’s campaign for Senate. “That has really supercharged this discussion because it’s not hypothetical anymore. They have a clear path, through the courts, to overturn Roe (vs. Wade).”

Whether the recent passage of stringent anti-abortion laws in Alabama and elsewhere poses an existential threat to American abortion rights remains to be determined. But Democratic consultants say Gardner’s confirmation of conservative judges gives him an anti-abortion record they can point to.

This month, Gardner has voted to confirm judicial nominee Wendy Vitter, who suggested abortion might cause cancer. He also voted for J. Campbell Barker, who legally defended a Texas anti-abortion law later struck down at the U.S. Supreme Court, and Michael Park, who legally defended an attempt at defunding Planned Parenthood in Kansas.

“Cory Gardner is putting Coloradans at risk by voting for President Trump’s rigid judicial nominees who would undermine health care protections and our basic reproductive freedoms — including Brett Kavanaugh,” said Colorado Democratic Party spokesperson Alyssa Roberts.

In 2014, then-U.S. Rep. Gardner was criticized for supporting so-called personhood bills at the state and federal level, which could have blocked access to contraception. But he rescinded that support during the Senate campaign and backed legislation allowing for over-the-counter oral contraception sales. He reintroduced the idea this March with a women’s choice message.

“Our legislation recognizes the need to make contraceptives affordable and accessible, and it’s time that Congress put politics aside to allow women the ability to make their own decisions about safe, effective, and long-established methods of contraception,” the senator said at the time.

Gardner’s office declined an interview request from The Denver Post this week. Asked about Alabama’s restrictions on abortion by Politico, he told the news outlet that he is pro-life but hasn’t read the Alabama law. Abortion should be left up to the states, the senator said.

When Gardner won in 2014 as a pro-life Republican, 59 percent of Coloradans told a Pew survey that abortion should be legal. The state had overwhelmingly rejected personhood. Mathematically, Udall’s decision to focus on abortion seemed to be a winning strategy, yet it wasn’t. Gardner sidestepped it then with a focus on contraception access, which he continues to talk about.

The Democrats who have lined up to challenge Gardner in 2020 are clamoring to show they are best suited to debate abortion politics with him and point out what they say is his anti-woman record.

“This may not be a place where the (Democratic) candidates differ but I’m going to try to make the case that I’ve got the best ability to not just unite the Democratic Party but reach across the aisle and carry our message across the state,” Andrew Romanoff, a former Colorado House speaker, said in an interview Monday.

Other candidates who have served in public office plan to point to their own records. Madden was a board member at Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains. Mike Johnston, a former state senator, has told donors he wants to codify abortion protections into law and repeal the Hyde Amendment, which prohibits taxpayer money for abortions. Former U.S. Attorney John Walsh, who was at the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting in 2015, believes he’s best suited to quiz judicial nominees on abortion.

“John’s decades of legal experience in federal courtrooms — as United States attorney, federal white-collar prosecutor and private trial lawyer — uniquely qualify him to take on this crucial role as Colorado’s senator in order to protect women’s rights,” said Walsh spokesman Andrew Markoff.

Pastor and professor Stephany Rose Spaulding says Gardner has a “hatred for women’s health care.” Former diplomat Dan Baer has tried to lay Alabama’s law at the feet of Gardner, saying Republican legislatures “are walking through a door” opened by the Republican U.S. Senate. Several of the Democrats have vowed to never confirm a judge who doesn’t support abortion rights.

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“When Cory Gardner ran, his supporters smeared Senator Mark Udall as ‘Mark Uterus’ because he was strongly pro-choice,” Baer said. “That nickname was meant as a slur, a sexist slur — it was about invoking sexism to make people uncomfortable by talking about a part of women’s bodies.”

In that 2015 interview, Udall said he was “confounded” that his attacks on Gardner’s abortion record didn’t stick with voters. “I could seemingly never get people to see the difference,” he said.

But there was a Udall television ad in 2014 that did work, according to Gardner’s campaign. It featured Udall on a ranch in blue jeans, espousing the virtues of rugged individualism and freedom that have defined the West. It did not mention Cory Gardner, or abortion.

Categories: All Denver News.

Rockies need to pass on CarGo again, should make a splash before MLB trade deadline

May 23, 2019 - 5:00am

The Colorado Rockies have not lived up to expectations so far this season as they are currently jockeying with the San Francisco Giants for cellar status. At 22-25 on the season, there is a lot of baseball left, and there is time for the Rox to rebound. Every team goes on a couple of hot streaks throughout 162 games and Colorado is due for one.

With the news of former Rockies outfielder Carlos Gonzalez being designated for assignment by the Indians, the general managers on Twitter were already calling for CarGo to rejoin his former friends in purple. Well, Jeff Bridich and Co. made the right decision in not bringing the left-handed slugger back in 2019, so there is no reason or room for Gonzalez in Colorado’s already crowded outfield.

If Colorado is going to make a run to a third consecutive postseason, they might have to make some deals before the MLB trade deadline on July 31. It’s early and fans around LoDo shouldn’t get their hopes up since Bridich hasn’t been known to make big moves during the season. You never know, though. Maybe Colorado fans will get a surprise at Coors Field and Dallas Keuchel will be rocking the purple pinstripes later this summer.

Denver Post sports columnist Mark Kiszla and Rockies beat reporter Kyle Newman debated this past Monday if the Rockies are toast in the National League playoff race. Their starting pitching has been a mess most of the year and as a team the strikeout numbers must come down. There is still the opportunity for some LoDo magic this season.

If all else fails you can always head on up to the Party Deck and cheer on the Rockies with an ice cold Colorado Kool-Aid in hand.

Jeff Bailey, The Denver Post

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Must-Read Cliff Grassmick, Staff PhotographerEvan Battey, of CU drives on Nico Carvacho, of CSU, during the Colorado and Colorado State men’s basketball game. Colorado State vs. CU basketball rivalry is in jeopardy, and why the Buffs could kiss all in-state games goodbye

The Pac-12’s new scheduling mandate, handed down Monday, could put the kibosh on CU seeking future games with the likes of Air Force, Northern Colorado and Denver, three of the Buffs’ nearest in-state Division I brethren. Read more…

Joe Amon, The Denver PostGerman Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies on the mound as the Colorado Rockies take on the Atlanta Braves at Coors Field April 9, 2019, Denver. Rockies Insider: The Rockies’ pitching rotation is a disaster — minus German Marquez

There’s no sugarcoating it: The Rockies’ rotation has been a disaster, with the lone exception being right-hander German Marquez. Read more…

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver PostGrandview Wolves’ teammates hug Caylin Lyubenko, #7, fourth from right, after Lyubenko scored a goal during the first half of the girls 5A state soccer championships at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park on May 22, 2019 in Commerce City. Girls 5A soccer: Grandview beats Arapahoe, claims back-to-back state championships

Colorado high school sports fans should not toss around the term “dynasty” lightly. Read more…

Quick Hits

+ Rockies closer Wade Davis goes on IL; Jairo Diaz called up from Triple-A

+ Patrick Roy interviews for Ottawa Senators head coaching job, report says

+ Breckenridge extends its season with weekend skiing after Memorial Day

+ FIFA keeps 32 teams for 2022 World Cup, scrapping expansion

+ The NFL is already considering tweaks to its replay-for-interference measure

+ Long-running Colonial golf tournament back on solid footing with new sponsor

+ Conor McGregor says “war is not over” with Khabib Nurmagomedov, calls for rematch

Post Mailbag forms

+ Broncos Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Ryan O’Halloran here.

+ Nuggets Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Singer here.

+ Avs Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Mike Chambers here.

+ Rockies Mailbag: Have a question about the team? Ask Patrick Saunders here.

By The Numbers

$2 billion

NASCAR strikes $2 billion deal with International Speedway Corp., will gain a dozen tracks

NASCAR Chairman Jim France told competitors before the Daytona 500 in February that “this sport was built by families and we’re just a part of it. It’s so important that we remember that this is still a family business. Our family is committed to it.” Read more…

Parting Shot Andy Cross, The Denver PostColorado Rockies shortstop Trevor Story #27 follows the flight of his second solo home run against the San Francisco Giants in the 4th inning at Coors Field Sept. 05, 2018. Check out the Rockies’ bobblehead designs for Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Kyle Freeland

Three of the Rockies’ most popular players are set for their bobblehead days at Coors Field this summer, with Trevor Story, Charlie Blackmon and Kyle Freeland giveaways making up the club’s summer bobblehead series. Read more…

Get in Touch

If you see something that’s cause for question or have a comment, thought or suggestion, email me at dboniface@denverpost.com or tweet me @danielboniface.

Categories: All Denver News.

Ask Amy: Open marriage creates unstable triangle

May 23, 2019 - 3:30am

Dear Amy: My husband “Thomas” and I, both 67-year-old retirees, have been together for 39 years and married for four (we’re in a same-sex marriage).

About three years ago, Thomas met “Ray,” who is 13 years younger and in a fulfilling and demanding career with irregular hours.

After a couple of years of one-on-one dates, through mutual agreement a year ago, the three of us now spend a couple evenings together each week. We have all come to have a deep love for each other.

Ray doesn’t open up often about his friends, family and early life. Most chatting outside of our times together are conducted by text. Sometimes texts can get misunderstood, and that is a recurring issue for us.

When a day or more passes without a text from Ray, Thomas becomes more apprehensive that Ray is pulling out of the relationship. By the third day, Thomas is beside himself, and his fears begin to undermine my equilibrium.

This has happened several times, and each ends undramatically when Ray texts that he’s been overwhelmed with work and that he does indeed love us.

Could you advise me on ways to help Thomas cope with Ray’s occasional silences with more equanimity?

— Sometimes A Teenager

Dear Teenager: I infer that you two are in an “open marriage,” and now a polyamorous relationship with “Ray.” One hazard of allowing a third person into your marriage is that you have created a triangle, and relationship triangles are notoriously unstable.

People are seldom exactly the same when it comes to managing anxiety. (For instance, parents frequently face an anxiety imbalance regarding their children, where one parent will freak out over a child’s actions, and the other will remain relatively calm.)

Your job is not to manage your partner’s feelings or reactions, but to manage your own. How do you feel when your husband expresses such an extreme reaction? You should be honest with him about the impact of his behavior on you.

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Otherwise, you could point to patterns to help your husband recognize and perhaps better manage his own fears: “Every time Ray behaves this way, you are sent into a tailspin. Can you look at this pattern and trust the process so that you might not always be put through the wringer?”

Riding the emotional roller coaster is potentially damaging to his health, as well as being destructive to your relationship with each other.

Dear Amy: My friend is married with two children. We are close and we share almost everything. She is a talented person, but her marriage is an unhappy one. She has a lot of activities to compensate.

She recently had a married male “close friend” she often talked to about her marriage problems. They texted back and forth a lot. She told me he was always kind and understanding. They became very close.

This man seemed like a gentleman, since he mostly listened and did not share anything improper with my friend. Most of the time, my friend dominated their texting chats.

The man’s wife eventually found out about their communication and he stopped immediately.

Lately, my friend asked me to contact him to ask why he stopped communicating with her (her number was blocked).

When I refused, she became extremely upset and hostile.

What can I do? Should I contact him so she won’t be upset? She is very unhappy right now. Aren’t we all entitled to our own happiness?

If my friend is unhappy with her marriage, is it wrong for her to seek her own happiness somewhere else? It’s not like she is cheating because all they did was talk online. They met once, but they had other people with them. What should I do?

— Confused

Dear Confused: The only thing you should do is to urge your friend to work on her own problem-solving skills, and deal with her marriage problems directly. Under no circumstances should you be a go-between.

Yes, we are all entitled to our own happiness. But we are obligated to pursue our happiness in ethical ways. Engaging in an emotional affair with a married man is not ethical.

Dear Amy: I did a genuine “spit take” with the first line of your answer to “Noodling on It,” who was complaining about customers vaping weed in a ramen shop. You wrote, “I must point out the obvious: Weed and ramen do seem a somewhat magical fit.” Thank you for the laugh.

— A Fan

Dear Fan: As I frequently point out: I’ll be here all week!

Categories: All Denver News.

Aspen couple plead guilty in college admissions scam that ensnared Felicity Huffman, Lori Loughlin

May 22, 2019 - 10:18pm

BOSTON — A married couple with a home in Aspen and a California businessman are the latest parents to plead guilty in the sweeping college admissions scam.

Gregory and Marcia Abbott and Peter Jan Sartorio entered their pleas Wednesday in Boston federal court. They are among 14 parents who have agreed to admit to allegations in the case.

The Abbotts, who have homes in New York City and Aspen, were charged with paying $125,000 to have someone cheat on their daughter’s entrance exams. Gregory Abbot is the founder of a food and beverage packaging company.

Sartorio was charged with paying $15,000 to have someone correct his daughter’s answers on the ACT. The Menlo Park, California, man founded an organic frozen food company.

Nineteen other parents are fighting the charges. They include actress Lori Loughlin (LAWK’-lin) and her fashion designer husband, Mossimo Giannulli.

Categories: All Denver News.

Fort Collins council will not go to Supreme Court on topless ban

May 22, 2019 - 10:07pm

FORT COLLINS — A Colorado city council will not seek a U.S. Supreme Court review of a ban on women going topless in public.

The Coloradoan reported Tuesday that the 4-3 vote by the Fort Collins City Council Tuesday leaves the city an option to seek a Supreme Court ruling if settlement agreements with advocacy group Free The Nipple-Fort Collins fail.

Activists sued the city in 2016 after the council updated its public indecency ordinance in 2015 but preserved a ban on topless women in public.

Activists say the ban treats women and men differently under law.

A federal district court ordered an injunction in 2017 prohibiting the city from enforcing the ban.

The federal 10th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against the city in February, applying the decision to seven states.

___

Information from: Fort Collins Coloradoan, http://www.coloradoan.com

Categories: All Denver News.

Snowboarder caught in avalanche near Arapahoe Basin resort rescued by ski patrol

May 22, 2019 - 10:00pm

FRISCO — Arapahoe Basin ski patrollers rescued a lost snowboarder who was caught in a small avalanche in a backcountry area near the resort.

The Summit Daily reports John Moser and Patrick Powers, both of Avon, were snowboarding with friends at the resort Tuesday when they got lost in whiteout conditions and accidentally ventured into the backcountry off of Montezuma Bowl.

They triggered the slide as they were climbing back up to a peak, and Moser was carried down the slope. Powers was able to get back to the main lodge and tell ski patrol about the avalanche. Moser was found cold but in good condition several hours later.

Ski patroller Devon Haire says the avalanche was long but not particularly deep or big.

The Summit County Rescue Group helped with the search.

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___

Information from: Summit Daily News, http://www.summitdaily.com/

Categories: All Denver News.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks public to leave young animals alone

May 22, 2019 - 9:24pm
Colorado residents who come across young wildlife this spring are asked to not approach or handle the animals. Though many people believe these animals are abandoned and want to help, Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials say the babies’ mothers are most likely nearby. (Colorado Parks and Wildlife)

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is asking state residents and visitors to leave young wildlife alone this spring.

“To protect these animals, it is important that people don’t feed, don’t approach and don’t harass,” the agency said in a news release.

Many birds and mammals give birth in spring, and now through June, newborn wildlife may be found in backyards, trails, open spaces and even occasionally in parking lots.

Every year during spring and early summer, Colorado Parks and Wildlife gets calls reporting young wildlife that has been “abandoned” by adult animals, and some well-meaning people may try to help a young animal by picking it up or feeding it. But young animals do not need rescuing, the release said, adding that human intervention most often does more harm than good.

Young wildlife is frequently left alone in a safe location while adult animals go on the search for food, so people are cautioned not to approach young wildlife, as the mother is probably nearby.

“Baby mammals are scentless in order to prevent predators from finding them,” Shannon Schaller, senior wildlife biologist for the Northeast region, said in the release. “When humans touch these animals they leave behind an unfamiliar scent not recognizable to the adult animals and that can cause them to become fearful. This can cause true abandonment of otherwise healthy offspring, and put the survival of that baby in question.”

Baby birds also may be found outside of their nests, leading people think they have been abandoned. But it often happens when birds are learning how to fly, and most likely they have landed near their nests, the release said.

Because birds do not have a highly developed sense of smell, baby songbirds can be picked up and moved out of harm’s way or placed back in their nests if absolutely necessary.

People should not try to move young raptors, because great-horned owls and other raptors are territorial and have been known to fly directly at humans seen as a threat to their young.

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Those who encounter young wildlife on the trail or in a yard, should leave the animal where it is and be careful to keep pets out of the area.

Use binoculars to quietly view the animal from a distance, and do not get too close to the animals as human proximity may make the wild parents afraid to return.

In addition to potential harm to the animal, there is a potential for harm to humans, the release stated, explaining they can transmit rabies, distemper or other illnesses, and can carry fleas that might subsequently spread disease to humans or pets.

For information on living with wildlife, visit cpw.state.co.us/learn/Pages/LivingwithWildlife.aspx.

Categories: All Denver News.

Allan Roth, who brought music to Herman’s Hideaway on South Broadway, dies at 79

May 22, 2019 - 8:38pm

Allan Roth, who brought live music to Herman’s Hideaway, the longtime, popular spot on South Broadway, died Monday. He was 79.

“We are still processing the news we received … and with great sadness we regret to inform you that our patriarch Allan Roth passed away peacefully Monday,” the music club said on its website. “Allan was a visionary businessman, an iconic pioneer in the music world, a loving father, grandfather and family man, and a compassionate friend to many.”

Roth died with family and friends at his side, the club said. “Our heart-felt condolences go out to his family.”

Roth’s father, Herman Roth, purchased Cunningham’s Lounge in 1962, a shot-and-beer joint serving workers at nearby Samsonite Luggage and Gates Rubber Company. In 1982, Allan, after running a successful bar in Boulder and his own talent agency, joined forces with his dad, and Herman’s Hideaway was born.

The pair worked together for 16 years, and Herman’s hosted international and local acts including Phish (first Denver show), Blues Traveler, Widespread Panic, Big Head Todd and the Monsters, Jane’s Addiction, Flobots, the Fray, Tab Benoit, The Subdudes and The Jinns.

Herman died in 1997 at age 91. A tribute concert was held in his honor and the bands included Bad Rufus, Chris Daniels, Hazel Miller, The Simpletones, Nina Storey and Wendy Woo.

“I don’t know how we’re going to fit them all,” Allan Roth told The Denver Post at the time. “Everybody’s lining up. Even bands from out of town want to play. It’s just incredible. It shows what kind of a guy he was.”

The family connection at Herman’s continued in 2001 when Allan’s son Mike started helping with the day-to-day operations. A few years later, Allan was diagnosed with colon cancer, according to the website. After two serious battles with cancer, Allan had been cancer-free for about 10 years.

In a 1992 Denver Post story on Herman’s Hideaway, Allan Roth cut to the chase when talking about the club’s longtime success. “Entertainment is everything here,” he said. “It’s not so much coming to Herman’s as it is coming to see the band. It doesn’t matter what style of music they play, as long as there’s some quality there.”

Herman’s has hosted more than 32,000 bands over the course of 36 years, according to its website. “We feel like it’s our responsibility to continue providing a great stage and superb sound for the local scene to grow.”

Roth is survived by three sons, Michael, Justin and David; and three grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife, Sherry. He was the former husband of Kay Roth.

A graveside service will be held at 3:30 p.m. Thursday at Rose Hill Cemetery. Contributions may be made to walkingmusic.org. Musical events to celebrate and honor his life will be announced.

Categories: All Denver News.

Girls 5A soccer: Grandview beats Arapahoe, claims back-to-back state championships

May 22, 2019 - 8:16pm

COMMERCE CITY — Colorado high school sports fans should not toss around the term “dynasty” lightly.

But take one quick look at the girls soccer resume at Grandview and there is little debate. The Wolves are bona fide modern juggernauts. A Class 5A championship victory cemented their legacy Wednesday night at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Grandview defeated Arapahoe 2-1 behind a pair of first-half goals from junior midfielder Caylin Lyubenko and a stellar performance in net from senior keeper Madison Livingston. The Wolves are now winners of four state championships over the last five seasons. It also marks two consecutive Grandview titles.

“This group of seniors, some of them I’ve been coaching since they were 4 years old,” Grandview coach Tari Wood said. “They’ve grown so much.”

The No. 2-seeded Wovles (17-2-1) entered the tournament on fire, winners of six straight and a league championship, and allowed only two goals on their path to the final. And Grandview struck first Wednesday when Lyubenko delivered a laser past Arapahoe keeper Grace Cadorette at 24 minutes into the first half. No. 12-seeded Arapahoe (15-4-1) wasted little time for a response when senior forward Audrey Weiss netted an equalizer just TWO minutes later. But the pendulum later swung back to the Wolves as Lyubenko showcased nifty footwork and fired a top-shelf rocket to put Grandview up 2-1 entering the break.

Fans of both Centennial League schools expected a tight contest. Grandview and Arapahoe played to a 2-2 tie in double overtime in April, and their last four meetings required soccer after regulation. No overtime was needed Wednesday, though. With scoring at a stalemate in the second half, Livingston made a string of clutch saves to close out the game for Grandview.

“We knew they were going to hammer us and come at us,” Wood said. “And we stood up.”

Lyubenko’s offensive heroics came as no suprise for the Wolves. She also scored the team’s overtime winner in last season’s 5A championship final victory against Broomfield.

4A: Cheyenne Mountain upsets Evergreen. Senior forward Lisa Long scored two goals, including the go-ahead score late in the second half, to give No. 21-seeded Cheyenne Mountain the Class 4A girls state soccer championship over Evergreen, 2-1.

“(Long) is so fast, she’s so hard to mark and she did all that injured today,” Cheyenne Mountain coach Nikki Athey said. “She has a pulled groin. She’s just amazing.”

Cheyenne Mountain bounced back from an 0-4 start to the season behind the leadership of eight seniors: defenseman Acadia Haas, forward Camille Burroughs, defenseman Katy Darr, midfielder Marissa Dowlin, defenseman Macy Feign, midfielder Carly Fetters, forward Emma Hanson and Long. The program now owns seven state titles.

Sophomore Myla Stewart scored Evergreen’s lone goal.

Categories: All Denver News.

Rockies put on overall good show in 9-3 victory against Pirates

May 22, 2019 - 7:49pm

PITTSBURGH — The Rockies’ 9-3 victory against the Pirates on Wednesday night at PNC Park was the kind of tantalizing performance that showed what the Rockies are capable of when they string all of the elements together.

Solid starting pitching? Check. Jon Gray, his fastball reaching 97 mph, allowed three runs on seven hits over seven innings. He stuck out seven and walked only one.

“My fastball has gotten a lot better,” Gray said. “I’ve worked with my grip and now (the fastball) is coming out a lot harder. It feels so much better. … It’s not cutting or sinking like it was. I feel like I’m attacking the zone better and it’s giving me more confidence with my fastball.”

Power hitting? Yep. Daniel Murphy hit a three-run homer in the first inning, and Tony Wolters ripped a three-run shot into the right-field seats in the third.

Boxscore

Timely hitting? You bet. Colorado batted 6-for-13 with runners in scoring position, and every Rockies starter, including Gray, had at least one hit in a 16-hit onslaught, which was one short of the team’s season high. Ten Rockies had a hit, marking the first time that happened in a road game since May 24, 2017, at Philadelphia.

“We are in a good spot offensively right now, because we’re just trying to put together good at-bats,” Wolters said. “We aren’t trying to get just the big hits, but we’re trying to get on base to where we can have long innings. Right now we’re just simplifying our approach and trying to fill up the middle.”

Rookie second baseman Brendan Rodgers, making his third big-league start, batted 3-for-5 with two infield singles and an RBI double in the fifth inning for the first extra-base hit of his career.

After losing four straight games in the middle of the current eight-game road trip, the Rockies have won two straight games at PNC and have a chance to complete a rare road sweep over the Pirates on Thursday.

The laid-back Pirates crowd of 9,534 had little to get excited about save for slugging first baseman Josh Bell’s mammoth leadoff home run off Gray in the second. Bell’s 15th homer of the season splashed down in the Allegheny River — on the fly — 454 feet from home plate. Fifty-one home runs have landed in the Allegheny, but just five of them made the river on the fly. Bell became the first player to splash two homers on the fly.

Bell’s home run cut Colorado’s lead to 3-1, and an RBI double by Kevin Newman later in the inning made it 3-2. But Gray settled down after that, earned the W and evened his record at 4-4.

“I thought Jon did a good job of repeating his delivery all night long,” Rockies manager Bud Black said. “He stayed within himself, even after hanging the changeup to Bell. He threw a really, really good game.”

Gray understands that if the Rockies (22-25) are going to get back to .500 and then get back in the thick of the playoff race, their starting pitching needs to improve.

“We had a little discussion and we talked with our pitching coaches, and we know we have to pick things up and do a little bit better,” he said.

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The Pirates used right-hander Montana DuRapau as their first-inning “opener.” It backfired. The book was closed on DuRapau after he had faced just five batters and the Rockies staked a 3-0 lead. A single by Trevor Story and a walk by Raimel Tapia set the table for Murphy’s three-run homer to right center.

Wolters’ home run off Nick Kingman, which put Colorado comfortably in front 6-2, was his first home run since Aug. 27, a span of 127 at-bats between homers. Wolters, batting .294, already has 11 extra-base hits this season, matching his total for all of 2018, when his average sunk to .170.

“For me, the main thing is just staying in my zone and not chasing pitches,” Wolters said. “I’m just trying to keep it simple, and I think it’s paying off.”

Right-handed reliever Jairo Diaz, added to the big-league roster before the game, pitched the ninth inning, his first appearance in a big-league game since July 24, 2017. Diaz gave up a walk and hit a batter, but he escaped the inning without yielding a run.

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Colorado inmate with longest solitary confinement in federal prison dies in Lakewood

May 22, 2019 - 6:35pm

An inmate at the federal ADX Supermax prison in southern Colorado, who had been held in solitary confinement longer than any other federal prisoner, has died at age 67.

via San Jose Mercury NewsThomas Silverstein, 67, died in a Colorado hospital after being transferred from prison with a heart condition.

Thomas Silverstein died May 11 at St. Anthony Hospital in Lakewood. Silverstein, who had been held in solitary confinement for 35 years, was admitted to the hospital in February to undergo surgery, said Dan Pruett, Jefferson County chief deputy coroner.

Silverstein remained at the hospital and was in intensive care when he died, Pruett said.

In the 1980s, Silverstein was convicted of killing two inmates and a prison guard. The prison guard, Merle Clutts, was fatally stabbed Oct. 22, 1983, at the maximum security prison in Marion, Ill.

With no federal death penalty in place at the time of Clutts’ murder, the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) placed Silverstein in indefinite solitary confinement, where he remained until being taken to the hospital in February.

“Don’t call it solitary; call it isolation,” said Pete Earley, author of “Hot House: Life Inside Leavenworth Prison.”

Earley has known and corresponded with Silverstein for 32 years. For the past three years, Early has been working with Silverstein on the inmate’s autobiography.

“Tom Silverstein is an important figure because his killing of Merle Clutts in Marion really set the stage for Supermax,” Earley said. “He became a mythical figure in the bureau of prisons. He was seen by inmates as a superhero, a hero of the Aryan Brotherhood, refusing to bend to the BOP. In the eyes of the BOP, he became a hated figure.”

Silverstein entered prison in 1978 on an armed-robbery conviction. Over the years he was held in Marion; Leavenworth, Kan.; Atlanta; and Colorado. In Leavenworth, his cell became known as “The Silverstein Suite,” where the lights were kept on 24 hours a day. He also served time earlier in the San Quentin prison in California.

In July 2005, he was moved to Supermax in Florence to a soundproof cell. In 2007, Silverstein filed a civil rights lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Denver seeking to end his isolation. The lawsuit, filed on his behalf by a team of lawyers from the University of Denver, ignited debate about whether prolonged isolation — Silverstein’s was indefinite — violated the U.S. Constitution’s 8th Amendment prohibition of cruel and unusual punishment.

“I was 23 when I was sentenced to 15 years for that robbery,” Silverstein wrote in a declaration as part of the lawsuit. “My share of the proceeds was a few hundred dollars. My life on the outside was over forever.”

In Leavenworth, Silverstein said life was divided along racial lines. He joined the Aryan Brotherhood and stabbed a black inmate to death in 1979. He was soon convicted in the deaths of two other inmates, although one conviction was overturned.

Shortly after Clutts’ murder, Silverstein was transferred to Atlanta, where he was kept in a windowless cell deep underground, and his life of isolation was underway. The cell was about the size of a king-size mattress, according to court records.

In the lawsuit, Silverstein said he was allowed to wear underwear but no clothes. A bright light buzzed over his head at all times. He was denied social visits and telephone calls. His only reading material was a Bible. In Atlanta for four years, Silverstein eventually was allowed art supplies and a radio that was limited to religious programs. He began practicing yoga.

Transferred back to Leavenworth, Silverstein had his own outdoor recreation area measuring 17 feet by 14 feet and sealed by 20-foot-high concrete walls topped with bars and wire mesh. Two surveillance cameras followed his movements 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He spent 15 years in the Silverstein Suite. By 2001, the BOP allowed Silverstein 300 minutes of phone calls per month. Guards typically would bring a phone to his cell.

In 2005 Leavenworth became a medium-security prison, and Silverstein was transferred to Colorado, where his new cell was 9 feet by 10 feet and his recreation area allowed him to walk 10 steps. Phone time was cut back to 15 minutes per month.

“Amazingly, he endured his total, ultimate isolation time,” Earley said. “While you don’t agree with what he did, there’s no justification of killing a prison officer, you have to marvel” at his resiliency.

Earley recalled receiving a communique from Silverstein written at 2 a.m. in which the inmate admitted that he should be getting sleep but he “had so much to do.”

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“Imagine, in isolation and so much to do,” Earely said.

In October 2011, U.S. District Judge Philip Brimmer ruled against Silverstein’s lawsuit. In a 43-page ruling, Brimmer said Silverstein’s conditions were the same as other inmates’ at Supermax. Other Supermax inmates include Ted Kaczysnki, better known as the Unabomber; Terry Nichols, of the Oklahoma City bombing; and Ramzi Yousef, connected to the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center.

In 2014 the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that three decades of solitary confinement did not violate his constitutional rights. The three-judge panel ruled that Silvestein’s claims of mental-health problems — anxiety, depression and memory loss — were mild and not proved to be caused by his extended isolation.

“His life story is an insight into the prison culture, where people are more at home in prison than in the outside world,” Early said. “He still is hated today by members of the BOP. At the same time, he was the most hated and most admired guy in prison culture. I knew him as a person.”

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Lake Christine Fire defendants plead guilty to misdemeanor, face 45 days in jail and $100k restitution

May 22, 2019 - 5:11pm
Eagle County Sheriff's OfficeRichard Miller and Allison Marcus

The defendants in the Lake Christine Fire case pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge Wednesday and agreed to a possible sentence that will include 45 days in jail, 1,500 hours of community service, $100,000 each in restitution and five years of probation.

Richard Miller, 24, and Allison Marcus, 23, pleaded guilty to setting fire to woods or prairie. In return, the Fifth Judicial District Attorney’s office dismissed three counts of felony arson and amended a felony count of setting fire to woods or prairie to a misdemeanor.

Assistant District Attorney Heidi McCollum said she talked to the victims of the fire Tuesday night. Three families in the El Jebel area lost their homes in the fire, which burned more than 12,500 acres.

“All of the terms of these plea agreements touch on every one of the concerns of these victims,” McCollum said.

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Read more at aspentimes.com.

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