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Injured climber at Eldorado Canyon State Park rescued, taken to hospital

June 20, 2018 - 8:24pm

A 31-year-old man climbing in Eldorado Canyon State Park fell about 20 feet Wednesday evening, suffering a head injury.

The unidentified man was climbing the “Je T’Aime” route when the incident happened, according to a Boulder County sheriffs’ news release.

Climber injured in fall at El Dorado State Park.

Emergency responders were called at 6:15 p.m. and found the injured man. They performed a technical rescue. The climber was carried out on a latter and taken by ambulance to a hospital in critical condition, the release said.

Personnel with the Rocky Mountain Rescue Group, Rocky Mountain Fire Protection District and Boulder County Sheriff’s Office responded.

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Kiszla: Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon doesn’t win MVP. No big deal. Stanley Cup is trophy he really wants.

June 20, 2018 - 8:22pm

Las Vegas — Before the winner of NHL’s most valuable player award was revealed Wednesday night, somebody asked Avalanche star Nathan MacKinnon: Which of the three finalists would you vote for: Anze Kopitar of the Los Angeles Kings? Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils? Or yourself?

“What kind of question is that?” MacKinnon replied. “I’ve got no idea. … It’s not for me to vote.”

MacKinnon is good at putting the biscuit in the basket. But does he blow smoke? Never.

Yes, he has become one of the league’s elite players, like Sidney Crosby, who grew up in Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia (population 25,161), just as MacKinnon did. But act important? There’s not an arrogant bone in MacKinnon’s body.

It was Hall, not MacKinnon, who took home the Hart Trophy as the league’s MVP. And Connor McDavid of the Edmonton Oilers beat out MacKinnon in a vote of his peers for the Ted Lindsay Award, as most outstanding player. On an evening when the NHL honored 16 members of the Humboldt Broncos who died in a bus accident this year, MacKinnon said his life is far too blessed to be disappointed.

The goal for MacKinnon is bigger than being named MVP. He’s grateful for one truly great season, leading the Avs back to the playoffs. But the way MacKinnon sees it, his 39 goals and 58 assists from last season represent only the beginning.

“I want to have a career of those good seasons,” MacKinnon said.

At age 22, he’s just getting warmed up. MacKinnon wants much more. His goal: a decade of Avalanche dominance.

“Hopefully, it’s full of wins and Cups,” he said. “We have a lot of good young players. I hope it’s a good next decade as a team.”

Yes, MacKinnon made reference to winning Stanley Cups. Note the “S” at the end.

Joe Sakic and Peter Forsberg, legends of Avalanche hockey, won two NHL championships together in Denver. They are also the lone players to score 100 points in an NHL season while wearing Colorado’s burgundy sweater. Forsberg did it twice, while Sakic broke the barrier three times, most recently in 2007.

The next Avs player to do it will be MacKinnon. If he scores 100 points next season, Colorado will earn at least 100 points in the Western Conference standings, guaranteed.

But that’s my big prediction, not big talk by the Avalanche’s superstar. In Cole Harbour house of Graham and Kathy MacKinnon, there was one primary sports rule:

Never blow smoke. Skate fast, but don’t run your mouth. Keep the game simple. And fun.

“I never blew smoke up his butt,” Graham MacKinnon told me as he entered the NHL awards gala at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino.

At age 2, MacKinnon was running around the house wearing hockey skates. The house in Cole Harbour had carpet, not hardwood floors. Thank goodness.

“So my dad put me on the ice for the first time, when I was 2½ years old. And I never looked back from there. He probably just threw on the skates to see if I liked it. I was never miserable going to the rink as a kid. I loved it,” said MacKinnon, who loved it so much he would be wide awake at dawn, pulling on gear for practice before his parents could pour that first cup of coffee.

From the jump, MacKinnon skated circles around the kids in Cole Harbour. At the atom level, he scored 200 points in 50 games. Are you kidding me?

Nevertheless, the family rule held: Never blow smoke.

“My parents put a stick in my hand. They motivated me every day — my dad, especially. We’re very close. And we still talk all the time about my decisions, my life and my game,” MacKinnon said.

He always worked diligently on his craft, without prodding. It probably helped that MacKinnon was a natural-born artist on the ice. With gratitude, he calls it a gift. Drafted No. 1 overall by the Avalanche in 2013, MacKinnon scored his first NHL goal as a precocious 18-year-old. The game was easy. Until it wasn’t.

The intersection of immense potential and superstar production did not meet until MacKinnon’s fifth NHL season. What finally made it all click? “The mental side of the game,” Avs coach Jared Bednar said. “He’s a guy that plays the game with great passion, but sometimes in the past, that emotion would get the better of him.”

Taking the Hart or Lindsay hardware back to Colorado? It would have been sweet. Real sweet.

The Stanley Cup, however, is the trophy MacKinnon really wants.

“That’s what we all play for,” said MacKinnon, before walking out into the neon glare of the Vegas strip. “And hopefully it comes sooner rather than later.”

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Muhammad Ali’s Michigan home on the market for $2.9 million

June 20, 2018 - 7:27pm

BERRIEN SPRINGS, Mich. — The family of Muhammad Ali has put the late boxing legend’s Michigan estate on the market for nearly $2.9 million.

The 81-acre property in southwestern Michigan’s Berrien Springs features a full-size boxing ring, a private gym, steam room, a main home and a guest house. There also is an outdoor pool, bathhouse and cabana.

The estate is on the St. Joseph River, about 170 miles west of Detroit. Ali bought it in the 1970s. MLive.com reports that Ali and his family had not lived on the property for several years prior to his 2016 death in Arizona.

Ali also owned several others homes elsewhere in the United States.

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Journal: Bryan Shaw insists his troubles are fixable and Rockies manager Bud Black agrees

June 20, 2018 - 6:54pm

Bryan Shaw has become the high-profile poster boy for the Rockies’ June gloom.

When the veteran right-hander was removed from Colorado’s win over the Mets Tuesday night, many in the Coors Field crowd booed him. From the fans’ perspective, it was more of the same from a man whom the Rockies signed to a three-year, $27 million deal during the offseason.

In the seventh inning, Shaw committed a costly throwing error, gave up two runs (one earned)  on a walk and two hits as Colorado’s lead shrunk from 10-4 to 10-6.  Shaw’s ERA rose to 7.27, more than double his career ERA of 3.42. He got the hook after getting just one out.

The seven home runs he’s given up in 39 appearances are already nearing his career high for an entire season (he gave up eight in both 2015 and ’16). His seven wild pitches lead not only the Rockies, but the entire National League.

Yet Shaw, as well as manager Bud Black, insists that while he’s been malfunctioning, he is not a completely broken pitcher. Furthermore, they insist, he’s unquestionably fixable. Some in the organization make the comparison to Adam Ottavino, the right-hander who struggled terribly last season but who has been one of the best relievers in baseball this season.

Before Wednesday night’s game, Black talked at length about Shaw and rattled off a check list: “His velocity checks out. His health checks out. His mindset check outs. There might be – it’s human nature – so there might be a little lack of confidence based on results. But Bryan is working back to a good place.”

A visit to Fangraphs reveals nothing shocking about Shaw’s arsenal. His cut fastball, his bread-and-butter pitch, is averaging 94.8 mph, a tick above his career average of 93.9 mph. Yes, he’s using his slider a bit more this season — 18.5 percent of the time compared to a career average of 17.8 — but it’s not a huge departure.

After Tuesday’s game, Shaw was upbeat, even as he acknowledged that he’s never struggled like this before.

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“The confidence is there, the pitches are there,” he said. “Everything is going fine, mechanically, the pitching and the action. All of that stuff is there.”

Well, not everything. If everything was OK, opposing batters would not  be hitting .336 against him, his WHIP wouldn’t be 1.93 and he wouldn’t have allowed eight of 15 inherited runners to score  — a 53.3 percentage that ranks as the second-highest in the NL.

So what’s wrong, and how is it fixed?

“We have poured over video and we have looked over his mechanics, and what we have seen is that the ball has elevated a lot this year, as opposed to previous seasons,” Black said. “We did our comparisons. And if you take last night, for instance, the double that (Kevin Plawecki) hit, that ball was up on a 3-2 count. It was up and over the middle.

“Overall, for me, it’s a pretty simple explanation. You can make it as complex as you want to, but Bryan’s been hit because the ball has been up. We have to get the ball down.”

Shaw is optimistic that things will click into place, sooner rather than later.

“It just takes that one little catalyst,” Shaw said.  “If I field that ball cleanly, maybe we turn a double play, and maybe that starts an effective inning and an effective stretch. Hopefully we start that with my next outing.”

For the sake of the Rockies’ postseason aspirations, Shaw better be right.

Footnotes. Lefty reliever Mike Dunn threw a 20-pitch bullpen session Wednesday without pain in his upper back. If he checks out fine on Thursday, he will likely begin a minor-league rehab stint this weekend. … Right-hander Scott Oberg (lower-back strain) threw a bullpen session Tuesday and took fielding practice Wednesday. He’s not yet scheduled for live batting practice. … Right-hander Carlos Estevez (strained right elbow) is getting closer to returning after missing the entire season. He’s scheduled to pitch live batting practice on Friday.

Looking ahead

Mets Steven Matz (3-4, 3.31) at Rockies LHP Kyle Freeland (6-6, 3.59), 1:10 p.m. Thursday; ATTRM, 850 AM

Kyle Freeland is fast gaining a reputation as a pitcher who can tame the beast that is Coors Field. In 24 career appearances at Coors (including 21 starts), the Denver native is 9-10 with a 3.52 ERA — the lowest home ERA among starters in franchise history (minimum 100 innings pitched). Freeland handled the Mets on May 6 at Citi Field in Colorado’s 3-2 victory, pitching seven innings and allowing two runs on four hits, with one walk and eight strikeouts. Matz allowed one earned run on six hits and one walk while striking out three over 6 ⅓ innings to collect a win on Saturday vs. Arizona. After giving up a lot of home runs in April, Matz has allowed only two long balls in his last 28 ⅔ innings. He’s worked at least six innings in each of his last three starts. Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado has feasted off Matz, hitting three homers and driving in seven runs in 11 at-bats against him.

Friday: Marlins LHP Wei-Yin Chen (2-3, 5.91) at Rockies RHP Jon Gray (6-7, 5.89), 6:40 p.m., ATTRM

Saturday: Marlins RHP Trevor Richards (1-4, 5.45) at Rockies LHP Tyler Anderson (4-2, 4.52), 1:10 p.m., ATTRM

Sunday: Marlins LHP Caleb Smith, (5-6, 4.03) at Rockies German Marquez (5-7, 5.20), 1:10 p.m.; ATTRM

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NASCAR driver Martin Truex Jr. throws out first pitch at Rockies game

June 20, 2018 - 6:28pm

Denver-based Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. was at Coors Field Wednesday to throw out the first pitch before the Rockies game against The Metropolitans of New York.

The 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion not only got to throw out the first pitch but was given a tour of Coors Field, saw the Wall of Fame and even got to meet former post columnist Benjamin Hochman’s favorite dinosaur, Dinger.

Truex is having another fine season for FRR as he currently sits in sixth place in the NASCAR Monster Energy Cup standings. With two wins, nine top-fives in 15 starts he appears primed to make a run at defending his title this season.

Take a look at the first pitch from Truex below, Dinger had it as a strike. We might have to take a second look at the Subaru Strike Zone for confirmation though.

WATCH: Truex throws out the first pitch before the Rockies game 

Nicely done, Champ! @Rockies pic.twitter.com/4Hz224JZyq

— Furniture Row Racing (@FRRacingTeam) June 21, 2018

Driving with Dinger. @Rockies pic.twitter.com/UhHUHtyPfX

— Furniture Row Racing (@FRRacingTeam) June 21, 2018

Checking out his Wall of Fame signature @Rockies pic.twitter.com/KiyvxWdUIQ

— Furniture Row Racing (@FRRacingTeam) June 21, 2018

Taking a little tour. @NASCAR meets @MLB. pic.twitter.com/VVZsLO8TuK

— Furniture Row Racing (@FRRacingTeam) June 20, 2018

The champ is here

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Suspected illegal pot grow busted in eastern Pueblo County, detectives acted on tip

June 20, 2018 - 6:15pm

Fifty-two marijuana plants worth an estimated $156,000 were seized Wednesday in a suspected illegal grow operation in eastern Pueblo County.

Narcotics detectives with the sheriff’s office, acting on a tip, went to a home in the 1900 block of 58th Lane and discovered marijuana growing in an occupied home on the property, according to a news release. They also found plants in an unoccupied residence on the same lot.

Sheriff's Detectives find illegal marijuana grow in two homes on 58th Lane near Boone. One home was being used strictly for the grow. Plants valued at $156,000. See more at https://t.co/TKt401GMyW pic.twitter.com/enqRerIlwn

— PuebloCounty Sheriff (@PuebloCountySO) June 21, 2018

Search warrants were executed on both residences. Investigators found 31 plants in the unoccupied home and 21 plants in the occupied residence. Elaborate grow lights, electrical, irrigation and air conditioning systems were discovered in both homes, the release said.

No arrests were made, and an investigation is ongoing.

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“As we get information from concerned citizens on possible illegal grows, we will investigate them,” said Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk M. Taylor. “We will continue to work to eradicate these illegal grows and seek out those responsible for them.”

State law allows only 12 marijuana plants per household.

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Police dog sniffs out 113 pounds of meth, worth $1 million, in Adams County traffic stop

June 20, 2018 - 5:47pm

Two men face drug charges in Adams County after allegedly being stopped in a vehicle with 113 pounds of methamphetamine, with a street value of $1 million.

Daniel Torrero-Monzon, 40, and Orlando Torrero-Rios, 34, have been charged with one count of possession with intent to manufacture and distribute a controlled substance and one count of committing a felony near a school.

The two were stopped and arrested Saturday by Adams County deputies at East 77th Avenue and Washington Street, according to a news release. They initially were stopped for speeding in a Nissan Altima. Bags of meth were found hidden in a sub-woofer in the back of the sedan.

The deputies were assisted by a police dog named Nacho, who smelled the drugs.

Here's a picture of Deputy Lopez and K-9 Nacho after they seized 113 pounds of methamphetamine. pic.twitter.com/dQ7oVcytzR

— Adams Sheriff's Page (@AdamsCoSheriff) June 19, 2018

The defendants appeared in court Wednesday afternoon for an advisement hearing, according to the district attorney’s office. A preliminary hearing has been scheduled for July 11. Bail has been set at $500,000.

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Badji: The Lions of Teranga, a FIFA World Cup diary

June 20, 2018 - 5:45pm

If you’re a soccer fan, or one of the hundreds of millions of people around the globe who have been watching the World Cup these past two weeks … thank you. I love you. You’re my people.

But this story is not for you.

This story is for the person who has not yet had the good fortune of being exposed to soccer on a local or international scale. The person who doesn’t “get” the game yet, or understand why people would wake up at all hours of the night to watch two countries they’ve never visited square-off against one another. Or even the person who downright dislikes the game. That’s okay. We’re cool. I understand that just because it’s the world’s most popular sport doesn’t mean it’s for everyone. But before you go back to reading about the Broncos or the Rockies, I’d like to offer you something. A perspective. My perspective. I want to tell you why this tournament matters.

Growing up in Dakar, Senegal, on the edge of poverty, soccer was the only thing my friends and I really had to look forward to. We played barefoot on dirt, using rocks as goals and rags covered in plastic bags as balls. I remember one day our “ball” was in tatters and falling apart so my mom came out and gave us one of her kitchen cloths so that we could patch the ball back together and keep playing.

There was no structure. No clubs. No minivans. No orange slices and Capri Suns. Just a bunch of kids, smiling, chasing a ball and pretending to be names on backs of jerseys that were too expensive to own. We didn’t dream of playing professionally. That idea was crazy — unfathomable. We just dreamed of playing on grass, in cleats, together. That would have been enough.

Then the 2002 World Cup happened. I was 10 years old and it changed my life.

In Dakar — well, the whole country really — when the Senegalese National Team plays, everything shuts down. Soccer is religion there. I know that might sound cliché. You’ve probably heard people say that before. But in this country of 15 million people on the western-most edge of the African continent … it’s true. Everyone stops what they’re doing to watch. The roads are empty. The stores are closed.

The team itself is known as The Lions of Teranga. In Wolof, the national language of Senegal, “Teranga” means a peaceful, welcoming place. A paradise of sorts. And the Lions, our national soccer team, protect that paradise — and all who inhabit it.

It’s a tall order, perhaps. A lot to ask of a soccer team. But that year — 2002 — when the Lions qualified for their first-ever World Cup, they were up to the task.

Going in to the tournament, the country was ecstatic. Buzzing. Electric. Our squad had talent and a couple of well-known names, but little was expected, especially after the draw when we were put in to a group with Denmark, former world champions Uruguay, and the defending champions — and former Colonists of Senegal — France.

The odds seemed insurmountable. We were just hoping to be competitive. Yet in the opening match against France, played in Seoul, South Korea, the Lions of Teranga shocked the world. Every Senegalese person remembers where they were that day. The day the Lions beat the defending champions 1-0. The day they put us on the map.

I’ll never forget it.

Surrounded by friends and family, it was on that day — May 31, 2002 — that we were given hope. Hope that if we worked hard enough, that if we wanted it bad enough, we could become professionals too. We no longer aspired just to find a patch of grass and some new cleats, but rather something more. To be the best versions of ourselves. To be like them.

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I was reminded of that day on Tuesday, when the Lions of Teranga roared again. It has taken 16 years for our national team to qualify for another World Cup, and once again, our team shocked the world, beating Poland 2-1 in Moscow and capturing headlines around the world.

So next time you walk past a television screen and a World Cup game is on, don’t dismiss it. Consider for a second that somewhere, in a place like Dakar, a young kid surrounded by his friends and family, honing his skills on dirt fields with balls made of his mother’s kitchen cloths, is watching too. And is being inspired to achieve something he never thought possible.

And who knows, maybe one day you will know his name. Maybe he’ll play for your local team. Maybe he’ll write a column in your newspaper.

That’s the power of the World Cup.

Dominique Badji is a striker for the Colorado Rapids.

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Douglas County district pays $1.3 million to settle landmark special education case

June 20, 2018 - 5:25pm

The Douglas County School District has paid $1.32 million to settle a long-running special education case brought by a couple who sought reimbursement from the district for their son’s education at a private school for students with autism.

The payment, made to the law firm representing the couple in May, represents the last chapter in a landmark special education case known as Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District. The case lasted for seven years, leading to a 2017 U.S. Supreme Court decision that raised the standard schools must meet in educating students with disabilities.

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“The settlement really just eliminates any uncertainty there may have been about the importance of the Endrew F. decision,” said Meghan Whittaker, policy and advocacy manager for the National Center for Learning Disabilities.

She expects the settlement to spur greater awareness about the higher standard and increased public investment in educating students with disabilities.

Jennifer and Joe, the parents of Endrew F., the student at the center of the case, declined to comment on the settlement when reached by email this week.

Read the full story on chalkbeat.org.

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Why drafting in middle of first round a tricky spot for Denver Nuggets

June 20, 2018 - 5:16pm

For every Donovan Mitchell, there is a Justin Patton.

And for every Giannis Antetokounmpo, a Lucas Nogueira.

And for every Devin Booker, a Cameron Payne.

That’s the conundrum facing the Denver Nuggets, who hold the No. 14 overall pick entering Thursday’s NBA draft. The middle of the first round is tricky, where borderline playoff teams can select a prospect who develops into a franchise cornerstone just before — or following — one who becomes an NBA afterthought.

Unexpected hits and massive blunders can happen at any point during the draft’s 60 selections, of course. Anthony Bennett, considered one of the biggest busts of all time, was taken No. 1 overall five years ago. Superstar Kawhi Leonard, who could be on the move Thursday after reportedly requesting a trade from San Antonio, went 15th in the 2011 draft. And Denver standout big man Nikola Jokic was a second-round pick in 2014.

The good news for the Nuggets? They are not banking on landing a bona fide superstar Thursday. Their core of Jokic, Gary Harris, Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap is set to make a run at their first playoff appearance since 2013, after missing the postseason by one game last year.

But Denver could use a reliable rotation piece on the wing or in the backcourt, thanks to the uncertainty surrounding the futures of starting small forward Wilson Chandler, who has until June 29 to exercise his $12.8 million player option for 2018-19, and versatile swingman Will Barton, who is an unrestricted free agent. That’s why prospects like Kentucky forward Kevin Knox, Michigan State forward Miles Bridges, Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith, Oregon wing Troy Brown and Kentucky guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have been floated as possible options for Denver. All have been praised for their upside and versatility, qualities president of basketball operations Tim Connelly values as Denver aims to improve defensively and maintain its free-flowing offensive style.

“It’s a fine line,” Connelly said during his pre-draft availability in early June. “Almost all your decisions should be guided by (Jokic) as our best player … but you don’t want to be so blindly allegiant to that type of basketball that if he’s not there for a couple games then we can’t function.”

But recent reports and speculation also suggest Denver could be shopping the No. 14 pick in order to move up, down or out of the first round. That selection could be part of a trade package to unload the salary of Kenneth Faried, who fell out of the rotation last season and is due nearly $13.8 million during the last year of his contract, or Darrell Arthur, a little-used forward who last week picked up his player option for nearly $7.5 million. With Jokic eligible to sign a max contract this summer if Denver declines its team option for 2018-19, and Harris’ lucrative extension kicking in this season, shedding money could be required for the Nuggets to make a legitimate run at re-signing Barton and/or avoiding the luxury tax.

“We’re always looking (at possible trades),” Connelly said.

The front office drew criticism for moving down last year, trading Rookie of the Year contender Mitchell, the No. 13 pick, to division-rival Utah for Trey Lyles and the 24th pick used to take Tyler Lydon. In 2016, Denver used the 15th pick to take Juancho Hernangomez, who contributed as a rookie but essentially lost his 2017-18 season after battling mononucleosis early and never re-entering the rotation. In 2014, a draft-night trade brought Harris and Jusuf Nurkic to Denver in exchange for Doug McDermott, the 11th pick, and Anthony Randolph.

Connelly believes his team is “at that part of our arc where we think we’re certainly capable” of snapping its playoff drought in 2018-19. As the Nuggets begin to finalize their roster, it’s possible they could snatch another franchise cornerstone with Thursday’s No. 14 pick. But it’s far from a guarantee.

That makes the Nuggets’ current draft position tricky.

Mid-first-round NBA draft picks since 2013

2017
12. Luke Kennard, Detroit
13. Donovan Mitchell, Denver (traded to Utah)
14. Bam Adebayo, Miami
15. Justin Jackson, Portland (traded to Sacramento)
16. Justin Patton, Chicago (traded to Minnesota)
*Notable later picks: OG Anunoby (23rd overall, Toronto), Kyle Kuzma (27th overall, Lakers), Jordan Bell (38th overall, Chicago then traded to Golden State)

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2016
12. Taurean Prince, Utah (traded to Atlanta)
13. Georgios Papagiannis, Phoenix (traded to Sacramento)
14. Denzel Valentine, Chicago
15. Juancho Hernangomez, Denver
16. Guerschon Yabusele, Boston
*Notable later picks: Dejounte Murray (29th overall, San Antonio), Malcolm Brogdon (36th overall, Milwaukee),

2015
12. Trey Lyles, Utah
13. Devin Booker, Phoenix
14. Cameron Payne, Oklahoma City
15. Kelly Oubre, Atlanta (traded to Washington)
16. Terry Rozier, Boston
*Notable later picks: Larry Nance (27th overall, Lakers)

2014
12. Dario Saric, Orlando (traded to Philadelphia)
13. Zach LaVine, Minnesota
14. T.J. Warren, Phoenix
15. Adreian Payne, Atlanta
16. Jusuf Nurkic, Chicago (traded to Denver)
*Notable later picks: Gary Harris (19th overall, Chicago then traded to Denver), Rodney Hood (23rd overall, Utah), Clint Capela (25th overall, Houston), Nikola Jokic (41st overall, Denver)

2013
12. Steven Adams, Oklahoma City
13. Kelly Olynyk, Dallas (traded to Boston)
14. Shabazz Muhammad, Utah (traded to Minnesota)
15. Giannis Antetokounmpo, Milwaukee
16. Lucas Nogueira, Boston (traded to Atlanta)
*Notable later picks: Dennis Schroder (17th overall, Atlanta), Mason Plumlee (22nd overall, Brooklyn), Andre Roberson (26th overall, Minnesota then traded to Oklahoma City), Rudy Gobert (27th overall, Denver then traded to Utah)

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PHOTOS: Changes at Mile High, the Broncos stadium through the years

June 20, 2018 - 4:24pm

What’s in a name?

The Metropolitan Football Stadium District approved the Broncos’ request on Wednesday to temporarily rename their home as Broncos Stadium at Mile High. The stadium opened in September 2001 and was called Invesco Field at Mile High. In August 2011, Invesco transferred the naming rights to Sports Authority, which signed a 25-year agreement worth $6 million per year.

Sports Authority, though, went bankrupt in 2016 and the Broncos paid $3.6 million to assume the rest of the contract, which allowed them to gain control of finding a new corporate sponsor. The Broncos took down the external Sports Authority signs at the stadium in January.

The old Mile High Stadium was built in 1948 and expanded capacity in 1960. The last Broncos game at Mile High was played on Dec. 23, 2000, with the Broncos beating the 49ers 38-9. The stadium was demolished in 2002 after the new stadium hosted the Broncos’ 2001 season.

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Gov2Go app allows Coloradans to skip the DMV when renewing vehicle tags

June 20, 2018 - 3:51pm

Colorado residents renewing vehicle tags can now skip the DMV line — in fact, they don’t even have to go.

Thanks to Gov2Go, a technology platform that makes it easier to interact with all levels of government, residents can now receive renewal reminders and renew their vehicle tags all on their mobile device.

Once users download the app and create an account, the mobile app confirms their location and gives them digital access to numerous government services including vehicle registration renewal. They’ll receive reminders and have the ability to complete renewals online. The stored electronic receipt can be shown, if needed, until their vehicle tags arrive in the mail.

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In Colorado, the Gov2Go app also includes AMBER alerts, state and local election information, and state holiday reminders.

Gov2Go is part of the Statewide Internet Portal Authorities mandate, in conjunction with Colorado Interactive, to provide comprehensive eGovernment services through innovative technology.

“Gov2Go, the nation’s first personal government assistant, represents an innovative customer service approach for Colorado government,” said Jack Arrowsmith,executive director of the Statewide Internet Portal Authority. “Gov2Go lets citizens take care of interactions with government in one convenient place, saving them time, worry and frustration. It utilizes technology to give people back more time for family, work and the recreational activities so many of us love about living in Colorado.”

The Gov2Go platform is available in all 50 states and will expand as new services become available. The services currently available to users depends on their location.

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Aspen’s controversial, historic Boomerang Lodge sells for $10 million

June 20, 2018 - 3:43pm

Aspen developer Mark Hunt has purchased the historic Boomerang Lodge and the land it sits on at Fourth Street and Hopkins Avenue for $10 million.

The deal was recorded with the Pitkin County Clerk and Recorder’s Office on Tuesday. Hunt bought the 27,000-square-foot parcel from a company known as FSP ABR LLC and Baltimore-based Alex Brown Realty.

Local businessman Steve Stunda also had an interest in the property, which has seen several land-use proposals that faced opposition either from neighbors or Aspen City Council.

Hunt declined comment when asked about his specific plans.

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Steven Goldenberg, who lives in the neighborhood, said he met with Hunt about a month ago.

Read the full story on aspentimes.com.

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Former National League umpire Dutch Rennert dies at 88

June 20, 2018 - 3:42pm

ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. — Dutch Rennert, a National League umpire from 1973 to 1992 who was known for his animated, booming strike calls, has died. He was 88.

St. John’s Family Funeral Home and Crematory in St. Augustine, Florida, confirmed Monday night that Rennert died on Sunday. A cause of death wasn’t given.

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Laurence “Dutch” Rennert Jr. was a longtime minor league umpire before his promotion to the National League in 1973. He worked 2,693 regular-season games plus six NL Championship Series, three World Series, in 1980, ’83 and ’89, and two All-Star Games.

Respected by players, Rennert was known for his distinctive strike calls. He would step back from the catcher, turn toward one dugout in a crouch or on one knee, extend his right arm and often yell loud enough to be heard on a television or radio broadcast.

He was so recognizable behind the plate that plenty of fans even enjoyed mimicking him at times.

Rennert was born on June 12, 1930, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Watch: Rennert was know for his vocal strike calls, take a look at him calling pitches during Game 4 of the 1989 World Series.

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Colorado State Patrol trooper charged with invasion of privacy for sexual gratification

June 20, 2018 - 3:32pm

A state trooper faces multiple criminal charges, including invasion of privacy for sexual gratification, allegedly while he was on duty.

Nathan Parks has been placed on administrative leave by the patrol and the Boulder County district attorney’s office is prosecuting the case, according to a news release.

Parks also has been charged with invasion of privacy, computer crime and first-degree official misconduct. All of the charges against him are misdemeanors.

“If determined to be factual, the allegations would indicate behavior that is unacceptable and inconsistent with the expectations of a member of the Colorado State Patrol” Col. Matthew Packard, chief of the State Patrol, said. “Behavior such as what has been alleged would tarnish not just our agency but the police profession as a whole.”

His next court appearance is scheduled on July 17.

 

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Boulder grand jury indicts former soccer coach on charge of sexual assault of a child

June 20, 2018 - 3:17pm

A former Boulder youth soccer coach who resigned last year after his club reported allegations of “inappropriate conduct” to law enforcement has been indicted by a grand jury on a single count of sexual assault on a child.

Philip Peters Hufstader, 35, was arrested Wednesday morning and booked into the Boulder County Jail, according to jail records. He’s being held without bond, and is scheduled to make a first appearance in court Thursday.

Because the Boulder County grand jury’s indictment remains sealed, the details of the allegations against Hufstader remain unknown.

Hufstader resigned from the FC Boulder soccer club — an archived website indicated he was director of coaching for the club’s U11-U19 girls — in August 2017 after his club reported allegations he engaged in “inappropriate and illegal conduct” to the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office.

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Neither the club nor investigators have said anything further about the nature of the allegations.

Read the full story on dailycamera.com.

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Report shows lower remedial education rates for Colorado high school graduates

June 20, 2018 - 2:51pm

The percentage of high school graduates entering college classrooms who need more work on basic subjects like English and math, dipped slightly for the 2016-2017 academic year.

And many of those students who need help are getting it through Supplemental Academic Instruction, an experimental program that allows students to get remedial help while still earning a college credit. The colleges using the program see students complete courses quicker and with better grades.

That pleases the new executive director of the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Dan Baer. “Reforming development education is not just the right thing to do for students  — it’s good for our economy,” Baer said. “By changing the remedial model, we can improve and accelerate academic outcomes, lower costs and expand opportunity to the Coloradans who need it most.”

The CDHE, which released its findings Wednesday.  said remedial education courses cost Colorado’s colleges and universities $12.8 million and students $20.4 million during the 2016-2017 academic year. In most cases, students pay for remedial courses before they are able to earn credit towards their degree.

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In all, 56,238 students graduated from a Colorado high school in 2016-2017 and of those graduates, 55.8 percent enrolled into a postsecondary institution, according to the CDHE. The majority, or about 77 percent of the college enrollees, remained in state, while about 23 percent of Colorado high school graduates enrolled out-of-state, according to the CDHE.

Of the high school graduates who moved on to a Colorado public college, 35.3 percent – 8,271 students – were placed into remedial education. That compares to 36.1 percent in the previous year, the CDHE said.

Colorado’s remedial education rates are comparable with the nation and typically hover below 40 percent, officials said.

Students in Colorado can enroll in traditional remedial courses that do not count as credit toward a degree and traditionally take English and math courses and meet again for extra tutoring, labs and one-on-one mentoring.

But over the past three years, several campuses have piloted the use of  — SAI  — where students enroll in college level courses and receive concurrent supplemental support. Early research on SAI shows promise, Baer said.

At Community College of Denver, course completion has quadrupled after implementing an SAI component and more than half of SAI students passed their courses, compared to 34 percent of students taking traditional remedial courses. At Metropolitan State University of Denver, about 75 percent of student enrolled in SAI will pass their courses with a C or better, Baer said.

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Cristiano Ronaldo scores in Portugal’s FIFA World Cup win, Morocco eliminated

June 20, 2018 - 2:14pm

MOSCOW — Cristiano Ronaldo made European soccer history by scoring in Portugal’s 1-0 win over Morocco on Wednesday, a result that makes the North African team the first to be eliminated from the World Cup.

Ronaldo’s header in the fourth minute was his fourth goal at this year’s tournament, and his 85th for his country. That moved him ahead of Hungary great Ferenc Puskas and alone in second place worldwide behind Ali Daei’s 109 goals for Iran.

The Portugal forward celebrated his goal with a trademark run and soaring leap toward the corner flag at the Luzhniki Stadium.

Morocco lost 1-0 for the second straight Group B match and is out of contention for a spot in the next round.

The North Africans had several chances against Portugal, nearly all from set pieces, and three of them came in a five-minute spell early in the second half. Younes Belhanda was twice denied by goalkeeper Rui Patricio’s diving saves, and defender Mehdi Benatia scooped a shot over the bar.

In injury time, Benatia lifted another shot too high with an even clearer chance.

Ronaldo’s four goals tops the individual scoring chart at the World Cup. Buoyed by his hat trick against Spain on Friday, including a spectacular free kick late in the game, Ronaldo scored against Morocco with his first meaningful touch early in the match.

He was too strong for marker Manuel Da Costa and found space in the goalmouth to meet Joao Moutinho’s cross after a corner.

Ronaldo had two more free kick chances, though each from less than 20 yards (meters). He could not get the ball up and over a solid wall of defenders on either occasion.

Benatia, a rugged defender who plays for Juventus, led the efforts to stop Ronaldo. His hard tackles from behind, however, earned him a yellow card.

GROUP DYNAMICS

Portugal looks well set to advance to the round of 16 while Morocco will certainly be going home.

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Portugal now has four points and leads Group B ahead of the late match between Iran and Spain.

The Portuguese will face Iran in their final match on Monday in Saransk.

KEYS TO SUCCESS

Ronaldo was a clinical finisher and also one of Portugal’s best defenders. His headed clearances helped out a back line that seems vulnerable to corners and free kicks despite the height of veteran center backs Pepe and Jose Fonte.

Morocco, playing in its first World Cup in 20 years, linked play neatly through midfield but relied on set-pieces for its clearest chances — a growing theme at this year’s tournament.

Its clearest shooting chances fell to a defender, Benatia, who could not keep them on target.

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Denver sets new tourism record: 32 million visitors, $6.5 billion in revenue last year

June 20, 2018 - 2:07pm

Denver fed, watered, housed and entertained a record 31.7 million visitors in 2017, marking the 12th consecutive year of growth for the city’s booming tourism industry, according to a survey released Wednesday by Visit Denver.

The city also enjoyed its highest-ever tourism revenue in 2017 at $6.5 billion — a 5 percent increase over 2016. And overnight visitors, who accounted for more than half of the tourists, spent 6 percent more than in 2016, according to the report by Longwoods International.

“It’s absolutely no surprise to anyone that tourism here in Denver is continuing its hot streak,” said Mayor Michael Hancock at a Wednesday morning press conference downtown. “It’s the first time since we’ve been tracking Denver tourism numbers that we have achieved this level of success in terms of both visitors and tourism revenue.”

Hancock cited the “hospitality ecosystem” and “world-class” Denver International Airport as major contributors.

Richard Scharf, who heads the city’s convention and visitors bureau, called the numbers “a milestone marking the second straight year Denver surpassed 31 million total visitors.”

“Since voter approval to increase tourism marketing dollars in 2005, Denver tourism has grown by 65 percent compared to 24 percent nationally,” Scharf said in a news release.

Last year also saw the addition of 2,065 new hotel rooms, 245 new restaurants and a record 61 million travelers through Denver International Airport, according to Visit Denver. The top five states sending vacationers to Denver last year were California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and Wyoming, which reflects a growing national reputation for the city, officials said.

In addition to supporting nearly 57,000 jobs, the sales tax collected from tourists helped reduce the burden on local residents by more than $500 per household, according to Visit Denver.

Tourists spent more than $1.7 billion at hotels and more than $1 billion on food and beverages, said Michael Erdman, senior vice president of research at Longwoods.

Shopping and entertainment also accounted for major draws, according to survey respondents, with the 16th Street Mall, Cherry Creek neighborhood, LoDo Historic District, Larimer Square, Denver Pavilions and suburban retailers as the top destinations. The Denver Zoo, Denver Botanic Gardens, Denver Museum of Nature & Science, and Denver Art Museum were the top paid-admission draws, while Red Rocks Park & Amphitheatre, the Coors Brewery in Golden, and the Colorado State Capitol were the top free-admission spots.

As in past years, Longwoods’ Erdman named Golden’s Coors Brewery Tour and Denver’s booming craft beer scene as popular offerings, but made no mention of legal, adult-use marijuana.

“Basically, the effect is neutral to positive,” said Jayne Buck, senior vice president for Visit Denver. “There are a few people in our surveys that are discouraged by it, but overall it’s not substantive enough of a (travel) reason to include. We don’t ask if they came for beer, so we certainly don’t ask if they came for one other product.”

Marijuana has generally been ignored or discounted by state and city officials as a tourism driver in previous years — in part because it remains illegal federally, making marketing agencies reluctant to get between state and federal law.

But Buck implied a softening of Visit Denver’s stance toward 21-and-up legal weed, which has been available since Jan. 1, 2014, in Colorado.

“I think it has a net positive (effect) in some ways, but now there are so many states with it, it may be even less (of a factor),” Buck said.

The main concern among tourism officials is keeping the momentum going. Reaching new travelers, whether regional or international, is pricey, Buck said, with marketing costs accounting for $13 million of Visit Denver’s $25 million budget last year.

Visit Denver’s budget is largely generated by hotel occupancy and revenue from hotel taxes, which means that in lean years — such as the early 2000s (and just after Sept. 11, 2001) — Visit Denver enjoyed far fewer resources than it has now.

The agency has also faced cultural challenges as recently as 2016, when it told the Denver City Council that negative impressions of downtown Denver, largely because of viral videos of violence on or near the tourist thoroughfare of the 16th Street Mall, was becoming a deterrent to convention business.

There’s also competition from similar-sized cities with bustling cultural, hospitality, sports and outdoor offerings. And building loyalty to Denver should be a priority, Erdman said, because out-of-state visitors account for 75 percent more spending than in-state visitors.

“It’s always a challenge for us to continue to maintain these levels of growth,” Buck said. “We have a lot of regional travelers, and discretionary travel is very much affected by economic conditions. Because we’re so isolated, we’re also dependent on air travel. And then we (need to) make sure people in the region have enough money to come and enjoy us more than once a year.”

As a result, Visit Denver will be focusing on increasing the frequency and length of visitors’ stays, as well as recruiting “the next generation of travelers” who could just as easily hop a plane to Iceland instead of spending a long weekend here, Buck said.

“The challenge is to keep being fresh,” she said. “We’re lucky that we’re the only thing within 500 miles that has a lot of great stuff. … We have plenty of hotel rooms and we’re adding more, but we still have a lot of room to grow.”

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Spain edges Iran at FIFA World Cup 2018

June 20, 2018 - 1:52pm

KAZAN, Russia — Diego Costa scored on a deflection to lead Spain to a 1-0 win over Iran on Wednesday at the World Cup.

Costa broke the deadlock in the 54th minute after being set up by Andres Iniesta. The powerful striker turned in the area and took a shot but the ball deflected off Ramin Rezeian before bouncing back onto Costa’s knee and into the net.

Costa, who also scored two goals in the opening match, has three goals at this year’s World Cup, trailing Cristiano Ronaldo by one. He also has nine goals in his last nine starts for Spain.

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Both Spain and Portugal have four points in Group B following their 3-3 draw and subsequent 1-0 victories. Iran has three points in the group but Morocco has been eliminated.

Facing a very compact Iranian team that came out to defend, Spain pressed very high and had to be patient. The 2010 World Cup champions were almost caught against the run of the play when Karim Ansarifard unleashed a powerful strike that ended up in the side-netting following a long thrown in.
Trailing in the second half, Iran nearly equalized when Saeid Ezatolahi had a goal was ruled out on video review.

Iran continued to push hard and managed to challenge with some fast counterattacks.
Spain was lucky not to concede toward the end as Mehdi Taremi connected with a cross from Ansarifard but his header from close range went over the crossbar.

GROUP DYNAMICS

First place in the group could be decided by goal difference.

Spain will face Morocco in its final match on Monday in Kaliningrad, while Portugal plays Iran in Saransk on the same day.

But with three points, Iran has still a chance to qualify for the knockout stage. The Iranians will need to beat Portugal to advance.

KEYS TO SUCCESS

It’s not just slick play within the Spain team.

With a superb display of collective grit, the Spanish showed they are as united as ever despite the turmoil created by the firing of coach Julen Lopetegui on the eve of the tournament.

Spain is now unbeaten in 22 matches, with 15 of those wins. The team’s last loss was against Italy in the round of 16 at the 2016 European Championship.

Iran was dangerous from set pieces and its restless defensive display was impressive. The team also created a few excellent chances, including that missed header from Taremi in the 83rd minute.

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