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Analysis: Avalanche remains patient with goalie Spencer Martin

Denver Post Local News - 2 hours 33 min ago

If you assume Semyon Varlamov will remain healthy — and that’s been a bad assumption for the last three years — the Avalanche appears to have enough organizational goaltending depth to not worry about the position. There’s Varlamov and newly signed free agent Phillip Grubauer — the 2018 Stanley Cup champion from the Washington Capitals — with the Avs. And there’s three other guys looking to occupy the two spots with the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League and one with the Utah Grizzlies of the ECHL.

The minor-league contenders with big-league dreams: Spencer Martin, the Avs’ 2013 draft pick; Joe Cannata, who helped the Eagles win their second straight ECHL championship last spring before the franchise moved to the AHL; and Pavel Francouz, the Czech Republic-born free-agent acquisition from the Kontinental Hockey League in Russia.

Varlamov was backed up by Martin in Tuesday’s preseason opener against the visiting Vegas Golden Knights. Varlamov stopped 21-of-24 shots and Martin played in the third period, making just four saves on six shots.

Because he played, let’s focus on Martin — the fifth goalie selected in the 2013 draft (third round, 63rd overall).

“I felt really good. It’s exciting to play, and really fun,” Martin said after the 5-1 loss at the Pepsi Center. “Being a part of everyone’s first game is cool, and picking up where we finished last year. But that’s not a result myself or any other guy in this room can accept.”

Martin had a relatively weak 3.10 goals-against average and .893 save percentage last season with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, the team Colorado shared with the St. Louis Blues’ top prospects. Martin also was below a .900 save percentage during his three games with the Avs in 2016-17, when he played 50 games (.903 SP) with the Rampage.

Martin, 23, signed a modest, one-year, two-way contract worth a potential $650,000 over the summer as a restricted free agent. He will make just $85,000 in the minors, and the first question is, will he be the top guy for the Eagles in Loveland or the Grizzlies in Salt Lake City? The second question: Did the Avs trade for Grubauer because they’ve given up on Martin?

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“I think the consistency in his game has to come up,” Colorado coach Jared Bednar said of Martin. “Goalies take longer to develop. Is it a make or break year? No. We like our goaltending depth and he’s certainly part of that. With the two guys up top (Varlamov, Grubauer) and then Frankie (Francouz) and him — he’ll have to earn his time in the net (with the Eagles). Looking for him to be consistently better and mentally tougher and keep taking a step forward in his development.”

Martin doesn’t feel like he’s on thin ice with the Avalanche, and based on his peers from the 2013 draft class, he shouldn’t. Among the first five goalies in that draft, Martin is one of three to have made his NHL debut, and only one — Pittsburgh’s Tristan Jarry — has played more than five games in the league.

So, no, Martin doesn’t feel like the Avs have run out of patience with him.

“The pressure? It’s no different. I think I would have told you last year or the year before that I put pressure on myself to succeed,” Martin said. “But I’m prepared. I do look at this as the year I want to break through.”

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Boulder woman puts gun violence message where thousands can see

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 11 min ago
Paul Aiken, Daily CameraLindasue Smollen, a Boulder resident and attorney, has rented this billboard — at a cost of about $3,000 for the first month — to share gun death statistics.

Rush hour commuters northbound on one of the area’s most heavily traveled corridors on Tuesday were greeted with a stark political message funded by one Boulder woman who has run out of patience with what she sees as empty words offered in the face of a public safety crisis.

In stark white letters on black background, the message points out that more Americans (1.4 million) have died in gun violence since 1970 than in all wars fought in U.S. history (1.3 million), and ends with the plea, “stop the thoughts and prayers.”

At the cost of about $3,000 for the first month, the grim note perched just south of the Boulder-Jefferson county line is sponsored by Lindasue Smollen, a divorce and criminal defense lawyer who lives in Boulder and is paying for it out of her own pocket.

The billboard is based on data gleaned from a piece by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof, which was subsequently verified by PunditFact, a project of the Tampa Bay Times and the Poynter Institute.

“We’ve become absolutely numb to mass shootings. It is the new normal,” Smollen said Tuesday, the first full day the message was in place. “We no longer stop and be horrified on mass shootings. And after Las Vegas, I just simply could not believe that nothing, nothing, was done.”

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Read the full story at dailycamera.com.

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Kim Jong Un agrees to dismantle main nuke site if U.S. takes steps too

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 22 min ago

PYONGYANG, North Korea — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un agreed to permanently dismantle his main nuclear complex at Nyongbyon if the United States takes corresponding measures, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday after the two leaders held summit talks in Pyongyang to try to sustain nuclear diplomacy with Washington, which has been pushing hard for stronger disarmament moves from the North.

The Korean leaders also said the North would dismantle a missile engine test site and launch pad in the presence of outside inspectors, and would seek to host the 2032 Summer Olympics together. Moon also said Kim would try to visit Seoul sometime this year.

Washington wants North Korea to outline the entirety of its nuclear program, and its response to Wednesday’s joint statement from the Koreas remains to be seen. While the declaration appears to fall short of what Washington wants, President Donald Trump has maintained that he and Kim have a solid relationship and both leaders have expressed interest in meeting again after their June summit in Singapore. North Korea has been demanding a declaration formally ending the Korean War, which was stopped in 1953 by a ceasefire, but neither leader mentioned it as they read the joint statement.

“We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat,” Kim said as he stood by Moon’s side at the guesthouse where Moon is staying. “The road to our future will not always be smooth and we may face challenges and trials we can’t anticipate. But we aren’t afraid of headwinds because our strength will grow as we overcome each trial based on the strength of our nation.”

Kim and Moon earlier smiled and chatting as they walked down a hallway and into a meeting room to finalize the joint statement, which also said that the leaders would push for a Korean Peninsula without nuclear weapons and to “eliminate all the danger of war.” North Korea was expected to hold a huge mass games spectacle later in the day, with Moon attending an event expected to draw about 150,000 spectators, Seoul said. It wasn’t clear if Kim would attend.

North Korea first staged its mass games in 2002, when Kim’s father, Kim Jong Il, was leader. They continued most every year until 2014, then were revived during North Korea’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of its state founding earlier this month.

Kim gave the South Korean president an exceedingly warm welcome on Tuesday, the first day of the summit, meeting him and his wife at Pyongyang’s airport — itself a very unusual gesture — then riding into town with Moon in an open limousine through streets lined with crowds of North Koreans, who cheered and waved the flag of their country and a blue-and-white flag that symbolizes Korean unity.

The made-for-television welcome has become routine for their summits, after two meetings earlier this year.

The summit talks began at the ruling Workers’ Party headquarters where Kim and Moon were joined by two of their top deputies — spy chief Suh Hoon and presidential security director Chung Eui-yong for Moon, and for Kim, his sister, Kim Yo Jong, and senior Workers’ Party official Kim Yong Chol, according to Moon’s office.

At the start of their meeting Tuesday, Kim thanked Moon for brokering the June summit with Trump.

“It’s not too much to say that it’s Moon’s efforts that arranged a historic North Korea-U.S. summit. Because of that, the regional political situation has been stabilized and more progress on North Korea-U.S. ties is expected,” Kim said, according to South Korean media pool reports and Moon’s office.

Moon responded by expressing his own thanks to Kim for making a “bold decision” in a New Year’s speech to open a new era of detente and send a delegation to the South Korean Winter Olympics in February.

___

Kim reported from Seoul. AP writers Hyung-jin Kim and Foster Klug contributed from Seoul. Talmadge is the AP’s Pyongyang bureau chief. Follow him on Instagram and Twitter: @EricTalmadge

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Lafayette will end Oatmeal Festival after Quaker pulls sponsorship, officials say

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 28 min ago

The Lafayette Oatmeal Festival, the city’s perennial celebration of all things Quaker Oats and their topping-laden meals, will come to an end, officials said Tuesday.

Lafayette Chamber of Commerce Director of Events and Marketing Pat Vero said the event’s major sponsor had decided to end its support, citing “tightening budgets and shifting priorities,” and that without its partnership, the Chamber could not continue 22-year-long event.

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“It is not economically feasible for the Lafayette Chamber to do an event of this size without the financial support of Quaker,” Vero said in a statement, “so unfortunately, this is the end of the Oatmeal Festival. We explored many other options to keep this event without Quaker but it just wasn’t doable.”

She added that at this time, there are no plans to replace the January event.

It’s unclear the specific reasons for Quaker’s withdrawal — the company did not return a request for comment Tuesday — though Vero said the event has seen “record numbers” in recent years: among its popular Oatmeal Breakfast for which its name implies, the festival also boasts a 5K walk/run, and an addition to the 2018 event, two Ninja Warrior Courses.

Read more at dailycamera.com.

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Avalanche loses preseason opener to Vegas Golden Knights

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 37 min ago

The Avalanche opened the preseason Tuesday with a 5-1 loss to the Vegas Golden Knights at the Pepsi Center. The defending Western Conference champs scored twice on the power play in building a 3-0 lead and cruised to their second straight exhibition triumph. Avs rookie defenseman Ryan Graves, acquired from the New York Rangers for Chris Bigras in February, scored Colorado’s goal.

The Avalanche used its most of its core players in the opener, because it was at home. Most of the second-tier players and other youngsters will play at Minnesota on Saturday night in the second of six preseason games.

Three stars:

  1. Erik Brannstrom. Vegas defenseman had a hand in his team’s first two goals, with an assist and goal.
  2. Paul Stastny. Knights center, a former Avs star, had two assists.
  3. Alex Tuch. Vegas forward had a goal and an assist.

Play of the night: It was the tic-tac-toe Alex Tuch goal that gave the Knights a 3-0 lead late in the second period. Tuch took a back-door pass from Paul Stastny, after Stastny got the puck from Oscar Lindberg off the opposite side wall. Stastny, a former Avs standout, still has a home in Denver and is in his first year playing in Vegas after beginning each of the last four seasons with the St. Louis Blues.

In net: As scheduled, Varlamov played the first two periods and Spencer Martin came in to begin the third. Varlamov stopped 21-of-24 shots and Martin 4-of-6.

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Rookie watch: Defenseman Mason Geertsen took high-sticking and cross-checking penalties and Vegas scored on both power plays. Geertsen’s game is toughness, but both of his infractions were ill-advised. … Forward Logan O’Connor, who was originally pegged to serve as captain this season as a senior for the University of Denver, played right wing on a line with center J.T. Compher and left wing Matt Calvert. The right-shooting O’Connor saw some time on the power play from the left wing — a situation he wasn’t often in at DU. … From the point, defenseman Josh Anderson had some good keep-ins, passes and shots through traffic.

Made their case for the roster: O’Connor didn’t hurt his chances, but like all youngsters on entry-level contracts, there won’t be opening-night roster spots without injuries to veterans, and at this time the only significant injuries are to rookie defensemen Conor Timmins and Nicholas Meloche. O’Connor, however, was singled out by coach Jared Bednar after the game as a guy who has a chance to make the team.

More to prove: The Avs are carrying 55 players and will probably announce reassignments Wednesday morning, with players heading to the Colorado Eagles of the American Hockey League, Salt Lake of the ECHL or their major-junior teams. The remaining players will have Wednesday off before returning to practice Thursday.

Final thought: The Avs’ MGM Line — center Nathan MacKinnon and wingers Gabe Landeskog and Mikko Rantanen — had just five shots. … But the star forwards had their chances and won’t be split up anytime soon — if ever this season.

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Englewood Councilwoman Laurett Barrentine survives recall effort, unofficial election results show

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 39 min ago
englewoodco.govLaurett Barrentine

An Englewood city councilwoman who has been the subject of a bitter recall election managed to escape being unseated Tuesday, according to unofficial results released by the city.

Residents in District 3, which Laurett Barrentine has represented since 2015, voted 734-688 to put down an effort to recall the councilwoman, who was accused of bullying city staff and obstructing city business.

Barrentine said she was simply trying to ascertain how Englewood had been spending taxpayer money. She said she was targeted by past city leaders, including two former mayors, who she said were afraid she might dig up evidence that they had mismanaged city money.

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Barrentine’s term ends in November 2019.

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RTD to raise fares early next year; low-income and youth discounts approved by board

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 8:58pm

Bus fares will be going up early next year for riders, as will rail fare between downtown Denver and Denver International Airport, with approval Tuesday night of the RTD Board of Directors.

The board’s approval of changes to fares and pass programs also includes introduction of a low-income program, and an increased discount for riders between 6 and 19 years old, according to a news release.

Fare policy changes for 2019 include an increase in local bus fares, from $2.60 to $3; an increase in regional bus fares, from $4.50 to $5.25; and an increase in the A-Line, driving the one-way price of the train between Denver and the airport from $9 to $10.50.

The low-income fare program approved Tuesday will provide a 40-percent discount to households at or below 185 percent of the federal poverty level. A 70-percent discount for riders between the ages of 6 and 19 was also approved, among other changes.

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“This will be huge victory for families and RTD,” said Matt Samelson, of the Donnell-Kay Foundation, in the RTD news release. “This move by RTD goes a long way toward creating a more equitable transportation system.”

More details about the fare review process, including RTD’s budget and expenses, are on the RTD website.

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Woman disappears shortly after moving to Denver with man later arrested on outstanding warrants, report states

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 8:37pm
Denver7From left are Erin Vandewiele and Joe Mayer.

DENVER — A woman went missing less than a month after moving from Wisconsin to Denver with a man she was seeing, according to a Denver7 report. Joe Mayer was arrested on outstanding warrants that are unrelated to this case, but she is nowhere to be found.

“We’re very worried especially after we’ve seen text messages that she had sent another friend that she was scared that Joe was going to hurt her,” said Mandi Schmidt, the woman’s sister.

No one has heard from Erin Vandewiele since July 23. A friend reported her missing to the Denver Police Department shortly after their communication ended but the last few text messages from Vandewiele were troubling, Denver7 reports.

One text read, “He’s gonna kill me if I don’t get away from him today.”

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Read the full story at thedenverchannel.com.

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7 people sentenced in Colorado tribe’s financial scam case

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 8:04pm

CORTEZ, Colo. — The U.S. attorney’s office says seven people have been sentenced in a financial scam case that resulted in $1.1 million in federal funds found stolen from the Ute Mountain Ute tribe.

The Cortez Journal reports 13 people have pleaded guilty to charges related to the scam that involved employees of the tribe’s Financial Services Department who fraudulently dispersed checks to people they selected between 2011 and 2015.

According to court documents, the people who received the checks, including non-tribal members and inmates, would cash them, and then usually share the cash with the employees.

The sentences handed down this summer in federal court in Durango ranged from 15 months in prison to years of probation. All were ordered to pay restitution in amounts that ranged from $22,000 to $142,000.

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___

Information from: Cortez Journal, http://www.cortezjournal.com/

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UCLA’s Chip Kelly impressed with Buffs’ Laviska Shenault

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 7:46pm

Statistics suggest that Colorado sophomore Laviska Shenault is one of the best receivers in the country in the early stages of the college football season.

It’s how Shenault is achieving his success that really impresses UCLA head coach Chip Kelly, however.

After both teams’ bye this week, CU (3-0) will host UCLA (0-3) on Sept. 28, and Kelly said Shenault certainly has his attention.

“They may have the best receiver in the league right now,” Kelly said during Tuesday’s Pac-12 coaches teleconference.

Shenault leads the country with 151.7 receiving yards per game, while ranking fourth with 8.7 catches per game. Of the 21 players nationally with 20-plus catches this season, Shenault’s 17.5-yards per catch average ranks third.
Overall, Shenault has 26 catches for 455 yards and three touchdowns. He also scored a rushing touchdown out of the wildcat formation against Nebraska in week 2.

Shenault has already lined up this season as outside receiver, slot receiver, H-back, tailback and wildcat quarterback.

“It is dangerous when you have a player that can line up in so many different spots,” Kelly said. “You see it a lot in the National Football League. You’re going to have one guy shadow a guy, but then they line him up all over the place. It tells you the type of player he is, because not everybody can do that. That’s a lot easier said than done, to be able to learn different positions and be effective at that many different positions.”

Full story via BuffZone

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Boulder-based biopharma firm to pay $20 million for misleading investors on cancer drug

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 7:43pm

Boulder-based biopharmaceutical company Clovis Oncology Inc., its chief executive officer and former chief financial officer have agreed to pay more than $20 million in penalties to settle allegations that the company mislead investors about a lung cancer drug that was under development.

The federal Securities and Exchange Commission brought the complaint against the company, CEO Patrick Mohaffy and former CFO Erle Mast, according to a news release.

A company spokeswoman declined to comment for this story. According to the SEC, the company, Mahaffy and Mast did not admit or deny the allegations as part of the settlement.

The agency alleges that, in 2015, the company inflated the efficacy of its “flagship” lung cancer drug, Roci, during investor presentations and in press releases and SEC filings, contending the drug was effective 60 percent of the time when it was only 28 percent effective.

The company was able to raise nearly $300 million in a public stock offering in July 2015, but the company’s stock collapsed in November of that year after it disclosed the lower efficacy rate, according to the SEC.

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Read the full story at dailycamera.com.

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Biggest award at Tour Championship is being there

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 7:32pm

ATLANTA — The Tour Championship is about more than just the cash, no matter how much is on the line.

It was that way from the start.

Curtis Strange was part of the inaugural 30-man field in 1987 for what then was called the Nabisco Championships of Golf. The purse was $2 million, the largest of the year, and the winner’s share of $360,000 was more than twice what any of the majors paid. There also was a $1 million bonus pool for a season-long competition.

That’s not what Strange remembers, though.

He finished 30th at Oak Hills in San Antonio, and the $32,000 check for finishing last — his sixth-largest paycheck of the year — was of little consolation.

“I dropped out of the top 10 in scoring average, and it cost me player of the year,” Strange said Tuesday. “I didn’t make a putt, got (ticked) off, all of the above. You know how it is. But I got them the next year.”

Strange won in a playoff in 1988 at Pebble Beach, won player of the year and became the first player in PGA Tour history to win more than $1 million in a year.

“The money was huge back in the day,” Strange said. “Just like it is now.”

The winner of the Tour Championship this week at East Lake gets $1,620,000.

If he happens to win the FedEx Cup, throw in an additional $10 million.

What hasn’t changed in more than three decades is the prestige of being at the Tour Championship.

It felt like an All-Star game then. It’s like that now.

Only three players at the Tour Championship this year won a major, the dream of every golfer. Short of that, the next goal is to win a PGA Tour event. And if that doesn’t work out, a mediocre year can always be salvaged by having a parking spot and a tee time at East Lake.

It’s the one regular PGA Tour event where the winner is not guaranteed a chance to defend his title. Xander Schauffele nearly found that out the hard way. He was No. 41 in the FedEx Cup standings until a tie for third in the BMW Championship moved him to No. 18 and gave him a spot at East Lake.

“Getting to the Tour Championship is a big deal,” Schauffele said Tuesday. “If you end up here, no matter how you got here — a bunch of top 10s or consistent play or a few high finishes with no wins — it’s still a successful year.”

Tiger Woods used to say it can’t be a great year without winning a major. He never would have said it could be considered a good year without winning anything. This is a new Woods, however, and his first appearance at East Lake after four injury-ravaged years feels like a big deal.

“At the end of the season, to say that I made it back to the Tour Championship after what I’ve been through is a pretty good accomplishment,” Woods said. “To make the Ryder Cup team and get back to East Lake, that was a pretty big goal at the beginning of the year.”

No need explaining that to Jordan Spieth. He’s not here for the first time, and it stung.

The Tour Championship started out by rotating among courses like Pebble Beach and Pinehurst No. 2, Olympic Club and Southern Hills. Now the permanent home is East Lake, and it has become a destination.

Just like always.

“The goal for the year was to get to the Tour Championship,” said Mark Calcavecchia, who played in the first four editions and 14 overall. “Winning is the first goal. If that doesn’t happen, you need to play good enough to make it to the last tournament. You’re one of 30 guys there. It’s a little bit of an ego thing. It’s nice to be part of a select group.”

Keegan Bradley had not been part of that group since 2013, so imagine how he felt last week at the BMW Championship.

Rain threatened to cut short the tournament to 54 holes. Bradley was in sixth place, three shots out of the lead. If the final round was a wash, Bradley would have moved to No. 30 in the FedEx Cup and returned to East Lake. He was torn.

“Truthfully, I was really fixated on making the Tour Championship, and I knew if we didn’t play, I was in it,” he said. “So it was a really weird position to be in.”

They played. He shot 64 and won in a playoff.

Even with the trophy at his side, he was asked if he would have been in favor of a washout knowing how it ended.

“To be honest with you, I might have,” Bradley said. “Just because it’s a game-changer for a player like me … to get in the Tour Championship.”

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Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser wants FBI probe before she testifies in front of Senate Judiciary Committee

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 7:20pm

WASHINGTON — Christine Blasey Ford wants the FBI to investigate her allegation that she was sexually assaulted by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh before she testifies at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing next week, her lawyers said in a letter sent Tuesday to the panel.

The lawyers wrote that Ford, who is now a college professor in California, wants to cooperate with the committee. But in the days since she publicly accused Kavanaugh of the assault when they were teens at a party 35 years ago, the lawyers said, she has been the target of “vicious harassment and even death threats.” Her family has relocated, they said.

An FBI investigation “should be the first step in addressing the allegations,” the lawyers wrote in the letter, which was obtained by The Associated Press.

The development comes after President Donald Trump showered sympathy on his embattled nominee and as Senate Republicans and Democrats fought determinedly over who should testify at a high-stakes hearing on the allegation just six weeks before major congressional elections.

Trump has already rejected the idea of bringing in the FBI to reopen its background check of Kavanaugh. Should he order such a review, it would likely delay a confirmation vote until after the election. Republicans hope to have Kavanaugh confirmed by Oct. 1, the start of the next Supreme Court term.

Meanwhile, Republicans are suggesting that Ford, whose allegations have upended Kavanaugh’s nomination — the committee’s vote was already pushed from Thursday to likely next week — will have one chance to testify, and one chance only.

“Monday is her opportunity,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday, R-Ky., a line that was echoed by other Republicans throughout the day.

McConnell expressed confidence that Kavanaugh would be confirmed. “I’m not concerned about tanking the nomination,” he said.

“We should proceed as planned,” said Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah, a key Republican on the panel.

The furious jockeying over Ford’s testimony underscores the political potency so close to an election that will decide control of both the House and Senate, not to mention the confirmation of a conservative justice likely to serve on the high court for decades.

Democrats complain that Ford was not consulted before the hearing was announced. They also want more witnesses besides Kavanaugh and Ford, hoping to avoid what they said would turn into a “he-said-she-said” moment.

The lawyers for Ford predicted the hearing, as now scheduled, “would include interrogation by senators who appear to have made up their minds” that she is “mistaken” and mixed up.

But Democrats also said Tuesday they were planning to attend the hearing even if Ford did not show up.

Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said he had “a lot of questions” for Kavanaugh. “A simple denial is not the end of questioning.”

As Democrats press for more time to investigate, Republicans have been careful to say that Ford should have her chance to speak, and they have stressed that they are willing to move Monday’s hearing behind closed doors, if she prefers.

“Were planning on a hearing Monday. It can be open. It can be closed, whatever Ms. Ford wants,” said Sen. John Kennedy, a member of the Judiciary panel from Louisiana. “We’re ready to hear anything she has to say. I am, anyway, and I think most of us are.”

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GOP Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee — among a handful of Republicans who insisted on hearing from Ford before voting — said it would be a “shame” if Ford didn’t show up to testify. But he suggested Republicans will not bend from their offer of a hearing Monday.

“That would be quite something if she decided she did not want to testify,” Corker said. “I’d assume the committee would then move on as they should.”

One witness the Democrats want to hear from is Kavanaugh’s high school friend Mark Judge, who Ford said was in the room when she was assaulted. Kavanaugh has denied Ford’s allegation, and Judge says he doesn’t remember any such thing. “More to the point, I never saw Brett act in the manner Dr. Ford describes,” Judge said in a letter to the panel.

The risks of a public hearing starring the all-male lineup of Republicans on the committee could be high. Republicans said late Tuesday they were considering hiring outside attorneys, presumably including women, to question the witnesses. But that may be moot if Ford declines to appear.

Kavanaugh, 53, was at the White House on Tuesday for a second straight day, but again did not meet with Trump. The president said he was “totally supporting” Kavanaugh and felt “terribly” for him and his family.

“I feel so badly for him that he’s going through this, to be honest with you, I feel so badly for him,” said Trump, who has himself faced numerous accusations of sexual harassment that he’s denied. “This is not a man that deserves this.”

The No. 2 Senate Republican leader, John Cornyn of Texas, was one of the few Republicans who openly questioned Ford’s version of events. He called the allegations a “drive-by attack” on the judge’s character.

“There are gaps in her memory,” Cornyn said. “She doesn’t know how she got there, when it was and so that would logically be something where she would get questions.”

Criticism like that fed a Democratic narrative that the GOP’s handling of Ford could jeopardize that party’s election prospects in the age of #MeToo, the response to sexual abuse that has torched the careers of prominent men.

“Now this is really what #MeToo is all about, if you think about it,” said Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, the top Judiciary Committee Democrat. “That’s sort of the first thing that happens, it’s the woman’s fault. And it is not the woman’s fault.”

Meanwhile, Kavanaugh has been calling Republican senators, including Kennedy, who said the nominee was committed to moving forward.

“He’s not happy, he’s upset,” Kennedy said. “He said very clearly and unequivocally, ‘This did not happen.'”

Ford went public with her story Sunday, telling The Washington Post that Kavanaugh had forced himself on her in a bedroom at a party when he was 17 and she was 15, attempting to remove her clothes and clapping his hand over her mouth when she tried to scream. She says she escaped when Judge jumped on the bed.

___

Associated Press writers Kevin Freking, Mary Clare Jalonick, Juliet Linderman and Catherine Lucey contributed from Washington.

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Johnstown police officer was man who apparently drowned in Horsetooth Reservoir

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 7:01pm

A man who apparently drowned in Horsetooth Reservoir on Monday was a Johnstown police officer.

Johnstown Police Department via FacebookYuri Thomas

Yuri Thomas, 32, was swimming at the reservoir west of Fort Collins on Monday afternoon when he went under the waterline and didn’t resurface. Thomas was with his wife at the time. She was on site and called 911 for help.

“It is with a heavy heart that we make the announcement that the Johnstown Police Department lost one of our officers in a tragic accident,” the department said Tuesday in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of Yuri Thomas and ask that anyone that wishes to show support please visit the Go Fund Me page that is set up to help his family in this difficult time.”

The small department currently includes a police chief, a commander, four patrol sergeants, 11 officers, two detectives, a school resource officer and one code enforcement officer.

Thomas grew up on the Caribbean island of St. Vincent, where at a young age he was influence by a school resource officer there, said Sgt. Michael Timme, Johnstown police.

“It was always his dream to come to the U.S. and work as a police officer,” Timme said.

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Thomas received his police certification from Pikes Peak Community College. He was an officer with Northglenn police before joining Johnstown in February.

The GoFundMe page describes Thomas as: “One of the happiest, enthusiastic, and most dedicated Officers to serve the citizens of Johnstown.”

The page aims to raise $15,000. At about 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, it had raised $5,260 from just more than 70 donors over nine hours. The fundraiser will benefit Thomas’ family and offset expenses related to his death.

His funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Resurrection Fellowship, 6520 E. Crossroads Blvd., Loveland. Thomas was a member of the fellowship. The service is open to the public.

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Low-income housing scores victory in Aurora with city OK of controversial 50-unit facility

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 6:07pm

AURORA — The metro area’s affordable housing crisis was laid bare once again this week, with a battle over a low-income housing project in Aurora bringing dozens of people out to city hall until the early hours of Tuesday morning.

In the end, the vote couldn’t have been closer, with Aurora City Council voting 6-5 early Tuesday morning to approve the proposed 50-unit Providence at the Heights after hearing nearly five hours of testimony from residents on both sides of the issue.

Many neighbors who live near the site where Providence would be built — behind Elevation Christian Church at the southwest corner of Alameda Parkway and Joplin Street  — said the 1.4-acre plot was too small for the three-story structure. They also expressed worries about the safety of their children and neighbors given that Providence would house people experiencing homelessness, including those have served time behind bars.

They said the Second Chance Center, a group that helps those released from prison reintegrate with society, hadn’t provided neighbors with sufficient details about the project before going to the city for approval. Second Chance, which will oversee Providence at the Heights, teamed up with a developer to buy the land from Elevation Christian Church for $475,000.

“My property is blatantly ignored and disrespected,” said Ray Wendt, who lives behind the church property on East Custer Place. “I am that neighbor, this is my home.”

Many of Wendt’s neighbors pointed to a decision in July by the Aurora Planning and Zoning Commission to unanimously deny the project a site plan, citing a lack of parking capacity as a major concern. They appealed to the city council to honor the ruling of the planning commissioners.

“It’s a great project at the wrong location,” said James Taylor, who lives just blocks from where Providence would be built.

Proponents of the project, who far outnumbered opponents at the council hearing, said if Aurora ever hopes to close its deficit of nearly 12,000 affordable rental units for those at the lowest end of the income scale, it needs to be open to projects like Providence.

“We have an opportunity to stop this cycle,” said Amy Petré Hill, director of mental health and inclusion ministries at Mountain View United Church in Aurora. “We can’t zone (homelessness) away.”

Hassan Latif, executive director of Second Chance Center, said the land is zoned for multifamily housing, and his organization worked hard to amass millions of dollars in federal and state tax credits to pay for the purchase of the land and construction of the building. And even though the number of homeless people in Aurora counted in the annual Point-in-Time Survey showed a drop from 459 in 2017 to 357 this year, Latif said the problem is still significant.

“No one can deny the need for affordable housing in Aurora,” he said in an interview. “Providence is for families experiencing homelessness.”

The battle in Aurora in many ways echoes other recent disputes that have centered on proposals for homeless shelter construction and expansion in the metro area, as increasingly valuable real estate — the average price of a single-family home in the metro area eclipsed the half-million-dollar mark for the first time earlier this year — makes housing those without homes a tougher proposition financially and socially.

Late last month, neighbors in Denver’s River North neighborhood grappled with whether a plan to expand the Salvation Army’s Crossroads homeless shelter to eight stories was compatible with a neighborhood boasting an explosion in top-dollar apartment rentals.

In Longmont, neighbors this summer objected to a church providing homeless services near their homes, which they said had attracted transient homeless people to live in a nearby city park.

And in Lakewood, a drawn-out fight over a proposed 500- to 600-unit homeless housing project on a piece of vacant federal land near the Federal Center has raised the hackles of neighbors and businesses near the site. The Colorado Coalition for the Homeless is pushing for the project, even as it remains tied up in the courts.

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The organization’s president, John Parvensky, praised the Aurora City Council on Tuesday for stepping forward and approving “this critical housing for 50 homeless individuals.”

“As a housing developer, we know too well the barriers that zoning and land-use approvals create to thwart development of quality housing for low-income families and individuals,” he said. “In the current hot housing market in metro Denver, it is important for city officials to support developments that serve low income and vulnerable families and individuals to balance the market forces that are pricing housing out of reach for thousands of people in Aurora and metro Denver.”

Elevation Christian Church lead pastor Scott Bloyer said he understands the fear a facility like Providence at the Heights instills in people. But he said the project is not a halfway house or homeless shelter. And it won’t permit sexual offenders to take up residence there, he said.

“It’s low-income housing for homeless people with disabilities,” Bloyer said. “Homeless is not the picture of some crazy person in the street — it could be someone in your family.”

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Adams County serial squatter sentenced to six years prison for felony identity theft

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:27pm
Adams CountyHeather Schwab

A woman has been sentenced to six years in prison for felony identity theft in connection to serial squatting, in which she fraudulently leased residences and failed to pay rents prior to evictions.

Heather Schwab, 43, was sentenced Monday in Adams County after entering a guilty plea last month, according to the district attorney’s office.

Schwab was ordered to pay restitution in two cases in which she was charged, and she’s also been ordered to pay restitution in several cases which are pending, according to a news release. A dollar amount has not yet been determined.

On Feb. 15, Schwab signed an 18-month lease with 78-year-old James Warner, writing two checks for $4,400 — rent and deposit — for a Thornton residence at 2756 E. 139th Place. Both checks bounced. She was also charged in connection to an Adams County rental property, 12188 Locust St., where she posed as a relative in April, prosecutors said.

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Schwab was facing probation revocation in another theft case when the identity theft crimes were committed, the release stated. Prosecutors said she’s committed several similar offenses dating back to 1996 in Colorado and Texas.

Adams County Judge Byron Howell imposed the maximum sentence under terms of a plea bargain agreement.

She is being held without bond pending extradition to Texas involving a similar case. Her husband, William Eric Schwab, 48, also pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy to commit identity theft in connection to the scheme. His sentencing is scheduled Nov. 13 in Adams County District Court.

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Michael Jordan donates $2M for Hurricane Florence relief in North Carolina

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:18pm

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Michael Jordan grew up playing high school basketball in Wilmington, North Carolina. So when the former NBA star watched the destruction caused by Hurricane Florence to his hometown and surrounding area, he acted quickly to help.

The six-time NBA champion and Charlotte Hornets owner donated $2 million on Tuesday to assist residents of the Carolinas — $1 million each to the American Red Cross and the Foundation For The Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund.

“It just hits home,” Jordan told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. “I know all of those places: Wilmington, Fayetteville, Myrtle Beach, New Bern, and Wallace, which is where my father is from. So quite naturally it hits home, and I felt like I had to act in a sense that this is my home.”

The 55-year-old Jordan said he still has an aunt, cousins and several buddies who live in coastal North Carolina. He also has a nephew who attends UNC Wilmington, which has remains closed while recovering from the damage.

He watched television with extra concern last week when the hurricane pounded the area, causing 34 known deaths — including 26 in North Carolina — and leaving behind damaged homes, power outages and extensive flooding.

Jordan spent the days after trying to get in touch with family and friends to make sure they were safe. He was relieved upon learning they were uninjured.

“At the end of the day, it makes you think about the path that you have taken, and where your life has taken you,” Jordan said. “And I just feel like, well, maybe if I can help in some sort of way all of the people, and all of the places, that have helped me along the road.”

Jordan said it’s fulfilling to have the resources to help.

“I have been one of the lucky ones to move on and build an unbelievable career,” said Jordan, who played college basketball at North Carolina. “It just makes it a little more special when you can actually help out an area you know very, very well.”

Jordan plans to visit the area at some point when the roads are safe to travel and check up on family and friends.

In addition to the donation, more than 100 members of the Hornets organization will help pack disaster food boxes Friday at Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina in Charlotte, North Carolina. The disaster food boxes, which provide individual meals, will be shipped to Wilmington, Fayetteville and Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and distributed to those directly impacted by the hurricane.

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The goal is to deliver 5,000 food boxes.

The Hornets Foundation also will make a donation to Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina. Food Lion, the team’s Official Hunger Relief Partner, will be donating the food packed for the boxes.

Additionally, Hornets and NBA merchandising partner Fanatics has designed a special T-shirt featuring the Hornets logo in the middle of the states of North and South Carolina surrounded by the words “Carolina Strong.” The NBA, the Hornets and Fanatics will donate 100 percent of the net proceeds to the Foundation For The Carolinas’ Hurricane Florence Response Fund. The T-shirts are now available online at NBAstore.com, Fanatics.com and HornetsFanShop.com for $24.99.

“We reached out to try to find as many partners who are willing to sacrifice and give to this cause,” Jordan said. “The Red Cross will deal with the immediate food and shelter and the Foundation For The Carolinas will deal more with the long-term assistance. This is not a short-term thing. This is going to be a process, but it is going to take time.”

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Arrow Electronics to build “Open Lab” dedicated to smart city tech in Centennial

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 5:15pm

A new facility is coming to south metro Denver where the use of data-collecting “internet of things” technology will be explored and tested as means to make urban services and infrastructure work better for residents.

Officials with Arrow Electronics took the stage at the inaugural Colorado Smart Cities Symposium in Denver on Tuesday to announce plans to open what it is calling the “Colorado Open Lab” next year. Working with the 19 Colorado municipalities and agencies that, along with a collection of private businesses, universities and research institutions, make up the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance, Arrow intends to use the forthcoming lab as a place to showcase ideas such a data-driven smart street lighting, smart parking and connected, automated vehicles.

Aiden Mitchell, Arrow’s vice president of IoT Global Solutions , described the lab as “a technology innovation center” that will allow for the development, testing, evaluation and “integration of technology that is meeting some of the toughest challenges that (we) need to meet across mobility, transportation, public safety, citizen engagement and the advancement of economic development across the state.”

In the design phase now, the lab is slated to open on the ground floor of Arrow’s corporate headquarters in Centennial sometime in the spring, according to Mitchell. It is being supported in part by a $500,000 grant from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade. The announcement comes after Panasonic unveiled a mini smart city testing ground near Denver International Airport earlier this year.

“Our partners at Arrow Electronics have one of the broadest global technology networks in the world,” Jake Rishavy, vice president of innovation for the Denver South Economic Development Partnership, said in a news release. His organization co-founded the Colorado Smart Cities Alliance. “Now with the support of the advanced industries grant program, the Colorado Open Lab will bring these leading technology companies here to Denver South and Colorado to work alongside Colorado cities and other public sector leaders to co-develop the next generation of smart cities technologies.”

The data collected at the lab there won’t belong to Arrow, Mitchell emphasized, but all smart city partners.

“While this is at our facility, this is very much your lab,” he said. “This is a going to be an open environment.” 

One major company that will be part of the Open Lab ecosystem from the start is Intel. The Silicon Valley giant will use the lab as a place to study what it sees as the next phase in computing, something called “ambient science.” It doesn’t have a firm definition yet, but Jeff Fedders, a chief strategist with Intel, made it clear artificial intelligence will be a key element. 

“If you think of a piece of technology or a piece of data that is out in the industry or out in smart cities, think of that piece of technology as immersive, intelligent and self-aware,” Fedders said at Tuesday’s event. “This piece of technology can start to make its own decisions.”

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South metro officials expressed high hopes for what having a tech lab with potentially international drawing power in their own backyards will mean for their residents. Appearing as part of a symposium panel discussing connected “smart regions,” Centennial Mayor Stephanie Piko said she is hopeful the lab will help adapt and install internet-of-things infrastructure in already developed parts of cities, not just in yet-to-develop green fields that can be built with the technology in mind.

Neighboring Lone Tree is already home to one Smart Cities Alliance-endorsed pilot program. It is partnering with Uber to put one of its Lone Tree Link shuttles to work providing free rides around town at defined times of day. It is working with other south metro cities to sync their traffic signal systems so that traffic flows smoothly across municipal boundaries.

Lone Tree City Manager Seth Hoffman on Tuesday called the lab the “physical manifestation of the moment that we’re in where there is so much opportunity for cities to really improve the quality of life (of their residents) in partnership with the private sector.”

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Acova, sibling to The Hornet on South Broadway, aims to create a spot for everyone in the Highland neighborhood

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 4:59pm

Acova, sibling to The Hornet on South Broadway, has a vision of catering to everyone

And it’s name is a good place to start: “Cova” means “nest” in Italian. Clever, right?

Owners Sean and Betsy Workman have created an all-encompassing environment and globally inspired menu to welcome everyone into their “nest,” located in the legendary Patsy’s Inn location in the Highland neighborhood, according to a press release. 

Patsy’s closed in August 2016, after 95 years of serving Italian cuisine in Denver. Its owners, Ron Cito and Kim DeLancey, cited health reasons for shutting down.

The Workmans, who opened Acova in June, preserved much of the interior of the historic building but added modern touches, like steel supports and a play area adjacent to the garden-like patio.

They also have incorporated their health-conscious, gluten-free lifestyle into a fresh, sustainable menu. On the menu: Seared Ahi + Polenta Cakes with Togarashi seared tuna, parmesan, spicy carrot-jalapeño slaw, lime and rice wine vinaigrette; and Honey Stung Fried Chicken, a buttermilk-battered chicken breast with whipped potatoes, spicy greens and sausage gravy, topped with a honey-cayenne drizzle. Desserts include a cinnamon streusel Very Berry Cobbler a la mode.

A creative list of cocktails includes The Misty, a Live-a-Lot organic wine slushie, and a Kombucha Cooler with Montanya Platino Rum, simple syrup, muddled limes & basil, and kombucha on the rocks. 

Plus, the Workmans are giving back to the community: The restaurant donates $2 from each kids’ menu item ordered to a local children’s charity every month.

Acova: 3651 Navajo St., Denver303-736-2718acovarestaurant.com; Mon.-Fri., 11 a.m-12 a.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-12 a.m.; brunch Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.; happy hour 3-6 p.m.

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Finding a great Denver happy hour near you just got easier

Denver Post Local News - Tue, 09/18/2018 - 4:59pm

Finding the happiest hours in Denver just got easier: HHAp, a free mobile app that helps users find their next happy hour destination, has recently expanded to Denver.

The app was developed by OrangeHouse, led by husband and wife team (and Colorado natives) Christian and Ashleigh L’Orange of Fort Collins. It filters available happy hours by location, types of deals, and amenities such as outdoor seating and pet friendliness in a colorful list with corresponding icons, according to a press release.

HHAp takes some of the guesswork out of navigating Denver’s expansive selection of restaurants and bars by acting as a user-friendly resource for finding the best-suited happy hour deals for you.

RELATED: 17 happy hours in Denver.

Christian L’Orange said he and his wife created a similar app for the Fort Collins area. After a visit to Denver, they saw an opening.

“As somebody who doesn’t know Denver very well, there are so many options,” L’Orange said. That’s exciting, but also overwhelming. So the idea of the Denver app came out as much from being with folks who live in Denver to those of us who haven no idea. If you pulled up Google or Yelp, you’d get 5,000 options; it’s information overload.”

L’Orange also said HHAp responds to update requests from users and vendors within 5 minutes.

Download the app on iOS and Android.

 

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