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Gunmen attack Inter-Continental Hotel in Kabul

Denver Post Local News - 1 hour 48 min ago

KABUL, Afghanistan – At least four gunmen stormed a major international hotel complex in the Afghan capital Saturday, breaching security cordons and touching off gun battles with special forces and police, officials said.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from the clashes at the Inter-Continental Hotel, one of the city’s main sites for foreign visitors, envoys and other guests. The attack was the latest strike on a high-profile target in Kabul, deepening worries about the ability of militants to strike at the heart of Afghanistan’s leadership.

The spokesman for Afghanistan’s interior ministry, Najib Danish, said the number of casualties are not yet clear. But at least one of the attackers was killed as security forces conducted floor-by-floor “clearing operations,” he said.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The Taliban and Islamic State have each waged attacks in the past against diplomatic targets and other sites in Kabul.

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In 2011, Taliban suicide bombers and gunman attacked the hilltop Inter-Continental in a siege that lasted more than five hours. At least 11 people were killed, including hotel staff and visitors.

The Washington Post’s Brian Murphy in Washington contributed to this report.



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Protesters rally at a second women’s march in nation’s capital

Denver Post Local News - 3 hours 2 min ago

WASHINGTON – Thousands of demonstrators taking part in the Women’s March on Washington gathered Saturday on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial to rally for women’s rights, urge women to run for public office and call on citizens to fully engage on issues from sexual assault and racial equality to immigrant protections and gun violence.

The Washington event is one of many such protests taking place in hundreds of cities across the nation.

Crowds were upbeat and blinking into the the bright sunny day. Many said they feel encouraged by recent Democratic electoral wins in Alabama and Virginia and the huge increase in social activism that the year brought.

Rep. Donald S. Beyer Jr., D-Va., among the first speakers, drew cheers when he criticized Republican congressional leaders and President Donald Trump. “I am sure that if Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and the president were women we would not be in the middle of a government shutdown right now,” Beyer said.

“Please run! Run smart! Run hard!” he urged the crowd.

The rally, which took place despite the government shutdown that began at midnight, is intended to rekindle the activism and civic participation ignited by the massive Women’s March on Washington held on the day after Trump’s inauguration. Organizers hope to build on efforts that have pushed women’s issues to the forefront during the politically chaotic year since Trump took office.

“Last year was a rallying cry for a lot of women who wanted their voices to be heard,” said Emily Patton, a spokesperson for the Women’s March. “This year, we really want to show support for women who are running for office and to encourage more women, women of color and those in the LGBT community, to run for office, to register to vote, to be more civically engaged.”

Patton said the event would show support for those who are providing voter information and challenging voter suppression in Washington area communities.

“Every politician and legislator needs to be put on notice,” she said. “We are not going away. We are demanding women’s equality, women’s rights, immigration rights, and we are going to continue to uphold the values that we hold dearly.”

Judy Glaven, 57, brought the same “Be Brave Choose Love” poster that she marched with at last year’s march. It is covered with tape because she has taken it to so many demonstrations over the past year.

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“Last year I was in shock and depressed. Now I feel determined. I am going to keep working at this,” said the molecular cell biologist from Mount Pleasant, Maryland. She said that since last year’s march she she has met with senators and representatives, organized her neighbors and gone to dozens of protests. “There is not a day that goes by that I don’t do something,” she said.

Victor Udoewa was changing his daughter’s diaper, while his wife got ready to sing with her social justice a capella choir for the assembling marchers. He said the last year has been revealing more than anything, and in some positive ways. “People thought we were further along with sexism and racism than we are,” he said.

Washington was the focus of last year’s Women’s March, with hundreds of thousands of protesters filling the streets of the capital. This year, however, the largest marches are taking place elsewhere, including Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Charlotte and New York.

One of the biggest events will take place Sunday in Las Vegas, where a concerted effort is being made to push for voter registration. Democrats are eyeing the U.S. Senate race in swing state Nevada, where Republican incumbent Dean Heller is considered vulnerable and first-term Rep. Jacky Rosen, a Democrat, is a leading challenger. The Las Vegas rally will also focus on gun violence and sexual assault and is expected to include speeches by Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards, actress Marissa Tomei and Rep. John Lewis, D-Ga.



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Trump tweets about women’s marches as protesters gather

Denver Post Local News - 3 hours 7 min ago

NEW YORK (AP) — President Donald Trump tweeted that it was a “perfect day” for women to march to celebrate the “economic success and wealth creation” that’s happened during his first year in office — while women across the nation rallied against him and his policies.

“Get out there now to celebrate the historic milestones and unprecedented economic success and wealth creation that has taken place over the last 12 months,” the Republican wrote Saturday afternoon. “Lowest female unemployment in 18 years!”

But people participating in rallies and marches in the U.S. and around the world Saturday denounced Trump’s views on immigration, abortion, LGBT rights, women’s rights and more.

The march in Washington, D.C., on Saturday had the feel of a political rally when U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi, both Democrats, urged women to run for office and vote to oppose Trump and the Republicans’ agenda.

“We march, we run, we vote, we win,” Pelosi said, to applause.

Thousands of people turned out for the rally at Lincoln Memorial and a march from the National Mall to Lafayette Park. It was one of many around the U.S. and the world in support of female empowerment.

Thousands of people gathered in Cleveland; Richmond, Virginia; Philadelphia; New York; Austin, Texas; and elsewhere.

“I think right now with the #MeToo movement, it’s even more important to stand for our rights,” said Karen Tordivo, who marched in Cleveland with her husband and 6-year-old daughter.

In Palm Beach, Florida, home to Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, several hundred people gathered carrying anti-Trump signs as they prepared to march as part of Saturday’s planned protests.

Across the globe, people hit the streets on the anniversary of Trump’s inauguration, marching against his policies and in support of the #MeToo movement against sexual assault and harassment.

In Palm Beach, a group of women wearing red cloaks and white hats like the characters in the book and TV show “The Handmaid’s Tale” marched in formation, their heads bowed.

In Los Angeles, organizers predicted thousands of people, including state officials and celebrities, would march to City Hall.

Organizers in New York said the march was important because basic rights for women, immigrants and others are under attack.

Cathy Muldoon, a high school librarian from Dallas, Pennsylvania, took her two teenage daughters to the New York rally and said marching gives people hope. She said this year’s action is set against the backdrop of the Trump presidency, which “turned out to be as scary as we thought it would be.”

“I’ve not seen any checks and balances,” she said. “Everything is moving toward the right, and we have a president who seems to have no decency.”

In Chicago, thousands of people gathered in Grant Park. Fawzia Mirza drew cheers from the crowd as she kicked off the event with a reference to the partial government shutdown, which began hours earlier.

“When the government shuts down, women still march,” she said.

She said the event was about channeling women’s energy and “putting that power in the polls.”

Earlier Saturday, dozens of activists gathered in Rome to denounce violence against women and express support for the #MeToo movement. They were joined by Italian actress and director Asia Argento, who made headlines after alleging in 2017 she had been sexually assaulted by Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the 1990s.

The 2017 rally in Washington, D.C., and hundreds of similar marches created solidarity for those denouncing Trump’s views on abortion, immigration, LGBT rights and more. Millions of people around the world marched during last year’s rallies, and many on Saturday thought about all that’s happened in the past year.

The Republican president on Friday delivered new support to the anti-abortion movement he once opposed, speaking by video to thousands of activists at the annual March for Life.

In New York, scheduled speakers included Ashley Bennett, a Democrat who was elected Atlantic County, New Jersey, freeholder last November. Bennett defeated Republican incumbent John Carman, who had mocked the 2017 women’s march in Washington with a Facebook post asking whether the women would be home in time to cook dinner.

Among the goals of this year’s march are getting more Democrats to run for public office and bolstering voter registration.

In Rome, Argento addressed the criticism she received once she spoke up about her abuse.

“Women are scared to speak, and because I was vilified by everything I said, I was called a prostitute for being raped,” she said at the rally.

Argento, who’s 42, was strongly criticized by many Italian media and Italian women for not speaking out earlier and was hounded on Twitter with accusations that she sought trouble.

Weinstein has apologized for causing “a lot of pain” with “the way I’ve behaved with colleagues in the past,” but he has denied “any allegations of non-consensual sex.”

Last year’s march in Washington sparked debate over inclusion, with some transgender minority women complaining that the event seemed designed for white women born female. Some anti-abortion activists said the event did not welcome them.

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The organizers for the Sunday rally are striving for greater inclusion this year, with Latina and transgender female speakers, said Carmen Perez, another co-chair of the 2017 Washington march. Women in the U.S. illegally, sex workers and those formerly incarcerated are welcome, she said.

Linda Sarsour, one of the four organizers of last year’s Washington march, said Las Vegas was slotted for a major rally because it’s a strategic swing state that gave Democrat Hillary Clinton a narrow win in the presidential election and will have one of the most competitive Senate races in 2018.

The rallies also laid the groundwork for the recent movement that brought a reckoning for powerful men accused of sexual misconduct, Sarsour said.

“I think when women see visible women’s leadership, bold and fierce, going up against a very racist, sexist, misogynist administration, it gives you a different level of courage that you may not have felt you had,” she said.

___

Lush reported from St. Petersburg, Florida.



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Air Force cancels all sports games through federal government shutdown

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 48 min ago

Air Force has cancelled all of its planned sports contests, home and away, as a result of the federal government shutdown, it announced early Saturday.

The decision puts several Air Force programs immediately in limbo. Seven sports — rifle, women’s swimming, men’s swimming, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, men’s ice hockey and men’s gymnastics — were set for competition on Saturday.

Air Force athletics released the following statement:

“Due to the government shutdown, all Air Force Academy home and away intercollegiate athletic events have been cancelled until further notice. In the event a solution is reached, the Academy will work to reschedule as many missed events as possible.”

The shutdown began overnight when U.S. Senators failed to reach a resolution to continue funding before the federal government’s deadline. Air Force navigated a similar shutdown in 2013 and received a $230,000 donation from USAA for Air Force football’s travel to a Navy game, according to the Colorado Springs Gazette.

Navy and Army did not cancel their athletic events. Like Air Force, they too rely on 501(c)(3) nonprofits that serve as athletic corporations for funding. But the Falcons rely more heavily on federal government dollars to subsidize their athletic operations.

A Mountain West spokesman told The Denver Post the conference is in “constant communication” with Air Force, and added: “It is a fluid situation that changes hourly. When we have concrete information, we will share it.”

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This story will be updated.

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Trump plans gala at Mar-a-Lago on Saturday night, again renting a ballroom from himself

Denver Post Local News - 4 hours 50 min ago

PALM BEACH, Fla. – President Donald Trump’s posh Mar-a-Lago Club is set to host a high-priced gala Saturday night intended to celebrate Trump’s first year in office and raise money for his reelection campaign and the Republican National Committee.

Tickets start at $100,000 per couple, Bloomberg News reported.

The guest of honor, however, may not be there. With the government shut down and Congress in negotiations, Trump postponed his scheduled departure from Washington on Friday afternoon. But he will still make money.

By holding the event at his own club, Trump will be able to collect tens of thousands of dollars in fees for food, ballroom rental and other costs. In effect, he will have transformed his supporters’ political donations into revenue for his business.

Again.

Since Trump began running for president in summer 2015, he has repeatedly used his hotels and golf courses as venues for his campaign events – and paid himself for the privilege.

During the 2016 election cycle, Trump’s campaign spent at least $791,000 to hold events at 12 Trump-branded venues: three hotels, seven golf courses, a condo building and Mar-a-Lago, federal campaign filings show. That was on top of millions more that Trump’s campaign paid his businesses for other expenses such as hotel stays, meals and rent for office space at Trump Tower.

After Inauguration Day, it continued.

Trump got an unusually early start on fundraising events for his 2020 re-election campaign, holding a $35,000-per-plate fundraiser in June. The venue for that event: Trump International Hotel in Washington. The Republican National Committee footed the bill, paying about $167,000 to Trump’s business.

Federal election laws bar candidates from the “personal use” of campaign donations – a ban meant to stop candidates from buying things unrelated to their runs for office. If a purchase is a result of campaign activity, the government allows it.

How do those rules apply to an official, like Trump, who’s renting lavish ballrooms from himself, at a for-profit club that is also his home and “Winter White House”?

“The prevailing view among election lawyers is that the law isn’t violated so long as the campaign committee pays fair market value for the goods and services received from Mar-a-Lago,” said Paul S. Ryan, a campaign finance expert at the government watchdog group Common Cause.

It remains unclear how much Mar-a-Lago will receive from the Republican National Committee for Saturday night’s event. A GOP spokeswoman declined to provide any details of the event. A Trump campaign spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

In the past, when large charities have held galas at Mar-a-Lago, they have typically paid between $100,000 and $275,000 for catering and ballroom rentals, according to annual reports those charities filed with the IRS.

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For Trump’s club, this GOP event fills in a Saturday-night slot in what historically is its busy season.

On Saturday, in fact, one of Trump’s traditional charity clients will be holding its relocated gala elsewhere while GOP donors gather at Mar-a-Lago: The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization, which held events at Mar-a-Lago for seven straight years, will hold one this year on a cruise liner at the Port of Palm Beach.

The club had some cancellations after Trump said there were “very fine people” at a protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, that included violent white supremacists. Out of at least 25 fundraiser events that had been booked for this winter season, at least 19 were canceled or relocated away from Mar-a-Lago.

To fill its schedule, Mar-a-Lago this year has turned to political groups aligned with Trump himself. It has hosted Republican attorneys general, conservative activists and, on Thursday, a group of Trump superfans called the “Trumpettes USA.”



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Vonn claims 79th career win, now only seven behind Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time record

Denver Post Local News - 5 hours 7 min ago

The venue for women’s World Cup races at Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy, is one of the most picturesque settings in the world of skiing. And for Vail’s Lindsey Vonn, it has been the scene of great success.

Vonn captured the first podium of her career there when she was only 19 years old, and on Saturday she secured her 12th win on the famous Tofane course. It was the 79th overall in her stellar career, which put her only seven wins behind Ingemar Stenmark’s all-time wins record. Canada’s Lake Louise resort is the only venue where she has been more successful (18 wins).

It was Vonn’s second win of the season, following a downhill victory at Val d’Isere, France, on Dec. 16, and it was the second day in a row that the Americans took two spots on the podium. On Friday, Vonn was second and EagleVail’s Mikaela Shiffrin was third. On Saturday, Shiffrin had to settle for seventh place, but Vonn was joined on the podium by Jackie Wiles of Aurora, Ore.

Vonn had a revenge motive when she got in the starting gate, because she knew one small error caused by a rut in the course cost her a win the day before when the light was flat. Saturday was sunny, and so was Vonn’s disposition.

“I’m really happy,” Vonn said in the post-race news conference. “It was good, clean skiing today. I didn’t make any mistakes like yesterday, and it was just really fun. It was a beautiful day, perfect Cortina sunshine, perfect conditions. It made me really happy just to be out there on the mountain today, and obviously to win was special.”

At age 33, Vonn became the oldest woman to win a downhill, and she is at a point in her career when she savors big moments with reflection. She was reminded of how fast time is passing on Friday when teammate Julia Mancuso retired with one final run at Cortina. Vonn and Mancuso are the same age, raced against each other as juniors and joined the U.S. Ski Team at the same time. She’s also reminded of how long she has been racing by pain in her right knee, which required surgery twice in 2013.

“Mentally I feel like it’s the first podium I ever got, back in 2004, I feel the same,” Vonn said. “I have the same motivation, the same drive, the same excitement. I love going fast, it’s never changed. The only thing that’s changed is, my body is not as good as it once was, but that doesn’t mean I can’t still win. It just takes a lot more effort and energy to hold things together. I’ll keep going until my poor little knee gets out (of racing).”

For now, it seems that time won’t come soon. Vonn has said she will continue to race until she breaks Stenmark’s record.

“As long as I’m racing, I’m going to be going for it. I’m going to be trying to get as many wins as possible,” Vonn said. “My focus right now is so much on the Olympics that I haven’t really thought about it this season. With the win today and at Val d’Isere, it’s nice to get a little bit closer to that record, but after the Olympics that will be my number one priority again.”

All-time World Cup wins list

86 — Ingemar Stenmark, Sweden, 1973-89

79 — Lindsey Vonn, Vail, 2001-present

62 — Annemarie Moser-Proell, Austria, 1969-80

55 — Vreni Schneider, Switzerland, 1984-95

54 — Hermann Maier, Austria, 1996-2009

50 — Alberto Tomba, Italy, 1986-98

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48 — Marcel Hirscher, Austria, 2008-present

46 — Renate Goetschl, Austria, 1993-2009

46 — Marc Girardelli, Luxembourg, 1980-96

42 — Anja Paerson, Sweden, 1998-2012



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GOP, Dems show no sign of retreat as in shutdown’s first day

Denver Post Local News - 5 hours 26 min ago

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans and Democrats showed no signs of ending their standoff over immigration and spending Saturday as Americans awoke to the first day of a government shutdown and Congress staged a weekend session to show voters it was trying to resolve the stalemate.

The closure of many government agencies was a striking display of Washington dysfunction, played out on the one-year anniversary of President Donald Trump’s inauguration, and there was more finger-pointing than signs of bipartisan dealmaking.

Trump made light of the debacle in a tweet that Democrats “wanted to give me a nice present” to mark the start of his second year in office.

The president spoke with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., to discuss the next possible steps, while chief of staff John Kelly also worked the phones. White House negotiators, legislative affairs director Marc Short and budget chief Mick Mulvaney, went to Capitol Hill to meet with House Republicans, who emerged holding fast to their stance they would not negotiate while the government was shuttered.

Right around midnight, Senate Democrats killed a GOP-written House-passed measure that would have kept agencies functioning for four weeks. Democrats were seeking a stop-gap bill of just a few days in hopes that would build pressure on Republicans, and were opposing a three-week alternative offered by GOP leaders.

Democrats have insisted they would back legislation reopening government once there’s a bipartisan agreement to preserve protections against deporting about 700,000 immigrants who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children. Each party believes it had a winning political hand, and the day’s first words by party leaders underscored that so far, neither side believe it was time to give ground.

“The American people cannot begin to understand why the Senate Democratic leader thinks the entire government should be shut down until he gets his way on illegal immigration,” said McConnell

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said voters will fault Trump and the GOP. He blamed Trump for reneging on a near-deal that Schumer said the two men had approached during a White House meeting Friday.

“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” Schumer said.

Though the House and Senate were in session Saturday, it was unclear whether lawmakers would take any votes of consequence.

Democrats said they oppose the three-week plan, viewing it as a way to stall negotiations over the future of the “Dreamers” immigrants, whose protections expire in March. Republicans declared they would not reopen talks until the government shutdown ends, a strategy aimed at trying to erode Democratic cohesion.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi of California said Trump had earned an “F” for “failure in leadership.” She said Republicans are “so incompetent and negligent that they couldn’t get it together to keep the government open.”

The fourth government shutdown in a quarter-century began at the stroke of midnight at the start of a weekend, so many of the immediate effects will be muted for most Americans.

Social Security and most other safety-net programs are unaffected by the lapse in federal spending authority. Critical government functions will continue, with uniformed service members, health inspectors and law enforcement officers set to work without pay. But if no deal is reached before Monday, hundreds of thousands of federal employees will be furloughed.

Arguing that Trump’s predecessors “weaponized” that shutdown, Mulvaney said his budget office would direct agencies to work to mitigate the impact this time, although it was unclear how long that was possible. That position is a striking role reversal for the conservative former congressman who was one of the architects of the 2013 shutdown.

Political damage could grow quickly if the closure is prolonged.

Both parties are wagering that voters will punish the other at the ballot box in November.

Democrats are laying fault on Republicans, who control both chambers of Congress and the White House and have struggled with building internal consensus. Republicans branded the confrontation a “Schumer shutdown.” The senator assembled enough Democratic opposition to kill the House-passed bill.

Trump said Democrats “could have easily made a deal but decided to play Shutdown politics instead.” In a series of tweets hours after the shutdown began, the president tried to make the case for Americans to elect more Republicans to Congress in November “in order to power through this mess.” He noted that there are 51 Republicans in the 100-member Senate, and it often takes 60 votes to advance legislation.

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The stop-gap measure won 50 votes in the Senate, including five Democrats.

Trump and Schumer tried to cut a last-minute deal that would have included greater military spending and money for a wall along the Mexican border. But the talks fell apart almost as abruptly as they started.

Trump had been set to leave Friday afternoon to attend a fundraiser at his estate in Palm Beach, Florida, where he intended to make the inauguration anniversary. But he remained in Washington.

The last shutdown came in 2013. Tea party Republicans, in a strategy not unlike the one Schumer is employing now, sought to use a must-pass budget bill to try to force President Barack Obama to delay implementation of his health care law. At the time, Trump told “Fox & Friends” that the ultimate blame for a shutdown lies at the top. “I really think the pressure is on the president,” he said.

___

Associated Press writers Jill Colvin, Richard Lardner, Matthew Daly and Catherine Lucey in Washington and Jonathan Lemire in New York contributed to this report.



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From a remote cabin in the snowy hills above Crested Butte, Billy Barr’s historical records make him an accidental apostle among climate researchers

Denver Post Local News - 6 hours 13 min ago

GOTHIC — He didn’t mean for it to happen this way. He simply wanted to be alone.

“If I had any social skills at all I wouldn’t be here,” says the reclusive 67-year-old Billy Barr, who has spent the last 46 years in a remote cabin in the snowy woods several miles above Crested Butte. “I’m from inner-city Trenton, N.J., which is pretty funny when you consider the contrast.”

Barr began taking notes in 1974 out of boredom. Every day he would record the low and high temperatures, and measure new snow, snow-water equivalent and snowpack depth. Now he has stacks of yellowed notebooks brimming with a trove of data that has made him an accidental apostle among climate researchers.

“I recorded all this out of a personal interest in the weather. And because I’ve done it for so long, it has some benefit and some value. It wasn’t like I was some sort of forethinker, thinking ‘Oh, I’m going to write all this down and have absolutely no life whatsoever so I can stay here for 50 years,’ ” he says, tugging a gossamer beard dangling to his well-worn cricket sweater.

“Scientifically, my data are good because I had no goals, therefore no one can say ‘Well, you are just taking data to prove a point.’ It’s just numbers. I just wrote them down,” he says. “It’s the same person in the same location doing it in the same method, so even if I did it wrong, I did it wrong every single day for 44 years.”

He doesn’t necessarily analyze his data. But he’s seeing a trend: It’s getting warmer. The snow arrives later and leaves earlier.

Lately, he’s charting winters with about 11 fewer days with snow on the ground; roughly 5 percent of the winter without snow. In 44 years, he’d counted one December where the average low was above freezing — until December 2017, when the average low was 35 degrees.

More than 50 percent of the record daily highs he’s logged have come since 2010. In December and January this season, he already has counted 11 record daily-high temperatures. Last year he tallied 36 record-high temperatures, the most for one season. Back in the day, he would see about four, maybe five record highs each winter.

Barr’s data jibe with state and federal studies showing Colorado’s snowpack sitting around the third-lowest on record. Klaus Wolter, a University of Colorado climate scientist in Boulder, recently revised his seasonal outlook for Colorado noting a very low water content in the dismal snowpack, specifically pointing to a second-lowest snow-water-equivalent since 1981 in Barr’s Gunnison River Basin.

The second-year return of the La Niña weather pattern, Wolter wrote, “is playing out in typical fashion, leaving little hope for a recovery to near-normal snowpack or runoff in 2018.”

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David Inouye, a conservation biologist who spends his summers at Gothic’s Rocky Mountain Biological Lab, has relied on Barr’s weather data in his study of the timing and abundance of wildflowers, which he began in 1973. He counts on Barr’s wildlife observations as well — a detailed daily analysis of bird and critter sightings that show marmots emerging from hibernation a month earlier than usual and robins arriving about three weeks early.

“Many of the researchers at Rocky Mountain Biological Lab in the summer are people (like me) who have made career-long commitments to work at that site, and Billy’s data help many of us to have a climate context for our observations,” Inouye says. “We’re fortunate, for many reasons, that Billy made a commitment to living in Gothic after experiencing it for a summer as an undergraduate student there.”

It was 1972 when the city-boy student came to study in Gothic. He lived in a tent. He loved it so much, he ran home, finished school at Rutgers University and came back to Colorado. One snowy day in November that year, a man visited and asked Barr if he wanted to live in the shack on his mining claim. Despite the lack of running water or electricity, it sure beat the tent.

He spent eight years in that 8-by-10 shack. In 1980, a few pals helped him build a cabin, where he has remained since. It has a vast greenhouse, where his tub garden sprouts with onions, garlic, herbs, tomatoes, beets and more. A root cellar keeps a supply of potatoes and such. An entire wall of shelves has enough food for him to last more than one winter.

Outside, a cache of stacked firewood is enough for two winters. He has a quarter-ton of birdseed for his feeders, where birds flit around a solar array that fuels banks of batteries. The batteries power his gothicwx.org website — which has replaced his crinkling notebooks — and his movie room.

Helen H. Richardson, The Denver Postbilly barr heads out to work from his remote cabin past a 2 year supply of firewood on Jan. 9, 2018 in Gothic.

Every morning, he logs his weather data and skis down the hill, where he works full time as the bookkeeper for the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab. In the afternoons, he skis up the East River Valley, a calm stroll beneath the prominent buttress of Mount Gothic, which stands sentry over his cabin and the ghost town of Gothic.

After his daily ski, he does some chores around the cabin, logs the day’s second round of weather information and makes some dinner before retiring to his movie room. The theater, lined with more than 2,000 movies on disc, is his daily indulgence.

“I really rely on movies to stabilize mentally,” he says in the room, with its fat lounger and overhead projector. “If I’m in a certain mood and I really need to be uplifted, I can watch Bollywood movies with all the bright colors, the music and the dancing.”

On Wednesdays in summer, the founder of the Gothic Cricket Club plays his favorite game with Gothic locals, a population that swells from around five in the winter to more than 200 in the warmer months.

After the evening movie, he takes a class from a set of compact discs. Lately, he’s been learning about the Hubble telescope. Then he knits a bit, reads and goes to bed. That routine hasn’t changed much in the last four decades. He rarely visits town, although he recently built a home in Gunnison — a rare night spent there counts as a winter vacation.

In the summer, when the Rocky Mountain Biological Lab throbs with upward of 200 scientists and cars clog the climb up to Schofield Pass, he remains in Gothic, which, apparently, has troubled Gunnison officials who ticket him for an unkempt lawn.

He’s irked by those citations. We plant non-native grasses, water them with a precious resource, fire up a fossil-fueled machine to cut it back down and then add chemicals and more water to make it grow more, he says.

“We live in a desert,” he says. “It makes no sense at all.”

It takes a couple hours on skis to get from Gothic to Mt. Crested Butte. Last January, following a record-setting snowfall that left the road impassable, he dug in. When the snow started after the New Year, he shoveled eight times before surrendering as the snowpack reached his second-floor windows.

Even with that record January, he says, flipping through his notebooks, the lack of new snow in February and March made the winter end up a tad below average.

He isn’t some huge fan of snow. And last winter was too much, he says. The high pressure system that has stymied snowfall this season across the West, “now that was nice,” he says with a toothy grin. He didn’t escape to Gothic to embrace winter as much as avoid people.

“I don’t go anywhere. I don’t socialize at any time,” he says. “I just don’t enjoy social interaction.”

Last year a short film featuring his life and weather research — “The Snow Guardian” — became a hit on the outdoor film circuit. He loved the movie. It prompted a steady stream of visitors last season, which he also enjoyed, even though it disrupted his carefully constructed routine. The publicity not only elevated his research, but his undeniable observations on how things are getting warmer. He’s not particularly political, but he recognizes a need to act to preserve winter.

“Let’s say this warming, it’s not our fault but we go ahead anyway and clean up the air and clean up the water. What did we lose?” he says, sipping from a mug of tea. “Why wouldn’t we do something?”

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Calais Campbell anguished over his free agent decision. Now, after spurning the Broncos, he has the Jaguars one win from the Super Bowl.

Denver Post Local News - 6 hours 13 min ago

Calais Campbell tossed a pair of dice over a Monopoly board last March as he prepared to make the biggest decision of his professional life. He passed the “Go” square on the game board, collecting $200 in fake cash as he pondered where he would make real millions.

“Why is it so hard, though?” said the 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive end, his experience captured in an “Uninterrupted” documentary. “I didn’t expect it to be this hard of a decision.”

Campbell set a clear goal when he prepared to chase the last big contract of his NFL career. Then 30 years old, the ace pass rusher made it clear he wanted to make $15 million in average annual salary. When up-and-coming Jacksonville bumped its offer to meet that demand, it seemed like his decision had been made for him.

Then came the pull of home. Campbell grew up in Denver and played at South High School. He was a kid watching John Elway lead the Broncos to back-to-back Super Bowl championships. So when Elway, the Broncos’ general manager, led a charge to sign Campbell, albeit at a number below what the Jaguars offered, it gave Campbell pause.

“The only reason I haven’t pulled the trigger yet is that Denver came in,” Campbell said as the minutes ticked down toward the official opening of free agency. “Denver is home. That’s definitely something to consider.”

The overture by the Broncos may have made his decision more stressful at the time, but Campbell has no reason to second-guess himself these days. After signing a four-year, $60 million contract with the Jaguars, Campbell made a bigger impact in his first season in Jacksonville than the executives signing his checks could have imagined. The Jaguars are one victory from the Super Bowl — in no small part because of the contributions of Campbell, who has had the best season of his NFL career.

During his nine seasons with Arizona, Campbell never had more than nine sacks in a season. In 2017, he set a Jaguars record with 14½ sacks, forced three fumbles and earned Pro Bowl, all-pro and defensive player of the year honors, the latter from the Pro Football Writers of America. He became the mayor of “Sacksonville,” the name the Jaguars’ defense adopted while accumulating 55 quarterback takedowns.

“I think it’s one of those things where being a star on a team of stars is where he’s finally at,” said Ryan Harris, the former Broncos offensive tackle who went head to head with Campbell three times in his NFL career. “Any time you can put three (outstanding) players on the defensive line, you really create opportunities for everybody on the defense.”

Indeed it’s a ferocious supporting cast that has helped unleash Campbell. He is one four Jaguars with at least eight sacks. By comparison, Von Miller (10) was the only Broncos player with more than six sacks in 2017. Yannick Ngakoue, a third-round pick of Jacksonville in the 2016 draft, had 12 sacks in his second NFL season. Dante Fowler, the third overall pick in 2015 who missed his entire rookie season because of an injury, had eight sacks and recovered two fumbles. And then there is former Broncos defensive tackle Malik Jackson, the boisterous presence who tallied eight sacks and forced four fumbles.

And that pass rush is fortified by a high-IQ middle linebacker, Paul Posluszny, and a suffocating secondary led by brash-talking cornerback Jalen Ramsey.

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“There is not a lot of time for the quarterback to throw,” Patriots quarterback Tom Brady said of the Jaguars’ defense during a radio interview last week.  “The whole secondary knows it. The linebackers know it. They’re aggressive. They take chances. They get a lot of turnovers … (The quarterback) is under pressure all day.”

But Campbell is the engine — both on the field and as an emotional leader in the locker room — that guides the unit. The Jaguars create mismatches by moving Campbell around on the defensive line. When he set a single-game Jaguars record with four sacks in the season opener against the Texans, Campbell got to quarterback Tom Savage from right end, left end and from the three-technique spot inside. His athleticism and quickness allow him to line up inside and stunt all the way around the end, leaving a guard assigned to him chasing futilely on the outside. Or he can simply bull rush a tackle by demonstrating surprising leverage for a 6-8 pass rusher. And because of Jacksonville’s pass rushing talent and ability to cover one-on-one on the outside, Campbell faces fewer double-team blocks than most other elite pass rushers.

“He’s incredibly smart in terms of understanding the down-and-distance situations and what’s probably going to come,” Harris said. “And I’m sure being next to Malik Jackson is inspiring him. I’ve been teammates with Malik, and his bombastic personality really inspires others. There’s also something to be said for the twilight effect. Time is running out for Calais Campbell to win a championship. That’s the only thing he doesn’t have on his resume. When you can just play to win, you can really play your best.”

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The one place in Colorado where Donald Trump is still not president

Denver Post Local News - 8 hours 12 min ago

A year after his inauguration, there is still one place in Colorado where Donald Trump is not president.

On the third floor rotunda of the state Capitol, in the Gallery of Presidents, the plaque under Barack Obama’s portrait gives no end date to his presidency, and the space on the wall next to him is empty.

The blank space is one of the more photographed scenes on the Capitol tour, and the reactions to Trump’s absence offer a reflection on the current state of politics in America.

John Leyba, The Denver PostA year from his inauguration, there is still one place in Colorado where Donald Trump is not president. The place is the third floor presidential portrait gallery at the state Capitol, where a blank wall sits next to President Barack Obama’s portrait. The empty space is one of the more photographed parts of the Capitol tour. A fundraising effort to hire the painter is expected to launch soon, along with an effort to get Gov. Hickenlooper’s portrait completed. Photo of the portrait area on Jan. 19, 2018 at the State Capitol.

To ardent Democrats, it can appear a manifestation of their dream that Nov. 8, 2016, never happened. To hardcore Republicans, it can seem like part of a conspiracy to disrespect the 45th president.

Like so much talk in politics these days, the truth is neither. It just takes time to raise the money to commission the work and paint the portrait, officials say. Obama’s portrait didn’t appear in the gallery until May 2011.

“These are not quick things to happen,” said Senate President Kevin Grantham, the top Republican lawmaker and the one tasked with collecting private donations to pay for the portrait.

The Trump portrait is expected to cost $10,000, the same as Obama’s, and the donations are made to Colorado Citizens for Culture, a nonprofit. No tax dollars are used for the portraits.
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Massachusetts artist Lawrence Williams painted the original set of oil-on-canvas portraits — George Washington through Jimmy Carter — that an Arizona couple donated to the state in 1979. He painted four more before his death in 2003, finishing with George W. Bush.

His painting of Abraham Lincoln is the only one that doesn’t bear his name. The original Lincoln portrait was stolen in the 1990s, and he painted another but declined to sign it. Bill Clinton’s portrait is actually a reproduction print of Williams’ original.

The artist who succeeded him is Sarah A. Boardman of Colorado Springs. She did Obama’s portrait in the same style and is expected to paint Trump.

“I paint all sorts of subjects; you can’t really change them,” she said. “They are who they are.”

The organizers hope to hang the portrait within the year. And until then, the Capitol’s presidential gallery will remain frozen in political time.

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Colorado Parks and Wildlife study looking at chance of humans contracting deer disease

Denver Post Local News - 8 hours 12 min ago

DENVER — Would you eat venison if there was a chance it could slowly eat away at your brain?

If there’s a slight possibility, it doesn’t bother Patrick States. On the menu this evening for his wife and two daughters at their Northglenn home are pan-seared venison steaks with mashed potatoes and a whiskey cream sauce.

“We each have our specialty, actually,” said States as the steak sizzled. “The girls made elk tamales this morning, but we use (venison or elk) in spaghetti, chili, soup, whatever.”

The States take pride in skipping the butcher counter at the grocery store. The red meat on their table almost always comes from wild game hunted in Colorado, a source they see as more organic than anything wrapped in styrofoam and plastic.

Tonight’s deer came from outside the northwestern town of Craig. The area has a low-prevalence of Chronic Wasting Disease, a deadly neurological disorder similar to Mad Cow that’s found in deer, elk and moose.

First observed among captive mule deer in Fort Collins in 1967, CWD has since infected wild herds in 24 states and Canada. It has also been found in South Korea and Norway. In that time, there’s been no report of human illness due to CWD exposure, but a recent Canadian study has renewed concerns the disease could make the jump.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife asks hunters to test kills from certain areas affected by CWD. If an animal comes back positive, they recommend hunters avoid any risk by tossing out the meat before it’s eaten.

Patrick States tested a sickly-looking elk in the past and threw out the meat when it came back positive. But he opted not to test the deer now on his dinner plate.

“The deer was a big healthy animal and there was a really low percentage (of CWD) in the area,” he explained as he ate. “It’s just not something I worry about.”

CRACKS IN THE SPECIES BARRIER

Matt Dunfee, head of the Chronic Wasting Disease Alliance in Fort Collins, has heard that sort of reasoning from hunters before and called it “absolutely wrong.”

“The vast majority of the time hunters find out their animal has CWD, they’re shocked, because it looked great,” he said. “It was moving just like everything else. It had great body fat.”

The reason has to do with the speed of the disease. A CWD-infected animal can live for two years before showing signs, like a vacant stare or exposed ribs. Predators or car accidents tend to remove infected animal first, according to Dunfee.

What’s tricker is explaining why hunters should worry at all. As Dunfee acknowledged, scientists have found no conclusive proof that infected meat has harmed people.

That evidence, or lack of it, suggests a strong “species barrier” between deer and humans.

CWD passes from animal to animal through prions, misfolded proteins that cause other proteins to misfold around them. Different prion disease tend to only harm certain species, but can evolve to overcome those limitations.

For instance, Mad Cow emerged in the UK in the mid-1980s after cattle ate bone meal of sheep infected with scrapie, a similar brain-wasting disease. The disease then made the jump to people through infected beef products, causing a new variant of Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Such a change has yet to happen with CWD. So far, its path of destruction appears to have stopped at the human body.

A new study has heightened concerns. Canadian researchers found that macaque monkeys contracted CWD after eating infected deer. The results mark the first time the disease has been shown to spread to a primate through meat, rather than through a direct injection of CWD prions into the nervous system.

“While most research shows there’s a robust species barrier, this recent study showed that barrier might not be quite as robust as we once thought,” Dunfee said.

Research by Mark Zabel, the associate director of the Prion Research Center at Colorado State University, has found the agents behind the “zombie disease” are highly susceptible to change and are likely still evolving.

Zabel pointed out that scientist have only known about CWD for 50 years, “which leads us to believe it’s only a matter of time before a prion emerges that can spread to humans.”

WATCHING AND WAITING

Over the last hunting season, Colorado Parks and Wildlife required CWD testing for mule deer from certain areas of the state. The goal was to get a clearer picture of the spread of the disease.

To comply with the requirement or volunteer animals for testing, hunters deliver deer or elk heads to state wildlife offices. One such head was in a refrigerator at the Colorado Parks and Wildlife office in Fort Collins. A taxidermist had already removed the skin, which made the job easier for volunteer Aaron Schmitt.

He flipped the head over on a white plastic table and worked a scalpel into the crevice between the neck and the chin. He then carefully removed two gray lymph nodes. The organs serve as early reservoirs for CWD prions and would be sent to a lab for testing.

Mule deer submission had more than tripled near the end of 2017, according to data provided by CPW senior wildlife veterinarian Michael Miller. The success allowed the state to publish more precise maps on CWD prevalence.

The maps show that CWD continues to have a strong presence in Colorado, its original epicenter. The news means further pressure on the state’s herds of deer and elk, which could eventually lead to long-term population declines.

Public health officials also monitor Colorado’s human population for diseases related to CWD. Since the disease has been known to exist in northern Colorado and southern Wyoming longer than anywhere else, epidemiologists watch for any occurrence of human brain-wasting diseases, like Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease.

Between 1979 and 2000, the CDC did not find a concerning increase in disease rates in the area. Cases matched rates in other parts of the country and did not appear to affect younger victims. The results suggest rising rates of CWD during the 21-year period did not impact human health.

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The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment continues to monitor for Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease deaths across the state. Since 1998, it reports there have been 72 cases confirmed by the examination of a victim’s brain. Some families choose not to have the procedure, so the agency estimates 42 additional probable cases in that period.

If the estimates are combined, the highest number of CJD cases in a year is 10, which is in keeping with expectations for Colorado’s population. The prevalence of hunters among the victims is also at or below the general population.

Nationwide, there has been an 85 percent increase in CJD cases from 2002 to 2015 — something national health officials chalk up to better monitoring efforts and an aging population.

Matt Dunfee at the CWD Alliance said such results are encouraging, but are not definitive proof people are safe. A strain could be steps from vaulting the species barrier between deer and people.

But if it ever did, Dunfee said his advice to hunters would be the same.

“If you are hunting in an area where CWD is found, have your animal tested,” he said. “And if it comes back positive, don’t eat the meat.”

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The Morning After: 7 takeaways from Denver Nuggets’ home loss to Phoenix Suns

Denver Post Local News - 8 hours 13 min ago

The Denver Nuggets suffered another stunning home defeat Friday night, falling 108-100 to Phoenix in their sixth loss in eight games.

Here are seven takeaways from the outing:

1. Starting lineup shakeup. Coach Michael Malone said at shootaround Friday that, moving forward, the opponent’s personnel would be the primary dictator of the Nuggets’ starting frontcourt. Trey Lyles got the nod for his second start of the season against the Suns and finished with 15 points shooting and seven rebounds in 28 minutes.

“(It’s) nothing new,” Lyles said of his approach. “Just have to go out there and continue to play hard. I feel pretty good with that lineup. Hopefully we can continue to do that in the future.”

The good news for Denver? Lyles shot 5-of-8 from the floor after connecting on 33.3 percent of his field goals over his previous five games, his first slump since joining the rotation. The bad news? Putting Lyles in the starting lineup takes away the offensive spark he provides off the bench. That was apparent when the Nuggets’ reserves lasted just six minutes before getting pulled for the starters early in the second quarter. The Suns’ bench held a 44-23 edge Friday. Over the past four games, Denver’s bench has been outscored by its opponent’s 182-92.

2. Overlooked momentum swing. It was easy to point out how Denver failed to capitalize after Murray’s fiery play out of halftime spearheaded a Nuggets’ 7-2 run to cut Phoenix’s lead to 62-59 less than three minutes into the third quarter. But Malone highlighted the final minute of the second quarter. With the Nuggets trailing by eight, Tyson Chandler was called for a flagrant 1 foul after clocking Mason Plumlee down low. But Plumlee missed both free throws — he’s now shooting 40.8 from the stripe this season — before Gary Harris missed an open 3 with less than six seconds left before the half. Then, TJ Warren snuck behind the defense for a running dunk just before the buzzer. What could have been a three-point advantage for Phoenix suddenly became 10.

3. Booker’s buckets. After limiting Devin Booker to 4-of-13 from the field for 17 points earlier this month, the Phoenix star went off on the Nuggets for 30 on 11-of-23 shooting Friday. Booker is a master at pulling up for shots even while tightly defended and at getting through traffic to the rim for athletic finishes. But Malone noted his defenders were not as physical with Booker as in their previous meeting.

“That’s not just on the guards,” Malone said. “It’s also on bigs being up, having proper discipline on pick and rolls and catch-and-shoot (chances).”

Booker’s most cold-blooded move of the night? After he drilled a 3 in Jamal Murray’s face to give the Suns a game-high 15-point lead late in the second quarter, he celebrated by pretending to shoot a bow and arrow.

4. Speaking of Murray… On Thursday, Murray was identifying cards in a computerized test that measures memory and reaction time as part of the NBA’s concussion protocol. By Friday morning, Murray publicly insisted he was ready to play — and showed it that night while dropping 30 points. That total was two away from his season high set in a November win over Orlando. He now has five 30-point games this season, the most by any Denver player and the most among all NBA players under the age of 21. Murray, who was born in 1997, can legally drink on Feb. 23.

“I felt fine,” Murray said. “I looked fine, didn’t I? My head doesn’t hurt when I play.”

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5. Jokic turnovers. Six of Denver’s 16 turnovers came from Nikola Jokic, who averages a team-high 2.7 per game. That’s partially understandable, given how much of the offense flows through Jokic. And he often complements the lost balls with dazzling passes. But he’s now got eight games this season with at least five turnovers. When asked how he can clean those miscues up, Jokic pointed to refining other areas of his offensive game.

“I need to be more efficient, probably,” Jokic said. “I need to work on my shots. I need to be, probably, stronger.”

6. More stats. Denver, which entered Friday ranked 13th in the league in field-goal percentage (46), has been outshot from the floor in seven consecutive games, its longest streak since 2016. The Nuggets have also lost four of their last five games when one of their players scores 30 points or more, illustrating that this team is perhaps most effective when it deploys a balanced offensive effort.

7. Scoreboard watching. The Nuggets don’t play again until Monday against the Blazers, and plenty can shift in a packed Western Conference over the next two days. Every team Denver is chasing plays Saturday. The eighth-seeded Clippers are at the Jazz, while the No. 7-seed Pelicans host the Grizzlies. The sixth-seeded Blazers host the Mavericks. The No. 5-seed Thunder visits Cleveland.



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Broncos head to Alabama to (maybe) find answers for 2018

Denver Post Local News - 8 hours 13 min ago

The opportunity to coach the Senior Bowl is as much an advantage as it is a recognition of failure. Under first-year head coach Vance Joseph, the Broncos finished 5-11 last season, went playoff-less yet again, and discovered a slew of roster holes to fill and major decisions to make.

But they also shot up the list of eligible NFL staffs to coach in the Senior Bowl, with the requisite pairing of a bad record and a returning head coach. When asked if they’d like the temporary gig, the Broncos said they “jumped at the chance.”

“The value in coaching the game is they do have access to the players throughout the day,” said Phil Savage, executive director of the Senior Bowl and a former longtime NFL executive. “You’re talking about meetings, you’re talking about walk-throughs, you’re talking about meal times. I would say they definitely have more personal interactions with the prospects than the other 30 teams that are not involved.”

It’s been 29 years since the Broncos were active participants in the Senior Bowl — Dan Reeves’ staff coached the South team in 1989 — and their return couldn’t have been timed better.

Since Peyton Manning’s retirement in 2016, the Broncos have traded for a veteran (Mark Sanchez), traded up to draft a first-rounder (Paxton Lynch), tested the skills of a seventh-rounder (Trevor Siemian), signed a familiar free agent (Brock Osweiler), held two offseason competitions for the top job and rotated starters more than half a dozen times. And they’re still searching for their guy.

That could change soon.

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This year’s draft class is stacked with quarterback talent and two projected first-rounders will play for the Broncos at the Senior Bowl, on the North team.

“All eyes are going to be on Josh Allen (from Wyoming)  and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma),” ESPN analyst Mel Kiper said. “… Baker, we watch very closely to see how he handles himself all over the place because you want him to be the CEO of your football team. And for Josh Allen, to go down there and do what Carson Wentz did. … Just stick out as a big-sized quarterback because (Josh) Rosen’s not going to be there and (Sam) Darnold’s not going to be there.”

In December, general manager John Elway and director of player personnel Matt Russell traveled to Boise, Idaho, to watch Allen close out his college career in the Potato Bowl. Allen, a quarterback lauded for his size and arm but questioned because of his accuracy and lower level of competition in the Mountain West, threw three touchdowns in the first quarter of a Wyoming win.

The Broncos reserved their close-up of Mayfield for the Senior Bowl and the team requested to coach him. And he offers NFL teams plenty to consider.

Mayfield was arrested in February 2017 on charges that included public intoxication, and he was benched for a start in November because of an inappropriate gesture he made in the previous game, against Kansas.  He planted Oklahoma’s flag in the middle of Ohio State’s field following a Sooners’ win, carried a “Pretenders” sign while arriving at the Rose Bowl and is the type of player the Broncos both love and may not need.

He plays on an edge, but he’ll occasionally cross it. He has proven ability but also a rawness, has a history overcoming the odds and has embraced a “show ‘em” mentality. But he’ll also be a rookie with questionable size and needed development, and like nearly every draft pick he is a gamble for a team needing a starter now.

“I think half of it is what you see on film and the other half is figuring out what kind of guy it is,” Elway said. “I think the biggest challenge about playing the position is there is a lot of good football players and a lot of guys that have a ton of talent out there. But … in college you’re allowed to be a kid. You come to the NFL and the expectation levels rise, especially if you’re a high pick.”

In three practices, Tuesday through Thursday, in a game opposite the Houston Texans-led South team on Saturday and in multiple meetings and off-field interactions, the Broncos will get see much more than they ever could simply on film.

But their eyes won’t be fixated solely on quarterbacks.

Depending on the Broncos’ moves in free agency in mid-March, they’ll also be in the market for help on the offensive line (again). They need a receiver (or two), could use a speedy running back and play-making tight end. They need depth on the defensive line, might need an inside linebacker, will likely always look for a spark on the edge, to learn behind Miller and Shane Ray, and could seek additional help in the secondary.

In Alabama, they might find answers to some of their problems.

“The Senior Bowl is a part of the equation,” Savage said. “It’s not the end all, be all, but it certainly can give players an opportunity to make a first impression as a person and then a lasting impression as a player because this is the last time that they’ll actually be in a football uniform prior to the draft.

Senior Bowl players to watch (Not named Mayfield or Allen)

Luke Falk, QB, Washington State. Falk, also considered among the top 10 at quarterbacks in the draft, will play for the Broncos on the North team. He sat out the Cougars’ bowl game because of a wrist injury, putting even more onus on a strong showing at the Senior Bowl. Like Mayfield, Falk (6-foot-4, 223 pounds) began his college career as a walk-on and morphed into one of the best in the nation, as the Pac-12’s all-time passing leader and winningest QB in school history.

Michael Gallup, WR, Colorado State. Gallup (6-1, 200) will also be on the North team and could be a viable mid-to-late round pick for Denver. He recorded a school record 100 catches in 2017 and finished fifth in FBS with 1,413 receiving yards. Gallup was also a Biletnikoff Award finalist, a consensus All-America and the nation’s top-graded receiver by Pro Football Focus.

Will Hernandez, G, UTEP. The Broncos need help on the offensive line and they could turn to a familiar face — one who will play for the North team, too. Hernandez (6-3, 330) was a four-year starter at left guard at UTEP under former coach Sean Kugler, who was just hired as the Broncos’ offensive line-guards/centers coach.

Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State. A Peyton, Colorado, native, Ballage doesn’t have the frame (6-3, 230) of a typical back — and he used every bit of it to his advantage in both the running and passing games for ASU. Ballage turned heads with his FBS record eight touchdowns against Texas Tech in 2016. He will play on the North team.

Shaquem Griffin, OLB, Central Florida. The redshirt senior (6-1, 223) was the Defensive MVP of the 2018 Peach Bowl and the Defensive Player of the Year for the American Athletic Conference in 2016. And he did so one-handed. Griffin had his left hand amputated when he was 4 years old. He will play on the South team coached by the Texans.

Marcus Davenport, DE, University of Texas at San Antonio. The Conference USA 2017 Defensive Player of the Year recorded 55 tackles and set UTSA records with 17.5 tackles for loss, 8.5 sacks and eight quarterback hurries last season. “Obviously he’s not a well-known prospect, but we think he will be by the time he has three days of practices and a game on Saturday,” Savage said.” Davenport (6-7, 255) will also be on the South team.

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Ask Amy: Tenancy causes relationship tension

Denver Post Local News - 9 hours 42 min ago

Dear Amy: My boyfriend “Wally” and I bought our first home together 10 months ago. Three months ago, his friend “Bart” moved into our guest room.

Three weeks later he had furniture delivered. More is in the basement. Bart is self-employed (he buys and trades stocks) but has been traveling overseas off and on. When I broach the subject of finding other housing, he tells me that he doesn’t want to rent (even though he rents from us for $200 a month). He says he’d rather buy a house.

The uncertainty surrounding the length and terms of his stay has caused tension in my relationship with my boyfriend, and more than a few fights. We have had ongoing issues, but before Bart arrived, our relationship was in a good place, although communication is clearly still something we need to work on.

All I want is a rough timeline and clear expectations. After more than a year of living in my boyfriend’s parents’ infested and cluttered basement, I want our home back. I want Bart to re-evaluate his own expectations, find his own apartment and start building his life, so we can focus on building ours.

I’m not sure I will get Wally 100 percent onboard with having this conversation with Bart. I have asked him to, but he said he doesn’t want to ask him too many questions because he believes it is none of our business.

I would like to casually start the conversation with both of them in the room so that both of us can hear what Bart’s thoughts are concerning his future.

I know what I WANT to say, but HOW do I say it without coming off like I’m kicking him out?

— Crowded

Dear Crowded: You co-own this house. You have an equal right to express how the house is run, and who lives there. I suggest you firmly locate your backbone and freely share your reasonable concern with both men. Because you have allowed this man to live in your home as a tenant, it might be more difficult to get him to leave than you realize.

Most important, you are in a relationship where you don’t think you have an equal voice. You seem to have agreed to this tenancy beforehand, and either you were too passive to express your doubts at the time, or the reality of this has given you second thoughts.

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Don’t ask permission to express yourself. Tell your boyfriend that as a co-owner of this property, you’d like to make this casual arrangement “official,” including an end date. Call a “house meeting,” present a legal short-term lease with a definite expiration, ask “Bart” to sign it and then hold him to it. Bart’s future plans are his own business, just as his tenancy in your home is your business.

Dear Amy: I’ve been with my boyfriend for four years. We have been living together for three years.

Lately, I feel I’m wasting my time with this relationship.

His family always comes first, and I can’t take it anymore. I’ve talked to him about it, many times, and he always says that things will change soon — but they don’t.

I don’t know how to approach the situation. This is a major block in our relationship. We have talked about the future, but it doesn’t look bright to me. Can you please give me some help?

— Almost Done

Dear Almost Done: You and your guy have been together for several years. You don’t give details about his family priorities, but in a healthy relationship, partners put themselves at the center of their family life. His family — and yours — should accept some realignment.

You have described this as a major problem in your relationship, and despite talking about it he either isn’t able — or doesn’t want — to change.

You already know everything you need to know. If this isn’t the relationship you want to be in, you should consider leaving it.

Dear Amy: I just wanted to thank you for your advice for “Burdened,” the man worrying about the child he had fathered as a teenager who was given up for adoption. Honesty and truth are the absolute best policy.

As someone who works to reunite adopted children and birth parents, Burdened’s other children would probably be far angrier to find out about their half-sibling after his death.

Thank you for encouraging him to be honest.

— Advocate

Dear Advocate: There has been a large and compassionate response to this question. Thank you.

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UFC 220 — Miocic vs. Ngannou live blog: Real-time updates from fight night

Denver Post Local News - 9 hours 58 min ago

Live updates, tweets, photos, analysis and more from UFC 220 at TD Garden in Boston on Jan. 20, 2018.

Mobile users, if you can’t see the live blog, tap here.

(function(d, s, id) {var js,ijs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];if(d.getElementById(id))return;js=d.createElement(s);js.id=id;js.src="//embed.scribblelive.com/widgets/embed.js";ijs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, ijs);}(document, "script", "scrbbl-js")); Related Articles

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Nothing to see here. Just Charlie Blackmon and Von Miller hanging out together at a Nuggets game.

Denver Post Local News - 14 hours 10 min ago

The sports stars of the Denver universe aligned Friday night.

Denver Broncos all-pro linebacker Von Miller was spotted Friday courtside at the Nuggets game hanging out with none other than Rockies all-star Charlie Blackmon. Both have become regulars at the Nuggets’ games at Pepsi Center.

Unfortunately, the multi-millionaire duo didn’t get to see the best game, as the Nuggets fell to the Suns 108-100.

There was some excitement in the fourth quarter, however, when Blackmon came onto the floor to attempt a backwards, halfcourt shot.

Matthew Stockman, Getty ImagesCharlie Blackmon of the Colorado Rockies walks on court with Denver Nuggets mascot Rocky during the Denver Nuggets verses the Phoenix Suns game at the Pepsi Center on January 19, 2018 in Denver, Colorado.

You may remember, Blackmon nailed the same circus shot in January 2016, then lost complete control of his body.

This time, unfortunately, the shot just rimmed out.

It’s Charlie Blackmon!!! He’s here!!! #Rockies #RockiesCaravan pic.twitter.com/rS4SihMljr

— Amanda K (@den_manders_01) January 20, 2018

Charlie Blackmon was oh so close to repeating his half court magic

— Zach Mikash (@ZachMikash) January 20, 2018

Blackmon wasn’t the only Rockies player in attendance on Friday. Manager Bud Black was seated courtside, along with catcher Tony Wolters and pitcher Chris Rusin.

The Rockies are in town for their “Winter Caravan” that wraps up on Saturday.

David Zalubowski, The Associated PressFrom left to right, Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Chris Rusin, left, joins catcher Tony Wolters and manager Bud Black in courtside seats to watch the Denver Nuggets host the Phoenix Suns in an NBA basketball game Friday, Jan. 19, 2018, in Denver.

And what night would be complete without Miller taking the time to stop and ham it up in a photo. This young Nuggets fan was thrilled.

@VonMiller Thanks for stopping and taking a pic with this kid! He may not look it but he was jacked and can’t stop talking about it! pic.twitter.com/kZcu0ipje3

— Zachary Hall (@zacharythall) January 20, 2018

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Police searching for domestic violence suspect after gunbattle in northeast Colorado Springs

Denver Post Local News - 14 hours 29 min ago
The GazetteThe domestic violence incident was reported about 3:40 p.m. in the 5800 block of North Union Boulevard.

A domestic violence suspect shot at police officers Friday afternoon, then escaped into a northeast Colorado Springs neighborhood after they returned fire, said Lt. Howard Black, Police Department spokesman.

No officers were hit and police don’t believe the suspect was injured in the shootout. As of 9 p.m., police were still searching for the gunman, according to their tweets.

“Update: No additional shots fired. Continues to be an active search for the suspect. Please stay in your residence. We still request citizens to stay clear of the area,” police tweeted around 8:45 p.m.

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Officers blocked off a large area surrounding North Union Boulevard and Vickers Road, keeping some residents from returning home. People inside the perimeter were warned to stay inside and keep away from windows.

“Please stay out of this area,” Black said about 5:30 p.m., addressing the community. “If you live in this area, please shelter in place and do not open your door for strangers. If you hear any noises (or see) any strange folks that you’re not aware of walking in the area, please call 911 immediately.”

Read the full story at gazette.com.

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A California man ate raw fish almost every day — until a 5-foot-long tapeworm slithered out of his body

Denver Post Local News - 15 hours 40 min ago

He told an emergency room physician he had a liking for raw fish – specifically, salmon sashimi.

It’s what the 30-year-old man, from Fresno, California, suspected had landed him in the bathroom with stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea.

But what he did not anticipate was the moment he spotted something hanging from his rear end, and he naturally assumed the worst.

“He was like, ‘Oh my goodness, my guts are coming out from me,’ ” said Kenny Banh, the emergency physician at the University of California at San Francisco, in Fresno, who treated him. Banh recounted what the man told him on the podcast “This Won’t Hurt A Bit” earlier this month.

He gave it a pull, Banh said, and it kept coming.

“He picks it up and looks at it and what does it do? It starts moving,” he said. “He was like, ‘That’s a worm.’ ”

It was a Monday in August 2017 when the man showed up in the emergency room of UCSF Fresno’s Community Regional Medical Center clutching a plastic grocery bag and asking doctors to treat him for tapeworms – parasites that can invade the digestive tract of animals and humans. Banh said he didn’t think too much of it; he had heard patients express similar concerns about tapeworms in the past.

Banh opened the sack.

Inside, he said, was a cardboard toilet paper tube – with a tapeworm wrapped around it.

Banh said the worm was dead when he saw it but noted the man told him “it was alive when he pulled it out and it was wiggling in his hand.” Banh stretched it out on ER floor and measured it – all 5½ feet of it, he said in an interview Friday with The Washington Post.

“It got long enough that some of it was sneaking out of him,” he said about the parasite.

Banh said it’s not certain which species of tapeworm it was or how long it had been inside the patient.

He said his patient was convinced he got the tapeworm from eating raw fish. Banh said given the fact that the man had not recently traveled or been drinking questionable water – and the fact that he said he ate sushi or sashimi almost daily – he is “almost positive” that the self-assessment is correct.

However, Banh said, there are risks with any type of food.

“You have to be aware,” he said, explaining that the concern is not with the sushi or sashimi as such but with whether it is properly prepared.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has released guidelines for controlling parasites that may live in seafood – by cooking the food or freezing it at certain temperatures for certain amounts of time.

That said,in January 2017, a study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s journal Emerging Infectious Diseases noted that wild salmon caught in Alaska’s icy waters were found to be infected by a Japanese tapeworm known as Diphyllobothrium nihonkaiense. As The Post’s Ben Guarino reported at the time:

“The researchers behind the study, tapeworm experts from the Czech Academy of Sciences and biologists at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, concluded that “salmon from the American and Asian Pacific coasts and elsewhere pose potential dangers for persons who eat these fish raw.” They hunted for the tapeworm larva via microscope, and confirmed it was the Japanese species using a recently developed molecular technique.

“The fish species in the study involved several types of wild Alaskan salmon: chinook, coho, pink and sockeye salmon, as well as rainbow trout. They found a Japanese broad tapeworm burrowed in the muscles of a Pacific pink salmon, near the fish’s spine.”

Experts say Diphyllobothrium latum are among the most common – and largest – of the tapeworms that can take up residence in human bellies.

They can grow up to 30 feet, according to the CDC. In addition, the agency noted, they can live for years.

The CDC states that humans get Diphyllobothrium most often by eating uncooked or undercooked fish, such as salmon, that is infected with tapeworm larvae. Once inside the host, the larvae then grow.

The Post’s Sarah Kaplan put it best:

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“The life of a tapeworm unfolds over three stages. First, their larvae, which dwell in some animals’ muscle, are swallowed by another unsuspecting host. With hooks or suckers, they cling to the lining of the gut and get fat off nutrients predigested by the host as they develop. When it comes time to procreate, these hermaphroditic creatures make use of the full suite of male and female reproductive organs packed into their rear ends – they can self-fertilize or mate with another individual. Their eggs are swept out into the world via the host’s bowel movements, then swallowed by another host, when the cycle begins again.”

“It’s not like every single piece of raw fish is infected,” said Janine Caira, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut. Although, she noted, every day a person eats it, he or she is increasing the odds of getting a parasite.

But aside from the sheer horror of it, tapeworms do not typically do much damage to their hosts.

Infections are usually asymptomatic, although they can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the CDC. And, doctors say, they are treated pretty easily with medication.

The patient was given medication to kill any other tapeworms, Banh said, but no others came out.

“He swore off sushi after this,” Banh said, but predicted that eventually his patient will eat it again.

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Winter storm to hit mountains Saturday, spread onto eastern plains overnight into Sunday

Denver Post Local News - 15 hours 53 min ago

A Pacific storm system will bring wintry weather to Colorado this weekend with the possibility of heavy snow in the mountains with snow and blowing snow on the plains.

A winter storm watch has been posted by the National Weather Service from midnight Saturday until 5 p.m. Sunday for northeastern Colorado including the Denver metro area, Akron, Castle Rock, Fort Collins, Fort Lupton, Fort Morgan, Greeley, Limon and Sterling.

Snow in the mountains should start light on Saturday afternoon and become heavy at times on Saturday evening as temperatures drop, according to the weather service. Snow will move east and could also be heavy along the Front Range foothills and in the Denver area on Sunday.

Northerly winds gusting between 25 to 40 mph in northeast Colorado will create areas of blowing snow, reducing visibility to less than a mile at times. Snow is expected to decrease from the west to the east on Sunday evening, ending on the far northeast Colorado plains at about midnight Sunday.

Between 4 to 8 inches of snow is possible in northeastern Colorado and travel will likely be difficult on Sunday. Winds on the plains should be most gusty east of Interstate 25.

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In the mountains, heavy snow will make travel difficult along the Interstate 70 corridor and at the Eisenhower Tunnel. The Colorado Department of Transportation warns drivers to use caution and practice safety.

In Denver, skies will be mostly sunny on Saturday, before the storm arrives, and the high temperature should top out at about 55 degrees, the weather service said. There’s a slight chance of rain and snow showers before 9 p.m., then giving way snow with a possible accumulation of 1 to 2 inches in the city. The low temperature should dip to about 21 degrees.

On Sunday in the city, snow is likely before noon and the daytime accumulation should be between 2 to 4 inches. It will be blustery and the high temperature should top out at about 29 degrees. There’s a 20 percent chance of snow in Denver before midnight Sunday.

The system should move on overnight Sunday, skies are expected to be mostly sunny in Denver on Monday with a daytime high temperature of 42 degrees.

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Fifth-ranked DU Pioneers hockey shuts out No. 15 Nebraska-Omaha

Denver Post Local News - 15 hours 57 min ago

A Denver hockey forward affectionately known as “Luco” suited up in a Pioneer uniform for his 100th career game Friday night. An impressive milestone worthy of an impressive performance. Jarid Lukosevicius didn’t disappoint.

Fifth-ranked DU cruised to a 5-0 victory against No. 15-ranked Nebraska-Omaha at the Ritchie Center. A welcomed result for a program searching for consistency. DU, fresh off a 4-1 win at Miami (Ohio) on Jan. 6, now has consecutive victories for first time since early December. The Pioneers also earned their fourth shutout this season as senior goaltender Tanner Jaillet totaled 34 saves.

“We’re building,” Pioneers coach Jim Montgomery said. “It’s nice to see guys starting to get it. You see the lights starting to come on. Now the challenge for us is, OK, we did it tonight. But human nature is to enjoy the moment too long.”

Lukosevicius — a junior of Lithuanian descent who grew up in Squamish, British Columbia (Canada) — provided the first spark. With under three minutes left in the first period and a power-play advantage, Lukosevicius redirected a shot from DU freshman defenseman Ian Mitchell and past Omaha goaltender Even Weninger.

Lukosevicius added another score in the third period, this time on an easy backdoor feed from sophomore forward Henrick Borgstrom from another power-play opportunity. In his 100th game, Lukosevicius notched his 33rd and 34th career goal.

“One of our goals tonight was to win net-front battles and win special teams,” Lukosevicius said, “and I think we did both tonight.”

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DU expanded its lead quickly. Junior forward Dylan Gambrell controlled the puck past the blue line less than two minutes into the second period and dished it back to Mitchell, who crossed the ice left to right, stopped and fired the puck into the lower left corner of the net. It was the second goal of Mitchell’s young DU career.

In addition to Lukosevicius’ third-period goal, DU found the net twice more before the end of regulation with goals from junior forward Troy Terry and sophomore defenseman Erich Fear.

DU moved to 13-6-4 on the year with 11 regular season games remaining. The Pioneers return to the Ritchie Center for the second game of their double header against Omaha (12-10-1) at 7:05 p.m. Saturday.

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