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Updated: 1 hour 1 min ago

Most runners dread training for races on treadmills. This Denver couple would rather do it indoors.

2 hours 59 min ago

Many runners revile training on treadmills so much they curse them as “dreadmills,” resorting to their grinding monotony only when it’s too cold, hot, snowy or rainy to brave the elements outside.

But Brian and Monica Folts decided long ago that it makes more sense for them to hop on those remorseless machines, punch “Start,” select a running pace to their liking and pound out the miles rather than take time to get in a car and drive somewhere to run.

They’d rather spend that time running.

They have used treadmills to train for dozens of marathons, Ironman triathlons and Pikes Peak races, and they are fast. Monica won the Denver Rock ‘N’ Roll Marathon in 2014 and the Colfax Half Marathon in 2017. Both are potential winners Sunday in the half marathons associated with the Colfax Marathon, which is set to attract in excess of 15,000 runners across all races (marathon, half marathon, 10-miler and marathon relays).

Brian and Monica were already avid runners when they met in 2012. He was wed to the treadmill and she soon joined him. They were married at the Honolulu Marathon in 2013.

“I jumped on the Folts training program, feet first, for better or for worse,” Monica said.

The need to squeeze as much free time as possible into training was one reason Brian began doing most of his running on treadmills.

“When I first started it, it was because I would get up in the morning to run, I’d be a mile or two in and have to go to the bathroom,” Brian said. “Since I didn’t want to waste time before work, I just figured I’d run on the treadmill, and if I had to go, I’m set.

“That kept snowballing. I kept coming up with other situations where it was less time wasted. I’m like, ‘Hey, just run the treadmill.’ Time is everything.”

Brian also noticed the treadmill offered a training benefit because of the pace control it offered. Running the proper pace in training and racing is critical in maximizing a marathon or triathlon.

“I used to struggle to break 1:20 for the half marathon,” Brian said. “As I would do treadmill, I noticed it would be easier to break 1:20, then barriers kept falling. Back then, the (GPS) watch technology wasn’t as good for pacing.”

Monica noticed the same thing.

“I see it as the ultimate pacemaker,” Monica said. “It’s going to keep you accountable if you want to go a certain pace. The longer you can push that pace and hold that pace, the easier it will be in the race.”

When they’re not running, the Folts each have jobs in downtown Denver. Brian is a software engineer for a telecommunications company and Monica is an accountant for an oil company. They used to run for 60 to 90 minutes before work on his-and-hers treadmills in the basement of their home in Lakewood — with Jimmy Fallon or Grey’s Anatomy playing on a TV via DVR — before commuting to work on bikes.

Last year, they downsized, sold the treadmills and moved to LoDo, so now they do most of their running at the Colorado Athletic Club, walking a few blocks from their condo.

But not all the equipment is gone: They have bike trainers set up in the dining room when they’re not at indoor cycling classes.

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“Commuting on the bike was getting less like a workout and more like a chore — a lot of dog walkers (in the way),” Brian said. “I didn’t want to be that guy, ‘On your left!’ blowing by them.”

“We’ve also had a lot of people we’ve known who have gotten hit by cars on the bike,” Monica added.

The year they met, Brian did five Ironman triathlons, each consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike leg and a marathon run (26.2 miles). Monica initially thought doing Ironmans was “crazy” and impossible for her, but she soon changed her mind. That year she did a sprint triathlon in March, an Olympic-distance tri in May, a half Ironman in June and a full Ironman in November.

“I love to compete and I love to push myself,” Monica said. “Not every race is sweet. There are some races that leave you humbled and hobbling for longer than you’d like, but when you have a breakthrough or an amazing race that you will always remember, there’s nothing better. All the work and the sacrifice, people may think you’re crazy, but it is a lifestyle. I’ve crossed the finish line and cried because of times when I couldn’t believe I was able to do it. You didn’t think it was possible, and then you prove yourself wrong. Those are the moments I live for.”

Grab the shorts: Next week looks to have temperatures in the low to mid 80s

3 hours 9 min ago

Dreary weather Sunday is expected to make way for a warm week ahead with temperatures in the low to mid 80s.

As runners took to the streets for the annual Colfax Marathon early in the morning, parts of the metro area saw drizzle and fog, National Weather Service meteorologist Jim Kalina said. Although the light drizzle should be gone by 9 a.m., the clouds are expected to stick around, bringing a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon. There’s a similar chance of thunderstorms in the evening before clouds start to clear away.

The daytime high Sunday should be near 63 degrees while the overnight high will likely be about 47 degrees, Kalina said.

Starting Monday, the high is expected to be 81 degrees, rising to 82 degrees on Tuesday, 83 degrees on Wednesday, 84 degress on Thursday and Friday, and back down to 83 degrees on Saturday. The overnight lows are expected to be in the low to mid-50s, he said.

There’s a slight chance of rain everday next week, except Wednesday, which should be dry, Kalina said.

2018 midterms: An early heat for 2020 Democrats?

3 hours 15 min ago

ATLANTA — Look closely enough at the 2018 midterm campaign and you’ll see the stirrings of a Democratic scramble to reclaim the White House from President Donald Trump.

The leading players — from established national figures such as former Vice President Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren to up-and-comers including California Sen. Kamala Harris — don’t necessarily put it that way. But the potential 2020 candidates are making the rounds, raising and distributing campaign cash among fellow Democrats, endorsing candidates and meeting political activists.

Their movements reflect competing strategies for establishing their reputations and shaping a party that lacks a clear leader and consistent message in the Trump era.

For senators trying to get better known, a primary goal is proving fundraising strength and party loyalty, without necessarily taking sides in the larger fight between the left and moderates who split on the minimum wage, health insurance and other issues.

“I just want to do whatever I can” to help Democrats win, Harris said at a recent stop in Georgia, where she was campaigning and raising money for Stacey Abrams’ race for governor.

It is part of an aggressive effort for the freshman senator. She’s raised $3.5 million for her Senate colleagues and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, plus what she helps candidates such as Abrams raise directly when she appears with them, and at the end of April Harris had nearly a $1 million balance in the political action committee that she uses to back other Democrats.

Warren boasts that she’s raised $15 million for other Democrats since her 2013 election. The Massachusetts senator faces a re-election campaign this fall, but not as tough a race as confronts 10 colleagues running in states where Trump won. Like Harris, Warren and New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker have aided those senators.

Warren is also helping other branches of the party: a transfer of money to House Democrats’ campaign committee, $5,000 for every state party and $175,000 spread across state legislative campaigns in contested states.

Democratic and Republican campaign veterans say such contributions and fundraising trips aren’t explicitly about future campaigns. “We’re not playing 3D chess,” says Harris spokeswoman Lily Adams, who describes the senator’s priority as “building our numbers in the Senate” for the final two years of Trump’s term, while looking for strong women and minority candidates. (Abrams would be the first female African-American governor in U.S. history.)

Operatives also insist there are no quid pro quos, though Republican presidential campaign veteran Rick Tyler says, “These guys are out there accumulating chits.”

Tyler worked for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 White House campaign. Cruz was among the conservatives who traveled the country before his campaign, endorsing like-minded conservatives and raising money. Trump’s improbable rise obliterated that groundwork, but Tyler said it’s nonetheless a necessary part of a national campaign, because prospective presidents build their networks and test messages as they meet activists and voters beyond their personal bases.

Harris, for example, is noticeably avoiding most early presidential nominating states — no trips to Iowa or New Hampshire so far. Because 10 Senate Democrats must seek re-election in states Trump won, her travels do put her in some of the pivotal states in the battle to control the Senate. She’s been to Ohio five times for Sen. Sherrod Brown, twice to Michigan for Sen. Debbie Stabenow and once to Florida for Sen. Bill Nelson. She has a June trip planned for Wisconsin Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Warren has been to Ohio at least four times this campaign season and traveled to Michigan and Wisconsin, among others states.

Those states helped give Trump the presidency. They also could prove important as primary states in an extended nominating fight that could materialize with a large field and Democrats’ proportional distribution of nominating convention delegates.

Sanders, whose insurgent presidential campaign in 2016 emboldened the Democrats’ left flank, is perhaps the most unabashed of the potential 2020 group about using this year’s midterms to put his preferred policy stamp on the party. A prolific small-dollar fundraiser, the Vermont senator no longer has to prove he can raise money or draw a crowd.

“I have been very critical about the business model of the Democratic Party,” Sanders told The Associated Press. He said his travel to 28 states since Trump took office and his endorsements in federal and state races are part of his promised “political revolution” intended to advance ideas like a $15 minimum wage, tuition-free college and universal health insurance.

Sanders bet on liberal challenger Marie Newman in her unsuccessful House Democratic primary battle against conservative Rep. Dan Lipinski in Illinois. But Sanders scored a notable win Tuesday in Pennsylvania when his pick for lieutenant governor, John Fetterman, finished with a surprise primary victory.

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Biden is at the opposite end of Democrats’ identity battle. His endorsement list and fundraising itinerary are replete with state party dinners, events for sitting Democratic senators and rallies for candidates running as moderates, at least in tone, if not in policy preference. “I love Bernie, but … I don’t think 500 billionaires are the reason we are in trouble,” Biden said at a recent Brookings Institution speech about his priorities for the middle class.

Biden’s aides say he’s willing to help any Democrat get elected, but the native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, who loves to wax eloquent about his working-class upbringing is in demand to campaign for Democrats running in GOP-leaning places. He headlined fundraisers and campaign rallies for first-year Alabama Sen. Doug Jones and new Pennsylvania Rep. Conor Lamb, who won among voters who had sided overwhelmingly with Trump in 2016. Biden’s next planned campaign venture is to North Carolina on behalf of Democrat Dan McCready, a veteran trying to win a suburban Charlotte House district that wasn’t competitive two years ago.

Certainly, many Democratic hopefuls around the country are accepting help from multiple would-be presidents, and the alignments don’t always follow cleanly along the party’s philosophical battle lines.

Abrams has campaigned as a liberal, but her primary opponent has hammered her for cutting deals with Republicans in Georgia’s General Assembly. Besides Harris, she’s campaigned alongside Booker and gotten an endorsement from Sanders, who’s offered to campaign for her.

When reporters tried to ask Harris and Abrams about 2020, they both smiled and walked away.

Melania Trump released from hospital, returns to White House in “high spirits”

3 hours 22 min ago

WASHINGTON – First lady Melania Trump was released from the hospital Saturday morning, after undergoing a kidney procedure earlier in the week, and returned to the White House “in high spirits,” an aide said.

Trump, who spent five nights at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, was “resting comfortably,” Stephanie Grisham, the first lady’s communications director, said in a statement.

The first lady underwent an embolization procedure Monday to treat a benign kidney condition. President Donald Trump visited her three times during the week and had tweeted that she was doing well.

“Our office has received thousands of calls and emails wishing Mrs. Trump well,” Grisham said, “and we thank everyone who has taken the time to reach out.”

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President Trump tweeted Saturday afternoon that his wife was home and doing “really well.”

“Great to have our incredible First Lady back home in the White House. Melania is feeling and doing really well. Thank you for all of your prayers and best wishes!” he wrote.

Map of street closures for the Colfax Marathon Sunday morning

5 hours 2 min ago

Thousands of runners flocked to City Park Sunday morning for the 13th annual Kaiser Permanente Colfax Marathon, a race that spans from Lakewood to Aurora.

Streets will be either partially or completely closed until as late as 1 p.m. for the safety of the more than 19,000 athletes involved, according to a statement from race organizers.

The best places to cross Colfax Avenue will be Interstate 25, Federal Boulevard and Interstate 225. Organizers urged drivers to avoid Speer Boulevard and Colfax Avenue altogether. Drivers will only be allowed to cross Colfax Avenues on a limited basis at intersections with police officers.

Kaiser Permanente Colfax MarathonDelays are expected in the yellow areas from 5:30 a.m. until noon.

Taylor Swift’s “slow ticketing,” paperless entry at Red Rocks and face scanners among new concert trends to watch

5 hours 31 min ago

On-sale codes, digital waiting rooms and sketchy Craigslist merchants. Buying a concert ticket wasn’t always this confusing.

But even all of that may soon be as quaint as standing in line at a ticket window seems today. In the digital age, the race for efficiency and convenience have kept the concert industry — and its consumers — on its toes, making fans dance for the chance to see their favorite artists on stage.

Take Jukely, a subscription service that lets fans see a select number of concerts each month for a recurring fee. Not every concert is available on the service — its roster of concerts favors under-the-radar artists — but it’s slotted fans into 3,576 shows in Denver since it launched here in 2015.

Here are four other new trends in the live music industry that could change how you get in to your next show.

Airline-style “slow” ticketing

If you can’t stand the marked-up prices associated with the secondary market, Ticketmaster has a solution. But you probably won’t like it.

At select concerts — i.e., Taylor Swift’s Reputation tour, coming to Mile High Stadium on May 25 – the Live Nation-owned ticketing company has implemented a program that changes the face value of a given seat throughout its on-sale period. That means, depending on when you bought your ticket, you might have paid Ticketmaster more to see Swift this month than your seatmate. (Rolling Stone reported that a ticket to Swift’s concert in Chicago varied as much as $400 in three months.)

It’s a method the industry calls “slow ticketing,” because the emphasis is on long on-sale dates that can capitalize on market demand instead of selling out venues as fast as possible. While it’s not new – it actually traces its roots back to the 1990s with an AEG-promoted Rolling Stones tour — it is, as the high-profile Swift tour suggests, catching on.

“The longer the tickets are on sale in the primary market at face value, that kills the secondary market,” said Gary Bongiovanni, editor of music industry trade publication Pollstar.

The thinking is, the secondary market is able to charge a higher price because that’s the “true” value of the seat. If tickets go on sale at comparably higher prices, fans will pay that price up front instead of shelling it out to second-hand peddlers. It’s an “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” approach to battling price-gouging ticket touts.

“The artists and the promoters hate the secondary market because they don’t get a share of it,” Bongiovanni said. “This is an effort to capture more revenue.”

In 2015, her last shows in Denver, Swift grossed $2,868,991 over two concerts at the Pepsi Center, according to Pollstar. Using slow ticketing at the much larger Mile High Stadium, show promoters AEG Presents and the Messina Group are hoping to cash in far beyond that at this year’s show, which still has plenty of tickets available.

“The news media, probably egged on by brokers, have made a big deal about the show not selling out,” Bongiovanni said. “Taylor still has tickets available. But her grosses are going to be amazingly high.”

The rise of VIP

You’ve probably seen it at a music festival: A railing that cuts through the front of the crowd separating the VIP crowd from general admission.

For those who can afford it, VIP packages are a small price to pay to avoid the headaches of unruly crowds and the free-for-all of general admission seating. For those on the outside, it can feel like classism.

In recent years, it’s become common for standalone tours to offer VIP packages for moneyed fans looking to get as close to their favorite artist as possible. VIP experience provider CID Entertainment has jumped on that trend. For Metallica’s 2017 World Wired tour, it presented a museum of the band’s memorabilia exclusively for 12 VIP customers per show, including playable instruments featured in the band’s previous tours.

“It’s becoming a part of the fabric of the touring world,” said Dan Berkowitz, CEO of CID Entertainment.

Berkowitz traces the trend back to 2008, when a representative from Grateful Dead bassist Phil Lesh called him for a proposal on the artist’s 14-night run in New York City’s Nokia Theater.

“At the time, I didn’t realize I was setting the groundwork for what VIP would become.”

Berkowitz couldn’t pinpoint exactly why VIP packages have caught on in recent years. He suggested it could be a combination of older fans willing to dip into their savings to cut through the hassle of fending off crowds and younger fans taking cues from social media, eager to snag a selfie with their idols.

“Artists are getting more comfortable with it,” Berkowitz said. “The level of access they’re giving to their fans is unbelievable. Fifteen or 20 years ago, these experiences weren’t an option. When I wanted to get more information on Phish, I had to wait for their newsletter in the mail. And it was just tour dates.”

Face the music

In the not-too-distant future, catching a concert in Denver could resemble a scene from your favorite sci-fi film.

Last week, concert promoter Live Nation, owner of Denver’s Fillmore Auditorium and operator of the Marquis Theatre and Summit Music Hall, announced it would be partnering with (and investing in) Blink Identity, a biometrics organization specializing in facial recognition software. Paired with Live Nation’s Ticketmaster, the technology — which can acquire and match a likeness in half a second, according to Blink’s website — would essentially allow consumers to use their face as a ticket, gaining entry by passing by one of its bio-scanners. (It’s also a boon for security: The technology would potentially recognize bad actors trying to enter a venue.)

Not having to remember a ticket or fiddle with your phone at the venue is convenient, but the move has raised some eyebrows. Privacy advocates like Jay Stanley, a policy analyst for the American Civil Liberties Union who spoke to the Daily Beast on the subject, have argued that the database Blink would have to build to make this effective could be exploited for mass surveillance. It could also be potentially sold to a third-party for advertising purposes.

While some states like Illinois and Washington have laws against the use of facial recognition technology that’d be a barrier to the technology, Colorado does not. That might not matter, anyway.

“Companies who sell data tend to get in trouble with the FTC for unfair business practices more than they get in trouble with state laws,” Derigan Silver, a law professor at the University of Denver, said in an email. “It will all depend on the terms of service you sign when you agree to let them use your face instead of a ticket. I would guess that they are going to bury some terms in there that allows them to use the information/sell the information to others.”

Whether Colorado could see face-scanning technology at concerts in the near future is yet to be seen; Live Nation did not respond to repeated requests for comment. Ticketmaster communications director Ashley Dos Santos didn’t comment on specifics, writing that the company will be installing Blink technology in several Live Nation venues ”starting soon.”

Red Rocks revolutions

As Red Rocks looks to bank another 150 shows in its hallowed halls this season, the venue is bringing its ticketing system into the 21st century.

The biggest change is the venue’s new paperless ticketing system. Starting this season, fans can buy and redeem their tickets on the Flash Seats-integrated Red Rocks app. The aim is twofold: to reduce friction entering the venue and discourage scalpers.

“Through the first several shows, Flash Seats has speeded things up,”  said Brian Kitts, Red Rocks’ marketing and communications director. “It also allows us to keep track of where tickets are going — who’s selling them and reselling them.”

MORE: Your guide to the 2018 Red Rocks season

This new technology has allowed Red Rocks to implement another big change concerning its disabled patrons. Starting this season, tickets in the first four rows at Red Rocks, including the ADA-accessible front row, will not be able to be sold or transferred to another customer. If you buy a ticket in an ADA section, you must provide credentials showing you need that seat, or else you may be relocated or refused a spot at the show.

So far, it’s worked. “There have been empty seats in those first rows through the first shows this season,” Kitts said. That might make promoters wince, but Red Rocks stands by the decision. “We would always err on the side of protecting a patron who truly needs that seat.”

Only about 5 percent of customers use paper tickets as it stands, although Red Rocks’ goal is to eventually go completely digital.

If reading that didn’t already make you feel old, paper tickets will officially become a novelty this summer, when the venue will start selling souvenir tickets at its shows.

Broncos coach Vance Joseph discusses 4 hot topics heading into OTAs

7 hours 31 min ago

Most passes were completed, each block was executed and every blitz was successful during the first two phases of the Broncos’ off-season program.

Then again, the collective bargaining agreement would have it no other way — no offense vs. defense work is allowed.

That changes Tuesday when the Broncos have the first of 10 organized team activity workouts that lead into a three-day mandatory mini-camp.

“You make your real football strides in Phase 3 during OTAs,” Broncos coach Vance Joseph said. “It’s when you can really see if the young guys have taken steps forward to being better players, you can see if your systems are working and you can see the timing with the quarterbacks and receivers. It allows you to have a clean evaluation.”

Last year was anything but clean for the Broncos. It was a mess that included an eight-game losing streak (their longest in 50 years), quarterback tumult (changing the starter five times) and a minus-17 turnover ratio (second-worst in the league).

To avoid consecutive losing seasons for the first time since 1971-72, Joseph believes the Broncos have established the required tone so far this offseason.

“In Phase 1 and Phase 2, guys have had energy, they have been here every day — we’ve had pretty much 100 percent of the guys here,” Joseph said. “I’m excited to watch the guys starting on Tuesday.”

During an interview with The Denver Post last week, Joseph discussed several topics, including these four:

RAY’S RESPONSE

What’s the story: Earlier this month, the Broncos declined the 2019 contract option on outside linebacker Shane Ray, meaning he is scheduled for free agency come March. The decision was prudent – Ray’s option salary would have been $9.32 million and guaranteed for injury. Too much risk for a player who has 13 sacks in 38 career games and had multiple left wrist surgeries last year. Can Ray regain the numbers he produced in 2016 (eight sacks in 667 snaps) after posting only one sack in eight games (354 snaps) last year? If Ray stays healthy and is motivated to enter free agency at age 25, he will have a market.

Joseph said: “I’ve been really proud of Shane and how he’s responded. He is really motivated. He understands it’s business. And he’s ready for a challenge. He wants to be a great player and, in my opinion, before he got hurt last year (early in training camp) he was on his way to having a great year. I am not surprised that he is motivated and engaged. The ball is in his court. He can earn a lot more than what the option offered him if he goes out there and does what we think he can do.”

Comment: Since the first-round option system was implemented with the 2011 draft, only five of 45 players who had their options declined re-signed with their team. If Ray has a good year, he could price himself out of the Broncos’ plans. If he struggles, the Broncos would likely move on.

KEENUM’S OFFENSE

What’s the story: The Broncos know quarterback Case Keenum will start Sept. 9 against Seattle. That development alone represents progress. Keenum signed a two-year contract in mid-March to be the no-doubt guy. A 30-year-old journeyman, Keenum is in his seventh different system in six years.

Joseph said: “I’ll say this about Case: I was in Houston when he was a young player and watching Case the last couple of weeks on the field, man, he’s a lot better than I remember. Throwing the football. Commanding the huddle. Really, really high football IQ. … It’s definitely a good thing to watch him lead the guys and watch the guys respond to him. It’s refreshing for all of us to be in the presence of a veteran quarterback who has command. I think everyone is loving the fact we have a quarterback in place that can lead this team from spot 1, and that’s good for all of us.”

Comment: Keenum experienced a dream year in 2017 for Minnesota – 67.6 completion percentage, 22 touchdowns, seven interceptions and an 11-3 record. Match those and Keenum will be a bargain at $18 million per season.

CHALLENGING LYNCH

What’s the story: The trials of quarterback Paxton Lynch are well documented. Part of a competition in 2016-17, the arrival of Keenum eliminated that possibility this year. Still only 24, Lynch has four starts and a career 76.7 passer rating. Joseph’s comment after rookie camp that Keenum’s arrival had allowed Lynch to “relax” created a minor stir and Joseph clarified.

Joseph said: “I want Paxton to do what he’s been doing. He’s been working his butt off and has definitely gotten better over the last month-and-a-half. I want him to compete at a high level all the time because he’s a guy who is competing to be the back-up. Having Case here and named the starter has allowed Paxton to work on his craft without being in a competition. There is never a moment when he can relax. We’re all competing for a job and trying to get better. That’s where we are and that’s where Paxton should be.”

Comment: The Broncos moved up five spots in 2016 (costing them a third rounder) to draft Lynch. Translation: They are going to give him every chance to be the No. 2 quarterback; it’s up to him to seize the spot.

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What’s the story: Fifth overall pick Bradley Chubb put up monster numbers at North Carolina State – 54 1/2 tackles for lost yardage, including 25 sacks.  With the Broncos, Chubb is playing strong-side linebacker in the base package and in a three-point stance playing end in pass-rush situations. How the Broncos deploy Chubb once the games start will be an interesting sub-plot and the next four weeks could deliver some clues.

Joseph said: “He’s done really, really well. The guy is so humble and so smart. He gets it. It’s natural for him to come in and earn his way. He’s not asking to be a starter, he’s working with [special teams coordinator] Tom McMahon on being our left guard on punt [coverage] and being our left end on punt return. That’s what he’s working on now, plus his outside backer drills. And every meeting he’s in, he’s in the front row answering questions. He’s going to be fine as far as earning his way.”

Comment: From 2013-16, seven 4-3 defensive ends/3-4 outside linebackers were drafted in the top five and they averaged 4.9 sacks as rookies. The expectations for Chubb should be closer to that of the Chargers’ Joey Bosa (10 1/2 in 2016) than Oakland’s Khalil Mack (four in 2014).

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Ask Amy: Expectant parents worry about “thirdhand” smoke

8 hours 1 min ago

Dear Amy: My wife and I are expecting our first child. We could not be more excited. Thankfully, both sets of our parents are active in our lives and will be there for our child. However, my mother is a smoker and I am concerned for our child’s health.

While she would never smoke around the baby, there is growing concern about the safety of “thirdhand smoke” — a child inhaling toxins from the home, clothing or car of a smoker.

Realistically, I do not believe my mother will stop smoking in her lifetime. Cutting her off from the baby would be cruel and ruinous for our relationship. However, concern for my son makes me nervous about allowing her to babysit, or even hold him.

What should I do?

— Worried Dad

Dear Dad: According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, (mayoclinic.org), “Thirdhand smoke clings to clothes, furniture, drapes, walls, bedding, carpets, dust, vehicles and other surfaces long after smoking has stopped. … Children and nonsmoking adults might be at risk of tobacco-related health problems when they inhale, swallow or touch substances containing thirdhand smoke. Infants and young children might have increased exposure to thirdhand smoke due to their tendency to mouth objects and touch affected surfaces.”

You are wise to accept that your mother is a smoker, and that this is simply a fact, and you are powerless to force her to stop.

Share this information with your mother, and be honest with her about your concerns. Don’t present this as a nonnegotiable, but more as a problem that you can mitigate together.

She should be willing to change her smoking habits (i.e. always smoke outside), and to have the interior of her house thoroughly cleaned. She should wear a jacket or shirt over her clothes when she smokes (and perhaps cotton gloves), and remove it before she comes inside. Babysitting should happen in your home, until she is able to thoroughly detox her own. Trust her to do the right thing, and don’t limit her contact with your baby. Babies have a wonderful way of bringing their grandparents toward new levels of awareness, love and sacrifice; I hope this happens in your family.

Dear Amy: I’m responding to the ongoing discussion in your column of the role that stepparents can play in the lives of grandchildren.

In 1993, I was widowed at the age of 47, with a 12-year-old son.

A number of years later, on a teacher/student exchange with a Russian school, I met my current wife.

My mother-in-law from my first marriage had always been in close contact with my son, and she took to my new stepchildren (whose early explorations in English were tentative at best) as if they were her own. She observed their birthdays and Christmas, but more than that, she actively worked at knowing them as people.

She is gone now, having lived until the age of 95. (She died — appropriately — on Mother’s Day.)

I will always be grateful for her efforts to reach out to all of my blended family. I was very fortunate to have such a person in my life and so was my son, my wife and my stepchildren.

— Brock, in Connecticut

Dear Brock: This story is a testament to your mother-in-law, who lost a daughter, and later made loving room in her heart and gained a new family. This is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

Dear Amy: I appreciated your serious and detailed response to “Worried Gram,” who worries that her grandchild is in a risky living situation.

I wish that all children had such grandparents looking out for them. As someone who has fought (and finally succeeded) to save a child from abuse by a parent’s significant other, I would say the first and most important thing they must do is report their concerns to child protective services immediately.

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Also write down everything you have heard and seen that concerns you in case the courts or law enforcement get involved. Get your grandchild into therapy soon. Reach out to Childhelp(www.childhelp.org), their free, anonymous hotline helps people who are concerned about a child.

Worried Gram should know that this is one of the hardest and most important things grandparents will ever do, but they must never give up until their grandchild is safe from abuse.

— Been There

Dear Been There: Thank you for sharing your story and for offering an additional resource for anyone worried about the safety of a child. The Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline number is (800) 422-4453.

Colorado’s first female National Guard member being honored

11 hours 56 min ago

GREELEY — Weld County is honoring the first woman to serve in Colorado’s Army National Guard.

The Greeley Tribune reports that the Weld County Veterans Memorial Committee is recognizing 86-year-old Katherine Ravithis Saturday during its Armed Forces Day.

Ravithis joined the Colorado Army National Guard in 1972. She says she couldn’t attend her first training camp because there were no women’s facilities, but she always felt like an equal.

Ravithis had a 20-year military career that also included time as a communicator in the Army, a member of the Marine Corps Reserves and a member of the California National Guard.

She now lives in Greeley and has traveled across the nation to attend Women’s Army Corps Veterans’ Association Conventions.

Colorado transportation officials propose $550M I-70 tunnel

11 hours 58 min ago

FRISCO — Colorado transportation officials say they want to alleviate congestion and improve safety on a popular mountain highway by boring a new three-lane tunnel for traffic heading from Denver.

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But the Summit Daily News reports the Colorado Department of Transportation already has a $10 billion project backlog and doesn’t have the $550 million for the project on Interstate 70. That means construction is probably years away, if it’s not modified or scrapped before then.

The I-70 tunnel project would replace a steep, two-lane curve and bridge at the interchange with U.S. Highway 6.

Stacia Sellers of the Colorado Department of Transportation says the department is also proposing a short-term solution by constructing an $80 million express lane. Construction could begin next year if there is funding.

Gary Russell Jr. retains WBC belt with unanimous decision over Joseph Diaz

14 hours 29 min ago

By Ian Quillen, The Associated Press

OXON HILL, Md. — Gary Russell Jr. successfully defended his WBC featherweight championship Saturday night, unanimously outpointing mandatory challenger Joseph Diaz.

In just his third title defense since April 2016, Russell (29-1) had winning scores of 117-111 from two judges’ scorecards and a 115-113 edge from the third.

The 29-year-old pounded his chest in celebration as soon as the words “unanimous decision” were announced at the MGM National Harbor.

Diaz (26-1) also appeared to know he had been second best over the 12 rounds, despite some promising early moments in his first professional title bout. Diaz and his camp clapped the decision after it was announced.

In a bout between left-handed former U.S. Olympic team fighters, Russell gained control as it progressed.

He perhaps came closest to a knockdown when he connected with a flurry of shots late in the fourth that Diaz survived, and then again with a right hook that sent Diaz briefly stumbling backward in the 10th.

The latter came after Russell briefly slipped onto the canvas, a moment Diaz’s fans briefly believed was a knockdown.

A similar moment came in the 12th, and although Diaz pressed on and briefly had Russell on the ropes late, he couldn’t find the knockout he needed.

This was Russell’s second consecutive defense here with his brothers fighting on the undercard, just a few miles from their hometown of Capital Heights.

Early, bantamweight Gary Antonio Russell (11-0, 9 KOs) posted a fifth-round knockout of Jonathan Lecona (17-20-4). Later, junior welterweight Gary Antuanne Russell (6-0, 6 KOs) stopped Wilmer Rodriguez (9-3) with six seconds remaining in the first round.

Inside Boulder detectives’ month-long search for answers in an Arkansas landfill

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 22:55

For weeks last summer, employees of the Boulder Police Department and the Boulder County District Attorney’s Office stood under the blistering Arkansas sun, combing through an entire county’s trash, searching for something.

They were searching for answers. They were searching for Ashley Mead.

Months earlier — on Feb. 15, 2017 — a gas station worker in Okmulgee, Okla., had noticed a purple suitcase inside a dumpster. Finding it odd, the woman opened the luggage and made a gruesome discovery.

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It contained the disemboweled torso of Mead, a 25-year-old Boulder woman who’d gone missing three days earlier.

Shortly after that discovery, Adam Densmore — Mead’s ex-boyfriend, and the father of her 1-year-old daughter — was charged with her murder and the dismemberment of her body.

But police only had part of Mead’s body — and had no idea how she died.

Read the full story at DailyCamera.com.

LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers overpower Boston Celtics in Game 3

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 22:13

CLEVELAND — Before taking the floor, LeBron James stood in the hallway with his teammates outside Cleveland’s locker room and pounded his chest with both hands.

The Celtics got thumped next.

James had 27 points and 12 assists, Kevin Love added 14 rebounds and the Cavaliers looked like a different team on their home court, tightening the Eastern Conference finals with a 116-86 victory in Game 3 over Boston on Saturday night.

Outplayed during two losses in Boston, the Cavs used a three-day break in the series to regroup and re-grip this series. With James leading the way, they built a 19-point lead in the first quarter, pushed it to 30 in the second half and overpowered the Celtics, who fell to 1-5 on the road in the postseason.

BOX SCORE: Cavaliers 116, Celtics 86

Any discussion of Cleveland’s demise is premature. Kyle Korver made four of the Cavs’ 17 3-pointers and Cleveland had six players in double figures.

“I also have to inspire my teammates to be better,” James said. “They answered the call tonight and they need to answer the phone another time on Monday.”

Game 4 is Monday night before the series returns to Boston.

Jaylen Brown was in foul trouble all night and scored just 10 for the Celtics after averaging 23 in the first two games. Jayson Tatum scored 18 and Terry Rozier 13 for Boston, which couldn’t match Cleveland in any aspect.

“They took it to us,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens said. “Point blank: They just outplayed us.”

Only 19 of a possible 300 teams have ever overcome a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs. James and the Cavs, who previously did it in 2007 and again in 2016 while winning the NBA title, took the first step toward a third comeback.

To return to the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year, the Cavs have to win four of five and re-write Boston’s illustrious history. The Celtics are 37-0 when they win the first two games in a series.

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“That doesn’t bother me,” Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue said before Game 3. “The games have to be played. They won two games on their home court, which we know they’ve been playing well the whole playoffs, but we’re not discouraged.

“So, 0-2 doesn’t really mean anything.”

Apparently not. The Cavs came in wanting to play faster and be more physical with the younger Celtics, who were the aggressors in Games 1 and 2.

Lue also needed more from point guard George Hill after two poor performances (8 points, 1 assist) in Boston. Hill responded with a driving layup to start the game and drained three 3-pointers in the first quarter as Cleveland wasted no time taking control.

Hill finished with 13, J.R. Smith 11 — they were outscored 41-3 in Game 2 — and Cleveland’s supporting cast played so well that James was only on the floor for 37 minutes.

Stevens was confident his team would play better on the road than earlier in these playoffs, but the Celtics were shaky early, committing four turnovers and shooting 2 of 10 while the Cavs opened a 27-11 lead.

James arrived at 5:45 p.m., greeted by the usual phalanx of cameras waiting to record his walk from the security entrance at Quicken Loans Arena to Cleveland’s locker room.

Earlier in the day, James said the fact he has twice rallied from 2-0 deficits in the postseason offered no relief.

“There’s nothing about the playoffs that’s comfortable until you either win it all or you lose and go into the summer,” he said.

Summer might not be as close as it once seemed.

TIP-INS

Celtics: Seeking to become the sixth No. 2 seed to win the East in eight years. Boston was a No. 4 seed when it advanced to the finals in 2010. … Fell to 3-8 in playoff games in Cleveland, the most by a Cavs opponent at the Q. … Stevens was relieved to learn that Boston legend Bill Russell was recovering after a hospital stay brought on by dehydration. Russell won 11 NBA titles with the Celtics. “He’s the ultimate basketball winner,” Stevens said. “The way he impacted winning, the unselfishness of a teammate, what he stood for off the floor — everything about him.”

Cavaliers: James needs six field goals to surpass Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (2,356) for the most in postseason history. … Cleveland has won six straight playoff games at home. … Improved to 14-6 vs. Boston in the playoffs.

ROAD KILL

Before the game, Stevens downplayed his team’s road issues, saying there was a “small sample size.”

It got a little bigger, and a little more troubling. Still, he won’t focus on Boston’s road woes.

“In my 11 years as a head coach, I probably haven’t talked about road and home five times with our team,” he said. “It’s about how you play between the lines. Because I think if you start talking about that, then you find excuses in both places. We can’t play like we played tonight no matter where we played. If we would have played in Boston like that, we would have gotten beat.”

FAMILY TIES

Stevens has deep Cleveland roots, but he’s slowly converting family members to pull for Boston’s teams.

His parents are from Northeast Ohio and his wife, Tracy, is from suburban Rocky River. Before the game, Stevens was asked what happens to all the Cavs, Browns and Cavaliers gear he gets as gifts.

“My 7 ½-year-old nephew was offered 10 extra-credit points (in school) if he wore anything regarding Cleveland yesterday, and he went all green,” Stevens said. “And three years ago, I think he was all Cleveland stuff. So we’re making strides with him. But yeah, we have a large contingent. Maybe they’ll get some of those (Game 3 giveaway) yellow shirts and pass them around to some people who haven’t completely converted to rooting for the Celtics yet.”

UP NEXT

Game 4 is Monday night.

Santa Fe school had a shooting plan, armed officers, and practice. And still 10 people died.

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 21:48

SANTA FE, Texas — They, like so many others, thought they had taken the steps to avoid this.

The school district had an active-shooter plan, and two armed police officers walked the halls of the high school. School district leaders had even agreed last fall to eventually arm teachers and staff under the state’s school marshal program, one of the country’s most aggressive and controversial policies intended to get more guns into classrooms.

They thought they were a hardened target, part of what’s expected today of the American public high school in an age when school shootings occur with alarming frequency. And so a death toll of 10 was a tragic sign of failure and needing to do more, but also a sign, to some, that it could have been much worse.

“My first indication is that our policies and procedures worked,” J.R. “Rusty” Norman, president of the school district’s board of trustees, said Saturday, standing exhausted at his front door. “Having said that, the way things are, if someone wants to get into a school to create havoc, they can do it.”

The mass shooting — which killed 10 people and wounded 10 others in this rural community outside Houston — again highlighted the despairing challenge at the center of the ongoing debate over how to make the nation’s schools safer. It also hints at a growing feeling of inevitability, a normalization of what should be impossible tragedies.

The gunman in Santa Fe used a pistol and a shotgun, firearms common to many South Texas homes, firearms he took from this father, police said. So there were no echoes of the calls to ban assault rifles or raise the minimum age for gun purchases that came after the shooting three months ago in Parkland, Florida.

Most residents here didn’t blame any gun for the tragedy down the street. Many of them pointed to a lack of religion in schools.

“It’s not the guns. It’s the people. It’s a heart problem,” said Sarah Tassin, 61. “We need to bring God back into the schools.”

Texas politicians are pushing to focus on school security — the hardening of targets.

Gov. Greg Abbott, R, said he planned to hold roundtable discussions starting Tuesday on how to make schools even more secure. One idea he and other state officials mentioned was limiting the number of entrances to the facilities. Rep. Randy Weber, R-Texas, said Congress eventually would consider legislation focused on “hardening targets and adding more school metal detectors and school police officers.”

But the horror in Santa Fe shows that there are limits there, too.

Norman said he saw school security as a way to control, not prevent, school violence. And the school district had some practice. In February, two weeks after the Parkland shooting, Santa Fe High went into lockdown after a false alarm of an active-shooter situation, resulting in a huge emergency response. The school won a statewide award for its safety program.

“We can never be over-prepared,” Norman said. “But we were prepared.”

His school board approved a plan in November to allow some school staff members to carry guns, joining more than 170 school districts in Texas that have made similar plans. But Santa Fe was still working on it, Norman said. People needed to be trained. Details needed to be worked out, such as a requirement that school guns fire only frangible bullets, which break into small pieces and are unlikely to pass through victims, as a way to limit the danger to innocent students.

All of these efforts, Norman said, are “only a way to mitigate what is happening.”

The search for red flags about the alleged gunman’s intentions continued Saturday — another familiar hallmark of school shootings.

Dimitrios Pagourtzis, the 17-year-old student who police said confessed to the shooting, was being held without bond at a jail in Galveston. Wearing a trench coat, he allegedly opened fire in an art class, moving through the room shooting at teachers and students, and talking to himself. He approached a supply closet where students were barricaded inside, and he shot through the windows saying “surprise,” said Isabelle Laymance, 15.

The gunman shot a school police officer who approached him, then talked with other officers, offering to surrender. The entire episode lasted a terrifying 30 minutes, according to witnesses and court records.

The Pagourtzis family released a statement Saturday saying they are “shocked and confused” by what happened and that the incident “seems incompatible with the boy we love.”

Nicholas Poehl, the Galveston attorney for Pagourtzis, said his client appeared “pretty dazed” when he met with him Saturday and that it would take time for him to learn what happened.

The alleged gunman’s classmates and parents said they saw no signs of trouble before the shooting, though some said he had seemed somewhat depressed in recent months.

Bertha Bland, whose grandson is good friends with Pagourtzis, said she knew the teenager well and described him as “an outstanding kid” and a good student.

Scott Pearson, whose son played football with Pagourtzis, described him as a quiet, normal kid. He didn’t talk to him much when he took him home from football practices, but he never got the impression that he was dangerous. He noticed that Pagourtzis regularly wore a trench coat but didn’t think much of it.

“Kids do weird stuff,” Pearson said. “I don’t understand when my son wears a hoodie out in 90-degree heat, either.”

Pagourtzis improved as a football player between sophomore and junior years, moving from second to first string as a defensive tackle on the junior varsity squad, according to Rey Montemayor, an 18-year old senior quarterback.

Pagourtzis spent a lot of time in the weight room.Eventually Pagourtzis, who wore number 69, was doing reps of 185 pounds on the bench press. “He worked hard,” Montemayor said. “Even got stronger than me.”

On the team, Pagourtzis was well liked and respected, even though he mostly kept to himself, ear buds in his ears in the hallways and in the locker room. He was “very normal, cool,” Montemayor said. “He would joke around but was also quiet — not an open book.”

Local and federal officials revealed little new information about the shooting or the investigation on Saturday. So far, investigators have not found any link to terrorism or political extremism in the suspect’s background that would offer a motive for the attack, according to a person close to the investigation.

The evidence recovered in the first day of the probe suggests that the suspect was a disturbed young man without any particular ideology, though it is still early in the investigation and new facts could emerge, the person said.

Authorities here said police reacted as they should have to the shooting incident, praising the initial response, which included two school police officers trying to intervene, though they have not yet provided details of the interaction that led to the teen’s surrender. Galveston County Judge Mark Henry described the quick actions of the school police officers as “very critical.”

Santa Fe Independent School District Police Chief Walter Braun said at a news conference that the police officer wounded in the shooting was in “critical but stable condition” at a hospital. He said his officers “did what they were trained for. They went in immediately.”

Some students, escorted by police, were briefly allowed back on the school campus to retrieve backpacks and their vehicles. But the high school remained cordoned off as a crime scene.

The town did not come to a standstill as it dealt with the aftermath of the shooting: People still ran errands and had yard sales and barbecues. The community library closed “out of respect for the victims,” but organizers of a library benefit sale decided to hold their event as planned in the lobby and parking lot. The Santa Fe High baseball team was still scheduled for a playoff game Saturday night.after canceling one on the day of the shooting.

The shooting didn’t seem to rattle beliefs or prompt the calls for change that followed the Parkland shooting. Norman Franzke, 69, whose granddaughter safely escaped Santa Fe High, noted that guns have been part of the culture here for generations. When he attended, students kept shotguns on racks in their pickups, ready for hunting after school.

“I don’t think this will change the mentality of this community,” Franzke said. “There may be some changes in how kids enter and leave school. But even then, he was a student, so he would still have had access.”

At Red Cap restaurant, a popular diner down the road from the high school, the sign outside no longer advertised fried green tomatoes and Boudin balls. It had been changed to read “Prayers for Santa Fe.”

Inside, Tassin, who works at Red Cap, teared up as she thought about all the teens and their parents who stop in there. She considers them family. But she didn’t blame guns for Friday’s shooting. She didn’t blame mental health. She didn’t know where to lay blame. There had been so many school shootings. And now, at Santa Fe High.

Something was going on, she said. But she didn’t know what.

The Washington Post’s Devlin Barrett, Julie Tate, Alice Crites and Jennifer Jenkins in Washington contributed to this report.

Andrei Vasillevskiy shines late, Tampa Bay Lightning hold off Washington Capitals

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 21:29

TAMPA, Fla. — Cedric Paquette scored in the opening minute and Andrei Vasilevskiy stopped 28 shots to help the Tampa Bay Lightning hold off the Washington Capitals 3-2 on Saturday night in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final.

Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan also scored as the home team won for the first time in the best-of-seven matchup, with the Lightning taking a 3-2 series lead and moving within one victory of advancing the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in four seasons.

The Capitals, in the conference final for the first time in the Alex Ovechkin era, have lost three straight after winning twice on the road to begin the series.

Ovechkin scored with 1:36 remaining, trimming what once was a three-goal lead to one, however Vasiliveskiy made three more saves down the stretch to finish the victory.

Game 6 is Monday night in Washington, where Tampa Bay has already won to improve to 5-1 on the road this postseason.

The Capitals won the first two games on the road, scoring 10 goals on Vezina Trophy finalist Vasilevskiy and sending the Lightning — won had the best record in the East during the regular season — into desperation mode.

Tampa Bay responded by winning Game 3 in Washington, evening the series despite being outshot and outplayed for sizeable stretches of a 4-2 victory in Game 4 and returning home, where coach Jon Cooper was confident the Lightning would be better than they were in the first two games.

Turns out Cooper was right.

Washington’s Dmitry Orlov turned the puck over in the neutral zone on the opening shift of the night and Callahan made the Caps pay for the mistake, feeding Paquette for a 1-0 lead just 19 seconds into the game.

Palat’s second goal of the series made it 2-0. Tampa Bay extended the advantage to three goals when Callahan scored 33 seconds into the second period.

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Outshot 13-4 and limited to one scoring opportunity in the opening period, the Caps began to put some pressure on Vasilevskiy in the second.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal in his fourth straight game, giving him a franchise single-year, playoff-best 22 points (11 goals, 11 assists) and trimming Washington’s deficit to 3-1 at 4:21 of the period.

The Capitals kept pressing in the third period, but didn’t breakthrough against until Ovechkin scored his 11th goal this postseason.

Notes: The road team won each of the first four games of a series for the sixth time in the last 10 years and 26th time in Stanley Cup playoffs history. Under that scenario, the road team has won Game 5 only three times. … Paquette’s goal was his first in the playoffs since Game 3 of the 2015 Stanley Cup Final, ending a 34-game drought for the 24-year-old center. … At 19 seconds of the opening period, Palat’s goal was not the fastest to start a game in Lightning history. Adam Hall scored for Tampa Bay 13 seconds into Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final against Boston in 2011. … Capitals winger Andre Burakovsky was a game-time scratch.

Cuba: 110 died in plane crash, 3 survivors “critical”

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 21:08

HAVANA — The only three survivors of Cuba’s worst aviation disaster in three decades were clinging to life Saturday, a day after their passenger jet crashed in a fireball in Havana’s rural outskirts with 113 people on board.

In the first official death toll provided by authorities, Transportation Minister Adel Yzquierdo Rodriguez said 110 had died including five children. He also announced that a flight recorder from the plane had been located.

Carlos Alberto Martinez, director of Havana’s Calixto Garcia Hospital where the survivors were being treated, said doctors are always hopeful that their patients will recover, but he acknowledged that the three Cuban women were in extremely grave condition.

“We must be conscious that they present severe injuries,” Martinez told a small group of journalists. “They are in a critical state.”

Cuban officials identified the women as Mailen Diaz, 19, of Holguin; Grettel Landrove, 23, of Havana; and Emiley Sanchez, 39, of Holguin.

Martinez said Sanchez was conscious and communicating, Diaz was conscious and sedated and Landrove was in a coma.

Landrove’s mother, Amparo Font, told reporters that her daughter is a flamenco dancer and engineering student on the verge of graduation.

“My daughter is an angel,” Font said. “They have to save her.”

Meanwhile relatives of the dead gathered at a morgue in the capital, weeping and embracing each other, as investigators tried to piece together why the aging Boeing 737 went down and erupted in flames shortly after takeoff early Friday afternoon.

Yzquierdo said those on board included 102 Cubans, three tourists, two foreign residents and six crew members, who were from Mexico.

Maite Quesada, a member of the Cuban Council of Churches, announced that 20 pastors from an evangelical church were among the dead. They had spent several days at a meeting in the capital and were returning to their homes and places of worship in the province of Holguin.

Skies were overcast and rainy at the airport at the time of Cuba’s third major air accident since 2010, and state television said the 39-year-old jet veered sharply to the right after departing on a domestic flight to the eastern city of Holguin.

Eyewitness and private salon owner Rocio Martinez said she heard a strange noise and looked up to see the plane with a turbine on fire.

“It had an engine on fire, in flames, it was falling toward the ground,” Martinez said, adding that the plane veered into the field where it crashed, avoiding potential fatalities in a nearby residential area.

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said a special commission had been formed to find the cause of the crash.

State airline Cubana, which operated the flight, has had a generally good safety record but is notorious for delays and cancellations and has taken many of its planes out of service because of maintenance problems in recent months, prompting it to hire charter aircraft from other companies.

Mexican officials said the Boeing 737-201 was built in 1979 and rented by Cubana from Aerolineas Damojh, a small charter company that also goes by the name Global Air.

Aviation authorities in Guyana last year stopped the same aircraft from conducting charter flights because of serious safety concerns, including fears about excessive baggage overloading and other issues.

In November 2010 a Global Air flight originating in Mexico City made an emergency landing in Puerto Vallarta because its front landing gear did not deploy. The fire was quickly extinguished, and none of the 104 people aboard were injured. That plane was a 737 first put into service in 1975.

Mexican aviation authorities said a team of experts would fly to Cuba on Saturday to take part in the investigation.

Argentina’s Foreign Ministry said two of its citizens had died in the crash.

Houston Texans’ J.J. Watt to pay for funerals of Santa Fe shooting victims

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 20:52

Houston Texans star defensive end J.J. Watt told officials at Santa Fe High School that he will pay funeral costs for the victims of Friday’s mass shooting, according to multiple reports.

A 17-year-old student killed 10 people, mostly students, in Friday’s shooting about 30 miles outside Houston, before surrendering to officers, officials said. Ten more were wounded.

Watt, among the most prominent professional athletes in Houston, tweeted a two-word response to the carnage: “Absolutely horrific.” But his response went beyond a tweet, with reports late Friday that he would pay for the victims’ funerals. The team confirmed Watt’s intention, according to ESPN and other outlets.

The Texans also released a statement after Friday’s shooting, offering “our thoughts and heartfelt condolences to the victims, their families and all those affected.”

Other Houston athletes also weighed in on the tragedy, in what’s become a numbingly familiar routine.

“We need to do better by our children,” wrote Rockets star guard Chris Paul, who told reporters that his team’s NBA playoff series against the Golden State Warriors “is minor compared to what is taking place down in Santa Fe.” The family of Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta released a statement, which read in part, “There are no words that we can say that will take the sadness of this day away or provide any deeper understanding for this senseless tragedy. These children and the teacher that were lost, their families and the entire Santa Fe Community will remain heavy on our hearts and deep within our prayers today and in the days ahead.” Guard Eric Gordon called it “a horrible act of violence.”

Warriors coach Steve Kerr, who has been outspoken in his calls for gun control, tweeted Friday that “gun owners have a responsibility to store their firearms securely. The two guns used in Friday’s shooting belong to the gunman’s father, according to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

The Astros held a moment of silence before Friday night’s game and flew the Texas state flags at half-staff, while Astros manager A.J. Hinch offered an impassioned speech on the issue of school shootings, telling reporters he “doesn’t want to offer any more condolences” and that the rash of violence “makes me angry.”

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“Lives are being lost for no real, good reason,” Hinch said Friday, via the Houston Chronicle. “There’s never a good reason. My anger is because I have kids and I can appreciate how terrible everyone has to feel. … I don’t have the words. I’m here in front of a bunch of cameras trying to make people feel better when I don’t think the situation should ever happen. There’s no reason for our schools to be combat zones. And it’s turning that way.”

Watt’s gesture, meanwhile, comes several months after he was named the NFL’s 2017 Walter Payton Man of the Year, the league’s top community service honor. He had launched a campaign to raise $200,000 for Hurricane Harvey relief last summer, which turned viral and eventually raised more than $37 million in three weeks.

“This award is about the inherent good that lies within humanity,” Watt said in February, when he accepted the award. “It’s about the city of Houston and its ability to overcome adversity at a time when it all seemed lost. It is about the hundreds of thousands of people from all over the country and all over the world who donated to a city they may have never been to, to people that they may never meet. But they donated simply because they saw their fellow humans going through a difficult time and they wanted to help out.”

Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres, who contributed $1 million to Watt’s Harvey campaign on behalf of Walmart, thanked the defensive end “for going above and beyond for the families of Santa Fe, Texas. I love you,” she wrote.

Fountain-Fort Carson rules again, winning 5A boys team state track title

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 20:39

LAKEWOOD — Fountain-Fort Carson’s fab foursome — four seniors bound for the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley — capped a dominating Class 5A boys team state title Saturday by easily winning the 4-X-400-meter relay at rainy Jefferson County Stadium.

Jalen Lyon, who won the 200- and 400-meter dashes earlier in the day, ran the last leg after Jason Ferrell, James Thomas and Deondre Ritter created a giant lead on second-place Poudre and third-place Smoky Hill. Ritter entered the meet questionable with a hamstring injury, and Lyon also considered skipping the meet because of a leg injury.

With Ritter and Lyon participating, FFC finished with 100 points — 29 more than second-place Cherry Creek — to win its second straight team title and sixth in the last nine years. In the 5A girls race, Cherokee Trail won the title with 85 points, a point ahead of Denver East. Favored Grandview was third with 69 points.

Lyon took first place in each of the four events he ran, including Friday’s 4-x-200 relay in which he competed with Farrell, sophomore Michael Jones and senior D’Ante Giles.

“Coach put this 4-x-4 together to bust out for the last ride, and that’s surely what we did,” Lyon said. “It feels great. Last year I got second in the 400 (dash) and fourth in the 200 (dash) and I came here with the mentality that I wasn’t going to settle for anything less than first place. So I came out, emptied my tank like the rest of my brothers and here we are — state champs again.”

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FFC coach Ben Montoya originally had sophomore Jones running the third leg in place of Ritter. But because the Trojans had built such a big lead in the team standings and due to Ritter’s insistence he could run, Montoya put the four UNC-bound seniors together for the final event of their prep careers.

“Kind of a different situation to be in, when early in the meet we knew we couldn’t be caught with more events to run,” Montoya said. “But it was like icing on the cake. We did have a sophomore on there, but I changed my mind at the last minute, and said, ‘I want all the seniors on it.’ It just capped off a great state meet.”

Ritter was proud to finish second in the 100-meter dash at 10.71 seconds — a photo finish with winner Devin Cadena of Rock Canyon (10.70). Ritter was the top preliminary qualifier at 10.69 after being medically cleared to compete.

“It’s a true blessing, because three weeks ago I was injured, and as of Monday, I wasn’t going to run at all in this meet,” Ritter said. “But ultimately, I got to run in a relay for my team, score points no matter what. It’s just a blessing to come up here with my brothers and sisters, and coaches — who wouldn’t let me go into college injured.”

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2018 Colorado high school state track meet: Individual, team champions in all classes

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 20:15

The 2018 Colorado high school track and field state meet concluded on Saturday at Jeffco Stadium. The following is a complete list of individual and team champions in all classes from this weekend’s action.

Use Command+F to search the page by athlete or school.

Class 5A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Fountain-Ft. Carson 100, 2. Cherry Creek 71, 3. Rock Canyon 50, 4. Fort Collins 48, 5. Broomfield 40.

4×100: Cherry Creek, 42.46.
4×200: Fountain-Fort Carson, 1:26.53.
4×400: Fountain-Fort Carson, 3:19.37.
4×800: Mountain Vista, 7:49.38.
110 hurdles: Andrew Doctor, Liberty, 14.35.
300 hurdles: Mitchell Gorman, Broomfield, 37.83.
100: Devin Cadena, Rock Canyon, 10.70.
200: Jalen Lyon, Fountain-Fort Carson, 21.65.
400: Jalen Lyon, Fountain-Fort Carson, 48.10.
800: Landon Rast, Legend, 1:53.03.
1600: Michael Mooney, Broomfield. 4:16.15.
3200: Michael Mooney, Broomfield, 9:12.97.
Pole vault: Max Manson, Monarch, 17-03.50.
Long jump: Micaylon Moore, Fort Collins, 22-10.25.
Triple jump: Allam Bushara, Fort Collins, 49-09.25.
High jump: Jequan Hogan, Fountain-Fort Carson, 6-08.00.
Shot put: Drake Nugent, Highlands Ranch, 55-09.50.
Discus: Jawuan Tate, Fountain-Fort Carson, 158-09.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Cherokee Trail 85, 2. Denver East 84, 3. Grandview 69, 4. Mountain Vista 59, 5. Rock Canyon 50.

4×100: Denver East, 47.10.
4×200: Denver East, 1:40.25.
4×400: Grandview, 3:57.56.
4×800: Broomfield, 9:16.33.
100 hurdles: Emily Sloan, Rock Canyon, 13.59.
300 hurdles: Emily Sloan, Rock Canyon, 41.42.
100: Arria Minor, Denver East, 11.51.
200: Arria Minor, Denver East, 23.60.
400: Lily Williams, Grandview, 53.85.
800: Marlena Preigh, Fairview, 2:09.19.
800 medley: Denver East, 1:42.62.
1600: Jenna Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista, 4:54.22.
3200: Jenna Fitzsimmons, Mountain Vista, 10:35.09.
Pole vault: Mia Manson, Monarch, 12-06.00.
Long jump: Sydnee Larkin, Cherokee Trail, 18-11.25.
Triple jump: Aumni Ashby, Cherokee Trail, 40-11.50.
High jump: Kylee Harr, Grandview, 5-10.00.
Shot put: Gabriella McDonald, Rocky Mountain, 42-08.50.
Discus: Gabriella McDonald, Rocky Mountain, 148-02.

Class 4A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Silver Creek 60.50, 2. Pueblo South 52, 3. Pine Creek 51, 4. Valor Christian 50, 5. Vista Ridge 47.

4×100: Pueblo South, 42.44.
4×200: Pine Creek, 1:28.07.
4×400: Mullen, 3:22.73.
4×800: Mead, 7:55.55.
110 hurdles: Angelo Hurtado, Roosevelt, 14.48.
300 hurdles: Dane Palazzo, Valor Christian and Wyatt Wieland, Pine Creek, 38.007 (tied).
100: Luc Andrada, Pueblo East, 10.66.
200: Tyrese VanHorne, Harrison, 21.63.
400: Tyler Williams, Standley Lake, 48.22.
800: James Lee, Silver Creek, 1:54.25.
1600: Cole Sprout, Valor Christian, 4:14.54.
3200: Cole Sprout, Valor Christian, 9:22.10.
Pole vault: Josiah Molascon, Air Academy, 14-06.00.
Long jump: Raymon Harper, Vista Ridge, 23-03.00.
Triple jump: Raymon Harper, Vista Ridge, 46-10.00.
High jump: Garrett Martin, Standley Lake, 6-10.00.
Shot put: Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 56-10.50.
Discus: Kain Medrano, Pueblo East, 185-09.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Valor Christian 138, 2. Niwot 112, 3. Discovery Canyon 60, 4. Palmer Ridge 37, 4. Battle Mountain 37.

4×100: Cheyenne Mountain, 49.57.
4×200: Valor Christian, 1:41.89.
4×400: Niwot, 3:55.64.
4×800: Battle Mountain, 9:16.13.
100 hurdles: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 14.23.
300 hurdles: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 42.67.
100: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 11.79.
200: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 24.05.
400: Lauren Gale, Discovery Canyon, 54.23.
800: Taylor James, Niwot, 2:13.55.
800 medley: Mead, 1:45.17.
1600: Joslin Blair, Eagle Valley, 5:06.22.
3200: Liberty Ricca, Discovery Canyon, 10:57.56.
Pole vault: Abigail Gray, Silver Creek, 11-06.00.
Long jump: Anna Hall, Valor Christian, 18-09.75.
Triple jump: Aaliyah Ricketts, Widefield, 36-06.00.
High jump: Rylee Anderson, Silver Creek, 5-07.50.
Shot put: Logan Derock, Roosevelt, 40-00.75.
Discus: Logan Derock, Roosevelt, 133-08.

Class 3A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Bayfield 79.50, 2. Classical Academy 73, 3. Elizabeth 55, 4. Roaring Fork 53, 5. Lutheran 51.

4×100: Berthoud, 43.18.
4×200: Lutheran, 1:28.01.
4×400: Platte Valley, 3:21.59.
4×800: Skyview, 8:01.99.
110 hurdles: Carl Heide, Bayfield, 14.65.
300 hurdles: Carl Heide, Bayfield, 38.69.
100: Seven Lindsay, Kent Denver, 10.74.
200: Seven Lindsay, Kent Denver, 21.78.
400: Chad Jackson, Alamosa, 49.91.
800: Rasce Engelhardt, Holy Family, 1:56.41.
1600: Ryan Moen, Classical Academy, 4:25.72.
3200: Ryan Moen, Classical Academy, 9:38.97.
Pole vault: Eric Casey, Steamboat Springs, 14-00.00.
Long jump: Inaujee Ison, Ridgeview Academy, 21-02.25.
Triple jump: Justin Thompson, Roaring Fork, 45-11.75.
High jump: Skye Ciccarelli, Woodland Park, 6-04.00.
Shot put: Reece Davidson, Faith Christian, 53-04.50.
Discus: Reece Davison, Faith Christian, 159-00.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Classical Academy 110, 2. Lutheran 86, 3. Alamosa 57, 3. Peak to Peak 57, 5. Elizabeth 47.50.

4×100: Classical Academy, 50.15.
4×200: Classical Academy, 1:43.91.
4×400: Alamosa, 3:58.69.
4×800: Peak to Peak, 9:20.84.
100 hurdles: Esther Diza-mbelolo, D’Evelyn, 15.08.
300 hurdles: Ashten Loeks, Elizabeth, 45.37.
100: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 12.02.
200: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 24.88.
400: Aryelle Wright, Montezuma-Cortez, 57.90.
800: Maggi Congdon, Steamboat Springs, 2:14.07.
800 medley: Lutheran, 1:49.63.
1600: Maggi Congdon, Steamboat Springs, 5:06.52.
3200: Hannah Ellis, Frontier Academy, 11:19.39.
Pole vault: Erika Willis, Classical Academy, 12-09.00.
Long jump: Maya Evans, Lutheran, 18-03.50.
Triple jump: Alex Burns, Sierra, 36-05.00.
High jump: Jordan Lanning, Bayfield, 5-07.75.
Shot put: Amaya Atencio, Alamosa, 39-01.00.
Discus: Keena Murphy, Pagosa Springs, 127-10.

Class 2A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Resurrection Christian 63, 2. Cedaredge 58, 2. Lyons 58, 4. Hoehne 56, 5. Hotchkiss 43.

4×100: Cedaredge, 45.12.
4×200: Cedaredge, 1:32.02.
4×400: Cedaredge, 3:30.01.
4×800: Lyons, 8:12.75.
110 hurdles: Austin Davis, Byers, 14.90.
300 hurdles: Jacob Yates, Hoehne, 39.50.
100: Michael Morgan, Buena Vista, 11.23.
200: Ty Grant, Cedaredge, 22.62.
400: Patrick Scoggins, Rangely, 51.02.
800: Ben Kelley, Soroco, 1:52.77.
1600: Ben Kelley, Soroco, 4:23.18.
3200: Cody Danley, Rocky Ford, 9:42.94.
Pole vault: Jake Chrisman, Yuma, 13-04.00.
Long jump: Tanner Applebee, Resurrection, 21-03.50.
Triple jump: Brady Lenz, Sanford, 43-02.50.
High jump: Grant Redmond, Soroco, 6-05.00.
Shot put: Jacob Tu’ufuli, Ellicott, 48-08.75.
Discus: Lane Walter, Crowley County, 160-01.

Girls

Team scores: 1. Highland 73.50, 2. Lyons 57, 3. Meeker 51, 4. Peyton 45, 5. Soroco 44.

4×100: Peyton, 51.69.
4×200: Peyton, 1:48.93.
4×400: Vail Christian, 4:09.84.
4×800: Paonia, 9:57.24.
100 hurdles: Mattie Rossi, Soroco, 15.51.
300 hurdles: Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss, 46.17.
100: Remington Ross, Highland, 12.19.
200: Remington Ross, Highland, 25.16.
400: Kaiya Firor, Hotchkiss, 58.29.
800: Kaylee Kearse, Peyton, 2:18.20.
800 medley: Denver Christian, 1:51.67.
1600: Soleil Gaylord, Telluride, 5:10.66.
3200: Soleil Gaylord, Telluride, 11:16.52.
Pole vault: Logan Kuskie, Lyons, 11-02.00.
Long jump: Taeryn Trumper, Holyoke, 18-01.75.
Triple jump: McKenna Palmer, Paonia, 36-03.75.
High jump: Katie Kurz, Dayspring Christian, 5-03.00.
Shot put: Alex Bauer, Burlington, 39-02.25.
Discus: Megan Shelton, Meeker, 124-09.

Class 1A

Boys

Team scores: 1. Heritage Christian 169, 2. Cotopaxi 41, 2. Haxtun 41, 4. South Baca 40.50, 5. Simla 39.

4×100: North Park, 45.68.
4×200: Haxtun, 1:32.93.
4×400: Heritage Christian, 3:35.89.
4×800: Heritage Christian, 8:23.44.
110 hurdles: Arlo Garner, Cotopaxi, 15.42.
300 hurdles: Arlo Garner, Cotopaxi, 39.56.
100: Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 11.28.
200: Josh Damir, Heritage Christian, 22.87.
400: Alex Ramos, Holly, 50.72.
800: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 1:59.13.
1600: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 4:34.29.
3200: Levi Kilian, Heritage Christian, 10:04.98.
Pole vault: Tommy Harmon, Pikes Peak Christian, 12-03.00.
Long jump: Jaden Johnson, Heritage Christian, 20-07.00.
Triple jump: Jade Cass, Pawnee, 43-01.50.
High jump: Wesley Ryan, DeBeque, 6-02.00.
Shot put: Keylan Dracon, Otis, 42-09.50.
Discus: JT Borunda, Springfield, 136-06.

Girls

Team scores: 1) Shining Mtn. Waldorf 94, 2. Springfield 65, 3. Heritage Christian 62, 4. Eads 52, 4. Plateau Valley 52.

4×100: Springfield, 52.71.
4×200: Springfield, 1:50.89.
4×400: Springfield, 4:20.26.
4×800: Plateau Valley, 10:28.66.
100 hurdles: Faith Novess, DeBeque,15.94.
300 hurdles: Faith Novess, DeBeque, 47.30.
100: Zariah Mason, Kim, 12.70.
200: Faith Novess, DeBeque, 26.93.
400: Benisa Ellis, Springfield, 1:02.39.
800: Leeann Wagner, Heritage Christian, 2:25.95.
800 medley: Springfield, 1:53.88.
1600: Emma Schaefer, Shining Mountain, 5:29.48.
3200: Emma Schaefer, Shining Mountain, 12:11.83.
Pole vault: Marina Flandrick, Shining Mountain, 9-10.00.
Long jump: Jerraldawn Rector, Simla, 16-03.25.
Triple jump: Matalynn Dawson, Miami-Yoder, 34-06.00.
High jump: Jerraldawn Rector, Simla, 5-01.00.
Shot put: Heather Graham, Genoa-Hugo, 39-05.50.
Discus: Mariah Smith, Eads, 133-08.

Puppies’ cuteness peaks right when they need humans most, study finds

Sat, 05/19/2018 - 20:11

It is not clear exactly when or precisely how, but at some point thousands of years ago, dogs became the world’s first domesticated animal. When those descendants of wolves hitched their star to humans, they hitched it hard.

Consider one key difference between the pups of wolves and the pups of street dogs, which make up about 85 percent of all the world’s dogs. Baby wolves stay for two years with their mother and father and extended family, who teach their offspring the difficult but critical task of taking down wild prey. Feral puppies, by contrast, probably never lay eyes on dad. Their mom typically stops nursing them at around 2 months of age – and then leaves.

Lacking the hunting skills of their wolf cousins, these vulnerable and suddenly solo little ones have a couple of options for survival. They must either figure out quickly how to scavenge through trash for people’s leftovers or they must be taken in by a human who will provide food.

Clive Wynne, an Arizona State University psychologist who researches dog and wolf behavior, got to thinking about this several years ago while visiting the Bahamas. A colleague who studies stray dogs there, William Fielding, mentioned that he thought many puppies did not survive being weaned and abandoned. Wynne knew that was probably true from the few studies on the topic, which have found more than 80 percent of free-roaming dogs do not make it to their first birthday.

“And what makes you one of the lucky ones?” Wynne wondered. Fielding’s hunch was that the survivors were those whose mothers ditched them near a dogless household of humans who found the pups irresistible. The idea led Wynne to the question at the heart of a study he co-authored, which was published this week in the journal Anthrozoös.

“Is it possible that dogs, and possibly other species, are at their cutest just at that point in life when human intervention would make the biggest difference for their survival?” Wynne said during an interview Thursday.

Being viewed as cute would not be a major evolutionary advantage for very young puppies, who would still be reliant on their mothers’ milk, he theorized. Being super cute at several months of age also would not pay such great dividends, he said.

“If they make it to 6 months, they’ve made it,” Wynne said. “They’re strong enough that they can do this very simple form of foraging that dogs do.”

Wynne theorized the sweet spot – the age at which people deem puppies oh-so-adorable – would be right around weaning. To find out, he and his students gathered sets of photos for three dog breeds of different shapes and sizes: the petite Jack Russell terrier, the pointy-eared white shepherd and the hulking Cane Corso. The photo sets included shots of each kind of dog at various ages ranging from birth to 8 months.

The researchers then recruited 51 students at the University of Florida, where Wynne was teaching at the time. Those participants viewed 39 black-and-white photos – 12 to 14 for each breed – on a computer and ranked their cuteness by moving a slider between “not at all attractive” and “very attractive.”

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As Wynne expected, participants gave newborn puppies low scores. The ratings rose steadily until dropping off at around 10 weeks. Sure enough, peak precious came just before or around weaning – at 7.7 weeks for the Jack Russells, 8.3 weeks for the white shepherds and 6.3 weeks for the Cane Corsos.

The study acknowledged some limitations. The participants were all college students, which is not the most diverse sample, and they judged only three breeds. Using video, rather than photos, might have produced different results, Wynne said.

He hopes the findings will inspire other researchers to do similar cuteness tests with wolves or cats, or compare those with dogs. He is quick to add that the study does not prove dogs evolved to be roly-poly people magnets right when they need a new source of calories.

“But it’s an interesting new hint toward how people make a difference in the lives of dogs – and make being a dog possible,” Wynne said. “How is it possible to be a dog? Part of the reason is that people are really attracted to you at that age when human intervention can be most helpful.”