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Updated: 7 min 40 sec ago

Katie Ledecky wins 1,500 and sets record for women’s world championship victories

29 min 1 sec ago

American Katie Ledecky scored another ho-hum victory Tuesday at the swimming world championships in Budapest, winning the 1,500-meter freestyle title by a tidy 19 seconds over Spain’s Mireia Belmonte. And while her time of 15:31.82 was more than six seconds off her own world-record pace, the title did break new ground: It was the 12th world championship gold medal of Ledecky’s career, breaking her tie with Missy Franklin for the most in women’s swimming history.

Michael Phelps holds the men’s record with 26 world championships.

Ledecky wasn’t finished with Tuesday’s 1,500 freestyle. A mere 47 minutes after dominating a race that required more than 15 minutes of swimming, she won her 200 freestyle semifinal heat with a time of 1:54.69, 0.30 of a second faster than second-place Emma McKeon of Australia.

Ledecky is attempting to win six gold medals at this year’s world championships, which also would tie a women’s record set by Franklin.

Michelle Obama to speak before thousands Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center

34 min 9 sec ago

The former first lady is in the Mile High City.

Michelle Obama is in Denver to speak at an event sponsored by the Women’s Foundation of Colorado to celebrate its 30th anniversary Tuesday night at the Pepsi Center. More than 8,000 people had bought tickets as of Tuesday morning.

“She has inspired many girls with her story and her fierce commitment to creating access to education for girls,” WFCO President and CEO Lauren Casteel said in a statement. “We are thrilled that she is joining us.”

Casteel will be moderating the conversation with Obama. Eight local teenagers, members of the 2017 Girls’ Leadership Council, will introduce the former first lady.

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Obama’s popularity led the organization to open up more seats to the event starting at 5:30 p.m., and tickets were still available as of midday Tuesday.

Michelle and Barack Obama have both been on speaking tours following a post-presidency vacation. Michelle Obama has largely steered clear of politics, focusing instead on topics that she advocated for as first lady, including education for women and health and nutrition for schoolchildren.

She spoke at the American Institute of Architecture’s annual conference in April, The Partnership for a Healthier America summit in May and the Pennsylvania Conference for Women in October.

Longtime Aspen police officer to run against Joe DiSalvo for Pitkin County sheriff next year

37 min 34 sec ago

ASPEN — While the election for Pitkin County sheriff isn’t until November 2018, longtime Aspen police officer Walter Chi said last week he plans to run against incumbent Joe DiSalvo.

“I think there needs to be a change,” Chi said. “It’s about doing things that are more efficient … and better for the community.”

Chi, 53, said he’s eligible to retire in August 2018 and plans to campaign for the office during his off hours until his retirement is official. He said he has not yet filed the official paperwork declaring his candidacy.

Chi said he has nothing personal against DiSalvo — who is serving his second four-year term and said last week he plans to run again — but would like to take the sheriff’s office in a different direction. “I’m probably pretty conservative,” Chi said. “More conservative than Joe.”

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Rapids promote Padraig Smith to interim general manager, Wayne Brant to chief business officer

40 min 22 sec ago

The Colorado Rapids have promoted Padraig Smith to interim general manager and Wayne Brant to interim chief business officer, team spokesman Ryan Madden confirmed on Tuesday.

The promotions come in the wake of Tim Hinchey’s departure as president of the club in June to become CEO of USA Swimming.

Smith, who joined the Rapids in 2015 as a sporting director, will preserve his prior responsibilities and add GM duties to his role — which will include oversight of coaching, technical staff, player acquisitions and scouting.

Brant has been the club’s vice president of business operations since November 2015. As chief business officer, he will manage the Rapids’ day-to-day business functions and lead the vision for the club going forward.

Douglas County crime blotter: Parking lot dispute ends in spitting, slap to the face in Castle Rock

55 min 41 sec ago

Slap draws summons. A man was cited with municipal assault July 15 after slapping another man in the parking lot of the King Soopers at 5544 Promenade Parkway, Castle Rock. The suspect told police he was pulling into the lot with his son in the car when another vehicle ran a stop sign, almost causing an accident. He honked and the other driver flipped him off, then followed him through the lot, honking at him, police reports say. Both parked, got out of their cars and exchanged words. The suspect said the other man spit at him and he immediately hit him in the face with an open hand.

Tough customer. Staff at the Walgreens at 355 S. Wilcox St., Castle Rock, reported a man cursed at them and knocked items off the shelf July 8 after being told his insurance would not authorize refilling his prescription. The manager escorted the man out of the store and the suspect told him he hoped his children died, according to a police report. Police issued the suspect a summons for disorderly conduct.

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Vehicle sacked. A couple living in the 300 block of East Allen Street, Castle Rock, called police July 15 to report their car had been ransacked overnight. According to a police report, there was no evidence the car had been entered by force and may have been left unlocked. Items taken from inside included a $300 tool bag full of hand tools, the vehicle’s registration and assorted mail.

Corralled at Kohl’s. An unidentified suspect was arrested and released after being caught shoplifting at the Kohl’s department store at 8660 S. Quebec St., Lone Tree, June 16.

EPA chief taps taxpayer dollars for Colorado trip, weekend flights home

1 hour 7 min ago

WASHINGTON — Records show the head of the Environmental Protection Agency spent weekends in his home state during his first three months in office, frequently flying to and from Oklahoma at taxpayer’s expense.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s expense reports from March, April and May were released following a Freedom of Information request filed by Environmental Integrity Project, a nonprofit watchdog group.

The records show Pruitt traveled home at least 10 times, typically leaving Washington on Fridays and returning on Mondays. Pruitt was either in Oklahoma or on trips that included stops there for nearly half the days encompassed in the three-month period, costing more than $15,000.

EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman did not respond to emails or phone messages from The Associated Press on Monday seeking comment.

Pruitt, a Republican, served as Oklahoma’s attorney general prior to his appointment by President Donald Trump to lead EPA. Married with two children, Pruitt owns a home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. There were a couple of occasions where Pruitt traveled on a trip for EPA and then paid out-of-pocket to fly to Tulsa before returning to Washington at government expense.

AP reported earlier this year that while Pruitt was in his state job, he was in frequent contact with political donors, corporate executives and industry groups opposed to new environmental regulations enacted under the Obama administration.

He appears to have continued that practice since coming to EPA, including traveling to accept an award from the Oklahoma Well Strippers Association, making a keynote address to a meeting of the American Legislative Exchange Council and delivering a speech to the National Association of Manufacturers.

EPA records indicate Pruitt also attended “informational meetings” during the trips, which were first reported by The New York Times. Though a trip to Oklahoma might last three or five days, it was not unusual for only one such meeting to be listed during Pruitt’s time away from Washington.

An example is Pruitt’s reported trip to Tulsa on Friday, May 19, on a flight scheduled to depart Washington at 5:37 p.m. The listed purpose of the trip was an “informational meeting” at the Brainerd Chemical Company in Tulsa. Pruitt’s return flight to Washington was scheduled to depart the following Monday morning at 6 a.m. local time.

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Records show EPA paid $1,980 for Pruitt’s round trip ticket on a commercial airline, well in excess of what an economy class ticket typically costs on that route. Federal regulations allow government travelers to fly business class or first class only when no cheaper options are “reasonably available.” Pruitt was also reimbursed $127 for meals and expenses, according to the records.

Among the questions to which Bowman did not respond was whether EPA staff or members of Pruitt’s full-time security detail traveled with him. She also did not answer questions about the official purpose of specific trips or whether Pruitt flew first class.

A call to the family-owned distribution company’s chairman, Mat Brainerd, was not immediately returned. He testified before congressional panels in favor of extending the Keystone XL oil pipeline and against part of the Clean Air Act.

In a statement to the Times, Bowman said: “The administrator’s travel, whether to Utah, Michigan or Oklahoma, all serves the purpose of hearing from hard-working Americans about how EPA can better serve the American people.”

On a different May trip, records show Pruitt flew to Colorado to give a speech to the Heritage Foundation before buying his own ticket to Tulsa for the weekend and then returning to Washington. On that trip, EPA paid $2,690 in commercial airfare.

The Heritage Foundation, a free-market think tank that receives funding from groups tied to the fossil-fuel industry, paid for Pruitt’s hotel room in Colorado Springs, according to his travel form. Though Pruitt’s expense report indicates an “ethics form is prepared” to allow the outside group to pick up his hotel tab, a copy of that form was not provided by the EPA.

Eric Schaeffer, executive director of the Environmental Integrity Project, said the records obtained by his group reflect Pruitt’s priorities.

“These travel records show that Administrator Pruitt is more focused on cultivating his relationships with industry and conservative political organizations in his home state of Oklahoma than he is on protecting the environment and the public health for the rest of America,” said Schaeffer, who served as the head of EPA’s office of civil enforcement from 1997 to 2002.


Associated Press writer Adam Kealoha Causey in Oklahoma City contributed to this story.

Police clear former Cowboys receiver Lucky Whitehead after false accusation and arrest warrant

1 hour 10 min ago

Police in Virginia’s Prince William County are working to clear Lucky Whitehead, the wide receiver who was cut by the Dallas Cowboys after being mistakenly charged with petit larceny and the subject of an arrest warrant for failure to appear in court.

At least for now, that comes too late for Whitehead to save his Cowboys job. The team, which is in California for training camp, completed the paperwork to cut him when the warrant was issued.

“We are thrilled that Lucky was vindicated, his good name restored and the charges dropped and warrant rescinded,” Whitehead’s agent, David E. Rich, said in an email to The Washington Post. “Rich Sports never doubted his story for a second. He’s family and we were gonna have his back no matter what. I’m very disappointed in how this entire thing was handled from the first story to the authorities in D.C. to the employer. Lucky deserved better. Don’t we all when are surprised an accusation out of left field? And those teammates in Dallas lost a good one … for no reason. There’s gonna be some lucky team in a day or so that gets themselves one hell of a player.”

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The story is a bizarre one. Jonathan Perok, a spokesman with the Prince William police, said the suspect who was believed to be involved in a June 22 shoplifting incident did not have identification on him when he was initially stopped by authorities. He said the man gave officers a name, date of birth and Social Security number that matched those of Rodney Darnell Whitehead Jr. Police said the information the suspect gave at the time was also checked against that of Whitehead in the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles database. They compared the DMV photo to the suspect who was in custody.

“Officers acted in good faith that, at the time, the man in custody was the same man matching the information provided,” the department said in a statement.

But it wasn’t true.

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The police statement, which was released Tuesday, went on, “At this point, the police department is also confident in confirming that Mr. Whitehead’s identify was falsely provided to police during the investigation.”

Meanwhile, police, Perok said, are looking for the suspect and working to get charges against Whitehead dropped.

Whitehead and his agent had protested that he was not in the area at the time of the incident. On Monday, Whitehead had said that this was a case of mistaken identity, telling Mike Fisher of Dallas’ 105.3 The Fan: “I don’t know who got arrested in Virginia, but it wasn’t me.” Whitehead said he “was in Dallas all that day until 11:20 a.m. It wasn’t me.”

At that point, Perok said, “we spoke to the officer and reviewed the details of what happened” and in its statement it said it “regrets the impact these events had on Mr. Whitehead and his family.”

Arapahoe County crime blotter: Someone stole a tiny tree from an Arapahoe County yard

1 hour 20 min ago

Bonsai boosted. A woman living in the 19000 block of East Pinewood Drive, Arapahoe County, reported a potted bonsai tree was stolen from the side of her home overnight June 29. The tree and pot are valued at $1,700, according to a police report.

Hovering intruder. Police responded to a home in the 9600 block of East Caley Circle, Arapahoe County, July 1 after a resident said a drone hovered over her and her friends for 20 minutes while they were sitting by her backyard pool. The woman said the kids next door had a drone. Officers interviewed a man who lived there. He said he had been flying the drone that day and wasn’t aware he could not fly over property lines without consent, a police report says. His neighbor declined to file trespassing charges.

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Office offender. A man was arrested July 8 for breaking into a business in the 9300 block of East Costilla Avenue, Greenwood Village, police say. The suspect told officers he came in through an open door because he needed somewhere to sleep. According to a police report, the office had damaged drywall and a broken light fixture. Four feminine hygiene product dispensers  had been broken into and emptied of money. Estimated damage: $2,300.

Bike lock circumvented. Police responded to the light rail station at 6398 S. Fiddlers Green Circle, Greenwood Village, July 1 on a reported bike theft. The reporting party told officers he left a red Specialized bike there four hours earlier but when he returned only the front wheel remained chained to the rack, a police report said. The man was borrowing the bike from a co-worker. Estimated loss unknown.

Clayton Kershaw’s injury shouldn’t derail the Dodgers’ World Series aspirations

1 hour 34 min ago

Los Angeles Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw will likely miss the next four to six weeks of the regular season based on an initial diagnosis of his injured back. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts told reporters on Monday there is no timetable yet for his star’s return but was optimistic that “(Kershaw) will be back to help us at some time this year.”

It’s never good to lose a starter such as Kershaw, but the Dodgers will be okay. They have the best record in the National League (68-31, tied for the fourth-most wins through 100 games since 1961) and through Monday were on pace to win 107 games, per FanGraphs. And yes, they are 19-2 when Kershaw starts, including 15 wins in a row, but the team deserves a lot of the credit in those wins.

The Dodgers are outscoring opponents by 176 runs, a slight second in the majors this season to the Houston Astros, who boast a run differential of 178. In Kershaw’s starts, the Dodgers have provided 5.41 runs per nine innings in support, the 14th most in the NL this season among pitchers qualifying for the ERA title. That, combined with Kershaw’s major league-low 2.04 ERA, is enough to win a vast majority of his starts.

But most pitchers in the NL would win a majority of their starts with that much run support.

We can estimate a pitcher’s record using runs scored and allowed. Using Kershaw’s regular season numbers, we would expect a pitcher with a 2.04 ERA getting 5.41 runs of support to win 87.6 percent of his games, which equates to a record of 15-2 over 17 decisions, exactly what Kershaw posted before his injury. The average NL starter with a 4.46 ERA would be expected to win 59.5 percent of his starts, or go 10-7, making Kershaw worth five wins more than an average pitcher.

But we are entering August, leaving Kershaw and the rest of the Dodgers starters with between 10 and 12 starts each for the rest of the season. If we go with the notion the Dodgers will give the rest of their starters the same run support as Kershaw — not far-fetched considering they provide 5.5 runs in support per nine innings to their starters — here are the records we can expect over 10 starts for a healthy Kershaw, an average starter on the Dodgers (3.75 ERA) and an average starter in the NL:

Clayton Kershaw: 7-3

Average starter on the Dodgers: 5-5

Average starter in the NL: 5-5

That’s a two-win difference over the rest of the season for a team projected to win 106 games, 16 more than the Arizona Diamondbacks who are second in the NL West.

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It’s also possible the Dodgers upgrade their pitching staff at the trade deadline.

According to Jon Morosi of, the Dodgers were interested in Rangers ace Yu Darvish before Kershaw’s back injury and also have interest in Justin Verlander of the Detroit Tigers. Mark Feinsand of spoke to one major league general manager who thinks the Dodgers might land 27-year-old Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics.

Of the three, only Darvish, with his 3.44 ERA, would be worth more than an average NL starter after accounting for Dodgers Stadium, winning 6 of 10 starts over the rest of the season. Verlander (4.50 ERA) and Gray (3.66 ERA) would each be expected to go 5-5.

The loss of a starter, especially a seven-time all-star, three-time Cy Young winner and the 2014 National League most valuable player, is a blow to any franchise, but the Dodgers aren’t in jeopardy of missing the playoffs by any means and should still be considered the favorite to win the 2017 World Series.

Adams County Crime Blotter: Stereo thief sets car on fire

1 hour 39 min ago

Leave no evidence. Someone broke into a woman’s car while it was parked in 7300 block of Krameria Street, Commerce City July 2, and stole her stereo and sub woofers and then used motor oil to start a fire on her driver’s car seat. The woman saw her unlocked car outside and that the driver’s side of the car was completely burned down to the wires in the dash and in the seat. Officers said the fire extinguished itself in the car shortly after it was set. There are no suspects.

Four strikes, you’re out. Several residents called police to the 2000 block of West 102nd Avenue, Thornton April 22 because one of their neighbors was blaring music and yelling at a party that apparently had lasted on and off for two days. By the fourth time officers received noise complaints, they decided to cite everyone in the party for being too loud.

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Copper thieves. A man called police July 7 after he found out someone broke into his storage trailer in the area of East 54th Avenue and Adams Street, Commerce City. He told officers he was missing about 200 pieces of copper pipe and estimated that they were worth about $50 each.

Bumper cars. Police were called to the 3900 block of East 112th Avenue, Thornton April 23 because someone slammed into a parked car after backing out of a parking space too quickly. The suspect fled the scene before the other driver could see the damage.

CSU’s Jake Bennett and Michael Gallup named to Preseason All-Mountain West team

1 hour 39 min ago

Colorado State center Jake Bennett and wide receiver Michael Gallup were named to the 2017 Preseason All-Mountain West team on Tuesday.

The selections were announced at the Mountain West Media Summit in Las Vegas, with the media picking the Rams to finish second in the conference’s Mountain division behind Boise State. Wyoming was selected to finish third in the division, followed by Air Force, New Mexico and Utah State.

Bennett was a Second-Team All-Mountain West selection last season and anchored a Rams offensive line that ranked eighth in the NCAA in sacks allowed per game (1.0). Gallup, in his first season of Division I football in 2016, had a breakout year — recording 76 catches for 1,272 yards. He ranked eighth in the nation in total touchdowns (14) and second in Rams’ history for a single season.

Bennett and Gallup played key roles in CSU’s offensive attack, which ranked high in the country in four different categories: passing efficiency (12th), rushing offense (31st), scoring offense (28th) and total offense (30th).

Bennett was recently named to watch lists for the Rimington and Outland Trophy. Gallup is on the Biletnikoff Award watch list.

WATCH: Lakewood animal control officers rescue fawn from basement

1 hour 45 min ago

Lakewood animal control officers helped rescue a fawn who put itself in a tight spot.

The fawn broke into a house in Lakewood when it came through a basement window, Lakewood police said in a post on the department’s Facebook page.

The officers were able to corral the fawn and safely remove it from the house.

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Once outside, the fawn was set free to run off and find its mom and the rest of the herd.

Cory Gardner remains mum hours ahead of expected Senate vote on health care

1 hour 54 min ago

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner is staying mum until the bitter end.

Hours before the U.S. Senate was set to hold a critical vote Tuesday on health care, Gardner aides said the Colorado Republican still hasn’t decided whether he would back it — an approach that tracks with Gardner’s weeks-long avoidance of a definitive position.

The ambiguity is in line with the vote itself, a procedural motion on a health care bill whose aim was unknown to most Americans — let alone lawmakers — the night before it was scheduled to take place. While the vote isn’t for final passage, and only would allow the Senate to proceed to debate on the legislation, the results are critical to GOP efforts to pass health care legislation.

On what exactly was still unknown hours beforehand.

If the procedural vote is successful, Senate Republicans could move forward on a few options, including a straight repeal of the Affordable Care Act, some version of the health care bill that Republicans have debated for weeks or a new plan to undo parts of the ACA, also known as Obamacare.

The uncertain path is the latest step in a Senate bill-writing process that has unfolded with little transparency and without a single hearing in the upper chamber.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colorado, blasted that approach Tuesday morning.

“Today we are voting to consider a #healthcare bill w/o knowing what it will do or how it will affect CO,” he wrote on Twitter.

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Later, in a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell he added: “the American people deserve to know what we are voting for.”

Gardner previously has criticized the lack of public hearings, but it’s unclear what he has done or said behind closed doors to compel his colleagues to hold them. As chair of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, he is a member of Senate GOP leadership.

While he’s said little about his intentions, Colorado liberals and conservatives have said that they expect Gardner to vote in support of Republican efforts to unwind the Affordable Care Act. The first-term senator also is not considered a “swing vote” by national prognosticators.

“While he has called for changes to the process – any vote he takes isn’t on process but is on if the measure is good or bad for Colorado,” said Casey Contres, a Gardner spokesman, in a statement.

“I’m going to fire everybody:” Scaramucci threatens White House purge over leaks

2 hours 6 min ago

WASHINGTON – Anthony Scaramucci, the new White House communications director, threatened on Tuesday to fire his entire staff in an effort to stem the leaking that has plagued President Trump’s administration since almost the first day he took office.

“I’m going to fire everybody, that’s how I’m going to do it,” Scaramucci said. “You’re either going to stop leaking or you’re going to get fired.”

Scaramucci, wearing blue-tinted aviator sunglasses and speaking to a small group of reporters in the White House driveway Tuesday morning, gestured to the guard booth on the outskirts of the complex to emphasize his threat.

“If they don’t stop leaking, I’m going to put them out on Pennsylvania Avenue – it’s a very clear thing,” he said. “You want to sell postcards to the tourists outside the gate or you want to work in the West Wing? What do you want to do? IF you want to work in the West Wing, you’ve got to stop leaking.”

Scaramucci entered the White House over the strenuous objections of both former White House press secretary Sean Spicer – who ultimately resigned in protest – and chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Despite publicly claiming that he and Priebus have a long and respectful working relationship, one of Scaramucci’s first moves has been to launch a broad overhaul of the press office, singling out Priebus allies, many of whom previously worked at the Republican National Committee, for further scrutiny.

An unofficial list of Priebus loyalists has been circulating among Scaramucci allies as those most likely to lose their jobs or be reassigned to somewhere else in the administration.

Asked about press reports that he has already begun to fire West Wing staffers, Scaramucci mentioned that name of a particular staffer floated in a news story as a likely candidate for firing, and said this was one of his frustrations with the leaks coming from the West Wing.

“This is actually a terrible thing,” he said.”The fact that you guys know about it before he does really upsets me as a human being and as a Roman Catholic, you got that? So I should have the opportunity, if I have to let someone go, to let the person go in a very humane, dignified way.”

Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, said that in a meeting of White House communications staff, Scaramucci had promised all aides “a clean slate” and “amnesty” to prove that they are not leaking and working hard to defend the president and support his agenda.

But Scaramucci also made clear “1000 percent” prepared to fire any communications staffer he suspects of disloyalty, and said,”I’ve got the authority from the president to do that.”

“There are leakers in the comms shop, there are leakers everywhere,” he said. “And leaking is atrocious. It’s outrageous. It’s unpatriotic. It damages the president personally. It damages the institution of the presidency and I don’t like it. I just don’t like it.”

Typically, the job of firing staffers – even those in the press shop – would be left to the chief of staff, but Priebus has found himself increasingly isolated in recent days, with few areas of the White House reporting directly to him.

Referring to Sarah Huckabee Sanders, who was promoted to White House press secretary Friday in the wake of Spicer’s resignation, Scaramucci added he was willing to upend the entire his entire team and rebuild it from scratch.

Matt Nieto signs one-year, $1 million deal to remain with Avalanche

2 hours 11 min ago

The Colorado Avalanche have inked forward Matt Nieto to a one-year deal worth $1 million for the 2017-18 season.

Nieto — a 5-foot-11, 180-pound left wing — played for the Avalanche in 43 of the final 44 games last season after being claimed off waivers from the San Jose Sharks on Jan. 5. He recorded 11 points (seven goals and four assists) for Colorado in 2016-17.

The 24 year old is scheduled for an arbitration hearing next week.

“Matt brought speed and offensive depth to our team in the second half of last season,” said Avalanche executive vice president/general manager Joe Sakic in a news release. “He brings energy to our lineup, and we look forward to having him under contract for 2017-18.”

Nieto previously spent the entirety of his professional career with the Sharks, recording 70 points in 221 games. The Long Beach, Calif., native played collegiate hockey at Boston University before being drafted 47th by San Jose in the 2011 NHL draft.

Wife of Littleton cop missing after climb in Russia starts charity to help other missing climbers abroad

2 hours 16 min ago

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. — Olivia Beare is still getting used to life without her husband, but says she hopes to use her experience to help other missing climbers abroad.

Denver7Steven Beare

Her husband, Littleton police officer Steven Beare, went missing more than a month ago while climbing Mt. Elbrus in Russia.

“I use to say everything happens for a reason. I don’t know what the reason is of my husband going missing on this mountain because it definitely sucks, but if this is the reason, and if we end up saving someone else’s life that will be enough for me,” said Olivia.

She said she started the non-profit Climbing For Beare to help raise money for recovery efforts to find her husband in Russia and also to help other Americans whose loved ones go missing while climbing mountains abroad.

“Our goal is for our relief to be two-fold: Helping to organize search teams in and around the mountain where your climber is, as well as helping you at home get various support to continue–everyday needs, from meals, errands, and household maintenance. We are honored to help you and your family,” the non-profit’s website says of its goals.

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“Even if I can help one family find their loved one alive, it’s worth it,” Olivia said.

Read the full story at

Vail Resorts promises to eliminate emissions, waste and offset forest impact by 2030

2 hours 36 min ago

Vail Resorts is launching an ambitious effort to eliminate the environmental impact of its operations by 2030.

Rob Katz, the chief of the world’s largest mountain resort operator, announced at an employee meeting Tuesday that the company was aiming to eliminate emissions, deliver zero waste to landfills and offset its overall impact to forests and habitat in the next 13 years.

The company is calling the effort: “Epic Promise for a Zero Footprint.”

“Committing to green energy is not only good for the environment, but it’s good for business,” Katz said. “We talk about an environmental goal of needing to use less, but that’s an important business goal too. It means we are being smart about not only the resources we use inside the company, but also how we use any resources outside the company … particularly when the environment is both our product and our passion.”

With the acquisition of major destination ski resorts in Australia, British Columbia, California, Utah, Vermont and Colorado, Vail Resorts now is big enough to influence environmental change.

When it vies to use only renewable energy by 2030, it can create new renewable energy plants to feed its network of resorts. It can convince resort industry suppliers and vendors to reduce packaging and use compostable products as the company aims to divert all its waste from landfills by 2030.

“Our size and scale helps,” Katz said.

Katz also announced Vail Resorts was joining the RE100, a group of global companies committed to using 100 percent renewable energy, including Anheuser-Busch InBev, Coca Cola, Apple, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Nestle, Nike and Starbucks.

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In 2008, Vail Resorts committed to a 10 percent reduction in energy use by 2012 and when the company hit that goal early, it aimed for a another 10 percent reduction in energy use by 2020. It’s almost at that goal and the new effort attempts to trim the company’s electric and natural gas consumption by another 15 percent by continuing investment in energy-saving projects like green building design and deploying high-efficiency snowmaking systems and snow groomers.

The company will purchase renewable energy to offset its 263,000 megawatt hours of electricity usage across all its resorts and will work with local utilities and governments near its resorts to push more renewable energy options into the local grids.

That’s smart business, Katz said, noting how renewables can eliminate the roller-coaster pricing of oil and natural gas energy.

In addition to growing its recycling and composting programs and urging vendors to source recyclable products, Vail Resorts is committing to “minimizing and eliminating the impact of any future resort development” by planting or restoring an acre of forest for every acre it displaces through operations.

As the U.S. federal government backs off efforts to address climate change or promoting renewable energy, more companies like Vail Resorts and local governments — including mayors of major cities — are taking up the charge, with a promise to reduce energy use and limit impacts.

“We don’t think these things are that political. Once it’s clear there are not going to be national standards, we think it’s important to put our money where our mouth is,” Katz said. “This is not only doing the right thing, it’s doing the smart thing.”

Former head coach Gary Kubiak returns to the Broncos as a scout

2 hours 43 min ago

Hours after agreeing to a new five-year contract to stay on as general manager and executive vice president of football operations, John Elway welcomed back a longtime friend and coach he said farewell to only seven months ago.

Gary Kubiak, the Broncos’ former head coach who resigned in January, was re-hired Tuesday as a scout based in his hometown of Houston, said Executive Vice President of Public and Community Relations Patrick Smyth. Kubiak will rejoin sons Klint (offensive assistant/quarterbacks) and Klein (southwest area scout) on the team’s staff.

As first reported by 9News, Kubiak is expected to focus on analyzing college prospects ahead of the draft and help the Broncos in free agency.

Kubiak returning to the game in some capacity should come as no surprise. In February at Super Bowl 50, Kubiak told The Denver Post that “I want something to do” and that “Lately I’ve been getting on my tractor and messing around the farm.

“I’ve had some great conversations around the league with some people,” he added. “Is that personnel? I don’t know. I talked to some colleges about various situations that are very interesting to me,” Kubiak said. “What I’m going to do is make sure I take a good break here — it’s only been a month — then I’m going to make a decision and go get after it. I’m hoping within the next couple of months I’ll decide on where I want to go next and what I want to do.

“My next stop is not going to be coaching, and I’m kind of excited about that because there are a lot of things about the game that I’ve always loved. I love evaluating, I love the draft, I love evaluating players and doing those types of things. I had some really interesting conversations with some colleges. So we’ll see.”

In his first year as the Broncos’ head coach in 2015, Kubiak led the Broncos on to their third Super Bowl title, managing an injured Peyton Manning and inexperienced Brock Osweiler as the defense starred. From 2015-16, Kubiak guided the Broncos to 24 total wins to tie Red Miller for the most in franchise history in his first two seasons as head coach.

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Last season, Kubiak suffered a health scare early in the season, and before the Broncos’ final road game at Kansas City, he informed Elway that he would be stepping down at the end of the season. Health was a reason, in part. His natural wiring was another.

“It was a struggle for me throughout the course of the year just keeping up with the things that I normally do and the way I want to do them and handling situations the way I wanted to handle them,” he said in January. “I had this conversation with John. It was not one incident. I am listening to the last few years.”

Kubiak said he couldn’t do the job as thoroughly as he wanted to and used to be able to, so he resigned from coaching. But not the game entirely.

Kubiak, Elway’s confidant and trusted coordinator who joined him for all three of the Broncos’ Super Bowl victories, is back.

Brain study examined 111 former NFL players. Only one didn’t have CTE.

2 hours 55 min ago

Researchers studying the link between football and chronic traumatic encephalopathy found that 99 percent of the brains donated by families of former NFL players showed signs of the neurodegenerative disease, according to a new study published Tuesday.

In all, researchers from Boston University School of Medicine and the VA Boston Healthcare System examined 202 brains that belonged to men who played football at all levels and were later donated for research. They found CTE in 177 of them — 87 percent.

While they found evidence of the disease across all levels of play, the highest percentage was found among those who competed at the highest level; all but one of the 111 brains belonging to ex-NFL players were diagnosed post-mortem with CTE.

“Obviously, this doesn’t represent the prevalence in the general population, but the fact that we’ve been able to gather this high a number of cases in such a short period of time says that this disease is not uncommon,” said neuropathologist Ann McKee, the researcher credited with some of the most high-profile CTE diagnoses. “In fact, I think it’s much more common than we currently realize. And more importantly, this is a problem in football that we need to address and we need to address now in order to bring some hope and optimism to football players.”

McKee cautions that the study has some limitations and doesn’t attempt to pinpoint a CTE rate. The brains studied were mostly donated by concerned families, which means they weren’t random and not necessarily representative of all men who have played football.

“A family is much more likely to donate if they’re concerned about their loved one — if they’re exhibiting symptoms or signs that are concerning them, or if they died accidentally or especially if they committed suicide,” she said. “It skews for accidental deaths, suicide and individuals with disabling or discomforting symptoms.”

While the study isn’t focused on causality, McKee says it provides “overwhelming circumstantial evidence that CTE is linked to football.”

The NFL pledged $100 million for concussion-related research last September — $60 million on technological development, with an emphasis on improving helmets, and $40 million earmarked for medical research — and in a statement a league spokesman expressed appreciation for the latest study.

“The medical and scientific communities will benefit from this publication and the NFL will continue to work with a wide range of experts to improve the health of current and former NFL athletes,” said NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. “As noted by the authors, there are still many unanswered questions relating to the cause, incidence and prevalence of long-term effects of head trauma such as CTE. The NFL is committed to supporting scientific research into CTE and advancing progress in the prevention and treatment of head injuries.”

The study marks the largest CTE case series ever published. The research was drawn from a brain bank established and maintained by the VA Boston Healthcare System, Boston University School of Medicine and the Concussion Legacy Foundation.

The 177 brains found to have CTE belonged to former players who had an average of 15 years of football experience. In addition to the NFL diagnoses, the group included three of 14 who played at the high school level, 48 of 53 who played in college, nine of 14 who competed semiprofessionally and seven of eight who played in the Canadian Football League.

“To me, it’s very concerning that we have college-level players who have severe CTE who did not go on to play professionally,” McKee said. “That means they most likely retired before the age of 25 and we still are seeing in some of those individuals very severe repercussions.”

The researchers distinguished between mild and severe cases of CTE, finding the majority of former college (56 percent), semipro (56 percent) and professional (86 percent) players to have exhibited severe pathology.

The impact of concussions and head trauma meted out on the football field has been an active area of study in recent years. And while much of the research has highlighted the potential long-term dangers posed by football, JAMA Neurology published a study this month that showed not all former players suffer from cognitive impairment.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania looked at Wisconsin men who graduated high school in 1957, comparing those who played football in school and those who didn’t. The men were assessed for depression and cognitive impairment later in life — in their 60s and 70s — and the research found similar outcomes for those who played high school football and those who didn’t.

That study also had its limitations, and the authors noted that the game 60 years ago is different in many ways from the present-day high school football experience, from playing style to equipment to the rule book.

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The Boston University study doesn’t necessarily reflect the same era of football. According to the researchers, the vast majority of the brains studied belonged to players who played in the 1960s or later. In addition to examining the brains, researchers interviewed family members and loved ones of the deceased former players and found that behavioral and mood symptoms were common with those who suffered from CTE, including impulsivity, signs of depression, anxiety, hopelessness and violent tendencies.

While the disease can currently only be diagnosed post-mortem, the researchers urge for a wide-ranging longitudinal study to better understand the impact head trauma has on football players across all levels.

In the meantime, the brain bank has about 425 donated brains at its disposal, including those from men and women who played a variety of sports, as well as military veterans, with many more pledged.

“It’s not an inert study,” McKee said. “This is a very large resource that will advance research in many directions… . The whole point is to advance and accelerate our knowledge of CTE in order to aid the living people who are at risk for it or who have it.”

Republican lawmaker “a little shocked” by the nerve he struck by floating Colorado bike tax

2 hours 57 min ago

A top Republican state lawmaker who last week floated a controversial proposal to tax bicycles to help pay for the state’s infrastructure needs says he is “a little shocked by the raw nerve I struck.”

“My attempt to start a conversation has been met with hysteria by some and reasonable ideas by others, reflecting a diversity of opinions on the subject that didn’t cut neatly along party or ideological lines,” state Sen. Ray Scott of Grand Junction wrote Monday on Facebook.

Scott, the assistant majority leader, wrote on the same Facebook page last week that he plans to introduce some sort of bicycle tax in the wake of the Oregon legislature voting this month to levy a flat $15 sales tax on bikes worth more than $200.

Whatever form such a bike tax might take, the suggestion inflamed some in the bicycle community, with cycling advocates already promising to fight the proposal.

“Bicycles are part of the solution for our roads, not the problem,” Bicycle Colorado wrote in a post soliciting donations to fight the proposal.

Scott says the response to his proposal has convinced him more than ever that there needs to be a conversation about taxing bicyclists and that it is “a debate worth having.” He added: “This clearly is an issue (that) Coloradans feel passionately about, and something lawmakers might want to take up when we next meet.”

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The tax would be a drop in the bucket toward the state’s projected $9 billion in unfunded infrastructure needs over the next decade. The Oregon tax is expected to generate less than $1.4 million a year, according to a state revenue analysis.

But there are key differences between the two states. For one, Oregon doesn’t charge state sales taxes. In Colorado, bicycles are already subject to a 2.9 percent state sales tax plus local taxes.

In Oregon, the bike tax was also adopted as part of a larger package of fee and tax increases. The legislation also included a 4-cent gas tax hike, a $16 vehicle registration fee increase, a 0.1 percent payroll tax and 0.5 percent tax on new car sales, according to the Oregonian.

Colorado transportation advocates have been trying for years to raise gas or sales taxes to pay for roads, but the efforts have always failed at the legislature due to Republican opposition.