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Updated: 26 min 9 sec ago

Manny Pacquiao dominates in retaining title against Adrien Broner

1 hour 35 min ago

LAS VEGAS — Manny Pacquiao showed Saturday night he’s still got plenty of fight for a fighter on the wrong side of 40.

Whether Pacquiao’s dominating win over Adrien Broner gets him a rematch with Floyd Mayweather, though, is a question that will have to be answered another night.

With Mayweather watching from ringside, Pacquiao showed flashes of his old speed in winning a unanimous 12-round decision over Broner to easily defend his piece of the welterweight title. It was the 61st win of a remarkable career in which Pacquiao has won titles in eight weight classes.

And it put to rest any thoughts of retirement after 24 years as a pro.

“The Manny Pacquiao journey will still continue,” Pacquiao said.

Fighting for the first time at the age of 40, the senator from the Philippines won a lopsided decision that was never in doubt before a crowd that roared at every punch he landed. The decision was never in doubt, but Pacquiao pressed the fight into the later rounds as he tried unsuccessfully to score a knockout.

Two judges favored Pacquiao by a 116-112 score, while the third had it 117-111. The AP scored it a shutout 120-108 for Pacquiao.

There were no knockdowns, but Pacquiao landed the heavier punches — and lots of them. He caught Broner in the seventh and ninth rounds with big left hands that sent him backward, while Broner spent most of the fight looking for one big counter that never came.

“At the age of 40 I can still give my best,” Pacquiao said. ” Although I wanted to be aggressive more, my camp told me don’t be careless and to counter him and wait for opportunities. ”

Both fighters were cautious late, as the fight slowed in the final two rounds.

Pacquiao, whose pro career stretches back 24 years, showed he still has the speed that carried him over his spectacular career. He also displayed some power, though he was never able to drop Broner.

Pacquiao was clearly the favorite of the crowd of 13,025, who gathered at the MGM Grand arena to see if the part-time fighter still had some fight in him. Turned out Pacquiao did, and then some as he pushed the attack against Broner.

Pacquiao was the aggressor from the opening bell, and he had to be because Broner threw only occasional punches in the opening rounds. Pacquiao attacked at will, winning round after round before the fight started to heat up in the middle rounds.

Broner, meanwhile, fought like he was merely trying to survive, despite being 11 years younger than his opponent. He was booed loudly as he raised his hands in victory and jumped on the corner ropes as if he had won.

“I beat him, everybody out there knows I beat him,” Broner said. “I clearly won the last seven rounds.”

Mayweather watched it all intently from his ringside seat, and was coy about possibly coming out of retirement for a reprise of the 2015 lackluster fight Mayweather won by decision over Pacquiao.

“You keep asking me about Manny Pacquiao,” Mayweather said during the fight. “He needs to get past Adrien Broner first. And right now I’m living a happy and healthy life.”

Showtime announcer Jim Gray tried to get Mayweather to climb in the ring after the fight and discuss a possible bout with Pacquiao, but Mayweather demurred.

It was the first fight in the U.S. in two years for Pacquiao, who reunited with trainer Freddie Roach for a bout that would determine how much he had left at the age of 40.

Turns out he had plenty, in a fight that was entertaining even if it wasn’t a classic.

Ringside punching stats showed Pacquiao landing 112 of 568 pounds. Broner threw only 295 punches and landed just 50.

Broner landed no more than eight punches in any round, and just one in the final round.

Death toll reaches 73 in Mexico fuel pipeline fire horror

1 hour 39 min ago

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — They were warned to stay away from the geyser of gasoline gushing from the illegally tapped pipeline in central Mexico, but Gerardo Perez says he and his son joined others in bypassing the soldiers. As they neared the spurting fuel he was overcome with foreboding.

Perez recalls telling his son: “Let’s go … this thing is going to explode.”

And it did, with a fireball that engulfed locals scooping up the spilling gasoline and underscored the dangers of an epidemic of fuel theft from pipelines that Mexico’s new president has vowed to fight.

By Saturday evening the death toll from Friday’s blaze had risen to 73, with another 74 people injured and dozens more were missing.

Perez and his son escaped the flames. On Saturday, he returned to the scorched field in the town of Tlahuelilpan in Hidalgo state to look for missing friends. It was a fruitless task. Only a handful of the remains still had skin. Dozens were burned to the bone or to ash when the gusher of gasoline exploded.

Just a few feet from where the pipeline passed through an alfalfa field, the dead seem to have fallen in heaps, perhaps as they stumbled over each other or tried to help one another as the geyser of gasoline turned to flames.

Several of the deceased lay on their backs, their arms stretched out in agony. Some seemed to have covered their chests in a last attempt to protect themselves from the blast. A few corpses seemed to embrace each other in death. Lost shoes were scattered around a space the size of a soccer field. Closer to the explosion, forensic workers marked mounds of ash with numbers.

On Friday, hundreds of people had gathered in an almost festive atmosphere in a field where the duct had been perforated by fuel thieves and gasoline spewed 20 feet into the air.

State oil company Petroleos Mexicanos, or Pemex, said the pipeline, which supplies much of central Mexico with fuel, had just reopened after being shut since Dec. 23 and that it had been breached 10 times over three months.

The tragedy came just three weeks after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador launched an offensive against fuel theft gangs that have drilled dangerous, illegal taps into pipelines an astounding 12,581 times in the first 10 months of 2018, an average of about 42 per day. The crackdown has led to widespread fuel shortages at gas stations throughout the country as Pemex deviates distribution, both licit and illicit.

Lopez Obrador vowed on Saturday to continue the fight against a practice that steals about $3 billion per year in fuel.

He said the attorney general’s office will investigate whether the explosion was intentional — caused by an individual or group — or whether the fireball occurred due to the inherent risk of clandestine fuel extraction. He called on townspeople to give testimony not only about Friday’s events in Hidalgo, but about the entire black-market chain of fuel theft.

“I believe in the people, I trust in the people, and I know that with these painful, regrettable lessons, the people will also distance themselves from these practices,” he said.

Lopez Obrador faces an uphill fight against a practice that locals say is deeply rooted in the poor rural areas where pipelines pass, covered by only a foot or two of dirt. In some cases, locals support the fuel thieves.

Tlahuelilpan, population 20,000, is just 8 miles (13 kilometers) from Pemex’s Tula refinery. Pemex Chief Executive Octavio Romero said an estimated 10,000 barrels of premium gasoline were rushing through the pipeline with 20 kilograms of pressure when it was ruptured.

Locals on Saturday expressed both sympathy and consternation toward the president’s war on fuel gangs.

Arely Calva Martinez said the recent shortages at gas stations raised the temptation to salvage fuel from the gusher.

Her brother Marco Alfredo, a teacher, was desperate for gas to drive 90 minutes back and forth to work when word spread via Facebook that fuel spewing into the field. Marco Alfredo and another brother, Yonathan, were in the field when the fire erupted. They haven’t been seen since.

“I think if there had been gas in the gas stations, many of these people wouldn’t have been here,” Calva Martinez said while holding a picture of her brothers.

Tears streamed down Erica Bautista’s cheeks as she held up her cellphone with pictures of her brother, Valentin Hernandez Cornejo, 24, a taxi driver, and his wife, Yesica, both of whom are also missing. Valentin faced “enormous lines” for a limited ration of gas, she said. Then he received a phone call alerting him to the fuel spill.

“We want to at least find a cadaver,” she said while weeping.

Health officials were taking DNA samples from direct relatives at the local community center in Tlahuelilpan to aid in identification. Outside, a long, chilling list of the missing was taped to a window.

Wrapped in a blanket, Hugo Olvera Estrada said he had gone to six nearby hospitals looking for his 13-year-old son, who had joined the crowd at the fuel spill. He hasn’t been seen since.

“Ay, no, where is my son?” he wailed.

Lopez Obrador launched the offensive against illegal taps soon after taking office Dec. 1, deploying 3,200 marines to guard pipelines and refineries. His administration also shut down pipelines to detect and deter illegal taps, relying more on delivering fuel by tanker truck.

Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio said there are 50 soldiers stationed every 12 miles along the pipelines, and that they patrol 24 hours a day. But the soldiers have been ordered not to engage with fuel thieves out of fear that an escalation could result in more shootings of unarmed civilians or more soldiers being beaten by a mob.

“We don’t want this sort of confrontation,” Cresencio said.

A second pipeline burst into flames Friday in the neighboring state of Queretaro as a result of another illegal tap. But in this fire there were no reported casualties.

In December 2010, authorities also blamed thieves for a pipeline explosion in a central Mexico near the capital that killed 28 people, including 13 children.

___

Associated Press writer Amy Guthrie contributed to this story from Mexico City.

Nikola Jokic passes Kareem Abdul-Jabbar on NBA all-time triple-doubles chart

3 hours 9 min ago

Move over, Kareem. And Wilt? Heads up: The Joker’s coming for you next.

Nuggets center Nikola Jokic late Saturday night moved into the No. 2 spot in NBA history for triple-doubles all-time by a 7-footer, notching his 22nd such performance in a 124-102 rout of the Cleveland Cavaliers at the Pepsi Center.

Boxscore

The big Serbian finished with 19 points, 11 rebounds and 12 assists in just 28 minutes of action, passing Kareem Abdul-Jabbar for the No. 2 slot among triple-doubles (21) in the third quarter. Chamberlain holds the league record for triple-doubles by a 7-footer with 78.

It was the sixth triple-double of the season for Jokic, who was pulled in the third period with the Nuggets up 97-69, serenaded by chants of “M-V-P” from the Pepsi Center faithful as he went to the bench.

“It’s good, it’s good,” said the Denver center, who’d collected 15 points and seven assists by halftime. “Just because we’re 20-4 at home, so we’re playing really good at home … so that 3-1 (homestand), I’m going to take that.”

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Teammate Jamal Murray dropped 16 of his 26 points by the intermission, which saw the Nuggets (31-14) take a 70-46 lead into the break. Denver, which went 8-3 during a stretch of 11 games in 19 days to open January, drained 27 of its 41 first-half shots and 10 of its initial 20 from beyond the arc — six of those coming from Jokic (three treys) and Malik Beasley (three).

“Playing team basketball and moving the ball puts a lot of energy into the building,” Murray said. “A lot of guys get to make a couple shots, and then when we’re moving the ball, everybody gets to shoot.”

Eleven Nuggets — including reserve forward Tyler Lydon — recorded at least one bucket against Cleveland (9-38), a contest that was expected to be a laugher from the jump got there, eventually.

The Cavs playing the second night of a back-to-back and off the heels of a 115-99 thumping at Utah Friday evening, got a few jabs in early before the hosts started landing one bloody haymaker after another.

Cleveland took a 10-7 lead thanks to a couple of quick buckets from Cedi Osman before the hosts responded with a 5-0 run of their own, punctuated by Beasley’s second 3-pointer of the night with 8:01 to go in the frame.

The visitors zipped back in front, 20-17, before the Nuggets countered with a 12-0 run to wrest control of the joystick for the rest of the night, a surge that started on Jokic’s 3-pointer with 5:01 left in the period and that was capped by Murray’s trey two minutes later. Denver closed the first period on a 20-5 run and almost did to the Cavs what the Golden State Warriors did on Tuesday night here, netting 37 points in the first period and draining seven treys over the first 12 minutes of the contest.

Kenyon Martin: Nuggets deserve at least 3 NBA All-Stars

3 hours 28 min ago

Why stop at one? Kenyon Martin thinks the Denver Nuggets are deserving of three representatives at the NBA All-Star Game next month in Charlotte.

“I don’t know how many All-Stars they would get, but (among) guys that deserve it, they probably could have three,” Martin, the Nuggets’ star power forward and enforcer from 2004-11, said at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night before his old club hooked up with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“But who knows? But (are they) deserving of that? Yeah … they’re playing well, can only get better. If they keep it together and guys continue to get better and grow. You’ve got guys that haven’t played yet: Isaiah (Thomas) and Michael Porter. So just imagine. Then you add some of that caliber of talent to the mix, it can only get better. Guys buy into just winning not ego, (it) could be great.”

The 41-year-old Martin said he’d tap center Nikola Jokic and guards Jamal Murray and Gary Harris for All-Star consideration.

“They play an integral part, with what they’ve been doing,” said Martin, who was honored at the Pepsi Center as part of the Nuggets’ series Skyline Night series. “The season ebbs and flows, but … they definitely deserve it. Will it happen? You never know. (With) voters … it’s just tricky. Coaches voting on it is tricky. It’s tricky, man. You never know.”

While Jokic brings a different style to the paint than Martin did during his salad days, the former Nuggets big man said he thinks the Serbian is “tough as nails, passes it well. He fits the prototypical big these days.”

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Martin was a member of the Trilogy team that won the initial BIG3 basketball league in 2017; while he’ll continue to be involved with the circuit in some capacity, “I’m not playing (anymore) … certain guys going down like Rashard Lewis ruptured his Achilles last year, Mike James fractures his knee cap.

“I’m not trying to rehab; I’ve been there before. Like I was talking to (former first-round pick) Michael Porter in that locker room, just how they’re supposed to rehab and stuff like that… and I was like, ‘I had two microfractures, I had my patella repaired, and I kept playing for a reason.’ But I’m not trying to go through that (again),” Martin said. “Again, basketball’s easy. It’s rehab, that’s hard. You don’t want to do that, but you got to. You’ve got to put that much more time into it.”

Martin also, ahem, lamented the state of defense in the NBA at present, calling it “terrible.”

“Individually, team defense — like everybody wants to get the ball and go back quick. That’s like a so-so effort. Doing radio and stuff now, just paying attention to TV and radio, paying attention to different stats, I’m like, ‘Defensively, oh, it’s bad.’ (It) makes me cringe. From somebody who had to learn — it was a learned behavior for me to give up two points. Like for me to concede two points, it was a learned behavior. I take it (personally). If you score on me, I take it (personally) … it’s not competitive now. Just layup after layup, wide-open three after wide-open three, gives guys time to find the seams. James (Harden) is a great scorer, (he’s) been doing this thing for the last month or so, near two months now. There’s not been one gameplan in the last month, hear two months, to double him when he crosses the half court and take the ball out of his hands and deny him so he can’t get back. They’re playing Golden State. (Kevin Durant), they switched it, he got off it, KD denied him to a certain point, but then let him catch it. What’s the point? Might as well just let him catch it.”

CSU Rams basketball come up short against Utah State

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 23:50

Multiple second-half runs failed to produce the desired outcome for Colorado State during the Rams’ 87-72 loss to Utah State in Logan on Saturday evening.

As has been the case multiple times this year, CSU (7-11, 2-3 Mountain West) settled into the game too late to come out victorious. Though they hung around deep into the second half, a late run from Utah State (14-5, 4-2 MW) secured their victory.

“We knew they’d be ready to play and prepared and they came out the more physical team,” coach Niko Medved told Brian Roth and Adam Nigon after the game. “It took us a while to wake up and get going. I told our guys that’s a good team to play. They’re a top-of-the-conference kind of team.”

CSU found itself in a hole early as Utah State came out quick and efficient on offense to open a 14-2 lead. The Rams found their footing on offense, though, and cut into the lead to four on multiple occasions.

The Aggies had answers for every small CSU run, mainly in the form of Brock Miller. The guard nailed five of his team’s seven 3-pointers in the first stanza to help give the hosts a 44-35 lead at the break.

“I thought we played pretty hard tonight, we didn’t give in,” Medved said. “But at some point, playing hard is just the price of admission. We just had too many errors of discipline at both ends. That’s a team that’s gonna make you pay when you do that.”

Both teams started slow offensively in the final half before they began trading buckets. Like the opening to the game, Utah State had a response for most of CSU’s baskets as the Rams struggled in their perimeter defense.

Though CSU stayed within striking distance for much of the half, those woes on the perimeter caught up to them near the 10-minute mark. The Aggies knocked down another pair of triples, and combined with empty offensive possessions from the Rams, they extended the lead to 18 with about eight minutes remaining.

With time for a comeback waning, Nico Carvacho found life on the offensive end. Held to six points until that point, the forward scored on back-to-back possessions to reenergize his team. Kendle Moore scored a fastbreak layup off a Kris Martin block and Adam Thistlewood knocked down a 3 to cut the deficit to 10.

Following two Aggie baskets, the Rams installed a full-court press and it lead to two steals and four three throws, again bringing the lead down to 10. Despite the offensive sparks, nothing came of them as the Aggies always bounced back at the other end.

“Obviously we had to be a lot better defensively,” Medved said. “We were able to get the shot clock down several times but just weren’t able to finish. A couple of real key communication errors — simple switches or different things where we fell asleep.”

For the Rams, the loss keeps them winless on true road games this season in five attempts. Similar to the road loss against Fresno State, their inability to find a groove early proved too difficult to overcome. While they played well for much of the second period, a full 40 minutes evaded them.

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Five different Aggies reached double-figures, led by Miller and Neemias Queta each with 18. Sam Merrill entered the contest as the Mountain West’s second-leading scorer and he finished with 16. Queta also brought down 11 boards and contained Carvacho for much of the night as the Aggies won the rebounding battle 39-24.

CSU played six players for nearly the entire game, five of whom scored double-digits. JD Paige scored 17, Hyron Edwards 14 and Carvacho and Thistlewood 12 each. Carvacho also pulled down 10 rebounds to finish with a double-double.

After two games of successful ball movement, CSU finished with only 13 assists compared to Utah State’s 23. They were also outscored 38-20 in the paint.

The Rams return to action on Wednesday in Reno against No. 10 Nevada.

Isaiah Thomas returning next month? “Don’t believe everything you read,” Nuggets coach says

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 21:22

Just when we were getting ready to prep The Isaiah Thomas Party Train, Mike Malone reached over and yanked the hand brake.

“Don’t believe everything you read,” the Nuggets coach said early Saturday night before his team took on the Cleveland Cavaliers when asked about a recent ESPN report that pegged Thomas as returning to action in mid-February.

“I don’t know where these leaks come from, but (with) Isaiah, there’s no timeline. There’s nothing (that has) been set about February, this, that or the other thing. You’ll see him when he’s ready to play.”

Thomas, who’s recovering from hip surgery last March, tweeted early Thursday morning the comment “25 days,” which hinted at perhaps a quicker return than had been projected. That tweet, which was summarily deleted, was followed by a report from ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarski on Friday indicating that Thomas, a two-time All-Star, could return as soon as a Feb. 11 home date against Miami or a Feb. 13 visit from Sacramento.

When asked if Thomas’ return next month was likely, Malone replied: “Your guess is as good as mine.”

Despite the fact that the injury bug has been almost as much a constant as winning in the Nuggets’ locker room the last three months, over the first half of the season, Malone had used only eight different starting lineups through 44 games — tied with Utah, Dallas and Orlando for the eighth-fewest alignment shifts in the NBA.

“Once you understand your role, accept it, embrace it, and be the best you can at your role, that’s what creates chemistry,” forward Torrey Craig said of the Nuggets’ lineups. “Guys are NBA players; We all know what we need to do. We know what we have (got) in this team and guys know what they need to do, so I don’t think chemistry is going to be that big of a problem.

“Will (Barton), Gary (Harris), I.T. can come back, so we’re just a deep squad. I’m pretty sure that coaches and everybody would figure out how the rotation is going to go and all of that.”

If the hoops fates are kind, Malone is on a pace for 15 different starting lineups, which would be the fewest for a Nuggets’ regular season since 2012-13, when then-coach George Karl used only 10. That Nuggets side was also the last to win at least 50 games in a season (57-25, .695), a pace that the current squad (30-14 as of Saturday afternoon, .682) could match or surpass.

“We have Jamal (Murray), we have Nikola (Jokic), we have Malik (Beasley), guys that have been … able to get a great rhythm and play at a high level together,” Malone said. “So there is some semblance of continuity in light of all the injuries. And guys have handled it really well all year long. It’s kind of like we’ve come to expect (that) if somebody’s going to be out, that means somebody else has an opportunity to step up. And to each of those guys’ credit, they’ve all stepped up when we’ve needed them.”

Chemistry can be a fickle mistress. But there’s something to be said for a little constancy, too: The teams with the eight best records in each conference through Saturday morning had averaged just 9.8 different starting lineups so far this season. The clubs with the seven worst records in each conference averaged 11.1 different sets of starters this winter.

“It just shows how deep this team is,” Craig offered. “We can go all the way down the line, and we’ve got guys that compete and still win games and play at a high level.”

Malone’s most successful starting five before Saturday night was also one of his most frequent: An opening lineup of Craig, Juancho Hernangomez, Jokic, Jamal Murray and center Mason Plumee had started 11 contests, winning nine (.818). The only other starting five to open 11 games was Craig-Paul Milsap-Jokic-Harris-Murray, which had a mark of 7-4 (.636). Before the Cavs game, the Nuggets had only featured a starting five of Will Barton-Milsap-Jokic-Harris-Murray twice this season, winning both contests in which it was featured.

“It’s not like we are changing the game because of someone or because of whatever,” Jokic said. “They are just (to) fill the role and they know what to do. So it’s not that hard. We just need a little bit more time to get used to the new guy in the lineup, or whatever.”

Denver teachers union members begin strike vote

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 21:14

Denver teachers union members embodied the civics lessons some teach, exercising their right to vote Saturday for or against a strike after the union rejected Denver Public Schools’ late Friday night pay structure proposal.

Teachers — some energized, some defeated — trickled into Denver’s Riverside Church on Saturday afternoon, listening to informational sessions from union representatives. Members of the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, who represent about 64 percent of educators in the district, turned out to decide if walking out of their classrooms in the name of fair wages was the right way forward through years of muddled, contentious contract negotiations between themselves and the district.

David Diaz, a former DPS and DTCA member and current DPS parent, accompanied his wife, a current DPS teacher, as she voted.

Diaz’s wife, who voted in favor of a strike, did not want to be named out of fear of retaliation from her school and peers.

Diaz left the teaching profession after his third child was born, admitting that he couldn’t raise a family on a two-teacher income and that mental exhaustion caused him to start his own business.

“It’s nice to see the union finally fight the Denver district’s plan, which has been happening forever in private,” Diaz said. “It’s long overdue. It’s imperative we value the teachers and what they’re asking.”

Judy Cardenas, a University Park Elementary School teacher, walked out of the church with her “ask me why I’m ready to strike” pin on her shirt.

“The vote we’re taking today is basically a message that we have the power to say we care,” Cardenas said.

Several teachers exited the building and declined a request for comment, saying they were too tired to think after two weeks of marathon negotiations that lasted late into Friday night and had been happening steadily over the course of 14 months.

Ann Pipal, a DPS teacher, could muster one sentence: “Denver Public Schools needs to pay its teachers better.”

District Superintendent Susana Cordova said during a Saturday news conference that she agreed. The district’s plan kicks in $20.5 million toward teacher compensation and provides bonuses for educators in high-poverty schools — something Cordova has stressed is key in their plan.

Earlier in negotiations, Cordova said, she was focused on reaching an agreement but told The Denver Post in an interview last week, “For the teachers who do honor the strike, I, obviously, understand why they would be in that position.”

After the union rejected the district’s proposal, Cordova had a different tune in Saturday: “It’s hard for me to understand that we would have teachers who are going to go out on strike, who will attempt to close down our schools, who will interrupt the education of the children of Denver because a 10 percent increase on average is not enough.

Teachers also can vote Tuesday evening at the Knights of Columbus building in downtown Denver. Two-thirds of union members must vote for a strike to make it official. Results will be known late Tuesday evening or early Wednesday morning, union officials said.

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Cordova has assured parents that, in the event of a strike, schools will be kept open with the help of substitute teachers and licensed school staffers who work outside the classroom, lessons will continue, special-needs children will be prioritized, and children who utilize free and reduced-price lunch will still be able to eat. The earliest teachers could strike is Jan. 28.

The superintendent promised that if a strike vote goes through, she will ask for state intervention immediately. In the meantime, Cordova said the district and the union can still come to an agreement before embarking on the first Denver strike in more than a decade.

“We continue to be ready, willing and able to keep going back and forth,” Cordova said.

Kiszla: Team meeting? Check. Rousing 7-1 victory? Check. Next on Avs’ agenda: Trade for Rangers center Kevin Hayes.

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 19:41

Only the most desperate of hockey teams are desperate enough to hold a team meeting. Behind closed doors, Avalanche players aired out the stink of the past six weeks, then went out and humpty-dumptied the Los Angeles Kings 7-1.

But you want to know about that meeting? It was to count blessings, as much as air grievances. The Avalanche understands this team probably deserves to be buried in the Western Conference standings. But some how, some way, Colorado wakes up with 34 regular-season game remaining, firmly in the playoff race. How lucky should the Avs feel about that?

“Count your blessings and roll up your sleeves and get to work and take advantage of it,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said Saturday.

So let’s broach a tough subject, and do it in the warm afterglow of a trouncing of the Kings, instead of in the middle of the recent dark and stormy trip through Canada, during which the team’s playoff aspirations threatened to disappear in a snow bank.

The Avalanche, lacking a little in both grit and talent, needs to make a deal. Get busy, Joe Sakic. How bad do you really want this team to make the playoffs?

With the NHL trade deadline looming next month, New York Rangers center Kevin Hayes sits atop the wish list of every playoff contender that’s shopping for scoring.

Let’s see if Sakic can be the general manager to get the deal for Hayes done. Yes, it can happen without mortgaging the team’s future. And, yes, it needs to happen, because the continued growth of Colorado’s young core requires the experience that only playoff hockey can provide.

“We had a big meeting (Friday). We talked about a lot of things and we kind of aired some things out. We talked about a reset and starting fresh,” Avs captain Gabe Landeskog said. “You look in the standings, and in my opinion, it’s a miracle that we’re still where we’re at. We’re fortunate to still be in a playoff spot. So we’ve got to chalk it up to a bad stretch of hockey and kind of move on.”

When fourth-liner Sheldon Dries put an exclamation point on a six-goal explosion during the second period by swatting a puck out of mid-air, maybe secondary scoring was not among the primary concerns for 18,043 spectators raising the roof of the Pepsi Center. Beer tastes better with biscuits by the half dozen in the basket.

While two seats in the arena were reserved for Rangers scouts, did anyone see Tyson Jost in the building? The recent banishment to the minor leagues of a young Colorado center who has lost his mojo was a not-so-subtle reminder how the lack of offensive depth poses a grave danger to the three-headed monster of Nathan MacKinnon, Mikko Rantanen and Landeskog.

“We all want to see that hunger back in our game,” Landeskog said. “We want to see that urgency and that fight and that sandpaper we need to play with to be tough to beat.”

Hayes, who has produced 10 goals and 23 assists for the Rangers, doesn’t have the talent to change the course of hockey history. But he might bring the sandpaper grit Colorado so desperately needs. A solid two-way player, the 26-year-old native of Dorchester, Mass., also gets down and dirty on the penalty kill. At 6-foot-5 and 216 pounds, Hayes is a good dude to have on your side when the postseason intensity amps up.

Sound like Sakic’s kind of player to you?

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The Avalanche isn’t about to trade its lottery ticket in the Jack Hughes draft sweepstakes for Hayes or any other NHL veteran available in trade. But, if so inclined, Sakic could offer a top draft choice to the Rangers without surrendering the first-round pick he obtained from Ottawa in the Matt Duchene deal.

Yes, Hayes only makes sense if Colorado wants to sign him to a long-term contract as part of the team’s maturation process toward Stanley Cup contention in the years ahead. The more crucial question in my mind: Would Colorado also need to surrender a top defensive prospect to acquire Hayes, and is he worth the possible heartburn Sakic might suffer by seeing Conor Timmins blossom at the blue line for another NHL organization?

Despite their growing pains, these Avs could still make noise in the playoffs. But, first, there’s the little business of qualifying for the playoffs. This team could use some more manpower. Let’s make a deal.

Hey, Joe: Roll up your sleeves. Get to work.

Womxn’s March in Denver draws an estimated 80,000 protesters

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 19:05

Protesters sang, danced and chanted as they gathered Saturday in downtown Denver.  They carried signs, several of which expressed their support of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

“Long live the Queen,” read one sign. “You can’t handle the RBG,” read another.

“She’s still breathing,” said Sheila Robinson, 67, of Denver, when another person holding an “RBG” sign walked past where she sat on the steps, watching speakers and others take the stage in Civic Center.

It was the retired teacher’s third time attending the women’s march. She wore an animal print hat covered in pins, which showed support for former President Barack Obama and for the potential teachers’ strike in Denver.

“I like the expansion of inclusiveness for more and more ideologies being protested,” Robinson said.

Despite the controversies the movement has faced, about 80,000 protesters turned up for the Womxn’s March, according to an early crowd estimate from organizers. Last year, about 100,000 people attended the Denver march.

This year, as protesters assembled, the event had a new name: Womxn’s March. It’s part of a rebranding effort by the Denver chapter following criticisms — local and national — of lack of representation at marches. There also have been allegations of anti-semitism.

Last year, the national women’s march movement faced criticism for some of its leaders’ connections to Louis Farrakhan. The local chapter issued a issued a statement denouncing anti-Semitism, and national leaders have refuted claims that the movement supports Farrakhan.

Saturday was a sunny but cold day. Snow, which lingered from Friday’s storm, had turned icy by the time marchers set off on their one-mile route. The march was sandwiched between two rallies, which brought a variety of dancers, singers and speakers in front of the crowd.

“We’re here today to listen, unite and act,” said Regan Byrd, one of the emcees during the first rally.

Byrd’s words matched with the theme of this year’s event: “Listen to those who have been silenced. Unite under the banner of anti-oppression. Act with intention.”

As they walked, the protesters chanted. “My body, my choice,” they said. “Hey, hey, ho, ho Donald Trump has got to go,” could be heard echoing through the crowd.

Zoey Sherry, 33, of Broomfield, said she thinks feminists sometimes don’t include people of color, which is why she carried a sign reading “End White Supremacy” and “Black Lives matter.”

“I believe my America supports diversity,” Sherry said.

Many protesters brought their dogs with them, including the Lewis family from Boulder. Wendy Lewis, 45, attended the march with her husband and two children, ages 10 and 11. The family also brought their toy Australian shepherd, Keymit, who wore a sign that said “I would make a BETTER President!”

“I did want my kids to see that through protests you can make a difference in the world,” she said.

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Many of the protesters’ signs were critical of President Donald Trump and his policies, including his push to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. One or two also criticized the federal government shutdown.

Alex Lotze, 24, of Denver, took a different approach and held a sign that highlighted the lack of women in leadership positions in business, Congress and state politics.

“I am here because women are under-represented,” she said.

Kickin’ it with Kiz: Should the Broncos trade up in NFL draft to get Dwayne Haskins as their franchise quarterback?

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 18:52

There’s no way Broncos general manager John Elway waits until the second round to take a quarterback. First round! I say there’s a 100 percent chance, unless for some reason he gets a quarterback in free agency.

Devon, hangry for a QB

Kiz: If the Broncos are truly confident Dwayne Haskins, Drew Lock or Kyler Murray has the right stuff to be a franchise quarterback, then why hope and pray he will fall to them with the 10th pick in the NFL draft? Trade up! Elway needs to find the guy, not the best QB available when the Denver is on the clock. My belief: It’s smarter to take a player (regardless of position) with the most Pro Bowl potential in the first round rather than to draft for need.

How likely would Case Keenum be assessed as a quarterback good enough to keep if Denver’s offensive line was playing as well as the Rams or Colts?

Mark, has No. 4’s back

Kiz: Well, any quarterback makes better throws from a clean pocket than from his fanny. But here’s a fun fact to know and tell: In 2018, Keenum attempted 586 passes and was a sacked 34 times. Los Angeles Rams quarterback Jared Goff attempted 561 passes and was sacked 33 times. Could Denver use upgrades in the offensive line? Absolutely. But the O-line isn’t Keenum’s main problem. It’s a talent level that makes him more suitable to be a backup QB than an NFL starter.

Your take on the new Broncos coach Vic Fangio, which emphasized his age, was not your best work. From following you for a long time, Kiz, I believe you must be at least as old as Vic. Age is a number, not a qualifier for a job.

Joe, old guys rule

Kiz: I am 61 years old. Fangio is 60. We both are comfortable and confident in our own (wrinkled) skin. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I need to find a cozy spot at Kickin’ It Headquarters to take a nap.

Sign Nolan Arenado. If the Rockies want to be a steppingstone and develop players for other teams to have success, then Colorado should just play in Triple-A rather than the major leagues.

Heath, rockin’ it in Wyoming

Kiz: After recently acquiring second baseman DJ LeMahieu, shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever Adam Ottavino, it seems as if the New York Yankees already view Colorado as their farm club.

Arenado would have a much better chance to win a championship ring if he would start hitting in big games.

J.S., keeping score at home

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Kiz: If the Rockies built a better batting order around Arenado, they wouldn’t have to depend on him so much in the clutch. I’m guessing Arenado would rather have more good bats surrounding him than the big, big bucks in his wallet. But he probably can’t have both in Colorado.

And today’s parting shot is a view from the Pacific Northwest on the Seattle Seahawks signing former Broncos quarterback Paxton Lynch.

Operation Destroy the Seahawks from Within is a go!

Brad, grows a great beard

Aqib Talib is cornerstone of Rams’ efforts to rein in Saints

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 18:37

THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — The Los Angeles Rams realize they’re heading into one of the NFL’s most intimidating environments when they visit the top-seeded New Orleans Saints in the deafening Superdome for the NFC championship game.

Leave it to Aqib Talib, their voluble veteran cornerback, to remind his teammates about the upside of the New Orleans fans’ famed investment in the game.

“As a defense, man, we like playing in it,” Talib said. “It’s going to be quiet (when the Saints have the ball). We can talk. We can communicate good, so as a defense, we enjoy it.”

That’s exactly the type of vocal, clever leadership the Rams desired when they acquired Talib last spring to bolster a defense lacking in big-game experience. They’ll need every bit of Talib’s expertise and skill when they attempt to slow Drew Brees, Michael Thomas and a New Orleans (14-3) offense that already carved up the Rams (14-3) once this season.

The Rams have one significant reason to think the rematch will be better: Talib was out with an ankle injury two months ago when the Rams gave up 346 yards passing to Brees during their first loss of the season, 45-35 at the Superdome.

Talib is healthy and eager to make a difference Sunday, although he deflects any attempt to put the spotlight on him.

“Everybody is preparing for this game different,” Talib said. “This is a huge game, so everybody is having real sharp meetings, and we’re all going to bring something a little different to the table.”

The Rams acquired Talib and Marcus Peters to be the shutdown cornerbacks needed in the schemes of defensive coordinator Wade Phillips, who also coached Talib with the Broncos. Los Angeles even gave up linebacker Alec Ogletree, their leading tackler for most of his career, to create the cap space necessary to get Talib in a trade.

While many of his teammates got their first career playoff victory last week against Dallas, Talib has seen it all before — from big playoff games in New England to a Super Bowl championship run with Denver. The 32-year-old cover specialist was named a captain by his teammates before he had even played his first game with the Rams, although he downplays his own leadership role.

“I just be myself, you know,” Talib said. “I just communicate with guys, ask questions in the meeting room, and I don’t know. Maybe if I was on the outside looking in, I would see it.”

Los Angeles’ defense has experienced a clear upswing in performance since the Rams’ epic 54-51 victory over Kansas City in late November. The Rams’ defense forced five turnovers by the Chiefs, but also gave up 546 yards.

That was the eighth game missed by Talib due to a high ankle sprain. He returned for the next outing after their bye week in early December — and not coincidentally, the Rams have held four of their last six opponents under 23 points.

“It changes things,” Phillips said. “Since Aqib has been back, we haven’t given up a lot of big plays in the passing game. He helps with communication, he helps with his talent, and we don’t have to change people around to cover up for a guy that hadn’t been playing. It gives us a versatility that we didn’t have when he wasn’t in there.”

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Phillips typically doesn’t like to assign one cornerback to a single receiver, preferring versatility and flexibility. The Rams also have a strong third cornerback, Nickell Robey-Coleman, who typically handles receivers lining up in the slot, as Thomas sometimes does.

But it seems highly likely the Rams would consider matching up Talib with Thomas as much as possible. After all, Thomas posted 211 yards receiving against his hometown team in November largely against Peters .

Talib understandably wouldn’t give away the Rams’ potential strategy for the NFC title game, and neither would Phillips. But Phillips made it clear how much he relies on the veteran to act as an extension of himself on the field.

“He’s pretty proactive about everything,” Phillips said. “He’s a big personality, so you can’t help but be drawn to him. I tell him he always takes the other side. Whatever side you take, well, he’s going to argue the other side. You know, that’s him. He gets going, he gets excitable about a lot of things, and he’s a lot of fun to be around. And he made me drippin’ in the Super Bowl, so that was nice.”

Avalanche scores 7 goals to roll Kings, but 2 keys players injured

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 17:53

The Avalanche broke through a six-week slump Saturday with arguably its most dominant performance of the season.

But at what injury cost?

The Avs defeated the Kings, 7-1, to tie a season-high for goals scored in front of a sold-out crowd inside the Pepsi Center. Their six goals in the second period alone tied a franchise best set back in 1999. The win also gives Colorado (22-18-8) newfound momentum after a span of 12 games with only two victories entering Saturday. The Avs move on to host the Predators on Monday and the Wild on Wednesday before entering the All-Star break.

However, two key Avalanche skaters did not finish the game. Defenseman Erik Johnson exited the first period with an upper-body injury from an apparent puck to the jaw, and winger Mikko Rantanen left in the third period with a lower-body injury.

Avalanche coach Jared Bednar did not have a status update for Johnson when addressing reporters postgame. Bednar did provide some context on the decision to remove Rantanen, an All-Star selection with 73 points this season, from the ice.

“Mikko had a lower-body tweak so we just kind of kept him out of the third period for precautionary reasons and wanted to make sure he’s healthy for our next game,” Bednar said, before adding he expects Rantanen to be at practice Sunday.

Colorado established early momentum midway through the first period shortly after a failed power-play opportunity. Defenseman Tyson Barrie tracked down a loose puck to the side of Kings goaltender Jonathan Quick and crossed it toward the net where second-line center Carl Soderberg poked it in. Colorado finished the opening period with a 16-5 shots-on-goal advantage.

“Right off the bat we felt like we came out strong, wanted to play north and play to our strength — which is our speed,” winger Gabe Landeskog said. “We had some good reloads with our forwards all (day) and that allowed our D to step up in the neutral zone.”

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The Avs didn’t pout when Johnson’s injury hit. They poured it on.

Colorado added four goals within 10 minutes of the second period. First, Landeskog’s one-timer off the pass from center Nathan MacKinnon. Second, a Barrie wrister through traffic. Third, a strike from Rantanen. And fourth, a short-handed goal with the puck tipped into the air by winger Matt Calvert and tapped into net by rookie center Sheldon Dries. Landeskog and Rantanen each scored with a power-play advantage.

The Kings, trailing 5-0, swapped Quick in net for Jack Campbell. It hardly made a difference. Colorado added two more goals — a Rantanen steal-and-score and defenseman Colin Wilson on a breakaway chance — to finish the second period leading 7-0.

“We’re trying to say the right things but if you don’t go out and do it consistently, you’re not going to get the results you want,” Barrie said. “That was an example of how we need to play.”

Scoring had been especially difficult for Colorado through its recent struggles with a 2.7-goal average over their last 10 games entering Saturday. The Kings’ lone goal from forward Ilya Kovalchuk arrived midway through the third period with the Avs shorthanded. Goalie Semyon Varlamov finished with 30 saves.

“It’s one game,” Landeskog said. “It’s up to us to now to make sure it propels us in the right way.”

Investigators release identity of Fort Lupton man shot by police

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:58

Authorities have identified the man who died following a Wednesday officer-involved shooting as a 46-year-old Fort Lupton man.

The man, Shawn Joseph Billinger, died Wednesday after he was shot by a Fort Lupton police officer who was responding to a disturbance call about 1:40 p.m. in the 600 block of 14th St. in Fort Lupton.

The manner and cause of Billinger’s death will not be released, pending the completion of the investigation of the shooting and the autopsy report, according to a news release from Weld County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Matt Turner, who also serves as a spokesman for the 19th Judicial District Critical Incident Response Team, which is investigating the shooting.

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The Critical Incident Response Team is comprised of law enforcement personnel from across Weld County and is charged with investigating officer-involved shootings.

Authorities also have asked for anyone with information about the shooting to contact Johnstown police Cmdr. Sanchez at (970) 587-2216 or Greeley police Sgt. Bollig at (970) 371-3392.

Read the full story on greeleytribune.com.

Trade rumors of Nolan Arenado to Yankees from Rockies are unfounded

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:49

Nolan Arenado’s future is likely to remain a hot topic well into the 2019 season, but suggestions that a trade might be brewing between the Rockies and Yankees to ship the all-star third baseman to New York are unfounded.

Multiple Major-league sources close to the situation characterized the trade whispers as “far fetched.”

On Friday, a report from SYN.tv suggested that the Yankees and Rockies might have already engaged in trade talks:

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Lafayette, Erie poised to settle landmark Nine Mile Corner lawsuit under far-reaching agreement

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:44

Lafayette and Erie are poised to settle their nearly three-year-old “Nine Mile Corner” lawsuit under a proposed intergovernmental agreement, records released Friday evening reveal. The suit is at the center of an unprecedented border dispute that has threatened to derail a multi-million dollar commercial development in Erie and tested how Colorado courts oversee the use of eminent domain between neighboring towns.

The deal — a “global settlement” poised for approval by Erie trustees on Tuesday — could lay the groundwork for a renewed relationship between the long-at-odds communities on the eve of their respective administration changeovers, Erie officials said. Both Erie and Lafayette have new city administrators starting in the coming weeks.

Lafayette’s efforts to condemn 22 acres at the southeast corner of U.S. 287 and Arapahoe Road where the development is proposed awaits a decision by the Colorado Supreme Court and has cost both communities hundreds of thousands of dollars in attorney fees.

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According to the deal’s specifics, Lafayette would drop its lawsuit in exchange for a buffer on the property’s southern border that it sought with its condemnation.

That buffer has been negotiated down to 250 feet, and will allow a limited number of structures for the Nine Mile project, such as parking and drive-thru type development.

Read the full story on dailycamera.com.

Crimes associated with buying, selling from online marketplaces in Denver have escalated, police say

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:29

If hindsight is 20/20, Shaunte Brown can now see the red flags plain as day.

“It happened on the corner right here of 23rd and Humboldt,” she said, pointing. “I would have told him ‘no, meet somewhere else! It’s a setup.'”

But Wednesday night, she and her boyfriend thought they had found a great deal on an iPhone on LetGo, an online marketplace for buying and selling used goods.

They agreed to meet the seller, but then saw two other men running toward them.

“Seconds later, these guys came from across the street and pulled a gun on us and we took off running,” she said. “When we came back, we saw they had gotten into the car and stolen my purse and phone. Thank God I’m still here to tell my story. I don’t want it to happen to nobody else.”

Read the full story on thedenverchannel.com.

Boulder hits greenhouse gas reduction goal three years early

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 14:39

Boulder achieved a 16 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in 2017 compared to 2005 levels, three years earlier than the city’s stated goal as part of a commitment to cut to three metric tons of emissions per person by 2050. Boulder had hoped to achieve a 16 percent reduction by 2020.

The city’s carbon emissions for 2017, figures for which were released Friday, totaled 1.5 million metric tons, or about 14 metric tons per resident.

The overall goal is to reduce total emissions to 369,000 metric tons by 2050, which would represent an 80 percent reduction from 2005.

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A city news release noted progress was made in 2017 even during economic and population growth in Boulder.

Kendra Tupper, chief sustainability and resilience officer, said meeting the larger goal of an 80 percent reduction by 2050 remains daunting.

Read the full story on dailycamera.com.

Government shutdown: Colorado deals with effects of record-long impasse

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:00

Since the partial government shutdown began on Saturday, Dec. 22, Coloradans across the state have felt its impact.

From Rocky Mountain National Park to the state’s many brewers, the record-long impasse affected business owners, government workers and services across the state. Here’s a roundup of The Denver Post’s reports documenting what the shutdown has meant to Colorado:

Colorado tourism

+ Rocky Mountain National Park braces for possible government shutdown ahead of holiday weekend: Employees anxiously awaited word from Washington, D.C., as they prepared for the possibility of closing down services throughout the park during the shutdown. (Dec. 20, 2018)

+ Garbage, human waste collect in Rocky Mountain National Park as government shutdown continues: Trash collection and waste disposal become a problem in the park with no government staff to clean up. (Jan. 2, 2019)

Reported “sick-out” by TSA security screeners not impacting DIA, airport officials say: Hundreds of Transportation Security Administration officers working without pay because of the partial government shutdown called “out” from work in several airports around the country. But the no-show numbers didn’t materialized at Denver International Airport, an official said. (Jan. 4, 2019)

+ Volunteer group cleaning Rocky Mountain National Park visitor centers Sunday finds no litter, “immaculate” bathrooms despite shutdown: Despite reports of rampant vandalism and littering in national parks during the partial federal shutdown, volunteers who hoped to help clean up Rocky Mountain National Park on Jan. 11 found little work to be done. (Jan. 13, 2019)

+ Rocky Mountain National Park restores some services, improves access as government shutdown continues: Rocky Mountain National Park restored some access, services and operations that had been curtailed by the partial federal government shutdown. (Jan. 14, 2019)

+ Shutdown could cut flights out of Denver International Airport, air traffic controllers say: Coloradans could be waiting in longer lines for fewer flights in and out of Denver International Airport if the federal shutdown drags on. (Jan. 14, 2019)

Colorado economy

Estes Park hasn’t felt pains from the government shutdown — yet: One week into the shutdown, the gateway community to Rocky Mountain National Park felt minimal impacts on commerce. (Dec. 28, 2018)

+ Longest shutdown in history takes a toll in Colorado, could cost state up to $201M per month: With farmers unable to get federal loans and tens of thousands of families facing the prospect of food aid running out, the possibility of real monetary damage from the partial government shutdown lingers in Colorado. (Jan. 14, 2019)

+ Colorado’s craft beer industry sees delays, complications as shutdown keeps alcohol bureau closed: Delayed releases for new beers, an inability to expand into a new location, even a batch of pale ale that could go bad and cost the brewer thousands of dollars — these are some of the impacts the partial government shutdown is having on Colorado craft brewers. (Jan. 16, 2019)

+ Colorado businesses, cities feel ripple effects of longest government shutdown in U.S. history: The ripple effects from the longest government shutdown in U.S. history grow stronger in Colorado, buffeting business owners dependent on tourism, communities counting on federal funds, furloughed federal workers and people drilling on and keeping tabs on public lands. (Jan. 19, 2019)

Colorado’s lawmakers

+ Sen. Cory Gardner breaks ranks with Senate Republicans, calls for end to government shutdown: Colorado’s Republican U.S. senator said he would vote yes on a package of bills to reopen the federal government and thinks his Republican colleagues should do the same. (Jan. 3, 2019)

+ These Coloradans in Congress are giving up their paychecks during shutdown: Several members of Colorado’s congressional delegation put their money — meaning their paychecks — where their mouths are. (Jan. 10, 2019)

Colorado’s safety net

+ Shutdown puts funding at risk for Colorado domestic violence and sexual assault organizations:  As the shutdown of the federal government neared the end of its second week, Coloradans who use Violence Against Women Act funds worry about what they will do if the shutdown continues past the current deadline set for funding. (Jan. 5, 2019)

+ Amid shutdown, Denver offers $5K in mortgage payments to federal workers and others: Starting Jan. 16, homeowners enduring furloughs and other work changes can apply for a city grant to pay their mortgages. (Jan. 14, 2019)

+ Federal shutdown accounts for 20 percent of unemployment claims in Colorado: Federal employees in Colorado are filing for unemployment benefits by the hundreds — accounting for about 20 percent of unemployment claims filed statewide since the partial U.S. government shutdown began. (Jan. 14, 2019)

+ Colorado Gov. Jared Polis permits jobless benefits for federal employees working without pay: Federal workers in Colorado who are required to work without pay through the shutdown could apply for unemployment starting Jan. 18. (Jan. 18, 2019)

Colorado’s federal workers

+ Furloughed federal employees in Colorado bemoan uncertainty of government shutdown: For Chris Fowler, a project manager with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Denver, the work stoppage means another period of unwelcome uncertainty for him and his colleagues. (Dec. 27, 2018)

+ Federal workers rally in Denver seeking an end to the shutdown: A boisterous group of approximately 200 federal workers and their supporters took to the streets of downtown Denver on Jan. 10 to call for an end to the stalemate in Washington, D.C. (Jan. 10, 2019)

Coloradans offer support

+ Denver Museum of Nature & Science offers free entry to furloughed federal workers: The museum announced Jan. 4 that it would offer free admission to local federal employees who are out of work amid the political impasse in Washington, D.C. (Jan. 5, 2019)

+ Food Bank of the Rockies adds emergency help to federal employees affected by shutdown: The Food Bank of the Rockies offered assistance to federal employees who may be struggling to make ends meet during the government shutdown. (Jan. 9, 2019)

+ Denver businesses, charities stepping up to support furloughed federal workers: With more than 15,000 of their federally employed neighbors out of work amid a government shutdown that does not appear close to ending, private businesses and charities in the Denver area step up to help out. (Jan. 11, 2018)

Christmas

Shutdown leaves gaps in federal services, but Santa will still be tracked: Because the military’s budget was approved, the North American Aerospace Defense Command in Colorado Springs was able to track Santa on Christmas Eve. (Dec. 22, 2018)

From the opinion pages

Editorial: This shutdown is driven by Trump’s lies, delusion and erratic demands: Donald Trump’s attempts to blame Democrats for this shutdown are laughable and dishonest to the point of pathology, The Denver Post Editorial Board wrote. (Dec. 28, 2018)

Scientist from Superior is Sen. Cory Gardner’s latest challenger

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 12:00

The race to unseat U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner continues to expand as Trish Zornio, a Superior resident and scientist, announced Saturday that she will seek the Democratic Party’s nomination.

Zornio, who made her announcement as thousands of women were expected to march in the third annual Women’s March on Denver, said it was time for Colorado to elect its first woman senator.

“I’m running because we need to think forward and solve the problems of tomorrow, not only the problems of yesterday, the way I have done my entire career,” Zornio said in a news release. “Thinking forward means being proactive to meet those challenges before they arise, which will be my commitment as your next senator.”

Zornio’s announcement comes as no surprise: She has explored a run for more than a year and has, according to her campaign, already visited all 64 Colorado counties.

Zornio is expected to be one of several Democrats competing to take on Gardner, a Yuma Republican, in 2020. So far, two others have announced: Lorena Garcia of Denver and Keith Pottratz of Grand Junction.

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Higher-profile possible candidates include former state House Speaker Crisanta Duran and former state Sen. Mike Johnston, who ran for governor last year.

Gardner is seen by political watchers as vulnerable, given the results of the 2018 elections. The state’s largest voting bloc, unaffiliated voters, turned sharply on Republicans in large part because of their dissatisfaction with President Donald Trump.

President Trump offers a “Dreamers” deal for border-money proposal to end government shutdown

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 11:03

WASHINGTON — In a bid to break the shutdown impasse and fund his long-promised border wall, President Donald Trump on Saturday offered to extend temporary protection for young people brought to the U.S. illegally as children. But while Trump cast the move as a “common-sense compromise,” Democrats were quick to dismiss it at a “non-starter.”

Trump declared from the White House that “both sides in Washington must simply come together,” adding that he was there “to break the logjam and provide Congress with a path forward to end the government shutdown and solve the crisis on the southern border.”

Hoping to put pressure on Democrats, the White House billed the announcement as a major step forward. But Trump did not budge on his $5.7 billion demand for the wall and, in essence, offered to temporarily roll-back some of his own hawkish immigration actions — actions that have been blocked by federal courts.

Democrats dismissed Trump’s proposal even before his formal remarks. Reacting to the anticipated announcement earlier in the day, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the proposal was “a compilation of several previously rejected initiatives, each of which is unacceptable.” The California Democrat said Trump’s expected offer was “not a good-faith effort” to help the immigrants and could not pass the House. She again called on Trump to reopen the government, shut for a record 29 days.

Democrats made their own move late Friday to break the impasse when they pledged to provide hundreds of millions of dollars more for border security.

Partisan clashes between Trump and Pelosi marked the fourth week of the shutdown. It was not clear if the fresh offers would lead to serious steps toward resolving the partisan fight or if they were just acts of political posturing. The maneuvering came as hundreds of thousands of federal workers go without paychecks, with many enduring financial hardship. Many public services are unavailable to Americans during the closure.

Seeking to cast the plan as a bipartisan way forward, Trump said Saturday he had support from “rank-and-file” Democrats, as top Democrats made clear they had not been consulted. He also said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell would bring the legislation to a vote this week, though Democrats appeared likely to block it. McConnell had previously stated that no vote should be held in the Senate until Trump and Democrats agreed on a bill.

Trump’s remarks from the Diplomatic Room marked the second time he has addressed the nation as the partial shutdown drags on. On this occasion, he sought to strike a diplomatic tone, emphasizing trust and the need to work across the aisle. But he still maintained that a border barrier was needed to block what he describes as the flow of drugs and crime into the country, though he described it as a “steel barriers in high-priority locations.”

To ensure wall funding, Trump said he would extend protections for young people brought to the country illegally as children, known as “Dreamers,” as well as for those with temporary protected status after fleeing countries affected by natural disasters or violence.

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Administration officials said the protections would apply only to those currently in the Obama-era program shielding them from deportation, and the temporary protected status would apply to those who currently have it and have been in the U.S. since 2011. That means people from El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Haiti — countries that saw the status revoked since Trump took office — would get a reprieve.

Democrats criticized Trump’s proposal because it didn’t seem to be a permanent solution for those immigrants and because it includes money for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which the party strongly opposes. Democrats also want Trump to reopen government before talks can start.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior aide, Jared Kushner, has led the work on the proposals, said three people familiar with White House thinking who were not authorized to speak publicly. Some said Vice President Mike Pence and chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen were involved, too.

___

Associated Press writers Alan Fram and Matthew Daly in Washington and Colleen Long in Brooklyn, New York, contributed to this report.