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Crews take center stage in rare Pepsi Center doubleheader

3 hours 53 min ago

DENVER -- It was a rare sight at Pepsi Center on Saturday, one director of conversion Matt Mennona calls “organized chaos at its finest.”

For the first time in 13 years, the Avalanche and Nuggets played home games on the same day. That meant the Pepsi Center conversion crew had to flip the floor from ice to hardwood in 90 minutes or less.

The Avalanche started things off with a 1 p.m. face-off against the L.A. Kings. Just minutes after the Avs capped of a blowout win, the conversion team got right to work.

“We have a great crew. There’s a lot of talented dedicated people and that’s when they shine,” says Steve Johnston, the executive producer of game presentation.

Just like the Avalanche and Nuggets, the conversion crew can’t succeed without teamwork, hustle and practice.

“We practiced twice already leading into this to make sure we have everything dialed in and ready to go,” says Mennona.

“This is the first time that I’ve seen an Avs and Nuggets doubleheader, so I think a lot of the crews are really excited about it because it doesn’t happen very often,” adds Johnston.

The stats are staggering: 600 pieces of flooring cover the ice and 233 pieces of hardwood are laid on top. It's all part of a giant puzzle that has to come together quickly.

“We were very excited for it," Mennona says of the quick turnaround. "When I took this spot, it was one of the days I was actually looking forward to because a lot of the times the eyes are on the teams, and now it’s us.”

The crew converted the playing surfaces quicker than expected, with plenty of time to spare before the Nuggets 8 p.m. tip-off against the Cavaliers. But the doubleheader is only the beginning of a very busy weekend. The hardwood will be replaced by a lacrosse field for Sunday’s Colorado Mammoth game, and then it goes back to ice for an Avalanche game on Monday afternoon. The final tally: four games in 48 hours.

CSU’s Carvacho carving his own path on the court

4 hours 5 min ago

FORT COLLINS, Colo. -- Standing at just under 7 feet tall, it's as though Nico Carvacho was born to play basketball.

"I never really had a growth spurt," says the Colorado State University junior power forward. "I kind of just grew gradually every few years and stopped at 6'11"."

It's not just the height; he's got the passion for the game, too.

"It's been fun to watch the work he's put in," says CSU men's basketball coach Niko Medved. "I think he's really grown in the way he looks at himself as a player."

"From a young age, I always was an effort player," adds Carvacho. "Doing all the extra things, diving on the floor, getting rebounds, getting extra shots for my team."

But the hardwood hasn't always been his only love. His dad grew up in Chile and went on to play professional soccer. Nico followed in his footsteps to the pitch.

"My dad has a couple of teams that he coaches, so I go out there and put on the cleats and trained with his players sometimes," Carvacho explains. "Soccer could've been a future, but you know, 6'11"."

Eventually, when he was a growing teenager, Nico traded in his cleats for sneakers full time.

"My mom was ecstatic. She played college basketball, so basketball is what she wanted me to do. My dad took a little while to come to the realization of it, but I think he knows I made the right decision now."

Carvacho's success on the court is hard to argue with. He's been dominant on the glass all season and leads the nation in rebounding. He's also averaging a double double, with more than 16 points a game to go along with 12 rebounds.

"If he just continues to put in the work and grow, I think he's got a big ceiling still," Medved says of his star player.

As Nico continues to grow in the sport, he's giving his parents plenty to be proud of.

"They tell me not to let up and keep on doing it," he says. "It's easy to get to the top, it's hard to stay at the top. They keep me grounded and hungry and humble."

Government shutdown hitting Colorado breweries hard

4 hours 11 min ago

BOULDER, Colo. -- The federal shutdown is beginning to have an impact on one of Colorado's favorite things: craft beer.

Every time a new beer is produced and sold across state lines, the label has to be approved by the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. The agency isn't working during the shutdown.

"We spend a lot of time developing our new recipes," says Matt Cutter, the founder of Boulder's Upslope Brewing Company. "Now, all of that is completely on hold."

Cutter says Upslope has quickly grown in popularity over the past 10 years.

"We are in seven out-of-state markets, plus Colorado," says Cutter. "In order to distribute to those states, we're required to have the Tax and Trade Bureau approve the label."

Breweries can still sell new beers in the state, but they risk having to re-design the can or bottle when the shutdown ends.

"We don't want thousands and thousands of cans manufactured, and then the Tax and Trade Bureau comes back and says, 'You know what, you have to make this one change on the label,'" he says. "Right now, it's really just wait and see."

Cutter says the shutdown is already jeopardizing an upcoming release of a new, seasonal beer.

"We've told our distributors when those cans are coming out, and now, those schedules are in jeopardy," he says. "It may happen that we never launch that product at all, because it will bump into the next release series."

Cutter says it's still too early to know the financial impact on the brewery.

"What's the backlog going to be for all these brewers that got in line before you did?" he said.

The shutdown is also impacting breweries looking for permit approvals, like Westminster Brewing Company.

In a Facebook post to customers, the company wrote, "Unfortunately, the circumstances surrounding the current government shutdown has postponed our reopening, as our paperwork is in the approval loop. Although disappointing, we assure you that we will begin brewing and serving great craft beer as soon as the paperwork becomes approved."

Sen. Michael Bennet sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin earlier this week, calling on him to address the shutdown's impact on brewers and distillers.

“If the shutdown worsens an already lengthy approval backlog, brewing companies could suffer delays and tens of thousands of dollars of lost revenue… This is just one example of how the president’s decision to shut down the government over an ineffective and wasteful border wall (that Mexico was supposed to pay for) is hurting the economy and the livelihoods of communities across the country,” Bennet wrote.

DPS teachers begin voting on strike after negotiations with district fail

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 22:54

DENVER — On Saturday, Denver Public Schools teachers began voting on whether to strike after the teachers union and the school district were unable to reach an agreement on teacher pay Friday.

DPS and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association negotiated for 10 hours Friday before the contract expired at midnight. Teachers voted Saturday and will continue voting Tuesday on whether to strike for the first time since 1994. The first possible day to strike would be Jan. 28.

“We want and need our teachers in our classrooms,” said DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova. “We hope the union will continue negotiations so we can reach an agreement that shows how much we value our educators.”

“It is very disappointing,” said DCTA president Henry Roman. “We fully committed to negotiations for more than a year with a goal of keeping more of our talented and dedicated teachers in the district.”

The DCTA has a long list of things it wants, including salary increases and incentives for training. DPS had offered a 10-percent average increase to base salaries and an additional $26.5 million in total compensation, which is $8 million short of what DCTA is asking for.

“It’s really hard to last in a career where you don’t feel valued and where you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, so we’re trying to remedy that now,” said Tiffany Choi, a French teacher at East High School. 

Hundreds of teachers flooded Riverside Baptist Church Saturday morning to express the same opinion and vote to strike, saying they have felt disrespected by DPS in the months of negotiations. 

Teachers have concerns about the cost of living in the Denver metro area compared to the pay.

“Our students deserve quality teachers and teachers are leaving Denver for better pay in neighboring districts,” one teacher said.

Superintendent Cordova pointed out in a news conference Saturday at school district headquarters that the district’s current proposal would give DPS teachers the highest lifetime earning potential in the metro area, but several teachers say they can’t afford to invest that much time in the district with the cost of living.

In a statement, Cordova said she wishes DPS could pay teachers more, but a lack of funding limits what the district can do.

"The fact is, Colorado is a wealthy state that doesn’t fund our schools very well, and we know that we need to work arm-in-arm with our educators to fix this state issue," Cordova said.

If teachers vote to strike, Cordova says substitute teachers will take over, and the district will pay them double their normal earnings. Teachers will not be paid during the strike.

One teacher at Saturday's strike vote says she voted no on the strike because she works with special needs students and doesn’t think substitute teachers will make the cut.

“I think the difference in the two salary schedules isn’t enough to put our students and families behind by a couple days,” she said.

Representatives from DCTA say they will wait until after the vote closes on Tuesday at 9 p.m. to decide when to come back to the bargaining table.

CSP asking for public’s help locating driver who hit, killed elderly man

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 22:22

ADAMS COUNTY, Colo. — The Colorado State Patrol is asking for the public’s help locating the driver suspected of hitting and killing man in Adams County Friday.

CSP said around 5:50 a.m. Friday, an 85-year-old man was found lying in the road near Erie Street and Hilltop Circle. The area is just northeast of U.S. 36 and North Pecos Street.

Investigators determined the man was hit by an unknown vehicle. If anyone in the area may have witnessed the man or the vehicle, they are asked to contact CSP as soon as possible.

The victim was wearing a bluish-gray jacket and bluejeans.

CSP can be reached at 303-239-4501. Reference case number 1D190254.

CSP did not say whether the man was found dead or if he died at a hospital. The hit-and-run remains under investigation.

Mexican pipeline explosion kills 73, leaves nightmare of ash

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 21:54

TLAHUELILPAN, Mexico — Gerardo Perez returned Saturday to the scorched field in central Mexico where he’d seen an illegal pipeline tap burst into flames to see if he could recognize missing friends. He couldn’t. Only a handful of the remains still had skin. Dozens were burned to the bone or to ash when the gusher of gasoline exploded, killing at least 73 people.

Perez said he and his son bypassed soldiers and ignored warnings to stay clear of the geyser Friday evening in the town of Tlahuelilpan in Hidalgo state, about 62 miles (100 kilometers) north of Mexico City.

“We’re stubborn,” he said. But as Perez neared the spurting fuel, he was overcome with foreboding. He recalls telling his son: “Let’s go … this thing is going to explode.”

And it did, with the fireball engulfing locals collecting the spilling gasoline in buckets, jugs and garbage cans. Video footage showed flames shooting high into the night sky, and screaming people running from the explosion, some themselves burning and waving their arms. Perez and his son made it out.

By Saturday evening the death toll had risen to 73, according to Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad. Officials said at least another 74 were injured and dozens more were missing. Fifty-four bodies have yet to be identified.

Forensic experts were separating and counting charred heaps of corpses while anguished relatives of those presumed dead gathered around the scene of carnage.

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, as were half-melted plastic jugs the victims carried to gather spilling fuel. 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 a 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.

“We are going to eradicate that which not only causes material damages, it is not only what the nation loses by this illegal trade, this black market of fuel, but the risk, the danger, the loss of human lives,” he said.

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. Specialized fuel thieves who tap the lines usually cart their bounty off in trucks. But in recent days, as the government cracks down on fuel theft rings, the gangs have punctured pipelines and invited locals to help themselves.

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. There aren’t enough trucks, however.

Mexican Defense Secretary Luis Cresencio said Saturday 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.

Officials say 25 military personnel arrived on the scene soon after the pipeline started spewing fuel on Friday. Over the course of two hours, hundreds of civilians came to fill containers with gasoline from a gusher shooting 20 feet (six meters) into the air.

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 oil thieves for a pipeline explosion in a central Mexico near the capital that killed 28 people, including 13 children. That blast burned people and scorched homes, affecting 5,000 residents in an area six miles (10 kilometers) wide in San Martin Texmelucan.

Man who targeted Colorado women in ‘Nigerian romance scam’ arrested

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 21:00

EL PASO COUNTY, Colo. — A man suspected of scamming two El Paso County women out of tens of thousands of dollars has been arrested, according to the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department. Authorities described the scheme as a “Nigerian romance scam.”

In February 2018, the sheriff’s office began investigating the alleged scam. Detectives found the suspect came to the U.S. from Nigeria in early 2017 on a student visa and immediately started the scam, according to the sheriff’s office.

Kelly Itive, 26, allegedly used social media to pose as a middle-aged white man with an engineering background.

“He convinced two women in El Paso County to send him money in excess of $78,000 between April 2017 and February 2018, and he used fake bank websites to convince them he had the means to pay them back,” the sheriff’s office said in a statement.

El Paso County authorities coordinated with the Cobb County, Georgia police department to arrest Itive. He was taken into custody Friday. Cobb County is in the Atlanta area.

“He will be scheduled for extradition back to Colorado to face charges of theft and criminal impersonation,” the sheriff’s office said. It urged people to never send money to people they do not know, have not met in person or otherwise have an identity that has not been verified.

Mild Sunday before snow moves in Monday night

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 20:53

DENVER -- It was a beautiful Saturday in Denver with high temperatures in the 40s and partly cloudy skies. Temperatures will heat up to the 50s on Sunday with dry conditions before a storm system moves in on Monday.

Here's Denver's hour-by-hour forecast for Sunday:

Colorado's next storm system will move into Western Colorado Monday morning and will slide east through the day, reaching the Front Range by Monday night. Snowfall will be heavy at times and will taper off by Tuesday afternoon. The Tuesday morning commute will have the biggest impacts.

As of right now, we are predicting 3 to 6 inches in metro Denver with 4 to 8 inches on the Palmer Divide.

Dry weather moves in on Wednesday with another storm system on Thursday. This storm does not look as strong as the Monday/Tuesday storm but could still bring small accumulations to the Front Range.

Check interactive radar and zoom in to where you are. Plus, check the radar anytime with the Pinpoint Weather App for iPhone and Android.

Pinpoint Weather Meteorologists Matt Makens, Christine Rapp, Chris Tomer, Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser, Greg Dutra, and Jessica Lebel.

Pinpoint Weather has been independently certified as Colorado's Most Accurate Forecast by WeatheRate.

We're tracking weather today on FOX31 Denver and Channel 2 News - and when conditions are bad we send out the Weather Beast.

Skier rescued after spending a night lost in storm near Steamboat

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 20:38

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — A 62-year-old skier has been rescued after spending a night lost in the northern Colorado mountains amid a heavy snowstorm.

Routt County Search and Rescue says the man was found at midday Friday near the Steamboat Resort, about 16 hours after he called 911 to say he was lost outside the resort boundary.

The Steamboat Pilot reports the man was cold and tired but otherwise appeared unharmed. His name wasn’t released.

Rescuers began looking for the man shortly after his 911 call Thursday night but suspended the search at about 2 a.m. Friday because of the heavy snow and wind. They resumed a few hours later.

About 15 inches of snow fell that night but temperatures stayed relatively warm.

Rescuers say the man didn’t have backcountry gear and wasn’t familiar with the terrain.

Third annual Women’s March brings thousands to downtown Denver

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 20:23

DENVER -- The first Women's March kicked off the day after President Donald Trump's inauguration in 2017. It was the largest single-day protest in U.S. history.

Marches were held across the country, including in Denver.

Saturday morning, the tradition continued as thousands of women -- and some men -- descended in front of the Colorado State Captiol to rally, march and tell stories they say have been silenced for too long.

Organizers of the local march estimated Saturday's crowd at 80,000 based on aerial photos in relation to previous years' attendance. According to the Associated Press, Denver police did not provide an estimate on the crowd's size.

A rally at 9 a.m. kicked off the event, with the main event following shortly after at 10:30 a.m.

The route took participants on a nearly one-mile march through downtown Denver.

The local gathering is one of thousands held internationally each January. The topics discussed at the events have changed as politics have become more heated.

"It's the freedom to be able to say what we need to say and the expression [with] which we need to say it, and that's priceless," said participant Shawn Gilfand.

Organizers say the march will continue to be held annually.

Woman who hunts deer at age 101 kills 2 with a single shot

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 18:27

MORGANTOWN, Miss. — A 101-year-old hunter in Mississippi is still at it, and even dropped two deer with one shot.

Veteran hunter Bertha Vickers made the twofer during her first successful hunt at age 101, the Clarion Ledger reported . Getting two in one a few days after her Jan. 9 birthday was a complete accident, and the first time she’d ever done it, Vickers said.

After missing four this season, the Morgantown resident said she was determined to bag a deer. Her shots from the blind that relatives built her had missed. She liked the blind and its location but not her .243-caliber rifle, or another gun that her granddaughter had to cock for her.

Vickers was back in the blind days after her 101st birthday. She spotted one deer from her hideout, but she remained patient and was rewarded.

“I decided to wait for a bigger one,” Vickers said. “Before long, a bigger doe came out and I shot. Then I saw two deer on the ground. It shot plum through both of them.”

101-year-old Mississippi woman, avid deer hunter bags 2 with 1 shot https://t.co/syNQHFHeVu pic.twitter.com/6bffh30MX9

— wdsu (@wdsu) January 19, 2019

Vickers said she helped clean the animals and shared the meat with her family. “I made steaks, but I gave most of it to my grandchildren,” she said.

The centenarian also mows her lawn, raises vegetables and still enjoys fishing.

When she killed another deer just weeks before her 100th birthday, Vickers wondered why other people made a fuss about it. It was a doe after all, not a prized buck.

“When you’re as old as I am, you naturally think each one could be your last one, but I’m going to go as long as I can,” Vickers said.

Students in ‘MAGA’ hats mock Native American after rally

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 18:08

FRANKFORT, Ky. — A diocese in Kentucky apologized Saturday after videos emerged showing students from a Catholic boys’ high school mocking Native Americans outside the Lincoln Memorial after a rally in Washington.

The Indigenous Peoples March in Washington on Friday coincided with the March for Life, which drew thousands of anti-abortion protesters, including a group from Covington Catholic High School in Park Hills, a Cincinnati suburb.

Videos circulating online show a youth staring at and standing extremely close to Nathan Phillips, a 64-year-old Native American man singing and playing a drum.

Other students, some wearing Covington clothing and many wearing “Make America Great Again” hats and sweat shirts, surrounded them, chanting, laughing and jeering.

In a joint statement , the Roman Catholic Diocese of Covington and Covington Catholic High School apologized to Phillips. Officials said they are investigating and will take “appropriate action, up to and including expulsion.”

“We extend our deepest apologies to Mr. Phillips,” the statement read. “This behavior is opposed to the Church’s teachings on the dignity and respect of the human person.”

According to the “Indian Country Today” website, Phillips is an Omaha elder and Vietnam veteran who holds an annual ceremony honoring Native American veterans at Arlington National Cemetery.

Marcus Frejo, a member of the Pawnee and Seminole tribes who is also known as Chief Quese Imc, said he had been a part of the march and was among a small group of people remaining after the rally when the boisterous students began chanting slogans such as “Make America great” and then began doing the haka, a traditional Maori dance.

In a phone interview, Frejo told The Associated Press he felt they were mocking the dance and also heckling a couple of black men nearby.

One 11-minute video of the confrontation shows the Haka dance and students loudly chanting before Phillips and Frejo approached them. The footage doesn’t show any black person being being heckled, but one black man with a camera smiles as he shoots footage of the group.

Frejo said he joined Phillips to defuse the situation, singing the anthem from the American Indian Movement with both men beating out the tempo on hand drums.

Although he feared a mob mentality that could turn ugly, Frejo said he was at peace singing despite the scorn. He briefly felt something special happen as they repeatedly sang the tune.

“They went from mocking us and laughing at us to singing with us. I heard it three times,” Frejo said. “That spirit moved through us, that drum, and it slowly started to move through some of those youths.”

Eventually a calm fell over the group of students and they broke up and walked away.

“When I was there singing, I heard them saying ‘Build that wall, build that wall,'” Phillips said, as he wiped away tears in a video posted on Instagram. “This is indigenous lands. We’re not supposed to have walls here. We never did.”

He told The Washington Post that while he was drumming, he thought about his wife, Shoshana, who died of bone marrow cancer nearly four years ago, and the threats that indigenous communities around the world are facing.

“I felt like the spirit was talking through me,” Phillips said.

State Rep. Ruth Buffalo, a North Dakota state lawmaker and member of the Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara Nation, said she was saddened to see students showing disrespect to an elder who is also a U.S. military veteran at what was supposed to be a celebration of all cultures.

“The behavior shown in that video is just a snapshot of what indigenous people have faced and are continuing to face,” Buffalo said.

She said she hoped it would lead to some kind of meeting with the students to provide education on issues facing Native Americans.

The videos prompted a torrent of outrage online. Actress and activist Alyssa Milano tweeted that the footage “brought me to tears,” while actor Chris Evans tweeted that the students’ actions were “appalling” and “shameful.”

U.S. Rep. Deb Haaland, D-New Mexico, who is a member of the Pueblo of Laguna and had been at the rally earlier in the day, used Twitter to sharply criticize what she called a “heartbreaking” display of “blatant hate, disrespect, and intolerance.”

Haaland, who is also Catholic, told AP she was particularly saddened to see the boys mocking an elder, who is revered in Native American culture. She placed some of the blame on President Donald Trump, who has used Indian names like Pocahontas as an insult.

“It is sad that we have a president who uses Native American women’s names as racial slurs, and that’s an example that these kids are clearly following considering the fact that they had their ‘Make America Great Again’ hats on,” Haaland said. “He’s really brought out the worst in people.”

Covington Catholic faces backlash after viral video at DC marchhttps://t.co/YmKlTVuGKL pic.twitter.com/r0O1imkQpK

— WKYT (@WKYT) January 19, 2019

Family: New Mexico avalanche victim had recently moved to Denver

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 17:42

MANSFIELD, Mass. — Relatives say a 26-year-old man who died in an avalanche at a New Mexico ski resort was a Massachusetts native who was on an annual ski trip with his father.

The mother and sister of Matthew Zonghetti say he was the person killed Thursday at Taos Ski Valley.

Authorities say a second person pulled from the snow is hospitalized in critical condition. Zonghetti’s father wasn’t injured.

Relatives say Zonghetti was from Mansfield, Massachusetts, and had recently moved to Denver for a new job.

Sue Zonghetti, told WCVB-TV in Boston that she could not believe what happened, and her son is going to be missed by many.

His sister, Kathryn, told KOAT-TV in Albuquerque that he was an expert skier and the best brother anyone could ask for.

Man fatally shot by officer in Fort Lupton identified

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 17:20

FORT LUPTON, Colo. — The man fatally shot by a police officer in Fort Lupton Wednesday afternoon has been identified. The Weld County Sheriff’s Office said Saturday that Shawn Joseph Billinger, 46, was the man killed in the shooting.

Billinger was a Fort Lupton resident.

The incident started around 1:41 p.m. Wednesday, when Fort Lupton police officers responded to a disturbance in the 600 block of 14th Street, according to the Weld County Sheriff’s Office.

At one point, a Fort Lupton officer fired their weapon. Billinger was declared dead at the scene. Authorities have not provided details as to the circumstances of the shooting or whether Billinger was armed.

Witnesses reported police chasing a speeding vehicle, and there was large police presence in the 100 block of 9th Street, which is about 1 mile to the southwest of 600 14th Street.

The Fort Lupton officer involved has been placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

The 19th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team is investigating.

Anyone with information on the incident is encouraged to call Commander Sanchez with the Johnstown Police Department: 970-587-2216 or Sergeant Bollig with the Greeley Police Department: 970-371-3932.

President Trump proposes immigration deal to end shutdown

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 16:37

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump sought to break the government shutdown impasse Saturday, offering to extend protections for young people brought to the country illegally as children, if Democrats give him $5.7 billion for his long-promised border wall. But Democrats dismissed the offer as non-starter, calling on Trump to re-open the government first.

Speaking from the White House, Trump said he was offering a “commonsense compromise both parties should embrace.”

In advance of Trump’s remarks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the expected proposal for ending the 29-day partial government shutdown 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.

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

Democrats criticized the expected 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.

Apartment fire sends 3 adults, 2 children to hospital

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 15:28

DENVER — Three adults and two children were taken to a hospital after an apartment fire Saturday morning in the 3400 block of West 4th Avenue in Denver’s Barnum neighborhood.

The Denver Fire Department said the fire started on the bottom floor and spread to the second floor. A woman handed two children down to bystanders from the second floor. Firefighters then rescued the woman.

The fire impacted five families in the building, according to the Red Cross, which was providing assistance to those families.

Denver teachers to vote on strike after negotiations fail

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 11:14

DENVER — Denver Public Schools and the teachers union were unable to reach an agreement on teacher pay Friday, setting the stage for a vote on whether teachers will strike.

DPS and the Denver Classroom Teachers Association negotiated for 10 hours Friday, before the contract expired at midnight. Teachers are scheduled to vote Saturday and Tuesday on whether to strike for the first time since 1994. The first possible day to strike would be Jan. 28.

“We want and need our teachers in our classrooms,” said DPS Superintendent Susana Cordova. “We hope the union will continue negotiations so we can reach an agreement that shows how much we value our educators.”

“It is very disappointing,” said DCTA president Henry Roman. “We fully committed to negotiations for more than a year with a goal of keeping more of our talented and dedicated teachers in the district.”

The DCTA has a long list of things it wants, including salary increases and incentives for training. DPS had offered a 10-percent increase to base salaries and an additional $26.5 million in total compensation, which is $8 million short of what DCTA is asking for.

Quiet weekend ahead of active work week

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 08:57

DENVER — Friday’s storm system has officially moved out of the area, leaving behind clear skies and seasonal temperatures as we kick off our weekend.

Expect highs Saturday to soar into the 40s and 50s across the Front Range with a mixture of sun and clouds. Meanwhile in the high country, a few scattered snow showers can’t be ruled out as highs stay in the 20s and 30s. Avalanche warnings remain in place across the mountains, so please use extreme caution if heading out this weekend.

A few clouds will linger tonight as temperatures drop into the mid-20s to start the day Sunday. Thanks to some extra sunshine and breezy conditions, temperatures will be around ten degrees warmer to end our weekend, with 50s and 60s along the Front Range.

Our next storm system will arrive late Monday into Tuesday, bringing snow, wind and cold temperatures. Snow looks to start in the high country by Monday afternoon, pushing into the Denver metro area and Interstate 25 corridor after the evening rush. Snow will continue overnight Monday into Tuesday, making for a rough Tuesday morning drive. Snow will slowly wind down by Tuesday afternoon with a little bit of sunshine returning. Right now, accumulations look similar to our last storm, ranging from 2-4″ across the Denver metro area. We will continue to work out the details and keep you updated as we go through the weekend.

Temperatures on Monday will hit the low 50s before the cold front arrives. Expect highs only in the 30s by Tuesday and Wednesday. An additional storm looks to move through the state by Thursday, bringing a few scattered snow showers and highs only in the 30s. We’ll stay below average in the 30s for Friday with drying conditions.

Check interactive radar and zoom in to where you are. Plus, check the radar anytime with the Pinpoint Weather App for iPhone and Android.

Pinpoint Weather Meteorologists Matt Makens, Christine Rapp, Chris Tomer, Chief Meteorologist Dave Fraser, Greg Dutra, and Jessica Lebel.

Pinpoint Weather has been independently certified as Colorado’s Most Accurate Forecast by WeatheRate.

We’re tracking weather today on FOX31 Denver and Channel 2 News – and when conditions are bad we send out the Weather Beast.

Restaurant Report Card: Rodent droppings, undocumented fish serious issues for failed restaurants

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 00:43

Corner Bakery (16th Street Mall)

A Denver inspector cited the bakery for eight issues in December, including:

  • Rodent droppings
  • Buttering toast with no gloves
  • No hot water
  • Ceiling and vents covered in black debris

The restaurant’s owner sent the following statement:

"We are very committed to running great restaurants with great sanitation and food handling procedures. We did have a few new team members on board at the time of the inspection that did not have the appropriate training. We have since gone back and revisited all food handling and sanitation procedures with the entire team and we are confident they are trained in proper food handling procedures. The Corner Bakery Café has been at the Pavilions Mall for over 20 years. We have a great track record of positive health inspections. We pay Ecosure to audit the store quarterly to ensure we have another set of eyes on our food handling procedures.”

Hong Kong Café

The southeast Denver restaurant had eight critical violations in December.

The mistakes include:

  • No paperwork on where fish was processed
  • Dish machine not sanitizing
  • Soda refrigerator soiled

Hong Kong Cafe did not respond to our messages, so we stopped by for a look.

Fox31's Erika Gonzalez looking for answers at Hong Kong Cafe

FOX31’s Erika Gonzalez asked what they had done since the inspector cited them. The owner said that the health inspector came last week and the restaurant passed its most recent inspection, which FOX31 confirmed.

Hong Kong Cafe is located at 10890 East Dartmouth Avenue.


Our “A” this week goes to Tables in Park Hill, Denver for two perfect inspections in a row.

Tables at 2267 North Kearney Street scored "A"

Owner Dustin Barrett said:

“We treat our guests the way we like to be treated. We would like the food to be up to standard. The cleanliness, the sanitation, hot hold temps, all the things that go into perfect health inspections. We train really hard to do it and we talk about it all the time. We just make sure we are doing a good job and being consistent with those things. It’s not easy setting up all the procedures you need to do, but once you get those set up and you make it part of your daily ritual, it becomes easier. But it is always on our mind and always a top priority and nothing that we take for granted."

You can find Tables at 2267 North Kearney Street.

How restaurants appear on our Report Card

Restaurant Report Card features health inspections in the city and county of Denver, Jefferson County, Weld County, Broomfield and restaurants under the jurisdiction of the Tri-County Health Department. The Tri-County Health Department includes Adams, Arapahoe and Douglas counties.

An inspection is a “snapshot” of what is happening during the day and time of the inspection. On any given day, a restaurant could have more or fewer violations than noted in an inspection. Also, at the time of an inspection, violations are recorded and can be corrected prior to the inspector leaving the restaurant. If violations are not corrected, a follow-up inspection is scheduled.

The criteria FOX31 Denver uses to give a restaurant a failing grade includes the evaluation of two unannounced inspections by county health inspectors. A failing restaurant must have five or four critical violations on their most recent regular inspection and five or four critical violations on the previous regular inspection. The restaurant may also fail for eight or more violations in one inspection. Health inspectors may conduct critical or follow-up inspections, due to the number of critical violations found during a regular inspection. Those inspections may also be considered for our reports. We recognize restaurants with two regular inspections in a row, with no critical violations, by awarding them an "A."

Denver County

Tri-County Health Department

Jefferson County

Weld County

Two girls found safe after Amber Alert, suspect in custody

Sat, 01/19/2019 - 00:33

NORTHGLENN, Colo. — Two girls missing out of Northglenn were found safe early Saturday after the Colorado Bureau of Investigation issued an Amber Alert.

The girls in the alert were 11-year-old Eternity Duran and 12-year-old Unity Duran. Their suspected abductor, 61-year-old Larry Guerra, was taken into custody.

The Amber Alert was issued Friday night. CBI said the girls were last seen around 8 p.m. Friday in the 1200 block of Regina Lane in Northglenn. Guerra was known to be violent and was known to possess weapons, according to CBI.

Larry Guerra, Unity Duran and Eternity Duran (L-R) Credit: CBI