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Updated: 16 min ago

Convicted felon’s obscenity-filled rant to judge leads to longer prison sentence

16 min 30 sec ago

PAINESVILLE, Ohio - A defendant upset about his sentence ended up with more prison time following his tirade in court against a judge he’s faced before, according to WJW.

(Warning: Video contains vulgar language)

Manson M. Bryant, 32, of Painesville, appeared in court on March 1 for sentencing on charges of aggravated burglary, aggravated robbery and carrying a concealed weapon. Video of the hearing was released on Tuesday.

When Judge Eugene Lucci revealed the defendant would spend 22 years in prison, Bryant stood up and began shouting.

"F*** your courtroom, you racist-a** b****! F*** your courtroom, man. You racist as f***!" Bryant can be heard yelling on the video. "Twenty-two f****** years! You racist-a** b****"

Deputies in the courtroom restrained Bryant and moved him away from the judge, but he continued to yell. That prompted Lucci to add six more years.

"Actually, you know what? Remember, remember when I said that you had shown remorse," Lucci said over Bryant's ranting. "When I said you had a certain amount of remorse, I was mistaken. The court determines, the court determines a maximum imprisonment is needed."

Bryant will now spend 28 years behind bars.

"I would only comment that sentencing hearings can be emotional for all involved. Mr. Bryant received a significant sentence, and had an emotional and regrettable reaction to it. He was otherwise very composed throughout the course of his trial, even when the verdict was rendered. He intends to appeal the verdict and sentence, and continues to remain hopeful," said Daniel Williams, Bryant's attorney.

Bryant's run-ins with the law date back more than a decade. According to Lake County Common Pleas Court records, he has past convictions for theft, receiving stolen property and attempted robbery.

This was not the first time Judge Lucci encountered one of Bryant's cases.

Former Rockies star Carlos Gonzalez gets new start with Indians

1 hour 18 min ago

GOODYEAR, Ariz. — Carlos Gonzalez’s career is laden with personal achievements — a batting title, three All-Star appearances, three Gold Gloves.

He has earned the respect of teammates and opponents and the unwavering devotion of Colorado fans, who have spent the past decade cheering the outfielder known simply as “CarGo.”

But something is missing and Gonzalez thinks he might find it in Cleveland. The free agent signed a minor league contract on Tuesday with the Indians, who might have a starting outfield spot for him.

“Looking at the roster and the past of this organization, this was an easy decision,” Gonzalez said. “This is a team that not too long ago was playing in a World Series. As a baseball player, I think it is everybody’s dream to be at that stage, to play for a championship. I want to be in the position to be in that category. This lineup, the rotation, this bullpen is built for winning.”

Gonzalez could help the Indians settle their outfield situation, which became muddled following the decision not to re-sign All-Star Michael Brantley and other offseason moves. Gonzalez said he also received an offer from the San Francisco Giants but chose Cleveland.

“I wanted to play in the American League,” he said. “The past two years, facing the American League pitchers was something I wanted to do. It doesn’t get tiring, obviously because you’re playing baseball. You’re playing what you love but I wanted a new beginning. When the opportunity opened that’s what I took. I decided between the Indians and the Giants. I decided to come here because this is what I wanted to do.”

The 33-year-old Gonzalez spent 10 seasons with Colorado and was one of the team’s best players and emotional leader. He left the Rockies after 2017 before re-signing with Colorado last March to a one-year contract, earning $8 million including roster bonuses.

If he makes Cleveland’s 40-man roster, Gonzalez will get a $2 million contract in the majors. He can earn $1 million more in bonuses. He can opt out of his contract on April 20.

“The way spring training was going this was a perfect fit for me,” he said. “I told my agent I really wanted to be on that squad. I told him if you get the opportunity to get me on board, I’m ready to go. I’m glad the opportunity came.”

A .287 career hitter with 231 home runs, Gonzalez was streaky last season, when he batted .276 with 16 homers and 64 RBIs. Gonzalez hit 40 homers in 2015, and he might be able to help Cleveland offset the loss of slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Gonzalez’s peak years may be behind him, but he can provide the Indians with quality at-bats, postseason experience and leadership. He’ll likely begin the season at extended spring training so he can get into shape.

“We’re getting a pro,” manager Terry Francona said. “Everybody you talk to just loves him. Not just what he does with the bat. It is the way he carries himself. In my small interactions I’ve had with him, you can tell the way he carries himself.”

Gonzalez won the 2010 NL batting title (.336) and was an All-Star in 2012, 2013 and 2016. He has appeared in at least 200 games at all three outfield positions and has primarily played right field the past four seasons.

He’s thrilled to have a fresh start with a team capable of doing big things in 2019.

“As a baseball player you want to get things going,” he said. “Once the offseason comes and you hit free agency, you kind of want to know where you’re going to be next season, but free agency is obviously different than it was in the past. Last year it took me a long time to find a job. This year it took me a little longer. I made this decision. I can’t wait to get on the field with my teammates.”

Avalanche stay in playoff hunt with 3-1 win over Wild

1 hour 22 min ago

ST. PAUL, Minn. — The Colorado Avalanche have little margin for error as they chase a playoff spot with nine games remaining.

They got a much-needed victory Tuesday night against the team just ahead of them in the standings.

Philipp Grubauer made 36 saves to lift the Avalanche to a 3-1 win over the Wild on Tuesday night in a game that had playoff implications in Minnesota and elsewhere.

Tyson Barrie, Tyson Jost and Ian Cole scored for Colorado, which won its second straight game.

“It’s pretty much Game 7 from here on out and that’s how we’re attacking these last nine games,” Jost said.

Minnesota remained one point behind the idle Arizona Coyotes for the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference, while the Avalanche got within one point of the Wild and two of Arizona. Colorado also has a game in hand on Minnesota.

“This one tonight, I think for us, it was as close as you can get to a must-win this time of year,” Avalanche coach Jared Bednar said. “I don’t know that they needed to win it, but we certainly did to try and get closer and inch closer because the runway’s running out.”

The result also clinched a playoff berth for the San Jose Sharks, who are second in the Western Conference.

Zach Parise scored and Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots for Minnesota.

Colorado struck first with a tally by Barrie, his third goal in his last two games. Barrie fired a centering pass from Carl Soderberg to beat Dubnyk with 14:57 left in the first period.

The Wild evened things early in the second period on a power play. Parise deflected a shot from Ryan Suter that slipped past Grubauer 1:52 into the period. It was Parise’s team-leading 26th goal of the season.

The Avalanche appeared to take a 2-1 lead midway through the second on a wraparound goal by Colin Wilson. But the goal was waved off for goaltender interference after Minnesota challenged the play.

Colorado went ahead minutes later when Jost found space on a breakaway and fired a backhand shot past Dubnyk. It was Jost’s first goal in 10 games and his fourth since being recalled from the minors in mid-February.

Minnesota had several chances to tie the game in the second, including a few looks by Jason Zucker. The Wild forward missed a wide-open net on a backhander and had another shot just miss the net as it slid through the crease.

“There’s not going to be a ton of scoring chances,” Parise said. “So when they’re there, it’s like playoff hockey when they’re there, you’ve got to put them in.”

Grubauer made perhaps his best save of the night with just over eight minutes to play in the third period. The Avs goalie blanked Minnesota’s Pontus Aberg to preserve Colorado’s lead.

Cole added an empty netter with 1:54 remaining after Minnesota pulled Dubnyk.

“We need to score goals if we want to win games and we had some good chances,” Wild center Eric Fehr said.

Colorado faces Dallas — currently the top wild-card team in the West — on Thursday before back-to-back games against Chicago.

Strawberries, spinach, kale named as produce with the most pesticides

2 hours 18 min ago

WASHINGTON — Kale, that popular green of the health conscious, has joined the ignoble list of 12 fruits and vegetables with the most pesticide residues, according to the Environmental Working Group.

The last time kale was on the list was in 2009 when it was ranked eighth. Strawberries and spinach took the top two spots again this year, respectively, followed by kale.

Since 2004, the group — a nonprofit, nonpartisan environmental organization — has annually ranked pesticide contamination in popular fruits and vegetables for its Shopper’s Guide, noting those with the highest and lowest concentration of pesticides after being washed or peeled. Pesticides include an array of chemicals that kill unwanted insects, plants, molds and rodents.

These chemicals keep pests from destroying produce but also expose humans to residues through their diet. This guide shares the results of the 47 tested fruits and vegetables, so consumers can buy foods with lower amounts of pesticides.

The “Dirty Dozen” and “Clean Fifteen,” a list of the top 15 tested produce contaminated with the least amounts of pesticide, are based off more than 40,900 fruit and vegetable samples tested by the Food and Drug Administration and the United States Department of Agriculture.

The types and amounts of pesticides used vary based upon pests and weather, according to EWG.

Analysis of recent data showed that 70 percent of this produce sold for consumption contained pesticide residues.

How do pesticides impact health?

While pesticides are used to protect growing fruits and vegetables, they can also endanger humans, per the World Health Organization. Human consumption of pesticides has been shown by studies to be associated with cancer riskfertility and other health concerns.

EWG research analyst Carla Burns explained in statement, “The main route of pesticide exposure for most Americans who do not live or work on or near farms is through their diet.” By helping consumers know what foods to be more health-conscious about or to gravitate toward in the grocery store, this guide intends to assist making decisions about the way pesticide regulation impacts health.

Fear shouldn’t be a part of the decision whether to buy foods on the pesticide list, said Teresa Thorne, executive director of the Alliance for Food and Farming, a non-profit that represents organic and conventional farmers of fruits and vegetables.

Thorne noted a past study in the Journal of Toxicology that was critical of EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, and found that eating organic produce didn’t decrease consumer risk. “That’s largely because residues are so low, if present at all,” she said.

Research on the effects of pesticides on humans is ongoing, and there is not a complete understanding of whether there is a particular amount of pesticides considered to be safe. The American Academy of Pediatricsacknowledges there are reasons to be concerned about the exposure of developing children to pesticides, especially before birth. Concerns include effects on development and behavior.

What produce has high amounts of pesticides on the list?

In order of pesticide concentration, 2019’s Dirty Dozen list is: strawberries, spinach, kale, nectarines, apples, grapes, peaches, cherries, pears, tomatoes, celery and potatoes. Among these, kale and spinach contained 1.1 to 1.8 times more pesticide residue in weight than other batches of produce.

This list varies, as does pesticide use in agriculture. “The types and amount of pesticides a grower uses is going to depend upon the pests that the grower is dealing with and the weather. Wetter weather will often increase the use of fungicides,” says Chris Campbell, EWG’s vice president for information technology.

Despite the high pesticide residues of spinach and kale, strawberries have maintained their place at the top of the Dirty Dozen list. Strawberries are popular — Americans eat an estimated 8 pounds per year — but the chemicals used to protect and preserve strawberries raise concern and some have been banned by the European Union.

The fruit gained its notorious status because of the United States Department of Agriculture concluding strawberries are most likely, among the tested produce, to retain pesticide residues even after being picked and washed.

What is so surprising about kale being number three on the Dirty Dozen list?

Kale is known for being a source of vitamins and other nutrients, but the vegetable could also be tainted by cancer-causing pesticides

The report’s results showed that 92% of the samples of conventionally grown kale were positive for two or more pesticide residues, and a single sample of kale sometimes contained as many as 18 different pesticide residues. The most common pesticide detected was Dacthal, also known as DCPA, and has been identified as a potential cancer-causing agent. Europe has prohibited its use since 2009.

What produce has low amounts of pesticides?

Produce that are among the top of the list for reducing the exposure of consumers to pesticides include avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, frozen sweet peas and onions. In contrast to the Dirty Dozen, there was no detection of pesticide residues in 70% of these foods. Less than 1% of avocados and sweet corn tested positive for pesticides and were considered the cleanest of the list.

How can you avoid pesticides?

The recommendations from the Environmental Working Group are to buy and eat organic produce, especially fruits and vegetables found on the Dirty Dozen list. However, if your budget does not allow you to eat organic, fruits and vegetables are better than none.

“The science shows that what people need to know is to eat more fruits and vegetables every day, conventional or organic, choose either. No list needed,” said Thorne of the Alliance for Food and Farming.

New app will let you park at DIA for free, make money by renting out your car

2 hours 38 min ago

DENVER -- A new start-up app will allow you to park your vehicle at Denver International Airport for free - but only if you're willing to rent it out while you're out of town.

And you could make some money off it.

The app is called Drift and it is a pilot program being launched only in Denver.

Once you register with the app, you're able to park at the airport for free. You go to the lot, check-in and your vehicle will be inspected, washed and cleaned. The vehicle is also inspected and cleaned before it is returned to you.

The company will even pay you if your vehicle is rented out. The app says customers could make $50 per day or up to $350 a week - if it's a seven-day rental and you have a high-demand vehicle.

Here's the breakdown of how much per day depending on the vehicle, according to Drift.

  • Standard sedan–$25 per day
  • Mid-size SUV–$35 per day
  • Minivan–$35 per day
  • Large SUV–$50 per day

In addition, the company says they limit vehicles to 150 miles per day to reduce wear and tear on the vehicles and makes sure the vehicle is returned to you clean.

All the vehicles through Drift are also insured by Allstate.

Currently the app is only available for iPhone but they say it will be available for Android soon.

First day of Spring delivers sun and mild temps; stormy this weekend

3 hours 4 sec ago

DENVER -- Spring officially arrives this afternoon at 3:58 p.m. and it will be a nice one.

We'll see sunny skies across Colorado. Along the Front Range we'll have highs around 54 meanwhile the mountain will have highs in the 30s.

Two storm systems are lined-up: 1) Friday, 2) Sunday-Monday.

The first storm system pushes snow into the Mountains starting late Thursday.  The brunt of the accumulation occurs in the Southern Mountains, up to 1 foot.  1-5" in the Central and Northern Mountains by Saturday morning.  Then we get a break.  Storm #2 arrives on Sunday-Monday.

Saturday looks partly to mostly cloudy, 50s.

The Sunday-Monday storm system could deliver a rain/snow mix to Denver and the Front Range.  We could see accumulation.  High temps fall from the 50s into the 40s and possibly 30s.

The highest likelihood of snow occurs Sunday night into Monday morning.

Snow forecast by Saturday morning. Meteorologist Chris Tomer.

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.

University of Denver will no longer require applicants to provide ACT, SAT scores

3 hours 1 min ago

DENVER -- Students applying to the University of Denver in fall 2020 or later will no longer be required to submit their SAT or ACT test scores with their applications, the university announced on Tuesday.

The university says that studies have shown that high school grades are a better predictor of first-year college performance and standardized test scores have a low correlation with persistence and graduation.

According to the university, by switching to the "test-optional" policy, it will allow perspective students to customize how their academic profile is presented to the university.

“Oftentimes an ACT or SAT score is more reflective of a student’s economic background and the resources of their school, rather than demonstrating the student’s academic abilities and college preparedness,” said Todd Rinehart, vice-chancellor for enrollment at DU. “We want to place our focus on curriculum and performance in school, and provide students the choice as to how their academic record is presented.”

“As we continue to strive toward a more diverse class of students, we expect that this decision will allow us to be more inclusive of low-income and first-generation students, as well as those with different learning styles and talents,” Rinehart said.

More than 1,000 colleges and universities across America are test-optional schools, including Wake Forest University and American University.

The average tuition to attend DU is about $70,000 per year, according to DU's website.

Complaints had been filed against Littleton home that caught fire

8 hours 16 min ago

LITTLETON, Colo. -- A home in Littleton caught fire one day before its owner was scheduled to appear before a commission for a demolition hearing.

South Metro Fire Rescue responded to the fire on South Windermere Circle early Tuesday morning and began alerting people in nearby homes. Those neighbors are upset over the length of time it has taken to get the dilapidated home demolished. It’s a process the city of Littleton says can be complicated and lengthy.

For four years, next-door neighbor Ben Zeck says he has been complaining about the home, which was leaking gas just last week.

"I’m upset. I’m worried about the life of my family. You know, the house nearly exploded last week with my family inside. I mean, this is ridiculous and the city won’t do anything about it," Zeck said.

However, city inspectors say they’ve been to the home on several occasions over the years. Inspectors have cited the homeowner numerous times and summoned him to several condemnation hearings.

In a public hearing in January, homeowner David Lynch said, “I’ve been locked out of my house since approximately April 30 of 2013. I haven’t been allowed on property."

Code inspectors say potentially dangerous homes should always be reported, but declaring them a nuisance is complicated.

"Sometimes, it's about perception -- what [a] person thinks about rubbish or a derelict vehicle or how short or tall their grass can be, and then there are more serious issues like fire and building code safety," said Littleton communications director Kelli Narde.

Inspectors say problematic structures should first reported to homeowners associations if one exists.

"If you see something that appears to be a little more egregious, you probably need to talk to the city government and talk to the code enforcement division," Narde said.

That’s what Zeck says he’s already done.

“They keep saying we have to go through the process. Well, the process is until somebody dies?” Zeck said.

Fortunately, no one was hurt during Tuesday's fire.

Lynch is scheduled to appear at the condemnation hearing Wednesday in Littleton. FOX31 unsuccessfully attempted to reach him late Tuesday.

South Metro Fire Rescue investigators are working to determine what started the fire.

Disney closes $71B deal for Fox entertainment assets

8 hours 18 min ago

LOS ANGELES — Disney has closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment business, putting “Cinderella,” ”The Simpsons,” ”Star Wars” and “Spider-Man” under one corporate roof.

The deal is likely to shake up the media landscape. Among other things, it paves the way for Disney to launch its streaming service, Disney Plus, due out later this year.

By buying the studios behind “The Simpsons” and X-Men, Disney aims to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention – and dollars.

Disney needs compelling TV shows and movies to persuade viewers to sign up and pay for yet another streaming service. It already has classic Disney cartoons, “Star Wars,” Pixar, the Muppets and some of the Marvel characters. With Fox, Disney could add Marvel’s X-Men and Deadpool, along with programs shown on such Fox channels as FX Networks and National Geographic. Fox’s productions also include “The Americans,” ”This Is Us” and “Modern Family.”

The deal helps Disney further control TV shows and movies from start to finish – from creating the programs to distributing them though television channels, movie theaters, streaming services and other ways people watch entertainment. Disney would get valuable data on customers and their entertainment-viewing habits, which it can then use to sell advertising.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said in an earnings call in February that Disney Plus and other direct-to-consumer businesses are Disney’s “No. 1 priority.”

Cable and telecom companies have been buying the companies that make TV shows and movies to compete in a changing media landscape. Although internet providers like AT&T and Comcast directly control their customers’ access to the internet in a way that Amazon, YouTube and Netflix do not, they still face threats as those streaming services gain in popularity.

AT&T bought Time Warner last year for $81 billion and has already launched its own streaming service, Watch TV, with Time Warner channels such as TBS and TNT, among other networks, for $15 a month.

In addition to boosting the Disney streaming service, expected to debut next year, the deal paves the way for Marvel’s X-Men and the Avengers to reunite in future movies. Though Disney owns Marvel Studios, some characters including the X-Men had already been licensed to Fox.

Disney also gets a controlling stake in the existing streaming service Hulu, which it plans to keep operating as a home for more general programming. Family-friendly shows and movies will head to Disney Plus.

No pricing has been disclosed for Disney Plus. The streaming service will feature five categories of material: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Disney charges $5 a month for ESPN Plus, a service that offers programming distinct from the ESPN cable channel.

Meanwhile, Fox Corp. — the parts of 21st Century Fox that are not part of the deal, including Fox News, Fox Sports and Fox Broadcasting — started trading on the Nasdaq under the “FOX” and “FOXA” tickers on Tuesday.

Standley Lake will be closed to trailered boats this summer

8 hours 39 min ago

WESTMINSTER, Colo. -- Trailered boats will not be permitted on Standley Lake in Westminster this summer in an effort to protect the reservoir from a zebra mussel infestation.

The reservoir provides water to more than 300,000 people in Westminster, Thornton and Northglenn.

Westminster City Manager Donald Tripp told FOX31 that although the invasive species hasn't been detected in the drinking water supply, it's time to make sure that doesn't happen in the future.

"We’ve had some information in the last few months that leads us to believe there’s some risk involved and the risk is just too high to allow boating this summer," Tripp said.

Bill Bistline of Wakeboard and Waterski Specialty and the Watersports Industry Association said boaters prioritize protecting the reservoir as well, but the city needs to explore other options.

Bistline said a "one boat, one lake" option should be considered.

"Meaning the boats stay on that property and can only use that lake for an entire year. It’s a way to still have [Standley] remain as a boating outlet," Bistline said.

Bistline added that Colorado has an amazing number of locations for boaters to explore, so impulsively selling a boat is a decision one might regret in the future.

Members of the boating community are expected to attend an upcoming public meeting about the issue on April 2.

For more information about boating regulations and zebra mussels, visit the city of Westminster's website.

Wild Animal Sanctuary gets $45,000 donation from Gov. Polis’ inauguration fundraiser

8 hours 56 min ago

KEENESBURG, Colo. – A lot more abused and neglected animals will get a second chance at life thanks to a large donation to the Wild Animal Sanctuary.

The Wild Animal Sanctuary near Keenesburg is home to around 500 lions, tigers, bears and other large carnivores. They have been rescued from horrific conditions all over the world.

“Some people are stupid enough to think they can keep baby tigers as a pet and it’s really sad,” Gov. Jared Polis told FOX31.

Polis visited TWAS Tuesday to help present a $45,000 check to the non-profit.

“We’re preaching to the choir here today when we say that America and the world have a captive wildlife crisis,” he said.

The money was given on behalf of Colorado For All, a non-profit created to fundraise during the Governor’s inaugural activities.

“It’s really wonderful that our inauguration was able to have this giving component,” Gov. Polis said.

Colorado’s First Gentleman, Marlon Reis, is the Honorary Chair of Colorado For All. He has vowed to use his platform to promote animal welfare.

“I adore animals,” Reis told FOX31. “I feel a bond with them. Sometimes, you don’t know where people are coming from, but you always know where an animal is coming from.”

The new money will be used to help TWAS develop “The Refuge,” which is a 9,684-acre plot in southeast Colorado that will greatly expand the number of animals they are able to save.

“That’s my favorite part about it. The large-acreage habitats. Animals here truly get to be themselves. They get to live life the way they were meant to live it,” Reis said.

Colorado For All will split the rest of the proceeds from its inauguration fundraiser between three other non-profits: The Rose Foundation, Adams 14 Early Childhood Center and the Governor’s Residence Preservation Fund.

Recent moisture could be ‘double-edged sword’ for Colorado fire departments

9 hours 13 min ago

LAKEWOOD, Colo. --If you were thinking the bomb cyclone washed away any chance of fire danger this summer, think again.

Local fire departments say while the recent moisture is great news in the short term, it could spell trouble later this summer and fall.

"Moisture is kind of a double-edged sword in that way," says Eric Hurst with South Metro Fire Rescue. "It does us good in the short term, and then we always have the risk in the long term that with a good moist spring and a spring green up, we can actually have a lot heavier fuel."

Hurst says fuels like grass and brush tend to become problems later in the summer.

"Fall is usually when we see our bigger fires here in South Metro," he says. "It's always in our minds and we're always training for it."

Just up the road in Lakewood, crews with West Metro Fire Rescue spent Tuesday training on wildland fires.

"This moisture has definitely helped, and if anything, it's going to delay any fires off the bat," says Lt. Tyler Sugaski. "If you think of the last few years, we've been operating above normal in extreme conditions. Now, we're kind of back to normal."

Sugaski says they are also predicting some issues this fall due to a bountiful spring bloom.

"It could add more fuels to our landscape which would be available to burn. So, that's why we have to look at long-term forecast trends, not just a couple of weeks out," Sugaski said.

Colorado mosques increase security indefinitely following New Zealand attack

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 22:41

DENVER — Mosques across Colorado are increasing security indefinitely following a terror attack targeting Muslims in New Zealand. Muslim leaders say threats are common and they can’t take any chances.

Outside the largest mosque in Colorado, Masjid Abu Bakr off South Parker Road, there’s increased law enforcement and private security. Half a world away, what happened in Christchurch has led to worry and anxiety for Colorado Muslims.

“If something happens to one, it happens to all of us,” said Iman Jodeh of the Colorado Muslim Society.

Jodeh says police officers and sheriff’s deputies were stationed inside and outside her mosque following the attack in New Zealand.

“They went out of their way to make sure that they provided a female lieutenant to stand with the women worshipers as they entered,” she said.

A high level of security is, unfortunately, a new reality, Jodeh explained. For the protection of worshipers, details on increased measures have been kept private. There are more security professionals on site at mosques across Colorado amid growing tension and threats, officials said.

“It’s becoming more commonplace, and we need to stand together in solidarity to say, 'Not in my name,'" Jodeh said.

Besides extra security, mosque leaders say overall vigilance has been key to alerting to potential threats. Worshipers have been adhering to that common advice from law enforcement of, “hear or see something, say something.”

Colorado one step closer to fully funded all-day kindergarten

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 22:21

DENVER -- Fully funded all-day kindergarten was one of Gov. Jared Polis’ top campaign promises and it appears he is going to get what he wants.

The Joint Budget Committee, the top committee for deciding how money is spent at the Capitol, inserted $185 million into the state budget to fund all-day Kindergarten in Colorado.

$185 million approved by the JBC for full day K. #coleg #cobudget #copolitics

— This Week at the JBC (@thisweekatjbc) March 20, 2019

Polis immediately took to Twitter to celebrate the decision. Top Democrats on the committee had been unclear for weeks regarding whether they were willing to commit the necessary funds to the program.

Thank you to the members of the Joint Budget Committee for recommending full funding for free, full-day kindergarten this year. This will save parents and school districts money, and give our students an even brighter future. A huge win for Colorado kids! #copolitics #coleg

— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) March 20, 2019

Polis originally requested $227 million for the program, but on social media Tuesday, he clarified $185 million will be enough to get the program implemented. The budget still needs final approval by the entire General Assembly.

$227M assumed 100% enrollment (with unused funds deposited in State Education Fund), $185 is based on estimated enrollment

— Jared Polis (@jaredpolis) March 20, 2019

Community collecting donations for Aurora homicide victim’s family

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 22:01

AURORA, Colo. -- Police are asking for the public’s help in a homicide investigation after a body was found last Wednesday during the blizzard. Police say the body was found just east of the Fitzsimons light rail station parking lot.

On Tuesday, Aurora police identified the victim as 24-year-old Martin Galdamez. Police have not released a cause of death or any further details on the case.

Members of the local El Salvadorian community say Galdamez was from the Central American country. They say he was known as a quiet man who played soccer with his friends every Sunday.

Those close to Galdamez hope to get more answers from police soon. Meanwhile, they are trying to help his family.

"We have people who have given $1 here even $100, and that makes me feel good that they are giving for their own people,” explained Delia Rivera of Tienda Salvadorena.

Rivera has a donation box set up at her store, which is located at East Colfax Avenue and Forest Street in east Denver. Each box explains that Rivera is raising money to send Galdamez's body back to El Salvador so his parents can bury their son. They are collecting money through Sunday.

The Aurora Police Department is asking anyone who has information to contact Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-STOP (7867). They say people can remain anonymous and can be eligible for a reward of up to $2,000.

Lawsuit: Olive Garden stuffed mushrooms severely burned woman, ‘death was imminent’

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 21:39

FORT WORTH, Texas — A Texas woman filed a law suit against Olive Garden claiming she was burned by a piece of a stuffed mushroom that became stuck in her throat, according to KTVT.

According to court records, Danny Howard filed the case March 8 in Tarrant County District Court.

Howard said that the restaurant did not make her aware that the mushrooms were extremely hot.

The court filing says Howard went to an Olive Garden in Tarrant County on August 11, 2017 and ordered the stuffed mushroom appetizer. In the lawsuit, she claims that there was “no admonishment or warning” that the mushrooms “were particularly hot or carried the risk to cause severe burns.”

“Upon taking a bite out of one of the stuffed mushrooms, the mushroom immediately caused [Howard’s] mouth to begin burning,” read the statement.

She allegedly began to choke and was unable to breathe. Unable to speak, Howard said she “frantically shuffled through the restaurant in need of help” ultimately vomiting at kitchen station and “in the course dislodged the burning mushroom.”

After driving home, Howard then headed to the emergency room thinking she still needed to see a doctor. “[Howard] determined that the burns and her mouth would in fact require medical care,” read the statement.

She said that her throat began to close while she was on her way to the doctor and ended up “frantically” calling 911 “believing she was about to suffocate and that death was imminent,”

According to the lawsuit, Howard was first taken to Harris Methodist Hospital then flown via Careflight to Parkland Hospital’s Burn Unit.

Howard is claiming the restaurant was negligent for not warning her about the dangers of eating the hot food. The lawsuit is asking for damages in the amount of $200,000 to $1 million.

“The stuffed mushrooms in question were defective and unsafe for their intended purposes at the time” read the statement.

CBS 11 DFW has reached out to the restaurant for comment.

Police ask for help locating missing CU Boulder student

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 20:33

BOULDER, Colo. — Police are hoping the public can help investigators find a University of Colorado Boulder student who has been missing since Thursday, March 14.

According to CU police, 20-year-old Mikhail “Misha” Solok lives in the Stearns West residence hall. He has not spoken to friends or family since Thursday.

Anyone who knows where Solok might be is urged to call CU police at: 303-492-6666.

Police did not provide details on what Solok was wearing or where he may have been headed.

Missing Attachment Missing Attachment

Director of Denver Public Safety reflects on first year in role

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 20:03

DENVER -- The executive director for Denver's Department of Public Safety oversees the fire department, police department and sheriff's office. Troy Riggs’ day is jam-packed.

“If you look at some of the things we've accomplished in a year, I'm very proud of that. I think we are second to none," Riggs said.

In his first year on the job, Riggs has reduced budgets by millions of dollars and has instituted new and innovative programs that are getting attention from cities around the country.

“We have the most talented public safety professionals that I've ever seen anywhere," Riggs said.

As part of his commitment to transparency, he invited FOX31 and Channel 2's Deborah Takahara to be “Director for a Day."

“It’s something we want people to understand: the vastness of public safety and the importance of public safety," Riggs said.

He held meetings on bail bond reform, Denver's Opportunity Index and jail overtime reduction... all before noon. Then, he toured Denver’s brand-new communication center that is almost ready to open.

“Really, in an emergency, this is going to be the hub of activity," Riggs said.

“It’s exciting to see what was a casual conversation come to reality," said Councilman Christopher Herndon, who represents the district where the communication center is located.

Riggs also paid a visit to the recruits at the Denver Police Academy.

“I love what you’re doing. Just remember to always be proficient. I don’t care how tough you are, there’s somebody out there tougher. Take your time, use your verbal commands. Take this training seriously. And let me just say this: thank you for being willing to take on the service of being a Denver police officer," Riggs said to the recruits.

Riggs says his job does keep him up at night, worrying about the 4,400 employees that make up the Department of Public Safety, but he says it's a rewarding job.

“When you see someone who was struggling and because of your officers or firefighters or something we've done as a public safety agency has resulted in life being turned around, that makes you feel good. You know you're on the right track. We had a young man talk about the difference it made in his life. That’s meaningful for us. That’s an individual that has hope for the first time in many years. That’s what we are in the business of," Riggs said.

He said mental health is one of the biggest challenges facing our community. He says a person in crisis will come in contact with almost every department: dispatch, police, fire, paramedics and possibly jail. He is hoping to get more crisis intervention training for first responders. He is also always looking for solutions that could work for the department.

City of Boulder working with Naropa student’s lawyers to figure out independent investigation

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 19:53

BOULDER, Colo. -- There are developments in the investigation of an interaction between Boulder police and a Naropa University student. The city is now going back to the drawing board when it comes to the independent investigation it plans to have.

Previously, former Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett was set to do the independent review. Now, the city wants to work with the student's lawyers to find an alternative.

This all comes as the encounter between that student and the police has sparked outrage by not just the student, but the community.

The video of the incident shows an officer call for backup because he felt like Zyad Atkinson would not put down a "blunt object," in a place labeled as private property. As it turns out, Atkinson lives in that neighborhood and the object was a trash grabber and a bucket.

“I had guns pointed at me because of the color of my skin," said Atkinson, who is black.

At a community meeting, a city representative said, “I want to publicly and personally apologize to Zyad Atkinson and his family.”

“I had difficulty watching it because I very much felt like we were going to watch somebody die and it was scary," said Colorado Public Health Association employee Nami Thompson.

Thompson considers herself a community activist.

She's not entirely confident in Boulder's ability to do a fair investigation based on the last one they did pertaining to racial bias.

In 2016, a private company made several suggestions to the city after finding black people only account for one percent of the city population, but have been cited at more than twice that rate.

“Not a lot of follow-through with them or minimal follow-through and half measures, so it’s difficult to know if this -- in the long run -- will be something similar as far as the result goes or if this will be something that creates change in our community," Thompson said.

Boulder police say they will release body camera video and an incident report when their separate internal process is complete. They said that will be at the end of April or beginning of May.

Business groups show up at Colorado Capitol to oppose paid family leave

Tue, 03/19/2019 - 19:36

DENVER -- Dozens of business groups are testifying at the Colorado State Capitol Tuesday over the proposed paid family leave law.

Among those in opposition are the Colorado Chamber of Commerce, the Denver Metro Chamber, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, the Colorado Farm Bureau and the Colorado Hospital Association.

I was sent this list of Colorado businesses and associations opposed to Paid Family Leave. Quite an extensive list. Hearing will last all evening....dozens signed up to testify #coleg #copolitics pic.twitter.com/DxebG7E0E8

— Joe St. George (@JoeStGeorge) March 19, 2019

Under the paid family leave proposal, employers and employees would contribute .32 percent each to the state family leave fund.

Eligible employees would then be able to receive up to 12 weeks paid time off in the event of a childbirth or family illness. Benefits would be capped at $1,000 a week.

“It is an added expense for the smallest of the smallest businesses,” said Tony Gagliardi, the executive director of Colorado’s NFIB.

Also testifying Tuesday are local government leaders upset with the proposal.

“The money will have to come from somewhere,” said Holly Williams, an El Paso County commissioner.

Williams says the county and many others will struggle to pay for the benefit.

“We are going to have to take it away from public safety and our roads,” Williams said.

However, other businesses stood up in support of the proposal Tuesday.

“I think it is a great recruitment tool,” said Judy Amabile, a business owner who helps produce Polar Bottles water bottles.

Amabile says a small company like hers could never have offered a perk like 12 weeks paid time off.

“For a company like ours, it is an incredible deal,” Amabile said.

Testimony on the measure is expected to last all night.