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SUNRISE: K-12 schools could face cuts in new Colorado budget

February 15, 2011

DENVER (AP) — Public schools could take an even bigger budget hit next year.

Gov. John Hickenlooper will unveil his budget proposal for the state Tuesday. He's expected to announce more cuts as one-time federal stimulus money dries up and the state faces more demand for services because of the troubled economy.

Education groups say elementary, middle and high schools could be cut by between $300 million and $400 million, worse than the $260 million cut schools saw this school year.

Hickenlooper's proposal will be for the budget year that begins in July.

The final say rests with state lawmakers, who will draw up their own budget proposal and pass it before the session ends in May.

Taped interview to be played at Gudino trial

Prosecutors plan to play a videotaped interview this morning of the younger brother of Daniel Gudino, a 15-year-old Colorado Springs boy accused of killing another brother and wounding their mom.

On the witness stand Monday, Alex Gudino, 14, said he couldn’t remember much from the interview he did hours after the May 18, 2009, shootings at the family’s home in the 1800 block of Chapel Hills Drive. Alex Gudino was at school that morning when his 9-year-old brother Ulysses was shot to death.

For updates on the trial, stay tuned to “The Sidebar” blog at



The National Weather Service is calling for more unseasonably mild, sunny conditions Tuesday. The high temperature for the Colorado Springs area is expected to be 62 degrees with an overnight low of 32 degrees.



Larimer County jail opens special unit due to flu
(AP) — The Larimer County jail has opened a special housing unit because of a flu outbreak.

The Coloradoan newspaper reports that about 10 inmates are in the unit. County health officials say five flu cases have been reported at the jail in Fort Collins.

Sheriff's officials say it's routine to set aside special housing during flu season to try to reduce the number of people getting sick. There are about 500 inmates at the jail.

County health officials say flu is "pretty widespread" in Fort Collins.

Energy company buys land in Greeley for office
(AP) — Noble Energy has bought 23 acres of land for $2.45 million in west Greeley for a field office where it plans eventually to employ about 300 people.

The Greeley Tribune newspaper reports that the Houston-based company closed the deal Friday. Noble Energy plans to build a 66,500-square-foot office, scheduled to open next year.

Noble and other companies, including Anadarko Petroleum Corp., are revving up activity in northeastern Colorado's Wattenberg oil and gas field, which lies in parts of Weld, Larimer, Adams, Boulder and Broomfield counties. Part of the Niobrara Formation, considered an important oil play, underlies the area.

Court OKs Nacchio's request to drop appeal
(AP) — A federal appeals court in Denver has approved former Qwest CEO Joseph Nacchio's request to drop the appeal of his insider trading sentence.

Nacchio filed the request Friday with the 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals. The Denver Post newspaper reports it was approved Monday.

Nacchio was convicted in 2007 on 19 counts of insider trading. He was sentenced to six years in prison, and ordered to pay a $19 million fine and forfeit $52 million. A judge last year shaved two months from the prison term and $7.4 million from the forfeiture after the appeals court ruled Nacchio's gains from stock sales were miscalculated.

The U.S. attorney's office says ending the appeal lifts a hold on the fine and forfeiture money that has been in escrow during the legal wrangling.

Nacchio resigned from Denver-based Qwest Communications International Inc. in 2002.

USDA: Number of state  farms, ranches fell in 2010
(AP) — The number of Colorado farms and ranches appears to be slipping.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agricultural Statistics Service says there were an estimated 36,100 farms and ranches in the state in 2010. That would be down by 100 operations from 2009.

The agency says about 31.2 million acres in Colorado are in farms, and the average size of each farm is 864 acres.

Nationwide, it says, the amount of land in farms rose last year by 100,000 acres to about 920 million acres. There are an estimated 2.2 million farms nationwide. The number has held roughly steady the last two years.

Lawmakers kill Arizona-style immigration bill
(AP) — Colorado lawmakers have killed a bill that would have copied Arizona's immigration law.

A House committee unanimously voted to kill the bill on Monday at the request of the sponsor, Republican Rep. Randy Baumgardner.

Baumgardner says he acted because of the cost taxpayers would face if the law is challenged.

Baumgardner's proposal would give law enforcement the authority to arrest people they suspect are in the country illegally.

Senate Republicans have a similar proposal pending and say they intend to go forward with it. Another immigration proposal would require state employers to use E-Verify to confirm a worker's legal status.

Immigrant rights advocates protested the bills Monday outside the Capitol.

Pueblo police limit officers' social networking
(AP) — A new Pueblo police policy says officers cannot identify themselves as members of the force on their personal social network accounts unless they've been authorized by the chief.

The Pueblo Chieftain newspaper reported Monday that the policy affects social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and MySpace. Officers are no longer allowed to post photos of themselves in uniform or wearing department emblems or carrying department equipment. The policy also bars employees from gossiping about the department with outsiders.

The policy went into effect Jan. 31.

The chief says the policy is intended to prevent any online behavior that reflects negatively on the police department.

A similar policy is being drafted by the Pueblo County sheriff's office to regulate the its deputies' social network sites.

Bolivian lions Colorado-bound
(AP) — Twenty-five lions rescued in Bolivia from what animal welfare advocates say were miserable conditions, mostly in circuses, are bound for a wildlife refuge in Colorado in a $200,000 airlift.

A law took effect in Bolivia last year prohibiting all animal performances.

For more on this story, visit

ill bans welfare cards at strip clubs
(AP) — A bill to ban the use of public assistance cards at strip club ATMs got initial approval from lawmakers but not before a light-hearted debate.

House Democrats offered several amendments to the Rep. Dan Pabon's bill Monday, including naming the legislation "The Dan Pabon Valentine's Day Strip Club Public Assistance Act of 2011."

Another amendment said the law should not be in effect at any time at Rep. Mark Waller's "place of residence."

The cards, similar to ATM cards, give recipients access to food stamps and other public assistance.

The House approved the bill on second reading, without the amendments, and faces another vote before going to the Senate.

The law already prohibits people from using their public assistance cards at ATMs in casinos, racetracks, and liquor stores.



- “Toddler Time,” 9:30 a.m., 10 a.m. and 10:30 a.m., Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave. and East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd.; 10 a.m., Ruth Holley Library Branch, 685 N. Murray Blvd., free.

- “Story Time,” for ages 3 and older with an adult, 10 a.m. and 11 a.m., Briargate Branch Library, 9475 Briar Village Point; 10:30 a.m., Fountain Library Branch, 230 S. Main St., Fountain and Ruth Holley Library Branch, 685 N. Murray Blvd., free.

- “Paws to Read,” Ruth Holley Library Branch, 3:45 p.m., 685 N. Murray Blvd. Children can practice reading to a Paws to Read dog, free.

- “Study Buddies,” 6:30-8 p.m., East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd. Volunteers will help students in kindergarten through grade five with homework, free.

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