Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

SUNRISE: CU tries to snuff out 4/20 rally

MATT STEINER Updated: April 20, 2012 at 12:00 am

DENVER (AP) — The pungent smell of pot that blankets a popular quadrangle at the University of Colorado-Boulder every April 20 is being replaced by the stench of fish-based fertilizer Friday as administrators try to stamp out one of the nation's largest annual campus celebrations of marijuana.

After more than 10,000 people — students and non-students — attended last year's marijuana rally on Norlin Quadrangle, university officials decided this year to apply the stinky fertilizer to the quad to deter pot-smokers. They're also closing the campus Friday to all unauthorized visitors and offering a free campus concert by Haitian-born hip-hop star Wyclef Jean timed to coincide with the traditional 4:20 p.m. pot gathering.

(Click here to read about Friday's walk for medical marijuana research in Colorado Springs)

A judge ruled that the university can close its grounds to unauthorized visitors.

The Daily Camera reports a Boulder District judge on Thursday denied an emergency request to bar CU from closing its campus to non-students Friday.

The request was filed by lawyer Robert Corry, who argued the university is public, and so are its grounds. Corry has advocated for the rights of medical marijuana patients.

University officials say their actions are consistent with the institution's rights to protect faculty, staff and students from disruption.

The measures pit Colorado's flagship university, which has tired of its reputation as a top party school, against thousands who have assembled, flash mob-style, each year to demand marijuana's legalization or simply to have a good time.

With more than 30,000 students, Colorado was named the nation's top party school in 2011 by Playboy magazine. The campus also repeatedly ranks among the top schools for marijuana use, according to a "Reefer Madness" list conducted by The Princeton Review.

"We don't consider this a protest. We consider this people smoking pot in the sunshine," said university spokesman Bronson Hilliard. "This is a gathering of people engaging in an illegal activity."

 

WEATHER

Mostly sunny conditions and temperatures in the 60s Friday will gain momentum and lead into a rather boring weekend, that is if sunny skies and warmer temperatures is considered boring.

The National Weather service expects clear conditions and temperatures in the 70s to last throughout the weekend with Sunday’s high topping out around 74 degrees. The trend is expected to continue through most of next week.

BEST OF OUR SITES

outherecolorado.com: Bike race will close trails at Pueblo State Park on Saturday

coloradosprings.com: Colorado Springs Pet Expo is this weekend

springsmilitarylife.com: Partnership for Child Development opens center on Fort Carson

gazettepreps.com: Signing day: State hoops tourney shortened to save money

pikespeakparent.com: Bill Nye, the science guy, says teachers must be passionate

csfreshink.com: April 27 fundraiser to help outdoor education

 

AROUND COLORADO

Third suspect held in Four Corners shooting death

DURANGO (AP) — A third person has been arrested in connection with the slaying of a man in southwest Colorado.

La Plata County sheriff's officials said Thursday that 19-year-old Shanice O. Smith of Farmington, N.M., is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder. Bond was set at $500,000.

She is accused in the shooting death of 39-year-old Joey Benavidez of Ignacio, Colo., on April 3.

Two others have been arrested in the case. Eighteen-year-old Elijah Anlgin is being held in La Plata County with a bond of $1 million, while 19-year-old Tommy Lee Mitchell is being held in New Mexico while extradition proceedings continue.

A gag order has been issued in the case, but authorities have previously said that Benavidez may have been shot because he couldn't pay a drug debt.

Middle school student arrested for bomb threat

CENTENNIAL (AP) — A 13-year-old accused of threatening to place a bomb at his suburban Denver middle school is in custody after investigators say they found bomb-making materials at his home.

Arapahoe County sheriff Grayson Robinson said another student at Newton Middle School in Centennial alerted authorities on Wednesday about a suspicious comment made by the boy. The school resource officer and other investigators got involved and searched the boy's home with the permission of his parents.

Robinson said a variety of materials were found that would have created an explosive device if put together.

He said he's not aware of any connection with the 13th anniversary of the shootings at nearby Columbine High School on Friday.

The sheriff will recommend that the boy be charged with a class 4 felony.

Legal notices filed over wildfire

DENVER (AP) — An insurance company and an electrical utility have filed notices of intent to sue over a wildfire that burned at least 23 homes west of Denver.

KMGH-TV in Denver reports American Family Insurance has filed seven claim notices and seeks to recover money paid to Conifer-area clients affected by the fire.

The Intermountain Rural Electric Association has filed one notice. It's seeking more than $1.2 million in damages for burned power lines and facilities.

The wildfire erupted March 26 when embers reignited from a controlled burn that the Colorado State Forest Service set days earlier on land owned by Denver Water.

KMGH reports claim notices were served on Colorado State University, which oversees the Colorado State Forest Service, and on Denver Water.

Sheriff's officials have found no criminal wrongdoing.

Jury acquits state trooper on 4 charges

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) — Jurors in Grand Junction have acquitted a state trooper of four charges and have deadlocked on two other counts stemming from the fatal shooting of an unarmed suspect.

The Daily Sentinel reports jurors acquitted Ivan "Gene" Lawyer on Thursday of criminally negligent homicide, first-degree criminal trespass, prohibited use of a weapon and criminal mischief in the 2010 shooting that killed Jason Kemp. Jurors were hung on charges of second-degree assault and illegal discharge of a firearm.

Lawyer and State Patrol Cpl. Kirk Firko had gone to Kemp's home while investigating a traffic accident. Authorities say Kemp struggled with the officers at his door.

Lawyer said he saw Kemp raise his arm and thought Kemp had a weapon when he shot at him.

Firko is scheduled for trial July 16.

CU considering gun ban contracts

DENVER (AP) — The University of Colorado is considering modifying dorm contracts to bar guns in residence halls.

CU Chancellor Phil DiStefano says he is exploring gun policies at other colleges as he considers amending housing policies to bar concealed-weapon permit holders from bringing guns into dorms.

In March, the Colorado Supreme Court upheld an appeals court ruling that said CU can't ban permit holders from bringing guns to campus. Jim Manley with the Mountain States Legal Foundation has indicated he'll consider suing if CU bans guns from dorms.

The Daily Camera reports that at a meeting Thursday, some CU regents said students are safer if they can arm themselves against attackers, but others worried that guns in dorms could be a hazard.

Attorney sentenced to 12 years in prison for theft

BRECKENRIDGE (AP) — A Breckenridge attorney who went missing for nearly five years has been sentenced to 12 years in prison for felony theft.

A judge also ordered Royal "Scoop" Daniel on Thursday to pay $460,000 in restitution to his victims and to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

After his disappearance in 2007, Daniel was accused of embezzling at least $500,000 from his clients through real estate transactions. He pleaded guilty in February to two counts of felony theft but insists he obtained the funds with authorization and did not intend to deprive clients permanently.

Daniel was arrested last year crossing into California from Mexico.

The Summit Daily News reports Daniel said in court that he "returned from exile" because he wanted to see things "put right" with his victims.

Former Larimer County GOP chair enters Alford plea

FORT COLLINS (AP) — Former Larimer County Republican Party Chairman Larry Carillo isn't fighting allegations that he stole thousands of dollars from the party.

The Coloradoan reports Carillo entered an Alford plea Thursday to a charge of theft. Under the plea, he didn't admit guilt but acknowledged prosecutors have enough evidence for a conviction.

Police had accused him of stealing more than $17,000 in GOP funds.

Carillo stepped down as chair of the county GOP in 2011 after state officials said the party had filed to file several required campaign finance disclosures in 2010. Party officials then asked Fort Collins police to investigate the party's finances.

Carillo is scheduled to be sentenced May 31.

He could face two to six years in prison and up to a $500,000 fine.

$1M prize from Colorado Mega Millions ticket unclaimed

DENVER (AP) — The person who bought a Mega Millions lottery ticket in Denver that turned out to be worth $1 million has yet to step forward.

A Mega Millions drawing March 30 was for a record $640 million, but smaller prizes also were available.

Colorado Lottery officials said Thursday that the holder of the Denver ticket that won $1 million still hasn't claimed the prize.

TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1999, the Columbine High School massacre took place in Colorado as two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, shot and killed 12 classmates and one teacher before taking their own lives.

 

HAPPENINGS

-- Storytime, “Peepsqueak!” by Leslie Ann Clark, 10:30 a.m., Barnes & Noble, 795 Citadel Drive East.

-- “Fabulous Friday Fun” children’s program, 4:15 p.m., Monument Library Branch, 1706 Lake Woodmoor Drive, Monument, free

-- “Organic Geometrics” opening night, 5-8 p.m., Commonwheel Artists Gallery, 102 Canon Ave., Manitou Springs, free.

-- “Annual Spring Show,” showcase of brand new artwork and artists, 5-8 p.m., Mountain Living Studio, 741 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, free.

-- Casablanca, 5-9 p.m., The Sunbird, 230 Point of the Pines Drive.

-- “Pulse” the 2012 Senior  exhibition opening, 5-8 p.m., GOCA, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, free.

-- Rick Stahl, 8:30-11:30 p.m., Wyatt’s Pub and Grill, 806 Village Center Drive.

-- Cirque du’ Deejay, 9 p.m., The Thirsty Parrot, 32 S. Tejon St., no cover.

-- Wrestle with Jimmy, 9:30 p.m., SouthSide Johnny’s, 528 S. Tejon St.

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