SUNRISE: Locals treated to outdoor watch party of GOP convention

Staff reports Updated: August 30, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: August 30, 2012

Local Republicans are setting up a large outdoor watch party Thursday night for the televised climax of the national convention — the speech of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The party will be at America the Beautiful Park in downtown Colorado Springs, 126 Cimino Drive, east of Interstate 25, south of Colorado Avenue.

Romney campaign volunteers are telling people to show up between 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., well before the speech, which is set for 8 p.m. MDT.

Many will bring lawn chairs and blankets, since the speech will be broadcast onto a large TV screen, with a projector camera, said campaign spokeswoman Ellie Wallace.

The party is open to the public, and there will be food and drinks available.

The theme of the watch party is “Believe in America.”

“Coloradans are excited about Gov. Romney’s message of fixing our economy, and these watch parties are another way for them to come out and show their support,” Wallace said in an email. “Our support in Colorado Springs will be critical to winning Colorado in November, and the people there are energized.”

Other watch parties are also being held in Denver, at El Senor Sol Mexican restaurant, at 2301 17th St., and in Grand Junction, at one of the Romney campaign’s offices, at 1114 N. 1st St.

   

WEATHER

The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature of 89 Thursday in Colorado Springs with an overnight low of about 56. The high reached 91 Wednesday, which extended the Springs' record for days of 90-degree and above heat this year to 46.

  

AROUND COLORADO

Burden on prosecutors to prove insanity

DENVER (AP) — If James Holmes pleads not guilty by reason of insanity, prosecutors wanting to prove that he methodically carried out a deadly Colorado movie theater shooting have a difficult task before them: They must prove he is sane.

Unlike other states where the defense needs to prove insanity, prosecutors in Colorado are the ones who have to show that a defendant is sane — all without the ability of having their own experts examine Holmes.

"It's burden of proof on steroids," said Marcellus McRae, a former federal prosecutor now in private trial attorney in Los Angeles. "It's totally subjective. It's not like proving somebody pulled the trigger. That's objective."

Whether he pleads guilty by reason of insanity, the case against Holmes promises to focus on his mental health.

A court hearing Thursday will examine his relationship with University of Colorado psychiatrist Lynne Fenton, to whom he mailed a package containing a notebook that reportedly contains violent descriptions of an attack.

CU satellite project launched

BOULDER (AP) — An Atlas rocket carrying a University of Colorado experiment has been launched from Cape Canaveral.

The satellites launched Thursday include a CU project measuring the Earth's radiation belts. It is part of a larger mission to measure space weather.

CU professor Daniel Baker says radiation poses one of the greatest risks for orbiting spacecraft and needs more study.

Open space officials cited for marking trail

ASPEN (AP) — Two Pitkin County Open Space and Trails board members have been cited by the U.S. Forest Service after they were accused of marking a trail leading onto property that is the subject of a proposed land swap.

Hawk Greenway and Anne Rickenbaugh are accused of damaging a forest. The fines total $850.

According to the Aspen Times (http://tinyurl.com/97zsggr ), Greenway and Rickenbaugh are accused of trying to establish a contested route onto BLM land at the base of Mount Sopris, near Carbondale, by marking trees.

Greenway said he is trying to disprove claims that the BLM property is mostly inaccessible to the public.

Insurance laws hurting wildfire victims

FORT COLLINS (AP) — Victims of wildfires that destroyed more than 600 homes this year say Colorado's insurance laws need to be changed.

State officials told victims attending a hearing in Fort Collins on Wednesday that they have heard complaints that some insurance companies are offering low settlements because the victims are desperate.

According to the Fort Collins Coloradoan (http://tinyurl.com/9nn4ss6), lawmakers will be asked next year to ease the rules for policyholders. Insurance companies say they are following the law.

The Waldo Canyon and High Park fires this summer were the two most destructive wildfires in state history, burning a total of more than 600 homes. The Woodland Heights fire in Estes Park burned about two dozen homes and other buildings.

No cause of death for missing mom

GRAND JUNCTION (AP) — The family of a Colorado mom found dead in Delta County wants her remains back.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/9rs39tg ), Mesa County authorities say they have not released the body because they have been unable to determine the cause of death since her remains were found last March.

DNA test results confirmed that skeletal remains found in western Colorado are that of Grand Junction resident Paige Birgfeld, who disappeared in 2007.

Authorities say it appears Birgfeld's body was buried, but erosion eventually exposed it.

The 34-year-old mother of three sold kitchen products, did odd jobs and ran an escort service.

Abortion ban backers fail to make ballot

DENVER (AP) — The nation's only pending ballot measure to ban abortion in all circumstances has failed to advance to voters in Colorado.

Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler announced Wednesday that backers of the divisive "personhood" amendment fell about 3,900 valid signatures short of the some 86,000 needed.

The rejection was a major setback for abortion foes in the home state of Personhood USA, which said the Colorado proposal was the only measure pending for ballots this fall. Other initiatives are aimed for future years but not this fall, Personhood USA spokeswoman Jennifer Mason said Wednesday.

Personhood proposals go farther than other proposed abortion bans because they would give fertilized embryos all the rights of a born human. They would ban embryonic stem-cell research and some fertility treatments.

The measures haven't been backed by other abortion opponents or the Catholic church.

Personhood proposals were overwhelmingly rejected by Colorado voters in 2010 and 2008. Similar measures have been rejected by voters in Mississippi and by several state legislatures.

     

TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1905, Ty Cobb made his major-league debut as a player for the Detroit Tigers, hitting a double in his first at-bat in a game against the New York Highlanders. (The Tigers won, 5-3)

   

HAPPENINGS

-- “Sand Creek Book Club - “Affluenza” by John de Graff, David Wann and Thomas H. Naylor, 10:30 a.m.-noon, Sand Creek Library Branch, 1821 S. Academy Blvd., free.

-- “Fountain Book Club - “There’s Something About St. Tropez” by Elizabeth Adler, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Fountain Library Branch, 230 S. Main St., Fountain, free.

-- “Summer Sacklunch Serenade,” presented by Pikes Peak Area Theatre Organ Society featuring the Mighty Wurlitzer Theatre Pipe Organ and a silent movie accompanied by the organist, 11 a.m.-noon, City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St., free.

-- Homeschool Science Lab orientation meeting, 1-3 p.m., East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd., free.

-- Rain Machine: Eric Tillinghast opening reception, 5-9 p.m., UCCS Gallery of Contemporary Art 121, 121 S. Tejon St., free.

-- Black Rose Acoustic Society Fiddle Tune Jam, 7-9 p.m., Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave., free, donations accepted.

-- New Horizons Band of Colorado Springs meet and greet informational coffee, 7-8:30 p.m., Canon Elementary School, 1201 W. Cheyenne Road, free.

-- Acoulectric Folkin’ Blues, 7:15 p.m., Motif, 2432 W. Cucharras St.

-- Eleven Foot Fall, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Meadow Muffins, 2432 W. Colorado Ave., free cover.

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