January 2, 2013
CENTENNIAL — Prosecutors and defense lawyers in the Colorado theater shooting are heading back to court in advance of a crucial hearing in the case.
The judge has told both sides to appear in court Wednesday to make sure everything is ready for next week's preliminary hearing, where prosecutors are expected to outline their case against the defendant, James Holmes.
At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing, the judge will decide if the evidence is sufficient to put Holmes on trial, according to an Associated Press report.
Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and wounding 70 on July 20 in a theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora. The theater was showing the Batman movie "The Dark Night Rises."
Holmes hasn't yet entered a plea. His lawyers have said he suffers from mental illness.
The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature of 29 degrees and mostly sunny skies Wednesday in Colorado Springs. Expect an overnight low of 3.
Hickenlooper's changes for state workers complete
DENVER (AP) — Colorado has completed its biggest revisions in four decades to how state employees are paid, hired and fired.
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced Tuesday that he certified the voter-approved reforms first suggested by his office almost a year ago. The changes include revised pay standards to be more like the private sector.
The voter-approved amendment also makes big changes to the so-called "bumping" rule, in which senior employees could "bump" newer hires if they're laid off. The rule is eliminated for most employees, but not those within five years of retirement.
The changes required voter approval because Colorado is one of five states with employee protections in the state constitution. The personnel changes were favored by members of both parties and didn't spark opposition from the largest union of state employees.
Hickenlooper also certified a voter-approved measure to encourage Colorado's congressional delegation to support a U.S. constitutional amendment to limit campaign contributions and spending. That measure has no effect of law but is more a public statement about campaign finance law. The campaign-finance measure passed nearly 3-to-1.
Hickenlooper issued his proclamation on the best-known ballot measure, recreational marijuana legalization, three weeks ago. The governor has no veto power over voter-enacted amendments to the constitution, but his final executive order makes the changes complete.
The personnel changes include shorter term limits on the state personnel board, a change that would give the governor's office more control over the board.
Longmont teen dead after fatal hit-run
LONGMONT (AP) — A teenage boy is dead after what Longmont police say was a fatal hit-and-run after a New Year's Eve scuffle.
The boy was not immediately named. Officials were looking Tuesday for a light-colored "older" Chevy van.
Longmont Police say the scuffle happened about two hours before midnight outside a Noodles restaurant.
The victim and another group of males had what police called a "disturbance" with another group of males near a Pizza Hut. The disturbance moved to a nearby Noodles, where police say a group of males arrived in three different vehicles. Police say one of the vehicles hit and killed the 16-year-old boy as he ran from the fight. The van fled the scene.
Raise takes effect for minimum-wage workers
DENVER (AP) — Minimum-wage workers in Colorado just got a small raise. Colorado's minimum wage rose to $7.78 Tuesday. That's up 14 cents an hour from last year.
2013 is the third year in a row Colorado's minimum wage has ticked up. Colorado is one of eight states that link minimum wage to inflation.
The federal minimum is $7.25.
Less than 100,000 workers in Colorado earn minimum wage.
Colorado's new minimum wage for tipped employees is $4.76, also up 14 cents an hour.
Dacono pot shops stop selling before deadline
DACONO (AP) — Three marijuana dispensaries in Dacono have stopped selling marijuana ahead of a deadline to close.
The shops had until the end of business Monday to close after the City Council voted in June to ban pot shops.
On Wednesday, the City Council will take up a ballot measure that proposes reversing the ban. Council members could rescind the ban or schedule an election so voters can decide.
The three marijuana dispensaries in town also have sued to reverse the ban, but a judge decided not to block the deadline for them to close.
The Times-Call reports (http://bit.ly/Z6ciIE ) Dacono Meds is now looking at selling products besides marijuana. MaryJane's Medicinal says it will reopen if the dispensary ban is repealed. A phone number for Green Medicals wasn't working Monday.
Rocky Flats refuge-Jefferson Parkway swap closes
GOLDEN (AP) — The federal government, Colorado, and several Denver-area communities have closed on a land exchange that will allow about 1,200 acres to be added to the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge.
It also secures a right-of-way to build the Jefferson Parkway toll road.
As part of the swap, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is transferring a 300-foot wide strip on the eastern edge of the refuge to the Jefferson Public Parkway Highway Authority.
The swap helps connect the nearly 4,000-acre refuge to Denver-area trails and protects habitat of the threatened Preble's meadow jumping mouse. Gov. John Hickenlooper says the swap will bring nearly $9.5 million to support public schools and the state school trust.
The cities of Golden and Superior had challenged the swap.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1893, the U.S. Postal Service issued its first commemorative stamp to honor the World’s Columbian Expedition and the quadricentennial of Christopher Columbus’ voyage.
In 1921, the play that coined the term “robot,” “R.U.R.” (Rossum’s Universal Robots) by Karel Capek, was first performed in Czechoslovakia.
In 1935, Bruno Hauptmann went on trial in Flemington, N.J., on charges of kidnapping and murdering the 20-month-old son of Charles and Anne Lindbergh. (Hauptmann was found guilty, and executed.)
In 1959, the Soviet Union launched space probe Luna 1, the first manmade object to fly past the moon, its apparent intended target.
In 1974, President Richard M. Nixon signed legislation requiring states to limit highway speeds to 55 miles an hour. (Federal speed limits were abolished in 1995).
In 1983, the musical play “Annie” closed on Broadway after a run of 2,377 performances.
In 2006, 12 miners died in a methane gas explosion at the Sago Mine in West Virginia, W.Va., but one miner, Randal McCloy Jr., was eventually rescued.
-- “Knit One and Crochet Too,” 1:30-3 p.m., East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd., for all skill levels, free.
-- Rawbert and I, 7:30-10:30 p.m., SouthSide Johnny’s, 528 S. Tejon St.