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Gazette Premium Content SUNRISE: Springs man charged with threatening Colo. rep. in court

Staff reports Updated: March 8, 2013 at 12:00 am

DENVER — A Colorado Springs man accused of threatening a Colorado lawmaker for pushing for stricter gun control measures is set to make his first court appearance.

Franklin Sain is due to appear before a Denver judge Friday afternoon to be advised of the charges against him, according to the Associated Press. His appearance comes as state senators debate a series of gun control bills.

The 42-year-old former Colorado Springs technology executive is accused of sending threatening emails, voicemails and a letter to Rep. Rhonda Fields of Aurora.

In one message, Sain allegedly told Fields he hoped someone would "Gifords" her, an apparent reference to the shooting and wounding of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Sain's attorney says the messages were not threats, and are protected by free speech.

He's been charged with attempting to influence a public servant and harassment.

Man arrested downtown on Texas warrant

A man wanted out of Texas for sexual assault on a child was arrested Wednesday in the   downtown area of Colorado Springs, police said.

Justin Burns was taken to the Colorado Justice Center after he was apprehended at Cascade Avenue and Sierra Madre Street at 11:20 a.m., according to the Colorado Springs police.

   

WEATHER

Friday starts out warm and sunny, then everything changes at about 1 p.m. when isolated showers and thunderstorms roll in, according to the National Weather Service.

The chance of precipitation is 20 percent with rainfall expected to be less than an inch and a high near 58. Friday night, rain and snow are expected.

Snow possible before 8 a.m. Saturday, with snow and areas of blowing snow from throughout the day. The chance of precipitation is 80 percent with a high of 31. Saturday night the low will be about 17 with snow until about 11 p.m. while Sunday it warms up with a high near 35 under sunny skies.

   

AROUND COLORADO

Aurora schools reassure parents students are safe

AURORA (AP) — Aurora Public Schools superintendent John Barry is telling parents that the district's plan to protect students is one of the best in the country.

Barry told parents at an open meeting Thursday the district spends about $1 million a year on security and holds drills with about 100 police officers and 50 firefighters each June to practice their response.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/aqvg938 ), some parents are still concerned after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Connecticut in December left 20 children and six adults dead.

Lawsuit filed over health care mandate

DENVER (AP) — A Colorado mortgage-banking company co-owned by former U.S. Sen. Bill Armstrong is one of the latest businesses to file a lawsuit challenging a federal mandate for employer-provided health-insurance to cover contraception.

The lawsuit was filed Tuesday by Cherry Creek Mortgage Co., which does business in 27 states and has 730 employees.

The lawsuit says the requirement violates the rights of evangelical Christians who object to being forced to provide insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs and devices.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/alxr7rb ), Colorado Christian University, where Armstrong serves as president, also filed a lawsuit challenging the contraception mandate as a violation of deeply held religious beliefs.

Help sought to block erosion from wildfires

DENVER (AP) — Congress is considering a request for $20 million for projects to prevent erosion after thousands of acres of land in Colorado were blackened by wildfires last year.

The effort to secure Emergency Watershed Protection funds before the early summer rains arrive includes pleas from local officials and an email campaign with photos of washed-over roads and rivers covered with black water.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/c8xawho ), about 44,000 acres of non-federal land charred by the High Park fire west of Fort Collins needs mulching and seeding so it doesn't erode. In Colorado Springs, Mayor Steve Bach says a summer rainstorm there could be devastating as a result of the Waldo Canyon fire, which burned 346 homes and scorched 28 square miles.

Immigrant tuition rate getting final approval

DENVER (AP) — A proposal allowing illegal immigrant students to pay lower college tuition rates is expected to get final approval in the Colorado House.

The bill would allow students who graduate from Colorado high schools attend college at the in-state rate regardless of their immigration status.

Democrats who control the House are expected to vote and approve the measure Friday to send it to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who is expected to sign the bill.

Currently, students in the country illegally must pay the nonresident tuition rate, which can be more than three times higher than the in-state rate.

The proposal and similar bills like it have been debated at the Colorado Legislature for a decade. Both parties have voted to defeat the bills in the past.

Life sentence for man convicted in soldier's death

DENVER (AP) — A man convicted of shooting and killing a soldier from Illinois who was stationed in Colorado has been sentenced to life in prison.

Ricky Scott was sentenced Thursday in Denver to a mandatory term of life in prison without parole. He was convicted in December of first-degree murder in the death of Fort Carson-based Sgt. Anthony Silva, of Columbia, Ill.

Prosecutors say Scott met Silva in July 2011 at a bar near the motel where Silva had been staying and shot him. Silva was about to be discharged from the Army and had planned to meet his father at the motel so they could drive back to Illinois.

KUSA-TV in Denver reports (http://on9news.tv/YFdyzu ) Scott's attorney plans to appeal the conviction.

3 arrested after drugs found in Pueblo County jail

PUEBLO (AP) — Pueblo County sheriff's deputies have arrested three people after drugs were found in a restroom at the county jail.

Deputies say it appears inmate Guy Acosta asked 31-year-old Sarah Wolfe to find a way to hide narcotics in a bathroom in the jail lobby. Investigators didn't immediately find any narcotics there Wednesday but waited. Wolfe later arrived at the jail with 47-year-old Ronald Boyken, who went to the restroom while Wolfe waited in a hallway. Deputies immediately searched the restroom after Boyken left and found narcotics.

Acosta, Wolfe and Boyken were all being held Thursday on a $50,000 bond.

Wolfe faces conspiracy charges while Acosta and Boyken face charges including introducing contraband.

Acosta was already in custody on a felony contempt warrant.

Families respond to Keystone 'free kids' offer

KEYSTONE (AP) — Keystone Resort has boosted its family-friendly image this winter with a free ski lift ticket offer for kids, and families are taking advantage.

Kids ages 12 and under who stay at least two nights in Keystone's lodging get free lift tickets for their entire stay. The ski resort said Thursday that through the first four months of its season, it has awarded about 22,000 kids ski free days. Keystone's season ends April 7.

The offer is saving families money. The walk-up price at the ticket window for a child lift ticket for Friday is $64.

Keystone is operated by Vail Resorts Inc., whose four Colorado resorts had more than 4.8 million skier visits last season. The company also has resorts in the Lake Tahoe area, Michigan and Minnesota.

Police find car of attorney found dead in office

LAKEWOOD (AP) — Lakewood police have found the car of an attorney whose body was found by a cleaning crew at her office building.

The body of 66-year-old Claudia D. Miller was found Tuesday night, and surveillance video later showed a man using her credit card at a Walmart and a King Soopers grocery store.

Police say Miller's car in the north Denver metro area Thursday, though they didn't give the specific location. Investigators think it was stolen from her office parking lot after she was killed.

Investigators are asking the public for tips leading to her killer.

Miller's family released a statement Thursday saying Miller dedicated her life to helping others. Her survivors include two children, three grandchildren and two sisters.

Kansas man sentenced over Colorado boy's death

GOLDEN (AP) — A Kansas man visiting friends in suburban Denver has been sentenced to prison after his friends' 5-year-old son was killed by another child playing with the man's handgun.

Adam Dean Laham, of Wichita, was sentenced Thursday in Colorado to 16 years in prison. He pleaded guilty in November to negligent child abuse causing the death of 5-year-old Rolyn Javier.

Prosecutors say Laham was staying at the home of friends with three young children while visiting Colorado in 2011. They say he had left his Kel-Tech semi-automatic handgun out while he was in another room, and Rolyn's sibling picked it up and accidentally shot the boy.

Prosecutors say that while Laham was awaiting sentencing in Colorado, he was arrested three more times on drug and gun charges in Kansas and Arkansas.

Special legislative pot committee created

DENVER (AP) — Marijuana regulation is such a big job facing the Colorado Legislature that leaders have created a new committee to do nothing but work out laws for the newly legal drug.

A group of senators and House members were named Thursday to take up the looming marijuana regulation bill. Because the ad-hoc committee included lawmakers from both chambers, it'll be known as a "Joint Committee" — no pun intended.

The 10 lawmakers will debate how state-sanctioned marijuana should be grown, taxed and sold. The panel will also debate ways to prevent negative consequences of marijuana legalization, including ways to keep the drug from children.

A constitutional amendment approved by voters last year allows adults over 21 to possess small amounts of marijuana. It also directs the state to authorize retail sales.

Xcel settlement offers $447,000 for north Denver

DENVER (AP) — Xcel Energy Inc. is providing $447,000 for environmental projects in north Denver to resolve a lawsuit alleging clean air violations.

The lawsuit by WildEarth Guardians alleged Xcel failed to monitor and limit emissions at its coal-fired Cherokee power plant in Denver.

Xcel isn't admitting to the allegations. A consent decree filed in federal court Thursday notes Xcel has already taken steps to improve monitoring, and it plans to stop burning coal at the plant by 2018.

The consent decree says Xcel will provide $447,000 to the nonprofit organization Groundwork Denver to install solar panels in the Globeville, Elyria or Swansea neighborhoods; offer energy-efficiency improvements to dozens of homes there; and support an open space project in Globeville.

The Department of Justice and Environmental Protection Agency have 45 days to object.

No injuries when tank explodes in Westminster fire

WESTMINSTER (AP) — No injuries have been reported after a propane tank exploded in a garage fire in Westminster.

Firefighters had the fire under control in about 30 minutes Thursday.

Two residents in the home and a neighbor had evacuated before firefighters arrived.

One firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion at the scene.

The fire department says one home was destroyed and another heavily damaged.

    

TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1702, England’s Queen Anne acceded to the throne upon the death of King William III.

In 1854, U.S. Commodore Matthew C. Perry made his second landing in Japan; within a month, he concluded a treaty with the Japanese.

In 1862, during the Civil War, the ironclad CSS Virginia rammed and sank the USS Cumberland and heavily damaged the USS Congress, both frigates, off Newport News, Va.

In 1874, the 13th president of the United States, Millard Fillmore, died at age 74 in Buffalo, N.Y.

In 1917, Russia’s “February Revolution” (so called because of the Old Style calendar used by Russians at the time) began with rioting and strikes in Petrograd; the result was the abdication of the Russian monarchy in favor of a provisional government.

In 1930, the 27th president of the United States, William Howard Taft, died at age 72 in Washington.

In 1942, Imperial Japanese forces occupied Yangon in Burma during World War II.

In 1963, a military coup in Syria brought the Baath Party to power.

In 1965, the United States landed its first combat troops in South Vietnam as 3,500 Marines were brought in to defend the U.S. air base at Da Nang.

In 1971, Joe Frazier defeated Muhammad Ali by decision in what was billed as “The Fight of the Century” at Madison Square Garden in New York. Silent film comedian Harold Lloyd died at age 77 in Beverly Hills, Calif.

In 1983, in a speech to the National Association of Evangelicals convention in Orlando, Fla., President Ronald Reagan referred to the Soviet Union as an “evil empire.”

In 1988, 17 soldiers were killed when two Army helicopters from Fort Campbell, Ky., collided in mid-flight.

    

HAPPENINGS

-- “Storytime,” read “Hey Duck!” by Carin Bramsen, 10:30 a.m., Barnes & Noble, 795 Citadel Drive East.

-- “Wonderful World of Oz Day,” with stories, crafts and more, 10:30 a.m.-5 p.m., East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd., free.

-- Author signing with Tammy Carpenter, 1 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 795 Citadel Drive East.

-- Visiting Artist Concert, with Karen Bentley Pollick and Ivan Sokolov, 7:30 p.m., Colorado College, Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St., free.

-- “Gateways - Opening Doors to the Choral Art,” with the Colorado Vocal Arts Ensemble, Palmer Ridge High School Chamber Singers and Coronado High School Chamber Choir, 7:30 p.m., Colorado College, Shove Memorial Chapel, 1010 N. Nevada Ave., free.

-- Tyler Halsey, 8:30 p.m., Wyatt’s Pub and Grill, 806 Village Center Drive.

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