Colorado Springs News, Sports & Business

SUNRISE: Former CU student sentenced for pot brownies

Staff reports Updated: April 12, 2013 at 12:00 am 0

BOULDER — A former University of Colorado student who made a professor and seven classmates sick with pot-infused brownies has pleaded guilty to a felony and received a two-year deferred sentence.

Mary Essa pleaded guilty Monday to inducing consumption of a controlled substance by fraudulent means.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera (http://tinyurl.com/cxwshh5 ), 17 other felonies in the case were dropped and Essa's guilty plea will be withdrawn and the charge dismissed if she completes the terms of her deferred sentence.

       

WEATHER

The National Weather Service forecasts a high temperature of 44 degrees Tuesday in Colorado Springs. A chance of rain and snow showers before noon, then a chance of rain showers, according to the weather service. Expect an overnight low of 29 with a chance of rain and snow before 10 p.m., then a chance of snow between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m., then a chance of snow and freezing drizzle after 3 a.m.

    

AROUND COLORADO

Security reviewed for Bolder Boulder 10k race

BOULDER (AP) — Bolder Boulder officials are reviewing security for Colorado's largest 10K race to make sure the May event is safe following a bombing at the Boston marathon.

Race director Cliff Bosley tells the Boulder Daily Camera (http://tinyurl.com/bvxc47e ) the Bolder Boulder contracts with hundreds of security officials for the race, including law enforcement officers from local agencies and security officers from a private company.

The Bolder Boulder is May 27. In recent years, the race has drawn more than 54,000 participants.

The security review was ordered after deadly bombs exploded Monday near the finish line at the Boston Marathon, the nation's oldest race.

Major election changes in get initial OK

DENVER (AP) — An overhaul of Colorado's election rules, including allowing same-day voter registration and mail-in ballots for all registered voters, got initial approval Monday after partisan bickering in what's one of the most closely watched bills in the final weeks of the session.

Dozens of people went to the Capitol during a massive snowstorm to testify on the proposal during its first committee, underscoring the attention that the bill is getting.

"This is exceptional legislation that will bring our elections into the 21st century," said Democratic Rep. Dan Pabon, one of the bill sponsors.

The bill got its first OK on a 7-4 party-line vote in a committee controlled by Democrats.

Republicans have raised concerns that the proposed changes increase the possibility of voter fraud, but Democrats argue there's no evidence to back that up.

Under the bill, voter registration would be allowed on Election Day, and every registered voter in Colorado would get a ballot in the mail.

But individuals would decide for themselves how to vote. They could mail back their ballots or vote in person.

School funding overhaul moves through House

DENVER (AP) — An ambitious overhaul to how Colorado handles school funding — the priciest item in the state budget — advanced another step in the state Legislature Monday.

The House Education Committee voted 7-6 for a sweeping overhaul to address years of unequal pupil funding and a school-finance system that doesn't accommodate education reforms made in recent years.

The sponsor of the measure, Democratic Rep. Millie Hamner of Dillon, said Colorado's school approach has been like a race to adopt the latest fashion in education research while wearing clothes from the 1980s and 1990s.

"It completely redesigns the funding formula" used to send state money to schools, Hamner said of the bill.

The bill has already passed the Senate, and legislative leaders in the House say they expect the funding overhaul will make it to the governor's desk. But there are big questions about whether it will take effect.

The bill hinges on approval by voters of a hefty hike in state income taxes, somewhere around $1 billion. A smaller tax hike for schools was rejected by voters in 2011.

The main pieces of the complex funding overhaul aim to rectify Colorado out-of-whack school funding system, which every year drives more and more of the burden for school funding to state coffers.

The bill would bring full-day kindergarten to all districts, and send more money to districts with high numbers of students considered more expensive to educate, students learning English or students with learning disabilities.

Renewable energy bill clears Senate on single vote

DENVER (AP) — A bill to dramatically raise renewable energy requirements for Colorado cooperative electric associations has cleared the state Senate by a single vote.

Senators voted 18-17 Monday evening after hours of debate. The bill requires the electricity co-ops to get 25 percent of their energy from renewable sources by 2020, up from 10 percent.

The measure limits consumer rate hikes to pay for the renewable energy upgrade to 2 percent. But Republicans vigorously opposed the bill, saying it would drive up prices for the mostly rural customers. Two Democrats voted against the bill, too.

The bill expands the definition of renewable energy to include coal-mine methane and gas produced from solid waste.

The bill now heads to the House.

Aspen Highlands extends ski season by 1 weekend

ASPEN (AP) — Aspen Highlands is extending its season by one weekend.

The ski area's closing day had been scheduled for April 21, but Aspen Skiing Co. said Monday that Aspen Highlands will reopen April 27-28 as a thank you to skiers and riders.

The ski area has had consistent snowfall over the past week.

Adult ski lift tickets to Aspen Highlands are currently $62 per day, but people with season passes from other Colorado resorts can get them for $39 during the bonus weekend when they show the season passes at the ticket window.

Aspen Highlands is one of the few Colorado ski resorts still open. Winter Park, Loveland and Arapahoe Basin also are still open.

US Forest Service accepts Loveland Ski Area plan

GEORGETOWN (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service has accepted Clear Creek Ski Corp.'s latest master development plan for Loveland Ski Area, which proposes potentially offering guided backcountry tours one day.

The plan is more of a road map than a specific outline of future improvements over the next decade or so. The Forest Service said Monday that potential projects listed in the plan would still have to undergo an environmental analysis and get approval, but the plan meets the general intent and direction of the resource management plan for the public land that the ski area uses.

Loveland's ideas include improving beginners' experience, improving circulation between the two parts of the resort that are separated by U.S. 6, and potentially adding guest service facilities.

Denver Post, former Gazette reporter win Pulitzer awards

NEW YORK (AP) — The Denver Post won a Pulitzer Prize on Monday for its coverage of the movie theater massacre in Aurora, while The New York Times captured four awards for reporting on a harrowing avalanche, the rise of a new aristocracy in China and the business practices of Apple and Wal-Mart.

Former Colorado Springs Gazette reporter John Branch, now with The New York Times, won a Pulitzer in feature reporting. Read more about Branch here.

The Associated Press received the award in breaking news photography for its coverage of the civil war in Syria.

In awards that reflected the rapidly changing media world, the online publication InsideClimate News won the Pulitzer for national reporting for stories on problems in the regulation of the nation's oil pipelines.

The Sun Sentinel of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received the public service award for an investigation of off-duty police officers' reckless driving, and longtime Pulitzer powerhouses The Wall Street Journal and The Washington Post were recognized for commentary and criticism, respectively.

The Star-Tribune of Minneapolis captured two awards, for local reporting and editorial cartooning.

Cheers erupted in the Denver Post's newsroom when word came that the newspaper had won the Pulitzer in the breaking news category for its coverage — via text, social media and video — of the shooting that killed 12 people during a midnight showing of a new Batman movie last summer.

The honor was bittersweet for some, and people teared up and shared hugs.

"We are part of this community. The tragedy touches us, but we have a job to do," said Kevin Dale, the Post's news director. He added: "It's great to win the prize, but we'd rather win for a different story."

The Pulitzers, journalism's highest honor, are given out each year by Columbia University on the recommendation of a board of journalists and others. Each award carries a $10,000 prize except for the public service award, which is a gold medal.

Former Boulder officer sentenced in stalking case

BOULDER — A former Boulder police officer accused of stalking his ex-girlfriend and plotting to kill her new boyfriend has been sentenced to 90 days in jail and 10 years of supervised probation.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera (http://tinyurl.com/cc5k6g8 ), Christian McCracken pleaded guilty to one count of felony stalking and was sentenced on Monday.

McCracken was arrested in the stalking case after his roommate said McCracken had talked of planning to kill the new boyfriend before committing suicide. At the time, McCracken was on medical leave after sustaining a head injury when a suspect assaulted him in 2011.

McCracken resigned from the police department.

Patrol IDs 3 killed in Glenwood Canyon crash

GLENWOOD SPRINGS (AP) — The Colorado State Patrol has identified two teenage girls and a man who were killed when their car collided head-on with a semitrailer on Interstate 70 in Glenwood Canyon in a construction zone over the weekend.

The teen driver was identified as Brianda Zavala of Glenwood Springs. The two passengers were identified as Jennifer Nevarez, from Carbondale, and Albino Ortiz-Monge from Gypsum.

The driver of the truck was identified as Peter Zhuchok from Aurora. He was uninjured in the crash on Sunday.

Troopers say roads were wet at the time of the crash.

Weather program seeks donations amid budget cuts

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An online weather training program that serves thousands of forecasters and emergency managers will ask for donations to continue providing the service in the wake of U.S. budget cuts, the program's director said Monday.

The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, based in Boulder, Colo., is facing a funding shortfall of nearly $2 million and will seek donations to continue providing the COMET Program, which offers online training on aviation ceiling and visibility, forecasting for wildfires and other events. UCAR is a consortium of 100 universities in the United States, including the University of Oklahoma.

The programs' director, Rich Jeffries, said officials hope the voluntary donations will offset some of the automatic federal spending cuts that went into effect on March 1.

"The sequestration is having an impact on us," Jeffries said. The across-the-board cuts have forced "some fairly hard choices for our traditional funding sponsors," he said.

Budget cuts have forced some government agencies that sponsor the program's website, known as MetEd, to reduce, delay or eliminate funding for base expenses. The cuts are a last resort by agencies that believe MetEd is an important resource but must deal with the impact of the budget cuts, Jeffries said.

      

TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1789, President-elect George Washington left Mount Vernon, Va., for his inauguration in New York.

In 1862, during the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln signed a bill ending slavery in the District of Columbia.

In 1879, Bernadette Soubirous, who’d described seeing visions of the Virgin Mary at Lourdes, died in Nevers, France.

In 1912, American aviator Harriet Quimby became the first woman to fly across the English Channel, traveling from Dover, England, to France in 59 minutes.

In 1917, Vladimir Ilyich Lenin returned to Russia after years of exile.

In 1935, the radio comedy program “Fibber McGee and Molly” premiered on NBC’s Blue Network.

In 1945, U.S. troops reached Nuremberg, Germany, during the Second World War.

In 1947, the French ship Grandcamp blew up at the harbor in Texas City, Texas; another ship, the High Flyer, exploded the following day (the blasts and fires killed nearly 600 people).

In 1962, Bob Dylan debuted his song “Blowin’ in the Wind” at Gerde’s Folk City in New York;

Walter Cronkite succeeded Douglas Edwards as CBS-TV’s principal anchorman.

In 1972, Apollo 16 blasted off on a voyage to the moon with astronauts John W. Young, Charles M. Duke Jr. and Ken Mattingly on board.

In 1996, Britain’s Prince Andrew and his wife, Sarah, the Duchess of York, announced they were in the process of divorcing.

In 2007, in the deadliest shooting rampage in modern U.S. history, student Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people on the campus of Virginia Tech before taking his life.

Ten years ago: The Bush administration lowered the terror alert level from orange to yellow, saying the end of heavy fighting in Iraq had diminished the threat of terrorism in the United States. Michael Jordan played his last NBA game with the Washington Wizards, who lost to the Philadelphia 76ers, 107-87.

Five years ago: The Supreme Court upheld the most widely used method of lethal injection, allowing states to resume executions after a seven-month halt.

One year ago: A trial began in Oslo, Norway, for Anders Breivik, charged with killing 77 people in a bomb and gun rampage in July 2011. (Breivik was found guilty of terrorism and premeditated murder and given a 21-year prison sentence.)

  

HAPPENINGS

-- “Public Free Day,” 10 a.m.-5 p.m., with tours at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., free general admission.

-- “Who Decides for You? Community Discourse on End of Life and Advance Directives,” 4-5 p.m., Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., free.

-- Robert Adam, “A Place Apart” reception and gallery talk, 4:30 p.m., Colorado College, I.D.E.A. Space, Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave., free.

-- Showing of “Rise of Guardians,” 6 p.m., High Prairie Library, 7035 Old Meridian Road, Falcon, free

-- Duo Esprit in concert, “An Evening of Harp and Viola,” 7:30 p.m., Colorado College, Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St., free.

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