DENVER — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper is returning from a weeklong trip to Israel, and he will have some big decisions to make when he gets back on the job.
Hickenlooper's weeklong trip was a personal visit he took at his own expense, according to the Associated Press. While he was away, state lawmakers sent him some bills he will have decide whether to sign. The governor was to return late Wednesday, returning to work Thursday.
The biggest item is a budget for next fiscal year that adds money to K-12 and higher education after years of cuts. But lawmakers rejected a project the governor asked them to fund. They turned down his idea to renovate a former prison in southeast Colorado to transform it into a treatment center for the long-term homeless.
The National Weather Service forecasts a mix of rain, snow and freezing drizzle before 4 p.m. Wednesday, turning into snow later around Colorado Springs. Expect areas of freezing fog before 11 a.m. and a high near 37. Expect an overnight low of 16 and blowing snow.
Colorado River tops 2013 endangered waterways list
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Drought and demand are pushing the Colorado River beyond its limits — with the needs of more than 40 million people in seven Western states projected to outstrip dwindling supply over the next 50 years, according to an advocacy group's report on endangered rivers released on Wednesday.
The annual top-10 list by Washington, D.C.-based American Rivers points to a three-year federal Bureau of Reclamation study that warned last December that the river won't always be able to serve all the residents, businesses, ranchers, Native Americans and farmers who rely upon it.
Already, the Colorado River is drained of nearly every drop by the time it reaches Mexico, American Rivers spokeswoman Amy Kober said.
The list, produced with Protect the Flows and Nuestro Rio, notes that the Colorado is sometimes called the most controlled and plumbed river on Earth, and has more dams and diversions planned. River water irrigates nearly 4 million acres of farmland, which yield about 15 percent of the nation's crops, and serves as a primary drinking water supply for cities including Denver, Los Angeles, Las Vegas and Phoenix.
The report lists 10 other rivers at risk from drought, overuse and pollution, including the Flint River in Georgia, the San Saba River in Texas, the Little Plover River in Wisconsin and the Catawba River in the Carolinas.
2 escape seaplane crash with minor injuries
PALATKA, Fla. (AP) — A pilot and passenger escaped with minor injuries when their seaplane with its pontoon landing wheels in the down position crashed into the St. Johns River near in north Florida.
The Florida Highway Patrol says the plane hit the water at 5:10 p.m. Tuesday.
Putnam County Sheriff's Capt. Joseph Wells told the Palatka Daily News (http://bit.ly/Yuv7kr ) the 60-year-old pilot Lindsay "Butch" Weaver Jr. of Boulder, Colo., and 43-year-old passenger Joscelyn Blumenthal were taken to the hospital for evaluation.
Officials say the 1977 Cessna took off from Palatka Municipal Airport for a short flight to the river.
Witnesses called 911 before taking a boat out to the crash site. Kelly Redford says Weaver and Blumenthal were out of the plane. They were loaded into the boat and taken to shore.
Power restored after crash knocks out 3,000
DENVER (AP) — Power has been restored after a car crashed into a power pole, leaving about 3,000 customers in the dark.
Xcel Energy says power was turned back on for most customers early Wednesday.
Denver police say no one was hurt in the accident Tuesday night.
Byers Canyon shooting range reopens to public
HOT SULPHUR SPRINGS (AP) — Colorado Parks and Wildlife has reopened the Byers Canyon public shooting range in Hot Sulphur Springs, with a reminder not to use any tracer rounds that could spark wildfires.
Wildlife officials say two fires were sparked last year by people using illegal tracer ammunition, which have a pyrotechnic charge built in to make the bullet visible.
The Byers Canyon shooting range closes every winter to protect big game seeking forage in the area. It typically reopens in April.
Child protection director resigns
DENVER (AP) — The top investigator of complaints against Colorado's child protection workers is leaving the job two years after it was created.
Becky Miller Updike spent much of that time pushing for more independence from the state child welfare system.
According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/czgn56v ), Updike says she is leaving to take a new job.
Since 2007, 202 children have died of abuse or neglect in Colorado. Among those, 75 had parents or caregivers who were known to the child welfare system before their deaths.
The Colorado Department of Human Services says the ombudsman is an important partner in helping the department keep kids safe.
Many high school students still need help
COMMERCE CITY (AP) — Nearly 40 percent of Colorado high school students who graduated in 2011 needed refresher courses in at least one subject before beginning college-level work.
Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia said Tuesday's report from the Colorado Department of Higher Education shows more needs to be done to help students graduate from college.
According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/c97xz3u ), the higher education department said the estimated cost associated with remedial courses was about $58 million last year, with students paying about $39 million of that amount.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1492, a contract was signed by Christopher Columbus and a representative of Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, giving Columbus a commission to seek a westward ocean passage to Asia.
In 1521, Martin Luther went before the Diet of Worms (vohrms) to face charges stemming from his religious writings. (He was later declared an outlaw by Holy Roman Emperor Charles V.)
In 1861, the Virginia State Convention voted to secede from the Union.
In 1895, the Treaty of Shimonoseki ended the first Sino-Japanese War.
In 1937, the animated cartoon character Daffy Duck made his debut in the Warner Bros. cartoon “Porky’s Duck Hunt,” directed by Tex Avery.
In 1941, Yugoslavia surrendered to Germany during World War II.
In 1961, about 1,500 CIA-trained Cuban exiles launched the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in an attempt to topple Fidel Castro, whose forces crushed the incursion by the third day.
In 1969, a jury in Los Angeles convicted Sirhan Sirhan of assassinating Sen. Robert F. Kennedy. The First Secretary of Czechoslovakia’s Communist Party, Alexander Dubcek, was deposed.
In 1970, Apollo 13 astronauts James A. Lovell, Fred W. Haise and Jack Swigert splashed down safely in the Pacific, four days after a ruptured oxygen tank crippled their spacecraft while en route to the moon.
In 1973, Federal Express (later FedEx) began operations as 14 planes carrying 186 packages took off from Memphis International Airport, bound for 25 U.S. cities.
In 1986, at London’s Heathrow Airport, a bomb was discovered in the bag of a pregnant Irishwoman about to board an El Al jetliner to Israel; she’d been tricked into carrying the bomb by her Jordanian fiance.
In 1993, a federal jury in Los Angeles convicted two former police officers of violating the civil rights of beaten motorist Rodney King; two other officers were acquitted.
Ten years ago: U.S. special forces in Baghdad captured Barzan Ibrahim Hasan, a half-brother of and adviser to Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.
Five years ago: Pope Benedict XVI, during his visit to Washington, talked and prayed privately with survivors of the clergy sex abuse scandal in what’s believed to be the first meeting between a pontiff and abuse victims.
One year ago: Jamie Moyer, at age 49, became the oldest pitcher to ever win a major-league contest as the Colorado Rockies beat the San Diego Padres 5-3.
-- “Secrets to Sustaining Your Landscape During Drought” class, 6:30-8 p.m., Colorado Springs Utilities Conservation and Environmental Center, 2855 Mesa Road, free.