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Associated Press Updated: April 23, 2014 at 5:00 am • Published: April 23, 2014 0

MARIJUANA TAXES

Colorado directs pot taxes to drug education

DENVER (AP) — Colorado will save most of its marijuana tax money but spend some $23 million on school nurses and drug treatment and outreach. That's under a bill approved by a panel of legislative budget-writers Tuesday.

The plan calls for delaying pot spending by a year. That means that instead of projecting tax collections, as most budgets are done, Colorado will spend only the marijuana tax dollars it has in hand. The delay is prompted by concerns that the new recreational marijuana industry could produce highly volatile tax collections for the first few years.

Instead of projecting pot taxes, Colorado lawmakers are poised to spend some $23 million already in hand. The largest awards go to programs for youth drug prevention. There's also $5.8 million for a "statewide marijuana education campaign."

SOLITARY CONFINEMENT

Lawmakers trying to restrict solitary confinement

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is trying to stop the use of solitary confinement for inmates with a serious mental illness as more states rethink whether the punishment poses a greater risk to society when inmates are released.

The mental health impacts of the punishment has received more attention in Colorado after the slaying of former state corrections Director Tom Clements last year. The suspect was a former inmate who had been released after serving eight years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement.

A House committee on Tuesday approved legislation that would prohibit placing inmates in solitary confinement if they have a serious mental illness.

New York, California, and Massachusetts are among states this year considering proposals to limit the overall use of solitary confinement, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

SENATE-COLORADO

In ad, Udall attacks GOP's Gardner over abortion

DENVER (AP) — Democratic Sen Mark Udall is airing his first campaign ad, contrasting his support for abortion rights to Republican Cory Gardner's opposition.

The spot features images of concerned women as a female announcer talks about the distinction, part of the Democrats' strategy to win the 2014 midterm elections by swaying suburban female swing voters. Udall's campaign said it bought $500,000 worth of airtime for the ad.

Gardner's campaign says the attack ad shows Udall has no record to run on.

The Colorado Senate race is expected to be one of the most expensive in the nation. Republicans must gain six seats to win control of the Senate.

COLORADO SHOOTING-POLICE CHIEF

Miami Beach might hire Aurora, Colo., police chief

AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Officials say the police chief who led the response to the Colorado theater massacre is the sole finalist to lead the police force in Miami Beach, Fla.

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine told KUSA-TV in Denver on Tuesday the City Commission will vote next week on hiring Dan Oates.

Oates has been police chief in the Denver suburb of Aurora since 2005.

In 2012, a gunman killed 12 people and injuring 70 in an Aurora movie theater. Oates' officers arrested James Holmes outside the theater, struggled to sort out the chaos inside the building and rushed many of the injured to hospitals because not enough ambulances were available.

Oates previously spent 21 years with the New York police and was police and fire chief in Ann Arbor, Mich.

FATAL HIT-AND-RUN

Charges filed in fatal Denver hit-run collision

DENVER (AP) — Denver prosecutors have filed charges of vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident in the hit-and-run death of an Air Force airman.

The District Attorney's Office filed charges Tuesday against 32-year-old William Pettapiece. He also faces a charge of driving under the influence.

No phone number could be found for him and it wasn't known if he had an attorney.

Prosecutors allege Pettapiece was driving a van that struck the rear of a motorcycle driven by 23-year-old Michael Snyder on April 9.

Snyder was a member of the 460th Space Communications Squadron at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.

Pettapiece is free on a $50,000 bond. His next court appearance is scheduled for Friday.

POT DRONE

FAA investigating drone flying over pot rally

(Information in the following story is from: KMGH-TV, http://www.thedenverchannel.com)

DENVER (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating reports of a drone aircraft that was seen flying over the 4/20 marijuana rally in Denver on Sunday.

FAA spokesman Allen Kenitzer said Tuesday people need permission to fly aircraft over crowded areas.

According to KMGH-TV, smaller drones are sometimes considered model aircraft, which don't require authorization but do have to follow FAA guidelines. Those guidelines say hobby-aircraft flyers must keep their aircraft below 400 feet above ground level and away from airports and air traffic.

Denver police say they found two unidentified men flying a drone over the rally in Denver's Civic Center Park. The men were asked to leave the top of the McNichols Civic Center Building because they didn't have the proper permission.

GLENWOOD SPRINGS SHOOTING

Charges dropped in Glenwood Springs shooting death

(Information in the following story is from: Post Independent, http://www.postindependent.com/)

GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors have dismissed charges against a Glenwood Springs man in the shooting death of his girlfriend, saying they don't have enough evidence.

The Glenwood Springs Post Independent reported Tuesday 28-year-old James McCabe Mallin has been released from jail.

Mallin was arrested April 15 on a charge of attempted first-degree murder shortly after 40-year-old Audrey Lowndes was shot. She died later that day.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit, Mallin told police Lowndes was holding a .22-caliber rifle and it fired as he tried take it away.

Police are still investigating.

GUNNISON INFANT DEATH

Gunnison police seek woman in infant's death

(Information in the following story is from: The Montrose Daily Press, http://www.montrosepress.com)

MONTROSE, Colo. (AP) — Gunnison police are looking for a 39-year-old woman who has been indicted in the death of her 5-month-old son.

The Montrose Daily Press reported Tuesday that Corrina Denham faces charges of criminally negligent homicide and fatal child abuse in the May 2013 death of Jacob Klein.

Police say they don't know where Denham is but she has family in Denver and has been seen in Gunnison.

No phone listing could be found her in Gunnison or Denver.

The cause of the infant's death hasn't been released. Gunnison police say he wasn't breathing and had no detectable heartbeat when he was found by officers responding to a medical emergency on May 3.

He was taken to The Children's Hospital in Aurora where he died the next day.

JAIL DEATH

Death in Denver jail ruled suicide

DENVER (AP) — Authorities say a 55-year-old inmate found dead in the downtown Denver jail took his own life.

The Denver Medical Examiner's Office identified the victim Tuesday as David Miller and said he died of asphyxia caused by hanging.

The Sheriff's Department says Miller was found in his cell early Monday.

CHILD MOLESTER-STING

Arrested Georgia child molester had ankle bracelet

DENVER (AP) — Authorities say a convicted child molester from Georgia was wearing an ankle monitor but allowed to leave the state when he came to suburban Denver, believing he would be meeting a teenage girl for sex.

Prosecutors charged 51-year-old James Lee Pierce Tuesday with crimes including attempted sexual assault on a child and Internet luring. For months, prosecutors say Pierce sent sexually explicit messages and photos to the teen, who was actually an undercover detective.

The Floyd County Sheriff's Office in Georgia says Pierce was registered as a sexual predator but didn't have any travel restrictions.

Court documents say Pierce was convicted of aggravated child molestation in 1992 and sentenced to five years of confinement and 15 years of probation. Pierce was in jail and documents don't list an attorney for him.

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