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Updated: October 1, 2015 at 3:00 am


Congress OKs deal to finish over-budget Denver VA hospital

DENVER (AP) — Congress has approved a deal to let the Veterans Affairs Department complete a long-delayed and over-budget medical center outside Denver, ending months of uncertainty about the future of the ambitious project.

The VA can now shift the $625 million it needs to finish the hospital from elsewhere within its budget after a series of votes on Wednesday in the House and Senate.

The deal also turns over big construction projects to the Army Corps of Engineers in the future because lawmakers don't trust the VA to manage them.

The Denver-area hospital is expected to cost nearly $1.7 billion, almost triple last year's estimate.

A Corps of Engineers study blamed the overruns on multiple design changes and a decision by VA officials to use a complicated contract process they didn't fully understand.


Theater shooting prosecutor decides not to run for US Senate

DENVER (AP) — The Republican prosecutor who led the case against Colorado movie theater shooter James Holmes has decided not to run for U.S. Senate against Democrat Michael Bennet.

Arapahoe County District Attorney George Brauchler (BRAWK'-ler) announced by email Wednesday that he has decided not to challenge Bennet after weeks of publicly pondering a candidacy. Brauchler would have been a clear front-runner if he had run.

Brauchler says it's not the right time for him or his family to run. He did not elaborate.

The decision puts the Republican primary contest in flux. A state lawmaker and an unsuccessful 2012 U.S. House candidate are the only announced candidates so far. U.S. Rep. Mike Coffman announced earlier this year that he wouldn't run for Senate.

Bennet is seeking a second term in the battleground state.


Student who stabbed classmate at K-8 school is sentenced

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Camera,

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy who pleaded guilty to first-degree assault in the stabbing of a classmate at a suburban Denver school has been sentenced to 50 months in the state's juvenile correctional facility.

The Boulder Daily Camera reports the teen said during his sentencing hearing Wednesday that "I really regret what I did."

Investigators say a 14-year-old girl was stabbed in the back near a playground at Aspen Creek K-8 school in Broomfield on April 30 and was airlifted to a hospital with a collapsed lung. Investigators haven't said what led to the stabbing.

Court officials have said the boy, who was 14 at the time of the stabbing, had a record of fighting at school and may have created a "kill list" with several intended victims.


United flight from Aspen makes emergency landing

(Information in the following story is from: Steamboat Pilot & Today,

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Officials say a United flight with about 70 people on board made a safe emergency landing Wednesday morning at Yampa Valley Regional Airport.

Flight 4919 originated from Aspen, Colorado, and was headed to Denver when the pilots indicated there was a mechanical problem with the right engine and they chose to shut it down.

According to Steamboat Today, the plane was a de Havilland Dash 8-400 twin-turboprop.

Airport director Kevin Booth says the plane landed safely shortly after 10 a.m. The runway was closed for about 20 minutes while the plane was towed away.

Booth says the flight was diverted to Yampa Valley because of the mountainous terrain between Aspen and Denver.


Civil rights concerns headline Latino farm, ranch gathering

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Leaders of minority farm and ranching groups say the U.S. Department of Agriculture hasn't done enough to address discrimination and civil rights violations that have affected Latinos and women.

They took aim at the federal government's claims process during a news conference Wednesday as the National Latino Farmers and Ranchers Trade Association kicked off its annual meeting in Albuquerque.

Advocates say the denial rate for claims filed by Latinos and women has been five times higher than other minority groups, including black and Native American farmers who settled with the government in recent years after filing class-action lawsuits.

The USDA did not immediately respond to questions about the status of the claims or address the advocates' criticisms. The agency has previously acknowledged its checkered history with regards to civil rights.


Police cite 7 Denver pot shop employees for underage sales

DENVER (AP) — Police say seven employees of Denver retail marijuana stores face misdemeanor charges for selling pot to people younger than the legal purchasing age of 21.

Police said Wednesday that investigators checked 30 stores within the city and cited seven people. Penalties can include fines, and businesses could see their licenses suspended or revoked.

Lewis Koski, director of the state's Marijuana Enforcement Division, says he is disappointed because the high rate of compliance with the law had been a bright spot for the pot industry. Earlier investigations turned up no violations.

He says 92 percent of stores remain in compliance, but the violations are troubling.


Police: Man shot to death after breaking into Greeley home

GREELEY, Colo. (AP) — Police are investigating after a man was shot to death for allegedly breaking into a west Greeley home and pulling a gun.

Two men who live in the home told officers who were investigating a trespassing report next door Wednesday morning that they were involved in a shootout with an intruder. The Greeley Bomb Team used a robot to probe the home and found the man's body in the basement.

His name and age have not been released.

Police are questioning the two men who reported the break in, as well as a woman who also was in the home.

No other information has been released.


Judge: Probable cause to seize dogs from Penrose home

(Information in the following story is from: Canon City Daily Record,

CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — A judge has ruled there was probable cause to seize more than three dozen neglected dogs from a Penrose home.

The Canon City Daily Record reports Fremont County Judge Norman Cooling made his decision Tuesday after attorneys for 58-year-old Demaris "Dee" Chess argued there was not sufficient probable cause to impound all of the dogs.

Sheriff's deputies seized 37 dogs, mostly Australian cattle dog mixes, from Chess' home Sept. 16. Many of the dogs were emaciated and dehydrated.

A veterinarian treated several of the animals with fluids and for minor injuries before they were taken to two local animal shelters.

A phone number listed for Chess has been disconnected. She is charged with 37 counts of misdemeanor animal cruelty.


Aspen climbing fatality identified as Kentucky man

(Eds: Restores dropped word in second paragraph. APNewsNow.)

(Information in the following story is from: The Aspen Times,

ASPEN, Colo. (AP) — A climber who died while bouldering near Aspen has been identified as 41-year-old Travis Boyle of Union, Kentucky.

Authorities say Boyle was bouldering on Christiana Peak near Aspen and fell about 200 feet to his death when a piece of rock he was using as a hold flaked off.

The Pitkin County Sheriff's Office says Boyle was not using a rope when he fell Monday afternoon. The Aspen Times reports that after the fall, his climbing partner became stranded on the cliff band at 12,751 feet and was lowered to safety about 11 p.m. Monday after members of Mountain Rescue Aspen reached him.

Boyle's body was recovered Tuesday.


Soldier stationed in Colorado dies after training accident

FORT CARSON, Colo. (AP) — The Army says a soldier stationed in Colorado has died from injuries suffered during a training accident in California.

Officials say the Fort Carson soldier died Wednesday after a Stryker vehicle rolled at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California, on Sept. 24. The soldier's name wasn't released.

The soldier was a member of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, part of the 4th Infantry Division.

Fort Carson says two other soldiers were in the Stryker but were not hurt.

The incident is under investigation.