SUNRISE: Two more groups claim IRS discrimination

the gazette - Updated: May 17, 2013 at 9:27 am • Published: May 17, 2013 | 7:15 am 0

DENVER - Two more conservative political groups in Colorado say they were targeted by the Internal Revenue Service to make it hard for them to get tax exemptions.

The Coalition for a Conservative Majority and the Citizen Awareness Project join the Western Slope Conservative Alliance and the Colorado Tea Party Patriots who say they were forced to wait for official permission to operate under the tax code, according to the Associated Press.

According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/cauytlo ), the groups have small budgets and hold picnics and forums and they try to recruit neighbors to hear about conservative ideas.

The U.S. Treasury Department's Inspector General has issued a report that found that for more than 18 months, the IRS specifically targeted conservative groups. The IRS has launched a criminal investigation.

  

WEATHER

The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 84 Friday in Colorado Springs. Expect an overnight low of 50. On Saturday, the weather service forecasts a high of 75 with a 20 percent chance of thunderstorms.

  

AROUND COLORADO

Denver prison worst for sex assaults, study says

DENVER (AP) - The Denver Women's Correctional Facility has the nation's worst record of sexual assaults, according to a federal study released Thursday.

The study released by the U.S. Department of Justice reported that more than one in 10 women at the prison claimed staff members sexually assaulted them. The rate was the highest in the nation.

By comparison, of the 38,251 male and female inmates at 225 prisons and 358 jails involved in the nation-wide survey, 2.4 percent of inmates claimed to have been sexually abused by staff members, The Denver Post reported (http://tinyurl.com/b9ft6be).

Colorado Department of Corrections officials said Thursday that security improvements have been made, including installing more surveillance cameras and making secluded areas such as janitors' closets more visible.

"Employees have been and will continue to be held accountable," interim Corrections Director Roger Werholtz said in a statement.

The department's body searches were more extensive during part of the period under study because more contraband was getting into the prison. The new practice prompted inmate complaints, and the more extensive searches were dropped.

The Denver Women's Correctional Facility was identified among 12 prisons across the country considered "high-rate" facilities based on reports of staff sexual misconduct. The 12 include eight male prisons and four female prisons.

The report also looked at inmate-on-inmate abuse. It said that 4 percent of state and federal inmates reported being sexually victimized in the past year. That is down from 4.5 percent in a survey conducted in 2007, according to the report.

At Denver Women's Correctional Facility, a total of 12.2 percent of women surveyed said they were sexually abused by staff and inmates.

Town requiring residents to own firearms

NUCLA (AP) - The tiny southwest Colorado town of Nucla is one of the first in the state to pass an ordinance making gun ownership mandatory.

The Nucla Town Board last week passed a new ordinance requiring that residents own firearms, but it has exceptions for heads of households who don't want to participate or who cannot legally possess a gun.

According to the Montrose Daily Press (http://tinyurl.com/alwg3a3), Nucla's ordinance passed by a 5-1 vote. It was inspired by the Family Protection Ordinance passed by the town of Nelson, Ga.

The Colorado town of less than 1,000 people becomes the latest of a handful of communities nationwide to pass such a rule. The measures are widely considered unenforceable.

"The main reason is to protect Second Amendment rights, especially with the government talking about abolishing them," said Nucla Town Board member Joshua Newingham. "Out here, we hunt, we do sports shooting. It's a way of life."

Nucla's ordinance states that, in order to provide for the emergency management of the town and for the general public welfare, "every head of household residing in the town limits is required to maintain a firearm, together with ammunition therefor."

The ordinance does not specify a type of firearm.

Bennet signs up to co-sponsor shield law

DENVER (AP) - Colorado's junior Senator will co-sponsor a bill to protect reporters from having to reveal their sources.

Senator Michael Bennet announced Thursday that he'd sign onto a proposed shield law for journalists. The bill is being revived after the Department of Justice secretly obtained two months of phone records from the Associated Press. Federal investigators in that case are trying to determine who leaked information about a foiled terrorist bomb plot.

Bennet said in a statement that the legislation would give greater clarity on how investigators can protect both national security and freedom of the press.

The bill protects reporters from being forced to disclose sources in court. In some cases it would require prosecutors get a judge's approval to obtain reporters' phone records.

Theater attack prompts new mental health law

DENVER (AP) - Days after a gunman entered a suburban Denver movie theater, killing 12 moviegoers and injuring 70 others, Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado health officials began talking about revamping a state mental health system that had been devastated by budget cuts.

On Thursday, the Democratic governor signed into law an expansion of mental health services in response to July's Aurora shootings. By early next year, the state plans to establish walk-in crisis centers around Colorado, a 24-hour mental health hotline, and mobile units to travel to rural areas where access to mental health services is limited.

Lawmakers budgeted nearly $20 million for the expansion, which includes more short-term residential services.

Thursday's law was largely inspired by the case of James Holmes, who is charged in the Aurora shootings.

Holmes' lawyers say he is mentally ill, and he's entered a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity.

Holmes had been seeing a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, where he was a graduate student, before the shooting.

Settlement reached in 2008 deaths near Aspen

DENVER (AP) - The families of a Denver couple who were killed along with their two young children by carbon monoxide in a home near Aspen have settled a civil lawsuit.

Denver attorney William Hansen said Thursday that the last of the settlements involving the deaths of Caroline and Parker Lofgren and their children, 10-year-old Owen and 8-year-old Sophie, were reached earlier this month. Relatives filed a lawsuit in Denver District Court against the owner, builder, as well as companies that worked on the house and the manufacturer of a poorly vented boiler that sent the deadly gas into the home over Thanksgiving weekend 2008.

The Lofgrens had won a stay at the house in a church raffle.

Criminal charges against county and city building officials were dropped.

Driver charged in fatal bicycle crash

BOULDER (AP) - A Lyons resident arrested after police say he struck and killed Boulder cyclist Michel Van Duym while driving drunk has been charged with five crimes, including two counts of vehicular homicide.

According to the Boulder Daily Camera (http://tinyurl.com/baq9dk6), Patrick Ward reportedly complained about cyclists breaking traffic laws and impeding traffic.

Ward's lawyer, Larry Mertes, says Ward's prior remarks don't have anything to do with the fatal crash.

Ward is accused of hitting Van Duym on Saturday while driving on the wrong side of the road, possibly while turning.

  

TODAY IN HISTORY

In 1510, Early Renaissance painter Sandro Botticelli died in Florence, Italy; he was probably in his mid 60s.

In 1792, the New York Stock Exchange had its origins as a group of brokers met under a tree on Wall Street.

In 1849, fire erupted in St. Louis, resulting in the loss of three lives, more than 400 buildings and about two dozen steamships.

In 1912, the Socialist Party of America nominated Eugene V. Debs for president at its convention in Indianapolis.

In 1933, U.S. News & World Report had its beginnings as David Lawrence began publishing a weekly newspaper called United States News.

In 1938, Congress passed the Second Vinson Act, providing for a strengthened U.S. Navy. The radio quiz show "Information, Please!" made its debut on the NBC Blue Network.

In 1946, President Harry S. Truman seized control of the nation's railroads, delaying - but not preventing - a threatened strike by engineers and trainmen.

In 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court, in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, unanimously struck down racially segregated public schools.

In 1961, Cuban leader Fidel Castro offered to release prisoners captured in the Bay of Pigs invasion in exchange for 500 bulldozers. (The prisoners were eventually freed in exchange for medical supplies.)

In 1971, "Godspell," a contemporary musical inspired by the Gospel According to St. Matthew, opened off-Broadway at the Cherry Lane Theatre.

In 1973, a special committee convened by the U.S. Senate began its televised hearings into the Watergate scandal.

In 1980, rioting that claimed 18 lives erupted in Miami's Liberty City after an all-white jury in Tampa acquitted four former Miami police officers of fatally beating black insurance executive Arthur McDuffie.

In 1987, 37 American sailors were killed when an Iraqi warplane attacked the U.S. Navy frigate Stark in the Persian Gulf. (Iraq apologized for the attack, calling it a mistake, and paid more than $27 million in compensation.)

Ten years ago: A top Vatican official, Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, acknowledged what many observers had long suspected - that Pope John Paul II was suffering from Parkinson's disease. A German tour bus overturned on a highway in France, killing 28 people. More than 260 people died in Sri Lanka's worst flooding in five decades.

Five years ago: Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., was flown to a Boston hospital after suffering a seizure at his Cape Cod home (he was later diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor).

One year ago: Donna Summer, 63, the "Queen of Disco," died in Naples, Fla.

  

HAPPENINGS

-- Melting Temple, 9 p.m.-1 a.m., Meadow Muffins, 2432 W. Colorado Ave., free.

-- "3rd Friday Art Walk," featuring Sandy Friedman, 5-8 p.m., Green Horse Gallery, 729 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs, free.

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