CORTEZ - Wildfire prevention measures passed after Colorado's tragic wildfire season last year are expected to be signed into law Thursday by Gov. John Hickenlooper.
The governor plans to sign the bills at Mesa Verde National Park in Cortez, according to the Associated Press.
One of the bills puts new curbs on prescribed burns on state forest land. The safeguards include a new requirement that people tend the fire as long as it's burning, along with a requirement that nearby residents are alerted to planned burns.
The other bill gives the governor more flexibility to send money to fight wildfires in an emergency.
Six people died in three major wildfires last year.
Hickenlooper also had a list of economic development bills he planned to sign into law at locations across southwestern Colorado.
The National Weather Service forecasts a high of 65 with a slight chance of thunderstorms Thursday in Colorado Springs. Expect an overnight low of 50. On Friday, the weather service says we'll begin a warmup heading into Memorial Day weekend with a forecast high of 79.
Man arrested after 2 people stabbed at campground
NEDERLAND (AP) - Boulder County authorities have arrested a man suspected of stabbing two people at a campground near Nederland.
Search dogs found the suspect hiding behind a garbage container in Boulder early Thursday.
Sgt. Jayson Heathman tells KMGH-TV (http://tinyurl.com/ougvad4 ) the search for the man began after a man and a woman were stabbed Wednesday night at Gordon Gulch campground about 25 miles west of Boulder. Heathman says their injuries are serious.
There is no word on possible charges.
Authorities seize horses at animal rescue facility
MORRISON (AP) - Jefferson County sheriff's investigators and animal control officers have seized 18 horses at an animal rescue facility in Morrison.
The sheriff's office says in a news release that deputies served a search warrant Wednesday following complaints the horses were being mistreated.
The horses have been taken to another facility in Parker.
A sheriff's department spokesman says the owners could face charges including cruelty to animals.
Smashburger founder turns to fast-casual pizza
ENGLEWOOD (AP) - Smashburger's founder is launching yet another new fast-casual restaurant concept, this time centered on customized, oven-baked pizzas made and served within minutes of ordering.
Live Basil Pizza already plans more outlets following its opening Thursday in the Denver area. In a setup similar to Chipotle Mexican Grill, customers go through a line choosing what ingredients they want on their thin-crust pizzas before the dough goes in an oven that can cook a pizza in 150 seconds.
Co-founder Tom Ryan says he thinks fresh, fast pizzas made before a customer's eyes is where the market is heading. A handful of shops, including 800 Degrees in Los Angeles, have similar concepts.
Ryan and former Quiznos CEO Rick Schaden also recently launched Tom's Urban 24 in downtown Denver.
Resort owner considers Copper Mountain sale
DENVER (AP) - One of the largest resort owners in North America is testing the market by listing seven of its resort villages, including Copper Mountain's base village, for more than $142 million.
CNL Lifestyle Co. has listed seven villages across the country for sale, including commercial space in CNL's resort site at Copper Mountain.
According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/o6kcg3f ), company officials believe the resort industry has improved steadily since the 2009 economic downturn.
Wildlife pickup trucks hit roadblocks
DENVER (AP) - Colorado wildlife officials are struggling to make new pickup trucks powered by compressed natural gas work in the backcountry.
Officials cite a lack of refueling stations and problems hauling big loads during recent tests.
According to the Denver Post (http://tinyurl.com/oheovyh ), the agency is trying to comply with a pledge by Gov. John Hickenlooper to add more natural gas-powered vehicles to the state fleet.
The wildlife agency plans to add at least 30 F-250 pickup trucks that run on both natural gas and gasoline for use by wildlife officers in their fleet.
Holmes lawyers try to clear path for insanity plea
CENTENNIAL (AP) - Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes are trying to clear away legal questions Thursday so that Holmes can plead not guilty by reason of insanity.
Holmes' lawyers will ask the judge to answer whether state laws on the insanity plea and the death penalty work in combination to violate Holmes' constitutional rights.
They want answers before Holmes agrees to conditions he must accept in order to enter an insanity plea.
Holmes is accused of opening fire on a packed movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora in July, killing 12 people and injuring 70. He faces multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.
An insanity plea is widely seen as Holmes' best chance of avoiding execution. But his lawyers delayed it for weeks, saying his rights could be jeopardized.
One concern: If Holmes pleads insanity but doesn't cooperate during a mental health evaluation, his lawyers would not be able to call witnesses to testify about his mental health during a penalty phase of the trial. Holmes' attorneys contend the law doesn't clearly define what cooperation is.
They also want more information about the mental exam Holmes would be subject to.
Holmes needs the court's permission to change his plea because a judge entered a standard not guilty plea on his behalf in March. The judge is likely to approve the change, but Holmes would first have to agree to the conditions, including the requirement that he cooperate during the mental evaluation.
Gun owner among judges hearing gun lawsuit
DENVER (AP) - A federal judge assigned to hear a lawsuit filed by sheriffs challenging Colorado's new gun laws is a gun owner herself but says she doesn't believe a recusal is warranted.
Judges typically disclose potential conflicts of interest in cases they hear.
In court documents filed Wednesday, U.S. District Court Judge Marcia Krieger says she owns and is proficient in the use of firearms. Magistrate Judge Michael Watanabe also is assigned to the case. He doesn't own any firearms but disclosed that he has worked with two sheriffs who are among the plaintiffs.
Both judges said they don't believe recusal is necessary.
The sheriffs contend that new Colorado laws limiting the size of ammunition magazines and expanding background checks infringe on the Second Amendment. The state hasn't filed a response yet.
Former Grand Junction police officer sentenced
GRAND JUNCTION (AP) - A former Grand Junction police officer convicted of having sexual relations with a 16-year-old girl while on duty in 2000 has been sentenced to eight years to life in prison.
Eric Janusz was convicted earlier this year of sexual assault on a child by a person in a position of trust. He was sentenced Wednesday.
The two met during a runaway investigation involving her brother.
Janusz had testified that they were sexually involved only after she was of legal age.
Former Boulder DUI officer pleads guilty to DUI
BOULDER (AP) - A former Boulder police officer who was assigned to enforce drunken-driving laws has pleaded guilty to driving under the influence, with a blood-alcohol level of more than 0.2.
The Daily Camera reports (http://bit.ly/12Xc44Z ) Elizabeth Ward was sentenced Wednesday to 10 days of electronic home monitoring, one year of probation, a $400 fine, and 24 hours of community service.
Police say an off-duty Arvada police officer spotted her vehicle weaving on Interstate 25 in Thornton on Dec. 4.
In March, former Boulder police officer Scott Morris pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired and to prohibited use of a weapon. He received a six-month deferred sentence for the weapons charge and a year of probation for the driving charge.
Birth control coverage up for federal appeal
DENVER (AP) - In the most prominent challenge of its kind, Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. is asking a federal appeals court Thursday for an exemption from part of the federal health care law that requires it to offer employees health coverage that includes access to the morning-after pill.
The Oklahoma City-based arts-and-crafts chain argues that businesses - not just the currently exempted religious groups - should be allowed to seek exception from that part of the health law if it violates their religious beliefs.
"They ought to be able - just like a church, just like a charity - to have the right to opt out of a provision that infringes on their religious beliefs," said Kyle Duncan, who will argue before the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals on behalf of the Green family, the founders of Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. and a sister company, Christian booksellers Mardel Inc.
The Greens contend that emergency contraception is tantamount to abortion because it can prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. They also object to providing coverage for certain kinds of intrauterine devices.
Lower courts have rejected Hobby Lobby's claim, saying that for-profit businesses aren't covered by an exemption added to the law for religious organizations. That exemption applies to churches themselves, but not to affiliated nonprofit corporations, like hospitals, that do not rely primarily on members of the faith as employees.
In a decision issued late last year, a federal judge concluded simply, "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."
Broncos' best gather to honor owner Pat Bowlen
DENVER (AP) - For the first time ever, all four Hall of Fame members of the Denver Broncos gathered under one roof - an old hangar at what used to be Lowry Air Force Base - and they were there to honor team owner Pat Bowlen.
With John Elway, Shannon Sharpe, Floyd Little and Gary Zimmerman on hand, the 69-year-old Bowlen received the Mizel Institute's 2013 Community Enrichment Award for his philanthropic leadership in Colorado and his nearly three-decade long stewardship of the Broncos.
"I'm glad there are four now, we've come a long way since '04," said Elway, who was the first Bronco to get a bronze bust in Canton, Ohio. "Hopefully, we can get a couple more in there soon."
"Hopefully, one day Pat will be in the Hall of Fame himself because he deserves that," Zimmerman said.
Bowlen is chairman of the board of Denver Broncos Charities, which has donated more than $25 million to charitable organizations over the last 20 years.
TODAY IN HISTORY
In 1430, Joan of Arc was captured by the Burgundians, who sold her to the English.
In 1533, the marriage of England's King Henry VIII to Catherine of Aragon was declared null and void.
In 1701, William Kidd was hanged in London after he was convicted of piracy and murder.
In 1788, South Carolina became the eighth state to ratify the U.S. Constitution.
In 1873, Canada's Parliament voted to establish the North West Mounted Police force.
In 1911, the newly completed New York Public Library was dedicated by President William Howard Taft, Gov. John Alden Dix and Mayor William Jay Gaynor.
In 1934, bank robbers Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot to death in a police ambush in Bienville Parish, La.
In 1937, industrialist and philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, founder of the Standard Oil Co. and the Rockefeller Foundation, died at age 97 in Ormond Beach, Fla.
In 1945, Nazi official Heinrich Himmler committed suicide while imprisoned in Luneburg, Germany.
In 1949, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) was established.
In 1967, Egypt closed the Straits of Tiran to Israeli ships, an action that precipitated war between Israel and its Arab neighbors the following month.
In 1984, Surgeon General C. Everett Koop issued a report saying there was "very solid" evidence linking cigarette smoke to lung disease in nonsmokers.
In 1993, a jury in Baton Rouge, La., acquitted Rodney Peairs of manslaughter in the shooting death of Yoshi Hattori, a Japanese exchange student he'd mistaken for an intruder. (Peairs was later found liable in a civil suit brought by Hattori's parents.)
Ten years ago: By the narrowest of margins, Congress sent President George W. Bush the third tax cut of his presidency - a $330 billion package of rebates and lower rates for families and new breaks for businesses and investors.
Five years ago: Hillary Rodham Clinton quickly apologized after citing the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kennedy as a reason to remain in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination despite increasingly long odds.
One year ago: A Pakistani doctor who'd helped the CIA hunt down Osama bin Laden was convicted of conspiring against the state and was sentenced to 33 years in prison; U.S. officials had urged Pakistan to release Dr. Shakil Afridi.
-- "Cool Crafts - Plaster Animal Tracks" children's program, 3-4 p.m., Fountain Library Branch, 230 S. Main St., Fountain, free.
-- Resume Writing and Filling Out Applications - How to Stand Out from the Rest" workshop for ages 14-19. 3:30-5 p.m., East Library, 5550 N. Union Blvd., free.
-- "ArtNight," showcasing Gallery 113, 4-7 p.m., SpringHill Suites, 1570 N. Newport Road, free.
-- "Gasland Part II," free advance screening and meet the filmaker, 6-9 p.m., Gallogly Events Center, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway.
-- Showing of "The Mighty Ducks," 6:30 p.m., Fountain Library Branch, 230 S. Main St., Fountain, free.
-- Black Rose Acoustic Society Radio Oldies Jam, 7-9 p.m., Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave., free, donations accepted.
-- Jake Loggins Jam, 7 p.m., Stargazers Theatre and Event Center, 10 S. Parkside Drive, bring your instruments, free.
-- Rough Age and the Wild Haries, 8 p.m.-midnight, Meadow Muffins, 2432 W. Colorado Ave., free.