Colorado news roundup: Train service to resume this week after Timnath derailment (05.19.16)
Here’s what’s happening around Colorado today:
TIMNATH, Colo. — Train service is expected to resume this week after nine cars derailed near an elementary school in northern Colorado, but officials say it will take longer to find the cause of the wreck.
The Great Western Railway cars, part of a 100-car train, came off the tracks and tipped Sunday morning in Timnath, east of Fort Collins. No one was hurt.
The Coloradoan reports that cleanup and rail maintenance was expected to be completed by Tuesday and an inspection crew will ensure everything else is safe. Train traffic will resume after the inspection.
As for the cause of the derailment, Great Western Railway spokesman Ron Margulis says investigators have collected evidence to determine the cause, but because no one was injured the investigation is internal, not federally managed.
National Guard trains in Denver to respond to terror attack
DENVER — National Guard units from Colorado, New Mexico and Utah will train in the Denver area over the next six days on how to respond to a terrorist attack.
Guard members are arriving Thursday and preparing for the exercises.
Officials say some of the training will occur at Denver International Airport, Community College of Aurora, Castlewood Canyon State Park, University Hospital and Skyridge Hospital.
Officials say the training scenario calls for mock attacks similar to the ones in Paris in November 2015.
Deal reached between homeowners, weapons plant operators
DENVER — Attorneys say they’ve reached a $375 million settlement in a legal battle between the operators of a former nuclear weapons plant outside Denver and thousands of homeowners who said plutonium releases from the plant hurt their property values.
The Denver Post reports the settlement was reached late Wednesday. It must still be approved by a federal judge, and it could take months to set up a process for homeowners to file claims.
The deal would settle a 26-year battle between homeowners and Dow Chemical Co. and Rockwell International Corp. Dow operated the Rocky Flats plant for the Department of Energy from the 1950s until 1975. Rockwell ran it from 1975 until 1989, when the plant closed.
The plant west of Denver made plutonium triggers for nuclear warheads.
Fewer kids in state food assistance program are overweight
DENVER — New state figures show preschoolers enrolled in Colorado’s food assistance program last year were less likely to be overweight than in previous years.
The Denver Post reports that the percentage of obese children ages 2 to 4 dropped to 7.3 percent in 2015 from 8.4 percent in 2012. The percentage of overweight children also fell from 14.5 percent to 13.9 percent in the same time period.
Colorado serves 89,000 low-income women and young children through its Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children. The program, also known as WIC, offers healthy food, nutrition, breastfeeding support and other services.
Nearly one in five Colorado children ages 2 to 4 participate in WIC.
Justin’s to stay in Colorado under Hormel deal
BOULDER, Colo. — The founder of Colorado nut butter maker Justin’s says the company will remain in Boulder and maintain its values after it’s bought by Hormel Foods.
The Austin, Minnesota-based food giant and maker of Skippy peanut butter announced Wednesday that it has reached a deal to buy Justin’s for $268 million.
Justin’s got its start at the Boulder Farmers’ Market over a decade ago. In a post on his company’s blog, Justin Gold wrote that he wanted a partner to help it continue to grow but stay in Colorado and remain an independent operating unit. He says he will stay with the company.
Hormel, which also sells products like Spam and Muscle Milk, bought organic meats producer Applegate Farms last year. It hopes Justin’s will help it reach younger, health-conscious customers.
Peabody Energy approved for financing amid bankruptcy
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. — Officials with Peabody Energy say they hope additional financing will help them maintain operations at the Twentymile Mine in Routt County amid bankruptcy proceedings.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today reports that the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Missouri on Tuesday approved $800 million in financing for Peabody, which is restructuring $6.2 billion in debt it could no longer make payments on.
Despite the debt troubles, Peabody officials say all of their American mining operations are cash-flow positive.
About 300 people work at the Twentymile Mine. Peabody officials say all those workers will continue to receive normal wages and benefits, pending court approval.
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