Colorado’s news roundup: Comcast hopes student population will help staff call center (05.20.16)
Here’s what’s going on around Colorado today:
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Comcast hopes the large student population in Fort Collins will help it fill 600 new jobs it’s creating at a planned call center in the city.
The call center, announced Thursday, is expected to open early next year on the Hewlett-Packard campus.
The Coloradoan reports that the cable and internet service provider chose the home of Colorado State University for its diverse and highly educated workforce.
Comcast would be able to get $8.1 million in tax breaks from the state if it maintains 635 full-time jobs for one year that pay at least $44,421, the average wage in Larimer County. If it creates 600 jobs rather than 635, the incentive will be pro-rated.
With the new positions, the company will have more than 8,000 employees in Colorado.
Sports Authority is shuttering all stores amid bankruptcy
NEW YORK — Sports Authority, which filed for bankruptcy protection three months ago, is shuttering all 460 of its stores after it was unable to adapt to consumers’ move online.
The sports retailer had originally only planned to close about 140 stores, but in a court document this week it outlined plans to shutter all of them.
The Englewood, Colorado-based company said it will start discounting sneakers, clothing and other goods next week until the end of August.
Sports Authority’s decline came as shoppers are increasingly more likely now to head online than to their local mall. Mall staples Aeropostale and Pacific Sunwear have also filed for bankruptcy protection this year.
The company told the bankruptcy court that it plans to sell its store leases in an upcoming auction.
As of March, it had about 14,500 employees.
A representative for privately held Sports Authority declined to comment.
Congressional panel holds Denver hearing on VA health care
DENVER — A congressional subcommittee is holding a hearing in Denver to take testimony on VA hospitals and on prescription drugs for veterans.
The House Veterans Affairs subcommittee on oversight and investigations is scheduled to hear from three Colorado-based VA officials at the state Capitol Friday.
Colorado Republican congressman Mike Coffman is chairman of the subcommittee.
Coffman and others have been sharply critical of the VA because of massive cost overruns at a veterans medical center under construction in the Denver suburb of Aurora.
The hospital is expected to cost $1.7 billion, nearly triple the amount estimated in 2014.
Elsewhere, the VA has been questioned about whether doctors were over-prescribing painkillers.
Colorado education board to name interim commissioner
DENVER — Colorado’s state board of education will meet Friday to name a temporary education commissioner following the resignation of the state schools chief.
Commissioner Richard Crandall, a former Arizona lawmaker, submitted his resignation Thursday after only four months on the job. He cited the demands of his large family living out of state as well as “the demands of the position and the time required to fully serve a state as diverse and expansive as Colorado.”
Denver’s KUSA-TV reports Crandall has 13 children and five grandchildren.
Crandall, a Republican, resigned his seat in the Arizona Senate after being appointed by Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead to lead the state education department there in 2013. That position was eventually ruled unconstitutional by the Wyoming Supreme Court, which reinstated the state’s elected school superintendent.
Vail council considers electric bikes on recreational paths
VAIL, Colo. — Vail’s Town Council has asked staff to write regulations for a trial of electric bikes on paved recreation paths.
The Vail Daily reports that at a council meeting this week, officials and community members discussed pros such as making it easier for older people to navigate steep hills on bikes. They also discussed whether it would be safe for pedestrians and fast-moving electric bikes to share paths.
The Colorado Department of Transportation limits the use of electric bikes to public roads, but local authorities can draft their own rules.
Gregg Barrie, who is Vail’s planner in charge of trails, told council members that Aspen and Pitkin County don’t allow electric bikes on paved trails, but are considering trials.
Former officer gets probation for lying about being shot
BRIGHTON, Colo. — A former Commerce City police officer who lied about being shot by a suspect won’t serve any jail time but will be barred from working in law enforcement again.
A judge sentenced Kevin Lord to three years of probation and 500 hours of community service and ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation and treatment during a hearing Friday.
Lord’s claim that he was shot in the torso when he approached a suspicious stopped vehicle Nov. 8 touched off a manhunt for the alleged suspect based on his description.
However, investigators determined Lord had staged the shooting and wounded himself. They say he picked out a suspect from a phony line-up.
Lord, who pleaded guilty, told the judge that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after suffering a concussion.
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