Colorado’s news roundup: VA finds no improper scheduling at 3 clinics (05.21.16)
Here’s what’s going on around Colorado today:
DENVER — Investigators found no indications of improper scheduling lists at one VA specialty medical clinic in Grand Junction and two in Denver, the Veterans Affairs Department said Friday.
The department’s inspector general said an endoscopy clinic at the VA medical center in Grand Junction and clinics for prosthetics and audiology at Denver’s VA medical center had followed the rules.
The VA released summaries of multiple investigations into Colorado VA clinics and hospitals. The investigations were launched after revelations that some VA hospitals across the nation had falsified records to make their wait times look better than they really were.
The inspector general also reviewed scheduling at a VA mental health clinic in Denver, but the report didn’t say whether anything improper was found.
The reports released Friday also summarized investigations into two instances of improper or unauthorized scheduling lists in Colorado that were made public previously.
Two years ago, the VA said employees at a multi-specialty clinic in Fort Collins had changed records in a way that made its scheduling performance appear better than it was. VA officials said at the time that no one was disciplined because there had been no deliberate misconduct.
Last year, the VA said a sleep clinic in Denver had an “unofficial” scheduling list, but that officials transferred it to the authorized, computer-based list as soon as they discovered it in 2012.
Colorado unemployment ticks up to 3.1 percent for April
DENVER — The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says unemployment ticked up to 3.1 percent for April in the state.
The Denver Post reported Friday that that breaks a 63-month streak. Since January 2011, Colorado’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate either moved lower than or matched the previous month’s, falling from 8.8 percent to a low of 2.9 percent in March.
Broomfield economist Gary Horvath says the unemployment rate couldn’t have gone much lower than March’s mark without creating larger problems for the labor market.
Even with the increase, Colorado’s unemployment rate remains at its lowest levels since the early 2000s. The tight labor market contributed to a boost in average hourly earnings from $26.85 an hour in March to $27.44 an hour in April.
Colorado education board names interim commissioner
DENVER — Colorado’s board of education has named Dr. Katy Anthes as interim education commissioner following the resignation of the state schools chief.
Anthes, who was previously the Department of Education’s chief of staff, was named to the interim post Friday after Richard Crandall submitted his resignation Thursday after only four months on the job.
Crandall 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 he 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.
Possible victim of kidnapping in Denver suburb found
THORNTON, Colo. — Thornton police say a woman seen being dragged from a gas station early Saturday has been found safe and a suspect in her possible kidnapping was being sought.
Officer Matt Barnes says the woman was found about 10:30 a.m. He had no further details on how she was located.
Barnes says police had been called when witnesses saw the woman enter a gas station in the Denver suburb at about 2 a.m. and ask to use the phone. A man she appeared to know entered and demanded the woman leave with him. She refused and fell to the ground. The man then dragged her from the store, forced her into a car and drove away.
Officers spotted the car nearby. It was last seen speeding south on Interstate 25.
Truck hits, kills 8-year-old girl riding bike in Longmont
BOULDER, Colo. — Authorities say an 8-year-old old girl who was riding her bicycle with her stepfather was hit and killed by a pickup in Longmont.
Deputy Police Chief Jeff Satur tells the Boulder Daily Camera the girl, whose name has not been released, was struck Friday afternoon and died at a Longmont hospital.
The 20-year-old driver remained at the scene and is cooperating with investigators.
No other details were released.
Homeless woman thrown from ledge, raped in Colorado Springs
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Colorado Springs police say a homeless woman was thrown from a ledge and beaten and repeatedly raped for three days where she landed, paralyzed and unable to escape.
The Gazette, citing recently unsealed court documents, reported Friday that the ordeal ended May 2 when a passer-by found the woman beneath the Cimarron Street bridge south of downtown Colorado Springs. According to court records, her spine was fractured and her spinal cord injured.
Police arrested a 21-year-old homeless man in the case. He is being held at the El Paso County jail on charges of attempted murder and sexual assault.
Homeless advocates told The Gazette vulnerable people are left with little choice but to risk their safety and live outside because El Paso County has too few shelter beds.
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