Colorado’s news roundup: Independence Pass to open this week (05.23.16)
Here’s what’s going on around Colorado today:
SCHOOL THREATS COULD BE LATEST IN SCHOOL “SWATTING”
DENVER — Threats made against schools across the United States led to the evacuation of students Monday in what could be the latest example of so-called “swatting” against schools.
In recent months, hoaxers playing online games have allegedly used proxy servers and other high-tech identity-disguising tools to anonymously threaten schools online or in phone messages with electronic voices to trigger a huge police response — including SWAT teams.
The latest threats led to the evacuation of schools in Colorado, Delaware, Minnesota, New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Media outlets in the United Kingdom also reported evacuations.
The threats were made against elementary, middle and high schools, with some schools choosing to continue classes and others to put buildings on lockdown rather than evacuate. Some schools resumed classes after sweeps by authorities failed to turn up explosives or other threats.
Some officials described Monday’s threats as automated or robotic and at least two — at Lakewood High School outside Denver and at Ben Franklin Elementary School in Rochester, Minnesota — came in just before noon local time. Also in Minnesota, Forest Lake Elementary in the city of Forest Lake was evacuated after getting a bomb-threat call around 12:15 p.m.
Two elementary schools were evacuated in Colorado — Liberty Point Elementary School in Pueblo West and Cherokee Trail Elementary in the Denver suburb of Parker. Cherokee Trail is in the same district where two 16-year-old girls are accused of plotting an attack against their high school. No other schools in the district were evacuated, spokeswoman Paula Hans said.
INDEPENDENCE PASS, TRAIL RIDGE SET TO OPEN THIS WEEK
DENVER — Independence Pass and Trail Ridge Road are among the Colorado mountain passes set to be open in time for Memorial Day weekend.
The Colorado Department of Transportation said Monday that crews are on track to have Independence Pass open Thursday, the traditional opening day for the road to Aspen. Trail Ridge Road through Rocky Mountain National Park, Guanella Pass and Cottonwood Pass are all scheduled to open on Friday.
FOREST SERVICE TO SEAL UP ABANDONED ASPEN MINES
ASPEN, Colo. — The U.S. Forest Service plans to collapse the openings to six abandoned mines near Aspen.
The Aspen Times reports that the agency says the open mines pose a threat to public safety. Officials are also considering demolishing 10 cabins and old mining structures that were illegal constructed on abandoned, unpatented mining claims.
Unpatented mines remained in U.S. government ownership.
The Forest Service will work with the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety and the Colorado Department of Corrections on the mine-safety closures this summer.
ADVISER TO HELP COLORADO BUSINESSES DURING MINE CLEANUP
SILVERTON, Colo. — An economic development coordinator will help businesses in Western Colorado during a potential Superfund cleanup of historic mines.
The Durango Herald reports that the U.S. Economic Development Administration is providing about $115,600 to pay for an economic adviser to help tourism-dependent businesses in Silverton and San Juan County for two years.
The coordinator will focus on helping existing businesses through the cleanup of as many as 48 mine-related sites at Bonita Peak Mining District.
The district was recommended for a Superfund listing in April following a mine blowout in August. The proposed designation is nearing the end of a public comment period.
The San Juan Development Association Board will hire the new coordinator. It includes representatives from Silverton, San Juan County, the Silverton Chamber of Commerce and Region 9.
WOMAN STRUCK BY LIGHTNING AT NEPHEW’S MEMORIAL SERVICE
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A woman is recovering after being struck by lightning after a memorial service for her nephew in northern Colorado.
The Coloradoan reports that Karen Pedersen and her sisters lingered after a rainy May 7 memorial service for 21-year-old Justin Brien, who drowned while fishing. She had her hand on her sister’s car when a bolt of lightning hit a transformer, and she felt a burning sensation in her left arm.
Her sisters thought she was just startled but then realized she wasn’t breathing normally and couldn’t remove her hand from the car.
The bolt hit about 30 feet away and is believed to have traveled through the ground and up Pedersen’s left leg.
She stayed overnight at a burn unit in Greeley and will seek further treatment from her home in Nevada.
— The Associated Press
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