Here’s what’s happening today in Colorado
Small chicken farmers win oversight reprieve in Colorado
DENVER — It’s about to get easier for Colorado’s small-time chicken farmers to sell directly to consumers.
A bill signed into law Wednesday by Gov. John Hickenlooper would also expand the state’s so-called “Cottage Foods” law to allow home cooks who make almost anything that doesn’t need refrigeration to sell directly to consumers.
The measure was amended from its original version to say that small poultry producers can sell directly to consumers, but not to grocery stores. That could come only after the Colorado Department of Agriculture convenes a panel to work out those details.
Participate in The Longevity Project
The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
The new law says chicken farmers who produce fewer than 1,000 birds a year are exempt from a law regulating slaughter and processing. It also makes food-safety classes optional, not required.
Health care executive nears lieutenant governor confirmation
DENVER — Health care executive Donna Lynne has completed her final confirmation hearing to be Colorado’s next lieutenant governor and appears to be headed to bipartisan support for taking the job.
Lynne talked about her ideas to make government more efficient during her final hearing Wednesday. A Senate committee approved her nomination 5-0, meaning one more vote by the full Senate is all that stands between Lynne and inauguration.
Lynne told senators she’d work to improve government efficiency. Gov. John Hickenlooper talked up Lynne’s experience — about 20 years in government service for New York City, and 20 years in the private sector.
Current Lt. Gov. Joe Garcia left state government to run a private higher-education group. Gov. John Hickenlooper nominated Lynne in March.
Medical pot ad limits await governor’s pen in Colorado
DENVER — An expanded limit on marijuana advertising awaits the governor’s signature in Colorado.
A bill saying that medical marijuana can’t be advertised to people under 21 passed the Senate 24-11 on Wednesday. A similar restriction already exists for recreational marijuana advertisers.
The House has already approved the expanded advertising restriction.
Sponsors call the expanded limit a commonsense safeguard to prevent underage pot consumption.
The industry does not oppose the bill, though the Colorado Press Association does. The CPA pointed out there’s no evidence anyone has ever aimed pot advertising at children, and that it can be problematic to define what content may appeal to those over 21 but also to children.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is expected to sign the bill into law.
Rocky Mountain Park will acquire 42-acre site with cabins
ESTES PARK, Colo. — Nonprofit groups and local governments say they’ve raised enough money to buy the largest privately owned land parcel inside Rocky Mountain National Park and will turn it over to the park.
The groups said Wednesday they paid $3.4 million for the 42-acre Cascade Cottages site on the park’s east side.
The Rocky Mountain Conservancy contributed $1.75 million. The Larimer County Open Lands Program, the town of Estes Park and the Estes Valley Land Trust also contributed.
The conservancy supports the park with fundraising and other activities. Most of the park is in Larimer County. Estes Park sits outside the park’s eastern boundary.
Park officials say they haven’t decided what will become of the cottages.
The same family had owned the land and cottages since 1941, offering them for summer rental.
Denver police officer arrested in sex assault case
DENVER — Authorities say a Denver police officer has been arrested on suspicion of sexual assault.
The police department said Wednesday that 31-year-old Davin Munk faces charges including multiple counts of sex assault and felony menacing stemming from an incident that happened while he was off-duty in late April.
Police say Munk, a 3-year veteran of the force who had been patrolling northeast Denver, has been suspended without pay pending the outcome of the criminal case.
Investigators say another Colorado police agency brought the case to their attention and they interviewed the victim Tuesday afternoon. Court records show he was being held in jail Wednesday on $650,000 bond. They don’t list an attorney who could comment on his behalf.
Colorado motorcycle deaths hit triple digits for 1st time
DENVER — A record number of people are believed to have died in motorcycle accidents in Colorado last year, surpassing the triple digit mark for the first time.
The Colorado Department of Transportation says preliminary data shows 106 motorcyclists died last year. That’s nearly 12 percent more than in 2014 and 20 percent more than in 2013.
The data shows that 94 percent of those who died were men and that 40 percent of the deaths happened in Denver, Jefferson and El Paso counties.
CDOT is revamping its campaign to encourage riders to take safety training courses as the weather warms up. This year’s Ride Wise campaign includes messages like “live free, die old” and “train for the wind, before you ride like it.”
Former Greeley teacher gets 7 years for sex with boy
GREELEY, Colo. — A former Greeley teacher accused of having sex with a middle school student between 40 and 50 times over the course of a year has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Prosecutors with the Weld County District Attorney’s Office say 25-year-old Katerina Bardos was sentenced Tuesday after previously pleading guilty to felony child abuse and attempting to commit sexual assault on a child.
Bardos was a teacher when she formed a relationship with a then 12-year-old boy, then fostered a close relationship with his mother and sisters.
Prosecutors say the teacher’s actions turned criminal in 2014 when she initiated an intimate relationship under the guise of being the boy’s mentor.
CSU officials ask students to avoid annual ‘Undie Run’
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — Colorado State University officials have warned students that police may intervene in the popular end-of-semester “Undie Run.”
The Coloradoan reports that scantily clad college students participate in the Undie Run in the name of charity, but administrators say the event is poorly organized and creates concerns about sexual harassment and public safety.
In a campus-wide email sent Tuesday, the schools Public Safety Team and dean of students wrote that anyone participating this year “takes a significant risk.”
The event is usually held the weekend before spring semester final exams — which are scheduled for next week. CSU says the run is not authorized by the university and does little, if anything, for charity.
The school says it has spent about $15,000 responding to the run each year.
Protesters vow to fight sit-lie ban
Some of the first people cited for violating the new so-called sit-lie ban in Colorado Springs are vowing to make their case before a jury.
Three people who were ticketed for sitting on the sidewalk during a protest of the ban last month pleaded not guilty before a municipal judge on Tuesday. One of the protesters, Trig Bundgaard, told The Gazette that he planned to use the case to highlight the treatment of homeless people.
The ordinance is formally called the Pedestrian Access Act. It prohibits sitting, kneeling, reclining or lying on sidewalks, curbs or alleys during certain times in parts of downtown and Old Colorado City. It was proposed after business owners complained about people loitering downtown.
If convicted, the protesters could be fined up to $500 each.
Colorado Springs houses largest firefighting plane in US
The nation’s largest firefighting aircraft has found a new home at the Colorado Springs Airport.
The Gazette reports that CEO and founder of Global SuperTanker Services LLC Jim Wheeler brought the Boeing 747-400 to the airport Tuesday. The converted freighter jet can carry up to 19,600 gallons of retardant or water for 4,000 miles.
Global SuperTanker had announced plans to base the aircraft in Colorado Springs in August. The airport was chosen for its low operating costs, ability to accommodate the wide-body jet and the city’s central location to fight wildfires throughout the western U.S.
Global SuperTanker conducted its first test flight by dropping water in southern Arizona Sunday.
Wheeler says it’ll take another several weeks before the aircraft is certified for firefighting use by the Federal Aviation Administration.
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