The Colorado News Roundup: Former CSU student sentenced for stealing ambulance (05.07.16) | SummitDaily.com

The Colorado News Roundup: Former CSU student sentenced for stealing ambulance (05.07.16)

Ambulance on Country Road

CRIME

FORT COLLINS, Colo. — A former Colorado State University student who stole an ambulance from campus, fled to Loveland and punched a sheriff's deputy has pleaded guilty to assault and motor vehicle theft.

The Coloradoan reports 20-year-old Stefan Sortland entered his plea Friday and was given a four-year deferred sentence. That means if he remains law abiding and follows the plea deal, he won't face prison.

Emergency crews were treating a patient when their ambulance was stolen Nov. 2, 2014.

The ambulance was tracked to Loveland, where police say they found Sortland standing next to the rig wearing an EMT vest. Officers shot him with a stun gun when he refused their commands, and he later punched a deputy who was delivering food in the county jail.

Sortland's attorney says his client is now on anti-psychotic medications.

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Man found dead in closet during Denver building fire ID'd

DENVER — Authorities have released the name of a man whose body was found by firefighters battling a blaze at a Denver building.

The Denver Post reports 29-year-old Shane Richardson's body was found in an apartment closet on the second floor of the building that houses Rosenberg's Bagels and Delicatessen. Investigators have not said how he died.

Firefighters were called to the building early Monday morning, and investigators believe the fire started on the second floor. Rosenberg's operates out of the building's first floor below the apartment.

Denver Fire spokeswoman Melissa Taylor has said it's unclear if Richardson died in the fire or before it began.

About 40 firefighters responded to the blaze, which caused extensive damage throughout the building.

EDUCATION

French, German majors suspended for a year at UNC

GREELEY, Colo. — Students will not be allowed to declare majors in French or German for at least a year at the University of Northern Colorado while it improves curriculum and course offerings and looks into a partnership with other departments.

The decision will not affect 26 current French majors or 21 German majors, and students will still be able to minor in French or German until the majors are restored.

UNC associate professor of French Lorie Sauble-Otto said the yearlong suspension could affect other students, including a K-12 licensure program in French and German.

Academic program review is a routine process, UNC spokesman Nate Haas said.

School officials were criticized last year after they announced a decision to pause admission into the Mexican-American studies major because there were only two students majoring in those studies. After a month of protests, the pause was lifted, the Greeley Tribune reported.

The protests did not affect the decision to restore the Mexican-American studies program, UNC Provost Robbyn Wacker said.

Wacker said upper division French and German courses, unlike upper division Mexican-American studies courses, are taught in those languages. Mexican-American studies provided an opportunity to recruit a greater variety of students into those upper division courses, she said.

The school did not provide data showing any significant increase in enrollment in Mexican-American studies versus French and German upper division courses, but Wacker said the suspension of French and German majors was a good decision.

"I think the focus of this is moving forward with programs that are low-enrolled, and providing them with the resources needed (to be successful)," Wacker said.

ENVIRONMENT

Experts expect post-El Nino dryness, urge conservation

DENVER — Water managers are pushing for conservation ahead of the dryness that can follow a wet El Nino winter.

The Denver Post reports data from the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows April snowfall brought the Colorado snowpack to 110 percent above normal.

District manager Eric Kuhn said the state should prepare to transition out of what he called a time of plenty.

Water levels on Lake Mead and Lake Powell remain very low.

Kuhn is among water managers laying out conservation measures.

Less Arizona and Utah dust has blown onto Colorado's snowpack so far. The highest point in the dust season is in April and May.

Denver Water spokeswoman Stacy Chesney says that with all other factors held constant, less dust can mean a slower and more predictable snowpack melt.

FROM THE ZOO

Denver Zoo euthanizes 40-year-old orangutan named Robin

DENVER — A 40-year-old orangutan that called the Denver Zoo home for 20 years has been euthanized because of health problems that weren't improving.

Zoo officials say the orangutan named Robin was experiencing extreme lethargy, lack of appetite and a loss of fine motor skills. He was put down Friday.

The Denver Post reports Robin was the second oldest orangutan in North American zoos — far exceeding the life expectancy of 27.7 years. He was born at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul, Minnesota, and was brought to the Denver Zoo in 1996.

Brian Aucone, vice president for animal care and conservation at the zoo, says "certainly the world is a lesser place without this beautiful creature."

The zoo still is home to three orangutans — 27-year-old Nias, 13-year-old Bernas and 5-year-old Hesty.

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