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Colorado economy accelerates in second quarter

Colorado’s economy grew at a 4.9-percent pace in the second quarter, its best showing since the third quarter of 2017, according to an update Wednesday from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis.
U.S. GDP rose 4.2 percent in the second quarter on an annualized basis. Increases in state GDP, adjusted for inflation, rose from a high of 6 percent in Texas to a low of 2.5 percent in Delaware. Colorado’s growth rate ranked fifth, ahead of Montana and behind Minnesota.
Michigan, normally a laggard, ranked second behind Texas, with Missouri, also not typically associated with robust activity, ranked third. Those two states benefited from a 7.3-percent jump in durable goods manufacturing activity during the quarter.
Gains in Texas were also aided by the surge in manufacturing, as well as an 11.7-percent jump in mining activity. Mining activity, which consists primarily of oil and gas production, also lifted growth rates in Alaska, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
Colorado also received a bump from oil and gas, but the biggest contributor to gains in the second quarter came from professional, scientific and technical services. Information, real estate and health care also contributed to gains. Finance and insurance, construction, wholesale trade and transportation and warehousing showed declines in activity during the quarter.


Former Brighton chamber president ordered to pay $112K in embezzlement case, gets no jail time

A former president of the Greater Brighton Chamber of Commerce was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years of probation and was ordered to pay $112,000 restitution for money that prosecutors said she embezzled from the city and chamber.
Holly Lynn Hansen, 45, also was sentenced to 90 days of home detention and 100 hours of community service by Adams District Chief Judge Patrick Murphy, according to the district attorney’s office. Hansen was ordered to write letters of apology to the chamber and the city.
Hansen pleaded guilty in September to felony forgery. As part of the sentence she must disclose her felony conviction to potential employers and she is barred from jobs in which she would work with money.
When the case came to light in December 2016, Hansen claimed she would put $100,000 in an escrow account to repay money back, according to a news release. That never happened, prosecutors said.
“This has been going on for two years with the expectation of payment of restitution that has never happened,” said Robyn Cafasso, senior deputy district attorney. “The carrot of money from the family home has been dangled throughout this case.”
But in August, sole ownership of the home was transferred to Hansen’s husband as part of a divorce agreement, the release said.
Cafasso argued for a jail sentence with work-release as a condition of probation.
Hansen was charged with 76 counts of theft, forgery and unauthorized use of a financial instrument to fraudulently obtain $112,000 from Brighton’s lodging tax grant program. The crimes were committed when she served as chamber president, from January 2014 to December 2016, the release stated.
Hansen used the money for travel, entertainment and various household expenses.
The charges were filed after an investigation by the Brighton police with the economic crime unit of the district attorney’s office.
Six chamber members and officers testified that Hansen lied to them repeatedly, abused their trust and nearly bankrupted the nonprofit, which is struggling to recover.
Amanda Griffin, a board member and business owner, said Hansen used her company’s name to submit $20,000 of phony invoices to the city.


Don’t miss this opportunity to keep Colorado’s wild lands wild

There’s a small, rapidly closing window of opportunity for pristine wilderness lands in southwestern Colorado to be protected, but it’ll take support from Republican lawmakers to slip the legislation through during this lame duck period following the midterms.
For years Colorado lawmakers have attempted to pass a version of the San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act. And as the Senate compiles a package of land bills to pass as omnibus legislation, there’s a chance it could finally get done. The areas in question include important drinking water watersheds, animal habitats, peaks that soar above 14,000 feet and the type of unblemished wilderness that has itself become an endangered specimen.
Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet re-introduced legislation this year to designate several strategically selected parcels of land — that together total 61,000 acres in southwest Colorado — as wilderness. That designation is the greatest protection available for our public lands.
But in order for Bennet’s San Juan Mountains Wilderness Act to get absorbed into a package of land bills that are likely to pass in the next few weeks, Republican Sen. Cory Gardner needs to sign onto the legislation.
The bill is currently in the U.S. Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources and Gardner is a member of that committee. While that doesn’t guarantee the legislation will pass, Gardner’s support would go a long way.
Gardner’s office told us he supports the effort behind the bill but has concerns. Rep. Scott Tipton, R-Cortez, has concerns too, his office says. All of the public lands in question are in Tipton’s congressional district.
We certainly don’t want to make light of those concerns, but this is a rare opportunity to pass a very good bill, that has made significant strides toward becoming perfect.
Concerns about water rights in the area have been completely addressed according to the Colorado River District.
The last remaining opposition to reducing the uses allowed on these lands comes from three organizations: the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Trail Preservation Alliance and the Colorado Snowmobile Association.
Scott Jones, president of the OHVC, says that while access to existing recreational trails used by motorized vehicles will be preserved, restrictions on trail maintenance will make it prohibitively difficult to maintain the trails and keep them open for generations to come. What’s the point in having wilderness areas if no one can enjoy them for recreation? (Jones also made some fair quips about the federal government’s problems keeping forests healthy).
But as population growth, tourist intrusions, and economic development pressures from oil and gas, mining and housing continue to mount, the West must get increasingly aggressive about protecting our remaining wild places.
These places are worthy of our protection: the soaring peaks north of Telluride in the Mount Sneffels Wilderness Area; the Sheep Mountain Special Management Area, which is the largest undeveloped roadless area that is not designated wilderness lands; the McKenna Peak Wilderness in Dolores County; and the Naturita Canyon in San Miguel County.
Now is the time to pass this legislation and preserve these crucial habitats for animals and protect these secluded public lands for recreational use.
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Sky-high praise: DIA ranked No. 1 large airport in the U.S. by Wall Street Journal

Denver International Airport has been known for a lot of things over its 28 years of departures and arrivals. The tented terminal building, cost overruns related to its automated baggage system, alleged secret bunkers, the list goes on.
As of this week, DIA can officially bill itself as the best big airport in the U.S., according to the Wall Street Journal anyway.
The venerable business-focused newspaper released its first-ever ranking of the nation’s 20 largest airports Wednesday. Drawing from a survey of 4,800 readers and weighing 15 airport measures including security wait times, average fares and arrival and departure time reliability, the paper crowned the “Mile-High Miracle” best in its class for air travel.
“Once a symbol of high cost and dysfunction, Denver soared in rankings of reliability, value and convenience,” reporter Scott McCartney wrote.
The three big categories McCartney mentioned each cover a combination of factors. Convenience scores measured Wi-Fi speeds, Yelp ratings on airport restaurants, in-building walking distances and the number of destinations available via direct flight. DIA was the only airport to score top four in all three.
When it comes to value, the Journal spotted a common trait among DIA, No 2 finisher Orlando International Airport and bronze-medal winner Phoenix’s Sky Harbor International Airport: competition among airlines. The story notes that DIA’s three big carriers — United, Southwest and Frontier — overlap on some routes. That contributes to an average fare of $299, $21 cheaper than the average at New York’s LaGuardia Airport (No. 18 on the list).
In speaking to the Journal, DIA CEO Kim Day said the three-airline mix means “no one gets to dominate the discussion and tell us what to do.”
Airport officials knew the Journal was working on a rankings, but were pleasantly surprised Wednesday when DIA touched down at No. 1.
“Obviously,  it’s something we’re very excited about and proud of,” spokeswoman Emily Williams said. “Our leadership team and the airport in general is focused on providing the best passenger experience and I think that is reflected in the Wall Street Journal ranking.”
Williams pointed out DIA is investing big bucks in customer experience. This summer the airport embarked on a 3 1/2 year, $650 million overhaul of its terminal building. A $1.5 billion expansion project that will add 39 new gates is also underway. How the work will impact convenience in the near term is yet to be seen.
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The Journal’s list may be new this year, but there is another set of rankings where DIA has consistently scored high: passenger traffic. The airport served more than 61.4 million people in 2017, according to Williams. That’s good for fifth most in the country. 2018 is on pace to be another record-breaking year, with as many as 64 million passengers expected to have come and gone once the year is through.
DIA does its biggest traffic in the summer, but the Thanksgiving travel season promises to be a busy one. In a recent analysis, travel site Hopper and travel insurance provider InsureMyTrip found DIA will be the fifth busiest in the country for the week of Thanksgiving, with more than 787,000 people scheduled to take outbound flights. The busiest time for local air traffic is 10 a.m.


In the White House, experience really does count

I covered a lot of campaigns this year and none was more exciting than Beto O’Rourke’s race for a U.S. senate seat in Texas. Richard Ojeda, an old-fashioned blue-collar Democratic House contender trying to persuade West Virginians to return to their political roots, was compelling, too. I was disappointed that both lost.
I’ve never met Howard Schultz, the former chairman of Starbucks, but he’s on my list of most admirable American chief executives. (I rarely miss a day at Starbucks.)
All three have signaled their interest in running for president in 2020. For all of them, it’s a bad idea. I want someone in the White House with experience and expertise in politics and governance.
O’Rourke, a Democrat, has served three terms in the House and was a city council member in El Paso, Texas, but lost his only statewide run. Ojeda is a one-term state legislator. Schultz has not run for public office at all. All three have valuable contributions to make, but no persuasive claim on the White House.
To those who question this premise, here’s a three-word response: President Donald Trump. Americans are paying an enormous price for electing a man who knows little and cares less about governance or politics. He’s hurting the country and the Republican Party he’s supposed to lead. After the electoral drubbing Republicans took last week as voters turned out in record numbers to register their disapproval of him, his analysis amounted to criticizing GOP candidates who lost on grounds that they “should have known that without Trump they were nothing.”
Democrats will have a robust 2020 presidential field. The most successful presidential candidates in modern times, Ronald Reagan and Barack Obama, had different levels of governing experience, but both won their parties’ nods against unusually big and heavyweight fields. Reagan had been a two-term California governor by the time he defeated Howard Baker, George W. Bush and John Connally in 1980. Obama, while still in his first term as a U.S. senator following seven years in the Illinois senate, dispatched Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden and John Edwards in 2008.
There are things to criticize about any of today’s major Democratic contenders. Maybe Biden has been around the track too much. Perhaps Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., is too liberal to win. Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City and founder of Bloomberg LP, parent company of Bloomberg Opinion, might struggle for support among the activist Democrats who tend to vote in primaries. Ex-Mayor Mitch Landrieu, D, of New Orleans hails from Cajun country, not normally a launching pad for national office.
But they and a number of others know about governance and politics and have succeeded at high government executive or legislative office.
Until the incumbent, there was only one 20th- or 21st-century president who lacked that kind of background: Dwight D. Eisenhower. But he was supreme allied commander in World War II, dealing and negotiating with giants like Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin and, on the military side, Bernard Montgomery, George Patton and Red Army General Georgy Zhukov. That was pretty good preparation to be a world political leader.
The presidency requires some skills that don’t come naturally to newcomers. Even shrewd politicos like Bill Clinton made big rookie mistakes in the White House. If you haven’t played at a high level, the Oval Office is not the venue for on-the-job training.
The clamor to find a shining knight who’s not tainted by politics is dangerously naive. In any field, knowledge and experience matter. If a leading neurosurgeon is leaving your hospital, do you want fresh hands with no surgical background? The New York Giants are a terrible football team this year; should they turn the coaching reins over to a financial executive or a state legislator?
The stakes for picking a president are larger. The past two years shows the perils of inexperience — and in this case also ignorance — when it comes to filling the most powerful post in the world.
Albert R. Hunt is a Bloomberg Opinion columnist covering politics and policy. He was the executive editor of Bloomberg News, before which he was a reporter, bureau chief and executive Washington editor at the Wall Street Journal.
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Analysis: MLB, USA Baseball streamlining scouting of top high school players with Prospect Development Pipeline League

On Monday, Major League Baseball made its boldest move yet to streamline the scouting of the country’s elite high school talent by announcing the launch of the Prospect Development Pipeline League.
The league is an expansion of Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) program, which is a collaboration between MLB and USA Baseball to scout and develop the top high school baseball players for the upcoming draft. Hence, the PDP League will be a development and showcase experience for approximately 80 of the top high school baseball players in the nation ahead of the 2020 draft.
Taking place from mid-June to early July 2019 at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., the league will also be the main identification opportunity for the USA Baseball 18U National Team. In addition, it will serve as a feeder for a new showcase game featuring the best high school players during All-Star week in an exhibition similar to the concept of the Futures Game.
“The PDP League will provide these players, the majority of whom will be in consideration for the following year’s MLB Draft, with the most dynamic, development-focused experience available to high school baseball athletes,” MLB senior vice president Morgan Sword said in a statement.

And in a youth club baseball landscape dominated by Perfect Game and other similar third-party scouting circuits, the league’s launch all but ensures the nation’s most renowned prep talent will be amassing in Bradenton for three weeks. In the last two drafts since the PDP’s inception, 212 players who participated in PDP events were selected.
The exact effect on how it could shake up Colorado’s club baseball scene is yet to be seen until the invitations to the league are handed out, but the ripple locally is likely to be minimal.
Despite an uptick in the state churning out major league-caliber players over the past decade — most notably pitchers such as Kyle Freeland and Kevin Gausman —  and the 30 Colorado prep products who have participated in the PDP since its launch, the state’s top-tier summer clubs teams aren’t going to get plundered. Rather, it’ll be a situation where perhaps one or two elite players from the state earn invites to the PDP League.


Spider-Man Turf Wars Part 2 Trailer Revealed, Shows Off Villain Hammerhead

The first Spider-Man Turf Wars Part 2 trailer has been released, showing off a teasing plot summary of the game’s second upcoming DLC. It also brings up a new villain to the game, specifically Hammerhead. The DLC will be coming out on November 20, so you’d best finish up the first part soon.
The Turf Wars DLC packs that have been coming as Spider-Man’s DLC since it released in September have been adding a lot more content to the game with each release. Spider-Man Turf Wars Part 2 will be adding new criminal bases to dismantle, new crimes to solve, new challenges to do, and a new set of trophies to unlock. And that’s not getting into the villain, Hammerhead.
While the game’s first DLC pack, called The Heist, added in a similar amount of content, along with introducing players to Spider-Man’s frequent frenemy, Black Cat. While Hammerhead is on nowhere near-as-good terms as Black Cat with Spider Man, there’s no reason that he can’t also be a compelling villain as he attempts to exert his control over New York’s under world.
Along with all of the other new content, Spider-Man will also be getting new suits. The Iron Spider suit from the original Avengers comic will now be available (since you can already war the Infinity War movie suit), along with the Spider-Armor Mark I to round out the set already in the game. The third suit will be the Spider-Clan suit, and it hails from the Marvel Mangaverse.
The game’s trailer can be found on the official Playstation YouTube page, but if that doesn’t satisfy you, the Spider-Man Turf Wars Part 2 DLC will be coming out, once again, on November 20. That’s next Tuesday in case you’re wondering. In the meantime, if you’re running around looking for more stuff to do in New York City, then Turf Wars will give you at least a bit more to do.
The post Spider-Man Turf Wars Part 2 Trailer Revealed, Shows Off Villain Hammerhead appeared first on SegmentNext.


Battlefield 5 First Update Is Out, But Surprisingly Small; Just Graphics And Tweaks

Battlefield 5 has been available to play several days now for those that pre-ordered it and got the game’s early access, and now the Battlefield 5 first update is out, showing off the first update that’s being made by DICE to help the game get rid of bugs, balancing, and up its graphics.
Graphics and tweaks were the main focus of this surprisingly small update, which were addressed towards high-end graphics cards and a few tweaks to the game’s Airborne mode. Airborne mode has players parachuting out of a plane in order to get down into the battle, and be able to land anywhere they want.
The Battlefield 5 first update, despite including the tweaks for Airborne mode, seems to mainly be geared towards PC players, specifically because of the game updating to be able to work with other more high-end graphics cards. Considering how good Battlefield games normally look, PC players being able to get everything they can get out of their graphics cards is very important.
Specifically, the Battlefield 5 first update allows ray tracing into the game, but that seems to be the only one. Otherwise, Airborne tweaks include something that was done to the anti-aircraft guns of the defenders in Airborne, apparently to increase the balance on the game and make it either easier or harder for defenders on the ground to pick off paratroopers.
At least one other big change, specifically, was a server bug that was keeping players from being able to revive one another when they were downed, so hopefully that will also be fixed.
While these seem like some negligible bugs and balance changes, the fact that this update was rolled out the day before Battlefield 5 comes out for other players is still an important change, especially with the revival bug. Either way, Battlefield 5 comes out tomorrow for the Xbox One, Playstation 4, and PC.
The post Battlefield 5 First Update Is Out, But Surprisingly Small; Just Graphics And Tweaks appeared first on SegmentNext.


Teen pleads guilty in Colorado Springs middle school shooting plot

COLORADO SPRINGS — One of two teenage boys accused of plotting to kill people at their middle school in Colorado Springs last year has pleaded guilty.
The 15-year-old entered the guilty plea Wednesday and was sentenced to five years in a juvenile corrections facility.
Police have said the teens, who were 13 years old at the time and were students at Sabin Middle School, had established a “kill list” and were messaging each other to decide how to carry out the attack. They said the teens were “infatuated” with those behind the Columbine High School massacre.
An adult who overheard other children talking about the situation contacted police, and the boys were arrested in October 2017.
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Broncos Briefs: “Whatever-it-takes time,” with seven games left, Case Keenum says

Following practice on Wednesday, Broncos quarterback Case Keenum accurately described the team’s sense of urgency sitting with a 3-6 record.
“It’s whatever-it-takes time,” Keenum said. “It’s hold-nothing-back time. It’s fire-all-the-bullets-in-the-chamber (time) – whatever cliché you want to use.
“It’s time. I think, as a team (and) as an offense, that’s where we’re at.”
Time, though, is likely out for the Broncos to make December football interesting, their current six losses in seven games crippling their playoff chances.
Keenum has some momentum, though. Against Houston in Week 9, he had his first turnover-free game. The 100 passer rating remains elusive (none this season), but Keenum has reached 90 in four of the last five games.
“We want to improve the things we’re doing well and really want to make sure we shore up the things we’re maybe struggling at,” Keenum said. “(The coaches) have a great plan. From the bye week to setting this week up, it’s been a good couple weeks. I’m excited to get going again.”
Several players return. The Broncos’ return to practice was highlighted by several players being available to work.
Running back Royce Freeman (ankle), cornerback Bradley Roby (ankle), receiver DaeSean Hamilton (knee) and safety Darian Stewart were all listed as limited participants. Freeman, Hamilton and Stewart have missed the last two games and Roby was out for the Houston loss. Linebacker Joseph Jones (foot) was also limited.
Linebacker Brandon Marshall (knee) and safety Dymonte Thomas (ankle) did side-field conditioning work but missed practice.
Happy for call. Center Gino Gradkowski started his second tour with the team on Monday. He will serve as Connor McGovern’s backup. Gradkowski, 30, was living in New Jersey following his release by the New York Jets in training camp.
“I was actually getting to the point where I was considering moving on,” he said. “I was close to my alma mater at Delaware and thinking about getting down there to work in their athletic department and see what I could do after football. But the call (from the Broncos) came at the perfect time and I’m so glad to be back in it.”
Gradkowski has been with Baltimore (2012-14), the Broncos and Atlanta (2015), Carolina (2016-17) and the Jets. He has 20 career starts.
“I’m used to bouncing around and getting used to different systems,” he said. “A lot of the calls are very similar and a lot of the plays are the same, it’s just the terminology I have to get used to.”
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Chargers “rolling.” The Chargers’ six-game winning streak is their longest since 2006 and their offense has been both explosive (50 plays of at least 20 yards, third-most in the league) and sound (seven turnovers, tied for the fewest).
“I think it starts with the quarterback; it always does,” said Broncos coach Vance Joseph, referring to Philip Rivers. “The last couple of years with Philip, he would make some big plays but he would give away some plays also. But he’s not doing that. He’s playing smart, efficient football. … It’s an offense that’s rolling.”
Peko nominated. Broncos nose tackle Domata Peko is the team’s nominee for the 2018 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award. A panel from the NFL Legends Community will select eight finalists (four from each conference). Players will then vote for the winner, which will be announced Feb. 2 in Atlanta. The four previous winners are Larry Fitzgerald, Charles Woodson, Frank Gore and Luke Kuechly..