Monthly Archive November 2018


Denver Kids Inc. stays with students for the long haul

Trinity Maes’ world changed in third grade when her mom died.
She was overwhelmed by loss, grief and frustration. Her father worked all the time so Trinity stayed at the homes of a rotating group of friends. She missed school frequently, lashing out when she was in class.
Then Trinity was matched with Kate Kratofil, an education counselor with the nonprofit organization Denver Kids Inc.
Everything changed.
“She started to learn how to process that grief,” said Bridget Boyd, spokeswoman for Denver Kids. “She adopted positive behavioral strategies, and started reigning in those outbursts. Kate really helped Trinity learn some of these life skills and it helped her emotions stabilize.”
Since 1946, Denver Kids has provided long term, one-on-one counseling and mentoring to over 1,000 Denver Public School students such as Trinity in grades kindergarten through 12th.
The nonprofit organization provides support to kids challenged by poverty, helping students in the classroom and preparing them for college and careers. The long-term model means students stay with these full-time counselors for an average of seven years.
Social emotional learning is at the core of the organization’s creed. A growing trend in education across the county, SEL teaches social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making.
“These skills are necessary to be prepared for the workforce and play a positive role in society,” Boyd said.

Denver Kids, Inc.
Address: 1860 Lincoln St. Denver, CO 80203
In operation since: 1946
Number of Employees: 29
Annual budget: $2,999,892
Percentage that goes directly to client services: 80 percent
Number of clients served in 2018: 1,042

Staying in school is a big part of that. The majority of the program’s graduates are the first in their family to complete high school. Ninety-three percent go to college.
But for many of these kids, the future can be hard to picture. College? Careers? With a torrent of more pressing daily obstacles, dealing with the here and now is often hard enough.
Denver Kids Inc., hopes to give students like Trinity the freedom to dream bigger.
“Denver Kids can provide the first opportunity for these kids to harness their imagination,” Boyd said. “It’s getting them to take the future in focus, without limits.”


Russell Wilson caps Seattle’s rally past Green Bay for 27-24 win

SEATTLE — After a shaky beginning, Russell Wilson got hot in the fourth quarter and kept the Seattle Seahawks in the middle of the NFC playoff race.
Wilson threw for 225 yards and his 15-yard touchdown pass to Ed Dickson with 5:08 left was the difference in the Seahawks’ 27-24 victory over the Green Bay Packers on Thursday night.
In a key matchup in the battle for the two NFC wild-card spots, Seattle (5-5) snapped a two-game losing streak by overcoming an early 14-3 deficit. Wilson was shaky at times early game, but was outstanding in the fourth quarter, capping the winning drive by recognizing a blitz and hitting Dickson quickly for his second TD pass of the night. Seattle still has not lost three straight games since the middle of the 2011 season.
Aaron Rodgers had a huge first half for Green Bay (4-5-1) and threw for 332 yards, but the Packers had just one scoring drive in the second half, helped by a 57-yard strike from Rodgers to Davante Adams. Rodgers threw a pair of touchdown passes in the first half, but never got the ball back after Green Bay punted with 4:20 left.
Seattle ran out the clock thanks to a pair of runs from Mike Davis.
Chris Carson rushed for 83 yards and a touchdown, overcoming the mistake of fumbling on the first play of the game and setting up Green Bay’s opening score. Tyler Lockett had two key receptions late in the fourth quarter and Doug Baldwin had his first TD catch of the season for Seattle.
Rodgers was 21-of-30 passing with 10 of those going to Adams for 166 yards receiving. Backup tight end Robert Tonyan had the first catch of his career go for a 54-yard touchdown to give Green Bay an early 14-3 lead. The Packers led 21-17 at halftime after Jones caught a 24-yard TD pass from Rodgers in the final minute of the half, but Green Bay’s offense was stymied in the second half.
The Packers gained just 114 yards in the second half, half coming on the one throw from Rodgers to Adams. That pass set up Mason Crosby’s 36-yard field goal with 8:23 left, but Wilson had one more answer.
Wilson hit Lockett on consecutive plays for 18 yards — to convert a third-down — and 34 yards to the Green Bay 16. Two plays later, facing another third-and-long, Wilson recognized the blitz and hit Dickson quickly over the middle to put Seattle in front.
That proved to be enough. On Green Bay’s next drive, Rodgers short-hopped a pass on third-and-2. Rather than going for it on fourth-down, Mike McCarthy opted to punt despite having just one time out. Seattle never gave the ball back.
Green Bay was down four starters with CB Kevin King, S Kentrell Brice, LB Nick Perry and WR Randall Cobb all out due to injuries. They lost two more in the first half when Bashaud Breeland — starting for King — aggravated a groin injury and Jimmy Graham injured his thumb. Graham had a 13-yard reception on Green Bay’s first offensive play in his return to Seattle, but that was his only catch.
Related Articles

Broncos briefs: Key to halting Chargers’ offense is limiting first-down success

Thanksgiving football games: NFL and college matchups to watch on TV

Broncos podcast: Defensive story lines, MVP and more Denver analysis through the bye week

Broncos’ Royce Freeman working toward healthy return at Chargers

Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers impressed by Miller/Chubb pass rush duo

Mike Daniels suffered a foot injury early in the second half and backup safety Raven Greene suffered an ankle injury. Neither returned.
Packers: At Minnesota on Nov. 25.
Seahawks: At Carolina on Nov. 25.


Acting AG Matt Whitaker told Lindsey Graham that Mueller probe to go on, AP source says

WASHINGTON — Acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker told Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham in a meeting on Thursday that special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation will proceed, according to a person familiar with the meeting.
The meeting with Graham and Whitaker comes as a bipartisan group of senators is pushing legislation to protect Mueller’s job. The senators are concerned about Whitaker’s past criticism of the Mueller probe, which is looking at Russian interference in the 2016 election and ties to President Donald Trump’s campaign. Trump appointed Whitaker as acting attorney general last week.
Whitaker told Graham the investigation would be allowed to proceed, the person said. The person wasn’t authorized to speak publicly about the meeting and spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from overseeing the Mueller investigation.
A Justice Department spokeswoman said earlier this week that Whitaker will follow Justice Department protocols and consult with senior ethics officials “on his oversight responsibilities and matters that may warrant recusal.”
Democrats have also called for the special counsel bill to be added to a year-end spending bill that must pass in December to avoid a partial government shutdown. The bipartisan legislation, introduced more than a year ago, would give any special counsel a 10-day window to seek expedited judicial review of a firing and put into law existing Justice Department regulations that a special counsel can only be fired for good cause.
On Wednesday, Republican Sen. Jeff Flake said he would not vote to confirm judicial nominees unless GOP leaders hold a vote on the Mueller protection legislation.
Whitaker is now overseeing the Mueller probe, which had previously been overseen by Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein told Congress that he saw no reason to fire Mueller.
Related Articles

Judge says Florida election problems make it a “laughingstock”

Trump torpedoed Colorado Republicans’ appeal to unaffiliated voters, new post-election poll says

Disney World bans man for life for holding up “Trump 2020” banner on Splash Mountain

Michael Avenatti arrested in LA on domestic violence charge

Flake vows to oppose judges unless Mueller bill gets a vote

Recently ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions had recused himself from overseeing Mueller because he had worked on Trump’s Republican campaign — a decision that infuriated Trump and led to Sessions resigning at the president’s request.
Trump has repeatedly criticized Mueller and called the investigation a hoax.
He tweeted Thursday that the probe is “A TOTAL WITCH HUNT LIKE NO OTHER IN AMERICAN HISTORY!”


Monte Morris earns start as Nuggets pound Hawks to snap four-game losing streak

Jamal Murray stood facing the Nuggets’ bench, waiting to greet Monte Morris as the latter was being introduced prior to his first career start on Thursday.
What followed was a handshake routine and later, an end to the Nuggets’ four-game losing streak.
The Nuggets drilled the Atlanta Hawks 138-93 behind an unselfish offensive onslaught to improve to 10-5. Nikola Jokic nearly had a triple-double, logging 12 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and the Nuggets got double-digit efforts from seven other players. Juan Hernangomez had a team-high 25, and Morris finished with eight points and two assists in 29 steady minutes. He also helped limit Hawks sharpshooter Trae Young to just six points on 2 for 11 shooting.
Even though Nuggets coach Michael Malone had been pleased with his team’s recent starts, he declined to tip his hand and reveal any change to the starting lineup prior to the game.
“I’m comfortable with our starting group,” he said. “Changing the starting lineup is not going to be the answer to us being a better defensive team.”
Regardless of who was in the starting lineup, the Nuggets desperately needed a win heading into a difficult three-game road trip with stops in New Orleans, Milwaukee and Minnesota. Their free-flowing offense led to 34 assists on 56 percent shooting.
“Our guys understand the sense of urgency,” Malone said. “We’re all frustrated, which is good. We should be frustrated.
Morris, just 17 games into his career, showed his savvy early in the third quarter when he received a pass from Jokic in the corner, pumped faked past a defender and buried a baseline jumper. Moments later he baited Hawks big man Alex Len into a charge as the Nuggets continued to bolster their lead.
With the lead well in hand, Jokic even got a little loose with his passing when he whipped a behind-the-back pass to Hernangomez, who couldn’t convert an open 3-pointer. The Nuggets still cracked the game wide open in the third quarter, outscoring the Hawks 36-16, and Morris was the first to Murray after a last-second 3-pointer rimmed out that would’ve made the margin even more jarring.
Their 9-1 start gave way to a demoralizing four-game losing streak, featuring blown leads and a porous defense. Malone’s one wish heading into Thursday was to regain the defensive foundation that formed the NBA’s best defense less than a week ago.
Related Articles

Nuggets’ Paul Millsap: “Offense doesn’t matter” right now

Nuggets’ Malone on four-game losing streak: Nothing’s coming easy

Nuggets’ Monte Morris: The Rockets wanted it more

Nuggets fall to Rockets in fourth consecutive defeat

Nuggets Mailbag: How good is rookie Michael Porter Jr. going to be?

“Even when we weren’t making shots, we were winning games with our defense,” Malone said. “Although that may not be aesthetically pleasing to some people, I really don’t care.”
Not only did the Nuggets hold the Hawks to 43 percent shooting from the field in the first half, they had five guys in double figures and held a 73-57 lead. Led by Murray’s 14, including 3 of 4 on 3-pointers, Harris and Jokic had 12 each to build a comfortable cushion. The Hawks, who had lost nine of 10 games entering Thursday, were abysmal from 3-point range despite their reliance on the outside shot.
To Murray’s credit, he stayed engaged from the outset and was supportive of his teammates.
It’s difficult to argue with the Nuggets’ lineup change after they started the game on a 13-0 run. Whether it was a product of Morris’ start or not, the Nuggets were well spaced and got into their offensive sets quickly. He also didn’t turn the ball over, which was a concern with Murray. Morris handled point guard duties when the two shared the court later in the first quarter, and he nearly found Murray for a difficult reverse layup that barely missed.


California town’s wildfire evacuation plan raises questions

MAGALIA, Calif. — Ten years ago, as two wildfires advanced on Paradise, residents jumped into their vehicles to flee and got stuck in gridlock. That led authorities to devise a staggered evacuation plan — one that they used when fire came again last week.
But Paradise’s carefully laid plans quickly devolved into a panicked exodus on Nov. 8. Some survivors said that by the time they got warnings, the flames were already extremely close, and they barely escaped with their lives. Others said they received no warnings at all.
Now, with at least 63 people dead and more than 630 perhaps unaccounted for in the nation’s deadliest wildfire in a century, authorities are facing questions of whether they took the right approach.
It’s also a lesson for other communities across the West that could be threatened as climate change and overgrown forests contribute to longer, more destructive fire seasons .
Reeny Victoria Breevaart, who lives in Magalia, a forested community of 11,000 people north of Paradise, said she couldn’t receive warnings because cellphones weren’t working. She also lost electrical power.
Just over an hour after the first evacuation order was issued at 8 a.m., she said, neighbors came to her door to say: “You have to get out of here.”
Shari Bernacett, who with her husband managed a mobile home park in Paradise where they also lived, received a text ordering an evacuation. “Within minutes the flames were on top of us,” she said.
Bernacett packed two duffel bags while her husband and another neighbor knocked on doors, yelling for people to get out. The couple grabbed their dog and drove through 12-foot (4-meter) flames to escape.
In the aftermath of the disaster, survivors said authorities need to devise a plan to reach residents who can’t get a cellphone signal in the hilly terrain or don’t have cellphones at all.
In his defense, Butte County Sheriff Kory Honea said evacuation orders were issued through 5,227 emails, 25,643 phone calls and 5,445 texts, in addition to social media and the use of loudspeakers. As cellphone service went down, authorities went into neighborhoods with bullhorns to tell people to leave, and that saved some lives.
Honea said he was too busy with the emergency and the recovery of human remains to analyze how the evacuation went. But he said it was a big, chaotic, fast-moving situation, and there weren’t enough law enforcement officers to go out and warn everyone.
“The fact that we have thousands and thousands of people in shelters would clearly indicate that we were able to notify a significant number of people,” the sheriff said.
Officials also were scrambling to pinpoint everyone’s whereabouts, and Honea said the high number of missing people probably included some who fled the blaze and didn’t realize they had been reported missing. He added that authorities were making the list public so people could see if they were on it and let authorities know they were safe.
Some evacuees were staying in tents and cars at a Walmart parking lot and in a nearby field in Chico, though volunteers planning to close the makeshift shelter by Sunday were working to transition people to other locations.
A Sunday closure “gives us enough time to maybe figure something out,” said Mike Robertson, an evacuee who arrived there on Monday with his wife and two daughters.
On Thursday, firefighters reported progress in battling the nearly 220-square-mile (570-square-kilometer) blaze that displaced 52,000 people and destroyed more than 9,500 homes. It was 40 percent contained, fire officials said. Crews slowed the flames’ advance on populated areas.
California Army National Guard members, wearing white jump suits, looked for human remains in the burned rubble, among more than 450 rescue workers assigned to the task.
President Donald Trump plans to travel to California on Saturday to visit victims of the wildfires burning at both ends of the state. Trump is unpopular in much of Democratic-leaning California but not in Butte County, which he carried by 4 percentage points over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election.
The Paradise fire once again underscored shortcomings in warning systems.
Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in September requiring the development of statewide guidelines for Amber Alert-like warnings. A few Northern California communities are moving to install sirens after some wine country residents complained they didn’t receive warnings to evacuate ahead of a deadly wildfire in October 2017 that destroyed 5,300 homes.
In 2008, the pair of wildfires that menaced Paradise destroyed 130 homes. No one was seriously hurt, but the chaos highlighted the need for a plan.
Paradise sits on a ridge between two higher hills, with only one main exit out of town. The best solution seemed to be to order evacuations in phases, so people didn’t get trapped.
“Gridlock is always the biggest concern,” said William Stewart, a forestry professor at the University of California, Berkeley.
Authorities developed an evacuation plan that split the town of 27,000 into zones and called for a staggered exodus. Paradise even conducted a mock evacuation during a morning commute, turning the main thoroughfare into a one-way street out of town.
Last week, when a wind-whipped fire bore down on the town, the sheriff’s department attempted an orderly, phased evacuation, instead of blasting a cellphone alert over an entire area.
Phil John, chairman of the Paradise Ridge Fire Safe Council, defended the evacuation plan he helped develop. John said that the wildfire this time was exceptionally fast-moving and hot, and that no plan was going to work perfectly.
When the fire reached the eastern edge of Paradise, six zones were ordered to clear out about 8 a.m. But almost simultaneously, the gusting winds were carrying embers the size of dinner plates across town, and structures were catching fire throughout the city. Less than an hour later, the entire town was ordered evacuated.
“It didn’t work perfectly,” John said Thursday. “But no one could plan for a fire like that.”
Likewise, Stewart, the forestry professor, said the wildfire that hit Paradise disrupted the orderly evacuation plan because it “was moving too fast. All hell broke loose.”
Satellite images show half the town on fire less than two hours after the first evacuation order.
Stewart said experts continue to debate how best to issue evacuation orders and no ideal solution has been found.
At the other end of the state, meanwhile, crews continued to gain ground against a blaze of more than 153 square miles (396 square kilometers) that destroyed over 500 structures in Malibu and other Southern California communities. At least three deaths were reported.
Associated Press writers Janie Har and Olga R. Rodriguez in San Francisco, Amy Taxin in Santa Ana, California and Andrew Selsky in Salem, Oregon, contributed to this report.


Bitter battle for Florida Senate seat goes to hand recount

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Florida’s acrimonious battle for the U.S. Senate headed Thursday to a legally required hand recount after an initial review by ballot-counting machines showed Republican Gov. Rick Scott and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson separated by less than 13,000 votes.
But the highly watched contest for governor between Republican Ron DeSantis and Democrat Andrew Gillum appeared to be over, with a machine recount showing DeSantis with a large enough advantage over Gillum to avoid a hand recount in that race.
Gillum, who conceded the contest on Election Night only to retract his concession later, said in a statement that “it is not over until every legally casted vote is counted.”
The recount so far has been fraught with problems. One large Democratic stronghold in South Florida was unable to finish its machine recount by the Thursday deadline due to machines breaking down. A federal judge rejected a request to extend the recount deadline.
“We gave a heroic effort,” said Palm Beach Supervisor of Elections Susan Bucher. If the county had three or four more hours, it would have made the deadline to recount ballots in the Senate race, she said.
Meanwhile, election officials in another urban county in the Tampa Bay area decided against turning in the results of their machine recount, which came up with 846 fewer votes than originally counted. Media in South Florida reported that Broward County finished its machine recount but missed the deadline by a few minutes.
Counties were ordered this past weekend to do a machine recount of three statewide races because the margins were so tight. The next stage is a manual review of ballots that were not counted by machines to see if there is a way to figure out voter intent.
Scott called on Nelson to end the recount battle.
It’s time for Nelson “to respect the will of the voters and graciously bring this process to an end rather than proceed with yet another count of the votes — which will yield the same result and bring more embarrassment to the state that we both love and have served,” the governor said in a statement.
The recount has triggered multiple lawsuits, many of them filed by Nelson and Democrats. The legal battles drew the ire of U.S. District Judge Mark Walker, who slammed the state for repeatedly failing to anticipate election problems. He also said the state law on recounts appears to violate the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that decided the presidency in 2000.
“We have been the laughingstock of the world, election after election, and we chose not to fix this,” Walker said during a morning hearing.
Walker vented his anger at state lawmakers and Palm Beach County officials, saying they should have made sure they had enough equipment in place to handle this kind of a recount. But he said he could not extend the recount deadline because he did not know when Palm Beach County would finish its work.
“This court must be able to craft a remedy with knowledge that it will not prove futile,” Walker wrote in his ruling turning down the request from Democrats. “It cannot do so on this record. This court does not and will not fashion a remedy in the dark.”
The overarching problem was created by the Florida Legislature, which Walker said passed a recount law that appears to run afoul of the 2000 Bush v. Gore decision, by locking in procedures that do not allow for potential problems.
A total of six election-related lawsuits are pending in federal court in Tallahassee as well at least one lawsuit filed in state court.
Walker also ordered that voters be given until 5 p.m. Saturday to show a valid identification and fix their ballots if they have not been counted due to mismatched signatures. Republicans appealed the ruling, but an appeals court turned down the request.
State officials testified that nearly 4,000 mailed-in ballots were set aside because local officials decided the signatures on the envelopes did not match the signatures on file. If those voters can prove their identity, their votes will now be counted and included in final official returns due from each county by noon Sunday.
Walker was asked by Democrats to require local officials to provide a list of people whose ballots were rejected. But the judge appointed by President Barack Obama refused the request, calling it “inappropriate.”
Related Articles

Once 9,000 votes behind, Jefferson County’s $567 million school bond issue passes by 1,537

The Spot: Could a fix to Colorado’s “fiscal thicket” be sitting on Hickenlooper’s desk?

Trump torpedoed Colorado Republicans’ appeal to unaffiliated voters, new post-election poll says

Jefferson County school superintendent “confident” $567 million bond measure will squeak out a win

Adams County ends temporary halt on oil and gas permit applications

Under state law, a hand review is required with races that have a margin of 0.25 percentage points or less. A state website put the unofficial results showing Scott ahead of Nelson by 0.15 percentage points. The margin between DeSantis and Gillum was 0.41 percent.
The margin between Scott and Nelson had not changed much in the last few days, conceded Marc Elias, an attorney working for Nelson’s campaign. But he said that he expected the vote tally to shrink due to the hand recount and the ruling on signatures.
The developments fueled frustrations among Democrats and Republicans alike. Democrats want state officials to do whatever it takes to make sure every eligible vote is counted. Republicans, including President Donald Trump, have argued without evidence that voter fraud threatens to steal races from the GOP.
Associated Press writer Tamara Lush contributed to this story from St. Petersburg, while Associated Press writer Kelli Kennedy contributed from Fort Lauderdale.


Man tries to force child into car in Arapahoe County, but boy is able to flee to safety

Police are looking for a man who tried to abduct a child Thursday morning in Arapahoe County.
The incident happened at about 8:10 a.m. in the 7300 block of East Harvard Avenue, according to the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office.
The juvenile male victim was walking east when a white Toyota Corolla drove past, the driver stopped, and reversed back towards him, the sheriff’s office said. The driver got out of the Toyota and attempted to force the victim into the car. The juvenile was able to flee.
Deputies responded to a report of the incident at about 9 a.m., going to Prairie Middle School, 12600 E. Jewell Ave., according to the release.
A search of the area was undertaken, no suspect was found.
The sheriff’s office described the suspect as a bald white man in his 50s, about 5-foot-11 with a medium build and a trimmed, brown beard. He was wearing a short-sleeve, button-down shirt.
Related Articles

Uber driver accused of kidnapping Golden teen, kissing girl against her will

Man allegedly kidnapped victim at knife point in Denver, forced him to drive around the city for hours

Man wanted in alleged kidnapping attempt on Denver’s 16th Street Mall

Suspect in armed Boulder hostage standoff was not legally permitted to have a gun

At least six Arvada officers present when police fatally shot suspect in Wheat Ridge, officials say


Kiszla: After another NFL season gone bad for Broncos, should team rebuild by trading Von Miller?

Should Broncos linebacker Von Miller stay, or should he go?
It’s the most critical question remaining in another NFL season gone bad for Denver.
Since signing a mega-contract that made him the league’s highest-paid defensive player in 2016, Miller has lived up to his end of the bargain, recording 32.5 sacks in 41 games. But, in those games, Denver’s record is a lousy 17-24.
“It’s a quarterbacks’ league,” Miller said Thursday.
Ain’t that the truth? Despite trying mightily for three seasons, Miller has failed to make Denver a regular playoff participant.
Vance Joseph is widely regarded in Broncos Country as a lame-duck coach. After only nine starts, Case Keenum is already viewed as the starting quarterback only until John Elway can find a better answer.
Miller tells jokes and sacks the quarterback. He’s all-pro at both jobs. If you’re Miller, it beats working. But is this working out for Denver?
The Broncos need to rebuild. Isn’t that obvious to the rest of us, even if Elway is reluctant to admit it?
What’s less than crystal clear: Could the team rebuild faster around Miller, who celebrates his 30th birthday in March? Or would trading Miller be the first big step in a slow climb back to championship contention?
That Denver is 98 percent certain to miss the playoffs in three straight seasons for the first time since 2010 is not Miller’s fault. But has the $114.5 million given Miller as a very tangible reward for being the most valuable player of Super Bowl 50 been money well spent?
We judge NFL coaches and quarterbacks on wins and losses. Our critiques of Miller are more lenient. Maybe that’s only fair, because it’s far harder for an outside linebacker to consistently exert influence on the final score of the game.
Is that frustrating to Miller?
“Like you said, I’m not a quarterback,” Miller replied. “I’m not throwing the ball around; I’m not waiting for guys to get open, and I can’t scramble around and make a play on my feet. There’s only so much I can do. It’s either run over the guy or run around the guy. Sometimes they make it hard to do both, so I’ve just got to try to do what I can. If I can’t rush the passer, then I’ve got to play the run. If they’re running the ball away, then I’ve got to chase the ball down and try to get a strip or whatever. That’s just the life that I chose.”
While it sometimes frustrates me Miller is not more of a kick-butt, take-names leader, the linebacker is always true to himself. He visited the Houston locker room after a recent loss to the Texans, because wishing former teammate Demaryius Thomas well is what was in Miller’s generous heart.
“I don’t think anybody’s good after a loss, especially in pro sports,” Miller said. “If you’re in Little League and you lose, you tell the kids: ‘Oh, you guys won. You won in your heart. Next time.’ Even in college, you blame it on the coach, the scheme or the recruits: ‘Next year, we’re going to be good. We’re going to get this coach in here and we’re going to be good’ … In the pros, it’s about the players.”
So when the Broncos lose, Miller blames himself. What’s genuinely irritating to me is how all the NFL rules are tilted against any defensive player being anywhere near as dominant as a quarterback, no matter how much money Jacksonville pays Calais Campbell or how long J.J. Watt stays healthy for Houston.
In the 2018 draft, Bradley Chubb was selected No. 5 in the first round as the left hook to Miller’s right uppercut in what the Broncos envisioned as a deadly one-two punch in their pass rush.
Pro football, however, is also a cold and sometimes cruel business … as Thomas could certainly attest. If Chubb turns out to be everything the Broncos hoped, he also could make Miller expendable in the inevitable churn of an NFL roster.
The final seven games on the Denver’s schedule are set up for a second-half rally and reasons to be optimistic about a young core of Courtland Sutton, Royce Freeman, Josey Jewell and Phillip Lindsay, as well as Chubb.
Related Articles

Broncos briefs: Key to halting Chargers’ offense is limiting first-down success

Broncos podcast: Defensive story lines, MVP and more Denver analysis through the bye week

Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers impressed by Miller/Chubb pass rush duo

Broncos safety Su’a Cravens eager for increased role after injury

Broncos OLB Bradley Chubb on the NFL’s rookie sack record: “I definitely know the number”

Until a legit championship quarterback is added to that young core, however, this is a team likely to waste what remains of Miller’s prime as a pass-rusher.
Whether the Broncos finish with a 5-11 or an 8-8 record, hard choices await Elway. Few, if any, will be harder than whether to put Miller on the trade block. If Miller could help Denver stockpile draft picks to play the lotto for a franchise quarterback, why not?
Trading Miller would be sober acknowledgement a major rebuild has begun in earnest for the Broncos.


Rockies Mailbag: Nolan Arenado, bullpen busts, help behind the plate, Jon Gray update and more

Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders posts his Rockies Mailbag every other week on Tuesdays during the season and once per month during the offseason.
Pose a Rockies — or MLB — related question for the Rockies Mailbag.
Hello again Patrick, Two questions: Are the Rockies considering picking up a catcher that can hit? Is there a pitcher in the minor leagues that’ll come up and surprise us next season?
— Thank you, Dan the Greatest Alaskan Rockies Fan (Juneau)
Dan, two very good, very key questions.
I’m sure the Rockies will look at ways to beef up behind the plate, but I don’t sense anything dramatic happening.
In a recent session with the media, general manager Jeff Bridich dodged the issue. Specifically, he watered down the idea that Colorado will get into the trade sweepstakes for Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto (whom I happen to think would be a perfect fit in Colorado).
Sure, there are whispers about Realmuto coming to Denver, ever since agent Jerry Berry said Realmuto won’t sign a long-term deal and “definitely” will be traded. But there will be multiple teams asking about Realmuto, and the cost would be high.
Former major league GM Jim Bowden, writing in The Athletic recently, suggested that Colorado could trade pitching prospect Peter Lambert and talented infielder Garrett Hampson to Miami in exchange for Realmuto. That’s not going to fly. The Marlins would demand much more, I believe.
As you are probably aware, there are not very many catchers who can hit and take care of business behind the plate. But you are correct that the Rockies’ got limited offensive production from their catchers in 2017. They finished 12th the National League with a .657 OPS.
Here’s what Bridich said about the 2018 group that included Chris Iannetta, Tony Wolters, Tom Murphy and Drew Butera:
“They were at times really good for us defensively and streaky offensively — at times they struggled as a group. We like different elements of what each guy brings. When you put together two or three catchers at a time on your 25-man roster, you’re looking for what they can do as a group, a combination — maybe even more so than any other position on the field.

“The defensive elements of what they bring are really important, and that’s not lost on us. They just fit into everything else. We have an open mind to everything, but it’s not like we’re looking to move guys. But now is the time in the industry to listen and be open-minded, so we’ll see what happens.”
In other words, I don’t think the Rockies will make a major move behind the plate.
They did, however, make a minor move earlier this week, signing catcher Brett Nichols to a minor-league deal. He appeared in 36 games with the Rangers in 2016 and ’17.
Nicholas, 30, hit a combined .252 with the Rangers. He spent last season with the Padres’ Triple-A club in El Paso after arriving in an April trade from the Rangers. Nicholas batted .291 with a .353 on-base percentage and a .485 slugging percentage, 16 home runs and 83 RBIs for El Paso.
As for pitching “surprises” from the minors, I assume you are not counting right-hander Jeff Hoffman, who’s been on the radar ever since he was part of the Troy Tulowitzki trade in 2015.
The one guy who could be surprise is right-hander Yency Almonte, who owns a 96 mph fastball. He’s been mostly a starter in the minors, but worked as a mop-up reliever for the Rockies in 2018. He flashed a lot of promise, but mostly in low-leverage situations.
Almonte has a bright future, but it would take a quantum leap – or injuries to others – for him to be a major league starter in 2019.
Thank you for your column on the Dodgers’ ownership of the Rockies, but you left out a critical component: Money doesn’t buy championships, at least not reliably. Last year the Astros won with an opening day payroll that was lower than the Rockies’ (No. 16 to No. 18). And during those six (count ’em six) years of NL West titles, the Dodgers have zero (count ’em zero) World Series titles. The Rockies seem to hang with pretty much any other team, as demonstrated by their historic run of games against teams with winning records in 2018. It used to be the Braves, but now it’s the Dodgers that just have their number.
— Josh Weiss, Denver
Josh, I don’t see a question here, but you make some good points. But I’m not going to discount the high payrolls of the Dodgers, Red Sox, Yankees, etc. for their consistent success. The playing field in the majors is very uneven. That’s reality.
Patrick, this needs to be brought up again but it seems as though the Rockies are still lacking that decision maker without having a team president. Would love your insight on this, thanks.
–Rick, LoDo
Rick, as I’m sure you know, the Rockies have been without a true team president since Keli McGregor’s sudden death in April 2010. That was a topic I used to harp on a lot.
However, I think the Rockies’ front office has been very solid since Bridich became the GM in 2014. The farm system is in relatively good shape and the Rockies just qualified for the playoffs in successive seasons for the first time in their history.
I don’t agree with all of the moves Bridich and his front office has made, but I think the franchise is in a good place, even without an official president.
Will this be the year Bridich finally admits he made a mistake signing Desmond to play first? By any metric you use, new or old, he is a far below-average player and hurts the team by being out there every day. I can’t help but wonder that if the team had even an average first baseman they’d have won one more game, the division, and gotten to face Atlanta in the divisional round.
Sure, it might not have mattered anyway, but it feels like a wasted opportunity just to be stubborn. Does Bridich recognize the signing is an abject failure and plan to do something about it? Playing him and hoping he “breaks out of it” is not a valid answer, as he is at the age where players start to decline and has played poorly for two full years now. It does not matter how much he makes, this must be recognized as a sunk cost. If they do not address this problem it is hard to believe the team is honest about wanting to compete for titles.
— Kevin, Denver
Kevin, you, like a lot of fans, think the Desmond signing was a bust. He did, after all, make $22 million in 2018, making him the team’s highest-paid player. He’ll make $15 million in each of the next two seasons. When you consider that DJ LeMahieu made just $8.5 million this past season, it looks like a very bad deal indeed.
That said, Bridich, and even manager Bud Black, like the athleticism Desmond brings to the team.
FYI, here’s what I wrote about Desmond in my end-of-season analysis:
The veteran’s season began terribly. He hit .154 in April and .215 in May before he went on a tear in June and July. In 48 games, he slashed .291/.383/.534 with 10 home runs. But if any player epitomized Colorado’s roller-coaster offense, it was Desmond, whose 83 OPS+ was the lowest among Rockies regulars. (OPS+ accounts for league and park factors and sets the scale at 100 as being average).
Desmond’s penchant for pounding the ball into the ground killed a number of would-be rallies. His 256 groundouts were third-most in the NL, and led to 17 double plays (most on the Rockies, tied for eighth in the NL).
Desmond, however, did steal 20 bases, drive in 88 runs, hit 22 home runs and had a career-high eight triples, tied for third in the NL. For what it’s worth, teammates and manager Bud Black gave Desmond bonus points for his clubhouse presence. Next season, the third of his five-year, $70-million deal, Desmond will make $15 million. Grade: C-minus.
What should the Rockies do in the offseason to strengthen the starting rotation? Assuming they will need some less expensive bullpen help as well.
— Mark Miller, Thornton
Mark, it would go against the Rockies’ blueprint to make a big splash for a starting pitcher, and I certainly don’t see them making a major trade or signing a big-name free agent. Could they ink a veteran for some rotation depth? Sure, maybe someone like Wade Miley.
I’ll be curious to see if the Rockies will spend on the bullpen after shelling out $106 million for Wade Davis, Bryan Shaw and Jake McGee last offseason. Shaw and McGee were busts; there is no other way to put it.
It’s more likely that the Rockies will spend money to beef up their offense and look in-house for bullpen help from guys like Carlos Estevez or even prospects like Peter Lambert or Jesus Tinoco.
Patrick, a number of fans seem to think Nolan Arenado wants to stay here in Denver and assume he is going to sign again with Colorado. I am a realist and know he has his eyes set on free agency and playing for a winner every season. How can the Rockies manage this issue before the season starts? They either have to sign him long term before the season starts or trade him in a mega-deal bringing back a haul of players/prospects.
It just seems like that is the only way to go about it. If the Rockies go that route they can at least tell fans, look we tried to work out a long-term deal and he turned down $300 million.
— Jeff, Aurora
Jeff, Arenado’s future remains the biggest question mark hovering over the Rockies. He’s said he expects to be with the team when it reports to spring training in February, and Bridich has said the same thing.
There have been media reports that the free-agent deals that Bryce Harper and Manny Machdo sign will determine whether or not Arenado stays in Colorado. Bridich insists that’s not the case and is too simplistic a view.
Can the Rockies afford to pay one player $300 million over 10 years? Probably not. As I wrote in my last mailbag, this is my solution:
The Rockies’ window to win is still very much open, and Arenado needs to be a part of it. However, if the team is clearly out the race by mid-summer and Arenado has not been re-signed, than you have to trade him. Here is my proposal: make Arenado a good-faith offer on a five-year deal worth about $150 million. No 10-year deals, but perhaps include an “opt-out” clause of some sort. If Arenado truly wants to stay in Colorado, he’s going to take a hard look at the offer. If he balks, I think that would be an indication that he wants to play somewhere else. But at least the Rockies would have tried to hold onto a player who’s on track for the Hall of Fame.
I read where Bridich wants to negotiate with DJ LeMahieu and Adam Ottavino now that they are on the open market. Why didn’t the Rockies extend them qualifying offers? Why did Bridich wait until they were on the open market, when he has to compete with offers from other teams, and it could increase the price?
If the Rockies don’t re-sign DJ, I am concerned the offense will be even more lacking in 2019. What about the Rockies going after and signing Daniel Murphy? He can play second or first and takes quality at bats. He’s also got postseason experience and could be a good team leader.
— Steve, Aurora
Steve, I don’t know where you read that Bridich “wants to negotiate” with LeMahieu and Ottavino. All he’s said is that the Rockies would keep the door open.
As for the qualifying offer, I’m assuming the Rockies didn’t think either player was worth signing for $17.9 million for one year of control. I believe there were only seven qualifying offers in the majors this season, so the Rockies’ approach was typical. I never expected them to make a Q-offer to anyone.
Plus, you have to remember that it takes “two to tango” when it comes to contracts. As much as Ottavino and LeMahieu love Colorado, they also want their chance to explore free agency. This is not all on the Rockies’ front office.
LeMahieu has told me he would like to stay here, but I anticipate him getting a three-year deal worth about $30 million, and with prospects like Brendan Rodgers and Garrett Hampson knocking on the door, I don’t think the Rockies were willing to shell out that kind of money for LeMahieu.
Personally, I think that’s a mistake. The Rockies are going to miss LeMahieu terribly.
As for Daniel Murphy, I just don’t like the fit. The Rockies already have a lot of left-handed bats, plus Murphy turns 34 in April, he’s not that far removed from microfracture knee surgery, he’s not very mobile and he’d be a huge downgrade as a defensive second baseman. The Rockies need offense, but Murphy is not the answer, in my opinion,
Hi Patrick, name three changes you see the Rockies making before the start of the 2019 season.
— Renee Dechert, Powell, Wyoming
Renee, here are three predictions:
1. Colorado needs a bat and I think they’ll go after versatile outfielder Marwin Gonzalez.
2. They will sign, or trade for, a left-handed reliever. I’m not sure who.
3. I think Garrett Hampson will be the starting second baseman.
Is it fair to say that Jon Gray is a bust? You say he has upside and that the Rockies believe in him, but to me they like him because he is cheap and they don’t want to give up on a first round pick. What do you think about packaging him in an Arenado trade? Everything needs to be on the table this winter.
— Jim, Denver
Jim, I think it’s way too early to give up on Gray. He’s got a lot of talent, he’s just has to figure out how to harness it. I know fans want the Rockies to make a big splash and land a starting pitcher, but the 2018 season proved that homegrown pitching is the best solution for Colorado.
Why would you package him with Arenado? That would make Gray a throw-away piece. He’s worth more than that.
Gray is also willing to go the extra mile to improve. He made that clear in the interview I had with him on Tuesday.
Hope your offseason is treating you well, Patrick. Not sure if there are plans for it but would enjoy an offseason hot stove edition podcast.
— Will, Parker
Will, yes, once the hot stove season starts boiling I’ll do a podcast, likely from the winter meetings next month in Las Vegas.
If Nolan doesn’t want to stay here in Colorado I think the Rockies should go after DJ. He’s a Gold Glover who I consider a lunch pail guy. Just shows up and does his job every single day.
— Bill, Denver
Bill, I have a feeling LeMahieu will get scooped before the Rockies and Arenado come to any kind of decision. However, if the Rockies knew for sure that they were going to trade Arenado, then re-signing LeMahieu might be a possibility. It is not, however, a probability.
Hi Patrick, I would love to see Matt Holliday return to Colorado next season. Do you like his chances of signing with the Rockies again? Thanks.
— Jay, Canon City
Jay, Holliday told me at the end of the season that he would like to return. I think it’s a real possibility that he could return as a bat off the bench and a part-time left fielder. However, I think signing Holliday would come late in the offseason after things shake out.
Denver Post sports writer Patrick Saunders posts his Rockies Mailbag every other week on Tuesdays during the season and once per month during the offseason.
Pose a Rockies — or MLB — related question for the Rockies Mailbag.


“It’s horrific”: Christopher Watts’ mistress speaks out for the first time as sentencing in Frederick murders draws near

When Nichol Kessinger started dating Christopher Watts in July, he appeared to be a softspoken man and a thoughtful father who was at the end of divorce proceedings.
It wasn’t until the Frederick man’s wife and two daughters went missing in August that Kessinger learned that Watts had never started divorce proceedings with his wife, who was 15 weeks pregnant, and that he had been lying to her for the entire relationship, which lasted less than two months.
Kessinger was shocked by Watts’ arrest. But she has never doubted that he killed his wife, Shanann, and their two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3.
“I don’t think there is a logical explanation for what he did,” she said. “It’s a senseless act, and it’s horrific.”
Kessinger approached investigators before Watts’ arrest and participated in multiple police interviews, describing details of their relationship and what he had told her about his missing family.
Now that Watts has pleaded guilty to the murders, Kessinger said in an exclusive interview with The Denver Post that she wanted to share her side of the story. Many people have speculated about their relationship after an arrest affidavit revealed that Watts was having an affair with an unnamed woman.
Watts, 33, is scheduled to appear in court Monday for a sentencing hearing after pleading guilty last week to murdering his wife and two children in August and concealing their bodies on a rural Weld County oil site. If the judge accepts the plea deal, Watts will be sentenced to life in prison for the crimes that drew national attention to the small town north of Denver.
Kessinger, a 30-year-old Colorado native, said the brief affair has turned her life upside down as people have named her on social media and discussed the relationship in online forums.
“We had just met,” Kessinger said. “I barely knew him.”
A brief relationship
Kessinger was working in the environmental department with an Anadarko Petroleum contractor when the two met, she said during a Thursday morning interview in the office of her lawyer, Ed Hopkins.
Every morning, Watts and the other operators would gather in the office break room while they waited to be dispatched to a field site. Kessinger would walk through the group to place her lunch in the fridge, but she never spoke to Watts.
One day in the middle of June, he walked into her office to introduce himself. They continued casual conversations. She noticed that Watts did not wear a wedding ring, and Kessinger, who was single, thought he was attractive.
“When he spoke to me, he was very softspoken. He appeared to be a good listener,” she said.
Watts told her that he had two daughters and, after Kessinger asked, Watts said he was separated and at the end of divorce proceedings, she said.
“I believed him,” she said.
When they first met outside of work in late June, Kessinger asked Watts more questions about his divorce. He told her the mutual divorce was almost final, and they were working out financial details, she said.
The two began a physical relationship in early July and saw each other four to five times a week, Kessinger said. She told him she wanted to take it slow and he should focus on helping his daughters adjust to the divorce.
When Watts went to visit family in North Carolina at the end of July, he called to tell her that his divorce was final, Kessinger said. Later that month, he asked Kessinger to help him find an apartment that would be good for him and his daughters. They never spoke about long-term plans for their relationship.
“He made me believe that he was doing all of the things that a rational man and good father would do,” she said.
Kessinger never met any of Watts’ family or friends.
RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostFrank Rzucek the father of Shanann Watts, left, and her brother Frankie Rzucek were in court for Christopher Watts arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on Aug. 21, 2018 in Greeley. Christopher Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife Shanann and his two young daughters, 4-year-old Bella, and 3-year-old Celeste.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostChristopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on Aug. 21, 2018 in Greeley. Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife and his two young daughters.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostChristopher Watts is in court for his arraignment hearing at the Weld County Courthouse on Aug. 21, 2018 in Greeley. Watts faces nine charges, including several counts of first-degree murder of his wife and his two young daughters.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostNancy Lee takes a moment after placing flowers at a makeshift memorial for Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts, outside the family's home on Aug. 17, 2018 in Frederick. Frederick police have arrested Shanann's husband, Christopher Watts, on suspicion of killing the three.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostMembers of the community gather for a candlelight vigil to honor Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts outside the family's home on Aug. 17, 2018, in Frederick. RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostAubriella Luna, 8, joined others from her community for a candlelight vigil to honor Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts outside the family's home Aug. 17, 2018, in Frederick.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostFrederick Police Department Chief Todd Norris talks to media on Aug. 16, 2018 in Frederick. Frederick police have arrested Shanann's husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostAccording to Christopher Watts's arrest affidavit, Shanann Watts' body was found in a shallow grave near this oil work site, seen here on Aug. 21, 2018 near Roggen. Both of her daughter's bodies, 4-year-old Bella and 3-year-old Celeste, were submerged for days in the same oil tanks in rural eastern Colorado, prosecutors said.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostColleen Hendrickson and her grandson Ezra Reed, 3, who lives down the street, place flowers at a makeshift memorial to Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts, who have been missing since Monday, outside the family home on Aug. 16, 2018 in Frederick. Frederick police have arrested Shanann's husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of murdering the three.RJ Sangosti, The Denver PostResidents stand in front of a makeshift memorial for Shanann, Bella and Celeste Watts outside the family's home on Aug. 17, 2018 in Frederick. Frederick police have arrested Shanann's husband Christopher Watts on suspicion of killing the three.Show Caption of Expand
Shock and sadness
On Aug. 13, the Monday that Shanann and the girls disappeared, Watts texted Kessinger to say that he had been busy. The two chatted like normal throughout the workday.
About 3:45 p.m., Watts texted that his family was “gone,” she said. He told Kessinger that Shanann had taken the girls to a play date and had not returned. He seemed casual and didn’t show any emotion, she said.
Kessinger was worried about his missing family, but she didn’t want to make a big deal out of a situation that Watts seemed calm about. Then, news reporters showed up at the Watts’ family home.
“I was very confused why the media was at his house,” she said.
Later that night, Kessinger learned the full situation: Shanann’s wallet and purse were still in the house; Watts had left work early to let the police into his home; people had been trying unsuccessfully to contact Shanann all day.
“When I read the news, I found out he was still married and his wife was 15 weeks pregnant,” Kessinger said.
She was shocked at his lies and scared for the missing woman and children, she said.
“I thought, ‘If he was able to lie to me and hide something that big, what else was he lying about?’ ” she said.
In a flurry of long calls and texts that night, Watts changed his story about his split with his wife.
Kessinger barraged Watts with questions: Were there signs someone had forced themselves into the home? Were the daughters’ car seats still there? Was one of the girls’ EpiPensstill in the house?
Watts didn’t show any emotion during their conversations and tried to change the subject away from his missing family, Kessinger said.
“It seemed off,” Kessinger said.
While at work Aug. 14, she texted Watts, pushing him to tell what he knew about their disappearance and asking what he had done. He told her he would never hurt his family, she said.
“It got to a point that he was telling me so many lies that I eventually told him that I did not want to speak to him again until his family was found,” she said.
Kessinger checked the news in hopes that Shanann and the girls would be found. The next morning, she called the Weld County Sheriff’s Office to tell them about her relationship with Watts and his lies, she said. She met with FBI investigators that day.
“I just wanted to help,” she said. “With a pregnant woman and two children missing, I was going to do anything that I could.”
Related Articles

Christopher Watts pleads guilty to killing his pregnant wife, two daughters

Christopher Watts’ mother says he should withdraw guilty pleas in deaths of pregnant wife, daughters

Family, friends say goodbye to Shanann, Bella, Celeste Watts at N.C. funeral

PHOTOS: Watts family tragedy: The killings in Frederick, Colorado

Frederick man told police he killed wife after catching her strangling child, court records show

Her suspicions proved true when police arrested Watts later that night, Aug. 15, for the killings of his wife and two daughters. Kessinger saw it on the news.
“I just felt so, so sad,” she said.
Since his arrest, she has never doubted that he killed them. The story that Watts told police — that he killed Shanann after he saw her strangling one of the girls — is a lie, Kessinger said.
“He’s a liar,” she said. “He lied about everything.”