Report urges changes for US Olympic system
A report examining the U.S. Olympic system urges a move away from the "money for medals" funding system and a reconfigured board of the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee that would give more power to athletes.
The document was requested by the USOPC and was delivered recently by a committee led by former WNBA Commissioner Lisa Borders.
The 113-page report comes in the aftermath of the Larry Nassar sex-abuse scandal and the resignation or removal of most of the federation's top employees.
The report delved into the relationship between the USOPC (formerly called the U.S. Olympic Committee) and the national sports federations (NGBs) it oversees.
Most of its suggestions dealt with giving athletes a greater role and more access to funding, but didn't recommend how to pay for them.
It calls for a reconfiguration of policies developed over the past 20 years: In 2003, the board was reduced from more than 120 to 12 to 15 people. About seven years later, more emphasis was placed on using medal potential as the primary factor in determining how much money to give NGBs. The money given to the NGBs is earmarked for athlete support.
The Borders Report recommended changing this focus, and basing the formula more on strategic plans that outline how the NGBs will account for athlete safety and support.
"Although maintaining such medal driven programs is important, other programmatic funding and support programs must be offered to NGBs based on the USOPC's approval of an NGB's strategic plan and high-performance plan and its performance in accordance with such plans," the report said.
Committee members interviewed 62 people, some having "significant and serious concerns about possible retaliation for helping the Commission," the report said.
"Such fears highlight a lack of trust relative to the USOPC of the recent past and the NGBs," the report said.
It suggested the USOPC hire outsiders to conduct annual assessments to "monitor the evolution toward a more athlete-centric" organization.
The commission called for more athletes on the USOPC board by 2024, and for all of the federation's committees, working groups and task force to have at least 20 percent athlete representation — a figure that has been adhered to in many instances for decades.
The commission also suggested an overhaul and expansion of the USOPC's "limited and byzantine athlete health care" and for a direct-funding pipeline to athletes — two projects that would cost millions for an organization that receives no government funding.
While acknowledging some of its recommendations could be costly, the committee said "the USOPC has an "opportunity to reflect and self-evaluate in real time."
The USOPC has made some governance changes since CEO Sarah Hirshland took over last year; many have been designed to give athletes a bigger say and easier pathways to lodge complaints. But critics say none of this has gone far enough and want yet another overhaul of the board and management.
"With changes to governance and personnel, policies and procedures — and most importantly, culture — we are a very different organization than we were one year ago," Hirshland said. "But we have more work to do."
Abortion clinic leaving family planning program
Colorado's first abortion clinic is withdrawing from a federal program that funds family planning for low-income women because of the Trump administration's ban on referring women for abortions.
The program, known as Title X, doesn't pay for abortions. The new rules bar providers from referring women elsewhere for the procedure and require them to keep abortion services separate physically and financially from their other services.
Lisa Radelet of the Boulder Valley Women's Health Center said that the center founded in 1973 isn't "willing to practice medicine" that way and sees the regulations as a gag rule. She also said the clinic can't afford to open a separate facility.
Title X funds are comprised of federal dollars matched by the state and make up 20 percent of the center's budget.
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Drug kingpin 'El Chapo' sent to Supermax
Only hours after receiving a life sentence, convicted Mexican drug lord Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman made a sudden departure to the highest-security prison in the U.S. to serve the term, his lawyer said.
A government helicopter whisked the narco, notorious for his daring jailbreaks, out of New York City after the sentencing in federal court in Brooklyn, said defense attorney Jeffrey Lichtman. The lawyer said he was informed that his client was en route to the federal Supermax facility in Florence, a prison sometimes called the "Alcatraz of the Rockies."
The 62-year-old Guzman had been the subject of extreme security measures carrying an untold cost ever since his extradition to the U.S. in 2017 to face drug-trafficking charges.
Authorities were determined to prevent any repeat of Guzman's legendary jailbreaks in Mexico, including the one in 2015 involving a mile-long tunnel dug to the shower in his cell.
Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui and Oklahoma City bombing accomplice Terry Nichols are among those call the prison home. It is officially called U.S. Penitentiary, Administrative Maximum Facility or ADX Florence.
Multi-year effort to increase Colorado public hunting, fishing land approved
Colorado wildlife officials approved a multi-year plan to continue increasing accessible sporting land across the state.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife commissioners voted July 18 to add 100,000 more acres to state-owned public land by this fall.
Officials say the department pays about $900,000 a year to lease about 485,000 acres already, but has a goal to reach 1 million acres.
Officials say hunters and anglers only have access to about 20% of state land from September to February through the Public Access Program.
Wildlife officials say sportsman and women contribute money to the program through licensing fees and taxes.
Colorado Parks and Wildlife representatives say the locations of the new open sites will be announced in August.
Coal-fired plant will shut down early
The operators of a coal-fired power plant in southwestern Colorado say it will shut down early next year, nearly three years sooner than planned.
Nucla Station in the town of Nucla was scheduled to close in 2022 under a legal settlement to reduce air pollution.
The owner, Westminster-based Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association, said the 100-megawatt plant had been used intermittently as a backup in recent years.
Tri-State says its Nucla workforce will decommission the plant and a contractor will demolish it.
The plant employs about 35 people. Tri-State says it will provide $500,000 over five years to help Nucla and the nearby town of Naturita deal with the loss of jobs.
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1,000 people participate in Tube to Work Day
Some people in Colorado stayed cool on their commutes by tubing down a snow-fed creek.
Some 1,000 people participated in the 12th annual Tube to Work Day in Boulder on July 19, one of the hottest days of the year in the state so far.
The event was aimed at promoting alternative transportation and celebrating the city's quirkiness. Organizers billed it as the "world's greatest traffic jam."
Television helicopter footage showed people going through mild rapids as they made their way down Boulder Creek in tubes, including some dressed in suits. People gathered on bridges over the creek to watch.
The event was delayed this year until the water subsided to safe levels following a winter of plentiful snow in the mountains.
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Judge accepts cadaver dog evidence in Redwine case
A judge will allow cadaver dog evidence to be presented in the trial of a man accused of killing his 13-year-old son.
Judge Jefferey Wilson said he will allow testimony in the September trial by handlers of dogs trained to detect human remains.
Prosecutors say they plan to provide evidence from two handlers that 57-year-old Mark Redwine of Vallecito had his son Dylan's body on his property.
Handler Carren Corcoran says her late dog, Molly, detected remains in Redwine's home about a year after his son disappeared in 2012.
An expert for the defense, Mary Cablk, has testified that dogs can be unreliable and removed remains should not be detectable after one week.
Redwine has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and child abuse resulting in death.