Officials wait to issue comments on Colo. mine cleanup plan (copy)

In this Aug. 14, 2015, photo, water flows through a series of sediment retention ponds built to reduce heavy metal and chemical contaminants from the Gold King Mine wastewater accident, in the spillway downstream from the mine, outside Silverton. (AP Photo/Brennan Linsley, File)


Mine waste discolors river that saw 2015 Gold King spill

Wastewater from a mine in southwestern Colorado spilled into a river that was the site of a major spill caused by a government cleanup crew four years ago.

The Environmental Protection Agency was notified that the Animas River was being discolored by wastewater from the Silver Wing Mine. The mine is within the federal government's Bonita Peak Superfund cleanup area, but work on it has not yet begun.

In 2015, an EPA-led crew accidentally triggered a blowout at the Gold King Mine that sent a 3-million-gallon (torrent of mustard-colored wastewater into the Animas, contaminating rivers in Colorado, New Mexico and Utah.



Boy Scouts groups merge; leaders cite gay inclusion cause

A Grand Junction-based Boy Scouts council has merged with a Denver area council amid declining membership numbers and financial difficulty.

The combined Western Slope council was created in May to serve about 2,400 youth members and about 1,000 volunteer adult leaders in 15 northwest Colorado counties.

Officials say the Grand Junction Boy Scouts council joined efforts with Denver in part because of decisions to allow gay scouts and leaders by the national organization.

Boy Scouts officials say it is expecting further membership decline this year when the Mormon church separates from the organization and forms its own global youth activity program.

Officials say the merger does not change scout activities.



Colorado's 14ers keep getting busier, report shows

A report by the Colorado Fourteeners Initiative says the state's 54 highest summits continue to see an increasing number of people seeking to climb the 14ers.

An analysis by the nonprofit initiative estimates 353,000 people were attracted to the high peaks during 2018's hiking season, up 5.7% from the 2017 count. That's almost 100,000 more than the first report from four years ago.

Colorado Fourteeners executive director Lloyd Athearn says the heightened numbers come with his organization increasing its monitoring capabilities on the mountains.

According to the report, Mounts Bierstadt, Elbert, Lincoln, Bross, Democrat and Sherman as well as Quandary, Grays, Torreys and Longs peaks all see more people.

And for the first time, Quandary Peak was the busiest fourteener. Bierstadt previously held the rank.



Former police officer acknowledges stealing from charities

A former Aurora police officer has pleaded guilty to stealing tens of thousands of dollars from two department charities.

Roland Albert, 39, who worked for the Aurora Police Department, pleaded guilty to felony theft and is set to be sentenced Dec. 16.

Prosecutors say he stole about $80,000 from the Aurora Police Orphans Fund and a second charity called Brotherhood of the Fallen while he was the charities' treasurer.

Albert is accused of stealing more than $71,000 from the orphans fund in 2017 and 2018. The charity, which gives money to the families of fallen Aurora officers, is supported by donations from 95% of Aurora police employees who have money deducted from their paychecks to support the effort.



Southern Ute tribe to close jail

A Native American tribe in Colorado has announced plans to close its detention center due to increasing operation costs.

Council members from the Southern Ute Indian Tribe decided to close the facility by year's end. The tribe said it costs about $2 million a year to run the jail.

The facility "serves very few Southern Ute tribal members but costs millions of dollars to operate," the tribe said in a news release.

The jail, which opened in 1999, can hold up to 57 inmates but has had a daily average population of 13 people this year, according to the release. Most of those inmates are not Southern Utes.

Inmates could be sent to the La Plata County Jail or the new Archuleta County Jail opening in 2020.

The La Plata County Jail has experienced inmate overcrowding, staff shortages and budget issues. But the jail's top administrator, Capt. Ed Aber, said once Archuleta County's jail opens, the 22 or so inmates kept in the La Plata jail should free up some room, he said.

Some tribal members said the Southern Ute government did not properly communicate the decision to the community and worried the tribe's sovereignty could be compromised by sending Native American inmates off tribal lands.

No plans for the detention center building have yet been decided once it is vacated, the tribe said.



Agency opposes potential Colorado-Utah train route

A coalition of Utah counties has asked the federal government to pull a rail route from consideration after a federal agency's Colorado officials expressed opposition.

The Bureau of Land Management in Colorado sent a letter to the federal government saying the proposed Craig rail route would impact wildlife management plans, displace big game species from finding suitable winter habitats and disrupt buried prehistoric sites in the region.

BLM officials say the route would connect to an existing railroad line in Moffat County in Colorado and is one of three beginning in Utah to primarily service the oil and gas sector.

The coalition says the Craig route is not economically feasible after information developed during the public scoping process.

A public comment period is expected.



Energy-services company lays off 178 workers

Halliburton, a Texas-based energy service provider, has laid off 178 workers at its Colorado office, saying it is a permanent employment loss.

Company officials say the layoffs were due to local market conditions, but they plan to keep the Grand Junction facility open.

Officials say there is concern over uncertainty following an oil and gas bill passed this year that overhauls industry regulations in the state.

Officials say majority of the employees were given the option to relocate to other company operating areas.

Officials say about 650 employees were affected across Halliburton's Rockies region including in Colorado, Wyoming, New Mexico and North Dakota.



US relaxes sponsorship rules for Olympic athletes

U.S. Olympic and Paralympic athletes will be able to thank personal sponsors, appear in advertisements for those sponsors and receive congratulatory messages from them during next year's Tokyo Games under new guidance from the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

The loosening of marketing rules gives athletes more freedom to benefit from sponsors they deal with directly, rather than limiting advertising to official partner companies of the USOPC, International Olympic Committee and International Paralympic Committee.

Official partners will maintain exclusive use of Team USA and Olympic Games logos and imagery, but athletes' personal sponsors will be permitted to run generic ads.

The guidance relates to Rule 40 of the Olympic Charter, which restricts the use of athletes' names and images for advertising purposes.

"We worked to create a guidance that increases athlete marketing opportunities and, importantly, respects Rule 40 and affirms our commitment to providing value to our partners, and maintains funding and participation pathways for Team USA, and athletes around the world," USOPC CEO Sarah Hirshland said in a statement.

A German federal agency ruled this summer that the IOC was subject to existing competition laws, paving the way for national Olympic committees to relax sponsorship rules.

The USOPC said its changes were "a product of a collaborative process that invited feedback and discussion" from athletes and the governing bodies of their sports, among others.



Beer company to downsize, stop mass distribution

A beer company has announced plans to downsize and discontinue widespread distribution after facing increased competition.

Boulder Beer Company plans to continue operations at its local brewpub, but gradually stop distribution across 27 states by the end of the year.

Officials say downsizing would mean losing more than 20 jobs from about 50 over the next two months in the brewing and packaging department.

Company officials say the beer company was the first craft brewery in Colorado and would continue offering handcrafted beer to the Boulder community.

Officials say the decision would limit production to about 1,000 barrels from the more than 16,000 barrels produced last year.

Brewers Association says it's the third consecutive year that dozens of regional craft brewing companies didn't grow.



Ski resort beats another to become 1st to open

Arapahoe Basin Ski Area has become the first ski resort in the state to kick off ski season ahead of a scheduled opening for a nearby resort.

A-Basin beat Keystone Resort became the first resort to open the afternoon of Oct. 11.

Keystone Resort opened a day later, marking the earliest opening day for the resort in over 20 years.

Keystone says investments in its snowmaking infrastructure allow it to operate more efficiently and open earlier.

Keystone says the two resorts are expected to offer one of the longest ski seasons in the country.



Former soldier sentenced to life for fatal shooting

A former soldier who was stationed at Fort Carson has been sentenced to life in prison for a fatal shooting in a nearby community.

A jury convicted 21-year-old Wayne Sellers IV of first-degree murder in the October 2018 slaying of 20-year-old Kenyatta Horne.

A judge sentenced Sellers to a mandatory life term plus a maximum sentence of 32 years for a robbery committed earlier on the same night.

Prosecutors say Sellers was part of a five-man robbery group that arranged a phony drug deal with Horne, who died of wounds from a shotgun blast.

Authorities say Sellers and another man ambushed Horne outside his parents' home in Security-Widefield, southeast of Colorado Springs.

Sellers' attorneys say he fired 11 rounds from a handgun in self-defense.


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