Latest Colorado news, sports, business and entertainment
High winds divert some flights headed to Denver
DENVER (AP) — High winds have diverted 23 flights that were scheduled to land at Denver International Airport.
Airport officials say winds up to 48 mph Thursday night diverted the flights to other airports, but the planes were returning to Denver once they refueled.
The airport averages about 1,700 flights per day.
The Denver Post reports that on Wednesday evening, as smoke from fires around the state reduced visibility, the airport closed two of four runways and briefly trimmed the number of arrivals and departures it was handling.
2 found dead in area burned by Colo. wildfire
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — A sheriff says remains of two people have been found in an area burned by a wildfire northeast of Colorado Springs, Colo.
El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa says one person who was reported missing Wednesday was found safe, but crews on Thursday found the remains of another person reported missing. About an hour later they found the remains of a second person.
The Black Forest Fire has destroyed at least 360 houses, and an estimated 40,000 people, including some in Colorado Springs, have been ordered to leave their homes.
The blaze is now the most destructive in Colorado history.
Deputies go door-to-door in Colo. wildfire
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — More people are out of their homes after deputies from the El Paso County Sheriff's Office went door-to-door overnight evacuating more people as danger from a wildfire increased dramatically.
The sheriff's office said Thursday that they also worked throughout the night compiling a list of homes destroyed or damaged by the fire, which spread quickly Tuesday, forcing thousands of people out of their homes.
Sheriff's officials said Thursday the fire has destroyed 360 homes. About 40,000 people have been told to leave their homes, including some now in Colorado Springs.
Firefighters contain Huerfano County wildfire
LA VETA, Colo. (AP) — A wildfire in rural Huerfano (WEHR'-fah-noh) County in southern Colorado is fully contained.
The fire about four miles west of La Veta (lah-VEE'-tuh) was fully contained Thursday. With better mapping, fire officials said it burned on 42 acres. No structures have been lost.
Firefighters will remain on patrol status for the next few days.
COLORADO WILDFIRES-ROYAL GORGE
Fire near Canon City 20 percent contained
CANON CITY, Colo. (AP) — The 5-square-mile Royal Gorge Fire near Canon City is now just 20 percent contained.
Royal Gorge Bridge & Park officials say that of its 52 buildings, 48 are now gone.
The park's suspension bridge 955 feet above the Arkansas River is still standing, though the fire damaged some wooden planks. An aerial tram was destroyed.
Park officials vowed to reopen.
The fire is about 50 miles southwest of Black Forest, where a large fire pushed by shifting winds has destroyed at least 360 homes.
A lightning-sparked fire in Rocky Mountain National Park was burning on about 300 acres, less than originally estimated.
Colorado governor sees 2 high-profile departures
DENVER (AP) — Two high-profile departures from the governor's administration have come in agencies that have been accused of serious mistakes in recent months.
The Department of Corrections announced that it had fired the director of its parole division, Tim Hand. The state's parole system came under scrutiny after the slaying of Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements in March. Authorities believe he was killed by a parolee who slipped out of his ankle monitoring bracelet.
Also Thursday, Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the resignation of his chief medical officer. Dr. Chris Urbina resigned less than a week after the release of a state report raising questions about a laboratory under his supervision. A spokesman for the governor declined to say whether Urbina's resignation was related to alleged wrongdoing at the state toxicology lab.
COLORADO PAROLE DIRECTOR
Colorado parole division director Hand dismissed
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Department of Corrections has dismissed the director of its parole division, weeks after saying he was taking a leave of absence.
Staff members were told Thursday of Tim Hand's firing, effective June 30. The department didn't release reasons, and Hand didn't immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The state's parole system came under scrutiny after the slaying of Department of Corrections chief Tom Clements in March. The suspect, who died in a shootout in Texas, had slipped out of his ankle monitoring bracelet days earlier.
Steve Hager assumed leadership of the adult parole division, community corrections and the youthful offender system during Hand's leave of absence. He will continue as interim parole division director.
CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICER RESIGNS
Colo. chief medical officer resigns
DENVER (AP) — Colorado's chief medical officer is resigning, less than a week after the release of a state report raising questions about a laboratory under his supervision.
Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the resignation Thursday. Dr. Chris Urbina is executive director of Colorado's Department of Public Health and Environment.
A March report from an employee consulting firm said some workers of the lab at CDPHE complained that a supervisor made statements suggesting a bias in favor of prosecutors. The state released the report last week. Urbina said the supervisor was later reassigned.
Defense attorney said the report raised the possibility of thousands of appeals to drunken-driving convictions.
Hickenlooper's spokesman Eric Brown said in an email he didn't "have anything to add to what's in the press release."
PEPPER SPRAY KIDNAPPING
Charges filed against Longmont kidnapping suspect
(Information in the following story is from: Daily Times-Call, http://timescall.com/)
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors have filed multiple charges against a man accused of fleeing to Canada with his son after attacking the boy's mother with pepper spray and a stun gun at her home in Longmont.
The Longmont Times-Call reports Monty Turner was charged Thursday with crimes including second-degree kidnapping, first- and second-degree burglary, a domestic violence-related violation of a protection order, a domestic violence-related violation of custody, and domestic violence-related use of a stun gun.
A preliminary hearing is scheduled for July 3.
Authorities say Turner's son, Luke, was taken to Canada last month.
Turner's father, Ronald Turner, faces a charge of helping with a kidnapping.
Monty Turner is being held in Boulder County with bond set at $500,000.
Oct. trial date for Palisade mom whose sons died
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) — A mother charged in the deaths of her two young sons after they overheated in her SUV has pleaded not guilty to charges against her.
Heather Jensen, of Palisade, is scheduled to go on trial starting Oct. 28.
She pleaded not guilty Thursday to child abuse resulting in death, criminally negligent homicide and false reporting to authorities following the deaths of her sons last fall.
Investigators say the boys, ages 2 and 4, were left in an SUV with the heater running while she had sex and smoked marijuana nearby. Coroner's officials have said the boys died of hyperthermia, or overheating.
Explosion levels home, causes only minor injuries
WESTMINSTER, Colo. (AP) — Authorities say a suspected natural gas explosion in a Denver suburb destroyed one house and damaged several others but caused only minor injuries.
The explosion occurred Thursday in Westminster.
Westminster Fire Department spokeswoman Diana Wilson says three residents of the destroyed home were located Thursday afternoon. They were previously unaccounted for.
She says two minor injuries were reported.
Wilson says most of the surviving houses suffered minor damage but one had severe damage.
GESSLER ETHICS COMPLAINT
Panel: Gessler violated ethics rules over spending
DENVER (AP) — Colorado Republican Secretary of State Scott Gessler has been admonished by an ethics panel over spending office funds to attend a GOP conference during the party's national convention in Florida last year.
The determination Thursday from the state's Independent Ethics Commission is a black eye to a potential gubernatorial run by Gessler. He faces a $1,514 fine.
The case centered on Gessler's travel last summer to a conference on elections law. While there, he also attended the Republican National Convention.
Colorado Ethics Watch filed a complaint, arguing that office discretionary funds are meant for state business, not for partisan or personal use. Gessler insists he did nothing wrong and that the conference was educational and qualified for reimbursement. He used campaign funds for RNC expenses.
He plans an appeal.
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