COLD SNAP-GAS OUTAGE
Thousands lose natural gas service in bitter cold
NIWOT, Colo. (AP) - Xcel Energy crews are working in bitter cold temperatures to restore natural gas service to thousands of customers in the Niwot area.
Company spokesman Mark Stutz says an equipment failure at a regulator station early Friday morning knocked out power to 7,200 customers in Niwot and unincorporated Boulder County. Crews hope to have service restored to the majority of customers by early Saturday evening.
Stutz says the equipment was repaired Friday afternoon, but crews must go door-to-door to restart customers' pilot lights. The Red Cross opened a warming shelter at Douglass Elementary School in Boulder but closed it at about noon Saturday.
The outage came just as a winter blast brought snow and single-digit temperatures to much of Colorado.
COLD SNAP-PINE BEETLES
Cold snap not enough to disrupt pine beetle threat
DENVER (AP) - Experts say Colorado's plunge into a deep freeze is too little and too late to disrupt the population of the destructive pine beetle.
Dave Leatherman, a retired Colorado State Forest Service entomologist, tells The Denver Post that long periods of extreme cold can cut down the pine beetle population, but the pests have already burrowed themselves deep into the trees to protect themselves.
Plus, he says, the beetles have changed their chemical physiology to increase the percentage of glycols in their systems. Glycols are a main component in antifreeze.
Temperatures would have to drop to minus 30 or lower and stay there for at least five to seven days to affect pine beetle populations between December and February.
GRAND JUNCTION SLAYING
Calif. man faces charge in Grand Junction slaying
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - A 25-year-old California man is facing a first-degree murder charge in the death of a homeless man in Grand Junction.
The Daily Sentinel reports Joseph Conn was ordered Friday to be held at the Mesa County Jail on $500,000 bail, even though he's already serving a life sentence for the 2011 murder of a man in California.
Conn was transported to Mesa County on Thursday.
He is charged in the Aug. 1, 2010, slaying of 36-year-old Willard Michael "Mike" Bobbitt, a homeless man whose body was found under a bridge. Details of the case haven't been made public and Conn's warrant remains sealed.
Sacramento police arrested Conn and two others in January 2011 for the beating death of a man and the severe beating of his roommate. Conn was convicted of first-degree murder.
DA: Officer justified in shooting man with knife
DENVER (AP) - The Adams County District Attorney's Office says a Northglenn police officer was justified when he shot a man who lunged at him with a knife.
The DA's office released a report Thursday clearing Officer Adam Lewis in the Sept. 2 shooting of 38-year-old Alejandro Pinedo.
Authorities say Lewis encountered Pinedo while responding to a call that a man was trying to break into a home. Witnesses say Pinedo told Lewis he was "not going back to jail." He was shot when he moved toward the officer in a threatening manner.
The Denver Post reports Pinedo is scheduled to appear in district court Friday on multiple charges, including attempted assault, threatening a police officer, felony menacing with a weapon and trespassing.
Boulder man pleads guilty to fatally stabbing teen
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) - A 20-year-old man accused of stabbing a teenager to death during a camping trip near Nederland has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and a felony drug distribution charge.
The Daily Camera reports Spencer Crawford of Boulder struck a plea deal and faces two to six years in prison when he is sentenced Feb. 4. He was arrested June 19 in the death of 17-year-old Angus Gaudin, also of Boulder.
Paramedics say Crawford told them he and Gaudin had taken LSD and mushrooms and had consumed "moonshine" the night of the stabbing. According to court records, he told investigators that Gaudin asked him to hide a machete from him because the teen said he didn't trust himself and didn't want to hurt anyone.
Crawford told the judge he stabbed Gaudin because he feared the teen was going to harm the group.
Traffic stops turn up 85 lbs of pot worth $225K
GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. (AP) - Deputies who stopped two vehicles traveling together in western Colorado say a search turned up about 85 pounds of marijuana with a street value of about $225,000.
The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel reports two deputies with the Western Colorado Drug Task Force pulled the vehicles over on Interstate 70 on Thursday afternoon and arrested 41-year-old Herbert Palacios and 54-year-old Daniel Dove, both of Illinois.
Both men were jailed on suspicion of traffic violations and possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute.
The drug task force is a partnership between the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Mesa County Sheriff's Office and the Grand Junction Police Department.
Woman accused of stealing from youth baseball team
PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) - A 38-year-old Penrose woman is accused of stealing thousands of dollars from a local youth baseball team.
The Pueblo Chieftain reported Saturday that Julianne Smith has been arrested for investigation of felony theft, forgery and unauthorized use of a financial transaction. She's accused of stealing $6,675 from the Florence Husky Youth Baseball League when she was its president.
A probable cause affidavit says league officials discovered numerous transactions between last December and October that were deemed suspicious. Three of the transactions, adding up to more than $500, allegedly were payments to Black Hills Energy for Smith's home in Penrose.
Investigators say Smith told them she thought some of the charges in question were justified because she had contributed her own money to the league's account.
Jail for graffiti artist nabbed because of pumpkin
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - A man whose pumpkin decoration made him the suspect in several cases in which properties were vandalized with graffiti in Steamboat Springs has been sentenced to 20 days in jail.
The Steamboat Pilot & Today reports 22-year-old Bo Wenger has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal mischief and must pay for the damage he caused when he went on a graffiti spree the night of Oct. 29. He was ordered to pay almost $800 in fines and costs, including the $500 it will cost for his jail stay.
Authorities say they followed a pattern of graffiti on properties downtown to Wenger's home. There, they found a pumpkin with graffiti similar to that seen on buildings, homes and other properties that had been tagged.
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