CORRECTIONS DIRECTOR KILLED
Lawyer: Colorado parolee made woman turn over gun
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) - An attorney for a woman accused of providing the weapon used to kill Colorado's prisons chief says parolee Evan Ebel forced her to turn over the gun.
Stevie Marie Anne Vigil pleaded not guilty to a charge of buying a handgun and giving it to Ebel, the sole suspect in the March shooting death of state corrections chief Tom Clements.
Ebel died days later in a shootout with officers in Texas.
After a brief hearing in Arapahoe County District Court, defense attorney Normando Pacheco declined to say how Ebel forced Vigil to give him the gun.
A relative of Vigil's has said he believes Ebel intimidated her into tuning over the gun.
The 22-year-old's trial is scheduled for Aug. 12
ACLU sues over Colo execution information
DENVER (AP) - The American Civil Liberties Union is suing state prisons officials to force them to identify the drugs and procedures they plan to use for the execution of Nathan Dunlap scheduled in August.
The ACLU says it sued the Department of Corrections in Denver District Court.
The department has refused to release the information, and the ACLU says that infringes on the public's right to know.
The 38-year-old Dunlap is on death row for the 1993 ambush slayings of 4 people in a Denver-area pizza restaurant. He was convicted and sentenced to die in 1996, and the U.S. Supreme Court turned down his last guaranteed appeal this year.
A judge scheduled his execution for the week of Aug. 18.
State prisons officials didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.
'Bishop' would-be pipe bomber gets 37 years
CHICAGO (AP) - An Iowa letter carrier has been sentenced to 37 years in prison for sending dud pipe bombs with threatening letters signed "The Bishop."
U.S. District Judge Robert Dow issued the sentence this afternoon, saying John Tomkins "engaged in a reign of terror." The 48-year-old Dubuque, Iowa man previously apologized, saying there were "no words to describe" his "shame." Tomkins was trying to drive up the value of shares he owned. One package was sent to Denver and another to Kansas City, Mo.
Jurors convicted Tomkins last year. The most serious charge was for use of a destructive device while mailing threatening communications. It carried a mandatory sentence of at least 30 years.
Tomkins last month said the mandatory minimum was unfair. Prosecutors sought a sentence of around 45 years.
Ex-Senate candidate Ken Buck's cancer in remission
GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Weld County District Attorney Ken Buck says his cancer is in remission.
The former Republican candidate for U.S. Senate posted on his Facebook page Monday night that there is no detectable cancer in his body after three rounds of chemotherapy. He had announced in March that he was diagnosed with lymphoma.
He wrote that he still had a few more chemotherapy sessions left to ensure the cancer remains out of his body. Buck also thanked his family and the many people who have called or written in support.
Buck unsuccessfully challenged Sen. Michael Bennet in the 2010 election. He has been the district attorney in Weld County since 2004.
Colo. gov signs school funding overhaul
DENVER (AP) - Big changes could be coming to public schools in Colorado, assuming Colorado voters want to raise the income tax to pay for them.
Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the overhaul into law. The changes aim to reverse years of underfunded schools and pay for statewide full-day kindergarten.
But the changes come with a big question mark. They take effect only if Colorado voters approve about $1 billion a year in higher income taxes.
The tax question will be petitioned onto ballots by advocacy groups, so it's too soon to say what exactly the proposed tax would be. Hickenlooper has said he'll push for the higher tax because schools need the upgrades. But he declined to say which exact measure he preferred.
Tea party activists rally outside Denver IRS
DENVER (AP) - Tea party activists rallied outside the IRS office in Denver to protest IRS scrutiny of conservative groups.
About 50 people held signs and listened to speakers at today's event. Dozens of others dropped by for a few minutes to show support, and some drivers passing by the downtown building honked their horns in solidarity.
Protesters took turns speaking with a megaphone, occasionally eliciting cheers or brief chants from a generally calm crowd.
The event was organized by the chair of the Arapahoe County Tea Party as part of a national call to action. Other rallies were planned in Durango, Colorado Springs and Fort Collins.
At least four Colorado groups encountered delays and additional paperwork in filing for non-profit status.
Former RI senate candidate runs for Colo. governor
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A onetime Republican Senate candidate from Rhode Island says he's going to run for governor of Colorado.
Former Cranston Mayor Steve Laffey took on then-incumbent U.S. Sen. Lincoln Chafee (CHAY'-fee) in the Republican primary in 2006. Laffey had the backing of conservative groups such as the Club for Growth, and lost. Chafee went on to lose in the general election.
Laffey, a former investment banker with six children, moved to a ranch in Fort Collins, Colo., three years ago.
He told WPRO-AM on Tuesday that Colorado is headed toward disaster. He objects to proposals to increase gun control, raise electricity rates and the legalization of marijuana.
He says he's put a significant amount of his own money into his campaign, but will have to raise more.
Fire damages Fort Collins apartment building
FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) - A 3-alarm fire has burned through an apartment building in Fort Collins.
Witnesses tell KMGH-TV the fire broke out at the Buffalo Run Apartments around 4 a.m.
More than 40 firefighters were called out to fight the fire. The Red Cross says more than 30 adults and children are being helped with emergency needs like food, shelter, clothing and medical needs.
Poudre Fire Authority Capt. Patrick Love says there is damage on all three floors of the 12-unit apartment building.
Love says no injuries have been reported.
WESTERN LANDS-UTAH GOVERNOR
Utah Gov. Herbert rails against US Land management
WASHINGTON (AP) - Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says his state does a better job than federal managers and has a bigger stake than the bureaucrats in protecting the natural resources and rugged beauty that drives Utah's outdoor recreation and tourism industry.
Herbert, the chairman of the Western Governors' Association, was the lone witness to testify in Washington before a congressional subcommittee examining the role of state and federal governments in managing national parks, forests and public rangelands.
The Republican governor says no one understands state challenges and demographics better than the people who reside and govern there. He says federal managers are hamstrung by regulatory and statutory frameworks that keep them from effectively addressing pressing needs, including rapid declines in the health of national forests and rangelands.
Military discharges, rather than treats
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - Some traumatized veterans commit crimes when they return from the front and then are discharged in a way that makes them ineligible for further medical help, a newspaper reports.
The Colorado Springs Gazette found that the military has discharged escalating numbers of combat veterans since 2006, including many with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or brain damage. An unknown number of those veterans have committed crimes since returning to the United States. The military can discharge them under a provision called Chapter 10, which prevents them from being eligible for Veterans Administration benefits that include treatment for combat-related psychiatric disorders.
The military has discharged more than 13,000 veterans through Chapter 10 since 2006, the Gazette reports. It's unclear how many suffered from combat-related wounds that may have driven them to misconduct.
Weld County marks 5th anniversary of tornado
GREELEY, Colo. (AP) - Weld County residents are marking the fifth anniversary of a tornado that devastated the town of Windsor.
The May 22, 2008 tornado killed one man, destroyed 78 homes and damaged as many as 3,000 along its 39-mile path.
The EF3 tornado produced winds over 165 mph. Insurers say it was the most expensive twister in Colorado's history, causing $207 million in insured losses.
Windsor resident Cindy Gleason rebuilt her home and told the Greeley Tribune that whenever she hears about a tornado now, she thinks about the years of recovery the survivors will face. A tree outside her kitchen window that had its bark ripped off is a constant reminder of all that work. She says she no longer dreads housecleaning, grateful to have a home to clean.
Colorado zoo has baby boom
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) - The Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is busy dealing with a baby boom and other new arrivals.
According to a zoo statement, a porcupette, a hoglet, three lynx kittens and two joeys are all new additions.
According to the Denver Post, the births of the lynx kittens marks the first time this threatened species has successfully bred at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. The public will not be able to view the kittens until they are given access to the outside yard in about six weeks.
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