HUD will provide $63M for Colo. flood recovery
LYONS, Colo. (AP) - The federal government will provide $62.8 million to help individuals and communities rebuilding from flooding in northeastern Colorado.
Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Shaun Donovan announced the funding Thursday following a tour of Lyons.
The money will come from HUD's disaster recovery program and is aimed at supplementing previous funding from federal agencies like FEMA. The HUD grants can be used for housing repairs, economic development and infrastructure and flood protection.
Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet, who have been pushing for the funding, say the money could potentially help thousands of Colorado residents whose homes were damaged or destroyed.
The Denver Post reports that Lyons faces at least $6.5 million in rebuilding costs. That's $2 million more than the town has in its reserves.
ROCK SLIDE SURVIVOR
Colorado rock slide survivor says dad saved her
BUENA VISTA, Colo. (AP) - The Colorado girl who was the only member of her family to survive a rock slide is for the first time publicly describing how her father saved her life by pushing her into a large rock.
Appearing on NBC's "Today" show Thursday, 13-year-old Gracie Johnson said she covered herself but was still standing in the open before her father helped by pushing her into a rock bigger than she is.
Her father and mother, her 18-year-old sister and two cousins from Missouri were killed in the September slide on a popular trail near her hometown of Buena Vista in south-central Colorado.
Gracie says she's doing really well and is "healing a lot." She said she's thankful for the support of her small town, where she's still living. An aunt and uncle moved there to take care of her.
Colo. health care exchange official seeks bonus
DENVER (AP) - The head of Colorado's state health care exchange is asking for a year-end raise and bonus even though enrollment numbers are not meeting expectations.
Patty Fontneau is currently paid more than $190,000 a year. Her salary is supported by Colorado taxpayers. The board of directors for the exchange has yet to approve Fontneau's request.
According to the Denver Post, enrollment figures so far are short of expectations. Officials' high-end projection for how many people would enroll in an insurance plan through December was more than 61,000. But earlier this week, officials said just under 10,000 people had bought private health insurance plan.
The raise request was first reported by the University of Colorado publication Solutions.
Colombian pleads not guilty on weapons charge
DENVER (AP) - A Colombian national has pleaded not guilty in Denver federal court to a weapons charge after his arrest during raids on medical marijuana businesses.
Hector Diaz is charged with possession of a firearm while in the U.S. on a business or tourism visa. He entered his plea Thursday and was scheduled to be released on $25,000 bond.
He was ordered to stay away from at least two medical marijuana businesses as a condition of bail. Authorities haven't said why.
Diaz is the only person known to have been arrested during the Nov. 21 raids on more than a dozen sites, most of them related to Denver and Boulder medical marijuana businesses.
Prosecutors haven't said whether Diaz is linked to the pot investigation or disclosed the reasons for the raids.
Arson investigated at Gunnison BLM office
GUNNISON, Colo. (AP) - Authorities are investigating possible vandalism and arson that heavily damaged a federal Bureau of Land Management office in Gunnison.
BLM spokeswoman Shannon Borders said Thursday the office houses environmental assessment specialists, inspectors, recreation managers and federal law enforcement officers.
Borders said the fire Saturday night is being investigated by the Gunnison Police Department. She said the amount of damage is still being determined and a $2,000 reward is being offered.
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