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The Associated PressMay 28, 20176min490

ATLANTA — Democrats hope to enlist military veterans in another type of fight — for majority control of the House.

Looking ahead to next year’s elections, Democrats are trying to recruit at least two dozen military veterans to challenge Republican incumbents, arguing that candidates with military on their resumes appeals to independent voters and can help the party break the GOP grip on Washington.

“Veterans have had the experience of putting the country first, before personal politics” and party dictates, said Rep. Seth Moulton, D-Mass, who did four tours of duty in Iraq, left the Marines as a captain and was elected to Congress in 2014. That tends “to attract the kind of independent voters who are looking for a good leader,” Moulton added.

Several veterans already have announced their bids in some of the 79 Republican-held House districts that national Democratic Party leaders have identified as top targets.

Decades ago, veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam were mainstays in Congress. In 1969-71, 398 veterans served in the House and 69 in the Senate, according to the Congressional Research Service. But the change to an all-volunteer force in 1973 sent those numbers plummeting.

The extended post-Sept. 11 conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq helped reverse the trend, and now there are 80 veterans in the 435-seat House and 20 veterans in the 100-member Senate.

For Democrats, struggling to return to the majority, military veterans provide potential candidates as the party deals with an elective wipeout during Barack Obama’s presidency with the loss of more than 1,030 seats in state legislatures, governor’s mansions and Congress.

Moulton and Sen. Tammy Duckworth, D-Ill., who lost both legs and partial use of an arm in a rocket-propelled grenade attack in Iraq, have spoken to veterans in districts ranging from obvious Democratic targets to places where the path to victory isn’t as obvious.

The party needs to pick up 24 seats to reclaim a House majority next November.

In the Philadelphia suburbs, former Air Force officer Chrissy Houlahan is challenging two-term Republican Rep. Ryan Costello in one of 23 districts where Democrat Hillary Clinton topped Trump in November. Outside Denver, former Army Ranger and combat veteran Jason Crow, a onetime campaign adviser to Obama, is running for the seat held by another veteran, five-term GOP Rep. Mike Coffman.

Both mentioned President Donald Trump as factors in their campaign.

“All the bravado and the wailing and gnashing of teeth isn’t the way we conduct ourselves as professional service members,” Houlahan said of Trump’s rhetoric.

Said Crow: “I’m deeply troubled by President Trump and what he’s trying to do to country and our democracy.”

Dan McCready, a former Marine who attended Harvard Business School alongside Moulton, steered clear of Trump as he announced his bid in the more Republican-leaning North Carolina district of three-term Republican Rep. Robert Pittenger.

But all three candidates, along with Moulton, agreed that veterans offer voters an approach rarely taken on Capitol Hill.

“We know what it’s like to serve the country in non-political ways, and we’re standing up to say that the system is broken,” said Crow. He added that any military unit brings together “Republicans, Democrats, unaffiliated, every different background, every part of the country, urban rural, every rung of the economic ladder, and they have to come together very quickly … or the mission fails.”

Democratic veterans have run notable campaigns in recent years.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards, a West Point graduate and former Ranger, emphasized his record to attract enough voters in a conservative state. In Missouri last year, former Army intelligence officer Jason Kander drew national attention for his U.S. Senate campaign ad in which he assembled an AR-15 rifle while blindfolded. He lost by 3 percentage points, but got 230,000 more votes than Clinton, who lost the state by 18 points.

Seth Lynn, who runs the nonpartisan Veterans Campaign, an organization that trains veterans running for office, says research suggests veterans running against a non-veteran get “about a 2-point bump” on average.

Lynn isn’t yet tracking exact numbers of veteran candidates, but says he’s seen a “noticeable uptick” among Democrats.

Some of that, Lynn says, is the usual clamoring by the party out of power: Republican veterans arose in 2010, the first midterm under Obama, and Democrats’ boasted a large slate in 2006, amid opposition to the Iraq war during President George W. Bush’s second term.

Those veteran candidates did not all win, of course. But those midterm years marked the last two times voters tossed out the House majority in favor of the other party.


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The Associated PressMay 27, 20177min490

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As U.S. children flock to virtual charter schools, states are struggling to catch up and develop rules to make sure the students get a real education and schools get the right funding.

The future of virtual schools is part of the larger school-choice debate seeing renewed attention since the installation of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, an online charter investor and advocate who sees them as a valuable option for students.

While some perform well, the sector has been plagued by accounts of low standards, mismanagement, and inflated participation counts at schools that are reimbursed based on the number of enrolled students. Ohio’s largest online charter school, the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow, this month lost the latest round of its battle over $60 million the state says is owed for enrollment that cannot be justified.

Findings of underperformance at e-schools have been so prevalent that even supporters have called for policymakers to intervene.

“There’s overwhelming consensus that these schools are performing terribly poor and yet, you know, nothing’s happening,” said Gary Miron, a Western Michigan University professor who researches online charters for the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado and believes such schools can work, but not under the current model.

Nationwide, enrollment in virtual schools has tripled over the past decade, and some 278,000 students as young as kindergarteners were enrolled in 58 full-time online schools across 34 states for the 2015-16 school year, according to data from the policy center. Other groups’ estimates put virtual enrollment even higher. Half the virtual schools are charters and the rest are district-run, but charters have most of the students.

The schools’ supporters say they fill a gap by meeting the needs of nontraditional students — those with challenging schedules, severe health issues, troubles with focus or bullying, or who are working or traveling or parenting children of their own.

Ninth-grader Celiah Aker, 14, is an honors student who has attended the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow since the fifth grade.

“I wanted the flexibility to do other things, instead of just school,” Aker said. “I have a lot of friends who are in regular public school, and they always get bombarded with so many hours of homework. I get to hang with my family and go to sports events and go and do my dance classes.”

Nowhere have regulators’ struggles been on display more than Ohio, which ranks among the states with the most students enrolled in virtual charters. The state had broader charter-school rules but didn’t outline many specific e-school standards or enrollment limits for them until more than a decade after ECOT opened.

Now the school is locked in a protracted legal battle with the state over how it tracks students’ hours, a dispute that traces to before the state had any online charter regulations on the books. A hearing officer recently recommended the state education board take action to collect millions from the Electronic Classroom of Tomorrow due to undocumented enrollment.

Jeremy Aker, Celiah’s dad, said implications that ECOT students are chronically absent and the school is undeserving of state assistance are discouraging for his daughter.

“You were a 4.0 student during the 2015-2016 school year, in the National Honor Society, and because you didn’t sit logged into a screen for 5 hours a day, we’re actually going to call you truant and we want our money back,” he said.

Finding the balance has also tripped up other states.

In Colorado, where an Education Week investigation found only a quarter of the students at one online school were using the software on a typical day, recent Democratic legislative proposals to have the state certify authorizers of cyber schools and study data have fizzled without a full vote.

A lack of uniform attendance tracking also muddied the development of virtual schools in Oklahoma earlier this decade. One charter school, Epic, was referred to state fraud investigators for issues including how it counted students — though nothing came of the review. In 2015, legislators overhauled the law requiring closure of poor-performing charters, instituting a more rigorous application process and stepping up requirements for sponsors. Epic’s performance rankings are now high. Republican Gov. Frank Keating is speaking at Epic’s graduation next month.

States have been slow to respond to red flags, in part because lobbying by for-profit operators and other supporters hampered legislative proposals aimed at improving accountability, Miron said.

DeVos was herself a major donor to those efforts before becoming education secretary. What influence her appointment will have on states’ efforts to regulate charter schools is not yet clear. The department didn’t respond to interview requests.

In Ohio, state records show ECOT founder William Lager has donated about $765,000 to state-level campaigns. Nationwide, charter school owners, operators and advocacy groups have donated almost $89 million to state-level campaigns over the past decade, according to data collected by the nonprofit Institute for Money in State Politics.

A report last summer from the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools, the National Association of Charter School Authorizers and the nonprofit 50-State Campaign for Achievement Now called for policymakers and school authorizers to intervene to address problems with online charters.

“Left unchecked, these problems have the potential to overshadow the positive impacts this model currently has for some students,” the report said.


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The Associated PressMay 26, 20175min480

DENVER — The Latest on a fatal oil tank fire in northern Colorado:

1:45 p.m.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper says two deadly northern Colorado oil and gas explosions in recent weeks are unrelated.

The governor is a former geologist and says he agrees with local investigators who say that the two deadly incidents aren’t related.

A Thursday fire at a gas well battery in the town of Mead killed one worker and burned three others. The cause was under investigation.

That fire was a just few miles north of a home that exploded April 17, killing two people. The home explosion was traced to a leaky gas well.

Hickenlooper says that the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating Thursday’s blast.

__

11:35 a.m.

Two Colorado lawmakers are calling on the owner of an oil tank facility that was the scene of a fatal explosion to cooperate with state investigators to ensure it doesn’t happen again.

House Majority Leader KC Becker and Rep. Mike Foote, both Democrats, said Friday that the fire that killed one worker and injured three others was unacceptable — especially coming after a fatal house explosion in the region blamed on a natural gas pipe leak.

Foote says the industry and government “have an obligation to treat these incidents not as isolated or freak accidents.”

Anadarko Petroleum Co. says it’s investigating what caused Thursday’s blast in Mead, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) north of Denver.

An April 17 house explosion in nearby Firestone killed two people. Investigators blamed it on natural gas from a severed pipeline linked to an Anadarko-owned well.

___

11:15 a.m.

The oil tank battery that caught fire Thursday in Mead was not in operation when it caught fire Thursday, killing one and injuring three.

That’s according to the owner of the site, Anadarko Petroleum Company.

The company has not identified the workers. Anadarko says they were “finishing projects associated with a facility upgrade.” The company didn’t elaborate.

Anadarko says it is investigating what caused the fire.

An oil tank battery is a collection of tanks that receive crude oil production from a well.

___

10:15 a.m.

Colorado’s governor says it’s too soon for the state to take any action in response to a fatal oil tank explosion in Thursday.

The explosion at an oil tank battery in Mead killed one worker and injured three more.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper is resisting calls from an environmental group to temporarily shut down all Colorado gas wells owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. The company owns the site of Thursday’s explosion and another well that caused a fatal home explosion in Firestone. Two people were killed in that blast.

Hickenlooper told reporters Friday that it was too early for any government response pending an investigation into the Mead incident. He said, “Let’s see what happened first.”

The victims of the Mead explosion have not yet been named.

An oil tank battery is a collection of tanks that receive crude oil production from a well.

___

8 a.m.

A fatal oil tank battery fire in northern Colorado appears to be unrelated to a nearby home explosion last month caused by a leaky gas line.

Thursday’s blast in Mead killed one person and injured three others. All were working on a battery at the site owned by Anadarko Petroleum Corporation.

The explosion happened less than 4 miles away from the Firestone neighborhood where an April 17 explosion killed two people. Investigators blamed that explosion on natural gas from a severed pipeline. Anadarko owns that well, too.

The Weld County Sheriff’s Department tells The Denver Channel that the two deadly incidents aren’t related.

Cpl. Matt Turner with the Weld County Sheriff’s Office tells the station that Thursday’s blast was “a completely separate incident all together.”

Thursday victims haven’t been identified.


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The Associated PressMay 24, 20171min440

DENVER — Two Republican members of Congress from Colorado are asking the Trump administration not to change the Canyons of the Ancients National Monument, one of more than two dozen monuments under review for possible modification.

Sen. Cory Gardner and Rep. Scott Tipton said Tuesday the southwestern Colorado monument preserves thousands of archaeological sites while allowing traditional uses of the land.

Their recommendation is likely to get a close hearing in the GOP administration.

President Donald Trump ordered Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on April 26 to review the monuments, accusing previous presidents of abusing their authority to establish them.

President Bill Clinton designated the Canyons of the Ancients in 2000. It covers 275 square miles (710 square kilometers) and has more than 6,000 known archaeological sites. It’s the only Colorado site under review.


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The Associated PressMay 15, 201713min310

GREENWOOD VILLAGE, Colo. — Stationing herself outside a bank building and holding a sign in the unforgiving midday sun, Katie Farnan was multitasking, as usual. She’s a mother of two young children and works for a nonprofit firm but also has a third job: Chair of the town hall committee of the activist group Indivisible Front Range Resistance.

And at noon on this spring Friday, she was the very face of a protest movement run by amateurs that has provided the greatest challenge to President Donald Trump: A distracted mother dispensing fruit snacks to her sons, ages 1 and 3, while hoping to intercept a Republican senator attending a private meeting with bank employees.

“He sticks in my craw,” Farnan said of Sen. Cory Gardner, who hasn’t held a public town hall this year despite activists’ pressure campaign. “It’s my responsibility to try to get town halls with him and if I can’t get town halls with him, I feel like–” She stopped, cut off by 3-year-old Leo’s cries of “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!”

A few months into Trump’s presidency, resistance to it is much like Farnan — exhausted, sometimes exasperated, but determined. The initial electric jolt of the record-setting women’s marches against Trump across the country and the spontaneous outpouring of protesters to airports the night Trump announced his initial travel ban on certain immigrants have given way to a long slog of activist trench warfare.

Though there’s still plenty of protest aimed at the president, attendance has tapered off, and the self-described resistance has expanded its targets to members of Congress. In doing so, it’s following both the tea party playbook and the recommendations of a pair of former Democratic congressional staffers whose Indivisible Guide has become a sort of bible to rookie activists.

The decentralized approach has been effective. Enormous pressure from constituents at town halls preceded the Republican-controlled House’s decision to abandon a first bill to revise President Barack Obama’s health care law. (A revised bill has since cleared the House.) Videos of angry voters shouting down congressional Republicans have gone viral. Donations to longshot Democratic candidates running for open congressional seats in Republican districts have skyrocketed.

Encouraged, activists are looking for fresh tactics and ways to maintain the energy. In February, Farnan’s group held a town hall without Gardner, where constituents fired off questions to a cardboard cutout of the senator. It paid for a plane to fly over the Colorado Rockies’ April home opener trailing a banner calling on Gardner to hold a town hall. And Farnan tried to squeeze more out of the bank demonstration by taking cell phone video of demonstrators offering questions they’d ask Gardner at a town hall, for a social media campaign.

Trained as a librarian, briskly efficient and perpetually upbeat, Farnan, 38, produced a box of chalk, drew pictures of a bulldozer and garbage truck on the pavement to captivate her boys, and moved through the protesters, filming quick clips. When, Jack, age 1, wanted to be picked up, she held him with one arm, her cell phone camera with the other. After an hour, she knew she had to go.

Farnan and Lisa Clark, who leads another brand-new activist group in the area, tried to figure out how they’d meet during the next day’s tax day protests in Denver. “If anyone else wants to do videos, get them,” Farnan called to Clark as she wheeled her stroller toward the car.

Clark, whose full-time job is raising her two children, marveled at Farnan’s schedule. “I don’t know how she does it,” Clark said.

Farnan didn’t make the tax protest the following day. She nearly collapsed Friday night and rushed to urgent care, where she was diagnosed with strep throat.

Before Election Day, Farnan was relatively uninvolved in politics. Born and raised in Ohio, she lived there until she and her husband David moved to Boulder in 2011. She was able to tele-commute for her 30-hour-a-week job as director of operations for a New York-based nonprofit. She volunteered for Barack Obama’s re-election campaign in 2012, but didn’t do the same for Hillary Clinton’s presidential run last year. She had two young kids. Plus, she added, “I thought it was in the bag.”

For a month after the election, Farnan was heartbroken and adrift. Her husband said, “It was more difficult from Nov. 9 to January because it was impossible to participate in any way.”

Then, one day while browsing Twitter, Farnan saw a link to something called the Indivisible Guide. Her life was about to be changed by Ezra Levin and Leah Greenberg.

Levin and Greenberg had met while working as staffers for Rep. Lloyd Doggett, a Democrat from Austin, Texas. When Trump won, they were off Capitol Hill and working at liberal organizations. Despondent, they went back to Austin for Thanksgiving, and an old friend who told them about the energy among liberals in the wake of Trump’s election. Like Farnan, people wanted to do something — they just didn’t know what.

Levin and Greenberg did. They remembered how the tea party movement sapped the momentum Democrats had after taking all branches of government in the 2008 election, using smart strategy and tactics, Levin said in an interview. “For a relatively small band of advocates spread out across the country, they were quite successful.”

The two began writing a Google document, enlisting friends for input. In mid-December, Levin tweeted a link to it that ricocheted around the internet to thousands like Farnan.

“Immediately I was like, ‘Oh, this is super easy, applicable and practicable,'” Farnan recalled. One suggestion was for people not to start their own groups but instead join an existing one — in her case, Indivisible Front Range Resistance. Two days after she signed up, she was at a protest.

The Indivisible Guide advises activists to “stall the Trump agenda” by fighting locally and playing defense. Bombard members of Congress with phone calls and meeting requests, it says: “A day that they spend worrying about you is a day that they’re not ending Medicare, privatizing public schools, or preparing a Muslim registry.”

Farnan’s group deluged Gardner’s office with calls and demonstrated outside. When Gardner did not schedule a town hall during Congress’ winter recess, Indivisible members found him emerging from a private meeting and confronted him with questions. Days later, Farnan ran the town hall without Gardner, which drew more than 1,000 people. Such absentee town halls have become popular across the country.

As Congress’ Easter recess loomed, Farnan was trying to come up with new tactics. After putting her sons to bed, she went to the finished basement of her split-level Boulder house. The only sign that this was the base of the resistance was a bumper sticker reading “#NotNormal Resist.” Farnan turned on her MacBook; she and other leaders in her group communicate through 27 different Slack channels. One had proudly posted an image of a tweet he’d fired off that morning. “Brian’s wife is in labor now but he’s tweeting,” Farnan sighed.

Her responsibility that night was to post a daily “call to action” — various tasks the group’s 4,000 members could perform the next day. Farnan read reports, memos and emails before settling on her plans. They ranged from calling the Republican leader of the state Senate to support legislation guaranteeing Colorado wouldn’t round up Muslims to a health care protest.

But she didn’t know what to do about Gardner. She didn’t want to repeat herself with another town hall minus the senator. “We don’t want to be the group that can’t get anyone to show up,” she said.

It was nearly 10 p.m. Farnan’s gaze drifted to pictures of her sons on the mantel, and she grew downbeat thinking about the world they’d grow up in. “Every time I try to check out, I look at my kids — and I get so depressed,” she said. When she became an activist, she gave up her one leisure activity, guitar lessons. “My fingers have gotten all soft,” she said.

As Congress’ spring recess rolled around, Farnan got some relief from her workload — her group, overloaded, scaled back from a nightly call to action to a weekly one. Other groups spearheaded protests.

Levin says that every congressional district in the country has at least two groups affiliated with the Indivisible movement. These organizations only need to agree to follow certain basic principles like nondiscrimination to get included in the network. Indivisible now has a Washington, D.C., office, which suggests issues to focus on but doesn’t dictate tactics.

“These groups are all bottom-up,” Levin said. “We’re not Subway, we’re not franchising.”

In Colorado, the benefits of a decentralized resistance were clear. An Indivisible group in Republican Rep. Mike Coffman’s district helped pack his first town hall of the year with hostile questioners. Another group affiliated with Indivisible, Clark’s Together We Will, Colorado, heard about Gardner’s private visit to the bank for a private town hall with employees. The following week, environmental and immigration activists smuggled a mariachi band into Gardner’s meeting with members of the local chamber of commerce. Last week, demonstrators massed outside Gardner’s office to protest Trump’s firing of FBI director James Comey and to demand a special counsel for the Russia investigation.

At the end of the 2-week spring recess, Farnan and her family joined thousands of other demonstrators in Denver for the march for science. Icy grey clouds parted just as the march began. Farnan had 182 videos addressing Gardner in hand, including one she shot of herself, and she would post them. She felt that she and the movement had gotten over a hump — keeping people engaged after the explosion of interest following the Women’s March.

“People are looking at midterms. I don’t think they’re going anywhere,” Farnan said, already talking about starting sessions training Indivisible members on how to become canvassers for upcoming elections. “We’ve passed a couple of critical flameout points.”



The Associated PressMay 12, 20173min320

DENVER — The Latest on a Mexican immigrant leaving a Denver church after being granted a deportation delay:

11:50 a.m.

A Mexican immigrant who lived in a Denver church for three months to avoid immigration authorities is vowing to fight for another woman still in hiding.

Jeanette Vizguerra (vihz-GEHR’-uh) left the First Baptist Church near the state Capitol on Friday surrounded by her children and supporters after they say she won a two-year deportation delay.

Speaking to the crowd while holding her daughter’s hand, she said she is happy to be with her family for Mother’s Day but sad that Ingrid Encalada Latorre is still living in a Quaker meeting house in Denver because she’s facing removal from the United States.

U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado introduced a bill in March to help Vizguerra stay and says she should never have been targeted for removal.

Immigration officials haven’t issued any updates on her case.

____

9:15 a.m.

A Mexican immigrant who lived in a Denver church for three months to avoid immigration authorities left Friday morning after supporters say she won a two-year deportation delay.

Jeanette Vizguerra (vihz-GEHR’-uh) was joined by her children and supporters as she walked outside.

She says she is happy that she will get to spend Mother’s Day with her children and grandchildren. But she says she is still sad because another woman is still living in another Denver church to avoid deportation. She vowed to help fight for her case now.

Activists say another man who once took refuge in a Denver church and was arrested by immigration agents last month, Arturo Hernandez, has also been granted a two-year deportation delay after first winning a 30-day delay.

Sen. Michael Bennet introduced bills to help both Vizguerra and Hernandez. He says they shouldn’t have been targeted for removal.

_____

7:40 a.m.

A Mexican immigrant who has been living in a Denver church to avoid deportation plans to leave Friday after supporters say officials granted her a two-year delay.

Jeanette Vizguerra (vihz-GEHR’-uh) moved into a church basement three months ago after skipping her scheduled check-in with Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials.

Her attorney, Hans Meyer says the mother of four has been trying to get a visa granted to crime victims which would allow her to stay in the country.


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The Associated PressMay 9, 20173min381

DENVER — Colorado Republicans used a late-night filibuster Monday to block a first-of-its-kind requirement that oil and gas producers provide the locations of all their gas lines.

Democrats who rule the House were planning to pass the bill before midnight, their deadline to get it to the governor’s desk before the Legislature concludes work for the year.

But the chamber’s 28 Republicans successfully extended debate, saying the mapping requirement isn’t needed and wouldn’t improve public safety.

The bill was in response to a deadly home explosion in April that was traced to gas seeping from an old severed underground pipeline, called a flow line.

Democrats called for a searchable statewide map of gas lines. Some states have searchable statewide well maps, though none has come up with the maps by requiring oil and gas producers to disclose well sites.

“The reason this is coming up is that two people are dead in our community,” Democratic Rep. Matt Gray said.

But Republicans pointed out that oil and gas regulators have already ordered safety reviews of the state’s 54,000 or so wells.

They also argued that homeowners can find out about wells now using technology called the geographic information system, or GIS. Though no state keeps a central database of those lines, they’re not hidden, either.

“You’d have to go back to the ’50s to find lines that aren’t mapped out,” said Republican Rep. Phil Covarrubias. “It’s ridiculous to say we don’t know where lines are.”

The measure was inspired by an April 17 home explosion that killed two people last month in Firestone, a small town in northern Colorado. Investigator concluded that the explosion was caused by a gas escaping from a nearby flow line.

The well was drilled in 1993. State records show it was shut down all of last year and resumed production in January, although the records do not show the reasons.

The statewide mapping bill stood little chance from the beginning. For one, the state Senate is controlled by Republicans who oppose the map requirement.

Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former geologist, said after the explosion that improved well maps are important but may be better kept by county and local authorities, not state regulators.

“I don’t think it’s unreasonable to want to know where those lines are. I’m not compelled that it’s got to be the state that controls that,” Hickenlooper said.


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The Associated PressMay 7, 20171min563

JOHNSTOWN, Colo. — School officials in Colorado are investigating allegations that a high school Spanish teacher allowed students to hit a pinata with a picture of President Donald Trump on it during a Cinco de Mayo celebration.

KCNC-TV reported Sunday that Johnstown Milliken School District Superintendent Martin Foster said the incident allegedly occurred on the grounds of Roosevelt High School in the northern Colorado town of Johnstown.

The station says the teacher is on paid leave. The teacher’s name hasn’t been released.

Lesley Hollywood, the parent of a Roosevelt student, says she was offended when saw a video of the pinata on the social media app Snapchat.

Hollywood says she didn’t vote for Trump but the pinata was disrespectful.


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The Associated PressMay 6, 20175min411

WASHINGTON — Twenty-seven national monuments, mostly in the West, face the curtailing or elimination of protections put in place over the past two decades by presidents from both parties, the Interior Department said.

President Donald Trump ordered the review last month, saying protections imposed by his three immediate predecessors amounted to “a massive federal land grab” that “should never have happened.”

A list released Friday includes 22 monuments on federal land in 11, mostly Western states, including Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante in Utah, Nevada’s Basin and Range and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine.

The review also targets five marine monuments in the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, including a huge reserve in Hawaii established in 2006 by President George W. Bush and expanded last year by President Barack Obama.

Bush, Obama and Bill Clinton were among a host of presidents who protected hundreds of millions of acres under a 1906 law that authorizes the president to declare federal lands and waters as monuments and restrict their use.

Trump said the protections imposed by his predecessors “unilaterally put millions of acres of land and water under strict federal control, eliminating the ability of the people who actually live in those states to decide how best to use that land.”

The land-controls have “gotten worse and worse and worse, and now we’re going to free it up, which is what should have happened in the first place,” Trump said at a signing ceremony marking the executive order.

Trump accused Obama in particular of exploiting the 1906 Antiquities Act in an “egregious abuse of federal power,” adding that he was giving power “back to the states and to the people, where it belongs.”

In December, shortly before leaving office, Obama infuriated Utah Republicans by creating the Bears Ears National Monument on more than 1 million acres of land that’s sacred to Native Americans and home to tens of thousands of archaeological sites, including ancient cliff dwellings.

Republicans in the state asked Trump to take the unusual step of reversing Obama’s decision. They said the monument designation will stymie growth by closing the area to new commercial and energy development. The Antiquities Act does not give the president explicit power to undo a designation and no president has ever taken such a step.

Trump’s order also targets the Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument in Utah, created by Clinton in 1996, and Katahdin Woods and Waters in Maine, created last year by Obama. At 87,500 acres, Katahdin is the only one of the 22 monuments under review that is smaller than 100,000 acres, the minimum size designated by the order.

The Interior Department said Katahdin will be reviewed under a provision that singles out whether a monument was created or expanded without adequate public outreach and coordination with relevant stakeholders. The land east of Maine’s Baxter State Park was bought by Burt’s Bees co-founder Roxanne Quimby, whose foundation donated it to the federal government.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has been directed to produce an interim report next month and make a recommendation on Bears Ears, and then issue a final report within 120 days.

Zinke is traveling to Utah on Sunday and will visit Bears Ears and Grand Staircase.

Members of a coalition of five Western tribes that pushed for the Bears Ears designation have said they’re outraged the Trump administration will review a decision they say was already carefully vetted by the Obama administration, including a multi-day visit last year by then-Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

“Once it’s designated, it’s designated,” said Davis Filfred of the Navajo Nation. Trump “should just honor our past leaders and those who were before him. He’s disregarding the Native Americans, the first people of this nation. This is sacred land.”

 


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The Associated PressApril 29, 20171min54
DENVER — Actor Diane Guerrero has met with a woman who is seeking refuge from deportation in the basement of a Denver church. Guerrero, who stars in the Netflix series Orange Is the New Black, met with Jeanette Vizguerra on Thursday and told the woman and her daughters not to make the same mistake she […]

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