Appeals court orders permit revoked in Clarkson Street group home battle

The Bennet-Field mansion at 740 Clarkson, bought in 2011 for $700,000.
The Colorado Court of Appeals has overruled a Denver judge's decision to allow Open Door Ministries to operate a treatment program for recovering addicts in an historic mansion on Clarkson Street -- the latest twist in a long-running zoning battle in the neighborhood that was the subject of my 2011 feature "Meet the Neighbors." ODM now has only a few weeks to either appeal the decision to the Colorado Supreme Court or make drastic changes to its Lighthouse boarding home, which neighbors contend was started with an improperly issued permit, one that the appeals court now says must be revoked.

See also: "Judge's ruling further muddles group home flap"

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Initiative 135 wins the gamble and makes the ballot as Amendment 68

Categories: News, Politics

Coloradans for Better Schools Facebook page
On Monday, July 28, what had been initiative 135 officially became Amendment 68, after the Colorado Secretary of State Office's announced that it had reviewed the more than 136,000 petition signatures the campaign had submitted, and deemed enough valid to put the measure on the November 4 ballot.

See also: Initiative #135 would legalize casinos at racetracks: Yea or neigh?

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Initiative #3 would prohibit cannabis possession penalties

Since Colorado voters approved legalizing recreational marijuana in November 2012, rules and regulations regarding the industry have been changing quickly. Proposed ballot initiative #3 would call for yet another change: eradicating all fines and sentences for the possession of cannabis, and guaranteeing that in the Colorado Constitution. But its proponents have just one more week to collect the required signatures, and efforts are lagging.

See also: Pot advocate sues Mile High Stadium, Pat Bowlen over ban of Cannabis University vehicle

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Initiative #135 would legalize casinos at racetracks: Yea or neigh?

Coady Photgraphy
Arapahoe Park could open a casino if 135 passes.
Initiative 135, which would expand gambling in Colorado to racetracks, is heading into the homestretch, with a campaign chest that could make this one of the most expensive issues on the November 4 ballot. Earlier this month, the 135 campaign and Coloradans for Better Schools announced that they had gathered 136,342 signatures in support of putting the measure on the ballot, and were turning them into the Colorado Secretary of State's office. But hold your horses: It hasn't made the ballot yet.

See also: Personhood USA pushes Amendment 67, redefinition of
"person" and "child"

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Marijuana: Welfare cards being used at pot shop ATMs?

Categories: Marijuana, News
According to data compiled by the National Review, welfare recipients have used electronic benefit (EBT) cards to withdraw cash at dispensaries at least 259 times since the sale of limited amounts of cannabis to adults 21 and up began in Colorado on January 1.

In total, more than $23,600 of money meant to go toward food and housing from the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program was withdrawn, according to the conservative publication. And while there's no way to prove the money was spent in dispensaries, that doesn't matter to the lawmakers who immediately demanded something be done.

See also: "Ask a Stoner: How much THC equals a lethal dose?"

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Denver Water pulls Putin-like image from new campaign after Ukrainian plane-crash tragedy

Categories: News

More photos below.
Denver Water is known for its wacky conservation campaigns -- and its latest, dubbed "Don't Be That Guy," is definitely an attention-getter thanks to its portrayal of assorted comic archetypes as water-wasting doofuses.

Problem is, one of the images was inspired by photos of Russian leader Vladimir Putin riding a horse shirtless. Given Putin's alleged connection to the downing of a Malaysian aircraft over the Ukraine in which 298 people were killed, however, the pic no longer seems particularly hilarious -- so Denver Water has now pulled it. See that photo and more below.

See also: Running toilet terrorizes children; no one flushes

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Interim sheriff Elias Diggins's criminal record adds to 5 incidents spelling Gary Wilson's doom

Interim Denver sheriff Elias Diggins. More photos plus videos and a document below.
As we've documented in a series of blog posts over the past year or so, the Denver Sheriff's Department has been beset by scandals -- so many that yesterday, Mayor Michael Hancock accepted Sheriff Gary Wilson's resignation and appointed Division Chief Elias Diggins to fill the job on an interim basis.

But this attempt to smooth the waters wasn't wholly successful: Last night, news broke that Diggins has a criminal record. Continue for details about that revelation, following a recap of five incidents that helped seal Wilson's fate.

See also: Video: See Thomas Ford, suspended deputy, knock out non-violent inmate

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Photos: Gruesome Colfax-Speer crash injures seven

Categories: News

A cropped version of a photo tweeted from the scene by 9News. Images and more below.
Update below: A short time ago, a half-dozen Denver police cruisers were crowded into the emergency-center parking lot of Denver Health -- a sure sign that something very bad had just happened. And sure enough, a gruesome crash had taken place near the intersection of Colfax and Speer just prior to 3 a.m., seriously injuring four to five people and closing a major intersection during the lead-up to the week's first rush hour -- although (update at 6:24 a.m.) it's just been reopened. Here's what we know thus far.

See also: Photos of shocking 104-vehicle crash on I-25 that killed one, injured thirty

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Sterling prison murders blamed on staff indifference, misconduct

James Bergman beat a child killer to death the first day they were put in a cell together. Additional photos below.
Court records and testimony prompted by a wave of inmate homicides at the Sterling Correctional Facility claim that SCF officers have repeatedly placed at-risk prisoners, particularly sex offenders, in life-threatening situations -- and that some staff have even celled deadly enemies together to "teach a lesson," fully expecting one inmate to attack another.

The result has been mayhem on a grand scale: Five inmate murders at Sterling in a two-
year period that ended in 2012. An internal investigation, with findings never made public, was ordered by prison chief Tom Clements before his own murder last year. A lawsuit was recently filed by one victim's family, with possibly more to come.

See also: Gabrial Adams, serving life, found dead in prison for mentally ill

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Video: See Thomas Ford, suspended deputy, knock out non-violent inmate
A screen capture of Deputy Thomas Ford seconds before laying out an inmate; he's seen at the upper right. The video and more below.
Amid numerous recent claims of inappropriate actions by Colorado law enforcers, several of which were brought to the public's attention via lawsuit, the Denver Manager of Safety's Office issued an unusual announcement: Denver Sheriff Gary Wilson had asked the Denver District Attorney's Office to launch a criminal investigation into the conduct of a deputy under his command, Thomas Ford.

The release didn't say precisely what Ford was accused of having done. But a video originally shared by the Colorado Independent and on view below shows Ford brutally punching out an apparently non-violent inmate. And Ford was reportedly involved in another high-profile case of alleged inmate abuse.

See also: Porn, pot, drunkenness and brutality allegedly routine in Denver jail, new docs claim

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