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Colorado Civics Program Wins the Sandra Day O'Connor Award

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Judicially Speaking helps students learn about the judicial system, the easy way
Since retiring from the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2006, Justice Sandra Day O'Connor has been promoting civics education. To honor others who have the same goal, the National Center for State Courts presents the Sandra Day O'Connor Award for the Advancement of Civics Education annually. This year the winner is Judicially Speaking, a program created by three Colorado judges.

See also: Marijuana: Some Oklahoma Conservatives Decry Federal Pot Lawsuit Against Colorado

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Justine Herring Update: Cop Impersonation Claim, Semi-Nude Photos of Mayoral Candidate

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KKTV/Colorado Springs Gazette via YouTube
Justine Herring at her court advisement yesterday.
Update: The stories surrounding Colorado Springs mayoral candidate Justine Herring keep getting stranger and stranger. Following her arrest on a felony menacing charge for allegedly pointing an AR-15 at a man in a public park (see our previous coverage below), she was busted again on a similar accusation. She's also said to have impersonated a law-enforcement officer. Meanwhile, information has surfaced about what are termed "suggestive photos" of Herring that surfaced last year on "adult escort websites" in what she maintained at the time was an act of identity theft.

See also: Charles Wingate, Ex-Springs Councilman, Apologizes for Keeping Naked, Autistic Boy in Filth, published on April 8, 2014

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Exposing the CIA: Mark Udall's Unfinished Business?

Categories: News, Politics

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Mark Udall: People will be "disgusted" by the full report on CIA torture, if it ever sees the light of day.
After ten years in the House of Representatives and six as a U.S. Senator, Mark Udall would prefer to go out known as a champion of individual liberty and the environment, rather than the faltering "Senator Uterus" who one-noted his re-election campaign and badly underestimated the Republican who unseated him, Cory Gardner. And pressure is mounting, in the waning hours before Gardner takes the oath of office tomorrow, for Udall to make a bold move to secure that legacy.

Ever since Gardner's upset victory, speculation has been rampant that Udall will release some version of the Senate Intelligence Committee's 6,700-page study of the CIA's detention and interrogation program, a massive, hush-hush, four-year investigation of the George W. Bush administration's use of extreme measures -- okay, torture -- in its global war on terror.

See also: Mark Udall's Last Senate Campaign: Save Browns Canyon


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Conservative Political Groups Fined for Breaking Electioneering Law

Categories: News, Politics

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Brandon Marshall
RMGO pro-gun rally last year.
An administrative law judge has ruled that both Colorado Campaign for Life and Rocky Mountain Gun Owners must pay fines for failing to disclosing financial information in their campaigns against two Republican candidates in the state senate primaries last year. The groups must also file disclosures of spending and earmarked contributions for mailings that they sent to registered Republicans in two Colorado districts.

See also: Steve King Tops Most Wanted List from Colorado Ethics Watch

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The Year in Fracking: Quakes, Spills and Backroom Deals

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The battle over fracking in Colorado continued to attract national media attention in 2014, and with good reason. The use of hydraulic fracturing to extract oil and gas, and the attendant debate over economic benefits versus possible health and environmental risks, has been playing out here with more twists and turns than the bedsheets of an insomniac with night sweats. Here's a brief recap of some of the more earth-shaking moments in one of the most divisive political struggles of the past year.

See also: How Colorado Became Ground Zero in America's Energy Wars


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Colorado Couple in Cuba for Transition May Have Been First to Legally Import Cigars

Categories: Politics

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Photo courtesy of Ryan Sethre
Ryan and Kim Sethre in Cuba
Many people are asking what the recent renewed diplomatic relations with Cuba will mean for travel and trade between the island and the United States. For Ryan Sethre and his wife Kim, a Colorado couple, the new deal meant a more exciting trip than they anticipated.

Ryan is the coordinator of the ESL tutoring lab at the Community College of Denver. His wife, Kim, is a graduate academic adviser for the University of Colorado, Denver. The day before Ryan and Kim were to leave Havana, President Obama and President Castro revealed their secret negotiations and renewed relationship. Westord spoke to them about their unusual vacation.

See also: How a Colorado Senator Prevented Cuba From Becoming a U.S. Territory

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Nebraska and Oklahoma to Coloradans Who Voted for Amendment 64: Go to Hell

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A highway check in Nebraska. Additional photos, a video and more below.
Update: A number of Republican officials from Oklahoma have publicly questioned the state attorney general's decision to file a lawsuit over Colorado's legalization of pot. In a letter to AG Scott Pruitt co-signed by six other Republican lawmakers, Representative Mike Ritze called preservation of states' rights a core conservative value. ""Our Founding Fathers intended the states to be laboratories of self-government, free to tinker and experiment with different ideas," Ritze said in a release about the letter. "The founders, from Jefferson to Madison, were also strong proponents of states nullifying unconstitutional federal actions. If the people of Colorado want to end prohibition of marijuana, while I may personally disagree with the decision, constitutionally speaking, they are entitled to do so."

For months, Nebraska law enforcers and officials have been up in arms about Colorado's marijuana laws. Now, the state is attempting to take its complaints to the U.S. Supreme Court: Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning is suing the State of Colorado, with Oklahoma jumping aboard. Continue to see the complete complaint, as well as photos, video and details.

See also: Marijuana: Nebraska Cops Want Colorado to Help Pay for Pot Enforcement

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Denver Jail Brutality: Auditor Wonders if Sheriff's Office Has Something to Hide

Categories: News, Politics

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Jamal Hunter, seen in this post-beating photo, received a $3.25 million settlement from the City of Denver. Additional images, plus a video and more below.
This could get ugly. Hot on the heels of huge City of Denver payouts in cases involving Jamal Hunter and Marvin Booker, Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher blasted the Denver Sheriff's Department for a lack of transparency regarding his office's efforts to audit jail operations overseen by the DSD. A key quote from a letter sent to Mayor Michael Hancock that's on view below: "This kind of behavior and the refusal to provide needed information to my auditors makes me wonder what some people want to hide."

See also: $3.25 Million Settlement in Jamal Hunter Suit Latest Blemish on Denver Sheriff's Department

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Update: Boulder Allows Dispensaries to Sell Branded T-Shirts and Other Merch

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Staffers at the defunct Denver dispensary Cherry Top Farms wearing branded T-shirts.
Update: Earlier this week, the Boulder City Council voted unanimously to allow dispensaries to sell branded merchandise, so long as clothing and other items aren't offered in children's sizes. Continue to see our preview coverage about the issue, which spotlights favoring the change espoused by Colorado NORML.

See also: DIA Banning Sales of Marijuana-Themed Socks and Flip-Flops, Entrepreneur Says

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Denver District Attorney: Staffers Can't Live Where Marijuana Is an Income Source

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Although the Denver District Attorney's Office only has the power to prosecute local and state laws, its employees are held to a higher standard when it comes to marijuana.

Specifically, they aren't allowed to possess, grow or sell pot, since all of those things are illegal under federal law. But the office has taken its prohibitions a step further than that. In February, it updated its conduct policy to include a provision that prevents employees from benefiting from "income derived from a household member's ownership or financial interest in, or employment by" a marijuana business.

See also: Update: Marijuana-Hating Town Officials to Vote on Plan to Block Pot Shop

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