The Home Front: Michelle Obama comes to Colorado

Your daily roundup of the biggest stories from newspapers across the state

“(Michelle) Obama was in town as part of a book tour for her recently released memoir ‘Becoming.’ The former first lady signed books at Tattered Cover in Denver, visited Children’s Hospital Colorado and spoke candidly with Reese Witherspoon at the Pepsi Center for more than an hour about her career, her marriage and adjusting to life as the president’s wife,” reports The Denver Post. “‘That’s what happens to spouses,’ Obama said. ‘You get immersed in the shadow of the political figure.’ And feel this pressure to tread carefully when it comes to pushing public policy, Obama said, noting how Hillary Clinton was vilified when she advocated for health care reform in the 1990’s. ‘I decided I’m going to try this soft power notion,’ Obama said. ‘I started with a garden. … It’s just carrots. Nothing too dangerous.'”

“Tamu, the oldest giraffe in North America, died Thursday at Cheyenne Mountain Zoo — the third giraffe the zoo has lost this year,” reports The Colorado Springs Gazette. “The 32-year-old female reticulated giraffe, affectionately referred to as ‘Moose’ or ‘Grandma,’ ‘passed peacefully and naturally surrounded by keepers and vet staff who cared for her deeply, a news release says. She would have turned 33 on Dec. 28. ‘Although Tamu was considered geriatric, her decline happened extremely quickly and unexpectedly,’ the release says. Staff began to notice changes in her behavior about 11 a.m., and she died about 1 p.m.

“The only warning was the sudden rock of the slow-moving truck as the man launched forward, knife in hand, to attack the driver. The first cut was long, but shallow, hampered by the fabric of the driver’s hoodie. Ron Wilson instinctively raised his hand to his neck and grabbed his attacker’s arm to push the knife away. It was one of many split-second decisions that would ultimately save his life and see his attacker — Justin Madrid — in jail, facing a list of crimes including criminal attempted first-degree murder,” reports The Glenwood Springs Post Independent.

“Juveniles who have committed more than one sex offense can be placed on the state’s sex offender registry for life, the Colorado Court of Appeals ruled Thursday,” reports The Grand Junction Daily Sentinel. “In a precedent-setting case out of Mesa County District Court, a three-judge panel of the appellate court said such a requirement does not violate juveniles’ due process rights or constitute cruel and unusual punishment.”

“Boulder Valley bus drivers and assistants are speaking out over stalled contract negotiations, saying they don’t feel valued,” reports The Longmont Times-Call. “Yolanda Trujillo, who has worked as a bus assistant in Boulder Valley for 12 years, told the school board this week that she also works two more part-time jobs and still has to live with her parents. ‘I feel we aren’t respected, considering the importance of our jobs,’ she said. District officials had hoped they were close to a tentative agreement with the classified group, which includes about 700 employees in transportation, food services, security, custodial, maintenance and the print shop.”

“Two Florida men have pleaded guilty in a poaching operation that killed at least three mule deer and six pronghorn in Elbert and Lincoln counties,” reports The Cortez Journal. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife officers allege the poachers, who were in Colorado working jobs in the energy industry, killed deer and pronghorn – decapitating some and leaving their torsos – and shipped their heads to a taxidermist in Florida for mounting. The Colorado Springs and Limon police departments and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office, made the two arrests.”

“The restoration of the Animas River has begun,” reports The Durango Herald. “Colorado Parks and Wildlife on Thursday stocked 1,500 rainbow trout in the Animas River at a few locations from the 32nd Street Bridge to the High Bridge on South Camino del Rio, a 5-mile stretch of river that runs through Durango. It marked the first significant restocking of fish in the Animas since mudslides and floods from the 416 Fire burn scar this summer caused a near complete die-off in the waterway.”

“Vail Resorts Chief Executive Officer Rob Katz and his wife, Elana Amsterdam, have made significant contributions totaling more than $2 million to support emotional wellness programs in nearly every mountain resort community in which Vail Resorts operates,” reports The Vail Daily. “The 30 grants were issued by the Katz Amsterdam Charitable Trust and will impact thousands of people seeking mental and behavioral health support across North America.”

“Meininger Art Supply on the Hill closed its doors Thursday as the University of Colorado moves to buy the Broadway building where it is housed,” reports The Boulder Daily Camera. “The sprawling art supply store is one of four tenants at 1135 Broadway, and its owners made the decision to leave Boulder as their lease there expires.”

“Richard Swanson pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of vehicular homicide in the death of 13-year-old Gavin Myers and was sentenced to nine years in prison with five years’ mandatory parole to follow,” reports The Loveland Reporter-Herald. “Swanson, 47, who struck and killed Gavin around 9:30 p.m. June 8 after veering off road in the 4000 block of North Wilson Avenue in Loveland, appeared before 8th Judicial District Judge Carroll Michelle Brinegar. He pleaded to the Class 3 felony and will pay $6,000 in restitution in addition to his nine years in the Department of Corrections. The sentence was agreed upon by defense and prosecution attorneys, and Brinegar adopted it. Swanson faced a maximum sentence of 12 years in prison, Brinegar said.”

“Hayden cowboy Keenan Hayes couldn’t help but feel like someone was looking over him this week during his quest to win the bareback title at the Junior National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas,” reports The Steamboat Pilot & Today. “‘I felt like he was up there watching the draw — helping them get me the good horses that I could win on,” Hayes said of his grandfather, who passed away the last week of November. ‘I was kind of hoping I could do a little better in the (saddle) bronc riding because that was his favorite event, but he still liked me riding bareback horses, so it was just good to win it for him.’ … The bareback title was one of two that Hayes would win during the week. He also pocketed the all-round title.”

The Colorado Independent is a statewide online news source operating in a time when spin is plentiful, but factual, fair and unflinching news in the public interest is all too rare. Our award-winning team of veteran investigative and explanatory reporters and news columnists aims to amplify the voices of Coloradans whose stories are unheard, shine light on the relationships between people, power and policy, and hold public officials to account. We strive to report the news with context, social conscience, and soul, and to give Coloradans the insight they need to promote conversation, understanding and progress in this square, swing state we call home.


  1. Kudos to Michelle Obama. She is using her own version of the bully pulpit to continue to make a positive impact on the average citizen of our great country.

    It is refreshing to see someone like her continue to be interested in helping the common folks after her time in Washington is over. Too many of those who leave politics just go to work as a lobbyist for big business(R) or retire to a ranch in Texas.

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