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DOJ Ramp Up ‘Criminal’ Investigation Into Podesta Brothers

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FBI ramp up their criminal investigation into the Podesta brothers

Federal court attorneys at the Division of Justice have actually increase their criminal examination right into the Clinton-linked Podesta siblings.

The examination was described the DOJ by Unique Advise Robert Mueller previously this year to probe criminal task by Tony Podesta as well as previous Obama Advise Greg Craig.

According to a brand-new record, the examination not just concentrates on Craig as well as Podesta, however additionally on Vin Weber, a previous GOP congressman from Minnesota.

Foxnews.com records: The probes had actually been silent for months because Mueller referred them to authorities in New york city City since they dropped outside his required of establishing whether the Trump project collaborated with Russia.

However in a flurry of brand-new task, Justice Division district attorneys in the last numerous weeks have actually started speaking with witnesses as well as calling legal representatives to arrange extra examining pertaining to the Podesta Team as well as Mercury Public Matters, individuals acquainted with the query anonymously informed the Associated Press.

The obvious ramp-up comes as numerous records as well as indicators recommend that the Mueller probe right into feasible collusion in 2016 in between the Russian federal government as well as Head of state Trump’s project is unwinding.

The New york city job highlights the wide results of Mueller’s examination, prolonging well past that collusion concern. Mueller has actually explained he will certainly not avert if he uncovers supposed criminal offenses outside the extent of his query; rather, he refers them out in examinations that might remain on also after the unique advise’s job ends. Various other Justice Division recommendations from Mueller have actually finished in guilty appeals, consisting of the hush loan settlement situation of Trump’s previous legal representative Michael Cohen.

The examination shows just how Mueller, in acquiring an unknown legislation, has actually beamed a light on high-dollar lobbying methods that have actually assisted international federal governments discover effective allies as well as supporters in Washington. It’s a technique that has actually covered both celebrations as well as enriched many previous federal government authorities, that have actually leveraged their links to affect American national politics.

In New York City, Mueller’s recommendation triggered a fresh appearance at the lobbying companies of Podesta as well as Weber, that have actually dealt with examination for their choices not to sign up as international representatives for Ukrainian lobbying job guided by ex-Trump project chairman Paul Manafort.

Fox Information initially reported, as well as court filings later on verified, that Podesta was supplied “usage resistance” by Mueller this summer season to indicate in the Washington, D.C., test of Manafort that was intended at the time– different from the Virginia situation in which he was founded guilty on financial institution as well as scams fees.

District attorneys generally supply witnesses resistance to legitimately avoid them from insisting their 5th Modification right versus self-incrimination to prevent affirming. “Usage resistance” suggests district attorneys concurred not to make use of any type of declarations Podesta would certainly make on the testimony box versus him in court.

” Usage resistance” is not as extensive as “transactional resistance”– which would certainly have shielded Podesta a lot more extensively from being prosecuted on the subject of his statement, also if district attorneys might separately verify pertinent information as well as really did not require to utilize his declarations on the stand.

Manafort avoided the D.C. test by begging guilty to 2 government matters in September as well as consenting to accept the Mueller probe, indicating Podesta did not need to indicate in any way. That growth relatively made the resistance bargain moot regarding any type of prospective future prosecutorial activity including Podesta.

Mueller’s group has because claimed Manafort went against that arrangement, as well as the Unique Advise’s workplace is readied to submit a sentencing memorandum in Manafort’s situation on Friday that is anticipated to consist of district attorneys’ advisable sentence for him.

Podesta is a long time Autonomous operative whose sibling, John Podesta, ran Hillary Clinton’s 2016 governmental project; Weber is a previous Republican politician congressman from Minnesota. Neither male has actually been billed with any type of criminal offenses. Their companies have actually protected the choices by stating they depend on the suggestions of outdoors lawyers.

Mueller’s recommendation additionally entailed Craig, a previous White Residence advise for Head of state Barack Obama. Craig monitored a record authored in support of the Ukrainian federal government, as well as Mueller’s group has actually claimed Manafort assisted Ukraine conceal that it paid greater than $4 million for the job. CNN reported in September that district attorneys were considering fees versus Craig.

It’s uncertain if the restored rate of interest will certainly create fees or if district attorneys are simply acting on Mueller’s recommendation.

Legal Representatives for Weber as well as Craig as well as a spokesperson for Podesta decreased to comment. The UNITED STATE lawyer’s workplace in Manhattan really did not return an e-mail looking for remark.

Mercury representative Michael McKeon claimed the company has actually “constantly invited any type of query because we acted suitably at every action of the procedure, consisting of employing a leading legal representative in Washington as well as following his suggestions. We’ll remain to work together as we have formerly.”

International lobbying job was main to Mueller’s situation versus Manafort as well as his long time affiliate Rick Gates, 2 top-level Trump project authorities that begged guilty previously this year as well as have actually been spoken with thoroughly by district attorneys.

The Podestas have actually been regular targets of Trump as well as his partners, that have actually consistently required to recognize why Tony Podesta has actually not been apprehended as well as billed. Trump confidant Roger Rock, as an example, has actually firmly insisted a 2016 tweet of his that showed up to presage the launch by WikiLeaks of John Podesta’s e-mails– “Believe me, it will certainly quickly the Podesta’s time in the barrel”– was rather a referral to the siblings’ international links obtaining them right into the spot.

Rock’s lawful group introduced in a letter Tuesday that Rock would certainly insist his 5th Modification right not to indicate or give files to an Us senate board examining prospective collusion in between the head of state’s group as well as Russia.

” Mr. Rock’s conjuration of his 5th Modification advantage have to be comprehended by all to be the assertion of a Constitutional right by an innocent resident that knocks privacy,” Rock’s lawyer, Give Smith, claimed in the declaration. He additionally called the Us senate Judiciary Board’s demands a “angling exploration” that is ” much also crazy, much also overreaching, much also comprehensive.”

In September, Manafort confessed to guiding Mercury as well as the Podesta Team to lobby in the UNITED STATE in support of a Ukrainian political celebration as well as Ukraine’s federal government, after that led by Head of state Viktor Yanukovych, Manafort’s long time political customer.

While doing the lobbying, neither the Podesta Team neither Mercury signed up as international representatives under a UNITED STATE legislation called the Foreign Professionals Enrollment Act, or FARA, which calls for powerbrokers to proclaim openly if they stand for international leaders, federal governments or their political celebrations.

The Justice Division has actually seldom prosecuted such situations, which lug as much as 5 years behind bars, however has actually taken a much more hostile tack recently.

To privately money the lobbying as well as to prevent enrollment with the Justice Division, Manafort claimed he together with unknown “others” scheduled the companies to be employed by a Brussels-based not-for-profit, the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, as opposed to the Ukrainian political rate of interests straight.

Mercury as well as Podesta, which were paid a mixed $2 million on the job, after that signed up under a much less strict lobbying legislation that does not need as much public disclosure as FARA.

Both companies have actually claimed they signed up under the Lobbying Disclosure Act, as opposed to FARA, on the suggestions of legal representatives at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & & Flom, Craig’s previous company.

Gates confessed in his appeal bargain that he existed to Mercury’s lawyers concerning the job, a truth the lobbying company has actually openly highlighted. The Podesta Team has claimed it was misdirected by the European Centre for a Modern Ukraine, mentioning a created accreditation from the not-for-profit specifying it had not been guided or managed by the Ukrainian Event of Regions, among Manafort’s customers.

Both companies have actually because signed up under FARA. However in court documents submitted along with Manafort’s appeal arrangement, Mueller’s district attorneys recommended the companies knew they were servicing Ukraine’s part.

District attorneys state workers of both business “described the customer in manner ins which explained they recognized it was Ukraine.” One Mercury staff member claimed the not-for-profit was the customer “in name just,” comparing the scenario to “Alice in Paradise.” A Podesta staff member described the not-for-profit’s accreditation that it had not been connected to the Ukrainian political celebration as a “fig fallen leave on a fig fallen leave.”

Mueller’s group additionally kept in mind that “the head of” the Podesta Team, an evident referral to Tony Podesta, informed his group to assume the head of state of Ukraine is the customer.

Mahesh is leading digital marketing initiatives at RecentlyHeard, a NewsFeed platform that covers news from all sectors. He develops, manages, and executes digital strategies to increase online visibility, better reach target audiences, and create engaging experience across channels. With 7+ years of experience, He is skilled in search engine optimization, content marketing, social media marketing, and advertising, and analytics.

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After a year-plus of essential work, employees at Aurora HelloFresh pushing to unionize

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After a year-plus of essential work, employees at Aurora HelloFresh pushing to unionize

Sisters Mary and Sarah Williams are proud to be essential workers, the ones who have gone to their job sites each day during the pandemic to produce goods to keep the country moving.

The sisters both work on the assembly line at the Aurora site of HelloFresh, the country’s largest home-delivered, meal-kit provider.

“A lot of homes were ordering meal kits because restaurants were closed and grocery stores were wiped out,” said Mary, 28, who started at HelloFresh almost a year ago after losing her job in the hospitality industry.

The sisters are still proud of the role they play in meeting people’s needs. But the two say while business and revenue have skyrocketed for the Germany-based HelloFresh during the pandemic, so has the pressure on employees to work harder to meet the demand.

The Williams sisters said nothing changed after meetings with managers about safety concerns and what they described as work speed-ups. The majority of the nearly 400-member staff have signed up to form a union and are waiting for an election to be scheduled.

“We’re literally treated like robots,” Mary said. “This is really the only way we can make changes at this warehouse.”

Unite Here!, a union representing 300,000 people in food service, gaming and other industries, is working with HelloFresh workers in Aurora and at a larger facility in Richmond, Calif. Besides complaints of low pay and not enough workers, a recent accident that seriously injured two employees in Aurora has galvanized employees to organize.

“I’m organizing with the union to stand up for those victims. I believe this whole thing could’ve been avoided,” said Brandon Lolin, who was close by when four people were struck June 16 by a pallet of bins that fell from a high shelf.

“The health and safety of our team members is our top priority and following an incident in June 2021, we took immediate steps to correct the hazard, update protocols, and increase our on-site safety team headcount,” HelloFresh U.S. spokesperson Robyn Schweitzer said in an email.

The company works with its team members every day to advocate for improvements and continuously enhance safety programs, Schweitzer said.

HelloFresh declined to discuss the accident, but employees said one person suffered a broken back and another sustained a head injury. The woman with the back injury hasn’t returned to work, said Kevin Abels, Unite Here Local 23 president, based in Denver.

Kishore Kulkarni, an economics professor at Metropolitan State University of Denver, said he isn’t surprised that workers are trying to organize unions. He said businesses across the spectrum are struggling to fill positions, offering signing bonuses and other benefits.

“It goes without saying that when there is a shortage of labor, labor does have some of the upper hand,” Kulkarni said. “I would say as long as there is a high demand for labor and as long as there is a shortage of labor, it gives them better bargaining power.”

In 2020, 14.3 million of the country’s wage and salaried workers, or 10.8%, were members of unions, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. In 1983, the first year for which comparable union data are available, the union membership rate was 20.1%, or 17.7 million people.

“This is what America is all about. The middle class has been built by organized labor and the union movement in America,” Colorado Rep. Jason Crow said during a Sept. 23 video town hall organized by Unite Here.

The Democratic congressman was among several state and local politicians on the video conference. Adams County Commissioner Emma Pinter said the HelloFresh workers are among the thousands of employees “who’ve put their lives on the line” during the coronavirus outbreak so other people can stay home out of harm’s way.

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U.S. military leaders favored keeping troops in Afghanistan

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U.S. military leaders favored keeping troops in Afghanistan

WASHINGTON — In their first congressional testimony on the tumultuous final months of America’s longest war, top U.S. military officers on Tuesday acknowledged misjudging the fragility of Afghanistan’s army and said they believed the U.S. should have kept at least several thousand troops in the country to prevent a rapid takeover by the Taliban.

Without saying what advice he had given President Joe Biden last spring when Biden was considering whether to keep any troops in Afghanistan, Gen. Mark Milley told the Senate Armed Services Committee it was his personal opinion that at least 2,500 were needed to guard against a collapse of the Kabul government.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command had overseen the final months of the U.S. war, said he agreed with Milley’s assessment. He also declined to say what he had recommended to Biden.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., asked Milley why he did not choose to resign after his advice was rejected.

Milley, who was appointed to his position as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by President Donald Trump and retained by Biden, said it was his responsibility to provide the commander in chief with his best advice.

“The president doesn’t have to agree with that advice,” Milley said. “He doesn’t have to make those decisions just because we are generals. And it would be an incredible act of political defiance for a commissioned officer to resign just because my advice was not taken.”

Testifying alongside Milley and McKenzie, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin defended the military’s execution of a frantic airlift from Kabul and asserted it will be “difficult but absolutely possible” to contain future threats from Afghanistan without troops on the ground. Under questioning, he, too, declined to say what advice he had given Biden about whether to make a full troop withdrawal.

Milley cited “a very real possibility” that al-Qaida or the Islamic State group’s Afghanistan affiliate could reconstitute in Afghanistan under Taliban rule and present a terrorist threat to the United States in the next 12 to 36 months.

It was al-Qaida’s use of Afghanistan as a base from which to plan and execute its attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001, that triggered the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan a month later.

“And we must remember that the Taliban was and remains a terrorist organization and they still have not broken ties with al-Qaida,” Milley said. “I have no illusions who we are dealing with. It remains to be seen whether or not the Taliban can consolidate power or if the country will further fracture into civil war.”

Austin questioned decisions made over the 20-year course of the U.S. war in Afghanistan. In retrospect, he said, the American government may have put too much faith in its ability to build a viable Afghan government.

“We helped build a state, but we could not forge a nation,” he told the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The fact that the Afghan army we and our partners trained simply melted away – in many cases without firing a shot – took us all by surprise. It would be dishonest to claim otherwise.”

Asked why the United States did not foresee the rapid collapse of the Afghan army, Milley said that in his judgment the U.S. military lost its ability to see and understand the true condition of the Afghan forces when it ended the practice some years ago of having advisers alongside the Afghans on the battlefield.

“You can’t measure the human heart with a machine, you have to be there,” Milley said.

Austin acknowledged shortcomings in the final airlift from Hamid Karzai International Airport that began Aug. 14, such as an initial wave of violence at and near the airfield that led to multiple deaths of Afghan civilians. But he asserted that the airlift was a historic accomplishment that removed 124,000 people from Taliban rule.

“To be clear, those first two days were difficult,” said Austin, who is a veteran of the war. “We all watched with alarm the images of Afghans rushing the runway and our aircraft. We all remember the scenes of confusion outside the airport. But within 48 hours, our troops restored order, and process began to take hold.”

The Biden administration faces criticism on multiple fronts for its handling of the final months of the war.

Sen. James Inhofe, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services panel, told Austin and Milley that the withdrawal and evacuation amounted to an “avoidable disaster.”

Republicans in particular have intensified their attacks on President Joe Biden’s decision to pull all troops out of Afghanistan by Aug. 30, saying it left the U.S. more vulnerable to terrorism. They are demanding more details on the suicide bombing in Kabul that killed 13 American service members in the final days of the withdrawal.

Gen. Frank McKenzie, who as head of Central Command oversaw the withdrawal, testified alongside Austin and Milley.

Inhofe has peppered the Pentagon with a lengthy list of questions about multiple aspects of the withdrawal, including the suicide bombing on Aug. 26 at Kabul’s international airport that killed some 169 Afghans in addition to the American service members. He also is demanding information about decision making over the summer as it became apparent that the Taliban were overwhelming U.S.-backed Afghan forces.

“We need a full accounting of every factor and decision that led us to where we are today and a real plan for defending America moving forward,” Inhofe wrote last week.

The withdrawal ended the longest war in U.S. history. The Biden administration, and some Democrats in Congress, have argued that former President Donald Trump bears some of the blame for the war ending in a Taliban victory, since his administration signed a deal with the Taliban in 2020 that promised a full American withdrawal by May 2021. They also have pointed to a yearslong U.S. failure to build an Afghan military that could stand up to the Taliban.

“This is not a Democratic or a Republican problem. These failures have been manifesting over four presidential administrations of both political parties,” Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I, said the day after the Taliban took over Kabul on Aug. 15.

Although Tuesday’s hearing was scheduled to focus on Afghanistan, other topics were sure to come up, including Milley’s actions during the final months of Trump’s presidency.

Some in Congress have accused Milley of disloyalty for what the book “Peril,” by Bob Woodward and Robert Costa, reported as assurances to a Chinese general that the U.S. had no plan to attack China, and that if it did, Milley would warn him in advance. In the days following news accounts of the book’s reporting, Milley declined to comment in detail, instead telling reporters that he would lay out his answers directly to Congress. His only comments have been that the calls with the Chinese were routine and within the duties and responsibilities of his job.

Both Milley and Austin have defended the U.S. military’s execution of an Afghanistan withdrawal that Biden ordered in April. The pullout was largely completed by early July, but several hundred troops were kept in Kabul, along with some defensive equipment, to protect a U.S. diplomatic presence in the capital. The State Department initially said the diplomats would remain after the military withdrawal was completed by Aug. 31, but when the Afghan forces collapsed and President Ashraf Ghani fled the country, leaving the Taliban in charge, a frantic evacuation began.

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Missouri locksmith dressed as George Washington charged for role in Jan. 6th Capitol Insurrection

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Missouri locksmith dressed as George Washington charged for role in Jan. 6th Capitol Insurrection

WASHINGTON D.C. — A Nevada business owner has been arrested and charged for his role in the Capitol Insurrection.

An online tip to the FBI National Threat Operations Center submitted on February 26, 2021 stated,

“I was made aware that an individual that works at Yoder locksmith in Nevada Missouri was involved in the storming of the Capitol on Jan 6th. I am unsure of the gentleman’s first name but know the day of the event he was inside the Capitol and was dressed as George Washington.”

With this information, the FBI reviewed the business’ website and contact numbers and found an image of a man in colonial period attire captioned “Isaac & Kelly Yoder.”

FBI screenshot of “Yoder Lock & Key” website

After cross-referencing the website picture, a Missouri driver’s license photo, social media accounts, photographs from inside the Capitol, CCTV footage, and cell phone usage during the Insurrection the FBI ID’d the man as Isaac Samuel Yoder.

Yoder voluntarily agreed to an interviewed by the FBI on March 16th at the Joplin Resident Agency. At this interview Yoder brought the same outfit seen in photographs and admitted to entering the Capitol on January 6th; saying his family attended the Trump rally with him and that his brothers were exposed to tear gas with one being hit by rubber bullets.

Yoder said he wore a George Washington costume as seen in one Newsweek article titled: “George Washington Says if Capitol Rioters wanted Trouble There’d Be ‘Piles of Bodies.” (Seen below)

Missouri locksmith dressed as George Washington charged for role in
Yoder as seen on January 6th at the Capitol building talking with Capitol Police
BRENT STIRTON/GETTY IMAGES

Footage from the Capitol building’s cameras affirmed Yoder’s testimony showing Yoder in his colonial outfit entering through a west facing door and leaving the same one 18 minutes later.

According to a complaint from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, Yoder committed multiple violations against United States Code while at the Capitol:

  • (Entering and Remaining in a Restricted Building, in violation of Title 18, United States
    Code, Section 1752(a)(1))
  • (Disorderly and Disruptive Conduct in a Restricted Building, in violation of Title 18,
    United States Code, Section 1752(a)(2))
  • (Violent Entry and Disorderly Conduct in a Capitol Building, in violation of Title 40,
    United States Code, Section 5104 (e)(2)(D))
  • (Parading, Demonstrating, or Picketing in a Capitol Building, in violation of Title 40, United States Code, Section 5104 (e)(2)(G))

A warrant for Yoder’s arrest was served on Wednesday, August 4th at Springfield, Missouri.

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Police ID woman killed in weekend shooting on Interstate 70

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Police ID woman killed in weekend shooting on Interstate 70

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Police have identified a woman killed over the weekend in a shooting on Interstate 70 in north St. Louis that also wounded a man. Police say the shooting happened late Saturday night, when officers were called to an area near the I-70 Madison Street exit. Arriving officers found 27-year-old Kala Taylor in a vehicle with several gunshot wounds. She was taken to a hospital, where she died Sunday. Police say another victim of the shooting — a 29-year-old man — was taken by a private vehicle to a hospital and was last listed in critical but stable condition. Police say three other people at the scene of the shooting were not injured. No arrests have been reported.

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Biden nominates Cole Finegan, longtime Democratic attorney, to be Colorado’s next U.S. attorney

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Biden nominates Cole Finegan, longtime Democratic attorney, to be Colorado’s next U.S. attorney

Denver City Attorney Cole Finegan in a 2004 file image.

President Joe Biden on Tuesday nominated Cole Finegan, a former Denver city attorney who once served under Democratic governors John Hickenlooper and Roy Romer, to be the next U.S. attorney for the District of Colorado.

Finegan, currently a managing partner at Denver’s Hogan Lovells law firm, beat out two other finalists — Denver City Attorney Kristin Bronson and Hetal Doshi, a federal prosecutor — for the region’s top federal law enforcement position.

The White House, in a statement announcing eight other nominations for U.S. attorney positions around the country, said confirming these prosecutors will be critical for addressing the uptick in gun violence over the past 18 months.

Finegan is a veteran of Democratic politics in Colorado going back decades.

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NFL’s greatest toes on turf off to memorable start in ’21

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NFL’s greatest toes on turf off to memorable start in ’21

Matt Prater came up short and paid the price, not once but twice.

His attempt to break his own record for longest field goal in NFL history — a 64-yarder in Denver’s thin air eight years ago — backfired Sunday when a former teammate returned his missed 68-yard attempt in Jacksonville’s heavy air a record-tying 109 yards for a touchdown on the last play of the first half.

Prater’s third-quarter field goal from half that distance ignited the Cardinals’ comeback from a 13-7 halftime deficit that sent the Jaguars to their 18th consecutive loss.

But his record fell anyway.

A thousand miles north, in Detroit’s climate-controlled Ford Field, where Prater plied his craft for the last seven seasons, Baltimore’s Justin Tucker, the most accurate kicker in league history, lined up at his own 40-yard line with three seconds left.

His holder was at the Ravens 44, and the snapper at the Lions 48 after some heroics by Lamar Jackson and a little help from the officiating crew.

Tucker’s attempt from 66 yards out bounced over the crossbar as time expired to send the Ravens to an electric 19-17 win over the Lions.

“That one was more like a kickoff,” said Tucker, who hop-stepped on his way to blasting the ball from his own 44. “It’s like you’re a competitor in a long-drive contest. You just let it rip and hope it stays straight.”

Prater’s league record that had stood for 2,850 days came crumbling down. Although he no longer holds the record for longest field goal, a 64-yarder against the Titans on Dec. 8, 2013, Prater does own the longest field goal for three franchises: Cardinals (62 yards), Lions (63) and Broncos (64).

Kickers have never been this clutch this early, but Kliff Kingsbury having Prater attempt a 68-yarder in Florida was a stretch.

Jamal Agnew returned the miss 109 yards for a touchdown, breaking two tackles and eluding another before sweeping past Prater over the final 10 yards.

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Wildfire burn scars threaten drinking water in Colorado, across the West

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Wildfire burn scars threaten drinking water in Colorado, across the West

By Sara Reardon, Kaiser Health News

Colorado saw its worst fire season last year, with the three largest fires in state history and more than 600,000 acres burned. But some of the effects didn’t appear until this July, when heavy rain pushed sediment from damaged forests down mountainsides, causing mudslides that shut down sections of Interstate 70 for almost two weeks.

Immense quantities of sediment choked the rivers that supply most of the state’s water. In western Colorado’s Glenwood Springs, the water became so murky that the town twice had to shut off the valves that pump water from nearby rivers to avoid overwhelming its filtration system. City managers sent alerts to the town’s 10,000 residents, telling them to minimize water use until the sediment moved downstream.

Wildfires and their lasting effects are becoming a way of life in the West as climate change and management practices cause fires to increase in number, intensity and acreage burned, while extending the length of the fire season. In “burn scars,” where fires decimated forest systems that held soil in place, an increase in droughts followed by heavy rainfall poses a different kind of threat to the water supplies that are essential to the health of communities.

“You know about it; it’s in the back of your head,” said Glenwood Springs resident Paula Stepp. “But until you face it, you don’t know how it’s going to impact your town.”

Dirty, turbid water can contain viruses, parasites, bacteria and other contaminants that cause illness. But experts say turbid water from burn scars is unlikely to make it to people’s taps, because water utilities would catch it first.

Still, the cost to municipal utility systems — and the residents who pay for water — is immense. Rural small towns in particular face the choice between spending millions of dollars to try to filter turbid water or shutting off their intake and risking shortages in areas where water may already be scarce.

And as fires move closer to communities, burning synthetic materials from houses and other buildings can create toxic compounds that leach into water supplies, which is what happened in California after major fires in 2017 and 2018.

“When we put [fires] out, we become less aware of them,” said hydrologist Kevin Bladon, of Oregon State University. But from a water perspective, “that’s when all the problems start.”

Montana’s capital city, Helena, gets its drinking water supply from the Upper Tenmile Creek watershed in a forest thick with trees killed by beetle infestations. City leaders worry a fire would quickly chew through that dry fuel and leave the watershed exposed to sediment contamination. Despite a logging project that cleared many of those trees two years ago, the fire threat remains and city leaders worry the resulting sediment would overwhelm the water treatment plant and shut down the primary water source for 40,000 people.

“If we had a fire up there, depending on where it is and how big it is, it could put the Tenmile plant out for a season or two,” Helena Public Works Director Ryan Leland said.

To protect against that happening, the city is in the early phases of designing a basin that can trap sediment before the water reaches the plant, Leland. The city also recently announced plans to drill three groundwater test wells, which would give them another drinking water supply option if something happens to the Upper Tenmile watershed. Treated water from the Missouri River is the city’s current backup supply.

The Rocky Mountains and about 200 miles separate Glenwood Springs from Greeley, in northeastern Colorado. But the 2020 fire season caused similar problems in both cities, creating burn scars that later flooded, contaminating water sources.

So far this year, Greeley has had to shut off its intake from the Cache la Poudre River for 39 days because the water was contaminated with sediment, ash and organic matter. “Normally we would never turn it off,” said Greeley water and sewer director Sean Chambers.

To cope, the city has been trading water with a nearby agricultural company that owns reservoirs used for irrigation. The swap gives the turbid water to farmers and redirects the reservoir water to Greeley. “If we didn’t have the trade in place, the cost [of buying water] would be astronomical,” Chambers said.

But Chambers admitted this system is a luxury that smaller towns may not enjoy. Greeley is 10 times the size of Glenwood Springs and has spent more than $40 million this year recovering from the Cameron Peak Fire — the largest fire in Colorado history, which burned for four months in 2020. Those costs may climb as rain continues, he said. Larger towns also tend to have better filtration systems that can handle more sediment, which clogs up filters and requires utilities to add chemicals to remove contaminants before the water is safe to drink.

While dry states like Colorado expect fires each year, recent blazes in wetter places like western Oregon have caught researchers off guard. Last September, fires scorched about 11% of the state’s Cascade mountain range, leaving burn scars above rivers and reservoirs that supply much of the state’s water.

“We have to be very proactive,” said Pete Robichaud, a research engineer with the U.S. Forest Service in Moscow, Idaho

After a wildfire is extinguished, Robichaud’s agency and others send teams of specialists to evaluate the risks that erosion and ash pose to water supplies. Their data can help land managers decide whether to take actions like thinning forests above rivers, dredging contaminated reservoirs, covering the area with mulch or seeds to reduce erosion, or forming a plan for alternative water sources.

Even advance notice of a flood could help immensely, said Stepp, the Glenwood Springs resident. She is the executive director of the nonprofit Middle Colorado Watershed Council, which recently worked with the U.S. Geological Survey to install rain gauges along Glenwood Canyon. These monitor weather upstream and notify downstream water users that a sediment-laden flood could be coming.

She said it is crucial for small communities in particular to partner with state and federal agencies. “Basically, we work with everybody,” she said.

Although debris flows can bring soil bacteria into water supplies, city utilities can disinfect them with chemicals like chlorine, said Ben Livneh, a hydrologist at the University of Colorado-Boulder. But those disinfectants can themselves cause a problem: Organic matter from sediment can interact with these chemicals and create carcinogenic byproducts that are difficult and expensive to remove.

Another waterborne danger comes from chemical byproducts and heavy metals from burned structures. “Those would be potentially really problematic to treat,” Livneh said.

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Missouri husband, wife plead guilty in Capitol insurrection

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Missouri husband, wife plead guilty in Capitol insurrection

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP) — A Missouri couple have pleaded guilty for their roles in the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in January. The Kansas City Star reports that 30-year-old Kelsey Wilson and 32-year-old Zachary Wilson, both of Springfield, each pleaded guilty in federal court Monday to a misdemeanor count of knowingly entering or remaining in a restricted building. Kelsey Wilson was arrested in August on the charge. Her husband was arrested in February. Both face up to six months in prison and a $5,000 fine when they’re sentenced Dec. 10. Court records indicated Kelsey Wilson was a new first-grade teacher at Dayspring Christian School in Springfield at the time of her arrest.

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Broncos Week 4 Talking Points: In last two years, starting 4-0 has meant qualifying for playoffs

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Broncos Week 4 Talking Points: In last two years, starting 4-0 has meant qualifying for playoffs

Beat writer Ryan O’Halloran offers up three storylines ahead of the Broncos’ game against the Baltimore Ravens at Empower Field on Sunday.

Chasing 4-0

The Broncos are a narrow home favorite (two points) over Baltimore and have a chance to start 4-0 for the sixth time since 1999. Only three of the previous five teams made the postseason after their quick starts — wild-card loss in 2003, Super Bowl loss in ’13 and Super Bowl win in ’15. In the last two seasons, every team that started 4-0 made the playoffs — Kansas City and New England in ’19 and Buffalo, Kansas City, Pittsburgh, Seattle and Green Bay last year. The Broncos have wins of 14, 10 and 26 points over the Giants, Jaguars and Jets, respectively. They are dealing with injury adversity, but the Ravens (2-1) will be the first team to test the Broncos’ in-game resolve.

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Opinion: The Bureau of Land Management belongs in Washington, D.C.

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Opinion: The Bureau of Land Management belongs in Washington, D.C.

Since its inception in 1946, the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has been responsible for sustaining the “health, diversity and productivity” of our nation’s public lands, of which there are 245 million acres today. The agency manages these lands for an array of uses including farming and ranching, outdoor recreation, and energy and mineral development, all of which are critical to our local economies and way of life here in the West.

The previous administration’s decision to relocate BLM headquarters from Washington, D.C., to Grand Junction was a controversial one, to say the least. I’ve heard passionate arguments both for and against the move from respected leaders and stakeholders who I believe have the best of intentions for our public lands. Deciding how and from where to manage our lands and natural resources is not a simple issue.

But as the head of an organization that advocates for natural places, and a lifelong lover and user of public lands, I applaud Interior Secretary Deb Haaland’s recently announced decision to return BLM headquarters to our nation’s capital while expanding BLM presence in the West.

When the relocation to Grand Junction began in 2019, hundreds of D.C.-based staff were reassigned to western cities, ostensibly to provide them with “a greater on-the-ground understanding” of the lands and programs managed by the agency. Local, state and national leaders on both sides of the political aisle argued that the new location would foster better relationships and partnerships in the West, where the vast majority of our public lands are located.

In theory, it might have seemed like a reasonable move. But in reality, the relocation decimated the agency’s invaluable institutional knowledge, which some former staffers say was exactly what the previous administration intended. Nearly nine out of 10 of the reassigned staffers chose to leave the agency rather than move West, according to new numbers released by the Biden administration. An analysis by the Government Accountability Office also found that BLM did not follow best practices for achieving effective reform.

It is misleading to suggest that if BLM is not headquartered in the West, then agency staff are somehow disconnected from and out of touch with the values and interests of public land users and stakeholders. Ninety-seven percent of agency employees were already stationed at field offices throughout the West. My organization, Western Leaders Network, consists of more than 450 local and tribal elected officials across the Interior West who work routinely with local and regional BLM offices on issues that affect our public lands, sacred and cultural sites, air quality, water resources, wildlife, livelihoods and local economies. But the BLM also needs DC-based senior staff to serve as liaisons between westerners and federal lawmakers, and to speak up for our western values.

The strength of this agency depends not only on having boots on the ground in the West, but also having a physical presence in Washington where decisions are made every day that affect western lands, air and water. We need that presence in our nation’s capital to coordinate with other public lands and natural resource agencies, have easy access to and testify before Congress, maintain strong working relationships with key federal leaders, and to fight for adequate funding and staffing in order to better steward America’s lands.

This is not “a partisan attack on rural communities,” as Congresswoman Lauren Boebert has said, but a move to better accommodate all communities. I commend the Interior Department and Secretary Haaland for this decision to move headquarters back to their rightful place in Washington, D.C., while committing to growing the bureau in Colorado and across the West. It is critical that we maintain a robust presence in both so that the agency can best serve public lands and all Americans.

Gwen Lachelt is a former county commissioner of La Plata County, Colorado, and the executive director of Western Leaders Network, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization of local and tribal elected officials across the Interior West who work to advance conservation initiatives and climate solutions.

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