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Veterans mental health summit on Friday

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Veterans mental health summit on Friday

BALLSTON SPA, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Saratoga County is holding a mental health summit for veterans on September 17 at 1 p.m. at the Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency Office in Ballston Spa. The summit is open to all veterans and family members.

Representatives from Veterans Affairs programs and community organizations will provide information and resources to people who attend.

The Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency has been offering resources to veterans throughout September. On Tuesdays, veterans can meet up for coffee at Saratoga Coffee Traders at 5 p.m.

The agency also has a mentorship program, where local veterans are paired with returning veterans who are experiencing posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other re-acclimation challenges. These pairings help to ease the transition from combat to civilian life.

Additional resources that may be helpful to veterans:

  • Veterans Crisis Line – 800-273-8255
  • Saratoga County Mental Health – 518-584-9030
  • Albany Vet Center – 518-626-5130
  • VA Rapid Access Clinic – 518-626-5339
  • Saratoga County Veterans Service Agency – 518-884-4115
  • VA Caregiver Support – 1-855-260-3274
  • Elizabeth Dole Foundation Hidden Heroes Hotline – 202-249-7170

More information about the mentorship program can be found on the Veterans Peer Connection website.

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What to expect as U.S. weighs COVID shots for younger kids

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What to expect as U.S. weighs COVID shots for younger kids

The Food and Drug Administration is considering whether to allow COVID-19 vaccinations in children ages 5 to 11 — using kid-sized doses.

Until now, only people 12 and older could be vaccinated in the U.S., with shots made by Pfizer and its partner BioNTech. That’s been a huge frustration for many pediatricians and parents, especially as the extra-contagious delta variant has raged through poorly vaccinated communities — and the schools in them.

On Thursday, the companies formally applied for emergency use of a lower dose for 5- to 11-year-olds. Here’s what to expect:

Q: Why do younger kids need a vaccine?

A: The virus generally causes more serious disease in older adults than in children. But it can sometimes be severe in youngsters, too. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, COVID-19 has killed at least 520 children in the U.S.

The delta variant also caused a jump in child infections, making it more difficult to keep schools fully open and students in class. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found nearly a quarter of parents with kids in class this fall say they’ve already had to quarantine a child because of possible virus exposure.

Q: How soon could vaccinations begin for kids under 12?

A: First under consideration are shots for 5- to 11-year-olds. Advisers to the FDA are expected to publicly deliberate Pfizer’s evidence on Oct. 26, setting the stage for the agency to declare if the shots are safe and effective for the roughly 28 million youngsters in that age group.

If it does, there’s another step: Advisers to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will decide whether to recommend kids actually get the vaccinations. The CDC makes the final call.

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Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes, tastings and experiences

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Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes, tastings and experiences

Dry, off-dry or medium-sweet? Apple/pear, citrus or tropical? Baked bread? Bitter? Acidic? Oaky?

I stared, perplexed, at these and other wine descriptions printed on the piece of paper in front of me at The Little Nell’s Wine Bar on a sunny afternoon this summer. I sniffed, sipped and swallowed the splash of mystery white wine in my glass for a second time, then peered at the page-long list of adjectives again, trying my best to determine what, exactly, I was smelling and tasting.

Eventually, I had to write down my guess (chardonnay) before moving on to the other three unknown wines in my queue. All told, I correctly identified two of the four wine styles on the same test taken by would-be sommeliers hoping to prove their deductive tasting abilities and become certified by the Court of Master Sommeliers, the global group that sets widely accepted standards for wine professionals.

The Aspen hotel’s new blind tasting experience, led by one of its staffers, was a fun, laid-back way to learn about wine without even realizing it. Wine can be pretentious and intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. And with Colorado’s wine industry growing each year, it’s a good time to demystify this tasty, wildly diverse beverage made from fermented grapes and get up to speed on all of its nuances, from ground to glass.

From formal courses to casual tastings you can book with friends, here are some of the best ways to learn about wine in Colorado.

Try a sensory tasting

Kellen Brewer, wine manager of Carboy Winery, pours wine for guests while holding a private wine session at the winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

If you’ve ever wondered how wine experts can somehow magically detect notes of “freshly cut grass” or “toasted bread” from a glass of wine, when all you can taste and smell is, well, wine, you’re not alone. This is a super tricky skill to learn, one that takes sommeliers years and years of practice to master. But you have to start somewhere, and Carboy Winery’s sensory tastings can help.

Offered at their Denver and Littleton locations, the tastings are led by wine club manager and corporate trainer, Kellen Brewer, who walks participants through how to identify different smells and flavors in wines. To do this, he uses a special kit that’s full of little vials of smells like vanilla, lemon, smoke and caramel.

“Most sommeliers will tell you the best way to learn how to identify certain smells is to go down the produce aisle at the grocery store and just smell things,” said Kevin Webber, Carboy’s CEO. “This kit just makes that easier.

More info: ​​carboywinery.com or 720-617-9410

1633698850 578 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
Kellen Brewer, wine manager of Carboy Winery, center, talks about wine with guests Anneliese Ornelis and her husband Jason, right, while holding a private wine session at the winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Blend your own wine

While wandering up and down the vast wine aisles at the liquor store, maybe you’ve noticed labels that say something like “red blend.” In fact, many popular types of wine are actually an amalgamation of different grape varietals, expertly selected by the winemaker to achieve the desired flavors and aromas. You can re-create this step — and learn something about your own palate in the process — by blending your own wine.

At The Hillside Vineyard in Fort Collins, a winemaker will help you choose between five different wines to make your own blend (then help you bottle and label it to take home!). Breckenridge’s Continental Divide Winery offers a similar two-hour blending experience with four pure red wine varietals; participants make their own custom blend, then bottle, cork and label it to take home. But be forewarned: You might enjoy your session so much that you decide to quit your job and take up winemaking full time, like Continental Divide founders Jeffrey and Ana Maltzman did.

“My introduction to winemaking began 25 years ago when my wife and I did a blending experience at a winery in Napa,” said Jeffrey Maltzman. “That experience truly changed our lives. We had so much fun that we began making wine ourselves.”

More info: thehillsidevineyard.com or 970-520-2617; breckwinery.com or 970-771-3443

Go back to school

1633698850 660 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
Bottles of wine for sale at Carboy Winery on Oct. 3 in Denver. (Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Of course, one of the best ways to learn about wine is to go back to school. If you’re really serious about understanding wine, head to Grand Junction, where Western Colorado Community College (a division of Colorado Mesa University) offers a viticulture and enology associate degree program, the first of its kind in Colorado.

Led by Jenne Baldwin-Eaton, an award-winning Colorado winemaker with more than 20 years of experience, the program includes hands-on and classroom-based courses in sensory analysis, winemaking, lab analysis, viticulture, fermentation and wine marketing, among others. On top of the associate degree, the college also offers technical certificates that take just one or two semesters to complete; Baldwin-Eaton also teaches seminars at festivals and through the university’s continuing education program.

For something a little more casual, Denver’s Noble Riot offers an array of hour-long “Wine School” classes at its RiNo wine bar. Noble Riot’s classes promise to cut through any “high brow nonsense” associated with wine, according to co-owner and sommelier Scott Mattson. Popular offerings include “Wine 101,” a monthly session that covers how wine is made, how to taste wine for structure and acidity, how to detect secondary flavors and more.

Other courses are more specific, going in-depth on certain wine styles (like natural wine) or specific wine regions (like Italy’s Valle d’Aosta).

“Our team felt like Denver needed a place where people from all backgrounds could come in and get fired up about wine,” said Mattson. “The goal with our education program is to offer great content taught in a non-pretentious, relatable way, creating a comfortable space for our guests to discover and fall in love with all kinds of wine.”

More info: coloradomesa.edu/wccc/programs/viticulture-enology.html or 970-255-2600; nobleriot.com/ or 303-993-5330

1633698850 498 Unlock the secrets of wine with these Colorado classes tastings
A view of Carboy’s new Palisade winery and vineyard located at Mt. Garfield Estate. The tasting room will debut in the fall. (Provided by Carboy Winery)

Visit a winery

On a recent visit to Grand Junction, Two Rivers Winery and Chateau owner Bob Witham shared some easy-to-remember tips and tricks for figuring out which types of acid are present in a particular wine. Though he doesn’t offer formal classes or lessons to individual wine-drinkers, Witham and the team at his tasting room are more than happy to casually share insights while you sip on a glass or try some of their offerings, as are nearly all winery owners and staffers across the state.

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Colorado weather: First significant snow of the season possible next week

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Colorado weather: First significant snow of the season possible next week

After a stretch of insignificant weather over the last few weeks, there are a few storms on the horizon that could bring thunderstorms and snow to the area. One of which could bring the season’s first significant snowfall to the Colorado Rockies and possibly even to Denver and the Front Range.

‘Tis the season that we start to watch big areas of low pressure swing down from the cold north that bring mountainous locations cold, wind and snow. Even lower elevations of the urban corridor will likely see very changeable weather move through by this time next week.

The average first date of snow in Denver occurs on Oct. 18 but the last few years have given us snow prior to that date and given the current forecast, we could once again have snow earlier than average along the Front Range.

Our first storm begins to move across Colorado this weekend. Snow levels will remain relatively high but as a cold front traverses the state Saturday, snow levels may drop to 9,000 feet which means that places like Conifer and Idaho Springs could have their first dusting of the season this weekend.

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Denver election 2021: A look at the dueling ballot measures over the future of Park Hill golf course

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Denver election 2021: A look at the dueling ballot measures over the future of Park Hill golf course

Two measures on Denver’s Nov. 2 ballot — Initiated Ordinances 301 and 302 — will shape the fate of one specific property: the former Park Hill Golf Club. 

The competing measures also stand to shape the future of the city’s Northeast Park Hill neighborhood, one of the few areas of east Denver where people of color outnumber white people and where city statistics show residents are especially vulnerable to be pushed out of their homes by economic pressure.

Development firm Westside Investment Partners bought the 155-acre green space along Colorado Boulevard between east 35th and 40th avenues for $24 million in 2019. With it came a city-owned conservation easement that since 1997 has banned any development that doesn’t support golf or other recreational activities. 

Westside has been upfront about its aims to change that easement and redevelop at least a chunk of property, with company principal Andrew Klein mentioning two years ago “affordable and diverse housing” and the need for more community-serving businesses. 

A grassroots movement to keep commercial development off the land was already well underway before Westside was in the picture, and the two sides are vying for support from the Mile High electorate with two measures that are nearly identical save for one thing.

Ordinance 301 would mandate that a citywide vote be held before any new residential or commercial construction is allowed in a park or on a piece of land covered by a city-owned conservation easement. Any full or partial removal of an easement would also have to go to voters.

Ordinance 302, which was filed months after 301, would do the same thing but would create a carveout that excludes the Park Hill golf course land and its city-owned easement. 

For members of the Save Open Space Denver group and others backing 301, the choice comes down to more grass versus concrete. 

“We believe that open space is a precious and very finite resource,” said Tony Pigford, who worked to get 301 on the ballot. “With the climate crisis on everybody’s doorstep, I think forward-thinking cities develop open space as a last resort not the first.”

Pigford and his fellow conservation proponents take a broad view of the intent of the conservation easement. He envisions the property becoming a community gathering place with athletic fields, space to host arts festivals and gardening classes, and maybe even building an outdoor amphitheater. 

Keeping the property free of dense development is a matter of environmental justice for Pigford. Communities of color, like Northeast Park Hill, are disproportionately affected by the urban heat island effect, he said. Urban neighborhoods can be up to 7 degrees warmer during the day than surrounding areas with more trees and vegetation, according to the Environmental Protection Agency

Westside and supporters of 302 see more strict language in the 1997 easement agreement, specifically sections that outline the property must remain a “regulation-length, 18-hole daily fee public golf course” with any additional uses only allowed if they don’t interfere. 

The easement is not up for voters to decide on Nov. 2. It will remain in place. 

Westside executive Kenneth Ho sees the difference between 301 and 302 as 301 undermining the ability of the people who live within a mile of the golf course to make decisions that impact their future. His company is also redeveloping the former Loretto Heights college campus in southwest Denver, relying on plans developed after a series of meetings with neighbors. 

“Should local land use issues be voted on by the entire city?” Ho said. “We think that answer is no, that is not how we typically do things in Denver, which is why if you want to protect local choice and local voices you should vote yes on 302.”

Ho emphasized the Westside is already committed to preserving at least 60 acres of the land as a park.

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It’s the last weekend for prime leaf-peeping, and it’s “resplendent” in SW Colorado

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It’s the last weekend for prime leaf-peeping, and it’s “resplendent” in SW Colorado

The climax of the fall color change in Colorado’s high country seems likely to begin this weekend or early next week, observers in the southern part of the state are predicting. And in some areas, it has already arrived.

Leaf-peeping season in Colorado begins in early September, moving from north to south and from high to lower elevations. Some of the best viewing this week has been in the San Juan Mountains of southwestern Colorado, where the impact of elevation has played out vividly between Silverton and Durango. Silverton, at 9,300 feet, was peaking last weekend. But in Durango, 40 miles to the south at 6,500 feet, trees just started to turn this week.

Alicia Laws, events coordinator for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, noticed the difference after riding the train up from Durango last weekend. After spending the night in Silverton, she was treated to an amazing sight at sunrise.

“I don’t even know if I could describe it,” Laws said. “The clouds were laying low, the sun was on Silverton Mountain — always the last hill to change — and it was almost like camo with oranges and yellows and a little bit of red. Because it was so warm this summer, the reds were really spectacular this year. Here in Durango, I woke up (Tuesday) morning and I noticed there were yellow trees — like overnight, we’re in fall colors. I think we still have a few more weeks in Durango, but as far as Silverton, it’s ending.”

A similar scenario played out a little farther north in Telluride and Ouray.

“We are creeping to peak right now,” Jon Miller, shop manager at Jagged Edge Mountain Gear in Telluride, said on Tuesday. “This next week or so is going to be really, really good. There’s still a lot of green out there, so it’s going to be good for a bit. Peak, I think, is going to be early next week.”

Telluride sits at an elevation of 8,750 feet. In Ouray, 10 miles to the northeast and nearly 1,000 feet lower, the leaves were just starting to turn this week according to Arianna Whitmire, a server at the Full Tilt Saloon.

“I’d say like a quarter, maybe,” Whitmire said. “We have some yellows, a lot of green still, some reds thrown in. I think next week might be a good time for a peak, I would guess.”

In the Wolf Creek Pass area 60 miles to the southeast of Ouray, the colors are spectacular.

“It’s resplendent,” said Becki Helmstetler, who works in the ticket office at the Wolf Creek ski area at an elevation of 10,300 feet. “It’s in all of its glory. It’s beautiful.”

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Restaurant chain cites homelessness for downtown closure

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Restaurant chain cites homelessness for downtown closure

Despite its name, Teriyaki Madness was tired of the chaos surrounding its location near Union Station.

The Denver-based fast-casual Asian chain, which serves rice bowls with proteins and vegetables, closed its only corporate-owned store at 1920 17th St. in downtown Denver in June. It opened in 2019.

“Things like protests and lack of office traffic really caused a lot of business disruption,” said CEO Michael Haith. “The homeless issue down in that area was unsafe. We had a terrible time operating the restaurant, and we didn’t see any end in sight. I will not mince words.”

Teriyaki Madness’ 2,400-square-foot restaurant was also a training space for employees, an education center for national franchisees and a research-and-development facility to test out new menu items.

Haith said the company negotiated a deal with the landlord to get out of the lease, which still had years left.

“I just don’t think there’s a whole lot of effort to control or protect the businesses down there,” Haith said of the effect of homelessness on his business. “As a corporate location, our main goal wasn’t necessarily profitability. It was a pilot shop, it was a training shop, it was an exposure-to-market shop, and we just decided to focus our efforts elsewhere.”

The CEO said that Teriyaki Madness is in negotiations to build another corporate location in Denver, although he declined to disclose where. For now, the company is training franchisees and staff out of its Wheat Ridge location.

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Your honor, you’re muted: Colorado eyes the future of virtual court

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Your honor, you’re muted: Colorado eyes the future of virtual court

To go to court in Colorado these days, you might need to drive to the courthouse, park, pass through security — belts and watches off, please — don a mask (or maybe not) and put your seat in a seat. Or you might just curl up on your couch, power up a laptop and log in to a video chat for virtual court.

It all depends on which judge is hearing your case and what exactly you need to get done.

Colorado’s initially ubiquitous use of virtual courts during the pandemic has faded into a patchwork of judge-by-judge decisions about when proceedings go forward in-person or online, even as many in the justice system call for some virtual options to be preserved post-COVID.

The mishmash of procedures across the state follows the court system’s radical transformation since the pandemic began in March 2020, with the public health crisis forcing an unprecedented shift toward remote hearings and virtual appearances — leading to increased transparency and participation in the court system, along with some new difficulties.

The Colorado Supreme Court has yet to put out any detailed statewide guidance for how virtual courts should be used long-term, but Chief Justice Brian Boatright recently formed a working group of eight chief judges to examine how online courts work (and when they don’t) as a precursor to potential long-term strategies, said Weld County Chief Judge James Hartmann, who co-chairs the chief judge’s council.

“In what types of proceedings is Webex working well, and where are court users experiencing challenges?” he said of the Colorado court system’s online video platform. “Once we get that information in place, then we can take the next view as to, where do we go from here as far as long-term planning.”

Rachel Ellis, The Denver Post

Judge Diego Hunt, top left, conducts a virtual criminal motions hearing in First Judicial District Court in Golden on Friday, Aug. 14, 2020.

The committee, which includes chief judges from rural and urban judicial districts, will ask for input from attorneys, court staff and other stakeholders in the justice system before presenting their findings to Boatright, Hartmann said. He estimated that process may take 30 to 60 days.

“We want to be able to use Webex when Webex is an effective way of conducting court proceedings,” Hartmann said. “We certainly don’t want to trade convenience for someone’s due process rights. But that balance will be there — we definitely can strike the balance, we just don’t know where the needle is going to fall yet.”

Earlier this year, Boatright gave chief judges the authority to make policies on virtual appearances for each of Colorado’s 22 judicial districts, continuing the court system’s pandemic-long approach of letting local jurisdictions make their own rules within a broad framework. A Denver Post review of those policies shows many chief judges further delegated decision-making to individual judges.

Whether a court hearing is held online or in-person is left up to each judge’s discretion in eight judicial districts, with two of those districts encouraging online appearances and three emphasizing in-person proceedings, the review found.

“We don’t have a set protocol, we just play it by ear,” said Joanne Montero, clerk of the courts in the 3rd Judicial District, which covers Huerfano and Las Animas counties. “We recently had an outbreak of COVID in the jail, so we moved cases to Webex for that reason.”

Another six judicial districts are operating fully online or with a presumption that hearings will occur remotely. Three districts are the opposite of that — hearings are presumed to proceed in person unless there’s an exception — and in two districts, chief judges have issued specific policies on how and when virtual courts should be used. Three districts have no policies posted online and did not return requests for comment from The Post.

“I think we would all like a little bit more guidance from chief judges and statewide,” Denver Assistant District Attorney Zach McCabe said. “It’s just easier for everyone to operate if we all know the rules.”

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser speaks ...

RJ Sangosti, The Denver Post

Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser argues before the U.S. Supreme Court via teleconference in Colorado Department of State v. Baca on May 13, 2020. Because of the novel coronavirus pandemic, the attorneys and justices debated via teleconference, and audio of the arguments was streamed live to the public online.

Wider shift to virtual court

The massive shift from in-person courts to virtual courts during the pandemic happened nationwide, said David Slayton, vice president of court consulting services at the National Center for State Courts.

“We found we really could do any type of proceeding in any type of case remotely,” he said. “I’m not making an argument that it’s always the best way, but it can be done, and we did it.”

Colorado’s courts went from spending about $61,000 on 250 licenses for Webex in the 2020 financial year to spending $338,000 on 4,000 licenses in the 2022 financial year, according to data provided by the judicial branch.

“The most surprising thing we learned is we saw an increased level of access to justice,” Slayton said.

When courts moved online in Arizona, eviction cases in one county shifted from seeing a 40% no-show rate — 40% of people were evicted without ever being heard in court — to a 13% no-show rate, according to a 90-page report submitted to the Arizona Supreme Court in June. Across the country, virtual jury calls have seen a 60% to 90% response rate, when in-person jury calls typically peak around 40%, Slayton said.

“It shows there are barriers to access to justice that exist outside the pandemic, like transportation, child care, the ability to get off work,” Slayton said.

Anecdotally, Colorado saw a similar increase in participation with virtual courts, particularly when links to online courtrooms were easily available to defendants, those in the justice system told The Post, though they had not reviewed hard data.

During the height of the pandemic in Mesa County, defendants in misdemeanor and traffic cases received a reminder text on the morning of their court date that included a link to the correct virtual courtroom, said Steve Chin, manager of criminal justice services.

“So they could just click that link,” he said.

State courts in Alaska, Massachusetts, Florida, Idaho, Indiana and Iowa have all issued some statewide rules on what proceedings can and can’t be done virtually, according to the National Center for State Courts. In the summer of 2020, the Conference of Chief Justices and Conference of State Court Administrators, which represent state courts in all 50 states, declared that courts should adopt “remote-first or remote-friendly” approaches.

“We can’t turn our back on all the advances we saw during the pandemic,” Slayton said.

1633695967 421 Your honor youre muted Colorado eyes the future of virtual

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Michael Martinez, Chief Judge of the 2nd Judicial District, presides over a hearing where a defendant appeared remotely but an attorney was present in-person at the Denver City and County Building in Denver on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

Many in Colorado’s justice system would like to see some sort of hybrid virtual-and-in-person future for courts.

“Particularly for short appearances, it makes a ton of sense to continue allowing virtual appearances,” said Boulder County District Attorney Michael Dougherty. “It would save time and money to allow individuals the option to appear virtually.”

“It is a huge time and cost saver for many types of proceedings — short hearings, status conferences, trial readiness conferences — it works extremely well for those types of proceedings,” said Hartmann, the Weld County chief judge.

Still, virtual courts can make it difficult for attorneys to speak privately with their clients, and it all but ends the informal hallway negotiations between prosecutors and defense attorneys that are key to resolving many low-level cases, transforming what might be a five-minute conversation into long email exchanges or back-and-forth phone calls.

“The attorney-client relationship gets a little abbreviated, and diminished when you’re not able to stand next to your client in the courtroom and be there and be the client’s voice,” said Maureen Cain, director of legislative policy and external communications at the Colorado State Public Defender’s Office.

She added that public defenders also need their clients to fill out and sign paperwork, which can be difficult when they’re not in the same room, particularly if the clients don’t have a stable living situation and mailing address.

Prosecutors also have seen cases stretch on for longer during the pandemic, Dougherty and McCabe said, in part because defendants didn’t face hard deadlines to enter plea agreements when jury trials stalled due to COVID-19 restrictions, and in part because of virtual appearances.

“People are less likely to trust a defense attorney they’ve never met in person and less inclined to plead guilty from their living room couch,” Dougherty said.

1633695967 862 Your honor youre muted Colorado eyes the future of virtual

Hyoung Chang, The Denver Post

Covers are placed on courtroom microphones at the Denver City and County Building on Thursday, Oct. 7, 2021.

Greater public transparency

But accessing the justice system from one’s own home isn’t limited to defendants. Members of the public and victims of crime can also tune in from afar, greatly increasing the court’s transparency, said Jeff Roberts, executive director of the Colorado Freedom of Information Coalition.

“It’s made it easier for the public to watch the criminal justice system in progress, and I think that has been a good thing,” Roberts said. “It’s also made it easier for reporters to cover the process in certain cases.”

Additionally, some victims prefer to watch proceedings from home, prosecutors said, rather than sitting feet away from the person accused of killing their loved one or traveling a long way for a short hearing.

Currently, online streaming of in-person proceedings purely for public access is unpredictable across Colorado’s courtrooms.

In September, the judge in the high-profile Letecia Stauch murder case in El Paso County allowed only pre-approved family members of victim Gannon Stauch to watch a key hearing online — everyone else had to show up in person.

A La Plata county sentencing hearing for Mark Redwine, convicted of murdering his son Dylan, scheduled for Friday was open online for anyone to watch and even rebroadcast, but for the preliminary hearing in the Barry Morphew murder case in Chaffee County, virtual viewing of the courtroom was barred altogether.

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Suburban growth has come mostly from renters, not homeowners, study finds

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Suburban growth has come mostly from renters, not homeowners, study finds

For decades, urban areas were enclaves of rental properties and the suburbs havens of homeownership, but that pattern has shifted in many parts of the country over the past decade, according to a study from RENTCafé, an apartment search engine.

The number of suburban renters in the nation’s 50 largest major metros rose by 22% between 2010 and 2019, while the number of suburban homeowners rose by only 3%, the study found. Out of the 1,105 suburbs studied in those 50 large metros, 242 are now majority renter, compared to only 139 in 2010.

Metro Denver doesn’t have a major suburb where renters dominate — yet. Researchers at Yardi Matrix, the firm behind the study, expect Wheat Ridge will flip within the next five years and Federal Heights is edging closer as well.

In Wheat Ridge and Federal Heights, 47% of residents were renters in 2019, up from 42% and 43% respectively in 2010. The share of renters was rising the fastest in Broomfield, which went from 20% renters to 30%, and in Highlands Ranch and Centennial, which both went from 13% to 17% rental population.

Brighton also had a noticeable jump from 27% to 32% of residents renting. On the other end, Englewood, Westminster and Littleton had the slowest growth rates in the share of residents who were renters over the period studied.

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Nuggets Mailbag: Will Bones Hyland get playing time his rookie season?

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Nuggets Mailbag: Will Bones Hyland get playing time his rookie season?

Beat writer Mike Singer opens up the Nuggets Mailbag periodically during the offseason. Pose a Nuggets — or NBA — related question here.

Who do you foresee starting the season in a G League uniform? And who from that group is most likely to move from the Gold back to the Nuggets later in the season?

— Jeff Swearingen, Denver (now living near Chicago)

Good question, Jeff. I should’ve cozied up to Jason Terry (the new Nuggets G League coach) who was at training camp in San Diego and playing full-court pickup after practices against team staffers. Not that you asked, but Jet can still play.

The two most likely candidates to begin the season in the G League, in my opinion, are Markus Howard and Petr Cornelie. If Howard goes down there, I expect him to light up the G League. The reality for Howard is that Denver’s backcourt is loaded, and Bones Hyland may already be ahead of him on the depth chart. There’s only so much need for smaller guards and Monte Morris and Facu Campazzo have that covered. That being said, teammates and coaches like Howard a lot. I’d expect him to bounce between the two.

Cornelie, Denver’s other two-way, has no NBA experience. He’s a tall stretch four or five, who turned a corner in the last few seasons playing overseas in France.

The big question is Bol Bol, who has built some momentum for himself with a strong training camp. On one hand, the Nuggets may want to reward him for his efforts and keep him around the team. On the other, he’s still raw. If Bol was sent to the G League, I think there’s a lot of curiosity over how he’d react. For now, I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt.

The biggest story, sadly, is Michael Porter Jr. not getting vaccinated. How is this going to carry over with his best season projected?

—  @Seansky17 via Twitter

Michael Porter Jr. made his stance clear in that he’s not comfortable taking the vaccine. Given that he’s had COVID twice, his logic was that he knows how his body handled it and doesn’t know how it’d react to the vaccine. The unspoken part, of course, is that it’s impossible to know how he’d react to the new Delta variant.

While it’s a personal choice, the other unspoken aspect is that said personal choice can have a big impact on the rest of the team. If Porter tests positive again, or even if he’s had a close exposure, he’ll need to quarantine because he’s unvaccinated. A close exposure for a vaccinated player doesn’t mandate a quarantine. So, while I believe each player is entitled to their choice, each unvaccinated player needs to reconcile the personal vs. team impact. What’s Denver’s margin for error until Jamal Murray returns and can it withstand missing games from MPJ? The NBA has implemented rigorous testing and different protocols for unvaccinated players, which could, ostensibly, change a player’s mind.

How is Zeke Nnaji looking? Which players look the most comfortable?

— @bradsgood via Twitter

I think there have been encouraging signs from a handful of players, beginning with Aaron Gordon and P.J. Dozier. In my opinion, Gordon’s shooting stroke looks smoother and he appears to be launching with more confidence. That squares with what I’d been hearing on Gordon’s summer.

I also think Dozier has had a strong preseason. Defensively, he’s long, anticipates well and gets into the gaps. He seems to have a strong concept of team defense. Offensively, he’s a good cutter and has shown an improved pull-up game. The swing skill with Dozier is his 3-point shooting. If he can consistently knock down open 3s, he’ll be even more invaluable to Michael Malone’s rotation.

Both Jeff Green and JaMychal Green warrant a nod here, too. I think that pairing is going to be more productive than the Green-Millsap one last year. JaMychal looks energized and Jeff still has significant spring in his step. They’ll be the first reserve options in the frontcourt, probably ahead of Zeke Nnaji. Coming off a disappointing Summer League, Nnaji still has good fundamentals but he’s looked a bit hurried in his approach.

Should we be thinking about a PJ Dozier extension now? He’s looked great in these first 2 preseason games. If we wait until next summer and he plays like this, he’s going to get a bag. One the Nugs cannot afford.

— Jon, Golden

This is a great call, Jon. I think the Nuggets’ front office would be wise to consider extending Dozier, who’ll be a free agent next summer. Dozier has a big fan in Malone, and his value is about to rise. It somewhat reminds me of Monte Morris in that the Nuggets loved him and had no interest in seeing him in another jersey. Dozier’s value, as a versatile defender and a budding offensive threat, should be enough to land him a multi-year deal. As for that impending luxury tax bill, cover your eyes, Mr. Kroenke.

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More than 120,000 U.S. kids had caregivers die during pandemic

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More than 120,000 U.S. kids had caregivers die during pandemic

NEW YORK — The number of U.S. children orphaned during the COVID-19 pandemic may be larger than previously estimated, and the toll has been far greater among Black and Hispanic Americans, a new study suggests.

More than half the children who lost a primary caregiver during the pandemic belonged to those two racial groups, which make up about 40% of the U.S. population, according to the study published Thursday by the medical journal Pediatrics.

“These findings really highlight those children who have been left most vulnerable by the pandemic, and where additional resources should be directed,” one of the study’s authors, Dr. Alexandra Blenkinsop of Imperial College London, said in a statement.

During 15 months of the nearly 19-month COVID-19 pandemic, more than 120,000 U.S. children lost a parent or grandparent who was a primary provider of financial support and care, the study found. Another 22,000 children experienced the death of a secondary caregiver — for example, a grandparent who provided housing but not a child’s other basic needs.

In many instances, surviving parents or other relatives remained to provide for these children. But the researchers used the term “orphanhood” in their study as they attempted to estimate how many children’s lives were upended.

Federal statistics are not yet available on how many U.S. children went into foster care last year. Researchers estimate COVID-19 drove a 15% increase in orphaned children.

The new study’s numbers are based on statistical modeling that used fertility rates, death statistics and household composition data to make estimates.

An earlier study by different researchers estimated that roughly 40,000 U.S. children lost a parent to COVID-19 as of February 2021.

The two studies’ findings are not inconsistent, said Ashton Verdery, an author of the earlier study. Verdery and his colleagues focused on a shorter time period than the new study. Verdery’s group also focused only on deaths of parents, while the new paper also captured what happened to caregiving grandparents.

“It is very important to understand grandparental losses,” said Verdery, a researcher at Penn State, in an email. “Many children live with grandparents,” a living arrangement more common among certain racial groups.

About 32% of all kids who lost a primary caregiver were Hispanic and 26% were Black. Hispanic and Black Americans make up much smaller percentages of the population than that. White children accounted for 35% of the kids who lost primary caregivers, even though more than half of the population is white.

The differences were far more pronounced in some states. In California, 67% of the children who lost primary caregivers were Hispanic. In Mississippi, 57% of the children who lost primary caregivers were Black, the study found.

The new study based its calculation on excess deaths, or deaths above what would be considered typical. Most of those deaths were from the coronavirus, but the pandemic has also led to more deaths from other causes.

Kate Kelly, a Georgia teenager, lost her 54-year-old father in January. William “Ed” Kelly had difficulty breathing and an urgent care clinic suspected it was due to COVID-19, she said. But it turned out he had a blocked artery and died at work of a heart attack, leaving Kate, her two sisters and her mother.

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