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Keeler: Jay Norvell is upgrade for CSU Rams as football coach. Because he’s everything Steve Addazio wasn’t.

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Keeler: Jay Norvell is upgrade for CSU Rams as football coach. Because he’s everything Steve Addazio wasn’t.

Is he Tony Alford? No. But Jay Norvell is an upgrade, kids. The way CSU is an upgrade over Nevada.

At first blush, the 58-year-old Norvell — who was named the new football coach of the Rams on Monday — makes sense for FoCo in all the ways Steve Addazio didn’t.

Since 2018, he’s won at Cal. He’s won at Air Force. He’s won at San Diego State. He’s won at Boise State, a place where the Rams have never, ever won. And need to.

The best part? He’s not a jerk. He’s not a career bully. Norvell is not going to pick fights with peers within the athletic department. He’s not going to have the HR folks hopping the way the Daz did. He’s not going to require internal investigations or Kansas City law firms. He’s not going to treat his players like it’s 1989.

He’s a solid dude. A solid dude who’s won in the Mountain West. A solid dude who’s recruited in the Mountain West. A solid dude who likes to throw the ball all over the yard.

Instead of three yards and a cloud of Daz, the Rams are about to go all-in on the Air Raid. Over Nevada’s last 21 games, the Wolf Pack were victorious in 15 and scored at least 35 points in 11 of them.

During those 21, they racked up at least 350 passing yards 11 times. Even on the bad days, and there weren’t many, Nevada’s been fun and frenetic to watch, the kind of attack that could chuck its way into your heart.

Addazio’s quarterbacks were there to hand off, get out of the way, and then try to make something out of third-and-long. Norvell’s quarterbacks — NFL-bound Carson Strong being the latest — are center stage, the life of the party.

For the six of you who attended Nevada’s 52-10 demolition of the Rammies at Canvas Stadium back on Nov. 27, remember how that tall, strapping kid at quarterback looked like Kurt Warner against CSU, throwing touchdowns for fun?

That’s what you’re getting. Eventually.

Norvell, meanwhile, is slipping out of the Mountain West’s Kia Forte and into a Mercedes.

According to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, only San Jose State, Air Force, New Mexico and UNLV spent less on football than Nevada did in 2019 ($10.7 million). Among reporting schools, nobody spent less on coaching salaries that year than the Wolf Pack ($2.55 million).

Norvell reportedly made $619,250 at Nevada after COVID-related reductions in 2021, making him the lowest-paid coach on the circuit. The Daz was No. 2, at $1.55 million.

The Pack has gone 30-17 in football under Norvell since the fall of 2018 with four bowl bids while CSU, which spent $25.1 million on football and $5 million on coaching salaries in 2019, went 11-29 under Addazio and Mike Bobo. Why wouldn’t the Mountain West program that’s done less with more hand the keys to the one guy who’s done more with less?

Norvell’s got friends here. And ties. He signed with the Broncos as a college free agent out of the University of Iowa. He was on CU coach Karl Dorrell’s staff at UCLA as offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach in 2007. His last five coaching stops before Fort Collins were with the Bruins, Oklahoma (2008-14), Texas (2015), Arizona State (2016) and Nevada.

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Marshall fire, omicron prompt a special health insurance enrollment period in Colorado

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Marshall fire, omicron prompt a special health insurance enrollment period in Colorado

The Marshall fire displaced thousands of Coloradans just as the omicron surge began sweeping through the state, so health insurance was likely not on many people’s minds when the regular enrollment period for the state’s health insurance marketplace ended Jan. 15.

But now, because of those twin emergencies, everyone in Colorado will get another chance to sign up.

State officials on Wednesday launched a special marketplace enrollment period, through March 16, open to all uninsured Coloradans regardless of whether they’ve been directly affected by the fire or the COVID-19 surge.

The Marshall fire started on Dec. 30, just two weeks before the deadline to sign up for a 2022 plan. The fires destroyed more than 1,000 houses and businesses, quickly becoming the state’s most destructive fire by the number of structures lost.

“It’s such a disruption to people’s lives,” Colorado Insurance Commissioner Michael Conway said. “It’s not just the people who lost their homes — it’s across the board, affecting the entire community.”

Meanwhile, the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus caused COVID cases to spike to record levels in January, stressing hospitals and health systems.

“These folks are just trying to put their lives back together,” said Kevin Patterson, CEO of Connect for Health Colorado, the state’s health insurance marketplace, created under the Affordable Care Act. “So giving them some additional time seemed like a reasonable and thoughtful thing to consider.”

In addition to providing immediate relief to Coloradans in a crisis, the move underscores how much industry attitudes toward the Affordable Care Act have changed. Insurance companies were initially skeptical about the financial risks and worried that consumers would game the system. But the insurers have largely embraced the exchanges and are working to sign up as many people as possible. After experiencing few problems during the special enrollment period held last year because of COVID, health plans have agreed to the removal of safeguards — such as a limited window of time to sign up for coverage — that regulators once required.

“Amid the recent COVID-19 surge and tragic wildfires, it is important that people in Colorado have the opportunity to obtain health care coverage,” Patrick Gordon, CEO of the Rocky Mountain Health Plans, said in an email.

Special enrollment periods have been used in California because of wildfires, in Maine when strong winds knocked down power lines, and in Gulf states hit by Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria.

Such periods have often been limited in scope and sometimes required people to provide proof they had been affected.

Colorado state officials are taking a different route. They opted to make signing up for coverage as easy as possible and are not requiring consumers to demonstrate they qualify.

“It didn’t seem like something that was necessary, especially when we look at our experience over the last year,” Conway said. “The vast majority of the year was effectively a special enrollment period, and there wasn’t that much disruption in the market.”

Insurance analyst Charles Gaba said there are three primary reasons for limiting health plan sign-ups to an open enrollment period.

The first is that deadlines spur people to sign up. Each year, enrollment numbers spike in the final days of the sign-up period.

Second, insurance companies need time to analyze their revenue and costs to set premiums for the following year. That process, Gaba said, typically begins in March.

Third, and most importantly, insurance companies initially lobbied for a limited open enrollment period to keep people from waiting until they are sick to buy insurance. That changed during the pandemic. Colorado and most other states that run their own exchanges held special enrollment periods in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID. When the Trump administration declined to do the same for the federal exchange, health insurance trade groups urged it to reconsider. The incoming Biden administration agreed and extended the enrollment period through August 2021 — and more than 2.8 million additional Americans signed up for coverage.

Conway said no evidence exists that consumers waited until they were sick to buy coverage last year. With so many consumers eligible for no-cost or low-cost plans because of more generous subsidies, there is little reason for them not to sign up immediately.

“As health policy folks, sometimes we get into our heads and we see monsters under the bed that simply are not there because of the complexity of the system,” Conway said.

Health plans in Colorado were largely supportive of the move. John Roble, president of Cigna’s Mountain States market, said the company is allowing early prescription refills and is working with local hospitals to transfer patients to help alleviate crowding at overwhelmed facilities.

Past special enrollment periods largely attracted a healthier population than standard open enrollment periods. Those with chronic health conditions, who face the potential of high medical bills, usually enroll early in the standard open enrollment period.

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McDonald’s employee shot in north St. Louis County Wednesday afternoon

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McDonald’s employee shot in north St. Louis County Wednesday afternoon

COOL VALLEY, Mo. – A woman working at a McDonald’s in north St. Louis County was shot Wednesday afternoon.

Col. Mark Hall, the Normandy police chief, said the employee was shot in her upper body by another woman while outside the fast-food place located in the 1700 block of S. Florissant Road.

The employee’s condition is unknown at this time but is expected to survive, according to the police chief.

The investigation is ongoing. This is a developing story and it will be updated as more information becomes available.

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Red Bridge Estate outside of Durango hits market for $12.5M

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Red Bridge Estate outside of Durango hits market for $12.5M

Sitting on 40 acres just 25 minutes outside of Durango, a Western-style ranch with modern finishes has been listed for $12.5 million.

Red Bridge Estate, at 10506 County Road 250 in the Animas River Valley, features an 8,251-square-foot main residence with an oversized garage, a court for tennis and pickleball, and a 3,385-square-foot equestrian barn with four stalls and a living quarters.

The ranch is owned by Red Bridge Ranch LLC, managed by Hugh and Donna Scott, according to public records. A Luxe Interiors + Design article previously described the owners as “a Bay Area couple who built their vacation home near the Southern Ute Indian Reservation in Colorado’s southwest corner.”

Courtesy of Hall and Hall Partners

The ranch sits on 40 acres about 25 minutes outside of Durango.

“It was very un-Aspen and un-Vail,” the home’s interior designer Julie Massucco Kleiner told Luxe. “The wife was born and raised in the Midwest and wanted to find a less glamorous vacation home that would speak to her sensibilities.”

The current owners purchased the property in 2016 for $3 million, according to La Plata County records, and built the home.

Address: 10506 County Road 250, Durango

1642629859 15 Red Bridge Estate outside of Durango hits market for 125M

Courtesy of Hall and Hall Partners

The property has a multi-sport court for pickleball, tennis and basketball.

Listing price: $12.5 million

Stats: Coon Creek borders the property and runs year-round. The ranch has water rights.

The finer things: Guests enter the ranch over a red bridge, hence the name, and down a tree-lined drive opening to the estate.

1642629859 377 Red Bridge Estate outside of Durango hits market for 125M

Courtesy of Hall and Hall Partners

There are vaulted ceilings throughout the home up to 27 feet tall.

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