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Marijuana, dating apps, driver’s licenses: New Colorado laws go into effect Jan. 1

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Marijuana, dating apps, driver’s licenses: New Colorado laws go into effect Jan. 1

Among the roughly 500 bills Gov. Jared Polis signed into law in 2021, 14 go into effect on New Years Day.

They concern a wide range of people and topics, from marijuana purchasing to driving rights for the poor to legal recourse for victims of child sex abuse.

Here’s a look at some of the most impactful new Colorado laws as of Jan. 1, 2022:

Driver’s license suspensions

In July, Colorado became the 16th state to ban driver’s license suspensions for people who have outstanding court debt. The law, HB21-1314, is in part a result of Denver Post reporting and it means that tens of thousands of Coloradans can win back their driving privileges. These are people whose driving rights were taken away not for dangerous traffic offenses, but because they owed a court money for something unrelated to driving.

Not being able to drive means limitations on how to legally get to work or perform other essential functions, which for years has left people with suspended licenses with a difficult choice: confine your social, familial and employment prospects by never driving a vehicle, or break the law and drive anyway, risking further punishment. Colorado State Patrol was among those pushing for the new law, arguing that so many people choose the latter option that it fills the state roadways with uninsured, unauthorized motorists.

Marijuana rules

HB21-1317 represented Colorado’s most significant regulatory overhaul in the cannabis space since legalization nearly a decade ago.

As of Jan. 1, the state will limit daily purchases to two ounces of flower and eight grams of concentrate such as wax and shatter for medical marijuana patients. The concentrate limit goes down to two grams per day for medical patients between the ages of 18 and 20. The previous daily concentrate purchase limit for medical patients was 40 grams.

The law was heavily workshopped throughout the past session, but in the end it was supported by almost the entire legislature. The bill resulted largely from advocacy by parents who claimed their children had suffered — profoundly, in some cases — from abuse of high-potency concentrated marijuana products that are gaining in popularity. The changes brought by this law primarily affect medical marijuana patients.

Exceptions to the new limits apply only to a patient whose doctor affirms in writing that the patient has a physical or geographic hardship that should allow them to exceed the daily purchase limits, and that the patient has designated a store as the primary place they get their medicine.

Dispensaries must also now provide an educational resource in the form of an 8-inch by 11-inch paper pamphlet to customers at the point of sale of a concentrate. This pamphlet must include a black dot, smaller than a fingernail, displaying the state’s recommended serving size for concentrates. It will also feature advice on how to safely consume and a list of negative conditions the state declares can result from the use of marijuana concentrate

Child sex abuse

People who were sexually abused in Colorado when they were children can, as of Jan. 1, sue the institutions that hid the abuse or did nothing to stop it. That’s the result of SB21-88, which applies to people, not just those living in the state, who were abused within government entities, schools and private institutions. The law caps how much victims can get from the lawsuit at $1 million from private entities and $387,000 from governmental entities.

SB21-73 is a companion law also going into effect in the new year that removes the statute of limitations for child sex abuse lawsuits, but it does not apply retroactively. Previously, survivors had only six years after they turned 18 to sue their abusers.

At the time of the bill signing for SB21-88, sponsor and state Rep. Dafna Michaelson Jenet, a Commerce City Democrat and abuse survivor, said: “Obviously you can really not ever put closure on sexual abuse that happened to you as a child — I think that that stays with you. However, if we can give them their day in court, their time to build some type of resolution, I think we’ll be doing something really important for the survivor community.”

Solitary confinement in jails

HB21-1211 is meant to cut down on so-called “restrictive housing” in jails. That’s another term for solitary confinement, which Colorado’s former Department of Corrections chief — among many other critics — said amounts to torture. The bulk of this bill goes into effect July 1, 2022, but a key provision concerning data collection starts Jan. 1.

Every county jail will have to keep and maintain a record of every instance in which someone was placed into solitary confinement. The record must include demographic data, including race and gender, plus an accounting of the inmate’s health conditions, length of stay in solitary confinement and reason for having been placed there.

Then, in July, it will become illegal for any county jail with a capacity of at least 400 beds to place someone in solitary confinement against their will, if they have any of a list of existing physical or mental health conditions. That will limit the number of people placed in solitary confinement in Colorado jails, but the law is nothing close to the outright ban many reform-minded advocates seek.

Subscribers’ bill of rights

Let’s say you’ve just subscribed to an online service — a paid dating app or Hulu, say — for a free trial or for a cheap limited-time deal. You forget about the auto-renewal provision of whatever subscription you’ve just agreed to, and you’re alarmed to find you’re paying $10 or $20 a month for something you never meant to commit to in that way.

Colorado lawmakers created a new law they hope will make it easier for people to avoid that scenario.

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This $7.9M Missouri mansion comes with three mines

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This $7.9M Missouri mansion comes with three mines

ELSBERRY, Mo. – What if we told you the most attractive feature of a home was not the home itself? A mansion located outside a quaint Lincoln County town features scenic views both above and below ground.

More than two decades before the founding of the City of Elsberry in 1879, Fielding Wiggington purchased 40 acres of land and built a rudimentary home out of logs. He would spend the next 50 years of his life accumulating more of the surrounding lands, totaling 350 acres.

In 1904, Fielding agreed to allow the Crystal Carbonate Lime Company mine for Kimmswick limestone on his property. By 1924, mining rights shifted to the Columbia Mining Company.

Ida Wigginton, Fielding’s granddaughter, married then-history professor Clarence Cannon in 1906. She would ultimately inherit the property and the mines. The mining continued even after Cannon was elected to Congress in 1922 and the couple remained on the property with their children. They converted Ida’s childhood home into a kitchen and built a larger house around it.

Cannon served in Congress until his death in 1964. Ida Wigginton moved back into the residence permanently in 1963. All the while, blasting continued in the nearby mines.

Ida finally grew tired of the constant noise and shaking, and demanded Independence Mining cease operations on her land.

She sold the property in 1972 to the Hoechst family on the condition she be allowed to live in her home. Ida Wigginton passed away in 1975 and the Hoechsts took full ownership of the land.

Emil E. Hoechst, the patriarch of the family, had plans to update the Wiggington-Cannon residence and considered several development ideas for the mines, but he died in 1982 before they could be brought to fruition.

His son, Emil A. Hoechst, remodeled the Wigginton-Cannon home and built a beautiful 7,400 square-foot home on the property for his family. The new home features high ceilings, a great room, and 5 bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms.

The mines

But as we alluded to earlier, the mansion is not the property’s most striking feature. After nearly 60 years, there are three pristine mines on the property sitting empty and dry.

The largest mine is 417,000-square feet, with two levels and railroad access. The second mine also has two levels and opens to 21,000-square feet. Even the smallest of the mines offers an impressive amount of space – 3,000-square feet. They’ve also never flooded in their 118-year history.

The mines seem rife for personal or commercial opportunities. According to the realtor, suggestions include a data center, office space, warehousing, a rec center, a shooting range, a waterpark, a motorbike park, a greenhouse, or even a brewery or winery. Or maybe you’d like to operate the world’s largest game of hide-and-go-seek?

You can see more pictures of the homes at the Zillow listing. Additional photos of the mines and surrounding property are located on the Mid America Regional Information Systems (MARIS) listing.

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The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley, and a Chicago Bears coordinator has an interview with another team. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

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The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley, and a Chicago Bears coordinator has an interview with another team. Here’s the latest in the NFL’s firing and hiring cycle.

Change is in the air. “Black Monday” arrived in the NFL the day after the regular season ended with a flurry of major changes beginning around the league.

As of Thursday, the Chicago Bears, Jacksonville Jaguars, Denver Broncos, Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants, Miami Dolphins and Houston Texans were searching for new head coaches and the Bears, Vikings and Giants were searching for new general managers.

The Bears had requested interviews with at least 11 GM candidates and nine coaching candidates.

As a new cycle of firing and hiring proceeds, we’re tracking all of the latest moves.

Thursday

The Houston Texans fired coach David Culley after one season.

The scoop: The Texans finished 4-13 in the only season under Culley, 66, a longtime NFL assistant in his first job as a head coach. The Texans were playing without Deshaun Watson amid allegations of sexual assault against the quarterback. Week 1 starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played in only six games because of injury, and the Texans turned to rookie Davis Mills to start 11 games.

Since 1994, Culley has been a wide receivers coach with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs, with which he was also the assistant head coach, a quarterbacks coach with the Buffalo Bills and the assistant head coach/wide receivers coach/pass game coordinator with the Baltimore Ravens.

The Carolina Panthers are interviewing Bears special teams coordinator Chris Tabor, according to ESPN.

The scoop: Tabor was the Bears special teams coordinator for all four seasons under Matt Nagy, and he served as interim head coach for one game in 2021 when Nagy had COVID-19. He previously was the Cleveland Brown special teams coordinator for seven seasons, spanning multiple head coaches.

Wednesday

The Chicago Bears added two more names to their general manager interview pool.

The scoop: The Bears have requested an interview with Pittsburgh Steelers vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and New England Patriots senior consultant Eliot Wolf, ESPN reported. Khan had GM interviews last year with the Carolina Panthers and Houston Texans. Wolf, the son of former Green Bay Packers GM Ron Wolf, has worked with the Packers, the Seattle Seahawks and Cleveland Browns.

Here are the updated candidate lists:

General managers

Coaches

Tuesday

The Chicago Bears list of requested interviews has reached at least 8 general manager candidates and 9 coaching candidates.

The scoop: Recently fired Miami Dolphins coach Brian Flores was a big name to pop up in a lengthy list of candidates the Bears have contacted about interviews.

NFL Network reported the Bears set up the interview with Flores, who went 24-25 in three seasons with the Dolphins. His last two seasons were winning ones, but the Dolphins didn’t make the playoffs.

Here are the other coaching candidates who reportedly have been requested:

Former Houston Texans general manager Rick Smith is among the biggest names to be expected to interview with the Bears. Here’s a list of others:

The New York Giants fired coach Joe Judge after two seasons.

The scoop: In his first NFL head coaching stint, Judge, 40, went 10-23, including 4-13 in 2021. Playing without quarterback Daniel Jones down the stretch, the Giants lost their final six games by a combined score of 163-56. After the 29-3 loss to the Bears in Week 17, Judge went on an 11-minute rant defending his team while talking to the media.

It is the second big Giants move in two days after general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement Monday. With Judge out, there are now seven NFL head coaching jobs open.

Monday

The Chicago Bears fired general manager Ryan Pace and coach Matt Nagy.

The scoop: Pace is out in Chicago after seven seasons during which his teams went 48-65, qualified for the postseason twice and failed to record a playoff victory. In his first NFL head coaching stint, Nagy finished 34-31 with two playoff losses over four seasons.

The Bears never found the right fit between Nagy and a quarterback during his tenure , running through Mitch Trubisky, Nick Foles, Andy Dalton and Justin Fields. Nagy’s offense remained stuck in the bottom third of the league in many categories . The Bears finished 6-11 this season.

The Bears have reached out to former Eagles coach Doug Pederson to schedule an interview for their head coaching role, according to a league source. An ESPN report also indicated the Bears have requested permission to interview Buffalo Bills defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier for the job. The team, according to NFL Network, has also requested to speak with Colts director of college scouting Morocco Brown for the GM opening.

The Minnesota Vikings fired general manager Rick Spielman and coach Mike Zimmer

The scoop: Spielman was with the Vikings since 2006, first as the vice president of player personnel and then as the general manager since 2012. In that time, the Vikings went 132-123-2 with six playoff appearances.

Zimmer, a longtime NFL defensive coordinator, became the Vikings head coach in 2014. He led three seasons of 10 or more wins, three playoff appearances and two playoff victories. The Vikings finished 8-9 after a victory over the Bears on Sunday.

New York Giants general manager Dave Gettleman announced his retirement after four seasons in that role.

The scoop: In 2018, Gettleman became the general manager in an organization where he had spent 13 years previously in front office roles. But his efforts to resuscitate the franchise failed with the Giants experiencing their worst four-year stretch of losing in team history.

The Giants went 19-46 under Gettleman’s watch, including a 4-13 faceplant this season during which the offense finished last in the NFC in both total yardage and scoring. Gettleman announced his retirement Monday but may have been fired if he hadn’t. The future of coach Joe Judge remains uncertain and may hinge on what happens with their intensifying GM search.

The Miami Dolphins fired coach Brian Flores after three seasons.

The scoop: Flores was fired in his third season despite posting back-to-back winning seasons. The Dolphins were 5-11 in his first year, 10-6 in 2020 and 9-8 this season, but they didn’t make the playoffs in his tenure.

Dolphins owner Stephen Ross released a statement saying he “determined that key dynamics of our football organization weren’t functioning at a level I want it to be and felt that this decision was in the best interest of the Miami Dolphins.” General manager Chris Grier will remain with the team in his current role, ESPN reported.

Sunday

The Denver Broncos have fired head coach Vic Fangio after three seasons.

The scoop: Fangio didn’t record a winning season in his three in Denver. He finished 19-30 in his first stint as an NFL head coach, including 7-10 this season. Fangio, 63, was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for 19 seasons, including four in Chicago, before he joined the Broncos in 2019.

Fangio’s defense this season ranked in the top 10 in yards and points allowed. But the Broncos offense didn’t produce well enough under Teddy Bridgewater and Drew Lock, the latest in a revolving door of quarterbacks in Denver recent years.

Dec. 30-Jan. 7

The Jaguars have conducted at least five interviews to replace Urban Meyer.

The scoop: The Jaguars fired Urban Meyer on Dec. 16 after just 13 games with the team.

The team already has gotten deep into their search to replace him, reportedly interviewing former Philadelphia Eagles coach Doug Pederson, former Indianapolis Colts and Detroit Lions coach Jim Caldwell, Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive coordinator Todd Bowles and offensive coordinator Byron Leftwich and Dallas Cowboys offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Read more of our coverage from Black Monday and beyond.

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Texas rabbi: Captor grew “belligerent” late in standoff

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British national ID’d as hostage-taker at Texas synagogue

By JAKE BLEIBERG and ERIC TUCKER

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) — A rabbi who was among four people held hostage at a Texas synagogue said Sunday that the British man who held them captive became “increasingly belligerent and threatening” toward the end of the 10-hour standoff.

Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker of Congregation Beth Israel, near Fort Worth, credited security training that his congregation has received over the years for helping him and the other hostages get through the situation. He said in a statement that without that instruction, “we would not have been prepared to act and flee when the situation presented itself.”

Authorities on Sunday identified the hostage-taker as a 44-year-old British national, Malik Faisal Akram. He was killed after the last three hostages ran from the building and an FBI SWAT team stormed it at around 9 p.m. Saturday. Authorities haven’t said whether Akram was killed by a member of the team.

The FBI said there was no indication that anyone else was involved, but it didn’t provide a possible motive.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.

COLLEYVILLE, Texas (AP) — Authorities on Sunday identified a 44-year-old British national as the man who took four people hostage at a Texas synagogue for 10 hours before an FBI SWAT team stormed the building, ending a tense standoff that President Joe Biden called “an act of terror.”

Malik Faisal Akram was shot and killed after the last of the hostages got out at around 9 p.m. Saturday at Congregation Beth Israel near Fort Worth. In a statement, the FBI said there was no indication that anyone else was involved, but it didn’t provide a possible motive.

Akram could be heard ranting on a Facebook livestream of the services and demanding the release of a Pakistani neuroscientist who was convicted of trying to kill U.S. Army officers in Afghanistan. Speaking to reporters in Philadelphia on Sunday, Biden said Akram allegedly purchased a weapon on the streets and might have been in the U.S. for only a few weeks.

Video from Dallas TV station WFAA showed people running out a door of the synagogue, and then a man holding a gun opening the same door just seconds later before he turned around and closed it. Moments later, several rounds of gunfire could be heard, followed by the sound of an explosion.

“Rest assured, we are focused,” Biden said. “The attorney general is focused and making sure that we deal with these kinds of acts.”

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement did not immediately respond to questions Sunday about Akram’s immigration status and history. London’s Metropolitan Police said in a statement that its counter-terrorism police were liaising with U.S. authorities about the incident.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Matt DeSarno said the hostage-taker was specifically focused on an issue not directly connected to the Jewish community, and there was no immediate indication that the man was part of any broader plan. It wasn’t clear why Akram chose the synagogue.

The FBI and police spokeswomen declined to answer questions Saturday night about who shot Akram when the standoff ended.

Law enforcement officials who were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation and who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity earlier said the hostage-taker demanded the release of Aafia Siddiqui, a Pakistani neuroscientist suspected of having ties to al-Qaida who is in a federal prison in Texas. He also said he wanted to be able to speak with her, according to the officials.

Authorities said police were first called to the synagogue around 11 a.m. and people were evacuated from the surrounding neighborhood soon afterward.

Saturday’s services were being livestreamed on the synagogue’s Facebook page for a time. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported that an angry man could be heard ranting and talking about religion at times during the livestream, which didn’t show what was happening inside the synagogue.

Shortly before 2 p.m., the man said, “You got to do something. I don’t want to see this guy dead.” Moments later, the feed cut out. A spokesperson for Meta Platforms Inc., the corporate successor to Facebook Inc., later confirmed that Facebook had removed the video.

Multiple people heard the hostage-taker refer to Siddiqui as his “sister” on the livestream. But John Floyd, board chair for the Houston chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations — the nation’s largest Muslim advocacy group — said Siddiqui’s brother, Mohammad Siddiqui, was not involved.

“We want the assailant to know that his actions are wicked and directly undermine those of us who are seeking justice for Dr. Aafia,” said Floyd, who also is legal counsel for Mohammad Siddiqui.

Texas resident Victoria Francis, who said she watched about an hour of the livestream, said she heard the man rant against America and claim he had a bomb. Biden said Sunday that there were apparently no explosives, despite the threats.

“He was just all over the map. He was pretty irritated and the more irritated he got, he’d make more threats, like ‘I’m the guy with the bomb. If you make a mistake, this is all on you.’ And he’d laugh at that,” Francis said. “He was clearly in extreme distress.”

Colleyville, a community of about 26,000 people, is about 15 miles (23 kilometers) northeast of Fort Worth. By Sunday morning, the police perimeter around the synagogue had shrunk to half a block in either direction and FBI agents could be seen going in and out of the building. A sign saying “Love” — with the “o” replaced with a Star of David — was planted in a neighbor’s lawn.

Congregation Beth Israel is led by Rabbi Charlie Cytron-Walker, who was among the four hostages. He declined to speak at length to a reporter outside his home on Sunday, telling an Associated Press reporter: “It’s a little overwhelming as your can imagine. It was not fun yesterday.”

Andrew Marc Paley, a Dallas rabbi who was called to the scene to help families and hostages upon their release, said Cytron-Walker acted as a calm and comforting presence. The first hostage was released shortly after 5 p.m. That was around the time food was delivered to those inside the synagogue, but Paley said he did not know if it was part of the negotiations.

“He appeared a little unfazed, actually, but I don’t know if that was sort of shock or just the moment,” Paley said of the first hostage after his release. “He was calm and grateful to law enforcement and Rabbi Charlie.”

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Twitter that “this event is a stark reminder that antisemitism is still alive and we must continue to fight it worldwide.”

The standoff led authorities to tighten security in other places, including New York City, where police said that they increased their presence “at key Jewish institutions” out of an abundance of caution.

___

Tucker reported from Washington, D.C. Also contributing to this reporter were Associated Press writers Paul J. Weber and Acacia Coronado in Austin; Michael Balsamo in Washington; Colleen Long in Philadelphia; Jennifer McDermott in Providence, Rhode Island; Michael R. Sisak in New York; Holly Meyer in Nashville, Tenn.; and Issac Scharf in Jerusalem.

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