Packers sign center Day off Denver’s practice squad

The Green Bay Packers signed center Dillon Day off the practice squad of the Denver Broncos on Wednesday afternoon.

Day, who Denver brought in as an undrafted free agent in 2015, has spent most of the last three seasons on the Broncos practice squad. He was active on Denver’s 53-man roster for one game this season in Week 7.

Day started for four years at center for Mississippi State from 2011-14.

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The 2017 All-Colorado football team, as selected by The Denver Post staff based on statistical analysis, relative value to team success, postseason production and the old-fashioned eye test.

QB Zach Cozzolino, Pueblo South, Sr., 6-foot, 190 pounds

While throwing for 48 touchdowns, the second most in state history, and leading Class 4A with 3,442 yards, he quarterbacked his team to its first state championship.

QB Ty Evans, Palmer Ridge, Jr., 6-3, 190

One of the nation’s most highly recruited quarterbacks in the Class of 2019, Evans led the state with 3,627 yards while also throwing for 42 touchdowns and leading the Bears to their first state title.

QB Alex Padilla, Cherry Creek, Jr., 6-2, 190

As the frontman for the Bruins’ dynamic offense, he led Class 5A with 40 touchdowns passing while also throwing for 2,678 yards after seeing a promising sophomore season derailed by a broken thumb.

RB Jeremy Hollingsworth, Skyline, Jr., 5-10, 191

Immediately became the Falcons’ most explosive weapon after transferring from Niwot in the offseason, pacing Skyline to its first playoff appearance since 1999 while rushing for 1,913 yards and a Class 4A-best 31 touchdowns.

RB Max Borghi, Pomona, Sr., 5-10, 198

The Washington State commitment could create long touchdowns with a burst through the slightest of holes, and he ranked first in Class 5A with 27 rushing scores — not to mention his 1,690 yards rushing and array of big plays in the return game.

RB Ben Frenette, Chatfield, Sr., 6-0, 212

The heart and soul of a Chatfield offense that was unstoppable throughout the regular season finished with 1,517 yards and 23 touchdowns by ground, while his leadership helped cement the Chargers among the Class 4A elite.

RB Noah Roper, Erie, Jr., 6-0, 195

Paced all of Colorado in rushing yards (2,631) and touchdowns (36) while also playing a primary role in the secondary as his speed and field vision led Erie to its first state title game showing since 2008.

WR Billy Pospisil, Pomona, Jr., 5-11, 190

The long-range atomic weapon in the vast Pomona arsenal, Pospisil built off a strong sophomore season by leading Colorado with 1,591 yards receiving this year, posting 18 total touchdowns, including three in the Panthers’ Class 5A title game win.

WR Marcell Barbee, Pueblo South, Sr., 6-2, 195

A primary reason the Colts’ offense was electric down the stretch, Barbee’s 23 touchdowns receiving led Colorado and rank third in state history, while he also racked up 1,390 receiving yards — 199 of which came on eight catches in the title game.

WR Dimitri Stanley, Cherry Creek Sr., 6-0, 178

As Alex Padilla’s favorite weapon, the Colorado commitment finished with 1,192 yards and 20 touchdowns as he displayed quickness, route running and sure hands rivaled by few other wideouts in the state.

OL Kevin Singer, Columbine, Sr., 6-6, 268

One of multiple giants on a Rebels offensive line that racked up 3,712 yards rushing this season, his leadership was also key throughout Columbine’s bruising march to the Class 5A semifinals.

OL Barrett Miller, Eaglecrest, Jr., 6-5, 260

His physical play up front set the tone for the Raptors to get to the Class 5A title game, and with still one prep season to play, he’s in position to further add to his legacy of redefining the grit of Eaglecrest football.

OL Dom Pollato, Cherry Creek, Jr., 6-3, 280

Once again, Pollato was the head henchman charged with protecting Alex Padilla, and he made good on his job in a complicated offense that gave its quarterback and running backs time to compile 4,515 total yards.

OL Blake Carette, Arapahoe, Sr., 6-3, 280

As the lynchpin of the Warriors’ line, the Air Force commitment displayed athleticism in space in Arapahoe’s counter-heavy offense, with the speed to get out on screens and a consistent physicality up to each and every whistle.

OL Austin Johnson, Highlands Ranch, Jr., 6-4, 260

One of two future Division I players on the Falcons’ offensive front, the guard enabled junior running back Dominic Bettini to run wild to help the Falcons reach the Class 5A playoffs for the second straight season.

OL Max Bruner, Ponderosa, Sr., 6-3, 280

The versatile lineman is holding an array of FCS offers thanks to an athletic frame that allowed him to pave the way for one of the top offenses in Class 4A, playing with a take-no-prisoners attitude matched only by his motor.

ATH Luke McCaffrey, Valor Christian, Jr., 6-2, 180

With the same undeniable athleticism of his father and three older brothers, McCaffrey led a balanced Eagles offense with 1,172 total yards while also playing a key role in the secondary and on special teams.

ATH A’Jon Vivens, Mullen, Sr., 6-0, 185

The Colorado State commitment did a bit of everything for the Mustangs this year, racking up 1,262 total offensive yards while seeing significant time at both wideout (six touchdowns) and running back (five touchdowns).

ATH Ryan Marquez, Pomona, Sr., 6-2, 175

The centerpiece of a Panthers offense that set a state record for total offense with 6,362 yards, Marquez played fearlessly at quarterback and shored up the team’s secondary while leading Pomona to three straight title games.

ATH Jalen Mergerson, Eaglecrest Sr., 5-11, 180

The elevation of the Raptors from good to elite is in large credit to Mergerson, who racked up 3,615 total yards and 33 touchdowns while leading Eaglecrest to a second straight undefeated regular season and first title showing since 1993.

LB Jacob Stanton, Chaparral, Sr., 6-2, 220

A nearly unblockable plug in the middle of the Wolverines’ defense, Stanton posted 128 tackles, including 19 for loss, as he proved his ability to both contain the second level and make plays in the backfield.

LB Tama Tuitele, Regis Jesuit, Sr., 6-1, 230

In addition to contributing at H-back and long snapper, Tuitele set the physical tone for the Raiders’ defense with 156 tackles, and the middle linebacker holds offers from the three major service academies.

LB Adrian Jackson, Mullen, Sr., 6-3, 215

The Oregon commitment led the Mustangs with 65 tackles, including 54 solo, while playing the game with a raw physicality and speed matched by few players in the state.

DL Tate Wildeman, Legend Sr., 6-6, 250

Despite missing a couple of games because of injury, the Nebraska commitment recorded six sacks and 61 total tackles as he helped assert the Titans as a physical force in the top-heavy Class 5A landscape.

DL Drake Nugent, Highlands Ranch, Jr., 6-2, 260

In addition to his prowess on the offensive line, Nugent was a force on the defensive line while posting 71 tackles and three sacks — and looking the part of a future Division I player in the details on film as well.

DL Jake Heimlicher, Regis Jesuit, Sr., 6-4, 215

Despite facing double-teams all fall, his 18 sacks paced Class 5A for a second straight season, and his other stat lines — 100 tackles, 26 of which were for loss — has him weighing an array of Division I offers.

DB Vic Garnes, Eaglecrest Sr., 5-10, 180

With freakish ability, Garnes managed to be most impactful player on the field on most occasions, recording 84 tackles while leading a championship-caliber Eaglecrest secondary — not to mention his 13 offensive touchdowns.

DB Chad Muma, Legend, Sr., 6-3, 200

The Wyoming commitment recorded 77 tackles, including eight for loss, on a stacked defense featuring several other Division I athletes, and his leadership in the secondary elevated the Titans’ defense as a whole.

DB Cameron Murray, Overland, Sr., 6-2, 180

Clearly the Trailblazers’ most talented player, the Wyoming pledge recorded 39 tackles out of the secondary, with his ability to wrap up in the open field complemented his speed and ball awareness in one-on-one coverage.

DB Patrick Roe, Regis Jesuit, Sr., 5-10, 155

A prototypical shutdown corner, Roe went toe to toe with an array of top receivers this fall and still ended up leading Class 5A with eight interceptions while helping the Raiders’ defense push the team to the Class 5A quarterfinals.

DB Xavier Hill, Pine Creek, Sr., 6-2, 175

He tied for the lead in Class 4A with six interceptions, including two pick-sixes, and his athleticism showed in the playoffs while helping the Eagles’ defense hold three opponents to one total touchdown en route to the title game.

K/P Issac Power, Ponderosa, Sr., 6-2, 185

As one of the top kicking recruits in the country, the Baylor pledge lived up to his reputation this year by averaging 41.3 yards per punt, with a dozen placed inside the 20, while also leading Class 4A with nine field goals and a long of 58 yards.

Coach Ryan Goddard, Pueblo South

The 2001 Pueblo South graduate led the Colts to their first championship in the program’s 59-year history. In the title game, the Colts completely outplayed defending champion Pine Creek in order to accomplish the feat.

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Custer County School District Superintendent Mark Payler reads to 3rd graders during class on April 13, 2017 in Westcliffe.
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The state’s largest teacher association says a plan aimed at ending Colorado’s teacher shortage lacks specifics and shortchanges traditional preparation programs.

The plan, created by state education leaders, was introduced this month and was based largely on comments gleaned from town halls held this summer throughout the state. Its recommendations include better base salaries and housing incentives for teachers living in rural areas, student loan forgiveness and “grow your own” teacher preparation programs that will keep teachers from leaving the towns they grew up in.

The Colorado Education Association is concerned the recommendations don’t include ways to get teachers involved in solving the shortage problem, president Kerrie Dallman said.

“It is concerning that there are not more concrete details to ensure the voices of the professional educators who are working directly with our students are part of the decision-making process within the schools-districts-state,” Dallman said in a written statement. Teacher satisfaction and retention are highest in the districts where teachers take part in forming policy and decisions, she said, a process the CEA believes should be mirrored when deciding how to get and retain teachers.

Dallman praised the state’s departments of education and higher education for tackling the growing problem. The CEA is “glad that an in-depth look at the looming teacher shortage is finally being undertaken,” she said.

Enrollment and completion of educator preparation programs have declined by 24 percent and 17 percent respectively since 2010, and nearly a third of Colorado educators soon will be eligible for retirement, according to a state report.

Colorado loses about 16 percent of new classroom teachers within their first five years, the report said.

Teacher shortages have hit Colorado’s 147 rural and small rural districts the hardest. Some math and science classes have been without a regular, assigned teacher for years, said the report, which also notes that 95 percent of Colorado’s rural school districts offer salaries below the cost of living.

Dallman said the CEA appreciates the call for better minimum salaries for teachers. “But we also want to see concrete proposals for providing the additional revenue,” she said.

The CEA also doesn’t want the state to rush new teachers who don’t have the proper training or certification. into the classroom. The state plan calls for increasing the number of teachers trained through traditional as well as alternate education programs that include a “grow your own” effort and dual licenses in areas where there are huge shortages.

“Lowering standards is not how to address the shortage of qualified teachers,” Dallman said. “We must continue to press for rigorous performance assessments that candidates must pass to teach.”

The plan has been presented to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education and the Colorado State School Board as well as to the Public Education and Business Coalition. The Colorado Senate and House Education Committees will review the plan this winter.

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Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian celebrates game-winning touchdown against the Carolina Panthers at the NFL’s season opener and Super Bowl 50 rematch at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver on September 8, 2016. File photo by Gary C. Caskey/UPI

DENVER — Trevor Siemian led five scoring drives, including one ending in a 20-yard touchdown pass to Demaryius Thomas, Denver’s defense put on a forceful show and the Broncos snapped their longest losing streak in 50 years by beating the New York Jets 23-0 Sunday.

Brandon McManus kicked field goals of 31, 53 and 40 yards and fullback Andy Janovich had a 1-yard touchdown run, helping the Broncos (4-9) end an eight-game losing streak. The skid was their longest since a nine-game losing streak in 1967.

The Jets (5-8) went virtually nowhere on offense and lost quarterback Josh McCown, who was shaken up for the second time in the game when he took a hit from Broncos linebacker Shane Ray as he released a pass.

McCown left the game under his own power and headed to the locker room for further examination of a left hand injury with 2:54 remaining in the third quarter and did not return. Backup Bryce Petty replaced him, but also could make little headway against the Broncos’ resurgent defense.

Petty also had come in for two plays earlier in the game when McCown was hit simultaneously by two defenders at the end of an 8-yard scramble.

McCown completed 6-of-12 passes for 46 yards before being sidelined and accounted for both of the Jets’ turnovers with a fumble and an interception. Siemian finished 19 of 31 for 200 yards passing and helped the Broncos dominate time of possession.

Leading by 13, the Broncos extended their advantage with Siemian leading a 68-yard drive that Janovich finished with a third-down plunge from 1 yard out for a touchdown.

McManus added his third field goal early in the fourth quarter for an additional cushion.

The Jets set the tone for a futile offensive performance early on. Their first four possessions ended in a fumble, interception and two punts as the Broncos went in front 13-0 at the half.

Denver sandwiched two field goals around a missed 29-yarder from McManus and capitalized on a Jets turnover for its first touchdown. Siemian tossed a 20-yard strike to Thomas, who grabbed the ball in the end zone in front of cornerback Morris Claiborne.

The Broncos’ defense set up the possession when linebacker Brandon Marshall sacked McCown, forcing a fumble that was recovered at the Jets’ 20-yard line by defensive lineman Adam Gotsis.

McCown was shaken up early in the second quarter when he was sandwiched between defenders. He was replaced for two plays by Petty and threw an interception on his first play back with the Jets in the midst of a promising drive. Safety Darian Stewart made the interception, cutting in front of the intended receiver Robby Anderson, along the sideline to make the play.

NOTES: Broncos S Justin Simmons left in the first quarter with an ankle injury and did not return. … Jets LS Thomas Hennessy was shaken up covering a first-quarter punt. He did not return after it was determined he had suffered a head injury and was replaced by TE Eric Tomlinson. … WR Demaryius Thomas caught his 56th career touchdown pass, snapping a tie with Hall of Fame TE Shannon Sharpe for second on Denver’s all-time list. … The Jets lost RB Elijah McGuire with an ankle injury in the first quarter.

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Years of rapid home price appreciation along the northern Front Range will leave homeowners in the region more vulnerable to changes in the tax code now before Congress.

Coloradans need to be aware of one change in particular that could have big implications for them when it comes time to sell — an extension in the time owners must occupy their homes to avoid paying capital gains taxes.

“Homeowners across the country should pay attention. You will find the biggest effects, however, in your biggest, more expensive markets,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist with

Right now, owners must have lived in a home for at least two years within the last five years at the time of sale to avoid paying capital gains taxes on any increase in value up to $500,000. For most homeowners, that means holding on to a home for at least two years is a good idea.

But Congress, looking for ways to generate more revenues to pay for cuts elsewhere, wants to extend that to five years within the last eight years. That would force most homeowners to wait five years or more to avoid a tax penalty that could reach into the tens of thousands of dollars.

Much attention has been paid to proposed caps on deductions for mortgage interest and property taxes, differing versions of which are included in the Senate and House plans. While that change may only affect wealthier homeowners, it could lower home prices across the broader market and push second-home owners in places such as Colorado’s high country to sell.

But the change that will have the greatest impact on average homeowners is likely to be the longer holding period required to avoid capital gains taxes, said Lou Barnes, a senior loan officer with Premier Mortgage Group in Boulder.

“This one will surprise people. People will sell homes and not realize they have left the safe harbor. They will wind up with a large tax obligation,” Barnes said.

Owners with a tenure of between two years and five years accounted for roughly one in five home sales in metro Denver and Boulder over the past 18 months, according to statistics provided by Black Knight, a mortgage analytics firm based in Florida.

And according to, Denver is the country’s “most recovered” large metro housing market, with a federal home price index 72.3 percent above the peak reached last decade before the housing crash.

The median home price in Boulder is around $516,000 as of August and $392,000 in metro Denver, according to the Black Knight home price index.

Sellers in metro Denver had an average profit above their initial purchase price and other costs of $110,000, while those in Boulder pulled down profits of $150,000. Nationwide, the average gain on sale is around $80,000.

Up to $22,500

Capital gains tax rates vary based on income, but in the middle brackets they run 15 percent. That would translate into $16,500 in additional taxes in Denver and $22,500 in Boulder on a typical sale.

“Any capital gains will likely be felt to a higher degree in Denver and Boulder,” said Andy Walden, Black Knight’s director of market research.

Because the current rules on capital gains on a home sale are so accommodating, few people pay attention to them, Barnes said. Most homeowners will stay in a home at least two years, and those who do sell before that will not see as much appreciation, keeping the capital gains tax lower.

Under the proposed tax plan, if a real estate agent or accountant doesn’t warn a seller, or they don’t hear a horror story from someone hit with a huge tax bill, they risk falling into a trap.

Some sellers may not realize their obligations until they sit down to prepare taxes the following year, long after they rolled any proceeds into the next home, Barnes said.

That means owners, to the degree they can do so, will need to stay in their homes a minimum of five years. That creates another complication for the market.

The larger metro Denver area, with a population of 2.8 million people, had just over 5,000 homes available for sale at the end of November, according to the Denver Metro Association or Realtors.

Not only is that at a record low for the month of November, it is one-third of the normal inventory over the past two decades for the month.

“If any Denver home sellers decide to delay or forego home selling, this would also continue to constrain for-sale inventory,” said Walden.

Tax deduction changes

While changes to the capital gains holding period are an issue consumers need to plan for, there is less agreement on what more limited tax deductions for property taxes and mortgage interest will mean for housing.

Among the changes being hammered out in a reconciliation process between House and Senate tax plans is an elimination of deductions on property taxes paid above $10,000 and on the interest on mortgages amounts above $500,000.

Colorado has some of the lowest property taxes in the country, so the $10,000 cap isn’t as big an issue here. But given how much prices have risen, homes values topping $500,000 are becoming more common.

In the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood area, about three-quarters of homes have a mortgage on them. Of those, just over a fifth have a value of $500,000 or higher.

In Boulder, seven in 10 homes carry a mortgage, and of those, just under half are valued at $500,000 or more, according to

A home price above $500,000, however, doesn’t mean the mortgage is that large, given down payments and the monthly principal paid.

Less than 4 percent of active mortgages in metro Denver and 8 percent in Boulder actually have a balance that high, according to Black Knight.

Given the run-up in home prices, about 8 percent of homes purchased last year had a mortgage balance above $500,000 in Denver, while 23 percent of new Boulder mortgages were that large, said Walden.

The proposals will grandfather those who already have a mortgage above the limits, softening the impact.

Also, households making above $250,000 a year already face limits on the deductions they can claim, said Barnes, who views warnings about home prices falling as overblown.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) argues the loss of real-estate-related deductions could cost homeowners $1,000 more on average in taxes while providing renters a savings of $500.

“The NAR is predicting home prices could fall from 7 percent to 11 percent (in Colorado) if both the mortgage interest and real estate taxes deductions are eliminated,” said Steve Thayer, chairman of DMAR and owner of Keller Williams Action Realty in Castle Rock.

That would translate into the typical homeowner in Colorado losing home equity in the $24,000 to $36,000 range, Thayer said.

The mortgage interest deduction on second homes, which account for about 5 percent of the state’s housing stock, is also on the chopping block.

In some mountain resort counties, the share of vacation homes can run 30 percent to 40 percent higher.

Hale said she expects more people will convert their second homes into rentals so they can claim the mortgage interest and other deductions they will otherwise lose.

That would make more rentals available to accommodate more tourists, whose spending would give resort economies a boost.

But that added inventory, combined with the loss of tax breaks that helped offset the cost of having a second home, could discourage new construction.

That would harm resort economies, more so second-tier markets such as Breckenridge and Grand County that rely on Front Range buyers rather than the stomping grounds of the wealthy including Aspen and Telluride.

Glen Weinberg, chief operating officer Fairview Commercial Lending in Steamboat Springs, said on his daily lunchtime jog, he has noticed more vacation homes coming up for sale.

People could be disappointed with the paltry snow or just making year-end financial moves. But the surge coincides with the Congressional wrangling over tax reforms.

His take is that some owners are trying to get ahead of what they perceive as a downturn in the second home market, he said.

“What does this mean for the second home market? It will be fascinating to see what happens,” he said.

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This is a computer-enhanced image of a Torosarus with its young as seen in the Discovery Channel documentary "Walking with Dinosaurs." (AP)

After a month of cleaning and studying what looked like a triceratops’ skull and skeleton, researchers have re-identified the fossil found at a suburban Denver construction site.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science said Tuesday said the fossil turned out to be the rarer torosaurus, a close cousin of the triceratops.

A dinosaur curator at the museum, Joe Sertich, says there are about 2,000 triceratops specimens in the Western United States and only about seven torosaurus fossils. Sertich added that this one is one of the most complete and better preserved than ever found before.

The fossil nicknamed "Tiny" was found Aug. 29 when workers building a public safety building in Thornton discovered a horn.

The museum says the cleaning process is expected to take several more months.

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If you are seeking a plumber to help with something around your home, you will want to find the best one around. If you aren’t sure how to find one, you are in the right place. Here you will learn some great advice that will help you find a plumber in Denver, Colorado that can help you.

Search Google for plumbers in Denver, Colorado. Browse over the listings for the plumbers in the area to see if you recognize any of the names. If there are reviews about the plumbers take a quick look over them to see what you can learn about past customers experiences with them. Take note of their phone number so you can contact them and get estimates from them.

Ask people you know like family and friends. See if they have hired a plumber to help them and ask them who they hired. Find out what kind of experience they had with the plumber they hired and how they found them. Learn what you can from them and you may find a great plumber this way.

Call the plumbers you want to hire and ask them for estimates on the work you need to have done. They may charge you a fee to take a look at the plumbing problems you are having so they can give you the most accurate price on the work. Get quotes from several of them before choosing the best one.

After reading the advice from above, it will be easy for you to find a plumber in Denver, Colorado. Start your search for the best plumber around and get your plumbing issues taken care of immediately. You won’t be disappointed with the plumber you choose when you do your research to find the best one.

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For nearly a decade, voters across Colorado have made it clear that when it comes to having access to high-speed internet service in their businesses and homes, they want all options on the table.

Elections in county after county and city after city across the state have cast aside a 2005 state law that prohibits local governments from using taxpayer money to build their own broadband networks but allows communities to opt out of those restrictions at the ballot box.

During last month’s election, 19 more cities and counties — including Vail, Louisville and Kremmling — chose to override Senate Bill 152, bringing to 116 the number of Colorado municipalities and counties to do so since Glenwood Springs voters cast the first vote on the issue in 2008.

Colorado Municipal League deputy director Kevin Bommer said industry players haven’t been willing or able to extend their data pipes to all corners of the state, leaving many parts of Colorado — especially rural areas — with substandard connection speeds that make it hard to do business and enjoy high-bandwidth experiences such as Netflix viewing or online gaming.

“People, businesses, schools and rural hospitals are getting left behind,” he said. “When the private sector cannot or will not provide the service, the law allows for local governments to look to find a way to do it.”

But simply overturning the 2005 law — it was backed by cable and internet providers in the name of maintaining a level playing field in the deployment of expensive fiber-optic networks — doesn’t mean publicly funded broadband will suddenly appear. For most cities and towns, high cost, rough topography and dispersed populations make going it alone on construction of a high-speed network too tall an order.

Which is why some communities are finding that the best way to get moving on high-speed internet is to find a partner in the private sector — be it giant telecoms such as CenturyLink or any of a number of tiny rural phone companies — to share the costs and risks of building a fiber-optic network.

That’s what Wray, a city near the Nebraska border, is doing. Having done away with the 2005 law three years ago, it is now working with the Plains Cooperative Telephone Association to give its 2,300 residents access to affordable high-speed connections.

The city is spending $1.4 million — half of it from state grants — to put in 14 miles of “middle mile” fiber-optic in Wray, while Plains Cooperative takes care of the “last mile” connections to homes and businesses. The network should be complete by next year.

“It’s a unique opportunity to form partnerships that will improve service that could never happen if (SB) 152 was still in place,” Wray City Manager James DePue said. “If we didn’t do something, Wray’s business district would totally dry up.”

Plains Cooperative said it took coming together with Wray to make the project financially feasible for both sides.

“It took those additional funds to make it a workable business plan,” said Ronny Puckett, general manager of the 65-year-old Joes-based company.

On the Front Range, Centennial is also turning to the private sector for development of its fiber-optic network. The city is building an internet line to connect city offices and businesses, but for residential service it is leaning on third-party services, such as Ting Internet, to handle the last mile.

Ting, which is pitching residential 1-gigabit-per-second service starting at $90 a month, has hosted community sessions and is accepting pre-orders. But so far, no launch date has been set, a company official said.

On the Western Slope, Rio Blanco County has made a successful foray into municipal broadband, offering 1-gps service to its 6,500 residents across a sparsely populated 3,200-square-mile area that borders Utah. The $12 million effort is county-led but involves contracts with a network operator and two local internet service providers.

“What most counties are seeking is a public-private partnership where the county can help with the middle mile that will then attract an internet service provider to hook up their communities,” said Eric Bergman, policy director with Colorado Counties Inc. “The vast majority of counties do not intend to get into the broadband business.”

But some cities have.

Many point to Longmont, with its 1-gps NextLight internet service, as the city with the most aggressive response to an SB 152 opt-out vote. Residents there voted to override the state statute in 2011.

Now the city serves 17,000 residents and businesses with some of the highest internet speeds in Colorado — at a base price of $50 a month.

“Cities don’t do this because they want to compete with the incumbent — they do it because the incumbent refuses to,” said Tom Roiniotis, general manager of Longmont Power & Communications, which runs the network. “We didn’t have any interest (in network construction) from the private sector. Lifting the burden of (SB) 152 gives you the opportunity to explore those options.”

The Delta-Montrose Electric Association is heading up its own multiyear effort to build a high-speed fiber-optic network for the 28,000 residents it covers in southwest Colorado. Much of Delta and Montrose counties — including Paonia, Crawford, Delta and Cedaredge — cast off the state-sanctioned restrictions in the fall of 2015.

Virgil Turner, director of innovation and citizen engagement for the city of Montrose, said the churn of voters across the state overturning SB 152 amounts to a “rallying cry” for Coloradans desperate for an amenity that for many has become as vital as electricity and phone service.

“We’re not going to stand by as a city and allow our businesses and residents to fall behind Front Range communities,” Turner said.

Montrose’s electric utility says on its website that it will take six years to fully build the network, which it is calling Elevate Fiber. Speeds of 100 megabits per second to 1 gigabit per second will be offered. Talks with Charter Communications and CenturyLink about lighting up both counties with high-speed connections bore no fruit, Turner said.

“Our goal is ubiquitous fiber to the premise,” he said. “And we want a price point that is affordable.”

Mark Soltes, CenturyLink’s assistant vice president in Colorado for public policy and government affairs, said the gaps in service across the state are due to rugged landscapes and far-flung population centers.

“You’re looking at deployment in some places where there’s no payback,” he said.

Soltes said his company is discussing public-private partnerships with municipalities in Colorado, although he wasn’t ready to disclose specifics. CenturyLink, he said, has reached a deal with a neighborhood in Granby to provide high-speed internet to the 250 homes that will one day be built there.

Soltes said SB 152 is meant to prevent municipalities from using taxpayer money to unfairly crush private-sector competition or unnecessarily duplicate fiber-optic where companies have already spent millions putting a network in place.

Cities and counties have an inherent advantage over the private sector because they often own the right-of-way where the industry lays its conduit, he said.

“Your competitor is your regulator, too — that’s an unlevel playing field,” he said.

Pete Kirchhof, executive vice president of the Colorado Telecommunications Association, said voters need to know what they are getting into before committing millions of dollars to build a municipal fiber-optic network. SB 152 opt-out language, he said, is often “very generic” and rarely addresses cost, price, debt and risk.

“Long-term sustainability is the question. You can’t just throw fiber in the ground and be done,” Kirchhof said. “These are very expensive and complex networks that require constant maintenance and upgrades.”

Greeley is taking the extra step of spearheading an online survey of its residents — who last month voted to override the state-imposed restrictions — about whether they would be willing to team up with nearby Windsor to provide a gigabit service such as Longmont’s or whether a joint broadband effort with the private sector is the better route.

That kind of data could have been helpful in expediting the efforts of Glenwood Springs — which did away with SB 152 limitations nine years ago — to build out its Community Broadband Network. Run by the Glenwood Springs Electric Department, the network provides broadband to nearly 250 businesses but hasn’t been linked to residences yet.

Mayor Mike Gamba said the Great Recession curtailed network plans for years and that previous city councils didn’t make the initiative the high priority it needed to be. The city is getting back on track now, with plans next year to spend $320,000 on the first phase of its strategic broadband plan.

“Councils change, priorities change — you have to have a concerted political will,” he said. “By voting for the opt-out doesn’t make it immediately happen.”

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House at 346 Elm in Hilltop on Oct. 25, 2017 in Denver. The home is part of the Denver Designer Show House.

Metro Denver home prices increased 7.2 percent in September, unchanged from the annual rate of gains measured in August and July, according to the latest update from S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Indices.

As Denver’s home price index maintained a steady jog, home prices nationally accelerated to a 6.2 percent pace in September, their fastest rate of annual increase since June 2014.

“Home prices were higher in all 20 cities tracked by these indices compared to a year earlier; 16 cities saw annual price increases accelerate from last month,” David Blitzer, chairman of the index committee at S&P Dow Jones Indices, said in a statement.

Seattle remains the uncontested leader among metro areas, with a 12.9 percent year-over-year increase in its home price index. Las Vegas was second with a 9 percent increase while San Diego, with an 8.2 percent gain, claimed the third spot that Denver held for much of last year.

Portland, Ore., was next at 7.3 percent and Boston and Tampa Bay tied Denver with a 7.2 percent increase.

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More than 150 volunteers will help serve 7,000 pounds of turkey all all the trimmings at The Salvation Army community Thanksgiving feast at the Colorado Convention Center on Thursday.

The homeless and anyone else are welcome to come and enjoy a warm traditional meal of roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, string beans and other dishes, according to the Salvation Army.

Volunteers will start serving at 11:30 a.m. at Exhibit Hall B of the convention center at 700 14th Street. The entrance is on Welton Street. Those who come early will get coffee, hot chocolate and cookies.

“This event is great example of how generous and caring Denver truly is” says Lt. Colonel Daniel Starrett of the The Salvation Army, “This is a beautiful example of our community standing together to ensure every one of our neighbors has a full belly this holiday.”

In line with their “Zero Hunger – Zero Waste” mission, King Soopers/City Market has donated 100 percent of the food.

“For more than 44 years we have partnered with The Salvation Army to help those who come seeking help. We are pleased to add another year to our tradition to serve those in need.” said Adam Williamson of King Soopers.

Denver Sheriff Department deputies, Denver Broncos players and The Salvation Army staff and numerous other volunteers have prepared the food.

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