TIME Colorado

TSA Officers Fired for Scheme to Grope Men at Denver Airport

Two Transportation Security Administration employees have been fired and two others reassigned after they allegedly set up a system to allow a male screener to pat down attractive men going through security at Denver International Airport, authorities said.

The employees were not identified, and there will be no criminal charges because no victims have come forward, according to a police report.

Denver Police got involved in March, after a tipster brought it to the attention of the TSA in November, which conducted an investigation and contacted police.

The male screener would give a signal to a female employee when a male passenger arrived that he thought was attractive …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME States

Colorado Says Baker Didn’t Discriminate in Refusing to Make Anti-Gay Cake

Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, who refused to write hateful words about gays on a cake for a customer, stands inside her own Azucar Bakery, in Denver, on Jan. 20, 2015.
Ivan Moreno—AP Bakery owner Marjorie Silva, who refused to write hateful words about gays on a cake for a customer, stands inside her own Azucar Bakery, in Denver, on Jan. 20, 2015.

Colorado Civil Rights Division said she was within legal rights to deny cake orders featuring "derogatory language and imagery"

A Colorado government agency has ruled that a baker who refused to make cakes featuring anti-gay messages did not discriminate against the man who requested them.

Last year, William Jack asked Denver’s Azucar Bakery for two bible-shaped cakes featuring images of groomsmen crossed out with a red “X” and phrases like “Homosexuality is a detestable sin. Leviticus 18.2,” local ABC station NEWS7 Denver reports. The bakery’s owner, Marjorie Silva, told Jack she would make the bible-shaped cakes and provide icing for him to add his own message, but she wouldn’t apply such “hateful and offensive” messages because her bakery “does not discriminate.”

Jack complained to the Colorado Civil Rights Division, accusing Silva of denying him goods or services based on his religion. But the agency recently ruled that Silva’s refusal to make the cakes was motivated by the “derogatory language and imagery,” and not because of religious discrimination. “In the same manner [she] would not accept [an order from] anyone wanting to make a discriminatory cake against Christians, [she] will not make one that discriminates against gays,” the ruling stated. Last year, the agency ruled that another bakery in the state could not refuse a gay couple’s request for a wedding cake.

Silva, who is Catholic and whose bakery in the past has made cakes for Christian holidays that featured religious imagery, said she was pleased to learn she was “not [only] morally right but also legally right.”

Jack told 7NEWS that he plans to appeal the decision. “I find it offensive that the Colorado Civil Rights Division considers the baker’s claims that Bible verses were discriminatory as the reason for denying my claim,” he said.

[ABC 7NEWS]

TIME public health

Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria From Texan Cattle Yards Are Now Airborne, Study Finds

A herd of longhorn cattle stand as wildfire rages near on September 1, 2011 in Graford, Texas
Tom Pennington—Getty Images A herd of longhorn cattle stand as wildfire rages near on September 1, 2011 in Graford, Texas

Researchers say the bacteria are capable of "traveling for long distances"

A new study says the DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria found in American cattle yards has become airborne, creating a new pathway by which such bacteria can potentially spread to humans and hinder treatment of life-threatening infections.

Researchers gathered airborne particulate matter (PM) from around 10 commercial cattle yards within a 200 mile radius of Lubbock, Texas over a period of six-months. They found the air downwind of the yards contained antibiotics, bacteria and a “significantly greater” number of microbial communities containing antibiotic-resistant genes. That’s according to the study to be published in next month’s issue of Environmental Health Perspectives.

“To our knowledge, this study is among the first to detect and quantify antibiotics and antibiotic resistance genes…associated with airborne PM emitted from beef cattle feed yards,” said the authors, who are researchers in environmental toxicology at Texas Tech University and at a testing lab in Lubbock.

Co-author Phil Smith told the Texas Tribune that the bacteria could be active for a long time and “could be traveling for long distances.”

His colleague, molecular biologist Greg Mayer, told the paper that some of the study’s findings “made me not want to breathe.”

Because antibodies are poorly absorbed by cows they are released into the environment through excretion. Once in the environment, bacteria will undergo natural selection and genes that have acquired natural immunities will survive.

The genes that have gone airborne are contained in dried fecal matter that has become dust and gets picked up by winds as they whip through the stockyards.

The Texas Tribune reported that representatives from the Texas cattle industry (estimated to control around 14 million beef cows) criticized the study, saying it portrayed the airborne bacteria as overly hazardous to human health.

But the mass of PM2.5 particles (the kind that can be inhaled into lungs) released into the atmosphere is eye opening, with the study estimating the total amount released by cattle yards in Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma and Texas exceeds 46,000 lbs.(21,000 kg) per day.

Antibiotic-resistant bacterial DNA is already known to be transferable to humans if ingested via water or meat.


MONEY Student Loans

A New Proposal Could Get Your Employer to Pay Your Student Loans

Colorado State University
Danita Delimont—Alamy Colorado State University

Pending legislation in Colorado could secure student loan relief for workers with certain degrees.

A Colorado state representative proposed legislation that would give some employers tax credits for making student loan payments on behalf of some of their employees. The bill introduced by Rep. KC Becker (D-Boulder) could give qualified workers each up to $10,000 a year in student loan payments from their employers. The employer gets a tax credit equal to 50% of the loan payments (so $5,000 on a $10,000 payment), up to $200,000 total per tax year.

Those qualified workers come from a limited pool of graduates. If you want your employer to make some of your loan payments under this proposed bill, you’d need to have an associate’s or bachelor’s degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics field (STEM) from a Colorado college or university, graduated no earlier than Dec. 31, 2010, make less than $60,000 a year and have a STEM-related job. Of course, you’d need to work for an employer in Colorado, as well. The credit applies only to new hires who are retained for at least 12 months.

The bill is one of several workforce-development bills progressing through the state’s legislature, focusing on attracting and retaining educated, talented Colorado workers. One way to look at the employer tax credit is as a good deal for everyone involved.

“It’s good for employers because it gives them a competitive advantage for attracting new workers,” said Patrick Pratt, program manager of the Colorado Manufacturing Initiative at the Colorado Association of Commerce & Industry (CACI). “It’s good for employees because it helps alleviate their student loan burden, as well.”

And then there’s the state of Colorado, which gets to hold on to graduates whose skills are in high demand. One of CACI’s missions is to increase the number of skilled, educated workers in the state, and this proposal aligns with some of those goals.

The average monthly student loan payment in this program is estimated to be $224, totaling $2,688 a year, according to Pratt, which is well under the $10,000-per-employee limit. That means workers who qualify for this program may not have to make student loan payments out of their own pockets for as long as the program continues, if the bill becomes law. It still has a long way to go in the legislative process, but if it is approved as is, the program would run from Jan. 1, 2016 through Dec. 31, 2019.

In a small survey sent from CACI to its manufacturing members, most respondents said they had a favorable opinion of the legislation. (Pratt sent the survey to 400 members, and about 30 responded.)

Only one person who had a negative opinion of the bill explained why: “This is a solution that exacerbates the problem,” Pratt quoted from the survey response. He said the comment went on to say that the problem was the high cost of education.

The average student loan debt of a 2013 graduate from a Colorado college is $24,520, the 16th lowest of the 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the Project on Student Debt. That’s below the national average ($28,400), but the Colorado default rate is 15.3%, higher than the 13.7% national average. Default can seriously damage borrowers’ credit for years, not to mention the hardship that comes with wage garnishment and debt collection, as a result of default. If you want to get an overview of how your student loans are affecting your credit, you can see your free credit report summary on Credit.com.

More from Credit.com

This article originally appeared on Credit.com.

TIME politics

Here’s Why Colorado Lawmakers Are Wearing IUD Earrings

To support bipartisan state legislation to fund long-lasting contraception

When Colorado lawmakers wear earrings shaped like IUDs, it’s more of a political statement than an unusual fashion statement.

The uniquely shaped earrings signify bipartisan support for a bill in Colorado that would provide $5 million to fund IUDs and other long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Men are wearing them too– as pins clipped to their lapels, the Denver Post reports.

MORE: The Best Form of Birth Control is the One No One is Using

Republican state Rep. Don Coram co-sponsored the bill with Democratic Rep. KC Becker–he agreed to push for the IUD bill, even though he opposes abortion. Coram wears an IUD pin next to his American Flag pin on his lapel. “A redneck Republican wearing an IUD — it just doesn’t make sense does it?” he told the Post. He notes that every dollar put into the program could save almost $6 in Medicaid costs over a three-year period.

The IUD earrings, which sell for $20 on Etsy, are made by Ohio OB-GYN Virginia Smith who also makes jewelry.

[Denver Post]

MONEY Travel

Spring Ski Lift Pass Deals Offer the Best Value on Snow

150305_EM_Ski_1
John W Banagan/Getty Images

Ski resorts around the country—and in New England in particular—have rolled out new springtime deals that promise tons of skiing for a relative pittance.

Walk up to the ticket window this weekend at Killington, the East Coast’s largest ski resort, and a one-day adult lift pass will cost a cool $92. For a little more than double that, however, the 1,509-acre Vermont resort is selling a special spring season pass that provides unlimited skiing for two months, or perhaps even more. Killington is known to stay open until June, depending on conditions, and the pass, dubbed the “Nor’Beaster” and priced at $199, grants lift access from March 14 until whenever the season ends.

Killington isn’t the only mountain with springtime lift ticket deals featuring seemingly screwy pricing. Okemo, just south of Killington, offers a Spring Skiesta Card for $99, allowing unlimited lift tickets from March 20 through the end of the season. Further south still, the $119 Spring Loaded pass at Bromley provides four days of skiing any day now through December 18, 2015. Considering that the walkup price for lift tickets at Okemo and Bromley go as high as $92 and $71, it’s easy to see how these passes can pay off in as little as two days.

How could it make sense for mountains to offer multi-day passes at rates that seem phenomenally cheap compared with the regular walkup price? Especially given that it’s been an absolutely amazing winter for skiing in the Northeast, and it sure looks like the record snowfall is leading right into a terrific, long spring ski season?

One explanation is that resorts are trying to eke out every last dollar from customers during a time of year when—regardless of how much snow is still on the ground—attention shifts away from winter sports toward golf, baseball, or pretty much anything that doesn’t involve snow and cold.

On the one hand, these resorts are theoretically losing money from guests who would have paid full price for several days’ worth of lift tickets during the spring season. On the other, the mountains are potentially cashing in from guests who are nudged into the upsell of a pricier pass, which they might not even use for more than a single day. As for those skiers and riders who do get the most bang out of their spring passes, they’re likely eating, drinking, getting tune-ups, booking hotels, and otherwise spending money that the resort probably wouldn’t otherwise see had the deals not been so tempting. If they get you to come back one more weekend than you planned on, that’s a win for the resort.

At some point, resorts are also simply compelled to offer super cheap spring promotions because that’s what the competition is doing. The mountains that don’t enter the game will lose the battle to woo a pool of skiers that shrinks smaller and smaller as the season comes to a close.

While cheap, end-of-season passes have grown particularly popular in the Northeast, there are plenty of deals out West as well. Oregon’s Timberline, for instance, is selling a spring pass with unlimited skiing and riding now through May 25 for just $99. Steamboat in Colorado, meanwhile, offers a “Springalicious” pass good for any three days from April 5 to 12, as well as a Double Dip Pass valid for unlimited skiing from April 5 at Steamboat and Winter Park/Mary Jane, starting at $169.

Multi-day passes are hardly the only kinds of deals waved in front of skiers to keep them coming back to the mountains in springtime. A common marketing strategy to get customers to pay up for season passes early is to let them ski for free in the spring on a pass that’s valid for the following winter. There are also wacky one-day deals aimed at attracting skiers for one last spring hurrah, like Patriot’s Day at Bretton Woods in New Hampshire, when a lift ticket purchased on April 20 not only costs just $17.76, it comes with a voucher good for a second day early next season.

Let’s also not forget that the vast majority of ski mountains now utilize dynamic pricing sites like Liftopia and GetSkiTickets.com to sell discounted tickets at whatever price the laws of supply and demand dictate. It goes without saying that prices at these discount sites are substantially cheaper in the spring than they are during peak winter weeks.

It also goes without saying that there’s rarely any reason to pay the full walkup price for lift tickets anywhere, no matter what time of year.

TIME Drugs

Colorado Sold Nearly 5 Million Marijuana Edibles in 2014

Smaller-dose pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie, sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder. Colorado on Sept. 26, 2014.
Brennan Linsley—AP Smaller-dose pot-infused cookies, called the Rookie Cookie, sit on the packaging table at The Growing Kitchen, in Boulder. Colorado on Sept. 26, 2014.

The state's marijuana overseers issued their first annual report

Colorado just got its first year-long batch of data on the state’s grand experiment with legal marijuana. In the first annual report on supply and demand, Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division disclosed on Friday that 4.8 million edible marijuana products and nearly 150,000 lbs. of marijuana flowers were sold in 2014.

The numbers will give state officials a baseline for gauging the size of the market, particularly for edibles. In July, the state attempted to estimate how much marijuana would be sold in 2014 and said they really didn’t have a method of estimating edible demand. “The data reported into the system clearly illustrates a strong demand for edibles in general, but especially for retail marijuana edibles,” the authors conclude.

The totals take into account both medical and recreational sales. While more flowering marijuana—the kind one smokes—was sold in the medical market, far more edibles were sold in the recreational market.

Colorado issued licenses to 322 retail stores and 505 medical dispensaries in 2014, according to the report. Just 67 of the state’s 321 jurisdictions, or around 20%, opted to allow medical and retail sales, but those jurisdictions include many of the state’s most populous areas. In February, a poll from Quinnipiac University found that 58% of Colorado residents say they still support the law, while 38% oppose it.

The sales figures for edibles come as Colorado officials struggle with how to regulate the marijuana-laced treats, which can range from pastries to soda pop. Some advocacy groups and state lawmakers want to ban certain types of products—like gummy bears and rainbow belts—that may be especially appealing to children and are indistinguishable from regular candy once removed from the package. Several children showed up in Colorado emergency rooms last year after accidentally ingesting the substance.

But the more value edibles represent, the harder time those advocates are going to have in convincing the industry to shut down or revamp product lines. At one point last year, officials from Colorado’s public health department floated the idea of limiting edibles to tinctures and lozenges, eliminating everything else. But their announcement caused such uproar that officials issued a release clarifying that it was “just” a recommendation and did not represent the view of the governor’s office.

Proponents of the current system argue that cracking down on popular edibles will drive consumers to the underground market—where there is no one regulating THC content or mandating childproof packaging. Eliminating the black market, while bringing in revenue for the state, was one of the selling points when voters decided to legalize marijuana in the first place.

There may also be a legal hurdle. The amendment voters passed in 2012 defined marijuana as: “all parts of the plant of the genus cannabis … and every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the plant.” While industry players say that makes every kind of edible fair game, the Denver Post argued in an editorial that “there is no constitutional provision that says edible marijuana must be available as granola, soda pop, or candy bars that look like what children eat.”

Washington, which followed Colorado as the second state to open a recreational marijuana market, has set much stricter limits on the types of allowed edibles. Regulators setting up recreational markets in Oregon and Alaska say that avoiding the edible problems they’ve seen in Colorado will be a big focus of their work in coming months.

TIME cities

Know Right Now: Washington, D.C. Legalizes Pot

Four other states have already legalized recreational marijuana

Recreational marijuana use and adult possession (up to two ounces) became legal in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, but there’s still no way to legally buy the drug. Watch today’s Know Right Now to find out more.

TIME weather

Expect More Bad Weather in the Southern U.S. and Rockies on Monday

An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015
Billy Hefton—AP An Oklahoma Department of Transportation sand truck rest on it's top in the median of US 412 west of Enid, Okla. Sunday, after it was involved in an accident with another vehicle on Feb. 22, 2015

Motorists should prepare for hazardous travel conditions

The Rocky Mountains and Southern Plains are in for snowy and icy conditions Monday as a winter storm continues to move across the region.

Multiple accidents have already been attributed to the storm, with injuries being reported in Utah and Kansas, according to the Weather Channel. Motorists should continue to take utmost caution.

Those planning on catching a flight may want to double-check the status of their bookings. Dallas–Fort Worth International Airport canceled about half of the flights scheduled for Monday after already grounding around 160 flights on Sunday. Denver International canceled more than 330 flights over weekend, according to Denver’s Channel 7 News.

Meanwhile, schools in Texas, Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Louisiana, New Mexico and Alabama have announced cancellations or delays of classes due to weather concerns.

Read next: 7 Reasons to Love This Freezing Weather

TIME Crime

Colorado Bombing May Not Have Been Aimed at NAACP

Thaddeus Murphy
AP This Sept. 1, 2009 booking photo from the Colorado Department of Corrections shows Thaddeus Murphy of Colorado Springs, Colo. Murphy has been arrested in connection with the explosion at a building in Colorado Springs on Jan. 6, 2015, that houses a barber shop and local chapter of the NAACP.

A tax preparation office may have been the target

A Colorado man was set to be charged Friday in connection with a bombing outside an NAACP office in January—an attack the man says wasn’t aimed at the NAACP at all.

Thaddeus Murphy, 44, was arrested Thursday on charges of arson and possession of firearms in connection with the Jan. 6 bombing of a Colorado Springs building. The attack initially appeared aimed at the Colorado Springs branch of the NAACP, the civil rights organization that has been the subject of violence in the past. At the time, former NAACP Chairman Julian Bond called the incident a “terrorist attack.”

MORE: NAACP Bombing Evokes Memories of Civil Rights Strife

But Murphy says that he wasn’t targeting the NAACP, and instead was looking to attack a tax preparation company, KUSA/9News in Denver reports. There was only minor property damage from the attack, and no one was hurt.

Federal agents and local officers found seven firearms in Murphy’s home along with devices similar to what was used in the attack, the Department of Justice said.

Murphy, who had been convicted of prior felonies that made it illegal for him to possess firearms, was set to be formally charged in the incident on Friday and could face five years in prison for the attack and 10 years for possession of firearms.

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