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Noted: Marshall walks, but DA will appeal


Judge drops charges against Marshall

District Judge Barney Iuppa dismissed six charges last week against developer Ray Marshall, saying they were related to the same set of facts for which a jury recently acquitted him. Iuppa has made several rulings in Marshall's favor, including having tossed a charge of racketeering in 2010.

District Attorney Dan May says his office will appeal Iuppa's latest move. May's chief deputy, Robyn Cafasso, told the Gazette the charges are separate from earlier allegations that Marshall stole money from investors to pump into other deals. That wasn't part of the city's deal with Marshall to provide a new headquarters for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

A grand jury earlier this year returned an indictment alleging Marshall funneled some of that money into his own pocket. According to an arrest warrant, Marshall stole more than $1 million from the USOC project, including $400,000-plus in El Pomar Foundation grant funds. Marshall allegedly set up duplicate accounts to disguise stolen funds, and delayed responses when asked how money was being spent. Charges are pending against Marshall's business partner, James Brodie. — PZ

UCH, city sign lease

A lease of city-owned Memorial Health System to University of Colorado Health was inked Monday, setting the stage for an Aug. 28 special election. If voters give their OK, the city will turn over Memorial's assets to UCH to run, and receive some $74 million up front and $5.6 million in annual payments for the 40-year term, along with additional payments based on Memorial's performance.

The city remains responsible for Memorial's debt of about $320 million and must deal with Public Employees' Retirement Association payouts for those employees who will leave the system if voters approve the lease.

City Council has approved measures enabling the lease, including establishing a nonprofit foundation to handle lease proceeds. That document allows Mayor Steve Bach to appoint its board, with Council approval of nominated members.

At the signing, City Attorney Chris Melcher called the lease "another example of rebuilding for the future," according to UCH spokesman Dan Weaver. — PZ

AP intern from Springs slain

Armando Montano, 22, son of a Colorado Springs couple who teach at Colorado College, was found dead Saturday in Mexico City, where he was working as an Associated Press intern. The AP reported his body was found in an apartment building elevator shaft in the Condesa neighborhood. Mexican authorities are investigating, and the U.S. embassy is monitoring.

Montano, who went by Mando, is the son of Diane Alters and Mario Montano, who are in Mexico and could not be reached.

The Grinnell College graduate had covered stories about nine young elephants from Namibia that wound up on an animal reserve in Mexico's Puebla state, and the shooting of three federal police officers at the Mexico City airport, the AP reported. Montano had planned to attend a master's program in journalism at the University of Barcelona in the fall. AP's Latin America editor based in Mexico City, Marjorie Miller, described him as "smart, joyful, hardworking and talented."

Montano covered the Iowa presidential caucuses as a New York Times intern. He also had interned at the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Colorado Independent online news service and the Seattle Times.

"The loss of this vibrant young journalist is a shock to his colleagues and the long list of people who called Armando friend," Kathleen Carroll, executive editor of the AP, said in the AP story.

His father, a professor of anthropology, chairs that department. His mother, a former Gazette journalist, works in CC's communications office and teaches journalism and new media. Memorial details were not known as of press time. — PZ

C-130s grounded after crash

While battling a wildfire in South Dakota on Sunday, a C-130 out of Colorado Springs' Peterson Air Force Base reportedly crashed, killing at least one person on board. The accident, the second involving an air tanker in just two months, prompted the brief grounding of all firefighting-equipped C-130s nationwide. The planes were back in the air Tuesday.

While those aircraft have been an important part of the effort to combat the Waldo Canyon Fire, National Interagency Fire Center spokesperson Jennifer Jones has told media that those fighting the fire locally should be able to adapt.

As of early Saturday morning, C-130s had dropped 133,500 gallons of retardant on the Waldo Canyon blaze. — CH

Wildlife outlook good

In the Waldo Canyon Fire, has our wildlife survived like Bambi, or been swept up in the flames? Michael Seraphin, spokesperson for the Division of Wildlife in Colorado's Southeast Region, says young fawns might have been the most common victims early on. Less than a week into the fire, his department had euthanized two fawns with severe injuries.

Most animals will survive, Seraphin says: "Basically the animals that can run will run; the animals that can fly will fly away; and the animals that can burrow into the ground to seek protection will burrow."

DOW hopes the bighorn sheep in Queens Canyon, one of the nation's most studied herds, have fled north to the Air Force Academy, part of their natural range. But the division won't know exactly how animals fared until later. — JAS

Incurably gay after all

For years, Focus on the Family partnered with Florida-based Exodus International in offering "Love Won Out" conferences for those Christian men and women "unhappy with same-sex attractions," as Focus' Melissa Fryrear puts it.

In 2009, Focus handed Love Won Out to Exodus, which soldiered on with the gospel of faith triumphing over sexual desire. Exodus has tried in the past to explain that it doesn't believe it can "cure" gay, but instead offers "freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ."

Last week, Exodus president Alan Chambers, seemingly frustrated that no one seems to get that distinction, told an Associated Press reporter, "For someone to put out a shingle and say, 'I can cure homosexuality' — that to me is as bizarre as someone saying they can cure any other common temptation or struggle that anyone faces on Planet Earth." — CH

Compiled by Chet Hardin, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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