Local News

  • Prisoner at Jeffco jail dies; autopsy inconclusive

    A prisoner in the Jeffco jail died early Tuesday, the Sheriff's Office confirmed.

    According to sheriff's spokesman Mark Techmeyer, 53-year-old Patrick O'Day, who had been booked into the jail at 5:45 p.m. Monday, was found unresponsive at 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in a holding cell in the booking unit. He was pronounced dead at the jail.

  • Paddleboarder who was caught in storm on Chatfield Reservoir dies

    The Parker mother of three who was paddleboarding at Chatfield Reservoir on Friday when a sudden storm hit has died.

    Dr. Hope Cassel, 45, was found unresponsive in the water near the Chatfield swim beach after the storm, according to Jeffco sheriff’s spokesman Mark Techmeyer. Cassel had been on a paddleboard outing with her three sons and one of their friends when high winds, hail and lightning hit the area about 1 p.m.

  • Woman's attacker could face extended sentence

    A South Jeffco man who was convicted of attacking his girlfriend last July has a hearing this week to consider whether his prior felony convictions could be considered during the habitual criminal phase of his sentencing.

    Chuck Martinez was arrested in July 2015 after his girlfriend was found covered in blood at her apartment complex in the 3500 block of South Nelson Circle. She was transported to the hospital with serious injuries, including a skull fracture and brain bleed.

  • CASA volunteers provide a voice, support for kids dealing with courts

    A girl named Sally lives in Jeffco with one of her parents, who has a substance abuse problem, and there have been allegations of neglect and/or abuse. The case is going to court, and Sally is scared and confused.

    In cases like this hypothetical one, the child may be assigned one of Jeffco’s court-appointed special advocate volunteers, who will be a constant in her life. The volunteer would meet Sally on a weekly basis to make sure all her needs are met.

  • District weighing options after medical-marijuana bill becomes law

    Jeffco Public Schools may be drafting a policy on medical marijuana after Gov. John Hickenlooper signed legislation that requires the state’s districts to allow use of the remedy on school grounds.

    “Jack’s Law” law requires school districts to “adopt a policy permitting the use of medical marijuana by students authorized” to use it. The legislation was named for Jack Splitt, a Wheat Ridge middle school student with cerebral palsy whose medical marijuana was confiscated last year by school officials.

  • Two gun store burglaries reported in two days

    About 30 handguns were stolen early Tuesday from a gun shop in a strip mall on West Bowles Avenue, and another gun store to the east in Littleton was burglarized the next day. 

    Sheriff's spokesman Mark Techmeyer confirmed burglars tripped a silent alarm at Colorado Gun Broker, 8966 W. Bowles Ave., at 3:45 a.m. Tuesday. Deputies reportedly arrived within five minutes, but the perpetrators were gone.

    Techmeyer said the gun store's surveillance cameras weren't operating during the break-in, but other cameras in the strip mall were being checked.

  • Gardening tips from a local expert

    As the fear of a late frost fades with each warmer day, gardeners are starting to fill their yards, patios and decks with colorful veggies and flowers.

    Staff horticulturist Betsy Kelson has been working at Jared’s Nursery, Gift and Garden in South Jeffco for 19 years. Referred to as the “expert,” Kelson has some gardening tips for those looking to get green this season.

    1. Know your last frost date

  • Man shot while fleeing deputies enters not guilty plea

    A suspect who locked himself in a South Jeffco store in December and then was shot while trying to flee from deputies has pleaded not guilty to multiple charges, including first-degree assault. 

    Michael Manaois was arraigned June 6. He pleaded innocent to first-degree assault, two counts of felony menacing, and possession of a weapon by a previous offender.

  • Para-educator wins award

    Anne Bitsie, an instructional paraprofessional at Rooney Ranch Elementary School, has received the 2016 Colorado Educational Support Professional of the Year award from the Colorado Education Association.

    An employee at Rooney Ranch since 2007, Bitsie works with kindergartners and has three kids who all attended the school since 1999.

  • New leadership at local schools

    Next year, almost 30 schools in the Jeffco district will see new faces filling assistant-principal and principal positions. Nine of those roles are being filled by new hires, while the rest are school-based administrative transfers.

    Following is a list of new leaders at South Jeffco schools at the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

    • Thomas Burns, principal at Falcon Bluffs Middle School

    • Susan Borzych, principal at Ute Meadows Elementary School

    • Sandy Burch, principal at Blue Heron Elementary School