Posts Tagged ‘Colorado’

At first glance, Littleton looks like ground zero for Halloween pranksters this year — toilet paper is strewn across street after street and block after block.

The messy look prompted a few irritated inquiries from residents on the city’s Facebook page this week, like this one from Madison Lucas: “This is UGLY!! All over Littleton!!” Or from Stephanie Gregory : “My kids and I thought it was vandalism.”

But the TP’ing scheme is actually the work of the city itself. Littleton is using bathroom tissue as part of an effort to seal the myriad cracks that plague road surfaces in this city. It is tackling 120 streets with this bottoms-up tactic.

“I was trying to decide if there was a homecoming parade and wind had blown decorations off a float,” said Nancy Worthington, who noticed the paper all over a street near Broadway and County Line Road the other day.

Once she got an explanation from the city, she determined that the pavement patching process is a “brilliant idea.”

The TP, applied with a paint roller, absorbs the oil from freshly laid tar as it dries, keeping it from sticking to people’s shoes or car and bike tires. With the paper’s protective abilities, asphalt isn’t tracked all over the city or splattered on wheel wells. And the biodegradable paper breaks down and disappears in a matter of days.

“Since my car is new, I didn’t want it to get damaged,” Worthington said.

Kelli Narde, a spokeswoman for Littleton, said the real benefit of using toilet paper is that it allows traffic to retake the road right after a crack is filled.

“It means traffic has better access because we don’t have to close down a street to do the sealing,” she said.

Littleton is not the first to take this approach to wiping out cracks on its roadways. Lincoln, Neb., is one of a number of cities across the United States that have already spun the center roll to address deteriorating asphalt.

“We use it so we can keep moving and get more done,” said Clay Engelman, a district supervisor in the city’s street and traffic operations division.

He said the tar sets in about 40 minutes but that with the paper in place as a protective and absorbent cover, traffic can hit the street right away. The one big lesson learned by Lincoln: don’t use two-ply bath tissue. Engelman said the upper ply doesn’t absorb the oil and ends up blowing into people’s yards.

Lincoln has used toilet paper in its crack-closing campaign since 2014; Littleton began using it last month.

It’s not clear how many communities in Colorado rip from the roll when it comes time to blot the crack. The state’s largest city doesn’t resort to toilet tricks for its road repairs, according to Denver Department of Public Works spokeswoman Heather Burke-Bellile.

“We’ve never used toilet paper for crack sealing!” she wrote in a particularly declarative e-mail.

Amy Ford, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said she hadn’t heard of the practice being used in the state before. But she was more than willing to express her feelings about Littleton’s lavatory-linked labors.

“CDOT feels that clean cracks help improve the smoothness of everyone’s experience (on our roads),” she said.

The agency actually includes TP in its list of “blotting” materials for sealant application. According to the 2014 “CDOT Hot Mix Asphalt Crack Sealing and Filling Best Practices Guidelines,” a material may be needed to “reduce or minimize tracking of the sealant by vehicle tires. Common blotting materials include toilet paper, talcum powder, limestone dust, sand, or proprietary, spray-applied detackifiers.”

Narde said Littleton had been pitched a number of expensive blotting products but that toilet paper — single-ply, mind you — works best.

“Even though it looks like a Halloween prank, it works and it’s very inexpensive,” she said.

Littleton TP’s its own streets as a way to fill its cracks — single-ply only

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Arapahoe County prosecutors on Wednesday, July 13, cleared a Jefferson County sheriff’s deputy in an off-duty shooting stemming from an attempted robbery in January.

Deputy Jose Marquez was shot in the shoulder and abdomen during the Jan. 26 attempted robbery in an apartment parking lot on East Adriatic Drive near Rangeview High School.

One of the suspects fled the scene and has not been identified. The other, Jhalil Meshesha, was wounded in the leg and later arrested, prosecutors said.

In a letter to Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader and Aurora Police Chief Nick Metz, Arapahoe County Deputy District Attorney Rich Orman said Marquez, who was off duty and not in uniform at the time of the robbery, acted appropriately.

“Deputy Marquez reasonably believed that his life was in danger and acted reasonably in shooting Meshesha, and that he used an appropriate level of physical force. I further find that Deputy Marquez’s actions were justified and he did not violate Colorado law,” the letter said.

Marquez told police he was visiting his girlfriend at her apartment when he went outside to grab something from his car. As he walked back, he saw two young men with masks on their face. One of the men told him to “give it up,” Marquez said, and pulled out a pistol.

Marquez said the two men fired first and he returned fire.


One of Marquez’s bullets struck Meshesha’s pistol, traveling straight down that gun’s barrel and disabling it. Police called the shot “one in a billion.”

http://www.aurorasentinel.com/news/jeffco-deputy-cleared-aurora-shooting/


Donald Cooper with scientific colleagues.


Donald Cooper mug shot.

A former University of Colorado professor has been arrested on suspicion of creating a company to sell marked-up lab equipment to the Boulder campus in what prosecutors call a theft “scheme.”

Donald Cooper, 44, was arrested at his home in Boulder on Tuesday afternoon, according to Boulder County District Attorney’s Office officials. It was unclear late Tuesday if Cooper had posted bond, which was set at $5,000.

He is facing a felony charge of theft between $20,000 and $100,000. Prosecutors allege that he created Boulder Science Resource to buy lasers and other lab equipment that he marked up 300 percent and then resold to his university laboratory, according to an arrest affidavit.

The arrangement also benefitted the professor’s father, who received a salary and a car from Boulder Science Resource, according to the arrest affidavit.

In total, CU paid Boulder Science Resource $97,554.03 between Jan. 1, 2009, and April 30, 2013, according to the affidavit.

According to CU’s calculations, Cooper’s markups cost the university $65,036.

Cooper resigned in July 2014 as part of a settlement deal with the university, which had begun the process of firing him on suspicion of fiscal misconduct. He had been director of the molecular neurogenetics and optophysiology laboratory in CU’s Institute for Behavioral Genetics, where he was a tenured associate professor.

After he learned about the university’s internal investigation, Cooper filed a notice of claim in September 2013 seeking $20 million in damages. Any person who wishes to sue a state entity must first file a notice of claim.

Cooper’s attorney Seth Benezra wrote in the notice of claim that Gary Cooper, the professor’s father, was the sole owner of Boulder Science Resource. He also wrote that the company sold CU equipment “at prices that were greatly discounted.”

Donald Cooper also complained that CU investigators had obtained an email about his father’s “alleged mental impairment,” according to the notice of claim.

“(The investigator’s) theory is that Gary Cooper lacks the mental capacity to run (Boulder Science Resource) and so Dr. Cooper must really be in charge,” Benezra wrote. “This assertion was pure speculation based on entirely private information and was rebutted by Dr. Cooper in multiple meetings with investigators.”

Benezra did not return messages from the Daily Camera on Tuesday. It’s unclear who is representing Cooper in the criminal case.

Though Cooper claims that his father was in charge of the company, prosecutors assert that the professor “employed a scheme” to deceive the university for his own gain, according to the affidavit.

“It is alleged that (Boulder Science Resource) was created to defraud the University of Colorado Boulder by acting as a middleman to generate income to employ Gary and to provide personal benefit for Cooper,” wrote Alisha Baurer, an investigator in the District Attorney’s Office.

‘Fake business’

CU was tipped off about Boulder Science Resource by another employee in Cooper’s department, who told investigators that he heard about the arrangement from Cooper’s ex-wife, according to the arrest affidavit.

The ex-wife told the CU employee that Cooper had created a “fake business” using “dirty money” from grants and start-up funds, according to the affidavit.

The financial manager for Cooper’s department told investigators that he never mentioned that his dad owned Boulder Science Resource, and said Cooper only referred to “Gary” by his first name, according to the affidavit.

The DA’s Office determined that Gary Cooper received $23,785.80 from Boulder Science Resource in the form of a salary and a car. They also found that $31,974.89 was paid from the company’s accounts to Donald Cooper’s personal credit card and that $14,733.54 was paid to his personal PayPal account from the business, according to the affidavit.

CU’s internal audit found that Boulder Science Resource had no customers other than the university and Mobile Assay, a company founded by Donald Cooper based on a technology he developed at the university.

Some of the money CU paid to Boulder Science Resource came from federal grants, including $7,220 from the National Institutes of Health and $15,288 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, according to the internal audit report.

CU’s investigation found that although Cooper claimed his father purchased the lab equipment for Boulder Science Resource, the professor used his university email account to negotiate with the manufacturers.

“It is internal audit’s conclusion that the forgoing acts/failures to act were done with intent to gain an unauthorized benefit,” according to the audit report.

Boulder Science Resource was dissolved in December 2013, according to the Secretary of State’s Office.

Settlement terms

Reached by phone Tuesday afternoon, Patrick O’Rourke, CU’s chief legal officer, said the university was aware of Cooper’s arrest and will cooperate with prosecutors.

CU settled with Cooper last summer after initiating termination proceedings. In exchange for his resignation, the university agreed to provide the professor with a letter of reference “acknowledging his significant achievement in creating a neuroscience undergraduate program,” according to the settlement document.

CU also paid $20,000 to partially reimburse Cooper’s attorney and forgave an $80,000 home loan. CU provides down payment-assistance loans to some faculty members.

Had the university continued the termination process, which is lengthy, Cooper would have continued to receive his full salary of $89,743 and all benefits during the proceedings.

O’Rourke said the university instead opted to accept Cooper’s resignation and saved money with the settlement.

http://www.dailycamera.com/cu-news/ci_28056525/former-cu-boulder-professor-arrested-theft-case