News, March 18th


DENVER (AP) – The Colorado Department of Labor and Employment says the state’s unemployment rate dropped to 7.3 percent in January from December’s 7.6 percent. The agency said Monday that employers in Colorado added 7,100 nonfarm payroll jobs from December to January for a total of 2.3 million jobs, according to a survey of businesses. Private sector payroll jobs increased 8,200 and government jobs dropped by 1,100.
The national unemployment rate increased one-tenth of one percentage point over the same period to 7.9 percent.


ASPEN (AP) – A Pitkin County judge will decide if it is legal to protect the names of people who complain about their neighbors to authorities. District Court Judge Gail Nichols will decide whether the county is bound under the Colorado Open Records Act to disclose the names of those who report code violations or make other complaints. County attorney John Ely said he regularly receives requests from people for the identity of who reported them to the county. He says his office denies those requests as a matter of policy, but a lawsuit filed Friday by Elizabeth Shook marks the first time the county has been taken to court on the issue.


FORT COLLINS (AP) – Officials in Larimer County say two firefighters are recovering from minor injuries suffered while trying to contain a wildfire that has scorched more than 1,300 acres in the foothills west of Fort Collins. The fire was 75 percent contained on Monday and mop-up efforts are already under way. Authorities say they believe the fire was human-caused, but they are not disclosing how it began. The sheriff’s office says wet weather prevented the fire from growing much Sunday. At its height, the fire forced hundreds of residents from their homes Friday. Evacuees were allowed to return Saturday night, but were told to be prepared to leave again.


DENVER (AP) – Revamped sex-education standards have now passed both chambers of the state Legislature, despite complaints from Republicans that the new standards could encourage sexual activity and infringe on parental rights. The bill would create new statewide standards for teaching abstinence and safe sex. Parents would be required to opt out, instead of the current requirement that they approve participation for their children. The bill passed the Senate Monday on a 20-15 party-line vote. The Senate made a few changes to the bill, including a requirement that sex-ed programs must stress the importance of abstinence. The Senate changes mean the House will have to reconsider the measure before it can become law.