Rapids’ calamity continues in Salt Lake City after 3-0 loss to Real Salt Lake

SALT LAKE CITY — The Colorado Rapids were trying to do something they haven’t done since 2007, win back-to-back games against Real Salt Lake in Utah. They failed to do so, losing 3-0 in one of the worst losses of the season.

“We’re disappointed obviously with the result,” captain Jack Price said. “We thought we were comfortable in the game until obviously the goals we conceded, which for our standards they’re below par so we take full responsibility as a team there.”

Is it revenge or is the curse back?

The Rapids snuck away with the Rocky Mountain Cup last season after a 5-0 victory at Rio Tinto Stadium. It was just the fourth time in 14 years of the rivalry the Rapids had taken home the cup and it was the first win in Salt Lake since 2007.

They beat the Vancouver Whitecaps at Rio Tinto Stadium earlier this season. With two straight wins at the stadium, it had appeared those demons could be behind them.

Until Saturday night.

In the 14th minute, Lalas Abubakar passed the ball back to goalkeeper William Yarbrough, when Yarbrough went to stop it, the ball was no longer there. It went past Yarbrough and across the goal line before the goalkeeper could get to it. A play that will likely end up on SportsCenter’s not top 10.

“Will’s been fantastic for us this season, he has so many clean sheets already,” Price said. “… So one error, I’m not going to put him down in the ground because it is what it is. It happens. Unfortunately he’s a goalkeeper so if he makes a mistake it usually ends in a goal.”

In the 30th minute, the Rapids found themselves on the wrong side of a turnover once again. After a corner kick, with most of their defenders in or near the opponent’s box, Andre Shinyashiki lost control of the ball. It was cleared to RSL’s Bobby Wood, who carried it down the pitch, beat Keegan Rosenberry one-on-one and slotted it home to put his squad up 2-0.

“We made some really bad mistakes tonight,” head coach Robin Fraser said. “We made some really bad mistakes and it was always going to be a challenge when we give away the goals that we did… [B]ut we move on.”

The Rapids showed signs of life in the second half, dominating possession and creating a few chances. But in the end it wasn’t enough and RSL sealed the deal in the 77th minute with a goal from Rubio Rubin.

“I think we were not clinical in those chances,” Fraser said, as the Rapids held the ball for 58% of the match but didn’t have anything to show for it. “And in our final actions at times not precise enough.”

Around 50 Rapids fans, as part of the supporter’s group Centennial 38, made the 500 mile-plus trek in a bus from Denver to Salt Lake for the match. It is not the first time they will be going home disappointed.

“I’m disappointed for them that we didn’t do better–certainly, that we didn’t do better on the scoreboard—but it was tremendous to look up and see how many Rapids there were,” Fraser said. “It was really heartwarming.”

Fauci says U.S. headed in “wrong direction” on coronavirus

WILMINGTON, Del. — The United States is in an “unnecessary predicament” of soaring COVID-19 cases fueled by unvaccinated Americans and the virulent delta variant, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert said Sunday.

“We’re going in the wrong direction,’ said Dr. Anthony Fauci, describing himself as “very frustrated.”

He said recommending that the vaccinated wear masks is “under active consideration’ by the government’s leading public health officials. Also, booster shots may be suggested for people with suppressed immune systems who have been vaccinated, Fauci said.

Fauci, who also serves President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, told CNN’s “State of the Union” that he has taken part in conversations about altering the mask guidelines.

He noted that some local jurisdictions where infection rates are surging, such as Los Angeles County, are already calling on individuals to wear masks in public regardless of vaccination status. Fauci said those local rules are compatible with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommendation that the vaccinated do not need to wear masks in public.

Nearly 163 million people, or 49% of the eligible U.S. population, are vaccinated, according to CDC data.

“This is an issue predominantly among the unvaccinated, which is the reason why we’re out there, practically pleading with the unvaccinated people to go out and get vaccinated,” Fauci said.

Fauci said government experts are reviewing early data as they consider whether to recommend that vaccinated individuals to get booster shots. He suggested that some of the most vulnerable, such as organ transplant and cancer patients, are “likely” to be recommended for booster shots.

He also praised Republicans, including Govs. Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Ron DeSantis of Florida, and the second-ranking House leader, Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, for encouraging their constituents to get vaccinated. Their states have among the lowest vaccination rates in the country.

“What I would really like to see is more and more of the leaders in those areas that are not vaccinating to get out and speak out and encourage people to get vaccinated,” Fauci said.

Hutchinson, also speaking on CNN, said he did not know whether he might have underestimated the hesitancy of people to get the vaccine, but acknowledged that “the resistance has hardened in certain elements and is simply false information. It is myths. As I go into these town hall meetings, someone said: `Don’t call it a vaccine. Call it a bioweapon.’ And they talk about mind control. Well, those are obviously erroneous. Other members of the community correct that.”

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Denver weather: Potential afternoon storms could help smoky air quality

Much of the Front Range is under an air quality alert Sunday, with the National Weather Service warning of unhealthy ozone levels expected to last until the early evening.

The air quality is considered unhealthy for sensitive groups, like children or those with respiratory conditions or lung diseases, and the National Weather Service urges people in those groups to limit their time outside Sunday.

Separately, Routt County is under an air quality alert Sunday because of wildfire smoke from both the Morgan Creek fire, which is burning about 15 miles north of Steamboat Springs, as well as out-of-state wildfires, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. Smoke in Routt County is expected to be heaviest around the Elk River Valley and near Glen Eden and Clark. That alert expires at 9 a.m. Monday.

The ozone air quality alert for the Front Range is set to expire at 4 p.m., around the time the region could see some afternoon thunderstorms, according to the weather service.

Denver will see a high of about 91 degrees Sunday, with a 40% chance of thunderstorms after 3 p.m. The warm weather will continue to heat up this week, with highs expected to climb to 97 on Wednesday.

Residents can expect mostly sunny weather this week, with some afternoon storms.

Buckley Space Force Base prepares for the next frontier

AURORA, Colo. — For more than two decades, Col. Marcus Jackson’s fatigues have been emblazoned with the cinnamon font synonymous with the U.S. Air Force.

The newest commander of Aurora’s longtime Air Force installation has been a career military man with assignments across the country and world in his 23-year service, though his official title changed last year with the launch of the military’s newest branch: U.S. Space Force.

“You know, 22 years I’ve been wearing that spice brown being tied to the Air Force,” Jackson said from his new Aurora office. “And I grew up as a military brat because my dad was in the Air Force, so with that recent change — it’s a bittersweet situation.”

Jackson formally shifted to the Space Force — earning a blue name tag in place of his longtime brown one — in October.

That shift in hue on Jackson’s name plate is one of many surface-level changes slowly unfurling through local military ranks, though the mission remains the same, officials say.

Originally named Buckley Field after a Colorado pilot killed in France in the waning months of World War I, Buckley officially became a Space Force Base when Jackson took the reins from the former commander on June 4. The change came about a year after the military decommissioned the base’s longstanding 460th space wing tasked with detecting and tracing missile launches across the globe.

But the assignment of tracking missiles marches forward on a daily basis now under the purview of Space Delta 4, one of several such subdivisions under space operations command, but the only one in charge of missile warning.

Now largely composed of Space Force guardians, the group continues the work the 460th completed for decades.

“I would say that for the missile warning mission, nothing’s changed,” said Jackson, who was most recently assigned to Schriever Air Force Base in Colorado Springs. “ … We are going out and doing that mission and that mission is here to stay … We have a mission to go do, and we’ve got to go do it like we did yesterday and two months ago.”

In 2019, Buckley missile trackers tallied 930 missile launches and some 30,000 infrared events around the world, according to information released by the military. Jackson did not have updated numbers for 2020.

Last year, Buckley personnel received national accolades for saving lives during Operation Martyr Soleimani, a January rocket attack orchestrated by Iran against a joint Iraqi and U.S. military base in the Anbar province of western Iraq.

“If those Airmen on crew that night, specifically the warning officer at the warning station, if she had not done her job better than her training … today we would be talking about dead Americans at (the al-Asad Air Base),” according to reporting in Air Force Magazine, a publication of the nonprofit Air Force Association, from February 2020.

No Americans were killed in the attack, though more than 100 have since been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, according to the same reporting.

“Delta 4 was able to provide that timely missile warning notification to our individuals down range at central command to save lives by allowing enough time for reaction,” Jackson said of Buckley’s role in the incident.

Day to day, some 90,000 people are still mulling across the sweeping base hanging off of East Sixth Avenue, shopping at the commissary, getting military haircuts for an advertised price of $14.40 and heading to myriad jobs and medical appointments scattered across the complex. Those with military credentials or affiliation can still nab a Whopper from the on-base Burger King about 100 feet from a store that sells vests capable of holding a kevlar shield at the tax-free Base Exchange.

And Buckley still plays host to all branches of the U.S. military — including the Coast Guard — thousands of national guardsmen, reservists and tens of thousands of local veterans and retirees, according to Kevin Hougen, president of the Aurora Chamber of Commerce. Military personnel from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and the U.K. remain in the mix as well.

There could be even more people within Buckley’s borders in the years to come depending on what shakes out with the shifting tides of military politics, Jackson said.

“From a personnel standpoint here on the installation … all that’s really driven by the expansion of the mission of Delta 4, so at this time we’re evaluating that,” he said. “There may be opportunities in years to come for more space force personnel to be on this installation.”

Both Hougen and Jackson said Buckley has opportunity to grow thanks, in part, to federal dollars former Republican Congressman Mike Coffman helped secure in 2017 so the base could nab hundreds of acres of land to promote growth and stave off encroachment issues with surrounding neighborhoods. Coffman previously argued that increasing the buffer zones around Buckley would better position the base to avoid potential closure, as well as attract future F-35s. The newer jets have a larger noise signature than their F-16 counterparts, and are therefore more prone to peeve nearby neighbors.

Aurora City Councilman Dave Gruber also touted several land deals brokered around the E-470 tollway between the city, Arapahoe County and Buckley to ensure that the base could win newer — and louder — jets in the coming years.

“Buckley owns all of the land necessary to support the noise contours of the F-35, so Buckley is in a very good position to get it,” he said.

Yet chances for prolific growth at Buckley and other Front Range military bases were largely dashed earlier this year following the announcement that space command — the Space Force’s headquarters — will eventually move from its temporary home in Colorado Springs to Huntsville, Alabama.

President Donald Trump decided to move U.S. Space Command from its temporary home along the southern stretch of Interstate 25 in the waning days of his administration.

Buckley was previously in consideration to house the command, but Hougen said all Colorado outposts in the running were dinged for the state’s soaring housing costs and abysmal public education funding.

Gruber, a retired Air Force colonel who served as support group commander at Buckley during his last assignment in the mid 2000s, said he has lobbied local education leaders to apply for federal funding available for children with parents who either live or work at Buckley. Those efforts are currently stalled, but even if Aurora schools had come into the additional money, it wouldn’t have moved the needle enough to buoy any of the local applications, according to Gruber.

“The school report that came out at the Air Force level was devastating to both Colorado Springs and Aurora,” he said.

Congress members Jason Crow, who represents Aurora, along with Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., last month penned a letter to President Joe Biden asking him to reconsider the basing decision.

“It (Colorado) is home to eight of the Space Force’s nine space deltas, the only reserve component space wing, and the sole Army space brigade. Colorado’s premier space facilities have also attracted a workforce able to support both the intelligence community and Department of Defense space missions,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “Colorado is home to nearly 1,000 aerospace companies and suppliers, and the state is home to the nation’s largest concentration of aerospace employees. We believe that the operational integration between IC and DoD space communities and other joint sites in Colorado as well as the total cost to the government must be considered when making the final basing decision.”

Still, Buckley is positioned to net more jobs and workers in the coming years due, in part, to a planned expansion at Peterson Air Force Base in the Springs, which recently agreed to nix a nearby golf course and add more structures.

“As Peterson grows, we grow,” Hougen said.

Currently, the Aurora base bedecked with its famous golf ball-shaped radomes pumps about $1.3 billion into the local economy each year and provides the launchpad for some 5,500 jobs, according to annual economic impact reports.

For most of the 2000s, Buckley regularly fed more than $1 billion into the city economy, largely due to frequent construction projects that were required to update the base after its transition from an Air National Guard Base in 2000. But economic injections began sagging at the beginning of last decade and hovered around $900 million for several years. Two years ago marked the first time in about a decade Buckley had surpassed a $1 billion annual economic impact.

Thousands of aerospace contract workers move in and out of the base each day, Hougen said, with as many as 200 service members — many of whom are trained in aerospace themselves — leaving the base and entering the local workforce each month.

“There’s a lot of innovation that happens out at Buckley, and we tend to forget that,” he said. “They’re kind of a silent partner out there, that’s for sure. But with the quality of life in Colorado compared to other bases and states … people like to be transferred here, and often they retire here. People like to come here and like to have it as their last assignment.”

Gruber, who elected to retire from the military following his last assignment at Buckley after a quarter-century-long career, agreed.

“We liked it here in Colorado,” said the councilman, who opted to stay and join the private sector as an engineer instead of taking another military assignment in Shreveport, Louisiana. “If you have to get out sometime, getting out in Colorado is not a bad thing to do.”

While still employed for the military, Jackson, who calls San Antonio, Texas, his hometown despite multiple moves around the globe as a youngster, said he plans to enjoy his new proximity to Denver to attend Nuggets and Broncos games with his wife and three kids.

He said Buckley personnel could catch a glimpse of him rollerblading across the installation this summer as he acquaints himself with the local trail systems.

“I’m old,” he said with a chuckle. “I need the kneepads, the elbow pads, everything — the full kit and caboodle. The older you get, the recovery time is longer. … I’m 46 going on 80.”

California’s largest wildfire torches homes as blazes lash West

INDIAN FALLS, Calif. (AP) — Flames racing through rugged terrain in Northern California destroyed multiple homes Saturday as the state’s largest wildfire intensified and numerous other blazes battered the U.S. West.

The Dixie fire, which started July 14, had already leveled over a dozen houses and other structures when it tore through the tiny community of Indian Falls after dark.

An updated damage estimate was not immediately available, though fire officials said the blaze has charred more than 181,000 acres (73,200 hectares) in Plumas and Butte counties and was 20% contained.

The fire was burning in a remote area with limited access, hampering firefighters’ efforts as it charged eastward, fire officials said. It has prompted evacuation orders in several small communities and along the west shore of Lake Almanor, a popular area getaway.

Meanwhile, the nation’s largest wildfire, southern Oregon’s Bootleg fire, was nearly halfway surrounded Saturday as more than 2,200 crew members worked to corral it in the heat and wind, fire officials said. The growth of the sprawling blaze had slowed, but thousands of homes remained threatened on its eastern side, authorities said.

“This fire is resistant to stopping at dozer lines,” Jim Hanson, fire behavior analyst, said in a news release from the Oregon Department of Forestry. “With the critically dry weather and fuels we are experiencing, firefighters are having to constantly reevaluate their control lines and look for contingency options.”

In California, Gov. Gavin Newsom has declared a state of emergency for four northern counties because of wildfires that he said were causing “conditions of extreme peril to the safety of persons and property.” The proclamation opened the way for more state support.

Such conditions are often from a combination of unusual random, short-term and natural weather patterns heightened by long-term, human-caused climate change. Global warming has made the West much warmer and drier in the past 30 years.

On Saturday, fire crews from California and Utah headed to Montana, Gov. Greg Gianforte announced. Five firefighters were injured Thursday when swirling winds blew flames back on them as they worked on the Devil’s Creek fire burning in rough, steep terrain near the rural town of Jordan, in the northeast part of the state.

They remained hospitalized Friday. Bureau of Land Management spokesperson Mark Jacobsen declined to release the extent of their injuries, and attempts to learn their conditions Saturday were unsuccessful. Three of the firefighters are U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service crew members from North Dakota, and the other two are U.S. Forest Service firefighters from New Mexico.

Another high-priority blaze, the Alder Creek fire in southwest Montana, had charred over 6,800 acres (2,750 hectares) and was 10% contained Saturday night. It was threatening nearly 240 homes.

Elsewhere in California, the Tamarack fire south of Lake Tahoe continued to burn through timber and chaparral and threatened communities on both sides of the California-Nevada state line. The fire, sparked by lightning July 4 in Alpine County, has destroyed at least 10 buildings.

Heavy smoke from that blaze and the Dixie fire lowered visibility and may at times ground aircraft providing support for fire crews. The air quality south of Lake Tahoe and across the state line into Nevada deteriorated to very unhealthy levels.

In north-central Washington, firefighters battled two blazes in Okanogan County that threatened hundreds of homes and again caused hazardous air quality conditions Saturday. And in northern Idaho, east of Spokane, Washington, a small fire near the Silverwood Theme Park prompted evacuations Friday evening at the park and in the surrounding area. The theme park was back open on Saturday with the fire half contained.

Although hot weather with afternoon winds posed a continued threat of spreading blazes, weekend forecasts also called for a chance of scattered thunderstorms in California, Utah, Nevada, Arizona and other states. However, forecasters said some could be dry thunderstorms that produce little rain but a lot of lightning, which can spark new blazes.

More than 85 large wildfires were burning around the country, most of them in Western states, and they had burned over 1.4 million acres (2,135 square miles, or more than 553,000 hectares).

U.S. basketball loses to France 83-76, ending 25-game Olympic win streak

SAITAMA, Japan (AP) — For the first time since 2004, the U.S. men’s basketball team has lost in the Olympics. And the Americans’ quest for a fourth consecutive gold medal is already in serious trouble.

France — the team that knocked the Americans out of contention in the Basketball World Cup two years ago — dealt the U.S. a major blow once again. Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer with just under a minute left put France ahead to stay in what became a 83-76 win over the Americans on Sunday in the opening game for both teams at the Tokyo Olympics.

The U.S. had won 25 consecutive Olympic games, last losing at the Athens Games 17 years ago and settling for a bronze medal there.

“I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did.”

Fournier had 28 points for France, while Rudy Gobert scored 14 and Nando de Colo had 13. Jrue Holiday had 18 points for the U.S., Bam Adebayo had 12, Damian Lillard 11 and Kevin Durant had 10 for the Americans — who are just 2-3 in their games this summer, the first four of them exhibitions in Las Vegas that weren’t supposed to mean much.

The Olympics, they were supposed to be different.

They weren’t. Going back to the World Cup in China two years ago, the Americans are 3-5 in their last eight games with NBA players in the lineup.

“I mean, it’s great,” Gobert said. “But until we have what we want to have around our neck it doesn’t really matter.”

The idea of anyone else leaving an Olympics with gold hasn’t been all that realistic in recent years. Now, it’s very real.

A 10-point U.S. lead in the third quarter was wasted, and so was a 12-point barrage from Holiday in the opening 4 ½ minutes of the fourth quarter as the Americans went from six points down to start the period to six points up with 5:23 remaining.

The lead was seven with 3:30 left. France outscored the U.S. 16-2 from there, and the Americans missed all nine of their shots — five of them in a 21-second span on the same trip down the floor in the final minute, three of those from 3-point range.

The dagger came off a broken play; Guerschon Yabusele dove to save a ball from going out of bounds on the French offensive end, flailing and slapping it to Fournier. He caught the ball in front of the U.S. bench and made a 3-pointer that put France up for good with 57 seconds remaining.

“Evan was amazing,” France coach Vincent Collet said. “I don’t want to use big, big, big words, but he made some very big shots.”

The loss doesn’t knock the U.S. out of medal contention, but it essentially eliminates the margin for error. The Americans play Iran on Wednesday and then the Czech Republic on Saturday in its final two Group A games; win both of those, and the U.S. will be in the quarterfinals. Lose another one, and the Americans might not even finish in the top eight of this 12-team tournament.

The lead was 10 for the U.S. early in the third quarter after Durant scored the opening basket of the second half. But the offense went into a complete sputter for much of that period — and that, combined with Durant’s foul trouble, led to big problems.

The Americans scored three points in a seven-minute span of the third, Durant picked up his fourth foul — the FIBA limit is five, remember — with 16:45 left in the game, and that once-comfortable lead was soon gone. De Colo’s 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining in the third put France up 55-54, its first lead since the game’s first four minutes.

De Colo connected again for a 59-56 lead, then Thomas Huertel made another 3 late in the third to put France up 62-56 going to the final quarter.

It was the first time the U.S. and France played since the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup two years ago, a game that the Americans lost. France has seven players on its Olympic roster from that team; the U.S. has only two, but the importance wasn’t lost on the other 10 — who’d heard plenty about it.

The U.S. was outrebounded in that game 44-28, gave up 22 points off turnovers and got outscored 22-5 in the final 7 ½ minutes. The final was France 89, U.S. 79, a loss that eliminated the Americans from medal contention and sent them freefalling to a seventh-place finish that was the worst ever by USA Basketball in any tournament with NBA players.

And in a largely empty arena near Tokyo on Sunday night, France did it again — dealing the U.S. an even bigger blow.


France: Frank Ntilikina missed the game, with the French federation saying he continues to deal with “slight muscle discomfort.” … France took the game’s first nine free throws. The U.S. didn’t shoot one until JaVale McGee went to the line with 8:27 left in the second quarter. … Yabusele left the game briefly with 1:30 left in the half after going knee-to-knee with Holiday.

USA: Durant had three fouls in the first half, something that’s happened only 10 times in his last 544 NBA appearances. … The U.S. used 11 of its players in the first half, with Jerami Grant the only one who didn’t get into the game.


Durant moved into outright possession of the No. 4 spot on the U.S. men’s all-time Olympic appearances list. He’s now played in 17 games, behind only Carmelo Anthony (31), LeBron James (24) and David Robinson (24). There are 15 players with 16 Olympic appearances.


France: Face the Czech Republic on Wednesday.

USA: Face Iran on Wednesday.


Search for remains at Colorado’s Native American boarding schools to proceed slowly, respectfully

Children at Fort Lewis Indian School ...
Courtesy of the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Children at Fort Lewis Indian School in Durango circa 1900.

Lee Bitsóí must reconcile daily with the fact he works for an institution born from the cultural genocide his own family experienced.

Bitsóí navigates this quandary as an Indigenous administrator at Durango’s Fort Lewis College.

Today, Fort Lewis’ student population is more than 40% Native American or Alaska Native. The institution prides itself on its diversity, inclusivity and a waiver covering the cost of tuition of any students from federally recognized Native American tribes or Alaska Native villages.

But the college originated more than a century ago as one of the country’s Native American boarding schools — institutions the federal government used to recruit Indigenous children from across the nation in an effort to strip them of their culture and force assimilation.

“There’s a tremendous tension between an institution like Fort Lewis dedicated to helping advance tribal sovereignty and serving diverse students and having a history connected to cultural genocide,” Fort Lewis College President Tom Stritikus said. “That needs to be talked about and not hid from.”

Bitsóí, fellow academics and tribal leaders are discussing how to move forward following a June announcement by Interior Secretary Deb Haaland calling for a comprehensive review of the Native American boarding school legacy. The action was prompted by the recent discovery of 215 unmarked graves by Canada’s Tk’emlúps te Secwepemc First Nation at the Kamloops Indian Residential School, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior’s announcement.

During a news conference in Denver last week, Haaland — the first Native American cabinet secretary in U.S. history — said the federal government will assist local communities in their goal of identifying every former federal boarding school in the country and investigating the potential for unmarked graves.

“Fundamentally, we just want to make sure families today get the information they’ve been wanting for decades and decades,” Haaland said.

At least two former Indian boarding schools in Colorado — Fort Lewis College’s old campus in Hesperus and the defunct Teller Indian School in Grand Junction — will be investigated for remains of Native children who attended those institutions.

Tribal leaders are being consulted to determine the most culturally sensitive way to go about such investigations, which experts said deserve to be thoughtful processes driven by the desires of the people most impacted by the tragic history.

“When you think about these schools and how they were a wholesale replacement of Native ways of seeing the world, that was in life as well as in death,” said John Seebach, an assistant professor of archeology at Colorado Mesa University. “Even in death, they’re prevented from going back to their home communities, buried in a Christian fashion. From life to death — assimilation.”

Beginning with the Indian Civilization Act of 1819, the U.S. enacted laws and policies establishing and supporting Indian boarding schools across the nation, the Department of the Interior said in announcing the Federal Indian Boarding School Initiative.

“The purpose of Indian boarding schools was to culturally assimilate Indigenous children by forcibly relocating them from their families and communities to distant residential facilities where their American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian identities, languages and beliefs were to be forcibly suppressed,” the Interior Department said in its announcement.  “For over 150 years, hundreds of thousands of Indigenous children were taken from their communities.”

Students and staff at Fort Lewis Indian School in Durango circa 1900.
Courtesy of the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Students and staff at Fort Lewis Indian School in Durango circa 1900.

The Old Fort

Bitsóí’s parents, aunts and uncles were among the Indigenous children placed in Indian boarding schools elsewhere in the nation.

When Bitsóí, who serves as Fort Lewis College’s diversity collaborative director and special adviser to the president for Native American affairs, first heard about the unmarked graves that were discovered in Canada, he felt the tightening grip of intergenerational trauma.

“It made me think of the potential or the possibility of any unmarked burials at any former Indian boarding school and then it made me begin to question what has taken place at the Old Fort site in Hesperus,” Bitsóí’ said. “It reminded me of what my parents and my aunts and uncles went through. It made me really think about what their experience was like and how they may not have had a voice to speak up for themselves and even if they did, they were probably beaten.”

Fort Lewis originally was a U.S. Army post constructed in Pagosa Springs before being relocated in 1880 to Hesperus, about a 20-minute drive west of Durango, said Lauren Savage, a Fort Lewis College spokeswoman. In 1891, Fort Lewis was decommissioned as an Army post and converted into the Fort Lewis Indian School, which operated until 1911.

From there, the property was transferred to the state and established as a high school that later morphed into a two-year college and eventually moved in 1956 to Durango, where it became the Fort Lewis College of today.

Bitsóí, of the Diné, described how boarding schools across the country attempted to erase Native culture and language.

Inside the Fort Lewis Indian School ...
Courtesy of the Center of Southwest Studies, Fort Lewis College

Inside the Fort Lewis Indian School in Durango circa 1900.

“That’s what is dear to Native people,” Bitsóí said. “That’s what’s dear to me. If children did get sick and couldn’t go home, did they perish there and what happened to those bodies? We don’t know.”

For years, leaders at Fort Lewis College have discussed how to most appropriately face their school’s past while looking to the future. Bitsóí is among a group of Fort Lewis employees, students and community members meeting about reconciliation efforts impacting the college community.

The search for remains is now at the forefront of those discussions.

“We’ve reached out to tribal nations whose ancestors would have been the students at that time,” said Stritikus, the college’s president. “We’ve signaled to them that this is a concern for us, and we want to know what they think, and we will not do anything until we talk to them about what that would look like and what would be appropriate for them. That’s where we are in that process.

“The process of reconciliation is much bigger than this aspect of the potential for unmarked graves,” he said. “It is about being honest about the history, trauma of boarding schools and trying to do the diversity, equity and inclusion work in a way that helps our students succeed.”

Students and faculty pose outside the Teller Indian School in Grand Junction in this undated photograph.
Museums of Western Colorado

Students and faculty pose outside the Teller Indian School in Grand Junction in this undated photograph.

Teller Indian School

Similar efforts to investigate a former Native American boarding school are underway in Grand Junction, where the Teller Indian School operated from 1886 to 1911, which was around the time most of the schools began shutting down, Colorado Mesa University’s Seebach said.

Seebach became integral in the search for remains at the Grand Junction site that is now partly owned by the state, serving as a facility for the intellectually disabled called the Grand Junction Regional Campus.

The state is mandated to vacate and sell the campus, said Madlynn Ruble, spokeswoman for the Colorado Department of Human Services. Before the sale that would enable the search for unmarked graves to begin, Ruble said the residents of the facility must all be found safe places to live.

Seebach has been searching for a cemetery at the former Grand Junction boarding school for years, relying on cadaver dogs, archival research and maps of the old school grounds while scouring news clippings to find information about student deaths.

“It being the 20th century, kids died of many, many different things,” Seebach said. “Medical science was not where we have it today. One of the kids died after sliding into second base and compound-fracturing his leg. He went into sepsis and died.”

The Teller Indian School football team ...
Museums of Western Colorado

The Teller Indian School football team in Grand Junction circa 1900.

Through Seebach’s research, he has found at least 21 recorded incidents in which students died at the school, but he suspects more — and believes they are buried somewhere on the grounds.

Seebach has a guess based on his research where a cemetery might be located and will be involved in the use of ground-penetrating radar to better investigate once the sale of the property occurs. He said tribal nations also will guide how the investigation proceeds to best pay respect to the Native culture.

“It’s great this is finally coming to light,” Seebach said. “In Native communities, the boarding schools represent this unfathomably profound loss of culture. It’s immeasurable how much was lost at the hands of the U.S. government at these schools. If the public at large recognizes this, then this has a whole cascading effect on understanding how Native communities function today as well as just straight up honoring that history and the legacy of what occurred in these places.”

Garrett Briggs, the Southern Ute Indian Tribe’s official representative to the Teller Indian School Task Force, said tribal nations including the Southern Ute have spearheaded these reconciliation efforts in Colorado.

“It is of the utmost importance that descendant communities are given every opportunity to be involved in these efforts and have the opportunity to discuss how the children will be cared for once they are relocated,” Briggs said. “Every effort must be exerted to engage descendant communities with respect to their traditional customs and protocol when addressing this heinous historic treatment of Native American children. The effort of Secretary Haaland is a commendable effort acknowledging the true history of this country with that of its original inhabitants, but also a great opportunity to correct historical inaccuracies.”

College basketball recruiting: Zach Keller emerges as next can’t-miss prospect from Colorado

A new contender for the best high school basketball player in Colorado has burst onto the national recruiting scene this summer.

Meet Zach Keller,  a 6-foot-10, 220-pound ThunderRidge power forward whose cell phone won’t stop ringing due to calls from recruiters. He’s been offered scholarships to Arizona State, California, CSU, CU, Illinois, Utah, and Wake Forest over the past two months alone.

“It’s pretty exciting,” Keller said. “Last year, due to COVID, I wasn’t able to get seen by the coaches. It’s a new experience.”

Colorado is not traditionally home to a plethora of elite basketball recruits. The state has produced just a handful of Top-100 ranked prospects since 1995 when Chauncey Billups (George Washington) was named a McDonald’s All-American. But Keller appears in line to become Colorado’s next can’t-miss prospect.

“He absolutely blew up,” ThunderRidge coach Joe Ortiz said.

Keller is a four-star recruit and rated No. 78 overall nationally for the Class of 2022. Brandon Jenkins, a 247Sports recruiting analyst, said that Keller blends “physical activity on the offensive glass to score off clean-up buckets while also having the touch to step out and knock down the long ball.”

Ortiz raves about his constant energy.

Keller’s late-June performance at a national prep basketball showcase — the Section 7 Tournament in Phoenix, Ariz. — solidified his reputation as a high-major talent. Hundreds of college coaches were in attendance.

“He was the best player on the court each time we played,” Ortiz said. “He was spectacular. … There are still new schools calling him daily.”

Ortiz predicted this might happen.  Until recently, however, injuries kept Keller mostly out of the recruiting spotlight. Keller endured hip surgery that essentially ended his sophomore season. Then an ankle sprain caused him to miss multiple weeks this past season in a COVID-shortened season. He returned in time to help lead ThunderRidge to a Class 5A title.

“It’s nice to know that I’m playing with a healthy body for once,” Keller said. “Trying to play with a sprained ankle being double-taped was pretty painful.”

Keller credits his high-energy play to the mindset he adopted while overcoming health issues. It showed during the Section 7 Tournament. There was no official scoring, but Ortiz said a Wake Forrest assistant coach tracked Keller with 32 points and 20 rebounds in one game.

“I recently just changed my full shot,” Keller said. “It used to be behind my head and now it’s in front. I’m able to deliver and show that I can shoot from the outside consistently now. … My consistency of shooting has gone up a lot since coaches have last seen me.”

Ortiz does not hesitate in naming Keller the top high school basketball player in Colorado today. But don’t try telling that to the coaches at the newly formed Denver Prep Academy. Class of 2023 center Baye Fall is a five-star recruit with scholarship offers from schools like Baylor, Georgetown and USC. He’ll play outside CHSAA in the Grind Session preparatory league next year.

But it’s hard to argue against Keller as the top public school basketball standout in Colorado with his ability to make spot-up threes in transition and slam home put-back dunks.

“For me, personally, I know I’m the best. That’s just my confidence,” Keller said. “I don’t really have to compare myself to other people because everybody is going to do stuff differently. You should be the best version of yourself on the court.”

College basketball recruiting: Top-5 most decorated prospects (and Top-5 hidden gems) in Colorado prep history

A total of 26 high school players from Colorado developed into NBA draft picks since 1952, according to CHSAA. But not all were highly recruited going into college. Here is a breakdown of the top-five most decorated recruits — and the top-five hidden gems — in modern Colorado prep history. Recruiting information compiled from 247Sports.com.


PG Chauncey Billups — George Washington, 1995

McDonald’s High School All-American. … Turned down scholarship offers from Big East and ACC schools to play at CU. … A first-team All-American as a sophomore. … Selected No. 3 overall in the NBA Draft. … NBA Champion and Finals MVP with the Pistons.

PF De’Ron Davis — Overland, 2016

Four-star prospect (No. 40 national recruit). … Signed with Indiana over scholarship offers from Arizona, CU, Texas and many others. … Made 23 career starts with 590 points and 287 rebounds over four seasons. … Signed a professional basketball contract to play in Ireland.

SF Ronnie Harrell — Denver East, 2014

Four-star prospect (No. 84 national recruit). … Picked Creighton over scholarship offers from Arizona State, Kansas State, Washington and others. … Transferred to DU for his senior season. … Averaged a career-high 12.9 points with the Pioneers.

PG Reggie Jackson — Palmer HS, 2008

Four-star prospect (No. 89 national recruit). … Chose Boston College over scholarship offers from Nevada, Wyoming and others. … Earned All-ACC honors as a junior. … Selected No. 24 overall in the 2011 NBA draft. … Tenth-year NBA guard now playing for the Clippers.

PG Dominique Collier — Denver East, 2014

Four-star prospect (No. 91 overall national recruit). … Chose CU over scholarship offers from Arizona, Gonzaga, Iowa and others. …  Made 68 career starts over four seasons. … Named co-Pac-12 Sixth Man of the Year in 2017-18.


SG Derrick White — Legend, 2012

Not recruited by Division-I schools as a scholarship player. … Became a two-time All-American at the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs (D-II). … Played his final college season at CU. … Selected No. 29 overall in the NBA Draft. … Averaged a career-high 15.4 points last season for the Spurs.

C Jason Smith — Platte Valley, 2004

Two-star prospect (No. 461 national recruit). … Chose CSU over scholarship offers from Gonzaga, Utah and Wyoming. … Totaled 1,281 points, 683 rebounds and 149 blocks in college. … Picked No. 20 overall in the NBA Draft. … Played for 11 seasons between six different teams.

SG Justinian Jessup — Longmont, 2016

Two-star prospect (unranked national recruit). … Played for Boise State over scholarship offers from Davidson, Pepperdine and others. … First player in school history with at least 1,500 points, 500 rebounds, 250 assists, 250 steals and 50 blocked shots. … Picked in the second round of the NBA Draft.

PG Colbey Ross — Eaglecrest, 2017

Two-star prospect (No. 514 national recruit). … Signed with Pepperdine over scholarship offers from Cal Poly, Northern Colorado and others. … First player in NCAA history with at least 2,200 points, 800 assists and 400 rebounds. … Started in 125 games over four seasons. … A second-round NBA Draft prospect.

C Nick Fazekas — Ralston Valley, 2003

Three-star prospect (No. 236 national recruit) … Picked Nevada over scholarship offers from Marquette, Utah and others. … A three-time NCAA All-American. … Finished college career as school’s all-time leader in scoring (2,464) and blocked shots (192). … Selected No. 34 overall in the NBA Draft.

Ask Amy: This woman’s place is in the home — alone!

Dear Amy: I am a wife to a good husband who is 12 years older than I am.

We recently lost his wonderful mother (at age 93), and mine (she was 80 when she died).

I loved both of these women and I miss them terribly.

My mother lived with my husband and me for the past five years, and I took care of her.

Now that she is gone, I am craving having some time alone.

I haven’t had time to myself at all! My husband has retired and does volunteer work weekly, at two different places.

I have asked him to please let me have a day to myself every week.

I have yet to receive that. He just doesn’t seem to get it.

I keep telling him that I need a day to myself.

He isn’t listening; he plans his days home with my scheduled days off.

Do I just tell him a lie (“oh I’m off this day”), and say I made a mistake after I get my day at home?

I feel overwhelmed with still working 40-plus hours a week, planning meals, doing laundry, and helping with yard work.

He does help with laundry and vacuums for me.

But I just want a day to myself! Is this too much to ask?

— Needing “Me” Time!

Dear Needing: No, getting time to yourself is NOT too much to ask. You have already asked, and your husband — for whatever reason — is not willing to grant you what you need.

So take it.

Ask your husband about his volunteer schedule for the week and then rearrange your work schedule to be at home while he is gone.

Just make your plan and then explain, after the fact. Say, “I HAVE to have some time to myself at home. It’s that simple. In fact, I plan to do this each week.”

Your husband might be one of those people who never needs to be alone, and so he doesn’t realize how necessary and restorative a few hours of alone-time can be.

I also highly recommend taking a mini-break and going to a nearby spot for a day and overnight by yourself, if at all possible. You will return feeling so much better — and you can hope that your husband will note and appreciate the positive impact on you.

Overall, it seems that your husband could do more to step up at home.

If he has the energy to volunteer outside the home, then why can’t he do more to ease your domestic burden?

Dear Amy: “Wondering” was unsure if she should tell her friend that the woman’s husband was having an affair. I appreciate she gave the husband the opportunity to tell his wife first, but he didn’t.

It’s interesting that people who possess such knowledge feel they will “destroy someone’s marriage” or “ruin someone’s life” if they share such information.

My husband lived in the basement, emotionally left our family, and basically ignored us (my two young boys and me) for five years.

He barely worked, destroyed our finances, and will never have to pay back the tens of thousands of dollars he “borrowed” from my parents.

I thought he was depressed. I didn’t know that he was having an affair with one of my friends.

Mutual friends were very suspicious of their relationship but chose not to tell me. Yes, it would have been hard to hear the truth, but having the knowledge of his affair would have saved me from five years of him draining our bank accounts, five years of emotional hell, and five developmental years of my boys’ lives. One son, now 18, told me, “You didn’t want to leave Dad because you thought your boys needed a father, but we didn’t have a father.” Ouch. Telling someone about their spouse’s affair could actually be life-giving. It is not a happy marriage and you are not the one destroying it, the cheating spouse is.

— Healthier Mom, Healthier Kids

Dear Healthier: Knowing the truth also enables a couple to work on repairing a marriage. Many relationships do survive infidelity.

Dear Amy: Recently, a mother-in-law (“Mom”) griped about her daughters-in-law, saying that one of these women was a “sassy” and the other was a “slob.”

I wish that you had pointed out that the daughter-in-law who is a slob at home is married to a man (her son!) who could certainly clean up their house if he wanted to.

— Disappointed

Dear Disappointed: Absolutely. This particular mother-in-law sounded like a nightmare.

(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)