Amazon delivery hub in Arvada rejected, city council votes down annexation request

The Arvada City Council turned down a controversial plan by Amazon to build a delivery hub on the city’s west side, voting 5-2 early Tuesday to reject an annexation request by the online behemoth.

The council’s vote came after a nearly eight-hour meeting that focused exclusively on the proposed project, which would have placed a 112,000-square-foot delivery warehouse and more than 1,000 adjoining parking spaces on a 36-acre site at the corner of Indiana Street and West 66th Place.

For several council members, it came down to the traffic — hundreds of delivery vans moving on and off the property every day — that would end up on on already heavily traveled roads.

“We have a lot of problems on our streets,” Councilwoman Nancy Ford said. “I think that’s going to become a real burden.”

Mayor Marc Williams said he would have preferred the council refer the issue to the ballot so residents could vote on it. He was one of two council members to vote against rejecting Amazon’s annexation request, which would have brought land from unincorporated Jefferson County into Arvada’s jurisdiction and placed it under the city’s light industrial zoning.

Residents against the Amazon distribution center had for months aired concerns not just about the traffic, but also how much noise and light pollution it would create and the possible effect on wildlife and quality of life for people who live nearby.

They characterized the project as a heavy industrial use that did not fit with the light industrial zoning the company sought. Opponents collected nearly 10,000 signatures from residents against the project and organized protests at major intersections.

The public comment that started Monday night and wrapped up Tuesday morning was almost entirely against the project. Councilwoman Lauren Simpson acknowledged that while the land Amazon had been eyeing was never intended to remain open space or undeveloped — according to Arvada’s comprehensive plan — it wasn’t necessarily destined to become an Amazon delivery hub either.

Amazon representatives said the new facility would produce hundreds of new jobs and was in line with the city’s comprehensive plan, which calls for industrial development at the site. They noted the surrounding area already has warehouses and industrial operations, complete with truck traffic.

Amazon also argued it had agreed to eliminate nearly 200 parking spaces from its original proposal and include an eight-acre green space buffer between the facility and Maple Valley Park to the north. Amazon’s lighting study showed that very little light would escape from the site because of the down-facing lamps it planned to use in its parking lot.

To alleviate traffic problems, Amazon had planned to stagger delivery runs to avoid the rush hour. An Amazon representative, who attended the meeting virtually, said he expected that all delivery vehicles at the Arvada facility would be electric by 2025.

Denver popcorn startup Opopop launches with $12 million in the bag

Jonas Tempel and Brad Roulier want to make popcorn cool again.

The Denver entrepreneurs have spent 20 years working together in the nightlife and music industry but, at 52 and 48 years old and each with kids, the longtime friends decided to “pursue more G-rated ideas,” Tempel said.

This week the duo introduced their new popcorn brand Opopop with the launch of their first product, Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels, which are pre-flavored microwavable popcorn kernels.

“The last known innovation within the popcorn industry was the air popper, which was introduced 40 years ago in 1979,” Tempel said. “We realized this is a sleepy category with 100-year-old brands just sitting in holding companies.”

He added, “There are some new companies chasing different health trends, like SkinnyPop, or introducing ready-to-eat-popcorn, and that’s interesting but it’s not innovative. We didn’t want to just make ad campaigns on bags. We believe popcorn should be eaten warm and fresh.”

Opopop’s Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels come in six flavors, including classics like “Fancy Butter” or the more unique “Salted Umami” and “Vanilla Cake Pop.” On Opopop’s website, customers can purchase three family size bags for $45 or a “Discover Kit” for $40, which comes with a branded microwave popcorn bowl and six small pouches of each flavor.

Provided by Opopop

Opopop’s Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels come in six flavors, including Salted Umami, Vanilla Cake Pop and Maui Heat.

The kernels are individually flavored using a “super-secret we’d-love-to-tell-you-but-then-we’d-have-to-kill-you, proprietary flavor delivery process,” Opopop’s website says.

Tempel said that the inspiration for the making of Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels came from M&Ms, which, in the early stages, are “tumbled” in a coating pan, a machine that resembles a cement mixer, and rotated so every treat is exposed to the same amount of chocolate.

Tempel and Roulier first came up with the idea for Opopop in 2016 over a large bowl of popcorn. Tempel had made a nonchalant comment about the lack of innovation in the industry, and “it just kind of stuck,” he said.

The duo had met years ago while DJing and later in 2004 founded Beatport, which is essentially iTunes for DJs, before selling it to SFX in 2012. They also owned Beta Nightclub, which they sold last year, in downtown Denver.

In between the two ventures, Tempel was founding CEO at Beats Music, where he led the early development of what ultimately became Apple Music.

“We had a big ego reset coming out of the music industry as fairly well minted businesspeople,” Tempel said. “In the music industry it’s kind of who you know, so my pedigree was immediately established with my experiences at Beats by Dre, and I didn’t have to say anything else. But then I step into this world, and they’re like ‘Cool. What do you know about food?’”

After looking at some potential financial models for Opopop in 2017, the founders decided to take their idea a little more seriously.

They created a team including President Sarah McDowell, who had worked for General Mills; Alex McEvoy, who handles shipping and logistics and previously co-founded Wheat Ridge-based Deke Digital; and Chuck Lepley, chief marketing officer, who was previously Boulder-based Sphero’s director of marketing.

“Every job I’ve ever had, with the exception of one, I’ve been a CEO,” Tempel said. “So, I’m comfortable guiding businesses from idea to execution, and I love building good teams.”

Tempel and Roulier’s first idea for Opopop is still in the works. They plan to introduce the flagship product, which they would not disclose but described as a “popcorn machine,” in the next two years.

Flavor Wrapped Popcorn Kernels, which the machine needs to work, were born in the midst of the flagship product’s design process, Tempel said.

“When we were bringing investors in to show them our flagship idea, we would make them the popcorn to show the end result and how it would be a game changer,” Tempel said. “And the investors were saying, ‘Man this popcorn is so good, why don’t you just sell it?’ We had never originally wanted to sell the kernels. But the more people we met, the more they fell in love and we realized this was doable.”

Opopop closed on a $5 million funding round this month, bringing the company’s total raised to $12.03 million, according to SEC filings. The round was led by Chicago-based Valor Siren Ventures, which is backed by Starbucks, and included participation from other notable investors, such as Peter Rahal, founder of RXBAR protein bars and Litani Ventures; Grammy award-winning D; producer Tiësto; Academy Award-winning director Jimmy Chin; and Alex Bogusky’s firm Batshit Crazy Ventures.

The startup, which has a staff of 14, is using the funding to build out its 12,000-square-foot manufacturing facility at 2890 S. Vallejo St. in Englewood, which the founders leased in 2019. Opopop also plans to hire around 10 more people in the next year and invest more into research and development for new products, as well as marketing.

Opopop has received a trademark for its “Flavor Wrapped” product and filed for a patent this year. For now, the company plans to build the brand through direct-to-consumer sales only but its products will be sold in big retailers eventually, according to Tempel.

The startup has already shipped 1,500 units. It also plans to introduce another microwave popcorn product this year, a series of stovetop products next year, and eventually the flagship popcorn machine.

“For right now, we’re just shaking hands and kissing babies. But we hope to be able to make 1,000 orders a day by the end of the year,” Tempel said.

Little India owner brewing new concept in former Capitol Hill Starbucks

When Starbucks decided to close its Cap Hill location after 25 years, Simeran Baidwan didn’t want to lose his caffeine fix.

So, the owner of Little India is getting ready to open Lil Coffea Shop, a new sister concept to his restaurant brand, at 300 E. 6th Ave. this summer.

The shop, named after the coffee plant, will serve coffee roasted by Huckleberry Roasters and breakfast and pastries from Olive & Finch. It will also offer specialty Indian drinks, such as turmeric lattes and Little India’s popular chai tea, which is sourced from India.

Starbucks operated in the unit for 25 years, before closing in May. It is one of a number of local stores that the chain has shuttered in recent months.

“Our landlord gave this immigrant family a chance 24 years ago, and now he’s given us another opportunity to create something local,” Baidwan said.

Baidwan opened Little India’s first restaurant in 1998 at 330 E. 6th Ave., right next door. Both buildings are owned by Denver-based The Robert L. Naiman Co.

When the pandemic hit, Baidwan didn’t want to furlough any of his 70 employees and used his “rainy day fund” to open two more Little India locations in West Highland and Central Park.

Baidwan said that, when Naiman approached him about the vacant Starbucks space, he decided to use the venture as another route to save his employees. He signed the lease for the former Starbucks last week and plans to open the 900-square-foot space by the beginning of August.

“We wanted to look out for our people, so we decided to get creative and never stopped thinking outside of the box,” he said.

Baidwan eventually hopes to open a cluster of Lil Coffea Shops around the area.

500-acre Buckhorn Ranch west of Loveland lists for $11 million

Jeff Hiatt knows what he’ll miss the most about his 531-acre ranch west of Loveland.

“I sat on the porch this morning with my granddaughter, who is 5 years old, swapping stories in the warm breeze,” he said. “And then we sat on the bridge and tossed rocks into the stream. You do that once, and that answers your question.”

Hiatt and his wife Mary listed Buckhorn Ranch at 9840 Buckhorn Road, about 20 minutes southwest of Fort Collins, for $11 million this week. The couple are downsizing, Hiatt said.

The Hiatts purchased the equestrian property for $2.25 million in 2012, according to property records. They also own a 160-acre ranch on the north end of the land called Mountain Ranch and would ride horses from one ranch to the other.

“What appealed to us is there’s almost a mile of private stream that runs through the center of the property,” Hiatt said. “Along the stream, there are three or four miles of horse riding trails.”

Provided by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

The main residence, which was built in 2007, has five bedrooms and seven bathrooms.

Buckhorn Ranch features a 9,387-square-foot main residence, which was built in 2007, with five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, soaring ceilings, an open floor plan, and custom woodwork.

There’s also an 1,802-square-foot guesthouse with three bedrooms and three bathrooms, and a 4,000-square-foot studio, which the Hiatts used for a glass and woodworking shop upstairs and service equipment storage downstairs.

The Hiatts bought the property out of foreclosure, Hiatt said. Most of the structures on the ranch had been built, but the interiors were not complete, so the couple renovated the main residence, the barn, and the studio. They also built a 10,000-square-foot indoor arena and a run-in shed for horses and added 8,000 feet of linear fence and landscaping.

“The property was kind of a mess, so we did a decade’s worth of work to really turn it into a working ranch,” Hiatt said.

Provided by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

There are miles of horse riding trails and expansive pastures for roaming.

For horses, there’s a turn-of-the-century stable, which Hiatt said was rumored to be a stop along The Pony Express Trail route, with six box stalls, a tack room, a tool room, a vet room, storage and a bathing area.

For cattle, there’s a barn, milking parlor, plenty of roaming pastures, and enough hay storage for about 100 tons, Hiatt said.

Over the past nine years, the Hiatts used Buckhorn Ranch to raise cattle, breed and store horses, and host clinics for neighbors and friends in the additional indoor arena and 20,000-square-foot outdoor arena.

“We’ve been here almost a decade and for us, whether you love cattle ranching, horse breeding or owning horses, you have everything you need,” Hiatt said. “But you don’t have to be an hour away from town, and that in a nutshell is a core value of being able to have a 500-acre ranch and still buzz into King Soopers.”

Provided by LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

The property includes a mile of private stream, plus a pond.

Address: 9840 Buckhorn Road, Loveland

Listing price: $11 million

Stats: In addition to the five buildings, the property includes a mile of private stream, miles of private horse trails, a 38-acre parcel with a 2-acre building site, 8,000 feet of horse fencing, a 10-acre grazing field for horses, two fenced four-acre fields, and a 75-foot training pen.

The finer things: The primary home features a yoga and exercise room and a bathroom on the top floor, and the main floor includes two bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen with top-of-the-line appliances, a study, a sunroom, and a formal dining room.

Downstairs, there’s three bedrooms, a spacious rec room with a bar, a home theater, a billiards room and 10-foot tall pocket doors that lead out to an outdoor patio, which overlooks the creek.

The home is 20 minutes from Fort Collins, Estes Park, and downtown Loveland and 35 minutes from the nearest private jet service airport.

“It’s an entertainer’s dream,” Hiatt said. “We hosted our daughter’s wedding here, and it was perfect. There were a couple hundred people, and it didn’t feel crowded one bit.”

Sellers: Jeff and Mary Hiatt. Jeff is the author of many change management books, including “Change Management. The People Side of Change,” and “The Essence of ADKAR: a model for individual change management.” He also previously worked for Bell Labs as an engineer and program manager before founding Fort Collins-based Prosci in 1994.

Hiatt was president of Prosci, which uses research-based change management to help corporations, governments and nonprofits, until it was acquired by New York-based Leeds Equity Partners in 2016. He has been retired ever since.

Listing agents: Carliss and Jeff Erickson with LIV Sotheby’s International Realty

Girl Scouts have millions of unsold cookies this year

The Girl Scouts have an unusual problem this year: 15 million boxes of unsold cookies.

The 109-year-old organization says the coronavirus — not thinner demand for Thin Mints — is the main culprit. As the pandemic wore into the spring selling season, many troops nixed their traditional cookie booths for safety reasons.

“This is unfortunate, but given this is a girl-driven program and the majority of cookies are sold in-person, it was to be expected,” said Kelly Parisi, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts of the USA.

The impact will be felt by local councils and troops, who depend on the cookie sales to fund programming, travel, camps and other activities. The Girl Scouts normally sell around 200 million boxes of cookies per year, or around $800 million worth.

Rebecca Latham, the CEO of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, said her council had 22,000 boxes left over at the end of the selling season in late spring, even though girls tried innovative selling methods like drive-thru booths and contact-free delivery.

Latham said troops in her area sold 805,000 boxes of cookies last year; this year, they sold just under 600,000. That shortfall means the council may not be able to invest in infrastructure improvements at its camps or fill some staff positions, she said.

The council is now encouraging people to buy boxes online through its Hometown Heroes program, which distributes cookies to health care workers, firefighters and others. It also organized one-day sales with organizations like the New Mexico United soccer team, to whittle the total down further.

Parisi said Girl Scouts of the USA did forecast lower sales this year due to the pandemic. But coronavirus restrictions were constantly shifting, and the cookie orders placed by its 111 local councils with bakers last fall were still too optimistic.

By early spring, when troops usually set up booths to sell cookies in person, U.S. coronavirus cases were still near their peak. Hundreds of girls opted not to sell cookies in person. Online sales and even a delivery partnership with Grubhub failed to make up the difference.

As a result, around 15 million boxes of cookies were left over as the cookie season wound down. Most — around 12 million boxes — remain with the two bakers, Louisville, Kentucky-based Little Brownie Bakers and Brownsburg, Indiana-based ABC Bakers. Another 3 million boxes are in the hands of the Girl Scout councils, which are scrambling to sell or donate them. The cookies have a 12-month shelf life.

It’s unclear how much of a financial hit the Girl Scouts suffered because of the decline in sales since the organization won’t reveal those figures. And it isn’t the biggest blow the cookie program has ever faced. That likely came during World War II, when the Girl Scouts were forced to shift from selling cookies to calendars because of wartime shortages of sugar, butter and flour.

But the glut of cookies has laid bare some simmering issues within the Girl Scouts’ ranks. Some local leaders say this year’s slower sales should have been better predicted because falling membership was threatening cookie sales even before the pandemic began. Around 1.7 million girls were enrolled in Girl Scouts in 2019, down almost 30% from 2009.

“Without girls, there is no cookie program. Unfortunately, it took a global pandemic to bring all the problems to the surface,” said Agenia Clark, president and CEO of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, a local council.

Clark and some other local leaders were able to avert a cookie stockpile because they calculated their own sales projections instead of relying on guidance from the national office. Clark believes a new technology platform adopted by the Girl Scouts isn’t adequately forecasting membership declines and their impact. In April, she sued the Girl Scouts of the USA because she doesn’t want to her council to be forced to use that platform.

Parisi acknowledged that membership fell during the pandemic as troops struggled to figure out ways to meet safely. But those numbers are already rebounding, she said.

There were other reasons for the declining sales. Some local leaders say they might have sold cookies this year but chose not to because of an Associated Press story linking child labor to the palm oil that is used to make Girl Scout cookies.

Gina Verdibello, a troop leader in Jersey City, New Jersey, said her 21-member troop, which has girls ranging in age from 10 to 15, decided to boycott this year’s cookie program and held a protest at their city hall. Verdibello said she knows of at least a dozen other troops that opted not to sell because of the palm oil issue.

“We want to sell cookies. It’s part of our thing. But this is putting kind of a damper on it,” said Verdibello, whose troop has continued to fund activities with donations from people who heard about their boycott.

Parisi said such boycotts weren’t widespread. But she said the Girl Scouts are working with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, a nonprofit group that sets environmental and social standards for the industry, to ensure farmers are meeting those standards.

In the end, local councils won’t be held financially responsible for the 12 million boxes that remain at the two bakers. Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers said they are working with the Girl Scouts to sell or donate cookies to places like food banks and the military. The bakers can’t sell directly to grocers because that might diminish the importance of the annual cookie sales. But they may sell to institutional buyers like prisons.

Parisi said bakers and councils have occasionally dealt with excess inventory before because of weather events like ice storms or tornadoes. But this level is unprecedented.

She said some pivots, like the partnership with Grubhub, are likely here to stay. But girls are also eager to get back to their booths next year.

“Girl Scout cookie season isn’t just when you get to buy cookies,” she said. “It’s interacting with the girls. It’s Americana.”

Bigger, cheaper, faster: Colorado company advances its technology to harness the wind

A Denver company has tapped a construction technique used in the oil and gas industry to make bigger and cheaper wind-turbine towers faster, setting the stage to help expand wind power on the East Coast and offshore.

The Department of Energy has awarded Keystone Tower Systems grants to help develop equipment to manufacture its spiral-welded, tapered wind towers. The company is opening its first tower production plant in Pampa, Texas, later this summer.

The company won an $800,000 grant in March from the National Offshore Wind Research and Development Consortium, established by the Energy Department. The award dovetails with President Joe Biden’s plan to accelerate development of the nation’s offshore wind industry to reduce the use of fossil fuels and address climate change.

In Denver, Keystone Tower will continue to produce the custom manufacturing equipment it uses to make its towers. The equipment will be mobile, allowing the company to produce the much taller towers that are needed on the East Coast and offshore but would be too big to ship by truck.

“In the U.S., the wind industry is almost entirely onshore today there’s a huge pipeline of projects being developed and will be starting construction in the coming years on the East Coast,” said Eric Smith, Keystone Tower CEO and co-founder.

Key to tapping that market is building taller towers to reach the strong winds. The towers that will be produced in Texas will be the conventional height, from about 260 feet to 328 feet and will be installed in Texas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, where strong, consistent winds can be reached at a lower height in the wide, open spaces

The company will use its technology to build towers roughly twice the usual height, around 525 feet, for the Southeast, where the stronger winds are found higher, above the tree cover, and for off-shore projects.

For both sizes, Keystone Tower will use its process of welding the steel in a spiral, similar to the core of a paper towel roll. Other towers are built by mounting sections of steel on top of each other. But Keystone’s custom-made mill joins, rolls and welds the steel to create the tower.

“It’s essentially one giant machine that you feed steel into on one side and towers pop out the other side,” Smith said.

Jocelyn Brown-Saracino, the lead for the Department of Energy’s offshore wind program, said Keystone Tower has adapted construction used by the oil and gas industry and is an example of how the domestic supply chain for offshore wind can be developed. Keystone has worked with scientists at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

The Golden lab produced a federal analysis showing that adding 30 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, enough power for 10 million homes annually, would create 44,000 industry jobs and nearly 33,000 additional jobs in communities.

Smith and co-founder Rosalind Takata started the company with a grant from the DOE. Smith studied mechanical and electric engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and taught wind-turbine engineering at MIT.

“What the administration is pushing for here really enables us to quickly scale up and to decarbonize the grid at  a much faster rate, which is critical for climate change,” Smith said.

Keystone can produce a tower section about 10 times faster than the conventional process, Smith said. The base of a typical wind-turbine tower is about 15 feet, compared to a 30-foot base for the taller towers Keystone plans to start producing in the next few years.

Smith said the larger base makes the tower stronger and allows for thinner walls, saving about 250 tons of steel per tower and cutting costs. The catch is a tower that big can’t be trucked. Keystone will manufacture the towers at the project site with its mobile mill.

The company, which expects to double its workforce of 50 by the end of the year, recently added a board member and staffers with years of experience in manufacturing and the wind industry.

Denver man who died after being shot multiple times by Denver police identified

A Denver man killed Sunday by police was shot multiple times, according to the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner.

Duane Manzanares Jr., 30, was killed by Denver Police Department officers who responded to reports of a man shooting at a car, according to a news release from the Denver Office of the Medical Examiner. The death was ruled a homicide, which does not mean a crime was committed but that one person died at the hands of another.

Police were called around 5:30 p.m. Sunday about a man shooting rounds into an empty vehicle. When the police arrived, people at the scene said the man was headed east on Colfax Avenue, Denver Police Department Division Chief Ron Thomas said. Manzanares was located near East Colfax Avenue and Uinta Street.

Manzanares did not cooperate with officers and threatened to use his weapon on them. Police shot multiple times, hitting Manzanares, who later died at the hospital, Thomas said during a news conference after the shooting.

It was the fifth fatal shooting by Denver police since May 14.

Police do not believe anybody was injured when the man fired bullets into the car. Nor were any officers injured.


MLB threatens pitchers with 10-game bans for altering balls

NEW YORK — Pitchers will be ejected and suspended for 10 games for using illegal foreign substances to doctor baseballs in a crackdown by Major League Baseball that will start June 21.

The commissioner’s office, responding to record strikeouts and a league batting average at a more than half-century low, said Tuesday that major and minor league umpires will start regular checks of all pitchers, even if opposing managers don’t request inspections.

Repeat offenders will receive progressive discipline, and teams and club employees will be subject to discipline for failure to comply.

“After an extensive process of repeated warnings without effect, gathering information from current and former players and others across the sport, two months of comprehensive data collection, listening to our fans and thoughtful deliberation, I have determined that new enforcement of foreign substances is needed to level the playing field,” baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.

“I understand there’s a history of foreign substances being used on the ball, but what we are seeing today is objectively far different, with much tackier substances being used more frequently than ever before. It has become clear that the use of foreign substance has generally morphed from trying to get a better grip on the ball into something else — an unfair competitive advantage that is creating a lack of action and an uneven playing field.”

The perception of an increased use of foreign substances, tied to a drop in offense, is viewed as the largest instance of widespread cheating in baseball since the rise of steroids, which ended in the adoption of random drug-testing with penalties ahead of the 2004 season.

Yankees ace Gerrit Cole, singled out by Minnesota Josh Donaldson for a drop in spin rate in a June 3 start, dodged a question last week about whether he had ever used a Spider Tack, a sticky substance designed for use by Strongman competitors.

“I don’t quite know how to answer that, to be honest,” Cole said. “There are customs and practices that have been passed down from older players to younger players, from the last generation of players to this generation of players, and I think there are some things that are certainly out of bounds in that regard.”

MLB told teams on March 23 it would increase monitoring and initiated steps that included collecting balls taken out of play from every team and analyzing Statcast spin-rate data.

“Based on the information collected over the first two months of the season — including numerous complaints from position players, pitchers, umpires, coaches and executives — there is a prevalence of foreign substance use by pitchers in Major League Baseball and throughout the minor leagues,” MLB said.

“Many baseballs collected have had dark, amber-colored markings that are sticky to the touch. MLB recently completed extensive testing, including testing by third-party researchers, to determine whether the use of foreign substances has a material impact on performance. That research concluded that foreign substances significantly increase the spin rate and movement of the baseball, providing pitchers who use these substances with an unfair competitive advantage over hitters and pitchers who do not use foreign substances, and results in less action on the field.

“In addition, the foreign substance use appears to contribute to a style of pitching in which pitchers sacrifice location in favor of spin and velocity, particularly with respect to elevated fastballs. The evidence does not suggest a correlation between improved hitter safety and the use of foreign substances.”

The anticipated clampdown already appears to have had an impact.

Fastball spin rates averaged 2,306-2,329 revolutions per minute each week from the start of the season though June 5, according to MLB Statcast data.

Following an owners’ meeting on June 3 when talk of a crackdown emerged, the average declined to 2,282 during the week of June 6 and dropped to 2,226 on Sunday.

The major league batting average was .232 through April, down from .252 two years ago and under the record low of .237 set in 1968, and it was .236 through May, its lowest since 1968.

The average rose to .247 in the week of June 6, lifting the season average to .238.

The strikeout percentage since June 3 is 23.4%, down from 24.2% until then, and the walk percentage is 8.4%, down from 8.9%.

“This is not about any individual player or club, or placing blame,” Manfred said. “It is about a collective shift that has changed the game and needs to be addressed. We have a responsibility to our fans and the generational talent competing on the field to eliminate these substances and improve the game.”

While Bill Miller, president of the Major League Umpires Association, was quoted as being supportive in the announcement, there was no similar statement from the Major League Baseball Players Association. The players’ union said it was reviewing the memo and did not have immediate comment.

Players suspended for violations will not be replaced on the active roster.

Rosin bags will continue to be allowed but rosin cannot be combined with sunscreen or other substances, and pitchers are being told not to use sunscreen after sunset in outdoor stadiums and not to use it at all in indoor ballparks. Umpires will inspect rosin bags before games to make sure they are standard.

As part of the initiative, umpires will check all starters multiple times and all relievers either at the end of his first inning or when removed, whichever occurs first. Caps, gloves and fingertips will be checked. Umps also may check when they notice sticky balls or when perceiving a pitcher going to his glove, cap, belt, uniform or body in a manner that may be to retrieve or apply a substance.

Catchers will be subject to routine inspections and position players may be searched.

Pitchers will be responsible for foreign substances found on catchers and position players. A position player will not be ejected for possession of a foreign substance unless the umpire determines the player was applying it to a ball to aid a pitcher.

Violators are subject to ejection and decisions are not subject to replay review. Refusal to allow inspection will be presumed to have violated rules and will be ejected. Club employees who assist players in using or masking foreign substances or who refuse to cooperate or who fail to report violations will be subject to fines and suspensions.

U.S. Park service sued after gate kills Ugandan humanitarian living in Denver

SALT LAKE CITY — The family of a women’s rights activist from Uganda sued the National Park Service this month after she was decapitated last year by a gate at Utah’s Arches National Park.

The gate had been left unlatched against federal policy for two weeks before it struck Esther Nakajjigo in June 2020, according to the lawsuit filed in Denver.

Photo provided by Ludovic Michaud

Esther Nakajjigo, a Ugandan human rights activist, was killed in Arches National Park in Utah on June 13, 2020.

She and her husband were newlyweds traveling in the well-known park when the wind caught the gate as they drove out, Fox13-KSTU in Salt Lake City reported.

The lawsuit does not specify the amount of damages being sought, but Nakajjigo’s family has previously filed a $270 million notice of claim. Notices of claim must be filed ahead of lawsuits against government agencies and the lawsuit was filed June 8 in federal court.

The gate sliced through the side of their rented car, striking Nakajjigo in the head and neck and killing her, the lawsuit said.

Her husband Ludo Michaud witnessed his wife’s death, something he has called the “worst thing I hope I will ever see.”

Nakajjigo, 25, was born in Kampala, Uganda, and used her university tuition money to start a nonprofit community health care center for girls and young women when she was a teenager.

She earned numerous humanitarian awards and created a popular reality television series aimed at empowering young mothers. She was attending a social-entrepreneurship program in Colorado at the time of her death.

A National Park Service spokesperson declined comment Monday on the lawsuit, Fox13-KSTU reported. The park service previously issued a statement expressing sympathy to her family.

Man shot by Greeley police after barricading himself inside his trailer

A 57-year-old Greeley man was shot outside of his trailer Monday after the police reported him being uncooperative with law enforcement. The man’s condition  is unknown as of Tuesday morning.

At 7:44 p.m. Monday, Greeley police responded to the 400 block of North 35th Avenue for a report of a disturbance and possible burglary.

Police say the man at Stoneybrook trailer park in north Greeley barricaded himself inside his trailer while officers and dispatchers made numerous attempts to establish contact. Police say the man responded by asking the officers to leave his property, and if they didn’t, he would shoot.

At 8:25 p.m., the man stepped out onto the porch of his trailer with a weapon and pointed it at officers, according to the police. A Greeley police officer fired a single shot, and the man retreated into his home, police say.

No one was injured in the initial shooting, but additional officers responded to the scene.

Police continued to request the man surrender. At 9:14 p.m., he came back out of his door with a weapon, police say. Police then report that they shot the man.

The man was wounded during the shooting and was taken by ambulance to a hospital.

The shooting is under investigation by the 19th Judicial Critical Incident Response Team.