DENVER (CBS4) – Take a look back at the biggest news stories in Colorado in 2017. The following 10 situations made big headlines on CBSDenver.com and they were featured prominently in CBS4 newscasts this year.
On Aug. 29 dinosaur fever swept the Denver metro area with the discovery of bones at a construction site in Thornton. A paleontologist at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science identified them as a triceratops based on first impression. Scientists and volunteers quickly starting digging up what became heralded as the most complete triceratops skeleton ever discovered. But that paleontologist, Dr. Joe Sertich, became less certain it was a triceratops and began to believe it to be a torosaurus.
Thirteen weeks later, volunteers revealed the frill on the skull confirming the historic find of a torosaurus, a much rarer dinosaur without any complete skeletons in the world. The Thornton Torosaurus will likely open up new avenues of dinosaur knowledge.
Firestone Deadly Explosion
On April 17 an explosion ripped through a home in Firestone, killing two men inside. Construction workers lifted up a portion of the home in order to to rescue a woman, and a child was also injured.
Ten days later, Anadarko Petroleum Corporation closed 3,000 vertical wells in northeast Colorado. Two weeks later, investigators declared “fugitive gas” was the cause of the explosion. That unrefined, non-odorized gas leaked from a severed and uncapped flowline connected to a gas well near the home. The state ordered inspections of wells across the state and Anadarko permanently shuttered three wells in the neighborhood.
Forced Splits at Denver’s East High School
In late August Denver Public Schools placed both cheerleading coaches and school administrators on leave after video surfaced of high school cheerleaders screaming in pain while being pushed into the splits during practice.
Superintendent Tom Boasberg launched an investigation that eventually led to the retirement of Principal Andy Mendelsberg, the resignation of Athletic Director Lisa Porter and the firing of Coach Ozell Williams.
Great American Eclipse
On Aug. 29 one of the most anticipated celestial events in American history graced our sky. We’re talking about the Great American Eclipse!
CBS4 meteorologist Chris Spears traveled nearly 300 miles north of Denver to experience it first-hand inside the path of totality, along with thousands of others who came up from Colorado (and caused monster traffic jams on departure from Wyoming).
It was the first total solar eclipse to cross the continental United States from coast to coast since 1918. Spears described the path of totality as an “out of this world” experience that brought a sudden temperature drop, shifting winds and a 360 degree sunset. The next total solar eclipse to cross the United States will be on April 8, 2024. It will travel from Texas to Maine.
A shooting at a Walmart in Thornton had hundreds running for safety in early November. Two men and a woman were killed and dozens more were hurt. Police quickly secured the scene and started looking for a suspect.
It wasn’t until the next morning when that suspect, Scott Ostrem, drove by a SWAT team at his home and attempted to flee from authorities. They later arrested him. Ostrem faces multiple first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder charges.
Denver Zoo’s Dobby
On Feb. 28, hearts all over Colorado’s Front Range were stolen by a 5 foot tall, 73 pound baby giraffe. The Denver Zoo welcomed baby Dobby after he surprised everyone with his unexpected birth.
Kipele, Dobby’s mother, was on birth control when zookeepers learned she was expecting. Dobby’s arrival came only weeks before the much-anticipated birth of Tajiri, baby of April the giraffe, at the Animal Adventure Park in Harpursville, N.Y. Dobby was the first giraffe born at the Denver Zoo since 2010.
Hanging Lake Trampled
One of the most pristine and beautiful places in all of Colorado had a rather tough year. Crowds flocked to Hanging Lake near Glenwood Springs. People hiking the trail left behind trash and illegally brought their dogs along and didn’t clean up after them, leading rangers to close the trail for five days in May. That also prompted officials to craft a plan imposing a limit on the number of people who can use the trail in the busiest months.
Hanging Lake even received international attention when a Brazilian clothing company shot a commercial with models posing on a log with a photographer in the lake, neither of which is allowed. Also, an 8-year-old boy from Highlands Ranch died while his family was hiking the steep trail. They believe he was hit in the head by a falling rock.
Governor’s Race Heats Up
Due to term limits, Gov. John Hickenlooper will be leaving the governor’s office at the end of his second term. With that knowledge, candidates from both major parties have been lining up to make a run at becoming Colorado’s next governor. Even though the election is still a ways away (Colorado’s primary is on June 26, 2018, and Election Day is Nov. 1, 2018) this year brought a flurry of activity.
Two well known figures who entered the race in 2017 later decided to drop out — Democrat Rep. Ed Perlmutter and Republican District Attorney George Brauchler. Democratic Rep. Jared Polis is in. Tom Tancredo is running again. Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is in. See the list of all the candidates here.
Hail Storm Closes Lakewood Mall
A severe storm with damaging hail rolled into the Denver metro area on the afternoon of May 8. It prompted a ground hold at Denver International Airport, damaged hundreds of vehicles and homes and left Colorado Mills damaged so badly that many of the mall’s stores would not open again until Thanksgiving.
The insurance claims from the storm hit $1.4 billion, making it the most expensive in state history. Some outside businesses at Colorado Mills were able to open fairly quickly but the shopping mall didn’t fully re-open until Nov. 21, just in time for Black Friday.
Mark Redwine Charged With Murdering His Son Dylan
Almost five years after Dylan Redwine, 13, disappeared from his father’s home in Durango, Mark Redwine was arrested and charged with the murder of the teen. Dylan was on a court-ordered visit to his father over the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012 when he disappeared.
His remains were found months later, about eight miles from Redwine’s home. A grand jury investigated and indicted Redwine in July. That indictment described finding Dylan’s blood in Redwine’s living room. Mark Redwine is being held in the La Plata County Jail on $1 million bond.