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Burton’s Gym



Sitting in the waiting room of Avila Integrative Medicine on Pueblo’s south side, Antwon Burton anticipates a few moments of zen. 

“I’ve got to get my weekly massage,” Burton says with a laugh. One can only imagine the physical toll a body like Burton’s has taken; a 6’2”, 300-pound former defensive lineman in the National Football League, Burton knows the physical and mental grind it takes to get to the next step. 

Now a trainer, Burton is passing his knowledge to some of Pueblo’s best young athletes who wish to advance their skills to a higher level. Burton is the coach/trainer at Next Level Performance, a training program with its facility located within World Gym on Eagleridge Circle in Pueblo. 

“When I first approached James (Sena, owner of World Gym), he believed in the vision,” Burton said. “We work well together to make it happen.” 

That vision, Burton said, is to take not only kids, but everyone, to the next level. 

“There’s always that complacency that people get when they feel like they’re good, but only good for their arena,” Burton said. “But there’s other arenas out there that people don’t believe in, because that’s not what they’re surrounded by.” 

At Next Level Performance, Burton attempts to make those other arenas known and attainable, through physical, mental and academic training. Burton stresses the mental and academic phases, firmly believing that those are the most important components of being successful. 

“Everyone thinks you only have to be big, strong and fast,” Burton said. “But when you get to that level, the mental part of it is much more important. Getting kids to where they understand the attention to detail, that’s what will separate you, and that’s where I come in.” 

Burton believes the mental focus of the training is what makes Next Level Performance unique, and also preaches getting good grades to go along with working hard in the training room. 

“You can’t have one without the other,” Burton said. “You have to get those A’s so you can hopefully get a scholarship.” 

Growing up in Buffalo, New York, Burton didn’t see a lot of opportunity to get out of there, other than through football. Burton never had anyone to guide him or teach him how to reach the next level. Instead, he took it upon himself to work hard on his grades and on his football skills and ultimately earned a scholarship to play at Erie Community College in Orchard Park, New York. 

“I did it myself,” Burton said. “I had my mom who cared about me, and loved me, but she didn’t know about football.” 

After an all-conference season at ECC, Burton transferred to Division I Temple University, located in Philadelphia, Penn. Upon his arrival, Burton noticed a change of pace and skill level in Division I football. 

“Even that jump from junior college to Division I, I don’t think people understand how huge it is,” Burton said. “It’s almost unfathomable.” 

Burton proved he was fit for the level jump, though, posting 96 tackles in his two years there, including 66 tackles and three forced fumbles his senior year. Rightfully, Burton was getting some next-level hype, and was named one of College Football News’ top pro prospects. 

Ultimately, Burton signed with the Denver Broncos in 2006, where he began an NFL career that would take him to nine teams in six seasons. 

“The truth is, I had worked so hard on my grades and physically, that I never felt like I didn’t belong,” Burton said. “I felt like I earned it and deserved it. I was always on someone’s list and was good enough to keep playing…but Denver was really my home.” 

After his stint in the NFL, Burton found his way to Pueblo from his wife, Terah, who grew up there. Now at Next Level Performance at World’s Gym, Burton works with Pueblo’s athletes and nonathletes of all ages who want to better themselves in whatever way they can. 

Burton said he sees a lot of similarities between Pueblo and his hometown of Buffalo, and hopes to excavate the talent here and push them to the next level. 

“I honestly feel like I see myself in a lot of kids here.” 

“Pueblo is looked at as the little brother of Denver and Colorado Springs, maybe almost to the point of hopelessness,” Burton said. “But there is talent here, and that’s my goal is to help these talented kids make it out.”

The clientele at Next Level Performance ranges from young athletes like softball stars Hannah and Riley Segura, ages 11 and 13, to Pueblo West football standout Keith Hed, to high-profile clients like CSU-Pueblo President Lesley Di Mare. 

“There’s opportunities out there for everybody,” Burton said. “When they come in, I make sure and tell them that it’s a commitment. I’m going to give 1,000 percent, and all I want them to give is 100 percent. If you can comply, then let’s roll.”

Burton also realizes that one of the nation’s top football programs, and colleges, is right here in his backyard, and encourages not to dismiss CSU-Pueblo because of where it is. 

“People don’t realize that CSU-Pueblo graduates go home making $37,500 a year, and CSU-Fort Collins go out and make $35,000,” Burton said. “I’m sure a lot of Pueblo students aren’t really aware of that.” 

Next Level Performance’s home base at World’s Gym includes an artificial turf field, state of the art workout equipment and weights, and caters to athletes of all ages and sports. Burton and NLP also provide help with academics, networking with potential colleges, and produce highlight videos. 

“Have you ever seen the movie ‘Any Given Sunday’?” he asks. “The ‘game of inches’ speech that Al Pacino gives; truer words have never been spoken.” 

And maybe that’s what it takes, those who are willing to “fight and die for that inch.” But for Burton, that inch is his belief in Pueblo’s young athletes and the attention to detail that makes overcoming the impossible—possible.

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Denver’s Wes Watkins dynamic new future-funk EP is from another planet




Future-Funk Party Starter | Wes Watkins

Dreams Out from Denver’s best kept secret Wes Watkins wears so many musical hats it needs a rack; downtempo G-Funk homage and sweltering nee-Soul / Rn’B are all over this release, all covered with a thicc pop glaze and a penchant for electronic-sonic experimentation that keep every song fascinatingly adventurous while maintaining a danceability and groove that easily, easily warrants multiple listens. Don’t sleep on this one.

Lo-Fuzz Folkie | Hoi Ann

The beauty of Hoi Ann’s Tangenier lies in both what you can hear and what it may want you to not hear. Lo-fi folk and bedroom-pop are easily tangible on its surface, but the buzzy electronic tones that sparingly flourish the 5 songs of this release lie low and create a unique aural atmosphere for listeners, like hidden secrets for your ears only.

Indie-Punk Sweeties | Gestalt

The pop-punk shred-bois in Gestalt are back at it again; The irresistible combo of the Get Up Kids earnest midwestern-emo and smart pop-punk wit of the Wonder Years is strong on the tracks that encompass LongBoix, as is an acute fondness and growing appreciation for the finer indie rock of yesteryear. Well I guess this is growing up.

Psych-Rock Screamcore | Gone Full Heathen

On their criminally good self titled EP, Fort Collins heavies Gone Full Heathen friggin dare you to try and trap them in a single genre. Nice try, but they’ll just chew right through your puny ropes using a gnashing blend of crushing stoner-rock laced hardcore punk and overdriven psych-rock / post-metal induced bite like the righteous rock and roll wolves that they are.

All releases available for purchase now thru Bandcamp. Go Local!

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The Haze Craze for Lazy Days



There are many different styles of beer. Ranging from light lagers (think Bud Light) and ales to sours, stouts, and IPAs.

Within those styles, however, are varying styles.

For example, one would think a sour beer is a sour beer, right? Wrong. According to the Beer Judge Certification Program, which defines every style of beer, there are six recognized European sour styles.

For IPAs, there are seven. American beers have four; stouts have three… You get the point.

Even with viewing the list of recognized styles, it’s not a complete list.

Take New England IPAs (NE IPA), as a prime example. Many breweries are currently mass producing this style of beer, and it’s selling like crazy.

You may have heard one of your annoying beer loving friends talk about drinking a “juice bomb,” or a requesting a “hazy IPA” at the pub, and shrugged it off. It turns out, they (sometimes) know what they are talking about.

What makes NE IPAs so popular when compared to a more traditional, West Coast IPA? NE IPAs have all of the hop flavors, without an overabundance of bitterness.

Instead of constantly adding hops throughout the boil to achieve a fruity flavor balanced by bitterness, the NE IPA has a small hop addition at the begging, and then nothing else until after the boil has finished.

That translates into a beer with very little bitterness, and plenty of hop aroma and flavor. Hops like Citra, Mosaic, Mosaic, Galaxy, and El Dorado are most common in NE IPAs, according to the Homebrewers Association. Those hops tend to impart a fruity, and dare I say, juicy flavor profile.

Between the juicy flavor and the seemingly natural haziness to NE IPAs, it’s not far fetched for an NE IPA to look like a tall glass of orange or grapefruit juice, only carbonated and full of alcohol.

NE IPAs are starting to gain momentum here in Colorado, with breweries turning their focus to the haze craze. Specifically, Odd13, WeldWerks, and Epic Brewing coming to mind.

Odd13 is based in Lafayette, Colo. and has a long list of NE-inspired IPAs constantly rotating through the tap room and distributed throughout the state. Codename: Super fan and Noob are two beers that are found in cans, and both offer a different approach to the haze craze.

WeldWerks is based in Greeley, Colo. and has accumulated a cult-like following in just a few short years for its Juicy Bits NE IPA. The brewery just started self-distributing locally, so you’ll have to make the trip to the brewery and pick up a crowler or four. Be sure to check the WeldWerks Facebook page for availability and limits. Yes, they have to place per person limits on how much you can purchase.

Epic Brewing recently announced its NE IPA, which will rotate between four different flavor profiles throughout the year. The cans will look the same but will be different colors as a quick way to tell identify which version you have.

So the next time you walk into a brewery or liquor store, it’s OK to ask for a hazy or juicy IPA. It’s a thing, and, frankly, they are damn good.

On Tap: By the time this hits newsstands, ThunderZone Pizza & Taphouse will have opened on the CSU-P campus. Located at 2270 Rawlings Blvd., the ThunderZone features 32 taps, a carefully curated tap list, and is locally owned.

At the opening, the tap list includes tasty brews from the likes of Florence Brewing and Lost Highway.

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Senators upend GOP health care bill in true Trump style… Twitter



WASHINGTON — When Sens. Mike Lee and Jerry Moran decided they were in ready to disrupt the GOP rewrite of the health care law, they chose President Donald Trump’s favorite medium.

They could not support Senate Republicans’ plan, the somewhat unlikely pair of conservatives tweeted at 8:30 p.m. Monday night, giving no heads up to the White House or Senate leaders before pressing send.

The story behind the statement reveals two senators willing to be branded as bill killers and seemingly unconcerned with trying to soften the blow with party leaders.

The announcement, coming after some 10 days of conversations between the men, stunned official Washington and left Majority Leader Mitch McConnell at least two votes short in the closely divided Senate from being able to move forward with the GOP bill, effectively sinking the measure. It landed shortly after Trump dined with a group of senators to discuss strategy – unwittingly plotting a plan that would immediately become outdated.

Sen. John Cornyn, the second-ranking Republican leader, found out about Lee’s defection after the White House dinner of rosemary-grilled rib eye and summer vegetable succotash. He “had no idea it was coming,” Cornyn said.

Another Republican, South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham, found out from TV news.

Moran, a second-term lawmaker from Kansas who isn’t known for making waves, and Lee, a two-term senator from Utah who has clashed with Trump, have been talking over the past 10 days about the health care legislation and agreed the GOP bill did not go far enough to repeal Obamacare or address rising health-care costs. They decided to announce their position to make the bill’s fate clear and allow senators to move on, Moran said.

“It could have been prolonged for days or weeks while no one said anything,” Moran said in an interview.

Moran, who oversaw the Senate Republicans’ 2014 election campaigns, concluded last week he wouldn’t vote for the latest version of the bill but “gave myself a weekend in Kansas to think about it,” he said.

Lee had helped draft an amendment, along with fellow conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would allow insurers to sell skimpy plans alongside more robust ones to lower costs. Cruz agreed to some changes in wording by GOP leaders, but Lee thought the new language allowed too many Obama-era regulations to remain in place.

After talking again, Moran and Lee agreed Monday night on a statement drafted earlier in the day. They issued their statement shortly after a White House dinner attended by seven GOP senators – all likely yes votes on the health care bill. Neither Lee nor Moran attended.

A Lee spokesman said the statement – and its timing – “had nothing to do with the White House dinner. It was not a reaction in any way.”

The statement was made public as soon as it was ready, the spokesman said.

Neither Trump nor McConnell received advance warning about the statement, although it’s likely that neither the president nor the Senate leader was completely surprised.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence spent the weekend calling lawmakers, including Lee and at least seven other GOP senators, according to the administration. Trump talked politics, while Pence discussed policy.

Trump called Lee on Saturday, and Lee told the president he was leaning against the bill, for the reasons he later made public.

Lee told Utah’s KSL Newsradio that he had a great conversation with Trump, when he told the president his “consumer freedom” amendment had been weakened and that he wasn’t sure that he could support the bill.

“He was encouraging to me and said, you know, ‘Just see what changes you can make to it,’ ” Lee said.

Lee and McConnell did not talk over the weekend, but Lee spoke twice to Cornyn, R-Texas, the majority whip.

Trump, who frequently takes to Twitter to announce proposals or denounce opponents, was blindsided by, of all things, a tweet.

He told reporters Tuesday he was “very surprised when the two folks came out last night, because we thought they were in fairly good shape. But they did. And, you know, everybody has their own reason.”

Moran said while he remained committed to repealing the health care law, Congress needs to make a “fresh start” on writing a replacement bill in an “open legislative process.”

“We should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy,” he said, in a statement that followed the tweet.

In his own statement, Lee said the GOP bill does not repeal all the Obamacare tax increases and “doesn’t go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families; nor does it create enough free space from the most costly Obamacare regulations.”

Both explanations were issued on social media.

“Twitter is a nice medium to get your message out,” Lee’s spokesman said.

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