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Gay rights group to spend big on 2018 Congressional races

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WASHINGTON  — The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s leading gay rights groups, is launching a $26 million political organizing effort ahead of next year’s midterm elections. While the effort is nationwide, the group is focusing its resources in particular on several key states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. All six states are expected to have competitiv…

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WASHINGTON  — The Human Rights Campaign, one of the nation’s leading gay rights groups, is launching a $26 million political organizing effort ahead of next year’s midterm elections.
While the effort is nationwide, the group is focusing its resources in particular on several key states: Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona, and Nevada. All six states are expected to have competitive Senate races next fall, and each is a presidential battleground.
HRC president Chad Griffin said the effort, which will include hiring at least 20 additional political staffers, aims to go “beyond resistance” — drawing from the phrase used by opponents of President Donald Trump’s administration. He said the group will focus on fighting legislation curbing gay rights and backing “pro-equality candidates and initiatives.”
“Resistance is really important — all of the marches and the rallies, that’s all important,” Griffin said. “But it’s also important to not only sustain that, but to take that to the next level.”
HRC’s announcement comes as Democrats and liberal organization grapple with how to rebound from devastating defeats across the country in November. Despite Trump’s sluggish approval ratings, Democrats have failed to pull out victories in several special elections this year, and the party …
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Colorado

Pueblo woman takes on a Mormon church accusing leaders of covering up 1980s rape

Puebloan McKenna Denson crashed church services in Utah calling out the Joseph L. Bishop for allegedly sexually assaulting her in the 1980s.

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McKenna Denson, of Pueblo, Colo., attempts to speak to a Mormon Church in Prove, UT claiming church leaders are hiding that a former missionary leader raped her in the 1980s. She is suing over the alleged rape. (YouTube)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A woman who sued a former Mormon missionary leader claiming that he raped her in the 1980s went to his church in Arizona on Sunday and told his congregation that church leaders are covering for a “sexual predator.”

McKenna Denson was ushered away from the podium at the Mormon church in Chandler, Arizona, shortly after she began talking during a monthly segment in Mormon services when church members are invited to share their testimony, shows a video posted online.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints criticized Denson’s actions, calling it disappointing that someone would interrupt worship services for personal gain.

FILE – In this April 5, 2018, file photo, McKenna Denson speaks with reporters during a news conference in Salt Lake City. Denson, a woman who sued a former Mormon missionary leader claiming that he raped her in the 1980s, went to his congregation in Arizona and said church leaders are covering for a “sexual predator.” (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

A judge recently dismissed part of Denson’s lawsuit against the church because the statute of limitations had passed, but allowed a fraud claim to stand because the alleged cover-up was discovered recently. All the claims were dismissed against Bishop, who denied the accusations but acknowledged in a police interview that he asked her to expose herself when she was 21, according to police documents.

Denson, 55, of Pueblo, Colorado, introduced herself as a visitor and said she loved the savior before telling everyone that the now-85-year-old Joseph L. Bishop is “sexual predator” who raped her and that Mormon leaders are now covering for him.

It’s unclear if Bishop was at the church.

Bishop oversaw hundreds of young people as president of the Missionary Training Center, in Provo, Utah, in the 1980s.

After Denson made clear why she was there, a man then approached Denson and told her she needed to sit down, offering to talk with her later. She said she wasn’t finished.

“For the atonement to take place, we have to be accountable for what we do,” said Denson, as the man continued to try to get her to stop.

As the man then grabbed her by the shoulders, she resisted and told people to call police and told him he was invading her personal space.

“In order to keep the church safe we need to hold sexual predators accountable, whether they are pedophiles or whether they are rapists like Joseph Bishop,” said Denson.

The man then said, “This is not the place for you to share this, c’mon,” and Denson left.

The video was posted Monday on YouTube by Mike Norton, who runs the channel named “NewNameNoah.” The channel features videos critical of the Mormon faith.

Denson’s attorney, Craig Vernon, said his client isn’t commenting further on the incident.

A statement by Mormon church spokesman Eric Hawkins said members who have personal grievances should find other ways to communicate those without disrupting church services.

“It is disappointing that anyone would interrupt such a worship service to bring attention to their own personal cause,” the statement said. “Recording and posting of these disruptions on social media to seek public attention and media coverage, sadly, shows an unfortunate lack of respect for others.”

The Mormon church has said repeatedly it has “no tolerance for abuse.”

Bishop’s attorney didn’t immediately return requests for comment.

The Associated Press doesn’t usually name people who say they are victims of sexual assault, but Denson has said she wants her story to be public.

In a secret recording she made during a visit to confront Bishop in December, Bishop is heard apologizing to Denson though he didn’t specify what happened.

Denson says the church failed to take action against Bishop after she reported the assault several times over the past three decades. The church has said Bishop wasn’t punished because he denied the allegations and church members could not verify them.

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Colorado

70,000 Colorado homes to be powered by Wyoming wind farm

The proposed 75 turbine wind farm would power homes in Northern Colorado

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CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) — A proposed wind energy project in southern Wyoming could provide power to more than 70,000 homes in several communities in northern Colorado.

The Roundhouse Renewable Energy Project, which would be operated by Utah-based Enyo Renewable Energy, would use 75 turbines to generate 150 megawatts of energy annually for homes in Fort Collins, Loveland, Longmont and Estes Park, the Wyoming Tribune Eagle reported Sunday.

If approved, the wind farm would become one of northern Colorado’s largest sources of wind power. It would be operated on more than 45 square miles (116 square kilometers) of private and public land in Laramie County, and the power would be sold to Platte River Power Authority, a Colorado-based energy company.

In addition to turbines, an above-ground transmission line would carry power from the wind farm to Rawhide Energy Station near Wellington, Colorado.

Rob Godby, director of the Center for Energy Economics and Public Policy at the University of Wyoming, said it’s common for companies outside of Wyoming to tap into the state’s wind potential.

“Wyoming has actually built its energy infrastructure to export most of the electricity produced here,” he said. “The wind resource here is really good. The wind blows more often and more steadily than many other places in the country, and that’s why we have always touted it as a development tool.”

Wyoming also sees wind flow generally different than that of the western plains, where many of Colorado’s existing farms are built.

“There is a benefit to diversifying your sources of wind,” Godby said. “It turns out Wyoming wind sources are complementary to Colorado winds. They tend to peak at different times of the day and fill in some of those gaps.”

The Fort Collins City Council, as well as the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s industrial siting council, must approve the project, which could be completed as early as 2020.

The total projected cost of the wind farm has not been released.

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Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads that's why we need your help.

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Aretha Franklin: the sound of America’s Civil Rights Movement

The Queen of Soul created the soundtrack that inspired millions to fight for racial equality.

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FILE - In this March 26, 1973 file photo, soul singer Aretha Franklin appears at a news conference. Franklin died Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 at her home in Detroit. She was 76. (AP Photo, File)

Aretha Franklin, who was born and rose to fame during the segregation era and went on to sing at the inauguration of the first black president, often used her talent, fortune and platform to inspire millions of black Americans and support the fight for racial equality.

“She not only provided the soundtrack for the civil rights movement, Aretha’s music transcended race, nationality and religion and helped people from all backgrounds to recognize what they had in common,” said longtime civil rights leader the Rev. Joseph E. Lowery.

Franklin, who died Thursday at 76, was a close confidante of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and a financial lifeline to the civil rights organization he co-founded, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

The Queen of Soul’s commitment to civil rights was instilled by her father, the Rev. C.L. Franklin, who also knew King and preached social justice from his pulpit at New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit.

Jesse Jackson, Betty Shabazz, Tom Todd, Aretha Franklin, Louis Stokes

The church, in fact, was the first place King gave his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963. Among those in the congregation were Aretha Franklin and Mahalia Jackson. It was Jackson who later urged the civil rights leader to “tell them about the dream, Martin” at the March on Washington, where he delivered the oration for which he is most famous.

Franklin recorded “Respect” on Valentine’s Day 1967. Black Americans had already won federal legislation outlawing segregation and protecting their voting rights, particularly in the Deep South.

But blacks were still a year away from the Fair Housing Act. And just months after the song was recorded, urban centers, including Franklin’s hometown of Detroit, would burn, exposing police brutality and unequal living conditions and job opportunities.

“Her songs were songs of the movement,” Andrew Young, the former King lieutenant and U.N. ambassador, said Thursday. “R-E-S-P-E-C-T. … That’s basically what we wanted. The movement was about respect.”

The SCLC often struggled financially, but Franklin played a vital role in keeping the movement afloat.

“Almost every time we needed money, there were two people we could always count on: Aretha Franklin and Harry Belafonte,” Young said. “They would get together and have a concert, and that would put us back on our feet.”

FILE – In this March 26, 1973 file photo, soul singer Aretha Franklin appears at a news conference. Franklin died Thursday, Aug. 16, 2018 at her home in Detroit. She was 76. (AP Photo, File)

King and Franklin were like spiritual siblings, sharing a bond rooted in their Christian faith, Young said. King would often ask Franklin to sing his favorite songs, “Amazing Grace” or “Precious Lord, Take My Hand.” When King was assassinated in 1968, Franklin sang “Precious Lord” at his funeral in Atlanta.

Franklin’s “Amazing Grace” was also a comfort to the Rev. Al Sharpton when he was a boy. He recalled that his mother would play the song nonstop in their Brooklyn home after his father left.

As an adult and an activist, Sharpton became friends with the soul singer. He noted her unwavering faith, which she brought with her on stage to every performance.

“Whether it was the White House, Radio City Music Hall or the Apollo Theater, she always did gospel numbers,” Sharpton said. “She was unapologetically a hardcore, faith-believing Baptist. At the height of her career, she cut a gospel album. Who does that? Her faith is what motivated her.”

Long after the civil rights movement ended, Franklin remained committed to social justice, helping Sharpton as he began his organization, the National Action Network, in New York. She would call Sharpton for updates on the emerging Black Lives Matter movement, asking about such cases as those of Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner.

“She gave so much to so many people, from Dr. King, to Mandela, to Barack Obama,” said Rev. Jesse Jackson, a longtime friend who visited her the day before her death.

Her presence and influence were as valuable to the movement as her financial contributions, Sharpton said.

“To have someone like that that involved and interested … was a statement,” he said. “It gave all the credibility in the world. Others had celebrity, but she had gravity and respect.”

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.
Continue Reading

One more thing...

Local and independent journalism is under threat in the West and you can change that.  With corporate raiders slashing newsrooms across the West, the PULP is one of the "Last Locals" in Colorado to produce original, compelling journalism missing in today's profit hungry world. But that costs money, time and hard work. We don't believe in spamming you with ads and that's why we need your help.

For every contribution, we put 100% back into producing original and amazing journalism. That's a promise only a local and independent newsroom can promise. Take heart because you will fuel stories just like this one and the future of journalism.

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