Denver news in 5 minutes: What you need to know today, Nov. 7

Happy Election Day! We’ve got news about the Michael Marshall jail death case, immigrant legal defense, our state’s booming population, cats’ toes and more.

"A relatively harmless cabbage accident some years back." A crowd of people are gathered around a spilled truckload of cabbage and a derailed railroad train car in Denver, Colorado. Between 1920 and 1930. (Harry Mellon Rhoads/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Rh-5916)

historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
"A relatively harmless cabbage accident some years back." A crowd of people are gathered around a spilled truckload of cabbage and a derailed railroad train car in Denver, Colorado. Between 1920 and 1930. (Harry Mellon Rhoads/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Rh-5916) historic; denver public library; dpl; archive; archival; denverite
“A relatively harmless cabbage accident some years back.” (Harry Mellon Rhoads/Denver Public Library/Western History Collection/Rh-5916)

Before I dive into what’s happening now, I want to say that I love this photo because it shows that journalists have always been drawn to that special genre of story: truck spills a lot of one particular thing.

But I digress. It’s Election Day, and you also might have noticed some white stuff on the ground. We’ve got some troubling news from the Michael Marshall case, a look back at the legacy of a Five Points mainstay, a special election on Colfax and more.

Justice

Just last week, Denver settled with the family of Michael Marshall for $4.65 million and agreed to change its procedures for dealing with jail inmates with mental illness. But a hearing officer has overturned the suspensions of two deputies who restrained Marshall before his death in the Downtown Detention Center. A trainer said the incident, which was ruled a homicide, gave him “zero concerns.” “Actually, I’d love to have the video just for training …” (Denverite)

The Denver City Council voted to set aside $200,000 for a legal defense fund for immigrants, but, as Andy reports, some members worry that this isn’t the right way to spend taxpayer money. The counter-argument is that taxpayers also end up footing the bill when families are split up and lose their breadwinners to deportation. (Denverite)

Walmart shooting

Scott Ostrem, the man whom police say walked into a Thornton Walmart and casually shot and killed three people, has been charged with six counts of first-degree murder. He could face the death penalty or life without parole. (AP)

Ostrem’s stepsister told Kirk Mitchell that his personality changed radically after a bad acid trip 29 years ago and that he heard demonic voices. (DP)

And the woman who stopped the shooter at the New Life Church in 2007 has a word of caution for the people who call her a “good guy with a gun.” She was a trained police officer at the time she was volunteering as a security guard, Katie Eastman reports. (9News)

Gone but not forgotten

Norman Harris Sr. started every day with a raw egg, rice milk and raisins, and he followed that up with a 1.5 mile walk through Five Points. A fixture in the neighborhood and at veterans events, Harris was also a proud member of an exclusive club, the black business and property owners of northeast Denver. He died last week at the age of 99. Andy spoke with his grandson to learn more. (Denverite)

Development

Colorado is projected to gain another 3 million residents over the next 35 years, according to the state demographer, and most of them won’t actually be living in Denver. Rather, it’s Fort Collins, Greeley and the Western Slope that will bear the brunt of continued in-migration, as Aldo Svaldi reports. There’s a few alarming ways to put this. We’ll gain the equivalent of another metro Denver by 2050 — and Colorado Springs will become the state’s largest city! (DP)

Emich Volkswagen paid $7 million for a 4.7-acre lot near South Santa Fe Drive and Alameda Avenue. Emich, which operates at 1260 Colorado Blvd., plans to move to the new location in 2018, as Thomas Gounley reports. (BusinessDen)

Pets

The Denver City Council gave unanimous approval to a proposal to ban the declawing of cats unless there is some sort of medical reason. It still needs a final vote, but this one looks like it’s in the bag. This would make Denver the first city outside of California to ban the procedure, as Andy reports. (Denverite)

Getting around

A proposal to subsidize discount transit passes for low-income RTD riders did not get a favorable reception at the legislature. The idea isn’t dead, as David Sachs reports, but it faces a much more difficult path to approve after a transportation committee turned it down. (Streetsblog)

Burgers

Greenwood Village-based casual chain Red Robin will stop opening new restaurants after the end of 2018 and take an 18- to 24-month pause to figure out how it can remain successful in the face of changing consumer preferences, Ed Sealover reports. “We simply can’t be satisfied with this level of performance,” executive vice president and chief financial officer Guy Constant said. “The future will look much different than it does today. And it needs to.” (DBJ)

There is such a thing as a turducken burger, and you can buy it at Hopdaddy starting Wednesday. “The Turducken Burger crams all of the deliciousness of Thanksgiving into a single burger.” Gravy is on the side. (The Know)

Civics

Still need to vote? It’s OK. Me too. Check out our voter guide if you need some help making your decision, and you can find ballot drop-off locations here. Don’t let the weather deter you, and get on it. You have until 7 p.m.

There’s also a special election for business owners along East Colfax. If they agree to tax themselves at a higher rate, the money would go toward street improvements, as Andy reports. (Denverite)

Erica Meltzer

Author: Erica Meltzer

Erica Meltzer covers government and politics. She's worked for newspapers in Colorado, Arizona and Illinois and once won a First Amendment Award by showing up in the wrong place at the wrong time. She served in the Peace Corps in Paraguay and can swear fluently in Guarani. She gets emotional about public libraries. Contact Erica Meltzer at 303-502-2802, emeltzer@denverite.com or @meltzere.