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A Colorado rafting company loses court battle over minimum wage increase

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A Colorado rafting company loses court battle over minimum wage increase


GRANITE, Colo. (KKTV) -A recent federal court ruling could increase the cost of rafting on the Arkansas River. Colorado river outfitters, including Arkansas Valley Adventures, have lost their legal fight to avoid paying state-mandated minimum wages to their raft guides.

The decision, handed down on April 30 by the federal court, upheld a $15 per hour minimum wage, following an appeal to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last year.

The outfitters argued that the wage increase would escalate their operating costs, potentially leading to higher prices for customers and fewer available trips. The government contends that higher wages will boost worker productivity and improve service quality.

“You know, we’re going to pay you twice as much but guess what, we don’t have any work. It wouldn’t help us. We didn’t want that. We wanted an exemption. We wanted to understand our situation, and that just didn’t happen,” said Arkansas Valley Adventures owner Duke Bradford.

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For those planning to go water rafting, expect some changes. Increased labor costs may lead outfitters to raise their rates, and some may reduce the number of trips offered, affecting the availability of rafting adventures.

“We work very hard to pay our staff as best we can. And I think you know, when you work closely with people you want that right. This isn’t about that, but we also don’t want to lose the ability to do overnights because the federal government, the Department of Labor, steps in and mandates a rule that would do away with that,” said Bradford.

The state’s rafting outfitters association Executive Director David Costlow says the need for Congress to legislate rather than leaving it to government agencies and affirmed their intention to continue the legal battle.

Click here to read the court’s decision.

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What’s new in Colorado this summer? Hotels, festivals, a wave park and more

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What’s new in Colorado this summer? Hotels, festivals, a wave park and more


Some people return each year to a favorite spot for summer vacation. But if you are among those wanting to try something new in the Rocky Mountain region, here are some suggestions that will give you reason to brag.

Ride the rails

A cellist plays in Hunter Canyon as part of the Moab Music Festival in 2023. (Provided by the Moab Music Festival)

The Rocky Mountaineer launched its Denver-to-Moab train trip in 2021, with the journey going roundtrip from Union Station downtown. What’s new is that this summer, it’s partnered with the Moab Music Festival, which is in its 31st year. The eight-night musical travel experience is Sept. 3-11, with two nights in Denver, two nights in Glenwood Springs, and four nights in Moab. Guests will get to attend four concerts at the music festival, set in stunning outdoor spaces with perfect natural acoustics. (Note that the entire festival is Aug. 28-Sept. 14, and the acts change each year. For details on the trip, go to rockymountaineer.com, and check out the music lineup at moabmusicfest.org.

Plus, when the train stops in Glenwood Springs, travelers can check out the historic Denver Hotel, which was refurbished and rebranded as Hotel Maxwell Anderson. Stop in to see its new lobby and have a cocktail.

Riding high

You’d be excused if you found yourself in Grand Junction and mistook it for Denver’s RiNo neighborhood because this Western Slope city has gone from a way station for outdoor adventure to a hip destination. The new Hotel Melrose opened in fall 2023, so this is the first summer to stay at this “historically inspired boutique hotel” with chic dark walls and sumptuous furniture. Or, just drop in to get a cocktail at the Melrose Spirit Co. while you amble around downtown.

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Grab a bite to eat at Jojo’s Dinette, from the same people who brought you the always popular Tacoparty and Bin 707 Foodbar. Opened in spring 2024, this restaurant is aiming for affordable small bites with a combination desert and Parisian twist.

SALIDA, CO - JULY 24: Ben Millett rides his river surf board in the rapids in the water park in the Arkansas River in downtown on July 24, 2022 in Salida, Colorado. Salida and its environs offers a wide variety of things to do for a weekend including biking, rafting, kayaking, zip lining, stand up paddle boarding along with a host of galleries, small local shops and great restaurants in town. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)
SALIDA, CO – JULY 24: Ben Millett rides his river surf board in the rapids in the water park in the Arkansas River in downtown on July 24, 2022 in Salida, Colorado. Salida and its environs offers a wide variety of things to do for a weekend including biking, rafting, kayaking, zip lining, stand up paddle boarding along with a host of galleries, small local shops and great restaurants in town. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Ride the waves

For the past 10 or more years, the town of Salida has attracted adventurers with its Scout Wave river surfing at Salida Park. New this summer: Scout River 3.0, a new, improved version of the popular spot.

“The 1.0 didn’t really perform the way it was supposed to, and you couldn’t really surf it,” said Mike “Diesel” Post, Salida’s director of parks and recreation. In 2022, the city invested in version 2.0, which was ideal for 1,200 cfs (cubic feet per second of water flow), but when high water came in 2023, there were problems. “It turned into a hole and flipped some fishing rafts,” Post explained.

For this newest version, “We did a whole bunch of improvements, beefed it up to make sure the wave did not collapse during high water and created a safe fish passage.”

Post estimates that this little river wave draws at least 10,000 people to Salida each year.

More art

Aspen was founded with the idea of blending culture and community, so there has long been a wide variety of choices for music and art. New for summer 2024: The Aspen Art Fair, taking place at the Hotel Jerome with more than 35 galleries filling the historic hotel’s iconic ballroom and beyond. Taking place July 29-Aug. 2 during the established Aspen Art Week, this new fair has a big advantage: It’s free and open to the public. The fair, which was co-founded by Becca Hoffman, founder of 74tharts, will highlight international modern and contemporary art and design.

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Trailborn, a new outdoors-focused hotel brand for adventure and nature lovers with sustainability in mind, offers 86 guest rooms split between Trailborn Rocky Mountain and Trailborn Rocky Mountains Outpost near the east entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo provided by Christian Harder)
Trailborn, a new outdoors-focused hotel brand for adventure and nature lovers with sustainability in mind, offers 86 guest rooms split between Trailborn Rocky Mountain and Trailborn Rocky Mountains Outpost near the east entrance of Rocky Mountain National Park. (Photo provided by Christian Harder)

Not roughing it

In Estes Park, you’ll find two refurbished lodgings that are now Trailborn boutique hotels: Trailborn Rocky Mountains and Trailborn Rocky Mountains Outpost. These properties opened in late 2023, so this is the first summer guests can stay there while exploring Rocky Mountain National Park. Forget about roughing it, and instead experience stylish interiors with complimentary coffee and a soft cooler, among other amenities.

Not just camping

Ramble, a Golden-based company, has found that sweet spot between camping and glamping, and this is its first summer in Mancos, outside of Mesa Verde National Park in southwestern Colorado. Here, campers get to experience nature, not being alongside RVs in a parking lot, and it provides a low-smoke fire pit, seating, cooking accommodations and more.

Outdoor recreation

Outside Magazine is debuting its Outside Festival June 1-2  in downtown Denver’s Civic Center, a collaboration between the Colorado Outdoor Recreation Industry Office and Visit Denver. For a few years, Denver was the host to Outdoor Retailer, a massive trade show for outdoor gear and more, before it moved back to Utah in 2023. This event is an attempt to fill that void with a variation that includes brands sponsoring concerts and giveaways. Attendees can take a walk with athlete Diana Nyad, drop off gently used gear for cash; learn about the future of gear; and much more.

Look up

Ramble opened its first campground in southwest Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Each site comes outfitted with a fire pit and chairs, so campers don't need to bring their own. (Provided by Sam Starr)
Ramble opened its first campground in southwest Colorado near the Great Sand Dunes National Park. Each site comes outfitted with a fire pit and chairs, so campers don’t need to bring their own. (Provided by Sam Starr)

Head north to Wyoming for the opening of the Snow King Observatory and Planetarium in Jackson on June 1. This is the first observatory located in a North America ski resort. There are daytime and nighttime experiences available; tickets need to be purchased for admittance. Check the calendar for concerts so you can combine this celestial outing with some local music fun.

“We get more summer visitors who come to Grand Teton National Park and Yellowstone National Park, and that demographic is looking to broaden their experience of the outdoors,” said Sidney Roubin, sales manager at Snow King Mountain Resort. “Usually the technology we have in this planetarium and observatory is only found in research centers so it’s exciting that the community and visitors will get this chance.”

Jackson is currently working to become a designated Dark Sky Place, Roubin added, which could further enhance the sky viewing on this mountaintop.

Play cowboy

En route to Jackson, consider a stop in Cheyenne and take advantage of its new Saddle Up Pass, which for $125 lets you play cowboy: learn roping skills and horsemanship at Terry Bison Ranch; get discounts on authentic Western wear at participating local retailers; take a tour of the Cheyenne Street Railway Trolley; and get that souvenir Western photo. The pass is available year-round, and will certainly come in handy during the annual Cheyenne Frontier Days, July 19-28.

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eEdition : atHome Colorado New Home Showcase

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eEdition : atHome Colorado New Home Showcase


Your Dream Home Awaits!

Is your current home nolonger functional for your lifestyle? Are you looking to downsize or are you buying a first home?

Now is the perfect time to consider a new build. This month, we’ll highlight the area’s finest builders and models available. Just clip these pages and schedule atime to meet with a builder at your convenience to discuss more ways to make your dream home a reality.

>> Read e-Edition of Colorado New Home Showcase / atHome Colorado

Stay up to date with area Real Estate and Home & Garden news information with the latest e-edition version of atHome Colorado online

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This article is brought to you by atHome Colorado, your weekly insight into real estate, design, and community trends, published weekly by the advertising and marketing department in the Boulder Daily Camera, Loveland Reporter-Herald, Greeley Tribune, and Longmont Times-Call



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Victims identified following apartment complex shooting in Colorado Springs

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Victims identified following apartment complex shooting in Colorado Springs


COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (KKTV) – The victims of a mid-May apartment complex homicide investigation in Colorado Springs were identified by officials Thursday afternoon.

According to the Colorado Springs Police Department, Ramon Ruacho, 19, and Elijah Espinoza, 21, both died following a shooting at an apartment complex in the 200 block of North Murray Boulevard on May 16. Officials said the county coroner will determine their cause and manner of deaths, but their deaths are both being investigated as homicides.

Police provided a photo of Ruacho alongside the release of the victims’ identities. He is pictured at the top of this article.

According to police, the night of the incident, officers on scene found three males with gunshot wounds. One was found dead on scene, another died at the hospital and the third suffered serious but not life-threatening injuries.

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Ruacho and Espinoza’s deaths are the 16th and 17th homicides in the city this year. According to police, a suspect was still not in custody as of Thursday, but officials said they do not believe this was a random act of violence.

This remains an active investigation, and anyone with information or who was a witness to this incident is asked to call the Colorado Springs Police Department at (719) 444-4000.



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