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Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson

Valerie Richardson covers politics and the West from Denver. She can be reached at

Articles by Valerie Richardson

Fake-rifle student returning to school

A Colorado high school student expelled for having fake drill-team rifles in her car was cleared Friday to return to school. Published February 14, 2009

Student in hot water for mock rifles

Marie Morrow, an honors student and drill-team commander in the Young Marines, isn't the kind of student who normally gets expelled. Published February 13, 2009

Comptroller blasted for ‘plush’ office

California State Controller John Chiang may be preaching fiscal restraint in the face of the state's budget crisis, but he's practicing something else, according to one Republican legislator. Published February 5, 2009

Shooting death fuels debate over guns

Sean Kennedy, a 22-year-old golf pro, drunkenly banged on the door, yelled obscenities and smashed a window as he tried to enter what he thought was his house. Published February 2, 2009

Inaugural poet fits right in with Obama choices

Elizabeth Alexander is a poet, not a politician, but there's a symmetry between her selection as inaugural poet and that of the president-elect's choices for his inner circle of advisers. Published January 19, 2009

Bush delists gray wolf in majority of U.S.

DENVER | The Bush administration removed the Canadian gray wolf from the Endangered Species List on Wednesday in every state except Wyoming, making a last-ditch bid to put states in charge of the animal's recovery in the face of staunch environmental opposition. Published January 15, 2009

Blacks lead both houses in Colo.

Terrance Carroll and Peter C. Groff can be forgiven if they're secretly annoyed with the president-elect for stealing their thunder. The two Coloradans are about to make history as the first blacks to preside over both houses of a state legislature in the same session. Published January 6, 2009

Gay marriage backers target New England

Two New England states have already legalized same-sex marriage, and a Boston-based advocacy group wants to see the other four join them. Published January 4, 2009

Denver educator eyed for Salazar’s Senate seat

Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr. stunned the state's political establishment Friday after word leaked that he planned to name Denver's little-known schools chief to succeed Sen. Ken Salazar, the Interior secretary nominee. Published January 3, 2009

Unions clash with cost-cutting state legislators

Unions invested heavily in the 2008 election in Colorado, and it paid off: The labor movement defeated three anti-labor initiatives, including a right-to-work measure, and helped Democrats increase their edge in Congress and the Legislature. Published December 30, 2008

Denver axes mascot ‘Boone’ in diversity drive

Many universities have come under pressure to reject their American Indian mascots, but in what may be a first, the University of Denver has ditched a non-Indian mascot on the grounds he wasn't sufficiently diverse. Published December 27, 2008

Candidates aplenty for Salazar’s seat

DENVER | When Ken Salazar leaves the Senate to head the Interior Department, as expected, there won't be any shortage of prominent Colorado Democrats to succeed him. Published December 19, 2008

Greens worry Obama will drop their cause

Environmentalists fear their top priority - a national climate-change policy - will be sidetracked in Congress by concerns over the slumping economy. Published December 16, 2008

Exclusive millionaires club falls on hard times

Nobody in Montana is laughing at the millionaires-only Yellowstone Club as it struggles to stay open after declaring bankruptcy. It's more like smirking. Published November 28, 2008

Book fans descend on town’s ‘Twilight’ zone

Strange, previously unseen creatures have overrun this tiny logging burg, creeping through its neighborhoods and staring at the town's high school. The locals have a name for these otherworldly beings: "Twilight" fans. Published November 20, 2008