Wednesday, December 18, 2013

"I love you, but I need your money/iPhone"

Love is a powerful thing and scam artists know it.

I'm proud of a woman who agreed to speak up about a military romance scam where she was nearly a victim. She was only duped for a short time, but she wanted to warn others after a "Sgt. Major in Afghanistan" fell in love with her and needed her to send him an iPhone.

Not all people who are victims of a scam are willing to go on TV and warn the rest of us. Here's how we uncovered proof of the bad guy's scam.

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Thursday, November 28, 2013

#WhyImThankful Jace Larson's 2013 edition

I’m one of the luckiest people and I always enjoy Thanksgiving because it gives us time to breathe and think about why we are grateful. Why am I thankful? In no particular rank:
  1. 1.       Great family & friends.
  2. 2.       My dog, Rocky, who really falls into category one but is special enough to get his own number.
  3. 3.       The fact that I live in the United States. I have friends in other countries who would give up just about anything to have the opportunity Americans have.
  4. 4.       Fun coworkers.
  5. 5.       The other smart people in my life who constantly challenge me.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Another PR ‘what not to do’

I blog from time to time about my interactions with public relations and marketing people. Usually it’s “what not to do.” Hopefully my posts are helpful to my friends on the other side of the business.

I’m having an experience right now with a group who will likely appear in an upcoming story.

Weeks ago, I sent an email giving a short overview of my investigation. It asked to talk on the phone and I wrote that I would like to bounce some ideas around. My offer was a branch showing I am open to other ideas. I also noted that I was using a specific case in my news story.

Now I’ve received a statement that addresses the specific case, but not the broader issue in my story. No one from the organization has called to take me up on the offer to talk openly.

My advice: when a reporter is willing to be open on a story that may not be favorable to you, take him up on it. Some journalists really do want to be open, upfront and honest from the start. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when people act scared or afraid of a simple conversation.

(Bad taste doesn't affect the story. It will be as fair as ever.)

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Sometimes I wonder what you will think of an investigation if I am exposing a few thousand dollars in taxpayer waste and not millions -- reaction to last night's investigation proves you care no matter the amount.

Would love your thoughts:

Feds defend conference trip to Vegas

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Just did an "unscheduled interview"

I don't enjoy going to someone's house to get answers... But when members of a governmental agency change their story multiple times... And then refuse to be accountable on camera for spending taxpayer money... I have no choice. Just had to take this important journalistic step.
I'll tell you more about the story in a few days.
Hopefully no one thinks we take approaching a public worker at his or home lightly. I don't like doing it, but viewers deserve answers.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Flying American flag upside down due to our country in 'distress'? #Shutdown

Highlands Ranch resident Connie Golas flies her American flag upside down and thinks others should do it too.

"That is an internationally recognized sign of extreme distress and that is the condition of our government right now," she wrote in an email to us at work.

"If the debt limit is not raised before Oct 15th, I think those flags need to be flown at half mast as well, in bereavement for the loss of the integrity of our nation," Golas wrote.

Is this a good idea? A sign of disrespect? I'm curious what other people think. I'll bet this becomes a talker.

"We have always said we are a beacon of democracy for the world. What country would want to follow our current example of a totally dysfunctional government," said Golas.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Our jobs are not glamorous: sweating it in the heat

Tuesday night I am airing my investigation on questionable dentists operating out of non-traditional offices: one in a private Denver home and the other in the back room of am Aurora business.

After a tip saying an unlicensed dentist was treating people in west Denver, we sent two 9NEWS employees undercover to see what treatment she offered.

We staged an undercover car across the street from the home and waited inside until she got home. It took hours in the heat.

Read my 9NEWS investigation:

We didn’t want to draw attention to our car or the fact there were several people inside, so we turned off the air conditioning.

After minutes in the hot, sunny weather we were covered in sweat. I think it’s dripping off my nose in this picture as I was making a phone call.

Yea, it was gross. We don’t think anyone saw us though… unlike what happened when we later went inside a piƱata store on East Colfax.  I put the moment we were “found” in my story. It airs Tuesday night at 9 and 10 p.m. on 9NEWS.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Thank you, Loveland. I can't wait to 'pay it forward.'

Thank you. I can't wait to 'pay it forward.' Three great experiences today:

1) I was nearly yelling into the phone about flood coverage as I sat in the Safeway parking lot. The lady in the car facing mine obviously saw me and smiled through our windshields. After I returned from the store... she stuck her head out of her window and, in the kindest voice, told me how much she appreciates all 9NEWS is doing.

2) As set my stuff at a table outside Starbucks to feed a story back via WiFi, a man who had trouble walking came up from across the parking lot to say 'thank you' for our coverage.

3) About 20 minutes later, a Starbucks manager came outside and asked if I had eaten enough today. If not, she said, she wanted to offer me a bite to eat.

With so much devastation, it's inspiring to see communities be kind & giving. I like the people of Loveland, Colo.

(The pictures to the left are from God's Country Cowboy Church. "Where there isn't water, there is mud.")

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I tried to be trendy on my way to work #Car2Go

These cars are everywhere. Last week I signed up for the promotion offering membership and 30 free minutes.

This morning I decided to check our how it all works and was pleasantly surprised after a small hiccup.

My first car didn't work so I couldn't "check it out." I spent five minutes waiting on hold for tech support.

Luckily there was another car a couple blocks away.

The iPhone app makes finding and reserving a car simple.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Remembering Aurora... #RememberAurora

I'm finding it hard to express my thoughts as I remember what happened in Aurora a year ago. Like so many people, I recall the phone call telling me what happened, I remember the looks on first responders faces and I remember the increased sadness as we started getting pictures of victims' faces.

I remember trying to keep my emotions collected as we reported on this tragedy for hours.

I've covered and lived through many, many anniversaries. This one feels different.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Struggling to balance need for news speed & concerns over getting the full story

UPDATE: 6:16 p.m., June 11: I ended up getting in touch with the Sheriff and posted the following story on
So here I sit at 10:39 a.m., waiting to hear back from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

I just interviewed a man who showed me a summons (ticket) he received for possessing less than an ounce of marijuana. He wonders why the deputies ticketed him post Amendment 64, the Colorado Constitutional Amendmentwhich says having a small amount of pot is legal under state law. Federal law still bans it.

The man says he was walking home from work about 1 a.m. this week when Adams County Sheriff’s Deputies drove up and told him he looked suspicious. When they asked if he had any drugs or weapons, he told them he had a box cutter from work and a small amount of marijuana, he says.

That’s when he got the ticket.

I want to post this story on Readers care aboutmarijuana rights. There’s no reason to delay getting news out – except in cases where I don’t know the whole story.

So now I wait on AdCo.

Here’s the problem. I’ve been waiting since I first called the sheriff’s office to get some information at 4:30 p.m. Monday.

How long do I wait before I publish the story, with or with out an explanation from the Adams County Sheriff’s Office?

Monday, May 13, 2013

Remembering crime victims

It is very important that we remember the two victims who police say were killed by a prison parolee.

Tom Clements was loved by many people and we’ve worked to cover his life and keep his memory alive. Nate Leon worked part time delivering pizzas so he, his wife and three kids had some extra money.

Some viewers have asked me why we’re still talking about Evan Ebel, the man police think murdered both men. It is a legitimate question.

Ebel died after getting in a shootout Texas police.

I have worked to uncover new details in the case because it’s important that we understand, the best we can, what drove Ebel to allegedly kill.

Without asking questions and digging for new information, I wouldn’t have learned Ebel was accidently released from prison four years too early. A court error is responsible for his release.

The state is now taking a look at prisoner sentences to make sure other mistakes haven’t been made.

If there are other issues the public needs to know about, I hope to find them and let you know.

That’s why I keep reporting on Evan Ebel.

I don’t want us to forget the victims.

Here are just a few of the stories 9NEWS has done on Clements and Leon. We have wanted to help viewers better know these two respected men.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Why I thought it was important to report I found nothing

We have a goal at Channel 9 to be consistently transparent.

I think it’s important to post a story after Douglas County Sheriff’s records show the office instructed deputies to treat a report of domestic violence at the undersheriff’s house like any other call.

Law enforcement and other viewers have sent us tips questioning whether deputies took longer than usual to respond to the call. The sheriff’s office has sent out two news releases about the incident. (Read the 2nd news release here.)

The latest was to report that the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office reviewed the whole matter and found nothing improper occurred either between Undersheriff Tony Spurlock and his wife or in how deputies handled the call.

Some might say the story is a non-story, and I can see that argument.

But the fact that allegations of wrongdoing have been flying and the evidence I have today indicates the call was handled properly means people deserve to have their names cleared. The issue has also become a hot one, which is why the sheriff’s office has sent two news releases.

Had the documents shown the call wasn’t handled properly, you can bet I’d be doing a story. Seems fair to do critical stories and ones that show the system working properly.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Video/pictures released of Boston bombing suspects

Here's the link to still pictures:

I found it interesting that the two suspects were called "persons of interest" at the beginning of the news conference held Thursday... but the FBI also used the word "suspect."

I wonder if the average person knows or cares about the difference. To me the difference is that a "suspect" is someone thought to have had a high probability of committing a crime. A "person of interest" could be someone who law enforcement thinks (but isn't to the level of high probability) was involved in a crime.

Your thoughts?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Scam alert. "We'll be at your house tomorrow to deliver your check."

You've won. We'll be at your house soon to deliver a big check. ...Not so fast.
Here's an email from a viewer who was smart enough not to get taken.

Just wanted to give people a heads up to a group called mega million who called me yesterday to say I had won 650,000 dollars and would be at my home today to provide the check, congrats letter and an attorny's validity.