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the denver post B denverpost.com B tuesday, november 22, 2011

6

NEWS «9A

ANGELS: Group

says city “still a safe place”

ON

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motivated muggings along the mall and nearby in 2009. Police investigators suspect that at least one individual has been involved in several of the most recent cases. The violent attacks have been carried out by groups of up to eight people. Denver police said they welcome the additional assistance from the Guardian Angels. “We’re pleased to have any citizen or citizen group help us, to be an extra set of eyes and ears,” said spokesman John White. He said police have worked with the Angels in the past with good results. “They’ve been a good partner,” White said. Jeremy Harold, who manages the Sportsfan store on the mall near Champa Street, also welcomes the peacekeeping group. “Any extra presence, police or otherwise, down here will be beneficial to the overall safety of people who frequent the mall,” Harold said. “The more security presence we can get down here the better.” The Guardian Angels, in their familiar red berets, patrol East Colfax Avenue and the 16th Street Mall regularly on weekends, but volunteers are now out on weeknights as well. “It’s important for people to feel safe,” Metz said. “Hopefully, we’ll be a friendly face when there is a need.”

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On his first day as a Guardian Angel, Chris Wyong, center, walks the 16th Street Mall with Joe Hoschouer on Monday. John Leyba, The Denver Post There are about 30 Guardian Angels in Denver, Metz said, and members’ backgrounds run the gamut from homemakers to Army veterans and schoolteachers to truck drivers. Most members are in their 30s and 40s, but the group would like to recruit a few more members in their 20s. “In part, to help give some younger people some direction,” Metz said. Guardian Angels do not carry weapons. They do take classes in self-defense and conflict resolution. The new weeknight patrols, started in the past couple of weeks, haven’t directly

stopped an attack or aided police in capturing a suspect, but a potential volunteer member has come forward after encountering the Angels on the mall. “We’ve had a great deal of feedback about it,” Metz said. “The message we want to send is: It’s still a safe place. You can count on Denverites coming to your aid.”

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Staff writer Sara Burnett contributed to this report. Kieran Nicholson: 303-954-1822 or knicholson@denverpost.com

SCHOOL: Howell insisted building was safe

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2007, and he worked on Meeker school drawings while his license was invalid, state officials said. Boian said Neenan had already been looking at Howell’s job status because of the Meeker project and decided to fire him after learning from The Post about the state investigation and his period with a lapsed license. Boian said the company is investigating how Howell was hired without a valid license and is taking steps to improve its quality control in hiring and in general. Howell said in an e-mail Monday night that he had signed a confidentiality agreement with Neenan because of his termination and could not comment. The Post on Sunday published a story detailing problems at the school, which was shuttered last summer by the school board after an independent structural review found it was built to the wrong safety codes and susceptible to collapse in extreme weather. Neenan has acknowledged mistakes and pledged to pay for repairs. A state plan reviewer also missed an error in the design that his superiors said should have been caught. An outside structural engineer hired by the school district urged a review of the entire building after a gym wall moved a few inches in October 2010. But Howell pushed back hard against that idea and continued to insist the school was stable and safe. About 350 students had attended classes for an entire year

Read more. Find The Post’s coverage of the Meeker school design. »denverpost.com/extras before the district ordered the review that led to the closure. Kinnaird Linn, program director for DORA’s business and technical section, said the report “was enough information for us to be concerned there was the possibility of substandard engineering.” She said she acted after getting input from members of the State Board of Licensure for Architects, Professional Engineers and Professional Land Surveyors, which falls under DORA. Howell has 30 days to respond. The board eventually could reprimand Howell, fine him or revoke his license, among other possibilities, Kinnaird Linn said. The board has jurisdiction over individual license-holders, not companies, she said. In 2001, the board gave Howell a letter of admonition after finding the engineer “more likely than not” had produced an “insufficient structural design” of a deck and failed to ensure that his direction and corrections were carried through on the project’s final drawings. More details were not imme-

diately available because the records are in state archives, Kinnaird Linn said. Howell received another reprimand April 6, 2009, for failing to renew his license, which is required every two years. In response, Howell explained that he had moved and did not receive notice of the renewal or lapse, state records show. “Have to plead ‘unaware,’ ” he wrote. Kinnaird Linn said it is not unusual for such licenses to expire because individuals forget to renew. She said the board did not consider Howell’s first reprimand in handing out the second letter because the behavior in each case was not comparable. Howell’s license was expired from Oct. 31, 2007, to Feb. 25, 2009, the state says. He acknowledged he had been practicing as an engineer in Colorado during that time. The State Division of Fire Safety, which oversees school construction plan reviews and inspections, has records of Howell drawings on the Meeker school dated January 2009,

spokesman Lance Clem said. The division is reviewing other Neenan school projects as a result of the Meeker problems. At the request of the Colorado Department of Education, Neenan has also agreed to an outside review of projects it has built in eight districts with $150 million in state money. Kinnaird Linn said that, for now, DORA is looking solely at Howell’s work on the Neenan project. Eric Gorski: 303-954-1971, egorski@denverpost.com or twitter.com/egorski

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We’ll highlight the best each month! Individual athletes or teams selected as the YES! top performer of the month will have their photo and a description of their feat in The Post sports section and at denverpost.com/yes. Winners will also have their pictures displayed at the Colorado Sports Hall of Fame, located inside Sports Authority Field at Mile High. At the end of the year, an overall winner will be selected from the 12 monthly honorees.

SUBMIT YOUR NOMINATION TODAY It’s easy to make a YES! submission online. Go to denverpost.com/yes and complete the form. You may also fax a brief description of the achievement with the name of the athlete or team, age(s) and your phone number to 303-866-9004.


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