Colorado at 1:15 p.m.

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TOP STORIES:

NUCLEAR WEAPONS PLANT-REFUGE

A judge has turned down a request to bar the public from a wildlife refuge in Colorado that was once part of a nuclear weapons plant. The judge on Thursday refused to issue an order that would have kept Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge off-limits while the courts hear a lawsuit claiming the government hasn't studied public safety closely enough. By Dan Elliott. UPCOMING: 550 words, photo.

TRUMP-SPACE FORCE — Faced with growing competition and threats from Russia and China, the White House says it will create the U.S. Space Force as a sixth, separate military warfighting service by 2020. The ambitious plan taps into the American public's long-held fascination with space, but faces daunting hurdles. By Lolita C. Baldor. SENT: 340 words. UPCOMING: 850 words by 5 p.m., photo.

With SPACE FORCE-GLANCE — What the U.S. is proposing. UPCOMING: 350 words by 5 p.m.

US COMPOUND SEARCH-CHILDREN REMOVED — Human remains found at a ramshackle compound in the New Mexico desert are those of a severely disabled Georgia boy who authorities say was kidnapped by his father and marked for an exorcism, the child's grandfather confirms. By Morgan Lee and Mary Hudetz. SENT: 900 words, photos, video. New approach of 800 words by 3:30. With: COMPOUND SEARCH-CHILDREN REMOVED-THE LATEST.

INDEPENDENTS-DARK MONEY

AUGUSTA, Maine — Hoping to capitalize on voter frustration over growing polarization in politics, a group fueled partly by so-called "dark money" plans to spend $3 million this year to elect independents. But some free-spirited lawmakers are declining their help. Unite America, formerly known as the Centrist Project, is endorsing and providing polling for independent gubernatorial and legislative candidates across the country. By Marina Villeneuve. SENT: 767 words, photos.

IN BRIEF:

STURGIS RALLY-FATAL CRASHES — The Highway Patrol has identified victims of two fatal crashes related to the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally in western South Dakota. Fifty-six-year-old James Barbier, of Aurora, Colorado, died Saturday afternoon in a motorcycle crash on U.S. Highway 85 near Cheyenne Crossing.

CROCS-MANUFACTURING — Colorado-based footwear company Crocs Inc. is closing company-owned manufacturing plants in Italy and Mexico by year's end and replacing its chief financial officer.

COLORADO BANK ROBBERIES— Law enforcement officers say a 20-year-old Colorado man charged with robbing a bank in Grand Junction in April is a suspect in four other recent bank robberies in Colorado.

COLORADO SPRINGS-OFFICER SHOT — An Iraqi refugee accused of critically wounding a Colorado Springs police officer has made his first court appearance. Karrar Noaman Al Khamassi was told Thursday he faces attempted murder and other charges in the Aug. 2 shooting of Officer Cem Duzel. By The Associated Press. With AP Photos.

COLORADO WILDFIRES— One lane of Interstate 70 in western Colorado is shut down as firefighters work to contain a wildfire that broke out near the highway.

MARIJUANA RAIDS-COLORADO— Federal and local law enforcement agencies are raiding suspected illegal marijuana operations in the Denver area. DEA spokeswoman Deanne Rueter said Thursday's raids are part of an ongoing, federal criminal investigation into suspected black market operations. She says they're being carried out in various cities and counties.

SPORTS:

FBN--BRONCOS-BUTT

Jake Butt is fired up for his first NFL game this weekend as the forgotten member of last year's deep tight end class sets out to show he was a bargain as a fifth-round pick by Denver. By Arnie Stapleton. UPCOMING: 600 words.

BBN--DODGERS-ROCKIES

DENVER — Lefty Tyler Anderson will start Thursday night as the Rockies open a four-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Ross Stripling goes for the Dodgers. By Pat Graham. UPCOMING: 700 words, photos from 6:40 p.m. game.

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MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Colorado and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click "All" or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.