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TODAY: Gov’t shuts down, Obamacare takes effect, Colo. schools prepare for Count Day

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DENVER — Here are 10 stories to watch for the first day of October, 2013.

1. Government shutdown begins

Americans watched a colossal failure by Congress overnight — and the shutdown of their government. More than 800,000 Americans will not be getting paid, and the shutdown could cost the economy about $1 billion a week.

This is the first time the government has shut down in nearly 17 years. The last time it did, the stalemate lasted 21 days. Click here to see how the government shutdown will affect Colorado.

2. Obamacare takes effect

Major portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also referred to as “Obamacare,” take effect Tuesday. Health insurance marketplaces, are opening for business, and millions of Americans can go online to compare health plans, find out if they are eligible for federal help and buy coverage.

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get some form of health insurance or pay an annual fine of $95. The fine increases to $695, or 2.5 percent of income, in 2016. Find more information here.

3. 5 hikers killed in Chaffee County rockslide

Five people were killed when a rockslide buried them Monday at a popular hiking area near Buena Vista. A sixth person, a teenage girl, was hurt and pulled from the rubble.

The Chaffee County Sheriff says rescuers have not been able to reach the victims yet. The area is unstable. The slide happened along the Agnes Vaille Falls at Mt. Princeton around 11 a.m. Police say 13-year-old Gracie Johnson was airlifted to Colorado Children’s Hospital in Aurora. Her condition was unknown.

4. CU Boulder police investigate possible armed kidnapping

University of Colorado Boulder police are investigating a possible kidnapping near the Benson Earth Sciences Building Monday night. A witness told police he saw a white male in a dark-colored hoodie get out of a car at about 9:15 p.m., and point what appeared to be a handgun at a black male wearing jeans, a blue shirt and possibly a backpack. The suspect and victim got in the back seat of the car, which then sped off going east on Colorado Avenue past Folsom Street. CU Police ask anyone who witnessed or has information on this incident to call CU Police Dispatch at 303-492-6666.

5. Possible plea deal in murder of Jessica Ridgeway

The Colorado Judicial Department said a hearing is scheduled Tuesday afternoon for a possible plea agreement in the murder of Jessica Ridgeway. Austin Sigg will appear today at the Jefferson County Courthouse. Sigg is accused of murdering the 10-year-old last October. News of the possible plea comes just days before the scheduled start of the trial. The jury selection process has already started.

6. Count Day for Colorado schools

Schools across the state have been encouraging parents to get their kids to school Tuesday for annual Count Day. How much funding schools receive depends on how many students show up to school today, but schools that have been hit hard by recent flooding are struggling, with thousands of students still displaced.

7. Mom gives son cannabis instead of chemo

A Colorado Springs mother is giving her son cannabis, instead of doctor recommended chemotherapy, while her son is in remission after being treated for cancer. Sierra Riddle moved to Colorado Springs from Utah in order to give her son cannabis, after her son, Landon, 3, became very ill from chemo.

She found an alternative in cannabis and has been giving Landon four capsules a day.“Within three months, we all could see that chemo was killing Landon,” said Riddle. Riddle said she plans on proving medical marijuana is a safe alternative.

8. Lawyers for James Holmes ask for more time to prepare for February trial

Lawyers for Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes may not be ready for a trial by February, according to motions the defense made Monday. Holmes’ lawyers asked Judge Carlos Samour for more time to file motions and to set deadlines for prosecutors to turn over a shortened list of witnesses they plan to call. The prosecution’s witness list so far contains more than 4,000 names.

9. Loophole allows illegal drug ‘Spice’ to be sold in Colorado

FOX31 Denver’s Investigative Team discovered a loophole in Colorado law which allows the illegal drug “Spice” to be sold legally.

A state-wide investigation continues into the source of deadly synthetic designer drugs called Spice being sold in the Denver area.  A 2011 Colorado law is supposed to make Spice illegal in the state, but FOX31 Denver’s Investigative team has found state statute does not stop stores from selling it nor kids from smoking it with devastating consequences.

10. Viral Video: Bikers chase Range Rover driver after rider is hit

A terrifying road rage incident involving a gang of bikers on Manhattan’s west side has gone viral on the web after video of the incident surfaced online.

The New York City Police Department said a man driving a Range Rover with his wife and 2-year-old daughter inside Sunday struck a motorcyclist on Manhattan’s West Side Highway, breaking his leg.