Friday, April 30, 2010

Post-green news

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Since we're supposed to be making every day Earth Day, here's some green news one week after the big eco party:

Now more fashionable than a ladys purse: the reusable shopping bag.
  • Now more fashionable than a lady's purse: the reusable shopping bag.
Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage reports an estimated 13 million plastic and paper bags they believe they've saved between Earth Day 2009 and 20010, by going entirely bagless at every location across five Southwest states. Looking forward, they predict to hit 16 million bags (or 1.5 million pounds) between 2010 and 2011.

Addressing early concerns as to how customers would respond, the company writes:

The world didn't end. In fact, customers seemed relieved. Sales are up. Customers who forget bags are offered a recycled box for their purchases, or a free or low cost recyclable bag.

• The Colorado Farm and Art Market is hosting a "Meet your Farmer" fundraiser from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, May 2 at the Margarita at PineCreek. A $30 ($25 for military, $15 for students, kids free) entry fee buys apps from the restaurant, Bristol beers, starters for your garden and access to children's activities, live music and a silent auction.

Country Roots Farm will host its own open house of sorts, called a Spring Field Day, from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Sunday, May 23. Farmer Ryan Morris says:

Any and all are invited just to see what is happening on the farm here.

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Kitsch, Kitchi and The Gazette

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 5:36 PM

The Gazette never fails to impress us with its journalistic tendencies.
  • The Gazette
  • The Gazette never fails to impress us with its journalistic tendencies.

We here at the Indy respect The Gazette in so many ways, and for so many reasons, but especially its citizen journalism-based newspaperette FreshInk. Once a week, we know that, faithfully, we can turn to this Little Publication That Could for our fix of re-printed press releases, citizen photos and, as it turns out, stirring poetry.

By now, you've all heard the tale — ha — of Kitchi the otter, missing from the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo these past six weeks, a topic that has been exhaustively covered by the daily, generating no less than 19 hits on its website (not to mention the time spent designing Kitchi buttons and cut-outs). Anyway, the Wednesday, April 28 edition of FreshInk offered an artistic rendition that will likely stay with us forever. (View the original here).

My name is Kitchi
And I got a little itchy
To see what went on
Outside the zoo.
Crawled through a hole
Much like a mole and
Went to the Broadmoor
Woooo Hooooo!!
They'll never catch me
Now that I'm free
I dine on fresh fish and fine wine
But if you don't see me
Downing ale at the Bee
Ask them to please play
"Born free"!

Inspired as we were, we felt it only appropriate to record a tribute reading of the poem, with the hopes that its sonorous tones would draw sweet Kitchi home.

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UFOlogists, rejoice.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 5:17 PM

A new video making the rounds professes to prove that NORAD tracked a UFO back when it was located at Boulder Street and Union Boulevard in Colorado Springs.

What do you think?

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Comic books want to be free

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 12:34 PM

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Apologies to all those who were planning on spending tomorrow standing around in thunderstorms, taking refresher courses in do-it-yourself brain surgery, or just
curling up with a Bertrand Russell tome on the history of Western philosophy.

All that will have to wait, because Saturday is Free Comic Book Day.

Following hot on the heels of April’s Record Store Day, the May 1 event continues an annual effort on the part of the comic book industry to promote independent comic shops.

Among the many special-edition free “funny books” — as the kids like to call ‘em — is a shiny new Marvel comic featuring Thor and Iron Man, just in time to get in the mood for Iron Man 2.

Unfortunately, the comic book debut of Kevin Keller, Archie Comics’ much-publicized gay character won’t be available until September. But the good news is that, while you’re there, you can still pick up a copy (although not for free) of Logicomix, the brand new graphic novel starring none other than Bertrand Russell!

LogicomixInsert.jpeg

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DMV branch to open on Saturdays

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 10:17 AM

Everybody hates the IRS. And even the IRS hates the DMV.
  • El Paso County Motor Vehicle Department
  • "Everybody hates the IRS. And even the IRS hates the DMV."

According to the El Paso County Office of the Clerk & Recorder, the Union Town Center DMV office will be open Saturdays 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. starting tomorrow, May 1.

What an idea! A weekend day for the 9-5 set, who've no doubt spent several hours waiting in line on a given Tuesday only to be hassled with paperwork and fees.

Ahem. Anyway, the DMV says not to get your hopes up yet if you're looking to slip in and out of the office (not that you were, anyway). Since Saturday follows the end of the month, they anticipate a very busy day filling out vehicle renewals. For the best time to visit, check out this handy little tool from the old Chapel Hills office.

But if you're in a fix, start lining up now. The office is located at 8830 N. Union Blvd. on the corner of Union Boulevard and Research Parkway (520-6700, car.elpasoco.com/Motor_Vehicle).

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Stormwater scofflaws, get out your checkbooks.

Posted By on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 at 9:09 AM

The city of Colorado Springs turned over $1.86 million worth of unpaid Stormwater Enterprise to A-1 Collections on Thursday, city spokeswoman Mary Scott says, the final chapter in the city's controversial attempt to charge fees from property owners to fund drainage projects.

A-1 will receive 30 percent of what they collect for their trouble, Scott says.

The fees, imposed in early 2007, were junked after voters embraced a ballot measure last November that the City Council interpreted as wanting to end Stormwater. The measure itself called for ending subsidies between the city and its enterprises, which includes a $26 million annual payment in lieu of taxes paid the city by Colorado Springs Utilities.

Since the beginning of Stormwater, many people simply refused to pay, egged on by anti-tax advocate Doug Bruce, who mounted the ballot measure.

Now, they'll face collection procedures. If they don't pay, it likely will show up as a black mark on their credit rating. But the City Council specifically directed that unpaid bills not be sent to the El Paso County treasurer for attachment to property tax bills.

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Thursday, April 29, 2010

Still fishy, but better

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 5:54 PM

Greenpeace has released its fourth edition of a seafood sustainability review called Carting Away Our Oceans.

The most surprising aspect of the report is the fact that Target has moved into the No. 1 position, ahead of even Whole Foods (No. 3).

One bit of good news: This is the first report in which half of the leading national supermarket chains received a "pass" ranking in terms of their sustainability practices.

We aren't in green fish territory yet ...
  • We aren't in green fish territory yet ...

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Photography show opens at the DAM

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:45 PM

Tomorrow, the Denver Art Museum will unveil Exposure: Photos from the Vault, a collection of photographs from the museum's own collection. The 50-odd-piece exhibition includes images from Ansel Adams, Diane Arbus, Chuck Close and Eadweard Muybridge. Yes, those are big names, but the photos I saw on the website are what sold me.

Here are some of the works, with details on the right:

Thunder Head by Ruth Thorne-Thomsen
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Thunder Head by Ruth Thorne-Thomsen

Allegiance with Wakefulness by Shirin Neshat
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Allegiance with Wakefulness by Shirin Neshat

Milk Drop Coronet by Harold Edgerton
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Milk Drop Coronet by Harold Edgerton

Animal Locomotion Plate 650 (detail) by Eadweard Muybridge
  • Denver Art Museum
  • Animal Locomotion Plate 650 (detail) by Eadweard Muybridge

The exhibit is on display through Oct. 31. General admission tickets run $3-$13, and is free for members (remember though, general admission is free for Colorado residents the first Saturday of every month). For more on this exhibit, click here.

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Apple unleashes Hypocrisy 4.0

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 4:15 PM

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Compared to the media frenzy surrounding the iPad’s release earlier this month, last Friday’s police raid on behalf of Apple caused barely a ripple in the mainstream media. But that may change in the wake of Jon Stewart's eight-minute rant on the subject last night.

A quick recap: Apple employee leaves iPhone 4.0 prototype in a bar. Finder sells it to tech blog Gizmodo for, get this, FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS. They write about it, then return the lost phone. Police officers then show up at editor Jason Chen’s home, bust down the door, and confiscate his computer equipment.

Still, why blame Apple? After all, it’s not like Silicon Valley cops work for private computer companies.

Then again, maybe they do: The raid was carried out by the Santa Clara-headquartered Rapid Enforcement Allied Computer Team (REACT). In addition to boasting a flashy acronym, REACT is, according to a 2009 San Jose Business Journal story, “a consortium of local, state and federal law enforcement agencies” that serves as a liaison between said agencies and the computer industry.

And guess what? REACT is overseen by a steering committee of 25 companies, including Microsoft, Adobe and, yes, Apple.

Ironically, Marc Weidenbaum, a California journalist who publishes an electronic ambient music webzine called Disquiet, had recently told me about a personal experience that suggests Team Apple’s battle for justice may be just a bit hypocritical. I asked Marc to email me the details, in order to make this blog even longer:

The basics are: I found an iPhone in a taxi. I brought it to an Apple Store. The guy who greeted me said, "Are you sure you don't want to sell it?" When I convinced him that I didn’t, he took me to the cashier, who said, "Are you sure you don't want to sell it?" He directed me to the genius bar, where the guy said, "Are you sure you don't want to sell it?"

I was quoted the amount they were going for on eBay. You would have thought there was no way for me to find the owner. The phone hadn't been registered, but all I did was hook it up to my computer, and a name popped up. I did a search on Facebook, and located the guy.

Granted, three bad Apple geniuses don’t necessarily reflect the ethics of a massive corporation that happened to report record profits last week. And it IS a little weird that Gizmodo would sink to the level of paying for news, a National Enquirer-style approach that doesn’t exactly fit with the whole image of Internet bloggers as the vanguard of a newer, purer journalistic ethos.

Still it will be curious to see how this all shakes down. Gizmodo's parent company, Gawker Media, is now threatening to sue on the grounds that the raid violates the California journalist shield law. The counter-argument is likely to be that Chen knowingly bought the prototype from someone other than its actual owner, an act that could potentially lead to prosecution instead of protection.

What fun. But for now at least, let's give Stewart the last word:


The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Appholes
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

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Fort Carson museum coming

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:44 PM

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Fort Carson officially broke ground today for its Fourth Infantry Division and Fort Carson Artifact Facility, which will house monographs, scrapbooks, photos and military items from WWI, WWII, Vietnam and Operations Enduring and Iraqi Freedom. All the artifacts are related to the Fourth Infantry Division and Fort Carson.

The 3,600 square foot museum will also have an 1,000 square foot outdoor component, displaying historical military vehicles.

The facility, which is due for completion in October and will be open to the public, is only temporary. Fort Carson has larger plans for a permanent structure, the Mountain Post Historical Center.

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Honoring a bi-national partnership

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Long overdue was the dedication on Wednesday of a display inside the Pentagon of comemmorating the 50+ year partnership between the United States and Canada of the North American Aerospace Defense Command.

norad_display_jpeg.jpg

Here's the report by the Defense Department

By John J. Kruzel
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, April 28, 2010 — The Defense Department today unveiled a corridor in the Pentagon bedecked with photos, quotes and historical passages centering on the foundation of the U.S.-Canadian defense relationship: the North American Aerospace Defense Command, better known as NORAD.

For more than half a century, this bilateral command has been responsible for keeping the skies over the two countries —- and, increasingly, the waters surrounding them —- safe from a myriad of potential enemies, from the Cold War Soviet threat to present-day terrorists.

“The chronology brings you up through the creation of NORAD and the adaptations made as our security environment has evolved through the decades,” Air Force Gen. Victor E. Renuart said of the dozen chronologically arranged glass panel palettes on which the history of the command is displayed. “As the 20th commander of NORAD, I’m proud to dedicate this corridor to the selfless service of the men and women of NORAD, past, present and future.”

The exhibit depicts the command’s missions in the air and space domains that began in 1957 — and the recent additions of the maritime and missile warning systems that bolster the command’s ability to safeguard North America.

Speaking from a hallway housed in a building that hijackers struck less than a decade ago during the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, Renuart underscored the importance of having a robust NORAD defense.

“The ongoing adaptation of NORAD’s mission and capabilities to meet the challenges posed by ever-changing threats testifies to the strength of the NORAD agreement and the solid relationship between Canada and the U.S.,” he said. “The strength of the NORAD relationship has enabled it to serve as an extremely flexible framework, one that adapts to an evolving security environment.”

Canadian Ambassador to the United States Gary Doer, who joined defense officials in the ribbon-cutting ceremony, said the exhibit is emblematic of the strong partnership between the two nations and it also serves as a reminder of the dedicated personnel at NORAD.

“It is an honor for all of us Canadians having this display here at the Pentagon,” Doer told the audience of Canadian and American military personnel and civilians. “The great bi-national coordination will evolve in the future.”
In a military headquarters that serves as office space to tens of thousands of employees — many of whom always seem to be pressed for time — this new Pentagon corridor should give them reason to pause and its tributes should inspire reflection, the Pentagon’s top policy official said.

“All of us who work in the Pentagon, including myself, get caught up in the work we do day to day, and we run from meeting to meeting, and we often speed through these hallways like we’re running a race,” Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Michele Flournoy said. “But this corridor should be a reminder to us all to, on occasion, slow down.”

The ceremony today comes a month after Canadian Defense Minister Peter MacKay met at the Pentagon with Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates to discuss bilateral defense topics.

Officials from both countries have touted the recent Olympic Games in Vancouver, British Columbia, as a highlight of the bilateral cooperation between the United States and Canada. They also noted the two nations will work together on security issues related to the G-8 and G-20 summits to be hosted in Canada.

The NORAD corridor is located at the “A” ring on the Pentagon’s third floor between corridors 10 and 1.


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Suthers' re-election campaign in trouble?

Posted By on Thu, Apr 29, 2010 at 2:23 PM

It's not an official poll by any means, but the folks at the coloradopols.com website clearly think that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers should not be considered a certainty any longer for a second term.

John Suthers
  • John Suthers

Suthers, longtime Colorado Springs resident and former district attorney for El Paso and Teller counties, didn't even have a serious opponent until after he joined other state attorneys general in a lawsuit challenging the legality of the health care reform legislation passed by Congress.

Now, though he has earned the affection of tea partiers, Suthers is considered to be in a close fight for the November election against his new Democratic opponent, Stan Garnett.

In its homepage feature called "The Big Line 2010," coloradopols.com lists Suthers and Garnett both with odds of 4-1, along with interesting comments. For Suthers, the site says, "HC (health care) lawsuit took Suthers from shoo-in to fighting for his political life." For Garnett, the comment says, "Garnett is good on the stump and will raise big $; tossup."

That same listing of odds has Denver mayor John Hickenlooper leading the governor race over Republican Scott McInnis, with Hickenlooper at 3-1 and McInnis sliding to 10-1 because "refusing to release tax return hurts cred." In fact, the site suggests that McInnis' main GOP challenger, Dan Maes, still has a chance to win the party's nomination in the Aug. 10 primary.

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 5:00 PM

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Check out this weeks Indy Minute for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together.

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Utilities offers lessons in learning the ropes

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 2:00 PM

With the economy still in the dumps and people still losing their jobs every day, Colorado Springs Utilities is getting ready to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on the Southern Delivery System.

Pipeline work to begin soon.
  • Pipeline work to begin soon.

And Utilities wants contractors and businesses to know how to get a piece of the action, compliments of its ratepayers, which will see rates swell by 12 percent per year from 2011 through 2016.

So, the city has set up workshops in El Paso, Pueblo and Fremont counties to spread information about how to bid on the massive pipeline project that will bring about 70 million gallons a day to Colorado Springs, increasing the city's water supply by a third.

“We’re excited to be nearing the beginning of construction,” John Fredell, Utilities' SDS project director, said in a release. “These workshops will give local contractors and businesses a chance to talk with project staff and learn more about the schedule and the types of goods and services needed for the project.”

An opening presentation will provide general project information, including the project’s major components and construction schedule. After that, attendees can "network and interact" with the SDS project team, the news release said. Staff also will demonstrate how to register on Rocky Mountain E-Purchasing — the online system used to advertise opportunities to do business with Colorado Springs Utilities.

All meetings are from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. Dates and locations:
Colorado Springs:
May 6, Leon Young Service Center, 1521 Hancock Expressway, Pikes Peak Room
Pueblo:
May 10, El Pueblo History Museum, 301 N. Union Ave.
Canon City:
May 13, Pueblo Community College, Fremont Campus - 51320 W. Hwy 50

"Construction work on Phase 1 of SDS will begin this year and continue through 2016, adding jobs and infusing capital into local economies," the press release said. "Phase 1 construction costs are estimated at $550 million, including about $160 million for labor. An average of 380 workers is anticipated to work on the project from 2010-2016, with a peak employment of 700 workers in 2014."

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Good Charlotte + OK coffee = happy children

Posted By on Wed, Apr 28, 2010 at 1:02 PM

7-Eleven_Coffee_Cup_With_A_Cause.jpeg

We're not entirely sure what a Venn diagram of Good Charlotte fans, 7-Eleven customers and Indy blog readers would look like, but there’s good news for any of you who actually fall into all three categories.

Joel Madden (lead singer of Good Charlotte) and his wife Nicole Richie (daughter of Lionel Richie and former sidekick to Paris Hilton) are kicking off a designer “Coffee Cup With a Cause” campaign for the venerable retail chain.

Yes, now you can feel a kinship with your favorite pop icons while drinking hot, steamy convenience store beverages. And, depending on the number of cups sold, the chain will then donate a potential $300,000 to the designated charity, with a guaranteed minimum donation of at least a quarter million dollars.

Since the proceeds from this inaugural cup will go to the couple’s worthy Richie-Madden Children’s Foundation, we can’t make fun of the whole thing as much as we might like to. And besides, that whimsical design — all butterflies, flowers and CSI-style chalk outlines of little kids — makes our hearts as warm as that oily black substance at the bottom of a scalded 7-Eleven coffee pot.

Drink, up kids!

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