Monday, May 31, 2010

Cone it up

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 4:55 PM

Traffic cones: Not as well-liked as ice cream cones.
  • Traffic cones: Not as well-liked as ice cream cones.
We knew it.

It's Memorial Day weekend. Territory Days has brought traffic on the west side to a standstill. Air conditioning can't compete with the feeling of the burning sun through your windshield. The diesel fumes spewing out of the truck in front of you are starting to make you queasy.

So, we just knew that what you really wanted to hear right now is that a road on the west side will be closed for construction. (We're awesome mind readers around here.)

Here goes: Judge Orr Road is gonna be closed. There you have it. If you want to know why, read the press release below.

And while you're fuming, remember that the folks here at the Indy don't even have today off. We're here. Busily trying to read your mind.

Repair Work Started on Judge Orr Road West From Highway 24

Temporary Closure Remains Until Work is Completed


Colorado Springs, May 31, 2010 — Frazee Construction under contract for the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District has started digging to lower a water main going under Judge Orr Road just west of the intersection at Highway 24. Lowering the water main is necessary before El Paso County can install a new drainage structure at that location.

Judge Orr Road from Highway 24 to Eastonville Road has been closed since April 26 due to a washout. Drivers coming into the Woodmen Hills area from Highway 24 are advised to continue the use of either Woodmen Road or Eastonville Road as alternate routes until repairs are completed.

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Celebrate the sacred herb (UPDATED)

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 4:13 PM

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UPDATE: the Longmont Times-Call has the festival recap:

Others were capitalizing in different ways. On the main convention floor (separated from the patients-only room), one could find pipes, bowls, stickers, even security systems. One booth even promoted a candidate for Congress.

***

It's a familiar problem that the Indy is more than sympathetic to: you want to gather, catch some live tunes, maybe purchase some medicinal cannabis, possibly have it tested and maybe, if there's time, get down with some enlightenment, education and empowerment.

Meet the inaugural Sacred Herb Festival.

More than 50 vendors will come together from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. this Sunday, May 30 at the Longmont Radisson Hotel to learn about and celebrate the "sacred herb."


"The first annual Sacred Herb Festival is Colorado's first medical marijuana event organized for the right reasons," says Professor Dana K. May in a release, who will be speaking at the event. "This isn't about money or politics but rather healing and reeducating a generation who has been fed lies of 'reefer madness.'"

The festival is open to the public — though you must be 18-and-up to partake — and will set you back $5 bucks. No MMJ card needed for entry, though recommended (read: required) to purchase medication.

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Coming soon: the World Science Festival

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 3:22 PM

The kid in me is antsy, shouting "I wanna go. I wanna go!"

To the World Science Festival, which starts on Tuesday and runs through next Sunday. This annual conference unites cutting edge leads in the sciences with arts and culture. And it's in New York City, of course.

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So I must pine from afar, for these incredible events (the stuff of listings dreams!):

• "Eye Candy: Science, Sight, Art," June 3, 7 p.m. — some scientists now think that certain biological factors determine our predilections in art, that beauty is in the eye of the "humanity" beholder.

• "Black Holes and Holographic Worlds," June 3, 8 p.m. — researchers studying black holes are now proposing that everything we see is something of a hologram. Take a moment with that one.

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• "Brutality and the Brain," June 3, 8 p.m. — this is something I've always wondered, how can people be so cruel? What is the source of violent crimes and war? Is it a hardware defect, or something else?

• "Strangers in the Mirror," June 4, 8 p.m. — neurologist Oliver Sacks and artist Chuck Close will explain the phenomenon of "face blindness," in which people cannot recognize faces, even their own in the mirror. Sacks once apologized to a bearded man he nearly bumped into, only to realize it was himself in the mirror. Close is well-known for his innovative and detailed portraits.

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• "Back to the Big Bang: Inside the Large Hadron Collider," June 5, 3 p.m. — if you haven't heard of the collider, I have to insist you get up to speed. This physics machine cost $10 billion and took 16 years to build and sends particles into collisions at "energies unseen since a fraction of a second after the big bang." People thought the universe would collapse when it was first activated in 2008. It actually broke. But just a few weeks ago, it was switched on again, and we're still here.

There are over a dozen other presentations happening at the fest, including lectures on consciousness, the nature of understanding, hyperspace, faith and science, studying the ocean (which, according to the write-up, is still 95 percent undiscovered) as well as art shows and a Moth reading with scientists and artists.

A few of the events will be streamed live, including the black hole and hologram event. Video archives are also available once the festival wraps. That should soothe my inner temper tantrum.

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The other alternative healing

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 3:20 PM

Ladies and gentlemen, Denver's Wynkoop Brewing Co.:

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  • Wynkoop Brewing Co.

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Montana doctor fined over MMJ

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 10:48 AM

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According to the Associated Press, a Montana doctor who saw roughly 150 patients over a 14 hour-period will — for the first time in the state, regarding medical marijuana — be fined $2,000 "for providing substandard care."

The state Board of Medical Examiners' action follows a stern warning issued by the board to doctors who participate in the "cannabis caravans" that travel around the state registering medical marijuana patients. The board cautioned those doctors not to let their standards of care slip, saying the mass screenings "inherently tend towards inadequate standards of care."

The physician,Dr. Patricia Cole, of Whitefish, said she never breached the doctor-patient relationship and believes she is being made an example of by the board. She said she is afraid other doctors may be discouraged from prescribing medical marijuana in their own offices because of this.

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Music Monday: Midnight Oil spills the truth

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 10:17 AM

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It was 20 years ago, give or take a day, that the band Midnight Oil played a half-hour concert in front of the Exxon building in New York City.

Performing on a flatbed truck beneath a banner declaring “Midnight Oil makes you dance, Exxon oil makes us sick,” the ever-politicized Australian band delivered an inspired set protesting the Exxon Valdez oil spill.

You can watch the entire 30-minute performance, along with interview footage, here.

For those who may not remember, the Exxon Valdez dumped some 11 million gallons of oil in six hours, just a few miles from the Alaskan shore. (Had Sarah Palin been there, she would no doubt have seen Russia reflected off its shiny black surface.)

While other causes were initially blamed, the Valdez disaster was primarily caused by Exxon's cost-cutting negligence in regard to the ship's radar. Already downgraded in the '80s, it had eventually broken down entirely, and the company decided to save money by not fixing it.

Fast-forward two decades to the current Gulf oil spill, which had executives from BP, Transocean and Halliburton shifting the blame back and forth during this month’s Senate hearings.

Ironically, Dick Cheney’s Halliburton is intimately involved in both the current spill and our two current wars. Something worth remembering this Memorial Day.

"We're a small screaming voice," says Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett toward the documentary's end. "But we'll keep speaking. If they don't listen now, someone will be listening tomorrow."

We can only hope.

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Busted pipe repaired

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:55 AM

The Homestake pipeline system, which delivers up to 70 percent of Colorado Springs' water, is back in service, Colorado Springs Utilities announced recently.

In April, a rock slide north of Buena Vista damaged part of the system, which originates near Leadville. A boulder the size of a compact car, weighing about 140 tons, damaged the 66-inch pipe, despite the fact it's buried five feet underground.

To make repairs, crews had to shut down the system, suspending water delivery to the community. However, reservoirs were high enough that service was never interrupted, Bruce McCormick, chief water services officer, said.

McCormick used the break to emphasize why the $2.3 billion Southern Delivery System is "so important to the community.” SDS will double water rates within six years, and no one knows how much rates will rise after that.

Crews worked about three weeks, sometimes during spring snowstorms, repairing the Homestake pipeline.

Springs Utilities ... we need a second pipeline.
  • Springs Utilities: Here's why we need a second pipeline.

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No MMJ allowed? Blame Canada

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:51 AM

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So you've visited your doctor, found all your medical records, applied for your state medical marijuana card, waited six months for it to come in the mail, started next year's application and would now like to visit your brother in Vancouver.

Don't.

At least, don't do it with any hope of bringing your medication along. (Depression and anxiety stops at the border, didn't you know?) As Canadian officials told the Montana Standard:

Health Canada, the federal department that runs the country’s health care system, has a medical marijuana program, and the drug is allowed for those suffering from “grave and debilitating illnesses” like cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.

However, according to Lisa White, spokesperson for the Canada Border Control Services Agency, Health Canada does not recognize the medical marijuana programs of any other country. Therefore, a person could not bring a personal amount of the drug across the border, despite the fact that it was medically prescribed.

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Putting the spill in perspective

Posted By on Mon, May 31, 2010 at 9:34 AM

I heard on the radio this morning about this site that allows you to superimpose the Gulf oil spill over your city, to attain some perspective on the disaster.

Here's what the mess looks like over Colorado Springs and beyond:

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To play with the feature more, click here.

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Saturday, May 29, 2010

Marijuana fails to affect driving performance

Posted By on Sat, May 29, 2010 at 1:28 PM

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Among the many issues that were considered for inclusion in House Bill 1284 was the question of whether to allow patients to partake of medication on-site at the center.

Some of the arguments for on-site consumption were avoiding complications like landlords who would possibly kick tenants out for medicating in their residence; folks who didn't want to partake around their families; and those who required medical assistance due to their ailments.

Arguments against went something like, "We're worried that people will medicate, and then go kick a puppy," or something; honestly, I get confused because all I heard from Colorado legislators was, "Blah blah blah, get hammered at the bar, but may Baby Jesus damn you if you help your epilepsy ..."

Well, puppy lovers, chew on this: a study published in the medical Journal of Psychoactive Drugs, done by the Olin Neuropsychiatry Research Center in Hartford, CT confirms that, "under the influence of marijuana, participants decreased their speed and failed to show expected practice effects during a distracted drive."

No differences were found during the baseline driving segment or collision avoidance scenarios. No differences attributable to sex were observed.

Basically, they drove with more care.

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Wars cost us $1 trillion

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 5:20 PM

Nine years and $1 trillion later, the bearded menace is still alive.
  • Nine years and $1 trillion later, the bearded menace is still alive.
It's been nearly nine years since the events of September 11th led America into two wars.

Two wars that have now cost America $1 trillion. Two wars that never brought to justice Osama bin Laden, the supposed mastermind behind September 11. Two wars that have cost us about 5,500 American lives, and the lives of countless innocent Iraqi and Afghani civilians. (By the way, if you have a little extra time this Memorial Day, take a break from the BBQ and take a look at this: http://projects.washingtonpost.com/fallen/. This is The Washington Post's haunting full archive of all our dead soldiers, most with pictures.)

All this may be pretty overwhelming to think about. So, let's just consider one part of it: the $1 trillion.

How much is a trillion? Enough to provide over 294 million people with health care for a year (or 440 million if the "people" are all children).

For your consideration:

Crossing the $1 Trillion Cost Of War Line
NPP’s Cost of War counter to hit $1 trillion on May 30, 2010

NORTHAMPTON, MA — On May 30, 2010, at 10:06am, the National Priorities Project Cost of War counter — designed to count the total money appropriated for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars — will reach the $1 trillion mark.

To date $747.3 billion have been appropriated for the U.S. war in Iraq and $299 billion for the war in Afghanistan.

The pending supplemental making its way through Congress will add an estimated $37 billion to the current $136.8 billion total spending for the current fiscal year, ending September 30.

What Can You Get For $1 Trillion?

Federal Funding For Higher Education — $1 trillion would give the maximum Pell Grant award ($5,500) to all 19 million U.S. college and university students for the next 9 years.

For $1 trillion, you could provide:

294,734,961 people with health care for one year, or
21,598,789 public safety officers for one year, or
17,149,392 music and arts teachers for one year, or
7,779,092 affordable housing units, or
440,762,472 children with health care for one year, or
137,233,969 head start places for children for one year, or
16,427,497 elementary school teachers for one year, or
1,035,282,468 homes with renewable electricity for one year

In your community:

Taxpayers in Natick, Massachusetts will pay $206.9 million for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. For that amount, instead of implementing a proposed 4 percent cut for Natick’s libraries in 2011, the town could double its total current library budget, and pay for it for 56 years.

Taxpayers in the Borough of Brooklyn, New York will pay $9 billion for total Iraq and Afghanistan war spending since 2001. That’s enough to supply renewable electricity to every household in Brooklyn for 19 years.

As college and university tuitions grow, community colleges are increasingly popular sources of affordable education. At Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, for the cost of the Afghanistan war "surge" (est. $37 billion) you could cover all tuition and fees for all full- and part-time (half-time) students for the next 762 semesters (381 years).


WHAT DOES $1 TRILLION LOOK LIKE?
$1,000,000,000,000 (“1’ and twelve zeros)

If you earned $1 million a year, it would take you 1 million years to earn $1 trillion.

In Dollar Bills:

If you converted $1 trillion into one dollar bills, and laid them end to end, it would reach 98 million miles. That's 4,000 times around the Earth. Its 205 trips to the Moon. And back. It's more than the distance to the Sun.

In Silver Dollars:

If someone handed you a silver dollar every second, it would take almost 32,000 years for them to hand you $1 trillion. Not that you could hold them — they'd weigh nearly 9 million tons.

About NPP’s Cost of War Counters

NPP’s Cost of War counters provide information on the cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan for each of the 50 states.

The counters also provide cost amounts and “trade-off” data for hundreds of U.S. cities and towns.

To see NPP’s Cost of War counters and our Notes & Sources, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org/costofwar_home

The National Priorities Project (NPP) is a 501(c)(3) research organization that analyzes and clarifies federal data so that people can understand and influence how their tax dollars are spent. Located in Northampton, MA, since 1983, NPP focuses on the impact of federal spending and other policies at the national, state, congressional district and local levels. For more information, visit http://www.nationalpriorities.org.

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Hurray! Medians to be mowed.

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 4:23 PM

Colorado Springs, the Mile High (Grass) City
  • Colorado Springs, the "Mile High (Grass) City."

For all those wondering if those ugly, overgrown medians will ever get mowed, I've got good news.

Yep, they're getting mowed. Turns out the weeds are so tall in our city medians that they're actually breaking our city code.

You heard it right: The city is breaking city code.

Here's the rest, as written in a press release:

Medians to be mowed


Beginning next week irrigated City medians, covering approximately 49 acres of developed medians will be mowed. Spring rains have caused growth to be accelerated resulting in code compliance issues and the potential for wild fires. Median mowing had been cut from the 2010 city budget. Minimal current year cost savings will be used to address this one time expense. The City has an on-demand contractor who will mow the medians. Non-irrigated medians will not be mowed at this time.

City Staff is finalizing the Adopt a Median program which will be rolled out in early June.

This program similar to the Adopt a Park and Adopt a Streetlight will allow individuals to volunteer to help with ongoing maintenance as a public service.

# # #

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From the campaign trail of four white guys

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 1:54 PM

With the Aug. 10 primary just 10 weeks away, Democrats seeking the U.S. Senate seat are pounding the pavement, while the two major parties' nominees for Attorney General prepare to face off in a debate.

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Michael Bennet's campaign announced today that his supporters collected signatures from more than 20,000 voters in case he didn't make the ballot at the Democratic state assembly last weekend. He made the ballot with 40 percent of the vote, but the campaign says the outreach for signatures drew in volunteers and contributions.

During the month-long, statewide operation, Bennet's team spoke with more than 150,000 Democrats, Republicans and Independents, laying a strong foundation for the Democratic primary in August and the general election in November, the campaign said in a press release. "This was a unique strategy that succeeded in expanding the universe of Coloradans who have had peer-to-peer discussions about Michael Bennet and have heard about his commitment to our state," the press release said.

Meanwhile, his primary opponent, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff, who captured 60 percent of the delegates at the assembly, launched a tour across the state that will hit seven cities in its first leg.

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"The road to Washington ought to lead from Main Street, not from Wall Street," Romanoff said in a press release. "My campaign and my career are focused on and fueled by the people of Colorado."

Romanoff's schedule for Tuesday:
9:45 a.m. - Neck-Lace-4-Life, a group of Louisville and Lafayette woman with a growing knitting organization that gives 100% of their profit to Cancer research, 2550 Sweetwater Circle, Lafayette.
10:30 a.m. - pARTiculars, a thriving community of more than 30 local artists that provide art classes and sell their work, 401 South Public Road, Lafayette.
12:30 p.m. - Lunch with members of the Boulder Independent Business Alliance, a grassroots collaborative organization of locally owned independent businesses in Boulder County.
2 p.m. - Grounds to Ground, a small company working out of a Boulder garage that buys fair-trade coffee beans in bulk, roasts the coffee beans for his clients to order, delivers the coffee and then picks up and composts the coffee grounds, 4090 Carlock Dr. Boulder.
7 p.m. - Grand Opening Boulder Office, 2520 Arapahoe Ave, Boulder.


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Meanwhile, Attorney General John Suthers, a Republican, and Democratic candidate Stan Garnett will debate at 6 p.m. Tuesday in The Forum at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. Moderator is Aaron Harber, host of Colorado Election 2010. The debate is being recorded for later broadcast during the campaign season. Go here for more.

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Your Memorial Weekend music guide

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 10:38 AM

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Perfect weather is nothing without musical accompaniment, so here are a few shows to take into consideration for your Memorial Day weekend planning.

On Friday (aka tonight), you can get your ska on with the top-ranking Aggrolites (critic's pick here, plus you can read our 2009 interview here) at the City Auditorium. Or head on over to the Triple Nickel for a lineup that includes the "death gospel" stylings of Adam Arcuragi & the Lupine Choral Society (last week's interview here).

On Saturday, look for an all-day punkfest beginning high noon at Sunshine Studios (pictured here — kids, don't try this at home). Featured artists include Bleach, Bleach spinoff Sarcastic Bastards and a ton of surprisingly un-Bleach-related bands.

And finally, we suspect you're already aware of MeadowGrass, the second annual music fest which begins Friday night and goes through Sunday just up the road at the idyllic La Foret Conference and Retreat Center. In addition to Grant-Lee Phillips (yep, we interviewed him too, and it's right here), you can catch Great Lake Swimmers, the Greencards and plenty more.

So now you've got even better excuses to opt out of this year's holiday gathering with the in-laws out in Limon. You're welcome!

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Eight foodie snapshots (Updated)

Posted By on Fri, May 28, 2010 at 9:49 AM

So my mailbox of blog-worthy bits got a little full ...

Here's Eight food and drink related snapshots to take you into Memorial Day weekend:

From Chevy Lee Raw Foods' latest take-out menu: Chocolate-orange-Mayan cookie sandwich (2 cashew-vanilla-coconut cookies sandwiching a thick orange crème and drizzled with a chocolate-cayenne sauce, $7) — martinepurdy@yahoo.com for more.

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The Organic Consumers Association, who this week reports that genetically modified foods cause sterility in hamsters, this not-exactly-convincing video of a hamster largely choosing organic over conventional:

Update: Hammy Goes Organic filmmaker Ken Aversano got in touch to thank us for posting his movie. He asked if we could add a link to the original site, which is here.

Pueblo's Solar Roast Coffee featured in April edition of Food Network Magazine. Free coffee on weekends, the entire month of June, as a thank you to customers.

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City Green Team members and Pikes Peak Urban Gardens plant food for local charities in former flower gardens at City Hall:

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Chipotle recognized as largest restaurant buyer of locally grown produce; 895 N. Academy Blvd. and 3230 Elizabeth St. (Pueblo) locations become eighth and ninth Colorado locations to install solar panels out of some expected 75 locations. Chain plans to be largest direct producer of solar energy in the restaurant industry.

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Back in April (yeah, they got their press releases out late), Rocky Mountain Brewery , out of 86 entrants in the Fruit Beer or Field Beer category, won a gold medal at the Brewers Association World Beer Cup for its Da' Yoopers Cherry Ale. The beer is made from Montmorency cherries from the Upper Peninsula in Michigan, blended with a golden ale and Mexican cinnamon.

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Vote for Colorado restaurants for Zagat by June 6 and receive a free copy of 2011's American's Top Restaurants guide:

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Oskar Blues Brewery in Lyons, Colo. announces inaugural Burning Can: The Original Canned Craft Beer Evolution Festival of Colorado, June 26.

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