After two weeks of rollercoaster rumors, Brigham Young University dropped a bombshell on the Mountain West Conference late Tuesday afternoon by announcing it will leave the league next year.
BYU will become an independent in football while competing in all other sports as a member of the West Coast Conference. In mid-August, BYU had said it would leave the Mountain West to go independent in football with other sports in the Western Athletic Conference. But when the Mountain West responded by taking Fresno State and Nevada from the WAC, Brigham Young's plans changed.
It had appeared that BYU officials might decide to remain in the Mountain West with an improved TV deal for football, but in the end that didn't happen. BYU had to inform the Mountain West by Sept. 1 if it planned to leave 12 months later.
Losing the Mormon university, at the same time that Utah leaves for the Pacific 10, will be a major blow to the Mountain West — unless it responds by adding another Utah member, perhaps Utah State, to regain a presence in the Salt Lake City-area media market.
This will leave the Mountain West with 10 members in 2011-12. There was no word if the league would stay at that level or add two more and, with 12 schools, create a conference championship game in football.
BYU officials planned a news conference Wednesday to discuss the decision. Meanwhile, Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson released the following statement from the league's Colorado Springs office:
"Since its inception, the Mountain West Conference has worked strategically to grow and strengthen the league, in order to position itself at the highest level of intercollegiate athletics. Our Board of Directors' diligent exploration of options to advance the membership's objectives is ongoing. This includes conversations with our television partners to address issues of mutual importance, as well as determining the optimal configuration for the Conference and investigating the possibility of various collaborative alliances. We look forward to the future with great excitement — particularly welcoming recent additions Boise State, Fresno State and Nevada into the Mountain West."
Teller County Sheriff Kevin Dougherty submitted his resignation Tuesday amid a lawsuit over his eligibility to be sheriff after moving to El Paso County several months ago.
Dougherty and his wife bought a house in June
28 east of Marksheffel Road, north of Fountain. He sold his home in Divide, also in June 24, records show.
State law requires sheriffs to be inhabitants in the county in which they serve. The battle over Dougherty’s status has been ongoing for several months, with Dougherty maintaining that he lived in Teller County where he rented a place.
In the agreement approved Tuesday, commissioners agreed to pay half of Dougherty’s attorney fees up to $1,250, and to pay his salary and benefits through Oct. 1. In an unexplained provision of the agreement, commissioners agreed not to eliminate any approved command staff positons in the Sheriff’s Office for 14 days after Dougherty’s replacement assumes duties of office.
That person is Michael Ensminger, who won the Aug. 10 Republican primary and, facing no general election opponent, is due to take office in January. Commissioners appointed Ensminger to become acting sheriff starting at noon Friday when Dougherty’s resignation becomes effective.
But for many, the biggest coup will be William Gibson, who's credited with coining the term "cyberspace" and launching the cyberpunk movement with his novel Neuromancer (which, ironically enough, was written on a Hermes 2000 manual typewriter). Gibson is also responsible for The Difference Engine, a collaboration with author Bruce Sterling that's widely regarded as the first steampunk novel.
The author will be reading from his forthcoming novel, Zero History — which continues themes and characters he introduced in Pattern Recognition and Spook Country — on Sept. 14 at 7:30 p.m.
You can find more information, including Tattered Cover's complete event schedule, here.
Cast a vote for them here. Also look in this week's Side Dish column for more on the outfit.
Anyone who knows Jason Baalman, or knows of him, will catch onto this right away.
Baalman, whom we wrote about back in 2009 ("Idol Hands"), is a master of painting and sculpting artwork out of materials unusual for artistic purposes, but ordinary in daily life: Elvis in Cheetos, Angelina Jolie in lipstick, you get the idea.
This weekend Baalman will unveil a whole new collection of works created with barbecue sauce. You can see the works at various galleries and shops in Old Colorado City as part of the First Friday Art Walk on Sept. 3 from 5-8 p.m. The pieces will be on display until Sept. 12.
You can get up to speed, literally, on Baalman's unique work by visiting his YouTube channel youtube.com/user/EclecticAsylumArt. Not only does Baalman paint with mascara, he also records himself doing it and posts it online, sped up, so viewers can watch his masterpiece from start to finish.
If you're running a little late, the city can help you with that.
Starting Tuesday, Sept. 7, the city's Parking Enterprise will have on-street parking meters reprogrammed to allow a five-minute grace period after meters run out of time. Meters are located downtown and in Old Colorado City.
That's a bit of a help, considering the fine for overparking is $20. Ouch.
The city says:
“We don’t want to discourage customers from frequenting the downtown or Old Colorado City areas,” explained Greg Warnke, City Parking System Administrator. “Hopefully, adding grace minutes to the meters will help those visitors who are just running a bit late.”
When the time purchased expires, the reprogrammed meters will track and display time in a negative mode ("-0:01 through -0:05") until the five-minute grace period is reached; then they will flash "00:00" and the backs will turn red and display "EXPIRED."
Staff plans to reprogram all meters in the downtown and Old Colorado City areas between Sept. 1 and 3.
From the Listings desk: Sign up by Sept. 8 for the Pikes Peak Writing Marathon. Slated for noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, Sept. 11, this fest hosted by the Southern Colorado Writing Project will begin in the Carnegie Reading Room at the Penrose Library (20 N. Cascade Ave.), and from there progress to various "cafés, pubs and public spaces in downtown Colorado Springs."
You can write anything you want, be it poetry, fiction or whatever your current project is (the beginnings of what could be a NaNoWriMo novel? Not that you'd cheat, of course).
The event is free, and all you need are your writing implements of choice. You have to be at least 18, though, and you have to RSVP (contact: 719/549-2595, or firstname.lastname@example.org). Find more info here.
Forgive me an I, Robot moment ...
But the quote sprang to mind as soon as I read this in Pagosa Springs' Pagosa Daily Post regarding Archuleta County's decision on allowing MMJ centers:
But where, exactly, Sheriff Pete Gonzalez obtained his statistic that the overwhelming majority of the state’s 30,919 registered users are 20-year-olds is not immediately obvious.
Reporter Bill Hudson again:
The Sheriff was the only person to speak out against the licensing ordinance. And I believe he was also the only person to use misleading statistics.
This oft-repeated mantra that most card-holders are 20-somethings is patently, provably false. I've heard it from Colorado Springs City Councilors, El Paso County Commissioners, detractors, law enforcement officers and legal advisers.
The numbers are right here — look it up. Hudson did.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, there are currently 30,919 registered medical marijuana users in Colorado. And “the average age of all patients is 40.” Over 900 different physicians have signed recommendations for their patients to use the herbal medicine — a medicine that is still classed as a controlled substance by the federal government.
The average age in Colorado, according to the U.S. Census, is 34 years. The average age of medical marijuana users, according to CDPHE is 40 years.
Now, true, the department's numbers are as of Dec. 31, 2009. But it's going to take a lot of 21-year-olds to bring the average down that far. So you of the anti-MMJ groupthink — i.e. people who try "to minimize conflict and reach consensus without critically testing, analyzing, and evaluating ideas" — pull together a cohesive argument, and fight facts with actual, relevant facts. Please.
The young man and woman who brought a rabid bat to the humane society on Aug. 15 have been found.
The pair were being sought by the El Paso County Department of Health and Environment, whose officials were concerned that the two may have been bitten or scratched while attempting to rescue the sick bat. If the bat's saliva entered the bodies of the young people, they could have been infected. Rabies is deadly once a person begins to show symptoms — which can take anywhere from a week to a year.
Health department representatives expressed relief that the two were found, and said the pair will receive shots that will prevent rabies infection if needed.
“We are relieved that we are able to conduct a proper investigation of this situation,” Marigny Klaber, M.S., communicable disease epidemiologist for the Health Department, said in a press release.
The issue included an interview with acclaimed trance artist Christopher Lawrence — who headlined the Love Festival at the Phil Long Expo Center here. Lawrence argued that the rave scene is being unfairly singled out for behaviors that are routinely condoned at rock shows and sporting events:
"And one reason I can tell you is that it doesn't have corporate sponsorship. If Nike was flying the flag behind the stage, the police would think twice because they know that Nike's lawyers would come down on them like a ton of bricks ... The whole scene has traditionally been DIY, the promoters started out years ago doing it all by themselves, and the DJs are not signed to labels that are promoting our tours. If Clear Channel was throwing these events, I guarantee you that the media and the police would not treat the event in the same way."
On Monday, L.A. Times writer Todd Martens reported that the promoter whose Electric Daisy Carnival prompted the Los Angeles rave ban has filed a seven-figure civil suit against the city over the cancellation of an Oct. 30 concert by electronic artist Tiesto:
“Events like [Electric Daisy] and the Tiësto concert are held at legal venues and are planned in conjunction with law enforcement and medical personnel,” reads the claim. “[The Convention Center’s] unilateral termination of the contract will send the wrong message by suppressing the popularization of electronic music, encouraging it to revert back to its underground, unsafe beginnings.”
No word yet on whether the Dutch artist will make it to Denver's Beta Nightclub for his scheduled Nov. 9 appearance.
Or it used to be.
Colorado state rep. Mark Waller, take it away:
"I was speaking at the Republican roundup, at Valley Hi [Golf Course], and apparently a lot of folks who support the growth in the [MMJ] industry heard that I was going to be speaking there about medical marijuana," Waller says. "They showed up.
"I stayed, answered everybody's questions, spoke to everybody, tried to be as gracious as possible, and my reward for that was walking out to my car when it's all said and done: somebody had smeared ranch dressing all over my car."
In other news, Waller says he's happy about the El Paso County Board of Commissioners decision to refer a ban question to the ballot.
One thing though: "I think it's going to be an uphill battle though for the Let Us Vote.org folks to educate the people."
This is why I go to Burger King ...
We hear from a lot of folks that want to give elected officials a piece of their mind.
Well, Wednesday is a perfect opportunity. The Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education will be meeting up to hear from the public — both the praisers and the critics — from 6 to 7 p.m. in the D-11 board room at 115 N. El Paso Street.
Here's a map:
Whatever backlash the election of a black president may have inspired, I'm still surprised by the institutional racism of a Mississippi public school that earlier this month prohibited black students from running for class president. Under the announced rules, black students were relegated to lower offices as follows:
Following parent complaints and reports last week by blogs like The Smoking Gun, Mixed and Happy and Gawker, the Nettleton School District retracted its policy, which had designated 8 of the 12 positions for white students only. (Mixed-race and other racial categories were left out of the equation entirely.)
Amazingly, the school district's media statement characterizes the wayward policy as some kind of attempt at affirmative action (apparently making up for centuries of black discrimination against white people). Here's the text:
After being notified of a grievance regarding upcoming student elections at Nettleton Middle School, research was conducted that evidenced that the current practices and procedures for student elections have existed for over 30 years. It is the belief of the current administration that these procedures were implemented to help ensure minority representation and involvement in the student body. It is felt the intent of these election procedures was to ensure African-American representation in each student office category through an annual rotation basis.
It is our hope and desire that these practices and procedures are no longer needed to help ensure minority representation and involvement. Furthermore, the Nettleton School District acknowledges and embraces the fact that we are growing in ethnic diversity and that the classifications of Caucasian and African-American no longer reflect our entire student body.
Therefore, beginning immediately, student elections at Nettleton School District will no longer have a classification of ethnicity. It is our intent that each student has equal opportunity to seek election for any student office. Future student elections will be monitored to help ensure that this change in process and procedure does not adversely affect minority representation in student elections.
All of which begs the question of whether the folks running the Nettleton School District are overtly racist or incredibly stupid. In this case, I'd say it's not a case of either/or. It's obviously both/and.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) runs annually in November. If you haven't been one of the many local writers to participate in past years, it's basically an event that encourages participants to craft a 50,000-word novel between Nov. 1 and Nov. 30. (Learn more about the event here.)
I participated twice: Once I came close to finishing, the second time I gave up halfway through. A co-worker of mine completed it last year, though I don't think he'll ever do it again. I think most would agree it's a grueling process, especially when you work a full-time job. Though it helps that there are locally organized "write-ins" and forum support, all — and I mean all — of your free time goes to writing.
So when I read about the International 3-Day Novel Contest, I had two thoughts.
First, are you effin CRAZY?!? And then ... well, I could probably commit a measly 72 hours. And who knows? Maybe I could do it.
An international affair, the 3-Day Novel Contest, according to the website, has run every year since 1977 during Labour Day weekend. (Yes, that "labour" is intentional: It's a Canadian-coordinated effort.) You have to register by Sept. 3; unlike the free NaNoWriMo, there's a $50 entry fee, as well as cash prizes. There are no specified lengths, but they do say that most entries average 100 typed, double-spaced pages (about 25,000 words).
You can get all the details at the website. Let us know if you sign up — and, if so, how much coffee you drink to keep yourself awake for three days.