Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Reopening at the DAM

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 6:00 PM

We can thank King Tut for hogging most of the region's A/E attention these days, and that's fine, but there's a lot more to see at the Denver Art Museum.

And what's coming actually hails from its permanent collection. After an extensive remodel, the DAM will officially reopen its American Indian art galleries at the end of January. According to press materials, the renovated space will focus on Native American artists, studying the pieces on display as artworks, not artifacts (which the museum says was its mission all the way back in 1925.)

And the collection is impressive, spanning Plains beadwork, Navajo textiles, Pueblo ceramics, Northwest coast sculpture and even contemporary painting.

Here's a peek at what you'll see next year:

Four-faced Hamatsa Mask by George Walkus, 1948

Untitled work by Norval Morrisseau, 2010

Condor feather cape, 1950

Artist unknown, Navajo eyedazzler style rug, 1995

Owl Spirit by Kenojuak Ashevak, 1984

Apache Crown Dance by Allan Houser, 1953

For more information, visit denverartmuseum.org.

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Denver venues soliciting Front Range musicians

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 5:58 PM

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Now that there's one less club for original music here in Colorado Springs — thanks to the recent closing of the Rocket Room — there's one more reason for local bands to try to break into the Denver market.

Monday, the Larimer Lounge posted a Twitter message soliciting artists to come play their venue:

"Got a band? Play awesome tunes? Go to www.booklarimer.com and fill out a show requests and we'll get you a gig!"

If you're a Colorado-based artist, the site will then direct you to the important-sounding Larimer Lounge Reports System (LLRS) - *Local* Show Request Form.

And from there, the sky's the limit, more or less:

"Use this form to request a show at Larimer Lounge. Please fill it out and we will contact you shortly. If you can bring 100+ people to your Larimer show, we will book you a show at the Bluebird Theater!"

So there you have it. And here, just to inspire you to somehow persuade 100 friends to show up, is some video of Cut Copy playing "Feel the Love" on that very same stage:

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Out to Lynch: Twin Peaks director makes his pop music debut

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:17 PM

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"I love musicians because they’re like children. They’re so happy when they’re working. They sleep late.”

So said David Lynch today in a BBC-6 radio interview, embedded below, on the occasion of two newly released tracks he composed and sings on. The music has been compared to Underworld, which is pretty accurate when Lynch’s vocals are heavily processed, but not so much when they aren’t.

In any event, Lynch’s songs are a whole lot different from the trademark Angelo Badalamenti music that graced the director’s Twin Peaks series. Scroll down a bit further to hear some of that, along with appropriate visuals.

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World AIDS Day

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 4:03 PM

While World AIDS Day isn’t the happiest holiday affair, it is certainly important. First established by the World Health Organization on Dec. 1, 1988, World AIDS Day encourages public support to prevent the spread of HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) infection, encourages awareness about the AIDS (Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome) pandemic caused by the spread of HIV, and encourages compassion for those affected by HIV/AIDS.

There is some good news this year, as the number of new infections of HIV has been reduced globally by 20 percent, according to a statement from Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS executive director and United Nations undersecretary-general. While the lower number of new infections is great news, there are still an estimated 1.1 million Americans living with HIV/AIDS and about 33 million people worldwide. At least 30 million people have died from AIDS.

To start off World AIDS Day events in Colorado Springs, Dr. Calvin Wilson will be discussing activism and global health in the Cornerstone Screening Room (Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center, 825 N. Cascade Ave.) at 7 tonight. Anyone interested can learn a bit about the importance of education and community-oriented care in improving health around the world.

Wilson is internationally recognized as an expert in the development of family medicine and primary health care training programs. He has worked extensively in Ecuador, Jordan, Iraq and Rwanda building primary health care facilities and medical communities. He is currently serving as the director of the Center for Global Health at the University of Colorado-Denver, and his visit is sponsored by Colorado College’s Students for Global Health and political science department.

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Tomorrow, Dec. 1, S-CAP (Southern Colorado AIDS Project) will be holding its observance service at Pine Creek High School (10750 Thunder Mountain Ave.) at 7 p.m.

Both S-CAP and Planned Parenthood representatives will be speaking at Colorado College in Gaylord Hall (902 N. Cascade Ave.) from 6 to 8 p.m. Free food will be provided.

On Dec. 3, S-CAP will hold its opening reception for the “Beneath the Empty Shoes: Voices from the Path of HIV/AIDS” exhibit at the East and Penrose libraries; the reception is at East from 4 to 6 p.m. The exhibit features video interviews, personal stories from Colorado Springs families, and a historical review of the AIDS pandemic, aimed at “offering us all an opportunity to face stigma and challenge ignorance.” The exhibit runs through Dec. 30.

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Um, wow, tunnel people

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:37 PM

This has got to be one of the strangest and most disturbing stories I have ever read.

A thousand people (no shit!) are living in tunnels underneath Las Vegas' strip. They have beds, shelves, showers. These are their homes.

Now if anything out there better illustrates the gap between rich and poor in this country, and the destruction of the middle class, I can't think of it.

A thousand people. A thousand.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1326187/Las-Vegas-tunnel-people-How-1-000-people-live-shimmering-strip.html


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Higher dog fees proposed

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:19 PM

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region is proposing higher fees for next year to cover costs of providing service in the unincorporated areas of El Paso County where animal control is offered. Those areas generally cover the Monument area, Ute Pass, Fountain, Widefield/Security and other scattered areas.


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The changes will cover most of a $34,500 increase in the county's contract for services for 2011, which totals $479,567.

Here are the changes, which are to be considered by El Paso County commissioners on Thursday:

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No license fees are charged for guide dogs used by the blind and the deaf.

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Pocket change

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 3:10 PM

Today is the first day of the International Coin Collectors Association's five-day stop in Colorado Springs. They are looking for treasures. Do you have treasures?

"Have you ever wondered what those old silver coins in your coffee can were worth? When was the last time you even pulled them from your closet or attic? Well now is the time to begin your hunt because the International Coin Collectors Association is coming to your town in search of the rarest coins in the world!"

Sold? Then grab your old coin jar and run on over to the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center (314 West Bijou St.). The event runs today through Dec. 4, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. through Friday, then 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Check out the website for more info.

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The ICCA has recently uncovered some rare coins that could be hiding in a closet or attic near you. 1894S Barber dime sold for a whopping 1.9 million dollars! Gold coin collection uncovered in a small town in North Carolina for $120,000! A penny was even recently sold for over $300 at a show in Georgia!

What kind of collectible coins will be revealed during our trip? Let’s find out together. You or your next door neighbor just might be the next to find a jackpot in the attic. Start digging now and be ready to have some fun and make some money.

Colorado Springs is the next stop for the ICCA’s world tour. During this event at the Clarion Hotel & Conference Center, our collectors are hoping to see items such as coins and paper currency issued prior to 1965, gold items included class rings, mismatched earrings, broken necklaces, gold coins and bullion. These items are highly sought after by collectors from around the world!

These collectors are very serious about their hobby; so serious that they will pay a lot of money for the items they are looking for. Nearly all coins, vintage jewelry, bullion, Kruggerands, paper currency from the early 1900’s and 1800’s . The ICCA is a place where anyone in your community can connect with collectors from around the globe. Our experts make offers based on what our collectors are willing to pay. Then when someone decides to sell, they get paid on the spot and our experts send the item to the collector at their expense.

Keep in open mind when going through your attics and closets. You could come across the next big find! Whether you have an old Morgan silver dollar, blanket bill, pocket watch, or just a class ring from when you were in high school, bring it down to the show and find out what it’s worth and possibly even get paid for it right on the spot. Don’t have a Morgan dollar, or Kruggerand? No problem, the ICCA even purchases gold items! If you have mismatched ear rings, a broken necklace, or even costume jewelry, we have the resources to pay top dollar for your gold and silver items.

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Senate passes Food and Drug Administration overhaul

Posted By on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 at 11:43 AM

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  • ABC NEWS

The New York Times is reporting that a bi-partisan majority of the U.S. Senate has passed a dramatic piece of legislation, granting new power to the Food and Drug Administration "to crack down on unsafe foods before they harm people rather than after outbreaks occur." Though the report warns that the Senate may not have time to haggle with the House of Representatives, which passed its own version last year, it's still a step in the right direction.

Both versions of the bill would grant the F.D.A. new powers to recall tainted foods, increase inspections, demand accountability from food companies and oversee farming. But neither version would consolidate overlapping functions at the Department of Agriculture and nearly a dozen other federal agencies that oversee various aspects of food safety, making coordination among the agencies a continuing challenge.

While food-safety advocates and many industry groups preferred the House version because it includes more money for inspections and fewer exceptions from the rules it sets out, most said the Senate bill was far better than nothing.

“This is an historic moment,” said Erik Olson, deputy director of the Pew Health Group, an advocacy group. “For the first time in over 70 years, the Senate has approved an overhaul of F.D.A.’s food safety law that will help ensure that the food we put on our kitchen tables will be safer.”

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Monday, November 29, 2010

All that jazz (and gingerbread)

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 5:53 PM

While we were previously waiting on some information regarding the event, we can now give you an idea of all that goes on at the lavish benefit party known as the 16th annual Gingerbread and Jazz Gala, which took place Nov. 13.

The event, hosted at the insanely cool Historic Day Nursery (see archived photos here), benefits Early Connections Learning Centers. Edie Adelstein and I were fed, wined, dined, danced and given ice cream cones until we could take it no more.

Communications director Mary Beth Burichin says more than 300 people purchased $100 tickets, raising over $40,000 to support ECLC, numbers on par with previous years.

And of course, a party's never a party without a gingerbread house. Here's how Burichin described it:

The Gingerbread Masterpiece Challenge teams are invited to compete using a gingerbread house pattern and set of rules that we provide. They initially submit a theme and team member names for acceptance into the competition and then pre-bake and pre-build the houses. They also do a heck of a lot of pre-planning and crafting of heir decorations before arriving. The two-hour competition then involves decorating the houses. They also donate the finished houses to Early Connections which offers them to the highest bidders during a silent auction held the night of the event.

The contest, eventually won by Chef Sugar's Cakes and Confections, awarded $500 to first place and $125 each to runner-ups from the Garden of the Gods Club, Little London Cake Shoppe and First Presbyterian Church, as judged by chef Brent Beavers from Guiseppe's Old Depot Restaurant.

A Victorian Christmas from winner Chef Sugars Cakes and Confections
  • "A Victorian Christmas" from winner Chef Sugar's Cakes and Confections

Little London Cake Shoppes Christmas Shopping in creation.
  • Little London Cake Shoppe's "Christmas Shopping" in creation.

See food?
  • See food?

Because shiny dessert is better.
  • Because shiny dessert is better.

Part of a mural running around the room by noted Western artist Allen True, whos work is now exhibiting at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Click the image for our story on the exhibit.
  • Part of a mural running around the room by noted Western artist Allen True, who's work is now exhibiting at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. Click the image for our story on the exhibit.

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The site that kicked the hornet's nest

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 5:37 PM

Information wants to be free, it just needs a little help.
  • Photo by New Media Days/Peter Erichsen
  • Information wants to be free, it just needs a little help.

Sarah Palin never fails to grasp upon the most moronic position in any conversation and run with it.

In a desperate attempt to make political hay from the recent WikiLeaks leak, the half-term Alaska governor asked Facebook why isn't the Obama administration hunting down Aussie hacker Julian Assange "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?"

If Palin were president, you see, WikiLeaks would be no more, nonexistent, purged from the Internet, and Assange would have long ago been rendered off to some deep dark black hole somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Watch as Palin masterfully entangles self-promotion with an allegiance to that idiots' notion that Assange and his team committed treason by publishing documents classified by a foreign country. "Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book 'America by Heart' from being leaked, but US Govt can't stop WikiLeaks' treasonous act?"

She is a thing of beauty.

And she isn't alone. New York Rep. Peter King has been busy making an ass out of himself calling for Assange's extradition. "Either we’re serious about this or we’re not. I know people may think this is a bit of a stretch, but I analogize it as the RICO statute, where they had a pretty narrow definition of criminal enterprise in the beginning, but now that’s been expanded quite a bit to deal with contemporary problems." Yep. King wants to expand the power of the government to deal with those who publish leaked government documents in much the same way that RICO was expanded to bust poor, black drug dealers.

Members of the Obama administration are, predictably, pissed off.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the material. She said the Obama administration was taking "aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information."

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said the U.S. would not rule out taking action against WikiLeaks. Attorney General Eric Holder said the administration would prosecute if violations of federal law are found in an ongoing criminal investigation of the incident.

Gibbs said President Barack Obama was briefed on the impending massive leak last week and was "not pleased" about the breach of classified documents. "This is a serious violation of the law," Gibbs said. "This is a serious threat to individuals that both carry out and assist in our foreign policy."

World leaders are lining up to condemn the leaks for undermining delicate diplomatic conversations, and for making public the embarrassing squabbles and back-stabbing that is just a part of politics. Even the conspiracy types have found reason to hyperventilate. Yet of all the predictable backlash against WikiLeaks, the most amusing has come from members of the establishment media. These well-connected opinion-makers are desperate to downplay the value of WikiLeaks while simultaneously chastising the odd hackers for failing to observe the heuristics of how a gentleman makes government secrets public.

The Economist published this within less than a day after only a small percentage of the quarter-million diplomatic cables became public.

At this point, what WikiLeaks is doing seems like tattling: telling Sally what Billy said to Jane. It's sometimes possible that Sally really ought to know what Billy said to Jane, if Billy were engaged in some morally culpable deception. But in general, we frown on gossips. If there's something particularly damning in the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks has gotten a hold of, the organisation should bring together a board of experienced people with different perspectives to review the merits of releasing that particular cable. But simply grabbing as many diplomatic cables as you can get your hands on and making them public is not a socially worthy activity...

Maybe it's something about tech geeks, or maybe it's just related to the self-interest of people and organisations whose particular strength lies in an ability to get a hold of other people's information. But it definitely seems like we're learning a lesson here: while information may want to be free, human beings are usually better off when it's on a leash.

Benedict Brogan took a more bemused, schoolteacher-ish sort of stance:

... the fact remains that [the Wikileaks documents are] a collection of little substance that will do nothing to reshape geo-politics. The Saudis would like someone to whack Iran? No kidding. Afghanistan is run by crooks? Really? Hillary Clinton would like to know a lot more about the diplomats she is negotiating against? You surprise me. The Russian government may have links to organised crime? Pass the smelling salts, Petunia. The Americans are secretly whacking al-Qaeda operatives in Yemen? What, you thought the Yemenis were doing it?

Hardy-har, Petunia. You see, he's a serious journalist. You don't need to confirm the clandestine American bombing in Yemen—any intelligent observer should just be able to assume it's happening.

On this side of the pond, The Washington Post's Marc Theissen gave voice to the more dangerous faction of media, as he falls in lockstep with King and Palin and continues in his quest to see Assange prosecuted under the Espionage Act:

The very existence of WikiLeaks is a threat to national security. Unless something is done, WikiLeaks will only grow more brazen - and our unwillingness to stop it will embolden others to reveal classified information using the unlawful medium Assange has built.

I wonder if Theissen feels the same way about his colleague Dana Priest? After all, the government accused her of using illegally obtained classified documents to report on the CIA's alleged black sites program. She was accused of damaging national security. What's the difference between WikiLeaks and Priest? Priest is a Pulitizer Prize winner, and she did it the old-fashioned way: received her classified info, chased it down and reported what she found.

The difference is that in WikiLeaks' world the newspapers are no longer the sole arbiters of what the public ought to know. The editors and reporters are no longer the pretty ones; they now come to the trough of classified information to feed at the same time, from the same slop. What we are seeing in the media isn't an ethical stance taken against the reporting leaked classified information, or the high-minded refusal to deal in "gossip" (what reporter wouldn't have loved to get her hands on the cable detailing Kadafi's "nurse" before anyone else? Or the cable that alleges that Hillary Clinton orders her staff to spy on United Nations delegates? That shit's gold!). No, what we are seeing is a medium overrun by technology — again. Nobody in a newsroom wants to play second fiddle to a competitor, especially when that competitor comes straight out of the future, and is as irritating and smug as Julian Assange.

What we are hearing from my betters in the media world is something that amounts to one giant, flaccid harrumph.

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Morrison departing state post early

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 3:03 PM

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Marcy Morrison is looking forward to reconnecting with her home area of Manitou Springs and Colorado Springs when she steps down as Colorado insurance commissioner on Wednesday, Dec. 1, more than a month ahead of John Hickenlooper taking over as governor.

"I’ve put four years into this job and I always think a new governor needs to bring in his own team," she says in an interview. "I’m looking forward to getting back. I’ve been so disconnected in a way, being only back on weekends. I have a great fondness for my community."

Noting she wasn't pushed out, she says Hickenlooper's transition team members need to start looking for the kind of person they think is best for insurance commissioner.

"It's been a terrific job with lots going on," she says. "Anyone who wants to come into this job needs a lot of energy. How do you keep providing health care for consumers? How do we get quality? How do we get more of it? How do we afford it? My job has been great. It’s been a challenge every step of the way. Still, it’s not home. I hope I leave my division with the thought there’s a lot going on outside Denver, and we should try to do better outreach to be sure people do know what’s going on."

Asked what her future holds, Morrison says, "I’m looking forward to not driving I-25," and adds, "Do you have any ideas?"

Her final thought: "I am not running for anything, believe me."

Morrison served as an El Paso County commissioner from 1984 to 1992. After that, she served eight years in the Colorado House of Representatives and chaired the Health Environment, Welfare and Institutions Committee.

In 2000, she was elected as Manitou Springs' mayor where she served over five years, and was appointed as insurance commissioner by Gov. Bill Ritter as he took office in 2007.

The Department of Regulatory Agencies issued this press release this afternoon:

“It is with gratitude that we wish Marcy Morrison the best in her future endeavors,” said DORA Executive Director Barbara Kelley. “Marcy’s focus has been diligent and effective in protecting Colorado consumers in the insurance marketplace. DORA will miss her, and we thank Marcy for her years of dedicated service as Commissioner.”

Morrison, a former School Board member, County Commissioner, Mayor of Manitou Springs and State Representative, was named Colorado Insurance Commissioner by Governor Bill Ritter in 2007. She is a strong advocate for Colorado consumers, bringing several consumer-oriented bills before the Legislature as Commissioner, including the 2010 measure that will require insurance policies be written at a 10th grade reading level by January of 2012.

“Marcy is a tireless advocate who worked to balance the needs of consumers with the needs of the insurance industry,” Governor Ritter said. “Her experiences as a legislator, a mayor and as a community leader gave her a unique set of skills that helped her excel as insurance commissioner. She served with distinction, and her positive imprint will be felt for years to come.”

Kelley announced that as of December 1st, John J. Postolowski, a veteran state employee and current Deputy Commissioner of Finance and Administration at the Division of Insurance, will serve as the interim Commissioner, pending a permanent appointment by Governor-elect John Hickenlooper.

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Winter Driving 101

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 12:41 PM

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Normally, I don't pay a lot of mind to the glut of self-promotion that makes its way into my inbox.

However, this snowy morning, a list of winter driving tips from Bridgestone Tires seemed, well, sort of appropriate.

It's finally snowed in the Springs this winter, which means fishtailing sports cars and SUVs stuck in snowbanks. 'Tis the season.

But if you would rather not spend hours gunning your poor vehicle in reverse while its tires polish a strip of ice, there are some preventive measures.

Here are "Bridgestone's Winter Driving Tips From The Experts":

Bridgestone Winter Driving School Director and Pro Race Driver Mark Cox lives and drives in the extreme winter conditions of Steamboat Springs, Colo. Cox has helped Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations pull together the best strategic winter driving tips to take your vehicle on its snow-laden drive this winter and to help you and your family reach your destinations safely.

Before you drive:

» Check windshield wiper blades to make sure they work properly. In some areas, snow blades are an effective alternative to conventional wiper blades.

» Have your mechanic test the anti-freeze/coolant to provide the correct level of protection required in your driving area.

» Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Letting air out of tires to drive in snow can reduce the gripping action of tires because the tread will not meet the road surface as it was designed to do. Over-inflation has the same effect.

» Use dedicated snow and ice tires if you live in areas where snow and ice are certainties of winter driving. Snow and ice tires have a softer tread compound and a unique tread design to provide enhanced traction and road-gripping capabilities. Install snow tires all the way around the vehicle, not just on the drive axle.

» Keep your gas tank at least half-full. The extra volume can help reduce moisture problems within your fuel system. It also adds a margin of safety should you become stopped or stranded during your trip.

» Try to remove ice and snow from your shoes before getting in your vehicle. As snow and ice melt they can create moisture build-up, causing windows to fog on the inside of the vehicle.

» Scrape the ice and snow from every window of the vehicle and its exterior rear view mirrors, not just a small patch on the windshield. Don’t forget to clean the headlights and brake lights.

» You and your passengers should always use safety belts including lap and shoulder straps. Pull them snugly to ensure they work properly.

» Adjust headrests so that the driver or passenger’s head rests squarely in the center of the headrest. Rear-end collisions are common in winter driving and a properly adjusted headrest can prevent, or reduce, neck injuries.

» Turn off your radio. Although your radio can provide helpful traffic information, it can also be a distraction for some drivers. Remember, driving is AS MUCH a mental skill as a physical skill.

» Don’t use a cellular phone. Even if you have a hands-free model, you need to concentrate on driving, not on a telephone conversation, when driving on ice or snow.

» Keep your vehicle stocked with simple emergency equipment in case you do get stalled or have an accident.

Consider keeping these items in your vehicle:
1. A blanket or extra clothes
2. A candle with matches
3. Snacks
4. Beverages (never alcohol)
5. Flares
6. C.B. radio, cellular phone or hand radio
7. Long jumper cables
8. A small shovel
9. A flashlight
10. A windshield scraping device
11. A tow rope
12. A bag of sand or cat litter for traction

» During winter months, keep abreast of weather reports in your area. If snow or ice is predicted, make plans to leave early or arrive later. An alarm clock set to an earlier time can be a good friend in helping you avoid difficulties.

» If you can move a night trip to daylight hours, do so. Not only is visibility better during daylight, but if your vehicle is stalled, you are more likely to receive prompt assistance during the daytime.

» Before you shift into gear, plan the best route to your destination. Avoid hills, high congestion areas and bridges if possible.

When you drive:

» Adjust your speed to the current conditions. When driving in challenging conditions, decreasing your speed will allow more time to respond when a difficult situation arises. Factors such as the type of vehicle you are driving, the quality of tires your car is equipped with, and your abilities as a driver should be considered in the speed adjustment. Remember that posted speed limits identify the maximum speed allowed when weather conditions are ideal. Law enforcement agencies can write citations to motorists driving the posted speed limit if weather conditions warrant a slower speed.

» Anticipate difficult situations. Studies have shown that 80% of all accidents could be prevented with only one more second to react. In many situations, this one second can be gained by looking far enough down the road to identify problems before you become a part of them. Be more alert to the actions of other drivers. Anticipate vehicles coming from side streets and put extra distance between your vehicle and the one in front of you. If someone is too close behind you, don’t speed up; slow down and let them go around you.

» Use grip effectively. When roads are slippery, use all of the grip available. Brake only before the curve when the car is traveling straight. Taking your foot off the brake before you steer into the curve allows you to use all of the grip available for steering. Don’t accelerate until you begin to straighten the steering wheel when exiting the turn. This technique will allow you to be 100% effective at each maneuver. In many situations, better grip or traction can be gained by placing the outside wheels toward the shoulder of the road, out of the ruts in the center. The difference in traction can unbalance the car during the transition from rut to shoulder — so be alert.

» Maintain a comfortable driving environment. A constant flow of cool air will help keep you alert, and keep the windows clear of frost. Keeping one window slightly open will allow you to hear sirens and other warning sounds more quickly. When driving, avoid large bulky boots, gloves and coats, and never drive in ski boots.

» Turn on your lights. When daytime visibility is less than ideal, turning on your lights allows you to see, and to be seen by others. Remember this rule of thumb. Wipers On — Lights On.

» When driving at night, leave your head lamps on low beam when driving in snow or fog. This practice minimizes the reflection and glare, improves visibility, and reduces eye fatigue. When oncoming cars approach, focus on the right side of the roadway to help maintain good night vision.

» Keep a smooth, progressive and light touch on the brakes for normal braking. Even in a car equipped with ABS (Anti Lock Braking System). In the event of an emergency in an ABS-equipped car, press the pedal HARD and hold it down. Remember that in an ABS-equipped car, you can also steer around many obstacles while braking. Perhaps a better description of ABS would be: “Allows you to Brake and Steer.”

» Keep both hands on the wheel at 9 o’clock and 3 o’clock positions, and steer smoothly in the direction that you want to go. Avoid the “hand over hand technique.” Instead, utilize the shuffle technique and keep the right hand on the right side of the wheel and the left hand on the left side of the wheel. While this technique may sound overly simple, it can help you avoid skids.

» Be careful when using downshifting as a way to slow the vehicle. Even though manual transmissions may provide greater control to assist with braking, gear changes should always be made smoothly in the straightaway before the corner. Abrupt gear changes, especially while cornering, may upset a vehicle’s balance and cause a skid to occur.

» Don’t overestimate the capability of four wheel drive vehicles. Many drivers mistakenly believe that four wheel drive is all-powerful. Every type of vehicle depends on four small contact patches where the tire meets the road for traction. These small areas are the only contact of your vehicle to the road. Four wheel drive does not improve braking or cornering effectiveness.

» Anti-lock brakes can’t perform miracles. Don’t be misled by ABS braking systems. Braking efficiency is limited by the grip available, and the type of tires with which your car is equipped. If you carry too much speed into a corner and then try to brake, even ABS won’t keep you on the road. Never count on technology to replace good judgment.

» Wear quality sunglasses. Good quality sunglasses help highlight changes in the terrain and road surface even in low visibility conditions.

» The world’s best drivers are trained to anticipate problems early and direct the vehicle appropriately before they become involved in a problem. Reacting too quickly can be dangerous if the driver’s response is inappropriate.

» When driving up a steep hill in icy conditions, gain speed and momentum on the flat before starting uphill. When the car begins to slow part way up the hill ease up on the accelerator, allow the car to slow down and crest the hill slowly. If you try and accelerate too hard and spin the wheels, you may lose momentum and not make it to the top. It’s better to make the top at a slower speed than to not make it at all.

» If you do have trouble, AND BECOME STOPPED OR STRANDED run the engine only briefly — not continuously — to run the heater. Regularly make sure that the exhaust pipe is clear of snowdrifts or other obstructions. Carbon monoxide can accumulate more easily in a non-moving vehicle.

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Pueblo tells Colorado Springs to pay up

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 11:56 AM

After spending nearly $150,000 to defend against a lawsuit filed by Pueblo West, Pueblo County commissioners are asking Colorado Springs to reimburse their legal fees.

The expense stems from Colorado Springs Utilities' 1041 permit granted by Pueblo County to build the Southern Delivery System, which will deliver water to Colorado Springs and its partners from Pueblo Reservoir.

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Pueblo County says Springs Utilities negotiated the terms of the permit in behalf of its project partners: Fountain, Security and Pueblo West. But Pueblo West disputed some of the terms, leading to legal wrangling during the past year, driving Pueblo County's legal bill.

The complete story was reported by the Pueblo Chieftain last week.

Utilities spokesperson Janet Rummel gave us this response today:

We haven’t seen anything from Pueblo County yet. We learned about this from the articles in the newspaper. There is a provision in the 1041 permit (Condition 29) that addresses dispute resolution. Colorado Springs Utilities was not a party to that lawsuit. We are not aware of any condition in the 1041 permit that would require us to reimburse them for their legal expenses. We are pleased Pueblo County and Pueblo West were able to reach agreement since it allows the Pueblo West community to benefit from SDS.

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Bonus CineFiles: Wynorski rules, demons don't twinkle and the Christian crash!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:10 AM

Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.

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POPATOPOLIS (Unrated)
Imaginaut Entertainment

Legendary B-movie director Jim Wynorski has directed more than 80 low-budget features, starting with 1983's The Lost Empire; cast Traci Lords in her first mainstream flick; discovered Jennifer Love Hewitt; and, now, must direct a no-budget softcore spoof in only three days. The excruciatingly entertaining warts-and-all indie documentary Popatopolis chronicles the making of his latest opus, The Witches of Breastwick, ranking right up there with other dreamers-with-a-camera docs like American Movie and Audience of One, but with one main difference: Wynorski is not deluded! He is actually mega-talented and super-driven and, if given the chance, could be one of the biggest directors working today. It's a real tragedy to see the director of such fun, entertaining movies like Return of the Swamp Thing and Chopping Mall wallowing in the world of these mediocre T-and-A quickies. More info at popatopolis.com.

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NIGHT OF THE DEMONS (Rated R)
Entertainment One

A remake of 1988's comically overrated cult-horror flick of the same name, Adam Giersch's Night of the Demons not only betters the original, but is original enough to be a stand-alone. Party-girl promoter Angela (Shannon Elizabeth) throws the Halloween shindig of the year at the infamous Broussard Mansion, a site where Satanic murders were committed years back. Not the best place to throw a party, as, soon enough, the remaining party-goers become possessed by demons that were so evil they were kicked out of hell. Boasting an all-star B-level cast including Monica Keena, Diora Baird, Bobbi Sue Luther and Edward Furlong, Night of the Demons is one of the most fun horror flicks of the year, a fright-film that didn't feel the need to cater to sparkly tweens or message board-obsessives and really should have been released in theaters last month.

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I AM (PG-13)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

I'm not one of these critics that feels the need to automatically diss a movie simply because it carries the moniker of “faith-based” in its description. Contrary to popular belief, there are quite a few entertaining and inspiring neo-Christian films floating around out there. Sadly, I Am isn't one of them. Instead, I Am is pretty much a perfect example as to why so many people think these types of movies are lame. Heavy-handed, pseudo-hip and downright silly, I Am wants to be a modern-day reasoning of why the Ten Commandments are still important. But it's all presented in a way that, unless you're a rock star with a dead son, a socialite who has herself cryogenically frozen, or a CEO who creates a bottled water called, mockingly enough, GOD Water, these stories will have absolutely no bearing in your life. Or afterlife, for that matter.

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New trouble for Mountain West: TCU leaving for Big East

Posted By on Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 9:17 AM

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Just when the Mountain West Conference appeared to have weathered the storm of losing charter members Brigham Young and Utah after this academic year, now comes another blow that could threaten the league's future stability.

Texas Christian University, after dominating the Mountain West in football most years but having to hold its breath in hopes of a Bowl Championship Series, reportedly has accepted an invitation to join the Big East Conference in 2012.

That means, as of 2012, the Mountain West's membership apparently would include Air Force, Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada, Colorado State, Wyoming, New Mexico, San Diego State, Nevada-Las Vegas and Hawaii. That's 10, but it lacks much of the national appeal that the conference had with TCU, Utah and Brigham Young, and lessens the MWC's chances of perhaps earning a guaranteed BCS berth.

It also means the Mountain West loses its place in the coveted Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex market, unless the conference is able to move quickly and perhaps add Southern Methodist (also possibly Houston) from Conference USA.

This development conceivably could lead to some kind of merger between the Mountain West and either the Western Athletic Conference or Conference USA. But for now it creates a serious threat to the Mountain West's future.

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