Saturday, July 30, 2011

Rivera gets recognition from NORAD

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 4:38 PM

Former Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera and two others were awarded the Commander's Community Leader Commendation this week by Adm. James Winnefield, commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command.

NorthCom and NORAD are headquartered at Peterson Air Force Base.

Besides Rivera, Christian Anschutz and Kevin Estrem were also honored for their long-standing support for NORAD, NorthCom and the Defense Department.

Left to R: Winnefeld, Rivera, Anschutz and Estrem.
  • Tech. Sgt. Thomas J. Doscher
  • Left to R: Winnefeld, Rivera, Anschutz and Estrem.

From the press release:

In his time as mayor of Colorado Springs, Rivera was an aggressive advocate for the local military community through his support of city-sponsored military appreciation and recognition programs and events. As a member of the Colorado Thirty Group, Mr. Rivera advanced current military issues in the public eye, thus benefiting servicemembers and establishing community ambassadors for the military and the commands.

Anschutz was an attendee of the 2009 Department of Defense Joint Civilian Orientation Conference and the 2008 NORAD and USNORTHCOM Civic Leader Tour. As a member of several local and regional philanthropic organizations, he rallied support for homeland defense as well as military families and regional civil authorities.

Estrem aggressively advocated in support of policies and programs designed to better provide the military with trained personnel, modern weaponry and servicemember benefits to support the warfighter. He is president of the Lance P. Sijan Chapter of the Air Force Association and a member of the Military Affairs Council of Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Air Force Sergeants Association.

The names of the honorees will be placed on the Commander’s Community Leader Commendation Program plaque in the main entrance of the NORAD and USNORTHCOM headquarters.

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D-11 is looking for nominations

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 10:28 AM

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According to a press release from Colorado Springs School District 11, the board of education is looking for nominations for school board directors. Election for the four positions will be on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Here you go, nominate someone worthy:

At this election, four school board directors will be elected for a term of four years. To be qualified, a candidate must have been a registered voter of the school district for at least 12 consecutive months before the election. A person is ineligible to run for school board director if he or she has been convicted of committing a sexual offense against a child.

A person who wants to be a candidate must file a written notice of intention and a nomination petition in accordance with law.

Nomination petitions may be obtained from the Board of Education Office, Colorado Springs School District 11, 1115 North El Paso Street, Suite 206, Colorado Springs, Colorado 80903, telephone 520- 2004, fax 577-4546. Office hours are 8 a.m. — 5 p.m. Completed petitions must contain at least 50 valid signatures and should be submitted to Board of Education Secretary, Julie Stevens, no later than 5 p.m. on August 26, 2011.

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Visioning with COPPeR

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 8:00 AM

A giant, landscaped overpass connecting a redesigned Acacia Park to the YMCA?

An Arts Alley District off Bijou Street?

One thousand empty chairs lined up the middle of Manitou Avenue?

Cry "preposterous!" or "brilliant!" if you wish, but that's not stopping members from all over our community — artists, architects, promoters, directors and community-involved citizens — from brainstorming about potential artistic, civic and creative endeavors in the area.

That's what six presenters essentially did Thursday morning at a "coffee with COPPeR" function at the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.

To a crowd of 50-ish of their kind (preaching to the choir a bit for potential collaboration and support), these six presenters offered 10-minute insights into their respective and hopeful projects.

Find out what 1,000 chairs stretching from the BAC to Tubbys Turn Around would look like on Oct. 9. Hey — at least O Meallie and crew didnt have to create an environmental impact statement like Christo with the Over the River project ...
  • Find out what 1,000 chairs stretching from the BAC to Tubby's Turn Around would look like on Oct. 9. Hey — at least O' Meallie and crew didn't have to create an environmental impact statement like Christo with the "Over the River" project ...

Only one of them, the Manitou Chair Project, has a firm date on the calendar (Oct. 9) and appears guaranteed to happen.

Chair Project presenter and co-organizer Sean O' Meallie explained that the art event falls under the categorization of social practice, which he calls the "hottest field of contemporary art today," capable of truly engaging communities.

Among the other presentations, Modbo and S.P.Q.R. owners Brett and Lauren Andrus advocated for turning the alleyway outside of their galleries into an arts district to make it more inviting and attractive.

Visions for what that would look like include improved lighting, permeable paving for safe pedestrian traffic, having artists paint features like the electrical boxes (like in Fort Collins) and occasionally closing thru-traffic for special events.

Andrea Baker of HB&A, a local architecture and planning firm, offered the slickest presentation in terms of visuals.

Having sought the input of Palmer High School students, among others, her team created a series of renderings of a redesigned Acacia Park. To be clear, these were very imaginative sketches, many of which would likely command an unfeasible price tag at least at this point in time. (But hey — don't bother the dreamer about money woes.)

Some potential features: move the General Palmer statue into the middle of the park (this was met with some cheers from the crowd); add elevation and significant landscaping, as well as more water features; add community gardens; turn the police substation into a café with expansive seating; and incorporate underground parking.

We'll keep you updated on these projects and the few others I did not detail as they come to fruition, or fizzle, as we hear updates.

I would like to say, that as an observer, I was inspired to see the effort — much of it volunteer-based — going into projects that could brighten and benefit our city at large. Let it not be said that our arts community doesn't have a mindful eye on the scene, with big ideas in mind.

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UPDATE: Gazette editor responds to 'borrowing' from tourism release in travel story

Posted By on Sat, Jul 30, 2011 at 5:34 AM

Jeep tours are the best way to explore the area around Marble
  • Crystal River Jeep Tours
  • We've heard (twice) that Jeep tours are a great way to explore the area around Marble.


Gazette editor Jeff Thomas did send an email response at noon Friday to our request for comment about the post below, regarding considerable material being lifted verbatim from a news release distributed to a large media mailing list and published under a writer's byline. But the message for some reason was routed into junk mail and not discovered until early this morning.

Here is Thomas' response in its entirety:

Ralph,

Inasmuch as the press release is just that — a release for the press to use — I’m not troubled by our use of it. But if we’re to reprint it with only minimal modification, as was the case here, we should credit the source and not put a Gazette byline on it. That’s what we will do going forward if we are to use releases to this extent.

Sorry for the delay responding. Been a busy week. —jt

—————-ORIGINAL POST, 3:01 p.m. FRIDAY, JULY 29———————-

If you happened to read the Gazette’s travel coverage last Sunday (July 24), you probably saw a story headlined, "Our Pick: Majestic Marble," about the tiny but picturesque Western Slope settlement. Marble, as the story explains, is a point of entry for some remarkably scenic back-country roads and trails.

There was just one problem with the story, under the byline of Gazette staff member Joy Harper. "Their Pick" was a nice cut-and-paste job.

Less than a week earlier, a news release had gone out to a media mailing list (including the Independent) from the Gunnison-Crested Butte Tourism Association, which promotes destinations throughout that area. This release, dated July 19, was focused on … Marble.

I had seen that release, reminding me of a visit to Marble two summers ago. And the Gazette story seemed a little too familiar. A quick side-by-side comparison of the release and the Gazette piece uncovered words, phrases and entire paragraphs lifted verbatim from the release, without any credit or attribution.

Some examples:

Gazette story, first four paragraphs:

For historical charm and Colorado Rockies splendor, don’t overlook majestic Marble, with its quiet, uncrowded setting among aspen groves, evergreen forests, 14,000-foot peaks, clear streams and comfortable, hospitable lodging. The town’s fame and unique character also have been linked to the largest vein of pure, white marble in the world, discovered in 1882 by surveyors looking for gold.

By 1900, Italian miners were producing marble blocks that were used for the Colorado Capitol’s interior, Denver Mint, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and numerous well-known structures across the U.S. The town’s population burgeoned to 1,500 in 1915, but the impact of both world wars and the removal of the train tracks that shuttled the marble blocks took their toll.

Today, Marble is mostly a residential enclave of about 125 residents at the base of the historical marble quarry, once again in operation by Italian owners. An additional 200 live in the area surrounding the old town boundaries. Chunks, blocks and columns of marble peek out of every block of the Marble landscape, and there are National Historic Register sites on every corner, including Mill Site Park, Marble City State Bank, Marble High School, Marble Community Church, Haxby House, Marble Town Hall and the William Parry House.

In the northwest corner of Gunnison County, Marble is on the headwaters of the Crystal River in the Elk Mountain Range and just off Colorado Highway 133 and the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. The closest communities are Redstone, eight miles away, and Carbondale, 30 miles down the Crystal River. Crested Butte is about 45 miles to the south when taking Kebler Pass, open generally from the end of May through October.

News release, first four paragraphs:

GUNNISON-CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. (July 19, 2011) — Visitors can experience Colorado splendor like it used to be in Marble, with a quiet, uncrowded setting amongst aspen groves, evergreen forests, 14,000-foot peaks, clear streams and comfortable, hospitable lodging. The town’s notoriety and unique character also has been linked to the largest vein of pure, white marble in the world that was discovered in 1882 by surveyors looking for gold.

By 1900, Italian miners were producing marble blocks that were used for the Colorado Capitol’s interior, Denver Mint, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, pillars of the Lincoln Memorial and numerous well-known structures across the United States. The town’s population burgeoned to 1,500 in 1915, but the impact of both World Wars and removal of the train tracks that shuttled the marble blocks took their toll.

Today, Marble is mostly a residential enclave of about 125 residents at the base of the historic marble quarry, once again in operation by Italian owners. Another 200 live in the area surrounding the old town boundaries. Chunks, blocks and columns of marble peek out of every block of the Marble landscape, and there are National Historic Register sites on every corner: Mill Site Park, Marble City State Bank, Marble High School, Marble Community Church, Haxby House, Marble Town Hall and William Parry House.

Located in the northwest corner of Gunnison County, Marble is situated on the headwaters of the Crystal River in the Elk Mountain Range and just off Colorado Highway 133 and the West Elk Loop Scenic Byway. The closest communities are Redstone, just 8 miles away, and Carbondale, 30 miles down the Crystal River. Crested Butte is approximately 45 miles to the south when taking Kebler Pass, open generally from the end of May through October.

Also, from the Gazette:

Many of Marble’s hiking trails feature plenty of vertical, but a walk around the “flats” of town yield ice cream, a community center/coffee bar, a barbecue restaurant, an art and sculpture gallery, and a historic schoolhouse and museum.

And from the release:

Many of Marble’s hiking trails feature plenty of vertical terrain, but a walk around the “flats” of town yields ice cream, a community center/coffee bar, a barbecue restaurant, an art and sculpture gallery, and a historical schoolhouse and museum.

Finally, from the Gazette:

Marble winters are peaceful and piled high in snow, perfect for backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling and sledding.

Then the release:

Marble winters are peaceful and piled high in snow, perfect for backcountry skiing, Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, ice climbing, ice skating, snowmobiling, and sledding.

After seeing all this, I sent the two pieces of work to Gazette editor Jeff Thomas on Monday, asking him for comment. A auto-reply return said he’d return Tuesday. Thomas never responded, and he's not replied to any followup email and voice-mail messages (though he did find time to tweet about a rainbow last night).

If we hear from Thomas with an official reaction, we’ll pass it along. Meanwhile, here's an excerpt from the definition of plagiarism in the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary:

— to steal and pass off (the ideas or words of another) as one's own

— to use (another's production) without crediting the source.

Here's a link to the Gazette's story. And below the jump, you can read the press release in full.

Continue reading »

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Friday, July 29, 2011

Velasquez suing city, says Gazette

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 6:29 PM

If we're going to give them hassle for apparent plagiarism, we should also give them credit when they do a job well.

The Gazette's Daniel Chacon has beaten the rest of the local media to a significant story. In well-organized fashion, it details Terri Velasquez's claims that she was fired by the city of Colorado Springs for whistle-blowing — targeting, among others, Steve Cox, now the chief of staff for Mayor Steve Bach.

Velasquez, a 20-plus year city employee who ascended to director of finance and administrative services, says hints that she plans to sue the city, according to a two-page statement obtained by the Gazette. Wouldn't be surprised if someone's asked to put in a bit of overtime this weekend to remove her bio from the city's website.

Without a doubt, media outlets will be all over this in the coming days and weeks. For now, though, kudos to Chacon for his work on this one.

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Wild-ass lawsuit filed against Ordway residents

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 4:36 PM

If you like to get down in the weeds on small-town spats, here's one for you. It takes place in Crowley County, site of J. Adrian Stanley's recent cover story.

Below is the press release sent out today, about a lawsuit filed this week. We can't possibly sort through it and make heads or tails of it on a Friday afternoon, but if you can ...

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Ordway, CO — On Wednesday, July 27, eleven plaintiffs filed suit in United States District Court for the District of Colorado against fourteen Defendants, including: the Board of Directors of the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District ("LAVWCD"); the Town Council of the Town of Ordway, Colorado; Ordway Town Marshal William Ferritto; and several Ordway Trustees. The Plaintiffs are represented by Adam M. Platt of Halifax Legal LLC in Denver.

The Plaintiffs, who include Ordway Trustee Lynn Chubbuck, former Town Administrator Karen Dietrich, and Crowley County Elementary School Principal Pamela Arbuthnot, have alleged a widespread conspiracy to: (1) squelch dissent regarding the allocation of Ordway’s valuable water assets and (2) punish Plaintiffs for reporting allegations of rampant misconduct on the part of Ordway Marshal William Ferritto.
Plaintiffs allege that the Conspirators retaliated against Karen Dietrich, who was Ordway Town Administrator from 2008 until 2010, for her public opposition to the LAVWCD-promoted $300 million Arkansas Valley Water Conduit by filing baseless complaints accusing her and her husband of physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of C.D., the Dietrich’s then five-year-old foster daughter, whom the Dietrichs have since adopted. Plaintiffs further allege that Defendant Carrie Steele-Collins, the wife of Defendant Ordway Trustee Larry Collins, repeatedly exploited C.D.’s emotional and cognitive disabilities in an effort to undermine Karen Dietrich’s family life.

Plaintiffs do not claim that the Crowley County School District Board of Education or Superintendent Scott Cuckow were participants in the conspiracy. However, Plaintiff C.D., through her parents and next of friends, has alleged claims against both under Federal disability laws for having failing to take adequate steps to protect her from Steele-Collins, who the lawsuit alleges focused upon C.D. because her disability made her an especially easy means to hurt Dietrich.

The lawsuit also alleges that Conspirators — and especially Ordway Marshal William Ferritto — have retaliated against Trustee Lynn Chubbuck, his extended family, and two others because Chubbuck sent a confidential letter to Crowley County DA Rodney Fouracre enclosing statements from several women detailing specific acts of on-the-job misconduct (including several allegations of sexual harassment) by Ferritto, who is Ordway’s only law enforcement officer. Fouracre’s reply to Chubbuck, which included the name of at least one of the women, was intercepted by then Ordway Treasurer Terri Henderson, who disseminated it via email to Ordway’s other trustees as well as, Plaintiffs allege, other unknown parties.
Plaintiffs allege that shortly after Chubbuck’s letter was revealed, Marshal Ferritto, Ordway Mayor Kelli Jo Rusher, and Trustee Larry Collins visited Fouracre — the DA — and, while
denying the allegations against Ferritto, pushed Fouracre to prosecute Chubbuck for his role in helping arrange the May 2009 sale of a dilapidated concession trailer that the school district wanted removed from its ball fields.

Though Fouracre has thus far refused to do so, Plaintiffs allege that Ferritto, with the knowledge and approval of Ordway’s Town Council and other Conspirators, has undertaken a campaign of harassment and intimidation against Chubbuck and several members of his extended family, two of whom were also involved in the sale of the trailer.

Ferritto has gone so far as to travel to Dumas, Texas in an effort to retrieve the trailer from its rightful owner, Bart Arbuthnot, who paid Ordway’s recreation board $150 for the privilege of hauling away the rotting and rodent-infested hulk. Ferritto has reported the trailer stolen and accused Plaintiffs Bart and Blaine Arbuthnot of forging the title, despite former Crowley County Superintendent John McCleary’s insistence that he did in fact sign the title over to Bart Arbuthnot.

The lawsuit allegations also include details of Ferritto’s harassment of former Ordway Code Enforcement Officer Julie Decker, who assisted Chubbuck in compiling the women’s statements, and her daughter, whom Plaintiffs allege Ferritto has repeatedly sexually harassed. Both women are Plaintiffs in this case.
Plaintiffs allege that in furtherance of the same conspiracy, Ferritto has harassed several Plaintiffs by charging them with a series of unfounded misdemeanors, including: charging Lynn Chubbuck with two counts each of official misconduct and harassment; charging Julie Decker with being an accessory to a crime, making a false statement to police, and leaving animal waste in the yard of a rental house she had moved out of seven months earlier; and charging Decker’s daughter with trespassing for a noon weekday visit to Ordway’s kennel.

The lawsuit is captioned Arbuthnot et al. v. Town Council of the Town of Ordway et al. (Colo. Dist. Ct. No. 11-CV-01942-MSK). The case has been assigned to Judge Marcia S. Krieger.
The Complaint is available online on the Halifax Legal LLC website, at http://www.halifaxlegalllc.com/Majorcases.htm
Further information regarding the case will be posted as it becomes available.

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Bonus CineFiles: White Lightnin', Tetsuo: The Bullet Man and Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer!

Posted By on Fri, Jul 29, 2011 at 12:51 PM

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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White Lightnin’ (NR)
MPI Media Group

I was mesmerized as I watched the 2009 outré documentary The Wild and Wonderful Whites of West Virginia, the incredible true story of a family of crank-addicted, violence-prone outlaws living in the Appalachias. And I never thought that, a few weeks later, I’d be watching the intensely unforgettable biopic of the most famous member of the clan, mountain dancer Jesco White. White Lightnin’ might be a British film, but it’s an unflinching slice of Americana, telling the story of a lifelong huffer — seriously, the guy starts sniffin’ gas at about 8 years old — and how he made a name for himself on the folk-dancing scene, becoming a minor celebrity, all in between bouts of impoverished drug-use and psychotic extreme violence. How much of this is truth and how much is fiction is pretty up in the air — the last half-hour goes into a thriller territory that is the greatest anti-meth ad ever filmed — but one thing’s for sure: It’s a brain-addled masterpiece of modern cinema.


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Tetsuo: The Bullet Man (NR)
IFC Films

When I was in eighth grade or so, being the fat film nerd with no social life that I was, I rented a VHS copy of Tetsuo: The Iron Man from my local mom-n-pop video store and was permanently scarred by the 60-minute shotgun blast of total Japanese cyber-punk industrial insanity. Screw Eraserhead! As far as I was concerned, director Shinya Tsukamoto was the real avant-garde mind-fuck genius and should be celebrated as such! Twenty years later, he’s delivered the third film in the Tetsuo series, The Bullet Man, and for 70 minutes, it put me back in middle school, mouth fully agape at the nausea-inducing cameras, schizophrenic editing and pounding Nine Inch Nails soundtrack.. An American office worker, living in Tokyo, finds himself morphing into a living, metal-ized, bio-organic weapon when confronted with the anger at the murder of his young son. The angrier he gets, the closer he gets to destroying the world. And he gets pretty damn angry.


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Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer (NR)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

When I first saw the cover of Cyrus: Mind of a Serial Killer, one look at the bloody chair, floor and cleaver and I already knew I was going to hate this movie. I am so burnt out on serial killer flicks, and, even more so, torture movies. I popped it into the DVD player not even expecting to finish it. All this apprehension was for naught, however, because as I dug more into Cyrus, the more I found not a gory exploitationer, but a real in-depth profile of a tortured, depressed mind, mostly thanks to an engagingly haunting performance by Brian Krause. He takes what could have been a one-note gag as the “County Line Cannibal” and gives it a horrific realism. Supporting performances by genre stalwarts Danielle Harris and Lance Henriksen only add to the accolades. I’m just hoping that other would-be viewers aren’t put off by the routine box-art, like I almost was.

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Thursday, July 28, 2011

Paul doesn't want to raise the roof

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 4:46 PM

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul, presidential candidate and ideological forefather of the tea party/liberty movement, has sent out a press release urging his followers to petition against the raising of the debt ceiling.

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With the White House determined to tack on TRILLIONS more to our national debt, I need your IMMEDIATE help to send a critical message to the Republican congressional leadership.

...

The sad fact is, right now, Republican leaders can't make up their minds as to whether they want to lead or cut a backroom deal with President Obama.

What you and I need is someone who stands for conviction over compromise.

I have spent my entire career standing up for what I believe in, even if it meant standing alone.

Conviction and leadership go hand in hand. If you don't know where you want to end up, it's virtually impossible to lead.

That's the problem Republican leaders in Washington have right now.

But you and I can help them make up their minds.

The Republican congressional leadership is susceptible to our pressure - good old-fashioned grassroots pressure.

That's why I need your help to DEMAND Republican leaders show some backbone and loudly say "No!" to any business as usual, status quo-empowering compromises to raise the debt ceiling.

This should certainly come as no surprise to anyone who has followed Paul's long career as a congressman or watched his multiple runs for the presidency.

While this argument — that the government should default on its debts — might sound crazy to a lot of people, Paul's fiscal austerity has won him a number of supporters. And may have helped inspire this rap:

You can read Paul's whole pitch after the jump.

Dear Concerned American,

With the White House determined to tack on TRILLIONS more to our national debt, I need your IMMEDIATE help to send a critical message to the Republican congressional leadership.

"Lead - or get out of the way!"

The sad fact is, right now, Republican leaders can't make up their minds as to whether they want to lead or cut a backroom deal with President Obama.

What you and I need is someone who stands for conviction over compromise.

I have spent my entire career standing up for what I believe in, even if it meant standing alone.

Conviction and leadership go hand in hand. If you don't know where you want to end up, it's virtually impossible to lead.

That's the problem Republican leaders in Washington have right now.

But you and I can help them make up their minds.

The Republican congressional leadership is susceptible to our pressure - good old-fashioned grassroots pressure.

That's why I need your help to DEMAND Republican leaders show some backbone and loudly say "No!" to any business as usual, status quo-empowering compromises to raise the debt ceiling.

The current debate is filled with talk of fake cuts, budget gimmicks, and political stunts that both parties use to try to lay blame on each other without solving the problem.

That's why we need to act TODAY.

Without your help, I'm afraid you and I will get sold down the river - and President Obama could put the Tea Party on life support.

Even as I write you, rumors are swirling fast and furious.

News reports are that Speaker Boehner is trying to ram through a deal to raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion with no real spending cuts.

This is NOT what the American people overwhelmingly elected Republicans to do in 2010.

So if the Republican leadership shrinks from this fight, they'll pay the price for this BETRAYAL at the ballot box in 2010.

That's why it's vital you urge your representative and senators to pledge to stand up and oppose backroom, business as usual deals from Speaker Boehner to raise the debt ceiling.

The good news is, your IMMEDIATE action will make an enormous impact.

The establishment is in full crisis mode.

They see their gravy train of deficit spending and pork barrel politics in jeopardy.

They see Wall Street fat cats in a full-blown panic.

They're bringing out the usual suspects to scare everyone - Geithner, Bernanke, and even Bush-era Treasury officials are being brought into secret congressional briefings to try to scare your representative and senators.

In fact, this is eerily reminiscent of something . . .

The 2008 bank bailouts.

The Republican establishment lining up to make a deal because they just don't have the backbone to fight.

The White House promising certain doom if it doesn't get its way.

Well, I fought the leadership of BOTH parties in 2008 when they bailed out Wall Street.

And I'm still fighting them today.

And I'm the only one who can stop this Washington machine because I'm not beholden to it.

But I can't win this fight without you.

I know millions of Americans share my belief that it's time to stop selling our children's futures to finance more debt.

So Congress needs to hear from each of them that they are ready to fight for fiscal responsibility.

If you have not yet done so, please sign the No Debt Ceiling Deal PETITION today.

After you sign the petition, please follow up with your representative and senators by calling their offices today.

And be sure to spread it through email and your social networks.

Don't let the Republican leadership cave in. Together, you and I can FORCE them to fight.

For Liberty,

Ron Paul

P.S. It's up to you and me to FORCE the Republican leadership to show some backbone.

If you haven't signed the No Debt Ceiling Deal petition yet, please do so right away.

We can stop Congress from selling us down the river and enabling President Obama to put the Tea Party on life support.

But only if we take action immediately!

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Speak up on mail ballot election

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 4:10 PM

If you want to put in your two cents on whether the June 26, 2012, primary election should be held by mail only, now is your chance.

El Paso County commissioners will decide the issue on Aug. 18. The decision is being made now rather than closer to the election so that commissioners can budget the election's cost. Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams told commissioners today that a mail election would cost $593,430, slightly less than a polling place election's $664,512.

It would be the first time that a primary election in El Paso County would be handled by mail only, but Williams also noted that those who vote by mail far outpace those who go to the polls. Here's proof, in bar-graph form:

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The challenges of conducting a polling-place election include the hiring and training of more than 1,000 election judges and finding 102 polling locations.

Here's the upside to a mail ballot, according to Williams:

—All Mail Ballot election allows the county to mail ballots to only those voters who are registered and affiliated.
—Voters may still “surrender” their mail ballot (they need not have it with them) and vote in person at a Service Center, similar to voting at a polling place.
—The number of Service Centers required is substantially less than the number of polling places needed.
—Fewer election judges, supplies, and ballots are needed.
—We currently utilize Ballot on Demand printers which means that we only have to order as many ballots as we need to mail to voters. Polling places require that we have additional ballot stock on hand at each polling place.

The primary could prove important if there are contested races in a slew of House and Senate seats, or in the district attorney's race, or three county commission contests.

Commissioners voted today to open a 21-day comment period. To comment, write to Liz Olson, 200 South Cascade, Colorado Springs, CO 80903, or e-mail to LizOlson@elpasoco.com, or show up for the Aug. 18 commissioner meeting at 27 E. Vermijo Ave., at 9 a.m.

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Take a peek at politics

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 12:55 PM

Students who want a first-hand look at how politics works should check out being an intern for Sen. Michael Bennet.

His office is now accepting internship applications from undergraduate students and recent graduates for his Washington and Colorado offices for the fall and spring semesters of the 2011-12 school year.

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Interns can serve his his Washington office or his regional offices in Colorado Springs, Denver, Durango, Fort Collins, Grand Junction and Pueblo.

Washington interns attend hearings and briefings, research legislative issues, meet with congressional officials and staff, conduct U.S. Capitol tours and draft correspondence. They also assist with constituent services, such as helping people navigate the federal government, and represent Bennet at local meetings and events.

“Interns are an integral part of my office, providing important support to me and my staff as we work to serve Coloradans,” Bennet said in a statement. “Our Colorado and Washington internship programs provide great opportunities for young Coloradans to learn more about how government works and the significant issues facing Coloradans and all Americans and to gain hands-on experience serving their communities. An internship in one of my offices provides a good foundation of experience for any young person who will soon enter the job market, especially those who might be interested in a career in public service. I encourage anyone who is interested in helping me fix a broken Washington to apply.”


Internships are available on either a full-time or part-time basis. Fall internships begin in August or September, and spring internships begin in January. These are unpaid positions.

Apply http://bennet.senate.gov/services/internships" target="_blank">here by Aug. 15 for the fall semester, and by Nov. 15 for the spring semester.

For more information, contact Rebeca Ontiveros-Chavez at Rebeca_Ontiveros-Chavez@bennet.senate.gov for the D.C program or Carlie Armstrong at carlie_armstrong@bennet.senate.gov for the Colorado program.

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Indy Minute

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 12:00 PM

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Good food, amazing dancing and Steve Martin! There's a lot to get "wild and crazy" about this weekend in this week's Indy Minute with Jack Ward.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.


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'Over the River' looking good

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 11:37 AM

It's not a "final" final decision, but the Bureau of Land Management has basically green-lighted the "Over the River" project in its final Environmental Impact Statement today.

The Denver Post has a good story that explains some of the measures that Christo will have to take to satisfy the BLM. It sounds, however, like the artist is happy that the end product that he and his late partner Jeanne-Claude imagined — 5.9 miles of fabric panels, dotted over a 42-mile stretch of the Arkansas River — is looking within reach.

From a release:

“I am very pleased that the BLM selected our proposal for this temporary work of art,” said Christo. “This is the first time in history that a work of art has undergone an Environmental Impact Statement, so this is a significant milestone for us and for artists everywhere who want to create art on public lands. Although our team is still reviewing the 1,686-page Final EIS in detail, I am confident that the impacts and concerns have been adequately addressed. I am eager to move forward with Over The River as Jeanne-Claude and I envisioned it.”

The Post reports that construction could begin as early as next spring, assuming permits come through and the BLM puts its final stamp of approval on the project. As the release states, "The Bureau of Land Management will issue a Record of Decision containing the agency’s final decision, conditions and mitigation measures in fall of 2011."

The earliest the controversial two-week-long installation would be ready is 2014.

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Colorado halts marijuana college's business

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2011 at 9:08 AM

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  • Chuck “Caveman” Coker

We've written about the marijuana training school, Greenway University, many times. When the state approved its application for certification, when it was sued by Volume Public Relations, LLC for allegedly not paying some bills, and so on.

Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that Greenway has been shut down by the Department of Higher Education. A call for comment has so far not been returned.

From the AP:

The Colorado Department of Higher Education has suspended a state-certified medical marijuana training school.

The department on Tuesday ordered Greenway University to stop teaching and give students their money back.

Greenway University in Denver offered courses covering everything from growing to selling medical marijuana.

The department told KMGH-TV the school was suspended because of discrepancies in its application, including the failure of its owner to disclose a conviction in California on embezzlement charges. The school plans to appeal to the state to stay open.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

4-H'er is bound for China

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 4:22 PM

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I was in 4-H when I was growing up in Kansas and got to go places, such as the National Junior Livestock Show in Wichita and the State Fair in Hutchinson. But international travel was never a part of my experience. Obviously, things have changed, because an El Paso County 4-H'er is among 20 in Colorado who are heading for China soon, and good for him.

It's hard to imagine rodeo being a big deal in China, but it apparently is, and the president of the County 4-H Youth Council will visit there soon to introduce the people of China to the culture of the American West through the art, science and sport of rodeo.

Cade Christensen was chosen from more than 120 Colorado 4-H'ers who applied to be part of the China visit, the county says in a press release.

Christensen, 17, has been in 4-H for nine years. He's among the 20 Colorado 4-H youth who will help teach rodeo competition and livestock handling principles to young people in China.

Before traveling, Christensen will be given training in effective teaching practices and receive an introduction to Chinese culture, the press release says. During his years in 4-H Christensen has participated in ranch horse versatility, market hogs, livestock judging, and Livestock Quiz Bowl. He is fully immersed in 4-H activities this week at the El Paso County Fair.

The eight-day professional rodeo will be held in Beijing October 3-10 at the Bird’s Nest National Arena (site of the 2008 Olympic Games).

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Bonus CineFiles: Nightmares, Frozen Kiss and Miral!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2011 at 1:35 PM

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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Nightmares (NR)
Severin Films

Mark Hartley’s incredibly seminal 2008 documentary Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild Untold Story of Ozploitation, about the ’70s/’80s Australian exploitation film scene, has been a boon to the pocketbook of many a genre fan. Numerous badly duped bootlegs have flown off convention tables at an alarming rate, with people anxious to see these lost treasures. Thankfully, Severin Films has firmly taken the reins, delivering top-notch, high-quality, uncut prints of classic Ozploitation flicks, including the John Lamond slasher classic Nightmares. While others compare it to Halloween, I see more of an Italian giallo influence, with a faceless killer stabbing the entire cast of a local theater production — with a shard of glass, no less. Is it the snarling, limping critic? The fresh-faced newcomer actor? The perfectionist director? Or the frigid actress who, as a child, witnessed her mom cheating on her dad, and then accidentally killed her? I’ll let you solve that one, Sherlock.


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Frozen Kiss (R)
E One Entertainment

My car once broke down in the middle of an ice storm, with the doors frozen shut. I had to wait in the zero-degree temps all night, counting the snowflakes until a kindly snowplow came by to offer assistance. It was all right; I didn’t freeze to death, and actually slept like a rock for a few hours. Sure I was cold, but I wasn’t a crybaby about it. Also, I didn’t have a heaping helping of meth beforehand, like the two utterly unlikable protagonists of Frozen Kiss did. Young lovers Shelley and Ryan are a couple of true scumbags: Ryan left his wife and baby to be with Shelley, while Shelley’s boyfriend shot himself in the face when he found out about her infidelities. After a night of insane partying, this dynamically dumb duo finds themselves broken down and tripping balls. Their friends and family search for them, but every part of you hopes they don’t reach them in time. Every. Part.


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Miral (PG-13) (Blu-Ray)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Have you ever watched a Nazi propaganda film? They were masters of propaganda. In those films, the Jews were, of course, the cause of every single one of Germany’s ills, portrayed as money-grubbing hedonist slobs. The hardworking Aryans, meanwhile, were just doing their best to rid Germany of this menace, the Nazi solider leading the way as the highest ideal possible. Miral is this generation’s Der Ewige Jude, so in-your-face anti-Semitic that it, at times, feels like a parody of a propaganda film. Miral is, for all intents and purposes, a blatant hit piece on Israel, presenting the Palestinian people as pure, innocent, oppressed freedom fighters who are under the tyrannical thumb of the evil Jewish conspiracy. Jews are, like they were in Nazi films, presented as slovenly rapists and degenerates, violent thugs who take great pleasure in the destruction of Palestine and its people. Miral left me sad more than anything else.

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