Two El Paso County offices will be moving to their new digs at the Citizens' Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, in coming weeks.
The Clerk and Recorder’s Elections Department will move after the close of business on Friday and reopen the following Tuesday, Sept. 6.
However, elections services will continue to be available at all branch offices, including Centennial Hall.
The Clerk’s Branch offices are:
• Powers — 5650 Industrial Place (Airport Road and Powers Boulevard)
• Union Town Center — 8830 N. Union Blvd. (Research Parkway and Union Boulevard)
• Centennial Hall — 200 S. Cascade Ave. (Cascade Avenue and Vermijo Street)
The Assessor’s Office will move from the second floor of the County Office Building at 27 E. Vermijo Ave., to the second floor of the Citizens Service Center in mid-September.
To accommodate the move, the Assessor’s Office will be closed Sept. 15 to 19 and will reopen at the new location on Tuesday, Sept. 20. Contact numbers for the County Assessor’s Office will not change. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
It’s funny how the 1994 Dean Devlin/Roland Emmerich sleeper sci-fi hit Stargate has been quietly dominating television science fiction for over a decade, spawning four popular series (SG-1, Atlantis, Universe and the animated Infinity). That’s a feat rivaled only by, maybe, Star Trek. The best of this lot, however, is Stargate: Atlantis. The entire series, on 20 discs(!), has been released on Blu-Ray. The basic premise of the show is that the Stargate team, made up of research scientists and highly trained soldiers, has discovered a new portal, one that leads to the ancient city of Atlantis, located somewhere in the Pegasus galaxy. The former denizens of Atlantis are thought to have been the most powerful race ever created, and are constantly at war with the Wraith. It’s all pretty dense and a lot to take in; I’m only on Disc Three of Season Three. Still nine more discs to go.
Being Hispanic, I love positive movies about my people. That’s a given. What’s weird, however, is that I hate sports, but absolutely love sports movies. William Dear’s wonderfully inspirational The Perfect Game manages to combine the two things I love, making it one of my favorite movies released this year. It tells the true story of a kindly priest (Cheech Marin, playing the exact opposite of his Machete character) in Monterrey, Mexico, who sets up a baseball team for the local impoverished youth. With the help of a former St. Louis prospect (a heroic Clifton Collins, Jr.) who left because of rampant anti-Mexican bigotry, he leads the ragtag group of kids to glory at the 1957 Little League World Series. Sure, it can get a little clichéd at times, even a bit melodramatically sappy, but the cast jells with such earnest charisma — as well as an unexpected, pro-faith, almost pro-Catholic message — that it’s hard not to find yourself cheering.
If you had a gun to your head and were forced to choose either between your mother or father being murdered, who would you pick? That’s the kooky idea behind the watchable Saw rip-off Choose, which attempts to introduce a ready-made iconic horror character while telling a fun, yet derivative, story at the same time. The killer is named Nathan Jones, and he’s getting people to make the bloodiest of arbitrary choices, although I’m not sure what the whole reasoning behind his madness is. Revenge, I guess. It’s this questioning of the killer’s motives that causes Choose to suffer in the anti-hero department. At least Saw’s Jigsaw had a point to his flesh-riddled lessons. Nathan just seems like a fratty dude who was dumped in one too many foster homes. But, like I said, it’s not a “bad” movie; it’s certainly worth a rental, with some intriguing new ideas. It's just too bad they were written into an old story.
There's a slight problem with engaging in the community in a discussion about how a city might face everything in its future.
It's a pretty big subject.
Plus, different people have different expertise and interests. Some might be interested in health issues for the community, others in roads and parking, and others in governance structure. What results is a fairly disjointed conversation.
And thus, Manitou Springs Forward — which is indeed trying to create a vision for everything in Manitou's future — thought that it might try creating focus groups.
What this means is that there's no excuse for not getting involved now. If you're a Manitoid, you care about your city, and you're pretty smart and inventive when it comes to at least one subject, you're wanted.
Manitou Springs Forward: gathering data through focus groups
Focus group — A small group selected from a wider population and sampled, as by open discussion, for its members' opinions about or emotional response to a particular subject or area.
The all-volunteer Manitou Springs Forward steering committee continues its work gathering the data to develop the plan that Manitou Springs will use to make its decisions in terms of priorities, plans and funding.
Why go to the trouble of personal interviews, focus groups and community conversations? Would it be easier to assume people’s interests and priorities and make decisions for them when it comes to allocation of resources? Yes. Absolutely. But easier is not what this steering committee is after. Instead, the group is methodically, carefully and purposefully seeking out “lovers of Manitou Springs” in order to ensure that YOU are represented in terms of deciding how it is we want to live; what kind of a city Manitou Springs is, and how we see ourselves in the future.
Focus groups are being scheduled for the next eight weeks: choose a Tuesday or Thursday evening from 6pm to 8pm at several locations around town. Sign up for a seat online at www.manitouspringsforward.org, or call Nicole at 719 243 6693. When you call in to reserve your seat, Nicole will tell you which location of your particular group. Locations vary by date.
Fort Carson, NORAD, Northern Command and other locally based installations played key roles in the U.S. response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
So local officials are planning a community-wide commemoration at America the Beautiful Park to mark the day's 10th anniversary. A news conference to explain the details will be held at 10 a.m. tomorrow at the El Paso County Administration Building, 27 E. Vermijo Ave.
On hand will be Lt. Gen. Ed Anderson (Army, retired); Don Addy, president, National Homeland Defense Foundation; El Paso County Commissioners Amy Lathen and Dennis Hisey; Matt Grage, president/COO at Colomex Inc.; Police Chief Richard Myers; Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman Bill Hodgkins; and former Experience Colorado Springs CEO Terry Sullivan.
When the airliners flew into the World Trade Center in New York, NORAD was caught with its pants down, because its mission was to guard against incoming threats, not threats from within. Hence, fighter jets couldn't be scrambled in time to try to shoot down the terrorist-controlled planes. Things have changed since then, as explained by the Denver Post.
If you want to read about what others remember, or post your own story, go here.
If you want to read about some of the more disturbing results of our government's response to 9/11, check out this Mother Jones report.
It's Sunday and you need something mellow but not brain-dead to listen to. So here's an embedded player for The Golden Age of Apocalypse, the debut album from Flying Lotus protege Thundercat, which will be released on Tuesday.
The album fits right in with the voracious appetite for yacht rock revivalism that's being championed by indie hipsters like Mayer Hawthorne and Junior Boys. And since the guy's a pretty great bassist and composer, fans of original old-school Stanley Clarke and Earth, Wind & Fire will also appreciate it.
Finally, what better opportunity to re-hype my recent FlyLo interview, which you can read here? (Actually, there's a couple of other Indy interview links in this post. Find and collect them all!)
Thursday night, we attended the opening of HIVE at GOCA 1420. Overall, it's a great exhibit, the kind that grows on you after you leave. One attendee hinted that the show could have benefited from an even more minimalist approach, perhaps having only one piece from each artist. I had to agree with the sentiment, since there seems to be a slightly off-balance feel to the show, too cluttered in some places and too spare in others.
But there's much that does work. One example is Elaine Ng's "Coalesce" wall piece, a lovely collection of slip-cast porcelain objects shaped like soup bones and arranged as an elegant swarm.
Nearby, Laura Tyler's encaustic pieces, 100 in all, gradually reveal an incredible level of depth and technique. Outwardly abstract shapes in green, deep blue and magenta hint at a bee's compound vision of the world — glimpses of leaves, petals and water that buzz by. In a theme that jives with the idea of community and colony, the works, though individually fragmented, all together link to a larger, better whole.
Matt Barton's giant hive installation, titled "Dome," succeeds in its raw simplicity. With nothing but responsibly sourced wood from Park County, Barton wove the branches and saplings into an old-fashioned beehive shape — no nails or glue. It stands on a sturdy, low table with a hole in the middle, and to access the inside, you crawl, like a bee into a hive, underneath the table and up into the work.
Unlike many of Barton's past installations, which have been packed with kinetic elements, kitschy details and video projections, this piece is incredibly rustic. Once inside, you become naturally contemplative, and study the sensitive play of light that shines through what a fellow attendee called the "knitted wood."
I admit that, at first, I was a little underwhelmed, but later became quite taken with the way the piece forced me to interact with it. Curators talk about this kind of thing a lot, and I thought I knew what they were getting at — after all, I've crawled through installations before. Not so. "Dome" asks a lot of you (for one, it's not easy to access), but the payoff is huge. I can't stop thinking about it.
For more on this show, which is on display through Oct. 5, click here.
The rumors and speculation about Patricia Kelly's future as the Colorado Springs city attorney can end now.
Kelly, who has served as city attorney since the mid-1990s, informed Mayor Steve Bach on Friday that she will retire, as of Sept. 30. She has worked for the city more than 25 years, having also served as a counsel for Colorado Springs Utilities.
Kelly has supervised the city's legal operation of about 30 attorneys and 27 support employees, also serving as legal advisor for the city government, Utilities, Memorial Health System and all other city commissions and boards.
However, Kelly had come under fire for her role in the city's troubles with the 2011 municipal election. More recently, she had created more tension between herself and Bach by proposing City Charter amendments to the City Council for the upcoming November ballot specifically reducing some of the mayor's powers as granted by the strong-mayor form of government approved last year by voters.
Following is the short release from the mayor's office:
City announces Patricia K. Kelly will retire
The City of Colorado Springs announces that Patricia K. Kelly has decided to retire from her position as City Attorney, effective September 30, 2011. Mayor Steve Bach recognizes Ms. Kelly for over 25 years of dedicated service to the City and Ms. Kelly extends her best wishes to the Mayor, the City Council, and all employees of the City municipal government, Colorado Springs Utilities, and Memorial Health System. Mayor Bach expects to appoint Ms. Kelly’s replacement in the near future.
In response to Memorial Health System's claim that it doesn't owe anything to bail from the state retirement system, the Public Employees Retirement Association issued a statement Friday afternoon.
In it, PERA says it must charge agencies to leave the system, because otherwise the association would be underfunded. Here's the statement in full:
Response to Memorial Health System
It’s been reported that Memorial Health System in Colorado Springs is seeking to sue PERA over a disputed amount required to terminate participation in PERA.
PERA operates under Colorado State statutes, which provide guidance on how a local government employer such as Memorial can withdraw its employees from PERA and how the cost is calculated for doing so. PERA must follow the law and cannot negotiate this cost with Memorial because every dollar in reduction from the statutory calculation will have to be paid by the other participating employers.
PERA’s actuaries have produced cost calculations at Memorial’s request using the 2009 year-end financial statements and again using 2010 year-end financial statements. Until the date that Memorial’s employees would cease being covered by PERA is determined, a final amount cannot be calculated. Market volatility and demographic changes up to the date when Memorial's employees would no longer be covered by PERA will also impact the final number.
If Memorial were to leave PERA and not fully pay the costs of the benefits earned by its current and former employees, the other public employers in the Local Government Division would see an increase in their respective liabilities to make up the shortfall. Presently, Memorial claims that it should not pay any amount to address unfunded liabilities. If this were to occur, based on the statutory calculation method using 2010 year-end financials, the liabilities shifting to the five largest remaining employers in the Local Government Division would be:
Colorado Springs-Public Utilities $48,875,224
Boulder County Government $35,042,788
City of Colorado Springs $28,014,469
City of Boulder $22,040,190
City of Pueblo $6,386,566
PERA’s responsibility is to administer the plan as called for in the statute and prevent one employer from shifting its pension costs to others.
PERA believes that the position it has taken throughout this process is the approach required by statute and will be sustained by the court if it is litigated.
I'm sure you all remember what old Saddam looked like when they pulled him out of the cave? And the jokes that ensued?
So now it's Gadhafi's turn. He's not even technically defeated yet, and already America's attention has turned to (what else?) his weirdo hairstyles and outfits. I've seen several slideshows on the Web memorializing Gadhafi's, uh, unforgettable fashion.
After today's stage, in which Italian rider Elia Viviani made a tremendous last-moment sprint to take first, here are your standings, which haven't changed at all in terms of the top five, but have shifted a bit in the middle of the pack:
——- ORIGINAL POST, 10:46 A.M., FRIDAY, AUG. 26 ——-
But in case there's any hoopla holdouts not in the loop, today brings us Stage 4 of the race, from Avon to Steamboat Springs.
A look at the standings after three stages shows a dominance of our home-grown boys: American riders hold first through fifth places, with Tour de France winner Cadel Evans 1:18 behind leader Levi Leipheimer, in seventh.
The Colorado-based rider I interviewed prior to the prologue, Timmy Duggan, currently holds 32nd, trailing Liquigas-Cannondale teammate Ivan Basso by only 34 seconds and two positions in rank.
From a press release from the Pro Challenge folks, here's a description of today's race:
Friday, August 26 — Avon to Steamboat Springs (82.8 mi/138.4 km)
Start Time: 12:30 p.m. MT
Estimated Finish Time: 3:45 — 4:30 p.m. MT
After a punishing Queen Stage and an uphill time trial, these cyclists will be longing for an easier day. But the rolling terrain of Stage 4, with a net elevation change of 5,000 ft. from start to finish, will provide spectators with one of the more interesting and dramatic days of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge. Without significant climbs or high-speed descents, cyclists have numerous opportunities for breakaways, fighting for every mile of pavement and risking everything for King of the Mountain and sprint line competitions. The day starts in Avon at Benchmark and Lake St., travels along Colorado Route 131 through Wolcott and Oak Creek, following 83 miles of scenery to the finish line in downtown Steamboat Springs at 6th and Lincoln.
West Side Bargain Mart will be closing on Sept. 4, after six years at its 3135 W. Colorado Ave. location.
According to co-owner Diane Krug, they just can't afford the rent any longer.
"The owners of this building, they want just astronomical prices for leases. You are talking about $14,000 a month," she says for their location. That's what they have been paying, and they just don't see the sense in absorbing that overhead any longer. "We're closing because the lease is just too high. We want to consolidate to one store for economic reasons, so we aren't stretching ourselves so thin."
She says that the building's owners, who are based in California, aren't willing to negotiate. The lease is up at the end of September, but Krug is closing down on the 4th to move the inventory over to their south side location at 3075 S. Academy Blvd.
Krug says the lease there is $4,000 a month.
After investing in an expansion, the store won the Indy's 2009 Writer's Pick: Best Bargain Boon.
As the Indy's Kirk Woundy wrote back then:
"Almost every week," says Jim Krug, "I get a customer asking, 'How do I open up a store like this?' And I say, 'You can't — there's just not enough inventory out there.'" Luckily for local bargain-hunters, Krug got in while the getting was good. And using the connections he's made in his four years running West Side Bargain Mart, he expanded not once, but twice, in the past year. Krug now fills 12,000 square feet with not only dry goods and groceries — many of which are natural and/or organic — but also electronics, cosmetics, car-care products and much more.
A note for their shoppers, sitting by the registers, reads: "We thank each and everyone of you for your patronage and friendship. We had hoped to continue with a location somewhere on the westside but have decided that in todays [sic] challenging economy it is better for us to focus our energies on just one store."
It's hard to tell exactly what compels a person to lie to your face, and then walk away in the middle of being asked a question, but that's exactly what a woman with the Colorado Department of Public Safety did to marijuana activists in Denver on Wednesday, according to a video posted on YouTube by Robert Chase of the Colorado Coalition for Patients and Caregivers.
The whole problem started with allegations from the Cannabis Therapy Institute that the Marijuana Per Se workgroup — a state committee made up of advocates, law enforcement and lawyers created to make a recommendation on the legal limit of marijuana in a driver's blood — had conducted six meetings basically in secret, in apparent violation of Colorado's Sunshine Law. (As first reported by Westword.)
"Marijuana criminal defense attorney Sean McAllister (Breckenridge, CO) is the co-chair of the Marijuana Per Se Workgroup," Laura Kriho, of CTI, writes in a release. "He has refused to investigate past violations of the Open Meetings Laws by his committee. He has told activists that if they want the group to comply with the Open Meetings Laws, they need to hire a lawyer and take the group to court."
The group consists of: Arapahoe County sheriff Grayson Robinson, Christine Flavia with the Division of Behavorial Health, Heather Garwood with the Colorado Judicial Department, Rod Walker with the Colorado Springs Police Department, addiction specialist Laura Spicer, McAllister, 5th Judicial District district attorney Mark Hurlbert and Mike Elliott, the previous leader of the push to not ban medical marijuana in El Paso County.
All of this prompted Chase, Kriho and Kathleen Chippi of the Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project to arrive at the group's next planned meeting and protest, on camera, the group's lack of openness. (They found out about the meeting after e-mailing with McAllister.) Then they found out the meeting had been cancelled; why it had been cancelled, though, seemed up for debate.
Starting at 3:15 in the video:
Kriho: Why was the meeting cancelled?
First woman: I don't know. They didn't tell me.
Chase: Well, it's because it was an illegal meeting, as we well know, but ...
Second woman walks up.
Second woman: So, they're all attending a funeral. And that's why the meeting was cancelled. (Pointing at the camera.) Is that running? ... No one is here. I'm trying to tell you that. It's for a funeral.
Chase: Unless this funeral was just concluded this morning, it seems a little absurd. Because I was in communication with ...
Second woman walks off.
Later, Kim English, research director for the Division of Criminal Justice says to Chase (7:30) that "the meeting was cancelled because we wanted to make sure that people would be informed of the next meeting," confirming to the group that previous individual's funeral reasoning "was misinformation."
"It's more than that," Chase replied. "It's a lie."
Look for more in next week's Independent.
The upcoming Chile Chili Festival at Rock Ledge Ranch looks like a hell of a time. The Sept. 3 festival's offering green chiles roasted using a "one-of-a-kind chile roaster" from Milberger Farms in Pueblo; Cattlemen's Choice Beef from Fremont County; and food trucks galore from Denver.
And by galore, I'm talking, like, galore! There's Street Eats, and Crock Spot, and Sweet Nothings Chocolate Co., and Max Lunch, and Mythos Gourmet Greek Food Truck, and Sweet Revenge Cupcakes, and Steuben's Truck, and ... see? Galore!
There's even donated beer via Fort Collins' New Belgium Brewing Co., the proceeds of which will benefit Rock Ledge. (Good, right?)
But if, at this point, you're thinking, "That's a lot of businesses not from Colorado Springs," well, we were, too. So we e-mailed Pueblo-based festival organizer Tisha Casida.
"We have spent the last 8 months canvassing all over Colorado Springs (to over 500 small businesses, including restaurants), with very minimal local response for our first year event," she replied. "We do believe that many folks may be setting this year out to see how the first year goes (this was a common response from those we have approached), and that is okay. We would LOVE to work with more local restaurants, but they have to be willing to jump in and try us out as well."
Casida declined to name which businesses she contacted, but we'd still love to know. Colorado Springs has plenty to offer in all the represented areas, and at least a few restaurants that seem to have the inclination to support most causes that come their way.
So if you were contacted by Casida, by all means comment on why you declined the invite. If you weren't contacted, and feel you should have been, let us know that, too. Otherwise, grab five bucks (free for active-duty military, and kids 10 and under) and enjoy a taste of Colorado — just, not Colorado Springs.
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.
Christopher Decker, the attorney for Joshua Carrier, the former Colorado Springs Police officer charged with 11 counts of possession of child pornography and 189 counts of child molestation, is arguing the search warrant that led to his arrest on May 11 be chucked, or at least reviewed for its propriety.
That's because the warrant didn't comply with federal and state constitutional standards, according to a motion recently filed with the 4th Judicial District Court.
Police searched Carrier's home based on information provided by the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, which obtained information from other federal agencies engaged in a child porn investigation, for "transactions" of child porn purchases that happened "more than four years before," the motion states.
The motion also argues the e-mail address cited "was never linked to the defendant." Nor, it says, was an IP address cited by police linked to Carrier.
Moreover, Detective Adam Romine's affidavit fails to state what alleged was purchased on the two dates: Jan. 7, 2007, and Feb. 23, 2007.
"As such, it is completely speculative that what may have been purchased in that 2007 transaction," the motion says. Given that the website in question had various sections including news, photos and software, Decker argues, "It may have been news, software, photos or videos. There is NO EVIDENCE that any of the three examples provided in Detective Romine's affidavit ... were purchased in that transaction."
Decker's motion also notes that none of the "exploitive materials" alleged to have been purchased by Carrier in 2007 "were ever found during the search of his residence."
Romine also states in the affidavit that he checked police records and found that Carrier had never reported being a victim of credit card fraud or theft, nor did he report any suspicious incidents involving his name or e-mail address being used to purchase child porn.
"These statements are false and misleading," Decker writes. Carrier, indeed, had reported being a victim of unauthorized use of his credit card, according to Decker.
While Romine alleges he connected Carrier to the e-mail and IP address, those statements are "reckless" and "false," Decker says, apparently because both would have been maintained through Adelphi, and Comcast Cable told the detective they "do not have any customer records from the Adelphi-Comcast transition."
Further, there's no evidence either of the e-mail addresses police allege were involved in the purchases were issued to or used by Carrier, Decker says.
"In this case," he argues, "the problem is deliberate or reckless omissions which hid the truth from the magistrate, which means the affidavit should be amended to include the important, but omitted, information. Then the affidavit should be reevaluated to determine whether it would establish probable cause for the issuance of a warrant."
The bottom line is that Decker asks the judge to suppress the warrant, and any evidence collected as a result of it. If prosecutors lose the warrant, it's unclear whether they could proceed with a case against Carrier on the child porn allegations.
Carrier is due to stand trial on those charges Nov. 7. His preliminary hearing on the child molestation charges is Sept. 15. For Carrier to be held for trial, prosecutors must show that crimes probably occurred and that Carrier is responsible, viewing the evidence in a light most favorable to the prosecution.
Carrier, who resigned from the force June 30, is being held on $500,000 bond.