Thursday, December 22, 2011

Colorado jobs and a "tentative recovery"

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 12:44 PM

The Colorado Center on Law and Policy reported Wednesday that while the state's unemployment rate still hovers at the 8 percent mark, there is reason for optimism when studying the state's labor numbers.


Colorado’s labor force experienced a sharp increase in November: More than 17,000 workers joined the labor force since October. The large number of people returning to search for work is a positive indicator of economic recovery. Still, the labor force today is significantly smaller than it was at the start of the recession. There are about 38,000 fewer active workers in the labor force today than there was when the labor force peaked in March 2009.

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Later in the report, the researchers seem to have taken a stride similar to the one taken by our state representatives: We have a fragile recovery underway, and it would be best for government to do all it can to nurture it and not to mess it up.


Colorado's jobs deficit, or the difference between the number of jobs Colorado has and the number it needs to regain its pre-recession employment rate, is 258,400. That number reflects the recent employment data combined with the 155,600 jobs it needs to keep up with a 6.6 percent growth in working-age population in the 47 months since the recession began.5 (Figures 7-8) While Colorado has shown steady sign of economic improvement and stabilization in 2011, the state has not recovered from the Great Recession. As elected officials at the state and federal levels make policy choices to deal with budget shortfalls, they should avoid decisions that threaten to throw a very tentative recovery into reverse. Putting workers back to work needs to be the primary goal for lawmakers.

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Grain-based goodness

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 11:33 AM

Happy snow day, Colorado Springs.

Need a warm drink?

Here's a unique gin-based hot toddy recipe I received yesterday from Rob's Mountain Gin:

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And onto some news: As a followup to my Side Dish column this week, in which I chat with Trinity Brewing Company's Jason Yester about the brewery's expansion, check out Focus on the Beer's similar write-up.

You'll get some more details on upcoming beers which my space restrictions didn't allow, plus see a photo of some of the new storage equipment recently installed.

Moving to the subject of grains that haven't undergone fermentation, former Extraordinary Ingredients purveyor Kerri Olivier shares a link to good news on a product she used to sell.

Lotus Foods recently received a Biodiversity Leadership Award from the Union of Ethical Bio Trade.

According to this Food Navigator post, consumer pressure over biodiversity in the food chain is on the rise.

That's good, since according to an Organic Consumers Association newsletter from today, Monsanto earned the title of "worst company on Earth" from the Natural Society.

Here's some info on that:

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And now that I'm done awkwardly stringing disparate food and drink news together, I'll let you get back to enjoying that snow.

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County attorney bites the dust

Louis will leave in six months for private practice

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 10:01 AM

County Attorney Bill Louis will resign in six months under an agreement approved by El Paso County commissioners today on a 4-1 vote, with Darryl Glenn dissenting.

Later, in response to a question, Glenn wrote in an e-mail: "Since it's a personnel matter, I believe that it's probably appropriate for you to obtain a release from Bill that would allow me to make an official comment."

Otherwise, it was accolades all around for Louis, who has worked for the county for 14 years and is making $132,116 a year. But Louis caused a stir several weeks ago when he reported a possible bribe involving the county's intention to lease/purchase a building on Arrowswest Drive. The report triggered a district attorney inquiry but no subsequent investigation, because District Attorney Dan May said there was no reason to pursue the matter further.

Louis: Gone in six months
  • Louis: Gone in six months

Commissioner Dennis Hisey has said Louis was "counseled" about how he reported the so-called bribe by taking it to all commissioners rather than his two liaisons, Amy Lathen and Sallie Clark.

But four of the five commissioners were generous with their comments this morning, thus:

Lathen: "Bill, I know you want to go into private practice and it’s bittersweet, because I know how successful you will be and I wish you the best but I hate to see you go. I thank you for the extraordinary work we’ve been able to do together, the guidance you’ve given me, and by creating an atmosphere of how we make things happen instead of no we can’t. As you venture out to your new endeoavors I applaud you but you are going to be very sorely missed."

Clark called Louis "a can-do kind of guy," adding, "I know you’ll be successful in private practice. Being here and in government is different and I know you’ve served this county very well over the years. I will continue to work with you in whatever way happens in the future."

Hisey told Louis that if he ever needs an attorney in his private life, Louis will be his first phone call.

"Bill, I look forward to the next six months," Hisey said. "Somebody’s going to have big shoes to fill. I really appreciate that you don’t tell us we can’t do that. You even give us odds. Should we take the lower odd choice, you’re always willing to defend us."

Commissioner Peggy Littleton: "Bill, I’ve had less than a year to work with you and thoroughly enjoy your humor and lightheartedness you put into difficult situations. You're a person who gives great analogies, so you can make the language of law easily understood. I thank you for making it fun, making it relevant and for your friendship."

Glenn Schlabs, who had provided various legal services for the county under contract for 20 years, said, "I can assure you this board and the people of our county have never been better served by the county attorney."

County Administrator Jeff Greene, whom Louis criticized for how Green was handling the Arrowswest deal, also commended Louis.

"This is a day you hope never comes to fruition," Greene said. "Mr. Louis has served this county very well. There probably was not a better civil county attorney since (the late) Norm Palermo. Mr. Louis has handled some of the most difficult development cases in the last 10 years. He has served the administration and the board very well. I’m very thankful he has agreed to stay around a little longer to help transition this organization forward."

Louis responded, saying, "I am honored and humbled and grateful to this board. I hope this board will allow me to be of service for another six months as a full-time, in-house employee. I look forward after that to a long-term association with El Paso County in whatever form that will take. I am very grateful to this board, the county officials, county administration and the previous board and previous non-board elected officials I served with, and also I am extremely grateful to the taspayers of this community who allowed me to serve them for 14 years. You’ve provided me with wonderful legal experience. I hope that I’ve delivered some small service in exchange for that."

Schlabs told commissioners the negotiated agreement for Louis calls for him to stay for six months and provides "protection" for the county on the termination clause, which formerly required the county to pay Louis six months salary if he was discharged.

Schlabs called the agreement "a good balance between what’s fair for Mr. Louis and what’s needed by the county."

The county has a long history of ousting county attorneys, starting with Beth Whittier, who was bounced in 2005 at a meeting from which was absent due to illness. Mike Lucas also was shown the door before Louis took over.

Nothing came out in today's meeting concerning how the commissioners will choose Louis' successor.

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Personhood issue moves a step closer to ballot again

Posted By on Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 9:04 AM

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For the third time, extreme pro-lifers are planning to put an initiative on the Colorado ballot asking voters to give zygotes and fetuses the same rights as people.

The so-called "personhood amendment" is being considered by the Colorado Secretary of State as Initiative 46. Wednesday, it made a major stride toward the ballot when the Secretary of State's office decided that its language did not violate the state's single subject rule as opponents alleged.

Proponents still have a long road ahead of them to get their question on the ballot, not the least of which will be petitioning if final approval from the Title Setting Review Board is granted.

The personhood amendment has been badly beaten in Colorado twice, and a similar measure was recently turned down by voters in Mississippi. But the strategy of proponents appears to be putting the initiative on the ballot year after year and hoping that low voter turnout or a sudden conservative surge in voting might tip the scales.

Meanwhile, opponents of the measures say that get-out-the-vote efforts are exhausting their resources since personhood initiatives pop up repeatedly.

Here's a word from Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains:


Statement by Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains’ CEO and President Vicki Cowart about challenge to Personhood Colorado’s Title Review Board Hearing concerning 2012 citizen-driven Ballot Initiative

DENVER — “Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is disappointed in today’s decision by the state Title Setting Review Board to unanimously motion in favor of Personhood Colorado’s push to place a so-called ‘personhood’ amendment on the 2012 ballot. Today’s effort will make it Personhood Colorado’s third attempt since 2008.

“Opponents of the measure challenged Personhood Colorado’s presentation to the Title Board, stating that their proposal is not consistent with the state’s single subject clause for citizen-driven ballot initiatives. Planned Parenthood agrees with this claim. While we believe that the outcomes of 2012 proposed measure would be just as dangerous as the previous two attempts, the new language in the 2012 measure appears to create a plethora of new problems that will require additional legal analysis.

“The new language undoubtedly touches on multiple subjects, which would fly in the face of the Colorado Constitution. In fact the 2012 proposed measure, arguably, goes much further than the ballot measure Colorado voters defeated in the 2008 and 2010 elections.

“While Personhood Colorado believes it has addressed the concerns of Colorado voters and answered questions of past attempts, the new ballot language actually poses more questions and greater legal ambiguity. This new language is merely a smokescreen for Personhood Colorado’s real agenda, which is to restrict a woman’s ability to make personal, private medical decisions about her own body.

“Planned Parenthood, in conjunction with the coalition group that defeated Amendment 62 in the 2010 election, is determined to defeat Personhood Colorado’s third attempt to take health care options away from women.”

###

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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ultra wants to start drilling on Banning Lewis

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 4:47 PM

There might be a city moratorium delaying oil and gas drilling inside the Colorado Springs city limits, but that's not stopping Ultra Petroleum from beginning the process aimed at locating its first wells inside the sprawling Banning Lewis Ranch on the city's eastern edge.

Mike Leonard with the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission, who is here for a town hall meeting Wednesday night at City Hall, tells the Independent that Ultra Petroleum has filed applications with the state for two wells on its Banning Lewis property.

One of the wells, Leonard says, would be on the north end of Banning Lewis, closer to where some housing development already has taken place. The other well would be more in the central part of the ranch.

Leonard said the applications were filed Dec. 16, and the commission will accept public comment for a 20-day period.

Chris Melcher, the Colorado Springs city attorney, has asked for more time to file a response from the city government.

The state has 75 days to issue or deny permits, which would mean the end of February.

Ultra already has been approved to drill several speculative wells in rural parts of El Paso County, east and southeast of the Colorado Springs metro area.

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Douglas Bruce found guilty in tax fraud case

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Douglas Bruce: guilty of tax evasion

Douglas Bruce, author of the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights as well as a former state legislator and El Paso County commissioner, has been found guilty this afternoon in Denver of charges related to tax evasion, according to media reports and tweets from the courtroom.

The charges included filing a false return, evading state taxes, attempting to influence a public servant and failing to file returns between 2005 and 2010.

Bruce has been ordered to give up his passport, and he must report for sentencing on Feb. 13.

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Recycle your electronics this Christmas

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Oh yes, my pretty, youre going to the recycler.
  • schmilblick
  • Oh yes, my pretty, you're going to the recycler.

Every Christmas, it's the same old problem.

You love the new TV, or computer, or phone or whatever the heck it is. But you don't know what to do with the old one. If giving it away to a thrift store isn't an option — because it's broken — you do still have an earth-friendly choice. Recycle it.

While it's certainly easier to drag all that junk out to the trash, electronics are a major source of dangerous chemical waste in our environment. All that nastiness seeps into the ground. Our ground. And, you know what they say: You don't poop where you sleep.

Not only is it a hazard to throw away electronics, it's a waste. People want the metals and useful materials that make up your electronics. And breaking down old electronics is work, which means jobs.

So think twice before dragging all your outdated electronics to the trash this season. And read on for more information:

Coloradans want to know what to do with electronic scrap


As the holidays are fast approaching, Coloradans are busy shopping for new electronic gifts — flat screen televisions, laptops, smart phones and electronic games. What to do with the old electronics that are either broken or obsolete? Instead of piling them up in the garage or throwing them in the trash, recyclers and conservationists are asking Coloradans to recycle their electronic waste this holiday season.


Electronic recycling businesses are located throughout the state and Coloradans can take their old and used electronics to the recyclers for a small fee. “Most of the certified electronics recyclers in the state are members of the Colorado Association for Recycling. They are more than happy to take your old computers, laptops, televisions and cell phones,” said Marjorie Griek, executive director of the Association. “Please do not throw them away! We don’t want our electronic waste to end up in our landfills where toxic metals such as lead, cadmium and mercury can contaminate our environment.”


Discarded electronics account for 70 percent of the heavy metals in Colorado’s landfills. When disposed in landfills the chemicals in electronics can cause potential harm to the soil, groundwater and air. For example, mercury contained in bulbs in laptops, televisions and displays is very harmful even in small quantities. It can be released into the environment easily when a laptop or display gets tossed into a garbage truck and is compacted and crushed.


“This holiday season, instead of throwing away our used electronics, let’s recycle them,” said Randy Moorman with the Colorado Environmental Coalition. “Recycling e-waste is a Win-Win. It helps the environment and it creates jobs.”


Each year Colorado throws away between 40,000 and 161,000 tons of electronic waste and only recycles about 8,000 tons. “We are literally throwing away jobs,” said Dag Adamson of Lifespan Technology Recycling in Grand Junction and Denver. “Especially for businesses, when upgrading computers and other technology, used computers and networking equipment can be tested, refurbished and resold. Consumer electronics contain commodities like steel, copper and aluminum that were mined from the ground. Instead of putting them back in the ground in a landfill, let’s re-use these metals and create recycling jobs.”


The Colorado Association for Recycling estimates that if we recycled most of the electronic waste we are currently throwing away, we could create approximately 2500 new permanent jobs with good pay and benefits.


The Association and conservation groups are working to pass a bill in the 2012 Colorado General Assembly that will make it easier for Coloradans to recycle their old electronics. Their proposed bill would ban electronic waste from landfills. Seventeen other states currently prohibit electronic waste in landfills. Such a ban would increase the amount of waste that is recycled in the state. Colorado currently recycles 0.9 lbs/capita/year of residential electronic waste. States with landfill bans recycle about 5 lbs/capita/year.


“With an electronic waste landfill ban, ERI would expect to double both our workforce and the volume of material recycled in our Denver facility,” said Matt McLaughlin of Electronic Recyclers International in Denver. “As we’ve seen in other states, electronic waste legislation will help strengthen the electronic recycling here, allowing us to create potentially thousands of jobs while recovering valuable resources and protecting the environment. Keeping unwanted consumer electronics out of landfills and recycling them effectively is crucially important for reasons of protecting digital data and the privacy of individuals and businesses as well.”


“A new ban on landfilling electronic waste will drive more material into recycling so facilities like ours will add jobs and expand, providing greater access to recycling for Coloradans and Colorado businesses,” said Eric Anderson of Metech Recycling.


“We service Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Chaffee, Fremont, Douglas, Custer, Teller, Otero, Bent, and Crowley counties. A landfill ban will allow us to expand our operations potentially in areas not currently served by recyclers,” said Andy O’Riley, Vice President of Blue Star Recyclers. “Blue Star’s mission is to use electronic recycling to create jobs for people with developmental disabilities. The increase in volume from a landfill ban could potentially have an enormous impact on a population currently facing 88% unemployment.”

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What's the difference between alcohol and weed?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 12:19 PM

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  • d4rk

One can humiliate you in any number of regrettable ways. And it's also the one that you can consume until you're blind, as long as you follow a few simple regulations.

Tonight, the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council will convene its monthly meeting at the Warehouse Gallery and Restaurant (25 West Cimarron) to discuss the efforts in Colorado to legalize marijuana.

According to the press release, Brian Vicente of Sensible Colorado and Mason Tvert of SAFER will be the guest speakers.

Both men belong to a coalition of organizations that helped draft and are pushing the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012. From the coalition's website:


The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is the driving force behind a 2012 statewide ballot initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Colorado. It is a locally based effort being carried out by a broad and growing coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and professionals throughout the state and across the nation.

The Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 makes the adult use of marijuana legal, establishes a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol, and allows for the cultivation of industrial hemp. Click here to read the full initiative language. Passage of this initiative will be historic, resulting in Colorado becoming the first state in the nation — and the first geographic area in the world — to make the possession, use, and regulated production and distribution of marijuana legal for adults.

The Campaign’s first goal is to collect roughly 85,000 valid signatures of registered Colorado voters, which are needed to qualify the measure for next year’s election. This is no easy feat, and it is our hope that marijuana reform supporters from around the state will get involved in the effort to place this initiative on the ballot. By joining the campaign today you can help end marijuana prohibition in Colorado next year and be part of something that will be written about in history books for years to come.

The doors open at 6:30 p.m.; $20 at the door, and $10 for CSMCC members.

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Two meetings on oil and gas drilling

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 10:41 AM

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  • Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission

If you're interested in the prospect of oil and gas drilling in Colorado Springs or El Paso County, here's your chance to learn more.

First, the city will host a meeting from 6:30 to 8:30 tonight at City Hall, 107 E. Kiowa St., where two people from the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission will speak and answer questions. Here's info on that:

Two representatives of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC) will explain the procedures used to regulate oil and gas production at a meeting with the public from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Dec. 21 at Colorado Springs City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave.
The topic of the meeting will be Colorado’s current procedures to regulate oil and gas exploration and production. The presentation will not address the pros and cons of the hydraulic fracturing method known as fracking.
COGCC inspection experts Mike Leonard and Margaret Ash will make a presentation and respond to the audience’s questions regarding regulation and inspections. Leonard inspects oil and gas production wells in El Paso County.
The meeting will be hosted by City Councilmember Val Snider and State Representative Pete Lee. It will be broadcast live on SpringsTV and via the internet as streaming video at www.SpringsGov.com.
To submit questions in advance of the meeting contact Councilman Val Snider at
385-5485 or vsnider@springsgov.com.

Then, next week, El Paso County commissioners will hold a session during which they'll review proposed regulations for the industry in the county. Here's information about that:

The El Paso Board of County Commissioners is hosting an oil and gas land use regulations work session to receive updated information from the Development Services Department (DSD) relative to the open public comment period which closed November 28. The work session is at 2 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle in Colorado Springs.

Two public hearings on the proposed land use regulations relevant to oil and gas drilling are scheduled in January.

DSD will present its recommendations during a public hearing at a special meeting of the El Paso County Planning Commission at 9 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 4, at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center.

The proposed regulations, along with comments and revisions resulting from the Planning Commission hearing, will be heard by the Board of County Commissioners during its regularly scheduled meeting at 9 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 19, at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center.

A draft copy of the proposed changes can be found on the Development Services Department’s home page on the El Paso County website at: http://adm.elpasoco.com/Development%20Services/Pages/default.aspx
The proposed regulations are intended to:
— Facilitate oil and gas exploration in a responsible manner
— Preserve and protect private property rights
— Avoid or mitigate damage to infrastructure as a result of exploration activities

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State to appeal Lobato decision

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2011 at 10:13 AM

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This comes as no surprise. Today, Gov. John Hickenlooper announces that the state has decided to move forward in appealing the decision of Denver District Judge Sheila Rappaport, which in part found in favor of the plaintiff's argument that the state fails to uphold its constitutional responsibility to provide a thorough and uniform education throughout Colorado.

From the governor's press statement:

The judge’s decision provided little practical guidance on how the state should fund a ‘thorough and uniform’ system of public education. Moreover, while the judge focused on the inadequacy of state funding, she did not reconcile this issue with other very relevant provisions of the Constitution, including the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights, the Gallagher Amendment and Amendment 23.

“There are more appropriate venues for a vigorous and informed public debate about the state’s spending priorities. We look forward to a swift decision in this case so the people of Colorado and their elected representatives can participate in the school funding conversation.

The case has been winding its way through the courts since 2005.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Hick makes friends in education

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 5:04 PM

Gov. John Hickenlooper
  • Gov. John Hickenlooper

Gov. John Hickenlooper has plenty of friends. Heck, he's one of the most popular governors in the nation.

Until recently, however, he had precious few friends in the education world. The reasons were plain. The governor made no bones about cutting K-through-12 funding along with the rest of the state budget when things got tight. And to those who saw K-through-12 as a sacred cow, that was unforgivable.

Or was it? A lot has happened since that original budget showdown, most notably, the Lobato case which found that the state government was improperly depriving public schools of critical funding. Since then, the governor has changed his tune and will add money back into the education budget.

And that has helped him pick up a few more friends, like the Colorado Education Association (Colorado Springs School District 11's teachers' union). Their release is below.


A holiday present for Colorado students, schools

DENVER — Students, families and educators across Colorado cheered today when Gov. Hickenlooper announced the state will restore public education funding for previously planned cuts in the K-12 budget for the 2012-13 school year.

“Our students and schools so desperately needed a good-news day, and this is good news,” said Beverly Ingle, president of the Colorado Education Association. “Our governor agrees that great economies start with great education, and made sure education cuts were the first restored with new revenue. We are grateful to his administration for giving top funding priority to our schools. This is a welcomed gift for Colorado kids this holiday season.”

Last week, CEA released recommendations in a ‘path of hope’ for restoring state education funding, following the Lobato ruling ordering the state legislature to address a multi-billion dollar funding gap. Chief among the recommendations: make no additional cuts to state education funding.

“Coloradans still must rise to the challenge of increasing our investment in our children and heeding the call to action so meticulously described in Judge Rappaport’s ruling on the Lobato lawsuit,” said Ingle. “Today’s budget restoration is the first step in the direction we need to go to prepare our students for college, the workforce and their adult lives.”

Public schools are badly in need of budget relief as the state K-12 system is approximately $1 billion behind the level of funding Colorado voters approved with Amendment 23 in 2000. CEA seeks to collaborate with all groups concerned about public education to focus energy in a positive direction that meets the Lobato mandates while preserving the basic integrity of the state budget.

“Coloradans have shown we can rise to meet difficult challenges, and funding the wonderful education system our students deserve is not a problem above our ability to solve,” Ingle added.

# # #

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Recipes and retrospectives

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 4:49 PM

In regards to food and drink haps, here's a bit of looking backward and forward, like a vigilant mall cop. (Yeah, that analogy blows.)

Anyway, lets start with something you may have seen somewhere by now, as its been bounced around and analyzed in the food and media communities over the past week or so. Here, courtesy AlterNet, is "The Best, Worst and Most Overlooked Food Stories of 2011."

One recipe available for free courtesy the D11 Good Food Project.
  • One recipe available for free courtesy the D11 Good Food Project.

Next up, hitting our inboxes earlier today from D11 director of food and nutrition services Rick Hughes, is a holiday cookbook assembled by community volunteer Anna Carver, who helped with the D11 Good Food Project. Enjoy the following recipes: CarverHolidayCookbookPDF.pdf

A congrats is due to Colorado Springs resident Tracy Favre of Holistic Management International, who was recently appointed to serve on the USDA's National Organic Standards Board.

From a press release, here's more on what her company and the NOSB both do:

HMI is an international non-profit organization whose mission is to educate
people to manage land for a sustainable future. HMI's training uses the
framework of Holistic Management, a whole-farm planning system that heals
and manages land and is in use today on more than 40 million acres on four
continents. The system has been proven to mitigate the effects of drought.

Ms. Favre has 17 years of experience working with clients on watershed
management projects as an environmental engineering consultant. For the past
three years, and following receipt of a Master's Degree in Sustainable
Development with an emphasis on agriculture, she has worked with farmers,
ranchers and land stewards as a consultant in sustainable land management,
providing practical solutions for their agricultural operations.

Authorized by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990, the 15-member NOSB
is responsible for making recommendations about whether a substance should
be allowed or prohibited in organic production or handling; assisting in
developing standards for substances used in organic production; and advising
the Secretary of Agriculture on other aspects of the Act's implementation.


Black Fox Brewings La Noche del Diablo, as seen on the guest taps and beautiful glass bar at Trinity Brewing Company.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Black Fox Brewing's La Noche del Diablo, as seen on the guest taps and beautiful glass bar at Trinity Brewing Company.

Checking in on the local beer front, Trinity Brewing Company is hosting a Christmas Eve tapping of its Nitro Cherry Awaken Stout, called the "Kick the Keg Challenge."

Apparently two kegs of the beer were tapped inside 36 minutes last year; catch the pandemonium at noon, with tickets going on sale at 11 a.m.

Lastly, while on the topic of beer at Trinity, I made a visit last week to try the highly anticipated (well, at least by Bryce Crawford and me) La Noche del Diablo guest beer from Black Fox Brewing Company.

Sadly, it is not as exciting a batch as it was last year. Though not a bad beer, it tastes basically like just a black Saison, without last year's spice bite from the cayenne and red chiles on the back end and chocolate and cherry sweetness on the front end.

I wrote brewer John Schneider to ask if he'd changed the recipe, and here is his response:

No sir. We didn't change anything. We even got the Hatch chile from the same farm, cherries from the same farm, same supplier on the cayenne, and used Ghirardelli 60% dark choc. again. Our beers will vary from batch to batch, year to year, etc. because of all of the fresh/seasonal ingredients that we use. It all starts with the weather for the crops. The beers will always be very similar, but there will be those flavor variations.

Fair enough, but nonetheless disappointing for now. Next up for Black Fox, according to Schneider:

We are moving the 'Somnombulance' into the conditioning tank on the coffee, caramel, and vanilla beans. That will be ready, and hopefully able to be released by the time the 'Diablo' is gone.

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Naughty By Nature enters KRCC/KILO fray

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2011 at 11:13 AM

At the risk of refueling last week's spat between Colorado Springs radio stations KRCC and KILO over their dueling crown logos, we feel compelled to report that another interloper has stepped into the royal fray.

But first, just to bring us all up to speed, here's how KRCC made the original argument as part of a Dec. 13 blog post:

"It has recently come to our attention that a local radio station has been marketing itself in a fashion that resembles the marketing efforts of KRCC. Colorado’s pure rock station, KILO 94.3 FM has, for some time now, been using the Colorado license plate theme that so many loyal KRCC listeners and members have long associated with us. We had a bit of a chuckle when we first noticed it, but due to the ubiquity of the theme we shrugged it off with a simple question of why KILO would want to confuse itself with a member-supported public radio station — I mean, we hardly ever play Korn and stuff (Vicky did once, but she insists it was a mistake). More recently, we became aware, via an advertisement in the Colorado Springs Independent, that KILO has now incorporated a crown into its logography, a crown that is very similar to our own crown. This worries us as it appears that KILO is gathering its forces in an effort to challenge KRCC’s status as the monarchical broadcast overlord of Southern Colorado."

The public radio outlet also aired a mock KRCC ad done in the style of a hard-rock station, which you can check out here.

Shortly thereafter, KRCC shared a pretty caustic response from KILO's program director, excerpted below:

"As a 37 year old male i don’t even know where to find you on the dial. So i think all this can be categorized as “radio paranoia” Our KILO license has been in use (stickers and bus benches) for 2 or 3 years now (so not really a recent campaign). The use of the colorado license plate (a plate design that dates back to at least 1979) is an idea that has been done…. a lot. (see attachments) We’re in colorado bro… that’s our license plate! as for the independent ad… it was a representation of KILO being king of the hill after beating down another station. (Crown on top of a hill.. get it?) again, to claim anyone using something as universal as a crown in an ad is ripping you off is pretty out there. is burger king stealing your shtick too? how about king chef? beastie boys grand royal logo? crown royal? wait a second… i think we just stumbled onto one of the biggest controversies of all time the world is conspiring against and stealing from krcc!"

In the days since, the sniping appears to have subsided. So imagine our surprise when we opened an email announcing that veteran rap trio Naughty by Nature, known for their once ubiquitous hit, "O.P.P.,", is the latest entity to appropriate other people's, um, property. The Grammy-winning group has revealed the artwork for its new 20th anniversary collector's edition Anthem, Inc., and yes, it's got a crown on top of it. And, in a further case of one-upsmanship, it's not just a three-point crown, like KRCC's. Or four-point crown, like KILO's. We're talking five points here.

Scroll down past all the logos, and you'll find a not-altogether-fascinating video interview with the group's graphic designer, which shows that the logo has traditionally been Naughty By Nature's name with a baseball bat under it. The idea of the bat, says the designer, was that "it could be a weapon, but it could also be just something, you know, a normal thing."

OK, plausible enough. But then suddenly, after 20 years of the baseball bat, a crown suddenly appears up above it. Coincidence? Who can say?

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Monday, December 19, 2011

Bonus Short Stories: Damned, Best Food Writing 2011

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 4:59 PM

We reviewed a few more books this month than we could get into print, but wanted to make sure you heard about them, you know, in case you're still on the hunt for holiday gifts.

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Damned
Chuck Palahniuk
Doubleday, $24.95/hardcover
Fight Club’s author has aggressively released almost a book a year for the last decade; reviews of Pygmy and Tell-All are in our archives here and here, as well as an interview on Snuff from May 2008. I mention this because, having stomached nearly all his raunch-laden fiction, I find Damned his most entertaining read in years. Our protagonist is a 13-year-old dead girl in hell (which, as it turns out, generates most telemarketing calls and Internet porn models). She advises that “when the proverbial bell tolls for thee, seriously consider wearing a basic low-heel Bass Weejun penny loafer in a dark color that won’t show dirt.” You’ll find out why, on her way to confront Satan (to be continued in a sequel): She raises a demon army, reunites with her killer, and illuminates an absurd, hilarious place you best pray you don’t land in. — Matthew Schniper

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Best Food Writing 2011
Holly Hughes
Lifelong Books, $16/paperback
This collection of food writing from across the country is again curated by Holly Hughes, who rarely fails to find a year’s don’t-miss stories — maybe 45, or so. In Best Food Writing 2011, don't miss altweekly writer Jonathan Kauffman’s take on how a state ban on shark fins (signed into law in October) might impact the culture of California’s Asian population; or Barry Estabrook’s look at the nation’s dairy farms, which have shrunk from 650,000 in number in 1970 to only around 54,000 today, with the largest 1 percent producing a quarter of the milk consumed in 2006; or even Lisa Abend’s report on the hopefuls who “stage” (take a culinary internship) at Ferran Adrià’s Spanish restaurant, El Bulli. It was considered the best restaurant in the world when it closed last summer, but it lives on here. — Bryce Crawford

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Springs snubbed by Denver's potential Olympic bid

Posted By on Mon, Dec 19, 2011 at 4:36 PM

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No respect, no respect!! What Fort Worth is to Dallas, what St. Paul is to Minneapolis, what Paris, Texas is to Paris, France — that’s what Colorado Springs is to Denver.

Further evidence of our regional insignificance came today, when the names of the 22-member Denver Olympic Exploratory Committee were released. The group, charged with “evaluating whether the Olympic Winter Games are a good fit for Denver and Colorado,” is composed of “community and civic leaders representing broad interests from across Colorado,” or so says co-chair Don Elliman, Executive Director of the Charles C. Gates Center for Regenerative Medicine & Stem Cell Biology at the University of Colorado Medical School — and a certified Denver power player.

Other members include a former mayor of Breckenridge, the Board Chair of the Poudre Valley Health System, the Chairman of the Vail Valley Foundation, assorted Denver attorneys, Denver businesspeople, Denver politicians, and, representing Colorado Springs (drum roll) … no one!

That’s not just dismaying, but inexplicable. Colorado Springs is the center of the Olympic movement in the United States. Thousands of Olympic aspirants have trained at the Olympic Training Center, national governing bodies for significant Olympic sports such as swimming, figure skating, and hockey are located here, as is (duh!) the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Given that the USOC is charged with determining whether to make a bid for the 2022 Winter Games and selecting a candidate city, no present employee of the organization could serve without conflict on the Denver committee.

But past officers/employees would be eligible. And that leads to the obvious question: Where’s Bill Hybl?

Hybl, the chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation, is also president emeritus of the USOC, having served as president during four Olympic Games. He’s also the chair and CEO of the U.S. Olympic Foundation.

It’s impossible to envision a successful Denver bid without Hybl in the mix. It’s equally impossible to imagine such a bid without the expertise of other Olympic veterans currently resident in Colorado Springs.

It’s notable that not a single member of the committee, other than recent Olympian Jeremy Bloom, has any real Olympic expertise. All they know is what they’ve read, heard, or picked up at cocktail parties. How will they determine whether Denver has the venues, the money, the transportation network, and the skill sets to host the games?

So what’s going on? It may be that this exploratory committee is merely a preliminary group, soon to be replaced by a bid committee. It may be that Hybl is quietly directing the whole effort behind the scenes. But, as Occam’s Razor teaches us, the simplest explanation is also the most likely to be accurate.

The organizers of the committee, including Gov. John Hickenlooper and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, probably meant no disrespect to Colorado Springs If asked, they’d probably use Steve Martin’s immortal line.

"We just forgot!"

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