Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Green light: MMJ news from across the country

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 4:21 PM

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With the release of our spring issue of ReLeaf on our mind — look for it April 18, following along with the new Wednesday release of the Independent — it's time to take a look around the country.

• The Associated Press did a rundown of registered MMJ patients in some of the various states that allow it, and it turns out Colorado's near the top of the pack with 82,089.

The prevailing wisdom is that this is miles more than California's 9,637 patients because that state doesn't require people to register, as the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment does.

A quick top five goes like this: Michigan with 131,483, Colorado, Oregon with 57,386, Arizona with 22,037 and Montana with 14,364.

• Speaking of California, the Redwood Times says the collection of signatures for a potential patient-centric ballot measure is good to begin.

The Medical Marijuana, Patient Associations, Initiative Statute, provides that patients qualified to use marijuana for medical purposes shall have the right to form an association for purposes of cultivating, processing and distributing medical marijuana within their association, and to recover reasonable costs incurred. It provides that neither the state nor any local government may prohibit operation of a medical marijuana patient association, including a storefront, unless a court finds it is an actual nuisance. The measure states that medical marijuana patients have a property right to own and possess medical marijuana.

• In a southern state, people are scrapping like hell to get a question allowing medical marijuana on the ballot, reports Cheree Franco at the Arkansas Times. The issue's mainly being funded by the Marijuana Policy Project, which has poured some $22,000 into the effort so far.

Most interesting is what they're building into the bill, based on watching other states: it would allow MMJ treatment for 15 specific conditions, employees could not get fired just for being an MMJ patient, and cardholders would purchase from a dispensary or, if they live more than five miles from one, could grow up to six plants.

On the downside, though, is how often the attempt has been tried and denied:

[Arkansans for Compassionate Care] is an offshoot of another political nonprofit, Alliance for Reform of Drug Policy in Arkansas, which tried a legislative approach in 2003 and 2005. The bills, sponsored by Democratic state Rep. Jim Lendall of Little Rock, died in committee. In 2004, the Alliance also tried the ballot initiative route, collecting more than the 64,456 signatures needed to earn ballot representation. But former attorney general Charlie Daniels invalidated 17,000 signatures due to a notary public error on some petitions.

A non-related group, Arkansans for Medical Cannabis, led a 2011 charge, supported by Sen. Randy Laverty, D-Jasper, to bring a different medical marijuana bill to the legislature. But Laverty failed to find a House co-sponsor, and the bill never made it to committee.

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Republican state legislators to host town hall

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 4:09 PM

Sen. Kent Lambert
  • Sen. Kent Lambert

Rep. Bob Gardner

This coming Saturday, Rep. Bob Gardner is partnering with Sen. Kent Lambert, both Republicans, to host a town hall to discuss the current session of the state Legislature.

You know, catch up faithful citizens on what bills have passed, what bills have been killed, what they're hoping to still accomplish, and what budgetary challenges still face the state — those sorts of things.

It's a good time for some reflection and discussion as the Legislature has passed the halfway mark, with the Long Bill still to be hammered out.

The town hall will be held at Sen. Keith King's charter school, Colorado Springs Early Colleges, at 4435 N. Chestnut St. If you've never been to the school, just look for the Colorado Technical University as the school is located on that property.

The meeting begins at 2:00 p.m.

The full press release:


State Senator Kent Lambert and State Representative Bob Gardner announced that they would jointly conduct a Town Hall Meeting Saturday, March 31, 2012, at 2:00 p.m. at Colorado Springs Early Colleges, 4435 N. Chestnut Street, Colorado Springs Colorado. Early Colleges is located at Colorado Technical University.

The Colorado General Assembly has passed the half way mark. The Long Bill (the State Budget) will soon be introduced and Senator Lambert, a Member of the Joint Budget will give an update on the State Senate and the State’s Budget and Representative Gardner, Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee and a Member of the Appropriations Committee will give an update on the State House and the Appropriations Committee.

Senator Lambert represents Senate District 9 in Northwest El Paso County and Representative Gardner represents State House District 21 in Southwest El Paso and Fremont Counties.

For more information please contact Sarah Brittain Jack at 213-9681 or Kay Rendleman at 331-5502.

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Big congrats to local author on RITA nom

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 1:18 PM

Just four of ONeals 39 novels.
  • Just four of O'Neal's 39 novels.

Sending out congratulations to local author Barbara O'Neal on her nod from the Romance Writers of America for her 2011 novel, How to Bake a Perfect Life. It's been selected by RWA as a RITA finalist for novel with strong romantic elements.

You can find my January 2011 interview with O'Neal about the release of How to Bake a Perfect Life here; and, in tomorrow's Indy, you'll find a short review of her upcoming novel, The Garden of Happy Endings.

The RITA award winners will be announced July 28 at the RWA annual conference in California.

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Dueling letters about aviation brigade

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 12:17 PM

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Five elected officials have written a letter to Army Secretary John McHugh, pushing him to "continue to prioritize" the combat aviation brigade at Fort Carson, but opponents are pushing back.

"The Army's commitment to preparing our soldiers for combat is matched by the commitment the Pikes Peak community has made to invest in Fort Carson growth and support the well-being of soldiers and their families," says the March 26 letter to McHugh from Sens. Michael Bennet and Mark Udall, Reps. Doug Lamborn and Ed Perlmutter, and Gov. John Hickenlooper.

"State, regional, and local entities have spent or committed more than $178 million in infrastructure projects related to the installation's growth," the letter continues. "This includes vital transportation projects to mitigate traffic congestion and school infrastructure projects to help meet the needs of military families."

One such project, overhauling Highway 115 south of Carson's main gate, is costing the state about $25 million.

The full letter, drafted by Bennet's office, is here.
Letter_to_John_McHugh.pdf

But those opposed to the brigade planned to deliver copies of their letters to Bennet's and Udall's offices in Colorado Springs today.

The letter calls the CAB "super expensive" and "militarily redundant" and notes that the lawmakers' letter "does not reflect the views of even a majority of the state's congressional delegation as you can see and most certainly does not speak for a majority of all Coloradans."

Here's the entire petition:

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One of the opposition's ringleaders is local pacifist Bill Sulzman, who writes in an e-mail that he was "very disappointed" with the "pandering letter" by officials. He also wrote it's ironic that Bennet and Udall are pushing the CAB, considering they are "two super hawk Senators who claim to be concerned about the budget, world peace and the environment."

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You need some zydeco in your life tonight

Posted By on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 at 9:49 AM

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We've got months to go before Grammy winner Chubby Carrier and the Bayou Swamp Band return to the Meadowgrass festival.

But we've got just hours before Chubby's brother Dikki Du and the Zydeco Krewe play Front Range Barbeque.

True Louisiana music devotees have probably at least considered driving up to Denver for this band's past tours. Now you can see them on the west side for free. Bring some money, though, because there'll aso be Cajun food on hand.

The show gets underway this evening (Wednesday) at 7:30 p.m. Here's a video to get you motivated.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Strong-mayor campaign leaders: no immediate need for ballot issues

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 5:16 PM

The three public leaders of the Mayor Project campaign of 2010, which voters approved to enact a new form of government for Colorado Springs in 2011, have sent a letter today to Mayor Steve Bach and City Council, saying they do not see the need at this time for ballot initiatives further revising the City Charter.

Mary Ellen McNally, Andy McElhany and Chuck Murphy signed the letter, which also has been shared with the Independent, Gazette and Colorado Springs Business Journal. The timing, we're told, was influenced by rumors that business leaders and Bach had decided to push a ballot issue for the April 2013 municipal election switching control over Colorado Springs Utilities from the City Council to the mayor.

The letter clearly indicates that the Mayor Project leaders do not feel that way.

Here's the letter in its entirety:

It’s been 9 months since our first “strong” mayor took office, long enough for the three of us to hear a lot of community feedback. As proponents of the ballot measure that changed the charter, we sat down together to discuss how the new form of government is working, and if additional charter changes are necessary. We want to share our reflections with you.

Changing to a new system of government has not been without growing pains. But that’s to be expected – after all, as voters, we made a historic, large-scale change that affects more than 400,000 citizens. It’s one thing to change the city charter with an eye toward long-term goals, and another to figure out how that vision actually works on a daily basis. That’s exactly what our new mayor, new council and city staff – as well as all of us, as citizens – are determining. We’re learning as we go, and we’re trying things.

There are gray areas in the charter, and that was by design: just as our Constitution doesn’t dictate who plows the streets, it isn’t appropriate for the city charter to prescribe every detail of government operations. That is up to our elected officials to determine, and the charter must be flexible to respond to changing budgets, technology, community priorities and other factors.

It’s possible that at some point, additional charter changes may be necessary to clarify some big-picture aspects of the roles of council or mayor. We firmly believe that it is too soon to ask the voters to consider any charter amendments. We cannot accurately assess the system until more time has passed. Right now, we haven’t even lived with the system for a single year.

Questioning government is an American tradition. After more than 200 years, we’re still arguing about the roles of the executive and legislative branches of our federal government, so it’s no surprise that similar discussions have arisen at the local level. These are healthy discussions that need to be open, respectful and rational, and take into account the spirit of the changes voters made, as well as the letter.

A key component of the council-mayor government is the checks and balances built into the system. Voters were comfortable giving the mayor new authority because they knew it would not be unfettered. We’ve seen that in action, through both the legal changes of the charter and the political processes it put into play.

It’s important to remember that while we have changed the form of our government, it is still made up of people. That means we all bring our unique personalities and perspectives to the debate. There’s been conflict. If it feels like we’re seeing more conflict than usual, maybe it’s because it’s all happening in the open, achieving our goal of increased transparency. Being the first to navigate a new system of government isn’t easy, and we commend all our elected officials for taking on the challenge. But we must distinguish between matters of charter structure versus personalities as changes to the charter are once again contemplated.

The voters have authorized a system that empowers leaders to do great things in our city. It is up to them to answer the call.

Andy McElhany

Mary Ellen McNally

Chuck Murphy

Spokespersons, The Mayor Project

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Wednesday will become Independent's Day!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 4:50 PM

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The Independent is breaking up with Thursday and moving to Wednesday. Now you will have 24 more hours to plan your playtime and see our latest news and columns, starting Wednesday, April 11.

Breaking up is hard to do and we don't want to do it alone. So, share your best Break Up story in the "Independent Break Up" Sweepstakes! With a $100 Restaurant Gift Certificate up for grabs, we invite you to submit your Break Up story to this blog announcement by 5:55 p.m., Monday, April. 9. Or you can mail your story to our office, or just drop it by the building at 235 S. Nevada Ave. Limit of 100 words or fewer, explaining why your Break Up story is the best. Or you can e-mail it to digital@csindy.com.

On Wednesday, April 11, we'll announce the winning story in our first Wednesday issue.

The winner will receive $100 to a local restaurant so you can take your new partner out on the town or have a great location for your next Break Up!

Individuals are welcome to submit their Break Up story, but only locals in the Pikes Peak region (to include El Paso and Teller counties) are eligible. The Independent retains the right to use any submitted story in Independent-related forums including, but not limited to, print, social media, csindy.com and m.csindy.com. The creator retains all remaining rights.

Again, deadline is 5:55 p.m., Monday, April. 9. Please send further questions to digital@csindy.com.

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One day he's in ... now Ibbetson's out of state House race

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 3:52 PM

Christopher Ibbetson

Yesterday, we reported that political newbie Christopher Ibbetson had announced his candidacy as a Democrat for the open seat in House District 21.

Today, Ibettson dropped out.

(And we thought Gar Graham's campaign in HD 20 was short-lived.)

According to Ibbetson, he was registered to vote as a Democrat in Florida when he moved here in 2005. But since he was in the Army, he never bothered to move his registration here. Leaving the Army in 2011, he registered as a Democrat in the district but not in time to be a candidate.

Though a setback, when we reached him by phone, Ibbetson seemed undaunted, stating that he will just go back to his original plan of running for an at-large seat on the Fountain City Council.

Veronica Bila also expressed interest in running for the seat at the Democrats' county assembly Saturday. Both she and Ibbetson won enough votes from the HD 21 delegates to wind up on a primary ballot. Now, it looks like the district is Bila's for the taking, but she has yet to publicly announce.

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County will resume inspections of public pools and spas

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 3:15 PM

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Swimming pools and spas used by the public, which total about 150 in El Paso County, will once again under go regular inspections starting Sunday, the county's Public Health Department announced today.

Inspection of pools and taking of water samples for analysis was discontinued in 2008 amid budget cuts.

Now a streamlined version of the program is resuming, and the fees that will be charged pool owners will fund the program, unlike prior to the program being eliminated.

"Public Health reevaluated the program in 2011 with input from the pool and spa industry," Public Health spokeswoman Danielle Oller says in an e-mail. "It has been restructured to focus only on the prevention of waterborne illness, and the fees are set to cover this streamlined program."

Some key points of the program:

* Specialists will now conduct on-site water chemistry testing. (previous program took water samples, had them tested at the lab) This reduces staff time and lab costs.

* Seasonal pools/spas will be visited by staff once a year. Previous program was twice a year.

* There will be an additional charge for mandatory follow-up inspections to verify public health compliance.

* Based on industry feedback, staff will spend on-site inspection time working with the owner/operator to solve critical waterborne illness violations. Previous program looked for both critical and non-critical violations. This reduces staff time during the inspection.

Public Health said in a news release the goals of the program "are to increase education and outreach to the community and to stakeholders in the pool/spa industry, and protect the health and safety of pool and spa visitors with efficient use of staff resources and effective inspections and training."

Here are the new charges:

· Plan reviews, including pre-operational inspections—$241

· Inspections, year-round pool/spa facilities (includes two regular inspections)—$181

· Inspections-seasonal pools/spa—$106

· Follow-up inspections—$43/hour

· Additional services—$43/hour

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Leigh gripes again about Memorial

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Councilor Tim Leigh is once again complaining about Memorial Health System's executive pay. After opposing the idea of retention pay, which Memorial trustees rejected last week, Leigh now is bothered that Memorial CEO Larry McEvoy has scored a raise.

McEvoy ... No raise for four years.
  • McEvoy ... No raise for four years.

Without offering any data of his own, Leigh writes in his so-called "Weekend Market Report" that "MHS did a wage and salary study and determined Dr. McEvoy was underpaid. Underpaid? ... Are you kidding me? What were the significant accomplishments achieved by the CEO in the past year to justify this raise?"

Then he cited a figure that was wrong. He later sent out a correction that also was wrong.

Maybe Leigh has salary envy, considering he told the Indy recently that being on City Council has stifled his commercial real-estate business.

Memorial says McEvoy's pay was bumped from $550,000 a year to $670,000 after a study showed the market median for a health system CEO to be $871,000.

Here's a statement issued today by Trustee Chair James Moore:

The Board of Trustees increased the CEO’s salary from $550,000 to $670,000 earlier this year. The CEO had not received any pay increase since he was hired four years ago. Even after this increase, his pay remains considerably below the market median (50th percentile) for the role, which is
$871,000.

The board’s compensation philosophy aims for all employees to be paid at the market median, and
we have made significant strides over the last year in order to achieve this goal. During 2011,
Memorial invested more than $10 million in staff pay increases, which included more than 1,000
staff receiving a market adjustment.

We recognize that the CEO is paid a lot of money by anyone’s standards. Still, we are committed to
paying him—along with all staff—at a market-competitive level.

Leigh also urges residents to vote in favor of the lease of Memorial to University of Colorado Health System, which is currently in negotiations and is expected to be presented to voters in August.

"When the time comes to vote for a change at MHS, make sure you vote in the affirmative," Leigh said in his market report. "This is a good example of why we need change."

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Better balls coming to Sky Sox baseball

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 12:50 PM

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Nothing has excited this staff — er, one or two members of it, anyway — like the idea of a humidor being installed at the Colorado Springs Sky Sox's Security Service Field, in an effort to limit the effect our thin, dry air has on how the baseball reacts to being thwacked. The parent Colorado Rockies and Coors Field have one, dammit, and we want one, too.

And now we do, says Thomas Harding with MLB.com.

"It's installed and currently operational," Rockies player development director Jeff Bridich said. "I'm sure all of the home pitchers and all of the road pitchers — every pitcher in the park will be thankful."

The chamber at Coors, the so-called "humidor," helped normalize pitching. In the past, the high-desert atmosphere caused baseballs to become smaller, more slippery and harder — conditions that favor hitting. It's even more pronounced at Security Service Field, which is about 1,000 feet higher in elevation than Coors Field

.

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600 potholes filled, lots more to go

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 12:48 PM

The long and winding (and severely pitted) road
  • The Tire Zoo
  • The long and winding (and severely pitted) road.

The city has accomplished something concrete this week.

It's filled more than 600 potholes. (Almost makes you want to clap, doesn't it?)

There's more good news. The city is going to keep filling potholes. All you have to do to get that annoying hole in the street fixed is report it. While the city fills potholes on main arterials first, even sidestreet potholes will likely be fixed. Just call the Pothole Hotline (seriously, there's a pothole hotline) at 385-ROAD (7623) to report problems.

Right now the city is in its annual "pothole campaign," when it fills all those gaping holes that winter left behind. But the pothole hotline is available all the time, so you may want to keep it in mind.

Pothole Campaign Update

The Streets Division kicked off its annual pothole campaign on Monday, March 19. In the first week alone, crews filled more than 600 potholes and fielded more than 100 reports. Reported potholes are being filled within two weeks. Potholes are prioritized by location, so potholes on main arterials receive a higher priority.
The City would like to ask citizens to keep reporting potholes by calling the Pothole Hotline – 385-ROAD (7623). The public’s help in locating and reporting potholes is a crucial part of this effort.
When reporting a pothole, callers should provide as much detailed information such as street name with closest intersection, direction of traffic flow (northbound, southbound, etc.), and location in the street such as left or right edge line or middle, inside or outside lane. Due to the huge influx of calls expected, citizens should not expect a personal reply to their request. For gravel or alley potholes, citizens can call 385-5934.
Citizens with iPhones can download an app to report potholes from www.springsgov.com (click on the phone icon at the top of the page).
To properly repair a pothole, Street Division employees must clean the edges of the pavement to ensure a good bond, making sure the pothole is free of moisture. They then place the asphalt mix material in the pothole and compact it with a roller. This method maximizes the number of potholes the crews can repair. In extreme cases, the only permanent remedy is to completely resurface the roadway. Many of the same employees that plow snow during the winter months patch potholes during the spring, summer and fall.
The City of Colorado Springs Streets Division maintains approximately 1,500 center line miles of streets. A center line mile is the length of one mile of road regardless of the number of lanes. Streets crews filled 24,208 potholes in 2011. While the dry winter reduced the amount of potholes created by freeze-thaw cycles, the aging of the street system has kept the number of potholes comparable to previous years.
The City does not repair potholes on County or State roads, such as South Academy south of Milton Proby (County) and Powers (State) and US 24 (State).

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Fremont County approves Over the River

Posted By on Tue, Mar 27, 2012 at 10:33 AM

In a press release sent just minutes ago, Over the River Corp. announced that the Fremont County board of commissioners voted unanimously to grant them a temporary event permit.

In the next few weeks, OTR will work to obtain the same permit in Chaffee County.

Read it here:

Fremont County Approves Over The River
The Fremont County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously this morning to approve the Temporary Use Permit for Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Over The River. This is a significant step in the permitting process, and Christo is very pleased to have successfully reached this important milestone.

"The Fremont County permit is essential to realizing this temporary work of art that Jeanne-Claude and I first envisioned nearly 20 years ago," said Christo. "I am very pleased that the Commissioners have voted to approve this public work of art for Fremont County, and I want to thank them for their hard work and efforts in evaluating our application. I am glad to be moving forward with our plans to complete Over The River."

The Board of Commissioners and County staff solicited extensive public comment when reviewing Christo's permit application. They also considered the Bureau of Land Management's extensive analysis of the project, as well as the nearly 200 mitigation measures addressing community and environmental concerns, as described in the Final Environmental Impact Statement. Christo is very pleased that, after carefully evaluating all aspects of the project, the Commissioners reached the same conclusion as other regulatory agencies in supporting the realization of Over The River.

Over The River will have significant benefits for Fremont County and all of Colorado, both culturally and economically. This once-in-a-lifetime experience will not only boost tourism and provide worldwide exposure for the area, but it is also expected to generate $583,000 in additional sales tax revenues within Fremont and Chaffee Counties alone.

As part of Fremont County's Temporary Use Permit, Christo has agreed to more than 30 specific conditions. For example, Christo has committed to fund a wide variety of costs that the County may incur as a result of Over The River, including reimbursements for staff time and funds to mitigate project-related road impacts. Through the sale of his original works of art, Christo and Jeanne-Claude always funded their projects without any public subsidies, grants, commercial advertising or taxpayer support.

Christo's next step is to submit an application to Chaffee County for a Temporary Special Events Permit, which is expected to happen within the next few weeks. Assuming the remaining permits are successfully secured, Over The River installation will begin in early 2013 with exhibition planned for August 2015.

We thank you for your ongoing support of Christo and Jeanne-Claude's Over The River!

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Monday, March 26, 2012

Beer battles, special dinners and a speakeasy: a look ahead in food and drink

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 5:11 PM

The next month is shaping up to be quite busy on the food and drink scene.

Early warning: This event will sell out, so get your tickets soon if you want to be among the lucky 100.
  • Early warning: This event will sell out, so get your tickets soon if you want to be among the lucky 100.

Here's a rundown of soon-to-go-down events, plus a look a little further out at some events that will likely sell out, should you care to plan early.

Plus, I've tossed in a little food news up front. Here goes:

GoWaiter, a national chain with 22 locations, launched a Colorado Springs delivery service last week, via local franchisee Patricia Sisson. The service charges a "minimal fee" for delivery or catering from 14 different area outfits currently (see a full list on their website, plus zip codes currently served).

• Nourish Organic Juice is now offering juice cleansing or monthly juice delivery to 80903 and through 80901 zip codes, with more to follow. Click below to see the array of available cleanses.

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• For all of April at Jake and Telly's Greek Taverna, get a Greek burger (with Ranch Foods Direct beef) or veggie burger with a side and a pint of Bristol Brewing Company beer for $10 — $7 off the normal price.

• Two credits here to The Gazette, for news on some chain restaurant happenings: the first on a string of new openings to hit the University Village shopping center, including a new Il Vicino location; the second on a new Chick-fil-A kiosk that has apparently opened inside the Alamo building downtown.

Another Pint will host its next Meet the Brewer night with Odell Brewing Co.'s co-founder Doug Odell, at 7 p.m., Friday, March 30. Guests pay by the pint for everything from Myrcenary to 90 Shilling, with special pours of the new Footloose Golden Sour and Shenanigans.

Here's those two as described on Focus on the Beer's website:

- Footloose Golden Sour – Barrel aged with Brettanomyces and lactobacillus, this sour brings forth big fruit flavors of pineapple and citrus. Tropical aromas, coupled with a tart finish and slight hints of vanilla from the oak barrel make for a unique and refreshing beer. (8% ABV)

- Shenanigans - This delightful crimson ale is aged in oak with just a touch of Brettanomyces. The subtle Brett tartness balances the rich amber malt with hints of dried fruit and light citrus. Our ode to the happy accident, Shenanigans was just too good not to share. (9.1% ABV)

• And the following day, Saturday, March 31 at 4 p.m., Focus on the Beer will host its inaugural Battle of the Brewers competition at Brewer's Republic. Entry to sample the eight feature beers are only $5.

Here's how it'll all go down:

We have invited eight local breweries to compete against one another using randomly selected ingredients that we pulled out of a hat! We have used a bracket system so that one brewery is matched up against one other brewery, both producing a beer using the same two ingredients (such as molasses and peaches). The fun part comes when you, our lovely beery readers, will do a blind judging of the beers. March 31 will be Round 1, we will announce the winners of the public vote, announce the date for the next round, and select the random ingredients again right there at the bar for all to see!

So, be sure to be at Brewer's Republic at 4 p.m. on March 31. For $5 you will get eight beers in sample glasses and you will get a judge. We are limited to only five gallons of each beer, so it will go quickly. Also we are dividing the eight beers into two brackets: Bracket One will be served at 4 p.m. and Bracket Two will be served at 5 p.m. Here are the brackets, breweries, and random ingredients:

Food fight! Er, um ... drink fight!
  • Food fight! Er, um ... drink fight!

BRACKET ONE / 4 p.m.
Lone Tree vs Rock Bottom (Black Cherry, Clementine)
Rockyard vs Black Fox (Molasses, Peaches)

BRACKET TWO / 5 p.m.
Phantom Canyon vs. KBKB (Black Tea, Strawberry)
Shamrock vs. Pikes Peak (Raspberry, Pumpkin)

Café 36 will host an Orin Swift wine dinner on April 3. Click the menu below to see it full size and call the cafe for times and pricing:

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Slow Food Colorado Springs will host an event from 5:30 to 7:30, Wednesday, April 4 in Colorado College's McHugh Commons. A $5 donation is suggested to cover food costs and there will be a cash bar.

In their words, here's the event description:

Come hear what's happening in join in the fun: Andy Nowak (Youth Farmers Markets, Farm to School) , Rick Hughes (Colorado Springs District 11 Food and Nutrition Services , Farm to School) Beth Gentry (Bon Appetit at Colorado College, Peak to Plains Alliance) will share their successes and challenges with getting local food and gardens into schools and give you ideas for how you can get involved. Email info@slowfoodcoloradosprings.org for more information.

• From 6 to 9 p.m., Saturday, April 7, Bristol Brewing Company will host a Prohibition Party. Here's the setup (no joke):

Knock on the door at the end of the hallway and give the password "Volstead." You'll enter a speakeasy from 1925, complete with beer brewing in a claw foot bathtub, 33¢ Yellow Kite Summer Pils, and great prizes for best dressed man, woman and group. Costumes are required for entry. Keep your wits about you in case we get raided!

• An early heads up on Trinity Brewing Company's fourth annual Saison and Farmhouse Ale Festival, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday, April 14. "Beers inspired by the Walloon region [of Belgium] only." $30 now or $35 at the door, limit 100 (40 tickets left as of last Thursday). Guest breweries such as Crooked Stave Artisan Beer Project pouring.

• That same day, this time from 7 to 9:30 p.m., catch the eighth annual Fork & Bottle at the Colorado Springs School Historic Trianon, in benefit of the Ruth Washburn Cooperative Nursery School. Tickets are $55 a couple or $30 per person in advance, or $35 at the door, for live music, wine samples and apps and desserts from local restaurants and caterers.

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Democrat steps up in House race

Posted By on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 at 4:04 PM

Chris Ibbetson

On Saturday, local Republicans and Democrats met for their county assemblies. As we reported, the Republicans voted a number of candidates onto the primary ballot, with some interesting upsets.

As it turns out, the Democrats will also be having a primary in House District 21.

Veronica Bila and Christopher Ibbetson were both nominated to appear on the June 26 primary ballot in a race to be the Democratic challenger.

The Republicans will have their own primary in that district between newcomer Albert Sweet and former Fountain Councilwoman Lois Landgraf.

Today, we received a press statement from Ibbetson announcing his candidacy. A newcomer as well, he says that he spent six years in the Army and is a licensed EMT.

He hadn't considered running for the House seat, he tells us, until attending Saturday's assembly. When he saw that there wasn't a candidate, he decided to give it a shot.

As for the issues, according to his press release, "Planned Parenthood in House District 21 is my top priority."

No women should ever have to be embarrassed to go to her doctor for birth control because for fear that she won’t get the birth control or that she would have to go through pointless and costly medical procedures to them, and quite frankly, it’s none of our business why anyone sees there doctor unless they plan to tell the rest of the world themselves, that is why the U.S. congress put into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, which is known as HIPAA, to ensure a patient’s privacy.

We will bring you information on Bila as well, once we've made contact with her.

Read Ibbetson's press statement in its entirety:

Chris Ibbetson, is announcing his candidacy for State Representative in District 21, CO. Ibbetson and his fellow Democratic County Delegates have collected signatures from residents House District 21 in support of his primary nomination. Individuals have responded with support and substantial votes more than sufficient to place him on the ballot for the June 2012 primary election.

With over 6 years of military experience, Ibbetson sees the dire need to reserve our freedoms, was given to us by the United States Constitution, by having a simple thing as the right to vote on Election Day. This is 2012 and there is no need for not treating everyone as an equal. We all live in the same state, we all live in the same country, and we all deserve to be treated as equal, no matter what gender, race or sexual orientation that we may have, just equals. He is also a Colorado Licensed EMT.

Chris Ibbetson sees the Planned Parenthood issue as motivations to run for office.

According to Ibbetson, "Planned Parenthood in House District 21 is my top priority." He adds, “No women should ever have to be embarrassed to go to her doctor for birth control because for fear that she won’t get the birth control or that she would have to go through pointless and costly medical procedures to them, and quite frankly, it’s none of our business why anyone sees there doctor unless they plan to tell the rest of the world themselves, that is why the U.S. congress put into law the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act in 1996, which is known as HIPAA, to ensure a patient’s privacy ."

More information about Chris Ibbetson and his campaign can be found on his website, www.facebook.com/vote.ibbetson. This site includes biographical information about Chris and a calendar of upcoming events, as well as his position on many of the important issues affecting House District 21.

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