Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Hill Climb latest event postponed by fire

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 8:40 PM

PPIHC.jpg

Threatened by continuing uncertainty related to the Waldo Canyon Fire, organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb have announced they're postponing the race from Sunday, July 8, until later in the summer.

The word came Wednesday night in a release from PPIHC's board of directors. The hope had been that fire conditions would improve enough to allow the 90th running of the Race to the Clouds to take place on schedule, and many racing vehicles, crews and drivers already had arrived in the area for final preparations.

But with car inspections scheduled for next Tuesday, and practices beginning Wednesday, July 3, there wasn't enough time to guarantee the race week could take place without being impacted in some way by the fire.

Mayor Steve Bach provided a statement in the release, saying: “This race began in 1916 and it has earned its place among the world’s greatest motor sports events, and it is an important part of the sports heritage of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”

A news conference will take place Thursday morning to provide more detail.

Here's the news release in its entirety:

90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Postponed Because of Safety Concerns And The Fires Near Colorado Springs – New Date Will Be Sought For This Summer

Faced with epic conditions and safety concerns related to the wildfires threatening Colorado Springs and nearby communities, the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, scheduled for Sunday, July 8, is being postponed until later in the summer.

“We have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that conditions are so extreme, along with the inability to forecast the future of the fire, and with access to Pikes Peak in jeopardy that the agency can’t permit the event to go as scheduled, “said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of the PPIHC and President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.

Osborne said that the iconic event, the nation’s second-oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500, will be staged later this summer, and that a new date will be set within a time frame that allows the option of rescheduling of a new Race Week for drivers, racers, support crews and the multitude of agencies that are required to support the race.

“The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be run,” said Osborne.

“This race began in 1916 and it has earned its place among the world’s greatest motor sports events, and it is an important part of the sports heritage of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. “We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”

Sports Corp and PPIHC officials met with officials from the Forest Service and numerous agencies tasked with the safety and support of the race this afternoon that included a wide-ranging discussion and review of the possibility of staging the race on July 8, along with the numerous ancillary events that go with the event. Those include the arrivals of the 211 race crews and competitors starting this weekend, the Technical Inspections on July 3 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, the July 6 Fan Fest downtown, and practice and qualification times for all competitors on July 4-5-6.

“At the end of our meeting today, it was clear that we would not be able to go as scheduled,” said Osborne. “Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors, and it was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it.”

The race organizers will meet quickly to begin the search for the new date and it is a goal to announce the replacement date within two weeks.

Notification of the 211 competitors, some of them from 15 nations outside the United States, news media organizations traveling to cover the race, and fans has begun.

Tickets already purchased will be honored for the new date and the events for the fans and competitors will be rescheduled. All sponsor, vendor and supplier agreements will be fulfilled, according to Osborne.

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New Colorado Springs homage from Procussions co-founder

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 6:00 PM

Mr. Js new single
  • Mr. J's new single
Local music fans who need a hip-hop respite, take heart. Jason Medeiros (aka Mr. J Medeiros) posted a free download of a new track this afternoon in honor of his former hometown.

"Hope it lifts some 719 heads," writes the L.A.-based founder of the Procussions, whose band returns here for a much-anticipated homecoming gig at Union Station on Saturday, July 7. (Find show info here.)

Check out this sample lyric, then click the SoundCloud player below to hear the whole track.

Bringing light to the days at Acacia Park
Do you rap do you skate do you paint
State your art
Play your part before you sweat the scene
From the 719 and anyone with a dream
To the 303 and everyone in between
And the let the sun shine down on Colorado Springs

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UPDATE: Find out if your home's been lost to the fire

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 5:24 PM

UPDATE: At this afternoon's Waldo Canyon Fire media briefing, the city's chief of economic vitality Steve Cox told the group that he hopes to have more information in 24 hours on the number of properties impacted by the fire and what the process for informing people will be. He did state that part of the plan at this point is to meet individually with people who have suffered a loss.

ORIGINAL POST: 2012-06-27 17:00:46

City_of_Colorado_Springs.jpeg

The latest tally making the local-media rounds is that roughly 100 homes were lost last night and in the early part of this morning. God knows what's happened since, or what the real total is, but it has been, and is, a devastatingly sad turn of events.

It seems things have slowed down some, but that could change at any time. So if your home's in the affected area, or you just want to be listed in case things get out of hand, the city of Colorado Springs has set up a page where you can register your name, address and contact information, and "and you will be contacted as soon as information is available.

"Many affected areas are too dangerous for assessment teams to enter," the site reads, "but as they are able to do initial damage assessments of affected areas you will be contacted."

Do sign up. Do register your cell phone/any phone with the reverse-911 system so you can be notified if your area's being threatened. People out there are trying to tell you what they know — help them do it.

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Pet-shelter update

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 4:19 PM

Loyce Williams
  • Loyce Williams and her pup.

Earlier today, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region opened a second shelter to handle the influx of pets that need a place to go due to evacuations. The owners of the Freedom Financial Services Expo Center, at 3650 N. Nevada Ave., donated the space, according to Erika Meyer, communications specialist with HSPPR.

It's still available, free of charge, to anyone who has been displaced because of the fire, and needs somewhere safe to keep their pets. But there are well more than 100 animals at the expo center, and that number is steadily increasing.

If you'd like to help, Meyer says that they are in urgent need of crates and kennels, especially for large-breed dogs, as well blankets and towels.

As the shelter is providing free care check-ups and vaccinations for every animal taken in, it could use some financial support as well.

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DeVotchKa show called off

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 3:34 PM

DeVotchKa
  • DeVotchKa
Disappointing but perhaps not unexpected news for DeVotchKa fans: The Denver band's performance tomorrow night at Armstrong Hall has been called off, with plans to line up a new date in the fall. Tickets will be honored at the rescheduled show, or you can contact KRCC at 719/473-4801 for refund info.

Meanwhile, although it may be small consolation, you can read a new Indy interview with DeVotchKa frontman Nick Urata in the issue which hit the racks today, or online right here.

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Public to vote on Memorial lease Aug. 28

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Colorado Springs Memorial Health System
  • Memorial North hospital

Colorado Springs voters will decide Aug. 28 whether to lease city-owned Memorial Health System.

Here's the ballot measure approved today by City Council on an 8-0 vote. Tim Leigh didn't vote because he came under a pre-evacuation notice due to the Waldo Canyon Fire during the meeting:

“Shall the City of Colorado Springs be authorized to lease the Memorial Health System to the University of Colorado Health system pursuant to the terms and conditions approved by City Council on June 27, 2012, as set forth in Resolution No. 89-12, and to take all other actions necessary to accomplish this purpose.”

Council also voted to set up a foundation to oversee the proceeds of the lease, which will bring in hundreds of millions of dollars during the 40-year term. Here's the resolution governing the foundation.

RESOLUTION NO. 92-12
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS, COLORADO, APPROVING A PROPOSED CITY-CONTROLLED FOUNDATION FOR THE SEGREGATION, OVERSIGHT, AND MANAGEMENT OF FUNDS TO BE RECEIVED FROM THE PROPOSED MEMORIAL HEALTH SYSTEM OPERATING LEASE AGREEMENT AND THE INTEGRATION AND AFFILIATION AGREEMENT WITH UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO HEALTH SYSTEM.
WHEREAS, since 1949, the City of Colorado Springs has owned and operated Memorial Health System, dedicated to being a regional leader in providing high quality healthcare services to all citizens; and,
WHEREAS, City Council carefully considered the option of leasing the assets of Memorial Health System to an outside independent operator to ensure provision of the best possible healthcare for the entire community; and,
WHEREAS, City Council previously determined that it is in the best interests of the public health, safety and welfare of the City and its residents to consider proposals from potential independent strategic partners that contemplate independent operation and management of Memorial Health System through an arrangement in which the City would lease the Memorial Health System facilities and transfer its operating assets to a third-party; and,
WHEREAS, City Council authorized and created the Memorial Health System Task Force in August 2011 comprised of Council members and citizens, which in turn issued a Confidential Descriptive Memorandum and Request for Proposals dated October 17, 2011, and said Task Force carefully reviewed and considered all proposals received there from; and,
WHEREAS, City Council in January 2012 accepted the recommendation of the Memorial Health System Task Force, and selected the University of Colorado Health system as the exclusive bidder to be considered as an independent strategic partner with the Memorial Health System and to pursue negotiations of an operating lease agreement between the City, and the University of Colorado Health system for the independent operation and management of the Memorial Health System through an arrangement in which the City would lease the Memorial Health System facilities and transfer its operating assets to the University of Colorado Health system and related parties; and,
WHEREAS, City Council and the City Attorney have completed negotiations with the University of Colorado Health system for the independent operation and management of the Memorial Health System through a lease of the Memorial Health
52139193.4
System facilities and the transfer of its operating assets, and said negotiations have now produced a Health System Operating Lease Agreement and an Integration and Affiliation Agreement between the City, and the University of Colorado Health system and related parties.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS:
Section 1. In the event the voters approve on August 28, 2012 the agreements and transactions contemplated by Resolution No. 89-12, City Council hereby authorizes and directs the City Attorney and City Staff to form and create a City controlled non-profit public foundation (the “City Health Foundation”) as provided for under IRS Sections 501(c)(3) and 509(a). The purpose of the City Health Foundation shall be to receive, hold, and manage in perpetuity all funds and monies received pursuant to the aforementioned agreements and transactions approved by City Council on June 27, 2012, and as set forth in Resolution No. 89-12.
Section 2. City Council authorizes and directs that all funds and monies received pursuant to the aforementioned agreements, beginning on October 1, 2012 and continuing thereafter for the full term of such agreements, and which are not held in a City segregated account for other purposes of the aforementioned agreements, shall be placed directly into the City Health Foundation. It is further intended that all such funds and monies shall include but not be limited to any initial payments made to the City, any annual or monthly lease payments made to the City, any annual margin surplus payments made to the City, any funds remaining in City segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any potential PERA obligations of Memorial Health System, any funds remaining in City segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any bonds, indebtedness, or other financial obligations of Memorial Health System, and/or any funds remaining in segregated accounts or elsewhere following resolution and satisfaction of any outstanding contingent liability obligations or sums owed for breach of any of the aforementioned agreements.
Section 3. City Council hereby directs that the mission of the City Health Foundation be focused solely and exclusively on health issues in the City of Colorado Springs, and that the corpus of the funds contained in such foundation may not be distributed, spent, transferred, or otherwise removed from the City Health Foundation without a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, or eight (8) council members if the Mayor shall not agree, and any grant or distribution from the City Health Foundation shall only be made from income of the corpus and only pursuant to the mission of the City Health Foundation, save that its By-Laws (the “Bylaws”) may provide for some portion of the income of the corpus to be used for administrative or personnel expenses.
Section 4. The City Health Foundation’s Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws shall be approved by seven (7) council members and the Mayor. The City Health
52139193.4
Foundation shall be governed by a Board of Trustees, comprised of nine (9) member Trustees, which Trustees shall be nominated by the Mayor and confirmed by a majority of the City Council members. All Trustees of the City Health Foundation shall be residents of the City of Colorado Springs and shall have such other qualifications as set forth in the By-Laws. Any single Trustee of the City Health Foundation, or the entire Board of Trustees of the City Health Foundation may be removed at any time by a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, or by eight (8) council members if the Mayor shall not agree.
Section 5. The City Council shall be responsible for close oversight of the operations of the City Health Foundation, to include approval of any investment policy adopted by the Foundation, approval of the retention of any investment advisor by the City Health Foundation, and approval of policies and guidelines governing any grants and distributions of the income of the City Health Foundation.
Section 6. The Board of Trustees of the City Health Foundation may nominate a Chief Executive Officer, President, Executive Director, or other such full time administrative executive to oversee the City Health Foundation, as it may choose, but any such individual must be approved by a vote of seven (7) council members and the Mayor, and any employment agreement or compensation agreement of any type whatsoever must be approved in like manner.
DATED at Colorado Springs, Colorado, this 27th day of June, 2012.
________________________________
Council President

Councilor Lisa Czeladtko wrote the following e-mail before the meeting to her colleagues.

This fire has stirred up quite a bit of emotionalism from the citizens. See below Laura's email. Several of our colleagues are homeless. The administrative staff that we have to work with on this is preoccupied with other priorities. I did meet with the mayor on Friday when Chris and him squeezed us all in at the last minute( prior to fire). I also agree that 4 of 5 resolutions seem fine except foundation one. For a body who supports public input, it seems like we are taking advantage of knowing how distracted and consumed by the current crisis our community is and slipping it by them. Maybe thats the intention. It's not a regularly scheduled Council meeting, and it's posting was surely lost in the fire news. I may be alone on this but it appears we are taking advantage of the situation to get things done we don't want public input on and rushing it thru. We know it isnt quick because of the time you all have worked on this but it is quick in terms of when we have seen the final resolutions, it is quick in time we have let the public know what the resolutions are saying, it is quick in declaring a resolution for the establishment of a health foundation with no real prior discussion amongst us. I think this deadline given is another way to force Council to react and we will not be perceived as handling this well. I know my residents, I know the media, I know how this looks. Thanks you.

By the way, Leigh isn't the only one caught up by the fire. Council members Scott Hente, Val Snider, Jan Martin and Merv Bennett all have been evacuated, as has City Attorney Chris Melcher.

Hente and Snider's homes are located in the areas that burned on the west side of the Springs, but neither has received word on the extent of the damage, says Council liaison Aimee Cox.

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UPDATE: Manitou cash-mob planned for Wednesday

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 2:48 PM

UPDATE: The Manitou Cash Mob has been cancelled for this evening. It's been tentatively rescheduled for July 9 at noon, but follow the Facebook event page for information.

——- ORIGINAL POST: 2012-06-25 10:17:57 ——-

As fast as it took to tweet it, the idea for a cash-mob in Manitou Springs on Wednesday is taking off. (For the uninitiated, Wikipedia tell us, "a cash mob is a group of people who assemble at a local business and all buy items from that business.") It comes in response to the mandatory evacuation that the town's residents, including Indy staffers, experienced due to the threat of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

And Lord knows the area could use it — it's the middle of tourism season, and the Fourth of July weekend is often one of the busiest times for area merchants. People likely will still be cobbling things back together in the next couple days, but by Wednesday should be able to handle the fury of goodwill of which the Pikes Peak region has shown itself to be capable. For example, Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado brought in 92,000 pounds of food, and $15,000 — in about one day.

So go forth into the city of happy hippies and spend your dollars. (Facebook event-page here.) Buy their coffee, and chainsaw art, and pottery, and consider what these past few days have shown about local generosity. If it was your town, Manitou folk would buy your stuff.

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Share your fire experience at the (free) Fine Arts Center

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Fine-Arts-Center-Logo.png
Especially when a wildfire burns through western neighborhoods of your city, the bad news must come first:

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center (FAC) has announced the cancellation of its third annual "Whiskey for My Men, Beer for My Horses" whiskey-and-beer-tasting event, originally scheduled for Friday, June 29. Today's Colorado Farm and Art Market at the FAC has also been cancelled. Among (many) other things.

Here's the good news:

The FAC is currently offering free gallery admission to everyone. Indefinitely. "We just wanted to offer a place where people can avoid the heat and avoid the smoke," a spokesperson tells the Indy. The local institution has also created a Waldo Canyon Fire Community Display space, where attendees can "pin and share images and experiences." Also hinted at in the release: a "big, end-of-the-fire community celebration."

The Fine Arts Center is open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., every day except Monday. Full press release below:

Friends of the Fine Arts Center:

Our hearts and thoughts go out to everyone impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire. Thousands have been displaced, FAC staff members included. During this very difficult time, one thing remains certain; we have a remarkable community. The FAC is proud to be part of such a resilient community, and is committed to supporting it as best we can. Sincere thanks and gratitude to all firefighters and those supporting the effort. Take care.

FAC GALLERIES ARE FREE AND OPEN TO THE PUBLIC
The Fine Arts Center is open for business, and we are offering free gallery admission to everyone. We invite everyone to use the FAC as a resource for staying indoors, avoiding the heat, and spending time viewing art. Also, Cafe 36 is open for lunch (11a-1:30p; 719.477.4377). The FAC is open 10a-5p; free Wi-Fi available.

SHARE YOUR EXPERIENCE: WALDO CANYON FIRE COMMUNITY DISPLAY
We’ve created space along the glass corridor landing for people to pin and share images and experiences from the devastating fires impacting our community. We hope this space brings strength to our community, allowing people to express and cope with their feelings during this difficult and unpredictable situation.

WHISKEY III POSTPONED

We have decided to postpone our June 29th event, Whiskey for My Men, Beer for My Horses. We’ll keep you posted on a future date, and will make sure to invite you to the big, end-of-the-fire community celebration we’re planning. Note: The J. Miller Band is scheduled to perform tonight (Wed.) at the Hillside Gardens & Nursery.

BEMIS SCHOOL OF ART IN SESSION

The Bemis School of Art is committed to keeping students active and engaged during these difficult times. Classes are in session, and will only be canceled on a class-by-class basis. If a class is canceled, teachers will contact students directly. For more information on a class, call 719.475.2444

YOUTH REP THEATRE PROGRAMS IN SESSION
All Youth Rep programs are maintaining their regular schedule. Should a class or performance be cancelled, students will be contacted directly. For more information, call 719.477.4355.

FARMERS MARKET CANCELLED

Colorado Farm and Art Market has been cancelled today: Wednesday, June 27. Check http://www.farmandartmarket.com/ for more updates and information.

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Waldo Canyon Fire: 15,324 acres

Posted By on Wed, Jun 27, 2012 at 9:16 AM

Colorado Springs Waldo Canyon Fire
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Mayor Steve Bach speaks this morning at a fire briefing at UCCS.

City, county, state and federal officials gathered again this morning to brief the media and others about the spread of the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has grown to 15,324 acres and has claimed an undetermined number of homes.

The theme of the briefing was that officials are working under a unified command. "It doesn't make us weaker," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr. "It makes us stronger. We're committed to this fight, and we are going to be in this together in a unified command."

Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said his department is on the offensive, not the defensive, in saving homes west of Centennial Boulevard and south of the Air Force Academy where most residents have been evacuated. About 32,000 people have been put out of their homes so far, officials said.

Brown said the fire is "not remotely close to being contained" after high winds thrust the fire into the city limits yesterday in the Mountain Shadows area.

Police officers and firefighters from the region are pitching in, so Police Chief Pete Carey said not to be surprised to see officers from other jurisdictions directing traffic and carrying out other emergency tasks.

El Paso County Sheriff Lt. Jeff Kramer called the fire "unprecedented." He reemphasized that everyone is pulling together.

Rich Harvey, the incident commander for the Type 1 federal firefighting team, said the U.S. 24 line is holding and that resources have been requested from wherever they're available. About 1,000 firefighters were on the line this morning.

Shelters are set up at Cheyenne Mountain High School, Lewis-Palmer High School, the southeast YMCA and Summit Middle School in Divide.

The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has set up an additional shelter at 3650 N. Nevada St.

Jill Law with El Paso County Public Health urged people to stay inside, due to the smoke.

Harvey said firefighters fear another day of high winds and possible thunderstorms could again drive the fire and cause spotting by throwing embers up to a half mile away. One lump of embers made it across Rampart Range Reservoir yesterday.

Bret Waters, the city's emergency management director, said evacuations will be based on fire behavior through the day.

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Incumbents lead in early primary returns; Hill beating Liston

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 7:53 PM

Sallie Clark

We won't know the final numbers tonight, but the drama appears to be over already in the El Paso County Republican primary election.

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, state House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and County Commissioners Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey have comfortable leads after the first release of vote totals from the Clerk and Recorder's office.

The biggest surprise came in the state Senate District 10 race, with Owen Hill trouncing term-limited state Rep. Larry Liston.

No more results are likely tonight because of the Waldo Canyon fire being so close to the Citizens Service Center's ballot counting center on West Garden of the Gods Road.

Lamborn leads challenger Robert Blaha by about a 60-40 margin, which should be more than enough regardless of results from other counties in the 5th Congressional District. Blaha already has conceded defeat, Indy reporter Chet Hardin says.

Stephens has a similar lead over Rep. Marsha Looper in the battle for House District 19, which was left with two incumbents after redistricting.

Clark, seeking a third term as the commissioner for District 3, has nearly 60 percent to be well ahead of challenger Karen Magistrelli. Clark canceled a post-election downtown celebration party because of the fire's unexpected developments and widespread evacuations.

Hisey pulled to a margin of about 56-44 percent over challenger Auddie Cox in District 4, with Hisey also seeking a third term.

The results so far:

CONGRESS - DISTRICT 5 REP

Total Votes 57277

Doug Lamborn 34728 60.63%
Robert Blaha 22549 39.37%


STATE SENATE - DISTRICT 10 REP
Total
Total Votes 14548

Owen Hill 8875 61.00%
Larry G. Liston 5673 39.00%

STATE REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 19 REP
Total
Total Votes 11807

Amy Stephens 7047 59.68%
Marsha A. Looper 4760 40.32%

STATE REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 21 REP
Total
Total Votes 3517

Lois Landgraf 2128 60.51%
Albert Sweet 1389 39.49%

County Commissioner District 3 REP
Total
Total Votes 14032

Sallie Clark 8326 59.34%
Karen Magistrelli 5706 40.66%

County Commissioner District 4 REP
Total
Total Votes 5226

Dennis C Hisey 2928 56.03%
Auddie Lee Cox 2298 43.97%

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Election results: Coming early, then tomorrow

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 6:50 PM

We've just received a news release from the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, saying election results will be given at 7 p.m. with an update at 7:30, then nothing more until Wednesday. The decision was made because of the fire and smoke at the Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road, where ballots are being counted.

Here's the release:

For the safety of election workers, due to the Waldo Canyon fire and heavy smoke at the ballot counting center on Garden of the Gods Road, preliminary election results for the June 26, 2012 Primary Election will be released at 7:00 P.M. with a follow-up release of information at 7:30 P.M. The 7:00 release will include all ballots counted up until 5:00 Monday. The 7:30 release will include the majority of results for ballots received and counted on Tuesday. There will be no more results released after the second wave. Final preliminary results will be released as early as possible on Wednesday, June 27, 2012, providing that circumstances allow processing to continue.

Wayne Williams, Clerk & Recorder, wants to assure citizens that no ballots are actually threatened, precautions are being put in place for the safety of election workers.

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Still raging: Waldo Canyon Fire photos

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 3:48 PM

If you don't have access to a good view of the mountains this afternoon, here's what you're missing. These shots of the Waldo Canyon Fire come courtesy of Indy photographer Laurence Zankowski:

Waldo Canyon Fire

Waldo Canyon Fire

Waldo Canyon Fire

And then, just to the south:

2012-06-26_11.47.32.jpg

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UPDATE: Pension fund manager dies unexpectedly

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 2:34 PM

UPDATE:

Friends of the Howard Miller family want people to know that a fund for his son's education has been established. Here's information about that:

Howard C Miller Memorial Fund – Account 587317, Ent Federal Credit Union, 719-574-1100. Please contact Stacey Forte with any questions - 719-550-6438 or sforte@Ent.com.

Miller's family has been evacuated because of the Waldo Canyon Fire, so his memorial service is pending.

——————————ORIGINAL POST June 22, 1:47 P.M.————————————————————


El Paso County Retirement Plan administrator Howard Miller, 44, died of an apparent heart attack today, the plan says in a news release.

El Paso County
  • Howard Miller

Howard Miller was hired as El Paso County Retirement Plan Administrator in 2009. He was accredited as a certified financial planner at the University of Houston and had worked exclusively in public retirement plan funding for twenty-two years. For six years prior to taking the position in El Paso County he had served as the Director of Employer Services for the 190,000 member Texas County and District Retirement System. Miller was born at the Air Force Academy but moved away from the area as a child. He is survived by his wife and son.
Bureau Chief Joe Breister of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office, who is currently serving as Chairman of the Retirement said, “It’s a great loss to the retirement plan and to the entire community. Howard was hired at a time when we needed great leadership following financial collapse in 2008. Everything he did was out of his dedication and commitment to the financial stability of the plan for the benefit of plan members.”
The El Paso County retirement plan covers approximately 3,680 employees, beneficiaries and retirees of El Paso County, El Paso County Public Health, Office of the 4-th Judicial District Attorney, El Paso County Board of Retirement, and the Pikes Peak Library District.

Miller may be known to Indy readers as part of the controversy surrounding the retirement plan's decision to split its IT functions from El Paso County and hire a Denver-area consultant for the work. But he's also been named a Rising Star in the public funds investing community by publishers of Institutional Investor News.

There was no mention in the release of any initial plans to replace Miller.

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AFA and AP: Shamey, shamey

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Air Force Academy

The Air Force Academy recently got its wrist slapped for using Associated Press wire copy without permission in its base newspaper, the Academy Spirit.

(Isn't that stealing?)

The newspaper used at least five AP sports stories that the Spirit lifted from the academy's athletics website, which, unlike the base newspaper, does have an arrangement with AP for use of its material.

The articles appeared from Dec. 10, 2010, to Feb. 17, 2012.

There apparently wasn't any legal action taken by AP, because Jim Clarke, AP bureau chief in Denver, tells us, "The situation has been addressed to the AP's satisfaction." He then referred us to the Spirit staff.

Lt. Col. John Bryan, the academy's director of public affairs who oversees the newspaper, admitted to improperly using the AP stories.

"We pulled the stories off the athletic site, thinking those are ours to use," he says.

Apparently, he's not familiar with Department of Defense Instruction 5120.4, which bars the use of commercial wire services by the military:

4.7. DoD publications normally shall not be authorized the use of commercial
news and opinion sources, such as Associated Press, United Press International, New
York Times, etc., except as stated below in this subsection and the following
subsection. The use of such sources is beyond the scope of the mission of command
or installation publications and puts them in direct competition with commercial
publications. The use of such sources may be authorized for a specific DoD
newspaper by the cognizant DoD Component only when other sources of national and
international news and opinion are not available.

The exception is "Overseas Combatant Command newspapers published outside the United
States...," according to the instruction.

Bryan called the usage "an honest mistake" and accused the Independent of "digging in our garbage cans for batteries that weren't properly disposed of," adding, "C'mon. Really?"

No word on whether any punishment was meted out by the academy's leadership over the issue.

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Over the River keeps on chugging

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Although any mountain activity sounds unnerving during these hot, fire-threatened days, Over the River presses onward with a checklist of to-dos for the summer.

From an release sent yesterday, here are the team's goals/updates:

A Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) Special Use Permit application will be submitted very soon. This permit will define many traffic details for the Event Management Plan. For more info, please review CDOT's frequently asked questions.

A comprehensive Event Management Plan is being developed. It will include operational details that address the traffic, safety and other issues that have been raised. The plan will be available to the public later this year.

A Chaffee County Special Event Permit application is in development. Christo will submit it this summer once the Bureau of Land Management completes its review of the request for an August 2015 exhibition. We will make an announcement when the application has been filed with the County.

Those for and against Over the River press on.

OTR's opposition group, Rags Over the Arkansas River (ROAR) has also been busy, having met last week with the Colorado Department of Transportation and Colorado Transportation Commissioners in Denver. ROAR presented its research on OTR's plans for traffic management and heavy equipment maneuvers during the building stages and exhibition period.

Although OTR has yet to submit a permit application to CDOT, ROAR members have studied traffic documents submitted for past permits and applications. Given their stance, it's not surprising that ROAR claims OTR's plans are unsafe, especially in the advent of an emergency or catastrophe, like a wildfire.

ROAR hopes CDOT will deny OTR the above-mentioned permit. Though it wouldn't directly sink the project, it could deal it a substantial setback. ROAR's reports can be read on its website.

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