And we have two winners.
The James Beard Foundation handed out its awards last night in New York City's Lincoln Center.
View the full list of winners here: 2013-jbf-winners-site.pdf
——— FIRST UPDATE, MONDAY, MARCH 18, 10:59 A.M. ———
The James Beard Foundation finalists were announced today, and two Colorado eateries remain in the running.
In the Best Chef Southwest category, Rioja's Jennifer Jasinsky still stands. And in the Outstanding Wine Program category, Frasca Food and Wine remains in contention.
Here's a look at the full list of finalists in all the categories:
The winners will be announced May 6.
——- ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, FEB. 19, 4:28 P.M. ——-
Specific to our area, metro Denver boasts seven semifinalists, as noted in the Denver Business Journal.
From that list, we've greatly enjoyed visits to three of those seven as part of our weekly dining reviews.
If you missed them, here are looks into:
For a look at semifinalists elsewhere in the country, click on this document from the foundation:
The next round of cuts will be announced Monday, March 18 — stay tuned.
Girl Rising has tipped, meaning it will screen on Wednesday, April 3 at 7:30 p.m. at Carmike 10.
As of this update, some 167 seats have been sold and only 33 remain available.
Now would be a good time to snag one of the open seats, as the organizers are confident the showing will sell out.
—— ORIGINAL POST, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 7:45 P.M. ——
As per Gathr's format, the film will only screen with 100 commitments from audience members.
So, why should you care to go?
Let's let the trailer speak to that question first:
And from further 10x10 info on the film:
From Academy Award-nominated director Richard E. Robbins, Girl Rising is an innovative feature film that spotlights the stories of nine unforgettable girls born into unforgiving circumstances. Journeying around the globe to witness the strength of the human spirit, Girl Rising demonstrates the power of education to change a girl — and the world.
Each girl’s story is written by a renowned writer from her native country: Marie Arana, Edwidge Danticat, Mona Eltahawy, Aminatta Forna, Zarghuna Kargar, Maaza Mengiste, Sooni Taraporevala, Manjushree Thapa, and Loung Ung.
These stories are narrated by celebrated actresses: Cate Blanchett, Priyanka Chopra, Selena Gomez, Anne Hathaway, Salma Hayek, Alicia Keys, Chloë Moretz, Freida Pinto, Meryl Streep, and Kerry Washington. Girl Rising also features Freida Pinto and Liam Neeson, as well as original music from Academy Award-winner Rachel Portman and Lorne Balfe.
Girl Rising previewed at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival, during an event hosted by strategic partner, Intel, with special guests Freida Pinto and Edwidge Danticat. The film makes its theatrical debut on March 7, 2013 — the eve of International Women’s Day.
Girl Rising will be distributed traditionally in New York and Los Angeles, and on demand in hundreds of cities across the country.
Lastly, as if you needed more, the film has one connection to Colorado Springs via 10x10 staffer Justin Reeves:
Reeves' sister Jessica, also a Springs resident, is organizing this event attempt. She notes that Justin "has been working on this film with 10x10 in New York City and has done a TED talk in Brazil in order to bring awareness to the issue of girls education throughout the world."
Jessica also notes that "a portion of Girl Rising ticket sales will help fund programs for girls, so seeing the film literally makes an impact on girls’ lives."
We've heard back from Glenn Grose, vice president of the CSU EAG, who says:
Colorado Springs Utilities Employee Advocacy Group is an incorporated non-profit [501 (c)(5)] independent from Colorado Springs Utilities. As such, we are able to interview and endorse candidates. Our stated mission as an organization is to "positively influence and collaborate with key decision makers for the benefit of CSU employee members, Utilities ratepayers and the Colorado Springs community. We strive to work cooperatively with the CEO, the Utilities Board and Colorado Springs City Government as we represent CSU employee members by speaking with one voice." Our purpose and existence was inspired by the Police Protective Association and, just as they are, we are actively engaged in the political process. Our hard-working, knowledgeable employees (who are also ratepayers by the way) want and deserve a voice in community discussions as it relates to utilities.
When employees engage in EAG activities, it must be on their own time - we use breaks, lunch time, after work and personal leave/vacation (as was the case mentioned in Chris Melcher's letter). We communicate through home e-mail addresses and I am unaware of an e-mail sent internally which solicited donations.
We pay for our own printing and materials, often out of the board member's own pockets, and do not use CSU resources. We do use inter-office mail, as it is allowed in our Personnel Policies Manual.
Regarding the "anonymous donation" comment, we did print that on our flyer, but found out after we would need to release names of our donors. We intend to comply with all campaign rules. Frankly, Mayor Bach has a reputation of intimidation and vindictiveness towards those who oppose him. Bob Greene and I were warned by an organization leader who works closely with the Mayor that, "you don't want to upset the Mayor or he will take you out at the knees." We were trying to find a safe way for our employees to participate in the political process without fear of retribution.
We are more than happy to address specific allegations as they arise.
In addition, City Attorney Chris Melcher called to say he is working with CSU management "to see if there's a response necessary" to allegations raised involving the EAG's activities.
—————————-ORIGINAL POST THURSDAY, FEB. 28, 3:28 P.M.———————————————
City employees are being warned not to use city time and resources to campaign for candidates or issues in the April 2 city election.
While all city workers were sent an advisory to that effect by the city communications office, City Attorney Chris Melcher himself sent a special warning to Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte this morning saying the CSU employees group that's mounting a campaign for certain candidates had better follow the rules.
It has been reported and confirmed that there is a CSU Employee Advocacy Group (CSU EAG) that is actively engaged in campaigning both for and against candidates for City Council in the April Municipal Election. You may view their website at the following link (http://www.csuadvocacy.com/#). A CSU employee called the City Clerk Sarah Johnson last week during business hours and identified himself by name, stated that 1) he is leading the CSU EAG, 2) he was calling the City Clerk for information regarding Campaign Finance Disclosure requirements, 3) that the EAG has been “getting donations from employees to then give out to candidates”, 4) that there are several CSU employees working with CSU EAG, and 5) he and CSU EAG intend to continue to raise funds from employees and distribute funds to candidates. There also may have been a CSU inter-office email sent on Friday February 21, 2013 soliciting campaign donations “anonymously” and requesting those donations to be delivered to CSU EAG via CSU inter-office email. This effort, if true, may constitute a use of City resources for impermissible campaign purposes. This CSU employee also stated the CSU EAG is actively involved in advocating and campaigning in the April Election. It appears that this employee and other CSU employees may be engaged in impermissible campaign activities during work hours, and the impermissible use of CSU resources for campaign purposes.
Would you please make sure that the summary from Deputy City Attorney Florczak to Sherri Newell (CSU Public Communications) is distributed to all CSU employees via email today to make sure they are well informed and aware of the guidelines and prohibitions set forth in the Charter and the City Code on City employee activities in City elections. This may help prevent possible violations of City Code by CSU employees. As you know, under the Charter and the City Code (Section 1.1.106), all CSU employees are City employees and are thereby bound in the same as way as other City employees by the election guidelines. Additionally, under the City Charter and state law, CSU is a “City-owned business” and therefore all CSU resources would be considered “City resources” for purposes of these activities. We would appreciate it if you would copy Mr. Florczak and City Clerk Sarah Johnson on the CSU employee communication so that they may answer any questions from CSU employees.
Thank you for your assistance, best wishes,
Christopher J. Melcher
City Attorney/Chief Legal Officer
As you might be aware, the EAG earlier this week endorsed candidates for the six district City Council seats. They are Don Knight in D1; Joel Miller in D2; Jim Bensberg in D3; Dennis Moore in D4; Bernie Herpin in D5; and Andres Pico in D6.
As you might also have noticed, none of the candidates that CSU workers chose were on the list chosen by the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, which has a lot of money to put behind its choices. Those are Tim Leigh in D1; Angela Dougan in D2; Keith King in D3; Deborah Hendrix in D4; Al Loma in D5, and David Moore in D6.
Some observers speculate that the HBA choices comprise Mayor Steve Bach's slate, but Bach has said he doesn't have a slate, and he's endorsed only one candidate so far, Dougan in the north district.
Anyway, we asked Melcher whether his warning to CSU was duplicated to others, notably the Police Protective Association, which chose the same candidates as the HBA, except for choosing Jill Gaebler in D5, and the International Association of Fire Fighters Local 5, which has yet to post endorsements on its website. Both groups endorsed Bach's opponent, Richard Skorman, two years ago.
Melcher's reply: "The City Communications Office today sent an election advisory to all City employees, including all employees (both sworn and civilian) of the City Civilian Departments, the City Enterprises (other than CSU), the Police Department, and the Fire Department. The CSU Communications Office has sent the same election advisory communication today to all CSU employees."
So we asked CSU if it has any reason to believe its employees are violating the rules, and got this response from CSU spokesman Dave Grossman:
We are not aware of any employees campaigning on city time or using City resources. Prior to each election, Utilities makes sure its employees are aware of election guidelines. Here's a timeline of when and where we've communicated employee election guidelines internally this time around:
All employee email:
Feb. 28 (with the message verbatim from the Office of the City Attorney)
Outlook employee newsletter:
Employee updates page (employee Intranet)
Since Jan. 28
Hot topics page (employee Intranet)
Beginning approx. Jan. 28 through the election
Spotlight (employee intranet homepage)
Week of Jan. 28, and will continue periodically through the election
Colorado Springs is full of amazing photographers, one of which is Kathleen McFadden, the artist and owner of Range Gallery in Old Colorado City. She's had the shopfront for a few years now, but decades of shooting experience, capturing the most Americana corners of Texas to California.
McFadden is also notable for her innovations, like her "third dimension" panoramic photographs that curve out to hug the viewer, and a camera that spins in a full circle, creating a warped image that still manages to document its subject well.
Now McFadden is offering tips and tricks from her trade with photography classes. The image above, which she says was taken at Gus' Tavern in Pueblo, is from one of her class excursions.
She offers courses for beginners, intermediates and old pros looking to get out of a rut, the idea behind her newest class, "Walk About Workshop." For $200, you'll meet up at a predetermined location and see and shoot the way McFadden does: "The goal of this class is to practice the art of seeing the beauty/humor/interest in the everyday world around us. We'll be looking to recognize Americana style human interest, local color and humorous images."
Following that, students will send McFadden their five favorite pictures from the day and receive a critique.
Interested? If not, you can still check in at Range for a variety of prints and cards, or get an image framed.
We’re pleased to announce that applications for nonprofits interested in participating in the 2013 Give! campaign are available from tomorrow, March 1, through March 31.
Any 501(c)3 that serves the Pikes Peak region is encouraged to apply online here. (Please note this link will only be live during the application period.)
Over the last four years, Give! has funneled $2.3 million directly to 96 local nonprofits while giving them access to matching grants, media exposure and dozens of hands-on training opportunities from local and regional experts.
March 7 at noon: Bring brown bag lunch; drinks provided
March 19 at 8:30 a.m.: Coffee provided
Check the Independent and csindy.com for updates, or watch FOX 21 News TONIGHT at 6:30 p.m. to get the details. Questions? Reach the entire Give! team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big thanks to our friends at Luce Research for developing and hosting the application again this year, and to our friends at the Independent, the Colorado Springs Business Journal and FOX 21 News, for helping spread the word!
Reposted by permission of indygive.com.
The lead sponsor on Senate Bill 13-196 is Senate President John Morse, the Colorado Springs Democrat. The Denver Post first reported on the likely introduction of this bill earlier this month, interviewing horrified Republicans and an incredulous Democrat.
Senate President John Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, announced he was working on a bill that would hold manufacturers and sellers of assault-style weapons legally liable for damage inflicted with such firearms.
Even some Democrats shook their heads.
"That's crazy. That's absolutely nuts," said Rep. Ed Vigil, D-Fort Garland.
Senate Minority Leader Bill Cadman, a Colorado Springs Republican, predicted the liability bill will help his party pick up "three-plus" Senate seats in the next election.
"He's out of his mind," was Morse's response.
"The country is clamoring for solutions and new ideas. Politically, this is more helpful than it is hurtful. We need to figure out how to make sure we don't have 6-year-olds being killed by military-style assault weapons."
Below is the Bill Summary:
The bill concerns liability for the discharge of an assault weapon.
It defines an assault weapon as any firearm except:
• Shotguns; and
• Bolt-action rifles.
The bill establishes strict liability against a person who discharges an assault weapon for damages caused by the discharge. It creates an exception for damages occurring within a dwelling if the assault weapon was used to defend the person or others from another person who was about to use physical force against the person or another person within the dwelling. The bill establishes certain exceptions to liability for an owner of an assault weapon.
The bill establishes liability for a person who owns, obtains, or possesses an assault weapon for damages caused by the discharge of the assault weapon by a third person if the person was negligent in storing the assault weapon or allowing a third party to come into possession of the assault weapon.
The bill establishes liability for a seller and transferor of an assault weapon for damages caused by the discharge of the assault weapon by a third party if the person:
• Negligently entrusted the assault weapon to a third party whom the person knew or reasonably should have known might use the weapon to cause bodily injury to the third party or others; or
• Sold or transferred the assault weapon in violation of any state or federal law.
The bill establishes liability for a seller, distributor, or manufacturer of an assault weapon for damages caused by the discharge of the assault weapon by a third party if the person sold or transferred the assault weapon in violation of any state or federal law.
The bill requires sellers, distributors, and manufacturers to:
• Use the highest degree of care in selling, transferring, distributing, and storing assault weapons; and
• To receive information to have reasonable grounds to believe that the weapon will not be possessed by a person who may use it dangerously or unlawfully.
The bill specifies that failure to do so constitutes a violation of state law.
Now, it seems that may not be the case after all. Earlier this month, the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education unanimously approved a plan to make Sand Creek High School a School of Innovation. The plan will now move on to the Colorado Board of Education for final approval.
According to a press release, Sand Creek students will have the opportunity to participate in specialized programs, or “pathways,” if the plan is approved. For instance, “A media and communications pathway will focus on developing career-ready skills in the tech, graphic design and marketing industries and will include dual credit options with area universities,” it stated. Other pathways include one for visual and performing arts, and another for engineering and technology.
That said, I’m pretty optimistic about the email I got this morning from Questlove's publicist saying that he's got a memoir called Mo’ Meta Blues coming out this summer.
I actually got to sit in on a colleague's interview with him once, where we all hung out on the tour bus and listened to the unmastered version of a forthcoming Roots album. And as you've probably heard, he's one of the nicest, smartest, coolest musicians you’d want to meet.
"More than just a series of remembrances,” says the press release, “Mo' Meta Blues is a book that also questions the nature of memory and the idea of a post modern Black man saddled with some post-modern Blues. It's the side wind of a one-of-a-kind mind.”
Great Peter Max-style cover, too. Plus, there’s this bit of bonus trivia about everyone’s favorite hip-hop Renaissance man:
“Recently making his way into the culinary world with his signature ‘Love's Drumstick,’ Questlove began his own culinary quest with off-premise catering, featuring Creole and Korean inspired soul food with a focus on locally sourced ingredients and “on-a-stick” decadence, for hi-profile exclusive events.”
Mo Meta Blues comes out June 18. Meanwhile, here's a video of Questlove talking about his Fallon show gig, and the special requests it sometimes entails. ("Give me something like Public Enemy, but also like the Brady Children trying to sing 'Let the Sunshine in.'")
Take a second and try to remember what you ate in your school cafeterias growing up.
Sad Tater Tots, sickly fried fish sticks, grossly sweet fried-apple sticks, who-knows-what-meat corn dogs and the like?
Yup. Me too, before I started bringing a lunch more often.
Then take a look at this spring chef's menu for School District 11.
Holy crap, right?
That's like ... real food.
Actually, it's just good food.
All I can say is that I wish it was around when I was a little monster.
That is all on that subject.
But one more tidbit for today: the welcome announcement of yet another area CSA program, this on the heels of Pikes Peak Urban Gardens' highly in-demand new salad-sprout shares (89 on the wait list at last count) and Grant Family Farms' truly sad situation.
The Arkansas Valley Organic Growers (AVOG) is launching a unique multi-farm, 25-week CSA for 2013.
Shares are limited to 250, so I wouldn't wait much longer than reading this to book if you're interested, because these will likely go quickly.
Gov. John Hickenlooper is going to sue any municipality that bans fracking. That's what the governor told CBS4 in Denver.
CBS4 Political Specialist Shaun Boyd sat down with the governor, who was blunt. He told Boyd the state will sue any local government that bans hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, the drilling technique that uses high-pressure water and chemicals to extract natural gas.
As the report notes, the state first sued Longmont after it passed a fracking ban. Longmont-based activist Sam Schabacker told us that the citizens of Longmont sought the ban to prevent wells from being placed "next to homes, a middle school and a reservoir."
Fort Collins is mulling over a ban of its own, with a vote slated for March 5. According to this Coloradoan article, the mayor of Fort Collins, Karen Weitkunat, is reportedly feeling the pressure following Hickenlooper's statement:
“I personally don’t like the idea of getting sued,” she said. “My responsibility as a public official is to protect the city as well. ... I have back-and-forth feelings on that, but I don’t want to have the wrath of the governor by any means.”
Meanwhile, back in the Springs, our City Council seems poised to allow for drilling, by scheduling the second reading of the oil and gas ordinance on March 12.
Three of four candidates running for the District 5 City Council seat in the Colorado Springs election April 2 will be on hand at a forum Thursday organized by the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association & Old North End Neighbors.
The forum begins at 7 p.m. and will be held at Casa Verde Commons — Common House — at 1355 Lindenwood Grove. (Lindenwood is located off Columbia Street between Corona and Royer streets. The common house is green just past the planters.) Please park on Columbia and Corona.
Candidates will each speak for four minutes and answer questions from the audience for four minutes.
In addition, advocates of the two ballot measures also will be on hand. Voters will decide a measure seeking to spend more of the Trails Open Space and Parks tax money on maintenance. They'll also decide a question that would raise Council pay from $6,250 annually to $48,000.
Voters will elect six district Council members in a mail-ballot election. Here's a list of other upcoming candidate forums:
Monday, 6 to 8 p.m., Stargazers Theater, 10 S. Parkside Drive, environmental forum. Sponsored by several green groups, including the Trails and Open Space Coalition and Catamount Institute, and the Independent.
Tuesday, 5 to 7 p.m., The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, 8 S. Nevada Ave. Sponsored by Colorado Springs Business Journal, News 5, Magneti.
Thursday, March 7 (Districts 1 and 3 only), 6 to 9 p.m., Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave. Sponsored by the Council of Neighbors and Organizations and other neighborhood groups.
Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Stargazers Theater. Sponsored by Citizens Project, ONE Colorado, Colorado Common Cause and other groups.
Thursday, March 14, 7 p.m., VFW Post 4051, 430 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Sponsored by the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition.
The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association released its endorsements Tuesday for the City Council district seats in the April 2 city election. They are:
District 1: Tim Leigh
District 2: Angela Dougan
District 3: Keith King
District 4: Deborah Hendrix
District 5: Jill Gaebler
District 6: David Moore
———————ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, FEB. 26, 1:05 P.M.——————————————————
One of the biggest part of any election is the question of who is supporting whom, so here's a quick glance at some of the endorsements in the contests for six district Colorado Springs City Council seats in the April 2 city election.
We obtained endorsements from press releases, candidate websites and the Pikes Peak and Justice and Peace Commission website.
Don Knight: Former Mayor Lionel Rivera, Council President Scott Hente, Colorado Springs Utilities Employee Advocacy Group.
Tim Leigh: Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs, Steve Schuck
Angela Dougan: Mayor Steve Bach and wife Suzie, HBA, Taxpayers for Budget Reform, former State Sen. Andy McElhaney, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn,
Joel Miller: Lionel Rivera, Springs Utilities EAG
Jim Bensberg: Sheriff Terry Maketa; former state Sen. Steve Durham; former county Commissioners Terry Harris and Jeri Howells; Fountain City Councilwoman Sharon Brown, Springs Utilities EAG
Keith Keith: HBA, Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin, El Pomar President Bill Hybl, State Sens. Bill Cadman and Kent Lambert, former State Sen. Andy McElhany, Gary Loo, State Sens. Kent Lambert and Bill Cadman, Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, Steve Schuck
Brandy Williams: Karen Teja
Deborah Hendrix: Former State Sen. Steve Durham, HBA, Keith King, Steve Schuck, county Commissioner Dennis Hisey, State Rep. Pete Lee, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, James M. Sullivan III
Dennis Moore: Willie Breazell, Springs Utilities EAG, Park Hill Neighborhood Association, Mary Ellen McNally, Bob and Teresa Null, Kit Roupe, Margaret Moore, John McFarland, June Waller, Jesus M. Garcia, Scott M Turner, Ellen M. Bollens, Mel Elliott, Diane L. Rudd, Liz Hanson, Stephanie L. B. Johnson, Jennifer Chandler, Dennis X. McCormack, Garrie Fox, Dave Eggert, Larry M. Lucero, Jan Davis, Dick MacLeod, Jan Taylor, Thelma Joy Sunderland, Will Lamkin, Martha Bundrick, Ken and Tiffany Long, Charles “Chip” Leaf, Vivian Spicer, Richard A. Cathey, Joe Costa, Mike and Deb Hildeman, William and Carol Vogeney, Leonard and Vickie Mann, Henry “Kirch” Kirchgestner, Nancy Mathys, Marjorie Smith
Jill Gaebler: Carolyn Cathey, Apartment Association of Southern Colorado, Kathy Loo, Suzi Bach, Jennifer George, Dave Anderson, Kobi Chumash, Mike Callicrate, Richard Skorman, Cari Shaffer, Johnny Nolan, Jane Young, Deborah Adams, Pat Stanforth, Trevor Dierdorff, Jacob Murphy, Phil McDonald
Bernie Herpin: Sheriff Terry Maketa, El Paso County Commissioners Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey, Chuck Murphy, Springs Utilities EAG, Colorado Association of Realtors, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, District Attorney Dan May, State Sen. Bill Cadman, State Reps. Mark Waller and Bob Gardner, Bob Null
Al Loma: HBA, Brian Bahr, Willie Breazell, State Sen. Owen Hill, former State Sen. Andy McElhany, Steve Schuck
David Moore: HBA, former State Sen. Andy McElhany, Steve Schuck, Sylvia Junt, Allen and Connie Woodworth, Monica Bryant, Paul and Ann Pearson, John Greer, Chaplain Jack and Angel Harper, Ed and Eileen Devine, Dan and Penny Funkhouser, Laura Carno, Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, Richmond American Homes, Elite Properties of America, Inc.
Andres Pico: El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen, state Sen. Bill Cadman, former state Rep. Larry Liston, state Rep. Mark Waller, Springs Utilities EAGroup, Dan Reilly, Dan Lanotte, David Pico, Jennifer Warhawk, Elroy Flom
Tuesday's City Council meeting, which occurred after the Indy's deadline, reenforced that point. Council was scheduled to vote on a joint resolution with El Paso County to work regionally on stormwater issues. Bach opposed the resolution, saying it should be tabled.
City Councilor Bernie Herpin opened yesterday's meeting with the following statement:
This Council recognizes how critical addressing the issue of stormwater is. It was the City Council that took what some consider the unpopular step of forming the Stormwater Enterprise and instituting a fee on our property owners to address our stormwater needs.
When the citizens voted to discontinue the Stormwater Enterprise, we were faced with how to deal with these needs at a time when the economy forced Council to be reducing services.
To be truly effective, we also recognize that we cannot solve the entire stormwater issue alone, and that regional cooperation is a necessity. We applaud the El Paso County Commissioners for passing a resolution addressing cooperation on stormwater issues as a regional need.
This City Council is committed to addressing stormwater needs, working with our mayor, city staff, the county, and other entities in seeking solutions to this very real and important issue, especially because of the real threat we may face over the next few years due to the effects of the Waldo Canyon fire.
To ensure that we have agreement between our city administration and Council moving forward, I move that we postpone action on this proposed joint resolution with the County until the March 12 Council meeting to give us time to review the resolution and to meet with the mayor and his staff.
The motion passed 7-0, with Councilors Lisa Czelatdko and Val Snider excused.
Meanwhile, the county is moving forward with its regional plan. The first meeting of a regional task force is tomorrow:
Public Invited to Kick-Off Meeting for Phase II of Regional Flood Control and Stormwater Effort
El Paso County, CO (February 27, 2013) — All interested residents are invited to attend a kick-off meeting to establish an official Stormwater Steering Committee to assist in finalizing a list of needed capital projects and make recommendations for sustainable funding to address critical flood control and stormwater management in our area. The kick-off meeting will be held this Thursday, February 28, 2013 at
8:008:30 a.m. in Public Hearing Room at the Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle in Colorado Springs.
The Board of County Commissioners approved unanimously a Joint Resolution on Regional Flood Control and Stormwater Management which calls for the establishment of Stormwater Steering Committee. This resolution is tentatively scheduled for consideration by the Colorado Springs City Council next month. It envisions El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs as the initial “parties” in the Joint Resolution but other entities including cities and towns and water districts will also be encouraged to sign on as Community Partners in the Resolution and participate in the Steering Committee efforts to “examine all potential stormwater program funding options including the identification of efficiencies in current programs and reallocation of existing resources.”
County Engineer Andre Brackin says, “This is an important next step. Flood control and stormwater management are big challenges. The initial work of the Stormwater Task Force has given us a good listing of what is needed. The Steering Committee will assist in prioritizing projects; examine all of the available funding options make recommendations to help solve the critical flood control and stormwater management issues facing the entire region.”
“We’ve had great participation from citizens groups, neighborhood organizations and our business community working alongside City, County and Colorado Springs Utilities, Fountain, Manitou and special districts staffs to update our projects list and identify areas most vulnerable to flood damage,” said Commissioner Amy Lathen. “Our hope is that even more citizens will become involved in Phase II and help us to set the priorities and identify sustainable, efficient and effective solutions.”
Kathryn and Jeremy Mathis are the proud parents of five kids: a 9-year-old girl, a 2-year-old girl, and 6-year-old triplets.
When the triplets were born, it appeared they had two boys, Max and Coy, and one girl, Lily. But by the time the kids were 18 months old, that equation was being called into question.
While Max was the typical boy — his current obsession is dinosaurs — Coy liked princess dresses and high heels. The Mathises tried to appease Coy, buying pink boys' clothes, but by the time the child entered school it was becoming clear that this wasn't just a phase.
Coy threw fits when asked to put on boys' clothes to go on outings. The child was teased by peers when she insisted that she was a girl. One day, Coy came home completely devastated that her teacher had moved her from the "girls' line" to the "boys' line" during a classroom activity.
"She came home and said, 'My teacher doesn’t even know that I’m a girl!'” Kathryn remembers.
That was the last straw. The family headed to the doctor and the psychologist, who told them that they needed to let Coy be herself. Given that Coy had always acted in a feminine matter, no one in the family was particularly surprised or upset.
“I don't think there was any kind of loss of a son," Kathryn says. "We just gained an awesome daughter."
While some would say that 6 is very young to go through such a situation, Kathryn notes that discussions about gender-reassignment surgery or pills that can delay puberty (and the changes to the body that come with it) are still a long, long way off. Right now, they're just letting Coy be Coy.
“I just think back to when I was a child and no one had to tell me I was a girl," Kathryn says. "I knew I was a girl.”
Besides, Kathryn notes, Coy is a triplet, and though her other children were raised under the exact same conditions, neither of the others was transgendered. This, she believes, is innate to Coy.
So in September 2011, the family met with school administrators at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain to discuss the situation. Kathryn remembers being blown away at how accepting they were of her child.
That year, Coy transitioned to being a girl. She wore girls' clothes, stood in girls' lines and went to the girls' bathroom. It was the happiest Kathryn had ever seen her child. Coy became bubbly and enthusiastic, and her grades shot up. She also made friends who were accepting of her differences. Parents were equally understanding.
So Kathryn says it was a big surprise when school officials contacted her in December to say that Coy would no longer be allowed to use the girls' restroom. Kathryn says she was told that there had been no problems with Coy, but school officials were concerned that problems would crop up later when Coy was in middle school and high school, and they didn't want to set a precedent.
Kathryn called a lawyer, hopeful the situation could be resolved without involving Coy. She asked the school district to allow Coy to keep using the girls' restroom while the lawyers worked out the issue. The district refused. In response, Kathryn has pulled all of her children out of school and is home schooling them.
She's also taking legal action.
Tomorrow, the Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund will hold a press conference at the Capitol Building to announce the filing of a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on Coy's behalf. It will be the first case looked at under the Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act involving bathroom use by a transgender person.
In the meantime, Coy is eager to get back to school. She has been mostly separated from her friends, and Kathryn says her daughter is lonely.
In the last few days, however, Coy has had plenty of company — from the media.
Kathryn says she was initially hesitant to bring her story forward, but she eventually felt it was the right thing to do. Coy has appeared on Katie Couric's show and on CNN, and is expected to be featured heavily in local media.
Here's a release that went out Tuesday that promises to up the profile of Coy's story.
Colorado Family to Announce Complaint Alleging School Discrimination Against Transgender Child
Legal Complaint Alleges Six-Year-Old Transgender Girl Denied Access to Girls' Bathrooms at School
DENVER, CO - The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund (TLDEF) will hold a press conference on Wednesday, February 27, on the west steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building to announce the filing of a Complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division on behalf of a 6-year-old girl who has been barred from using the girls’ bathrooms at her elementary school. For the past year, Coy Mathis, a first-grader at Eagleside Elementary School in Fountain, CO, has used the girls’ bathrooms. In mid-December 2012, the Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 informed her parents that Coy would be prevented from using the girls’ bathrooms after winter break. The District ordered Coy to use the boys’ bathroom, a staff bathroom, or the nurse’s bathroom. This is the first case to challenge a restriction on a transgender person’s bathroom use under Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act.
WHAT: Press Conference
WHEN: Wednesday, February 27, 11:00 am
WHERE: West Steps of the Colorado State Capitol Building, 200 East Colfax Avenue, Denver, Colorado
WHO: TLDEF Executive Director Michael D. Silverman; Kathryn Mathis, Jeremy Mathis, six-year-old Coy Mathis and siblings, community members.
WHY: “We want Coy to have the same educational opportunities as every other Colorado student ,” said Kathryn Mathis, Coy’s mother. “Her school should not be singling her out for mistreatment just because she is transgender.”
“By forcing Coy to use a different bathroom than all the other girls, Coy’s school is targeting her for stigma, bullying and harassment,” said Michael Silverman, TLDEF’s executive director, and one of Coy’s lawyers. “Through the Colorado Anti-Discrimination Act, Coloradans have made it clear that they want all Colorado children to have a fair and equal chance in school,” he added. “Coy’s school has the opportunity to turn this around and teach Coy’s classmates a valuable lesson about friendship, respect and basic fairness.”
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