Jerry Forte, CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities, will receive $59,501 in incentive pay based on his job performance last year, Utilities said in an official memo to its board on Friday.
Forte's base salary of $276,750 hasn't changed since 2007.
His bonus is paid out under two separate calculations, based on an array of duties involving all four utility services, his interaction with the board and community and financial factors. The first is paid in April, and the second is deposited in his supplemental retirement account.
Forte's 2012 incentive bonus was $31,549.50 for the short-term payment and $30,165.75 for the long-term award, for his performance in 2011.
Here's the complete memo sent to the Utilities Board, comprised of City Council, which approved his performance ratings at the March board meeting.
Various provisions of the Chief Executive Officer’s (CEO) employment agreement outline how the CEO’s annual and long-term incentive are calculated, and also establish the applicable percentage ranges. The 2012 annual performance review discussion was held between you and the CEO during the March 20, 2012 Utilities Board meeting.
During this meeting, the Utilities Board and the CEO reviewed the CEO’s 2012 performance using the established performance plan and associated metrics for 2012. Subsequently, the Utilities Board approved the 2012 CEO’s performance.
Following approval of the CEO’s 2012 evaluation, Colorado Springs Utilities Human Resources Department calculated both the 2012 annual incentive and the 2012 long term incentive using the formula provided in the CEO’s employment agreement.
• The performance rating of 4.10 under the annual performance plan results in an incentive payout of $34,593.75. The CEO’s annual incentive will be paid on April 19.
• The performance rating of 3.20 under the long term performance plan results in an incentive award of $24,907.50. The long term incentive will be deposited on the same date into his supplemental executive retirement account pursuant to the employment agreement.
Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.
Hot off of comedy hits like Caddyshack, in 1980, Chevy Chase could do no wrong. And then 1981 happened. Under the Rainbow, at the time, was widely regarded as a huge bomb and, until Ishtar, was Hollywood’s go-to joke for overblown comedies. More than 30 years later, I just have one question to ask: Why? Under the Rainbow is actually a very solid, very funny, very clever comedy that, if anything, was a little too ahead of its time. It’s a kitchen-sink riff on the screwball comedy, with Chase playing a G-Man assigned to protect a traveling dignitary while constantly crossing paths with Carrie Fisher (the it-girl of the time, thanks to Star Wars, of course), who is an MGM casting agent in charge of rounding up a couple hundred drunken, horny little people who are to play Munchkins in the Wizard of Oz. There are also Nazis, assassination attempts, swordplay and a madcap studio dash that rivals that of Blazing Saddles. A sorely overlooked gem, Under the Rainbow is a yellow brick road to hilarity.
Looking back at The Blues Brothers, it’s kind of funny how surreal that movie really is. But, then again, whenever Belushi and Aykroyd got together, be it on film or SNL, it always presented a decidedly skewed and dark comedic view of modern life. They reached their apex of these collaborations with 1981’s Neighbors, a befuddling, bizarre look at suburbia. Belushi is Earl, a haggard businessman whose life is the epitome of routine — and, to be fair, he likes it that way, much to his long-suffering wife’s chagrin. His whole world is turned upside-down, however, when a pair of swingers (Dan Aykroyd and Cathy Moriarty) move in next-door and wreak an insane amount of havoc. Who these people are, why these people are there, and if they are even real is never explained, as we are forced to go on this ride with Earl, experiencing all of his repressed frustrations exploding as he is taken advantage of, made fun of, and ultimately destroyed in order to ambiguously rebuild him as a new man. It makes little to no sense, but to see these two together on screen for a final time is a real treat, making one wonder what else they could have accomplished if Belushi had lived. Could it have been even weirder than Neighbors?
Every movie should have a talking horse. Every. Movie. Not only do they make films better, they just seem to make life better. Unfortunately, after reaching its apex with the television series Mr. Ed, Hollywood began to quit listening to the public, and an invisible moratorium was placed on loquacious equines. That changed, thankfully, in 1988 when Bobcat Goldthwait bucked the system and starred in Hot to Trot, a hilarious comedy about a ne’er-do-well who inherits not only half of his mother’s stockbroking firm, but also a horse named Don. But Don is no ordinary horse — he’s a wisecracking stock market wizard who loves to party and is even voiced by John Candy. As Bobcat and Don fight to save their firm from the clutches of Dabney Coleman as the buck-toothed, scheming, philandering step-dad, the boys throw parties where farm animals are invited, find romance with Virginia Madsen, sing “Tutti-Frutti” in a convertible, and even win the big horse race. Oh God, do I love this movie.
Drake Task Force to Recommend Firm to Board
In today’s meeting, the Drake Task Force chose to recommend HDR Engineering Inc., to the Colorado Springs Utilities (CSU) Board as the firm to conduct a Study of Alternatives Related to the Potential Decommissioning of the Martin Drake Power Plant.
The Task Force received six proposals and created a short list of three firms to give oral presentations at today’s meeting.
HDR Engineering Inc. was selected based on the following criteria:
· Most Relevant Expertise
· Depth of Knowledge of Martin Drake Power Plant
· Understanding of Effort and Implementation
· Superior Risk Analysis
· Management and Staffing
Task Force co-leads, Brandy Williams and Val Snider, will present the recommendation to the CSU Board during the April 9 City Council meeting.
HDR Engineering Inc. is headquarters in Ann Arbor, Mich., with five offices in Colorado, including Colorado Springs.
The Colorado Springs office is on Briargate Parkway.
This week, after hours of data entry and spread-sheet misery, we were able to do some number-crunching on the money that has flowed into the Colorado Springs City Council races.
Some of the more interesting things that we found:
• The top donor is the Police Protective Association PAC with $18,000.
• Keith King, with $59,819, has raised the most money in his District 3 bid.
• King is followed as top fundraiser by his opponent, Brandy WIlliams with $31,634 However, $17,500 of Williams' money comes from one donor: her mother. And $10,459 of King's money is leftover from his Senate campaign committee.
More number-crunching revealed that, of the total money raised by March 15 — $312,454 — $57,499 came from political committees. Another $53,268 came from business interests.
The vast majority of the money spent on these campaigns has come from inside Colorado Springs.
Of the business and PAC money, only $24,545 came from outside the city. And only $11,080, or 3.5 percent of the total money, came from out of state.
Those who care already know that Game of Thrones' Season 3 premiere airs this upcoming Sunday on HBO.
And of course, if you decide to start caring, blazing through the past two seasons on DVD can happen effortlessly. (Trust me.)
Counter to that, if you opt to keep not caring, that doesn't mean you can't drink the new tribute beer, Iron Throne Blonde Ale, designed in collaboration with HBO and Cooperstown, N.Y.'s Brewery Ommegang.
I nabbed a bottle last night at Weber Street Liquor, where after owner Deven Perschke posted on Facebook that he got the 750-ml bottles in stock earlier in the day, nearly half of his two-case allotment disappeared quickly.
Hence my interest in bringing it to your attention now, before area liquor stores run dry.
If you aren't able to find a bottle, do at least take comfort in knowing that this is the first beer in a Game of Thrones series for the brewery, so you'll have other chances to imbibe some of the fantasy-world mystique.
On that note, here's a bunch of info from a press release I received this past December, followed by some of my tasting notes:
(COOPERSTOWN, NY) Brewery Ommegang and HBO are partnering on a series of beers inspired by the critically-acclaimed drama Game of Thrones. Launching in tandem with the season three debut on March 31, Iron Throne, a blonde ale, is the inaugural beer in the series and the result of a creative collaboration between Brewmaster Phil Leinhart and HBO.
Unlike previous efforts by brewers which were typically executed as ‘brewed under license’ arrangements or straightforward product placement pushes, the collaboration between Ommegang and HBO is focused on developing unique beers that are named and crafted to directly tie into themes and nuances of the medieval-like fantasy realm of Westeros and the surrounding kingdoms, where the competition to sit on the Iron Throne is fierce and deadly.
Both HBO and Ommegang take great pride in a shared reputation for producing the best in their respective fields: award-winning series that are lauded as some of the best written and produced programming on TV, and award-winning beers recognized as amongst the most elegant and well-crafted.
“We are extremely pleased to have selected Brewery Ommegang, while there’s a lot of competition in the marketplace, Ommegang’s expertise and attention to detail in the industry make them the perfect fit for the Game of Thrones brand,” said Josh Goodstadt, Director, Global Licensing, HBO. “Capturing the authenticity, essence and nature of the show, Iron Throne has the richness, quality and all of the elements one would expect in fine ale.”
“HBO has been the definitive producer of high-quality, innovative and ‘water-cooler-worthy’ original programming, and Game of Thrones continues that legacy,” said Simon Thorpe, President and CEO of Brewery Ommegang and Duvel Moortgat USA. “What better partner for our brewery which prides itself on re-imagining the best of beer? Game of Thrones is rich, fascinating, complex, daring and unexpected. Many lovers of Ommegang feel the same way about our fine ales. We think it’s a unique partnership for two unique brands.”
“No one enjoys their job more than I do — producing and developing new brews to delight lovers of fine beer,” said Phil Leinhart, Brewmaster at Brewery Ommegang, “Add to that the opportunity to collaborate on a beer based on the cultural phenomenon of Game of Thrones and exploring ways to make the beer truly reflect aspects from the show. It made us approach development in a completely new way and I think the first edition Iron Throne reveals that. With a Lannister currently on the throne, it made sense to do a delicate, but piercing Golden Blonde Ale with Noble hops. Iron Throne is certainly fair in color and soft in appearance, yet it still possesses a complexity and bite to be on guard for.”
Iron Throne will be nationally available on draft and in 750ml bottles, for the suggested retail price of $8.50 per bottle, beginning in mid- to late-March and will be followed by the launch of additional beers.
About Brewery Ommegang
Brewery Ommegang, part of the legendary Belgian brewer Duvel Moortgat family, opened in 1997 to craft-brew fine Belgian-style ales. Ommegang creates six ales year-round, as well as an extensive and imaginative range of seasonal and specialty ales. The beers have won a national following by connoisseurs of fine beer and are distributed in 45 states and internationally. Ommegang is located on a 136-acre farmstead in Cooperstown, New York, USA and offers free daily tours and inexpensive tastings as well as a 100-seat café, a well-stocked brewery store, and an annual calendar of public events. Ommegang is open every day of the year except for Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day, Thanksgiving Day, and New Year’s Day. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org, call 1-800-544-1809, or visit www.ommegang.com. Ommegang is a member of the Duvel family of fine beers. Follow Ommegang on Twitter: @BreweryOmmegang , Facebook.com/Ommegang, Instagram: @BreweryOmmegang
I concur that it's a great Belgian, and not to totally cop out here, but the description offered on Ommegang's website is difficult to best or elaborate on too much.
The high content of yeast sediment indeed creates a hazy golden color (not so much amber) and the bouquet, immediately upon popping the cork, is quite strong and beautifully aromatic.
The spice and citrus is definitely there in the finish, and the body is super-bready and yeasty and pretty much everything you could envision about the pure essence of a Belgian blonde.
Though heavy in the mouth and quickly filling in the gut, the beer has a relatively low ABV keeping it from walloping one's mental clarity like so many of the big imperials popular in today's marketplace.
All in all, it's an elegant homage to a thoroughly entertaining TV program (based off a now-classic book series beloved by many).
If you were looking to celebrate Sunday's premiere in some way other than the transfixed period of couch-lock, this is certainly a beer to pick up to create more pomp and ceremony — quite fitting for Game of Thrones' thematic framework.
Periodically, Larkburger, the small Colorado chain started by chef Thomas Salamunovich, offers its eponymous burger for a mere pittance. Folks like myself then drive down to Southgate and, after dodging the gym-goers, stuff a day's worth of salary into our gaping maws. I call it Burger Christmas.
Thankfully, it's beginning to look a lot like the holidays. On Saturday, April 6, Larkbugers can be had for a mere $2 in celebration of the location's one-year anniversary. That means sandwiches we described in our 2012 review as "greasy and full-bodied, accurately cooked to order and eaten far too soon" will cost less than the toilet paper that suddenly became a necessity after downing a McDonald's double cheeseburger.
Good to hear.
Colorado's state tree is the Blue Spruce.
The state animal is the Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep.
The state fossil comes from the Stegosaurus.
And while John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" might be one of the state's songs, it is second to that classic "Where the Columbines Grow."
The bison is gone from the upland,
The deer from the canyon has fled,
The home of the wolf is deserted,
The antelope moans for his dead,
The war whoop re-echoes no longer,
The Indian's only a name,
And the nymphs of the grove in their loneliness rove,
But the columbine blooms just the same.
Lonely, roving nymphs, pretty sure we still got those. At least, one would hope.
Anyway, if a bill proposed by Lakewood Democrat Andy Kerr, the state will be adding to its roster of symbols a state pet.
From his legislation:
DOGS (CANIS LUPUS FAMILIARIS) AND CATS (FELIS CATUS) THAT ARE ADOPTED FROM COLORADO ANIMAL SHELTERS AND RESCUES ARE HEREBY MADE AND DECLARED TO BE THE STATE PETS OF THE STATE OF COLORADO
So, what does this mean in practical terms? According to the fiscal note attached to the legislation, the state will set aside a few hundred bucks to commission a portrait of the new state pet.
The painting will serve as the basis for the image to be included in the state symbols and emblems brochure and will be installed with the other paintings honoring state symbols and emblems in the exhibition area of Mr. Brown's Attic. The cost of the painting is estimated at $350. Once the existing supply of state symbols and emblems brochures is exhausted, Legislative Council staff will work with Integrated Document Solutions, Division of Central Services, in the Department of Personnel and Administration to redesign the brochure to include the newly designated state pets. Brochure design costs are estimated at $300. Expenditures will be paid with cash funds collected from the sale of souvenirs at the Capitol gift shop.
Sorry, folks, but the truth is that the Waldo Canyon burn scar has left us incredibly vulnerable to catastrophic flooding. Now for the good news: A lot of people in the community are working very hard to alleviate that risk as much as possible.
Here are a few things to keep an eye on, courtesy of El Paso County:
• Door-to-Door Flood Awareness Campaign- The City of Colorado Springs, together with AspenPointe, will distribute a flood preparedness brochure and customizable flood preparedness magnet to high flood risk neighborhoods. Volunteers will be dropping off packets at residents’ front doors throughout the month of April, beginning April 8th.
• Post- Fire Flood Risk Meetings: Several community meetings will target neighborhoods throughout the region to address the increased flood risk this season, and for years to come. The current schedule includes:
- Green Mountain Falls area, Monday, April 8. 6:30-8:30 pm. Meeting held at Ute Pass Elementary School: 9230 Chipita Park Road, Chipita Park, CO 80809.
- Cascade area, Tuesday, April 9. 6:30-8:30 pm. Meeting held Ute Pass Elementary School: 9230 Chipita Park Road, Chipita Park, CO 80809.
- Pleasant Valley Neighborhood, Thursday, April 11. 6-8p.m. Meeting at Glen Eryie Castle Great Hall: 3820 N 30th St Colorado Springs, CO 80904
- Manitou Springs, Monday, April 15. 6:30-8:30 pm. Meeting held at Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829.
- Manitou Springs, Wednesday, April 24. 6:30-8:30 pm. Meeting held at Manitou Springs City Hall, 606 Manitou Ave, Manitou Springs, CO 80829.
• Free Sandbag Distribution Day- homeowners impacted by the Waldo Canyon Fire, or who live in high flood risk areas on the Westside of Colorado Springs may receive pre-filled sandbags to place on their property for flood mitigation. Sandbags will be loaded onto vehicles Saturday, April 13 from 9 am. to 4 p.m. at Verizon Wireless building (2424 Garden of the Gods Road).
Coming on the heels of an audit that showed major inefficiencies and incompetencies at the Medical Marijuana Enforcement Division, a part of the Colorado Department of Revenue, state legislators are seriously doubting the MMED's ability to also regulate recreational marijuana.
From John Ingold, at the Denver Post:
After [Rep. Brian] DelGrosso's comments Thursday, committee chair Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, abruptly called a recess, and committee members moved to an adjacent room to vent their frustrations.
"They need to tell us how they will do things differently," Sen. Cheri Jahn, D-Wheat Ridge, said of marijuana regulators.
"If you're in the real world, all these flipping people are gone," DelGrosso said.
"Heads should roll," said Sen. Vicki Marble, R-Fort Collins.
That theme continued in another Post story, by Eric Gorski, about outrageous expenditures by the MMED — then led by longtime regulator Matt Cook — including $250,000 spent on furniture in one year.
"I am speechless," said Rep. Angela Williams, D-Denver, the committee chairwoman. "It appears there was a shopping spree."
"Apparently," said Sen. Steve King, R-Grand Junction, "we haven't learned anything from $400 federal hammers."
Here’s a unique challenge for all of our guitar-strumming readers who want to get maximum exposure this evening.
Chauncy Crandall has begun hosting a Thursday night open mic at the Blue Moose Tavern, which recently rose from the ashes of the Silver Tongue Devil in Green Mountain Falls. The weekly event runs from 8 p.m. to midnight, opening with an acoustic set by its exceptional singer-songwriter host.
Now if that isn’t enough, there are two other Thursday night open mics around town: Stolen Idol Productions starts its open mic at Manitou's Ancient Mariner at 8, while the Jerry Roskin Band hosts its long-running event at Benny's in Colorado Springs beginning at 9.
So here’s the challenge: Shuttle between all three open mics and perform at each. Remember that you typically need to sign up at the beginning of the evening, then be present when it's your turn to play. All of which adds up to some 60 miles of driving, with plenty of highway patrol for company along the way. (Actually, please don’t even attempt this, but do have fun at whichever venue you choose!)
Get Involved didn't make it into the paper this week, but here are the three ways you can help out the community:
Attend this fun run or walk to help raise money for pediatric brain tumor research. Runners will be timed, but this is also a family event, with vendors, music and food. You can also donate and run remotely, go online for more information.
Annual Running for Rachael Brain Booster 5K
Saturday, March 30, 10 a.m. (9 a.m. for same-day registration)
United States Air Force Academy Cadet Field House, 2169 Field House Drive, $25-$30
Contact: 646-2234, rroh.org
Learn the particulars of the NeuStream-S scrubber proposed for the Martin Drake Power Plant by Neumann Systems Group, Inc., which says that its product will help remove toxic metals and chemicals from the air that can later be used for fertilizer or building materials. RSVP by April 8 to attend.
“Heritage Lecture: Converting Pollutants to Products from Coal-Fired Power Plants”
Thursday, April 11, 6 p.m.
Western Museum of Mining & Industry, 225 Northgate Blvd., free
Contact: 488-0880, wmmi.org
Sign up to host Olympic-hopeful distance runners relocating to Colorado to train with ADP, a local nonproft. Call or go online for more information.
American Distance Project volunteer call
Contact: 704/408-6258, americandistanceproject.com
Almost a year has gone by since we told you about the city's intent to demolish a house on West Colorado Avenue.
Our story reported:
More than three years ago, a fire gutted a house at 1726 W. Colorado Ave. Since then, neighbor Ernie DiFiore says he's repeatedly complained to the city that the house has been a magnet for homeless people and raccoons. Lewis' office has determined that the homeless problem demands the city demolish it this summer.
We asked the city last month when the house would be torn down and got this response from city spokeswoman Julie Smith:
Per City Engineering, the City has issued a notice to proceed for the demolition of the property. We have obtained the necessary warrant to enter the structure to begin the asbestos abatement process. The contractor is in the process of obtaining the necessary permit from the State to complete the asbestos abatement. The plan is to start the abatement next week (3/11/13). The demolition of the property will follow soon after.
We went by that address today and found the house gone and a two-man crew picking up the last of the junk.
One down, 14 to go on the city's dilapidated building list. At least that's the number from a year ago. We've asked city Code Enforcement chief Ken Lewis for a current number and will update when we hear back.
This past Monday, the Denver Art Museum hosted the Colorado Meetings + Events 2013 Best Of Awards, which are a peer-voted recognition of the local industry.
View this full list of winners and you'll see that our famed hotel won for "Best Hotel or Resort with Meeting/Event Space Outside Denver Metro." And the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo earned awards for "Best Attraction Outside Denver Metro Area" and "Best Caterer Outside Denver Metro" for Taste of the Wild Catering.
That win for Zoo chef Nathan Dirnberger comes on the heels of Taste of the Wild Catering winning first place in the appetizer category at the recent Colorado Springs Choral Chefs' Gala, as well as Dirnberger earning the American Culinary Federation Pikes Peak Chapter President's Award "for dedicated service above and beyond" in 2012.
Congrats to both organizations, which are obvious anchor points to our city and clearly recognized beyond its physical bounds.
Even though Over the River is on hold (or "temporarily postponed due to pending litigation," goes the press release), Christo is doing far more than sitting on his hands.
In fact, the 77-year-old just unveiled the world's largest indoor sculpture, "Big Air Package," in Germany.
The balloon-like piece reaches 295 feet high, is made from 219,000 square feet of semitransparent polyester fabric and 14,800 feet of polypropylene rope, and altogether weighs almost six tons. Naturally, all the materials will be industrially recycled when the exhibition ends.
"Package" was made specifically for the Gasometer Oberhausen, a Hollywood Records/silo-like building that was built in the 1920s to hold gases from coal and oil refining and later, that from coke ovens. It was bombed in World War II, but wasn't decommissioned until 1988 when coke was soundly replaced by natural gas. Now it's a contemporary art enclave, and one 384 feet high — perfect for Christo's work.
Of it he says:
"You are virtually swimming in light inside the Big Air Package," Christo said of his latest work of art. "The inner space is probably the most unique aspect of all the air packages that we did since 1966. When experienced from the inside, that space is almost like a 90-meter-high (295 feet) cathedral."
The project was conceived back in 2010, making this one fast turnaround for Christo, who, with his late partner Jeanne-Claude, routinely worked for decades to make a project come to fruition.
The work is on display now through the end of the year.
In this week's Indy, you'll find this brutal criticism of the film adaptation of Jack Kerouac's nationally cherished On the Road.
The review, by MaryAnn Johanson, doesn't stray far from that of many other critics, considering the film ranks in the 40s among by critics and audiences on Rotten Tomatoes.
Recently, I heard from one other person greatly dissatisfied with the bludgeoning of the American classic: Trinidad-based film scout Joe Tarabino, who has created the website On (and off) the Road (again).
Tarabino had worked on pre-production scouting efforts for this film several years ago, as this background explains, and he certainly had a vision for a film more faithful to the original text(s).
If you're a big Kerouac fan and care to read the review offered on Tarabino's site, click this document: slow_boat_to_china_.pdf
Otherwise, spend some time on his site for much more beating around the Beats.