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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Newly announced Riot Fest lineup includes Modest Mouse, The Pixies, and Run DMC

Posted By on Wed, May 27, 2015 at 6:57 PM


Denver’s Riot Fest is is investing heavily in the nostalgia market this year, with its biggest names hailing from the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s.

The just-announced lineup for the three-day music festival — which this year will take place at the National Western Complex from August 28 to 30 — ranges from generation-spanning hip-hop (Run DMC, Ice Cube, Snoop Dogg, De La Soul, GZA, Doomtree) to punk icons (Iggy Pop, The Damned, Rancid, The Vandals, Off!) to indie-rock stalwarts (The Pixies, Modest Mouse, The Black Lips, Drive Like Jehu, Eagles of Death Metal).

The Denver Post’s Kiernan Maletsky was first out of the gate with the complete artist roster, which is as follows:
Modest Mouse
The Pixies
Snoop Dogg
Iggy Pop
Tenacious D
Ice Cube & special guests
Flogging Molly
Coheed and Cambria
Drive Like Jehu
Explosions in the Sky
The Airborne Toxic Event
Bootsy Collins' Rubber Band
Babes in Toyland.
The Damned
Eagles of Death Metal
The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
De La Soul
The Dead Milkmen
Nada Surf
The Lawrence Arms
Reverend Horton Heat
Andrew W.K.
The Black Lips
The Get Up Kids
American Nightmare
The Vandals
Less Than Jake
The Joy Formidable
Cloud Cult
7 Seconds
Benjamin Booker
Joyce Manor
The White Buffalo
Post Malone with FKI
Jazz Cartier
Teenage Bottlerocket
The Bunny Gang
Speedy Ortiz
Beach Slang
The Hotelier
Fit For Rivals
Direct Hit!
The Moth & The Flame
Main Attrakionz
Broadway Calls
White Mystery
Skating Polly
Northern Faces
Meat Wave
Rozwell Kid
Sleep On It
Gateway Drugs
Daye Jack
Indian School
Cypress Hill
Alkaline Trio
Cold War Kids

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Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Colorado Springs' choice for mayor: Suthers, in a landslide

Posted By on Tue, May 19, 2015 at 8:29 PM


John Suthers
will be the next mayor of Colorado Springs.

Yes, it's only the first round of results, and yes, there's a ways to go before everything's made final, but with 68 percent of the vote so far, the former state attorney general is clearly cruising to a victory over Mary Lou Makepeace in the 2015 mayoral runoff.

Here's the info, released by the City Clerk's Office at 7:15 p.m.:


It's an outcome that will surprise few, given that Suthers easily bested Makepeace, who served as the city's mayor (in a council-manager form of government) from 1997 to 2003, in the April 7 general election. Suthers took 46 percent, with Makepeace at 24 percent and four others well behind her.

However, because he didn't take 50 percent of the vote, city rules under the relatively new strong-mayor form of government allowed the second-place finisher a chance in a runoff.

Suthers, who was term-limited as state Attorney General a few months ago, will bring deep local roots to the office. He grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from St. Mary’s High School in 1970; after completing his undergraduate studies at Notre Dame, he returned to Colorado for law school at CU.

His first public service came right after that, as a deputy district attorney in Colorado Springs, and he returned to the office when he was elected DA in 1988. He served for two terms there, and has spent much of the time since working at the state level — first as head of the Department of Corrections, and then as attorney general.

Suthers’ name recognition, solid reputation and conservative cred helped him land major endorsements and donations during the mayoral campaign. After speaking mostly in general terms about the need for civility, better infrastructure and economic development on the campaign trail, he’ll be pressed to articulate specific goals and plans upon taking office on June 2, and probably before.

In at least one arena, he's wasting no time: Indy senior reporter Pam Zubeck says that according to his acceptance speech, Suthers will announce his selection for chief of staff Wednesday afternoon.

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Friday, May 8, 2015

Llamapalooza rained out

Posted By on Fri, May 8, 2015 at 11:50 PM

  • Galyna Andrushko / shutterstock

Bad news for local music fans: According to a post on its Facebook page this evening, Colorado College's Llamapalooza Festival has been canceled due to weather conditions.

The annual event was to set to take place this Saturday with a lineup that included Brooklyn's highly-touted art-funk band Phony Ppl, as well as Kithkin, Netherfriends, Mr. Muthafuckin eXquire, and Moon Hooch. 

The cancelation follows a previous decision to move the festival from Worner Quad to the nearby Armstrong Hall parking lot in order to avoid a sinking stage and damaged grounds. 

Look for further information and updates at

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Suthers, Makepeace advance to runoff; Bennett, Strand, Murray on Council

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 9:53 PM

The latest batch of ballots counted, released at 9:38 p.m., puts us just shy of 75,000 total. With only one issue still in doubt, we're turning in for the night. To recap:

For mayor, it will be John Suthers and Mary Lou Makepeace advancing to a May 19 runoff election.

Council at-large: Merv Bennett, Tom Strand and Bill Murray.

Council District 2: Larry Bagley.

Council District 4: Helen Collins will keep her seat.

Issue 1: The mayor will be relieved of sign-off authority on Colorado Springs Utilities contracts and agreements.

Issue 2: It's still a mystery whether Council will get to hire its own administrator and assume a few other responsibilities related to staffing. Check out these numbers:

Come back to the IndyBlog tomorrow for more on tonight's events.

——- PREVIOUS POST, 8:59 P.M. ——-

The City Clerk's Office just released info reflecting more than 2,000 additional counted ballots, but the only noteworthy change comes in the ballot question regarding Council being able to hire its own staff. Now only 82 votes separate the "no" votes from the "yes" votes.


——- PREVIOUS POST, 8:37 P.M. ——-


According to both Suthers and city communications professional Julie Smith, there were 11,000 votes not yet counted in the city clerk's first round of results.

 At this point, though, both Suthers and Makepeace are talking about a runoff election.

Pam Zubeck, who's at Suthers' party at the Mining Exchange Hotel, reports that Suthers spoke to about 150 wildly enthusiastic supporters, saying, “We celebrate tonight, but tomorrow morning we go to work. We need to make sure everyone who voted for us tonight votes for us on May 19.”

J. Adrian Stanley, at Makepeace's gathering at Nosh, says the mood was more subdued, but that Makepeace said the runoff would be "all about getting out the vote." Makepeace noted that in the last mayoral election, 8,000 more ballots were cast in the runoff than in the general municipal election.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 8:08 P.M. ——-

Former Attorney General John Suthers is well out in front in Colorado Springs' 2015 mayoral race, but the numbers suggest he won't be able to escape a runoff against former Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace.

The first round of unofficial numbers from the City Clerk's Office, time-stamped 7:38 p.m., show Suthers having received 33,214 votes, or 47.41 percent. Makepeace stands in second place, with 16,112 votes, or 23 percent.

Under the strong-mayor initiative of a few years ago, a mayor can't be elected without at least 50 percent of the vote. A runoff election pitting Suthers against Makepeace would be scheduled for May 19.

Meanwhile, former City Councilor Joel Miller has gotten 15.51 percent of the vote, and El Paso County Commission Chair Amy Lathen 11.21 percent. Two long-shot candidates, Tony Carpenter and Lawrence Martinez, have together taken less than 3 percent.

These numbers reflect 70,673 votes counted. Votes filed earlier Tuesday are still being tallied, but what's counted so far represents the vast majority of the take from about three weeks of mail-ballot and drop-off voting.

In the race for City Council at-large, two of the most well-funded candidates seem to be cruising toward victory. With three seats up for grabs, the early results find Merv Bennett and Tom Strand out in front, with Bill Murray edging Jariah Walker for third: 

Makepeace with supporters at Nosh. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Makepeace with supporters at Nosh.

Meanwhile, in District 2, sitting Councilor Larry Bagley is easily defeating Kanda Calef with 70.61 percent of the vote. And in District 4, Councilor Helen Collins appears safe from a fairly bizarre recall effort, with 55.38 percent of southeast-side voters wanting her to say on Council.

As for the two issues on the ballot, 52.64 percent of voters are willing to amend the city charter in order to grant City Council final sign-off authority on contracts and agreements made by Colorado Springs Utilities. (Council serves as the Utilities Board.) But it's a toss-up as to whether voters will allow Council to hire its own administrator and to be able to direct and supervise that administrator, the city auditor, and their employees and assistants. Right now, 50.16 percent of voters are saying no. That's a difference of 208 votes, out of nearly 67,000 cast on that issue.

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Thursday, March 5, 2015

County consultant terms C4C 'of great importance'

Posted By on Thu, Mar 5, 2015 at 2:10 PM

The long-awaited consulting report on City for Champions, commissioned by the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, concludes the four tourist venues are "of great importance," but the county didn't release the full report to the public.

Nor did the press release issued by the county address specifics of the downtown stadium project's financial viability and economic impact on the county. In other words, the release didn't address whether it would be wise for the county to dedicate tax increment financing or other tax dollars to the project. 

The county supposedly sought the study in part because the county is being asked to help fund C4C by assigning $1.4 million a year, or $42 million over 30 years, through TIF — sales tax revenue growth over a baseline set in December 2013.

We've asked for the report itself but haven't heard back.

City for Champions was introduced in July 2013 by Mayor Steve Bach. It includes four projects: downtown Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Air Force Academy visitors center and a downtown stadium.

The consultant, BBC Research and Consulting, concluded the four projects would attract 1.5 million new visitor days to El Paso County and that the museum has the "greatest prospect" of bringing in new tourism money, the news release said.

But there was no data provided specifically for the $97 million downtown stadium project, the most controversial of the projects and the one requiring local tax money to be built. 

According to a report prepared by Economic & Planning Systems for the state Economic Development Commission, which has agreed to give the city $120.5 million to build the four projects over 30 years, the downtown sports and events center can be expected to attract 4.75 million net new out of state visitors from 2017 to 2043. Net new out of state visitors is the goal of the Regional Tourism Act under which the EDC allotted the money.

The report presented today didn't use that term, but rather provided the "new visitor days" figure of 1.5 million and didn't say whether that was per year or over a longer term.

The release:
BBC Research and Consulting, a nationally recognized firm with more than forty years of experience in economics, research and planning has completed development of a financial model to assist El Paso County in evaluating the benefits and financial impacts of City for Champions. The firm was engaged by the County in 2013 for an independent and “county focused” review of various projections, assumptions and conclusions affiliated with the state supported City for Champions economic development initiative.

“The state’s analysis focused on the financial impacts to the state itself, said El Paso County Budget Officer Nicola Sapp. We wanted to focus specifically on the impacts to El Paso County. We asked BBC to give us a fresh look, a different look and a specific focus in order to develop a financial model that we can use to assess the bottom line impacts of the various C4C projects as they evolve and become more defined. We know that some of the projects are well into the design phase while others are still very much conceptual at this time and what BBC has developed is a flexible model to assess the financial and budget impacts on the county as these projects gain greater definition.” Mr. Frick observed that the Sports and Events Center is in conceptual development with a business plan and feasibility study needed.

“It is reasonable to assume that these four projects will bring 1.5 million new visitor days to El Paso County,” BBC Managing Director Ford Frick told Commissioners. “The Olympic Museum has the greatest prospect of bringing new national dollars and the sports and events center also holds similar promise with competitors coming from all over the world and bringing with them coaches and families others.” Frick also noted that the UCCS Sports Medicine Center will have benefits beyond just new visitors to the area because local residents using the facilities will be bringing the insurance premiums they have paid out back into the local economy. He went on to tell Commissioners that the model focuses on new dollars, adjusts out local attendance by residents and takes into account the fact that visitors from other parts of the state will typically stay for shorter lengths of time and spend less. “These are strong projects, independently financed; bring unprecedented levels of state support and prospects for substantial local benefit,” Mr. Frick concluded noting that the projects are of “great importance.”

Budget Officer Sapp concluded the presentation noting that the BBC review confirms that all C4C impacts are over and above the County’s existing sales tax base and the historic and projected natural growth of that base. “It’s important to keep in mind that the County’s has experienced over the past 30 years annual increases in sales tax revenues of more than 5% and that growth is not fully captured in the BBC analysis making this a more conservative than what we would actually expect. But again, this is a flexible tool for you to use in evaluating these projects as they gain more definition.”
Former City Councilor Joel Miller, who's running for mayor, has been critical of the downtown stadium project and the county's $45,000 study, saying last August it would be useless because it was based on "overly optimistic numbers" for attendance and tax collections.

Miller: The study is useless. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Miller: The study is useless.
Moreover, Miller said BBC officials told him the study wouldn't include include a cost-benefit analysis. Such research, Miller says, would look at the "substitution effect" — consumers' tendency to forgo spending at an existing venue to attend a new one — and "opportunity costs," the "what if" factor of channeling the money elsewhere, such as city infrastructure.

Here's the letter Miller wrote back in August to commissioners and City Council about the study:
August 3rd, 2014
To: The El Paso Board of County Commissioners and Members of Colorado Springs City Council
From: Councilmember Joel Miller

Dear Colleagues and Honorable Members of the El Paso County Board of Commissioners:

I appreciate the BOCC offering the opportunity to sit down with BBC’s Ford Frick. He seems like a good man who’s committed to doing the best work he can within his assignment. That said, after meeting with Mr. Frick, it’s apparent that he’s working with figures that will not provide an accurate City for Champions (C4C) picture for citizens. Mr. Frick’s analysis will take mostly at face value visitor numbers, spending assumptions and multipliers provided from previous analysis conducted by C4C proponents and analyzed in the state’s third‐party analysis conducted by Economic and Planning Systems (EPS).

BBC’s analysis may make some minor adjustments for double‐counting tourists and the number of visitor days spent in the area, but the primary inputs will be proponent data provided to BBC and used by EPS. The goal of the proponents’ data was to show the maximum potential of economic benefit. Because Mr. Frick will base his analysis on proponents’ overly optimistic numbers, as well as other reasons detailed below, I believe the analysis will be flawed.

In recent months, I’ve communicated with several nationally renowned sports economists, including Stanford Economist Roger Noll. In the case of C4C, and the proposed downtown stadium in particular, Dr. Noll has stressed the necessity of conducting a “cost‐benefit analysis” that takes into consideration specific factors, especially the substitution effect and opportunity costs.

The substitution effect considers that visitors to Colorado Springs (and citizens, also) have a limited leisure budget. Money these consumers spend at one leisure activity is money they will not spend at another. If consumers spend money at the proposed downtown stadium, for example, that’s money they won’t spend at the zoo, Fine Arts Center, or a Sky Sox game. In effect, with C4C, government would choose winners and losers by funding projects that would take money away from other businesses and non‐profits via the substitution effect. In some cases, actual business could be taken away by C4C projects; venues that currently hold flea markets, for example, may be forced out of business if future flea markets are held at the stadium.

Opportunity costs are projects that could’ve been funded if the same amount of money being spent on C4C was instead spent elsewhere. Proponents are considering using County and City tax increment financing (TIF) from 90% of the City for 30 years to fund C4C. While I’m not in favor of using sales tax from 90% of the city on any project, a thorough economic analysis should consider the “what if” effects of spending that money elsewhere, especially on projects that fall within the role of government—on road and other infrastructure improvements, for example.

Not only did Mr. Frick acknowledge that his assignment was not to perform a cost‐benefit analysis that includes the substitution effect and opportunity costs, but he hadn’t even been informed that TIF financing was being considered by his client, the County. Furthermore, Mr. Frick will not evaluate whether or not attendance figures given to him by C4C proponents are realistic—he will use those numbers as the primary basis of his analysis.

Given the concerns I’ve cited, I do not believe the BBC analysis will be a useful tool in determining the real costs and benefits of the C4C proposal on our community.
Again, I thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with Mr. Frick, and, of course, I’m open to discussing this matter further with any of you.

Very respectfully,
Joel Miller

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Friday, February 20, 2015

NAACP bombing arrest made

Posted By on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 at 12:40 PM

  • Colorado Department of Corrections
Various channels are reporting that Thaddeus Murphy, 44, of Colorado Springs, has been arrested in connection with the bombing of the building that houses the local branch of the NAACP.

While it caused no injuries and very little damage, the bombing became national news due to speculation that it was a hate crime. However, Murphy is apparently claiming that he was actually targeting a tax office in the same building. 

Here's the statement from the Department of Justice:

DENVER – Thaddeus Cheyenne Murphy, age 44, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, was arrested late yesterday on charges of arson and being a felon in possession of firearms, the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the FBI, ATF and Colorado Springs Police Department announced. Murphy is believed responsible for placing a device at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Murphy is scheduled to appear before U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael E. Hegarty at 2:00 p.m. this afternoon in the Arraj Federal Courthouse, 901 19th Street, where he will be advised of his rights and the charges pending against him. A detention hearing and preliminary hearing will be scheduled for a date to be set next week.

According to an affidavit in support of a Criminal Complaint, on January 6, 2015 at 10:48 am the Colorado Springs Police department received reports of an explosion at a building located at 603 South El Paso Street in Colorado Springs. Police officers responded, as did their bomb squad. Further, soon thereafter federal agents from the FBI and the ATF jointly responded to the scene to work with the police department in conducting the investigation. The device was a road flare and pipe bomb near a container of gasoline. The device was lit, causing an explosion. The gasoline did not ignite. The building and sidewalk were charred as a result of this device.

Multiple interviews were done by law enforcement of witnesses who noticed a specific type of truck and an individual fleeing the scene. Extensive investigation done by law enforcement eventually lead to the identification of a truck that closely matched the description of the truck fleeing the scene. Also, the person driving the truck generally resembled the sketch drawn by the Colorado Springs Police Department. After determining the individual’s identity, and developing probable cause that the owner of the truck, Thaddeus Murphy, was the likely person responsible for the device, federal agents working with the U.S. Attorney’s Office obtained a search warrant of the target’s home. While executing the warrant, agents and officers found seven firearms, and devices similar to the one used at the building. Murphy has prior felony convictions, which made it illegal for him to possess the firearms. Also during the search, Murphy was interviewed by federal law enforcement where he stated that the target of his criminal actions was not the NAACP, but that he had a different motive. The investigation continues regarding the motive for the attack. The residents of Colorado Springs, and the occupants of the building in question, can rest assured that the person who allegedly placed the device is now in custody.

Murphy is charged with one count of arson of a building. If convicted on that count, he faces not less than 5 years, and up to a $250,000 fine. He also faces one count of being a felon in possession of firearms. If convicted on that count, he faces not more than 10 years in federal prison, and up to a $250,000 fine.

This case is being jointly investigated by the FBI, ATF and the Colorado Springs Police Department with support from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.

The defendant is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Gregory Holloway and Beth Gibson.

A Criminal Complaint is a probable cause charging document. Anyone accused of committing a felony violation of federal law has a Constitutional right to be indicted by a federal grand jury.

The charges in the Complaint are allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2015

UPDATE: Collins recall to proceed in city's southeast

Posted By on Wed, Jan 14, 2015 at 5:29 PM

Collins has launched a website to combat the recall:


City Councilor Helen Collins might have a lot of time on her hands after April 7 if recall promoters convince voters in her district to kick her out at mid-term.

  • City of Colorado Springs
  • Collins

City Clerk Sarah Johnson issued a news release today saying petitions turned in last week contain enough signatures to force an election. That means that voters in District 4, the southeast part of the city, will be asked if they want to recall Collins. They also will be asked to vote for her replacement.

And all of that means that it's possible City Council will have five new faces after the election, because in addition to the Collins seat, voters will elect three at-large councilors and another member, from District 2 in the north sector, to finish the unexpired term of Joel Miller, who resigned in November to run for mayor.

Here's Johnson's press release:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— City Clerk Sarah Johnson provided official certification to City Council today that a sufficient petition has been filed for the recall of District 4 Council Member Helen Collins. The City Clerk’s Office has determined that the Petitioner’s Committee that initiated the recall effort has met the threshold of valid signatures required to place the recall question on the April 7, 2015 Municipal Election ballot.

As required by the City Charter, the Petitioner’s Committee needed to obtain enough valid signatures to equate to 25% of the total ballots cast in Council District 4 in the April 2, 2013 Municipal Election, or 1,485 valid signatures. The petitioners turned in 3,007 signatures and the City Clerk determined 1,715 to be valid voter signatures.

Next steps:

• If the Council Member sought to be removed from office does not resign within five (5) days of the City’s Clerk’s certification that a sufficient petition has been filed, the recall question will be placed on the April ballot along with the 200 word statement from the Petitioner’s Committee on reasons for demanding the recall, and, if desired, a 300 word statement from the Councilmember.

• If the Council Member chooses not to resign, the City Clerk will open a candidate filing period for City Council District 4 candidates to coincide with the current regular filing period for Mayor and City Council candidates, closing on February 11, 2015.

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Friday, January 9, 2015

UPDATE: Sketch released of bombing 'person of interest'

Posted By on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 at 4:44 PM

At a press conference Friday afternoon, law enforcement officials released a sketch of the "person of interest" in Tuesday's bombing:


The man apparently was witnessed exiting a pickup truck with something in his hands, going behind the NAACP's building at 603 S. El Paso Blvd., and then returning to his truck empty-handed. As mentioned below, anyone with information regarding this person, or Tuesday's incident, should call the FBI's tip line at 303/435-7787.


Here is the latest from the FBI:
On 01/06/2015 at approximately 10:45am MT, an improvised explosive device was detonated against the exterior wall of a building located at 603 South El Paso Boulevard, Colorado Springs, Colorado. The building is occupied by Mr. G’s Hair Design Studios and the NAACP. A gasoline can had been placed adjacent to the device, however, the contents of the can did not ignite upon explosion. There were no deaths or injuries resulting from the explosion, and only minimal surface charring to the exterior wall of the building. FBI Denver, in conjunction with Colorado Springs Police Department, is on scene.

A potential person of interest in this investigation is a Caucasian male, approximately 40 years of age, and balding. He may be driving a 2000 or older model dirty, white pick-up truck with paneling, a dark colored bed liner, open tailgate, and a missing or covered license plate.

If anyone has information regarding the above incident or individual, please call the FBI Denver tip line at (303) 435-7787. 

Henry Allen - FILE
  • File
  • Henry Allen
The Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating an explosion at the local offices of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, located at 603 S. El Paso St.

Local police have directed all questions to the FBI, who could not immediately be reached. But Henry Allen, the president of the Colorado Springs branch, says he got a call from his staff around 11:15 a.m. saying there had been an explosion.

“It knocked a few things off the wall, but no one was injured thank God,” he says.

Allen explains that three staff members were in the building at the time. It was their first day back from a holiday break that begin Dec. 23. Allen says he's not sure if there had been any threats, since staff hadn't even listened to all the voicemail yet. But he's pretty sure that the attack was aimed at the NAACP because the only other business in the building is a barber shop run by an older man.

“What I’m getting right now from law enforcement is that some unknown person placed a pipe bomb at the rear of the building,” Allen says. 

Allen says members of the FBI, the Colorado Springs Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are on the scene investigating. He says he's eagerly awaiting more information, but he won't let the scare get in the way of the NAACP's mission. 

“We live in dangerous times,” he says.  “... Whatever comes, comes. I’m not afraid.” 

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Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees controversial as always

Posted By on Tue, Dec 16, 2014 at 12:20 PM

The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame’s announcement this morning of its 2015 honorees is inspiring a predictably mixed response from music critics.

The 30th annual induction ceremony — to be held in Cleveland on April 18 — will pay homage to honorees Lou Reed, the Paul Butterfield Blues Band, the "5" Royales, Green Day, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, Bill Withers, and Ringo Starr.

Not everyone is thrilled.

“The vote against Chic is only the latest manifestation of the Rock Hall’s tortured dealings with the legacy of disco,” complains the New York Times’ Ben Sisario, while noting that others who failed to make the cut are Kraftwerk, Nine Inch Nails, Sting, N.W.A, the Smiths, the Marvelettes, the Spinners and War.

The Albany Times Union’s Chuck Miller, however, was relatively pleased. “This time, the Class of 2015 may have gotten it right — or at least more ‘right’ than they have in the past, when they inducted Madonna and ABBA and ... well ... ABBA? Really? ABBA is to rock and roll what beige is to a rainbow."

Miller says that, all and all, he’s okay with this year’s choices, although he did append a list of artists that he feels voters should be considering next year. Among them were prog-rockers Yes and King Crimson, ‘80s synth-pop bands Depeche Mode and Duran Duran, and behind-the-scenes innovators Robert Moog and the Muscle Shoals Studio musicians.

Meanwhile, Justin Bieber, Jason Derulo and Lana del Ray fans can take heart: They’ll all be eligible for induction come 2035. 

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Same-sex marriage bans upheld by federal appeals court

Posted By on Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 3:38 PM

Not long ago, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to review the decisions of lower courts that had found same-sex marriage unconstitutional.

That set the stage for marriage equality to become the law of the land in most states, including Colorado.  What it didn't do was prevent a federal appeals court from ruling to uphold same-sex marriage bans. And that's exactly what just happened.

The New York Times reports: "By a two-to-one vote, a federal appeals court in Cincinnati upheld the right of states to ban same-sex marriage, overturning lower-court decisions in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee that had found such restrictions to be unconstitutional."

The ruling contradicts those made by four other federal appeals courts, and it means that the U.S. Supreme Court will likely need to make the final call on same-sex marriage for the country. The Supreme Court usually decides on cases when federal appeals courts disagree.

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Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election results: No love for stormwater, Halter; Manitou to keep RMJ

Posted By on Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 7:45 PM

Another 5,000 tallied votes have changed virtually nothing in El Paso County. And with estimates suggesting that there are fewer than 25,000 votes still outstanding, we're calling it a night. Check back Wednesday for additional coverage. And enjoy the lack of political ads on TV.

——— ORIGINAL POST, 7:45 P.M. ———

With about 206,000 votes counted out of an expected 235,000, El Paso County appears to be nixing a proposed stormwater solution.

Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Dark humor: County Question 1B supporter Carol Baker brought her ark to the Ritz Grill.

On County Question 1B, about 54 percent of voters are saying "no." That's about 96,000 voters, as compared to about 82,000 in favor of the regional plan to deal with backlogs in stormwater infrastructure and maintenance.

With fellow 1B supporters at the Ritz Grill, Jan Martin sounded ready to look ahead to the city election in April.

"I think it will be a big issue in the mayor's race, of how to solve our stormwater problem," she said. "We all agree it needs to be taken care of. We need to find a plan the public supports."

Added Dave Munger, who chaired the stormwater effort: "It still has to be fixed. We don't have the option of not doing anything."

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office released its large first wave of results just after 7 p.m., and has already updated them; you'll be able to follow future updates to them here. In other major headlines so far:

• Controversial U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn is sailing through his latest Democratic challenge. Lamborn has nearly 60 percent of the El Paso County vote, good for a 40,000-vote advantage over Democrat Irv Halter, who faced an uphill battle in a Republican district but had hoped his military record and fiscal conservatism would give him a boost. In an interview after results were posted, Halter said, "It's a tough road for Democrats." He added, “I just hope that people start to look beyond party. If people don’t, I believe it’s an existential threat to democracy.”

Manitou Springs will be keeping recreational marijuana sales. Almost 63 percent of voters so far have said "no" on 2G. Ramah, however, will not be joining Manitou: 41 voters said "no" to marijuana legalization, as compared to 11 saying "yes." And Palmer Lake apparently is voting down RMJ sales as well, by about 90 votes.

• In Senate District 11, the site of last year's bitter recall of John Morse, Michael Merrifield seems in position to reclaim the seat for the Democrats. Merrifield is up 51 percent to 43 percent over incumbent Republican Bernie Herpin, with Libertarian Norman Dawson pulling the other 6 percent. While Herpin declined to forecast the final vote, he said, "It's been an honor to serve. I'm proud of my accomplishments in office."

• Despite the backing of some local heavyweights, including the Pikes Peak Association of Realtors, developer Chuck Murphy and Suzi Bach, Democrat Jariah Walker is far behind incumbent Republican Peggy Littleton in El Paso County Commission District 5. Littleton has pulled about 64 percent of the vote so far, and is up a full 10,000 votes. Said Walker: "I think the main message is that unfortunately, partisan politics aren't dead in Colorado Springs."

• While incumbent Pete Lee leads in House District 18, 54 percent to 46 percent over Republican Michael Schlierf, his fellow Democrat in fickle District 17 is in trouble. Incumbent Tony Exum is down 49 percent to 44 percent to Republican Kit Roupe. About 7 percent of votes are going to Libertarian candidate Susan Quilleash.

• Races in heavily Republican House Districts 14, 15 and 16 offer no surprises — unless you consider it a surprise that Gordon Klingenschmitt's getting a full 70 percent of the vote in HD 15. This, despite Klingenschmitt offending even some within his own party by comparing Democratic legislator Jared Polis to ISIS operatives, among other incendiary remarks. Klingenschmitt's opponent, Democrat Lois Fornander, said she figured from the beginning that it would be "a big cliff to climb." She added, "And I think now, it was a sheer wall."

Reporting from J. Adrian Stanley, Griffin Swartzell and Pam Zubeck contributed to this story.
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Monday, October 6, 2014

Supreme Court move will likely make gay marriage legal in Colorado

Posted By on Mon, Oct 6, 2014 at 9:54 AM

  • File Photo
Today, the U.S. Supreme Court decided not to review the findings for the 4th Circuit of several circuits of the U.S. Court of Appeals on same-sex marriage.

The refusal means the lower court ruling stands in the states in question, making same-sex marriage legal in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin. But it also indicates that the Supreme Court doesn't intend to intervene in any lower court rulings on same-sex marriage at this point. So that also probably means that Appeals Court rulings in other districts that have made same-sex marriage legal will become final. That includes rulings in the 10th Circuit, which includes Colorado.

In all, the Supreme Court's move will likely mean that same-sex marriage will soon be legal in 30 states. The Washington Post has a good explanation of the situation here.

The move by the Supreme Court isn't exactly what either side was looking for. Same-sex marriage proponents had hoped the courts would make such marriages legal across the country. Opponents, of course, had hoped for the opposite. The move likely means that the justices do not want to weigh in on the debate until more states have legalized the practice.

All the same, proponents are celebrating today. Check out this release from the Freedom to Marry campaign:
Supreme Court Lets Marriage Wins Stand
Decision not to review lower-court victories means number of states with freedom to marry to skyrocket, but still falls short of national resolution

New York – Today the Supreme Court denied review of five cases seeking the freedom to marry, leaving standing marriage victories in several federal circuits and opening the door to the freedom to marry in many more states, while deferring for another day the national resolution that Freedom to Marry, businesses, elected officials, and families across the country had urged now. The Court’s decision not to review the rulings means that soon as many as 60% of the American people will be living in freedom to marry states, with a majority of the states (30) having the freedom to marry for all.

Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, released the following statement:

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court leaves in force five favorable marriage rulings reached in three federal appellate courts, ensuring the freedom to marry for millions more Americans around the country. The Court’s letting stand these victories means that gay couples will soon share in the freedom to marry in 30 states, representing 60% of the American people. But we are one country, with one Constitution, and the Court’s delay in affirming the freedom to marry nationwide prolongs the patchwork of state-to-state discrimination and the harms and indignity that the denial of marriage still inflicts on too many couples in too many places. As waves of freedom to marry litigation continue to surge, we will continue to press the urgency and make the case that America – all of America — is ready for the freedom to marry, and the Supreme Court should finish the job.”

With the Supreme Court’s decision not to review the cases, favorable marriage rulings in the 10th Circuit, the 7th Circuit, and the 4th Circuit will soon go into effect. Marriage bans in every state within those circuits will be invalidated, adding Colorado, Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah, Wyoming, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Indiana, and Wisconsin to the list of freedom to marry states. As a result of the Court’s decision, an additional 51 million Americans will live in a freedom to marry state.

In total, 41 federal and state courts in the past year have ruled in favor of the freedom to marry for same-sex couples with only one federal and one state ruling going the other way. Five of these marriage wins were before the Supreme Court for possible review.

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Thursday, September 11, 2014

City for Champions gets final state approval

Posted By on Thu, Sep 11, 2014 at 4:35 PM

An artist's rendering of the museum and stadium projects. - COURTESY CITY FOR CHAMPIONS
  • Courtesy City for Champions
  • An artist's rendering of the museum and stadium projects.

This just in: The state Economic Development Commission voted unanimously today to approve a resolution for City for Champions.

That's the $250 million tourism venture that includes a downtown sports stadium, Olympic museum, sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and a new visitors center outside the Air Force Academy.

The release, issued by Mayor Steve Bach's communications department:
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – City for Champions reached an important milestone today when the final resolution was unanimously approved by the Colorado State Economic Development Commission.

Adoption of this final resolution means that the EDC’s approval of the City for Champions Regional Tourism Act application on December 16, 2013, in the unprecedented amount of $120.5M has been formalized.

After much collaboration between the City, County and State officials and a good deal of work by hundreds of citizens, business and community leaders working to ensure the success of the initiative, this agreement gives a triumphant green light to the four City for Champions project components to move forward in the development process.

In addition, this allows the RTA Advisory Board, a stellar and diverse group of local citizens, to begin its important work in crafting specific requirements for the extraordinary City for Champions initiative.

“We are grateful to the State Economic Development Commission, the Office of Economic Development and International Trade, and the State Attorney General’s office for granting the City of Colorado Springs this historic opportunity and for their efforts in completing this resolution and their partnership on these exciting projects,” said Bob Cope, Senior Business Climate Specialist for the City of Colorado Springs.

The adoption of the resolution was heralded with great enthusiasm by the leader of the citizen-led grassroots proponents of City for Champions, Laura Neumann, as she noted that “Now action can really begin to allow the four projects to be the catalyst for economic and job growth, business creation, start-up companies, recreational and outdoor initiatives, retaining young professionals and more. Hundreds of thousands of people will benefit from this bold and legacy-making decision the Commissioners made today.”
Neumann, by the way, is Bach's former chief of staff who quit earlier this year.

The next pep rally for the project will be from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday at the Southeast and Armed Services YMCA, 2190 Jet Wing Drive.

The last such meeting in August drew a large crowd and yielded an unofficial announcement that the Jenkins family, owners of Nor'Wood Development Group, will donate the downtown land on which the Olympic museum and Hall of Fame will be located downtown near Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street.

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Court orders Boulder to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall - BOULDERCOUNTY.ORG
  • Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall
While a full resolution to the larger issue is likely still months off, Attorney General John Suthers scored a victory in the fight over same-sex marriage yesterday.

Suthers, who is defending Colorado's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage against myriad state and federal lawsuits challenging its constitutionality, asked the Colorado Supreme Court to stop Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At one point, Denver, Pueblo and Boulder were issuing the licenses, but a judge stopped Denver, and Pueblo stopped voluntarily. That left Boulder as the last county in the state issuing the licenses.

The court ordered Hall to stop issuing licenses, and she has complied. (Those actions came after the Independent's deadline, and thus today's story on the issue is now outdated.) Thus, Colorado same-sex couples who want to wed will likely have to wait until a judicial resolution is reached on the ban.

That resolution could either come from the Colorado Supreme Court, which is expected to reach a decision early next year, or from a federal court. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear the case soon, though a final federal resolution on the issue of same-sex marriage may come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

So far, lower courts have ruled consistently that Colorado's ban is unconstitutional, though they've stayed their rulings pending appeals.
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Friday, February 14, 2014

Philharmonic announces 2014-15 season

Posted By on Fri, Feb 14, 2014 at 8:00 PM


Those who appreciate the classical music world’s most widely celebrated composers will be pleased by the Colorado Springs Philharmonic’s 2014-15 season, which was announced at Friday evening’s Pikes Peak Center performance.

Although the works being performed are, in many cases, less well-known than their composers, there’s no arguing with the popular appeal of a repertoire that includes Ravel’s Bolero, Puccini’s Tosca and Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring, alongside works by Beethoven, Brahms, Haydn, and Copland.

The local orchestra will also be reprising its multi-media “Vanguard Series,” which consists of Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4, Mozart’s Requiem and Bartok’s The Miraculous Mandolin.

Other noteworthy season offerings include a February 26 performance by violinist Joshua Bell. In addition to widespread critical acclaim and a Grammy Award, Bell is known for a viral video in which he performed in the guise of a street musician and went unrecognized by all but one passerby, earning $32.17 for his 45 minute-performance.

Rounding out the season are holiday concerts as well as a Philharmonic Pops series that features the music of The Who, Disney’s Fantasia, and an American Songbook performance by, as the season’s brochure puts it, “stage, film and TV heartthrob” Cheyenne Jackson.

View the Philharmonic's full season schedule at
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