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.
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.Neumann, by the way, is Bach's former chief of staff who quit earlier this year.
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.”
Having seen an ambulance tear off with an injured woman, multiple cars flipped near the Cliff House, and refrigerators mixed in with logs and debris near the Briarhurst Manor Estate, Indy reporter J. Adrian Stanley affirms that Friday's flood off the Waldo Canyon burn scar is "much worse" than any to date this summer.
As of about 9:30 p.m., reports are that at least three people have been injured. KOAA is reporting that Canon Avenue evacuees won't be allowed to return home until tomorrow; there is a shelter set up at the Historic Manitou Congregational Church, 103 Pawnee Ave.
Below are some photos Adrian took while walking through town both during and after the storm. One thing not pictured, but that she reports, is that some properties damaged in the July 1 flood were further harmed today. In fact, in some cases, the Dumpsters that were on-site as part of their cleanup efforts were toppled and sent into the homes themselves.
Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colo., has been an ardent supporter of forest health and wildland firefighting, and he continues to probe for more information to enhance how fires are managed.
A member of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Udall wrote a letter Monday to Northern Command leader Gen. Charles Jacoby and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell asking for a retrospective for the Black Forest Fire.
Udall, along with Colorado's other Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet, instigated a major study following the Waldo Canyon Fire that investigates the ecological, social and operational issues involved in fighting that blaze, which claimed 347 homes in Colorado Springs last year.
In his latest effort, Udall thanks Jacoby and Tidwell for their participation in the Black Forest Fire and what further lessons might be learned. He also asked them to explain procedural changes that made the rapid response possible.
From a news release:
Udall has been a leading voice for ensuring that Colorado and the West have adequate resources to prepare for the threat of wildfire, including pressing the U.S. Air Force to quickly transfer and repurpose excess aircraft to the U.S. Forest Service to fight wildfires. He also led the fight to ensure the U.S. Forest Service was able to cut through red tape and secure seven next-generation air tankers. One of the next-generation air tankers Udall fought to acquire helped fight the Black Forest Fire.
Udall also pushed to pass a bipartisan amendment to the U.S. Senate's 2014 budget to allocate $100 million more for wildland firefighting and he successfully secured federal funds to repair drinking-water supplies damaged by 2012's Waldo Canyon and High Park fires.
Here's his letter to Jacoby and Tidwell:
The votes are in among state Senate District 11's Republican heavyweights, and former Colorado Springs City Councilor Bernie Herpin is their choice to fight Senate President John Morse in a recall election.
Herpin took 62.5 percent of the vote, leaving political newcomer Jaxine Bubis with just 37.5 percent.
Here's the release from El Paso County GOP director of operations Daniel Cole:
Today, Senate District 11 officers and precinct leaders selected Bernie Herpin as the El Paso County Republican Party’s nominee in the Senate District 11 recall election.
By the terms of the agreement both candidates signed on June 28, Jaxine Bubis is expected to withdraw from the race.
51 individuals were eligible to vote in this process. 30 voted for Bernie Herpin and 18 for Jaxine Bubis, for a total of 48 votes cast. The process was administered by the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder at the expense of the El Paso County Republican Party. Electors voted in person at El Paso County Republican Party Headquarters between the hours of 7 AM and 7 PM today, July 9.
Chairman Jeff Hays stated, “Bernie Herpin and Jaxine Bubis ran against each other for the Republican nomination, but each agreed the other would be a huge improvement over Sen. John Morse. They were both willing to put their campaigns on the line in order to maximize our opportunity to make the recall effort successful.
“Congratulations to Bernie Herpin for winning the Republican nomination. The El Paso County Republican Party looks forward to supporting his campaign.
“We owe Jaxine Bubis respect and a debt of gratitude. She was willing to subordinate her personal goals to the imperative of removing John Morse from office and replacing him with a senator more attentive to his constituents. You’re taking one for the team, Jaxine. Thank you.
“As we move forward, I urge El Paso County Republicans to band together and focus on recalling John Morse. We’re talking about a legislator so extreme, so out-of-touch, that Rep. Ed Vigil, a Democrat from Fort Garland, called one of Morse’s bills this session ‘crazy’ and ‘absolutely nuts.’ Recalling John Morse is not a question of Democrat vs. Republican. It’s a question of sanity vs. insanity.”
For more on both Herpin and Bubis, see Wednesday's Independent.
The estimate for structure damage caused by the Black Forest Fire has been revised to $90 million from a higher figure provided earlier this week by El Paso County Assessor Mark Lowderman.
"The problem isn't necessarily with the data gathered by the deputies during the fire," Lowderman says. "The problem was on an IT level. When they tried to update the data, they had multiple people doing it, and when they merged the data, they duplicated some of the data."
But Lowderman called the $90 million figure "very, very preliminary," because his crew has physically inspected only 500 of 2,400 lots so far.
"To really get an accurate number, it's gonna take us a while," he says, noting 15 of his full-time employees are inspecting and reappraising the burn area. He says he expects the $90 million figure to grow.
Just like last year for owners of Mountain Shadows homes that burned in the Waldo Canyon Fire, tax bills on damaged or destroyed homes will be adjusted. "Everything will be on [tax rolls] at 100 percent from January 1 to June 10," Lowderman says. "Then from June 11 to Dec. 31, it will be a land value for six months of the year."
Although the removal of so many homes from the tax rolls might not pose a large hit on revenue for the county, Lowderman says it might be a different story for the Black Forest Fire Department, which relies heavily on residential property instead of commercial property.
The structure-damage total for losses in the Waldo Canyon Fire was $121.5 million, Lowderman says.
Meantime, late yesterday, El Paso County set up a Long Range Recovery Planning Committee to oversee recovery, restoration and rebuilding efforts within the Black Forest Burn area. The panel will be co-chaired by Commissioners Darryl Glenn and Amy Lathen.
“Information from this group will be disseminated via our normal communications channels and through the recently established HOA/neighborhood communication network,” Glenn said in a release.
These elected officials will be represented on the panel:
• US Senators Udall/Bennett's Office
• Congressman Doug Lamborn's Office
• State Senator Kent Lambert
• State House Representative Amy Stephens
• State House Representative Dan Norburg
• El Paso County Sheriff's Office
Here's a list of residents who have been named to the committee:
• Edward Bracken
• Donna Arkowski
• Carolyn Brown
• Judy von Ahlefeldt
• Leif Garrison
• Laura Carno
• Sean Perkins
A week after opening it, the American Red Cross has announced closure of its shelter for Black Forest Fire victims and evacuees. Here's the release, which at the bottom also includes a look at some of what the nonprofit organization has accomplished during the early start to this fire season.
Wildfire Update: Red Cross to Close Black Forest Shelter at Noon; Continues to Serve Residents at 4 Fixed Sites
COLORADO SPRINGS, COLO., June 19, 2013, 11:30 a.m. — The American Red Cross will close its shelter at Palmer Ridge High School in Monument at noon today. Red Cross caseworkers, health workers and mental health experts will continue to provide people affected by the Black Forest fire with resources, emotional comfort, health services and recovery assistance at four fixed locations.
Last night, 5 evacuated individuals stayed overnight at the Red Cross shelters. All of those individuals have found other accommodations for tonight or are being assisted with accommodations by the Red Cross.
FIXED SERVICE DELIVERY SITES
Red Cross volunteers will distribute cleanup kits, water and snacks and offer informational resources, basic health services and emotional counseling at the following fixed locations:
· School in the Woods, 12002 Vollmer Rd., Colorado Springs, noon-5 p.m.
· Intersection of Black Forest Road and Burgess Road, noon-5 p.m.
· Intersection of Milam Road and Shoup Road, noon-5 p.m.
· Multi-agency Disaster Assistance Center, El Paso County Public Health, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Rd., 8 a.m. — 6 p.m.
Residents will be able to pick up cleanup supplies including items such as sifters, shovels, trash bags, work gloves, rakes, paper towels, and facemasks at all sites except the Disaster Assistance Center.
The Salvation Army will be providing snacks and meals at the School of the Woods and Milam Road locations.
PREPAREDNESS DURING RED FLAG CONDITIONS
Large portions of Colorado are under red flag warnings for high fire conditions. The Red Cross urges residents to take steps to be prepared; one thing people can do is download the free Red Cross Wildfire App, available in English or Spanish. The app puts help right in people’s hands, such as instant access to steps people should take before, during and after wildfires. Owners of Apple and Android devices can download the free app in the in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store for Android by searching for American Red Cross.
If a fire is threatening your neighborhood, you should listen to local media for updated fire
information and be ready to leave at a moment’s notice. Other steps include:
• Back your car into the garage or park it in an open space facing the direction of escape.
• Confine your pets to one room so you can find them if you need to leave quickly.
• Keep indoor air clean by closing windows and doors.
• Use the recycle or recirculate mode on your air conditioner in your home or car. If you don’t have air conditioning and it’s too hot to stay inside with closed windows, seek shelter elsewhere.
More information on wildfire safety is available on the preparedness section of www.redcross.org.
Local Red Cross chapters have activated on-call rapid-response teams throughout the state so that the Red Cross can mobilize quickly to respond to any additional wildfires that may occur this summer.
RED CROSS SERVICES TO DATE: To date, the Red Cross and partner agencies have provided the following services:
· Opened and operated a total of eight separate shelters and evacuation centers in Monument, Colorado Springs, Kiowa, Cañon City, Walsenburg and Rifle, providing a total of 911 overnight stays.
· Distributed 1015 comfort kits containing hygiene items, toothbrushes and other basic essentials
· Registered 431 individuals in Safe and Well
· Served 9,652 meals and snacks (provided primarily by The Salvation Army)
· Made 365 health and mental health contacts with affected residents
· Made 517 health and mental health contacts with affected residents
The El Paso County Sheriff's Office issued this statement regarding the two people who died in the Black Forest Fire on June 11:
The Black Forest Fire has been the most devastating in Colorado history. In addition to more than 500 homes destroyed, two people lost their lives. Through a cooperative effort between Forensic Odontologist Dr. Joe Gentile and El Paso County Coroner Dr. Robert Bux and his staff, identity of the victims’ who lost their lives has been made. They are 52 year old Marc Allen Herklotz and his wife, 50 year old Robin Lauran Herklotz of 6720 Jicarilla Drive in Black Forest. We extend our deepest sympathy to the family and friends they leave behind.
The couple were long-time residents of Black Forest. According to Assessor's Office records, they bought their house in December 1992.
Sheriff Terry Maketa has said the couple perished after they returned to their home after first evacuating to retrieve property, saying, "It appears as though the individuals were in the garage," he told the media on Friday. "Their car doors were open, as though they were loading or grabbing last-minute things. And all indications were, from the evidence on scene, that they were planning to depart very quickly."
Sheriff Terry Maketa said at a noon news briefing that he would allow re-entry to the Black Forest Fire burn area to 1,365 more people today. But about 2,600 people remain under mandatory evacuation as fire crews continue to snuff hot spots.
Fire Incident Commander Rich Harvey upped containment of the fire from 75 percent to 85 percent and said his team is starting to discuss demobilizing.
The fire has cost $7 million so far, Harvey said. Gov. John Hickenlooper allocated about $5 million on the fire's first day, and it's unclear whether he's added to that amount in light of the cost surpassing the original allotment. The fire isn't on federal land, so the state must pick up the tab, including the cost of Harvey's U.S. Forest Service Type 1 Team.
Maketa put the number of homes destroyed at 502 but predicted that would increase today as the El Paso County Assessor's Office advances its efforts to verify damaged homes.
Among those who will be allowed to re-enter today are residents of the Cathedral Pines area, among the most upscale of homes in Black Forest. That is to take place at 2 p.m., Maketa said.
As for areas along the most heavily damaged corridor of Shoup Road, residents will be allowed to visit their properties for three hours in shifts that will begin at 4 p.m., Maketa said.
Full containment of the fire is predicted for Thursday. For information, go to elpasoco.com.