Organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb decided Tuesday afternoon to run the 90th Race to the Clouds on Sunday, Aug. 12.
The 12.42-mile event had been initially set for this Sunday, July 8, but was postponed due to the Waldo Canyon Fire.
Hill Climb officials considered several alternatives for rescheduling the race, and the PPIHC board went with Aug. 12, with the race-week activities starting on Tuesday, Aug. 7.
Almost all of the drivers and teams have indicated to the Hill Climb that they will be here for that week.
Here's the full release, just sent out by PPIHC officials:
90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Set To Go On Sunday, August 12, After Postponement Connected To Waldo Canyon Fire
The venerable Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, launched in 1916 and an important part of Colorado sports history, has been re-scheduled for Sunday, August 12, barring any further threats to safety.
The legendary race, originally scheduled for July 8, was postponed last week in the midst of the epic Waldo Canyon fire that forced 32,000 people from their homes around Colorado Springs, brought the destruction of close to 350 homes, and delivered an impact within the Pikes Peak Region in historic fashion with its tragic force. It is now called the most destructive fire in the state’s history.
“With the help and support of the City of Colorado Springs, the U.S. Forest Service, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, and the numerous agencies dedicated to the safety of the public and the competitors, we are thrilled to be able to make this announcement,” said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the PPIHC and President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation after a unanimous vote of the PPIHC Board at 4:00 p.m. this afternoon. “America’s Mountain and Colorado Springs are ready to welcome everyone to the nation’s second-oldest motor sports event.”
Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach, who has been on point for the city’s efforts this week on behalf of the massive response and strategic action, said “The City of Colorado Springs is thrilled that the 90th running of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is back on track. We are committed to dedicate the needed resources to make this year’s Hill Climb the best ever. As we have said throughout this community crisis – Colorado Springs is open for business!”
Osborne and his staff have spent the last few days reaching out to the 211 drivers and racers and their crews to determine their availability for the August 12, as well as local hotel partners, the Pikes Peak International Raceway, the Downtown Development Authority and the important agencies that are required to support the event and the busy Race Week schedule of events, August 7-12.
“The response by the competitors has been tremendously positive, and the drivers and racers have been sensitive and compassionate toward our residents and their struggles and loss,” said Osborne. “We will have the majority of the registered competitors here for the event and have positive responses from Nobuhiro Tajima, Jean-Phillipe Dayraut, Romain Dumas, Clint Vahsholtz, Paul Dallenbach, Dave Carapetyan, David Donner, Greg Tracy, and Carlin Dunne, but we will lose some to scheduling conflicts. In fact, many of the drivers and racers have indicated their desire to establish a fund to benefit those agencies that have battled the horrendous fire and now support our ability to stage the race.”
Osborne indicated the this special fund will be established quickly to permit donations from the drivers and racers, their sponsors, and the public that will provide support and sincere gratitude to the men and women of the firefighting agencies who have stepped to the front when their help was most needed. Details will be revealed soon.
The legendary race’s list of champions over the years includes Mario Andretti, Bobby Unser, Al Unser, Al Rogers, Rod Millen, Parnelli Jones, Leonard Vahsholtz, Roger Mears, and Eddie Mulder.
Competitors from 15 nations are scheduled to tackle the challenging, fully-paved 12.42 mile course to the summit of the peak - Luxembourg, Russia, Australia, Switzerland, Japan, Germany, France, Great Britain, Hungary, Sweden, Scotland, Italy, Canada, the Czech Republic and the United States.
Barring conflicts, drivers and racers could be on the Peak from 25 states, including 89 from Colorado, 26 from California, 15 from Texas, even a pair from Vermont.
The revised Race Week will include Technical Inspection, practices, Media day, and the downtown Fan Fest on Friday, August 10.
Tickets previously purchased for the event that was scheduled for July 8 will be honored, but no general refunds will be made. Previous ticket purchasers will also have the option of donating their tickets to the special support fund.
Colorado Springs officials are teaming up with other agencies to begin planning for the inevitable flooding that could occur following the Waldo Canyon fire.
At a news briefing this morning, the city's emergency management director Bret Waters said a task force has formed that includes the city, U.S. Forest Service and other agencies "to look at flood danger."
After losing 17,920 acres of forest land, there's not much left to hold the ground and keep it from turning into a mudslide.
Fire commanders reported that the fire was 70 percent contained this morning and has cost more than $12.4 million.
City officials also gave more updates to allow more people into their homes in coming days, and Colorado Springs Utilities continues to try to restore gas service. The Utilities Board, comprised of the City Council, will meet at 6 p.m. today for a briefing on restoration of service following the fire.
"Upper Mountain Shadows was a lot worse than we even anticipated," Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said during the news briefing this morning. He said contractors and workers from Xcel are assisting with the work of getting evacuated homes back on the gas system. But the heavily damaged fire area still has 350 service lines, he said, that have no meter and crews must dig up lines and cap them.
Council President Scott Hente said in an interview with the Independent that he and Forte have talked about the restoration effort and that the Council has said the first priority is to rebuild and discuss the money later.
"We know there's financial implications," he said. "We think there's some recovery money through federal disaster declaration. We're pursuing all of that. We have reserve funds to handle this for the time being, but I have to emphasize time being. We're replacing a lot of the utility systems in the burn area. The only marching orders to them were to keep really really good track of expenses."
One of those implications could be a rate increase, but let's hope disaster relief covers most of the bill.
Fire Chief Rich Brown also reminded people that fireworks are banned completely in the city and El Paso County. He said the police and firefighters will issue summonses to anyone shooting off fireworks of any kind, including sparklers. There are no public displays this 4th of July either, he noted.
Incident command operations section chief Chad Olson said the only remaining trouble spots on the fire are the north area in the West Monument Creek, Mount Herman Road and Farish Recreation Area, which he described as "real rough country."
However, he said the incident is "tentatively out of the woods."
Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Kramer reported that the investigative team is on the ground trying to determine the point of origin and cause of the fire that began at mid-day June 23. The task force, led by the U.S. Forest Service, consists of the Teller and El Paso County sheriff's offices, Colorado Springs Fire Department, Colorado Springs Police Department, 4th Judicial District District Attorney's Office, the FBI and the Alcohol Tobacco Firearms and Explosives agency.
To watch a video shot by a firefighter to document the blaze in Mountain Shadows as it was happening, go here.
Meantime, the feds resumed flying C-130s after a fatal crash in South Dakota claimed the lives of two pilots on Sunday.
Here's the release:
The Commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command and United States Northern Command announced that the C-130 Modular Airborne Fire-Fighting System fleet will resume operations today in support of the National Interagency Fire Center and its firefighters on the front lines in several states.
Operational flying was suspended for one day to review flying and safety procedures, in the context of what is known so far about the crash of a MAFFS C-130 while fighting South Dakota's White Draw Fire.
An official accident investigation into the crash is ongoing, with the support of everyone concerned. Next-of-kin of the casualties have been notified.
USNORTHCOM and its Air Force Reserve and Air National Guard aircrews and support personnel are fully committed to their critical joint mission of helping to protect lives and property in our homeland. In support of our NIFC teammates, we are resuming MAFFS C-130 launches and firefighting.
The media were given a two-hour tour of the burn area in northwest Colorado Springs, where the Waldo Canyon fire claimed 347 homes last Tuesday in Mountain Shadows.
Springs City Council President Scott Hente and Councilor Val Snider were on the tour. Both had minimal damage to their homes, though extensive smoke damage.
Here are some photos I shot along the way:
The Waldo Canyon Fire, which began June 23, has been 55 percent contained, fire officials announced this morning, and stands at 17,827 acres. Some 1,581 firefighters are on the line, and the cost of fighting the blaze totals $11.1 million so far.
Fourth Judicial District Attorney Dan May made his first appearance at a fire briefing today, saying he intends to prosecute looters and burglars who are damaging homes in evacuated areas to the fullest extent possible. He noted that the penalty for burglary is up to 24 years.
Addressing the criminals, May said, "You better get prepared. You better pack your bags. We intend to evacuate you from our community and we intend to evacuate you for many, many years."
He assured residents that the evacuated and damaged areas are being guarded, noting he'd been stopped 20 times during a tour there Sunday by police officers, the FBI and firefighters. "They're doing a tremendous job," he said. The Colorado National Guard has 183 soldiers and airmen in Colorado Springs assisting with security and traffic control.
All but about 1,150 people have been allowed in to their homes.
Colorado Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said those impacted by the blaze will see their utility bills adjusted. All homes destroyed will not receive a bill. Those in evacuated areas will have their bills adjusted to remove water consumption, he said, noting that many residents left their sprinklers on before leaving. For those who had electric and gas service discontinued during evacuations, their bills will reflect no daily charges. For more information residents can call 448-4800. Hours have been extended on the call center line to 10 p.m.
Incident Commander Rich Harvey said firefighters from California, Minnesota and Colorado nailed the flareup in Williams Canyon near Cave of the Winds. "We got it," he said. "That spot is no longer a problem."
Harvey said his crews will continue mopping up the perimeter, which remains the priority. He also said predictions call for erratic winds and thunderstorms over the fire today. "We're prepared for it, and we'll deal with it," he said.
Fire Chief Rich Brown said firefighters met with homeowners in the burned area Sunday to try to explain why some homes were saved and others were not. He called it "a very rewarding day."
A second body was found today in a home on Rossmere Street in Mountain Shadows, Springs Police Chief Pete Carey said at a media briefing this afternoon. He did not identify either the latest victim or the other victim, whose death was announced last night, despite saying officials had spoken with the family. Carey also gave the address as 2910 Rossmere.
Those are the only fatalities reported in a fire that destroyed 346 homes on Tuesday as the Waldo Canyon Fire swooped into the city.
Residents of the affected area will get their first close-up look at their homes on Sunday when the city begins giving residents tours of the area. The tours are for those citizens whose homes were involved in the blaze.
City director of economic vitality Steve Cox told the media at the same briefing that 4,000 people live in the affected area, and buses can only carry 30 at a time, so the city has a logistical coordination issue on its hands.
Others who have been evacuated whose homes aren't damaged might have to wait awhile to get back home, because Colorado Springs Utilities has a lot of work to do in restoring gas to the 4,200 homes that were cut off during the fire, Utilities CEO Jerry Forte said.
"This is still a very active fire," Forte said. While Utilities workers were at first allowed to get back into the area earlier today, they were pulled off again this afternoon, he added.
The delay in letting residents return is related to the time it takes for utility crews to inspect and ensure the integrity of the system, he said. "We have to go house to house to be sure there are no gas leaks. That's going to take some time."
He gave no estimate when that job might be completed, and said Utilities might have to repair big portions of the gas system.
U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr said the fire, which stands at roughly 16,750 acres, is 25 percent contained and noted firefighters are making progress. Air tankers continue to pound the fire's edges.
When a reporter asked why Mayor Steve Bach's staff had told residents at a meeting Thursday night not to speak to the media, Bach and Cox denied they had said that.
"I tried that," Bach joked. "It doesn't work."
Cox said nobody told homeowners they couldn't speak to the media and, in fact, told homeowners where the media was located outside the meeting room so they could seek them out if they wanted to.
Indy reporter Bryce Crawford has received word that medical marijuana patient Bob Crouse, the subject of a controversial felony cultivation and distribution of marijuana case locally, has been found not guilty on all charges.
Attending advocate Audrey Hatfield, of Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights, had told us earlier this week that Crouse's fans were a little worried about the jurors selected for the trial, which started Monday. But Hatfield reportedly told Crawford this afternoon that those jurors sided with Crouse, who asserted that a paperwork snafu was to blame for any MMJ laws violated.
We'll follow up on this story in the days to come.
The list of streets has grown from 34 to 35. Here's the full list and meeting details:
Waldo Canyon Fire Impact meeting
A meeting ONLY for residents of the streets below will be held tonight to inform them of the status of their homes.
Tonight, 8 p.m., Gallogly Events Center, University of Colorado, Colorado Springs
6 p.m. Busses depart shelters
6 p.m. Check-in opens
8 p.m. Residents meeting begins
9 p.m. Press conference at media staging area with residents from the meeting who will give interviews.
This meeting is for residents of the following streets only. This is NOT a public meeting. Residents should bring identification to gain meeting access. Refreshments will be provided. Counselors will be available.
Note to the media: Media is asked to respect the privacy of residents who may receive devastating news. Meeting participants willing to speak to the media will attend the post-meeting press conference at 9 p.m. at the UCCS media staging area.
Residents of these streets should attend:
§ Trevor Lane
§ Linger Way
§ Rossmere Street
§ Tallesson Court
§ Sandray Court
§ Majestic Drive
§ Ravina Court
§ Regal View Road
§ Stoneridge Drive
§ Heartstone Lane
§ Karamy Court
§ Lionsgate Lane
§ Hot Springs Court
§ Jenner Court
§ Brogans Bluff
§ Darien Way
§ Rayburn Way
§ Braeburn Way
§ Timora Way
§ Mirror Lake Court
§ Wilson Road
§ Harbor Pines Point
§ Yankton Place
§ Chambrey Court
§ Charing Court
§ Ashton Park Place
§ Courtney Drive
§ Vantage Vista Drive
§ Vantage Ridge Court
§ Huffman Court
§ Aubrey Way
§ Van Reen Drive
§ Alabaster Way
§ Lannigan Street
§ Capra Way
——- ORIGINAL POST: 2012-06-28 16:29:00 ——-
Colorado Springs Mayor Bach said at the 4 p.m. news conference that 346 homes were destroyed in the Waldo Canyon Fire, which blasted through 34 streets in the Mountain Shadows area on Tuesday. But fire officials said significant headway was made on the fire today, noting it's now 10 percent contained.
Bach said a meeting at 8 p.m. is for families affected by the fire. "This is going to be a tough evening, but we're going to get through it," Bach said. "Suzie and I are going to lead an effort to bring every resource to these people who have been hurt so badly."
Bach asked the press to show "a little bit of humanity" toward the families. "We will move forward as a city like we never have," Bach said.
Bret Waters, the city emergency management director, said the city is evaluating evacuations. "We expect some significant lifting some mandatory evacuations on the east side of the evacuation zones," he said, but didn't say exactly when that would happen.
Police Chief Pete Carey asked for residents' patience as city officials decide which evacuated areas to release from evacuation. He also noted that officials suspect some criminal activity in the evacuated area and to call 444-7000 to report it, once they're allowed back home. He thought there was an arrest for a burglary but had no details.
The cooler temperatures today along with some rain helped firefighters achieve 10 percent containment.
"We made significant progress today," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr. "The weather cooperated today as it has no other day since the fire started" on Saturday.
Rich Harvey, incident commander, added, "We're feeling very confident we made good progress today, very minimal fire growth, and no injuries to the firefighters today."
Although Carey said there are less than 10 people who are unaccounted for, he said police are trying to figure out exactly where they might be.
Springs Deputy Fire Chief Tommy Smith said firefighters usually do two searches of each structure, but haven't been able to do so in the Mountain Shadows area due to the unusual fire conditions. He said those searches will begin tomorrow.
In case you missed it:
"We now know hundreds of homes have been destroyed," Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach told reporters this morning at the morning briefing about the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has claimed 18,500 acres.
"We are assessing every address so we have absolute accuracy," he said.
The city plans to begin notifying homeowners who had properties that were "impacted" later today, and Bach promised a more precise number of homes lost by noon.
Meantime, U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr said Wednesday was a good firefighting day, during which crews made "great headway." She also noted that today was not expected to be a red-flag day, defined as when high winds and heat work against firefighters.
Incident commander Rich Harvey said the fire saw its smallest growth since it began last Saturday. He said 1,200 firefighters are fighting the blaze, not including "hundreds" of others from neighboring departments who have streamed in.
"Today we're going to be incredibly aggressive on this fire," he said. "We have the horsepower in place."
Harvey said besides firefighters and engines, the team is using helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft, track vehicles and military assets. "We have resources on this fire from an alphabet soup of agencies," he said.
Springs Deputy Fire Chief Tommy Smith credited some gains Wednesday to prior mitigation around homes, but both he and Bach noted there was little anyone could do on Tuesday when, as Bach said, "jumped two ridges" in a matter of minutes.
"This is a firestorm of epic proportions," Bach said, "racing down the down slope. It's an act of God. I don't know how else to put it."
"Yes," he added, "we've got a lot of loss of property, but we've got a lot that we saved." He also said mitigation needs to happen city-wide to protect against fires in years to come.
Bach also said he and his wife were working to set up a program that would provide help to the families who experienced losses in the blaze, with individuals and corporations clamoring to make donations.
"You're going to see in coming days an unprecedented effort to help those fellow citizens hurt by this," he said.
El Paso County's Citizen Service Center is closed indefinitely, but services are being provided in other locations. Details of where those services are available is here.
Threatened by continuing uncertainty related to the Waldo Canyon Fire, organizers of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb have announced they're postponing the race from Sunday, July 8, until later in the summer.
The word came Wednesday night in a release from PPIHC's board of directors. The hope had been that fire conditions would improve enough to allow the 90th running of the Race to the Clouds to take place on schedule, and many racing vehicles, crews and drivers already had arrived in the area for final preparations.
But with car inspections scheduled for next Tuesday, and practices beginning Wednesday, July 3, there wasn't enough time to guarantee the race week could take place without being impacted in some way by the fire.
Mayor Steve Bach provided a statement in the release, saying: “This race began in 1916 and it has earned its place among the world’s greatest motor sports events, and it is an important part of the sports heritage of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region. We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”
A news conference will take place Thursday morning to provide more detail.
Here's the news release in its entirety:
90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb Postponed Because of Safety Concerns And The Fires Near Colorado Springs – New Date Will Be Sought For This Summer
Faced with epic conditions and safety concerns related to the wildfires threatening Colorado Springs and nearby communities, the 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, scheduled for Sunday, July 8, is being postponed until later in the summer.
“We have been informed by the U.S. Forest Service that conditions are so extreme, along with the inability to forecast the future of the fire, and with access to Pikes Peak in jeopardy that the agency can’t permit the event to go as scheduled, “said Tom Osborne, Chairman of the Board of the PPIHC and President & CEO of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation.
Osborne said that the iconic event, the nation’s second-oldest motor sports race behind the Indianapolis 500, will be staged later this summer, and that a new date will be set within a time frame that allows the option of rescheduling of a new Race Week for drivers, racers, support crews and the multitude of agencies that are required to support the race.
“The 90th Pikes Peak International Hill Climb will be run,” said Osborne.
“This race began in 1916 and it has earned its place among the world’s greatest motor sports events, and it is an important part of the sports heritage of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak Region,” said Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach. “We are committed to making sure it takes place this year and that we carry on the tradition. We are disappointed, but our first concern is our city, its residents, their homes, businesses and public safety.”
Sports Corp and PPIHC officials met with officials from the Forest Service and numerous agencies tasked with the safety and support of the race this afternoon that included a wide-ranging discussion and review of the possibility of staging the race on July 8, along with the numerous ancillary events that go with the event. Those include the arrivals of the 211 race crews and competitors starting this weekend, the Technical Inspections on July 3 at the Pikes Peak International Raceway, the July 6 Fan Fest downtown, and practice and qualification times for all competitors on July 4-5-6.
“At the end of our meeting today, it was clear that we would not be able to go as scheduled,” said Osborne. “Our deepest concern is for the safety of the public and the competitors, and it was obvious that several agencies charged with public safety would not be able to commit the resources and manpower required to ensure those requirements because of the critical need for their resources at this time. Our city is in an unprecedented struggle right now and we are deeply sensitive to it.”
The race organizers will meet quickly to begin the search for the new date and it is a goal to announce the replacement date within two weeks.
Notification of the 211 competitors, some of them from 15 nations outside the United States, news media organizations traveling to cover the race, and fans has begun.
Tickets already purchased will be honored for the new date and the events for the fans and competitors will be rescheduled. All sponsor, vendor and supplier agreements will be fulfilled, according to Osborne.
City, county, state and federal officials gathered again this morning to brief the media and others about the spread of the Waldo Canyon Fire, which has grown to 15,324 acres and has claimed an undetermined number of homes.
The theme of the briefing was that officials are working under a unified command. "It doesn't make us weaker," said U.S. Forest Service spokeswoman Jerri Marr. "It makes us stronger. We're committed to this fight, and we are going to be in this together in a unified command."
Springs Fire Chief Rich Brown said his department is on the offensive, not the defensive, in saving homes west of Centennial Boulevard and south of the Air Force Academy where most residents have been evacuated. About 32,000 people have been put out of their homes so far, officials said.
Brown said the fire is "not remotely close to being contained" after high winds thrust the fire into the city limits yesterday in the Mountain Shadows area.
Police officers and firefighters from the region are pitching in, so Police Chief Pete Carey said not to be surprised to see officers from other jurisdictions directing traffic and carrying out other emergency tasks.
El Paso County Sheriff Lt. Jeff Kramer called the fire "unprecedented." He reemphasized that everyone is pulling together.
Rich Harvey, the incident commander for the Type 1 federal firefighting team, said the U.S. 24 line is holding and that resources have been requested from wherever they're available. About 1,000 firefighters were on the line this morning.
Shelters are set up at Cheyenne Mountain High School, Lewis-Palmer High School, the southeast YMCA and Summit Middle School in Divide.
The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region has set up an additional shelter at 3650 N. Nevada St.
Jill Law with El Paso County Public Health urged people to stay inside, due to the smoke.
Harvey said firefighters fear another day of high winds and possible thunderstorms could again drive the fire and cause spotting by throwing embers up to a half mile away. One lump of embers made it across Rampart Range Reservoir yesterday.
Bret Waters, the city's emergency management director, said evacuations will be based on fire behavior through the day.
We won't know the final numbers tonight, but the drama appears to be over already in the El Paso County Republican primary election.
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, state House Majority Leader Amy Stephens and County Commissioners Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey have comfortable leads after the first release of vote totals from the Clerk and Recorder's office.
The biggest surprise came in the state Senate District 10 race, with Owen Hill trouncing term-limited state Rep. Larry Liston.
No more results are likely tonight because of the Waldo Canyon fire being so close to the Citizens Service Center's ballot counting center on West Garden of the Gods Road.
Lamborn leads challenger Robert Blaha by about a 60-40 margin, which should be more than enough regardless of results from other counties in the 5th Congressional District. Blaha already has conceded defeat, Indy reporter Chet Hardin says.
Stephens has a similar lead over Rep. Marsha Looper in the battle for House District 19, which was left with two incumbents after redistricting.
Clark, seeking a third term as the commissioner for District 3, has nearly 60 percent to be well ahead of challenger Karen Magistrelli. Clark canceled a post-election downtown celebration party because of the fire's unexpected developments and widespread evacuations.
Hisey pulled to a margin of about 56-44 percent over challenger Auddie Cox in District 4, with Hisey also seeking a third term.
The results so far:
CONGRESS - DISTRICT 5 REP
Total Votes 57277
Doug Lamborn 34728 60.63%
Robert Blaha 22549 39.37%
STATE SENATE - DISTRICT 10 REP
Total Votes 14548
Owen Hill 8875 61.00%
Larry G. Liston 5673 39.00%
STATE REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 19 REP
Total Votes 11807
Amy Stephens 7047 59.68%
Marsha A. Looper 4760 40.32%
STATE REPRESENTATIVE - DISTRICT 21 REP
Total Votes 3517
Lois Landgraf 2128 60.51%
Albert Sweet 1389 39.49%
County Commissioner District 3 REP
Total Votes 14032
Sallie Clark 8326 59.34%
Karen Magistrelli 5706 40.66%
County Commissioner District 4 REP
Total Votes 5226
Dennis C Hisey 2928 56.03%
Auddie Lee Cox 2298 43.97%
If you don't have access to a good view of the mountains this afternoon, here's what you're missing. These shots of the Waldo Canyon Fire come courtesy of Indy photographer Laurence Zankowski:
And then, just to the south:
In that ruling, the conservative advocacy group (which previously operated under the name Western Tradition Partnership) was accused of "questionable tactics and blatant hypocrisy." The case concerned the fact that the organization had served as a conduit for as much as half a million dollars, from undisclosed sources, to influence Montana's 2010 election races.
But in an unsigned U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning, the court ruled on behalf of American Tradition Partnership, in the process upholding its highly controversial Citizens United ruling. That means Montana will be forced to abide by the higher court's "corporate personhood" ruling, and no longer be able to enforce its own long-standing ban.
The 5-4 decision also indicates that the majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices has no intention of revisiting Citizens United, despite multiple polls indicating opposition by a majority of Americans.
All that could shift if Barack Obama is re-elected in November, since a number of justices are expected to retire over the course of the next four years.
Per Colorado Emergency Management, the hashtag to follow is
#WaldoFire #WaldoCanyonFire, not #PyramidMtnFire (which apparently was a different fire that started last night). But with the confusion between the two, keeping up with both all related hashtags is probably a good idea, at least for a while.
——- ORIGINAL POST, 2:57 P.M. ——-
Whether the information is coming via media or a view of the mountains, people locally are quickly becoming aware of the three-hour-old wildfire that's threatening the western part of the Pikes Peak region.
They're calling it the Pyramid Mountain Fire, though it will mean more to many locals to know that it started in Waldo Canyon and is threatening the Cedar Heights neighborhood to the point that a mandatory evacuation's been ordered. A voluntary evacuation has been announced for all residents west of 30th Street, from Gateway North to Chuckwagon.
As of 3 p.m., the fire appeared to be more than 500 acres.
This being a story that's going to, quite literally, change with the wind, the best way to follow it is probably through television and/or social media.
For instance, while no official word has come out regarding a closure of U.S. Highway 24, TV news is reporting that it appears cars are being turned back on that road.
And here are some Pikes Peak Red Cross tweets on shelters opening locally:
The hashtag being used is #PyramidMtnFire. We'll send tweets with that hashtag through our homepage feed.
The University of Colorado Health System will take over city-owned Memorial Health System on Oct. 1, if voters approve of a lease at an Aug. 28 special election, the head of UCH told about 125 Memorial employees today.
Bruce Schroffel, CEO of University of Colorado Health, met today with the employees in the Cuchara Room in the Memorial building on east Pikes Peak Avenue (the old Montgomery Ward building) during a routine senior leaders meeting with workers.
According to internal live-blogging by Memorial communications specialist Brian Newsome, Schroffel reported the lease is in its final stages, or down to the "last sentences."
"He said it is not all that different than what was in the original proposal, but now it is a 100-page document full of legalese," Newsome reported. "He said we've come to agreement and both parties are happy."
Here are the highlights of Schroffel's remarks:
• UCH is putting together a "vote yes" campaign to communicate with the public.
(It's unclear if the campaign-financing filing by an organization calling itself "Great City. Great Care," filed May 14, is the campaign committee Schroffel was referring to. The filing says that committee will work to support the lease of Memorial.)
"Bruce says they are taking a proactive approach," Newsome wrote. "There is a campaign that will roll out over the next several weeks. There are well-known citizens who are very supportive of this."
Quoting Schroffel: "We're prepared to educate the community."
• If voters approve the lease, Memorial workers would become UCH employees Oct. 1, but it's unclear exactly what their benefits would look like.
UCH's proposal said it wouldn't lay off anyone for six months after the lease became effective, and today Schroffel reportedly said, "there won't be thousands of jobs moving to Denver."
• "[Schroffel] said Memorial's financials and quality are concerns," Newsome wrote. "There is a lot to do in a very short time. He said he recognizes this is an anxiety-inducing time, but the intent is to grow this organization."
Newsome then noted that Memorial's acting CEO had a couple things to say.
"Mike Scialdone is now asking how many people think taking an overarching governing body about politics and giving it to one about health care is a good thing. Big show of hands."
Quoting Scialdone, Newsome wrote, "If you look at UCH and its ability to do that, it is phenomenal, he says. This is turning a page and really embracing something in which we align with organizations of like mind, around quality, and taking this out of politics."
• Schroffel also told employees, "You will not have PERA. You know that." The Public Employees Retirement Association covers all city employees, including those at Memorial, but UCH is working a deal to leave PERA and replace it with another retirement system that won't be "as rich" as PERA but would be comparable to others in the UCH system and a better plan than those offered by Centura Health and HCA, a for-profit conglomerate that unsuccessfully bid on Memorial.
Quoting Schroffel, Newsome wrote, "There will be about 15k employees in the new system, so it is a 'big, big' decision. 'PERA is in trouble,' he says. 'It is not a sustainable model in this country, I think.'"
• Schroffel noted the new Memorial board will have 11 members, at least seven from the community.
There also was talk that morale at Memorial is low, but Scialdone reportedly told employees, "You can sit idly by and cast stones, or you can do something about it and get engaged."
Scialdone also reported that Memorial's first-quarter results were "solid," but workers shouldn't slack off. He also noted that reports that there had been no raises is false, and that in 2011 alone, more than $10 million in pay increases was given. He also noted a salary survey is under way to assure employees are paid fairly.
Newsome also reported that Tracy Narvet, controller, gave a financial update. Volumes are low, but Memorial has offset that by managing costs. She also said inpatient volumes are down, but ER visits are up.
"Mike Scialdone gives a big thank you to everyone for the work you've done to strengthen our operations," the blog reports. "When it comes to stewardship, he says, any area in which we are not being effective and efficient is an opportunity cost to do something with those dollars (people, community health, equipment, etc.) Mike says the balance sheet is in the best shape its been in the last couple of years, but he also notes that the first quarter is typically the strongest. We must continue to be vigilent [sic] about being good stewards of our resources."
To read the entire blog, go here.