County Gov

Friday, January 27, 2017

Two El Paso County jail inmates die in last two days

Posted By on Fri, Jan 27, 2017 at 5:26 PM

The county's Criminal Justice Center. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The county's Criminal Justice Center.
Two inmates from El Paso County's Criminal Justice Center have died in the last two days.

Frank Reynolds, 57, who had been at the jail before being taken to Memorial Hospital, died at the hospital on Thursday.

Damian Romero, 68, died in the jail on Friday, which is today.

The El Paso County Coroner's Office has not released causes of death, noting that toxicology and other testing is pending before the autopsy reports are completed.

Sheriff's spokeswoman Jackie Kirby says Reynolds had been transported to Memorial after inmates reported he was unresponsive and jail personnel found him to have a pulse. He later died at the hospital. Reynolds was booked into jail on Jan. 19 on charges of possession of a weapon by a previous offender, child abuse, third-degree assault and harassment. Manitou Springs Police Department was the arresting agency.

Romero had been at Memorial for seven to eight days when he was transported back to the jail on Friday. "About two miles from CJC, the deputy noticed he was having issues," Kirby says. He radioed ahead, and sheriff's personnel met him in the sally port, the area where inmates are taken in and out of the jail, where life-saving efforts failed.

Romero, who booked into the jail on Aug. 12, 2016, faced charges of sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust, aggravated incest and pattern of abuse. Colorado Springs Police Department was the arresting agency.

Kirby said the jail's investigative team is looking into the Romero death because it occurred on jail property. She wasn't sure whether Reynolds' death, which occurred at the hospital, would be similarly investigated.

It's unclear how long it's been since an inmate died at the jail or at a hospital after being in the jail. But according to past news releases, Ricardo Rafel Grimaldo, 20, died Nov. 4, 2010, at Memorial after being rushed there after he was observed choking by fellow inmates. The family filed a lawsuit but it was dismissed in 2012 after the county demonstrated that deputies responded immediately upon being notified of Grimaldo's medical problem.
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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

UPDATE: New website blasts El Paso County Sheriff Elder

Posted By on Tue, Jan 17, 2017 at 5:47 PM

From the website that was recently mounted in opposition to the sheriff who promised to heal the Sheriff's Office. - DIRTYELDER.COM
  • dirtyelder.com
  • From the website that was recently mounted in opposition to the sheriff who promised to heal the Sheriff's Office.
UPDATE:
This just in from El Paso County in response to the website, including the County Commissioners' statement of confidence in the Sheriff:
The Board of County Commissioners has recently received anonymous letters regarding allegations involving processes and personnel at the Office of the Sheriff and has been made aware of an internet site outlining similar allegations, also made by unidentified individuals. El Paso County has in place robust processes and procedures for investigation where needed and where allegations are made with such specificity and credibility that an investigation is warranted.

All allegations in the anonymous letters recently received have been investigated and/or evaluated with the advice and oversight of the County Attorney’s Office. This is particularly relevant to allegations surrounding policy changes and changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. Since January 2015, the El Paso County Attorney’s Office, and not counsel selected only by the Sheriff, has been providing legal advice and counsel to the Office of the Sheriff. This ensures consistency and transparency with the Board of County Commissioners.

As to allegations made in one letter that a female deputy was “forced to a full physical touching of her entire body captured on jail security video” and subject to multiple “sexually explicit text messages,” the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that no evidence exists to support these claims, and no member of the Sheriff’s office has made these claims.

The Board of El Paso County Commissioners this morning received legal advice as to the processes and procedures in place at the Sheriff’s Office for conducting investigations and legal advice that had been previously given surrounding changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. The Board of County Commissioners hereby expresses confidence in Sheriff Elder and his staff; that the processes and procedures are sound and if there are sustained improper work actions, there will be an immediate response. 
Simultaneous with the above statement, we received this comment from Sheriff Bill Elder through a spokesperson: "Sheriff Elder has sent a response to the latest anonymous letter to the Board of County Commissioners. He will not be making any comments to the media about anonymous letters contained within the dirtyelder.com website."

——————ORIGINAL POST 3:37 P.M. MONDAY, JAN. 16, 2017————————-

Sheriff Bill Elder has been in office for two years and apparently someone or some group thinks things are so bad in the department that they have created a website called dirtyelder.com.

The site's professed goal is "to stop the corruption, intimidation and nepotism." Regardless of the veracity of the allegations and implications contained on the website, it's worth noting that someone has mounted such a website and already populated it with a lengthy batch of complaints.

While many links on the site don't have anything to offer yet, some do.

Under "Character Counts," there's this:
Bill Elder promised to follow all policies. He even signed a copy of the policy that states all policies apply to the Sheriff. Since then he has pretty much done what ever he wants. If he doesn’t like a policy he just changes it or gets rid of it.

Bill Elder promoted and/or rehired 6 individuals on his first day on the job. What policy says individuals can be promoted without going through a promotion board? So the same day he promised to follow policy he broke it. I wonder how many contributed to and/or worked on his campaign? We will get to that in an upcoming article.

Bill Elder promised to create an impartial promotion board, evaluation process and create an independent disciplinary board. How’s that working out? More to come…
Sheriff Elder talking with the media some time ago. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Sheriff Elder talking with the media some time ago.

The Indy has made its own observations on some of this behavior. For instance, Elder adopted a Disciplinary Action Board, and a year later he abolished it.

When we asked about this a while back, we got this explanation on Dec. 22 from Lisa Kirkman, an attorney who works for Elder:
With respect to the change in the Disciplinary Action Board, please be advised that the review of the Disciplinary Action Board (DAB) procedure began in September, initiated by EPSO legal advisor, as a result of a decision made in 2015 at the time the Board was enacted. The DAB was a novel procedure and it was decided that it would be reviewed at the one year time frame. At the lieutenant/command staff meeting in September 2016, the legal advisor announced that the matter would be reviewed. The Sheriff made the decision to suspend the Board at a time when no cases were completed and ready to go before the Board. The Sheriff was concerned about the lack of appeal, except for termination and that the Sheriff had no review authority with respect to the Disciplinary Action Board. Also, please be advised that not all investigations per the previous policy were heard by the Disciplinary Action Board.
The dirtyelder.com website also has this under the heading "Broken Promises":
When Bill Elder was elected sheriff in 2014 he stated things would change. They did; for the worse.

This website is dedicated to the hard working men and women of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office who deserve better than to have to work in a hostile work environment for corrupt leadership. Law Enforcement requires complete and total honesty and transparency. Command staff should be held to a higher standard and the Sheriff to the highest standard. Bill Elder has shown his campaign promises were nothing more than fiction. He has created a hostile work environment that includes intimidation, corruption and nepotism. This website will expose Bill Elder for what he is with documented and verified facts.

This Website is sponsored by concerned citizens with the goal of bringing the corruption at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to an end. It is also to keep employees informed of all the activities being done by Bill Elder and his command staff. This website is not to spread rumors, make personal attacks or get into politics.

We are empowered by you. Everyone knows a little bit about what’s going on at the Sheriff’s Office. Silence is the endorsement of corruption. We need your help to continue our mission. All material will be anonymous and verified. It’s time for employees to take a stand and demand integrity from their leadership!

Articles will show Bill Elder misled our community and evidence he committed multiple crimes to include official misconduct. We will present evidence that suggests Bill Elder could even be guilty of accessory to murder. We will show evidence of corruption by his current command staff and other personnel within the office. We will present the evidence, and you can be the judge.

One of the first promises Bill Elder made to staff and the community is that all policies would also apply to the Sheriff. We will show he has broken this promise and ultimately does what ever he wants. Below is Bill Elder, early in his term, signing the new policy. We will provide more information in an upcoming article.
 Should the El Paso County Commissioners launch some kind of probe? In the past, commissioners have taken a hands-off approach until smacked in the face with visual evidence of things going haywire — just look at the  Sheriff Terry Maketa fiasco.

For now, we don't know if any of the complaints referenced on the Web site, with one exception, has been forwarded to the commissioners. The one exception deals with a record we've been trying to get for some time. It references a potential lawsuit, and has been denied by County Attorney Amy Folsom. In response to the Independent's Colorado Open Records request, she gave these reasons for refusing to release it:
1. Pursuant to 24-72-202(6)(a)(II)(C) this document is not a public record because it is a communication by constituent to an elected official that clearly implies by its nature or content that the constituent expects that it is confidential on a matter not yet public.
2. Pursuant to 24-72—204(1)(b) and (c) inspection of this record would be contrary to federal rule or regulation and rule promulgated by the state supreme court; namely FRE 408 and CRE 408; and
3. Disclosure of the document is prohibited by 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A) in that it contains information pertaining to a personnel matter and which would otherwise be contained in a personnel file. 
We've invited the Sheriff's Office to comment on the new website and will update if and when we hear back.

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Glenn chosen as El Paso County Commission president

Posted By on Tue, Jan 10, 2017 at 5:28 PM

Darryl Glenn: You can call him Mr. President. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Darryl Glenn: You can call him Mr. President.
For the first time since he was first elected six years ago, El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn has been chosen by his fellow commissioners to chair the board.

Of course, now the position is called president, not chair, so it's President Glenn for the next year.

Newcomer Mark Waller, who was appointed in July to Amy Lathen's unexpired term and elected in November, was chosen as vice president pro tempore. Waller is a former state representative. (Lathen resigned early to take a job with a political activist group.)

Rounding out the board are Stan VanderWerf, Longinos Gonzalez Jr. and Peggy Littleton.

Glenn and Littleton are paid $87,300 a year, while the three newcomers are collecting an annual salary of $113,490 due to a change in the state law made in 2015.

After Glenn lost his bid for a U.S. Senate seat in November, he announced formation of his new political consulting firm with his new wife.

The commission president often is called upon to sign documents and represent the county at various functions.
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Thursday, January 5, 2017

UPDATE: Colorado Springs, El Paso County face another lawsuit over stormwater

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 12:21 PM

This image of the Mountain Valley Preserve, outlined in black, comes from a Sept. 17, 2015, city Planning Commission agenda. The property ultimately was annexed by the city in early 2016. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • This image of the Mountain Valley Preserve, outlined in black, comes from a Sept. 17, 2015, city Planning Commission agenda. The property ultimately was annexed by the city in early 2016.

UPDATE:
Late yesterday, we received this explanation via email from Richard Mulledy, the city's stormwater division manager:
The City anticipates that construction of a full spectrum detention pond in accordance with the Professional Engineer's design plans will be in place in February. This permanent detention on the Mountain Valley Preserve subdivision will appropriately manage the runoff from the new development and accommodate for significant flood events.

Throughout construction of the subdivision temporary stormwater controls have been in place. The City of Colorado Springs will continue to work with Mountain Valley Preserve throughout construction and will inspect all drainage aspects of the project as they are completed.

————ORIGINAL POST 12:21 P.M. THURSDAY, JAN. 5, 2017—————
"Our subdivision is not to be used for the city's stormwater sewer."

Thus ends a four-page claim filed by dozens of homeowners in Toy Ranches Estates subdivision against the city of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Tim McConnell, an engineer with Drexel, Barrell & Co., the city director of public works Travis Easton, Mayor John Suthers, the county's planning director Craig Dossey, FEMA, and Newport Center, LLC, the developer of the subdivision that's allegedly causing flood damage to Toy Ranches, or threatens to.

Newport Center's registered agent is long-time developer Leroy Landhuis, and the development in question is called Mountain Valley Preserve. The 44.71-acre subdivision has 41 single-family residential lots, landscape tracts, detention areas and public roads, and is located east of Marksheffel Road and south of Dublin Boulevard, according to city records. See the City Council action here:

Legislation_Details__With_Text___11_.pdf file:///Users/pamzubeck/Downloads/Legislation%20Details%20(With%20Text)%20(9).pdf" target="_blank">
Council annexed the property and approved zoning about a year ago.

(Landhuis tangled with Colorado Springs Utilities last year over value of land required for the Southern Delivery System. He sought $39 million in damages, and won $378,000.)

Toy Ranches, a square-mile subdivision in the county, is located adjacent to Mountain Valley Preserve.

The city, already facing a federal lawsuit alleging violations of the Clean Water Act due to neglect of its stormwater system, doesn't need more evidence that it's dropping the ball in controlling flood waters.

But the Toy Ranches letter, dated Dec. 11 and titled "Notice to Cease and Desist," alleges the Landhuis development's detention ponds don't work and threaten life and property in Toy Ranches from flooding.

The letter accuses the city of "flawed interpretation of its own drainage criteria manuals," and claims the outfalls from the Mountain Valley Preserve detention ponds are faulty, leading to "significant erosion" to neighboring properties.

Worse, if the erosion affects natural gas and petroleum product pipelines in the vicinity, the letter says, "There could be a major catastrophic failure which could result in not only extensive property damage but also human physical harm or even loss of life."

Toy Ranches residents also allege a constitutional violation, because the flooding could constitute "an uncompensated taking" of their properties.

We've asked both the city and county for a comment on this, as well as the developer, and are awaiting word. We'll update if an when we hear back.

We also reached out to the resident who mailed the letter and will update if and when we hear from him.

Meantime, we asked City Councilor Andy Pico, who represents that area, for his thoughts, and he says via email, "First I've heard of it." A few hours later, he reported he'd consult an engineer on some of the technical aspects of the allegations.

Read the entire letter here:
Toy_Ranchs_NOC.pdf


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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Leadership title changes for board of county commissioners

Posted By on Tue, Jan 3, 2017 at 11:04 AM

You can call her President Clark now. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • You can call her President Clark now.
We're not sure what this all means, but the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners no longer has a chair and vice chair.

Instead, the BOCC recently adopted new titles: president and president pro tempore.

Fancy.

Here's the explanation provided by BOCC Chair, uh, President, Sallie Clark:
The Board of Commissioners has been considering a title change of leadership for several years now and the transition to a new incoming board was an appropriate time to implement. The term chair and vice chair applies to many other boards and commissions on which the commissioners participate and the the term President and President Pro Tempore is a recognizable structure for the Board of County Commissioners leadership.
Clark recently served as the president of the National Association of Counties. She didn't say this was the impetus for the idea, but just sayin'.

Examples of boards on which commissioners serve that use the titles chair and vice chair are the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department board, Pikes Peak Workforce Center board, Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments board.

This has been the case for decades, but apparently isn't working anymore.

All that said, other counties' commissions haven't seen fit to change their leadership titles, including in Boulder, Adams and Pueblo counties, to name a few.


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Tuesday, December 20, 2016

UPDATE: Local DA Dan May gets $32,000 pay raise

Posted By on Tue, Dec 20, 2016 at 3:25 PM

Dan May: Getting a healthy pay increase. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Dan May: Getting a healthy pay increase.
UPDATE: This just in from Commissioner Peggy Littleton, who cast the sole dissenting vote on the raise:

"I appreciate the DA and all of his staff and how like all El Paso County employees, they do more with less. While it is good that the DA's office is budgeting for gradual pay increases over the next four years, I felt his request was out of line."

And this just came in from May's spokesperson, Lee Richards:
The Commissioners feel the salary that they set, which is for the next 4 years, is fair and just compensation for the position of District Attorney — taking into consideration his experience, ability and responsibilities.
———- ORIGINAL POST 3:25 P.M. TUES., DEC. 20, 2016 ————

How does a $32,000 raise sound?

That's the pay bump that the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved Tuesday for District Attorney Dan May, effective Jan. 10.

May's new salary will be $215,000.

He's now paid $183,000 a year, which is shared among the state, El Paso County and Teller County. Currently, the state pays the biggest part of his salary. After the increase, El Paso County will pay the biggest portion.

Here's the pay increase resolution adopted on a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Peggy Littleton opposing it:
DanMayPayResolution.pdf
We've asked Littleton for a comment and will update when we hear back. We also asked May for a comment and will report if he gets back to us.

May worked for the DA's office for many years before seeking the office and losing to his predecessor, John Newsome. So May left and worked for the 18th Judicial District Attorney's Office for four years. He was elected to the local DA's slot in 2008, re-elected in 2012 and re-elected again to a final term on Nov. 8.

Like May, the three newly elected commissioners will see a hefty pay increase from $87,300 a year to $113,490. The raise was put in place by the Colorado General Assembly in 2015. The other two commissioners who weren't newly elected this year will remain at $87,300, but their successors will get the higher pay when they take office in January 2019.

The pay raise also applies to the treasurer, assessor and clerk and recorder positions elected after Jan. 1, 2016. The sheriff's salary was increased in 2015 by state lawmakers from  $111,000 to $144,430 for whoever wins the next sheriff race in 2018.

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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Clark bids adieu at business luncheon after 12 years

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 2:22 PM

Sallie Clark will bid the county goodbye next month. - PHOTOS BY PAM ZUBECK
  • Photos by Pam Zubeck
  • Sallie Clark will bid the county goodbye next month.
El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark took her victory lap before nearly 400 people today at a business luncheon.

Clark will leave office next month after her third four-year term, captured due to a what many felt was a deceptively-worded ballot measure approved by voters that extended term limits. It later was rolled back by voters to two, four-year terms.

Clark's speech recapped accomplishments ranging from improvements of Baptist Road, which raised money through a special district set up in 1997 and was recently dismantled, to housing initiatives, to the soon-to-begin overhaul of West Colorado Avenue commonly referred to as "No Man's Land."

Having survived the Great Recession and two major forest fires — Waldo Canyon in 2012 and Black Forest in 2013 — and the floods that followed, the region is "well positioned for continued growth and prosperity," Clark reported.

The audience generally listened quietly, but one enthusiastic moment came when Clark reminded the crowd that the Clerk and Recorder's Office had opened a branch at Fort Carson, the first of its kind in the country, which proved to be "one of the busiest polling locations" in last month's election.

Clark also recognized the following honorees:

• Economic Development Project of the Year went to the El Paso County Housing Authority for cooperating on affordable housing, including the Springs Rescue Mission campus south of downtown.

• Person of Influence went to Perry Sanders, who rehabilitated the Mining Exchange building into the Wyndham Grand Hotel and recently purchased the Antlers Hotel, where the luncheon was staged and sponsored by the Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

• Public Employee of the Year went to Roger Lovell, the Pikes Peak Regional Building Official.
Jeri Howells, second from right, with Commissioners Darryl Glenn, left, Peggy Littleton, Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark, and Mark Waller.
  • Jeri Howells, second from right, with Commissioners Darryl Glenn, left, Peggy Littleton, Dennis Hisey, Sallie Clark, and Mark Waller.
• Making a Difference Award went to former County Commissioner and Mayor of Fountain Jeri Howells, and former County Commissioner, mayor of Manitou Springs and state Insurance Commissioner Marcy Morrison.

Marcy Morrison, second from right, with county commissioners.
  • Marcy Morrison, second from right, with county commissioners.
• Elected Official of the Year went to Springs City Council President Merv Bennett.

• Clark also named all of the county commissioners she's worked with, as well as other county elected officials and a long list of staffers.

Clark will be replaced next month by Stan VanderWerf.

Dennis Hisey, who also benefitted from the short-lived term limits extension, will be replaced by Longinos Gonzalez Jr.

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Friday, December 2, 2016

Inmates riot over food

Posted By on Fri, Dec 2, 2016 at 3:32 PM

The Criminal justice Center had a riot break out last month due to inmate food, according to authorities. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The Criminal justice Center had a riot break out last month due to inmate food, according to authorities.
Bad food and short rations have inmates in an uproar, literally, with nine men charged on Thursday with crimes in connection with a Nov. 19 riot in the county jail over the food. One charge is riots in detention facilities, a Class 5 felony.

According to the affidavit, at 5:42 p.m., after one ward at the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center was served the dinner meal, "Several inmates became upset over the food portions and demanded extra food. Inmates began to yell, became angry, threatened to flood their cells, kicked open the food traps and also kicked their cell doors."

They also covered their cell windows, obstructing the view and threatened to assault staff if they came into the cells to remove the coverings, the affidavit says. The so-called rioting continued until 10:15 p.m. One deputy was struck in the chest but the extent of his injuries isn't known.

Charged were Michael Martinez, 40; Sean Hazlett, 26; Ronnie Faubush, 30; Aucus Bone, 30; Henry Bukowski, 22; Paul Myles, 26; Scott Brushwein, 24; Jonathan Hernandez, 19, and Tero Rhame, 24.

El Paso County changed contractors on Sept. 1 from Aramark Correctional Services, LLC, to Trinity Services Group, Inc. Trinity has contracts with 28 jails in the state of Colorado and untold correctional outfits across the country. The reason for the change, county officials say, is the jail food contract came up for renewal and so it was competitively bid.

In 2015, the county paid $1,890,980 to the food contractor. This year, the cost will total about $1.88 million, and next year, the county expects to pay just under $2 million.

According to a week's worth of menus obtained by the Independent, a typical breakfast consists of one cup of oatmeal, two links or patties of sausage, a biscuit, a tablespoon of jelly, one cup of a beverage and one cup of milk.

A typical lunch is three pieces of turkey salad, whose size is not specified, a hoagie roll, tortilla chips, four carrot sticks, iced cake and two cups of a beverage.

A typical dinner is comprised of one and a quarter cup of stew, a half cup of mixed vegetables, a piece of cornbread, one tablespoon of margarine, a brownie, and two cups of a beverage.

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Wednesday, November 2, 2016

UPDATE: Junk trailers ordered removed

Posted By on Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 1:16 PM

These shabby mobile units have been drawing vermin and who knows what else for nearly three years. Now they've been ordered removed. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • These shabby mobile units have been drawing vermin and who knows what else for nearly three years. Now they've been ordered removed.
UPDATE:
From the county:
The County will let the judge know that the order has been ignored and the judge will probably appoint a receiver for the property for the purposes of bringing it into compliance with the order. Alternately, he could also authorize the county remove the structures and recover its costs from the owner. Either way, we know the neighbors have put up with this situation through the long legal process but we want them to know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Hard to say if its as soon as thirty days but its certainly a lot closer to resolution.

—-ORIGINAL POST 1:15 P.M. WEDNESDAY, NOV. 2, 2016——————-

Remember the eye sore we told you about in January near Austin Bluffs Parkway? ("County squares off with a government contractor over zoning violations," Jan. 6, 2016)

Well, the shabby trailers are still there, but El Paso County has won a judgment that might force their removal.

We say might, because not everyone conforms to a judge's order. If the owners of the property fail to remove the 16 units, which have been there about 2.5 years, it's unclear what the county could do. But in similar cases, the county could hire a contractor to remove the trailers and dispose of them and file a lien against the property for the bill.

In any event, the owners have 30 days to get rid of the obnoxious deteriorating trailers. Here's the order: (There are two petitions, because there are two landowners involved.)

For Defendant Security Management:

HEREBY ENTERS THE FOLLOWING ORDER:
1. Judgment is hereby entered against Defendant Security Management and Integration Company, a Washington corporation (“Security Management”) and in favor of Plaintiff Board of County Commissioners of the County of El Paso, Colorado.

2. Defendant Security Management shall, within thirty (30) days of this Court’s order, remove from its property the modular components identified in Plaintiff’s Motion for Summary Judgment, its Brief in Support, and accompanying exhibits, which are not permitted by the El Paso County Land Development Code. In doing so, Defendant Security Management shall also remove any debris and/or rubbish from the subject property, which resulted from the modular components deteriorating over time.

3. That any failure to follow this Court’s order shall be enforced by and through contempt proceedings pursuant to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

For Defendant Miquel Avery:

IT IS THEREFORE ORDERED, ADJUDGED AND DECREED as follows:
a. Default judgment is hereby entered against Defendant Miquel Avery and in favor of Plaintiff, Board of County Commissioners of the County of El Paso, State of Colorado.

b. Outdoor storage of modular components is not permitted on the subject property pursuant to the El Paso County Land Development Code. Accordingly, Defendant Miquel Avery shall, within thirty (30) days of this Court’s order, remove all modular components from the subject property. In doing so, Defendant Miquel Avery shall also remove any debris and/or rubbish from the subject property, which resulted from the modular components deteriorating over time.

c. Plaintiff shall serve a copy of these Findings of Fact, Judgment, and Order by Certified Mail, with a Domestic Return receipt, or by personal service as provided for in Colo.R.Civ.P. 4.

d. The terms of these Findings of Fact, Judgment, and Order shall be enforced by contempt proceedings pursuant to the Colorado Rules of Civil Procedure.

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Wednesday, October 12, 2016

County proclaims "Jan Doran Day"

Posted By on Wed, Oct 12, 2016 at 3:09 PM

Jan Doran, center, stands with Commissioners Darryl Glenn, Dennis Hisey, Peggy Littleton and Mark Waller - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Jan Doran, center, stands with Commissioners Darryl Glenn, Dennis Hisey, Peggy Littleton and Mark Waller
The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners — like most governing boards — will sometimes choose to proclaim a day in honor of someone or something.

Like breast cancer survivors. Or a fallen police officer. Or — if it's the El Paso County Commissioners — the NRA. But it's rare to see a living person honored by such a proclamation for simply volunteering their time, steadily, over many years.

Jan Doran is the exception. County Commissioners proclaimed Wednesday, Oct. 12, "Jan Doran Day," in honor of her many years of service on boards in the community. Read on to learn more about what makes Doran special: 
October 12 Proclaimed Jan Doran Day in El Paso County
Neighborhood Advocate Recognized for Decades of Volunteer Service and Community Engagement


El Paso County, CO, October 11, 2016 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners during Tuesday’s regularly scheduled meeting officially Proclaimed October 12 as “Jan Doran Day” in El Paso County and urged all El Paso County residents to follow her example of community participation and engagement in local government.

The Proclamation was read into the official record by Commissioner Dennis Hisey noting, “Jan Doran grew up in a small community where everyone knew and watched out for each other and has for decades worked tirelessly to share and grow that same sense of caring and protective community throughout the Pikes Peak Region.”

Shortly after moving to El Paso County Jan Doran became a member of her homeowner’s association and then went on to serve eight years as President of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) which represents neighborhoods throughout the region. Commissioner Hisey personally thanked Doran for the help she had given him in assisting a neighborhood in his district get a better understanding of government processes to ensure that their voices were heard and concerns addressed.

The Proclamation of Jan Doran Day noted her passion for public process and helping people to understand the process in order to become responsible and fully engaged citizens. As a result of that passion, she became a charter member of the El Paso County Citizen Outreach Group (COG) and served as its Chair for many years. Under her leadership, the COG promoted and facilitated multiple “El Paso County Citizens Colleges,” through which hundreds of citizens took learned about El Paso County government, meet with County leaders and visited county facilities.

“You have built a legacy by sharing your knowledge and expertise with others and that is a true mark of leadership,” said Commissioner Peggy Littleton. “You have spread your tentacles far and wide duplicating and replicating yourself in others who are now better equipped to be effective and engaged citizens.”

“You have been a role model,” said Commissioner Vice-Chair Darryl Glenn, “when it comes to bringing communities together and finding thoughtful ways to talk through the issues.”

"Jan Doran is an incredible role model for others to follow in volunteerism", said Board Chair Commissioner Sallie Clark. "She has been able to effectively work with neighborhoods and local government to find solutions to complex issues. Jan is respected for her ability to advocate and find common ground at all policy levels. I cannot imagine anyone more deserving of this recognition

“I am deeply honored and also greatly surprised by the Proclamation of Jan Doran Day in El Paso County on October 12, 2016. Thank you for all the accolades and appreciations that you personally expressed and outlined in the Proclamation,” Doran told Commissioners. Over the years it has always been a pleasure to volunteer for the various Boards and Commissions in El Paso County. I have learned so much about County government from so many wonderful people and enjoyed the challenges each opportunity presented.”

The Council of Neighbors and Organizations (CONO) will read the County Proclamation as it honors Jan Doran during its annual meeting on October 12, 2016, Jan Doran Day in El Paso County.

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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

UPDATE: Citizens Service Center reopens

Posted By on Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 12:00 PM

The Citizens Service Center has reopened and all offices are operating on their regular schedules.

The county also offered this reassurance:

The County has received several calls from concerned citizens who are worried that they may face a property tax penalty because they were unable to make their tax payments today which is normally the last day to make the second payment for those who choose the two payment option for paying property taxes.

The County Treasurer wants everyone to know that the August 31 deadline to pay without penalty will be extended to tomorrow because of the unexpected office closure due to the water line break. There will be no penalty on tax payments made tomorrow when the office reopens.

——- ORIGINAL POST, WEDNESDAY, 12 P.M. ——-
If you are thinking of heading to the El Paso County Citizens Service Center today, don't. It's closed due to a water main break. 
Underground Water Leak Forces Closure of El Paso County Citizens Service Center
All Offices and Agencies Located at CSC Will Close Contractors Working on Repairs


El Paso County, CO, August 31, 2016 – Due to an underground water main break, all El Paso County administrative and elected administrative offices and affiliated agencies, located in the Citizens Service Center at 1675 West Garden of the Gods Road will be closed for the remainder of today. This closure includes El Paso County Department of Human Services, Clerk and Recorder, Public Health, the Pikes Peak Workforce Center, El Paso County Treasurer and County Assessor.

Branch offices of the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder which are not located at the Citizens Service Center will continue to provide all customary services.

El Paso County Public Works has determined that large underground service line has broken. Although it has not been determined at this time, the water supply line may have been undermined during recent heavy rainstorms and high water flows in adjacent drainage channels.

A contractor is on site now and will be working overnight, if needed, to restore normal operations as quickly as possible.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Flooded basements, piles of hail and zombies

Posted By on Tue, Aug 30, 2016 at 1:36 PM


OK, I want to talk about two things:

1) ZOMBIES!!!

2) Those two crazy storms we had Monday and Sunday that wiped out everyone's gardens, sent cars floating down the street, piled hail in people's yards deep enough to consider building snowmen, and made me really glad I don't have a basement.

What do these two things have in common? Well, actually not a whole lot. But El Paso County does host a really fun Annual Zombie Run and PrepareAthon (it's coming up on September 24) in which you are chased around by people dressed as zombies and then taught about preparing for disasters. 

The basic premise here is that if you don't know how to save yourself when a natural disaster is threatening your life then you are sort of like a zombie. Which is bad. And dangerous.

Anyway, if you want to learn some strategies to save yourself from the next major Colorado disaster and also get chased by people wearing a lot of fake blood, then you should read this:

The 4th Annual Zombie Run and PrepareAthon is Set for Sept. 24
Emergency Preparedness the Focal Point of the Event


El Paso County, CO, August 29, 2016 – El Paso County’s Bear Creek Regional Park will host the 4th Annual Zombie Run and PrepareAthon on Saturday, Sept. 24, to promote emergency preparedness.

“The PrepareAthon is not just a fun zombie run, but an event for entire families,” said County Commissioner Peggy Littleton. Littleton reminds area residents that emergency preparedness is a matter of personal responsibility because emergencies frequently cutoff communications and disrupt travel. “It is our personal responsibility to know what to do when You're On Your Own, YOYO. We each are the first responders to any event—fire, flood, power failure—and we need to be well informed and prepared.” Everyone is invited to join the zombies as children make preparedness pillowcases, Boy Scouts demonstrate how to 'live off the grid' and others provide education and tools to be prepared.”

The annual 3K run and PrepareAthon encourages local residents to understand the importance of being prepared for emergencies like the fires, flash flooding and blizzards the Pikes Peak region has seen in recent years. At home, at work, or at school, residents need to have their own specific emergency plans. The family friendly PrepareAthon offers everyone an opportunity to talk with emergency responders and vendors and learn more about emergency preparedness establishing personal emergency plans.

“The whole family can have free fun and become better prepared at the same time,” said Robin Adair, El Paso County Community Preparedness and CERT coordinator. “Everyone will find a valuable takeaway, if you’ve already well-prepared and want to take it to the next level, or if you’re just starting to pack your first emergency kit.”

The Zombie Run is a traditional 3K with minor obstacles and zombies. The runners will wear “life flags,” similar to flag football. The fully costumed zombies try to steal the flags from the runners as they move along the trail. Runners who lose flags must correctly answer emergency preparedness questions to get their life flags back. For those who like a little more fun, they can also modify their traditional running apparel to dress as zombies.

Zombie Run and PrepareAthon
Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016
Pre Registration is required for runners and zombies.
Register at www.PikesPeakZombieRun.com

Cost:

$30 for the 3K Run/Walk: Early Bird and Team discounts available.
You can also register to participate as a zombie to chase the runners for $10.

A commemorative event t-shirt is included in your registration fee.

Time: The first of multiple heats begins at 10 a.m.

Location: Bear Creek Regional Park, 2002 Creek Crossing, Colorado Springs.
The event is on the east side of the park near the Park’s Office and community garden.

Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=psnPVLKwmYs

PrepareAthon: is free, open to the public, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
No need to be a runner or a zombie to enjoy the PrepareAthon.
Family activities, information, & demonstrations to include:

• Emergency Responders, Vehicles, and Equipment
(fire trucks, bulldozer, bug-out car)
• Personal and Family Readiness for Disaster
• Off-grid camping and survival demonstrations
• Disaster First Aid
• Fire escape planning smoke demonstration trailer
• Backup and portable power alternatives
• Preparedness supplies and gear (plus zombie novelty items)
• Animal Readiness for domestic pets & livestock (plus petting zoo)
• Readiness Activities for children (with take-home kit)
• Community Emergency Response Team
• Community Gardeners
• Games and prizes (free stuff!)
• Hands-on Fire extinguisher practice (real flames)
Food Trucks on site

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Monday, August 8, 2016

Elder holds court with media

Posted By on Mon, Aug 8, 2016 at 5:40 PM

Sheriff Bill Elder - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Sheriff Bill Elder
El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder hosted a pizza lunch with the media Monday and discussed topics ranging from staffing to the murder investigation of Tom Clements.

Asked about the "Fight Club" investigation in the Criminal Justice Center, Elder said a internal affairs probe is underway of a situation he disputed as similar to the movie of that name. He said more interviews are being conducted before the investigation concludes in two to three weeks. He said he won't make the entire IA report public, but something will be released.

Sources have described a game inside the jail in which detention deputies kept score of how many inmates they could brutalize and get away with it. One former deputy told the Independent he reported what he viewed as "a lot of deputies' use of force" but his concerns were dismissed.

"A lot of deputies are there who just want to go to that next step and fight somebody," the source said.

As for the Clements murder investigation, Elder said it's still active in coordination with more than a dozen agencies, including the FBI, CBI, ATF and Denver Police Department, but that the investigation has unearthed "no evidence that anyone other than Evan Ebel was involved in the homicide."

Clements, Colorado Department of Corrections director, was shot dead March 19, 2013, at his front door in Black Forest by Ebel, who had days before been released from prison. Ebel was believed to be part of the 211 Crew, a prison gang.

Elder told other law enforcement officials earlier this year he was preparing to close the investigation, but Gov. John Hickenlooper intervened, and the case remains open.

Elder told media Monday to be mindful that every time a story appears regarding the case, "It's like tearing off a scab" to the family. Clements left a wife and two daughters.

Pressed by a Denver Post reporter, Elder insisted, "There's no evidence that anyone but Evan Ebel killed Tom Clements."

Theories abound about who might have helped Ebel kill Clements and about a so-called hit list found in Ebel's car after he was killed in a shootout with authorities in Texas two days after the Clements murder. The Post previously reported:
• A federal official who had no dealings with Ebel said he was named on a hit list found in Ebel’s black Cadillac DeVille two days after Clements was killed on March 19, 2013.

• Another government official said Ebel’s hit list contained the names of more than 20 officials — far higher than previously known.

• That same source said one official on the hit list is concerned about the lack of information coming from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department, the lead investigative agency in the Clements case.

On other topics, Elder said he's starting to meet with other officials about whether to seek voter approval to renew the sheriff's tax, which was approved by voters in 2012 to last eight years. Those discussions include steps the department could take to "wean us off" the total of at least $17 million a year raised by the tax.

Elder said of the 195 people hired in 2013 and 2014 with that tax money, 28 percent left for a variety of reasons, including the family moved away, they left law enforcement for other lines of work, or they took higher-paying law enforcement jobs elsewhere.

He said he's devised new practices he hopes will reduce attrition, including better training supervision and increasing pay for jailers.

Elder also noted that while law enforcement agencies across the country average about 14 percent women, his department is comprised of 21 percent women.


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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

UPDATE: Recount of District 4 race completed. Results unchanged.

Posted By on Tue, Jul 26, 2016 at 2:44 PM

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has completed the recount paid for by the campaign of El Paso County Board of County Commissioners District 4 candidate Scott Turner. The results of the race remained unchanged, meaning Turner lost the race by 34 votes.

In a press release, Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman said he was proud that the results held.

“We’re always happy to complete our work on behalf of our citizens, and the recount requested by Mr. Turner is no different,” he stated. “It’s important for voters to have confidence in election results, especially in close races. I’m proud of the work my staff did in completing this recount—including a retesting of the counting machines to ensure accuracy—a day and a half earlier than allotted by law.”

Turner, likewise, emailed a press release about the results, stating:

I would like to thank the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s office for their time and effort in validating the primary election results. They hold themselves to the highest standards and perform with efficiency and professionalism.

I would like to formally congratulate Mr. Gonzalez on his primary victory and wish him good fortune in the general election. I’m sure he will serve the people of our district well.

——- ORIGINAL POST, JULY 19, 2:15 P.M. ——-
Scott Turner - FILE
  • FILE
  • Scott Turner

El Paso County Board of County Commissioners
District 4 candidate Scott Turner will pay for  a recount of the Republican primary election votes in his race, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office has announced.

Turner lost the race to Longinos Gonzalez Jr. by just 34 votes. An automatic recount would have been triggered only if the difference in vote totals had been 18 or fewer votes. Because an automatic recount was not triggered, Turner will pay for the cost of the recount.
screen_shot_2016-07-19_at_1.55.20_pm.png
Longinos Gonzalez - FILE
  • FILE
  • Longinos Gonzalez
"We were very close to just walking away from it," Turner says over the phone. 

The candidate says he discussed pursuing a recount with family, friends and supporters. He says he's received many phone calls urging him to pursue the recount. While he believes that the clerk's office is very capable, he says the count was so close that it "seemed like a recount was appropriate."

 "I didn't want to go to sleep for the rest of my life thinking I coulda, woulda, shoulda," Turner says.
 
A friend offered to foot the bill for the recount, and Turner agreed. Turner says if he is not the victor after the recount, he will likely focus his energy on supporting other candidates, including Republican U.S. Senate candidate Darryl Glenn

Here is the release from the clerk's office:
Clerk to Conduct Candidate Requested Recount for County Commissioner District 4

[Colorado Springs, Colo. – July 19, 2016] The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder’s Office has received a formal request from candidate Scott Turner to recount the ballots for the County Commissioner District 4 race in the Republican Party Primary Election. The final results for this race did not meet the threshold set in Colorado law to trigger an automatic recount. The cost to conduct the recount will not be at taxpayers’ expense, therefore, but will be paid by the candidate who requested the recount.

The final official election results as certified by the bipartisan Canvass Board show 34 votes separating the two candidates for the Commissioner District 4 race. That vote margin is nearly twice the amount required by statute (C.R.S. 1-10.5-106) for an automatic recount in that race, which would have been 18 votes.

“This request for a paid recount by a candidate is the first in our recent institutional memory,” said Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman. “Our Elections staff will conduct the recount for the candidate, with their skilled expertise and resolve.”

The machines used for the election processing will be tested again prior to conducting the recount. The election equipment undergoes extensive testing before and after every election and passes with 100% accuracy.

After the equipment testing is complete, the ballot recount will begin on Friday, July 22, and should be concluded within a few days. It is not anticipated that the recount will change the results.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Waller is new District 2 county commissioner

Posted By on Tue, Jul 19, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Mark Waller was sworn in this morning. - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Mark Waller was sworn in this morning.

The fight is over for Mark Waller.

The District 2 El Paso County Commissioner candidate won the primary for his seat in June, and didn't face an opponent in the November election. Then, this morning, he was sworn into the position early after being selected by a Republican vacancy committee to fill the seat that Amy Lathen exited early. Lathen is now leading Colorado Springs Forward. 

Waller, an attorney, previously served as a state representative in House District 15 from 2009-2014. He served as both Assistant House Majority Leader and House Minority Leader during his tenure. 
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