County Gov

Monday, July 18, 2016

Sallie Clark to address national groups in Cleveland

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 2:19 PM

Clark will speak on streets and storm drains. - EL PASO COUNTY
  • EL PASO COUNTY
  • Clark will speak on streets and storm drains.
Darryl Glenn isn't the only local making an appearance at a national event this week. He is speaking Monday night at the Republican National Convention.

El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, outgoing president of the National Association of Counties, is speaking Tuesday at a briefing and luncheon in Cleveland, sponsored by the association and the National League of Cities. She's served as president for the past year.

Other speakers include former Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, Oklahoma City Mayor Mick Cornett and Fort Worth Mayor Betsy Price. The luncheon focuses on infrastructure needs across the country.

Clark finishes her third and final term on the county commission next January.

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Friday, July 8, 2016

Longinos Gonzalez has won the District 4 primary

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:03 AM

Longinos Gonzalez Jr. - COURRTESY LONGINOS GONZALEZ JR.
  • Courrtesy Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
  • Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
Longinos Gonzalez Jr. is the Republican nominee for the District 4 El Paso County Commissioner seat, according to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

The announcement came Thursday, following a squeaker of a race in the June 28 primary. Final vote tallies show that Gonzalez prevailed over his rival, Scott Turner, 3,450 votes to 3,416 votes. The gap was too large to require an automatic recount. (The gap would have had to be 18 votes or less to require that move.)

Via an email to the Independent, Gonzalez says he's glad the race is finally over.

"It was a long nervous week, but I just wanted to again thank the grassroots effort, especially those that supported me, helped me campaign, and prayed for me," he writes. "I am tremendously grateful for their efforts. Our race showed how important every person's vote is, and I hope that will motivate even more people to participate in our election process in the years to come."

Turner, meanwhile, told the Indy via email that he was disappointed:

Yes this is difficult but it is also part of our process and as such must be respected. All votes matter, as you never know what the results will be until they are counted. I’m more disappointed that only 6866 people out of a registered voting population of 22,573 took the time to vote for the one office that directly affects each and every one of them. What that really means is that 15.3% of the registered republican voters actually voted for the winner, and only 50 people out of 22,573, (.0022%) actually made the decision for the rest of the population. Every vote counts in every race, our country was founded on principals of representative government, to let the people have a say in our republic and our communities. It is unfortunate that we have reached such a high level of apathy.

I would like to congratulate my opponent and do wish him well. He has a big job ahead of him and the people are looking to him to do the right thing for them and their community. He needs to remember that the people of District 4 did the voting, and it is those people he has a responsibility to serve.
 You can read more about the two candidates here.

Gonzalez will face Democrat Elizabeth Rosenbaum in November for the District 4 seat, which pays over $113,000 a year. The office is currently held by the term-limited Dennis Hisey, who endorsed Turner in the primary.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

The county has a new engineer. Here is why you should care.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 6:32 AM

Jennifer Irvine - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Jennifer Irvine

Police and firefighters get all the glory. The county engineer? Yeah, not so much.

Chances are you don't even know who the county engineer is or what she does, let alone that her work keeps you safe every day.

In short, the county engineer ensures the safety of infrastructure like stormwater systems, utilities, and roads. It may not be sexy stuff, but it sure is important.

André Brackin was the El Paso County Engineer for 20 years until he retired in May. 

At the time of his retirement, then-El Paso County Commissioner Chair Amy Lathen noted in a press release that Brackin was, “instrumental in the execution of initiatives that have greatly benefitted the citizens of El Paso County, including: the development of 1041 permit process, the adoption of stormwater drainage and utilities placement specifications and requirements and the establishment of countywide transportation impact assessments for new development.” 

Jennifer Irvine, who joined the county as Engineering Services Manager and Project Management Supervisor in 2000, was appointed to serve as interim county engineer at that point. This week, she was given the job permanently, becoming the first female El Paso County Engineer. 

“She has shown excellent engineering, leadership and mentoring skills,” County Administrator Henry Yankowski said at a county meeting. “She has excelled in financial, budget and program management, and she has been a leader in regional collaboration. The big bonus to the County is the institutional knowledge she brings to the position. She knows not only what has been done in the past, but the why."
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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Colorado Springs Forward endorses VanderWerf

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 2:02 PM

Stan VanderWerf
  • Stan VanderWerf
Colorado Springs Forward is endorsing Stan VanderWerf for District 3 El Paso County Commissioner. VanderWerf is the owner and president of two companies: Advanced Capitol LLC, an aerospace defense consulting firm, and CEM-Tek USA, a 3D printing company. The seat is currently held by term-limited Sallie Clark. 

CSF previously endorsed former Colorado House Minority Leader Mark Waller for the District 2 race and Scott Turner, a retired banker with experience on many community and governmental boards, in the District 4 race. All are Republicans.

The Political Action Committee of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs, another influencer in local elections, previously announced its endorsements of Waller, VanderWerf, and Turner. [Not sure what district you're in? Check the map here.] 

In related news, County Commissioner Amy Lathen recently announced that she would leave office early to take the helm as executive director of Colorado Springs Forward. Lathen's planned July 11 exit means that a vacancy committee will pick a replacement to fill her District 2 seat, following the June primary election. Given that there is no Democrat in the race, it seems likely that the winner of the Republican primary will be chosen.


Colorado Springs Forward announces

El Paso County Commissioner District 3 endorsement

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., May 24, 2016 – With three veteran county commissioners retiring from the board due to term limits, the November elections will be crucial for the future of El Paso County. Colorado Springs Forward (CSF) is grateful for the long record of community service by Commissioners Sallie Clark, Dennis Hisey and Amy Lathen.

After extensive discussions with Stan VanderWerf and Karen Cullen – both candidates for El Paso County Commissioner in District 3 – Colorado Springs Forward is satisfied that both of these individuals have shown a deep understanding of business development throughout the region and the impacts of sound, local public policy.

The CSF board of directors believes that both of these candidates are strong choices for the citizens of District 3 and represent the pillars embraced by Colorado Springs Forward.

However, CSF’s board is most pleased with the significant and diverse experience as well as the depth of knowledge shown by VanderWerf. His history of leadership and ability to articulate sound principles, which support economic development, have led CSF to endorse his candidacy for County Commissioner District 3.

“We appreciate Stan VanderWerf’s thorough research into local issues which are impacting the community right now and will continue to impact it long into the future,” said Lynette Crow-Iverson, chairwoman of the CSF board of directors. “We feel he is the best choice to influence local policy and business development.”

In February, Colorado Springs Forward endorsed Mark Waller for El Paso County Commissioner District 2, and Scott Turner for El Paso County Commissioner District 4.

ABOUT COLORADO SPRINGS FORWARD

Colorado Springs Forward is a non-profit, broad-based alliance of people and organizations that care deeply about and are committed to the success of the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs Forward was formed by a group of community leaders in April 2014, to re-establish Colorado Springs as the most inviting and respected city in which to live, work and play. Board members include: Lynette Crow-Iverson (Chair), Phil Lane, Kathy Loo, Douglas Stimple, Jariah Walker, and Tom Neppl.

Colorado Springs Forward’s mission is to unite the citizens, communities and organizations of the Pikes Peak region to educate, collaborate and coordinate so that, together, they can effectively address the challenges and opportunities faced by our region. They will lead with words and actions, with a sense of urgency, so that together we can reach our full potential and an excellent quality of life. For more information, visit ColoradoSpringsForward.org.



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Fountain mobile home residents to be relocated

Posted By on Wed, May 25, 2016 at 12:03 PM

Bud Calhoun points to the creek's eroding banks. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Bud Calhoun points to the creek's eroding banks.

Back in January, I wrote about the Riverside Mobile Home Park in Fountain

Owned by Bud Calhoun, the aging park sits on a 30-foot cliff overlooking Fountain Creek. Most of the residents are in their golden years, and the homes provide affordable living in a spectacular setting. Calhoun, who is in his 80s, loves walking his dog through the golden fields here and looking out across the water and the open plains. 

The problem with Riverside is that it sits on unstable ground. The creek is eating away at the ground underneath it, causing chunks of land to collapse over time. And a large flood could endanger the residents here. 

"Erosion along Fountain Creek has been undercutting the bank leading up to the mobile home park for a number of years," the county reports. "The September 2013 flood brought the streambank unacceptably close to the mobile homes above. El Paso County initiated the grant application process and began meeting with residents in 2015 to discuss safety concerns and possible options to assist them."

El Paso County wanted to help the residents here to move to safer ground and sought grants through the state to do so. Now it appears they have been successful.

Earlier this month, the director of the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, Irv Halter, accepted the recommendation from the State Housing Board into approve the county's grant application. That first batch of money will be used to relocated the residents of Riverside to new affordable housing. The moves should be complete in about three months.

The county is also asking for money to buy property in the area and to do mitigation work on the creek.
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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Lathen leaving BOCC early to head C.S. Forward

Posted By on Thu, May 19, 2016 at 5:13 PM

Lathen: hanging up her government hat for a eco-devo job. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Lathen: hanging up her government hat for a eco-devo job.
El Paso County Commissioner Amy Lathen has taken a job with Colorado Springs Forward and will resign her office on July 11, the nonprofit said in a news release this afternoon.

Lathen, an unsuccessful candidate for Colorado Springs mayor last year, is paid $87,300 a year as a commissioner. Her pay at CSF was not disclosed.

CSF is a politically active group, formed a few years ago, whose political action committee backed John Suthers for mayor.

Lathen could have sought another term as commissioner but chose not to run.  Lathen is prevented from seeking another term by term limits.

Springs City Council legislative analyst Tim Geitner and former state Rep. Mark Waller are vying for the Republican nomination in Lathen's commissioner district. That race will be decided at the June 28 primary election.

Democrat Michael Seraphin had mounted a campaign in District 2 but shut down his bid after finding out he didn't declare as a Democrat soon enough to be placed on the ballot.

Lathen's replacement for the final six months of her term as county commissioner will be chosen by a vacancy committee comprised of Republican precinct people in District 2, who number about 90 to 100. The appointment must take place within 10 days of her resignation date or Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, would appoint her successor, according to El Paso County Republican Party executive Daniel Cole.

The obvious appointee will be the primary winner.

Here's the CFS press release about Lathen:
Colorado Springs Forward is pleased to announce that Amy Lathen will take the helm as executive director in July. Since 2008, Lathen has served on the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners, for District 2. Currently, she is chair of the board, and for the past seven years has served as chair, vice-chair and third commissioner.

In order to give the vacancy committee sufficient time to prepare, she will resign from the county on July 11, after the June 28 primary election. This ensures that voters’ voices in District 2 will be heard – and the vacancy committee will be guided by the electorate when making the appointment. She is resigning six months early to lead Colorado Springs Forward.

“It has been an extraordinary privilege to serve the citizens of El Paso County for nearly a decade,” Lathen said.
“I look forward to bringing more success and prosperity to the Pikes Peak region by helping private-sector economic development through Colorado Springs Forward.”

Amy Lathen’s accomplishments with El Paso County
During her time with the county, El Paso County’s credit rating with Standard and Poor’s and Moody’s was increased twice. Lathen chaired the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, founded the El Paso County Groundwater Quality Study group, co-hosted the Regional Stormwater Taskforce/Steering Committee in 2012, increased the amount of Road and Bridge dollars for District 2 (through reprioritization of existing funds), founded the Barriers to Business group, and increased the County’s Sunshine Review rating for transparency to an A+, to name just a few accomplishments.

“Although we’ve had great success over the past few years, there is still plenty of work to do. We are thrilled to have Amy Lathen and excited to work with a full-time executive director to accomplish our goals around elections and a vibrant economy,” said Lynette Crow-Iverson, chairwoman of the CSF board of directors.

“With her extraordinary experience in this region and expertise in legislative policy development, Amy will be a powerful force for enacting positive economic changes in this community.”

Recent accomplishments and activities of Colorado Springs Forward
CSF had been instrumental in supporting Measure 2C, which passed in November, allocating 0.62 percent of sales tax for five years to repair roads, and Measure 2D, which also passed and allowed the city to retain $2.1 million in excess revenue above the TABOR cap, to invest in repairing local trails and parks sidewalks.

Acting as the governing board of Colorado Springs Utilities, the Colorado Springs City Council has been going through a public process to consider a separate board of directors to govern the multi-million-dollar municipally owned utility.

Colorado Springs Forward supports and provides public awareness for the creation of a separate board to govern the Colorado Springs Utilities, believing as the city continues to grow, that City Council and the utility functions both merit their own focused oversight.

CSF also believes any new separate board should be given the appropriate level of authority to do their job for the utility – most specifically both responsibility for their budget and for the setting of utility rates.

In addition, one of CSF’s functions is to encourage effective leadership. In the past 18 months, CSF endorsed John Suthers for mayor; Merv Bennett, Tom Strand and Jariah Walker for City Council; Scott Turner for El Paso County Commissioner District 4; and Mark Waller for El Paso County Commissioner District 2. (To date, CSF has not endorsed a candidate for District 3.)

The future for Colorado Springs Forward
With the advent of Lathen’s leadership as a full-time executive director, CSF will be able to strengthen its position in the community to help shape public policy that will benefit the region economically and politically.
ABOUT COLORADO SPRINGS FORWARD

Colorado Springs Forward is a non-profit, broad-based alliance of people and organizations that care deeply about and are committed to the success of the Pikes Peak region. Colorado Springs Forward was formed by a group of community leaders in April 2014, to re-establish Colorado Springs as the most inviting and respected city in which to live, work and play. Board members include: Lynette Crow-Iverson (Chair), Phil Lane, Kathy Loo, Douglas Stimple, Jariah Walker, and Tom Neppl.

Colorado Springs Forward’s mission is to unite the citizens, communities and organizations of the Pikes Peak region to educate, collaborate and coordinate so that, together, they can effectively address the challenges and opportunities faced by our region. They will lead with words and actions, with a sense of urgency, so that together we can reach our full potential and an excellent quality of life.

For more information, visit ColoradoSpringsForward.org

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

UPDATE: Chief deputy leaving law enforcement

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 4:38 PM

Todd Evans is hanging up his gun. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Todd Evans is hanging up his gun.
UPDATE: Fountain City Manager Scott Trainor says Todd Evans' salary will be $120,000.

Evans tells us in a voice mail received late yesterday: "It's a great opportunity for me to take police administration and increase it with city administration. I don't have a whole lot to prove in law enforcement. Great opportunities are few and far between."

—-ORIGINAL POST 4:38 P.M. MAY 17, 2016—-

Sheriff's Chief Deputy Todd Evans
has resigned to accept the job of deputy city administrator at the city of Fountain.

Evans had joined the El Paso County Sheriff's Office about a year ago after serving as Fountain Police Chief for several years, with Sheriff Bill Elder as his contracted deputy chief before Elder was elected sheriff and took office in late 2014.

At the county, Evans was paid $118,000 a year. His pay at city of Fountain wasn't immediately available. His resignation is effective June 1 and he starts vacation time on Friday, says Sheriff's Office spokesperson Jackie Kirby.

"It was a much better opportunity for he and his family," Kirby says.

Asked if Elder will replace Evans, she says, "At this time, no. They're going to take his duties and spread them around while the sheriff decides which direction he wants to go."



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Monday, April 4, 2016

Tyler Stevens bags El Paso County commission bid

Posted By on Mon, Apr 4, 2016 at 4:26 PM

Tyler Stevens is throwing in the towel. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Tyler Stevens is throwing in the towel.
Former Green Mountain Falls mayor Tyler Stevens has scrapped his bid for the District 3 seat on the El Paso County Commission.

Stevens failed to gather the 2,958 signatures needed by the deadline, which was today, to secure a spot on the June 28 primary election ballot.

That means Karen Cullen, who petitioned on, and Stan VanderWerf, who prevailed at the March 26 county assembly, will face off at the primary to fill the seat being vacated by Sallie Clark who is barred by term limits from seeking anoather term. Stevens has endorsed VanderWerf.

Here's Stevens' announcement:
Tyler Stevens suspends his candidacy for El Paso County Commissioner District 3.

The Elect Tyler Stevens Campaign team and supporters put forth a tremendous effort to get Tyler elected. Unfortunately, our petition gathering folks failed to deliver adequate valid signatures by today’s deadline. Without sufficient valid signatures, it is not possible to get on the Republican Primary ballot.

“It is with great disappointment that I suspend my campaign. I had tremendous support from the region, and my campaign team was positioned for success, therefore I am deeply saddened to have had this opportunity taken away from the voters. It was an honor to be a candidate for this important office. I look forward to our region’s future and continuing to serve our community. I thank my family, friends and supporters who went forward with me on this journey.” Stevens said.
VanderWerf gets Stevens' vote. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • VanderWerf gets Stevens' vote.
Said Jake Zambrano, a consultant brought on to help organize the signature effort: "Tyler and his team are talented people, he's a fantastic candidate, and they ran a great race. Very rarely do you see so much energy for a candidate when talking to voters in the community, unfortunately we came up short."

Tyler is honored to support Stan VanderWerf in the primary election for El Paso County Commissioner District 3 and invites his supporters to join in supporting him. "Stan is an experienced and capable leader, who will make a great County Commissioner." Stevens stated.


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Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Cullen makes primary ballot

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2016 at 10:21 AM

Cullen is on the ballot. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Cullen is on the ballot.
Karen Cullen is guaranteed a spot on the June 28 primary election ballot, Cullen told the Independent Wednesday morning.

Cullen is seeking the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners seat now held by Sallie Clark, who is prevented by term limits from seeking a fourth term.(Clark won her third term after she advocated for tricky ballot language submitted to voters some years back that sought to allow her and other county officials to seek a third, four-year term by asking voters whether the officials should be "limited" to three four-year terms. After voters realized the ruse, they campaigned to roll back that measure and did so. Commissioners now are limited to two four-year terms.)

As reported in today's Independent, Cullen is a businesswoman and volunteer. She says the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office verified 3,251 signatures on her petitions; 2,958 were needed.

From today's story: "It was great neighborhood outreach," Cullen says. "We knocked on 18,000 doors. It was an exciting process." The last commissioner election in that district drew about 14,800 votes, so Cullen feels she's got noteworthy support and notes Clark, County Treasurer Mark Lowderman and County Assessor Steve Schleiker have endorsed her. Her first campaign finance report is due in June.

Other candidates seeking the District 3 seat sought by Cullen include Jarred Rego, Tyler Stevens, Rodney Gehrett,  Javier Mazzetti, and Stan Vanderwerf. Of those five, all but Stevens are seeking a primary ballot spot through this Saturday's Republican County Assembly. Stevens, like Cullen, is petitioning onto the ballot.


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Monday, March 14, 2016

UPDATE: El Paso County: expanding again?

Posted By on Mon, Mar 14, 2016 at 4:54 PM

The county's health department building has sat idle for several years. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • The county's health department building has sat idle for several years.
UPDATE: Here's an explanation of this project from the county's communications chief Dave Rose:

This RFP represents the first step in the Sheriff's Office and CSPD working together to explore the possibility of a regional call center and combined evidence storage facility. It is seeking proposals from outside architectural/engineering experts to help the County and the City determine the suitability of the South Union property and whether or not either of the existing buildings on the site could be repurposed for these purposes.

By way of background: The Sheriff's Office, CSPD, and many other law enforcement agencies are seeing greatly increased volumes of calls in their call centers, driven at least partially by cell phone technology. In the past hundreds of motorists would drive around a traffic accident at a busy intersection and only a few would bother to stop at the next phone booth to call for help; today everyone calls and its not uncommon for local 9-1-1 centers to bog down with dozens or even hundreds of reports on the same emergency creating huge "peaks" in call volumes. To the extent that a high call volume event will usually hit one call and dispatch center (either the Sheriff's Office or CSPD) much harder than the other a combined regional center could be a highly efficient in spreading peak call volume out over more dispatchers.

Similarly, new crime analysis and testing technology has prompted new laws requiring law enforcement agencies to keep certain types of evidence for decades greatly increasing the amount of evidence storage capacity needed. In terms of evidence storage, there is no difference between a crime investigated by the Sheriff's Office and one investigated by CSPD; both are prosecuted by District Attorney's Office and go to trial at the county courthouse. I believe the Police Chief is pretty much "on the record" with everyone in indicating that evidence storage is rapidly becoming a critical need for CSPD and the Sheriff's Office also sees a need for expanded storage in the not too distant future.

With that background - the RFP represents a sincere effort on behalf of the Sheriff and the Police Chief to explore the possibility of using an existing publicly owned property, with arguably a very good location (near CSPD, EPSO, Coroner, DA and Courts) for to meet these needs.

I haven't heard much about possible financing options. Those discussion will be more relevant after a firm selected in response to this RFP completes its assessment and reports its findings. 
———ORIGINAL POST MONDAY, MARCH 14, 2016, 4:54 P.M.———————

Remember the old El Paso County Health Department building at 301-305 S. Union Blvd.?

It's been vacant for some time after the county moved the health department and other operations from there and elsewhere to the Citizens Service Center, 1675 Garden of the Gods Road, some years back in a massive $62 million  "Strategic Moves" initiative, started in 2011. That initiative saw the county expand its real estate holdings by buying a vacant high-tech building and moving most county functions from the downtown area to the northwest side of town.

Well, now the county apparently needs more room yet.

In a bid announcement, it outlines plans for the old health department building on Union:
The El Paso County Public Services Department is seeking proposals from qualified experienced architectural/engineering (A/E) firms interested in providing design/real property development services for El Paso County property located at 301/305 South Union Boulevard, Colorado Springs, CO 80910. El Paso County and the City of Colorado Springs are interested in developing this property. The property is envisioned to become a regional 911 communication operations center and evidence holding facility for the El Paso County Sheriff, the District Attorney, and the City of Colorado Springs Police Department. Options range from upgrading the existing facilities to complete removal of the existing facilities and new construction. El Paso County will receive proposals from firms interested in presenting their concepts for the widest range of functionality and overall best use of the property. The services that may be included but are not limited to providing building analysis, finish design, and cost estimating. The County reserves the right to award contract to the highest ranked firm if such is deemed to be in the best interest of the County. 
We've asked the county to provide more information, such as how much this project will cost and where the money will come from, and we'll update when we hear something. It came as a bit of shock to find the bid solicitation, considering the city has boasted about its own communications center, as stated on the city's website:

Welcome to the homepage of the Colorado Springs Police and Fire Department's combined communications center. The Colorado Springs Public Safety Communications Center is a state of the art facility that is responsible for answering 911 calls as well as non-emergency calls for police, fire, and medical services with-in the City of Colorado Springs. In addition, we also answer all 911 cell phone calls in El Paso County.

The Center has the added responsibility of monitoring and dispatching police and fire field units to calls for service.

In 2014 the Communications Center was reaccredited by the International Academy of Emergency Dispatch. This process is voluntary and must show compliance with the Academy’s “20 Points of Excellence.” The center retained its status as an Accredited Center of Excellence for another three years. The Communications Center has held this impressive title since January of 1998.
The city's communications center apparently doesn't handle 911 calls for the CSPD, and the renovated building or new building, whichever is decided upon, also would provide evidence storage. Both the city and county have mentioned a shortage of evidence space, and the city in 2006 had quite a little scandal about the destruction of evidence that shouldn't have been trashed.

Deadline for bids is March 31.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Get your fracking facts right

Posted By on Wed, Feb 17, 2016 at 12:54 PM

FILE
  • FILE
No drilling for oil and gas has been done in El Paso County since 2014, and only one site was fracked, according to the Board of El Paso County Commissioners.

The county sent a press release Wednesday in hopes of clarifying those points for residents, as well as one other: NextEra Energy is the company behind the controversial wind farm near Calhan. NexGen Oil and Gas is one of the companies that has drilled in the county. They are separate companies with similar names.

BoCC Report Confirms: No Oil and Gas Drilling Activity in El Paso County Since 2014

Total of Seven Test Wells Were Drilled 2011 – 2014 None Since and Fracking Was Used On Only One


El Paso County, CO., February 17, 2016 – During its regularly scheduled meeting on Tuesday February 16, 2016 the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) received a report indicating that it has been nearly two years since the last exploratory drilling for oil and gas was done in El Paso County.

Senior Assistant County Attorney Diana May, who is the El Paso County local government designee through the Colorado Oil and Gas Commission permitting process, reported that a total of seven test wells were drilled in the County from 2011 - 2014 and the “fracking” process was used at only one of those sites. May reported that there has been no exploration activity in the County since 2014.

The report also provided information correcting inaccurate statements made by citizens during the Citizen Comment period at recent meetings of the Board Health and the Board of County Commissioners. The inaccurate statements referred to ongoing exploration activity, including fracking and stated that this exploration activity was either sponsored or directed by the operators of the NextEra Windfarm. “The last test well in El Paso County was drilled in April of 2014,” Diana May told Commissioners. “It was a vertical well. It did not involve fracking. It was done by NexGen Oil and Gas from the Denver area. That company name may have sounded similar to Windfarm operator NextEra Energy but it’s not the same the company and there has been no drilling activity and no fracking in El Paso County for nearly two years.”

Windfarm operator NextEra Energy is a publicly traded company based in Florida. NexGen Oil and Gas is a limited liability company (LLC) based in Greenwood Village, Colorado.


Meetings of the Board of County Commissioners can be viewed through live streaming at www.elpasoco.com by clicking on the link in the left side column marked, Live Meetings at Centennial Hall. Commissioners meetings are replayed the following evening on Comcast channel 17, the Pikes Peak Library District Channel.

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Friday, February 12, 2016

Democrat enters Commissioner District 2 race

Posted By on Fri, Feb 12, 2016 at 12:07 PM

Michael Seraphin
  • Michael Seraphin
A Democrat has entered the race for El Paso County Commissioner in District 2.

Michael Seraphin is running for the seat that's currently held by the term-limited Amy Lathen. Seraphin, the former Colorado Division of Wildlife Public Information Officer, says he is not a traditional Democrat, and holds some conservative views, particularly on guns. Still, he'll face an uphill battle. No Democrat has won a race for a Commissioner seat in El Paso County since 1970.

Seraphin is the fourth candidate to announce for the seat. The other candidates, all Republicans, are Tim Geitner, Sherrie Gibson and Mark Waller.
Michael Seraphin Announces Run for County Commission

FALCON, Colo. - Former Colorado Division of Wildlife Public Information Officer Michael Seraphin announced today that he is a candidate for the El Paso County Commission in District 2.

"I hope voters make history for the first time in nearly 50-years by electing a county commissioner who doesn't have an "R" behind their name," said Seraphin. "It's time for a change from one-party politics."

Seraphin has never run for office before.

He said the reason he entered the 2016 race is because it is time to elect someone who will make hard decisions to fix local problems, instead of grandstanding about national politics in an effort to boost their own ambitions," he said.

District 2 is the fastest growing area in the county. Infrastructure, school funding, public safety, and water use planning are not getting the attention they deserve.

"Every day I hear people complain about how government has let them down," he said.

Seraphin believes residents in Falcon, Peyton, Calhan, and the rest of District 2 want someone who will listen to their needs; make decisions that will protect their property rights and values; and not cave-in to pressure from big-money politics.

Seraphin describes himself as a fiscal conservative who is socially responsible and strives for more efficient government. "I'm sort of a cross between a Democrat, Independent, and conservative all rolled into one. I own guns and believe in gun rights, but on the other hand, I am an environmentalist who understands the dangers of fracking and wants to protect our clean air and clean water. I don't see those issues as mutually exclusive along party lines."

Smaller government is not just about taxes, he added. It's about less regulation, too. "One of the first things I will do is cut red tape by repealing dozens of unnecessary, outdated regulations."

"I am not a lawyer or a professional politician. I don't have any desire to be a State Senator, a Congressman, Attorney General, or run for national office. I am just an ordinary citizen who thinks it's time we focus on the local issues we have right here in El Paso County."

Seraphin is a resident of Falcon who has lived in Colorado for the better part of 35 years. He was a spokesman for the Colorado Division of Wildlife from 1998 until his retirement in 2013.

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Snow in your vent pipe could kill you

Posted By on Wed, Feb 3, 2016 at 10:28 AM

click image Traditional vent pipes are on the roof. - NATHANIEL HOMIER
  • Nathaniel Homier
  • Traditional vent pipes are on the roof.
If you are a normal human being who is not in the heating or construction business, you probably haven't spent a lot of time thinking about "vent pipes."

But you probably should, because they can kill you. Traditional vent pipes — which allow furnaces and other household appliances to, uh, vent — are located on the roof. But more efficient furnaces and appliances tend to vent out of a wall, low to the ground. While this apparently saves on the energy bill, those vents are vulnerable to being stuffed full of leaves, birds' nests or snow.

When a furnace vent becomes clogged, it might just turn off your furnace. Which is a bummer. But it also might pump carbon monoxide into your house and kill you and your family. 

So it's a good idea to check the vents. Also, get a carbon monoxide detector. They cost as little as $20. Here's the official warning from the county:

Citizens Reminded to Make Sure High Efficiency Furnace Vent Pipes Are Clear of Snow

Drifts Can Block Side Wall Ventilation Pipes Critical for Safe Operations of Modern Gas Appliances


El Paso County, CO., February 3, 2015 – El Paso County joins with the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department in reminding area residents with modern high efficiency furnaces in their homes and businesses to make sure the outside vent pipes for those appliances are not blocked by snow and ice.

High efficiency furnaces are not installed using the old style metal vent pipes that extend through the roof. Instead, they use shorter PVC (plastic) pipes typically vented through a side wall near the ground. While these installations offer great efficiency, the side vent pipes can be covered by snow drifts or clogged by snow and ice, leaves, animal nests or other debris. Obstructed vent pipes can result in the furnace shutting itself down, or in the worst scenario, deadly carbon monoxide could be released into to your home or business.

Side wall vent kits that provide added protection against vent obstructions are readily available through local HVAC contractors and online suppliers. But even with a vent kit in place it’s a good idea to check to make sure that snow has not drifted up against the outside wall where the vent pipes come out.

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Friday, January 29, 2016

Deadly force investigataors take oath

Posted By on Fri, Jan 29, 2016 at 8:47 AM

Officers take an oath that will allow them to cross jurisdictional lines when investigating use of deadly force by officers in the region. - COURTESY EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Officers take an oath that will allow them to cross jurisdictional lines when investigating use of deadly force by officers in the region.

Nearly 50 members of the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office were sworn Thursday by El Paso County Sheriff Bill Elder and Teller County Sheriff Mike Ensminger to give them jurisdiction in both counties to investigate cases involving officers' use of deadly force.

The Deadly Force Investigations Team will investigate matters where, when acting in an official capacity, a law enforcement officer:

a. Discharges his/her weapon and the discharge causes either bodily injury, serious bodily injury or death to another person or
b. Uses other deadly force that causes the death of another person.

Matters that occur when off duty may be investigated by the DFIT, by request and agreement by the DFIT Team, the Sheriff's Office says in a release.

Members of the Colorado Springs Police Department, El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and the District Attorney’s Office will make up the DFIT Team.

The multi-agency team is made necessary by a bill passed in 2015, as we've previously reported.


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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Jarred Rego jumps into local race

Posted By on Thu, Jan 28, 2016 at 3:52 PM

Rego: Joining a crowded race.
  • Rego: Joining a crowded race.
Jarred Rego, an aide to Congressman Doug Lamborn who says he has a "servant's heart," is running for the El Paso County commission seat held by Sallie Clark, who is barred by term limits from seeking another term.

He joins a crowded field of Republicans vying for the seat, including a sheriff's commander Rodney Gehrett who is suing the county. Other candidates include Karen Cullen, Alex Johnson, Javier Mazzetti, Tyler Stevens and Stan Vanderwerf.

Rego's news release provides this statement from him:
Our community is at a crossroads. The decisions that the voters make in the next election will shape our community and affect the lives of each El Paso County resident. The time has come for new leaders who possess the diverse experience, clear-eyed vision, and courage necessary protect our rights and empower citizens to take our community to exciting next frontiers of prosperity. Showing New Leadership For Great Futures means leading in three priority areas:

- Expand Economic Opportunity
- Rededicate County Government to Customer Service
- Prioritize Public Safety

We will work together and make progress in these three important areas, leaving our community in a much better place for our children and grandchildren, and that's what motivates me. These future generations deserve elected officials who will devote every ounce of brainpower and vigor they have to improving our beautiful home. I'm the results-oriented reformer with the passion, enthusiasm, and servant's heart necessary to achieve these goals and make real and lasting progress possible.

My deep local roots, coupled with my extensive leadership and communications experience, place me in a unique position to provide the visionary leadership we need in District 3 on the Board of El Paso County Commissioners.

Rego is Lamborn's district director and communications director and previously served as a PR man for former Springs Mayor Steve Bach. He also was a nightly radio talk show host on AM 740 KVOR and has been active in politics at the precinct level. He's a member of the Pioneers Museum board and the Urban Peak Colorado Springs board. Jarred and his wife Micah own a home in the Bonnyville neighborhood of downtown Colorado Springs where they are raising their two young children.

Rego also saw fit to include in his news release that his family attends church at the Calvary Worship Center on the westside.

Already, Rego is brandishing his endorsements. Among them: Lamborn, Bach and his wife Suzi, State Rep. Dan Nordberg, KVOR radio host Richard Randall and Nick Ragain, president of the Colorado Springs Switchbacks.

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