For Colorado Springs, the annual residential bill was $469.73 for 60,000 gallons of water. That bill was 56 percent higher than the state average among surveyed systems and 39 percent higher than the national average, according to LawnStarter’s review of Food and Water Watch data.Read the entire blog here.
Meanwhile, residential customers of the community water system in the Denver suburb of Centennial enjoyed the state’s lowest bills, at $183 a year.
Colorado Springs Utilities: $469.73Water rates here will take another leap if a rate increase is approved next month by City Council.
City of Aurora: $460.92
City of Greeley: $376.80
City of Fort Collins: $347.76
City and County of Broomfield: $292.20
City of Aspen: $285.00
City of Boulder: $277.20
City of Westminster: $270.24
City of Arvada: $246.78
Denver Water: $245.88
City of Thornton: $242.04
Board of Water Works of Pueblo: $220.80
Centennial Water District: $183.00
The judicial appointment and retention process in Colorado is one of the best merit based systems in the country, and it has been around for 50 years. Many states have direct elections of judges, opening the judicial system to all the corruption and influence of big money in politics we see in legislative, congressional and presidential elections. In these states judicial decisions can essentially be bought and sold.To access those reports, go to the link provided above.
Colorado county, district and appellate judges are appointed by the Governor based on bi-partisan nominating commissions, which use a merit based process to recommend three names for each open judgeship, from which the Governor makes an appointment. Periodically, judges are required to stand for retention elections. Voters decide whether each judge should stay on the bench or be removed.
To help Colorado voters make informed decisions, the state Judicial Performance Commission and local JPCs in every judicial district, conduct a thorough evaluation process of judges facing retention elections. This evaluation involves extensive surveying of attorneys, jurors, court staff, other judges, civil litigants and others who can provide direct input on a judge's performance; court room observations; review of authored opinions; an interview by the JPC of each judge and other input from the public about a judge’s performance.
A report is then generated for each retention judge and provided to voters online by the Colorado Judicial Performance Commission and the Colorado Legislative Council's "Blue Book" which is mailed to voters and available online. This report identifies each judge's strengths and weaknesses and makes a recommendation to voters to either retain (keep a judge on the bench) or not retain that judge so Colorado voters have direct, informed decision making authority on our judges.
Today, State Senator Owen Hill (R-Colorado Springs) took the initiative to file a lawsuit against an outdated regulation that makes taking a picture of your ballot and sharing it on social media illegal in Colorado.
The law has drawn increasing statewide attention this election cycle, especially on social media networks where new and young voters in particular are sharing who they voted for and encouraging their friends to do the same.
Hill has witnessed a myriad of Colorado voters, friends, and constituents alike excitedly sharing their choice of candidates and initiatives on social media.
“And while exercising free speech, they now have to be worried about being prosecuted for participating in the political process or for encouraging discussion on the important civic choices facing our State,” Hill said. “We need to stand alongside all Colorado voters by fighting for this reform.”
“My generation, millennials, are sometimes known as the ‘selfie generation.’ That last thing we need is a law on the books that discourages voter participation and makes people afraid to share in political discourse in Colorado,” Hill pointed out.
Hill believes the lawsuit is an important step to protect voters’ free speech rights while still continuing to safeguard privacy and other necessary voter protections. There is also an opportunity to address this issue in the upcoming 2017 legislative session.
Michael Fransisco of MRD Law, the attorney who filed the documents this morning, is confident the case is both needed and straightforward:
“Everyone in Colorado should have the right to speak about their voting decisions, including the ubiquitous use of cell phone pictures to express a point,” Fransisco noted. “The First Amendment protects this valuable form of political discourse.”
“Courts across the country are recognizing that broad laws prohibiting ballot pictures are unconstitutional and we look forward to adding Colorado to the list of states where free speech about a voted ballot can be shared without fear of criminal prosecution,” Fransisco concluded.
The lawsuit explains that: “Speech about how one votes in an election rests at the core of political speech protected by the First Amendment. One particularly vivid way to speak about a decision to vote or not vote is to later share a picture of a marked ballot that has been turned in. Taking a picture of a voted ballot is increasingly popular.”
Unfortunately, Colorado has an outmoded statute making it a crime to “show” a ballot to “any person” in such a way “as to reveal its contents.”
“In a classic case of an overbroad law that restricts vast swaths of legal, protected speech in the name of preventing discrete bad acts, Colorado has chilled the Plaintiffs and countless other voters from being permitted to engage in the simple act of posting a photo of a ballot as a political expression,” the filing argues.
Senator Hill is joined by another plaintiff, Scott Romano, on the lawsuit. Romano is an 18-year-old University of Denver student who is voting for the first time in this election - he is also a registered Democrat.
“I believe this is a key way for common sense to prevail in Colorado politics. This isn’t a partisan issue - it’s about upholding our constitutional rights and advocating for the full participation of every registered Colorado voter,” Romano said.
“I’m grateful for Senator Hill’s lead on this important issue and I’m happy to join him as a co-plaintiff in the case.”
The Historic Preservation Alliance of Colorado Springs celebrated its fifteenth Preservation Awards Gala on Oct. 19th at the historic Patty Jewett Clubhouse. The event celebrates the preservation work of our community in a gala dinner and awards ceremony in which projects were judged this year by Cathleen Norman from Monument, CO and Cindy Nasky from Denver. Cathleen is an author and preservationist and project director for Donner Publishing Co. Cindy Nasky is a preservation services director for Colorado Preservation, Inc.
The evening awards began with a recognition of a District 11 teacher, Dedra Montoya for her many years of teaching a block of study about the Victorian Era to second graders at Steele Elementary. Some of her students were present and in costume.
The awards were presented in the HPA’s traditional competition in the following categories, a tie award for:
Excellence in a Historic Residential Restoration: Mr. Vic Appugliese for his Historic Williams House restoration at 222 E. San Miguel St., Architectural Historian: Jennifer Lovell.
Excellence in Historic Residential Restoration: The First Sharp Residence, 1609 N. Nevada Ave. to Peter Frantz and Jill McCormick owners, Tony Peterson, General Contractor.
Award for Excellence in an Historic Commercial Restoration: The Ranch at Emerald Valley, owner: The Broadmoor Hotel, Architect: OZ Architects, GC: Bob McGrath Construction.
Award for Excellence in an Historically Compatible Landscape: The Historic Reverend Dicky Residence, 1206 N. Cascade Ave., owners, landscape designers and laborers: Rob and Mary Ellen Harrison, and their daughter Elizabeth.
Award for Excellence in Preservation and Stewardship: Grace and St. Stephens Episcopal Church Exterior Stabilization Project, 601 N. Tejon St., Architect: RTA Architects, GC: Bon McGrath Construction.
Award for Excellence in Historically Compatible New Construction: Porch Additions to 1323 N. Tejon St, owners: Amanda Puskar and Guillermo Rojas, Architect: J. Mark Nelson, GC: Charlie Paterson Construction.
Award for Excellence in Historically Compatible New Construction, Runner-Up, A Spanish Colonial, owners Tony and Vicki Batman, 24 Broadmoor Ave. Architect: J. Mark Nelson, GC: Bob McGrath Construction
Award for Excellence in Trades and Crafts of Preservation: Queen Ann Porch Restoration Project, 1601 N. Nevada Ave., performed by Mr. Ed Rinker and Mr. Rock Wiley, owners: Charles and Cordelia Martin.
Special recognition was made of retiring vice president of the HPA, Mrs. Sherry Neese, for her dedication and stewardship of the organization since 2003.
Usually we’re the tellers of stories, not the subjects of them. But the notebook-toters and camera-slingers in the press pen weathered some uncomfortable attention as Donald Trump directed his followers to howl at “the dishonest media” at his Tuesday rally in Colorado Springs at the Norris Penrose Event Center.
“They’re liars,” the Republican nominee declared as the riled up crowd turned around to boo and jeer at the fenced off section of journalists, local and traveling. The media — which, for the record, is not a singular, unified entity — is “rigging the election,” Trump told his supporters, by “telling totally false stories.” In particular, he bemoaned coverage of the recently surfaced hot-mic tape that unwittingly captured the then-59-year-old reality TV star bragging about “grabbing women by the pussy.” Multiple women have since come forward with allegations of sexual assault which Trump has threatened to sue the New York Times for publishing.
“I have been under constant attack” a blustering Trump exclaimed, adding that “they even want to try to rig the election at the polling booth where so many cities are corrupt. So corrupt.”
Worth noting is that general elections, like this one, are administered on the state, not municipal, level. Also worth noting is that the two elected officials who oversee the election here — El Paso County’s Clerk and Recorder Chuck Broerman, whose office gathers votes, and Secretary of State Wayne Williams, whose office processes them — have both adamantly rejected the notion that funny business of any consequence is remotely possible. They’re both Republicans.
Trump encouraged his followers to trust neither members of their own party who say “everything is just peachy-dory” nor independent polls that show him down by double digit percentage points in some cases. “I hear we’re doing great in Colorado,” Trump noted with smug defiance. “So it doesn’t matter what they’re saying. My people say we’re going to win Colorado.”
Many attendees shared these seemingly contradictory sentiments — that the election is “rigged” against their candidate, but that he’s surely headed toward victory.
Christine Chapman, who travelled from Rocky Ford and wore head-to-toe American flag garb, told the Indy she’s concerned about voter fraud, like dead people on the rolls and “illegals” who don’t have to show ID. Nonetheless, she believes Trump will come out on top. “I can’t understand why he wouldn’t ... I mean, look at the reception he gets,” Chapman said gesturing behind her to all the other fans waiting to get in the door on the windy fall afternoon.
An employee of Trump’s casino in Cripple Creek, James Sober, who donned a t-shirt that read “Hillary for Prison” from the conspiracy theorist website, infowars.com, showed an even more cynical attitude. “Oh, I know my vote won’t count,” he said, “I’m just here to show my support.” And when, as he anticipates, Clinton takes office and “goes after our guns,” Sober added, “things will get ugly.”
Trump’s professed skepticism of the democratic process stole headlines after he wouldn’t commit to accepting the result of the election on the debate stage Wednesday night. “I will keep you in suspense,” he declared ominously — a statement that elicited horror from all those who believe in the peaceful transfer of power according to voters’ will as a constitutionally enshrined pillar of the American system of government.
But at the rally Tuesday, attendees readily admitted this is an election like no other.
“I work for a company that’s closing, moving all our jobs offshore. And if we get Hillary, that’s going to keep happening,” said Joe Hutchcraft, an independent who registered as Republican this year to support Trump’s candidacy. “If I live in a country where they try to take all our jobs, our rights, our guns, own my house, my car and give me rations for what I can eat, then yeah, I believe there would be a revolution.”
(For the record, seizing private property is not one of Clinton’s stated policy proposals. Similar fears about the Obama administration have not come to pass either.)
And whether “revolution” means an armed insurrection Hutchcraft did not specify, but the idea that this election is a kind of last stand against globalist neoliberalism seemed well accepted at the rally.
“If we lose, it’s over,” predicted Jonathan Reed, a Trump campaign volunteer. “The country will slide into socialism forever because of immigration.” Repeating the incorrect assertion that Clinton wants to “blow open the border completely,” he commented that “all you need is 10 million more third worlders — and I know that’s a pejorative — but all you need it 10-15 million more people with no stake in the game other than they want a check from the government to swing the elections forever in this country.”
A school class ring was discovered in the course of a motor vehicle theft investigation. We wanted to find the owner, so we posted a message on Facebook and Twitter with photos of the ring. Response was immediate and the Facebook post reached 140,664 and was shared 2,331 time and had 105 comments. It was liked and retweeted on Twitter as well. The post was shared in Lafayette, Indiana.WTHR-TV in Indianapolis and WLFI TV in LaFayette shared the story as well.
His stories about the justice system, historic crimes, high-security prisons and death by misadventure have won numerous awards and appeared in a wide range of magazines and anthologies, including the 2012 true-crime anthology Seven Sins, The Best American Crime Reporting 2008 and The Best American Sports Writing 2009. He has also written for Rolling Stone, Outside, Los Angeles Times Magazine, Men’s Journal and other national publications and is the author of a book about child abuse and parricide, The Poison Tree.The ACLU's news release:
DENVER – The City of Trinidad has agreed to pay $375,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by the ACLU of Colorado on behalf of Danika Gonzales and Felicia Valdez, two innocent women who were wrongly arrested and prosecuted for crimes they did not commit in a reckless 2013 “drug sting” where police relied on the false accusations of an untrustworthy confidential informant.
The ACLU filed suit in January 2015 alleging that Trinidad detectives incentivized a confidential informant, Crystal Bachicha, to make false, self-serving accusations. To obtain arrest warrants, the detectives deliberately concealed facts that they knew would destroy the informant’s credibility, including Bachicha’s convictions for fraud and drug crimes, her known biases against the people she claimed to have sold drugs to, and numerous documented instances in which Bachicha lied to law enforcement officers.
“Trinidad detectives allowed a devious snitch to frame our innocent clients for crimes they did not commit,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein. “With this settlement, our clients have been vindicated, and Trinidad detectives have received a clear message that the uncorroborated say-so of a shady snitch cannot justify destroying the careers and reputations of innocent members of the community.”
Overall, 40 individuals were arrested during Trinidad’s widely-publicized 2013 “drug sting,” on the basis of false, deficient, and misleading arrest affidavits. None of the 40 arrests resulted in a drug-related conviction.
“At the time Trinidad police tapped Bachicha to be an informant, they knew that she was a convicted felon, a liar, a drug user, and had a history of providing false information to law enforcement,” said ACLU staff attorney Rebecca Wallace. “Yet, over and over again, the police took Bachicha at her word as she falsely accused many of her enemies of selling drugs.”
Gonzales, who had been Bachicha’s probation officer, lost her job as a result of the false arrest. Valdez was fired from her job with the Trinidad School System, and she and her children were evicted from their federally-subsidized housing.
“This incident was traumatic for me emotionally and financially, and I lost my sense of normalcy and confidence. The reckless actions of the Trinidad Police Department have caused irreversible damage to my career, my family, and my trust in law enforcement,” said Gonzales. “However, I am relieved to have finally gotten to this point of closure. I am so very thankful for the continued hope and support given to me by my family, friends, and all of the outstanding attorneys with the ACLU of Colorado and Baker/Hostetler.”
The City of Trinidad has not conducted its annual drug sting since the 2013 debacle, and the two lead detectives have since retired, according to a recent report in Pueblo Chieftain.
“Our investigation into this case revealed a police department whose repeated use of unreliable confidential informants had caused it to lose the trust of the community it served,” said ACLU cooperating attorney Paul Karlsgodt of BakerHostetler. “Trinidad police acted under constitutionally-deficient procedures which gave untrustworthy informants an open invitation to lie, divert buy money, skim drugs for their own use, and use their positions as informants to settle personal scores against their enemies.”
“The settlement helps to repair some, but not all, of the lasting damage caused by these practices, and we hope it has also given the department an opportunity to self-reflect and make necessary changes to ensure this never happens again,” said cooperating attorney Casie Collignon of BakerHostetler.
Gonzales and Valdez were represented by Silverstein, Wallace, and ACLU staff attorney Sara Neel, as well as a BakerHostetler team led by Karlsgodt, Collignon, and former associate Nathan Schacht.
It's important to note that this discharge was unplanned and even though there are no EPA mandated reporting requirements, as good neighbors and residents of the community, we reported the unplanned discharge to CSU within 24 hours after discovery. Our environmental professionals are working with their counterparts at CSU to explore the notification process moving forward.Also, KRCC reports, quoting a Peterson source, that it wouldn't be simple to drain the tank, because that requires opening not one, but two valves as well as activating a lever. Officials are investigating the cause of the discharge.
To answer your question, the tank is visually inspected quarterly, and
before and after any training at the simulator. The last quarterly
inspection was conducted 29 July, and the last training was held 22 Sept before the discharge was discovered.
An unplanned water discharge from a Peterson fire training area was discovered Oct. 12.
About 150,000 gallons of water being held in a fire training area retention tank was discharged into the Colorado Springs Utilities sewer system sometime in the last week. The tank held water that contained an elevated level of perfluorinated compounds, a residual component of aqueous film forming foam, a firefighting foam historically used at the base for emergency response.
Air Force officials reported the discharge to Colorado Springs Utilities within 24 hours after discovery, and an official report was made within a five-day window, as requested by CSU.
Authorities at Peterson discovered the discharge during a routine tank inspection Oct. 12. The tank is part of a system used to recirculate water to the fire training area.
"We take this type of event seriously, and will work diligently to determine the cause," said Lt. Col. Chad Gemeinhardt, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron commander. "We are committed to upholding environmental stewardship policies and procedures."
An investigation into the incident is ongoing to determine how the discharge occurred and a review is underway to determine if there are gaps in procedures or training.
"Peterson Air Force Base and the U.S. Air Force are committed to protecting the environment and communities in which we call home," said Col. Doug Schiess, 21st Space Wing commander. "We take all environmental concerns seriously, and have opened an investigation to determine the cause of the discharge and to prevent it from happening again."
When PFCs were discovered earlier this year in well water south of the base, the Air Force proactively provided $4.3 million to filter and provide drinking water to affected residents while an investigation of potential source areas is conducted. Officials are confident these ongoing mitigation strategies are sufficient to address any potential contamination from the discharge.
Kanda,Calef, a party activist, says she won't resign, because the party is run by "a bunch of hypocrites" who themselves have violated the endorsement rule. Besides Hays and others openly endorsing Tom Tancredo who switched to the American Constitution Party to run for governor in 2010.
Although as a private citizen you may obviously express your opinion as you wish, as a precinct leader there are restrictions within our bylaws, Article VIII, paragraph G.4, that expressly forbid your endorsing non-Republican candidates in an election where there is a Republican candidate running.
Your Facebook post and included press release endorsing Lily Tang Williams for US Senate clearly stated that you were a precinct leader and a member of our executive committee, so it appears you have violated that section of our county bylaws.
I hope you will publicly reconsider your position; if not, I hope you will please submit a letter of resignation as precinct leader in lieu of going through the process of being removed described in the subsequent section of the bylaws.
Sincerely and respectfully,
Chairman, El Paso County Republican Central Committee
A longtime Republican, committed to cleaning up the corruption inside the Republican Party, I have become another target of the establishment of the Republican Party. After endorsing Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate Lily Tang Williams due to Darryl Glenn’s hypocrisy of expecting Republicans to vote for him, while he stated that he would not support the Republican Presidential candidate, I have been sent the email below from the El Paso County Chair, Jeff Hays, threatening to kick me out as a Republican precinct leader. Darryl Glenn is also a precinct leader, so I will be interested to find out if he is also being asked to resign his position, since his non-support of Trump is an implied endorsement for a candidate who is not Republican.Glenn has since reversed gears and says he's supporting Trump. Calef, too, says she supports Trump.
I have my doubts that they will do anything to Glenn, since the rules for the elites in the Republican Party are not the same as the rules for the average citizen who chooses to participate in the political process.
It should be noted that when Tom Tancredo ran for Governor as an American Constitutional Party candidate in 2010, a huge number of Republican elected officials, executive committee members, and precinct leaders endorsed him against the Republican candidate, Dan Maes. To my knowledge, nobody was asked to give up their positions and my understanding was that the bylaws were the same in 2010 regarding this situation as they are now. To my recollection, Jeff Hays, the current El Paso County Chairman who is requesting my resignation, was a sitting precinct leader and Executive Committee Member who was openly a Tom Tancredo supporter. Selective prosecution seems to be the standard.
While Darryl Glenn has followed the path of the other establishment Republicans like John McCain and Paul Ryan and rejected the Republican Presidential candidate, Donald Trump, he is still being promoted by the El Paso County Republican Party and the other elites from around the state. Yet, when a low-level precinct leader, like me, takes a stand against the hypocrisy of the establishment, I am threatened. Like the special treatment given to Hillary Clinton when she broke the law, it appears that the requirements for the nobility are not the same as those for the serfs.
The Chairman of the El Paso County GOP should spend more time helping to make sure Colorado’s electoral college votes do not go to Hillary Clinton and not waste his time fighting one of Colorado’s most outspoken conservatives.
2016 Colorado Wildfires Highlight Need to Use Local Wood
FORT COLLINS, Colo. – October 17, 2016 – The large and destructive wildfires in Colorado this year, from the 38,000-acre Beaver Creek Fire still burning in beetle-kill timber in northwestern Colorado to the 16,000-acre Hayden Pass Fire southeast of Salida, are in part due to unhealthy forest conditions that made them prone to intense fire behavior. And with this week being National Forest Products Week, the Colorado State Forest Service wants to emphasize how having a robust wood products industry spurs not only widespread forest management, but the healthy forests and reduced wildfire risk that result from them.
“If we could increase the share of locally produced wood products that are purchased by Coloradans, the benefits would accrue not only to family-owned businesses, but to our forests themselves,” said Tim Reader, CSFS utilization and marketing forester.
More than 90 percent of the forest products purchased by Coloradans currently are imported into the state.
Kristina Hughes, another CSFS forester, is the program administrator for the Colorado Forest Products™ program, which encourages consumers to purchase locally made wood products from one of the state’s many wood-based businesses. She says that by purchasing locally harvested and produced wood products, citizens support the sawmills and other businesses that are improving forest health and protecting communities, property and critical infrastructure from wildfire.
Consumers looking to buy locally produced wood products or businesses interested in joining the Colorado Forest Products™ program can go to www.coloradoforestproducts.org. Coloradoans also can learn more about the way they can contribute to the wood products economy and how the state is supporting these businesses by visiting http://csfs.colostate.edu/cowood.
Due to the continued dry conditions and the National Weather Service forecast for continued dry and warmer than normal conditions, resulting in very high to extreme fire danger ratings, Deputy Fire Warden John Padgett has ordered Stage I Fire Restrictions for all of the unincorporated areas of El Paso County. The Stage I Fire Restrictions shall go into effect immediately and the following are prohibited:
1. Open burning, excepting fires and campfires within permanently constructed fire grates in developed
campgrounds and picnic grounds; charcoal grills and wood burning stoves at private residences in areas
cleared of all flammable materials.
2. The sale or use of fireworks.
3. Outdoor smoking except within an enclosed vehicle or building, a developed recreation site or while stopped
in an area at least three feet in diameter that is barren or cleared of all flammable materials.
The Stage I Restrictions shall remain in effect until such time the restrictions are modified pursuant to El Paso County Ordinance #15-001.