This bill would convey 320 acres of land on the west side of Pikes Peak to the U.S. Forest Service. The Broadmoor Hotel currently owns the land, and in exchange, the government will transfer an 83-acre parcel located at Emerald Valley Ranch to the Broadmoor.We previously reported on this land swap a couple of times.
• Bolts Ditch Access and Use Act - This legislation would allow the town of Minturn to use its existing water right to fill Bolts Lake by giving the town special use of the Bolts Ditch headgate and the segment of the Bolts Ditch within the Holy Cross Wilderness Area. When Congress designated Holy Cross Wilderness Area in 1980, Bolts Ditch was inadvertently left off the list of existing water facilities.
• Arapaho National Forest Boundary Adjustment Act - This bill would expand the Arapaho National Forest, informally known as the “Wedge,” to include ten new parcels of land, which are currently undeveloped. The move enables the U.S. Forest Service to effectively protect and preserve an area were millions of people travel annually.
• Elkhorn Ranch and White River National Forest Conveyance Act – This legislation would resolve a costly title dispute between the federal government and private landowners. It would convey a small portion of land near Rifle to its property-owners who have used and paid property taxes on the acreage for years.
Can the incoming administration reverse the Corps’ decision?For further information on the Dakota Access Pipeline and the controversies surrounding it, see the following Indy feature stories:
The incoming administration may very well try to reverse the EIS decision, but that may not be a simple feat. Agency decisions must be based on sound reasoning and well-supported by the facts. The Corps decided that an EIS is warranted after months of careful consideration. It set forth the legal basis and reasoning for the decision in a memorandum from Assistant Secretary of the Army Jo-Ellen Darcy, and the decision to prepare an EIS is fully supported by the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and its implementing regulations.
If a Trump administration were to reverse course on a decision like this, it too would have to be accompanied by sound reasoning that makes a rational connection between the facts found and the decision made. Any hasty or arbitrary decision would be legally vulnerable and subject to further litigation. Of course, that’s not to say the incoming administration won’t rush a decision.
Another scenario would be for Congress to approve the final easement and deem it compliant with all environmental laws, either through an appropriations rider, a stand-alone bill, or some other mechanism that garners enough support from the House and Senate.
Engineering News-Record (ENR) selected Colorado Springs Utilities' Southern Delivery System Program as the recipient of the ENR Mountain States Best Projects Award in the Water/Environment Category. Projects were judged on design and construction quality, contribution to the community and the industry, and how they overcame unusual challenges through teamwork and innovation.
"The Southern Delivery System Program is a game-changing water infrastructure project that is ensuring the vitality of the Colorado Springs community and surrounding areas for years to come," said Greg McIntyre, CH2M State & Local Governments Client Sector President. "We're honored to be a part of the SDS Program and to receive this recognition from ENR for the outstanding work completed by the team."
Serving as the lead design consultant since 2002, CH2M provided planning and engineering services for elements of the SDS Program. Over the years, the firm contributed to the full spectrum of services, from project management, preliminary through final design, value engineering, permitting assistance, land acquisition services and services during construction for the pipelines, pump stations and water treatment plant.
The $825 million SDS Program, the largest single infrastructure project ever undertaken by Colorado Springs Utilities, finished on schedule and nearly $160 million under the original budget. As one of the largest water infrastructure projects built in the Western United States, it has contributed millions of dollars to the local economy.
The program consists of a reservoir connection at the north outlet works of Pueblo Dam; 45.4 miles of 66-inch-diameter raw water pipeline; three pump stations that lift the water 1,500 feet in elevation; a new 50-million-gallon-per-day water treatment and finished water pump station; and 4.6 miles of large-diameter, finished water distribution pipeline.
The SDS Program is no stranger to receiving awards, including having won 2013's Best Projects Award by ENR Mountain States for the South Pipeline 2 project and the Pueblo Dam Connection, two of more than 20 projects that comprise the program.
The regional awards program recognizes top projects across the nine-state region, which includes Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah and Wyoming. The winners were honored at two breakfast awards events in October in Salt Lake City and Denver. Detailed highlights on all projects appeared in the October issue of the ENR Mountain States publication.
CH2M leads the professional services industry delivering sustainable solutions benefiting societal, environmental and economic outcomes with the development of infrastructure and industry. In this way, CH2Mers make a positive difference providing consulting, design, engineering and management services for clients in water; environment and nuclear; transportation; energy and industrial markets, from iconic infrastructure to global programs like the Olympic Games. Ranked among the World's Most Ethical Companies and top firms in environmental consulting and program management, CH2M in 2016 became the first professional services firm honored with the World Environment Center Gold Medal Award for efforts advancing sustainable development. Connect with CH2M at www.ch2m.com; LinkedIn; Twitter; and Facebook.
Ok, so you participated in the historic Women’s March this weekend. Good for you! You deserve many pats on the back. But wrap it up quickly, because there’s work to do.
A lot has already gone down.
President Trump wasted no time issuing a flurry of executive orders to ban government aid for NGOs that provides abortions, direct the weakening of Obamacare, enact a hiring freeze on all non-military federal employees, pull out of the Trans Pacific Partnership and re-negotiate the Keystone XL and Dakota Access Pipelines.
So that happened.
Then, Tuesday morning, Senate committees cleared Ben Carson to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State, Elaine Chow for Secretary of Transportation and Wilbur Ross for Secretary of Commerce.
That all happened too.
But, looking to the future, organizers have defensive actions planned to stave off what’s not yet a done deal.
Colorado Springs Showing Up For Racial Justice, which co-hosted the local Women’s March, will be celebrating #ResistTrumpTuesday by putting some pressure on Colorado’s Democratic Senator Michael Bennet. Organizers have invited the public to come down to his local office at 409 N Tejon St. to urge “no” votes on billionaire privateer Betsy DeVos (nominee to head the Department of Education) and climate change denying Scott Pruitt (nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency.)
DeVos’s next hearing has been delayed after her less-than-assuring performance at the first. Sen. Bennet, who sits on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions committee, will get his chance to cast a vote on her nomination on January 31.
Sen. Bennet will not, however, get a chance to vote on Pruitt in committee. He would should it come to a floor vote.
The goal of Tuesday’s action at the downtown office, organizers say, is to convey concerns about those appointments and request an in-person meeting with Sen. Bennet (who’s in D.C. right now.)
"We realize he doesn't sit on the committee that will confirm Pruitt," organizer Brooke Sassi told the Indy. "But, he's our voice there so hopefully he can advocate to his colleagues."
The focus on the education and environment nominees, Sassi says, comes from a concern about the issues that affect children the most.
Wednesday and Thursday bring more opportunity for local action, but not in the legislative realm. As we've reported, a well-known and widely reviled figure from the so-called “alt right” movement — which contains elements of white supremacy, misogyny and homo/transphobia — is coming to Colorado. Milo Yiannopoulos will visit the campus of CU Boulder on Wednesday and the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs on Thursday. Carpools are headed to join protesters in Boulder, then actions here the following day plan to both protest and outright shut down the speaker.
Such attempts have been successful on other campuses, although an anti-fascist protester in Seattle did get shot last week. That episode of violence has prompted renewed calls for these Colorado universities to call off the speaking engagement. Neither institution has caved.
On Friday, Denver Homeless Out Loud holds their annual “Right to Rest Fest” to rally support for a state homeless bill of rights. Advocates there have been embroiled with local law enforcement and city officials over a series of sweeps that stripped homeless people of their possessions and dignity. As we’ve reported, these issues strike close to home. That’s why a local contingent is making the trek to support the Denver cadre. They’ve got room for three more, so hit up Raven Canon, editor of the Springs Echo at 719/287-6027, if you wish to join.
On Saturday, pastor and professor Stephany Rose will speak at Ebenezer Baptist Church (4040 E. Bijou) on what it takes to build a movement, not just a moment. That includes conversation, community building and direct action, according to her description.
Our newly inaugurated President has proven himself quite sensitive about the size of his hands (and other body parts), the size of his precious wall and the size of his crowds. And if bigger means better, then mathematics may tell us all we need to know about the popular majority of Americans who oppose his capricious and regressive agenda.
That truth was on display around the world this weekend. Women’s Marches overwhelmed public squares in nearly 700 cities, according to organizers of the seminal one in Washington, D.C. An estimated 4.8 million people took part in the mass demonstrations, designed not only to inaugurate resistance to the new administration, but also to reaffirm, through celebration, a collective commitment to the values of liberal democracy that may now to be under threat.
At the outset of the local march here in the Springs, co-organizer Mac Sargeant recited those values, the full version of which can be found here. In short, they include affirmations of the rights of women — especially black, brown, native, LGBTQ, poor, differently abled and immigrant women — to live free from injustice. Environmentalism, workers’ rights and an end to wars, police brutality and mass incarceration also got shouts out. The march’s message and goals were far-reaching, but unified by the recognition that all these struggles are interconnected.
On Saturday, Sargeant was joined on stage by other local social justice leaders, including NAACP State Conference President Rosemary Lytle, Local NAACP Chapter President Lisa Villanueva, Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission Executive Director Anjuli Kapoor and All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church Reverend Nori Rost. Some elected officials made appearances too, including Rep. Tony Exum, Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Michael Merrifield. They’re all Democrats. Local rappers Stoney Bertz, Kevin Mitchell, Lord Damage and poets Chris Varano and Nico Wilkinson all performed for the crowd, though reportedly could not be heard towards the back.
Colorado Springs Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) plans to fundraise for a louder PA system at their next community meeting on February 19.
At about 2:30 p.m., the river of humans began to flow down Tejon St. Cars stood in standstill, some honking their support and some gesturing exasperation behind the wheel, as some 7,000 people made their way through downtown. The mood was near elated, and for good reason — they were part of the biggest public protest in local history.
Chants like “my body, my choice!”, “not my president!” and “love trumps hate” rang out sporadically. Signs were diverse in message and tone. See a smattering below.
If bigger means better, local Women's March was the best in Springs history
Organizers were blown away by the turnout, leaving them both exhausted and energized.
Now, they’re strategizing about how to keep all these newcomers mobilized over the next four years. At a post-march debrief with the Indy on Sunday, SURJ organizer Olivia Romero asked rhetorically, with a hint of frustration, “where were all these people before?”
Ultimately, though, she welcomes this new era of political action that seems to be dawning.
“The response I heard overwhelmingly from people afterwards was ‘so, what’s next?’” Romero says. “And we’re already putting that together for them.”
Understanding the success or failure of convincing the citizens of our community to allow the city to retain these Tabor dollars depends upon proper justifications. Public safety, I believe, is one of those items that falls within a favorable category to support the retention of those dollars. Committing all the dollars to Storm Water, a sometimes-divisive issue, may negatively impact the retention of funds. Even if successful, it could impact future and hopefully the timely discussion of implementation of the necessity of a separately funded Storm Water enterprise.The group wants funding for a new front-line pumper truck, 60 sets of protective fire gear, and an egress/access improvement road for Squad 8 with storage for training pumpers housed at the Fire Department Complex.
You're not the only one pissed to find out that your water was poisoned for years. You’re not the only one who’s frustrated at weak answers and thin information. You’re not the only one who’s anxious about your family’s health over the long-run.
That's the message of the newly-formed Fountain Valley Clean Water Committee wants to send residents affected by water contamination in Security, Widefield and Fountain. The committee hopes to unite over their shared concerns and thirst for solutions.
Co-organized by former El Paso County Commissioner candidate, local café owner and community activist Liz Rosenbaum and Venetucci Farm co-manager Susan Gordon, this nascent citizen watchdog group will hold its first meeting on Jan. 24 at the Fountain Library, located at 230 S. Main Street. The goal, they say, is to bring neighbors together to share information and develop goals and a plan of action.
As we’ve reported over the last half year, nearly 80,000 people discovered their drinking water contains high levels of perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) back in May. Multiple class-action lawsuits were filed in September, but will take years to resolve. Residents of the communities, located to the south of Colorado Springs, are demanding the state pay for blood testing, but to no avail. Water districts turned off their groundwater wells and are now scrambling to get their systems pumping clean water by the time summer rolls around, but water rates are almost sure to rise.
The areas represent the largest affected community in the whole country and, until recently, were one of the few without a community organization actively pursuing remedies.
In these final days before your inauguration, we thought it might be helpful to clarify how we see the relationship between your administration and the American press corps.To finish reading the letter, reference the link above. It's really worth the time.
It will come as no surprise to you that we see the relationship as strained. Reports over the last few days that your press secretary is considering pulling news media offices out of the White House are the latest in a pattern of behavior that has persisted throughout the campaign: You’ve banned news organizations from covering you. You’ve taken to Twitter to taunt and threaten individual reporters and encouraged your supporters to do the same. You’ve advocated for looser libel laws and threatened numerous lawsuits of your own, none of which has materialized. You’ve avoided the press when you could and flouted the norms of pool reporting and regular press conferences. You’ve ridiculed a reporter who wrote something you didn’t like because he has a disability.
All of this, of course, is your choice and, in a way, your right. While the Constitution protects the freedom of the press, it doesn’t dictate how the president must honor that; regular press conferences aren’t enshrined in the document.
But while you have every right to decide your ground rules for engaging with the press, we have some, too. It is, after all, our airtime and column inches that you are seeking to influence. We, not you, decide how best to serve our readers, listeners, and viewers. So think of what follows as a backgrounder on what to expect from us over the next four years.
Our Founding Fathers knew the importance of a press that is free toSPJ asks for a meeting with Trump, saying, "We would like to have a conversation regarding how we can work together to ensure that self-government as outlined by the Constitution survives and flourishes, and that a free press remains a cornerstone of our nation and our liberty."
report on the activities of our government and elected officials. “Our
liberty depends on the freedom of the press, and that cannot be limited
without being lost,” said Thomas Jefferson in a January 28, 1786, letter.
Yet here we are, almost exactly 231 years after Jefferson wrote those
words, and attempts to stifle the flow of information to citizens of the
United States continue.
The Colorado Springs Police Department Honor Guard was formed in 1974. The Honor Guard was established to reflect the honor and integrity of the Colorado Springs Police Department on various solemn or auspicious occasions.
Each year an “Honor Guard Member of the Year” is selected by a vote of the team in order to recognize that individual’s extraordinary dedication and service to the Honor Guard and the Department.
In 2014 members of the Honor Guard voted to change the name of the award to the “Laura Cochran Honor Guard Member of the Year” to honor our fellow officer, teammate and friend who passed away in December of 2013. Laura’s dedication and commitment to the Honor Guard were an inspiration to all who knew her.
This year’s recipient is Detective Nancy Gifford. Detective Gifford has been a member of the Honor Guard since December of 2001. This is the third time she has been selected as Member of the Year. The Honor Guard was involved in 50 events in 2016 and Detective Gifford participated in 29 of those events.
Detective Gifford exemplifies the commitment and dedication required of all members of the CSPD Honor Guard and we are privileged to present her with the “Laura Cochran Honor Guard Member of the Year.”
Officer Robert Lichti is being recognized for his untiring efforts following the Planned Parenthood shooting on November 27, 2015.
Within 20 minutes of being notified, Officer Lichti responded to the shooting scene with the police department’s mobile command post, and remained on scene for 20 hours following the call-out.
During his time on scene, he successfully worked with Planned Parenthood personnel in Denver to get a video feed from the cameras inside the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood facility. Officer Lichti was able to maintain the feed during the entire incident, which provided invaluable information to the staff responsible for decision-making and safety for officers inside the Planned Parenthood building.
For his dedication to duty and ingenuity, Officer Lichti is presented a Department Commendation.
Detective Jerry Schiffelbein is receiving a Department Commendation for his remarkable efforts following the Planned Parenthood shooting on November 27, 2015.
Understanding the incident required an extraordinary amount of investigative resources; detectives and supervisors undertook a variety of critical duties. Detective Schiffelbein, assigned to the Homicide Unit, was assigned as the lead detective on the case and was responsible for interviewing the suspect once he was taken into custody.
In addition to getting the suspect’s confession, Detective Schiffelbein worked countless hours interviewing witnesses and compiling evidence for the anticipated prosecution phase. He also coordinated efforts and resources among local, state, and federal agencies that responded to the shooting, sometimes working full-time with the prosecution team from the District Attorney’s Office.
To keep up with the enormous work volume generated by this case and organize the indescribable complexities of its investigative processes, Detective Schiffelbin worked closely with the District Attorney’s Office – reaching far beyond the normal daily demands of an already rigorous homicide detective’s job.
Detective Schiffelbein’s dedication, teamwork and professionalism contributed immensely to a successful investigation and is worthy of this Department Commendation.
Commander Adrian Vasquez is being recognized for his efforts throughout 2015 to develop and implement a new policy on officer involved shootings.
Working in conjunction with several law enforcement partners, Commander Vasquez painstakingly developed a policy that was subsequently adopted by both the Colorado Springs Police Department and the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.
The policy, developed in accordance with a new statutory requirement, provides investigative support to every police agency within the 4th Judicial District.
His efforts included developing training materials used by all the participating agencies to ensure all entities were well informed and on board with how these sensitive and difficult incidents would be investigated, culminating in all the 4th Judicial District agencies signing a Memorandum of Understanding adopting the policy. Throughout the entire process, Commander Vasquez continued to handle the duties of the Violent Crimes Lieutenant.
The new policy was crucial to the successful investigations of four officer-involved shootings that occurred in the final months of 2015, being the Halloween and the Planned Parenthood shootings, which both involved an active gunman and multiple victims, drawing national attention and intense public scrutiny. Due to his leadership, the Colorado Springs Police Department successfully navigated through these events while still finalizing the policy itself.
Throughout, Commander Vasquez displayed the highest level of leadership, organizational ability, and dedication. His efforts led to the development of a policy impacting the entire 4th Judicial District. Commander Vasquez is awarded a Department Commendation for going well beyond his normal duties.
Heather Edwards works in the Colorado Springs Police Department’s Human Resources Section and is receiving this year’s Civilian of the Year Award.Here are the awards given to citizens:
Heather was nominated for her extreme dedication to all Colorado Springs Police Department employees. She believes human resources should provide superior service to ensure officers and other staff are able to fulfill the department’s mission.
She’s always seeking to do the right thing for the long-term interests of the city, the department and its employees.
Besides being humble, Heather is a great communicator, a great organizer, and believes responsiveness is a key to success.
All the department’s sworn and civilian staff knows they well get a quick answer and their concerns will be addressed promptly by Heather.
With Heather’s leadership, the department has implemented a new injury reporting software and a new examination process for police recruits.
She is a great asset to the Colorado Springs Police Department and Heather deserves this recognition for all she does.