Since posting, we heard back from UCCS spokesperson Tom Hutton on a few questions we posed. So, in case you were wondering whether the university will pay for additional security, should it be necessary for the event, the answer is "no."
Per Hutton: "the event sponsors are responsible for any additional security as determined by the UCCS Chief of Police." And about the university's preparations for protestors, Hutton says that "the university is anticipating the possibility of demonstrations. If demonstrations occur, there will be an area that is designated to ensure the safety of all participants."
——- Original post, JAN. 18, 1:57 P.M. ——-
Troll incoming! Today, a press release from the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs announced that right-wing provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos is officially scheduled to speak on campus. Two student groups — chapters of the College Republicans and Turning Point USA — invited the guy and will pick up the tab. To repeat: No university dollars will be spent on the affair.
The university does not endorse this speaker’s views (which, as we previously reported, are pretty repugnant), but because the university’s public, cannot turn him away for it. Yiannopoulos — who has been scorned by some in the so-called alt-right movement he purportedly speaks for because of his identity as a gay jew — will also speak at CU-Boulder on the 25th. Students there organized an event featuring Laverne Cox, a black trans actress, to speak at the exact same time, hoping to draw attention away from the smug, transphobic misogynist.
UCCS’s release also highlighted another event going on at the exact same time that was planned months ago. The “university appreciation event,” the release says, will “include comments by [Chancellor Pam] Shockley-Zalabak, music by members of the Colorado Springs Philharmonic, who will perform works by composer Leonard Bernstein, and a brief video presentation with campus community members stating support for the university's core values.”
Shockley-Zalabak penned a letter on the matter, found below:
A response to elected officials concern over the rhetoric Milo Yiannopoulos
I absolutely reject this type of rhetoric.
The statements that Mr. Yiannopoulos has made at other campuses are clearly in opposition to the values of the University of Colorado Colorado Springs and its commitment to creating an inclusive community that welcomes all.
Moreover, his tactics of personal denigration, as well as racist and misogynist comments, are both personally reprehensible and contrary to the university's values of civil, respectful discussion of difference and difficult topics. We ascribe to The Board of Regents' Guiding Principle that the University of Colorado shall always strive to be "provide an outstanding, respectful, and responsive living, learning, teaching, and working environment."
At the same time, the University of Colorado system adheres to the freedoms embodied in the United States Constitution, which include the freedom of speech contained in the First Amendment. Under well-established constitutional principles, when a student group invites a speaker, the University of Colorado does not censor the speaker because it disagrees with his viewpoints.
In doing so, we draw guidance from, and I quote the words of, the United States Supreme Court, which recently reaffirmed that speech touching on social and political matters are within the bounds of constitutional protection. When speech is on a matter of public concern, even though it it racist or sexist, it "cannot be restricted simply because it is upsetting or arouses contempt" and we "must tolerate insulting, and even outrageous, speech in order to provide adequate 'breathing space' to the freedoms protected by the First Amendment."
Mr. Yiannopoulos's attacks on others constitute "vehement, caustic, and unpleasant expressions" that "can stir people to action" and "inflict great pain." We can, and do, condemn his words, but, as a nation, "we have chosen to protect even hurtful speech on public issues to ensure that we do not stifle public debate." As a public university, we know of no legal grounds to prevent Mr. Yiannopoulos from coming to our campus based on his comments elsewhere.
UCCS will, however, require the organizations that invited him to campus, the College Republicans and Turning Point USA, to be responsible for all costs, including security. Additionally, the university will handle all ticketing to ensure that fire codes and other legal requirements are met. I will continue to emphasize that while Mr. Yiannopoulos may be speaking at UCCS, he in no way represents us as a campus community or our values.
Colorado Springs Anti-Fascists are still planning to protest the event. “We’re planning a direct action as well as a more general nice picket thing for those that are less militant,” says a representative of the group, who would direct anyone who’s interested in participating to keep an eye on the event page for an upcoming planning meeting.
Plans to get the biracial, progressive comedian Trevor Noah to speak on campus concurrently appear to not have materialized.
Find tickets and other time/place details about the Yiannopoulos event here.
The Board of County Commissioners has recently received anonymous letters regarding allegations involving processes and personnel at the Office of the Sheriff and has been made aware of an internet site outlining similar allegations, also made by unidentified individuals. El Paso County has in place robust processes and procedures for investigation where needed and where allegations are made with such specificity and credibility that an investigation is warranted.Simultaneous with the above statement, we received this comment from Sheriff Bill Elder through a spokesperson: "Sheriff Elder has sent a response to the latest anonymous letter to the Board of County Commissioners. He will not be making any comments to the media about anonymous letters contained within the dirtyelder.com website."
All allegations in the anonymous letters recently received have been investigated and/or evaluated with the advice and oversight of the County Attorney’s Office. This is particularly relevant to allegations surrounding policy changes and changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. Since January 2015, the El Paso County Attorney’s Office, and not counsel selected only by the Sheriff, has been providing legal advice and counsel to the Office of the Sheriff. This ensures consistency and transparency with the Board of County Commissioners.
As to allegations made in one letter that a female deputy was “forced to a full physical touching of her entire body captured on jail security video” and subject to multiple “sexually explicit text messages,” the Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that no evidence exists to support these claims, and no member of the Sheriff’s office has made these claims.
The Board of El Paso County Commissioners this morning received legal advice as to the processes and procedures in place at the Sheriff’s Office for conducting investigations and legal advice that had been previously given surrounding changes to promotional and disciplinary processes. The Board of County Commissioners hereby expresses confidence in Sheriff Elder and his staff; that the processes and procedures are sound and if there are sustained improper work actions, there will be an immediate response.
Bill Elder promised to follow all policies. He even signed a copy of the policy that states all policies apply to the Sheriff. Since then he has pretty much done what ever he wants. If he doesn’t like a policy he just changes it or gets rid of it.
Bill Elder promoted and/or rehired 6 individuals on his first day on the job. What policy says individuals can be promoted without going through a promotion board? So the same day he promised to follow policy he broke it. I wonder how many contributed to and/or worked on his campaign? We will get to that in an upcoming article.
Bill Elder promised to create an impartial promotion board, evaluation process and create an independent disciplinary board. How’s that working out? More to come…
With respect to the change in the Disciplinary Action Board, please be advised that the review of the Disciplinary Action Board (DAB) procedure began in September, initiated by EPSO legal advisor, as a result of a decision made in 2015 at the time the Board was enacted. The DAB was a novel procedure and it was decided that it would be reviewed at the one year time frame. At the lieutenant/command staff meeting in September 2016, the legal advisor announced that the matter would be reviewed. The Sheriff made the decision to suspend the Board at a time when no cases were completed and ready to go before the Board. The Sheriff was concerned about the lack of appeal, except for termination and that the Sheriff had no review authority with respect to the Disciplinary Action Board. Also, please be advised that not all investigations per the previous policy were heard by the Disciplinary Action Board.The dirtyelder.com website also has this under the heading "Broken Promises":
When Bill Elder was elected sheriff in 2014 he stated things would change. They did; for the worse.Should the El Paso County Commissioners launch some kind of probe? In the past, commissioners have taken a hands-off approach until smacked in the face with visual evidence of things going haywire — just look at the Sheriff Terry Maketa fiasco.
This website is dedicated to the hard working men and women of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office who deserve better than to have to work in a hostile work environment for corrupt leadership. Law Enforcement requires complete and total honesty and transparency. Command staff should be held to a higher standard and the Sheriff to the highest standard. Bill Elder has shown his campaign promises were nothing more than fiction. He has created a hostile work environment that includes intimidation, corruption and nepotism. This website will expose Bill Elder for what he is with documented and verified facts.
This Website is sponsored by concerned citizens with the goal of bringing the corruption at the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office to an end. It is also to keep employees informed of all the activities being done by Bill Elder and his command staff. This website is not to spread rumors, make personal attacks or get into politics.
We are empowered by you. Everyone knows a little bit about what’s going on at the Sheriff’s Office. Silence is the endorsement of corruption. We need your help to continue our mission. All material will be anonymous and verified. It’s time for employees to take a stand and demand integrity from their leadership!
Articles will show Bill Elder misled our community and evidence he committed multiple crimes to include official misconduct. We will present evidence that suggests Bill Elder could even be guilty of accessory to murder. We will show evidence of corruption by his current command staff and other personnel within the office. We will present the evidence, and you can be the judge.
One of the first promises Bill Elder made to staff and the community is that all policies would also apply to the Sheriff. We will show he has broken this promise and ultimately does what ever he wants. Below is Bill Elder, early in his term, signing the new policy. We will provide more information in an upcoming article.
1. Pursuant to 24-72-202(6)(a)(II)(C) this document is not a public record because it is a communication by constituent to an elected official that clearly implies by its nature or content that the constituent expects that it is confidential on a matter not yet public.We've invited the Sheriff's Office to comment on the new website and will update if and when we hear back.
2. Pursuant to 24-72—204(1)(b) and (c) inspection of this record would be contrary to federal rule or regulation and rule promulgated by the state supreme court; namely FRE 408 and CRE 408; and
3. Disclosure of the document is prohibited by 24-72-204(3)(a)(II)(A) in that it contains information pertaining to a personnel matter and which would otherwise be contained in a personnel file.
Do you have a gnawing pit of dread in your stomach? You know, the one that wells up every time you see, hear or even think about what’s going on in our federal government right now? If so, this post is for you!
Find below a handy guide to all upcoming opportunities for good, ol’ fashion direct action in the Springs area. Showing up not only strengthens the resistance to certain people and policies, but it also strengthens the networks we’ll need if we’re to have any say over our fate in the coming years.
Sunday, January 15
Our First Stand: Save Healthcare
Congressional Democrats, including Sen. Bernie Sanders, have called for rallies across the country to show opposition to Republicans’ health care agenda. Unite Colorado Springs, a progressive activist organization, has honored the request, calling on all those who don’t want to see Obamacare, Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security or Planned Parenthood totally decimated to come express that in public. “Our First Stand,” organizers have dubbed the rally, signaling that, yes, there’s more to come.
Bring yourself and a sign to the steps of City Hall at 1:30 p.m.
Sunday, January 15
COS SURJ community meeting
Learn about strategies for resisting deportation and other threats to immigrant, Muslim and LGBTQ communities. This local chapter of “Showing Up for Racial Justice” works to call white people into the struggle against racism, bigotry and systemic oppression through supporting groups led by people of color. Per organizers description:
This community meeting falls within a moment of national calls to action by MoveOn.org and coalitions of concerned democratic congressional leaders. We will be unveiling our Front Range SURJ campaign: ‘100 Days of Resisting Trump’ and discussing concrete daily actions that we can all take to make our voices heard and pressure our representatives to respond to our concerns.
Feel free to bring the kiddos, and, remember, it’s timed so you can go to Unite’s health care rally right after.
Show up at the Casa Verde Co-Housing Community (1355 Lindenwood Grove) at 12 p.m.
Friday, January 20
The inauguration of President-elect Donald Trump is almost certainly going to be a shit-show, but, luckily, you can stay far, far away from it. Citizens for Peace and Space — a pacifist group led by Indy contributor Loring Wirbel — will hold what’s likely to be a far more benign gathering here in the Springs. Bring signs, bring banners, bring a friend.
Join at noon at Acacia Park.
Friday, January 20 Saturday, January 21
Women’s March on Denver
Nearly 20,000 people are expected to attend this march in our state’s capital city that’s designed to support a similar one in D.C. The organizers are women unaffiliated with any activist group who got a permit from the city to hold this massive event, replete with a badass lineup of lady speakers and performers. The Pikes Peak Dems have organized two buses to Denver, leaving from their downtown office at 7 a.m. There are only a few spots left so call to reserve yours at 473-8713. (Warning: some attendees will be sporting knit pink pussy hats which may or may not be seen as trivializing a dead-serious cause.)
Activities will span 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Denver’s Civic Center Park.
Saturday, January 21
Day 1: March on Colorado Springs
Don’t waste any time after the President-elect gets sworn in. This “sister march” to the ones in Denver, D.C., and around the country will take place the day after the inauguration and is meant to usher in the first hundred days of resistance. Co-hosted by COS SURJ and the NAACP State Conference, the event will include marching, bannering and a benefit concert featuring hip-hop (by locals Kevin Mitchell & Lord Damage and Stoney Bertz), spoken word poetry (by local wordsmith, community organizer and sometimes Indy contributor Nico Wilkinson) and other speakers yet to be announced. From the co-hosts:
“We strive to provide an outlet and support for those who wish to: 1) Advocate for and defend the most marginalized members of our community. 2) Connect with like-minded individuals and organizations within local Colorado communities. 3) Serve as a model of peaceful demonstration for future generations. 4) Honor those who have fought before us for human, civil, and women's rights.”
Meet at Acacia Park at 1:30 p.m.
Saturday, January 21
Silence in Solidarity
Omtastic Yoga Studio, in the Roswell neighborhood just north of the Old North End, provides a break from all the noise. For a half hour after the march downtown, gather in candlelit silence before another half hour of mingling. The opportunity is meant for people unable to participate in loud, outdoor, ambulatory protests but still want to be apart of the public conversation. It’s also meant for those who do participate in those kind of actions, but just need a little break to take care of themselves. Bring food or drink.
Silence begins at 5:00 p.m.; mingling at 5:30 p.m. The studio is at 2727 N. Cascade, suite 140.
Monday, January 23
First 100 Hours Climate Justice Vigil
Faith communities across the country are holding vigils to mark a new era in the climate justice movement. Locally, the Colorado Springs Council for Justice, also active on refugee issues, will facilitate what’s described as “a moment to ground ourselves and create community to help us process our grief, our anger, and our fear.”
The action may be vague but the need is not: While President Obama may have not been the perfect ally to environmentalists, he’ll start to look like a downright saint relative to the gang of climate change deniers and fossil fuel executives set to be making climate policy decisions.
If we missed anything, please speak up!
Duran Brings Bipartisan Construction Defects Deal
New Speaker Says Bill Will Drive Down Insurance Costs to Spur Condo Builders
(Jan. 11) – The new speaker of the Colorado House of Representatives, Crisanta Duran, began the 2017 legislative session this morning by announcing a bipartisan compromise on construction defects reform, a perennial sticking point in the legislature.
In her opening day speech after being formally elected by the 65-member House, Speaker Duran said that she and the new Senate president, Kevin Grantham, R-Cañon City, had agreed to be prime sponsors of a bill intended to tackle the sticky issue of insurance, one of the issues identified by stakeholders as impacting new home starts.
The bill, with the co-prime sponsorship of Assistant Minority Leader Cole Wist, R-Centennial, and Sen. Angela Williams, D-Denver, is scheduled to be formally introduced this afternoon.
“By targeting insurance rates we’re addressing the problem without reducing consumers’ right to protect the property that they spent their life’s savings to buy,” said Speaker Duran, D-Denver.
The bill will allow insurers to go to court to apportion defense costs equitably among liability insurers who are required to defend a defect claim through an expedited process. The legislation seeks to address one of the root causes making it harder to build more condos, without compromising consumer rights.
In other highlights of her opening day speech, Speaker Duran said she was involved in “promising discussions” with members of both parties in both chambers to devise a comprehensive statewide plan to upgrade Colorado’s crumbling, overburdened transportation system.
“Anyone who’s been on I-25 at rush hour, anywhere from Fort Collins to Pueblo, knows the need is real,” she said, adding that the emerging plan “will provide new resources and will benefit our entire state.”
Speaker Duran also noted discussions about education funding and a long-term solution to the state’s chronic budget problems.
She closed with an appeal for “an inclusive Colorado” where bullying of people because of their gender, race, religion, nationality, or sexual orientation is off-limits.
Speaker Duran is the first Latina speaker in Colorado history. She presides over a House where Democrats expanded their majority to 37-28, a six-seat swing, in the November 2016 elections.
At yesterday's fundraiser, we sold 10 framed pastels of Strawberry Fields by Missye Bonds, 3 John Fielder photographs of Strawberry Fields and a dozen calendars of Strawberry Fields wildflowers. We also raised some cash. The total of everything was $3838.00. Well over 125 people came to the event yesterday and enthusiasm for our cause is still strong.
The Colorado Springs Emergency Operations Center activated today as several City departments, along with Colorado Springs Utilities respond to impacts from high winds in Colorado Springs today.
· The Colorado Springs Fire Department responded to 450 calls for service from 5 a.m. to 3 p.m. today, 90 percent of which were requests for assistance for a variety of wind-related issues ranging from downed trees in the public right of way, damage to buildings and vehicles, electrical concerns, and numerous grass and structure fires.
· As of 4 p.m. today Colorado Springs Utilities is responding to 307 outages, with 8,157 customers affected. Progress is being made as wind conditions slowly improve.
· Several City departments including the Parks Department’s Forestry Division, Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division, Colorado Springs Fire Department and Colorado Springs Utilities continue to respond to a high volume of calls for downed trees throughout the city.
Calls for Downed Trees
· The Public Works Operations and Maintenance Division received 46 storm related calls for service, the majority of which were downed trees in roadway.
· The City’s Forestry Division received approximately 150 calls for service for downed trees, which include downed trees in parks and medians. Please note that some calls for downed trees may overlap across departments.
· Residents can call 24-hours-a-day to 719-385-ROAD or may also use GoCoSprings, the City’s mobile app, to report a downed tree in the public right of way. https://www.coloradosprings.gov/gocosprings. Report a new issue and select “downed tree”. Reports to the mobile application will be processed Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
· For downed trees in a street median or city park call 719-385-5942 (Monday- Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.).
Motorists are advised to stay off the road if possible as there are reports of twisted traffic signal heads that can fall on the roadways. Numerous traffic lights are also experiencing power outages. Darkened intersections should be treated as four-way stops.
Colorado Springs Utilities Update
· As of 4 p.m. today Colorado Springs Utilities is currently responding to 307 outages, with 8,157 customers affected, so progress is being made as wind conditions slowly improve.
· To date, Colorado Springs Utilities has received 150 calls for downed trees impacting power lines and 75 cases for downed electric lines.
· Four restoration crews are currently dispatched and more crews will return to the field tonight as wind conditions continue to improve.
· In addition to Springs Utilities line crews, three contract crews have augmented restoration efforts along with nine tree trimming crews.
· CSU will work through the night to restore power to affected customers, but due to the extent of the damage to utilities infrastructure, the number of outages and wind conditions delaying the ability to make above-ground repairs, more complicated restoration efforts could extend beyond Tuesday.
· Customers are encouraged to check on the status of power outages via our online outage map at www.csu.org.
El Paso County hopes to do an initial assessment of the roof damage and make temporary repairs with the goal of re-opening the Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex by 12 Noon Tuesday, January 10, 2017.
Hurricane force winds tore of large sections of the South Tower roof and toppled a communications antenna on the top of the building this morning. The complex was evacuated and the Sheriff’s Office set up a temporary closure of streets and sidewalks surrounding the building to protect drivers and pedestrians from falling and blowing debris.
Courthouse staff should plan for the building to be re-opened at 12 Noon. Jurors should report at 1 PM. All others with scheduled appointments should call (719) 452-5000 for additional scheduling information.
Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) will resume regular bus service at 3:30 p.m. Earlier today, due to extreme wind conditions, MMT suspended service for three hours at the direction of CDOT regarding high profile commercial vehicles. We will continue to update the media and post the most current information on our Facebook and Twitter pages, #MMTRA, on recorded phone messages and at 385-RIDE (7433).
Mountain Metropolitan Transit provides local fixed-route bus service and Metro Mobility ADA paratransit service for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. All buses are wheelchair-lift equipped. Mountain Metropolitan Transit also provides other services such as Metro Rides’ ridesharing, vanpool, and bicycling programs. For added convenience, there are bike racks on all buses for riders who want to utilize the bike-n-bus program. For additional information regarding Mountain Metropolitan Transit please visit www.mmtransit.com, or call (719) 385-RIDE (7433).
City Response to Downed Trees
· The Forestry Department is responding to a high volume of calls for downed trees throughout the city with downtown and the city’s west side most impacted.
· Residents should report downed trees that are blocking roads to 719-385-ROAD
· To report a fallen tree in street median, parks and parkway strips 719-385-5942
· Residents can also report a fallen tree by using the City’s GoCoSprings app https://www.coloradosprings.gov/gocosprings
Colorado Springs Utilities Update
· As of 11:30 a.m. Colorado Springs Utilities is currently responding to more than 200 reported electric outages in its service territory caused by high winds. Approximately 18,000 customers are being affected by these outages.
· The outages are concentrated in the southern portion of Springs Utilities’ system, which has the highest percentage of overhead lines.
· Most of the outages are being caused by blowing debris, construction materials and metal siding getting into our lines causing circuits to trip.
· Customers should be on the lookout for fallen power lines or trees that have come into contact with a power line. If a customer witnesses either, they should stay away from the line and/or tree, and call us at 448-4800 or call 911.
· To help reduce call volume and expedite emergency-related calls during this wind storm event, Springs Utilities is asking customers to use its online outage map at csu.org (http://stormcenter3.csu.org.s3.amazonaws.com/default.html) for electric outage information and status updates, and to not call 448-4800 unless a customer is reporting a downed electric line, a tree into an electric line, or some other utilities-related emergency that poses a safety risk.
Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT) will suspend bus service temporarily at 12:00 p.m. today due to extreme wind conditions. Drivers will finish their current routes and return to the bus depot and wait out the wind. This is per CDOT’s direction of the safety concern regarding high profile commercial vehicles. We will continue to update the media and post the most current information on our Facebook and Twitter pages, #MMTRA, on recorded phone messages and at 385-RIDE (7433).UPDATE: This just in:
Due to extreme high winds in the area, Colorado Department of Transportation is restricting travel of high profile vehicles in El Paso County. Semi, tractor trailers, commercial buses and all other high profile vehicles aren’t allowed on the roadways in El Paso County at this time.
Wind gusts are estimated at more than 100 miles per hour and it isn’t safe to have these vehicles on the road. El Paso County is under a high wind advisory until 5pm.
Due to extensive roof damage the El Paso County Terry R. Harris Judicial Complex is now being evacuated. County facilities staff is working to mitigate damage but strong gusty winds are making it impossible to do a damage assessment at this time.Mean time, trees are tumbling down all over town.
Preliminary damage reports indicate extensive damage to the south tower roof. El Paso County Sheriff’s Deputies have closed portions of Tejon Street in the area of the building and pedestrians are being asked to avoid the area as roofing materials continue to be torn from the building.
Courts appointments have been canceled today.
The El Paso County Emergency Operations Center (EOC) has now been activated to assist in coordinating resources needed to respond to this storm. Further updates will be provided as information becomes available.
The El Paso County Office of Emergency Management is reminding everyone to stay away from downed power lines. Ongoing hurricane force winds have broken tree branches, toppled signs, turned over vehicles and pulled down power lines countywide.
Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. Here are some electric energy safety tips can help you stay safe around downed lines:
* If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching it.
* The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage one—and it could do that through your body.
* If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
* Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even normally non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
* Be careful not to put your feet near water where a downed power line is located.
* Do not drive over downed lines.
* If you are in a vehicle that is in contact with a downed line, stay in the vehicle. Honk your horn for help and tell others to stay away from your vehicle.
* If you must leave your vehicle because it’s on fire, jump out of the vehicle with both feet together and avoid making contact with the energized vehicle and the ground at the same time. This way you avoid being the path of electricity from the vehicle to the earth.
* Do not touch or attempt to move communications wires that might not normally be electrically charged as the high winds may have brought them into contact high voltage electric lines.
I had advocated to CDOT that the full environmental review for the I-25 widening project start immediately. We should not waste time and money to first do the PEL study, then still have to do the required environmental study before we can widen I-25. Today’s CDOT announcement is an important step to getting this vital road construction project done as soon as possible!
I will continue to fight for this I-25 widening project as a priority for CDOT and for state transportation funding.
DENVER – The Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) announced plans to accelerate the environmental and planning process for improvements on I-25 from C470 to Colorado Springs, with attention to the gap area from Monument to Castle Rock. By accelerating the environmental planning for I-25, CDOT will have a project ready for construction by summer of 2019, with a project fully constructed between Castle Rock to Monument in five years, if funding is identified for construction.
“As congestion continues to build along I-25, CDOT has decided that this project can't wait,” said Shailen Bhatt, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. “We're going to do our part and get ready for construction in two years. Now we need others to help us come up with the $300 to $400 million we need to build it.”
CDOT is able to accelerate the funding of the environmental planning thanks to the financing of the C-470 Express Lanes project. CDOT plans to use funds that otherwise were allocated to serve as a “backstop” for loans that will be financing the project. As the details of the loans have been finalized in the last two weeks, it became clear that fewer of those funds would be necessary, allowing CDOT to redirect $15 million of those funds to I-25 environmental and preconstruction work. Those funds, along with the $6 million that is already programmed for the current Programmatic & Environmental Linkages (PEL) study, will allow the department to prepare for a construction project, should construction funds become available.
“Douglas County obviously shares CDOT’s prioritization of this project and has demonstrated our support as a funding partner, committing $250,000 to the early study and associated process,” said Douglas County Commissioner Roger Partridge. “As history shows, CDOT and Douglas County, and many others have successfully partnered to improve many of the seven state highways running through Douglas County during the past decade, with a few projects underway right now. With that in mind, we are committed to doing what is required to organize this coalition of like-minded leaders, working with CDOT, the City of Colorado Springs and the FHWA, on a construction-funding solution so that we can meet our 2019 ground-breaking commitment.”
“We urge the state of Colorado to make the widening of the I-25 corridor between Monument and Castle Rock a vital and immediate priority. As the area experiences record growth, we simply can’t afford to wait the previously proposed 10 years, dragging out the impacts of congestion restricting commerce and travel between Colorado Springs and Denver,” noted John Suthers, Mayor of Colorado Springs. “This is an improvement that will have immediate positive impact on safety and the economy and we commend CDOT and our neighboring governments for their support in working to streamline the process and get that section of the interstate construction-ready as quickly as possible.”
CDOT does not plan to only provide the newly available funds to the planning project, but is also committed, in participation with the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) to streamlining and accelerating the environmental and pre-construction processes, including running a NEPA process on the “gap” (the 2-lane section between Castle Rock and Monument) concurrently with the Planning and Environmental Linkage Study that looks at the complete corridor, from C-470 to Colorado Springs.
... they are all on the district courts within the Circuit- including Judge Blackburn's seat in Colorado- there are no vacancies on the U.S, Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit itself (unlike the four on the 9th circuit indicated by CCA for Circuit Court of Appeals).
More importantly, Senators Bennet and Gardner jointly recommended and strongly pushed for action on a nominee. There is every reason why they should continue to do so given the caseload and need to move quickly to fill this seat that they both cited, and the continuing need for both home-state senators to approve any hearing (scroll down).
See these press releases:
Sens. Bennet, Gardner Urge Judiciary Committee to Consider Regina Rodriguez Nomination: President Nominated Rodriguez in April Following Bennet, Gardner Recommendations
(Republican - Colorado) 07/12/16
Colorado U.S. Senators Michael Bennet and Cory Gardner today urged the Senate Judiciary Committee to work swiftly to consider the nomination of Regina Rodriguez to fill the vacancy on the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado. The Colorado senators wrote to Judiciary Committee Chairman Charles Grassley and Ranking Member Patrick Leahy urging them to schedule a hearing and a vote on confirmation as soon as possible.... "Given the court's caseload, it's crucial that the Judiciary Committee move quickly and thoroughly to consider this nomination," Bennet said. "Regina Rodriguez is eminently qualified to serve on the District Court. We're confident that her impressive background in both the public and private sectors will serve her well on the federal bench." "Regina Rodriguez has a long record of service to Colorado," said Gardner. "She is immensely qualified to serve on the federal bench, and I'm certain that her broad experience will allow her to better serve Coloradans in a new capacity as a judge on the U.S. District Court for Colorado."
Mayor Suthers has had several inquiries about his interest in various positions. This is not uncommon after a Presidential election. But as he has indicated in the past, there are very few positions he would seriously consider at this point in his career. The press would undoubtedly become aware if he was being considered for a position he was interested in.According to this website, there are six vacancies with the U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, Denver.
If a vacancy occurs in the office of Mayor, duties and responsibilities of that position shall transfer according to section 4-20 of this Charter, and Council shall call an election within ninety (90) days, unless a general municipal election will occur in one hundred eighty (180) days and nominations for the office of Mayor can be timely filed in accord with municipal election law, for the purpose of electing a qualified person to the unexpired term of the office of Mayor. If a general municipal election will occur within one hundred eighty (180) days, the provisions of section 4-20 of this Charter shall apply until a successor of the Mayor last elected pursuant to the provisions of section 2-10 of this Charter is elected and qualified, in accordance with this Charter. (1909; 1961; 1975;And here's section 4-20 from the Charter:
(a)Whenever the Mayor is unable, from any cause, to perform the duties of the office for more than a temporary or short-term absence, the President of the Council shall be the acting Mayor and shall hold such office until a successor of the Mayor last elected pursuant to the provisions of section 2-10 of this Charter is elected and qualified, in accordance with this Charter, at which time the President of the Council may return to his or her seat on Council. (2010)
(b)If the President of Council refuses or is unable to discharge the duties of the Office of Mayor, the Council shall elect one of its members acting Mayor, who shall hold such office until a successor of the Mayor last elected pursuant to the provisions of section 2-10 of this Charter is elected and qualified, in accordance with this Charter. (2010)
(c)Whenever the President of Council becomes the acting Mayor, Council shall elect a new President of Council to serve during the absence as provided in this Charter. (2010)
2016 was a year littered with losses, as you may well remember. But amidst all the geopolitical absurdities and tragedies was a local loss that left the Springs’ small but mighty scene of artists, queers and progressives without what had become a downtown hub of creative activity.
After three years in business, Mountain Fold Books closed in November with an estate sale to off-load all its unique furnishings and bid adieu to loyal customers. But its emptied Costilla Street location will remain that way no longer, as the artisan promoting Colorado Collective prepares to move in.
Founder Mundi Ross announced the new venture via a Facebook video. “You’re looking at the future of COCO Crafted,” she says, gesturing at blank walls behind her. Ross explains the storefront will become a craft studio for the “makers” featured in Colorado Collective’s high gloss quarterly magazine to make and sell whatever it is they make. Facilities will include woodworking and jewelry making tools, Ross says, and a small kitchenette. Also expect skill-shares and other events for and about the city’s growing community of creative entrepreneurs.
“Now, I know for many the Mountain Fold space brought hope. It was a sanctuary; it was safe haven for many,” Ross noted. “I can’t be another Mountain Fold, but I’m really excited about what I’m about to bring to this space.”
COCO Crafted will join other buzzy businesses in that downtown nook termed the "New South End," with the likes of Loyal Coffee, Iron Bird Brewing and Fox & Jane Salon that bring that Springs closer to resembling bigger, hipper and pricier cities that attract and retain more young people.
That kind of development is precious to the Downtown Partnership, which touted 2016 as a record-setting year for street-level business growth.
“We are seeing tremendous growth in our urban core,” says Sarah Humbargar, Director of Business Development & Economic Vitality for the Downtown Partnership of Colorado Springs, in a press release.
23 new retailers, restaurants and other businesses opened up in 2016 and so far, 12 new ones are poised to do so in 2017. There’s a retail vacancy of less than four percent downtown, according Humbargar, who also emphasized new apartment and condo construction that’ll add much needed (though questionably affordable) housing inventory.
The Partnership's release also highlighted some notable newcomers to the downtown culinary scene, including Chef Brother Luck, who’ll open a new restaurant in the spring, and Oskar Blues brewery which will soon move into the Old Chicago building on Tejon Street.
Murray joined UCCS in 1975 and is considered the founder of Theatreworks, the professional theater based at the university, as well as the academic theater program at the university. He produced classic and contemporary plays in classrooms, buses, warehouses, basements and the Dusty Loo Bon Vivant Theater. Among his credits are directing, adapting and creating more than 100 works for the stage including the original scripts "Monkey Business," "The Last Night of Don Juan," "The Lady of Camellias," "Dar-al-Harb" and "I Am Nikola Tesla." He also wrote stage adaptations of classics such as "Huckleberry Finn" and "A Christmas Carol." His most recent adaption of "A Christmas Carol" was successfully staged this December. His first love and greatest passion was always Shakespeare, and his 1984 production of “The Comedy of Errors” in a circus tent started a tradition of outdoor summer productions that continues to anchor the Theatreworks season today. In 1988, noted scholar Stephen Booth wrote in Shakespeare Quarterly that Murray’s summer production was “The Best Othello I Ever Saw.”
Theatreworks received a Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 1994, a Henary Award for Oustanding Regional Theatre in 2013 as well as numerous local accolades. The program celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2015, the same year UCCS marked the 50th anniversary of its founding. Murray directed four plays in 2016, and during his recent days in the hospital Murray was making active preparations for his next production.
In addition to his work with Theatreworks, Murray was a respected teacher and scholar. He taught theater as well as English literature. Murray and his wife, Betty, were fixtures of the Colorado Springs arts community. They were ardent supporters of the arts and the development of the under construction $70 million UCCS Ent Center for the Arts which contains a space named in their honor.
Murray worked with thousands of students, artists, actors and staff and left an impression on each. He was funny, smart, a bit of an anarchist and a great lover of life. Adventures, storytelling and spirited debate filled his life.
Murray earned a bachelor's degree from Williams College, a master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and also pursued doctoral studies at UC Berkeley, where he began directing. He served in the National Guard from 1963-1969, and taught and directed at the University of Rochester before joining UCCS.
Survivors include his wife, Betty, his sisters Susanna, Christina and Kit, and his sons Felix, James, Orion and Matthew.
Please join me in offering condolences to the family, friends and colleagues of Murray Ross. Notes may be sent to the family in care of the Office of the Chancellor, 401 Main Hall. At the request of the family, donations can be made to the Murray Ross Artists Endowment Fund with the CU Foundation.
Lynette Crow-Iverson a community leader who led the effort to pass Referendum 2C (the “Pothole Fix”) in 2015 is an entrepreneur and innovator. Iverson as a single mother raising 2 girls on her own built a successful franchise business in the medical field which continues to expand today. Conspire! provides industry compliance for a safe and drug free workplace.
“Noting the lack of many business experienced Members currently serving on City Council many of my colleagues have encouraged me to run. In a competitive environment and the need to lift our community in so many ways the feeling in the community and in the District is one of disappointment at the lack of leadership,” noted Iverson “I believe my experience and my innate leadership skills will be a good addition on Council and to support Mayor Suther’s vision for our City going forward.”
A community activist Lynette Crow-Iverson currently serves as a Trustee for the Colorado Springs Health Foundation, Vice Chair for the Pikes Peak Work Force Board, serves for Chancellor Shockley-Zalabak’s Regional Connect board, is a Member of the Regional Leadership Forum and past Chairwoman for Colorado Springs Forward.
“As a businessman and a colleague of Lynette’s I was thrilled to hear that she was running for City Council. I have served with Lynette on the Colorado Springs Health Foundation and I know firsthand her business acumen and creativity,” stated Jon Medved “Lynette Crow-Iverson is a first class leader and exactly what our City Council needs.” Jon Medved is a Co-Chair on the Friends for: Lynette Crow-Iverson Committee.
City Council District 5 includes much Colorado Spring’s Old North End, the Patty Jewett neighborhood and runs as far east as Powers Blvd.
If Employee signs and does not revoke thisIf he violates the agreement, he has to pay the city $30,000. Here's the non-disparagement section:
Agreement, and executes the Supplemental Release attached hereto as Exhibit A on or after
the Separation Date and does not revoke it, the City agrees: (i) to pay Employee an amount
equal to 6 months of Employee’s current base salary, to be paid within 5 working days following
the date the Supplemental Release becomes binding and non-revocable; (ii) to pay the
employer’s share of the cost of premiums to continue Employee’s current medical and dental
coverage through July 31, 2017, so long as Employee timely pays Employee’s share of the
contributions to the City; and (iii) to allow Employee to continue, if currently enrolled, in the
vision plan through July 31, 2017, so long as Employee timely pays the cost of the premium. All
payments shall be subject to legally-required withholdings. Further, the parties agree that no
PERA contributions will be made on these payments as they do not constitute salary for PERA
Mutual Non-disparagement. Employee shall not make negative or disparaging
comments relating to the City, its elected officials, employees or representatives, its services, or
Employee’s employment with the City. In addition, Employee will not disclose to any person or
entity the circumstances surrounding Employee’s departure from the City’s employment. The
City shall not make negative comments relating to Employee’s employment with the City or the
circumstances surrounding Employee’s departure from the City’s employment. All parties
acknowledge the City is subject to the CORA. Notwithstanding the foregoing, if either party is
subject to a valid subpoena or court order, or is otherwise required by law, to provide truthful
testimony in a proceeding, such testimony will not be a violation of Section 7 of this Agreement.