Approximately 3,500 Air Force Academy cadets will perform volunteer work for 43 community organizations along the Front Range Friday.
Worksites for cadets will range in location from downtown Colorado Springs to Black Forest and Woodland Park. Start times vary depending on the distance the work location is from the Air Force Academy, with cadets arriving at most El Paso County sites by 8 a.m., and 9 a.m. for other locations. Work will continue until 4 p.m., or until all work at each site is completed.
Organizations the cadets will be working for include:
* American Red Cross, Southeastern Colorado Chapter, testing, repairing and/or installing fire alarms in at risk homes across the region
* Coalition for the Upper South Platte, thinning overgrown trees and brush, to be used as firewood for the needy, and a second project performing erosion mitigation on the Waldo Canyon burn scar.
* Black Forest Together, helping with fire recovery and mitigation work at several homes within the area still dealing with the after-effects of the Black Forest wildfire.
* Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument, performing trail maintenance
* City of Colorado Springs Parks and Recreation Department, plant 300 sage plants along camp creek at Garden of the Gods, and maintenance at several parks locations.
* Ellicott Wildlife Rehabilitation Center, performing upkeep at the center.
* Colorado Springs Therapeutic Riding Center, cleaning up stables and painting fences
Rocky Mountain Field Institute, hiking up Bear Creek to refurbish the area, to protect its scarce trout population.
* Care and Share food bank, sorting and distributing food.
* The Salvation Army in downtown Colorado Springs, cleaning and painting its red kettles, preparing and cooking food, grounds work and moving furniture.
Other organizations the cadets will work with include: The Marian House, Goodwill, Habitat for Humanity ReStore, Crawford House, and several elementary schools across the region.
This cadet volunteer work is organized by the Air Force Academy's Center for Character and Leadership Development center, via its Cadet Service Leadership program, which connects community organizations with cadet volunteers. Cadets performed more than 30,000 hours of community service during the previous academic year. Academy cadets have averaged more than 30,000 hours of community service work each academic year, for the past decade.
Organizations that wish to request cadet volunteers for future community service efforts can request cadet volunteers online at: http://www.usafa.edu/Commandant/cwc/cwcx/csl/csl_inputform.cfm?catname=csl
The reason no one mentioned the Peterson water issue is that we closed our survey June 14, and media coverage of the water quality issues didn’t happen until July. Neither the JLUS manager nor our air and water quality manager have received the report, but once we do, we will review it to determine if it is relevant to the scope of the Joint Land Use Study. I know you wrote about this issue - do you have a copy you could share?From the news release about the study:
Several common themes emerged:
• A majority of respondents think the community and military installations are working together well.
• Noise and/or vibration, and use of airspace were the top two issues respondents identified, though 67 percent and 86 percent, respectively, did not find these to be a problem.
• Respondents said development of alternative energy on installations is a positive for the community.
• 69 percent of respondents said that when they moved into their homes, they knew a military installation was a neighbor and there could be land-use impacts.
• Results validated a number of issues JLUS staff had heard about from community groups, individual citizens, and military partners, such as stormwater runoff from new development and noise from various training activities.
• Survey respondents also identified a new issue, keeping the New Santa Fe Trail open where it crosses Air Force Academy property.
As a result of this community input, JLUS staff has formed two additional working groups. Visit the PPACG website [ppacg.org] to review the full survey results.
About the Joint Land Use Study
The Colorado Springs Regional Joint Land-Use Study will promote long-term land use compatibility between local military installations and surrounding communities through the promotion of comprehensive community planning, particularly in regards to specific issues identified by the installations, local government staff and officials, and the community.
The study includes:
• A detailed land use assessment for areas surrounding the installations affecting El Paso, Pueblo, Teller, and Fremont counties
• An inventory of compatibility challenges within the study area
• An assessment of regional growth trends around the installations
• Specific recommendations to promote compatible land use
As pledged, we have reviewed the situation there. We have concluded that no abuse of liberties has occurred, and Maj Lewis's behavior and the workplace environment at the RNSSI are well within the provisions of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12, "Free Exercise of Religion and Religious Accommodation" and "Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause."Fruck, when asked, says he doesn't know if the Bible has been placed at the work station again, but "the review allows him to have a Bible on his desk."
The 310th “Space" Wing is NOT called the 310th “Space For My Personal Proselytizing Christian Bible Shrine” Wing for a damn good reason. Major Steve Lewis has created an around-the-clock Christian Bible Shrine on his official USAF workstation desk that has been in prominent static display for YEARS. The pages in his open bible on his USAF desk never change, ever. Thus, it is obviously there as a religious display to promote to others his Christian faith. This sectarian display is a disastrous travesty which completely serves all too well as an absolute textbook violation of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Section 2.12 as well as the No Establishment Clause and No Religious Test Clause of the United States Constitution. MRFF is very pleased that, pursuant to MRFF’s specific demand, this bible has expeditiously been removed from Major Lewis’ desk pending the the ongoing Commander Directed Investigation which MRFF also demanded. In my nearly 12 minute call with the 310th Wing Commander, Colonel Feltman, yesterday, he promised me that he would be open and fair in all of his dealings on this matter with MRFF and its 33 clients at Peterson AFB and Schriever AFB. We will hold him to his word. So far, MRFF has been impressed with his honesty and responsiveness.If you want to read his letter to Col. Feltman, here ya go:
Fifteen Soldiers will represent in seven sports as athletes and coaches at the Olympic Games. Col. J.J. Love, U.S. Army Installation Management Command deputy G9 and chief of staff, will open the press conference. Media will have the opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews with Soldier-Olympians. The remainder of the day will be demonstrations in the sports the Soldier-Olympians will be representing at the Games.So now you can watch for these competitors when viewing the televised games, and cheer your soldiers on.
The Soldier-Olympians are:
Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson – Shooting
Staff Sgt. Michael Lukow - Para Archery
Staff Sgt. John Nunn - Track and Field
Sgt. Hillary Bor – Track and Field
Sgt. Elizabeth Marks - Para Swimming
Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher - Modern Pentathlon
Sgt. Caylor Williams – Wrestling (alternate)
Sgt. Whitney Conder – Wrestling (alternate)
Spc. Paul Chelimo – Track and Field
Spc. Shadrack Kipchirchir - Track and Field
Spc. Leonard Korir - Track and Field
Spc. Ildar Hafizov – Wrestling (alternate)
Capt. Andrew Locke - Rugby 7's
Sgt. 1st Class Joe Guzman - BoxingStaff Sgt. Dennis Bowsher - Modern Pentathlon
The donated CF-188, also known as the Hornet, was part of the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1984 until it was decommissioned in 2007.
The aircraft, given to the U.S. Air Force Heritage Program by the Canadian government, is on loan to the Peterson museum. The donation highlights the joint mission and partnership between the U.S. and Canadian governments.
"We're very excited to receive the Hornet as part of the Peterson Air and Space Museum collection," said Gail Whalen, Peterson Air and Space Museum director. "It will help us share the joint U.S. and Canadian heritage and traditions that keep alive the stories of our military service men and women for all generations."
The Peterson museum contains 17 aircraft and 6 missiles, which tell the North American air defense story since the Cold War.
The aircraft was transferred from Bagotville, Quebec, to Colorado Springs in March, and its paint scheme commemorates Canada's and the United States' partnership within the North American Aerospace Defense Command, a binational military command formally established in 1958 by Canada and the United States to monitor and defend North American airspace.
The Hornet is used in Canada for air defense, air superiority, tactical support, training, aerobatic demonstration, and aerospace testing and evaluation, and is committed to protecting North America in support of NORAD missions.
The BLM received an urgent request from Fort Carson military base for U.S. Army personnel to conduct limited, short-term High Altitude Mountain Environment Training on public lands in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel. Based on a specific set of guidelines, the BLM has determined that this training qualifies as casual use and does not require a permit. The Army will be using five landing zones on public lands in Fremont County from about Oct. 14 to Dec. 20, 2015. The landing zones were selected in remote locations to minimize impacts to neighboring landowners or resources.
The U.S. Air Force Academy Band played some crowd favorites at New Life Church last night, such as Gershwin's "Strike up the Band," and the age-old hymn, "Amazing Grace."
The United States Air Force Academy Band performed its Spring Concert on Thursday, April 21, 7pm, at New Life Church. The show was open and free to the entire regional community and those visiting the area.
It's important to note that the Academy Band maintains a rigorous performance schedule in support of Cadet and Air Force troop morale, recruiting and community outreach, and it makes every effort to provide free public concerts as part of their community relations mission. The focus of venue selection is finding the ideal location for the community. Oftentimes a larger venue best supports the needs of that area; however, the band utilizes a variety of venues across Colorado Springs and the nation to provide the public with innovative musical programs.
Department of Defense and Air Force regulations allow concerts to be performed in churches as long as the concert is not part of a service and benefits the community at large; the primary regulation is DoD 5410.18. The band's methodical planning efforts to meet the demands of its rigorous schedule, under the aforementioned regulations, ensure it is never associated with a worship service, that each concert is free and open to the public and of general interest to the community, and that there is no fundraising of any kind associated with the performance.
The USAFA Band presents an average of 500 performances a year; in the last 15-16 months 14 community concerts have been held in church venues: 3.2% of its total performances.
"Since Jan. 1, 2015, that 3.2% of performances were held at: Trinity High School (Catholic) Dickinson, N.D.; St. Paul Lutheran Church, Missoula, Montana; Zion Lutheran Church, Montrose, Colo.; Chamber Recital Series, St. James Presbyterian Church, Littleton, Colo; St Michaels (Catholic) High School, Santa Fe, N.M.; New Life Church, Colo Spgs; Grace & St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Colo Spgs; Littleton United Methodist Church, Littleton, Colo; Strickland Chapel, Nazarene Bible College, Colo Spgs; Grace Lutheran Church, Osage City, Kan.; Benet Hill Monastery, Colo Spgs; United Methodist Church, Brookings, S.D.; Pauline Chapel, Colo Spgs; and First Presbyterian Church, Great Falls, Montana.
We appreciate the continued support of our community and are proud to continue the strong relationship with our neighbors.
Also, our source for this is DODI 5410.18, 18.104.22.168.1, states, "Church as a site for a public concert, speech, or display, when the activity is not part of a religious service."
I've long suspected that there exists a de facto partnership between USAFA and one or more of the large evangelical mega-churches in Colorado Springs, evidenced by the buses and carpools available to take cadets to attend services there as well as outside church involvement in Monday night on-campus religious study programs, etc. No church is more linked to USAFA and Cadet Wing, though, than the New Life Church, clearly visible to the east from many a USAFA dorm room window and the Falcon Stadium Press Box VIP Suites. I was surprised, though, to hear that the Academy and NLC held a joint event—a concert by the USAFA Band—within the 2000+ seat "sanctuary" of the New Life Church's main location last night. The program from the event itself states that the concert was "Presented In Partnership with New Life Church."Here's the policy regarding what the band can and can't do:
... It's particularly troubling because of NLC's history of intolerance against those that don't share their views on LGB rights. An organization that has actively moved against one of its most heroic members stating she was no longer welcome because of her sexuality, seems an unlikely partner for a government organization that by law and public statement prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual preference.That the Academy has had a troubled history in this area is clear to everyone. That they could be so sloppy as to include the NLC emblem on their newspaper ads for the concert is surprising. That they would use the word "partnership" on the program itself is worrying to say the least.
The United States Air Force Academy Band may perform for public and civic events if the event is of general interest or benefit to a local, state or national community. However, the band may not participate in events that are commercially sponsored; are designed to increase business traffic or raise charitable donations; or are associated with a religious or ideological movement, such as a Christmas parade...."Weinstein says he'll be filing a Freedom of Information request to try to find out "how all of the particulars of this unconstitutional disgrace came about."
The United States Air Force Academy yet once AGAIN blatantly violates not only the United States Constitution’s No Establishment Clause and various DoD Joint Ethics Regulations regarding the provision of endorsements and selective benefits but, this time, it’s very own internal regulations. How you may ask; by incestuously ‘partnering’ with the infamously and notoriously homophobic, evangelical New Life Church in an Air Force Academy band concert reminiscent of a Las Vegas Strip production.
The United States Air Force Academy has 10 Public Affairs specialists currently assigned (active duty officers, active duty enlisted, and DOD civilians). The Public Affairs operating budget is approximately $30 thousand annually.We asked the academy to clarify the dollar figure, because "$30 thousand" is only $30,000, and we seriously doubt you could hire 10 people with that measly amount.
Simply, if you need help solving a complex communications challenge, we're your firm. If you find yourself stuck and need experienced strategic thinkers to help you get unstuck, we're your firm. If you're in an industry that faces opposition, we're your firm.According to his bio included on his website, Holdren says he played "senior roles" several places, including Centura Health. So we checked on that one and were told that he worked at Centura from July 17, 1997, to Feb. 12, 1999, as a "public relations specialist." We'll leave it to the reader to decide if PR specialist is considered a senior role.
Mr. Richard Quest is a distinguished journalist with CNN, who is internationally renowned for his coverage of people and places throughout the world. We feel that Mr. Quest's stellar professional credentials and ringing endorsement by CNN made him the right person to draw positive national attention to the U.S. Air Force Academy during graduation week with an interview with Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson, our Superintendent. Furthermore, his videotaped Thunderbird orientation ride helped publicize the fact that America's Air Force, and the air power it epitomizes, is second to none in the world. With 35 million viewers worldwide tuning in, Mr. Quest and his CNN team provided a rare look at some of our fine Airmen, their capabilities, and America's newest crop of leaders, the commissioned officers of the Class of 2015.Anyhow, Johnson's normal three-year stint at the academy is nearing an end, unless President Obama decides to leave her there for a fourth year as was done with her predecessor, former superintendent Lt. Gen. Mike Gould.
Mikey,The request was submitted in 2011 and a lawsuit was filed recently to try to jar loose the documents. While we can't say if there are any gems in those documents worth reporting, the academy seems to have taken the lawsuit seriously.
Pursuant to an agreement reached with the Air Force Academy’s (AFA) lawyers after MRFF filed its lawsuit, last week the AFA finally produced nearly 3,000 documents that are the subject of the lawsuit. The AFA intends to produce more documents in the near future.
MRFF’s attorneys, Vincent Ward and Amber Fayerberg of Freedman, Boyd Hollander Goldberg Urias & Ward, PA, located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, are currently reviewing the documents to ensure the AFA has fully complied with all FOIA [Freedom of Information Act] requirements.
This is a significant victory for open government and the mission of MRFF.
In January 2015, the Office of Inspector General received an allegation that the PFC Floyd K. Lindstrom Outpatient Clinic, a Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Colorado Springs, CO, did not provide veterans’ access to the Veterans Choice Program when the CBOC did not provide veterans timely VA care. One affected veteran sent the complaint, along with examples of issues affecting clinic services provided in audiology, mental health, neurology, optometry, orthopedic, and primary care. We substantiated the allegation that the veteran, as well as other eligible Colorado Springs veterans, did not receive timely care in the six reviewed services. We reviewed 150 referrals for specialty care consults and 300 primary care appointments. Of the 450 consults and appointments, 288 veterans encountered wait times in excess of 30 days. For all 288 veterans, VA staff either did not add them to the Veterans Choice List (VCL) or did not add them to the VCL in a timely manner. For 59 of the 288 veterans, scheduling staff used incorrect dates that made it appear the appointment wait time was less than 30 days. For 229 of the 288 veterans with appointments over 30 days, NVCC staff did not add 173 veterans at the CBOCs in the Eastern Colorado Health Care System (ECHCS) to the VCL in a timely manner and they did not add 56 veterans to the list at all. In addition, scheduling staff did not take timely action on 94 consults and primary care appointment requests. As a result, VA staff did not fully use Veterans Choice Program funds to afford CBOC Colorado Springs veterans the opportunity to receive timely care. We recommended that the ECHCS Director take actions to ensure appointments are scheduled using clinically indicated or preferred appointment dates, all veterans eligible for the Veterans Choice Program are added to the VCL in a timely manner, and scheduling staff timely act on consults and appointment requests. The acting director of the ECHCS concurred in principle with our recommendations. ECHCS executed a number of corrective actions to become compliant with current VHA scheduling guidance. Based on actions already implemented, we consider Recommendation 1 closed. We will follow up on the implementation of the remaining recommendations until all proposed actions are completed.Colorado's congressional delegation immediately reacted with harsh criticism.
It is intolerable that investigations continue to uncover these unacceptable practices at the VA. Our veterans deserve better.
Veterans waiting too long must have the option to access care through the Choice program and scheduling processes must be followed correctly. We’ll review the report’s findings and recommendations, ensure that the appropriate corrective steps are taken, and determine if any additional policy changes are needed. It’s clear from this report that we must continue to demand accountability at the VA and that strong oversight is still essential.