Rants & Raves

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Really, Mr. Mayor?

Posted By on Tue, May 7, 2013 at 2:21 PM

Steve Bach
  • Steve Bach
I don't usually take to the blog to vent, but I'm going to make an exception today.

Here's why: After months of asking about the mayor's homeless plan, and multiple promises from city staff that I'd be "the first to know," I found the story detailing the plan on the front page of the Gazette today. Really?

Later in the morning, I received an e-mail from city communications announcing a meeting on the homeless initiative would take place tonight. Listen, I expect a last-minute press conference on a gruesome murder or a natural disaster. But a plan that's been months in the making, to address a problem that's been around for decades? Surely, they could have told us about this days, or even weeks, ago.

Of course, this is hardly the first time this has happened. Mayor Steve Bach rarely returns our requests for comment, and when he does, it's usually in an e-mail. While the communications office is the "official" information source for all city business, the mayor himself seems to be the main source of tips for the media outlets he likes. Bach has acknowledged to our reporters on multiple occasions that he feels his relationship with the Independent is strained. He says he feels like our paper attacks him.

For the record, yes, we have been critical of the mayor. But we've also praised him at times. And we've invited his input into stories that concern him, whether or not he's bothered to respond. That's called being fair.

That said, I can see why Bach must have liked the story in the Gazette today. It portrayed him in a very favorable light, and failed to quote anyone who objected to his plan to create a campus setting for homeless services. The critics exist. In fact, they're obvious: Many homeless service providers have openly said in the past that they're happy at their current locations and don't feel moving is the answer.

It's up to the Gazette's reporters and editors how they want to cover the news, but at the Independent, we feel we owe it to our readers to tell as well-reported a story as possible. It'd be nice if our city government respected that.

I'd guess I won't be getting a call from the mayor anytime soon. But hey, I'd love to be proven wrong.

Sent today:

NEWS RELEASE
May 7, 2013

Community Meeting with Mayor Bach

Please join Mayor Steve and Suzi Bach for a Community Meeting on Homeless Solutions TODAY on Tuesday, May 7, from 6:30 — 8:00 p.m. at Hillside Community Center, 925 S Institute Street Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

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Friday, April 12, 2013

Michelle Morin: 'Now I'm a "bigot" :)'

Posted By on Fri, Apr 12, 2013 at 3:21 PM

For those Republicans who wonder why they are losing the battle of messaging, this might be instructive.

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Michelle Morin, a local blogger who writes at mom4freedom.com, is a darling of the local conservative movement. Look here at all the famous conservatives she's stood next to.

It would appear, from this post on her Facebook page, that she is insinuating that gay couples like to rape children, and that by allowing gay marriage to become a normal facet of our culture we're also opening the floodgates for such abuse.

Of course, this would just be a guess (as her post is so rich in snark as to be nearly indecipherable), if she hadn't made her point abundantly clear in a response to someone in the thread.

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Armed only with snark and a single link to a story of alleged child abuse, Morin has declared that not only do gay couples enjoy raping children, but that one day, thanks undoubtedly to the liberals, society-at-large will learn to view this horrific perversion as an acceptable quirk.

Morin doesn't even attempt to use data to back up her first claim, because there is no unbiased, legitimate data to support it. And, as for her second claim, it is beyond reason to assume that people who support the marriage of homosexuals would eventually come to accept child abuse — it's simply a baffling leap of illogic.

The Facebook posts were brought to our attention by Elliot Fladen, a well-known conservative-libertarian activist.

"I criticized her in an attempt to have a more tolerant conservative movement," Fladen states. "My goal is to have a GOP/Conservative movement that is welcoming to groups like the Log Cabin Republicans."

We have asked Morin for a comment, and will post a response if we get one.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Hey, got a relative at Guffey Cemetery?

Posted By on Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 1:48 PM

The mountain town of Guffey pops up on the Indy’s radar every now and then. The most involved coverage has come in relation to the horrible 2000 killings that former editor Kathryn Eastburn wrote about for the paper, and then in her nonfiction book, Simon Says. But we also run listings for its controversial annual Fourth of July Chicken Fly, and occasionally slap a photo from there on our Slice of Life page.

Anyway, with the town only 70 miles or so away, it has plenty of connections to Colorado Springs. And Bill Soux, perhaps Guffey's most prominent citizen, is pretty sure that some Colorado Springs residents have family buried at the historic Guffey Cemetery.

He’s also pretty sure that some of those residents won’t be happy about what's happened up there.

Guffey cemetery
  • Courtesy Bill Soux
  • A product of the committee's work.

A couple months ago, a now-defunct group called the Guffey Cemetery Committee headed a “cleanup” project that included cutting down trees and tearing down battered fencing. Soux (who lost a favorite tree in the project) says the committee had no right to do this; a notably in-depth story in the Fairplay Flume explains, among other things, that no one even knows who owns the land.

While aesthetic judgments on the above may be left to the beholder, there’s no doubt that ATV tracks were left in the workers’ wake, and Soux says some grave sites were desecrated.

Anyway, here’s where you come in: If you indeed happen to have family buried in the cemetery of this “small friendly mountain town,” and would like to work on restoring the land to its more rustic look, Soux invites you to contact him at 689-3291, or through guffeycolorado.com.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

No celebration for the standing ovation

Posted By on Mon, May 21, 2012 at 2:43 PM

As those who have caught performances at the Pikes Peak Center, World Arena or anywhere that involved anybody doing anything in front of anybody can tell you, there are too many standing ovations. Ben Brantley at the New York Times presents the new alternative:

I would like to make the case, officially and urgently, for the return of the sitting ovation. Because we really have reached the point at which a standing ovation doesn’t mean a thing. Pretty much every show you attend on Broadway these days ends with people jumping to their feet and beating their flippers together like captive sea lions when the zookeeper arrives with a bucket of fish. This is true even for doomed stinkers that find the casts taking their curtain calls with the pale, hopeless mien of patients who have just received a terminal diagnosis. ...

Or, to put it in cruder and more extreme terms, it’s like having sex with someone on the first date, whether you like the person or not, because you think it’s expected.

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Reader's Digest still exists, holds contest

Posted By on Wed, Mar 14, 2012 at 6:19 AM

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I suffered something of a shock today when an e-mail from a PR company pimping a contest from Reader's Digest arrived in my inbox. Uh, how come nobody told me the magazine still existed, let alone just sold one of my favorite amateur recipe sites?!

I guess it could be because I haven't been in a doctor's office since my seventh-grade physical. That ended well: a portable electrocardiography monitor worn for a week proved I had a heart murmur, which kept me off the team that year, and eventually prevented me from being drafted by the NFL. (Not really — I played football in eighth grade. Our biggest play of the year took place when I was supposed to be on the field but was cluelessly standing on the sideline instead.)

But back to the Digest. Who reads that thing!? Wikipedia says everybody in every country, more or less. Except for me. (By the way, don't blow my mind by telling me that Highlights for Children and Parade also continue to hit the press regularly.)

Regardless, I still get these lovely e-mails. So, to the point, the big RD seeks personal stories and photos that illustrate what makes that person's town super-keen.

The author of the winning story will receive a cash prize of $1,000 and their town will be featured on the cover of an upcoming issue of Reader’s Digest magazine. This is an opportunity for individuals to shine and possibly bring national attention to their hometowns!

In addition, each week a new American town will be named America’s Most Interesting Town by popular vote and will be featured on the website and in an upcoming issue of Reader’s Digest. Locals can show their community spirit by logging on and voting for their town as many times as they like.

So, basically, if you care about our city, you'll submit all your archival information to the mag, make your run at a grand, and then vote like a caffeinated gerbil. Do it for us — do it for Colorado Springs.

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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

WWI vets may be honored; too bad they're all dead

Posted By on Wed, Mar 7, 2012 at 10:54 AM

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Guess what? The veterans of World War I may finally get a commemorative coin and a proper national memorial to their sacrifice.

I know this, because the press release I received this morning told me so.

Really, if I hadn't gotten that e-mail I would have never guessed that America hadn't done all that stuff already. I mean, this is a world war we're talking about. Millions of Americans served. It seems crazy that our country never bothered to acknowledge that. America has a national memorial to Robert E. Lee, for crying out loud. A guy who fought against the United States.

Now, I guess this latest move is supposed to be good news — because America hasn't forgotten its history. But what is there for us to be proud of, really? The last American World War I veteran, Frank Buckles, died last year. And that means not a single vet from the "Great War" will be able to appreciate this honor.

Depressing, isn't it?

ANA encourages members to support efforts to create a World War I commemorative coin

The American Numismatic Association is asking members to support legislative efforts to create a commemorative dollar coin honoring World War I veterans.

The United States has memorialized the Civil War, World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War on U.S. commemorative coins, but no coin honors World War I veterans. ANA Numismatic Educator Rod Gillis is working to correct that oversight.

“It was really surprising to me that World War I veterans were never honored with their own coin,” Gillis said. “This legislation will help give these veterans proper recognition.”

More than two years ago, Gillis launched the effort to create this commemorative. Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.) agreed to sponsor H.R. 4107, the “World War I American Veterans Centennial Commemorative Coin Act.”

Under the proposed law, the coin would be minted in 2017 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of America’s participation in World War I. The United States formally declared war against Germany and entered the conflict in Europe on April 6, 1917. More than
4 million U.S. men and women served in uniform during World War I, and more than 2 million American soldiers served overseas.

For every coin sold, a surcharge would go to the World War I Memorial Foundation in Washington, D.C. This group was founded after Frank Buckles, the last surviving American World War I veteran, visited the District of Columbia War Memorial on the National Mall in March 2008.

Buckles observed that this memorial — dedicated in 1931 to the 499 District of Columbia residents who gave their lives in that war — sat neglected and in extreme disrepair. Noting that there is no national World War I memorial, he issued a call for the memorial’s restoration and re-dedication as a National and District of Columbia World War I Memorial.
“The new memorial will honor all World War I veterans and make Frank Buckles’ dream a reality,” said Gillis, who is currently working to secure a sponsor for the bill in the U.S. Senate.
Please contact your Congressional representative and voice your support. Contact information can be found at www.house.gov/representatives/.

If you have questions about this effort, please contact Gillis at 719-482-9845 or email gillis@money.org.

The American Numismatic Association is a congressionally chartered, nonprofit educational organization dedicated to encouraging people to study and collect money and related items. The ANA helps its 28,000 members and the public discover and explore the world of money through its vast array of education and outreach programs, as well as its museum, library, publications, conventions and seminars. For more information, call 719-632-2646 or go to www.money.org.

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Friday, January 13, 2012

Give the library some love — it'll love you back

Posted By on Fri, Jan 13, 2012 at 7:38 AM

Yesterday morning I heard an appalling statistic on the Willie and Val Show on KCCY-FM 96.9. According to its Nearly Impossible Trivia game, 50 percent of men and 60 percent of women have library cards, but rarely use them.

As someone who visits her public library at least once a week, often more, I couldn't fathom this. I mean, according to NPR, libraries might be the next pop-culture wave after cupcakes. (And who doesn't love cupcakes?)

The economics of a library is unbelievably in your favor. You get a card for free. You visit your library. Check out books, for free. Check out magazines, for free. Check out CDs and audio books and DVDs, for free. (Was it you who said you were getting rid of Netflix after it raised its prices?)

Seriously, people, why aren't you using your library cards? Hit up the Penrose Library branch of Pikes Peak Library District, and you can even pet a bunny or two in the children's section, for free. (And leave the poop clean-up to the librarians.)

If you needed one more reason to head to PPLD, this week the district kicked off its annual Adult Reading Program, "Novel Destinations."

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If you're 18-plus and have a library card, now you get to read a book, for free, and win prizes for doing so. Here are all the details:

Pikes Peak Library District’s annual Adult Reading Program runs from January 9 - March 5! This year’s theme is Novel Destinations and is open to anyone age 18 and older with a PPLD library card. Novel Destinations runs through March 5 and adults can read any eight books of their choice. Books on CD, audiocassette, audiobook players, eBooks, and eAudiobooks count, too!

You can sign up now by clicking here!

Reading logs are available by clicking here or at any PPLD library, but feel free to keep track of the books you’ve read using any method you choose.

After you read your first four books, visit your nearest library to pick up your first prize. The program has great prizes this year from Shops at Briargate, Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, Louie’s Pizza, The Colorado Springs Flea Market, Chick-fil-A, and XS Threadz. Read four more books before March 5 and visit the library again for your second prize. And if you read eight books by the March 5 deadline, you’ll be entered for the grand prize drawing of a new Kindle eReader!

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

WeBrand: Slogans wanted, too

Posted By on Tue, Dec 13, 2011 at 4:27 PM

We're not trying to be obstinate. Promise. We know that even though our city leaders are open to a new logo, the "Live it up!" slogan is going to be sticking around.

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However, as the deadline for the Indy's WeBrand the Springs contest nears — it's 5:55 p.m., Thursday, Dec. 15 — we want to recognize ingenuity in as many forms as possible. And having noticed how many people have apologetically sent in slogans (or taglines, whatever you want to call them) without logos, we'd like to reward those even who are art-averse.

All that is to say: If you've got a good idea for a slogan for the Springs, e-mail it to webrand@csindy.com in the next couple days. We'll include some of the best offerings in our package on Dec. 22, and offer readers a chance to vote on their favorite. Modest prizes will be made available.

And of course, if you're working on your logo-and-slogan pairing, or your video, best of luck in the next couple days.

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Friday, December 9, 2011

Cadets are sexy and they know it

Posted By on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 at 2:56 PM

What might prompt this tweet from the Air Force Academy?

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Glad you asked. (Thanks to old friend Barrett Tryon for the link.)

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

You (really) can't drive!

Posted By on Thu, May 26, 2011 at 5:39 PM

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We've all been in traffic behind the old lady with her turn signal perpetually blinking for no apparent reason. Or the jackass who swerves through lanes of cars. Or the space cadet driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Driving on the road with these morons leads even the best of us to occasionally yell, "Learn to (insert expletive here) drive!!!"

OK, so you're going to love this. In a story today about the results of the 7th Annual GMAC National Drivers Test, the Denver Post noted, "A recent national survey shows that nearly 1 in 5 U.S. drivers — about 36.9 million — fail to meet the basic requirements to earn a driver's license."

That's right, the jerks genuinely don't know how to drive.

Read more here: Denver Post.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

Not all tax news is bad...

Posted By on Sat, Apr 23, 2011 at 8:48 AM

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Late last week, on April 14 to be exact, I finally was able to file our taxes after receiving a certain form that always arrives at the last minute.

Anyway, the bottom line was owing a balance of a little more than $500 to the Internal Revenue Service for my federal return, but with a state refund that would make up a good chunk of that.

The IRS, of course, grabbed that payment from our checking account immediately, as always. But I assumed, given how late I filed, that the state refund would take weeks to process, if not months.

So you can imagine the surprise and shock when, upon checking my bank account online early today (Saturday), there was a direct deposit from the Colorado Department of Revenue, which had come in sometime Friday. I checked, and there it was, just as submitted only eight days earlier, our state tax refund of precisely $397.

This has to be some kind of record. Has anyone else had similar luck with state tax refunds this year?

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Material lovin' at the DAM

Posted By on Sun, Apr 10, 2011 at 7:09 PM

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Yesterday, we went to the Denver Art Museum for a media preview of its upcoming Cities of Splendor exhibit. You can read our coverage of the show later this month. For now, here are some random shots from my quick walk-around of the rest of the museum, which included the Pre-Columbian/Spanish Colonial floor, the Asian floor and the DAM's much-lauded, new Native American floor. (Read more about that here.)

My pictures? Mostly a collection of the pretty, decorative arts, or, items I wouldn't mind keeping in my (fantasy) house. We start with crowns, some for people, some for altars, all for show.

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On now to kitchen implements. First, a silver tea cup (likely for sacred use, but it'll do me just fine). Second, a Japanese picnic set, adorned with bats.

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Lastly, these little guys are inro, or purse-like objects that in Japan would be affixed to kimonos (which have no pockets).

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Museums, I know, aren't meant for window shopping. But if they are, ostensibly, factories of inspiration, then I say, "Yes, we can have nice things."

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Friday, April 1, 2011

Denver Nuggs play last Sac game

Posted By on Fri, Apr 1, 2011 at 3:16 PM

Denver Nuggets basketball play the Sacramento Kings tonight, possibly for the last time. The Kings’ owners are in negotiations to move the franchise to Anaheim to form the Anaheim Royals.

You can catch the Nuggs run out on Arco Arena’s tear-saturated hardwood tonight on the Altitude 2 (Comcast 4) TV channel, or 1300 AM on your radio dial. They have a four-game winning streak and are currently the fifth seed in the Western Conference, with eight games remaining.

Joe Kleine was born in Colorado Springs, and the worst Sacramento Kings draft pick ever.
  • Joe Kleine was born in Colorado Springs, and the worst Sacramento Kings draft pick ever.

The Kings’ fate isn’t sealed quite yet. Sacramento’s mayor and former NBA point-guard Kevin Johnson will grovel before the NBA Board of Governors meeting next month to keep the team, and a grassroots effort to raise money to build a new Sacramento arena launched moments after The Anaheim City Council voted to issue bonds to pay for improvements at the Honda Center, where the Royals would play.

The pain of losing “your team” that goes around, has come around to me. The Kings’ relocation hits home to me, because it’s home to me. As a sports fan in Sacramento, the Kings were naturally my team. I thought it would be for life.

Colorado sports partisans too have been spurned by the business of sports.

Perhaps you were a fan of the Denver Gold of the now-defunct United States Football League. The USFL was founded on the principles that football was popular enough to have it year-round, and that it wasn’t going to make mistakes of the NFL (No Fun League). The Gold’s owner, who was a Colorado real estate dealer, was the only one to turn a profit after the league’s inaugural season. The USFL and the Gold lasted only three seasons, with their final game played in 1986.

The Colorado Springs Sky Sox ended their eight-year reign as a minor-league team for the Chicago White Sox in 1958 when their Western League disbanded, neglecting the city of pro baseball until 1988.

Your grieving writer in his Mitch Richmond Sacramento Kings jersey.
  • Your writer in happier days wearing his Mitch Richmond Sacramento Kings jersey on picture day.
There’s no feeling like it. I’m grieving the Sacramento Kings and it’s not even November when I realize I don’t have a team to check in the standings. Heck, I’m veiled and mourning and it’s not even finalized yet. Words — and words and symbols (i.e. F@#k!) don’t begin to cover it.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Mar 30, 2011 at 2:29 PM

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Lewis Black will have you in stitches, and so will Project Runway alum Mondo Guerra. But if that's not enough, the Paul Taylor Dance Company will lift your spirits — they're all in this week's Indy Minute with Jack Ward.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

A sign of the times

Posted By on Sat, Mar 26, 2011 at 9:15 AM

The same nostalgia fueling posts by fellow bloggers Bryce Crawford and J. Adrian Stanley is alive within me. Thursday, I witnessed history in the making when a new sign was bolted onto the roof of the Flowerama on the corner of East Platte Avenue and North Circle Drive, replacing the skeleton of a sign that teased of this moment, and ushering in a new and improved era.

Like all good stories, this one starts in a golden time that once was. Here is Flowerama-past, when a dozen roses were a mere $12.99. This image is forever entombed for our children and children's children in the annals of Google Earth’s street-view, where it was pilfered for this retrospective:

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Here is Flowerama-present circa Thursday, ushering in the new era:

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You really don’t mind dropping the extra dollars on a dozen roses when it funds this level of beautification. We’ll always have the memories…

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