Friday, August 1, 2014

Pueblo County riled up over SDS, again

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 3:49 PM

COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Utilities
Folks south of Colorado Springs had reason to again be upset about the Southern Delivery System, according to the Pueblo Chieftain.

Turns out, recent heavy rains have caused some washouts of the 66-inch pipe.

Here's the beginning of the editorial:
GARY WALKER’S prediction came true.

“Since 2008, we’ve told (Colorado Springs Utilities) that their pipeline is in the wrong place, but they wouldn’t listen,” Walker, who owns Walker Ranches, told The Chieftain on Monday.

He made his comments after heavy rains on Sunday night led to severe flooding and sink holes on his property. The damage formed along a scar left by the burial of the 66-inch diameter Southern Delivery System pipeline. About seven miles of pipe jut directly across a portion of Walker’s land, which is adjacent to Fort Carson and stretches to Interstate 25.
The piece goes on to quote a couple of Pueblo County commissioners.

In response, Utilities' Janet Rummel says this, via email:

After all major rain events, we assess the SDS construction sites and the alignment restoration areas. We work with all property owners including Mr. Walker to maintain those areas. Heavy rains can cause mud on the previous construction areas that have not yet had enough time to fully establish vegetation.

Following the heavy rains last weekend, our staff walked the entire 5.5-mile alignment across Walker Ranches to assess the condition of the restored/revegetated easement area. There are a number of natural drainages that cross the pipeline alignment that carry water when it rains. While the majority of the easement area is in good condition, a few areas did have some impacts from the rains.

We are working with our contractors to develop a plan to address those impacts as quickly as possible. We have been and continue to work with the Pueblo County staff to inform them of our response and to ensure our compliance with the 1041 permit conditions.
This photo was shot in 2010 as workers buried pipeline along Marksheffel Road. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This photo was shot in 2010 as workers buried pipeline along Marksheffel Road.
Meanwhile, earlier this week, Springs Utilities reported that the project, which we've reported on over the years, including this 2010 story, is on time and under budget:
The Southern Delivery System (SDS) project now under construction is tracking about $147 million under budget. The project is projected to cost $841 million at completion in 2016 and water rate increases are lower than expected – with no additional SDS water rate increases anticipated for Phase I construction.

Cost savings are due largely to modifications in engineering plans that reduced building costs, competitive bidding and favorable interest rates.

By the end of 2014, the installation of all 50 miles of underground pipe needed for the project will be complete. The water treatment plant and three raw-water pump stations are well underway and construction on Constitution Avenue in El Paso County is tracking to be completed in September this year, ahead of schedule.

The trade magazine Water and Waste News July 2014 issue recounts many of the challenges SDS under took during construction, including the extensive outreach and communications activities that occur while constructing in residential areas, such as Pueblo West.

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Learn all about the cops

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 10:28 AM

PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck

The Colorado Springs Police Department invites citizens to learn more about the CSPD and how they operate. You can even ride along with an officer on patrol. Here's all the information for those who would like to put a toe in the waters of law enforcement:
What is the CSPD Citizens’ Academy?
The Colorado Springs Police Department Citizens’ Academy educates citizens about the duties and responsibilities, as well as the policies and procedures, of the department, and the citizen's role in the interaction of citizens and police through a series of twelve classes. In addition to helping the citizens better understand the police department, it in turn helps the police department better understand the citizens and their concerns.

What Topics are covered in the Academy?
The Citizens' Academy covers many topics related to law enforcement in our community including: hiring, training, patrol division (basic police equipment, special response team, narcotics, DUI, laws) communications division (call taking and dispatching), criminal investigations division (crime scene investigation, major crimes, financial crimes), gangs, sexual assault, K-9, SWAT, Internal Affairs and many more. Participation in a "ride-along" program is also available where students can actually ride along with patrol officers to see the world through their eyes. These classes are instructed by police personnel. Students that graduate receive a certificate at a graduation ceremony.

Where does the Academy meet?
The Citizens' Academy meets once a week on Thursdays from 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM for 11 weeks. One session will take place on a Saturday from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM to allow students to interact with members of the Bomb Squad, SWAT and K-9 as well as a demonstration from these units. The Academy is held at the various police facilities depending on the type of training being conducted. Although there is no cost to the student, a substantial time commitment is required from the student. Students are expected to attend all of the sessions.

Who may attend?
Anyone who lives or works in the City of Colorado Springs, is at least 18 years of age, and passes a background investigation may apply for the Citizens' Academy.

How do I apply?
Applications are currently being accepted for the Fall 2014 class which begins on Thursday, September 11, 2014. Deadline for applications is August 17th. The application form can be found online; http://www.springsgov.com/units/police/CitizensAcademy.asp.  

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Manitou RMJ opening goes exactly how you'd expect

Posted By on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Local restaurants might get more business – especially if they deliver. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • Local restaurants might get more business – especially if they deliver.
Right now, anyone over 21 can go to Manitou and buy weed from a clean, well-lit store.

Five years ago, that would have been astonishing. In six weeks, it will be a non-event – another familiar storefront along Manitou Avenue.

But yesterday was opening day for Maggie's Farm in Manitou, as shown in this video by our online-content coordinator Craig Lemley. People lined up early in the morning, before the store's 4:20 p.m. opening had been widely announced. The Race Car Museum Outlet loaned Maggie's its parking lot for the day – event security reported the adjacent gas station had a few stray cars ticketed earlier.

By request from the owner, Manitou Springs City Councilor Kevin "Sarge" Mac Donald was the first customer.

While he spoke with the staff and perused the well-lit glass case of bud jars, the line of customers waited patiently outside. Local Domino's employee Rachel Rushing came by with a show of goodwill — coupons for a free side with the purchase of a pizza. Rushing says she noticed the line and, during a lull in business, asked her manager if she could drop by. She also says she might talk to the manager at Maggie's about putting a few Domino's coupons by their checkout counter.

"I think businesses can help [each other]," she said.

The pot store will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day. 


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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Manitou Springs opened to recreational marijuana today

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 5:18 PM

At around 4:20 p.m., the frantic staff at Manitou Springs' first recreational-marijuana store, Maggie's Farm, sold an eighth of an ounce of Jesus OG to Manitou Springs City Councilor Kevin “Sarge” Mac Donald and officially kicked off a new era in the small town. It also became the first RMJ store in El Paso County, and is one of two that will open in Manitou, along with Reserve 1, which is attempting to buy the building currently housing Wild Ginger.

Of course, it could all end with a vote in November, but until then people will be free to seek their leafy bliss on the eastern end of town. Between 50 and 75 people were lined up in the rain, as onlookers from the nearby gas station gawked at the proceedings. Somewhere in all this, a savvy Domino's driver pulled up to hand out coupons.

We'll have more tomorrow, including video of the proceedings before the doors were opened, but in the meantime enjoy some photos.


A crowd gathered at the adjoining gas station, watching the line grow. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A crowd gathered at the adjoining gas station, watching the line grow.
Manitou Springs City Councilor Kevin "Sarge" Mac Donald, left in pink, speaks to the media as the first Maggie's Farm customer. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Manitou Springs City Councilor Kevin "Sarge" Mac Donald, left in pink, speaks to the media as the first Maggie's Farm customer.
A harried staff preparing for the long line outside. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A harried staff preparing for the long line outside.



A terrible picture of edibles and related pricing. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A terrible picture of edibles and related pricing.
A selection of bud. Eighths are priced at $50, plus tax, ounces at $350. This is roughly twice the price of medical marijuana. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • A selection of bud. Eighths are priced at $50, plus tax, ounces at $350. This is roughly twice the price of medical marijuana.
Mac Donald speaking to the assembled media. - BRYCE CRAWFORD
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Mac Donald speaking to the assembled media.

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Halter yowls about Lamborn's taxpayer funded mailing

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Irv Halter on the campaign trail. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Irv Halter on the campaign trail.
On Monday, July 21, the Gazette reported that Rep. Doug Lamborn had missed a bunch of meetings on the Veterans Affairs Committee. That afternoon, retired Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, a Democrat trying to unseat the four-term congressman, called a news conference to blast the Republican for missing 58 percent of those hearings over an 18-month period.

Five days later, Lamborn sent a mailing to constituents saying, "As you know, the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is currently failing to care for our veterans in a number of ways."

He goes on to say he's the second most senior Republican on the House Veterans Affairs Committee and is "working hard to ensure that these scandals are addressed so they don't happen again."

"I am always standing by to help veterans in the Pikes Peak region," he writes.

Then the letter lists all the great things Lamborn has done to help get to the bottom the VA scandal, such as being in touch with local leaders of veterans' groups, and other accomplishments. Read the full letter here:
Lamborn_Veterans_Letter.pdf
Ethan Susseles, Halter's campaign manager, passed on this comment from Halter: "This type of political grandstand is emblematic of Washington politicians, particularly Congressman Lamborn. First he skips almost 60% of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee meetings, then he wastes our money telling the voters in our district about the great job he is doing."

Susseles goes on to point how that Lamborn has spent more than $400,000 on taxpayer-funded mail to constituents, called franked mail, since he took office in 2007. Susseles says that spending breaks down this way:

2007: $135,606
2008: $103,377
2009: $51,248
2010: $56,918
2011: $20,081
2012: $38,062
Total: $405,202

Susseles also notes that in 2012, Lamborn voted against a bill that would have curtailed franked mail spending by 10 percent so that members could help cut the deficit by cutting their own spending.

Lawmakers are barred from sending franked mail to constituents within 90 days of an election. That means that Lamborn can't send such mail after Aug. 6. The general election, in which the five-county Congressional District 5 voters will decide the race, is Nov. 4.

We've asked Lamborn or his representatives for a comment. If and when we hear back, we'll circle back with his comments.

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Brookings Institution says Colorado marijuana rollout 'has been successful'

Posted By on Thu, Jul 31, 2014 at 3:17 PM

marijuana_list.png


The Brookings Institution's Center for Effective Public Management — an offshoot of the highly visible, non-partisan, Washington, D.C.-based think-tank — today released a study saying that the state of Colorado is administering a historic marijuana program about as well as is possible.

The full report, written by John Hudak, is below, but the takeaway is that, "It's too early to judge the success of Colorado's policy, but it is not too early to say that the rollout — initial implementation — of legal retail marijuana has been successful."

Meanwhile, the Denver Post reports that cannabis-related cash has finally hit the school-construction coffers.

"The state Department of Education's program to fund capital projects — known as Building Excellent Schools Today, or BEST, grants — had received more than $1.1 million from marijuana taxes in May when it made the annual award recommendations," writes Yesenia Robles.

"The state also is readying another $2.5 million from pot taxes so interested schools can hire health professionals."

Colorado’s Rollout of Legal Marijuana Is Succeeding


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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Elected city attorney measure passes muster

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 4:22 PM

A proposed ballot measure that would make the Colorado Springs city attorney an elected official — rather than appointed by the mayor and confirmed by City Council — got the green light by the city's Title Board today, which means it could land on the April 2015 city ballot.

Calef: One out of two ain't bad. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Calef: One out of two ain't bad.
Kanda Calef, community activist, proposed the measure, along with one that would have required all urban renewal projects to get voter approval. The latter measure was deemed to contain multiple subjects by the Title Board, which voted against setting a title for it.

But the elected county city attorney measure got approval from two of the three Title Board members, which were presiding judge of the municipal court HayDen Kane and City Clerk Sarah Johnson. A third member, City Attorney Wynetta Massey, disqualified herself from considering the city attorney measure to avoid a conflict of interest.

The Title Board meeting drew only six people, including an Independent reporter. 

The only part of the city attorney measure that was stricken was a clause that stated that outside attorneys hired as consultants by City Council would be paid fixed sums, not hourly fees. Absent that, the title language will consist of the entire ballot measure, the Title Board decided, and you can read it here:
CityAttorneyMeasure.pdf
The next step is for Calef to present petitions for approval. She can't do that prior to August 11 or after October 1. When the petitions are approved for circulation, she will have 90 days to gather signatures. The exact number is pending computation by Johnson.

The urban renewal measure was said to be outside the bounds of local voter amendment, because the Urban Renewal Authority is organized under a state law, not a city law. Here's the proposed measure:
UrbanRenewalMeasure.pdf
Members of Calef's petitioning committee are Pat Hanson, Alessandra Desiderio, Leah Hotchkiss, Vikki Walton and Tamsyn Beckwith, according to Calef.

The city attorney has been a controversial figure since the change from a city manager-council form of government to a mayor-council. The new form gives the mayor authority to hire and fire the city attorney, which some contend means city legal opinions favor the mayor's position to the detriment of the Council's position.

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Beer: The fundraiser of choice

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 3:43 PM

New Belgium Brewing Co. just released stats on July 17's Clips Beer & Film Tour that brought 1,600 folks to America the Beautiful Park. 

They say $12,018 was raised, up 120-percent from 2013. That money goes to Medicine Wheel Trail Advocates and UpaDowna, both Indy Give! participants as well. 

Your next chance to do good by drinking takes place this Saturday, also in A the B Park, at the 8th annual Springs Beer Fest. A hefty and quite respectable batch of more than 50 breweries has been assembled by hosting agencies Old Chicago and Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery

Proceeds from this event will go toward Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, another Indy Give! beneficiary as well. Event organizers say more than $100,000 has been raised in the first seven years for area charities. 

The fest runs from noon to 4; find ticket info and everything else at the fest's website. 

Just some of the participating breweries at Springs Beer Fest this weekend.
  • Just some of the participating breweries at Springs Beer Fest this weekend.

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Court orders Boulder to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:56 AM

Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall - BOULDERCOUNTY.ORG
  • bouldercounty.org
  • Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall
While a full resolution to the larger issue is likely still months off, Attorney General John Suthers scored a victory in the fight over same-sex marriage yesterday.

Suthers, who is defending Colorado's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage against myriad state and federal lawsuits challenging its constitutionality, asked the Colorado Supreme Court to stop Boulder County Clerk and Recorder Hillary Hall from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. At one point, Denver, Pueblo and Boulder were issuing the licenses, but a judge stopped Denver, and Pueblo stopped voluntarily. That left Boulder as the last county in the state issuing the licenses.

The court ordered Hall to stop issuing licenses, and she has complied. (Those actions came after the Independent's deadline, and thus today's story on the issue is now outdated.) Thus, Colorado same-sex couples who want to wed will likely have to wait until a judicial resolution is reached on the ban.

That resolution could either come from the Colorado Supreme Court, which is expected to reach a decision early next year, or from a federal court. The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals is expected to hear the case soon, though a final federal resolution on the issue of same-sex marriage may come from the U.S. Supreme Court.

So far, lower courts have ruled consistently that Colorado's ban is unconstitutional, though they've stayed their rulings pending appeals.
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Jewel sings the 'Colorado Springs Song'

Posted By on Wed, Jul 30, 2014 at 10:36 AM

Jewel at Grauman's Chinese Theater on Feb. 8, 2010. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Jewel at Grauman's Chinese Theater on Feb. 8, 2010.
I had no idea the singer Jewel wrote a song about Colorado Springs when she played the Pikes Peak Center in June 2010, but this morning the Waldo Waldo Facebook page posted a link and my life has never been the same.

Of course, I'm sure it was a transformative experience for her too. Sure, there's the more than 27 million records sold, four Grammys and potentially $30 million in net worth, but you don't write lyrics like this unless you're feeling it. (They're actually a little corny, but I love this city too much to notice.)

"If it´s fresh air you seek, climb up Pikes Peak / Where everyone can have some fun / There is still gold up there, the kind floating in the air / In the yellow of the sun / Take a train from Manitou / Just one of many things to do in Colorado Springs, Colorado."

The gem — hah — even inspired a local cover of our favorite clustercuss, Manitou Springs. 

Truly transformative. On this rainy day, enjoy:


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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

El Toro marks bandshell's 100th anniversary

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 5:11 PM

PHOTO COURTESY OF COLORADO SPRINGS PIONEERS MUSEUM
  • Photo courtesy of Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum

This coming Saturday’s El Toro de la Muerte and I Sank Molly Brown show is more than just the end of a free summer concert series. It will also help mark the 100th year of the much-beloved Acacia Park bandshell.

Of course, this centennial anniversary could have gone completely undiscovered if IndyBlog posts weren’t all but required to be longer than two sentences. But now the truth can be told, along with the wildly disparate views of experts on the bandshell’s historical and aesthetic merits. 

The Colorado Historical Society, for instance, offered up this detailed appreciation in its 1999 architectural inventory:
Bandshell (1914). Located on the south edge of the park at the center is this one-story bandshell of buff brick with an arched roof dome topped by a flagpole; stage has semi-elliptical arch with molded cornice and plain frieze terminated by moldings. Paired brick piers (battered) at the northeast and northwest corners; urn decorations at each corner. West of the stage between the two piers is a mounted metal plaque containing Lincoln's "Gettysburg Address." Projecting semicircular concrete performance area to north faced with tan brick and a lower tan brick planter; concrete stairs with brick sidewalls at the east and west. The southern portion of the bandshell has a flat roof. The east, west, and south walls feature paired multi-light windows with geometric glazing; the east wall has double slab doors with a transom covered by a security grille, while the rear (south) wall has two slab doors near each end. There is a center, corbelled brick chimney with a metal cap at the rear of the building.
But a recent assessment by local architects HB&A is considerably less appreciative. In its 2011 document, “Acacia Park Concepts: Developing the Jewel of Downtown in the Historic City Center,” the firm lists the bandshell alongside drugs, cigarettes and dead trees under the no-holds-barred category “Bad.”
Stage/band shell: Band shell not used very often, not well maintained, ugly.
A little mean-spirited if you ask me, but to each their own. In any case, the concert begins at 6 p.m.

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Marijuana: Senators pressure White House, federal tide is turning

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 3:16 PM

From left, Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet. - COURTESY SENATE.GOV
  • Courtesy senate.gov
  • From left, Sens. Patty Murray, Maria Cantwell, Mark Udall and Michael Bennet.

Colorado began recreational-marijuana sales in January; Washington did earlier this month; and Alaska and Oregon are set to vote on the matter in a couple months. It seems like a good time to get a firm word from the White House on how its administration will proceed with marijuana.

The head of Obama's Drug Enforcement Agency, a holdover from the W. Bush administration, openly criticizes his approach; the Office of National Drug Control Policy is actually required by law to oppose legalizing banned substances; and various U.S. attorneys have been more hostile than others toward the plant. And then there's this mess with federal water going to cannabis grows.

So it's no surprise that the four senators from Colorado and Washington — Sens. Michael Bennet, Mark Udall, Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell, respectively — yesterday sent President Obama a pointed letter.

"We believe the federal government should support Colorado and Washington state's effort to establish a successful regulatory framework in a way that achieves greater certainty for local officials, citizens, and business owners as they tackle this complicated and important task," it reads. "At times, however, certain federal agencies have taken different approaches that seem to be at odds with one another and may undermine our states' ability to regulate the industry adequately."

This comes on the heels of a vote from the U.S. House of Representatives in favor of allowing banks to work with medical-marijuana centers; Sens. Rand Paul and Cory Booker introducing an amendment that supports MMJ programs; and a Pennsylvania representative writing a bill that would legalize the Colorado strain Charlotte's Web.

You might look at the New York Times' recent editorial in favor of outright legalization as proof that the effort has gone mainstream. Of course, it doesn't take much courage to follow where the majority of the country is headed, but it's a nice sign. Naturally, the White House, limited by law as it is, rejected the call.

Still, this pressure from four senators — pressure that's sure to grow as quickly as the movement spreads — is another interesting sign in the federal realm.

"To ensure such consistency and uniformity, we believe it is appropriate for the White House to assume a central and coordinating role for this government-wide approach," reads the letter. "We therefore believe it is incumbent upon the Administration to work with all federal departments and agencies setting forth a clear, consistent and uniform interpretation and application of the [Controlled Substances Act] and other federal laws that could affect the industry. Such guidance should reflect the same deference to our state laws as does the Cole memorandum."

Colorado and Washington Federal Letter


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Lamborn stiff-arms Halter on debate invitation

Posted By on Tue, Jul 29, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Irv Halter, right, meets with voters at a house party on July 19. - COURTESY HALTER CAMPAIGN
  • Courtesy Halter campaign
  • Irv Halter, right, meets with voters at a house party on July 19.

Consistent with past election years, Rep. Doug Lamborn, a Republican, won't respond to invitations from his opponent, Democrat Irv Halter, to debate the issues, according to Halter's campaign.

Lamborn's campaign didn't immediately respond to an email seeking comment.

The Halter news release:
One month after Congressional Challenger Irv Halter sent a letter requesting a handful of debates, Congressman Lamborn has yet to respond. Today, the Halter campaign re-sent the letter to Congressman Lamborn with the same request for one debate a month beginning in August.

"Congressman Lamborn claims to be a leader in Washington, but so far he is missing in action when it comes to defending his own record," said Halter. "Given reports about his lackluster attendance at meetings of the House Committee on Veterans' Affairs, he should have plenty of time to defend his record to the voters of our area."

"In my initial letter, I asked for one debate in August, one debate in September, and one in October. I believe that three debates will give voters enough time to see firsthand our differing views."

In the letter, Halter claimed that the candidate who typically seeks debates is the one lagging in fundraising. However, recent financial reports show that Halter's campaign has a nearly 3-1 cash advantage with $320,000 in the bank compared with Lamborn's $114,000.

"It is clear that my campaign will have the resources necessary to communicate our message to the voters of the district and Congressman Lamborn will lag behind. However, I do not believe our fundraising lead should replace open public debates where the voters can see firsthand our positions on critical issues," said Halter. "I hope we will hear from Congressman Lamborn's team this week so we can confirm a debate schedule."
Read more about how Halter plans to win the Congressional District 5 seat in tomorrow's Independent.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

The butterflies (and friends) are back

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 5:25 PM

For the seventh year now, a flock of metal butterflies has landed in the Springs. They're part of the Rotary Club of Colorado Springs' Butterflies & Friends annual fundraiser to "raise awareness and funding to ensure that children receive essential arts programs in school." Specifically, funds will go toward arts programs in Colorado Springs School District 11 and the Rotary Club's Service Fund.

The 26 butterflies are decorated by artists and set on display from now through September, and will be auctioned off at a gala event on Oct. 11. Last year, the bugs raised over $130,000; and since their inception, over $250,000.

(Can I get personal here for a minute? As a D-11 product myself, the arts program could use all the help it can get. One high school art teacher I had was routinely humiliated by my rowdy classmates, culminating one day with a kid telling her to fuck off — hollering it, actually — and bolting out of the room. That woman needed a vacation, and a therapist, after my class.) 

The butterflies are located throughout the downtown area, with two landing a little further south. There's a map online where you can find each, and see what they look like. One's steampunk inspired, another speckled with stars. Some are themed — morning-and-evening, fire-and-ice — still others are more straightforward representations.
"Polly Ilon Papaver Papillon" by Nancy Neale, located at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.
  • "Polly Ilon Papaver Papillon" by Nancy Neale, located at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

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New federal law would legalize Colorado strain

Posted By on Mon, Jul 28, 2014 at 5:07 PM

Zaki Jackson, seen here with his mom Heather, used to suffer through 200 seizures per hour. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Zaki Jackson, seen here with his mom Heather, used to suffer through 200 seizures per hour.

Today, a Pennsylvania member of the U.S. House of Representatives will introduce a bill that would federally legalize the kind of CBD-heavy tinctures made by the Teller County-based Realm of Caring, home to the nationally known strain Charlotte's Web.

Rep. Scott Perry's bill, the “Charlotte’s Web Medical Hemp Act of 2014," may go the bizarre route of calling it "medical hemp," but it would allow some 300,000 children in the country access to the treatment by removing CBD oil and "therapeutic hemp" — defined as having no more than 0.3 percent THC — from the Controlled Substances Act.

"This bill in no way changes my stance on marijuana — I still disagree with the recreational use of marijuana," Perry says in a statement on his website. "However, these children and individuals like them deserve a chance to lead a healthy and productive life and our government shouldn’t stand in the way."

In addition to the eponymous Black Forest child Charlotte Figi, who first benefited from the strain grown by the Stanley brothers, there was 10-year-old Zaki Jackson, whom the Indy profiled last October.

"So my friend at hospice, she said to me, 'I can't tell you to try this, but there is this group of brothers who have helped treat a similar case with cannabis oil. I can't tell you to try it, but here's some phone numbers.'"

The brothers — Josh, Jordan, Jesse, Joel, Jon and Jared Stanley, cannabis growers and founders of Realm of Caring — created a strain of cannabis containing minimal THC, the psychoactive ingredient, and very high levels of cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient considered to provide the most medicinal benefits.

Josh Stanley explains: "We were reading these studies in Israel from the '70s, '80s, and '90s — studies where they saw positive results on lab mice using high-CBD strains. So we decided to give it a try, originally focusing on aiding cancer patients. It was by luck that we discovered it could be so beneficial to those suffering from seizures."

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