Monday, May 18, 2015

Principal's Office releases new menu

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 2:14 PM

This just in from Eric Nicol of The Principal's Office at Ivywild School:
We got a new menu releasing this week. It is tiki drink inspired. Meaning our style of drinks (strong and fun), but with tiki type ingredients. Lots of rum.
'Nuff said. Check out the full menu here:  Principals_office_cocktail_spring_051115.pdf


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Cast your ballot in mayor's race

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 2:06 PM

  • Makepeace
Suthers at a campaign event.
  • Suthers at a campaign event.
The last chance to vote for who will occupy the executive suite in the City Administration Building is tomorrow. 

The runoff election between Mary Lou Makepeace and John Suthers, the top two vote-getters in the April 7 city election, ends at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
For more information about how you can still vote, click here.

As of Friday, 82,404 people had cast ballots out of a possible 222,602, or 37 percent turnout. The 2011 mayoral runoff drew 99,306 votes out of a possible 154,884 registered voters, or 64 percent. (The number of possible voters has increased due to a change in which voters are considered active and receive ballots.)

Suthers, former Colorado attorney general, has been burning up the airwaves with television and radio ads to use the hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions he's received. Makepeace, who served as mayor from 1997 to 2003, isn't going that route so much due to a lack of resources.

Mayor Steve Bach isn't seeking re-election to a job that pays about $103,000 a year.

The Independent has endorsed Makepeace, while the Gazette is backing Suthers.
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Local company unveils hilarious video for its 'weird gadget'

Posted By on Mon, May 18, 2015 at 2:04 PM


Local product-design and development firm Mind Rocket has previously made the news for its medical devices, but it's the video for an invention of "an affordable, hands-free head massager" that caught our attention. The company is currently running an Indiegogo drive for the Vi-Band, with $12,040 of $20,000 raised thus far. CNN noted it in its post, "10 weird gadgets that are really popular."

"As a group of naive youth, we still get the benefit of having grandiose visions of changing the world," reads the campaign. "But with the Vi-Band we thought, 'What if we can just make it a little more comfortable?'"
The Vi-Band is simple: its a headband that vibrates in specially designed patterns on your forehead and temples. The Vi-Band uses brushless vibration motors that vibrate on specific pressure points on your head — letting you relax without disturbing those around you. An integrated PCB allows for selecting different massage modes, all specially designed to give you a relaxing, endless head massage. Best yet, the headband contains a rechargeable battery so your head massage doesn't end until you say it ends.
The video pitch itself is hilarious, befitting a product "we kind of invented on accident and loved it, but didn't have a budget for it," writes principal design engineer Joe Griebel, who, like others on the team, is a product of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs.

"So we came up with this idea to pull some favors and run a crowd funding campaign to try and get it off the ground without a budget," Griebel says. "We had a friend who makes videos for a living (Aaron Hartshorn) shoot the video in exchange for back end profits and borrowed props from a local antique shop (Sweet William Antique Mall)."

As far as the company itself:

"Mind Rocket is a product design firm that, as you can see, has a lot of different things going on all at once," Griebel says. "Each product essentially becomes its own company and brand (i.e. Sleep Shepherd, LLC) that Mind Rocket always owns a piece of. In short, Mind Rocket aims to be an idea machine, cranking out new products that form their own companies and generate revenue for the next idea."

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Sunday, May 17, 2015

Netflix Picks: In The Loop

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2015 at 7:08 AM

  • Screenshot
Armando Ianucci's 2009 film, In The Loop, will not restore your faith in politics through light-hearted farce. It is a bleak political comedy/farce about self-serving British and American politicians in the last days before the Iraq war. Being a political drama, In The Loop has a plot dense enough to sink in mercury. But Ianucci manages to keep things by and large breezy and humorous – a herculean feat, to be sure.

Despite lacking any kind of spine or sense, Simon Foster (Tom Hollander) is Britain's Minister for International Development as well as the Member of Parliament for Northampton. During a radio interview, he opines that war is unforeseeable, despite the government's push for military intervention in the Middle East. Enter the ever-furious Malcolm Tucker (Peter Capaldi), the Prime Minister's Director of Communications, producing the finest strings of threats and obscenities this side of Hunter S. Thompson. As he's trying to beat Foster back onto the party line, Foster's new assistant Toby Wright (Chris Addison) shows up with a girlfriend in the Foreign Office (Suzy, played by Olivia Poulet) and an opportunity for Foster to put his foot in his mouth.

Karen Clark (Mimi Kennedy), the US Assistant Secretary of State for Diplomacy, singles Foster out as a potential ally and an anti-war voice in the British government. She and Lt. General George Miller (James Gandolfini) are the two major anti-war voices in the US, and they need all the help they can get. But before Clark can nail Foster down, he goes full “Nazi Julie Andrews” in a surprise interview and gives the war hawks a rallying call – “climb the mountain of conflict.” He catches the attention of the most boring war hawk in Washington, Linton Barwick (David Rasche), the Assistant Secretary of State for Policy. Tucker fingers Foster as the perfect turd to drop in the anti-war punchbowl. All he has to do is send Foster and Toby the yes-man to the US, and they'll blunder their way into the rest.

The plot culminates at the United Nations building in New York, where our cast is gathered in the hours before the big vote on military intervention. Tucker is scrambling to rig the vote for war. Toby has already convinced Foster to not resign as an anti-war gesture, and Tucker has the BBC frothing at the mouth to cast Foster as “the only political fuck-up visible from space.” Furthermore, Tucker leverages one of Toby's many missteps to get Toby to fabricate pro-war British intelligence, which Tucker presents to Barwick and leaks to the BBC. In the end, the film follows history; the UN approves intervention in Iraq, and the anti-war politicians wind up resigning or languishing in menial positions. Tucker fires Foster on behalf of the Prime Minister and is later seen welcoming a replacement into the fold.

Capaldi steals almost every scene he's in, due in part to a constant stream of obscenities and threats coming out of his mouth – of the film's 135 f-bombs, Capaldi drops 86. But there's more to Tucker than constant anger. On the few occasions that the swearing and threats stop, Capaldi sells the raw dread of a man whose stomach is full of broken glass. Only Gandolfini keeps the spotlight in his scene with Capaldi. Gandolfini's character is solid for most of the movie, but in the scene where he gets to exchange verbal blows with Capaldi, he brings a great level of menace. The rest of the cast is solid and memorable.

Hollander's range was wasted in the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. Though Hollander plays a damned fool and a bit of an ass to the T, it's still clear that Foster is genuine in his efforts to do right. Addison plays Toby as the perfect target for a heavy-handed slap, showing just enough of a conscience to let viewers hope he'll get it together and make a stand. And Kennedy injects charisma and impatience with unwelcome sexual tension with Gandolfini, while Gina McKee plays Foster's Director of Communications, Judy Molloy, like she's the only sane person in England – which, in context, is accurate.

But In The Loop's selling point is the relentless humor. Watching Hollander bumble awkwardly is both hilarious and cringe-worthy – take, for instance, when he accidentally asks his limo driver for hookers, then backpedals at highway speeds. And it's hilarious to wonder about what kind of weird world Rasche's character commutes from, where glass offices are for perverts and a woman bleeding from the mouth evokes country music (which he cannot abide). Throughout, the banter is fantastic to the last and not to be missed.

In context, the movie's cynical look at big decision makers is just a little sickening – it certainly makes me queasy. But the whole mess is a hilarious ride with some of the best one-liners and insults to come out of a movie this decade. Ianucci blends British and American humor into the best dressing-down of politics at large I've seen.
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The best time to photograph local politics is on election night

Posted By on Sun, May 17, 2015 at 6:37 AM

  • Sean Cayton
Money has been spent. Candidates, their volunteers and voters are all gathered together. Several hours go by as returns are tallied and there’s little for anyone to do except watch and wait and… talk to the press.

Local political drama at its finest.

Last November, I was assigned by the Independent to photograph the election night party for the Pikes Peak Dems. There were a number of candidates and issues on the ballot that night so I knew it would be a good opportunity for pictures.

Election night has its highs and its lows, and emotions, while front and center, are always fleeting. So as a photographer you must be quick.

I like to carry two cameras with me, one that has a wide lens for scene-setting shots or crowded rooms, the other with a longer lens for tight portraits and close-up candids.

I have to be quick on the draw with both. If I'm not, I won’t get the picture – one of the things that makes news photography such a challenge.

Another thing I like to do is arrive early so I can scout the room for angles or areas that might make an interesting picture that help tells the story.

Take this photograph of retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Irv Halter, talking with supporters after losing his bid for congress in 2014. Democrats running for Congress in the Springs have never really been able to compete in District 5 and the sign in the staircase framing him with a supporter makes the point.

  • Sean Cayton

Another reason for arriving early is to be in the mix before anyone else arrives. If you’re the first one there, subjects are often more comfortable with your presence and that makes it easier to photograph those fleeting emotions.

That’s what my long lens is for. If I pretend to be a part of the furniture — standing in a corner of the room — I can observe the mood and capture reactions to the latest election results.

If you’re attending an election night party for either of the mayoral candidates, bring your camera and take pictures. It’s not only fun to do, but you’re capturing our democracy in action and history in the making.

On election night
On election night On election night On election night On election night On election night

On election night

Click to View 6 slides

Colorado Springs wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. You can see his wedding work at, his personal work at and his editorial work in the Colorado Springs Independent. Connect with Sean via email to
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Saturday, May 16, 2015

Be prepared for spring and summer hiking

Posted By on Sat, May 16, 2015 at 6:55 AM

  • Bob Falcone
Spring is here, summer is coming and there are more hours of sunshine in the day. We’re all spending more time outside on the trails. It’s a good time to talk about being prepared for warm weather hiking.

Afternoon rainstorms here are common. The best way to prepare for them is to plan your outdoor activities so that you’re off the trail before the rainstorms typically show up. If you can’t be off the trail, bring some kind of rain gear. Even a cheap disposable poncho is better than nothing when you need to stay dry. A rainstorm here can dramatically lower the air temperature. If you’re soaking wet because you didn’t have any rain gear, you can become hypothermic - even in the summer. I also highly recommend waterproof footwear — ignore all that stuff about your feet getting hot and sweaty in them. Gore-tex repels water while letting your feet breathe. Trust me, wet feet will make you miserable.

Speaking of rainstorms, they usually come with lightning, a lot of lightning. Online searches often result in contradictory information but lets start with the most obvious thing: Don’t be outdoors when lightning is around, or likely to be around. Plan your outing so that you’re done before lightning comes. If you’re caught outside, get indoors — a tent is not indoors — or into a car. But if you’re truly stuck outside, with no shelter, and lightning is all about, follow this advice from the National Weather Service: Run like hell to a safe location.

What about good weather? Use sunscreen —at least an SPF 30 is recommended — and drink water. A lot of water. If you’re new here, let yourself get acclimated to the altitude and semi-arid conditions. You may have been the fittest person around when you lived near sea level, but you’re starting out way over a mile high here.

If you get nauseated, a headache, dizzy, lose your appetite, and start vomiting when you’re exercising, you’re showing signs of altitude sickness. Slow down or stop, get some rest in the shade, drink some water, and then head down to a lower elevation as soon and as quickly as possible.

Watch for wildlife. I’ve seen fresh bear prints in the last few weeks, one of them in the rather busy Red Rocks Canyon. It’s true that the wildlife really is more scared of you than you are of them. But if you see a bear, keep clear of it. Give them wide berth and don’t try to get closer to get a picture. Be aware of bear cubs that may be nearby, too. An adult bear will usually leave you alone unless they feel you’re a threat to their cubs. Don’t run from the wildlife. Make yourself look big and yell loudly if you feel threatened, in most cases they’ll run away.

Watch for rattlesnakes, especially in Garden of the Gods, Palmer Park, Ute Valley Park, Pulpit Rock and other lower elevation parks. During the warmer times of the day, they will be under rocky outcroppings, or under bushes to avoid the heat. Be careful where you or your kids put your hands or feet. It is a myth that they’ll always rattle before striking — I can tell you firsthand this isn’t the case. If you’re bitten, stay as still as possible and call 911 immediately.

And don’t forget the basics: Hike in groups and tell someone where you’re going and when you expect to be back. Carry maps of the area you’ll be in. Keep your cell phone charged — but understand that there’s a good chance it won’t work. Bring a first aid kit, snacks, water and a flashlight. And dress or carry layering clothes.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor and business owner who has lived in Colorado Springs for over 23 years. He is the president of the Friends of Cheyenne Canon and a member of the El Paso County Parks Advisory Board. You can follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob:
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Judging a book by its colour

Posted By on Sat, May 16, 2015 at 6:37 AM

click image Western District Protest Over the Death of Freddie Gray - J.M. GIORDANO / BALTIMORE CITY PAPER / APRIL 22, 2015
  • J.M. Giordano / Baltimore City Paper / April 22, 2015
  • Western District Protest Over the Death of Freddie Gray

When I was considering moving to America from England, the prospect of friendly people, good weather, amazing food, mega malls and mega landscapes was something to be excited about. America was the land of intrigue, hope and possibility. There were, in fact, only three things that concerned me about living in America: guns, health care, and race relations.

Guns were alien to me, I knew nothing other than a nationalized health care system, and mercifully I had very little awareness of any meaningful racial tension growing up. I do remember my uncle sharing stories of some “fans” hurling racist abuse at black players from the terraces in the ’60s and ’70s, but those stories seemed quite inconceivable to me. The schools I attended and the people I hung out with did include minority representation, it just wasn’t that big of a deal for anyone.

I don’t mean to suggest that I was “color blind,” but I do remember there being more tension between the English and the Irish than there was between white families and the Indian family down the street.

Being a pasty white Englishman, one could argue, and successfully, I’m sure, that I’m among the least qualified to discuss the topic of race. But high-profile tragedies involving, but not limited to, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Freddie Gray, and a multitude of other questionable and/or outright disturbing, violent acts against people of color demand that everyone in America today confront the issue.

The general sentiment I have now, after living stateside for 15 years, is not one of despondency or confusion, but of immense sadness. Attempting to address any one of the profoundly complex issues that contribute to today’s racial conflict is incredibly daunting – especially when, as with me, the topic is largely uncommon to you. Still, I recognize that the ghost of an intense history of slavery still haunts a modern America, as do the more recent injustices of segregation in the 21st century.

But at its very core, it seems to me that the race-related troubles we’re wrestling with speak to a profound fragility in the human condition. Whether the problem stems from a cultural disassociation or a perceived societal disparity between sections of our community — as explored in multiple surveys analyzed by The Atlantic — or perhaps the feeling of being oppressed by the very people employed to serve and protect you, I see the conflict on our streets originating from one depressing reality: “You look different from me, therefore I have a problem with you.”

I would have taken umbrage with that idea back in England in the 1970s, '80s or '90s. In America, in 2015, it’s absolutely incorrigible.

Have we not evolved beyond allowing how someone looks to be a Pavlovian trigger to how we perceive other human beings? Are we not more educated, more enlightened, more empathetic, just better than that? We should be.

America cannot be the nation it aspires to be until we truly are.

Mark Turner is formerly of Oxford, England, but has lived in America for the past 15 years, the majority of that time in Colorado. Mark enjoys playing soccer, hiking and biking when the weathers good, and when the weathers rotten writing blog entries that he hopes will amuse and entertain. Mark can be followed on Twitter @melchett.

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Thursday, May 14, 2015

Watch movies on top of a downtown parking garage

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 11:53 AM


It's time to watch movies on the roof, people. In coordination with other organizations, the Downtown Partnership is going to start throwing movie parties on top of the Bijou-Cascade parking garage at 215 N. Cascade Ave. The new event is called Starlight Cinema.
Starlight Cinema will feature live music by local bands, food, a beer garden, and activities for the whole family, with a movie showing at dusk. The top of the Bijou and Cascade city parking garage, located at 215 N. Cascade Avenue, will be transformed each month for Starlight Cinema, with movies shown on the rooftop level. Admission for Starlight Cinema is free, and patrons should plan to bring lawn chairs and/or blankets to enjoy the show. VIP bike parking is free of charge, and car parking is available in the garage for $1.

“The concept for Starlight Cinema grew out of conversations between a variety of partners,” said Lara Garritano, Creative District Manager for Downtown Partnership, continuing, “We’re excited about the possibilities presented by using urban infrastructure for an atypical, creative use.”

“An outdoor film series in the heart of downtown is a great example of adaptive urban use,” said John Olson, Chief Instigator with Colorado Springs Urban Intervention. Olson added, “Plus, it’s a one-of-a-kind experience. Where else in town can you sit back to enjoy a classic film while watching the sun setting behind Pikes Peak and taking in a bird’s eye view of the city skyline?”
Here's the schedule. Looks like we're off to a strong start film-wise. (And please bring a DeLorean if you have one. Please?)

Saturday, June 13, 2105 2015
Movie: Back to the Future
Bonus: FREE VIP parking for DeLoreans

Saturday, July 11, 2105 2015
Movie: Grease
Bonus: Costume contest with prizes

Saturday August 15, 2105 2015
Movie: Fan favorite, movie will be selected through an online poll with 5 movie choices

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Telluride announced 2015 blues festival headliners

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 11:29 AM

Sharon Jones
  • Sharon Jones

It's a six-hour haul from Colorado Springs to Telluride, but fans of seasoned blue-rock, gospel and R&B artists will want to consider grabbing tickets for the Telluride Blues Fest, which announced its lineup earlier this morning.

This year's festival headliners are Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings, ZZ Top, Greg Allman, John Hiatt & The Combo, Taj Mahal and Anders Osborne.

Other performers at the event, which will run from Sept. 18-20, include The Blind Boys of Alabama, Rich Robinson of The Black Crowes, Otis Taylor's Hey Joe Opus, The Revivalists and The London Souls.

Look for more information at You can also find a guide to less distant summer festivals in this week's Indy.

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UPDATE: Man shot in Hobby Lobby has been identified

Posted By on Thu, May 14, 2015 at 9:18 AM

The police have also released information about the officers involved in the shooting — both of whom have been deemed fit to return to work — and further details of what happened:
On May 8, 2015, at approximately 5:57 PM, Sergeant Shane Mitchell and Deputy Keith Duda were at the Hobby Lobby store, 525 S. 8th Street, following up on a tip that a suspect was there who was wanted on felony escape charges from Colorado Department of Corrections.

When the suspect was contacted he was immediately uncooperative. A physical struggle ensued and the suspect pulled a knife; the suspect was subsequently shot by Sergeant Mitchell. The suspect was taken to Memorial Hospital and is expected to survive. Sergeant Mitchell and Deputy Duda were uninjured. The Colorado Spring [sic] Police Department is conducting the shooting investigation.

Sergeant Shane Mitchell has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 1997 and has been the supervisor of the Crime Reduction Unit since 2014. Deputy Keith Duda has been with the Sheriff’s Office since 2009, and has been with the Crime Reduction Unit since 2011. Both Sergeant Mitchell and Deputy Duda have been cleared to return to duty.

The Crime Reduction Unit (CRU) is an impact team that supports the Law Enforcement and Detention operations of the Sheriff’s Office. The CRU consists of a sergeant and six deputies who work a constantly-changing schedule to meet the needs of the Office and the community.

CRU deputies regularly work interactively with officers and agents from a number of local and federal agencies including the ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshal’s Service, U.S. Postal Inspectors, local police departments as well as many others. Additionally, CRU deputies work tips and leads received from a number of sources, including Crime Stoppers, anonymous calls, requests from other agencies, information shared by other deputies and more.
  • El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Shane Mitchell
  • El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Keith Duda


  • Colorado Springs Police Department, circa 2013
  • Brian Lowe
In today's paper, I wrote about a suspect who was shot in a local Hobby Lobby last weekend by a sheriff's deputy.

The man, who was wielding a knife and has since been put in custody on charges of parole violation and escape, is still being treated in a local hospital. He has been identified as 48-year-old Brian Lowe. Police have also obtained an arrest warrant for Lowe on two counts of attempted second-degree murder.

The deputy who shot Lowe has been placed on paid routine administrative leave in accordance with policy.
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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Floods cause trail closures

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 2:46 PM

In past years, flooding has caused major damage. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • In past years, flooding has caused major damage.

Recent floods have damaged trails, including the popular Pikes Peak Greenway Trail (aka the Santa Fe Trail).

The city is asking cyclists and other trail users to respect the closures while repairs are made. Reroutes are being looked at where possible. 

Here's what the city has to say:

Closure of two major trail segments

Colorado Springs, CO – Rains of the past week and the subsequent flooding have damaged two vital parts of the City’s regional trail system necessitating the closure of two major trail segments:

· Flooding along Camp Creek significantly damaged the Foot Hills Trail within Garden of the Gods. The trail has been closed between Gateway Road and the Navigators

· Three major washouts occurred on the Greenway Trail and it has been closed between Nevada Avenue and El Pomar Youth Sports Park

City Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services staff is investigating the damage and will be identifying a path forward to facilitate repairs and accommodate reroutes where possible. Also, various degrees of damage may exist on trail segments throughout the community so our trail users are advised to use caution.
The Trails and Open Space Coalition appears to have a more exhaustive list of such closures on its website. So far, it lists the following:

• Pikes Peak Greenway—south of Tejon, and near Monument Valley Park

• Midland Trail near 25th St.

• Foothills Trail near Glen Eyrie

• Fountain Creek Regional Trail—three closures

• Ute Pass Regional Trail—Green Mtn Falls

• Rainbow Falls

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UPDATE: Amazing passive-aggressive letter inside El Paso County Courthouse

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 1:34 PM

UPDATE: Fourth Judicial District administrator Danny Davis gave me a call to say that the county is actually funding maintenance just fine, and the signs are being removed.

"First of all, I've been here as a district administrator for just a few months, and I didn't realize that those signs were in the jury room," Davis says. "They'd been there a while from what I understand. And I just want to say that we have a very good working relationship with the county, and they have supplied us with everything we need.

"I'm having those signs removed, because it doesn't really reflect what's going on between the courts and the county at this point in time. ... I would assume they're pretty old, because people I've talked to don't remember 'em being posted. So it's been a long time ago, as far as I can tell."

——— Original post: Tuesday, May 12, 3:57 p.m. ———

The other day, I had occasion to be in a jury meeting room on a top floor of the El Paso County Courthouse.

It's a pretty standard space, with a line of coat hangers and a large conference table offering no hint at the justice arrived at in that space. But on the wall was a lovely piece of passive-aggressive literature designed to explain why cleaning was not being maintained and how the jurors should feel free to clean the bathroom themselves.

It's a beautiful creation, with its all-caps and exclamation marks, and one that only gets better as it goes along. It then finishes with a pretty specific call to action. We reproduce it here:
  • Bryce Crawford






If you find that the restroom facilities are in need of cleaning please let a staff member know so that they can locate the necessary cleaning supplies. Feel free to use the supplies as needed in order to clean the restrooms to your satisfaction. 


If you have any criticism, comments or suggestions about this notice feel free to contact your county commissioner at 719-520-7276 or feel free to make your personal expression at any of their meetings which are normally scheduled on Monday and Thursday at 9:00AM at 27 East Vermijo, Third Floor.

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County settles cases involving Maketa

Posted By on Wed, May 13, 2015 at 1:32 PM

Terry Maketa
  • Terry Maketa
In today's Noted section, I wrote about two settlements being considered by the El Paso County commissioners.

El Paso County Sheriff's Office Sergeants Charles Kull and Emory Gerhart resigned their positions in December 2013, then sued the county claiming they had been harassed and emotionally abused under the leadership of then-Sheriff Terry Maketa

Maketa, of course, has faced a whole host of problems, from the fallout over at least one in-office affair to a Colorado Bureau of Investigations inquiry. Anyway, the commissioners decided to settle the cases.

Read on for the county's take on the situation:

Agreements Settle Two Employment Complaints Against Sheriff’s Office

El Paso County, CO, May 12, 2015 – The Board of El Paso County Commissioners today approved two resolutions which settle of all claims brought against the County, the Sheriff's Office, former Sheriff Terry Maketa and former Undersheriff Paula Presley by two employees of the El Paso County Sheriff's Office.

Sergeants Charles Kull and Emory Gerhart resigned their positions as sworn personnel with the Sheriff's Office in December of 2013 and subsequently filed claims for monetary damages citing loss of income and benefits due to adverse employment conditions.

Sheriff’s Bill Elder joined County Attorney Amy Folsom and outside legal counsel Glenn Schlabs from the firm of Sherman and Howard in recommending approval of the settlements. “I wholeheartedly support this,” Sheriff Bill Elder told Commissioners. “The mere existence of these issues is a deep distraction so the sooner we can find ways to put them behind us the better.”

“Each claim is different and is evaluated on its own merit. I’m confident that the amounts presented are significantly less than the cost of protracted litigation,” said County Attorney Amy Folsom. “These claims were evaluated by outside counsel from Sherman and Howard and they concur that this is the best resolution of these particular claims.”

-Sergeants Emory Gerhart and Charles Kull resigned their positions with the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office in December of 2013.

-They subsequently filed claims generally claiming “constructive discharge/wrongful termination” and naming former Sheriff Terry Maketa, Undersheriff Paula Presley, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office and El Paso County as defendants.

-Emory Gerhart returned to duty shortly after Sheriff Elder took office in 2015. The proposed settlement agreement for Charles Kull includes an offer of reinstatement and he is expected to return to duty this month.

-The settlements collectively represent approximately $158,000 in lost wages and an additional $40,000 in taxes and benefits. The lost wages will be paid from the Sheriff’s Office salary and compensation funds.

-Settlement of these two claims does not set any sort of precedent. The facts surrounding these two claims are different from each other and different from other claims still pending from former and current El Paso County Sheriff’s Office employees.

-The Board of County Commissioners engaged the law firm of Sherman and Howard to oversee and independent investigation of employment related claims. Attorney Glenn Schlabs of the firm of Sherman and Howard advised Commissioners spoke in favor of the settlements. Schlabs says, “This represents a much better alternative than to deal with ongoing expense and inherent risks of protracted litigation and perhaps, even more importantly, it’s an important step in letting Sheriff Elder restore employee morale and move forward with his plans to ensure that citizens receive the best possible service from the El Paso County Sheriff’s Office.”

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

A good reason to get off your bike

Posted By on Tue, May 12, 2015 at 3:20 PM

  • Casey Bradley Gent
In February, I wrote a cover story about bicycling in the Springs (read it here). 

For those that prefer two wheels, the story had both good news and bad news. The bad news is that our city's bike lanes and trails aren't as connected or well-maintained as they could be. The good news is that our city is trying to do something about that, starting with a plan. 

The Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan is basically complete. But citizens and cyclists still have a chance to comment on it and suggest tweaks. The plan will determine what trails and lanes get built in the coming years, so if you like riding your bike around town, this is important stuff. 

If you want to comment on it, check out the press release below, which includes a schedule of public meetings.

City seeks public participation in shaping future of bicycling in Colorado Springs

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo — The City of Colorado Springs will host four workshops around the city to discuss the proposed update to the Colorado Springs Bike Master Plan that sets a vision for the year 2025 and will help shape the future of bicycling in Colorado Springs.

The Bike Master Plan will build upon the Regional Non-motorized Plan efforts and develop a path to transform Colorado Springs into a community that allows for motorists and cyclists to safely share the road. Over the course of 2014, City staff and its regional partners worked with the community to develop a new Bicycle Master Plan for Colorado Springs and are seeking input on the plan’s vision and prioritization of bicycle routes in the city.

Please join us at one of the following workshops to discuss the Bike Master Plan update and the upcoming process. All workshops begin at 6:00 p.m.:


May 20

Cheyenne Mountain High School,

1200 Cresta Road


May 21

Eagle View Middle School

1325 Vindicator Drive


June 3

Library 21c

1175 Chapel Hills Drive


June 4

Southeast YMCA

2190 Jet Wing Drive

Participants will hear a short presentation on the Bike Master Plan and recent bicycling initiatives in Colorado Springs. Attendees will then work in small groups to provide input on the vision for a bicycle friendly community and to provide additional inputs on the top bicycle routes in Colorado Springs.

The Bicycle Master Plan integrates existing city plans, best practices and innovative thinking, and proposes a comprehensive set of strategies to create a safe and comfortable bicycling environment for people of all ages. The Plan includes several appendices with details pertaining to existing conditions, public education, existing bicycle programs, bicycle facility design and wayfinding guidelines and implementation details.

Colorado Springs is home to an active and vibrant bicycling community. With more than 100 miles of on-street bicycle routes, nearly 120 miles of urban bike trails and more than 60 miles of unpaved mountain bike trails, our city is committed to ensuring that biking is a convenience, safe and connected form of transportation and recreation. Colorado Springs is rated #45 in the Top 50 Bicycle Friendly Cities in America by the League of American Bicyclists. Colorado Springs was recently recognized in the American Community Survey (ACS) as #38 for the nation’s fastest growing cities for bicycle commuting and is funded in part by a self-imposed bicycle excise tax to fund bikeway improvement within the City of Colorado Springs. For more information about bicycling programs, mobile-friendly bike racks, safety information and a map of bike lanes around the city visit

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Sunday, May 10, 2015

An itchin’ for fishin’

Posted By on Sun, May 10, 2015 at 6:57 AM

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Spring has settled in the lowlands of Colorado and as we approach June. The high-country lakes and reservoirs are beginning to thaw, and I’m fondly reminded of a neglected pastime. It’s always this time of year when I begin to think about fishing and miss all of its great grossness. As the temperatures rise I first feel the phantom grit of worm guts between my fingers, or smell the freshly spilled innards of a still writhing trout from memories of fishing trips past.

It’s in these moments that I have the sudden urge to rush off to Wal-Mart, get a license and head up the pass. But then the phone rings, or I’m alerted of an email, or it’s time to go to work, and the hope of an impromptu fishing adventure fades away. In my adult life, too many summers have completely vanished this way for me.

I don’t think it’s a unique story. Carving out time for recreational hobbies amidst the hustle and bustle can be a chore, but well worth it considering the fun, relaxation and beer consumption that typically comes with it.

In the same way that I miss fishing I also miss bowling, golf, foosball, laser-tag, bocce ball, beer pong and roller hockey. Alas, I haven’t figured out this whole space-time continuum situation, and/or, more specifically, I haven’t devised a way to control time with my mind units in a way that stretches a day into a month and a month into a year so that I can master all of my neglected pastimes and learn German. Until that day — which I’m starting to think may never arrive — I need to choose one activity and get as much out of it as I can.

Given the wellspring of beautiful opportunity here in Colorado, and the perfect peace I find when I’m in the thick of it, fishing is the thing. Hands down, absolutely.

With the rushing rivers like the Arkansas and Colorado connecting lakes and reservoirs throughout the state, there’s no shortage of opportunities from the peaks to the plains. And with the added bonus of beautiful scenery, sunshine and the feel of the fight on the end of the line, it’s tough to choose the artificial fog and cardboard pizza smells of laser-tag over the freshness that is fishing.

No matter what is done to prevent it, the time I carve out for fishing in May will erode and evaporate. But if I can land just one fish, or at least spend hours of warm, peaceful time giving it a try, I’ll equate that with true summertime success.

Here fishy, fishy...

Nic R. Krause was born a cranky, curmudgeon of a child in a Minnesota suburb. He was plucked from the muggy tundra and relocated to Colorado Springs 22 years ago. From intramural jai-alai, to his complicated relationship with the Minnesota Vikings, Nic, plainly stated, is bonkers for sports. Follow him on Twitter @NicRKrause.

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