Monday, July 11, 2016

Soldiers will do battle — in Rio Olympic Games

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 2:37 PM

Carson soldiers will compete in the 2016 summer games. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Carson soldiers will compete in the 2016 summer games.
For all those who thought soldiers did nothing but protect our country 24/7, here's news about Fort Carson's contribution of athletes to the U.S. Olympic team in Rio de Janeiro next month.

According to a news release, the Mountain Post will introduce 15 Army "soldier athletes" at a media availability on Tuesday at 10 a.m. They'll compete in seven sports.

From the release: 
Fifteen Soldiers will represent in seven sports as athletes and coaches at the Olympic Games. Col. J.J. Love, U.S. Army Installation Management Command deputy G9 and chief of staff, will open the press conference. Media will have the opportunity to conduct one-on-one interviews with Soldier-Olympians. The remainder of the day will be demonstrations in the sports the Soldier-Olympians will be representing at the Games.

The Soldier-Olympians are:
Athletes:
Sgt. 1st Class Keith Sanderson – Shooting
Staff Sgt. Michael Lukow - Para Archery
Staff Sgt. John Nunn - Track and Field
Sgt. Hillary Bor – Track and Field
Sgt. Elizabeth Marks - Para Swimming
Sgt. Nathan Schrimsher - Modern Pentathlon
Sgt. Caylor Williams – Wrestling (alternate)
Sgt. Whitney Conder – Wrestling (alternate)
Spc. Paul Chelimo – Track and Field
Spc. Shadrack Kipchirchir - Track and Field
Spc. Leonard Korir - Track and Field
Spc. Ildar Hafizov – Wrestling (alternate)
Coaches:
Capt. Andrew Locke - Rugby 7's
Sgt. 1st Class Joe Guzman - BoxingStaff Sgt. Dennis Bowsher - Modern Pentathlon
So now you can watch for these competitors when viewing the televised games, and cheer your soldiers on.

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Get your Ash downtown, Pokémon take over the Indy

Posted By on Mon, Jul 11, 2016 at 1:40 PM

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Welcome to the Colorado Springs Independent, flagship newspaper of the Colorado Publishing House, and local Pokémon GO gym. 

As of this writing, we here in the newsroom don't know a lot about the recent Poké-explosion, outside of the social media onslaught that's come with it, and this explainer courtesy of Vox, but that should change as several staffers — who shall remain nameless — have started catching them all.

What we can tell you, if you're familiar with Pokémon of old, is that the mobile app is a real-time virtual representation of the beloved card game; you travel around capturing a variety of Pokémon to later battle and evolve in more places around your location. Here's a trailer:


We also know that our office building, at 235 S. Nevada Ave., is now a designated gym site, where GO players can battle against other Pokémon. (Word is there's a Pokémon on the property as well — don't ask me to name it — near one of the art installations located along the south side of the building.)

It's safe to say that GO is a hit, but it's not all well and good. Police in Missouri have said they believe armed robbery suspects have used the game to lure victims to secluded locations, as reported by The Guardian, and social media was buzzing when a Wyoming teen found a dead body while searching for Pokémon

All in all, though, the game is meant to be a fun way to get players outside and moving (just be careful). And if you're ready to battle or need to add to your Pokedex, make your way downtown to the Indy office. We're apparently very Poké-friendly.

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Sunday, July 10, 2016

The most important lesson in life

Posted By on Sun, Jul 10, 2016 at 9:13 AM

Judy and Gisela on their wedding day at The Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park, Colorado. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Judy and Gisela on their wedding day at The Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park, Colorado.

Ten years ago, my wife Cathy and I were enjoying dinner out with our then 18-month-old daughter Abby at Saigon Cafe downtown. Abby was sitting in a high chair, trying unsuccessfully to eat noodles and generally making a mess. She was also chatting away and being adorable.

Near the end of our meal, two ladies, Judy and Gisela, approached our table and passed a folded origami boat to our daughter. Abby was smitten. We were smitten, too. Abby’s antics had thoroughly entertained them, and they invited her to attend the Giving Tree Montessori School, a school they founded.

Judy plays the guitar and sings with the children during circle at the Giving Tree Montessori School. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Judy plays the guitar and sings with the children during circle at the Giving Tree Montessori School.

Ten years later, all three of our children have attended the Giving Tree and graduated from kindergarten there.

This summer, Cathy and I photographed Judy and Gisela's wedding at The Edgewood Inn in Woodland Park.

We celebrated with them and many other parents who enrolled their children at The Giving Tree and also became close friends with Judy and Gisela. And over the years we’ve watched our children blossom at their school.
Judy during a field trip with the kindergarten class to Mueller State Park. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Judy during a field trip with the kindergarten class to Mueller State Park.

The most important lesson Judy and Gisela's taught and modeled for our children was a very simple one — Love is love. Love for a child, love for a parent, love for a spouse — it all comes from the same place, our hearts.

And throughout our lives, love for another must be nurtured and cared for. Love, they taught, is a fundamental quality of life. It's what make us human!

I witnessed their lessons and photographed them; The peace picnic, the soup feast, the Elk watch, the camping trip, the kindergarten graduation, all were imbued with a sense loving kindness for one another.

Gisela blesses my son Jacob at his kindergarten graduation at the Giving Tree Montessori School. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Gisela blesses my son Jacob at his kindergarten graduation at the Giving Tree Montessori School.

This is what Judy and Gisela taught and it is what my children will carry with them for the rest of their lives. We are all human and we all know in our hearts how to love one another.

Colorado Springs-based wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. See his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the pages of the Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image — no more than two a week, please — to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.

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Saturday, July 9, 2016

This is the weekend for wildflower hikes!

Posted By on Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 8:00 AM

Columbines - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Columbines
As you've no doubt noticed, wildflowers are popping up all over the Pikes Peak region. I've been watching the wildflower conditions and I think this is the perfect weekend to take a wildflower hike.  Many varieties of flowers are in bloom, and some, such as sunflowers, are just starting to show up.

These are my choices for easy, kid- and family-friendly hikes to make the most of the wildflowers you'll see on the trails this week.

Obviously, this isn't an exhaustive, all-encompassing list, so don't be upset if I miss your favorite place — wildflowers are ubiquitous in Colorado, the higher elevations are just starting to bloom. The following hikes are all kid- and family-friendly — check each site for dog rules — and I have done all of them within the past week to be able to offer the most up-to-date information.

Palmer Park: Any trail inside the park will give good results, but the Yucca and Mesa Trails on the Mesa, at the northwest corner of the park, has prickly-pear cactus, spiderwort, salsify, Paintbrush, Morning glory and more.

Morning Glories - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Morning Glories
Mariposa Lily - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Mariposa Lily























Red Rocks Canyon Open Space:
Like Palmer Park, almost any trail is good here, but my favorite for wildflowers is the Sand Canyon Trail, especially towards the far south end. Prickly-pear cactus, Paintbrush, Mariposa Lily, Morning Glory and Golden Pea are all in bloom.

Cheyenne Mountain State Park: On a recent hike on the Talon, South Talon and North Talon trails (about 7.5 miles if you do all three), I observed Prickly-Pear cactus, Mariposa Lily, Spiderwort, Mountain Harebell, King's Crown, Chiming bells, wild Roses, wild geraniums, Paintbrush, asters, thistle, Morning Glory and more. Also one of the most scenic trail routes in the area and not nearly as crowded at most city parks. Entrance fees do apply. 

Prickly Pear Cactus - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Prickly Pear Cactus

Aiken Canyon Preserve: The 3.5-mile loop trail has a little bit of everything. Prickly-pear cactus, Mariposa Lily, Morning Glory, Paintbrush and fields of various white and yellow wildflowers. Open Saturday, Sunday and Monday only.  

Wild Rose - BOB FALCONE
  • Bob Falcone
  • Wild Rose

Rainbow Gulch/Rampart Reservoir: Often overlooked, but also often one of the best places to see a wide variety of wildflowers, Rainbow Gulch is my top choice for wildflower viewing this weekend. On a hike there a few days ago, I saw Irises, wild geraniums, wild roses, Columbines, Salsify, sunflowers of various varieties, paintbrush, shooting stars, cinquefoils, harebells, Mariposa Lily and many other flowers. 

Happy trails and flower viewing!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website (Hikingbob.com). E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob: info@hikingbob.com.
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What have EU done for me lately?

Posted By on Sat, Jul 9, 2016 at 7:21 AM

exit.png
The most significant shock waves in a generation were sent through Great Britain on Thursday, June 23rd, when the public voted on a referendum to decide if Britain were to remain in or leave the European Union (EU). Britain voted and the ‘Leave’ campaign, aka "Brexit," won out by a narrow 52 to 48 percent margin. The referendum debate was highly charged, reflected in the number of voters who participated — the highest turnout since the 1992 general election.

What were the perceived pros and cons of remaining in or leaving the EU?

The EU consists of 28 member countries who shared a single economic market, based on a standardized system of laws that apply to all of its members. EU policies and legislation, to which all member countries must adhere, aim to ensure the unrestricted movement of people, goods, services, etc. within that market. The EU also has a currency component, the Euro, though not all members use it, perhaps most notably Britain which continues to us their own currency, the Pound.

On the pro-side of the referendum house, people have argued that leaving the EU is a regressive and a damaging step for Britain in a variety of ways; affecting open trade routes and citizens' ability to travel freely through EU countries. Employees are able to live and work in EU nations, and passport-less recreational travel is easy and affordable for EU citizens.      

On the con-side, much has been said about the 350 million Pounds that Britain gives the EU every week (which the Guardian and others say is actually more like 248 million Pounds), and how that money could be better invested in the National Health Care System and other Britain-based services. These frustrations are often cited as a reason to remove Britain from outside governing influences. One can certainly sympathize with that argument when considering the US Declaration of Independence contains 1,300 words, the US Constitution 4,543, and the EU's regulations on the sale of cabbages stands at a whopping 29,911!

Though these frustrations do illicit sympathy for the "Leave" campaign, the undercurrent of racism that has characterized their movement is far more disturbing. Prominent ‘Leave’ campaigners, chief among them former UKIP leader Nigel Farage, have generated a litany of speeches, quotes and sound-bites of chest-beating nationalism. Very little consideration is given to, or compassion shown for, anyone arriving on British shores in search of a better life. The anger directed towards "those people coming over here and taking all our jobs" is tangible — sound familiar? — even to me, way over here in America.

Since the EU vote, this anger is manifesting itself in an increase in attacks on immigrants, even British citizens who happen to not look like their white countrymen. This hate has been flushed out and stoked up to a large degree by the "Leave" victory — that's what concerns me most.

It's tragically ironic that on the 100-year anniversary of one of the most infamous battle of World War 1, the Battle of the Somme, when over half a million European soldiers died in defense of an alliance of nations and shared values, Britain now appears to prefer a position of isolation over unification.

Mark Turner is formerly of Oxford, England, but has lived in America for over 15 years, the majority of that time in Colorado. Mark enjoys playing soccer (football!), 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, or the Back Chat show on KCMJ 93.9.
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Friday, July 8, 2016

Post-Pride pop-up party will transform alleyway for a night — and then some

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 12:58 PM

The alleyway, mid-transformation. - ADISON PETTI
  • Adison Petti
  • The alleyway, mid-transformation.


The first Pride was a riot. And there’s a reason gay pride parades all over the country are held at this time in the summer; it’s to commemorate the breaking point in this movement that was the Stonewall uprising of June 28, 1969 (although these days that legacy is hard to discern in the crush of corporate appropriation and political piggybacking.)


This Saturday, honor the real roots of pride by leaving Colorado Springs PrideFest at America the Beautiful Park at 4 p.m. to join the 2nd Annual People's March — a noisy public demonstration culminating at the Pioneers Museum downtown. From there, head over to Cottonwood Arts Center — or, more precisely, the alleyway on the south side of the Cottonwood building — to find a pop-up party in the subversive spirit that always has, and will, animate the liberatory vanguard of the LGBTQ community.


“I don’t only want queer spaces that are either like clinical case management or endless happy hours,” says organizer Adison Petti with the Colorado Springs Queer Collective. “Queer politics has always been about questioning capitalism and challenging our engagement with the police. So we’re trying to take the lead on place-making. It’s an opportunity for everyone to come imagine — in a really big, radical way — how we can transform our community to elevate queer voices in their natural environment.”


Entertainment for the evening includes alleyway decorating, food truck grazing and pretty much any activity attendees feel inclined to take up. Festivities will migrate to Studio A64 during the later hours for a knockout lineup of musical and spoken word performances. 

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And though “The Rainbow Show” is just one night on the calendar, Petti makes clear his intention to hold the space as a permanent fixture.


“Somehow asking Jon [Khoury of Cottonwood Arts Center] if I could have a little dance party after pride turned into me sending him a proposal for an urban intervention project that I didn’t know had already been in the works,” he says.


(More on his alleyway dreams to come…) 

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PPCC drops Sodexo, gains food trucks

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 11:48 AM

Yesterday we noted the arrival of a new Cambodian food truck named Awaken, noting they'd be launching service today at Pikes Peak Community College's Rampart Range Campus. 

Well, there's a bigger story to that according to media spokespeople for PPCC, Warren Epstein and Karen Kovaly. 

The Heavenly Dessert Company will be one vendor on PPCC's campuses. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The Heavenly Dessert Company will be one vendor on PPCC's campuses.
"We’ve not renewed our contract with Sodexo, instead going entirely local," Epstein told the Indy Thursday. "Rue Lyon, former majority shareholder of Kangaroo Coffee, will be doing our concessions on our largest campuses. And that will be supplemented by food trucks. Big move away from national corporate food to local, and Rue plans to source from regional ingredients whenever possible."

Today, Kovaly followed up with a press release which explains the new format in full:

“We’re excited about offering our students, faculty, staff and guests fresh, quality choices as well as supporting our local business community,” said PPCC President Lance Bolton.
The new food provider, Rue Lyon, had been the majority owner of Kangaroo Coffee. She plans to serve a variety of hot and cold sandwiches, soups, salads and snacks.
“I want to have outstanding food and a hip social space where students will want to relax and enjoy,” Lyon said.
Lyon says she will source local and regional ingredients whenever possible. She also plans to employ PPCC culinary students for special events and even foresees integrating business students, creating an environment to teach what it takes to run a small business.
Both concession areas are currently closed for renovation. The Centennial Campus concessions will open the week of July 11 and the Rampart Range on the week of July 18.
But Lyon sees this as a long-term evolutionary process, and will be making small adjustments to the spaces and the food over the course of a year.

Among the food trucks:
· Vore, specializing in gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches
· Potato! Potato! specializing in French fries with various toppings
· Heavenly Desserts, specializing in gourmet sweets
· Mira Sol, specializing in New Mexican cuisine
· Awaken, specializing in Cambodian cuisine
· Smokinist Barbeque, specializing in smoked meats
· SuppenBar, specializing in German soups and salads

The trucks will serve 11 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Monday through Friday at the Centennial Campus on the south side of town. The schedule for the Rampart Range Campus on the north end of town is still in the works. Schedules will be posted on the Pikes Peak Community College Facebook page.

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Longinos Gonzalez has won the District 4 primary

Posted By on Fri, Jul 8, 2016 at 10:03 AM

Longinos Gonzalez Jr. - COURRTESY LONGINOS GONZALEZ JR.
  • Courrtesy Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
  • Longinos Gonzalez Jr.
Longinos Gonzalez Jr. is the Republican nominee for the District 4 El Paso County Commissioner seat, according to the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office.

The announcement came Thursday, following a squeaker of a race in the June 28 primary. Final vote tallies show that Gonzalez prevailed over his rival, Scott Turner, 3,450 votes to 3,416 votes. The gap was too large to require an automatic recount. (The gap would have had to be 18 votes or less to require that move.)

Via an email to the Independent, Gonzalez says he's glad the race is finally over.

"It was a long nervous week, but I just wanted to again thank the grassroots effort, especially those that supported me, helped me campaign, and prayed for me," he writes. "I am tremendously grateful for their efforts. Our race showed how important every person's vote is, and I hope that will motivate even more people to participate in our election process in the years to come."

Turner, meanwhile, told the Indy via email that he was disappointed:

Yes this is difficult but it is also part of our process and as such must be respected. All votes matter, as you never know what the results will be until they are counted. I’m more disappointed that only 6866 people out of a registered voting population of 22,573 took the time to vote for the one office that directly affects each and every one of them. What that really means is that 15.3% of the registered republican voters actually voted for the winner, and only 50 people out of 22,573, (.0022%) actually made the decision for the rest of the population. Every vote counts in every race, our country was founded on principals of representative government, to let the people have a say in our republic and our communities. It is unfortunate that we have reached such a high level of apathy.

I would like to congratulate my opponent and do wish him well. He has a big job ahead of him and the people are looking to him to do the right thing for them and their community. He needs to remember that the people of District 4 did the voting, and it is those people he has a responsibility to serve.
 You can read more about the two candidates here.

Gonzalez will face Democrat Elizabeth Rosenbaum in November for the District 4 seat, which pays over $113,000 a year. The office is currently held by the term-limited Dennis Hisey, who endorsed Turner in the primary.
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Thursday, July 7, 2016

Awaken Cambodian food truck launches

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 1:38 PM

Awaken Food Truck will hit the streets for the first time Friday, parking at Pikes Peak Community College's Rampart Range Campus at 11195 Interquest Pkwy. from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. or sell-out. 

Vietnamese have the bánh mì sandwich and Cambodians make a similar, French-influenced sandwich called num pang. - COURTESY CHHAYA PHAT
  • Courtesy Chhaya Phat
  • Vietnamese have the bánh mì sandwich and Cambodians make a similar, French-influenced sandwich called num pang.
The truck is the Springs' first Cambodian eatery, to the best of our knowledge. Owner Chhaya Phat, 35, recently got out of the Army, where he was a cook. So he's well prepared for handling crowds of eaters. 

Phat has lived in the U.S. for 11 years, and he'll infuse some American culture into traditional Cambodian fare. He and his wife eat a lot of vegetarian and vegan food at home, so he'll also make veg/vegan options available on the truck for wider market appeal. 

One vegan option is a lime leaf curry with tofu dish (check out the alluring photos on his Facebook page), and another is a vegan "chick’n" marinated in curry, topped with red cabbage, cilantro and plant-based mayonnaise on a vegan French baguette.

Carnivores will appreciate num pang sandwiches, similar to Vietnamese bánh mì, on account of both countries being colonized and culinarily influenced by the French. Phat says one distinguishing feature is the Vietnamese tend to garnish with daikon and carrots, while Cambodians opt for shredded green papaya, like that which composes Thai som tum salads. 

For drinks, look for iced Thai tea, Cambodian iced coffee and regular or mint house lemonade. 

We'll have a little more info in next week's Side Dish column. 
Awaken's truck banner pays homage to Angkor Wat and Cambodia's Buddhist culture. - COURTESY CHHAYA PHAT
  • Courtesy Chhaya Phat
  • Awaken's truck banner pays homage to Angkor Wat and Cambodia's Buddhist culture.

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Who soared and who failed on an eco scorecard

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 1:24 PM

Protecting nature didn't fair well with many lawmakers from the Pikes Peak region, according to a new scorecard. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Protecting nature didn't fair well with many lawmakers from the Pikes Peak region, according to a new scorecard.
When it comes to the environment, state legislators from El Paso County aren't very supportive, according to a scorecard put together by Conservation Colorado based on analysis involving other environmental groups.

Sen. Kent Lambert was among those with the lowest scores in the Senate, while Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt brought up the rear in the House.

But several other lawmakers, including Terri Carver, Lois Landgraf, Bill Cadman and Owen Hill, scored badly. All of the above are Republicans.

On the other hand, the region's two Democratic lawmakers, Rep. Pete Lee and Sen. Michael Merrifield, were at the top in looking out for our natural resources.

Here's the release. Click on the link to find complete results.
Conservation Colorado today released its “2016 Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard,” an annual look at how every legislator voted on key environmental and energy bills in the state legislative session. The Scorecard includes an interactive map and other digital tools to help Coloradans hold their legislators accountable for their votes on issues involving Colorado’s land, air, water, and people.

“Despite a divided legislature, we had some great wins on conservation this year, from legalizing rain barrels to establishing the nation’s first holiday to celebrate our public lands,” said Conservation Colorado Executive Director Pete Maysmith. “But, not only did we have to fight too hard to pass these commonsense measures, we also faced a series of foolish attacks on our environment that would have put communities and public health in jeopardy.”

Here are top-line results from the Scorecard:

Senate
The average score was 57 percent.
11 senators had a score of 100 percent.
The lowest scores were Senators Kevin Grantham, Kent Lambert, and Vicki Marble at 9 percent each.
Senators of color had an average score of 84 percent.
House
The average score was 63 percent.
31 representatives had a score of 100 percent.
The lowest scores were Representatives Justin Everett, Gordon Klingenschmitt, Clarice Navarro, and James Wilson at 11 percent each.
Representatives of color scored an average of 83 percent.

Maysmith continued: “Our victories this year, as well as overwhelming grassroots support across the state, show that Coloradans are passionate about the environment. Unfortunately, this is not reflected in the leadership of the Colorado Senate, which this year gutted funding for clean air protections, tried to roll back our state’s progress in addressing climate change, and attempted to pave the way to sell off America's public lands. That's why Conservation Colorado, our partners, and members will work tirelessly to install pro-conservation leaders in the Senate who will help us advance environmental legislation in 2017.”

In addition to Conservation Colorado, members of the 2016 Colorado Legislative Conservation Scorecard Committee were: Alliance for Sustainable Colorado, American Alpine Club, Environment Colorado, Peak Government Affairs, Rocky Mountain Wild, Sierra Club, Southwest Energy Efficiency Project, Western Colorado Congress, and The Wilderness Society.

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UPDATE: Anschutz in bed with anti-LGBT forces

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 1:19 PM

The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is one of many holdings of Phllip Anschutz, who reportedly donates money to anti-LGBT rights groups. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • The Broadmoor in Colorado Springs is one of many holdings of Phllip Anschutz, who reportedly donates money to anti-LGBT rights groups.
UPDATE:
We received this a couple of hours ago from the Anschutz Foundation:

The Anschutz Foundation is not a member of Jonathan Capehart's alleged "vast right wing conspiracy." The Anschutz Foundation donates to hundreds of worthy organizations each year, and it does not attempt to dictate to those organizations how to spend their monies. Moreover, those donations are made in accordance with our process and guidelines, and neither process or guidelines identify or reference in any way sexual orientation or gender issues.

Mr. Anschutz, and the Anschutz companies, invest in many businesses employing tens of thousands of people. In all instances, personal lifestyles are neither a requirement or limitation to employment.

Mr. Capehart's attempt to smear individuals with unfounded allegations is straight out of the Saul Alinsky playbook. It is unworthy of him and of the publication by which he is employed.

This is no reason to comment further on his unfounded statements or on the individuals quoted in his article.


—-ORIGINAL POST 1:19 PM JULY 7, 2016—-

Two groups supportive of LGBT issues are calling out the owner of The Broadmoor and the Gazette as a funder of anti-LGBT efforts after The Washington Post reported who's behind legislation to overturn LGBT rights.

Philip Anschutz, the billionaire entertainment and energy mogul whom we profiled here in regard to the city's land swap with The Broadmoor, has given money to organizations that oppose LGBT rights. Here's what the Post reported about him:
Phil Anschutz is one of the richest people in America, with an estimated fortune of over $10 billion, and is listed at #42 on Forbes' U.S. Billionaires list as of May 17, 2016.

His entertainment company, AEG, is the world’s largest owner of sports teams and venues, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Kings, the Staples Center, and O2 Arena. In addition, Anschutz owns The Weekly Standard, the Washington Examiner, and Regal Cinemas. He’s also one of the largest landowners in the country.

Anschutz Foundation gave $110,000 to Alliance Defending Freedom between 2011 and 2013.

Anschutz Foundation gave $50,000 to National Christian Foundation between 2011 and 2013.

Anschutz Foundation gave $30,000 to Family Research Council between 2010 and 2013
James Dobson, founder of Springs-based Focus on the Family, known for its opposition to LGBT people and its focus on conversion therapy over the years, also is named on the list of donors to various anti-LGBT rights organizations. Tom Minnery, also with Focus, is listed, along with the king of LGBT hatred, Gordon Klingenschmitt, who holds a Colorado House seat but was defeated in the June 28 Republican primary race for a state Senate seat.

Here's the One Colorado news release:
DENVER – One Colorado, the state’s leading advocacy organization for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer Coloradans and their families, and ProgressNow Colorado, the state’s largest online progressive advocacy organization, released the following statement in response to a report in the Washington Post showing that Colorado billionaire Phil Anschutz has funded anti-LGBTQ groups.

“Today the Washington Post revealed that while making a fortune off hardworking Coloradans – including LGBTQ Coloradans – billionaire Phil Anschutz has been giving money to organizations that have been designated as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center,” said Dave Montez, Executive Director of One Colorado.

“Instead of investing in individuals and groups that spread misinformation and advocate violence, Phil Anschutz could invest in improving the lives of LGBTQ Coloradans and their families. LGBTQ students still face bullying and harassment in our schools, transgender Coloradans are denied access to the health care, identity documents, and basic rights they deserve, and it is still legal for to subject young people to the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.”

"Phil Anschutz's extensive influence in Colorado politics has been known for years, but the degree of his support for anti-LGBTQ groups that fund extremist hate groups like Gordon Kligenschmitt’s ‘Pray in Jesus Name’ is shocking," said ProgressNow Colorado executive director Ian Silverii. "At a time in American history when discrimination and violence against LGBTQ citizens is on the rise, support for pro-discrimination groups puts Anschutz on the wrong side of Colorado, and on the wrong side of history."

"The Anschutz name is emblazoned on public institutions across our state," said Silverii. "Now that it has been revealed that his charity is also going to organizations that support political figures who call for gays and lesbians to be killed, it's time to ask Anschutz to take a good look at where his money is being spent. The Alliance Defending Freedom props up the same politicians who have introduced hundreds of rights-destroying bills in legislatures across the country – including right here in Colorado. Today, we’re asking Mr. Anschutz to cancel his checks to the ADF, and instead invest in Colorado-based organizations that help improve the lives of LGBTQ friends and neighbors, not try and strip their rights away."
Anschutz has been known to use his publications to showcase his investments, which was reported by Corey Hutchins for the Columbia Journalism Review, titled, "The Oklahoman runs a puff piece on its billionaire owner’s new resort property." 

So one might ask, what agenda on Anschutz's behalf is being carried out by the Gazette? We've sent an email to Gazette publisher Dan Steever about this and will report back if and when we hear from him. The newspaper's newsroom is overseen by newly hired editor Vince Bzdek, a former editor at The Washington Post.

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Three things you should know about the downtown parking garage

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 12:11 PM

Vermijo Avenue looking west toward the Olympic Museum site. The proposed parking garage would be located on the left, beneath a 1-million-square-foot building. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Vermijo Avenue looking west toward the Olympic Museum site. The proposed parking garage would be located on the left, beneath a 1-million-square-foot building.
This week's issue of the Independent reports on a plan to build a parking garage in the lower downtown area to support the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame. Here's a few things you might not have known about, which are included in that report:

— The project has already left the station in one respect. Bids were received on July 1 for design of the underground garage.

— Land where the garage will be built is now owned by an entity controlled by Nor'wood Development Group, and one way to keep the garage itself in the city's hands would involve Nor'wood deeding a condominium share to the city.

Research that predated the city's request for proposals for a designer came in a study funded by the parking enterprise last fall. Here's that study:
WalkerParkingStudy.PDF
Read our full report on the pending project.

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The county has a new engineer. Here is why you should care.

Posted By on Thu, Jul 7, 2016 at 6:32 AM

Jennifer Irvine - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Jennifer Irvine

Police and firefighters get all the glory. The county engineer? Yeah, not so much.

Chances are you don't even know who the county engineer is or what she does, let alone that her work keeps you safe every day.

In short, the county engineer ensures the safety of infrastructure like stormwater systems, utilities, and roads. It may not be sexy stuff, but it sure is important.

André Brackin was the El Paso County Engineer for 20 years until he retired in May. 

At the time of his retirement, then-El Paso County Commissioner Chair Amy Lathen noted in a press release that Brackin was, “instrumental in the execution of initiatives that have greatly benefitted the citizens of El Paso County, including: the development of 1041 permit process, the adoption of stormwater drainage and utilities placement specifications and requirements and the establishment of countywide transportation impact assessments for new development.” 

Jennifer Irvine, who joined the county as Engineering Services Manager and Project Management Supervisor in 2000, was appointed to serve as interim county engineer at that point. This week, she was given the job permanently, becoming the first female El Paso County Engineer. 

“She has shown excellent engineering, leadership and mentoring skills,” County Administrator Henry Yankowski said at a county meeting. “She has excelled in financial, budget and program management, and she has been a leader in regional collaboration. The big bonus to the County is the institutional knowledge she brings to the position. She knows not only what has been done in the past, but the why."
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Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Rita's Italian Ice to open C. Springs store

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2016 at 2:51 PM

With more than 600 locations open, mostly along the East Coast, Rita's Italian Ice is no small chain. But the opening of the first C. Springs location at 7866 N. Academy Blvd. around month's end will mark only the third Colorado location. 

Aside from Italian ice, the store sells sundaes, custard, milkshakes and more. They offer sugar-free and "all-natural flavors" as well as lactose-free options.  

Rita's won't host its grand opening party until Sunday, Aug. 21, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m., but expect a soft opening sometime prior. Here's why you may wish to mark your calendar early for that grand opening though: 
The event will feature FREE regular Italian Ice to everyone all day long, free samples to those waiting in line, and the first 50 people in line will receive free ice for a year ... During the event Rita’s will have retired Bronco players Randy Gradishar and David Treadwell signing autographs and will be giving away concert tickets through Peak FM. Rita’s will have live music by Hal Meyer, a live radio remote by Peak FM’s morning crew, a photo booth, ribbon cutting, and a magician along with other Rita’s giveaways.

A press release says Rita's plans to team up with a non-profit for its grand opening and also host fundraisers for local schools and organizations down the road. It's being opened by Kathy and Tyler Gehauf. Tyler is co-owner of Integrated Pest Management and a Colorado native, while Kathy hails from Pennsylvania, where Rita's was founded 32 years ago. 

COURTESY RITA'S
  • Courtesy Rita's

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Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Lee Spirits releases two new gins

Posted By on Tue, Jul 5, 2016 at 5:03 PM

We first met Lee Spirits Co. in early 2015, when cousins Nick and Ian Lee were focusing on a flagship dry gin, but discussing future releases such as a genever.  

A year later we thoroughly enjoyed the opening of Brooklyn's on Boulder, the speakeasy front for Lee Spirits, which touts leading local bartender and drink historian Nate Windham, among a seasoned staff. 

And now, Lee Spirits is poised to celebrate two new products: a cocoa gin and a lavender gin.

Tickets remain for two launch parties tomorrow night, July 6: one from 5 to 7 p.m. and the other from 8 to 10 p.m. Here's what the $50 entry fee gets you:

1 'Batch One' bottle of new Gin for you to take home, either Lavender or Cocoa ($45 value)
A punch glass to sample a few summer punches, all made with either Lavender or Cocoa ($20 value)
& other surprises that we can't share yet - you'll have to just be here too find out ($25+ value)
We'll also have a full cocktail menu using the Coca and Lavender Gins for you to check out and recipes for you to take home to use!
If you can't make either party, check out the products at Brooklyn's soon or nab a bottle from one of our fine local liquor stores. 
COURTESY LEE SPIRITS
  • Courtesy Lee Spirits

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