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Apuan-Roupe battle won't die 

Roupe says peaceful protesting can lead to terrorism

Despite his election opponent labeling him a "violent, anti-war, anti-military protester," Dennis Apuan is now spending his days in Denver representing southern El Paso County's House District 17.

But his anti-war past has not escaped him. Jeff Crank, a two-time losing Republican candidate for Colorado's 5th Congressional District, devoted a good part of his KVOR-AM 740 radio program Saturday morning to the subject. Crank said he recently learned Apuan was convicted of trespassing on federal property during a 2003 protest at Peterson Air Force Base, something he found "a little bit disturbing."

Apuan declined an invitation to join Crank on his show, citing a pre-scheduled town hall meeting. In a statement, Apuan said: "With a group of religious leaders, I peacefully expressed my opposition to the use of nuclear weapons ... After just a few feet, four of us were arrested for trespassing. I was sentenced to 48 hours of community service, which I completed at my church teaching Sunday school."

Catherine "Kit" Roupe, Apuan's Republican opponent in the 2008 general election, called in during Crank's show and may have inadvertently explained why her pre-election portrayal of Apuan's anti-war past failed to sway voters. She equated any kind of civil disobedience with violence and worse, saying: "The real nugget here is that the peaceful protest that leads to these little, itty-bitty steps that take us to actual terrorism within our own country." AL

City eyes federal cash

Federal stimulus money is beginning to trickle into Colorado Springs. The city could get around $9 million to build a new bus station in the long-stagnant Southwest Urban Renewal District of downtown. The station would replace the old facility at Nevada Avenue and Kiowa Street, which officials say is overcrowded and a safety concern.

But the $9 million would build a significantly smaller station than the $41 million one that's been planned. Monday, some city councilors expressed concern that a $9 million station would have to be replaced much too soon. Others balked at the idea of ever spending $40 million on a station, especially since bus service was slashed in budget cuts.

Meanwhile, Colorado Springs police could get more than $1.3 million in grants for capital improvements. A press release mentions increased technology as a priority. The police department has archaic data systems and two helicopters in need of repairs. JAS

Grace trial winding down

After four weeks of riveting testimony on trust laws, nonprofit status and church history, the trial to decide who owns Colorado Springs' Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish was set to see closing arguments Wednesday. It still could be weeks before Judge Larry Schwartz finishes weighing the evidence and comes back with a decision.

The church dispute dates to 2007, when the Rev. Don Armstrong and other church leaders voted to leave the American Episcopal Church in favor of a mission of the conservative Church of Nigeria. They also decided to stay firmly planted in the $17 million church at 601 N. Tejon St., prompting a lawsuit. AL

Homeless get some help

The crowd was pretty thin by 6 p.m., Tuesday, but organizer Bob Holmes seemed pleased with a first effort at what is planned to be a yearly event helping homeless residents find counseling, shelters and other services.

"The goal is to connect with homeless who want to get off the street," said Holmes, director of Homeward Pikes Peak, which coordinates local homeless services. He said he knew of three homeless locals who got spaces in a recovery house during the day-long event at the City Auditorium.

Many people who work with the homeless say they are seeing more in need.

Barbara Peterson, a client counselor with Pikes Peak Community Action Agency, said she received 35 names of people who might need the financial, food and other types of assistance provided by her agency. AL

D-11 boundary meetings set

There's still a chance to be heard before District 11 makes school-boundary changes. A series of meetings, some for parents, others open to anyone, will run through April. All meetings will run from 7:30 to 9 p.m.

Parents are invited to the following meetings: Thursday, March 12, Hillside Community Center, 925 S. Institute St. (for south-central elementary school families); Monday, March 16, Audubon Elementary, 2400 E. Van Buren St. (for north-central elementary families); Tuesday, March 17, McAuliffe Elementary, 830 Hathaway Drive (for southeast elementary families) and Scott Elementary, 6175 Whetstone Drive (for northeast elementary families); and March 19, Mann Middle School, 1001 E. Van Buren St. (for middle school families).

The general public is invited to the following: March 30, Mitchell High School, 1205 Potter Drive; March 31, Wasson High School, 2115 Afton Way; and April 2, Coronado High School, 1590 W. Fillmore St. JAS

Salazar opposes Army plans

A new plan to expand the Army's Pion Canyon Maneuver Site by leasing land instead of seizing it is generating familiar opposition.

"I don't know how they would get that money," U.S. Rep. John Salazar has told the Pueblo Chieftain. "I sit on the (appropriations) committee that controls Army spending, and I'm taking my marching orders from the ranchers and farmers in my district."

The latest plan calls for leasing 70,000 acres of private land south of the site. AL

More hours for legal dumping

Now you have even fewer excuses to put wildlife at risk by illegally dumping your used motor oil.

Starting this Saturday, the El Paso County Household Hazardous Waste Collection Facility will be open the second Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The facility is already open Monday through Thursday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The center takes in a variety of un-green items and disposes of them in ways that protect the environment. It's free to drop off your old electronics, paint, motor oil, batteries, ammunition, fireworks, flares and chemicals for house, lawn and auto. A donation of nonperishable food for Care and Share Food Bank is encouraged.

The center is located at 3255 Akers Drive, south of North Carefree Circle, east of Powers Boulevard. For more information, call 520-7878 or visit adm.elpasoco.com/Environmental_Services. JAS

Udall: quick as a whip

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall got some kudos this week with a story on Congressional Quarterly's Web site trumpeting his rapid ascension to deputy majority whip and his role getting the other 10 freshman Democrats aligned with President Barack Obama's legislative agenda.

He is now one of five deputy whips who will help Majority Whip Richard Durbin, D-Ill., line up support for upcoming Democratic legislation.

With 10 years' experience in the U.S. House, Udall enjoys a more gradual learning curve than many of his fellow freshmen, including Sen. Michael Bennet, the former superintendent of Denver Public Schools who was appointed to replace Ken Salazar, now secretary of Interior.

All the work in Washington must be keeping Udall's hands full there's still no word on who will head Udall's regional offices in Colorado Springs and other parts of the state. AL

Waak stays as party chair

Pat Waak laughs when asked for thoughts on her unopposed bid for a third, two-year term as state Democratic Party chair.

"I started out last year and thought I'd done my duty," she says.

But Waak, perhaps, is a victim of the party's 2008 success. Democrats retained control of the state Legislature, picked up seats in the U.S. Senate and House, and pulled the state into the blue column in the presidential race.

The challenge ahead will be convincing newly energized Democrats to stay active in the party and preparing for 2010, when appointed Sen. Michael Bennet faces his first-ever election. Some Democrats are spoiling for a primary fight, with Facebook pages and the Web site runandrew.com enlisting support for former state House Speaker Andrew Romanoff. Romanoff has not returned multiple calls from the Indy to comment on his plans.

Waak said she welcomes a primary race if Romanoff or another candidate decides to challenge Bennet, saying, "That's how the Democratic process works." AL

Compiled by Anthony Lane and J. Adrian Stanley.

  • Also: Local stimulus, Grace trial, homeless help, Pion Canyon, Udall and more.

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