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Carrier sentenced, Kiley catches a break, Mining Exchange lauded 

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Carrier gets 70 years

Former Colorado Springs Police Officer Josh Carrier was sentenced last week to 70 years to life in prison for dozens of charges stemming from his time volunteering at Mann Middle School in the 2010-11 school year, local news outlets reported.

Carrier, 31, was accused of conducting "medical checks" on kids in the wrestling program, in which he coached and did other volunteer work. He was convicted on sex abuse charges involving 18 kids, the Gazette reported. The sentence ended a criminal case that saw two trials (the first involved many charges on which the jury couldn't agree), plus settlements by the city and School District 11 totaling more than $10 million with victims' families, according to the Gazette. — PZ

No fireworks at court

Ed Kiley's long, explosive saga has nearly ended. It all began when Kiley decided to manufacture some homemade fireworks in preparation for New Year's Eve in December 2011. A loud bang caused alarm in his Hillside neighborhood, and soon Kiley's house was crawling with cops ("Going out with a bang," News, Aug. 15). A two-day search ensued in which police turned up plenty of explosives, an antique gun and marijuana plants.

Kiley, a popular eccentric in his neighborhood, helped with the search and explained to officers that he was a lifelong fan of pyrotechnics who enjoyed manufacturing his own products. Police suspected a more sinister motive.

Eventually, Kiley was charged with 10 counts of possession of explosives/incendiary device; two counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender; one count of possession of marijuana, more than 12 ounces; and one count of cultivation of marijuana plants, six plants or less. He could have faced 60-plus years.

Instead, Kiley says, when he showed up for court in January, his lawyer had a surprise: "'He said, 'Good news ... they dropped the gun and weapons charges.'"

Kiley pled guilty to a single charge of possession of explosives/incendiary device, which carries a sentence of two to six years. Currently free on bail, he will be sentenced Monday, March 4. — JAS

Forums aplenty

'Tis the season for candidate forums, as 24 hopefuls campaign for six district Colorado Springs City Council seats. Here's a lineup of forums we were aware of at deadline:

Monday, 6 to 8 p.m., Stargazers Theater, 10 S. Parkside Drive, environmental forum. Sponsored by several green groups, including the Trails and Open Space Coalition and Catamount Institute, and the Independent.

Tuesday, 5 to 7 p.m., The Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, 8 S. Nevada Ave. Sponsored by Colorado Springs Business Journal, News 5, Magneti.

Thursday, March 7 (Districts 1 and 3 only), 6 to 9 p.m., Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave. Sponsored by the Council of Neighbors and Organizations and other neighborhood groups.

Tuesday, March 12, 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Stargazers Theater. Sponsored by Citizens Project, ONE Colorado, Colorado Common Cause and other groups.

Thursday, March 14, 7 p.m., VFW Post 4051, 430 E. Pikes Peak Ave. Sponsored by the Pikes Peak Firearms Coalition. — PZ

Honor for Mining Exchange

The Mining Exchange Hotel keeps racking up the accolades. Named a Wyndham Grand Hotel — the chain's snazziest classification — before it opened, it was recently given a Four Diamond rating by AAA.

The organization's second-highest rating puts the new hotel in distinguished company. Of nearly 31,000 properties reviewed by AAA, only 5 percent have been given a Four Diamond rating — including the Springs' Antlers Hilton and Manitou Springs' Cliff House at Pikes Peak. The Broadmoor is the city's only hotel to have a Five Diamond rating.

"Gettin' four diamonds when we're missing a couple key things that we have going in was really fine," hotel owner Perry Sanders tells the Indy. He's referencing an under-construction spa to debut in mid-summer; the Gold Room in the building next door; and the Mining Exchange Club, "like the House of Blues." — JAS

Water pressure from Pueblo

Pueblo County Commissioner and former state Rep. Sal Pace wants Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach to act more definitively on stormwater. According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Pace wrote a Valentine's Day letter to Bach expressing concerns.

The Springs has about $687 million in backlogged stormwater projects, according to one task force. And with the Waldo Canyon burn scar baring hillsides, flood risk is expected to be very high in the coming years. Still, Bach has been resistant to working with El Paso County on a regional solution, saying he needs to first look at other options. Meanwhile, the controversial Southern Delivery System water pipeline project is moving forward, and it too could add to drainage problems.

The issues resonate downstream, since the Springs' water drains into Pueblo.

"Pueblo needs assurances that SDS will not increase our flood risk," Pace wrote in the letter. "It is critical that Colorado Springs find a solution to its stormwater problems." — JAS

Compiled by J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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