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CC unveils changes, marijuana advocates rejoice, more 

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CC announces makeover

After two years of intense study, Colorado College last week unveiled "The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block," an ambitious road map for development of the liberal arts school.

President Jill Tiefenthaler, who oversaw the project during her first two years at the college, says in a release the strategy is "counter-cultural" as it runs against trends at other schools, which are curtailing liberal arts classes in favor of job training and online courses.

Highlights of the plan, which involved students, faculty, staff, alumni and local residents, include:

• further developing the block plan, in which students study one subject intensively for 3½ weeks at a time, by creating the Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching. The center will bring together field study, in-residence programs and offices of sustainability, community engagement and international programs.

• redesigning summer and half-block programs to organize around subjects like film, arts, pre-med, sports, languages, environmental education and geology.

• creating an Innovation Institute that will include the State of the Rockies Project and serve as an incubator for students to develop and test ideas and find solutions.

Read more about the plan at tiny.cc/ccblock. — Pam Zubeck

Solar gardens OKed

Another 2 megawatts of solar gardens will be built under a Colorado Springs Utilities program approved last week by City Council.

The vote was 6-3, with Council President Keith King and Councilors Helen Collins and Joel Miller in opposition based on their distaste for subsidies.

The program, structured differently than a pilot program enacted in 2011, will require solar-garden developers to bid for projects rather than doling out the work on a first-come, first-served basis. Also, the reimbursement to subscribers of panels might not be as generous as it was under the pilot program.

Utilities spokesman Dave Grossman says the request for proposals will be issued early this month for 30 days; developers will be chosen in October. The new program replaces a three-year, 10-megawatt program adopted by the former Council on April 9 only to be rescinded after the new Council took office later that month ("Sunblock," cover story, Aug. 7, 2013). — Pam Zubeck

Feds change on marijuana

Last Thursday brought a historic shift in federal-law enforcement when the Department of Justice said it would not be suing the states of Colorado and Washington in an effort to halt their recently passed marijuana laws. Furthermore, Deputy Attorney General James Cole issued a memo to the country's top prosecutors telling them to focus energies elsewhere in states where marijuana has been made legal and regulation is effective.

Reaction from cannabis advocates was unanimously jubilant, with many characterizing Cole's memo as the beginning of the end of Prohibition. Beau Kilmer, a policy researcher with the RAND Corporation, did warn in a release that "[f]ederal policy on marijuana can change within and across Administrations." However, he added: "Today's DOJ memo is important. It doesn't prohibit for-profit production and it sends a signal to other states and countries."

Asked how the department's new stance might change its enforcement priorities, a spokesman for Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh tells the Indy: "We are continuing to prosecute large-scale drug traffickers, consistent with the Ogden and Cole memos. And so, inasmuch as that is consistent with what we've been doing in the past, I think there's not going to be a substantial change." — Bryce Crawford

Coloradans driving less

A report by the CoPIRG Foundation found that Coloradans have cut driving miles 11.4 percent since 2005. The drop puts Colorado in 14th place in the nation for fewest miles driven per person.

"In Colorado, driving miles are down, just as they are in almost every state — only a lot more," Danny Katz, CoPIRG Foundation Director, states in a release.

CoPIRG says its report proves that the nation's "driving boom" is over. The study is based on government data. — J. Adrian Stanley

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