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Council tightens up over managers' raises 

Raises raise Council eyebrows
It wasn't what you'd call a friendly discussion. At Tuesday's City Council meeting, a decision of whether to grant market-based raises to the city attorney, city auditor, city clerk and the CEO of Colorado Springs Utilities strayed into a discussion of whether any city department managers should receive raises this year. Managers (but not necessarily those listed above) have long been scheduled for raises in July.

Councilman Darryl Glenn was the first to speak out, calling raises for appointees inappropriate given projected budget shortfalls. Councilman Jerry Heimlicher countered that it was unfair to single out the appointees, saying Council instead should reconsider raises for all managers. Glenn jumped on that idea.

Others were critical of taking away raises so close to when they were to be implemented. Councilwoman Margaret Radford was particularly cold to the idea, scolding Heimlicher.

The issue resolved when Glenn, Heimlicher and Councilman Tom Gallagher agreed to set a special meeting to discuss the idea before raises take effect. But as of late Tuesday, that meeting lacked enough support to make it worthwhile. Glenn and Heimlicher were looking at calling it off.

Meanwhile, Council approved raises of 1 to 5.5 percent, totaling about $21,000, for the attorney, auditor and clerk, but declined to raise Utilities CEO Jerry Forte's $276,750 salary. JAS

Sports Animal lays off Tony D
Tony Desiere (aka Tony D) didn't see this one coming.

"I'm a little shocked," says the KKML-1300 "Sports Animal" talk show host and program director, who was laid off Monday, June 16. "They called me into a meeting, asked me a couple of questions about the station, and then told me we had to part company and handed me an envelope of checks."

Voted Best Talk Show Host by Indy readers the past three years, Desiere had been relatively optimistic prior to his dismissal.

"As a matter of fact, I was told a couple weeks ago that I was safe from the Citadel [Broadcasting] budget cuts," says Desiere. "We had a very good April trend. Our ratings were going up. Revenue was going up. We were making a lot of strides in this market."

"Tony's made amazing progress over the past four years that he's been on," acknowledges Dan Mandis, program director for KKML's Citadel sister station KVOR, who's overseeing KKML as it transitions to a new, as-yet-undisclosed format. "But the ratings growth was not enough for us to be able to turn a profit on the station."

"Regardless of what happens," Mandis adds, "we'll still be carrying the Rockies."

Meanwhile, Desiere has begun his own podcast at tonydradioshow.com, and says he hopes to wade through "a little bit of an identity crisis" and work in the Springs again. BF

Voters dont want to be left out
The mail-in ballot request forms sent out last month to all the countys registered voters make it look so easy. Check a couple boxes, and youll be able to vote in the August primary and November election without going much farther than your mail box.

Maybe it looks too easy. The county clerks office reports a very large number of independent or unaffiliated voters are sending in the forms and requesting mail-in ballots for the Aug. 12 primary. But you have to be a registered Democrat or Republican to participate in either partys primary. (The only action this year is on the Republican side, with races for Congress, district attorney and state House District 15.)

Unaffiliated voters can pick a party on election day, on the mail-in ballot forms or when they vote early, and then immediately dis-affiliate after the election. Residents must be registered by July 14 to vote in the primary. AL

Rep: Pion Canyon has uranium
Uranium naturally occurs in Colorado, but typically not in levels as high as those found in soil samples collected by state Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, when he visited Fort Carson's Pion Canyon Maneuver Site last year.

Working with Boulder's Rocky Mountain Peace and Justice Center, McKinley presented test results showing uranium levels higher than those in a uranium mill that required an extensive environmental cleanup. He's worried that the uranium, which is radioactive, could pose a health risk to area ranchers, especially given the recent wind-whipped Bridger wildfire that charred tens of thousands of PCMS acres and adjoining private land.

In calling for an investigation, McKinley also wants to know whether any Army training in the area might have sparked the fire a challenge to the notion that lightning was responsible, as Fort Carson officials have said. In a statement, Karen Linne, a spokeswoman for Fort Carson, said the post has not seen lab results for soil samples. The post also said it does not train with any weapons that contain powerful depleted uranium. MdY

Dem demonstrators charged
Local activists Eric Verlo and Peter Sprunger-Froese will be charged with trespassing on private property in a July 1 appearance in Municipal Court. The charges come after the two were arrested while demonstrating May 17 outside Colorado's Democratic convention.

Rita Ague, legal assistant to the defendants' attorney (and Indy board member) Greg Walta, says she was with the two at the time of their arrest. Ague says the activists became confused when a police officer pointed them toward the designated "free speech zone," because the area was not clearly marked, and ended up wandering into the wrong space.

Police spokesman Skip Arms counters, "It was clearly marked and they knew exactly where it was." JAS

Help us question candidates
Readers still are welcome to submit questions for the Indy to consider asking candidates before making endorsements and/or recommendations for the Aug. 12 Republican primary.

Send questions to newsroom@csindy.com for the District Attorney race, John Newsome vs. Dan May; the House District 15 race, Douglas Bruce vs. Mark Waller; and the 5th District congressional race, including Doug Lamborn, Bentley Rayburn and Jeff Crank. RR

Bicycle-friendly (or -friendlier)
Colorado Springs has been awarded a $15,000 grant to pay for a survey of local bicyclists' habits and fund a plan to encourage more residents to get in the habit.

The city qualified for the grant after it received a silver-level ranking in May from the League of American Bicyclists. Officials plan to match the grant with an additional $15,000 from the city's dedicated bicycle tax and with the time it takes staff to do the work. AL

Beat cops on South Nevada?
City Councilman Jerry Heimlicher hopes to secure a donation to fund beat cops on South Nevada Avenue for July.

Police officers would walk the area on Friday and Saturday nights, deterring crime. Heimlicher says if the strategy succeeds, he'll look for more funding in the future from private donors.

The extra policing is part of a larger plan to clean up and redevelop South Nevada. The plan began when a group of mostly small-business owners organized to look for ways to beautify and secure the area. City and county officials, developers and El Pomar Foundation are working to advance a plan that would transform the area while retaining many small businesses.

In the short term, Heimlicher says the city and El Pomar will work to bring more business owners into the merchants group. JAS

Compiled by Michael de Yoanna, Bill Forman, Anthony Lane, Ralph Routon and J. Adrian Stanley. For more briefs, go to csindy.com.

  • Also: Tony D off the air, Pinon uranium, candidate questions and more

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