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County pledges to help C4C, Lamborn announces intentions, more 

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County pledges C4C cash

El Paso County has agreed to allow a portion of its tax money to help fund the city's City for Champions proposal, seeking $120.5 million in state sales tax rebates.

The idea is to allow the $92.7 million sports and events center project, which replaces the earlier baseball stadium project, to skim a portion of county sales tax revenues that result from growth caused by City for Champions. At a news briefing Friday, County Commissioner Amy Lathen likened the county's contribution, whose value is unknown, to "seed money."

The announcement was part of the city's revamping of its original application, which sought more than $170 million in sales tax rebates but was deemed worthy of just $31.4 million by the state's independent consultant, Economic & Planning Systems, Inc. The city also submitted letters of support from assorted entities, but only the county and Mayor Steve Bach pledged actual cash. Bach wrote that the city has enough bonding capacity to borrow money for the projects, and that the city's Parking Authority could pitch in $2.12 million.

The city's plan calls for building the downtown center, a downtown Olympic Museum, an Air Force Academy visitors center and a sports medicine center at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Bob Cope, city economic development official, said at the briefing that ownership of the downtown venues is among the details yet to be worked out.

The city's will present its proposal to the state Economic Development Commission on Dec. 4. — PZ

Lamborn to seek fifth term

"Early next year Congressman Lamborn will announce that he will run for re-election," reads the e-mail message from Justin Johnson, chief of staff for Fifth Congressional District Rep. Doug Lamborn.

The one-liner lays to rest speculation that the Colorado Republican might call it quits after four terms.

Rumors had circulated since summer that Lamborn might step aside, and two answers to questions about that did little to quell those rumors. In July, in response to the Indy's questioning, Johnson said his boss was "not considering retiring." On Oct. 31, again in response to the Indy, Lamborn's communications director, Catherine Mortensen, said he would announce "his intentions at a later time."

On Nov. 15, Mortensen jumped ship, saying she'd taken a press position with the National Rifle Association.

Retired Air Force Maj. Gen. Irv Halter is seeking the Democratic nomination in the Fifth Congressional District. — PZ

SunShare nabs Xcel gardens

Home-grown SunShare solar garden company announced last week that it's been awarded 4.5 megawatts of community solar gardens in Adams, Denver and Jefferson counties under Xcel Energy's Solar Rewards Community program. Earlier this year, the company had been chosen for another 2.5 megawatts by Xcel.

With the firm already having won the contract for 2 megawatts of solar gardens under Colorado Springs Utilities' next phase of renewables, SunShare is now among the nation's largest community solar garden companies, says founder David Amster-Olszewski. — PZ

Gun controllers unite

In September, state Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron were recalled by voters angry that they had supported gun control legislation. Emboldened by the victories, gun rights activists are now collecting signatures in an effort to recall Westminster Sen. Evie Hudak.

But those who support gun control legislation are fighting back.

Representatives of Colorado Ceasefire, Moms Demand Action, Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Hunters Against Gun Violence, as well as family members of victims of gun violence, are coming together for a new campaign. "Stand Strong Colorado" aims to support gun control laws and the legislators that passed them.

Jane Dougherty explains the campaign this way in a press release: "[W]e will be collecting stories of people affected by gun violence and delivering those to legislators, reminding them why they need to stand strong and keep our new gun safety laws on the books." Dougherty is the sister of Mary Sherlach, a school psychologist killed in the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., last December. — JAS

Local dog rescuer lauded

Theresa Strader, founder of the Peyton-based National Mill Dog Rescue, received national recognition last week when she was named Hero of the Year Award from HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service, a product of Merck Animal Health. She was selected from five finalists by a public vote on HomeAgain's website.

Says Strader in a press release: "The work is tireless and never ending but the rewards we reap in animal rescue are unparalleled."

National Mill Dog Rescue ("Mill treatment," cover story, June 5, 2008) was recognized for having saved nearly 8,000 dogs from puppy mills nationwide. The nonprofit rehabilitates the dogs — which are often abused and/or neglected — and finds them homes. Strader is also an advocate for the dogs through social media, speaking engagements and educational programs.

In addition to the award itself, National Mill Dog Rescue will receive a $10,000 donation. — JAS

Memorial names COO

Colette Martin, a native of the area who graduated from Lewis-Palmer High School, was named chief operating officer for Memorial Hospital last week. Martin served as Memorial's director of strategic planning and has worked at the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Providence Health & Services in Anchorage, Alaska. She holds an undergraduate degree in English from Colorado State University and an MBA from University of Colorado.

Memorial Hospital President and CEO Mike Scialdone said in a release that Martin's hiring caps a national search with input from doctors, directors and other senior leaders. — PZ

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