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Give! gets new leader, gravel quarry rejected, and more 

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Van Hoy to lead Give!

Barb Van Hoy, a longtime nonprofit leader in the area, has been named incoming executive director of the Give! campaign beginning Nov. 1, the Give! board announced. After helping with the 2016 campaign, she will become executive director Jan. 2.

Van Hoy has worked in various roles, including executive director of Citizens Project, events coordinator of Rocky Mountain PBS and policy advocate/nonprofit consultant for Impact Advocacy. A graduate of Metro State University in Denver, she also has served on the boards of Colorado Common Cause and the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. She will replace Jack Ward, who has relocated to the Tampa, Florida, area but will continue through this campaign.

"I'm excited to work with our local nonprofits and donors to build on the Give! campaign's incredible impact," Van Hoy said. "By continuing to help tell our local nonprofits' stories and connecting donors with them, we can change lives and transform our community." — RR

ESM has temporary shelter

Winter is coming and the Springs Rescue Mission's (SRM) expanded shelter isn't open yet due to construction delays.

With other nonprofits not opening emergency shelters, many could be left in the cold once the weather turns. But Ecumenical Social Ministries, which serves low-income and homeless people, opened a temporary shelter for women without children on Nov. 1 at 201 N. Weber St. The shelter will provide 25 beds until Nov. 18, when the SRM shelter is expected to open.

"Opening this temporary emergency shelter is so in keeping with the mission here at ESM," Ann Steiner Lantz, ESM executive director, explained in a release. "It's all about helping them to restore their dignity. It's simply the right thing to do. There is literally nowhere for these women to go." — JAS

Quarry rejected

Neighbors who live in the vicinity of a planned quarry southwest of Colorado Springs won a rare victory last week when the Mined Land Reclamation Board voted 3-2 against the application by Transit Mix.

The applicant can seek reconsideration of the decision, file an appeal in Denver District Court or amend the permit application and resubmit it, says Colorado Department of Natural Resources spokesman Todd Hartman. Or, the applicant could appeal and file a new application simultaneously, he says.

Neighbors contended that mining activities could potentially block access to their homes, damage water wells and affect shifting soils. Transit Mix didn't return a phone call seeking comment. — PZ

Accessible spot for voting

The Independence Center, a nonprofit serving those with disabilities, will be a "highly accessible polling place" this year at its 729 S. Tejon St. location, partnering with the County Clerk and Recorder's Office. While all polling places must be accessible, the Independence Center also will offer specialized voting equipment with features to magnify text, provide audio ballots and use large keypads with Braille or raised numbers.

Polls at the Independence Center will be open Nov. 7 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Nov. 8 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. American Sign Language interpreters will be available from 9-11 a.m. and 3-5 p.m. on Nov. 7 and from 7-9 a.m., 11 a.m.-1 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. on Nov. 8. — JAS

90,000-plus votes cast

To reach an expected turnout of 75 to 80 percent in the 2016 general election, voters will have to pick up the pace.

As of Monday, the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office reported receiving 91,991 ballots. Of those, 24,249 came from Democrats, 43,094 from Republicans, 23,070 from unaffiliated voters, and the rest from other parties.

Ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Nov. 8. For information: car.elpasoco.com/Pages/default.aspx. — PZ

Obama endorses Exum

President Barack Obama must think Tony Exum is pretty special. The House District 17 candidate, who won the seat in 2012 only to lose it to Republican Kit Roupe in 2014, scored Obama's endorsement in his bid to reclaim the seat.

"I am humbled, hopeful, and extremely thankful that the president of the United States believes that my contribution will be meaningful to our state and local government, and that he sincerely cares about what is going on with the citizens of Colorado Springs," Exum said in a release.

Obama has endorsed a select group of state legislative candidates this year in addition to Exum. — JAS

CoPIRG: Local transit issues

This city needs transit improvements — and fast, according to a new report by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group and the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project released at the downtown transit center. "We know public transit, biking and walking infrastructure are critical components of the transportation system, but unfortunately in Colorado they've been severely underfunded for decades," CoPIRG's Colleen McLoughlin said.

The report calls for $1 billion more in investment statewide over the next 25 years, including at least $15 million annually in Colorado Springs.

Authors note that despite being the second largest metro area, the Springs spends 30 percent less per capita than Pueblo and 80 percent less than Denver on transit. Local priorities, according to CoPIRG, should be expanding transit service to major medical facilities and within military bases, increasing frequency of popular bus routes and much more emphasis on biking and walking infrastructure.

"There's no silver bullet for where the money's going to come from," McLoughlin said, "but with the city's population poised to grow so significantly, the time to invest is now." — NS

Space Foundation CEO out

The Space Foundation announced Oct. 24 that longtime CEO Elliot Pulham had resigned and the board was searching for a new leader.

The foundation, best-known for its annual Space Symposium, didn't say why Pulham was leaving. However, SpaceNews notes that Pulham was "facing criticism after the website NASA Watch published in early October a number of Facebook posts from him."

Pulham bragged about travel expenses charged to the foundation and made a crude remark about presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, SpaceNews stated.

Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., the Space Foundation board chair, issued a statement thanking Pulham and saying the group is "proud to be a respected advocate for all sectors of space." — JAS

Nor'wood shorted on fees

A district judge has ruled that Nor'wood Development Group can collect only 28 percent of the attorney fees bill that it submitted in a land value dispute with Colorado Springs Utilities.

Nor'wood controls Banning Lewis Holdings, which owns land on the city's east side used for Utilities' water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir. The 146 undeveloped acres needed for the Southern Delivery System pipeline and a pump station were valued at $117,500 by Utilities. Nor'wood, the region's biggest developer, maintained it was worth $6.4 million. A panel of land commissioners decided after a trial in May that Utilities should pay $1.95 million for the land. With interest, the figure grew to $2.43 million.

Utilities argued a state law allows no attorney fees awarded in connection with condemnation of property used for a waterway.

Judge Larry Schwartz agreed in his Oct. 19 ruling, but noted a portion of land was used for a pump station, not a pipeline, thus reasoning that Utilities pay $90,106, rather than the $321,807 sought by Nor'wood. — PZ

Starburst award to county

To recognize "excellence in the use of lottery funds," the Colorado Lottery has awarded El Paso County a 2016 Starburst Award for the renovation and expansion of Fountain Creek Nature Center. In 2014, the nature center was expanded by 2,500 feet and new educational exhibits were added.

The Fountain project received $330,000 from the lottery's Great Outdoors Colorado grant program.

The nature center, built in 1992 in Fountain Creek Regional Park, draws more than 70,000 visitors annually, including thousands of schoolchildren. — PZ

Compiled by Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley, Nat Stein and Pam Zubeck.

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