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Hente seeks another Council term 

Councilman still sees unfinished business with city

City Councilman Scott Hente has finally announced he will run for re-election in April.

"I've had some health issues this year that weighed in on [the decision]," Hente says. "Also, the effect on my business was weighing in on it."

Hente, who has served six years on Council, underwent surgery earlier this year for prostate cancer. He followed that up in the fall with knee surgery. He says he's recovering well, and feels he's capable of balancing duties as a local developer and councilor. Besides, he says, there is unfinished business with the city, particularly concerning finances, public safety and open space.

"I think I have a sense of trying to do what's right for the community," he says.

Voters will decide on four district Council seats in the lection. Incumbents Darryl Glenn and Jerry Heimlicher announced their candidacies months ago, along with former Councilman Bernie Herpin, who's hoping to fill the term-limited Margaret Radford's seat. Others have since announced their runs: Nicholas Lee will challenge Hente, Lisa Czelatdko is running against Heimlicher, and Regina Vigil will compete with Herpin. JAS

Corrections HQ may see review

Elected officials in El Paso County have widely praised the decision to keep the state Department of Corrections headquarters in Colorado Springs. But a group of lawmakers from southern Colorado is hoping the state's Legislative Audit Committee could start the process of wiping away some of those smiles when the committee meets this week.

Sen. Abel Tapia, D-Pueblo, and seven other current and incoming legislators recently wrote to the panel, arguing that the bid process was severely flawed and demanding the decision be reviewed. The DOC's current lease for its building in Colorado Springs expires in 2010. In October, the department announced a new site in southern Colorado Springs had been selected over four others.

Sal Pace, a newly elected state representative from Pueblo, points out that other proposals, including one from Pueblo, came in with a lower price tag, but that the DOC changed the parameters weighing the proposals after they were submitted, favoring Colorado Springs.

While officials argued proximity to Denver is an important factor, Pace suggests it makes more sense for the DOC headquarters to be close to prisons, many of which can be found along U.S. Highway 50 or south.

"How much work do they actually have in Denver?" he asks. AL

D-20 protest planned

A couple years ago, Emily Misciagna decided living life as a "she" was unbearable. Now 18, Misciagna has grown into not a young woman, but a young man, who goes by the name of Blake Williams.

Not everyone has been accepting of the change. Williams' parents couldn't deal with it, so now Williams is housed by Urban Peak. Faculty at Williams' school, Academy School District 20's alternative Aspen Valley High, have also apparently lacked sensitivity.

"There was only one [teacher] in the entire school who would call me by 'he,'" Williams says.

When Williams' Urban Peak case worker asked for staff to refer to Williams as "Blake" and "he," the principal wasn't keen on the idea. So Williams dropped out. He says he hopes to get a GED and go on to college. But he's not ready to concede defeat at Aspen Valley.

Williams has organized a peaceful protest of D-20's treatment of transgendered students for Friday, Dec. 5, from 3 to 4:30 p.m. The demonstration will take place at Chapel Hills Mall, across the street from Aspen Valley. Williams says he expects 15 to 25 people to show up, including other transgendered students or D-20 alumni. JAS

Cards dealt for new legislators

El Paso County's newest two legislators now have a sense of what will be loaded onto their plates in the coming year, after party leaders unveiled committee assignments for 2009.

The House judiciary committee will see a healthy dose of Colorado Springs with Dennis Apuan, a Democrat, and Mark Waller, a Republican, named as new members.

Waller says the judiciary committee was his "first choice," and that he is eager to put his experience as an attorney to work. Waller was also appointed to the education committee, while Apuan's second appointment was to the finance committee.

Incoming Pueblo Democrat Sal Pace also will be a member of the judiciary committee, and he picked up plum assignments on the appropriations committee and the agriculture and natural resources committee. He will also serve as the party's assistant majority caucus chair. AL

(It) could (it) be worse(?)

The push to sell oil and gas leases within a mile or two of Delicate Arch at Arches National Park and other Utah landmarks has been halted.

Thats a good thing, but dont get too excited the Bureau of Land Management still plans to auction hundred of thousands of acres across Utah on Dec. 19 in a final effort to effort to open public land to oil and gas development in the final days of the Bush administration. BLM pulled 34 parcels from the auction block, including those closest to park boundaries, but that was only about a third of the parcels to be auctioned for which the U.S. Park Service raised objections.

In other environmental news, the Washington Post reports that the Bush administration has reached out to mayors across the country asking them to speak up and say how much they oppose regulation to limit emissions linked to global warming.

The Bush administration has sought to impose a variety of rules and regulations in recent months that many believe would be harmful to the environment. At the same time, the Clinton-era Roadless Rule that prohibits creation of new permanent roads in certain areas of the nations forests still languishes in uncertainty, prompting some to urge Congress to codify the rule by enacting new legislation. AL

Break out your shovels

Looking for a gift that wont collect dust on a shelf someplace? The El Paso County Conservation District is offering trees and shrubs at reduced prices this holiday season $9 for a gallon container and $20 to $35 for five gallons.

Call district manager Lorraine Griffith at 719/473-7104 x101 for details. AL

Cops get Christmas spirit

The Colorado Springs Police Department began its 20th annual toy drive Dec. 1, working with Christmas Unlimited to provide gifts for local children in need.

Donation boxes for unwrapped toys have been placed in lobbies at the Falcon Division (7850 Goddard St.), Gold Hill Division (955 W. Moreno Ave.), Sand Creek Division (4125 Center Park Drive), Stetson Hills Division (4110 Tutt Blvd.) and the downtown Police Operations Center (705 S. Nevada Ave.).

The police will identify needy families with children up to 12 years old, and help deliver gifts on Dec. 22 and 23. Last year, cops gave to nearly 400 Springs children who may have otherwise gone empty-handed. EAA

Got a license for that kitty?

The days of gleeful anonymity are coming to a close for the city's house cats.

City Council has given unanimous approval to a cat licensing program that starts Jan. 1. Money earned from the program will be used to implement a trap, sterilize and release program for feral cats. The Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region will be in charge of the program.

Cat licenses will run $12 a year, or $33 for three years. The cost is more if your cat isn't spayed or neutered. Seniors get a discount.

Since there is not an initial late fee for licensing cats (though there are renewal late fees), city officials expect that most citizens will get their cats licensed when they visit their vet, or when they adopt a new cat. JAS

Compiled by Elizabeth Anderson, Anthony Lane and J. Adrian Stanley.

  • Also: Corrections choice challenged, D-20 protest, new lawmakers' assignments and others.

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