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Homelessness still with us, transgender bill advances, cadet's death investigated, and more 

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Cadet's death investigated

The April 2 death of an Air Force Academy cadet is being investigated by the Air Force's Office of Special Investigations, which usually handles criminal matters. "Investigators won't rule out anything, until the investigation is complete," academy spokesman John Van Winkle says via email.

The academy hasn't released a cause of death for Alexandre Quiros, 21, a senior, whom the Gazette reported was a Cheyenne Mountain High School grad. The astronautical engineering major was found in his dorm room "with injuries," the academy says in a release.

Quiros is the second cadet to die this year. Freshman John Lindsey was killed in a skiing accident at Keystone Resort in late January. — PZ

Spacing out at Broadmoor

Thousands of people will descend on Colorado Springs in coming days in preparation for the 31st annual National Space Symposium, held April 13 to 16 at The Broadmoor.

Attendees, presenters, sponsors and others will fill nine hotels and portions of half a dozen others. Last year, the conference drew 11,000 people, says Kevin Cook, spokesman for the Space Foundation, the Colorado Springs-based organization that sponsors the registration-required event.

While military use of space is a standard topic, this symposium schedule seems to stress private investment interests. Twenty-five countries also will be represented, including South Vietnam and India, and one session focuses exclusively on Germany's space program. "It's indicative of how the whole idea of space is no longer dominated by a couple or three countries," Cook says.

Gov. John Hickenlooper helps open the event at 6:30 p.m. Monday. Sprockit the Robot will also make a return appearance on behalf of Lockheed Martin in the Exhibition Hall. — PZ

Transgender bill boosted

In a sign that generally, attitudes toward transgender people may be shifting, House Bill 1265 has received bipartisan support in the Colorado House, passing 40-25.

The bill would allow a Colorado-born transgender person, or the parents of a transgender minor born in Colorado, to receive a new birth certificate that reflects the changed gender. The person would need to show that he or she has undergone surgical, hormonal or other gender transition treatment, or has physical traits of both genders.

Currently, a transgender person who has undergone gender confirmation surgery can go before a judge to request an amended birth certificate, which is notated to show the change. Supporters of HB 1265 say that surgery is too high a bar and that amending a birth certificate, rather than issuing a new one, creates privacy issues.

"We should respect the privacy and the rights of transgender Coloradans," Rep. Dominick Moreno, D-Commerce City, stated in a press release.

Skeptics say it's a step too far to offer a new birth certificate that doesn't reflect the history of a person's gender. The Denver Post reports that Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt, R-Colorado Springs, was unsurprisingly opposed to the bill, saying it was dangerous because it would be impossible to know what genitals a person actually had.

The Senate considers the bill next. — JAS

Homelessness hangs on

The city has released an update on its initiative to end homelessness, first launched in January 2014.

On the bright side, it worked with nonprofits to add 158 winter shelter beds, reorganize the way care is delivered to fit with federal requirements, and step up outreach. In all, the city spent $1,027,156 on homeless programs in 2014, compared to $587,161 in 2013.

Unfortunately, the city still only has 291 year-round emergency shelter beds and says it needs far more. There's also no day center for the homeless, and a shortfall of 4,695 units for extremely low-income renters. — JAS

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