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Lamborn won't debate, sheriff term limits go to ballot, UCCS keeps expanding, and more 

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Lamborn refuses debate

Before the recent primary election, U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, in an endorsement interview with the Independent, said, "I would be willing to debate Gen. [Irv] Halter." Now, the Republican is refusing to meet his Democratic challenger, instead accusing the retired Air Force major general of "deceptive rhetoric" and an "uncivil tone."

Halter has chastised Lamborn for missing House Veterans Affairs Committee meetings and for not showing up at a Sept. 4 candidate forum hosted by a veterans group.

Lamborn hasn't debated a Democratic opponent since 2008. Seeking his fifth term, Lamborn debated his primary challenger, retired Maj. Gen. Bentley Rayburn, in June. — PZ

County sets ballot props

The El Paso County commissioners approved asking voters in November whether to limit the sheriff to two four-year terms instead of three. Commissioners said they wanted to reduce the terms in order to bring them in line with other county elected offices.

Bill Elder, who is the sole candidate for sheriff in the November election, has said he supports reducing the term limits.

The county will also ask voters for permission to retain about $2 million in excess revenues collected in 2013 above the limits set by the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights. If passed, all the money would be spent on maintenance and improvements at regional parks, open space, nature centers and county-wide trails. If voters do not approve the question, they will receive an $8.41 refund on their property tax statements next year.

The county also plans to ask voters to approve the Pikes Peak Regional Drainage Authority, which would be funded by fees on impermeable surface. The fund would collect $39 million a year to be spent on stormwater and drainage projects. — JAS

17 months and counting

Residents of two mountain water districts are still waiting for District Attorney Dan May to file charges against a former consultant they allege stole a combined $1 million in 2013, causing both districts to increase water charges ("Two water districts lose $1 million," March 12, 2014).

Asked what's new in the suspected embezzlement of $840,000 from the Cascade Metropolitan Water District, board member P.J. Anderson says via email, "Not a damn thing."

The Cascade district, with only 350 customers, lost the money while consultant Terry Malcom worked there from 2004 to April 2013, the same month the district reported the missing money to the DA's office.

"They say they are working it hard ... but will not commit to anything," Anderson adds.

Also waiting for action is Arabian Acres Metropolitan District. Water provider for 145 homes between Florissant and Divide, it says it lost $206,000 while Malcom was a consultant from 2005 to 2013. In an Aug. 25 letter to residents, Arabian Acres board president Edith Coffman said the embezzlement has thrown the district into disarray, causing it to borrow $113,000 to pay its new management company and an attorney. She closed the letter saying "there is nothing new to report" in the Malcom case.

The district's lawyer, Marni Nathan Kloster, wrote to May in January, urging "swift prosecution and restitution."

Lee Richards, community outreach director for the DA's office, via email says, "This case is still under investigation, so I'm not able to comment."

Malcom — who did time in state prison for theft and forgery and in federal prison for mail and wire fraud before coming to Colorado — did not return a call seeking comment. — PZ

UCCS keeps expanding

The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs plans to start on its latest project, a $16.3 million, 47,605 square-foot-expansion to its Recreation Center.

Expected to be complete by late 2015, it includes additional room for weight-lifting, two more basketball courts and a new Student Wellness Center. That center will house the Student Health Center and Counseling Center, and feature therapy and exam rooms, among other amenities. The expansion is being paid for through fees.

The project is just the latest in a rapid expansion of UCCS. Already this semester, the university has opened a 1,234-space parking garage with two soccer fields on top of it, as well as a new academic office building. — JAS

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