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Anybody who was reading the Independent between 1997 and 2006 surely remembers the Outsider.

John Hazlehurst, the former City Councilman with deep roots in Colorado Springs, helped give this paper its personality with his column on the city, local governments, commerce and everyday life.

He moved on in April 2006 to the Colorado Springs Business Journal, where his journalism and commentaries flourished even more. Several times, we sat together on media panels for whatever reason, and invariably I would be impressed by his thoughtful questions and insights.

So when he came available two weeks ago, after suddenly having said goodbye to the CSBJ, of course we were interested. The timing is perfect; we're ramping up for perhaps the most important election in Colorado Springs history, when we'll choose our first strong mayor and elect at least five first-timers to City Council.

All that in mind, this week, we welcome back Hazlehurst, who has agreed to a four-month deal to provide the informed, unique perspective he's shared in print for the past 14 years. The best part, for everyone, is that he returns already knowing and appreciating the Indy audience. For him, this is as comfortable as a pair of old slippers, yet challenging because he knows that his readers will expect a lot from him.

Something tells me that John will make these next four months even more fascinating.

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