City urged to think cyber
Colorado Springs should jump on the military's cyber wave and ride it to a new era of prosperity, the head of Air Force Space Command told a crowd of about 200 at a Chamber of Commerce luncheon this week at Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
Gen. Robert Kehler, who oversees the military's space, cyber space and missile forces from his perch at Peterson Air Force Base, says Colorado Springs could become the cyber security mecca, thanks to the Space Command's presence. Although last year the Air Force established a Cyber Command in San Antonio, Kehler says his shop handles management and cyberspace activities here. That opens the door to the region becoming the intellectual home for cyber security, he says.
The new field is important, Kehler says, because it's a densely populated domain in which people shop, learn, travel, work, bank, talk to neighbors and families, and swap recipes. It's also occupied by criminals, spies and militants. While traditional infrastructure isn't needed, Kehler says his command will require expertise, research and development, educational degree programs and support contractors. — PZ
Volunteer this weekend
With the future of city parks in some doubt, Saturday could be the perfect chance to show you care by helping clean up North Cheyenne Cañon Park as part of National Public Lands Day.
Though the weather has been crummy, Saturday's forecast calls for clear skies and temperatures in the 70s. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., volunteers will clear brush, pick up debris and generally straighten up the park.
The event is open to kids 12 and older, though tweens and younger teens need supervision. The park is also offering a free outdoor adventures program for volunteers' children 7 to 11. Lunch will be provided, but wear boots and bring gloves and water.
Call 385-6086 for information and to make a reservation. — AL
Hernandez fires GOAL head
Lawrence Hernandez, CEO of Cesar Chavez School Network, apparently fired two employees of the online GOAL Academy charter school, including chief Ken Crowell, on Monday. According to the Pueblo Chieftain, Hernandez also ordered employees to lock staffers out of GOAL's Pueblo headquarters, and to change the locks.
The move brought outrage and some confusion, because while GOAL is a part of the Chavez family of schools, Hernandez appears to have no right to fire GOAL staff. That's because the state-run Charter School Institute refused to charter the Cesar Chavez School Network this academic year. Instead, it chartered individual schools, reducing Hernandez's parent network to contractor status. Individual boards are now supposed to govern each school.
As of late, however, sources say Hernandez had been threatening GOAL's board and Colorado Springs-based Cesar Chavez North's board with legal action and calling them insubordinate. Apparently, CSI has not intervened. — JAS
Voters: register by Oct. 5
Voter registration for the November election will end Monday, Oct. 5, a week before the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's office sends out mail ballots. Registered voters may drop off their mail ballots to election officials at any of three locations.
Sites available for both registration and ballot drop-off are: Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave., 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday (and Fridays beginning Oct. 12); Chapel Hills Mall, on the north side next to JCPenney, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday; and Powers Boulevard at Airport Road, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Those locations will be open to receive ballots from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on election day, Nov. 3.
If you return the ballot by mail, return postage is 44 cents. If you're asked to provide ID with the voted ballot, return postage is 61 cents. For more information, go to elpasoco.com/election. — PZ
Heimlicher says farewell
City Councilors praised and lightly teased fellow member Jerry Heimlicher at his last meeting on Tuesday. After six years of service, Heimlicher announced his resignation earlier this month, effective Sept. 30. He and his wife, Mary Margaret, are moving back to their hometown of Memphis, Tenn., in November.
"Jerry, I think you're a great guy," Councilor Tom Gallagher said, "but I'm going to miss Mary Margaret the most."
Councilors praised Heimlicher for being straightforward, in touch with his District 3 constituents and always willing to take on another worthy project, whether it was addressing homeless issues or making sure city flower beds were planted.
"Anything Jerry became passionate about, he worked on and followed through," noted Vice Mayor Larry Small.
In his farewell, Heimlicher urged citizens to vote in the upcoming election, since the city budget's fate hinges on two ballot questions, 2C and 300.
At least 14 applicants want to replace Heimlicher, with Council conducting interviews Oct. 6. Among the applicants are Janet Suthers, a former Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 board member and wife of Colorado Attorney General John Suthers; Phil Lane, a well-known local businessman; Paul Johnson, Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity executive director; Ryan Acker, executive director of the Pikes Peak Gay and Lesbian Community Center; and attorney Miles Dewhirst, board chair of Big Brothers Big Sisters Pikes Peak. The deadline to apply is Monday, Sept. 28. — JAS
Mercury worries Ritter
Faced with another likely round of unpopular cuts to the state budget, Gov. Bill Ritter may have found a totally unrelated cause his supporters can rally around: Preventing Colorado from becoming a national dumping ground for the nation's mercury pollution.
In an e-mail blast this week, Ritter called on supporters to write Energy Secretary Steven Chu saying the waste should be sent to one of six other sites in consideration. A 2008 federal law had the noble aim to stop exporting the waste, but the Department of Energy is looking at a site near Grand Junction as a resting place for more than 10,000 tons of the stuff. — AL
Compiled by Anthony Lane, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck..