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NOTED: Early turnout heavy in mail balloting 

Clerk says city vote could reach 80 percent

The city began receiving completed mail ballots Monday for the municipal election, and about 30,000 ballots had come in by the next day, according to City Clerk Kathryn Young.

"At the rate we're going, we expect upwards of 70 to 80 percent," Young says. That would mean 130,000 to 150,000 votes cast of the nearly 190,000 mailed.

Voters not signing ballots has been the most common mistake, Young says. Those guilty will get a notice by mail asking that they visit the clerk's office to sign them.

Also, Young says, some voters are handing in ballots without the return envelope. The proper protocol is to insert the completed ballot into the secrecy envelope, then put the secrecy envelope into the return envelope. The back of the return envelope must be signed and dated.

Voters have until 7 p.m. on April 7 to return their ballots. Besides mailboxes all over, there are five drop-off locations: City Clerk's Office, 30 S. Nevada Ave., #101; Cottonwood Creek Recreation Center, 3920 Dublin Blvd.; Colorado Springs Senior Center, 1514 N. Hancock Ave.; Fire Station No. 17, 3750 Tutt Blvd.; and Fire Station No. 9, 622 Garden of the Gods Road.

If you are a registered voter and haven't received your ballot, call 385-5901. RC

D-49 dysfunction grows

They aimed to kick two popular principals to the curb, but the Falcon School District 49 Board of Education encountered a surprise: an uprising that could lead to its own ouster.

Hundreds of D-49 parents are organizing an effort to put a new board in place. In the November election, they hope to recall board members Dave Martin and Kent Clawson (whose terms expire in 2011) and ensure that Dave Stark, Anna Bartha and Mark Shook aren't re-elected.

"I've been disgusted with this current board for a long time," says Kelly Jo Salling-Davies, a highly involved D-49 parent.

Parents say the board is highly secretive, overbearing and interested in personal agendas. The attempt to fire high school principals Mike Collins and his wife, Sandy Collins, because the district was moving in "a new direction," was the last straw.

"No one has ever found out what that new direction is," Salling-Davies says incredulously. "We are entitled to know that."

The uproar came after the board fired Superintendent Grant Schmidt, D-49's sixth leader since 2004. For more on the recall, check out d49community.org. JAS

UCCS recall set

David Williams, the embattled student body president at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, managed to avoid impeachment in March. But he faces a recall vote next week when students return from spring break.

Williams took heat for refusing to sign off on a funding request for a Coming Out Day celebration hosted by the student group Spectrum, which supports gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered students. Many called for his removal after he explained he did not sign the request because of personal and religious beliefs. The student constitution calls for student leaders to be "viewpoint neutral" in allocating student activity fees.

Opponents got more than 770 signatures required to trigger a recall vote, and Williams will get the boot if a majority voting March 31 through April 2 want him gone. AL

Carbon monoxide bill signed

A new law signed Tuesday by Gov. Bill Ritter requires carbon monoxide detectors in new homes and those that are sold, as well as rentals with new tenants, starting July 1. The law comes after the gas caused a number of recent deaths, including that of David Driscoll, a Colorado Springs chiropractor.

Manitou Springs, which suffered the death of 22-year-old Manitou mom Kelly Murphy in December, has been considering action. Now that details of the state law have emerged, Mayor Eric Drummond says he expects to address the issue soon. Councilor Aimee Cox, who has led the Manitou drive for more regulation, hopes to see detectors required in all rental properties. JAS

Gazette to join in furloughs

In another sour development for daily newspapers, Freedom Communications, parent company of the Gazette in Colorado Springs, has ordered unpaid weeklong furloughs for all but new employees in the next quarter.

It's the trend for chains nationwide. Gannett, the nation's largest newspaper company and publisher of USA Today as well as the Coloradoan in Fort Collins, just announced many employees must take a weeklong furlough in the second quarter, after a mandated unpaid week in the first quarter. AL

Wadhams keeps his chair

Even after little success for Colorado Republicans in the 2008 election, state GOP Chair Dick Wadhams won a shot for a do-over in 2010.

Though he took some hits for running Bob Schaffer's unsuccessful campaign for U.S. Senate while serving as state chair, Wadhams easily held off challenges from Tom Stone and Christine Tucker at the state party's March 21 reorganization meeting. AL

Compiled by Rhiannon Conley, Anthony Lane and J. Adrian Stanley.

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