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Noted: Help wanted to feed kids 

Help wanted to feed kids

Every summer, some area children lean on Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado, or one of the nonprofits it supplies with food. Out of school, and without free or reduced-price meals, they have nowhere to turn.

But with holiday donations already spoken for, Care and Share's shelves start to look bare during summer. That's why it's launched Operation: Summer Hunger, sponsored by the Independent. Between now and June 30, bring nonperishable food to any King Soopers and help meet the needs of local children. — JAS

Women's prison closes

The Colorado Women's Correctional Facility in Cañon City will close June 4 to help ease state budget woes, the Pueblo Chieftain reports. The prison opened in 1968 and grew to house more than 200. Its closure will save more than $5 million, and inmates have been transferred to the state's other women's prisons. — AL

Piñon Canyon bill signed; Army scales back plans

The patchwork of property held by Colorado's State Land Board will not be available to the Army for expanding Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site in southeastern Colorado, according to legislation signed Tuesday by Gov. Bill Ritter.

"There are those who would say this is an anti-military or an anti-veterans bill, and I don't see it that way at all," Ritter said to the Pueblo Chieftain. "We're doing everything we can to ensure we're fully serving the tens of thousands of military personnel and their families. At the same time, our farmers and ranchers are equally vital to Colorado's future."

The governor issued a statement hoping for another path forward "that protects private property rights and allows the military to effectively train this nation's fighting force."

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Sal Pace, D-Pueblo, makes expansion of the 235,000-acre training site difficult because state land is interspersed with private parcels the Army might consider buying. U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has condemned the legislation, suggesting it will make Fort Carson a less desirable location for the Army to station extra troops.

In an unrelated coincidence, the Department of Defense gave official word Tuesday that a new Army brigade planned for Fort Carson will not be created. The brigade's future had been in doubt because of the Pentagon's tightening budget. New brigades planned for posts in Georgia and Texas were also eliminated.

Fort Carson still is welcoming the 4th Infantry Division headquarters and the 4th ID's 1st Brigade Combat Team. Without the new brigade, Fort Carson still should grow to 25,000 troops by 2013, instead of the nearly 30,000 that had been projected. The post currently has about 18,000 troops. — AL

No evidence against mayor

Ron Johnson, president and CEO of Central Bancorp, didn't follow through on his promise to present evidence that Mayor Lionel Rivera, who is vice president of investment locally at UBS Financial Services, had a conflict of interest when he worked on the original U.S. Olympic Committee retention deal.

Johnson had accused the mayor of having financial ties to LandCo Equity Partners, which was awarded the USOC contract. Johnson had said he would produce documentation proving his claims to city's Independent Ethics Commission. But he backed out of the commitment, citing legal issues. — JAS

Good deal at national parks

To provide affordable vacation options this summer, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is opening national parks for three free weekends. Nearly 150 national parks charge entry fees ranging from $3 to $25, but all will be free on June 20-21, July 18-19 and Aug. 15-16. Details about the free weekends can be found at nps.gov/findapark/feefreeparks.htm.

Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument is the closest affected site, 35 miles west of Colorado Springs off U.S. Highway 24. — AL

Graduation rates fall

The Colorado Department of Education reports the state's high school graduation rate slipped from 75 percent in 2007 to 73.9 percent in 2008. The drop was felt across all ethnic groups, though graduation rates are much lower among most minorities. Asians, with an 82.8 percent graduation rate, are an exception.

While 81.6 percent of white students graduated in 2008, only 64.1 percent of blacks, 57.5 percent of Native Americans, and 55.6 percent of Hispanics got their diplomas. Tthe dropout rate improved from 4.4 percent in 2007 to 3.8 percent in 2008. — JAS

Oshun benefit set for June 9

A celebration of life in memory of longtime Loop Restaurant manager Cassidy Oshun, who died May 24 after a lifelong battle with asthma, will take place from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday, June 9, at the restaurant. All proceeds from food and drink sales, including tips, will go toward creating a scholarship fund for Cassidy's son, Ethan. Donations to the Ethan Banner Fund can be made in care of the Loop, 965 Manitou Ave., Manitou Springs. For more info, call 685-9344. — RR

Tweet! Cops on Twitter

Colorado Springs police will use twitter.com for updates on everything from traffic delays to homicides. To check 'em out, search Twitter for CSPDPIO. The new service is designed to share police activities and significant concerns, but don't expect any message even approaching the length of this news brief. It is Twitter, after all. — JAS

Make efficiency upgrades, not war

The first class from a green-training program for veterans graduated Tuesday after learning how to make homes more energy-efficient. Gov. Bill Ritter, speaking at the graduation ceremony at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, said the program will help "re-energize and retrain these military veterans for the service of tomorrow," according to the Denver Post.

Fifteen veterans graduated from the first eight-week class of the Veterans Green Jobs Academy with training in home energy audits and weatherization. As energy prices rise because of environmental regulation or scarcity of fossil fuels, energy auditors could be in increasing demand to help residents and businesses find the most cost-effective ways to reduce energy consumption. — AL

Compiled by Anthony Lane, Ralph Routon and J. Adrian Stanley.

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