Ex-detective pleads insanity
Jerald Day, a former El Paso County sheriff's detective, last week pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity in a Douglas County case stemming from a drunken episode. On March 1, 2009, an agitated Day waved a gun at police and was eventually taken down by police dogs and arrested. He was charged with felony menacing with a weapon, felony vehicular eluding and several misdemeanors including DUI and resisting arrest.
Day was placed on paid administrative leave after the incident, but eventually was hired in October 2009 as a civilian in the El Paso County jail.
Sheriff Terry Maketa wasn't available for comment, but a sheriff's spokesperson says Day is still employed. Day's trial is now set for Nov. 16. — PZ
Pioneers Museum sets plan
The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon St., is heading toward nonprofit status, which supporters say would insulate the city-owned museum from budget woes and expand its role in the community.
The museum's city advisory board, the Pioneers Association, the Friends of Pioneers Museum and the Museum Foundation have put together a plan to boost revenue through private and corporate donations and rental fees, along with contributions from the city, to reach an operating budget of $1.3 million by 2016. The museum is considering renting the restored courtroom on its second floor for mediation sessions. Admission to the museum would remain free, although the new nonprofit might charge for special exhibits, director Matt Mayberry says.
The plan, available at springsgov.com/museum, would require City Council approval, because the city would remain a partner and own the land, the building and collection of 75,000 artifacts and thousands of historic photos. Mayberry says Council members have been briefed on the model and have expressed "a lot of enthusiasm," even musing about it becoming a prototype for other organizations. Mayberry says supporters hope to have the nonprofit organization solidified by 2012. — PZ
Petition goes back to streets
Those backing a switch from a city-manager form of government to a strong mayor suffered a setback when the city clerk's office ruled the group had fallen about 1,400 signatures short of the necessary 25,091 to place the measure on the Nov. 2 ballot.
Undeterred, the Mayor Project has sent paid signature-gatherers back to the street. Spokesperson Rachel Beck says they'll shoot for 3,000 to 5,000 signatures and plan to turn them in to the city clerk early next week. Petitions will be available from noon to 8 p.m. through Saturday at Nosh in the Plaza of the Rockies building downtown, and from 3 to 8 p.m., Friday at Cinemark Theatre at First and Main Town Center. — PZ
AFA climate needs work
The Air Force Academy's latest internal survey, conducted online last December and January, shows there's room for improvement in areas of proselytizing and gender bias, as well as racial bias.
Based on a 40 percent return rate from the 4,595 cadets contacted and a 53 percent return rate from more than 3,500 staff, the survey found that 141 cadets said they've been subjected to unwanted religious proselytizing sometimes, often or very often. In addition, 25 percent of civilian females said women received less favorable treatment in performance evaluations, and 27.5 percent of civilian racial minorities said the same for themselves. Also, 33.3 percent of racial minorities among the civilian ranks said they received fewer opportunities for leadership positions; 30 percent of civilian women said this about themselves.
Though sexual assault numbers were "too small to report," the survey found 43 percent of female active-duty personnel at the academy experienced sexist behaviors, and 40 percent of women experienced crude or offensive behaviors. With men, the ratios were 18 percent and 23 percent.
Fourteen male and 47 female cadets reported feeling in fear of their physical safety because of their gender; 23 felt in fear due to religious beliefs, and 13 felt in fear due to their race.
The survey caused a stir after the academy called a news conference last week to discuss it and then didn't release it. The Independent obtained the survey separately. Academy leaders say they're working on the issues outlined in the survey. — PZ
Balink hailed for openness
A group calling itself Coloradans for Voting Integrity praised El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Bob Balink this week for allowing them to inspect voted ballots.
"These are the people's records," says group member Marilyn Marks of Aspen. "People can come and examine the ballots and verify the elections."
Marks says three members of the group looked over "a really small sample" but did so to show that ballots are open records. Balink's staff oversaw the inspection to assure ballots weren't damaged and that no individual voter information was disclosed.
Some county clerks maintain that voted ballots are exempt from disclosure under the Colorado Open Records Act, Marks says. The secretary of state's office has advised clerks that voted ballots aren't subject to disclosure, but a recent memo says officials can't identify a law to support that position. — PZ
Compiled by Pam Zubeck.