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Noted: Piñon Canyon funding ban continues 

Sallie Clark criticizes action by lawmakers from Colorado

A ban on money for acquisition of the Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site is included in the fiscal year 2011 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs Appropriations, U.S. Reps. John Salazar and Betsy Markey announced in a press release this week.

The measure drew criticism from El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark, who called it "the wrong message at the wrong time."

"We once again are sending a symbolic message to Washington, D.C. that our military is not important," Clark said Monday. "I think it's a very dangerous path when you see that Fort Carson brings $1.9 billion to our state each year."

Brian Binn, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce military affairs president, seconded her emotion in a comment at csindy.com: "The presence and extent of the military in Colorado is positive and a valuable national asset. We should not jeopardize our enviable position."

The appropriations bill now moves to the full Appropriations Committee and then to the House floor for a vote. — PZ

Political activist indicted

Bruce Nozolino, a political activist who's helped Douglas Bruce on ballot measures and proposed a measure last year to sell city-owned Memorial Health System, was indicted last week on 31 counts, including first-degree murder in connection with the Nov. 30, 2008, death of Richard Schreiner while he was shoveling snow in his driveway.

The District Attorney's Office said Nozolino's indictments also included a series of charges in connection with shots being fired in the home and office of John Ciccolella in June 2001 and January 2002, and into the home of former Chief Judge Gilbert Martinez in October 2001. In the office shooting, Ciccolella was shot in the head but survived. Ciccolella had represented Nozolino's wife in a divorce action, and Martinez was the judge.

District Attorney Dan May wouldn't disclose possible motive or say whether Nozolino and Schreiner knew one another.

At a news conference, Springs Police Chief Richard Myers praised several agencies for working the case for years.

"This is an example of how policing is supposed to be done," he said. Besides the Police Department, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office and the FBI participated in the investigation. — PZ

Maes releases tax info

Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Maes released his income tax records this week to the Constitutionalist Today, a monthly news publication based in Colorado Springs. Its website reports that Maes gave 4.75 percent of his income from 2000 to 2004 to the First Baptist Church of Evergreen, Evergreen Christian Outreach and Goodwill. He averaged $89,000 a year in income.

Charitable giving wasn't itemized for 2005 to 2008. During that time, his income climbed from $19,202 in personal income and $39,130 in business gross income from his credit services business to $51,678 in personal and $309,815 in business gross income in 2007.

After the mortgage crisis hit, his income dipped to $11,000. The Constitutionalist says it's requested the 2009 forms as well.

It's common for political candidates to release income tax records. Democratic candidate for governor John Hickenlooper has released his going back 20 years. Maes' primary opponent, Scott McInnis, has released four years worth of his returns. — PZ

LGBTQ priorities picked

Ensuring safer schools for LGBTQ youth and winning legal recognition of LGBTQ families — those are the two biggest priorities that came out of the One Colorado Education Fund's January survey of sample LGBTQ voters statewide, discussed at a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Gay & Lesbian Fund for Colorado.

Executive director Brad Clark says the goal of his new group's "road trip" around the state is to find out more about how it can best help Colorado's LGBTQ community. Two prominent topics Tuesday were the need for organization of grassroots support and the importance of sharing personal stories as well as coming out to one's family, friends and workplace.

One Colorado hopes to finish an advocacy plan by the end of summer. To join the discussion or see results of the survey and poll, go to one-colorado.org. — SW

Manitou buys Iron Mountain

After nearly two decades of drama, Manitou Springs has staked its claim on Iron Mountain, inking a deal for 99 acres that will cost $1.1 million.

Manitou is buying the land from Tom McGee, a thorn in City Council's side ever since he built a house on top of the mountain overlooking the town in 1991. Manitou considered the house an eyesore; McGee considered it just the beginning and wanted to build more homes on the property. The city roadblocked McGee's development plans by refusing to extend utilities to any new properties and by blocking his plans to build a road.

"Manitou will move heaven and earth to find the financing to do this," Mayor Pro Tem Aimee Cox says. "It's been a high priority for a long time. It's a key part of our backdrop; it will help us possibly complete the Intemann Trail."

Manitou plans to open up Iron Mountain as open space and to tear down McGee's house. — JAS

Money for local military

Local military outposts would share $182.5 million under an appropriations bill supported by Colorado Sens. Mark Udall and Michael Bennet and now headed for the full Senate.

Funding for Colorado installations in the Fiscal Year 2011-12 Military Construction and Veterans Affairs appropriations bill: $20 million for the National Guard Armory in Colorado Springs; $110 million for Fort Carson for an automated sniper field fire range, battalion headquarters, brigade complex, simulations center and a tactical unmanned aerial vehicles hangar; $24.8 million for Peterson Air Force Base for a rapid attack identification detection reporting system; and $27.6 million for the character and leadership development center at the Air Force Academy. — PZ

Strandlof gets a break

Rick Strandlof won't be punished for posing as a wounded former Marine.

U.S. District Judge Robert E. Blackburn granted a motion by Strandlof's defense attorney to drop charges that Strandlof violated the Stolen Valor Act, on grounds that the law violates the Constitutional right to freedom of speech. The Stolen Valor Act makes it illegal to falsely claim military decoration, and has been upheld by other courts.

Strandlof, as many will remember, started a veterans organization, the Colorado Veterans Alliance, in Colorado Springs while identifying himself as "Rick Duncan" and claiming a hero's military record. In addition to his work with veterans, he was also a vocal advocate for the homeless, before being outed by members of his own nonprofit as an imposter. He faced possible jail time.

Strandlof has a criminal record and a history of mental illness. — JAS

Fountain 'scum' case tossed

An El Paso County magistrate on Tuesday dismissed Fountain City Council member Lois Landgraf's application for a permanent restraining order against Al Linder because he called her "scum" at a June 8 Council meeting.

Linder says Magistrate Robin Chittum heard testimony and viewed a video of the confrontation before ruling that Landgraf is a public official who at times must endure public criticism.

"It was great," he says.

Linder became upset during the meeting where Council voted to adopt zoning regulations that essentially put his medical marijuana grow operation out of business.

A hearing for a second restraining order application filed by Council member Harold Thompson is set for Monday. Thompson alleges Linder tried to strike him, while other witnesses claim it was the other way around. — PZ

Compiled by J. Adrian Stanley, Sarah White and Pam Zubeck.

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