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Noted: Traffic cameras coming soon 

Red-light cameras imminent

Construction began this week to equip four Colorado Springs intersections with technology that will snap pictures of red-light runners.

The four crossings: northbound Nevada Avenue at Bijou Street, eastbound Barnes Road at Oro Blanco Drive, westbound Platte Avenue at Murray Boulevard, and westbound Platte Avenue at Circle Drive.

Colorado Springs police issued a press release saying construction will be finished in mid-September, after which cops will start issuing warnings. They'll begin issuing citations in mid-October. For information, go to springsgov.com. — PZ

City hopes to keep $600,000

A majority of Colorado Springs City Councilors expressed support Monday for asking voters' permission to keep $600,000 in excess property tax collected last year. It's likely the measure, to be placed on the Nov. 2 ballot, would direct the money to be spent on unspecified city services.

City staff presented a menu of options for the money, including installing new irrigation systems in 15 city parks, using the money to match grant money for infrastructure projects, and buying new asphalt and concrete crushing equipment. But Council seemed to favor ballot language allowing more flexibility in spending.

One hazard of such an approach is that voters will see the wording as a "blank check," much like last year's failed Issue 2C, which didn't say specifically how more property tax money would be spent, Councilor Tom Gallagher said. — PZ

Memorial meetings slated

Three meetings are on tap for the Memorial Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System.

At 9 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 18, Carson Tahoe (Nev.) Regional Medical Center CEO Ed Epperson will discuss the city-owned, county-owned privatization model at Fire Station 8, 3737 Airport Road.

At 1 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27, Dr. Ronald Paulus of Asheville, N.C., will discuss the "integrated delivery model" at Julie Penrose Health Education and Research Center, 6071 E. Woodmen Road, #220.

At 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 1, Dr. Larry McEvoy, Memorial Health System CEO, will discuss the city-owned operation. The meeting will be at the Westside Community Center, 1628 W. Bijou St. — PZ

Gas prices not jumping

The worst oil spill in U.S. history, which has spewed more than an estimated 174 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, shouldn't affect prices at the pump, says a local industry expert.

The U.S. has abundant refined gasoline — a two-year high — thanks to oil companies ramping up exploration and production a few years ago, says Craig Ochs, asset manager at Acorn Petroleum. The poor economy has kept demand low, he says.

Gas prices in Colorado Springs are averaging about $2.63 a gallon for regular unleaded, according to AAA Colorado. During the next three weeks, before the unofficial end of the nation's peak driving season, prices are likely to climb slightly. But Ochs expects motorists will see the normal decline that typically occurs in September and October, barring damaging tropical storms or Middle East unrest.

"Crude oil prices have been holding pretty steady this summer, and so have gas prices," Ochs says. "We anticipate that to continue through the end of the year." — DK

Focus plans ads for Broncos

When Focus on the Family began August by firing 110 workers, spokesman Gary Schneeberger told the Gazette, "People who have given in the past are having financial difficulties of their own." Donations came up short; people had to go.

So Focus' announcement Wednesday that it had completed an ad buy for TV commercials during the Denver Broncos' upcoming season leads one to wonder: Who's paying for this?

"Money is being raised specifically for that project," Schneeberger says, "from those friends of the ministry who are excited about the idea that we will reach this large audience of football fans and families."

So, donors are paying for it.

The Focus spokesman declined to say how much the ads cost, but says he thinks they're a good move.

"The idea that because you are working through economic challenges, you no longer employ brand awareness campaigns is a little unrealistic," Schneeberger says. "From our perspective, that's a very wise allocation of funds in order to continue the brand awareness campaign that we started with the Super Bowl." — BC

Cannabis Council moving

Citing a need for expanded space and a better location, the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council has relocated to new headquarters. The council will call 313 N. Tejon St., #9, its home now.

"This location is much more community-oriented," membership director Mark Slaugh writes in an e-mail, "and is centrally located downtown in the middle of the 'centerhoods' that have recently opened along Colorado, Platte, Academy, and South Nevada."

Look for a celebratory open house from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 13, featuring "food, music and great company." — BC

Free rent for PPJPC bikes

Bicycles accumulated by the Pikes Peak Justice and Peace Commission for its "Bikes for the Homeless" program will be stored at a city-owned building on Cimino Drive at no charge.

The program's mission is to give homeless people bikes to help them find jobs and access services. The vacant city building south of Colorado Avenue and east of Interstate 25 will be used only for bike storage, not for business or maintenance purposes associated with the program.

The contract approved by City Council on Tuesday calls for a one-year lease, with four one-year options to renew. — PZ

Compiled by Bryce Crawford, Debbie Kelley and Pam Zubeck.

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