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'God Hates Fags' church protests New Life

Westboro Baptist Church protesters, of "God Hates Fags" notoriety, revisited Colorado Springs on Sunday. This time they targeted area mega-churches, staging a 13-person demonstration outside New Life Church as congregants poured out.

The protesters, who included Shirley Phelps-Roper, daughter of Westboro founder Fred Phelps, carried signs that read "Your Pastor is a Whore," "God is Your Enemy" and "Fag Church."

Phelps-Roper says the group decided to target New Life and other mega-churches which she calls "the heart and soul of doomed America" after the Ted Haggard meth and gay sex scandal. The 36 total protesters also picketed Rocky Mountain Calvary Church and Woodmen Valley Chapel. The group has demonstrated in front of Palmer High School and at soldiers' funerals around the country. NZ

Dallager takes over Pikes Peak United Way

John "J.D." Dallager, a retired Air Force major general who served as superintendent at the U.S. Air Force Academy from 2000-2003, has been named as Pikes Peak United Way's new president and chief executive officer, starting April 11.

Dallager replaces Jerry Smith, who died in December of a heart attack. Dallager also is serving as chairman of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce. RR

Null urges police oversight

City Council candidate Bob Null says he would work to create a "civilian review board" to monitor the city's police department, according to news reports.

Null, who did not return a phone call seeking comment, spoke Tuesday at a forum hosted by People for Justice, a local civil rights group, where he floated the idea.

Community members have rallied for a review board in the past. Two years ago, peace activist Mark Lewis urged City Council to consider such a board after a series of police-involved shootings. Colorado Springs police have opposed citizen oversight in the past. NZ

Downtown re-brands

What does downtown Colorado Springs have in common with a wealthy Los Angeles suburb full of teenage sex fiends? Not much, unless you count downtown's new branding campaign.

The Downtown Partnership recently christened the city's urban core "Downtown 80903," invoking 1990s melodrama "Beverly Hills 90210."

Meant to engender a "club mentality," the guerrilla marketing campaign surfaced on downtown's light poles in mid-March with banners bearing the slogan and photos of smiling shoppers.

Downtown Partnership marketing director Laszlo Palos says the organization will promote urban events with the "Downtown 80903" label, distributing some 20,000 buttons over the next several months.

"Hopefully the cool factor is there; they are not huge buttons," he says. "We plan on giving some to Palmer High School students and to CC students. It is up to them if it becomes hip." NZ

Legislators expand renewable energy

Gov. Bill Ritter on Tuesday signed a bill doubling Colorado's renewable energy goals a plan Colorado Springs Utilities supports.

House Bill 1281 mandates 20 percent of power from the state's large utilities must come from renewable sources by 2020, adding to goals set forth by voters in 2004 under Amendment 37.

Last year, city-owned CSU hit a now-outdated 3 percent milestone, largely because of existing hydroelectric power, says Rachel Beck, CSU spokeswoman.

Last fall the utility, which relies heavily on coal, agreed to spend $3.9 million over five years for renewable energy credits in one of the largest such purchases in the United States, Beck says. MdY

Bill opposing eminent domain advances

By a wide margin, the state House passed a bill that withdraws Colorado's "consent" for expanding Fort Carson's training grounds in the state's culture-rich, environmentally sensitive southeast corner, should the Army resort to eminent domain.

House Bill 1069 originally sought to prevent the Army from taking land against owners' wishes. The bill, amended on fears that the state was overstepping its authority, now simply gives the state a say in land-use conversations with the Army.

"We said we supported the military, but didn't support their taking property by eminent domain," said the bill's sponsor, Rep. Wes McKinley, D-Walsh.

Just nine representatives, three from Colorado Springs, opposed the bill, which now goes to the Senate. MdY

Compiled by Naomi Zeveloff, Michael de Yoanna and Ralph Routon.

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