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News briefs from the Front Range

Indy takes 13 state awards, including six first places
Once again, the Independent has fared well in state-level competition, taking six first-place awards and 13 total honors in the 2008 Mark of Excellence contest conducted by the Colorado Pro Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. The awards covered work done in late 2006 and most of 2007.

First-place winners, in the division for 10,000 to 75,000 circulation (newspapers, magazines and online) and announced at a March 28 dinner in Denver, include:

Michael de Yoanna, political reporting, for his cover story "Bruce against the machine" on March 8, 2007;

Naomi Zeveloff, education reporting, for "School supplies" on April 19, 2007;

Ralph Routon, personal columns, for a group of entries on various topics;

Pete Freedman, arts and entertainment reporting, for "Kind of blue," Dec. 14, 2006;

David Torres-Rouff, A&E food and beverage writing, for a collection of restaurant reviews;

Zeveloff, legal affairs reporting, for the cover story "Prison break" on Feb. 15, 2007.

In that A&E reporting category, the Indy actually made it a 1-2-3 sweep, with Matthew Schniper taking second place and Freedman third. And in the food and beverage category, the Indy went 1-2, with Schniper receiving second place.

Indy writers took four other awards, including: J. Adrian Stanley, second place, general news reader; de Yoanna, third place, news reporting; de Yoanna, third place, investigative reporting; Freedman, third place, business reporting.

Indy contributing editor Cara DeGette, who also writes online for coloradoconfidential.com, won first place in the blog category for her writing on the Denver-based Web site. RR

Book Broker return doubtful
The Book Broker likely will not come back to its old location at 119 E. Bijou St., as was initially planned.

Developer Dan Robertson says progress has stalled in his proposed renovation and addition to the downtown building. Meanwhile, Book Broker owner Roy Jackson has continued building the online book-selling side of his business, and told the Gazette this week that his interest has waned in the revamped retail space in "The Bijou" mixed-use project.

The loss of the Book Broker was a second blow to downtown readers, who also lost Chinook Bookshop in 2004. JAS

Petition-signers cry foul
It was a cold day in January when Betsy Stephens signed a petition for the anti-affirmative action ballot measure known as the Colorado Civil Rights Initiative.

"I was very specific I asked if it was pro-affirmative action," she says. The man said it was, and she signed. Now Stephens is among about 40 people who have reported being misled into signing petitions for it, or who saw others possibly being misled, according to opponents of the measure.

"I'm outraged that this is going on," Stephens says.

Backers of the measure recently won certification for it to appear on November ballots when they submitted more than 128,000 signatures to the secretary of state. Similar bait-and-switch claims emerged after Michigan voters placed a similar measure on 2006 ballots. That measure was ultimately approved by voters.

In Colorado, opponents hope formal protests will result in whole petitions being invalidated, possibly threatening certification of the measure. AL

Nyhoff heading to California
Apparently, California and Colorado Springs have the same taste in city administrators.

The Springs recently plucked new City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft from Huntington Beach, Calif. Now California will take one of ours.

Assistant City Manager Greg Nyhoff, who had been one of the top candidates to become the Springs' city manager, will become city manager of Modesto, Calif.

"Greg is a tremendous loss for us," Culbreth-Graft said in a statement. "He was already a candidate in Modesto when I joined the city. I am not surprised to see him selected for this leadership position. He is an outstanding manager."

Nyhoff's resignation is effective June 1. Deputy fire chief Steve Cox will fill the job in an interim role while the city looks nationally for a permanent replacement. JAS

KCME goes all-classical
On Saturday, March 22, KCME 88.7 FM converted to playing only classical music. Jeanna Wearing, general manager of KCME, says she decided to make the change to better appeal to the station's core audience rather than fringe listeners.

Due to classical station KVOD 94.7 FM recently entering the Springs area, Wearing says this transition is necessary to continue the success of KCME, which began airing in 1977.

"If you were a jazz station," asks Wearing, "would it make sense to have classical?"

Wearing acknowledges that some jazz fans are not happy with the change, since it has further limited their choices in an already barren radio scene. KRCC 91.5 FM now stands alone as the only local wavelength at which to hear any consistent jazz.

"Jazz is America's only original art form besides napalm," wrote listener and local jazz musician Brad Eastin in a mass e-mail earlier this week against the decision.

Still, Wearing says, "Listeners will see this is the best thing for KCME." DO

Another day, another uproar
State Rep. Douglas Bruce is at the center of more controversy. House colleagues have taken offense at his giving them campaign materials attacking his challenger in the upcoming Republican primary.

The Denver Post reported that Bruce placed fliers on the desks of several House Republicans the morning of April 1, a step some suggested was inappropriate.

Bruce was apparently trying to rally support as opponent Mark Waller seeks endorsements. Waller received more votes than Bruce at the Republican Party's county assembly last month, meaning his name will appear above Bruce's on Aug. 12 primary ballots.

Bruce has been at the center of several controversies since leaving the county commission for the State House earlier this year. He was censured for kicking a news photographer and was kicked off the State, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee after he refused to co-sponsor a resolution honoring veterans. AL

Anstett selected poet laureate
Aaron Anstett, a 10-year Colorado Springs resident with recognition in juried journals and three published collections, has been named the Pikes Peak region's first-ever poet laureate.

According to a press release submitted Wednesday morning, the 39-year-old Anstett earned unanimous support from the selection committee, which received 15 nominations and applications.

At the East Library announcement, Anstett said he sees the appointment as a "call to action, visceral and viable through a number of projects."

His two-year term will kick off with an inauguration ceremony from 3:30 to 6 p.m., Saturday, April 12, at East Library. FG

CU honors local judge
District Judge Steve Pelican of Colorado Springs, who has served on the Fourth Judicial District bench since 1986, was honored March 20 by the University of Colorado Law School at its annual dinner, receiving the Distinguished Alumni Award for Judiciary.

Pelican, who graduated from the CU law school in 1971 and became a deputy district attorney here the next year, has consistently been ranked among the highest-rated area judges by attorneys and non-attorneys. He co-founded the Pikes Peak branch of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation in 1983 and has been its president since 1993.

The law school also honored Gov. Bill Ritter, a 1981 graduate, with its Distinguished Alumni Award for Public Service. RR

Compiled by Frances Gomeztagle, Anthony Lane, David Owens, Ralph Routon and J. Adrian Stanley.

  • Indy winners, Book Broker, Nyhoff leaving, KCME changes, poet laureate and more.

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