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Local peace activist dies
Elizabeth Fineron was best known around here as the disabled woman in her 60s who was forcefully dragged from the 2007 St. Patricks Day parade, leaving her with a nasty abrasion on her lower back. The chaotic removal and arrest of peace marchers from the parade was national news.

But for Fineron, standing up for what she believed in was nothing new. She was a school teacher, and early on, a nun. She was an advocate for the poor, and fought to give them health care. And, of course, she was a peace activist and hard-working member of the Colorado Springs Justice and Peace Commission.

Fineron, 66, was found dead in her apartment Wednesday morning by a visiting nurse. Fineron had only recently been released from the hospital after suffering side effects from an operation on her neck. She appears to have died in her sleep.

J&P members were grieving the loss of their friend Wednesday.

She was a real example of someone who was a scrapper, activist Bill Sulzman says. A real fighter both with causes and her health. JAS

Cañon will close
Despite tough resistance from parents, the Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 board voted unanimously Monday to close Cañon Elementary School. The decision came as a result of a blue-ribbon panel's recommendation to close the school and save money in the face of declining enrollment across the district.

The small elementary, beloved by families for its high student achievement and local character, will close after the 2008-09 school year.

Another D-12 elementary school will likely be expanded to accommodate the Cañon students, though the board has yet to make a final decision on that point. JAS

Lamborn petitioning to primary
Facing long odds to beat his chief rival at the Republican Party nominating assembly for the 5th Congressional District, Rep. Doug Lamborn has announced he will petition to have his name included on Aug. 12 primary ballots.

"It shows he's concerned," says rival Jeff Crank, who says calls indicate he has support from about 60 percent of the delegates, as compared to Lamborn's 30 percent. Challenger Bentley Rayburn, who is also petitioning to get on the ballot, has about 8 percent support, Crank says.

Lamborn was critical of local party officials as he announced his decision, writing that large turnout at caucuses "overwhelmed" their ability to monitor and track delegates.

Candidates must get at least 30 percent of the vote at the district assembly to have their names appear on primary ballots, or they may alternatively collect 1,000 signatures to get on the ballot by petition. AL

MAT: same name, new venue
After seven years putting on productions for kids and adults at Manitou Springs' Business of Art Center, the Manitou Art Theater is planning to open next season in Colorado Springs.

Jim Jackson, the MAT's co-director, says the rent at BAC was becoming too steep. He hopes eventually to find a new spot for performances in Manitou.

Next October, the MAT will open the season at 1367 Pecan St., southwest of the intersection of Cimarron and 21st streets. Jackson calls it a "sort of MAT in exile," though he hopes the new spot will allow some shows to run longer.

The spring season closes May 11 with a production of The Incredible Circus MAT. Information and times can be found at themat.org. AL

Busy days for bike park
The back-and-forth over a proposed El Paso County dirt-bike park east of Colorado Springs should turn dizzying this week, with two meetings scheduled to address planning issues.

County commissioners are scheduled to vote Thursday morning whether to approve a contract to plan about 20 miles of single-track trails on a 520-acre property north of Colorado Highway 94.

Of the $35,000 needed, $20,000 would come from a state grant and the rest from the county's conservation trust fund. The meeting starts 9 a.m. at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center Hearing Room, 2880 International Circle.

The last of three master planning meetings for the Corral Bluffs park is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday at the commissioners' regular meeting room on the third floor of the county office building, 27 E. Vermijo Ave.

The state parks board approved the $20,000 grant for planning at the park, but the remaining $300,000 the county asked for rests on those plans.

Estimates for the total cost for the park, which would be operated by adjacent Aztec Family Raceway, run close to $900,000, not including staff time. AL

UCCS sees in-state tuition hike
On average, full-time Colorado residents attending the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs will pay 7.5 percent more for tuition in the 2008-09 academic year.

The hike will amount to an extra $150 to $200 per semester. Students will also see increases in some fees.

Out-of-state students will continue to pay about $765 per credit hour, or four times the tuition of their in-state counterparts.

The price increase at UCCS is less than at the other University of Colorado campuses. But its effect is felt nonetheless by students who have endured repeated tuition increases; a similar hike came for the current 2007-08 academic year.

In-state students are given a financial boost by the state's College Opportunity Fund program. JAS

Conservatory gets new home
The Colorado Springs Conservatory will get a new home on the lower floor of East Middle School, which will reopen this fall under a new name as a math-science magnet.

D-11 board member Charlie Bobbitt confirmed the decision this week.

CSC, currently at 1430 N. Hancock Ave., is a preparatory school for youth who are performing artists, and offers programs ranging from opera to theater. Kids put on public performances and are introduced to the city's larger arts community.

CSC has long been seeking a larger space. While CSC general director Linda Weise couldn't comment on the move specifically, she did say, "I think any partnership with public education would be magical, period." JAS

Compiled by Anthony Lane and J. Adrian Stanley.

  • Elizabeth Fineron, Cañon closing, Lamborn petitioning, MAT moving, more.

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