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Obama talks service in Springs visit 

Editor's note: A correction was made on Dec. 30, 2008 to the film title in "Alamosa starts film festival."

Obama spends day in Springs
Sen. Barack Obama brought his presidential campaign Wednesday to Colorado Springs, speaking in the morning to an invitation-only audience of about 400 at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, then checking out military facilities before appearing at a $1,000-a-head evening event at The Broadmoor.

"Loving your country shouldn't just mean watching fireworks on the Fourth of July," said Obama, who made several specific mentions of local military facilities. He detailed various ideas for public-service programs, saying he wants "service to be the central cause of my presidency."

Obama got in one dig at President George W. Bush for missing a chance to mobilize the nation into more public service after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

"Instead of a call to service," Obama said, "we were asked to shop."

Obama was scheduled to tour NORAD's phased-down operations at Cheyenne Mountain, the U.S. Northern Command's facilities at Peterson Air Force Base and the Air Force Academy.

Supporters began gat hering two hours before the UCCS event, and some took the day off from work to attend. Sheila Wallace, who was included because she hosted a house meeting for Obama, said, "I think he fits the definition of a leader."

Said fellow attendee Beatrice Madison: "I think he's the greatest thing that ever lived." JAS

Residents still losing houses
June was another bad month for local homeowners, with 463 filed foreclosures in El Paso County. The May total had dipped below 400 for the first time since January.

The county had 2,531 home foreclosures filed through June, according to Public Trustee Thomas Mowle, putting the county on pace to top 5,000 for the year, far beyond last year's record of 3,550.

Nationally, economists fear the credit crunch is spiraling out from the mortgage industry, and record prices for oil and food will continue endangering homeowners. AL

County lays off workers
Recent efforts to trim $9.1 million from the county budget translated last week into 22 employees losing their jobs.

The cuts, prompted by slumping sales-tax revenue, unexpected health-care costs and other rising expenses, actually mean eliminating 59 positions, many of which were vacant. The county expects to save $500,000 by cutting the positions.

In multiple rounds of cuts, the county has shifted many workers to a four-day schedule, scaled back maintenance to buildings and vehicles, and slashed funding to many departments. AL

Lamborn gets Chamber nod
U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn was endorsed for re-election this week by the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, whose news release cited a "strong voting record on business issues."

Lamborn, elected in 2006, is facing Bentley Rayburn and Jeff Crank in the Aug. 12 primary for the Republican nomination in Colorado's 5th Congressional District.

Crank recently picked up endorsements from two Park County officials, the National Association of Homebuilders and two local legislators, state Sen. Andy McElhany and state Rep. Larry Liston. AL

Udall speaks against SDS
U.S. Rep. Mark Udall, on a statewide stage as he runs for the Senate, called on the Bureau of Reclamation to slow down work on Colorado Springs' proposed water pipeline from Lake Pueblo to help avoid a "costly legal battle," the Pueblo Chieftain reported.

Colorado Springs Mayor Lionel Rivera responded in a news release saying delays to the Southern Delivery System could be costly: "If we delay SDS until water shortages occur, the economy of the entire Arkansas River Basin will suffer."

Reclamation is working to finalize a draft Environmental Impact Statement. Some opponents say it gives too little attention to the effects of sending extra water to Colorado Springs and having it return southward as treated effluent by way of Fountain Creek. AL

Sports Animal goes country
At 7 a.m. Monday, two weeks after laying off sports-talk host Tony D, Citadel Broadcasting flipped KKML-1300's "Sports Animal" format to KCS-1300's "Colorado Country Classics."

Based on tracks spun by Denver-based DJ Lou Jones, the format doesn't sound all that classic. Still, anyone hankering for late '80s/early '90s hits like T. Graham Brown's "I Tell It Like It Used to Be," Hal Ketchum's "Small Town Saturday Night" and Holly Dunn's "Love Someone Like Me" as well as "Imus in the Morning" should be thrilled.

Citadel's Dan Mandis, who directed the transition, sees "a lot of positives."

"I think it's a format that's viable, and that especially a lot of retired Air Force people in this town will like. And I think the call letters will hark back to the old KKCS, which was very popular in its day."

KKCS, which garnered national attention for suspending two DJs who'd played the Dixie Chicks, was laid to rest last year. The new station is positioning itself as an alternative to more contemporary Cat Country 95.1, which, unlike KCS, isn't likely to play "Convoy."

"See, that's the thing," Mandis says, lighting up at the mention of the C.W. McCall trucker anthem. "If you listen to this, you go, 'Man, I haven't heard this song in a long time.'" BF

PPLD picks Grapes
John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath has been named by Pikes Peak Library District as this year's All Pikes Peak Reads (APPR) selection.

"This is a very timely choice," says PPLD spokeswoman Dee Vazquez. "Already, we haven't been able to keep the book on the shelves."

The novel, set in the Great Depression, is a classic story of perseverance despite hardship, and potentially a pick-me-up in these difficult times. According to Vazquez, PPLD chose The Grapes of Wrath because of its bearing on current issues such as the financial downturn, ecological disasters and marginalization of migrant workers, which she considers akin to that experienced by the Okies in the book.

This is the seventh year of All Pikes Peak Reads, aimed at improving literacy and opening dialogue around a specific title. The program, which kicks off Sept. 21, will feature events focusing on the Dust Bowl, from film screenings to lectures.

APPR has also included a nonfiction selection, The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan.

Further reading lists and program scheduling are available at ppld.org. MA

Alamosa starts film festival
When 18-year-old Alamosa resident Laurelin Kruse watched Everyone But You by San Luis Valley filmmaker Eric Shiveley, she "was really amazed that it came from Alamosa, and I wondered if there were some other films coming out of the area." (See the Indy's review, "Dream on," Film, April 24.) Her curiosity led to the discovery of another local film, Playing Columbine, and inspired her to organize a film festival.

A dozen volunteers jumped on board, and Kruse soon had a date and a location.

"I just wanted ... to show the community that we do have a cultural scene here," says Kruse.

The Alamosa Film Festival is scheduled for Saturday, July 26, at Adams State College's Carson Auditorium. Films of national and local interest may be submitted to Alamosa Film Festival c/o M. LeBlanc, P.O. Box 733, Alamosa, CO 81101 by Wednesday, July 9. There is a voluntary $10 submission fee. E-mail alamosafilmfestival@gmail.org for more. JT

Wasson a real magnet!
Wasson High School finally has been declared a real arts magnet by the District 11 school board. For years, Wasson has called its arts program a magnet, using the title to advertise the school to prospective students and charging kids in the programs special magnet fees. But those policies came into question this year as parents wondered whether the school was a true magnet (it had never been approved by the board) and whether it was living up to expectations.

Official as of June 25, the Wasson magnet will have more resources. It will pursue grants, reinstate magnet fees, develop more aggressive advertising, and hire a full-time magnet coordinator and full-time band director.

D-11 board member Jan Tanner says there's more work to be done to perfect the program, but she feels it will flow naturally from here.

"I think that they've got momentum, and they know that they've got the ponies now to pull the engine, and they're going to do it," she says.

Tanner also notes Wasson soon could have more good news: D-11 is considering a math-science magnet there as well. JAS

Compiled by Mike Alberti, Bill Forman, Anthony Lane, J. Adrian Stanley and Jill Thomas.

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