Over our final three issues of 2012, we're following up on stories that you may remember from earlier in the year. If there's one for which you'd like an update, feel free to let us know via e-mail at email@example.com.
Like most 6-year-olds, Dylan Fontana is growing.
Since April, he's gone from 40 to 44 pounds, and sprouted up several inches. At Buena Vista Elementary, where he's a first-grader, he's learning to read and write and has joined a running club. His baby cheeks are thinning out, he seems healthy and vibrant, and he's yet to contract a cold this season.
That last part, especially, seems unbelievable to his mom.
"It's just kind of breaking the laws of physics around here," says Camille Stellar Fontana with a laugh.
As explained in "Miracle off 31st Street" (April 11, News), Dylan has cystic fibrosis, an incurable, terminal, genetic disorder that causes the body to produce thick mucus that collects in the lungs and pancreas, hindering digestion and leading to serious lung infections. Dylan has to take medications and make frequent doctor visits. And while most kids watch morning cartoons unperturbed, Dylan is strapped into a special vest that shakes him violently, releasing mucus.
The routine used to be repeated at night. But a breakthrough drug has changed Dylan's life.
Kalydeco, released in January, treats CF on a cellular level, though it's only effective for the 4 percent of U.S. patients with a particular genetic mutation.
When Dylan went on the drug this spring, he showed immediate improvements, and after nearly a year, it's safe to say that Kalydeco has been a godsend. Dylan no longer has to use his vest at night, and his growth and good health are encouraging. Another way of telling that Kalydeco is working is measuring the salt in Dylan's sweat, because CF causes unusually high levels. A recent test showed that measure has plunged.
"There just aren't that many people in the CF community that are experiencing this right now, and we are," Camille says. "And it's just very touching and incredibly moving." — J. Adrian Stanley
St. John's battle
The gist of our "Damn shame" cover story (Jan. 19): A number of congregants at the historic St. John's Baptist Church on South Prospect Street, once led by the revered, late Rev. Milton Proby, wanted to fire current pastor Willie J. Sutton Jr. They met, took a vote, and found the vast majority were in favor of doing so. According to the church's bylaws, they argue, this vote should have stood as a legal directive.
But instead of accepting the vote, Sutton sent these congregants letters explaining they were no longer welcome. Some recipients, including Sylvester Smith, have belonged to the church for so long that their names are actually carved into its cornerstone.
Attorney Edward Hopkins filed a lawsuit on behalf of the congregants; according to Hopkins, the judge dismissed it. He was preparing an appeal until it was discovered that the judge hadn't filed a final order, leaving the case open. So he's prepared a motion, including new evidence, to compel the judge to allow the case go to trial.
At the core is a fight over a Lincoln Navigator. In a sworn affidavit from church secretary Norma Jackson, allegations emerge that Sutton forged Jackson's signature on a purchase agreement for the $30,000 vehicle — essentially buying the Navigator, which he drives, in the church's name.
In the affidavit, Jackson further alleges that Sutton instructed her to say that she'd given him permission to use her name, or else he'd spread the rumor that she'd had sex with a member of the church.
Sutton did not respond to a request for comment.
Hopkins, who believes that this constitutes identity theft and defamation, has forwarded this information on to the Colorado Springs Police Department.
In a word, it's still a mess. — Chet Hardin
Stars and bars
With a jury trial scheduled for Jan. 7, and evidence stacked against him, Ed Kiley believes he'll soon be in jail. The question, really, is for how long.
As reported in "Going out with a bang" (News, Aug. 15), Kiley's charged with 10 counts of possession of explosives/incendiary device; two counts of possession of a weapon by a previous offender; one count of possession of marijuana, more than 12 ounces; and one count of cultivation of marijuana plants, six plants or less. He could face 60-plus years behind bars.
Firm punishment for a man who says he was simply making fireworks to celebrate New Year's Eve. (Well, that and growing some pot.) A well-liked eccentric in his Hillside neighborhood, Kiley was surprised when police conducted a two-day search of his residence after he set off fireworks in December 2011.
Concerned he was manufacturing explosives to hurt others, police even called the feds, who declined to press charges. Kiley admits making the explosives was "stupid," but says the simple paper tubes he used as packaging, along with the types of explosives, indicate that he was just interested in noise and flashing lights.
Kiley says he's turned down a plea deal from the Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office that would have given him four to six years in jail.
"I could be looking at a lot of time," he says, "but I really don't think the judge will give me that."
Today, Kiley is getting ready to sell off most of his belongings. He's arranged for his dog to stay with a friend on a Colorado ranch. And he spends a lot of time worrying.
"There's a lot of unknowing, and it's coming down to the wire," he says. "... It's what I call gushing anxiety." — J. Adrian Stanley
Kimbra über alles
Kimbra was already well on her way to stardom when we interviewed her ("Up from Down Under," AudioFile) for our Oct. 3 issue.
Her guest vocal on the Gotye single "Somebody That I Used to Know" helped send both musicians' careers into overdrive, and the momentum's accelerated in 2012's final months. The track has become the year's biggest-selling single, while their famously body-painted video for the song racked up a third of a billion views on YouTube.
Meanwhile, Kimbra embarked on her first headlining tour of America in October, while her own Top 20 debut album, Vows, earned her Best Female Artist honors at the Australian Recording Industry Association's ARIA awards two weeks ago. (The Australian press subsequently declared Gotye and Kimbra the "King and Queen of Pop.")
At this point, it still remains to be seen how the two musicians will fare at the upcoming Grammys. Their single is a finalist for the coveted Record of the Year award, making them the first Australian artists to compete in that category since Olivia Newton John took home the 1975 Grammy for "I Honestly Love You." — Bill Forman
New Life's new home
New Life Downtown: The idea ("No holding back," News, Jan. 26) was to rent the Carter Payne Events Center at 320 S. Weber St. every Sunday, for two morning services. Lead pastor Glenn Packiam expected that up to 250 people could comfortably attend each one.
Instead, once 200 or so people started showing up soon after the April opening, the one-time African Methodist Episcopal church was feeling a little tight. So, Packiam and company pulled out of the lease with the Carter Payne and found a new Sunday home: the auditorium of Palmer High School.
Now, five years after the parking-lot shootings that threatened to break New Life's community apart, its health is reflected each Sunday morning, when two services happen simultaneously: One attracting thousands to the main campus on Voyager Parkway, and another 500 people coming to Palmer at 301 N. Nevada Ave.
Packiam says that the real success of the downtown campus can be seen in the response to the campus' small groups, which are growing quickly, and the participation in missions into the city, such as a mentoring program at Queen Palmer Elementary and a program to host or feed families in transition.
"We obviously hoped that people would respond well," says Packiam, "and I thought that over time we would get there, but I didn't think that we would get there this quickly." — Chet Hardin