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The best of bad times 

Street Smarts

During the past year, our city has seen some extreme challenges. But most of us appreciate the positive that's grown from the negative.

click to enlarge Devon Trimble

Devon Trimble of the Old North End is a landscaper

What's the best thing that happened in the Colorado Springs area this year, and why? The new Bristol [Brewing Co.] brewery that opened in the Ivywild School. There's a good sense of community there: good beer, good food, good laughs.

Who would you say are this region's "Heroes of the Year"? The firefighters, the EMT people and the police. All the first responders.

How would you describe this city to people who have never been here? I'd say it's "one-of-a-kind" and it's the most magical place you've ever seen. Even though the weather can be wishy-washy, it's still perfect.

What's one cultural event or group that this city couldn't do without? The culture of allowing medical marijuana. It's legitimately helping people who need it.

click to enlarge Henry Armijo

Henry Armijo of the southeast side is self-employed

What's the best thing that happened in the Colorado Springs area this year? The mass gathering of people who offered help and support for the victims of the recent tragedies.

What was the worst thing that happened locally this past year? The floods. I've had lots of conversations with people who lost their homes and almost lost their lives.

Who would you say deserves the "Hero of the Year" award? The churches and the good Samaritans and all the people who put together meals and donations for those in need of help.

How would you describe this city to people who've never visited? Colorado Springs has lots of diversity. There are lots of really interesting people here, and people who share the same heart and the same perspective, whether they're wealthy or homeless.

click to enlarge Kayla Jansen

Kayla Jansen of the west side is a server

What's the best thing that happened to the Colorado Springs area this year, and why? I'd probably say the passing of Amendment 64. It helps people get more comfortable with the use of marijuana.

What's the worst thing that happened? It seems like the crime has gone up; it's getting worse and worse, especially in certain areas.

Who would you say is this region's "Hero of the Year"? [El Paso County Sheriff] Terry Maketa. I think he did an outstanding job with the fires, and he helps make people feel safe.

What's one cultural event or group that this city couldn't do without? I love Territory Days. It ties together our history for the people who live here and for the tourists.

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