Monday, August 29, 2016

Brewery-anchored concept to occupy Carter Payne — Public Market back to drawing board

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 5:39 PM

After years of holdups and perceived mishaps, Colorado Springs Public Market representatives are once again having to pull back from plans to launch soon. 

Last we heard in mid July from incoming board chair Jon Khoury, also the executive director of Cottonwood Center for the Arts, Labor Day was to be the day the doors would finally swing open. 

But that's no longer the case, and Carter Payne will no longer be the birthplace. 

An early rendering of CSPM's hopeful habitation of Carter Payne. - COURTESY CSPM
  • Courtesy CSPM
  • An early rendering of CSPM's hopeful habitation of Carter Payne.
Instead, the owners behind Common Cause Catering and Local Relic brewery are under contract to purchase the building, with plans for a 2017 opening. Co-owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton  won't divulge too much more info presently, as many plans remain tentative, but looking toward collaborative spots like The Source and Avanti Food and Beverage in Denver gives some clue as to their thought process for what's ahead. 

To be clear, much as Crooked Stave brewery is a part of The Source, Local Relic will be a part of the new Carter Payne concept, as its anchor tenant. But the couple will form a separate LLC to run the larger development. 

Khoury had communicated last week with Lofton to say that CSPM would not move forward as tenants at Carter Payne, and she replied with a correspondence that frees CSPM of its current lease upon Local Relic/Common Cause Catering's closing (as it otherwise would have survived a transfer in ownership, she says). She also invites Khoury to reach out should at any point in the future should CSPM wish to pursue some sort of partnership, as LR/CCC supports its mission. 

Khoury was unable to take a call today but sent the following response via email to confirm details:
1. We are not going into a partnership with Local Relic as they have offered to buy Carter Payne and we will not go into that relationship as tenants. Additionally, we feel we could potentially hold Local Relic back as the CSPM has not raised the funds to be a good partner.
2. We will not be opening by Labor Day, nor will we be at Carter Payne.
3. As our board evolves, the opportunity for significant funding may increase, giving us the opportunity to do a real estate deal where the market has ownership and will possibly have a permanent location.
4. No timeline as of now for any movement until we secure funding, but feeling hopeful that we will have a breakthrough. 
Regarding that board evolution, Khoury also confirmed that Edie Crawford (former arts editor for the Indy, now community development liaison for Cottonwood) has joined up as the board secretary. That leaves Scott Harvey, Mike Callicrate, Kady Hommel and Khoury comprising the remainder of the board, with original members Sally Davis and Dave Anderson now having stepped away. (It's worth noting that some folks felt Ranch Foods Direct and pals were over-represented on the former board; will anyone feel Cottonwood now is?)

For his part, Callicrate, ever the outspoken food activist and the early voice for the market, laments a lack of support for the market from the city. "A few people do, like Susan Edmondson [Downtown Partnership] and Jill Gaebler [City Council]," he says, "but to expect a few individuals to build something this significant with this much impact on the community — it can't happen.

"We've built strong support among the citizens, but not among leadership, which appears controlled by people who see a different vision for Colorado Springs, more based on Wall Street and collecting rent from chain types. I know the community is frustrated, but the city needs to get behind it. We can't get them to wake up."

Common Cause Catering owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton. - COURTESY JEFF ZEARFOSS
  • Courtesy Jeff Zearfoss
  • Common Cause Catering owners Jeff Zearfoss and Melissa Lofton.
Considering around a year's wasted rent for Carter Payne — reported to be upwards of $45,000 according to a former board member — with nothing to show presently, that community frustration likely extends to those who donated money via Indy Give! and other initiatives, who might feel their dollars weren't well spent.  

Without more to report on CSPM's plans presently, let's get back to Local Relic, who was formerly slated to join the Lincoln Center before Goat Patch Brewing announced its move-in. 

Lofton says Local Relic pulled out because "as a small business, we needed a little more security" in terms of investing money into a space they actually own. With Carter Payne, she says "we found a location we love that we feel like is our home."

Plus, she says, "It's got a lot of great history. It was the first African American church in town, gifted during the Palmer land grants. We want to honor the history and intent of what we believe a church to be. In terms of a community spot, a place of remembrance, celebration. We want to restore it to that glory as a community hub." 

A side note: Local Relic beer dinners will return soon, they say, in partnership and as a fundraiser for Marian House Soup Kitchen, where Zearfoss has volunteered weekly for more than a decade.  

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CC, FAC offer clarification on Chief Curator change

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 4:10 PM

Joy Armstrong will not be taking over Blake Milteer's job — but not because she doesn't have a terminal degree. - COURTESY JOY ARMSTRONG
  • Courtesy Joy Armstrong
  • Joy Armstrong will not be taking over Blake Milteer's job — but not because she doesn't have a terminal degree.
In the ongoing Colorado College/Fine Arts Center takeover business, which was finalized last Thursday, there was one prominent piece of bad news that dampened the whole affair: the announcement that beloved curator Joy Armstrong would not be stepping into the role of Executive Director and Chief Curator. At the time, FAC CEO David Dahlin suggested that due to the academic mission that the FAC would take on as part of the takeover, the new curator would have to have a terminal degree. We were unable to confirm this with CC President Jill Tiefenthaler, as she was unavailable.

However, we spoke to both last week, and Tiefenthaler dispelled the idea that the terminal degree was a sticking point. Rather, she clarified that the new hire would have to have experience navigating academic bureaucracy in order to serve the FAC's added academic mission as well as its duty to the public.

“We’ve got to make sure we’ve got people who can do both of those on staff," she says. "While the Fine Arts Center has had a great museum staff, it hasn’t had an academic mission or an academic focus. We need people who can do both of those." To that end, Tiefenthaler says they'll be looking for directorial and curatorial staff that has had experience working with students and teachers. Dahlin adds that the takeover will include some substantial restructuring, which was also a point of consideration.

“The job that we had been talking about Joy taking really won’t exist in the future," he says. "It made sense for us to say ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, we need to step back from this and look at what does this real future museum function look like and museum staffing look like.'" It's more likely that the Chief Curator and Executive Director roles will be split. Dahlin notes that most of Armstrong's expertise is as a curator. He adds that former Chief Curator Blake Milteer's holding both roles was not standard practice for museums, and indeed was a huge role to have just one person fill.

“We’re hoping to correct that and have more appropriate staffing with more appropriate expertise for the different functions that need to be there in the museum,” says Dahlin.
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Food Rescue fundraises in fashion

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:51 PM

In many ways, Colorado Springs Food Rescue's Harvest Celebration this past weekend at Venetucci Farm was reminiscent of Seeds Community Cafe's Sustainability Summit fundraiser in mid June. 

Sunlight poured into the farm's barn, Seeds once again dished healthy and delicious food and the day's dialogue centered around creating a healthy food system, in part by stopping our excessive food waste as a global society. 

CSFR executive director Zac Chapman says the event helped raise more than $6,000 for the nonprofit, which in part will go toward new school program initiatives. Watch this newly released promotional video to hear more about that and other CSFR efforts. 

And here's a batch of pics that highlight a lot of youthful enthusiasm and community care:
CSFR volunteer Landis Hackett manning the greeting table. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • CSFR volunteer Landis Hackett manning the greeting table.
CSFR executive director Zac Chapman discusses the history of local farms in the Springs. Arcadia Gardens now becomes part of modern history, just as Venetucci Farm has produce unable to be harvested due to water contamination. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • CSFR executive director Zac Chapman discusses the history of local farms in the Springs. Arcadia Gardens now becomes part of modern history, just as Venetucci Farm has produce unable to be harvested due to water contamination.
The Seeds Community Cafe crew, lending fine foods. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • The Seeds Community Cafe crew, lending fine foods.
Representatives for CSFR's community grocery programs and school programs  speak about the importance of health equality and the impact that CSFR has on low-income communities, among others. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • Representatives for CSFR's community grocery programs and school programs speak about the importance of health equality and the impact that CSFR has on low-income communities, among others.
If hosting a busy fundraiser, bring backup. And you can backup CSFR too with donations or volunteer time. - RILEY BRATZLER
  • Riley Bratzler
  • If hosting a busy fundraiser, bring backup. And you can backup CSFR too with donations or volunteer time.

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Seven initiatives make state ballot, two fail

Posted By on Mon, Aug 29, 2016 at 3:39 PM

  • Richard Masoner / Cyclelicious Follow
The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has disqualified two proposed November ballot initiatives aimed at reining in the oil and gas industry.

In addition to not having enough valid signatures to qualify, one of the measures, Initiative 78, contained several “potentially forged signatures,” according to the Secretary of State’s Office. The questionable petitions have been sent to the Colorado Attorney General’s Office for further investigation.

All of this year’s citizen-driven ballot measures need 98,492 valid signatures from voters to qualify for the ballot.

Initiative 75 aimed to give local governments the authority to regulate oil and gas development, a power largely reserved to the state currently. Initiative 78 would have created mandatory setbacks for oil and gas development of 2,500 feet from occupied structures or “areas of special concern.”

The backers of the two failed initiatives have 30 days from the date of rejection of their petitions to appeal the decision in Denver District Court.

The other seven citizen-driven initiatives that turned in petitions were approved for the November ballot. They are:

Amendment 69/ColoradoCare - ColoradoCare would amend the state Constitution to bring a tax-funded health insurance system to Colorado. Everyone not already covered under federal insurance like Medicare would be eligible for coverage, which would include copays for certain services but no deductibles. ColoradoCare would replace private insurance for Coloradans, though those who still want to purchase private insurance (while also paying the tax), would be free to do so.

An independent analysis by Colorado Health Institute estimates that ColoradoCare would bring in $36 billion in its first year and cover 4.4 million people. It would be run by a board of directors and would likely go into effect in 2019, after a preliminary period where it would charge a tax of .09 percent. When running, it would be funded mainly by a 10 percent income tax, two-thirds of which would be paid by employers, and one-third of which would be paid by employees. The self-employed would pay the full 10 percent tax.

Additionally, ColoradoCare would seek waivers to gain access to federal and state funds that currently flow into the health care system, including Medicaid dollars. There has been widespread bickering over the impacts of Amendment 69, with conservative leaders — and many liberals as well — opposing the ballot question.

Minimum wage — This Constitutional amendment would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 by 2020.

click image VICTOR
  • Victor
Medical aid in dying — As the title suggests, this change to the Colorado Revised Statutes would allow a terminally ill, mentally-competent adult to obtain a life-ending prescription. The patient would need to be within six months of death, and would self-administer the lethal dose. There are protections written into the law to ensure the patient is mentally sound, and is freely choosing to die.

Amending the Constitution — Interestingly, this Constitutional amendment aims to make it harder to amend the Constitution in the future. First, it would require more signatures to place a measure on the ballot, setting that figure at “at least two percent of the registered electors who reside in each state senate district for the amendment to be placed on the ballot.”
Once on the ballot, the amendment would need to be approved by 55 percent of the votes cast rather than a simple majority.

Primary/Presidential primary elections— Try not to get confused by these two initiatives aimed at changing the Colorado Revised Statutes. Initiative 98 would allow unaffiliated voters to vote in a primary without joining a political party. However, the initiative gives political parties a loophole that would still allow them to exclude unaffiliated voters. The parties would be able to forgo a primary election and select all their candidates through an assembly or convention, so long as 75 percent of the party’s state central committee agreed to the move.

Initiative 140, on the other hand, would create a primary election for presidential candidates in Colorado, to be held before the end of March. Unaffiliated voters could participate in the election. 
click image CIGARETTE
  • cigarette

Tobacco tax— Initiative 143 would amend the state Constitution to triple the taxes on a pack of cigarettes (taxes would go from 84 cents per pack to $2.59 per pack). Taxes on other tobacco would increase 22 percent. The money collected by the taxes would be used for a variety of programs including smoking cessation, medical research, mental health funding and other causes.
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Sunday, August 28, 2016

Pentagon IG's Office takes up Bible complaint

Posted By on Sun, Aug 28, 2016 at 3:33 PM

  • Courtesy MRFF
The Department of Defense Inspector General's Office apparently will investigate how Peterson Air Force Base handled a complaint about an open Bible on a major's desk in a common area, which we reported about here and here.

After Col. Damon Feltman ruled it was OK to display the Bible as Major Steve Lewis had done, the founder of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation sent a letter to the IG's Office seeking further investigation. Mikey Weinstein alleges it's improper for the commander who allowed the Bible to be placed on the major's desk, Col. Lisa Johnson, be the one to further examine the issue in response to a complaint.

Here's the letter Weinstein wrote to the IG:

Weinstein says the IG's Office has requested additional materials be supplied by MRFF to aid in the investigation.

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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Let's talk about maps

Posted By on Sat, Aug 27, 2016 at 8:00 AM

  • Bob Falcone
There are many necessities for hiking: Appropriate footwear, food, water, rain gear, flashlight, an extra layer of clothes, and maps. Want to look for a new trail to hike? Pull out a map and look for trails you haven't done yet. Are you out on a trail and want to know where the next intersection is, or want to know the name of that big mountain in front of you, or even how steep the rest of the hike is? Pull out your map.

There are many maps to choose from. Almost all state, regional and local parks have maps either at a the visitor center or via a website. But these maps are inconsistent from park to park. Some show only the barest of details — they may or may not have distances shown on them — and often do not include much of the surrounding area. These maps work for the park they're made for, but not much else.

If you're looking to hike outside of a park, such as in a national forest or a national park, you'll want a more detailed map, and there are plenty of choices. For easy-to-read maps that cover the Pikes Peak Region with turn by turn directions, the locally produced Pocket Pals maps are hard to beat. I personally carry most of these maps in my car.

The venerable and iconic Pikes Peak Atlas is a map almost everyone has. It's still available in stores, though, it hasn't been updated in a number of years, which means it's not quite as accurate as it was in the past. Trails have been closed, re-routed, or have become overgrown from lack of use, but they're still on the map. Still, The Pikes Peak Atlas is more right than it is wrong. I still carry mine.

Trails Illustrated maps, made by the National Geographic Society, seemingly cover every square mile of Colorado's public lands. The 250 assorted maps cover most of the rest of the U.S., almost all national parks and monuments, and other countries, too. As for their ease of use, they fall between the Pocket Pals maps and the Pikes Peak Atlas. They are also updated regularly, ensuring that they'll stay somewhat accurate. I have lots of these maps, and find them to be quite useful. 

But if you want to get really deep into maps, look for official U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) maps, the most detailed and presumably accurate topographical maps around. They're not the easiest to get your hands on, but now two websites offer the ability to view, customize and print USGS maps from your home computer. The customization options are many, so you'll want to spend time on the websites and to get a feel for how they work.

The USGS doesn't update maps very often, so be aware that they may not always have the most up-to-date information. Reading a detailed topographical map isn't very easy, and can be confusing. Take the time to develop your map reading skills, especially when using the USGS maps.

Happy Trails!

Bob Falcone is a retired firefighter, photographer, hiker, college instructor, business owner and author of Hiking Bob's Tips, Tricks and Trails, available via his website. He has lived in Colorado Springs for over 24 years. Follow him on Twitter (@hikingbob), Facebook (Hiking Bob), Instagram (@HikingBob_CO) or visit his website ( E-mail questions, comments, suggestions, etc to Bob:
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Friday, August 26, 2016

Garlic breadth

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 4:50 PM

Pikes Peak Urban Gardens has hosted its annual Garlic Fest fundraiser for many years now, but this year that's morphing into an all-day symposium with Galileo School of Math & Science. 

The new, expanded event will take place Saturday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., and the registration deadline is this Wednesday, Aug. 31. 
Previous years' Garlic Fests included chef cook-offs, utilizing garlic as a key ingredient, of course. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Previous years' Garlic Fests included chef cook-offs, utilizing garlic as a key ingredient, of course.
Here's the schedule breakdown:
Morning Session: 10:00am - 11:30am : Cost: $10
Afternoon Session: 11:30am - 3:30pm: Cost $25 includes lunch
BOTH Sessions: 10:00am - 3:30pm: Cost: $35 includes lunch
Doors open at 9:00 am for the morning session, and 11:30 am for the afternoon session.
And much more info via a press release:
Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and Galileo School of Math & Science are happy to present the 2016 Garlic & Harvest Symposium at Galileo School, 1600 N. Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO.

This symposium is an all-day, educational event celebrating this year's bountiful garden harvest and all things garlic. Attend the morning session, afternoon session or both! A wealth of information will be provided by knowledgeable and experienced garden and homestead enthusiasts.

All tickets must be purchased online prior to the event. Seating is very limited and early registration is strongly encouraged. Refunds are not available.

Vendors will be in attendance offering gardening and homesteading supplies, along with locally-grown garlic available for purchase. The Galileo Garden Project welcomes you to tour the garden, geodesic growing dome and the farm stand which will be offering fresh veggies for sale.

Chef Lyn from Seeds Community Cafe will recreate his famous garlic ice cream! This is a sweet treat for everyone in attendance, and should not to be missed! The purchase of an afternoon session ticket includes lunch, graciously provided by Whole Foods and Papa John's.

A great selection of Larry's gourmet garlic will be auctioned to the highest bidder at the conclusion of the morning session class so bring your checkbooks. Proceeds will benefit Pikes Peak Urban Gardens' 2017 programs.

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Suthers sends local Paralympians off to Rio

Posted By on Fri, Aug 26, 2016 at 10:33 AM

City Councilors Tom Strand, left, and Larry Bagley, joined Mayor John Suthers, right, in bidding farewell and good luck to the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team on Friday morning. - CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • City of Colorado Springs
  • City Councilors Tom Strand, left, and Larry Bagley, joined Mayor John Suthers, right, in bidding farewell and good luck to the U.S. Paralympic Swim Team on Friday morning.

Mayor John Suthers
helped send off the U.S. Paralympic Team on Friday morning at the Colorado Springs Airport.

The team flew to Houston before going on to Rio de Janeiro for the Paralympic Games, which begin Sept. 7.

Colorado Springs had 56 athletes on Team USA for both the Olympics and Paralympics this year.

Among members of the swimming team were Leslie Nichols, the director, and team members: Tharon Drake, Tucker Dupree, Tye Dutcher, Rudolph Garcia-Tolson, Sophia Herzog, Nathan Manley, Elizabeth Marks, Letticia Martinez and Martha Ruether.

Other members of the team include:
Cycling: Ryan Boyle, Allison Jones, Billy Lister, Shawn Morelli, Scott Martin.
Judo: Dartanyon Crockett, Ben Goodrich and Myles Porter.
Shooting: Jazmin Almlie-Ryan, McKenna Dahl, Tammy Delano and Mike Tagliapietra.

In addition, Fort Carson sent two Paralympians, including Sgt. Elizabeth Marks in swimming and Sgt. Michael Lukow in archery.

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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Cops welcome body cams, survey shows

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 2:08 PM

  • File photo
This week's Independent features a story about how Colorado Springs Police Department officers feel about their jobs and the administration. It's not all hearts and flowers. The story is a companion piece to the main story about how crime rates are soaring, but the CSPD doesn't want the public to know about that.

The Colorado Springs Police Protective Association survey found that at least a quarter of officers don't feel supported by the command staff, including the chief, and it also included officers' sentiments about body cams, which the city has been talking about instituting for at least a year but still hasn't.

Last September, the CSPD said that all officers would be wearing the cameras by February. Well, that didn't happen, despite the funding being in place.

The most recent missive on body cams came from Lt. Howard Black on Aug. 5 via email to media:
Body Worn Camera roll-out; we are currently installing the routers that help run the system in the vehicles at Gold Hill. This is going well, however, the vendor (Utility) and Verizon have to work out a certification issue that would allow us to upload the amount of data that we need for the body cameras. This will take approximately 30 days. As a result, we have scheduled the initial roll-out of the 65 cameras at Gold Hill during the week of September 19th. Gold Hill will pilot the system for 30 days. We will then roll-out the rest of the Department.
So the department, overseen by Police Chief Pete Carey, is way behind its original time line.

Which is too bad, considering police seem to be generally supportive of them.

The survey's results:

1. Will body cams at CSPD make your job: easier (23.36 percent); more difficult (29.91 percent), or no different (46.72 percent).

2. Will body cams (officers were instructed to check all that applied):

80.9 percent — help officers if a citizen makes a complaint against them.
74 percent — reduce citizen complaints against officers.
54.6 percent — improve trust between police officers and the community.
18.2 percent — help officers provide better service to the community.
10.1 percent — improve communication between officers and supervisors.

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CC and FAC finalize alliance

Posted By on Thu, Aug 25, 2016 at 12:56 PM

FAC CEO David Dahlin and CC President Jill Tiefenthaler discuss the future of the Fine Arts Center. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • FAC CEO David Dahlin and CC President Jill Tiefenthaler discuss the future of the Fine Arts Center.

The Fine Arts Center and Colorado College have signed the papers, said the vows and walked down the proverbial aisle. The alliance that the FAC first announced in January has been finalized. Over the next four years, Colorado College will take over the historic institution in order to maintain its mission, protect its collection and keep it financially solvent.

Effective immediately, CC has taken over management of the FAC. At the start of the next fiscal year — July 1, 2017 — CC will take over all employees, contracts and donations. The FAC will then lease all of its physical assets — that's the buildings, the land under them and the collections within — to CC for three years. Come 2020, CC will fully own all of the FAC's assets.
While the FAC's mission to serve the community and the region will not change, CC President Jill Tiefenthaler says that the mission will have to expand to serve an academic purpose as well.

To fund the academic mission, as well as general operations costs, CC has allocated $20 million of its endowment to the FAC, more than doubling the institution's existing $13 million endowment. The plan is to build a $45 million endowment by 2020, partially through fundraising efforts. On top of this, CC has also committed to provide $500,000 in funding to finance repairs and upkeep in this first year of the alliance.

Before July 1, CC and the FAC will form three planning groups: one to address the future of the museum itself, one to address the future of the FAC's theater programs and facilities, and one to address the Bemis School of Art. That third group will have its work cut out for it; during the planning process, an evaluation confirmed that the Bemis School building is "beyond its useful life," according to an FAQ released by the FAC today. While CC and the FAC have committed to keeping the classes at Bemis going for at least the next two years and offering community education opportunities beyond that, the details of how and where are unknown.

All that said, this transition will not affect the announced 2016/17 programming season. Look for more info on this page and in the upcoming August 31 issue of the Indy. Until then, read the FAC's FAQ sheet and the full text of the press release below:
FAC-CC-Alliance-FAQs.pdf FAC-CC-Alliance FAQ
Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler and Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center President and CEO David Dahlin today announced an historic alliance between the two institutions that signals the re-envisioning and redefining of both organizations’ contributions to the arts in the region. The partnership supports the missions of both organizations while expanding innovative learning opportunities, arts programming and cultural resources for the greater Colorado Springs community. Today’s announcement marks the signing of legal documents by both organizations.

“The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center is a cultural gem, and I’m excited about the immense possibilities this alliance presents for all involved,” Tiefenthaler said. “I look forward to rolling up our sleeves and working to create the most innovative, dynamic and vibrant organization possible. I plan to actively seek community input as together we envision the amazing future potential of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.”

“I’m thrilled to help create a strong and vibrant future for the Fine Arts Center that will enable it to thrive and build upon its legacy for another 100 years,” Dahlin said. “This is truly a win-win-win agreement benefiting the FAC, CC and the entire community.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers praised the affiliation. “This partnership, which brings together two of our most prominent institutions in arts and higher education, is something we should all look to as an example of innovative, collaborative future-building,” he said. “We all benefit as a community from the expanded and dynamic possibilities this represents in our arts, culture and education sectors.”

For nearly 100 years, the two institutions have collaborated in a variety of important ways. This includes the FAC serving as the college’s de facto art department in the 1920s–1940s, co-hosting an annual Conference on Fine Arts in the 1930s, collaborating on shared programming and exhibitions throughout the decades, and the recent gift in 2015 of the FAC’s extensive art publication archives to the Tutt Library at Colorado College.

The goal of the alliance goes beyond merging two existing organizations: It seeks to create something new, ground-breaking and forward-looking, leaders of both institutions say. The partnership produces an operational structure that achieves key Colorado College and Fine Arts Center strategic objectives while helping to create long-term sustainability for the Fine Arts Center and solidifying a community goal of a sustainable, ongoing commitment to community fine arts programming. The result will be expanded community offerings and enriched student experiences. Tiefenthaler envisions a year of planning before implementing changes. “We want to hear from those who are committed to the Fine Arts Center as well as bring in new voices,” she said. A series of three listening sessions, open to the community, are planned:

• Sept. 8, 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room
• Sept. 14, 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., CC’s Packard Performance Hall
• Sept. 26, 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Fine Arts Center Music Room

Philanthropic leaders in the Colorado Springs community have pledged their support to this game-changing partnership. “Over the last couple of years, the Fine Arts Center has generated such great programming and great enthusiasm. Yet without public funding, there has been a long-term concern about its sustainability,” said longtime FAC supporter Margot Lane. “It has been imperative to find a bold, long-term, strategic solution. This union with Colorado College represents an innovative collaboration that I hope to see more of in our community. The Lane Foundation looks forward to committing significant financial resources to support this alliance.” Kathy Loo and Jim Raughton, local philanthropists and long-term patrons of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, have pledged an undisclosed amount to build the endowment to support the Fine Arts Center into the future. “We have a deep love for the Fine Arts Center, its past, its present and its future. We are excited about the sustainability that this alliance has created for our community’s signature arts institution and we are committed to see it succeed,” Loo said.

Alliances between institutions of higher education and nonprofit cultural institutions are an increasingly common model. Many liberal arts colleges and universities have alliances with museums, including Yale University, Harvard University, Williams College, Colby College, Smith College and Amherst College. Others have joined forces with professional theaters such as the American Repertory Theatre at Harvard University, the Syracuse Stage and Syracuse University, Brown University and the Trinity Repertory Theatre. The model is advantageous for both partners, as it allows for additional cultural programming and educational resources, new avenues of fundraising and greater community impact and outreach. Additionally, cultural institutions can cut costs as part of the affiliation with the college or university through shared services. “Noncommercial arts will require the prestige and refuge” of higher-ed institutions, the president of Bard College said when Bard acquired the Longy School of Music in 2011.

The president of the Academy of Natural Sciences, which became part of Drexel University in Philadelphia five years ago, said colleges and universities are ideally suited for such partnerships, noting that “they tend to think about collaboration generally and comprehensively.”

The agreement between Colorado College and the Fine Arts Center calls for a four-year transition period to allow for careful planning and integration. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will retain its current name until July 1, 2017, when it will become known as the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College. By July 1, 2020, the Fine Arts Center entity will be fully transferred to the college along with existing donor restrictions on the assets including the building and the art collection. The college will dedicate more than $20 million of its endowment for the ongoing support of the Fine Arts Center. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation will continue as a separate supporting foundation managing the existing FAC $13 million endowment for the mission of the Fine Arts Center at Colorado College.

“As president of both El Pomar Foundation and the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation, I am pleased to see this alliance between the Fine Arts Center and Colorado College,” said Thayer Tutt. “Arts institutions around the country are finding that alliances with institutions of higher education create great programming synergies and long-term sustainability. This alliance will allow the Fine Arts Center to build upon its nearly 100-year legacy as the center of our arts community and to develop new initiatives that serve the academic mission of the college, all for the betterment of our region. The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center Foundation looks forward to working with Colorado College in the years to come to strengthen the bond between the college and the Pikes Peak community.”

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Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Locals smile on military, survey shows

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 12:42 PM

Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station
The results are in and they're not surprising: Colorado Springs loves the military.

That's the upshot of a survey conducted by the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments to "gauge community-military partnerships." The survey also aimed to identify areas where things are working well and issues that need improvement.

The military's five bases here — Air Force Academy, Peterson Air Force Base, Fort Carson, Schriever Air Force Base and the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station — are said to employ about 60,000 people and bring nearly $6 billion to the local economy.

The survey, taken by 700 people, according to a release from PPACG, is part of the Joint Land Use Study to examine "land-use issues related to military installations in close proximity to counties, cities, and towns."

Unfortunately, the survey closed on June 14 — before we found out that Peterson Air Force Base was contaminating groundwater supplies in the Fountain and Widefield/Security areas that might take a generation of more to clean up. And the pollution, using firefighting foam spewed during practice, has been going on for decades.

We asked PPACG about that and got a message from Rachel Beck, PPACG's policy and communications manager, who said, in part:
The reason no one mentioned the Peterson water issue is that we closed our survey June 14, and media coverage of the water quality issues didn’t happen until July. Neither the JLUS manager nor our air and water quality manager have received the report, but once we do, we will review it to determine if it is relevant to the scope of the Joint Land Use Study. I know you wrote about this issue - do you have a copy you could share?
From the news release about the study:
Several common themes emerged:
• A majority of respondents think the community and military installations are working together well.
• Noise and/or vibration, and use of airspace were the top two issues respondents identified, though 67 percent and 86 percent, respectively, did not find these to be a problem.
• Respondents said development of alternative energy on installations is a positive for the community.
• 69 percent of respondents said that when they moved into their homes, they knew a military installation was a neighbor and there could be land-use impacts.
• Results validated a number of issues JLUS staff had heard about from community groups, individual citizens, and military partners, such as stormwater runoff from new development and noise from various training activities.
• Survey respondents also identified a new issue, keeping the New Santa Fe Trail open where it crosses Air Force Academy property.
As a result of this community input, JLUS staff has formed two additional working groups. Visit the PPACG website [] to review the full survey results.

About the Joint Land Use Study
The Colorado Springs Regional Joint Land-Use Study will promote long-term land use compatibility between local military installations and surrounding communities through the promotion of comprehensive community planning, particularly in regards to specific issues identified by the installations, local government staff and officials, and the community.

The study includes:

• A detailed land use assessment for areas surrounding the installations affecting El Paso, Pueblo, Teller, and Fremont counties
• An inventory of compatibility challenges within the study area
• An assessment of regional growth trends around the installations
• Specific recommendations to promote compatible land use 

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5 things to know about rising crime rates

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 11:39 AM

In this week's issue we report on a report of crime rates in Colorado Springs where a decreasing number of police officers are trying to respond to a growing number of calls for service.

Here are five things you might want to know:

• Rape, aggravated assault, larceny and motor vehicle theft have shown double-digit percentage increases in the first half of 2016 when compared to the first half of 2015, as well as the five year average (2012-16).

• Colorado Springs Police Department's budget has soared by 21 percent since 2012, compared to the 12 percent rise in the city's general fund budget during the same period.

• There were 313 officers assigned to patrol in 2012, but only about 260 today, according to officers and city records.

• The average response time to a Priority 1 call — a crime against a person in progress — was 13 minutes, 8 seconds in the first half of this year, the slowest in years.

• A Colorado Springs Police Protective Association survey conducted in June shows a chasm between cops and command staff. While nearly 93 percent said their sergeant supports them some or all the time and about 90 percent said that about their lieutenant, a quarter said the command staff and chief didn't support them at all. Also, 41 percent said the CSPD leadership doesn't understand what they do at their jobs.
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UPDATE: Rain barrels now legal. Here's what to know.

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2016 at 10:31 AM

The Greenway Fund is also getting in on the excitement over legal rain barrels. 

They're facilitating a special sale of Ivy Rain Barrels at around a 40-percent discount ($75 instead of $129), running through Sept. 25 with a pickup date of Oct. 1. 

Here's more info about the Ivy barrels and another rain barrel fact sheet:
Ivy_Rain_Barrel_FAQs.pdf Colorado_Extension_Rain_Barrel_Fact_Sheet.pdf
Flood (or heavy downpour) preparedness starts with two-by-two (rain barrels). - COURTESY THE GREENWAY FUND
  • Courtesy the Greenway Fund
  • Flood (or heavy downpour) preparedness starts with two-by-two (rain barrels).

——FIRST UPDATE: 4:53 P.M., MONDAY, AUG. 15 ——

The founder of BlueBarrel Rainwater Catchment Systems reached out to say that she just established a new barrel pickup site in Colorado Springs, near the Chapel Hills area. 

"Most of our participating barrel suppliers are not retailers - they're food manufacturing warehouses," she explains. "So customers don't actually get an address until after they purchase on our website. Then they get a voucher with complete details about where to claim their barrels, and we ship the rest of the materials to their doorstep."



We legalized weed. Why not rain barrels? 

Long a point of contention, rain barrels finally got a green light recently and officially become legal on Wednesday, Aug. 10. Ahead of that, Conservation Colorado offers the following FAQ for just about all info consumers should want to know:

Where do I get a rain barrel?
You can find all varieties of barrels at Lowe’s, Home Depot, Ace Hardware, Amazon and other home and garden stores. The company BlueBarrel gives recycled barrels a second life and helps you set them up into a rainwater catchment system. Make sure to grab an online voucher before checking out their stores in Denver, Lafayette, and Louisville.

Who can use rain barrels under this new law?
Anyone who lives in a house or townhouse with fewer than 4 units can use a rain barrel. No permits are necessary. For other narrow exceptions on who can collect rainwater, check out information on the State Engineer’s website.

Now coming to more yards near you. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Now coming to more yards near you.
How many rain barrels can I have?
Each household can have up to two rain barrels with 110 gallons of storage capacity. This is enough to help water your vegetable garden, outdoor plants, or a small lawn.

What can I use the water for?
Rain barrels can capture rainwater from roof downspouts and the water can only be used for outdoor purposes on the property from which the rainwater was captured. So, it can be used to water outdoor plants, lawns, or gardens, to wash your car, etc. For more very useful facts on Colorado’s new law (including concerns about mosquitos and water quality), check out these resources from Colorado State University.

What else do I need to install my rain barrel?
Just a gutter. In order to make the most of your rain barrel, you may want to to create a raised platform for the barrel, such as cinder blocks or a wooden pallet. The higher your platform is, the higher the water pressure coming out of the barrel will be and the easier to get a watering can under the spigot.
Depending on your gutter structure, a flexible gutter extension can be useful, and may need to be secured with screws and sealed with caulk. Don’t forget to measure your gutter and buy a downspout extension that is the right size!

How do I install a rain barrel?
Here’s a nice how-to guide from Tree People: How To Install a Rain Barrel
And here is a collection of videos by Blue Barrel Systems for how to set up their systems. Keep in mind that your barrel needs to be sealable to keep out breeding mosquitos.

What do I need to do to maintain my rain barrel?
CSU has some helpful hints on how to keep out impurities and contaminants. And you’ll want to make sure to winterize it for our cold winters. Once your rain barrel is installed, maintenance is easy. Simply use the water you’ve collected to water your garden and make sure the rain barrel is emptied on a regular basis.

What do I do with my rain barrel during the winter?
In Colorado, it’s not a good idea to leave your barrel set up in the winter, as water inside may freeze and damage the system. Right around the first frost, it’s time to pack it up for the winter. Adjust your gutter downspout so the water will run away from your house. Empty your barrel completely, rinse it, and let it dry. Then, either store it inside a garage or basement, or turn it upside down and leave it outside for the winter, covering it with a tarp if you have one. Make sure the spigot is open and all components are clean. In the spring, you can put it back in place and start harvesting rainwater again.

Will my rain barrel make a difference?
It may not seem like a lot, but in Colorado every drop counts. Using two rain barrels to water your plants could save up to 1,200 gallons a year. It’s also a great way to connect to Colorado’s water supply, as using a rain barrel tunes you into the natural water cycles of our region.

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Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bible approved for AFB desk

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 2:24 PM

The Bible as it appeared on Maj. Lewis's desk. - COURTESY MRFF
  • Courtesy MRFF
  • The Bible as it appeared on Maj. Lewis's desk.
The investigation of a Bible placed at a work station of Air Force Maj. Steve Lewis at Peterson Air Force Base has concluded that the "good book" can stay just where he had it.

The Bible had been removed during the investigation, started on Aug. 15, and it's not known at this time if it's been returned.

At issue are complaints from service members received by the Military Religious Freedom Foundation about the location of the Bible, which sits on a desk in an area where many people work in the Reserve National Security Space Institute.

You can read our coverage of the issue here.

Today, we heard from Lt. Col. David Fruck, chief of public affairs for the 310th Space Wing, who wrote in an email:
As pledged, we have reviewed the situation there. We have concluded that no abuse of liberties has occurred, and Maj Lewis's behavior and the workplace environment at the RNSSI are well within the provisions of Air Force Instruction 1-1, Air Force Standards, paragraphs 2.11 and 2.12, "Free Exercise of Religion and Religious Accommodation" and "Balance of Free Exercise of Religion and Establishment Clause."
Fruck, when asked, says he doesn't know if the Bible has been placed at the work station again, but "the review allows him to have a Bible on his desk."

MRFF founder Mikey Weinstein called the investigation "a sham and a travesty," because Col. Lisa Johnson, the commander who approved the Bible's placement in the first place, apparently was the one in charge of the investigation. That hasn't been confirmed by the Air Force, however.
"This is a quintessential example of a disgusting conflict of interest," Weinstein says. He adds he plans to demand the Department of Defense Inspector General's Office conduct a separate investigation. "We can't find a single instance where the Air Force enforces Air Force Instruction 1-1."

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Funky Little Theater Company reveals season lineup

Posted By on Tue, Aug 23, 2016 at 1:32 PM

On Saturday, Aug. 20, Funky Little Theater Company announced its third season. Though Men of Steel, which is currently on stage and will run through Aug. 27, is technically the first show of “Chapter Three,” the company managed to keep the second production of the season a secret until the announcement. It has been in rehearsals for about three weeks.

Trash, which is the title of the play and not an early review, is billed as “a funny, highly inappropriate, most likely offensive, not your mama’s comedy.” It will be directed by Jeremiah Miller, featuring performances by Ellen Regina, Sallie Walker, Chad Orr, Chelsie Rigor and Chris Medina.
The plot follows a former Hollywood starlet who now lives in a trailer with her family. A blogger tracks her down for an interview, but her kids assume that, since he’s from California, he’s a producer. They try to pitch a movie idea to him “and hilarity ensues,” according to stage manager Lucas Schoenemann.

Artistic Director Chris Medina says “Every rehearsal we just laugh and laugh and laugh, probably because of how inappropriate it is.”

Performances begin Sept. 9 and run Thursdays through Saturdays through Sept. 24. The playwright, Johnny Drago, will be visiting for closing weekend to do talk-backs.

Post-Trash, here’s what the company has coming up:
  • Oct. 15 and March 25, 24SEVEN/Afterdark: Pulling short plays from previous 24SEVEN events and creating a few new ones, cast members enjoy some adult beverages after their performance, then do it all over again to see if inebriation changes anything. Judging by previous events, it absolutely does. 
  • Oct. 28-Nov. 12, The Bold, The Young and The Murdered by Don Zolidis: Funky’s Halloween production follows a cast of warring soap opera stars as they attempt to produce one last episode to save their show. “Essentially shit’s on the line and they start dropping dead,” Medina says.
  • Dec. 2-17, The Nerd by Larry Shue: Rather than doing a classic Christmas show, Funky will present this comedy about “an architect stuck in a rut and facing a milestone birthday, whose life is suddenly, hilariously upended by the unexpected appearance of an old army buddy.”
  • Jan. 9 and July 15, 24SEVEN: Reprising the favorite one-day play festival in which seven playwrights, seven directors and 24 actors bring seven short plays to live within 24 hours.
  • Jan. 20-Feb. 4, [Record] [Transfer] [Erase] by Jeremiah Miller: This world premiere written by company member Jeremiah Miller is a retro-sci-fi drama. In a dystopian world, adults’ eyes are removed and replaced with recording devices so the government can view video (on true retro VHS tapes) of everything a person does. The main character has her own reasons for not wanting to undergo the procedure.
  • Feb. 9-Feb. 18 The Vagina Monologues: Funky’s annual take on Eve Ensler’s award-winning collection of monologues, featuring veteran and new female performers.
  • March 3-18, Spectrum: The second edition of Funky’s now-annual LGBTQ play festival, which received 269 submissions nationally last season and produced eight world premieres.
  • April 7-22, TBA: Though Funky original planned to stage Tennessee Williams’ classic Sweet Bird of Youth, the show has been cancelled and will be replaced. See here for updates. 
  • May 17-June 3, Extremities: Ending on an intense note, the closing show of Funky’s season is about an attempted rape, a woman turning the tables on her attacker and the moral gray area between punishing an attempted crime and the crime itself.
Auditions will be held in two rounds, one in fall and one in spring.

Fall auditions for The Nerd and [Record] [Transfer] [Erase] will be held Sept. 25, 2-4 p.m. and Sept. 26, 5-8 p.m.

Spring auditions for the rest of the season will likely be held Feb. 4-5. See future listings for details.
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