Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cox named interim city manager

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 9:53 AM

Steve Cox
  • Steve Cox

Following the announcement of City Manager Penny Culbreth-Graft's resignation, City Council has chosen Colorado Springs Fire Chief Steve Cox to serve as interim city manager.

"I was asked by Council if I would take this position for the interim basis, and not being one to say no to a challenge, I agreed to do that," Cox said this morning. "And really, I think, we all have a take a role in the success of the city, and maybe I can play a role in making it successful."

City Councilor Randy Purvis says Cox is the right person for the job for several reasons.

"One, coming out of the fire department it's much easier to promote someone from a deputy chief to a commanding chief ... [because] it's a much deeper organization structurally," he says. "Two, Steve Cox has been around the community a long time, so he knows the city. Three, he did a spin as the interim assistant city manager a while ago."

Purvis adds, "He's always been very positive in terms of his attitude."

No search for a permanent replacement will be conducted until after the April 2011 city election because voters may choose to change the Springs' structure of government to a "strong mayor" system, in which case the city manager position would be eliminated. Purvis also notes that there could be six or seven new Councilors elected within the next year, and they may want to pick their own administrator.

Purvis says he expects that Culbreth-Graft will work to ease Cox's transition onto the job in the remaining weeks of her employment.

Cox plans to announce his interim replacement as fire chief later today.

Cox is a long-time employee of the city, and was named fire chief in 2008, after briefly serving as interim assistant city manager.

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It's a breeze

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 9:24 AM


Want to stop 7,400 pounds of greenhouse gases from spewing into our air each year? Think one person can't possibly help do that?

Check out Colorado Springs Utilities' Green Power program that allows customers to buy blocks of wind power to help reduce harmful coal power plant emissions. At present, Utilities is sold out of its current wind energy, which comes from a farm near the Colorado-Wyoming border.

But the city-owned enterprise is investing in a wind farm in eastern El Paso County and is logging a waiting list in preparation for adding more wind power to its grid in 2011. Sign up. The cost of 100 kilowatt hours is about $5 to $6 a month. There will be no charges added to your bill until next year.

Meantime, learn more about green efforts in the Pikes Peak region.

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Chan second in short program at skating Worlds

Posted By on Thu, Mar 25, 2010 at 6:37 AM

One of Colorado Springs' newest resident athletes, Canadian figure skating champion Patrick Chan, may be adding one more accomplishment to the long list of skaters who have trained here through the years.

Patrick Chan
  • Patrick Chan

But Ryan Bradley of Colorado Springs, trying to make the most of perhaps his final skating competition, had a tough outing in the men's short program Wednesday at the 2010 World Figure Skating Championships in Torino, Italy. Bradley, the 26-year-old who was fourth nationally and just missed the Olympic team for Vancouver, placed a disappointing 21st in the short program and has no chance for a medal.

Chan, better prepared than at the Olympics where he finished fifth, skated a strong short program to grab second place with 87.80 points, trailing only leader Daisuke Takahashi of Japan, who totaled 89.30.

That puts Chan, who relocated to Colorado Springs and the World Arena last December, in excellent position going into the long program Thursday. Chan was second at the 2009 Worlds in Los Angeles and is considered an early favorite for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia.

The other Americans competing at Torino, U.S. champion Jeremy Abbott (formerly of Colorado Springs) and Adam Rippon, are sixth and seventh, respectively.

China's Qing Pang and Jian Tong won the pairs title Wednesday, with the U.S. teams placing seventh and ninth.

The ladies competition, including U.S. champion Rachael Flatt of Colorado Springs, starts with its short program Friday.

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Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dear me — it's me!

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 6:30 PM

So, the other day while "working" here in the office, Bryce discovered this awesome Web site that allows you to email yourself in the future.

Really — you're gonna wanna do it ... so go ahead and surprise yourself.

Or just take a tour of the public entries and laugh your ass off at all the stupid and funny things people have written. My favorite thus far: a guy who wrote to himself on December 20, 2012, the day before the supposed end of the world, counseling himself to not panic, steal a car and have fun and, um, make love to his wife or girlfriend.

There's even a book that's been compiled if you really get into this.

And really, why wouldn't you?

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Soldiers: Entertain the kiddies, free of charge

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 5:29 PM

While spending a day with hundreds of shrieking children sounds like hell to me, I understand that this is part of the joys of parenting for millions of Americans.

So, for those of you with kids who also happen to be members of the military, I have good news. You have a chance to take the whole fam to Mr. Biggs for free if you act quickly.

Here's the info.:


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Ice skate to save the community centers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 11:48 AM

From the listings desk: Help out the city's threatened community centers by heading to Sertich Ice Center (1705 E. Pikes Peak Ave.) tomorrow, March 25, between 7:15-9:15 p.m. for a benefit public skate. $4 buys admission and skate rental. Half of all proceeds will benefit Deerfield Hills, Hillside, Meadows Park and Westside Community Centers.

The event is hosted by the Colorado Springs Community Center Task Force, visit their Facebook page for more information.

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And the growth leader is....

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 10:32 AM

For years, growth in the Denver Metro area has been dominated by suburban counties such as Weld and Douglas.

The new  growth leader
  • The new growth leader

But for 2009, as the Denver Post's Burt Hubbard reports this morning, the surprise leader on the large county growth board is Denver, jumping 2.9 percent from July 1, 2008, to July 1, 2009, reaching 610,345 people.

That's almost 6,000 more people than the 2009 estimate for El Paso County, the state's second most populous. In the same period, El Paso grew 1.5 percent to 604,542 people.

Incidentally, San Juan County, the state's least populous, grew by 1.6 percent. That equates to 9 people, which brought the county to a population of 574.

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Sorting it all out

Posted By on Wed, Mar 24, 2010 at 8:33 AM

Doctors aren't only healers these days. They must be negotiators with insurance companies, businessmen and personnel managers.


To mark Doctors Day on March 30, the El Paso County Medical Society announces a web site powered by Medical Voyce to provide a host of tools to help physicians run their businesses and practice medicine.

“The technologies and web-based resources available through the new site allow health care providers to run their practices with efficiency in an ever tightening atmosphere,” Carol Walker, the society's executive vice president, says in a news release. The site outlines legislative issues and requirements, plus a doctor-requested online referral tool tied to a growing physician directory.

“This new, directory-linked e-mail system allows me to securely send a referral with the click of a mouse instead of writing time-consuming letters or looking up colleagues in the phone book,” Dr. Jeffrey Moody, the group's president and a practicing urologist in Colorado Springs, says in the release.

The public will also have access to a potential patient segment of the directory, providing information on doctors to help them make informed choices about visiting a physician, including philosophy, training and insurance accepted.

Powering the group's site is the growing Medical Voyce portal, which expands the tools and offerings.

Current health care changes such as the upcoming 21% cut in Medicare reimbursements effect how doctors must run their businesses. “This is a changing business and our doctor’s need the support of the business community to run their offices so they can focus on medicine and their patients,” Medical Voyce CEO Dirk Hobbs says.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Farewell, 'Flaunt'

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 5:11 PM

Pac-Man Girl is no match for widespread apathy.
  • Pac-Man Girl is no match for widespread apathy.

The popular arts hoedown under the Colorado Avenue bridge from FutureSelf, the Gallery of Contemporary Art at UCCS and TheatreWorks has displayed its last, says interim GOCA director Caitlin Green, at least for this year.

"We aren’t going to do it this year as a group,” Green says. “We all really enjoyed partnering together, and I think our three organizations put a lot into it together. [However] none of us as individuals have the time to go into it right now … we definitely didn’t make quite enough [money] out of it for what we were looking for."

Green remains optimistic for the future of the show.

For more, enjoy this (slightly NSFW) video from the 2007 production:

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Waaaaah, we don't want health care reform

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 2:55 PM

We all remember that one kid in kindergarten that everybody hated.

If he didn't get on the tire swing, or didn't get to go first at Show and Tell, or didn't get the biggest piece of cake, he'd throw himself on his back and scream and squeal like a spoiled little pig.

Sen. Mark Udall
  • Sen. Mark Udall

I bring this up for a reason.

Today, U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and state Sen. Dan Gibbs of Silverthorne were planning to have a Senate hearing to talk about — and this is about as innocuous as it gets — the destruction caused by the bark beetle infestation, and how we might stop the nasty little bastards from destroying our forests.

Unfortunately, that hearing has been canceled because some Republicans — angry over the passage of health care reform — have thrown their maturity to the wind. These Republicans, apparently, are using everything at their disposal to bring our system of government to a halt until they get their way.

Now, many Americans are agreeing to disagree on health care reform. And that's OK. But blocking a bark beetle conference? Come on, guys.

For the sake of decency, let's all hope these cantankerous conservatives will tire of punching pillows in the time out corner and pull themselves together.

This from an Associated Press story:

DENVER (AP) _ U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and a Colorado state senator have gotten caught in the crossfire over health care.

A hearing Tuesday on Udall's bill to protect communities from bark beetles was canceled after Republicans angry over the passage of health insurance reform legislation blocked it by using an obscure Senate rule requiring a unanimous consent to hold hearings scheduled after 2 p.m.

One of the witnesses set to testify at the hearing was Colorado state Sen. Dan Gibbs.
Udall says he hopes to get the hearing rescheduled this week.

And this from Udall's office:

**IMPORTANT UPDATE: Today’s hearing on Senator Udall’s bark beetle legislation has been canceled due to Republican Obstruction**

Washington, D.C. — Today’s scheduled hearing on Senator Mark Udall’s bill to protect communities from wildfire and falling trees as a result of bark beetle infestation has been canceled due to Republican obstructionism. Angry over the passage of health insurance reform legislation, Republican leaders are using an arcane rule, which requires the unanimous consent of Senators in both parties to agree to hearings scheduled after 2 p.m., and have objected to the bark beetle hearing and vowed not to cooperate with Democrats for the rest of the year.

Senator Udall today strongly urged Republican leaders to stop their political maneuvering and allow the hearing about a critical public safety issue to be re-scheduled this week. One of the witnesses set to testify at the hearing was Colorado State Senator Dan Gibbs.

“It is critical that this hearing go forward — especially with Senator Gibbs in Washington to explain how important this bipartisan bill is to Coloradans. Delay just prevents urgently needed resources from going to Colorado communities threatened by beetle-killed trees,” Senator Udall said. “I strongly urge my colleagues to re-think their strategy — this is a matter of public safety, and that’s too important for political gamesmanship.”

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Onion uncovers hidden side of newspaper industry troubles

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 2:21 PM

The decline of the print journalism has engendered polarized reactions, as the anxious protests of the newspaper industry are all but drowned out by the rejoicing of many within the blogging community.

Still, there's another side to the question, one that until now has been given virtually no attention. And here it is:

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The Hickenlooper campaign speaks, er, e-mails

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 1:57 PM

It's official: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper is running for governor.

And the race is on
  • And the race is on.

OK, Hickenlooper announced that he planned to run for governor back in January after fellow Democrat Gov. Bill Ritter said he wasn't going to seek a second term. But in the long weeks that followed, Hickenlooper lacked a Web site, a staff or anything else that might hint at a campaign.

Well, today we received a rallying e-mail from the Hickenlooper campaign, complete with a logo on top and everything. (It's pasted below.) It appears the staff is in place and the campaign is starting to go about the business of recruiting donors and volunteers.

The most interesting part of the email may be where he promises, "We're not going to run a typical campaign. We're all as tired as you are of the mudslinging. We need to balance the budget and put people back to work, and we don't want to waste time and money on negative TV ads."

That might be one of the more commonly broken promises in politics, but Hickenlooper at least has the luxury of being popular. Even with no campaign to speak of, polls have shown him in a tight race with Republican frontrunner Scott McInnis.

Continue reading »

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Skating in sync

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 1:39 PM

Athletes from Italy, Finland, Canada, New Zealand, Sweden and a bunch of other countries converge on Colorado Springs April 9 and 10 for the International Skating Union's 2010 World Synchronized Skating Championships at the World Arena.


If you've never seen synchronized skating, this is a slick opportunity to see the very best in action. Routines are unbelievably choreographed and executed, and the costumes are also fun to see. This isn't an after-school past-time. These people are serious. Skaters go through fierce competition to be picked for a team. They relocate to train. Even put off college to compete.

Springs-based U.S. Figure Skating introduced championship-caliber synchronized skating to the world when it hosted the inaugural World Synchronized Skating Championships in 2000. Now, a decade later the World Synchronized Skating Championships return to Colorado Springs at the World Arena.


Single-session tickets ($12.00 to $17.00) are now available. Click here, or call the box office at 719.576.2626.

Teams are entered from the United States, Australia, Finland, Japan, Austria, France, New Zealand, Belgium, Germany, Russia, Canada, Hungary, South Africa, Croatia, Iceland, Switzerland, Italy, Sweden and the Czech Republic.

There are about 525 synchronized teams registered with U.S. Figure Skating and nearly 5,000 athletes participate annually in the synchronized skating sectional championships.

Synchronized skating is a team sport in which 8-20 skaters perform a program together. It uses the same judging system as singles, pairs and dance and is characterized by teamwork, speed, intricate formations and challenging step sequences. As with the other disciplines, all teams perform a free skate with required well-balanced program elements. In addition, teams at the junior and senior level perform a short program consisting of required elements.

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Sweet architecture

Posted By on Tue, Mar 23, 2010 at 10:12 AM

Ladies and gentleman: the Fine Arts Center
  • Ladies and gentleman: the Fine Arts Center
Have you ever seen a really cool building and thought to yourself, ‘Man, that’s so pretty, I wish I could eat it.’?

Me neither.

But apparently someone had a thought not too far from that at the Colorado chapter of the American Institute of Architects, which in celebration of Colorado Architecture Month (who knew?), invited eight Colorado restaurants to create desserts inspired by notable local architecture.

The project is being called Delicious Designs, and the desserts are slated to be served throughout April, for roughly one week each.

Outside of three Denver eateries, the other participants are all metro-Springs based: Nosh, The Blue Star, The Margarita at PineCreek, Amuzé Bistro and the Black Bear Restaurant. Architecture tributes include the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, the Goodwill Center of Colorado Springs and the U.S. Air Force Academy Chapel. Find dessert sketches and available dates at

Deconstructing art
  • Deconstructing art

In case you can't read the blueprints, here's more on architect Christy Riggs and chef Alicia Prescott's rendition of the FAC, to be served April 1-10:

The dessert is an olive oil cake with lemon curd filling, lemon cream and a white chocolate glaze. The cake is covered by a sugar cage with fresh berries. The dessert is accompanied by lemon curd with raspberry sauce and a raspberry sorbet.

Continue reading »

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Judges Gone Wild

Posted By on Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 7:35 PM

Question: Why is downtown suddenly looking like a ghost town, with tons of parking spaces and not even one courtside minister trying to save some attorney's soul as he heads over to the hot dog cart?

Answer: Because today marks the beginning of Spring Break for 4th Judicial District judges!

As you read this, amped-up adjudicators are already flocking south to take part in bacchanalian gatherings where they’ll mainline jello shots, get down to lame punk-pop bands, and “disrobe” for the next installment of Judges Gone Wild. After that, it’s back to the hotel to savor the latest issue of Harvard Law Review.

Party on, your honor.

If this magistrates rockin, dont come knockin
  • If this magistrate's rockin', don't come knockin'

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