Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Legalized marijuana draws ever nearer

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 7:20 PM


It's a poll-tastic day here in Colorado Springs:

— First up, data from Rasmussen Reports says that 43 percent of Americans think marijuana should be legalized outright, 42 percent disagree and 15 percent aren't much for decision making, or just don't know. Last May, a poll showed 41 percent in support of legalization, and 49 percent opposed.

Regardless of support categorization, 63 percent think marijuana will be nationally legalized in the next 10 years.

Several cash-strapped states have been considering legalizing and taxing the drug in order to generate more revenue. In both Colorado and California, 49 percent of voters support legalizing and taxing the drug.

Next, California's Proposition 19 — the state initiative to legalize and tax marijuana — is doing better than ever, with Public Policy Polling saying that 52 percent support passage, with only 36 percent opposed.

Democrats are more likely to throw their support behind the prop than Republicans. In all, 62 percent of Democrats, 37 percent of Republicans and 55 percent of Independents support Prop 19.

African-Americans are the strongest supporters of Prop 19; 68-32 percent, followed by whites who support it 53-37.

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Christo visits the Indy

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 5:08 PM

In preparation for this evening's presentation at the FAC, Christo dropped by our offices with other project members to talk about his "Over the River" art piece.

The BLM recently released its long-awaited Environmental Impact Statement draft, an audit of sorts normally reserved for public projects like dams or airports, stating the effects the project will have along a portion of the Arkansas River between Salida and Cañon City. The EIS is open for public review and comment through the end of August.

Christo explaining facets of the work.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Christo explaining facets of the work.

For more on the EIS and tonight's presentation, read here and here.

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Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 3:56 PM


This week, the Indy Minute features the Rocky Mountain State Games Opening Ceremony, Big Bill Morganfield at Crystola Roadhouse, and the Blame Sally benefit concert for The Women's Resource Agency. As seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13.

Tune into the Indy Minute each week for details on all the events that entertain and bring our community together. It's simulcast on KRDO News Radio 105.5 FM and 1240 AM.

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Summer clothes for 99 cents

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 1:59 PM

Bargain-hunters: Can you stop lovingly caressing your Groupon coupons for a minute, to take note of an honest-to-goodness sale?


From the press release:

Beginning Wednesday July 28th and running through Friday July 30, all t-shirts, tank tops and shorts will be .99 cents each at Arc Thrift Stores’ 19 locations in Colorado. Thousands of items have been back-stocked to build huge amounts of inventory and selection for this annual sale.

Here are your local shops:

Hancock Plaza Shopping Center (Hancock & Academy)
2780 South Academy Blvd.

Austin Bluffs
 (Austin Bluffs & Barnes Road
4402 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.

Uintah Gardens Shopping Center (19th & Uintah
1830 W. Uintah St.

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A new partner in NORAD?

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Should Canada and the United States make its bi-national command into a tri-national command?

That's the question at the heart of a paper by a friend of mine, Jim Carafano, a homeland security expert at the conservative think tank, The Heritage Foundation, in Washington, D.C.


Carafano, an accomplished historian and teacher who's written several books, knows his stuff and he's quoted plenty in news stories about various national security issues, including by me in the past.

His latest treatise, done in collaboration with Heritage's analysts, investigates whether the North American Aerospace Defense Command, based at Peterson Air Force Base, should expand.

"NORAD should now adapt further by expanding both its membership and its range of functions," the paper states. "The United States and Canada should invite Mexico to join NORAD. Bringing Mexico into NORAD would greatly enhance NORAD’s aerial and maritime surveillance capabilities in North America and help to build a common strategic vision among North American countries that respects and strengthens the sovereignty of each nation while addressing common threats and concerns."

In the Independent's interview with the new NORAD chief, Adm. James Winnefeld Jr., the commander sidestepped whether Mexico should become a full member, but he emphasized the importance of the U.S. working closely with Mexico on some of that country's drug-related problems.

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CNN Money meets medical marijuana

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:43 PM

With possibly the greatest name in news, Poppy Harlow of CNN Money recently visited Denver to chat with Westword's pot critic William Breathes.

Some highlights from Harlow's reporting:

A decade after medical marijuana was legalized in Colorado, it’s estimated about two percent of the state’s population — or more than 100,000 people — have applied for medical marijuana licenses.

According to one Harvard economist, roughly 18 billion dollars is spent on pot every year in the U.S.

Westword's managing editor Jonathan Shikes, talking about Breathes:

He has his journalism degree, he was a good writer and was very familiar with what was going on in terms of public policy. And he could also punctuate, and he could spell, which was very different than a lot of the people who applied for the job.

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Solagget city: Post-rock straight outta Pueblo (and Wichita)

Posted By on Wed, Jul 28, 2010 at 12:31 PM

You never know what you're going to stumble upon, walking down a Colorado Springs alley on a warm Saturday night. Especially if it's the alley just off Bijou Street that's home to Rubbish Gallery.

It was there that I happened upon an all-too-rare performance by a band called Solagget last Saturday. Sharing a bill with Manitou's Changing Colors, the instrumental trio played a set of melodic compositions that offered plenty of room for skilled improvisation, subtle interplay and a dynamic ebb and flow that kept even the longest pieces from dragging.

It was an excellent example of the kind of music that gave rise to the term post-rock, a genre of largely Midwestern origin that includes the Chicago band Tortoise, Kent, Ohio's Six Parts Seven, and Louisville, Ky.'s The For Carnation).

Solagget, it turns out, also has Midwestern roots. Brothers Sean and Aaron Fanning — who play electric bass and drums, respectively — currently live in Pueblo, but electric guitarist David Lord is still back in Wichita, Kansas, where the three of them first started the band and recorded an album.

And yes, that's the same Sean Fanning who plays standup bass in the Haunted Windchimes. I talked to him afterward and he promised to give us advance warning the next time the group performs in town, hopefully by this coming winter. We'll let you know as soon as we hear.

I wish I had a Solagget video to show you, but that'll have to wait. So here's a Six Parts Seven video instead, followed by a clip of the Fanning brothers doing something completely different:

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Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Local artist to appear on the Rachael Ray show

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 5:03 PM

Old Colorado City artist Jason Baalman will share his unique work on the nationally syndicated Rachael Ray show tomorrow. Baalman is known for his portraits made of unusual materials, such as lipstick, mascara, ketchup, pennies and plastic Army toys. Baalman will present Ray with her portrait, made from Cheetos.

As mentioned in our 2009 story, "Idol Hands," Baalman has achieved enormous popularity online through his Eclectic Asylum Art channel on YouTube. (He's already appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and Good Morning America.) To make his videos, he mounts a camera above his project, films himself drawing or painting, then speeds the footage up and sets it to music. Here's an example:

The show airs tomorrow on KOAA Channel 5 at 11 a.m.

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Open, if you can

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

The Pueblo Chieftain is reporting that Pueblo City Council has approved an ordinance that allows for the sale of medical marijuana — as well as a restrictive zoning ordinance that may make it hard, if not impossible, to do so.

Near 11 p.m., council voted for the zoning plan — which limits medical marijuana businesses to B-3, B-4 and industrial zone areas and also requires a 1,000-foot buffer from many businesses such as child care facilities and schools.

The zoning plan and buffers set such tight limits that Council President Larry Atencio said the city was approving a good licensing plan but defeating it with a zoning map that would discourage medical marijuana centers from complying.

The report states that Councilors were reluctant to approve the zoning ordinance, but relented when city staff said the ordinance could always be amended even post-approval.

From there, city lawmakers got out their wish lists, and went to work.

Kurt Stiegelmeier, assistant city attorney, said he shaped the ordinance closely on liquor store licensing. Even so, council wanted to make changes in the proposal.

Councilwoman Judy Weaver had a long list of changes — including requiring that anyone obtaining medical marijuana present a picture identification card as part of the process.

She also noted there are no limits in the new state law on how many times someone with a state-approved marijuana card can patronize a center on any day.

Councilman Ray Aguilera, a liquor store owner, questioned that, noting there are no state limits on how many times a person can patronize a liquor store in a day.

Stiegelmeier said he tried to balance the city ordinance with Amendment 20, the state constitutional amendment that legalized the use of medical marijuana for some health conditions.

Weaver noted that center operators have approached her and identified some of their patients as a way to reassure her, but she found that to be an alarming violation of patient privacy.

Stiegelmeier agreed that confidentiality should be required and the ordinance could be amended to do that.

Pueblo's oft-covered Medimar Ministry was not available for comment on this story; read about owner Tom Sexton here, here and here.

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Recycle group plans trash audit

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 12:22 PM

The Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs wants to conduct an audit of residential waste in the region.

Goals of the audit are to raise awareness of the recycling opportunities that already exist in the region and to gather data on how much could be recycled. The group hopes to kick off the audit during the Pikes Peak EcoFestival on Aug. 28.


The group plans a meeting with waste haulers from noon to 2 p.m. tomorrow at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments' office, 15 S. Seventh St, to discuss the idea and develop a strategic plan. If you go, please bring a lunch; the group will provide drinks and cookies.

If you have questions, contact Alicia Archibald or Jane Ard-Smith.

Here's a report from a recent meeting:

The Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs and friends are proposing to conduct a residential waste audit over the next year. The goal is two-fold. First, we'd like to use the audit as an opportunity to educate folks on recycling opportunities in El Paso County. Second, the audit will provide data that can help justify a regional MRF. Our goal is to involve all of the waste haulers that currently provide recycling opportunities: Bestway Disposal, Waste Management, Springs Disposal, and Waste Connections.

We discussed the possibility of doing a kickoff audit at the EcoFestival on August 28, 2010. Dianne Bertini, producer of the event, was amenable to the idea and agreed to help facilitate getting the necessary permissions from Andy Morris of Rock Ledge Ranch. She told us that Bestway Disposal is a sponsor of the EcoFestival and is already providing a gable top for single-stream recycling, as well as a trash roll-off. Although we would like to include all of the haulers in the audit process, we agreed that it made the most sense to focus on Bestway Disposal at the EcoFestival because of their sponsorship of the event.

We discussed the logistics of the demonstration audit. Our preference is to position the audit so that it is visible to attendees as they enter the Ecofestival. Dianne thought that we might be able to use the parking lot right near the entrance. Some other logistical considerations:

We need to manage for the wind and safety (which could be accomplished with roll-off positioning and orange fencing).
—Tarps on the ground to protect against leakage
—Timing - if possible, we'd like to have an uncompacted trash truck dump its load early in the day, sometime prior to the 10 AM start time, so that folks could see our progress over the course of the day.
Equipment needs: gloves, safety glasses, recycling tubs, waiver, dress requirements for volunteers (do we provide protective clothing?), tent
—Static display board and signs for educational purposes
—Title for the Event - Alicia suggested Talking Trash 2010 (noting that this was the 10-year anniversary of the Clean Air Campaign meeting that led to the formation of the Recycling Coalition). We need to create a blurb: “Talking Trash 2010 — Come on over and help us sort it out! The Recycling Coalition of Colorado Springs is celebrating their 10th anniversary by dumpster diving at the Pikes Peak Eco Festival.”

Next Steps/Action Items:

Meet with the waste haulers ASAP (next week at the latest) to discuss the proposal. Alicia will contact the haulers and invite them to a meeting - preferably next Wednesday or late Thursday. She will also contact Sarah White at PPACG for meeting space.

Develop the plan for the audit - Jordan (intern with City of Colorado Springs) was researching how other communities had conducted waste audits. Jane will contact Carrie McCausland to follow up.
Develop a media strategy and identify a media coordinator - Alicia Archibald has agreed to be the media contact. Our thought is to develop a strategy that acts in tandem with the media outreach for the EcoFestival. Dianne told us that the media sponsors for the EcoFestival include The Gazette, and two clear channel radio stations (106.3 and 96.9). 106.3 will be doing a live remote from the festival. We brainstormed some possible television stations - 5/30 seemed the best bet. We'd also like to get on a television morning show. We need to develop PSAs. This will be one of the topics for the next meeting.

Facebook page— Jane, with the help of Peter Schulman - will set up.Identify neighborhoods throughout the community
Coordination with neighborhoods. Once we have a plan in place, we need to coordinate with the neighborhood associations for support - need to contact Dave Munger @ CONO.

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Jason Zacharias remembered today

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Today marks the one-year anniversary of local curator and OpticalReverb founder Jason Zacharias' death.

Jason had an amazing eye for talent, and curated some of the most interesting shows annually.
  • Jason had an amazing eye for talent, and curated some of the most interesting shows annually.

If you never had the chance to meet Zacharias or are unfamiliar with his significant contribution to our local arts scene between 2004 and last year, read a 2006 Indy interview with him here.

Zacharias helped many local artists get their starts, organizing their first shows in gallery spaces like Phantom Canyon that he oversaw. His shows were dynamic, diverse and full of raw talent.

Speaking as the person tasked with organizing much of the Indy's weekly arts coverage over the past four years, I can say that my colleagues and I greatly miss Jason's presence in the local scene. Seeing his name attached to a press release almost always meant we were going to open an e-mail full of captivating images. It was an effortless call to say, "Let's plan a story on this show." With Jason, we knew we were receiving works and artists that had already been vetted by a professional with a great gift for recognizing and encouraging talent.

Speaking on a more personal level, I miss seeing Jason's wide smile at art events — his enthusiasm was infectious and he always presented such a warmth to his friends and associates like me. He spoke highly of the artists whom he represented and was always gracious and sincere. He loved art and had an ambitious vision for the type of art community he wanted to help nurture here. Few have put themselves out there, investing the time and energy that Jason did, for the creative benefit of others.

His absence has been felt this past year, as it will continue to be felt for quite some time in local art spaces.

As one commenter who posted on our website said: "Sorry you left us — the community is poorer without you."

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Fostering furries

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 10:21 AM

Do you have a little extra room in your home for a pup on a temporary basis? If so, the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region needs you.

Theres nothin cuter than a puppy. Except a puppy with a home.
  • Kirsten Akens
  • There's nothin' cuter than a puppy. Except a puppy with a home.

According to a Humane Society release:

This time of year is historically busy for the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region. The warmer weather brings more breeding and the shelter sees an increase in the number of litters of kittens and puppies it receives. Right now, however, there seems to be a shortage of dog foster homes and the Humane Society is looking for interested families who may be able to offer immediate assistance.

Foster families will typically house a foster pet while it is sick and recuperating or recovering from surgery. However, there are many times when the Humane Society simply needs to place a pregnant cat or dog at a home until they give birth and the litter can be spayed or neutered before adoption.

“You do not have to have any experience, just the willingness to care for these animals that need help. Our foster care team will walk you through it,” states Stacey Candella, Spokesperson for the Humane Society. “Fostering is a great way for those that want to make a difference for these animals to do just that. It allows us free up space here at the shelter for animals that can be immediately adopted."

I met this little Min Pin. What a trooper.
  • I met this little Min Pin. What a trooper.

If you can help, contact the Humane Society's Foster Care coordinator at 473-1741 ext. 134. And for more information about the organization, or to see what animals currently are sniffing around for permanent homes, visit

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Sex, medicinal drugs and ...

Posted By on Tue, Jul 27, 2010 at 9:51 AM

It's almost impossible to run into an MMJ story that avoids the topic of legitimacy. It's one of the few, and perhaps only, benefits that the dispensing-minded enjoy about the new tax and fee codes.

And then there's this:

Meet Deedra.
  • Nick Lucchesi/Westword
  • Meet Deedra.

The image, and story, come courtesy of Westword, who talked to Deedra (last name withheld) while she was standing outside Mile High Medical Cannabis on Denver's Federal Boulevard.

It's an almost certainly a one-of-a-kind job description for Deedra. While she wasn't quite wearing a bikini on Monday afternoon, she said the job still has resulted in honking, hollering, phone number requesting and drive-by video-taping. ...

"Yesterday, I had this shirt on and Bob threw me out there and said, 'go for it girl!'" says Deedra, who didn't give her last name but noted that she's the proud mom of seven kids.

"I think it definitely brings in more buyers, I'll tell you that," Deedra says.

Tanya Garduno, president of the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, has previously stated the Council's disdain for similar practices. As she recently wrote in an e-mail newsletter:

"We have been speaking with a few people regarding ‘sign-flying’ and most of you have been great about stopping that. As you can see, [City Council] is looking to put together regulations regarding names on signs, advertising, etc. These aren’t usually addressed in a ‘land-use’ ordinance but that’s not to say they won’t be. It also looks like City Council, itself, will insist on some of these regulations being added to the mix. The Department of Revenue will also have a set of rules, but the city no longer wants to wait for them and will begin moving forward now."

As competition heats up, though, it remains to be seen who'll be able to resist their own Deedra.

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Monday, July 26, 2010

Hospital execs' pay: How much is too much?

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 4:33 PM

A recent survey in California of nonprofit hospital executives' pay found it averaged $514,000 a year, but when perks such as bonuses are added, it zooms to $732,000.

McEvoy: Paid too much or too little?
  • McEvoy: Paid too much or too little?

Here's more about that.

City-owned Memorial Health System pays CEO Dr. Larry McEvoy $550,000, at last report. He also gets the use of a hospital-owned car.

The upshot of the survey is this, as reported on the website: "You're looking at close to $390 million that could be used on uncompensated patient care," Ron Shinkman, who authored the survey on CEO salaries, told the Ventura County (Calif.) Star. "It's a lot of money."

We asked but didn't hear back from Penrose-St. Francis Health Services about how much the CEO there is paid.

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Nice to be reminded ...

Posted By on Mon, Jul 26, 2010 at 4:31 PM

The state is issuing its patient/caregiver forms as they're created. One of the Department of Public Health and Environment's latest is the "Change of Care-Giver/Medical Marijuana Center" form. It asks any patient who qualifies for a registry card and changes their caregiver to notify the state within 10 days.

The paperwork, which has to be filled in with blue ink, notarized and mailed with a copy of the patient's and the caregiver's photo ID, includes this friendly disclaimer:

Click to enlarge.
  • Click to enlarge.

See PDF below for the full form.


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