Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 4:42 PM


You can get a sneak peek at Sunday's Pikes Peak International Hill Climb, nab a Backstage Pass to the Olympic Training Center, or imbibe local beer and whiskey at a special tasting event. Jack Ward from the Colorado Springs Independent gives you a preview of the weekend's attractions in the Indy Minute.

Tune into the Indy Minute — as seen on ABC affiliate KRDO News Channel 13 — 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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Head of the class

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 4:03 PM


According to a Newsweek survey of American high schools, two top performers are right here in Colorado Springs.

The Vanguard School at Cheyenne Mountain Charter Academy in Cheyenne Mountain School District 12 ranked 130th out of the Top 500, and Academy School District 20's Rampart came in at No. 285.

Here's how Newsweek reached its verdicts:

We enlisted a panel of experts—Wendy Kopp of Teach For America, Tom Vander Ark of Open Education Solutions (formerly executive director for education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), and Linda Darling-Hammond, Stanford professor of education and founder of the School Redesign Network—to develop a yardstick that fully reflects a school’s success turning out college-ready (and life-ready) students. To this end, each school’s score is comprised of six components: graduation rate (25%), college matriculation rate (25%), AP tests taken per graduate (25%), average SAT/ACT scores (10%), average AP/IB/AICE scores (10%), and AP courses offered (5%).

You can check up on the complete methodology, here.

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(UPDATED) Colorado rep co-sponsors federal legislation legalizing marijuana

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 4:01 PM


Update, 5:04 p.m.: After reading this post, Tom Angell, a spokesman for the legalization advocacy group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, sent me a statement quoting Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics officer, and executive director of LEAP:

"Clearly the 'war on drugs' has failed, and nowhere is that more clear than with respect to marijuana. It baffles me that we arrest nearly 800,000 people on marijuana charges in this country each and every year at taxpayer expense, when we could instead be taking in new tax revenue from legal and regulated marijuana sales," Franklin says in the release. "Making marijuana illegal hasn't prevented anyone from using it, but it has created a huge funding source that funnels billions of dollars in tax-free profits to violent drug cartels and gangs. More and more cops now agree: Legalizing marijuana will improve public safety."


In a move the Marijuana Policy Project is calling a first-ever, House of Representatives members Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, will tomorrow introduce a bipartisan bill "ending the federal war on marijuana and letting states legalize, regulate, tax and control marijuana without federal interference," reads a release.

The bill is co-sponsored by Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis; Rep. John Conyers, D-Mich.; Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn.; and Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Calif.

From the release:

"The legislation also comes on the heels of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which released a report on June 2 calling for a major paradigm shift in how our society deals with drugs, including calling for legal regulation of marijuana. The report sent a jolt around the world, generating thousands of international media stories. The commission is comprised of international dignitaries including Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the United Nations; Richard Branson, entrepreneur, founder of the Virgin Group; and the former Presidents of Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, and Switzerland. Representing the U.S. on the commission are George P. Shultz, Paul Volcker, and John Whitehead."

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Getting national attention

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Commissioner Clark
  • Commissioner Clark

As the issue of term limits heats up locally, El Paso County Commissioners Sallie Clark and Dennis Hisey find themselves in the national spotlight, of sorts.

Commissioners will hear comments from citizens at two meetings next week about whether to allow voters to revisit November 2010 ballot measures that gave county elected officials a third term. Some have cried foul saying the measures were worded in a way that led voters to believe they were restricting officials to three terms, rather than extending the two-term limit by one, four-year term.

The meetings will be next week, at 6:30 p.m., Monday at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Center, 2880 International Circle; and at 9 a.m., Thursday at the County Office Building, 27 E. Vermijo Ave.

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Rolling out a new brand

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 2:37 PM

Appearances can be everything, so El Paso County Public Health is rolling out a new logo "to further emphasize the agency's mission of protecting public health."

Even though I've thought of myself as a visual person, I'm not seeing how the logo, for which the department paid $1,000, according to department spokeswoman Danielle Oller, stresses the public health mission. But maybe the symbolism is lost on me. Here's the new logo.


And here's the press release announcing the name and logo change:

The agency changed its name from El Paso County Department of Health and Environment to El Paso County Public Health in January. The change was made to simplify the agency’s formal name, and bring focus to its mission of protecting public health and wellness for the entire community.

In light of the agency’s impending move to a new location this fall, El Paso County Public Health has taken this opportunity to transition to its new name and logo. These changes are timely, because the move will require agency materials to be updated to reflect the Citizen’s Service Center’s address on Garden of the Gods Road. The agency’s website and printed materials will be updated when necessary to make efficient use of resources.

With its focus on promotion and protection of the health of the population as a whole, public health is a partner to medical care, which focuses on individuals. Public health promotes and protects the health of the population through assessment of problems, direct action such as immunization and investigation of disease, and through education and public communication.

The mission of El Paso County Public Health is to promote and protect public health and environmental quality in the community through people, prevention and partnerships.

El Paso County Public Health traces its origins to 1878 when it was established as a city health department, and then to 1939, when it became an organized county-level health department. El Paso County Public Health serves all residents and visitors of El Paso County, which includes the cities and towns of Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs, Calhan, Fountain, Green Mountain Falls, Monument, Palmer Lake and Ramah.

El Paso County Public Health is governed by the El Paso County Board of Health, which establishes policy, approves budgets and appoints the executive director. The nine-member Board of Health is appointed by the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.

El Paso County Public Health receives the majority of its funding from state and federal grants/contracts for service in addition to local funding from El Paso County. El Paso County Public Health also collects fees for licenses and permits, such as those associated with state-mandated inspections of retail food establishments.

Public Health anticipates moving to its new location in the Citizen’s Service Center, 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, in September. For more information, visit

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More ranges = less deranged

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 1:18 PM

Teddy meets his maker at the old Rampart range.
  • Teddy meets his maker at the old Rampart range.
Sometimes, politicians are actually timely. This is definitely the case for U.S. Sen. Mark Udall, who is proposing legislation to create more shooting ranges across the state.

You see, shooting ranges might actually reduce illegal shooting. And illegal shooting has become a huge problem in our area. Let me illustrate.

Over lunch at a cafe, a friend of mine told me of a recent, scary experience.

She and her husband were bike riding up Mount Herman Road near Monument when a bullet flew near their heads. Terrified, they tried crouching down, and yelling for the shooters to stop. No one responded to their pleas and the shots continued.

I know what you're thinking. My friends must be some anti-gun radicals out to make sportsmen look bad.


Actually, both of these friends carry guns of their own. They have concealed-carry permits. And they pulled out their guns in defense during this situation.

But it wasn't clear where the bullets were coming from. They just seemed to fly out of the woods.

My friends eventually crept back to their car and called the authorities, who responded rather nonchalantly that they'd check it out.

This story isn't isolated. Rampart Range Road shooting area used to attract irresponsible shooters that would litter trash and shoot indiscriminately into areas with hiking and biking trails. We wrote about it here. The unsupervised range closed in 2009 after a shooter was accidentally shot and killed there.

Though it's illegal, shooters still go up Rampart Range Road and shoot indiscriminately, endangering others. Just as they go up Mount Herman, which has been trashed by shooters, and to several other locations. In fact, the Gazette recently ran a story about the problem.

People who enjoy the outdoors, and those who enjoy shooting, have long known about the issue. Some say it's rooted in a lack of designated — and hopefully safe — shooting ranges in the area. In fact, Colorado Springs City Councilor Lisa Czelatdko, who enjoys shooting, said shortly after her election that she hoped to open another shooting range, to provide a safe place for shooters to practice. The area already hosts several private ranges, but not enough to meet the apparent demand.

The question is, will efforts to provide more facilities really solve the problem? Probably not. Even advocates for shooters admit that some "sportsmen" just aren't responsible. They want to get drunk and go shoot up an old refrigerator. And more shooting ranges isn't going to alter that rotten behavior.

But for the average shooter, who takes the sport seriously, the thought is that more ranges could make a difference.

Udall Bill Aims to Create Safe Public Shooting Ranges

Today, Mark Udall re-introduced legislation to help states construct and maintain safe public shooting ranges. The bill, the Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, would help ensure that there are enough accessible ranges where hunters and marksmen can safely practice recreational shooting.

Under current law — the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration Act — an excise tax is collected on sporting equipment and ammunition, which states can use for activities such as wildlife restoration and hunter education programs. However, it has limited effectiveness in establishing and maintaining shooting ranges, which are declining in number. Udall’s Target Practice and Marksmanship Training Support Act, co-sponsored by Senators Jim Risch, Michael Bennet and Jon Tester, would amend the law to give states more flexibility to use existing funds to create and maintain shooting ranges.

“The number of places in our communities and on public lands where Colorado sportsmen and women can safely shoot and target practice has steadily dwindled,” Udall said. “This bill would give states more flexibility to use federal dollars — that have already been allocated to them — to create safe, new public places to shoot. It would be a triple win for sporting and conservation communities: states can create higher quality and safer shooting ranges, more Coloradans can take up the sport, and it would generate more money for future conservation and hunter education efforts.”

Udall’s bill would:
• Increase the amount of money states can use from their allotted Pittman-Robertson funds to 90 percent, from 75 percent, to improve or construct a public target range. This would reduce the amount of other funds states would have to raise for shooting ranges to 10 percent, from 25 percent.

• Allow the Pittman-Robertson funds allotted to a state to remain available and accrue for five fiscal years for use in acquiring land for, expanding, or constructing a public target range on federal or non-federal land. Under current law, states must use these funds within one year.

• Limit the legal liability exposure to the federal land management agencies regarding the management and use of federal land for target practice or marksmanship training.

• Encourage the federal land management agencies to cooperate with state and local authorities to maintain target ranges on federal land so as to encourage their continued use.


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CC's tile revival

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 12:11 PM

The northwest boundary of Colorado College used to look pretty ugly. The old Van Briggle plant and neighboring bus lot off West Uintah Street and Glen Avenue (which house CC's facilities and transportation services) was pretty much a cluster of chain-link fences.

But now all that has given way to handsome brick walls inlaid with bronze plaques and mosaics, thanks to the efforts of local artists and stonecarver Larry Terrafranca, says CC's college news director, Leslie Weddell.

And the college will celebrate the completed project on Tuesday, June 28 at 11:30 a.m. (Guests include Gen. William Jackson Palmer and Artus and Anne Van Briggle, for you history buffs.)

Here are some images from the project:

A bas-relief bronze depicting Ann Van Briggle

A mosaic by Terrafranca of the Van Briggle pottery industry.

Weddell also sent some images of the various other tile designs from the wall:

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Bristol will feed your face, then pick your brain

Posted By on Wed, Jun 22, 2011 at 7:27 AM

When Bristol Brewing Co. moves across the street into the Ivywild Elementary School, not only will its brewing facilities see an increase in size, but so will its menu. And you get to help it grow.

Since June 6, and every two weeks hence, the brewery has been hosting "Food for Thought" tasting sessions to nail down some menu staples for its future space. Monday night, Blue Star chef Daniel Gerson dished braised Laughing Lab wings that fell into tender pieces; shrimp ceviche with a smoked salmon mousse; and an herbal pretzel with smoked Gouda, pickled summer squash and caramelized onion mustard.

Not everything felt ready — the wings were tender as hell, but relatively tame flavor-wise — but that's what you get to do: pass on feedback. Tastings are $20, with a beer pairing per course included. Consider making a reservation for the next one, on July 11.

Spiced Laughing Lab barbecue wings with blue cheese sauce.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Spiced Laughing Lab barbecue wings with blue cheese sauce.

Duo shrimp ceviche, smoked salmon mousse and earthy, crusty bread.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Duo shrimp ceviche, smoked salmon mousse and earthy, crusty bread.

Herbal pretzel with smoked Gouda, pickled summer squash and caramelized onion mustard.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Herbal pretzel with smoked Gouda, pickled summer squash and caramelized onion mustard.

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