Monday, November 28, 2011

Governor coming here to back sun power

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 2:18 PM

Gov. John Hickenlooper will help install the first solar panels on SunShare's solar array at 10:15 a.m. Tuesday.


The ceremony will take place at the solar array site at 5210 S. Highway 85 where SunShare will break ground on the first community solar garden since the City Council approved a tariff for the company this fall.

On hand for the groundbreaking at the Venetucci Farm will be everybody who's anybody, including Mayor Steve Bach, Council President Scott Hente, President Pro Tem Jan Martin, Springs Utilities CEO Jerry Forte, State Rep. Pete Lee and a bunch of other people.

From SunShare's press release:

SunShare is the start-up company that has contracted with Colorado Springs Utilities and Pikes Peak Community Foundation, who owns Venetucci Farm, to develop the Colorado Springs Community Solar Garden, the first public-private partnership of its kind in the nation.

SunShare will install 2,500 panels for community use in the solar garden at the Venetucci Farm. The panel are available for lease to all customers of Colorado Springs Utilities. "The communty solar garden allows citizens to participate in solar, without the average $25,000 upfront cost of a set of panels on their own roof," SunShare founder David Amster-Olszewski said. "Leasing two panels can reduce the average electric bill by ten percent."

Colorado Springs Utilities will provide a monetary incentive, up to 30 percent of the panel cost, for customers that subscribe to the community solar garden.

SunShare plans to build gardens in other cities on the Front Range.

Clean Energy Collective of Carbondale also plans to build a community solar garden here under a different business model which includes selling, not leasing, solar panels.

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Manitou budget gets close

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Yes, it is a little boring.
  • Yes, it is a little boring.

I know, I know, You just can't get enough of city budget season.

That's why it's so important that you know that Colorado Springs isn't the only city with seemingly endless governmental meetings discussing fiscal issues. Just to the west, Manitou Springs is doing the exact same thing.

All sarcasm aside, budget meetings are more than just a cure for insomniacs. They're really important. It's in these meetings that cities make the major decisions about what city services are getting funded, and what, if any, projects will be completed in 2012. Since we're all affected by this stuff, this is the time to speak up.

Here's the relevant information:


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Bonus CineFiles: Carjacked, Flypaper and Lloyd Kaufman’s Produce Your Own Damn Movie!

Posted By on Mon, Nov 28, 2011 at 1:04 PM

Most weeks, I review more DVDs than the Indy can fit into print. You can look for extra write-ups here, on the IndyBlog.

Carjacked (R) (Blu-Ray)
Anchor Bay Home Entertainment

Where the hell has Stephen Dorff been these many years? Always regarded as a more masculine Ethan Hawke, he last was in Blade, as far as I remember. And he was fantastic. Well, wherever he’s been, it’s good to have him back. No one plays a dirty scumbag better, and in Carjacked, he is in full-tilt creeper mode. Dorff is Roy, a scuzzy car-jacker who kidnaps a beaten-down single mom (Maria Bello) and her son. Pretty soon, he comes to learn that he’s screwed with the wrong mama as she transforms into a claws-bared lioness exacting total revenge on the bloodthirsty bandit. It’s the most action-packed Lifetime movie ever made, filled with explosions, car chases, shotguns and, most importantly, nerve-wracking suspense. But, even with all that, you can rent it with the knowledge that, for at least one more night, you’re giving Stephen Dorff a warm meal.

Flypaper (NR)
IFC Films

From the writers of The Hangover and the director of Stuart Little comes a quirky heist film that is a short and breezy 87 minutes yet still manages to outstay its welcome. I love the idea: Two sets of bank-robbers — a cornpone duo and a high-tech trio — accidentally pull a job at the same bank at the same time. These parts of Flypaper, as well as the whodunit aspects, keep you watching until the end. What constantly keeps your finger hovering over the eject button, however, is the irritating miscasting of the thing. Patrick Dempsey is so out of his element as a deductive mental case that it borders on performance art; he should stick to being hunky and vapid on TV. If that weren’t distracting enough, Ashley Judd shows up as a bank teller. Too bad none of the charisma and likability she was known for a decade ago came with her. This could’ve been a cool heist flick, but in the end, it’s just another bum job.

Lloyd Kaufman’s Produce Your Own Damn Movie (NR)
Troma Entertainment

With the advent of digital cameras and affordable home editing studios, who needs film school anymore? Sure that diploma might look great on your mom’s wall, but really, isn’t the best film school just going out there and making your own damn movie? Lloyd Kaufman, founder of Troma, the longest-running ultra-indie film studio in America, believes so. In this third installment of his Make Your Own Damn Movie series, he (with help from other low-budget filmmakers) offers advice on how to raise money, make the most of available production values and locations, develop business plans, and pre-sell your movie, all filtered through that irrepressibly irreverent Kaufman persona Troma fans have come to love over the years. This series is better than any film school, with more real-world, “learn by doing” applications for those of us who’ll never be in the director’s chair for a big corporate studio. And that’s OK. They’ll only water down your erotic zombie thriller anyway.

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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Give Something Day

Posted By on Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 1:04 PM

No you dont.
  • Benson Kua
  • No you don't.

The Friday is upon us.

You know what I'm talking about. Personally, I have always been more of a Buy Nothing Day person than a Black Friday person. Sorry shoppers, but the crowds, the consumerism, and the chaos are a big turn off for me no matter how cheap that TV is.

However, for those who just can't say no to a sale, I'd like to offer a compromise. Rather than just buying everything in sight for your friends and family, why not buy something for a child or a teen in need? Think of it as Give Something Day.

On Wednesday, I got an e-mail about the police and Christmas Unlimited's toy drive for kids and teens. While I usually frown on Christmas stuff before Thanksgiving, I found it really touching that these guys were gearing up this early. Why not help them out? Donate that iPad that you waited six hours in line for. Make some kid smile.

Or, if you're like me and hate a crowd, go online and donate to a worthy charity. (Our Give! campaign is always a good bet.) Across the world, bellies are going empty, wars are being fought, and people are suffering. It's surprising how far a few dollars can go toward making the world a better place.

That's what Christmas is about, right?

The Colorado Springs Police Department would like to announce the kick off of our Annual Christmas Toy Drive in partnership with Christmas Unlimited and Teens with Promise. Our department has participated in 22 previous toy drives, and for the last eleven years we have collaborated with Christmas Unlimited in a very successful partnership. We are very excited to begin our third year of partnering with Teens with Promise as we continue to assist many of the youth over age 13 that may be forgotten this time of year.

Beginning this Friday and continuing through Christmas Day, collection boxes will be in the lobbies of each of our stations. Citizens interested in donating may drop off new unwrapped gifts in the collection boxes any time of the day or night. The gifts donated will be delivered to Christmas Unlimited and Teens with Promise.

Established in 1923, Christmas Unlimited is one of the oldest and most respected charities in the Pikes Peak Region. Christmas Unlimited believes the spirit of the holidays is more than just giving toys to children. They believe a family's adults need both material and emotional support during times of financial difficulty and everyone deserves to be treated with compassion and dignity. Christmas Unlimited works hard to uplift parental self-esteem by providing a service that includes a simple application process and a store-like distribution experience, contributing to a family environment of caring, togetherness and old fashioned holiday happiness. If you know a child who may qualify for the holiday gift distribution program please contact Christmas Unlimited at 719-597-1821 for information on their program.

Teens with Promise, a local non-profit dedicated to helping disadvantaged teens build resiliency and positive self-esteem, is also teaming up with the Colorado Springs Police Department for this gift drive. Gifts needed include C/D players, MP3 players, art supplies, electronics, gift cards, makeup, hair accessories, hoodies and jeans. Teens with Promise created the holiday gift drive after noticing that many local agencies provided gifts for younger children but very few collected gifts for kids over age 13. Eligible teens will visit the Teens with Promise “Santa’s Shop” to select a gift. “It is much more meaningful for a teen to pick a gift that they personally would enjoy, versus receiving a pre-selected gift by someone who does not know them,” the organization explains. If you know a teen who may qualify for the holiday gift program, you may download an application online at or see the teen’s middle or high school counselor. Please call 719-266-0106 if you have any questions for them.

In addition to these programs, members of the Colorado Springs Police Department, through their daily work routine, will be identifying families who may not have the resources to provide Christmas gifts for their children. As is our tradition, Colorado Springs Police Officers and Colorado Springs Explorer Cadets along with “Santa” will deliver gifts to these children on December 19th. In 2010, the CSPD delivered gifts to approximately 350 children in the Colorado Springs area during the holiday season. Please do not contact the Colorado Springs Police Department to request a delivery of gifts.

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More in food and drink

Posted By on Thu, Nov 24, 2011 at 7:27 AM

On Tuesday, I offered you a small pre-Thanksgiving food and drink roundup, which I'm adding to today because that's just how I roll. Oh, and because there's some stuff you might want to know. Let's get to it.

• From The Broadmoor: Those delicious chicken-and-waffles we featured in today's Dine & Dash are not just available in the West Lobby Bar, says marketing and PR manager Lindsey Bradish Hafemeister. Due to their popularity, chef Greg Barnhill is adding them to the breakfast buffet at Charles Court: "The plan is to add it as a stand-alone item on the breakfast menu as well, but for now it will be on the buffet," says Hafemeister.

Amandas Fonda: still talking expansion under its new ownership.
  • Bryce Crawford
  • Amanda's Fonda: still talking expansion under its new ownership.

Also, in honor or re-earning its five star ratings from the Forbes Travel Guide, The Broadmoor's Penrose Room will offer a $68, three-course celebration menu from Dec. 30 through April 30. Visit its website for more on celebratory room packages as well.

The Colorado Springs Business Journal reported yesterday that the first new Amanda's Fonda location in a planned expansion by the new owners will be at a former Village Inn at 8050 N. Academy Blvd.

• Some upcoming releases from Trinity Brewing Co.: Chilly Water Black Porter, Friday, Nov. 25; Extreme Winter Beer, Thursday, Dec. 8; Emma's Coffin Pumpkin Saison, Friday, Dec. 9.

• And last week, AspenPointe opened a new training facility for disenfranchised individuals: the AspenPointe Café at the El Paso County Citizens Service Center at 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road.

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Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Black Sheep epilogue: 100,000 Fitz fans can't be wrong

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 4:22 PM

What a difference six months make.

After all, it's not every band that plays the Black Sheep who ends up going on to sell more than 100,000 albums. But, in an era dominated by free downloads, that's the milestone Fitz & the Tantrums' debut album reached today.

The L.A. funk-pop phenoms played our hometown venue back in June (read our Indy cover story here). They've since continued their rapid ascent, as you'll see in this conveniently embedded video of them getting a massive crowd worked up at Seattle's Bumbershoot Festival.

The Tantrums' pre-Thanksgiving pride can also be shared by folks over at the Black Sheep, who had the prescience to book them way back in February. And while I wouldn't be counting on any more local dates anytime soon, as of this writing you can still snag tickets to see them live at Denver's Ogden Theatre on Jan. 15.

And so, without further ado, here's Fitz & the Tantrums' Seattle performance of the Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes," one of two covers they performed when they were here in town this past summer:

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Your friendly Thanksgiving 'wakeup call'

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 3:16 PM

What's a food-centric holiday without a little consumer knowledge to back it up? Thus we bring you this graphic from (See link for the full thing.)

If you’ve been following the news, you know that Big Food successfully lobbied this week to have pizza sauce considered a vegetable under school lunch rules. The industry also managed to block most of the nutritional changes that to school lunches that doctors and dieticians had been recommending for years, virtually guaranteeing that America’s schools will continue to serve processed, unhealthy garbage to our children. If you didn’t know that Big Food wields disproportionate influence in America today, reading this infographic will be a great wakeup call.


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Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 3:15 PM

Thanksgiving treats abound! Cut into this week's Indy Minute with Jack Ward, as he serves up the latest on what to do this holiday weekend.

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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Maybe the end is near...

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 11:57 AM

To the recession, that is. With the announcement Tuesday that a California medical equipment company will build a new facility here and hire more than 200 people in the next several years, and now another announcement that ACS, a Xerox company, plans to hire 225 for its call center, we're finally gaining jobs.

Bal Seal Engineering, which employs 39 here already, will build a 137,000-square-foot plant at Voyager Parkway and Republic Drive, and hire 211 employees within five years, the Gazette reported.


Here's the ACS press release:

ACS, A Xerox Company, is planning to hire 225 people for its call center operations in Colorado Springs. Positions include call center agents and supervisory positions.

ACS is expanding its current workforce in the region to supply customer service and technical support for a Fortune 500 client. Applicants are encouraged to apply on-line at or visit the ACS recruiting office at 2424 Garden of the Gods, Suite D-3, during business hours.

ACS is an award winning leader in the call center outsourcing industry, providing quality service to clients for more than 20 years. With more than 34,000 agents in 150 call centers around the world, ACS employees handle in excess of one million customer interactions every day in 20 different languages.

ACS and Xerox employ approximately 1,600 people in Colorado.

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OCS responds to Bach

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 11:09 AM

Early Monday morning, the Occupiers in Acacia Park saw their tents confiscated by the city. They'd been denied their application for an extension to their 30-day revocable permit — something that the city didn't bother to tell them until 11 p.m. Sunday night.

Representatives from Occupy Colorado Springs sent out this press release, addressing their eviction from the park's right-of-way, as well as comments made by the mayor, Steve Bach, such as this one: "We have received many complaints, our public safety resources are being taxed, and Downtown is being negatively impacted.”

From the occupiers:

In response to this, we have not only adhered to every condition of the permit but we have went above and beyond to add to the community as a whole. We have a homeless work group who feeds people. We also give rides to detox as well as shelters and soup kitchens when need be. We clean not only Acacia Park on a regular basis but also direct our marches to clean other parks and the the streets in the surrounding area. Many times we have acted as triage when someone is hurt or sick in the park until help can arrive. We have also defused several situations in the park that would have otherwise needed police assistance.

It was stated that there have been multiple violations of said permit at the park. We have had two “random” visits from city code inspectors. Both times we were told by the inspector that we were in fact not in violation of anything. He was very impressed with the cleanliness and our compliance with the terms of the permit.

In the media the Mayor has stated that there have been complaints from both local businesses and citizens in the area. Our support from businesses in the area has been overwhelming and again we are yet to hear any negative feedback from businesses surrounding the park. The support from the community and citizens in the neighborhood has been overwhelming! Everything that Occupy uses to sustain comes from donations from said people and businesses. It should also be stated that on Tuesday(11-15-11) in a recorded conversation I was told by the Mayor's office that we have had no formal complaints about Occupy.

We have received support from State Representative Pete Lee, some city council members, and until last evening the members of the Homeless Outreach Team of CSPD including their supervisor, Lt Rigdon.

During a conversation with Lt. Rigdon of the Homeless Outreach Team we were told that police calls have been cut in half since our occupation of Acacia Park. Acacia Park is known for crime and drugs and we have received nothing but praise from the community for helping to diminish this.

Take the jump and read their full press release.

Continue reading »

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Girl in a Coma canceled, but you still have choices tonight

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 10:40 AM

Bad news for Girl in a Coma fans. The up-and-coming San Antonio trio announced Tuesday evening that Wednesday night's show at the Marquis Theater in Denver has been canceled due to doctor's orders. Turns out frontwoman Nina Diaz lost her voice during a show in Minneapolis this past Monday night. (You can go here to read our Indy interview with Nina, conducted back when she could still talk.)

If, like myself, you were planning to go, there are still options right here in the land of "Live it up," including the 32nd Hungry Farmer Reunion at Stargazers, Jason Miller and Jason Gilmore at the Townhouse, the Charlie Milo Trio at the V Bar's Word Wednesday, Arch Hooks at Back East Bar & Grill, Joe Johnson's acoustic open mic at the Ancient Mariner, and a KAT Country Fest at Union Station.

You can get the full rundown here and in the Playing Around section of this week's Indy, which is out a day early for your holiday planning.

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A place in history

Posted By on Wed, Nov 23, 2011 at 10:29 AM

County commissioners had met for decades inside the County Office Building.
  • Kin Scott
  • County commissioners had met for decades inside the County Office Building.

With the close of Tuesday's Board of County Commissioners meeting, the county bid adieu to the commissioners meeting room at the County Office Building, 27 E. Vermijo Ave.

Completed in 1960, the building had been the main meeting site for the board for decades, although many meetings have taken place at Centennial Hall, 200 S. Cascade Ave., over the years. And that hall will be where commissioners will meet after the county spends some $1 million renovating the space for commissioners, the county attorney, administration, county budget and public information early next year.

A recent shot of commissioners in the meeting room. L to R: Sallie Clark, Amy Lathen, Dennis Hisey, Colorado Springs Friends of the NRA Chairman Scott Ytzen, Peggy Littleton and Darryl Glenn.
  • A recent shot of commissioners in the meeting room. L to R: Sallie Clark, Amy Lathen, Dennis Hisey, Colorado Springs Friends of the NRA Chairman Scott Ytzen, Peggy Littleton and Darryl Glenn.

The move is part of an elaborate reconfiguration of county government that began last year when human services, health, the treasurer, clerk and recorder, assessor and workforce center relocated to the Citizens Service Center on Garden of the Gods Road. The plan is costing taxpayers $50 million.

The County Office Building downtown will house the Sheriff's Office. No estimate has been discussed for that remodel job.

Here's the county's press release on the latest changes:

The El Paso County Board of Commissioners (BoCC) closed a chapter in local history as it gathered for its last regularly scheduled meeting in the Hearing Room of the County Office Building at 27 East Vermijo in downtown Colorado Springs. The building was approved in 1957 and construction was completed in 1960. More than 50 Commissioners have served the county with their regularly scheduled meetings at that location during the 50-year history of the building.

As part of the El Paso County Strategic Moves plan, the BoCC will move offices to Centennial Hall at 200 South Cascade Avenue in December and begin scheduling meetings in the Centennial Hall auditorium in 2012. In preparation for moving the Hearing Room facilities to Centennial Hall the current dais, along with variety of information technology and support equipment will be dismantled, moved and reconstructed in the new surroundings.

The County Office Building, which once housed all El Paso County elected and administrative offices except for the County Sheriff, will become the new home of the Sheriff’s Office in 2012. As part of the Strategic Moves Plan, the Sheriff’s Office will consolidate its law enforcement bureau, training academy, administration, investigations, and court related support functions into one central location and terminate the existing month to month lease on its facility at 105 West Costilla.

During the move, the board will meet at the Pikes Peak Regional Development Center, 2880 International Circle, except on Dec. 15 when it will hold court at the Charles C. “Chuck” Brown Transportation and Environmental Complex, 3275 Akers Dr.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Pick up this week's Indy on Wednesday

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 8:30 PM

Just a reminder to Independent readers: This week, with Thanksgiving on Thursday, you can find our Nov. 24 issue on the streets Wednesday, a day early.

We went to press at midday Tuesday, 24 hours ahead of our normal time, to allow for distribution overnight and into Wednesday morning. That way our readers will have the chance to pick up this week's issue before the holiday, and still have it to stay informed and help plan your long weekend. As always, it'll be available at nearly 1,000 locations across the area, including supermarkets, restaurants and many other businesses.

Our offices at 235 S. Nevada Ave. will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

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City Council passes budget on first reading

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 5:56 PM

City Council
  • City Council

The Colorado Springs City Council passed the amended 2012 city budget on first reading, 7 to 2, with Councilors Tim Leigh and Merv Bennett Angela Dougan voting no, late Tuesday afternoon.

Before the final vote, Council made some mild adjustments, like ensuring that flowers for the city's medians would be grown in the city greenhouse.

Councilor Jan Martin also insisted that the City Council be viewed as a department separate from the mayor for budgetary purposes. CIty Budget Director Lisa Bigelow had lumped the two together as "administration" in order to simplify the process and make it easier to move money between administrative functions.

"I would like to be our own department," Martin said with a skeptical laugh.

Bennett agreed, saying that under the new form of governance, the mayor's and Council's duties are segregated and the budget should reflect that.

The change was made.

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Pre-Thanksgiving food and drink roundup

Posted By on Tue, Nov 22, 2011 at 5:38 PM

Be thankful first that I have NOT compiled a list of every local restaurant that is serving a Thanksgiving dinner this year — really, you'd be reading this all day. And besides, for this one day a year, this most culinary-minded of holidays, can you really not manage to produce a nice meal from your own kitchen? I digress...

Quick, let's change the subject. Heard about the whacky ice cream shop in Denver that has created savory treats in cones to match the winter weather?

No? Then any interest in a backyard poultry workshop via the Colorado State University Extension in El Paso County? The deadline for signing up for the Dec. 14 tutorial is Dec. 12, so hurry the cluck up.

If ever a drunken happy birthday song were worth hearing, itll probably be at this event.
  • If ever a drunken happy birthday song were worth hearing, it'll probably be at this event.

Yet another abrupt segue: Focus on the Beer is holding its first anniversary party at 5 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 at Trinity Brewing Co.

Sample from the following special tappings as you see fit:

Avery Brewing - TBA
Crooked Stave - Chardonnay Barrel Aged Good Glory
Deschutes - 2011 Abyss
Firestone Walker - 15th Anniversary
Funkwerks - Cherry Saison
Great Divide - Hibernation Vertical - 09, 10, 11
New Belgium - Ken's Beer
Odell - TBA (something dark)
Phantom Canyon - Methuselah Rookie Card
Rockyard - TBA
Ska Brewing - Sethvleteren 8
Trinity Brewing - Soul Aged on Coconut
Twisted Pine - PoisonFish

And a look at a few upcoming restaurant events:

• Catch a Passport to Molise Small Vineyards Red Wine Dinner that benefits Pikes Peak Urban Gardens on Tuesday, Dec. 6 at Pizzeria Rustica. Seats for the five-course meal are $39 plus tax/tip. Reserve with Coaltrain Wine & Spirits at 475-9700.

The Melting Pot is featuring an Italy vs. Spain wine dinner at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Dec. 6. You'll taste six wines blind during a three-course fondue dinner. Seats are $45 plus tax/tip.

The Margarita at PineCreek, who recently released a new lounge menu, is holding its next seven-course Spice Route wine dinner at 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 7. Seats are $55 plus tax/tip.

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