Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Kudos to M.E.R. for raising dough for military families

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 7:24 PM


Now and then, it seems nice to give a local business a pat on the back for a job well done.

Mountain Equipment Recyclers deserves one. To begin with, the company was founded with a commitment to giving 50 percent of the sales of its donated outdoor equipment to charities that serve military families. An additional 5 percent of items that are consigned through the store is given to those charities as well. So the company always had a charitable purpose in mind.

But there's more. M.E.R. actually exceeded its own hopes this year, raising $11,941 for charity instead of its $10,000 goal. That's impressive in a down economy. And the money is certainly needed in our community.

Bravo, M.E.R.


COLORADO SPRINGS, CO; JANUARY 11, 2012: When Mountain Equipment Recyclers, Inc. opened in January 2011, a fundraising goal of $10,000 was set for our military non-profit partners. After a lot of hard work and strong support from the community, the store produced $11,941 for the year. This has been very exciting and rewarding!

Moving forward, the store hopes to reach a goal of $25,000 in 2012. This will be accomplished through increased partnerships in the community and hard work on behalf of the store.

About Mountain Equipment Recyclers:

Mountain Equipment Recyclers, Inc. is a retail donation and consignment store of high-quality outdoor equipment located in Colorado Springs, CO. Gear includes camping, backpacking,
Mountain Equipment Recyclers, Inc.

skiing, snowboarding, hiking, cycling, running, climbing, fly fishing, canoes/kayaks, and any other outdoor activity associated with this beautiful state. The store business model is inspired by passion for the outdoors combined with compassion for military families dealing with PTSD, TBI and other injuries. The store is founded on the premise of supporting the local community in a sustainable way, promoting the protection of the environment, and a “giving back” attitude. M.E.R. is committed to helping local soldiers and their families. 50% of the sale of donated gear is given directly to non-profit organizations assisting local military families. 5% of consigned gear is given to the same causes. The three non-profits are:

AspenPointe (

Life Quest Transitions (

The Home Front Cares (

Find out more about the store at or find us on Facebook.

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Indy Minute

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 7:15 PM

Millibo Art Theatre brings Barry Smith back to town for a limited-engagement run of Jesus in Montana: Adventures in a Doomsday Cult, the City of Manitou gets ready to fire away with the 17th annual Great Fruitcake Toss, and local NAACP President Rosemary Harris Lytle will speak on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The details are all in this week's Indy Minute.

Tune in to 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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Disaster: Huntsman chooses U2 over Beefheart

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 5:00 PM


Given the latest political trends, it's all but certain that Republicans will end up choosing a Mormon as their presidential nominee. (Cue Paulite dissent.)

Which is why I'm personally somewhat heartened to see Jon Huntsman's sudden upswing. It's not that he's less craven than Mitt Romney — although there is that — so much as the fact that, back when Huntsman was polling somewhere around zero, he sent out a tweet saying he's a Captain Beefheart fan.

So imagine my disappointment upon learning that, after his current surge placed him third in Tuesday's primary, Huntmsan rallied his New Hampshire supporters by playing U2's "Beautiful Day."

Would Czech Republic President Vaclav Havel, a longtime fan of Beefheart associate Franz Zappa, stoop to that level? No. He wouldn't. And not just because he's dead.

Still, there's enough time between now and the convention for Huntsman to redeem himself with devotees of the eccentric musician who made "Lick My Decals Off, Baby" and "Making Love to a Vampire with a Monkey on my Knee" part of our cultural lexicon.

Jon, if you're reading this, it's time to stand up for what you believe in. The video below contains your right and proper campaign song.

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Possible solution to MMJ banking coming from the state

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 4:29 PM

Sen. Pat Steadman
  • Sen. Pat Steadman

We originally spoke with Denver legislator Sen. Pat Steadman on Monday about the new bill he's co-sponsoring with Rep. Tom Massey and introducing next week — breaking the news first on Twitter — and were planning to hold the development until we printed Thursday. However, the Denver Post has run with its piece, so here are parts of our interview with Steadman that compliment what you'll read in tomorrow's CannaBiz column.

Before we could get into the details on the proposed Medical Marijuana Financial Cooperative bill, the good senator wanted to make it clear that he wasn't sure this whole effort would be worth much in the end, even if it does pass.

"Well, you know, I go back and forth as to whether or not this is really a problem we can solve locally or whether federal law is really where the problem lies and where the solution must come from," he says. "And clearly, federal law is where the problem is coming from. Can we do something locally? Maybe.

"And so there’s people I’ve been working with on this bill that have been coming at it from two schools of thought. And one group thinks that there are some things we can do that might work, on a very limited cobble-something-together basis. The other group thinks that it’s gonna take a change in federal law or federal policy and that the one thing we can do locally is draw attention to the issue, and educate, and pull our hair out and kick and scream."

Steadman finds himself squarely in the first group, and so the attempt is to allow the state of Colorado to issue a charter to an institution that would create a cooperative, accessible only to those in the medical marijuana industry. And then it still wouldn't be able to do business with outside banks.

And, ultimately, the government may not even act on its new powers.

"It would still be up to the state commissioner of financial services — that’s who regulates these entities — whether or not to grant that charter; it depends on who comes forward and what their business plan and what their capital looks like," Steadman says. "But if they can get a charter, they could create this cooperative for members that are licensees or patients in the industry and those folks could have deposits with this institution."

The senator — who worked with Rep. Massey last year on House Bill 1043, the so called clean-up bill — thinks that the opportunity for other people to compete with the banks might just draw them out of the shell they hide in to avoid potential federal money laundering charges.

"I had today representatives of the banking and credit union associations; they’re not sure whether they would oppose this legislation or just sit quietly by and scoff at it and say it’s not gonna work," says Steadman. "But then again, if it does work, they may feel like they’re missing out on something. Although, they could be the ones that come forward and ask for a charter and create this stand-alone institution for this purpose. If they really cared that much about serving this market, there’s a way they could do it."

And since no good interview about political issues deriving from federal actions is complete without a dig at Congress, Steadman added this:

"I think everybody agrees this is a problem — there’s just not a real clear consensus on what the solution is, absent an act of Congress. And I think we all have about the same level of confidence in this Congress’ ability to solve any problems."

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The return of Johnny 5

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 4:20 PM

Forgive me now for playfully poking our friend Brett Garman from Peak Radar.

But her erroneous listing for the upcoming Greater Colorado Short Circuit film festival is worth a quick chuckle.

Rather than linking to said event, she accidentally made the error of promoting a showing of the 1986 film Short Circuit, which I'd once joked about in a write-up of the series' third installment.

Click on this photo to take a closer look at the goof:


Anyway, I called Brett to find out what happened, and she sportingly enough indulged me with an explanation.

She says she received some vague info on the listing submission, to the effect of "independent film screening, 'Short Circuit.'"

With little else to go on (but not making any inquiries for more info), she plugged in a brief description of the film, assuming it was a showing.

Laughing about it with me now, she says the film came out the year she was born, but she remembers watching it some years later when she was a kid.

"Yeah, I liked it — it's great," she says. "He's super cute. Who wouldn't want a Johnny 5?"


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Civil unions in session

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 2:58 PM


Democratic state Sen. Pat Steadman of Denver has once again introduced civil union legislation in the Colorado General Assembly.

SB 12-002 would create the "Colorado Civil Union Act," authorizing "any 2 unmarried adults, regardless of gender, to enter into a civil union."

As we know, the attempt to pass similar legislation last session died in a House committee after six Republicans voted against letting the bill go to the floor for a vote — three of those Republicans happened to be from the contingent of our local representatives.

While we have seen Republicans come forward in support of the legislation, it has yet found a sponsor in the Republican-controlled House, as Steadman pointed out in a tweet an hour ago: "Looking for a few good House Republicans to sponsor it."

Tonight, there will be a civil unions rally at the Cornerstone Arts Center, Colorado College from 5:30 to 6:30. According to the organizers, they have secured an "Air Force Academy instructor and his wife, who are speaking up for equality on behalf of their gay son. AFA dad just finished a tour in Afghanistan and came home over Christmas. Their son started the Gay Straight Alliance at Lewis-Palmer High School last year, and he will be in attendance."

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What's next for the Chair Project

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 1:13 PM

One thousand chairs lined up along Manitou Avenue don't just disappear with the old year. The Chair Project, is in fact, gearing up for more in 2012. Even if it's in a retrospective fashion.

Have some Chair Project memories you want to share? In honor of last year's community art happening led by local artist Sean O'Meallie, the Business of Art Center is now collecting "any media commemorating the Chair Project of Oct. 9, 2011, or celebrating the chair itself."

In an e-mail, O'Meallie says there are already some pieces in the show culled from the Chair Project's 12 photographers, as well as videos taken while it was on display. He adds that they will also try and "re-stage some of the performances that took place that morning." Hopefully it will include the reported opera sung out windows that day.

Sadly, O'Meallie says the project didn't raise enough funds to produce a book through the BAC at this time, but there are still possibilities in the future. On the upside, he says the BAC has received some "interest" from national arts funding consortium ArtPlace, and the Chair Project got some love from Westword, which named it the fifth most important area art moment of 2011.

(It enjoyed some good company near the top if the list, with the approval of Over the River at No. 2 and the opening of Clyfford Still Museum at No. 1.)

The Big Chair Project Art Show — What's in a Chair? will run March 2-31, with a first Friday opening from 5 to 8 p.m.

Digital images are due by Feb. 24 to the inbox of BAC gallery curator and director Liz Szabo ( Entry fees are $5 per piece. For more, visit or

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Academy clinic turns away new retirees on TRICARE

Posted By on Wed, Jan 11, 2012 at 11:42 AM


Some military retirees will no longer be able to access health care at the Air Force Academy clinic under TRICARE, the academy announced today.

That probably means local hospitals and clinics will have to absorb those patients covered by the military insurance provider that notoriously pays less than most traditional insurance plans.

Here's the academy's news release. Town hall meetings are not open to the media.

1/11/2012 - U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — New changes to enrollment policies at the 10th Medical Group will affect retirees turning 65, and those seeking enrollment for the first time at the facility.

New enrollment to the facility is now limited to active-duty service members assigned to the Academy and any TRICARE Prime active-duty family members. TRICARE Prime eligible retirees and their dependents who are new to the community will be asked to enroll with a civilian TRICARE network provider, or another local Military Treatment Facility if the capacity exists.

The new policy will affect retirees and beneficiaries currently enrolled who become Medicare eligible on or after Jan. 1, 2012. They will no longer be able to enroll at the Air Force Academy. Medicare eligible retirees enrolled to TRICARE Plus prior to Jan. 1, 2012 will not be affected by this change and will maintain their enrolled status.

This change in policy is driven by a mandated reduction in the number of assigned Academy healthcare providers as well as a directed reduction of enrollees per provider in an effort to improve quality of care.

The 10th MDG commander will host two Town Hall meetings at the Air Force Academy Community Center Auditorium from 6-8 p.m. Jan. 12 and Jan. 17 to discuss changes to its enrollment policies with those affected.

Questions & Answers

Q: Why is the 10th MDG making this change?

A: Directed downsizing of clinic staff and services over the past two years and a recent mandated change to the Air Force patient-care model has decreased the clinic's capacity to see patients. The patient-to-provider ratio was changed from 1,500:1 to 1,250:1. As a result, the clinic is no longer able to have an open enrollment policy and must now limit the number of patients assigned.

Q: Does this change apply to all retirees and eligible beneficiaries, or just those over 65?

A: This change applies to eligible retirees and their dependants of any age wishing to enroll at the 10th Medical Group. Those eligible retirees and dependants who are currently enrolled at the clinic may continue their enrollment as long as they maintain their TRICARE Prime status. However, this change also applies to those beneficiaries who become eligible for Medicare at age 65. These Medicare-eligible beneficiaries will no longer be able to be seen by a primary care manager at the Academy. The clinic staff is also recommending the transfer of care to a community TRICARE network provider for a select number of high acuity patients who require internal medicine services that are not currently available at the 10th MDG.

Q: Will beneficiaries referred off base have to pay a co-pay?

A: Yes, TRICARE Prime retired service members and their TRICARE Prime dependants pay a $12 co-pay each time they see their TRICARE network provider. Emergency room visits incur a $30 co-pay for TRICARE Prime retirees and their TRICARE Prime dependants. For Medicare-eligible beneficiaries, Medicare is the primary pay or under TRICARE For Life and normal Medicare rules apply.

Q: Can I still get my prescriptions filled at the Academy Clinic?

A: Yes, access to the pharmacy, laboratory and radiology services will remain available and at no cost to covered beneficiaries regardless of who their provider is.

Q: Do other Colorado Springs bases provide medical services to retirees?

A: Yes, Peterson Air Force Base and Fort Carson provide limited services to retirees. Enrollment opportunities at these locations are subject to their unique capacity issues and may vary from time to time. We recommend affected beneficiaries contact the TRICARE Service Centers at Peterson AFB and Fort Carson for more information.

Q: Will retirees and their family members currently enrolled at the Academy be asked to receive their care from a local provider?

A: The changes only affect those retired beneficiaries and their dependants who wish to enroll at the Academy Clinic for the first time and those beneficiaries turning 65 years of age who become Medicare eligible. We also encourage those not yet 65 to select a PCM off base before they turn 65. This will help establish them with an off-base PCM and make their transition to Medicare easier. Providers are more likely to keep established patients that turn Medicare eligible than they are to accept new and unknown Medicare-only patients.

Q: Where can I find more information about enrolling for care off base?

A: Beneficiaries may visit the TRICARE Service Center located off the 1st floor lobby of the Academy Clinic or call 1-888-TRICARE (874-9378). TRICARE enrollment information is also available at

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