Friday, May 25, 2012

Van Halen and Kool & the Gang get down on it

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Time machine travelers David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen
  • Time machine travelers David Lee Roth and Eddie Van Halen

If there was one crack in the glowing veneer of last night's Van Halen reunion, it was when David Lee Roth found himself mopping up the sweat-slicked stage.

"This is how I fuckin' started, and apparently I'm never gonna leave," complained the perennially manic frontman, pushing a towel with his foot around the Pepsi Center stage. Roth's drum solo-accompanied interruption — along with a later, somewhat more ambiguous onstage remark ("this is like a time machine where nothing changes") — were the only indicators that the members of the seminal hard-rock band might not actually be having the time of their lives.

The nearly two-hour set included classic originals like "Ain't Talkin' Bout Love," "Runnin' With the Devil," and the obligatory "Jump," infamous covers of "You Really Got Me" and "Pretty Woman," and new tracks like "She's the Woman," "China Town," and "Tattoo," the anthemic comeback single drawing a surprisingly rapturous response from the packed house. (Of course, the most reverential reaction was reserved for Eddie Van Halen's stunningly virtuosic 10-minute guitar solo near evening's end)

The Denver show came at an interesting time for Van Halen: The recent announcement of numerous summer concert postponements fueled rumors of intra-band animosities — most publicly from former bassist Michael Anthony, who currently plays with second-string VH frontman Sammy Hagar in the less-revered Chickenfoot.

But Eddie's bemused smile seemed genuinely affectionate as he watched Roth chew the scenery with his exaggerated rictus grin between arena-sized splits and kicks. Could've all been show biz, I guess, but the band was clearly not going through the motions musically.

Neither, for that matter, was Kool & the Gang. Founding members Robert "Kool" Bell and his brother Ronald have put together an 11-piece band whose opening set proved more intensely brilliant than anyone could have expected (except maybe for Roth, who reportedly saw them at last year's Glastonbury Festival and insisted they be on this summer's tour.)

While hits like "Celebrate" and "Hollywood Swinging" were predictable crowd-pleasers, it was their rendition of a later single, "Get Down on It," that proved more supremely funky and energetically brilliant than anything Prince or James Brown performed when I saw those artists in concert more than a decade ago.

If this version of Kool & the Gang comes through Colorado again, I'll go see them in a heartbeat. Come to think of it, the same goes for Van Halen.

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Sallie Clark claims credit. But wait a minute ...

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 3:31 PM

Election season usually means voters need to crank up their lie-o-meters to detect whose pants are on fire. So, from our Fib Factor File:

El Paso County commissioner election

In her latest campaign piece, El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark takes credit for several projects constructed with money from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority tax measure that appeared on the November 2004 ballot.

Clark was elected to her first term in the same election, so it's impossible for her to have had a direct hand in crafting the ballot measure.

Here's an excerpt from her promotional piece:

The condition of our roads matters. It impacts our ability to attract new business and jobs to El Paso County, impacts our military, and costs each one of us in time and additional car repairs.

That’s why I’ve been working hard, here in El Paso County, and traveling to Denver and Washington, D.C. to work with our transportation officials, state legislators, our United States Representatives and Senators, to get our El Paso County and Pikes Peak regional projects done and to fight for our fair share.

The campaign piece then gives Clark credit for these "completed" projects, among others:

• Cimarron Bridge reconstruction

• Highway 16 interchange at Fort Carson

• Bijou Street and 1-25 interchange

• South Academy improvements at Pikes Peak Community College/Broadmoor Bluffs connection.

We checked with the Pikes Peak Council of Governments, which oversees the RTA program, and were told that the Cimarron Bridge project, 1-25 companion projects to the Bijou Bridge which improved the east and west ramps, and the South Academy improvements, called the South Metro Accessibility Phase 1, were all included in the 2004 ballot measure.

We asked Clark why she's promoting these projects as her own when they were approved before she was in office. We got this e-mail response, which doesn't specifically answer the question:

[Below] are some links regarding my vocal support for the Cimarron Bridge before and after the passage of PPRTA. As my fellow PPRTA board members know, structural integrity of the bridge was a particular concern and This was addressed many times, prior to sections of the bridge falling onto the railroad tracks below.

I have been working with various entities on many area projects over my years in service as a public servant, an individual citizen and neighborhood activist. Thanks to the success of the PPRTA and the approval of the voters who supported the transportation authority, the city was able to get this project completed. I am particularly proud of all the entities that worked together to get this done for the safety of our community and the viability of our downtown and Westside economy.

Clark has a primary election on her hands for her third term, with Karen Magistrelli winning top ballot line at the county assembly this spring. Ballots are scheduled to go out June 4, with primary winners decided June 26.

One reason Clark's opponent got into the race stems from Clark's vote to put a term-limits extension measure on the November 2010 ballot. The measure allows her and other county elected officials to seek a third term by lifting the statewide voter-approved measure to limit elected officials to two, four-year terms.

The measure passed. But voters later protested, saying the ballot language was misleading, because it asked whether terms should be "limited" to three terms instead of "extended" to three terms.

Some voters demanded a second shot at the measure, but Clark was among those commissioners who refused to allow a re-vote in November 2011. Instead, she supported a vote at this November's election, which, even if the term limits measure is defeated, wouldn't prevent Clark and Commissioner Dennis Hisey from winning third terms.

Hisey is locked in a primary race with Air Force and Army veteran Auddie Cox.

Clark and Hisey have good reason to want to extend their service. They're paid strong>$87,300a year, and their lifetime pensions grow to $1,938 from $1,292 a month if they add four more years of service.

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Leaders: State plays favorites with dollars

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 2:33 PM


Mayor Steve Bach and other local government leaders are crying "no fair" after reviewing state funding for transportation.

Based on population distribution, local leaders say the Pikes Peak region has been underfunded by the state for the last six years, amounting to a loss of $135 million — or more than enough to build the Fillmore and Cimarron interchanges with I-25.

The state, meanwhile, is claiming that the situation is due to an overall reduction in funding and a change of focus to basic maintenance, which has shifted dollars to rural areas.

Read the letter to Department of Transportation executive director Don Hunt to learn more:


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Mobile-food court likely for downtown

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 1:28 PM

Behind Downtown Burrito Co. owner Zack Travis sits the space that could house up to nine or so mobile food vendors.
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Behind Downtown Burrito Co. owner Zack Travis sits the space that could house up to nine or so mobile food vendors.

A team of locals appears close to establishing something long seen as lacking: a central place in Colorado Springs for mobile food vendors to gather and support each other, and for customers to grub down together.

According to documents obtained by the Indy, the arrangement would probably be called Curbside Cuisine. Sandra Vanderstoep, of Garden of the Gods Gourmet catering, says the involved organizations would include Jammin' Cabana, Chicago Pizza, El Padrino (a northern Mexican restaurant, and sibling to the Bean Bandit), Bundt Appétit, Bite Me Sausage, the Downtown Burrito Co. (meet the new bahn mi creation), the Springs Cupcake Truck, Island Style BBQ and the Crepe Crusaders.

In a story last year on the food-truck movement, Downtown Partnership president Ron Butlin said he was concerned about bringing mobile outfits downtown because they don't pay into the Business Improvement District, as well as other various taxes, that surrounding brick-and-mortar vendors do.

"I just don't yet know, or understand, how it might work in our town," Butlin said at the time. "I'm looking at the idea of maybe a food truck area; maybe there's an area around Acacia Park where the trucks can park, and that's the approved location, and I think that'd be awesome. We just need it to be balanced and fair."

Mobiles have also run into problems because they're not allowed to park in metered parking spaces, or stay in one location very long.

"And where are the meters?" said Mike Bergman, co-owner of the Springs Cupcake Truck, in our story. "They're at the core."

In a conversation this morning with the Indy's Matthew Schniper, Vanderstoep said the idea has only come together within the last two months, and is moving quickly because the gathering would be on private land. The parking lot is on North Tejon Street, just north of 7-Eleven, and owned by powerful builder Chris Jenkins of Nor'wood Development Group. Potentially, the carts and trailers would be there on a semi-permanent basis and would serve year-round.

"Yes, this is going fast and very well ... glad to have you on board as we get ready to launch," Vanderstoep wrote in an e-mail to those involved, which included Jenkins; architecture and engineering firms EV Studio, Tremmel Design Group and HB&A; and marketing company Vladimir Jones.

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UPDATE: 911 experiencing problems

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Per CSPD, 911 is back up and running.

——— ORIGINAL POST: May 24, 10:46 A.M. ———


It doesn't get much more inconvenient than this: 911 is down.

Got an emergency? Well, let's hope you just happen to be reading this blog when it occurs, so that you know to hang up on 911 if you get a busy signal and call 471-6700.

Here is the news from El Paso and Teller Counties:

Currently, there is an intermittent technical issue with 911 lines throughout El Paso and Teller County.

If you call 911 and receive a fast busy signal please hang up and call 719-471-6700 or go to the closest police or fire station.

When this issue is resolved, an update will be sent from the El Paso Teller 911 Authority.

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Teens: Voting has never been so simple

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Voting: More fun than you think.
  • jonathan mcintosh
  • Voting: More fun than you think.

Ah, the excitement of your 18th birthday!

Finally, you are considered an adult, at least sometimes. The world spreads before you. You can legally buy cigarettes and porn. Legally serve in the military. Legally vote. (OK, so maybe it's not as exciting as your 16th or 21st birthday, but still.)

About that voting thing. Statistics show that few young people bother to go to the polls. Some say teens are simply too spoiled and entitled to appreciate the sacrifices made by so many to ensure our Democratic society. But, having been 18 myself once, I'm guessing there are other factors at play. Namely: Who has the time to vote when there are so many incredible parties to go to?

Never fear, young 'uns. The county will now allow 17-year-olds who will be 18 by Election Day to register to vote ahead of time. This is simple stuff. You can register online. Your ballot is mailed to you. You simply fill out the bubbles and mail it back. Piece of cake.

Don't know much about politics? Keep an eye on the Indy. We'll be covering the lead-up to the election and offering a voting guide (cheat sheet).

Welcome to adulthood, young Americans.


May 24, 2012 – Colorado Springs, CO – Teens who are age 17 and will be 18 on or before Election Day are encouraged to register in advance of this year’s elections in order to be eligible to vote. They must be registered 29 days prior to the election even if they will not be 18 until Election Day. This applies to both the Primary Election on June 26 and the General Election on November 6. Colorado law allows for pre-registration for individuals who are 17 years old a year prior to the election in which they want to cast a ballot.

The Primary Election is an all-mail election and the ballot will not be mailed to the teen voter until they turn 18. After they have turned 18, the ballot will be mailed to them automatically. For the General Election they will not be able to receive a mail-in ballot until they actually turn 18. They will not be able to vote early until they have had their 18th birthday. However, if they wait until Election Day to register it will be too late and they will not be able to cast a ballot. They must be registered for 29 days before the election in order to be eligible to vote.

There are three ways to register to vote:
· Register to vote online at
· Register in person at any of the four Clerk & Recorder’s Office locations:
o North Branch—Union Town Center – 8830 N. Union Blvd. (Research Pkwy. and Union Blvd.)
o Main Office—Citizens Service Center – 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, Suite 2202
o Downtown Central—Centennial Hall – 200 S. Cascade Ave., lower level (Cascade Ave. and Vermijo)
o Southeast Branch –5650 Industrial Place (Powers and Airport)
· Download a Colorado Voter Registration Form from the website and submit it to the Clerk & Recorder’s Office by mail (must be postmarked by May 29, 2012), fax, or scan and return it by email (must be received by the Election Department by 11:59 p.m. on May 29)

Fax: (719) 520-7327
Mail: Election Department
PO Box 2007
Colorado Springs, CO 80901

More information about the 2012 Primary and Presidential Elections can be found at


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Doug Lamborn discovers 2006

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I guess this is news.

Today, Congressman Doug Lamborn's press office sent out this overexcited proclamation:

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, Republican, El Paso County, 5th Congressional District now on the Twitter.

Twitter has been around since 2006, a year before Lamborn took office, so, wow, it only took him six years.

From the release:

Congressman Doug Lamborn (CO-05) is expanding his “all-of-the-above” communications plan. Lamborn now has a Twitter handle and will be communicating with constituents through Twitter. Lamborn currently keeps in touch with constituents through his website, electronic newsletters, Facebook, telephone town halls, traditional mail pieces, and in-person town hall meetings.

You can follow Congressman Lamborn on Twitter at @RepDLamborn.

The nice thing about Twitter is that you don't actually have to interact with anyone. The micro-publishing platform is great for sending out bite-sized exclamations on whatever it is that you are reading/seeing/eating, but not so much for actual conversation. In that way, it's the perfect tool for a politician. If you want to organize a protest, or revolution, it can be helpful, too, but I doubt that's on Lamborn's agenda.

Anyway, congrats Congressman, and many happy Tweets. But for all our sake, just don't pull a Weiner.

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Burrito Man: challenge met

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2012 at 11:24 AM

By now, you've hopefully met Zack Travis, also known as "The Burrito Man."

He's behind the Downtown Burrito Co. streetcart that we first told you about here and reviewed here.

Well, I inadvertently posed a challenge to Travis a month or so ago while sampling from his neighboring food cart, Bite Me Gourmet Sausage.

Colorado Springs Downtown Burrito Bahn Mi

I offhandedly said something about wishing that someone would do a Bahn Mi sandwich here, giving Travis the idea to try a Bahn Mi-inspired burrito.

(It turns out the Margarita at PineCreek did also put one on their latest seasonal bar menu, culinary gods bless them.)

Travis tested his new creation yesterday, posting this on his Facebook page:

My New Burrito for this week is a spin off of a Vietnamese Sandwich called Bahn Mi - But this is how I rolled it:
*****Grilled Chicken seasoned with Tamari, Sesame Oil and Garlic, with a Carrot, Cabbage "Slaw" marinated in a Jalapeno Lime dressing.***** This 'B' will be served Toasted right out of the cooler, not hot. Bon Appetit!!

He then messaged me today to let me know the new item was back on the street, so I walked over for a sample.

Firstly, I'll say the burrito is totally satisfying, especially at the $4 price.

It's not exactly like a Bahn Mi sandwich (note the words "spin off" and "inspired" above), notably missing the tart pickled accoutrement element and fresh herb garnish that typifies many Vietnamese plates.

But the jalapeño lime does tenderize the veggies a bit, still leaving a nice crisp crunch to each bite. And the tamari and sesame do place your taste buds squarely in the East, with juicy chicken slivers standing in for many Bahn Mi variations' pork component.

Here's what else you can find at the Downtown Burrito Company cart until around 2 p.m.:

The Breakfast Burrito - Eggs, Seasoned Potatoes, Bacon, Breakfast Sausage, Cheddar Cheese

El Ranchito Burrito - Scrambled egg, Refried Black Beans, Tomato-Green-Chili-Seasoned-Rice and Cheddar Cheese

Colorado Pork - Shreaded Pork slow cooked in Red Chili with Refried Pinto Beans

Beef Borracho - Beer Braised Beef with Tomato and Green Chili Seasoned Rice

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Pete Lee gets a green thumbs-up

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 6:13 PM

Rep. Pete Lee
  • Rep. Pete Lee

Rep. Pete Lee, who represents Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs in the state House, has picked up an endorsement that none of his other El Paso colleagues can boast.

Lee is facing a challenge in November from Republican first-time candidate Jennifer George.

From a press release:

Colorado Conservation Voters is proud to announce the endorsement of 31 environmental champions for reelection to the Colorado House and Senate. These elected officials represent a cross section of Colorado from the Front Range to the Western slope. They understand that protecting our environment is vitally important for our state’s economy, Coloradans’ public health, and our natural heritage.

“There are many who want to turn back the clock on Colorado’s progress on conservation issues,” said Faith Winter, Political Director, Colorado Conservation Voters. “To keep Colorado moving forward we need to re-elect these candidates who embrace Coloradans’ conservation values of environmental protection, clean energy, and providing a more sustainable future for our children. We applaud our conservation champions and look forward to their continued service as our elected representatives.”

Many of these legislators have been leaders or participated in key conservation and energy issues of the Colorado State legislature, including raising the renewable standard to 30%, passing the Clean Air Clean Jobs Act, winning better protection for our drinking water, and promoting the recycling of electronic waste while creating thousands of new jobs. These hard fought victories were only possible because we worked in close partnership with these elected officials to build support for these measures.

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Dump-n-donate day

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 4:51 PM

All you really need to know is ... here's where you can get rid of all that crap filling up your basement and shed. Mark your calendar and start cleaning out now.

Colorado Springs

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Celebrate Moog's birthday with Google's ingenious little synthesizer

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 3:48 PM

Googles working synth honoring Bob Moogs birthday
  • Google's working synth honoring Bob Moog's birthday.

By now, you may have noticed that today's Google "doodle" is a bite-sized synthesizer honoring electronic instrument pioneer Robert Moog's 78th birthday.

But what you might have overlooked is the degree of functionality it has. The working keyboard is just the beginning; there are also a couple dozen control knobs to tweak envelopes, filters, oscillators and a bunch of other stuff that'll make you sound very space-age.

If all that weren't enough, there's also a miniature "reel-to-reel" tape deck that has four tracks, so you can multitrack your own minor masterpiece and then share it with others.

Just one drawback: Birthdays last but one day, and so does this ingenious little plaything. So go here and check it out while you can.

And, while you're at it, here's an excellent video that'll teach you how to use it, while also giving you a quick lesson in the basics of music synthesis. Have fun!

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Dion's Pizza to open on Powers

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 12:26 PM


New Mexico-based chain Dion's Pizza is tentatively scheduled to open in November at North Powers and Dublin boulevards. The 5,394-square-foot restaurant will feature, according to a press release, "an open kitchen layout, a pizza stand for children to watch and interact with pizza makers, and Tiffany lamps throughout the interior."

Sounds fancy. Mayor Steve Bach apparently likes the sound of that: "We are pleased that Dion’s selected Colorado Springs as its first Colorado location,” he says in the release, though he's probably most pleased about the 75 or so jobs the restaurant's expected to create. “We welcome the Dion’s family and look forward to having this legendary restaurant in our community.”

The restaurant has a bizarrely detailed Wikipedia profile, including the fact that the chain was originally going to be called "Dionysus" but it was shortened to save money on signs; and that a write-up by the Albuquerque Journal "helped boost sales and sent them on their way to sustainable sales gains in the years to come."

Founded in 1978, the pizza spot currently boasts 17 stores and 1,200 employees in three states. A ground-breaking ceremony will be held at 10 a.m., Wednesday, May 30, for those who just love a good shovel-ready photo-op.

“We chose Colorado Springs as our first Colorado location because the tight knit community and connectedness of Colorado Springs residents matches Dion’s dedication to creating a family-friendly environment where friends and neighbors can gather,” company president Doug Morse says in the release. “We expect to be a part of this community for decades to come.”

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Why you shouldn't eat fast food

Posted By on Wed, May 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

Fast food restaurant in Colorado Springs. Why not to eat fast food in Colorado Springs.

Fast-food dining is not for the faint of heart: There are disinterested teenage employees, a parking lot full of starving office workers, and rogue condiments — really rogue condiments (at least at Happy Food).

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Gas rates take a dive, water on the rise

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 5:04 PM

If you're a typical utility user, your monthly bill will go down by $2.10 a month — almost enough for a foo foo coffee drink — starting in June due to rate changes approved today by the Colorado Springs City Council.

The dip is largely due to the continuing low cost of natural gas, as shown in this graphic from showing a history of natural gas prices since 2007.

Colorado Springs Utilities rates natural gas prices
  • Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot Price Chart.

The Colorado Springs Utilities press release talking about the decrease is below, along with mention of what lies ahead for water rates, which for the typical residential user would go up by $11.03 by January 2014 — not as bad as it could have been — under a proposal unveiled today. Utilities officials have said that future rate increases beyond that date, at one time envisioned to be 12 percent annually through 2016, will be small or non-existent.

Higher water rates are necessary to fund the $1.6 billion (including borrowing costs) Southern Delivery System, a pipeline that will increase the city's water supply by a third by bringing water from Pueblo Reservoir by 2016.

The typical residential energy bill will be reduced by $2.10 a month based on 600 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electric use and 60 CCF (hundred cubic feet) of natural gas use. This is the second gas cost adjustment decrease this year.

Also at today's City Council meeting, Colorado Springs Utilities formally proposed changes to water rates for 2013 and 2014 and requested a public hearing June 26 at City Hall. Additional funding is needed to continue construction of the Southern Delivery water project and to pay for critical maintenance and repairs of the existing water system.

Due to low interest rates, favorable construction market conditions and efficient project management, the proposed rate increases are lower than the 12 percent annual changes expected when the project was approved in 2009. If the new rates are approved by City Council, the typical residential water bill would rise by $5.04 (10.9 percent) in January 2013 and by $5.99 (11.7 percent) in January 2014. Tap water currently costs about six-tenths of a cent per gallon, increasing to about three-quarters of a cent per gallon if the rates are approved. The typical customer uses 8,228 gallons per month. See rate case details at

The lower SDS project costs should result in smaller water bill increases in the future as well. Planned rate changes for 2015 and 2016 are likely to be much lower than the projected 12 percent and may be eliminated altogether.

City Council today also approved a measure to lower the cost for non-profit groups to obtain water service for the purpose of community gardening. The number of formally established community gardens has grown from three in 2007 to more than 20 today.

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"COIN" investigation continues

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2012 at 3:56 PM

Air Force Academy
  • Weinstein: Still fighting.

Air Force Times is reporting that the Air Force is still dragging its feet in deciding what, if any, action to take against Air Force Academy Dean of Faculty Brig. Gen. Dana Born.

Born is accused of ordering a COIN, or counterinsurgency, against the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, run by outspoken advocate Mikey Weinstein. We've previously reported on this story.

Weinstein, a 1977 academy grad, has battled the Air Force Academy and its handling of religious issues for eight years.

The latest revolves around the question, "What's taking so long?" As the Air Force Times reports, a Pentagon official says, "The Air Force takes every allegation seriously and these are being given appropriate consideration.”

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