Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Waldo Canyon Fire: Craigslist community wants to help

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Official offers of help from funded organizations are all well and good, but it doesn't take a 501(c)(3) designation to share a spare bedroom with a stranger and their dog displaced by the Waldo Canyon Fire. With that in mind, here's what a cursory search of Craigslist revealed to be out there. Please note: None of these offers have been vetted, and it's unknown whether they're still available.

"I can take in an indoor cat for someone ..."

"... a helping hand for those looking for care for their exotic and small animals ..."


"Offering room for 2 adults plus kids ..."

"Willing to take in cats/dogs/small animals ..."

"... willing to take in pets and livestock for fire evacuees."

" ... happy to house your small or larger breed dog(s) ..."

"We can take a couple horses as well as a couple of dogs."

"... can help with any reptiles or caged animals ..."

"I am offering any help no matter what it is."

"We have about an acre ... that we could accommodate a few tents or RV's ..."

"I have room for 1-2 young adults ... or a single parent with 1-2 small children."

"... we have access to a 20 foot stock trailer, 5 horse trailer, and a 30 foot flat bed ..."

" ... interested in fostering someones birds, fish, or dogs ..."


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Grab a free Fitz & the Tantrums EP before they run out

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:24 PM

Fitz & the Tantrums
  • Fitz & the Tantrums

There's been no shortage of Fitz & the Tantrums fans here at the Indy office, ever since their local performance and appearance on our cover last summer.

If you're similarly enamored, the group has today begun offering a free limited-time download of its new EP, which features live version of FT&TT originals "Breakin' The Chains Of Love," "Pickin' Up The Pieces," and "News For You," as well as covers of the Raconteurs' "Steady As She Goes" and the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams."

It's called Live from the House of Blues Boston 2, and the band's management has kindly let us embed it below. So have at it.

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Peak View opening for tours

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 12:03 PM

  • Peak View

Wednesday, Colorado Springs' latest psychiatric hospital will be opened to the public for tours.

Please join us for Peak View Behavioral Health’s new 92-bed psychiatric hospital open house on Wednesday, June 27. This 10-hour event will give the community an opportunity to see the hospital, learn about our programs and meet our team. Feel free to encourage any colleagues who may be interested to attend as well.

The facility is located at 7353 Sisters Grove out by St. Francis Medical Center, at the corner of Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard.

The public is invited to show up starting at 10 a.m.

From a press statement:

“We wanted to give the community professionals an opportunity to walk through the hospital, see how therapeutic and non-institutional the environment is, and ask our team any questions they might have about the facility specifically, or behavioral healthcare in general,” Peak View Behavioral Health CEO Gary Miller said.

The new 56,000 square foot hospital will have 92 beds and offer several program options to serve the behavioral health needs of individuals throughout and beyond the Front Range. Initial start-up will include services for adults 18 years of age and older, including geriatric patients. PVBH plans to also treat children and adolescents at the new facility in the near future.

“This is a huge undertaking and we want to make sure we grow at an appropriate pace for both the patients and our staff,” Peak View Chief Operation Officer Will Adams said. The hospital anticipates adding more than 100 new employees throughout 2012 and an additional 100 in 2013

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UPDATE: Ride your bike for once!

Posted By on Tue, Jun 26, 2012 at 11:37 AM

It looks like Bike to Work Day will have to wait.

With the Waldo Canyon Fire blazing and smoke polluting the air, it's not a good time to get exercise outdoors. Smoke is damaging to the lungs and can cause a host of nasty health problems. So Bike to Work Day will likely take place in early fall instead.

Bike To Work Day Activities Postponed

The Transit Services Division of the City of Colorado Springs, administrator of Mountain Metropolitan Transit (MMT), has cancelled MetroRides’ Bike To Work day activities scheduled for Wednesday June 27, 2012. The event will be rescheduled for sometime in September of 2012.
The Waldo Canyon fire has produced air quality issues and the El Paso County Health Department is cautioning people about outdoor physical activity. Additionally, under these extreme conditions, City resources are and should remain focused on fire response needs.
Mountain Metropolitan Transit provides local fixed-route bus service, express bus service, and Metro Mobility ADA paratransit service for Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. All buses are wheelchair-lift equipped. Mountain Metropolitan Transit also provides other services such as Metro Rides’ ridesharing, vanpool, and bicycling programs. For added convenience, there are bike racks on all buses for riders who want to utilize the bike-n-bus program.
For additional information regarding Mountain Metropolitan Transit please visit www.mmtransit.com, or call (719) 385-RIDE (7433).

——- ORIGINAL POST, TUESDAY, JUNE 19, 7:15 A.M. ——-

Bikes: Beautiful and functional.
  • Pascal Maramis
  • Bikes: Beautiful and functional.

Bike to Work Day is coming up on June 27, next Wednesday, and the city has incentives to those who choose to pedal instead of visiting the pump. Some of the highlights:

• Bikers can enjoy breakfast from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Pioneers Museum, 215 S. Tejon Street; Salsa Brava Rockrimmon, 802 Village Center Drive; or Salsa Brava Briargate, 9420 Briar Village Pointe. Though breakfast was offered free to early registrants, bikers must now pay $5 when they register on springsgov.com.

• Meet city leaders on the City Council Cruise, which leaves from the Pikes Peak Greenway Trailhead (at University Village Colorado) at 6 a.m. and goes south to the Pioneers Museum.

• The city is offering prizes to participating corporate groups and teams. To learn more or sign up your own team, visit springsgov.com.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Medical marijuana: Trial for cancer patient begins

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 5:25 PM

After many months of delay, the trial of medical marijuana patient Bob Crouse began this morning with jury selection. Crouse is a leukemia sufferer who used a tincture of cannabis to treat the side effects of his cancer, and is the latest in a string of MMJ patients to take their case to trial. The strategy has been fairly successful for some.

In our September profile of the longtime Colorado Springs resident, we looked at where his legal troubles began, writing, "Then in May, Colorado Springs Police Department officers knocked on his door, suspicious of his peaking utility bill, among other things. Crouse couldn't produce up-to-date patient renewal paperwork; he'd only recently been notified that the state had rejected it, because his recommending physician listed one address on one form, and a second on another."

For those interested in attending, the trial continues at 9 tomorrow morning at the El Paso County Courthouse. Meanwhile, Audrey Hatfield and her Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights have protested almost every court appearance Crouse has had to make, and this morning's 8 o'clock meet-up was no different. The following are some photos of the protest taken by Independent intern Wyatt Miller (with one noted exception).

  • Hossein Forouzandeh

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Ballots for displaced voters

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 12:15 PM

The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office is at the ready to help those displaced by the Waldo Canyon Fire get and cast a ballot in Tuesday's primary election despite any hardship.

El Paso County election

Deputy Clerk Alissa Vander Veen issued the following release this morning:

For voters who have been displaced by the Waldo Canyon Fire and who still need to cast their ballot in the June 26 Primary Election, the El Paso County Clerk & Recorder will issue them a replacement ballot. Voters just need to appear in person at the Clerk’s Office and the staff will assist them with the process for receiving a ballot. If the voter cannot appear in person, please contact the Election Department and the staff will work with individuals on a case by case basis to get them a ballot.

Voters can come to any one of the four Clerk & Recorder’s Offices to receive a mail ballot.
The Clerk & Recorder’s branch offices are:
o Main – Citizens Service Center – 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road
o North – 8830 N. Union Blvd (Research Pkwy and Union Blvd)
o Southeast – 5650 Industrial Place (Powers Blvd and Airport Rd)
o Downtown – Centennial Hall – 200 S. Cascade Ave (Cascade and Vermijo)

All Clerk & Recorder’s Offices will be open today from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and tomorrow from 7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.

Voters can also contact the Election Department directly at 719-575-VOTE (8683) or by email: elections@elpasoco.com. Voters also can verify the status of their ballot at www.GoVoteColorado.com.

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Nighthawks show canceled due to fire

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:59 AM

  • Nighthawks
Just a quick heads-up for those who were planning to see the Nighthawks at the Crystola Roadhouse this coming Thursday (June 28); the show has been canceled due to the Waldo Canyon fire.

Word from promoter Amy Whitesell is that, if you purchased tickets from the Crystola, you can go to the venue for a refund. Or, if you purchased them online through A Music Company, your money will be refunded directly from the promoter.

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Green Box put on hold

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:56 AM

From the listings desk: In further cancellation news, Green Mountain Falls' Green Box Arts Festival (a nine-day-long art and performance fete, which we covered last week) is currently postponed says spokesperson Ross Powell.

"It is our hope that we can resume the festival by Thursday at the latest but we are at the mercy of the fire and must wait until the evacuation in Green Mountain Falls is lifted," Powell writes in an e-mail.

One of the postponed activities, a piece of art constructed by Ben Roth.
  • Green Box Arts Festival
  • One of the postponed activities, a piece of art constructed by Ben Roth.

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Cover story update: Supreme Court backs Colorado organization in upholding Citizens United decision

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 11:45 AM

Indy cover on the Colorado-based American Tradition Partnership
  • Indy cover on the Colorado-based American Tradition Partnership
In our January 12, 2012 issue, we wrote a cover story on a secretive Colorado-based advocacy group called American Tradition Partnership, which had just lost a case before the Montana Supreme Court, upholding the state's century-old ban on corporate contributions to political candidates.

In that ruling, the conservative advocacy group (which previously operated under the name Western Tradition Partnership) was accused of "questionable tactics and blatant hypocrisy." The case concerned the fact that the organization had served as a conduit for as much as half a million dollars, from undisclosed sources, to influence Montana's 2010 election races.

But in an unsigned U.S. Supreme Court decision this morning, the court ruled on behalf of American Tradition Partnership, in the process upholding its highly controversial Citizens United ruling. That means Montana will be forced to abide by the higher court's "corporate personhood" ruling, and no longer be able to enforce its own long-standing ban.

The 5-4 decision also indicates that the majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices has no intention of revisiting Citizens United, despite multiple polls indicating opposition by a majority of Americans.

All that could shift if Barack Obama is re-elected in November, since a number of justices are expected to retire over the course of the next four years.

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Update: COPPeR to discuss arts and economics

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 10:41 AM

McGrath says the briefing will now be held Tues., July 17 from 8-10 a.m., with the presentation starting at 8:30 a.m.

——- UPDATED POST, MONDAY, 9:42 A.M. ——-

COPPeR's briefing has been postponed due to the Waldo Canyon Fire, says executive director Christina McGrath. It will be rescheduled for sometime in July.

——- ORIGINAL POST, FRIDAY, 2:45 P.M. ——-

Arts endeavors in the Pikes Peak region generate more than 2,000 jobs for the local economy and $72 million in direct economic activity, according to the newly released Arts & Economic Prosperity IV.

The study is a detailed, national analysis of how the arts impact the financial health of 182 communities across the U.S., the Pikes Peak region being one (thanks to the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region). A project of Americans for the Arts, AEP IV calculates attendance, dollars spent, jobs supported and tax revenues produced by arts organizations and uses those to estimate the nation overall. A nifty AEP IV Calculator online allows interested parties to estimate their own arts economic impact.

Happily, the arts are "resilient" in an otherwise down economy, writes Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts on the Huffington Post.

Of the $135.2 billion of economic activity generated by America's arts industry, $61.1 billion comes from the nation's nonprofit arts and culture organizations and $74.1 billion from event-related expenditures by their audiences. This economic activity supports 4.1 million full-time jobs and produces $22.3 billion in revenue to local, state, and federal governments every year — a yield well beyond their collective $4 billion in arts allocations.

These numbers are remarkable, especially considering the economic climate in 2010, when the study was conducted. Unemployment was at 9.7 percent in 2010 — more than double the rate from when "Arts & Economic Prosperity III" was conducted in 2005.

  • Arts & Economic Prosperity IV

You can see summary data specific to our region here. However, to get a more contextualized reading, attend COPPeR's briefing of the report from 8 to 10 a.m., next Tuesday, June 26, at the Mining Exchange, A Wyndham Grand Hotel. RSVP at rsvp@coppercolo.org or 634-2204.

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Council meetings canceled today and tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Like pretty much every other meeting, City Council meetings today and tomorrow have been canceled.

Though the e-mailed notification doesn't indicate why, I think we're safe in assuming it has something to do with the fire devastating our region.

City Council Meetings Canceled June 25 & 26 – Special Meeting 1 p.m. Wednesday June 27 for Memorial Hospital

Colorado Springs Informal and Formal City Council meetings on Monday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 26 have been canceled. A special meeting will take place at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, June 27 for one agenda item: Memorial Hospital.

# # #

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UPDATE: West Colorado Avenue really needs your help

Posted By on Mon, Jun 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM

Just in case you were wondering, the Westside meeting has been canceled due to fire.

Colorado Springs, CO, June 24, 2012 – The first of three Westside Avenue Action Plan stakeholder meetings was set for 6 p.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Westside Community Center, 1628, W. Bijou Street. It has been cancelled due to the Waldo Canyon Fire. A new date has not yet been determined. "Due to the Waldo Canyon Fire situation, it is in the best interest of the neighborhood to reschedule this meeting," said Commissioner Sallie Clark. "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and public safety officials during this time and we will let everyone know when the stakeholder meeting is rescheduled."

The worst section of West Colorado Avenue is known as No Mans Land.
  • The worst section of West Colorado Avenue is known as No Man's Land.

If the new Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority capital tax passes — continuing a sunsetting sales tax that has long funded area road projects — West Colorado Avenue might finally see some love.

And boy, could it use it.

I won't pretend I don't have a personal stake in this one. The truth is, I drive West Colorado nearly every day. I am familiar with its web of potholes. I watch carefully for the cyclists that weave precariously through No Man's Land late at night, sans lights, on a stretch with no shoulder, let alone a sidewalk.

The same stretch also accommodates elderly people with walkers trying to get home from the grocery store, and women with strollers. Both march down the right lane of the road, apparently confident that no one will be fiddling with their radio dial and accidentally mow them down.

And that's not to mention the thin lanes, crumbling bridges, and poorly designed intersections.

But why am I even telling you this? If you've ever driven West Colorado, you know firsthand that the road is a hazard. And on Monday, you'll get a chance to talk all about the problems you see, and propose some solutions to fix them.

Monday's stakeholders meeting is one of three intended to gather public input before a plan is put together to redesign the area. That redesign would then be funded by the PPRTA renewal.

Read on:

Stakeholders Meeting Set For Westside Corridor
Public Input Sought During 10-Month Assessment of W. Colorado Avenue

Colorado Springs, CO, Friday, June 22, 2012 – The first of three Westside Avenue Action Plan stakeholder meetings is set for 6 p.m. on Monday, June 25 at the Westside Community Center, 1628, W. Bijou Street. The Westside Avenue Action Plan Stakeholder Committee was created to provide a vision for badly needed infrastructure improvements to West Colorado Avenue and Manitou Avenue.

In April, the Board of Commissioners approved a contract for a Civil and Traffic Engineering Planning and Design Study. The $300,000 study is being paid for through the Colorado Department of Transportation.

“The Westside Avenue Action Plan is the first step toward the potential revitalization of the corridor,” said Andre Brackin, County Engineer. “Once the plan is finalized and funding is available, a final design would be developed and construction can begin. The Westside Avenue Action Plan’s success depends upon public involvement and public input. Our Stakeholder Committee will play a key role. Their input and community values identified during these discussions will guide development of the final plan.”

“This is an historic moment for this long time forgotten and neglected portion of West Colorado Avenue,” said Vice Chair Sallie Clark, who’s Commissioner District 3 encompasses the study area. “The commitment from the neighborhood, the merchants, elected officials and the many entities that have come to the table, provides for a comprehensive redevelopment plan which will address necessary road, drainage and accessibility issues while spurring on future economic vitality.”

The study will examine the needed roadway improvements, traffic flow, pedestrian access, utilities placement, drainage and other infrastructure problems along West Colorado Avenue between 31st Street and Manitou Springs. Portions of Colorado Avenue in this area fall under four different jurisdictions; El Paso County, Manitou Springs, Colorado Springs and the Colorado Department of Transportation.

Additional stakeholder meetings will be scheduled during the fall and winter. The stakeholder meetings also are open to anyone who wants to follow the discussions. Two public open houses also will be scheduled toward the end of summer and in January 2013 for citizens to see how the plan is progressing and to provide input.

To receive Westside Avenue Action Alert e-newsletters and learn how to get involved, send an email to info@WestsideAvenuePlan.com, or call the project message box at 719-629-7566 and leave your contact information.

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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Viesturs to speak at local mental health luncheon

Posted By on Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 6:36 PM

AspenPointe, a leading Colorado Springs provider of healthcare for mental and family health, is accepting nominations for this year's Hero of Mental Health Award. It's looking for the names of community folks "who have elevated themselves above their peers in efforts related to mental health, substance abuse and whole-person wellness."

Mountineer, author and speaker Ed Viesturs
  • via Everest Speakers Bureau
  • Mountaineer, author and speaker Ed Viesturs.
The winner will be selected and honored at the annual Heroes of Mental Health Luncheon at The Broadmoor on Oct. 2. Tickets for the luncheon go on sale July 6.

In addition to presentation of the award, the luncheon will feature keynote speaker, prolific mountaineer and bestselling author Ed Viesturs. Viesturs was the first American to scale the 14 tallest peaks on the planet; he was the fifth person ever to do it without supplemental oxygen. His latest of three books chronicling his life and climbs hit shelves late last year.

"His message of overcoming and conquering obstacles in the face of adversity resonates well with many people out there," says AspenPointe CEO and president Morris Roth.

Nominations for the Hero of Mental Health Award — given previously to the likes of former Colorado First Lady Jeannie Ritter, U.S. Army Major Gen. Mark Graham and his wife Carol, and suicide prevention activist Dr. Barry Koch — can be made online, via AspenPointe's convenient form.

The entire AspenPointe release, which includes nomination guidelines and deadlines, can be found after the jump.

Continue reading »

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Scaly skin is beautiful

Posted By on Sun, Jun 24, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Snakes can now be seen in a private room. Or not.

That's what the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo would like visitors to learn from its newly renovated reptile exhibit, anyway.

More than 40 species of scaly residents are settling into their gallery-space-like homes in the Scute Family Gallery. No, there isn't a background story about the Scute family, and none of its members paid for the building's funding. A scute, reads a zoo document, is just "a bony external plate or scale, like you might find on a turtle or alligator."

The building, formerly known as the Bird and Reptile House, was vacant for the past four years. Six months ago, a crew started to revamp it into an urban loft with natural brick, concrete floors and natural skylights. It's been open to the public since the first week of May, but the finishing touches were completed about a week ago. The Scute Family Gallery includes, among other fun features, plenty of reptile-inspired art, a swimming pool for two baby American alligators and a room separate from the main gallery for the snakes.

Nicole Mantz, education curator, stands in front of the gallery wall.
  • Maddie Hanson
  • Nicole Mantz, education curator, stands in front of the gallery wall.

"In addition to capitalizing on the beauty of the animals," says Nicole Mantz, education curator, "we really wanted people who may not be so excited about reptiles, and especially snakes, to have a wonderful experience, which is why all the snakes are in our middle area.

"So, if you have a fear of snakes, you don't have to go in there. We want people to just take a moment to see their beauty, and to start to understand more about reptiles and to really start to take that next step in seeing them as something not so fearful ... We're coming about it in a completely different way than what we might normally do."

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo's $13.5 million Encounter Africa capital campaign funded the renovation. Encounter Africa has three phases, the first being the recently completed elephant barn. The next phase will begin this fall with the addition of the new African elephant and meerkat exhibits and the introduction of an endangered black rhino. The final phase will be the completion of the African lion exhibit next summer. Concept art and the site plan are available here.

Clearly, inhabitants are thrilled with their artsy new playthings, colorful glass beads and neon sands. Just look at this smile:

The zoo is a happy place.

Until you can see the place for yourself, check out the teasers below the jump.

Continue reading »

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Saturday, June 23, 2012

Following the #WaldoCanyonFire

Posted By on Sat, Jun 23, 2012 at 4:08 PM

Per Colorado Emergency Management, the hashtag to follow is #WaldoFire #WaldoCanyonFire, not #PyramidMtnFire (which apparently was a different fire that started last night). But with the confusion between the two, keeping up with both all related hashtags is probably a good idea, at least for a while.

——- ORIGINAL POST, 2:57 P.M. ——-

Whether the information is coming via media or a view of the mountains, people locally are quickly becoming aware of the three-hour-old wildfire that's threatening the western part of the Pikes Peak region.

Pyramid Mountain Fire
  • Kirk Woundy
  • The view from seven stories up in central Colorado Springs, as of 3 p.m.

They're calling it the Pyramid Mountain Fire, though it will mean more to many locals to know that it started in Waldo Canyon and is threatening the Cedar Heights neighborhood to the point that a mandatory evacuation's been ordered. A voluntary evacuation has been announced for all residents west of 30th Street, from Gateway North to Chuckwagon.

As of 3 p.m., the fire appeared to be more than 500 acres.

This being a story that's going to, quite literally, change with the wind, the best way to follow it is probably through television and/or social media.

For instance, while no official word has come out regarding a closure of U.S. Highway 24, TV news is reporting that it appears cars are being turned back on that road.

And here are some Pikes Peak Red Cross tweets on shelters opening locally:


The hashtag being used is #PyramidMtnFire. We'll send tweets with that hashtag through our homepage feed.

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