Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PPLD says, 'Hail to the Queen'

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 5:02 PM

Queen Palmer
  • This is going to be bigger than baseball cards...

Local history buffs, library aficionados, and archive junkies delight: the Pikes Peak Library District continues their project to bring the best of their photo archives into your ink-spattered hands.

As of this June, the PPLD is now distributing postcards featuring "Notable Ladies of the Pikes Peak Region" each month for the next year and a half. Suggested uses include sending one to your aunt, making a massive collage, or creating your own portrait gallery of illustrious antecedents in the nearest convenient hallway.

Start your soon-to-be epic collection with Mary Lincoln "Queen" Mellen Palmer: wife of General Palmer (yes that General Palmer), first lady of Glen Eyrie, founder of the first Colorado Springs public school, and known associate of other Victorian badasses like Rose Kingsley and Oscar Wilde.

Pick up your Queen Palmer postcard from the special-collections department at downtown's Penrose Library.

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Downtown, Pueblo get called more creative

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 2:27 PM

Today, Colorado Creative Industries, a division of the state Office of Economic Development and International Trade and the Boettcher Foundation announced it designated five new certified creative districts: the Pueblo Creative Corridor, Corazon de Trinidad, North Fork Valley Creative District, Ridgway Creative District and Telluride Creative District.

Colorado Creative Industries

That means that these five entities will receive $15,000 grants and technical support to help grow their programming and operations, not to mention the bragging rights of state certification, put this way by Gov. John Hickenlooper in the press release:

"These 2013 certified creative districts are great examples of how the arts create exciting places for people to visit and live," said Gov. Hickenlooper. "These districts not only increase quality of life, they also help with economic vitality of the area and attract people from all over Colorado and the country."

In addition, CCI also awarded Aurora, Longmont, Greeley and downtown Colorado Springs the designation of prospective district. For our downtown, it's a level up from its designation last year as an emerging creative-district (a label which was not awarded this year).

The initiative launched in 2011 and judges districts via a panel of "peer experts" and "scored using the following criteria: district characteristics, management and planning, community buy-in, and other factors."

As far as Pueblo's label as a certified creative district, it's another feather in the city's cap, having just hosted the Creative Industries Summit and landing the coveted Governor's Arts Award, both in April. But hey, this time last year Pueblo was just a wee prospective creative district as well, so good for Colorado Springs.

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DOMA goes down ... so what does that mean here?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 12:07 PM

Local couple Jeff Mueller and Eric Gustafson.

Good news for those who believe in equality: The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act and decided that Proposition 8, California's law banning same-sex marriage, will stay dead.

So what does that mean for Colorado same-sex couples? Not a lot. State Attorney General John Suthers noted in a release that the decisions won't spell the end of Colorado's ban on gay marriage.

ATTORNEY GENERAL RESPONDS TO SUPREME COURT SAME SEX MARRIAGE DECISIONS

DENVER—The United States Supreme Court issued opinions today on two cases involving same sex marriage. U.S. v. Windsor was a challenge to the constitutionality of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) which denied certain federal benefits to same sex couples married under state laws. Hollingsworth v. Perry was a challenge to the constitutionality of California’s Proposition 8 declaring a marriage was between one man and one woman. Proposition 8 is virtually identical to a Colorado constitutional provision passed by voters in 2006.

In striking down DOMA on a 5-4 vote, the Supreme Court reiterated that Congress is not given the power in the U.S. Constitution to define marriage and that what constitutes marriage remains the exclusive province of the states. The opinion clarifies that the federal government cannot discriminate against same sex couples recognized as married under state laws. The Attorney General’s Office did not weigh in on the merits of the DOMA case in the Supreme Court.

In the Proposition 8 case, on a 5-4 vote, the court dismissed the case on procedural grounds because the state officials named as defendants in that case declined to defend the state law or appeal the ruling of the trial court striking it down. The 9th Circuit decision invalidating Proposition 8 was therefore vacated, leaving in place the federal trial court decision invalidating Proposition 8. That decision does not invalidate laws of other states, like Colorado, which limit marriage to a man and a woman. As a result, the Supreme Court did not rule on the status of state laws and constitutional amendments that expressly prohibit same sex marriage.

Attorney General John W. Suthers issued the following statement in response to the decisions:

"We joined an amicus brief in the Proposition 8 case seeking clarity about the ability of states to adopt traditional definitions of marriage as Colorado’s voters did in 2006. The Supreme Court did not provide such clarity today. We will continue to analyze the opinions and will be prepared to defend Colorado statutes and constitutional provisions in the future."

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Lethbridge was recruited as public works director

Posted By on Wed, Jun 26, 2013 at 11:58 AM

Turns out, David Lethbridge, appointed by Mayor Steve Bach this week as interim public works director, was recruited for the job. He didn't apply, according to records supplied by the city yesterday in response to the Indy's open-records request.

David Lethbridge, Mayor Steve Bach, Laura Neumann, Dave Zelenok
  • Lethbridge will be in charge of traffic engineering, among other things.

In a June 20 e-mail to City Council and some staff members, Bach's chief of staff, Laura Neumann, said the applicants, of which there were 43, were "marginal," leading her to seek another option. Here's her e-mail:

Council  Members:
As  you  know  we  posted  our  open  Director  of  Public  Works  position  in  early  May and  received marginal  response  by  applicants.    However,  in  the  meantime,  I  have  been  meeting with  municipal colleagues  and  local  industry  professionals  to  offer  recommendations  to  me  for interim  or permanent  solutions  to  our  Director  of  Public  Works  position.
 
Needless  to  say,  when  Dave  Lethbridge’s  name  surfaced  a  possibility,  I  seized  on  the  opportunity and  met  with  him  to  discuss  our  priorities  and  challenges  and  his  level  of  interest.    Long  story short.    He’s  thrilled  by  the  opportunity  to  rejoin  our  City  Team  after  23+  years  of  service,  and  I  am equally  (if  not  more  so!)  thrilled  to  present  him  as  our  returning  Director  of  Public  Works  for  the City  of  Colorado  Springs;  seeking  formal  confirmation  at  Formal  Council  on  June  25,  2013.

Dave  and  I  will  work  on  a  formal  press  release  by  EOD  tomorrow  with  his  full  biography  available  to all  of  you  prior  to.    In  the  meantime  know  he  is  prepared  to  start  no  later  than  July  1;  with permission  to  support  the  County  in  his  recovery/stormwater  role  in  the  transition  for  the  next  30 days. I  offered  him  the  top  end  of  the  salary  grade  for  the  position;  at  $147K/annually. His  years of  service  will  be  reinstated  and  we  have  walked  through  all  the  tentacles  of  pension  ramifications.

There  are  less  than  a  dozen  City  employees  who  formally  know  I  have  been  speaking  to  Dave; although  I  do  recognize  the  grapevine  is  a  powerful  too.    So,  please  know  you  all  are  the  first  to know  of  our  official  offer  pending  formal  confirmation-­‐-­‐  beyond  Mayor’s  executive  team  and Human  Resources. Typically,  two  of  you  would  be  involved  in  the  panel  interview  process  had multiple  candidates  considered.   I  hope  you  are  thrilled  as  I  am!    A  formal  background  overview  on  Dave  to  follow  shortly.

Respectfully,

Laura  Neumann
Chief  of  Staff/Chief  Administrative  Officer

According to his resume, also obtained through an open-records request, Lethbridge obtained an associates degree in biblical studies and a bachelor's in pastoral ministries, both from Nazarene Bible College.

As we reported today, there's no indication that he has an engineering degree, or that he is a licensed engineer. Here's the criteria listed in the city's job posting:

Bachelor's degree from an accredited college or university with major coursework in civil engineering, public administration, business administration, or related field.

Eight to ten years of increasingly responsible full-time public works project management or civil engineering experience involving city or county public works projects including five years of management experience.

Registration as a Professional Engineer (PE) in Colorado or ability to obtain Colorado PE registration within six months of hire.

Lethbridge does list considerable college hours in engineering on his resume, thus:

* Civil Engineering, no degree, 1971-73, 48 semester hours, University of Massachusetts, Lowell (Formerly Lowell Institute of Technology);
* Civil Engineering 1980, 12 semester hours, UCCS

And then there's the endorsement from Dave Zelenok, who was with the city from 1990 to 2005 and worked with Lethbridge some years back when Zelenok was director of public works. He's now chief innovation officer/interim city manager/director of public works for the city of Centennial. He says via e-mail:

I know Dave very well. He's very personable, genuine and experienced.

When I was director, he worked in City Engineering and did an excellent job largely overseeing the city's system that imposes exactions on developers. I can say that he was able to obtain literally hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements to our street network and drainage system infrastructure. During my tenure and, thanks in large part to his efforts, we built over 400 miles of city streets in partnership with our developers. To put that in perspective, that's as many miles, for example, than we have in the entire City of Centennial (pop 102,000, 401 centerline miles).

Dave faces a number of major challenges, of course, including implementing the mayor's vision for the future of the department, managing hundreds of millions in RTA projects, attracting and retaining his technical staff (roughly 300 employees - from civil and traffic engineers to equipment operators driving the city's snow plows and patching potholes) and overseeing the flood mitigation work needed to protect the community from the Waldo Canyon - and now, Black Forest fires.

That work alone will require unprecedented major new investments in our stormwater system (probably approaching $1 Billion) to accommodate the current needs - and now, to accommodate the major increases in flows that largely begin in El Paso County but will affect safety of our community for decades.

He will certainly be a very, very busy guy.

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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Spot the cameos in the new ReMINDers clip

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Reminders
Earlier today, local hip-hop heroes the ReMINDers premiered a new music video they recorded a few weeks ago up in Denver.

In addition to the intro (and dancing) by the duo's ultra-cute kids, the clip features cameos from a half dozen hip-hop artists.

Can you name them all? (Turn your screen upside down for the answers!)

2xɯ2 puɐ zɹǝɯɯnɹp ǝɔɐǝd ʎʇıunǝɯoɔ 'uoıʇɐʌɐʇǝoɯ ɯǝʌɐɔ 'ǝssǝuıɟ ɟo zpɹoן ɯoɹɟ soן ǝǝɔ ʎoq-q 'zǝʎǝ ʎzɐן ظp 'ǝʞıɯ oqoɹ :sɹǝʍsuɐ

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CC librarian helps Australian sanitation trucks create poetry in motion

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 5:35 PM

Click to read Randall’s poem, 'Why I Had Children.'
  • Click to read Randall’s poem, “Why I Had Children.”

The last place you would ever expect to see poetry is where you might find it in Sydney, Australia — on the sides of street-sweepers.

As part of the 2013 Sydney Writers’ Festival, 11 “street-cleansing trucks,” as the Aussies call them, have been embossed with 19 poems written by poetry legends such as W.B. Yeats, John Berryman and Judith Wright.

Each poem is six-and-a-half-feet wide and three-and-a-half-feet high, with the intent of being visible to any passerby. According to the festival website, the ultimate goal of this unusual display of poetry is to bring “a bit of lyricism to the everyday.”

Jessy Randall, archivist and curator of special collections at the Colorado College Tutt Library, is among the poets featured on the cleaning trucks. The selected poem is entitled “Why I Had Children” and is part of her new book, “Injecting Dreams into Cows.”

Randall still doesn’t know how Luke Davies, poetry curator for the festival, discovered her work. “It’s a mystery, but a wonderful mystery,” she says.

When Randall first got the request for permission via e-mail, she didn’t know what to make of it. As expected of a librarian, Randall conducted research on the Sydney Writers’ Festival and was thrilled when she uncovered the details. “I’m glad the trucks don’t actually smell like garbage," she jokes. "I wouldn’t want my poem to go around stinking up the streets."

Randall graduated with a degree in English from Columbia University and went on to receive her masters in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill.
  • Courtesy Jessy Randall
  • Randall graduated with a degree in English from Columbia University and went on to receive her masters in Library Science from UNC Chapel Hill.

Randall’s love for poetry first began when she was an undergrad student at Columbia University. Her poetry professor, Kenneth Koch, was a “wonderful, encouraging force” that inspired her to write. Koch, a member of the New York School of Poetry, “made you feel like you already were a poet and that you didn’t have to prove you were smart…it was nice that I didn’t have to show off or prove myself,” says Randall.

Randall’s children, 12-year-old Will and nine-year-old Celia, inspire many of her poems. “Why I Had Children,” however, is not what you might expect.

“I never thought I would have kids, and when I did, it was very humbling and hard. I was wrong about everything I had thought motherhood would be,” says Randall, adding jokingly: “Surely I was reading too many books.

Randall used to write novels of fiction before having children and finding that she could no longer devote enough time to it.

“Poems became sort of a solace, something that I could do in a short amount of time when the kids were having a nap,” she says. “Now they’re older and they don’t need me as much as they used to. I’ve gotten comfortable with poetry in a way that I didn’t with fiction. It’s something you can do anytime.”

The reaction to Randall’s new book of poems has been positive, but she has always found it difficult to consider herself a successful writer.

“When a book comes out, there’s no one moment when it’s like, ‘Aha! I am finally a real writer!’ It doesn’t work like that as much as I expected it to,” says Randall. “This thing with the truck helped me go, ‘Wow, if someone in Australia, who is not my friend or relative, is going to read my poem, then maybe I am a real writer.’”

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Fort Carson faces personnel cuts

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 5:27 PM

Fort Carson, Doug Lamborn
  • Fort Carson

Fort Carson likely will see a reduction in troops of roughly 800 soldiers under an end-strength reduction announced by the Army today.

The cuts could have been worse, however. Although Carson will lose a brigade, shuffling of soldiers into other units will largely offset the loss, media outlets reported.


Rep. Doug Lamborn
, R-Colorado Springs, issued a statement bemoaning the cut but also noting that the new Combat Aviation Brigade is untouched by the cuts. It's bringing some 2,700 soldiers and more than 100 aircraft here.

Lamborn's statement:

"I am very disappointed that Fort Carson is one of ten bases around the country that will lose a brigade combat team by the year 2017. However the blow is considerably softened by the fact that all but 750 of those soldiers will remain at Fort Carson and be reassigned to other missions. Including other restructuring changes, the Army anticipates Fort Carson will actually increase in size by 1,800 active duty Army personnel.

“Ft. Carson is the finest Army post in the country and has access to unique mountain training ranges that enable our soldiers to be fully prepared to fight at altitude. Downsizing at Ft. Carson simply does not make sense.

“It is important to note these cuts are part of Army-wide restructuring, impacting bases in Europe and throughout the United States.

“The good news is that Ft. Carson has other missions that the Army continues to grow such as aviation and special forces. Next week the 4thCombat Aviation Brigade will officially be activated. The 4th CAB will bring dozens of helicopters and thousands of soldiers to Ft. Carson and this year alone is injecting over $260 million in construction into our local economy. The 10th Special Forces Group is also at Ft. Carson and continues to serve our country quietly but heroically.”

Read the Army's announcement here:

Continue reading »

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Awesome local lady seeks Hooters glory

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

Colorado Springs Hooters server Rachael Prouhet.
  • Courtesy Hooters
  • Colorado Springs Hooters server Rachael Prouhet.

When you step into Hooters, you're stepping into awesomeness. The napkins are awesome; the point-of-sale system is awesome; and the wings, sports, Hooters girls and beer are awesome. Right, Dave Henninger?

"I think from a marketing perspective probably one of the single biggest ideas we’re bringing to bear is this whole idea of ‘stepping into awesome,'" the company's chief marketing officer told Nation's Restaurant News today. "In the past we were so focused on what we did — be it wings, sports, Hooters girls, beer. What we started to realize is that when the Hooters girls open those doors and say hello you’re entered into this awesome world of awesomeness."

Wow.

But all that sauce doesn't turn into awesome all by itself. It takes the work of servers like Colorado Springs resident Rachael Prouhet who, this Thursday, will attempt to fight off 60 other Hooters employees at the 30th running of the Hooters International Swimsuit Pageant in Las Vegas.

"The Rocky Mountain snow melts quickly when Rachael turns up the heat in yoga class," reads her provided bio. "When she is not on the range shooting she's helping to rehabilitate wild cats. As a blonde bombshell she loves to enjoy fresh air and sunshine as she cheers on her home team, the Colorado Rockies."

The contest will be judged by Audrina Patridge, Chuck Liddell, Cynthia Bailey, Jay Williams, Lance Smith, Susie Castillo and (awesomely enough) Terrell Owens.

So, good luck to Prouhet. In the meantime, with her Twitter admonishment to "Make. Today. Ridiculously #Amazing" in mind, I say we follow the likely advice of the Colorado Springs Police Department, and go spend an awesome amount of time and money at our local Hooters.

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Kum & Go wants in the west side

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 4:29 PM

KGLogo.jpg

A press release from the Old Colorado City Associates brings word that the serial expansionists at the convenience-store chain Kum & Go are eyeballing a two-acre lot on West Colorado Avenue, and eyeballing it hard.

"The City of Colorado Springs, Land Use Review Division has been asked to initiate public discussion," reads the release, "of the proposal to redevelop the Goodwill properties south of Colorado and north of Cucharras between 23rd and 24th Streets for a Kum & Go convenience food and fuel use."

And this is far from the company's first go-round: Despite a name reminiscent of an act you might accomplish in your car, Kum & Go four days ago celebrated the opening of its 50th Colorado store, at 6735 N. Carefree Circle.

"While customers save money as they fuel up, Kum & Go stores are also saving energy and water through their strong dedication to sustainable practices," reads the notification for that event. "Kum & Go designs and constructs the stores in accordance with rigorous LEED certification guidelines in mind. Sustainable features of this new Kum & Go store include Solatube skylights, LED lighting (both inside and outside the store), low-flow water efficient fixtures and high energy-efficiency equipment. Each store is built using recyclable materials and locally sourced materials.'

The company also just donated $10,000 to the American Red Cross to help with the fact that Colorado seems hellbent on burning itself down.

Anyway, the pre-application public meeting is at 6 p.m., Thursday, June 27, in the administration room of the Goodwill at 2320 W. Colorado Ave. "Please attend this meeting if you can!" says the OCCA. "This will affect our neighborhood!"

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UPDATE: No fireworks for the Fourth

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 1:21 PM

Fire danger has trumped holiday celebration, with the City of Colorado Springs and Manitou Springs having announced cancellation of their fireworks displays, and Fort Carson confirming that it will do the same.

The Fort Carson news came an email from spokesperson Dee McNutt to Indy reporter Pam Zubeck this morning.

Here's yesterday's release from Colorado Springs:

Colorado Springs, Colo.—Due to continued extreme fire dangers in the region, the City of Colorado Springs and the Colorado Springs Fire Department has put a hold on all public fireworks displays within the city limits effective today, Monday, June 24. The City of Colorado Springs remains in burn restrictions. Personal use the fireworks, as always, is illegal within the city limits of Colorado Springs.

"The safety of our community comes first. With fire conditions in our area not improving, we all need to take extra precautions to keep our community safe from any potential fire hazards," said Interim Fire Chief Tommy Smith.

Many of the already scheduled public events will continue to go on without fireworks.

And last week's announcement from Manitou:


Manitou Springs Fire Chief Keith Buckmiller has enacted fire restrictions due to the weather, fuel conditions, and lack of countywide firefighting resources.

Chief Buckmiller declares high fire danger, announces the imposition of restrictions on open fires and open burning, and reminds Manitou Springs citizens and visitors that fireworks are always illegal within city limits.

The 2013 Manitou Springs Fire Department’s Fourth of July Fireworks Show is regretfully canceled.

Current fire restrictions include a ban on open fires and open burning, defined as any outdoor fire, including, but not limited to, campfires, warming fires, charcoal grill fires, fires in wood-burning stoves or grates, fused explosives, and fireworks of all types.

During this open fire ban, the smoking of tobacco and other products in cigarettes, cigars, or pipes is prohibited outdoors, except on Manitou Avenue. Outdoors is defined to mean any place outside an enclosed structure or vehicle. The discarding of a lighted cigarette, cigar, or pipe tobacco outdoors is strictly prohibited during a period of high fire danger.

Restrictions on open fires and open burning do not apply to gas-fueled grills used out-of-doors, or to fires within liquid-fueled or gas-fueled stoves, fireplaces within buildings, nor to fires in wood-burning stoves and fireplaces within private residences.

The Manitou Springs Fire Department thanks you for your role in keeping the city fire safe.

We want it known that we do not impose these measures lightly. Our hope is that everyone can understand our need to take every reasonable precaution to ensure a safe summer for all.

The Air Force Academy announced months ago that it would not be holding a fireworks display this year, due to budget cuts from the sequester.

——- ORIGINAL POST, JUNE 12, 1:03 P.M. ——-

In moves that should surprise no one, both the City of Colorado Springs and El Paso County today have tightened restrictions on where, when and what you can burn.

First, the city:

City of Colorado Springs Enacts Fire Restrictions

COLORADO SPRINGS, CO, June 15 — Lack of precipitation and continued high temperatures have left the City of Colorado Springs with EXTREME wildland fire danger. Dry conditions and above normal temperatures have resulted in low fuel moistures. Trees and brush are at critically low levels which make them vulnerable to ignition.

"In addition to critically low fuel moistures, aerial and ground resources around the state are committed to fighting fires." said Fire Marshal Brett Lacey.

Interim Fire Chief Tommy Smith has determined that, “fire restrictions in the City will go into effect Wednesday, June 12 at 12:00PM MDT and will stay in effect until weather and fuel conditions improve.”

burn restrictions and bans

Burn Restriction and Burn Ban Penalties - Person(s) failing to comply with a Burn Restriction or Burn Ban shall be punished in accordance with the general penalty of the Code of the City of Colorado Springs as amended (1.1.201). A careless fire that threatens or damages property is fourth degree arson and shall be prosecuted as such.

Interim Chief Smith urges everyone to take extra precautions to prevent wildfires when participating in all types of outdoor activities. We ask that parents remain especially cognizant of their children’s activities. Immediately call 9-1-1 when smoke or flames are spotted.

Residents are encouraged to “Share the Responsibility” and reduce their wildfire risk by implementing Wildfire Mitigation concepts into their landscaping. Wildfire hazard ratings for individual addresses are available at http://csfd.springsgov.com. For more information about fire restrictions and related activities visit www.springsgov.com/fire.

And the county:

El PASO COUNTY SHERIFF TERRY MAKETA IMPOSES STAGE I FIRE RESTRICTIONS

Due to the strain on firefighting resources from current local and State-wide firefighting efforts, as well as hot and dry conditions which are expected to continue, Sheriff Terry Maketa has imposed Stage I Fire Restrictions for unincorporated EL Paso County, effective immediately.

El Paso County Ordinance 02-2 governing Stage I Fire Restrictions states the following:
1. Open burning and outdoor fires are prohibited UNLESS done within permanently constructed fire grates in developed campgrounds and picnic grounds.

2. The use of wood burning stoves and charcoal grills at private residences in areas cleared of all flammable materials is ALLOWED.

3. The sale or use of fireworks is prohibited.

4. Outdoor smoking is only allowed IF done within an enclosed vehicle or building, OR done in a developed recreation site, OR while stopped in an area at least three feet in diameter that is clear of all flammable materials.

Sheriff Maketa insists everyone remain vigilant in their compliance with the restrictions as our community faces challenging conditions which are likely to exist for an extended period. The tragedy in Black Forest and the ongoing recovery from the Waldo Canyon Fire are events which demonstrate the power and destruction of wildland fire. The Sheriff’s Office will exercise a zero tolerance policy for those persons who violate the restrictions.

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Local launches marijuana-news segment

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 12:23 PM

Screen_shot_2013-06-25_at_11.19.00_AM.png

Studio A64's KC Stark has never been shy about videotaping anything, but now the tables have turned with his new End of Prohibition Radio and TV segment.

It comes right before this Thursday's event at City Hall, 107 N. Nevada Ave., where Colorado Springs City Council members will hear public testimony regarding the possible regulation of recreational-marijuana stores. Stark's planning a march to the event from his downtown cannabis club.

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The big guy comes to town

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 11:44 AM

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is coming to Colorado Springs later this week, his first visit here since he was sworn in to office Feb. 27.

Chuck Hagel, Gen. Chuck Jacoby
  • Department of Defense
  • Hagel: Coming to check on things.

Which is surprising, considering we have five military installations in El Paso County and community leaders publicly fantasize about growing the military presence here even more.

Hagel plans stops at Peterson Air Force Base, home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command and Northern Command, and the Cheyenne Mountain Air Force Station. He'll also drop in at Fort Carson, but apparently will forgo stops at Schriever Air Force Base, the super-secret satellite ops base out east, and the Air Force Academy.

At Peterson, Hagel will meet with NorthCom commander Gen. Chuck Jacoby to discuss homeland defense, integrated air and missile defense, US-Mexico military-to-military relations, and defense support of civil authorities, according to a news release.

Media have been invited to a news conference on Friday morning at Cheyenne Mountain, the underground Cold War-era bunker that used to be the headquarters for NORAD, where Hagel and Jacoby will make "brief statements."

Later that day, Hagel will hold a town hall meeting with soldiers at Fort Carson.

Neither of those events are open to the public, however.

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15 Years and still going strong: Art on the Streets

Posted By on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 at 10:32 AM

Art on the Streets, Chris Rench, Constellations III
  • Laurel Prud'homme
  • Chris Rench, "Constellations III"

As of today, 10 of the 11 newest installments of Art on the Streets are up and running.

Now 15 years old, Art on the Streets is an annual tradition, putting public art downtown — free to taxpayers — thanks to the Downtown Partnership and US Bank.

This year’s batch features sculpture from locals like Kim Polomka (who has painted numerous murals downtown) and Pard Morrison, as well as Denverite Timothy C. Flood and nine other artists from around the country. According to Laurel Prud’homme, director of communications for the Partnership, they received 130 submissions, vetted by juror Blake Milteer, museum director at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center.

Milteer also chose the winners, who received handsome cash prizes. Last year, Chris Weed took home top prize for “Portal 1 and 2” a set of giant televisions set next to and inside the Plaza of the Rockies, but this year the honor went to Michael Brohman of Denver, whose bronze “Place” netted him $15,000.

Michael Brohman, Art on the Streets
  • Laurel Prud'homme
  • Michael Brohman's "Place"

Second place went to San Francisco artist Melanie Piech, and third to Salida artist Jimmy Descant, who shows his witty, retro-futuristic works often around town (you’ll catch some of his latest at Revamp’d, opening at the Ivywild School July 13.)

Below is a map of the placement for all the new works. The only outlier is Morrison’s “Sum," which will go on display once construction finishes on the sidewalk and street.

As always, the pieces are for sale, and could possibly be purchased by someone, or some entity — the Partnership has bought art in the past — for permanent display downtown. A downloadable map of all outdoor public art in the area is available here.

Art on the Streets
  • Downtown Partnership
  • 1. Janene DiRico-Cable, "Iron Horse"; 2. Melanie Piech, "Play Date"; 3. Chris Rench, "Constellations III"; 4. Tim Upham, "Red Springs Garden"; 5. Kim Polomka, "Tree"; 6. Jimmy Descant, "Reverse Prometheus"; 7. Jennifer Cannon, "Current"; 8. Suzanne Kane, "Xeriscape"; 9. Timothy C. Flood, "Stranger Reduction Zone"; 10. Michael Brohman, "Place"; 11. Pard Morrison, "Sum"

Sadly, Prud’homme notes that Art on the Streets co-founder Judy Noyes died unexpectedly this past week. Prud’homme writes via e-mail:

Judy Noyes was on the first board of directors for Community Ventures, established in 1997, and served on the board for many years. She believed a world-class community needed public art, and helped to establish the Art on the Streets public art program in 1998. Just a few weeks ago, Judy viewed images of the 2013 Art on the Streets sculptures and was looking forward to seeing them in person. We are saddened by her loss, and grateful for the legacy of community art she leaves behind.

This batch will be up until next June.

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Monday, June 24, 2013

We Are Not Rembrandt is back, here's the latest batch

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 7:52 PM

As it has for the last three iterations, We Are Not Rembrandt pairs local artists with local bands, to raise money for a local cause.

Now four events old, WANR will reconvene Saturday at Zodiac with priced-to-sell jewelry, paintings, drawings, pottery and sculpture (as well as big-ticket items like custom-made guitars) with proceeds benefitting All Breed Rescue & Training. Performers on the bill: We Are Audible, Woje, Pat Rau and Dean Dunston of The Mostly Don'ts, Gabe From the Future of Melting Temple, The Blehm Band and the Ostrow Brothers.

Here's a look at some of the artwork:

We Are Not Rembrandt
  • "Ginger and Cinnamon"

We Are Not Rembrandt

We Are Not Rembrandt

We Are Not Rembrandt

We Are Not Rembrandt

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Baristas, goats, horses and the Fluffy Kitty Meow Meow

Posted By on Mon, Jun 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM

Here's a brief heads-up on four worthy upcoming food-and-drink events:

• At 7 p.m., this Thursday, June 27, R&R Coffee Café will host an Evacuee Barista Jam Latte Art Throwdown. A suggested $5 donation to witness the creamy creativity will benefit the Black Forest Fire Recover Fund. Here's a flier with info: Latte_art_poster.pdf

R&R Coffee
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Area coffee baristas will compete in a friendly manner on Thursday at R&R Coffee Cafe for a Black Forest Fire recovery fundraiser.

• Then on Friday, from 5 to 8 p.m., The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center will host its fourth annual Whiskey For My Men, Beer For My Horses fundraiser.

If you happen to be a firefighter, first responder, police officer, EMT or animal rescuer, you can attend the event free of charge, as a show of appreciation.

For the rest of us, here's what you need to know, from the FAC's blog:

Four breweries, including the Colorado craft brew icon Oskar Blues Brewery, and four distilleries, featuring national award-winner Leopold Brothers, will pour samples of their delectable spirits during Whiskey IV. Musical entertainment is provided by the incomparable Black Forest Band, The J. Miller Band, playing the finest in Americana and country. Once again, the Buffalo Gals will be serving up New West barbeque for purchase.
A significant increase in both hooting and hollering is anticipated from the previous three editions. Also included with your ticket is free admission to view the FAC galleries. Since the inception of the event in 2010, patrons who wear a "big-ass" belt buckle will get a $5 discount. Tickets are $25 ($20 for FAC members), available online or at the door.

• Saturday, June 29, brings a five-course Great Divide Brewing Co. dinner at 5 p.m. at Brewer's Republic.

Seats are $35, and here's a look at the menu courtesy Focus on the Beer:

First course:
Great Divide Nomad Pilsner with Cream, Tequila, and Cactus soup with hominy and cilantro, and finished with jullienned radish topper.
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Second course:
Great Divide Rumble with Deep fried Avocado in a cumin beer batter served with a cilantro sour cream dipping sauce.

Third course:
Great Divide Fluffy Kitty Meow Meow IPA with Orange and Jicama salad- fresh oranges with Jicama in a ground chile, tossed in vinaigrette and finished with fresh scallions.

Fourth course:
Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale with Sliced Skirt Steak marinated in a roasted tomato and garlic sauce, grilled to perfection with a roasted pepper and red onion tapenade drizzled in a chipotle cream sauce served with a roasted garlic and poblano pepper mashed potato

Fifth course:
Great Divide Oatmeal Raisin Yeti with Chile infused dark chocolate bark with bacon, marshmallows and salted peanuts.

• Lastly, jump to Saturday, July 6, at 7 p.m. for a special "family-style goat feast" at Black Forest's Joyful Noise Farm with Full Circle Cuisine.

Prior to the meal, at 6 p.m., farm owners Craig and Kellie McHugh will discuss their goats, including information on the milks and cheeses the farm produces.

Seats are $65, and here's a look at that menu:

Goat Charcuterie with pickled farm vegetables

Smoke roasted whole goat Cabrito style
Fresh tortillas & salsas

Birria ~ Slow braised Mexican goat stew

Goat milk ice cream with goat milk cajeta

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