Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Updated: Local musician seeks funding for emergency operation

Posted By on Wed, Nov 6, 2013 at 4:21 PM

Good news on the Oliver the Dog front: The fundraising effort reached $3,445, Oliver has had his operation, and he's now resting up for his return to everyday canine activities.

——- ORIGINAL POST, October 29, 2013, 2:30 p.m. ——-

Musicians typically use crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo to defray recording and touring costs. But WeareAudible guitarist Jeb Burgess is raising funds for a cause that’s much less typical, and a whole lot more pressing.

This past weekend, the local musician came home to find his dog collapsed in the front yard, inexplicably blinded by mace and suffering from a broken leg. To prevent his pet from being put down, Burgess is seeking donations to pay for an emergency operation.

With four days left in the fundraising campaigning, the musician is just over a fifth of the way to obtaining the $3500 needed to save his dog. Anyone who can help is encouraged to visit in order to donate.

Meanwhile, here's Burgess's recounting of the situation as posted on the website.

My dog Oliver is in need of surgery. I think he got out of the yard and in his travels met a neighbor who maced him and broke his leg.

On October 26th my dog was maced and then had his leg broken by some stranger in my neighborhood. He's never shown aggression and wouldn't hurt a fly. He didn't deserve this.

On Sunday night, I came home and found my dog Oliver laying in the yard with one of his front legs shattered. In addition he at some point was maced, which covered his entire face making it almost impossible for him to see / breathe.

After having Oliver in to the vet, they are recommending a minimum of a $3500 surgery to repair his leg and its more money than we have. My other option is to amputate the leg which is $1500 which is also more than I have available.

he last resort is having him put down which I refuse to accept.

If you are able to donate anything, even just 10 dollars, it will help me avoid having to put him down over a broken leg.

My funds have been exhausted just getting him in and out of the emergency care. Sadly, we don't know who did this so we can't hold anyone responsible for the cost.
Anything you are willing to contribute is welcome and will help save Oliver's life!

Thank you

Jeb and Oliver.

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Tuesday, November 5, 2013

UPDATE: Flooded? You have until Nov. 30 to speak up.

Posted By on Tue, Nov 5, 2013 at 5:26 PM

The government is giving flood victims a break. 

FEMA has extended the deadline to file paperwork seeking assistance for damages from Nov. 14 to Nov. 30.

Read on: 

FEMA Registration Deadline Extended for Disaster Survivors in Colorado

DENVER – At the request of the state of Colorado, FEMA has approved an extension for storm and flooding survivors to register for federal disaster assistance.

The new registration deadline is November 30, 2013, which is also the new deadline to complete and return low-interest U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan applications.

Survivors who register may be eligible for federal grants to help cover various disaster-related expenses, including rent, essential home repairs, personal property losses and other serious disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

The extension is for all 11 Colorado counties designated for federal Individual Assistance: Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Fremont, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan, Morgan and Weld.

People living in these counties who sustained losses due to storms and flooding should register with FEMA even if they have insurance. Applying by the deadline may help survivors avoid a funding shortfall if they later find that they are underinsured or have additional damages.

Under the SBA disaster loan program, homeowners may be eligible for as much as $200,000 in loans to repair or replace their storm-damaged primary residence. Homeowners and renters may be eligible for as much as $40,000 for replacement of personal property. Businesses and private nonprofits may be eligible to borrow as much as $2 million to repair or replace storm-damaged property.

Register with FEMA by phone, 800-621-3362, from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m., MST, seven days a week. Multilingual phone operators are available on the FEMA helpline. Choose Option 2 for Spanish and Option 3 for other languages. People who have a speech disability or are deaf or hard of hearing may call (TTY) 800-462-7585; users of 711 or Video Relay Service can call

Register online"> Register by Web-enabled device, tablet or smartphone: type in the browser.


——- ORIGINAL POST, OCT. 15, 4:33 P.M. ——-

Don't procrastinate on this one. - FEMA
  • FEMA
  • Don't procrastinate on this one.

Last week, I told you that the local Disaster Recovery Center was waiting to hear from flood victims so that they could give them money.

Well, now I'm telling you again. If your home was damaged in the flood — if you even think there's a tiny possibility that your home may have been damaged in the flood — get your butt down to the DAC and register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency. 

The DAC is located at the Colorado Springs Fire Training Center on 375 Printers Pkwy. Hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week. If you don't register by November 14, you will not be able to get financial assistance for flood damage or losses. Period.

In case there's any doubts, here's a senator telling you the same thing:

Udall Urges Coloradans to Register for FEMA Disaster Assistance Before Fast-Approaching Nov. 14 Deadline'Flood Victims Need to Register for FEMA Assistance Now Before Time Runs Out'

Mark Udall, who has fought to ensure Coloradans have the federal resources they need to recover from last month's devastating flooding, urged flood victims to register for FEMA disaster assistance before the Nov. 14, 2013 deadline — which is one month away. FEMA registration is the first step for survivors of the flooding, landslides and mudslides in Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Clear Creek, El Paso, Jefferson, Larimer, Logan and Weld counties. FEMA assistance can provide money for rental assistance, essential home repairs, personal pr
operty losses and other disaster-related needs not covered by insurance.

"Even though the flood waters have receded from Colorado, families are still suffering the effects of August's biblical rains. We will recover and Colorado will rebuild, but flood victims need to register for FEMA assistance before time runs out," Udall said. "In the meantime, I will keep fighting to secure every federal resource possible for Colorado communities and flood victims."

Coloradans can register with FEMA:

By phone by calling 1-800-621-3362;
Online at; or,
Via a tablet or smartphone through

Once they register with FEMA, Coloradans may be eligible for Small Business Administration assistance, including low-interest home-disaster loans and business-disaster loans. Survivors must submit the Small Business Administration application for home and business loans by Nov. 14, 2013. Coloradans have until June 16, 2014 to apply for economic-injury disaster loans, which help businesses and nonprofits confront ordinary financial obligations that could not meet due to the disaster.

Coloradans who are denied FEMA assistance should remain diligent and read determination letters carefully as they may be eligible for appeal of denials or pre-approved amounts of assistance. Those seeking aid have 60 days after the letter was issued to file an appeal, which can be done at a Disaster Recovery Center.

Udall has worked since the flooding began to ensure Colorado communities and agencies have every federal resource they need to save lives, protect homes and start the recovery process. He championed legislation to remove a cap on the amount of emergency transportation funds Colorado can access to repair the state's battered roads, bridges and highways in the wake of the recent flooding. He also has addressed the nation from the U.S. Senate floor to highlight the challenges Colorado has faced since the flood.

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Friday, November 1, 2013

UPDATE: Centennial drop-off open again

Posted By on Fri, Nov 1, 2013 at 5:01 PM

Just about anyone can find a convenient drop-off location. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Just about anyone can find a convenient drop-off location.
And now that closed ballot drop-off is open again:

24-Hour Ballot Drop-Off Box Reopens at Centennial Hall

[Colorado Springs, Colo. – November 1, 2013] The Clerk and Recorder’s Office is pleased to announce that the emergency removal of the concrete slabs near the west entrance of Centennial Hall has concluded and the 24-hour ballot drop-off box will reopen today at 5:00 PM. The replacement 24-hour ballot drop-off box at the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center opened earlier also will remain available to voters in the downtown area.

“I would like to thank GE Construction and El Paso County Administration for their hard work that allowed the Centennial Hall ballot drop-off box to be re-opened quickly,” stated Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. “I would especially like to thank the Colorado Springs Police Department for their flexibility in offering us a replacement location with such short notice. Their commitment to serving our community is an asset to voters in El Paso County.”

The Centennial Hall 24-hour ballot drop-off box was closed after an inspection revealed a significant risk with the large concrete slabs over the box and lower entrance. The inspection was undertaken after one of the 2,000 pound slabs fell last week.

——- UPDATE, THURSDAY, 3:28 P.M. ——-
When the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office closed Centennial Hall as a drop -off location for ballots, some cried foul, noting the building is located in a more liberal-leaning area.

But the Clerk's Office said falling concrete led to the closure at Centennial Hall, which is being renovated. Today  the Clerk's office announced a new location has replaced Centennial Hall as a drop-off point. The Police Operations Center is one of 14 locations where voters can drop off their ballots. Read on for more information:

New Ballot 24-Hour Drop-Off Location Announced to Replace
Centennial Hall Box Closed Due to Construction

[Colorado Springs, Colo. - October 31, 2013] The El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office opened a new 24-hour ballot drop-off location at the Colorado Springs Police Operations Center at 705 S. Nevada Avenue in Colorado Springs. Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams added the new 24-hour ballot drop-off location to replace the drop-off box that was closed at Centennial Hall due to imminent safety issues. Access is still possible through other entrances to the ballot drop-off box and voting site in the lower level of Centennial Hall.

"We opened the first 24-hour drop-off at our main office in 2012. To further improve customer service, we constructed four additional sites this year, including at Centennial Hall. When the safety of our voters caused the closure of that box, we sought other alternatives," noted El Paso County Clerk and Recorder Wayne Williams. "We'd like to thank the Colorado Springs Police Department and Chief Pete Carey for their quick response and willingness to make it even easier for our citizens to cast their ballots." When asked for his assistance, Chief Carey stated that he respected the democratic process and was happy to make the Police Operations Center available for easy access for our citizens. This is a positive way to highlight the partnership CSPD enjoys with El Paso County.

The Police Operation Center 24-hour ballot drop-off location will be available starting at 4:00 PM today through 7:00 PM on Election Day, November 5.

The Centennial Hall 24-hour box was closed after inspection revealed a significant risk with the large concrete slabs over the 24-Hour ballot box and lower entrance to Centennial Hall. The inspection was undertaken after a 2,000 pound concrete slab fell last week. The Clerk and Recorder's Office is working with County Administration to re-open the Centennial Hall 24-hour ballot drop-off box-along with the west facing entrance to the Motor Vehicle Department- as quickly as possible.

While there is no requirement for 24-hour drop off boxes, the Clerk's Office added these as part of an ongoing effort to provide citizen-focused customer service. The replacement site gives voters in El Paso County an unprecedented five 24-hour ballot drop-off locations:

1. Main Office at the Citizens Service Center; 1675 West Garden of the Gods Rd, Colorado Springs, CO 80907.
2. Colorado Springs Police Operations Center; 705 S. Nevada Ave, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.
3. North Branch Office; 8830 North Union Blvd, Colorado Springs, CO 80920.
4. Southeast Branch Office; 5650 Industrial Place, Colorado Springs, CO 80916.
5. Charles C. "Chuck" Brown Transportation & Environmental Complex; 3275 Akers Dr, Colorado Springs, CO 80922.

There are a total of 14 locations at which ballots may be dropped off, seven of which are full-service Voting Service and Polling Centers. The nine additional locations and hours of operation can be found at (Please note that the original location in Cascade has been changed to Marcroft Hall, Chipita Park Chamber of Commerce, 9105 Chipita Park Rd, Chipita Park, Colorado 80809 due to the unavailability of the originally scheduled school.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

Monsters of Mock and other Motley characters

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 5:41 PM


Yes, there will be Zombies, Batmen, and Miley Cyruses. But the costumed characters that Tejon Street revelers should be sure to catch are Elvis Costello and David Bowie. The two music icons, or reasonable approximations of them, will be featured in tonight’s Monsters of Mock show at Jack Quinn’s.

El Toro de la Muerte’s Jeff Fuller is taking on the role of the bespectacled new wave icon as frontman for “This Year’s Model,” followed by the ubiquitous Mike Stephens leading tribute band “Major Tom” through a set of Bowie favorites.

For those who can’t make it — or else can’t get enough — there’ll be encore performances at McCabes on November 15.

You can also keep the Halloween masquerade going this Friday, when GOYA will be performing AC/DC and Motley Crue tributes at Southside Johnny’s.

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Lamborn plays hard to get

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 5:14 PM

Over the summer, rumors swirled around the possibility that four-term 5th District Congressman Doug Lamborn, R-Colorado Springs, might not seek a fifth term.

Lamborn: Will he or will he not? - U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
  • U.S. House of Representatives
  • Lamborn: Will he or will he not?
The rumors were partly based on the observation that he hadn't raised much campaign money for the 2014 election. At least, not at that point. According to, he has now raised nearly $122,000 and spent $102,413.

Meantime, Irv Halter, a retired Air Force general who's seeking the Democratic nomination in the 5th, has raised $121,000 and spent $37,857, reports.

Another tidbit was speculation that Lamborn might give up on politics to help his wife recover from an accident, an incident confirmed by Lamborn's communications director Catherine Mortensen.

So, like any self-respecting dirt digger, we asked. First, we turned to Mortensen, Lamborn's communications director, who also handles campaign matters. But she referred us to Justin Johnson, deputy chief of staff and military legislative assistant.

We asked Johnson: "Will he seek re-election?" 

Johnson's e-mailed response: "I can confirm for you that Congressman Lamborn is not considering retiring. I can't get you anything more than that at the moment because he is on a plane to Colorado."

That was on July 25.

When the rumors again surfaced in recent days, this time with a couple of names as possible substitute candidates for Lamborn, we decided to take another run at it.

So, again, we contacted Mortensen. At first, she said via e-mail she'd have to check "to see what he put out a few months ago."

About a half-hour later, she sent us this message: "Congressman Lamborn is looking forward to making an announcement about his intentions at a later time."

Does this sound like what you'd expect from an incumbent?

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Local artist Ellen O'Brien dies

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 1:02 PM

Today, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center announced that Ellen O'Brien, a prominent local artist, and the subject of its upcoming exhibit, Ellen O'Brien: The Prevalence of Line, has died.

The Indy interviewed O'Brien back in 2008, in advance of her retrospective at Cucuru Gallery Café, the first major show she'd had since she showed at the FAC in 1974. The nearly-120-work exhibit featured works from throughout her career — some were nearly 70 years old.

O'Brien, shown here with some of her work, also helped found the Colorado Springs Art Guild. - COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • O'Brien, shown here with some of her work, also helped found the Colorado Springs Art Guild.

O'Brien was born in 1922 and educated at Cornell University and the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Detroit. She spent four years in Europe after marrying, and worked in the studio of French artist and filmmaker Fernand Léger. O'Brien recalled attending a party with Pablo Picasso, who didn't want to talk to anyone.

She said she admired Picasso and Matisse, but wasn't directly influenced by them.

"I suppose somebody had some influence," she said, "But I never really looked at paintings that way. I always felt really independent about what I wanted to do."

O'Brien returned to the Springs in 1951 (she and her husband had lived a short time here before relocating to Europe), where O'Brien worked with master printmaker Lawrence Barrett and taught art for adults for the next 30 years at Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College and the FAC. She never showed students her own work.

"I don't want them to see it or be influenced by it. I want them to figure out their own way."

In a statement released by the FAC, museum director Blake Milteer writes:

"Ellen's art truly captures the spirit of adventure, skill, mystery and experimentation that drove art forward from the mid-20th century-on. She was among the artists who gave strength and significance to our culture in the Pikes Peak region. I was privileged to include her art in the FAC's 2009 exhibition Colorado Springs Abstract, and I enjoyed her seriousness as an artist and her amazing sense of humor as we planned for her upcoming show. I will deeply miss working with Ellen."

The Prevalence of Line opens Dec. 14.

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Melcher bids adieu

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 10:13 AM

City Council President Keith King released the following statement about Chris Melcher's resignation:

I want to thank Chris Melcher for his service to the City of Colorado Springs and wish him and his family the best. I understand the challenging role of being an attorney for multiple clients, especially when it is a new form of governance. Council is willing to work with the Mayor to help find a new City Attorney. Public service is very demanding and I understand why someone would want to limit their service. I again wish Chris and his family the best through this transition. I look forward to working with the next City Attorney to keep the City moving forward and accomplishing great things for its citizens.

———— ORIGINAL POST THURSDAY, OCT. 31, 9:53 A.M. ————————

When City Attorney Chris Melcher departs from the city on Jan. 31, he won't be taking any severance pay with him, unless the employment agreement he accepted when taking the job in October 2011 is changed.

Melcher signs the Memorial Health System lease in 2012, one of what Mayor Steve Bach calls his crowning achievements. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Melcher signs the Memorial Health System lease in 2012, one of what Mayor Steve Bach calls his crowning achievements.

Melcher's resignation was announced at 8 p.m. Wednesday, thusly:

Colorado Springs City Attorney Christopher J. Melcher has announced that will be leaving his position as City Attorney on January 31, 2014.

“It has been a privilege and an honor to have served the City and the Mayor as City Attorney these past two years. I believe public service is the highest and most noble calling, and I am truly grateful for the opportunity to contribute to our community. Serving in this position has allowed me to be a part of two historic achievements for our City: First, the very successful lease of Memorial Hospital to UCH, and the creation of a medical school campus and a community health foundation; and second, assisting in the transition to the new Strong Mayor form of government following voter approval. When I accepted Mayor Bach’s request to serve, I agreed to a commitment of two years – and I have enjoyed every day. Now that we have accomplished so many of our goals, it is time for me to return to the private sector.”

Mayor Steve Bach appointed Mr. Melcher to the position of City Attorney on October 1, 2011. As City Attorney, Mr. Melcher has been the Chief Legal Advisor to the Mayor, City Council, all Boards and Commissions, Colorado Springs Utilities, Memorial Health System and all other enterprises and appointees of the City. Under Chris Melcher’s leadership, the City Attorney’s Office has had numerous notable accomplishments including:

· The successful negotiation and completion of the $1.9 Billion Lease of Memorial Hospital to University of Colorado Health, approved by over 82% of the voters in 2012, and the creation of a medical school branch campus.
· The creation of the Colorado Springs Health Foundation, with potential assets in excess of $100 Million and a generational commitment to health and wellness in our community far into the future.
· Providing advice, leadership, and legal guidance to both City Council and the Mayor in the historic transition to a new Strong Mayor form of government following approval of nearly 60% of the voters in November 2010.
· Drafting and approval of a new Election and Campaign Finance Code in 2012.
· Restructuring and upgrading the office of the City Attorney, bringing on a number of new highly talented attorneys, and significantly reducing outside counsel expenses for both the City and Utilities.
· Successful resolution of a number of difficult lawsuits against the City.

Mayor Steve Bach said, “Chris Melcher has been an outstanding leader, attorney and adviser for many working in the City. He is thoughtful, smart and strategic. He loves our city and has done a tremendous amount for us in two years. The success of leasing Memorial Hospital to the University of Colorado Health is due largely to Chris Melcher’s tenacity and hard work. We will miss him greatly.”

Dick Celeste, community leader, former President of Colorado College and former Governor of Ohio said, “Chris Melcher is a gifted attorney and a dedicated public servant. He has always been guided by what he believes is best for our community and its commitment to a fresh vision for the future.”

Prior to serving as City Attorney, Chris Melcher was Chief Legal Officer for Colorado College, where his duties included advice and leadership to the President and the Board on all legal and business issues. Previously, Chris served as General Counsel and senior legal advisor to a number of Fortune 500 companies, and to public and private internet and technology businesses. Early in his career Chris served for many years as a federal prosecutor in Washington D.C. He is a graduate of Yale Law School.

Chris has served on numerous boards, including as a Founding Director and Chair of the Colorado Springs Downtown Development Authority Board and as a Founding Director of the Colorado Springs Chapter of First Tee. 

According to the offer letter dated Sept. 8, 2011, Melcher gets no walking money:

"Specifically, the City will provide you with sixty (60) days notice of any decision to terminate your employment, during which time the City may elect to relieve you of your duties and responsibilities so long as the City does not change your compensation or benefits during this sixty (60) day notice period."

That's the only part of the agreement that addresses severance in any way.

Melcher's conflicts with City Council are well documented, and his legal guidance hasn't always been without controversy.

A month ago, Council lashed out at Melcher, saying it would fire him if it could (the mayor appoints the city attorney). Council also cut his pay by roughly $4,000, returning his pay to his starting salary of $183,736, and took action to hire its own legal counsel for stormwater issues.

But Bach has been delighted with Melcher's work and rewarded him with a $25,000 bonus, we reported in April. Melcher was placed in charge of the City for Champions proposal to use state sales tax rebates to fund four ambitious projects in Colorado Springs, including a downtown baseball stadium/events center.

Melcher told the daily newspaper he hasn't accepted another job but that he wants to spend more time with his family. Melcher is used to switching jobs fairly frequently, as we reported in March, so his two-year stint at the city is consistent with his work history.

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Savory Spice Shop offers 'Savory Bites' recipes and more

Posted By on Thu, Oct 31, 2013 at 10:10 AM

Your vote for Best Gourmet/Spice Market in our recent Best Of issues went to Savory Spice Shop

Owner Dick Frieg was thrilled, and partly in thanks, wished to spread the word about a new "Savory Bites" program aimed at "connect[ing] with our local food communities by sharing interesting, relevant, and perhaps not-too-well-known facts about food, spices, and all things cookery."

From his email, here are some examples:

We all know that an Arnold Palmer is a blend of iced tea and lemonade. Many have heard the stories that the Earl of Sandwich asked for his meat to be served between slices of toast, so that he could multitask (playing cards or hunting, depending on which version of the story you get). But what you may not realize is that some of our favorite foods were originally named after some lesser known people.
In the 1800s Maria Smith, affectionately called “Granny” by many of her acquaintances, discovered a sapling growing where she had previously thrown out some apple cores. She replanted the sapling and nurtured it to maturation. That little sapling from the waste heap eventually bore tart, green apples.
Leo Hirschfeld, confectioner and inventor of candy manufacturing machines in the late 1800s and early 1900s, had a daughter named Clara. We imagine that little Clara must have loved her dad’s job because Leo’s daughter, nicknamed Tootsie, became immortalized when a non-melting chocolate candy was given the name “Tootsie Roll”.
And I bet you’d never have suspected that a favorite bar snack also has a namesake. Back in the 1940’s, the story goes, a group of military officers’ wives went into a Mexican bar around closing time. Not finding a chef available one of the lingering wait staff,Ignacio (“Nacho”), did the best he could with some tortillas, cheese, and jalapenos. That evening, a popular late night snack was born. 

If that just feels like trivia to you, perhaps you'd be more interested in some recipes provided by Savory:

Mikey's Sweet Corn Biscotti

Lindsay's Luscious Quiche

Norm's Gluten-Free Mexican Meatloaf 

And if for some reason that's not holding your interest, Frieg says: "These bites are just some of the topics we’re thinking about right now at Savory, but if there are other food topics that interest you, just ask us. We love to talk food."

Your next drink mate: sweet corn biscotti. - COURTESY SAVORY SPICE SHOP
  • Courtesy Savory Spice Shop
  • Your next drink mate: sweet corn biscotti.

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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Pipeline project progresses

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 4:47 PM

Workers watch as the dam connection at Pueblo Reservoir is tested in 2012. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Utilities
  • Workers watch as the dam connection at Pueblo Reservoir is tested in 2012.

The latest news on the Southern Delivery System, a water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir to Colorado Springs, won't pull many people's chain, but it's worth noting.

On Tuesday, the city kicked off construction of the Juniper pump station not far from the outlet from the dam that was built earlier as part of SDS. It's one of three pump stations that, according to Colorado Springs Utilities, represent some of the largest components of the project; cumulatively, they'll cost $76.5 million. A third of that will go to Colorado contractors. The prime contractor is Archer Western Constructors of Arlington, Texas.

To update, here are some notes on SDS' progress, provided by Springs Utilities:
The city is nearing completion of the pipeline through Pueblo County. - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS UTILITIES
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Utilities
  • The city is nearing completion of the pipeline through Pueblo County.

• The SDS pump stations will move water 1,500 feet in elevation from Pueblo Dam to the new water treatment plant under construction in El Paso County. At full capacity, SDS will be able to transport up to 96 million gallons of water per day (MGD) – 18 MGD to Pueblo West and the remaining 78 MGD to the El Paso County partner communities of Colorado Springs, Security and Fountain.

Garney Construction of Kansas City, Mo., is installing a 0.3-mile, 90-inch-diameter pipeline that will link Pueblo Dam to the Pueblo West Metropolitan District and other project partners. After Colorado Springs, Pueblo West is the second leading beneficiary of the SDS project.

• Major SDS construction work commenced in Pueblo County in 2011 with the start of the new connection to Pueblo Dam. Since then 18 miles of pipe have been installed in Pueblo County and a total of 42 total miles installed project-wide. Recently, the SDS pipeline construction project through Pueblo West was recognized by Engineering News Record as the Best Water Project in 2013 for the mountain states region.

• Construction of the nearly $1 billion project is resulting in significant benefits to the local economy. To date, more than 300 companies and organizations in Colorado have helped plan and construct SDS, including 100 in Pueblo County. Of the more than $362 million spent to plan and build SDS, more than $289 million has gone to Colorado companies.

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Scenes from the steamy Latte Art Throw Down

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 4:37 PM

  • Jana Bussanich
Last Thursday I was happy to be asked to judge the relatively new Latte Art Throw Down at Urban Steam Coffee Bar, a monthly event that, so far, rotates among The Principal's Office at Ivywild School, R&R Coffee Café, Colorado Coffee Merchants, and Cafe Velo. (And, more or less, those are the coffee bars doing most exciting things with the drink in this area.)

It's a winner-take-all match that anybody can enter; last week's fee was five bucks. Unfortunately, I didn't catch who won — though, I'd argue, that's not really the point, anyway. So I'm here to tell you everything I did catch.

Below are a few photos of the event, courtesy of Jana Bussanich. But first, the four things to look at when judging said steamed-milk art, as provided to me:

• "Symmetry. On most pours the lines should be as symmetrical as possible. There are a few exceptions, such as swans, or more complex multi feature pours, but in general the more symmetrical the better. This highlights control and consistency."

• "Contrast. In every pour, the more defined, and separated the design is from the espresso, the better. This shows precision, and proper pour technique."

• "Size. The smaller the cup poured into, the more difficult the pour is considered."

• "Design. ... From easiest to hardest to pour: Heart, a rosetta (leaf shape) tulip (the more layers the harder pour) any combination of the above pours, swan (rosetta and dot and heart) and phoenix (two rosettas a dot and heart). Just because a pour is more difficult does not mean it automatically wins."

Just one of many designs I could not replicate on my best day. - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • Just one of many designs I could not replicate on my best day.

Did the people come because of the free lattes handed out after each round, or Urban Steam's new bourbon-centric alcohol menu? - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • Did the people come because of the free lattes handed out after each round, or Urban Steam's new bourbon-centric alcohol menu?

The sacred, bottle-cap judging tokens being placed next to the desired cup. - JANA BUSSANICH
  • Jana Bussanich
  • The sacred, bottle-cap judging tokens being placed next to the desired cup.

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Alliance forms another alliance

Posted By on Tue, Oct 29, 2013 at 2:32 PM

  • Velkr0
Things just haven't been very great for the Chamber of Commerce over the past few years.

As recently as 2011, the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce stood on its own two feet nurturing existing businesses in the region. Then in early 2012, it merged with the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corp., whose job was to attract new business to the region. The new entity was called the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber and EDC.

By that fall, the two groups came up with the new name, the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

Now, the Business Alliance is again combining efforts with other organizations.

In a news release issued Tuesday, the RBA said it would throw in with the Colorado Springs Small Business Development Center (SBDC), and the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado (BBB) to host and promote "key community events and programs" starting next year.

We asked RBA executive Joe Raso if this is a signal of a future merger, and he said "not at all."

"This is about focusing," he said via e-mail, "not on the organizations, but rather the services we all know the local/small business community needs, and working together to provide those services in a higher valued, networked and fun way."

The rest of the RBA's news release:

The goal of the partnership is to provide the best business programs and events our region has to offer. The mission statement of the partnership is: "Working together to better serve the business community in the Pikes Peak region."

Leadership from the three organizations met with a group of business and community leaders the week of October 21 to discuss the idea and ask for feedback before rolling out the collaboration.

"These are programs that belong to the community," explained Joe Raso, President and CEO of the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance. "We're collaborating to infuse energy and excitement into these events to raise the experience so business people can gain tangible benefits from them."

In 2014 the three organizations will collaborate on the following programs and events:
Athena International Award Luncheon
Evening in Tuscany: Women in Business Reception
Business Expo
Business Connects (regular networking events)

New changes the Business Alliance, BBB and SBDC are discussing to improve the structure and execution of these events:
Create fewer and better quality events that eliminate duplication and overlap and are focused on business success. The events will be high value, high volume and high fun. For example, instead of five events about social media throughout the year given by multiple organizations, the three groups will combine forces and come up with two outstanding events with high quality speakers.

Similarly, enhance the quality of the Business Connects networking groups by creating pre-published agendas with engaging topics about Small Business, Military/Government, Healthcare, Sports Industry/Olympics, Marketing/Sales, Technology/Manufacturing, etc. Recruit top-notch speakers to improve attendance. Use Connects to feed Business Universities. Empower Ambassadors to chair/co-chair these groups.

Create tangible benefits for each program and event and provide a format for feedback and evaluation. At the beginning of every event state the goals of the meeting and specific things attendees should walk away with. Afterward, pass out an evaluation form or direct them to a website where they can take a quick evaluation survey. The leadership of each group will also make calls to attendees to ask for feedback. The feedback will then be communicated back to the group that attended.

Create a pre-planned central calendar where all business-related programs and events are listed and updated and sent out every two weeks to each organization's membership. Build upon models that already exist. Create a committee to approve calendar submissions.

"There's a lot of discussion in our community about collaboration," said Matt Barrett, CEO and Executive Director of the Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado. "We decided it was time to act. We're of the same mind when it comes to local business and this gives us the opportunity to better serve all of our constituents."

Aikta Marcoulier, Executive Director of SBDC, agreed. "The more great minds we can gather together, the better solutions we will create. With the strength of this partnership we know we can improve the quality of the event experience for small businesses."

Each organization will maintain their autonomy and continue to champion their own, unique events as well, which all three organizations will support and promote through their communication channels.

Preliminary 2014 events include:
Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance events
Community Business After Hours, State of the City, State and Region addresses, Day at the Legislature, Regional Leaders Trip, Southern Colorado Trip to Washington, D.C., Business Alliance Golf Classic, The Excellence in Business Awards Reception, The Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance Annual Gala, The Business and Arts Luncheon, Board of Governors luncheons and dinners, Armed Forces Week and luncheon and military luncheons.

The mission of the Business Alliance is to enhance the quality of our communities by serving the business development needs of our region so that the rate of economic growth exceeds the rate of population growth.

Small Business Development Center events
Monthly Business University (formerly Business Alliance University), Small Business Week, Annual Veterans Conference, Business Protection Summit, Business Seminars, and one-on-one consulting that maximizes the economic potential of Colorado entrepreneurs.

The SBDC's mission is to help existing and new businesses grow and prosper in El Paso, Park, and Teller Counties.

Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado events
Buzz with the Bees, Benefits 101, A Night of Excellence Award Gala, Small Business Week, Better Business Bureau Foundation Golf Tournament, Letter Shred and Data Destruction Events, Business Seminars and Workshops, Savvy Teens, Savvy Senior Outreach Events and Military Outreach.

The BBB's mission is to be the leader in advancing marketplace trust.

As the Business Alliance, SBDC and BBB evolve their partnership, the organizations plan to extend special benefits to members of each other's constituents, most likely in the form of discounted program and event rates.

For more information, contact Camille Blakely, Blakely + Company, 719.331.4598.

As a footnote, the RBA is losing one of its key people, Dave White. From a release:

Dave White, Chief Business Development Officer for the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance (Business Alliance), has announced his resignation to accept a position as CEO of Stanislaus County Economic Development and Workforce Alliance in Modesto, California. White has served the Colorado Springs region as Chief Business Development Officer of the Business Alliance and its predecessor organization, the Colorado Springs Regional Economic Development Corporation, since 2006.
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Monday, October 28, 2013

Balloon Classic on for Memorial Park in 2014

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 6:30 PM

  • Jake Stewart
  • Phew!
Good news! The Colorado Balloon Classic — this year's Best Of winner for annual outdoor fest — recently announced it will stay in Colorado Springs, in Memorial Park, in 2014.

Earlier this year, the organization faced troubles when the Colorado Springs Police Department mandated that they now had to close Pikes Peak and Union boulevards during the fest and stuck the Classic with thousands of dollars in last-minute costs to cover the barricades and extra police force.

At first, it seemed as if the Classic would be on its own to pay, which worried organizers who already forked over thousands to put the festival on here. "They’re charging us so much, particularly if we have to pay for the barricades, we will not be able to financially stay here," Classic president Patsy Buchwald told the Indy. "It’s just simply a business decision, dollar-wise."

Luckily, the City helped out with the dollars, and the Classic stayed on through the summer. And now, it's in good enough shape for next Labor Day. The Classic will talk with the City about better sponsorship numbers, the county tentatively offered to sponsor the Balloon Glos and other local companies "have expressed their renewed commitment to the festival," reads the Oct. 2 "Basket Banter" (ha ha) newsletter:

Colorado Springs City Council, LART (Lodgers and Automobile Rental Tax) Committee, El Paso County Commissioners, local businesses and the citizens of our fabulous city have rallied around the Classic to show they want this event to stay here. 

Taking all this into consideration, the Colorado Balloon Classic's Board of Directors voted this month to keep the event in Colorado Springs for 2014.


So mark your calendars for Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, 2014.
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Business of Art Center becomes the Manitou Art Center

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 5:47 PM

After a good year of discussion and suggestion-finding, the Business of Arts Center is now the Manitou Art Center. The announcement was made today at a reveal party, complete with red curtains on the 513 and 515 buildings.

Here's the new logo and banner, which incorporates the acronym of the old name:



Executive director Natalie Johnson told the Indy that the new name reflected the institution's mission, which has shifted over its 25-year-history from the business of arts to arts and community-centric ventures.

What do you think?
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Dueling meetings leads to switch

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 1:43 PM

A drainage way damaged by a storm. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy city of Colorado Springs
  • A drainage way damaged by a storm.

At first, it looked like city leaders would either make citizens find out more about stormwater or listen to Mayor Steve Bach talk about various city issues. But today, the Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force, a multi-agency panel seeking a regional stormwater solution, switched dates for its meeting to remove the angst over making a choice.

Originally, the task force scheduled a meeting at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, the same time Bach chose for one of his monthly town hall meetings.

During a meeting today, the panel opted not to compete. Now the new schedule is as follows:

Wednesday, Nov. 6, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Cheyenne Mountain High School, 1200 Cresta Road

Tuesday, Nov. 19, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Leon Young Service Center, 1521 S. Hancock Expressway
Bach's town hall will take place at 6:30 p.m. this Wednesday at the Penrose Library's Carnegie Reading Room, 20 N. Cascade Ave.

The mayor's office hasn't said what Bach's talking points will be, as it has in the past when the mayor sought input for the 2014 budget, for example.

The Stormwater Task Force, though, said in a release explained the purpose of its meetings:

“These meetings are about listening,” said Val Snider, City Council member. “Since the task force began its work more than a year ago, we’ve heard from citizens and businesses that stormwater management is a problem the community must solve to protect life and property. Of the many options available to us, we need to know how the public wants stormwater addressed.”

The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task Force was formed in August 2012 by the City of Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado Springs Utilities, community business leaders and citizens to determine the breadth of the community’s stormwater needs and options for managing it. The group includes business leaders, interested citizens, professional engineers, and city, utility and county staff.

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Free rides for drunk Halloweeners

Posted By on Mon, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:14 AM

  • Shutterstock
A press release from McDivitt is in my inbox, so it must mean there's a reason to drink up and be driven home on the law firm's dime. And look at that: Though you wouldn't know it from the fact most of your Facebook friends have probably already appeared in costume somewhere, Halloween will not actually happen until this Thursday. So that's when you want to get drunk about it.

In any case, when that happens between 10 p.m on Oct. 31 and 3 a.m. on Nov. 1, call Yellow Cab or City Cab — as long as you're going home, not to another watering hole — and tell them Mike McDivitt has you covered. 

And considering that last year, El Paso County reported more than 2,730 arrests for driving under the influence, with an average blood-alcohol content of .167 — roughly seven drinks for a 160-pound person — we really hope you will if you need to.

If you're not sure whether you need to, you have either failed to know thyself, or you need the calculating power of the Colorado Department of Transportation's Android or Apple app, which will also help you get a cab.

Barring all that, try Designated Driver of Colorado Springs.

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