Monday, March 31, 2014

Field guide to Colorado stereotypes

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 2:07 PM

KONSTANTIN YOLSHIN / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Konstantin Yolshin / Shutterstock.com
Cliches don't become cliches unless there's an element of truth to them.

And while that's less often the case with stereotypes, Boulder magazine The Rooster recently managed to inject a bit of truth into its caricatures of Colorado "types," at least some of whom may have a ring of familiarity to you.

Maybe you'll recognize the "ex-weed dealer who won't stop calling you even though weed is legal."

Or the "mountain man who still thinks Y2K is a thing."

Or, for Manitou residents, there's the "penniless trustafarian who is only penniless in the sense that he's converted all his change to cryptocurrency."

So are they missing anybody?

Well, there's the screaming, swearing, scary, shirtless guy who's always jogging through my neighborhood. But that's a phenomenon that has yet to reach critical mass. 

Anyway, if you're feeling snarky on a Monday afternoon, you can go have a look here.

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Friday, March 28, 2014

Beer here, hear?

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 1:48 PM

This past Wednesday evening, Brewer's Republic hosted a Colorado Springs Tap Takeover as somewhat of a sneak peek and lead-up to Colorado Springs Craft Week (CSCW), coming late next month. 

Here's a look at the tap list:
Let it never be said that Colorado Springs alone could satiate your beer drinking needs with ample variety and quality. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Let it never be said that Colorado Springs alone could satiate your beer drinking needs with ample variety and quality.


Inviting the wrath of the bartenders, I worked my way through a sampler flight during their rush — actually Josh Adamski and crew humored me quite graciously — sampling 1- to 2-ounce pours of around half of the offerings, as well as trading sips off of friends' beers. 

My favorite flavor came at the hands of Paradox Beer Company and its spiced saison aged in tequila barrels. As described to me by Paradox representative Carol White, the brew went into a wet tequila barrel around a year ago to age, gaining its spice character with some red sea salt, black pepper and dried lime peels. The result is a 7.5-ABV brew with a light body and big, boozy tequila aroma, plus a deep, earthy, almost smoky flavor that hits like an añejo minus the hot alcohol burn. Pretty brilliant, and a crowd favorite based on buzz I overheard, minus one friend of mine who screwed her face up after a taste as if I'd just handed her a glass of bitter grapefruit juice or something ... proof that everything's subjective and we should all just drink what we like. 

Next up, I quite liked Pikes Peak Brewing Co.'s offerings, put forth this evening by owner Chris Wright and assistant brewer Alyson Hartwig, who is spearheading the aforementioned CSCW: an imperial tequila IPA and a coffee porter. The former was much less tequila-y than Paradox's and more balanced within the hop profile, just a damn good IPA. The latter was absolutely huge with coffee aroma and flavor — Wright explained to me that he used 15 pounds of coarse ground beans roasted by Switchback Coffee Roasters for 20 barrels of brew, allowing it to cold-steep for around 48 hours, leading to tons of coffee flavor minus the astringency. The crew has high hopes for that beer, which it entered into the World Beer Cup. Winners there will be announced soon. 

Lastly, a quick round of call-outs, first to Phantom Canyon Brewing Co. for its Cracked Fox, a lovely 5.5-ABV Belgian beer made with a trio of flowers: chamomile, passionflower and tilia (linden), which gift the nose a honey-like quality and likely act as a bit of an extra chill-out tonic for the drinker — that's my own presumption. Next to Bristol Brewing Co. for its excellent English-style Old Ale, which hits like a more mature brown ale to me, and Trinity Brewing Company for its awesome Farmoya Melange, made with cherimoya fruit and four different peppercorns. 

Keep an eye on CSCW's website and social media pages for event updates, and pick up our April 23 edition of the Indy, which will include a preview of the week, as the Indy is the media sponsor. 

A bartender's view of a busy tap takover. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A bartender's view of a busy tap takover.
While on the topic of beer, though, a few more items to note:

• Catch a much smaller tap takeover, featuring Lofty Brewing Company at Old Chicago's Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard location all day on Friday, April 4, in benefit of TESSA.  

• Great Storm Brewing is hosting a homebrew competition in late May; here's what you need to know:

We will be accepting entries from May 21st thru May 24th from 5 to 8pm. Any beer style is OK, and in the true spirit of GSB, beers need not adhere to BJCP style guidelines, but we’d like an idea of what style you think it generally fits. Keep in mind we are a small brewery and ingredients should be readily available from our suppliers. When you drop off your beer, you’ll need to list the ingredients so that we can be sure we can obtain them if yours is the winning brew. The judging results and prizes will be announced Wednesday May 28th here in the taproom at 7pm.
The winner will get the opportunity to brew a 1 barrel batch of his/her beer here on our system with the help of our brewers. We’ll buy the ingredients and put your beer on tap for as long as it lasts. While the winning brew is on tap the winner will receive free beer and big-time bragging rights. Judges will be the GSB staff. Our decision will be entirely subjective and final!
We’re excited to see what you’ve got home brewers, so BRING IT!
• Lastly, the Brewers Association is calling for help before this upcoming Monday, appealing to the Food and Drug Administration on the topic of spent grain. The deets:


It is now time to begin submitting your comments and comments from the farmers who use your spent grain to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

As part of the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the FDA is in the process of proposing rules and accepting comments until March 31 on Animal Feed proposed rules. The current rules proposal is a large problem for brewers. The proposed rules would require that spent grain for animal feed be dried and prepackaged onsite in a manner that does not touch human hands. There is no evidence that breweries’ spent grains as currently handled are causing any hazards to animals or humans, yet the proposed rules create a burdensome set of regulations to solve a problem that doesn't exist. The proposed rules would also be onerous to farmers who receive spent grain from brewers. The farmers appreciate the "wet" state of the grains because it helps provide hydration for the animals.

We ask that you take action now:

1. Communicate with your farmers that we will be looking for them to submit comments to FDA based on the sample farmer comments below. Farmer comments should focus on the impact of the proposed rules on their business, the preference to receive grains "wet" from brewers, the lack of problems with receiving spent grains as currently in practice and the environmental issues related to a change in current practice.

2. Prepare your own set of comments to FDA based on the sample brewer comments below, with an emphasis on how the current proposed rules will impact your business, as well as any thoughts on how landfilling grains may not fit with sustainability efforts.

3. Sign up for the March 27 Power Hour, The Food Safety Modernization Act: What Every Brewer Needs to Know, and tune in. If you have not sent in your comments before this Power Hour, please use this event as a trigger to write your comments and send them to FDA by the March 31 deadline.

Brewers Association staff has prepared the following sample comments for both brewers and farmers to customize as desired and submit. You have the option to enter your comments directly or attach a document as your comment submission. It is up to you as to which method to use; if you attach a document, we request that it be on brewery or farm business letterhead.

Enter comments online. Upload a letter or document by selecting the “Choose File” option or copy your comment from your word processing program and paste it into the space provided. Add your name in the box below the comment and under the space for “Category” choose “Private Industry C0003.” You do not have to check either of the boxes concerning third party submissions or your personal contact information.

Again, all comments must be submitted by Monday, March 31, 2014.

Thanks for your participation in weighing in on this extremely important issue.

Paul Gatza, Director
Brewers Association 

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Manitou Springs applying to be a Creative District

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 11:10 AM

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Like the Pueblo Creative Corridor and downtown Colorado Springs before it, Manitou Springs is applying to become a creative district through the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade.

Facilitated by Colorado Creative Industries, the creative districting program offers communities grant monies as well as professional assistance in marketing and networking, or however the community chooses to use such person-to-person help. Ultimately, the hope is these areas will attract tourism, boost local economies and revitalize neighborhoods.

As of today, there are seven certified districts and seven candidates. The Pueblo Creative Corridor, along with the Salida Creative District, and the North Fork Valley Creative District, are certified, while Downtown, with the Greeley Creative District, the RiNo Art District and Old Town Parker are candidates.

Communities begin as candidates for a two-year period (often referred to as an incubator program) in which they are aided through the process of applying for the formal certified designation, which then lasts for five years.

While the process to become a candidate district is far less rigorous than the certified part, Manitou must complete multiple applications and there will be a site visit on April 21. CCI only chooses a few applicants out of the dozens upon dozens it gets.

Manitou will find out if it's been chosen June 16. Natalie Johnson of the Manitou Art Center is leading the process, and will serve on the governing board of the district (a requirement for acceptance), which is the Manitou Springs Arts Council. Applicants must also have clearly defined district boundaries, which in this case run east/west from the Manitou Springs Chamber of Commerce to the Smischny Lot and focus on the Manitou Avenue corridor, though businesses along Cañon and Ruxton avenues will also be included, along with the Manitou Springs Community Library, Manitou Springs Elementary School, Miramont Castle, and the Sun Water buildings on El Paso Boulevard.
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Review: Agnes of God at the Fine Arts Center

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2014 at 11:07 AM

Audiences may leave John Pielmeier’s Agnes of God (1983) with a surer sense of where they stand in the polemical tug of war between science and religion. How the play might have contributed to this certainty, however, is impossible to defend or grasp.

Pielmeier must be called to account for having created three characters loaded with contrast and potency, but arranging their motivations, philosophies, and utterances so haphazardly as to shoot his own dramatic hull full of holes. The ship sinks slowly, and inevitably, in Agnes of God, but not without impressive displays of rhetoric, compassion, and emotive force.

Nonetheless, Scott RC Levy’s production at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center gives the play — a long-running hit on Broadway and a notable film — every possible chance, and is well worth seeing. Agnes of God does have a certain forward motion going for it, even when that motion seems off the trail to pursuing the central facts or truth of the case.

At issue is the sanity of a novice nun, Agnes (Carmen Vreeman), who has murdered her newborn with its own umbilical cord and deposited the corpse in a wastebasket. She claims to have no recollection of the event (yet has gone to great lengths to conceal her pregnancy). Court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Martha Livingstone (Jane Fromme) is enlisted to conduct a series of examinations for evidence that will lead the novitiate either to the penitentiary or an asylum, presumably for life. A guardian Mother Superior named Miriam Ruth (Kathy Paradise) puts up a formidable defense against either, or any strictly legal course of action, based on the religious and psychological factors of the case. Her choice is for the offending young mother to remain in the convent, and therefore exempt from punishment as a criminal. Apparently, the psychiatrist has it within her power to influence the court in this direction.
JEFF KEARNEY
  • Jeff Kearney
All three women come equipped with ripe admixtures of dogma, skepticism, faith, and madness to get things rolling and sustain dramatic tension. But Pielmeier’s strategy is to let the doctor and the guardian Mother slug it out to a draw — and that’s it. He consigns us to an erratic see-sawing between the two poles, and ultimately, Agnes is left to resolve the situation for herself, if that is what Pielmeier’s fate for her is meant to imply. What appear at first to be sound theoretical and spiritual approaches disintegrate into bluster and snits by the two ladies with no consistency, balance, or targeted plotting by Pielmeier. Nothing fuses into a reasonable determination of cause and effect, from either a religious or a psychoanalytic perspective; we get only a disharmony of details to which Pielmeier assigns equal weight, though they are compelling details.

It’s a maxim in theater that “all scenes are chase scenes,” and Levy directs the action accordingly, seeing us through wordy text with a discerning eye for emphasis and restraint. Dr. Livingstone is herself an apostate from the church, and her enlightened disbeliefs are persuasively shaken by Agnes as the examinations proceed. Mother Miriam proves to be implicated and attached to Agnes in ways that may seem contrived, but that still add momentum because they are put to such good use on stage.

With Levy’s help, Pielmeier achieves a convincing outcome, a symmetry in the two women, in presenting their modified self-knowledge. One must pick and choose, however, among the legal and psychological tokens he has scattered about to decide which are motivating and which are not. And this running task of selecting and organizing details in Agnes of God gets a little tiresome, and distracting. It’s the playwright’s job to do that, not ours.

Moreover, as a discipline we learn way less about psychology in Agnes of God than we do of theology, and the play is severely lop-sided in this way with avoidance. There’s a hidden advocacy going on here by Pielmeier on behalf of beliefs and practices of the church that are at best questionable, and to many, blatantly superstitious. We are expected to swallow them whole, and accept without question as legitimate and potentially exonerating of Agnes as any secular definitions of sanity, crime, or pathology might be. As a result, what we are meant not to question in Agnes of God invades and disturbs the things that we are, as if entering a side door like an unwanted guest.

Agnes also remains an enigma. There’s no question that the harm she suffered as a child dictates her behavior and prescribes her outcome. It does not, on the other hand — nor does the halo of supernatural attributes Pielmeier and her guardian Mother attach to her — dismiss the question of her criminality. The so-called “innocence” Mother Miriam keeps insisting on, in both Agnes’ character and her actions, is betrayed by Agnes’ ability to shift from reason to madness with expediency when it suits her. Her interrogations with Dr. Livingstone reveal this repeatedly.

Still, Levy’s production at the FAC is cause to celebrate rather than resist Agnes of God. For one, and chiefly, better acting can’t be found anywhere. If Pielmeier is indecisive or vague in his priorities, Fromme, Paradise and Vreeman certainly aren’t, and they play to the fullest without giving in to Pielmeier’s tendency to sensationalize. Director Levy and set designer Christopher Sheley can share credit for an appealing use of the spacious mainstage, Sheley’s set both a dreamscape and an arena somewhere, like the play, between heaven and earth.

Agnes of God, through April 6; Thursdays through Saturdays 7:30 p.m., Saturday and Sunday matinees 2 p.m. Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St. Tickets:  $15 -$37; for more information, call 634-5583 or visit csfineartscenter.org.
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Thursday, March 27, 2014

Is marijuana causing your man-boobs?

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 1:27 PM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
This is more a post about a press release instead of a post about larger information addressed by a press release, and the reason for that is because the March 24 note in my inbox is a warning that smoking weed may cause man-boobs, also known as gynecomastia.

The word comes from Denver plastic surgeon Gregory Buford, who's probably just looking to drum up a little publicity. (Well played.) The thought is that gynecomastia results when estrogen and testosterone levels in a male get out of sync. And, as the good surgeon writes, THC has been shown to lower testosterone in animals.

Apparently 30 to 45 percent of men between the ages of 25 to 45 experience this breastly effect, but no concrete word on whether it's coming to a toker near you.

"To what extent pot smoking actually causes gynecomastia, we don't know," says Buford in the release. "It hasn't been studied enough to yield concrete evidence to support the assumption."

However:

"Estrogen dominance in a male has been clearly shown to increase the risk for cardiac events, stroke, and early death. In my mind, these risks far outweigh the concern I have for man boobs. My hope is that the medical profession will begin studying the potential link between frequent marijuana use, testosterone and estrogen levels and determine just how concerned we really should be."

Going on to detail possible problems with THC and testicular size, the release ends with this bit of sage wisdom: "Dr. Buford recommends that men of all ages put down the J until these questions are resolved."

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UPDATE: City appealing Studio A64 decision to Council

Posted By on Thu, Mar 27, 2014 at 9:25 AM

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Update: KC Stark says in an email that, citing a "very long" agenda, City Council will request at its April 8 meeting to have the Studio A64 hearing moved to April 22.

———Original post: Wednesday, March 19, 2:14 p.m. ———

We've been bringing you the continuing saga of KC Stark's Studio A64, a downtown cannabis social club and gathering spot for marijuana advocates, since the beginning, when Stark's landlord first received the notice to close due to alleged zoning violations.

Then, Stark appealed the decision to the Planning Commission, which eventually ruled in his favor 7 to 2.

Now, the city of Colorado Springs, via its planning department, is appealing that decision to City Council, which will take up the issue at its April 8 meeting. (It will still be on the March 25 agenda, says planning and development director Peter Wysocki, but Stark had asked for it be postponed, a request Council must grant.)

"To justify its decision to grant Studio A64's appeal, the City Planning Commission erroneously compared Studio A64 to a 'Social Club' under the umbrella definition of a '[Membership] Club' ..." reads a formal notice of appeal dated March 3. "Furthermore, by using this comparison of Studio A64 to a Social Club as justification for its ruling that the administrative action being appealed was in error, the Planning Commission exceeded it authority and effectively substituted its judgement for a judgment the Planning and Development Director would be required to make under the Zoning Code ..."

Furthermore: "The City Planning Commission's decision to grant the appeal and allow consumption of marijuana without any standards is clearly against the expressed intent of the Zoning Code, which currently establishes additional standards for medical marijuana facilities, liquor sales, and bars in Section 7.3.205 of the Zoning Code."

In response, Stark has organized a "RALLY TO SAVE STUDIO A64" and plans to organize a march of supporters to City Hall. 

"We need your voice and presence! We won the appeal with ease and City Hall is still coming after us saying we are in violation of code," reads the event notice. "Your voice is important, this is your chance to exercise your rights, use your voice, and make a difference. Please help us save this special place which is a treasure to so many of us."

Asked how many times the city has appealed the commission's decision like this during his time as director, Wysocki says in an email: "This is the first one."

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Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Colorado Springs settles Memorial case for $885,000

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 5:18 PM

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Editor's note: The title and opening line of this blog post was updated on 3/27, to reflect that the University of Colorado Health had nothing to do with this lawsuit.

Colorado Springs settled a lawsuit involving Memorial Hospital in January by paying a resident $885,000, according to the city's latest legal report.

Nancy Ruminski sued Memorial last year alleging that in February 2011, she went to Memorial Hospital North "for treatment of hives and tongue swelling," the legal report states.

"Due to continued symptoms, the Plaintiff returned to Memorial Hospital North the next day and was admitted for care," according to the report. Ruminski alleged she received the wrong dose of medication and due to the error, she sued for "past and future physical and mental pain and suffering, loss of enjoyment of life, loss of income and economic damages, as well as physical and cognitive impairment."

The city settled the case on Dec. 10.

The lawsuit was handled by the city, and not the hospital's leasor University of Colorado Health, because the incident that gave rise to the suit happened prior to the Oct. 1, 2012, effective date of the lease.

But, thanks to insurance, Memorial paid only $22,880 of the settlement, a city spokeswoman says.

Ruminski could not be reached for commentl.


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Governments preparing citizens for flood season

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 5:16 PM

Remember this? - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Remember this?

The Pikes Peak Region is gearing up for what could be another damaging flood season.

In the wake of the Black Forest and Waldo Canyon Fires, flood risk is higher than ever. And given the region's below-par stormwater system, flooding should be expected near major watersheds. But that doesn't mean local governments are ignoring the problem. In fact, the city is warning commuters near 31st Street to be aware of construction-related delays as it repairs the Camp Creek drainage ditch:

31st Street Channel Repairs to Impact Traffic Flow, Parking During April

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.— People living near or traveling on 31st Street in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood may experience traffic delays during the month of April as repairs are made to the 31st Street drainage channel.

The City of Colorado Springs has retained a contractor to make intermediate repairs to the Camp Creek channel located in the median of 31st Street from West Bijou Street/ Echo Lane north to Chambers Way.

The repair work is expected to begin April 1 and be completed by the end of April. During construction, traffic lanes will be narrowed and on-street parking for portions of the street may be prohibited for periods of time. Full closures of portions of the street may also be needed for relatively short time periods.

The majority of the work will occur south of West Fontanero Street where the badly degraded channel bottom pavement will be capped with a new concrete surface. Other spot repairs of the channel lining north of West Fontanero Street may be accomplished as remaining funds are available from the original $250,000 in allocated funding.

The interim repairs are being made to help the existing channel remain in full service until planning, design, permitting and securing of funding to fully reconstruct the channel is complete. A portion of the Camp Creek watershed was burned in the Waldo Canyon fire. Since the fire, the volume and frequency of stormwater and sediment carried by the Creek have increased. The extended rainfall that occurred in September 2013 resulted in significant damage to the aged concrete lining, increasing the urgency of making repairs to the channel.

The City initiated a community-based planning process for permanent improvements to Camp Creek last fall which is nearing completion. A community open house for review of the recommended drainage improvement plan is scheduled for 5 to 7:30 p.m., April 29 at Coronado High School Cafeteria, 1590 W. Fillmore St.

For more information about the channel repairs, contact Ryan Phipps, City Repair Project Manager, at 385-5069 or RPhipps@springsgov.com. Information about the Camp Creek Drainage Improvement Project and community involvement process may be found at www.springsgov.com/campcreek.
Those who live in the Pleasant Valley neighborhood may also want to attend an upcoming city meeting that will discuss the effects of the Waldo Canyon Fire on flooding, mitigation efforts, and emergency preparedness. Here are the details: 
Camp Creek Flash Flood Preparedness Meeting
Wednesday, April 2, 2014
6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
The Castle at Glen Eyrie, 3820 N. 30th Street
Colorado Springs, CO 80904
Meanwhile, Manitou Springs, which has been hit hard by summer floods, is also gearing up. The town is looking for volunteers and also hoping to inform the public on emergency preparedness. Here are some details:
Manitou Springs Emergency Services and Volunteer Recruitment Forum
Sponsored by: The Manitou Springs Recovery Fund


Manitou Springs, CO, Saturday, April 5, 2014, 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM, 515 Manitou Avenue, Manitou Springs, Colorado: The Manitou Springs Recovery Fund is hosting a community wide forum on Flood and Fire Preparedness for the citizens of this community. Updates on progress made in preparation for this year’s potential emergencies will be made by Mayor Marc Snyder, Police Chief Joe Ribeiro and City Administrator Jack Benson. Board members from the Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund will also be sharing information on ways to volunteer and financially help victims of future flood and fire disasters.

Following last year’s flooding through Manitou Springs, citizens have been mobilizing to provide safe and secure ways for neighbors to help neighbors in times of need. The Manitou Springs Emergency Recovery Fund in cooperation with the Pikes Peak Community Foundation has been receiving donations that will provide immediate assistance to future business and residential victims of community wide disasters. MERF is sponsoring this upcoming community in concert with community leaders to keep the public informed and prepared for such future events.
The Red Cross is also unveiling a new smartphone application that gives access to local and real-time information during an emergency and allows users to let loved ones know they're OK. The The El Paso-Teller County 911 Authority is also asking locals to create a new account for  the Emergency Notification System, due to a change of vendor. This is the system that notifies you when a dangerous flood is approaching.

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USA Pro Challenge poster contest wants you

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:55 PM

2012's winner, by James Billiter
  • 2012's winner, by James Billiter
Hooray! The USA Pro Challenge is coming back to the Springs this year, and with that something for you creative types to show off some hometown pride.

The Stage 4 Local Organizing Committee is hosting a poster contest for the Springs leg of the race. Anyone — "professional, amateur, aspiring" — is welcome to compete in the free contest. The basic image requirement is "something that captures the unique landscape of Colorado Springs as well as the extreme physical and mental fortitude required for success in the USA Pro Challenge," says Peter Scoville, Colorado Springs LOC co-chair, in the press release.

To enter, you must submit your design to the USA Pro Challenge - Stage 4 Poster Contest Page on Facebook. The image must comply with Facebook's rules and uploading requirements, but it must also be able to be enlarged to 11 by 17 or 18 by 24 inches with a dpi of 300 or greater, should the poster be chosen as the winner.

You can submit multiple entries, but they must be done at the same time.

Submission is open now through April 18, and the winners will be announced May 2 after being vetted by a local panel (of yet-to-be-named judges). First place will receive two tickets to the LOC Stage 4 VIP area during the Challenge in August, plus the chance to get your work out there.

In 2012, the last time the Challenge came through town, a man from Ohio won the Springs leg of the poster contest. Yes, he definitely did a good job (according to Mayor Steve Bach, Chris Carmichael of Carmichael Training Systems and Steve McCauley of USA Cycling — not really design experts but whatever) but can we get someone from the 719 to represent this time?

The Challenge proper is also hosting its own poster contest to cover the entire race. The entry period and requirements are largely the same. Find out more here.
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State to hold meeting about possibly limiting MMJ caregivers

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 12:32 PM

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This Friday, March 28, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will hold a town hall meeting regarding potential legislation "to address Office of the State Auditor’s recommendations regarding contractors and caregiver limits, introduce a new department policy on the review of medical necessity, and provide the opportunity for public comment ..." reads the notice. It will run from 1 to 4 p.m. at the State Capitol Building in the Old Supreme Court Chambers.

Here's more from the Denver Post:
Colorado has about 5,000 registered caregivers, a designation created in the 2000 medical marijuana amendment that remains in place, even though the drug is now legal for all adults. Most caregivers grow pot for just a few patients, but some have waivers allowing them to grow hundreds of plants for more than six people.

The Health Department, which manages the state medical marijuana registry, wants a hard limit of 30 plants—six each for five patients, spokesman Mark Salley said Tuesday.
In an email sent to Laura Kriho of the Cannabis Therapy Institute, and copied by her to the Indy, state registrar Ron Hyman gives background on another change potentially made by proposed legislation:

"The Department has consulted with the Department of Law on various issues pertaining to the medical marijuana program, including contractor access to the medical marijuana registry," Hyman writes. "Without waiving our attorney-client privilege related to this issue, we received an opinion from our attorney general representative regarding contractor access to the medical marijuana registry, one of the issues raised in the medical marijuana program audit.

"Based upon this opinion, we are seeking legislation to define the term 'authorized employee', as used in the Colorado Constitution, and further clarify the right of access the Department's contractors have to the medical marijuana registry information. We have not yet received an opinion from the Department of Law regarding law enforcement access to the medical marijuana registry."

Those interested in submitting written comments regarding the potentially controversial moves should email them to  medical.marijuana@state.co.us.

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Review: Venus in Fur by TheatreWorks

Posted By on Wed, Mar 26, 2014 at 11:31 AM

ISAIAH DOWNING
  • Isaiah Downing
That Thomas Novachek and Vanda Jordan don’t quite know what they’re getting themselves into when auditioning Vanda for Thomas’s adaptation of Venus in Fur is not to slight them, nor their gifted creator, playwright David Ives.

How could the mischief they create for each other ever be expected, or for that matter, avoided? The script they read from will transform their drab rehearsal room irresistibly into an enchanted forest of 19th-century desire and taboo. Its modus operandi is masochism, that controlled application of pain and medievalism involving extreme role reversals, bondage, and heightened sexual dominance.

As if following forbidden breadcrumbs, Thomas and Vanda scamper headlong into one world while leaving behind another, thinking they have everything in perspective, in focus, and under control. They learn otherwise.

“It’s porn!” Vanda chirps merrily of their source, a famous novel by Leopold Sacher-Masoch (1869). “No, it’s world literature!” Thomas passionately counters and, as we discover, they are both right.

Masochism is the gentler side of the sadomasochism equation and not the sometimes monstrous activity pioneered, so to speak, by the 18th-century French aristocrat and libertine, the Marquis de Sade. This distinction should be kept clearly in mind. In Venus in Fur, sharply directed by Murray Ross, there is none of the bloodletting, gouging, or merciless torment that landed Sade in various French prisons, and finally an asylum. (For those details, see the late Maurice Lever’s wonderful Sade: A Biography).

Instead we are taken down a seductive path by Ives toward alarming and often wise revelations about power, equality, and of all things in a sex-comedy, civil society. Ives' casual way of having Thomas and Vanda segue out of a 19th-century text and into the now as they pause to reflect or stage a scene exposes many assumptions that afflict and form their own kind of bondage in our time. In Thomas’s case a forthcoming — or rather impending — marriage to his fiancé Stacy has all the snares and piercing discomforts one could find in matrimony to any Victorian snoot of Sacher-Masoch’s era. The puritanism of the past has resurfaced as a PhD in the present in pedigreed, New England Stacy, and Thomas will merely serve as a prop to her whims and games of social show-and-tell, and he knows it. (Vanda makes sure of that).

The play itself, and Thomas’s connection to it, develops as a kind of antidote to this whole Stacy thing, as something he must rid himself of if the lessons he learns in rehearsal are to be taken as seriously in life. A teacher/student configuration rules the masochistic code of conduct as often as a master/slave one does, and Venus in Fur under Ross’s direction shifts from one to the other with spellbinding ease.

In the meantime, as Thomas and Vanda explore Sacher-Masoch’s obsessions, the action onstage prompts many questions that cover a range of significance, largely due to the fine performances by Carley Cornelius as Vanda and Jon Barker as Thomas. It captures and illuminates the mercurial process of acting that we often take for granted, and the level of energy and commitment necessary for making a script come alive.

Vanda is a very good actress, and Cornelius impresses mightily in her ability to show us that. Like her counterpart Barker as Thomas, she is young enough to be adventuresome, yet old enough to tackle or subdue Vanda’s wildest impulses. There isn’t a single false note or moment’s hesitation from Cornelius — deadly in playscript of this kind — to stymie or derail our fascination with Vanda, even though Ives does shuffle a bit in assigning her clear motives. Barker meets her at every turn, and subtly ups the ante when called upon to do so.

(An interesting side note, Ross was no doubt alert to Cornelius’ successful run in Amiri Baraka’s Dutchman in Chicago, a play very similar in its demands to Venus in Fur. As in Dutchman, an attempted return to Eden “can be very dangerous, very destructive,” Ross warns in a program note, and both works play that out.)

There are times in Venus in Fur that you’ll never hear more intuitively sensed and fluid dialog, but the ambiguities Ives fixes to Vanda to create a feeling of mystery and menace tend to backfire in unnecessary confusion. Ross and company do all they can to cover or amend Ives' misuse of these details, and Cornelius’ Dionysian vigor goes far in preserving Vanda’s mystique. But a key ingredient is left out somewhere, and we wait for some gesture or utterance of psychological truth to understand Vanda. It doesn’t come, though Ives supplies her with a plausibly violent crescendo to make up for it.

Still, for all its racy, leather-clad cosmopolitanism, Venus in Fur is an impressionistic work, and seems at times a better play than it is given credit for. There is no underestimating the value of having our less-visible assumptions exposed for intelligent questioning and evaluation. This play proves that our time is not so different from Sacher-Masoch's in crucial ways, though we pretend it isn't, that we are more flexible, democratic and advanced.

And when served such a message so delectably, how can you top that?

Venus in Fur, through April 13. Wednesdays through Saturdays, 7:30 pm; Saturday matinees (March 29th through April 5th and 12th) 2pm; Sundays at 4pm. 527 S. Tejon St. Tickets: $35, free for UCCS students. Reservations advised. For more call 255-3232 or visit theatreworkscs.org.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Carson wants more intense use of PCMS

Posted By on Tue, Mar 25, 2014 at 11:37 AM

PCMS is home to many species of wildlife. - RUSS DEFUSCO
  • Russ Defusco
  • PCMS is home to many species of wildlife.

The Army announced that it intends to intensify its use of Pinon Canyon Maneuver Site about 150 miles southeast of Fort Carson

The 235,000-acre training ground will be used for exercises involving emerging tactics, including drones, although the Army states in the announcement that it has no plans to use live fire rounds.

All of this means the Army has launched an Environmental Impact Statement to evaluate the environmental and other impacts on PCMS under the National Environmental Protection Act.

In today's announcement, the Army states: "The proposed action could have significant impacts to airspace, soil erosion, wildfire management, cultural resources, and water resources. Mitigation measures will be identified for adverse impacts."

To justify the heightened use of the site, the Army states this in the notice, filed today:

PCMS supports readiness training for units up to Brigade-size stationed at Fort Carson and for visiting Reserve and National Guard units. Training must fully integrate ground and air resources and reflect the modern battlefield environment for which Soldiers are preparing. The PCMS must accommodate training for current and emerging tactics and new equipment; provide training infrastructure, land and airspace within PCMS necessary to support training requirements; and support assigned and visiting units.

Advances in equipment and weapons systems, to include their incorporation into tactical units, dictate changes in how the Army trains, alterations to ranges (including range airspace) for maneuver training and doctrinal changes to accommodate mission-essential training prior to global deployments. PCMS must support training that incorporates these technological and doctrinal changes.

The proposed action would accommodate additional training tasks and equipment to enable training of current and future Fort Carson units. Additional tasks and equipment include unmanned aerial and ground systems, jamming systems, laser target sightings, non-explosive mortars up to 120 mm, and non-explosive aerial gunnery. Unmanned aerial systems would be reconnaissance systems, with no live-fire capability. 

The notice states that the "proposed action" does not require expansion of PCMS and "no additional land will be sought or acquired as a result of this action."

So while the Army essentially has given up on expanding the maneuver site after years of trying, now it wants to use it for more and varied types of training.

Two public meetings will be held in Trinidad and La Junta, but dates and times haven't been announced.

As we reported last June, Fort Carson soldiers caused a lot of damage during maneuvers in February 2013, so much so that the post sought and received an extra allocation of $1.3 million to repair ruts and other damage caused after a heavy snow blanketed the maneuver site during training. We're waiting to hear from Carson about whether that damage has been repaired and will report back when we hear.

Send comments to:
Fort Carson NEPA Program Manager
Directorate of Public Works, Environmental Division
1626 Evans Street, Building 1219
Fort Carson, CO 80913-4362

Or call (719) 526-4666.

Comments may also be submitted via email to: usarmy.carson.imcom-central.list.dpw-ed-nepa@mail.mil.

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Monday, March 24, 2014

UPDATE: City keeps info on Jenkins' donation under wraps

Posted By on Mon, Mar 24, 2014 at 3:29 PM

The donation is part of a road that lies between Black Forest Road and Powers Boulevard.
  • The donation is part of a road that lies between Black Forest Road and Powers Boulevard.

UPDATE: 
Ralph Braden, with Nor'Wood, just checked in on this issue and says the following: "The reason we're donating it is, that bridge was actually built by the county 50 to 60 years ago on land that the county didn't own. It was on private property. Subsequently, Mr. Jenkins acquired it. Then it got annexed into the city. The city wanted to do some work on it, so we said, 'Why don't we just donate it?'"

Braden says he doesn't know how much the property is worth, but he notes closing costs are expected to be "minimal," well  under $1,000.

———ORIGINAL POST MONDAY, MARCH 24, 2014, 3:29 P.M.———

David Jenkins, owner of Nor'Wood Development Group, wants to donate roughly 1.65 acres to the city on the city's north side. (As a point of reference, the Jenkins family own a considerable amount of land in the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area where City for Champions is envisioned to be built.)

In a memo to City Council, the Public Works Department explains what led to the donation:
The proposed donated Property has been used as a private roadway which serves the
owner’s parcel of land as well as east/west rural access off the end of the developed public Cowpoke Road for rural properties to the west.
When the owner’s parcel of land, approximately 235.23 acres, was annexed into the City of Colorado Springs, as part of the Briargate Addition No. 5 in 1982, and the proposed donated Property was reconfigured in 2006 and 2007 by Platting of Cumbre Vista Subdivision Nos. 1 and 2, and the 2009 Plat for Cowpoke Road filing No. 1, these segmented previously approved projects resulted in separating the proposed donated Property from the end of platted public Cowpoke Road, and consequently affected
continued access to the rural properties to the west.
Then, the memo states that Jenkins was to donate the property "for tax purposes," which requires City Council to accept the land as a donation.

As for financial implications, the memo says, "The Property will be donated at no charge to the City. The City will pay for the costs to close at the title company. Less than $1.00 of annual property tax revenue will be lost to the City as a consequence of this donation."

We asked how much the land is worth as a tax-deductible donation, and how much the city will have to pay in closing costs in order to obtain this "donation."

To which the city communications office responded: "Since this project is in negotiations, we are unable to release any information."

We called Nor'Wood to try to gain a better understanding of the proposed donation, but David Jenkins wasn't immediately available. We'll update if we hear from him.

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Friday, March 21, 2014

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 5:29 PM

Want to help victims of sex assault in the region, but aren't sure how? April is your month. Not only can you benefit TESSA of Colorado Springs, the only such organization of its kind in El Paso and Teller counties, but you can have a little fun too. And who knows, maybe it'll lead to something bigger (like volunteering).
COURTESY TESSA
  • Courtesy TESSA
Denim Day Jeans Campaign (April 1-30): Local boutiques including Barracuda BazaarNice N’ Naughty, and Terra Verde will donate a portion of their jean sales to TESSA. A few other retailers will also sell Demin Day pins, in honor of the April 23 date (info below).

Brewer’s Dinner (April 2): A five-course paired dinner featuring beer from Red Leg Brewery, hosted by Old Chicago (the 4110 N. Academy Blvd. location) A portion of the $60 per person tickets will benefit TESSA and are available at TESSA's main office or at Old Chicago.

Tap Takeover (April 4): Two days later, that same Old C's will let the local Lofty Brewing Company take over the taps for a day at Old Chicago (Austin Bluffs & Academy) to raise money for TESSA. At 5:30 p.m., co-owner and head brewer Matt Tussey will visit. 

Crimes Against Nature (April 16): A solo comedic performance piece at Stargazers Theatre & Event Center about the "absurdities and contradictions of masculinity in our society" by author and actor Christopher KilmartinTickets are $10 and they, too, benefit TESSA.

T-Party Benefit (April 16): The Women’s Club of Colorado Springs is sponsoring a party to benefit TESSA and Partners in Housing with door prizes, food and drink and shopping at the location, the Little London Market at 109 S. Sierra Madre St. Tickets are $15 in advance and $20 at the door, plus a 20-count box of tampons or pads. RSVPs are requested by April 11 to diannereitan@reagan.com.

Denim Day (April 23): Wear your jeans and visit any of the 14 local Starbucks locations to raise awareness about sexual assault and help kill sex assault myths, with TESSA, the El Paso County Department of Human Services and the COLSA Corporation. TESSA explains the history of Denim Day this way:

In 1999, an Italian Supreme Court decision overturned the rape conviction of a 45-year-old driving instructor, who raped and abandoned an 18-year-old female student in an alley. The head judge released a statement arguing that the victim's jeans were so tight that she must have helped the perpetrator remove the jeans; therefore the incident was no longer rape but consensual sex. Enraged by the verdict, the women of the Italian Parliament protested the decision by wearing jeans to work. This action led the California Senate and Assembly to join the protest — and an international movement was born.
Tough Guise II (April 25): A 7 p.m. screening of this documentary by Jackson Katz (whom the Indy interviewed here) "about how violent masculinity is perpetuated in American culture, and its effects on men, women, and society at large in the form of sexual and domestic violence, as well as school shootings and gang violence." Co-hosted by the Independent Film Society of Colorado. It's free to attend, but limited to 75 guests. RSVP to 785-6842 or MSchaunaman@TESSAcs.org.
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Cimarron. Messing up your commute again.

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 5:14 PM

Oh, the memories! - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Oh, the memories!

A few years ago, the Cimarron Street bridge was under construction and hence was the bane of every west side commuter's existence. Well folks, get ready to relive that experience, at least for a little while.

The bridge has problems again and is under repair. Read the release below for details. Oh, and prepare yourself. That long-awaited re-do of the Cimarron Street and Interstate 25 interchange will mess up this road once again in the coming years.

Cimarron Bridge repairs underway

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Work is underway on the Cimarron bridge east of I-25 and the two eastbound lanes will shift towards the center lane until work is complete, which is estimated to be 30-60 days.

In the interest of public safety, eastbound traffic was reduced to one lane Thursday evening to allow engineers to properly evaluate localized damage to one of the bridge’s sub structural elements.

City engineers worked with a consultant onsite early Friday morning to thoroughly evaluate the extent of damage, which was likely caused by the freeze -thaw cycles this winter.

City engineers are working to design a suitable repair that will restore the bridge to full service until it is replaced by end-of-year 2017 as part of the Colorado Department of Transportation Cimarron/I-25 Interchange Project. All elements are being evaluated to determine if more work is required.

“City Engineering and Traffic Engineering staff responded quickly and effectively to evaluate the damage to the bridge and make the site safe for vehicles crossing the bridge. An appropriate repair solution is being designed and will be constructed as soon as possible. At this time we anticipate that the repair cost can be covered by 2014 budgeted emergency bridge repair funds,” said Interim Public Works Director Dave Lethbridge.


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