Thursday, June 30, 2016

Listen to the Jesus bench complaint

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 4:45 PM

This is the focus of the controversy, which fizzled out when the city acknowledged it made a mistake. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This is the focus of the controversy, which fizzled out when the city acknowledged it made a mistake.
After the controversy of the Jesus bench arose last week, which you can read about here, we submitted a Colorado Open Records Act request for the one and only complaint the city received on the topic. That complaint drove the city to tell Charis Christian Center that Mountain Metro Transit would no longer accept its ads on city bus benches that used the word Jesus.

We just received the complaint under CORA, which came to the city in the form of a phone call. The city redacted the name of the person who called, but you can read the text of the phone call for yourself here:



In part, the caller said:
I find that extremely offensive and it's public property, it's paid for by taxes, funded by the government one way or another. I think that we live in a diverse enough world that it's ludicrous to push that one thing on people and make people see that... I'm just curious of the legality of whether or not that's even legal to put that on public property....
By the way, the city cited this portion of CORA in redacting the complainant's name. This portion of the law, Colorado Revised Statute § 24-72-204(3)(a)(IX), says the following information shall be denied:
Names, addresses, telephone numbers, and personal financial information of past or present users of public utilities, public facilities, or recreational or cultural services that are owned and operated by the state, its agencies, institutions, or political subdivisions; except that nothing in this subparagraph (IX) shall prohibit the custodian of records from transmitting such data to any agent of an investigative branch of a federal agency or any criminal justice agency as defined in section 24-72-302 (3) that makes a request to the custodian to inspect such records and who asserts that the request for information is reasonably related to an investigation within the scope of the agency's authority and duties. Nothing in this subparagraph (IX) shall be construed to prohibit the publication of such information in an aggregate or statistical form so classified as to prevent the identification, location, or habits of individuals.

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Springs Utilities board votes for status quo

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 4:37 PM

City Councilor and Utilities Board member Merv Bennett, left, helps unveil a sign at a Springs Utilities-created wetland south of the city, with then-water officer Gary Bostrom, in 2014. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • City Councilor and Utilities Board member Merv Bennett, left, helps unveil a sign at a Springs Utilities-created wetland south of the city, with then-water officer Gary Bostrom, in 2014.
The Colorado Springs Utilities Board voted Wednesday to maintain the status quo of governance by hanging onto their jobs overseeing the billion-dollar enterprise.

The vote was 8-1, with City Council President Merv Bennett opposing the move. Bennett chairs Council, while Councilor Andy Pico chairs the Utilities Board.

Says Bennett in an interview: "I was disappointed on the vote. I've been really clear that we need to change the governance because of how much time it's taking. It's so technical. I spend 55 to 60 hours a week [on city business]. Utilities is so important to us that having a board whose total focus on that is important. City Council needs to focus on the city. My desire was to have an appointed board. But I will accept the decision of the group and move on. It's possible a group might decide to petition something onto the ballot, and that's OK."

That "group" is the Colorado Springs Forward nonprofit, formed a couple of years ago with the mission to direct policy and politics in local affairs.

CSF issued this statement after the 8-1 action:
Colorado Springs Forward continues to believe that the citizens of Colorado Springs will best be served by CSU being governed by an appointed board, containing board members with expertise and experience in this complex and capital intensive arena. At our next board meeting, led by our new Executive Director Amy Lathen, we will evaluate our options regarding this issue. We believe the Governance Review Process has been a positive undertaking in that it has elevated the importance of CSU governance in the minds of the public and given current board members, as well as our citizens, better insight into how they can improve their performance as board members of CSU. At a minimum, in future City Council elections, we will carefully evaluate candidates qualifications to serve on the Utilities board.
Utilities issued this release explaining the vote and what led up to it:
During today's meeting [June 29], the Utilities Board discussed and considered:
Results from a recent telephone town hall meeting and a quantitative survey fielded June 20-22
Authorities for an independent board
The merits of an appointed board
The merits of an elected board
At-large vs. district candidates for an elected board
The work on Utilities governance will continue to for the next several months. For the last year, the Board has been examining Governance Process, which is how the Board accomplishes its work and makes decisions.

The Board is completing a new model for governing Colorado Springs Utilities that includes the Utilities Board's primary duties and responsibilities, Board commitments and procedures, and the Board/CEO partnership.

During today's meeting, the Utilities Board committed to completing the remaining work to be done on the Governance Process model, including Board Instructions to the CEO, Annual Board Performance Evaluation and Board Monitored Results in order to govern Colorado Springs Utilities as efficiently and effectively as possible.

These refinements will be discussed during the already-scheduled July 27 Utilities Board Governance meeting.



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5 surprising facts about homeless camps

Posted By on Thu, Jun 30, 2016 at 8:14 AM

Not exactly a fun weekend in the woods: The Forest Service is finding homeless camps all over national forest lands. - COURTESY USFS
  • Courtesy USFS
  • Not exactly a fun weekend in the woods: The Forest Service is finding homeless camps all over national forest lands.

In this week’s cover story,
I wrote about the problems that homeless camps will cause this summer, as they mushroom throughout our urban park and trail systems and into our national forests. Since there’s a shortage of shelter beds, police can’t usually boot campers, as they have nowhere else to go. But having people living on the streets is anything but ideal — certainly not for the people who live in these make-shift camps, but not for those of us who are more fortunate either.

Here are some surprising facts you may not know about our local homeless population:

1) They are increasingly young.
Officer Brett Iverson, of the Colorado Springs Homeless Outreach Team (HOT Team) says that perhaps 40 percent of the people they encounter on the streets now are under 35. They also say that many of them are coming to the state for legal weed, though at least one service provider says she thinks a bigger driver is jobs.
Either way, many of the young people aren’t interested in the help service providers have to offer, and may even see homelessness as a lifestyle choice. Unfortunately, it’s likely not a safe one. The homeless can often end up as victims of crime or get sucked into unhealthy choices, like heavy drug use.

2) They leave behind tons (and tons, and tons) of trash in our wild spaces.
Between May 1, 2015 and May 30 of this year, Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, a nonprofit that contracts with the city, collected about 22,000 tons of trash, or 164 30-cubic-yard construction dumpsters of junk from homeless camps. All of that was collected in 305 clean-ups, by 2,043 volunteers doing 12,801 hours of work. Most came from a single trail — Pikes Peak Greenway.

feature1-03-8a07cdccf963995d.jpg

3) Camps put the city at risk for another Waldo Canyon or Black Forest fire.

Everyone from Manitou Springs Mayor Nicole Nicoletta to District Ranger Oscar Martinez (who work for the U.S. Forest Service’s Pikes Peak Ranger District) cites this as a concern. The fact of the matter is, most people don’t properly put out their campfires, and homeless camps tend to have fires. On a recent tour of a popular urban homeless camping spot, this reporter personally witnessed several scorched trees near old fire pits.  Since more and more people are camping in the dry forests surrounding the city, the risk for a major fire will be high this summer.

4) There are lots of drug needles in the camps.
Dee Cunningham, executive director of Keep Colorado Springs Beautiful, estimates that the number of syringes she finds in clean-ups “has increased probably 20 times from five years ago.” She says she finds needles everywhere — on the side of trails, woven into tents. Martinez, meanwhile, says one of his staffers recently ended up with a drug needle stuck in his boot.
On a tour of homeless camps in Colorado Springs, this reporter noticed many bright orange needle caps.

5) The people who most need help are often the least likely to get it.
The HOT Team’s Iverson says there’s still a high population of people with mental illness on the streets. There are very few programs to help these people, and often those who are seriously ill will refuse help because their illness prevents them from understanding they have a problem. It’s a vexing predicament, and one that Iverson says troubles him.
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Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Barista-owned Loyal Coffee soon to open

Posted By on Wed, Jun 29, 2016 at 12:47 PM

Not to strike too superlative a stance on it, but potentially the most fancy schmancy, cool, hip, community-building, excellence-pushing, third-wavy thing to happen to the coffee world in Colorado Springs is just weeks away from happening.

Which isn't to say we're downplaying recent haps such as Springs native Charles Babinski winning the U.S. Barista Championship, or Principal's Office barista Tyler Hill finishing strong at this years USBC, or USBC judge Carissa Niemyer co-founding the fantastic Story Coffee tiny house trailer in Acacia Park.
Loyal Coffee GM Tyler Hill, who's coming from the Principal's Office and filed a fine performance at this year's U.S. Barista Championship in Atlanta. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Loyal Coffee GM Tyler Hill, who's coming from the Principal's Office and filed a fine performance at this year's U.S. Barista Championship in Atlanta.

But I'm talking about the opening of Loyal Coffee at 408 S. Nevada Ave., next to the Blue Dot Place and Iron Bird Brewing and just a block down from the Indy office building. 

There's so much energy and community overlap built into this project that chances are, if you've frequented any of our fine coffee houses, you've already heard whispers of this project. Of central importance to note is the ownership structure, which includes six local baristas. 

Tyler Hill, Eric Nicol and Seth Fuller most recently hail from the Principal's Office, but collectively date back to work stints at quality spots like Colorado Coffee Merchants, R&R Coffee, and Urban Steam. Bevin Cammell also came out of CCM, currently holding court at Switchback Coffee Roasters and Fifty Fifty. And Abigail Baum and Christopher Mueller should be familiar faces from The Wild Goose Meeting House, among a couple other postings. 

Your first taste of Loyal Coffee can now be had at the Principal's Office, where a few of Loyal Coffee's co-owners still work. Later in the fall, they'll open their roastery at Ivywild School (downstairs below the P.O.'s patio) where you'll also be able to purchase retail beans. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Your first taste of Loyal Coffee can now be had at the Principal's Office, where a few of Loyal Coffee's co-owners still work. Later in the fall, they'll open their roastery at Ivywild School (downstairs below the P.O.'s patio) where you'll also be able to purchase retail beans.
Now, that may sound like a lot of chiefs, thereby a recipe for control struggles, tension and disaster, but in talking with Hill at the building site yesterday, I quickly gathered that's something the team has discussed at length. He says they've worked out a clear hierarchy of sorts. For example, he alone is handling media right now, while Cammell and Fuller are focusing on Loyal Coffee's new roasting and barista training facility, which will open inside the Ivywild School (under the P.O.'s patio) later this fall. He says "very specific roles" should keep things on track, plus all six plan to be present throughout the week to staff the counter at Loyal Coffee — so regular communication and troubleshooting will be a given. 

Hill says the Blue Star Group's Joseph Coleman has been a tremendous supporter of the project, in-part allowing the guys to keep their bartending and barista jobs for as long as they need to as they get Loyal Coffee up and running. But Coleman has also supported the sale of Loyal Coffee beans inside the Principal's Office (you can go buy a bag today or try a cup of their product at the counter) and basically made it clear, "whatever it takes for you guys to succeed, I'll help," says Hill. 

He also gives a shout-out to Switchback Coffee Roasters' crew, who've allowed Loyal Coffee to rent time on their roasters until the Ivywild facility gets up to speed. Hill says there's planned collaborations in the future with Switchback, and generally says "our partnership with them is stupid cool." 

As to what should make Loyal Coffee special, beyond all the seasoned talent, Hill points to a very meticulous product lineup, and of course some expensive coffee gadgetry. They'll be roasting on a 15 kilo Probat drum roaster, and pulling shots off a La Marzocco Strada EP. And like Charles Babinski at L.A.'s Go Get Em Tiger and G&B, they'll be focusing on an extremely efficient service process, to include batch brewing and highly automated systems. To be clear: That's not to be lazy or remove barista skill, but to create a super consistent product that can be quickly delivered. It's like the third-wave version of a Starbuck's mentality — in the end it's all geared toward great customer service for those on the run and those with time to linger. 
The business partners and crew hard at work to open sometime around early August, tentatively. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • The business partners and crew hard at work to open sometime around early August, tentatively.

Loyal Coffee, recently given national attention by Sprudge, will hold a full liquor license in addition to the drips, pourovers and espresso drinks, some utilizing Madcap Coffee. Hill says "We're a coffee company first for sure, but we love our booze." 

They won't seek to compete with the wide offerings on display at the Principal's Office, but will simplify hooch offerings, he says, focusing on some classics like gin and tonics as well as digestifs and amaros and the like. 

For food offerings, Hill says Loyal Coffee will focus on the toast trend, backed by "spiritual" (as in epic-excellent) breads baked by the upcoming Lincoln School baker David McInnis. He's envisioning simple items like toast and butter or jam or housemade Nutella, but also toast sandwiches like a Caprese or cream cheese and salmon sandwich. Pastries and charcuterie items will be purveyed from elsewhere (there's no full kitchen on site, just a prep area), but Hill hasn't finalized tastings and a contract with anyone yet. He says he'll aim for local companies first, but the best product at the end of the day if it means buying from elsewhere. 

We should expect a prolonged soft opening period around early August, says Hill, prior to some sort of grand opening throwdown closer to September. Meanwhile, here's a few more pics of the progress inside the buildout:

When the paper comes down from the windows, Loyal Coffee will capture abundant sunlight, facing Nevada Avenue. Guests will walk a perimeter around a dining area for grab-and-go. Hill says they designed that so folks would be very visible as they move through, encouraging interactions and community building. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • When the paper comes down from the windows, Loyal Coffee will capture abundant sunlight, facing Nevada Avenue. Guests will walk a perimeter around a dining area for grab-and-go. Hill says they designed that so folks would be very visible as they move through, encouraging interactions and community building.

A large bay door will open up to a patio leading to the Blue Dot Place. Groups will be able to congregate around a counter with both indoor and outdoor seats. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • A large bay door will open up to a patio leading to the Blue Dot Place. Groups will be able to congregate around a counter with both indoor and outdoor seats.

Upon entry, you'll be staring directly ahead at a shiny new La Marzocco Strada EP machine and the service counter, past some booth seating and a small retail area. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Upon entry, you'll be staring directly ahead at a shiny new La Marzocco Strada EP machine and the service counter, past some booth seating and a small retail area.


Guests will be able to enter on the west side of the building as well, through a parking lot. The main door faces south. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Guests will be able to enter on the west side of the building as well, through a parking lot. The main door faces south.

While doing demo, the group uncovered vintage signage for Rainbo bread, which they've preserved. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • While doing demo, the group uncovered vintage signage for Rainbo bread, which they've preserved.

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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Glenn, Lamborn dominate GOP primary results

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 8:15 PM


U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has all but locked up a sixth term in Congress, but El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn stole the show Tuesday night in the Colorado Republican primary election.

Glenn was projected the winner before the polls had been closed an hour, whipping Jack Graham and three other opponents decisively for the right to face incumbent U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet in the November general election.

Glenn, a 50-year-old graduate of the Air Force Academy and Doherty High School, led by more than 23,000 votes in El Paso County alone, but even without those numbers, he still led the field in returns from the rest of the state. Glenn had about 100,000 votes (roughly 37 percent) as of 8 p.m. MDT, while Graham was far behind with about 67,000 (25 percent). Colorado Springs businessman Robert Blaha was a distant third.

Doug Lamborn
  • Doug Lamborn
Lamborn doesn't have as much to worry about in November, after whipping GOP challenger Calandra Vargas by a margin of roughly 68-32 percent. Vargas had pulled a surprise as the District Assembly, winning more votes after a fiery speech, but that momentum didn't carry over to the full Republican electorate.

Lamborn will face Democrat Misty Plowright in November, after Plowright defeated Donald Martinez in the Democratic primary.

In other key Republican races across the Pikes Peak region:

Former state Rep. Bob Gardner decisively beat state Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt in the race for Senate District 12 to replace term-limited Sen. Bill Cadman. Gardner built and maintained a lead of about 62-38 percent from the first returns.

Another former state representative, Larry Liston, knocked off incumbent Janak Joshi in House District 16 by a similarly decisive margin about 61-39 percent.

In the county commissioner races, Mark Waller, a former state House minority leader, was on his way to an easy victory over Tim Geitner in District 2. With no Democratic opponent, Waller likely will be appointed soon to replace departing Amy Lathen, who will be taking over Colorado Springs Forward.

In Disrict 3, Stan VanderWerf appeared certain to defeat Karen Cullen for the GOP nomination, with Democrat Electra Johnson looming on the November ballot.

But the one piece of drama is in District 4, where Scott Turner and Longinos Gonzalez Jr. are fewer than 10 votes apart with more results still to be counted. As of 8:30 p.m., Gonazlez led by eight votes, 3,255-3,247. (Update: The complete unofficial tally posted at 11 p.m. showed Gonzalez ahead by 32 votes, 3,438-3,406, with military and contested ballots still uncertain.)

Klingenschmitt earned the nod for the strangest quote of the night during his concession speech, with other media reporting him as saying, "The will of God is not always done."
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Second wave of Riot Fest acts includes Julian Marley, 2 Chainz, and Gogol Bordello

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 1:59 PM

julian_marley_2.jpg
When Riot Fest unveiled its lineup last month, organizers promised a second wave of acts to follow. Earlier Tuesday morning, they announced a handful of additional artists who'll be playing the Denver music festival, which will be taking place at the National Western Complex Sept. 2-4.

The most significant — for Jamaican music fans, at least — will be Bob Marley's son Julian performing Bob Marley & The Wailer’s 1977 Exodus album in its entirety. Other newly announced acts are Gogol Bordello, DeVotchKa, 2 Chainz, and The Lillingtons.

The festival also announced that single-day tickets will go on sale Tuesday, along with additional three-day festival passes. 



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Police shooting of Halloween murderer ruled justified

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 1:54 PM

A weapon like this was used to kill three people on Oct. 31, 2015. - WWW.BRAVOCOMPANYUSA.COM
  • www.bravocompanyusa.com
  • A weapon like this was used to kill three people on Oct. 31, 2015.
The District Attorney's Office has justified the Colorado Springs Police Department's shooting and killing of Noah Harpham, who took three lives with an AR-15 on the morning of Halloween 2015.
Noah Harpham
  • Noah Harpham
According to a report released today:
The facts and evidence from this particular investigation show that CSPD Officers Randall Scott Hallas, Edward Crofoot, Matthew Anderson and Charles Surratt acted reasonably and were justified in defending themselves and others from the continued use of deadly physical force by Noah Harpham. Officers Hallas, Crofoot, Anderson, Surrat, David and Darress performed admirably in preventing further carnage in the City of Colorado Springs. Their actions were not only justified; they were heroic. Because their actions were justified under Colorado law, no criminal charges will be pursued.
Read the whole report here:

Here's another part of the report that's worth noting:
In the days leading up to this event his family grew alarmed about Harpham’s situation. According to Elizabeth Tucker, Harpham had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Harpham’s step father told investigators that Harpham had become ‘more manic’ as of late. Harpham’s mother also informed his ex-girlfriend this was happening, stating “He (Harpham) has escalated to a new level.” Heather Kopp warned Elizabeth Tucker to “Do everything you can to avoid contact with him (Harpham).” Heather Kopp further had contact with Harpham’s psychiatrist.

Due to these concerns, his stepfather, David Kopp and his brother, Nathan Harpham, boarded separate planes on October 31, 2015, to come to Colorado Springs. They had made plans to try and have Harpham hospitalized. In a later statement from Heather Kopp, she informed law enforcement, “We wanted to get Noah to a medical treatment facility and considered if the police could assist. But we were told by both Dr. Everett and the Cedar Springs Mental Health Center that unless Noah was a threat to himself or others (which he wasn’t) the police wouldn’t be able to assist us” She further stated, he was having “…manic delusions of grandeur and (was) in need of medical help. Prior to coming out to get him hospitalized, his stepfather informed Harpham he was coming to Colorado Springs. David Kopp reported that Harpham told him he (Harpham) was euphoric. The stepfather said Harpham told him ‘it would be great and it would happen here’, and ‘it would be awesome’ and ‘it would blow your mind.’ Harpham’s stepfather arrived in Colorado Springs in the evening of October 31, 2015, several hours after the shootings. Harpham’s mother and stepfather were aware that Harpham had several guns, including the long gun.

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Six ways to serve Laws whiskey

Posted By on Tue, Jun 28, 2016 at 8:18 AM

This past Sunday at Bonny and Read, I co-judged the A.D. Laws Cocktail Competition, largely organized by Wobbly Olive proprietor Sean Fitzgerald.

Beyond building community and camaraderie amongst local mixologists, the event served to highlight the very fine whiskey product. One of the first things you'll hear spoken about Laws is that it comes from distiller Jake Norris, original partner in Stranahan's. It's an exceedingly good whiskey. 


First place finisher Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • First place finisher Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office.

Bartenders from the following spots participated in the comp: Supernova, The Principal's Office, Wobbly Olive, Cowboy Star, and TILL. 

As judges, we scored inside three categories: taste, mixology and appearance. In that first category, we sought balance and proper texture as well as flavor-enhancing aroma. In the second, our scorecard addressed post-presentation expectations as a taster, creativity and "wow factor." Appearance factored in garnishes and "sex appeal." 

Most of all, we looked for a drink that best utilized Laws whiskey, meaning it was accentuated, not masked, and played off of to pull out aspects such as its vanilla characteristic. 

In the end, it was Jason Sweeney of The Principal's Office who won the day with his Shroom cocktail — a brilliant use of a surprising ingredient like mushroom-ginger syrup. Its rosewater ice cube enhanced the aroma and sherry contributed to a slightly creamier texture, while the ginger delivered a nice zing across the tongue. Here's his recipe:

1.5 oz AD Laws Four Grain Bourbon
.5 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso Sherry
.5 oz Mushroom Ginger Syrup
Pinch of salt
Rose flower water
Stirred, rocks glass over rose water ice cube, optional peeled ginger garnish.

Fitzgerald's wife and Wobbly Olive co-owner and bartender Inez Fitzgerald earned a second place finish with her Breaking the Law cocktail. It's a fabulous play off a classic Old Fashioned, featuring house-made orange caramel Oleo-Saccharum. Here's her recipe:

2 oz Laws
.5 oz Smoked Caramel Oleo
.5 oz Lustau Don Nuño Dry Oloroso Sherry
Bitters (Ango and Vanilla)
Second place finisher Inez Fitzgerald of the Wobbly Olive. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Second place finisher Inez Fitzgerald of the Wobbly Olive.

Alejandro Sanchez
, formerly of Cowboy Star and now at the newly opened TILL, nabbed third place with his Strawberry Rhubarb Shrub. Here's his recipe:

2 oz Laws
.25 lemon
.25 simple syrup
.25 strawberry rhubarb syrup
.50 Cynar
.75 Amaro Montenegro
Orange bitters
Angostura bitters

Though the other three creations didn't place at the top, the bartenders still contributed recipes and I'd still happily drink any of these drinks again. So here's a few more options for how to use Laws if none of the above are immediately appealing to you: 

The Wobbly Olive (Adam Gasper)
2 oz Laws
1 oz Deep Eddy Sweet Tea
.5 oz Dancing Pines Cherry
.5 oz Mango Tea Syrup
.5 oz Peach Liqueur
Splash Fever Tree Tonic
Fee Bros Cherry Bitters
Muddle Peach and Basil

Supernova
2 oz AD Laws Four Grain Bourbon
.5 oz Dry Vermouth
.5 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz fresh grapefruit juice
1 oz jalapeño simple syrup
1 egg white

Cowboy Star
1 oz LAWS
1 oz Sweet Vermouth
2 oz oj
.5 oz lemon
.5 oz maraschino
Lastly, I should note that if you aren't a seasoned at-home bartender, these recipes above may be a bit tricky to pull off (especially since we didn't get mixing directions from each bartender). Normally, I'd suggest visiting them at their respective work places to request an off-menu drink. But not all of these have ingredients regularly stocked. So I'm adjusting that here to say go have a drink with them and while enjoying it, pick their brain about how exactly you could replicate the drink at home. Cheers. 

Adam Gasper didn't place with his Laws Bourbon of Proof, but it had the most interesting appearance by far. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Adam Gasper didn't place with his Laws Bourbon of Proof, but it had the most interesting appearance by far.


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Monday, June 27, 2016

Anschutz grows his leisure empire

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 1:33 PM

The Broadmoor is Anschutz's flagship leisure property. Now he owns another one. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • The Broadmoor is Anschutz's flagship leisure property. Now he owns another one.
Philip Anschutz, the billionaire owner of the Gazette, The Broadmoor and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has added to his stable of entertainment/leisure venues with the recent purchase of Sea Island, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Anschutz, who recently did a deal with the City of Colorado Springs that didn't cost him a penny and gives his Broadmoor holdings a 189-acre boost in open space, bought Sea Island from Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles, Capital Avenue Group of New York, and Starwood Capital Group of Greenwich, Conn., which, with Anschutz, bought it out of bankruptcy in 2010 for $212 million, the Chronicle reported.

Also from the Chronicle:
Sea Island is home to The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island, and the Georgian Room restaurant. It also has five miles of private beach on Georgia's southeastern coast, a Beach Club, tennis and squash centers, Yacht Club, Shooting School and Camp Cloister.
Rooms range from $525 to over $1,000 a night, according to Sea Island's website, depending on what kind of package deal you're seeking. The Broadmoor's charges are similar.

Surprisingly, the Gazette ran the story on Page 2 of its Sunday business section. In the past, news about The Broadmoor's additions, renovations and expansions have received more prominent treatment. Ironically, Sunday's business cover carried a story about the Springs reportedly becoming ground zero for more austere living than can be found at Sea Island and The Broadmoor — that being tiny homes.

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Sunday, June 26, 2016

On your next vacation shoot it wide

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 9:34 AM

Cathy enjoys ice cream with the kids in Silverton. A wide lens allows you the room to make group shots on a bustling street. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Cathy enjoys ice cream with the kids in Silverton. A wide lens allows you the room to make group shots on a bustling street.
Vacations are a great excuse for practicing your photography. I love to travel with my family, but it can be hard bringing all of my camera equipment along. If we’re pressed for luggage space — like we were on our recent camping trip — I will bring just one lens, my wide lens.

I love to use the wide lens — typically wider than 35mm — more than any other on vacation. My go-to is a Canon 17-40mm F/4 ultra wide angle.

The reason I like shooting with this lens while on vacation is that I can easily capture a sense of place.

Moreover, I can create really interesting compositions with a wide lens — placing people and objects somewhere within the frame that draws your attention and leads you through the picture.

Last weekend, we went camping on Colorado’s Western Slope and took a drive from Ouray to Silverton. We stopped and visited the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray and saw the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad depart from Silverton.

Tourists talk with an engineer on a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad steam engine departing from Silverton. Shooting with a wide lens from far away allows me to frame the engine within the landscape; in this case a high altitude mining town with deep blue skies. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Tourists talk with an engineer on a Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad steam engine departing from Silverton. Shooting with a wide lens from far away allows me to frame the engine within the landscape; in this case a high altitude mining town with deep blue skies.

I’ve selected photographs from our trip to illustrate how shooting with a wide lens works. Do you notice the objects in each image that attract your attention?

An orange door leads to an old mine along Highway 550 outside of Ouray, Colorado. Photographing with a wide lens allowed me to put the door in context with the rock face looming above it. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • An orange door leads to an old mine along Highway 550 outside of Ouray, Colorado. Photographing with a wide lens allowed me to put the door in context with the rock face looming above it.

A portrait of Cory, a steam engine engineer for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as he waits for passengers to get on the train in Silverton, Colorado. Making portraits with a wide lens allows me to provide more context and to tell a story with a single picture. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A portrait of Cory, a steam engine engineer for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad, as he waits for passengers to get on the train in Silverton, Colorado. Making portraits with a wide lens allows me to provide more context and to tell a story with a single picture.
A family portrait of my wife Cathy with daughter Abby, 11,  and sons Harper, 8, and Jacob, 6, on the floor of the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. Photographing them with a wide lens allowed me to add a sense of scale to the picture. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • A family portrait of my wife Cathy with daughter Abby, 11, and sons Harper, 8, and Jacob, 6, on the floor of the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. Photographing them with a wide lens allowed me to add a sense of scale to the picture.

You can also use the "Rule of Thirds" to great effect with a wide angle lens. See my earlier column on this compositional rule of thumb

My sons Harper, 8, and Jacob, 6, stand on the staircase descending to the floor of the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. The staircase was almost as interesting as the waterfall and light bouncing off the walls of the canyon combined with the mist from the waterfall made for an interesting photograph. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • My sons Harper, 8, and Jacob, 6, stand on the staircase descending to the floor of the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. The staircase was almost as interesting as the waterfall and light bouncing off the walls of the canyon combined with the mist from the waterfall made for an interesting photograph.

An American black swift nest with an egg in it sits precariously on a cliffs edge at the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. I used my wide lens and composed the picture using the rule of thirds. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • An American black swift nest with an egg in it sits precariously on a cliffs edge at the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. I used my wide lens and composed the picture using the rule of thirds.

Abby holds Jacob's hand as they walk over the trellis leading from the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. The photograph conveys a sweet moment and a sense of place all in one. - SEAN CAYTON
  • Sean Cayton
  • Abby holds Jacob's hand as they walk over the trellis leading from the Box Canyon Waterfall in Ouray, Colorado. The photograph conveys a sweet moment and a sense of place all in one.

By shooting your vacation pictures with a wide lens and using careful composition, you can really show off the locations that you visited, and print and display your images much larger. They become works of art, rising above the typical vacation photo.

Hope this tip helps you photograph your next vacation! 

Colorado Springs-based wedding photographer Sean Cayton loves remarkable photographs and the stories behind them. See his wedding work at caytonphotography.com, his personal work at seancayton.com and his editorial work in the pages of the Independent. Submit your photo and the story behind the image — no more than two a week, please — to sean@caytonphotography.com for consideration in upcoming blogs.
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We can be heroes!

Posted By on Sun, Jun 26, 2016 at 5:33 AM

AUBREY TARRY
  • Aubrey Tarry
I recently stayed at the Beverly Hilton in California and had forgotten that in addition to being the home of the Golden Globes, the hotel is infamous for a bathtub, and the tragic drowning death of Whitney Houston. Houston was one of those mega celebrities loved and looked up to by so many — A hero to hordes of her most fervent fans. Very few stars seem to garner that true, sincere hero-worship, like Michael Jackson or the recently departed David Bowie.

Though these global icons are mourned by millions, fans speak of them in a much more personal nature. It may be that their music helped them connect with a larger social circle, or their unique style provided the confidence that someone needed to truly express themselves. It seems to be a common thread that the heroes we miss the most are those who, in some way shape or form, made a personal connection with us, making some lasting positive impact. I certainly had one such experience. Well, I suppose you’d call it two, interconnected experiences — and this past Father’s Day reminded me of it.

On my 13th birthday, my Grandad gave me a book of Sherlock Holmes stories, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. I jumped into 19th century Victorian London with both feet (and eyes!) and devoured all 56 short stories and four novels in no time at all. Then, naturally, I turned my attention to the TV and movie adaptations.

To this day, Holmes remains one of the most depicted fictional characters in the movies, so finding things to watch has never been an issue. But it was the incomparable English actor Jeremy Brett who, for me, captured the character so completely. He was Holmes, my Holmes; the Holmes from the stories I’d read and re-read time and again. Brett brought the character right from the pages and was right there on my screen. Astonishing!

In 1995, just 19 episodes short of doing something that no other actor had ever done, filming the entire Conan-Doyle Holmes canon, Brett died. I was devastated. I remember vividly talking to teachers at high school about it, being inconsolable, crying. A part of me had died that day, a cherished part.

I think the reason I was so impacted by Brett’s passing was that he had been introduced to me by the greatest of all my heroes, my Grandad. With my own father being absent for much of my life, Grandad stepped into the fold — hence why every Father’s Day provides a poignant reminder of him. Quite simply, as I think back on my childhood, almost every good memory I have I associate with my Grandfather.

So whether your heroes fill stadiums around the globe and command millions of Twitter followers, or happen to be someone who personally helped you navigate your way through a difficult childhood, take a moment to appreciate them, to tell them, to thank them. Thanks, Grandad. 

Mark Turner is formerly of Oxford, England, but has lived in America for over 15 years, the majority of that time in Colorado. Mark enjoys playing soccer (football!), hiking and biking when the weathers good, and when the weathers rotten writing blog entries that he hopes will amuse and entertain. Mark can be followed on Twitter @melchett, or the Back Chat show on KCMJ 93.9.
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Friday, June 24, 2016

Till restaurant to open Monday

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 4:30 PM

MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper

Till
 
will host its grand opening to the public next Monday evening, June 27. We'll hear from VP and culinary director Sheamus Feeley in next week's Side Dish, discussing everything from the facility's commitment to supporting local food while producing some of its own food, to wider business beliefs and a little back story on he and his team. 

But today, we got a sneak peek of the menu and tour of the almost-completed facility from Feeley and co-owner Eric Allen of Altitude Hospitality Group, which operates Garden of the Gods Gourmet, the Pinery at the Hill and Taste at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center. 

Here's a look at the opening menu: 
PDF Till

Take a look at all the vibrancy on display between the impressive facility and colorful food: 
 
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Olympic Museum scratches its early 2018 opening date

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 2:30 PM

The U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame won't open on the date planned. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • The U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame won't open on the date planned.
So today we learn that the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame won't make its goal of opening the facility in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics as originally planned, because fundraising has fallen short. The Gazette carried the story on Page 1 of Friday's issue.

Dick Celeste, former governor of Ohio and president of Colorado College who's heading the museum effort, says the board refuses to begin the project until it has commitments for money to cover all of the project's hard costs — construction, that is. Those costs total $67 million to $68 million, he says, and the organization is $10 million short.

"We don't want to begin without knowing we have all the commitments to finish the project," he says.

(The ultimate goal is to raise $80 million so there's ample funding for contingencies and soft costs, such as grand opening expenses and hiring of staff.)

So far, the museum hasn't mounted a public campaign, but Celeste says there will be one.

"I think there will be a public campaign, but that's going to be more for the soft costs, in terms of the opening," he says, including hiring staff prior to opening the doors. The museum has but one full-time and one part-time employee. "Everything else is volunteer," Celeste says.

So it's probably no surprise the Olympic Museum hasn't hired a fundraising company, and probably won't. "Essentially, this is a board responsibility and a community responsibility, so that's the direction we're taking," he says.

Celeste says the museum board doesn't have a specific goal for starting the project, and adds, "From the moment I can say we've got the hard costs covered, it will be two and a half weeks to be in the ground. We'll line up Colorado Springs Utilities to do the underground work and line up [general contractor] G.E. Johnson crews to start digging the foundation."

Nor'wood Development Group has donated 1.7 acres of land for the museum west of the intersection of Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street, but so far the land is still held by an entity controlled by the owner of Nor'wood. (The site was cleared months ago.)

But no sweat, Celeste notes. "We have an agreement; the gift is there. There's been no reason to go ahead with the land transfer until we're ready pull the trigger on the groundbreaking."

And Chris Jenkins with Nor'wood confirms that, saying via email, "Our donation agreement with the museum provides for the title to transfer upon commencement of construction."
 
The museum is part of the City for Champions tourism venture that has been awarded $120.5 million in state sales tax rebates. 

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UPDATE; City threatened with free speech lawsuit for Jesus ban

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 1:47 PM

UPDATE: Mountain Metro Transit just issued this statement on the advertising matter:
A recent citizen complaint about certain advertising on bus benches has caused City Transit staff to undertake careful review of both the advertising and Transit’s current advertising policy in relation to the requirements of the 1st Amendment’s Establishment Clause. The Establishment Clause prohibits the endorsement of a specific religion or its tenets. Transit is working with the Office of the City Attorney concerning the matter and Transit’s advertising policy going forward.
————————ORIGINAL POST 1:47 P.M. FRIDAY, JUNE 24, 2016—————————

A local pastor says his church's advertisements on transit benches using the word Jesus won't be allowed anymore, because by allowing the reference to Jesus, the city would also have to allow hate messages, he's been told.

"They had one complaint," says Lawson Perdue with Charis Christian Center, "and because of one complaint, they said they're not going to allow me to use the name of Jesus in my advertising any more. If they allow me to do that, they said, they would have to allow hate messaging. They told me I could advertise my church but not the name of Jesus."

Perdue says he's spoken with someone at the mayor's office who stood firm behind the decision by Metropolitan Mountain Transit in banning the Jesus signs. He's also talked with four City Council members, he says, all of whom were "horrified" by the exclusion.

Mayor John Suthers' spokesperson Jamie Fabos says the mayor's office referred Perdue to the transit office and never passed judgment on the question. Perdue didn't say he spoke with the mayor himself.

The bench messages have said "Celebrate JESUS," "Experience JESUS," and "JESUS is Lord."
Barbara and Lawson Perdue. - COURTESY CHARIS CHRISTIAN CENTER
  • Courtesy Charis Christian Center
  • Barbara and Lawson Perdue.
The messages appear on 30 benches around the city, Perdue says. His advertising contract expires at the end of June, and he learned of the city's decision to bar the word Jesus when he contacted the city to renew the contract.
 
Perdue has contacted a "national" lawfirm with a 90-percent win record at the Supreme Court, and the firm has agreed to take his case.

He'll probably win, says Mikey Weinstein, who leads the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, which works toward removing the influence of religion in the military ranks. While Weinstein often finds himself fighting against fundamentalist Christians who he says want to impose their religion through the military chain of command, in this case, he stands with the Charis group.

An attorney himself, Weinstein says the Jesus messages are protected by the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble, or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

"I don't like that at all," Weinstein said when told of the city's ban against the name Jesus. "I think that's wrong. To me, this is a violation of their First Amendment rights. We would caution the city of Colorado Springs to prepare for a lawsuit. I don't think this is one they're going to win."

The danger, he says, is if you silence one faction of public expression, "where do you draw the line?"

Perdue says he doesn't agree with some messages he sees on signs, "but I'm not complaining."

"It's just crazy," he adds about the city's decision. "That's why our nation was founded."

The Indy contacted the city and Mountain Metro Transit requesting comments, we will update this posting if and when we hear back.
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UPDATE: COS cocktails: shaken, not fleeced

Posted By on Fri, Jun 24, 2016 at 10:04 AM

I mention the Wobbly Olive at the bottom of the below posting as one of the places that I generally feel I get a great cocktail at a fair price. 

After reading the post, Wobbly Olive owner Sean Fitzgerald reached out with a response, not necessarily in defense of the Blue Star's pricing, but to provide a look behind the pricing curtain from the perspective as a both a bartender and bar owner. He's allowed me to share his response here, with the caveat that this is some rough math off-the-cuff. And for industry folk, he recommends the website SevenFifty for easy price comparisons and helpful metrics.

In breaking down the assumed cost of the spirits and general restaurant expenses, I can see why they are charging so much for these cocktails.

I don’t know their exact recipes so I went on the high side. I created a table assuming very high expenses across the board (I doubt that the rent is 20% of sales).

The Crushed Violette
Grey Goose (Pear) 2oz - $38.83 per bottle, $1.15 per oz
Crème de Violette (I used Rothman) .5oz- $21 per bottle, $.83 per oz
Lemon Juice .5oz- $.50 per oz
Voveti Pro 2oz- $13 per bottle, $.51 per oz

Total Cost- $3.98 / Should be charging $14.50
screen_shot_2016-06-24_at_5.04.45_pm.png







Colorado Mint Cooler

291 Whitedog 2oz - $45 per bottle, $1.80 per oz
St. Germaine .5oz - $33.00 per bottle, $1.30 per oz
Mint Simple .75oz - $1.00 per oz
Lime Juice .75oz- $.50 per oz

Total Cost - $5.37 / Should be charging $16.00
screen_shot_2016-06-24_at_5.06.13_pm.png








What this really shows (if even close to accurate) is that they are using ingredients that force them to charge more than the cocktail is worth. It would be better for them to buy a mid-shelf vodka like Snova and create their own house made Pear Infused Vodka where the ounce cost would decrease to around $.40 compared to $1.15. If they did that, they would be able to earn the same amount and charge $10 to $12 for the cocktail. The guest would be getting something of balance (cost vs. value).

We ran into similar problem at Wobbly Olive. We were making our Manhattan with Woody Creek 100% Rye. I’m a huge supporter of Woody Creek and their Rye made a delicious Manhattan. When we ran our cost analysis we discovered that we would need to charge $14 for the Manhattan. My pride said that it was worth that much but my heart contradicted. We switched to Redemption Rye and are making more money and charging the customer less ($10).

Another example, we were buying St. George’s Green Chile Vodka for $36.50 per bottle. Our Dragon Martini was priced at $10 but should have been $12 based on our expenses and the bottle cost. It is a fun martini but not even close to a $12 one. We decided to infuse our own vodka with local Green Chiles and was able to get our total bottle cost to $13 compared to $36.50. After running our numbers based on $13 per bottle we were able to lower the cost of the martini from $10 down to $9. It is worth $10 but we charge $9. When creating a menu and pricing items you have to balance the guest’s best interests and the business’ survival.

I think the solution for them is to get the creative juices flowing. If they want to have a $14 whiskey “mojito” on the menu, they need to make it special, do something out of this world, house made elderflower liquor, etc. If they think mint simple syrup is special they are headed down the wrong path. If you give more for less you create loyalty and your guests will never feel taken advantage of. It’s funny how this works; the more loyal you are to your guests the more loyal they become to you not the other way around.
 

—— ORIGINAL POST: 10:04 A.M., FRIDAY, JUNE 24 ——

Last fall, I raised an eyebrow or two around town with my rebuke of the cocktail prices at the newly revamped Stagecoach Inn. I essentially made the argument that if you are not at the skill level of a Williams & Graham bartender, or someone with the skill of Brooklyn's on Boulder's Nate Windham, you shouldn't be charging $12 for cocktails.

To be fair, the Stagecoach isn't the only offender around trying to run with the big dogs prematurely, and to be even more fair I haven't been back in since last fall to see if improvements have been made.

At many outings in recent memory my colleagues or friends and I have paid a little more than we'd have wanted for much less than we expected. The last of which happened to occur at The Blue Star, which we hold to a higher standard in part because of its many years as an Indy Best Of Winner, including for the Overall Restaurant category.
 
The delightful Spring Flowers cocktail: an absinthe rinse, St. Germaine, Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and a pour of Bristol Brewing's Compass IPA. - GRIFFIN SWARTZELL
  • Griffin Swartzell
  • The delightful Spring Flowers cocktail: an absinthe rinse, St. Germaine, Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and a pour of Bristol Brewing's Compass IPA.
Sorry for singling them out, but perhaps if we keep criticism strong with the industry leaders, they'll listen and others will follow suit with more reasonable pricing outside of just happy hours. 

The short story is this: We tried three drinks on the current seasonal cocktail list. None were poorly made or conceived, and we got great service at the bar, but two felt wildly overpriced. The one we'd have probably not thought twice about is the excellent Spring Flowers cocktail for: an absinthe rinse, St. Germaine, Hendrick's Gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and a pour of Bristol Brewing's Compass IPA. It was $12 and tasted worth it. 

Then we got into $14 territory, which tops even cocktail prices at the nearby Summit restaurant at The Broadmoor, which has always executed great drinks. 

The Crushed Violette — pear Grey Goose, Crème de violette, lemon juice and Voveti Prosecco (not a pricey bottle that we're aware) — again tasted good, especially if you're a fan of sparkling wines, but off the cuff I wouldn't price it more than $10. 

More egregious, though I love Distillery 291 whiskies like I love my own dog, was the 291 Colorado Mint Cooler. It's made with 291's White Dog, St. Germaine, mint simple syrup and lime juice. Once again, a good drink — light, refreshing, not far from the realm of a great mojito. But $14? No. I'd go $8 on this one, or at least match the cost of a great cocktail made next door at 291 — $10 last time we dropped by

I won't continue this post much farther as a belabored dissertation, but I'll say many spots in town do seem to have fair prices dialed in. And a handful of others consistently hit enough high points to justify premium prices when they appear: Brooklyn's, The Warehouse, The Wobbly Olive, The Famous, Enoteca Rustica and 503W have impressed us recently. 

Feel free to post comments to share spots you think are doing it right, or others you think have too many dollar signs in their eyes. 
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