Thursday, May 31, 2018

Earthships still coming to Springs

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 5:12 PM

In 2014, we told you that the Earthships are coming.

Yes, those crazy-cool sustainably-built houses that have brought international fame to a remote mesa outside Taos, New Mexico.

These guys:
A Taos Earthship. - KIRSTEN JACOBSEN
  • Kirsten Jacobsen
  • A Taos Earthship.

And yes, four years have passed with little action on our own Earthship Village. When we last checked in with land manager and project developer, Sara Foster Berry, she said an ongoing legal battle over water rights that will likely extend until 2019 has held things up. 

That aside, Foster Berry let us know they'll be hosting an informational event from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 2, at 1380 Franceville Coal Mine Road:

We will discuss land sales, building options, have brief land tours and have maps and blueprints available for viewing. We’ve met with county planning and have lots of answers to many questions off-grid builders may have. Our vision has shrunk from the original 45 to 50 5-acre lots to selling 35-acre lots only. There are nine available. We have a similar vision as before, with the possibility of a school and lots of community space.

So, if you think you might want to be one of those nine, or just want to learn more, check out the event.

Meanwhile, here's another cool pic which illustrates why many people have become fascinated with Earthships:
Inside of The Phoenix Earthship. - KIRSTEN JACOBSEN
  • Kirsten Jacobsen
  • Inside of The Phoenix Earthship.
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EPA lawsuit: Attorney was fired for sending letter, email says

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 4:22 PM

One of many eroded water ways in Colorado Springs in need of rehabilitation due to  years of neglect. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • One of many eroded water ways in Colorado Springs in need of rehabilitation due to years of neglect.
An email obtained by the Independent suggests the firing of an attorney representing the state in a Clean Water Act lawsuit against Colorado Springs was a political move. Margaret "Meg" Parish, a first assistant attorney general of Colorado, was canned on May 21 with no notice.

Parish had represented the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, one of several additional plaintiffs in the Environmental Protection Agency's and Department of Justice's lawsuit against Colorado Springs for alleged violations of the Clean Water Act due to poor stormwater controls. Other plaintiffs in the case include Pueblo County and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

As CDPHE attorney, Parish had expressed outrage after learning that the EPA and DOJ were attempting again to settle the case with Colorado Springs — without any input from the state or the other plaintiffs. The federal government had previously signed an agreement that held that any such moves would be discussed with all plaintiffs.

Parish was apparently told by a superior that the EPA lawsuit formed the grounds for her termination.

On May 29, Parish wrote to Laura Chartrand, deputy attorney general in the natural resources section, outlining a meeting that took place on May 21 during which Parish was fired.

The firing is important, because Parish noted in at least two letters to the EPA and Department of Justice (DOJ) that the state and the other plaintiffs were upset the EPA had decided unilaterally to re-open negotiations with the city to try to reach a negotiated settlement.

The case, which alleges the city for years neglected its stormwater drainage system to the detriment of downstream communities, is set for trial in August.

In the email about her firing, Parish notes she joined the Attorney General's Office in March 2015. In November 2017, a year after the EPA lawsuit was filed, she was promoted to first assistant AG for the Water Quality and Radiation Unit.

Here's some background on Parish's letters to EPA and DOJ.

At 2 p.m. on May 21, Chartrand and the AG office's HR director met with Parish. Chartrand fired Parish and apparently offered her a week and a half of severance pay if she promised to tell anyone who asked that she had chosen to resign. Parish declined.

"When I asked you why I was being terminated, you responded that you no longer trusted my judgment or my ability to effectively communicate with you...," Parish wrote.

One reason for her termination, which Parish outlined in the email, was that she had written a strongly-worded March 26 letter on behalf of the CDPHE to the EPA. That letter, she notes, was approved by her client, CDPHE, before it was mailed.

Another reason Chartrand cited, according to Parish's email, was a letter she sent on May 1 to the DOJ letting the agency know of CDPHE's decision to share certain documents with other plaintiffs. "I was directed to send this email by Martha Rudolph of CDPHE during a phone call in which you [Chartrand] were a participant," the Parish's account of the firing says.

When Parish asked Chartrand to supply her with a written statement of the reasons for her firing, Chartrand apparently noted Parish serves at will and no reason need be given. Chartrand also apparently admitted under questioning from Parish that she had not consulted with CDPHE about Parish's dismissal.

(Another reason Parish says Chartrand cited for her dismissal was a brief Parish wrote in a lawsuit regarding lead in Denver Water's water pipes; that document was reviewed by her client, the CDPHE.)

Parish notes in the email that Chartrand made no allegations involving legal errors, ethical violations or failures to carry out her work with due diligence.

"At the conclusion of the May 21, 2018 meeting, you did not permit me to return to my office to retrieve my personal belongings. Instead, you escorted me directly out of the building," the email states, adding that she has complied with confidentiality rules and "did not share any documents, nor communicate to the reporter, for the May 24, 2018 story in the Colorado Springs Independent that addresses my termination and the Colorado Springs MS4 matter."

On May 31, the state submitted a motion to remove Parish as counsel for CDPHE, stating, "Margaret Parish is no longer employed with the Office of the Colorado Attorney General. The undersigned attorney general has entered his appearance on behalf of the State and will handle this lawsuit going forward." It was filed by William Allen.

Also on May 31, an entry of appearance was filed stating that Carrie Noteboom, assistant attorney general Colorado Department of Law Natural Resources and Environment Section, would be representing the state going forward.

Asked about all that several days ago, Mayor John Suthers said in an emailed statement he'd rather spend money on fixing stormwater problems than litigating them. Suthers was instrumental in getting voters to approve a stormwater fee aimed at shoring up the problems outlined in the EPA lawsuit.

It's worth noting that the stormwater fees approved by voters in November go into effect July 1, and can be increased by City Council, without voter approval, to satisfy a court order.

CDPHE and the EPA have stated in documents that addressing the city's stormwater issues will be expensive and take many years.  
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Bike to Work Day: Why and how to register

Posted By on Thu, May 31, 2018 at 12:53 PM

Back in 2015, UCCS grad Stacy Sprewer set out to bike accross America to support affordable housing. Which kind of makes riding to work on one day out the year seem more doable. - RYAN LANCASTER
  • Ryan Lancaster
  • Back in 2015, UCCS grad Stacy Sprewer set out to bike accross America to support affordable housing. Which kind of makes riding to work on one day out the year seem more doable.


Your daily commute is on track to get interesting June 27, as the city ramps up its annual Bike to Work Day event with multiple breakfast locations around the city and a corporate competition.


This year, you can register for free breakfast at one of 28 locations, many of which also offer games, prizes, bike repairs, music and more. Some spots are at businesses, others at trails and parks. It’s a big change from two years ago, when breakfast was served at one centralized, downtown location — making it difficult for riders in other parts of the city who weren’t interested (or didn’t have the stamina) to bike all the way downtown and then to work.


After expanding the event to 18 locations last year proved successful, the city is adding even more spots for riders to replenish lost calories.


“The new model will support a higher level of engagement across a wider section of our community,” said Allen Beauchamp, who chairs the engagement committee at Bike Colorado Springs.


The Corporate Challenge offers businesses the chance to prove their competitive edge, as well as their commitment to health and the environment. Companies are separated into “classes” based on the size of their workforce and given a score based on the rate of employee participation. An online leaderboard shows company stats.


After work, there are also a handful of bars and breweries offering deals to help you quench the thirst from a double-workout day. Just flash your helmet at one of the participating locations, no separate registration necessary. (Imbibe responsibly, and don’t forget you can get a DUI on a bike.)


“They have offered some deals for riders that are going back from work to stop by and enjoy a gorgeous afternoon on their patio, and to celebrate bikes both early in the morning and then also in the evening,” Beauchamp said. “People are driving along, it’s late in the afternoon, they see all these bicycles parked...and they’re like, ‘Hey, I should have done that. That looks like fun.’”


Bike to Work Day may affect the city’s Bicycle Friendly Community status from the League of American Bicyclists. Currently, Colorado Springs has earned the Silver designation, thanks in large part to its recently adopted Bicycle Master Plan — a vision for more bike lanes, bike sharing, trails and more. Events such as Bike to Work Day to encourage “a strong bike culture that welcomes and celebrates bicycling” could help boost the city nearer to a Gold or Platinum designation.


Register online as soon as possible to ensure there’s enough food and prizes to go around. If you’re not stopping for breakfast but still want to bike, consider registering anyway so the city has a headcount of the number of participants.


Beauchamp said the main objective of Bike to Work Day is to create cultural change.


“We’re not trying to force people out of their cars and say you always have to ride to work, but just know that it’s an option,” Beauchamp said. “It’s getting on board with the idea and then equipping them with success for the rest of the year.”


This event is sponsored by KOAA News 5 and the Colorado Springs Independent. Organizing sponsors are Bike Colorado Springs, the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, and Mountain Metro Transit.


Register for 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. breakfast at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/25th-annual-bike-to-work-day-registration-45135783343


Register for the Corporate Challenge by emailing COSChallenge18@gmail.com


Here’s a list of breakfast locations and offerings:


Angler’s Covey: 295 S 21st St.

• Breakfast: Muffins, yogurt, fruit, juice

• Extras: One free fly fishing class


Buffalo Lodge: 2 El Paso Blvd.

• Breakfast: Coffee, juice, fruit, muffins, waffles and toppings

• Extras: Free wooden token worth a $5 drink


Cafe Velo: Santa Fe Trail at North Gate Road

• Breakfast: Bagels, power food, water

• Extras: Mechanical support


Council of Neighbors and Organizations: Rock Island Trail at Academy Boulevard and Constitution Avenue

• Breakfast: Bagels and cream cheese, water

• Extras: Free individual CONO memberships ($25 value), stickers


Criterium: 6150 Corporate Dr.

• Breakfast: Burritos, juice


Downtown Businesses at Acacia Park: Nevada Avenue and Bijou Street

• Breakfast: Downtown businesses breakfast co-op

• Extras: Games, giveaways


El Paso County Public Health: Sinton Trail at El Paso City Citizens Service Center

• Breakfast: Burritos, fruit, coffee and water

• Extras: “Swag” and information related to cancer screenings and tobacco prevention


Good Neighbors Meeting House: 505 E. Columbia St.

• Breakfast: Coffee and goodies


Ivywild: 1604 S. Cascade Ave.

• Breakfast


Lincoln Center: 2727 N. Cascade Ave.

• Breakfast: Smoothies from Cafe Red Point


Mountain Metro Transit at Tap Traders: 3104 N. Nevada Ave., Unit 100

• Breakfast: Burritos

• Extras: Music, BOGO beer ticket for the ride home, T-shirt raffle


Organization of Westside Neighbors: Pedestrian Bridge over I-25, Monument Valley Pool

• Breakfast: Burritos

• Extras: Live music, stickers


Pedal Station/MER: 1026 S Tejon St.

• Breakfast


Pikes Peak Market: 315 E. Pikes Peak Ave.

• Breakfast


Popcycle Bridge: Pikes Peak Greenway Trail at Van Buren

• Breakfast: Pancakes, fruit, energy bars, drinks

• Extras: Mayor John Suthers serving breakfast, KOAA photo booth, giveaways


RideCo Bike Shop: 9625 Prominent Point

• Breakfast


SRAM: Pikes Peak Greenway Tail at Templeton Gap

• Breakfast: Coffee, water, lemonade, breakfast burritos

• Extras: Bike repair station, stickers, “swag”


Sustainacenter: 702 E Boulder St.

• Breakfast: Switchback Coffee Roasters/Willamette Market partner


UCHealth Memorial Hospital Central: 1400 E. Boulder St.

• Breakfast


University Village Colorado: 5246 North Nevada Ave.

• Breakfast


Urban Steam: 1025 S Sierra Madre St.

• Breakfast


YMCA- Briargate: 4025 Family Place

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA- Cottonwood: 3920 Dublin Blvd.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - East Side at Province Springs Senior Living: 2960 Tutt Blvd.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - Fountain at Welte Teen Center: 330 Lyckman Place

• Breakfast


YMCA- Prospect Lake Beach House: 619 Prospect Lake Dr.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA- Southeast: 2190 Jet Wing Dr.

• Breakfast

• Extras: Basic bike repair and safety checks, music, giveaways


YMCA - Tri-Lakes: Santa Fe Trail at Baptist Road

• Breakfast



...and a list of “Bike Home from Work Stations”:


Atrevida Beer Company: 204 Mount View Lane

• 10 percent off if you ride


FH Beerworks: 521 S. Tejon St.

• $1 off


Fossil Craft Beer Company: 2845 Ore Mill Road

• $1 off your first beer


Goat Patch Brewing Company: 2727 N. Cascade Ave.

• $1 off pints


Gold Camp Brewing Company: 1007 S. Tejon St.

• Free half pint with purchase of a pint


Peaks N Pines Brewing Company: 4005 Tutt Blvd.

• $2 off a pint


Phantom Canyon Brewing Company: 2 East Pikes Peak Ave.

• Show the staff your bike helmet and receive a free pint


Piglatin Cocina: 2825 Dublin Blvd.

• $2 tacos and Tecates for bikers


Red Leg Brewing Company: 4630 Forge Road

• $1 off pints


Smiling Toad Brewery: 1757 S. 8th St.

• BOGO


Storybook Brewing: 3121 N. El Paso St.

• BOGO, first pint only


Trails End Taproom: 3103 W. Colorado Ave.

• 20 percent off beer wall


Whistle Pig Brewing Company: 1840 Dominion Way

• BOGO

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Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cog Railway closure worries Ute Pass residents

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 5:41 PM

District 3 County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf speaks at a town hall meeting in Cascade about the effects of the Cog Railway's closure on traffic. - FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller
  • District 3 County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf speaks at a town hall meeting in Cascade about the effects of the Cog Railway's closure on traffic.


Confused tourists on their way to Pikes Peak summit or Santa's Workshop amusement park have always been a reality for the people living around Ute Pass.


With the Pikes Peak Cog Railway closed during a $50 million overhaul of the summit, residents of Manitou Springs, Cascade and Ute Pass neighborhoods fear the problem could get much worse this summer. The highway, already traveled by more than 400,000 a year, might need to accommodate some 50,000 more vehicles, and up to 150,000 more people, this summer during construction.


There's one intersection in particular that could become an even bigger nuisance than usual this summer — U.S. Highway 24 and Fountain Avenue, where residents say tourists never know exactly where to turn.


At a town hall meeting May 29 at Ute Pass Elementary in Cascade, local officials offered suggestions for alleviating the headache.


El Paso County is coordinating with Colorado Department of Transportation to extend the left-turn lane on U.S. 24 at Fountain Avenue, said Jennifer Irvine, county engineering manager.


CDOT program engineer Mark Andrew said the department is reviewing measures to add “green time” to cars entering and exiting the intersection. Construction on other highway projects won’t be scheduled during weekends and peak times.


Colorado State Patrol will pay special attention to the roadway this summer, Sgt. Kyle Newsome said. Officers will look for distracted and drunk drivers, and will add extra enforcement shifts on weekends between June and August. Pikes Peak is expected to see an average of around 12,000 visitors per weekend in July, the most popular month according to city data. The data showed an average of 8,400 in June and 10,600 per weekend in August.


So far, Pikes Peak- America’s Mountain, the city enterprise that runs the Pikes Peak Highway, has realigned lanes so more vehicles can line up closer to the Gateway. It’s also begun opening its three gates at 7:30 a.m., and has increased highway staff to up to seven rangers accepting tolls at a time, said Jack Glavan, Pikes Peak Highway manager. There’s a new fiber internet connection to allow for faster transactions.


A city shuttle service to help compensate for the loss of the Cog kicked off May 31 and will continue through Sept. 15. Gray Line Colorado, unaffiliated with the city, has been running shuttles from downtown since April.


The city shuttles, however, pick up passengers farther north, past the U.S. 24 and Fountain Avenue intersection. There are lots at Devil’s Playground, the Pikes Peak Hill Climb pit area about 7 miles from the gate, and the Glen Cove parking area, which is between mile markers 11 and 12. Those lots together can handle roughly 500 vehicles.


Some Manitou Springs and Ute Pass residents were skeptical that the officials’ proposals would be enough to keep tourist traffic manageable.


At the town hall meeting, around 60 neighbors and business owners gathered in the Ute Pass Elementary gymnasium to voice concerns. Several were worried the Cog Railway’s closure would affect the speed and safety of their daily commutes, which they said were already difficult outside of peak visit times.

The intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and Fountain Avenue is a problem spot for tourist traffic. - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • The intersection of U.S. Highway 24 and Fountain Avenue is a problem spot for tourist traffic.


Newman McAllister, a longtime resident of Chipita Park, said he was frustrated the city hadn’t dealt with congestion problems at the U.S. 24 and Fountain Avenue intersection before the construction. He said signage for tourists to turn right onto the frontage road when traveling east on Fountain Avenue, instead of going through the light at the intersection to turn onto the highway, was inadequate.

"Although the Cog closure may have been a catalyst for your interest in this matter, the problem existed long before the Cog came up," he said. "We continually reminded the county, you cannot safely get people across Fountain Road (sic) unless you do something with that intersection."

Irvine said the county was implementing solutions, including barriers to redirect traffic.

McAllister joked that what the tourists really needed was "a nicely uniformed policeman on a pedestal telling people to turn right."


Another resident, Tom Smith, said he'd rather officials concentrate on serving residents.

“It seems like we’re trying to change our infrastructure around the tourists,” he said.


In response to suggestions that the city shuttles pick up tourists farther southwest, before the U.S. 24/Fountain Avenue bottleneck and Pikes Peak Gateway, Glavan said a lack of parking space and funding put such a solution out of reach.


“It’s not economically feasible,” he said.


District 3 County Commissioner Stan VanderWerf encouraged residents to contact him with questions, suggestions and concerns about congestion this summer.

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El Paso County jail death raises questions

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 12:07 PM

Criminal Justice Center - COURTESY EL PASO COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy El Paso County Sheriff's Office
  • Criminal Justice Center
In this week's edition, May 30, we break a story about the death of a 40-year-old man in the El Paso County Criminal Justice Center last September.

The 10th Judicial District Attorney's Office wrote a report on the death based on an investigation by the Colorado Springs Police Department.

It appears deputies and medical staff in the jail failed to recognize a condition experienced by the inmate, Eliezer Tirado-Ortiz.

After the Independent went to press, we learned that no deputies were disciplined due to the incident, because, as reported by the sheriff's media relations manager Jackie Kirby via email, "It was determined there were no policy violations."

The Sheriff's Office, though, wrote a "notice of concern" to the jail contractor, Amor Correctional Health Services, Inc., last fall citing the incident and saying certain medical staff performed "below required standards." The Sept. 7 incident involving Ortiz wasn't the only incident.

Read that notice here:
Also, it's worth noting that Armor did not hire nurse Montie Baxley, the topic of the notice of concern, but rather she was "inherited" from the prior contractor, according to an Armor spokesperson.
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EPA assures partners will take part in lawsuit settlement talks

Posted By on Wed, May 30, 2018 at 10:03 AM

A site targeted for improvement along Monument Creek in Colorado Springs. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A site targeted for improvement along Monument Creek in Colorado Springs.
Check out the May 30 edition of the Independent for a story about how the EPA and Department of Justice are open to settling the Clean Water Act lawsuit against the city.

This has reportedly angered other plaintiffs in the case, which include the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Pueblo County and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District. They fear EPA, under President Trump appointee Scott Pruitt, will let the city off the hook for damage caused by failing to properly control stormwater over the years.

The latest chapter is a March 25 letter obtained by the Indy from the DOJ to the state Health Department and Colorado Attorney General's Office. In it, DOJ Acting Assistant Attorney General Jeffrey Wood says the federal government will "welcome and anticipate the full involvement of the State and intervenors in any such discussions with the City."

That contrasts with the EPA's unilateral action to reopen settlement negotiations with the city recently — without consulting other plaintiffs — after a year-long settlement discussion failed last year. The lawsuit is set for trial in August.

Wood's letter also states:
EPA and the Department remain committed to ensuring that the City takes the steps necessary to come into compliance with the law and to remedy the ongoing impacts of its past violations. The working relationship we have had with the State of Colorado, Pueblo County, and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservation [sic] District on this matter has been productive and has reinforced our shared goal of ensuring longstanding storm water issues in Colorado Springs are fully and finally resolved.
Wood goes on to say that "opening a dialogue with the City is appropriate and consistent with longstanding federal policies related to settlement discussions" and may lead to a "positive environmental outcome more quickly than if the case were litigated to final judgment."
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Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Garden of the Gods shuttles draw crowd in debut

Posted By on Tue, May 29, 2018 at 3:31 PM

Memorial Day kicks off a pilot project of running shuttles in Garden of the Gods. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy city of Colorado Springs
  • Memorial Day kicks off a pilot project of running shuttles in Garden of the Gods.
UPDATE: The rollout of the Garden of the Gods free shuttle over the Memorial Day weekend drew up to 5,000 people, though an exact number isn't available.

City spokesperson Vanessa Zink reports that three 14-passenger vans made three stops — at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center and the intersection of Gateway Road and Juniper Way Loop, which connects to a trail into the Central Garden zone. Each of the shuttles picked up about 200 people at each of the three stops each of the three days. Wait times didn't exceed 10 minutes, but Zink says Adventures Out West, which is operating the shuttles, added a trolley and jeep for a few runs.

The route also was adjusted throughout the weekend based on usage patterns, she says. The Rock Ledge Ranch parking area was full most of the days. That parking is free. The shuttles, accessible to persons with disabilities, will resume on June 2 and continue through Aug. 26.

———————————————-Original Post (5/25)————————————————-

Got a lot of relatives dropping in this weekend? Wanna take in Garden of the Gods without contributing (as much) to the bumper-to-bumper traffic?

Then try a shuttle trip through the garden as the city unveils its free public shuttle program this weekend, Saturday, May 26 through Monday May 28, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

We wrote about the project and its genesis in February.

The shuttle will operate daily thereafter from June 2 to August 26.

The city is teaming with the Garden of the Gods Foundation to operate the shuttle, comprised of two 14-passenger vans that will complete a three-stop loop at Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site, the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center and the intersection of Gateway Road and Juniper Way Loop, which connects to a trail into the Central Garden zone.

The city says in a release that to accommodate parking, a temporary parking lot has been constructed near the intersection of 30th Street and Gateway Drive at Rock Ledge Ranch. Shuttles will depart the free Rock Ledge Ranch parking lot approximately every 15 minutes. The shuttle is accessible to persons with disabilities.
gog_shuttle.jpg
“This shuttle service is part of our incremental approach to apply small-scale pilot programs to test transportation options in Garden of the Gods Park,” Kim King, parks and recreation manager, said in the release. “We hope people utilize both the shuttle service and temporary parking lot this summer, but even more so, we are highly interested in receiving public feedback during this time, regardless if they utilize these services or not.”

The shuttle is being managed and operated by Adventures Out West — which currently offers guided, purchasable jeep, Segway and trolley tours from the Garden of the Gods Visitor & Nature Center.

To be clear, the new shuttle service is a conscientious option, but you may still take your own vehicle through the park. 
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Friday, May 25, 2018

Clean Water Coalition, left out of PFC summit, hits back at EPA

Posted By on Fri, May 25, 2018 at 4:54 PM

FOUNTAIN VALLEY CLEAN WATER COALITION
  • Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition


The Air Force fire-fighting chemicals that contaminated Security, Widefield and Fountain water could be even more dangerous than the Environmental Protection Agency thought — and local activists are not happy with the feds’ response.


Perfluorinated chemicals, or PFCs, have contaminated water supplies near military bases around the world. Aquifers that supplied residents of Security, Widefield and Fountain were among sites affected.


The water district has taken measures to protect its residents from unsafe water, and this year’s federal budget allocated additional money for the military to install and maintain water filters to reduce the contamination or purchase water elsewhere. The water has been labeled officially safe for drinking. However, the problem could be worse than the federal government had maintained.


Politico first reported a couple of weeks ago that the EPA sought to cover up a study from the Center for Disease Control lowering the standard for acceptable levels of PFCs in drinking water by one-sixth. In 2016, the EPA reduced the acceptable level of PFCs from 400 parts per trillion to 70. The report, however, indicated that safe exposure levels could be as low as 12 ppt.


Liz Rosenbaum, the Democratic candidate for House District 21 and cofounder of the Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition, said the report came at no surprise to her community.


“The information being put out by the water districts that the water is safe, I believe is covering up the fact that we’ve been polluted for three, four decades and our entire Windmill Gulch aquifer is destroyed,” Rosenbaum said. “And the people who knew, the companies that knew this was a cancer-causing chemical need to be held accountable for ruining our aquifer.”


The EPA drew further ire from clean-water activists when it refused to allow community representatives to attend the National Leadership Summit on Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) this week. EPA chief Scott Pruitt described the summit as a way to bring together “federal partners, several tribes, dozens of industry, non-governmental groups and other national organizations” to “share valuable recommendations for how EPA should deal with PFAS in communities and communicate the risks associated with PFAS.” However, community groups, journalists and even legislative staff were excluded from attending the summit.


Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition and 36 other communities across the country affected by PFCs responded by posting photos online displaying statistics about their communities and reasons they felt they should have had a say. Fountain Valley’s photo showed a sign that read: “We need a seat at the table because PFAS toxins from the Air Force base are in our bodies and people are getting sick.”


The EPA recently announced it will visit communities in Michigan, New Hampshire and Colorado where PFCs have contaminated drinking water.


Rosenbaum says it’s essential that agency representatives take the time to meet with activists in the Widefield, Security and Fountain area.


“What I’m hoping happens with the EPA coming here is that they actually meet with the Fountain Valley Clean Water Coalition,” Rosenbaum said. “If they don’t access us and what we have to say, elections are coming in November, and we will have our voices heard.”

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Thursday, May 24, 2018

EPA and City of Colorado Springs negotiating end to Clean Water Act lawsuit?

Posted By on Thu, May 24, 2018 at 4:13 PM

City stormwater manager Rich Mulledy stands in a cavern created by faulty drainage facilities, as it appeared last September. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • City stormwater manager Rich Mulledy stands in a cavern created by faulty drainage facilities, as it appeared last September.
Despite protests from fellow plaintiffs, the Environmental Protection Agency has agreed to revisit a possible settlement with the city Colorado Springs over alleged Clean Water Act violations caused by the city’s longterm neglect of stormwater management, according to documents obtained by the Independent.

The renewed negotiations come as U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch scheduled an August trial in the lawsuit on May 22, the day after the state’s lead attorney in the case was reportedly fired for a reason the Colorado Attorney General’s Office won’t discuss.

Margaret “Meg” Parish, first assistant attorney general in the Natural Resources & Environment Section, wrote several scathing letters to the EPA in recent months, calling the EPA’s action “shocking and extraordinary” and expressing “deep concern and disappointment” that the agency would unilaterally reopen settlement discussion without consulting co-plaintiffs. Besides the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), those include Pueblo County and the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District.

The move was particularly alarming, she noted, because the state and EPA had signed an agreement in which both agreed not to communicate with the city without the presence of the other.

Some who couldn’t comment on the record due to confidentiality rules called the latest moves — reopening negotiations and the firing of Parish — as “pure politics” in an era when the EPA’s reputation is pivoting from protecting the environment to serving polluters.

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who has long-standing and close ties to the oil and gas industry and is under investigation for multiple alleged ethics breaches, met with the Housing and Building Association of Colorado Springs in October when the HBA paid for his night’s stay at The Broadmoor.

A few months later, on March 19, the EPA wrote a letter to the city “as a follow up to the City’s recent request to re-initiate settlement negotiations.”

The EPA’s co-plaintiffs were given two days notice that the letter would be sent to the city’s legal counsel, reportedly fueling outrage among those partners. Pueblo County has harbored distrust of the city of Colorado Springs for decades regarding sewage discharges and raging stormwater flows in Fountain Creek, which befouls the creek and threatens levees at Pueblo where the creek joins with the Arkansas River. Farmers in the Lower Ark region have complained for years that sediment blocks their irrigation headgates interfering with raising crops.

The dismissal of Parish, who couldn’t be reached for comment, has precipitated the likelihood of a court hearing on May 30 or 31 to replace her as the state’s lawyer in the case.

Mayor John Suthers campaigned vigorously last fall in favor of stormwater fees, saying repeatedly that voters’ approval would help the city end the EPA lawsuit, but now correspondence suggests the fee money won’t be enough, according to the documents obtained by the Indy.

Asked about the latest maneuver to negotiate a settlement, Suthers tells the Indy in a statement that the city has always expressed a desire to “sit down with all parties in the case and review the tremendous progress that’s been made in its [the city’s] stormwater program....”
But Suthers side-stepped questions about what influence he exerted on the EPA in general or Pruitt in particular.

Rather, he repeated a past comment, noting he’d rather spend money on compliance than litigation, adding, “A settlement agreement can give the parties all the assurances they need in regard to future compliance.”

The EPA declined to comment, as did Pueblo County Commission Chair Terry Hart and Lower Ark District General Manager Jay Winner.

The Attorney General’s Office told the Indy via email it wouldn’t comment on Parish’s departure but added the office represents CDPHE in the case and will continue to do so “with the highest level of professionalism and with the focus remaining on what is in the best interest of the citizens of Colorado.”

On March 14, the DOJ sent the state, Pueblo County and Lower Ark a proposed letter to the city about revisiting a settlement, giving them two days to provide input. In an emailed response on March 16, Martha Rudolph, CDPHE’s director of environmental programs, said neither Pueblo County nor the Lower Ark could sign on without their boards’ approvals, and the earliest that could happen was March 21.

Noting the state had worked in good faith with all parties, Rudolph said, “The decision by EPA and DOJ to suddenly shift course to pursue settlement now without first conferring with co-plaintiffs unfortunately risks eroding our good working relationship.”

On March 19, DOJ trial attorney Heidi Hoffman sent the proposed letter to the city. The letter commended the city for its “significant improvements that the City intends to achieve through its Stormwater Program Implementation Plan (November 2016)” as well as the November 2017 stormwater fees ballot measure. But Hoffman also noted those “positive events” don’t comprise full compliance or address water quality problems stemming from years of failed efforts. She also said the city is responsible for funding and carrying out the “technically difficult and potentially costly” steps necessary to become compliant.

“With this in mind,” Hoffman wrote, “the United States is willing to meet with the City to learn about any alternative measures or additional work the City is willing to undertake in order to come into compliance with its permit and address the water quality impacts of its MS4 system.” She also said the DOJ hoped the conversation “will advance settlement discussions and lead to a mutually accepted path forward for resolving this case.” She closed by saying the other plaintiffs will be invited to participate in any negotiations.

On March 26, Rudolph, Winner and Hart signed a letter to the EPA asking the agency to “recommit to working in partnership” (News, May 9, 2018).

In a separate March 26 letter to several EPA officials in Denver and Washington, D.C., Parish cited her “deep concern and disappointment” that the EPA failed to “work with or respect” the CDPHE. She also noted the confidentiality agreement, to which the state has complied, and the “thousands of hours” and “considerable expertise” the state has brought to the case.
“This partnership is bearing fruit: we are on the verge of a trial that is likely to be highly successful for EPA and the State of Colorado,” she wrote, “leading to an outcome wherein the City will finally remedy its ongoing damage to Colorado’s waters, public health, and downstream communities.”

But EPA’s behavior, she says, “throws this partnership into doubt” and has undermined chances of securing a “strong settlement” that would force the city to comply and correct damage it caused to Fountain Creek.

Parish also noted EPA promotes an image of an agency that wants to work with states on enforcement matters, but then undercuts such cooperation. Finally, Parish writes that the state reserves the right to object to any proposed consent decree or voluntary dismissal of claims proposed by the EPA.

The EPA and CDPHE filed the lawsuit in November 2016 after the city flunked inspections in 2013 and 2015 of compliance with its MS4 permit (Municipal Separate Storm Sewer System).

The lawsuit alleged multiple and ongoing violations of the Clean Water Act by the city, which failed to force developers to install proper storm drainage infrastructure, gave waivers to others and didn’t adequately inspect and monitor its drainageways. The city spent only $1.6 million a year on those tasks from 2011 to 2014, a pittance considering some estimates set the city’s stormwater needs at upwards of $1 billion.

In April 2016, when the city prepared to activate its $825 million Southern Delivery System water pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir, Pueblo County threatened to pull the construction permit it issued years before unless the city dealt with its flood waters. After enacting stormwater fees in 2007 only to abolish them in 2009, the city agreed at the behest of Pueblo County to spend $460 million over 20 years.

Suthers then sought and received voter approval of stormwater fees in November 2017 to fund the agreement. It’s worth noting the ballot measure states that City Council can raise the fees without voter approval “to the extent required to comply with a valid court order, federal or state permits, federal or state laws, or any intergovernmental agreement to which the City is a party which was entered into before June 1, 2016.”

That means whatever verdict is imposed in the lawsuit, including a settlement, could translate to fee hikes for residents.

According to a February 5 letter to the EPA and DOJ after word leaked the EPA would reopen settlement talks, those costs could be significant. Noting the city’s agreement with Pueblo County and that the new stormwater fees are “far from enough to remedy the damage the City has already caused,” Parish said in the letter, “Remedying this ongoing damage and ending the City’s ongoing noncompliance will be neither easy nor cheap. Unless the City is willing to pass these costs on to developers, fixing and installing these controls and otherwise remedying the damage will be very expensive because that damage has been so widespread.”

Despite more than a year of settlement efforts, which ended last year, Parish noted the parties “were unable to come to basic understandings on bedrock permit issues, like the City’s responsibility to ensure that stormwater controls are operational and maintained.”

Parish proposed five conditions to resurrecting negotiations, including requiring the city to fix “missing and nonfunctional stormwater controls,” mandating all litigants be present during negotiations, keeping the lawsuit going until “a broad settlement agreement” is in place, and proceeding with the August trial, which she predicted would be resolved in the plaintiffs’ favor.

Parish also noted the lawsuit was filed under federal authority, i.e., the Clean Water Act, and the state can’t legally bring such an action on its own. Shifting the case to state court under the Colorado Water Quality Control act, she noted, “would cause a host of procedural problems which would cripple and likely destroy the case.”

“Without EPA’s participation in this litigation,” she wrote, “this case likely vanishes — and with it, years of time and effort” by the plaintiffs. Worse, she added, without the lawsuit, the city will continue to violate its MS4 permit and harm Colorado’s waters and communities.
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Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Colorado Springs City Council considers cash incentive for manufacturer

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 7:15 PM

Here's something you haven't heard in awhile: The city offering cash incentives to retain existing business or attract new business.

On May 21, City Council was to be briefed on a plan to forego $50,000 in city sales tax revenues in exchange for a guarantee of adding 10 new jobs in four years by Relius Medical, a manufacturer of orthopedic medical devices and custom, non-orthopedic related products.

From the Council's supporting documentation:
Relius Medical, LLC is a medical device manufacturer that engineers and manufactures orthopedic and non-orthopedic products. Relius purchased previously held assets of another company and was able to retain many of the previous employees, ultimately saving over 100 jobs.

Since commencing operations in 2014, Relius employs 135 people and has been committed to developing and growing its workforce through collaborative efforts with community organizations such as Pikes Peak Community College, Pikes Peak Workforce Center, and Mount Carmel Veterans Service Center....

The Executive Branch is recommending that the City provide certain performance-based incentives for investment and job creation.

Relius Medical, LLC has investment plans for business expansion and job creation. The company estimates that it will invest $5 million in machinery and equipment. The company expects to hire 25 new full time employees over the next 4 years at an average wage of $34,337.

The Executive Branch is recommending that the City enter into an Economic Development Agreement to provide certain performance-based incentives for the company to invest in business personal property and job creation. The proposed City incentive is:
Sales and Use Tax Rebate on Annual Purchases of Business Personal Property (50% of the City’s 2% General Fund Rate, or a 1% Total Rebate).
Here's how the city's investment shakes out over the longer term:
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Air Force Academy shows improvement in wash-out rate

Posted By on Tue, May 22, 2018 at 5:24 PM

U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/MIKE KAPLAN
  • U.S. Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan
On May 23, 984 Air Force Academy cadets will become second lieutenants as the Thunderbirds zoom overhead.

Tucked into a statistical rundown of the Class of 2018 provided by the Academy is a figure that bodes well for the school. According to the Academy, only 18.4 percent, or 222, of those who entered the Academy four years ago with this class washed out. That's a significant improvement over years past.

The last time the Independent looked at this in late 2016, the wash-out rates were well over 20 percent.

You can revisit that report here.

Here are some fun facts about this year's graduating class provided by the Academy:
– 1,498 were offered appointments to the Academy

– 1,206 men and women were inducted into the Academy, including 14 international cadets

– There were 942 men (78.1 percent) and 264 women (21.9 percent) in the class

– There were 323 (26.8 percent) minorities

– There were 585 (48.5 percent) cadets who were potentially pilot qualified

– The average high school GPA for the Class of 2018 was 3.85

– The average SAT score was 633 verbal and 663 math

-The average ACT score was 30 English, 30 reading, 30 math and 30 science reasoning

Scheduled to Graduate:

Scheduled to graduate are 984 cadets, including 13 international cadets.

– 772 men (78 percent) and 212 women (22 percent)

– 273 minorities (28 percent) of the class. Seventy-seven cadets are African-American, 105 are Hispanic, 65 are Asian, 13 are Pacific Islanders and 13 are Native American, not including the international cadets.

– 711 cadets are not minorities

– The 13 international cadets are from Kazakhstan, Gaban, Malaysia, Moldovia, Pakistan, The Republic of Korea, Romania, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and the United Arab Emirates

– 142 graduates attended the Air Force Academy Preparatory School

– 45 graduates were previously enlisted Airmen

– The average cumulative GPA for the graduating class was 3.07

– The attrition rate is 209 cadets (18 percent)

– 54 graduates have brothers or sisters who have graduated from the Academy

– 58 graduates are second-generation graduates. Six cadets’ parents are both graduates of the Academy.
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Thursday, May 17, 2018

North Cheyenne Cañon plan challenged, appeal to be heard by Council

Posted By on Thu, May 17, 2018 at 4:45 PM

The South Cheyenne Creek in North Cheyenne Cañon Park is dry and has been for a few months. Opponents of the park's master plan take issue with the possibility of redirecting the creek. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • The South Cheyenne Creek in North Cheyenne Cañon Park is dry and has been for a few months. Opponents of the park's master plan take issue with the possibility of redirecting the creek.
On May 17, former El Paso County Commissioner Jim Bensberg paid the required $176 fee to appeal the city's Parks Advisory Board's approval of a new master plan for the North Cheyenne Cañon Park.

Bensberg and the Cheyenne Cañon Conservationists, a loose-knit group started in 2010, contend the master plan sets new policy without relying on the judgment of elected officials on City Council. Under the current set up, parks master plans aren't reviewed by Council, only the Parks Advisory Board.

The parks board approved the master plan on May 10 after an hours-long public meeting at which dozens of supporters of the plan, including Broadmoor employees, spoke in favor of it.
One of many picnic areas in North Cheyenne Cañon Park. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • One of many picnic areas in North Cheyenne Cañon Park.
Bensberg and others contend The Broadmoor, owner of Seven Falls on the park's west side, stands to gain from components of the master plan that would allow the city to reroute the south creek, shut roads in the vicinity of Seven Falls and take other steps to sanitize the natural character of the park and turn it into a "Disneyland" attraction.

Referring to a picnic area west of the Starsmore Center where gatherings such as weddings and receptions are frequently held, Bensberg says, "They want to bulldoze that area for a parking lot."

"We don't believe the problems city staff has outlined can justify these draconian measures they're taking," he says.

Opponents of the master plan also are against lumping the north and south sections of the park together into one master plan when, as Bensberg says, they represent two different ecosystems.

The south creek has been dry for months, and has been dry more often than not in recent years. Bensberg says City Council should explain why that is — suggesting that some of the water may be being syphoned off for other purposes. The Independent asked Colorado Springs Utilities about the lack of flow in the south creek and got this explanation via email:
There is no minimum streamflow requirement on South Cheyenne Creek. CSU entered into an agreement with the Cheyenne Creek Metro Park & Water District back in 1993 to bypass 1 cfs on North Cheyenne Creek between April 1 and October 31. Our Raw Water Ops staff monitors that flow daily.
Kent Obee, leader of Save Cheyenne, a nonprofit formed to oppose the city's 2016 deal to trade 186-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor, says his group, too, is opposed to the master plan.

The chief complaint, he says, is the inclusion in the plan of the possibilities for shuttle buses, traffic restrictions and closing off the remaining south canyon loop, which they say could lead to converting Mesa Avenue into a Broadmoor-shuttles-only road. The Broadmoor takes hotel guests and anyone who pays to visit Seven Falls to the attraction via bus.

"They would literally tear up and revegetate the south canyon road," Obee says. "We thought that was one clearly catering to The Broadmoor." He adds the loop draws crowds of people who picnic at pullouts.

Though city officials say those are only possibilities to be determined later, Obee is suspicious.

"We would call it the camel's nose under the tent," he says, explaining that he suspects that  items in the master plan (often described simply as possibilities) will simply be rubber-stamped by the board later on.

Another sticking point is the inclusion in the plan of marketing efforts. "Too much in the plan is marketing, and this park belongs to the citizens, not the tourists," Obee says, citing a column that appeared in this week's Independent. "Too much in the plan is marketing to bring more people in, when frankly, that's the last thing on earth we need."

Council could hear the appeal on June 12, unless Bensberg seeks to delay the hearing due to Council members not being able to attend. He says he wants the entire Council to hear the matter.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2018

ESM forced to end WISH House program for homeless women

Posted By on Wed, May 16, 2018 at 9:42 AM

The WISH House program provided transitional housing for up to 16 single women at one time. - FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller
  • The WISH House program provided transitional housing for up to 16 single women at one time.


Ecumenical Social Services, a nonprofit serving the homeless population in downtown Colorado Springs, announced May 16 that a lack of federal funding would force it to close WISH House, its transitional housing program for women.

We wrote about the WISH House this week.


Through the WISH House program, ESM housed up to 16 single women at one time, where they lived in four-bed rooms and could use a kitchen, TV room and computer room. The women were required to work, volunteer or attend job training during the day. ESM worked with the women to identify the “root cause” of their homelessness, and provided services such as financial advice to help them become self-sufficient.


Since the program was founded in April of 2017 with the support of a $100,000 federal community-service block grant, it has served more than 38 women, according to a press release. That funding is no longer available.


“While some went the full term with this program and now live self-sufficiently, some only stayed for a short while to best meet their personal needs,” the announcement read. “We cherished our time with all of them and have sent them all out the doors with our best wishes.”


ESM will continue to serve the homeless community with laundry services, showers and food assistance, according to the release.


“Last year, ESMs day-time programs served 70,000 people,” the release read. “Nearly 10,000 showers were taken, more than 4,000 loads of laundry were cleaned, and the number of people who received food assistance increased by 17% over the previous year.

“ESMs day-time services will remain open, but are in need of funding support due to the overwhelming demand for our services.”


The homeless population in El Paso County increased by 9.6 percent from 2017 to 2018, according to data from the Point-in-Time count released May 10. Females (adults and children) made up about 35 percent of the total homeless population in El Paso County this year.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Quad Innovation Partnership students research ways to save Venetucci Farm

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 5:02 PM

FILE PHOTO
  • File photo


Pikes Peak Community Foundation has something new in the works for its Venetucci Farm, which has been plagued by financial problems since its water was ruled unsafe for human consumption in 2016.


The foundation is joining forces with the Quad Innovation Partnership, a collaboration between four local universities, to develop new solutions for maintaining the beloved farm’s role in the community. Student research teams in the Quad program will lead the effort starting this summer and continuing through the spring 2019 semester.


The students hail from Colorado College, Pikes Peak Community College, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs and the Air Force Academy. They comprise two research teams of three to five students each, and come from a variety of academic areas — including public affairs, economics and philosophy. Some will be graduate students; others undergraduates, said Jake Eichengreen, Quad’s executive director.


“Jake’s program is a really good resource for bringing in a lot of good community voices,” said Samuel Clark, director of philanthropy for PPCF. “Especially the voices of young, entrepreneurially-minded individuals that are engaged with the community.”


Venetucci Farm’s recent problems started in May of 2016, when the farm’s well water was considered unsafe under new EPA regulations. The water had been polluted by Peterson Air Force Base’s use of a fire fighting foam that contained perfluorinated compounds, or PFCs.


Before farmers and local legends Bambi and Nick Venetucci died, they left their family farm to the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, which had a broader, grassroots community mission at the time. They intended for the farm to remain a community fixture.


But when water troubles arose, PPCF’s new CEO, Gary Butterworth, exercised an abundance of caution, suspending produce sales mid-season despite protest from some community members that the food was still safe to eat. The water itself, which had accounted for over half of the farm’s revenue, could also no longer be sold.


The financial turmoil that followed has left the farm’s future in question. Funding could come in the form of a reimbursement payment from the Air Force, which would allow for a water treatment facility to filter the groundwater. In the meantime, lacking revenue from the well water and produce sales, PPCF laid off longtime farm managers Susan Gordon and Patrick Hamilton.


PPCF is optimistic that the new partnership with the Quad will open new doors.


“I think that we just have the right people and sort of the right kind of voice and energy to work with on this process,” Clark said.


Ideally, the research efforts will result in a request for proposal (issued by the foundation, which owns the farm) to community organizations to implement some of the strategies the students will develop.


“Using that information from what the Quad teams discover, we can then package it and send it out to organizations to say, now that we understand what the opportunities are, who and how would we be able to take those opportunities,” Clark said.


Eichengreen emphasized the Quad’s enthusiasm about the upcoming project.


“I’m a Colorado Springs native and I grew up getting pumpkins from Venetucci Farm,” Eichengreen said. “Many of the fellow staff and students that I work with have similar connections to Colorado Springs and the community, and we’re just committed to doing this right.”


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PPCC cyber defense program receives designation

Posted By on Tue, May 15, 2018 at 1:36 PM

Students train at Boecore, a local aerospace and defense engineering firm involved in cyber security. - HELEN ROBINSON
  • Helen Robinson
  • Students train at Boecore, a local aerospace and defense engineering firm involved in cyber security.


Pikes Peak Community College’s cyber defense program received official designation from the National Security Agency, the college announced in a statement May 15.


The community college is now a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Two-Year Education (CAE-2Y). That label means the school will “receive formal recognition from the U.S. Government as well as opportunities for prestige and publicity for their role in securing our Nation's information systems,” according to the NSA’s website.


“Because of this designation's national visibility, PPCC students who graduate from these programs are recognized by employers as having the broad cyber skills needed in industries around the globe,” PPCC’s statement said, adding that the school will now be eligible for more academic and workforce development grants in cybersecurity.


Currently, PPCC’s Cyber Defense Center offers a cybersecurity certificate as part of its Computer Networking Technology degree. The school also has noncredit workforce development courses in cybersecurity.


PPCC joins the Air Force Academy, the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, Colorado Technical University, and Pueblo and Red Rocks community colleges as a designated school, according to the statement.


In other recent cyber-news: The National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs, which opened in January on North Nevada Avenue, evolved from Gov. Hickenlooper’s vision of the city as the “cybersecurity capital of the nation.” The center is partnering with startup accelerators in an effort to bring cybersecurity jobs to the Pikes Peak Region.

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