Wednesday, July 31, 2019

The Independence Center tackles accessibility at the dentist

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 2:30 PM

The Independence Center plans to gift accessible equipment to dental offices. - COURTESY OF VERSATILT
  • Courtesy of Versatilt
  • The Independence Center plans to gift accessible equipment to dental offices.
About a year ago, The Independence Center, a nonprofit serving people with disabilities in Colorado Springs, announced it was accepting nominations for primary care providers who should have accessible exam tables and lifts gifted to them.

The nonprofit received 23 nominations last year from Medicaid and Medicare recipients across the region. It gifted tables and lifts to nine practices, and portable hearing systems to three.

Now, The Independence Center hopes to continue its efforts by investing another $75,000 from its IC Fund into health care.

"We're planning to work with dental health care providers to expand accessible dental services here in the Pikes Peak region," CEO Patricia Yeager announced at the nonprofit's annual ADA Celebration Luncheon, celebrating the 29th anniversary of the Americans Disabilities Act.

Medical masks can be designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing patients read lips. - COURTESY OF THE INDEPENDENCE CENTER
  • Courtesy of the Independence Center
  • Medical masks can be designed to help deaf and hard-of-hearing patients read lips.
The Independence Center did its research to figure out how to improve accessibility at dental offices.

The nonprofit conducted a study this spring to solicit dental care feedback from local participants with disabilities. Feedback included concerns that affect care, including anxiety, autism, blindness and low vision, deafness, mobility issues, chemical sensitivities and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Of the 39 respondents, 24 percent said they did not have access to effective communication at the dentist, "either because they did not have an American Sign Language interpreter or because while their providers were wearing facial masks, they could not read their lips."

One participant quoted in the research report noted that without an ASL interpreter, "It's like you are an alien lying on a table, and they are dissecting you."

Nineteen percent of the respondents said the dental procedure room was not accessible, and 5 percent said it was too small.

"I go [to the dentist], but it's a huge effort," said one participant, who was quoted in the report. "I go without my oxygen tank while I'm in the chair because there's nowhere to put the tank. When my oxygen numbers are low, I get more anxious. I hate it."

Medicaid or Medicare recipients with disabilities are invited to nominate their dental provider to receive accessible medical equipment through a form online.

Dental offices selected for a gift "can receive a wheelchair lift, medical masks that allow patients to read lips, and other tools that can make the experience of going to the dentist more enjoyable for people with disabilities," according to The Independence Center's website. The selected offices will also receive an Americans with Disabilities Act  audit evaluating the accessibility of their facility and a disability competency training session.
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El Paso County looks to join discussion about urban density

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 9:31 AM

El Paso County Commission Chair Mark Waller: Wants to be a partner in "healthy growth." - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • El Paso County Commission Chair Mark Waller: Wants to be a partner in "healthy growth."
In this week's Independent, we report the conundrum the city of Colorado Springs faces in whether to annex property before or after developers build homes, businesses, roads and utilities.

We weren't able to reach County Commission Chair Mark Waller before our press deadline but have since heard back from him. Via email, he tells us:
The County has long sought to be a responsible partner in the healthy growth of our region. We’d welcome the opportunity to have a honest conversation about this issue with our partners at the City.

This is part of the reason why the County is currently engaged in a comprehensive Master Planning process through our Community Development Department. We strongly encourage everyone — from citizens to other elected officials — to participate in that process and have their voice heard by completing the Master Plan survey available on our website.
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New Protect Our Parks ballot measure might be in the works

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 9:27 AM

Strawberry Fields open space gave rise to the movement for the Protect Our Parks ballot measure. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Strawberry Fields open space gave rise to the movement for the Protect Our Parks ballot measure.
City officials are scurrying to draft a hybrid Protect Our Parks ballot measure that would blend the original POPs measure with a last-minute version, which some suspect is designed to enable the city to convey certain city parkland to developers, according to parks advocate Kent Obee and City Councilor Bill Murray.

But the parks director disputes a hybrid measure is in the works.

The original POPs, crafted by a committee of stakeholders over a five-month period earlier this year, would require a vote of the people before the city conveys parkland, either through sales or exchanges, to another entity, corporation or individual.

The last-minute version, proposed by Councilor Wayne Williams on May 28, would allow City Council to convey parkland on a 6-3 vote. (This is the measure which appears to be favored by a majority of Council, based on a June 22 meeting.)

Kent Obee on a hike in Stratton Open Space. He says Council and the mayor are trying to defang a parks protection measure. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Kent Obee on a hike in Stratton Open Space. He says Council and the mayor are trying to defang a parks protection measure.
A 6-3 Council vote in 2016 approved a controversial swap in which the city traded its 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor in exchange for 400 acres of largely wilderness land and trail easements. The Strawberry Fields deal gave rise to the nonprofit Save Cheyenne, which gave birth to the POPs measure after a protracted legal battle failed to overturn the Strawberry Fields exchange.

Council is due to consider on Aug. 13 which measure to refer to the Nov. 5 ballot — one that would allow Council to convey parkland on a 6-3 vote or one that would require voter approval of all transfers, which is favored by Save Cheyenne.

Now, Obee says, he fears the third option will arise during an Aug. 12 work session one day prior to the vote to refer a measure to the ballot.

"I think they're trying to defang it," says Obee, who notes he learned of the new proposal from a couple of Council members.

Obee says his group opposes the hybrid proposal, which would create two classes of parks — one, which likely would include smaller neighborhood parks, that wouldn't have voter protection, and another, including regional and community parks, that would have voter protection. But Obee admits he doesn't know which parks would or wouldn't be protected under the third hybrid option.

No other city in Colorado relies on such a hybrid plan, Obee says, although many cities have adopted measures that mirror POPs by requiring voter approval to convey parkland.

The hybrid, Obee says, "undercuts our basic premise that the parks belong to the people and the people should have the final say when parkland is conveyed."

Parks Director Karen Palus tells the Independent via email there are only two ballot measures Council will consider at its Aug. 13 meeting.

Asked about Palus' denial that a third hybrid measure was in the works, Obee says via email, "For what it is worth, I believe the folks on the city staff who were asked to draw up the hybrid version were the City Attorney's office, not the Parks Department."

Obee cites another reason for concern for park advocates. He says in recent days, Save Cheyenne supporters noticed the POPs measure's list of parks subject to a vote of the people doesn't contain Jimmy Camp Creek Park, 700 acres as yet undeveloped as a park on the city's northeast side adjacent to Banning Lewis Ranch.
Jimmy Camp Creek Park lies in the city's extreme northeast sector. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Jimmy Camp Creek Park lies in the city's extreme northeast sector.

Most of BLR belongs to Nor'wood Development Group, the region's biggest developer that's owned by David Jenkins.

"On the original list, it was there," he says.

That leads him and others to wonder if the city is negotiating a deal to convey Jimmy Camp property to someone.

"Don’t wonder," Murray tells the Independent via email, "that is the plan."

"In an attempt to block POPS from appearing on the ballot to likely success, the mayor is throwing a lot of chaff to confuse the issues," Murray says. "Most [Front Range] cities have this protection. I would suggest an ulterior motive. There are developers who are interested in current park lands for development. And the mayor is supporting these developers."

The city obtained Jimmy Camp Creek 20 years ago from the developer that owned the property at that time. Budget restraints have prevented its development into a park. Land around the creek was acquired by Colorado Springs Utilities for a possible reservoir as part of the Southern Delivery System water pipeline project, but the site was abandoned for several reasons, including its harboring of one of the best exposures in the world of the Cretaceous-Tertiary (K-T) boundary, which marked the end of the Mesozoic Era, or the Age of Reptiles (dinosaurs), some 66 million years ago.

But Palus says there's no pending deal to transfer Jimmy Camp Creek Park or any part of it. She says it's not on the list of parks that would be voted on by the people under the POPs measure, because it hasn't been developed. The protection list, she notes, doesn't include any land acquired from developers through the city's Parkland Dedication Ordinance that hasn't been developed into a park, which includes Jimmy Camp, a provision with which Save Cheyenne agreed.

"When that parkland is developed, that parkland would then be added to the [POPs protection] designation list," Palus says.

Dismissing plans to trade away a portion of Jimmy Camp, Palus says, "There are currently no pending transactions with Jimmy Camp Creek at this time."

However, Mayor John Suthers, who opposes giving voters a chance to vote on parkland transfers, hinted that a deal might be pending regarding Jimmy Camp Creek during a May 28 meeting with Council, as we reported in our cover story on July 17:
“It’s very conceivable to me that some rich person is going to offer us a deal that needs to close by the end of the year for tax purposes,” Suthers said. “He wants an acre, and he’s going to give us 400 acres, and we’re going to say, ‘Sorry, we have to take it to a vote [of the people].’”

Although parks officials say there’s no significant land transfer currently under negotiations, Suthers may see one on the not-too-distant horizon.

During the May 28 meeting, the mayor hinted that POPs could obstruct a land exchange in the Jimmy Camp Creek vicinity in east Colorado Springs. That land is adjacent to property owned by Nor’wood Development Group, the region’s biggest developer, which has indicated a desire to work a deal with the city for a portion of its 18,500-acre Banning Lewis Ranch.
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Help for watersheds

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Grasses and reeds growing by small reflecting pond in the Four-Mile Recreational Area, in the San Isabel National Forest. - SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
  • Grasses and reeds growing by small reflecting pond in the Four-Mile Recreational Area, in the San Isabel National Forest.
Three agencies will cooperate on projects to protect watersheds in the White River and Pike and San Isabel National Forests.

Colorado Springs Utilities, the U.S. Forest Service and the Colorado State Forest Service will spend a combined $15 million to restore areas of the forest and promote wildfire mitigation over the next five years.

“Through partnerships like this one, land managers and water providers in Colorado can help ensure clean, reliable water for present and future generations,” Mike Lester, state forester and state forest service director, said in a release.

Projects will span 11,000 acres of watersheds.
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Proposed rule change could keep 33,000 Coloradans a month from getting SNAP benefits

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
A proposed federal rule would change the process for determining who qualifies for food assistance, and could impact 33,000 Coloradans each month, according to the state Department of Human Services.

The rule would mandate that people between 18 and 59 who are making between 130 and 200 percent of the federal poverty level ($16,910 for a two-person household) could no longer receive benefits through the Supplementary Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP.

Parents whose households bring in between 130 and 200 percent of that amount could only receive SNAP benefits if they also qualify for at least $50 in other federal assistance each month.

The federal government argues that the changes will “create a clearer and more consistent nationwide policy” and help ensure that government assistance programs have a greater positive impact.
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Fort Carson housing survey shows 64 percent satisfaction rate

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Some of the on-base housing at Fort Carson features solar panels - COURTESY FORT CARSON
  • Courtesy Fort Carson
  • Some of the on-base housing at Fort Carson features solar panels

A housing survey issued to soldiers and their families living on post at Fort Carson showed a satisfaction rate of 64 percent, according to a July 25 statement from the Army installation.

“We’re taking action to earn back the trust of our housing residents, and we will hold ourselves accountable to provide a high-quality standard of living for all our Soldiers and Families,” said Brig. Gen. Joseph Ryan, who was quoted in the statement.

Issues with privately managed military housing came into the national spotlight in February, when the Military Family Advisory Network released a survey showing that out of nearly 17,000 respondents, more than half reported a “negative” or “very negative” experience living on military installations.

Since then, Fort Carson has held a town hall to address residents’ concerns and worked with management company Balfour Beatty to improve living conditions.
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NORAD: Melting Arctic increases enemy threat potential

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

NORAD's base at Cheyenne Mountain. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • NORAD's base at Cheyenne Mountain.

America and Canada may be threatened by cruise missile attacks due to the Russian Navy deploying warships on Arctic sea lanes, NORAD and Northern Command commander Gen. Terrence O’Shaughnessy said, according to the The Maritime Executive.

O’Shaughnessy’s remarks came in a July 23 speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

He commands the bi-national North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and NorthCom, based at Peterson Air Force Base.

As Arctic ice recedes, maritime actors will find new avenues of approach to North America, he said.

Navigating the Arctic requires specialized training and equipment, and Russia is designing difficult-to-defeat hypersonic cruise missiles for its fleets, The Executive reported. “When I look at the cruise missile threat,” O’Shaughnessy said, “I see that as one of the biggest threats we face.”

National Geographic reported in May, “[T]he Arctic is now warming faster than any place on earth, and its protective barrier of sea ice — which once kept commercial and military ambition in check — is melting away.”
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10 stories making headlines this week

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado announced it has received a $20,000 grant from Starbucks to fund its mobile food pantries, which travel to areas where there are few food resources. Lynne Telford, Care and Share CEO said the gift was greatly needed. “One in eight people in Southern Colorado struggle with hunger, including one in six children,” she stated in a press release. - FAITH MILLER
  • Faith Miller
  • Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado announced it has received a $20,000 grant from Starbucks to fund its mobile food pantries, which travel to areas where there are few food resources. Lynne Telford, Care and Share CEO said the gift was greatly needed. “One in eight people in Southern Colorado struggle with hunger, including one in six children,” she stated in a press release.

KKTV reports that mosquitoes in Pueblo County tested positive for West Nile virus, the first to do so in Colorado in 2019. No human cases have been confirmed in Pueblo this year.

The Broadmoor Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has canceled its 2020 motorcycle race after racer Carlin Dunne crashed and died this year, the Gazette reports.

The Colorado Department of Transportation is adding more routes to its regional Bustang bus service, The Denver Post reports. The new routes connect Denver to Loveland, Arapahoe Basin and Estes Park/Rocky Mountain National Park.

A poll by conservative-leaning Louisville-based Magellan Strategies found 47 percent of likely Colorado voters oppose recalling Gov. Jared Polis, compared to 38 percent who support it.

Colorado College chose Nunn Construction to build the Edward J. Robson Arena, a sports venue that’s part of the City for Champions tourism venture.

Mental Health Colorado has named Vincent Atchity as its president and CEO.

An environmental assessment on sites for the U.S. Space Command is open until Aug. 23 for public comment. Colorado’s Peterson, Schriever and Buckley Air Force bases are vying for the command, along with a base in California and another in Alabama. Email comments to russell.perry.1@us.af.mil.

Penrose-St. Francis Health Services is closing its urgent care facility in Teller County — the only such facility in the area, the Gazette reports.

In partnership with local nonprofits and service providers, the city will host an “expo-style” event titled “Addressing Homelessness: A Community Call to Action” Aug. 1 at 6 p.m., at City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St.
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Fine Arts Center theater company wins top Henry Award

Posted By on Wed, Jul 31, 2019 at 1:00 AM

Anna in the Tropics - COURTESY COLORADO SPRINGS FINE ARTS CENTER
  • Courtesy Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center
  • Anna in the Tropics

On July 22, The Colorado Theatre Guild announced the recipients of the 2018-2019 Henry Awards — the most prestigious statewide awards for theater. The theater company belonging to our local Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College was nominated for 26 awards, and took home five.

Most notably, for the first time in FAC history, the company won the Henry Award for Outstanding Season for a Theatre Company, the Henry Awards’ most competitive honor.

The company also won the following categories: Outstanding Direction of a Play (Rebecca Martinez for Anna in the Tropics), Outstanding Production of a Play (Church & State directed by Nathan Halvorson), Outstanding Actor in a Play (Brian Landis Folkins for Church & State) and Outstanding Actress in a Play (Elise Santora for Anna in the Tropics).
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Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Rabid bat found

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 4:45 PM

COURTESY EL PASO COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH
  • Courtesy El Paso County Public Health
Authorities recently confirmed another animal in El Paso County carried rabies, prompting a warning to pet owners.

Found in a home in the city, the bat is the 10th animal to test positive this summer, along with seven skunks, a fox and a dog.

Rabies is a virus that infects wild mammals, especially bats, raccoons, skunks and foxes. Squirrels and rabbits are not considered a rabies risk, El Paso County Public Health stated in a release.

People bitten or scratched by an unfamiliar animal should contact their doctor immediately. Public Health urges residents: to vaccinate pets; contact a vet if a pet is exposed to a wild animal; don’t touch or feed wild animals; keep dogs on a leash and cats inside at night. If you find bat in your house, call Public Health at 578-3220.

The worst year for confirmed rabies cases was 2018 when six bats, 60 skunks and one raccoon were infected.
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Help build the Pikes Peak Summit Complex

Posted By on Tue, Jul 30, 2019 at 2:30 PM

Mayor John Suthers helps launch a fundraising campaign for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex on July 30. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Mayor John Suthers helps launch a fundraising campaign for the Pikes Peak Summit Complex on July 30.
Want to be able to say, "I helped build that!" when the Pikes Peak Summit Complex opens next fall?

Then get out your wallet and write a check to the "My Mountain" campaign, Mayor John Suthers urged residents to do, after he was the first to make a donation.

The city said in a news release Suthers donated his loose change at Ent Credit Union's University Service Center on July 30.

“The sense of pride and ownership of this mountain that’s felt by members of our community is and always has been palpable, and now our generation has a chance to contribute to this incredible legacy,” Suthers said in a news release. “The ‘My Mountain’ campaign is an exciting opportunity for everyone who has ever felt a connection to Pikes Peak to rally together and offer their support to preserve and protect this treasured destination.”

The complex will cost $60 million and is funded in part by reserves from the city enterprise, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, which charges tools and collects money from concession sales.

The city set the goal for public and private donations at $15 million, of which $7 million has yet to be raised.

Hence Suthers' plea.

You can donate at any of Ent's 24 southern Colorado locations and via phone at 719-574-1100 or 800-525-6923 through the end of the year.

The project is to open in the fall of 2020, replacing the Summit House built in 1963. It's a collaboration among the U.S. Forest Service, National Park Service, State Historic Preservation Office, tribal representatives and the summit’s five major permit holders: the City of Colorado Springs, Pikes Peak – America’s Mountain, The Broadmoor’s Pikes Peak Cog Railway, the U.S. Army High-Altitude Research Laboratory and Colorado Springs Utilities.

The contractor is GE Johnson of Colorado Springs. Architects are local firm RTA Architects and GWWO Architects of Baltimore.
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Monday, July 29, 2019

Dining and Cannabis: Colorado Is Just Figuring It Out

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Understatement of the century: Americans love food.

They love all kinds of food. They always have and they always will. They love snacks, fruits, greasy foods, veggies, and everything in between. In fact, based on the U.S. Census data and Simmons National Consumer Survey (NHCS), 233 million Americans used Mexican foods and ingredients in 2017.

During the week leading up to July 4th alone, Americans purchase roughly 700 million pounds of chicken!

Again, Americans LOVE food.

Americans love dining out almost as much as food itself. Casual, fast-casual, and full-service restaurants all average between a 6% and a 6.1% net profit margin. The act of sitting down at a restaurant isn't going anywhere — but it is evolving. Just a few years ago, the thought of going to a legitimate dining establishment and ordering a fancy terpene sugar beignet with lemon thyme curd paired with cannabis was inconceivable. Now, at least in some parts of the U.S., it's a very real phenomenon.

However, according to Baking Business, there are plenty of uncertainties when it comes to cannabis and the food industry.

Since cannabis is a plant, food, beverage, and agriculture sectors are facing issues similar to ones dealt with other plant-based foods. Pest control, for instance, is imperative when it comes to the agricultural industry. It’s estimated by the National Pest Management Association that without the pest control industry, rodents and bugs would destroy 50% of the U.S. food supply.

"[Food safety issues] are not really any different than any other food commodity," said Thuy Vu, director of operations and regulatory affairs at Hammer Enterprises Integrated Solutions in Colorado.

Under Colorado state law, cannabis used inside food or beverage products must come from a state (or country) that has a designated hemp-based food safety program. Additionally, when it comes to packaging, there must be a clear indication that CBD and hemp are being used as an ingredient. Restaurants, food processors, and retailers must also include a statement showing that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not evaluated the product for efficacy or safety.

"Businesses may feel the pinch of limited banking services most acutely, as federal laws strongly discourage federally chartered institutions from providing essential banking services to anyone within arms reach of a cannabis plant," said Andrew Aamot, president and CEO of Colorado's Strava Craft Coffee, which makes a CBD-infused coffee that it distributes to cafes and restaurants.

According to Yahoo! Finance, as of June 17, 2019, Colorado has hit $1 billion in legal cannabis sales. The state legalized adult-use cannabis sales in 2014.

Here are some of the top cannabis stocks in U.S. exchanges and how they performed over the last five trading days:

  • Acreage Holdings (ACRZF) — up 4.1%
  • Scotts Miracle-Gro Co (SMG) — up 2.7%
  • Tilray Inc (TLRY) — up 0.5%
  • GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (GWPH) — down 0.5%
  • Canopy Growth Corp (CGC) — down 2.4%

Edible cannabis has certainly gained some serious momentum over the last few years — especially in Colorado. But there is still much more work to do before this industry is widely accepted across the United States.

"There is a long path to go," added Elaine Yu, president of Layn USA.

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Thursday, July 25, 2019

Shopping center seeks missing dinosaur sculpture

Posted By on Thu, Jul 25, 2019 at 3:45 PM

COURTESY OF THE MARKET AT SPRING CREEK
  • Courtesy of The Market at Spring Creek
Either Colorado Springs is dealing with a Jurassic Park situation, or someone (some people, more likely) was able to steal a brontosaurus named Deeno from a local shopping center — and keep him hidden for nearly two weeks, as of this writing.

Deeno was last seen July 13 at The Market at Spring Creek, a retail center at South Circle Drive and Monterey Road.

The center's new owner, Western Centers — which recently commissioned Deeno and four other colorful sculptures — is advertising a $500 reward for the return of the green and purple dino.

He has very large footprints and eats a vegan diet, the missing poster notes.

Aurora-based property management group Western Centers is also working on revitalizing the center through the installation of "large art murals, new LED lighting, new paint, roof and HVAC repairs, new landscaping, food trucks and more," representative Paul Suter notes in an email.

Deeno's four companion sculptures include a multicolored giraffe, pink flamingo, blue T-rex and red rooster. They anxiously await his safe return.
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Colorado Executive Order To Fight Anti-Vax Movement With A Powerful New Weapon

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A new executive order will fight the growing anti-vax problem in Colorado at its true source: ignorance. Gov. Jared Polis recently signed a new executive order to promote vaccination education in the state. That puts him at odds with other politicians, who have tried to address falling vaccination rates with legislation, and with very mixed results.

More and more parents are choosing not to vaccinate their children, and the anti-vax movement literally puts lives at risk. And while data shows that measles-related deaths decreased by 79% between 2000 and 2014 due to vaccines, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding whether or not vaccines actually work. In Colorado, the number of vaccinated children dropped again this year, keeping the state within the bottom national rankings for childhood immunization. And in an effort to increase these numbers, Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is trying something new. His executive order will give parents more information in the hopes that they will embrace voluntary vaccination.

But this step isn't like other executive orders and laws passed around the country, which typically either give parents the right to not vaccinate their kids or instead compel them to vaccinate. Instead, this new executive order will improve education on vaccines within the state in hopes that more parents will make the choice to vaccinate on their own.

Under the new executive order, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment will study the cause of low immunization rates in the state, educate people on vaccines, and find new ways to boost vaccine rates.

Furthermore, the order seeks to make the process easier for parents. The CDPHE will look at the effectiveness of mobile vaccine services, local immunization drives, and school clinics. The main goal is to understand why parents are so hesitant to vaccinate children and figure out ways to better educate them.

Gov. Jared Polis wants to take Colorado in a different direction from other states. While there are laws in place to protect children from parental harm, like how hospitals and other authorities have the legal authority to remove a child from their parents for up to 96 hours without a court order, Polis doesn't want to force vaccines on parents by making new laws.

Polis explained, “I’m pro-choice. I think it’s your body and it’s your decision... We really view this as the third way between the government forcing people to get shots, which is counterproductive, and simply allowing these rates to go down, which is counterproductive to public health and will result in people dying."

New data from the Colorado Department of Public Health showed immunization rates for four key vaccinations dropped this past school year: Measles-mumps-rubella vaccinations decreased from 88.7% of 87.4%, Hepatitis B vaccinations decreased from 92.1% to 90.8%, Chickenpox vaccinations decreased from 87.7% to 86.5% and Polio vaccinations decreased from 88.6% to 87.2%. Despite the fact that it can take up to 15 years, or more, to develop a vaccine correctly, people still don't want to vaccinate their children.

Rep. Kyle Mullica, D-Northglenn, tried to do something similar to California and New York, where lawmakers have pushed more aggressive legislation to increase vaccination rates. However, Mullica was met with opposition from Polis. Mullica's proposed bill didn't pass through the Senate, but Polis did include some of the ideas in the new executive order.

“I think it really hits home that keeping the status quo isn’t working and is putting our kids at great risk,” explained Mullica. “It’s a good first step. What I am encouraged about is to see more resources going to the issue. Do I think that’s going to solve the problem? I don’t know.”



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Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Public comment period opens for U.S. Space Command alternatives

Posted By on Wed, Jul 24, 2019 at 12:41 PM

Airmen from the 131st Logistics Readiness Squadron, a Missouri Air National Guard unit from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, watch a C-17 Globemaster III from Travis AFB, California, be loaded with cargo June 6, 2019 on Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-17 came to pick up hydraulic repair kits from Rocky Mountain Hydraulics, a U.S. Navy vessel repair contractor. - U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO BY AIRMAN 1ST CLASS ANDREW J. BERTAIN
  • U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Andrew J. Bertain
  • Airmen from the 131st Logistics Readiness Squadron, a Missouri Air National Guard unit from Whiteman Air Force Base, Missouri, watch a C-17 Globemaster III from Travis AFB, California, be loaded with cargo June 6, 2019 on Peterson AFB, Colorado. The C-17 came to pick up hydraulic repair kits from Rocky Mountain Hydraulics, a U.S. Navy vessel repair contractor.

Three Colorado bases competing for U.S. Space Command have space for new facilities, according to an environmental assessment offered for comment on July 24.

Peterson Air Force Base and Schriever Air Force Base, both in El Paso County, and Buckley Air Force Base in the Denver area, are among those under consideration for command.

The other bases contending for the command include Vandenberg Air Force Base in California or Redstone Arsenal in Alabama.

Here are findings from the assessment:

Peterson AFB:
For interim quarters, the EA says Peterson offers undeveloped land in the base's command complex for modular buildings, along with leased off-base office space. Parking space would be made available on adjacent vacant land leased from Colorado Springs Airport.

The permanent alternative cites existing facilities with parking provided in two garages that would be built on existing paved parking lots.

Schriever AFB:
For interim quarters, the EA notes undeveloped prairies that could be the site for modular buildings, coupled with off-base leased space.

Permanent facilities could be construction on the base or near it.

Buckley AFB:
Interim facilities would consist of modular buildings, while permanent quarters could be built on vacant land on the base's northeast side or vacant structures associated with a former skeet range, an on-base thrift store or other available space.

The Defense Department is searching for space for 1,870 personnel "in a typical headquarters setting" of 498,000 square feet of office/administrative space, and 502,000 square feet for vehicle parking, totaling 1 million square feet, or approximately 23 acres.

The EA concluded that "no significant impact" would result at any of the candidate installations or site alternatives in the areas of transportation; hazardous materials and waste; air quality; biological resources; cultural resources; geology and paleontological resources, and water resources.

A 30-day public comment period opened July 24. Click on the link above to view the EA. Printed copies are available at Penrose Library, 20 N. Cascade Ave., and Sand Creek Branch Library, 1821 S. Academy Blvd.

Email comments, which must be contained in the body of the email and not in attachments, can be sent to russell.perry.1@us.af.mil.

Or mail comments to Russell Perry, HQ AFSPC/A4C, 150 Vanderberg St. Suite 1105, Peterson AFB, Colorado, 80914-4230.

Deadline is Aug. 23.
  
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