Local News

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Motion seeks dismissal of charges against former Sheriff Terry Maketa

Posted By on Wed, Jun 21, 2017 at 3:13 PM

Maketa during his sheriff years. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Maketa during his sheriff years.
The Denver Post is reporting that a prosecutor has filed a motion to dismiss charges of kidnapping and false imprisonment against former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa.

Maketa is charged with other crimes as well from his 12 years in office, which ended with his resignation in late 2014, two weeks shy of serving out his third term.

Then-Undersheriff Paula Presley and then-Commander Juan "John" San Agustin also are charged in the case, but apparently motions to dismiss have not been filed on their behalf.

From the Post:
The motion was filed by District Attorney George Brauchler’s office on Tuesday, according to sources familiar with the case who spoke on condition of anonymity. Judge Larry Schwartz has imposed a gag order in the case. It was not immediately clear whether the judge has formally dismissed the charges.
We've previously reported on the case and on Maketa's tenure. The Independent also was first to report the threesome have filed a notice of claim indicating they plan a lawsuit against numerous government agencies in connection with the criminal case.

Observers speculate that the dismissal signals the prosecution, being handled by the 18th Judicial District (after 4th Judicial District Attorney Dan May recused due to his past work with Maketa), might see its case as weak.

In recent weeks, prosecutors sought a six month delay of Maketa's trial, due to begin this month, but Schwartz delayed it by only a month. It's now set to begin next week. Presley's and San Agustin's trials are set for later this year.
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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

All Souls prepared to offer sanctuary, supported by new coalition

Posted By on Tue, Jun 20, 2017 at 1:52 PM

All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church has formally declared itself a sanctuary church, meaning an undocumented immigrant could live in the building's basement bedroom to avoid deportation. The church's congregants, who are a diverse, nondenominational bunch, made the decision to prepare for such a scenario in late May by a near-unanimous vote. Their minister, Rev. Nori Rost, announced the result at a June 19 press conference. 

Rev. Nori Rost has long considered turning her church into refuge for immigrants and recently got the go-ahead from the congregation. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • Rev. Nori Rost has long considered turning her church into refuge for immigrants and recently got the go-ahead from the congregation.

The downtown church is prepared to, but not currently offering, sanctuary to one immigrant at a time. The tactic hinges on Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) policy to refrain from conducting raids in “sensitive locations” including places of worship. At the press conference, Alex McShiras, a local immigration attorney with the Joseph Law Firm, reminded everyone that that's a policy, not a law, so it could change at any time. He did, however, assure that he had word from ICE's field office in Colorado that its agents intends to uphold that policy.

Surrounding Rost during the declaration were other church leaders, congregants, lawyers, academics, nonprofit leaders, immigrant organizers and their children. Candace Datz, director of youth and adult ministry at First Congregational Church, introduced them as members of the newly formed Colorado Springs Sanctuary Coalition. The purpose of the coalition is to help the host church prepare, work with immigrant organizers to set up intake procedures and coordinate financial, legal and strategic support around the whole effort. (For a more comprehensive look at the origins and goals of the sanctuary church movement, see: "Not in our house", Cover, April 19.)
Other churches in the coalition include the First United Methodist Church, the First Congregational Church, and Colorado Springs Friends Meeting. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • Other churches in the coalition include the First United Methodist Church, the First Congregational Church, and Colorado Springs Friends Meeting.

The coalition first began organizing after President Donald Trump ordered the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to step up immigration enforcement. Since then, increased deportations around the country have immigrant communities on edge, fearful that any interaction with law enforcement could trigger removal proceedings.

Karina, the young citizen daughter of an immigrant coalition member, told reporters and other listeners that she's "always nervous to see if [her] parents will come home from work or not" and that she "doesn't understand why [her] community is being treated badly [since] we’re all the same no matter the skin color or culture."

Karina aspires to become a psychiatrist, but in the meantime, she just wants to go to school and play with friends without worrying her parents won't be there to support her. - NAT STEIN
  • Nat Stein
  • Karina aspires to become a psychiatrist, but in the meantime, she just wants to go to school and play with friends without worrying her parents won't be there to support her.

They came here to give their children, like me, a chance at a better life," she said. "We only want to live in peace."

A slight reprieve came on June 15, when DHS Secretary John F. Kelly announced that the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, known as DACA, will stay in place. Instituted by former President Barack Obama in 2012, the program grants temporary work or study permits to immigrants brought over as children, specifically those who arrived before June 15, 2007, but are under the age of 31 as of June 15, 2012. The announcement was a surprise — since then-candidate Trump had promised to eliminate the program — but not considered totally positive, since Kelly also announced that Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, known as DAPA, will not stay in place. That program, which was designed to grant similar protections for parents and older siblings of DACA recipients, had hung in legal limbo as a court challenge made its way up to a tie at the U.S. Supreme Court. Now that it's gone-for-good, we have a clearer sense of the administration's policy on immigrant families: children can stay but their parents have to go.

The coalition chose the day after Father's Day for that reason, Datz explained. "We absolutely believe in the importance of families remaining together and not being separated by unjust and immoral deportations," she said, adding, "Our faith traditions have much to say about the vital role of families in our communities, and we believe that each child deserves to have their parents present during their childhood."

Silvia H. introduced herself, through a translator, as "one of many people who came to this country wanting to get my family a better life." For 14 years now, she said, she and her husband have worked hard, paid taxes and raised their children, now teenagers, here in Colorado Springs. "I am not a criminal," she emphasized.

Though she has friends who have already lost a father to deportation, Silvia is hopeful now, in addition to fearful. "
Thank God that he put us in the way of these people who still believe in us and believe that we all have the same rights and the same opportunities," she said. "Thanks to the sanctuary coalition, we hope to keep families together."
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Monday, June 19, 2017

Nicoletta, Jaray running for Manitou mayor

Posted By on Mon, Jun 19, 2017 at 2:20 PM

Manitou Mayor Nicole Nicoletta will seek a second term. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Manitou Mayor Nicole Nicoletta will seek a second term.

Manitou Mayor Nicole Nicoletta will seek a second  two-year term in the November 2017 city election, the Pikes Peak Bulletin reports.

The mayor, who has presided over fiscally cheery times in the west side town, says she wants to continue her work.

Nicoletta told the Bulletin:

I've succeeded in forming strong relationships with local and state leaders, including Colorado Springs Utilities and El Paso County, elected officials from surrounding municipalities, representatives from each of our military installations, and members of the Colorado Municipal League.

None of these successes could have happened without a team effort; Manitou Springs' team is rocking it right now. The city is in fantastic shape — not perfect but doing very well. Every one of us is working incredibly hard to tend to the city.
Nicoletta will be challenged by longtime resident Ken Jaray, a retired lawyer, former Manitou Springs city attorney and the founder of several community organizations in the area. Jaray told the Bulletin that he will focus on community engagement, particularly when it comes to implementing Manitou's new master plan. Jaray stressed that keeping Manitou looking good would be a top priority of his.

"It's important to always keep track of how we present to the outside world: potholes filled, streets clean, parks and commercial areas where people feel comfortable," Jaray told the Bulletin.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

CU regents OK funding for UCCS sports medicine center

Posted By on Thu, Jun 15, 2017 at 3:58 PM

  • Courtesy UCCS
The University of Colorado at Colorado Springs announced Thursday that the CU Board of Regents approved $61.425 million for the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center on the UCCS campus.

The center is one of four projects included in the Springs' City for Champions tourism venture for which the city was awarded $120.5 million over 30 years in 2013 in state sales tax rebates. The others are a downtown stadium, downtown Olympic Museum and Air Force Academy visitors center.

The regents' action came during a meeting held at UCCS.

From the news release:
Pending approval from a Legislative committee in late June, UCCS will hire a design-build team for the project and begin construction in July 2018. The building is expected to open in December 2019.
The UCCS sports medicine and performance center is named for Bill Hybl, longtime CEO of the El Pomar Foundation and former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee - COURTESY UCCS
  • Courtesy UCCS
  • The UCCS sports medicine and performance center is named for Bill Hybl, longtime CEO of the El Pomar Foundation and former president of the U.S. Olympic Committee
“We’re very pleased to have this vote of confidence from the Regents for the William J. Hybl Sports Medicine and Performance Center,” said Chancellor Venkat Reddy. “The center will help solidify UCCS and Colorado Springs as key players in the fast-growing health and wellness arena. And with its state-of-the-art facilities, staff and programs, the Hybl center will prove to be a destination for students, faculty and health-care consumers.”

UCCS is partnering with Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, part of Centura Health, on the project. Penrose-St Francis will be responsible for the Hybl center’s medical and performance clinics, while UCCS will run all academic research and instruction in the facility, as well as provide leadership and some staffing to the performance clinics.

The Hybl center will be located north of the UCCS Lane Center for Academic Health Sciences on the east side of North Nevada Avenue, situated along Eagle Rock Road. The Hybl center will be across Eagle Rock Road from the university’s Ent Center for the Arts, which is under construction and expected to open in early 2018.

Plans for the Hybl center call for a 104,000-square-foot building, roughly 18,000 square feet larger than the Ent Center for the Arts. The Hybl center building will cost $61.425 million, with another $3.5 million in infrastructure spending.

The Hybl center is a City for Champions project, intended in part to draw tourists to the Pikes Peak region. As such, some funding for the Hybl center will come from state sales tax increases. Under City for Champions requirements, the building had to be at least 72,000 square feet. UCCS and Penrose-St. Francis created a 104,000-square-foot facility to accommodate research, classroom and clinic space.

The Hybl center will offer a variety of clinical services, including orthopedic sports medicine, primary care sports medicine, physical therapy and rehabilitation, occupational therapy, athletic training, pain management, imaging, body composition and bone health services, performance training, occupational and tactical scenario training and altitude training.

The Hybl center also will support a host of UCCS academic programs, including the new exercise science degree program, which is expected to grow to 1,000 students. Enrollment in that degree program is a year ahead of projections and drawing interest from in-state and out-of-state students. Other academic instruction and research areas supported by the building include human anatomy; exercise, cardiovascular and muscle physiology; sports nutrition; body composition and bone health; and clinical outcomes.

The Hybl center will feature three Centers of Distinction:

The Center for Tactical and Occupational Performance, which will provide services to such occupations as military, police officers, firefighters and others.
The Center for Athletes and Active Individuals with Physical Disabilities, which will serve wounded military service members, para-athletes and others with disabilities.
The Environmental Health and Performance Center, which will address demands that athletes, members of the military and others face, including extreme temperatures, humidity, low oxygen and others.
“We are planning a one-of-a-kind building where clinics, academics and research collide to provide an interprofessional approach to develop future healthcare providers,” said Jackie Berning, professor and chair, UCCS Health Sciences Department.

The Hybl center will be the fourth new UCCS project to be built along North Nevada Avenue. In addition to the 92,000-square-foot Ent Center for the Arts, a new baseball field and indoor track and field facility are expected to be constructed north of the Ent Center for the Arts.

The Hybl center is named after William J. Hybl, reflecting the longtime support of El Pomar Foundation as well as its support of the university’s efforts to redevelop North Nevada Avenue. Hybl is El Pomar’s chairman and chief executive officer as well as chairman of the United States Olympic Endowment.

The University of Colorado Colorado Springs, located on Austin Bluffs Parkway in Colorado Springs, is one of the fastest-growing universities in Colorado. The university offers 45 bachelor’s, 22 master’s and five doctoral degree programs. UCCS enrolls about 12,000 students on campus annually and another 3,300 in online programs. For more information, visit www.uccs.edu.

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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

When is an official autopsy required?

Posted By on Wed, Jun 14, 2017 at 11:14 AM

Part of the Independent's latest cover package explores when autopsies by the El Paso County Coroner's Office are required and when they're not. ("Mystery of death," News)

Specifically, this delineation might advance understanding of those requirements, as provided by the Coroner's Office:
The El Paso County Coroner’s Office investigates all sudden, unexpected, and non-natural deaths, the office says in its annual report. While many natural deaths can be certified by the decedent’s physician, about a third of deaths require further investigation to determine cause and manner of death and ensure public health and safety.

Under Colorado law, the coroner must investigate the following types of deaths:
• Sudden, unexpected, or non-natural
• No physician available to certify the death
• Industrial accidents
• Deaths in the custody of law enforcement or in the care of a public institution
• Deaths due to contagious diseases
• All unexplained deaths

State law does not require autopsies in these circumstances:
• Deaths in nursing homes
• Deaths in hospitals, unless requested by the family to address quality of care or legal concerns.
We also had checked in with the county's Department of Human Services regarding reports of elder abuse. Spokesperson Kristina Iodice reports, "Thus far in 2017, about 26 percent of the allegations are self-neglect. Caretaker neglect is at 25 percent, but a caretaker can be someone in a facility or someone in the adult’s home. Exploitation is about 20 percent. Physical and sexual abuse make up about 13 percent of allegations so far in 2017."

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Friday, June 9, 2017

Olympic Museum construction is underway

Posted By on Fri, Jun 9, 2017 at 2:45 PM

The Olympic Museum's groundbreaking drew a couple hundred people. - PHOTOS BY PAM ZUBECK
  • Photos by Pam Zubeck
  • The Olympic Museum's groundbreaking drew a couple hundred people.

"This building will sit in the shadow of Pikes Peak in the world class city of Colorado Springs."

With those words from Benita Fitzgerald-Mosley, Olympic gold medalist in hurdles, the groundbreaking ceremony began for the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame at Vermijo Avenue and Sierra Madre Street in southwest downtown.

Mayor Suthers put on a ball cap to protect from a burning sun, while Gov. John Hickenlooper, to Suthers' left, decided he'd brave it. Wearing a hard hat is Olympic Museum board chairman Dick Celeste.
  • Mayor Suthers put on a ball cap to protect from a burning sun, while Gov. John Hickenlooper, to Suthers' left, decided he'd brave it. Wearing a hard hat is Olympic Museum board chairman Dick Celeste.
Chair of the museum board Dick Celeste, the former president of Colorado College and former governor of Ohio, expressed relief that the project was getting underway.

"It's finally happened," he sighed, as dozens of people streamed to the folding chairs set up this morning in the middle of Vermijo.

Developer David Jenkins, third from right, attended the groundbreaking. The museum will be built on land he donated.
  • Developer David Jenkins, third from right, attended the groundbreaking. The museum will be built on land he donated.

The project has been planned since at least 2013, when the city proposed its inclusion in the City for Champions tourism package that won $120.5 million in funding from the Colorado Economic Development Commission. Other projects include a downtown stadium, Air Force Academy visitors center and University of Colorado at Colorado Springs sports medicine center.

After struggling to raise funds, the museum board has amassed enough in public and private money to start construction.

The 60,000-square-foot museum was designed by Diller Scofidio + Renfro of New York City and will be built by Colorado Springs-based G.E. Johnson Construction.

Key contributors are the Anschutz Foundation, El Pomar Foundation, Mary K. Chapman Foundation, John and Margot Lane Foundation and the Lyda Hill Foundation.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Douglas Bruce properties in Denver at issue

Posted By on Wed, Jun 7, 2017 at 11:18 AM

Bruce: Back in court. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Bruce: Back in court.
Douglas Bruce is back in the news. This time, he trying to fend off an action that would sell properties in Denver for which he holds first deeds of trust.

The Denver Post reported on the case last month.

Bruce says via email to the Indy: "Denver is trying to steal $6 million of my money—over half my net worth—by 'erasing' my two deeds of trust on places I USED TO OWN. Patently illegal. Apparently, they want not only to brand me politically, but to break me financially."

Here's Bruce's objection to the sale of properties and request for injunctive relief:
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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Oklahoma foundation bestows grants in Colorado Springs

Posted By on Tue, May 30, 2017 at 1:48 PM

Lucinda, a 3-month-old labrador retriever and border collie, hopes the money from the Inasmuch Foundation means she'll get a chance to find her forever family. - COURTESY HSPPR
  • Courtesy HSPPR
  • Lucinda, a 3-month-old labrador retriever and border collie, hopes the money from the Inasmuch Foundation means she'll get a chance to find her forever family.
Thanks to an Oklahoma philanthropist with ties to Colorado Springs, several local nonprofits got cash gifts recently from Inasmuch Foundation.

The nonprofit was founded by the late Edith Kinney Gaylord, who attended Colorado College and was the daughter of E.K. Gaylord, editor and publisher of The Oklahoman. Edith Gaylord had a distinguished journalism career, which included working for the Associated Press and serving as Eleanor Roosevelt’s press liaison. It's worth clicking on the link above to read about her career.

She was the sister of Edward L. Gaylord, former owner of The Broadmoor.

Recipients and their grant awards are:
• $200,000 to Cheyenne Mountain Zoological Society;
• $150,000 to Innovations in Aging Collaborative;
• $25,000 to Westside CARES;
• $10,000 each to the Humane Society of the Pikes Peak Region and the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, and
• $5,000 to Court Care for the Pikes Peak Region.

Inasmuch Foundation, founded in 1982, supports education, health and human services and community enhancement initiatives that enrich the quality of life for Oklahomans, the news release says. The foundation carries on its late founder’s interests in Colorado Springs by giving to nonprofits that are located in and directly serve the residents of the city.

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo giraffes are guinea pigs

Posted By on Fri, May 26, 2017 at 2:31 PM

Twiga gets a new pair of "shoes" to help with her arthritis. - COURTESY CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO
  • Courtesy Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
  • Twiga gets a new pair of "shoes" to help with her arthritis.
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has long been known for its giraffe breeding program, but now it's making a name for itself in medical research involving stem cells and giraffes.

Here's the explanation via a news release from the zoo:
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is proud to announce two medical breakthroughs in giraffe veterinary care.
The Zoo’s veterinary and animal care teams have utilized both stem cell transfusion therapy and custom-made urethane “sneakers” to treat giraffe here at the Zoo. The efforts are led by Dr. Liza Dadone, vice president of mission and programs and head veterinarian for Cheyenne Mountain Zoo.

Dr. Dadone and staff of the Colorado State University James L. Voss Veterinary Teaching Hospital were able to grow stem cells from giraffe blood to then inject back into the giraffe – a treatment for giraffe that is believed to be the first of its kind in the world.

Mahali, the 14-year-old male giraffe treated, suffered from chronic lameness and had not been moving well, despite a number of medications and additional treatments the animal care and veterinary teams gave him. Dr. Dadone decided on a ground-breaking stem cell injection treatment plan. In scientific studies, stem cell therapy has proven to repair damaged tissue at the cellular level.

It’s been nearly a month since the procedure, when Dr. Dadone and the Zoo team, along with the partnership of the CSU veterinary medicine program, injected Mahali with around 100 million stem cells. The success of the procedure was determined by Dr. Dadone when she reviewed and compared thermographic images taken of Mahali’s front legs before and after the procedure. The photos show a considerable decline in inflammation in Mahali’s front left leg, which is the one he had been having issues with for some time.

“This is meaningful to us not only because it is the first time a giraffe has been treated with stem cells, but especially because it is bringing Mahali some arthritis relief and could help other giraffe in the near future,” Dr. Dadone said.

Dr. Dadone said she is not sure if Mahali’s positive results are simply due to the stem cell therapy or are a combination of different treatments, but she’s pleased and assured his quality of life has dramatically improved.

“Prior to the procedure, he was favoring his left front leg and would lift that foot off the ground almost once per minute,” Dr. Dadone said. “During the immobilization, we did multiple treatments that included hoof trims, stem cell therapy and other medications. Since then, Mahali is no longer constantly lifting his left front leg off the ground and has resumed cooperating for hoof care. A few weeks ago, he returned to life with his herd, including yard access. On the thermogram, the marked inflammation up the leg has mostly resolved.”

Another Zoo giraffe, 14-year-old female Twiga, has advanced arthritis and osteoporosis in her feet. Dr. Dadone and the veterinary team have been monitoring and treating her condition for some time, but were hopeful when they heard of a farrier specialist who had an idea to make custom shoes for her.

“We’ve had Twiga on medicine to help reverse her osteoporosis, but we wanted to do more to protect her feet. So with the help of the farriers, we gave her ‘giraffe sneakers’ to help give her some extra cushion,” said Dr. Dadone.

To get the “sneakers” onto Twiga’s feet, the keepers cued Twiga to place her hoof on a specially-designed hoof block, then farriers Steve Foxworth and Chris Niclas of the Equine Lameness Prevention Organization (ELPO) did a routine hoof trim to the foot, a procedure Foxworth performs monthly. Once her foot was clean and ready, the shoe was placed on her sole by Niclas with quick-drying glue. The “sneakers” are divided on the undersides and were designed by Niclas to adjust to Twiga’s individual digits.

Dr. Dadone said the change in Twiga’s behavior was immediate. Twiga instantly shifted her weight off of her right foot, indicating she was comfortable and her pain had considerably lessened. The shoes help to stabilize Twiga and will likely stay on for around six weeks. Dr. Dadone says they will reassess Twiga’s progress at that time.

She is eager to share information regarding this treatment option so that other veterinary teams at fellow zoos can use this technique to help benefit their animals as well.

Large animals like giraffe are susceptible to issues like arthritis and osteoporosis, mainly stemming from their sheer size. Like all animals, these issues are exacerbated as they age.

“So much of it just relates to the pure mechanics of weighing a ton,” Dr. Dadone said.

Other regular veterinary treatments include X-ray imaging, laser therapy, hoof care and more.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is not only a leader in the training and health of giraffe in human care, but they are also making a huge difference in conservation of giraffe in the wild. The status of giraffe was recently changed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) from “least concern” to “vulnerable,” acknowledging the fact that their population in the wild has plummeted by 40 percent in the last 30 years.

Last year, Cheyenne Mountain Zoo’s guests and members used their Quarters for Conservation (Q4C) admission contributions to send $26,000 to the Giraffe Conservation Foundation (GCF) and its efforts to help the Rothschild’s giraffe in Murchison Falls National Park in Uganda.

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is home to the world’s most prolific captive reticulated giraffe herd, with 199 births at the Zoo since 1954. Guests can get up close and hand-feed them on special indoor and outdoor elevated platforms anytime during the day, 365 days a year.

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Thursday, May 25, 2017

City to spray for moths in North Cheyenne Cañon area

Posted By on Thu, May 25, 2017 at 5:00 PM

A western spruce budworm larvae. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • A western spruce budworm larvae.

On the morning of May 24, City Forester Dennis Will drove through North Cheyenne Cañon Park, stopping to collect small branches from Douglas fir and white fir trees at various elevations.

Later in the day, when he was showing the branches to reporters, a tiny millipede-like creature broke free from its silken tent, called a “hibernaculum,” and crawled along a branch.

It was the larva of a western spruce budworm, a type of moth endemic to the area. The little larvae feed on the new growth on Douglas fir and white fir, which make up 60 percent of the forest in relatively shady, wet North Cheyenne Cañon, and while Will says they haven’t reached epidemic levels, they’re edging close. A survey of host trees in the area found 78 percent had budworms.

That’s a problem, because those larvae will feast on the trees, leaving them weak and vulnerable to bark beetles, which can go on to kill them. From 2014-16, moths defoliated 100 percent of certain patches of the area’s forest, Will says, leaving the trees brown. Dead trees threaten water quality from the watershed, which provides about 15 percent of the city’s water, and put the area at higher risk for wildfires.

Last year in June, the city sprayed the area with bacteria commonly found in soil, foliage, wildlife, water and air. Bacillus thuringiensis subspecies kurstaki (Btk) kills moths and butterflies if they feed on impacted plants while in their larval stage. The city had hoped to wipe out most of the budworm larvae, along with another species that had reached epidemic levels and does similar damage, the tussock moth. Will says the spraying — which also took place on nearby private lands whose owners covered their share of the cost — was very successful in killing off tussock moths. But tussocks and budworms reach their larval stage at slightly different times, and the budworms survived.

“Our process is about three weeks earlier now than it was last year,” Will says.

Now, the city is planning to spray again, using the same bacteria, beginning around June 5. Will says the weather conditions have to be right, so it’s impossible to say the exact day spraying will begin. But there’s a brief window in which the spray will be most effective, since larvae emerge from hibernation in their hibernacula earlier at lower elevations and feed for about 30 days before reaching maturity. To have the maximum impact, Will wants to make sure that the larvae at higher elevations have come out to feed, and that the lower-elevation larvae are still feeding.

The city plans to close affected parks while spraying from a contracted helicopter. The spray will cover about 812 acres of city land in North Cheyenne Cañon and Blodgett Open Space, as well as 1,344 acres of land owned by The Broadmoor, 275 acres of the Cheyenne Mountain Zoo and other stretches of private and county land. All entities will pay their own costs, at $79.50 per acre. The city cost is about $67,000.

Will says that last year, residents had concerns about the spraying, but the city did not receive any complaints following the treatment. Eric Howell, forest program manager for Colorado Springs Utilities, says that during spraying, Utilities diverts area water from the drinking supply, then tests it before allowing it to feed back into the system. The spraying caused no problems, he says.

This year, Will notes that the city has sent notices to nearby residents, who can also opt to sign up to receive updates at coloradosprings.gov/budworm. Pesticide-sensitive residents can also register with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to be notified prior to treatment. A meeting to take public comments will be held at 6 p.m. on May 31 at the Ivywild School, 1604 S. Cascade Ave.
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Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Visit Wag N' Wash, help a veteran

Posted By on Tue, May 23, 2017 at 2:36 PM

Dan Remus, left, and Jef Strauss, right, with Wag N' Wash are helping Victory Service Dogs raise money for its mission in helping military members and veterans. - COURTESY VICTORY SERVICE DOGS
  • Courtesy Victory Service Dogs
  • Dan Remus, left, and Jef Strauss, right, with Wag N' Wash are helping Victory Service Dogs raise money for its mission in helping military members and veterans.
If you like dogs and want to help military members who suffer with psychological problems due to their service, here's an offer you might want to think about.

Wag N’ Wash and Victory Service Dogs are teaming up to raise money for service members.

From a release:
Bracelets for sale to help vets with PTSD.
  • Bracelets for sale to help vets with PTSD.
Starting Saturday, May 27 and running through Wednesday, July 5, customers at all five of Wag N’ Wash’s Colorado Springs area stores can purchase a bracelet to support to Victory Service Dogs’ ongoing efforts to help those U.S. service members and veterans who struggle with the effects of PTSD and other physical or psychological challenges. The bracelets can be purchased for $22 (each day 22 veterans take their own life), with 100% of the proceeds being donated to Victory Service Dogs.

Wag N' Wash locations that are taking part are located at:
• 5830 Stetson Hills Boulevard, Colorado Springs, CO 80923
• 1625 West Uintah Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80904
• 1234 E. Woodmen Road, Colorado Springs, CO 80920
• 5066 S. Wadsworth Boulevard, Littleton, CO 80123
• 323 Metzler Drive, Castle Rock, CO 80108

Also, Wag N' Wash is offering free dog washes for service members and vets with canine pets during the Memorial Day weekend. Military ID is required.

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Friday, May 19, 2017

D11 workers testing Doherty for air quality

Posted By on Fri, May 19, 2017 at 5:09 PM

  • Doherty website
Officials at Colorado Springs School District 11 aren't saying how long it's been since the ventilation equipment at Doherty High School was cleaned, but they're sure to be cleaned now.

The school has been basically closed since May 11 when two fires broke out, and testing in the buildings has revealed "higher levels than normal for ash, soot and carbon in certain areas of the building," D-11 spokeswoman Devra Ashby says via email.

Those areas have been closed off to students and staff, she said, and D-11 facilities workers are cleaning and further testing vents and ducts, a process that will take several more weeks.

Rules and regulations governing schools in Colorado include this requirement: "Ventilation system filters shall be cleaned or replaced regularly to prevent excessive accumulation of dust or debris."

As other media has previously reported, a piece of wood was found smoldering in an art room and a short time later a dryer in the laundry room was found on fire.

For information on how students are finishing out the year, including graduation, go to this link.

Ashby reports:
The District has tested several areas throughout the building to determine the extent of potential contamination from the two events last week. Although several samples came back Œpositive¹ for higher levels of ash, carbon, and/or soot, the information was inconclusive. To avoid any potential issues, the D11 facilities provided two independent ventilation systems to accommodate the scheduled activities for the last two weeks of school.

To develop a more comprehensive clean-up plan, the District is pulling and testing more samples throughout the building. This testing and analysis process will probably continue over the next 2-3 weeks. Based on this information, we will work with the D11 procurement team to develop a competitive bid package to properly clean the impacted areas.
Doherty, 4515 Barnes Road, was built in 1976.

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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Inside/Out Youth Services to move, looking for volunteer assistance

Posted By on Wed, May 17, 2017 at 3:43 PM

Executive Director Mary Malia is excited about the opportunities presented by their new location. - FILE PHOTO
  • File Photo
  • Executive Director Mary Malia is excited about the opportunities presented by their new location.

Inside/Out Youth Services, our local LGBTQ youth center, will be moving on June 3, and they’re looking for community support to help it happen.

After a notification last September that their current building at 412 South Tejon St. was going to be torn down, they started a mad search (aided by Club Q owner and real estate agent Nic Grzecka) to find a space near or within the area that would fit a nonprofit budget.

The new space at 223 North Wahsatch Ave. is a bit bigger than their Tejon location, but nearly the same price in rent (about $2,200/month). While it’s still a major expense, it will hold more amenities than they’re used to.

Executive Director Mary Malia is particularly excited about its more practical features. Instead of her whole team sharing one office, there will be three offices available, one of which will host a new mental health-focused intern who will be starting with the organization soon.

There will also be a full service kitchen, which will cut down on stress for facilitators and volunteers. “We’ve been making meals for our youth for years on a hot plate,” Malia says with a laugh.

In addition, youth with anxiety or sensory troubles will be able to make use of a new library, which will also function as a quiet room, and Inside/Out's support groups can now make use of a multi-purpose meeting room. Considering the organization plans to add two support groups to their schedule (a group for parents of transgender children and a collaborative group with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) in July or August, the extra space will certainly be utilized.

Inside/Out plans to make June 3 its official moving day, and will need plenty of volunteer support to load furniture and boxes into trucks. In the meantime, Malia says they still have painting and cleaning to accomplish, and would love to hear from anyone who might be willing to pitch in.

Those who can’t volunteer are encouraged to donate. Or, there are currently three rooms available in the new space for business sponsorship (a $2000 donation).

Anyone interested in helping with the move or the preparation may contact Mary Malia at 719-328-1056.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

UPDATE: Read Routon's column for an idea on filling PPACG exec slot

Posted By on Tue, May 16, 2017 at 10:17 AM

PPACG board chair Andy Pico: Finding a new director is a priority. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • PPACG board chair Andy Pico: Finding a new director is a priority.

Here's the column about leadership at the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments.

—ORIGINAL POST 10:17 AM TUES., MAY 16, 2017—

The Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments has been waiting awhile for a permanent leader, and in tomorrow's Independent, executive editor Ralph Routon offers a solution.

The Independent has written several stories about the turmoil at the regional planning agency, most recently this one, which reports the departure of the top two people there.

After Executive Director Rob MacDonald's contract wasn't renewed earlier this year, PPACG has been advertising for a new director.

That's where Routon comes in. Be sure to check his "Between the Lines" column in the May 17 issue.

Meantime, 22 people have applied for the job, a PPACG spokesperson says.

PPACG board chair Andy Pico reports via email that all of those applicants "are still in consideration."

That said, the agency has decided to expand the search, Pico says, and is looking to hire a search firm. "No decisions on how much or which firm yet," he says, adding, "This is a priority but not certain yet on timeframe. We'd like to get this done as soon as possible."

All the more reason for PPACG board members to take a look at Routon's column.

Here's a list of those serving on the search committee:
1. Teller County Commissioner Norm Steen (Chair)
2. El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton
3. CS City Councilmember Jill Gaebler
4. Manitou Mayor Nicole Nicoletta
5. Region 2 Transportation Commissioner Rocky Scott
6. Dave Munger from CONO
7. Rachel Back from Chamber/EDC
8. Joe Urban, PPACG
9. Ken Prather, PPACG
10. Rick Sonnenberg, PPACG

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Friday, May 12, 2017

UPDATE: John Suthers on short list to replace Comey as FBI director

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Suthers: The next FBI director? - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Suthers: The next FBI director?
This just in from Suthers:
While I am honored to be listed as a possibility among some tremendous law enforcement professionals, at this point it would be premature to comment any further.


Fox News is reporting that Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers is on the short list for those under consideration to replace fired FBI director James Comey.

Here's the list as reported by Fox:
According to the White House official, the candidates include:

Ray Kelly, the former and longest-serving New York City police commissioner
Mike Rogers, former House Intelligence Committee chairman and former FBI agent
Former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Texas
Paul Abbate, executive assistant director for the Criminal, Cyber, Response and Services Branch
Associate Judge of New York Court of Appeals Mike Garcia
Mayor of Colorado Springs John Suthers
Former federal appellate court Judge Michael Luttig, now executive vice president of Boeing
Larry Thompson, former deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush
Acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe
The Denver Post also reported the list and also that Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colorado, "confirmed in a Tweet that he recommended the longtime public official."

Gardner wrote: “Colorado’s John Suthers would be an excellent choice to lead the FBI. I recommended him to the WH & am excited to see his name on this list.”

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