Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Hairstyle discrimination ban passes in Colorado House

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:45 AM

Members of the public testify at a Black Caucus community hearing, prior to a House committee hearing on House Bill 1048. - COURTESY REP. LESLIE HEROD
  • Courtesy Rep. Leslie Herod
  • Members of the public testify at a Black Caucus community hearing, prior to a House committee hearing on House Bill 1048.
Over the objections of five Republicans from El Paso County, a bill aiming to ban hairstyle discrimination passed the Colorado House on Feb. 12.

House Bill 1048, also known as the "Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair Act" or CROWN Act, clarifies that protection from discrimination in state law extends to people choosing to wear certain hairstyles in the context of public schools, employment, housing, public accommodations and advertising.

This would include protection from discrimination regarding hair texture, hair type, and hairstyles "commonly or historically associated with race," such as "braids, locs, twists, tight coils or curls, cornrows, Bantu knots, Afros, and headwraps."

The bill — sponsored by Democratic Reps. Leslie Herod of Denver and Janet Buckner of Aurora — passed the Colorado House by a vote of 42 to 21, with two legislators excused (including Republican Rep. Lois Landgraf of Fountain). Included among those who voted against the bill were El Paso County Republicans Terri Carver, Tim Geitner, Larry Liston, Shane Sandridge and Dave Williams.

Before the bill's second reading Feb. 10, Williams spoke on the House floor and urged legislators to oppose it.

"I wholeheartedly agree that racial discrimination is unacceptable... [but] I would encourage everyone here to at least vote your conscience and realize that perhaps there is a need for this, but also recognizing at the same time that this might be redundant or duplicitous," Williams said, suggesting that laws already exist to prevent such discrimination.

Rep. Herod argued the bill was, in fact, needed.

"I want to be clear that we're not just adding something to law just for the fun of it," she said in response, referencing a federal appeals court's decision in a case that was brought by the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission on behalf of an Alabama woman whose job offer was rescinded because she would not cut off her natural locs. The court ruled in 2016 that the company had not violated the Civil Rights Act, and the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 declined to hear the woman's case.

"In order to have protection for women and men and people living outside of the gender binary who are of color, who have hair growing ... a certain way and not be asked to cut it or straighten it, we need these protections in law," Herod said.

On Feb. 13, the CROWN Act was introduced in the Senate and assigned to the State, Veterans, & Affairs Committee, where it's scheduled for a hearing on Feb. 24.

In his Oscar acceptance speech, Matthew Cherry, the director of Academy Award-winning short film "Hair Love," called attention to state bills banning hairstyle discrimination. New York, New Jersey and California have passed similar laws already, with additional bans under consideration in 22 states including Colorado.

"The CROWN Coalition, co-founded by Dove in partnership with the National Urban League, Color Of Change and the Western Center on Law, has taken a leading role in organizing support for the bill around the country," a statement on HB1048's passage notes.
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Bear trash ordinance takes effect soon — are you ready?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:44 AM

A bear peeks out of a dumpster west of Trinidad in 2001. - MICHAEL SERAPHIN, COLORADO PARKS AND WILDLIFE
  • Michael Seraphin, Colorado Parks and Wildlife
  • A bear peeks out of a dumpster west of Trinidad in 2001.

If you live on the Westside, be prepared to comply with a new trash management ordinance that takes effect March 1 — or bear the consequences.

Colorado Springs City Council unanimously approved the bear-resistant trash ordinance back in October. It applies to most areas west of Interstate 25, where native black bears tend to visit.

According to the city, homeowners, renters and businesses must comply with the ordinance by:

• Securing their trash in a garage, shed or other secure structure. Trash bins should only be outside of the secure structure on trash collection days from 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. The majority of homes will already meet this requirement with standard practices.
• For those who cannot store their trash in a secured structure, they will need to obtain a bear-resistant trash can. Certified bear-resistant waste containers can be provided by your trash collection company, or you can purchase your own certified containers.
This practice applies to all properties and zoning designations within the Bear Management Area to include single-family residential, multi-family residential, commercial, and industrial uses. Recycle bins do not have to be bear-resistant.

Violators could face fines of $100 for a first offense, $250 for a second and $500 thereafter if they don’t use bear-resistant trash cans or put out their waste before 5 a.m. on trash collection day and take in the container by 7 p.m.

The ordinance allows a resident to appeal a citation in certain circumstances.

The goal is to reduce confrontations between bears and humans, and to reduce bear euthanizations in Colorado Springs resulting from those confrontations.

A Durango study funded in part by Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) found that the number of conflicts between humans and bears could be reduced by more than half when residents used bear-resistant trash containers.

Many regional mountain towns, including Palmer Lake and Manitou Springs, have similar ordinances.

If you see a bear near your home, try to scare it away by yelling, blowing a whistle or clapping your hands, CPW recommends. Never approach a bear.
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Colorado Springs park "protectors" strategize next move

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 10:43 AM

Kent Obee, a long time parks supporter, on a hike in the Stratton Open Space. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Kent Obee, a long time parks supporter, on a hike in the Stratton Open Space.
A band of citizens dedicated to preserving city parkland continues to mull what its next step might be after a defeat last summer for a bid to require voter approval for disposal of parks.

Protect Our Parks, a movement born from the city's 2016 deal to trade its 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor for wooded acreage and trail easements, might yet pose a ballot measure. Go here for background on the issue.

Or, the group might try an end run around a local process by seeking a change in the state Constitution which could prove equally daunting.

Kent Obee, a leader of Protect Our Parks (POPs), writes in a briefing to members that member Donna Strom suggested appealing to state lawmakers to refer a measure to voters statewide that would "require voter protection of parklands in home rule municipalities as is already the case with our statutory municipalities." Colorado Springs is a home-rule city and, as such, asserts that it can dispose of parkland and open space by City Council vote. But Strom acknowledged the research for that possible avenue is incomplete.

As POPs supporters have previously noted, nearly all cities of significant size in Colorado have adopted a similar measure to Protect Our Parks, including most major cities on the Front Range — Denver, Aurora, Lakewood, Boulder, Greeley, Parker, Castle Rock. But over the past several decades, only one or two elections have taken place regarding a land sale or swap.

Two other options outlined by Obee:

• Collect thousands of signatures to petition a measure onto the city ballot in April 2021. (Twice as many signatures would be needed to force a measure onto the November 2020 ballot.)
• Try once again to work with Council.

"We did not achieve unanimity," he advised in an email to supporters. "The majority view (with varying levels of optimism/enthusiasm) was to give the Council option one more try within real limits. These limits included getting things resolved in the next couple of months to avoid the kind of photo-finish disaster we experienced last summer, getting clarity in the [ballot] referral that the list of parks being protected was the one developed and approved by the City POPS Committee and to firmly resist further Wayne Williams attempts to subvert POPS. On this latter point, it was agreed that his super majority requirement would only be acceptable as a part of a referral as long as the final decision on any parkland conveyance remained in the hands of the voters — in other words, the requirement of a Council super majority vote to refer a parkland conveyance to a vote of the people was okay as long as the final say remained with the voters."

(Williams injected a proposal into the process last year that would allow Council to dispose of parkland but require a 6-3 majority to do so. This morphed into a second ballot measure, which lost favor and ultimately wasn't referred to the ballot.)

The POPs meeting ended with general agreement to give Council another try while also gathering more information about the state constitutional change option.

Obee also called attention to two other parks issues he says are deserving of residents' attention:

• The city will consider changing the Park Land Dedication Ordinance to reduce the required amount of parkland set aside in new developments from the current 7.5 acres per 1,000 residents to 5.5 acres per 1,000. Says Obee, "This is the wrong way to be going — particularly for a city that smugly bills itself as the 'second best place' (or whatever) to live in the country."
He was referring to U.S. News & World Report naming Colorado Springs the most desirable place to live  2019.

• The city's attempt to "activate" three of the city's oldest and most historic downtown parks: Acacia Park, Antlers Park and Alamo Park, which Obee refers to as the "Disneyfication" of those parks, and encourage citizens to participate in the city's process. Find information about that here.

The city's report shows that less than 40 percent of those surveyed expressed support for holding more events and entertainment in those parks, whereas more than 70 percent supported more "cleanliness and maintenance" and "greater safety and security."
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Amazon to open fulfillment center near airport

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 1:00 AM

SUNDRY PHOTOGRAPHY / SHUTTERSTOCK.COM
  • Sundry Photography / Shutterstock.com

The Amazon e-commerce and technology company plans to open an 800,000-square-foot fulfillment center near the Colorado Springs Airport, bringing more than 1,000 full-time jobs to Southeast Colorado Springs.

The distribution center will fulfill orders for items such as books, electronics and toys. The online behemoth will pay, at minimum, $15 an hour and offer benefits. 

Amazon’s treatment of employees, however has been scrutinized in recent years and the company has been involved in several lawsuits.

In May 2019, CNET, a technology media organization, reviewed seven lawsuits filed by pregnant Amazon warehouse workers who alleged the company failed to accommodate their needs, which included longer bathroom breaks and fewer continuous hours on their feet.

The mothers, CNET reports, were fired after revealing their condition to supervisors.

Another lawsuit is ongoing in California, alleging Amazon intentionally misclassified its California Flex drivers to avoid paying them overtime and deny them other benefits of California labor law.

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Psilocybin panel meets in Denver

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 1:00 AM

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  • Shutterstock.com

Denver’s Psilocybin Mushroom Policy Review Panel — created after Denverites voted to decriminalize psilocybin in 2018 — held its first meeting Feb. 12.

Back in May, Denver became the first city to pass a ballot initiative requiring law enforcement to place psilocybin-related crimes lowest on its priority list. While the initiative didn’t legalize so-called “magic mushrooms,” it triggered a national movement to decriminalize psychedelic drugs.

The panel’s first meeting united psilocybin advocates — who say the Schedule I substance offers valuable therapeutic properties — and representatives from the Denver Police Department, Sheriff’s Office and city attorney’s office to discuss law enforcement reporting standards for psilocybin.

City councils in the California cities of Oakland and Santa Cruz recently voted to make psilocybin and other plant- and fungi-derived psychedelics (like mescaline and ayahuasca) among the lowest priorities for law enforcement, Marijuana Moment reports.

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Lower downtown gets a shot in the arm

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 1:00 AM

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  • Shutterstock.com

Boosting the long-blighted southwest downtown area, City Council voted unanimously Feb. 11 to approve a “cooperation agreement” with developer Nor’wood Development Group that pledges at least $20 million in public spending and allows a newly formed business improvement district to issue $50 million in debt.

The public money would be spent on parking, drainage, utilities and street upgrades, including an overhaul of Vermijo Avenue from the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum to Wahsatch Avenue. Nor’wood’s 20-year plan calls for construction of 4,500 residential units, 750,000 square feet of office space, 150,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space and 500 hotel rooms.

Unresolved is a land swap involving a city tract on Cimino Drive, polluted by a former coal gasification plant, that’s to be transferred to Nor’wood under a 2017 agreement that requires the developer to mitigate the contamination. The property, across from America the Beautiful Park, remains in city hands.

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5 stories making headlines this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 19, 2020 at 1:00 AM

MAX MALONE
  • Max Malone

The Union Printers Home was ordered to close Feb. 12 by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment after an elderly resident was found dead on a bench outside the home on Feb. 3, according to media reports. More than 100 residents will be relocated in the next 30 to 45 days, officials said. The home dates to 1892 and is owned and operated as a skilled nursing care facility by Kansas-based Heart Living Centers LLC.

Juliette Parker
  • Juliette Parker

Juliette Parker, a Springs mayoral candidate in 2019, was arrested in Washington state Feb. 14 in connection with a scheme in which she allegedly posed as a baby photographer and drugged a new mother with the intent of stealing her infant. CBS News reported 10 people had come forward since her arrest saying Parker came to their homes to take photos. 

Kyle Cunningham, 91.5 KRCC’s general manager, will be leaving March 6. The station recently announced Colorado College and Colorado Public Radio have entered into an agreement wherein the station will be affiliated with and operated by a new partnership between the CPR network and the college. Cunningham became general manager in late 2019.

Pikes Peak Community College has partnered with nonprofit Face It TOGETHER to offer students free, confidential peer coaching at PPCC’s Centennial Campus. Peer coaches, who have personal experience with addiction, are professionally trained in helping others achieve recovery.

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet officially ended his campaign for the White House Feb. 11 after failing to establish himself in a packed Democratic field. Bennet ran on a centrist platform and announced the end of his bid shortly after the New Hampshire primary, where he netted only .3 percent of the vote, despite spending the 10 weeks prior hosting 50 town halls in the Granite State.

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Tuesday, February 18, 2020

NHL Stadium Series game triggers turmoil

Posted By on Tue, Feb 18, 2020 at 11:53 AM

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  • Shutterstock.com

A sold-out Stadium Series hockey game Feb. 15 at the Air Force Academy’s Falcon Stadium drew more than 43,000 fans and stirred up plenty of controversy.

ESPN reports thousands of fans missed large portions of the much-hyped game between the Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings due to traffic that left southbound Interstate 25 at a near standstill.

Worst of all: A “tragic incident” at the Academy’s North Gate after the game resulted in a man’s death, the Air Force Academy and National Hockey League said in a joint statement Feb. 17. 

“We are devastated by the event and send the deepest condolences to his loved ones,” the statement said.

As for the traffic issues, the AFA and NHL said they’d encouraged fans to arrive early to avoid delays, and were dealing with “multiple lane closures in both the northbound and southbound lanes of I-25, emergency pothole repairs that forced further lane closures, and multiple vehicle accidents.”










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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Colorado bill would close 'loophole' allowing sex offenders to skip treatment

Posted By on Thu, Feb 13, 2020 at 11:01 AM

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  • Shutterstock.com
Currently, a so-called "loophole" in state law allows certain high-level sex offenders to enter community corrections before participating in behavioral treatment.

Colorado lawmakers aim to close that loophole with Senate Bill 85, which was approved by the state Senate (32 aye votes, 0 no votes, 3 excused) on Feb. 13 and heads to the House for consideration.

The legislation would make certain requirements for being released into community corrections the same as those for being released on parole.

Thus, an offender would have to have "successfully progressed in treatment" and be considered neither a threat to the community, nor likely to commit another crime, before they're sent to community corrections. The bill also requires the executive director of the state's Sex Offender Management Board to review the relevant criteria and give final approval before releasing someone into community corrections.

Community corrections, an alternative to incarceration in prison, combines residential supervision with special privileges. Offenders in community corrections programs may be employed and required to attend classes.

The loophole in the law applies to those who've committed so-called "indeterminate" sex crimes, which include: felony sexual assault, including drug- and alcohol-facilitated sexual assault; felony unlawful sexual contact by force; sexual assault on a client by a psychotherapist or sexual misconduct by a police officer; incest and aggravated incest; sexual assault on a child, including sexual assault on a child by one in a position of trust; enticement of a child; and felony internet luring or internet exploitation of a child.

While those with "determinate" sentences have a maximum number of years in prison, those with "indeterminate" do not. Instead, they must remain incarcerated or supervised until they meet certain requirements.

More than three-quarters of indeterminate sex crimes are crimes against a child, according to a fact sheet (see below) in support of the bill released by the Colorado District Attorneys' Council.

But while these individuals must have progressed in behavioral treatment in order to be released on parole, they don't currently have to meet the same requirements before being released into community corrections, where offenders reside in a supervised facility but may be allowed to leave for work or when they're granted privileges.

"We tell victims of these crimes that the indeterminate sentence will be at least four years, and otherwise lifetime supervision and indeterminate, but in reality, these individuals may be released into the community in 16 months," bill sponsor Sen. Bob Gardner, R-Colorado Springs, testified at a Feb. 10 hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Over the past 20 years or so — since the Sex Offender Lifetime Supervision Act was passed — close to 150 sex offenders who received indeterminate sentences have transitioned into community corrections through the loophole, testified Amanda Gall, sexual assault resource prosecutor at the Colorado District Attorneys' Council.

Among those, Gall said, "there are folks ... who have gone on to commit new felony sex offenses."

"Allowing high-level sex offenders to return to a community setting without treatment is dangerous and unacceptable," bill sponsor Sen. Rachel Zenzinger, D-Arvada, testified to the Judiciary Committee.
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Wednesday, February 12, 2020

KRCC migration begins, general manager announces departure

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 11:50 AM

Kyle Cunningham: looking for his next opportunity. - COURTESY KRCC
  • Courtesy KRCC
  • Kyle Cunningham: looking for his next opportunity.
KRCC's general manager Kyle Cunningham has announced he'll leave March 6, just weeks after it was publicly disclosed that Colorado Public Radio and KRCC licensee Colorado College agreed to shift management of the FM station to CPR. Talks have been taking place for at least a year.

Here's his letter to donors:
I write to you today to announce that I will be leaving my position as General Manager at 91.5 KRCC. My final day at the station will be on March 6th, 2020.

It has been the honor of my life to serve for the past four years in my two roles at KRCC. As Membership Manager, I had the privilege to interact with supporters and listeners in our Southern Colorado community on a daily basis. I was continually blown away at the generosity and the kindness of our community members. Without fail, I found our listeners to be humble, engaged, caring, curious, and brilliant.

When I became KRCC’s General Manager, I had the opportunity to give back even more to the community that had given so much to me. Public radio listeners in Southern Colorado are a special kind of people. I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to be a part of something so important at KRCC.

KRCC’s mission has not changed. KRCC is still a public media organization, and my hope is that the members who have supported KRCC’s mission will continue to be engaged, continue to give feedback, and continue to support public media in Southern Colorado. We cannot do what we do without the support of our members.

I am happy to answer questions and concerns in the coming weeks. Please feel free to reach out.

Finally, I would like to direct your attention to the KRCC Community Advisory Board meeting this week, which will occur on Thursday, Feb. 13th at 2:00 p.m. The meeting will be held in Room 201 at Tutt Library, 1021 North Cascade Ave. Colorado Springs, CO 80903. This meeting is open to the public. More information here.

Thank you so much for your support.

Sincerely,

Kyle Cunningham
General Manager
You can read KRCC's story about his resignation here.

Cunningham says his departure is voluntary, and, as he is quoted saying in the KRCC story, is "seeking to find some balance in my personal and professional life, and to explore new possibilities and opportunities."

He tells the Indy he plans to stay around Colorado Springs and is "ready for a change."

Cunningham describes the new direction CPR will take as a much larger news focus.

"Colorado Public Radio has made no secret of the fact they desire to be a statewide network," he says. "They wanna replace things like the Denver Post as being the news source for all Coloradans."

He predicted CPR will make programming changes but wants to keep KRCC's focus local, including retaining some local hosts. "But there's a lot left to be worked out," he says.

The KRCC team is now reporting within the CPR editorial structure and how that content will be shared here and elsewhere hasn't been finalized, he says.

The transition began Feb. 1 and will continue for a year. Cunningham says he expects CPR to wait until after the transition is complete to hire his replacement.
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6 stories making headlines this week

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

REGAN FOSTER
  • Regan Foster

A group of seven Russian filmmakers visited Pueblo on Feb. 7 — courtesy of the Colorado Springs World Affairs Council’s International Visitor Program — to learn more about the Steel City’s independent film industry and the fledgling commission that is guiding its growth.  The delegates were hand-picked by the U.S. embassy to participate in the nationwide tour of film-centric communities, says program manager Jamie Bequette. Their itinerary took them to Washington, D.C., and Atlanta, and after visiting the Front Range, they will head to San Francisco and New York City.

Pueblo City Council voted Feb. 10 to approve a ballot question for a May 5 special election. Voters will decide whether to pull out of the city’s agreement with Black Hills Energy. A group of advocates want the city to become its own power provider.

The Colorado Lottery can be accessed through a third-party app to play official state lottery games. Called Jackpocket, the mobile app allows people to buy tickets and collect winnings on their phones. It could lead to increased revenue for the lottery, which funds parks, trails and open space, a Colorado Lottery official said.

A group running peakpartnership.org has called for a ballot measure to increase Colorado Springs City Council pay increase Colorado Springs City Council pay from $6,250 a year to a living wage. Supporters say this would widen the pool of candidates for Council, which places full-time demands on office-holders. Peakpartnership also helped push through funding measures for Colorado Springs school districts 11 and 2.

Colorado Community Health Alliance, which serves Medicaid clients, announced $570,000 in funding for regional organizations including Envida and Springs Rescue Mission.

Sean Hemingway
  • Sean Hemingway

Sean Hemingway has been hired as police chief in Monument, replacing Mark Owens. KKTV reports the new chief served for six years as chief of the Bay Harbor Islands, Florida, and 22 years as a police major in Pembroke Pines, Florida.

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Cheyenne Mountain Zoo becomes water neutral

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

CHEYENNE MOUNTAIN ZOO
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo

Cheyenne Mountain Zoo is partnering with Trout Unlimited, a nonprofit that specializes in trout and salmon habitat restoration, in order to reduce water waste and revitalize Colorado’s rivers and streams.

“We use about 16 million gallons of water a year,” says Bob Chastain, president and CEO of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo. “In the last several years through our own internal programs, we’ve reduced our water usage by about half, but we still use a lot of water. We live in a drought state, so I wanted to find a way to give that water back, so to speak, to the rivers in Colorado.”

On behalf of Cheyenne Mountain Zoo, and to offset its water use, Trout Unlimited will arrange for the release of around 51 acre-feet of water from storage into the Rio Grande River. The zoo donated $15,000 in conservation funds to Trout Unlimited to support these releases.
















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Olympic Committee sued by whistleblower

Posted By on Wed, Feb 12, 2020 at 1:00 AM

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  • Shutterstock.com

The former long-time vice president of sports medicine for the Colorado Springs-based U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, Dr. William Moreau, filed a lawsuit Feb. 5 in Denver District Court alleging he was fired in May 2019 after calling attention to the committee’s failure to protect athletes, including cyclist Kelly Catlin, 23, who took her own life after he warned she was a suicide risk and the USOPC did nothing.

Moreau says he pushed for athlete safety after the Larry Nassar sexual-abuse scandal, Westword reports. “There was complete arrogance and indifference, and then the tragedy occurred,” Darold Killmer, a Denver attorney who represents Moreau, said referring to the suicide. “And within two months, Bill was fired.”

Responding to Westword’s request for comment, the USOPC said via email, “We regret that Dr. Moreau and his attorney have misrepresented the causes of his separation from the USOPC. We will honor their decision to see this matter through in the courts, and we won’t comment on the specifics as that goes forward.” 

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Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Idris Goodwin named Fine Arts Center director

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 4:20 PM

Idris Goodwin - COLORADO COLLEGE
  • Colorado College
  • Idris Goodwin

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College has announced that it has a new director, Idris Goodwin, who will take over from current director Erin Hannan in May. He has strong ties to the Colorado Springs arts scene already, having taught at the CC Department of Theatre & Dance for six years.

Goodwin is an accomplished artist who has written poetry and plays, and done a great deal of directing. Some of his plays have been performed at the Fine Arts Center at CC. He is also the recipient of prestigious awards from The Ford Foundation and The National Endowment for the Arts.

“During my time as a professor at Colorado College, I engaged with the Fine Arts Center in so many different ways,” Goodwin said in a statement. “I am humbled, honored and energized by this tremendous opportunity and I can’t wait to join the team and help shape the next chapter.”

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Water pollution bill progresses in state Senate

Posted By on Tue, Feb 11, 2020 at 11:38 AM

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  • Shutterstock
A state bill that will increase criminal penalties for violating water quality laws was approved on second reading by the Senate on Feb. 11, and is likely to get the Senate's final approval this week, before it heads to the state House.

Senate Bill 8, sponsored by Sen. Faith Winter, D-Westminster, would increase penalties for polluting state waters from $12,500 currently to $25,000 per day for “criminal negligence” violations, as well as a year in jail, and from $25,000 currently to $50,000 per day for “knowing and intentional” violations, as well as up to three years behind bars.

Knowing or intentional pollution would be prosecuted as a class 5 felony.

While testifying to the Senate Agricultural & Natural Resources Committee on Feb. 6, Winter said the bill aligns Colorado's own pollution laws under the Water Quality Control Act with the federal Clean Water Act governing the same crimes.

"Federal action has been going down in recent years to protect our waterways," Winter testified, saying that recent reports showed the number of new cases prosecuted by the federal Environmental Protection Agency are at a 20-year low, and that the agency was too short-staffed to adequately police pollution.

No water pollution crimes have been prosecuted under Colorado law, while only two have been prosecuted under federal law in the past 10 years, Jason King testified on behalf of the Colorado Department of Law, which supports the bill.

The bill is also sponsored by Sen. Mike Foote, D-Lafayette.
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