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All Pikes Peak Reads, Pride Fest snags, Lamborn's self-loan, more 

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Pride Fest hits snags

For now, Pride Fest 2014 is still planned for July 19 and 20 in America the Beautiful Park. But Colorado Springs Pride will have to cough up thousands to make the parade and festival a reality.

On March 5, the Independent reported ("Pride and payments," News) that the event could be canceled if Pride didn't pay the city more than $6,000 in overdue charges for services at last year's event, plus 50 percent of the estimated cost of this year's event.

Pride now owes $1,601.14 in 2013 expenses, due April 30, city spokesperson Kim Melchor says, after having been late on some scheduled payments. But it will also need to pay nearly $10,000 more — 50 percent of the estimated costs — if it's to get a permit for this summer's event.

The situation has clearly made some people antsy in the LGBT community. The Independent has fielded several calls from people wanting to know if Pride Fest will be canceled. Pride executive director Charles Irwin says there's nothing to worry about.

"It's gonna be fine," he says. — JAS

PPLD makes reading picks

Thursday morning at The Pinery on the Hill, Pikes Peak Library District officials announced their theme — "Engage the Extraordinary" — and title selections for All Pikes Peak Reads 2014. Each title reflects the 50th anniversary of the passage of the Civil Rights Act.

The adult fiction title is The Invention of Wings, by Sue Monk Kidd, known for her award-winning The Secret Life of Bees. Set in early 19th-century Charleston, S.C., Wings tells a story of "urban slavery and an unexpected friendship," as put by PPLD executive director Paula Miller.

The adult nonfiction title, Who Owns the Ice House? by Clifton Taulbert and Gary Schoeniger, is, as Miller says, about "an ordinary man, yet extraordinary in his approach to life and entrepreneurship ... set in the Mississippi Delta at the height of racial segregation."

PPLD also named books for younger readers. Ally Condie's Matched trilogy will appeal to teens (and adults) who followed the Hunger Games and Divergent series. For children, there are two choices: The Watsons Go to Birmingham, by Christopher Paul Curtis, and Henry's Freedom Box, by Ellen Levine.

Learn more about APPR 2014, which promises a slew of events designed to engage the community, at tiny.cc/ye2pex. — KA

Tree removal complete

El Paso County has finished its part of the Black Forest Hazard Tree Removal Project. Contractors, mostly local, have removed 5,499 trees along park trails and county roads.

The project, which started in late February, will remove thousands of trees damaged in the Black Forest Fire last year. Only dead or nearly dead trees tall enough to land on a trail or structure were marked as hazardous.

El Paso County public information officer Dave Rose says the county will keep stressing the importance of fire and flood damage mitigation measures on private property. "There's still a lot of Black Forest that could burn," he says. "There's a lot of Pike National Forest south of Waldo Canyon that could burn. We really need to get folks refocused on mitigation."

The project is expected to be complete by the end of the month, when Mountain View Electric fells the final trees for which it's responsible. — GS

Lamborn loans self $100K

U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn has loaned his campaign $100,000, filings with the Federal Election Commission reveal. He's since made an appeal to supporters for donations.

Lamborn, who represents Colorado Springs in Congressional District 5, faces challenger Bentley Rayburn in the June 24 Republican primary. Rayburn has previously lost two primaries for the seat. From there, the winner will take on Democratic newbie Irv Halter in the November election.

Aside from his loan, Lamborn has raised $216,861, with over $51,000 of that coming from individual contributions. He has over $230,000 in cash on hand. Halter, by comparison, has raised $336,581, with nearly $281,000 from individual contributions and has over $217,000 in cash on hand. — JAS

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