Anderson joins sheriff's race, city eyes No Man's Land, Memorial woes, more 


Anderson in sheriff's race

Former Sheriff John Anderson will run for El Paso County Sheriff.

Like the other two candidates in the race so far, Bill Elder and Jim Reid, he will seek the Republican nomination.

Anderson says he plans a formal announcement of his candidacy this week. He'll have to hit the campaign trail quickly; the caucus for the El Paso County Republicans is March 4.

He's entering an ugly race. Stories in the Jan. 29 Independent (Cover, "Something Missing") raised issues in the other candidates' backgrounds.

In an interview, Anderson said he worked for 22 years for the Colorado Springs Police Department, reaching the rank of sergeant, before retiring in 1995, the year he was elected El Paso County sheriff. Anderson served as sheriff until he was term-limited in 2003. Then he went to work for Lockheed Martin, retired in 2012 and has been working on several books.

Anderson says his long experience would benefit the county as it confronts tough issues like fire recovery.

"I have an obligation to at least make myself available and to say I want the best for the county," he says. "I'm not sure that the way that things are going, that we're going to have that." — J. Adrian Stanley

Charity care 'unsustainable'

Uncompensated care at Memorial Hospital increased from $82.7 million in the fiscal year that ended in June 2012 to $113.6 million for the year ending in June 2013. That's unsustainable, University of Colorado Health Chief Financial Officer Anthony DeFurio told City Council Monday.

Memorial must bring in $50 million a year just to break even, he said; in UCHealth's first nine months leasing the city-owned hospital, it brought in $38 million.

DeFurio's comments came during an annual report to Council required in the 40-year lease, which began Oct. 1, 2012.

He noted that Memorial "has always done more than their fair share" in providing uncompensated care, which includes charity care and bad debt.

Asked if DeFurio's comments suggest layoffs might be coming, UCHealth spokesman Dan Weaver said via email, "Memorial and all the hospitals of UCHealth constantly evaluate patient volume and ensure that our staffing levels are appropriate for the needs of our patients." — Pam Zubeck

City wants No Man's Land

Three Colorado Springs city councilors are heading an effort to annex No Man's Land, the area that lies between 31st Street and Manitou Springs south of Colorado Avenue.

Council President Pro Tem Merv Bennett said he, Council President Keith King and Councilor Don Knight are talking about bringing that territory into the city fold, with the help of Mayor Steve Bach.

Councilor Jan Martin said that while she agrees with pursuing annexation, "There's a reason it hasn't been annexed. There are a lot of costs associated with that."

Bennett acknowledged there are unfunded road and drainage problems in the area and that the city should work on its annexation plans with Manitou Springs, which has indicated an interest in annexing at least part of No Man's Land. — Pam Zubeck

Radio station gets go-ahead

KILO, KRCC and other stations on the left-hand side of the radio dial can expect a new neighbor within the next year, thanks to the FCC's approval of Colorado Media Justice Foundation's application for a Low Power FM radio station. The nonprofit was granted a construction permit last Thursday to build a southeast Colorado Springs studio and transmitter for a 100-watt station at 93.9 FM.

As detailed in our Oct. 9 cover story ("Tower of Low Power"), the new LPFM stations will be able to broadcast within a 10-mile radius of their transmitters.

"Ownership of media is critically important," says CMJF chairman Dennis Apuan, who also represented Colorado Springs' 17th district in the Colorado House of Representatives.

The organization will host "For the Love of Radio," a gathering to coincide with World Radio Day. The group is encouraging would-be hosts, broadcasters and other interested parties to attend the event, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Jack Quinn Irish Alehouse & Pub.

Apuan sees the station as an independent voice for local news, music and arts programming. LPFM offers a "once-in-a-generation opportunity," he says, one that will give a voice to communities that are largely excluded from the airwaves. — Bill Forman

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