Chancellor to retire, Save Cheyenne vows appeal, and more 


Chancellor to retire

Pam Shockley-Zalabak, chancellor of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs for 15 years and part of the campus for 40 years, will retire effective Feb. 15.

The public announcement came in a statement from CU President Bruce Benson, who said Shockley-Zalabak had informed him in the past week of her decision. Benson has appointed Dr. Venkat Reddy, dean of the UCCS College of Business, as interim chancellor pending a search for a full-time replacement.

In his statement, Benson said Shockley-Zalabak has served "ably and admirably as chancellor" since 2001. She started as a communications professor 40 years ago. As chancellor she led the university from a commuter campus with 6,500 students to a "residential academic and research mainstay in southern Colorado with more than 12,000 students," he wrote.

"The campus has experienced a tremendous building boom during her tenure, adding and renovating academic space, constructing residence halls and student-support facilities and building health care, athletic and cultural buildings," he said, plus building partnerships with area agencies and institutions. — RR

Save Cheyenne vows appeal

Facing its second court defeat in as many weeks, Save Cheyenne vowed to appeal the latest ruling by District Judge Michael McHenry, who sided with the city and The Broadmoor in a suit alleging the Strawberry Fields land swap was illegal.

Save Cheyenne has been trying to overturn a city decision to transfer ownership of the 189-acre Strawberry Fields open space to The Broadmoor, which plans a stable and picnic pavilion on about nine acres with the remaining acreage open to the public via a conservation easement. In exchange, the city will receive some 400 acres of wilderness area, trails and easements, including a portion of the Manitou Incline. Save Cheyenne has attempted to stop the swap both through a lawsuit and a proposed ballot measure. But the same judge has blocked both options.

McHenry had previously ruled that Save Cheyenne's ballot measure proposal shouldn't go forward because it addresses administrative tasks rather than legislative concerns and was confusing. Save Cheyenne wanted to put a measure on the April city ballot that would have required voter approval of all park land sales and trades, including those occurring after May 1, 2016. The Broadmoor land swap was approved by City Council on May 24.

Save Cheyenne's President Richard Skorman said the group will appeal the ruling to the Colorado Court of Appeals. "We need to get the decision out of this community," he told the Indy. "We don't want to give up, and we feel like we have a good chance [on appeal]." — PZ

One elector defects

A plan to deny Donald Trump the presidency by convincing members of the Electoral College to vote their conscience failed ("Your local 'Hamilton elector,'"News, Dec. 14).

Leading up to the Dec. 19 vote, two Colorado electors unsuccessfully waged a court battle seeking the right to vote for the candidate of their choosing. Interestingly, a third elector defied court orders and voted for someone other than Hillary Clinton, who won the state. Micheal Baca cast a vote for Ohio Gov. John Kasich, making him Colorado's first "faithless elector." Baca's vote didn't count as he quickly was replaced by an alternate who voted for Clinton. — JAS

Hanover schools allow guns

A 3-2 decision by the Hanover School District 28 school board on Dec. 14 to allow employees to carry guns drew a sharp rebuke from Colorado Ceasefire.

"Teachers are in the classroom to teach, their full attention and consideration should be towards educating their students," Eileen McCarron, a retired educator with Colorado Ceasefire said in a statement. "The idea of having teachers carrying loaded guns in the classroom is ludicrous." Ceasefire urged the Hanover district board to reconsider the decision.

Board Secretary Michael Lawson, a firearms instructor and former Marine, said it was a good idea to keep kids safe when law enforcement is at least 15 to 30 minutes away, according to 9News.

The vote came on the fourth anniversary of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting in Newton, Connecticut, where 20 children and six staffers were killed. — PZ

Young leaders recognized

On Dec. 13, Mayor John Suthers presented the annual Mayor's Young Leader Awards.Brittni Darras of Academy School District 20 received the award in the category of "innovation in education" for addressing teen suicide by sending her students letters about their individual importance. For her work in community engagement and public art, Claire Swinford of the Downtown Partnership received the award in the "creative industry" category.

Red Leg Brewing Company's president, Todd Baldwin, received the "economic impact" award for his advocacy of vets, their families, and veteran organizations. Megan Leatham of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb has brought national attention to the event, earning the "innovation in health and wellness" award.

Allison Plute of Colorado Springs Utilities received the "future industries" award for 10 years of work with the city's water resources, focusing on sustainability, education and outreach. — AS

Penrose earns power rebate

Improved energy efficiency at Penrose-St. Francis Health Services has led to an expected $475,000 rebate from Colorado Springs Utilities, Penrose says in a news release. Of that, $250,000 has already been paid and represents the largest single lighting rebate since Springs Utilities opened its program to motivate businesses to be energy conscious.

Penrose-St. Francis says it's invested $1.6 million in lighting upgrades at Penrose Hospital, St. Francis Medical Center and parking garages at both facilities. The program encourages converting to LED lights, which are superior to other technologies for safety, environmental and economic reasons. — PZ

New chief at airport

Less than three months after Colorado Springs Airport director Dan Gallagher left for the Massachusetts Port Authority, Mayor John Suthers announced last week he'd hired Greg Phillips. The executive director of aviation at Eagle County (Vail) Regional Airport will start Jan. 30 at an annual salary of $165,000. — PZ


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