Gazette names new publisher 

Vail Daily exec will take over the local daily

Steve Pope, a veteran of the newspaper industry mostly at smaller publications, including alternative papers was announced Tuesday as the Gazette's fourth publisher since 2004. The 59-year-old Pope, who will take over Jan. 5, comes from Vail, where he has been publisher of the Vail Daily and general manager of Colorado Mountain News Media, overseeing six small Western Slope daily papers and 11 weeklies.

"It's a great opportunity for me," Pope said in a Vail Daily story. "It gives me the chance to be the publisher at a relatively large newspaper, and it keeps me in Colorado."

There was no indication in the Gazette's coverage of whether Pope embraces the staunch Libertarian editorial philosophy of Freedom Communications, the paper's parent company.

Pope has been active in the Vail area for eight years, and addressing Gazette employees Tuesday, Pope reportedly emphasized local involvement. His experience with alternative papers includes co-founding the Houston Press and serving as publisher of the Detroit Metro Times. Before moving to Vail, Pope was general manager of the Observer & Eccentric Newspaper Group in suburban Detroit. RR

Edifice Gallery closing

Just two months after being voted Best Art Gallery and Best Place to Buy Art by Independent readers, downtown's Edifice Gallery will shut down Dec. 31. Ironically, people simply didn't buy enough art from the 10-month-old storefront on Tejon Street.

"We're not giving up on art and everything we've always done," says co-owner Jason Herzog. "But selling it off the walls is just not going to work ... working out of downtown costs way too much money."

So he and creative partner Richard Arnot, who claim to have put in unpaid 60- to 70-hour weeks, will move their T-shirt and print business online, but aim to host two Nocturnal Mockery events a year unless they leave town.

"We've thought of taking Noc Moc on the road and relocating to a bigger city that might offer more support for what we do," Herzog says. "We're undecided at this point, but we still have parallel visions. Whatever we do, we'll stay involved in the arts."

Last-minute shoppers can find marked-down items in-store through Dec. 31, and at edificegallery.com afterward. MS

Cripple Creek OKs changes

There's no doubt the people of Cripple Creek want to expand the gambling in their mountain town. By a 267-13 margin in a Tuesday special election, they approved the changes included in Amendment 50, which the state's voters passed in November.

Effective July 1, Cripple Creek's casinos will be able to raise maximum wagers from $5 to $100, host more table games such as craps and roulette, and remain open 24 hours a day. Colorado's other gambling towns, Black Hawk and Central City, will conduct their special elections in early 2009. RR

Hot Council race in D-4

The race to fill term-limited Margaret Radford's City Council District 4 seat is heating up.

Former Councilor Bernie Herpin announced his candidacy months ago. Then came challenger Rita Vigil. Recently, Obama campaign staffer Rob Andrews threw in his hat.

Tom Harold, chairman of the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority's Citizens Advisory Committee and a 2007 at-large Council candidate, has hinted he may also enter the race. He says he won't decide until after the holidays. Meanwhile, Harold says he's heard of at least one other potential candidate.

Though voters will fill four Council seats in April, only District 4 has more than two contenders. It's also the only seat without an incumbent. JAS

Counties sign creek agreement

After decades of fretting over Fountain Creek problems and two years of meetings on what to do about them, commissioners from El Paso and Pueblo counties have signed an agreement creating a governing board that will try to tame the flood-prone creek.

Flooding and pollution from Fountain Creek have been a headache for Pueblo and other downstream communities as Colorado Springs has grown, dumping increasing quantities of treated wastewater into the once-seasonal stream. The nine-member governing board now has the task of carrying out the goals of the Fountain Creek Vision Task Force by choosing and finding ways of paying for flood control and clean-up projects to make the creek less of a nuisance.

The first step will be getting approval from the state Legislature to create a special district. AL

Not easy being ... you know

Richard Skorman's green dream hasn't quite bridged to reality. Skorman planned to open the Conservation Hardware Store and Center in downtown this year. The nonprofit would offer shoppers green products like florescent light bulbs and retractable clotheslines at low prices.

But Skorman's fledgling project was hit when the stock market plunged. So the former city councilor chose to wait a few months before moving forward.

"We decided it was absolutely the wrong time to start a new nonprofit," he says.

Fundraising efforts will resume in January, with hopes of opening the store in February on North Tejon Street. An exact location has not been chosen. For more info, go to conservationhardware.org. JAS

Compiled by Anthony Lane, Ralph Routon, Matthew Schniper and J. Adrian Stanley.


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