Noted: Rabies spreads 

Rabies spreads to horses

The frothing continues. A horse in Black Forest was euthanized Sept. 11 after lab tests confirmed that it was infected with skunk rabies, says Margaret Radford, spokeswoman for the El Paso County Health Department.

Previous warnings were issued when six skunks were identified with rabies, the first such outbreak in 39 years.

The infection of the horse only serves to increase concern, says Radford.

"It's not so much that we're worried about skunks attacking other animals, it's that we're that much closer to an always-fatal disease nearing the human population," says Radford.

Adds county medical director, Dr. Bernadette Albanese: "The community needs to take note, and needs to get their pets [and livestock] vaccinated." — BC

Romanoff enters Senate race

Despite cries that he made his decision late, former House Speaker Andrew Romanoff announced Wednesday he will seek the Democratic nomination in the 2010 U.S. Senate race.

He will face Sen. Michael Bennet, who was appointed in January to fill the seat left vacant when Ken Salazar joined President Barack Obama's cabinet as head of the Interior Department.

At the time, many Democrats criticized Gov. Bill Ritter for choosing Bennet, who's never held elected office, over more seasoned politicians like Romanoff, who gained name recognition and popularity across the state before he was term-limited from the Legislature.

Despite early doubts about his ability to keep the seat in Democratic hands, Bennet has already raised more than $2.5 million and has received the support of Sen. Mark Udall and other prominent Democrats. Many in the party, however, believe he could be vulnerable in a primary because he has been cautious taking up progressive causes, such as creating a public option in health care.

Romanoff announced his candidacy in Pueblo, speaking in English and Spanish, and was scheduled to appear in Colorado Springs later in the day. On the GOP side, former Lt. Gov. Jane Norton joined the Senate race Tuesday, entering a field crowded with five other Republicans. — AL

GOCO can't fix Section 16

The fate of Section 16, a popular slice of open space in western Colorado Springs, hung in the background as about 40 people showed up in Manitou Springs on Monday to discuss future priorities for Great Outdoors Colorado, which doles out state lottery money to fund outdoor conservation and recreation projects.

The meeting is part of a series of strategic planning meetings across the state. Even in a weak economy, GOCO took in about $54 million last year. Colorado Springs is in line to receive $1 million from GOCO to help with purchasing Section 16 from the State Land Board, but negotiations fell apart in August when the two sides could not agree on a price.

Lisa Aangeenbrug, GOCO's director, says the GOCO board could extend the grant in its October meeting, but only if there's a timeline to work things out. — AL

9-12 crowds not so clear

An anti-government rally promoted by FOX News pundit Glenn Beck in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 12 drew a crowd numbering in the: (a) tens of thousands; (b) millions; or (c) "I don't know/care." A crowd for the same occasion outside the state Capitol swelled into the: (a) hundreds; (b) thousands; or (c) "Didn't I just say I don't care?"

Unless you opted for (c), your answers likely depend on your political orientation and your faith in "mainstream" media. ABC News put the D.C. crowd between 60,000 and 70,000, but a combination of recycled photos from past rallies and misinformed Twitter posts helped push other guesses over 1.5 million. Right-wing darling Michelle Malkin blogged, "Turnout estimated at 2 million."

The Denver Post reported a crowd of "hundreds" in Denver, but Don Rodgers, leader of a Colorado Springs group organized under Beck's 9-12 Project ("One nation under FOX," cover story, Sept. 10), "tweeted" that it was in the thousands. — AL

Councilor wanted

Since Councilor Jerry Heimlicher has resigned effective Sept. 30, City Council must appoint a replacement. Applications, including cover letter and résumé detailing community activities and relevant work experience, are being accepted at the mayor's office in City Hall until 5 p.m., Sept. 28. A replacement could be sworn in as soon as Oct. 12, but no later than Oct. 30.

Applicants must be U.S. citizens, at least 25 years old, who have lived in the city at least a year and currently reside in City Council District 3, which primarily covers the downtown, west and southwest areas.

As of Wednesday, only three — Council meeting regular Don Ortega, Air Force retiree Dennis Moore, and Prince Dunn, who has served on several boards — had applied. Several others have expressed interest.

Anti-growth activist Dave Gardner, who ran against Heimlicher in the April election and received 43 percent of the vote, says he'll probably apply but doesn't expect to be appointed. It's no secret that Gardner is not well-liked by City Councilors including Heimlicher, who says openly he doesn't want to see Gardner appointed. Otherwise, Heimlicher says he won't pick favorites. — JAS

Hungry for leadership

For Care and Share Food Bank of Southern Colorado, help — in the form of new CEO Deborah Tuck — is finally on the way.

In its last fiscal year, Care and Share fed an estimated 119,000 people. But the organization that helps people in hard times was facing hard times itself, with its two top executives leaving within months of each other. Following a nationwide search, Tuck's hire was announced Sept. 9, nearly five months after former CEO Nicholas Saccaro left for another job.

Tuck, who starts in late October, has more than 30 years of experience in nonprofits. She secured $15 million in gifts for the Grand Canyon National Park Foundation in Flagstaff, Ariz., as president from 1999 to 2008.

In a call from Arizona, Tuck says when she researched Colorado Springs she noticed that the city was on several "Best Places to Live" lists.

"Don't we also want it to be the best place in the U.S. for people who are without food?" she asks. "That's my goal." — JAS

City sets Woodmen event

The city has scheduled a public meeting for 5:30 to 8 p.m., Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Jenkins Middle School cafeteria (6410 Austin Bluffs Pkwy.) to discuss the western phase of Woodmen Road corridor expansion, scheduled to begin in late September.

"This is an opportunity for people in the area to meet and establish relationships with the people actually doing the work: the contractors, support folks, et cetera," says city spokeswoman Sue Skiffington-Blumberg.

This phase will include widening Woodmen Road to six lanes from Campus Drive (just east of Interstate 25) to Academy Boulevard, and building an elevated interchange at Woodmen and Academy. For more information on the project, visit woodmenroad.com. — BC

Hybl hosts advisory group

Just back from a trip to Armenia, local philanthropic kingpin Bill Hybl hosted a gathering last week to honor the U.S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which he chairs under a presidential appointment.

Hybl, chairman and CEO of El Pomar Foundation, has traveled the world as a member of IFES, a nongovernmental organization that conducts and monitors elections worldwide, and the U.S. Olympic Committee, which he served as president during the 1990s. He's again globetrotting as a commission member; hence the trip to Armenia.

During last week's reception at the El Pomar Carriage Museum, Hybl greeted fellow members Lyndon Olson Jr., former U.S. ambassador to Sweden; John Osborn, visiting research fellow at the University of Oxford; and Jay Snyder, with HBJ Investments.

The commission advises the president and Congress on policies affecting foreign relations. In June 2008, it issued a report critical of how the government recruits, tests, trains and evaluates personnel.

"While it did ruffle some feathers," Hybl says, "it was meant to make the State Department more responsive and more effective." — PZ

Compiled by Bryce Crawford, Anthony Lane, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.


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