Noted: Voting registration deadline coming 

Last chance to get a ballot

The registration deadline is Monday, Oct. 3, for those wanting to vote in the Nov. 1 election. You can register by:

• going to GoVoteColorado.com;

• visiting an El Paso County Clerk & Recorder location: 8830 N. Union Blvd., 1675 W. Garden of the Gods Road, 200 S. Cascade Ave., or 5650 Industrial Place;

• downloading a registration form at GoVoteColorado.com and mailing it with a postmark no later than Monday to the Election Department, P.O. Box 2007, Colorado Springs, 80901. You can also fax to 520-7327 or e-mail a scanned copy to elections@elpasoco.com, as long as it's received by 11:59 p.m. Monday.

There will be no polling places open on Election Day, though all clerk branches will house ballot boxes for drop-offs. — PZ

Singleton out at First Pres

The Rev. Jim Singleton, senior pastor of downtown's First Presbyterian Church, is on his way out.

The news first emerged via the Gazette, which reported that Singleton, 55, has accepted a position at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts.

Singleton did not respond to the Indy's request for comment.

The news comes at an interesting time for the large downtown congregation. Last month, Singleton reported back to senior members of the 4,000-person church about a national meeting where leaders of churches like First Pres discussed pulling out of the country's largest Presbyterian denomination, Presbyterian Church (USA). PC(USA)'s decision earlier this year to allow openly gay church leaders served as the impetus for such discussion, and Singleton spoke about First Pres taking a lead role in possibly founding a new denomination.

Singleton, an Oklahoma native, reportedly will be headed to the Boston area next summer. He's led First Pres since August 2005. — CH

Anderson resigns from GOP

Halfway through Monday's meeting of the executive committee of the El Paso County Republican Party, Sarah Anderson resigned as party secretary. She had held the office for about seven months — seven long, controversy-laced months.

Anderson very publicly argued with members of the party, including Chairman Eli Bremer and local elected officials such as Reps. Bob Gardner, Larry Liston and Amy Stephens. She has long said that she's taken stances that uphold true Republican principles, and echoed this in her resignation letter.

"Fighting for principle doesn't mean I have to keep fighting with a Party who has made it clear they don't want it or those who do not think in lock step with the 'leadership'; it just means I need to fight for candidates who will bring it back to politics and the Party," she wrote. — CH

'Roundabout project' returns

A project that would install 240 apartment units southwest of Venetucci Boulevard and Cheyenne Meadows Road — known by some as the "roundabout project" — is making a comeback.

El Paso County commissioners were to vote today, Thursday, on a deal to settle a lawsuit filed by Peoples National Bank after the commission rejected its plan for Independence Place at Cheyenne Mountain ("Round and round," June 2, 2011). The bank owns the property in question.

Place Properties of Atlanta wanted to build the apartment complex largely to serve Fort Carson, but commissioners rejected the idea on a 3-2 vote under pressure from neighbors, including the World Arena and USA Hockey, which opposed seeing a roundabout at Bob Johnson Drive and Venetucci.

Peoples sued, contending the denial constituted abuse of discretion and an unconstitutional taking of property without due process, County Attorney Bill Louis says. Now the county has reached a settlement in which the county would approve the development with a four-way traffic signal at the intersection of Venetucci and Bob Johnson, Louis says.

The city of Colorado Springs has issued a letter of support for the traffic signal, which makes approval by commissioners likely. — PZ

More stormwater headaches

Nearly two years after dismantling the Stormwater Enterprise, the city is still dealing with fallout from unpaid bills.

The latest snafu arose when its collections agent, A-1 Collections, obtained a court judgment enabling it to engage the Sheriff's Department in a "till tap" of a business that owed $15,000, most of it in stormwater fees. Sheriff Terry Maketa defended the action, saying his deputies were simply executing a court order. He also lashed out at the Gazette, which reported that Maketa didn't know about his deputies using the "strong-arm tactics."

"I'll call it what it is, a blatant lie based on no fact," Maketa said in a YouTube video about the issue, noting he did know the till tap was being used under court order.

That said, Maketa said he'll explore asking the Legislature during the 2012 session to abolish the "outdated process" of till taps, which are rare but not unheard of. The sheriff's office executed six till taps in 2010 and 13 so far this year, nine of the 13 on behalf of A-1, according to sheriff's spokesman Michael Schaller.

Council has directed A-1 not to use the sheriff till-tap method of collection in the future on the $1.6 million still owed on 18,073 accounts. — PZ

Bach to pretty things up

Mayor Steve Bach has made another step toward his lofty goal of improving the city without forcing anyone to pay more taxes.

His latest effort is a Streetscapes Solution Team, led by Council of Neighbors and Organizations president — and former mayoral candidate — Dave Munger. The team is charged with finding ways of beautifying neighborhoods without spending money. They'll look at best practices from similar communities and try to achieve efficiencies with existing city funds.

"Our community is full of talented people with experience and knowledge who are more than willing to partner with City staff on a volunteer basis to find innovative solutions to challenges," Bach said in a statement. — JAS

Compiled by Chet Hardin, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.


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