Lamborn gets coveted seat on House military committee

Following the death of U.S. Rep. Jo Ann Davis, R-Va., Rep. Doug Lamborn finally has gotten a seat on the House Armed Services Committee.

The Colorado Springs Republican was placed on the committee Wednesday morning, following several votes by House Republicans.

"Congressman Lamborn will continue to be a strong voice for Colorado and a strong advocate for America's men and women in uniform," said Brian Schubert, spokesman for the House Republican Conference.

Lamborn's office had declined comment during the process and could not be reached following the vote at press time.

Lamborn had wanted to be on the committee since before last year's election. His predecessor, Joel Hefley, who retired, had long held a seat on the committee seen by local business interests as a must-have position, given the district's five military installations. Despite a letter from former House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., Lamborn was not given the assignment when he arrived in Washington, D.C. He also was passed over about five months ago when a seat became vacant.

Rep. Duncan Hunter of California, the ranking Republican on the Armed Services Committee, will now appoint Lamborn to a subcommittee. An aide for Hunter said it was an "inappropriate" time to comment on possibilities because the funeral service for Davis, who died of breast cancer Oct. 6, is scheduled to take place Thursday afternoon. MdY

Election: mail ballots only

The upcoming election in El Paso County will offer citizens a mail ballot only, says Keri Ashley, El Paso County assistant election manager.

Ballots will be mailed to "active registered voters" which means you must be newly registered, or have updated your registration, or have voted in the November 2006 general election. The election department also will not send you a ballot if your mail is going to a forwarded address, or if it is returned to the sender.

The first ballots will be mailed Friday, Oct. 12. Some precincts' voters won't receive ballots, Ashley says, because they have nothing on which to vote.

To make sure you're receiving a ballot, call the election department at 575-8683. JAS

Springs police to attend cold-case forum in Denver

Family and friends of murder victims and missing persons will gather this weekend, getting a chance to speak directly with the detectives working on their cases.

Some 1,200 murder cases in Colorado remain unsolved since 1970, according to Families of Homicide Victims and Missing Persons, which is sponsoring a meeting and luncheon in Denver on Saturday. The daylong session will include officers from the Colorado Springs Police Department, which has 86 unsolved cases dating to 1949.

Workshops will take place on investigations, coroner duties and crime laboratories, along with a humorous, hopeful message by Craig Zablocki, a motivational speaker. The event takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel, 6363 E. Hampden Ave. MdY

Fort Carson loses another soldier, No. 221 to die in terror campaign

Fort Carson Army Sgt. Edmund J. Jeffers was killed in a non-combat rollover vehicle accident and will be memorialized on post Thursday afternoon. The 23-year-old soldier, from Daleville, Ala., died of his injuries Sept. 19 in Taqqadum, Iraq, says Karen Linne, a spokeswoman for Fort Carson.

There is an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death, according to the Pentagon. Linne says the Army would not comment until the investigation is complete.

Jeffers was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 9th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division. He was the 221st soldier from the post killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His service will take place at 1:30 p.m. in Fort Carson's Soldiers' Memorial Chapel. MdY

One bridge down, one to go

With the Bijou Street exit and bridges open and a week of free parking decidedly over, downtown is almost back to normal.

For now.

Beginning Nov. 1, the Cimarron Bridge will close as work begins to replace both sides of that troubled structure on the southwestern edge of downtown.

The bridge is scheduled to reopen with four lanes of traffic next May. Work though the summer of 2008 will add bike lanes, sidewalks and the like.

The bridge replacement is budgeted to cost just more than $8.5 million. AL

No additional 911 techs funded in city budget

Much has been made of the proposed 2008 city budget grounding police helicopters and trimming substation office hours. But many police requests went unfunded including more personnel in emergency call centers.

Extra staff was expected to shorten the time it takes to answer a 911 call. August statistics from El Paso-Teller County Enhanced 911 Authority show a Colorado Springs 911 call took an average of 11.5 seconds to answer. El Paso County calls only took an average of 3.6 seconds.

But the police department isn't necessarily bummed over the budget. It did get funding for much-needed equipment and services. Cmdr. Bob Kean says approved funding for computer wireless cards will be a great help to officers in the field who need vital information without having to go back to the office. The current system doesn't work all the time, Kean says.

Lt. Skip Arms says funding for a new mobile command center will help police and city workers communicate better at special events like the 2008 U.S. Senior Open.

And what does the police department think of unfunded items, such as those extra emergency response technicians?

"At the time of substantial revenue shortfall and lack of sustainable monetary resources, funding for additional personnel is fiscally irresponsible and ill-advised," Arms says. JAS

Compiled by Anthony Lane, J. Adrian Stanley and Michael de Yoanna.


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