Noted: Mayors ask candidates for gun plan 

Gun plans, candidates?

After the Aurora movie-theater shooting that claimed the lives of 12 and injured nearly 60 others, mayors from across the country have drafted a letter requesting that the presidential candidates support "common-sense reforms" to gun law.

A coalition of more than 700 mayors, calling itself Mayors Against Illegal Guns, addressed President Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney, asking that they consider seven reforms, including the tracking of bulk sales of weapons, creation of a Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives unit that would investigate gun trafficking crimes committed online, and restoration of oversight of ammunition sales, among others.

Former state Rep. Michael Merrifield of Colorado Springs, the Colorado coordinator, says,"We are demanding a plan from Obama and Romney. We have not heard a plan."

The bipartisan effort has 13 members in this state, including Marc Snyder of Manitou Springs. Colorado Springs Mayor Steve Bach has not "been beating down my door to join," Merrifield says, adding that all reforms are vehemently opposed by the National Rifle Association. — Chet Hardin

Goodwill needs furniture

Owners of homes that were lost or damaged in the Waldo Canyon Fire are setting up new residences across the city. But their new digs are missing a lot of the basics. Discover Goodwill of Southern and Western Colorado, which is providing free help to the victims, is hoping the community once again will step up, this time by donating sofas, tables and chairs, end tables, dressers and lamps.

"People — now that they're settling into new housing, whether it's permanent or temporary — they're moving into bare walls," Goodwill spokesperson Bradd Hafer says.

Hafer adds that the charity has a good supply of kitchen items and TVs. New mattresses are also offered to victims at a low cost. But last week, the charity had 18 displaced families looking for help, and nothing for their living rooms.

Donations can be made at any Goodwill retail or donation center, as well at drop-off sites at Wal-Marts and other retailers. Check discovermygoodwill.org for locations, hours and more details. — J. Adrian Stanley

UCCS to study fire victims

A University of Colorado at Colorado Springs professor is hoping to talk with up to 200 Waldo Canyon Fire victims who are experiencing distress due to the disaster.

Lori James, an associate professor in UCCS' Department of Psychology, has previously studied disaster victims in Texas. She's trying to better understand how disaster has impacted people psychologically, and how those issues can be addressed.

Participants will be asked to fill out surveys detailing their experiences and emotions. Some will be given access to a website offering immediate help, while others will have to wait 30 days. James will then measure the impact of the website tools. The study will last about 60 days and include three sets of assessments. Participants will be paid $25 per assessment, and no personal information will be linked to survey responses.

"Folks will have the right to discontinue at any time and to refuse to answer any questions we ask that might be too painful to answer," James says in a release. "If someone feels their anxiety is extremely serious, additional contact information will also be provided."

Study personnel can be reached at 255-3709, or by e-mailing bjohns17@uccs.edu. You can sign up directly at surveymonkey.com/s/waldorecovery. — J. Adrian Stanley

Burn area being restored

With rolling hills, scenic vistas and lots of dense, natural flora, Mountain Shadows was an aesthetically enviable location before the Waldo Canyon Fire turned much of its green to brown. Thanks to Personal Touch Gardening & Landscape, and local businesses' generosity, some of that color is creeping back into the hillside.

The Cultivating Hope Project combines volunteer labor, donated landscaping materials and other resources to restore lawns, planters and gardens. Already, they've given 153 potted flowers to the area, and $10,000 of other plant material. The ultimate goal is to donate "800 evergreen trees, 800 deciduous trees, 2,000 native shrubs, and 4,000 flowering native plants," according to a press release.

Volunteers are needed to make sure plants stay watered and fed before they can be picked up by rebuilding residents. Donations and sponsorships are also sought. Through a partnership with Pikes Peak Community Foundation, those donations can be tax-deductible.

The next delivery is set for Thursday, Aug. 9; for more, go to personaltouchgardening.com/cultivating-hope-project. — Jeff Koch

Lysol charges dropped

It was one of those stories that hits the national news and goes viral. Last spring, during the Manitou Springs High School prom, two chaperones were accused by students of spraying Lysol disinfectant on some of the prom-goers for getting nasty on the dance floor and "advertising butt sex," according to the police report.

This past week, according to the Gazette, the charges were dropped against the two chaperones, Hannah Rockey and Jennifer Farmer. They agreed to go through a mediation program, donate money to the school district's prom fund, and apologize publicly. — Chet Hardin


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