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Of potholes, food and political office 

The potholes were fixed before the newspaper even hit the streets. Such is the power of the press.

For those of you who missed it, last week in this space we told a sordid little tale about how the organizers of the Farmers' Market downtown had complained to the City for weeks about the potholes and sinkholes littering Tejon Street where hundreds of people shop each Monday.

While their complaints fell on completely deaf ears, numerous people had tripped, fallen and been injured because of the potholes. But it wasn't until yours truly got snared and decided to write about it that the city's street department decided to take some action.

Last Thursday, the day the paper came out, city spokesman Darin Campbell called offering an official apology, and informing us that the road problems at the site of the Farmers' Market had already been fixed.

"I apologize for the public safety nuisance that this was," Campbell said. "In talking with the city's street department, we're working on expediting the system, but nothing ever works perfectly."

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Speaking of food, what do you get when you combine a faltering economy with job layoffs? Answer: A lot of hungry people and a bare pantry at the Marian House Soup Kitchen.

This has been the summer of hunger for many locals. This Monday, the soup kitchen dished out a whopping 600 servings, which represents a 30 percent increase over this time last year. The week before last, before school had started, the kitchen broke its all-time record, with 700 servings.

"We're seeing lots of families, lots of kids and lots of teens and senior citizens," said volunteer Stephanie Cardwell. "Many of them are not homeless, but are making a decision on whether to pay their rent or their utilities or buy food."

As a result, the soup kitchen's cupboards are frightfully bare. The bulk of the food that comes in -- 91 percent -- is donated by local companies and individuals, and, ironically at the end of harvest season, volunteers have been scrambling for fresh produce, along with other staples. Many Colorado Springs King Soopers, Wal-Mart and Safeway stores (but not all) donate food to the soup kitchen, but very little of it is in the way of fresh veggies and fruit.

"It's the produce that we really lack," Cardwell said. "We've taken to buying carrots and celery because you can't make soup out of just nothing, although actually I have."

Some local companies and at least one swanky resort have historically refused to help the Marian House. Cardwell doesn't want us to say who, and so we won't. But others have been champs: The Cheyenne Mountain Conference Center donates enough food every week to produce one good meal; Sinton Dairy also always comes through.

In an effort to restock the pantry, Cardwell and other organizers are holding a golf tournament at the Woodmoor Pines Country Club in Monument on Friday, Sept. 13. Call Cardwell at 389-0973 if you're interested. But you don't need to golf to help. If you've got some fresh veggies or fruit or other food or money that you can donate, the soup kitchen is open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday. The kitchen is at 14 W. Bijou St., and their phone number is 475-2347.

Remember, no good deed goes unrewarded.

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Finally, if the August 13 primary election made you so angry that you just aren't going to take it anymore, this is your last chance to sign up to be a candidate in the November general election.

There are several local races where the winner of the Aug. 13 primary has no serious opponent in November. The county races that could be up for grabs -- if opponents sign up -- include the sheriff, assessor, clerk, treasurer, coroner, surveyor and commissioners in Districts 1 and 5.

If you want to run for any of these seats, you should file an affidavit of intent with the county Clerk and Recorder by Friday, September 6, at 5 p.m. To receive candidate requirements and other forms, contact the office at 520-6200.

In addition, all of the state House of Representative seats from El Paso County are up for grabs, as is the newly-redrawn Senate District 11. If you want to sign on as a write-in for any of those seats, contact the Colorado Secretary of State's office at 303/894-2200.

It's better than sticking your head out the window and screaming amid the futile madness.

-- degette@csindy.com

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