Our managing editor extra-ordinaire, Vanessa Martinez, will soon return to Fort Collins to help launch the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative newsweekly scheduled to debut this October. With her departure, the Independent seeks to fill one of the most important, challenging and fun jobs in the Pikes Peak region: editor of Colorado's second-largest locally owned media enterprise.

That's right. With the exception of the Pueblo Chieftain, every media enterprise in the state that's larger than the $2.5 million Independent is controlled by corporate conglomerates beholden to non-local owners and shareholders.

While the Independent has launched a national search for an editor, our sincere hope is to find someone with strong local ties. For what defines the Independent is our passion for and love of our fast-growing and ever-fascinating community.

One degree of separation?

We are turning to our readers for assistance in locating an individual with strong editorial and management skills, as well as a passion for all things Pikes Peak. As an incentive to put on your thinking cap, we'll give $1,000 cash to the individual who persuades the right candidate to apply.

Know a talented, visionary journalist who should be the Indy's new editor? Send us contact information, and we'll follow up. If your choice is hired, you get a grand. Simple as pie.

For application information, see page 58 or go to csindy.com.

Congratulations, Cara!

Executive editor Cara DeGette has begun a six-month fellowship from the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Independent Media. From now through December, Cara will work with both Colorado and national reporters to improve how journalists and bloggers produce original, timely news that augments the current media landscape. While participating in the fellowship, Cara will continue her column and oversee our 2006 election coverage. Her new title will be contributing editor.

Gen. Wes Clark coming to town

While at a newspaper convention in Little Rock, Ark., last month, I greatly enjoyed a provocative presentation from Gen. Wesley Clark, NATO's former supreme allied commander in Europe. The four-star general will be coming to town next Wednesday for two events. First, he will host a $250-per-plate luncheon to benefit the congressional campaign of Jay Fawcett at the home of local attorney Justin Melat.

Then, for those who want to hear the former (and very likely future) presidential candidate's take on the war, our economy and the Bush administration, Clark will speak from 2 to 3 p.m. at the Retired Enlisted Association (834 Emory Circle). It should be a popular event, so arrive early if you can. Questions: Contact wanda@jamesfoxx.com or 510-8201.

Fast Food Nation author also en route

The Independent's Kathryn Eastburn will introduce Eric Schlosser at a benefit for injured meatpacking workers at 6 p.m. on Thursday, July 20, at Ranch Steakhouse & Market (575 Garden of the Gods Road).

Schlosser will also keynote the American Grassfed Association's national conference, July 20-22, at the Antlers Hilton. The conference features ranch tours, processing tours, chef demos and dozens of interesting workshops and seminars. For registration information, go to americangrassfed.org

Two nuggets from Schlosser's latest book, Chew on This (Houghton Mifflin, 2006):

One out of every three toys given to an American child comes from a fast-food restaurant.

One-fifth of America's public schools now serve brand-name fast food.

The Indy and CBS News

The "CBS Evening News with Bob Schieffer," in a cooperative investigation with the Independent, is airing a series this week in conjunction with this week's cover story about current and former Fort Carson soldiers who say the base failed to treat their post-traumatic stress disorder. To view the CBS News stories online, visit cbsnews.com.

Register to vote

If you are a U.S. citizen, will be at least 18 years old by Nov. 7, and have lived in Colorado for at least 30 days, then you can register to vote. The Independent, in conjunction with several civic groups, will be distributing voter registration materials at our Pridefest booth this Sunday. We'll also help register students when we give away our Student Survival Guide during fall registration at area colleges.

Best Of just around the corner

It's almost time to cast your ballots for this year's Best Of Colorado Springs issue. A month from now, you'll find our expanded Best Of ballot in the paper and on csindy.com. This year, we are expanding our Best Of into two giant issues, which will publish in late October.

If we've left your favorite category off in the past, give us a heads-up by July 20 by contacting fran@csindy.com. Good luck to all the great local businesses. And a side note: We're doubly fierce this year in tossing out hanging chads, dimples, forgeries and stuffed ballots!


We have recently launched theindypages.com, an easy-to-use, free, online classified network that is more sophisticated and more Colorado Springs-oriented than national free classifieds sites such as craigslist.org. So far, more than 1,000 local businesses and individuals have listed jobs, homes for sale, apartments for rent, cars, washers and dryers, and pets needing homes, among other things. It's cool and it's free. Check it out.