It looks like this is your last weekend to get a good glimpse of Colorado's fall colors before they're blown off the trees or buried in snow.
The aspens that sprinkle the Sangre De Christo range in Huerfano, Costilla and Las Animas counties are a rare treat. If you want to see dense clusters of October aspens but want to escape dense crowds, then a road trip down the Highway of Legends is for you.
Read more about a road trip along the Highway of Legends. Get tips for places to stay and eat and things to do.
Read other suggestions for seeing the fall colors and see photo galleries taken by Gazette photographers and readers during their leaf-peeping trips in recent weeks at OutThereColorado.com.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Gazette.com changes
A few changes are coming to gazette.com, and we think they’re good ones.
Starting Monday, gazette.com will get a fresh, updated look. Our news site will feature the same news and information, but in more easily identifiable sections. It’s better organized. The photos are larger. It loads faster.
Then, on Tuesday, we will begin using Facebook as the method for contributing comments to the news items at gazette.com. This will require users who want to comment to have a Facebook profile account.
Why the change to Facebook comments at gazette.com? In a word: civility.
The reader conversations at gazette.com have been free-wheeling, fascinating and even edifying at times. But too often they also have been hostile and uninviting, because no one has had to use their real name when making remarks. By tying all comments to a Facebook profile, we hope to encourage an open and accountable environment for community conversation.
Tell us what you think about the new gazette.com. Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. Or, you can comment right here on this page.
-- Jeff Thomas, vice president and editor of gazette.com and The Gazette.
TODAY IN HISTORY
Oct. 7, 1936
Late September snows have increased precipitation with the result that mountain reservoirs of Colorado Springs water system show an increase of 74,000,000 gallons during the month.
Oct. 7, 1961
A large membership-only fallout shelter to accommodate 36 persons in case of nuclear attack is currently under construction at the foot of Mount Manitou. The shelter will be limited to those who buy memberships into the plan. Walter Littrell, who is in charge of the project, said that shares will be sold on a per-person basis and will include a five-year option. The shares will be transferable.
Our week of jumbled weather continues as we're likely to get a taste of winter Friday. Storms that left rain and snow from western Colorado through the high country on Thursday are moving our way.
A severe thunderstorm watch has been issued for El Paso County. Thunderheads are gathering west of Colorado Springs on Friday morning, and are expected to bring a downpour and hail. The hazardous weather alert is effective until 1:30 p.m. Friday.
The National Weather Service predicts a high of 58 degrees Friday, with lows in the low 30s overnight. Some late-night rain showers could turn into an early snow.
Wolf Creek to open for skiing Saturday, Sunday
PAGOSA SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — Wolf Creek Ski Area in southwest Colorado says it plans to open for skiing Saturday and Sunday, after Thursday's storm.
Resort Vice President Rosanne Pitcher said Thursday that ski area officials will probably decide Saturday whether to keep going for the rest of the season.
Nebraska bus crash passengers describe wild scene
GIBBON, Neb. (AP) — Two passengers aboard a bus that crashed into an overturned semitrailer in Nebraska say the driver may have been on the phone at the time of the collision.
Dozens of people on the Denver-bound bus were hurt in the wreck, including five who were hospitalized.
Passengers Jimmy Strickland and Anthony Pavarotti say the driver may have been on her cell phone. But Nebraska State Patrol spokeswoman Deb Collins says the initial investigation showed the cell phone was not in use when the accident happened.
The bus company prohibits personal calls, but drivers use cell phones to communicate with dispatchers and other drivers.
A spokesman for the American Bus Association said there was no indication the driver was doing anything improper.
Suspect in sex assaults pleads guilty in Colorado
PUEBLO, Colo. (AP) — A man suspected in a string of sexual assaults in the Southwest has pleaded guilty to charges in a Colorado case.
The Pueblo Chieftain reports Robert Howard Bruce pleaded guilty Wednesday to criminal attempt to commit sexual assault and first-degree burglary in a case in Pueblo. He is due for sentencing in January.
Bruce already faces a 64-year sentence for attempting to kill a Pueblo officer who was to testify against him in a peeping Tom case.
His sentence in the latest case could depend on how well he cooperates with investigators of dozens of rapes in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma.
The Colorado case resembled a string of attacks in which rags soaked with chemicals were used to subdue women, earning the suspect the nickname "Ether Man."
No bias charge for CU student over dorm assault
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Prosecutors have declined to file a charge of bias-motivated crime against a University of Colorado student accused of punching another student who is half Asian.
The Daily Camera reports Thomas Frank Ross, 19, is charged with two counts of second-degree assault.
CU police had called the incident a bias-motivated attack, but the Boulder County District Attorney's Office hasn't filed a bias charge.
Witnesses told police Ross and Chris Tetreault, 18, were in a student's room on Sept. 30 with a group playing video games when Ross said a bad smell in the room was because of Tetreault eating Asian noodles.
Tetreault says he swore at Ross. Witnesses said Ross choked and punched Tetreault. A police report says Ross told officers he didn't know Tetreault was half Asian.
Telemarketing companies accused of fraud, deceit
DENVER (AP) — The Colorado Attorney General's office has filed a lawsuit against 21 magazine sales telemarketing companies accused of deceiving and defrauding consumers across the state and nationwide.
Attorney General John Suthers said Thursday the Denver-area companies preyed on "society's most vulnerable," including the elderly and those with cognitive disabilities.
The lawsuit claims the telemarketers contacted consumers who already had subscriptions and pretended to be the company providing the magazines. They are accused of obtaining credit card numbers under false pretenses and of offering to lower subscription payments, when they actually were trying to sign consumers up for new subscriptions.
Suthers says the telemarketers also are suspected of signing consumers up for magazine subscriptions they had not willingly purchased. The lawsuit seeks fines and restitution.
Fees shrink on Colorado jobless benefit debit cards
DENVER (AP) — Fees for using Colorado-issued debit cards for unemployment benefits are shrinking.
The Colorado labor department said Thursday it renegotiated its contract with JP Morgan Chase & Co. to reduce or eliminate several fees associated with the cards. The department estimates card users will collectively save $500,000 annually from the changes.
"Point-of-sale" fees for each transaction are now gone.
There is also a change in the 75-cent fee for when a debit card is denied. Now, card users will get one free denied transaction for each deposit the Unemployment Insurance Program makes on an account.
The department had introduced the debit cards to reduce costs of printing and mailing checks.
Claimants can choose to have their unemployment benefits deposited directly in bank or credit union accounts instead of using the cards.
Medical pot user turned in by pizza delivery man
DENVER (AP) — A Colorado man who got a visit from police after a pizza delivery driver smelled marijuana at his home is getting free pizza from a rival restaurant.
Frederick Smith says police searched his home in Aurora after a Papa John's International Inc. driver smelled marijuana there last week. The driver reported a child was in the home at the time.
Smith told Denver's KUSA-TV that he's a registered medical marijuana user. Papa John's has said it stands by its employee.
One of its Denver-based rivals, Sexy Pizza, said Thursday that it would give Smith one free pizza monthly until Colorado voters decide a proposed 2012 ballot initiative that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.
Sexy Pizza says it'll extend the offer for life if voters pass the initiative.
-- Crossfire Ministries Annual fall craft, quilt, bake sale and open house, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 4836 Garden Trail. Proceeds benefit people in need in Colorado Springs, free admission.
-- “Celebration Metaphysical Fair,” 1-9 p.m., Colorado Springs City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa St., $5 admission daily.
-- In-store wine tasting - “Newsletter Wines Kick Off,” 3-7 p.m., Vintages Wine and Spirits, 9 S. Tejon St., free.
-- “First Friday Artwalk,” 5-8 p.m., West Colorado Avenue, between 23rd and 27th streets.
-- “2011 Free Minds Film Festival,” 5:30-9 p.m., University of Colorado at Colorado Springs, 1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway, free.
-- American Girls Club, for girls ages 6-12, 6:30 p.m., Barnes & Noble, 795 Citadel Drive East, free.
-- Joshua Bennett - “An Evening of Spoken Word,” 7 p.m., Colorado College, Armstrong Hall, 14 E. Cache La Poudre St., free.