Some want money. Others want snow.
As Pikes Peak region residents awaited the dawn of a new year Monday, many reflected on a grueling 2012 and hoped for a better 2013.
One resident wants to beat cancer. Another is praying to get closer to God.
There were wishes for the community, too.
Better economic times.
“People are stuck,” one resident said.
Gazette reporters fanned out across El Paso County Monday to learn what residents are looking for in the next year:
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Doug Carman has only one goal for 2013. Beat cancer.
Last January, on Friday the 13th, Carman was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a treatable but incurable type of cancer.
Carman, 43, lives in the Highlands Ranch area. He works for Hills Pet Nutrition, delivering bags of pet foods to veterinarian offices and retail outlets.
He’s been married for eight years and has a 12-year-old daughter. Doctors have given Carman about 15 years to live, he said.
“Fifteen years seems like a long time until someone tells you that is all you have,” he said, “and suddenly I am thinking ‘Wait, I have a lot to do. I need to have grandbabies.’”
Carman starts pre-chemotherapy treatments next week.
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Charis Tomberlin said she found a “new mind-set in 2012” when she became a Christian in April. She was baptized in July. Tomberlin, 22, also received the “best Christmas gift ever” this year when her father, Steve, came home from Afghanistan where he was working as a contractor for the first time in six years.
Now Tomberlin wants to continue to grow spiritually during 2013.
“I am in a good place,” she said. “I have grown a lot, and God has had a dramatic effect on my life.”
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Mimi Parrish, manager at the Starbucks at Powers Boulevard and Constitution Avenue, said she hopes civil discourse can be more civil in 2013.
“I guess I’d like to see more common sense and less emotional reaction to issues,” said Parrish, who lives in north Colorado Springs.
For her part, she said she’ll use that philosophy to guide her own decision-making, and talk to people in a private setting on topics that might get a little heated.
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Kay Slechta can’t complain about her own economic circumstances. She has a job and is doing OK.
But for 2013, she’d like a lot more people to be in the same boat.
“I would like to see the economy get better for everyone,” said Slectha, a saleswoman who lives east of Pueblo but does some work in Colorado Springs. “I see a lot of people who are homeless out there.”
Slechta doesn’t have the solution, she said, but she believes there is a job for anyone who wants one.
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Jim Trujillo, general manager at Powers Liquor Mart, hopes 2013 will bring brighter economic times to the country.
“For me, I’d like the economy to turn around because I think that is one thing we need to see so people can get on with their lives again,” he said.
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Dan Driscoll moved to Peyton from Colorado Springs to escape the city, but he still wants better things for his former community.
“I hope the crime rate drops in Colorado Springs,” said Driscoll, a civil service employee with the Air Force. “I moved out of Colorado Springs, and I’m glad. It has some big-city problems.”
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Chris Bettendors, owner of the Little Market on East Willamette Avenue, sighed when asked about prospects for 2013. As owner of one of the last family-owned corner stores in the region, she said business has been tough as customers in the sour economy tighten their belts.
“At first they were deciding not to have chips with their sandwich. Then they weren’t having the sandwich,” she said.
Shoplifting is on the rise.
She has decided to redesign the store to put more items behind the counter to discourage theft.
“We are seeing more and more, and not the type you would expect,” she said. “The other day we had a grandma in here who couldn’t find work and unemployment has run out.”
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If Sandie Comstock has her wish, 2013 will be a bad year for noise pollution in Fountain.
“My biggest hope is to get the noise from the trains stopped,” said Comstock, 57, owner of Ink Fountain Printing.
In 2009 Fountain voters passed Issue 2A, which green-lighted the establishment of zones at railroad crossings that would bar the use of train horns except in emergencies.
Similar zones have been established in Security and Widefield but have yet to be implemented in Fountain, Comstock said. “Most train guys are pretty good, but some will toot toot on their horn all the way through town at 2 a.m.,” she said.
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Carey Adams’ hope for Fountain in 2013: More jobs.
“People need jobs,” said Adams, a 46-year-old landlord who runs God’s Pantry Ministry, on Fountain’s Main Street. “There’s not a lot of work here.”
The ministry gives free food and clothing to needy people.
Adams has seen demand rise over the past year.
“Look how cold it is. Look how many people are here,” she said Monday while customers streamed out of the shop and into below-freezing temperatures. “If they didn’t have to leave their house to get food and warm clothing, they wouldn’t.”
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Coleen Swanson hopes for improved safety and the continued revitalization of downtown businesses.
“I want the panhandling ban passed,” said Swanson, who owns a portrait photography studio in downtown Colorado Springs. “I want the police department to step up and be more visible downtown. I want the city to get its act together and protect what we have in our viable, active downtown area.
“They’re letting a lot of crap happen down here. People shouldn’t have to be afraid to be downtown.”
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Amber Moro moved to Rockrimmon just a year ago from Wisconsin but knows what the area desperately needs.
“I want more snow, more water, less drought,” said the 43-year-old financial planner for U.S. Bank.
Moro quickly switched gears.
“And we need less violence,” she said. “We can achieve that through more education, more acceptance, more tolerance.”
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Luke Wilcox wants a job in 2013. It’s what he wanted in 2012, too.
“I haven’t been employed since May of 2011, but hopefully I’ll find a job this year,” said Wilcox, a 32-year-old living on the west side.
“I don’t follow politics, but I hope our economy is improving and that’ll help people find jobs. I kind of gave up looking at one point. They say do five applications a day and I did that, but found nothing.
“I’m fairly confident now. I know people here and all over the country are sick of being poor, broke poor. It has to get better.”
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Kevin “Sarge” MacDonald finds hope for the new year in the wisdom of past leaders.
“I think we need to get back to what Ronald Reagan strived for back in the ‘80s, which was a love of country. And with the economy the way it is today, we need to look back to President Kennedy’s philosophy, of ‘Ask not what your country can do for you....’” said MacDonald, 55, an Army veteran and manager of Manitou Inn & Suites on Manitou Avenue. “My personal goal all the time is to help anybody and everybody I can.”
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Xiomara Olivero’s wish for 2013 should come true Saturday. Her husband, Jose, the father of their two children — Sebastian, 7, and Sophia, 4 — is set to return that day from a year in Afghanistan. He served there as a Fort Carson soldier.
“It’s been uphill this year with him gone,” said the 34-year-old native of Puerto Rico. “The kids are getting older and miss their dad. I look forward to being together again as a family.”
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Abbey Steger’s hopes for the new year are simple yet profound.
“I think just prosperity, especially for the community. And some snow, so we don’t get fires in the summer — but it looks like that’s already come true,” said Steger, 29, who lives in Manitou Springs and is a manager at Southwest Silver Co. Steger was walking her dog, Perro, on Manitou Avenue after a light snowfall.
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Reporters Bob Stephens, Erin Prater, Ned Hunter, Barbara Cotter, Stephanie Earls and Dave Philipps contributed.