Side Streets   Neighborhoods, people and issues

Side Streets: Even in island paradise, there's no place like home in Colorado Springs

2014-08-20

No matter how far I roam, it seems I never leave my life as a journalist far behind. And I can't shake Colorado Springs. I don't consider myself a workaholic. I like to unplug, go for a long bike ride, collapse on the couch and veg out in front of "SportsCenter." But when it comes to news, I guess I'm just hardwired to report the stuff I see...

Side Streets: Downtown Colorado Springs building serves as a spooky time capsule

2014-08-10

The surprises at Zeezo's costume and magic store in downtown Colorado Springs are not confined to the bloody masks and zombie get-ups on the display racks. There is some serious spooky stuff going on in the basement of the store at 112-114 N. Tejon St. Owner Jessica Modeer took me on a tour last week, and I have to admit I got creeped out a...

Blog: Mysterious death wall, furnace, map make Colorado Springs building a spooky time capsule

2014-08-10

The surprises at Zeezo’s costume and magic store in downtown Colorado Springs are not confined to the bloody masks and zombie get-ups on the display racks. There is some serious spooky stuff going on in the basement of the store at 112-114 N. Tejon Street. Owner Jessica Modeer took me on a tour last week and I have to admit I got creeped...

Side Streets: An odd tale of a Park-n-Ride and a No-Parking-Lot

2014-08-08

The oval-shaped parking lot near Woodmen Road and Interstate 25 is supposed to be for folks trying to save fossil fuels and reduce pollution by carpooling and buspooling. (Is that even a word?) But lately the 1.6-acre Park-n-Ride lot, at the corner of Corporate Drive and Mark Dabling Boulevard, has become a Park-n-Walk lot for students taking...

Blog: A tale of two parking lots has Colorado Springs resident scratching his head

2014-08-08

The oval-shaped parking lot near Woodmen Road and Interstate 25 is supposed to be for folks trying to save fossil fuels and reduce pollution by carpooling and buspooling. (Is that even a word?) But lately the 1.6-acre Park-n-Ride lot, at the corner of Corporate Drive and Mark Dabling Boulevard, has become a Park-n-Walk lot for students taking...

Side Streets: Pikes Peak Ascent is all about slowing down

2014-08-06

Tom Everson of Omaha, Neb., spent Tuesday shipping hundreds of T-shirts in advance of his trip next week to his hometown of Colorado Springs and a run up Pikes Peak in the Ascent. The shirts are identical to those he and seven others will wear in the Aug. 16 race. He's shipping them to folks scattered nationwide so they can wear them in...

Blog: Springs native will carry 87 on Pikes Peak Ascent with message to motorists to slow down

2014-08-06

Tom Everson of Omaha, Neb., spent Tuesday shipping hundreds of T-shirts in advance of his trip next week to his hometown of Colorado Springs and a run up Pikes Peak in the Ascent. The shirts are identical to those he and seven others will wear in the Aug. 16 race. He’s shipping them to folks scattered nationwide so they can wear them in...

Side Streets: A corner 
view to all
 the changes 
downtown

2014-08-03

From his perch high above the Busy Corner at Pikes Peak Avenue and Tejon Street in the heart of downtown, Lee Goodbar has enjoyed a front-row seat to a half-century of growth and change in Colorado Springs. Since 1959, Goodbar has occupied the corner office in the fifth floor of the U.S. Bank Building, known historically as the Exchange...

Side Streets: Urban fair unlike anything Colorado Springs has ever seen

2014-08-01

Over the years, I've been to many county fairs and a few state fairs. One year we came home from Pueblo with a white bunny we called Glacier. And then a black one we called Midnight. (Sadly, the neighborhood bobcat called them both "dinner" after it ripped open their hutch.) But I've never been to an urban fair. So I'm excited to check...

Side Streets: Mr. Safety clashes with Colorado Springs police over guns

2014-07-30

Neighborhood safety in Colorado Springs recently took a big hit, and I never saw it coming. Dennis Moore has resigned as a volunteer coordinator for the Colorado Springs Police Department's Neighborhood Watch program. Longtime Side Streets readers will recognize the 66-year-old Moore by his nickname "Mr. Neighborhood Watch." For the past...

Time capsule a gift to future residents of Colorado Springs’ Old North End

2014-07-25

class="hd-font">Time capsule a gift to future residents of Colorado Springs’ Old North End Fri, July 25, 2014 by Bill Vogrin with no comments The dining room table of former Old North End Neighborhood Association president Vic Appugliese is covered with photos and family histories submitted by his neighbors for inclusion in a time capsule,...

Colorado Springs couple’s life plays like ‘Love Story’ on piano

2014-07-27

George King describes his 51-year career as he stands by the 15,000th piano he has tuned in his shop, King’s Piano Sales and Service Thursday, July 24, 2014. King’s “biggest reward. . . is knowing [his] tuning customers are satisfied with what they get.” Photo by Julia Moss, The Gazette All these years later, George King vividly recalls the...

Side Streets: Longtime tuner works on 15,000th piano as he nears end of accidental career

2014-07-27

All these years later, George King vividly recalls the exact moment he knew he had become a piano tuner. It was 1963 and he was a young apprentice trying to learn the craft from a relative. "To tune a piano, you have to tune the beats out, smooth it out," King explained as he demonstrated with a tuning hammer on a near-century-old Steinway...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs neighborhood sends messages into future, teaches us about community

2014-07-25

The dining room table in Vic Appugliese's Old North End home is covered with the history of the neighborhood north of downtown Colorado Springs. There are dozens of photos and typed stories of neighbors past and present. On the floor, by the table, is a 6-foot-long PVC tube that Appugliese is filling with similar photos and stories. On...

Side Streets: Trash-raiding bear in Manitou a big reminder for many

2014-07-23

Sybil Knighten was lying in bed Saturday night when she heard a noise outside the century-old home where she lives in Manitou Springs. It was a smashing sound she recognized as a bear rustling through the trash. "I listened to the crashing and banging and knew he was out there," Sybil said of the bear. She figured her neighbor had left...

Side Streets: The rest of the story on the 1964 Pikes Peak Highway crash

2014-07-20

Dean Yowell wants to set the record straight. Once and for all. After 50 years. So here goes. He and his best buddy, Emil Knoepke, did not cause the head-on wreck with race car driver Tommy Jamison on the Pikes Peak Highway on June 30, 1964, that injured four and sent Yowell and the racer to the hospital with serious injuries. There!...

Side Streets: For Colorado Springs pool proprietor, reopening a relief after much frustration

2014-07-18

For 42 years, Rose Rook taught children to swim in her Village 7 Swim Club pool. Two years ago, she retired and sold the pool she had run since 1970. Or so she thought. As she approaches her 86th birthday on Monday, Rook once again finds herself going to the pool every day. But she's no longer teaching kids to swim. Instead, she's...

Side Streets: A salute to Buffalo Soldiers with statue

2014-07-16

Black soldiers, many of them freed slaves, played a huge role in opening the West after the Civil War. But since most were illiterate, there is little written record of the so-called Buffalo Soldiers. Few know of their cavalry regiments that fought Indians, Mexican revolutionaries, outlaws and gun smugglers and protected pioneer families....

Side Streets: A special night at the zoo

2014-07-13

Clad in a ballcap and fashionable tennis shoes, Vivianna Stewart breezed from the giraffe exhibit to the meerkats and then to the elephant enclosure, pausing between text messages on her phone to admire the animals before moving on to the next exhibit. In many ways, Vivianna was like any 13-year-old on an outing with her brothers and her...

Side Streets: Church is packed for Peggy's big party

2014-07-11

Hallelujah for Side Streets readers. You made Peggy Shivers' 75th birthday one to remember. Let me refresh your memories. On June 6, I asked readers to give Peggy a birthday present to thank her for all she and her late husband, Clarence Shivers, have done for Colorado Springs. Clarence was part of the famed Tuskegee Airmen black pilot...

Side Streets: Let's give bike share a spin in the Springs

2014-07-09

In case any of you were wondering, I spent much of the past two weeks in the Old Country, touring Europe by riverboat (imagine Huck Finn with a gourmet chef and flat-screen TV) and traveling within a few hundred miles of my grandfather's village in Slovenia. I have so many stories to tell, but most will have to wait for a Life & Travel...

Side Streets: A private Colorado Springs man and his '67 Corvette

2014-06-22

This started out as a story of buried treasure. Then it turned into the story of mystery and intrigue. And buried treasure. But it's mostly about a man given up for adoption as an infant, who found himself alone late in life when his adopted parents died and his short marriage ended without children, only to be adopted once more and...

Side Streets: Retired Colorado Springs parks director sculpts nicest lawn in city

2014-06-20

Doesn't it seem like there's always one guy in the neighborhood whose lawn puts all others to shame? You know the type. These people create tsunamis on their yards and pile on more manure than I use in my Side Streets columns to produce a lush green carpet you'd expect to see in a rain forest. Then they stand behind the curtains in their...

Side Streets: A fond farewell to Gazette reporter Dave Philipps

2014-06-18

Today, just two months after we gave Dave Philipps a champagne toast in the newsroom to celebrate winning the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting, we are honoring him again. It's his last day at The Gazette. He is leaving us to join the New York Times, where he'll start on Monday. I applaud Dave, 36, for reaching what I consider the...

Side Streets: Scandal with sheriff is nothing new in the Pikes Peak region

2014-06-15

You might think the Pikes Peak region has never seen anything like the headline-grabbing scandal that has left El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa disgraced and apologizing for "inappropriate behavior" as authorities investigate and his fellow elected officials line up to demand his resignation. No doubt you've heard the accusations that...

Side Streets: Dire predictions about Colorado Springs street bypass come true

2014-06-13

Next-door neighbors Ruth Wagner and Phyllis Smith predicted this would happen. They warned Colorado Springs officials that the Chestnut Street bypass would be a disaster. Now, just six months or so after the new bypass opened with its stamped concrete privacy wall, with Chestnut on one side and the Wagner and Smith homes on the other, an...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs woman rescues community swimming pool

2014-06-11

When Jacque Thurman couldn't find anyone to throw a lifeline to the Village 7 Swim Club, she decided to rescue it herself. Now, after two years being closed and weeks of intense rehabbing, the pool is scheduled to open June 21. Based on conversations at nearby Mountain Grounds Coffee House, neighbors are eagerly anticipating its return....

Side Streets: Vision of help goes beyond our borders

2014-06-08

It started with a newspaper photo of a cross-eyed boy sitting on Santa's knee. When pediatric eye surgeon Ingrid Carlson saw the photo in a local paper during a Caribbean vacation in December 2011, she was inspired to act. What has transpired since - including in the past few weeks - is pretty amazing. Dr. Carlson, who practices at...

Side Streets: Let's give Peggy a party for the ages

2014-06-06

Peggy Shivers is coming up on her 75th birthday and to mark her milestone, she doesn't want your presents. But she would love your presence. Don't know Peggy Shivers? Wondering why you might want to observe her birthday? Consider all the presents she and her late husband, Clarence, have bestowed on Colorado Springs over the years....

Side Streets: Help mend an angel's broken wrist

2014-06-04

If you are dying for some historic fun this summer, pencil in the Evergreen Cemetery on your itinerary, starting with a sneak peek Thursday evening. In hopes of raising money for restoring damaged headstones and other preservation work at the 143-year-old cemetery southeast of downtown Colorado Springs, the Evergreen Cemetery Benevolent...

Side Streets: Tahama Springs hits bump on road to restoration

2014-06-01

For the group working to restore Tahama Springs as a free-flowing source of water in Monument Valley Park, success is so close they can taste it. But they dare not. The well, on the west bank of Monument Creek, had been sealed since a flood in 1965 destroyed the well's pavilion, depriving the city of its namesake and leading to envy and...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs was the 'real world' for Watergate conspirator, minister Jeb Magruder

2014-05-30

You don't need to be an American history buff to be interested in the recent death of Watergate conspirator Jeb Stuart Magruder. Many longtime residents of Colorado Springs no doubt nodded at the news May 11 that Magruder had died in Connecticut of complications from a stroke. Twice, Magruder called Colorado Springs home. Some probably...

Side Streets: Buried arts treasure found at Colorado Springs hotel

2014-05-25

Buried in a basement boiler room of the 112-year-old Albany Hotel, Jerimy Noon found a strange black object. Noon, who manages the 70-room rental house at 228 N. Tejon St., was cleaning out years of junk when he noticed the object wedged behind a large air duct and a stone foundation wall. "I tried to wiggle it out and then I got the sledge...

Side Streets: Newly sculpted walking paths, flowers brighten Colorado Springs

2014-05-23

To passers-by, the entrance to Discovery Park off Pebble Way in the Rockrimmon neighborhood is just a nicely landscaped gateway to a playground, baseball diamond and soccer field. But the newly sculpted walking paths, the bright flowers, the shrubs, trees and mulch represent much more than a neighborhood amenity. To Barbara Barton,...

Side Streets: Ex-Colorado Springs cop recalls his time as black member of Ku Klux Klan

2014-05-21

In January, I stumbled upon a display at a small museum honoring Ron Stallworth, who became the Colorado Springs Police Department's first black detective in August 1975 and three years later infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan as a card-carrying member. Did I mention Stallworth, now retired in Salt Lake City, is black? The display is in the...

Side Streets: Mental illness at the root of violent Colorado case

2014-05-18

Ben Poynter turned 29 in prison Sunday. He likely will turn 39 in prison, too, after being sentenced to 18 years for attempted murder of his girlfriend during a drug- and alcohol-fueled rage in June. He also was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and aggravated animal cruelty. At sentencing May 5, prosecutors described Poynter as a...

Side Streets: Stars in the making at an intimate venue

2014-05-16

Last week, my wife, Cary, and I had front-row seats for a sold-out concert featuring some up-and-coming talent we really enjoyed. The standing-room-only crowd sang and clapped and lined up to buy CDs after the show. Even better, the stars of the show hung around to chat with the guests long after the music ended. I'm not talking about the...

Side Streets: Proposed restaurant dividing Colorado Springs residents

2014-05-14

Residents of the Shooks Run neighborhood east of downtown Colorado Springs are divided over proposed plans to put a restaurant in a shuttered building that, for more than a century, housed a neighborhood grocery. Many like the idea proposed by partners Michael Carsten and Noel Black to offer an eclectic menu along with alcohol, takeout food...

Side Streets: Put pedal to pavement, get outside, enjoy art

2014-05-11

If you enjoy public art displays, street performers, art galleries and bicycling, mark June 6 on your calendar. Or on your smartphone. Or your tablet. Or on the back of your hand or on whatever you use to keep track of coming events. June 6 will be the first Friday of the month, which means there will be special events that evening...

Side Streets: Legislators saw value in mission of Safe2Tell

2014-05-09

How important is Safe2Tell, the nonprofit agency created by a Colorado Springs woman in 2004? It gives students statewide a place to anonymously report threats against schools and individuals, possible suicides, incidents of bullying and drug abuse. So important that lawmakers in the 2014 Colorado General Assembly passed, without a single...

Side Streets: Gearing up for week's commute challenge around Colorado Springs

2014-05-07

On Tuesday, I experienced my most pleasant commute to work in months. There was no one cutting me off, no one crawling along in the passing lane or scaring me silly as they texted on their cellphones while lurching down Interstate 25. I pedaled my bicycle to work Tuesday down the Pikes Peak Greenway trail. The only thing cutting me off...

Side Streets Extra: Dispute over name sank deal between May Museum, Disney

2014-05-04

Turns out Walt Disney kept pretty busy during his July 1956 visit to Colorado Springs. Side Streets readers may recall my January column about Walt and his wife, Lillian, and their visit to the region a month after the opening in Cascade of Santa's Workshop/North Pole theme park, which had been designed by Hollywood artist and ex-Disney...

Side Streets: May Museum remains a classic attraction

2014-05-04

Deep in Rock Creek Canyon about 8 miles south of Colorado Springs exists a pocket of pure 1950s Americana. Travel down Colorado 115, turn west at the huge steel replica Hercules beetle, wind along the creek and toward towering granite cliffs and be transported to a time when you could buy a ranch, build your own little museum, campground and...

Side Streets: Intriguing crew talks the walk at state park

2014-05-02

There's not much I enjoy more than a hike in the forest. Add an interesting guide with stories to tell about legendary writers, and nothing will keep me away. So I'm looking forward to this summer's "Walk in the Woods" series at Cheyenne Mountain State Park, which begins May 18 with a casual nature walk celebrating Henry David Thoreau....

Side Streets: Historic timepiece gets some TLC

2014-04-30

After several months in rehab, a 114-year-old street clock is back in its familiar place on the north plaza of the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. It's looking great, thanks to TLC given to it by Carl Mattson of Carl's Clock and Watch Repair. Before it was removed last fall, it was a faded, dreary green. Years earlier, it was a two-tone...

Side Streets: When gun is drawn, instinct takes over

2014-04-27

The angry, disheveled, stocky man stormed in the kitchen door to Lindy's Villa Tap, spotted his estranged wife, Rae Dusch, pointed his .22-caliber semi-automatic handgun and fired. There was an explosion, screams and the sound of breaking glass as plates of food smashed to the kitchen floor. Lucky for Rae, the bullet missed her as she ran...

Side Streets: Old maple to leave a hole in our lush forest

2014-04-25

Recently, Carol Willis returned to her home near Colorado College to find a large "X" painted in orange on the trunk of a large, old silver maple tree out front. It might as well have been a skull and crossbones in orange. The "X" was painted by city foresters who determined the tree, growing in the parkway between the sidewalk and curb,...

Side Streets: All-black baseball team 'finally' earns spot in Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame

2014-04-23

Sylvester Smith seemed stunned and asked me to repeat what I said. So I told him again: The Brown Bombers, an all-black team he played on 65 years ago that won back-to-back City Baseball League championships in 1949-50, stunning their all-white opponents, had been elected to the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame. "I'll be damned," the...

Side Streets: Community steps up to transform park entrance eyesore

2014-04-20

Last week, I told you about a woman who was unable to get permission to landscape her neighborhood entrance. Today I'll tell you a much happier story about a neighborhood that persuaded private businesses and city agencies to collaborate and give a landscaping face-lift to a city park entrance! For years, the entrance to Discovery Park off...

Side Streets: Willing Colorado Springs-area landscaper frustrated by red tape

2014-04-18

Danielle Keenan takes pride in her home in Claremont Ranch, an unincorporated subdivision of more than 1,000 homes just northeast of the Colorado Springs Airport on the city's eastern edge. And so it has bugged her that the entrance to the neighborhood looks so bad. Ever since she and her husband bought their home in 2006, the stretch along...

Side Streets Extra: Gazette's Pulitzer Prize award result of dogged quest to right a wrong

2014-04-15

Something very special happened Monday in Colorado Springs. Absolutely amazing, frankly. A Pulitzer Prize for National Reporting, the most prestigious honor in all of journalism, was bestowed on The Gazette and Dave Philipps. It was recognition of his three-day series "Other than Honorable," which examined how wounded combat veterans were...

Side Streets: Disaster nothing new for area so be prepared

2014-04-13

Disasters are a very real part of life in Colorado. - Things here burn. And flood. And they slide down mountainsides. And once in a while things shake. We even get the occasional twister. - Today's special pull-out section of The Gazette shows how locals can prepare for the disasters that can strike in the Pikes Peak region. Please, read it...

Side Streets: Babe Ruth visit part of Colorado Springs' baseball history

2014-04-11

As the Sky Sox prepare for their home opener Friday evening at Security Service Field, it's a good time to go into extra innings talking baseball in Colorado Springs. My recent column about Melvin Barhite winning a 1949 Gazette Telegraph-sponsored contest to name the new minor league franchise brought back lots of memories among readers....

Side Streets: Wagon Man’s treatment evidence of Aspenization in Manitou Springs

2014-04-09

Alas, it turns out Wagon Man was, in fact, too funky for Manitou Springs. In December, I asked if Manitou - the mountainside tourist hamlet that embraced Homer the Duck, Emma Crawford and her runaway coffin, bizarre fruitcake-tossing contests and other quirky festivals and individuals - had grown too corporate, too Aspenized, for a man and...

Side Streets: School has 140 years of teaching deaf, blind students

2014-04-06

Don't be fooled by the imposing old stone buildings of the Colorado School for the Deaf and the Blind standing tall atop the hill at Institute Street east of downtown Colorado Springs. They only look old from the outside. You might be surprised at what's inside the 17 buildings on the 37-acre campus on North Institute Street behind the white...

Side Streets: Sky Sox have Melvin Barhite to thank for name

2014-04-04

In recent days, baseball players for the Colorado Springs Sky Sox came north from spring training in Arizona and began the 2014 season. About the same time, Melvin Barhite returned to his home in Calhan after a winter visit to Phoenix. But Barhite was not among the fans who flock to training camp to get a glimpse of new prospects and...

Side Streets: Pat on the rump to public servants doing the right thing

2014-04-02

Who doesn't like an attaboy now and then? I sure do and I like giving them out. So here we go. I've got a high-five for Mike Chaves, a senior civil engineer for the city of Colorado Springs. And I've got celebratory pats on the rump for the Manitou Springs School District and Mayor Marc Snyder. Thanks to Chaves, 86-year-old Springs...

Side Streets: This Colorado Springs building is worth restoring

2014-03-28

It's no secret that I love the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. I love the building, which opened in May 1903 as the El Paso County Courthouse. And I love its contents - the collection of 40,000 items ranging from Van Briggle pottery and American Indian artifacts to the personal papers of Civil War Gen. William Jackson Palmer, who founded...

Side Streets: Rocky Mountain National Park still enchants writer after decades

2014-03-26

ESTES PARK - A fresh coat of wet snow made the coyote easy to spot as it trotted through the grass and boulders of the moraine. It winced as blowing snow pelted its face and coated its thick, reddish-tan fur. It stopped abruptly, crouched and stared intently at the snow-covered ground, its ears straight up and slightly twitching as it hunted...

Side Streets: Readers debate the tragedy of Joe Rivera's death

2014-03-23

Last Sunday I told the story of Joe Rivera, a star high school athlete and successful car salesman who ended up addicted to alcohol and drugs, spending his days panhandling on West Colorado Avenue until his death at age 48. The story triggered an emotional response among Rivera's family and readers. The family criticized me for writing...

Side Streets: Right buyer could get swim club splashing

2014-03-21

It's a bit of a fixer-upper. But with nearly an acre in the middle of town, it's got a great location. And there's plenty of parking and room for entertaining. And when it's spruced up, I predict it will be one of the most popular places in the neighborhood. For sale: the Village 7 Swim Club on Nonchalant Circle South. That's right, the...

Side Streets: Some emails, like 'power hour' at The Pinery, just make us laugh

2014-03-19

I don't know about you, but I get some goofy email. And I'm not talking about the come-ons from Nigerian bankers and young girls promising to get "drunky" with me. These are real people. Some ask for help. Some want me to speak to their group. Some want me to join their club. (Clearly, they don't know me.) Last week, I was invited to...

Side Streets: Joe Rivera's tragic life, death illustrate complexity of Colorado Springs' homeless issue

2014-03-16

They are known as the homeless. Street people. Panhandlers, beggars, hobos, bums, crazies, drunks and junkies. The labels make them easier to dismiss as subhumans and mere distractions. To many they are harmless irritants who try to coax money for food, booze or drugs. They sleep in shelters, cheap motels, with friends and relatives, under...

Side Streets: Man says it's crazy Colorado Springs lets houses sit condemned; he's trying for change

2014-03-14

Curtis Olson hates seeing boarded-up homes, like the string of deteriorating bungalows on East Brookside Street near Cheyenne Creek that are targets for street people, drug dealers and vandals. Olson, 50, knows that condemned houses are a blight on a neighborhood and erode property values in every direction. And Olson is trying to do...

Side Streets: Time change a timeless experience at Pioneers Museum

2014-03-12

If you are like me - and for everyone's sake let's hope not - then you struggle to get all your clocks changed twice a year when daylight saving time forces us to spring forward or fall back. In my case it's a matter of holding the "time set" and "hour" buttons down simultaneously on my cheap plastic wristwatch. But somehow it takes me...

Side Streets: Putting the springs back in the Springs

2014-03-09

In Monument Valley Park along the west banks of Monument Creek in downtown Colorado Springs, sheltered by a grove of towering old trees just past the pedestrian bridge, sits an octagonal concrete pad with a stone well in the middle. But the well is abandoned, and there are only hints to what stood there decades ago. Two holes in the well's...

Side Streets: Shuttered shop was skater's hangout

2014-03-07

Tim Burke wandered around Ethan's Room Skate Shop on Thursday and just shook his head. The shop was dark and shelves mostly empty. No backpacks or gear hung in the lockers. No tools rattled in the equipment room. The boardroom, its walls colorfully tagged in graffiti, was quiet. A few boards, shoes, shirts, sunglasses and hacky sacks...

Side Streets: Building community around Colorado Springs 1 book at a time

2014-03-05

After the Waldo Canyon fire roared through Mountain Shadows in June 2012, killing two people and destroying 347 homes, Carolyn and Tim McMahon wanted to do something for their neighbors on Rossmere Street and the rest of the area who lost everything. "We felt such grief for our neighborhood," Carolyn said. "We wanted to do something to pull...

Side Streets: Rock Ledge Ranch rich with history in Colorado Springs

2014-03-02

Talk about your living history. To most Colorado Springs residents, the Rock Ledge Ranch Historic Site is a place to see an authentic homestead ranch where 19th century pioneers and then 20th century cowboys lived and worked cattle and raised crops in rustic conditions. Many times I've walked through and tried to imagine what it was like to...

Side Streets: Racing back in time at the old Colorado Springs greyhound park

2014-02-23

With its rusting roof, peeling paint, tattered window coverings and weed-choked track and infield, the shuttered Rocky Mountain Greyhound Park looks like it has been through a war. I visited the 28-acre complex on North Nevada Avenue last week after receiving calls from readers. Some were worried about activities they'd observed; others were...

Side Streets: A blueprint for settling disputes in HOAs

2014-02-21

Colorado lawmakers should provide alternatives for residents to settle disputes with dysfunctional homeowners associations, the state HOA boss recommends. Establishing a binding arbitration program and a referral system for mediation were among a half-dozen recommendations that Gary Kujawski, the HOA information officer, recently made to the...

Side Streets: Court lets Wagon Man walk free this time

2014-02-19

The Wagon Man walked! After a bizarre 90-minute trial, Phillip Cargile avoided conviction on four tickets for being a pedestrian illegally in the street and possible fines exceeding $400 in Manitou Springs Municipal Court on Tuesday. But Judge J. Martin Thrasher warned him to stay on the sidewalks or he may not be able to sidestep conviction...

Side Streets: A life that epitomized meaning of Olympics

2014-02-16

As the Winter Olympic Games continue in Sochi, Russia, I can't stop thinking about a former Colorado Springs man who personified the Olympic ideal that values participation above winning. The Olympic creed says: "The most important thing in life is not the triumph, but the fight; the essential thing is not to have won, but to have fought...

Side Streets: Guardrail curtails lane's rash of smash

2014-02-14

Last Friday afternoon, as snow fell on Colorado Springs, Elke Dickinson heard a "bang" and looked out the window of her home, which backs up to South Chelton Road near Valley Hi Golf Course. For years, Dickinson and her neighbors in the Spring Lane subdivision have routinely heard loud noises followed by the sight of cars careening through...

Side Streets: Some in Peregrine tired of towers, too

2014-02-12

Remember the dozens of wireless antenna towers going up in the Broadmoor neighborhood that I told you about in December? Some folks were thrilled at the prospect of improved cellphone service, as well as Internet and data transmissions they will enjoy thanks to the new towers. One reader, Jennifer Corr, wrote me on Facebook asking if she...

Side Streets: Rest of the stump story is quite a tale

2014-02-09

Often, the rest of the story is as interesting as the original. That's the case with my recent column about Walt Disney's 1956 visit to the Florissant fossil beds and purchase of a 34 million-year-old stump. After the Jan. 31 column ran, I learned a ton of new information including: - The owner of the Pike Petrified Forest, Jack Baker,...

Side Streets: Memoir details life, challenges of black businesswoman

2014-02-02

Mention legendary businesswoman Fannie Mae Duncan and typically you'll hear how she helped end segregation by inviting folks of all colors to eat, drink and dance at her Cotton Club in downtown Colorado Springs. Now, a new memoir confirms her "Everybody Welcome" motto and reveals Duncan in all her depth, from the tragedy that led her family to...

Side Streets: Florissant fossil found a home at theme park

2014-01-31

If you've ever visited Disneyland in California, chances are you walked right by the little slice of the Pikes Peak region that stands as the oldest and most authentic attraction in a place devoted to all things make-believe and figments of wild imaginations. Several times over the years, I've walked right past it, oblivious to this souvenir...

Side Streets: Mr. Affordable Housing is retiring and it's a blow to region's working poor

2014-01-29

The working poor - folks who want to own a home and achieve the American dream but can't qualify for traditional mortgages - are losing a friend. Paul Johnson, 67, executive director of Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity, last week announced he plans to retire in July after 17 years leading the nonprofit Christian ministry dedicated to...

Side Streets: Pictures spotlight 127 years of Colorado Springs, western US history

2014-01-26

Who doesn't like old photos? Especially when they give you a glimpse into places you love. So I was tickled when John E. Norton called offering me a look at the family's albums. They are filled with black-and-white photos dating to 1887 of the Colorado Springs area as well as landmarks across the West including Yellowstone National Park,...

Side Streets: History of blacks in Colorado Springs being preserved

2014-01-24

In an old classroom of the former Buena Vista School, retired nurse Candice McKnight is teaching history to anyone who wanders in. More important, she's preserving history, too, of blacks in Colorado Springs. The classroom, now part of the Westside Community Center, is the rented home to the African-American Historical and Genealogical...

Side Streets: Meaningful justice, one person at a time

2014-01-22

I spent a month in the Manitou Springs Municipal Court on Tuesday morning, watching a parade of traffic and criminal cases that left me, at various times, shaking my head in disbelief, wincing in pain and, once in a while, chuckling. But most of all, my four hours in court left me with a sense of admiration for Municipal Judge J. Martin...

Side Streets: Descendant of pioneering families leaving Colorado Springs with cherished memento

2014-01-19

In a week or so, Anna Lee Magee will pack up Samson, her stuffed trophy brown trout, her easel and drawings of wolves and other animals, along with her tintype family photos and leave the only home she has ever known. It's a traumatic time for Anna, 78, because of what she's leaving behind: her beloved Pikes Peak, the Garden of the Gods and...

Side Streets: Safe2Tell founder fighting for students

2014-01-17

Next week, Colorado Springs native Susan Payne will go to Denver to fight for passage of a bill before the General Assembly that would transform the Safe2Tell nonprofit organization she founded as a permanent, state-funded department within the attorney general's office. In an era of seemingly endless headlines about school shootings, student...

Side Streets: Upscale Colorado Springs neighborhood preparing to battle gun range

2014-01-15

Preparations for war are underway in Pinecliff, a normally serene and secluded, upscale neighborhood in northwest Colorado Springs built atop a ridge known as Popes Bluff. Armed with sound wave analyses, fears of airborne lead poisoning and, worse, predictions of PTSD-inducing noise from incessant gunfire including perhaps large-caliber...

Side Streets: Paper route brings back memories to soak up

2014-01-12

The news of The Gazette's move to the Busy Corner in downtown Colorado Springs prompted a Cañon City man to share with me stories of his long association with the paper. Larry Jessen, 72, wrote a congratulatory note last month as we moved from the Hillside neighborhood east of downtown to our new space at 30 E. Pikes Peak Ave., at the...

Side Streets: Sequel to share Black Forest fire's 'defining moment'

2014-01-08

The sequel is rarely as good as the original. (Need I mention "Anchorman 2?") But that movie adage doesn't hold up in the case of the video released recently by the Black Forest History Committee. In 2010, the committee produced "Historical Tour of the Black Forest." The 45-minute DVD was a fascinating account of the unincorporated...

Side Streets: Christmas is a time for giving, reflection

2013-12-25

I love Christmas because it conjures some of the best memories of my childhood. Each Christmas Eve, my folks hosted a family party with all our aunts, uncles and cousins. (It was the one night a year everyone got along.) The scene was pure Norman Rockwell, if you ignored the visit by a drunken Santa. Then my family would go to midnight...

Side Streets: Gazette looking forward to new building, hope

2013-12-21

As I write this, I am settling into my new desk in The Gazette's stunning new offices at the Busy Corner of Tejon Street and Pikes Peak Avenue and enjoying a workplace with huge windows and tall ceilings that hint of its previous life as a bank lobby. It is nicer than any newsroom where I've ever worked. And I can't help but remember what I...

Side Streets: A house where history blossomed

2013-12-20

On Sunday, I told of the history our community lost on Thanksgiving Day when fire gutted a vacant 125-year-old house on East Cucharras Street on the southeast edge of downtown. Turns out it was one of just two houses where blacks driving across the country in the 1940s and '50s could find a room in segregated Colorado Springs, according to...

Side Streets: Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace was a downtown Colorado Springs champion

2013-12-18

Amid the celebrations over the City for Champions project clearing a major funding hurdle Monday, there was no mention of someone who deserves great credit for advancing the idea of downtown redevelopment with amenities such as stadiums, arenas, museums, hotels and a convention center: Mary Lou Makepeace. Makepeace, now 73, served 18 years on...

Side Streets: Fire destroys piece of Colorado Springs history

2013-12-15

When fire gutted a 125-year-old house on the edge of downtown Thanksgiving Day, more than just an empty building was destroyed. During the 1940s and '50s, the house at 418 E. Cucharras St. was a link in a nationwide chain of "tourist homes" where blacks driving cross-country could find a room in an era of racial segregation and...

Side Streets: Antenna towers divide Broadmoor residents tired of asking 'Can you hear me now?'

2013-12-13

Dozens of antenna towers are popping up across the Broadmoor area to provide wireless service for Internet, cellphone and data transmissions, leaving neighbors sharply divided over the project. Some, like Sara Lynn Thomas, are thrilled to think they may finally get reliable cellphone service after being frustrated for years by dropped calls...

Side Streets: Is Wagon Man too funky for Manitou Springs?

2013-12-11

It makes me sad to think I finally found someone too unique for funky Manitou Springs, which prides itself on welcoming all types of personalities and celebrates unique, quirky individuals with coffin races and fruitcake tossing contests. In May, I introduced Side Streets readers to Phillip "the Wagon Man" Cargile, who just wants to walk, his...

Side Streets: Be extra careful with bears around

2013-12-08

A few weeks ago, Gazette photojournalist Michael Ciaglo was cruising around on a snowy afternoon looking for feature photo ideas when he saw a large rock moving in a field in the Woodmen Valley near the Peregrine neighborhood. He stopped and looked again. This time he saw three large, moving boulders. Turned out they were bears. A...

Side Streets: Hope for an end to sidewalk rescues

2013-12-06

For years, Duncan MacDonald tried to patch the public sidewalk in front of his little bungalow. But his patches failed and the concrete cracked and heaved and flaked away, creating a trap for anyone in a wheelchair in front of his home near Fillmore Street and Templeton Gap Road. "My sidewalk is a mess," MacDonald said. "Twice I've rescued...

Side Streets: Apartment projects add to Colorado Springs traffic concerns

2013-12-04

With images of their frantic escape from the 2012 Waldo Canyon fire fresh in their minds, some residents of Rockrimmon are worried that their neighborhood is about to become dangerously congested as one large apartment complex opens and another is proposed. But officials of the new 260-unit Encore at Rockrimmon apartments on 12 acres along...

Side Streets: Why be thankful? Start with family

2013-11-27

In keeping with the tradition of Thanksgiving, I've been thinking about the past year and the many blessings in my life. The list, I find, is long. But I've whittled it down to a few important memories for which I'll be giving thanks Thursday. Of course, they all revolve around my family. Here they are in no particular order. A...

Side Streets: Why do some in Colorado Springs want to live behind walls, gates?

2013-11-24

For years, Kissing Camels and Crystal Park were the only gated communities in the Colorado Springs area. But since housing began to boom in the 1990s, more than 30 neighborhoods have been built where residents are segregated behind guardhouses or electronic gates. They stretch from Black Forest Reserve and Flying Horse to the north to the...

Side Streets: Compromise may smooth sidewalk concerns

2013-11-22

From the side of her century-old house, Mary Tatum can watch children cavorting next door on the playground of Manitou Springs Elementary School and hear their laughter. But she's afraid one day she might hear crying out front, where twice a day children funnel in and out of the playground, across a recently painted crosswalk and into waiting...

Side Streets: Three teams everyone can rally around

2013-11-20

Team Kidney Bean won a thrilling victory of a lifetime. Team Side Streets came through again in the clutch. And seventh-grade students from Divine Redeemer made varsity on Team Hunger. Time to update a few previous Side Streets topics. First is Team Kidney Bean, the name given the folks surrounding Joe Hanson, who waited 30 months for a donor...

Side Streets: Photographer Bob Jackson recalls photo of Lee Harvey Oswald that captured history

2013-10-19

Bob Jackson vividly remembers hearing gunfire erupt from the sixth floor of the Texas School Book Depository Building in Dallas. It was Nov. 22, 1963, and Jackson was a 29-year-old photographer for the Dallas Times Herald, riding in the motorcade of President John F. Kennedy. "We heard the first shot and then two more closer together,"...

Side Streets: After 40 years condemned, Colorado Springs house may be ordered cleaned up by court

2013-11-17

After unsuccessfully trying to get the Joseph O'Brien family to fix up a west-side house that has been condemned 40 years, the city's new code enforcement boss is looking to municipal court for help. The city of Colorado Springs has cited Joseph's son Glenn William O'Brien, 54, for failure to comply with a notice and order to remove junk and...

Side Streets: Solving life worries a doughnut at a time

2013-11-15

Recently, I reintroduced readers to the Breakfast Club, a group of mostly retired men who gather casually six mornings a week at Oliver's Deli in Rockrimmon to drink coffee and, as club member Frank Castle jokingly described: "solve all the problems of the world." It had been 10 years since I first met them and in the years since, many new...

Side Streets: Learning a lesson in what really matters

2013-11-13

Perspective is a funny thing. It can distort and warp your impressions of things. And it can teach you important lessons. That was the case Saturday when I drove my wife, Cary, and son Ben to Denver to cheer our beloved Air Academy High School's boys' soccer team in the state championship game. It's the same drive we made in 2010 under...

Side Streets: Trees from fires cut into useful lumber

2013-11-10

When Andy Stauffer's company, Colorado Timber Homes, was rebuilding a Mountain Shadows home destroyed during the Waldo Canyon fire in 2012, he had an idea for linking the old and the new. It involved recycling a particular tree that had burned on his client's property. This tree had been planted by the homeowners for their kids and had...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs rallies for courageous teenager

2013-11-08

Need your faith in humanity restored? Consider how various groups are coming together on behalf of a Colorado Springs family facing more than its share of troubles. Maybe you remember the story of Jonah Pfennigs. He's a 14-year-old freshman at Doherty High School who has been in the newspaper over the years for his battle with cancer. Those...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs men forge friendships over cars, coffee

2013-11-03

Six days a week, since 1976, a group of Colorado Springs men has met for coffee. They debate the front-page stories of the day, do crossword puzzles, swap war stories and most importantly, enjoy being friends. They are the Breakfast Club (or the "Honorable and Ancient, Tattered and Tired Mug Wranglers" as one member jokingly calls the...

Side Streets: Coincidence or divine intervention? Couple delivers groceries to Colorado Springs woman

2013-11-01

Once again I am amazed at the generosity of Side Streets readers. And to think that a Side Streets column resulted, in one reader's opinion, in the direct answer to a prayer . . . well, that's humbling for sure. It all relates to the Food Assistance Challenge issued by Care and Share, the food bank of southern Colorado, in September as part...

Side Streets: Flowers are said to possess powers

2013-10-30

It's not every day someone sends you blessed, healing, miracle rose petals. But that's exactly what came in the mail Monday courtesy of readers Carol and Bill Mays. At first, I wondered if they knew something I didn't. Now that I think of it, I've been feeling a little strange. And I've got this cough. And a rash. No, it was nothing like...

Side Streets: Cemetery for pioneering Colorado Springs family completed

2013-10-27

Last week I spent a really pleasant morning in a cemetery. That's not something I ever thought I'd say. (I spent a few scary nights in a cemetery behind my dorm in college, hiding from campus police after pulling stupid pranks. But I don't recall really enjoying spending time in a burial ground.) But that changed as Ben Pinello gave me a...

Ramblin' Man: Able-bodied motorists use handicapped parking - a lot

2013-10-26

Is it tempting? You pull up in front of a store, you're in a hurry, the closest parking spot has a sign in front of it with a wheelchair. And you are not disabled. Do you do it? Apparently, plenty do. "It's rampant. People just disregard it," said Tim Ashley, a graduate student at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs who is...

Side Streets: Seen any aliens in Colorado or beyond? Share your UFO story

2013-10-23

It's funny the stuff we've come across in the newsroom as we clean out old file cabinets in preparation for our move to the Busy Corner downtown in December. Our big meeting table is buried under yellowed newspapers from World War II with headlines announcing, for example, F.D.R. meeting with Churchill and Stalin in Iran to map war strategy....

Side Streets: Brown Bombers now a Colorado Springs sports hall of fame contender

2013-10-18

On Sunday, I introduced readers to the five surviving members of the Brown Bombers. They were part of a semi-professional, all-black baseball team that defeated all-white teams to win back-to-back championships in the Colorado Springs City Baseball League in 1949-50. At the end of the column, I asked why this team wasn't enshrined in the...

Side Streets: Students go the extra mile to help the hungry in Colorado Springs

2013-10-16

On Wednesday morning, students at Divine Redeemer Catholic School will go an extra mile to fight hunger in the area. And you can help them with a last-minute push. For the past few weeks, the school's 198 students have been collecting food for their church food pantry. Their goal is to collect enough food to stretch a mile. The project is...

Side Streets: All-black baseball team a living Colorado Springs history lesson

2013-10-13

Quick, name any championship team of the semi-professional Colorado Springs City Baseball League. Didn't know we even had a league? We did, and it was popular a couple generations ago, fading away after the 1950 launch of the minor league Sky Sox. Today, the city league and most of its champions are long forgotten. But not the team that...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs talent might have chance to make it big

2013-10-09

On Sunday evening, after a marathon day of singing, dancing, comedy and even fire-twirling performances, two acts were declared statewide winners of a Colorado You Got Talent competition. In the youth division, a Colorado Springs girl, Cierra Hicks, was deemed by judges as champion. Videos on YouTube show her giving a stirring vocal...

Side Streets: 'Cursed' mountaintop home bedevils Manitou Springs until the end

2013-10-09

Tom McGee's house on the summit of Iron Mountain isn't exactly an Amityville house of horrors possessed by evil spirits. But I believe it is cursed. I was convinced on Tuesday when the modest two-bedroom house, perched defiantly overlooking Manitou Springs, avoided a date with a wrecking crew. It was scheduled for demolition at 10:30 a.m....

Side Streets: Pretty pond in Garden of the Gods is also a stinky mess

2013-10-06

A once-in-a-generation pond in the Garden of the Gods is creating sensational reflections of the red rocks at sunset. It's also creating a stink in Pleasant Valley. No, I'm not saying neighbors are upset about hordes of camera-toting wannabe Ansel Adamses parking bumper-to-bumper along Chambers Way and trekking up an old dam to capture a...

Side Streets: Goodbye, Gold Camp Speedway near I-25

2013-10-04

So you are thinking about buying a nice, shiny sports car and you want to see what it can do. But you'll be driving with one foot on the brake if you take it for a test drive on Interstate 25. Where do you go for some open pavement and few police? Chuck Burgess and Rita Ague say many high-octane test drivers are flooding their neighborhood,...

Hdy hdy hdy hdy

2013-10-04

After 50-some years of peaceful living in Cragmor, Mary Simon said everything in the little neighborhood on the side of Austin Bluffs started deteriorating. The cause? A daily deluge of cars parked against every inch of curb by students and staff at the nearby University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Each weekday during the school year,...

Hdy hdy hdy hdy

2013-10-04

Ken Lewis no longer has one of the worst jobs in Colorado Springs. For him, I am happy. But I'm sorry for all the neighborhoods that are losing their champion in Lewis, who retires today as code enforcement administrator. And I'm sorry for whoever tries to replace Lewis, a man I consider one of the city's most dedicated public servants...

Side Streets: The excavator won, of course, and McGee house no longer haunts Manitou Springs

2013-10-03

The excavator won. Tom McGee’s controversial house, which he built in 1991 atop Iron Mountain, was crushed Wednesday by a demolition crew’s excavator a day after it mysteriously broke a steel track just 50 feet from the summit. By evening, all that remained was the foundation of the modest house, which had just two small bedrooms, a one-car...

Side Streets: Going home can be difficult

2013-09-25

On Sunday, I took an unexpected stroll down memory lane with some friends and neighbors I had never met. It was pleasant for me and my new old friends. But they stopped short of traveling too far into the past because it can be a disappointing trip. It's a lesson I learned a couple summers ago. More on that in a bit. First, about my Sunday...

Side Streets: City shows big heart in feeding the hungry

2013-09-22

My weeklong experiment living on a food stamp budget of $4.50 a day ended with few hunger pangs and many revelations and insights about all the good folks trying to help the hungry in Colorado Springs. I also enjoyed a happy homecoming of sorts at the Marian House, the area's largest soup kitchen. More on that in a minute. First a recap....

Side Streets: City Auditorium is where we really live

2013-09-19

Where in Colorado Springs can you relax and catch a friendly roller derby match? Or the next day attend a flea market? Or maybe paint your face and slam dance in a mosh pit to some death metal band? Or eat a sack lunch while the pipe organ plays? There's only one place where all that and more regularly occurs: the City Auditorium. And...

Side Streets: Tough choices in the grocery store on a food-stamp budget

2013-09-18

Seeds Community Cafe, with its motto "Order What You Want, Pay What You Want," had its grand opening this week, just in time to save me from day after dreary day of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and spaghetti as I live on a food stamp budget of $4.50 a day. I'm eating frugally as part of the Care and Share Food Assistance Challenge,...

Side Streets: Challenge to eat on $4.50 a day

2013-09-14

For the next week, I'm going to survive on a food budget of just $4.50 a day. That's right, I'm going to limit my food purchases to what I typically spend on a tip for a fancy dinner. (You've probably guessed that my idea of "fancy" is pretty modest.) The point is, an estimated 55,000 people in the Pikes Peak region survive on that meager...

Side Streets: Readers all have tales of Springs speed spots

2013-09-12

All I have to do is mention speeding, schools and neighborhoods to get a strong reader reaction. In Wednesday's Side Streets, I reported that Facebook friend Amy Berger wanted to know how to request a speed trap be set in her neighborhood near Horace Mann Middle School. Amy said commuters turn Templeton Gap into a drag strip each morning and...

Side Streets: Residents can request SMART trailers

2013-09-10

Amy Berger is worried about speeding in her neighborhood north of downtown near Patty Jewett Golf Course. "Do you know how one would go about having (police) set up a speed trap?" Amy asked me over Facebook. "There are so many speeding cars by my home which is near a school, and I worry!" It's a common question, actually: Where's a...

Side Streets: He's the hair therapist in Colorado Springs, and not slowing down

2013-09-07

Imagine a job where you set your own hours. There's no phone ringing all day. No computers or email. And no boss breathing down your neck. If I had that job, I'd never want to retire. That's the case with Benny Vallejo, otherwise known as Benny the Barber. Benny has been cutting hair near Eighth Street and West Colorado Avenue since 1961....

SIDE STREETS; Colorado Springs veterans forced to find new lunch spot

2013-09-06

The failure of a small, family-owned and operated business is painful enough. Everything you worked to build for years is gone. Your finances are ruined. You are embarrassed. But when you feel like you've let others down, too, that pain is compounded. That's the case for Randy and Nancy Bolen who abruptly closed their Peak Grill on...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs streets all need an Edward

2013-09-05

When Edward and Mildred Ezzell bought their home in the Eastborough neighborhood in 1974, they quickly discovered there was a drainage problem. Every time it rained, water pooled at their corner of Ruskin Drive and Browning Avenue, a block east of Academy Boulevard just south of Pikes Peak Avenue. Storm drains installed at the corner were...

SIDE STREETS: "Who we are" in Colorado Springs not a simple query

2013-09-01

Back in a previous life, when I was city editor of The Gazette, I described my job as holding a mirror up to Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. If I was doing my job, readers would see their reflections in the paper. My goal was for The Gazette to be the definitive place for current residents, as well as folks a century from now, to...

SIDE STREETS: New roof brings peace of mind for fire danger

2013-08-29

Thanks to a hard weekend of work by a crew of six men, I have a new peace of mind. The crew replaced the faded wood shake roof on my Rockrimmon home with fire retardant, impact resistant, rubberized asphalt shingles made to resemble wood. We thanked our crew with pizza and beer for their work. But I also need to thank a former neighbor,...

Side Streets: Colorado Springs street clock in need of restoration

2013-08-26

The Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum is the city’s attic where all our cool, old stuff is stored. From time to time, we take down something we haven’t seen in a while, fix it up and put it out for friends to admire. Matt Mayberry, museum director, is hoping Side Streets readers will dig into their attics to help him fix up one of the museum’s...

SIDE STREETS: Flamingo Friday is more than a party

2013-08-12

If you are headed home at the end of the workweek, and you happen to be on the far west side of Colorado Springs and see bright pink lawn ornaments drawing a crowd, stop in and join the fun. Undoubtedly, you've stumbled into another Flamingo Friday celebration. For about 10 years, Mary Anne Hastings and Tia Price have been the driving force...

SIDE STREETS: Black Forest newspaper publisher still going strong

2013-08-10

In the aftermath of the Black Forest fire, with her home in ashes, with one of her horses dead and the other severely burned, with her collection of 600 plant species destroyed, her 1,000-book library incinerated along with most of her personal belongings, Judy von Ahlefeldt wavered. She gave voice to the possibility that her beloved Black...

SIDE STREETS: Colorado Springs woman is living legacy of Stratton's philanthropy

2013-08-08

On Tuesday morning, in a parking lot on Bijou Street at Cascade Avenue, officials of the Myron Stratton Home gathered at the site of a new mural celebrating the 100th anniversary of the home for Colorado Springs' poor and needy. Standing at the edge of the parking lot, as board members and dignitaries chatted, was Brenda Emilio. She nodded...

SIDE STREETS: Century-old Colorado Springs house remains condemned 40 years later

2013-08-03

Remember 1973? Richard Nixon was president of the United States, barely. The U.S. pulled out of Vietnam and stopped bombing Cambodia, ending 12 years of war in Southeast Asia. That year, Watergate became synonymous with corruption and scandal in Washington D.C. as an attempt to bug the Democratic National Committee headquarters,...

SIDE STREETS: First Friday celebration brings attention to vibrant public art

2013-08-05

If you didn't happen to be in downtown Colorado Springs on Friday evening, mark your calendar (do people still have calendars?) for Sept. 6 and plan to attend the Downtown First Friday celebration of public art. You won't want to miss it, if you love public art, as I do. What you missed during the recent Downtown First Friday event was the...

SIDE STREETS: What birthday gift would you give Colorado Springs?

2013-08-01

Gen. William Jackson Palmer did more than just found Colorado Springs on July 31, 1871. He went on to give his community many gifts in the form of vast parkland that we still enjoy today, including the jewels Monument Valley, Palmer Park and Helen Hunt Falls at North Cheyenne Ca?n Park. So in honor of the city's birthday Wednesday, and...

SIDE STREETS: Lawn parched? Not in one water-weary area of Widefield

2013-07-29

WIDEFIELD - While homeowners across the Pikes Peak region have struggled with dying, brown lawns due to the drought and water restrictions, one neighborhood in Widefield has just the opposite problem. Some lawns here have been swampy messes. Folks have installed sump pumps to keep the water out of their basements and homes. There's so much...

SIDE STREETS: Don't become a Colorado Springs flood victim, heed these tips

2013-07-27

After a year of wildfires and floods, I confess I'm a little tired of writing about death and destruction. So this column is for the estimated 8,000 people living in the possible path of a mud and debris-filled flash flood off the Waldo Canyon burn scar on the western edge of Colorado Springs. Since only about 12 of you came to the...

SIDE STREETS: Story behind Rockrimmon Trail detour involves safety ... and intrigue

2013-07-25

In recent weeks, a short section of the Rockrimmon Trail was blocked by a fence and the trail re-routed across a small creek over a new bridge with a new concrete sidewalk on each end. Trail users began calling me asking why the detour was created. They could see no damage that might have prompted the dramatic change to the trail, which dates...

SIDE STREETS: New Year's resolution sparks big food drive in Colorado Springs neighborhood

2013-07-22

Leslie Patterson was doing some year-end self-evaluation and decided she wanted to be more generous in 2013. She's convinced her entire neighborhood to join in her New Year's resolution and now the hungry in the Pikes Peak region are benefiting. On July 13, Patterson's resolution came to life with the first Patty Jewett Neighborhood Food...

SIDE STREETS: Close call with small wildfire prompts big response in Colorado Springs neighborhood

2013-07-20

On the night of June 13, during the height of the recent Black Forest fire, a few residents of the densely forested Woodmen Valley were drawn outside their homes by barking dogs. The residents were shocked to see a patch of ground and a tree ablaze and a suspicious car racing away down Westwood Road, one of only two roads into the valley....

SIDE STREETS: Social media a platform for suicide threats, quests for meth

2013-07-18

On Sunday evening, I was stopped cold by posts on my Facebook stream. These weren't the usual inane "repost if you love your aardvark" stuff or photos of someone's dinner plate. (I'm glad you enjoyed your burrito, but I've never quite understood the whole food-bragging thing.) These posts were much different. At first, I thought they were...

SIDE STREETS: A chance to learn about our Thoreau

2013-07-15

It's always fun to discover a hidden gem. That's how I felt recently when I was introduced to the writings and artistry of longtime Colorado Springs resident Ann Haymond Zwinger. In fact, I'm kind of ashamed that I hadn't heard of the acclaimed naturalist, author and artist until now. Turns out she's our Henry David Thoreau, communing...

SIDE STREETS: Wildfire insurance creating a ruckus

2013-07-11

Calls and emails continue to roll in over my recent column on State Farm Insurance Co.'s decision to crack down on policyholders in wildfire red zones by demanding they mitigate possible fire losses by creating defensible space around their homes. I reported that on June 10, State Farm mailed 12,000 letters to homeowners in red zones in six...

Side Streets: Cigarette butts cause fires, add to pollution

2013-07-01

As the Black Forest fire raged a few weeks ago, I got a call from Jennifer Erickson who was outraged after seeing cigarette smokers tossing their butts out car windows. "Don't they know how dangerous it is?" she asked, noting the grasses along roadways are crispy dry and vulnerable to any spark. "And don't they know how bad butts are on the...

SIDE STREETS: Insurance demands for fire mitigation may mean big changes in communities

2013-06-29

On June 10, State Farm Insurance Co. mailed 12,000 letters to homeowners in six Western states alerting them that inspectors would be visiting their properties and taking photos to assess their risk from wildfire. These letters could dramatically change the look of Colorado Springs and foothills neighborhoods across the West. Doesn't matter...

SIDE STREETS: Mountain Shadows is transformed again one year after Waldo Canyon fire

2013-06-26

The day after the Black Forest fire erupted on June 11, Mike Hausman and Mark Reese stood on Wilson Road high atop Mountain Shadows and looked at a billowing plume of white and black smoke churning from what would become the most destructive wildfire in Colorado history. Both men shook their heads. They spoke of the charred dreams that...

SIDE STREETS: Communication network for Black Forest fire victims had its start years ago

2013-06-24

When El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn reached out to homeowners associations to communicate with victims of the Black Forest fire, he was tapping into a powerful network. Over the years, many HOAs have built active websites and thorough databases of email addresses and phone numbers. Many use chat rooms to discuss issues. They have...

SIDE STREETS: Insurance catastrophe team helps pick up pieces after fire

2013-06-20

An old friend called to meet me for lunch Tuesday. After catching up on family, our conversation turned to work. It was sobering, listening to the demands of his job. Steve Witmer is part of American Family Insurance's catastrophe team, in town to work with victims of the Black Forest fire. He and his colleagues are here to start the...

SIDE STREETS: Eavesdropping while heroes worked

2013-06-18

Last week, many of you no doubt watched on TV and read the newspaper in horror as wildfires raged around the Pikes Peak region. I wasn't watching much TV. I spent most of my days eavesdropping on heroes. Specifically I was listening to police scanners, following the sometimes intense, sometimes heartbreaking, always riveting radio traffic...

SIDE STREETS: 'Wagon Man' in Colorado Springs brings a 'happy heart'

2013-05-31

A large U.S. flag flapping in the breeze drew my attention to the side of the road where I saw a man in a cowboy hat and patchwork overalls pulling a string of three small, red wagons - the last holding a cartoon doll - down West Colorado Avenue. I pulled over and hopped out to watch the man and his caravan. As he walked, he held his right...

SIDE STREETS: Readers share their coyote stories, and tips to scare them off

2013-05-30

Readers are sounding off about the recent coyote attacks on two preschoolers in a popular Colorado Springs park - and encounters elsewhere. John Mims of Village Seven neighborhood told me coyotes are becoming a common sight on the Homestead Trail and he's disappointed in the seeming indifference of Colorado Parks and Wildlife officials to...

SIDE STREETS: Urban gardening about to become a year-round affair

2013-05-27

The trailer hitched to the back of Larry Stebbins' pickup truck is piled high with fresh dirt and long-handled shovels. On the sides and back of the trailer, Stebbins has written by hand two words in big, capital letters: "GROW FOOD." This is not some bumper sticker motto. These words are his exhortation. Words that drive Stebbins. Words he...

Side Streets: Bloodshed finally led to coyotes' destruction in Springs

2013-05-25

Frank VerHey was disappointed but not surprised at headlines last week that coyotes had attacked two preschoolers in popular Goose Gossage Youth Sports Complex along Monument Creek north of Fillmore Street. In January, Frank sounded the alarm about the pack of coyotes living in the park. He warned that folks walking and jogging on the trail...

SIDE STREETS: Four-legged veteran was hero to many

2013-05-23

Mitra Singh is planning a memorial service for a hero: her friend and companion Emir. For six years, Emir was in the Air Force and served four combat tours in Iraq. Emir won an award for being a key member of the security detail that protected President George W. Bush during his 2008 visit to Baghdad. He even played the role of matchmaker...

SIDE STREETS: See how Colorado Springs neighborhood makeup has changed

2013-05-20

In my mind, I have a visual map of Colorado Springs. Maybe you do, too. In my map, I see neighborhoods in colors. For example, neighborhoods such as the Broadmoor, Skyway, Peregrine and towns like Monument are white. Glaring, gotta-wear-shades white. Others, like my neighborhood in Rockrimmon, are more off-white. Predominantly white but...

SIDE STREETS: Big changes coming to Cragmor parking situation

2013-05-18

This should be a quiet time for Cragmor, the little neighborhood across Austin Bluffs Parkway from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Most of the school's 9,800 students have gone home for the summer. In a typical year, that would mean Cragmor residents would be enjoying a respite after nine months of traffic, parking gridlock...

Side Streets: It was an honor to watch Warrior Games in Colorado Springs

2013-05-14

On Sunday, I stood next to the bicycle race track at the Warrior Games and I cried. Not because I was within a few yards of Prince Harry. I was standing amid men and women who have served, sacrificed and suffered so much for us. Here they were, working, sweating and competing at a high level despite disabilities I can't fathom. Don't...

SIDE STREETS: Why we showed the owls in Colorado Springs

2013-05-13

Did we mess up by telling the Pikes Peak region about the Great Horned owlets in Mountain Shadows? Some Gazette readers think so and are telling us, sometimes in harsh terms, via letters and phone messages. I don't think we did and I'll tell you why. First, a recap. On May 2, we ran a beautiful photo of snow swirling around three baby...

SIDE STREETS: 83-year-old Colorado Springs Sears saleswoman still going strong

2013-05-11

Mary Bigler isn't quite Rosie the Riveter, the World War II icon of American women who left their homes by the thousands to work in factories building planes and munitions in support of the war effort. And she's certainly not a Walmart greeter - older folks hired to stand at the doors of the retail giant welcoming shoppers. Mary falls...

SIDE STREETS: Xeriscape bill awaits Colorado governor's signature

2013-05-09

Water-guzzling Kentucky bluegrass and other nonnative turf can no longer be mandated by homeowners association covenants under a bill that passed the General Assembly and is awaiting a signature by Gov. John Hickenlooper. If Senate Bill 183 is signed into law, as expected, it also would stop HOAs from punishing homeowners whose lawns die...

SIDE STREETS: Readers pitch their show ideas

2013-05-06

Turns out there are more Honey Boo Boo wannabes in Colorado Springs than I ever would have guessed. Recently, I wrote about a television producer, Bert Klasey of Zodiak USA, who emailed me seeking ideas for a new reality show. Klasey is on a constant search for the next 'Honey Boo Boo ' reality star. Quite a few readers wrote me to volunteer...

SIDE STREETS: Sandbagging must be a neighborhood effort

2013-05-03

Debbie and Jesse Cisneros heard the warning about dangerous flash flooding expected below the Waldo Canyon fire scar in coming years for residents of Pleasant Valley. That warning goes double for folks like Debbie and Jesse, whose house fronts Camp Creek along north 31st Street. So when the city sponsored a sandbag giveaway recently, they...

Humbled to be part of museum's fire exhibit

2013-04-29

Last week, I was humbled by an email I received. It came from Leah Davis Witherow, the curator of history at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. The museum is putting together an exhibit on the Waldo Canyon fire to correspond with the anniversary. Called 'From the Ashes: The Waldo Canyon Fire, ' it debuts June 22 at the museum, 215 S....

SIDE STREETS: Honored and humbled to be part of Waldo Canyon museum exhibit

2013-04-26

Last week, I was humbled by an email I received. It came from Leah Davis Witherow, the curator of history at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum. The museum is putting together an exhibit on the Waldo Canyon fire to correspond with the one-year anniversary. Called “From the Ashes: The Waldo Canyon Fire,” it debuts June 22 at the museum,...

SIDE STREETS: Today is a good day to meet your neighbors

2013-04-26

Did you know today is a holiday? Well, it’s more of a wannabe holiday for neighborhoods. A social media group, GOOD, is today launching international Neighborday. GOOD describes itself as a global community, based in Los Angeles, created for “pragmatic idealists working towards individual and collective progress.” More simply put:...

SIDE STREETS: Ski Lane saga has no end in sight

2013-04-24

The story of Ski Lane is a real cliffhanger. Six years ago, developers bulldozed Ski Lane, turning it into a 10-foot-high cliff and, for a brief time, completely isolating six families living atop the road near Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard. Eventually, neighbors’ protests to the city resulted in emergency construction of a 180-degree...

SIDE STREETS: Help Lucy add to Ollie's stories of life in segregated Springs

2013-04-19

Oliver Bell used to tell stories of growing up in Colorado Springs, when the city was segregated and blacks, like him, lived a parallel life to the whites in the city. He used to tell how, during his childhood in the 1930s and ‘40s, blacks could swim in public pools only one day a week — the day before they were cleaned. He told a lot of...

SIDE STREETS: Readers teach boys about Colorado, generosity

2013-04-19

Side Streets readers did it again! Recently, I told you of requests we received from school boys in California and Nevada seeking information about Colorado to help them write research papers. First came a note from Diego Lopez, a fifth-grade student at the Napa Valley Language Academy in Napa, Calif. Then came an email from John-Michael...

SIDE STREETS: Desire to help, heal drives firefighter/pastor

2013-04-17

Jeff Martin is devoting his life to helping people heal. Seven days a week. Five days a week, he’s a Colorado Springs firefighter and emergency medical technician who is leading the Fire Department’s effort to reduce the number of calls to 9-1-1 for non-acute medical care. On Sundays, all week really, he’s tending to the spiritual health...

SIDE STREETS: Looking for the next Honey Boo Boo

2013-04-12

On any given day I get some odd calls and email. For example, on Tuesday I got a call from a woman asking me who she could call at the U.S. Olympic Committee to get help fixing her fence. It had been blown down in our windstorm that day. It took me a minute to realized she had found my June 23, 2010, column in which I wrote that the USOC...

SIDE STREETS: How much should the Wagners have to take?

2013-04-11

How much does one family have to put up with in its neighborhood? Ruth and Joe Wagner certainly have endured more than their share and still have months to go before things get back to normal. Of course, how normal will it ever be after having the street in front of their house closed and ripped out and replaced by a six-foot-tall, tan...

SIDE STREETS: Readers come to the rescue again

2013-04-10

Side Streets readers are the best. When a con artist is scamming military families, they spread the word and help catch the suspect. When an 87-year-old woman loses her van in a fire, a reader offers to help pay for her losses. When they learn someone needs a kidney to survive, two readers raise their hands to donate their spares. And...

SIDE STREETS: 'Worst-case scenario' playing out at Too Tall Townhomes?

2013-04-05

Tom Fendon fears he and his neighbors in the Dublin Terrace Townhomes are trapped in a “worst-case scenario.” You may know this complex as the “Too Tall Townhomes.” It’s the place near Dublin and Powers boulevards with 15 completed buildings housing 56 units plus three unfinished buildings that ignited a controversy last May. That’s when...

SIDE STREETS: Mystery shrouds family of 'Little Saint Rose'

2013-04-05

Last week, 11 charges of animal cruelty were read against William E. Schwartz and pleas of not guilty were entered on his behalf. Schwartz, 69, was the last resident of a little home on West Pikes Peak Avenue reportedly the site of miracles, even a visitation from Christ, and for 40-plus years a shrine to Rose Ella Arveson Simmons. Schwartz...

SIDE STREETS: Everyone welcome as playoffs begin for Super Bowl of history

2013-04-02

History is one of my favorite subjects. I read history for fun. Watch the History Channel religiously. And my kids think I’m a relic. Anyway, that’s why it’s easy for me to get excited about a competition this weekend as upwards of 600 middle- and high-school students will converge on Colorado College to compete in Regional History Day. The...

SIDE STREETS: Hey, buddy! Can you spare your spare?

2013-03-29

March ended Sunday without Joe Hanson getting a new kidney. It was National Kidney Awareness Month, after all. And Joe, like the 96,000 or so others, is waiting for a donor. I have no doubt each of them secretly hoped for some March magic. But he recognizes it is a lot to ask of  someone to live the National Kidney Foundation motto:...

SIDE STREETS: Help teach these kids about Colorado

2013-03-28

A handwritten letter came to The Gazette newsroom recently from a fifth-grade student in California. He very politely asked for information about “your magnificent state, Colorado.” Diego Lopez, at the Napa Valley Language Academy, wanted pamphlets, postcards, souvenirs or anything that would help him write a report about our history,...

SIDE STREETS: After long wait, contents of burned van a disappointment

2013-03-27

After nearly 11 weeks of waiting, Ethelyn Bauer finally got to see what remained of her van, which burned in the street outside her Mountain Shadows home in the early hours of Jan. 11. Unfortunately, the tools she had hoped to salvage Wednesday were mostly ruined. The interior of the 1998 van was a charred mess of grotesquely melted plastic...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: New video of HOA town hall meeting

2013-03-23

The new state HOA boss wants Colorado Springs residents to know he’ll help them any way he can in their dealings with their homeowners associations. But he won’t give them legal advice or investigate allegations of rogue boards, illegal elections, secret meetings, unfair covenant enforcement or discrimination because the  Colorado...

SIDE STREETS: Fire deemed accidental yet van impounded for months

2013-03-21

In the predawn hours of Jan. 11, a passenger van owned by Ethelyn Bauer rolled into the street outside her Mountain Shadows home and burst into flames. Inside the 1998 GMC van were tools used by Ethelyn’s son, Bruce Kaire, in his work as a handyman making cabinets and doing construction. “We were awakened at 3 a.m. by the noise of the fire...

SIDE STREETS: HOA xeriscape bill advances, effort to create HOA czar stalls

2013-03-20

While gun control debate has dominated the Colorado General Assembly, work is underway on a few bills dealing with  homeowners associations. At the beginning of the 2013 session, legislative leaders talked about plans to rein in rogue HOA boards. A key proposal, by Sen. Morgan Carroll and Rep. Su Ryden, both Aurora Democrats, called for...

SIDE STREETS: Painting is of a love story we all can enjoy

2013-03-15

In 2007, Peggy Shivers’ beloved husband of 38 years, renowned artist Clarence, died after a short illness. Last summer, she got a little piece of him back and she’s sharing it with everyone who visits the East Branch of the Pikes Peak Library District. In the lobby of the library on North Union Boulevard is a painting of a man holding his...

SIDE STREETS: Open records an asset in everyday life of neighbors

2013-03-15

In December, I was working on a nice little story about an apartment complex employee who had bought hundreds of gifts — some expensive most fairly cheap — wrapped them and put them under the community Christmas tree. The gifts were to be given to the tenants at the annual complex Christmas party. The assistant manager was even catering the...

SIDE STREETS: Thanks roll in from grateful Side Streets readers

2013-03-13

Who doesn’t like an “attaboy” now and then? I certainly do. And I am enjoying a pretty steady stream of calls and emails from Side Streets readers after a Monday column led to the arrest of a man suspected of conning Colorado Springs residents out of cash. The suspect, Perry Wayne Suggs, is accused of targeting military families with a...

SIDE STREETS BLOG: Smoking ignites expensive court battle for HOA

2013-03-13

Smoking has been banned from most public buildings. It is forbidden in restaurants and bars. It is outlawed in airplanes and generally is socially unacceptable. Is the battle of the butts now coming to homeowners associations? Don’t HOAs have enough to worry about already? Better add it to the list, I’m afraid, of issues facing the boards...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Report of con artist leads to arrest

2013-03-12

An angry Side Streets reader, furious that a con artist was cheating money from military veterans, contacted police Monday, triggering a seven-hour investigation that led to the arrest of man on suspicion of theft. Stan Kline tells me he was inspired to call Colorado Springs Police on Monday after his wife, Georgia Moen, read my report in...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Photo gallery of sparring bucks

2013-03-10

Early Sunday morning, eight young bucks and one old buck gathered in the open space behind my home in the Rockrimmon neighborhood of Colorado Springs. After a day of high winds and blizzard conditions, the bucks seemed to be enjoying the warm sunshine. They were feisty, engaging in group sparring. The old buck with a broken antler stayed...

SIDE STREETS: Scary encounter with con artist sparks Neighborhood Watch organizer

2013-03-08

Marie VanRemortel was going door-to-door in her Mountain Shadows neighborhood Thursday and Friday to rally folks on Champagne Drive and Ramsgate Terrace to join her in a new Neighborhood Watch group. She also called Colorado Springs Police to arrange for an officer to come to a meeting and help organize the group. VanRemortel launched...

SIDE STREETS: Seats limited, RSVP needed for HOA Boss town hall meeting

2013-03-07

Longtime neighborhood activist Jan Doran has a few things she wants to ask the new state HOA boss at his public town hall meeting in two weeks. Bud Stringfellow also wants to meet Gary Kujawski, HOA Information Officer, to ask about his homeowners association at Park Vista Estates. Ditto for many other Side Streets readers who perked up at...

SIDE STREETS: Activist passionate that neighborhoods must be allowed to talk

2013-03-06

Can we talk? Just us neighbors? Maybe to organize to fight a commercial development on vacant land. Or to get City Hall to listen to our concerns about traffic. Or to preserve the character of our unique neighborhood. Some on the Colorado Springs City Council and the Planning Commission say no. You can’t talk. They won’t grant you...

SIDE STREETS: New HOA boss says we're not just a big bunch of complainers

2013-02-28

Are residents of the Pikes Peak region just a bunch of complainers or what? For the second consecutive year, Colorado Springs ranks No. 1 in the number of complaints registered with the state HOA Information and Resource Center. The news was contained in the recently released annual report of Colorado’s homeowners associations by Gary...

SIDE STREETS: History center focuses on man who made Red Rock Canyon possible

2013-02-27

Perhaps you love the Red Rock Canyon Open Space for all it offers: miles of hiking trails amid dinosaur tracks and fossils of prehistoric trees and extinct sea creatures. Maybe it’s rocks you love in this geologic extension of the nearby Garden of the Gods. Who isn’t inspired by its 320-million-year-old red sandstone lifted from the depths of...

SIDE STREETS BLOG: Joyful noise not welcome in Houston neighborhood

2013-02-27

Side Streets reader Scott McKeever saw this story in Houston and shared it with me. I'm glad he did. It's about a conflict between century-old Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church and its new neighbors in Houston's Heights neighborhood. In the last few years, the aging neighborhood has turned over with new houses replacing old homes....

ANCIENT HISTORY

2013-02-25

 To hikers, bikers, dog walkers and climbers, the Red Rock Canyon Open Space on Colorado Springs’ west side is a place to get away, relax, push yourself, or get lost amid soaring rock formations.  To paleontologists, the canyon is much more. It’s an ancient seabed. A place to trace the footsteps of dinosaurs. To sift through...

SIDE STREETS: The man behind the canyon

2013-02-25

Since the first pioneers laid claim to it in 1866, Red Rock Canyon has been viewed as a cash cow — valued more for the financial wealth it represented than for its wealth of wildlife and natural beauty.  Large, deep scars across rock outcroppings are vivid reminders of the 19th-century quarries that chiseled and hauled away huge chunks...

SIDE STREETS: And now the rest of the story of the Rockrimmon buck, and it isn't pretty

2013-02-22

There’s good news to report about the Rockrimmon buck released by wildlife officials south of Colorado Springs in January after suffering on a ledge near a busy intersection with an infected leg and broken antlers from brutal rut season. There’s also some bad news. And some really bad news. So proceed at your own risk. The good news...

SIDE STREETS: You bet, pardner, we still honor our Old West roots

2013-02-22

Ben Pinello Jr. just proved there’s still a little of the Old West left in Colorado Springs. On Thursday, Pinello won approval from the Planning Commission to put a small family cemetery within his 40-acre Pinello Ranch southwest of downtown. The ranch is in a wooded valley sliced by Bear Creek and home to wildlife and panoramic views of...

SIDE STREETS: White flag waved in fight over big, white fence

2013-02-20

The owner of a big white fence on Cheyenne Road is waving a white flag and will voluntarily take it down within two weeks, her attorney has told the city. Side Streets readers learned of the fence in my Monday column. It had become the focus of a bitter dispute among neighbors living on the border of the Ivywild and Broadmoor neighborhoods...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Heins, the sign painter and historian, dies

2013-02-20

Ray Heins, the longtime Colorado Springs sign painter, died Wednesday morning after a long illness. He was 92. Heins was the subject of a recent Side Streets column  and blog about his life and career as the man behind Heins for Signs. During his 50-year career, Heins painted signs for just about every business in the Pikes Peak...

SIDE STREETS: Big white fence in middle of controversy

2013-02-15

Driving up Cheyenne Road, the tall, white fence surrounding the perimeter of a little century-old bungalow gives the place the look of a compound, complete with its security gates front and back and white shutters across the front windows. The white fence is more like a red flag, actually, signalling trouble in the southwest neighborhood...

SIDE STREETS: Modest sign painter quite an artist and darned good historian, too

2013-02-15

Ray Heins has always considered himself just a sign painter. During a half-century of work, he painted billboards, cars, trucks, racetracks — anything that needed a sign. And he meticulously photographed his work. Now, the discovery of his photo catalog by his granddaughter, Cindy McCombe Spindler, has folks at the Colorado Springs...

SIDE STREETS: Stench of death, not roses, hangs over historic shrine

2013-02-13

On this day of love, happiness and bouquets of roses, there is none at the west side shrine once world famous for sending blessed miracle healing roses to the faithful. Rather than the scent of roses, the over-powering stench of human waste and death permeates the “Saint Rose E. Arveson Shrine” at 36th Street and West Pikes Peak Avenue. No...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Friends help stranger get back her camera six years later

2013-02-12

Ellen Ritt thought she’d never see her camera again after it plunged down the side of Little Giant Peak near Silverton in September 2006. After all, Ellen and her husband Aaron Johnson watched as it tumbled hundreds of feet down a scree-filled gully toward a crater near the abandoned Shenandoah Dives mine far below. “My husband started to...

SIDE STREETS: Recycling business leaves neighborhoods behind, flourishes

2013-02-08

Once Tim Keenan got his business out of his garage, to appease his homeowners association, and out of the Hillside neighborhood, to appease code enforcement officers, and relocated into a true warehouse, it really took off. Now, six years later, Keenan’s business has a new location and new name: Colorado Mattress Recycling. And it’s enjoying...

SIDE STREETS: Bankrupt townhomes could be abandoned by bank

2013-02-06

Will the “Too Tall Townhomes” finally get knocked down to size? Or just knocked down? Or will they remain abandoned, inflicting financial and visual pain on the surrounding neighbors? It’s been almost a year since questions over the size of three new buildings in the Dublin Terrace Townhomes complex erupted, even prompting Mayor Steve...

SIDE STREETS: Convenience stores trigger neighborhood anxiety

2013-02-01

This is the tale of two convenience stores. One story is complete and the other has not played out quite yet. But I was intrigued by the parallels. A year ago, a hundred or so angry Springs Ranch residents packed a public meeting to try to stop a convenience store from being built in the neighborhood. They felt betrayed because they...

SIDE STREETS: Sometimes, a life starts badly and there just isn't a happy ending

2013-02-01

In December, news broke of a newborn found abandoned near a trash bin at a north side apartment complex. It turned out the 17-year-old mother had concocted the story. The child was never abandoned. It reminded me of another baby found in the trash in the Stratton Meadows neighborhood south of downtown Colorado Springs in October 1991....

SIDE STREETS: 'Back Pages' reveal Drake, Wasson were people before becoming hot-button issues

2013-01-30

Last week, I read an interesting item in The Gazette about Martin Drake. He’d been arrested and stood trial. Seems he failed to shovel the snow outside his real estate office in Colorado City. Yes. The story was about that Martin Drake. Before Martin Drake was an electric-generating plant more famous for generating headlines and heated...

SIDE STREETS: Planners slap down tiny neighborhood's attempt at master plan

2013-01-25

In 2009, neighborhood advocate Dave Munger asked the Colorado Springs City Council a simple question: What is a neighborhood and who decides? The council gave an emphatic answer: Size doesn’t matter when it comes to protecting the character of neighborhoods. Tiny pockets of homes, including the westside Rawles Open Space Neighborhood along...

SIDE STREETS: Couple may have front-row seat for flooding

2013-01-25

Since 1976, Frank and Barbara Sanders have lived quietly on the northern edge of Pleasant Valley along the banks of Camp Creek, giving them a front-row seat to Rock Ledge Ranch and Garden of the Gods. In June, the Sanderses had a front-row seat for the Waldo Canyon fire. They watched in horror as the hills above the valley became choked in...

SIDE STREETS: Broken antlers the only thing left behind by Rockrimmon buck

2013-01-23

Readers this week were reporting the Rockrimmon buck with the mangled antlers, swollen leg and drooping ears was missing from his ledge at Vindicator Drive and Rockrimmon Boulevard. The buck first appeared before Christmas, obviously injured and suffering. It seemed to be trying to hide behind bushes on the ledge of a retaining wall beneath...

SIDE STREETS: Two lives dedicated to service and shaping young men

2013-01-18

When I heard the Boy Scouts were honoring volunteer Robert Savage for 55 years of dedicated service, I called “Mr. Scout” Keith Grove to find out more. Grove, after all, should know. He’s been a Boy Scout for 72 years. Imagine that. Between them, they have devoted 127 years to teaching boys values such as being trustworthy, loyal, helpful,...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Armstrong jersey a symbol of sport's worst cheat

2013-01-17

The wall in the Pioneers Museum was bare where the professional bike racing jersey autographed by Lance Armstrong had hung. For a moment Thursday, I feared I was too late. I had wanted to be present when the staff removed the jersey of the disgraced former seven time Tour de France champion and Olympic bronze medalist. Actually, I kind of...

SIDE STREETS: Neighbors, attorneys can't agree if HOA covenants ban parking

2013-01-17

Terry Bott thought she did everything right when she bought her home in Trail Ridge South neighborhood in Northgate in 2003. “I read all the covenants,” said Bott, an accountant who works for a homebuilder. “There were some I didn’t like. I can’t have a clothes line, for example. I think that’s stupid. But I agreed to abide by it. “I told...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Injured mule deer buck draws a crowd

2013-01-11

An injured mule deer buck continued Friday to rest on a ledge of a retaining wall in Rockrimmon in northwest Colorado Springs, generating dozens of inquiries to the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife, and to The Gazette, from concerned neighbors and passersby. The buck, with his broken and bloodied antlers, severe limp and sagging ears,...

SIDE STREETS: Private social media site designed for neighborhoods

2013-01-11

As social web sites have exploded, neighborhoods have taken advantage by using various sites such as Facebook and NeighborhoodLink.com to connect and communicate. An alternative site, Nextdoor.com, launched in October 2011 and has attracted about three dozen neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. It differs from other sites I’ve seen primarily...

SIDE STREETS: Little Joey escapes, makes 'miraculous' recovery as abductor lurks

2013-01-11

Little Joey came running up to greet me with a smile on his face. He was so adorable I barely noticed the bite marks on the head of the 5-pound, 18-month-old Yorkie. A few days before Christmas, Joey had been snatched by a coyote as he played in the yard, chasing birds. Luckily, Joey’s owner, 84-year-old Frank VerHey, was standing close by...

SIDE STREETS: Buck with magnificent antlers may be ultimate victim of love

2013-01-09

Just before Christmas, a buck with a large, magnificent set of unusual antlers showed up near Rockrimmon Boulevard and Vindicator Drive looking pathetically underweight with obvious injuries, a noticeable limp, blood-stained fur and antlers and sagging ears. At the Safeway across the street, customers and employees shared their concerns for...

SIDE STREETS: Lawmaker has plans to tighten grip on HOAs

2013-01-04

When Sen. Morgan Carroll sponsored the Homeowners Bill of Rights in 2005, it turns out she was just getting started in her efforts to rein in rogue homeowners associations boards and property managers who abuse HOA residents. Stricter reforms followed. Now, as the 2013 Colorado General Assembly opens this week, Carroll is poised as incoming...

SIDE STREETS: HOAs not a favorite subject of incoming House Speaker

2013-01-04

Incoming Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino brings a very personal perspective on homeowners associations to the Colorado General Assembly when it convenes next week. He’s not a fan. In fact, when I mentioned HOAs to Ferrandino during his newsroom visit Thursday, he had this response: “Don’t get me started!” Seems the leader of the...

SIDE STREETS: Activist fears state regulations may prompt volunteer HOAs to quit

2013-01-02

Longtime neighborhood activist Jan Doran was surprised to learn recently that her job as administrator of the Discovery Homeowners Association was about to get more complicated. And she is afraid other neighborhood HOAs will share her reaction to the growing state demands on volunteer boards and simply quit. Doran frets because she, like...

SIDE STREETS: Remembering a few who made huge contributions to the region

2012-12-21

As we sit poised to start a new year, let’s not forget some of the folks we lost in 2012 after contributing much to Colorado Springs. This is not a definitive list. Many good people died in the past 12 months. But these folks are at the top of my list for a variety of reasons: Cindy Fowler, Bob Armendariz, Bud Shepard and Jim Hall. I was...

SIDE STREETS: Couple's holiday village a 'gift of love' to retirement home

2012-12-20

Looking for an Irving Berlin, old-fashioned Christmas experience far removed from the digital age? Take a ride to the Liberty Heights retirement center on the far north end of Colorado Springs and check out the holiday village erected in the lobby. It’s one of those often-overlooked gestures by folks who simply want to share a little joy of...

SIDE STREETS: HOA's $50 parking fine now adds up to thousands for homeowner

2012-12-20

In 2009, I introduced Side Streets readers to Ron Pace under a headline: “Pace is loose!” In the column, I reported that a judge had described him as loud, profane and even annoying. But the judge had sided with Pace in his battle over neighborhood covenants and assorted other issues with the Woodmen Hills Metro District, which has been a...

SIDE STREETS: Transparency coming to homeowners associations

2012-12-18

If you volunteer on a homeowners association board, you better create a new email account, quickly, for HOA business only. And be prepared to operate with greater accountability to your fellow homeowners. A new state law taking effect Jan. 1 mandates new levels of transparency from HOA officers while it takes steps to protect the privacy of...

SIDE STREETS: Poverty, medical need draw Springs eye surgeon to island

2012-12-14

Last December, Dr. Ingrid Carlson was in the Caribbean scuba diving and staying at a nice resort when she saw a newspaper photo of a child sitting on Santa’s knee. The photo caught Carlson’s attention for a couple reasons. Santa was in flip flops and shorts. And then there was the face of the child. “He had woefully crossed eyes,” Carlson...

SIDE STREETS: Defying HOA covenants turns into a nightmare

2012-12-12

For the third straight Christmas season, Richard and Alisha Cuevas are living away from their Colorado Springs home. Even worse, because Richard has had to chase jobs around the country, they live apart. He’s in Texas while she and their three kids are anchored in New Mexico. Meanwhile, their home sits empty in the Northgate Highlands...

SIDE STREETS: Ivywild welcomes 'oblongabout' as cure for goofy intersection

2012-12-07

In most neighborhoods, installation of a roundabout at a busy intersection might spark some complaints by motorists unfamiliar with the configuration. Or it might be ignored. Not in Ivywild, a working-class neighborhood south of downtown struggling to renew its homes and businesses against an onslaught of homeless who drift through from...

SIDE STREETS: Christmas just isn't the same without a tree

2012-12-07

Sometimes, you accidentally discover a way to help the community. Even better, you find you just can’t stop. Best of all, your good deed spreads. That’s the case with David and Michelle Fein and their Christmas Tree Project. In 2010, the couple decided to replace their artificial Christmas tree so they offered on Craigslist to give away...

Men behind Vail, Ski Broadmoor have crossed trails many times

2012-12-06

 As prep school skiers in New England, Pete Seibert and Steve Knowlton raced against each other and dreamed of spending their lives on the slopes.   Knowlton wanted to be an Olympic skier. Seibert hoped to open his own resort. They never dreamed how their lives would be intertwined.  After high school, they crossed paths...

SIDE STREETS: Celebrating Lorraine Crocker's century in the Springs

2012-12-05

Lorraine Crocker recalls as a child running to the railroad tracks to wave at the passing troop trains bringing soldiers home from war. Those would be Doughboys returning from World War I and she was a six-year-old girl. She also recalls, a few years later, seeing revolutionary flying machines. “We were really excited to go see the first...

SIDE STREETS: New Gazette owners can expect great work to continue

2012-12-03

When the first plume of smoke rose over Waldo Canyon at noon on Saturday, June 23, it was obvious big trouble was brewing in the Pike National Forest just beyond the west edge of Colorado Springs. As firefighters raced toward the mushrooming wildfire, I went the opposite direction to the newsroom of The Gazette, knowing our skeleton weekend...

SIDE STREETS: Here lies the Hillside Neighborhood Association, RIP

2012-11-30

On Saturday afternoon, a few dozen Hillside neighborhood residents will gather for dinner. The group will include many of the 30 dues-paying members of the Hillside Neighborhood Association, as well as a handful of association board members and a few guests. The board president, Jill Collins, will distribute about $50,000 in grants from the...

SIDE STREETS: Broadmoor lights ignite holiday spirit

2012-11-27

Before the holidays are over, get yourself down to The Broadmoor hotel some evening and enjoy. Enjoy the sight of more than a half-a-million lights strung on 280 trees, some reaching 70 feet in height. Enjoy those lights as they reflect on the waters of Cheyenne Lake behind the historic main building at the end of Lake Avenue. Enjoy the...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Do we still have a little of the Old West left in us?

2012-11-16

When Ben Pinello Jr. was diagnosed with cancer a couple years ago, he started thinking about where he would spend the hereafter. He didn’t like the idea of being buried in one of the city’s cemeteries. “Just say I don’t like crowds,” he told me. In fact, he’s always kept his distance. Pinello, 80, has lived half his life on his 40-acre...

SIDE STREETS: Teen's pencil sketch morphs over decades as inspiration hits

2012-11-16

Inspiration is a funny thing. When Susan Janty was 14, she had an idea about an exotic bird. Like other artists in her family, she put it on paper. She called it “Mythical Bird and the Flower.” Then she put it away. “Every once in a while, I’d take it out and think I should do something with that,” Susan told me. In fact, she dabbled in...

SIDE STREETS: Good grief! Museum links Snoopy, NASA and Springs bedroom

2012-11-16

If you enjoy the Peanuts comic strip created by the late Charles M. Schulz, or you are a fan of NASA and the Apollo Space Missions of the 1960s, or you’ve always wanted to see Polly Travnicek’s bedroom wall, make plans to visit the new exhibit at the Pioneers Museum opening Saturday. The exhibit, To the Moon: Snoopy Soars with NASA, ties...

SIDE STREETS: Help plant the seeds of community by volunteering in Mill Street

2012-11-14

Did you close your garden for the winter but still find yourself with an itch to dig around in the dirt? Maybe you just like to volunteer. Or you are a believer in the value of community gardens. Whatever the reason, get down to 1013 S. Cascade Ave. at 8:30 a.m., Saturday and prepare to get dirty. The folks at Pikes Peak Urban Gardens and...

SIDE STREETS: Neighborhood activists remain on high alert

2012-11-06

Residents of the Stratmoor Hills neighborhood are understandably nervous. A year ago, they vigorously fought plans for Independence Place, a $24 million apartment complex with 240 units catering to soldiers on 15.5 acres along the neighborhood’s edge near World Arena. Stratmoor Hills residents said the project would be too big for the...

SIDE STREETS: Armstrong jersey in museum is a powerful symbol

2012-11-02

In the main hallway of the Pioneers Museum, a showcase holds a once-treasured souvenir of Colorado Springs’ proud history as a bicycling mecca. It’s a jersey from the old U.S. Postal Service professional bike racing team, autographed by Lance Armstrong. Of course, Armstrong no longer is known as the heroic son of a single mother who became...

SIDE STREETS: Political rantings echo across the centuries

2012-11-01

On the eve of the national presidential election, consider these words of a Gazette editor: “The Republican Party is the party of conservatism, of law and order, of capital and wealth; the Democratic Party is the party of discontent, of socialism, of anarchistic tendencies, of wild finance and crazy economics.” The dire warning about the...

SIDE STREETS: Show compassion to grieving families

2012-10-31

This was supposed to be a triumphant tale praising the Woodland Park School District for coming to its senses in regards to a small shrine honoring three high school students killed in a wreck last summer. And, in fact, the district and school board has grudgingly decided to allow the three small wooden lattices to remain on the edge of the...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Unlikely trio team up in inspiring love story

2012-10-31

For years, two women have attended nearly every Air Academy High School boys soccer game, sitting together in the far south corner of the stands, away from the rest of the fans. One is Jen Hanson, 44, a nurse’s aide and case worker for kids with special needs and the wife of the Kadet’s coach, Espen Hosoien. The other is 23-year-old...

SIDE STREETS: HOA grants disabled woman fenced yard for service dog

2012-10-26

Claire Farrer and her companion, Phoenix, were jumping with delight. Actually, only Phoenix was actually jumping, as you’d expect of a young, excitable dog. Claire was simply delighted. Due to a disease that caused the discs in her spine to collapse, Claire struggles to stand and walk. Jumping is out of the question. The reason for their...

SIDE STREETS: Phantom inspires woman's spooky career

2012-10-25

As a 7-year-old girl living on a small farm east of Colorado Springs, Stephanie Waters and a friend saw an Indian on a white horse riding along Sand Creek. They followed him until he disappeared before their eyes. When Stephanie told her family of the phantom, her parents dismissed it as a childish nonsense. Not her grandmother. She told...

SIDE STREETS: Parents fight to preserve memorial to sons who died in wreck

2012-10-19

Under sheltering pine trees on a quiet edge of the Woodland Park High School campus, a small shrine sits. It consists of three wooden lattices, each bearing a name: Alex, Paul and Nick. On each lattice hangs a Boy Scout neckerchief and an American flag. Ribbons are tied to some slats, which are decorated with beads, stickers and are inscribed...

SIDE STREETS: Pumpkins, sunflowers and squash transform front yard

2012-10-18

Rebekah Shardy’s front yard changes dramatically with the seasons. In the spring it was full of sprouts and buds and brimming with new growth. The summer brought an explosion of green leafy plants, towering sunflowers of yellow, orange and red and huge flowers amid the zucchini and squash. Beautiful yellow swallowtail butterflies and...

SIDE STREETS: Take down signs on fence that highlight bad blood

2012-10-17

Signs along a fence advertise a neighborhood feud: “No Trespassing” and “Private Property.” Next I noticed these odd signs: “Civility Welcome Zone” and “No F-Bomb.” Then I saw a more ominous sign: “Keep Our Hood Threat Free” along with the phone number to El Paso County’s Department of Human Services for child abuse reports. Finally,...

SIDE STREETS: Resident doesn't trust Utilities' smart meters

2012-10-12

 When Craig Warren realized Colorado Springs Utilities had installed three data-transmitting “smart meters” on his house, he asked for them to be removed and replaced with old analog meters. What happened next might surprise you. It certainly angered Warren. The meters were installed a couple years ago as part of Utilities’...

SIDE STREETS: Faith in mankind restored by reporter, mechanic

2012-10-11

Every day, newspaper headlines document the latest human cruelty, hypocrisy and depravity. Often I shake my head and wonder what’s wrong with people. Maybe Thomas Hobbes was right: man is inherently evil. So it’s nice when I’m able to reaffirm the basic goodness I believe exists in most people. It’s especially nice when it involves my...

SIDE STREETS: Smoke pouring from neighbor's chimney leads to burning question

2012-10-09

Luanne Wiley is dreading the onset of winter. Instead of looking forward to crisp mornings, crystal snowflakes blowing about and the sight of Pikes Peak covered in white powder, Wiley associates winter with smoke. Thick, black plumes, day and night, billowing from her neighbor’s chimney. Smoke that filters into Wiley’s home, causing her...

SIDE STREETS: Explosive growth of UCCS causing growing pains for neighbor

2012-10-05

When anything expands rapidly, often there are growing pains. It’s true of people and institutions. The explosive growth of the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in the past decade has produced a real pain in the neck for Marianne Horvath and her neighbors on tiny Cragmor Village Road. The few neighbors who remain, that is....

SIDE STREETS: Great tips from readers about greening up your home

2012-10-04

Due to wildfire and hail, there is a surge in home construction and roofing activity in the region. A couple of Side Streets readers (or should I say “both”) contacted me to offer some great tips for folks as they design their homes or repair damage from hail storms. Reader Jim Riggins wants Waldo Canyon fire victims to consider a few ways...

SIDE STREETS: Soccer mom vows to simplify life and faces struggle

2012-10-03

Kerry Reifel wanted to simplify her life. She wanted to eliminate clutter. To shrink her “footprint” on the planet. Reduce her contributions to landfills. So she has committed to buying nothing new for a year, other than food and toiletries. If something breaks, she fixes it rather than replaces it. Or buys used. She cruises garage sales...

SIDE STREETS: Ratings confirm Springs not as hip as Boulder

2012-09-28

Lists are great. They make for great conversations and arguments. Rate the best quarterback ever. The best rock album. The best Michael Jackson nose. How about the best suburbs? Turns out, one group ranks the bedroom communities that ring cities and so many Americans call home. Colorado Springs and its suburbs didn’t make the top 100....

WHAT LIES BENEATH: Springs' coal-mining history leaves a maze of tunnels - and potential problems

2012-09-27

Susanne Arens thought the vacant lot next to a McDonald's restaurant in a Rockrimmon shopping center was the perfect place to build a new car wash. Springs native Jerry Golden grew up admiring the Cragmor neighborhood near the Colorado Springs Country Club and four years ago, bought a home there. Bob Syme was hired to engineer and rebuild...

SIDE STREETS: Cragmor residents say UCCS students flunking civics lessons

2012-09-27

For years I wondered how, more than a century ago, the hillside coal fields below Austin Bluffs came to be known as “Cragmor.” I found no miner of that name, nor any pioneers or settlers. Finally, I stumbled onto its meaning in an old regional history book: Dr. Edwin Solly coined the name when he built his sanitorium on the hillside in...

SIDE STREETS: Museums are great, especially when they are free

2012-09-26

For years I’ve noticed the fiberglass-and-metal sculpture of a huge, menacing West Indies Hercules beetle along Highway 115 south of Colorado Springs advertising the John May Natural History Museum. I’ve always intended to visit, but never made it. I’m planning to go Saturday when the museum will be free to me and a guest, simply by...

SIDE STREETS: An army in orange will be working for those who served in camo

2012-09-21

A vacant lot in Fountain will be transformed into a sea of orange Wednesday and it won’t be pumpkins in the patch. It will be an army of 400 or so Home Depot volunteers in company colors who will there to build six homes in a new project by the Pikes Peak Habitat for Humanity. The volunteers, who are coming from across the country, hope to...

SIDE STREETS: Too Tall Townhomes rot as neighbors add up losses

2012-09-21

Remember the “Too-Tall Townhomes” that Todays Homes built “by mistake” far higher than allowed on the city-approved development plan? The city ordered the three buildings moved or razed. Instead, Todays Homes and its parent company, Unity Builders Group of Calgary, Canada, collapsed, leaving Bill Sheridan and Tom Fendon and dozens of other...

SIDE STREETS: Beware the school kiss-and-go zone where nothing is sacred

2012-09-20

Susan Fraser was walking her son and the family dog to school when she was hit by a car. The driver turned out to be another parent trying to get her child to school. Candice Lovato tells horror stories of driving a bus for Falcon School District 49 and parents who routinely endangered kids. Then there’s the parents of children with...

SIDE STREETS: First Baptist keeping the faith 140 years later

2012-09-13

Neighborhood churches play an important role in their communities. They certainly were important to Gen. William Jackson Palmer. When he founded Colorado Springs in 1872, Palmer granted land to a handful of churches to encourage them to form permanent congregations. On Sept. 18, 1872, a dozen people took him up on his offer and accepted...

SIDE STREETS: Time to celebrate a job well-done

2012-09-12

Ledell Reynolds is one of those people we tend to overlook. Rarely do we celebrate folks like him. He’s not a politician, although he’s known quite a few. Not a celebrity, though he’s known them, too. Mr. Reynolds is just a soft-spoken, friendly, gentle man. And for 57 of his 84 years, he has cut hair in Colorado Springs. That’s 57...

SIDE STREETS: Bijou Hill residents say Pinery project not very neighborly

2012-09-07

For more than a decade, there’s been a battle going on for Bijou Hill, just west across Interstate 25 from downtown Colorado Springs. Residents of the modest neighborhood on the flanks of the hill have been fighting homelessness and druggies and teens who had laid claim to an abandoned building and the 2.7 acres it occupies atop the hill....

SIDE STREETS: Goats are cheap protection against wildfire

2012-09-07

Richard Serby and other residents along Mesa Road had front-row seats for the devastating Waldo Canyon fire. He recalls seeing the first plumes of smoke. Then flames above Cedar Heights. He watched the aerial assault on the wildfire. And like thousands of others in Colorado Springs, Serby went to an overlook to view the haunting glow at...

SIDE STREETS: Cumbre Vista neighbors win round but fight far from over

2012-09-06

Residents of Cumbre Vista neighborhood near Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road have won the first round in a fight over a proposal to build a large apartment complex. But this battle is far from over. Residents circulated petitions and gathered 253 signatures of folks opposed to developer Brian Bahr’s plan to rezone a 15-acre island of...

SIDE STREETS: Gardeners on the Edge harvesting more than veggies

2012-08-31

Melissa Marts loves to walk the alley behind her home, which borders both the Old North End and Patty Jewett neighborhoods. Earlier this summer as she strolled behind Wahsatch Avenue and Corona Street, she noticed folks who shared her love of gardening. Some planted to the very edges of their property, spilling into the alley. She was so...

SIDE STREETS: They survived Waldo Canyon fire and have video to prove it

2012-08-23

Firefighters weren’t the only people staring down the throat of the Waldo Canyon fire when it erupted down the foothills June 26. If you surf YouTube, you’ll see many people with camcorders got way too close. Some, like 19-year-old Nicole Frye, were simply trying to escape. Check out her dramatic video of the inferno as it incinerated the...

SIDE STREETS: Before rushing to rebuild, test for geohazards

2012-08-23

As folks make plans to rebuild their homes in Mountain Shadows after the devastating Waldo Canyon fire, geologist John Himmelreich hopes they pause long enough to take a careful look at the soils underneath their lots and at the topography around them. A simple bore sample can prevent years of frustration and expensive repairs. And the use...

SIDE STREETS: Once a '96 Subaru, now a Dragon Ship

2012-08-22

It was one of those cars that made me stop and stare. No, not a Bugatti, like I saw on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills a couple years ago. It was worth more than the gross national product of some countries. This was a 1996 Subaru Legacy Outback. Was, that is, before Scotty Drumm got ahold of it and turned it into his wicked Dragon Ship....

SIDE STREETS: Remembering the 'blast' and cowboys and cattle drives

2012-08-17

Bet ya didn’t know Fountain was founded before Colorado Springs. Or that ranchers drove cattle right down Main Street to reach the stockyards of the rail yards. Or that a runaway freight train carrying 18 tons of explosives slammed into a passenger train causing a massive explosion that killed at least three, injured dozens, left a 30-foot...

SIDE STREETS: 'We give them coffee with love'

2012-08-17

It’s common for Starbucks customers to order coffee and get a muffin or a scone. At the Starbucks managed by Katie Boswell, it’s not unusual for customers to order coffee and get a shoulder to cry on, a hug, or words of comfort and understanding. Katie’s store is just north of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood, which was devastated by the...

SIDE STREETS: Ice cream, cookies and history are the perfect Sunday

2012-08-15

Neighborhood ice cream socials are great. Throw in the dedication of a newly restored piece of Colorado Springs history and the celebration of a newly painted mural and you can definitely count me in! That’s why I’ll be taking some cookies to share at the annual Middle Shooks Run Neighborhood ice cream social, 1-3 p.m., Sunday in the park...

SIDE STREETS: Can't neighbors, developer just talk things out?

2012-08-10

When the emails started rolling in mentioning a developer in the Cumbre Vista neighborhood and the Woodmen Heights Metro District, I admit I was prepared to think the worst. After all, Cumbre Vista is the subdivision northeast of Powers Boulevard and Woodmen Road where developer Paul Howard’s Infinity Land Corp. outrageously bulldozed Ski...

SIDE STREETS: Stormtrooper on curb during fire evac no Jedi mind trick

2012-08-10

During the frantic evacuation to escape the Waldo Canyon fire on June 26, fleeing motorists along South Rockrimmon Boulevard were shocked to see a Star Wars Stormtrooper dancing and waving on a street corner. This was no Jedi mind trick. An actual guy in a white helmet and white plastic body armor was on the side of the road shaking,...

SIDE STREETS: Nightmarish end to Field of Dreams

2012-08-08

The baseball field with its backstop, perimeter fence and wooden benches in each dugout now resembles an overgrown pasture. It’s hard to see Fountain Creek meandering beyond the right field fence. Tall weeds grow from cracks crisscrossing the basketball court where now only grasshoppers play. A volleyball pit is a mess of brush. A twisted...

SIDE STREETS: HOA wants disabled woman's service dog to run in rocks

2012-08-03

Claire Farrer is 75 and fighting a disease that caused the discs in her spine to collapse. As a result, she struggles to walk. In fact, she falls frequently. For years, she had Sheba, a service dog trained to help Farrer keep her balance. Sheba even helped lift Farrer when she fell. But Sheba died in March 2010, leaving the retired...

SIDE STREETS: Take your pick: sodium, ceramic, LED or neon

2012-08-02

Clear your calendar the week of Oct. 8. We all have a big test to take. It’s the streetlight test. And, thankfully, it’s multiple choice. Do you like LED? Or ceramic metal halide? Or good old high pressure sodium? Colorado Springs traffic engineer Dave Krauth wants residents to pick new lights to replace the city’s 25,600 inefficient,...

SIDE STREETS EXTRA: Watch Waldo Canyon fire burn on computer animation

2012-08-02

Want to watch the Waldo Canyon Fire? The folks at SimTable.com sent me a link to a computer animationof the fire on a topographical map. It’s fascinating to watch. You can zoom in and out of the topo map and see how the fire erupted on Tuesday afternoon, June 26. Not only did the folks at SimTable.com send me their computer animation...

SIDE STREETS: 'If Mountain Shadows can burn that bad, what hope is there for us?'

2012-08-01

When Woodmoor resident Carolyn Streit-Carey watched the Waldo Canyon fire kill two and destroy nearly 350 homes in Mountain Shadows, she said she had a troubling thought: “This could be us.” Neighbor Jim Woodman had a different, more frightening thought: “If Mountain Shadows can burn that bad, what hope is there for us?” Both are worried...

SIDE STREETS: Step back in time, meet historic figures at Evergreen

2012-07-20

I love cemeteries. They are windows on the past. You can tell when an influenza epidemic went through a community. From the size and style of headstones, you can pick out the ones who couldn’t take their wealth with them. Often, the old headstones read like a list of city street names. Cemeteries can be spooky. I camped next to one on the...

SIDE STREETS: Apathy toward HOA leads to unpleasant surprise

2012-07-20

Matt Elmstedt wishes now that he hadn’t been apathetic about his homeowners association. He wishes he’d read his mail from the HOA board sooner. Attended board meetings. Asked questions. Besides his regrets, he also has hopes. “I hope I’m not too late,” Elmstedt said. “And I hope the board will be reasonable.” In April, Elmstedt...

SIDE STREETS: Taylor's acre keeps owner's past alive

2012-07-17

The big sign, painted on the side of a two-story barn at the corner of Templeton Gap Road and Fillmore Street, reads: "What we do in life echoes in eternity."  The small sign at the entry gate declares: “Taylor’s Acre.” It's a tiny farm - complete with roosters - smack against Fillmore and sandwiched between a huge medical...

SIDE STREETS: 10 years of holding up a mirror to neighborhoods

2012-07-17

It’s unbelievable to me, really. You probably don’t believe it either. But it’s true. Side Streets is 10 years old this week! (I know many are wondering: What? Did he start writing it when he was 18?) Anyway, I feel like I ought to buy you all a cake to thank you for reading all this time. (You have been reading, right?) That’s...

SIDE STREETS: Neighbor tends to home, garden — and city streets

2012-07-17

 Jacqueline Maujean doesn’t think there’s anything special about her life — she’s just an 81-year-old French woman who walks three miles every day, tends a garden worthy of Versailles and fills potholes on city streets.  Yes. The greatgrandmother who suffered a lifelong disability from fighting in the French underground...

SIDE STREETS: Venetucci Farm feels empty without schoolchildren's joy

2012-07-17

 SECURITY - On a cold, gray day in Colorado Springs, Nick and Bambi Venetucci sit at the kitchen table in their century-old farmhouse. Outside, light snow swirls across the empty fields.  It's two days before Halloween, and the Venetucci Ranch is strangely quiet.  A vintage '48 John Deere tractor stands...

SIDE STREETS: Manitou quacker falls quiet, Homer may leave a duckling legacy

2012-07-17

 MANITOU SPRINGS _ Maybe you remember Homer the duck and the neighborhood dispute that arose last summer over its quacking.  Neighbor Jan Dawson was irritated by Homer’s quacking. Her complaints led to Homer’s owner, Lou Smith, being charged with violating the town’s noise ordinance.  After one court session...

SIDE STREETS: North End loses Theater of Mankind’s eccentric master

2012-07-17

 The Theater of Mankind is closed.  No longer will North End residents be amused, irritated or puzzled by the bizarre collection of art adorning a home on Espanola Street.  Its creator, 78-year-old William H. Hutton, died Wednesday of an aortic aneurysm. He was stricken as he stood at the top of a 20-foot ladder nailing a new...

SIDE STREETS: Houses beyond hope / City's hands tied over condemned properties

2012-07-17

 At the north end of the Cragmor neighborhood, on a hill beneath the University of Colorado-Colorado Springs, Arthur Patterson has been watching the weeds grow around a burned-out, boarded-up house across the street.  A midnight fire on July 14, 1999, left the house at 431 Locust Drive uninhabitable in the opinion of Colorado...

SIDE STREETS: Historians can't wait to gather artifacts, images of Waldo Canyon fire

2012-07-13

The Waldo Canyon fire produced some amazing photos, gripping stories of survival and haunting scenes of destruction. To many, the fire that killed two and destroyed nearly 350 homes was a nightmare best forgotten. But the folks at the Pioneers Museum and the Pikes Peak Library District want to collect and preserve as many memories, photos...

SIDE STREETS: Help the Pikes Peak region get the stink out

2012-07-13

For days after the Waldo Canyon fire, my Jeep smelled like smoke. I couldn’t get the stink out. The entire Pikes Peak Region is experiencing the same phenomenon. It can’t shake the stink of the fire. Images on the national news of forests and homes burning led to widespread cancellations at area tourist-related businesses. Now we’re all...

SIDE STREETS: Flying W owner ponders future (with video)

2012-07-10

Russ Wolfe groaned and shook his head Monday as he surveyed the still-smoldering ruins of his Flying W Ranch, where he’d spent 60 years serving chuckwagon dinners amid an Old West village and singing cowboys. “The only thing that’s left is the parking lot,” Wolfe, 87, said in a quiet voice as a light rain fell. “Everything else went down the...

SIDE STREETS: Slow down and catch 'Art on the Run'

2012-07-06

Whew! I was afraid I’d been too slow to catch “Art on the Run.” But as it turns out, there will be two more chances to see the unique celebration of art and open space. If you haven’t read about it, this summer the Patty Jewett Neighborhood Association has surprised folks riding and walking the Shooks Run Trail with music on Tuesday...

Blogger Bios

About SIDE STREETS Bill Vogrin started writing Side Streets in July 2002 to highlight the extraordinary people of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region and reflect the issues that impact the daily lives of residents.

To Reach Bill
By phone: 719-636-0193
By e-mail: bill.vogrin@gazette.com
By mail: 30 E. Pikes Peak Avenue, Suite #100 ., Colorado Springs, Co. 80903

INSPIRATION for SIDE STREETS
Heywood Broun was a crusading columnist for The Tribune and The World in New York City from 1912 until 1939. Just months before his death in 1939, Broun wrote: "I would like to see some columnists do the side streets and the suburbs and chronicle the joys and tragedies of the ordinary run of people."

To read more in print
Side Streets is published each Monday, Thursday and Saturday in The Gazette of Colorado Springs.

HELPFUL NUMBERS
Emergency: 911
Police non-emergency: 719-444-7000
Fire non-emergency : 719-385-5950

More Police numbers
El Paso County Sheriff: 719-390-5555
Colorado State Patrol: 719-635-4501
Airport Security: 719-550-1976
Child Abuse 24-hour hotline: 719-444-5700
Crime Stoppers: 719-444-STOP
Domestic Violence Hotline: 719-633-3819
Drug Hotline: 719-444-3111
Jail/Criminal Justice Center: 719-390-2000
Vehicle Impound: 719-578-6754

COMMUNITY NUMBERS
Better Business Bureau: 719-636-1155
Code Enforcement: 719-444-7891
Graffiti Removal Hotline: 719-634-5713
Humane Society: 719-473-1741
Neighborhood Justice Center: 719-520-6016
Parking Enforcement: 719-444-7891
Pothole Hotline: 719-385-6808
Victim Assistance (DA): 719-520-6049

HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION HELP
Colorado HOA Information Office and Resource Center
Gary Kujawski, HOA Information Officer gary.kujawski@dora.state.co.us 303-894-2355