Side Streets   Neighborhoods, people and issues

Bill Vogrin view all

  • Love of all things weather is carried onlocal & statelocal & state

    Barb Nichols doesn't need to read the paper, watch TV news or consult online weather sites to know how much rain has fallen in Manitou Springs during recent deluges, or how hard the wind blew or how low the temperatures dipped. She needed only check her own weather station at her Manitou Springs home. And while many wondered if records were...

  • Side Streets: Cragmor neighbors declare Chicago developers' plan 'monstrous' and vow to 'chase them out'

    Cragmor residents are vowing to stop a proposed housing complex they say would be akin to a fortress towering over the working-class neighborhood of 3,500 modest, 1950s homes just south of Austin Bluffs Parkway across from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Some are upset they may not get to voice their objections to the Colorado...

  • Side Streets: Manitou Springs lands in national spotlight with 'peanut pushers' museum exhibit

    Manitou Spring, the village that gave us coffin races and fruitcake tossing competitions, is unveiling it's latest quirky celebration: a fest for the "Pikes Peak Peanut Pusher." On Friday night, the Manitou Springs Heritage Center will open at 6 p.m. for a free party honoring Ulysses Baxter, a rockabilly singer from Oklahoma who got on his...

  • Side Streets: Next-door neighbors warily watch landslide, wonder why taxpayers won't fund improvements

    It's been a stressful week for next-door neighbors Monika Buckley and Doris Munson in Rockrimmon as they've kept one eye on the skies, watching for rain, and the other on the growing landslide out their back doors. You may remember their story from last week. Three days of torrential rain, hail and snow saturated the ground around their homes,...

  • Side Streets: Strange saga of Pulpit Rock neighborhood resumes as junk cars return, vanish

    The "Side Streets" hotline was ringing like crazy last week from residents of the Pulpit Rock neighborhood who wanted to report that Greg Heskin was at it again, amassing junk trucks on the dirt surrounding his home at Brittany Circle and Dublin Road. Just a few weeks ago, Colorado Springs police and code enforcement officers circled Heskin's...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs man no longer has front-yard lake after investigation

    A note of thanks popped up in my email the other day from D.C. Hayes, who wrote to say that recent torrential rains had not left his yard flooded, as often occurred in the previous 30 years due to a poorly designed intersection. Intrigued, I visited the Eastborough neighborhood near Murray Boulevard and Airport Road a few days later, during a...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs homeowners blame city inaction on erosion as yards, fences, decks fall in creek

    During three days of torrential rain, hail and snow last week, next-door neighbors Monika Buckley and Doris Munson stood at their windows and watched in fear as North Rockrimmon Creek, which runs behind their homes, swelled dramatically and their backyards shrank. Finally, late Saturday, a large chunk of Munson's backyard slid into the creek,...

  • Side Streets: No peace in Red Rock Valley as neighbors shoot high-powered rifles at home ranges

    More than a year ago, Wayne Hughes and his neighbors were startled by the sound of high-powered rifles being fired repeatedly in the residential neighborhood of Red Rock Valley, about 14 miles southwest of downtown Colorado Springs along Highway 115. This wasn't the sound of training from nearby Fort Carson. Nor was it from hunters in the...

  • Side Streets: Last of Cripple Creek's legendary Mackin family selling out after nearly 70 years

    This summer, Manitou Springs resident Bonnie Mackin plans to sell her family home in Cripple Creek, a beautiful century-old Victorian that she and her husband, Stephen, bought in 1971, and where they raised their two children. The sale will end the Mackin family's near 70-year association with the famous gold camp of Teller County, where they...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs pioneer home gets historic grant after column reveals threat

    Last August, members of the McAllister House Museum Committee shed tears when they learned they had been denied a grant to restore the crumbling brick-and-stone exterior of the landmark pioneer home. "We all cried," said Terry Thatcher, co-chair of the nonprofit that oversees the house built in 1873 by Civil War Maj. Henry McAllister, one of...

  • Side Streets: Wagon Man goes from hero to defendant for pulling wagons in Colorado Springs

    A week ago, Phillip Cargile, aka Wagon Man, was praised as a hero for saving a man being bludgeoned with a hammer outside a west Colorado Springs motel. On Wednesday, the 57-year-old Cargile was a defendant in Colorado Springs Municipal Court for the second time in two weeks, facing another ticket for obstructing traffic. The wounds on his...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs trash truck driver forges unique friendship with 10-year-old girl

    As a toddler, Xiao Jonas loved it when the big, red Bestway Disposal garbage truck pulled up in front of her Stetson Hills home each Friday morning. She'd wave and wave until truck driver Denny Scheiler and his partner saw her and waved back. Before long, she persuaded her mother, Joann, to take her to the curb to meet Denny. Their curbside...

  • Side Streets: Neighbors underwhelmed by vague plan for former Colorado Springs school

    Losing a school can devastate a neighborhood or be the catalyst to re-energize an entire area. Consider how the rebirth of Ivywild Elementary School as a brewery and home to assorted small businesses has re-energized the area south of downtown. Then consider the panic among Cragmoor residents as Bates Elementary is targeted for demolition...

  • Side Streets: Stratmoor Hills residents enraged by talk of changing beloved neighborhood sign

    In a vacant lot along Cheyenne Meadows Road, far back from Venetucci Boulevard across from The Broadmoor World Arena, is a tall, six-sided stone monument with the words "Stratmoor Hills." The weathered monument stands exactly where it was built in 1955 by Fred Abrahamson, who used it to advertise his new Stratmoor Hills, where he developed...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs man offers no defense for accumulated junk cars, quickly convicted

    A five-year battle that pitted one man against his neighborhood and city code enforcement officers over unlicensed and junk vehicles and debris he collected at his Pulpit Rock home ended with a whimper Wednesday. A year after being issued four summons for his junk cars and debris, Greg Heskin finally faced a judge in Colorado Springs...

  • Side Streets: Goose Lady of Green Mountain Falls already busy tending flock, hopeful she won't be punished

    It's only April, and already the Goose Lady of Green Mountain Falls has rescued two orphaned baby ducks dumped in the small scenic lake in the mountain village west of Colorado Springs. "They were domestic ducks somebody bought around Easter," Ann Pinell said. "They wouldn't have had a chance at the lake on their own. I've got to find a good...

  • Side Streets: Flagpole a mini United Nation as Colorado Springs man airs flag collection daily

    It was Friday, so of course a Canadian flag was flying over John King's east-side Colorado Springs house. That's because Friday was Constitution Day in the land of the maple leafs. Actually, King had to choose between Canada and Cambodia when carrying out his morning ritual of raising a flag. On April 17, 1975, Cambodia's civil war ended, and...

  • Side Streets: Wagon Man convicted of obstructing traffic in bizarre trial in Colorado Springs

    Justice was patient, tolerant, a little frustrated and ultimately swift in finding Phillip Cargile, aka the Wagon Man, guilty Wednesday of obstructing traffic. Cargile, 57 - wearing his signature striped poncho, "Be Positive" sign and patchwork overalls - appeared confused, defiant and emotional, even weeping as he declared in Colorado...

  • Side Streets: Some Colorado Springs residents aim to stop Broadmoor's stable project

    Skyway residents have gathered 200 signatures on a petition opposing a request by The Broadmoor hotel to rezone an 8.5-acre residential parcel so it can build an equestrian center and offer guests and the public horseback rides into sprawling Bear Creek Regional Park. The resort is proposing to build a 5,100-square-foot stable, with restrooms...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs residents can learn how to engage City Hall at Neighbor Up! Week

    You can learn techniques to empower your neighborhood at City Hall, join free brown-bag conversations with community leaders and attend workshops designed to train community organizers next week as the Council of Neighbors and Organizations celebrates its first-ever "Neighbor Up!" Week. Each day, CONO will host events aimed at helping you...

  • Side Streets: It will take years, and cash, before Colorado Springs' historic Old 168 locomotive runs again

    Soon, we may be waving so long to Old 168, the rotting and rusting locomotive that has sat mostly forgotten and neglected, along with its coal tender, in Antlers Park since 1938. If the folks at the National Register of Historic Places approve, Colorado Springs will ship Old 168 away with a goal of resurrecting the 19th-century antique as a...

  • Side Streets: Residents call neighborhood meeting over fear for Black Forest's future

    Is Black Forest strictly a residential community of homes on five-acre tracts, as its historic zoning and subsequent land use master plans assert? Or is it still a place where someone can raise horses and alpacas, build sawmills grinding out lumber and railroad ties, or construct a glider port among its pine trees and meadows? These...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs drug treatment center won't have marijuana shop next door after all

    After declaring the U.S. attorney's enforcement of drug-free school zones arbitrary and not based on law, the owner of several medical marijuana dispensaries and recreational pot shops statewide has abandoned a dispensary he was developing near Colorado College, walking away from it just weeks before it was scheduled to open. Dispensary owner...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs Code Enforcement descends on man's junk cars

    Three Colorado Springs Code Enforcement officers, three police officers and two tow trucks descended on a Pulpit Rock neighborhood Wednesday to make good on a promise to clean up a yard filled with junk. Neighbors drove by slowly, giving "thumbs up" signs to the small army as officers executed a warrant to clean Greg Heskin's yard of its junk...

  • Side Streets: Historic Colorado Springs Mining Exchange artifact survives in man's rec room

    Since 2012, mention the Mining Exchange to folks around Colorado Springs and they probably think of the posh Wyndham Grand Hotel in a historic building at Pikes Peak and Nevada avenues downtown. But for much of the 20th century, the Mining Exchange represented something very different. The five-story building was a major business center where...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs men bridge century of 'white' vs. 'black' Elks lodges

    It's enough of a headline that, in 2008, Warren "Neal" McCoy became the first black person voted in as a member of the Elks Lodge 309, which opened in Colorado Springs in 1895. It's even better that McCoy was the first black elected as its exalted ruler, taking office last April as leader of the 925-member lodge on Nevada Avenue, north of...

  • Side Streets: Manitou Springs history told through artifacts carried in the pockets of pioneers

    Atop a large granite boulder in Manitou Springs' Memorial Park stands a statue of a World War I doughboy. To most park visitors, it's just a typical, weathered war memorial. But once a "History Pockets" project is completed, this summer, visitors to the Manitou Springs Heritage Center will understand why the statue and the park represent an...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs man facing code violations

    Residents of the north-side Pulpit Rock neighborhood are puzzled, frustrated and angry. In recent months they have campaigned to get Colorado Springs code enforcement officers to do something about neighbor Greg Heskin, an electrician who bought a modest split-level house in 2009 at Dublin Boulevard and Brittany Circle. It's so bad one...

  • Side Streets: Billy Martin, '53 World Series MVP, was just another Fort Carson GI a few months later

    Baseball's spring training is underway, and that news had fan David Raith recalling how legendary New York Yankees second baseman Billy Martin spent his spring 60 years ago: coaching, playing ball and holding youth training camps with his fellow soldiers at Fort Carson. That's right. Two years after Martin had been MVP of the 1953 World...

  • Side Streets: Reader hits dead-end trying to get county to open road to emergency vehicles

    Last summer, crews from El Paso County went to Park Vista Estates, an unincorporated enclave near the Old Farm neighborhood, and put five concrete barriers across Copper Drive at the spot where the county road meets the city limits of Colorado Springs. The road wasn't dangerous. It was brand-new, having recently been built with city and...

  • Side Streets: CONO to Colorado Springs mayoral hopefuls: Are you a good neighbor?

    Neighborhood issues will dominate questions facing four candidates for mayor of Colorado Springs when they square off Wednesday night in a debate sponsored by the Council of Neighbors and Organizations. When the spotlights come on at 5:30 p.m. at Centennial Hall, 309 S. Cascade Ave., candidates Amy Lathen, Mary Lou Makepeace, Joel Miller and...

  • Side Streets: Technology innovation campus will fit nicely at historic Colorado Springs site

    It's back to the future as a technology, engineering and innovation hub is being created in the old Santa Fe Railway station southeast of downtown Colorado Springs. The Catalyst Campus of Technology & Innovation is described by its creator, the O'Neil Group Co., as a place where educators, students, technology companies, entrepreneurs,...

  • Side Streets: Raccoon sleepovers and other memories of woman at heart of 60-year water feud in Colorado Springs

    My recent column about the overgrown property on Mesa Road prompted Side Streets readers to respond with fond memories of Elinor "Gigi" Llewellyn, the longtime owner who let the 8.7-acre site rot after the city turned off water in the El Paso Canal nearly 60 years ago. And stick around for an update on the medical marijuana dispensary poised...

  • Side Streets: Seeking 'something special,' residents near UCCS have fears

    ennifer Speer and Marianne Horvath live on opposite sides of the Cragmor neighborhood, and each is staring down the barrel of large apartment buildings proposed by private, out-of-state developers to house students at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs. Neither woman is thrilled by the projects taking aim on Cragmor, a community...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs' official flag still fighting obscurity a century after adoption

    High on a pole outside the Colorado Springs City Administration Building is an unusual flag, flying along with the Stars and Stripes and the Colorado state flag. The strange flag has a blue border and a field of white bearing a six-sided shield that's ringed in green, with rays of sun bursting behind a mountain spotted with gold. On a...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs drug counseling business owner upset as marijuana dispensary moves in next door

    Some next-door neighbors just don't belong together: burger joints and diet clinics; PETA offices and butcher shops; churches and strip clubs. Licensed professional counselor Joanie Lewis wants to add to the list of misfit neighbors: medical marijuana dispensaries and substance abuse counseling centers. But that's happening to her Insight...

  • Side Streets: Overgrown property a sign of family's 60-year feud with Colorado Springs

    Recently, reader Scott Defebaugh wrote and asked for help solving a mystery: What is the story with a densely overgrown west-side property strewn with dead trees, weeds and abandoned and condemned houses that's surrounded by a stone wall at Mesa Road and Walnut Street? Turns out there's quite a story behind the wall: a nearly 60-year-old feud...

  • Side Streets: Iconic Colorado Springs race car being restored for 100th anniversary Hill Climb race

    Gently, the antique Yellow Devil was backed down a steel ramp Thursday onto the floor of the El Pomar Foundation's Penrose Heritage Museum as a group of dignitaries nervously observed. Some peeked under the worn and slightly bent hood of the 1918 Pierce-Arrow touring car that, nearly a century ago, was stripped, chopped down and converted...

  • Side Streets: Troubled Colorado Springs condo complex in 'world of hurt' financially

    For years, the Sierra Pointe Condominiums complex has been "Exhibit A" of the need for professional management and an informed homeowners association board. Built in 1974, the 282-unit complex on 13 acres near Austin Bluffs Parkway and Academy Boulevard has long been plagued by controversy. Sierra Pointe first surfaced in Side Streets in...

  • Side Streets: Mayor fast-tracks drainage project for distraught Colorado Springs man

    Turns out D.C. Hayes won't have to wait much longer for the city to fix a drainage problem it created 30 years ago. Last Friday, I reported that D.C. was fed up with flooding at the corner where he lives in Eastborough. In winter, ice routinely covers his sidewalk and street. A car hit the ice a couple years ago and destroyed his fence. After...

  • Side Streets: Manitou woman's fascination with playground equipment leads to book, future museum exhibit

    Playing with her toddler at a Manitou Springs playground, photographer Brenda Biondo noticed the equipment had changed dramatically since she was a child. Gone were the wooden seesaws, metal slides, steel spinners and jungle gyms she fondly recalled. What happened to the classic playground equipment of her youth? she wondered. Did others...

  • Side Streets: Retired Colorado Springs soldier wants city to repair drain it botched 30 years ago

    D.C. Hayes is fed up, and he wants Colorado Springs street crews to fix a problem they created three decades ago. A botched modification to the corner by his house in Eastborough, near Airport Road and Academy Boulevard, has led to chronic flooding during heavy rain, and large, dangerous sheets of ice in the winter, the 79-year-old Army...

  • Side Streets: It's all about family, not fame, for Colorado Springs member of the Voight clan

    Talk about the pressure of trying to live up to your family name. In the case of longtime Colorado Springs resident Lisa Voight, it might seem impossible. Her grandfather was a pro golfer who, in 1960, was a leader in the fight to end racism in the PGA. Her dad is a world famous geologist and volcanologist credited with pioneering a...

  • Side Streets: Nine years after her death, woman's book about historic Pikes Peak-area homes is published

    For 22 years, at a time of life when others are long retired, Helen Anderson was hard at work on a book. Starting when she was 77, Helen researched the historic homes of Colorado Springs and the Pikes Peak region. Working in collaboration with her son, commercial photographer Gordon Anderson, Helen compiled a list of notable historic houses...

  • Side Streets: Tiny house enthusiasts will be living large in Colorado Springs

    Tiny houses are coming to Colorado Springs, and they are going to be big. Tiny houses represent a nationwide movement of people seeking to simplify their lives, eliminate debt and become more mobile. They're abandoning traditional homes and neighborhoods and opting for miniature-scale houses on trailers or ones built out of cargo containers...

  • Side Streets: Sound effects make Murphy brothers' mural come to life in homage to Colorado Springs' railroad roots

    First came the distinctive hissing of the steam locomotive's brakes releasing. Next was the chugging of the engine roaring to life, its huge pistons firing, sending power to large steel drive wheels. Squealing sounds signaled the spinning of those wheels as they grabbed for traction against steel rails. A conductor shouted: "All aboard!"...

  • Side Streets: A toast to Enos Mills and his Rocky Mountain National Park 100 years later

    Earlier this week, Rocky Mountain National Park marked its 100th anniversary. I enthusiastically joined the celebration, offering a special toast to Enos Mills, a fellow Kansas native who moved to Estes Park in 1885 at age 15, seeking a cure for tuberculosis. Like his mentor John Muir, Mills was a naturalist who campaigned vigorously for...

  • Side Streets: 'Selma' film a shocking reminder of America's racist past and it echoes loudly in today's headlines

    Recently, Brown Bomber Joe Morgan urged students at Holmes Middle School to go see "Selma," a movie about the civil rights movement and the violent clashes in Alabama 50 years ago that awakened America to thriving Southern racism and ultimately led to passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The Holmes students had been quizzing Morgan and...

  • Side Streets: Queen of Prince of Blades carved business out of swordplay

    In 1994, Dorothy Bretag came into a small inheritance. As she considered how to invest the money, her daughter asked her what she loved. Her answer: swords. It stemmed from watching classic swashbuckler movies about pirates and knights when she was a child. So she and her husband, Mel, opened Prince of Blades in their west-side home and...

  • Side Streets: Being Colorado native no longer a draw as Springs club fades

    Back in the 1970s and '80s, a bumper sticker became popular on cars across Colorado. It resembled the state license plate with its silhouette of the mountains. But instead of numbers, it bore the word "NATIVE" in big block letters. The bumper stickers declared the driver not just a resident, but someone lucky enough to be born in Colorado....

  • Side Streets: Bambi Venetucci was an extraordinary woman and half of an amazing love story

    On a cold, gray day on Halloween eve in 2002, I watched as Bambi Venetucci comforted her husband, legendary pumpkin farmer Nick Venetucci. He was sitting at their kitchen table at the family farm in Security, quietly crying as he confronted the end of their traditional pumpkin giveaway. The great drought of 2002 had ruined Venetucci's pumpkin...

  • Side Streets: Applause, autograph session erupts as Brown Bombers address middle school students

    Rounds of applause filled the Holmes Middle School library Friday as dozens of seventh-grade students responded to stories told by visiting celebrities. Once they were done speaking, a spontaneous autograph session began. Who could inspire a room full of kids to wait in line for signatures? Well, it wasn't Taylor Swift or One Direction....

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

    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: Readers can help fill in gaps in our history with photos, memories

    For Christmas, Side Streets readers showered gifts upon Leah Davis Witherow, curator at the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum - photos and histories of their homes and neighborhoods. Now another reader hopes folks will be just as giving to his project: finding photos and biographical information for each of the 58,272 names on the Vietnam...

  • Side Streets: Relief, joy as Nugget recovers from months of pain, amputations

    It has been a tough year for my family's best friend, but you'd hardly know it. He broke a bone and never uttered a complaint. Just limped around quietly in pain. When the bone didn't heal after six weeks in a cast, he endured an amputation. Despite near constant pain and discomfort, he had a smile each time I saw him and a friendly wag of...

  • Side Streets: Fascination with history leads Colorado Springs women to research book on Ivywild

    The Ivywild neighborhood's rich history as home to the area's first amusement park with a roller coaster, 110-foot "circle swing" and a zoo is being unearthed by an unlikely team of amateur historians. Linda Johnson and Molly Merry are finding out all sorts of cool stuff about Ivywild, like the old Boulevard Stadium where, from 1902 to 1904,...

  • Side Streets: Stimulating discussions of philosophy, politics, poetry abound in Colorado Springs

    Craving an adult conversation about politics or poetry or life in general? Looking for a place to express your deepest thoughts, be challenged on your beliefs or stretched intellectually by an opposing point of view in a nonthreatening, civil environment? A variety of opportunities to think deep thoughts, politely talk and calmly debate...

  • Side Streets: Author inspired by 'Neighbors from Hell' shows they exist everywhere and tries to help

    Watching television Friday, I had flashbacks to the early years of "Side Streets" when I reported regularly on neighborhood conflicts that erupted into wars over complaints like barking dogs or loud music or abusive homeowners association boards. Longtime "Side Streets" readers will remember that some people nicknamed my column "Mean Streets"...

  • Side Streets: Tale of Colorado Springs POW/MIA widow generates 'overwhelming' response

    Two weeks ago, I told the story of Ann Duffy, whose husband, Thomas Duffy, died April 27, 1972, in Vietnam after the F-4 Phantom he was piloting went down over Da Nang bay. Ann, 80, always wondered about the circumstances of his death. She never knew why his radar/weapons officer had ejected and survived, but Duff, as she calls him, did not....

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs man killed sledding behind SUV could have been me

    A story on gazette.com this week told of a 33-year-old man on a makeshift sled being seriously injured when the SUV pulling him crashed into a parked truck. The story noted that Colorado Springs police arrested the driver, Michael Miner, 43, on suspicion of vehicular assault and attempt to influence a public official. A passenger, Cassandra...

  • Side Streets: MIA widow grateful to finally know how pilot husband died in Vietnam

    For 42 years, Ann Duffy wondered exactly what happened on April 27, 1972. That was the day her husband, Thomas Duffy, went missing in action in Vietnam after the F-4 Phantom he was piloting went down over Da Nang bay. About all Ann knew was that the radar/weapons officer in the backseat had ejected and survived. But she never knew why...

  • Side Streets: Election year offers opportunity for Colorado Springs neighborhoods to elevate concerns at City Hall

    It's time to turn the page on 2014. From what I can tell, the new year offers great opportunities for neighborhoods to elevate their concerns at City Hall. And there will be huge challenges for neighborhoods facing major road construction projects. The opportunities start with the mayoral election. Without talking politics, I hope the new...

  • Side Streets: Readers helped make 2014 a great year in Colorado Springs

    The holidays bring quiet times perfect for reflecting on the previous year. Looking back, I am proud of the things that Side Streets readers and I accomplished. Together, we helped a young boy fighting cancer, raised money to fight ALS, gave an overdue tribute to a forgotten baseball team, saved a tree and shed light on injustices. I met...

  • Side Streets: Wildfires prove it's time for Colorado Springs to take a community selfie

    It's time for Colorado Springs to take a big community selfie. We need to do it now before yet another wildfire robs us of more of our history. When the Waldo Canyon fire roared down Queens Canyon and incinerated much of the Mountain Shadows neighborhood on June 26, 2012, it did more than kill two and destroy 347 homes. Much of the visual...

  • Side Streets: Another chance to see the Knulls' Christmas display deemed unique in Colorado Springs

    For decades, John and Joan Knull decorated their home on East Dale Street with a collection of homemade Christmas decorations that twirled, slid and sometimes chugged. The colorfully lighted display started in 1970 with a Santa, sleigh and three reindeer that John's father built in 1945 and displayed initially at his west-side home. Over...

  • Side Streets: Wagon Man and Wagon Lady are back in Colorado Springs with their positive message

    Wagon Man is back. So is Wagon Lady. Of course, I immediately wondered: Does this mean a reprise of the Manitou Springs sidewalk vs. street-walking controversy that led to a bizarre trial and a new law? First, the news. Since Thanksgiving week, Phillip and Cheryl Cargile have been pulling wagon trains, with their trademark U.S. flag,...

  • Side Streets: Peeing Santa display has Colorado Springs neighbors in uproar

    If you are cruising Cheyenne Canyon looking at Christmas lights, you might not want to stray too far down Heather Drive. It's OK to admire the house with the beautiful luminary bags just off Mesa Avenue and other brightly decorated homes nearby. But if you keep going north on Heather Drive to the end of the cul-de-sac, you might want to cover...

  • Side Streets: A toast to Spencer Penrose on his 75th anniversary for a colorful and important life

    Today I will drink a toast to Spencer Penrose, the black sheep of a prominent Philadelphia family who graduated last in his class at Harvard in 1886, went out West to prove himself, ended up broke, landed in Colorado Springs and promptly got into a bar fight on his first day. That's only part of the reason I admire Penrose, who made a fortune...

  • Side Streets: Frustrated mom gets Colorado Springs police promise to patrol handicapped parking spaces

    Lorraine Grisez is tired and frustrated. She's tired of parents at Discovery Canyon Campus parking in spaces set aside for the handicapped. The situation is so bad she has to leave 
45 minutes early to ensure she gets one of the designated spots. Otherwise, there's no room to unfold the ramp from her van so her daughter, 13-year-old Zoe, can...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs was smallest city to ever host baseball's winter meetings

    Thousands are expected to converge next week in San Diego as the professional baseball world convenes its annual winter meetings. It was a much different atmosphere in 1957 when Colorado Springs, with a population of about 70,000, became the smallest city to host the event. The assembly was a coup for the Pikes Peak region as both the major...

  • Side Streets: First black governor of Massachusetts has family roots Colorado Springs

    What historic link possibly could exist between the Pikes Peak region and Deval Patrick, the first black governor of Massachusetts who was raised by a single mother in a Chicago housing project? A team of genealogists recently turned up strong ties and, in the process, uncovered a previously unknown post-Civil War migration of freed slaves...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs cop celebrated for 35 years helping people, finding solutions

    No matter who was in the squad car next to him, officer Bobby Jeffords was always the "good cop" during his 35-year career on the Colorado Springs Police Department. "Bobby is a unique soul," said Linda Schlarb, who owns Old Town Propane. "We've often kidded him. His partner is the bad cop and Bobby is the good cop." That list includes Pete...

  • Side Streets: Urgent email leads to rescue of local neighborhood association

    In September, an email swept through Stratmoor Hills on the southern edge of Colorado Springs. It was a call to residents of the unincorporated neighborhood to assemble at the local fire station. At the assembly, residents would resuscitate or extinguish the Stratmoor Hills Neighborhood Association. "Is this the end of the SHNA?" the email...

  • Side Streets: Old 168, rotting and rusting, could have new life ahead

    Pop quiz: Where is Antlers Park located? What monuments exist there? Would you pay to restore them or mind if they were moved? These are important questions if you, like me, value the history of Colorado Springs and its founder, Gen. William Jackson Palmer. They are especially important if you are a railroad buff and cherish our roots as...

  • Side Streets: Bridging this gap will take time, money

    In a summer of monsoon rains, the afternoon of July 12 featured a particularly nasty thunderstorm. In Briargate, a deluge of rain and hail caused flash flooding in Cottonwood Creek and many smaller drainages east of Chapel Hills Mall near Rampart High School. Neighbor Vic Andrews remembers well what happened to the stream behind his house....

  • Side Streets: Mayor Bach 
delivers on 
guardrail 
promise

    It took two months to get the attention of City Hall concerning the mangled guardrail on Rockrimmon Boulevard. But once Mayor Steve Bach found out, he didn't waste any time getting his team launched. Less than 10 days after my column detailing the frustration of Mitch Logue and other neighbors, the guardrail was repaired. Logue called me...

  • Side Streets: Collection sheds light on Jewish life in Colorado Springs area

    Retired teachers Jane and Bob Neff felt an obligation to give back to their community. So as the 40th anniversary of Temple Shalom approached in 2011, they scanned hundreds of photos and made digital copies for a slide show. It was a natural outgrowth of their retirement business, Valuable Memories on Video. But the Neffs wanted to know...

  • Side Streets: Witnessing domestic violence leaves columnist wondering what he should have done

    Next time, I'll know what to do. I didn't Wednesday night as a troubling scene unfolded before me and my family at a restaurant near Woodmen Road and Interstate 25. The man in the booth next to us glared across the table at a teenage girl, leaned in and growled ominously. "Shut your goddamned mouth." A woman who appeared to be his wife...

  • Side Streets: Oldest brick home in Colorado Springs needs urgent preservation help

    From the laying of its foundation in 1873, the home of Maj. Henry McAllister made headlines and became a symbol of the commitment Colorado Springs founder Gen. William Jackson Palmer had toward his fledging resort town. At the time, a world financial crisis and local crop failures had left investors in Palmer's Colorado Springs Co. worried...

  • Side Streets: Brown Bombers enshrinement a miracle 65 years in making

    Miracles do happen. I witnessed one Tuesday night. A miracle 65 years in the making. That's certainly the belief of the five surviving members of Colorado Springs' all-black baseball team, the legendary Brown Bombers. They were among the honorees Tuesday when the Colorado Springs Sports Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2014 at The...

  • Side Streets: Readers respond to family in need; mayor responds to neglect

    Time for a couple of updates, and I'll start with a big thank-you to Side Streets readers. It never seems to fail. I mention a Colorado Springs resident facing tough times and immediately hands are raised to help. In this case, it was the story of the Pfennigs family. You might recall 15-year-old Jonah Pfennigs, the Doherty High School...

  • Side Streets: Hello, is this Colorado Springs City Hall? Is anybody there? Hello?

    Mitch Logue wants to get his fence fixed. Problem is he can't get his neighbor to cooperate. If a homeowners association were involved, there would be threatening letters, liens and all sorts of activity. But that's not the case with Mitch. He's not dealing with an HOA. The neighbor that won't cooperate is the city. Maybe you remember...

  • Side Streets: Couple curates intimate museum of Colorado Springs and founder Palmer

    Last week, I spent a couple of hours touring an intimate history museum packed with artifacts of old Colorado Springs and, in particular, the city's founder, Gen. William Jackson Palmer. I held a handwritten note Palmer wrote to his carpenter, offering "best Christmas wishes." And a typewritten note on 
Jan. 20, 1906, in which Palmer offered...

  • Side Streets: Buy a calendar, help put the 'springs' back in Colorado Springs

    Since I first wrote about efforts to restore Tahama Springs in Monument Valley Park, I've had folks wanting to know how to contribute. They like the idea of resurrecting the spring on the west bank of Monument Creek that was damaged by the Memorial Day Flood of 1935 and then destroyed by a second flood in June 1965 and sealed in concrete....

  • Side Streets: Readers add to list of Colorado Springs standouts

    Who knew so many famous people once lived in the Pikes Peak region? Clearly not me, judging by the flow of emails and calls from readers nominating more names for the list I began compiling a couple of weeks ago. While I didn't learn of any more scandalous singers, I did learn more about Ruth Etting, the Depression-era singer who lived the...

  • Side Streets: Football game a respite during year of suffering for Colorado Springs family

    A year ago, I introduced readers to Jonah Pfennigs, a Doherty High School freshman who had suffered a recurrence after being deemed cancer-free almost 11 years. I had hoped this update would be full of good news. But it's not. It has been a tough year on the 15-year-old and his family - parents Kim and David and siblings Emma, 19, and Sam,...

  • Side Streets: List of famous Colorado Springs-area residents lengthens

    Turns out my list of famous Colorado Springs residents was far from complete. Luckily, plenty of Side Streets readers were happy to fill in some of the gaps with their suggestions after my column last week. None quibbled with my suggestion that silent movie superstar Lon Chaney, eccentric genius inventor Nikola Tesla and Peanuts cartoonist...

  • Blog: American royalty to attend film about combat vet’s recovery from PTSD and embracing Indian heritage

    American royalty will be on hand Friday as the documentary “Sitting Bull’s Voice” is screened at Palmer High School. From what I’ve learned about the film, there are several themes that should resonate with residents of the Pikes Peak region. The documentary traces the life of Ernie LaPointe, a soldier in Vietnam who spent decades...

  • Side Streets: Royalty to attend film about combat vet's recovery from PTSD and embracing Indian heritage

    American royalty will be on hand Friday as the documentary "Sitting Bull's Voice" plays at Palmer High School. From what I've learned about the film, there are several themes that should resonate with residents of the Pikes Peak region. The documentary traces the life of Ernie LaPointe, a soldier in Vietnam who spent decades struggling with...

  • Side Streets: Scandalous singer, Elvira, Woodrow Wilson and other additions to the list of famous Springs residents

    Turns out my list of famous Colorado Springs residents was far from complete. Luckily, plenty of Side Streets readers were happy to fill in some of the gaps with their suggestions after my column last week. None quibbled with my suggestion that silent movie superstar Lon Chaney, eccentric genius inventor Nikola Tesla and Peanuts cartoonist...

  • Blog: Scandalous singer, Elvira, Woodrow Wilson among famous to reside in Colorado Springs

    Turns out my list of famous Colorado Springs residents was far from complete. Luckily, plenty of Side Streets readers were happy to fill in some of the gaps with their suggestions after my column last week. None quibbled with my suggestion that silent movie superstar Lon Chaney, eccentric genius inventor Nikola Tesla and Peanuts cartoonist...

  • Side Streets: Publisher sells cherished Black Forest News but carries on wildfire recovery work

    When the Black Forest fire erupted June 11, 2013, one of the many victims was Judy von Ahlefeldt, who lost her home, one of her horses and most of her belongings. Gone was her 304-page doctoral dissertation on the climate and vegetation of Black Forest. Gone were the notes and photos for "Thunder, Sun and Snow," her book about the history...

  • Blog: Publisher sells beloved Black Forest News but continues wildfire recovery work

    When the Black Forest fire erupted June 11, 2013,, one of the many victims was Judy von Ahlefeldt, who lost her home, one of her horses and most of her belongings. Gone was her 304-page doctoral dissertation on the climate and vegetation of Black Forest. Gone was the notes and photos for “Thunder, Sun and Snow,” her book about the history...

  • Side Streets: No Kardashians in Colorado Springs, so who is most famous?

    I love "Jeopardy." So I pose the answers first: silent movie superstar Lon Chaney. Or crazy smart (and slightly crazy) inventor Nikola Tesla. Could be Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. You get to decide. Here's the question: Who are the most famous people who have lived in Colorado Springs? I recently wrote about Jeb Magruder and his...

  • Blog: No Kardashians in Colorado Springs, so who is most famous

    I love “Jeopardy.” So I pose the answers first: silent movie superstar Lon Chaney. Or crazy smart (and slightly crazy) inventor Nikola Tesla. Could be Peanuts cartoonist Charles M. Schultz. You get to decide. Here’s the question: Who are the most famous people who have lived in Colorado Springs? I recently wrote about Jeb Magruder and his...

  • Side Streets: Wildlife lovers best avoid Green Mountain Falls after Goose Lady fined

    Want to feed ducks and geese on a pond in the mountains? Maybe get a meal from a local cafe? Invite relatives to come and stay in a historic town? Don't bother going to Green Mountain Falls. You and your guests might wind up facing a ticket and $250 fine. That was the case Tuesday for Ann Pinell, the Goose Lady of Green Mountain Falls....

  • Blog: Waterfowl lovers best avoid Green Mountain Falls after Goose Lady fined

    Want to feed ducks and geese on a pond in the mountains? Maybe get a meal from a local cafe? Invite relatives to come and stay in a historic town? Don’t bother going to Green Mountain Falls. You and your guests might wind up facing a ticket and $250 fine. That was the case Tuesday for Ann Pinell, the Goose Lady of Green Mountain Falls....

  • Blog: HOA demands signed waivers, $15 card key, iron gate before kids can get to school

    It took 10 years, signed waivers and an electronically controlled iron gate before the Dam West homeowners association in Aurora agreed to grant access to children from the adjacent Shores neighborhood to walk to school. That's right. After a decade of neogtiations, the Dam West neighborhood finally agreed the children could walk through to...

  • Side Streets: Green Mountain Falls tradition of feeding waterfowl at stake in trial of 'Goose Lady'

    For as long as Ann Pinell can remember, probably since she moved to Green Mountain Falls in 1955, she has been feeding the ducks and geese that spend their summers living near the lake in the heart of town. In fact, many residents and tourists over the years have fed the waterfowl. (Heck, I recall feeding the ducks with my brothers when I was...

  • Blog: Green Mountain Falls tradition of feeding waterfowl at stake in trial of ‘Goose Lady’

    For as long as Ann Pinell can remember, probably since she moved to Green Mountain Falls in 1955, she has been feeding the ducks and geese that spend their summers living near the lake in the heart of town. In fact, many residents and tourists over the years have fed the waterfowl. (Heck, I recall feeding the ducks with my brothers when I was...

  • Side Streets: Historic sign adds to story of woman who claimed Christ visited Colorado Springs

    While walking to lunch downtown last week, I was stopped cold at the sight of an old yellow sign painted on a red brick building. The historic "Aldridge Mercantile Co. Wholesale Grocers" sign is on the side of Old Town Bike Shop at 426 S. Tejon St. In the bottom right corner is the signature "E.W. Arveson." For a second, it spooked me....

  • Blog: Historic sign adds to story of woman who claimed Christ visited her Colorado Springs home

    While walking to lunch downtown last week, I was stopped cold at the sight of an old yellow sign painted on a red brick building. The historic “Aldridge Mercantile Co. Wholesale Grocers” sign is on the side of Old Town Bike Shop at 426 S. Tejon St. In the bottom right corner is the signature “E.W. Arveson.” For a second, it spooked me....

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs' man 'daily life' inspires millions of ministry followers worldwide

    Tim Keenan knew something was up when the phones kept ringing at his Colorado Mattress Recycling business. Then he noticed his email inbox was filling and his Facebook account was inundated with friend requests. "I had no idea what was going on," Tim, 29, said Tuesday. "It was pretty overwhelming." So he Googled his name, and his screen...

  • Blog: Colorado Springs man's 'daily life' inspires millions of Bible ministry followers worldwide

    Tim Keenan knew something was up when the phones started ringing nonstop Monday at his Colorado Mattress Recycling business on Fillmore Street. Then he noticed his email account was erupting and his Facebook account was getting pounded with friend requests. “I had no idea what was going on,” Tim, 29, said Tuesday. “It was pretty...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs-area woman honors German girl for compassion in World War II

    Falcon resident Mary Ruttner traveled to Germany in September for a special reunion. Her 88-year-old mother, Joan Buhrmann, also flew in, from the family farm in Nebraska. They gathered in Hanover, a city in north-central Germany they were drawn to after years of stories from Mary's father, Wayne "Red" Buhrmann, who died in 1996. They went...

  • Blog: Colorado Springs-area woman honors German girl for compassion to World War II enemy

    Falcon resident Mary Ruttner traveled to Germany in September for a special reunion. Her 88-year-old mother, Joan Buhrmann, also flew in, from the family farm in Nebraska. They gathered in Hanover, a city in north-central Germany they were drawn to after years of stories from Mary’s father, Wayne “Red” Buhrmann, who died in 1996. They went...

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs' new Library 21c is on the cutting edge

    Armed with blocks of wood and a computer flash drive, Debi Sutherland went to the library to create graduation mementos for her daughter and nephew. She planned to use a laser cutter to etch the wood with the Liberty High School logo, senior photos and messages of love. And Debi was producing the keepsakes for little expense. At this...

  • Blog: Colorado Springs' new Library 21c is on the cutting edge

    Armed with blocks of wood and a computer flash drive, Debi Sutherland went to the library to create graduation mementos for her daughter and nephew. She planned to use a laser cutter to etch the wood with the Liberty High School logo, senior photos and messages of love. And Debi was producing the keepsakes for little expense. At this...

  • Side Streets: Food challenge spotlights pressure on working poor to eat healthy

    Over the last three weeks, I've watched the work of the good folks at Care and Share, the food bank of southern Colorado, as they have promoted Hunger Action Month, an effort to raise awareness of hunger in America. In particular, I tracked the folks who participated in the Food Assistance Challenge, in which community leaders and celebrity...

  • Blog: Food challenge spotlights pressure on working poor to eat healthy

    Over the past three weeks, I’ve watched the work of the good folks at Care and Share, the food bank of southern Colorado, as they have promoted Hunger Action Month, an effort to raise awareness of hunger in America. In particular, I tracked the folks who participated in the Food Assistance Challenge, in which a panel of community leaders and...

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

    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...

  • Blog: Nicest lawn in Colorado Springs transformed again

    In June, I wrote a Side Streets column about the nicest lawn in Colorado Springs. Actually, it was the nicest golf green in the city. And it just happened to be right down the street from me on Raven Hills Court. My neighbor, Paul Butcher, was putting my "zeroscaped" yard to shame with his lawn, which he mowed almost daily and sculpted...

  • Side Streets: Oklahoma Joe restored Gazette to award-winning form

    It was bleak inside the newsroom on Prospect Street on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, when Joe Hight arrived to become editor of The Gazette. We were shell-shocked from the latest dismissals and bracing for impact as another new owner was announced. There's no way Joe could know how grim things were when he accepted the offer from Clarity Media, as...

  • Blog: Oklahoma Joe restored Gazette to award-winning form

    It was bleak inside the newsroom on Prospect Street on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012, when Joe Hight arrived to become editor of The Gazette. We were shell-shocked from the latest dismissals and bracing for impact as another new owner was announced. There’s no way Joe could know how grim things were when he accepted the offer from Clarity Media, as...

  • Side Streets: For frustrated couple near UCCS, student parking still a problem

    Parking relief finally has come to the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs along Austin Bluffs Parkway. For everyone, it seems, but Dick and Sandra Matthews. For years, UCCS students have dodged parking fees by lining neighborhood streets with their cars, creating parking havoc for residents. Homeowners...

  • Blog: Cragmor parking war with UCCS students rages on for one lone family

    Parking relief finally has come to the neighborhoods surrounding the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs along Austin Bluffs Parkway. For everyone, it seems, but Dick and Sandra Matthews. For years, UCCS students have dodged parking fees by lining neighborhood streets with their cars, creating parking havoc for residents. Homeowners...

  • Blog: Sky Sox might have kept Rockies by embracing downtown stadium

    The news Wednesday the Colorado Rockies were abandoning Colorado Springs as the home of its minor league team and moving to Albuquerque prompted some vigorous debate on social media. And it reminded me of a story I reported in 2003. At the time, a developer  wanted to buy the Sky Sox, a Pacific Coast League AAA baseball franchise, and...

  • Side Streets: Permit system evicts UCCS students, restores calm to Cragmor neighborhood

    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...

  • Side Streets: Permanent home for Colorado Springs' neighborhood group 'a big deal'

    The sign on the modest little building identifies it as the headquarters of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, or CONO, the umbrella group for the hundreds of neighborhood associations across Colorado Springs and El Paso County. But CONO president Dave Munger sees the building as something much more than just CONO's first permanent...

  • Blog: Permanent home for Colorado Springs' neighborhood group a 'big deal'

    The sign on the modest little building identifies it as the headquarters of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, or CONO, the umbrella group for the hundreds of neighborhood associations across Colorado Springs and El Paso County. But CONO president Dave Munger sees the building as something much more than just CONO’s first permanent...

  • Blog: Permanent home for Colorado Springs' neighborhood group a 'big deal'

    The sign on the modest little building identifies it as the headquarters of the Council of Neighbors and Organizations, or CONO, the umbrella group for the hundreds of neighborhood associations across Colorado Springs and El Paso County. But CONO president Dave Munger sees the building as something much more than just CONO’s first permanent...

  • Blog: Freelancer stuck around Colorado Springs to become Gazette's new editor

    Twenty years ago, I walked into the newsroom of The Gazette and took a desk next to a young, red-headed business writer who introduced herself as Joanna Bean. Soon, I came to know her as an intense, dedicated journalist who was passionate about local news, accuracy, the West, and skiing. She had come to The Gazette as a freelance reporter...

  • Side Streets: Ascension of Gazette editor makes lots of sense

    Twenty years ago, I walked into the newsroom of The Gazette and took a desk next to a young, red-headed business writer who introduced herself as Joanna Bean. Soon, I came to know her as an intense, dedicated journalist who was passionate about local news, accuracy, the West and skiing. She had come to The Gazette as a freelance reporter in...

  • SIDE STREETS: Exhilaration, pride after completing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    The moments before the ice water hit were excruciating. The actual soaking was exhilarating. After a two-week delay due to emergency gallbladder surgery, I finally completed my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday, standing downtown at the Busy Corner of Tejon Street and Pikes Peak Avenue. Before my surgery, I had agreed to take the...

  • Blog: Exhilaration, pride after completing ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    The moments before the ice water hit were excruciating. The actual soaking was exhilarating. After a two-week delay due to emergency gallbladder surgery, I finally completed my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Thursday, standing at the Busy Corner downtown of Tejon Street and Pikes Peak Avenue. Before my surgery, I had agreed to take the...

  • Blog: Gallbladder attack won't stop ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    So, where were we? Let’s see. When I disappeared a couple of weeks ago, I was poised to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I had auctioned the rights to soak me with ice water to the person who donated the most to the Spirit of the Springs team, which is participating in Saturday’s Walk to Defeat ALS fundraiser in Denver. My wife, Cary,...

  • Side Streets: Gallbladder attack won't stop ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

    So, where were we? Let's see. When I disappeared a couple of weeks ago, I was poised to take the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I had auctioned the rights to soak me with ice water to the person who donated the most to the Spirit of the Springs team, which is participating in Saturday's Walk to Defeat ALS fundraiser in Denver. My wife, Cary,...

  • Downtown Ice Bucket Challenge scheduled for Thursday postponed

    The Ice Bucket Challenge organized by Side Streets columnist Bill Vogrin for noon Thursday has been postponed. Vogrin and Gazette video anchor Eric Singer will update you on when it's rescheduled.

  • Side Streets: Colorado Springs neighbors saved by guardrail built after newspaper campaign

    For years, the intersection where Vindicator Drive meets Rockrimmon Boulevard has hosted one demolition derby after another. Neighbors on Dillon Circle who back up to the "T" intersection have counted 14 wrecks in 17 years that involved cars leaving the road, smashing their fences and ending up in their backyards. In almost every case, the...

  • Blog: Guardrail erected after Side Streets campaign saves neighbors

    For years, the intersection where Vindicator Drive meets Rockrimmon Boulevard has hosted one demolition derby after another. Neighbors on Dillon Circle who back up to the “T” intersection have counted 14 wrecks in 17 years that involved cars leaving the road, smashing their fences and ending up in their backyards. In almost every case, the...

  • Side Streets: Hit me with your best shot - of icy water

    By now, the entire nation knows about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It's the viral social media campaign designed to raise awareness and money for research for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable degenerative disease that slowly cripples its victims and ends in death. In video after video, people are getting doused with ice...

  • Blog: Bid for chance to soak Vogrin in ice water

    By now, the entire nation knows about the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. It’s the viral social media campaign designed to raise awareness, and money for research, for ALS, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, an incurable degenerative disease that slowly cripples its victims and ends in death. In video after video, people are getting doused with...

  • Blog: It's a miracle on Dale Street! Colorado Springs tree saved from chainsaws

    When I last saw Carol Willis in April, she was hugging a massive old silver maple in front of her Dale Street home. This was not just any tree. This had been her friend, sheltering her home with shade, attracting flickers and squirrels and raccoons to its tangle of branches and thick, knotted trunk. She’d loved this tree since she and her...

  • Side Streets: It's a miracle on Dale Street! Colorado Springs tree saved from chainsaws

    When I last saw Carol Willis in April, she was hugging a massive old silver maple in front of her Dale Street home. This was not just any tree. This had been her friend, sheltering her home with shade, attracting flickers and squirrels and raccoons to its tangle of branches and thick, knotted trunk. She'd loved this tree since she and her...

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

    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...

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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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: A private Colorado Springs man and his '67 Corvette

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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: Community steps up to transform park entrance eyesore

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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'

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?'

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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?

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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'

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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

    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...

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