2014 preview for Colorado Springs: Health, anniversaries, highway expansion

The Gazette Updated: January 1, 2014 at 6:17 pm • Published: December 31, 2013 | 5:40 pm 0

The way it looks now, 2014 will be a year of health and wellness healing.

The region will commemorate the 1st anniversary of the Black Forest Fire, the state's most destructive fire, as well the 1st anniversary of the Manitou Springs floods. A memorial to the Waldo Canyon fire will also be erected.

The War in Afghanistan will end in 2014, Coloradans will sort their way through a new health care system.

And, finally, by the end of the year the 11-mile Interstate 25 expansion project is scheduled to be complete.

Here's a look at some of 2014's important dates and deadlines.

JANUARY

- Retail recreational pot shops open in Colorado after voters legalized marijuana in 2012.

- Manitou Springs City Council resumes Jan. 7 and faces a controversial decision about recreational marijuana sales that it placed a moratorium on until Jan. 31. Mayor Marc Snyder said the extension allows time to draft and finalize pot shop regulations.

- Colorado General Assembly convenes Jan. 8 with speeches by the Speaker of the House Mark Ferrandino and new Senate President Morgan Carroll.

- Gov. John Hickenlooper is scheduled to gives the State of the State Address to lawmakers Jan. 9

- Coloradans who purchased health insurance through the state's new insurance marketplace, Connect for Health Colorado, have until Jan. 10 to pay their first month's premium. The deadline was extended 10 days to allow more time to pay.

- Bourbon Brothers Southern Kitchen, planned opening in Copper Ridge at Northgate Blvd. and Interstate-25 is January 23.

- The Colorado Department of Education will release enrollment figures by district for the 2013-2014 school year. - A pair of reports regarding investigations into the timeline of events surrounding the Black Forest fire are due in early 2014. The reports are expected to settle a dispute between Sheriff Terry Maketa and Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey regarding response to the fire. The Black Forest Fire/Rescue Protection District's internal investigation is scheduled to be complete sometime in January. The El Paso County Sheriff's department investigation is due sometime during the first quarter.

- The Broncos will host a divisional playoff game with hopes of making the AFC Championship Game on Jan. 19 and the Super Bowl on Feb. 2 in East Rutherford, N.J.

FEBRUARY

- The Pikes Peak Regional Stormwater Task force is expected to make a recommendation during the first quarter about how to pay for and govern regional stormwater projects based on an economic impact study.

- The Colorado Department of Education says that the early window for state assessment tests (TCAPS) for grade three reading, will be Feb. 10-21. Regular testing window is February 24-March 7.

- The Sochi Winter Olympics take place in Russia Feb. 6-23 with the opening ceremony to be telecast as part of a downtown Colorado Springs celebration Feb. 7. The Paralympics follow in Sochi March 7-16.

- Coquette's Bistro and Bakery, the popular gluten-free mecca in Manitou Springs, will expand into downtown Colorado Springs at 321 N. Tejon St. around Feb. 14.

MARCH

- Fort Carson soldiers from the 4th Brigade Combat Team will head to war in March and will likely be some of the last American soldiers in Afghanistan. The 3,500-soldier unit will play two major roles overseas, training Afghan military and police and shutting down American bases.

- Colorado Department of Education gives these dates for the following state assessment tests (TCAP):

Early test window for reading, grades 4-10, writing grades 3-10, and math, grades 3-10 is March 3-March 21 (or through March 28 if spring break overlaps.) The regular testing window is March 10 - April 11.

- Affordable Care Act open enrollment deadline is March 31. Coloradans must enroll through Connect for Health Colorado by then to ensure coverage in 2014.

APRIL

- American Medical Response begins ambulance service in Colorado Springs April 1. The service is expected to save the city money and improve response times in several neighborhoods.

- The deadline for the Colorado General Assembly to approve a state budget is April 11.

- All battalions of Fort Carson's 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, which was activated in July, are expected to be activated by April. When the brigade reaches full strength, it will boast nearly 2,600 soldiers.

- The Boston Marathon takes place on April 21, a year after bombings near the finish line.

MAY

- Colorado General Assembly adjourns May 7.

- The Air Force Thunderbirds will return to the skies for the Air Force Academy graduation May 28. It will be the F-16 demonstration squadron's only appearance in Colorado this year. The squadron was grounded last year due to sequestration budget cuts.

- Ristorante Del Lago, 1 Lake Ave. at The Broadmoor, is scheduled to open in May.

JUNE

- The Waldo Canyon Fire Memorial dedication is June 26. The Mountain Shadows Community Association will dedicate the piece of public art in Mountain Shadows Park to memorialize the fire.

- June 11 is the 1st anniversary of the Black Forest Fire, the state's most destructive fire, which burned 360 homes,15,000 acres and killed two people.

- Soccer's World Cup takes place in Brazil June 12-13.

- The Pikes Peak International Hill Climb is June 29.

- State Primary Election for all representatives, odd-district senators and executive offices is June 24.

- This summer, the Colorado Springs Utilities Board could decide the fate of Martin Drake Power Plant. The board has received the results of study that examined the financial costs and social and environmental costs of keeping the coal-fired plant open for the next 30 years or decommissioning it as soon as 2019.

JULY

- The Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo will be July 9-12 with a new non-Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association format. The ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductions are July 12.

AUGUST

- Aug. 9 is the 1st Anniversary of the Manitou Springs flash floods, which damaged multiple houses and killed one person.

- The USA Pro Challenge cycling race goes through Colorado Aug. 18-24 with a Colorado Springs stage on Aug. 21 and a start to another stage in Woodland Park on Aug. 22. The Pikes Peak Hill Climb cycling race is on Aug. 24 as well.

SEPTEMBER

- The BMW Championship will take place at Denver's Cherry Hills Country Club with the PGA's top players there as part of the Fed Ex Cup on Sept. 4-7.

OCTOBER

- On its way to eliminating 80,000 soldiers from its rolls, the Army expects to lay off 2,000 majors and captains worldwide by Oct. 1.

NOVEMBER

- Statewide General Election for all representatives, odd-district senators and executive offices is Nov. 4

DECEMBER

- The $22.5 million Interstate 25 expansion project is expected to be complete by Dec. 31. That's an 11-mile project in northern El Paso County that will add one lane in each direction of I-25 between Woodmen Road in Colorado Springs and Colorado 105 in Monument.

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