<![CDATA[Colorado Springs Gazette RSS - government]]> http://gazette.com/rss/government Wed, 27 May 2015 08:10:38 -0600 Zend_Feed http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/tech/rss <![CDATA[Council approves emergency funds for storm damage to Colorado Springs]]> http://gazette.com/council-approves-emergency-funds-for-storm-damage-to-colorado-springs/article/1552573?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/council-approves-emergency-funds-for-storm-damage-to-colorado-springs/article/1552573?custom_click=rss

Recent rainstorms have spawned at least $5 million worth of unforeseen damage to Colorado Springs storm systems, trails and parks.

On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Steve Bach's request for a $5 million emergency appropriation to tackle the worst of those developments.

The Public Works Department will use $4 million to address five key projects, said director Travis Easton.

And the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department will spend $1 million to fix trails and stop erosion, said director Karen Palus.

Gov. John Hickenlooper could appropriate state funds to the city in response to an emergency proclamation that Bach made May 18.



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Recent rainstorms have spawned at least $5 million worth of unforeseen damage to Colorado Springs storm systems, trails and parks.

On Tuesday, the City Council unanimously approved Mayor Steve Bach's request for a $5 million emergency appropriation to tackle the worst of those developments.

The Public Works Department will use $4 million to address five key projects, said director Travis Easton.

And the Parks, Recreation and Cultural Services Department will spend $1 million to fix trails and stop erosion, said director Karen Palus.

Gov. John Hickenlooper could appropriate state funds to the city in response to an emergency proclamation that Bach made May 18.

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Wed, 27 May 2015 05:53:11 -0600
<![CDATA[Colorado Springs affordable housing plans come under scrutiny]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-affordable-housing-plans-come-under-scrutiny/article/1552586?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-affordable-housing-plans-come-under-scrutiny/article/1552586?custom_click=rss Blueprints to provide affordable housing, emergency shelter, neighborhood help and other federally funded boosts in Colorado Springs came under citizen and City Council scrutiny Tuesday.

The council approved, by 6-to-3 votes, all three plans presented by Aimee Cox, the city's manager of Housing and Community Initiatives.

But none of the votes came without considerable discussion.

The Consolidated Plan, which runs through 2019, is essentially a five-year road map outlining broad goals and target areas within the city.

The 2015 Action Plan, by contrast, details how to distribute the federal grants: about $2.

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]]> Blueprints to provide affordable housing, emergency shelter, neighborhood help and other federally funded boosts in Colorado Springs came under citizen and City Council scrutiny Tuesday.

The council approved, by 6-to-3 votes, all three plans presented by Aimee Cox, the city's manager of Housing and Community Initiatives.

But none of the votes came without considerable discussion.

The Consolidated Plan, which runs through 2019, is essentially a five-year road map outlining broad goals and target areas within the city.

The 2015 Action Plan, by contrast, details how to distribute the federal grants: about $2.]]> Wed, 27 May 2015 04:05:35 -0600 <![CDATA[Groundbreaking is this week for I-25/Cimarron Street project]]> http://gazette.com/groundbreaking-is-this-week-for-i-25cimarron-street-project/article/1552515?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/groundbreaking-is-this-week-for-i-25cimarron-street-project/article/1552515?custom_click=rss

After more than 40 years, it's almost here.

Groundbreaking for the Interstate 25 and Cimarron Street interchange project happens Wednesday, and many are relieved, to say the least.

"I'm very excited about it," said El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark.

The $116 million project has been a top priority for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments since 1971, said Craig Casper, the agency's transportation director, but funding issues, the size of the job, and other projects have gotten in the way.

"It's a central location where travel comes together and it needs to be updated," said Dave Watt, resident engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The project will be the subject of a public



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After more than 40 years, it's almost here.

Groundbreaking for the Interstate 25 and Cimarron Street interchange project happens Wednesday, and many are relieved, to say the least.

"I'm very excited about it," said El Paso County Commissioner Sallie Clark.

The $116 million project has been a top priority for the Pikes Peak Area Council of Governments since 1971, said Craig Casper, the agency's transportation director, but funding issues, the size of the job, and other projects have gotten in the way.

"It's a central location where travel comes together and it needs to be updated," said Dave Watt, resident engineer with the Colorado Department of Transportation.

The project will be the subject of a public

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Tue, 26 May 2015 08:56:54 -0600
<![CDATA[Bills viewed as a way to build trust between Colorado police, citizens]]> http://gazette.com/bills-viewed-as-a-way-to-build-trust-between-colorado-police-citizens/article/1552485?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/bills-viewed-as-a-way-to-build-trust-between-colorado-police-citizens/article/1552485?custom_click=rss

DENVER - In a nation riled by a slew of cases of fatal police brutality or shooting of unarmed suspects, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed six bills last week aimed at "restoring trust" between the Colorado's law enforcement agencies and the community.

"The relationship between law enforcement agencies and communities has been strained," Hickenlooper said.

Several high-profile incidents have happened in the last year, including murder charges being filed against police officers in Baltimore, protests in Ferguson, Mo., and a South Carolina officer facing charges after a video showed an officer shooting multiple times at a man as he fled.



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DENVER - In a nation riled by a slew of cases of fatal police brutality or shooting of unarmed suspects, Gov. John Hickenlooper signed six bills last week aimed at "restoring trust" between the Colorado's law enforcement agencies and the community.

"The relationship between law enforcement agencies and communities has been strained," Hickenlooper said.

Several high-profile incidents have happened in the last year, including murder charges being filed against police officers in Baltimore, protests in Ferguson, Mo., and a South Carolina officer facing charges after a video showed an officer shooting multiple times at a man as he fled.

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Mon, 25 May 2015 10:31:32 -0600
<![CDATA[El Paso County studying a change to district boundaries]]> http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-studying-a-change-to-district-boundaries/article/1552476?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/el-paso-county-studying-a-change-to-district-boundaries/article/1552476?custom_click=rss Three options could change the Board of El Paso County Commissioner districts for many county residents.

The proposed districts, announced at a May 12 commissioners meeting, are intended to help the growing county population be equitable across the districts while preserving the key areas and features of each district, said Ryan Parsell, spokesman for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office. Before creating the options, the office consulted with county commissioners and representatives from the major political parties.

"Their goals were such that we couldn't create one plan," Parsell said. "Each option has different strengths and weaknesses."

The biggest potential changes would impact districts one and four,



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Three options could change the Board of El Paso County Commissioner districts for many county residents.

The proposed districts, announced at a May 12 commissioners meeting, are intended to help the growing county population be equitable across the districts while preserving the key areas and features of each district, said Ryan Parsell, spokesman for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office. Before creating the options, the office consulted with county commissioners and representatives from the major political parties.

"Their goals were such that we couldn't create one plan," Parsell said. "Each option has different strengths and weaknesses."

The biggest potential changes would impact districts one and four,

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Mon, 25 May 2015 09:22:26 -0600
<![CDATA[Events in and around Colorado Springs this week]]> http://gazette.com/events-in-and-around-colorado-springs-this-week/article/1552474?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/events-in-and-around-colorado-springs-this-week/article/1552474?custom_click=rss The annual Evergreen Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday at Evergreen Cemetery, 1005 Hancock Expressway. The 10th At 11 a.m., U.S. Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers will lead the procession from the Evergreen Chapel to the Spanish American War site to honor George M. Mason. At 1 p.m., a butterfly release will be done at Evergreen Chapel.

Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention will host a free training on how teens and adults can help prevent suicides, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at The Sanctuary Church, 1930 W. Colorado Ave. What to watch for, what to do, resources and other information will be given. The public is invited to attend. Although there is no cost, reservations are requested at 573-7447, or email

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]]> The annual Evergreen Cemetery Memorial Day Commemoration is from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Monday at Evergreen Cemetery, 1005 Hancock Expressway. The 10th At 11 a.m., U.S. Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers will lead the procession from the Evergreen Chapel to the Spanish American War site to honor George M. Mason. At 1 p.m., a butterfly release will be done at Evergreen Chapel.

Pikes Peak Suicide Prevention will host a free training on how teens and adults can help prevent suicides, 7-8 p.m. Tuesday at The Sanctuary Church, 1930 W. Colorado Ave. What to watch for, what to do, resources and other information will be given. The public is invited to attend. Although there is no cost, reservations are requested at 573-7447, or email]]> Sun, 24 May 2015 18:00:26 -0600 <![CDATA[Pueblo County seeks disaster declaration for flood damage]]> http://gazette.com/pueblo-county-seeks-disaster-declaration-for-flood-damage/article/1552420?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/pueblo-county-seeks-disaster-declaration-for-flood-damage/article/1552420?custom_click=rss DENVER (AP) — Pueblo County says it will seek a disaster declaration after rain and flooding pounded the region over the past three weeks.

The declaration includes a request for help from the government to repair damage to public structures caused by heavy rain and flooding that started May 3.

The county has asked residents to send damage reports to be included in a possible disaster declaration.

The request moves to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who can ask the federal government for a disaster declaration and open the door to federal money to help the region recover.



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DENVER (AP) — Pueblo County says it will seek a disaster declaration after rain and flooding pounded the region over the past three weeks.

The declaration includes a request for help from the government to repair damage to public structures caused by heavy rain and flooding that started May 3.

The county has asked residents to send damage reports to be included in a possible disaster declaration.

The request moves to Gov. John Hickenlooper, who can ask the federal government for a disaster declaration and open the door to federal money to help the region recover.

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Sat, 23 May 2015 11:17:32 -0600
<![CDATA[Hickenlooper discusses southern Colorado flooding, bills awaiting signature]]> http://gazette.com/hickenlooper-discusses-southern-colorado-flooding-bills-awaiting-signature/article/1552386?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/hickenlooper-discusses-southern-colorado-flooding-bills-awaiting-signature/article/1552386?custom_click=rss

PUEBLO - Gov. John Hickenlooper pledged to help southern Colorado rebuild flood-damaged roads Friday as he spoke to the powerful Action 22 lobby in Pueblo for a legislative session review.

"We're going to help you in any way we can to get the roads rebuilt, but the water is to be blessed," said Hickenlooper, a former geologist who noted that the slow persistent storms have allowed water to seep 3 feet into the soil.

El Paso and Pueblo counties have applied for a disaster declaration that could bring state resources to help recovery from heavy May rains.

"Those declarations are a reflection of how big the damage is and whether it's concentrated in one place or spread out over a larger area. I haven't seen any of the

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]]> PUEBLO - Gov. John Hickenlooper pledged to help southern Colorado rebuild flood-damaged roads Friday as he spoke to the powerful Action 22 lobby in Pueblo for a legislative session review.

"We're going to help you in any way we can to get the roads rebuilt, but the water is to be blessed," said Hickenlooper, a former geologist who noted that the slow persistent storms have allowed water to seep 3 feet into the soil.

El Paso and Pueblo counties have applied for a disaster declaration that could bring state resources to help recovery from heavy May rains.

"Those declarations are a reflection of how big the damage is and whether it's concentrated in one place or spread out over a larger area. I haven't seen any of the]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 04:05:02 -0600 <![CDATA[Springs Spree board to consider if Planned Parenthood can have booth at festival]]> http://gazette.com/springs-spree-board-to-consider-if-planned-parenthood-can-have-booth-at-festival/article/1552395?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/springs-spree-board-to-consider-if-planned-parenthood-can-have-booth-at-festival/article/1552395?custom_click=rss

Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has been told it could not have booth space at the annual Springs Spree festival because it is a group barred by the event's rules from participating.

Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs, said that while Planned Parenthood does political advocacy and is controversial, it is primarily a health care provider and a nonprofit member of the community.

"That just doesn't sit well with me because we do so much more," Alderman said. "Really, when we're at these community events what we're doing primarily is providing information about education and health care services.

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]]> Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains has been told it could not have booth space at the annual Springs Spree festival because it is a group barred by the event's rules from participating.

Cathy Alderman, vice president of public affairs, said that while Planned Parenthood does political advocacy and is controversial, it is primarily a health care provider and a nonprofit member of the community.

"That just doesn't sit well with me because we do so much more," Alderman said. "Really, when we're at these community events what we're doing primarily is providing information about education and health care services.]]> Sat, 23 May 2015 04:05:02 -0600 <![CDATA[Soggy weather leads to indefinite road closures in El Paso County]]> http://gazette.com/soggy-weather-leads-to-indefinite-road-closures-in-el-paso-county/article/1552401?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/soggy-weather-leads-to-indefinite-road-closures-in-el-paso-county/article/1552401?custom_click=rss Several El Paso County roads have been closed indefinitely because of rain damage. They are:

- Manitou Avenue and Serpentine Drive were closed from the traffic circle at Manitou and Serpentine to U.S. 24 because of cracks in the pavement on Manitou and in a retaining wall along Serpentine. The Colorado Department of Transportation said eastbound Manitou may reopen over the weekend, but there was no estimated time for reopening the westbound lanes.

- Sphinx Court was closed Friday at Falcon Highway because of water running over the roadway.

- East Garrett Road, which was closed earlier in the week because of flood damage, was closed again Friday afternoon from JD Johnson Road to Coyote Lane because water was washing out

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]]> Several El Paso County roads have been closed indefinitely because of rain damage. They are:

- Manitou Avenue and Serpentine Drive were closed from the traffic circle at Manitou and Serpentine to U.S. 24 because of cracks in the pavement on Manitou and in a retaining wall along Serpentine. The Colorado Department of Transportation said eastbound Manitou may reopen over the weekend, but there was no estimated time for reopening the westbound lanes.

- Sphinx Court was closed Friday at Falcon Highway because of water running over the roadway.

- East Garrett Road, which was closed earlier in the week because of flood damage, was closed again Friday afternoon from JD Johnson Road to Coyote Lane because water was washing out]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 20:35:10 -0600 <![CDATA[Colorado coal mine getting court-ordered environmental study]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-coal-mine-getting-court-ordered-environmental-study/article/1552394?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-coal-mine-getting-court-ordered-environmental-study/article/1552394?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Federal regulators are re-doing an environmental review for a Colorado coal mine after a judge threatened to shut it down unless they took a closer look at its indirect environmental impacts, including its contribution to climate change.

However, it's not clear yet whether the federal agency that granted the permit will appeal the overall ruling, which could set a precedent that might endanger mining projects elsewhere.

The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, part of the Interior Department, posted a notice of the review for the Colowyo Mine near Craig on Thursday, saying it would accept public comments through June 15.

Office spokesman Chris Holmes declined to comment Friday on



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DENVER — Federal regulators are re-doing an environmental review for a Colorado coal mine after a judge threatened to shut it down unless they took a closer look at its indirect environmental impacts, including its contribution to climate change.

However, it's not clear yet whether the federal agency that granted the permit will appeal the overall ruling, which could set a precedent that might endanger mining projects elsewhere.

The Office of Surface Mining, Reclamation and Enforcement, part of the Interior Department, posted a notice of the review for the Colowyo Mine near Craig on Thursday, saying it would accept public comments through June 15.

Office spokesman Chris Holmes declined to comment Friday on

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Fri, 22 May 2015 18:56:53 -0600
<![CDATA[VA must find millions to finish troubled Denver hospital]]> http://gazette.com/va-must-find-millions-to-finish-troubled-denver-hospital/article/1552392?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/va-must-find-millions-to-finish-troubled-denver-hospital/article/1552392?custom_click=rss

DENVER — Construction crews are returning to work at the veterans hospital outside Denver after a last-minute deal with congressional leaders avoided a shutdown of the half-finished project.

But the really heavy lifting will be done 1,500 miles away in Washington.

The U.S. Senate agreed Friday to raise the project's spending cap by $100 million, enough to continue work for three weeks. The House approved the measure Thursday.

Congress and the Veterans Affairs Department still must find up to $830 million to finish the vastly over-budget hospital without taking services away from veterans elsewhere and possibly scale back the project.

"Much hard work remains to be done," Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said



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DENVER — Construction crews are returning to work at the veterans hospital outside Denver after a last-minute deal with congressional leaders avoided a shutdown of the half-finished project.

But the really heavy lifting will be done 1,500 miles away in Washington.

The U.S. Senate agreed Friday to raise the project's spending cap by $100 million, enough to continue work for three weeks. The House approved the measure Thursday.

Congress and the Veterans Affairs Department still must find up to $830 million to finish the vastly over-budget hospital without taking services away from veterans elsewhere and possibly scale back the project.

"Much hard work remains to be done," Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., said

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Fri, 22 May 2015 18:49:50 -0600
<![CDATA[Calhan public works director quits amid water investigation]]> http://gazette.com/calhan-public-works-director-quits-amid-water-investigation/article/1552330?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/calhan-public-works-director-quits-amid-water-investigation/article/1552330?custom_click=rss

Calhan public works director Greg Maggard submitted his letter of resignation Thursday, the town clerk confirmed.

"Thank you for the opportunities for professional and personal development," Maggard's letter says. "I have enjoyed working for the town of Calhan and appreciate the support provided me during my tenure."

Maggard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maggard's resignation, effective June 4, comes as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of water theft in the town at the request of the Calhan Police Department.

L.J. Mott, an engineer and the District 2 director for the Upper Big Sandy Ground Water Management District, said he believes as much as 2.

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]]> Calhan public works director Greg Maggard submitted his letter of resignation Thursday, the town clerk confirmed.

"Thank you for the opportunities for professional and personal development," Maggard's letter says. "I have enjoyed working for the town of Calhan and appreciate the support provided me during my tenure."

Maggard did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Maggard's resignation, effective June 4, comes as the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is looking into allegations of water theft in the town at the request of the Calhan Police Department.

L.J. Mott, an engineer and the District 2 director for the Upper Big Sandy Ground Water Management District, said he believes as much as 2.]]> Fri, 22 May 2015 04:10:14 -0600 <![CDATA[Colorado Springs potholes a big topic at councilman's first town hall]]> http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-potholes-a-big-topic-at-councilmans-first-town-hall/article/1552336?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/colorado-springs-potholes-a-big-topic-at-councilmans-first-town-hall/article/1552336?custom_click=rss

They may represent only a sliver of Colorado Springs residents, but the 20 or so civic-minded citizens who attended Thursday evening's town hall all agreed on one thing.

They want a higher property tax, not a sales tax, to tackle the city's $1.2 billion infrastructure backlog.

Most recognize that the property tax is more fair to low-income people, said Ellen Johnson-Fay.

As for the sales tax, she said: "It's immoral."

Councilman Bill Murray promised during his campaign to hold evening meetings for citizens who can't attend council meetings at 1 p.m. Tuesdays.



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They may represent only a sliver of Colorado Springs residents, but the 20 or so civic-minded citizens who attended Thursday evening's town hall all agreed on one thing.

They want a higher property tax, not a sales tax, to tackle the city's $1.2 billion infrastructure backlog.

Most recognize that the property tax is more fair to low-income people, said Ellen Johnson-Fay.

As for the sales tax, she said: "It's immoral."

Councilman Bill Murray promised during his campaign to hold evening meetings for citizens who can't attend council meetings at 1 p.m. Tuesdays.

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Thu, 21 May 2015 21:20:55 -0600
<![CDATA[Justice Department eyes voting reforms for American Indians]]> http://gazette.com/justice-department-eyes-voting-reforms-for-american-indians/article/1552321?custom_click=rss http://gazette.com/justice-department-eyes-voting-reforms-for-american-indians/article/1552321?custom_click=rss FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking legislation that would require state and local election officials to work with American Indian tribes to locate at least one polling place on or near each tribe's land.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the changes are needed because "significant and unnecessary barriers" exist for American Indians and Alaska Natives who want to cast ballots. American Indians sometimes have to travel great distances to vote, face language barriers and, in places like Alaska, do not have the same amount of time to vote as others.

The Justice Department outlined its proposal in letters Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden, after a year of



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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — The U.S. Department of Justice is seeking legislation that would require state and local election officials to work with American Indian tribes to locate at least one polling place on or near each tribe's land.

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said the changes are needed because "significant and unnecessary barriers" exist for American Indians and Alaska Natives who want to cast ballots. American Indians sometimes have to travel great distances to vote, face language barriers and, in places like Alaska, do not have the same amount of time to vote as others.

The Justice Department outlined its proposal in letters Thursday to House Speaker John Boehner and Vice President Joe Biden, after a year of

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Thu, 21 May 2015 16:35:44 -0600