I’m not sure about you, but I’m in need of some good news. Local headlines in recent weeks have discouraging: shootings, traffic deaths, fires, explosions, avalanches, election angst, beloved business closings — you name it. But spring has sprung and I’ve been catching glimpses of goodness in between the harsh realities of life on planet Earth.

Turns out, there is some good to come out of last month’s bomb cyclone. Colorado Springs’ forestry division is offering residents free mulch after the storm knocked over nearly 200 trees. Now that’s what I call finding the silver lining! One season’s blizzard destruction is another season’s nourishment for fresh veggie gardens and floral greenery.

Interested residents can pick up mulch, while the supply lasts, across from the forestry office at 1601 Recreation Way. Residents should bring their own tools and containers for loading. For more information, visit coloradosprings.gov/forestry.

The arts are being celebrated in a big way in our city, with the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region announcing its Peak Arts Prize winners for the year. Three winners were chosen from 33 applicants to receive a portion of the $15,000 total awarded.

In the Large Arts Organization category, Bliss Studio and Gallery won $7,500 for welding and iron pour workshops intended to introduce new audiences to ironwork and inspire conversations about empathy. Participants will create a public sculpture, which will be featured at the Bliss Studio Iron Pour later this year.

The Unsteady Hand, an artists collective for those with Parkinson’s Disease and their caregivers, was awarded $5,000 as the winning Small Arts Organization to grow its Creativity Labs and annual art show. Thom Phelps was the winning Individual Artist, getting $2,500 for his “Farewell to Bees” project, a steel sculpture of a large dead bee that will be the centerpiece of an exhibit about bee extinction.

Good things are happening across our state, too.

A recent threat to strike — which would have been the first in 23 years — was averted when King Soopers and most of its employees’ union reached a tentative agreement. King Soopers operates 11 stores and employs nearly 2,000 workers in the Colorado Springs area. The grocery chain negotiated over the course of a weekend with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 7 to reach the agreement. King Soopers spokesman Adam Williamson said in an email statement, “This is good news for our associates, customers and communities.” It is indeed. I am thankful one of our favorite local grocery spots is reaching across the aisle to hear its employees and work with them to ensure better pay, benefits and service for Colorado communities.

Though the recent snowstorms presented major challenges for many in our region, it has proved beneficial in the area of dramatically reducing Colorado’s drought conditions, for which we can all be grateful. According to the U.S. Drought Monitor report, which was released March 21, only about 46 percent of Colorado is now listed in some kind of drought status, down from 83 percent just the week prior. According to a March 23 Gazette article: “The report’s analysis of weekly drought conditions throughout the United States says there are no more extreme or exceptional drought conditions in the state following a dry 2018 winter and summer.” Whew! What a relief for our region and state, which has lived in constant threat of wildfires for the past handful of summers. I’m looking more forward to our warmer months than I have in quite a while.

What news has you on an upswing this week? Let me know at hannah.maginot@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

Hannah Maginot has lived in the Pikes Peak region for six years and enjoys exploring the many neighborhood haunts and side streets of northern Colorado Springs. Send your feedback and column ideas to hannah.maginot@pikespeaknewspapers.com.

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