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ACLU wins Ryan Brown case, new children's hospital, Koch-style education, and more


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ACLU wins Brown case

The 4th Judicial District Attorney's office has dismissed a criminal charge against Ryan Brown, who was represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Colorado.

Brown and his brother, Benjamin Brown, who are both black, were stopped by Colorado Springs police, handcuffed, searched and detained at taser point due to a cracked windshield. Benjamin Brown was cited for the windshield, while Ryan Brown, who videotaped the incident before police took his phone, was charged with "interfering with official police duties."

Ryan Brown's recording has been viewed more than 155,000 times on YouTube. Police have denied ACLU requests for a copy of the internal affairs investigation, citing pending criminal charges. With the charges dismissed, the ACLU has renewed its calls for the file's release. — JAS

New hospital on tap

Children's Hospital Colorado announced last week it will build a $100 million hospital near Memorial North at North Union Boulevard and Briargate Parkway. Groundbreaking will take place this winter with a projected 2018 opening.

Children's isn't a party to the lease deal between the city, which owns Memorial Hospital, and University of Colorado Health; thus, the city receives no monetary benefit through market sharing or lease payments from Children's. UCHealth has a side deal with Children's for pediatric care in Colorado Springs. The indirect relationship between Children's and Memorial led to licensing difficulties for Children's in the past year.

The new 170,000-square-foot Children's Hospital will include an emergency department, up to 100 beds, neo-natal and pediatric intensive care units and operating rooms. The hospital will employ about 500 people already on board with Children's, which now operates in Memorial Central.

The announcement follows Penrose-St. Francis Health Services' earlier revelation that it will expand St. Francis Medical Center at Woodmen Road and Powers Boulevard, about four miles from Memorial North, adding 134,000 square feet of space at a cost of $100 million, to answer a growing patient load. That facility will open in 2018, Penrose-St. Francis officials say.

The Penrose system also is eyeing a site near Centennial Boulevard and Fillmore Street for a new hospital that could rise to 11 or 12 stories, the Gazette reports. No expansions are planned in southern Colorado Springs. — PZ

Education Koch-style

The Americans for Prosperity Foundation Colorado, offshoot of Charles and David Koch's limited-government group Americans for Prosperity Colorado, hosted an education summit Sept. 27 in Denver. According to a release, attendees had a chance to "learn more about the positive education reforms that have been implemented across Colorado and discover how we can make education better for all Coloradans."

AFP generally opposes unions and supports "school choice" initiatives like charters and vouchers.

Among the speakers were U.S. Rep. Ken Buck, former U.S. Rep. Bob Beauprez, state Sen. Owen Hill, Independence Institute Executive Vice President and Director of the Energy Policy Center Amy Oliver Cooke, University of Colorado Regent John Carson, and Falcon School District 49 Chief Education Officer Peter Hilts. — JAS

Water plant named

The city's newest water treatment plant will bear the name of Edward W. Bailey, a former Colorado Springs Utilities water resources director who also represented El Paso County on the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District board.

The plant, in the eastern reaches of the city, will go on-line next year along with the Southern Delivery System.

Bailey worked for Utilities from 1964 to 1998, playing a key role in the city's securing a reliable long-term water supply. — PZ

Peterson AFB will grow

Peterson Air Force Base is preparing for a 300-acre expansion on land owned by the city of Colorado Springs as part of the airport. The land, northeast of Peterson, is bordered by Marksheffel Road on the east and will allow the base to grow, including the possible addition of a Colorado National Guard unit there, 21st Space Wing commander Col. Douglas Schiess said during a community event earlier this month.

Another 21st Space Wing official said the land likely would serve as a new parking area and free existing parking lots on the base's interior to handle up to 1 million square feet of new facilities.

Peterson is home to the North American Aerospace Defense Command, Northern Command and the 302 Airlift Wing, as well as Air Force Space Command and the Army Space Missile Defense Command. — PZ

CC adds resident innovators

Colorado College is expanding its "innovation initiative," a trend that gives students real-world guidance in entrepreneurship, particularly social entrepreneurship.

Michael Hannigan, founder and former CEO of the Pikes Peak Community Foundation, and Aaron Kahlow, founder and former CEO of the Online Marketing Institute, are serving as CC's first "innovators-in-residence."

Kahlow will be at the college for a month, while Hannigan will be at CC through Jan. 14. The two will offer a mix of opportunities to students, from mentoring to classes. — JAS

Trail closures meeting reset

If you enjoy long bike rides or hikes along the New Santa Fe Regional Trail, then you've likely encountered the on-again-off-again trail closures at the Air Force Academy.

Apparently due to security concerns, the AFA closes the trail frequently, ticking off trail users — most recently, the trail has been closed since May.

El Paso County isn't pleased with closures of a trail it's had an easement on since 1989, and has been in discussions with the AFA about it. County parks plans to provide an update on those talks and take input from citizens on the closures at a public meeting.

The meeting initially was set for Sept. 28, but now has been rescheduled for 6 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5, at Academy International Elementary School, 8550 Charity Drive. — JAS

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