AFA trail update
By now, most trail enthusiasts have heard the good news: El Paso County and the Air Force Academy reached a deal that opened a nearly 7-mile stretch of the New Santa Fe Trail to the public again. The section had been closed since March 2015 because of AFA security requirements and county stormwater repairs. Now, some mitigation is complete and "watch groups" in place to ensure base security.
Another popular AFA trail, however, is still restricted. The Falcon Trail, a 14-mile, mostly single-track loop through the Academy is partially open to the public, which means not everyone can complete the loop. Meade Warthen, AFA's chief of media relations, says the trail is open to the public north of Academy Drive (an on-base road). South of Academy Drive, the trail is only open to Department of Defense cardholders and those accompanying them. — JAS
Got your mail ballot?
If you're a registered Republican or Democrat, you should have received your mail ballot for the June 28 primary. If you haven't received a ballot, contact the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office at 575-8683. You can also check your voter information at epcvotes.com.
Ryan Parsell of the Clerk's Office says that on Friday, the first day of ballot collections, between 7,000 and 8,000 ballots were collected, which he calls average. "We always see a spike in the beginning, and then it drops off, and than a spike at the end," he says. — JAS
Maketa et al go to court
Former El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa, former Undersheriff Paula Presley and former Commander John San Agustin appeared in court on June 9 for first advisement. The next court hearing will be Sept. 6.
Maketa and Presley are charged with extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, tampering with a witness or victim and conspiracy to commit tampering with a witness and victim, kidnapping, false imprisonment and two counts of misdemeanor official misconduct. San Agustin was charged with kidnapping and false imprisonment. — PZ
Cascade lanes shrinking
Four lanes of Cascade Avenue through Colorado College will be reduced to two under a new proposal from the city. The narrowing will stretch between Cache la Poudre and Uintah streets.
The extra lanes will be converted to bike lanes, and the college will close two median openings and add landscaping to two others to funnel pedestrian traffic to those crossings, the city said in a release. The new plan is set for City Council action on July 26 after a stop at the city Planning Commission on June 16.
An earlier proposal to similarly narrow Nevada and Wahsatch avenues, and Weber Street from the college north almost to Fillmore Street was been sidelined after lack of public support ("Trimming the lanes," News, April 13).
If approved, the Cascade project will be finished before the end of summer. — PZ
Civil union ghosts busted
Last July, the Indy highlighted problems with civil unions ("The ghost of civil unions," July 15). Among the issues:
• Couples who formed a civil union, and then married when gay marriage became legal nationwide, were sort of "double married." Both unions had to be resolved in cases of divorce.
• A person could have a civil union with one person and a marriage with another.
• Those with a civil union might be considered "common law married," even if they didn't want to be.
State Sen. Pat Steadman, D-Denver, tried a 2015 bill to fix those problems, but it died in the Senate. This year, a similar bill passed and was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper. Senate Bill 16-150 resolves issues with civil unions, clarifying a person may only have a civil union with or be or married to one person at a time; if a couple has a civil union first and then gets married, the legal statuses merge into a single "marriage;" and a civil union is not a marriage. — JAS
City crafting homeless plan
Aimee Cox, city community development manager, says officials are working with nonprofits to finalize and implement a plan to help the homeless over the summer.
With a shortage of beds and no day shelter, the city may be forced to allow homeless camping on some public lands. Cox says the plan includes more outreach, additional cleanups around homeless camps, possibly some daytime "relief centers" and more communication. The police department is working on a separate plan to ban most camping along the creek near downtown because of flood risks.
The plan could be in place by the end of June, running through Nov. 1. — JAS
City hires former candidate
Jariah Walker ran for El Paso County commissioner in 2014 and lost. He then ran for City Council in 2015 and came up short again. Now, Walker, who has been in his family's property management business, has joined the city (he started March 28) as a senior analyst in the Economic Development Division. His annual pay is $72,500, the city reports. — PZ