Best Of » Personalities / Local Folk

Best of 2008: Power Players

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  • Brienne Boortz

Arts Advocate

Susan Edmondson, Bee Vradenburg Foundation

730 N. Nevada Ave., 477-0185

This is the second win for Susan Edmondson, six-year executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation (which funds over a hundred local arts organizations and projects). Says Edmondson, who also serves as treasurer of the board for the Cultural Office of the Pikes Peak Region (COPPeR): "Art and creativity are a part of everyday life, and everyone deserves access to great art experiences. The arts are especially important for economic development, strengthening downtowns and neighborhoods, helping us to understand other cultures, and building a sense of pride in our community." DS

Radio DJ

Vicky Gregor, KRCC-FM 91.5

473-4801, 800/748-2727

This is by no means Vicky Gregor's first win in this category. She also triumphed in '03, '04, '05 and '07, having apparently slacked off during all of '06. No matter: Gregor has done more for free-form radio than just about anyone else in town who's got access to the airwaves. In addition to being the beloved voice of the A.M. (that's ante meridiem, not amplitude modulation, thank you) shift at KRCC-FM, she also serves as music director for the Colorado College National Public Radio affiliate. So go ahead and stream or tune into her Morning Music Mix show (weekdays from 9 a.m. to noon) and find out how the rest of our readers get through the morning. BF

Radio Talk Show Host

Tony Desiere, Web

You can't help but like this one. Tony D, who came to Colorado Springs as an outsider and immersed himself in the local sports scene, had a successful (or so it always seemed to listeners) run with his daily afternoon sports-talk radio show on KKML-AM 1300. It brought him recognition in the form of some Best Of victories as well. But then, back in the summer, the station's parent company decided to change format, shunning sports talk for country classics and putting Tony D out of a job. His loyal listeners voted him first anyway, drawing attention to his new online show at, where you can register and join the family for the same opinions and even online chats. RR

Morning Radio Show

Bob & Tom Show, KKFM-FM 98.1

532-9800 (studio line), 593-2700 (front desk)

For the second time in three years, this syndicated daily show out of Indianapolis airing locally on classic rock KKFM-FM 98.1 has won Best Of Colorado Springs honors as the top morning radio show. We're not sure what that says about the other shows that actually are local, with hosts talking about topics and people in Colorado Springs. But none of the hometowners can match the laughs and, in particular, the celebrity guests who relentlessly roll across the airwaves with Bob and Tom. And, hey, at least the guys did include a stop here at the Pikes Peak Center on Oct. 10, as part of their national tour of comedy all-stars. RR

Local Talk Radio Show

Richard Randall Show, KVOR-AM 740

540-0740 (talk line), 593-2700 (front desk)

Richard Randall has been a key figure in the local news scene since, well, since a young genius named Ludwig van Beethoven wrote Moby Dick in 1851. Or maybe it just seems that way. But he's at the top of his game these days. "I've learned to let more of myself come out on the air," Randall says. "I'm more honest. I tell people what I think. I've stopped being so diplomatic." He had DA John "Roll Out the Barrels" Newsome on the show recently. Newsome wanted to talk about the good things his office had done. Randall stayed tough. "And," Randall says, "a caller told Newsome he should apologize every time he spoke to the public. Forever." RT

AM Radio Station

KVOR 740

540-0740 (talk line), 593-2700 (front desk)

Nothing has changed about KVOR's equation for success in the Colorado Springs market, so why should the talk station lose its death grip on the title of Best AM Radio Station? That equation starts with the KVOR Morning News and later includes the firing line, nine straight hours of national talk stars Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. Throw in Air Force Academy football and basketball, with play-by-play from durable morning anchor Jim Arthur, and you have more stability than most AM operations in far larger markets could ever hope to have. RR

FM Radio Station

HD Radio Station

KRCC 91.5

473-4801, 800/748-2727

A political edge, a smattering of music appealing to an eclectic bunch, a local beat with a regional touch these are just a few of the things our readers love about KRCC. You won't find many Top 40 hits on this radio station; it keeps its listeners fiercely loyal with jazz, blues, Celtic, reggae and indie selections, plus plenty of crafted political banter. Started in a Colorado College basement, this National Public Radio affiliate broadcasts into Pueblo, Westcliffe, Buena Vista even as far as New Mexico. MM

Local TV Reporter

Tak Landrock, KRDO-TV ABC 13


Tak Landrock is heading into his 12th year at KRDO Newschannel 13, and his third year as Best Of favorite. The consumer/investigative reporter says he loves getting to do something new every day he goes in to the office, even when he's responding to "whatever is thrown my way." Over the past year, Landrock was able to add breaking the Rozita Swinton story (and her connection to the Texas polygamist compound) and the Ted Haggard revelation e-mail to Kurt Serpe to his list of accomplishments. It's not hard to see why Landrock loves his job. Nor why you all love him. KA


Cayton Photography

2003 N. Nevada Ave., 634-1378

It's hard to make it as a freelancer. However, that's what husband-and-wife duo Sean and Cathy Cayton and their team have done successfully in under 10 years. Using a photojournalistic approach (that we tap into when running their work in the Indy), they capture the milliseconds of personality in weddings and other events that more traditional photographers might miss like the uncle dancing funky at the reception, or the ring bearer picking his nose. "I love taking pictures, but good pictures happen because I have good relationships with my subjects," Sean says. "We spend a lot of time here editing photos, but I'd much rather be out with folks, getting to know them." MM

Person We Can't Believe Lives Here

Local Celebrity You'd Like to Meet for Lunch

Rick "Goose" Gossage, Baseball Hall of Famer

Here's all you need to know about how real the Goose is: On the day in January when the Baseball Hall of Fame would be announcing its 2008 class of inductees, Gossage invited media and friends (some of us admittedly are both) to his house. If the phone call had been bad news, he would've been fine. As it was, he was able to share his selection with all of us, drying his tears and saying, "This is just an unbelievable day." Here's more: Shortly thereafter, amid the chaos of trips and interviews that followed, he heard that one of his fans (a special-needs adult) was super-excited. The next day, Gossage sent that person an autographed Hall of Fame ball, along with a signed photo from his playing days with the Yankees. RR

Local Scandal

Big News Story

DA John Newsome drinking and driving

District Attorney John Newsome drank 134 ounces of beer during a workday afternoon, complete with a little drive in his county car back to the DA's office in the middle of the binge. It was all captured on video by a local TV station. He apologized. A little. More or less. And then he was thrashed in the primary election by Dan May and soon will be gone as our DA. Yipes. The guy drank 134 ounces of beer in one afternoon when he had a job. RT

Local Politician

Michael Merrifield, House District 18 representative

Michael Merrifield has served District 18 since 2003, a proud Democrat in a city of Republicans. This year, he's running for re-election against Republican opponent Kate Szot. Looks like Indy readers know who they'll vote for. Before holding state office, Merrifield was a teacher for three decades, owned a small business and served on City Council. He now sits on the House Transportation and Energy Committee and chairs the Education Committee. He has advocated for increased access to health care (especially for children), renewable energy and educational reforms, among many other issues. "I'm really honored and humbled to be selected," he says. "I think it comes down to the reputation I have established for being available, accessible and determined to do the best I can." JAS

Nonprofit Organization

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado

2520 Aviation Way, #130, 528-1247

Over the past year, Care and Share distributed 11.3 million pounds of food through more than 400 partner agencies. More than 99,000 people in Southern Colorado were able to have food on their tables. Almost 41 percent of the families receiving assistance were working families, and children under the age of 18 count as almost 45 percent of the total number. It may feel like I'm just quoting Care and Share's Web site, but it's important that we recognize these stats and give a standing ovation to the agency for the time and energy its staff members and volunteers put into serving our community. And remember, they couldn't do it without all of us contributing money and food to their services. KA

Reason to Vote in November

Barack Obama, Democratic presidential candidate

Because he's not 72. Because as the authentic candidate for change, he runs on his record of service, not his minority status. Because, unlike his opponents, he really values women's choices about work and family, supports attainable education and health-care reform for us all, believes our stewardship of the planet is fundamental, understands which wars need to be fought, and keeps a level head when angry. Because and I quote a piece of Facebook flair here "After eight years of getting screwed, don't we deserve to have an O?" DS

Writers' PICK

Bastardization of Pikes Peak

Bob Schaffer, U.S. Senate candidate

When the first TV ads started up in May for the U.S. Senate campaign between Bob Schaffer and Mark Udall, long before the incredible nastiness of recent months, Schaffer's video showed a snow-capped mountain while he talked about proposing to his wife on Pikes Peak. The politician added, "Colorado is my life." But wait, the mountain in that ad wasn't Pikes Peak at all. It was Mount McKinley in Alaska, which looks nothing like our famous mountain. Perhaps Schaffer knew something we didn't about Alaska becoming a big deal in this election? Nah, nobody could have guessed that. RR

  • L'Aura Montgomery


Eric Verlo

Though few would measure the success of a year in terms of dropped charges, Colorado Springs activist Eric Verlo has done pretty well since last fall. That's when the city finally gave up on plans to prosecute him and fellow peace marcher Elizabeth Fineron in connection with the 2007 St. Patrick's Day parade. (Charges had already been dropped against the five other arrestees.) In May, Verlo was arrested for allegedly straying from a "free speech zone" at the Colorado State Democratic Convention, but those charges were likewise dropped. Verlo avoided arrest altogether when he took to Denver's streets with other peace activists at the Democratic National Convention in August. In these and other ways, the activist (and Toons owner) has shown the community that he believes just talking about change is not enough to make it happen. AL

Writers' PICK

Medalist in our Midst

Henry Cejudo, Olympic Training Center resident athlete

His first dream, in moving to Colorado Springs halfway through high school and enrolling at Coronado, was to use the Olympic Training Center and perhaps make it to the 2008 Summer Games in wrestling. If not that year, definitely 2012 in London. After two state high school titles, Henry Cejudo made it to Beijing and then capped an incredible year by capturing the Olympic gold medal at 121 pounds, becoming the youngest American freestyle wrestler ever to top the field. He's still only 21, and back here training again, so we should have Cejudo as a local role model for years to come. He's also only the second District 11 alumnus to win a gold medal, following the path of former Wasson High gymnast Scott Johnson (1984). RR

Person Likely to Leave Us

Public Fool

Douglas Bruce, House District 15 representative

Not so sure about that first one. Even though he'll be ousted in January as state representative, there's no real indication that Doug Bruce will be leaving Colorado Springs. Yippee for us. But he tallied a landslide victory in the Public Fool balloting when he kicked he said nudged; everyone else who was there stayed with kicked a Denver newspaper photographer on the knee during a Capitol prayer session. ("Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy OUCH.") What this bully needs is a good old-fashioned, uh, ass-nudging. RT


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