Best Of » Personalities / Local Folk

Best of 2009: Making News

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Carolyn Cathey, Carolyn Cathey Real Estate (3350 N. Union Blvd., 321-0306,

Realtor Carolyn Cathey has been a mover and shaker on the local real estate scene since 1989, and says she's "proud to represent our progressive community." Cathey credits her success to her focus on customers and her ability to stay light-hearted. "You have to take care of people," she says. "I never push them to spend more than they feel comfortable with, I try to make sure there are no surprises ... and I believe home buying should be fun." Though the market has been down lately, Cathey's experience tells her it'll rise again. "During the last one, it was painful for a short period of time ... and then things began to turn around. So it will get better. It's already improved since this time last year." — JT

Radio DJ

Vicky Gregor, KRCC-FM 91.5 (473-4801, 800/748-2727,

Vicky Gregor is no stranger to success in this category, having won it six of the last seven years. Clearly, Independent readers love their longtime "friend and neighbor," who, as KRCC's music director and morning DJ, mixes an eclectic array of alternative and international hits. Rather than mandating preprogrammed set lists, KRCC lets its DJs have creative reign — a bonus for both listeners and radio professionals alike. "Our 'back' library of CDs and vinyl is so extensive that a DJ can follow most any impulse that fills their mind," says Gregor. "I love having the ability to connect the dots thematically, vibe-wise, sound-wise, et cetera, across most any genre." So whether you're hoping to discover new favorites for your personal playlist, or just want to unwind after National Public Radio's Morning Edition, Gregor's got you plugged in. — ALL

Local Talk Radio Show

Richard Randall Show, KVOR-AM 740 (593-2700,

Though he's hosted a talk radio show for more than 10 years, and reported TV news before that, you might not know that Richard Randall is a history buff. Off air, in fact, he's a documentary filmmaker who's chronicled the story of Mississippi Delta gospel music in Soul of the Delta, and now is working on a film about recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. "There are so many stories that haven't been told," he says. His radio show, a repeat Best Of winner, tends to focus more on politics with a conservative bent, but Randall says he always welcomes callers with diverging viewpoints. "That's the beauty of talk radio." — AL

Radio Talk Show Host

Johnjay & Rich, KVUU-FM 99.9 (877/937-1047,

This morning duo arrived on area airwaves via My99.9 just last year, and already has taken the top spot with local radio listeners. Their winning combination is a blend of talk and comedy that includes listener call-in segments, celebrity interviews and a healthy dose of raunch. On any weekday morning (the show airs from 5:30 to 10, in five Western markets), they touch on topics ranging from the trials of using public restrooms, to warm family reunion moments, to having a ménage à trois. You can also catch the pair Facebooking, YouTubing, tweeting and podcasting. For instance, watch their videotaped Miley Cyrus interview and see the guys tweet about Miley while she tweets about being on the show — yeah, it makes for great radio. Or something. — JT

AM Radio Station

KVOR 740 (593-2700, 540-0740,

In high school, an English teacher once told my class that her vision of heaven was to be locked up for eternity with a never-ending supply of books. (Our rude laughter in response probably made her want to get there faster.) If listening to Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity gives you similar stirrings of eternal joy, you can get a pretty good slice of heaven in the Pikes Peak region by tuning in to KVOR, which offers a conservative-studded lineup every day of the week. Throw in coverage of Air Force Academy athletics, and you've got a simple explanation as to why this is KVOR's fifth year dominating the local AM dial. — AL

FM Radio Station
HD Radio Station
Morning Radio Show

KRCC 91.5 (912 N. Weber St., 473-4801, 800/748-2727,

KRCC may have started out as a two-room public address system in Colorado College's Bemis Hall basement in 1944, but with an upgraded HD system and affiliate broadcasts in Westcliffe, Salida, Cañon City and as far as New Mexico, the station continues to meet its goals of bringing quality news, information, ideas, opinions and art-related topics to the communities it serves. As a fairly new Colorado resident, I only recently developed an addiction to KRCC's morning programming. Thanks to Morning Edition's coverage of current topics and debates and entertaining interviews, and Vicky Gregor's eclectic music selections, my car radio now knows no other station. Rock on, KRCC! — SC

Local TV Newscast


Viewers trust the station formerly known as 5/30 — this is its fourth win in a row — and news director Cindy Aubrey thinks she may know why. "We don't insult their intelligence by sensationalizing the news," Aubrey says. "We tell the good stories about life in Southern Colorado. There's more going on than robberies and stabbings, and we want people to know. We have beautiful, thriving communities, rich with stories about artists, entrepreneurs, athletes, interesting politics and much more." One thing Aubrey thinks viewers appreciate: "Now more than ever, our viewers play a larger role in determining content. ... We value every single person who tunes in to watch our news." — BA

Local TV Anchor

Lisa Lyden, KOAA (

She wins again, folks! Lisa Lyden takes the Best Local TV Anchor award for the fourth year in a row — adding to her Best Of awards from 1997 through 2000 and multiple "Best Newscast" awards from the Colorado Broadcasters Association. Even if she wasn't so visible for all the community and charity work she does, KOAA's 6 and 10 p.m. news anchor long ago would have become a staple in our fair city. "It's just nice to know that people still watch after 26 years," Lyden says. "I'm overjoyed." — CB

Local TV Reporter

James Jarman, KOAA (

Maybe it was his experience as a whitewater rafting guide that prepared him for the unpredictable life of an investigative reporter. Whatever the reason, James Jarman remains cool and in charge as he presents investigative reports for KOAA. Jarman, who has been at News First since 1996, is weekend anchor as well as a reporter. Last year, he broke the story of former Fourth Judicial District Attorney John Newsome drinking and then driving a county vehicle, and this year, Jarman won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for that effort. He is modest about his Best Of win: "The real award should go to the inside sources who have the courage to come forward and point out misconduct in government and institutions of power." — DA

Argument for Dyslexia

Writer's Pick

Six & Geving's highway sign (3630 Sinton Road)

The first time I drove up I-25 at night, I was startled to see a large building with massive neon letters that appeared to spell out the words Sex & Giving. Of course, this was actually the headquarters of Six & Geving, a commercial insurance company that, ironically enough, operates with "the guidance and teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ." (Which is not to say that Christ himself was against sex or giving.) I've subsequently learned that a number of friends made the same transposition, before coming to their senses. Too bad, really. — BF

Big News Story

USOC debacle

The next time you make a little mistake — forget your anniversary, leave your kid at day care after hours, neglect to call mom on Mother's Day — comfort yourself with this: You didn't screw the pooch nearly as bad as our city did this last year. For those just waking from a coma:

In March 2008, after a developer bidding war, the city announced that a three-way, $53 million incentive package would keep the United States Olympic Committee headquarters in the town for at least 25 more years. (It was apparently considering leaving for fairer pastures.) There was a big hoopla. And then the plan fell apart due to the recession, unreasonable financial projections of some partners, etc. And then the developer originally involved in the deal sued the city and the USOC, right after they started to look bad because the Fourth Judicial District Attorney was investigating them and other people were suing them, yada, yada, yada.

And then some guy named Ron Johnson accused the mayor of making a buck off the whole deal, and there was an ethics investigation (which turned up nothing), and meanwhile the contractor that was finishing the headquarters wasn't getting paid, etc., etc. And then the city agreed to give everyone at least some of what they wanted and signed a new contract with the USOC that committed them to even more money — like, $31 million total — and settled the lawsuit, and everyone except some whiners in the public were happy, but there was no hoopla, because given the circumstances that just seemed inappropriate.

And then this lawyer, Lindsay Fischer, sued the pants off the city for violating the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights with the USOC deal, and the city was really scared that the whole shebang would fall apart yet again. But then Fischer lost really quickly in court. But then he appealed. But now the city doesn't care and is moving forward anyway, so who knows what will happen, yada, yada, yada. — JAS

Local Celebrity You'd Like to Meet for Lunch

Rick 'Goose' Gossage

Can't argue with having a Baseball Hall of Famer in our midst and wanting to dine with him. The best part is, he'd make sure you really did enjoy it. Turn Goose loose telling old stories, and he can be mesmerizing. He wouldn't just big-time it with tales about the New York Yankees or the World Series, either. He's as happy to reminisce about his years growing up in Colorado Springs, or how he terrorized hitters as a teenage phenom at Wasson High School — when he didn't always know where his pitches were going. Whether out for a burger or a steak, you'd still come away feeling that this guy is as real and normal as anyone. — RR

Reason to Vote this November

Healthcare Reform

The people want healthcare reform — so badly, apparently, that they're going to demand it from local school board candidates, Manitou Springs officials and Fountain City Councilors. Without state- or national-level races, those are the only seats up for grabs in '09. But we won't argue with the sentiment. And come to think of it, it's not unprecedented to hear local pols pipe up on the health care issue; remember a couple months ago, when El Paso County commissioners passed a resolution proclaiming that the country "should not pursue a public health insurance option"? Next time local luminaries feel like offering wisdom to Obama and Co., maybe they'll take a cue from their Indy-reading constituents. — KW

Pre-Election Propaganda

Writer's Pick

The Abraham Obama Project

"It was more about art than politics," says Don Goede, the local art director, musician and publisher largely responsible for the array of Ron English posters that fused Abraham Lincoln and Barack Obama's faces throughout the Springs last year. With help from the Smokebrush, Coburn and (now-defunct) Edifice galleries and many others, Goede and crew hung as many ("if not more") posters locally as did people in Boston, San Francisco and New York. And people responded, with letters to the media and heated dialogue amid the election hubbub. A book chronicling the effort, Abraham Obama: A Guerilla Tour Through Art & Politics, with a forward by Morgan Spurlock and excerpts from locals like Holly Parker and Kat Tudor, will hit stores in November. All testament to the power of art. — MS

Local Politician

Jan Martin (385-5486,

When asked to name a point of pride from the past year, Jan Martin mentions helping move the Southern Delivery System water deal along, and (ostensibly) locking up the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters downtown. But first, she talks about having helped catalyze a "Green Team" of city employees that's done decidedly inglorious volunteer work, like sticking turn-the-lights-off reminders around City Hall. Perhaps this comparatively small-scale achievement sticks out because some of its hallmarks — forward thinking, a call to sacrifice, a belief that all of us can make positive change — also fuel Martin's "A City Worth Fighting For" campaign. The first-term Councilor is asking a conservative electorate to vote for a property tax increase, and in a difficult economy, to support city services. And even as its prospects have darkened, she's remained hopeful. In these times, that itself is an accomplishment. — KW


Richard Skorman (409 N. Tejon St., #106,

It's tempting to equate "activist" with picket signs and loud demonstrations, but Richard Skorman is someone with a different agenda. The basic premise is simple: Be active. "I'm a doer, not a sitter," he tells me, and his presence in the community over the years certainly attests to this maxim. Recently, the soft-spoken ex-politician has devoted himself to promoting environmentally responsible living throughout Colorado Springs. This past June, he opened the Conservation Hardware Center, a resource for residents who want to live greener, healthier lives. Skorman believes that there's always something we can do to make things better, and with that in mind, it's hard to sit still. "I think we all just have to roll up our sleeves and get started," Skorman says. "We all have work to do, me included." — JK

Champion of Animal Causes

Writer's Pick

Lee Richards, KRDO NewsRadio (399 S. Eighth St., 473-1240,

She's been a well-known presence on the local radio scene since the late 1980s, first as a classic-rock DJ and more recently as co-anchor of KRDO's Morning News (1240 AM, 105.5 FM). But aside from her work, Lee Richards has made a name for herself locally by doing all in her power to raise awareness on animal-related issues and activities. Every time there's a story anywhere dealing with animal abuse, she makes sure KRDO's listeners hear about it, and she's given her time to countless fundraising activities helping animal causes. It's not just talk, either. She adopts cats and dogs, but only seniors (at least 10 years old), to give them a happy ending to their lives. Now, for once, she's the one getting the long-deserved recognition. — RR

Nonprofit Organization

Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado (2605 Preamble Point, 528-1247,

Every nonprofit in the Colorado Springs area has suffered through this tough economy, and the Care and Share Food Bank for Southern Colorado — winner of this honor for the second straight year — is no exception. Despite having its spacious new warehouse on the Powers Boulevard corridor, Care and Share has battled through the concurrent problems of increased demand and decreased donations. As if that weren't enough, much-revered CEO Nicholas Saccaro left for Denver, and his interim replacement departed soon thereafter for Nebraska. But with new CEO Deborah Tuck coming in from Arizona with good credentials, Care and Share is ready for a fresh start. — RR

Arts Advocate

Susan Edmondson,

Bee Vradenburg Foundation (730 N. Nevada Ave., 477-0185,

"Maybe someday we won't need to recognize 'arts advocacy,'" says Susan Edmondson, three-time winner as executive director of the Bee Vradenburg Foundation. The foundation is responsible for funding local cultural events and strives to increase awareness and support of the arts community. "I'm eager for the time when everyone realizes the arts are part of our humanity and an essential part to a thriving community. When we have enough resources — and the will — to make the arts truly accessible to everyone, then we won't need actual advocacy." — SC

Realty Company

RE/MAX (Multiple locations,

An inquisitive person could spend hours browsing real estate listings on the RE/MAX Web site. That person would find hundreds of properties and learn some interesting things — for example, that there are dozens of houses in the Colorado Springs area listed for more than $2 million. That person would then check out interior and exterior shots of each of those houses. Clearly, RE/MAX does its homework, and that's why it's been honored as the leading real estate franchise for nine of the last 10 years in the Franchise 500 Survey in Entrepreneur magazine. As impressive: It has raised more than $100 million for organizations including Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the Children's Miracle Network. — DA


Kevin Forbush (1230 Tenderfoot Hill Road, #305, 473-6654,

Congrats to lawyer Kevin Forbush, new to our Best Of winner's lineup this year. His practice focuses primarily on estate planning, asset protection, probate and trust administration, and business planning. Forbush, a former Air Force JAG who's been a lawyer since 1988 (13 of those years in the Springs), has two attorneys and two staff members who work with him at Forbush Legal Offices. He says if he could tell everyone just one thing about protecting their assets, it would be that procrastination is the enemy, and "you can't wait." (Hey, you, the one without a will, trust or estate plan. Are you reading this?) — KA

Local TV Sportscaster

Lee Douglas, KOAA (

Alongside his bio on KOAA's Web site, Lee Douglas is photographed with one John Albert Elway Jr. This attention to a relatively local unknown just goes to show what kind of devotion Douglas feels for Colorado sports, and why he's winning this award for the third consecutive year. Beyond recapping the highlights at the end of the night for KOAA, Douglas also calls them as they happen as the color guy for Air Force football. Plus, he DJs for HOMER 1350 AM in Pueblo. Douglas' (smart-) guy-on-the-barstool-next-to-you persona and deep local knowledge promise he'll be a force in local sportscasting for years to come. — BC

Local TV Weatherperson

Mike Daniels, KOAA (

Watching Mike Daniels do the impossible — forecast Colorado weather — it's easy to see why viewers like him: He's funny and to-the-point, and sports impeccable hair. But life isn't all sunny days with winds from the east for this prognosticator; sometimes it snows in July. "You definitely get hollered at," Daniels says. "You're the one they look to, so you hear it, believe me." Hey, everyone, keep in mind that you're turning on one of your own: Daniels is a local boy, born and raised in Pueblo. — BC


Broadmoor Dental (830 Tenderfoot Hill Road, #210, 576-5566,

This ain't your typical dentist's office. There's an espresso bar in the waiting room. A treatment coordinator (or "concierge") will lead you to your "dental care suite." There, technicians can instantly take and display pictures of your teeth using digital radiography, which, according to the spiffy video on the Web site, emits 90 percent less radiation than old-school X-rays. Cosmetic simulations show you what your smile could look like, if you decide on cosmetic dentistry. An insurance coordinator works with you to "maximize the efficiency of your insurance." But cutting-edge technology and a fancy office can only go so far. According to Beth Conlin, Broadmoor Dental's marketing director, "Dr. [Nicolas] Pruett can perform both general and cosmetic dentistry, but what sets him apart from the rest is his passion and creativity." — CB


Jay Adler (2020 W. Colorado Ave., 473-3606,

A physician with Colorado Springs Health Partners, Dr. Adler has practiced on the west side for more than 20 years and treats all his patients, from infants to elders, with genuine compassion and caring. That's what Chris Rodriguez says, anyway, and she should know — she's worked for Adler for 11 years, and is also his patient. In fact, Adler sees everyone who works there, as well as their friends and families, Rodriguez says. "He has a great bedside manner with every one of his patients, no matter what the age," she adds. "He's very knowledgeable about what he does, and he cares for each individual patient." That includes handing out toys and suckers to tots who get shots. Says Jessica Thomas, who's worked for Adler for eight years: "I can't tell you all the wonderful things I think about him." — PZ


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