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Council changes, mayoral forums, Marshall charged again, and more


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Mayoral forums planned

Two forums have been set for the May 19 Colorado Springs mayoral runoff between Mary Lou Makepeace and John Suthers.

• At 6:29 p.m. Monday, April 27, KKTV and the Gazette will host a half-hour live debate streamed on the websites of both.

• At 7:30 p.m. that same day, Monday, April 27, at Colorado College's Cornerstone Arts Center (825 N. Cascade Ave.), the candidates will appear at a forum hosted by the Trails and Open Space Coalition, KRCC and the Independent. The public is welcome, and no tickets are necessary.

Both events will accommodate questions submitted via social media. Details of an additional forum hosted by KOAA and El Pomar Foundation's Forum for Civic Advancement are expected soon.

Runoff ballots will be mailed between April 24 and May 4. — PZ

King out, Bennett in?

Merv Bennett says he has the support to be elected president of City Council, replacing Keith King. And Bennett says Councilor Jill Gaebler is interested in serving as president pro tem.

Bennett began rounding up support even before the April 7 election at which he got the most votes, with 15 percent, in the at-large race to earn a second four-year term. His one term in office gives him the most seniority.

"I'm willing to do that," he says of serving as president, "and I'd like to do that."

Rumors have circulated that King would resign if he wasn't re-elected president, but King refutes that. "I didn't say ever that I was quitting," he says.

With the election of newcomers Tom Strand and Bill Murray, King predicts "a lot of split votes" on the new Council, including on issues surrounding the City for Champions tourism initiative. Councilors Don Knight, Helen Collins, Andy Pico, Murray and King have expressed skepticism about C4C's downtown stadium component.

But Bennett believes there will be fewer split votes. "I just think there's a lot of people wanting to come to consensus and work collaboratively," he says. As for C4C, he says all Council members agree if public money is involved, voter permission has to be sought.

New Council members will be sworn into office at 10 a.m., Tuesday, April 21, at City Auditorium. At 1 p.m., the Council meets at City Hall to choose its leadership.

Pico says he'll seek the chairmanship of the Colorado Springs Utilities Board. — PZ

Learn about renewables

Given the debate about the future of Colorado Springs Utilities, energy policy is a hot topic in the Springs. So there may be wider-than-usual interest in the May 7 panel discussion, "Municipal Electric Utilities: What Does the Future Hold," co-hosted by Colorado State University Extension and the Southeast Colorado Renewable Energy Society.

The discussion is meant to shed light on electric power generation at a time when Utilities is accepting public comments for its long-range Electric Integrated Resource Plan. The panel will discuss the role of energy policy, integrating renewables onto the grid, distributed generation, smart grids and storage, energy efficiency, and changing utility business models. Questions will be accepted following the panel discussion.

The event will be held at the El Paso County Extension Office, 17 N. Spruce St., from 6 to 8 p.m. RSVP by May 4 at A $5 donation is suggested. — JAS

Marshall charged again

Ray Marshall, who developed the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters building here, faces reinstatement of charges previously dismissed in 2012 by District Judge Barney Iuppa.

Marshall, who declared bankruptcy Feb. 20, was indicted in 2009 on fraud charges stemming from his development activities. In early 2012, he was charged with swindling money from the USOC deal. He was acquitted in the first case and sought dismissal of the second charges, arguing the cases should have been joined. Iuppa obliged.

The Colorado Court of Appeals disagreed and overturned Iuppa's ruling, remanding the case to district court for reinstatement. — PZ

Poor Richard's gets facelift

With its café, restaurant, toy store, and book and gift store, the Poor Richard's complex (320-324½ N. Tejon St.) has long been a staple in the community. Now it needs a little love.

The structure will be getting a new façade with exposed brick, new stucco, and awnings. Colorado Springs metal artist Dan Romano is creating new signs for the complex. The renovation will be underway until mid- to late May. The businesses will remain open. — JAS

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