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Exum rematch, vetoed loan bill, storm damage, and more


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Exum wants rematch

Tony Exum Sr. wants his seat back. Last November, Exum, a Democrat, lost his Colorado House District 17 seat to Republican challenger Kit Roupe.

In some ways, it was surprising. A retired Colorado Springs Fire Department battalion chief, Exum grew up in the district, which covers central and southeast Colorado Springs. He had been a champion for fighting poverty issues, was a long-time volunteer and his campaign had out-raised Roupe's by huge margins. Plus, Roupe never had held office before.

But no incumbent has been reelected in District 17 since 2006. The pattern is clear: Republicans take the seat in lower-turnout, off-year elections and Democrats win it back in higher-turnout, presidential-election years. If the pattern holds, Roupe will have her work cut out for her in 2016. In a release announcing his candidacy, Exum sounded ready for the fight. — JAS

Hick vetoes loan bill

Gov. John Hickenlooper vetoed House Bill 1390, which would have raised interest rates on loans often used by hard-up borrowers. The bill would have increased the allowable finance rate on consumer loans of $3,000 or less, from $1,000 to 36 percent annually; and on loans of between $3,000 and $5,000, from a maximum of $3,000 to 21 percent annually. The finance rate on loans of more than $5,000 was set at up to 15 percent.

Progressive groups applauded the governor's decision. "House Bill 1390 was bad policy, introduced at the last possible minute to stifle debate, and written specifically to allow big lenders to hike interest rates on consumers who can least afford it," ProgressNow Colorado executive director Amy Runyan-Harms stated in a press release.

Interestingly, the bill had bipartisan sponsors; Rep. Dan Nordberg, R-Colorado Springs, was a co-sponsor. — JAS

Young GOP voters vote

A campaign to get more young voters for Colorado Springs' May 19 mayoral runoff had some impact, with the GOP reporting more young Republican voters casting ballots than in the April 7 election.

In a letter to Republicans, El Paso County party executive Daniel Cole noted that 21.9 percent of Republicans aged 30 to 44 cast a ballot in May, compared to 18.6 percent of young Democrats and just 13.5 percent of young unaffiliated voters.

A "Rock the Vote COS" campaign led by the Independent and Colorado Springs Business Journal set a goal of at least 20 percent turnout among voters aged 30 to 44. Only 14.4 percent of that group voted in the April city election, but 17.3 percent voted in the runoff as John Suthers defeated Mary Lou Makepeace.

Cole says that had all young voters "demonstrated the same civic engagement as young Republicans," the two newspapers "would have met their admirable goal." — PZ

City: $12 million in damage

Colorado Springs got walloped by May rainstorms and resultant floods, which caused an estimated $12 million in damage.

Most damage was west of Interstate 25, and the Rockrimmon area was especially hard-hit, as hill sloughing caused roughly $2 million in damages. Stormwater work to protect the city from flooding related to the Waldo Canyon Fire was effective. In fact, catchment basins collected over 300,000 cubic feet of sediment, much of which will provide base material for a drainage system in the Rockrimmon area.

The city has been working with state and federal officials assessing damage in May, the wettest month on record. El Paso County is also assessing its damage. The county and city hope Colorado qualifies for a federal disaster declaration, which would cover most damage costs. — JAS

Suicide by stabbing

Air Force Academy Cadet Alexandre Quiros, 21, died in his dormitory April 2 after inflicting 28 stab wounds on himself, only three considered superficial by the coroner who conducted the autopsy, according to the report issued last week.

Quiros died, Daniel Lingamfelter concluded, due to "massive blood loss" due mostly from stab wounds to carotid arteries and jugular veins on both sides of his neck. He also stabbed himself on his thigh, chest, abdomen and head.

The autopsy report states toxicology tests detected a painkiller and an anti-anxiety drug in his system. Quiros had had wisdom teeth removed earlier that day, according to reports. His mother, Ksenia Quiros of Colorado Springs, went missing April 15 and was found dead in a wooded open-space area in the city's southwest sector four days later. An autopsy report said a toxicology test showed she had "a toxic level of the antihistamine Diphenhydramine" in her system, according to media reports, leading to a ruling of suicide. — PZ

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