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How floodwaters flow, a stalled recall, more


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More flood info coming

The release of the Watershed Assessment of River Stability and Sediment Supply (WARSSS) study (here) shed much-needed light on the region's flood dangers in the wake of the Waldo Canyon Fire.

But it concentrates on what would happen on the burn scar; it doesn't detail how all that water will affect nearby neighborhoods. That's because a separate "inundation study" could be released as early as next week, promising to explore how water would spread in developed areas in a 10-year flood.

The burn scar has long been expected to give a 10-year flood the impact of a 100-year flood in some watersheds. Indeed, Patty Baxter, El Paso County emergency services program manager, says she's seen the initial inundation maps, and they are similar to the Federal Emergency Management Agency's 100-year flood maps for the area. Some areas appear to be worse.

Baxter says she's asked the study's author, Matrix Design Group, to indicate how deep water will be in various areas, a change it's working on now.

"There are a few areas that it's gone out of the 100-year floodplain and that's in the area of Garden of the Gods and Douglas Creek," she says. "That's why we want to add depth, because maybe it's just an inch of water."

County Commissioner Sallie Clark says officials are also asking Matrix to consider mitigation work that's already been done, and any positive effects it might have.

A second phase of the study, expected in July, will show how water will spread in various storm scenarios, from a relatively small amount of rain to a deluge. Baxter says she hopes it will help people decide when they'll need to evacuate. — J. Adrian Stanley

D-11 recall petition fails

Parents who organized a recall petition for six of the seven members of the Colorado Springs School District 11 Board of Education failed to collect enough signatures to force the issue to a ballot.

Elaine Shoemaker, whose son Aaron is a junior at the soon-to-close Wasson High School, was among the parents organizing the petition.

"We had a good shot at it, but just didn't quite get there," she tells the Independent. "So we're moving on to bigger, better things."

Specifically, she is working with Wasson alumni to celebrate the school. Beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday, the school will host the Wasson Final Extravaganza and Auto Show, featuring vintage vehicles, a bouncy castle and vendors.

Members of the alumni association are also invited to attend Wasson's final prom at the Mining Exchange, a Wyndham Grand Hotel, at 8 that evening. Those who want to attend must RSVP today, May 8, to Jan Bowyer at 328-2011.

Alumni are also planning a large-scale reunion party for all current and former Wasson students in June. — J. Adrian Stanley

Pueblo playing hardball

While it's a nice number, Pueblo leaders don't seem overly impressed by what Colorado Springs is doing with $46 million in stormwater spending in 2013.

According to the Pueblo Chieftain, water attorney Ray Petros reviewed the projects outlined in a letter from Springs Mayor Steve Bach last week, and found that less than $2 million of them will meet criteria laid out in Pueblo's 2009 permit allowing Colorado Springs Utilities' Southern Delivery System pipeline project.

That permit was issued with the understanding that the Springs would continue to collect money from its Stormwater Enterprise, which in turn would address infrastructure problems that have negatively impacted Pueblo downstream. Voters discontinued the enterprise soon after.

The Springs has amped up its spending this year, but much of it is geared toward mitigating the danger posed by flooding off Waldo Canyon burn scar, and not necessarily helping Fountain Creek, which flows into Pueblo.

"What we're looking for is a list of major projects that have a significant impact for Pueblo County," Commission Chairman Terry Hart told the Chieftain. — Kirk Woundy

Littleton announces '14 run

El Paso County Commissioner Peggy Littleton must love campaign season. The District 5 representative, who was first elected in 2010, announced May 4 that she planned to run for re-election — in November 2014.

In a campaign e-mail, Littleton emphasizes her work to inform the public of dangers from natural disasters and her support of "the unalienable rights of citizens granted by the U.S. Constitution." Or rather, one right — the one about owning guns. Littleton was responsible for the county's recent resolution in support of the National Rifle Association. — J. Adrian Stanley

PPLD expands digital history

The Pikes Peak Library District has long put its historical photography collections online, but now you can dig even deeper with PPLD's launch of its new Digital Collections (

Through the online database you can search, view, and listen to digitized versions of materials housed at the district's Special Collections department in the Carnegie Library downtown. Regional oral histories and films, maps, lithographs and turn-of-the-19th-century city directories are some of the items available.

Accessing the site does not require a library card. — Kirsten Akens

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