Carey named police chief
After serving as interim police chief since Chief Richard Myers' sudden "retirement" last fall, Pete Carey was named the permanent chief Tuesday. Mayor Steve Bach, who appointed Carey with Council's unanimous approval, said he had planned on a nationwide search for a new chief.
"It became clear to me quickly that we could find no better person than Pete Carey to be our police chief," the mayor said to Council. Carey has served with the Colorado Springs force since 1984. He was named a deputy chief in January 2008. — JAS
Ivywild financing approved
City Council gave its approval Tuesday to an agreement between developers of the Ivywild School redevelopment project, the city, and the Urban Renewal Authority. The deal was the final piece needed for the project to get underway, and will allow the developers to keep a portion of sales and property taxes on the property for 25 years to reimburse them for public improvements.
The Ivywild Elementary School, which was closed by Colorado Springs School District 11 in 2009, will be a new home for Bristol Brewing Co., a bakery and community spaces. — JAS
Give! reaches $699,823.24
With 49 nonprofit beneficiaries and more than 3,000 donations, the Independent's Give! 2011 campaign had nearly reached its goal of $555,555.55 before the third annual effort ended Dec. 31. But with matching funds and challenge grants added in, the final total climbed all the way to $699,823.24, as confirmed by Indy associate publisher Carrie Simison-Bitz, the campaign co-chair.
"We are so humbled by our community's overwhelming support of local nonprofit work," Simison-Bitz says. "The $699,823 is part of nearly $3 million that Give! plus two other year-end philanthropic campaigns run by other alternative newsweeklies gave back to their communities. We always tout our readers for being more intelligent and more engaged than the average person. With the commitment to local community shown in the dollar figures alone — not to mention the volunteer time and in-kind donations — we can prove those qualities without a doubt!"
Donors and representatives of the 49 nonprofits will have a celebration at 4:30 p.m., Tuesday, Jan. 31, at the Garden Pavilion behind Penrose House, 1661 Mesa Ave. Anyone wanting an invitation should e-mail email@example.com. — RR
Christo pushing project
Christo's Over the River project has received the Bureau of Land Management's blessing, but other hurdles remain, including the securing of temporary-use permit approvals from Fremont and Chaffee counties.
Fremont County is collecting public opinion via comments and hearings, one planned for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. (with a break from noon to 1:30) on Wednesday, Feb. 1, at the Fremont County Administration Building (615 Macon Ave., Cañon City). The other will be from 5 to 8:30 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 2, at Cotopaxi School (345 County Road 12, Cotopaxi).
Gaining these counties' approval is "critical," says the OTR team. So much so that Christo will be there to speak and drum up support. Comments may be submitted by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org, and cc: email@example.com) or snail mail (Fremont County Planning and Zoning Department, 615 Macon Ave., #210, Cañon City, CO 81212). — EA
Calhan gets RTA vote
In a notable act of defiance, City Council President Pro Tem Jan Martin stood alone Tuesday against allowing Calhan a membership with full voting rights in the regional Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority. The vote was 7-1, with Councilman Tim Leigh absent.
Martin didn't oppose allowing Calhan to join, but sided with city staff who fear giving the town a vote on the RTA board will dilute the city's power. Currently, the city has three votes, El Paso County has three, and Green Mountain Falls, Manitou Springs and Ramah have one vote each.
Towns that haven't joined the agency, which collects a 1 percent sales tax to pay for road projects, maintenance and transit, may do so if voters (and RTA members) approve. Last year, Calhan residents defeated a measure seeking RTA membership, but Calhan leaders think voters will reverse themselves this April.
County Commissioner Sallie Clark wrote to city officials over the weekend, urging them to allow Calhan into the RTA with voting rights. "This would succeed in maintaining consistency in our philosophy to welcome both large and small community partnerships into the fold of countywide transportation improvements," she wrote. County commissioners also approved Calhan for the RTA in a Tuesday vote. — PZ
Fountain on the bus
The city of Fountain is pulling out of the Mountain Metro bus service run by Colorado Springs and will begin its own service in April.
Duane Greenwood, Fountain's public works director and city engineer, says that after the city paid $367,500 last year, Mountain Metro had indicated it would charge $700,000 per year in the future. That prompted Fountain to hire a consultant who estimated the city's new service would run about $450,000 its first year, Greenwood says.
The new service will replicate the existing Route 31, which swings through Fountain and stops at Pikes Peak Community College's south campus at 5675 S. Academy Blvd., where riders can catch Mountain Metro into Colorado Springs. The route will expand to include a stop at the park-and-ride lot at Exit 128 on the south end of downtown, he says. Buses will run weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Fountain is buying three buses at $116,000 each and expects to be reimbursed $240,000 by a state grant, Greenwood says. The plan calls for hiring a transit manager at a salary of $47,000 to $70,000, and up to six part-time drivers. — PZ
Rules? What rules?
When you try to change the bylaws for your county political party, you'll want to make sure that you know the rules.
Saturday, during a meeting of the El Paso County Republican Party central committee at Sand Creek High School, a proposal was put forward to rewrite the party's bylaws to allow the chairman, currently Eli Bremer, to retain authority even when traveling. The bylaw, as written, states that the vice-chair "shall exercise the functions of the Chairman during the temporary absence from El Paso County or the temporary inability of the Chairman."
The proposed change was brought before the committee after a months-long battle between Bremer and vice-chair David Williams over differences of vision.
When the vote on what was to be the day's most controversial issue was taken by standing vote, only the ayes were counted. The bylaws committee chair forgot to count the nays, despite being joined at the dais by Bremer and the party attorney, Rep. Bob Gardner. The proposal was declared approved with a vote of 174 ayes, and the meeting moved on.
The problem? There were 352 people voting, meaning ayes accounted for fewer than half the votes. The bigger problem? Even a simple majority wouldn't have been enough to pass a bylaw change. For that, you need a two-thirds majority.
Once it was clear the proposal had been passed incorrectly, the meeting fell into an hour-long chaos of motions and points-of-order, until it was finally decided to table the proposal. — CH
Tax for creek coming
The newly created branch of government that oversees Fountain Creek is talking taxes. Fountain Creek Watershed Flood Control and Greenway District could ask voters for a property tax within the next two years, the Pueblo Chieftain reports.
Under legislation that created the district, the agency can levy up to 5 mills on property in El Paso and Pueblo counties, but such a tax requires voter approval in both counties. Springs City Councilor Brandy Williams, who serves on the district board, told her colleagues Monday to expect a ballot issue in 2013. — PZ
Apparently the El Paso Republican Party can tolerate only so much free speech.
Saturday, Al Lender, a former Fountain councilman, registered Republican and vocal nemesis of former Fountain Councilwoman Lois Landgraf, showed up bright and early at the county party's central committee meeting at Sand Creek High School, to post his signs alongside hundreds of other political signs.
At 6 a.m., he got a phone call from the meeting organizers, saying they were taking down his signs. When he got back to the school, he says, he was told by county party COO Bill Roy that his signs were "slanderous and disgusting."
Lender didn't see the problem.
"I had my toilet-bowl sign," he says, the one featuring a picture of a toilet underneath Landgraf's name, with the slogan "Flush it!" With it was a sign celebrating Landgraf's recent defeat in her re-election bid.
After seeing that his signs were not going to be permitted back up, Lender began to protest outside. Roy, he says, told him that he would have to leave, so Lender called the cops. When they arrived, they asked him to take his protest across the street, to the public right-of-way.
Roy didn't respond to an Indy request for comment.
Lender says he's frustrated that Landgraf is likely to run for the newly redrawn state House District 21 seat.
"What bothers me is that the people of Fountain threw her out of office," he says, "and the Republican Party is trying to put her back in office." — CH
Compiled by Edie Adelstein, Chet Hardin, Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.