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Noted: Update on Marigold

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Marigold working it out

After running into serious trouble over a small renovation, Marigold Café and Bakery is finally moving in the right direction.

As previously reported ("Marigold's molehill," News, April 15) Dominique and Elaine Chavanon got into quite a bit of trouble after making a few changes to the bar of their beloved French restaurant in northwest Colorado Springs. Both the state and Colorado Springs City Clerk Kathryn Young cried foul, saying Marigold had failed to obtain a license from the city liquor board. Construction was halted.

The crummy situation was made worse when well-placed friends of the Chavanons tried to intervene, further irritating Young.

However, things are improving. As required, the Chavanons petitioned the neighborhood — 193 approved of their small updates, two opposed it, and two had no opinion. On May 7, the liquor board gave its approval. Next, Elaine notes, Marigold needs approval by the state. — JAS

What's he gonna say?

An eagerly anticipated opinion about whether the city could freely spend proceeds from a sale of Memorial Health System will be made known Tuesday.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers is slated to give a verbal report to the Citizens Commission on Ownership and Governance of Memorial Health System at a 2:30 p.m. meeting at the Pikes Peak Regional Building Dept., 2880 International Circle. The commission has been charged with recommending a future course for the hospital; one option may be a sale to a private company.

State law requires proceeds from selling nonprofit hospitals be spent only on purposes aligned with the hospital's mission. Some speculate that might not apply to Memorial, which is city-owned. — PZ

Choppers: just say no

A local group is organizing opposition to the possibility that Fort Carson will get a 100-helicopter aviation brigade.

Spearheading the effort is Bill Sulzman, who often protests against the military and its programs. In an e-mail, Sulzman says the bases for opposing the helicopter unit are many, including "how military spending negatively affects our area." Sulzman argues that while the military doesn't pay property taxes, it stresses utilities infrastructure, overloads law enforcement and swamps social services agencies.

He says welcoming a fleet (which would include Chinooks, Black Hawks, Apaches and Kiowas) might be used to build the Army's argument for acquiring additional land in southeast Colorado; Congress has suspended consideration of a Piñon Canyon Maneuver Site expansion, due to protests of landowners there. Sulzman also cites concerns about the noise the helicopters will create in Colorado Springs.

"We have a month or less to blow the whistle on this, challenge it, try to get it stopped or delayed," Sulzman writes. — PZ

Celeste plans retirement

After eight years at the helm of Colorado College, President Dick Celeste says he'll leave after the 2010-11 academic year. The former Ohio governor was credited by the board of trustees with increasing the 136-year-old liberal arts college's visibility locally, nationally and internationally.

Celeste has clashed with faculty while at CC ("Out of slack," News, May 14, 2009). But during his tenure the school has increased its applicant pool, improved graduation rates, made major renovations of several buildings, and finished the Edith Kinney Gaylord Cornerstone Arts Center. CC has also developed new initiatives including the State of the Rockies Conference and Report Card, focusing on the environment, culture and other quality-of-life factors.

A search committee of faculty, staff and trustees will seek his successor. — PZ

Bye, bye, Baader

Cripple Creek's boisterous, pro-business mayor is trucking off to Arcadia, Calif.

Dan Baader, a construction project manager, defeated incumbent Ed Libby in 2007. He came out strong against the statewide ban on smoking in casinos, and for state Amendment 50, which allowed gambling towns to vote to increase the stakes, games and hours in their casinos.

Baader was also construction superintendent for the building of Cripple Creek's most recent new gaming establishment, the $50 million Wildwood Casino. But, ironically, he's leaving for a project in California because his company reportedly doesn't have more work for him in Colorado. He abruptly resigned as mayor on May 5, and couldn't be reached for comment.

Councilman Bruce Brown was appointed mayor until the 2011 election. — JAS

Sales tax on sunny side

Colorado Springs may still be "Broke City, USA" on the national news, but actually, the city is making financial progress.

It sure looks like 2010 is going to be better than 2009. Recently released sales and use tax collection figures show the city collected $9.88 million in April 2010, which is 5.7 percent more than April 2009. So far, year-to-date collections in 2010 are 6.34 percent higher than this time last year.

Collections still are not as high as in 2008. Or 2007 and 2006, for that matter. And revenues from building materials, furniture appliances and electronics, and hotel/motels were down. However, taxes from car dealers jumped 32 percent as compared to April 2009, and Utilities tax collections rose 15 percent. — JAS

Compiled by J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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