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News briefs from the Front Range

Metals turning up in Fountain Creek study

Ongoing research into Fountain Creeks water quality has already indicated possible problems with zinc, copper and selenium, metals that can negatively affect wildlife, the Pueblo Chieftain reported this week.

As a result, the Lower Arkansas Valley Water Conservancy District is pursuing funds for a three-year, $1 million project to examine the creeks biology. The early study, which began a few months ago undertaken by Colorado State University-Pueblo, also is being funded by the conservancy district.

Researchers have discovered metals in the creekbed as well in as the actual water flow. Finding copper was a real surprise, CSU-Pueblos Del Nimmo told the Chieftain. Further research will analyze the sources of metals and bacteria in Fountain Creek and compare the creek to the Arkansas River. RR

Maybe next year, Bruce

The man behind the Taxpayers Bill of Rights wants to eliminate stormwater fees, but he might have to wait for his next chance.

County Commissioner Douglas Bruce filed a ballot initiative last week to rid Colorado Springs of the fees, which he calls an illegal tax.

But Bruce may not see his initiative on Novembers ballot, due to a series of roadblocks.

A month ago, Bruces first attempt to get the initiative was thwarted when the 4th Judicial District Court threw it out for addressing multiple topics, which is forbidden by state law.

Bruce reworked the initiative before presenting it again on July 3. But time is running short. Bruce needs to collect 11,470 signatures by July 27 if the initiative is to make it on the ballot this November.

Bruce says he wont ask for a special election if the initiative doesnt make it onto the ballot, because the votes for a special election are counted by the city. Instead, hell wait and pin the initiative on the November 2008 ballot, which is counted by El Paso County. JAS

Executive director leaves Citizens Project

Christina Student has resigned as executive director of Citizens Project, with an official announcement expected Thursday.

Barb Van Hoy, the organization's director of development since 2004, will serve as interim executive director during a search for Student's successor, board member Sharon Berthrong confirmed Wednesday. Van Hoy had assumed the same role for a few months before Student took over the position in July 2006.

"Christina had some goals to reach, she met them and then decided to do something different," Berthrong says.

Student had worked previously for five years with Partners in Housing, serving that nonprofit as development director. RR

Ex-gay gays reclaim old life, visit New Life

When Christine Bakke moved to Colorado in 1998, a Denver-area church embraced her and taught her it was possible to "pray the gay away." So she prayed. And she attended a seminar at Ted Haggard's New Life Church.

On Sunday, Bakke returned, joining two other "ex-gay survivors" in a quiet protest sponsored by SoulForce, a national group that advocates for the GLBT community. She says she hoped to challenge the notion of Haggard's "restoration" to heterosexuality.

"It's not healthy," she says.

The American Psychological Association in 1998 found that such "reparative" therapy heightens the risk of depression, anxiety and self-destructive behavior. It may even reinforce self-hatred based on societal biases.

Bakke left the ex-gay world four years ago. She broke ties with that church and now helps run, a Web site that helps people leaving the ex-gay life.

Haggard, of course, is no longer at New Life, or in Colorado Springs. But Mike Jones, the former male prostitute Haggard allegedly had relations with, is in town this week and expected at PrideFest to promote his tell-all book. MdY

Walker named D-8 superintendent

Fountain-Fort Carson School District 8 Board has named Cheryl Walker superintendent, filling the vacancy created when Dwight Jones was named Colorado education commissioner in May.

Walker, formerly the assistant superintendent of business and auxiliary services, is a 19-year veteran of D-8. School board president Dave Herrmann says Jones involved Walker in a great deal of academic decision-making, and adds that her understanding of finances and federal funding has allowed the district to build more schools without going into debt.

Walker, Herrmann adds, also has a great relationship with the military community.

"She has a grasp of all things unique to our district," he says. AL

St. Paddy's 7 trial delayed

Peace marchers who were removed by Colorado Springs police from the St. Patrick's Day parade will go to trial on Aug. 23, about a month later than planned.

Attorney Gregory Walta, who has taken the case pro bono on behalf of the American Civil Liberties Union, needs more time to prepare for what is anticipated to be two days of courtroom drama in municipal court.

Police removed seven marchers from city streets on March 17 after parade organizers objected to their anti-war signs. The marchers, some of whom sat in the street, face charges of "obstructing passage or assembly," a crime that carries a maximum $500 fine and/or 90 days in jail.

Many marchers allege police used excessive force; controversial photos that appeared in newspapers and on television appeared to support their claim. However, Police Chief Richard Myers later told the City Council there was no brutality.

Walta could not be reached for comment. MdY

SiCKO is coming to town ... wait, that was last week

Shortly after the Independent went to print last Wednesday, the Tinseltown movie complex (1545 E. Cheyenne Mountain Blvd., 576-0593) learned it would be showing Michael Moore's medical-care documentary, SiCKO, starting last Friday.

By the time Tinseltown's managers spread the word, our papers were on the streets featuring an item about how SiCKO wouldn't be coming to the Springs for a while.

Our bad.

But we're not the only ones singing a different tune now. After seeing the numbers Tinseltown earned with SiCKO this week, Kimball Bayles, the owner of Kimball's Twin Peak (115 E. Pikes Peak Ave., 447-1945) is more confident that Moore's documentary will come to his theater by July 20, when the film expands to a wider distribution.

"Tinseltown grossed $5,000, and I'm sure we would've doubled that," Bayles says. "If there's a print available, we'll get a copy. I'm pretty certain." PF

Compiled by Pete Freedman, Amanda Lundgren, Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley and Michael de Yoanna.

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