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News briefs from the Front Range


Californian named city manager
There was Mike Anderson, interim city manager, with a good knowledge of Colorado Springs and a great financial background (as city budget director for over a decade).

And there was Assistant City Manager Greg Nyhoff, who arguably has a more balanced background as city manager for Fountain, and previously, Montague, Mich.

But in the end, City Council chose Penny Culbreth-Graft of Huntington Beach, Calif., for the Springs' city manager position. Councilors say they were impressed by her attitude and, of course, her background. She has experience in larger cities than Nyhoff, and her rsum is more balanced than Anderson's. She's been a city administrator in Huntington Beach since 2004, and her past experience includes assistant positions in San Diego, Tucson and Riverside, Calif.

Culbreth-Graft starts Jan. 7. JAS

Cadman appointed; Bruce next?
Bill Cadman has ascended within the Colorado Legislature, leaving El Paso County Commissioner Douglas Bruce with his chance to take advantage of the "domino effect" caused by state Sen. Ron May's recent resignation.

Cadman, one year from being term-limited out of the House District 15 seat he'd held since 2000, was appointed last Saturday by a vacancy committee of party leaders to replace May. After certification by the secretary of state, Cadman will resign from the House.

At that point, another vacancy committee will decide Cadman's successor. Bruce has told media he is certain he has a "decisive majority" of votes, but he will be opposed by Steve Hasbrouck and Reginald Perry.

Cadman already has filed to run for the Senate seat in 2008. Alison Hunter, a Democrat who ran against Cadman in 2006, indicates she will run for the House seat again next year against Bruce. RR

Colorado Avenue not fully open
In last week's issue, we reported that after the Cimarron Bridge closure on the night of Oct. 31, three lanes of traffic would be open on Colorado Avenue underneath Interstate 25 during morning and evening rush hour.

Of course, as frustrated drivers know, that hasn't happened. And apparently, it won't.

COSMIX spokeswoman Michele Majeune says she isn't sure whether the plan for the Colorado underpass changed, or whether the wrong information was provided. What she is sure of: As has been the case for weeks, Colorado Avenue will only have two lanes open (one in each direction) until at least Thanksgiving.

On the other hand, Majeune says, ongoing Bijou construction will not affect eastbound traffic during morning rush hour (6:30 to 9 a.m.), nor westbound traffic during evening rush hour (3 to 6 p.m.).

Majeune says COSMIX is hoping the Bijou Bridge will be complete and fully open around Thanksgiving. JAS

Transit decisions will take time
City Council has supported keeping bus service hours in 2008 despite a tight budget. But what about those proposed fare increases? Or the alteration of underused routes? Or the issue of funding services in Fountain?

City Councilor Jan Martin says Council hasn't made those decisions yet, and likely won't until the budget is formalized in December. Some decisions could take even longer.

Right now, it looks as though some outcomes are easer to predict than others. For instance, most of Council agreed it was a good idea to look at raising fares to offset increased fuel prices. Under Council's direction, the city transit department has already conducted public meetings on the topic.

Also, most on Council agree the Springs shouldn't continue to foot the bill for a portion of Fountain's transit costs. But that subject is touchy because if the Springs removes funding and Fountain can't or won't pay for its own services, routes could be cut or reduced.

"We'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it," Martin says.

As for rearranging routes, that will depend on whether the transit department asks for changes on underused routes. JAS

For Armstrong, a defrocking
Colorado Episcopal Bishop Robert O'Neill's decision last week to defrock the Rev. Donald Armstrong of Colorado Springs was simultaneously meaningless and significant.

On one hand, Armstrong remains the rector of Grace Church and St. Stephen's Parish at 601 N. Tejon St. About half the Grace parishioners have banded with him in leaving the U.S. branch of the worldwide Anglican Communion to join the ultraconservative Convocation of Anglicans in North America.

On the other hand, Armstrong's defrocking appeared to show that O'Neill agreed with an Episcopal diocese verdict that Armstrong was guilty of breaking canon law, including pilfering church money. An "independent" audit by a local accountant released about a week earlier had appeared to clear Armstrong of wrongdoing. MdY

Ordinary Manitou?
For Extraordinary Manitou, The Smokebrush Gallery's latest exhibit, curator Melanie Grimes invited artists from Manitou Springs to participate in an homage to the hamlet. Unfortunately, nothing at the show jumps out as strikingly original. It's enjoyable, much like its muse, but the landscapes, political works, dulcimers and pottery are what we might expect upon walking into the gallery.

Only two pieces stand out, just one in a good way. Which one is it? And which artists disappoint? Visit the Culture section of and click on the "Extra" to find out. EA

Low-impact lights for OCC
Old Colorado City's holiday light display this year will take a modern twist as the local merchants association puts up 120 sets of new LED lights.

The new lights will replace older incandescent lights, and officials estimate they should reduce the electricity bill for keeping the display up from around Thanksgiving until early January from about $270 to around $26.

The Colorado Springs Downtown Partnership added LED lights to its downtown holiday light display last year. AL

Mouse still jumping in Colorado
The good news, if you're a Preble's meadow jumping mouse, is there's a lot of land in Wyoming where you still might be able to raise little jumping mice.

The bad news, if you're a developer in El Paso County, is that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is recommending the small rodent still be listed as threatened in Colorado.

The Preble's mouse likes to live in grassy areas near creeks and streams on Colorado's Front Range and in Wyoming. While much of that habitat survives in Wyoming, development in Colorado threatens to make most of the region inhospitable to the mouse, according to the Fish and Wildlife Service.

Since the mouse was listed as threatened in 1998, many developers in northern El Paso County have seen projects delayed, complicated or made more expensive due to restrictions on altering habitat for the mouse.

Despite challenges to the mouse's status as a distinct subspecies, the Fish and Wildlife Service reports that the best information suggests it is unique, and is thus worthy of protection.

A public hearing on the recommendation will take place on Dec. 10, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Office, 134 Union Blvd., in Lakewood, with a second hearing Dec. 12 in Wyoming. AL

Compiled by Edie Adelstein, Ralph Routon, J. Adrian Stanley and Michael de Yoanna. For more briefs, go to

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