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Noted: Open-carry arrest


Open-carry confusion

In a city filled with open-carry fanatics, this was a particularly bad move.

On July 21, Army veteran James Sorensen was strolling through Pride Fest in Acacia Park when Colorado Springs police officers noticed the gun on his hip. Believing a law in place banned the display of weapons in public parks, the police detained Sorensen, then arrested him.

Problem is, there is no such law. As Sorensen pointed out to the officers, the park has no signs banning open carry.

No charges were filed against Sorensen, and, according to CSPD, "Mayor Steve Bach and Police Chief Pete Carey have agreed that the Chief will immediately launch an expedited review of the Acacia Park open carry arrest and that the Chief will take all action necessary to ensure the Colorado Springs Police Department is consistent and appropriate in its actions in this type of situation." — Chet Hardin

VA cemetery advances

To those dying to be buried in a new veterans cemetery planned for southern Colorado: Burials should be allowed in 2015, before its first phase is completed in 2017. In a draft environmental assessment, U.S. Veterans Affairs says the proposed action calls for developing 50 acres in a first phase that will accommodate burials for about 10 years.

The cemetery could approach 500 acres if Kane Ranch south of Fountain is selected from four options. The other sites are smaller. Without naming a favorite, the assessment also looked at 4-Way Ranch, north of U.S. Highway 24 near Falcon; Rolling Hills Ranch, east of Marksheffel Road between Bradley and Drennan roads; and Bradley Heights, southwest of Bradley and Marksheffel. With no significant impact at any site, no environmental impact statement is needed.

The Pueblo Chieftain reports that the Kane site actually is the preferred choice, with U.S. Rep. Scott Tipton saying the site "is the most accessible place for veterans and their families in the Southern Colorado region." — Pam Zubeck

Calhan out of PPRTA

Calhan will not join the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority II agreement or ballot issue, which will provide about $400 million for transportation improvements if passed by voters in November. The sales tax-based funding would last 10 years, replacing the original 10-year PPRTA that voters passed in 2004.

PPRTA originally included El Paso County, Colorado Springs, Manitou Springs and Green Mountain Falls. The town of Ramah has since joined. Calhan, near Ramah, planned to join but was deleted from ballot language at an Aug. 8 meeting where board members approved language for their agreement and ballot measure.

Calhan officials weren't keen on discussing it, but Calhan reportedly was dropped due to an administrative mistake that led to a legal issue. — J. Adrian Stanley

Data center project OK'd

During a special meeting last week, the Colorado Springs Urban Renewal Authority voted 7-2 to approve a financing plan for Vineyard Data Center. The 108-acre site in southern Colorado Springs may house up to eight data centers for national and international companies.

CSURA will issue up to $54 million in bonds, to be supported by tax revenues from the development. Plans require developer Vince Colarelli to find private investors for as much as $64 million in required infrastructure. Only when the infrastructure is done will bonds be issued.

Colarelli will transfer 48 acres of open space and riparian land along Fountain Creek to the city, along with a $1 million endowment for future maintenance. Data centers also must have uninterruptible power sources and state-of-the-art telecom capability. — John Hazlehurst

City outlines recovery, slowly

People who lost their homes in the Waldo Canyon Fire will have to wait almost three more weeks for a resource guide that outlines how to rebuild.

That comes from a briefing of Colorado Springs City Council on Monday from interim planning director Kyle Campbell. He says the draft, with information and contacts for the city, county, Federal Emergency Management Agency and others, won't be done until Friday, with the final version two weeks after that.

The city also is preparing a summary sheet for the Parkside neighborhood, an area that lost 141 of its 178 homes — or 40 percent of the 345 homes destroyed. Residents there who want to change a home's footprint might face an approval process, Campbell says, because the development plan calls for homes to be at least seven feet apart and fire-resistant construction materials are required. — Pam Zubeck

Manitou ends shuttle

The Manitou Springs Free Shuttle, a public-private partnership to address a pressing problem, just didn't work out.

Earlier this summer, Manitou rented 100 parking spaces on the east edge of downtown. Manitou and Pikes Peak Cog Railway agreed to pay for a shuttle to take tourists through town to the Cog station.

But the Cog lost business to the fire and couldn't afford the shuttle. Free parking remains available daily until Oct. 1, behind Tajine Alami at 10 Old Man's Trail. Caution: Parking in front of Tajine could get you towed. — J. Adrian Stanley

Blaha takes new step

Robert Blaha is no shrinking violet. The Republican businessman, after an unsuccessful campaign to unseat U.S. Rep. Doug Lamborn, is turning to the airwaves.

Partnering with Derrick Wilburn, his former campaign staffer and Rocky Mountain Black Tea Party founder, Blaha will host a weekly radio show, Black-White and Right. Listeners can catch the one-hour program on KZNT-AM 1460 at 7 a.m. every Saturday. In a release, Blaha says the duo "will be stepping on toes, calling people out and generally encouraging much needed strong discussion." — Chet Hardin

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