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Olympic City branding, Dem joins commissioner race, Pro Challenge cancelled, and more

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Pushing 'Olympic City USA'

Mayor John Suthers told City Council on Tuesday, Feb. 9, he wants to launch a branding campaign that would label Colorado Springs as Olympic City USA.

"It's a no-brainer," Suthers observed.

No doubt, considering the Springs is home to the U.S. Olympic Committee headquarters, the Olympic Training Center, many sports' national governing bodies and, by early 2018, the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, to be built in southwest downtown.

"It can't be something a whole bunch of other cities can claim," Suthers noted. "It has to be something that sets us above."

The mayor explained that a nonprofit will be formed under the umbrella agency Pikes Peak Community Foundation to accept contributions for the effort. The branding campaign will culminate with the opening of the Olympic museum in two years.

"The USOC is giving us broad permission to use Olympic City USA," Suthers said, adding that "America's Olympic City" wasn't allowed because there are other "Americas" in this hemisphere. — PZ

Dem enters county race

Democrat Michael Seraphin has entered the race for El Paso County commissioner in District 2, the seat currently held by the term-limited Amy Lathen, a Republican who has served since replacing Douglas Bruce in 2008.

Seraphin, the former Colorado Division of Wildlife public information officer, says he is not a traditional Democrat and holds some conservative views, particularly on guns. Still, he'll face an uphill battle. The last time a Democrat won a race for a commissioner seat in El Paso County was in 1970.

Seraphin is the fourth candidate to announce for the seat, joining Republican candidates Tim Geitner, Sherrie Gibson and Mark Waller.

"I hope voters make history for the first time in nearly 50 years by electing a county commissioner who doesn't have an 'R' behind their name," Seraphin says in a release. "It's time for a change from one-party politics."

Seraphin has never run for office before and says he entered the 2016 race because it is time to elect someone who will make hard decisions to fix local problems, "instead of grandstanding about national politics in an effort to boost their own ambitions."

Seraphin, a resident of Falcon, has lived in Colorado for the better part of 35 years. He was a spokesman for the Division of Wildlife from 1998 until his retirement in 2013. — JAS

Big crowds flocked downtown for the USA Pro Challenge in past years. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Big crowds flocked downtown for the USA Pro Challenge in past years.

Pro Challenge canceled

Shawn Hunter, CEO of the USA Pro Challenge, announced last Friday there will be no race this year. The USA Pro Challenge was introduced in 2011 as Colorado's answer to the Tour de France. The race lost investors Rick and Richard Schaden after the 2015 race, and organizers were looking for new funding.

The situation had looked hopeful. In fact, it was recently reported that the 2016 race would take place. It now appears that news was premature. Hunter apparently hopes to bring the race back in 2017.

From Hunter's statement: "The timing and work involved in this endeavor does not allow us to produce the event in 2016 and achieve all the goals of our important stakeholders. Instead, we have targeted 2017 to restart this iconic race. ... The race has been a great Colorado community asset and has quickly become one of the most exciting races on the global cycling calendar, for fans and competitors.

"While forming a new ownership group for the event, we have been focused on ensuring the longevity of the race, expanding its coverage, and aligning it with other United States cycling events and activities. ... While we will not be conducting America's Race this year, we are diligently working to complete the necessary pieces for 2017." — JAS

Pico praises court ruling

Word that the U.S. Supreme Court decided to halt implementation of the EPA's Clean Power Plan triggered commentary from both sides of the debate.

Andy Pico, Colorado Springs Utilities Board chair and City Council member, hailed the decision.

"I have been gravely concerned that the Clean Power Plan is based on a faulty scientific premise and is avoiding the proper legislative path by being imposed through regulatory overreach," Pico tells the Independent via email. "I am encouraged to see the court issue the stay based on the later point."

Councilor Pico is in a prime position to make decisions regarding use of fossil fuels, from which the city generates two-thirds or more of its power.

Pico says he is not a climate-change denier, but rather doesn't believe global warming is caused by humans.

He adds, via text message, "The degree of climate change is questionable, and the modeled predictions have failed to occur as predicted. There is a substantial body of published, peer-reviewed scientific evidence to indicate a lot of natural climate shifts in the past and predicted shifts in the future." — PZ


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