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Public Eye


So much for worrying that something really exciting would happen while I was on vacation.

Before departing for points south, I had some fleeting anxiety (trust me, it was very fleeting) that whatever it was, it would be good. What if the IRS building got torched again? What if Betty Beedy came back wearing a new, fetching, hand-stitched camouflage three-piece dress suit, rallying the Ladies of Liberty? Or what if God told ex-Sen. Charlie Duke to demand Mayor Mary Lou Makepeace step aside so he could be the rightful leader of this world-class city? How could I ever forgive myself, skipping out on all of that?

Not to worry. From most published news accounts, it was business as usual. Here's a roundup:

Colorado has grown by a million people in the past 10 years, and another 2 million are expected by 2020. El Paso County will overtake Denver and Jefferson counties to the north, and by 2005 will be the most populated county in Colorado. State lawmakers meanwhile, who promised they would finally -- yes, finally -- do something to tackle rampant unrestrained growth, have killed all of this year's anti-sprawl proposals except the one that had been written, literally, by the developers' paid mouthpiece, a nice enough Denver lawyer by the name of Tom Ragonetti. This effort to quash reasonable growth control measures was, of course, orchestrated by the House Republicans, the same ones who are now royally teed off at Senate Democrats for balking at passing such a blatantly pro-developer proposal.

The Colorado Springs daily newspaper, meanwhile, has weighed in to tell us that growth and sprawl are overrated anyway. The Gazette's editorial writers claim that the only people who care about sprawl are those "environmental groups and other hard-core growth-baiters" (yes, they actually used that term), so what's the big deal?

A year and a half after the city's daily newspaper proudly unveiled a disastrously hideous redesign, it has quietly scrapped the look and gone back to, more or less, what it looked like before. Gone is the big blocky Old English "G" in the masthead of the paper, and back is a pretty picture of Pikes Peak. And, readers should note, the paper had taken away the ridiculously long list of credits that appeared before the reader actually got to the story. Remember how they would identify not only who wrote it, but who edited it, wrote the headline, spilled coffee on it, etc.? That, like so much else, turned out to be little more than a feeble experiment in the great world of newspapering.

Also, it should be noted, that the paper's gone back up to 50 cents and that local business owner Ed Bircham's photo has been updated in his regularly appearing, "Wake up, America" ads that routinely embarrass the people of Colorado Springs.

In other, unrelated events:

Longtime sports columnist Ralph Routon has moved on to Florida.

KKTV Channel 11 anchor Melissa Brown had a baby.

Syndicated columnist George Will turned 60.

Retired El Paso County Sheriff's Detective Lou Smit still believes that Patsy Ramsey didn't kill little JonBenet Ramsey. Of course, Smit's intruder theory is just the same as it was a year ago, but we haven't had any good JonBenet stories lately, so that one is as good as any to dust off and generate some interest during ratings sweep.

The city has stupidly sued the family of artist Starr Kempf, whose Cheyenne Canyon residence has been, for decades, home to an awesome steel sculpture garden of monumental birds and other movable shapes. The city, which once negotiated to accept Kempf's sculptures as a gift after he died, now alleges their continued presence in the family's garden constitutes a zoning violation.

City leaders are pushing to rename the airport after the irascible former Mayor Bob Isaac, who already got a municipal courthouse named after him. Mary Lou Makepeace hasn't gotten diddly, but maybe Council will memorialize her by renaming the Uncle Wilber Fountain in Acacia Park after her.

Makepeace could also have Confluence Park, but the city now doesn't have enough money to build it, which the Independent reported more than a year ago, on January 27, 2000, and which the daily finally got around to figuring out on April 24, 2001.

Finally, the president of the United States presented the Air Force Academy football team with the Commander in Chief's cup. It's also looking really probable that Dubya, who, in pictures, has eyes that lately resemble little dark slits, will get to appoint two members of the United States Supreme Court.

Central America is sounding pretty good again just about now.

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