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SDS on track, HBA endorses county candidates, Indy wins SPJ awards, and more

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The city vows to tackle flooding. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • The city vows to tackle flooding.

Pueblo approves IGA

Both Colorado Springs and Pueblo County have approved an intergovernmental agreement that requires Colorado Springs to pour $460 million into the city's stormwater drainage system. The agreement clears the way for activation of the Southern Delivery System pipeline from Pueblo Reservoir, and that was slated to happen today, Wednesday, April 27.

The $825-million project, more than a decade in the making, will deliver 50 million gallons of water per day to the city, enabling more development and redundancy for the existing system.

The 20-year IGA with Pueblo County requires an average of $23 million per year be spent on flood control and maintenance, and if the city's general fund falls short, Colorado Springs Utilities will pick up the slack. City Councilor Helen Collins cast the sole dissenting vote last week, noting Utilities is being used as "a cash cow" and that rates will increase due to the stormwater program. — PZ

HBA endorses county candidates

The Political Action Committee of the Housing & Building Association of Colorado Springs has announced its influential endorsements for the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners. Given that developers wield great influence in Colorado Springs, the HBA’s picks often are better-funded than their rivals.

The HBA has chosen Mark Waller for District 2, Stan VanderWerf for District 3, and Scott Turner for District 4. All three districts have open seats this election because the incumbents are term-limited.

“We are pleased to endorse candidates who believe strongly in the principles of limited government and allowing the private sector to work,” Kyle Campbell, Principal of Colorado Springs-based Classic Consulting Engineers & Surveyors, and Chairman of the HBA Political Action Committee, stated in a press release. “All three candidates demonstrate great leadership qualities and will be an asset to the community as members of the Board of County Commissioners.” — JAS

SDS land case ends

Colorado Springs Utilities owes Lorson LLC, $378,156 for land directly and indirectly impacted by the Southern Delivery System pipeline, a three-member panel of commissioners ruled in a land condemnation case on Monday, April 25.

"This is a very fair settlement," SDS Program Director John Fredell says in a statement.

Lorson LLC, controlled by developer Leroy Landhuis, went to court last week, contending the water project had curtailed his ability to develop his subdivision and had caused him $39 million in damages ("Land of plenty?" April 20, 2016).

Utilities claimed just 18.5 acres had been directly affected and paid an appraised amount of $141,100 into an account in February 2014 to obtain possession to build the pipeline. The verdict can be appealed. — PZ

FAC gets $1 million

The Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center received its largest donation since 2007 this week. Generously donated by Catharine and Bart Holaday, the $1 million gift will fund an "Interactive Discovery Gallery," slated for completion in about a year.

"The basic idea is finding ways to engage people beyond just visually," says FAC President and CEO David Dahlin. "When people go to the museum, they're standing there looking at art. But is there something they can do?"

The new gallery's design is not yet set in stone. "It'll be such a fun exploration," Dahlin says.

The donors share his giddiness. "The opportunity to transform the museum experience for the Colorado Springs community is a really exciting one," Cathy Holaday said in the FAC's announcement. "We're thrilled to embark upon this journey."

Even with no word on the possible merger between the museum and Colorado College, Springs art lovers can be assured the FAC isn't going anywhere anytime soon. — NS

SPJ contest results

The Independent received five awards in the Society of Professional Journalists Top of the Rockies contest, which included entries from Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming published during 2015.

J. Adrian Stanley won in the science enterprise writing category with a cover story about body donations, "Over my dead body," Oct. 28. She also captured second place in legal reporting with her Nov. 11 story, "When dad is a pedophile," which reported on a man's attempt to gain custody of his infant daughter.

Columnist John Hazlehurst, who also writes for sister paper the Colorado Springs Business Journal, won top honors for his weekly Indy column, City Sage.

Two other staffers placed second: Matthew Schniper, for his Appetite column in the A&E criticism category, and Pam Zubeck in the political reporting category for "The Jet Set," June 10, a story about county commissioner travel.

The Indy competed in the category of publications with circulations of 30,000 to 75,000. — PZ

County collects more than $50 million in child support

El Paso County, which contracts for child support services with the private company Young Williams, PC, is the top county in the state for child support payment collection.

In 2015, the county collected $51.4 million in child support payments, compared to Denver County's $6.7 million. That's despite the fact that Denver County handles more cases than El Paso County.

El Paso is the only large county in the state to contract for child support services. — JAS

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