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Vander Veen case to AG, embattled AFA starts Rosebush reviews, more


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Rosebush reviews at AFA

Following news that the U.S. Air Force Academy has a conversion therapist working in its Center for Character and Leadership Development ("Strange bedfellows," News, Nov. 20), Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle Johnson has ordered a review of hiring procedures "to ensure they are legally sound, equitable and unbiased," as she puts it in a statement. The academy also will review how the therapist, Dr. Mike Rosebush, who previously worked for Focus on the Family, came on board in 2009, then as part of the academy's "plans and programs directorate."

Calling the Rosebush matter "a raw and emotional issue," Johnson says the academy had received no complaints about him and that the academy fosters "a culture of dignity, respect and inclusion for all ... whether they are LGBQ or not." The academy lined up three cadets to speak to reporters on Friday, all of whom say the academy's atmosphere is friendly to LGBQ people.

Acting Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning, who has come out as gay, and Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh said in a statement they trust Johnson to handle the issue. Meantime, several LGBTQ advocacy groups demanded Rosebush's resignation or firing. — PZ

Vander Veen case to AG

The state Attorney General's Office has confirmed that an inquiry into the vote of Alissa Vander Veen, in the September recall election of state Sen. John Morse, has been referred to them by the Fourth Judicial District Attorney's Office. It will not confirm or deny that it is investigating the issue.

The Independent asked the AG's office about the Vander Veen case for "A vexing vote" (News, Nov. 20), but was told the office would not be releasing any information. The office then gave the information to another publication, in what it says was a communications lapse.

Ryan Parsell, spokesperson for the El Paso County Clerk and Recorder's Office, says he is still not at liberty to discuss the case in detail. He does, however, note that El Paso County Clerk Wayne Williams reported all questionable cases — including Vander Veen's — to the DA. It's worth noting, since Vander Veen ran a campaign for Williams and later worked under him at the clerk's office.

Parsell has also said that Vander Veen is not thought to be among the 11 voters suspected of committing voter fraud due to a mistaken belief that a new election law allowed voting outside their district. That could mean that Vander Veen simply failed to update her voter registration address after moving. — JAS

Maketa lashes out at chief

Hacked off that Black Forest Fire Chief Bob Harvey told media the Black Forest Fire was intentionally set last June, El Paso County Sheriff Terry Maketa last week said the investigation is ongoing. He also accused Harvey of "mishandling" the fire and trying to "avoid responsibility" for it growing out of control and claiming some 500 homes.

"This Chief didn't even know homes were burning at a time several were engulfed and never even requested evacuations of nearby households as the fire rapidly grew out of control, clearly placing citizens' safety in jeopardy," Maketa said in his Nov. 21 statement.

Harvey didn't return a phone call seeking comment. — PZ

Perkins stirs LGBT fuss

Will Perkins, part of the family that founded and still owns Perkins Motor Co., has created controversy once again.

Perkins was one of the leaders behind Colorado's Amendment 2, which was passed by voters in 1992 and aimed to limit the rights of gays and lesbians. It was later thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court for violating the 14th Amendment.

Speaking recently with Chaplain Gordon James Klingenschmitt on his right-wing Pray in Jesus Name TV show, Perkins expressed disappointment that Amendment 2 did not endure. He also compared the "homosexual agenda" to Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. But he caused the biggest stir by saying gays and lesbians were trying to "recruit children," leading local LGBT activist and El Paso County Democratic Party Secretary Carolyn Cathey to call for a boycott of Perkins Motor Company.

The conversation on the show included the following:

Perkins: "Homosexuality does not reproduce, it recruits."

Klingenschmitt: "Interesting. So the only way they can propagate their own kind is to recruit the children of heterosexuals."

Perkins: "Correct. And that's why they're so interested in marriage, for the access to children."

Klingenschmitt: "Now, if homosexuals get married, or if they earn those rights legally, then they would be able to adopt the children of heterosexuals and therefore that increases their ability to recruit."

Perkins: "That's exactly right." — JAS

One vote decides race

Think your vote doesn't count? Think again. One vote decided the election of a school board member in Harrison School District 2. An at-large seat on the Fountain City Council was decided by eight votes.

In Harrison, the victor was Steven Seibert, who eked out a victory over Ryan Thompson, 2,472 votes to 2,471. In Fountain, Greg Lauer barely beat Sam Heckman, 1,275 votes to 1,267. — JAS

Archery catching fire?

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is expanding its archery opportunities and education programs, and starting an advertising blitz timed to coincide with the release of the movie The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

"We've seen a tremendous increase in the popularity of archery in the last few years," Windi Padia, Colorado Parks and Wildlife education manager, stated in a press release.

The release went on to note that archery was "once considered by most teenagers as an antiquated activity reserved for silly looking men in green tights and feather caps." Now, it noted, the sport is "hip." CPW is responding by opening more shooting ranges, including new ones in Barr Lake State Park and Cheyenne Mountain State Park that opened last summer. Cheyenne Mountain will get a "3-D range" next year, featuring lifelike animal targets.

To view ads and learn more about programs, visit — JAS

Compiled by J. Adrian Stanley and Pam Zubeck.

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