January 27th, 2012, 3:36 pm by Linda Navarro
In the early 70’s my two older sisters went to Irving Middle School and there was a riot at the school. Apparently, there was a police helicopter that was headed to the school and it crashed just west of the intersection of Murray Boulevard and South Carefree. I think I remember that three policemen were killed. Can you tell me if this is what really happened?
— Vicki H.
ANSWER: It was May 14, 1975, and police helicopter pilot Bernard “Berney” Carter had radioed he was leaving the scene after a riot involving more than 150 junior and senior high school kids was calming down. Minutes later the chopper crashed off South Carefree Circle. Witnesses said the helicopter appeared to be losing power when Carter was able to pull up and clear the tops of houses before crashing into the street. He and a civilian observer were killed.
In 1969 Carter made news when he single-handedly captured the California “Candlelight Killer,” Robert Liberty, after a nine-mile high speed chase and gun battle. Liberty, who had been ruled both sane and insane, had strummed his guitar over his girlfriend’s body, which was outlined in lighted candles. Liberty was murdered in prison.
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January 27th, 2012, 3:31 pm by Linda Navarro
The city is trying hard to get the most benefit from limited tax revenues. Whenever someone requests a traffic light at an intersection, they are told it costs some outrageous amount. Given that, why is the city replacing what appear to be perfectly good traffic lights and poles around the city?
— Bill Sandras
ANSWER: Here’s your answer from City Traffic Engineer Dave Krauth: “The city has begun a comprehensive traffic signal replacement project to address our aging system. We are finding that the span wire type of signal (those signals suspended by wires) have an expected life span of 20 to 25 years on average and many of our signals are over 25 years old.
“As the City began seeing above-average growth in the mid-80s, and with it growth to our transportation infrastructure, many signals within our City are beginning to hit this critical life span. Just because a signal is over 20 years old does not mean we are replacing it. All signals are being reviewed to see if they are showing signs of age and deterioration and only the more egregious locations are being addressed at this time.
“We are trying to avoid any catastrophic failures such as falling poles, parts and pieces falling off of the overhead wires, etc., some of which has already occurred in the City at times, causing accidents. With our current budget from the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority, we are able to only replace about 10 signals a year, while, on average, 20 signals a year are hitting the 25-year mark. Of the over 560 signalized intersections in the City, over 350 of them are span-wire type installations and will all have hit their expected life span within the next 15 years.”
January 13th, 2012, 3:49 pm by Linda Navarro
I was wondering if you could follow up with what the former (Colorado Springs) City Manager Dr. Penelope Culbreth-Graft is doing these days? I was wondering if she still lives and works in town. Also, I seem to remember her saying shortly after her dismissal that she was going to write a book.
— Tom Stevens
ANSWER: She owns a home here and is teaching.
Culbreth-Graft, who has a doctorate in Public Administration from the University of La Verne, is “a scholar in residence at UCCS, a half-time appointment,” said university spokesperson Thomas E. Hutton.
On her LinkedIn site, Culbreth-Graft says she is “an educator in the School of Public Affairs, teaching core and elective courses in the Masters of Public Administration program. Currently designing an emerging government leader program to develop the next generation and creating a local government certification program.”
She is also President/CEO of her own firm, Culbreth Associates.
Culbreth-Graft resigned as city manager in 2010 and said at that time that she planned to start “a public-speaking, consulting and writing business.”
If there’s a book in the offing I hope she’ll let us know.
January 13th, 2012, 3:47 pm by Linda Navarro
For many years there were two beautifully decorated tall pine trees near I-25 and Uintah lit brightly every Christmas. We noticed this year the trees were not lit. We are searching the web looking for info but haven’t found anything yet.
— Kevin Crawford.
ANSWER: Gazette “Side Streets” columnist Bill Vogrin wrote a farewell to the lighted trees in December 2010.
Owner Margot Lane and her late husband, John, had the towering fir trees decorated with white lights for years in tribute to their son, Bruce. He had died in 1997 from cancer.
At Christmastime 2010, Margot was preparing to move to a new home she had designed and the family home on the east side of Monument Valley Park was for sale. She told Vogrin, “Leaving these two trees is going to be the hardest thing for me about moving. I hate to think the trees won’t be lit next Christmas.”
The trees were a spectacular beacon for those traveling Interstate 25, 37,000 little white bulbs.
January 13th, 2012, 3:22 pm by Linda Navarro
If you are driving south on Delmonico Drive, the overhead signs at the intersection with South Rockrimmon Boulevard are confusing, even dangerous. There are two lanes as you approach Rockrimmon, the right lane sign informs you to turn left for I-25 and then the left lane OK’s you to go left, straight or right. So you could have someone in the right lane turning left, and someone in the left lane turning right!.
— Keith Culley
ANSWER: You really got some action, Keith. City Traffic Engineer David Krauth said, “Staff has reviewed this location and will be making some changes shortly to the signage to make it less confusing.”
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January 6th, 2012, 7:06 pm by Linda Navarro
I work just off West Garden of the Gods Road and I heard there’s a new cafeteria/cafe opening somewhere around the old Intel complex. I’d like to try it out but haven’t seen a new restaurant building and can’t figure out exactly where it is. Can you help?
- Amy W.
ANSWER: AspenPointe Café had its grand opening in mid-November inside the county Citizens Service Center. It’s open to the public. The service center, which has a parking garage, is where many of the county offices are now, just west of Centennial Boulevard in the former Intel complex on Garden of the Gods Road.
This dining spot, with catering as well, has a well-known executive chef, Peter Aiello, and a “social enterprise” contract with the county to train disadvantaged students in all parts of the food service industry. There are food themes every weekday but one of the favorites is “Fajita Friday.”
January 6th, 2012, 7:04 pm by Linda Navarro
Is this legit?
I received this email. Could you please read it and, perhaps, investigate the truthfulness of the statements. I’m wondering if it is true or just a bogus statement for the purpose of inflaming our current dissatification with politicians and the government in general.
— Ron Garner
ANSWER: You received the “28th Amendment” “Congressional Reform” “send it to 20 friends immediately” email that’s making the rounds again. It claims, among other things, that members of Congress don’t have to follow laws — including sexual harassment — governing everyone else and that their staff members don’t repay their student loans. And, that Congressmen get full-pay retirement after serving only one term.
Both Fact Check and snopes.com have investigated this over the years.
These respected fact checkers found the email is “full of false and outdated claims.”
Fact Check called it “a lot of very old baloney packed into a few words. It never has been true that members of Congress could retire with full pay after one term. That’s a false allegation that has been circulating for at least a decade. A lawmaker might qualify for a pension of 80 percent of final salary, and only after many years of service.
“An even older Internet myth is the claim that members of Congress don’t pay into Social Security. That was true once — but not for the past quarter-century.
“The claim that members of Congress would be somehow ‘exempt’ from the health care legislation is a more recent absurdity. We explained how that false notion got started on the Internet rumor mill in an article we posted on Jan. 20.”
“Finally, the claim that Congress is exempt from ‘many’ of the laws it has passed is 15 years out of date.” In 1994, Congress passed the Congressional Accountability Act (PL 104-1) with an independent, nonpartisan Office of Compliance set up to enforce the laws in Congress.
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December 16th, 2011, 5:55 pm by Linda Navarro
There are major problems with the city’s traffic cams. There is severe pixelation and you can’t really see what’s them. There are no cameras on many of the major newer areas such as Powers. Also, with the growth explosion at Fort Carson, why doesn’t the city have cameras at the Fort Carson gates to show backups, particularly during rush hours?
— Joey S.
ANSWER: We’ll start with pixelation. City Traffic Engineer Rob Helt with the Traffic Management Center said, “We are presently experiencing some equipment failures with our traffic camera video communications network. We have replaced some equipment and are isolating the issues. We hope to see improvement in the quality of the existing cameras.”
Now about cams on Powers Boulevard: “We have cameras installed along Powers Boulevard. The images are not available outside of the Traffic Management Center at this time, but we will add to the web page in the future.”
Fort Carson traffic cameras? “We have cameras installed at I-25 and South Academy Boulevard and can view the traffic passing Pikes Peak Community College when necessary. This portion of South Academy Boulevard is not under city jurisdiction, so there is no plan to add cameras to the area towards Fort Carson.”
Bob Wilson of Colorado Department of Transportation will check with CDOT’s engineers about the possibility of cameras in the area of the gates both on Colorado Highway 115 and on the B Street/I-25 side of the post. We’ll let you know.
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December 16th, 2011, 5:43 pm by Linda Navarro
At first we were thrilled when we received an email saying our nonprofit had been chosen “Best of Colorado Springs” in our category. We added it to our advertising. Now we’re not so sure about it. What is it and were we scammed?
— Tracy W.
ANSWER: Many, many local businesses and agencies have received the same emails. This popped up in 2008, died off and is back under another name.
From the Better Business Bureau in 2009 and reissued this year:
“Recent emails notifying businesses that they have won prestigious awards from a national association appear to be part of a widespread scheme designed to get companies to pay for ‘vanity’ awards and plaques.
“The group behind the ‘awards’ program is the U. S. Commerce Association of Washington, D. C.” and it shares a website with the U.S. Local Business Association, which received an ‘F’ from the BBB.”
The BBB warned consumers to be certain this is not, “in fact, an attempt to obtain access to a company’s information or to elicit funds by an entity that may not be what it represents itself as being.”
BBB suggested: Learn everything you can about who is giving the award. If you didn’t apply for an award or the group cannot tell you how you were nominated, chances are the award is not legitimate. Most legitimate awards, like The Gazette’s Best of the Springs, do not come with costs for the recipient.
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December 9th, 2011, 6:36 pm by Linda Navarro
I didn’t understand what a person was talking about when they said “puffing” is illegal in Colorado Springs. I didn’t ask because I didn’t want to appear stupid. Does it have anything to do with sniffing illegal substances or anything to do with smoking something? Thanks for your help.
— Dan L.
ANSWER: Neither of those.
“Puffers” are people who leave their unattended vehicles running to warm up during cold weather. The cars are running, keys inside and are unlocked.
Frequently, “puffers” turn into people filling out police reports when those vehicles are quickly driven away by car thieves.
Is “puffing” illegal? Yes
According to the Colorado State Patrol, car thieves are very adept at spotting the exhaust (thus the “puffing”) from a vehicle that’s running.
“Puffing” is illegal when a driver just runs into a convenience store for coffee or drops a child off at day care and it’s illegal when a vehicle is locked up and left running in a resident’s driveway to warm up. It takes a car thief a couple of seconds to get into a locked car.
There’s a statewide campaign and auto-theft prevention campaign, Coloradans Against Auto Theft, to train drivers to turn vehicles off and lock the doors: lockdownyourcar.org