Friday, June 16, 2006

OTC athletes invited to lead parade

UPDATE: In May, readers Bob A. and Roy Hetzel proposed that the Olympians and future Olympians at the Olympic Training Center be acknowledged with a parade. A blogger suggested the parade could be tied to the Rocky Mountain State Games.

Tom Osborne of the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation responded that it was a good idea and they are contacting the training center “to invite the athletes that are training at the OTC to join us and lead the Parade of Athletes at the Rocky Mountain State Games.” Way to go, readers!

The games are staged throughout our area Aug. 4-6. For information:

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Take steps to stop unsolicited mail

QUESTION: Can unsolicited mail be removed? Also what about initially solicited mail that s no longer wanted?
- Walt

ANSWER: Direct Marketing Association can alert all DMA members to remove individuals from mailings. Marketers that are not association members may participate as well.
DMA can’t eliminate mailings from companies with whom you do business.
To register to reduce unsolicited mailings, send your name, home address and signature to: Mail Preference Service, Direct Marketing Association, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512. There is no charge.
You can also register for free online at nglist.html. The fastest, longest-lasting way to register is the complete online option that has a $5 charge and remains in effect for five years. Use the URL above.
For initially solicited mail, send a request to the company. If you shop by mail, request that the company not sell your information elsewhere.

Bowling-pin structure an FAA beacon

QUESTION: On the north side of Woodmen Road and Golden Sage there’s a building ith what looks like a large bowling pin sticking up out of it. What is it?
- Rick Jacobs

ANSWER: It’s a Federal Aviation Administration beacon for aircraft, and it sits on 108 acres owned by the federal government.

Sandy soil and drought hurt median on Research Parkway

QUESTION: On Research Parkway in Briargate, a lot of money was obviously spent on planting a large number of trees in the median a few years ago. During the last couple of years of drought, it appeared that they were not being watered at all. The median now is pathetic looking with dying trees and dead grass. I could understand cutting back on watering, but it seems like it was taken to an extreme. Who is responsible for the median on Research, and are they planning on removing the dead trees and actually watering what’s left of a once beautiful median?
— Marci

ANSWER: The city parks department maintains the medians through the Briargate Special Improvement District.

Parts of the median succumbed to drought, watering restrictions, dry winters/springs and a “very sandy soil condition,” according to Rick Geiman, special improvement district administrator for the parks and recreation department. “It’s a challenge.
Some of the trees are struggling and weaker trees have been removed,” Geiman said. The sandy soil is a major factor because, he said, “the water flows right down past the root zone. The plants will get some water but it will go beyond the roots and isn’t available to the plants or trees.” Grasses are a native, non-irrigated blend which, Geiman said, are meant to tolerate drought better but are suffering from the soil condition as well. Pumps are being installed that inject liquid fertilizer into the sprinkler system “so that every time we water we are fertilizing and that could improve the soil over time.” Medians weren’t watered during the winter because sprinkler systems were winterized and turned off.

Damaged docks at Quail Lake being repaired

QUESTION: I walk around Quail Lake every day and would like to know when the beautiful fishing docks donated by the Ervin family are going to be reset. They have been lying against the shore with Keep Off signs posted on them for months. It is a shame that the many fishermen who are at Quail Lake daily have been unable to use them.
— J. Olsen

ANSWER: The docks were damaged during a windstorm last winter and repair was delayed until an agreement was reached over a warranty issue, according to Kurt Schroeder of the parks department. Everything has been resolved and the docks will be repaired, possibly this month.

Friday, June 09, 2006

KOAA needs two channels to cover area

QUESTION: Why is television station KOAA channels 5 and 30? Why not one or the other?
- R.K.F.

ANSWER: Here’s an explanation from The Gazette’s TV writer, Andy Wineke: “KOAA started out as Channel 5 in Pueblo. Tuning in Channel 5 in Colorado Springs, however, was more miss than hit, and so KOAA built Channel 30 as a high-powered translator covering Colorado Springs. Today, KOAA has offices and a newsroom in Colorado Springs but keeps its news studios and broadcasting equipment in Pueblo."

Printing all legislative votes would fill the newspaper

QUESTION: The Gazette reported on the performance and voting record of our state representatives and senators from the past session of the state legislature. Why does The Gazette not report on the performance and voting record of our U.S. representatives and senators? I would bet that if you carried such a column on a daily basis you would receive a great deal of positive feedback.
- A. Michaels

ANSWER: The Gazette has a reporter covering the state legislature who compiles the voting records. The newspaper does not have a staff reporter in Washington, D.C., but The Gazette’s wire desk monitors the Colorado votes on key bills to run with the stories. Deputy managing editor Dean Toda said a compilation of all votes on all bills would fill the paper with tiny agate type.

New-resident license plate rules hard to enforce

QUESTION: Is there any enforcement of the rule that out-of-state people who live and work here must register their vehicles with Colorado plates within 30 days of becoming a resident? I see scads of vehicles with out-of-state plates in apartment complexes and in employee parking spaces, parked day after day, on my delivery route. I am sure that Colorado and specifically Colorado Springs could sure use the lost revenue these people are cheating the state and city out of. I do not think that they are military people, who ARE exempt from the rule, as I see no base ID stickers on the cars.
- Dan Rogers

ANSWER: Bob Becker, manager of the county motor vehicle department, said the state requires new, nonmilitary residents to license their cars in Colorado within 30 days. However, he said, it’s difficult to enforce, there is no funding for license-plate enforcement and his is not an enforcement agency. “There are no license police,” Becker said. Usually violators are nabbed when they are caught for other reasons. Public officials we spoke with agreed the additional revenue would be a positive. One past recommendation that hasn’t yet been enacted because it involves city, county, state and federal is a common database of public records such as utilities hook-ups, drivers’ licenses and address changes which could be utilized to determine how long a person had lived in an area.

Dry conditions damaged Betty Krouse Park

QUESTION: What has happened to Betty Krouse Park? The grass is dead and there are so many weeds. If I were a relative of Mrs. Krouse and drove by there I would be really sad.
- J.J. Brown

ANSWER: The park didn’t fare well through the drought, a dry winter and water restrictions, according to Kurt Schroeder, parks maintenance, trails and open space manager. In addition, it’s a popular park that sees a lot of use, especially during the school year. Schroeder said, “We have over-seeded already and once this is established, we will apply a herbicide to thin out the weeds. We acknowledge it could look better, and are working to get it there.” Krouse, for whom the park on East Cache la Poudre Street is named, served on the city council from 1963 to 1975 and was the first female vice mayor.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Senior Property Tax Reduction has returned

QUESTION: In November 2000, Referendum A (Senior Homestead Exemption Act) was approved with regard to property taxes payable in 2003. However the 2003 General Assembly rescinded the funding because of a near $1 billion deficit in the state budget. Will the Senior Homestead Exemption ever go into effect? Who do we contact in order to bring some leverage for re-enactment of this exemption?
- M. Plante

ANSWER: It has already been done. Lawmakers reinstated the exemption for one year, and it will be reviewed annually. According to Kim Moritz of the El Paso County Assessor’s Office, the Senior Property Tax Reduction Program for those over 65 years of age is for the assessment year 2006 payable in 2007.
Letters are going out to all county seniors who have been approved.

For more information call 520-6600 or go online to

Indigent/smallpox victims buried in little cemetery

QUESTION: What is the story behind the Pauper’s Cemetery on the west side of 21st Street when you are heading toward Bear Creek Park?
Susan and Paul

ANSWER: It was the burial site for smallpox victims who were patients in what was called Pest House, a smallpox hospital run by the county from the early 1900s through the 1920s. The Pest House and the county’s Poor Farm occupied the southeast corner of Rio Grande and 21st streets, where the county parks headquarters is today. The Poor Farm operated into the 1970s as a home for the indigent, became a temporary shelter until it closed in 1984 and was demolished.
Some early-1900s Poor Farm residents are also buried in the little cemetery, and others are in Evergreen Cemetery.

Different entities responsible for Sand Creek

QUESTION: Who is responsible for cleaning up Sand Creek? It is full of trash, abandoned bicycles, shopping carts, old tires, and mattresses.
- Patti

ANSWER: Who is responsible depends on which area of Sand Creek you’re asking about, according to city street operations manager Bard Lower. There have not been reports of that type of debris in the part of Sand Creek maintained by the city, he said. Contact him at 385-6827 with the location.

Curb/driveway repairs on Chelton part of PPRTA

QUESTION: On Chelton Road between Fountain Boulevard and Platte Avenue there is extensive construction or remodeling occurring on both sides of the street. Curbs, sidewalks, skirts, and even private driveways are being torn out and replaced. It does not appear to be a widening of the street. What’s going on?
- Chuck
QUESTION: I’m wondering what all of the driveway redoing is caused by south of Palmer Park Boulevard on Chelton Road.
It seems that almost every home has had at least a part of their driveway re-concreted. Any comments?
- Morris
ANSWER: Projects in both areas are being done in conjunction with the Pikes Peak Rural Transportation Authority maintenance funding approved by voters to make repairs to gutters, curbs and sidewalks, according to city engineer Bruce Thorson, roadway engineering manager. City engineering has contracted to repair damage to curbs and gutters throughout the city, working ahead of street resurfacing. In some cases the driveway area between the sidewalk and the curb must be replaced for a variety of reasons, including to fix a difference in elevation, to change the grade, to repair areas that have sunk and to avoid “water infiltration” beneath the street surface. Repairs are being made to make the system function and the grades work, Thorson said.

For a list of the extensive PPRTA projects, go to