Monday, January 29, 2007

Did you catch those Colorado references in "Napoleon Dynamite?"

QUESTION: My friend says Manitou Springs was in the movie “Napoleon Dynamite." True or not?
- Pedro

ANSWER: You betcha, Pedro! It got a mention. When smarmy Uncle Rico is eyeing Starla and trying to sell her his Bust Must Plus, he says, “Now if you look right here, we have Sally Johnson from Manitou, Colorado. Would you like to read her testimonial right here?”

And there was another Colorado reference. Uncle Rico says, “Grandma took a little spill at the sand dunes today. Broke her coccyx.” Napoleon asks, “What the flip was Grandma doing at the sand dunes?”

Was any filming done at Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes or anywhere in Colorado? Nope. It was all in Idaho where writer/director Jared Hess was born and Utah, where he went to college and now lives.

Kevin Shand, executive director of the Colorado Film Commission, heard that one of the guys involved with the production is from Colorado and said that’s probably how the references were added. “Sometimes they just like the name of something, the way it sounds.” Although “Napoleon Dynamite” wasn’t filmed in Colorado, many other movies and TV shows were and are. Just for fun go to for a list of films that go back to the 1890s.

By the way, the state’s sites get regular mentions on the animated show “South Park.” Later this week, moviemakers will be on the University of Colorado at Boulder campus working on “The City of Your Final Destination.” (It stars Anthony Hopkins, but unfortunately he won’t be shooting any scenes at the campus.) And Rob Reiner will be at Arapahoe Basin Ski Area for a movie shoot in late February or early March.

Camouflaged cell towers hide in little buildings, behind crosses and in saguaro cacti

STRANGE C-470 BUILDINGS: On the southwest side of Denver, along the 470 loop, between the 11 and 12 mile markers, on the southwest side of the road, there are four small buildings. They are two-storied, square, and almost identical to each other. They appear to be vacant. What are they?
- Don Brooks

ANSWER: They’re camouflaged cell sites/cell towers. You can see the antennas through the windows in the second story.

Wireless companies have concocted some extremely creative ways to disguise their towers. You can spot unusual palm trees and pine trees (there’s one on Monument Hill) and saguaro cacti. There’s a tower on a silo near Longmont. There’s a fake-cow cell tower in Kansas. And sites are hidden in the crosses on churches, put inside fake boulders and behind signs atop tall buildings.

Code enforcement officers educating the public to remove garage-sale signs -- or get fined

REMOVING SIGNS: Several of us are incredulous about the new restrictions on posting signs for yard sales, houses for rent/sale, open houses, etc. A uniformed officer of the city visited a yard sale I had with two of the signs I had put up, and informed me it is illegal to post signs anywhere except private property and that fines of $35 per sign would be imposed. When I dutifully went out to collect the signs I had posted I saw dozens of similar ones and in the ensuing weekends have seen them all over town. Clearly people should be more conscientious about removing signs after their events but it is inconceivable that the city can impose — much less enforce — punishment of this common and innocuous custom on citizens. Don’t they have anything to DO (car thefts, vandalism, etc.) but send personnel out to patrol yard sales?
- Lynn

ANSWER: Fines for illegal signs were approved by Colorado Springs City Council and are enforced by code enforcement officers who are part of the police department. Code enforcement is their job and they don’t investigate car thefts or vandalism, murders or ticket speeders.

Code enforcement officer Ken Lewis said the sign ordinances have been in place for years. "The big problem is that after the sale people don’t take the signs down, they turn into litter and you’ll see them flying down the street. People can have garage sale signs but only on private property and not attached to utility poles, stop signs, bridge railings or any other city property. If you look at some of the utility poles there are nails and staples all over them and this can cause a problem for utilities workers who have to climb the poles.”

Lewis said his officers could have removed your garage-sale signs and thrown them away but were “doing you a favor by taking your signs to you and explaining the code. We’re trying to educate people about the sign ordinances as fairly as we can.” In addition, several volunteers help out by going out to remove left-behind signs so Lewis’ officers can do other code enforcement.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Krazy Kat fans remember dancing, bands and 3.2

NIGHTCLUB MEMORIES: On Dec. 17, reader Chuck asked about the old Krazy Kat (sometimes spelled Kat, other times Katt) nightclub, and readers had a great time remembering "when."

From Gazette archives: Art Walk Jr opened the 3.2, 18 and over, nightclub at 3905 N. Nevada Ave. during the summer of 1962 in what had been VFW Post No. 101 before the post moved downtown. Fellows (but not ladies) who went clubbing at the “Kat” had a cover charge: 75 cents. In September 1971 the club was heavily damaged by a fire called “suspicious.” Two weeks later, a second fire — also labeled suspicious because of paper towels soaked in a flammable liquid and an empty can of flammables — erupted at 3:40 a.m. and finished it off, burning the Krazy Kat to the ground.

Bonnie Staton, a native, blogged that the Krazy Kat brought “a flood of memories. It was the first nightclub I ever went to. (Had to sneak in the ladies bathroom door from the front entrance, which led back to the ‘real’ bar area, since I was only 17). I remember when ‘Freddie, Henchi & the Soulsetters’ played there. We would dance our faces off. Back then, we called the military men ‘doggies.’ Then-owners Jim and Nancy Crumb were some of the nicest folks I ever met. When we really partied, they would not let us drive, but opened up their room in the back used for out-of-town performers so we could sleep it off safely. A time or two they loaned us money for our rent. I wish I would have taken a great picture of the place so I could show my daughter where I ‘hung out.’”

"Just call me Linda,” who won our drawing for two tickets to Tinseltown, e-mailed: “The Krazy Kat was my ‘club of choice’ in my teen years. At that time, we were allowed to drink 3.2 beer at the age of 18, so it was a great place to be. There were all sorts of bands that came to play. The dance floor was usually packed on the weekends and even some weeknights, depending on how good the band was. A swimming pool was built where the parking lot for Sheldon’s diner is now that was open in the afternoons during the summer months. There was a guard dog named Jack that they would let loose in the building at night. One night someone broke into the club, robbed the place and killed Jack. It was a very sad time for all the Krazy Kat regulars. (NOTE: This should make you feel better. Bill Crumb, son of Jim and Nancy, e-mailed with good news. Jack, the dog, wasn't killed by the robbers and instead lived a long and happy life.)It was a club where all types of people went to dance and have a good time — high schoolers who were of age, military and every so often even a few early-20s professionals would show up. There was a huge group of ‘regulars’ that would try other clubs (Kelker Junction was one, the Honey Bucket, the Lady Bug) but we all came back to the Krazy Kat.”

Janet Kiemel says her son and his friends, avid skateboard fans in the mid ’70s, were looking for an abandoned swimming pool where they could hone their skills.
“Skateboarding was catching on, and there were parks in other towns but not Colorado Springs. “Someone told them that a pool had been filled in at the old Krazy Kat club. After days of hard work, they emptied it of the fill and had a great skateboard park until someone chased them out of there!”

Gary Wood “grew up here in Colorado Springs, and for the longest time the happening place in town to go was Guiseppe’s Celler on South Cascade. Then The Krazy Kat Night Club opened. It was really a big thing! The parking lot was full most of the time, and the building itself was like the nightclubs you see in old movies. There was a full bar in one room with lots of seating and a 3/4 bar on the north side of the building with two or three pool tables. In the middle was one of the best dance room areas I ever saw with hardwood flooring and a stage where the house band The DelReys played the hottest music in town and even ‘surf’ music like Dick Dale and the Deltones. Before they built the swimming pool and were going to start a members only pool club, they got quite a surprise. When they started excavation, they dug up an old-time coffin. They searched county records and found no record so it must really have been ancient. Anyway, imagine my surprise when Halloween came and we had some extra decorations. Everyone who went to the ‘Kat’ during those days was treated with courtesy and respect. If anyone didn’t have the very best time of their life it was their fault.”

Mary Kirby’s son Rob “used to play with a group called The Avengers and played many times at the Krazy Kat. The lounge was known for its nickel beer and its Friday Afternoon Club.”

A blogger remembers spending every Friday and Saturday night at the Krazy Kat “drinking and dancing, more drinking than dancing. We used to shoot pool a lot, waiting for midnight or one o’clock to arrive so we could drive downtown to race (usually from intersection to intersection when the light turned green). The Krazy Kat was a huge part of my teenage years. That, and we had to get into Guiseppe’s (on South Cascade Avenue) at least once every weekend!”

E-mailers remembered bands at the "Kat" including The Intrigues, The Trolls, The Seeds, The Chandells and The Blue Things among others.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Westmark and Venetucci both city and county

BAD INTERSECTION: We have a very dangerous intersection at Venetucci Boulevard and Westmark Avenue. We have tried for years to find out who has responsibility for signage, weed and brush cutting, repair, etc., for this intersection. Is it the city, the county or the state?
- Ralph

ANSWER: It’s a combination. Westmark Avenue up to the right of way on Venetucci is the county’s responsibility. Venetucci is maintained by the city.

Retirement complex started as barracks

OLD BARRACKS: On the corner of Potter Drive and San Miguel Street, there is a conclave of buildings, mostly apartments and one a retirement community.
It has been said that these buildings were originally barracks for Ent Air Force Base. What is the history?
- Bayard Wheeler

ANSWER: We checked with Winslow Court retirement community, and indeed these buildings started as Ent barracks when the Air Force base was located where the Olympic complex is today at Boulder Street and Union Boulevard. They were made into a four-building apartment complex, and in the late-1970s a Seattle firm modernized and refurbished them into a retirement community surrounding a new central courtyard and dining/social area.

Boulder Crescent corral part of landscaping

NEW FENCE: On the corner of Platte and Cascade avenues sits Boulder Crescent Park. Inside this little park, someone installed a split wood fence that circles a group of nondescript rocks. What is this mini-corral supposed to be?
- Laura Lowan

ANSWER: The split-rail fence is the first part of new landscaping planned for the park, and you’ll see new plantings inside the fenced area in the spring, according to the parks department’s Kurt Schroeder. “It will be a nice addition to the park."

Where did Pike's apostrophe go?

When and where did Pike's Peak lose its apostrophe?
- J.J.
In the 1890s, President Benjamin Harrison set up the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, whose duty was to approve names of sites such as mountains and bodies of water.
The board removed most apostrophes from place names across the country, saying these tiny punctuation marks suggest possession or ownership. In the few exceptions, such as Martha’s Vineyard, the board bowed to longtime local tradition.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Who could use donated trophies?

Can you or your readers give me an address or organization which accepts trophies as a donation? Most of these are high school and/or youth sports level trophies. All are in good condition and we would hate to discard them if someone can get some use out of them.
- (Ret.) Lt. Col John R. Barrowclough

Groups or agencies, let us know if you could use these trophies. E-mail or blog your response.

Portable potties serve the Springs Ranch golfers

GOLF PORT-A-POTTIES: Why do they still have porta potties at the Springs Ranch Golf Course? Don’t you think they could afford to build a permanent building? Just wondering.
- Helen B., who says she's tired of looking out at them.

ANSWER: It’s all about funding. “When we have the money for capital improvements, that will be down on the list,” said head golf pro Ed Kujalowicz. Until then, there are three potty stops for golfers — one on the front nine, one on the back nine and one at the clubhouse.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Regional trail still under construction

QUESTION: Down at the Fountain Creek Regional Trail, near the Fountain Creek Nature Center, there is a sign with a map that identifies the main trail that runs through this El Paso County Park as part of the Colorado Front Range Trail.
It also implies that this trail runs from New Mexico to Wyoming. I do know that the trail runs uninterrupted from this Fountain Creek park to at least Monument Park. But I also know that if you head south it comes to an abrupt end before reaching the city of Fountain. The map does not indicate any uncompleted portions of this trail, but obviously there is at least one. Is this map perhaps representative of things to come rather than a reflection of reality?
- Dan Kulp

ANSWER: The Colorado Front Range Trail “is a combination of a vision and a dream, and it is also partly reality,” said Chris Lieber, the city’s Trails and Open Space program administrator. Someday it is expected to be a 900-mile trail from Wyoming to New Mexico along the Front Range.

Some segments are complete, including through Colorado Springs and north to Palmer Lake. Going south, the county has completed the portion you mentioned. Also completed are northern segments, including parts of Denver and near Fort Collins.
Lieber said Colorado State Parks is “the statewide champion of the project” but relies on counties and communities to complete their individual sections. So far, more than 270 miles of trail have been completed but there are “missing gaps to be filled in.”

The signs, provided by Colorado State Parks and the Front Range Trail Initiative, show the projected end product.

Check with city about damaged trees in alleys

I live in an area of town that has alleys. Who is responsible for the trees that grow in the alleys? There are three trees in the alley behind my house that lost very large branches during the blizzard, but I can’t seem to find out if they are the responsibility of the Forestry Department, or if they belong to the property owner.
- Lisa

ANSWER: Call City Forestry at 385-5942 and, says city forester Jim McGannon, “we will investigate what responsibilities there are and what service levels we offer.”

Local streets have crowns for draining

STREET CROWNS: Why do the streets in Colorado Springs not have a crown to them forcing water run off to the side of the roads? Dublin, Powers, Woodmen, Union and Academy to name a few have no crown, and the runoff runs across from the middle to the side or side to the middle creating icy conditions when it freezes. This is the only place that I’ve lived that doesn’t build a crown into the roads.
- Greg Leikam

ANSWER: The roads have 2 percent crowns, a city and national standard, according to Robin Kidder, city roadway manager. “From the center of the road, it slopes 2 percent to the gutter. If you go more than 2 percent, you have icing problems with parked cars not being able to get away from parking spaces. It’s enough crown to drain but not so much it isn’t drivable.”

Kidder says that in situations where the road curves, such as Academy and Dublin boulevards, “when you go into a curve, the whole road has to slope — picture the Indy 500 — and when that happens, those lanes can’t drain to the gutter, they drain to the median.”

Bomber crashed and burned near Patty Jewett

QUESTION: A friend, Jim Bowers, gave me pictures of an emergency airplane landing near Patty Jewett Golf Course in the 1940s. He took the photos when he was a Colorado College student. We don’t have any other details. We live in that area and a neighbor also told me about it but I wonder if there is more information.
- Annie Foster

ANSWER: Researching your question turned up some fascinating history about airplane crashes in our area during and after World War II.
Here’s a quote from a story in The Gazette: “During World War II, nearly 300 fliers are believed to have died in more than 70 military airplane crashes along the Front Range south of Denver between August 1942 and December 1944. A number of the crashes were near Colorado Springs, and many involved four-engine B-24 bombers on training flights.”
Our air space was busy with planes flying out of Pueblo Air Base, Peterson Field and what is now Lowry Air Force Base in Denver.The crash shown in your photos was a little later, in 1948, and the plane that went down was a big one, a B-29 Superfortress. It had just taken off from Peterson Field headed for Smoky Hill Air Base in Salina, Kan. According to the Nov. 5, 1948, Gazette Telegraph, the pilot could not gain altitude and the No. 4 engine was out. Then the No. 3 engine caught fire.

The newspaper reported: “Eyewitnesses to the crash said the burning ship was headed directly for the Bonnyville subdivision at a very low altitude.” Bonnyville is the residential area near Bon Shopping Center at North Wahsatch Avenue and Jackson Street.

The pilot, Capt. E.J. Cook, was unable to head back to Peterson and instead guided the plane away from inhabited areas to what was then open fields near Patty Jewett Golf Course for an emergency landing. The newspaper said the burning airplane first struck the ground just east of the golf club, where leaking gasoline started a brush fire. Then it “cut a path 300 yards long, ripping down barbed wire fences and bouncing over several gullies before coming to a stop without nosing over.”
It came close to a large gully that today is Union Boulevard. Dense black smoke came from the wreckage for several hours and the red flares inside turned into a “pyrotechnic display.” Everything but the two wing tips was destroyed, the newspaper reported.

The 10 Air Force men in the plane walked away from the crash. Two had minor injuries. On the ground the sole injury was an Air Force firefighter who was thrown from the rear of a truck racing across the fields to the site. He was treated for knee injuries at Camp Carson (now Fort Carson).

Rumbling sounds coming from the airport

QUESTION: We have lived in two houses on two different ridges in Colorado Springs, in Old Farm and The Bluffs. At both these locations in the winter when it snows, we can hear a rather loud rumbling sound. We used to think it was Fort Carson practicing artillery. It seems to be only when it snows, not just the cold weather. Any theories?
- George

ANSWER: We asked readers and heard this explanation from Kass Johns.
“I hear it all the time, often when it is snowing, due to a cold air inversion. It’s the airport! It is the jet engines preparing for takeoff.

“I lived on top of Knob Hill on the Palmer Park side for 18 years and heard the same thing during low cloud cover days. I also remember hearing it frequently when passing by a high spot in town on San Miguel at Circle by the back side of the former Circle East Mall/Pay ‘n Pak (now Ace Hardware.

“The clouds have to be low enough to block the sound escaping the city to be able to hear it. I’ve always thought of it somewhat fondly as sort of cozy — like we are all ‘socked in’ together here in town.”