Friday, September 21, 2007

They're great for scary stories, but flashing lights at AFA have several purposes

I live in Monument and have a view of the Air Force Academy. Many times in the evenings I see random flashes of white light on the side of the mountain in the trees, just west of the chapel. The flashes of light are not in one spot, they are spread out in a relatively small area. What is going on there?
- Annette Hagopian

Sometime if there’s a full moon and coyotes are howling — or maybe if it’s close to Halloween — the tongue-in-cheek answer from the Air Force Academy is “alien ships.”

Otherwise, Staff Sgt. Monte Volk of AFA Public Affairs has the real scoop: “The lights are on three radio towers, and the lights are anti-collision lights installed on commercial cellular towers (AT&T/Nextel) on the Air Force Academy. During the day, the lights are strobes and at night, the lights flash red. The lights are controlled by a sensor so the times vary as to when they actually change from flashing red to white strobes.

“The lights are required because of helicopter traffic along a high voltage power line and the Pike Forest Department of Wildlife traffic.”

COSMIX speed-limit signs remain until the end of all construction

COSMIX SIGNS: Every time I pass through the I-25 section from Garden of the Gods Road through Woodmen Road exits, I wonder why there are still construction signs with “Fines Double” for an area that hasn’t had any construction going on for a long time.
- Wanda Holt

Here’s your answer from Kyle Troxel, spokesman for Rockrimmon Constructors, the company building COSMIX: “Although you don’t see construction going on in this area, that doesn’t mean that all work is completed. Those signs are up because work is going on there, during off-peak times mostly, and is not seen by the majority of I-25 motorists.“Workers are currently doing seeding and fence work on I-25 between Garden of the Gods and Woodmen Road in both directions, and are also doing some overnight shoulder work in the area.

“We keep those signs up because this is low-priority work at this time, and having the signs up gives workers the freedom to get to it whenever they can and in between the higher priority work projects along I-25."

And, before someone asks, yes, it’s the same Kyle Troxel who was on KRDO’s “Good Morning Colorado."

Chaparral Road a little bit of everything

I, and many other residents of the Old Farm subdivision, shop the stores along Powers Boulevard. The shortest distance to Powers is via Chaparral and Barnes roads. There is a sign on Chaparral about ¼ mile from Barnes that states “End of City Maintenance.” From that sign to Barnes, Chaparral is in very bad condition, particularly the last 30 feet or so.I called the city and was informed that the county is responsible for that section of Barnes Road. The county informed me that it is private property.I feel it is time for either the city or the county to repair Chaparral or close the road.
- Thomas L. Yingling

We spoke with the city and the county and learned this is something of a no man’s land caught up in the city’s growth. The first 600 feet or so belong to city, the next 600 feet or so belong to county, and another section is apparently still private property.City engineers are trying to work it all out.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Improvements coming to Powers near new Peterson AFB gate

In November the new West Gate will be ready to reopen for Peterson AFB. This will be a main gate with approximately 14,000 cars going through every day. Airport Road west from Powers Boulevard to East Sand Creek bridge can be widened to accommodate another lane. Presently it is just one lane. Will this be done before the gate reopens? Also a double left turn lane onto Powers Boulevard needs to be done. It is jammed now and will be horrendous if nothing is done to accommodate the much heavier anticipated traffic.
- Joe B Brady

A “hazard elimination and safety project” is planned for Powers Boulevard in this area and there are plans for some “capacity improvements,” but they won’t be completed by the time that gate opens, according to principal city traffic engineer Dave Krauth. Work on the HES will begin when contract paperwork is received from the Colorado Department of Transportation, Krauth said.

The widening of Airport Road west of Powers is the responsibility of developers in that area, but there is no time frame yet.

Bank took over Cascade motel

Driving down the pass from Woodland Park I have noticed that the Cascade Hills Motel (in Cascade) has been closed all summer. I’m just curious as to why. It looks like a nice place and I believe that shortly before it closed it was repainted and “spruced up.”

- Panchita Osborne

This motel was a favorite of some of the Pikes Peak International Hill Climb drivers, crews and families over the years. In the 1990s it was owned by a limited corporation (LLC) but something happened and its owner is a Denver bank, which had no comment.

What was that midnight sound?

I live in Ivywild and at 12:10 a.m early in the morning of Monday, Aug. 26, my neighbors and I heard this loud noise that can only be described as the sound of a hot air balloon going over my house! This only lasted about 5 minutes! I couldn’t see a thing! My parents who live in Pikes Peak Park also heard this! We never saw anything in the paper, on the news or on the Police Blotter. Does anyone know what this was?
- Nancy Myers

Bloggers, any chance you can identify the strange sound?

Friday, September 07, 2007

Hawaiian shirts on "casual Fridays" jumped from the islands to the mainland

Our office is filled with Hawaiian shirts on Fridays. I understand — and appreciate — the “casual Friday” tradition, but why Hawaiian shirts?
— J.J. Brown

ANSWER: An “Aloha Friday” to you, straight from the islands. It has been tradition in Hawaii for decades, and it jumped to the mainland with the advent of casual Fridays. Maui Magazine traced it to 1946, when the Honolulu Chamber of Commerce first proposed that it might be good for tourism — and comfort — if the business community wore aloha shirts during the summer. That idea lost out to the suits-and-ties requirement. A year or so later, the magazine said, government employees were allowed to wear sport shirts from June to October, but the aloha shirts were stored in the closet until Aloha Week each fall.

Jump forward to the 1960s when shirt designers and manufacturers successfully lobbied for Aloha Friday.Then came the Aloha Friday song recorded by Polynesian fire-knife dancer Kimo Kahoano and his Aloha Friday Band, and Islanders sang along, “It’s Aloha Friday, no work till Monday.” Team that with “pau hana” (after work) drinks, and the weekend was on its way.

The flowery, brightly colored Hawaiian shirts now spotted in offices on Fridays are wilder than traditional aloha shirts, which now get everyday wear, say Hawaiian media.

Block numbers being added to signs on main roads

Why don’t all street signs give the hundred block to inform the person the hundred block where he is? Going up and down Academy and other main streets, especially where they have put up new street signs, for the most part, they haven’t put the hundred block on the street sign.
— Bob Jensen
ANSWER: All new city street-name signs on major roads have block numbers, according to David Krauth, principal city traffic engineer. He said that until two years ago there were no signs with block numbers, but his department is in the midst of upgrading them, a project that will go through January 2011. Krauth pointed to Platte Avenue as an example of a completed major corridor with block numbers on all signs.This project does not include internal neighborhood signs, which will not have block numbers. The exceptions are residential streets leading onto major roads.