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2 Pikes Peak Courier View

July 25, 2012

Homeowners get safety message By Pat Hill Tuned in to wildfire and home safety, more than 100 Teller County residents packed the Ute Pass Cultural Center July 18. In a forum spearheaded by the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, representatives from several agencies, including the incident commander of the Waldo Canyon Fire, laid it on the line about safety. While the message about defensible space has been drummed into residents for the past 10 years, with the Waldo Canyon Fire, the residents were there to learn more about protecting their homes. “The 2012 fire season is not over,” said Marti Campbell, who led the forum for CUSP. “The worse months may still be ahead of us.” With the recent rainstorms, one of which briefly closed U.S. 24, the moisture is a short-range moderation of the drought, said Eric Howell, natural resource planner with Colorado Springs Utilities. Warning against complacency, Howell predicted drought conditions will return in the fall. When it comes to deployment of firefighters in urban areas, conditions determine how structure fires are fought, Howell said. “The first method is we

leave, which means fire is going to impact that structure and no action is appropriate,” he said. “We don’t want to kill a firefighter trying to protect a structure. There are places in Southern California where we lost an entire engine crew protecting structures.” With an increase of catastrophic fires in the West, firefighters around the nation weigh risk versus reward. “We try to save as much as we can, but if we engage in a fire we have to have a way to move out,” he said. “We look at probabilities of success, high or low.” On the issue of probabilities, Captain Brian Steinmetz, with Northeast Teller County Fire Protection District, highlighted some startling statistics. “We have four people on staff for about 85 square miles,” he said. “In Teller County, we have two paid fire departments, Cripple Creek’s and NETCO and a bunch of volunteers agencies that do a wonderful job.” In answering calls for wildland fires, the firefighters consider the conditions. “We have had structure fires turn into wildland fires. Nobody expects a structure fire, but if you can do the preparation, the defensible space around your house, the work you do can buy us time and we’ll do our best.” With the Waldo fire, NETCO sent a truck to Cascade two days after the fire

Exchange program enriches community By Pat Hill On the surface, inviting a European or Asian teenager to come over and stay for 10 months is an act of kindness and good will. In reality, inviting a teenager from the Education First International Exchange is an opportunity to be part of something larger than just a room-and-board thing for a kid. “I had such a great experience I’m going to do it again,” said Gary Brovetto of Woodland Park who coordinates the regional exchange program. Sponsored by the State Department, the exchange is designed to raise global awareness through personal contact. “There is no better ambassador than a teenager to relate the American experience,” Brovetto said. “Many of these kids are dying to come over here; it’s been a dream for them to experience what it’s like to be an American teenager.” Last year, Brovetto was host to two teenage boys from Italy and Germany who enrolled in classes at Manitou Springs High School. “The kids were among the most popular at school and had the highest academic performance,” he said. While the students are back at home, they keep up the relationship via social media. “They Facebook each other all

the time. In fact, the boys are going to come back to see their friends graduate,” Brovetto said. The rules are strict for the exchange student. “For instance, there’s no drinking; anything they do against the law, boom! They’re back home,” Brovetto said. “It’s zero tolerance.” Host families are volunteers but the student pays $8,000 to spend the semester in the U.S. and the student’s parents contribute a monthly stipend, around $350, for activities and trips. Admittedly, the program isn’t for everybody. “Raising teenagers is not a picnic,” he said. “But these kids are pretty closely screened. And many of them turn out to be an inspiration” In addition to taking a chance on an ideal match, the program offers a lifting of the spirit. “You want to be part of the action, helping these kids live out their dream while, at the same time, enrich your community and your family with cultural diversity,” he said. “This is the kind of communication and cultural exchange we want to establish.” Next month Brovetto is host to two boys from Italy and Switzerland. “I’m meeting them in New York and taking them around New York and Washington, D.C. for a week,” he said. For information about the program, call Brovetto or or 460-0355.

Waldo Canyon closed The Colorado Department of Transportation has closed Waldo Canyon parking area and trailhead about one mile west of Manitou Springs until further notice. CDOT blocked off the parking area last week and placed “No Parking” signs at the trailhead at the request of the U.S. Forest Service. However, vehicles are still parking at the trailhead, even though it has been blocked with concrete barrier. If the parking continues, the Colorado State patrol can issue citations for illegal parking. In addition, individuals using the closed trail can be issued a ticket, with fines up to $125. The USFS closed the trail, which travels north of U.S. 24, due to extensive damage for the recent wildfires. Recently, 14 citations were issued to people violating a ban on camping or hiking in a burn area in northern Colorado.

Marti Campbell, with the Coalition for the Upper South Platte, led a public forum July 18 about wildfire and home safety. At right is Captain Brian Steinmetz, with Northeast Teller Fire Protection District. Photo by Pat Hill started. “It was tough for us because we still had to meet our commitment here; we weren’t sure what was going on with the arsonist,” he said, referring to at least 40 fires set by an arsonist who is still on the run. “We wanted to make sure our

homes were protected before we sent the truck.” By the end of the forum, the overall message was that defensible space is the only thing residents can control when it comes to protecting their homes.


AUG. 4


UTE DANCE. Tabeguache Ute Dancers present an evening of traditional Ute dances at 7 p.m. Aug. 4 at the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument Amphitheater. The event is free and is sponsored by the Pikes Peak Historical Society. Guests should come early as parking is limited, and they should dress warmly. For information, call 719-748-3253 or 719-748-3562.

RANGER TRAINING. Be a part of living history while serving your community and receiving training with the Colorado Mounted Ranger in Teller and Park Counties. Visit THROUGH JULY SUMMER READING. The Rampart Library District, including the Woodland Park and Florissant public libraries, offer special programs for children, teens and adults. Read and sign up for prizes. Come in, register and enjoy a summer of reading. Call 719-687-9281 ext. 132 if you have questions. JULY 27 READING PARTY. End of Summer Reading Party is from 10 a.m. to noon July 27 at the Woodland Park Public Library. Bring the kids and celebrate a summer of reading. Fun, crafts, snacks. Call 719-687-9281 ext. 137. AUG. 3-4 RELAY FOR Life American Cancer Society is from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. Aug. 3-4 CSCS in Woodland Park. Visit

AUG. 4-5 ARTS FESTIVAL. The 27th Annual Mountain Arts Festival will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 4 and 5, 2012, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Ute Pass Cultural Center, Woodland Park, CO. The Festival will feature 80 booths with many new artists joining the returning favorites. Visit our website www.themountainartists. com or contact Carolyn, 719-686-7469. AUG. 7 CYCLING CLUB. The Mountain Top Cycling Club will meet at 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 at the May Flower Restaurant, 1212 E. Hwy. 24 in Woodland Park. Nathanael Brady, D.O. will speak to the Mountain Top Cycling Club on asthma and allergies with a special focus on exercise and options for those athletes who may be suffering Your Week continues on Page 3


Swiss Chalet restaurant celebrates 50 years. Page 5

Three Western mining towns create Trilogy of Metals to promote shared history. Page 9

Victor harkens back to early days with annual Gold Rush Days. Page 12

Theater tragedy explored through quotes and stories. Page 19