Odious and Idiosyncratic In C. Springs

Colorado Springs police fell far short – by about 700 people – in a stunt last weekend to get into the Alternative Book of World records by handcuffing 800 people together with donated cuffs, including from four surrounding Sheriff’s Departments.

But never fear. There is plenty more weird news to report from Colorado’s second largest city.For instance, there’s always something strange to report about Sean Paige, the daily newspaper’s editorial page editor. In his latest turn, Paige recently went on a rant against Manitou Springs, advising readers to boycott the hippie and arts enclave west of Colorado Springs.

Manitou’s crime? City leaders recently announced plans to let people with hybrid cars park for free. This is what Paige had to say about that:

June 16 Gazette editorial:
Save the planet – steer clear of Manitou

Manitou Springs is doing its part to cut greenhouse gases, by granting free parking to people who drive those fuel-efficient hybrids. Now, it’s time to step up and do your part. Unless you travel to the quirky mountain berg in a hybrid – or on a bicycle, moped, hydrogen-powered golf cart or dog sled (in winter) – you can drastically reduce your carbon footprint by shopping, dining and partying closer to home – by staying away from Manitou, in other words.

Town officials evidently don’t welcome drivers of gas guzzling road hogs. And who knows – if granting hybrid owners special privileges doesn’t reverse the warming, the next step may be doubling parking fees on SUVs or tailoring the charge to meet the tail pipe emissions of individual vehicles.

The policy will be waived, of course, if you drive a multicolored 1969 VW bus with a Jefferson Airplane sticker on the bumper.

For most of us, remember, Manitou is an uphill drive, which further reduces your fuel efficiency. And by steering clear, you’ll leave more parking spaces for wind cars, solar sleds and other environmentally correct modes of transport.

Manitou merchants may suffer, but Gaia will be grateful.

Colorado Springs officials, meanwhile, are in a tizzy because people are actually wading in its new $1.6 million fountain, built at ground level in the America the Beautiful park just southwest of downtown.

After sending out a stern warning last week – which apparently fell on deaf ears – city officials have drained the new fountain completely until they figure out how to handle the situation.

Here’s the notice from last week, urging splashers to keep out of the water, or go to  one of two other “recreational” fountains instead:

From the City of Colorado Springs:
No wading, please!

As was the intention in creating Continuum – The Julie Penrose Fountain in America the Beautiful Park, the magnificent four-story, circulating fountain has become a popular destination.  Please note, however, that The Julie Penrose Fountain is public art, not a recreational fountain.  The City asks the public to please stay out of the fountain and to not wade in the water that circulates at the base of the fountain.

The fountain has been overwhelmed by grass, dirt, and other debris as people enter the water, and the spray jets have become clogged.  The fountain will be shut down periodically thru this weekend for further maintenance.  It is expected to be fully operational again early next week.

“The fountain is a beautiful work of art that is intended for viewing purposes only,” says Paul Butcher, director of Parks, Recreation, & Cultural Services.  “It is a wonderful addition to America the Beautiful Park and we want people to continue enjoying it for what it is.”

If you are looking for a fun way to cool off this summer, the City has plenty of recreational water facilities: four outdoor pools, the beach at Prospect Lake, Uncle Wilber Fountain, and the new Deerfield Hills Spray Ground that opens this weekend.  The new Spray Ground has 16 special water features and 50 individual spray nozzles.  It is located off of Drennan Road at 4290 Deerfield Hills Road.  It will be dedicated this Saturday and the public is invited to enjoy a fun day of family activities beginning at 10:30 a.m.

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