Lobos take bite out of rams

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Katie Stevens

The CSU Rams (9-20 4-11) fell to the New Mexico Lobos (19-10 10-4) Saturday night in heart breaking fashion, losing in double overtime 79-81.

Down two points and with seven seconds left, the Rams in bounded the ball to senior Willis Gardner. The guard took the ball all the way up court, but missed the game tying lay up. A follow by the Rams would miss off the iron as time expired.

Senior Marcus Walker was stellar for CSU in the loss, posting 31 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals.

Rams head coach Tim Miles was disappointed by the loss, explaining it has been a tough week for Ram fans.

“It’s like a bad dream, a sickening bad dream that makes you want to puke,” he said. “If we are going to win, these are the types of games we are going to be in. It’s going to be dog fight right to the end.”

Walker shared credit for his performance with his teammates, explaining that they made it possible.

“My teammates found me,” he said. “I came out struggling and thinking about the wrong things early. Then I settled in and my teammates found me which allowed me to make moves.”

The Rams trailed for most of the first half falling behind 30-23 going into halftime. CSU would find their game midway through the second half, taking a lead deep into regulation. With 13 seconds left in the second half, the Rams found themselves up by 5 points.

New Mexico would respond quickly, posting a three pointer from guard Chad Toppert, bringing the Lobos with in two. With one second left, UNM forward Daniel Farris hit a lay up and sending the game into overtime.

Miles said he saw the comeback coming, but couldn’t act quick enough to stop it. The second year CSU coach blamed the made shots on poor defense.

“The guy who should be in front of the ball got behind the ball,” said Miles. “He didn’t switch out and Toppert got hit the wide open three. We knew it was coming.”

In the first overtime, CSU fell behind early, but battled back within two points of UNM with time running out. Walker wasn’t finished yet, hitting a lay up for the Rams with 11 seconds left, tying the game at 71 and sending the game to double overtime.

Walker explained that he only has two more guaranteed games left in the season and plans to keep playing his heart out during them.

“For me, it could be my final two games, but I’m trying to stretch them as far as I can,” he said.

Up next for the Rams is the regular season finale against the San Diego State Aztecs on Wednesday.

Men’s Basketball beat reporter Adam Bohlmeyer can be reached at sports@collegian.com

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Ram Cycling goes to the Races

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Katie Stevens

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Little Shop of Physics hosts open house this weekend

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Bryan Schiele

The popular youth science outreach program Little Shop of Physics is returning to CSU for the program’s 18th annual open house on Saturday, Feb. 28.

The open house, which is free and open to the public all day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the Lory Student Center Ballrooms, will feature almost 300 homemade experiments designed by CSU students.

CSU Physics Professor and Lab Coordinator Brian Jones created Little Shop in 1991 as a resource tool for teachers and to show kids that science can be fun. Since its creation, the program has visited over 250,000 students in K-12 classrooms all around Colorado and even foreign countries.

“Most of our work is trying to teach kids about science and give them a sense that science is successful and exciting,” Jones said.

The annual open house is the program’s biggest event of the year. The 100 or so volunteers pull out every experiment they have for the all day event and expect to host over 5,000 people.

According to CSU spokesperson Jim Beers, what is most impressive about the open house is that it does not just open up its doors to 20 or 30 people, but opens up all of the LSC’s ballrooms to anyone who is interested in a hands-on science experience.

This year’s theme that CSU students based their experiment designs around is ‘The Rainbow and Beyond’, which focuses on the visible and invisible light spectrums.

One particular experiment called “See the World in a Different Light” features a camera that makes participants’ skin appear translucent in the infrared light.

The program’s goal, Jones said, is to rid the negative stereotypes that kids have on science and he said the most rewarding thing about Little Shop is both working with CSU students and showing the youth something they have never seen before.

Little Shop’s volunteers have been hard at work every Tuesday and Thursday since the spring semester in preparation for the open house, graduate student volunteer Nisse Lee said.

Lee began volunteering with Little Shop six years ago as a freshman at CSU and says that the excited looks on kids’ faces keep her coming back.

“It’s fun to be able to tell people this is what I do for a living,” Lee said.

Staff writer Bryan Schiele can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Frank moves forward with budget cuts

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Interim CSU President Tony Frank announced Friday afternoon that the university will move forward with previously prepared budget reduction scenarios.

In an e-mail to the CSU community, Frank said CSU anticipates a $13.1 million shortfall for fiscal year 2009 to 2010, stemming from the $6.7 million the university is to return to Colorado’s General Fund and $6.35 million in shortfalls coming from the state’s deficits in interest earnings, increased benefit costs and a decline in out of state student enrollment.

Additionally, the cuts will make up for the commitments CSU made last year to rebuild and reposition its athletics program.

In his first address to the student government Senate just over two weeks ago, Frank recommended the Student Fee Review Board raise student fees $15 to assist the athletics department.

Frank said the fee is vital in funding the struggling department.

“CSU spends the lowest amount on athletics in the state and yet has one of the highest graduation rates of athletes,” Frank told the Senate.

Interim Provost Rick Miranda said Friday that the administration is hoping that the SFRB continues to consider the student fee increase.

Though student fees may help funnel money into the athletics department, CSU’s administration took hits in favor of forming Frank’s $1.5 million reserve funds late last year, and Gov. Bill Ritter’s recommended $12.5 million cut to CSU’s state funding left the university in peril.

And while CSU has not yet obtained the potential financial package coming from President Obama’s economic stimulus package, Frank said it is necessary to proceed with projected cuts.

“It’s also become clear that – even if the state is able to reduce its portion of the rescission for this year through one-time bridge funds and stimulus assistance – we, as a campus, still must deal with the ongoing and significant impact of the economic downturn and increasing mandatory costs,” he said.

In addition to the reserve fund Frank created at the end of last year, furthered cuts include a 3 percent average cut to academic units and a 6 percent average cut to administrative units.

Miranda said every academic college’s budget has been assessed in accordance with the university-wide cuts.

“Every unit on campus has been asked to contribute to this rescission. Nearly every department of every college will be affected,” he said.

Miranda said that while no instructional or additional administrative positions will be axed this spring, staff members may be asked to take reassignments or different duties come fall semester.

“Any affect on our courses for this spring semester will not be seen,” he said.

In his e-mail, Frank insisted the university will strive to ensure cuts to the classroom are minimal, though he said individual units may eliminate positions to meet “their share” of the budget reduction.

“Although it is too early to know how many positions could be impacted, we anticipate that it will come to less than 1 percent of our permanent, non-faculty workforce, and that no permanent faculty lines will be affected,” he said.

While he continue to look at furloughs, or paid leave, as an alternative to layoffs, Frank said he’d “decided against utilizing any mandatory furloughs for FY09 because it would leave our employees with very little time to prepare for the associated reduction in pay.”

$2.6 million in institutional reserves and $500,000 in stock holdings will also be utilized in an effort to make up for funding shortfalls.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Allard, ASCSU meet

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Elyse Jarvis

Expressing interest in the role of CSU chancellor – a position which was officially created by the CSU System Board of Governors on Wednesday – former U.S. Senator Wayne Allard met with student government reps. Friday morning in a closed-door session.

Taylor Smoot, president of the Associated Students of CSU, said the former senator asked to meet with him to find out what students cared about.

Smoot, who called Allard “a great guy” who’d given much to CSU in his time and lobbying efforts in Denver, said it was a “big deal” to have a U.S. senator visit the student government president’s office for input.

Allard, a CSU alumnus who recently ended his 12-year tenure in Senate, called BOG chair Doug Jones soon after former CSU President Larry Penley’s Nov. 5 departure to express his interest in the then-only potential chancellor role.

“The board thinks it’s great that someone with (Allard’s) experience in public service is interested in serving a leadership role at CSU,” head BOG spokesperson Michele McKinney said at the end of last year.

Steve Wymer, a spokesperson for Allard, said the former senator would be best fit for a fundraising, legislative and figurehead position.

The board, which posted the chancellor’s official job description Wednesday, said it will seek out a chancellor with both a strong understanding of academic values and the culture of higher education and proven experience in operating in a political environment.

McKinney said preferential treatment would not be given to a candidate with a political background.

During his time in Senate, Allard faced backlash from his colleagues, with Time magazine going so far as to call the staunch Republican the “The Invisible Man” who “almost never plays a role in major legislation.”

Local advocacy group Progress Now made their opposition to the idea of Allard’s chancellorship public almost immediately after the former senator announced his interest, saying Allard’s top priority during his tenure was “interfering in other people’s privacy by pushing to amend the U.S. Constitution to discriminate against gay and lesbian couples.”

In November, Seth Walter, ASCSU director of legislative affairs, said he believes Allard would help CSU form positive relationships with the state legislature, who had “a little bit of a rocky relationship” with former CSU President Larry Penley.

Gov. Bill Ritter publicly disagreed with Penley’s attempt to add a last-minute revision to the Long Bill that would have increased student tuition by 43 percent.

“Someone with experience in politics would be able to conduct the position very efficiently,” Walters said.

Check back to Collegian.com for updates on the CSU chancellor search.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Denver: A One Newspaper Town

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Jim Sojourner, Elyse Jarvis

Thursday night, Sara Burnett accepted the Society of Professional Journalists’ award for Rocky Mountain region journalist of the year. That same day, she lost her job.

Burnett, one of the Rocky Mountain News’ top reporters, joined the ranks of nearly 250 now-unemployed journalists whose jobs were unseated Thursday morning when Rocky-owner E.W. Scripps pulled the plug on its near-150 year operation, citing sustained financial losses.

The oldest business in Denver will publish its final paper today, ending the almost three months of speculation as to its future that stemmed from Scripps’ December decision to put the paper up for sale.

The city’s loss of the Rocky adds to the growing uncertainty in the newspaper industry, as its competitor the Denver Post continues to cut salaries and positions, the Tribune company struggles after filing for bankruptcy last year, and 15,566 journalists, the Post reported, cope with the layoffs they’ve sustained since September of last year.

Before the annual awards ceremony, which saw about 100 journalists in attendance, Burnett’s colleagues packed their belongings into boxes, and Gov. Bill Ritter quietly took the elevator into the Rocky’s newsroom, telling the Collegian he was there to offer his condolences.

But while society may still have one last day before it feels the final shock of the Rocky’s absence, Rocky reporters — many of whom are looking at possible unemployment — are already feeling it.

“It’s not a death in the family,” long-time Rocky reporter Lynn Bartels said. “It’s the death of the family.”

Bartels, who has been offered a job at the Denver Post, said she is glad to continue working in the career she loves but said for many other staffers, a feeling of “fear and uncertainty” had set in.

“I’m horrified. I’m saddened. I’m crushed,” she said.

Chris Walsh, Rocky business reporter and former Collegian editor-in-chief, said some staff members were angry and upset about Scripps’ decision because they saw it as the corporation’s putting money and not journalism first.

Walsh said that while his immediate future lies in journalism, he’s not sure he wants to follow its uncertain path, which is riddled with the challenges of maintaining an archaic business model that doesn’t financially support an industry that’s rapidly moving online.

“I’ve more or less been expecting this, and it’s kind of a relief to know what our fate is,” he said.

The mood that descended on the newsroom hours later was “kind of odd.”

“It’s not cheery, it’s not sad, it’s not shocking anymore,” Walsh said. “People are working to get the newspaper out for tomorrow, but I bet it’ll sink in when they go to bed tonight.”

CSU Associate Journalism Professor Kris Kodrich said for him, that realization will hit today.

On Thursday, Kodrich said, “When tomorrow’s newspaper comes and lands on my driveway, it’s going to be the last one I receive. That’s a sad thought.”

“We have a feisty, interesting, well-written newspaper that is going out of business,” he said. “Anyone who cares about quality journalism and the role of journalism in a free and democratic society will certainly feel a tremendous loss.”

And despite the fact that its competition is now wiped out, Post editorial page editor Dan Haley agreed, saying he was anything but pleased to hear the news.

“This is not a happy day at the Denver Post. This is a sad day for journalism. It’s a sad day for newspapers. The Rocky has been a fantastic newspaper to have competing with the Post,” he said.

“When I thought of the end of the newspaper war and what it might look like, this isn’t what I imagined at all.”

Haley said the Post will “try to pick up the torch,” now attempting to win over the Rocky’s 20,000 or so readers, but his own paper faces struggles as well, losing 15 to 20 percent in revenue per year on top of its $130 million debt.

Kodrich remained optimistic about journalism’s future, though, noting that although revenue streams are dwindling, news readership in a variety of mediums is at an all-time high. He added that finding a profitable economic model is the news industry’s next major challenge but said he believes that quality journalism will persevere.

Former Rocky reporter and Pulitzer Prize winner Jim Sheeler shared Kodrich’s sentiments and said there will always be a market for people who tell stories and take readers to places they’ve never been.

“We’ve been telling stories since we were painting on caves,” he said.

Whether those stories will be told in newspapers or some other form remains to be seen, he said, but journalists aren’t going to disappear.

News Managing Editor Elyse Jarvis and Enterprise Reporter Jim Sojourner can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Dist. 1 candidates address U+2 housing law

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Matt Minich

Though he said he feels he accomplished much during his first term in city council, Ben Manvel, a retired CSU mathematics professor whose tenure spans 34 years, will go head-to-head with Vivian Armendariz and Ken Anderson in the district 1 race this April.

Manvel’s district, which spans the area of Fort Collins east of College Avenue and south of East Douglas Road, still faces challenges, he said.

Manvel said he takes pride in the professionalism and teamwork displayed by his fellow council members during his first term representing district 1 and cited the preservation of the city economic health and the restructuring of its budget as successes.

During his first term, Manvel said that the council hired the city’s first chief financial officer, Mike Freeman, and subsidized the Rocky Mountain Innovation Initiative, a local non-profit that provides facilities and networking opportunities to local technology entrepreneurs.

The council also restructured the city’s development review process, Manvel said, making a process that had formerly taken weeks a “one-stop shop.”

Despite his work in helping to implement a new recycling center and more energy efficient city vehicles in Fort Collins, Manvell said environment issues are still a concern.

“I think it’s important that we raise serious issues about Glade Reservoir,” he said, referencing the project that is set to divert water from the Poudre River into a reservoir north of Fort Collins, benefiting 13 communities in Larimer County.

Though those in favor of the project cite job creation and water storage implementation as its benefits, it has faced opposition from many in the Fort Collins community, as the reservoir will not directly benefit Fort Collins.

Environmentalists have expressed concerns that it risks damage to the Poudre River, and Manvel went on to say that it may have serious affects on the economy and quality of life within Fort Collins. The Glade Reservoir will store mostly floodwater from the Poudre, which has a high mineral content.

Water from the project could be stored within Horsetooth Reservoir, reducing water quality for the entire city, and that poor water quality would affect not only residents but also Fort Collins’ many microbreweries, Manvel said.

“Good water makes good beer,” he said, adding that high-water quality is part of the reason Fort Collins has attracted so many microbreweries.

Armendariz, one of Manvel’s opposition, is a local advocate for the disabled and said she has attended nearly every city council meeting in the last year.

Armendariz said Manvel has failed to reach out to the underprivileged Hispanic community within his own district and she hopes to change that.

“I’m unhappy about how (Manvel is) running his district,” she said.

Manvel, however, argued that he has been actively meeting with residents regarding their concerns over a proposed music venue near New Belgium brewery in a largely Hispanic neighborhood.

Locals worried that the venue, proposed by the Bohemian Foundation, would increase noise and traffic in their neighborhood. Work on the venue has been stopped due to a combination of complaints and economic concerns, Manvel said.

“I’m not sure Vivian really knows about my outreach to underprivileged Hispanics,” Manvel said.

Armendariz is the first candidate in this election who lives below the poverty line, she said. She hopes to raise awareness on issues that affect residents who are less fortunate or disabled, such as the exterior maintenance code, which sets standards on the condition of lawns, fences and porches in Fort Collins. Homeowners who do not maintain their property to these standards are subject to citations.

This code is unfair to residents who cannot afford or are physically unable to maintain their property, Armendariz said.

Armendariz said that she wants to create a better outreach program between permanent Fort Collins residents and CSU students to alleviate tension and reach a compromise on issues such as the three-unrelated ordinance, called U+2, which mandates that no more than three unrelated persons can live in the same house unless given special zoning permission.

“A lot of people cringe when August comes,” Armendariz said of the struggle to find housing that could accommodate the U+2 ordinance.

Ken Anderson, the third candidate in District 1 and a local realtor, did not return the Collegian’s multiple calls for comment but said in a statement that he intended to bring new, high-paying jobs to Fort Collins if elected.

CSU students that wereinterviewed agreed that the three-unrelated ordinance, the Glade Reservoir proposal and transportation were issues they felt were most important in the race for city council.

Some students said that they felt distanced from local politics but that they wanted to be more involved, and many students said candidates were most likely to gain student support by making contacts on the CSU campus.

“The biggest thing you can do is talk on campus,” said Elle Wheat, a senior wildlife biology major.

City council elections beat writer Matt Minich can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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Great Plates offers great food, cheap prices

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: kelly bleck

Restaurants cook up dinner specials priced at $18.68 in celebration of Fort Collins establishment in 1868.

Downtown restaurants have collaborated for three years, encouraging residents to dine out and try a plethora of restaurants.

Fish, Austin’s and The Rustic Oven are just three of the 27 participating restaurants.

“It’s really to bring activity downtown during a time of year that has traditionally been slow,” said Amanda Miller, event director for the Downtown Business Association. “It helps convey to the community what a great dining culture we have here downtown.”

The restaurants will serve a full service dinner for only $18.68, not including tip or the addition of a donation to the Larimer County Food Bank.

“We have a partnership with Larimer County Food Bank,” Miller said. “It’s an additional donation that people can leave, besides the tip.”

All the donations will be collected on March 16, the last day of Great Plates. Last year the food bank received $7,600, Miller said.

“It allows people to come out and have a great time downtown and at the same time give back to the community,” she said.

The cuisine ranges from steak and seafood to ethnic cuisine and even breakfast.

“This year The Silver Grill Café is offering a two fried egg special instead of a full service dinner because they’re traditionally a breakfast and lunch only restaurant,” Miller said. “There are a few new ones: Rodizio Grill, which is Brazilian; LuLu Asian Bistro; and Sonny Lubick Steakhouse.”

Sponsors include Yancey’s food service, Stella Artois, The Fort Collins Coloradoan, Music Sponsor Bohemian Foundation, Citizen Printing and the Downtown Business Association.

“For the first time we’re adding a music element to Great Plates, with some outside wandering through downtown and some inside the restaurants,” Miller said. “It’s a chance for the sponsors to showcase a really unique product, like Stella Artois. Yancey’s has been supportive since year one.”

Great Plates will be running March 1 to 14 from 5 p.m. to close at the participating restaurants. Visit www.DowntownFortCollins.com for menu options.

Staff writer Kelly Bleck can be reached at verve@collegian.com.

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University economists: Stimulus necessary step on the economic recovery path

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Madeline Novey

After President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus last week in a spiraling global financial crisis, university economists agreed that the bill is necessary to reverse recession impacts but were unsure how long the economic healing process could take.

Economists from CSU and CU-Boulder echoed one another in the relief they felt after learning the bill passed through Congress. But while they said the stimulus dollars are a first step in providing financial assistance to people left jobless and in debt as a result of the recession, the economic recovery process will not happen overnight.

“I was very relieved. I think that the alternative to the stimulus package is a potential economic collapse,” said Steven Shulman, professor of economics and chair of the Economics Department. “I think it’s an absolute necessity for the government to mitigate that possibility.”

“It’s still quite possible that economic events could spin out of control,” he warned, but said, “doing nothing in the face of this world-wide economic slowdown is just unacceptable.”

Shulman and CSU associate economics professor Elissa Braunstein agreed that economically, the nation is teetering on the edge between collapse and recovery. Neither was sure how much time it will take for the national economic wounds to heal after the stimulus dollars are applied.

“I’m definitely a supporter, a very strong supporter,” Braunstein said. “We’re at sort of a precipice here . of what could potentially be a very long recession and depression.”

“What (the stimulus) is trying to do is to shorten the period (of the recession) and be in a better situation in the next five years.”

Martin Boileau, associate professor of economics at CU-Boulder, said about 80 percent of economists claim support of the bill.

Shulman said people should not assume the stimulus is an overnight cure.

“That’s an unrealistic expectation,” he said. “There’s no guarantee that it will work. It simply lowers the chance that we will fall off the cliff.”

Shulman said the recession followed what he called an economic “perfect storm” where a number of factors converged — beginning with a dive in the housing market, which in turn dragged down the value of financial assets. This caused financial instability and the possibility of a banking collapse, pushing credit to dry up and ultimately making it difficult for the “real” economy to function.

He said economic downturns are often cyclical, meaning “what goes up has to come down” and that the recession is a common occurrence in an economic system.

All said the $787 billion may not be sufficient and more may be necessary down the road.

“Many feel (the stimulus) is on the lower side,” said Deepankar Basu, a CSU associate economics professor, who said he thought in Colorado, the money should be allocated to boost employment, make healthcare more affordable and to fund infrastructure projects and higher education.

According to the breakdown of Colorado’s stimulus money — which totals about $2 billion — more than $930 million is slated to go to education. This money is anticipated to prevent teacher layoffs, provide new higher education tax cuts to about four million students and increase the maximum award level of national Pell Grants, national need-based grants to low-income undergraduates, by $500.

Interim CSU President Tony Frank said the Colorado Commission on Higher Education CEO Council discussed the impact of the stimulus package on higher education Wednesday but that he didn’t know how much money the university can expect.

“It’s really too early to know what the impact will be since the federal Department of Education has yet to issue the rules that will govern/clarify the legislative intent of the education-related portions of the bill,” Frank said in an e-mail. “That said, we’re hopeful these funds will help mitigate FY09 and perhaps FY10 budget reductions.”

Braunstein said that the U.S. is not the only one stuck in the economic rut, and that the global financial crisis, if it has not already, should push other countries to pursue financial bailout.

“All countries should be engaging in this kind of stimulative spending simultaneously,” she said, noting that because of its global financial pull, the U.S. could take other countries down with it.

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at news@collegian.com.

Breakdown of stimulus bill benefits

– Create or save 3.5 million jobs over the next two years

– Provide nearly 40 percent of the package in direct relief to working and middle class families

– Double renewable energy generating capacity over three years

– Creates a Clean Energy Finance Authority and Renewable Tax Credits that together will leverage an additional $100 billion in private investment in our nation’s infrastructure — the largest investment since the interstate highway system in the 1950s

– Protect health care coverage for millions of Americans during the recession

– Enact the most significant expansion in tax cuts for low and moderate-income households ever

(Information courtesy of http://abclocal.go.com.)

Allocation of Colorado’s $1.97 billion stimulus money

Tax Relief

– Up to $400 for workers who make less than about $75,000 per year, or up to $800 for married couples filing jointly who make about $150,000 or less

– $250 to Social Security beneficiaries and disabled veterans

$2,500 to each of 36,000 Colorado families who qualify for the new Americana Opportunity Tax Credit, which seeks to make college more affordable

Monetary breakdown by Colorado sector

$634.5 million for infrastructure and science

– Highway funding

– Mass transit

– Cleand/drinking water infrastructure needs

– Affordable housing/rental assistance for poor families

– Aid public housing agencies/improve energy efficieny

– Homelessness Prevention Fund

$932.8 million for education and training

– Local school district/public college and university modernization

– Special education programs

– Funding for disadvantaged students

– Funding for Department of Labor’s Youth State Grants

– Assistance for the unemployed

– Upgrades to classroom computers/software

– Increase in the number of awarded Pell Grants

$130.2 million for energy

– Funding to the State Energy Program

– Funding to the Weatherization Assistance Program

$226.3 million for protecting the vulnerable

– Funding for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (food stamps)

– Funding for child care and grants to low-income families

*Data does not include money allocations for law enforcement, extended unemployment, temporary assistance for needy families or extended and increased homebuyer tax credit.

(Information courtesy of http://builliten.aarp.org

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

Report: Bishop who had denied Holocaust apologizes

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Feb 262009
 
Authors: Alessandra Rizzo The Assciated Press

ROME (AP) – A British bishop whose denial of the Holocaust embroiled Pope Benedict XVI in controversy has apologized for his remarks, a Catholic news agency said Thursday.

Bishop Richard Williamson, with the conservative Society of St. Pius X, had faced worldwide criticism over a television interview in which he said no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust.

While Williamson apologized in a statement Thursday to all those who took offense and for the distress he caused, the bishop did not specifically say that his comments were erroneous, or that he no longer believed them. As a result, Jewish leaders said the apology did not go far enough.

“If I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them,” Williamson was quoted as saying in the statement carried by the Zenit Catholic news agency.

Last month, the pope, seeking to help heal a rift with ultra-traditionalists, lifted a 20-year-old excommunication decree imposed on Williamson and three other bishops who had been consecrated without Vatican approval.

The move immediately caused an uproar among Jewish groups. Benedict later condemned Williamson’s remarks and spoke out against anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial.

“Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks,” Williamson added, according to Zenit.

The agency quoted him as saying that to all that took offense, “before God I apologize.”

It was not clear if the apology would satisfy the Vatican, which had demanded that he recant before being admitted to the church as a clergyman. The Vatican had no comment on the statement, said the Holy See spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi.

Some Jewish groups expressed disappointment.

Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles, said the apology “is not the kind of an apology that would end this matter” because it failed to address the central issue.

“The one thing he doesn’t say, and the main thing, is that the Holocaust occurred, that it is not a fabrication, that it is not a lie,” Hier said in a telephone interview. “You want to make an apology, you have to affirm the Holocaust.”

Renzo Gattegna, the president of Italy’s Jewish Communities, described the apology as “absolutely ambiguous.”

“The millions of Jews that were murdered in the Holocaust and the survivors who were persecuted are not waiting for his apology,” said Iris Rosenberg, spokeswoman of the Yad Vashem Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. “If he is looking to repent, he needs to admit that he was wrong in denying the truth.”

In the interview broadcast Jan. 21 on Swedish state TV, Williamson said historical evidence indicates there were no Nazi gas chambers and that a maximum of 300,000 people died in concentration camps in the Holocaust.

Most historians believe about 6 million Jews died at the hands of the Nazis during the Holocaust.

In his statement Thursday, Williamson said he was only giving the opinion of a “non-historian” during the Swedish TV interview. He said that opinion was “formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available, and rarely expressed in public since.”

However, he said, “the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused.”

Williamson and three other traditionalist bishops were excommunicated in 1988 after being consecrated without papal consent by the late ultraconservative Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.

Lefebvre founded the traditionalist Society of St. Pius X in 1969, opposed to the Vatican II reforms, including its outreach to Jews.

The society had already distanced itself from Williamson’s views.

In earlier comments, Williamson had apologized to Benedict for having stirred the controversy but did not recant. Instead, he said he would correct himself if he were satisfied by the evidence, but insisted in an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel that examining it “will take time.”

Zenit said on its Web site that the statement was published upon Williamson’s return to London on Wednesday. The bishop was expelled from Argentina, where he had been based, following the controversy.

The news agency said it had received the statement from the Vatican commission Ecclesia Dei, which was created to try to reconcile with Lefebvre’s followers.

Calls to the commission went unanswered Thursday evening.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm