Delays in Colorado State on-campus stadium deliberation process push decision to fall semester

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May 312012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

Another Stadium Advisory Committee meeting went by Wednesday, and there’s one more yet to come, but no finalized recommendations for the on-campus stadium have arrived yet for President Tony Frank.

A recommendation for the proposed on-campus stadium is close, but there’s still work to be done, the Stadium Advisory Committee told community members and students gathered in the North Ballroom Wednesday night.

Amy Parsons, the vice president for university operations and the co-chair of the committee, said that a time-consuming process caused the delay.

“We just didn’t get it done in time,” Parsons said, adding that President Tony Frank’s change of plans to wait until the fall to announce his decision encouraged the committee to take its time.

The committee’s recommendations to Tony Frank, which were originally expected by the end of the spring semester, will wait until a final committee meeting to be held in August, according to Parsons.

CSU spokesman Kyle Henley said that the extra time will enable the committee to get more opinions from stakeholders.

“I don’t think you can be too careful and too deliberate in terms of the way we keep looking at public input,” Henley said.

Athletics Director Jack Graham said the process of determining the feasibility of the stadium is about 95 percent done.

The aspects of the proposal which have been completed, according to Graham, include site selection, between Pitkin and Laurel; cost, now estimated at $250 million; and some factors of design.

Aspects that still need work include making sure the design will not surpass the proposed budget of $250 million and looking into whether upgrading Hughes Stadium is feasible.

The committee also needs to finalize what a redesign of the displaced student gardens and Plant Environmental Research Center (PERC) might look like, since the current design plan sits directly on top of the PERC greenhouses.

The sub-committees plan to research these elements and get additional feedback from the public before their final meeting in the fall.

Over the summer, neighborhood discussions will be held with Fort Collins residents that live near the proposed stadium site, and the Alumni, Campus and Public Engagement sub-committee will arrange an open forum with President Frank before he begins his decision-making process.

“After this committee, work is largely done but with a few mop up points,” said Tom Milligan, the vice president of external affairs and the head of the public engagement committee. “It’s kind of the turn of President Frank to begin to discuss the ‘should we’ element of this discussion.”

At the meeting Wednesday night, the sub-committees announced their latest progress, including findings by the sub-committees on public engagement, site selection and potential funding sources.

The architectural consulting firm Populous also released three watercolor renderings of the proposed stadium plan. Scott Radecic, the senior principal for Populous, presented the drawings and the stadium plan, which includes features such as premium seating and a new alumni-center.

Frank is expected to announce his decision about the on-campus stadium following the committee recommendation in the fall.

News editor Elisabeth Willner can be reached at

CSU student sentenced to four years in community corrections

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May 262012
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

A CSU student who directed student government’s finances pleaded guilty to theft in March and was sentenced to four years in community corrections on May 21.

While a university audit concluded that no funds were stolen from the Associated Students of CSU, Matthew Strauch was also in financial management positions at a local theater company, as well as a Fort Collins charter school.

The Coloradoan reported that he must also pay $750,000 in restitution.

Developing. Stay with the Collegian for more updates.

CSU announces Michael Martin as new chancellor

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May 262012
Authors: Collegian Staff Report

CSU’s governing board has spent about five months and sifted through dozens of candidates nationwide to finally find its next chancellor –– outgoing LSU chancellor Michael Martin.

With a five year contract and $375,000 base salary, he expects to take office in mid-August in anticipation of CSU’s returning students.

“It’s a great honor to accept the chancellor position with the Colorado State University System,” Martin said in a statement. “The CSU System is one of Colorado’s most vital engines of educational opportunity and economic growth, and I look forward to working with the Board of Governors and the strong leadership teams at each institution to continue to build upon the System’s reputation for excellence in teaching, research and service.”

Developing. Stay with the Collegian for more updates.

CSU announces Ryun Williams as new head women’s basketball coach

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May 212012
Authors: Kyle Grabowski

New CSU women’s basketball coach Ryun Williams always said the only way he would ever leave South Dakota was to be closer to home. He got just what he wanted when CSU Athletic Director Jack Graham offered him the job at CSU.

Williams signed a 5-year contract that will pay him $150,000 per year as a base salary with the potential to earn bonuses for graduating players, not committing NCAA violations, and reaching performance milestones.

“We didn’t look for a coach that was available,” Graham said. “We went out for a coach we wanted.”

Williams is a Wyoming native and was named Mr. Basketball Wyoming in 1988. He began his head coaching career at Sheridan College in Wyoming in 1993. From here Williams coached at Wayne State until 2008 when he moved to the University of South Dakota.

There, he compiled an 80-46 record and the program’s first ever WNIT berth in 2011.

“This guy knows how to win,” Graham said. “We’re hooked at the hip about where we want to see CSU women’s basketball go.”

Defense has been the cornerstone of Williams’ philosophy since he began. At South Dakota in 2011, his team ranked second nationally in blocks at 7.2 per game and eighth nationally in field goal percentage at 33.2.

“I want a team that plays hard defensively, values the basketball, and understands their roles,” Williams said.

Williams convinced every member of the team that is eligible to play in 2012 to remain at CSU, no small feat considering the traditional exodus of players during a coaching change.

“It’s really exciting,” junior Sam Martin said. “He hasn’t told us his whole style yet, but he said we’re going to win and that’s all that matters.”

His presence even helped facilitate junior Megan Heimstra’s return to the team. She originally announced she would forgo her final year of eligibility, but changed her mind after talking with Graham after former coach Kristen Holt resigned.

Graham asked her to ‘hang out’ until he found a new coach, and Heimstra was elated after learning CSU had hired Williams. Heimstra’s parents both graduated from the University of South Dakota and her family is from that area, so they know Williams.

“I’m happy to be back and happy to go to work,” Heimstra said.

During his introductory press conference, William’s often repeated the phrase “why not?”, referencing the fact that CSU has been great before and has the potential to be great in the future.

“It’s not a microwave process, these babies have to be slow cookers. To build something truly great doesn’t take place overnight,” Williams said. “We’re going to show up to work every day and give our best effort and low and behold it’ll happen.”

Women’s Basketball Beat Reporter Kyle Grabowski can be reached at

Colorado State employee issued citation for causing Hewlett Gulch Fire

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May 182012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

A man whose alcohol-fueled camp stove started the Hewlett Gulch Fire will be fined and pursued for restitution, federal authorities said today.

The U.S. Forest Service issued a citation to James J. Weber, a Fort Collins resident and CSU employee, for starting the now 7,700-acre fire.

Weber, a licensed clinical social worker, works at the CSU Health Network as a counselor, according to a report by the Coloradoan.

Weber was camping on the Hewlett Gulch Trail Monday afternoon when his stove started the fire. He attempted to stomp out the flames but fled as the fire spread. He later reported what had happened to the Larimer County Sheriff’s office.

According to a press release, no cell phone service was available at the starting location of the fire.

The USFS will fine Weber $300, including a $25 processing fee and possible restitution for the damage caused by the fire. Weber will be fined under 36 CFR Section 261.5 for “causing timber, trees, slash, brush or grass to burn except as authorized by permit.”

He will not face criminal charges. Neither Weber nor his lawyer could be reached for comment.

News Editor Elisabeth Willner can be reached at

Hewlett Fire 45 percent contained

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May 182012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

Firefighters working on controlling the Hewlett Gulch fire made progress on Friday, moving the level of containment from 11 percent to 45 percent over the course of the day.

According to Reghan Cloudman, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Forest Service, factors such as overcast weather and low fire growth contributed to the containment efforts.

“Things just kind of aligned for our folks out there today,” Cloudman said.

The 15 evacuation orders and closure of Highway 14 will be lifted at 7 p.m. Friday, but authorities are advising that residents use caution when traveling through the area.

“People still need to be aware… There’s still an active fire, and they need to be cautious,” Cloudman said.

Cloudman recommended that residents and visitors stay updated about the fire. She also suggested that anyone with weekend plans in the Poudre Canyon use the alternative route via Stove Prarie road for a scenic alternative.

Updates about the fire will be posted at Residents and others can call 970-498-5500 for additional information.

CSU football player dies in car accident

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May 182012
Authors: Kate Simmons

CSU freshman football player Clay Brownell died May 15 in his hometown of Casper, Wyoming.

The 19-year-old walk-on linebacker was driving just after midnight and “failed to negotiate the curve in the road, then crashed into a boulder and tree,” police investigators told Wyoming radio station K2TV.

Brownell died immediately. He was the only person in the car and was thrown from the vehicle in the collision.

After receiving a 911 call from a nearby resident, police responded to the scene of the accident at 12:22 a.m., as reported by the Casper Star Tribune.

According to Sgt. Pete Abrams, officers found evidence of possible drug or alcohol use, but it could not be confirmed until toxicology tests were completed.

“From the time Clay was old enough to walk he loved football and he was living his dream playing Division I football as a Colorado State Ram,” read his obituary.

The campus community was informed about his death in an email sent on May 17.

CSU’s athletics department released a statement shortly afterward.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Clay’s family. He was a well-liked and well-respected member of the CSU football family. Clay joined the team mid-year and had already developed close bonds with his coaches and teammates. He will be missed.”

Brownell’s funeral was held in Casper on May 19.

Senior Reporter Kate Simmons can be reached at

Hewlett Gulch Fire remains about five percent contained

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May 152012
Authors: Elisabeth Willner

A large cloud visible from the Mishawaka Amphitheater shows the destructive path of a 370-acre forest fire currently burning northwest of Fort Collins in Hewlett Gulch.

“The fire is growing, and there’s still fire activity on all sides,” said Jackie Parks, a public information officer for the U.S. Forest Service.

Parks also said that as of midday on Tuesday, the fire was about 5 percent contained. That figure has not changed as of Thursday, according to the Associated Press.

The AP reports that while 65 residents have been allowed to return to their properties, 15 were still ordered to steer clear of their homes.

In LaPorte, Cache Poudre Middle School at 3515 W. County Road 54G has been turned into an evacuation center.

The Larimer Humane Society is providing temporary shelters for dogs, cats, small mammals, and small farm animals –– goat–sized or smaller –– for people affected by the Hewlett fire. Horse and cattle owners can take their animals to the Pavilion Ranch-way Feed Building at The Ranch in Loveland. Evacuees who need help doing are encouraged to contact (970) 226-3647 ext. 7 to speak with an Animal Protection and Control dispatcher. Additional Fort Collins temporary pet housing is located at 6317 Kyle Ave.

Evacuees concerned about pets still on their property can provide their address, pet description and needs to the LHS animal shelter. Animal protection and control officers will tend to animals in need.

So far, the cause of the fire is being investigated, but the U.S. Forest Service has said that humans started it.

The blaze started around 1 p.m. on May 14 and continued growing overnight.

Parks also said that the firefighters were making good progress, particularly on the southeast side of the fire, toward the Cache le Poudre River.

Firefighters were working on creating a fire line to protect the Poudre Park community, which contains about 50 to 60 residences, the Coloradoan reported.

Five customers of the Rural Electric Association had lost power because of the fire.

There was no immediate threat to any homes, but the forest service had put out pre-evacuation calls to residents of the area and was assessing several for structure protection as the fire approached Tuesday morning.

“Our crews are hiking into the fire line, making sure there is a good line around the perimeters,” Parks said.

The fire was expected to continue growing, as temperatures rise and humidity drops.

News Editor Elisabeth Willner can be reached at News Editor Andrew Carrera contributed to this report.