Westside Briefs:
Shuttle lab module at Space Foundation

       U.S. Space Shuttle flights used a specialized laboratory module from 1983 to 1998 (with some aspects continuing after that).
       Now one of those four modules - called Spacelabs - has found a home at the Space Foundation's Discovery Center, 4425 Arrowswest Drive (off Garden of the Gods Road).
       The decommissioned unit was a gift from the European Space Agency and the United Launch Alliance (a joint venture of Lockheed-Martin and Boeing), after spending its in-service years at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Ames Research Center in Mountain View, California.
Red Rock workdays
       The Friends of Red Rock Canyon have scheduled workdays, to which volunteers are welcome: May 6 (Highway 24 cleanup with Scenic Colorado), May 14 (Contemplative Trail), May 20 (Public Lands Day) and June 9 (White Acres).
       For more information, go to redrockcanyonopenspace.org or call 685-4792.
2 Range Rider events
       The Pikes Peak Range Riders (PPRR) have planned two appearances along the West Colorado Avenue corridor in June as part of the volunteer organization's continuing western-heritage endeavors.
       The intent is to foster "more involvement" with the Westside, according to Greg Budwine, the Pikes Peak region ride director.
       June 7, from 1 to 4 p.m. - A carriage drawn by two horses will amble from the downtown to Old Colorado City, spreading the word about the Street Breakfast/ Range Ride June 21 as well as the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo July 12-15.
       June 21, from about 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. - Consisting of some 200 people on horseback, the Range Ride contingent will leave the Street Breakfast and take the avenue west to 31st Street, and from there to Red Rock Canyon Open Space.
Coronado updates
       Coronado High School's graduation for its 2017 class will be Wednesday, May 24 at 9 a.m. at the Broadmoor World Arena. There will be approximately 290 grads, according to school staff.
       In other Coronado news, this year's valedictorian is Kyle Michel and the salutatorian is Spencer Furgerson.
       The recently elected student president for the 2017-2018 school year is Dillon Marlow.
400 cyclists June 30
       Westside streets will see most of the action June 30 during the concluding Stage 7 of the Mavic Haute Route Rockies amateur bicycle race.
       Some 400 cyclists - most of them from outside the United States - will ride a 44-mile course that starts and finishes at Rock Ledge Ranch and uses mostly Westside streets, advance route information shows.
       The event will start at noon and last until about 4:30 p.m., according to Doug Martin of the Sports Corp, the local organizer of the Colorado Springs stage.
AACL playground coming

Holding up the good news about their grant request, students in Academy ACL's focus group pose with Director Nikki Myers in the area where the playground will replace the gravel this summer. From left are Levi Turman, Christen Mayberry, Gillian Schooley, Henry Holz, Nikki Myers, Anya Nelsestuen, Rygar Schyberg, Elliot Heuertz and Aurora Tobey.
Westside Pioneer photo

       Thanks to a local fundraising effort and a $110,000 state grant, the gravel playground at the Academy for Advanced & Creative Learning is close to being transformed into a landscaped area with unique elements for children's outdoor fun.
       Nikki Myers, director of the K-8 charter school at 2510 N. Chestnut St., said she expects work to occur over the summer.
       The design by the Natural Playground Company from the New England area will encompass ideas from the students, Myers said.
       Included will be a slide built into the side of a hill, an area with caves and mounds like Hobbiton from “Lord of the Rings,” an outdoor classroom, shade structures, a climbing wall into a slope, a butterfly garden, plants selected by master gardeners for their altitude hardiness and a design flexibility that will allow future equipment add-ons.
       The state grant application followed a $37,000 fundraising effort that included a student read-a-thon and a special event where Myers read to the students while astride a horse.
Knight, Skorman win
       In easy wins for both Colorado Springs City Council candidates, Don Knight was re-elected to District 1 and Richard Skorman claimed the District 3 seat in the April 4 municipal election. He had previously served as an at-large councilmember from 1999 to 2006.
       The D-3 seat was vacated by one-term councilmember Keith King, who decided not to run again.
       The vote also approved all three city-initiated ballot questions. This includes Issue 2, a two-year TABOR taxpayer-refund relaxation that earmarks $12 million for stormwater repairs, including a roughly $1 million Westside pipe-replacement project around the 10th Street outlet into Fountain Creek.
Arrests in tragic deaths
       Five people have been charged with murder and five others with lesser felonies in connection with the March deaths of two Coronado High students.
       The bodies of Natalie Partida, 16 (a 10th-grader); and Derek Greer, 15 (a 9th-grader), were found beside Old Pueblo Road, about five miles south of Fountain.
       One of the murder suspects, Marco Antonio Garcia-Bravo, 20, is a “documented gang member” from Mexico who is in the United States illegally, according to Carl Rusnok, a spokesperson for the regional office of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
       The El Paso County Sheriff's Office, which made the arrests, released no information about how the deaths occurred, or why.

Westside Pioneer/press releases