solar energy

Springs author honored by aviation associations

Sarah Byrn Rickman, author of nine books about the WASPs — the Women Air Force Service Pilots of World War II — has been named the recipient of the 17th Annual Combs-Gates Award from the National Aviation Hall of Fame. In addition, she is one of several chosen for induction into the International Forest of Friendship in Atchison, Kan., a memorial to the world history of aviation and aerospace.

The National Aviation Hall of Fame awarded Rickman’s two-volume young adult series, WASP Pilots, their 17th Annual Combs-Gates Award and a $20,000 cash prize. She will receive the honor at the National Business Aviation Association’s 72nd annual Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition in Las Vegas on Oct. 22.

Byrn Rickman grew up in Denver where she attended East High School. She worked as a reporter and columnist for The Detroit News, and later as editor of two suburban Ohio newspapers.

She often speaks at national aviation conferences and is recognized as an authority on the women and history of the WASP. Rickman is also a pilot who flies vintage tailwheel aircraft. To learn more, go to her website,


Vibes VP named turf manager of the year

Steve DeLeon — senior vice president of stadium and field operations for the Rocky Mountain Vibes — has been named the Pioneer League’s Turf Manager of the Year for the Vibes’ inaugural 2019 season.

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Of the many aspects considered during judging and voting for the award, Pioneer League general managers and field managers focused primarily on: field setup for pregame, preparation of field for games, overall playing surface, infield turf area, outfield turf area, home plate area, bullpen areas, warning track area, pitcher’s mound and professionalism of the grounds crew.

Winning this honor for the Pioneer League also makes DeLeon eligible to win the prestigious Sports Turf Manager of the Year Award for the 2019 season, sponsored by Minor League Baseball and the Sports Turf Managers Association.

This year marks DeLeon’s 29th season with the Colorado Springs club.


Two new solar projects to generate power

Two Colorado Springs Utilities projects currently under construction will add enough solar energy to its system to power 30,000 homes annually, according to a CSU-issued news release.

The Palmer Solar Project, located southeast of Colorado Springs, and the Grazing Yak Solar Project, located near Calhan, “will help change the way the utility powers the Pikes Peak region for decades while reducing its carbon emissions,” the release said.

Both projects are being developed in partnership with private entities. Duke Energy Renewables recently acquired the Palmer Solar Project from juwi Americas. juwi is constructing and will commission the array and Springs Utilities will purchase the energy through a 20-year power purchase agreement to serve its customers.

As for the Grazing Yak Solar Project, Springs Utilities will purchase the energy from NextEra Energy Resources through a 25-year power purchase agreement, the release said.

The utility will soon finalize contract negotiations for a third solar project to include a 25-megawatt energy storage system. This project will be commissioned by the end of 2023.


Hiring underway for maintenance personnel 

The Colorado Department of Transportation is hiring both permanent and seasonal full-time and part-time highway maintenance workers and snowplow drivers for the winter season.

Most positions begin in November and require a Colorado Class A or B Commercial Driver’s License and experience operating heavy equipment, such as a forklift or bus, and/or physical labor experience. The starting monthly pay for full-time permanent employees is $3,266, with full benefits and opportunities for promotion.

Temporary seasonal positions generally last up to nine months.

This year, the state Department of Personnel and Administration has provided CDOT with a residency waiver, allowing beginning temporary and permanent highway maintenance employees to be hired from out-of-state, rather than needing Colorado residency.

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