Thursday, December 15, 2016

Colorado small businesses support LGBTQ consumers, new poll shows

Posted By on Thu, Dec 15, 2016 at 12:09 PM

Small Business Majority, a national organization with an interest in the economy of small businesses, released a Colorado-focused poll of 400 small business owners in the state, which reveals how our “mom-and-pop” community feels about denying service to LGBTQ individuals based on religious beliefs.

  • Shutterstock
The short version: Most small business owners polled don’t think religious beliefs are a good enough reason to discriminate against LGBTQ customers.

In answer to “Do you believe that a business owner should be able to deny goods or services to someone who is lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender based on the owner’s religious beliefs?” 65 percent of respondents said no, 28 percent said yes and 8 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

The numbers kiltered a little bit lower on the "no" end when the question was rephrased to specify goods and services related to a same-sex wedding. To that, 61 percent responded that, no, they didn’t think a business owner’s religious beliefs should enable them to refuse service. 33 percent said yes, and 6 percent didn’t know or refused to answer.

Last March, the Colorado House of Representatives considered a bill that would allow business owners to deny services to anyone based on personal religious beliefs. While a Democrat-led committee shut it down, it had considerable support from big players such as Rep. Gordon Klingenschmitt and Rep Patrick Neville, both Republican.

But whatever their personal beliefs, the small business community of Colorado seems to have spoken. While 400 is by no means a perfect sample of every business in the state, the poll did keep its sample balanced.

48 percent of respondents were male, with 52 female — there was no option for gender neutral or gender unspecified. 28 percent identified as Republican, 20 percent as democrat, a whopping 46 percent as Independent, and the remaining 8 percent coming in as “other” or “don’t know/refuse to answer.”

A follow-up question asked all independent/other/don’t know respondents, “do you think of yourself as closer to the Republican or Democratic Party?” Surprisingly, given the results of the poll, 32 percent of these people said they were closer to Republican, compared to the 24 percent who said they leaned more Democrat.

It’s heartening to know that many Republicans and those on the conservative end of the spectrum responded in favor of LGBTQ persons’ rights to goods and services provided by all businesses. Considering the 2016 Republican party platform is blatantly anti-LGBTQ, as is our Vice President-elect, this goes to show that not everyone on the Republican spectrum agrees with the extremes.

Some extra demographic data was collected that lends its own insight, and respondents answered other questions on the topic, so check out the full report on Small Business Majority’s website.

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Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Ladyfingers Letterpress hosts all-local holiday sale

Posted By on Wed, Dec 7, 2016 at 2:44 PM

Local printmakers, card-makers and stationery-sellers Ladyfingers Letterpress are always worth a visit. Their unique (and often tongue-in-cheek) hand-printed and uniquely designed greeting cards became somewhat of an internet sensation after they printed a card based on the Netflix hit, Stranger Things.

But Friday, they’re giving us one more reason to drop by. Ladyfingers’ Sweet Holidaze Sale isn’t just a sale of their own locally made wares, but features some other artisanal goodies from local makers.

With The Universe Conspires’ jewelry, Flourish’s terrariums, Wandering Ink’s screen-printed apparel and what their flyer calls “other artisanal radness,” everything at this shindig is locally made. And all of it is a little off-the-beaten-path, a little indie and DIY, much like Ladyfingers’ whole aesthetic.

Our last three issues of the Independent have contained a shop local guide, encouraging you to keep your holiday dollars in our local economy. Well, it doesn’t get more local than this. Support your hometown business and artists, and pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts for the rest of the folks on your gift list. Trust us, this beats Amazon.


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Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A second look at Colorado Springs Forward's IRS report

Posted By on Wed, Nov 30, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Questions have arisen as to the accuracy of an IRS Form 990 filed by Colorado Springs Forward, a business nonprofit that finances local political campaigns and strives to change public policy.

Notably, CSF would like to see the Colorado Springs Utilities board, now comprised of City Council, become an appointed board possessing technical expertise in utilities and operating beyond the reach of voter recall.

Our cover story on Nov. 16 took a deep dive look at the agency.

It might be a little thing, but CSF misrepresents at least one board member on the Form 990 for the 2015 calendar year.

Jariah Walker, a property manager who ran for City Council in April 2015 but was defeated despite backing from CSF, served on the board from May 2015 until February 2016 when he took a job with the city's economic development office.

But he's not listed as a board member on CSF's 2015 report. There might be some other board member discrepancies as well. We're waiting to hear back on questions we've raised about that.

In addition, CSF reports it spent $173,307 on political activities. That, indeed, is the amount the organization pumped into the 2015 city election via its political action committee, but could some of its other spending qualify as political activity spending? For example, William Mutch, a political consultant, was paid $105,500 during the 2015 year. Though his official title was "policy director," did he not spend any time on candidate politics?

This is important, because CSF's nonprofit status rests on its involvement for or against political candidates NOT being its primary purpose. The organization states its goals on the Form 990 as advocating for:
CSF says on the Form 990 it spent $467,020 in 2015. Half of that would be $233,510. If Mutch spent only half his time on candidate politics, the spending figure would be $225,557 for the year for or against political candidates, which nears the half-way mark. That means an argument could be made that its primary activity is advocating for or against political candidates.

It's also worth noting that CSF's then-director John Cassiani was paid $65,292 in 2015; yet, the Form 990 reports on its first page that "salaries, other compensation, employee benefits" totaled $59,373. (That figure includes $54,875 in "compensation of current officers, directors,
trustees, and key employees" and $4,498 in payroll taxes. That leaves a $5,919 difference between Cassiani's pay and the total employee cost reported on the Form 990.)

In any event, the agency overspent its income by about $54,500. Isn't that deficit spending? Luckily, CSF had money left over from 2014 to cover the overage.

We're not sure what happens, if anything, if a nonprofit provides inaccurate information on its Form 990.

We raised most of these questions with CSF's executive director Amy Lathen, former El Paso County commissioner, and its contract communications director Cindy Aubrey, who also works for Pikes Peak United Way, on Monday but haven't heard back. If we do, we'll circle back and update.

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Friday, November 18, 2016

Springs Forward spent more in 2015 than it raised

Posted By on Fri, Nov 18, 2016 at 2:21 PM

Colorado Springs Forward spent $467,020 in 2015 — more than it brought in, according to its most recent IRS filing, made available to the Independent Friday.

The Form 990, filed on Monday, shows the business non-profit, which we featured in this week's cover story ("Calling the shots), raised $411,000 during 2015, less than the $500,000 the group originally predicted in IRS documents filed in 2014.

The Form 990 lists 13 donations totaling $290,000 for an organization that claims to have "broad based" support. No other source of revenue is reported, other than $1,512 from "other revenue."

CSF ended the year with $110,686, compared to its 2014 year-end figure of $164,194.

Former executive director John Cassiani was paid $65,292 in 2015, the report shows. Policy Director William Mutch was paid $105,500. Both have since left the organization.

Other expenses included $145,921 for "consulting services," $162,187 for advertising and promotion, and about $10,000 for office expenses, conferences and meetings and insurance.

The form also reports $28,700 spent on donations to CSF's political action committee, $32,300 for poll services, $3,450 for a survey regarding transportation, and $2,506 for meals and entertainment.

Oddly, it later in the document reports giving $173,300 to its PAC.

CSF executive director Amy Lathen told the Indy in a recent interview the group expects to spend about $300,00 this year.

Here's the Form 990 for 2015:
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Monday, October 10, 2016

Retired Air Force colonel chosen as "cyber czar"

Posted By on Mon, Oct 10, 2016 at 10:56 AM

Ed Rios has been hired to lead the National Cybersecurity Center. - COURTESY CITY OF COLORADO SPRINGS
  • Courtesy City of Colorado Springs
  • Ed Rios has been hired to lead the National Cybersecurity Center.
A retired Air Force colonel with roots in the cyber world has been chosen as the first chief executive officer of the newly created National Cybersecurity Center in Colorado Springs.

Ed Rios, who's been running his own cyber consulting company, will take the reins of the nonprofit organization for an unspecified annual salary.

Here's the release:
Bob Hurst, Chairman of the National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) announced today that Ed Rios has been named the first Chief Executive Officer of the organization, effective October 15, 2016. Following an extensive search process partnering with Heidrick & Struggles, Rios was unanimously selected by the NCC’s board of directors.

"I am both honored and excited to be selected as the first CEO of the NCC,” said Rios. “This center has immense potential to become a national thought-leader and economic driver for Colorado Springs, the state of Colorado, and across the country. It’s a privilege to continue to great work started by Ed Anderson and the board and I am ready to get to work to bring the NCC to its full potential.”

Ed Rios will be formally introduced at an October 20 event. The event will provide an update on the progress of the center and peek into Rios’ vision for the organization.

Rios takes the helm from Interim Executive Director retired Army Lt. Gen Ed Anderson, who has led NCC since March. Anderson has led all aspects of the developing organization through numerous meetings, listening sessions, and outreach while simultaneously standing up the operational elements of the NCC.

“Ed Rios will be the perfect CEO to drive the NCC into the national spotlight,” said Anderson. “He brings years of cyber expertise and the start-up experience needed to establish the NCC as a national leader.”
Rios joins the NCC from his role as President and CEO of CyberSpace Operations Consulting (CSOC), a company he founded in 2006 which focuses on cyber, drone technology, and satellite communications. He is a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel with 26 years of active duty experience in Special Technical Operations, space operations, and intelligence operations among many roles.

“We are thrilled to welcome Ed Rios as CEO of the National Cybersecurity Center,” said Mayor John Suthers, an NCC board member. “Ed has been leader in the Colorado Springs community for years, and I know he will take the NCC to the next level and continue to develop our city’s reputation as a national leader in cybersecurity.”

Rios has served as the Vice Chairman of the Cyber Institute within the NCC, working alongside Cyber Institute Chairman Kyle Hybl to prepare for the inaugural NCC event scheduled for November 13-15, 2016 at the Broadmoor Hotel. The event features an opening dinner featuring Governor Hickenlooper to debut the NCC on November 13.

The National Cybersecurity Center (NCC) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Colorado Springs, Colorado. NCC provides collaborative cybersecurity response services with comprehensive knowledge and capabilities through training, education, and research For more information about National Cybersecurity Center, call (719) 255-5225 or visit

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Wednesday, September 14, 2016

3 ways Nor'wood is locking up lower downtown

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2016 at 10:49 AM

This building at 101 Costilla St. would be placed in a new entity with controlling interest held by Nor'wood Development Group under a deal given preliminary approval last month. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • This building at 101 Costilla St. would be placed in a new entity with controlling interest held by Nor'wood Development Group under a deal given preliminary approval last month.
Wednesday, the Independent reports on the latest maneuver by Nor'wood Development Group to control property in the lower downtown area known as the Southwest Downtown Urban Renewal Area.

Our story explains a "participation agreement," which won preliminary approval from the Pikes Peak Regional Building Department, would allow Nor'wood to take charge of the agency's two properties located in the URA. (Note the sidebar on how the agenda item was handled.)

This would add to the amount of property Nor'wood, headed by long-time developer David Jenkins ("Building an empire," Nov. 19, 2014) controls in the roughly 100-acre URA and enable the developer to advance plans to convert the largely dormant area into a mixed use urban setting.

The other two ways are:

• Persuade the city to build an underground parking garage beneath a city block owned by Nor'wood interests. ("Going underground," July 6, 2016)

• Enable the U.S. Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame to be built on 1.7 acres Nor'wood has pledged to donate in the immediate vicinity of the garage and the Regional Building property. Nor'wood also has made a play for city-owned property next door.

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Thursday, July 28, 2016

How to land $100 worth of goat

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 3:17 PM

Former Indy blogger The Goat Cheese Lady is calling for support to bring her dream creamery to fruition. 

She's $13,000 shy of funds to install a foundation and get to market sooner. So she's making an appeal to some dedicated shoppers to each go big one a basket of goat-product goodies.

No, not to the tune of $240 worth of pudding, but for a tally of $100 for a mixed box of soaps, lotions and lip balms. Pickups would take place at Ranch Foods Direct's market. 

Full details are below:
Buy A $100 Box to Help Build The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery
For years, people have told me I ought to sell more of my goat milk lotion, soaps and lip balms. I ought to put them in stores, market them more on the internet, have more for sale at the farm. I know I should…but CHEESE is my passion. I love to MAKE CHEESE. I love to TEACH CHEESE. I want to SELL CHEESE. 
The Goat Cheese Lady's manufacturing department. - LINDSEY APARICIO
  • Lindsey Aparicio
  • The Goat Cheese Lady's manufacturing department.
I want to SELL CHEESE that reminds a person of what her Italian grandmother made. I want to SELL CHEESE that makes local restaurant chefs proud to have on their menus. I want to SELL CHEESE that brings our local terroir to the kitchens and dinner tables of cheese connoisseurs who appreciate and value the goat milk, green pasture, good hay, time, art and passion that go into making artisan cheese.
To realize my dream of making and selling cheese, my husband, our boys and I are building, after years of planning and designing, a small creamery in Penrose, Colorado, from which we can SELL CHEESE!
But we ran into a financial road block. After installing the septic tank for the creamery, we began getting bids for the foundation. $13,000. It was much more than we expected and pushes us way over our budget. We put on the brakes. I got mad. I cried. The creamery we thought would be up and running last May is only an empty septic tank in the ground. We can’t put in the foundation – thus using up much of our budget – and risk not having enough money to cover it with walls and a roof. It would be ruined. When my husband said we might have to wait one or two years, I yelled.
NO!! I don’t want to wait one or two years more to have our creamery. By the time our goats have their babies next Spring, I want to be using their milk to make and sell cheese.
I began to think, HOW CAN I MAKE $13,000…FAST? How can we cash flow the foundation so it puts us back into budget?
I could go back to work at a “regular job.” My answer, not surprising to those who know me, was no.
I could sell lots of soaps, lotions and lip balms. $5 a piece for a bar of soap or a 4 oz bottle of lotion means selling 2,600 individual bars and bottles. My brain couldn’t handle that number and it seemed out of reach.
OR WAIT! ….I could sell $100 Boxes filled with soaps, lotions and lip balms! That would mean only selling 130 boxes! I could wrap my mind around that idea!
So, the idea for the $100 Box was born. I will sell $100 Boxes of Goat Milk Soap, Lotion and Lip Balm and I only need to sell 130 to pour the floor of The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery, but I need your help!
HERE IS HOW YOU CAN HELP: Order a $100 Box (or two or three). Fill your showers, bathtubs, kitchen sinks and bathrooms with soap and lotion that has a purpose. Use your $100 Box to stock up on birthday gifts, hostess gifts, employee gifts, client and co-worker appreciation gifts or “just because” gifts. We make all of the Goat Milk Soap, Lotion and Lip Balm right here on our farm in small batches. You can help us raise the money to pour the foundation to take us one step closer to having The Goat Cheese Lady Creamery by next Spring!
HERE IS WHAT YOU GET: $100 of any combination our Goat Milk Soaps, Lotions and Lip Balms.
HERE IS HOW YOU DO IT: Fill out an order form. The soaps are $5 each, the lotions are $5 each for 4 oz bottles and $10 each for 8 oz bottles and the lip balms are $2.50 each. You choose from the scents and sizes until your total adds up to $100. You pay when you order and pick up your $100 Box at Ranch Foods Direct when all of your items are ready. We can also ship your $100 Box to you (shipping cost is not included in the $100).

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Monday, June 27, 2016

Anschutz grows his leisure empire

Posted By on Mon, Jun 27, 2016 at 1:33 PM

The Broadmoor is Anschutz's flagship leisure property. Now he owns another one. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • The Broadmoor is Anschutz's flagship leisure property. Now he owns another one.
Philip Anschutz, the billionaire owner of the Gazette, The Broadmoor and the Staples Center in Los Angeles, has added to his stable of entertainment/leisure venues with the recent purchase of Sea Island, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Anschutz, who recently did a deal with the City of Colorado Springs that didn't cost him a penny and gives his Broadmoor holdings a 189-acre boost in open space, bought Sea Island from Oaktree Capital Management of Los Angeles, Capital Avenue Group of New York, and Starwood Capital Group of Greenwich, Conn., which, with Anschutz, bought it out of bankruptcy in 2010 for $212 million, the Chronicle reported.

Also from the Chronicle:
Sea Island is home to The Cloister at Sea Island, The Lodge at Sea Island, The Spa at Sea Island, and the Georgian Room restaurant. It also has five miles of private beach on Georgia's southeastern coast, a Beach Club, tennis and squash centers, Yacht Club, Shooting School and Camp Cloister.
Rooms range from $525 to over $1,000 a night, according to Sea Island's website, depending on what kind of package deal you're seeking. The Broadmoor's charges are similar.

Surprisingly, the Gazette ran the story on Page 2 of its Sunday business section. In the past, news about The Broadmoor's additions, renovations and expansions have received more prominent treatment. Ironically, Sunday's business cover carried a story about the Springs reportedly becoming ground zero for more austere living than can be found at Sea Island and The Broadmoor — that being tiny homes.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Speaking of conservation easements, what about BLR?

Posted By on Tue, May 17, 2016 at 8:47 AM

The Strawberry Fields conservation easement — part of the city's land trade with The Broadmoor — isn't the only high profile parcel in Colorado Springs that involves the Palmer Land Trust.

In a Feb. 18 email sent to city Parks Department officials by PLT's executive director Rebecca Jewett, she declines an apparent verbal invitation to present at the Feb. 24 public meeting on the Strawberry Fields open space issue.
I was given clear instruction by the Land Committee today that, while they are very interested in continuing discussions about this project, it is not appropriate for Palmer to publicly represent the project at the meeting on 2/24. This is further reinforced by the fact that I cannot be present. It is fine for the City and Broadmoor to say you are in discussions with Palmer about a conservation easement, but it is simply not yet appropriate for us to speak publicly about something that the board has not approved.
Jewett, who was planning a trip out of town, goes on to say, "I'm happy to chat further about this or Banning Lewis before I leave."

Of course, it's no secret that the Jenkins family, owners of Nor'wood Development Group, which purchased the Banning Lewis Ranch in 2014, has thought about setting aside a bunch of the acreage for public use. As we reported in November 2014:
The Palmer Land Trust and the Trust for Public Land say they hope 12,000 of the 18,500 acres are set aside for trails, conservation and other public uses. One potential method of securing those acres into perpetuity, says Palmer Land Trust's executive director, Rebecca Jewett, is a conservation easement, which requires a landowner to sacrifice development rights in exchange for a tax credit that can be sold for cash, though certain restrictions apply.
The Banning Lewis Ranch has a rather complicated history, but the short version is that when Nor'wood bought the property, it assumed the position of previous owner Ultra Petroleum of Houston in a federal legal case about whether the 1988 annexation agreement can be set aside. (The agreement demands a lot of infrastructure investment by developers.) 

In June 2015, the court ruled in the city's favor, saying the agreement isn't a contract that can simply be set aside. After that, Nor'wood said it would appeal the decision, and it did.
Every few months, the city and developer check in with the court to let the judge know if they've reached some kind of negotiated settlement. So far, nope. According to the latest filing, the parties again want additional time. Read the joint motion here:
One might expect there to be some progress made, considering that Mayor John Suthers' Chief of Staff Jeff Greene has been holding weekly meetings on Banning Lewis Ranch since early March.

Meantime, Colorado Springs Utilities is preparing to go to court on May 23 over land in the ranch used for its Southern Delivery System pipeline project for which Nor'wood's owners feel they're owed more than an appraisal said is due.

As we previously reported, the city paid $117,500, or $802 per acre, into an account to take possession pending a value finding. Banning Lewis Holdings LLC, an entity controlled by Nor'wood chairman David Jenkins, contends the 121 acres at issue is worth $4.1 million to $6.4 million.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2016

New taxable value for old St. Francis hospital?

Posted By on Wed, May 11, 2016 at 12:09 PM

A portion of the older part of St. Francis Hospital, 825 E. Pikes Peak Ave. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • A portion of the older part of St. Francis Hospital, 825 E. Pikes Peak Ave.
Last week, we reported on what the actual terms of the sale of St. Francis Hospital were, according to sources close to the deal. ("The real deal," May 4, 2016.)

The short version is that an entity created by David Jenkins, owner of Nor'wood Development Group, among the biggest developers in the region, paid $50,000 for the buildings and nine acres a few blocks east of downtown and another $1 million or so in a donation. That tax-deductible contribution went to the Penrose-St. Francis Health Foundation.

But that extra outlay wasn't figured into the value of the property for tax purposes, so Jenkins is still paying property taxes based on the $50,000 reported sales price.

When we asked David's son, Chris Jenkins, about that, he responded via email, saying, "As is public record a Nor'wood managed entity purchased the St. Francis property from Centura Health on January 31, 2014. Regarding our personal donations to philanthropic institutions, that information is private."

Now, County Assessor Steve Schleiker will revisit the taxable value, he tells the Independent in an email.

"I am reaching out to Dave and Chris Jenkins [his son] to discuss the [Indy] article and the considerations paid, and I hope to have this conversation in the next couple of days," he says.

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Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Land deals could mean tax windfall for Broadmoor

Posted By on Tue, Apr 19, 2016 at 1:49 PM

One view of the Ranch at Emerald Valley, a lease-hold The Broadmoor is hoping to own through a land swap with the Forest Service. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • One view of the Ranch at Emerald Valley, a lease-hold The Broadmoor is hoping to own through a land swap with the Forest Service.
The Broadmoor's land office must be abuzz these days, with work on its proposed land swap with the city, and also its pending deal with the U.S. Forest Service.

In both cases, The Broadmoor could realize a handsome tax benefit.

As we recently reported, The Broadmoor would claim a tax break of some kind totaling $1.45 million from the swap for city land. That's based on the idea that the city's land, including a 189-acre open space parcel known as Strawberry Fields, is worth much less than the parcels The Broadmoor would turn over to the city in the exchange.

From the proposed resolution:
"City Council hereby authorizes the acceptance of a donation of the difference in value between the City Property and the Broadmoor Property, if any, as determined by an appraisal conducted at the behest and expense of the Broadmoor."

(The city has refused to release the actual appraisals, but says The Broadmoor's land is worth about $3.6 million compared to the city's $2.2 million.)

Turns out, the same donation arrangement seems to be at work in the federal bill, which was introduced by Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., last August, and co-sponsored by Sen. Michael Bennet, D-Colo.

The Broadmoor wants to trade 320 acres for forest land near The Crags for the 82 acres upon which one of its newest wilderness getaways is located, the Ranch at Emerald Valley. (The Broadmoor bought the 320 acres, located on the west side of Pikes Peak, for $1.3 million in September 2013.) The resort currently operates the ranch under a 20-year lease with the Forest Service.

From the Committee on Energy and Natural Resources report on the pending Crags, Colorado Land Exchange Act of 2015

Section 5(a) requires the Secretary to conduct appraisals
of the parcels of land. Section 5(b) requires the land exchange
to be of equal value. If the value of the Federal land exceeds
the value of the non-Federal land, Broadmoor Hotel, Inc., must
make a cash equalization payment to be deposited into the fund
established under P.L. 90-171 (16 U.S.C. 484a). Any cash
equalization payments received by the Secretary are to be used
to acquire land or interests in land in Region 2 of the USFS.
If the value of the non-Federal land exceeds the value of the
Federal land, the surplus value of the non-Federal land will be
considered a donation by Broadmoor Hotel, Inc., to the U.S.
Government. Section 5(c) directs that the appraisals should not
take into account the special use permit at Emerald Valley
Ranch or the Barr Trail easement when determining the value of
the parcels.

The Congressional Budget Office reportedly has worked up a cost estimate, and we're trying to find out more about that. We're circle back if and when we obtain additional information.

Meantime, when we reported on the federal land swap back in January 2014, then Broadmoor CEO Steve Bartolin indicated a tax benefit was a distinct possibility when he said, "They [The Forest Service] get a higher-value piece of property" in exchange. 

According to the pending federal bill, "It is the intent of Congress that the land exchange be completed within one year." That would be Aug. 5, 2016.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Holy cow, what a party house!

Posted By on Mon, Mar 21, 2016 at 4:18 PM

Here's a sight you might not see very often. A roll-off trash cart sitting outside a mansion, which is The Broadmoor's latest acquisition. The massive home is getting a mega upgrade. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Here's a sight you might not see very often. A roll-off trash cart sitting outside a mansion, which is The Broadmoor's latest acquisition. The massive home is getting a mega upgrade.

While tooling around The Broadmoor area today, I drove by a mansion at 60 First Street, which had all the signs of a major overhaul.

It's The Broadmoor's latest expansion where, as the Gazette reported on Feb. 17, guests can party hearty at $8,500 a night.

The 11,562-square-foot home sits across from the resort and was purchased in December out of foreclosure for $1.9 million, a bargain considering it sold for $3,675,000 in 2007.

Looking for additional information on this house, we were amused when we stumbled onto a description of it on Note the home's location. The property, obviously, is no longer on the market.
60 1st St is a Single family located in Broadmoor, CO, in El Paso county. Built in 1930, this property was last sold for $3,675,000 in 2007 and currently has an estimated value of $1,833,919. 

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Drake emissions control "even better than expected"

Posted By on Fri, Feb 19, 2016 at 2:53 PM

Drake Power Plant emissions technology gets a good report. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • Drake Power Plant emissions technology gets a good report.
Neumann Systems Group announces that its pollution removal equipment attached to the city's Drake Power Plant has outperformed predictions.

The news release, which follows, doesn't mention the growing cost to the city of this equipment, which we covered here.

Colorado Springs, CO – February 19, 2016 - Neumann Systems Group, Inc. (NSG) today announced results of the first sulfur dioxide (SO2) removal testing of the NeuStream® desulfurization unit at the Colorado Springs Utilities’ (CSU) Martin Drake Power Plant, Unit 7. NSG CEO Dr. David K. Neumann said: “NeuStream® worked even better than expected. The very first test of the scrubber showed an ability to remove approximately 98.6% of the SO2.” As the figure below shows, the NeuStream® scrubber reduced the SO2 in the flue gas to a very small amount. Also shown on the graph is a line indicating the State of Colorado Air Quality monthly limit (.13lb/MMBTU) for SO2 emissions. As is obvious from the graph, performance of the NeuStream® Scrubber was significantly better than the air quality standard. The test data was recorded by the EPA certified and independently calibrated and maintained detection equipment mounted on the Martin Drake Unit 7 stack. Please note that the new State Air Quality limits for SO2 for Martin Drake Unit 6 and Unit 7 do not go into effect until the end of 2017. This initial test is being followed by several months of additional system start-up, load testing, parametric testing, performance optimization and full operational testing. Construction also continues on the Martin Drake Unit 6 NeuStream® scrubber with first scheduled operation during the Summer.

The first successful operation of the first NeuStream® desulfurization system is a result of the work of the dedicated and expert NSG team under the leadership and technical direction of Dr. J.P. Feve, Dr. Eric Klein and Mr. Nick Miller. Initial testing was conducted by a joint NSG/CSU team. During the past year CSU personnel have made significant contributions to bringing the system to the current point. Their contributions are in the areas of operating software development and testing, integration of equipment and software into Martin Drake, construction project management, maintenance of installed equipment and initial checkout and testing of equipment. CSU plant operators are currently being trained to take over full operation of the NeuStream® system.

Neumann Systems Group’s work for CSU is under a cost-plus-fee contract initiated in October 2011. Under NSG’s contract with CSU, a 3% fee is to be paid to CSU for NeuStream® system and service sales and a 5% fee for sales of each NeuStream system license. These fees are to be paid for a period of ten years after commencement of commercial operation of the Martin Drake NeuStream® system.

Marketing of the NeuStream® systems has been adversely affected by the cataclysmic changes in the energy and power generation industries. By the end of 2016 approximately 400 “unscrubbed” U.S. coal-burning units will be shut down. In part this is a result of the negative current administration’s policies relative to coal as a power source for the U.S. Another significant factor affecting the market for emissions control equipment is the relatively low cost and availability of natural gas. Natural gas is an alternative fuel with essentially no sulfur emissions and lower carbon dioxide emissions. Thus there is essentially no market in the U.S. for NeuStream® desulfurization systems. However, NSG is pursuing international market opportunities including ongoing negotiations with two Chinese companies for licensing and installation of the technology. The potential market as identified by one of the Chinese companies is several thousand small, coal-fired boiler systems used for power generation, heating and industrial applications. Natural gas is generally not available in China and when it is available it costs over five times the cost of coal. Therefore, no shift from coal use to natural gas use is expected in China for the foreseeable future. Additional NSG marketing and contracts for NeuStream® carbon capture equipment to several major US oil companies for use in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) have been derailed by the oversupply and precipitous drop in the price of oil. NSG continues to seek other markets for the NeuStream® technology.

NeuStream® is a disruptive “platform” technology, meaning it has potential for revolutionary impact in a wide range of product areas important to the industrial and economic well-being of the United States and the rest of the World. NeuStream® technology enables cost effective capture of pollutants including greenhouse gases from a wide variety of emission sources. It also enables the cost effective use of these captured pollutants in the production of chemicals such as fertilizers and sulfuric and nitric acids; building materials such as gypsum; rare earth and strategic metals needed for energy efficiency, electric vehicle and wind and solar applications. Additionally, the NeuStream® technology has significant potential in other areas such as increasing the efficiency of production of bio-fuels, the cost effective production of pharmaceuticals such as the anti-malarial drug Artemisinin, and CO2 for enhanced oil recovery.

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Growing north: More development announced

Posted By on Thu, Feb 11, 2016 at 10:42 AM


The city's north side will get another shot in the arm, according to an announcement just in from a Denver real estate firm that's acquired nearly 77 acres bordering Interquest Parkway and Interstate 25.

The development will bring apartments, offices, neighborhood retail and hotels. The news release:
Denver, CO, Feb. 11, 2016 – Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners, Colorado’s leading commercial real estate developer, manager and investor, announced today it is acquiring 76.8 acres of vacant land at InterQuest, a high‐tech business park fronting Interstate 25 in northern Colorado Springs. The property’s strategic location, just east of the U.S. Air Force Academy, offers superior highway visibility and access as well as unobstructed views of nearby Pikes Peak. The site was purchased from Corporate Office
Properties Trust or (COPT) for $4.35 million.

Situated at the southeast corner of Interstate 25 and Interquest Parkway, the site is located at the epicenter of InterQuest, adjacent to office buildings, hotels, and key entertainment and retail at InterQuest Marketplace. This regional shopping center is located at the front door of Colorado Springs and provides north‐side consumers an updated alternative to the Chapel Hills/North Academy shopping district. Additionally, Great Wolf Resorts announced last summer it will transform the retail center’s unfinished Renaissance Hotel into a family‐style resort, which will open in late fall 2016 with a water
park, restaurants, children’s entertainment and meeting space. The resort expects to employ 400 to 500 full‐and part‐time workers.

Other neighboring properties have either experienced development in recent years or have near‐term projects slated. The increased activity in the area reflects the vibrancy of northern Colorado Springs’ rapidly growing submarket.

In addition to the recent land acquisition, Etkin Johnson owns and manages three office/flex properties in Colorado Springs, maintaining a presence in the region for more than 20 years.

“This is a particularly exciting opportunity to acquire bulk land with freeway frontage in a local market we’re already active in and familiar with,” said Derek Conn, director of finance at Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners. Conn negotiated the transaction with Colorado Springs broker, Michael Payne Palmer of Quantum Commercial Group Inc. and Jim Capecelatro of Cushman & Wakefield Denver.

With significant infrastructure already in place, Etkin Johnson is planning a mixed‐use development project for the site, known as The Gateway at InterQuest, which will include a blend of apartments, office, neighborhood retail and hotels. The company plans to offer smaller pad sites for sale or build‐to-suit.

“Etkin Johnson is an ideal developer for this land, both in terms of their local efforts and the momentum it will bring to the northern submarket,” said Palmer. “They have an existing presence in Colorado Springs and a proven track record of successfully developing mixed‐use environments that attract residents, high‐tech companies and quality tenants.”

“This acquisition provides us the opportunity to utilize all of our core competencies as a long‐time, local investor in a market where substantial value can be created,” said Conn. “Our development plans will draw on the strengths of our more than 25‐year history in Colorado and will focus on creating a vibrant community in this fast‐growing area.”

About Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners

Etkin Johnson Real Estate Partners is a Denver‐based development, investment, ownership and management company with a portfolio of more than 5 million square feet of office, hotel and industrial holdings worth in excess of $500 million.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2016

BBB: Don't buy stuff from these people

Posted By on Wed, Jan 20, 2016 at 1:01 PM

click image BBB: don't order magazines from these folks. - JESSICA SPENGLER
  • Jessica Spengler
  • BBB: don't order magazines from these folks.

I never get solicitors at my home. Over 10 years, I've had three trick-or-treaters and one magazine salesman. 

I hear from friends and coworkers, however, that most folks get a lot more knocks on their doors from political canvassers, sales people, Girl Scouts and religious proselytizers. And I guess that occasionally people buy things from these people.

Anyway, the Better Business Bureau is warning locals not to buy magazines from one such outfit.

"BBB cautions consumers against purchasing magazines from Young People Working LLC, Yeong Pablo Statron LLC and Lrumar Publications," a press release states.

Apparently, the BBB has received 127 complaints about Young People Working LLC in the last 12 months. Here are the details:

Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado Provides Investigation Results of Local Organization
Consumers are advised to contact BBB before purchasing products from Young People Working LLC

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Jan. 20, 2016 – Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado (BBB) has completed an investigation of a Southern Colorado company – Young People Working LLC, known for going door to door to residents’ homes to sell magazine subscriptions.

The company is registered to Crystal Davis (who has also used her maiden name, Crystal Clark, in her businesses) at this address: 6660 Delmonico Drive, Suite D-470, Colorado Springs, CO 80919. BBB warns they are NOT an accredited business.

Within the last 12 months, 127 complaints have been processed and closed against Young People Working LLC.

· (5) Advertising/sales issues
· (3) Billing/collection issues
· (83) Delivery issues
· (36) Problems with Product/Service

BBB files indicate that this business has a pattern of complaints concerning service issues. Consumers have said they are not able to obtain refunds, products take a long time to be delivered, or the products do not arrive at all.

Complaints have been received from across the country. On September 4, 2015, the owner was presented with a Cease & Desist order from North Dakota.

Up until October 2015, the company was cooperating with BBB of Southern Colorado regarding these complaints. However, as complaints increased, the company stopped corresponding.

In addition, the owner of Young People Working LLC registered in the state of Colorado another door-to-door magazine sales company, Yeong Pablo Straton LLC, and the owner also has ties to Lrumar Publications.

BBB cautions consumers against purchasing magazines from Young People Working LLC, Yeong Pablo Statron LLC and Lrumar Publications.

For consumers seeking services or products, BBB advises consumers to use BBB’s website or call its offices to find an accredited business that has a recordable history of providing a specific type of service or product.

BBB offers these tips to citizens when (any) solicitors knock on their doors offering services:

1. Ask them for their BBB accreditation information. They should be able to provide this and should be willing to wait while the homeowner calls BBB to confirm.

2. If the soliciting company claims to be a contractor, ask for their insurance and bonding information.

3. Schedule a meeting at the soliciting company’s office to finalize any deal. This will help ensure they are a credible entity.

“Our organization exists to protect integrity and establish trust between businesses and consumers,” said Jonathan Liebert, CEO and executive director of Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado.

“When a company does not follow good business practices, we investigate them before informing consumers and the public. We hope this will help get the word out to protect the public and legitimate businesses.”

Click on this link to read BBB Business Review on Young People Working LLC.


Since August of 1980, Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has helped consumers find businesses, brands, and charities they can trust. It serves 25 counties throughout Southern Colorado.

BBB of Southern Colorado sets standards for marketplace trust – to create a community of trustworthy businesses and charities – by encouraging and supporting best practices, educating consumers and businesses, celebrating business role models, and calling out and addressing substandard marketplace behavior.

BBB of Southern Colorado houses more than 29,000 reviews on companies in the region. In 2015, it processed 2,898 complaints and had 1.6 million page views on its website. All company and charity reports are available for free online.

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