Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Colorado + $100 million = Biking state

Posted By on Wed, Sep 16, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Bikes are bigger business than you might think. - CASEY BRADLEY GENT
  • Casey Bradley Gent
  • Bikes are bigger business than you might think.

As a cyclist, I might have done a little dance this morning when this landed in my inbox: Gov. John Hickenlooper will spend $100 million over the next four years on bicycling infrastructure in an effort to make Colorado the No. 1 state for biking.

Say it with me: "We're No. 1!"

Now, I know some of you may be eyeballing this announcement with some cynicism. I mean, $100 million is a lot of dough. But bicycling infrastructure has been found to pay off big time for local economies. And, it can be a big plus for locals and tourists. I actually wrote a story not that long ago about the strides our city is taking to try to improve bicycling infrastructure. One would hope such a large statewide initiative will help Colorado Springs meet it's goals more quickly.

The announcement was just made, so we'll have to wait and see how it plays out. But here's all the information that's been released from the governor's office:

Gov. Hickenlooper announces $100 million commitment to Colorado’s biking infrastructure

DENVER — Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015 — Gov. John Hickenlooper today announced the state’s commitment of more than $100 million over the next four years to enhance Colorado’s ability to become the best state to ride a bike.

“Our goal is to make Colorado the best state for biking in the country,” said Hickenlooper. “These investments will help fuel our economic growth and tourism industry, move us toward a cleaner environment and advance our goal of being the healthiest state in the nation.”

Colorado is often ranked the fittest state, and was recently ranked the most physically active state in the country. Even with these stats, Colorado has an obesity rate of more than 21 percent, up from 16 percent in 2004. In addition, a nationwide study found that kids are only spending 4-7 minutes outside in unstructured play every day, but are spending 7-10 hours a day staring at screens. Biking is one of the ways Colorado is aiming to change these stats.

The four year plan and $100 million budget will allow Colorado to add bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure, better understand and market the cycling industry and support awareness and education efforts to promote safety.

“We want to encourage riders of all shapes, sizes and abilities and make biking as safe and accessible as possible statewide,” said Ken Gart, Colorado’s bike czar. “With more than 5,000 miles of biking trails throughout the state, and events like Pedal The Plains and the USA Pro Challenge, Colorado is poised to take this lead.”

The Colorado Pedals Project, Bicycle Colorado, Great Outdoors Colorado, and many more are working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Office of Economic Development, Colorado Tourism Office, and other state agencies, to develop the overall strategy, distribute money, and accomplish shared goals.

CDOT is committed to spend at least 2.5 percent of its construction budget on bike and pedestrian programs including infrastructure.

“Coloradans have put a high priority on providing choice in how they get from A to B, whether for commuting or for recreation, and cycling for many is a key alternative," said Shailen Bhatt, executive director of the Colorado Department of Transportation. “At CDOT we believe that including cycling plans into road planning and construction will help us reduce congestion and contribute to solving the transportation challenges facing the Colorado."

Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests Lottery proceeds in Colorado's rivers, parks, open space, wildlife, and trails and has been the state's single largest funding source for trails.

“GOCO is excited to be a part of this new initiative and any opportunity to leverage funding to provide places for people to get outside from the backyard to the backcountry," said Lise Aangeenbrug, GOCO executive director.

Bicycle Colorado, one of the first statewide bicycle advocacy groups in the nation, and now the largest, encourages and promotes bicycling, increased safety, improved conditions and provides a voice for people who ride bicycles in Colorado.

“Bicycle Colorado is excited that more children, families and new cyclists will ride thanks to the improvements this funding will provide,” said Dan Grunig, Bicycle Colorado executive director. “Improved health and a stronger economy are other perks to come from this investment in better bicycling.”

Hickenlooper made the announcement at the Interbike Conference, the largest bicycle trade event in North America, bringing together manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of cycling. He is the first governor to ever speak at the conference.


About GOCO
Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) invests a portion of Colorado Lottery proceeds to help preserve and enhance the state’s parks, trails, wildlife, rivers and open spaces. GOCO’s independent board awards competitive grants to local governments and land trusts, and makes investments through Colorado Parks and Wildlife. Created when voters approved a Constitutional Amendment in 1992, GOCO has since funded more than 4,500 projects in urban and rural areas in all 64 counties without any tax dollar support. For more information, visit

About Bicycle Colorado
The mission of Bicycle Colorado, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, is to encourage and promote bicycling, increase safety, improve conditions and provide a voice for bicyclists in Colorado. Incorporated in 1992, Bicycle Colorado has a sustained and successful history of protecting and improving access for bicyclists on Colorado roads, paths and trails. For more information, and to become a member, please visit

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Can't pay the bills? Maybe this will help.

Posted By on Thu, Sep 10, 2015 at 12:41 PM

  • J. Adrian Stanley
According to a recent survey, rents in this city are pretty low — at least compared to other Colorado cities.

I actually wrote about the survey for the paper (read it here). Anyway,  I recently read through the Facebook comments on my article and, well, a lot of you are pretty pissed off. Rent may be lower in Colorado Springs than it is in Boulder, you pointed out, but that doesn't mean that every family can afford to pay it. 

I get it. The economy has recovered, but that doesn't mean most of us are seeing those improvements in our paychecks. If we even get a paycheck.

Which brings me to the point of this blog: There's a job fair coming up at the end of the month. Pikes Peak Workforce Center has lined up over 120 companies for the event, which will be held September 30 at the Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center.

If this one is anything like the last job fair I saw there, you may want to line up early. Best of luck to all of you!

Over 120 Hiring Companies Onboard for
PPWFC Fall Job Fair

September 10, 2015, Colorado Springs, CO – Over 120 companies have signed up for the PPWFC Annual Fall Job Fair. The Pikes Peak Workforce Center says that companies must have open positions to attend the Fall Job Fair and estimates there are potentially over 3,400 open positions available to the job fair attendees. With unemployment rates decreasing and hiring increasing, discouraged workers and those looking for a better job are encouraged to attend the Fall Job Fair, which is sponsored by KKTV 11 News.

WHERE: Hotel Eleganté Conference and Event Center, 2886 S Circle Drive, Colorado Springs, CO, 80906

WHEN: Wednesday, September 30, 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Veterans, transitioning military and eligible spouses are allowed early entry
at 9:30 a.m.

WHO: For all job seekers, 18 years or older. Over 120 hiring companies are planning to attend. A list of those companies is attached. Estimated job openings per industry are:

• Transportation: 1,163
• Customer Service/ Hospitality: 1,062
• Healthcare: 346
• Financial: 150
• IT: 65
• Education: 63
• Manufacturing: 60

Please note that the above numbers do not add up to the total openings.

HOW: Job seekers should register by signing into their accounts at To prepare for the Job Fair, job seekers should:

• Attend the How to Make the Job Fair Work for You! Workshop
• Research companies and apply online before the job fair
• Dress in business professional clothing and
• Bring their PPWFC scan card for express entry into the job fair.

NOTE: All Pikes Peak Workforce Center’s offices will be closed on September 30 so that staff may assist at the job fair.

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Springs Airport hosts firefighting tanker

Posted By on Wed, Aug 12, 2015 at 3:59 PM

An air tanker operation will move in at Colorado Springs Airport. - GILA NATIONAL FOREST
  • Gila National Forest
  • An air tanker operation will move in at Colorado Springs Airport.

After losing out earlier this year on the state's Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting, which chose Rifle instead, Colorado Springs has something to crow about.

The Springs Airport has been selected by Global SuperTanker Services, LLC, as its operating base for the "world’s largest firefighting tanker," the company announced on Wednesday.

From the release:
Today, the company announced the completion of a definitive agreement to convert and operate Boeing 747-400 aircraft to be the fastest, longest-range, and most effective aerial firefighting platform in the world.

President, Jim Wheeler stated, “The Colorado Springs airport is centrally located and has the ideal support infrastructure to allow immediate response to virtually any national or global emergency.”

“The Global SuperTanker is a firefighting resource that can be called upon to help communities across our country and around the world. Having a critical resource like this in Colorado Springs will spotlight our beautiful City and enable us to position ourselves on the leading edge of aerial firefighting,” said Colorado Springs Fire Chief, Christopher P. Riley.

Bret Waters, Director of the Colorado Springs Office of Emergency Management, stated “Strong partnership is a key component to community emergency preparedness. We welcome the employees of Global SuperTanker and the tremendous capability they bring to our region.”
The company's news release:
Global SuperTanker Services, LLC, who today announced their project to build the world’s largest aerial firefighting tanker on a 747-400 platform, also announced plans to make Colorado Springs the operating base for the SuperTanker.

Global SuperTankers President Jim Wheeler stated, “The Colorado Springs airport is centrally located and has the ideal support infrastructure to allow immediate response to virtually any national or global emergency.” He further noted that “The principal factor in our decision has been the exceptional support of Mayor John Suthers, Airport Director Dan Gallagher and their teams, who have worked closely with us in finalizing our search for the SuperTanker base. We look forward to being an active part of the Colorado Spring’s community. We also believe Colorado Springs will benefit by not only having the SuperTanker firefighting presence, but will gain new jobs and services as a result.”

Colorado Springs Mayor John Suthers stated, “Our community has seen, firsthand, the importance of aerial firefighting during the Waldo Canyon and Black Forest fires. We are fortunate to welcome Global SuperTanker employees and services to our city and our airport.”

“The selection of Colorado Springs Airport as Global SuperTanker's operating base further demonstrates the Airport's potential for job creation and community benefit. The entire Airport community welcomes them and we look forward to growing our partnership,” stated Airport Aviation Director, Dan Gallagher.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Medveds gain honor

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2015 at 4:04 PM

The Medveds: A lifetime worth honoring. - COURTESY OF UCCS
  • Courtesy of UCCS
  • The Medveds: A lifetime worth honoring.
Local business couple Jon and Becky Medved have been chosen to receive the 2015 University of Colorado Colorado Springs College of Business Lifetime Entrepreneurship Award at a May 8 campus luncheon.

The couple has deep roots here and have been involved in a variety of business. Most recently, Jon Medved was named to the Colorado Springs Health Foundation board of trustees. The foundation disperses the proceeds from the city's lease of Memorial Hospital to University of Colorado Health.

From the news release:
Community and campus leaders will fill Gallogly Events Center in celebration of the Medved’s excellence in business and advocacy of several non-profits over the past 30 years.

“Jon and Becky have an inspiring record of transformative leadership both individually and as a couple,” Venkat Reddy, dean, College of Business, said. “We are delighted to select them as joint honorees for ourseventh annual event.”

Jon Medved's career primarily focused on organizational turn-arounds, leading companies such as Current, Walter Drake and CHEFS Catalog. Becky Medved, an MBA alumna of the UCCS College of Business, found her niche with start-ups as a principal in a marketing services company, Saligent, Inc., and a partner in two aging service technology businesses, RSCPros, LLC and Peak Age, Inc., both launched in collaboration with the UCCS Aging Center. The couple first met while working as colleagues at Current in the early 1980’s and today are married with two grown children.

The Medveds are dedicated volunteers and supporters of the Myron Stratton Home, the Colorado Springs Pioneers Museum, UCCS Theatreworks, Discover Goodwill, Colorado Springs Conservatory and others. Becky Medved serves on the boards of the UCCS College of Business Alumni Association and Pikes Peak Community College, and she is also a trustee of both the University of Colorado Foundation and Penrose- St. —Francis Health Services Board. Jon Medved currently serves on board of directors for Woodford Manufacturing, G.E. Johnson, and Nehring Associates.

Jon and Becky Medved follow a list of distinguished past award recipients including Gary Loo (2009), Bruce Shepard (2010), Joe Woodford (2011), Cari Shaffer (2012), Chuck Murphy (2013), and David Jenkins (2014).

The award luncheon is a fundraising event to support the College of Business and its alumni and student initiatives including a newly launched Career Coaching Program. The luncheon begins at 11:30 a.m. May 8 in the Gallogly Events Center on the UCCS campus. Tickets are $150 each, $95 for UCCS College of Business alumni, and are available at or by calling (719) 255-5174.

Dean’s Circle sponsors of the award luncheon include Kirkpatrick Bank, Luisa Graff Jewelers, Nunn Construction, Inc., Penrose-St. Francis Health Services, Gray Line Tours of Colorado, Inc., and GE Johnson Construction.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2015

GE Johnson wins honor

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 5:28 PM

An early rendering of the museum. GE Johnson is the contractor.
  • An early rendering of the museum. GE Johnson is the contractor.
Local contractor GE Johnson Construction Company gets a blue ribbon as one of Denver's Top Workplaces of 2015, as named by the Denver Post.

The company works in multiple states and is based in Colorado Springs. Its highest profile local job at the moment is the Olympic Museum and Hall of Fame, a topic we wrote about this week.

Here's more from the release about the company's honor:
The newspaper’s rankings designate the Top 100 work places in Colorado, broken out into large companies, midsize companies and small companies. GE Johnson was ranked #17 among midsize companies, and is the highest ranked construction firm in the Top 100.

The Denver Post invited 1,400 organizations across the state to participate in employee surveys to determine the Top 100 rankings. Anonymous surveys were distributed to employees, and evaluated in several categories, including company direction, execution, connection, pay and benefits, and overall employee satisfaction. This is the first year GE Johnson employees completed the Top 100 survey, so the ranking comes as a tremendous accomplishment.

As part of the survey process, employees were given the chance to provide testimonials of their experience with their company. One GE Johnson employee complimented the company’s leadership, saying “There is a family-like atmosphere. The executives are approachable and the owner is connected to the pulse of the company.” Another took the opportunity to speak about career development in the company, saying, “There is freedom to do as much as you want to do. The job is rewarding and the atmosphere is general happiness and excitement.”

“It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Denver Post as one of the best workplaces in the state of Colorado,” said Jim Johnson, President and CEO of GE Johnson, “My father founded the company with the idea that we should always act more like a family than a corporation. Now, nearly 50 years later, I’m proud that our employees feel valued because they truly are. The culture we have all helped build at GE Johnson is rare in our industry and in business in general; it’s a privilege to come to work with these folks every day.”

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Friday, March 27, 2015

Loyalty through leather — fight the trade

Posted By on Fri, Mar 27, 2015 at 11:53 AM

Early in 2014, the Indy ventured to India with local nonprofit Yobel International to report on a business training aimed partly at combatting the sex trade.
Purchasing a satchel bag is one way to aid the combatting of the sex trade in India. - THE LOYAL WORKSHOP
  • The Loyal Workshop
  • Purchasing a satchel bag is one way to aid the combatting of the sex trade in India.

We brought you this feature, "Trading Places." 

One source that was intentionally left out of that story was a couple named Sarah and Paul Beisly, who we did later introduce you to here, who are also working in Kolkata to liberate women from the trade via the sale of fair-trade craft items. 

Their business, The Loyal Workshop, finally, recently, launched with an "ethical leather goods store" featuring wallets, satchels and belts, currently. 

Shop there to support the company's mission or give them a like on Facebook to track their progress. 

You can also buy an "Advocate Wristband Pack" aimed at helping spread the word, which comes with several perks. 

Sarah and Paul Beisly, displaying a prototype in early 2014 in Kolkata. - MATTHEW SCHNIPER
  • Matthew Schniper
  • Sarah and Paul Beisly, displaying a prototype in early 2014 in Kolkata.

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Laura Neumann returns to the leisure biz

Posted By on Wed, Mar 25, 2015 at 4:26 PM

Neumann: Back to her roots. - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • Neumann: Back to her roots.
Laura Neumann, Mayor Steve Bach's former chief of staff, has taken on the general manager position at Garden of the Gods Club and Resort.

But as she explains in an email:
The new owners of Garden of the Gods Club and Resort are true pioneers in every sense of the word. Not only with their vision for expanding the Club and Resort to include a Wellness offering (Spring 2016), but allowing me to “job share” the lead role—which is still considered rather unorthodox in our business.... They recognized the time I want/need to be with my teenagers (calling it a season in my life) and embraced it—versus resisting it. It’s pretty cutting edge in the hospitality world to allow an executive level person to do such—and I am very thankful!! 

Neumann worked for Bach from summer 2012 to March 1, 2014. She's also has worked under a consulting contract for the City for Champions tourism projects.

The employment announcement:
Garden of the Gods Club and Resort owners Judy Mackey and Brenda Smith, along with Gemstone Hotels & Resorts; our management partner, are pleased to announce the permanent appointment of Laura Neumann as General Manager.

Laura has proven herself as a transformative and collaborative leader whether through her role as strategic leader and public spokesperson of "City for Champions" this past year; or her role as Chief of Staff for the City of Colorado Springs; or her 24 years with Benchmark Hospitality International. During her tenure with Benchmark, she served seven years at Cheyenne Mountain Resort and The Country Club of Colorado as Vice President and General Manager where she was responsible for successfully repositioning the owner's asset and secured the AAA Four-Diamond award for the first time in property's history and achieved "Best Companies to Work for in Colorado" and led Benchmark’s philanthropic efforts for all 32 properties for three years prior to her departure.

When asking Laura where she gets her greatest professional fulfillment; she will quickly say her joy is in leading and developing people; which is echoed by many who have worked for her over the past two and half decades; with eleven of those years here in the Springs.

Laura, who has consistently stated her priority is with her family, was honored that Judy and Brenda not only recognized such, but embraced similar values. To learn they were willing to design a job-sharing proposal with Gemstone that respected her time limitations while aligning her experience and expertise with their business needs was compelling. "To have the opportunity to do work I love, at a destination rich with history, with owners of legendary vision, with a group of dedicated people with unlimited potential while not working a traditional schedule? How could anyone possibly resist? These women and the management group they have partnered with are remarkable in so many ways!"

As Judy and Brenda explained; "Our vision of wellness and life enrichment focuses on the well-being of the individual. All of us have seasons in our life where the devotion of our time shifts from one area to another; career, family, education, creative pursuits. We recognized Laura's need for time with family, know she shares our vision, and were willing to make accommodations for her in order to have her leadership and expertise. We're simply ‘walking our talk’ on our own life journeys".

Noted as "One of the Top Women to Watch in Colorado Springs in 2015" by Colorado Springs Business Journal, Laura Neumann has set excellent performance as her standard. With intelligent direction, compassionate leadership and skillful execution, Laura will be a significant catalyst for elevating the prominence of the Garden of the Gods Club and Resort in the hospitality industry. We are exceptionally honored to have Laura as the Resort’s General Manager and welcome her in her new role.

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Thursday, March 12, 2015

USOC developer in bankruptcy

Posted By on Thu, Mar 12, 2015 at 10:12 AM

  • Mike Fleming
Ray Marshall, the developer who won a bid to provide a headquarters building for the U.S. Olympic Committee in a 2009 deal with the city is in bankruptcy.

First reported by The Gazette in today's edition, the case was filed Feb. 20 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Denver, and states Marshall has assets of less than $500,000 and owes $3.9 million. The bankruptcy includes dozens of entities controlled by Marshall, which are all listed in the petition:


Marshall was acquitted a couple of years ago of criminal charges in connection with siphoning money from investors. He was charged again shortly thereafter, accused of stealing $1 million from the USOC deal. The Gazette reports the earlier dismissal, by Judge Barney Iuppa, was appealed by the District Attorney's Office and overturned by the Colorado Court of Appeals but that Marshall has appealed that ruling to the state Supreme  Court.

Marshall says in the filing that he owns $265,422.50 in personal property that's exempt from attachment by the bankruptcy court. Of that $250,000 is apparently an amount owed Marshall by Terry M. Miller, Lincoln, Neb., who filed for bankruptcy in November in Nebraska, according to bankruptcy records.

Marshall's single most valuable possession are two mountain bikes valued at $1,600.

This is the third bankruptcy with which Marshall has been connected. He declared bankruptcy himself in 1997, and his Colorado Materials Holding Corp. filed for bankruptcy in 2003.

He's living in a leased property owned by Classic Homes, and his spouse, who isn't named in the filing, is working part-time at Starbucks in Monument.

According to the filing, Marshall claims he and his wife have $9,740 a month in income, and $6,020 a month in expenses, leaving him with $3,720 a monthly net income.

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Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Local firm lands VA cemetery contract

Posted By on Tue, Mar 3, 2015 at 10:36 AM


After a process that lasted nearly four years, a consortium of businesses that includes William Guman & Associates Ltd. of Colorado Springs has been chosen to plan and design the Veterans Cemetery southeast of Colorado Springs.

Guman is a former Springs City Councilor, serving from 1993 to 2001. He also served on the city Planning Commission.

Here's the news release from his company:
William Guman & Associates, Ltd., a long-time Colorado Springs based landscape architecture and land planning firm, has been selected by the Veteran’s Administration as project landscape architect to develop construction documents for the long awaited National Cemetery to be constructed in El Paso County. Guman is part of the AES Group team that was awarded the primary contract to plan and design the cemetery. AES Group, Inc. is a certified service disabled veteran owned small business (SDVOSB) with primary offices in Parker, CO. Land planning for the new cemetery will be handled by The L.A. Group, PC, Saratoga Springs, NY, which has planned more than forty national cemeteries throughout the country.

Bill Guman, a licensed landscape architect, is pleased that there will be local representation on the National Cemetery’s consulting team hired by the VA.

“We think it was a wise decision for the VA to retain the services of prime consultants who are familiar with the unique requirements of our area,” said Guman. Design criteria for which the VA expressed much concern included long-term sustainability of the cemetery’s landscape. “The VA recognized that this region does not have the water resources that many other national cemeteries have to help keep them green for much of the year,” Guman said. He acknowledged that it will be challenging to design a drought tolerant landscape for the cemetery that is still attractive and in keeping with the National Cemetery Administration’s (NCA) design guidelines.

“There is an expectation for a national cemetery to always appear lush and manicured,” said Guman. “But Southern Colorado is a high plains desert and is obviously different than Arlington, Virginia” he added.
“The design team will be looking at xeric landscape alternatives that require far less water and care than acres of bluegrass lawn found in most national cemeteries.”

The El Paso County National Cemetery master plan will provide for up to for 125,000 grave sites across the 375 acre Rolling Hills Ranch property the VA purchased earlier this year. Schematic documents for approximately 50 acres of the property are being planned to support 10 year burial projections (approximately 15,300 gravesites) for the Phase 1 build out. The project will include pre-placed crypts, columbarium niches and in-ground cremains pre-placed urn crypts. The completed design will include a main entrance area, roadways, irrigation, utilities, landscaping, signage, committal service shelters, memorial walls, combined public information center and administration building, maintenance building complex, honor guard building, parking, public restrooms and temporary structures necessary to operationally support an early construction turnover of a limited number of gravesites. The VA’s estimated cost of construction for this project is between $28 million and $50 million dollars.
The project will be designed to LEED silver certified standards and meet all Federal Energy and Sustainability mandates. Planning and design of the new National Cemetery is anticipated to commence in December, with construction scheduled to begin in late 2015. Early turnover scheduling for Phase 1 should allow interments at the cemetery to commence in 2017. The National Cemetery’s Rolling Hills Ranch site is located on Drennan Road, approximately one-quarter mile east of Peterson Air Force Base and Marksheffel Road.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Respect: The Mill Outlet turns 50

Posted By on Wed, Feb 18, 2015 at 11:18 AM

  • Google

As of this week, the Mill Outlet Fabric Shop officially turns 50 years old. For those in the know, that means the biggest sale in its history with daily giveaways and prizes.

For those scratching their heads, welcome to the party. The Mill Outlet, nestled in a very unassuming building across from an old bowling alley off Fillmore Road, is THE place to buy fabric and sewing supplies. I'm no sewer, but my mom is, and growing up we shopped there for school costumes, cotton for pillows we'd craft, and whatever fun stuff we'd dig out of the remnants bins.

We'd marvel at the lovely Asian-style silks, the cotton prints that come in any color and interest under the sun (I'm serious, there's a fabric for every sports team, every hobby, every holiday ...) and admire those crafty types who could upholster their own furniture or stitch their own wedding dresses. Any kind of cord or fringe you desire, they have it; all manner of buttons to pick through, those too; all those bolts of luminous satins or some other difficult material to work with, they've got them and the people who know how to do it shop there.

I even remember hanging around in the box-like play area for kids. So yeah, basically the Mill Outlet and I go way back. And it's hung on despite the surge in online shopping and big box stores and the decline in mass interest in sewing.

Do your thing Mill Outlet.
Mill Outlet Fabric Shop Keeps Springs In Stitches for 50 Years

In the half-century since it first opened in 1965, many things have changed at Mill Outlet Fabric Shop. One thing that hasn't changed is that they still have the largest selection of fabric in southern Colorado. But they have had to adapt from a time when they first opened in the mid 60’s and sewing was booming in America. At that time, women spent record amounts on sewing, including fabric, patterns, notions and sewing machines.

Although the numbers of people sewing clothes for themselves have declined in the last 50 years since they first opened, there has been a boom in people quilting, home decorating and “do it yourselfers” buying fabric.

DIY trends like upcycling old furniture keeps people buying fabric, as people spend time repairing and reupholstering quality-made used furniture. Quilting continues to grow in popularity with over 12.5 million American households reporting an active quilter, spending over $2.25 billion on fabric and supplies.

Enthusiasm for fabric has allowed Mill Outlet to continue to flourish even in an era of big box stores and online shopping.

“Because of our size, we have been able to stay true to what we are: ‘a Fabric Shop’. While the big fabric chains move away carrying fabric for sewers and chase every crafting fad that comes along, we continue to find quality fabric that people that sew are searching for,” said store owner, Johann Kuehn.

This week marks Mill Outlet’s 50th anniversary and the store is having the biggest sale in its history, including daily giveaways and special prizes for shoppers.

“The move to online shopping has affected us a bit the last 10-15 years,” said Beate Dietrich, the stores General Manager. “But the reality is that people shopping for fabric want to touch and feel the fabric they are purchasing.”

“If someone is going to take the time to make something themselves, they want to start with quality fabric,” added Dietrich.

Even the store's central location near Fillmore and Prospect is a symbol for how much things have changed in the last 50 years. “For 50 years we have been telling customers who call we are located next to the ‘North End Post Office’," said Kuehn. “The reality is that 50 years ago this was the north end.”

A quick drive (or Google search) around the surrounding neighborhoods shows the effect Mill Outlet has had by being anchored down in the same location for five decades. There are a dozen upholsterers, interior decorators, sewing rooms and other fabric related businesses within a half mile radius of their location at 2906 N. Prospect.

“We’ve been doing business with them for over 20 years,” said Phillip Bodjanac, owner of European Upholstery located just a few blocks away on El Paso. “They are very convenient and a pleasure to work with”

Mill Outlet Fabric Shop is located in prides itself on bringing the best, service, fabric & supplies to sewers, upholsters and weekend project warriors in the rocky mountain west. In business for over 50 years at the same location at 2906 N. Prospect, Colorado Springs.

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Competition is stiff for fire aviation center

Posted By on Fri, Feb 6, 2015 at 5:21 PM


Colorado Springs faces a lot of competition for the Center of Excellence for Advanced Technology Aerial Firefighting.

Six proposals were received by the close of business at the state's Division of Fire Prevention and Control.

We were the first to report about the local application, "Lofty proposal," Jan. 28, 2014, which was spearheaded by the Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance.

Today, we learned that the following communities have applied for the center:

Clear Creek County
Colorado Springs
Fort Collins-Loveland Airport
City of Rifle/Garfield County
Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport/Jefferson County

So it won't be a walk in the park when Paul Cooke, the Division of Fire Prevention and Control director, sits down to make a decision with Public Safety Department Director Stan Hilkey.
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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

DIA soars while COS crawls

Posted By on Wed, Feb 4, 2015 at 2:03 PM

COS' new lounge on a Friday morning. Welcoming, but not bustling. - PAM ZUBECK
  • Pam Zubeck
  • COS' new lounge on a Friday morning. Welcoming, but not bustling.

Denver International Airport
today reported that 2014 was its busiest year ever, with more than 53.4 million passengers.

The report comes at a time when Colorado Springs Airport is still trying to regain numbers that hit a peak in 2007 at 1.1 million passengers. One strategy is an executive lounge, which we wrote about in today's paper.

But it's difficult to stem the flow of passengers from our burg to the mothership of DIA, though local officials keep looking for ways.

As DIA reports in a news release:
A total of 4,397,292 passengers traveled though DIA in December 2014, bringing the year’s total passenger traffic to 53,472,514 – an increase of 1.7 percent over the 52,556,359 passengers who used the airport in 2013. The previous record for the airport was set in 2012, with 53,156,278 passengers.

Additionally, DIA set six monthly records for passenger traffic in 2014: January, February, April, May, September and October.

DIA also set new records for international passenger traffic in 2014, with a total of 2,208,209 international passengers. The previous all-time high for international traffic in Denver was set in 2008 with 2,200,036 passengers. Overall international passenger traffic at DIA increased 12 percent over 2013, and December 2014 marked the 32nd consecutive month of international passenger growth at DIA.

DIA served an all-time high of 191 destinations around the world during 2014, surpassing the 187 destinations served during 2013. New air service in 2014 included nonstop service to Panama City, Panama, as well as Guadalajara and Chihuahua, Mexico.

“Ending the year with record-breaking passenger traffic demonstrates the continued strength of the Denver market for air travel,” said Denver International Airport CEO Kim Day. “DIA has the third-largest domestic network for flights, and has seen sustained growth in international passenger traffic that has been bolstered by new service to destinations around the globe such as Tokyo and Panama City. We will continue to build on this momentum as we work to add new destinations, better customer amenities and services that ensures Denver International Airport’s place on the world map.”

Mail, freight and express cargo operations saw 51,112,206 pounds of cargo in December 2014, an 11.2-percent increase compared to the same month last year. In 2014, 519,434,240 pounds of cargo were handled at DIA, up 4.1 percent from 498,938,408 pounds of cargo handled during 2013.

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Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Gov. Hickenlooper highlights the economy in speech at Antlers

Posted By on Wed, Jan 28, 2015 at 5:33 PM

Hickenlooper has ideas to improve the Springs' economy. - J. ADRIAN STANLEY
  • J. Adrian Stanley
  • Hickenlooper has ideas to improve the Springs' economy.
Gov. John Hickenlooper’s keynote address at the Antlers Hilton Hotel today focused on the economy, and ways the city can cooperate with the state to improve it.

“Pretty much in every national ranking Colorado is in the top two or three for job growth, business-friendly climate, regulatory environment, tax base — go down the list,” he said.

Hickenlooper noted that one of his first moves when he was elected to his first term was to have every state agency review its regulations. Over 13,000 regulations have been examined, and over half have been amended or eliminated. That has helped grow jobs, he says. But he noted Colorado Springs hasn’t seen as much of that growth — something he wants to address.

“We’re only strong when we are all strong,” he said.

While the state has recovered more quickly than Colorado Springs, Hickenlooper noted that the Springs is nevertheless performing better than many Western cities. A recent study by the Brookings Institute and the University of Nevada, he said, found that Colorado Springs posted the largest quarterly drop in unemployment in the country in the last quarter of 2014. Our unemployment rate, which stood at 5.1 percent in November, is also better than much of the nation. (Though not as good as the state’s which fell to 4 percent in December.)

What’s more, another study recently named Colorado Springs one of the top 10 cities for tech startups — it was one of four Colorado cities to rank. Between 1990 and 2010, Colorado Springs tech start-up activity doubled, Hickenlooper said. Other growth areas in the Springs include creative industries, exports and aerospace. He also noted that our high-end hotels are attractive for conferences, including a North American summit that he is hoping to bring to Colorado Springs.

The governor said the state was recently given a grant to advance research and technology in defense and aerospace, which could boost small and medium-sized businesses and create jobs in the Springs. He said the state is also looking at BRAC (Base Closure and Realignment), which could close or downsize Colorado military bases like Fort Carson. The governor’s office will lobby the general assembly to pass legislation addressing the BRAC, and has created a support office in hopes of keeping our bases intact.

The governor also had several ideas for growing the economy. For instance, he’d like to subsidize health insurance and office space with high-speed Internet for young workers. He’d then market the program near colleges, especially on the coasts, in hopes it would appeal to Millennials who are interested in being free agents rather than working for a large company. Such a program would be offered in conjunction with the city.

He also wants to offer free skills training to newly-hired workers who have been unemployed more than six months. That program would hopefully encourage businesses to hire long-term unemployed people. Hickenlooper said he would need the city’s partnership on the initiative and would have more information in a few weeks.

“We want to reach out to reach to businesses and say if you’re going to hire 10 people this year, we’d like one of them to be someone who’s been unemployed for more than six months.” he said.

On a side note, the governor said he was working to protect open spaces as the state continues to grow at a fast pace. He said he would like to work with the Springs to finish the Ring the Peak trail, and also connect long bike trails, including one that would stretch from Wyoming to New Mexico.

In closing, the governor said he hoped for cooperation from the legislature on divisive issues like fiscal constraints, highway infrastructure, oil and gas, and testing in schools. On the last, Hickenlooper said he was supportive of less testing, but that we need “rigorous” standardized tests of some kind. He said he believed the legislature was ready for compromise on many issues, and he that compromise will benefit the state.

“The bottom line is government’s got to work,” he said. 
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Thursday, December 18, 2014

The parking elf is baaaack

Posted By on Thu, Dec 18, 2014 at 1:13 PM

You've got to hand it to Richard Skorman. He'll do anything to get people into his Poor Richard's businesses on North Tejon Street, and he's not afraid to do whatever it takes to get publicity for it.

Once again, Skorman has put on his funny hat as the Parking Elf to plug meters with coins starting tomorrow from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. He'll also be out with his pockets full of change on Monday and Tuesday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Christmas Eve from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

From a news release:
Since the City is graciously giving us this Saturday FREE parking, and Sunday is always FREE, Richard and Patricia decided to add four days as a gift to all our valued Downtown patrons! Friday, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday(Christmas Eve), Richard, the meter Elf, will be plugging meters for people up and down “300” block of Tejon St.

If “Richard the Parking Elf“ didn’t catch you outside, and you need meter money, just ask for it in the Bookstore/Gift Store or Toy Store.

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Thursday, December 11, 2014

State of the Region addresses good, bad news

Posted By on Thu, Dec 11, 2014 at 5:34 PM

Dennis Hisey - EL PASO COUNTY
  • El Paso County
  • Dennis Hisey
Board of El Paso County Commissioners Chair Dennis Hisey highlighted both the good and the bad in his State of the Region speech today, which was aptly named "The Glass is More than Half Full." 

The speech, as usual, didn't come with any groundbreaking announcements, instead offering a big picture look at what has changed in the region over the past year. On the good side, Hisey told the crowd at the Antler's Hilton:

• El Paso County sales and use tax collections are up 5.4 percent.
• New car registrations are up more than 10 percent.
• Unemployment in the region is down to 5.4 percent compared to 7.8 percent a year ago.
• Collections from Colorado Springs lodging and car rental tax are up more than 9 percent.

On the not-so-good side, he noted:

• Regional building reports the number of permits for new single family homes so far this year is down 5.5 percent.
• The total value of all building permits is down 18.7 percent compared to last year (though that's partially due to a drop in some government permits)
• The public trustee says foreclosures are down 3 percent from last year, but mortgage payoffs and default cures are down nearly 30 percent.
• The Department of Human Services reports that approximately 70,000 residents still qualify for food stamps each month.

But Hisey was eager to stress the good news.

He noted that stormwater improvements meant locals (or at least most locals) don't have to fear normal rain storms — only the biggies cause floods. Homeless service providers, he said, have banded together in a continuum of care which will allow them to better tailor services to the needy. And several organizations are considered El Paso County Enterprise Zone Projects — from Pikes Peak United Way to the Sports Corp to the Regional Business Alliance — meaning supporting those organizations can earn you a state income tax credit. The organizations are ones that are recognized as working to improve the economy. 

Hisey also said that he believed the Colorado Springs Airport was "on the verge of a big comeback," eliciting a guffaw from one of my table-mates. But Hisey went on to explain that the Commercial Aeronautics Zone, which helps businesses that are locating or expanding their businesses at the airport, has helped fill once-empty airport buildings. That, in turn, he said, helps reduce the costs of airport operations, bringing down costs for airlines. 

Hisey was excited about the opening of the Colorado Procurement Technical Assistance Center (PTAC), which helps small businesses score government contracts. He said it had helped more than 3,000 Colorado businesses last year to secure more than $900 million in contracts. And he noted that the Colorado Springs Technology Incubator had recently partnered with the Air Force Academy to help bring air force-developed technologies to other applications. 

He also expressed hope in the City for Champions project, which he said is making progress, and in the development of a future stormwater program.

A presentation of the 2014 State of the Region will soon be posted online on the County’s YouTube channel at

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