Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Mom Needs Help to Protect Kids

On July 13th, 2008 Michelle Rivera's world was struck by tragedy. Her sixteen year old daughter and Widefield High student, Sammi died playing a game. Not a sport or organized activity, but something known as “The Choking Game”. A thirteen year old from West Jr. High School also lost his life recently playing this “game”.

The game amounts to choking oneself, often with the help of others, in order to experience a kind of euphoria that comes from near strangulation. Sometimes it’s taken too far, or someone slips or trips or just waits too long to stop and people die. To make matters worse, such deaths are often ruled suicides, as no one wants to step forward and say “oh yeah, we were playing the choking game.” As a result the warnings don’t go out.

Michelle wants to do everything she can to prevent other parents from having to experience the anguish she’s been through. She is in the process of setting up a website and a non-profit organization aimed at educating parents, teachers, public safety officials and students about the obvious dangers of what some consider to be a harmless activity as well as the warning signs that could indicate a child is participating in such “games”.

Michelle has set up a fund in her daughter’s name: Samantha Marquez, at TCF Bank. She has also put together a presentation on The Choking Game which she will gladly share with any group or organization willing to listen. She is not an experienced non-profit executive or fund raiser and would greatly appreciate any assistance, be it funding, time, expertise and/or advice.

If you can help, you can contact Michelle at: 719-358-0651 or mail PO Box 31401 Colorado Springs, CO 80911.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Consumer Alert - Waste Management - read the fine print

For the past three years I've been using Waste Management for my dumpster service at my business. I was unpleasantly surprised from the get go at the fuel surcharges. Didn't they know when the came up with pricing that their trucks would be using gas? When we moved the shop 2 blocks away during the term of the contract, they charged $50 to pick up the dumpster at the old location and another $100 to drop it off at the new location, across the street.

I at least took comfort in the fact that my contract expired in October and told them on the phone I had no interest in renewing. When I called today to verify the expiration date, I was informed that since I did not send them written notice within 30 days of the contract's expiration I would be charged an additional $350 penalty for choosing not to business with them anymore. I'm sure that clause is indeed buried somewhere in their contract. That made me no less infuriated and the customer service rep got an earful. In the end, I told her it was well worth $350 to never do business with them again.

The intention in their policies seems to be to get your signature on a contract, then squeeze you for every dime they can get. All told over three years, with surcharges, pick up and drop off charges and termination charges, I'll have paid over $700 in bogus fees and charges. By not getting roped into another two year deal to avoid paying the termination charge, I'm probably saving money.

In fact, my new service provider MDI (719-492-8682), has twice the pick up frequency at half the price, and no surcharges or surprises.

I hope the folks at Waste Management put my additional $350 to very good use. There wont be anymore where that came from.

Monday, October 6, 2008


Vets Can Get Help to Overcome Homelessness and Combat Unemployment

Colorado Springs, CO -- The Pikes Peak Workforce Center and the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition today announce that the 10th Annual Stand Down will take place on Thursday, October 16, 2008, from 9:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., at the City Auditorium, 221 E. Kiowa Street, Colorado Springs, CO 80903.

The purpose of the Stand Down is to enable veterans to return to society as contributing members by providing the resources needed to overcome homelessness and unemployment. The Stand Down is a community-based intervention program designed to help homeless veterans whose battlefront is now a life on the streets.

It is estimated that there are about 115 veterans living on the streets in the Colorado Springs area. At the Stand Down, homeless veterans will be offered a hot shower and meal, clothing (winter coat, work boots, jeans, and underwear), hair cuts, oral cancer screening and flu shots, and may meet with representatives from several veteran service organizations:

Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

El Paso County Office of Veteran Military Affairs

El Paso County Department of Human Services

Pikes Peak Workforce Center

VA Clinic of Colorado Springs

VA Regional Office

Colorado Springs Veterans Center

Social Security Administration

Various Veteran Service Organizations

Transportation to the City Auditorium will be provided from the Marian House, Salvation Army Shelter, and VA Out Patient Clinic. Vets who are able should pre-register with Coreee at the VA Clinic, 25 N. Spruce Street in Colorado Springs, phone 667-5586.

Anyone wishing to financially support this effort should send a check to the El Paso County Homeless Veterans Coalition, P.O. Box 1841, Colorado Springs, CO 80901-1841. For questions, contact Patricia Frank at 667-3703 or

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Goodwill Colorado Springs appoints new CEO

Goodwill Industries of Colorado Springs has appointed Shawn Raintree as the organization’s new president/CEO effective January 2, 2009. Raintree will replace Robert G. Baker, Jr. who will retire in December after 17 years leading Goodwill. A current member of the Goodwill Foundation Board of Directors and previous member and chairman (2004) of the Goodwill Industries Board of Directors, Raintree was chosen for his expertise managing complex organizations with a clear vision and values-based leadership.

Raintree currently is the interim president/CEO of the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and previously worked at Kaiser Permanente as the Executive Director of the local office. There, he developed and led a health plan organization based on customer service, innovation and quality.

“We are thrilled someone with Shawn’s talent and expertise will be joining Goodwill’s leadership team,” Marta Erhard, Goodwill Board chairman, said.
A graduate of the United States Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado at Denver, Raintree also serves on the Board of Directors of the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region.

BBB Alert - Gas Saving Devices

Gas Saving Devices - Hype or Help

The skyrocketing cost of gasoline has brought about an insurgence of additives and devices that are made to save fuel and/or increase fuel mileage. The Better Business Bureau is advising consumers to stay away from gas saving products, parts and modifications that sound too-good-to-be-true and is offering advice on more reliable ways to conserve fuel.

Over the past decade, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has tested more than 100 gas-saving devices and hasn’t identified any that significantly improve gas mileage. Energy and Environmental Analysis Inc., a technical consulting firm in Washington, D.C., estimates that 99 percent of the aftermarket products do not really change fuel economy. The EPA notes that the majority of “gas saving” products are harmless to vehicles, but testing has found that some products can cause substantial increases in exhaust emissions, thereby increasing the chances of actual engine damage.

The BBB recommends being particularly skeptical if advertisements claim:
• Federal Endorsement. While the EPA does evaluate the legitimacy of claims made by companies that produce gas savers, no federal agency actually endorses gas-saving devices or additives.
• Glowing Consumer Testimonials. Marketing materials or Web sites for gas savers often contain consumer testimony on the increased fuel efficiency they experienced with the device or additive, but these are often works of fiction devised by the company.
• Outstanding, Too-Good-To-Be-True Results. Consumers should be extremely wary of big promises for big savings. If a gas-saving product really could increase mileage by as much as 40 percent with little effort or money, it is highly unlikely the inventor needs to peddle the product through spam e-mails or tacky-looking Web sites.

The vast majority of gas-conserving products are not viable solutions for squeezing mileage out of vehicles, but, there are a few basic steps that all drivers can take to increase fuel efficiency and get the most out of their gas tank:
• Stay within the speed limit. BBB recommends that drivers stay within the posted speed limits since gas mileage tends to decrease rapidly at speeds above 60 miles per hour.
• Avoid “jackrabbit” starts and stops. Drivers can improve gas mileage up to five percent around town if they avoid jerky starts and stops. This means accelerating slowly when starting from a dead stop and avoiding pushing the pedal down more than one-quarter of the way; this allows the carburetor to function at peak efficiency.
• Use overdrive gears and cruise controls. Cruise control and overdrive gears improve fuel economy when driving on the highway.
• Go ahead, use the AC. Using the air conditioner at lower speeds will decrease fuel efficiency, but, at higher speeds, open windows create significantly more drag than the AC – and can reduce gas mileage by 10 percent.
• Remove excess weight from the trunk. An extra 100 pounds can reduce a typical car’s fuel economy by up to two percent.
• Keep the car properly maintained. The engine should be tuned, tires inflated and aligned, the oil changed on schedule and the air filters should be checked and replaced regularly. Replacing clogged filters can increase gas mileage up to 10 percent.

Before buying any gas-saving device or additive, the BBB recommends that consumers check out the company’s reliability report online at

Construction is Underway for The BROADMOOR Cottages

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Construction is underway for The BROADMOOR Cottages to be completed in May of 2009. Situated on elevated sites, presenting spectacular views of the 18th fairway of the East Course and sweeping vistas of Cheyenne Mountain, The BROADMOOR Cottages will bring the total guest accommodation space to 744. They are an ideal place to gather family, friends or associates for a unique and unparalleled experience.

The new project entails five (5) - eight-unit buildings and one (1) - four-unit building; six (6) total buildings offering up to 6,300 sq. ft. per complex. Surrounding the comfortably elegant, distinctly American-style cottages, lush grounds will be meticulously manicured with a meandering creek and exterior design by TAG Galyean and Oz Architecture.

Premium cottage-style interiors, designed by TAG Galyean and Johnson David Interiors, feature inviting parlors with high beamed ceilings, wood accented chandeliers and wood floors. Handcrafted area rugs complement natural stone fireplaces, and custom stone and ceramic baths feature five-fixture baths and heated floors. Premium surround sound systems in spacious wood paneled parlors, large flat-screen TVs, and desk systems with the latest in-room technology blend seamlessly into this casual and spacious design.

Additional outdoor space is found through elegant window doors that open to expansive verandas adorned with oversized wicker chairs and rockers, with unparalleled and unobstructed mountain and golf course views. A large common outdoor patio area includes an outdoor fireplace suited for year-round use, a bocce ball court and entertaining areas.

From single-room suites to an eight-bedroom cottage, there is nothing typical about this enclave. Form and function meet rest and relaxation at The Broadmoor Cottages. They are perfect for family gatherings, spa retreats, golf outings, executive board meetings and intimate destination weddings. The 44 cottage bedrooms are a retreat where time can seem to stand still and where one can redefine business, family and friendship in ultimate comfort.

The Broadmoor Cottages open in May of 2009. For more information, please call Reservations at 800.634.7711.

The BROADMOOR is the longest consecutive winner of both the AAA Five-Diamond and the Mobil Travel Guide Five-Star awards. For more information regarding The BROADMOOR please call 800.634.7711, or visit

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Department of Corrections to Stay in Springs

Colorado DOC press release:


(Colorado Springs, CO) - Ari Zavaras, executive director of the Department of Corrections (DOC), is pleased to announce the selection of a site for the Department’s new Central Office. The site is in Southern Colorado Springs, and is approximately one mile south of the current central office on Janitell Road. The proposed offer, from Mortenson Development, Inc., has been determined to be the most advantageous to the overall needs of the Department, and the State of Colorado.

“Colorado’s correctional system has been part of the economic foundation of Southern Colorado for a hundred and forty years, and I am pleased the tradition will continue,” Ari Zavaras said. “With the use of sound environmental strategies and renewable energy resources, we will be building on the bedrock of Colorado’s past with the green technology that is our future.”

The DOC received a wealth of attractive offers, including 15 viable proposals, resulting in a very competitive process. The new development is the most cost effective choice for the taxpayers of Colorado. “I have a responsibility to make the most fiscally sound decision for not only the Department, but for all the citizens of Colorado. Our team evaluated multiple factors including the proposed facility and collateral operational costs. I believe we made a great choice for Colorado,” said Ari Zavaras of his decision.

The location will sustain efficiency in operations as Southern Colorado Springs is the geographic center of the Department’s operational system. The location is in reasonable proximity to the majority of prison and parole facilities located along the Front Range and in Southern Colorado. The office will be positioned for minimal travel time to the State Capitol and other government offices located in the Denver Metro area, where central office professionals frequently attend meetings vital to the business of the state.

The winning offer by Mortenson Development, Inc., Vineyard Commerce Park, is environmentally sensitive and sustainable, and is based on conservation and renewable resource strategies, consistent with the Governor’s Office of Energy’s initiatives. Through the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the central office will be “Gold Certified”. The plan includes sustainable energy resources, the use of recycled building materials, water conservation program, permeable pavement, as well as other “green” strategies. The LEED Green Building Rating System™ encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

The Vineyard Commerce Park development will also promote the well being of the staff. Included will be conference facilities, room to hold trainings, and a Correctional Industries showroom. The selected site is located adjacent to a 43 acre open space connected to 85 miles of county-wide trails.

The building is being built to suit the needs of the Department. The building will be approximately 100,000 square feet and will provide room for the 240 employees assigned to the Central Office. The site will accommodate the Department’s projected needs through 2020 and allows the flexibility necessary in planning for the future.

The lease on the current central office building, which is approximately 65,000 square feet, expires June 30, 2010.

The DOC currently employs 6,575 personnel, operating 23 state prisons, 19 regional community and parole offices, and monitoring six private facilities. The budget in fiscal year 2008-2009 is $761 million. At the present time Department employees are responsible for supervising over 23,000 incarcerated offenders and 11,000 parolees.

Springs Firm Lands $20.5 million Air Force Contract

Air Force Awards ISS $20.5 Million Task for Operations Support and Research and Development Efforts

The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Intelligent Software Solutions a $20.5 million dollar task on their Secure Information Access Analysis and Dissemination contract vehicle.

(Vocus/PRWEB ) October 3, 2008 -- The Air Force Research Laboratory has awarded Intelligent Software Solutions a $20.5 million dollar task on their Secure Information Access Analysis and Dissemination contract vehicle. ISS will undertake efforts related to research, net-centric software development, and support to ongoing combat operations around the world.

Intelligent Software Solutions

We have a long and very successful history of research and development, as well as operational support to our military forces and government agencies. This task, amongst our many others, continues that support and continues to demonstrate the confidence the government has in our work.
Activities related to this effort will impact Air Force command and control agencies, Army and Joint ground forces operations as well as many other agencies conducting mission critical analysis, planning and operations. Carl Houghton, ISS Vice President of Strategic Planning offered "We have a long and very successful history of research and development, as well as operational support to our military forces and government agencies. This task, amongst our many others, continues that support and continues to demonstrate the confidence the government has in our work."

This $20.5 million award follows closely after ISS was awarded an increase in total contract ceiling on this contract vehicle to $150 million. ISS anticipates adding staff across the country to support this contract.

About Intelligent Software Solutions
ISS, one of the country's fastest growing software companies, has offices in Colorado Springs, CO, Hampton, VA, Washington DC, and Rome NY. ISS provides enterprise data analysis and service oriented architecture solutions to the Department of Defense and National Intelligence Organizations and has specific strengths in providing solutions in Command & Control, Special Operations, Intelligence, Counter-drug, Counter-Terrorism and Homeland Security/Defense. ISS has a diverse set of customers which include: Air Force Research Laboratory, Air Force Global Cyberspace Integration Center (GCIC), Air Force Electronic Systems Center (ESC), Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC), National Intelligence Community Agencies, CENTCOM, NASIC, NORTHCOM, SOUTHCOM, STRATCOM, US Coast Guard and many others.

Colorado amendments 53, 55, 56 and 57 dropped from the ballot


Four amendments were dropped from the state-wide ballot just hours away from the deadline to do so after business and labor leaders agreed that the measures would likely drive jobs out of the state.

Amendment 53 would have made many corporate civil offenses, criminal offenses
Amendment 55 would have required employers to show cause for firing workers
Amendment 56 would have required state employers to provide health insurance
Amendment 57 would have allowed workers to file lawsuits against employers in workers-comp cases.

The measures will appear on the ballot, but the votes will not be counted.

While all four amendments may have been well-intentioned, they would also cause employers to look at every employee as a potential lawsuit and mistakes in judgment as potential criminal liabilities.

As a concession, the business leaders agreed to put up $3 million to help fund campaigns against amendments 47, 49 and 54, which are seen as unfriendly to unions. The National Education Association has pledged an additional $2 Million to fight the "Right to Work" amendments, but said that was not part of this deal.

The agreement, of course, does not guarantee that Colorado voters wont pass "Right to Work" anyway, but opponents are confident it will be defeated.

Involved in the negotiations were Colorado Concern, an alliance of business exectutive, Sage Hospitality, Hogan and Hartson, The Metro Denver Economic Development Corporation and others. Amendments 56 and 57 were backed by UFCW Local 7 and a group called Protect Colorado's Future backed 53 and 55.

Pilates For Pink

October is Breast Cancer awareness month. Come try a Pilates mat class and support The Breast Cancer Research Foundation.

The Center at Fountain is working with Shape magazine to hold
“ Pilates for Pink class” on October 24, 2008 at 6:30 pm. 100% of the proceeds will go towards The Breast Cancer Research Foundation. For more information about Shape magazine’s Pilates for Pink program, log on to To sign up for a spot in the class contact The Center at Fountain 719.322.0134 or log on to

The Center at Fountain is a Pilates and Wellness Coaching studio. Liz Ikard-Magalong has over 14 years of Pilates instruction experience and presents workshops for Pilates instructors along the Front Range. Currently she is the owner of the Center at Fountain and a guest instructor for the PhysicalMind Institute certifying studio in Denver Co.

Change your body, mind and spirit.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Handyman Matters of Colorado Springs Under New Ownership

Company Press Release:

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Oct 01, 2008 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Sandra and Glenn Garvey, owners of Handyman Matters of Littleton, became the new owners of Handyman Matters of Colorado Springs in June of 2008.
The Garveys opened Handyman Matters of Littleton in 2003, and given the success of their business and the demand for their services, they were happy to expand to adjacent Colorado Springs when it became available.

Handyman Matters specializes in small- to medium-size jobs covering a wide range of "around-the-house" handyman tasks, repairs, installations and maintenance found on everyone's to-do lists. Handyman Matters has taken the traditional handyman business and created a tech-savvy handyman service that offers one-stop shopping for both consumers and businesses while providing a pricing model in which customers only pay for the time spent on their project. Sandra and Glenn are equal owners in the business -- with Sandra overseeing operations and Glenn handling finances -- and also have their son Eric handling the day-to-day operations of their new Colorado Springs territory.

Since its opening, the Garveys' business has grown by leaps and bounds. Through serving two territories -- the southern Denver metropolitan area as well as the newly-acquired Colorado Springs and Pikes Peak region -- the Garveys have provided relief to countless homeowners. From fixing leaky pipes to renovating entire kitchens and bathrooms, the Garveys have done it all and then some and will continue to do so through their Colorado Springs location.

Founded in 1998 by Andy Bell, Lakewood, Colorado-based Handyman Matters is a nationally recognized franchise concept that serves the repair, restoration and maintenance needs of both residential and business customers. Handyman Matters has over 100 franchisees in the U.S., Canada and Ireland. Twenty-two franchisees were added in 2007 with 25 franchisees expected to be added in 2008. Handyman Matters expects to reach 250 franchises by the end of 2010. For more information, visit
SOURCE Handyman Matters