Friday, July 7, 2006

The top veteran-related charities

It's probably not suprising that researcher Charity Navigator reports a high percentage of military and veteran- type charities spend way too much money on fundraising and not enough on supporting their causes.

Here are Charity Navigator's five best recommendations:

  1. Fisher House Foundation, spends 94 percent of donations it receives on program to assist families in need of lodging.
  2. Disabled American Veterans Charitable Service Trust, spends 93 percent of contributions on program that helps disabled veterans and their families through support of physical and psychological rehabilitation programs, specific disabilities such as amputation and blindness, and shelter for homeless veterans.
  3. Marine Corps-Law Enforcement Foundation, spends 99 percent on program that aids children of Marines or federal law enforcement personnel who were killed or died on duty at home or abroad.
  4. Coast Guard Foundation, spends 83.5 percent of funding on program that supports the morale and education of men and women of the U.S. Coast Guard and Coast Guard Academy.
  5. Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation, spends 75 percent of donations on providing scholarships for higher education to children of U.S. Marine Corps, particularly those whose parent was killed or wounded in action.

Hawaiian flights helps Mesa beat thunderstorms

Despite battling severe thunderstorms on many of its service routes, Mesa Air Group had a 5.6 percent rise in the number of seats the airline sold in June due in large part to the launch of a new Hawaii division named go!

Year-to-date the airline, which flies out of the Colorado Springs airport under the name of America West/US Airways has carried more than 7 million passengers.

Mesa Air Group Chairman & CEO Jonathan Ornstein said June weather was particularly harsh as severe thunderstorms and air traffic control disruptions impacted Midwestern and East Coast operations.

Job cuts increase for first time in six months

The first half of the year ended with a 25 percent surge in planned job cuts to 67,176 in June from 53,716 in May, in what may be new evidence of an economic slowdown.

It was the first time in six months that job cuts increased, according to a monthly report issued Thursday by global outplacement firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc.

Despite the June increase, job cuts are still at a much slower pace than a year ago. The June figure was 39 percent lower than the same month last year when employers announced a record high110,996 job cuts.

The 180,580 job cuts announced in the second quarter represent the lowest quarterly figure since 168,875 cuts were tracked in the third quarter of 2000. The second quarter figure is 29 percent lower than the first quarter and 28 percent lower than the same period in 2005.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

Real property for real people

There are no games to play, no chat rooms and certainly no photos of Brittney or Paris. But when it comes to popularity, the El Paso County Assessor's Office Web site and its real estate search page have the sort of following that rivals celebrities. County Assessor John Bass (right), who's been recognized for his ongoing efforts to make public information available to the public, says the property search page received 26.5 million parcel inquires in 2005. Those inquiries included visitors who examined property characteristics and who used the page's nifty parcel mapping feature. In addition, 765,000 visitors bookmarked the site, Bass said. For tax assessment purposes, the Assessor's Office catalogues every piece of real property in the county -- from single-family homes, to shopping centers, to office buildings to vacant land. Web site visitors who type in a street address or a parcel schedule number can find the size and age of a house or other piece of real estate, purchase prices over the years and names of owners, among other information. The mapping feature also plots the property's exact location. Homeowners and sellers also can click on the "comparable search" link, which takes them to a page where they can compare home sale prices.

Look out Hollywood!

Adam Aircraft is making its Hollywood debut with its Adam A500 centerline twin-engine piston air craft.

The Englewood-based company, with operations also in Pueblo, will be featured in the upcoming Universal Pictures release "Miami Vice," the movie, in theaters July 28.

The Adam A500 flew to Florida and the Dominican Republic for two extended filming schedules. The Dominican Republic flight was Adam Aircraft's first international flight.

Electro Energy jump starts government contract

The Electro Energy plant in Colorado Springs will do the work on an $850,000 Army contract the Connecticut company was awarded to develop advanced rechargeable batteries for the battlefield.

The contract could result in orders for hundreds of thousands of batteries for the military in the next few years and “into the millions over time,” said Michael Reed, president and chief executive officer of the company.

The 18-month contract from the Army Communication and Electronics Command in Fort Monmouth, N.J., is to develop an advanced lithium ion rechargeable battery with a usable capacity up to 30 percent greater than existing batteries of the type.

So, who wants to be a millionaire ranch owner?

The auction of 640-acre Redcliff Ranch last month failed to receive a sufficient bid and subsequent efforts to sell the property, 12 miles from downtown along Highway 115, have also come up short. Tranzon Asset Advisors of Kentucky is now considering listing the property with a local real estate firm.

HP gets high marks for waste disposal

Hewlett-Packard plants in Fort Collins and Colorado Springs have been recognized as the "outstanding business program" of the year by the Colorado Association for Recycling.

The Colorado Springs' HP diverted 77.3 percent of its waste from landfill disposal in one year (1.62 million pounds), according to the CAF while Fort Collins diverted 86.9 percent (1.67 million pounds).

"If possible, waste generated by operations and products is eliminated at the source," the CAFR wrote in its report. "Where elimination is not feasible, HP attempts to divert potential waste to beneficial uses."

United's June passenger loads highest ever

United Airlines, who has 36 percent of the market share in Colorado Springs, reported its highest-ever June passenger load factor of 88.3 percent Wednesday.

Total scheduled revenue passenger miles, meaning number of available seats that were actually sold, increased in June by 2.3 percent. The number of United departures is up 2.9 percent year-over-year for a total of 47,769 departures in June. Traffic in North America was up 2.7 percent from June 2005.

Passenger traffic in and out of Latin America saw the largest increase, of 17.5 percent, since last June. Passenger traffic from the continent is up 14.1 percent.

United's cargo loads are up year-over-year by 10.5 percent for freight and 7.3 percent for mail.

Wednesday, July 5, 2006

Carmichael Training Systems opens second facility, in N.C.

Colorado Springs-based Carmichael Training Systems has opened a new storefront testing lab and office facility in Asheville, N.C. Like the local headquarters, CTS-Asheville will offer the company's signature fitness and health evaluations, services and training camps throughout the year. The two-to-three-day camps welcome bicycle riders of any ability and offer them the opportunity to learn from several CTS coaches in classroom discussions and out on the scenic roads of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

BBB has new program to improve service

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado has created a new program this week to get feedback about the Bureau’s services from both member and non-member companies.

The program, called the BBB of Southern Colorado Liaisons, will be handled by several Bureau members who plan to call on about 250 companies a month to get a sense of what the bureau is doing right and determine where it can improve.

What do you know about the BBB of Southern Colorado?
What is the BBB of SC doing for you?
How can the BBB of SC serve you better?

The information gathered from the surveys will be used to improve the Bureau’s services to its members and the community. For more information, contact the Bureau at 636-5076.

And, yes, someone has created a cranberry blog

All the world's a blog, And all the men and women merely bloggers. According to research from Technorati the number of blogs has doubled every six months for the past three years, with 75,000 new Web logs created every day. Jupiter Research finds that 35 percent of large companies nationwide plan to start corporate blogs this year -- bringing the total to 70 percent by New Year's Day 2007.

Monday, July 3, 2006

Finding alternative fuel made easy

Looking for greener pastures in the form of biodiesel, ethanol 85, compressed natural gas or other alternative fuels? has launched a nationwide interactive map locator that points the way to alternative fuel stations.

Types of fueling stations included are compressed natural gas, liquefied natural gas, electric, hydrogen, biodiesel, propane and ethanol 85.

Entries provide the station name, address, description, photo, contact info and a Web site link.

eBay leads the way for online auto seekers

The Center for Media Research reports that eBay Motors has 5.4 million users each week, accessed from home and work computers.

eBay tops the list of online automotive destinations. MSN Autos comes in second, AOL Auto ranks third and Kelley Blue Book is in fourth place.

Rounding out the top 10 are,, Premedia Automotive Network, AAA, Ford and Jumpstart Automotive Media.

Temby named chair of new steering committee

Will Temby, CEO of the Greater Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce has been named Chair of the Steering Committee of the Colorado Competitive Council.

The council is a new statewide organization, which was created by the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce to advocate for growth of the state's economy and its ability to compete for jobs in the future.

The council will work with other business groups to push for sound policies that encourage growth of key industries and attract more primary jobs to Colorado.

Catered meals at the office -- when can I start!

Catered meals at the office, on-site exercise and laundry facilities and "reasonably priced" oil changes, haircuts and massages available at work helped Analytical Graphics Inc. win the top ranking workplace among mid-sized employers.

The Philadelphia-based company, which has an office in Colorado Springs, previously topped the list of small companies in 2004 and 2005, but outgrew that list and moved into the top ranking for firms with between 251 and 999 employees.

Analytical Graphics produces analysis software for national security and space uses and also operates offices in the Washington, D.C., area, California and Madrid, Spain.

The San Franciso-based Great Place to Work Institute creates an annual list of large employers for Fortune magazine and the small and mid-sized company lists in cooperation with the Society for Human Resource Management.

"Our philisophy is simple: Happy employees make a productive company. AGI always strives to do the right thing for our team," said Analytical Graphics President and Chief Executive Paul Graziani. What a concept.

Among large companies, Valero Energy Corp. ranked third and nine other companies with operations in Colorado Springs also made the list, including Whole Foods Market, Starbucks, Fedex, A.G. Edwards, Booz Allen Hamilton, CH2M Hill, Men's Wearhouse and Intel.
For the rest of the rankings, go to

Regional Retail Rumblings

At 42 years old, local shoemaker Terry Love claims to be the youngest shoe repairman in the state. We'll have to take his word for it. After 20 years of experience working for other shops, he's now opened his own business, Love's Shoe, Boot and Saddle Repair, at 1927 W. Uintah ... Pending approval from Colorado Springs Liquor and Beer Licensing Board on July 7, Mike Miles will reopen the Navajo Hogan roadhouse as a restaurant and bar by the end of July. .... Charlie Cruz of Colorado Springs once had to buy a $50 collared shirt in order to meet the dress code at an Austin, Texas golf course. It made him angry and it made him think. He's now created a whole line of "instant collars" that can be attached to any collarless shirt in seconds. You just wrap the collar around your neck, open the collar to separate the five sets of magnets and then attach to the shirt. Cruz can be reached at 310-7855 or by fax at 382-3693.

Are you reading this blog because you can't concentrate at work today?

Is half your office out on vacation? Is the other half, who are physically in the office, on vacation mentally? Are you reading this blog because you are finding it impossible to focus on work today?

According to a global consulting agency, July 3 could rank along Christmas Eve day and New Year's Eve day as the least productive workdays of the year. Still, more than half of all companies surveyed across the nation will be open for business today.

"With the national observance of Independence Day on Tuesday, workers around the country will try to get a four-day weekend out of it by taking off Monday. Those who were not quick enough to request the day off may be less productive that day, seeing it as a day to 'take it easy,'"said John A. Challenger, chief executive office with glooutplacementment consultancy.

Several human resource executives noted that while they are open for business on Monday, many workers are taking the day off as part of their annual paid leave. As a result, these companies may find that being open does not necessarily mean it will be a normal day in terms of productivity. And Since many vendors and customers are enjoying a four-day weekend, there is a good chance that not much normal business will be accomplished.