Friday, July 21, 2006

Scam artists target area seniors

The Better Business Bureau is warning area seniors to be wary of a new phone scam in which they are threatened with cancellation of Medicare or Medicare part D coverage as a means to get the senior's bank account information. Roma Costanza with the Senior Insurance Office in Colorado Springs says Medicare and Social Security never ask for bank information, cash payment, or other personal information. Once seniors have turned over bank account information they can lose everything in their accounts and a few have already lost large amounts. "Seniors may get calls from Medicare providers," said Katie Carrol, spokeswoman for BBB of Southern Colorado, "but they already have most of the senior's information and are not allowed to get any financial information over the phone." For further information call the Colorado Consumer line at 800-222-4444.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Market chastised for shocking behavior

Liborio Markets, a Latino-focused grocery chain due to open a store in Colorado Springs later this year, is drawing fire for the way it plans to handle its poultry. The company is seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Health and the Tri-County Health Department to bring in live chickens to its Commerce City store and kill them on site. Store owner Anthony Trujillo says he plans to bring in 150 chickens a day in climate-controlled trucks, kill them by electric shock in a back room, then de-feather, clean, cut and place them on shelves, all within five hours of delivery. Local residents are protesting the effort on the grounds that Commerce City law states that no livestock is allowed to be killed within city limits. To do so, says protester Claudia Barnes, would mean that "we're just opening up a keg of worms."

Downtown gets a new jewelry store

Californians Dale and Sherry Bierfeldt are bringing a new jewelry store to downtown Colorado Springs. D Bierfeldt will open on July 31 with a grand opening on Aug. 5 at 107 E. Pikes Peak Ave., the former location of The French Store and Patsy's Candies. Dale Bierfeldt worked for Geiger Jewelers in Brea, Calif., for 17 years before deciding to move to Colorado and strike out on his own. "I looked at other parts of Colorado Springs," Dale Bierfeldt said, "but this is such a great location it became an easy decision to make." Bierfeldts will do custom manufacturing and repairs of all types in addition to its traditional retail operation. "We will have upper end quality jewelry and also some for people with a budget in mind," Dale Bierfeld said. "I want to be able to cater to anybody from the $100 purchase to $10,000."

Did you ride your motorcycle to work Wednesday?

Wednesday was Ride Your Bike to Work Day, as in the two-wheeled motorized variety.

Did you ride your motorcycle or scooter to work Wednesday?

Is it good alternative transportation?

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The frightening cost of health insurance

Health care for a family of four in the U.S. will cost about $13,382 this year, a 9.6 percent increase from 2005, according to a recent report by Milliman. That indicates health care costs are still rising at a fast pace, despite slowing from double-digit growth in recent years.

In addition, two studies released by Watson Wyatt Worldwide find that many U.S. companies plan to reduce health and pension benefits for current and future employees.

Most companies that provide retiree health benefits "plan to continue," although "retirees should expect to pay more for their coverage," the Watson Wyatt report said.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Have you seen Ken Lay?

There's mounting evidence that Ken Lay's death in Aspen earlier this month was faked. One theorist notes that on the day before Lay died, former Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the same hospital. With Lay's business relationship with President Bush well-known, the rumor is Powell provided papers and a new ID to get Lay out of the country. Others point to the fact that there are no photos of the body. Lay now joins other famous figures, Jimmy Hoffa, Elvis, etc., who people believe are still alive. So if you see him around town, let us know.

An energy-saving idea

It's not an extreme makeover, but an energy makeover. One Colorado Springs homeowner is in line for more than $20,000 in new windows, appliances, insulation and other home improvements as part of a promotion sponsored by Colorado Springs Utilities and the Colorado Energy Science Center, a non-profit group offering consumer information on home energy use. Springs Utilities is contracting with the Energy Science Center for $16,900. The Energy Science Center then will administer a contest in which one utility customer will win more than $20,000 in home upgrades from other co-sponsors contributing appliances, insulation services, a home energy audit and the like. By participating, CSU hopes to help customers learn more about saving energy and conservation, said utility spokesman Steve Berry. The contest is open only to customers of Springs Utilities and runs through Sept. 15. More information:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bach is back flying solo

Steve Bach, a veteran Colorado Springs commercial real estate broker, has left Sierra Commercial Real Estate and re-launched his own brokerage. Bach (right) and Sierra, which is composed of several high-profile members of the old Palmer McAllister Co., had merged in December 2004. Bach says he accomplished most of his three-year business plan goals in 18 months while with Sierra, including selling and re-selling the Patriot Park office and business park on the Springs' east side. At 63, Bach says he's reducing his workload in half to about 10 long-term clients. "It's a point in my career where I feel I have to focus on long-term relationships," Bach said. But, he added, he expects to still do business with Sierra. Broker Michael Helwege has joined Bach at Bach Real Estate Partners.