Friday, May 25, 2007

Critics blast Springs liveability

Colorado Springs has been getting a bad rap on Sperling's Best Places Web site message board, despite the city guide ranking the Springs fourth-best metro area in America.

Some comments from people living here:
  • "Only good if you're rich."
  • "I've lived in Colorado Springs most of my life. Over the years it has become too expensive to live here. There are no good jobs. If you want a job, you have to work minimum wage."
  • "The military doesn't help because the soldiers work, too, so you have to fight them for jobs even though they make decent money from being in the military and they get plenty of discounts in town!"
  • "All in all this is only a good place to live if you have the money. Otherwise, go somewhere else!!"
  • "The cost of housing is outrageous. The average house is $223k. Houses in good school districts are $350k+. We can afford to buy a house here, but decided not to b/c we hope to leave in 2 yrs or so. That's as long as we can take it."
  • "The people here are somewhat nice (but not overly so). If you're expecting smiles and someone making light conversation--don't. No one goes out of their way. Think long and hard about moving here!!!"
  • "I do not know any metro area with half a million people that doesnt have a bypass around its city."

Explaining 'fuel surcharge'

Ever wonder why the "fuel surcharge" on Waste Management's bill changes every month? Blame fluctuating fuel prices, says a corporate spokeswoman.

The company, the largest trash and recycling collector in the nation, adjusts it monthly fuel fee for pickup in cities where independent contractors provide collection service. The charge is based on the U.S. Department of Energy's national average for diesel fuel.

"If it goes up the week the billings go out, our fuel surcharge goes up," the spokeswoman says.

Waste Management began adding a fuel surcharge for residential and commercial customers in 2000, using a flat-fee method. Two years ago, the company initiated the current system.

The corporate Web site,, lists its fuel surcharges.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

A proper farewell for Filthy Wilma's

Filthy Wilma’s will be officially laid to rest with a funeral procession June 2. The distinctively named art gallery at 10 Ruxton Ave. in Manitou Springs recently closed, reopening at a new location, 729 Manitou Ave., and with a new name, the Green Horse Gallery.

The gallery was forced to change its name because of its new landlord’s opposition to the name Filthy Wilma’s. In memory of Wilma, local artists and musicians will lead a sidewalk parade from the old location to the new, starting at 2:30 p.m. A grand reopening party will follow from 3 to 7 p.m.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Home buying tips from the FTC

The Federal Trade Commission has issued a pair of reports designed to give home buyers and sellers more information about the process. One, about the importance of competition, can be found at The other report, on tips to know when buying a home, can be found at

Event planner starts her own company

Denielle Backstrom has opened Backstrom Events, a Colorado Springs company that specializes in organizing and managing corporate conferences, parties, weddings, fundraisers and retreats.

Backstrom said she employs creativity and knows how to work within a budget. She has planned more than 100 events for companies and nonprofit organizations in Colorado Springs. Among her clients are Red Noland Auto Group and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

For more information, call her at 302-2950 or visit

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Diesel car and truck drivers faring better in price spike

The average price of a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline has broken a record each day since May 7, but the price of diesel isn't anywhere near record prices. Why? Industry experts say the supply of diesel is not as short as the supply of gasoline -- and the current price hikes are primarily due to demand outpacing supply.

The average price of diesel per gallon in Colorado Springs was $3.17 last week, 11 cents lower than the record high of $3.28 a gallon, set Oct. 24, 2005.

Regular unleaded gasoline averaged $3.22 in Colorado Springs, $3.26 statewide and $3.10 nationwide. All were record high prices.

Diesel-powered cars and trucks also get better mileage than those with gas-powered engines, so money spent on diesel fuel goes even further.

Monday, May 21, 2007

New survey shows stress of Denverites

Quick, what's the top city for stress? New York? Right. What's second? Denver? Right.

At least according to a new national survey released May 21 by health insurance provider CIGNA HealthCare.

Denver was one of eight cities studied in the Health and Well-Being in America Survey of 2,350 people. While the results show Denver residents believe they are in pretty good shape healthwise, they're also totally stressed out -- as much as people living in Washington D.C.

Sixty-one percent of Denver residents polled said they're in excellent or very good health, and 83 percent believe others would say they're in good shape. That's the highest percentage reported, beating the national average of 73 percent.

But 29 percent of Denver residents polled said they become irritable when stressed, surpassing the national average of 25 percent. The only other city that reported the same percentage as Denver was Washington, D.C.

Students check out real estate industry

Two Junior Achievement Inc. students from Emerson Middle School won the chance to spend a morning on the job with real estate agent Gloria Mendoza of Re/Max Properties Inc. The prize is in honor of June being "National Homeownership Month."
On June 12, eighth graders Curtis Williams and Marcus McCoy will go to work with Mendoza, founder of the Pikes Peak Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, and learn what's involved in buying and selling homes.