Friday, September 21, 2007

Colorado Springs HVAC company expanding

A Colorado Springs heating and plumbing company is on the grow. Heating & Plumbing Engineers Inc. recently paid $1.36 million to purchase buildings at 4229 and 4235 N. Nevada Ave. The 2.2-acre property consists of a 25,000-square-foot manufacturing facility and a 3,000-square-foot industrial building. HPE, which has its main office at 407 Fillmore Place, plans to use the facilities to expand its Colorado Springs operations involved in commercial heating and ventilation products and services; the new site will serve as a manufacturing facility for custom sheet metal ducting.
Charley F. Conrad of the Olive Real Estate Group Inc. in the Springs represented the property's seller, Rando Enterprises LLP, in the transaction; Steve Bach of Bach Commercial represented HPE.

U.S. expands check-cashing program

U.S. Bank is expanding to Denver a service it tested in Colorado Springs that allows noncustomers to cash some types of payroll and government checks.
The service, which uses special software from Texas-based Valid Systems Inc. to verify the recipients identity by checking multiple databases, is now available at the bank’s 62 Denver area branches. The system had been tested in Colorado Springs since January.
The bank reported a 50 percent increase in transaction during the the second month and nearly half of all users becoming repeat customers by the third month. The bank also said branches increased new account openings by the second month of the program.
U.S. Bank charges a 1 percent fee ($1 for every $100 paid through the check) to cash preprinted payroll, government or tax refund checks up to $2,500. More than half of the participants in the program in mid-April were between 18 and 29 years old, the bank said.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Gold mine gets voluntary industry certification

AngloGold Ashanti Limited's Cripple Creek and Victor Gold Mining Co. has been certified as compliant with the International Cyanide Management Code.

An audit of the operation near Victor was conducted by an independent third party and found full compliance with the code's principles and standards of practice. The code is a voluntary industry program for companies that produce gold using cyanide . The International Cyanide Management Institute administers the code.

Banning Lewis Ranch open house on Sept. 29

Banning Lewis Ranch developers will hold an open house from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29, to showcase their inaugural neighborhood -- or village, as they're called -- at the ranch. Northtree, southeast of Woodmen and Marksheffel roads, covers 338 acres and will have about 1,000 homes when it's completed over the next few years. The open house will give area residents and prospective home buyers a chance to tour 20 model homes, visit the Northtree recreation center and get a feel for the initial development. Entertainment, treats and giveaways are planned, as well. More information: The Banning Lewis Ranch, annexed in 1988, makes up most of Colorado Springs' east side; about 21,400 acres of the ranch were purchased in 2001 by a California real estate company. Over the next half century, the property will become home to about 75,000 residences and 180,000 people. For now, developer Banning Lewis Ranch Management Co. will concentrate on six villages on the property's far north side.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Denver Mr. Biggs still in the works

Establishing a Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center in Denver is taking longer than originally thought.

“Denver is going slowly, but still happening,” said Matt Van Auken, chief operating officer for Bigg City/Mr. Biggs.

Mr. Biggs Family Fun Center opened in Colorado Springs in 2005. This year co-owner Steve Bigari announced plans to expand the home-grown brand to Denver, with a Mr. Biggs opening there by the end of September.

“Not everything goes according to Bigari Standard Time,” Van Auken said in an e-mail. An opening in summer 2008 is now envisioned.

Check out HMO, PPO satisfaction rates

A Consumer Reports National Research Center study rates experiences with HMOs and PPOs. Results are published in the September issue of Consumer Reports magazine.
Overall, 67 percent of 37,000 survey respondents said they were completely or very satisfied with their health insurance plan, up from 64 percent in a 2004 survey.
The reasons? Problems getting a doctor’s appointment: 10 percent.
Problems with billing errors: 21 percent.
Problems with primary care provider: 25 percent.
Problems with getting help from insurance company: 36 percent.
Of Colorado’s HMO plans, Kaiser Permanent Colorado ranked highest, with an overall satisfaction score of 81 percent, out of 100 percent. Pacificare of Colorado ranked next, with 75 percent satisfaction.
On the PPO list are UnitedHealthcare with 74 percent satisfaction, Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield of Colorado with 73 percent satisfaction, CIGNA HealthCare, 72 percent, Humana, 71 percent and GreatWest Healthcare, 69 percent.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Auto advice on repairs, hybrids and other earth-friendly vehicles

Who doesn't need a little automotive advice? Here's how to get it.

The Complete Idiot's Guide to Auto Repair ($19.95) was just released, offering everything from the tires up, for teens to seasoned drivers. "Ideal resource for making basic repairs" the publicity material says. Routine maintenance, troubleshooting and system overviews are included in the 50-page self-diagnosis guide, penned by a knowledgeable female mechanic, Vyvyan Lynn.

Also released in August, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hybrid and Alternative Fuel Vehicles ($14.95). Besides being chic and hip, the author says there are many incentives to switching to hybrid and outlines the growing lineup of green vehicles. It's written by Kelley Blue Book Executive Editor Jack Nerad in what he calls "clear, jargon-free and nonpolitical language."

If you prefer online resources, check out The new Web site launched by, a Burlington, Vt.-based company that helps auto dealers with online marketing, gives all kinds of info about envrionmentally friendly vehicles. You can also search inventories of dealerships around the nation to find the car you're looking for.

Honing that mind-body connection

A few notes from the fitness front:

Rock Your Yoga recently opened downtown at 127 1/2 E. Bijou St., across from Acacia Park. The studio offers a variety of yoga styles; for information on classes and schedules, go to or call 227-1452.

Pilates Essence is holding an open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Sept. 25 at its new location inside Dance Colorado, 612 S. Tejon St. The open house will include free lessons and refreshments. Call 575-0585 to RSVP. For more information, visit

Monday, September 17, 2007

Spectranetics to appeal verdict

Spectranetics Corp. said last week it will appeal a $500,000 federal-court jury verdict in a patent dispute with a New York surgeon.
Dr. Peter Rentrop won the verdict in January that a catheter made by the Colorado Springs-based company infringed on his patent. The verdict, along with $690,000 in legal fees and royalties, triggered the company’s first annual loss in four years.
A judge denied an $150,000 jury award for Rentrop’s legal fees, but hasn’t ruled on Rentrop’s motions that the case be declared “exceptional” and he be awarded legal fees and interest both before and after the verdict.
Spectranetics told stockholders in November that it provided Rentrop with confidential and proprietary information about its laser catheter technology and he used the information to later file patent applications on that technology.

City officials agree: Lowe's needs its space(s)

A Colorado Springs City Council decision to snip 13 parking spaces out of a 500-space Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse parking lot was nearly bad luck for developers of the University Village shopping center on North Nevada Avenue. When council members approved the University Village plans in July, they deleted the 13 spaces because of safety concerns; city staffers feared cars would back out of the spaces into oncoming traffic or endanger shoppers heading into and out of the store's garden center. Thirteen spaces might not seek like a big deal, but they were to Lowe's. The company was unhappy and argued its business plan requires a certain number of spaces. Also, the store already had given up parking areas to accommodate shopping center setbacks, traffic circulation and other users. On Tuesday, Sept. 11, the council reversed itself and approved a revised plan hammered out by city staffers, the developer and Lowe's; the new plan altered landscaping and traffic patterns to create more room for cars backing out of the 13 spaces. "This is a good example of the public and private sectors getting together for mutual benefits and for a good decision and a good resolution," said Kevin Kratt, University Village's developer. The shopping center, where Costco Wholesale Club also will build a store, is a cornerstone of a North Nevada redevelopment project, from Garden of the Gods Road to Interstate 25. Costco and Lowe's likely will start construction in early 2008, with completion in 2009.