Friday, September 28, 2007

Rocky Mountain Health Plan recognized for business excellence

Rocky Mountain Health Plans was named a winner in the 2007 ColoradoBiz Top Company Awards, a competitive statewide business excellence award now in its 20th year.

Winners in 10 industry categories were announced Sept. 12 at an awards lunch at the Denver Center for Performing Arts. A panel of Colorado business leaders judged entrants based on financial performance, community involvement, marketing and product innovation.
The Western Slope-headquartered Rocky Mountain won in the health care category. The nonprofit health plan was founded in 1974 and has 175,000 enrollees.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Contact information for registering for government contracts

Several readers wanted to know how to contact local representatives who talked discussed doing business with the government, as reported in Wednesday's Business section article.

To register for contracting services and find out about bids:

El Paso County, or call 520-6390
State of Colorado, or call 303-894-2039
Colorado Springs Utilities or call 668-3862
School District 11,, see procurement, or call 520-2068
D-11 also participates in group purchasing through contracts awarded by the state,
or Western States Contracting Alliance,
D-11 also is registered on Rocky Mountain e-Purchasing System,

Sanmina-SCI plant in Fountain has checkered past

Sanmina-SCI's announcement Sept. 14 that it's closing its electronics component manufacturing plant in Fountain (right) is a reminder of the facility's unfortunate history. Sanmina-SCI, based in San Jose, Calif., told Fountain city officials it plans to lay off 319 workers and close the plant by Dec. 31. Company officials refused comment on the closure. The plant was once used as a computer repair facility by Data General Corp., which closed the plant in 1989 and laid off 450 people. Then, Apple Computer came to town amid much fanfare in 1991 and used the facility to produce notebook computers. In 1996, Apple sold the plant to what was then SCI Systems. At the time, most of the plant's 1,050 workers were hired by SCI. What will happen to the plant now isn't known because Sanmina officials aren't talking. El Paso County land records say it's about 250,000 square feet or about one-fourth bigger than a Wal-Mart supercenter. It's at 702 Bandley Drive, just east of Fort Carson.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

E85 pump locations

Saturday's article on the confusion drivers are having with the introduction of yellow E85 pumps left many readers wondering which fueling stations in Colorado Springs offer E85. Here's the list:

Acorn Food Store, 305 S. 8th St.
Chief Petroleum, 301 S. 10th St.
Farm Crest 1st Stop, 2105 W. Colorado Ave.
Farm Crest 1st Stop, 5050 Boardwalk Drive
Western Convenience, 2507 E. Platte Ave.
Western Convenience, corner of Union and Briargate boulevards

Castle Rock Shopping Extravaganza

The Outlets at Castle Rock will host its second annual Shopping Extravaganza from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday. The VIP shopping event offers exclusive discounts, a catered lunch, a goodie bag and other perks. And it’s for a good cause, raising money for 10 charities including Food Bank of the Rockies, the PEAK Parent Center and Castle Rock Senior Center. Tickets are $20; $10 of each ticket is tax-deductible and will be donated to the individual’s designated charity. Tickets can be bought in advance at the Outlets at Castle Rock customer service desk or online at

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Disaboom's formal launch is soon

The clock is ticking on the Disaboom Web site toward its official Oct. 1 launch. The Web site is intended as a comprehensive online resource for the millions of Americans with disabilities. Many features are already up as part of a Beta launch.

Disaboom Inc. was founded by two Colorado Springs men: Dr. Glen House, medical director of the Center for Neuro and Trauma Rehabilitation at Penrose Hospital, and investor J.W. Roth. So far, so good, says Roth, chairman of Disaboom Inc. “We have had over 25,000 people visit the site and the page views have been better than expected,” he said in an e-mail.

No matter who's counting, foreclosures up in El Paso County

Foreclosure statistics assembled by California-based RealtyTrac Inc., an on-line service, have been criticized by Colorado Division of Housing officials. They say RealtyTrac counts foreclosures multiple times and therefore inflates state and local numbers; that's one reason Colorado has shown up in the past as the worst foreclosure state in RealtyTrac's research, Housing Division officials have said. The latest RealtyTrac numbers for Colorado Springs seem to bear out the concern of state officials. On Sept. 18, RealtyTrac reported a total of 617 foreclosures in August for Colorado Springs and El Paso County, a 46.6 percent increase over the 421 foreclosures in the same month last year. RealtyTrac has said its figures include homes in various stages of foreclosure. By comparison, the El Paso County Public Trustee's office reported 307 newly filed foreclosure notices in August in the county, up 20.4 percent from 255 during the same month last year. No matter who compiles the numbers, however, there's no doubt foreclosures are on the rise.

Maryland real estate company bullish on Springs

Predictions of a recession aren't getting in the way of Corporate Office Properties Trust and its development plans in Colorado Springs. On Sept. 13, Springs officials chose Maryland-based COPT as the master developer of the Colorado Springs Airport's 270-acre business park; after it negotiates an agreement to lease the land from the city, COPT will develop the property with office, industrial and retail uses, streets, utilities, traffic signals and the like. But is it the right time to undertake such a project? Days before COPT was selected for the airport project, U.S. Bank economist and Springs resident Tucker Hart Adams reiterated her prediction that the nation is headed into a recession. Even so, COPT Vice President George Swintz, based in the Springs, said the company is confident in the airport project. "We are very pro-active about helping businesses grow in Colorado Springs," Swintz said. "We see that there is an appetite for the buildings we're constructing and designing. And there have been enough consolidations of companies operating in multiple locations that want to be under one roof and they're large enough to brand them in this community and they want to do that in a signature building. We think the depth of the market is significant enough to compel us to build. There haven't been very many buildings built in this decade (in the Springs) and it's already 2008. The buildings built in the 1980s are 20- and 25-years-old. Who doesn't want to be in a new building that has efficient mechanical systems, that doesn't have a roof that leaks, that's built green so it's a healthy building and has amenities like fitness centers and locker rooms and showers and a well conceived design? It's a better product."

Monday, September 24, 2007

Watch out for deceptive mortgage ads, FTC warns

The Federal Trade Commission is warning mortgage brokers and lenders -- as well as media outlets carrying their ads -- that some advertising claims appearing on Web sites and in newspapers, magazines, direct mail, e-mails and faxes might violate federal law. “Many mortgage advertisers are making potentially deceptive claims about incredibly low rates and payments, without telling consumers the whole story -- for example, that these low rates and payments apply for a short period only and can go up substantially after the loan’s introductory period,” said Lydia Parnes, the FTC’s Consumer Protection Bureau director. Advertisers are being advised to review their ads and to read business and consumer education materials on the FTC’s Web site to learn about relevant laws and requirements, while media outlets are being alerted to potentially deceptive advertising. During the past decade, the FTC has brought 21 actions against companies in the mortgage lending industry, focusing in particular on the sub-prime market. Consumers can learn more by going to “Deceptive Mortgage Ads: What They Say; What They Leave Out,” available at The information also is available by writing the FTC’s Consumer Response Center, Room 130, 600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20580. The FTC works for consumers to prevent and avoid deceptive and unfair practices in the marketplace; to file a complaint in English or Spanish (bilingual counselors are available to take complaints), or to get free information on any of 150 consumer topics, call (877) FTC-HELP or (877) 382-4357 or use the complaint form at