Business Briefs – 8/8/2008

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Spread the gift of reading

The Children’s Literacy Center needs volunteers to provide one-to-one tutoring in reading.
Volunteers will tutor one child, two hours a week. Orientation and training sessions are scheduled for 5:30 to 8 p.m. Aug. 26, 27 or 28 at 2928 Straus Lane, Suite 100.
For more information, visit www.peakreader.org or call 471-8672.

ESM offing free GED classes

Ecumenical Social Ministries is offering free GED training classes for low-income participants, with the exception of a $30 placement test fee.
Classes are held from 9:30 a.m. to noon Mondays and Wednesdays or Tuesdays and Thursdays. Students are expected to attend the class until they are referred by the instructor to take the GED test.
For more information, or to register, call 228-6786 or 228-6794.

Hydro power loan program

The Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority has $10 million available to help governmental agencies with the installation of small hydropower units at their water facilities.
The loans have a term of up to 20 years and an interest rate of 2 percent. The maximum amount is $2 million.
The authority’s board also approved a $150,000 matching grant program to help local governments with the evaluation and development of small hydropower projects. Grants will be available up to $15,000.
The deadline to apply is Oct. 15. Visit www.cwrpda.com/Programs/SHLP for more information.

SBA revises small business size standards

The U.S. Small Business Administration has revised its small business size standards for the heating oil and liquefied petroleum gas dealers industries.
The new rule will convert the receipts-based size standards from $11.5 million in average annual receipts in the heating oil dealers industry and $6.5 million in liquefied petroleum gas dealers industry to a 50-employee size standard to provide a more stable size definition.
Before the change, many small businesses were exceeding the standards because of large and unpredictable increases in oil costs — although they continued to deliver the same quantity of fuel products.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, heating oil and propane average weekly prices have increased by 95.9 percent and 74.5 percent and have fluctuated by more than 35 percent between 2002 and 2007.

LearningRx wins two awards at convention

The Colorado Springs North LearningRX center received the Community Impact Award and the 5-Star Customer Service Award during the company’s 2008 national convention.
The service award is based on a franchisee’s Net Promoter Score, which indicates the likelihood an individual would recommend the business to a friend. The community impact recognition is determined by a center’s number of students during a year.

Kutak Rock places among top bond counsels

Kutak Rock LLP has been ranked in the top 10 national bond counsels for the first half of 2008 by Thomson Reuters.
The firm has 132 municipal deals aggregating more than $5 billion.

Grants available for on-farm energy projects

The Advancing Colorado’s Renewable Energy program has $500,000 available to help pay for agricultural energy related projects.
Grants will be allocated in three categories: feasibility studies, project participation and research. Applicants must provide matching contributions of at least 10 percent of the total project budget and grant money may not be used for paying current debt, general administrative expenses or indirect institutional overhead costs.
Applications and a $50 nonrefundable application fee must be received by Sept. 17.
For more information, visit www.colorado.gov/ag/energy or call (303) 239-4116.

Agriculture grants available

The Colorado Department of Agriculture is accepting grant applications from companies that research and develop new uses and markets for food and agricultural products that are grown, raised or processed in Colorado.
Projects eligible for funding include feasibility studies and technical projects such as assessing the potential of establishing an agricultural value-added business project, and marketing and promotion projects such as first-time participation in trade shows, new product launches and promotions supporting the development of new sales channels.
About $100,000 is available, and the maximum award per project is $20,000.
A matching contribution of cash and in-kind resources equal to at least 50 percent of the total project budget is required. Applications may be submitted any time and there is no deadline to apply.
For more information, call (303) 239-4116 or visit www.coloradoagriculture.com.