Business Briefs – 12/5/2008

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Winter weather closes park reservoirs and lakes

Sub-freezing temperatures and ice brought on by winter weather have closed lakes and reservoirs to boating at most Colorado State Parks.
The gates to the boat ramps will be locked and no additional vessels will be able to enter the water. The closure will apply to all vessels, including trailered boats and hand-carried boat such as rafts, kayaks, canoes and other personal watercraft.
Lake Pueblo will remain open to boating, weather permitting, but the ramps will be closed between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. through April 15.
The reservoirs and lakes at Navajo, Chatfield, Cherry Creek, Eleven Mile, Spinney Mountain and Boyd State Parks will be closed to boating — even if they are ice free — through Feb. 28.
For more information about reservoir closure dates, check the individual park’s Web site at www.parkes.state.co.us.

CSU awarded $12.5 million grant for STEM teacher development

Colorado State University’s Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory is the lead institution of a $12.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation’s Mathematics and Science Partnership to create a dynamic teacher development program targeted at middle school and high school teachers in the STEM disciplines — science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Researchers will create a framework where environmental science literacy drives learning of core science and mathematics concepts. The program has the potential to reach 1,000 teachers and 500,000 students.
CSU is partnering with 11 other universities and K-12 schools districts, including Greeley-Evans School District No. 6, Poudre School District, Michigan State University, Plainwell Community Schools, the University of California at Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara School District, the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies, Towson University, Baltimore City and County Public Schools, the University of Northern Colorado, the University of Wyoming and the LTER Network Office at the University of New Mexico.

Cheyenne Mountain Resort awarded Four Diamonds

Cheyenne Mountain Resort has been awarded Four Diamonds for 2009 by AAA for the second consecutive year.
Laura Neumann, vice president and general manager, said that $3 million in improvements to the resort’s facilities were an important factor in earning the designation. Renovations have been completed to public areas, including the lobby, restaurants and lounges, and $15 million in upgrades to guest rooms, meeting rooms and exterior areas are planned for 2009 and 2010.
Of about 58,000 lodgings and restaurants evaluated by AAA, only 3.4 percent earned a Four Diamond rating for 2009.

Disaster assistance available for small businesses

Small, non-farm businesses in Fremont, Chaffee, Custer, El Paso, Park, Pueblo, Saguache and Teller counties are eligible to apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The loans are meant to offset losses because of reduced revenue caused by the drought that occurred in Fremont County beginning Jan. 1.
Small businesses and most private, nonprofit organizations of any size may qualify for Economic Injury Disaster Loans of up to $2 million to help meet financial obligations and operating expenses which could have been met had the disaster not occurred.
The loans have an interest rate of 4 percent and a maximum term of 30 years. The deadline to apply is July 6.
Businesses primarily engaged in farming or ranching are not eligible. Agriculture-related businesses should contact the Farm Services Agency about U.S. Department of Agriculture assistance.
For more information, call (800) 659-2955 or visit www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

Daniels Fund makes $8.5 million in grants

Programs serving the aged, the homeless and youth were among the major grant recipients as the Daniels Fund board approved $8.5 million in funding during its fourth-quarter meeting.
Recipients included Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Arapahoe House, Bright Beginnings, Colorado Coalition for the Homeless, Colorado Drug Endangered Children, Colorado Homeless Families Inc., Colorado Neurological Institute, Denver Public Schools Foundation New Teacher Project Partnership, Family Star, Qualistar Early Learning, Save Our Youth, Senior Hub, Special Transit, Urban Peak, Care and Share, Denver Rescue Mission, Harmony Foundation, LaPuente Home and the YMCA of Pueblo.
The Daniels Fund will award $38 million in grants and $12 million in college scholarships during 2008.

UCCS College of Education earns accreditation

The teacher education programs in the College of Education at the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs meet the highest standards for professionalism in teacher education, according to a team of evaluators for the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The program has received a seven-year accreditation, the highest level possible.
There are 623 NCATE-accredited institutions, representing about two-thirds of the nation’s new teacher graduates annually.