Business Briefs – 12/12/2008

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Casa Verde among top 10 ‘green’ developments

Natural Home magazine has named Casa Verde Commons in Colorado Springs as one of the top 10 greenest co-housing developments in the United States. All units are Energy-Star qualified and include solar panel hookups, recycled cellulose wet-blown insulation and recycled flooring.
Other co-housing communities listed are in Bayfield; Corvallis, Ore.; Hartland Vt.; Madison, Wis.; Peterborough, N.H.; Portland, Ore.; St. Louis; and Tucson, Ariz.

BLM seasonal road closures in effect

The Bureau of Land Management Uncompahgre Field Office and the Gunnison Gorge National Conservation Area have implemented seasonal road closures for about 17,570 acres within the Gunnison sage-grouse “area of critical environmental concern” in and adjacent to the Gunnison Gorge NCA.
C-77, Black Ridge and Red Canyon Road are closed to motorized and mechanical uses through April 30.
The closures are intended to protect the Gunnison sage-grouse and its habitat, reduce stress and disturbance to wintering deer and elk herds, and protect soils from excessive erosion and damage.
Areas affected by the closures include portions of Black Ridge and Fruitland Mesas east of the Gunnison Gorge Wilderness, west of the Black Canyon Road, south of the Smith Fork drainage and north of Black Canyon.
All areas are open to non-motorized recreation such as hiking and horseback riding

Federal grant to help families pay for higher education

The U.S. Department of Education has awarded the Colorado Department of Higher Education a $1.7 million College Access Challenge Grant to help students pay for college and provide financial planning and debt management tools for families with students in college.
CollegeInvest, a division of DHE, will administer the grant and provide matching funds to bring the total available to almost $2.6 million during the next two years.
In addition to providing more direct need-based aid, the grant also will increase the number of school guidance counselors serving high schools with high drop-out rates and help them better serve students.

Finding customers, delivering products

The Service Corps of Retired Executives and The UPS Store have launched a free online workshop to help small business owners develop a marketing strategy, build their brand and find the best shipping options.
The course at provides entrepreneurs with guidance in the following areas:
• Defining your target market.
• Building your brand identity.
• Creating your marketing strategy.
• Building a Web site and using the Internet.
• Fulfilling orders and handling shipping.
SCORE also has created a free workbook, “10 Simple Steps to Finding Customers … and Delivering the Goods,” presented by the UPS Store.

St. Mary’s Inn tops B&B list

The St. Mary’s Inn was selected as a “Best of the Rockies” winner in the annual Best of Awards for 2008-09.
The inn, at 530 N. Nevada Ave., is owned by Zeno and Conchita Nolet.

Ministry Risk Management, Cornerstone merge

Ministry Risk Management of Colorado Springs has merged with Cornerstone Insurance Associates of Westminster to form Cornerstone Ministry Risk Management.
The company is the largest independent insurance agency in Colorado devoted exclusively to serving the insurance and risk management need of Christian organizations.
MRM was started during 2001 by Rob Paris as a division of Six & Geving Insurance Inc. Cornerstone has been in business since 1965.

CVB doles out annual awards

The Colorado Springs convention and visitors bureau recognized local companies and individuals for their commitment to sustainability during its annual awards dinner last week.
Honorees in the Management category were Suzanne Boynton, sales manager for the Colorado Springs Marriott; Tracey Hampton, director of sales and marketing for the Crowne Plaza Colorado Springs Hotel; and Brenda Lyons, senior conference planning manager for Cheyenne Mountain Resort.
Naomi Joseph of Cheyenne Mountain Resort was honored in the Customer Service category.
In the Emerging Green category, the CVB recognized the Colorado Springs Marriott and Pizzeria Rustica. The Pikes Peak Ranger District was honored in the Green Leader category.

Free parking for the holiday season

Downtown and Old Colorado City are offering free meter parking on Dec. 13 and 20.
The free Saturday parking is estimated to cost the Parking System up to $20,400 in uncollected revenue. The offset in retail and restaurant sales tax increases partially makes up the cost.