Archive for October, 2008


Landmark Boulder church
Originally uploaded by Jerry W. Lewis

First Christian Church, on 28th Street just as you enter the city from U.S. 36, will continue to be a Boulder landmark even though its been purchased by a developer and the congregation is moving to Lafayette.

It's one of those structures that simply catches your eye as you pass by, with its roof pointing west toward Boulder's foothills.

The 8.500-square-foot building was bought by Chanin Development, which is building the Landmark Lofts project around the site. Owner Jim Chanin, who has described the church as "an iconic structure that needs to be preserved," has said he will incorporate at least some of the building into the development, perhaps as a fitness center or other use for residents.

I'm just presuming the "part" will be the beautiful stained glass sanctuary, or at least let's hope so.

The church has a congregation of about 300, according to the Boulder Camera, including residents of the nearby Golden West senior living center. The church is hoping a shuttle will help keep its members as it moves out to Lafayette.

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Like many of my friends, I worry
and stress about the market and the quick descent of my IRA and stock
investments.

So I decided to go fishing.

A trip up Poudre Canyon, over Cameron
Pass and into the high peaks backdrop of Colorado’s vast North Park, where we
fished the winding North Platte River, was truly uplifting. My fishing buddies
intentionally kept the radio off, and our cabin’s TV, thankfully, didn’t work.
I didn’t buy the morning newspaper outside the Moosecreek Café in Walden.

I’m not sure if it was the fall
colors, the sunsets behind the Continental Divide or that one really fat,
three-pound rainbow jumping on the end of my line, but when I got home, the
daily news of the plummeting Dow didn’t faze me as much. At least not for about
24 hours.

Panic, one stock adviser said, is
not an investment strategy. Wading down a private stretch of river,
concentrating intently for the strike on your fly or just sitting on the bank
watching for a hatch calmed me down.

I came home with a positive
attitude. Then, the worst week in the history of the market got me thinking
again.

It’s so easy to say your investment
strategy is long term when the market is going up, not so simple when you keep
reading comparisons to the Great Depression. It’s easy to say I’ve been through
bear markets before, not so easy when trillion-dollar bank bailouts don’t stem
the bears much.

       I
really want “sell now” screamers like Jim Cramer to be so dead wrong (wasn’t he
screaming buy on downturns?) Maybe sane people will just quit watching his
rants altogether.

       So
I asked myself, if I really do believe that a Dow in the 8,000 or even 7,000
range will find a bottom, are there any signs justifying a little optimism?

       So
here goes.

       *
In just one day driving up and back from fishing, gas prices dropped 10 cents.
Going up, we filled up at $3.36, coming down, $3.26. I heard a Denver station
was selling $2.99 gas. Oil is under $70 a barrel.

       *
I remind myself daily. If you haven’t sold, you haven’t lost a penny. Sure it’s
depressing to compare your investment values to the start of the year. But
gains have been erased on paper only. Will buyers jump back in, and the Dow
reverse direction? A 900 plus day was encouraging, only to be followed by more
selling.

* Do you know who your bank or
broker is anymore? Let’s see. J.P. Morgan Chase became the biggest bank by
deposits size by taking over Washington Mutual, seized by federal regulators.
Bank of America is creating the world’s largest brokerage by buying Merrill
Lynch. And Wells Fargo finally swallowed up Wachovia. Eventually, you, the
customer, will be in the driver’s seat. Mega-banks or small community banks
must have your business and deposits, which are now insured up to $250,000.

On Oct. 1, I started counting how
many pieces of financial marketing mail, including online pitches, I’d receive.
WaMu sent me a credit card offer on the day they were bought. Chase offered a
home equity loan. U.S. Bank pitched me a platinum business card. As of Oct. 15,
I received about 12 offers, almost one a day.

Bank junk mail does not mean you
get a loan. Even potential borrowers with high credit ratings are feeling the
squeeze. But when the smoke clears it’s going to be easier for your financial
shopping, keeping everything from a checking account to your retirement
investments under one banking umbrella.

* And what about businesses,
especially the small businessperson who might have been thinking of selling?.
One Colorado business broker I know admits it’s harder now to find buyers
unless they have cash. It is time, he said, for an owner to get serious about a
one or two-year plan to make their businesses attractive. With investors
hesitant about the stock market, they could have even more cash for
acquisitions in the near future.

* The Fed’s latest rate cut,
although seemingly ignored by the market, means home mortgage rates could drop,
auto loans should be cheaper, credit card rates should drop. A consumer
spending slowdown is inevitable, but steps like this will help many.

* I’ll end with a few tidy numbers.
$700 billion to buy U.S. banks’ mortgage debt. Another $250 billion to buy bank
equity. Sounds like a pile of dough, but in Europe, the bailout is up to $2.3
trillion. Something good needs to come out of this.

I wish I had more reassuring news.
Whatever you do, be wise about your moves. Consult your CPA or adviser before a
panic decision you’ll regret.

And if the weather stays warm,
consider going fishing.

Categories : Business
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BOULDER – Has your business
or nonprofit been operating in the city of Boulder for at least 50 years?

The Boulder Sesquicentennial
Celebration Committee
, in partnership with the Boulder Chamber of Commerce and
Boulder County Business Report, is looking for businesses and nonprofits that
have been operating continuously in Boulder for at least 50 years. The
Sesquicentennial Committee is planning several events to honor the city’s 150th
birthday in 2009.

The Boulder 150 organizers also are seeking local businesses to sponsor the year-long sesquicentennial events. Businesses interested in sponsorship information should contact Bob Yates, at 720-888-2283 or e-mail him at bob.yates@level3.com.

These companies and
organizations will be honored at the Chamber’s annual dinner Tuesday, Feb. 3
and invited to a special VIP reception sponsored by the Business Report before
the dinner.

Companies and nonprofits
still operating (regardless of a name change) since at least 1959  in the city of Boulder should e-mail
their contact information to research@bcbr.com or call Beth Edwards, Boulder
County Business Report research director, at (303) 444-4950.

Information and a short video
on Boulder’s 150th celebration are online at www.boulder150.com.

Categories : Business
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Oct
11

Historic old town at Twin Lakes

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Historic cabins at Twin Lakes
Originally uploaded by Jerry W. Lewis

Hoping to catch the peak of fall colors, as well as get a little late season fishing in, I was lucky this year to drive over to both Buena Vista in South Park and Walden in North Park.

The historic town of Twin Lakes sits in Lake County, at the foot of Independence Pass. Although we woke up to find snow on the high peaks and a rather cloudy day, the sun came out for a few pictures in Twin Lakes. A visitors center here, closed for the winter, gives the history of these old cabins, which include an assay office and a former tavern called the Red Rooster.

We stopped at Twin Lakes driving from Buena Vista, past the headwaters of the Arkansas River, and on over to Leadville, the highest incorporated city in the U.S. at 10,152 feet. In Leadville, we wandered through the historic Delaware Hotel, built in 1886.

Short weekend trips like these always remind me what a huge pleasure it is to live in Colorado. Incredible views of the Collegiate Range and especially Mount Elbert, the highest peak in Colorado.

I love to read about Colorado’s early gold rush and mining history. And it’s always a thrill to find some of it still preserved.

Categories : Uncategorized
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The biggest worry for most of us who travel by air is
usually whether or not our luggage will be lost.

But if you’ve ever experienced a medical emergency during a
flight, as my companion did on a recent Frontier flight back to Denver from
Seattle, a lost bag suddenly becomes a trite issue.

When a life possibly hangs in the balance of whether or not
a trained doctor is on board, as well as the emergency training of the airline
flight attendants and quality of in-flight medical kits, you realize a jetliner
cruising at 30,000 feet really isn’t the best place to get sick.

First, I truly commend the outstanding customer service of
Frontier employees, from the reservations clerk who dropped a $100 change fee
on our tickets due to our medical need to get back to local doctors, to the
ticket counter clerk who moved us to the front row of seats since Allison
already was weakened by what we later learned was a worsening case of pneumonia.

A word to the wise. Your doctor should warn you, although
they did not in our case, that if you are not feeling well in the first place,
cancel your travel plans. If you already have a breathing problem even from a
severe cold, airline travel worsens the condition because cabins are
pressurized at 8,000 feet and have less oxygen. So now we know.

Once Allison joined me in Seattle, it didn’t take a medical
degree for me to cancel our vacation plan to join friends on a sailing trip in
the San Juan Islands. I could see Allison was fighting more than a nasty cold.

She did seem able to travel, and we quickly rebooked a
flight home. About half way through the flight, however, some coughing took a
change for the worse, and she began gasping to catch her breath. That’s when
those front seats became important as I told the flight attendant Allison
needed oxygen immediately.

I’m afraid other passengers did not get their second coffee
or drinks on the flight as two flight attendants and a member of the flight
crew transformed into an alert medical team, asking if a doctor was on board
and making the call to a doctor on the ground for emergency advice.

Our sincere thanks go out to two extremely caring medical
students from Vanderbilt University, who, once Allison was receiving oxygen,
checked her vital signs, kept her (and me) calm and helped make the critical
decision that her heart seemed fine and the flight could continue to Denver
without having to divert to Salt Lake City.

When we landed, other passengers remained seated and calm as
fire department paramedics boarded to help Allison off the plane and into the
hands of a medical team waiting at the airport. After another check-over and
good advice from paramedics, we knew the wisest move was the ambulance ride to
the emergency room at the Anchutz Medical Pavilion of the University of
Colorado Hospital in Aurora.

The incredible attention and
medical treatment Allison received there for a very serious bout of pneumonia
could be another column.  Both of
us are still talking about the unsurpassed quality of care at UCH.

While
the Frontier staff performed at their best, the experience made me question the
tools airlines have on board for emergencies in these times of cost-saving
cutbacks.

When
Allison was chilled during her breathing attack, it was another passenger’s
coat, not an airline blanket, that kept her warm. Remember, most pillows and
blankets have been removed from overhead bins.

 The
young doctors were frustrated by a stethoscope from the medical kit that was
inadequate for them to listen to Allison’s condition. If she had been having a
heart problem, this could have been serious.

Other
doctors and even the World Medical Association have urged airlines to upgrade
their medical emergency protocols. By law, airlines now must carry automatic
external defibrillators, oxygen and medical kits. And some airlines carry
extra, non-mandated medications.

In fact, Frontier did have an Albuterol inhaler, and that,
with a glass of orange juice, eased Allison’s breathing.

As
I looked for statistics on the number of medical emergencies on airlines I
discovered the disturbing trend that the FAA doesn’t keep a master record of
medical incidents. So the types of emergencies and how they were treated is not
something being tracked or studied for improvements by the FAA. The FAA
counters that once an airline customer leaves the aviation system, there “is
not way for us to track the outcome.”

Really?
An impossible task? Or just a desire to avoid some bad PR about the number of
medical problems happening on flights?

 

 

 

      

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories : Travel
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