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"Rocking and Rolling Through the Decades" was the monthly theme at Liberty Heights Memory Care, a Colorado Springs Assisted Living Community. The song, "Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear" by Elvis Presley sparked an idea for a fun intergenerational activity. The idea was to spruce up a Teddy Bear that can be given to a warm and loving home and to people who would love to have "Tony the Teddy" (as the Memory Care residents named him) as a permanent resident.  The idea was to have the teddy bear be a positive inspiration to the home that he would finally reside at and for the people who filled the home each day. The positive affirmations that were placed on Tony are meant to make people smile, feel confident and know that life is good, sayings like - "You were made to be AWESOME! - I believe in myself and my abilities - I can make a difference!”
 
Tony the Teddy was lovingly given to the kids at Zach's Place center, a Special Kids Special Families (SKSF) daycare respite facility located in Colorado Springs.  Thanks to Laura Kozlowski, Legacy Court Director at Liberty Heights Memory Care and all the residents that participated in this thoughtful project,  Tony the Teddy is very happy to have found his new home!   Zach’s Place at the Laurie Hillyard Family Center, is one of only two licensed day-care providers in the state of Colorado with the focus and training to provide specialized respite and day care for children with intellectual, physical and emotional disabilities.
 
For more information about SKSF programs, visit online at www.SKSFcolorado.org.  For more information about Liberty Heights Memory Care center visit www.seniorlifestyle.com/property/liberty-heights/.

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The Colorado Tree Coalition (CTC) is awarding nearly $35,000 in grants to eleven Colorado communities and organizations to help fund the planting of more than 500 new community trees in 2017. A diverse array of tree planting, maintenance and education projects are receiving funding. Communities receiving grants include Grand Junction, Durango, Alamosa, Aurora, South Suburban Parks & Recreation District, Monte Vista and Pueblo.

One project receiving funding this year is Durango’s Mountain Middle School’s, "Trees are the answer!" project. This project will help encourage and educate future generations on the principles of planting, nurturing and sustaining a healthy tree population.   Durango’s Mountain Middle School is focused on two areas of the campus that are void of all trees.

Another organization receiving 2017 funding is the City of Pueblo Parks and Recreation Department. They will receive $2,000 for their Municipal Tree Nursery Project. The purpose of the project is to strengthen community ties and partnerships with the City of Pueblo's Urban Forestry Program. Additionally, Pueblo Parks and Recreation will work with a local non-profit organization, Tree's Please, in two ways. First, Tree's Please and the City of Pueblo will create a City-Wide Tree Board. Secondly, the project will initiate a tree nursery to provide trees for future planting projects in the City of Pueblo.

While grant recipient projects vary, a few will add trees to parks, trails, schools, and downtown areas. Many will also focus on countering the threat posed by emerald ash borer (EAB), a non-native pest discovered in Boulder, CO, in 2013. EAB attacks and kills ash trees, which make up about 15% of the state's urban trees. Grant-funded EAB projects this year will plant native and diverse trees beneath existing ash, preparing for their likely eventual decline as EAB spreads across the state.

Each year, the CTC awards thousands in grant money to Colorado communities to help preserve, renew, and enhance one of Colorado's most valuable resources: its urban forest. Aside from aesthetic benefits, urban trees protect the air and water from pollution, save energy by shielding homes from summer sun and winter wind, increase property values, and improve the economic viability of commercial areas.

The Colorado Tree Coalition awarded nearly $50,000 to 17 organizations in 2016. Along with matching funds provided by the grant recipients this helped plant more than 360 trees in communities across Colorado. Each of these projects allowed residents the opportunity to make a difference in their community with a combined total of 3,117 hours of volunteer service.  CTC grants are made possible through the support of the USDA Forest Service, the Colorado State Forest Service, Xcel Energy Foundation, Xcel Energy Vegetation Management, Colorado Public Radio and other private donors, and our Colorado Tree Coalition members and supporters. Since 1991 the Colorado Tree Coalition has awarded 501 grants totaling over $844,000.  These grants have been matched with over $7.8 million in community money and/or time.  As a result of these grants over 74,110 trees have been planted throughout the state.

The Colorado Tree Coalition is a volunteer-driven non-profit organization leading statewide efforts to preserve, renew and enhance community forests. Programs administered by the CTC include, among many others: Trees Across Colorado, ReForest Colorado, the Select Tree Evaluation Program, and the 5th Grade Poster Contest. Learn more about Colorado Tree Coalition programs.

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Press Release

Griffis/Blessing has been selected to manage 719 North Cascade Avenue, a medical office building in the Colorado Springs downtown area. The 2,397 square foot building is 100% occupied by the Front Range Endoscopy Center.

The Commercial Property Services team of Dixie Snyder, CPM@, ACoM, Portfolio Manager, and Stephanie Simer, Portfolio Assistant will oversee the daily performance of the property.

“Griffis/Blessing now manages over 750,000 square feet of medical office space and continues to grow as the largest management firm, with the exception of hospitals, in Southern Colorado for this product type,” says Senior Vice President Richard K. Davidson, CPM®. “This is the second property we manage for this owner and are thrilled with the opportunity to continue to offer quality services to them and their tenants.”

Southern Colorado’s largest property manager of commercial and multifamily properties, Griffis/Blessing is headquartered in Colorado Springs, CO with additional offices in Denver. The organization currently manages over 4 million square feet of commercial space, and more than 9,300 apartment units located along Colorado’s Front Range. The company has provided award-winning property management and real estate investment services since 1985. For more information, visit www.griffisblessing.com.

 

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by John Stossel

Donald Trump once wanted to cut military spending. 

Before running for president, he said Congress' automatic "sequestration" cuts didn't go far enough, that they were "a very small percentage of the cuts that should be made." 

Then he ran for office and said he would "make our military so big, so powerful, so strong that nobody -- absolutely nobody -- is going to mess with us." He promised to provide 50,000 more soldiers, 74 ships and 87 more fighter jets. 

This week, he followed through. He proposed increasing military spending by $54 billion per year. 

Why did he change his mind?

Even libertarianish Republicans, like Sen. Rand Paul, call for increased spending at election time. It's assumed voters like hearing that. 

But maybe they don't. 

When Americans were asked, "If one additional tax dollar were raised in the U.S., where should that dollar go?" just 12 percent said the military, according to a new poll by the Charles Koch Institute and the Center for the National Interest. 

Asked if U.S. foreign policy over the last 15 years made Americans more or less safe, 51 percent said less. Only 11 percent said more safe. The polls were consistent over time. In October and December, the majority also said the last 15 years of American interventions made us less safe. 

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by Walter E. Williams

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement, "The president's decision to ask Betsy DeVos to run the Department of Education should offend every single American man, woman, and child who has benefitted from the public education system in this country." Expressing similar sentiments, Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond said, "I expect that Mrs. DeVos will have an incredibly harmful impact on public education and on black communities nationwide." Those and many other criticisms of Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos could be dismissed as simply political posturing if we did not have an educational system that is mostly mediocre and is in advanced decay for most black students.

According to The Nation's Report Card, only 37 percent of 12th-graders were proficient in reading in 2015, and just 25 percent were proficient in math (https://www.nationsreportcard.gov). For black students, achievement levels were a disgrace. Nationally, 17 percent of black students scored proficient in reading, and 7 percent scored proficient in math. In some cities, such as Detroit, black academic proficiency is worse; among eighth-graders, only 4 percent were proficient in math, and only 7 percent were proficient in reading.

The nation's high-school graduation rate rose again in the 2014-15 school year, reaching a record high as more than 83 percent of students earned a diploma on time. Educators see this as some kind of achievement and congratulate themselves. The tragedy is that high-school graduation has little relevance to achievement.

In 2014-15, graduation rates at District of Columbia Public Schools, just as they did nationally, climbed to an all-time high. At H.D. Woodson High School, 76 percent of students graduated on time; however, just 1 percent met math standards on national standardized tests linked to the Common Core academic standards. Just 4 percent met the reading standards.