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Submitted by Gerald Abboud, 

Conclusions of Dept. of Commerce Research Denver, CO, February 14, 2018– Department of Commerce research commissioned by Secretary of Interior Sally Jewel to determine the value of outdoor recreation as part of the Gross Domestic Product was released today. The research identified that outdoor recreation accounted for 2% of the GDP or more than $371 Billion in spending annually and that this value was steadily increasing from 2012 to 2016. This research further concluded that motorized spending was the dominant portion of spending for recreational activity, and almost exceeded all other spending sources combined. This research provides the following breakdown of the total recreational spending:

“COHVCO/TPA representatives were always aware of the strong relationship motorized recreation played in outdoor recreation but even we were surprised at the values established in the Department of Commerce Research. This is welcome information and will be very helpful in undertaking land management decisions on public lands moving forward and confirmed what many in the industry had believed for many years” said Don Riggle, TPA President. “Additionally, this information will be very helpful for communities that are targeting recreational activity to replace tax revenue that has been lost when other industries have moved out of the communities”

“COHVCO/TPA believes this is valuable information for the OHV community, members, and industry and expands on the conclusions of the 2014 COHVCO OHV Economic Contribution study for Colorado. A formal study conducted by the Department of Commerce solidifies the economic significance of motorized recreation and the importance of keeping public and private lands open for access.” Said COHVCO Executive Director Gerald Abboud.

A complete version of the Department of Commerce research is available here:

For more information on outdoor recreation visit the Trails Preservation Alliance at and the Colorado Off Highway Vehicle Coalition at

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Press Release

At the end of December, 2017, a total of 1,677,209 passengers traveled through the Colorado Springs Airport (COS), representing a 29.5 percent increase year over year from December, 2016. Frontier Airlines reported 232,302 passengers in year-to-date traffic, an increase of 249.2 percent from the previous year.

72,645 enplaned passengers and 71,742 deplaned passengers amount to a total of 144,387 passengers traveling through COS in December, an increase of 17.3 percent from December, 2016. Year-to-date enplaned passengers soared to 850,270 total passengers in December, 2017, the highest total since 2010.

December’s year-to-date load factors (the percentage of seats filled with paying passengers) remained steady. Delta reported a 92.5 percent load factor, followed by American at 86.7 percent, United at 85.6 percent, Frontier at 84.8 percent, and Allegiant at 79.4 percent.

COS currently serves 13 nonstop flights with 5 airlines. Service to Seattle, Washington, San Antonio, Texas, and an additional nonstop to Atlanta, Georgia begins April 8, 2018, with a new route to Minneapolis-Saint Paul, Minnesota beginning April 9.

During the spring break travel season, COS encourages residents in southern Colorado to “look before your book.”  Travelers spend their vacation on vacation with simple parking, easy check-in, and a short drive home.

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Press Release - (

by Gloria A. Brooks
President, Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care

Our Colorado Springs community recently dealt with an unimaginable loss – the shooting of four first responders, and the death of one of those officers. With this news, we are once again confronted by the heartbreak and trauma of loss.  The people most impacted by this tragedy share a common thread – their lives were lost suddenly, leaving their family and friends to cope with the unexpected loss of someone whom they loved dearly.
It is important for us to recognize that none of us who witness a community tragedy, either as a first person witness, friend, work colleague or family member, or a community member following the news, aren’t touched by it.  It’s important to remember that stress and grief that comes from these losses are normal reactions to sudden tragedy.  Experiencing the loss of a loved one is always challenging, but a sudden loss can be shocking and even unimaginable. In the back of our minds, we understand that no one lives forever. When someone we love has a terminal illness or has reached the end-stages of life, we have time to make preparations and say our goodbyes. But an untimely death can leave us feeling out-of-control and overwhelmed with the pain of grief.
Those who experience unexpected loss may feel angered by the sudden death, cheated of a last goodbye or sad that they didn’t perform some final act of kindness before their loved one died. Missing out on saying goodbye can leave us feeling distressed, adrift and angry; which only adds to our grief, pain and sadness during an already difficult time.
Although it may be hard to imagine during the months and even years after the sudden death of a loved one, it’s important to remember that recovery is possible. While everyone grieves differently, we ultimately work through the pain to begin the healing process.  As we go through a grief journey, it’s critical to focus on our health and emotions. After a loss we may find ourselves eating or sleeping less – but both are key to recovery. We should be honest with ourselves and deal with our emotions – repressing feelings only delays the grieving process. Crying doesn’t mean we are weak or that we’re being selfish – it means that we are human.
Pikes Peak Hospice & Palliative Care’s Center for Grief & Loss is available to anyone in the community experiencing the loss of a loved one, regardless if we provided end of life care to the person who died.  Call 719.884.6530 for next steps at no cost.
Especially in the aftermath of community tragedies, we want to extend our support and services to everyone touched by this recent shooting.  These services are free due to the generosity of our donors.  Our counselors stand ready to assist anyone grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one.
Ultimately, it’s important to keep your loved one close to your heart and honor him or her by living a fulfilling and rewarding life. During the difficult times following an unexpected loss, we can find comfort by trusting that the person we loved would want us to live our lives to the fullest.

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A little snow didn't deter people from getting out to the annual Colorado Springs Home & Landscape Expo this past weekend at the Penrose Event Center.


Dozens of vendors and service professionals were on hand, displaying, explaining and demonstrating all kinds of home and lawn goodies including gutter screens, kitchen makeovers, pond kits, concrete repair, hammocks, hot tubs and even barbecue sauce.

The three day event was produced by L&L Exhibition Management, Inc of Bloomington, MN.

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By Ed Duffy

As a teenager, Carola Rafferty helped out her parents in Germany by doing administrative work, including bookkeeping and taxes for their small businesses. She came to the U.S. as an exchange student 16 years ago. That’s when she met her husband, Michael. They travelled back and forth to Germany for a number of years. Michael had joined the Army and was stationed in Hawaii for a time.  When Michael was medically discharged they decided to relocate to Colorado Springs. Michael has family in Denver and in Pueblo and also wanted to take advantage of veterans services here.

Carola spent 7 years working with Jackson Hewitt tax services. She became an assistant manager, manager, then a tax school instructor, teaching new employees and military wives.

Carola now has her own company, Carola’s Tax Assistance, LLC. Even though she started the company in her home, and only recently moved into her new office at 157 Fontaine Blvd, she has over 300 clients and two associates working with her. Carola was at a networking meeting when she met Katie Widau of Farmers Insurance in Security-Widefield, Colorado.

The two found they had a lot in common. Both offer services to local small businesses and both are very customer focused. They’re also interested in helping promote and develop the local small business community. Both are member of the Fountain Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as other local networking groups. When Katie suggested that Carola lease some space at her location, Carola decided it was a great time to move the business out of the house.

Now Carola’s Tax Assistance, LLC is part of a one stop shop for insurance, taxes and bookkeeping services. Carola has been a certified tax preparer since 2012. She does business taxes, personal taxes, and bookkeeping services. She specializes in military taxes as well. Military service members have unique challenges when it comes to taxes. Often their income comes from several states, or even countries, within one year. Being a military wife herself and having kept books for small businesses overseas, she is well qualified to handle the situation.

You’ll find Carola’s Tax Assistance, LLC at 157 Fontaine, inside the Farmers Insurance office of the Widau Agency. You can reach Carola at 912-977-6898, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., find her on Facebook at or visit the website at