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Press Release (

The coal dust has settled. Peabody Energy has sent a wired fund transfer to the Routt County Treasurer’s Office to cover the full cost of their delinquent taxes, as well as six months of interest amassed as of November, 2016.

It took a bit of effort, many discussions, and sticking to good fiscal principles in order to fulfill our obligation to the taxpayers, but the Routt County Treasurer’s Office got it done. In addition to the full tax payment being received, legal fees that the Treasurer’s Office accrued while working on receiving full payment were paid by Peabody Energy in their entirety. The Routt County Treasurer’s Office did not spend one dime of taxpayer’s dollars to recover overdue funds - per state statute the delinquent tax payer is responsible for all the costs incurred to recover the delinquent taxes. Those funds were swiftly distributed to taxing entities by the Routt County Treasurer’s Office including the South Routt School, South Routt Medical Center, West Routt Fire District, and others.

In case you missed it, Peabody Energy and their local coal mining entities, Twenty Mile, Hayden Gulch and Sage Creek, filed bankruptcy in April, 2016. The coal company paid half of their taxes due on time. June, 2016 rolled around and the second half was not paid as required. This lack of payment left schools, medical centers, libraries, water districts and fire departments short of funds to the tune of $1.8 million dollars. SOROCO School Board Superintendent Darcy Mohr quickly informed the county that payroll could not be covered in July without the overdue tax money. The other unfunded special districts were strapped as well and were hoping to have their expenses funded soon.

But before payment was made, some Routt County elected officials thought they could accept less than the full payment owed to maintain operations. They were unaware that state statute identifies the County Treasurer as the only authorized agent to accept tax dollars. Each county elected official has the responsibility for their respective piece of government, and together they satisfy the total scope of county government.

I take my role as your elected County Treasurer very seriously, but it can be challenging in the face of a lack of trust. During the negotiations, some feared that holding out for full payment would jeopardize the operations that needed the funds immediately. I could not legally or morally accept anything less than full payment with penalty interest. I am a responsible public servant that serves without compromise, knowing the right way is the only way. I will stand for the citizens of Routt County and not fade under the roar of political winds. I strive to treat everyone the same, and get the job done the right way for all involved.

The good news is it now looks like Peabody is re-organizing while under bankruptcy. This will hopefully ensure a mutually productive future for both that company and our community. As for the Treasurer’s Office, we are back to the daily work of assisting our community in this New Year. It is our pleasure to serve all taxpayers, and businesses, and public entities equally in Routt County.

--  Brita Horn is the Routt County Treasurer/Public Trustee and the Fire Chief for Rock Creek VFD in McCoy. She has resided in Colorado since 1989 and lives on the family ranch with her rancher husband Gary. They have two daughters that attend land grant colleges, CSU and Kansas State.

Brita has been elected by her peers to be the President of the Public Trustee Association of Colorado.

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Press Release (Dougherty Relations)

At Vectra Bank Colorado’s recent economic forecast event, “New Opportunities and Risks in 2017 – Adjusting, Adapting and Thriving in Changing Business Environments,” economic experts Burt White, Managing Director of Research and Chief Investment Officer for LPL Financial, and economist Patricia Silverstein, Development Research Partners discussed Denver and Colorado growth, doing business in a changing political and economic climate, investment considerations during a boom market, interest rates, Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth and how it will all impact business.

“Running on all cylinders this year,” is how Silverstein explained Colorado’s growth and success. With net migration at an all-time high of 45,000 last year, Silverstein expects 2017 migration to be slightly less at about 40,000. Because of high housing costs in Colorado--the 16th highest in the country--and the importance for businesses to attract top talent within the growing Millennial workforce population, Silverstein says businesses will need to closely watch staffing needs and may need to increase compensation and benefits to attract new workers.

Because Generation Y has not yet reached its income potential, Generation X is spending the most dollars and driving the economic activity. As Millennials soon come into their income potential years, age 35-55, Silverstein says they will play a larger role in strengthening the economy. Silverstein expects retail trade activity to increase in 2017, but informed participants to expect inflation “taking a bigger bite out of our income this year,” expecting inflation to reach 3 percent in 2017.

Silverstein again expects Colorado to rank in the top 10 states for employment in 2017.  While growth has been slow for some areas in Colorado, like Grand Junction, all areas of state saw expansion.

“Every single industry expanded in metro Denver region, said Silverstein. “This was the fourth year that we’ve seen growth in the state’s super sectors. In fact, all sectors have enjoyed growth at historic rates.” Silverstein’s report on Colorado’s 2016 growth clusters comes out today.
Silverstein noted that these historic numbers don’t take into consideration Colorado’s sole proprietors and innovator population. Sole proprietors make up 25 percent of Colorado’s workforce. In fact, Colorado is the 5th most concentrated state of sole proprietors in country.

Burt White focused on the national economic forecast and investing. At last year’s conference White predicted a 70 percent chance of recession and even potential negative interest rates. One year later we have a forecast of strong growth with no chance of recession.

While a positive that the country avoided recession, White told the audience that the low 2 percent growth in GDP has slowed our post-recession recovery and dubbed it “the worst recovery ever.”

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Press Release (

Boulder-based NDP LLC, an engineering firm specializing in netcentric system design, cybersecurity and systems integration, has purchased Advanced Radar Corporation in an asset purchase transaction facilitated and structured by The O’Neil Group Company based in Colorado Springs. Advanced Radar Corporation’s business operations and personnel remain intact and will continue operations as Advanced Radar Company.

Originally founded in 2006 based on technology licensed from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), ARC is a global provider and innovator of commercialized applications for weather radar systems, including hardware, software and customized products for severe weather detection and storm tracking, cloud and precipitation formation, and wind-shear detection. ARC has developed and deployed radar systems on every continent (except Antarctica), and is an international leader in the weather radar field with its application-driven software.

Founded in 2005, NDP develops, modernizes and maintains satellite ground stations, data centers and computer systems, offering a complete spectrum of engineering services, systems integration, technology capabilities and platforms, including large-scale net-centric systems designs, secure and reliable data sharing, large-scale system upgrades and cybersecurity engineering.

NDP plans to integrate ARC under the current NDP leadership and operational structure and leverage ARC’s domain knowledge in weather systems to expand into the environmental-intelligence and military weather markets.

“We are excited at the opportunity to combine ARC’s leading radar technology with NDP’s proven engineering, marketing and program management experience in order to create a leader in the global market for weather radars,” said German Nunez, co-founder and president of NDP.

“The acquisition of Advanced Radar Company by NDP provides ARC with a broader platform for addressing weather and climate-related issues that will confront us in this century,” said Dr. Roelof Bruintjes, founder of ARC. “NDP’s environmental intelligence capabilities and satellite systems domain knowledge, along with ARC’s radar technologies and scientific capabilities, provide new and exciting opportunities to help address the environmental challenges that will face our nation and the world in the coming decades.”

“This transaction strengthens a pathway to move our research from the lab to the private sector in ways that help the economy and benefit society,” said Antonio J. Busalacchi, president of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, which manages NCAR on behalf of the National Science Foundation.

NDP is a small business partner supporting key SMC and Air Force Space Command programs, such as SBIRS and GPS, developing, modernizing and maintaining the ground segment, to include their data centers, communications, data computer systems and software. Large-scale net-centric designs, technology development, secure and reliable data sharing, large-scale system upgrades and cybersecurity engineering are among NDP’s areas of expertise. NDP is a Customer-Centric, Technology-Centric and
People-Centric Company.

ARC was founded in 2006 by the UCAR Foundation to commercialize a new generation of advanced weather radars (hardware, software and customized products). These systems are simple to maintain, calibrate and operate while still maintaining accuracy and reliability. We are committed to our customers
and seek to supply our clients with the best end-to-end solution for their needs.

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One wonders just how far spineless college administrators will go when it comes to caving in to the demands of campus snowflakes. For those unfamiliar with the term "snowflakes," it is increasingly being used to characterize college students easily traumatized by criticism and politically incorrect phrases. They demand safe spaces and trigger warnings so as not to be upset by views that challenge their own. Snowflakes feel as though they must be protected against words, events and deeds that do not fully conform to their extremely limited, narrow-minded beliefs built on sheer delusion. This might explain their behavior in the wake of Donald Trump's trouncing of Hillary Clinton.

Generosity demands that we forgive these precious snowflakes and hope that they grow up. The real problem is with people assumed to be grown-ups -- college professors and administrators who tolerate and give aid and comfort to our aberrant youth. Let's look at tiny samples of it.

To help avoid microaggressions, the University of North Carolina administration posted a notice urging staff and faculty members to avoid phrases such as "husband/boyfriend," which they claim is heteronormative, and "Christmas vacation," which "minimizes non-Christian spiritual rituals."

This winter, the Oregon State University administration will treat its students to a new class that promises to teach them about how blacks have historically resisted white supremacists. Professor Dwaine Plaza, one of three instructors for the course, said the idea was inspired by Trump's election, which he fears will take the country back to the 1960s.

The University of Maryland is hosting a series of postelection lectures on how a "commitment to white supremacy" gave Trump momentum and blaming "white America's spiritual depravity" for his rise to power. One of the topics will be "Make America White Again? The Racial Reasoning of American Nationalism."

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Press Release (City of Colorado Springs)

The Allstate Foundation has awarded a $20,000 grant to the Colorado Springs Fire Department for Wildfire Mitigation.
For over 60 years, The Allstate Foundation has used the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people’s well-being and prosperity.  The Colorado Springs Fire Department has been included as a partner in building safer neighborhoods and stronger communities.
Grant funding will be used to reduce wildfire risk by providing residential cost shares for wildfire mitigation work around at least 40 homes located in the Greencrest/Palmer Park neighborhood within Colorado Springs’ Wildland Urban Interface (WUI).  Wildfire mitigation work consists of removal of dead fuels, thinning of existing fuels, and removal of volatile fuels within 30 feet of the home, while selecting for fire resistant plant species.
Established in 1952, The Allstate Foundation is an independent, charitable organization made possible by subsidiaries of The Allstate Corporation (NYSE: ALL). Through partnerships with nonprofit organizations across the country, The Allstate Foundation brings the relationships, reputation and resources of Allstate to support innovative and lasting solutions that enhance people's well-being and prosperity. With a focus on teen safe driving and building financial independence for domestic violence survivors, The Allstate Foundation also promotes safe and vital communities; tolerance, inclusion, and diversity; and economic empowerment. Over the last 60 years, the Foundation has contributed nearly $300 million to organizations and projects in communities throughout the nation. For more information, visit