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"Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."
– George Bernard Shaw  
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  Volume No. 15 Issue No. 10 October 2018  

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  Chamber news
  Liberty Tax Services
  By Jeremy Kniffen

   The Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce held their first meeting of the new year Feb. 7 at Grace Community Church. In spite of the foggy weather, we had an excellent turnout with many new faces in the crowd. Thank you to all that braved the weather to join us for the meeting.
   
   After brief introductions, Ron Green spoke on the variety of services offered by Peak Structural, including foundation repair and stabilization, waterproofing basements, crawl space encapsulation, foam insulation and concrete leveling. Additionally, Peak Structural can install egress windows, improve window wells in basements, and they offer a three-stage sump pump that operates on battery power. Peak Structural offers various trainings geared toward real estate professionals. For more information, visit http://peakstructural.com.
   
   Candace Avis of Avis Accounting and Tax Professionals and Jeremy Kniffen of Liberty Tax Service provided updates on the recent changes to the tax law and how the changes might impact members.
   
   Candace provided information about the changes to the corporate/business taxes. Overall, much of the tax law related to corporations and businesses will stay the same. One of the big changes is that the corporate tax rate dropped to a flat 21 percent, which is permanent. Additionally, one significant change for pass-thru entities like S-Corporations and Partnerships, there is a new deduction. There will now be a 20 percent deduction to calculate taxable income on the personal return; thus, reducing tax liability related to the pass-thru entity. At this point, some deductions are being eliminated or changed; contact your tax professional for further assistance.
   
   On the personal income tax side, Jeremy mentioned there are a number of changes impacting most people. First off, most of the tax bracket percentages were reduced, meaning that many people will see an increase in their take home pay during 2018. Also, the standard deduction has nearly doubled for all filing status, but the personal exemption amount is removed. The Child Tax Credit, for taxpayers with children under the age of 17, will double from $1,000 to $2,000, with the phaseout increasing to allow more taxpayers to receive a benefit from the tax credit. Overall, there were several changes to the tax code in 2017 that will take effect in 2018. It is best to consult with a trusted tax professional to see how each of these changes impacts individual tax situations.
   
   Dave Ahrens, chamber president, made a few announcements. Invoices for all members are out and should be paid as soon as possible. The chamber is looking for venues to host after-hours events throughout the year. If you or your company would be interested in hosting one of our events, contact the board at the email address below.
   
   The Chamber of Commerce Board currently needs to fill the secretary position. If you are interested or know someone who would be interested, contact the board. The next meeting is March 7. Please invite friends and fellow business owners.
   
   Upcoming speakers:
   March – Doreen Bronner, American Legion Post 2008, and Brandon Shaw, Edward Jones
   
   There are many open spots in the coming year for both breakfast sponsorships and featured speakers. The breakfast sponsors typically have about five to 10 minutes to share information about their business. The featured speaker is allowed 20 to 25 minutes to share information on a topic of their choice. As we have done in the past, we will be filling spots with community leaders but would also like the opportunity to spotlight chamber members.
   
   Anyone interested in being a feature speaker should contact the chamber board at
   board@easternplainschamber.com.
   
   The Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce meets the first Wednesday of each month, from 7 to 8:30 a.m. at Grace Community Church, 9475 Grace Church View in Falcon.
  
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  Plush Lady grand opening

   The Feb. 9 open house at Plush Lady Consignment in Falcon was a huge success. Food, drawings and special discounts made the event extra special. Joyce Sakwe, owner, said she has ladies stopping by every day to drop off items to sell. The inventory is always changing. She has a great selection of women's clothing, shoes and handbags, as well as beautiful jewelry, silver and crystal.   
Celebrating Plus Lady’s grand opening are (left to right) Vera Ndive, Joyce Sakwe (owner), Marilyn Dion and Cathy Schwartz. Photo by Michelle Barrette
 
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  MVEA new board member

   Mountain View Electric Association has announced the appointment of Kevin Paddock to the Board of Directors representing District 5, which includes portions of Ellicott, Falcon, Fountain and surrounding areas. Paddock fills the open seat for the district. The board approved his appointment at the January board meeting. 
   
   Kevin grew up helping operate his family’s ranch and dairy farm in the Ellicott community. He graduated from Ellicott High School and worked on the farm following graduation. He later pursued a career with Colorado Springs Utilities and completed course work through Colorado University in Boulder in water and wastewater treatment. Kevin has been employed by Colorado Springs Utilities for 27 years, and has been an operations supervisor in water treatment for the last 14 years. 
   
   Kevin has been involved with leadership programs and conferences with American Water Works Association, Project Management Fundamentals, Leader to Leader, Dale Carnegie Leadership, and the Chic-Fil-A Leader Cast. 
   
   MVEA advertised the open director seat in local newspapers. Paddock attended his first MVEA board meeting in February.
  
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