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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 7 July 2019  

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    Commercial space: rents revisited
    Candidate profiles
    Amendment 73
    Public safety tax extension
    Veteran entrepreneurs: Get Clipped
    American Legion Stock the Pantry Poker Run
    Heroes and horses final numbers
    Big O Tires groundbreaking
    Allstate grand opening
    Building and real estate update
  Commercial space: rents revisited
  Still cost-prohibitive for small businesses
  By Lindsey Harrison

   The population of El Paso County continues to grow, with many people choosing to live east of Colorado Springs, in places like Falcon and Peyton. The rising cost of rent on residential properties has caused concern for some, but the cost to rent a commercial space is a major concern for small business owners like Cathy Barbee of Falcon.
   Barbee said she owns Forget Me Knot Boutique, a clothing business she runs from her home because she has not been able to find affordable retail space in Falcon. Big-name companies and national franchise stores that have corporate money to fall back on are the only businesses that can afford the rent, she said.
   CBRE Group, the largest commercial real estate services and investment firm in the world, released a report on the Southern Colorado retail market view, including Falcon, for the first half of 2018. It confirms Barbee’s fears. The report states the following: “Colorado Springs will continue to see attention from national retailers who are closely following the population growth, which is currently concentrated in the East and Northeast submarket.”
   Additionally, the report indicates that new construction will continue to attract national and regional retail tenants. “Colorado Springs retail, being such a healthy market, will undoubtedly continue to receive investor interest,” the report states.
   Barbee said an individual who does not have that corporate financial support cannot survive in the Falcon commercial market. “I have maxed out all of my credit cards,” she said. “I cannot get any more credit because I have too much debt. I have all this inventory to sell, but nowhere to sell it.”
   She has tried to sell her clothing online but storing her large inventory is not feasible on a long-term basis, Barbee said. There is too much to keep in her home and storing everything in her garage would eventually cause the materials to smell or accumulate dirt, she said.
   Jeremy Kniffen, owner of Liberty Tax Service in Falcon and secretary of the Eastern Plains Chamber of Commerce, said the biggest problem is that there is not much commercial space available in the area. “Landlords are in a position to ask what they want because they know there is no other place to go if people want to stay local to Falcon,” he said.
   When he found a spot in the Safeway shopping complex, Kniffen and his wife/business partner had looked at several other locations, but the prices were “astronomical,” he said. They were fortunate to find the space they did at the time they did, he said.
   “I would not want to be a true mom-and-pop business coming into this community,” Kniffen said. “We ran our tax business out of our home for several years; and, when we decided to have a physical location, being part of a franchise, having a national business backing us was the only way it was going to work.”
   Barbee said she has gone as far as trying to work out a subletting situation, where she could share the space with other vendors and split the cost of rent. However, the rental agencies she contacted were not willing to split up the rent; if any of the vendors left, Barbee would be left paying their portion in addition to her own, she said.
   “I called everywhere that had signs up all over town (Falcon), and some wanted $3,500 and others wanted $5,000,” Barbee said. “I started this business because I noticed all Falcon had was Walmart and Big R. Those are not normal clothing stores for most people. I thought a boutique would work out good.
   “I think the community needs a place that has fun shops to look in, to walk up and down the street and spend the afternoon just having fun or even window-shopping. But they (landlords) have made it so expensive, no one could ever make that work.”
   Kniffen said the chamber of commerce would certainly reach out to landlords on behalf of businesses if those businesses voiced their concerns to the chamber. By coming to meetings or reaching out in some other capacity, the chamber would have a better understanding of each individual situation and be able to help in any way they can, he said.
   “Our primary mission is to promote business growth in this part of El Paso County,” he said.
   While Kniffen said he thinks the rental prices will go down as more commercial spaces are built, Barbee said it will likely take three to six months from the time she opens the doors of whatever space she might find before she turns a profit. She would have to go further into debt before she even built up a good customer base.
   “Every time I am at a vendor event, people come by and say they would like to support local businesses and buy from local businesses, but they cannot support us because they cannot buy from us,” Barbee said.
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  Candidate profiles
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Colorado State Senate District 9
   Gil Armendariz (D)
   Gil Armendariz said ever since he and his family moved to Monument, Colorado, in 2014, he has witnessed the impact population growth has had on the environment.
   “The explosive growth that we are seeing here in Colorado Springs is going to impact us very shortly,” he said. “The unpredictable climate we are living in now is going to put a lot of stress on the environment. State laws make it difficult to address concerns about that strain, and that difficulty is also going to cause more issues, like how to address concerns about water supply.”
   Armendariz also discussed how certain constitutional laws, namely TABOR and the Gallagher Amendment, work against each other, instead of with each other. He said he likes that taxes are controlled by the voters, but the way the system is structured right now is failing. The funding does not flow to the departments that need it, and things like education and the roads have been ignored for too long, Armendariz said.
   “Many of these things that are impacting people now or will be are interlinked,” he said.“The explosive growth, problems with the I-25 Gap project — they all have a relationship to each other and there is a balance that needs to be struck because right now, it is pretty out of balance.
   “A government that does not function does not serve a purpose anymore.”
   Paul Lundeen (R)
   Currently serving as the representative for House District 19 in the Colorado General Assembly, Paul Lundeen said he is ready to make the transition to the Colorado State Senate to represent District 9. He would like to affect more change in some vital areas of the State Legislature.
   “I have one gigantic organizing theme over everything I do, and that is smaller government, freer people,” Lundeen said. “The primary filter that I run everything through is based on three big policy issues: reorganizing the money of the state and spending the taxes that are already being paid; organize that money to appropriately fund K-12 education and build out roads and bridges; and increase public safety.”
   Lundeen said he got into the public policy realm in 2010 when he was elected to the Colorado State Board of Education, following a career as a broadcast journalist and entrepreneur. “I felt strongly that we needed to do a better job in public education,” he said.
   For the four years he has been involved in state legislation, Lundeen said he has been “the guy” to bring forward bills to improve laws or provide protection for human trafficking; trying to make government smaller in proportion to society; making sure students, parents and teachers are getting the money earmarked for education; working on how to improve public safety, which is being threatened by marijuana, he said; and working on improving roads and bridges to help the local economy.
   “I feel that great personal freedom honors the idea that is America,” he said.
   Colorado House of Representatives District 19
   Asia Zanders (D)
   Asia Zanders said she moved back to Colorado in 2017 because early in her military career she had been stationed at Ft. Carson for four years with the United States Army. She said she left the military in 2014 and earned her bachelor’s degree in sociology and political science, and then she decided to focus on a potential career in politics.
   Although she is a mother, wife and full-time student earning another degree in political philosophy, Zanders said she is running for the seat as House Representative for District 19 because she feels there is a need for more consistency, transparency and cohesion in the state government.
   “I want to focus on issues rather than just being a Democrat or a Republican,” Zander said. “A lot of bills are not being passed because there is no cohesion. I have been able to adapt to situations and been able to figure people out. My hope is to bring that same mentality to the state Legislature to make things happen that need to.”
   One of the biggest issues Zanders said Colorado faces is marijuana use and regulation. “While I do not like marijuana personally, at the same time I know that it is not going anywhere and the rules and regulations are getting stricter,” she said. “We are being harder on illegal growers, and I think that is awesome. We just have to remember who else is affected and listen to all sides of an issue, which is what I do.”
   Tim Geitner (R)
   As a logistics officer for the city of Colorado Springs, Tim Geitner said he had plenty to consider when he was approached about running for the House of Representatives for District 19. As a member of the U.S. Army Reserves; and, with a young family, a small business to run and two home-schooled children; he said he had to consider how the change would impact his family.
   “District 19 covers all of eastern El Paso County and is geographically the largest district,” Geitner said. “It is a very unique area; and, at the end of the day, every citizen in the district deserves representation. I do not believe it is going to be an easy job but I am excited about it. The idea of serving others has always been a part of me.”
   Geitner said after 13 years of military service, during which he was deployed to Afghanistan, he and his wife made the decision to stay in Colorado Springs. But the transition from military life to civilian life was the most difficult task he has faced, Geitner said. It gave him an appreciation for the large population of veterans in the area who are trying to do the same thing.
   “My desire is to focus on people’s concerns about water, aging water infrastructure and allowing people to live their lives with limited interference from the government,” he said. “I have already spoken to the caucus leader (minority leader Patrick Neville) about being part of the agriculture and natural resource committee and the education committee because people want to make decisions for the best interest of their kids.”
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  Amendment 73
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Nov. 6, voters across Colorado will have a chance to make their voices heard on a ballot measure that would establish income tax brackets, raise corporate tax rates and create the Quality Public Education Fund.
   According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s website, Amendment 73, known as the “Establish Income Tax Brackets and Raise Taxes for Education Initiative,” would raise an estimated $1.6 billion in total revenue that would be placed in the Quality Public Education Fund and used statewide specifically for the following:
  • Increase the statewide base per-pupil funding rate to $7,300
  • Increase state funding above the current 2018-2019 fiscal year levels for special education by $120 million, English language proficiency programs by $20 million, gift and talented programs by $10 million and preschool funding by $10 million

   According to a report prepared by Colorado Legislative Council staff in April 2018, the base per-pupil funding rate in Colorado is currently $6,546.20.
   The Secretary of State’s website lists the proposed tax brackets and how each would be affected by Amendment 73:
  • Taxable income of $0 to $150,000: tax rate remains at 4.63 percent
  • Taxable income of $150,001 to $200,000: tax rate increases to 5 percent
  • Taxable income of $200,001 to $300,000: tax rate increases to 6 percent
  • Taxable income of $300,001 to $500,000: tax rate increases to 7 percent
  • Taxable income over $500,000: tax rate increases to 8.25 percent

   Amendment 73 would decrease property tax rates for residential property from 7.2 percent to 7 percent and non-residential property from 29 percent to 24 percent, the website states. Conversely, Amendment 73 would increase the corporate tax rate from 4.63 percent to 6 percent, according to the website. The changes to property tax rates only apply to taxes levied by school districts, not any other local government agencies, the website states.
   This amendment is a combined initiated constitutional amendment and state statute, which, according to the amendment’s Initial Fiscal Impact Statement, means “the measure makes changes to the Colorado Constitution and state law related to funding for public education.”
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  Public safety tax extension
  By Lindsey Harrison

   On Sept. 4, the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved a resolution to place a measure on the November ballot proposing to extend the expiration date of the Public Safety Sales and Use Tax.
   According to the county’s website, voters approved an increase of .23 percent in county sales and use tax in 2012. The revenue generated from that measure was dedicated to public safety purposes within the EPC sheriff’s office to be used as follows: “To hire additional patrol and detention deputies, crime investigators and civilian support staff needed to address safety, security and maintenance needs at the county jail, support patrol operations, purchase additional wildland firefighting apparatus and upgrade emergency operations facilities and equipment.”
   According to the resolution, the EPCSO has experienced a 57 percent increase in calls for service, a 24 percent increase in the average daily inmate population at the EPC jail and the tripling of wildland fire responses since the tax increase was passed in 2012.
   If approved, the ballot measure would continue the Public Safety Sales and Use Tax until Jan. 1, 2029, rather than allowing it to expire on Jan. 1, 2021 — its current expiration date.
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  Veteran entrepreneurs: Get Clipped
  Mark Stoller

   Retired U.S. Air Force veteran, Mark Whitaker, and his business partner, career barber Dawn Guggenbiller, have provided Falcon with a Colorado-based, veteran owned, old-fashioned barbershop called Get Clipped.
   Whitaker’s career has spanned two armed services. He was an enlisted U.S. Navy sailor during Desert Storm and later a space and missile officer in the U.S. Air Force. After commanding Minute Man and Peacekeeper Intercontinental Ballistic Missile silos, Whitaker transitioned to Intelligence. He completed tours as the assistant director of operations for an Air Force Special Operations Command Intelligence Squadron — the first to fly and “kill bad guys” with the MQ-1 and MQ-9 Predator drones — and as chief of Intelligence at the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operations Center. Having been the vanguard of unmanned aerial vehicle operations, he retired in December 2014. Today, he is a defense contractor working space capabilities.
   Whitaker and Guggenbiller met years ago at Schriever Air Force Base. They stayed connected as Whitaker moved to new duty stations and Guggenbiller opened a new shop near Peterson Air Force Base. Upon his final return to Colorado Springs, Whitaker found Guggenbiller.
   “I’ve known Dawn professionally for so long,” Whitaker said. “It’s like going to your bartender when you sit in her chair. She kept up with what I was doing for as much as I could tell her. I kept up with what she was doing, too. She’s like the big sister I never had. I think of Dawn and her husband, Jimmy, like family.”
   In 2017, Guggenbiller mentioned her lease would end in November and didn’t want to stay at the Peterson location. Whitaker sent photos of The Shops at Meridian Ranch and encouraged her relocation to Falcon.
   Noting hesitation, Whitaker offered in a text message, “I’ll be your silent partner –- just saying.” Guggenbiller recalled, “I don’t think he expected me to take him up on it. I said, ‘You could never be the silent partner. There’s nothing silent about you!’”
   “When she gave me the cost estimate, I didn’t even bat an eye,” Whitaker said. Mutually, they agreed on a traditional barbershop decorated in a car theme. “Dawn’s situation was good timing for her and a good investment for me.”
   They broke ground Nov. 1, 2017, and followed their business plan. “Where we couldn’t cover with the budget, we did it ourselves,” Whitaker said. “Our friends from JAKs helped stain the floor; my wife painted every inch of the walls; Dawn’s husband, Jimmy, put up the lights and mirrors and built the office to look like an old-time garage; and my son helped put all the tables together. A buddy with a wood working business made two signature pieces with a Chrysler hood to display our product, and used a 1957 International truck bed for our counter.”
   Guggenbiller added, “I love the old-school feel down to our vintage barbershop chairs.
   “On Nov. 30, we packed up the Peterson location, threw it into my car and brought what we needed to the barbershop.”
   They opened Dec. 1, with a car show and donuts and coffee, Guggenbiller said.
   “It’s our intent for Get Clipped to be your family barber,” she added.
   While men of today frequent salons for hair coloring, manicures, pedicures, and trendy styles, Whitaker and Guggenbiller want to provide the old-fashioned barbershop.
   “It’s hard to find a true barbershop anymore,” Whitaker said. “It pained me to take my son to other stores where they charge so much and with inconsistent results. Our place is a lot different. We hire licensed barbers and they’re tough to find.”
   Get Clipped has six barbers — two are cosmetologists — who can cut the trendy hair styles and shape and sculpt beards. Flat-top haircuts are a Get Clipped specialty.
   On moving from military to businessman, Whitaker said he was involved with the Transition Assistance Program when he left the Air Force. “It’s a great program,” he said. “I’ve dabbled in business my entire life. When I was in college, I owned a Greek store. I don’t mean the type that sells baklava.I was 19 and selling jerseys with my fraternity brother to the campus fraternities and sororities.” Today, Whitaker also owns car restoration and car detailing businesses.
   What makes a good businessman? “First and foremost, I think when people go in to a business, they unfortunately let emotions lead their business decisions,” Whitaker said. “I can turn off those emotions. Sometimes my family thinks I am a Vulcan. I have a sharp focus on a good business plan, which is the first thing I do. I focus on good decisions –- there are many decisions to be made, planning and a lot of math to know if it will work or not. Also, you need to be available to your customer base. The customer is not always right –- but they are the customer.”
   For networking, Whitaker said, “There’s a robust system for veteran business owners. Most of the business owners I know, including JAKs, are veterans. One is on active duty and this is his investment. I served with the owners of JAKs while stationed at F.E. Warren AFB.”
   The barbershop and JAKS have done promotions together. Guggenbiller said one is the “wooden, military-like coin,” with Get Clipped carved on one side and JAKS on the other. “On Facebook, we do a “Where’s Dawn” or “Mention your favorite brew” when you come in,” she said. “In return, you get a coin for a free beer at JAKs. The problem is the coins are so cool, people hang on to them and don’t trade them in.”Get Clipped is located at 11856 Stapleton Drive in Falcon.
Get Clipped co-owners U.S. Air Force veteran Mark Whitaker and career barber Dawn Guggenbiller opened their business in November last year. The two knew each other from Peterson Air Force Base. Photo by Mark Stoller
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  American Legion Stock the Pantry Poker Run
  Mark Stoller

   On Sept. 3, the streets of Falcon came alive, once again, with the sound of motorcycle engines, as the American Legions Riders conducted another community service project. This time, they rode in support of High Plains Helping Hands food pantry. American Legion Rider and 21-year U.S. Air Force veteran, Mike Watkins, organized the fourth annual Stock the Pantry Poker Run.
   “The organizations who participated in this year’s Poker Run were members of American Legion Post 2008, American Legion Post 2008 Auxiliary, American Legion Riders; riders from American Legion Posts 5, 38, 180, and 209; the Combat Veterans Association and the Blue Knights motorcycle clubs,” Watkins said.
   The ride participants gathered at Frankie’s Too restaurant on McLaughlin Road. The registration tent outside offered chances to win a Smith & Wesson M&P Bodyguard 380 pistol in a raffle draw and a multitude of donated items for auction were on display inside the restaurant.
   Frankie’s Too owner, Frank Patton, said, “We love being a part of great community service events. We’re a big supporter of our active duty military and veterans. It’s great to be a neighborhood hangout for fundraisers that help our Falcon family.”
   There were 120 people registered for the ride; all proceeds from the registration, raffle and auctioned items were donated to High Plains Helping Hands. Watkins wife, Arlene, helped organize and collect plenty of items for the raffle through the generous support of the Falcon community.
   The annual event raised $4,365 in monetary donations, topping last year’s total by $1,200. So far, 650 pounds of non-perishable food had been collected. Ten bins had been distributed throughout the community where donation/collection efforts would continue through Sept. 30.
   Dianna Frazier, manager and volunteer coordinator for High Plains Helping Hands, was on hand to help with registration. “We help feed local families with 20,000 pounds of food every month,” Frazier said. “On average, we are seeing 26 new families each month, as more people move to the Falcon area. Our need to assist all of the new families will continue to grow.”
   Frazier said they are grateful to the American Legion Riders and the Falcon community. “Someone only has to comment on Facebook that we are in need to stock our shelves, and we’ll have immediate responses of food donations,” she said.
   Ave Maria Romine, a seven-year High Plains Helping Hands volunteer, said, “The American Legion Riders are a great group of people. They have such a heart for those in need. We just love them!”
   “The Boys Scouts are a big help in April, and the community is very generous around the holidays,” Frazier said. “It’s hard to sustain our current intake level of new families. Honestly, we have a need for donations all year long.”
   High Plains Helping Hands is located at 7375 Adventure Way. The phone number is 719-495-3123. Financial donations can be made through the website at
The fourth annual American Legion Riders Stock the Pantry Poker Run took place Sept. 3 at Frankie’s Too in Falcon; helping out were (standing) Carrie Lukins — American Legion Riders; Cade Carney — American Post 2008 Legion Junior Auxiliary; Bettina Kosow — president, Post 2008 American Legion Auxiliary; (seated) Ave Maria Romine, High Plains Helping Hands volunteer; Dianna Frazier — manager, High Plains Helping Hands. Photo by Mark Stoller
As the riders gather at Frankie’s Too for the annual Stock the Pantry Poker Run, American Legion Rider Mike Watkins gives the participants a safety briefing. Photo by Mark Stoller
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  Heroes and horses final numbers

   The Kit Carson Riding Club and the National Versatility Ranch Horse Association hosted the Ranch Horse Round Up in July. All of the net proceeds went to three local charities: YMCA/Camp Shady Brook, Pikes Peak Therapeutic Riding Center and The Home Front Cares. The final amount raised totaled $10,887. Mickey Althouse, Sonny Adkins/executive director of Pikes Peak YMCA, Jay Henson and Jim Armstrong pose for the check presentation to the YMCA.   
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  Big O Tires groundbreaking

Family, friends, crew and officials break ground with gold shovels at the groundbreaking ceremony for Big O Tires on Aug. 31.
Owners of Big O Dustin Roberts and David Largent. David’s wife, Charlotte, his daughter, Aria (age 4), and son David (age 1) pose for a photo at the Big O groundbreaking in August.
Aria Largent, daughter of owner David Largent, proudly wears her hard hat.
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  Allstate grand opening

(From left to right) Ben Kley, Angelic Nichols, Dave Ahrens, Yolanda Lordino, Michael Lordino, Leesa Lins and Christel Blaylock celebrated the grand opening of Allstate Insurance — Michael Lordino Agency in the Safeway shopping center on Sept. 6.
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  Building and real estate update
  By Lindsey Harrison

   Meridian Ranch
   The El Paso County Board of County Commissioners approved the final release of bond monies for public improvements to Stonebridge Filing No. 1 at Meridian Ranch for $256,729.80. All improvements have been completed and inspected.
   The commissioners also approved the final acceptance of certain streets within the same filing into the EPC road maintenance system.
   The board approved a request by GTL Inc. for the final plat to create 345 single-family residential lots, rights-of-way and an open space tract in Winding Walk at Meridian Ranch Filing No. 1. The 113.9-acre property, zoned planned unit development, is located at the northwest corner of Eastonville Road and Stapleton Drive. It is within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   Flying Horse North
   The BOCC approved in a 4-1 vote a request by PRI 2 LLC for a preliminary plan to create 283 single-family residential lots on a 1,417-acre property, with commissioner Longinos Gonzalez opposed.  The property, zoned PUD, is east of Highway 83 and west of Black Forest Road and south of Hodgen Road. The 1,417 acres also includes 324.1 acres of open space, including a golf course, park and other open space uses; and is located within the Black Forest Preservation Plan.
   The commissioners also unanimously approved the final plat for 80 of the 283 single-family lots, including rights-of-way and 21 tracts comprised of a golf course, open space and drainage structures.
   Falcon Marketplace
   The EPC planning commission approved a request by LG HI Falcon LLC for the preliminary plan for the Falcon Marketplace subdivision to create 11 commercial lots, public rights-of-way and two tracts to be used for a sub-regional detention basin and onsite detention and water quality and utilities facilities. The 36.4-acre parcel, zoned commercial regional, is located north of Woodmen Road, south of Owl Place and west of Meridian Road. The preliminary plan also creates a right-in access point from the north side of westbound Woodmen Road into a public roundabout, and is located within the boundaries of the Falcon/Peyton Small Area Master Plan.
   In an email to “The New Falcon Herald,” Julie Emmett, development coordinator with Hummel Investments LLC, wrote that construction on the site is expected to start in early November.
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