May 31, 2013

Information and Contacts for US Hwy 160 Reconstruction Project in Downtown Monte Vista

US 160 Monte Vista Fact Sheet

Monte Vista was one of four pilot communities in the 2010 Sustainable Main Streets Initiative. This initiative (established by former Governor Ritter) enabled the city to acquire funding and support from the Department of Local Affairs and the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT).

This CDOT project will provide concrete and asphalt reconstruction on US 160 through the City of Monte Vista from west of Chico Camino Street to east of the railroad tracks, as well as intersection improvements at US 160 and US 285. The work will upgrade the existing asphalt travel lanes, sidewalk, curb and gutter. The roadway, which is currently two lanes in each direction, will be restriped to include one travel lane in each direction, a center left-turn lane for both directions, bike lanes and parking lanes in each direction. Partnering on the project is the City of Monte Vista, which received a federal Transportation Alternatives Program grant for additional street-scaping features, such as lighting and planters.
Concrete Works of Colorado is the contractor for this $3.9 million contract.

The project will change the face of the downtown tremendously, enhancing the aesthetics, creating a better pedestrian and business-friendly environment by building the following:
• Dedicated center left turn lane on 1st Street
• Easily identified parking on 1st Street
• Expanded sidewalks
• A bike buffer zone
• Improved signalized intersections with added turn lanes
• “Bulb outs” incorporated at intersections for traffic calming and pedestrian safety
• Updated curb ramps for ADA compliance
Anticipated to begin June 2013. Targeting completion by late October 2013.
Working hours for this project will be Monday–Thursday (4 days per week) from 7 AM to 7 PM.
Work will start on the west end of the work zone, and move towards the east.
• Eastbound Road Work Month of June
• Eastbound Sidewalks Late June – Late July (2 days per block)
• Westbound Road Work Mid July – Mid August
• Westbound Sidewalks Mid August – Early September (2 days per block)


Those interested in receiving upcoming information about the project and the schedule are encouraged to sign up for email or text messages by going to Choose the green cell phone icon in the upper right corner, then after signing up, choose the project entitled “US 160 Monte Vista.”

Contact the Project Team:
US 160 Fact Sheet

May 29, 2013

Hiring An Intern- Business Tip

Is your small business looking to hire an intern this summer? You're not alone! According to a December2012 survey by, 53 percent of the 300 companies surveyed plan to hire more interns in 2013 than they did in 2012.

In fact, internships are becoming increasingly important to both students and business owners. The difficult economic climate means that new graduates face unprecedented challenges as they try to enter the job market. Internships give them a vital foot in the door and also provide employers with nurtured and eager talent to help them grow their business.
Just look at the data:
  • 47 percent of employers have a structured internship program
  • 39 percent of small businesses made full time job offers to interns in 2012
  • 85 percent of employers say hiring an intern was a positive experience
If you want new ideas and the opportunity to nurture a potential future employee - at a low cost - read these five tips for hiring and managing an intern (within the law).

Assess your Needs

Interns will be looking for the right kind of experience, so it's important to evaluate your needs and create a job description that is appealing for both parties. Think about how an intern can help you achieve your business goals? Do you have enough work to support an intern? Who will supervise, train and mentor this individual? What about resources - like office space or a computer?

Think about potential workload that you can hand-off in terms of short and long term assignments and be sure to plan well in advance (hiring takes time)!

Should you Offer a Paid or Un-Paid Internship?

Should you pay your interns? Interestingly, most students state that compensation is the least important factor when considering an internship. And according to, one third of businesses surveyed chose not to pay their summer interns (choosing to offer college credits, company perks or travel stipends instead).

If you want to attract right talent and take your investment seriously, then it's worth compensating your intern(s) appropriately. (The average hourly rate for a bachelor's degree-level intern is $16.21, according to the National Association of Colleges and Employers .)

Why not get an un-paid intern? Perhaps the biggest rationale for paying interns is that the U.S. Department of Labor puts limits on the work un-paid interns can perform under the Fair Labor Standards Act. For example, your business can't be seen to derive any benefit from the intern. Essentially, the following applies:
  • Unpaid interns cannot do any work that contributes to a company's operations. This includes any tasks that help you run your business, like documenting inventory, filing papers, or answering emails.
  • Unpaid interns can shadow other employees and perform duties that don't have a business need. For example, a bakery may allow an apprentice/intern to decorate a tray of cookies that will not be sold to customers. Because the task was only a training exercise for the apprentice/intern and the bakery did not receive any benefit from that work, the bakery would not have to pay that student worker for that time.
For more information on what exactly unpaid interns can do, according to the Department of Labor, read The Truth Behind Unpaid Internships.

Clearly, a paid internship program will give both your business and your intern(s) more flexibility.

Managing Interns - Considerations to Remember as an Employer

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that this is a learning experience for your intern, not a traditional "summer job".  Consider the following:
  • Expose them to Real World Experiences and Tasks - There's no harm in giving your intern mundane, tactical tasks to complete, but be sure to mix it up and give them real business experience as well.   Have your intern sit in on meetings and sales calls. Give them the opportunity to take a first stab at a project, guide and mentor them through it, don't be afraid to let go of the reins a little, and step in when you need to.
  • Mentor - An intern is used to feedback (college tutors provide it all the time), so be prepared to coach and provide honest feedback about what they are doing well on a particular project and where there's room for improvement.
  • Set Parameters and Guidelines - This may not be something you are used to doing with your regular employees, but expectations need to be set about appearance, business attire, work hours, and acceptable internet/social media use.
Set Expectations Among Other Employees - If you choose to delegate mentoring to another employee, be sure that employee is aware of your expectations. Likewise, set expectations across your staff so that the intern doesn't find him or herself being taken advantage of or assigned tasks that are not within their job description

May 22, 2013

Customer Service Training in Creede

· Customer Service Training
· What is there to do in Creede?
· How to deal with difficult customers 
Thursday, June 6th, 2013

8:00 – 10:00 a.m.

Creede Chamber of Commerce

904 South Main St, Creede, Colorado


Free for Creede Chamber Members

$10 per person for non-chamber members

Presented by Donna Wehe & Della Brown

Please register to Donna at 589-3682 or

A partnership program with the U.S. Small Business Administration
The Colorado Small Business Development Center network is partially funded by the U.S. Small Business Administration.  The support given by the U.S. Small Business Administration through such funding does not constitute an express or implied endorsement of any of the co-sponsors’ or participants’ opinions, products or services.  Any opinions, findings and conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Small Business Administration, the participating Small Business Development Centers, or host institution.
Special arrangements for the handicapped will be made, if requested in advance.