VICKSBURG, Miss (WJTV) - Vicksburg, MS (WJTV) - Coming home from war can make for a tough transition for some veterans.
"Combat is the hardest thing to explain to somebody because nobody that has never served can even imagine what its like," says Warrior Bonfire ambassador Allen Pugh.
After returning from Iraq, Allen Pugh says he suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and he says going to the VA was not enough.
"Those guys over there have no clue," says Pugh. "Most of them are civilians. They do what they can, but it's still not the same. They want to medicate you. They want you to sit and talk with counselors that may or may not [have] ever seen combat."
Five years ago, Dan Fordice and his brother started the Warrior Bonfire Program to help post-9/11 Purple Heart veterans. Their goal: to bring veterans together for self-healing.
"We ask them, rather than us trying to figure out what they need and telling them what they need," says Dan Fordice, Co-founder of the Warrior Bonfire Program. "We ask them what we can do to help them and try to give them that."
The program takes veterans on a long weekend trip. Sometimes they go hunting; other times they go fishing. The group has even gone skiing.
"When we got them there, something happened that totally surprised us," says Fordice. "Within five minutes, these six guys who didnt know each other were like they were best friends again."
Pugh says he went on his first trip in 2015. During his trip, he shared a story with the veterans. He says he struggles with his son's birthday because it's the same day a roadside bomb hit a vehicle he was in while in Iraq.
"I want to be excited for my son on his birthday [be]cause it's his birthday, but I also reflect back to every anniversary," Pugh says. "You know that trauma and watching my driver take his last breath."
Pugh says the program gave him the one thing he was missing - a brotherhood.
"Trust me, that was hard," says Pugh. "There [are] ups and downs. That's when you get in your phone, and you call these guys and say 'I'm having that day.'"
"These men and women who have been with us, virtually 100 percent, have told us that this is the most therapeutic thing that they've ever done in their life, and we need to continue doing what we're doing," says Fordice.
After going through the program, Pugh became an ambassador for it, so he could help other veterans.
"The Warrior Bonfire Program not only got me out of a dark place in my life, just not happy, no brothers, they also helped me obtain a job and get me into my own business," says Pugh.
"It has been very rewarding to see where he(Pugh) has come from the day that I first met him until today and what the program has done for him," says Fordice.
Pugh says words cannot express his gratitude.
"He(Fordice) knows every day how thankful I am," says Pugh.
Warrior Bonfire Program leaders say they also work with spouses of wounded veterans to help them in their transition after deployment.
If you or someone you know is a post-9/11 Purple Heart veteran who would benefit from the program, click this link for more information.
The City of Centennial strives for its residents to live comfortably and remain in the community. Therefore, the City encourages residents to learn about adding Universal Design features in their homes as appropriate. Universal Design refers to products and environments that are accessible to all people across the different spectrums of age and ability and allows individuals to live comfortably at any stage of life. For example, installing lever door handles instead of round doorknobs because lever handles are easier to manage when your hands are full or use an adjustable shower head instead of a stationary one because an adjustable showerhead can be used whether you’re sitting or standing.
Centennial has identified the AARP HomeFit Guide as a premier tool for residents and contractors to use as a reference for implementing universal design features. This Guide contains a variety of ideas, information and resources to help people stay in the homes they love by turning where they live into a “lifelong home”. View the HomeFit Guide on the City’s website to learn more.
According to Gallup’s “State of the American Workplace” report on the modern workforce, just one-third of U.S. employees are actually engaged in their work and workplace. Only one in five say their performance is managed in a way that motivates them to do outstanding work.
Yet the search for talented workers capable of adapting and leading in a fast-paced global economy is never-ending—and more challenging than ever. According to Luella Chavez D’Angelo, vice chancellor for enterprise development at the University of Colorado South Denver, organizations that understand that talent management isn’t just about effective recruiting, but building and leading high-performance teams are the ones that stand to thrive.
On June 26, 2018, D’Angelo will present a one hour session at CU South Denver as part of its EduTalks series. A professional education lunch hour, the EduTalks presentation is titled, “Do You Have an A-Team? 13 Traits of High-Performance Teams.”
“Many companies hear the term ‘high-performance workplace’ and like the sound of it, but managers must be able to both recognize what it means for an organization to be one and take steps in the right direction to create one,” says D’Angelo. Prior to joining CU South Denver in early 2016, she served as a C-Suite Executive and was the chief communications officer for Western Union, where she led teams responsible for corporate social responsibility, public relations, employee communications and brand reputation.
D’Angelo held several other roles at Western Union during her 16-year tenure there, including senior vice president of social ventures. She was the inaugural director of the First Data Western Union Foundation and its president for 11 years. In all of these roles and as chief marketing officer for the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and vice president of institutional development for the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center, D’Angelo led the development of aligned, high-performing teams and advanced enterprise-wide strategies for the organizations she served.
The Forbes Coaches Council says high-performing teams have 13 characteristics in common. They recognize the strengths of the individuals within them, foster an “open feedback” culture, and commit to learning from and improving upon everything they do, to name a few such traits. In sharing all 13 of these characteristics, D’Angelo says her goal at EduTalks is to encourage participants to develop an approach to building excellent employees and bringing them together as successful teams.
“It seems like an overwhelming task, but there are simple ways leaders can make changes in their workplaces,” she says. “Every organization has strengths and weaknesses. The goal is to help participants begin to identify adjustments that would cultivate the creation of high-performance teams and leaders and share more about how to maintain those team dynamics.”
Do You Have an A-Team? 13 Traits of High-Performing Teams is open to any people manager looking to build and sustain a superior team. The session will include both a comprehensive discussion and interactive activities. Registration is $55 and includes a chef-prepared lunch. Space is limited. Get 20% off your registration cost with use of the promo code SMDC!
Learn more at www.southdenver.cu.edu/portfolio/edutalks-do-you-have-an-a-team.
Closing out business at 11:59 pm on May 9, 2018 the Colorado General Assembly has adjourned Sine Die leaving a wake of success in its path. 721 bills were introduced during the 120-day legislative session, amid what seemed like never-ending controversy. Between the numerous accusations of sexual assault against members and the caucuses continually posturing with "messaging bills" for the primary and general elections, it often felt like nothing would ever get done. But, like it usually does, agreement prevailed; compromises between the Republicans who control the Senate and the Democrats who control the House were reached on the state's most pressing issues. Governor Hickenlooper even said this legislative session was the most productive he's witnessed. Read on for what was, what could have been and what wasn't in this year's meeting of the Colorado General Assembly.
Alright. We have to know. What happened?
Transportation Compromise Made
The highest priority for Senate Republicans this year was to dedicate resources to the state's growing transportation needs. SB18-001, introduced on the first day of session, was heavily negotiated by the majorities in the House and Senate. The bill, now waiting for the governor's signature and final passage, will invest $495 million into roads, bridges and alternative transportation this year, $150 million next year, then allows the state to borrow $2.3 billion to be repaid over the next 20 years. It taps the state general fund for $122.6 million a year. Some say this investment is meager, others say it is major; but that debate has left the legislature. The Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce (DMCC) plans to run their ballot initiative which will ask for tax increase from the voters to add a new funding source for transportation.
Jon Caldara with the Independence Institute also have a ballot proposal which is in the signature gathering phase. This proposal will direct the state's general fund money to transportation without raising taxes or fees. By August we will know if voters in Colorado will see one or both questions on their November ballots.
Public Employees Retirement Act Addressed
Inaction on this bill would have risked a downgrade of the state's credit, but in the last hours of the legislative a deal was reached and
Public Employees Retirement Act (PERA) was funded. The compromise reached includes some cuts to retirement benefits, a requirement that public employees and taxpayer-funded government agencies to contribute more of each paycheck into the retirement fund, and a higher retirement age for new employees. Beginning this year, the state will annually contribute $225 million to help pay off the system's unfunded debt, which totals $32 to $50 billion.
Higher Education Receives Grant Funding
After an initial $80 million dollar investment from the state to help hold down the cost of tuition, Colorado's state legislators reached a deal to add another $18 million in supplemental grants to small and rural universities and community colleges.
Investment Made for the Intellectually and Developmentally Disabled
The largest single investment made in recent history for people in Colorado with intellectual and developmentally disabilities was made this year with a major investment by the state legislators. The $12 million move took 300 people off the waiting list and made an investment in the workforce that cares for this population.
"Sizzurp" Off Limits to Teens and Preteens
Yes, the practice is about as absurd as the name reads; but the problem of kids abusing certain types of cough syrup (street names: sizzurp, dex, skittles, drank) is real and was addressed by the state legislature this year. A bill, HB18-1307, passed to make it illegal to sell products with dextromethorphan to people under 18.
Parity for Manufactured Housing Purchasers
A bill that exempts manufactured homes from state sales tax was passed this year in order to make the taxation of manufactured homes more similar to other real property. The bill was supported by industry, but driven by consumer advocacy organizations in hopes to make home ownership more attainable.
Fiscal Fix for the Science and Cultural Facilities
After last year's last-minute passage of SB17-267, the bill that made an enterprise of the Hospital Provider Fee, a special session was held in hopes to fix an error that was made in certain special districts ability to levy taxes. The unsuccessful bills that ran during special session were reworked to bring along those who opposed the fix in the first place - Senate Republicans. The fix passed with bipartisan support and as such, the Scientific and Cultural Facilities District (SCFD), the Regional Transportation District (RTD) and some rural hospital and water districts were able to again levy tax on recreational marijuana.
8-1-1 Updated and Improved
Bipartisan legislation to update Colorado's "8-1-1: Call Before You Dig" program was passed in April. SB18-167 creates the Underground Damage Prevention Safety Commission; increases safety education and makes changes to the state's excavation laws to improve enforcement.
Advanced Industries Benefit from Continuation of Export Program
The Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) passed a bill in partnership with the Colorado BioScience Association (CBSA) and the Colorado Cleantech Industry Association (CCIA) that continues the state's successful export program. The program allows companies in the advanced industries to access a community of supporters and also receive grant dollars to market their products in foreign markets.
Affordable Housing Tax Credit Extended
A bill that helps incentivize the building of affordable housing projects in the state passed again this year. SB18-007 will offer $5M in tax credits every year for the next five years to investors and builders who traditionally see a higher rate of return on more expensive condominiums.
Battle over where and how You Buy Beer was Waged
Based on legislation from 2016 that was heralded as a grand compromise and the most significant change to liquor laws since Prohibition, beer lovers expected to see full-strength beer being sold in grocery stores and convenience stores on January 1, 2019. However, liquor store interests were concerned that there were not enough regulations in place so multiple bills were introduced that aimed to put guardrails on this transition. In one of the most contentious battles of the session, SB18-243 was approved in the final hours of the session that provided guidance on the age of employees at retailers who sell alcoholic products, distance between retailers, beer delivery in the age of Amazon and the role of local governments in determining what kind of beer can be consumed in public parks. HB18-1441 was also approved. The bill clarified the role of local governments in approving permits for retailers located close to schools.
Bipartisan Solutions Regarding Oil and Gas Development
One of the biggest successes in energy related legislation was the passage of a bipartisan bill that updates statutory pooling law. SB18-230 made changes to the process for statutory pooling of oil and gas resources. Oil and gas companies must now notify mineral owners 60 days prior to the official hearing in front of the Colorado Oil and Gas Conservation Commission (COGCC). Additionally, the bill directed the COGCC to create a plain language pooling explanation, clarifies that those pooled have no operational liability and updates/clarifies that multiple wells may be included in a pooling application.
Another success was a bill that dealt with Technically Enhanced Radioactive Material (TENORM). SB18-245 passed late in the session and takes TENORM out of regulatory purgatory. The bill initiates a process to bring legal certainty to water, waste water, and oil and gas wastes and byproducts when they have TENORM characteristics.
Finally, the Colorado Energy Office was reauthorized, fully funded and its mission was updated to be an advocate for all forms of energy.
That all sounds good. So what didn't happen?
"Transparency" for the Healthcare Sector
Critical of the cost of pharmaceutical drugs, hospital stays, and insurance premiums, state legislators made multiple attempts to compel information about what drives the price of healthcare under the guise of "transparency." Their efforts were considered by many to be misguided and ultimately failed because instead of looking for ways to reduce costs for patients, they looked for a way to cast blame on one piece of the sector, ignoring the advancements in technology and medicine and major players who drive up costs. Plus, much of the regulation that happens in the health care sector is regulated at the federal level.
President Trump's administration has announced a plan to bring down list prices of pharmaceutical drugs in part by regulating Pharmacy Benefit Managers (the middle men who receive rebates in exchange for formulary placement).
No Consideration of the Long Term Impacts of Spending
The Governor's office set the expectation in January that spending on new continuing programs has the potential to put stress on the budget as early as next year because of the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). That warning did not seem to hold water with the legislature because between ongoing promises made to transportation and the state pension plan, little flexibility will remain for future legislatures to fund new priorities due to the TABOR spending limit.
Bitcoin Technologies Could Still Face Regulation
Two bills were defeated this year that would have exempted bitcoin from state securities regulation. For many, the question: "What is a bitcoin?" was enough to satisfy a vote which would protect consumers. No bills were passed this year to regulate activity in the crypto-currency space, but for now there is no prohibition against it.
Closed Loop Marijuana Payment System, No-Go
A bill that would have deceived the state bank into transacting moneys on behalf of the marijuana industry because it commingled funds between federally illegal and legal sources went down early in the session, much to the chagrin of one company that wanted to take a percentage of all purchases. A bipartisan group of Senators on the Senate Business, Labor and Technology Committee believed that such a move would put all of the state's assets at risk due to federal money laundering laws.
Well, cool. So what now?
We move hot and heavy into election-mode. The primary is about six weeks away (June 26) and many races are highly contested. Take for example the race for Governor where there are four candidates to pick from each party to pick from. Over the next few weeks, there will be biweekly financial disclosure statements made by all state political committees, which includes candidate committees. Money raised and spent is a great indicator of how prepared candidates are and how they may fare in the election.
In the Governor's race, over $15 million has been raised by candidates to date. In the past, the most expensive gubernatorial election was $10 million and that includes money raised over the entire election - from the beginning of the Primary through the General. The number for this year is a little misleading and some could artificially high because two candidates have made significant contributions to themselves. Congressman Jared Polis, a Democrat, has put in $5 million of his own money and Victor Mitchell, a Republican, has loaned his own campaign $3 million.
After the $5 million he loaned himself, total self-funding for Congressman Polis sits around $6.3 million. It should come as no surprise that Rep. Polis is one of the wealthiest members of Congress. According to the Colorado Secretary of State (SOS), he has spent just over $6 million for the period and has about half a million left in his account.
Cary Kennedy, former state treasurer, raised about $800,000 in contributions during the last period after a strong showing at the party caucus. In this fundraising period, she raised more than any other candidate and in doing so set a record in a Colorado governor's race, according the the Denver Post. So far, she has spent $1.2 million on the race and has $435,000 remaining in her candidate committee account.
Former State Sen. Mike Johnston, another Democrat, raised $600,000 this quarter, bringing his total to $2.1 million since he announced his candidacy and began his run for governor. The total he has raised is more money than any candidate for governor from either party has raised in a contested primary. His SOS filing shows that he spent $1.2 million so far and still has $838,000 on hand. That is the most of any candidate this period.
Coming in fourth for the Democrats, Lt. Gov. Donna Lynne raised $337,000. That number includes a $100,000 contribution to her own campaign. Her total fundraising equals a little above $1 million. After spending around $700,000, she had about $300,000 in the bank.
In the Republican primary, sitting state Treasurer Walker Stapleton brought in the most money, collecting about $400,000 for the period. He spent a little under $600,000 and has $831,0000 in the bank.
Businessman and former state lawmaker Victor Mitchell, who loaned his campaign $3 million when he launched it a year ago, spent $2.8 million this quarter. His campaign has been heavy on TV advertising, which will continue through the primary. He is left with about $260,000 in the bank.
Doug Robinson, a Republican, retired investment banker and Mitt Romney's nephew, raised $90,000 and spent $650,000, leaving him with just under $100,000. He too has loaned himself money, $300,000 over the course of his campaign.
Finally, Greg Lopez is in a distant fourth as far as fundraising is concerned. The Parker Mayor has just under $7,000 for the period. He has spent $33,000 and has about $7,000 in the bank. That figure includes $24,000 he's loaned himself. Mayor Lopez made a strong showing at the State Assembly which has given him a boost that has offset his lean fundraising.
More updates will come from your team at CLS as the election continues on! Until then!
Session Highlights Provided By:
The City of Centennial is accepting applications to serve on the City’s Election Commission. Terms are for three years or until the end of a previously established term in the case of a mid-term vacancy.
The roles of the Election Commission are:
The Election Commission meets once a quarter on the fourth Tuesday evening or as needed at the Centennial Civic Center. The application is attached to this email, may be obtained online or from the City Clerk by calling 303-754-3324.
Application deadline is Friday, June 1 at 5 p.m.
Article courtesy of Fisher Phillips
Contact: Michael Greco
The Colorado Court of Appeals recently held that the Colorado Wage Claim Act does not categorically bar individual liability for unpaid wages, rejecting arguments that a 2003 Colorado Supreme Court decision precluded any and all such claims. In other words, managers may now be personally on the hook for unpaid wage claims brought by current or former employees. The decision highlights the need for employers to create best practices to ensure the state’s wage and hour laws are followed, and should spur managers to take a specific interest in confirming compliance at their workplaces (Paradine v. Goei).
Dismissed Claim Against Company Executive Revived By Court Of Appeals
Robert Paradine worked as the Chief Financial Officer and Vice President of Administration for Aspect Technologies, Inc. Upon his departure from the company, he filed a lawsuit that included a claim under Colorado’s Wage Claim Act, alleging that Aspect owed him approximately $8,100 in unpaid wages. The lawsuit also included claims for fraud and breach of contract, which turned out to be a pivotal legal maneuver. But the lawsuit didn’t just name Aspect as a defendant; it also named Esmond Goei, the company’s Chief Executive Officer.
The CEO filed a motion to dismiss the claims against him personally, and the trial court granted that motion. It relied upon language found in the 2003 Colorado Supreme Court decision in Leonard v. McMorris which seemed to suggest that there was a complete bar preventing an individual from being held liable for such claims. Paradine appealed the decision, and the Colorado Court of Appeals reversed the dismissal and resurrected his claims in an April 19 ruling.
Court Of Appeals: Plaintiffs Can “Pierce” The “Corporate Veil” Due To Fraud And Contract Breach Claims
The court of appeals recognized that officers and directors cannot be held personally liable for the debts of a corporation merely because of the position they hold. However, the court ruled that an exception may apply that would permit a plaintiff to seek recovery directly from a corporate executive if they can “pierce the corporate veil.” In order to do so, the court held, a plaintiff would need to prove:
Further, Paradine argued that Goei participated in negotiations and entered into the employment agreement he signed with Aspect, and then willfully breached that agreement by failing to pay the required wages. By including allegations in the lawsuit that the corporation acted through its agent—Goei, its CEO—the court concluded that Paradine also stated a potential breach of contract claim.
Goei argued that the 2003 Colorado Supreme Court case should have prevented Paradine from maintaining any sort of claim against him personally for unpaid wages. But the appeals court said that the Leonard v. McMorris case only concerned a claim for unpaid wages brought under the Colorado Wage Claim Act, and therefore does not apply to wage claims that included fraud or breach of contract components.
The Colorado Court of Appeals reversed and remanded the case to the trial court, and Paradine will now have an opportunity to prove the claims against Goei. If he is successful, he may collect a judgment for unpaid wages directly from Goei himself.
What Does This Mean For Colorado Managers?
Whatever the outcome on remand, the decision serves as a good reminder to corporate officers and directors of the risks of mixing the personal with the corporate. Corporate accounts should be audited periodically for compliance with corporate ethics policies and with best practices and appropriate action taken to separate out any personal expenses. Also, you must ensure that your organization pays out compensation that is earned, vested, and determinable when an employee separates from employment. When your organization terminates the relationship, compensation generally is due immediately. When the employee quits or resigns, compensation is due the next regular payday.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today honored Senator Cory Gardner with its annual Spirit of Enterprise Award, given in recognition of his support for pro-growth policies in the first session of the 115th Congress.
“It’s a good time to be doing business in America, thanks to a slate of legislative accomplishments that laid the groundwork for more economic growth and job creation,” said Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “These efforts to advance commonsense, growth-oriented legislation will help Main Street American businesses thrive. We commend Senator Gardner for his commitment to promoting and protecting American free enterprise and economic prosperity.”
The Chamber’s prestigious Spirit of Enterprise Award is given annually to members of Congress based on their votes on critical business legislation as outlined in the Chamber’s How They Voted scorecard. Members who supported the Chamber’s position on at least 70 percent of those votes qualify to receive the award.
This is the 30th year that the U.S. Chamber has formally honored the accomplishments of this select group of members of Congress.
During the first session of the 115th Congress, the Chamber scored members on seven Senate votes, including those on tax reform legislation and the confirmation of Supreme Court Associate Justice Neil Gorsuch; and 14 House votes, including votes on tax reform legislation, access to Medicare, and lawsuit abuse. Various votes in support of small business were also scored.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is the world’s largest business federation representing the interests of more than 3 million businesses of all sizes, sectors, and regions, as well as state and local chambers and industry associations.
With the excitement of the session nearing its end, the House and Senate kicked it into high gear and spent the week working late and moving bills through committee. Although, this rushed mentality comes as no surprise. This year, a record number of bills have been introduced and more are still being introduced. There are only eight working days of session left - including today.
Talk about needing to work overtime; some simple math would indicate that the worst is to come - over 350 bills still need action which means, unless the legislature can get through about 44 bills a day, the fate of many will be to die on the calendar.
In order to help speed through the process, the Senate has eliminated all committees except for: Finance, State Veterans and Military Affairs, and Appropriations starting on May 1. The House has already started holding hearings on the floor of the chamber in the well. Streamlining workflow doesn't give much insight as to how the state will handle some of the most pressing issues which still await solutions.
The bills to fix the state's pension plan, invest in higher education needs, aid in the battle against opioid addiction, and fund transportation needs are still working their way through the process. While the state must remain hopeful for resolution, with work condensed only time will tell.
Session Highlights Provided By:
Two FREE Workshops Scheduled for Centennial Residents May 19
Learn what it takes to build a deck at a FREE deck building workshop on Saturday, May 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Centennial Civic Center located at 13133 E. Arapahoe Road. Participants will learn about the permitting process, building code requirements, common pitfalls during the deck building process and will have the opportunity the see deck framing examples on display.
Please RSVP to 303-754-3321. This workshop is hosted by the City of Centennial's Building Division.
Centennial residents may also register to learn how to identify noxious weeds and safely eliminate them from your property at the Noxious Weed Workshop Saturday, May 19 from 9 a.m. until noon. This FREE workshop will begin in the Community Room at the City's Public Work Facility, located at 7272 S. Eagle Street, for 1.5 hours of classroom time, then move to a nearby lot for the field exercise portion of the class.
Space is limited to 30 participants so don't wait to register! For more information and reservations contact Tamra Gregory at 303-325-8041 or [email protected].