Leading 9 Points To Think About When Choosing Your Dental professional

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Unfortunately, millions of people across the globe overlook their oral health, which is why they engage in different health conditions. Keep In Mind, the quality of your oral health will have an impact on the quality of your life. If you have frequent bad breath, hygiene issues, and visibly damaged teeth, all of these factors will have an impact on your personality. In some cases, poor oral health can easily transition into a deadly health condition and even mouth cancer. So it is imperative that you check with dentists every few months to ensure your oral health is good. Despite much awareness, many people are repulsed from visiting a dentist because of several issues such as high costs, self-esteem issues, and social stigma. Now that you have decided to visit a dentist, we will guide you through a few things to consider. Read on to know more:

1.      Experience

Before you decide to choose your dentist, you need to ensure if they have experience of working with several clients before. Keep in mind; dentistry is one such profession where health experts get better at their craft only when they come across several cases. A dentist’s treatment experience is a guarantee that they will be able to solve your issue. Regardless of how many skills a dentist has, you need to know about their experience before signing them. To avoid any complications during the treatment, you need to settle for an experienced dentist. Secondly, you need to know that a dentist will charge a lot of money, so it is imperative for you to settle for the right option. Visit Encino dentist if you want to come across the best services for oral health. An experienced dentist will easily handle your case with the best of his abilities and navigate it in the right direction.

2.      Will They Offer Orthodontics too?

A conventional dentist will offer fillings, cleanings, and general dentistry services. However, if you want to go the extra mile with regards to a root canal, extraction of the wisdom tooth, or braces, you need to visit a dentist who specializes in such treatments. You need to know that dentistry is a large field, so not every dentist will be equipped with all the information. In most cases, dentists choose specific parts of this profession and practice them for the rest of their lives. Luckily, most top-notch clinics in town offer specialized services inclusive of cosmetic dentistry, emergency dentistry, endodontics, and restoration dentistry. So when you’re planning to visit a particular dentist, it is crucial for you to ask them about the availability of advanced dental treatments. If they don’t offer these services, you can consider other options around.

3.      Academic Qualifications

If you expect that your interaction with the dentist will be for a long time, it is imperative for you to be dead sure about their academic qualifications. In today’s time, most dentists continue to keep up with education even after completing their professional academic degrees. With much advancement in science and technology, even dentists have to continue studies during their practice. By talking about education, we don’t mean that dentists need to enroll in a professional degree again. In several hospitals and medical schools, diplomas are offered to doctors from different parts of the health world. The ethos behind offering such diplomas to the dentists or any other doctors helps them keep up with the global standards. So when you’re looking for the right dentist, there is no harm in asking if they are still studying or have plans to pursue their education. Today, most dentists pursue education and often specialize in areas that are of the public’s interest.

4.      Is Free Consultation Provided?

If you plan to get specialized treatment for your loved one of yourself, you need to settle for a dentist who offers a free consultation. As discussed, dental treatment is expensive, so you need to be particular about your choice. Right now, even a single visit to the dentist can cost around $1000, so there is no reason to risk visiting the wrong person. Settling for a newbie might be the wrong choice because they often offer free consultations. Although dentists are honest working professionals, the industry is filled with scammers and moneymakers. Because dentistry is one of the highest-paid professionals, many people will only hound you in the pursuit of earning money. Beware of such people and look for somebody who offers a guarantee of their top-notch services through a free consultation.

5.      Is Your Time Being Valued?

When you visit a dentist, you will have to wait in line for your turn. Although it is very frustrating to wait in line, there is no harm in evaluating the doctor when visiting their room. Once you enter their room, you will be welcomed with a different vibe from the doctor. If you find the person to be welcoming and compassionate about their work, your wait was worth it; however, if the doctor gives you a weird look and asks to come to the point, you made the wrong choice of visiting them. Before you visit any dentists, make sure to read the client reviews to know about the attitude of that person. Especially when you know you will have to meet them frequently, it is crucial to look for the best person around. Sifting through the client reviews will help you weigh the pros and cons of working with an individual for a long time.

6.      What Guarantee Are You Provided?

A professional dentist will always guarantee you through verbal communication that your problem will get solved. However, if you visit a newbie with little experience and vague knowledge, it will be hard for them to plant a smile on your face. Secondly, if you contact dentists from the web, you can meet them in person to know about their work. Contrary to this, if you visit a hospital or any medical institution, they will gravitate you towards whosoever is sitting in the clinic at that time. Work with a dentist who assures you that your treatment will run smoothly. Because dental treatment is very expensive, you need to be mindful enough about your choice. At any time, if the treatment goes wrong, it might transition into a life-threatening health condition.

7.      Is Your Dentist Aware of the Link Between Oral and Body Health?

Even if your dentists aren’t aware of this concept, as a patient, you need to understand that there is a strong connection between oral health and the rest of the body. If you visit any professional dentists for the first time, they will navigate you through the strong link between these two. However, if you visit an inexperienced dentist, they will never be able to understand the correlation between oral health and whole-body health. If you overlook your oral health, it can have a strong impact on your body by engaging you in heart-related disease, hypertension, diabetes, mouth cancer, respiratory disease, and a lot more.

8.      Are They Using the Sterilization Protocols?

Every year, millions of people sue dentists for not treating them in the right way when a personal injury is caused by faulty or dirty equipment. Especially if you are looking for a new dentist in town, you need to ensure that they use the sterilization protocols. All of us expect the dentists to use top-notch and clean equipment when carrying out a procedure or regular checkup. However, if you are sure about a particular dentist not using sterilized equipment, it is best for you to leave them and consider other options around. If you ever come across a situation where the dentist is about to treat you with a non-sterilized equipment, you need to stop them as soon as possible; such equipment easily works to channel deadly diseases from one person 

via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/top-9-things-to-consider-when-choosing-your-dentist/

Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/not-pandemic-proof-insulin-copay-caps-drop-short-in-colorado-and-also-other-states-sustaining-underground-exchanges/

Not pandemic-proof: Insulin copay caps drop short in Colorado and also other states sustaining underground exchanges

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By Markian Hawryluk, Kaiser Health News

D.j. Mattern had her Type 1 diabetes under control until COVID’s economic upheaval cost her husband his hotel maintenance job and their health coverage. The 42-year-old Denver woman suddenly faced insulin’s exorbitant list price — anywhere from $125 to $450 per vial — just as their household income shrank.

She scrounged extra insulin from friends, and her doctor gave her a couple of samples. But as she rationed her supplies, her blood sugar rose so high her glucose monitor couldn’t even register a number. In June, she was hospitalized.

“My blood was too acidic. My system was shutting down. My digestive tract was paralyzed,” Mattern said, after three weeks in the hospital. “I was almost near death.”

So she turned to a growing underground network of people with diabetes who share extra insulin when they have it, free of charge. It wasn’t supposed to be this way, many thought, after Colorado last year was the first of 12 states to implement a cap on the copayments that some insurers can charge consumers for insulin. But as the COVID pandemic has caused people to lose jobs and health insurance, demand for insulin sharing has skyrocketed. Many patients who once had good insurance are now realizing the $100 cap is only a partial solution, applying just to state-regulated health plans.

Colorado’s cap does nothing for the majority of people with employer-sponsored plans or those without insurance coverage. According to the state chapter of Type 1 International, an insulin access advocacy group, only 3% of patients with Type 1 diabetes under 65 could benefit from the cap.

Such laws, often backed by pharmaceutical companies, give the impression that things are improving, said Colorado chapter leader Martha Bierut. “But the reality is, we have a much longer road ahead of us.”

The struggle to afford insulin has forced many people into that underground network. Through social media and word-of-mouth, those in need of insulin connect with counterparts who have a supply to spare. Insurers typically allow patients a set amount of insulin per month, but patients use varying amounts to control their blood sugar levels depending on factors such as their diet and activity that day.

Though it’s illegal to share a prescription medication, those involved say they simply don’t care: They’re out to save lives. They bristle at the suggestion that the exchanges resemble back-alley drug deals. The supplies are given freely, and no money changes hands.

After D.j. Mattern lost her health insurance earlier this year, she turned to an underground network to secure insulin for her Type 1 diabetes before recently qualifying for Medicaid. At home in Denver, Mattern displays her insulin pens. (Rachel Woolf for KHN)

For those who can’t afford their insulin, they have little choice. It’s a your-money-or-your-life scenario for which the American free-market health care system seems to have no answer.

“I can choose not to buy the iPhone or a new car or to have avocado toast for breakfast,” said Jill Weinstein, who lives in Denver and has Type 1 diabetes. “I can’t choose not to buy the insulin, because I will die.”

Exacerbated by the pandemic

Surveys conducted before the pandemic showed that 1 in 4 people with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes had rationed insulin because of the cost. For many Blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans, the pinch was especially bad. These populations are more likely to have diabetes and also more likely to face economic disparities that make insulin unaffordable.

Then COVID-19 arrived, with economic stress and the virus itself hitting people in those groups the hardest.

This year, the American Diabetes Association reported a surge in calls to its crisis hotline regarding insulin access problems. In June, the group found, 18% of people with diabetes were unemployed, compared with 12% of the general public. Many are wrestling with the tough choices of whether to pay for food, rent, utilities or insulin.

Rep. Dylan Roberts, a Democrat who sponsored Colorado’s copay cap bill, said legislators knew the measure was only the first step in addressing high insulin costs. The law also tasked the state’s attorney general to produce a report, due Nov. 1, on insulin affordability and solutions.

“We went as far as we could,” Roberts said. “While I feel Colorado has been a leader on this, we need to do a whole lot more both at the state and national level.”

According to the American Diabetes Association, 36 other states have introduced insulin copay cap legislation, but the pandemic stalled progress on most of those bills.

Insulin prices are high in the U.S. because few limits exist for what pharmaceutical manufacturers can charge. Three large drugmakers dominate the insulin market and have raised prices in near lockstep. A vial that 20 years ago cost $25 to $30 now can run 10 to 15 times that much. And people with diabetes can need as many as four or five vials per month.

“It all boils down to cost,” said Gail deVore, who lives in Denver and has Type 1 diabetes. “We’re the only developed nation that charges what we charge.”

Before the COVID crisis triggered border closures, patients often crossed into Mexico or Canada to buy insulin at a fraction of the U.S. price. President Donald Trump has taken steps to lower drug prices, including allowing for the importation of insulin in some cases from Canada, but that plan will take months to implement.

The kindness of strangers

DeVore posts on social media three or four times a year asking if anybody needs supplies. While she’s always encountered demand, her last tweet in August garnered 12 responses within 24 hours.

“I can feel the anxiety,” deVore said. “It’s unbelievable.”

She recalled helping one young man who had moved to Colorado for a new job but whose health insurance didn’t kick in for 90 days. She used a map to choose a random intersection halfway between them. When deVore arrived on the dusty rural road after dark, his car was already there. She handed him a vial of insulin and testing supplies. He thanked her profusely, almost in tears, she said, and they parted ways.

“The desperation was obvious on his face,” she said.

It’s unclear just how widespread such sharing of insulin has become. In 2019, Michelle Litchman, a researcher at the University of Utah’s College of Nursing, surveyed 159 patients with diabetes, finding that 56% had donated insulin.

“People with diabetes are sometimes labeled as noncompliant, but many people don’t have access to what they need,” she said. “Here are people who are genuinely trying to find a way to take care of themselves.”

If insulin affordability doesn’t improve, Litchman suggested in a journal article, health care providers may have to train patients on how to safely engage in underground exchanges.

The hashtag #Insulin4all has become a common way of amplifying calls for help. People sometimes post pictures of the supplies they have to share, while others insert numbers or asterisks within words to avoid social media companies removing their posts.

Although drug manufacturers offer limited assistance programs, they often have lengthy application processes. So they typically don’t help the person who accidentally drops her last glass vial on a tile floor and finds herself out of insulin for the rest of the month. Emergency rooms will treat patients in crisis and have been known to give them an extra vial or two to take home. But each crisis takes a toll on their long-term health.

That’s why members of the diabetes community continue to look out for one another. Laura Marston, a lawyer with Type 1 diabetes who helped to expose insulin pricing practices by Big Pharma, said two of the people she first helped secure insulin, both women in their 40s, are in failing health, the result of a lifetime of challenges controlling their disease.

“The last I heard, one is in end-stage renal failure and the other has already had a partial limb amputation,” Marston said. “The effects of this, what we see, you can’t turn your back on it.”

The underground sharing is how Mattern secured her insulin before recently qualifying for Medicaid. When someone on a neighborhood Facebook group asked if anybody needed anything in the midst of the pandemic, she replied with one word: insulin. Soon, an Uber driver arrived with a couple of insulin pens and replacement sensors for her glucose monitor.

“I knew it wasn’t altogether legal,” Mattern said. “But I knew that if I didn’t get it, I wouldn’t be alive.”

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CU Rock to return to in-person courses next week as coronavirus break out reduces

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The University of Colorado Boulder will bring thousands of students back to its campus for in-person learning on Oct. 14 after rising coronavirus case numbers last month pushed the school to move entirely online for more than two weeks.

Chancellor Philip DiStefano said the plan to return to in-person classes was made possible by decreasing coronavirus case numbers, especially among the 18- to 22-year-old population, after public health orders to stem the outbreak went into effect.

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Known cases in Colorado.
  • TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • STORY: Coronavirus transmission slows among younger Coloradans, but health officials worry about rising hospitalizations

>> FULL COVERAGE

DiStefano made the announcement at a news conference Wednesday that included representatives from the city of Boulder and Boulder County Public Health. 

“I’m grateful to everyone at CU and in the surrounding community for your patience and understanding as we work to provide the safest and best experience possible for students as well as community members,” DiStefano said.

Meanwhile, Boulder County’s public health order banning gatherings of 18- to 22-year-olds in the city of Boulder, issued on Sept. 24, will be allowed to expire on Thursday at noon without being renewed. 

At that time the order was issued, there had been nearly 1,400 COVID-19 cases among CU students since the start of the semester. Last week, county health officials warned that if COVID-19 metrics did not improve quickly and significantly, the county could be forced to return to Colorado’s stay-at-home status. 

Jeff Zayach, Boulder County Public Health director, said Wednesday that while the county still isn’t out of the woods yet, the decreasing case numbers and compliance among the student population mean the community is headed in the right direction.

“You are making a difference right now,” Zayach said.

Since the public health order limiting gatherings among young people was issued two weeks ago, CU-affiliated residents in the county have accounted for 275 positive or probable COVID-19 cases, with most reported in the few days following the public health order. The county reported 268 non-CU cases in that same time span. 

Over the weekend, no new CU-related COVID-19 cases were reported. Only two were reported from Monday and eight were reported from Tuesday.

To keep up the progress and maintain stay-at home status, Zayach noted that students and all other Boulder County residents must continue to operate with health guidelines in mind, including wearing face coverings, avoiding large gatherings and maintaining physical distance. Zayach also emphasized the importance of getting tested when exposed to COVID-19 symptomatic and working with contact-tracing efforts.

Zayach also unveiled two new county-level public health orders on Wednesday. One focuses on controlling outbreaks in collegiate group homes, such as fraternities and sororities, by requiring houses to submit infection control plans to the county in order to lift stay-at-home orders that were put in effect to slow the spread of the virus. If a house does not submit its plans before Oct. 12, when the stay-at-home directive is set to expire, it will remain in stay-at-home status pending submission and approval of its plan.

The other order lays out more details on social gatherings of various sizes for 18- to 22-year-olds, based on the county’s coronavirus case metrics for that age range. The range varies from no gatherings at all, to small private gatherings, to gatherings on the same level for other county residents. Loosening restrictions will be based on the county’s 14-day positivity rate and 14-day average of cases per 100,000 people, while more restrictive measures will be determined by the 5-day positivity rate and 5-day average of cases per 100,000 people.

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  • CU Boulder to resume in-person classes next week as coronavirus outbreak slows
  • Not pandemic-proof: Insulin copay caps fall short in Colorado and other states, fueling underground exchanges
  • “Social Dilemma” movement wants to force change at tech companies. Lawmakers do too.
  • Record traffic in South Platte forest district spurs first-ever designated camping plan
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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/07/cu-boulder-resumes-in-person-learning/

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Littwin: It was a normal argument definition America obtains a break and the Biden-Harris ticket gets the win

The vice-presidential debate was, uh, civil. Mostly.

It was, uh, normal. Mostly. 

It will be all but forgotten in a day or so. Certainly.

If you watched it, your anticipation level probably dipped fairly quickly into the evening. Going in, you knew it wasn’t going to be Trump-Biden II. But it was clear pretty early that this debate wasn’t going to change the political dynamic whatsoever. We saw a lot of semi-normal political back and forth, a lot of dodging, a little feinting, a vice-presidential debate in which the defining moment was the fly that wouldn’t leave Mike Pence’s head. 

And, yes, the Biden campaign is already selling fly swatters — inscribed with the words “Truth over Flies.” It was the most 2020 thing of the night.

Mike Littwin

The main takeaway, though, is that this debate changed nothing, which meant it was a victory for Joe Biden, who is currently cruising in the polls. In CNN’s instapoll following the debate, Kamala Harris was declared the winner by a wide margin, which probably reflected the state of the race as much as anything else, but probably also that women didn’t much care for Pence’s bad, mad case of mansplaining. The big gap in the polling, of course, comes from the women’s vote, and especially the suburban women’s vote, and I can’t help but think that Pence didn’t help Donald Trump’s cause at all.

The night was certainly OK for Harris, who is still introducing herself to much of America. There was history, of course, in that she is the first woman of color ever to run for vice-president. And, as expected, she did nothing to make anyone think she’s a radical, though Pence tried once, very briefly, to make that case. Let’s just say she easily passed the could-this-person-be-president-given-that-Joe-Biden-is-77-years-old test.

And for Pence, he successfully dodged any difficult question, notably the one about how exactly the Trump administration would protect pre-existing-condition rules given they’re trying to overturn Obamacare in the courts. He also didn’t answer whether climate change was an existential threat. But he did his best to take on an impossible task, which was to defend Donald Trump — and himself — on the disaster that is COVID-19. It was kind of funny, though, when Pence repeatedly said the Trump administration was following the science, on COVID, on climate change. Maybe political science, but not even that, really.

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Pence did defy the rules, talking well past his allotted time over and over again and sort of daring anyone — meaning, the two women with him on the stage — to do something about it. Did America care?  I’m guessing Democrats did and Republicans didn’t. It wasn’t anything like Trump’s — you remember the description — shit show. Harris did give her “I’m talking here” reply a few times. She also said, “If you don’t mind letting me finish, we can have a conversation. OK?”

For Harris, it was likely a tactical decision not to do much more. She had several opportunities to hit Pence on his non-answers, but she passed on most occasions. Was it poor debating or was it the game plan?

For moderator Susan Page, it was another night in which the moderator didn’t seem to be in control. She couldn’t get Pence to stop talking. And she did not follow up with either candidate when he or she was dodging a question. Harris dodged questions about packing the court, about Biden’s age and her possible succession, about what exactly Biden’s version of the Green New Deal would look like. Page didn’t force Pence to answer the question about the Supreme Court and Roe v. Wade or whether he would accept the results of an election if Trump were to lose.

I know what I would have liked to talk about if I were on the stage or if I were the moderator, which is how the president, who defies all norms, who refuses to wear masks or socially distance, who doesn’t seem to worry about the safety of those who attend his rallies, managed not only to contract the virus, but to give us a White House that has become a coronavirus hot spot. At last check, there were at least 23 people in and around Trump who have tested positive for COVID-19. Stephen Colbert called the West Wing of the White House the Infest Wing.

READ: More columns by Mike Littwin.

Meanwhile, Trump insisted on working Wednesday from the Oval Office on the same day he was hyper-texting about Barack Obama and HIllary Clinton and “TREASONOUS PLOT” and “CROOKED HILLARY” while also releasing a five-minute rambling video about how he was cured and how contracting COVID was, for him, a “blessing from God.” Maybe not so much for more than 210,000 people who have died from the virus, or their families and friends. Or, for that matter, the more than 7 million other Americans who have contracted the virus.

I would have also asked about Trump’s balcony speech and how he could have possibly entered the White House with no mask on in his contagious state. And why Trump won’t tell us when he last tested negative. There are only two likely answers for that — one, he wasn’t getting tested regularly and that includes before his first debate with Biden; two, he had tested positive before finally warning the public. 

In any case, Trump did not self-quarantine after knowing that his close adviser, Hope Hicks, had tested positive. And for that matter, Pence didn’t self-quarantine either after attending the Rose Garden introduction of Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett, an event that seems to have been a super-spreader. 

When Harris attacked the administration’s response on COVID as a failure, Pence attacked back, “When you say what the American people have done over these last eight months hasn’t worked, that’s a great disservice to the sacrifices of the American people.” Of course, no one had criticized the American people. The criticism is of Trump and, yes, Pence, who has headed the White House response to COVID.

The first question was about COVID, and it’s the question that Trump cannot answer. The numbers are the numbers. The facts are the facts. America’s response has been a disaster. And Trump’s decision to pull the plug on a new stimulus deal with so many Americans hurting is an enormous self-inflicted wound that goes against the advice of nearly everyone, including Fed chair Jerome Powell.

But the real unanswered question of the night was whether, given the recent rapid growth of COVID cases and given Pence’s close contact with Trump, there should have been an in-person debate at all. The experts said the plexiglass wasn’t real protection. The 12 feet between the candidates may not have been protection enough. Meanwhile doctors were reasonably questioning why there needed to be an audience.

Don’t be surprised if this is the last in-person debate of the presidential season. And if Biden refuses to debate Trump in the same room — as he might very well — don’t be surprised if there aren’t any more debates at all, which, given the first Trump-Biden debate would be the real blessing.

Let’s face it, after two debates, the only one on stage who ever had two uninterrupted minutes was Pence’s fly.


Mike Littwin has been a columnist for too many years to count. He has covered Dr. J, four presidential inaugurations, six national conventions and countless brain-numbing speeches in the New Hampshire and Iowa snow.


The Colorado Sun is a nonpartisan news organization, and the opinions of columnists and editorial writers do not reflect the opinions of the newsroom. Read our ethics policy for more on The Sun’s opinion policy and submit columns, suggested writers and more to opinion@coloradosun.com.

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  • Littwin: It was a normal debate, meaning America gets a break and the Biden-Harris ticket gets the win
  • Honks, flags and fistfights: America’s election tension has boiled over at one Colorado intersection
  • Can you trust the blue book? Colorado officials say they prioritize nonpartisanship in analyzing ballot questions
  • CU Boulder to resume in-person classes next week as coronavirus outbreak slows
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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/08/mike-pence-kamala-harris-debate-littwin-opinion/

Honks flags as well as fistfights: Americas political election tension has outraged at one Colorado junction

Colorado News

HIGHLANDS RANCH — It began with one guy in a cowboy hat holding an American flag in one hand and a Joe Biden flag in the other. 

It was the Fourth of July, and thanks to coronavirus, Bob Marshall’s other plans were canceled, which is how he ended up at the intersection of Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway, walking in a square for almost five hours. Each time he reached a corner, he pushed the crosswalk button for another walk signal.

The white-haired, retired Marine was encouraged by the honks from passersby and occasional thumbs up sticking out of car windows. Some of the drivers in this conservative suburb gave him surprised looks. A few shouted F-bombs, screamed “Donald Trump!” or yelled that he was a socialist. 

Marshall, a former Republican who said he left the party because of President Donald Trump, started walking the intersection after the president railed against liberalism and “violent mayhem” in a speech at Mount Rushmore. Marshall wasn’t shocked that his Biden flag drove people to yell obscenities out their windows, but he didn’t expect what came next. 

Within weeks, the intersection near the community library, a farmers market and three churches would become a near-daily, in-your-face reminder of the bitter politics separating neighbors in 2020. Then came a literal brawl, a fistfight that would end with five people, including Marshall, cited for disorderly conduct. 

After that first one-man rally, the man now known as “Cowboy Biden” kept coming back to the intersection, during evening rush hour on weekdays and on some weekend afternoons. Sometimes he went to other intersections, but this was the closest major intersection to his house. 

Marshall hadn’t planned to walk again after that first day. But as he was leaving, two older women ran up to him, almost in tears, he said. “They said, ‘Oh thank God, we thought we were alone here in Highlands Ranch. You don’t know how happy you made us.’”

“I’ll run you over”

He went back out a couple days later, and a day or two after that.

Soon, a second guy was walking behind him. The man pulled over when he spotted Marshall, and hopped out with a homemade Sharpie-and-cardboard sign that said, “I’m here to support this guy.”

As the coronavirus summer wore on, more Joe Biden supporters gathered at the intersection. While Marshall walked, they waved flags on the corner in front of a Safeway. Trump supporters started coming too, setting up on an opposite corner, in front of a Walgreens.

Trump supporters at the corner of Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway received a steady stream of honks, cheers and waves, as well as some swear words on Oct. 6, 2020. (Jennifer Brown, The Colorado Sun)

For a few weeks in September, as the crowds grew larger, the intersection was a ruckus of honking, yelling and disruption as drivers slowed to shout back or hand over gifts, including Trump hats and stickers. Someone stuck their head out of a sunroof and shouted “F… Donald Trump!” with a megaphone. A carload of teenagers shouted “Donald Trump sucks!” and then drove around the block to do it again. 

The Biden corner grew to include Black Lives Matter protesters. The Trump side came with Blue Lives Matter flags. One side wore face masks. The other did not. 

Sheriff’s deputies were called a handful of times. Once, when Marshall walked to a nearby intersection instead, a man and his two sons followed him through the crosswalks, running past him and covering the signal buttons with their bodies. Someone saw them shouting in each other’s faces and called authorities. 

Another time, a man in a pickup truck rolled down his window and told Marshall, “Step in front of my truck and I’ll run you over.” It was one of four times that Marshall says he was nearly hit by a car at Broadway and Highlands Ranch and had to leap out of the way.

As dusk fell one late-summer night, a sheriff’s deputy parked his patrol car on the side of Broadway facing the crowd, just watching.

The next night, Sept. 10, the intersection was illuminated in flashing red and blue after fistfights broke out between members of each group. Multiple patrol cars from the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office lined the streets and deputies charged five people with disorderly conduct just after 7:30 p.m.

Details of how it all went down are sparse. A flagpole holding an American flag was broken. An uninvited protester showed up with a Confederate flag and wasn’t welcomed by either corner. 

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Kellee Fertig, a Trump supporter who was cited after the fistfight, told The Colorado Sun, “They are the ones who jumped us. Stupid erratic liberals. Like always.” But she refused to explain further, as did Trump supporter Destiny Washington, who also was cited with disorderly conduct. 

Washington declined an interview but in a text message said that she has been threatened over social media and involved in multiple arguments while rallying for the president. 

“When we are out supporting our president we get name-called,” she said. “I’ve had several altercations with people. We have Mexican Americans, mixed races, moms, dads, people who care and work hard.”

Cowboy Biden, who continues to walk the intersection even after the melee, didn’t want to talk about it either, though he alleged that he wasn’t treated fairly by the officers and said the case could end up in court.

Even the sheriff’s department refused to release its report on the incident, citing an “ongoing investigation.” Deputy Lauren Childress said no weapons were involved, just hands and fists, and there were two fights — one involving four people and one involving two people. The sixth person was a juvenile and was not charged.

“This is our corner”

The brawl put a damper on the political honking match for a couple of weeks, though Marshall still showed up regularly in his cowboy hat and American flag shirt. A handful of Trump supporters occasionally appeared on the grassy patch in front of Walgreens. 

But as the Nov. 3 election nears, the intersection is filling up again.

Charlie Wagner, 17, waves a flag for President Donald Trump along Broadway in Highlands Ranch on Oct. 6, 2020. (Jennifer Brown, The Colorado Sun)

Lisa Vargo, who had never before done any political campaigning, put out the word to fellow Trump supporters on Facebook, inviting them to the Walgreens corner every Tuesday evening until Election Day. Four people joined her the first week. The next week it was more than 10, including a few high school boys.

This week, as she stood at the intersection smiling at people cheering from their car windows, her glittery American flag earrings sparkled in the sun.

“I just felt the need to go out and show people that there are Trump supporters in this culture of ‘you can’t admit it,’” she said. “The culture has us so silenced being a conservative. You hesitate to put a sticker on your car because it’s going to get vandalized. You hesitate to put a sign in your yard. If you walk around Highlands Ranch you see more Biden signs than Trump signs but I know there are more Trump supporters.”

So for Vargo, standing at the intersection feels like validation — people might not put up a Trump sign in front of their house but they will honk as they drive by. 

“It ranges from ‘Four more years!’ to yucky language,” she said, holding a “Honk for Trump” sign and a giant Trump flag. “We got the p-word last time. And a lot of f-words. But we get a lot more honks.” 

The group was buoyed by a driver who handed them four Trump hats while she was stopped at the light. A man parked and asked to get a picture taken with the group. And a woman pulled over to give them a sign in support of Proposition 115, a state ballot initiative that would ban abortion after 22 weeks of pregnancy. 

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“This is our corner. We’re not giving it up,” said Jamie Hothem, another Highlands Ranch resident who saw Vargo’s Facebook post and joined the Tuesday night rallies. Trump is the first president she’s ever campaigned for, she said, because she appreciates his straight talk. “He’s honest. He’s real.” 

A week and a half earlier, on the opposite corner, Diane Shannon also used Facebook to put together a Saturday afternoon Biden rally. She didn’t know Cowboy Biden, but she’d heard about him out there, walking alone. 

“I’ve never seen the country the way it is now,” Shannon said. “There is just so much division, it’s awful. We need new leadership. I think we need a president who cares about people.”

As the group, mostly women and wearing masks, displayed signs honoring the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and in support of Biden and vice presidential candidate Kamala Harris, the Saturday traffic erupted into beeps and hollering. 

“That’s socialism!” shouted a man stopped at the light. 

“Joe Biden is not a socialist! He’s a moderate!” a supporter shouted back. “You don’t know what you’re talking about!”

A group of Joe Biden supporters gathered at the intersection of Broadway and Highlands Ranch Parkway on Sept. 26, 2020. (Jennifer Brown, The Colorado Sun)

Both sides say the number of honks they get is picking up the closer it gets to Nov. 3. 

“It’s not scientific, but this is a huge difference from two months ago,” said Marshall, as blaring beeps drowned out his voice. He wore the straw hat that first day to keep the sun out of his eyes and now wears it every time because it became his “thing.” 

Hat on his head, Marshall said he liked walking the intersection as Cowboy Biden more when the groups were smaller. He even befriended some of the original Trump supporters who arrived in July. A man who helped organize the Republican side of the street told Marshall he dug out his Trump flag and came outside because he was “inspired” by Cowboy Biden, out there walking in a square path, alone.

“I was trying to demoralize you,” Marshall told him, jokingly, “not inspire you.”

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  • Littwin: It was a normal debate, meaning America gets a break and the Biden-Harris ticket gets the win
  • Honks, flags and fistfights: America’s election tension has boiled over at one Colorado intersection
  • Can you trust the blue book? Colorado officials say they prioritize nonpartisanship in analyzing ballot questions
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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/08/2020-election-polarization-colorado-biden-trump/

Can you rely on heaven publication? Colorado officials claim they focus on nonpartisanship in assessing tally questions

get headlines https://thecherrycreeknews.com

Colorado voters this year are tasked with making informed decisions on a labyrinth of ballot issues and a polarized pallet of races. 

To help them navigate the statewide ballot measures, the state provides what is known as the blue book, a roughly 90-page guide that looks at the legal, fiscal and practical implications of the policy questions. (It also includes an addendum on judicial evaluations.) The state sent about 2.5 million copies of the ballot guide — named for its blue cover — ahead of the election to every address that has a registered voter.

Natalie Mullis leads the effort to compile the booklet as director of the Colorado General Assembly’s nonpartisan research arm, the legislative council staff. She says her team solicits input from interested parties on all sides of a given issue and compiles it into briefings for voters.

“The legislative council staff takes this responsibility very seriously and believes it’s a great honor to do it,” Mullis said. “And it is our goal to make it unbiased and accurate and easy to understand.”

Still, that’s not to say the blue book is entirely impervious to politics, because it includes arguments from either side of the issue. Mullis said legislative staff won’t just copy and paste arguments into the booklet, and they always leave out campaign slogans. In addition, state lawmakers on the Legislative Council Committee are empowered to change the language.

This story idea came from a question submitted by a reader. Do you have a question about the election in Colorado or how to vote? We want to hear it — submit them here. You’ll find answers to questions here.

In Colorado, the blue books are considered particularly useful because they supplement mail voting, allowing voters to review the information on ballot questions as they complete their ballots. Not all states send out blue books, but with so many Coloradans using the book, it’s critical that it remains nonpartisan, Mullis said. 

That doesn’t mean the blue book doesn’t face controversy. The opponents of Amendment B, a measure to repeal the Gallagher Amendment, sued in September to try to stop the book from being published, because they said state legislators made the section on Amendment B biased. A Denver judge threw the lawsuit out of court. 

Back in 2016, Colorado lawmakers amended the blue book to make a measure they opposed less appealing. It takes a two-thirds majority of the Legislative Council committee to make edits to the version lawmakers receive from nonpartisan staff. Mullis says that supermajority requirement means partisan issues are left largely untouched by the council, but also sets the bar low enough to make significant changes on less-polarizing topics. 

How Colorado’s ballot guide is drafted 

The process of putting that guide together starts months before the election. Typically, legislative council staff submit the book to three rounds of revision, but this year delays related to COVID-19 extended the length of the legislative session and trimmed that number down to two. The legislative committee typically reviews the booklet around Labor Day, Mullis said. 

Each round of revisions brings new feedback from issue committees registered to support or oppose a ballot measure. The input from the activists on either side can become part of the background or arguments section of the book. On occasion, Mullis said, a concerned citizen or two also will submit information to the team.

But Mullis said all information that makes it into the book is vetted. Even the sections that argue for or against a given position are compiled by the staff and prioritize facts over “interpretation or opinion.” Her staff is careful not to include campaign slogans or inflammatory language. 

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“We strive to make it as unbiased as possible,” she said. “We never want to put anything out that’s biased or partisan.”

Coloradans in four counties received two blue books in the mail, one in English and one in Spanish. Federal law requires officials to send non-English language election materials to every person who lives in a county where a certain portion of U.S. citizens of voting age lists a different native language. Previously the state included the Spanish version of the text within the same blue book. (It also produced an audio blue book, which is available at this link.) But this year the state sent a Spanish book and an English one separately because it’s cheaper than printing them together, Mullis said. 

The total cost of producing and distributing the election information materials exceeded $2.5 million this year, including $1.04 million for printing, $684,000 for postage, $15,000 for translation services and $780,000 for printing the ballot information in newspapers, a required practice under the state’s constitution.

This story was produced with support from a grant from the American Press Institute.

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Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/a-mission-minded-finance-source-that-doesnt-care-if-youre-a-start-up-without-any-experience-revenues-or-credit-score/

A mission-minded finance source that doesn’t care if youre a start-up without any experience revenues or credit score

get headlines https://thecherrycreeknews.com

When Valerie and Cesar Beltran decided to open Beltran’s Meat Market & Grill in Northglenn four years ago, they thought their past experience of running their own meat market in New Mexico and then a Front Range tortilla factory was enough to make them creditworthy.

But as opening day approached, the couple realized they needed more than a home equity loan to pay for unexpected expenses. They applied for a small business loan. Their bank said no. 

“They didn’t really want to take the risk. There just wasn’t collateral in it for them to take that risk,” said Valerie Beltran, the family’s hard-working matriarch who raised six children and also picked up her Realtor’s license. “I’m a female, I’m a minority, I’m a veteran. I tried to pull every card I could, but traditional banks did not want to look at us.”

Valerie Beltrán, co-owner of Beltran’s Meat Market, sits for a portrait at the market in Northglenn on Oct. 5, 2020. The family owned and operated bilingual meat market received a Colorado Enterprise Fund loan available to underserved communities. (Eli Imadali, Special to The Colorado Sun)

But there was a lender who would. Actually, a few were willing to work with a startup with no revenues or collateral — and without charging exorbitant interest. Colorado Enterprise Fund, a certified community development financial institution (CDFI), offered a market-rate loan and guidance. The experience proved so beneficial, the Beltrans repaid the loan and went back for a second one to help their son, who opened Beltran’s Grill in Broomfield in July, after COVID-19 delayed his plans.

“It wasn’t just money,” Beltran said. “Colorado Enterprise Fund offered to help with marketing, offered help with QuickBooks accounting and offered help with getting our business plan together to make it stronger. They just gave you more support.”

CDFIs, like the Colorado Enterprise Fund, have been around for decades and are seeing an uptick in interest by borrowers and investors as the coronavirus continues to disrupt the local economy. They exist as part of a government effort to encourage banks and lenders to invest in their local communities and provide credit to those in lower-income neighborhoods. By statute, CDFIs offer financial and educational support. In good times, such lenders appeal to borrowers who find it very difficult to qualify for a traditional bank loan. 

And in tough times?

“We come in as a source of support because banks pull back,” said Ceyl Prinster, CEO of Colorado Enterprise Fund, which started in 1976. “And many businesses that in normal times would be bankable are, all of a sudden, not so bankable.”

Antonio Reyes weighs chorizo at Beltran’s Meat Market in Northglenn on Oct. 5, 2020. The family owned and operated bilingual meat market received a Colorado Enterprise Fund loan available to underserved communities. (Eli Imadali, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The allure of risky lending: Social impact

CDFIs are often overlooked or not known to the folks who would benefit the most. Many of these mission-minded organizations are not banks or credit unions. They’re not regulated by the Federal Reserve. They don’t take deposits. Instead, they’re non-profit organizations that manage loan funds certified by the CDFI Fund, which is part of the U.S Department of the Treasury. The market-rate loans are backed by federal and philanthropic grants or investors and must target a specific applicant. 

“CDFIs have been kind of under the radar for a really long time, you know, like the best kept secret,” said Yuliya Tarasava, a cofounder of CNote, an Oakland, California-based company that provides investors with a portfolio of CDFIs by category, race, gender or region. “And yet, they’ve been doing all this amazing work in our communities, literally in our backyard.”

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An organization like the Colorado Enterprise Fund has seen its reach expand, with 1,113 loans for a total of $32 million in its 2020 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. That’s five times the number of loans and triple the amount of last year. In its latest completed report in 2018, it had done $13.8 million worth of loans for 235 businesses, created 1,242 jobs and offered 3,066 hours of coaching and business advice. By 2018, assets had grown about 50% in three years, as borrowers paid back loans and the organization attracted new investors.

And that’s a key part of growth. CDFIs are attracting more impact investors and private companies looking to be more mindful with their money. Some are incentivized by federal tax credits to invest in economically distressed communities. Others say they just want to support a certain underserved population. 

In March, Google partnered with the Opportunity Finance Network to create a $125 million fund to help CDFIs working with businesses impacted by COVID. 

In June, Netflix made a $10 million investment in HOPE, a Jackson, Mississippi-based CDFI that focuses on communities of color in the South. HOPE’s CEO Bill Bynum told the Wall Street Journal that the attention from Netflix “was more valuable than the deposit itself,” and helped “draw millions of dollars more in commitments.”

Beltran’s Meat Market in Northglenn got a federal Paycheck Protection Program loan from the Colorado Enterprise Fund, which had helped the family-run business in 2016. But as COVID-19 restrictions delayed the opening of its new Beltran’s Grill in Broofield, it missed out on a second PPP loan. (Eli Imadali, Special to The Colorado Sun)

This spring, as hordes of companies applied for the federal Paycheck Protection Program, several smaller mom-and-pop businesses missed out. Many didn’t have the right banking connections or were confused about how to meet the terms to get the loan 100% forgiven.

The inequity caused the U.S. Small Business Administration and Treasury Department to take note. After a second round of paycheck-loan funding was made available by Congress in late April, the SBA and Treasury set aside $10 billion for CDFI lenders. 

Ultimately, 308 CDFIs made $7.5 billion in PPP loans to 114,717 businesses nationwide — an average of  $64,506 per loan. By comparison, in the first round of PPP loans, the top lender made 27,307 loans at an average of $515,304. The Colorado Sun received a paycheck loan.

More: As society changes, Colorado investors want to make more impact with their money

CDFIs are one of the best ways to reach those small businesses in need. As banks consolidated, they closed local branches. Many commercial banks now partner with CDFIs to fulfill federal requirements and meet needs in low-income communities.

Earlier this week, FirstBank pledged $60 million to support Habitat for Humanity and Impact Development Fund. IDF is a CDFI dedicated to housing affordability for Coloradans. The pledge is of the bank’s “Banking for Good” program, which does help meet its federal requirements but also is done “regardless of regulatory requirements,” said Leah Dirks, president of mortgage and consumer lending at FirstBank. 

“We contribute (financially), serve on boards, work together to design and implement joint programs when possible,” Dirks said in an email. “We also work with CDFIs to bridge the lending gap for borrowers. Many CDFIs also help increase access to resources for minorities and women owned businesses, which aligns well with FirstBank’s own diversity and multicultural banking efforts.”

Redefining risk

Congress passed the Community Reinvestment Act in 1977 to stop banks from redlining, which is the discriminatory practice that cut off lower-income neighborhoods from credit. But discrepancies remained 15 years later, which led President Bill Clinton to push for the Riegle Community Development and Regulatory Improvement Act of 1994. 

The 1994 law led to the creation of the CDFI Fund, which annually certifies banks, credit unions or nonprofit organizations. Certification requires organizations to have a primary mission of promoting community development among underserved customers. The annual certification helps the CDFI qualify for federal grants, which has totaled $2 billion since the CDFI Fund’s inception.

But to qualify the target applicants, CDFIs often blur eligibility guidelines, repayment deadlines and other things traditional banks require and expect from borrowers. 

Colorado Enterprise Fund, for example, will consider an owner whose credit score is 600, where traditional banks often require a minimum of 670, Prinster said. CDFIs go beyond the data.

“We’ll look at whether this is the result of medical issues or divorce or something that’s a one-time thing. Or is it a chronic disregard for financial obligations?” Prinster said. “We can take a little bit more of an individualized approach on that and discount for those factors.”

Dental hygienist Maria Francisco-Matias begins to clean the teeth of one of Marisela Carmona’s 18-month-old triplets, Abdiel. Francisco-Matias reopened her business after getting a loan from Colorado Enterprise Fund to help pay for personal protection equipment. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

They’re allowed to prioritize what matters differently, she added.

“Collateral is another thing. We realized that you usually don’t get fully paid back from collateral so we might weigh that a little less strongly than a bank would,” she said. “We’re going to weigh the cash flow, the historical cash flow, the projected cash flow for a startup, and some other factors (less, so) we can just be more generous.” 

The Carsey Institute at the University of New Hampshire studied the impact of CDFIs during the Great Recession for the Treasury Department. It concluded that serving distressed communities costs more because of the additional services required to train folks to be fiscally responsible. 

But overall, CDFIs learned to manage the risk of providing loans to low and moderate income individuals and communities. The loans maintained “performance standards generally equivalent to those of the conventional financial sector,” said the report. 

More: Colorado’s newest billion-dollar B Corp is part of a movement to make a social impact — and profits

Today, there are more than 1,100 certified CDFIs, including 19 in Colorado. About half are nonprofit loan funds, while the rest are banks, credit unions and holding companies.

CDFIs just really know how to manage their risk, said Helen Leung, chief operating officer at Aeris Insight, which rates CDFIs on the same CAMEL standards banks use: capital, assets, management, earnings and liquidity. 

“CDFIs monitor their loan portfolios very closely,” Leung said. “CDFIs would call a small business owner if their payment falls behind by 15 days. They say, ‘What happened? How can we help?’ And you say, ‘I lost my guy who delivers my pizzas.’” 

CDFIs are much smaller than commercial banks and must have a community-minded mission. They’re available when their customers hit trouble spots.They know how to make arrangements if the customer can’t pay on time. 

“It’s not that they are lenient. It’s not that they give up money without going through a very good critical underwriting criteria. We look at their procedures and we look at their portfolios and the way they manage their loans is very hands-on,” she said. “This is why they’re successful.” 

But it’s not like CDFIs will give just anyone a loan. Applicants may not need a business plan, revenues or historical financials to qualify, but there are underwriting standards, said Alex Wise, executive director of Community Enterprise Development Services, an Aurora-based CDFI.

Her organization asks borrowers two questions: Can you pay us back and will you pay us back? 

The idea, said Wise, is to determine whether the business can generate enough cash to pay back the loan but also have money to meet payroll, purchase supplies and budget for the next month. 

“The ‘Will you pay us back?’ is really looking at their character and moving them beyond just what is their credit score number. It’s really saying, ‘Have you shown to be someone who is professional, someone who is courteous, who’s respectful?’ Someone who is most likely to honor their debts,” Wise said. “There are certain situations where people just can’t do it because of really bad luck, like a car accident. And there are other people who won’t do it and may walk away from their debt. We’re trying to filter through those.”

Affordable housing, race, religion and other specialties

Colorado Enterprise Fund focuses on small businesses but others in Colorado have more specific niches. Oweesta Corporation in Longmont exclusively serves Native communities and tribal members. Colorado Housing Enterprises in Westminster focuses on affordable housing and helps borrowers with down payments. 

Aurora-based Community Enterprise Development Services started by serving refugees and immigrants in 2011. It has since expanded to any underserved racial minorities and continues to delve deeper into the needs of its target communities. 

For example, there’s a large Muslim population in Aurora. CEDS worked with the community to configure an alternative to a loan because interest is forbidden under Islamic law. CEDS added Murabaha, an Islamic financing structure that sets a fixed cost. Instead of interest, CEDS charges a monthly fee to offset the cost of administering the loan.

“And because that fee is not tied to the performance of the loan but is separate, it is permissible,” said Wise, who previously worked in impact investing in Somalia. “We have a product that’s fairly general that can really apply to all of our Muslim clients and that’s about a third of our portfolio.” 

Since CDFIs are based in a community, they are able to rally support from local philanthropists or impact investors when needed. Colorado Enterprise Fund wanted to offer paycheck loans last spring but didn’t have enough funding and the federal backing for CDFIs had not yet kicked in. So it asked its community partners for help. Philanthropic groups, including the Gates Family Foundation and Bohemian Foundation, stepped up and helped raise $11.2 million for PPP loans. 

Colorado Enterprise Fund made $18 million in paycheck loans to about 800 small businesses in the state. 

Dental hygienist Maria Francisco-Matias, right, at Every Child Pediatrics in Thornton, gives dental care education to Marisela Carmona who has arrived for a dental appointment for her 18-month-old triplets Ozziel, top left, Abdiel, and Leonel. Francisco-Matias reopened in June, but only after receiving a loan from the Colorado Enterprise Fund to help pay for personal protection equipment. (Kathryn Scott, Special to The Colorado Sun)

Thornton dental hygienist Maria Francisco-Matias found out about Colorado Enterprise Fund’s PPP program after reading a Delta Dental newsletter. Her memories of applying for a business loan were not good. “I don’t think they even looked at my application to be honest with you,” she said. “I never heard back from them.”

But Francisco-Matias started full-time with her practice in February. She works out of the Every Child Pediatrics clinics in Thornton and Aurora and provides preventative dental care to children who are also getting health care checkups by a physician. About 95% of Every Child’s patients are from low-income households.

When the COVID-19 safety measures went into effect in late March, her business had to close. But when state orders allowed her to return, she couldn’t afford the required personal protective equipment. She applied for a paycheck loan from the Colorado Enterprise Fund and was approved. She went back to work June 10 and continues to share her experience with others.

“I told my accountant about it and I said, ‘If you know other people who need loans, this is a great organization who I got mine through,’ because he couldn’t find one for me either,” she said. “I think it’s because he was involved with bigger banks.”

Leung, with Aeris, said CDFIs will continue to be a useful resource to kickstart budding entrepreneurs, help people buy a home and encourage economic development in distressed communities, whether the pandemic gets better or worse.

“In good economies, CDFIs graduate their borrowers and they become good enough, credit wise, to go ask for a bank loan. Everybody says ‘Hooray, we graduated,’” Leung said. “In bad economies, banks say, “Hey, this borrower does not meet our risk parameters. Can you help and keep him afloat?’

“It’s very cooperative and symbiotic,” Leung said. “It’s not competition although in good economies, we do see banks coming in and competing with CDFIs. But CDFIs don’t lend to make a buck. They lend to create impact and help the community.”

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  • Honks, flags and fistfights: America’s election tension has boiled over at one Colorado intersection
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via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/08/small-business-mission-cdfi-loans-startups-impact/

JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley implicated of neglect after COVID-19 break out

Colorado News

GREELEY — Two women who were hired to screen employees after a coronavirus outbreak at a Colorado beef plant say the owners did not take screening protocols seriously and were negligent.

The two say in affidavits that JBS USA Holdings provided screening equipment that did not function properly, forced employees to pay for coronavirus tests and encouraged noticeably sick employees to continue working.

Hundreds of workers at the JBS plant in Greeley were infected with the coronavirus and at least six died, officials have said.

One of the women who signed the affidavit, Sarah-Jean Buck, is a licensed medical assistant who was hired as a temporary worker to conduct coronavirus screenings at the plant beginning May 10. She alleged that JBS was negligent even as case numbers continued to rise.

The JBS meat-packing plant in Greeley resumed operations April 24, 2020, after a brief closure due to a coronavirus outbreak. (John Frank, The Colorado Sun)

Buck said she quit her job after about two months when she was told she should have cleared an employee for work that she sent home for having symptoms consistent with the coronavirus.

Buck said in her affidavit that JBS supervisors told her she should have cleared this woman for work because the worker could not afford a $100 coronavirus test.

“JBS would try to convince people they were fine to go to work,” Buck said in her affidavit. “For example, if someone came through screening and reported having a cough, Cecilia (Borrego, a supervisor running JBS’ health office) would ask if they slept with the window open. If the employee said yes, then Cecilia would say that was causing the cough and they were fine to go to work.”

The company disputed Buck’s claims in an email to the Greeley Tribune.

MORE: A Salvadoran immigrant worked at a Fort Morgan slaughterhouse for 24 years. Coronavirus killed him in 10 days.

“Despite unsubstantiated claims from a disgruntled temporary employee, our screening process has been reviewed and approved multiple times by local, state and federal entities, including the CDC,” wrote Nikki Richardson, corporate communications for JBS USA. “We conduct random, routine surveillance testing of asymptomatic team members to ensure our preventive measures remain effective. In the last month, the Greeley beef facility has tested nearly 400 team members, with one positive case.”

Another temporary worker, Erica Villegas, made similar allegations toward JBS in a signed affidavit. Villegas said she received little to no training and that nothing was done by JBS to accommodate non-English speakers during the screening process. Villegas said in her affidavit that though she is bilingual in English and Spanish, she was the only screener who was. She said other languages such as Somali were not accounted for in the screening process despite a sizable portion of Somalian workers.

Buck and Villegas also allege some screening tools were not functional. Buck told the Tribune the company’s temperature gun would register the same temperature for multiple employees in a row and would provide unrealistic figures.

“I would say to Donald (Shrine, head of safety at JBS) something to the effect of ‘This is not working, it is reading the same temperature for the past 10 people,’” Buck said. “He would respond something to the effect of, ‘Oh you’re on a streak, it’s fine.’”

JBS denied these additional allegations and said their recent coronavirus numbers are proof that the company is dedicated to their workers’ safety.

Mourners attend the funeral of Saul Sanchez, a longtime JBS employee who died from the coronavirus, at Sunset Memorial Cemetery in Greeley on Wednesday, April 15, 2020. (Bethany Baker, The Coloradoan)

“We have had only two positive cases in the past eight weeks, with more than 1,253 positives in the county during the same time period,” Richardson wrote. “We are hopeful that the low number of cases among our workforce given continued community spread is due in part to the preventive measures we are taking in the facility an(d) the efforts our team members are taking to stay safe when away from work.”

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.

The number of coronavirus infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

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  • JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley accused of negligence after COVID-19 outbreak
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  • Littwin: It was a normal debate, meaning America gets a break and the Biden-Harris ticket gets the win
  • Honks, flags and fistfights: America’s election tension has boiled over at one Colorado intersection
  • Can you trust the blue book? Colorado officials say they prioritize nonpartisanship in analyzing ballot questions

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/08/jbs-meatpacking-plant-coronavirus-negligence/

Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/what-is-a-company-line-of-credit-history/

What is a Company Line of Credit History?

When it comes to launching a business, there is so much everyone involved needs to know that it can seem a little overwhelming. Plenty of research will need to be conducted to make a new business a success, but the same also goes for maintaining a business and keeping it afloat long term.

There is a likelihood that you will find you need a cash injection either as an emergency or an investment somewhere along the line of owning a business. It can be somewhat confusing with the varying financial routes, which is the best to go down. Because of this, this piece will let you know what a business line of credit is and what you require to qualify for them.

 What is a Business Line of Credit?

The first important piece of information to know about a business line of credit is that a business line of credit is more akin to a small business credit card than it is a small business loan.

A business line of credit offers 24/7 access to a specific amount of money that can be used for anything that a business might need.

Many places offer a business line of credit, so make sure to do some research to find the best deals and pick a trustworthy company such as biz2credit.

 

 How to Get a Business Line of Credit?

Becoming eligible for a business line of credit is a similar process to qualifying for any format of borrowing money; however, some factors are different, such as some banks require businesses to have been under ownership for a specific amount of time.

Business lines of credit tend to have a lower interest rate than a business credit card or other business loans, which can have some pretty hefty APR% rates for purchases, which can be even higher for cash advances.

There is a high chance that you might have to borrow some money while running a business. This does not have to be due to an emergency but can also be for investing in the latest equipment or something that can help your business run much more smoothly. Because of this, it is better to prepare your business and credit score to be the perfect candidate for a line of credit.

The easiest way to do this is to pay all of your bills on time, make sure deadlines pay off any borrowed money, and organize all important paperwork so everything can be on hand immediately.

 Why Get a Business Line of Credit?

There are some good advantages to taking out a business line of credit. These include but are not limited to a lower interest rate than other borrowing channels. They are flexible, and revolving, which means a business easily accesses it at any time and available 24/7.

A business line of credit is also an excellent way of building up a solid credit rating, helping you access larger loans further along down the line.

 

via Straight News https://northdenvernews.com/what-is-a-business-line-of-credit/

Colorado wont try to gather the $1.4 million in overpaid unemployment insurance it distributed after all

more news https://northdenvernews.com

About 9,000 Coloradans who were overpaid more than $1 million in unemployment benefits and told to pay it back may not have to after all, Colorado Department of Labor and Employment officials said on Thursday. 

COVID-19 IN COLORADO

The latest from the coronavirus outbreak in Colorado:

  • MAP: Known cases in Colorado.
  • TESTING: Here’s where to find a community testing site. The state is now encouraging anyone with symptoms to get tested.
  • STORY: Coronavirus transmission slows among younger Coloradans, but health officials worry about rising hospitalizations

>> FULL COVERAGE

Confusing forms for gig workers and the self-employed had many applicants overstating their earnings, which were supposed to be based on adjusted earnings and not gross income. Because of that — and the number of Coloradans hit with overpayments — state officials launched a focus group last month to figure out what went wrong and on Oct. 29, will issue a revised form, with clearer language, for new applicants. 

Most of those impacted are gig workers and the self-employed who were covered by Pandemic Unemployment Assistance. The state has identified about $1.4 million in overpayments to people who have shown they misunderstood the process or that repayment will cause financial hardship.

“When we looked into monetary eligibility for these claims, it did appear that there was confusion in reporting (wages), overreporting and misreporting,” said Cher Haavind, deputy director of the labor department. “Consequently, on Oct. 28, all remaining offset balances will be written off.”

The news was a relief to Meggan Hurley, a self-employed business owner in Woodland Park. She thought her unemployment benefit was too high back in April and called in to double check, but was told “Oh, don’t worry, that’s just the system. It calculates everything,” she recalled.

Then she got a message from the state on Sept. 3 saying she had to pay back more than $13,969 in overpaid benefits.

“I’m so grateful that Colorado is writing it off. But they really need to have things implemented properly,” said Hurley, who is a genetic health coach and had to end her in-person visits when the pandemic began. “I mean, seven months! That’s a long time.”

Meggan Hurley, a self-employed DNA health worker, was shocked to learn she was overpaid $13,969 in unemployment benefits after being told to not worry about it. Colorado’s unemployment office told her she must pay it back. (Provided by Meggan Hurley)

Hurley had started a Change.org petition to bring attention to the overpayments in Colorado that were due to clerical errors and confusion. She dug into the federal CARES Act, which provided funding for PUA claims, and found that it allowed states to approve waivers to those overpaid “without fault on the part of any such individual.”

“I’ve been getting a lot of messages from other people and here’s the deal: they’re not people who aren’t paying taxes, they’re not people that are committing fraud,” she said. “This was not their fault.”

Overpayments happen all the time with unemployment. Typically, this is the result of the worker misreporting wages, an employer protesting the benefit or fraud. But because the PUA system was new for the state, the implementation was not smooth. PUA was also targeted by scammers using stolen IDs to file claims. The state estimated there was more than $40 million in overpayments, most of it linked to fraud.

Colorado moved quickly to make sure people received benefits after thousands lost their jobs during coronavirus restrictions ordered by the state, Haavind said.The CARES Act allowed states to use federal money to pay gig workers for the first time even though they normally don’t pay for unemployment insurance.


Keep track of Colorado job and unemployment news with What’s Working, a free pop-up newsletter. Sign up: coloradosun.com/getww

But the federal guidance was to model PUA after Disaster Unemployment Assistance, which typically goes into effect during disasters and emergencies and is meant to aid small business owners and the self-employed who are expected to know their tax forms. Gig workers, such as those who drive for Uber, were not always familiar with the terminology.

“The department does have the ability to either have a write off or a waiver. In this instance, if the claimant indicates to us that the offset was a result of this misunderstanding of the process, or that it provides a financial hardship then that will be considered under a write off,” Haavind said.

The other option people facing repayments have is to appeal. Usually, unemployed workers have 20 days to appeal a labor department decision. But because of the form confusion, the department is extending it to 180 days to include anyone who might have been socked with an overpayment in the spring.

People who are already on a repayment plan but can vouch that they, too, were confused also can appeal and get the funds back

Those who don’t qualify for the waiver and must pay back the benefits may see future unemployment benefits decrease to pay back the state. Folks also can request a payment plan, which could include delaying payments until the person is back to work. 

Jeff Fitzgerald, the state’s director of unemployment insurance, said that Colorado and its strapped state budget won’t be held liable for overpayments made to PUA workers. But the state must try to recover the money when possible.

“At no point would we have to make a general fund payment to recoup funds and pay the feds,” he said. “What happens is that we have to perform exhaustive efforts to recover those dollars from those claimants. Those efforts never really go away.”

Rising Sun

Our articles are free to read, but not free to report

Support local journalism around the state.
Become a member of The Colorado Sun today!

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The latest from The Sun

  • Colorado won’t try to collect the $1.4 million in overpaid unemployment benefits it distributed after all
  • JBS meatpacking plant in Greeley accused of negligence after COVID-19 outbreak
  • A mission-minded loan source that doesn’t care if you’re a startup with no experience, revenues or credit
  • Littwin: It was a normal debate, meaning America gets a break and the Biden-Harris ticket gets the win
  • Honks, flags and fistfights: America’s election tension has boiled over at one Colorado intersection

via Straight News https://coloradosun.com/2020/10/08/colorado-unemployment-overpayment-pua-pandemic-waiver/

Did you miss our previous article…
https://danpabon.com/forecasters-currently-assume-this-years-la-nia-will-certainly-be-solid/