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Community Briefs

A new free website hosted by Colorado state government helps teens plan their future with an online calculator. It helps them add up the expenses for a certain lifestyle, customized to the town or city they want to live in, and match that to the income they’d need to support themselves. Then it offers information on careers that will generate that income, and the education or training needed to land a job in that field.

The website, ColoradoRealityCheck. com, is hosted by the Colorado Rural Workforce Consortium Youth Council.

“The website won’t tell you what you should want from life, or what should make you happy,” said Department of Labor and Employment executive director Ellen Golombek. “You have the freedom to explore and navigate your own path. Like a GPS device, Colorado Reality Check.com simply assesses what will be necessary to reach your unique destination.”



Colorado’s Low-income Energy Assistance Program (LEAP), which provides financial assistance with home heating bills, has announced additional federal funding of $2 million, allowing the state to increase LEAP’s average benefit by nearly 15 percent.

LEAP is a federally funded program that provides cash assistance to help families and individuals pay a portion of winter home heating costs. The program pays the highest benefits to those with the highest heating bills and lowest incomes by family size. Applicant income cannot exceed 150 percent of the federal poverty index, which equals a maximum income of $2,794 per month for a household of four people. LEAP will continue accepting applications through April 30.



To find out if you qualify for LEAP, call toll free 1-866-HEAT-HELP (1-866-432-8435) or visit http://www.colorado.gov/cdhs /leap to view the most current program application requirements.

The Glenwood Springs Chamber Resort Association presents the 2012 Premier Annual Awards Gala on April 17 at the Aspen Glen Club sponsored by Premier Party Rental. The Premier Awards Gala will honor local citizens and businesses that have gone beyond the normal duties of life and accomplished something to be emulated. The period for nominations is now open, and nomination forms can be found at http://www.glenwoodchamber.com/awards.

The awards and the nomination criteria are as follows:

The ATHENA Award is for someone who assists women in reaching their full leadership potential.

The ATHENA Young Professional recognizes an emerging leader who clearly serves as a role model for young women personally and professionally.

The Schmueser Gordon Meyer Green Business of the Year Award applauds a business that encourages conservation, environmental awareness and sustainability.

Glenwood Springs High School’s DECA Entrepreneur of the Year Award acknowledges a business entrepreneur that contributes to Glenwood Springs’ economic base, from both an individual and community standpoint.

The Small and Large Philanthropic Businesses of the Year awards honor businesses that make a substantial contribution to Glenwood Springs in the form of philanthropy to nonprofit and community groups.

The Bosco Tourism Business of the Year Award honors a business that makes a substantial contribution to the local tourism industry.

Top Brass Awards are given by the chamber ambassadors for personal or professional achievements, business expansions or milestones that took place between January and December 2011.

Anyone can nominate, and the deadline for the Top Brass Awards is Thursday, March 8. Nominations for all other awards are due Thursday, March 15.

Complete award criteria and applications are available online at glenwoodchamber.com/awards or by stopping by the chamber office at 1102 Grand Ave. in Glenwood Springs.

The Bessie Minor Charitable Fund announces that it is accepting grant applications from nonprofit organizations in Glenwood Springs and its surrounding area. Grants will be awarded to programs that promote literacy, reading and writing skills and programs in the arts, languages and sciences. Applications will be accepted until April 1, and decisions will be made by May 1. The fund will consider applications for grants requesting a minimum of $500 and a maximum of $2,500.

The Bessie Minor Charitable Fund awards grants to programs that provide direct service to help with the implementation or expansion of literacy programs for children who are below grade level or experiencing difficulty reading; to develop reading and writing skills at all age levels; and, to develop programs in the arts, languages and sciences for preschool, primary and secondary school-aged children. The fund prefers to consider grants for programs instead of straight technology grants. Grants are made only to nonprofit organizations certified as tax exempt. More information is available on the fund’s website.

Across the valley, teachers have requested Junior Achievement classes so their students can learn important principles of business and economics, financial literacy and workforce readiness. While many volunteers have both enjoyed and completed teaching their JA class, there are more classes to teach and more students to inspire. Volunteering is easy: only five visits to the classroom at approximately 45 minutes per visit. All materials are provided and simple to use. Volunteers need not have taught in a classroom setting before to make a big difference in the valley. Volunteers are needed for Basalt Elementary, Sopris Elementary, Glenwood Springs Elementary, Glenwood Springs Middle, Elk Creek Elementary, Kathryn Senor Elementary, Cactus Valley Elementary and Wamsley Elementary. Call Sharon Brady, JA district manager, at 404-7722 or sharon.brady@ja.org to learn more.

High Country RSVP can electronically file federal and state tax returns free of charge for seniors, the disabled or those with household income less than $50,000 per year. Retired Senior Volunteer Program volunteers are certified by the IRS to prepare and e-file tax forms for both federal and state income taxes. This site does returns with credits, such as the Earned Income Credit, Child Tax Credit, Child and Dependent Care Credit, and the Elderly and Disabled Credit. Anyone with complex business issues, rental properties and other subjects outside the scope of this VITA/TCE site must seek a paid preparer. Call 970-384-8740 to schedule an appointment.

Now is the time to submit nominations for the Garfield County Humanitarian Service Awards. Nominations are due Friday, March 2. Awards will be presented at the Humanitarian Service banquet on April 16 in Glenwood Springs. To nominate a humanitarian, visit the Garfield County website, http://www.garfield-county.com, and download the nomination form and rules. Each nomination must include at least three letters describing the nominee’s dedication to humanitarian service in Garfield County. Nomination forms can also be requested by calling (970) 456-3271.

The Garfield County Libraries announce that the Food for Fines program has returned for the month of February. Bring in nonperishable food items to any of the six branch libraries to receive credit on library card accounts. Each item donated earns a $1 credit toward current overdue fines (not lost materials or fees). All items donated will be given to the local LIFT-UP. Last February there were 3,297 items collected by the libraries.

This program is the perfect opportunity to take care of those pesky fines, while also helping out the community. For information call 625-4270 or stop by any local branch library.


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