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Local News Briefs

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers has launched an online newsletter aimed at keeping Colorado consumers apprised of the latest scams.

The Colorado Consumer Fraud Awareness newsletter, a quarterly digital publication, will deliver information on emerging fraud schemes, information about common scams and how consumers can avoid falling victim to both.

“Information is the best weapon we have to combat and prevent fraud,” Suthers said. “Through this newsletter, Coloradans will be able to better prepare themselves to recognize and avoid scams.”

Sign up to receive the newsletter at http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov/fraudawareness.

In addition to the quarterly newsletter, consumers also will receive periodic fraud alerts about new and emerging scams. The Office of the Attorney General will circulate the newsletter in conjunction with AARP ElderWatch.

To learn more about the Office of the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Section and its recent cases, visit http://www.coloradoattorneygeneral.gov.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management is seeking nominations for 15 open positions on its Resource Advisory Councils in Colorado, which advise the BLM on public land issues.

Each RAC consists of 12 to 15 members with an interest in public land management, including conservationists, ranchers, outdoor recreationists, state and local government officials, Tribal officials, and academics.

Applicants will be judged on the basis of their training, education, and knowledge of each RAC’s geographical area. Nominees should also demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and collaborative decisionmaking.

All nominations must be accompanied by letters of reference, a nomination form and other information that speaks to the nominee’s qualifications.

Applicants are sought for these categories:

1. Ranchers, energy, mineral or timber industry, off-highway vehicle use and commercial recreation.

2. Environmental, archaeological and historical organizations, dispersed recreation activities, and wild horse and burro organizations.

3. State, county, or local elected officials, Indian Tribes, academic faculty and the public at large.

Nominations are due by May 2 to David Boyd, Northwest RAC Coordinator, Bureau of Land Management, 2300 River Frontage Road, Silt, CO 81652.

For information and forms, contact Boyd at (970) 876-9008 or david_boyd@blm.gov.

High Country Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) offers free tax help for taxpayers who qualify through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) and the Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Programs .

RSVP volunteers are trained and certified by the IRS to help with special credits, such as Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit, and Credit for the Elderly or the Disabled. In addition to free tax return preparation assistance, we offer free electronic filing (e-filing).

The VITA Program offers free tax help to low- to moderate-income (generally, $49,000 and below) people who cannot prepare their own tax returns.

The TCE Program provides free tax help to people age 60 and older. Trained volunteers provide free tax counseling and basic income tax return preparation for senior citizens and persons with disabilities.

Call (970) 384-8740 to make an appointment before April 8. RSVP is a sponsored program of Colorado Mountain College.

The Aspen Skiing Co. has seen the light, and it’s not given off by incandescent bulbs.

The Skico approved a policy this winter that calls for incandescent lights in all its facilities to be eliminated and replaced by the end of 2011, Auden Schendler, vice president of sustainability said Monday.

Incandescent bulbs – the standard old light bulb most people are familiar with – aren’t as energy efficient as alternatives such as compact fluorescent (CFL) and light-emitting diodes (LED) lighting.

“It’s a space heater that happens to give off light,” Schendler said of the old bulbs.

Federal law aims to phase out incandescent bulbs by 2014, but that is being challenged by some Republican legislators. Skico isn’t waiting to see how the political debate plays out.

The company estimates that lighting accounts for about 15 percent of energy use in its hotels and office buildings. Skico Sustainability Manager Matthew Hamilton estimated that bulbs will be replaced in 3,000 to 4,000 lamps in 20 to 30 major facilities and numerous smaller sites. Schendler said that includes everything from guest rooms at the Little Nell Hotel to the patrol shack at the top of the Ruthie’s chairlift.

In a handful of cases, bulbs cannot be replaced, like on outdoor lighting subjected to cold temperatures.

A rough guess is the up-front costs of the replacement will be between $100,000 and $150,000, though exact figures won’t be known until later this month, Hamilton said.

The investment is worth it, the Skico policy statement said, because of the advantages of the new lighting. “High return on investment from energy savings and increased bulb life means retrofits have become fiscally prudent …,” the policy says.

Incandescent bulbs typically last 2,000 hours, according to Hamilton, while CFLs last 10,000 hours and LEDs last 50,000 hours. The LED rating merely means that it will lose 30 percent of its brightness. It will continue to work long after that point, he said.

So the Skico will replace bulbs less frequently after the switch, and the company will consume less electricity. The energy costs will be reduced by $24,000 to $35,000 in the first year, Hamilton said. That helps generate a return on investment very soon.

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