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Ramsey ScottRamsey ScottDecember 22, 201510min102
An education group, with the support so far of Front Range Democratic lawmakers, is planning to ask voters this November to allow the state to keep more tax money for public schools. It’s a proposal that anti-tax groups would vigorously oppose. Lisa Weil, executive director of Great Education Colorado, said her group is still in […]

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Kelly SloanKelly SloanDecember 20, 20156min88
The Colorado office of R&R Partners hosted their annual holiday party on what became a snow-packed evening for the metro area last Tuesday, December 15th. Billed as an “ugly sweater party”, the event drew a collection of unique attire, and some prominent names from the state’s political and business communities. R&R Partners is one of […]

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John TomasicJohn TomasicDecember 20, 20157min69
Tim Jackson, president and CEO of the Colorado Automobile Dealers Association, will be pushing lawmakers next year to simplify the patchwork tax regime in Colorado that he said places an enormous burden on businesses in the state. “Colorado has the most complicated structure,” he said Thursday at an event hosted by the free-enterprise and business-promotion […]

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Ramsey ScottRamsey ScottDecember 20, 20157min78
Democratic lawmakers have teamed with the libertarian Independence Institute to craft 2016 legislation that would lower a major hurdle for Coloradans seeking access to public records. In an unusual pairing of players from opposite sides of the political spectrum, state Sen. John Kefalas, D-Fort Collins, and state Rep. Dan Pabon, D-Denver, are working with liberty-politics […]

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Paula NoonanPaula NoonanDecember 20, 20154min750

Energy-tight buildings reduce our thinking capacity unless they’re properly ventilated, according to a Harvard University and Syracuse University double-blind study conducted recently. Who knew?

After spending decades making our buildings more energy efficient, it turns out that the CO2 and volatile organic compounds trapped in these “tight” buildings can make us dumb.

The Harvard School of Public Health study placed “knowledge worker” volunteers in spaces where researchers could control the different chemicals they breathed. Researchers increased and decreased CO2 and VOCs, one at a time, to understand their cognitive impacts.

The VOCs introduced to the study spaces are common to commercial buildings, coming from paints, carpet, particleboard, cleaning products and adhesives. During the study, some days had high CO2, some days had high VOCs, and other days, the “green building” days, had amounts more closely reflecting fresh, outdoor air.

The knowledge worker volunteers did their normal jobs in these spaces. At the end of each day, volunteers took cognitive performance tests, simulations that presented practical situations requiring practical solutions.

On the high CO2 days, volunteers’ cognitive performance was halved. With VOCs, the cognitive diminishment was even greater. On enhanced green days, when buildings were ventilated to approximate fresh air levels, crisis response scores went up 131 percent, strategic thinking scores went up 288 percent, and information usage scores went up 299 percent.

According to Joseph Allen, the lead researcher and Harvard faculty member on the study, “This is a big deal. The findings are strong, the magnitude of the effect is quite large, and we weren’t testing anything exotic.”

A follow-up study about to be published indicates that the cost benefit of ventilating buildings to fresh air levels is enormous. Researcher Allen said in a Living on Earth segment on National Public Radio that the per-employee cost of an energy-tight building is $30. The per-employee cognition improvement benefit of a “fresh air” building is $6,000.

United Technologies, a leader in the building technology industry, sponsored the first study. John Mandyck, UT’s chief sustainability officer, calls the study is a “game changer.”

“With optimized indoor environmental quality,” Mandyk said, “test scores over nine cognitive domains doubled. That really means better thinking in better buildings, and I think what’s most important here is that productivity often comes with a learning curve. In this case, all people have to do is breathe because the intelligence is in the air with readily achievable conditions that Harvard and its study partners found in this research.”

Study results have implications for Colorado’s Capitol, which has undergone renovation in recent years to restore its original beauty and make it energy-efficient. Coloradans will surely tolerate some leaking from the Capitol’s spacious 19th century windows if the fresh air keeps everyone in the building sharp as tacks.

Paula Noonan owns Colorado Capitol Watch, the state’s premier legislature tracking platform.


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 20, 20156min82
Fifty Years Ago this week in The Colorado Statesman … Denver attorney Richard Lamm, the vice president of the Young Democrats of Colorado, wrote a series of columns about the thinking of the young generation, tackling subjects that included civil rights, conservation and the national debt. “It will surprise no one to say that my […]

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Jared WrightJared WrightDecember 20, 20152min84
Gov. John Hickenlooper last week awarded the inaugural Colorado Governor’s Citizenship medals to five individuals and organizations to recognize “meritorious contributions to strengthen Colorado communities and develop new opportunities for Coloradans throughout the state,” his office announced. Recipients of the medals, bestowed by Hickenlooper at a ceremony last Thursday at the Governor’s Residence, included Colorado […]

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Jared WrightJared WrightDecember 20, 20152min780

Editor:

In a guest commentary by Hadley Heath Manning published by The Colorado Statesman earlier this month, she states: “According to the state government, a single-payer healthcare system would cost about $25 billion annually, effectively doubling the state budget, and increasing payroll taxes by 10 percent.”

First: She writes that this is “a single-payer healthcare system.” ColoradoCare is not a single-payer healthcare system. Medicare payments will stay the same and Medicaid recipients will won’t pay more than currently. With ColoradoCare, the current confusing, profit-oriented payment system of multiple insurance companies deciding on payment and treatment issues will be replaced by a simple, efficient payment system — a cooperative nonprofit owned by Coloradans via their elected board of directors.

Second: She writes that this will “cost about $25 billion annually.” Currently in Colorado we pay over $30 billion for health care via premiums, deductibles, coinsurance and copays. So, in effect, ColoradoCare will cost less and will cover everyone in the state.

Third: She writes that ColoradoCare would result in “effectively doubling the state budget.” Premiums will be collected through a payroll tax, but the program will be administered by an elected board — not by the state. This is a plan developed in Colorado by Coloradans. It will take government and the insurance companies out of the picture and put the patient and the doctor in charge – the very patient-centered model Ms. Manning advocates.

The facts are: ColoradoCare is the answer to our healthcare problems in Colorado. Now is the time — let’s pass ColoradoCare.

Joseph Rogers
Denver


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Ernest LuningErnest LuningDecember 18, 201512min87
Hillary Clinton’s go to Viking, a man with bona fide political chops A television screen filled with images of protesters and vigils and presidential candidates competes for space on one of Denver attorney Steve Farber’s office walls, chock-a-block between framed newspaper clippings, memorabilia and photographs of Farber with some of the most recognizable faces in […]

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Ben WeinbergDecember 17, 201512min80
While retailers often give special status to “Black Friday,” the putative date on which most retail businesses become profitable for the year, in the beverage business we talk about “O-N-D,” which stands for October-November-December. These are the months in which wine, beer, and spirits purveyors sell the vast majority of their products. There are no […]

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