Winter Wheat Diaries

A documentary chronicling the day-to-day lives of winter wheat farmers who tend Colorado's eastern plains.

Boulder County farmers brace for the worst

Commodity prices down by half and no end in sight to their slide

By: Charlie Howard

For the Camera

A tractor and planter belonging to Schlagel Farms in a 110-acre field south of Longmont Wednesday. ( Lewis Geyer / For the Camera )

A tractor and planter belonging to Schlagel Farms in a 110-acre field south of Longmont Wednesday. (Lewis Geyer / For the Camera)

Prices tell the story in this modern farm bust

Wheat price per bushel:

2012: $7.75

2016: $3

Corn price per bushel:

2012: $6.86

2016: $3.55

Barley price per bushel:

2012: $6.73

2016: $5.25

Source: USDA's National Agriculture Statistics Service

Colorado's Eastern Plains farms have had an exhausting three years rooted in low commodity prices, dried up reservoirs and a growing inventory of crops that cannot be sold.

Grains continue to fetch roughly half of what they did just four years ago, with wheat, for instance, selling for $3 a bushel last year, less than half of the $7.75 it commanded in 2012.

Those working Boulder County's farm fields believe the industry will take another hit in 2017, and as a result some farmers say they plan to stockpile certain crops until prices rise.

"There are just some things we're not selling until things get better," said Paul Schlagel, a Boulder County man whose family has farmed outside Longmont for more than four generations.

" We're going to hold some of our crop corn in grain lockers until prices get better," said Schlagel, who grows sugar beets and barley in addition to corn.

Front Range agriculture is caught in a multi-year slump that is the worst seen in more than 30 years and the problem is playing out nationwide, agriculture experts said.

"In Colorado, there are some real similarities to the mid-80s," said Colorado State University Agricultural Economist Norman Dahlstead. " The difference is we have lower interest rates today with fewer government programs available."

The United States Department of Agriculture estimates that American farmers' incomes will drop 8.7 percent in 2017 extending the industry's slide into its fourth year.

Scott Schlagel uses GPS-controlled auto steer in his John Deere tractor to plant sugar beets in a 110-acre field south of Longmont Wednesday

(Lewis Geyer / For the Camera)

Wheat, at $3 a bushel last year, was down dramatically from 2012, when prices stood at $7.75 cents per bushel. Corn, at $3.55 in 2016, was going for $6.86 per bushel in 2012 and barley, at $5.25 per bushel last year, was down 22 percent from 2012 when it was priced at $6.73.

Dr. Stephen Koontz, professor of agricultural and resource economics at Colorado State University attributes much of this stagnation in commodity markets to the strength of the dollar and a soft world economy.

"You have a world economy that is not growing that fast and a very expensive dollar that makes it difficult for farmers to export," Koontz said.

There is also a surplus of corn and wheat that is holding up the production of more of these crops.

"The global market is saturated with many of these commodities so there's no need to import or export more," Dalhstead said.

Farmers who are feeling these global pressures are being forced to make tough decisions about how they can cut costs for the upcoming year.

"There's some things that we're going have to do for free this year and that's not something we like doing," Schlagel said.

This season, he will likely not earn enough to cover the costs of operating his combines. "We own our own combines but they might have to work for free again this year just to get the crops out of the ground," he said.

These cuts don't just affect the financial side of the farm business they also affect the personal.

Scott Schlagel plants sugar beets in a 110-acre field south of Longmont Wednesday.

(Lewis Geyer / For the Camera)

"We've actually eliminated one employee. He quit and we didn't replace him and we took one of our farm employees and made him a part time truck driver to try and help mitigate our costs," Schlagel said.

Along with these national pressures, the Front Range is experiencing a couple of unique pressures.

"The economy is beginning to make a rebound and in particular the housing market. We're seeing some real strong growth for real estate and that development is going to push in the face of agriculture," Koontz said, with more farmers opting to sell their land to developers rather than continue to farm at a loss.

The 2012 Census of Agriculture reported that Boulder County had 132,948 acres of farmland. This is down from the 155,488 acres in 1987, a loss of 15 percent.

"I'm not very positive about the issue about development. The hard reality of it is we're going to run out of resources to produce. We need to be producing five times the amount we currently are by 2050. It's not a good," Dahlstead said.

With the growth of real estate comes an additional need for water, which is always a struggle for local farms.

"The snowpack is looking promising this year but it has just been so dry down here that we're going to start running water from the reservoir earlier then we have in a decade," Schlagel said.

One bright spot of 2016 was the larger than expected yields for sugar beets across the state, Schlagel said.

"We're hoping for another good yield this year, that would be really great for us," Schlagel said.

When it comes to finding any short-term solutions to this downturn, Koontz said that there is no silver bullet.

"I don't think there's anything that's going to allow things to be fixed. Farming has always been a hard process and this is how it usually goes. Farmers are going to have to mind their 'Ps' and 'Qs' and figure out how to cut costs," Koontz said.



Girls-only program launches summer camps at CU Boulder's Leeds School of Business

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

Cool Girls camp founder Mary Golden is pictured here with several camp attendees. (  Courtesy Photo / Courtesy Photo  )

Cool Girls camp founder Mary Golden is pictured here with several camp attendees. (Courtesy Photo / Courtesy Photo)

Cool Girls Club at CU Leeds School

What: Business plan accelerator camp for girls entering grades 2-6

When: July 25-29 and Aug. 1-5, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Where: 995 Regent Drive, Boulder 80309, 1st Floor, NW conf. room

Cost: Donation suggested, not required, no girl turned away for financial reasons

More info:

Boulder's Cool Girls Science and Art after school program is hosting two summer camps at the University of Colorado's Leeds School of Business in late July and early August.

The camps are business plan accelerator weeks for girls who are entering second through sixth grade and want to learn the fundamentals of starting a business and the scientific method.

The girls' program uses a mentorship model, bringing in science and business experts to help the girls develop their scientific and entrepreneurial goals and make them a reality.

"My role is to say to the girls, 'hey, you can start a business just like anybody else, and being a kid shouldn't stop you,'" said Richard Boyan, program manager for Century Link and Cool Girls volunteer mentor.

Mary Golden started the girls program in 2008 when her granddaughter asked her if she would help start an after school program for girls interested in science.

Since then the program has grown into a non-for-profit and for the first time, a summer camp.

"I wish there had been something like this when I was a kid," Golden said. "I really want girls to know that they can do it. As a girl, it makes a huge difference doing something when you have seen another girl do it."

The after school program has had an affect on many of the girls who got involved with it early.

"It was my introduction into science," said former Cool Girl Paula Kissinger. "It's the reason I am taking astro-science classes in high school. As a person who was thinking about going into that field, seeing people who were actually practicing was really cool."

The program has attracted volunteer mentors ranging from company executives, to research professors, down to engineering students.

"My favorite thing was hearing the girls say that they wanted to grow up to be engineers and astronauts. It was encouraging to see girls that wanted to close the gender gap in the STEM field," said Jenna Forte, a Society of Women Engineers Cool Girls volunteer.

Women make up about 39 percent of all chemists and materials scientists and about 14 percent of all architecture and engineering occupations, according to a 2014 US Department of Labor report.

"Cool girls really encouraged me to go for anything and not be limited because I am a woman. I am so proud to see how much it had grown," former Cool Girl Club member Ruth Efe said.

The Cool Girls camp still has openings and does not turn down girls for financial reasons, Golden said.

Boulder Valley companies eye Brexit warily; local stocks see red

18 of 19 regional stocks go negative in mid-day trading

By Shay Castle and Charlie Howard

Staff Writers

Link to Story: Here

In case of Brexit, keep calm and carry on.

The famous British WWII slogan was also the prevailing sentiment among Boulder County businesses and investors who are most likely to feel any short- or long-term impacts from the United Kingdom's vote to leave the 28-member European Union.

"It's a bit of a wait and see," said Keith Patterson, president of Bergans of Norway's U.S. operations headquartered in Longmont. "The key thing is just waiting to see what trade agreements are going to be negotiated with the U.K. and the EU. They've had free trade in the past before the EU, so hopefully that will continue with this change."

Ball Corp of Boulder expressed similar sentiments of calm.

"Though the markets could be volatile for a period of time, we primarily are in a beverage can business in the U.K. and consumers will continue to drink beverages out of cans, so we don't anticipate an impact to our business," said Renee Robinson, manager of corporate communications. "Also, our acquisition of Rexam PLC (based in the U.K.) remains on track to close pending U.S. regulatory approval."

The markets didn't appear to get the message: The Dow Jones plunged more than 611 points Friday — the biggest drop in 10 months

Nasdaq shed 202 points and the S&P 500 lost nearly 76. The drop erased around $800 billion in U.S. market value, according to the Wilshire 5000 index.

Locally, the stocks of 18 Boulder County companies were down, according to the new Boulder Valley Stock Index. The smallest drop, 1.47 percent, occurred at Longmont's UQM (NYSEMKT:UQM) and the largest drop, 7.42 percent, occurred at Hain Celestial (NASDAQ: HAIN), which has a major facility in Gunbarrel. Only Boulder's Surna (OTCMKTS: SRNA) rose in value during the day. Its shares were up 1.56 percent.

European markets went into a panic as well. Britain's FTSE 250 lost 7.1 percent, Germany's DAX slid 7.04 percent, the pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 7.34 percent and France's CAC index dropped to 8.6 percent.

Despite the turmoil, Garvin Jabusch, chief investment officer at Boulder asset management firm Green Alpha Advisors, predicts a swift return to normalcy.

"What history shows us is that markets react for a couple days, and it's back to normal," Jabusch said. He recalled a few recent political upheavals — the Greek default, the U.S. fiscal cliff — with similar market reactions.

"People were freaking out just about as badly, and within a couple of weeks, the markets were back to normal.

"If history is any kind of guide, days like today present a good buying opportunity," he said.

Effects on trade as a result of currency fluctuations are potentially more concerning to local companies, if British buying power becomes limited.

Following the vote, the British pound sterling dove to its weakest level in 31 years. The pound-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate is now similar to what it was in 1985. The euro, shared by 19 members of the EU, fell 2.89 percent against the dollar.

Jabusch thinks Colorado exports might experience some "short-term disruption" but believes things will be back to "business as usual" within a few months.

U.S. foreign direct investment in the EU amounts to $2.7 trillion, with some $587.9 billion of that flowing to the U.K., according to a 2016 study by Johns Hopkins University.

For its part, Colorado sent $222 million worth of goods to the U.K. in 2015, according to the Johns Hopkins study.

"It's not like they're going to stop trading or consuming," Jabusch said, predicting a trade agreement similar to those the EU has with Switzerland and Canada, which is "more or less a free trade agreement."

Joseph Jupille, associate professor of political science at The University of Colorado, takes a bleaker view.

He believes the world economy is in for a period of extended volatility due to the elements of surprise presented by this decision.

"Were in uncharted waters here," he said. "The EU has never taken a step backwards until now. It is going to take Europe some time to get back on their feet after today's blow."

Though trade between the U.S. and U.K. makes up just 0.5 percent of U.S. economic activity, instability in Europe could have major impacts. The nation's economic relationship with the EU is second only to trade with Canada, and is larger than China.

"It's a dangerous unstable world out there, and the United States' best friend in this world is Europe, who is now weaker," Jupille added.

The most potentially far-reaching and long-term implications are likely to stem around new immigration policies.

Susan Kent, CU professor of history, traces Britain's decision to break with the EU back to the county's debates over immigration policy in the 1940s and the end of the British Empire.

"The British Nationality Act of 1948 was an effort to bring subjects of the empire to Britain in order to integrate all of the peoples of the empire," Kent explained. This move towards integration spawned a number of nationalist movements in the past 50 years that are concerned with the safety and control the U.K. has over its borders."

British political parties like the British National Front and Britain First pushed hard for the exit, citing a need for more control over their borders as an influx of Syrian refugees and other migrants streams into the county.

"As I see it, the Brexit was a result of the playing up of immigration rumors and islamophobia," Kent said.

On the economic front, the impacts of limited immigration can be dire, Jabusch said.

"Economies grow in the long-term based on population growth or immigration. You need people to keep things moving."

Places with rapidly aging populations, such as Japan, have stagnating economies as retirees withdraw money from the markets. Fewer young people to replace the cash flowing out creates imbalance.

"The U.K. could suffer from the same thing if they flat-out refuse immigration," he said. "Ten years in, it could be a big deal and 20 years in, it could be a huge deal."

Seagate job cuts may skirt Longmont facility

Reductions targeted primarily at major manufacturing centers in Europe, Asia

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

The main entrance at Seagate's Longmont campus on Friday. (  Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer  )

The main entrance at Seagate's Longmont campus on Friday. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

Seagate Technology's Longmont facility, which employs around 1,600 people, may escape much of the pain associated with the global job cuts it announced last week, company officials said.

Eric DeRitis, a Seagate spokesman at the company's headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., said most of the 6,500 job cuts will occur at the company's manufacturing facilities in Europe and China. The Longmont site is home to a major design center.

"These cuts are a move to begin reducing our manufacturing footprint. It is a reaction to an expected continuation of reduced demand for our hard drives," DeRitis said.

The cuts equal about 14 percent of its work force. They are to occur in stages over the next year.

Last week's announcement came after a June 29 announcement in which Seagate (Nasdaq: STX) said it would eliminate only 1,600 jobs.

"Because these cuts are happening all through June of next year, we won't know for some time if we will be affected," said Cindy Martini, Seagate's local spokeswoman.

Seagate is planning to take a pretax charge of $164 million during the 2017 fiscal year, which ends next July. This includes about $82 million in cash for employee termination costs, according to a regulatory filing made last week.

Seagate expects to report about $2.65 billion in revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016, which ended June 30, up from its previous estimate of $2.3 billion.

Seagate's shares jumped on the better-than-expected performance, despite concerns about the company's ability to compete against storage devices that are faster and use less power than those it produces. Its shares were trading at $28.90 late Friday.

Analysts continue to be concerned about Seagate's long-term outlook. In a new report, Morningstar, a Chicago-based independent stock ratings and investment research firm, rates the uncertainty of Seagate's stock performance as "very high."

The report cited the narrowing of the cost-to-performance gap between the hard-disk drives that Seagate produces and the newer solid-state drives being produced by Seagate's competitors, which include Samsung Corp. and ScanDisk.

Hard-disk drives use a rotating magnetic disc to store and retrieve digital information within computers.

Solid-state drives utilize flash drive technology or chips to do this job. These drives don't have moving parts, which means faster speeds, more reliability and less power needed to run.

Solid-state drives also cost more, but Timothy Feeney, equity analyst for Morningstar, said those prices will go down.

"Hard-drives have a number of headwinds in the market today. The first one is PC sales are dropping and solid-state drives are the closing price/performance gap fast," Feeney said.

PC sales declined 5.2 percent in the second quarter of 2016, continuing a downward trend that is plaguing the industry, according to the Gartner Group, a Stamford, CT.-based research firm.

Though hard-drives continue to be cheaper, the price environment is changing rapidly. According to Feeney, in 2016 hard-disc drives run at 4 cents per gigabyte as opposed to solid-state's 23 cents per gigabyte. By 2020 solid-state is expected to narrow that gap reducing its price to 8 cents per gigabyte opposed to hard-disc's expected 2 cents per gigabyte.

Seagate has a design team at the Longmont facility of around 200 that has been working on solid-state technology for about two to three years, Martini said.

More information about the cuts will be available when the company releases its year-end report Aug. 2, DeRitis said.

Night crawlers: 'Pokemon Go' fans invade CU long after dark

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

Megan Diller, Emma Dunder, Ashley Berg and Camile Clarke play Pokémon Go along with dozens of other players on a game hotspot on the University of Colorado Boulder Campus early Friday morning. (  Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer  )

Megan Diller, Emma Dunder, Ashley Berg and Camile Clarke play Pokémon Go along with dozens of other players on a game hotspot on the University of Colorado Boulder Campus early Friday morning. (Paul Aiken / Staff Photographer)

If you walk through the University of Colorado's campus at 11 p.m. on a July night, you probably wouldn't expect to see too many people.

That isn't the case this July.

"Pokemon Go" is giving people of all ages a reason to make the pilgrimage to the campus to play the game that topped 15 million downloads Wednesday on Apple's App Store and Google Play since its July 6 release, according to estimates from mobile app research firm SensorTower.

There were 100-plus people camped out at the University's Alumni Center late Thursday night, a scene that was strewn with lit up phone screens, beer cans and extension cords.

The Alumni Center is a hotspot where a player can catch more of the virtual monsters than usual. People set up televisions and hammocks while they hung around playing the mobile game.

There was a man who brought his bed, with plans to camp out at the spot all night.

I have kids I don’t really get to do anything except work and go home. At night I get to slip away... as long as my wife lets me.
— 26-year-old Edgar Cuevas

Around the rest of campus there were groups of people running from location to location, chasing the virtual monsters.

The spot, which was filled primarily with university students, was also attracting people from much further distances.

"I drove up here from Denver," said 26-year-old Edgar Cuevas. "I'm definitely going to come back. I grew up with Pokemon and now that I have kids I don't really get to do anything except work and go home. At night I get to slip away... as long as my wife lets me."

The people were friendly and constantly interacting with each other. Every 20 minutes there would be somebody shouting, alerting the crowd about a new rare Pokemon that had spawned nearby.

"I've been here every night since last Sunday and every night the crowd gets a little bigger," Mike Roberts said. "I think the game is going to make streets safer because people are going to be out at all hours of the night catching Pokemon."

Garet Anders showed up at the scene with an envelope with hundreds of Pokemon stickers handing them out to everyone in the crowd.

"Since I was little I wanted to make a gaming platform that gave access to all gamers and to create a giant community but Pokemon did it first. I'm stupid excited!" Anders said.

Longmont's Benny's Tacos thrives from family secret recipes

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

"Business can be slow, but it's growing fast. I've heard that the first year is always the hardest," Yahaira Payan says of her father Benny's business, Benny's tacos. (  Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer  )

"Business can be slow, but it's growing fast. I've heard that the first year is always the hardest," Yahaira Payan says of her father Benny's business, Benny's tacos. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

If You Go

What: Benny's Tacos

When: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday-Friday

9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday

Where: 347 Main St., Longmont

When the Daily Camera's food critic ranked Benny's Tacos of Longmont the best traditional taco in the city, it may have come as a surprise to the foodies who frequent the downtown scene.

That's because Benny's is a new kid on the block — really new.

The little taco restaurant located at 347 Main St. moved into the space only four months ago, the fulfillment of a 20-year dream for owner and founder Benny Payan.

"I have been saving as much money as possible over the last 20 years so that one day I could have this restaurant," Payan said.

That included running a food truck on the side of full-time work at local farms. The food truck sold much of the same fare Benny's is now gaining local fame for: Street-style tacos with yellow and blue corn tortillas, topped with meat, chopped onion, cilantro and a fresh avocado wedge.

The recipes are Payan family secrets, and the modest prices reflect the taco-truck past: a plate of four tacos can be had for less than $7.

Payan still works part time on a farm to help augment the costs of his still-growing business, but traffic has been picking up.

"Business can be slow, but it's growing fast," said Payan's daughter, Yahaira. "I've heard that the first year is always the hardest."

Benny's got a slight boost from the local press. Lines were out the door the day after receiving the top ranking.

"We had to close early because we ran out of food that day," Payan recalled, assuring potential patrons that he would stock enough food next time around.

The restaurant is also in the process of securing a startup grant from the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, according to Janine Ledingham, director of local business and startup community development.

"They're serving great authentic Mexican food and have done some great facade changes to the building," said Kimberlee McKee, executive director of Longmont Downtown Development Authority. "(The Payans) are just a wonderful family and wonderful addition to downtown."

Longmont resident Laura Grimaldo is a regular at Benny's and makes an appearance at least twice a week to get lunch.

"It is easily some of the best food in Longmont, and definitely the most reasonably priced," Grimaldo said. "Everyone treats you well when you go in to get a bite.

"You don't see service like that anymore."

Longmont's Pumphouse Brewery celebrates 20th anniversary

By Charlie Howard and Shay Castle

Staff Writers

Link to Story: Here

Dominique McKee delivers chips and salsa to Debbie Balsley, center, and Christine Wright at the Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant, 540 Main St., Friday afternoon. (  Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer  )

Dominique McKee delivers chips and salsa to Debbie Balsley, center, and Christine Wright at the Pumphouse Brewery & Restaurant, 540 Main St., Friday afternoon. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

If you go

What: Pumphouse Brewery 20th Anniversary Loyalty Days

When: July 11-24

Mondays: Kids 12 and under eat free

Tuesdays: 10 percent of the day's sales go to Longmont Humane Society (July 12) and Children's Colorado Foundation (July 19).

Wednesdays and Thursdays: TBA drink specials

Friday-Sunday: $3 Pumphouse drafts, open to close

Where: 540 Main St.

More: Every visit, patrons can enter their names into a drawing for prizes, including a two-night stay in Breckenridge; a Denver Broncos Viewing Party (includes a $250 tab); Pumphouse & Red Zone Gift Cards ($100, $200, $300) and brewery V.I.P. Cards good for yearlong beer discounts.

If it were a person, Longmont's Pumphouse Brewery would be not quite old enough to drink.

But there will be plenty of beer, booze and other brews to go around during the two-week celebration of the brewery's 20th anniversary, kicking off Monday.

The brewery, 540 Main St., was founded in 1996 after four engineers — Craig Taylor, Tom Charles, Dave D'Epagnier and Dennis Coombs (yes, that Dennis Coombs, Longmont's mayor) — were laid off from their jobs in the aerospace industry and decided to take a chance on their home brew hobby.

"We all just wanted to do something entirely different," said co-founder D'Epagnier.

They bought the historical William Lugg Building, so named for the prominent local business man during the early 1900s when the structure was built. Despite the restaurant's firehouse theme, that was one of the many uses the building never saw: Pre-Pumphouse, it was home to a variety of different car garages and dealerships as well as a roller-skating rink.

When the brewery opened in May 1996, there was only one other brewpub in town: the Overland Stage Brewing Company, which closed shortly after opening.

"It was nip and tuck those first few years because brewpubs were not that popular back then," D'Epagnier recalled. "There weren't many restaurants or much liveliness and there were a lot of vacancies."

"The Pumphouse was kind of a revelation," added Greg Tafel, who moved his family to Longmont from Elizabeth in 1985. "There really wasn't much going on. It was a good family town but if you wanted to do something, you had to go to Boulder, Fort Collins or Denver."

Now, of course, the downtown area is lined with bars and restaurants. But despite the increased competition, the Pumphouse, its patio and the adjacent Red Zone sports bar stay full most nights and weekends.

"They've been a leader not only in the craft-brewing industry but how to do a fabulous restaurant on downtown Main Street," said Kimberlee McKee, executive director of Longmont Downtown Development Authority. "Even today, it's one of the most identifiable places downtown.

"The fact that for 20 years it's been as successful as it has really shows their commitment to the community."

The establishment's owners are giving back to the community that's supported them for two decades with two weeks of "loyalty days" featuring discounted beer and food and drawings for various prizes. Both Tuesdays will be "give-back nights," at which the restaurant will host fundraisers for the Longmont Humane Society (Tuesday) & Children's Colorado Foundation (July 19).

"We're trying to pay back the community for all the support they've given us," said general manager Ross Hagen. "It's hard to stay in business for 20 years. They've seen us through a lot of growth. We couldn't have done it without them, so it's just nice to say thank you."

Niwot's Haystack Mountain Golf Course celebrates 50 years in business

Once a pig farm, course retains relaxed atmosphere

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

Michael A. Masias spends time on the driving range at Haystack Mountain Golf Course in Niwot on Friday. Masias said he first golfed at Haystack, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary, in 1977. (  Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer  )

Michael A. Masias spends time on the driving range at Haystack Mountain Golf Course in Niwot on Friday. Masias said he first golfed at Haystack, which this year is celebrating its 50th anniversary, in 1977. (Lewis Geyer / Staff Photographer)

If You Go

What: Haystack Mountain Golf Course 50th Anniversary Celebration

When: Saturday, July 2

Where: 5877 Niwot Road

Info: $5 rounds all day; live music from 1-7 p.m.; discounted food and drinks will be served from 1 to 6 p.m.

After five decades in business, Haystack Mountain Golf Course is still in the swing of things.

The Niwot course is celebrating its 50th anniversary this weekend. On Saturday, rounds will be $5 all day, with live music and food in the afternoon and evening.

The nine-hole course at 5877 Niwot Rd. had humble beginnings as a pig farm. The Ebel family bought the land in 1964 and converted the porcine plot to a golf course in 1966.

It has been owned and operated by the family ever since, staying true to those pastoral roots with a relaxed atmosphere that is attractive to casual golfers and beginners.

"We don't have a dress code at Haystack," said operations manager Mike Hammerstone. "You don't have to wear a collared shirt — there are guests who golf in their flip flops."

The course, which is tucked beneath Niwot's Haystack Mountain, has 2,153 yards of par three and par four holes. The course is a walking only: no electric carts allowed.

Kyle Snyder, chair of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce, said that courses like Haystack are rare gems in the golf world today.

"Nine-hole courses are never that intimidating and are great places to pick up the sport."

Fifty years is relatively young for a golf course in Colorado, said Larry Mills, golf operations manager for Longmont's golf course advisory board.

Boulder's Flatirons Golf Course, for example, has been around since 1938.

A fair amount of courses were built in the '90s, like Longmont's Ute Creek and Lafayette's Indian Peaks, coinciding with the housing boom.

Unlike these courses, surrounded by homes, Haystack Mountain is nestled into acres of farmland. Goats and chickens can be found strolling through the driving range, nd the clubhouse is an old farmhouse.

Ken Birgen, a beginner who takes lessons at Haystack Mountain, said that he appreciates the scenic, low-key feel of the place.

"Haystack is much different from other formal clubs that have course marshals telling you to hurry up your play."

Plus, he added, "there's not many golf courses where your shot lands by a old tractor."

Businesses, with a boost from Boulder County, extend deals on electric cars, bikes

Discounts being offered at three area retailers through early July

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

Michelle Daigle pulls the charging cord on her Nissan Leaf as Sara Cashin, Boulder Nissan's finance manager, looks on. (  Paul Aiken / File photo  )

Michelle Daigle pulls the charging cord on her Nissan Leaf as Sara Cashin, Boulder Nissan's finance manager, looks on. (Paul Aiken / File photo)

A Boulder County program promoting electric vehicle use is giving local businesses a boost — so much, in fact, that they are extending the deals.

Under the program, Electric Vehicle Benefits Boulder County, four retailers are offering deep discounts on electric cars and — for the first time this year — bikes.

Boulder's Full Cycle and Longmont's Small Planet EBikes are both offering 15 percent off e-bikes through July 9, while Boulder Nissan is extending its deal (an $8,000 discount and eligibility for up to $12,000 in tax incentives on a 2016 Nissan Leaf) through July 5.

The county is not providing financial incentives to the businesses, instead trading promotion and marketing in exchange for the retailer-funded discounts.

Since its late March start, 78 e-bikes and over 100 cars have been sold to Boulder County residents. (Gebhardt BMW was also a participating retailer, through June 30.)

Small Planet manager Sherri O'Hara wasn't exactly sure how many of the 60 bikes she sold could be attributed to the county program, but she has definitely noticed and increase in local customers.

"In previous years, we've had much bigger percentage of customers out of Denver and the Front Range," O'Hara said. "This season, it was highly concentrated in Boulder County: Interest tripled, maybe even more than that."

O'Hara said sales of e-bikes have been climbing steadily every year since the store's 2009 opening, increasing noticeably in the past two years. Electric-assist bikes have been allowed on the city of Boulder's multi-use paths since 2014.

The county adding e-bikes to the program this year "added legitimacy to them as a viable mode of transportation," O'Hara said.

"With electric bikes, our intention is to really see these replace cars," said Brad Smith, a sustainability specialist for Boulder. "A lot of people don't like to ride bikes to work because it will take too long, they'll wind up at work a hot and sweaty mess."

With the aid of a 7 lb. battery, O'Hara said, you can ride "40 miles up the Rocky Mountains" and arrive fresh faced and with energy to spare.

Also part of the program is an effort to increase the number of EV charging stations in the county. There are currently 88, the locations and even real-time availability of which can be checked

Local businesses can apply for a charging station to be located on their premises. Through an EV infrastructure grant-funding program, Charge Ahead Colorado, business owners can get 80 percent of the cost of a charging station covered, with the county and the city of Boulder covering an additional 10 percent.

Last year, 20 private businesses took advantage of the benefit. This year's program runs through July 31.

The county's efforts to increase infrastructure is needed: Both iterations of the EV program have seen more than 300 cars sold, according to Smith.

One notable participant of the county's program? County commissioner Deb Gardner, who purchased a Nissan Leaf.

"In the beginning I was always worried about having enough energy to get around, but there are so many charging stations around town that it makes it easy," she said.

"I haven't driven my other car in six months."

Staff writer Shay Castle contributed to this story

Bank of Colorado to open Longmont branch

By Charlie Howard

Special to the Camera

Link to Story: Here

The Fort Collins-based Bank of Colorado will open a new branch in Longmont this summer, according to documents filed with the Colorado Division of Banking.

The branch, which will specialize in commercial lending, will be located at 636 Coffman St., Suite 101. It is a space vacated by Home State Bank in late January.

Christian Bordewick, market president of Bank of Colorado for Johnstown and Longmont said that the bank liked the opportunity to open a branch in Boulder County.

"We noticed growth on the Front Range and especially in Longmont and are excited to move into the community," Bordewick said.

Home State, which merged with Denver-based Guaranty Bank (Nasdaq: GBNK) in March, moved its Longmont branch south to 351 Coffman St., Home State officials said.

Bruce Partain, president of the Longmont Chamber of Commerce said that the movement in the Longmont banking community is "business as usual."

"Boulder County is attractive to financial institutions because in large part of the growth and popularity of the greater Denver-metro area," Partain said.

There have been a number of other changes in the Longmont Banking community in the past year and a half with Northstar Bank of Colorado moving its location in May 2015, and First Bank and Trust receiving approval to open a loan-production office in June 2015, according to the Colorado Division of Banking.

Jessica Erickson, president of the Longmont Economic Development Partnership, said that in the last year banks have been trying to capitalize on business growth and a growing market in Longmont.

"I've met with several banks adding Longmont branches and trying to capitalize on the growth of the Front Range that is finally beginning to make it's way into our community," Erickson said.

Longmont's Left Hand Brewing Co. to offer its beer in cans

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

A box on an assembly line at Longmont's Left Hand Brewing. The company announced Wednesday that it would begin offering its craft brews in cans. (  Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer  )

A box on an assembly line at Longmont's Left Hand Brewing. The company announced Wednesday that it would begin offering its craft brews in cans. (Matthew Jonas / Staff Photographer)

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the city in which Oskar Blues is based. Its headquarters is in Longmont.

Longmont-based Left Hand Brewing Co. announced Wednesday that it would be introducing cans starting winter of 2016.

The three beers Left Hand will release in cans are its Fade to Black rye ale, Milk Stout and Extrovert American India Pale Ale, according to a statement the company issued Wednesday. The canned beer will be available in 12-ounce six-packs.

Left Hand is following in the footsteps of other local breweries such as Longmont-based Oskar Blues Brewery, considered one of the first American craft breweries to can beer back in 2002, and Boulder-based Upslope Brewery which has been exclusively canning beer since 2008.

Matt Cutter, founder and owner of Upslope Brewing Company said that canning its beer has worked out well.

"We have definitely benefited from having our beer in cans only. We refined the can process over the years and it has proven to be even better than we had hoped," Cutter said.

Left Hand has broken ground on its 2,850 square-foot canning facility at 1265 Boston Ave. in Longmont, adding to its already 62,000 square-foot brewery, officials said.

Left Hand will be the 46th Colorado craft brewery to offer beer in a can, according to Canned Beer Database, a web site, that tracks craft beers that are canned.

Left Hand Brewing Co. is Colorado's fourth largest craft brewery, producing 82,849 barrels in 2015 and distributes its beer to 36 states in the US.

Louisville's GlobeImmune, struggling and down to 2 employees, delists from Nasdaq

Exchange exit latest woe for biopharma firm following failed drug trial

By Charlie Howard

For the Camera

Link to Story: Here

Officials at Louisville-based GlobeImmune Inc. (NASDAQ: GBIM) announced Tuesday that after failing to find a buyer, the company will delist its stock from the NASDAQ exchange.

The move comes after the biopharmaceutical company was unable to comply with the NASDAQ's listing standards, requiring the minimum stockholders' equity $2.5 million.

Additional standards require the market value of all securities to be worth $35 million and the net income should be at least $500,000 in the last two of three most recently completed fiscal years.

GlobeImmune, founded in 1995, went public in July 2014 after postponing the offering in 2012.

The company's share price dropped 36 percent the Wednesday after the announcement continued to drop, closing at 95 cents Thursday.

GlobeImmune last year began planning a restructuring effort when clinical trial results for its hepatitis B drug revealed that the drug did not show a reduction of the disease at the end of a 24-week study.

Only two full-time employees (one scientist and one financial and accounting officer) and one half-time worker (CEO Timothy Rodell) are still employed there, according to a March quarterly report.

The same report revealed GlobeImmune had an accumulated deficit over $226 million and cash and equivalents of $8.7 million, enough "to operate as a going concern through the middle of 2017 as we continue to evaluate strategic alternatives," Rodell wrote.

The company said that it expects to be delisted by July 25, a which point it will request to suspend its reporting obligations to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The company also expects to begin trading it's common stock on the over the counter market's pink market after it has been officially delisted from Nasdaq.

GlobeImmune did not respond to requests for comment.