O&A Masthead

Colorado News —
September 2016

Columnist — Joyce Trent

BOULDER — A proposal to put an excise tax on sugary drinks appears headed for the city ballot in November.

Healthy Boulder Kids delivered 9,417 signatures in support of the measure to the City Clerk recently. Only 4,700 were required.

While the tax, two cents per ounce on drinks containing at least five ounces of sugar, would be paid by distributors the proponents assume it will be passed on to the consumer and that it will cut children's consumption dramatically.

Colorado flag

For the convenience store owner, already beset by numerous state and local taxes, it is one more headache.

The tax is expected to raise $3 million a year to be used to educate children about unhealthy choices and encourage them to eat healthy foods. It will also be used to establish programs involving physical activities.

Excluded from the tax are milk, baby formula, medical beverages, alcohol and juice containing one hundred percent fruits and vegetables.

The Colorado Beverage Association said it expects the tax to have no meaningful impact on public health and will only hurt the small businessperson.

DENVER — A proposal that would impact convenience stores and other retailers statewide has garnered a lot of support and is expected to go to a vote in November. It would raise the minimum wage from $8.31 an hour to $12 an hour.

Colorado Families for a Fair Wage submitted 200,000 signatures in support of the measure to the Secretary of State, more than double needed to get on the ballot.

If passed, the increase would be gradual, staring with $1 in January and ninety cents each year afterward until it reaches $12 an hour.

GREELEY — Police were called to a car wash on a report that a suspicious object had been planted under a bush there.

The bomb squad responded to the Hi Performance Car Wash and removed the item which was then detonated by a bomb robot.

All business stopped at the car wash during the operation. Police alerted area residents with a reverse 911 call.

They had not determined what the device was by press-time.

DENVER — The City Council has agreed to pay $50,000 to settle a lawsuit brought by a gasoline station owner who said his civil rights were violated. He said he was roughed up, arrested and charged with extortion and other crimes when he was the victim. Bill Dau said the real culprit went free.

Dau will get only $28,281. The remainder goes to his attorneys.

The arrest occurred after a man called police and told them Dau refused to return his money order after refusing to cash it.

The gasoline station owner explained to police that the customer had given him a fraudulent money order on another occasion. But police insisted he return it to the man and when he refused he said they tackled, handcuffed and punched him before carting him off to to jail. The episode was captured by a store video surveillance camera.

The lawsuit stated he wasn't even taken to the station house for hours, that he was driven around writhing in pain and asking for medical treatment. After he was booked, in addition to extortion, he was charged with theft and assault.

A prosecutor took one look at the surveillance tape and dismissed all charges.

BOULDER — A local hemp manufacturer wants to put packets of a certain cannabis compound on the shelves of every convenience store and gasoline station in America.

CW Hemp company turns CBD (cannabidiol) into an oil that many parents believe gives their desperately sick children relief.

CBD is one of more than sixty compounds found in cannabis that belong to a class of molecules called cannabinoids. THC is the more recognizable compound as it is the main ingredient in recreational marijuana. By using selective breeding hemp growers have found a way to create strains with high levels of CBD and next to zero levels of THC.

CW's hemp is extracted from a strain called Charlotte's Web. The extract is combined with organic olive or coconut oil. With 250,000 hemp plants the company has sold more than $1 million worth in two months. Some families have moved to Colorado to have access.

Vijay Bachus, director of operations, said he thinks families ought to have the ease of being able to go to a convenience store or gasoline station to obtain the product. Eventually, he sees that becoming a reality. He even foresees extension to other countries.

BOULDER — It seems the homeless are becoming a problem for more convenience store owners in Colorado.

A 7-Eleven owner in Colorado Springs is even considering shutting down because of the daily encampment of homeless people who block his store and panhandle aggressively.

Now the owner of Smelly Deli in Boulder, who has always gotten along with the homeless, finds herself contending with a more aggressive type, driving away business.

"Twelve years ago it was the same people who came all the time," said Ruba Wahdan. "We knew them, they'd come into the store, sometimes ordering food, and it was fine. These new people have been just a lot more rude and obnoxious and asking for money more."

The result has been a loss of business to the nearby Pearl Street Mall where access is tightly regulated.

She has joined a coalition of business owners trying to deal with the problem in a civilized manner.

The group is distributing window clings reading "Please don't loiter or trespass for the sake of our guests." Instruction sheets provide suggestions for how to de-escalate situations and when to call police.

Originally published in the September 2016 issue of the O&A Marketing News.
Copyright 2016 by KAL Publications Inc.

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