Mission impossible? Getting NASA on the phone

Cumberland & Western Resources principal Bill Murphree last month said NASA’s role in helping it redevelop the old Agilent Technologies campus in Loveland would come “in a more focused, more robust fashion than ever before.”

He didn’t offer details so the Eye, naturally, wanted to dig deeper.

Unfortunately, that turned out to be tougher than the Eye ever imagined.

For starters, Robert “Joe” Shaw, a NASA administrator who’s reportedly coordinating things with C&W, which closed on the park in December, never answered several phone messages and ducked an interview after being contacted at home.

A reporter did manage to talk ever so briefly with a consultant hired by C&W to help it find tenants. DA2’s David Lung, however, apparently was on a trip to NASA Glenn Research Center in Cleveland when he told the reporter to call him later in the week. That phone call to him went unanswered and a message on his voicemail was unreturned.

So is NASA really going to do more “robust” things for the Rocky Mountain Center for Innovation and Technology (RMCIT), which is what C&W now calls the plant?

Well, the Eye can’t say, not, at least, without some kind of confirmation from NASA.

So, perhaps after he reads this, Mr. Shaw will call us. The Eye can be reached at 970-221-5400.

NASA, by the way, is still very much involved in the Colorado Association for Manufacturing and Technology’s Aerospace and Clean Energy (ACE) project.

That’s the deal that recently pulled out of Loveland to seek a new location in the Denver-Boulder area.

One more thing: Loveland’s new tech jobs program is in no way related to NASA – except that Lung is also the city’s consultant.

Happy anniversary!

FORT COLLLINS – Ed Carroll Motor Co. celebrated 45 years in business with a party at its College Avenue store late last month.

The dealership has sold more than 20,000 Volkswagens in its time in Fort Collins – but not the yellow Beetle that Ed and his son John purchased in 1979 for $6,490.

In storage since then and with just 52 miles on the odometer, the car has rarely been put on display.

Not that it’s for sale, but the value of that little Bug today? As high as $70,000, which is what another Beetle fetched at a recent auction.

Ed Carroll, as most any long-timer will tell you, began selling VWs in Boulder in 1965 and relocated to Fort Collins two years later when Volkswagen decided to open a new dealership. The business nowadays is pretty much run by John.

The celebration he organized marked the dealership’s 45th anniversary and the introduction of the newest Beetle, 73 years after the launch of the original in 1938.

Kill the subsidies

A new poll shows that small business owners strongly support ending government subsidies to gas and oil companies, with 73 percent agreeing tax breaks for oil and gas companies should be eliminated and 60 percent supporting the idea even if it means a small increase in gas prices.

The poll, conducted on behalf of an advocacy organization called Small Business Majority, surveyed business owners in Colorado, Nevada, Ohio, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

It was done after President Obama urged Congress to end tax breaks for the largest oil companies. (A measure to do just that failed to win enough votes).

“Large oil and gas companies have been and continue to post record profits, while our primary job creators are struggling to stay afloat,” said John Arensmeyer, founder and CEO of Small Business Majority. “Instead of providing tax breaks to these large firms we should be focusing on measures that will directly benefit small businesses competing in a modern, innovative, clean energy-based 21st century economy.

“Lawmakers need to start listening to what small-business owners are saying and act accordingly.”

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