December 23, 2009

Newsmakers 2009

Great Recession took toll on Boulder Valley

Foreclosures, bankruptcies, unemployment all up

David Clucas

The Boulder Valley was not immune to the downturn in the national economy.

Many local economic indicators worsened in 2009 – from higher foreclosures and bankruptcies, to lower home prices and employment.  

While the Boulder Valley remained better off than the rest of the nation in many ways, the Great Recession still produced harm here.

In real estate, foreclosure filings hit year-total records by October. Through November, 1,616 foreclosures had been filed in Boulder and Broomfield counties – up 38 percent from a year ago.

The area’s broadest measure of housing prices from the Federal Housing Finance Agency fell for the first time in 21 years. Boulder County homes depreciated 0.56 year-over-year during the third quarter. The home-price drop was the first since a 1.03 percent annual decline during the second quarter of 1988, and only the seventh quarterly annual drop in Boulder County history since the figures were first tracked in 1979.

Personal and business bankruptcies rose to recent record levels, eclipsing more than 1,100 by the end of November – up about 7 percent from a year ago.

Boulder County’s unemployment rate rose to its high for the year – and highest since the tech bust – to 6.6 percent in June, before improving to 5.3 percent in the latter half of the year.  Broomfield County’s unemployment rate rose to a 7.6 percent high in June, before improving to 6.4 percent in the latter half of the year.

There was some good news for local economy this fall, as more than $140 million in federal stimulus dollars made its way to the Boulder Valley as of Sept. 30. Most of the local share from the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act went toward research work at the University of Colorado and projects at the numerous federally-funded laboratories in the area, such as the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. Local governments, low-income housing and small businesses also received money.

Number 2

City of Boulder’s back-tax faux pas riles local builders

David Clucas

BOULDER – Facing tax-revenue shortfalls in a down economy, the city of Boulder attempted to collect up to $5.2 million in back taxes from 1,000 local builders this fall through a rarely enforced measure of reconciliation.

The attempt riled the local building community, which said the tax rules were being changed mid-stream, and that they would struggle to pay in the down economy.

The brouhaha began in September when city finance officials said through routine audits they found consistent underpayment of construction use taxes for projects between June 1, 2006 and June 30 2009.

The underpayments were traced back to an unreliable city-endorsed, tax-estimation system, which assumed half of the property’s value was in material, which is taxed, and half was in labor, which isn’t taxed. The system failed to account for economic changes, as soaring commodity and building material costs upset the balance and threw off the estimates.

Despite its own system being at fault, the city began to ask builders to voluntarily reconcile their potential tax shortfalls without penalty. The city threatened more audits and penalties for those who didn’t voluntarily comply.

City Manager Jane Brautigam eventually called for a temporary suspension of the back-tax collection effort in October and hired an outside consultant, Anita White, to review the situation. White’s final report came back in early December, suggesting that while the city had jurisdiction to collect the back taxes, its effort was mishandled. White specifically pointed out that the city was trying to enforce rules it hadn’t in the past.

Brautigam agreed, saying, “The city failed to reconcile construction use taxes at the end of projects in a consistent manner over a relatively long period.”

The city manager recommended ending the back-tax collection effort and returning $32,498 to builders that had voluntarily paid.

Most recently, Boulder city council took one extra step, calling for a draft ordinance to allow 16 builders, who owed $692,140 in back taxes through routine audits, a chance to appeal those audits.

A draft ordinance is expected by early next year, and the city manager said she would work with staff and stakeholders to a craft a proposal intended to clarify its regulations and procedures related to the collection and reconciliation of construction use taxes.

Number 3

McStain works through bankruptcy

David Clucas

LOUISVILLE – The housing and credit crisis of 2008 spilled into 2009 and led to the collapse of numerous local companies – none bigger than McStain Neighborhoods, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in May.

The 43-year-old Louisville-based homebuilder experienced the bust of its boom, having reduced its employees from as many as 400 in 2005 to about 20 people before filing for bankruptcy. Revenue was cut by more than half.  The final straw was a tough lending market, where the company couldn’t borrow any more money to survive.

The bankruptcy had another wrinkle in that McStain Founders Tom and Caroline Hoyt co-owned the company with their employees through an employee stock option plan, or ESOP. That meant the bankruptcy likely would leave those employee shareholders empty-handed.

During its six months in bankruptcy, McStain officials were able to resolve several litigation issues, expose assets to potential investors, continue discussions with secured lenders and sell 18 housing units and lots, which reduced secured debt by $3.8 million and resolved $600,000 of liens.

In November, McStain officials asked the court to dismiss the bankruptcy case, saying they would have better success reorganizing the company out of bankruptcy.

The judge accepted the motion, but ordered McStain to keep the former bankruptcy committee updated on all meetings, monthly balance sheets and income statements.

Part of the recovery outside of bankruptcy includes a possible investor, which may purchase KeyBank’s secured loan in the case and then work out a deal with McStain.

Some other noteworthy local companies that filed for bankruptcy this past year included Lafayette-based Rocky Mountain Instrument Co., or RMI, Broomfield-based OfficeSource Inc. and Lafayette-based EarthRoamer.

RMI, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July, recently filed a reorganization plan with the court, asking for a lower interest rate and two-year extension on its main real estate loan. EarthRoamer filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in October, indicating that it would liquidate the company.  And OfficeSource entered into Chapter 11 bankruptcy in late November.

Number 4

DigitalGlobe becomes publicly-held company

Doug Storum

LONGMONT – DigitalGlobe Inc. in Longmont had two successful launches in 2009.

The provider of high-resolution images of the earth taken from satellites had an initial public offering in May and in October launched its third satellite, WorldView-2.

DigitalGlobe (NYSE: DGI) provides digital satellite imagery for U.S. and foreign governments as well as companies like Google, Microsoft, Garmin and Nokia.

It raised about $279 million by offering 14.7 million shares at $19 each, more than the $16 to $18 anticipated. In mid-December, DigitalGlobe stock was trading at about $24 per share.

DigitalGlobe’s WorldView-2 satellite was launched atop a United Launch Alliance Delta II rocket Oct. 8 from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.

WorldView-2 is the third satellite Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp., a subsidiary of Broomfield-based Ball Corp. (NYSE: BLL), has built for DigitalGlobe. The first two are QuickBird-2 and WorldView-1.

During the year the company signed several significant contracts. It signed with Microsoft Corp. to provide high-resolution images for Microsoft’s Bing Maps. It also was contracted to supply satellite imagery to digital-map company Tele Atlas and software-development company GPS Tuner. GPS Tuner Atlas is leveraging Tele Atlas’ digital maps for Europe and North America to provide high-quality navigation software for outdoor enthusiasts ranging from geo-catchers to golfers, cyclists and runners.

The company was named 2009 Colorado Photonics Company of the Year by the Colorado Photonics Industry Association, and DigitalGlobe’s original chief executive, Dick Herring, was inducted into the Boulder County Business Hall of Fame.

DigitalGlobe reported 2009 third-quarter revenue of $71.8 million – up 8 percent compared to $66.8 million during the same period a year ago. The company’s third-quarter net income rose to $14.6 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, compared to a net income of $14.3 million, or 32 cents per diluted share, during the same period a year ago.

Based on the positive results, company officials raised DigitalGlobe’s 2009 full-year estimates, projecting revenue between $278 million and $283 million -up from previous expectations between $267 million and $277 million. Officials projected full-year 2009 diluted earnings per share to be between $1 and $1.05 – up from previous expectations between 80 cents and 90 cents.

Number 5

Clovis Oncology lands $146.3 million in VC

Ryan Dionne

BOULDER – Boulder-based Clovis Oncology Inc. led the nation in venture capital funding during the second quarter receiving $146.3 million.

Clovis, co-founded by Patrick Mahaffy who co-founded Pharmion in 2000 and sold it to Celgene Corp. (Nasdaq: CELG) in March 2008 for $2.9 billion, is focused on developing and commercializing anti-cancer compounds in the U.S., Europe and other international markets.

Andrew Allen serves as Clovis’ chief medical officer, Gillian Ivers-Read as regulatory affairs and technical operations executive vice president, and Erle Mast as chief financial officer. Each served in the same roles at Pharmion.

Even as experienced biotech execs, raising $146.3 million during the second quarter is an impressive feat for a company that was formed in April 2009.

A portion of that money went to Oslo, Norway-based Clavis Pharma ASA. Clovis will pay Clavis up to $380 million to develop and manufacture Clavis’s pancreatic cancer drug.

Clavis retains the right to co-develop and co-promote the drug. But for now, Clovis will pay Clavis $15 million cash as well as up to $365 million in royalty fees upon reaching specific development, regulatory and sales milestones.

As for the venture capital, Clovis, along with Miragen Therapeutics Inc. ($11.9 million) and OPX Biotechnologies Inc. ($5.4 million) in Boulder, and GlobeImmune Inc. ($571,000) in Louisville received a combined $164.3 million.

While Clovis, which now has offices in San Francisco and London, and other biotech companies seem to be thriving in the Boulder Valley, two others announced plans to close local sites.

In July Melville, N.Y.-based OSI Pharmaceuticals Inc. announced it will close its Boulder location in an effort to consolidate its sites to one campus in New York. There’s no timeline as to when OSI (Nasdaq: OSIP) will fully close the location.

Then in August, Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD) announced plans to shudder its Boulder and Westminster offices by the end of the year and lay off about 66 of the 139 combined employees at those locations. It’s still on track to have everything shut down by the end of December.

Number 6

Oracle-Sun deal catches industry off guard

Ryan Dionne

BROOMFIELD – Rumors of IBM Corp. acquiring Sun Microsystems Inc. were squashed April 20 when Oracle Corp. announced it would acquire Sun for about $7.4 billion.

Not long after the rumors of IBM acquiring Sun became rumors that the acquisition fell through, Redwood Shores, Calif.-based Oracle announced its most recent purchase, adding what some analysts called uncertainty to the industry.

Both companies have a presence in Colorado: Santa Clara, Calif.-based Sun operates its largest “green” data center in Broomfield, while Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL) maintains a small office in Boulder, as well as locations in Denver and Colorado Springs.

While the duo’s future is still uncertain, most analysts agree that Sun (Nasdaq: JAVA) was a limping company that needed help.

This fall, the company reported its fifth consecutive quarterly loss. In January 2009, Sun announced it would layoff 1,300 employees companywide. Of those, 164 people at its Broomfield site and 31 people at its Louisville site were impacted.

And in October it announced plans to layoff 3,000 more employees companywide before October 2010. Of those, 128 employees in Broomfield will lose their job by the middle of January 2010.

About 62 percent of Sun’s outstanding common stock shareholders approved the acquisition in September. U.S. Regulators also approved it, but now the sale is in the hands of the European Commission.

Though the commission previously challenged the sale citing potential competition issues, earlier this month, it said it was optimistic a “satisfactory outcome” could be reached.

The commission’s statement came after Oracle agreed to allow others to create storage engine software for Sun’s MySQL database. Oracle also said it would invest more money in MySQL research and development during the next three years than Sun has, set up a user advisory board and not ask for commercial licenses from makers of MySQL storage engines for application programming interfaces.

The commission has until Jan. 27 to make a decision.

Number 7

Catholic group takes control of Exempla

Ryan Dionne

LAFAYETTE – Exempla Inc. plans to transfer its stake in two hospitals to a Catholic-oriented nonprofit health-care manager in order to gain access to capital to resuscitate the Exempla system, it announced in August.

Exempla will transfer control of Exempla Good Samaritan in Lafayette and Exempla Lutheran Medical Center in Wheat Ridge to Arvada-based Community First Foundation, which would then transfer it to Kansas-based Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth Health System Inc.

With this deal, Exempla would hand over control of the two hospitals to Sisters, but in exchange, the hospitals would get access to much needed capital to keep Saint Joseph alive and advance a stalled expansion at Good Samaritan.

The two hospitals “will remain intact” and be governed by a board of directors consisting of 10 members equally appointed by Community First and Sisters. Those 10 members, down from the current 15-member board, will serve one-year terms, and, at most, six consecutive terms.

How much money Sisters would borrow on behalf of Exempla has yet to be determined, but in late 2005 when the call for help went out, “hundreds of millions of dollars” were needed. It will be up to Exempla’s new board of directors to determine capital requirements for Exempla and its hospitals.

Because of the Catholic-oriented health-care manager’s beliefs on issues like contraception and abortion, Exempla Good Samaritan Medical Center and Exempla Lutheran Medical Center are no longer providing elective abortions. Restrictions on some procedures will be introduced to Exempla hospitals and clinics after a period of due diligence and internal education that is expected to be completed early next year .  

Number 8

Agile Group closes amid Ponzi losses

David Clucas

BOULDER – A prominent Boulder-based wealth-management firm shocked investors in early 2009 when it announced it had lost a large majority of its investments in the markets.

Agile Group, which at one point managed more than $600 million in client assets, blamed the near total losses on bad investments with Bernard Madoff and Tom Petters, who both were accused of running large national Ponzi schemes.

The collapse of Agile’s funds hurt numerous local investors who had entrusted much of their money with the firm’s manager Neal Greenberg for more than 30 years.

As the dust settled, Agile’s clients responded in different ways. Some resided themselves to the fact that they and Greenberg had been duped like so many others nationwide. But other clients placed more blame on Greenberg, saying he invested their money in risky ventures while advertising the funds as “safe” investments.

Some in the latter camp sued Agile and Greenberg in Boulder County District Court, and the Colorado Division of Securities said it would investigate the matter.

As 2009 draws to a close, Agile is shutting the doors of its physical office in Boulder and winding down its remaining investments.

The Colorado Division of Securities investigation continues, along with the lawsuit.

Number 9

GE makes equity investment in Tendril

Doug Storum

BOULDER – In mid-October, General Electric Co. (NYSE:GE) said it would make equity investments into three clean-technology companies, including Boulder-based Tendril Networks Inc.

GE Energy Financial Services did not release the amount of its investments, which also included new stakes in Palo Alto-based SolarEdge Technologies Inc. and San Francisco-based GridNet.

The investment will help Tendril, headed by Chief Executive Adrian Tuck, to bring its smart grid energy-management technologies into more homes.

Tendril’s main product, the Tendril Residential Energy Ecosystem, or TREE, is an integrated software and hardware solution that enables two-way dialog between utility companies and their customers, allowing them to manage the consumption and supply of energy in smarter, more efficient ways.

“For its part, GE sees its relationship with Tendril as reinforcement of its ecomagination initiative, to help customers meet their environmental challenges,´ said Alex Urquhart, president and chief executive of GE Energy Financial Services, citing “multiple commercial and technology development opportunities for collaboration” between the two companies.

Tendril and GE previously announced a partnership in July to develop software for connecting GE appliances to smart-grid technology.

In June, Tendril received $30 million in financing led by VantagePoint Venture Partners, Good Energies, RRE Ventures, Boulder-based Vista Ventures and Appian Ventures.

Number 10

Camera newspaper ownership changes

David Clucas

BOULDER – Some historians like to refer to the press as the “fourth estate” – signifying its importance, along with government, in shaping history.

The Boulder Valley’s fourth estate saw significant shifts in 2009 with ownership changes to the region’s largest newspapers.

It began in Denver, with the closing of the Rocky Mountain News in late February, after nearly 150 years of publication. The closing led Rocky publisher Cincinnati-based E.W. Scripps to abandon the Colorado market, selling its 50-percent stake in Boulder’s Camera newspaper.

The move gave Denver-based MediaNews Group, publisher of The Denver Post, full ownership of the Camera and its group of newspapers, which locally include the Broomfield Enterprise and Colorado Daily.

The departure of E.W. Scripps continued to shrink the number of newspaper publishers and daily editorial coverage in the Boulder Valley.  The Daily Times-Call in Longmont, owned by Lehman Communications Corp. remained as MediaNews’ sole competition on the printed daily newspaper front.

Attempting to step into Longmont’s turf, the Camera announced a Longmont Weekly publication in October, only to have to change the name a week later to Longmont Ledger after discovering that Lehman already owned the Longmont Weekly trademark.

Online, daily coverage grew – the Camera, Times-Call and Boulder County Business Report increasingly reported news as it happened with online updates and e-mails throughout the day, instead of waiting for publication in the next print edition.  Reporting breaking news through online social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook also came of age in 2009.

The changes at the Camera, and the shrinking print publishing business in general, led the local newspaper to put its coveted building at 1048 Pearl St. up for sale. The property’s value wasn’t so much in its building, but in its land – 1.37 acres in the heart of downtown Boulder – a prime redevelopment candidate.

Denver developer Randy Nichols was at first under contract to buy the 76,635-square-foot building, but a deal fell through in June after Nichols blamed a tough financing environment plus anti-development sentiment from Boulder politics.

Five months later in November, the building went under contract again, this time reportedly to local developer Stephen Tebo.

If this latest deal works, the sale is expected to go through by summer 2010.

The second 10

11 -Disney puts Kerpoof under its Web wing

BOULDER – Kerpoof LLC, a Boulder-based company that maintains an interactive art Web site, was acquired by Disney Interactive Media Group in July.

Krista Marks, along with Jonathan Ballagh, Brent Milne and Tom Fischaber, made their mark and caught Disney’s eye when they developed a Web site where children can fashion artwork, movies and interactive stories using Kerpoof’s gallery of elements.

Kerpoof, now going by the name Disney Online Kerpoof Studios, is operating its own Web site in addition to developing features for Disney.com.

“The innovative approach to online content creation coming out of Kerpoof Studios is a great addition to Disney.com,´ said Paul Yanover, executive vice president and managing director of Disney Online.

12 -ConocoPhillips takes steps on new campus

LOUISVILLE – It’s been almost two years since Houston-based ConocoPhillips announced it would build a  campus in Louisville for energy research, development and education.

As the economy slowed in 2009, so did the rate at which the oil giant moved on those plans. But any news was welcome.

Throughout the year ConocoPhillips bought up parcels of land for access surrounding its campus, the former site of Storage Technology Corp.

In its first release of construction plans in November, ConocoPhillips said it intends to build 1.6 million square feet of office, research, support services and hotel space on the 450-acre campus, saying it would strive to build a modern campus in balance with public and private open space surrounding the buildings.

The initial phase of construction, anticipated for occupancy in 2013, would include 472,647 square feet of office space, 502,617 square feet of research center space, a 34,967-square-foot learning center, a 120-room internal hotel, and various food and child-care support services.

Phase two of the development, which is expected by 2018, would include 135,630 square feet of additional research center space. Phase three would include 299,155 square feet of additional office space and 437,451 square feet of additional research center space.

A majority of the development is slated for the center of the property, with buildings as tall as 95 feet – about five stories – being placed at the inner center, surrounded by smaller buildings on the outer center.

13 -Central Park Tower rises at Interlocken

 BROOMFIELD – While construction jobs were scarce in 2009, Franklin Street Properties Corp., a Massachusetts-based real estate investment firm (AMEX: FSP) charged forward to construct a multistory office building in the Interlocken Advanced Technology Park in Broomfield.

Central Park Tower at 385 Interlocken Crescent is a new 305,000-square-foot, 11-story, LEED-certified office building scheduled to open in July 2010.

Denver-based Prime West partnered with Franklin Street to build the office space, Gensler was the architect for the project, and The Weitz Co. was the general contractor.

Central Park Tower includes an underground parking garage, a fitness center, multiple shared collaboration areas, and a café with indoor and outdoor seating.

14 – CU breaks ground on bioscience center

BOULDER – The University of Colorado at Boulder broke ground Sept. 9 on a multi-million dollar bioscience building designed to promote interdisciplinary collaboration and make CU one of the top bioscience universities in the region.

The Jennie Smoly Caruthers Biotechnology Building, a planned 257,000-square-foot building slated for completion in fall 2011 with a 54,000-square-foot addition planned for a “later date,” will have a price tag of between $120 million and $145 million for the first phase alone.

The bioscience building, which will anchor the university’s East Campus near 30th Street and Colorado Avenue, will bring together researchers, professors, graduate and undergraduate students, as well as elementary, middle and high school teachers and students to learn about new biotechnologies and develop them.

15 – Management changes at Broomfield center

BROOMFIELD – When Broomfield Sports and Entertainment asked to be released from its contract to operate the Broomfield Event Center citing slow ticket sales, the City and County of Broomfield was quick to oblige.

Peak Entertainment, a new venture formed between Denver-based Kroenke Sports Enterprises and Los Angeles-based Anschutz Entertainment Group, took over management Sept. 1.

The center, built in 2006, was home to the Rocky Mountain Rage hockey team and the Colorado 14ers, a D-league basketball team and affiliate of the Denver Nuggets. Neither team planned to use the center in 2010.

Peak renamed the center Odeum Colorado and hopes to host between 50 and 100 events per year primarily focusing on live music events. The center can hold up to 6,500 people and can be configured to accommodate nonmusical events.

16 – Ball Corp. acquires InBev can plants

BROOMFIELD – Ball Corp. in Broomfield announced in July it would pay $577 million to acquire four can-manufacturing plants from Anheuser-Busch InBev.

The deal closed in October.

The facilities acquired are beverage can-manufacturing plants in Rome, Ga.; Columbus, Ohio; and Fort Atkinson, Wis., and a beverage can end-manufacturing plant in Gainesville, Fla.

In the first full year of operation, Ball (NYSE: BLL) expects the plants to generate revenue and earnings of approximately $680 million and $94 million, respectively.

The plants produce annually about 10 billion aluminum cans and 10 billion easy-open can ends. More than two-thirds of the cans are produced for leading soft drink companies and the rest for AB InBev. The facilities employ approximately 635 people.

17 – Aurora Dairy lawsuits dropped

BOULDER – A United States district judge in June dismissed numerous class action lawsuits filed in 2007 and 2008 against Boulder-based Aurora Organic Dairy Corp.

The lawsuits claimed that Aurora had misled consumers by labeling and selling its milk as organic, when it allegedly failed to meet certain organic standards.

Judge E. Richard Webber sided with Aurora to dismiss the case, saying that since 2003 Aurora had kept its federal organic certification under the Organic Foods Production Act, OFPA, and the National Organic Program, NOP, allowing Aurora to advertise its products as “USDA Organic” and “organic.”

The plaintiffs in the case claimed Aurora failed to meet organic standards by not providing appropriate housing, pasture conditions and sanitation practices for its cows.

“Irrespective of whether defendant Aurora was meeting the organic standards established under the OFPA and NOP, defendant Aurora was a certified operation and was fully entitled under the OFPA and NOP to label, market and sell its products as organic,” Webber wrote in his 24-page decision.

18 – Zayo Group grows through acquisition

LOUISVILLE – In September, Regional broadband company Zayo Group based in Louisville acquired New York-based FiberNet Telecom Group Inc., (Nasdaq: FTGX) an interconnection service provider, for $90.7 million.

In March, Zayo became the sole bidder after RCN Corp. withdrew its higher bid – $12.50 per share compared to Zayo’s acquisition price of $11.45 per share.

Zayo opted to keep its headquarters in Louisville, but the company retained FiberNet’s New York office.

As a result of the acquisition, FiberNet became a private.

Zayo Group increased its footprint and now provides its service over a fiber network that spans 131 markets in 21 states.

19 – Crocs makes strides to raise stock value

NIWOT – In March, the board of directors of Niwot-based Crocs Inc. (Nasdaq: CROX) worked out a deal to replace CEO Ron Snyder with 68-year-old shoe industry guru John Duerden of Reebok fame, in hopes of turning around the ailing maker of rubber shoes.

Crocs’ stock traded between $1 and $8.20 per share during the year, a far cry from its height of about $72 per share in 2007, but had stabilized at about $5 per share by December 2009.

While more than 100 million pairs have been sold, the company lost $185.1 million in 2008 and another $22 million in the first quarter of 2009.

But by the second quarter of 2009 revenue of $197.7 million was down 11.2 percent from $222.7 million a year ago, but better than projected, helping send Crocs’ stock up 35 percent in early trading a day after the report.

And by the third quarter, Crocs reported a net income of $22.1 million compared to a third quarter 2008 net loss of $148 million. Crocs said part of those gains reflected a one-time tax benefit of $14.4 million related to change in the company’s corporate tax structure. In the third quarter, Crocs’ retail sales increased 39.6 percent to $53.9 million, Internet sales increased 61 percent to $16.1 million.

20   Country keeps waiting for health-care reform

During a year of feverish talk and politicking, and massive bills containing thousands of pages of legalese, Congress appears to be on the verge of passing some form of health-care reform.

The question remains whether or not reform will fix problems in the health-care system, like these areas identified by Consumer Report:

Great Recession took toll on Boulder Valley

Foreclosures, bankruptcies, unemployment all up

David Clucas

The Boulder Valley was not immune to the downturn in the national economy.

Many local economic indicators worsened in 2009 – from higher foreclosures and bankruptcies, to lower home prices and employment.  

While the Boulder Valley remained better off than the rest of the nation in many ways, the Great Recession still produced harm here.

In real estate, foreclosure filings hit year-total records by October. Through November, 1,616 foreclosures had been filed in Boulder and Broomfield counties – up 38 percent from a year ago.

The area’s broadest measure of housing prices…

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