Biz buzz:
Food at Cucuru, Russians at Gold Hill

       Cucuru is having its Grand Opening celebration Thursday, July 20 from 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. On hand will be some of the artists whose works are on display in the gallery, including Jeff Burgess, Chip Shaw, Allen Mose, Ceil Horowitz and Deni Vosburgh.
       After receiving a long-awaited city permit, the café portion of Cucuru is now open as well as the gallery. Owner Guillermo Alvarado is serving Euro-style breakfast and lunch sandwiches.The business is open daily at 2332 W. Colorado Ave.
       The Russians came to Gold Hill Mesa July 13. The visit by four of the country's environmental professionals was prompted by the major Westside subdivision's efforts to address soil pollution in its development planning, said D. Wendal Attig of Gold Hill Mesa.
       As a former gold-milling site, the 214-acre property meets the definition of a “brownfield,” according to a talk to the visitors by Jerry Haile, director of the El Paso County Environmental Services Department.
       The Russians, who were there as part of the federally encouraged Open World Program also got a tour of the Gold Hill property.
       The program “enables emerging leaders from Russia and other Eurasian countries to experience American democracy and civil society in action,” the Open World website states.
       “The idea was to help them see how they can profit from our best practices in some of their own environmental situations,” Attig said. “Obviously, they had gold mines in Russia. They can learn how to how maximize their properties and that's what we are doing.”
       At Gold Hill Mesa, workers are required to take special precautions, chiefly because of the arsenic still in the soil from the milling that occurred on the site in the first half of the 20th century. Also, the structures are being built above a layer of “clean” dirt that is brought in on top of the polluted dirt, drainage and dust from the site are being controlled, and health requirements limit what can be planted in the ground in the future.
       Pine Needle Gifts, which has been at 2521 W. Colorado Ave. for six years, is closing. The site includes Dogwood Gifts.
       Owner Audrey Anderson said she is also closing her Juniper Berry Gifts shop in Manitou Springs.
       “I think gift stores are on their last legs,” she said, when asked why she made this decision. She blamed the economy and increased gas prices. “There are less and less people in town, and after they pay the high gas prices they have nothing left to spend on me,” she said.
       Anderson has been running gift shops in Old Colorado City or Manitou for more than 20 years. At one time she owned four stores.
       Pine Needle's “quitting business sale” will include merchandise as well as store fixtures, furniture and equipment, she said.

Do you have any news about your business? Call the Westside Pioneer at 471-6776.