Archive for June, 2004

On a family vacation at Camp Lakodia

Monday, June 28th, 2004

I’ll not be updating this blog this week, however, we’ve made good progress so far. We are working with a new law firm to draft an exempt securities offering within the next 6-8 weeks.

We also had a very good meeting with CEO Jeff Nelson of East River Electrical Cooperative, a parent company of McCook Electrical Cooperative � the utility company which may serve Laurent’s electrical needs.

Also, we have received our 50th reservation a couple days ago! Keep them coming… remember, first 50 gets invited to the master plan meeting, but we MAY expand that number later. And our goal is 200 on the reservation list!


Back from Denver, Colorado

Friday, June 25th, 2004

We got back from Denver, Colorado, and our trip there was successful. We had a good meeting with our town planner, Peter Swift. We visited several new towns and neighborhoods. There was something to like in each development, but unfortunately, there was also much not to like. One of the primary reasons why these new developments don’t get built to full New Urbanist principles is the existing town codes, authority and approvals process gets a bit complicated. We do not anticipate the same problem in McCook County. Hopefully! We’re working very hard to keep our ties with great folks living in McCook County, and M.E. Barwacz meets with the communication committee on last Thursday of the month. There has been 2 meetings thus far, and they have been great.

We also met with a new law firm this morning, and we came away impressed with their willingness to figure things out with us. We discussed primarily on how we can best structure The Laurent Company’s securities offering for interested investors. We need to meet with one more attorney before we decide on which one.

All in all, this has been very productive week for us. Next week, I will be going on a family vacation at Camp Lakodia in Madison, S.D. and I look forward to it because we’ll even be more busy in the next few months ��or should I say years to come?

Some have inquired for job opportunities available within our company, and we’re not hiring yet. M.E. and I are still the only principals and employees in the company. Once we start raising capital, we anticipate hiring a real estate financing expert/accountant, architect, marketing and sales director, and few other key positions. We are looking at also hiring a full time grant writer/director for The Laurent Institute as well.

If you think you could be a good match for us, please feel free to e-mail us your cover letter and resume. We’ll keep it in our file.

And also, the weather here has been perfect… very cool and sunny! Not great for swimming, although. I’m not complaining because I’m not much of a water person! :-)


In Denver and Loving It!

Monday, June 21st, 2004

We arrived in Denver after ten and half hour drive from Sioux Falls. We left in a very heavy fog around 5:30 am CST, and we arrived 3:30 pm MST. We checked in at Marriott Courtyard hotel right next to Stapleton New Town. We went straight to Denver’s world famous LoDo district which blew us away. There was so much good about the district ��many well-behaved buildings there. “Well-behaved? What the…? They ain’t kids, y’know?

I know. When a building is well-behaved, it does not matter what architecture it has � modern or traditional ��but it totally respects the streets it fronts on. Examples of buildings badly behaving are big bland boxes with no windows facing streets and parking lot in the front of building rather in back. To be sure, we saw some not so well-behaved buildings there… one of them an old apartment building and, surprise, surprise, an Office Depot store. Shame on you, Office Depot. That building is ugly, bland, faceless and should be quickly scheduled for an appointment with a wrecking ball.

Anyway, we loved it there! We ate at P.F. Chang’s Bistro, then walked around for a while. We came back to Stapleton area and drove through the new town center. We’re not impressed. :-( Beautiful, doll-like houses and some cool modernist townhomes and lofts, but all of that did not “blend in” seamlessly. Unfortunate.

Tomorrow morning, we will be meeting Peter Swift, our town planner, and John Dickinson, our deaf architect who knows Special Needs stuff by heart at Prospect New Town in Longmont. We will then visit Bradburn Village, Reunion, Highland Gardens and possibly one other town.


Back home from Washington, D.C.

Tuesday, June 15th, 2004

Ahhh! Home… sweet home! The great plains of South Dakota feels great, and its very sunny here now. I was in Washington, D.C. to give a graduation speech at my alma mater, Model Secondary School for the Deaf. It went well with one glitch… the TelePrompTer died on me 3/4 way through my talk, and luckily, I followed President I. King Jordan’s advice � bring a paper copy!

People seemed to have enjoyed my talk on chasing dreams and building Laurent.

On Saturday, I went to my dear friend John and Mary Yeh’s house to give a presentation on Laurent to a group of great folks, and some of them were prospective investors. We are getting much closer to finishing our business plan and raising the capital we need.

Again, if you know of any accredited investor � someone who has made over $250,000 for the last 3 years or has net worth of $1 million dollars or higher � please have them contact us if they are interested.

Then on Monday, I gave the presentation to one member of The Laurent Institute advisory board to bring her up to speed since she was unable to attend our first meeting last May.

All in all, it went very well, and it was great seeing my good friends during the weekend.


Excellent New Town Web Site: Bradburn Village

Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

I received my copy of New Urbanism: Comprehensive Report and Best Practices Guide by Robert Steuteville and Philip Langdon today, and I found a gem of new town in the book - Bradburn Village in Colorado. I checked their website and I liked what I saw in terms of homes and rowhomes.

Bradburn Village


Reservation list now stands at 44

Tuesday, June 8th, 2004

Non-binding Phase 1 reservation list for Laurent, South Dakota now stands at 44, and we continue to get them in mail. Remember, the first 50 will be guaranteed invitation to the master plan charrette where YOU get to participate in the design and planning of Laurent, S.D.

We may expand the number of invitations, but we will continue to accept unlimited number of reservations.

We are awaiting feedback from our local architect on the business plan, and we are putting together a “book” of what we have accomplished to this date to help investors and community see how far we have come along.

Thursday morning, I will be flying out to Washington, D.C. to give a speech at MSSD graduation, and I’m really thrilled and honored to be invited. I graduated from MSSD in 1989, and I can safely say that the school has made me into a better person… nowhere near perfect, but better. :-)


Car free in Europe.

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2004

Living without cars in Europe…

Great article on being free from car dependence.

A study in Atlanta shows the longer you drive daily, the fatter you become…

Tuesday, June 1st, 2004

CNN: Driving longer means larger waistlines.

This is a very important study providing a direct link between obesity and and auto dependency. America is seriously over-dependent on automobiles to the point that most of us are unable to walk to nearby stores. Few of us are able to walk to our places of work, and then walk and pick up food from local store on way home.

There are other studies showing that kids in small New England towns � which are compact and often walkable or bicycle-friendly � are up to 70% more mobile than the kids living in the typical suburbs. This translates into more TV time, more video games, more eating for the surburb kids because they are dependent on their parents to drive them to after school activities or even to visit friends.

This is something Laurent, South Dakota will avoid by building a compact and walkable town where “walking doesn’t have to be on your ‘to-do list’”.