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Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from July 2 until July 21
The Road & Bridge Division construction season is in full swing. Patching of failed asphalt and full scale asphalt overlays of our roadways may already be affecting some of you in your neighborhood. Please use caution in our work zones and try to keep the speed down for your safety and the safety of our employees. We precede the asphalt work with the removal and replacement of failed concrete sidewalk, curb & gutter and crosspans that meet our damage criteria.
In the areas of the county with unpaved roads, we re-grade the gravel roads that have sufficiently good material on them. We haul in new roadbase or recycled asphalt basecourse on the roads lacking material. The recycled asphalt basecourse comes from our paving projects that require rotomilling prior to the asphalt overlay. The use of recycled material saves upwards of $200,000 per year as opposed to buying new roadbase and helps to reduce dust.
You may wonder how we decide where to spend the limited funds that we have available for repair work each year. We maintain nearly 3,000 lane miles of paved roads and 700 lane miles of gravel roads in the unincorporated portion of Jeffco. In order to manage that size road network, we use an asset management system to evaluate current conditions on each segment of road. This system consists of data collection on the roads via a specially equipped van and then the loading of that information into the asset management program. Each segment of road is then given an overall condition index (OCI) rating from 1 – completely failed to 100 – brand new.
All of the ratings can then be mapped, analyzed and then used to group roads into the most efficient use of repair dollars in particular neighborhoods. The final step prior to actually scheduling any repairs is for us to drive each segment and verify that the information we have received is valid and that the road has been prioritized properly for the coming year’s proposed repairs.
When performing the actual repair work, be it asphalt or concrete, I have found that a two pronged approach works best. We hire private contractors for larger projects where they can achieve high production rates and therefore give us the lowest prices. We use our own forces on the smaller jobs which would be very expensive to have done by a private contractor. This approach allows us to keep sufficient manpower productively employed during the 8-month construction season in order to provide an excellent snowplowing effort during the 4-month winter season. Citizen surveys have indicated that a quick and efficient snow removal program is one of their highest priorities and the above approach allows Road & Bridge to deliver on those desires.
by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from July 1 until July 20
Many people are confused, afraid and upset when they receive a zoning violation, and the penalty language on the violation form can be quite intimidating. If you have received a zoning violation, the most important step for you to take is to call or email the inspector whose name, email and telephone number are listed on the form. The inspector will be able to describe the best steps to take to correct the violation, or can refer you to the people within the Jeffco Planning & Zoning division that will best be able to assist you.
So what exactly is a zoning violation and why did you receive one in the mail? The Jefferson County Zoning Resolution is a permissive document, which means the various zone districts describe what uses are allowed, but does not tell you what isn't allowed. One of the zoning violations that is most frequently issued is for an inoperable/unlicensed vehicle being stored on residential property. As an example of the permissive nature of the Zoning Resolution, only heavy industrial zone districts allow the storage of inoperable/unlicensed vehicles, residential zone districts do not.
I received a zoning violation, and there is no way I can correct the violation in 10 days.
That is exactly why it is so important to contact the inspector as soon as you receive the notice. By contacting the inspector you may well be able to make arrangements to have more time to correct the violation, and can possibly avoid the fines that can be assessed if the zoning violation is taken to county or district court.
Do county inspectors just drive around looking for violations?
No, they do not. The zoning violation program is a complaint-based system, unless an inspector witnesses a situation that poses an imminent threat to public safety. Planning & Zoning staff accept complaints of alleged violations via telephone at 303-271-8725, via the internet or in person at our counter. We do not accept anonymous complaints, and we collect the information from the caller should the inspector require additional information about the complaint. Although the information is collected, it is not shared with anyone and knowing "who" made the complaint doesn't aid in correcting the violation.
Why is there a zoning violation program anyway?
The intent and purpose of the Zoning Resolution is to promote public health, safety and welfare. By having a zoning enforcement program, we are meeting the purpose of Zoning Resolution by protecting property values and ensuring that all residents have the opportunity to enjoy a healthy and happy community.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from June 25 until July 14
Have you heard of the term “personal branding” and wondered, “what is this?”
Personal branding is creating a specific image for yourself as an employee or job candidate through items such as your resume, your social media pages and your personal interactions. The goal of personal branding is to differentiate yourself from others in the skills and talents you have to offer.
How do I build a personal brand?
• First, focus on your talents and strengths.
• Second, know your mission and vision – what it is you are doing now and what you want to do in the future.
• Next, incorporate your values into your personal brand.
• Finally, develop a statement that describes your personal brand and use this throughout all of the arenas where you are marketing yourself as a potential candidate.
When searching for a job, thinking about the process as a marketing campaign will ensure you set yourself apart through your personal brand!
by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from June 23 until July 12
Major tobacco companies, including the makers of Marlboro, Camel and Newport cigarettes, have a long history of marketing to youth and are now selling nicotine vaporizers in Colorado. Vaporizers, also called e-cigarettes or hookah pens, appeal to youth because of colorful or trendy high-tech packaging and kid-friendly content flavors such as strawberry, chocolate and menthol. Glamorized in advertisements and used by celebrities, e-cigarettes are often promoted as a means of expressing independence and rebellion.
Given the intensive marketing of e-cigarettes, it is hardly surprising that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported this fall that the number of middle and high school youth who had tried an e-cigarette doubled from 2011 to 2012. While the aerosol emitted doesn’t smell like a burning cigarette, the liquid used in vaporizers often contains nicotine, the same poisonous and highly addictive substance found in conventional cigarettes, in addition to other poisonous or cancer-causing chemicals.
This liquid, found in disposable e-cigarettes and as replacement cartridges or “e-juice” for reusable vaporizers, poses an added danger. The high concentration of nicotine can be deadly, especially for young children, and exposure to e-cigarette liquid has led to a dramatic rise in the number of calls to poison control centers.
Despite being illegal for youth to buy, the use of e-cigarettes, hookah pens and other vaporizers is on the rise. Vaporizers are advertised and sold at stores where youth shop, and youth are purchasing them online by claiming to be older when asked for age verification. According to a March 2014 report in JAMA Pediatrics, youth who reported using e-cigarettes are more likely to also smoke regular cigarettes, smoke heavily, and have less success with quitting, even though they are often touted as tools to help cut down on smoking.
Another concern is that vaporizers can be bought or modified to “vape” marijuana, which is illegal for youth under the age of 21. Manufacturers are promoting their ability to hide the odor and deliver high potency marijuana.
For more information, or to get involved in local prevention and policy efforts that promote tobacco-free living, visit www.tobaccofreejeffco.com/vaporizers.html, email email@example.com, or call 303-275-7555.
by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from June 10 until June 30
World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is June 15. This year’s theme is One person. One action. One Nation. United against elder abuse.
Did you know that every day 10,000 people turn 65 in the U.S. alone? That trend is going to continue for the next 20 years. Our demographics are shifting, and we will soon have more elder people in the U.S. than ever before. In Colorado, persons age 70 and over will increase by 143 percent by 2032. At the same time the population is growing, we know that a startling number of elders face abusive conditions. Every year an estimated 5 million, or 1 in 10, older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, or exploitation. And that’s only part of the picture: Experts believe that for every case of elder abuse or neglect reported, as many as 23.5 cases go unreported.
Colorado recently passed Senate Bill 111 and beginning July 1, 2014, certain professionals are required by law to report abuse, caretaker neglect and exploitation of at-risk elders. An at-risk elder is any person age 70 and older and reports must be made to law enforcement within 24 hours. Professionals include medical and mental health professionals, social workers, law enforcement, court appointed guardians and conservators, fire protection, pharmacists, bank personnel, care facility personnel, clergy, and more. This will ensure more people are watching for signs of abuse and neglect.
Elder Abuse Awareness Day serves as a call-to-action for individuals, organizations and communities to raise awareness about abuse, neglect and exploitation of elders. The International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse and the World Health Organization at the United Nations (UN) launched the first World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, 2006, in an effort to unite communities around the world in raising awareness about elder abuse. World Elder Abuse Awareness Day is in support of the UN’s International Plan of Action acknowledging the significance of elder abuse as a public health and human rights issue.
If you suspect elder abuse, please contact the Jefferson County Adult Protection HOTLINE at 303-271-4673. For more information about this topic, visit the Adult Protection website or contact Rena Kuberski at 303-271-4251.
If you'd like more information on this topic there are additional resources:
Colorado Department of Human Services Adult Protection
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration on Aging.
by Alicia Doran, Jefferson County Open Space
comments open from June 5 until June 19
Jefferson County has a rich agricultural history starting in the 1800's when hay and cattle ranching became a way of life. In the 20th century, vegetable and greenhouse crops were grown until much of the land was developed for other uses. Open Space owns a number of properties that had been used for agriculture by previous owners. We have tried to embrace the historical use of those properties when developing the vision for the parks.
While sensitive to the economics of agriculture, our goal is to preserve and enhance the natural resource values of our land. We try to balance agricultural use with recreational and wildlife needs.
Natural Resource Benefits
Grasslands represent a significant ecological type that supports many natural systems. Our grasslands historically have been grazed by wildlife and historically experienced fire events every 10 to 30 years. Removing vegetation by haying or grazing mimics those natural processes and allows grasslands to remain healthy.
How We Do It
Agricultural Licenses - We issue Agricultural Licenses for hay harvesting and grazing. The licensee must go through a bid process. The length of the license will vary and may be adjusted to meet current production and environmental conditions. If interested in upcoming bids, please email Alicia Doran at adoran-AT-jeffco-DOT-us.
Grazing - We have worked with NRCS to develop grazing plans for a number of sites. The plans provide a guide for stocking rates and timing. Our goal is to time the grazing so it has a positive effect on the vegetation, has little impact to wildlife, and has minimal effect to recreational uses of the property.
Haying - We allow one harvest per year and require that stubble be left. This helps prevent soil erosion, helps the plants stay healthy, and helps the site to hold moisture. We evaluate the benefit of harvesting each year. There may be some years that we would not let the licensee harvest if production or environmental conditions were unfavorable.
We strive to manage our resources so that they will remain productive for both agriculture and natural resources. One benefit of our sustainable practices is the prevention of topsoil loss. If topsoil is lost, the grassland produces less biomass, species diversity is reduced, and non-native invasive plants may become established. Topsoil loss contributes to erosion that may cause silting. Silting affects water quality which negatively impacts aquatic plants, animals and invertebrates.
Agriculture in Jefferson County has always been limited by the availability of water. Open Space has limited seasonal water resources at some locations but the majority of our sites do not have developed agricultural water supplies.
Other Agricultural Uses
With the increased interest in urban farming, we may develop future agricultural opportunities. Water availability is our main limiting factor.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from May 22 until June 10
Many of us work in an office setting where we may be sitting for a long time. However, there are a few simple things you can do during your workday to increase the amount of steps and exercise you get.
1. Park farther away from your building requiring that you walk additional steps just to get into the office.
2. Take the stairs to your work area instead of the elevator.
3. Have a walking meeting with a coworker; instead of sitting at a table – go for a walk!
4. Use the restrooms that are farthest from your office to add more steps into your breaks.
5. For lunch, try to walk to a different location to purchase or eat your meal.
6. And don’t forget the weekends! Try to increase steps while running errands by parking farther away in parking lots, walking instead of driving (where possible), and going out of your way to increase how much you walk around your home.
These are easy ways to increase your daily steps that once incorporated into your routine, become a daily habit!
by Nancy Braden, Jefferson County Public Health Communications Manager
comments open from May 20 until June 9
Access to Healthy Food Makes a Big Difference
Submitted by Erika Jerme, JCPH Planner
Health is more than health care. How healthy we are, and whether or not we will get sick, is shaped by the houses and neighborhoods we live in, the schools and worksites we spend our days in, and the communities in which we play and age.
One way these places shape our health is through our access to healthy food. Think about where you go to get your groceries. How do you get there? How long does it take you to get there? How do you get your groceries home? If you have a car, these questions probably aren’t that big a deal. But imagine if you didn’t have a car: how would that change your experience of buying groceries? Would you still be able to shop at the same store, or would you have to shop somewhere closer to home, even if that meant the selection or prices were not as good?
Many neighborhoods in the US don’t have grocery stores within a half-mile radius, a reasonable distance to walk with a couple bags of groceries. The US Department of Agriculture has a name for these neighborhoods: food deserts. Across the US, low-income neighborhoods have 25 percent fewer supermarkets than do middle-income neighborhoods, while predominately African-American neighborhoods on average have half the number of supermarkets found in predominately white neighborhoods.[i] Although low-income neighborhoods may have smaller food stores, fresh fruits and vegetables generally cost more, are of lower quality, and are less available at small stores than at supermarkets or large grocery stores.[ii]
What do these food deserts mean for health? We know that eating a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables is important for healthy living. People who live near supermarkets or other food stores that sell fresh produce eat more fresh fruits and vegetables and have lower rates of chronic diseases than people with limited access to healthy food.[iii] Moreover, as the price of fresh fruits and vegetables rises, consumption of these healthy foods decreases.[iv] For someone who doesn’t drive or doesn’t own a car, getting to a store that sells affordable, fresh fruits and vegetables can be very difficult.
Here in Colorado, people are taking action to make sure everyone has access to healthy food, regardless of what neighborhood they live in. For example, the Colorado Fresh Food Financing Fund can support a wide range of activities that improve access to healthy food retail. Some examples include: business start-up and expansion costs; opening a new store; keeping a store open under new ownership; new or upgraded equipment and displays; land assembly; and developing an innovative business concept. See the program overview document, detailed program guidelines document with eligibility criteria, or the pre-application form.
Just down the street from Jefferson County Public Health in Lakewood’s Two Creeks neighborhood, Sprout City Farms has broken ground on a brand new urban community farm at Montair Park. Mountair Park is located at 14th & Depew St., and approximately 1.25 acres will be converted to farm. This farm will bring much-needed fresh produce to the neighborhood. And many Jeffco neighborhoods have community gardens where people can grow their own food, even if they don’t have a yard.
To get involved in increasing healthy food access in your neighborhood, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
 Powell, LM, Slater, S, Mirtcheva, D, Bao, Y, & Chaloupka, FJ (2007). Food store availability and neighborhood characteristics in the United States. Preventive Medicine, 44, 189–195.
2 Odoms-Young, AM, Zenk, SN, Karpyn, A, Xochitl Ayala, G & Gittelsohn, J (2012). Obesity and the Food Environment Among Minority Groups. Current Obesity Reports, 1(3), 141-151.
3 PolicyLink & The Food Trust (2010). The Grocery Gap: Who Has Access to Healthy Food and Why it Matters.
4Odoms-Young, AM, Zenk, SN, Karpyn, A, Xochitl Ayala, G & Gittelsohn, J (2012). Obesity and the Food Environment Among Minority Groups. Current Obesity Reports, 1(3), 141-151.
by Kevin French, Transportation and Engineering Director
comments open from May 14 until June 2
What is traffic calming?
Traffic calming is a method of reducing traffic speeds and improving safety through the use of engineering measures to change driver behavior. These measures include roadway narrowing, changes in street alignment, and other physical measures such as refuge islands, speed humps, and raised crosswalks.
Traffic Calming in Jefferson County
The Transportation and Engineering Division utilizes traffic calming measures, where appropriate, to reduce vehicles speeds in residential areas, discourage cut-through traffic, and improve safety. The following devices are used in Jefferson County:
• Speed Bumps: Speed bumps, also called speed humps, are rounded traffic calming devices that use vertical deflection to reduce vehicle speeds on residential streets. The county’s speed bumps are 12 feet long, 3 inches tall, and span the width of the roadway. Speed bumps are installed in accordance with the county speed bump policy. Speed bumps are no longer installed in the mountain areas.
Examples: 10th Avenue, Carr Street
• Speed Tables: Speed tables are similar to speed bumps but are flat on top instead of rounded. When a speed table has a marked crosswalk on top, it is also called a raised crosswalk. Speed tables reduce vehicle speeds and improve pedestrian safety.
Example: Continental Divide Road
• Pedestrian Refuge Islands: Pedestrian refuge islands are raised islands located in the median area of a roadway with a gap to allow pedestrians to walk through. These islands provide a narrowing effect and improve pedestrian safety.
Example: Pierce Street south of Ken Caryl Avenue
• Roundabouts: Roundabouts are circular intersections that require traffic to travel counter-clockwise around a center island and are used on higher volume streets. Roundabouts can moderate traffic speeds and enhance safety.
Example: Belleview Avenue/Quincy Avenue intersection
Did you know?
All-way stop signs are not considered a traffic calming device. While many citizens request all-way stop signs in their neighborhood to slow cars down, unwarranted all-way stop signs can make an intersection less safe. Drivers on the major street will often begin to roll through or completely ignore the stop signs once they realize there is little cross-traffic. Those drivers who do stop may speed up after the stop to make up for lost time.
For more information about traffic calming in Jefferson County, contact the Transportation and Engineering Division at 303-271-8495.
by Cynthia Shaw, Boettcher Mansion Director
comments open from April 23 until May 12
Have you ever wondered how to hammer copper, spin wool, turn wood or make a gouache print? You can find out at the Colorado Arts and Crafts Society’s 5th annual “Gathering of the Guilds,” which celebrats local artisans and their handcrafted works. The event is just around the corner, on Sunday, April 27, from 9 AM - 4 PM at the historic Boettcher Mansion atop Lookout Mountain in Golden.
This unusual event, sponsored by the Boettcher Mansion and the Colorado Arts and Crafts Society (CACS), will highlight more than 25 vendors and provide attendees with a rare opportunity to meet and learn from a variety of passionate and talented folks. In addition to ongoing demonstrations on ceramics, metals, printing, weaving and woodworking (to name just a few of the trades that will be represented), many one-of-a-kind items will be available for sale.
Remember, Mother’s Day is exactly two weeks after this event, so be sure to shop the wares! Refreshments will also be available for purchase on site. General admission is $5 per person. CACS and participating guild members can participate free of charge. For more information, visit the CACS website or call Cynthia Shaw at 720-497-7632.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from April 9 until April 28
Many of us may be embarking on spring cleaning in our homes and yards. But you should also take this time to clean out your office space. Why? Having an organized and tidy office area can increase your productivity, allow for enhanced time management and greatly improve your attitude. Here are a few areas to focus on:
• Try to store as much as you can on your computer verses in a paper format.
• Recycle or get rid of items you no longer need.
• Clean out drawers and cabinets -- especially looking for items that you no longer use or things that no longer work.
• Organize both your paper files and your computer files so you can find what you need easily.
• Try to maximize space on your desk with only the items you use frequently.
• Ensure you have a good “In and Out” system with a goal of only “touching” most items one time.
• Make sure electronic cords and cables are bundled and out of your way.
• Make sure your desk area is set up ergonomically to ensure you don’t create unnecessary strain on your body.
Working in a clean and organized office space is a great way to start of your spring while boosting your attitude toward managing daily tasks.
by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from April 7 until April 26
Human trafficking is a 32 billion-dollar-a-year industry. It is the fastest growing crime, now second only to drug trade and it is happening here, in our community, in Jefferson County.
The Jefferson County Department of Human Services, through the Children and Youth Leadership Commission, has formed a network of collaboration with law enforcement, public safety, health care providers and the Jefferson County Public Health Department, legislators, educators, mental health professionals, and community outreach agencies as a coalition to best serve victims of human trafficking. U.S. Department of Justice reports that between 2008-2010, 83 percent of sex trafficking victims found within the United States have been involved at one time with the child welfare system, specifically foster care.
Human Services, including child and family services, are working to increase victim safety, support victims in protecting themselves and their children, identify and create appropriate referral options for each victim, and standardize procedures and resources for screening victims.
This year, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners, issued a proclamation declaring zero tolerance for human trafficking in Jefferson County. All Colorado counties are now challenged to proclaim the same commitment to putting an end to human trafficking in the state of Colorado.
This is not an issue that can be solved by any one agency; it takes partnership and multiple resources to solve. You can do your part - if you suspect human trafficking, contact our Child Protection Hotline at 303-271-HELP (4357) and/or the Colorado Network to End Human Trafficking (CoNEHT) at 1-866-455-5075, toll-free, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from April 2 until April 21
An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is an additional dwelling that can either be added to an existing single family detached dwelling, or built as a separate accessory structure on the same lot as the primary dwelling. These types of structures are often called “granny cottages.” To be considered an ADU, the unit has provisions for an independent kitchen, and must be clearly subordinate to the main dwelling.
Currently, to qualify for an ADU, a property owner must prove at a Board of Adjustment hearing that the ADU will only be occupied by a family member, the property is a minimum of one acre, and adequate water and sanitation is provided. Currently, Planning and Zoning is processing updates to the Zoning Resolution in order to allow for a broader range of Accessory Dwelling Unit users. With a demographic shift in society, we need to look ahead in order to accommodate those who might have aging parents, other family members, caretakers or renters wanting or needing to live on the same property.
The three major changes proposed are as follows:
Process: The process is proposed to be changed from a Board of Adjustment hearing to an administrative process where the decision is rendered based on specific criteria.
Occupant: The requirement that the ADU be occupied by a family member is proposed to be removed and replaced by a requirement that one of the units must be occupied by the property owner. The other unit could be occupied by a family member, a caretaker, a nanny or a renter.
Lot and Unit size: The minimum lot size has been reduced, but the maximum unit size is also reduced on a tiered scale; so as lot size is reduced, so is the size of the ADU.
Valid proof of water and sanitation will still be required.
The intent of these regulation changes is not to double the density allowed in an area, or to allow the ADU to be sold off as an independent unit. The intent is to create more housing options for Jefferson County citizens. This would allow some citizens to age in place by having a second unit for perhaps a caretaker or grown children.
Draft regulations will be placed on the Planning and Zoning website in the near future. The draft regulations will be presented to the Planning Commission and the Board of County Commissioners for consideration in late August 2014.
Planning and Zoning Staff will kick off the regulation amendment process with the upcoming public meetings:
Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Lookout Mountain Room
Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility
100 Jefferson Parkway
Wednesday, April 30, 2014
Evergreen Fire Protection District
1802 Bergen Parkway
by Scott Gales, Jefferson County Fairgrounds Director
comments open from March 26 until April 14
Spectacular acrobatics and aerial work plus giant Belgian draft horses make up an extraordinary equestrian show titled “Gladius The Show.” This show is now performing each Friday, Saturday and Sunday through April 20 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds in Golden.
”Gladius The Show” was created by Erik Martonovich, national and international equestrian vaulting champion who grew up in Golden. Martonovich was a featured performer in the Cirque du Soleil equestrian show, “Cavalia.” The 14 performers in “Gladius The Show” hold 24 national titles in two countries. The 20 horses that are part of the show include Belgians, Andalusians, Percherons, Palominos, Paints and one miniature.
Additional show information and tickets can be found at www.gladiustheshow.com. General Admission tickets start at just $15 for children, 12 and under, and $26 for adults. VIP and Xiphos Passes are also available.
If you haven’t visited the Jefferson County Fairgrounds, this is the perfect opportunity to see amazing entertainment for the whole family and check out our event facilities. We’re located at 15200 W. 6th Avenue, in Golden. Exit 6th Avenue at Indiana and take the south frontage road to our complex.
by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from March 5 until March 24
Did you know that Jefferson County has the largest number of adults age 60 and over in Colorado, and that number is expected to double by the year 2030? Six years ago, Jefferson County’s Strategic Plan for Aging Well was created and I am excited to see the community joining together to support this initiative.
Last summer, Jefferson County’s Aging Well Project held its 4th Annual Summit. Over 175 participants from all different aspects of aging attended the Summit from caregivers to businesses, to faith based people and elected officials, transportation and housing experts, financial and medical professionals. The Summit was a call to action to unite and create communities that are senior friendly including funding for assisted transportation, greater options in senior housing, greater awareness of care giving issues amongst businesses, a more structured approach to volunteerism as well as many more topics. Read more about the summit in the '2013 Aging Well Summit Results' from the various breakout groups.
A Summit will not be held this year in order to give members of the community time to implement some of their ideas that they pledged at the Summit. Instead, a spring meeting is being planned for elected officials, community representatives, and economic advisory persons to discuss the economic benefits and implications resulting from the aging population and what steps government and others may want to consider when addressing opportunities and challenges associated with this population growth.
We are inviting everyone in our community to get involved. There are many opportunities to volunteer. Up and coming projects include creating a series of pre-retirement workshops, educating employers on better understanding their caregiving employees, and encouraging neighborhood restaurants to cater more to the senior crowd.
This work is elevating the conversation around seniors and our community is starting to take notice. We all need to embrace the knowledge, skills and abilities seniors bring to their communities. This will lead to better collaboration and resources in the coming decade as the number of seniors continue to grow at exponential rates.
To get involved with the Aging Well Project, contact Susan Franklin, Project Manager at Jefferson County Human Services, at email@example.com or 303-271-4051.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from March 4 until March 23
Now more than ever, the workplace can be stressful as technology is constantly changing and business practices are ever evolving. Alleviating stress as much as possible is an important factor in alsodo know that we can control how we manage change as it occurs.
Here are a few coping strategies for managing change:
• Manage your reaction to changes and events.
• Have a support system.
• Set realistic goals and timelines.
• Engage in stress relieving activities, such as engaging in exercise or hobbies.
• Focus on what is in your control.
• Be realistic about your fears: “What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
• Increase your opportunities for laughter and fun!
Practicing these strategies is another avenue toward enhancing your health and wellness in the workplace.
by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from February 20 until March 11
To prevent property damage, repair bills, and the inconvenience of bursting household pipes the following tips can help prepare for winter cold.
Before cold weather hits:
Know the location of your water shut-off switch and regularly test it. If the worst happens and a pipe breaks, you won't want to wait for someone to arrive at your home to find it for you. In most single-family dwellings, the shut-off valve is in the basement or crawlspace on a wall facing the street.
Turn off and drain automatic and manual sprinkler systems before first freeze. If not properly drained the freezing and thawing cycle can create cracks and weak spots in the sprinkler system, triggering silent underground leaks or mini-geysers.
Make sure the faucet and outside piping is fully drained. Turn off outdoor faucets and be sure to disconnect hoses. A valve inside many houses will shut off the water flow.
Insulate water pipes that may be vulnerable to the cold or have caused problems before. Pipes close to exterior walls or in unheated basements can be wrapped with pieces of insulation. Don't overlook pipes near windows, which can quickly freeze. For particularly difficult pipes, consult a professional on how to select and apply heat tape, improper use can cause fires.
During a deep freeze (-5 degrees and below):
• Keep cabinet doors leading to exposed pipes open so that household air can warm them. The natural flow of warmer air will help combat problems.
• Keep attached garage doors shut. Occasionally, plumbing is routed there, leaving it vulnerable to winter's worst.
• Crack a faucet farthest from the place where your water enters the house. A very slow drip will keep water molecules moving, reducing the chance that pipes will freeze. Don't forget to place a bucket underneath the faucet so the water can be saved for other household uses.
• Keep your thermostat set above 65 degrees when leaving your house or business for several days.
by Public Information
comments open from February 19 until March 10
Have you ever wandered down a trail in your favorite Jeffco Open Space Park and wondered what those beautiful wildflowers were? Participants in the Native Plant Master® Program are learning not only the names but also the friends, foes and lifestyles of Colorado wildflowers, trees and shrubs in Native Plant Master® courses offered by Colorado State University Extension, a division of Jeffco Parks. Native Plant Master courses are held in “outdoor classrooms” along trails in various Jefferson County Open Space and other nearby parks.
Participants are also delving deeper into unique topics about Colorado plants by taking a Native Plant Master special class. These classes include introduction to Colorado native plants, plant families, native plant landscaping, plant sketching, basic botany and exploring herbicides for controlling invasive weeds. A webinar on rare plants of Colorado is also offered. NPM courses and classes are taught by CSU faculty, NPM Trainers and other experts.
Participants have very positive reviews of the program. One participant said, “It is the best educational experience I have had through my local Extension office. It is outside, hands-on, taught by passionate, intelligent people, and has real world applications.”
The Native Plant Master (NPM) Program has been growing in response to public demand. This year a total of 24 NPM courses and classes are being offered by Jeffco NPM. The program has grown beyond Jeffco to now cover 12 counties statewide.
Impacts beyond the program have been significant. More than 15,000 citizens are educated each year about native plants. There are 594 volunteer certified Native Plant Masters who educate others as part of their volunteer role. New this year, a Colorado Flora Certificate is offered to anyone completing three courses, without a volunteer commitment.
Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the Native Plant Master Program is that people save money by implementing what they learn in Native Plant Master courses. Last year, participants reported that they saved a combined total of $157,398 by taking actions they learned about in the program including planting sustainable landscapes and controlling invasive weeds. More than 444,000 acres were affected by these activities.
Sustainable landscapes featuring native plants use fewer inputs such as water, fertilizer, pesticides and maintenance. As a bonus, such areas provide food and shelter for wildlife and help preserve Colorado’s biological diversity. Non-native weeds threaten land productivity as well as Colorado’s wealth of natural beauty and native wildlife.
People really do change what they do as a result of the program. It’s a win-win situation for them and for Colorado. One Native Plant Master participant stated, “In my private landscape design/build business, I have incorporated more native plants and communicated to my clients their unique benefits.” Another stated, “The knowledge has been extremely useful in my contact with the community in leading tours in natural areas. People are very interested in controlling and understanding the alien plants in the area.”
If you’re interested in taking a NPM course or class, register early as many offerings have wait lists later in the season. For more details on offerings or to register, see our eventbright registration site. You can also visit the Native Plant Master program’s unique database of research-based information on more than 1,000 Colorado plants at http://coloradoplants.jeffco.us.
Learn more about the Native Plant Master program at www.nativeplantmaster.org or contact the CSU Extension office in Jefferson County at firstname.lastname@example.org, 303-271-6620. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer who educates others, see the Volunteer Application on the NPM website.
by Jeffco Public Information
comments open from January 29 until February 17
Each year the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) appoints members of the community to volunteer boards and commissions. These boards are pivotal to the county's operations. They provide valuable feedback to the BCC on issues that range from planning and zoning cases to how grant funds should be allocated. The boards and commissions even make decisions and adopt policies on behalf of the commissioners.
If you think that this is something you would like to do, then the county needs you. There are some vacancies throughout the year, but the majority of terms expire soon and we are taking applications now through Feb. 14, 2014.
Take a look at the Volunteer Board Vacancies page for more information on the boards with upcoming vacancies and how you can apply.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from January 28 until February 16
One thing we often forget to do at the beginning of the New Year is to spend some time focusing on professional goals. Here is a checklist of things to do:
1. Make a list of the career goals you want to work toward.
2. Challenge yourself to improve your performance in your current role. Perhaps taking on a new project or cross training to learn a new skill would add some inspiration to your daily routine.
3. Think about your educational goals and how additional courses or training may augment your career plans. Now is also a great time to explore degree opportunities with the local colleges and universities.
4. Update your resume and your professional social media sites. You never know when a new opportunity may come up!
5. Consider a new networking opportunity such as joining a professional association.
These easy steps will chart your path for 2014. Be sure to check out jeffco.us/jobs for job opportunities with Jefferson County!
by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from November 20 until December 9
We are well into severe weather season for Jefferson County’s homeless and many of the providers who try to keep them warm and safe. Severe weather is defined as when the temperature is below 32 degrees and wet or below 20 degrees and dry. Last year, on a very cold night in January, 1,435 people were counted as homeless in Jefferson County; 72 percent of those households were families with children (2012 Point in Time count, Metro Denver Homeless Initiative, MDHI). Homeless residents end up sleeping in cars, living on the street or staying in shelters when they are available. Other options for the homeless are limited.
The Severe Weather Network, a program of Plan to End Homelessness in Jefferson County, is a collaboration of non-profits, churches, government organizations and others, finding more options for homeless residents. Finding the financial resources for cold weather shelters are often challenging. However, thanks to the faith community, three churches have recently opened their doors through April 30, 2014, with many more congregations providing supportive services and financial help. We are sincerely appreciative for all of their efforts.
The Plan to End Homelessness in Jefferson County was created by Heading Home, a collaboration of individuals and public service organizations from the community determined to end homelessness in Jefferson County, and endorsed by the Jefferson County Child and Youth Leadership Commission in April of 2013. Jefferson County has had, and continues to have, one of the larger homeless populations of the suburban areas surrounding Denver. The Plan shifts our paradigm from one that reacts to homelessness to one that prevents and ends homelessness.
Communities with plans have seen significant savings in the areas of public systems including reduced use of emergency medical systems, homeless shelters, correctional facilities and acute psychiatric services. The community is invited to join this partnership to end homelessness. Contact Heading Home c/o Linda Barringer (email@example.com) or 303-467-2604.
by Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Director
comments open from January 8 until January 27
The Rocky Mountain Metro Airport is a part of Jefferson County and located in Broomfield. Every year the Colorado Department of Transportation Aeronautics Division conducts a statewide economic impact study. The study includes Rocky Mountain Metro Airport’s impact from on-airport activities (administration, operations and maintenance, and activities of airport tenants that provide aviation services or support airport customers), off-airport spending (by visitors that arrive in Colorado through Rocky Mountain Metro Airport) and various other impacts such as annual taxes.
The annual economic benefit includes the “multiplier effect” which captures the recycling of initial economic impacts in the economy, and spending associated with the airports operators, tenants, capital investment, air visitors, and non-aviation businesses that rely on cargo, support of additional jobs, and payroll and economic activity.
Below you can find the impacts:
Annual Tax Impacts of the Rocky Mountain Metro Airport
Local and State taxes linked to the operation of the airport total $12.7 Million.
The Rocky Mountain Metro economic contribution to the communities it serves is $460.5 Million in output and 2,670 jobs with an annual payroll of $153.9 Million.
If you would like more information about the 2013 Economic Impact of Rocky Mountain Metro Airport, please visit the CDOT Economic Impact Study page for RMMA.
If you would like more information about the 2013 economic impact of Colorado Airports, please visit the CDOT Economic Impact Study of Colorado Airports webpage.
by Jacki Paone, Jeffco's CSU Extension Director
comments open from January 6 until January 25
Consider 2014 to be the year you get involved in 4-H as a mentor to area youth. In collaboration with three area elementary schools, Jefferson County CSU Extension is recruiting mentors to participate in afterschool programs that will teach life skills, encourage creativity in youngsters as well as enhance the personal development of the mentors.
Schools where the 4-H “Youth and Families with Promise” program will be employed are Pleasant View Elementary in Golden; Molholm Elementary in Lakewood; and Parr Elementary in the Arvada/Westminster area. Twenty students will be participating from each school and pairing one mentor to each child is ideal.
By committing one hour a week to meet with youth ages 8-13 in an after school setting, you will open doors to interests in science, technology, engineering and math, as well as help them develop life skills such as self-esteem, responsibility, problem solving, cooperation, sharing and teamwork. Modeled as a 4-H club, your leadership at meetings will include club business once a month and project work at the remaining meetings. The first projects that the youth will work on involve robotics and rocketry. Projects thereafter will be shaped by 4-H curriculum based on the youth’s interests and suggestions. Training will be provided for the projects the youth are interested in.
Mentor candidates must be at least 19 years of age, may apply online and will be subject to a background check and interview. Consider partnering with a family member or colleague to share the experience and bring more value to the interaction with these youth. Initial training prior to leading the afterschool activities will be provided as well as follow-up training offered throughout the year. Scheduled to begin January 14, applications will be taken until the mentor positions are filled.
Being a mentor changes lives.
COLLEGE STUDENTS: Putting academics into practice, college level teaching candidates get valuable experience. Students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math programs may find fulfillment in sharing their interest in these areas with young people. Additionally, volunteer activities, particularly with youth, are attractive to future employers.
TEACHERS: Build upon the relationships you have established with students and enrich their learning experiences by providing quality time under the 4-H program umbrella. Retired teachers also bring unmatched experience into the learning environment and make wonderful mentors.
PROFESSIONALS: Workplaces that encourage volunteer activity by their employees will see great value in allowing time away from business as a contribution to the future of our community. In tandem with the personal satisfaction of the employee in giving to others, mentorship from professionals helps youth dream about their future careers.
NEIGHBORS and PARENTS: Schools are a hub of activity in neighborhoods. Become a mentor at one of the participating schools and be more aware of activities, programs and events happening at the school. Connect with others in your neighborhood and build relationships with youth that may struggle in school and need adult support.
Apply today on the 4-H section of the CSU website. For additional information, contact Barbie Garnett or Claire Dixon at Jefferson County’s CSU Extension office, 303-271-6620.
Parr Elementary, 5800 West 84th Avenue, Arvada, CO
Pleasant View Elementary, 15920 West 10th Avenue, Golden, CO
Molholm Elementary, 6000 West 9th Avenue, Lakewood, CO
Jefferson County CSU Extension empowers county citizens and enhances their quality of life through education, innovation and excellence in service. 4-H is a national youth development program that has been in existence for more than 100 years. The primary goal of 4-H is to assist youth in developing life skills that help them live productive and satisfying lives.
by Mark Danner, Facilities and Construction Management Director
comments open from December 18 until January 6
Jefferson County has experienced many wildfires over the last several years. Unfortunately lives have been lost and property destroyed. In an effort to minimize these natural and human error caused fires, the Jefferson County Sheriff's Office has managed a Slash Collection Program for over two decades. County residents have taken advantage of several slash collection sites per year through this program.
In an effort to significantly increase the amount of forest slash collected and processed, Jefferson County will soon be releasing an open RFP to solicit proposals from commercial industry. We will be looking for creative ideas such as curtain burning, mulching, composting, generating bio-mass energy generation, using biochar, etc.
Proposals will include requested information for potential slash collection site identification, processing methods and possible collaboration with the existing Jefferson County Sheriff's Office slash collection program. Jefferson County will collect all RFP responses and determine which proposals if any, are acceptable to the county.
Follow our website (jeffco.us), industry publications, social media feeds, etc. for the actual release date and details of this RFP.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from December 10 until December 29
Here at Jeffco many of our employees are again participating in our annual 'Hold the Holidays' event. This event is a TEAM weight maintenance challenge designed to keep teammates from packing on the pounds during the holiday season. Teams will choose a “captain” and consist of 2-8 members.
By participating, teammates help keep each other accountable and motivated to make healthy choices during the season. This enables everyone to enjoy the holidays without having to lose weight after they are over!
This is an easy program to implement in your own workplace or even with your family. You will be less stressed, more rested and more active during the holiday season, all of which will make your season brighter.
Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from November 21 until December 10
When the weather becomes snowy and icy, there are several things motorists should do to be safe.
1. It is incumbent on motorists to not overdrive the road conditions.
2. Motorists should ensure that their vehicles are roadworthy for adverse road conditions, have good snow tires and are in good operating condition mechanically.
3. Check weather and/or road conditions before venturing out.
4. It's always a good idea to let someone know where you are going, what route you plan to take and your expected arrival time. A follow-up phone call to make sure you made it to your destination is usually appreciated.
• As a backup, if you do not arrive, law enforcement has a route to start looking.
It's also good to equip your car with the following items:
• Flashlight with extra batteries
• Flares or reflective triangles
• Jumper cables
• Cell phone with extra batteries
• General First Aid kit
• Rags or paper towels
• Gallon jug of water
• Non-perishable food items
• Blanket and extra set of clothes
• Winter formula window washer solvent
• Non-clumping kitty litter
• Ice-scraper, snow brush and snow shovel
• Tire chains
• Extra car fuses
See the CDOT Winter Driving web page for additional winter driving information. Thanks to Captain Manwaring from the JCSO for contributing to this article.
You Can Help Jefferson County Families in Need Through The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program
Holidays are a special time of year, especially for children. But the holidays can be hard for many people for many different reasons. Jefferson County Human Services is looking for generous donors to join in making the 2013 holiday season a little brighter for some of our families in need.
The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program serves children and families who are dealing with issues of child abuse and neglect and may not receive any gifts this holiday season. There are still over 100 families are in need. The deadline to sign up is November 27 and gift drop off takes place December 2 - December 4.
There are two ways you can help:
• Sign up using the online form to sponsor a child or family
• Donate items especially needed at this time: gifts for teens, non-perishable food items, diapers, and children's books.
The Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program matches community members and businesses with children and families that are involved in the child welfare program at Jefferson County Human Services. Each individual is asked to provide needs and a wish list. Even though a child may need winter boots, he/she may also desire the latest toy or gadget. It is up to the giver what they wish to buy.
The program is also accepting any general toys and gifts, especially gifts and gift cards for teens, as there are many children and families that won’t be matched with a donor. Simply fill out the Holiday Program Donor Form and an email will be sent with further instructions and a list of requested items. You may bring gifts wrapped, but please label them CLEARLY with the family members name and family number.
General gift donations, food and diapers will be accepted until December 20.
Gift drop off will take place December 2 - December 4 from 8am - 5pm at the Jefferson County Human Services Building Cafeteria, located at 900 Jefferson County Pkwy Golden, CO 80401 near the north building entrance. There will be assistance in unloading your vehicle if needed. Donors are welcome to join in the cafeteria for refreshments during gift drop off week.
For more information and to see a list of frequently asked questions, visit our web page or contact the program coordinator.
by Tom Hoby, CPRP, Open Space/Jeffco Parks Director
comments open from November 13 until December 3
The September storms that swept across the front range not only damaged homes, property and roads. The historic flooding also caused severe trail damage and the subsequent closure of several trails, and two Jeffco Open Space Parks in their entirety. As extensive repair work has taken place and volunteer efforts have aided in the recovery, only one park (Apex Park) will remain closed into 2014. Additionally, specific trail segments will remain closed at White Ranch Park, North Table Mountain Park and Alderfer Three Sisters Park into 2014.
There’s good news, too. Damage has been repaired at Matthews Winters, Mount Galbraith, South Valley Parks and popular Lair o’ the Bear Park along Bear Creek was reopened on November 9 after extensive work to reroute and rebuild trails and picnic area were completed through staff diligence and volunteer support. One pedestrian bridge deemed unsafe will need to be repaired and the remainder of the Park is available for visitors to enjoy.
To learn more about the status of flood recovery efforts by Jeffco Open Space, please attend a public information meeting on Tuesday, November 19, from 6-8pm, at American Mountaineering Center located at 710 10th Street, Golden, CO 80401, in the conference rooms.
The presentation will include our plan and project strategy, as well as involvement with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Following the presentation, staff experts will be available for one-on-one questions regarding trails and repair work occurring in the three parks. Information on how individuals and groups can participate in flood recovery efforts will also available.
Apex Park suffered the greatest flood damage and will require an in-depth recovery process. Apex trail, the main artery for the Park, has gullies up to 8 feet wide, mounds of boulders, and long stretches where all the soil has been washed away. View photos of the flood damage at Apex Park. The work to reopen portions and later, the entire park, will extend into 2014.
To sign up for Apex Park updates, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. To receive a monthly electronic newsletter with the latest information from Jeffco Open Space and Parks including features, programs and events, subscribe to Panorama, using either your smart phone QR scan application on the code below or use this link Panorama Subscription.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from Oct. 29 until Nov. 17
If you are among the millions of American’s who receive health insurance through an employer, you will probably receive your 2014 open enrollment material shortly. It’s important to take this opportunity to review all of the information in order to avoid costly mistakes.
Here’s why: Health insurance has undergone major changes since the 2012 Affordable Care Act was passed, including: the elimination of annual and lifetime coverage limits and preexisting conditions exclusions; preventative care has been expanded to be free; and children up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ plans.
Be sure to check with your employer to see if your benefit plans have been altered. If your employer offers flexible spending accounts and you are not participating, you’re leaving a valuable tax break on the table.
Common changes include:
• Increased monthly premiums, deductibles and copayment amounts
• Revised prescription drug formularies
• Favored doctors or hospitals in the network may vary from year to year
• Changes to the annual limits on care/medical equipment (physical therapy, chiropractic, durable medical equipment, etc.)
• Additional services offered (clinical trials, obesity counseling, etc.)
Compare your employer’s plans alongside those offered by your spouse’s employer when deciding which options will best benefit you and your family.
It’s worth taking the time to review your benefit coverage options for next year, especially when you consider the potential financial consequences.
Pay attention to spousal surcharges. It’s becoming more common for employers to impose a spousal surcharge if the spouse has access to healthcare at his or her workplace but elects to be covered under their spouse’s plan instead.
Don’t forget to cover the kids! Make sure you and your spouse talk over who is going to cover the kids so you don’t forget to add them mistakenly thinking the other one has covered them on their plan.
Be sure to carefully compare all costs and features of the different plans offered and what’s changing for next year.
by David Douglas, Engineering Inspector in Jeffco Transportation and Engineering
comments open from October 17 until November 5
As a new resident to a neighborhood that is still under development, you may be experiencing some challenges that go with living near a construction site. Not only do you have abundant traffic, but the dust and debris that comes with it can be frustrating. You will probably also see some features installed around your neighborhood that you may not recognize or understand their purpose. The Jefferson County Transportation and Engineering Division would like to help you identify and appreciate the value and function of some of these features.
What are Best Management Practices?
Also known as BMPs, Best Management Practices for construction stormwater management are the procedures and features that contractors and builders use to control erosion and sediment transport off of their project sites. Using these procedures and installing these features is a State and local permit requirement for contractors to help minimize the impact of earthwork activities on waterways and water quality of the local environment. These procedures and installations can include easily recognized black silt fencing, street cleaning activities, erosion control blankets, and installation of sediment barriers around storm drain inlets.
Recognizing BMPs and their Function
Sediment barriers at stormdrain inlets are referred to as Inlet Protection. The purpose is to slow sediment-laden stormwater flows and allow for filtration and settling. Once installed, contractors are required to inspect and maintain these features. A design function of these features is that some pooling of water will occur, so do not be alarmed if you notice this.
These installations should not be modified or disturbed, as they will not function as intended. Opening the ends will allow sediment to enter the stormdrain.
In lieu of final landscaping for home lots, builders will often install erosion control blankets and silt fencing to help prevent surface erosion and keep sediment from flowing into the streets.
While a goal of a new homeowner is to install your own selection of landscaping, it is important to preserve these erosion control features in the interim until you are ready to complete landscaping.
Jefferson County is committed to enhancing and protecting the quality of life for our citizens by ensuring that future development continues in a manner that balances social, environmental, and economic needs. If you have questions about the features in your neighborhood or the effectiveness of those features, please call 303-271-8495. Please help us protect our most important natural resource.
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