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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.
by Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Director
comments open from July 23 until August 11
The Rocky Mountain Air Show was voted “one of the top nine airshows to see this summer” by Popular Mechanics, July 2013.
The Rocky Mountain Air Show has been scheduled for Friday, August 16 to Sunday, August 18 at Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport in Jefferson County.
The Rocky Mountain Airshow is excited to announce that they are going to be the first show that will have a Large Sport Rocket. United Launch Alliance has worked in conjunction with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) to establish guidelines for the never-before-seen demonstrations at airshows and we are the first to launch a rocket in front of fans.
Additional acts include Greg Shelton and his F-4 Wildcat. Greg Shelton will also perform with Ashley Battles -“Wing Walking” a Stearman. You will enjoy the Friday night twilight airshow, balloon glow and pyrotechnics along with many other acts throughout the weekend. This year’s grand finale is going to be a “Warbird Spectacular” with the biggest warbird show in the region.
Come out and enjoy the extensive range of static displays, hot air balloons, aerobatics, formation demonstrations and the rocky mountain regional fly-in. You can even enjoy a ride on the worlds only flying CAF (Commemorative Air Force) B-29 "FIFI." There will be a wide variety of food vendors for your appetite. The kids will enjoy the “Adventure Zone and Space Pavilion,” where they get to experience the excitement and fun of aviation hands on. We hope to see you there!
For more details on the event and to purchase tickets, please visit www.rmairshow.com.
by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from June 27 until July 16
Over the last two years, the Planning and Zoning division has put great effort into creating a “more electronic and less paper” environment. By the end of 2013 the Division’s goal is to be 75% electronic.
For some, going paperless is all about speed, efficiency and savings. For some, it’s about conservation. Whether for efficiency or conservation, going paperless benefits the bottom line.
As of January 1, 2013, Planning and Zoning ceased processing paper applications once an applicant drops an application (big or small) at the door. From that point forward, applications are scanned, assigned a case number and become “electronic.” All referrals and correspondence between other Divisions, Departments, Outside Agencies, Homeowner Associations and Umbrella Groups are sent via email. Emails with a link are sent to the above groups directing the recipient to the Planning and Zoning website in order to view the application and pertinent documents. Recipients are encouraged to respond electronically through email or other internal systems available to county divisions and Departments. All applications, referral responses and citizen comments are then stored in electronic files for Planning and Zoning employees to access at any time. As we move forward, electronic files will be accessible to all through the county’s electronic file storage system.
We have spent a great amount of our "down time" scanning paper files and making them "electronic." Starting with the most recent year’s files and moving backwards, we are rapidly completing the task of converting all documents to an electronic file. This has improved our ability to research and deliver information in a matter of minutes, providing an extremely high level of customer service to each other and those that we serve each day.
Moving to an electronic format hasn’t been limited solely to Planning and Zoning. With roughly two years “under their belts,” the Jefferson County Planning Commissioners have been receiving hearing materials via county owned iPads. An application allows the case packets to be uploaded for each hearing. A single application packet can sometimes have hundreds of pages as well as 24x36 inch sized documents for review. With multiple cases in any given evening, being able to view these packets on the iPad saves time and money. Once cases are uploaded, a Planning Commissioner can open and review their electronic case packet from anywhere, either by iPad or logging into their account. The savings of not mailing bulky packages to nine commissioners two to three times per month has more than paid for the iPads and at the same time has drastically cut Planning and Zonings mailing costs.
As we continue to move toward our 75% paperless goal by the end of 2013, I am continually looking for feedback on our electronic endeavor. Please feel free to submit comments or suggestions by responding to this blog or emailing me at email@example.com.
by Public Information
comments open from Febraury 21 until March 12
The new W Line, the first line of the FasTracks program —featuring 11 new stations, six Park-n-Rides, three Call-n-Rides and updated bus routes—took decades of planning, engineering and community outreach to complete. This is the final newsletter for the W Line, and the final shout out to say thank you to stakeholders, community members, businesses and local jurisdictions. Thank you for your time, patience and commitment to the success of the line.
W Line Grand Opening
Thank you to everyone who joined RTD in the Grand Opening weekend of the W Line. Nearly 5,000 patrons joined in on the festivities on Friday, April 26 and thousands more enjoyed the station parties along the line on Saturday, April 27. A special thank you goes out to our community members, stakeholders, and local jurisdictions who worked tirelessly to plan and organize their respective station parties along the line. We hope all enjoyed the event as much as we did and didn’t a get a sunburn!
If you would like to share any stories, pictures, or feedback about the event, please submit to Lindsey Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you! To see highlights from the weekend, please visit our Flickr webpage.
The success of the W Line is a testament to the dedication, patience, and communication put forth from the community, businesses and local jurisdictions. Through this coordination, RTD built community relations to ensure safety, keep the public informed, and minimize construction impacts throughout the project. The outreach efforts were impressive and include the following:
• Organized 142 public presentations, including “Safety Roadshows” (photo above).
• Held more than 600 external meetings at schools, neighborhood associations, senior centers, government offices and other locations.
• Distributed nearly 15,200 informational door hangers/fliers about construction, safety, tree removal and other issues.
• Sent more than 51,000 email blasts describing construction impacts.
• Coordinated nearly 100 public tours for the media, residents, businesses, elected officials and other stakeholders.
• Disseminated more than 8,000 fact sheets detailing best safety practices, environmental impacts and business access.
• Wrote more than 60 news releases with project overviews, goals, timelines and expected impacts.
• Delivered a monthly e-newsletter to more than 5,000 subscribers for the past 84 months – since June 2006.
• Fielded more than 5,200 public comments.
• Curated a database of 10,531 individuals who requested W Line updates.
Work continues on the Sheridan Garage and will be complete by early summer. Crews will work to finalize the remaining items including:
o Complete elevator installation
o Complete painting scope of work
o Continue landscaping
o Continue installation of security
o Signalization of the 10th Ave. and Sheridan Blvd. intersection
o Curb, gutter and asphalt constructed on 10th Ave & Ames St.
There may still also be a few construction items that will take place, and we will keep you informed via email notices and the website.
We appreciate your support and understanding during the construction of this monumental project and hope we provided accurate and timely information during this time. To submit comments/inquiries or for service information regarding light rail, buses, or the addition of the call-n-Rides, please call 303-299-6000 or visit RTD’s new and enhanced website. It has been our pleasure to work with each and every one of you, and we wish you the best!
Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter.
by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from May 7 until May 26
In 2006, the North American Deck and Railing Association (NADRA) declared May as Deck Safety Month. Decks are popular structures used frequently as a gathering place for friends and family. Decks are designed to support the weight of people and objects on it as well as forces of Mother Nature. While decks look relatively simple to build, many do not realize these structures need to be designed to adequately resist certain stresses.
Life expectancy of a deck can be as short as 10 to 15 years. Decks are exposed to elements, which can cause damage. It is important that decks are regularly inspected and maintained. To prolong the life of your deck, check for things like loose boards or protruding nails. Over time metal connectors, screws and nails can corrode or become loose and weaken the structure of your deck.
Five Warning Signs
Missing Connections: A deck should be built using a series of wood members, nails, screws and metal connectors to create a continuous load path.
Loose Connections: Look for wobbly railings, loose stairs and ledgers that appear to be pulling away from the home.
Corrosion of Connectors and Fasteners: Look for red rust and other signs of corrosion that can weaken the deck.
Rot: Overtime wood can rot and degrade due to exposure to the elements.
Cracks: Large cracks or excessive cracking overall can weaken a deck.
To determine if repairing or replacing is in order, professionals such as structural engineers or contractors are an excellent resource. In some situations retrofitting your deck by applying new or additional hardware to existing framing members may extend the lifespan.
The Building Safety Division is available to answer questions you may have on repairing or replacing your deck.
by County Commissioner Casey Tighe
comments open from May 6 until May 25
Recently a member of Jeffco community contacted me about a very important issue for our citizens with disabilities, which is parking and access. Often times, in our busy lives and the rush to get things done, we don’t think too much about parking. We forget how important it is to make sure everyone in our community has access to stores, restaurants and other businesses and offices. But, for those who have disabilities that limit their mobility, parking and access is an important aspect of their everyday life.
When a person with a disability needs to shop, visit a government building or simply stop by a local park they have to be able to find a place to park that accommodates their needs or they will go home empty handed. What might be a minor inconvenience for some, can result in the inability to access a building, a store or doctor for a person with a disability.
Unless you have a current disabled parking permit, please don’t give in to the temptation to use a parking spot marked with the familiar blue sign with the white figure in a wheel chair, even if you think it will be “just a minute.” And when you park next to these spaces, leave a little extra room so individuals in wheel chairs can easily get in and out of their specialized vehicles. These vehicles need much more clearance than the average vehicle and we applaud those parking lots that offer special spots for them.
Not only is it considered bad manners to park in one of these spots if you are not a person with disabilities, but it is also illegal. Violators can face fines of a minimum of $350.
Next time you are parking, please don’t disable those with disabilities. Remember not to park in the spots designated for persons with disabilities and if you park near one of those spots, park a little further away from the line to give them the extra space that they may need.
For more information on Colorado’s parking program for persons with disabilities, please go to www.colorado.gov and type “persons with disabilities” in the search box.
by Kenneth Maenpa, Airport Director
comments open from April 20 until May 9
For the past couple of years, Rocky Mountain Metro Airport (RMMA) has been busy with planning and design for the projects occurring this year.
The need to extend the Runway Safety Area (RSA) on the west end of Runway 11L/29R is driven by the FAA design requirements for the type of aircraft that operate at RMMA. This requirement is 1,000 feet of safety area beyond the runway end, and currently, the RSA is 600 feet in length. In 2006, the U.S. Department of Transportation Appropriations Act required operators of all airports nation-wide that are federally funded and obligated, to comply with FAA regulatory requirements for RSA’s by September 30, 2015.
The project will consist of two phases. The first phase commenced this past fall and involves the relocation of the intersection at Highway 128 and Interlocken Loop. This intersection will move to the northwest to allow for the full expansion of the RSA. The second phase of the project will involve earthwork and relocation of the airport navigational aids, which will begin in this summer.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from February 26 until March 17
We recently held an education fair and information forum for our employees at Jefferson County. During the fair we learned that going to school after you have been in the work world is not easy!
Here is some information on where to start if you are returning to school and how to find the right college or university:
• Decide if you are ready to go back to school. Going back to school sounds glamorous, but it’s really a lot of hard work. Are you ready? Make sure you know what you want and have the support you’ll need in place before you set out on your new adventure.
• Choose a degree. Once you’re sure it’s the right time to go back to school, make sure you know exactly what it is you want to do with your degree so you know which degree to get. That sounds obvious, but it’s an important step. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
o What do you want to study?
o What will you do with your education?
o Are you getting the right degree for the job you want?
• Take a few career tests. There are assessments and quizzes available to help you figure out what you’re good at and what you’d like to do.
• Make an appointment with a Career Counselor. Career counselors are available in almost every city and at almost every school. Search online directories or ask your local librarians for help.
• Choose between online or on-campus. Now that you know what you want to do and which degree you’ll need to do it, it’s time to decide what kind of campus is better for you, a physical classroom or a virtual one. There are benefits to each. Some examples are:
o Is cost an issue? Online courses may cost much less than traditional courses.
o Do you learn better in a social setting, or do you prefer to study on your own?
o Do you have a quiet place at home and the technology you need for online learning?
o Is there a local school that offers the degree you want, and is it convenient?
o Are you the kind of student who needs face-to-face time with our teacher?
o Do you have reliable transportation if you choose to learn on campus?
These are just some areas to explore if you are planning to return to school. It’s important to give time to research these areas and take full advantage of the many resources available to assist you. Education, training and development is an investment in you!
by Jeffco Public Information
comments open from February 25 until March 16
Did you know that you can apply for a passport with Jefferson County? The Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder's Office is a designated Passport Acceptance Facility for the U.S. Department of State.
U.S. citizens planning to travel internationally may apply for their passports Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Admin & Courts Facility, Suite 2560, 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden. Passport photos can also be done at the Clerk & Recorder's office for $5.
Please call ahead for your appointment and to get all the important details specific to your travel plans and passport needs.
For more information on passport services, visit the Clerk & Recorder's webpage on passports or call 303-271-8167. For locations and services of the Clerk & Recorder's Office, visit www.jeffco.us/cr.
by Public Information
comments open from February 22 until March 13
Interested in learning more about Colorado native plants including which ones you could add to your landscape or what weeds to control on your property this summer? Take native plant landscaping, weed management or one of our 18 other classes! March and April offerings are listed below. For a complete list of Denver/Gilpin/Jeffco classes, see npm.eventbrite.com or see www.conativeplantmaster.org for other offerings in the state.
Register soon as offerings fill quickly. If you would like to be sure to receive notices of future openings, sign up here. Please forward this to your readership, and/or include in your publication. Thank you for helping us get the word out about Colorado plant courses and classes!
Native Plant Landscaping - Tuesday - March 12
Colorado has a wealth of native plants, colorful wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees, which are well adapted to our variable climate, soils, temperatures and elevations. In this 4 hour class taught by CSU’s Dr. Irene Shonle, you’ll learn how to use native plants in your landscape, and be introduced to many beautiful, hardy native plants.
Basic Botany Class - Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, April 25
Enjoy an interactive, fun and fact-filled class designed to prepare you for success in your study of Colorado's flora. Participants will be exposed to basic botanical terminology, taxonomy and ecology as we navigate a botanical key and explore some of the more useful bits of the primary reference for field botany in our state, Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, Fourth Edition.
Plant Families and Keying Class - Tuesday, April 2
This class delves deeper into intricacies of Colorado plant families, including key identifying characteristics, followed by a close-up opportunity to key out plants in the field (weather permitting). It is recommended that participants have basic botany knowledge before attending this class. For those needing an introductory botany class that covers parts of a plant and gives a basic intro to plant recognition, see Basic Botany Class on March 26 or April 25.
Introduction to Invasive Weeds and Management - Thursday - April 4
An entry level class taught by CSU’s Dr. George Beck that will cover ID of Colorado’s A- and B-list weeds including live specimens; information about our state weed law; weed biology (life cycles, weed evolution, weeds and succession); strategies and methods for weed management and sprayer calibration.
Invasive Weed Management for Experienced Land Owners - Tuesday - April 30
An intermediate to advanced class taught by CSU’s Dr. George Beck for those that have experienced previous weed training and will cover weed biology and ecology and how this information is used when designing weed management strategies. Ecologically-based weed management will be emphasized including information on using grazing to manage weeds as well as integrating herbicide use with seeding for site recovery. ID, biology and management of local weeds of importance as identified by course participants also will be included.
Tick-tock, tick-tock. As time inches closer to opening day on April 26, RTD is rapidly checking items off the to-do list. By the end of February, integrated testing will be complete. At the beginning of March, RTD will officially own the line and operational testing will begin. By mid-March all artwork on the line will be commissioned and in fabrication.
2011 Quality of Life Study
RTD released its sixth annual FasTracks Quality of Life Study. The report focuses on the effect the FasTrack program has in areas where there is service, along with areas where current and scheduled construction is taking place.
A few key discoveries from the study found that the number of FasTracks directly-supported jobs increased 11 percent from 2005 to 2011, the taxable retail sales for RTD increased 0.7 percent from 2010 and overall ridership increased 0.4 percent.
Further, the report showed light rail times remain five minutes faster than drive time on the Southeast and Southwest lines, the use of Park-n-Rides remained consistent, and RTD provides 31 percent of destinations with high-frequency transit options.
RTD is constantly looking to improve the district and offer the best transit service in the country. For further information or to view the 2011 Quality of Life Report please visit our RTD website.
Artwork commissions on the West Line
West Line began the process of commissioning public art for the light rail passenger stations in October. By mid-March, artists for all designated locations will be selected. In a three-part series, we will feature a brief biography of each artist commissioned on the West Line.
>> Jose Antonio Aguirre will lend his color pallet to Knox Station
>> John Rogers will put a creative twist at the Lakewood•Wadsworth Station
>> Mike Squared Mosiacs will add a unique, cultured perspective to the Garrison Station
>> Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues are working on a creative piece for Jeffo-Golden Station
Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter or get the latest information, see the FasTracks West Corridor website.
Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from February 19 until March 10
The Road & Bridge Division is currently responsible for snow removal on 2,924 lane miles of paved roads and 695 lane miles of gravel roads in the unincorporated areas of the County. One lane mile is a 10 foot wide section of road one mile long. State highways, private roads and newly constructed roads that have not been accepted by formal resolution of the Board of County Commissioners are not included.
Forecasting and Preparations
The Road and Bridge Division is on a twenty-four hour, early-warning alert system. Supervisors utilize local, national, and customized weather forecasts and databases in order to anticipate and be prepared for the intensity of storm forecasted. Equipment is made ready for sanding and plowing during normal working hours for a forecasted storm.
Each equipment operator is assigned a specific route for snow removal and sanding. Assignment of roads to a route is determined by area supervisors based on priority of the road as defined below and for the most efficient utilization of equipment. There are currently 82 designated snow routes in unincorporated Jefferson County.
Snow Removal Procedures
Plowing and sanding operations will take place in four phases during a storm. The order in which streets are plowed in each phase is based on the following definitions of priority:
>> Priority 1 - Main arterial streets that provide for high traffic volumes.
>> Priority 2 - Major subdivision collectors, school zones and school bus routes.
>> Priority 3 - Residential or other local roads that carry moderate to low traffic volumes.
>> Priority 4 - Cul-de-sacs or other dead-end roads carrying very low traffic volumes.
Phase I: Initial opening of all Priority 1 through 3 streets in that order. Severity of the storm may delay response time for Priority 3 streets due to the fact that initial opening of major arterial streets requires that multiple lanes be plowed in each direction.
Phase II: Plowing and sanding of problem roads having steep inclines, curves, bridges or overpasses. Widening of any Priority 1 through 3 streets deemed necessary. Repeat plowing of all streets initially opened as snow continues to accumulate.
Phase III: Removal of packed snow and ice on all Priority 1 through 3 streets where possible and deemed necessary as snowfall accumulation stops. Plowing and sanding operations on Priority 4 streets will take place as resource availability allows. It could be several days after the snowstorm has ended before Priority 4 streets are initially plowed. Intermittent sanding as necessary by road priority.
Phase IV: Storm event is over. Continuation of widening operations to improve safe travel and prepare for additional accumulation during subsequent storms.
Application of Traction Materials: Sanding of most roads is limited during heavy snowfall because the sand is quickly covered and then removed as additional plowing occurs. When applying sand, special attention is given to sections of the road network posing specific safety concerns. These include, but are not limited to, areas such as: school and hospital zones, police and fire stations, bridges and overpasses, turn lanes, acceleration or deceleration lanes, approaches to intersections that are stop sign or signal controlled, curves, steep grades, heavy traffic areas, areas of ice accumulation, speed bumps, and areas with other known problems.
Snow Removal Clarifications
>> Driveways: Driveway approaches affected during Phases I, II, and III are the responsibility of the property owner or resident to clear. When snow removal or widening in Phase IV is being carried out, driveways that were previously opened by the homeowner will not have additional snow plowed into them.
>> Mailboxes and Fences: Mailboxes, newspaper delivery boxes or fences installed alongside the traveled roadway are at the risk of the owner. If an operator strikes a mailbox with a plow, the operator will report it and we will repair it as soon as possible. Mailboxes and fences damaged by snow load during normal plowing operations are not the responsibility of the County. If a mailbox is struck by a plow, it will be replaced with a standard rural mailbox. Postal regulations require residents to clear snow in front of mailboxes to allow for mail delivery.
>> Snow Pushed onto County Street or Right-of Way: The practice of pushing or throwing snow or ice onto or across Jefferson County streets endangers the traveling public as well as county snowplow operators. Jefferson County residents as well as private contractors may receive a warning and/or summons for snow or ice pushed onto County streets and rights-of-way from sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc. Example: When breaking up ice from driveway or flow line of curb, do not throw it out into the street where it can be struck by a vehicle; we encourage citizens to blow and shovel snow and ice onto their grass.
>> Vehicles Parked or Abandoned: Streets on which vehicles have been abandoned or otherwise parked so as to restrict the safe and continuous operation of snow removal equipment may not be plowed until those vehicles are removed.
>> Requests for Emergency Snow Removal: All requests for emergency snowplowing should go to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept. If the request is valid, they will notify the Road & Bridge Division and we will respond as soon as possible.
by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from February 13 until March 4
Young adults are our future. They are just beginning to explore where their lives are headed and need mentorship, guidance, and advice to start the journey. The Jeffco YouthWorks Young Adult Job Fair is a place for young adults to start.
This is the final young adult job fair taking place in the state of Colorado for the year and a chance for young adults to discover career possibilities and opportunities in the work force. Be sure to share this opportunity with any young adults, ages 14 to 21.
All are invited to the 2013 Jeffco YouthWorks Young Adult Job Fair from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on March 5 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds , 15200 W. 6th Ave in Golden.
Local businesses are also invited to participate in the fair. Jeffco YouthWorks is still accepting businesses with available full-time, part-time, summer jobs, or career opportunities for young adults. What a great way to recruit and support young adults in the community!
Businesses that will be at this year’s event include Bandimere Speedway, DISH Network, Home Depot, JetStream Ground Services, Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center, Safeway, and many more.
With the community wrapped around young adults in this way, the future of our young adults and our community look very bright.
For more information visit www.jeffcoyouthworks.org or call 303-271-4613.
by Public Information
comments open from January 23 until February 11
The City of Wheat Ridge is partnering with Jefferson County to widen a portion of 32nd Avenue--Braun Court to Wright Court. Construction on this project is scheduled to start on January 24, 2013.
What: Public Meeting for 32nd Avenue Widening, from Braun Ct to Wright Ct.
When: January 23, 2013; starting at 5:00 pm
Where: Applewood Shopping Center, Former Old Chicago building, lower level – located at 3258 Youngfield Street, Wheat Ridge CO 80033
Who: Presented by Concrete Works of Colorado, general contractor
Purpose: Present scope of work and schedule of roadway construction
Get more information about the meeting on the City of Wheat Ridge website.
by Public Information
comments open from January 16 until February 4
In less than four months and counting the much anticipated West Rail Line will open to the public—the first rail line to open under RTD’s FasTracks program. But until then, integrated testing continues as the West Rail Line works toward safety certification.
What's in a Name?
The rail line to the west has been called West Corridor, West Rail Line, West Line, W Line, and W Rail. Which is the correct name? Technically, all are right. Materials referring to the line as West Corridor were produced as early as 1978 (in early studies) and as late as 2011 (well into construction). At that time the name changed to West Rail Line. However, as we move into operation, most people refer to the lines by their letter designation.
In this case, it is the W Line, similar to the C, D, E, F and H Lines. Officially deemed the “W” Rail (pictured above), the line takes on a new identity that you will begin to see more and more leading up to and through Opening Day. The upcoming 6th Avenue bridge lighting event is the first time you will see this new identity, but certainly not the last.
West Rail Line Bicycle Lockers
The West Rail Line is set to open April 26, 2013 and bicycle lockers will be available for lease at the following new stations: Decatur-Federal, Sheridan, Lakewood-Wadsworth, Oak, and Jeffco-Golden. You can put your name on the waiting list for a locker at one of these locations by calling the Civic Center Station customer service desk at 303-299-2288. Lockers are currently available with no waiting at the existing Federal Center Station. Bicycle lockers cost $30 for a six-month renewable lease with a one-time padlock fee of $20. An RTD-issued padlock must be used on these bike lockers. First time renters will need to turn in a lease agreement in person at the Boulder Transit Center, Civic Center Station, or Market Street Station. Lease agreements are available at each of these customer service locations.
RTD Introduces Smart Cards
The wait is over. On January 1, RTD introduced a whole new way to ride for CollegePass and EcoPass customers. The first phase of RTD’s smart card rollout brings several benefits, including unlimited rides on regular bus and light rail with just one tap every time you ride. Through mid-January, RTD had smart card ambassadors at light rail stations during rush-hour to demonstrate how to use the new cards. Later in 2013 RTD will convert all fares and passes to smart card technology with the introduction of the MyRide card for the general public.
Additionally, beginning with the opening of the West Rail Line, RTD is working toward making riding even more convenient on all lines by installing the capability for patrons to purchase rides with credit cards. Visit our website for more details on the smart card.
by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from January 10 until January 29
Cold and flu season is here!
You have probably heard that this season is off to an early start and many workplaces will start to see an increase of people with colds or flu-like symptoms.
If you haven’t done so already, you may want to think about getting your annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated.
The CDC also suggests additional ways to help prevent the spread of germs at work such as:
• Try avoiding contact with those who are sick.
• If you can, stay home when you are sick.
• Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least one minute.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
By following these tips, hopefully we can all help minimize the impact of these ailments on our workplaces this season. More information can be found on the Jefferson County Public Health website and the Centers for Disease Control website.
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