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Construction Season in Full Swing


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.

 
 

You Just Received a Zoning Violation ... Now What?


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.

 
 

Personal Branding


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!

 
 

E-Cigarettes and Youth


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 tobaccofree@jeffco.us, or call 303-275-7555.

 
 

World Elder Abuse Awareness Day


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.

 
 

Agriculture in Jeffco Open Space


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.

Parameters
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.

Sustainable Practices
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.

Water Resources
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.

 
 

Increase Your Daily Steps


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!

 
 

Health is More Than Health Care


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 healthyjeffco@jeffco.us.

___________________________________________

[1] 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.

 
 

Traffic Calming


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.

 
 

Join us For 'A Gathering of the Guilds'


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.

 
 

Time for Spring Cleaning!


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.

 
 

Help Fight Human Trafficking


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.

 
 

Proposed Changes to Accessory Dwelling Units


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
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Lookout Mountain Room
Jefferson County Administration and Courts Facility
100 Jefferson Parkway
Golden, CO

Wednesday, April 30, 2014
6:30-8:30 p.m.
Auditorium
Evergreen Fire Protection District
1802 Bergen Parkway
Evergreen, CO

 
 

'Gladius the Show' at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds


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.

 
 

Get Involved in Making Jefferson County the Best Place to Age


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 sfrankli@jeffco.us or 303-271-4051.

 
 
 
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