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Colorado Counties Collaborate, Move Toward Excellence


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from June 29 until July 18


Counties are working together. Counties are leveraging the power of creative collaboration, addressing root causes of social ills, and finding innovative ways to utilize local resources. Counties are, with the support of county commissioners and in collaboration with the state, moving toward excellence through partnerships that have impact.

Counties are moving toward generative business models by working in partnership and collaboratively moving toward excellence in the human services realm.

A generative business model allows multiple programs and institutions to build, share, and deploy information and services on an ongoing and evolving basis. The model focuses on bringing about healthy communities by co-creating solutions across the ecosystem of organizations, jurisdictions and communities, enabling co-creation of policy and modification of programs in response to real-time conditions. It addresses multi-dimensional family and socioeconomic influences.

A few of the numerous examples include:

• Jefferson County’s Jeffco Prosperity Project, which is working to move low-income children from pre-school to high school diploma, and their families to full self-sufficiency with a two-generation approach. Businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations, schools, and community are working together for the community.

• Routt County’s Routt to Work Initiative, working to increase the economic stability of Routt County families by offering a personal economic mobility coaching series.

• Arapahoe/Douglas Counties' Family Resource Pavilion - Through a public-private partnership between Arapahoe/Douglas Counties and Shiloh House, the services for youth and their families are consolidated under one roof, known as the Family Resource Pavilion. The Family Resource Pavilion will eliminate the service gaps in several key areas. Working with partners across both counties has resulted in this efficient and innovative approach which will improve outcomes for youth and their families.

• Northeastern Consortium - Chaffee County’s collaboration of probation, mental health, child welfare, and school districts on how to be more effective in working with adolescents and their parents – especially high risk families - to build skills that allow individuals to help themselves out of a crisis. All agencies support the process of skill building and holistically working with shared clients. The participating agencies train together and have brought in Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT) experts to assist because research shows alignment between brain development, trauma informed care, and DBT. Building this “emotional intelligence” is especially important as the adolescent brain is in that stage of development, yet it can be a skill that benefits all age groups. All participating agencies benefit from the shared research and learning as they serve families in crisis.

Social challenges that once were thought to be the purview of governmental social services have spilled over to other organizational networks, such as law enforcement, schools, businesses and health care. Social challenges are no longer siloed, so counties cannot afford to use a siloed approach either. Counties recognize that to achieve healthy communities, they must collaborate and integrate with health care, mental health, schools, human services, businesses, non-profits, faith organizations, and others to best address the needs of their communities. Regardless of geographic size, population, location, or limited resources, counties are making a difference.

 
 

Jeffco's Wellness Program Promoting Employee Health and Well-Being


by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from June 11 until June 30


Jeffco’s Employee Wellness Program celebrated National Employee Health & Fitness Month this past May with a full calendar of wellness activities to promote employee health and well-being. An estimated 700 employees participated. Some activities included stair challenges where employees tracked their flights of stairs. We had several employees complete 100 or more flights during the month! This is an easy challenge to conduct on your own or with your co-workers. Taking the stairs instead of elevators, where possible, is a great way to add more movement into your daily routine.

 
 

Slash Program Underway


by Casey Tighe, Board of County Commissioner Chair
comments open from June 9 until June 28


Have you finished spring cleaning of your property? If so, load up your tree debris and bring it to the Jefferson County’s 2015 Slash Collection Program. The program kicked off May 30 and continues through Oct. 25.

In the past, the slash collections were quite popular but there were only a few collections each year. We decided to change things up this year and host slash collections just about every weekend this summer and into the fall. We are also hosting the collections in several locations throughout the county to make it more convenient to all residents.

The cost is $20 per load, credit cards only. A load is considered a truck bed full to the truck cab height or a trailer up to 8’ x 4’. Loads larger than this will be charged as more than one load. All processed material will be hauled to compost yards for further re-use of the material.

So what can you bring? Slash is considered tree debris such as limbs and pine needles. But please bag your needles and bark; loose loads cannot be accepted. Keep your tree limbs under eight feet and less than six inches in diameter. Commercial refuse and construction materials will not be accepted. Also we cannot accept household trash, tree stumps, metal, rocks and grass clippings.

Slash is not only a great program for our citizens, but it protects our land. It is one of the ways to mitigate against wildfires. Clearing the debris cuts down on fire fuels and decreases the risk of fire. So get out, clean up and bring all your slash to us!

For dates, locations and more details, visit jeffco.us/slash.

 
 

Governor's Summer Job Hunt in Jefferson County


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from May 28 until June 12


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 Governor's Summer Job Hunt (GSJH) is a place for young adults to start.

GSJH is a program designed to support youth, ages 14 to 21, with employment opportunities and services this summer. In Jefferson County, young adults can participate in job fairs, hiring events, job safari tips, and workshops. GSJH is hosting a job fair on Tuesday, June 2 from 2pm - 4pm at Peak Community and Wellness Center, 6612 South Ward Street in Littleton.

This event is a great opportunity for youth to connect directly with local employers hiring for the summer. Participating employers include restaurants, retails stores, Foothills Park and Recreation, Heritage Amusement Park, and many more! Youth can register for the fair online at surveymonkey.com/s/jobfairyouth.

GSJH will also be conducting a virtual job fair during the months of May and June. This virtual job fair takes place entirely online with over 50 participating employers including Elitch Gardens, McDonald’s, Old Navy, and King Soopers. This event is open to all young adults ages 14 to 21 in the Denver Metro Area, including Jefferson County. Youth can register for the virtual job fair and learn about other GSJH events and employment opportunities at connectingcolorado.com.

For more information contact American Job Center Youth Services at youthservices@jeffco.us or 303-271-4613.

 
 

JCPH's Built Environment Accomplishments


by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from May 26 until June 14


“The built environment is social policy in concrete.” This pithy definition of human-designed settings comes from Dr. Richard Jackson, a leader in Environmental Health whose career path has included positions as State Health Officer for the state of California, Chair of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of California- Los Angeles, and Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) National Center for Environmental Health. The built environment is the environment which we as a society have consciously constructed to fit our needs, and those needs are defined through policies. This includes everything from the size and location of our buildings and roadways, to the location of our water fountains.

As chronic disease and obesity rates continue to rise, there has been a growing awareness of the impact of the built environment on health. A number of organizations, including the CDC, the National Environmental Health Association, the American Public Health Association, the American Planning Association, and the Urban Land Institute have begun to push for policies and built environment decisions that reflect a high value for health. Goals for this work are generally focused on increasing access to healthy food and settings that allow or encourage physical activity. This is often referred to as healthy eating and active living, or HEAL.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is working towards this across the west-Denver metropolitan area and Front Range mountain towns. The 2013 Community Health Assessment CHA identified a near-doubling of diabetes rates between 2001 and 2010, as well as large increases in obesity. Additionally, there are demographic shifts showing that in the near future, an increasing proportion of Jefferson County residents will be either be senior citizens or youth, both populations particularly vulnerable to health issues due to poor built environments. This gave clear direction to prioritize built environment changes in the 2014-17 Community Health Improvement Plan CHIP. As Colorado’s fourth most populous county, with a land area of over 700 square miles, this was a daunting endeavor.

Jefferson County’s first major foray into HEAL policy, environments, and systems change came through LiveWell Wheat Ridge (LWWR), beginning in 2005. This coalition focused on advancing support for a healthy food system and a pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly community. JCPH served as fiscal agent for LWWR, which instilled in the department the technical expertise to work towards policy change, and to develop HEAL coalitions and the desire to scale up this work to the county level.

As a result, JCPH applied to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment for funding through the Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease, and Pulmonary Disease Prevention (CCPD) grant program in 2012, for a program called “Creating a Culture of Health and Wellness in Jefferson County Through Policy.” Funding was awarded (FY 2012-2015), and was used initially to collect baseline data on existing policies and the climate of opinion towards policy change. This included five HEAL Policy Assessments of local government Comprehensive Plans, and a robust survey of 123 policymakers on their readiness to implement a host of land use, transportation and food policies in Jefferson County. JCPH also formed the countywide HEAL Policy Team, a coalition made of a variety of county departments (Open Space, Transportation and Engineering, Planning and Zoning, CSU-Extension), representation from local municipalities and the mountain communities, Jeffco Public Schools, Centura and Lutheran Health Services, and regional and statewide organizations like Bicycle Colorado, LiveWell Colorado, the Regional Institute for Health and Environmental Leadership, the Colorado Environmental Health Association, and the National Environmental Health Association. This group serves as a steering committee for the grant, creates a forum to shares best practices and lessons-learned, aligns efforts to the JCPH Community Health Improvement Plan, and serves as the convening entity to leverage additional investment for HEAL work in Jeffco. It is also a valuable platform for local coalitions (e.g. LiveWell Wheat Ridge and Arvada Healthy Places Initiative) to connect local work into a regional dialogue.

In early 2014, with this solid base of a developed coalition and an understanding of the existing policy conditions across the county, JCPH was able to support a number of policy changes to support HEAL. The department provided technical assistance, community engagement, and informal education around a number of land use plan updates, and the five major cities in Jefferson County all passed resolutions to join the LiveWell Colorado HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign. JCPH helped draft a number of these resolutions, wrote letters of support, and engaged public comment from interested residents. Now that they have been passed, these resolutions have been a useful tool for keeping up momentum towards HEAL policy change. As an easily shared action plan, the resolutions serve as a reminder to staff and elected officials of the commitment the cities have made to address health.

Additional policy accomplishments for 2014 include:
• Jefferson County Open Space updated their Open Space Master Plan. This new plan includes numerous references to health, and the important role of green space in supporting wellbeing. Jeffco Open Space also initiated a monthly wellness update.
• The City of Arvada adopted an updated Comprehensive Plan. Through a robust community engagement process, and in partnership with the Arvada Healthy Places Initiative, this new plan includes a number of policies that support walking, bicycling and healthy food access.
• The City of Wheat Ridge, at the urging of the Active Transportation Advisory Team, budgeted $100,000 for pedestrian and bicycle work in 2015.

Currently, JCPH is working on the following policy initiatives:
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Arvada Parks & Recreation Plan
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Golden Parks & Recreation Plan
• Inclusion of health policies in the City of Lakewood Comprehensive Plan and Sustainability Plan
• Inclusion of pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly policies in the Evergreen Trails Master Plan
• Inclusion of bicycle lanes and traffic calming elements in the Jefferson County Transportation Design and Construction Manual
• Completion of a HEAL Policy Assessment of the Jefferson County Comprehensive Master Plan
• Recommendations for a health coalition, walking and biking assessments, and a healthy food access study in the DRCOG Sustainable Communities Initiative’s Gold Line Corridor Blueprint
• Inclusion of health policies in DRCOG MetroVision 2040


Throughout this work, JCPH’s Environmental Health Services Division has been a critical partner. Specialists and leadership in the division provide guidance on local government planning processes, insight on environmental quality concerns, and comments on potential policy changes. Information is also exchanged with environmental health partners across the region, in quarterly meetings and regular conversations.

In late 2014, JCPH applied for, and was recommended to receive, another three years of CCPD grant funding for FY 2016-2018. JCPH will receive a 333% increase in CCPD funds for this new grant period as compared to 2012-2015. The plan for this new program was developed with regular input from the HEAL Policy Team and other important partners. It seeks to scale up the work of the last three years through more proactive technical assistance, the development of a local HEAL coalition to include low-income residents, the broadening and deepening of the HEAL Policy Team, and the formation of a county-wide Food Policy Council. It will also increase the capacity of local and regional partners to leverage additional HEAL funds from foundations like Kaiser Permanente and The Colorado Health Foundation, and support more robust implementation of the Jeffco Community Health Improvement Plan.

 
 

Traffic Control Devices at Intersections


by Steve Durian, Transportation and Engineering Director
comments open from May 21 until June 9


Jefferson County’s Transportation and Engineering Division is responsible for evaluating appropriate traffic control alternatives for intersections of roadways and driveways. Typical intersection traffic control used throughout the county includes stop signs, traffic signals, and roundabouts. The county’s traffic engineers consider many factors including traffic volume, crash history, and pedestrian activity when determining the safest and most effective traffic control at intersections.

Stop Signs: Two-way stops are the most common traffic control used at intersections. Two-way stop sign controlled intersections occur where one intersecting roadway or driveway has significantly less traffic than the major street. Multi-way stop signs are used where moderate traffic volumes occur at an intersection and the volume of traffic at all approaches is more balanced.
• The advantages of stop signs is that they are the most efficient method of traffic control for traffic flow where lower traffic volumes are present and they are easier and less expensive to maintain.
• However, when the traffic volume is too great for a stop sign controlled intersection to operate efficiently or crash history indicates that a more controlled measure is needed, traffic engineers look to signalization or roundabouts.

Traffic Signals: Traffic signals become necessary when the delay to traffic would be too great for a stop sign controlled intersection or when a stop sign controlled intersection may cause a significant safety problem. Signalized intersections can vary in size from one travel lane in each direction to multiple lanes with two or more left-turn lanes.
• One advantage of signalizing intersections is that these intersections can operate more efficiently with larger volumes of traffic, especially where left-turning traffic volumes are heavy. Traffic signals can also decrease the incidences of major crashes and can assist pedestrians when crossing wide streets and busy intersections.
• There are several disadvantages to signalized intersections. One disadvantage is the higher operating cost. Another disadvantage is that minor rear-end crashes are more frequent at signalized intersections when compared to other types of intersections. A third disadvantage is that to achieve good traffic flow, signalized intersections cannot be spaced too closely to one another, thereby limiting the number of intersections that can be signalized along a roadway.

Roundabouts: Roundabouts are becoming more common throughout Jefferson County. Intersections controlled by roundabouts can handle higher traffic volumes than stop sign controlled intersections without many of the disadvantages of signalized intersections. Both signalized and stop sign controlled intersections have many conflicting crossing movements which can affect both the safety and efficiency of these types of intersections.
• With a roundabout, there are no left-turns and fewer conflicting or crossing movements resulting in improved traffic flow and decreased potential for severe crashes. Other advantages to roundabouts are that they can help control speeding and they are less costly to operate than signalized intersections.
• A disadvantage to roundabouts is that they require more land area to construct and therefore can be difficult to implement in developed areas where existing improvements limit available space. Roundabouts can also be confusing to drivers who are not accustomed to them or in the case of multi-lane roundabouts with inadequate advanced directional signage.

For more information about traffic safety and operations in Jefferson County, contact the Transportation and Engineering Division at 303-271-8495.

 
 

Protect Your Pets from Rabies


by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from April 23 until May 12


One of the best ways to show your pets how much you love them is to make sure they are protected from rabies. Rabies is an infectious viral disease that affects the nervous system in animals and humans. If you do not vaccinate your pets, you are putting your entire family at risk. It is also important to keep your pets on leashes when they are out in the community. Livestock may also be exposed to rabies and owners should be vigilant in monitoring health issues in their animals, and discuss any animal health concerns with their local veterinarian.

Rabies in wild animals is on the rise, especially in bats and skunks in the state of Colorado. As of April 17, 2015, Colorado State University and CDPHE laboratories have confirmed rabies in 24 animals (two bats, 20 skunks, one raccoon and one cat) in Colorado. Of these, nine (38%) rabid animals were known or strongly suspected of exposing 20 domestic animals and 20 humans. Wild animals can infect your pets if they are not protected.

The Foothills Animal Shelter provides low cost vaccinations as well as links to other vaccination clinics throughout the county. For more information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Kids Page on Rabies or read our JCPH Rabies brochure.

Residents and visitors are advised to avoid all stray or wild animals, keep pets (dogs, cats, ferrets, livestock) vaccinated against rabies and, don’t allow pets to roam free. Everyone is advised not to handle wild animals. If bitten or scratched by a pet or wild animal, immediately wash any wounds with soap and water and contact your family doctor.
For additional information on rabies, contact Jefferson County Public Health Zoonosis Program at 303-232-6301.

In addition to rabies vaccinations for pets and livestock, here are some additional precautions to prevent possible exposure to rabies:
• Do not feed, touch, or handle wild animals.

• If you find a bat inside your home, do not let it out or discard of it. Call animal control so that the animal can be tested. Otherwise, exposure is assumed and quarantine and/or prophylaxis will be required.

• If you must remove a dead animal on your property, wear rubber gloves or lift the carcass with a shovel or other tool, and double-bag it for the trash. Do not directly touch the animal with bare hands.

• Call your local animal control office to remove stray animals from your neighborhood

• Teach children to leave wildlife alone.

• Do not leave pet food or livestock feed in areas accessible to wildlife.

• Maintain control of your pets by keeping cats indoors and keeping dogs under direct supervision.

• Spay or neuter your pets to reduce the number of unwanted or stray animals in your community.

• Rabies vaccination should be considered for horses and other equines, breeding livestock, dairy cattle or other livestock.

• Call the Colorado Division of Parks and Wildlife at (303) 297-1192 if you have problems with wild animals.

If you are concerned that you or one of your animals might have been exposed to rabies, seek medical or veterinary attention immediately.

Resources:
Wildlife Rabies and You (brochure)

• For more information or to report a suspicious animal, please contact your local animal control agency or Jefferson County Animal Control: 303-271-5070

• For more information about rabies contact Environmental Health Services Animal Borne Disease Program at 303-232-6301 or visit the Jeffco Public Health site at www.jeffco.us/health.

• Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment Rabies Data on their website at https://www.colorado.gov/pacific/cdphe/rabies-data


 
 

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


by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from April 20 until May 9


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.

 
 

Boettcher Mansion’s 'Gathering of the Guilds' Celebrates Local Artisanry


by Cynthia Shaw, Boettcher Mansion Director
comments open from April 14 until May 3


On Sunday, April 26, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Colorado Arts & Crafts Society (CACS) will co-host its annual “Gathering of the Guilds” at the Boettcher Mansion atop Lookout Mountain.

Founded in 1997 to enlighten others about the Arts and Crafts Movement (1895-1920) and its aesthetic of harmony, beauty and truth to materials, CACS is a non-profit, volunteer organization headquartered inside the Mansion. Built in 1917, the former Lorraine Lodge is a regional example of the Craftsman style that has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since 1984 and today serves as a highly successful example of adaptive re-use.

CACS traditionally holds two major events at the Mansion. The Winter Symposium combines the annual membership meeting with a catered dinner and lecture focusing on Arts & Crafts design philosophy. The Spring “Gathering of the Guilds” highlights local guilds and independent craftspeople dedicated to producing furniture, textiles, pottery, metalwork, jewelry, books, and other one-of-a-kind handcrafted items (such as knives and leather goods).

This year, while approximately 25 vendors are giving informal demos and talks about their respective trades in every nook and cranny in the Mansion, Arts & Crafts aficionado Robert Rust will be on-hand to appraise antiques brought in by the public. The former co-owner of the Roycroft Inn and Shops in East Aurora, NY, and owner of 2R Fine Arts Appraisals since 1988, Robert will evaluate your heirloom for a fee of $5 per item (photos are acceptable).

General admission is $5 per person (free to CACS and participating guild members). Most artisan works are for sale and refreshments will be available for purchase on site. For more information, please call Cynthia Shaw, Boettcher Mansion director, at 720-497-7632 or visit the Boettcher Mansion website and/or the Colorado Arts and Crafts Society website.

 
 

Keeping Kids Safe in Every Way Possible


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from April 9 until April 28


Jefferson County has always been a strong community and a great place to live. While we may not like to think child abuse and neglect can happen in this community, it does. Children are our future and while they are our most valuable resource, they are also the most vulnerable. With the ultimate goal of protecting children, Colorado Department of Human Services (CDHS) launched a new statewide child abuse and neglect hotline - 1-844-CO-4-KIDS. This new hotline provides an additional option while the Jefferson County Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline is still available at 303-271-HELP.

Both numbers provide more options for reporting and ultimately work to help children in every way possible. Governor Hickenlooper's Child Welfare Plan, "Keeping Kids Safe and Families Healthy," called for the creation of the hotline to promote greater safety for Colorado's children. Designed to provide one easy-to-remember phone number for individuals to use statewide to report suspected child abuse and neglect, the hotline serves as a direct, immediate, and efficient route to Colorado's 64 counties and two tribal nations, which are responsible for accepting and responding to child abuse and neglect inquiries and reports. All callers will be able to speak with a call-taker 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

The new hotline system will capture critical information and ensure that calls across the state are handled quickly and appropriately with the ultimate goal of ensuring that no child is harmed. All children have the right to be safe and to be provided with opportunities to excel in life. When caring communities such as ours step up to support struggling children and families, the devastating effects of broken lives can be changed.

In addition, during the month of April, Jefferson County Human Services is providing a month of activities and fundraisers in honor of National Child Abuse and Prevention Month. Prevention is the best hope to eliminate child abuse and neglect and to improve the lives of children and families. Prevention often comes in the form of resources and assistance. One positive resource for families is SafeCare. If you have a child between the ages of 0 to 5, take advantage of this no-cost voluntary program. SafeCare home visitors offer support. Parents learn to reduce challenging child behaviors, increase positive time with child, remove common household safety hazards, identify and respond to common child sicknesses or injuries, and engage children in simple activities. For more information call 303-225-4185 or email SafeCare@saviohouse.org.

Please do your part in preventing child abuse and neglect every day; if you witness child abuse or even suspect it may be happening please call and report it to the Colorado Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-844-CO-4-KIDS or the Jefferson County Child Abuse Hotline at 303-271-HELP. Together, we can make a difference.

 
 

Love ’em, Leash ’em: Jeffco Open Space Campaign Focuses on Dog Owner Behavior


by Jeffco Open Space Communications
comments open from April 2 until April 20


Jeffco Open Space Rangers cite dogs off leash as the No. 1 issue within our parks. So do our visitors. With that in mind, Open Space has launched a campaign — Love ’em, Leash ’em — that includes four videos to capture public attention and influence behavior.

The video series was launched on March 30 on the @jeffcoopenspace Instagram account. Instagram is the world’s fastest-growing social media network, with 300 million daily users and a young demographic. More than 90% of users are under the age of 35.

While primarily used for photo sharing, Instagram also allows for videos up to 15 seconds long. This challenged the Open Space communications staff to succinctly portray reasons to leash your dog, including: prevention of snake bites and harassment of wildlife; reduced odds of a dog going missing; consideration for other visitors; and the leash law itself.

The series features photos from Instagram users of their leashed dogs in parks modeling good behavior.

The Sheriff’s Office has shared the series through its @jeffcosheriffco Instagram account. User comments have been positive:
• “Awww I love this video, can’t wait to see my Maddie in one!”
• “Thank you for doing this.”
• “Wonderful video that’s right on the mark!”

Increasing compliance with the leash law requires a cultural shift. As one Instagram user commented, “Love you guys Jeffco, and all [your] awesome open space parks -- but my doggy needs his freedom too. It's part of the culture here to let your well-behaved dog off leash.”

With help from viewers who see and share the videos, perceptions may change. The entire series can also be seen on the Jeffco Parks YouTube channel and is being promoted through Facebook, Twitter and the Jeffco Parks e-newsletter, Panorama.

To accompany the videos, Open Space has produced large posters (2 by 3 feet), which visitors will encounter on sandwich boards at trailheads. For more information, contact Communications Manager Thea Rock, trock@jeffco.us or 303-271-5902.


 
 

Jeffco is Expanding its Slash Collection Program for 2015


by Jefferson County Public Information
comments open from April 1 until April 19

Jefferson County is paving the way for an expanded slash program this year. It started last fall when the Board of County Commissioners announced four additional slash sites. This proved to be very successful, so the county decided to move forward with an expanded slash collection program beginning in 2015.

What is Slash?
Slash is debris, from nature, such as tree limbs, prunings and pine needles. If not removed, slash can add to potential fire hazards on your property. Wildfires have become more common, especially in dry years, and it is critical that homeowners clear debris from their properties to help prevent fire damage to their own and their neighbors’ properties.

In past years, the Sheriff’s Office operated the county slash collections; however, more sites were needed to accommodate the demand. This expanded program will provide a more robust long-term solution to assist in fire mitigation throughout Jeffco.

The Importance of Mitigation
Removing slash and creating a defensible space around your home is the first line of defense against wildfires. You can create zones around your home, removing any fire fuels, such as tree debris, in the first zone, which is closest to your home. This is not only important for your property, but it means being a good neighbor too, reducing potential hazards for the entire area. Great tips on how to protect your home and property can be found on the Jeffco Sheriff’s wildfire mitigation page and at www.firewise.org.

2015 Slash Collection Schedule
This year instead of having just a few dates and larger collections, there will be collections almost every weekend from the end of May through October. As these sites and dates are established, they will be posted on the Jeffco Slash webpage. You can also find information here on cost, what is accepted, what is not accepted and other related information.

For more information about the slash program, the dates

 
 

Looking for a New Job or Know of Someone Who is?


by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from March 18 until April 6


Please check out our newly designed Jeffco Jobs page where you can view and apply for open positions here at Jefferson County.

If you don’t see the job you are looking for, sign up for Job Interest Alerts to receive up-to-date notifications when selected positions become open. Job interest alerts allow you to select job categories for which you would like to receive email notifications. Once you do this, you will receive an email notification each time a position opens with Jefferson County in a category that matches one of the categories you've chosen. The process takes only a few minutes.

To view open positions or sign up for Job Interest Alerts, please visit our jobs page at www.jeffco.us/jobs where you will find instructions on how to do this as well as information on the current positions we have available.

 
 

Deck Safety Awareness


by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from March 11 until March 30


With spring just around the corner, deck safety comes to mind. Decks are popular structures used frequently as a gathering place for friends and family. They 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.

 
 

Aging Well in a Healthy Community


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from Feb. 25 until Mar. 16


By now, many may be aware that Jefferson County has one of the largest aging populations in the state. This population is only increasing and Jefferson County Human Services is committed to continually providing the best services to aging adults. Jefferson County Human Services is also known for strong collaborative partnerships. We believe in working together in order to best serve customers. One way we see this excellence is through Jefferson County’s Summit on Aging.

For the past seven years, Jefferson County’s Strategic Plan for Aging Well has been exploring the aging population and will be holding its fifth Jefferson County Summit on Aging on Thursday, June 4 from 7:30am – 3:30pm at WaterStone Community Church, 5890 South Alkire Street in Littleton.

This year’s summit is titled “Aging Well in a Healthy Community” and is a day for the Jefferson County community to come together to discuss plans and ideas for Aging Well in a Healthy Community. County and city officials have been asked to talk about how their community is preparing for an increased aging population. There will also be other workshops and presentations focused on Aging Well in Jefferson County.

The summit is open to the public, especially those working with seniors or have an interest in Jefferson County’s aging population. Register for the Summit on Aging 2015 now as seating is limited.

For more information, visit the Jefferson County Aging Well Project website or contact Susan Franklin at 303-271-4051.

 
 
 
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