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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.

 
 

Coping Strategies for Managing Change in the Workplace


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.

 
 

Cold Weather Plumbing Tips


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.

 
 

Residents Explore Colorado Wildflowers Through Native Plant Master Program


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 npmassistant@jeffco.us, 303-271-6620. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer who educates others, see the Volunteer Application on the NPM website.

 
 

Jeffco Needs You! Volunteer Board Opportunities


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.

 
 

Make Time to Focus on Professional Goals


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!

 
 

Severe Weather Resources for Jefferson County's Homeless


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 (lbarringer@thefamilytree.org) or 303-467-2604.

 
 
 
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