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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.


Bull Riders Series at the Jeffco Fairgrounds

Scott Gales, Director of Jeffco Fairgrounds
comments open from Feb. 18 until Mar. 9

Over the past several months, the staff at the Fairgrounds has worked closely with local promoters, Mike and Danny Newlon, to create a series of events around a new concept - indoor bull riding housed in an incredibly intimate and unique environment. The Livestock Arena at the Fairgrounds has provided that one-of-a-kind venue. It has allowed the Bull Riders Underground Showdown Series to blossom while providing the Jeffco Fairgrounds with a unique entertainment offering in our state.

So far, hundreds of new guests and fans have been drawn to the Jeffco Fairgrounds for this series, and organizers expect hundreds more with dates booked into February, March and April.


New Runway ... Who Pays for That?

Jeanie Rossillion, Development & Transportation Director
comments open from Jan. 28 until Feb. 16

The Rocky Mountain Metropolitan Airport completed a runway improvement project of its primary 9,000 foot runway, 11L-29R. The runway was closed for 3 months while construction was completed. This project included runway mill and overlay, installation of a runway sub-drainage system, electrical, and new signage. Due to the change in magnetic azimuths the runway was re-designated to Runway 12L/30R and Runway 12R/30L. The total cost of the project is about $9 Million Dollars.

Wow, a lot of money, right?! Let’s break it down…. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will fund 90%, 5% funded by State, and other 5% is funded at the local level by the Airport. The FAA has a program called the Airport Improvement Program (AIP) where grant monies are awarded for eligible projects that include improvements related to enhancing airport safety, capacity, security, and environmental concerns. The funds obligated for AIP are drawn from the Airport and Airway Trust Fund, which is financially supported by aviation passenger taxes, air cargo waybills, aviation fuel taxes, and other similar fees.

The State funds 5% of the project through the Colorado Discretionary Grant Program managed by the Colorado Division of Transportation – Aeronautics Division. 35% of Aviation fuel tax revenues collected in Colorado are used to serve the maintenance, capital equipment and development needs of Colorado’s 74 public-use airports.

The last 5% is paid from the operational revenues received by the Airport Division of Jefferson County. The Airport is owned and operated by Jefferson County, Colorado but operates as a self-sustaining entity with its own enterprise fund. The Airport’s enterprise fund is primarily supported by revenues from lease agreements on Airport property, fuel flowage fees and fuel taxes from local airport users, and U.S. Customs aircraft clearance fees. Other than a general fund loans, the Airport’s fund does NOT rely or utilize the County’s fund dollars or tax revenues for any purpose. Further, Airport revenues, whether operational or grant funded, are also not used to supplement the County’s general fund. The Airport continues to grow and rehabilitate itself through our own internal operations while providing a self-sufficient asset to the County through property and possessory taxes.

If you would like more information please see the following links below:

Colorado Department of Transportation, Discretionary Aviation Grant Program web page

Federal Aviation Administration AIP Overview web page


Public Health and Protecting Our Communities from Ebola

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

Public health agencies across the nation are working diligently to monitor travelers from Ebola-affected countries to protect the health of the public. In Colorado, the traveler monitoring program set up by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began in August of 2014. Travelers from the three Ebola-affected countries (Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone) are closely monitored as soon as they arrive in the United States at one of five international airports (New York, Virginia, Atlanta, Chicago or Newark).

While Jefferson County Public Health, in conjunction with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE), continues to monitor a small number of travelers who have returned from Ebola-affected countries, there are currently no suspected or confirmed cases of Ebola in Jefferson County.

View the JCPH Active Traveler Monitoring Program Fact Sheet

CDC/CDPHE and JCPH maintain efforts to ensure we have the most effective strategy possible to respond to a potential case of Ebola in Jefferson County. CDPHE and all of our county partners are strongly committed to protecting your health. Ongoing local public health activities include:
• Tracking and monitoring travelers returning to Jefferson County from affected West African countries;
• Supporting hospital preparedness efforts with education and information as they plan and prepare to medically support an individual with suspected or confirmed Ebola;
• Improving and refining county-wide protocols to effectively handle a suspected or confirmed case of Ebola in Jefferson County.

Download the JCPH Ebola Disease Fact Sheet

For more information about Ebola, please visit the CDC website.
Information is also available on the CDPHE web site.

For more information contact Jefferson County Public Health’s Emergency Preparedness Program at 303-271-8394 or email Christine Billings at


Jefferson County Head Start Open for Enrollment

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from Jan. 20 until Feb. 8

All children should have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Jefferson County Head Start believes that quality, early education fundamentally transforms children and families and assists them in reaching their full potential. In 2014, Head Start provided no cost preschool and other family supportive services to more than 466 children and their families in Clear Creek, Park, Gilpin and Jefferson Counties. All parents can call Head Start today to get children enrolled for spring 2015 - we encourage everyone to call as soon as possible as there are only 9 spots still open.

Jefferson County Head Start is a no-cost, child-focused and family-centered preschool program committed to providing education, health, nutrition, and family services to children and families in need. Head Start is more than a preschool program; it provides a range of wrap-around, individualized services in several areas. Most importantly, it gives children who wouldn’t usually have the opportunity to go to preschool the ability to learn, participate, and be active in a school setting at an early age.

Jefferson County Head Start teachers prepare children for kindergarten by implementing activities and assessing children in the social emotional, physical, cognitive, literacy, mathematics, and language developmental domains. These domains are aligned with Jefferson County Head Start’s School Readiness Plan as the Head Start Early Learning Framework, Parent Family Community Engagement Framework, and the Colorado Academic Standards. Teachers plan lessons to provide daily opportunities for children to focus on the objectives for development and learning from Creative Curriculum. Teachers create individual lesson plans to meet the needs of all children, including those who are dual language learners and those who have disabilities.

Enrollment is now open for the fall 2015-2016 school year. Give your child a head start, call today to see if you qualify! Applications are available on our website or contact Michelle Kalkwarf, 720-497-7908.


Hold the Holidays!

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from Dec. 12 until Dec. 31

Here at Jeffco many of our employees are again participating in our annual Hold the Holidays event. This event is a TEAM weight maintenance challenge designed to keep teammates from packing on the pounds during the holiday season. Teams will choose a “CAPTAIN” and consist of 2-8 members. By participating, teammates help keep each other accountable and motivated to make healthy choices during the season. This enables everyone to enjoy the holidays without having to lose weight after they are over! This is an easy program to implement in your own workplace or even with your family. You will be less stressed, more rested and more active during the holiday season, all of which will make your season brighter.


Snow Removal Procedures of the Road & Bridge Division

Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from Dec. 4 until Dec. 23

The following snow removal procedures remind our customers how we prioritize the roads we plow so they know what to expect when the snow flies. Remember to slow down and give our plows a wide berth for everyone’s safety!

The Road and Bridge Division is currently responsible for snow removal on 2,924 lane miles of paved roads and 695 lane miles of gravel roads in the unincorporated areas of the County. One lane mile is a 10 foot wide section of road one mile long. State highways, private roads and newly constructed roads that have not been accepted by formal resolution of the Board of County Commissioners are not included.

Forecasting and Preparations
The Road and Bridge Division is on a twenty-four hour, early-warning alert system. Supervisors utilize local, national, and customized weather forecasts and databases in order to anticipate and be prepared for the intensity of storm forecasted. Equipment is made ready for sanding and plowing during normal working hours for a forecasted storm.
Each equipment operator is assigned a specific route for snow removal and sanding. Assignment of roads to a route is determined by area supervisors based on priority of the road as defined below and for the most efficient utilization of equipment. There are currently 82 designated snow routes in unincorporated Jefferson County.

Snow Removal Procedures
Plowing and sanding operations will take place in four phases during a storm. The order in which streets are plowed in each phase is based on the following definitions of priority:
>>Priority 1 - Main arterial streets that provide for high traffic volumes.
>>Priority 2 - Major subdivision collectors, school zones and school bus routes.
>>Priority 3 - Residential or other local roads that carry moderate to low traffic volumes.
>>Priority 4 - Cul-de-sacs or other dead-end roads carrying very low traffic volumes.

Phase I: Initial opening of all Priority 1 through 3 streets in that order. Severity of the storm may delay response time for Priority 3 streets due to the fact that initial opening of major arterial streets requires that multiple lanes be plowed in each direction.

Phase II: Plowing and sanding of problem roads having steep inclines, curves, bridges or overpasses. Widening of any Priority 1 through 3 streets deemed necessary. Repeat plowing of all streets initially opened as snow continues to accumulate.

Phase III: Removal of packed snow and ice on all Priority 1 through 3 streets where possible and deemed necessary as snowfall accumulation stops. Plowing and sanding operations on Priority 4 streets will take place as resource availability allows. It could be several days after the snowstorm has ended before Priority 4 streets are initially plowed. Intermittent sanding as necessary by road priority.

Phase IV: Storm event is over. Continuation of widening operations to improve safe travel and prepare for additional accumulation during subsequent storms.

Application of Traction Materials: Sanding of most roads is limited during heavy snowfall because the sand is quickly covered and then removed as additional plowing occurs. When applying sand, special attention is given to sections of the road network posing specific safety concerns. These include, but are not limited to, areas such as: school and hospital zones, police and fire stations, bridges and overpasses, turn lanes, acceleration or deceleration lanes, approaches to intersections that are stop sign or signal controlled, curves, steep grades, heavy traffic areas, areas of ice accumulation, speed bumps, and areas with other known problems.

Snow Removal Clarifications
>> Driveways: Driveway approaches affected during Phases I, II, and III are the responsibility of the property owner or resident to clear. When snow removal or widening in Phase IV is being carried out, driveways that were previously opened by the homeowner will not have additional snow plowed into them.

>> Mailboxes and Fences: Mailboxes, newspaper delivery boxes or fences installed alongside the traveled roadway are at the risk of the owner. If an operator strikes a mailbox with a plow, the operator will report it and we will repair it as soon as possible. Mailboxes and fences damaged by snow load during normal plowing operations are not the responsibility of the County. If a mailbox is struck by a plow, it will be replaced with a standard rural mailbox. Postal regulations require residents to clear snow in front of mailboxes to allow for mail delivery.

>> Snow Pushed onto County Street or Right-of Way: The practice of pushing or throwing snow or ice onto or across Jefferson County streets endangers the traveling public as well as county snowplow operators. Jefferson County residents as well as private contractors may receive a warning and/or summons for snow or ice pushed onto County streets and rights-of-way from sidewalks, driveways, parking lots, etc. Example: When breaking up ice from driveway or flow line of curb, do not throw it out into the street where it can be struck by a vehicle; we encourage citizens to blow and shovel snow and ice onto their grass.

>> Vehicles Parked or Abandoned: Streets on which vehicles have been abandoned or otherwise parked so as to restrict the safe and continuous operation of snow removal equipment may not be plowed until those vehicles are removed.

>> Requests for Emergency Snow Removal: All requests for emergency snowplowing should go to the Jefferson County Sheriff's Dept. If the request is valid, they will notify the Road & Bridge Division and we will respond as soon as possible.


Behind the Scenes of Planning and Preparing for Public Health Emergencies

by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from Dec. 1 until Dec. 19

Jefferson County Public Health’s (JCPH) Emergency Preparedness and Response Program works year-round to help prepare the county for any public health threats, from a biological Anthrax attack, to a foodborne outbreak of E. Coli, to a global pandemic. JCPH’s epidemiologists, emergency response planners and health communications team work together to ensure we are prepared and ready to respond.

Disease Detectives
Commonly known as disease detectives, infectious disease epidemiologists investigate infectious disease outbreaks in the community. By investigating outbreaks, epidemiologists can contain the spread of the disease in the population and help prevent a similar outbreak from happening in the future. JCPH’s epidemiologists investigate approximately 25 to 30 outbreaks from Norovirus to E. Coli, and respond to over 150 disease complaints each year.

Every disease outbreak is unique, however most investigations follow the same process. JCPH works in coordination with health and medical systems across the county and throughout Colorado. Working together, they use robust surveillance systems to quickly identify potential outbreaks. Diseases that are particularly concerning are classified as reportable conditions. This means that anytime someone is diagnosed with one of these diseases, it must be reported to the local health department. This helps health departments quickly identify potential outbreaks so they can be rapidly contained.

If there is an outbreak, the epidemiologist will start an investigation. The epidemiologist will interview the index case to determine what he or she has been doing, where they have been and who they’ve come into contact with. This helps to determine how the person may have become infected, and who else they may have infected while they were contagious. This is called contact tracing. The epidemiologist will use the information they gather during contact tracing to develop a scientific hypothesis or explanation about the source of the outbreak. They will research their hypothesis and use their findings to help the health department determine how they will control the outbreak.

Public Health Emergency Response Planners
Public health emergency response planners plan for the worst public health disaster that they can possibly imagine. From a biological anthrax attack to a fictional zombie apocalypse, public health planners work to ensure that the community is prepared for any type of public health disaster. Planners start their work by analyzing the threats to the community so that they know what the most likely potential threats are. They work alongside Emergency Management, Fire Departments, EMS, Law Enforcement Agencies, and Healthcare Agencies to find effective and efficient ways to prepare the community.

Public health planners focus on public health threats and provide expertise about the public health impact of any disaster, such as smoke inhalation during a wildfire. They write plans, train professionals and the public, and conduct drills and exercises to test their plans and their trainings. At the end of the day, emergency response planners create a more prepared community.


Help Others This Holiday Season

by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from Nov. 19 until Dec. 8

Here at Jefferson County Human Services, we work every day to help citizens build better, safer lives. We work tirelessly to assist those in crisis or struggling. We do this work daily. The holiday season is a special opportunity to go above and beyond, to support others in a way that reminds everyone the true spirit of the season is giving.

Through the Holiday Giving Sponsor-A-Family Program community members and businesses are asked to sponsor a family and make the season a little brighter for everyone. The program serves children and families who are dealing with issues of child abuse and neglect and may not receive any gifts this holiday season. For details and more information, please visit the Human Services website.

Another opportunity for giving this season is through fostering a teen. Fostering a teen could be one of the greatest gifts of all. You could truly positively impact a teen's life in a way you might not even realize until years later. Your presence, your wisdom, your guidance: it could be the greatest gift of all. For more information call us at 303-636-1KID or email us!

This holiday season take a minute to think about how you can give. For even more volunteer opportunities visit the Volunteers page on the website.


National Save for Retirement Week

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from October 21 until November 9

October 19, 2014, kicks off National Save for Retirement Week, which occurs each year during the third week of October.

National Save for Retirement Week was started in 2006 by two Senators in order to increase public knowledge about retirement savings and to encourage employees to save and participate in their employer-sponsored retirement plans.

The goals for this week are to:
1. Promote the benefits of saving for retirement;
2. Encourage employees to fully utilize employer-sponsored plans; and
3. Increase awareness around saving now for the future.

During this week, it is a great time to reflect on your current retirement savings strategies and determine if you are on track to meet your goals. It is also a reminder to contact your plan administrator or financial advisor to assist with your retirement planning.


Traffic Signal Timing

by Derek Schuler, Jefferson County Traffic/Transportation Engineer
comments open from October 20 until November 8

What is traffic signal timing?
It is the technique which traffic engineers use to determine who has the right-of-way at a signalized intersection. Coordination with other traffic signals is considered so that traffic can travel along a major street without being stopped for a red light at every signal.

Challenges to Effective Traffic Signal Timing
Providing effective timing and coordination of traffic signals can be challenging as there are competing interests between minimizing stops along the main street and reducing side street delay. A coordinated system of signals includes timed vehicle releases from one signal to other signals in which platoons of vehicles travel through a series of signals without stopping. The following factors are important in developing a timing plan:

• Cycle Length – It is the total time to give both streets the right-of-way. It needs to be long enough to provide progression of traffic on the main street but not too long that side street traffic experiences unnecessary delay.

• Left Turn Phases – Adding left turn arrow indications at busy intersections allows motorists to make these turns easier and safer. However, these are extra phases that require longer cycle lengths and adds delay.

• Intersection Spacing – When signals are irregularly spaced, providing coordination of multiple signals becomes difficult (especially for both directions).

• Pedestrians – Many signals have push buttons to allow pedestrians adequate time to cross the street. When a pedestrian call is made, it often extends the side street time and poses challenges for maintaining coordination along the main street.

Did you know?
Traffic engineers with Jefferson County and the Denver Regional Council of Governments (DRCOG) are updating signal timing plans on several arterial street corridors. These include portions of Bowles Avenue, Kipling Parkway, and Ken Caryl Avenue. There has been a moderate increase in traffic volumes on these corridors and slightly higher cycle lengths will be implemented during certain time periods. A closer look at pedestrian crossing times and left turn phasing in certain areas was part of the effort to optimize these timings.

Directly following this effort, other signalized corridors in southeast Jefferson County will receive timing updates for compatibility. Implementation of the new timings is expected later this fall.

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


Help Prevent the Spread of Germs at Work

by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from Sept. 22 until Oct. 11

Cold and flu season is upon us! Now that fall is here, many workplaces start to see an increase of people with colds or flu-like symptoms.

Now is the time to think about getting your annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated. Take advantage of your organization's wellness programs and onsite flu shots.

The CDC also suggests additional ways to help prevent the spread of germs at work such as:
• Try avoiding contact with those who are sick.
• If you can, stay home when you are sick.
• Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
• Wash your hands frequently with warm water and soap for at least 1 minute.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

By following these tips, hopefully we can all help minimize the impact of these ailments on our workplaces this season. More information can be found on the Jefferson County Public Health Influenza web page.


Heating Safety

by Becky Baker, Building Safety Division Director
comments open from Sept. 15 until Oct. 4

It’s a cold winter night. You decide to use an electrical space heater, or perhaps light a fire in the fireplace, to save on the heating bill. Comfortable from its warmth as bedtime approaches you think, "What harm could it cause to leave it on overnight?"

Think again. While these heating devices may help you feel cozy and warm, they can become extremely dangerous if not used properly. Home heating equipment was involved in an estimated 62,000 home fires in 2005, according to the non-profit National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). The cost of these fires is more than just property damage. The cost includes roughly 700 lives and roughly 1,500 injuries.

Home heating fires are largely preventable when you know the rules.

The majority of heating fire deaths are caused by space heaters! Most heating fires are caused by creosote build-up in the chimney.

To help keep our community safe and warm this season, the following guidelines are recommended:

• Space heaters need space. Keep all things that can burn, such as paper, bedding and furniture, at least 3 feet away from heating equipment.

• Turn portable heaters off when you go to bed or leave the room.

• Plug power cords only into outlets with sufficient capacity and never into an extension cord.

• Inspect for cracked, frayed or broken plugs or loose connections. Replace before using.

• Have your chimney inspected each year and cleaned if necessary.

• Use a sturdy fireplace screen.

• Allow ashes to cool before disposing. Dispose of ashes in a metal container.

• Install smoke alarms in every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home. For the best protection, interconnect all smoke alarms throughout the home - when one sounds, they all sound. Test smoke alarms at least once a month.

• Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in a central location outside each sleeping area.

• Never use an oven to heat your home.

With simple precautions, you can decrease home-heating fires this winter.


Help Your Child Stay at a Healthy Weight

by Dr. Mark B. Johnson, Jefferson County Public Health Executive Director
comments open from Sept. 2 until Sept. 21

One in three children in the United States is overweight or obese. Childhood obesity puts kids at risk for health problems that were once seen only in adults, like type-2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Jefferson County Public Health encourages families to make healthy changes together. Childhood obesity can be prevented.

 Get active outside: Walk around the neighborhood, go on a bike ride, or play at the park. Jeffco Open Space and Parks offers diverse trails and outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy.

 Limit screen time: Keep screen time (time spent on the computer, watching TV, or playing video games) to 2 hours or less a day. Check out these tips for helping your family limit screen time.

 Make healthy meals: Buy and serve more vegetables, fruits, and whole-grain foods. Livewell Colorado offers healthy recipes and tips for buying and eating healthy foods.

 Become a part of WE CAN: a national initiative to reduce childhood obesity.

Jefferson County Public Health (JCPH) is working with parents, schools, policymakers, communities, businesses and others to improve active living and healthy eating for everyone in Jefferson County.

JCPH has provided technical assistance to several municipalities in Jefferson County as they adopt policies that improve their communities’ access to physical activity and healthy food. Learn more about the Livewell Colorado HEAL (Healthy Eating and Active Living) Cities and Towns Campaign. You can also view our community health improvement plan at

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