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Going Back to School


by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from February 26 until March 17


We recently held an education fair and information forum for our employees at Jefferson County. During the fair we learned that going to school after you have been in the work world is not easy!

Here is some information on where to start if you are returning to school and how to find the right college or university:

• Decide if you are ready to go back to school. Going back to school sounds glamorous, but it’s really a lot of hard work. Are you ready? Make sure you know what you want and have the support you’ll need in place before you set out on your new adventure.

• Choose a degree. Once you’re sure it’s the right time to go back to school, make sure you know exactly what it is you want to do with your degree so you know which degree to get. That sounds obvious, but it’s an important step. Some questions you may ask yourself are:
o What do you want to study?
o What will you do with your education?
o Are you getting the right degree for the job you want?

• Take a few career tests. There are assessments and quizzes available to help you figure out what you’re good at and what you’d like to do.

• Make an appointment with a Career Counselor. Career counselors are available in almost every city and at almost every school. Search online directories or ask your local librarians for help.

• Choose between online or on-campus. Now that you know what you want to do and which degree you’ll need to do it, it’s time to decide what kind of campus is better for you, a physical classroom or a virtual one. There are benefits to each. Some examples are:
o Is cost an issue? Online courses may cost much less than traditional courses.
o Do you learn better in a social setting, or do you prefer to study on your own?
o Do you have a quiet place at home and the technology you need for online learning?
o Is there a local school that offers the degree you want, and is it convenient?
o Are you the kind of student who needs face-to-face time with our teacher?
o Do you have reliable transportation if you choose to learn on campus?

These are just some areas to explore if you are planning to return to school. It’s important to give time to research these areas and take full advantage of the many resources available to assist you. Education, training and development is an investment in you!

 
 

You Can Apply for Your Passport at Jefferson County


by Jeffco Public Information
comments open from February 25 until March 16

Did you know that you can apply for a passport with Jefferson County? The Jefferson County Clerk & Recorder's Office is a designated Passport Acceptance Facility for the U.S. Department of State.

U.S. citizens planning to travel internationally may apply for their passports Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Admin & Courts Facility, Suite 2560, 100 Jefferson County Parkway in Golden. Passport photos can also be done at the Clerk & Recorder's office for $5.

Please call ahead for your appointment and to get all the important details specific to your travel plans and passport needs.

For more information on passport services, visit the Clerk & Recorder's webpage on passports or call 303-271-8167. For locations and services of the Clerk & Recorder's Office, visit www.jeffco.us/cr.

 
 

Native Plant Master Program Upcoming Classes


by Public Information
comments open from February 22 until March 13

Interested in learning more about Colorado native plants including which ones you could add to your landscape or what weeds to control on your property this summer? Take native plant landscaping, weed management or one of our 18 other classes! March and April offerings are listed below. For a complete list of Denver/Gilpin/Jeffco classes, see npm.eventbrite.com or see www.conativeplantmaster.org for other offerings in the state.

Register soon as offerings fill quickly. If you would like to be sure to receive notices of future openings, sign up here. Please forward this to your readership, and/or include in your publication. Thank you for helping us get the word out about Colorado plant courses and classes!

Native Plant Landscaping - Tuesday - March 12
Colorado has a wealth of native plants, colorful wildflowers, grasses, shrubs and trees, which are well adapted to our variable climate, soils, temperatures and elevations. In this 4 hour class taught by CSU’s Dr. Irene Shonle, you’ll learn how to use native plants in your landscape, and be introduced to many beautiful, hardy native plants.

Basic Botany Class - Tuesday, March 26 and Thursday, April 25
Enjoy an interactive, fun and fact-filled class designed to prepare you for success in your study of Colorado's flora. Participants will be exposed to basic botanical terminology, taxonomy and ecology as we navigate a botanical key and explore some of the more useful bits of the primary reference for field botany in our state, Colorado Flora, Eastern Slope, Fourth Edition.

Plant Families and Keying Class - Tuesday, April 2
This class delves deeper into intricacies of Colorado plant families, including key identifying characteristics, followed by a close-up opportunity to key out plants in the field (weather permitting). It is recommended that participants have basic botany knowledge before attending this class. For those needing an introductory botany class that covers parts of a plant and gives a basic intro to plant recognition, see Basic Botany Class on March 26 or April 25.

Introduction to Invasive Weeds and Management - Thursday - April 4
An entry level class taught by CSU’s Dr. George Beck that will cover ID of Colorado’s A- and B-list weeds including live specimens; information about our state weed law; weed biology (life cycles, weed evolution, weeds and succession); strategies and methods for weed management and sprayer calibration.

Invasive Weed Management for Experienced Land Owners - Tuesday - April 30
An intermediate to advanced class taught by CSU’s Dr. George Beck for those that have experienced previous weed training and will cover weed biology and ecology and how this information is used when designing weed management strategies. Ecologically-based weed management will be emphasized including information on using grazing to manage weeds as well as integrating herbicide use with seeding for site recovery. ID, biology and management of local weeds of importance as identified by course participants also will be included.

 
 

FasTracks West Line, February Update


by Public Information
comments open from Febraury 21 until March 12


Tick-tock, tick-tock. As time inches closer to opening day on April 26, RTD is rapidly checking items off the to-do list. By the end of February, integrated testing will be complete. At the beginning of March, RTD will officially own the line and operational testing will begin. By mid-March all artwork on the line will be commissioned and in fabrication.

2011 Quality of Life Study
RTD released its sixth annual FasTracks Quality of Life Study. The report focuses on the effect the FasTrack program has in areas where there is service, along with areas where current and scheduled construction is taking place.
A few key discoveries from the study found that the number of FasTracks directly-supported jobs increased 11 percent from 2005 to 2011, the taxable retail sales for RTD increased 0.7 percent from 2010 and overall ridership increased 0.4 percent.

Further, the report showed light rail times remain five minutes faster than drive time on the Southeast and Southwest lines, the use of Park-n-Rides remained consistent, and RTD provides 31 percent of destinations with high-frequency transit options.

RTD is constantly looking to improve the district and offer the best transit service in the country. For further information or to view the 2011 Quality of Life Report please visit our RTD website.

Artwork commissions on the West Line
West Line began the process of commissioning public art for the light rail passenger stations in October. By mid-March, artists for all designated locations will be selected. In a three-part series, we will feature a brief biography of each artist commissioned on the West Line.
>> Jose Antonio Aguirre will lend his color pallet to Knox Station
>> John Rogers will put a creative twist at the Lakewood•Wadsworth Station
>> Mike Squared Mosiacs will add a unique, cultured perspective to the Garrison Station
>> Benjamin Ball and Gaston Nogues are working on a creative piece for Jeffo-Golden Station

Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter or get the latest information, see the FasTracks West Corridor website.

 
 

Snow Removal Procedures


Larry Benshoof, Road & Bridge Director
comments open from February 19 until March 10


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

Forecasting and Preparations
The Road and Bridge Division is on a twenty-four hour, early-warning alert system. Supervisors utilize local, national, and customized weather forecasts and databases in order to anticipate and be prepared for the intensity of storm forecasted. Equipment is made ready for sanding and plowing during normal working hours for a forecasted storm.

Each equipment operator is assigned a specific route for snow removal and sanding. Assignment of roads to a route is determined by area supervisors based on priority of the road as defined below and for the most efficient utilization of equipment. There are currently 82 designated snow routes in unincorporated Jefferson County.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Snow Removal Clarifications

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

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

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

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

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

 
 

Young Adults Exploring Career Possibilities at YouthWorks Job Fair


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from February 13 until March 4


Young adults are our future. They are just beginning to explore where their lives are headed and need mentorship, guidance, and advice to start the journey. The Jeffco YouthWorks Young Adult Job Fair is a place for young adults to start.

This is the final young adult job fair taking place in the state of Colorado for the year and a chance for young adults to discover career possibilities and opportunities in the work force. Be sure to share this opportunity with any young adults, ages 14 to 21.

All are invited to the 2013 Jeffco YouthWorks Young Adult Job Fair from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. on March 5 at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds , 15200 W. 6th Ave in Golden.

Local businesses are also invited to participate in the fair. Jeffco YouthWorks is still accepting businesses with available full-time, part-time, summer jobs, or career opportunities for young adults. What a great way to recruit and support young adults in the community!

Businesses that will be at this year’s event include Bandimere Speedway, DISH Network, Home Depot, JetStream Ground Services, Pirates Cove Family Aquatic Center, Safeway, and many more.

With the community wrapped around young adults in this way, the future of our young adults and our community look very bright.

For more information visit www.jeffcoyouthworks.org or call 303-271-4613.

 
 

Public Meeting on the 32nd Ave Widening Project


by Public Information
comments open from January 23 until February 11

The City of Wheat Ridge is partnering with Jefferson County to widen a portion of 32nd Avenue--Braun Court to Wright Court. Construction on this project is scheduled to start on January 24, 2013.

What: Public Meeting for 32nd Avenue Widening, from Braun Ct to Wright Ct.

When: January 23, 2013; starting at 5:00 pm

Where: Applewood Shopping Center, Former Old Chicago building, lower level – located at 3258 Youngfield Street, Wheat Ridge CO 80033

Who: Presented by Concrete Works of Colorado, general contractor

Purpose: Present scope of work and schedule of roadway construction

Get more information about the meeting on the City of Wheat Ridge website.

 
 

FasTracks West Line, January Update


by Public Information
comments open from January 16 until February 4


In less than four months and counting the much anticipated West Rail Line will open to the public—the first rail line to open under RTD’s FasTracks program. But until then, integrated testing continues as the West Rail Line works toward safety certification.

What's in a Name?
The rail line to the west has been called West Corridor, West Rail Line, West Line, W Line, and W Rail. Which is the correct name? Technically, all are right. Materials referring to the line as West Corridor were produced as early as 1978 (in early studies) and as late as 2011 (well into construction). At that time the name changed to West Rail Line. However, as we move into operation, most people refer to the lines by their letter designation.


In this case, it is the W Line, similar to the C, D, E, F and H Lines. Officially deemed the “W” Rail (pictured above), the line takes on a new identity that you will begin to see more and more leading up to and through Opening Day. The upcoming 6th Avenue bridge lighting event is the first time you will see this new identity, but certainly not the last.

West Rail Line Bicycle Lockers
The West Rail Line is set to open April 26, 2013 and bicycle lockers will be available for lease at the following new stations: Decatur-Federal, Sheridan, Lakewood-Wadsworth, Oak, and Jeffco-Golden. You can put your name on the waiting list for a locker at one of these locations by calling the Civic Center Station customer service desk at 303-299-2288. Lockers are currently available with no waiting at the existing Federal Center Station. Bicycle lockers cost $30 for a six-month renewable lease with a one-time padlock fee of $20. An RTD-issued padlock must be used on these bike lockers. First time renters will need to turn in a lease agreement in person at the Boulder Transit Center, Civic Center Station, or Market Street Station. Lease agreements are available at each of these customer service locations.

RTD Introduces Smart Cards
The wait is over. On January 1, RTD introduced a whole new way to ride for CollegePass and EcoPass customers. The first phase of RTD’s smart card rollout brings several benefits, including unlimited rides on regular bus and light rail with just one tap every time you ride. Through mid-January, RTD had smart card ambassadors at light rail stations during rush-hour to demonstrate how to use the new cards. Later in 2013 RTD will convert all fares and passes to smart card technology with the introduction of the MyRide card for the general public.

Additionally, beginning with the opening of the West Rail Line, RTD is working toward making riding even more convenient on all lines by installing the capability for patrons to purchase rides with credit cards. Visit our website for more details on the smart card.

Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter or get the latest information, see the FasTracks West Corridor website.

 
 

Help Prevent the Spread of Germs at Work


by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from January 10 until January 29


Cold and flu season is here!

You have probably heard that this season is off to an early start and many workplaces will start to see an increase of people with colds or flu-like symptoms.

If you haven’t done so already, you may want to think about getting your annual flu shot. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the best way to prevent the seasonal flu is to get vaccinated.

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

By following these tips, hopefully we can all help minimize the impact of these ailments on our workplaces this season. More information can be found on the Jefferson County Public Health website and the Centers for Disease Control website.

 
 

Strengthening the Jefferson County Community through Partnership


by Lynn Johnson, Human Services Director
comments open from January 2 until January 22


Partnership is powerful. Here at Jefferson County Human Services we know partnership is necessary in order to achieve the very best results. With the power of several minds working together new and creative ideas are born, various viewpoints are shared, and positive results take place. We do everything we can to collaborate with other government agencies, non-profit groups, businesses, and the faith based community. Using each other as resources makes us all more successful, and is ultimately in the best interest of the people we serve. We couldn’t do it alone.

At this year’s Power of Partnership Conference anyone can come discover the power of working together. The conference celebrates collaborations between Jefferson County and the faith community, brings practical ideas to make these collaborations more effective, and enlists new partners and partnerships to serve our community. Join us on Thursday, February 21, 2013 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at Waterstone Community Church, 5890 South Alkire Street, Littleton.

We will focus on housing, education, family, building communities, hunger/poverty, and special populations. Anyone who has a desire to partner with others to make the community a better place to live is encouraged to attend. We all come with an open mind and a willingness to work together. Through this conference all are expected to discover the power of partnership.

For more information go to the Power of Partnership website. To register to attend, go to the the online event registration form.

 
 

Stock Show and Rodeo Events at Jeffco Fairgrounds


by Mark Danner, Fairgrounds Director
comments open from December 19 until January 7


January is almost here, and to many of us in the Denver Metro area, that means one thing - the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo! Did you know that you can catch some Stock Show and Rodeo action at the Jefferson County Fairgrounds? Yes, at your County Fairgrounds.

Typically the National Western Stock Show and Rodeo grounds in Denver is booked over and above their capacity. That’s why you’ll find the Jeffco Fairgrounds hosting Steer Wrestling qualifying rounds and the bulk of the Team Penning and Sorting events for the Stock Show January 13 and 14. Come see the same top caliber cowboys and cowgirls that you pay to see in Denver, without the gate admission. These local events at the Fairgrounds are free events and great entertainment for the whole family.


Coming up in January, you can also experience train shows, coin shows, postcard shows, enter your dog in agility trials, try your hand at roping and much more! You get the picture. Check out the Fairgrounds calendar - there is something for everyone! For more exciting opportunities and to get information, check out our web site at jeffco.us/parks.

 
 

Fast Tracks, West Line December Update


by Public Information
comments open from December 18 until January 6


As opening day draws near, there is still much to be done along the West Rail Line—including safety outreach, testing, and completing construction on both the Sheridan and Lakewood-Wadsworth parking garages.

6th Avenue Bridge Lights Up
On January 23, 2013, RTD will host a ceremonial lighting of the 6th Avenue Bridge. Join us for this exciting event as the switch is pulled and the bridge is illuminated for the first time.

The 6th Avenue Bridge, designed by David Evans and Associates and built by Denver Transit Construction Group’s subcontractor Edward Kraemer and Sons, will be lit by LED lights that are attached to the 44 cables that span the bridge. Once lit, the lights will remain on, making this signature bridge even more spectacular. This ceremony marks the end of construction activities and signifies the start of testing, as well as serves as the start of the countdown to Grand Opening of the West Rail Line, scheduled on April 26, 2013. Watch your email for more details on the ceremony.

Civil and System Construction is Complete. Why Aren’t we Open?
Even though the vast majority of construction is complete on the West Rail Line, there are three phases of testing that need to be complete to ensure safe and reliable operations of the system prior to opening.

Static or Local Testing is currently taking place where individual elements or groups of elements are tested. This ensures that each crossing gate, each signal, every emergency telephone, etc all are working as designed. The functionality of each of these elements and hundreds more need to all be safety certified prior to carrying passengers.

Integrated Testing will begin in early January, where a light rail vehicle is brought out to make sure that all the systems work together throughout the corridor. For example, as a vehicle approaches a crossing, does the light rail signal system interface properly with the traffic signal system and initiate the crossing gate sequence to operate properly for the train approaching, or if there is another train on the track ahead, does the light rail signal caution the train to proceed slowly or stop. All these elements are tested from early January to the end of February.

Operator Training and Schedule Testing is the final phase. At that point, the line is turned over to RTD operations, where light rail supervisors and operators are trained to operate the West Rail Line – which is different than other lines RTD currently has in operations, due to the large number of at-grade crossings. After the operators are trained and know the line – over a 3-4 week period – the schedules will be tested to make sure they operate as written. After staff is trained on the line – in late March to early April, trains will run on the actual schedule as if we were carrying passengers. For the final week to 10 days prior to opening, we integrate the West Rail trains into the existing system through the Central Platte Valley, taking all West Rail trains into Union Station. Since trains from the Southeast and Southwest also run along there, the test will be to make sure that the timing works as planned.

Opening a light rail line is not like a highway that can open as soon as construction is complete. Even though the next few months seem like a long time for us to wait, the systems and operations group are hard at work under tight deadlines to open on April 26, 2013!

Safety Reminder
The West Rail Line wants to remind you to BE SAFE near all construction and light rail activity. Soon you will begin to see light rail trains operating along the line for testing so it is important to take all necessary precautions at the crossings and along the tracks to make sure that you remain safe. Below are important safety tips for you and your family to remember when you are near the light rail tracks:
• Stop, look both ways, and listen before crossing and railroad tracks. The trains are very quiet and can approach from both directions.
• Never play near or on the light rail tracks. Switches on the tracks move automatically and can cause injury. You would also be breaking the law by trespassing.
• Before crossing light rail tracks, make sure the crossing gates are all the way up and that there are no flashing lights or sounding bells.
• Keep yourself and all objects away from the wires overhead.
• Get off your bike, scooter, or skateboard before you cross the tracks. Your wheels can get caught in the tracks.
• Always PAY ATTENTION. Do not let your cell phones, headphones, texting, or game-playing divert your attention.
• Never chase a moving train.

We urge everyone to stay away from the tracks, overhead wires, and all elements of the light rail system as we start into the testing phases for the West Rail Line prior to opening to the public on April 26, 2013.

Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter or get the latest information, see the FasTracks West Corridor website.

 
 

Hold the Holidays


by Jennifer Fairweather, Human Resources Director
comments open from December 3 until December 22


Did you know that Americans tend to gain 3-5 lbs. between Thanksgiving and New Year’s? Here at Jeffco, many of our employees are 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 two-eight members.

By participating, teammates help keep each other accountable and motivated to make healthy choices during the program. This enables everyone to enjoy the holidays without having to lose weight after they are over!

This is an easy challenge to implement in your own workplace or even with your family. If you can’t skip the pumpkin pie, have a small piece and pass on the whipped cream. You will be less stressed, more rested and more active during the holiday season, all of which will make your season brighter.

 
 

Jefferson County, Chickens and “Your Backyard”


by John Wolforth, Planning and Zoning Director
comments open from Nov. 20 until Dec. 9


Jefferson County is about to embark on drafting regulations to allow chickens in residential zone districts. As we move through the regulation review process and public hearings, here are some things to think about!

Most citizens have become painfully aware of our nation’s economic crisis. Experts warn that the crisis will likely get worse before it gets better. While gas prices have gone up and down, the cost of food, utilities, property taxes, and other services continue to rise. Many local citizens are having a difficult time making ends meet.

A readily available source of eggs saves money, gas, and time. A chicken coop takes less space than a garden tool shed and hens cost very little to feed. In addition, fuel costs and emissions from transporting eggs to the store by semi-trucks and from the store by cars are reduced.

Chickens in Backyard Coops Are Attractive and Clean
Unlike commercial poultry operations or rural farms, people in the city who keep chickens as pets tend to keep them in very attractive enclosures. They take great pride in their pets and backyard coops that they often hold annual tours to show them off. In cities like Denver, Portland, Seattle and Madison, chicken enthusiasts participate in tours, classes, and clubs, adding fabric and educational opportunities to their communities.

Chickens themselves do not smell. Any possible odor would be from feces, but five small hens generate less manure than one medium-sized dog. The manure is not likely to accumulate because it’s a source of free fertilizer for the garden. Once tilled into the soil, manure no longer causes objectionable odors. Dog and cat feces cannot be used as fertilizer or composted because they contain pathogens that can infect humans. Therefore, dog and cat waste is more likely to accumulate and smell.

Not only do chickens produce less waste, most people who keep chickens in the city also have a garden and therefore compost their chicken manure. If composted and added to the garden, the water quality impact would be virtually nothing. Chickens also reduce the need for pesticides because they eat bugs and weeds, further reducing the potential for water pollution.

Chickens Play an Important Role in Sustainable Living
More and more people are interested in living a sustainable life style. Government, utilities, and non-governmental organizations are encouraging citizens to reduce their consumption of resources. A small number of backyard chickens allow us the opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint and support the local food movement.

People who have backyard hens are less likely to use harmful chemicals and pesticides in their gardens. Instead, they desire their yard to be healthy and environmentally-friendly. They consider chickens a natural extension of their garden because they eat weeds and bugs and provide fertilizer.

Organic gardeners seek natural fertilizer to enhance their garden soil as they grow fresh fruits and vegetables. Chicken manure is one of the most efficient natural fertilizers providing essential nutrients to build the soil. Backyard hens provide the most local source of fertilizer available. It is easily composted, without any transportation costs. Chicken manure is a great addition to sustainable urban gardens. Backyard chickens eat grass clippings and food scraps, thus keeping these products out of the local landfill by reusing them on site.

We are encouraged to eat locally, reducing the need to transport food long distances. What better place to start than the availability of food right in the back yard. National and local news media have given the 100 mile diet (eating only food grown within a 100 mile radius of your home) substantial coverage over the last year.

Backyard hens can help promote a 100 yard or even a 100 foot diet. Imagine the lowered gas consumption as trips to the store are made less frequently. Becoming a more sustainable community becomes easier with the availability of eggs from backyard hens.

The Urban Chicken Movement
According to the Worldwatch Institute, “… an Urban Chicken Movement has swept across the United States in recent years.” Some people want organic eggs and garden compost, others are concerned about food security, others want to “eat local” to save resources, and others wish to enjoy the entertaining, fun pets hens can be. There have been lots of news articles written about this growing trend, which is increasing primarily in upscale neighborhoods.

The ordinance amendment is not unreasonable or unusual. Cities like Denver, Portland, Boise, Madison, Seattle, and Fort Collins (just to name a few) have relaxed their zoning laws to allow for a few backyard hens. In fact, according to Newsweek Magazine, more than 65% of major U.S. cities now allow backyard hens.

It’s also important to remember that during the Great Depression, families with chickens fared much better than those without. Given our current socio-economic situation, keeping a few backyard hens has never been more practical.

 
 

FasTracks, West Line November Update


by Public Information
comments open from Nov. 19 until Dec. 8


As construction winds down, other aspects of the West Rail Line are gearing up and racing full speed ahead as we head toward opening on April 26, 2013. Testing is underway and will continue through spring of 2013; selection of artists for the line is progressing quickly; and construction on the Sheridan and Lakewood•Wadsworth garages is on-going.

Final Train Schedules Set
Over the past few months, RTD service planners have been holding public meetings and realigning bus schedules to mesh with light rail service on the West Line when it starts up next April. Another important element to the service planning is how often the trains will run.

Since 2003, RTD has been planning on trains every 5 minutes during rush hours (6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m.) between downtown and the Federal Center. Taking into account a number of elements, the service has been adjusted to every 7.5 minutes during rush hours.

• Instead of two car trains, three car trains will be used so capacity of the rail line remains the same.
• We are able to carry the same number of passengers, with fewer impacts to the community and still provide excellent service.
• Service between the Federal Center and Jefferson County Government Center will remain at 15 minute intervals, both in rush hour and throughout the day.
• Late night service throughout the line will be every 30 minutes.

Public Art Update
In October, the West Rail Line began the process of commissioning artists to design public art for the West Rail Line. An art selection committee – made up of artists, art administrators and community representatives – was formed to select artists for each of the stations along the line.

The committee has selected artists for the three stations so far and continues to work toward having artists on board for all stations. The majority of the artwork won’t be installed by opening day, but is expected to all be in place by the end of 2013.

Artists selected to date include:
• Jose Antonio Aguirre, who will lend his color pallet to Knox Station;
• John Rogers, who will put a creative twist on the Lakewood•Wadsworth Station; and
• Mike Squared Mosiacs, who will add a unique perspective to the Garrison Station.
• The final artist for the Jeffo-Golden Station will be selected at by the end of November.
• The next series of commissions include Sheridan, Lamar, Red Rocks College, and the Kipling Bridge followed by the rest of the stations.

Artwork is a great way to show off a community, make stations memorable and unique and deter graffiti. Challenges in public artwork include making sure that each piece is durable and easily maintainable, that it can withstand 100 degree temperature fluctuations and intense sun, all the while reflecting each community.

Safety Roadshow Recap
The Safety Roadshows were a great success. The West Rail PI team, in conjunction with the City of Lakewood, Operation Lifesaver and West Metro Fire visited elementary schools in Lakewood within four blocks of the rail line to demonstrate fundamental pedestrian and bicycle safety. In addition, RTD and Operation Lifesaver reached out to two more schools in Denver. The roadshows in Lakewood were part of the “Safe Routes to School” grant that Lakewood received for pedestrian safety training and education programs for schools near the West Rail Line.

RTD provided a mock light rail grade crossing complete with flashing lights, moving gates and ringing bells to demonstrate how to safely cross the tracks, Operation Lifesaver provided general train safety information, the City of Lakewood demonstrated how to use hand signals when riding a bike, and West Metro fire demonstrated how to properly fit and wear a helmet.

The elementary schools included in the program were Eiber, Molholm, Jeffco Open, St.Bernadette, Cowell, and Fairview reaching nearly 2,000 students. School outreach will continue next spring prior to the West Rail Line opening

Information contained in this post adapted from the FasTracks newsletter. To subscribe to the newsletter or get the latest information, see the FasTracks West Corridor website.

 
 
 
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