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October 4, 2012

Hawthorn metro district approved County commissioners vote against suggestions of advisors, policy By Glenn Wallace

gwallace@ourcoloradonews.com For the second time in a month the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners has gone against one of its own policies, voting to approve the formation of a new residential-area metropolitan district. At last week’s meeting, the three-member board voted unanimously to approve the new district to govern the future Hawthorn residential development. Approval was given counter to recommendations from county staff and the Planning Commission. The commissioners made a similar ruling regarding a metro district for the Green Gables development, also against their staff’s recommendations, at their

Sept. 11 meeting. A 2006 county policy discourages developers from forming special districts for the express purpose of helping to fund infrastructure and amenities. Hawthorn representatives requested formation of the metro district, which can take out municipal bonds and collect a milllevy tax to cover the debt. That money would be used to build infrastructure and common areas for the 68.5-acre residential development along the east side of Highway 93 just north of Golden. According to Planning Department personnel, the county policy is designed to protect future homeowners from having disproportionately high property taxes, instead of the developers providing the funds for the construction up front, and passing along those costs in house prices. Representatives for Hawthorn came to the public hearing ready to support the practice of using metro districts to help create

Condo fire displaces four By Glenn Wallace

gwallace@ourcoloradonews.com For 11-year-old Catlin Stinson, what started s a typical Monday afternoon turned into a harrowing experience. “I was making noodles,” she said, wiping tears from her eyes, while her mother hugged her. Paper towels placed too close to a stove burner caught fire though. Catlin said she quickly doused it with some water, and brought the smoking wad out to the balcony area of her tri-level condominium in the Briarwood Commons development. “Then I looked outside and saw a huge ball of fire,” Catlin said. She ran downstairs, and banged on the neighbor’s door, but there was no answer, so she ran across the complex to a friend’s house. Her friend’s grandmother immediately called 911 shortly after 4 p.m., and notified Catlin’s mother, Anne Nelson, who rushed home from work. Golden Fire Chief John Bales said in a statement that given the situation, “this young lady did every-

thing correctly.” “She attempted to fix the problem, evacuated the residence and called 911,” Bales said. The fire quickly spread to the attic, and across to the next door condo’s porch area. In all, Golden Fire estimated $700,000 worth of damage was done, displacing the residents in four condos. Nelson said the third floor of her home was already destroyed by the time she arrived. “The house was on fire, and we were all fine,” Nelson said. Nelson said she hoped that the lower two levels of their residence might have escaped much of the damage. She said that sadly their two house cats had not been so lucky. Multiple fire engines responded to the fire, along with about 40 firefighters. The two-alarm fire was controlled in less than 30 minutes according to the Golden Fire Department. Golden Fire was assisted by Fairmount, Pleasant View and West Metro. One firefighter was treated at the scene for heat exhaustion and dehydration.

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GOLDEN TRANSCRIPT (ISSN 0746-6382)

OFFICE: 110 N. Rubey Dr, Unit 120, Golden, CO 80403 PHONE: 303-279-5541 A legal newspaper of general circulation in Jefferson County, Colorado, the Golden Transcript is published weekly on Thursday by Mile High Newspapers, 110 N. Rubey Dr., Ste. 120, Golden, CO 80403. PERIODICALS POSTAGE PAID AT GOLDEN, COLORADO. POSTMASTER: Send address change to: Golden Transcript, 110 N. Rubey Dr., Unit 120, Golden, CO 80403 DEADLINES: Display advertising: Fri. 11 a.m. Legal advertising: Fri.11 a.m. Classified advertising: Tues. 12 p.m.

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residential developments. One argument is that “a sea of change since 2006” has greatly altered how developers approach their financial challenges, making metro districts more necessary. Another argument was that a metro district board creates a municipal entity, which can make dealing with other municipal groups easier. Unlike a homeowners’ association board, a metro district must follow the state’s open meeting laws and annual budget-report process. Since they have access to government bond sources, metro districts often can save residents money, with interest rates that are often much lower, according to Hawthorn lawyer Kristen Bear. The applicants also pointed out that the residential development already built to the south of Hawthorn has a metro district in place and has a property tax burden slightly higher than what is proposed for the new development. Commissioners John Odom,

District 2, and Faye Griffin, District 1, asked for clarification about points of public concern, which the Planning Commission report had raised: That prospective Hawthorn residents would be notified about their higher property tax rates before they purchased a home; that neither the county, nor Hawthorn homeowners would be liable if the metro district fails to cover its own debt; and that if the metro district ever attempted to take out more bonds, further public approval would be required. Those assurances were not enough to placate county staff. Case manager Aaron McLean proposed compromise that would have the commissioners approving the metro district but limiting its scope to only those things “not intrinsic to residential developments.” District 3 Commissioner Don Rosier said such a restriction “really dilutes a special district down to no use,” and rejected the suggestion.

Candidates compete to serve on regents board By Cassie Monroe

cmonroe@ourcoloradonews.com Among the decisions Jefferson County voters will make in November is who will be the District 7 representative for the University of Colorado Board of Regents. The candidates are Republican, Mary Dambman, Democrat and incumbent Irene Griego and Libertarian Eric Robinson. Dambman and Griego took part in a forum in Wheat Ridge last week to discuss their campaign stances. Robinson was unable to attend the forum, and did not respond in time for this article. The nine CU regents are responsible for supervising decisions that effect the university and controlling the funds and appropriations of the school. Generally, members serve six-year terms, but there have been exceptions. Griego was appointed to the position Nov. 19, 2011, by Gov. John Hickenlooper after former Regent Monisha Merchant resigned to work in Sen. Michael Bennet’s office. Prior to the appointment, Griego was a community superintendent for Jeffco Public Schools for 10 years. She supervised 37 K-12 schools in the district. She has worked as a faculty member for the University of Colorado Denver, Teachers for Colorado Program, and Metropolitan State College of Denver. She has been a principal and assistant principal for several schools, and was a classroom teacher for Denver Public Schools. At the forum, Griego said what sets her apart from her opponents is her per-

Ready? Set.

spective on education because of her experience in classrooms, at universities and as a CU regent. “What I’ve learned is that students have to be first,” she said. She said if elected, her priorities will be making college affordable, giving students good professors and preparing the student population to enter the workforce. Dambman said that, as a fourth generation Coloradan, she has the best interest of Colorado students in mind, but has seen education all over the country, which she believes gives her a good working background. She earned her master’s degree at Colorado College and taught English at the Air Academy High School. She was named chairman of the English Department and elected president of the Air Academy Education Association. She decided to change careers and began pursuing political aspirations. “I felt I could accomplish as much there as I could in the classroom,” Dambman said. In 1982, she ran for the state House of Representatives District 20 seat, and served in the General Assembly for three terms, sitting on education committees among others. She said she was responsible in part for working with higher-education legislation, amending the state’s budget bill, and securing in-state tuition rates for dependents of active-duty military personnel.

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January 3, 2013

Odom misses meetings following election loss By Glenn Wallace

gwallace@ourcoloradonews.com District 2 Jefferson County Commissioner John Odom is a lame duck. He held a 133-vote lead after election night, but saw that lead shrink, and then reverse as more than 10,000 additional ballots (overseas and provisional) were counted in the days that followed. By the time the vote was certified, it was Odom’s opponent, Democratic candidate Casey Tighe, who had won by 738 votes. Odom Since then Odom has not attended meetings. The last public hearing Odom attended was Nov. 13, when he expressed optimism that he would win a potential recount of the votes. At the Board of County Commissioners meeting a week later, after the vote counters had announced that Tighe had a sizeable lead, Odom was absent. In all, Odom has been absent without excuse from four public meetings, and an unknown number of other commissionerrelated briefings and meetings. Jeffco commissioners are given a salary of $87,300 a year, and stay on the county payroll from the day they are sworn in until the day their replacement is in place. State statutes about attendance (not updated in decades) say Odom can be fined $10 for each missed meeting. Tighe and the other elected officials of Jeffco will be sworn in on Tuesday. Several calls to Odom for comment, both after the election, and for this story

were not returned. Odom was appointed to the Board of County Commissioners in March 2011 after former District 2 Commissioner Kevin McCasky left to become president and CEO of the Jefferson Economic Council. County Public Information Officer Kathryn Heider said the county had no official statement about Odom’s absence. ”They’re still in office, and the new commish has no authority until sworn in,” Heider said. In 2010, District 3 Commissioner Kathy Hartman was defeated at the ballot box by Donald Rosier. Hartman still served as the board’s chair through November and December until her replacement was sworn in. In fact, it is considered not common at all for a lame duck commissioner to forego the last meetings, according to Chip Taylor, the Executive Director of Colorado Counties Inc. (CCI). The nonprofit group offers assistance and education to elected officials statewide. Taylor said some elected officials may be hesitant to make decisions that will affect their replacement. “For instance, there’s an obligation to adopt a budget before the end of the year, so there’s some decisions that they know will be passed on to their replacement, but amendments to that budget are always possible,” Taylor said. In Odom’s case, he skipped the 2013 budget approval vote on Dec. 4, as well at the Dec. 18 meeting where members of the public addressed the remaining two members of the commission, upset with some of the funding cuts that Odom had helped to craft weeks earlier.

Golden Transcript 5

‘A Dog Named Boo’ by Lisa J. Edwards Your dog knows some pretty good tricks. Like most pooches, he’ll do anything for treats, including “sit” and “stay.” He can shake, roll over, and fetch; he gives kisses, picks things up, plays hide-n-seek, and he might even know how to keep you healthy and mobile. Yes, your dog is talented in ways that surprise you every day. And in the new book “A Dog Named Boo” written by Lisa J. Edwards and published by Harlequin, you’ll read about a pup whose talent is to change lives in very different ways. Unable to hold his own against his brothers and sisters, the little puppy seemed weak. Lisa Edwards watched as its siblings stepped on and around the black-and-white “baby dog,” and she couldn’t stop herself from falling in love. Her two older dogs, Atticus and Dante, indicated toleration for the pup but Edwards’ husband, Lawrence, was against another pet. He’d just had major surgery, Edwards wasn’t in the best of health, and neither of them had time for a new puppy. Edwards brought the little guy home anyhow, thinking that Lawrence would come to love the boy she named Boo. She knew it would be an uphill battle – she and Lawrence were both also dealing with abusive childhoods – but this dog seemed to need what Edwards had to offer: a loving home,

Holiday cooking with children

understanding, and guidance. Boo grew to be a people-dog, so when Edwards’ brother fell ill and needed a service animal, Edwards thought Boo would be perfect. She tried to train him but even after repeated classes and training sessions, Boo seemed to be locked. He didn’t listen, couldn’t retain more than the most basic commands, and class-time was pandemonium. Boo would never be a service dog, but Edwards sensed that he had empathy. He wasn’t ill-behaved, but he wasn’t an obedience star, either. He definitely wasn’t aggressive. It wasn’t until two veterinarian-friends noticed his “silly puppy-walking” and diagnosed a congenital brain condition that everything finally made sense. Because she was interested in training, Edwards tried another tactic by listening and observing. She watched for Boo’s strengths and worked around his weaknesses until she found a way for him to make a difference. She never thought about the difference he’d make in her life… With a good sense of humor, obvious love for dogs, and an amazingly open demeanor, author Lisa J. Edwards tells the story of a hurting family, a handicapped dog, and the healing they did, separately and together. The best thing about this book is that it contains a great story but, if you can read between the lines, there’s even more to gain. Because Edwards is a dog trainer, there’s plenty to learn in here; mainly, she subtly teaches her readers to pay close attention to their dogs’ behavior and body language to get the best results in training. Overall, I think you should find this book for its lessons and savor it for its story. If you’re a dog lover looking for something to curl up with, “A Dog Named Boo” should do the trick.

Young children are eager to taste whatever comes out of the holiday oven. You have their complete attention when you cook together. Cooking incorporates teamwork, perseverance, following directions, measuring, mathematical conversation and creativity.

Successful cooking experiences:

Find a time when the family has no other commitments and the children are rested. Give them plenty of praise regardless of the outcome. Here’s a new twist on sugar cookies:

Rudolph Cookies

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, ½ tsp. salt, 1 c. unsalted softened butter, 2/3 c cup sugar, 1 egg, 1tbsp. light corn syrup, 1tbsp. vanilla. (For chocolate dough: After the last third of flour has been added to the dough, mix in 1 ounce melted, slightly cooled unsweetened chocolate. Use hands to knead in the chocolate.) Children love to knead. In a medium bowl, mix flour and salt. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar, stir in the egg, then the corn syrup and vanilla extract. One third at a time, add the flour mixture until thoroughly mixed. Pat the dough into two disks, wrap in plastic, and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours, or until

firm enough to roll. If it is too firm, soften at room temperature for 5 minutes. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Roll one disk of dough between two pieces of waxed paper or plastic wrap with no flour, 1/4 inch thick. Remove the top sheet and cut out in a triangle shape for the deer head. Using a metal spatula, transfer the shapes to baking sheets, about 1 inch apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or when cookies start to brown lightly around edges. Frosting to hold two brown M&M’s for eyes, one red for nose, and two twisted pretzel halves for antlers: 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup softened unsalted butter, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 to 2 tbsp. milk. Esther Macalady is a former teacher, who lives in Golden, and participates in the Grandparents Teach Too writing group.

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4 Golden Transcript

January 31, 2013

Golden Triangle plan proceeds I By Glenn Wallace

gwallace@ourcoloradonews.com Public comment proved to be the highlight of the Golden City Council meeting on Jan. 24, with a county commissioner stopping in, and the public getting an update about the Golden triangle area. Golden resident and longtime anti-growth community activist Laura McCall was among the members of the public that spoke at the meeting, and said she had serious concerns over a proposed rezoning of the central neighborhood area, and the future of the Golden Bowl bowling alley. McCall said she was speaking in opposition of zoning changes, and proposed plans for the “Golden Triangle” commercial area. She said she attended a recent community meeting, where a consultant labeled the area “blighted” as a precursor to development. “My neighbors and I do not want

any new traffic or parking problems,” McCall said. Mayor Marjorie Sloan asked Community and Economic Development Director Steve Glueck to help address some of those topics. “There are three specific conversations taking place concerning the central neighborhood, and sometimes people get them confused,” Glueck said. First, he said, was the proposed community mixed use zoning for the Golden triangle, which has been the subject of staff and public discussion for months now as part of the Central Neighborhoods Plan. “Its primary purpose in that location is to reduce the height limit on development,” Glueck said, adding that the zoning would limit most new development to two stories through that area. He called that “significantly less” than the current commercial zoning on the area. Ward 4 Councilman Bill Fisher

GOLDEN CITY COUNCIL ON THE RECORD Golden City Council voted on the following legislation during its Jan. 24 meeting. Council members in attendance were Mayor Marjorie Sloan, Mayor Pro Tem Joe Behm, District 1 Councilor Saoirse Charis-Graves, District 2 Councilor Marcie Miller, Ward 1 Councilor Marcia Claxton, Ward 3 Bob Vermeulen, and Ward 4 Councilor Bill Fisher.

STEM grant for Bell Middle

Council unanimously approved a $15,000 grant to Bell Middle School, in support of that school’s iSTEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) program. The school has reported the education program, now in its second year, has been popular with students and should help steer more students into sought-after professional fields.

EdComm gives annual report

Two members of the Economic Development Commission (EdComm) presented that group’s 2012 Report, and 2013 Work Plan to the City Council. The Council praised the quality of the report, and thanked them for their efforts. A copy of the 2012 report is available on the city website (www.cityofgolden. net) Economic Development Commission page. The next council meeting is 6:30 p.m. Feb. 21 at City Hall, 911 10th Street. — Compiled by Glenn Wallace

commented that he could be included in the group of people who were confused by the three issues involving the central neighborhood. But, he had a clear opinion about the new zoning rules being developed as part of the neighborhood plan process “These were all designed to give the local areas the ability to have input and control into what gets built in our neighborhoods,” Fisher said. The second conversation involves an urban renewal survey study which recently looked at the central neighborhood area. Glueck said that Golden Urban Renewal Authority (GURA) recently commissioned the conditions survey to see if enough properties qualify for the legal definition of “blight.” If so, a Central Neighborhoods Urban Renewal Authority could be established, doing a similar job to what GURA has done in the downtown. Glueck said topic three was the announcement by the owners of

the bowling alley, who announced M they were under contract to sell the building to a Denver-based grocerp to create “a quite small neighbor-s hood grocery store facility.” Glueck added that preliminaryB sketches of the project show the ex-v isting Golden Bowl building being torn down to make way for a new structure. He said the proposed grocery store would be allowed under both the current and proposed area zoning. The plan would go before the city Planning Commission for approval once more specific plans are delivered to the city. Also at the meeting, newly elected Jefferson County District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe introduced himself to the council. “I’ve been on the job for three weeks and I’ve got a lot to learn,” Tighe said, adding that he would try to catch occasional community meetings “to also keep an eye on the local issues.”

Fracking support in Jefferson County Rosier presents letter of support from lobbyists By Glenn Wallace

gwallace@ourcoloradonews. com Two Jefferson County commissioners have said they support the state’s decision to sue the city of Longmont over its ability to ban oil and gas drilling near residential areas, above and beyond state law. Chair Donald Rosier, District 3, presented a letter addressed to Gov. John Hickenlooper at the county’s staff brief meeting Jan. 15, and asked if the other two commissioners had interest in signing it. District 1 Commissioner Faye Griffin said she, too, would support and sign the letter. District 2 Commissioner Casey Tighe said he needed to do more research before taking a stand on oil and gas drilling, and Longmont’s ban on the practice of hydraulic fracturing, called fracking for short.

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“I have very strong feelings about this subject,” Rosier said. Rosier has work experience as a water resource engineer. The letter to Hickenlooper begins: “Thank you for rising above the partisan squabbling that has unfortunately heightened a national oil and gas debate. Scientific evidence is being overpowered by an emotional public debate and your leadership will help us overcome this unjust polarization.” The letter was provided to Rosier from a Grand Junctionbased lobbying firm called EIS Solutions, which has a history of working for companies within the oil and gas industry. EIS Solutions has previously provided letters to elected boards, lobbying for support of hydraulic fracturing. In August, the company presented a letter to the Moffat County Board of County Commissioners, asking the Bureau of Land Management to postpone the implementation of new regu-

lations regarding hydraulic fracturing on federal lands. Unlike in the Moffat County case however, nothing in the public record would tie EIS Solutions to the Jefferson County letter. Nothing in the letter text, or anything said in the public meetings where the letter was discussed, made it clear who had authored the text. “It’s not illegal, but citizens don’t like it when their politicians are carrying out the wishes of lobbyists without telling them,” said Colorado Ethics Watch Director Luis Toro. “As a county elected official we are asked all the time to pass resolutions and take a position on proposed regulations and policies throughout the state,” Rosier replied, when asked about the role of lobbying in county government. Rosier added that Jefferson County itself, through Colorado Counties Inc., uses lobbyists to further its interests.

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GT county investigative reports  

Three stories that helped take a critical look at the powers that be in Jefferson County in 2012-13.

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