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LOCALWORKS UPDATE Introducing New Executive Director Krista Lewis

NEIGHBORHOOD FEATURE No Gym? No Problem – Head To The Park Page 6

WEST METRO FIRE West Metro Brings in High Tech CPR



Gazette Page 4

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TIF For Wheat Ridge Development – Still Useful? ■ By

Mike McKibbin


or every $1 in tax increment financing the City of Wheat Ridge approved for several development projects, private investors put $13 into the pot. While city officials are proud of that fact, others look at the use of the growth and renewal funding method as improper and outdated. Tax increment financing, or TIF, allows an urban renewal authority to use net new tax revenues generated by projects within a designated area to help finance improvements. TIF is a new source of tax revenue, not an added tax, that would not be available but for new investment, according to a definition from the Denver Urban Renewal Authority. When a redevelopment project is proposed, the amount of added property and/or sales taxes that may be generated upon completion is determined. That “tax increment” is then used either to finance the issuance of bonds or to reimburse developers for some of their project costs. In either case, that new tax revenue must be used for improvements that have a public benefit and support the redevelopment effort, such as site clearance, streets, utilities, parks, the removal of hazardous materials or site acquisition. Wheat Ridge has had an urban renewal authority – Continued on page 2

WHEAT RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL GIFTED AND TALENTED program students Isaac Hoskins and Piper Binkley recently qualified for the prestigious Daniels Fund Scholarship. PHOTO: LISA LEE

Beyond The Dreadmill: Fitness Options For All ■ By


Jennifer LeDuc

ight about now, statistically speaking, eight out of 10 of you reading this article will give up on a New Year’s resolution. According to a 2015 U.S. News and World Report study, by mid-February most people who set life-changing goals – be it in career, health, relationships, financial – shift their thinking from the jump-start, can-do mindset in January to slouching, slacking, excuse-making couch potatoes just in time to tuck into that box of Valentine’s truffles or make a second pass at the box of donuts in the breakroom (no one has to know you brought them in). Luckily, you live in one of the healthiest states – if not counties – in the entire country, which means you have more resources at your fingertips to commit to a healthy lifestyle (if you already don’t) than nearly anywhere else. Jefferson County is only second to Denver in the number of fitness-centric facilities in the state, edging out not only uber-fit Boulder County but Arapahoe, El Paso, Adams and Douglas counties as well. In fact, the approximately 240 fitness facilities in Jeffco offers nearly twice as many options for residents as the entire population of West Virginians (which may or may not correlate to it consistently ranking as one of the least healthiest states). So you can’t blame the coal mines or lack of options for what’s stopping you from getting, and staying, fit this year. Perhaps it’s lack of awareness into your options. While it may seem like there’s a fitness center on every corner – and in some places there may be – how many have you tried? Fitness centers are like stretch pants: no matter what they say, one size does not fit all.

Rec centers and big-box facilities offer more of a homogenized and price-conscious setting and although personal training sessions are available, the individual is mostly left to use equipment and create a regimen independently. Boutique gyms – smaller facilities with a bit more esthetic and flex appeal – are on the rise. Though pricier, they offer a more intimate, attentive environment that typically revolves around a session with a small group and more opportunity for personal attention. Fitness Together is a small, one-on-one personal training franchise. Pueblo-native David Dias owns the Edgewater location.

The former high school coach agrees that in order to stick with a fitness regimen, be it at his facility, a rec center, kickboxing or Crossfit, it needs to be the right fit. “Not everyone who comes through buys in,” he said. For some, stepping on a scale, checking your heart rate or staring at yourself in the mirror while beads of sweat glisten on your bat wings – er, triceps – is neither pleasant, nor motivating, even with someone like Dias encouraging you on. One industry study revealed 67 percent of memberships go unused, meaning two thirds of the multibillion-dollar industry profits are made by people just giving up.

Which is why one fitness program, despite stereotypes, has defied the trends and competition and boasts a seven-year average retention when other gyms hope a member sticks around for six months. Founded in 1969, Jazzercise, the “original dance party workout” is not, as instructor and franchise owner Missy Ahr assures, about leg warmers and leotards – because she knows that’s what just crossed your mind. It is also not about weigh-ins, mirrors or monitors, and although many of the attendees at a recent mid-morning class Continued on page 6


Dentist Also A Passionate Concert Pianist ■ By

Ken Lutes


PIANIST AND DENTIST CODY GARRISON balances a professional dentistry practice with the performance schedule of a busy concert pianist. PHOTO BY LYNN FISCHER.

practice piano six to eight hours a day, on days I’m not practicing dentistry – at least three hours on days I’m in the office,” says concert pianist and dentist Dr. Cody Garrison. “As much as you can be a good musician in your mind, you have to keep making your fingers work.” Garrison’s piano playing ranges from recitals at Metropolitan State University of Denver, where he’s on faculty, to accompanying opera stars and performing concertos. This year he was chorus pianist for Opera Colorado. So, just how does a person balance a professional dentistry practice with the performance schedule of a busy concert pianist? “Some people have lots of hobbies; I don’t,” Garrison said at his City Roots dental practice on W. 29th Ave. “It can be challenging sometimes, though. Like tomorrow, I have to play a recital at school, then come back Continued on page 10




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Renewal Wheat Ridge – since 1984. The authority can help address development in five city council-approved urban renewal plans: the Wadsworth Boulevard Corridor, from 35th Avenue to 44th Avenue; the West End of 38th, four parcels at 38th Avenue and Upham Street; the 38th Avenue Corridor, between Sheridan and Wadsworth boulevards; West 44th Avenue and Ward Road; and the Interstate 70/ Kipling Corridor, nearly 1,200 acres north of I-70 at 32nd Avenue to 26th Avenue. Steve Art, executive director of Renewal Wheat Ridge and the city’s economic development manager, said the last change to those plans was in December 2015. “When those plans are formed, it’s not with any specific projects in mind,” he added in an interview. Renewal Wheat Ridge lists eight projects on its website, from 2007 through this year, with one – Town Center North – not receiving TIF money. Instead, the city bought and cleaned up the land, then resold it for development. Projects that did receive TIF money included Wheat Ridge Cyclery, Perrin’s Row, Kipling Ridge Shopping Center, Hacienda Colorado Restaurant at Applewood, Corners at Wheat Ridge, West End 38 and a traffic signal at 32nd Avenue and Xenon Street at the Applewood Shopping Center. Those projects received a total of $12.8 million in TIF money, along with nearly $164 million in private investment money. In the Town Center North project, Renewal Wheat Ridge bought land that housed a contaminated transmission shop, antique shop and closed retail outlets. Renewal Wheat Ridge cleaned the site, created a subdivision, completed all the infrastructure, found a developer and created 188 affordable apartments for active adults. That was done for $3.9 million in city funds and $25 million in private investment money.

TIF money: economic development or not?

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Art stated the use of TIF money is “not really for economic development.” However, an August 2017 document on the city website, entitled “Economic Development Main Story August 2017,” stated the use of TIF money “has proven to be a powerful economic development tool in Wheat Ridge, transforming vacant lots into thriving residential communities and bustling retail hubs.” Art is quoted in the document as noting Renewal Wheat Ridge “is getting more aggressive about using TIF for economic development efforts – even for smaller projects.” “Our board recognizes the advantages of using TIF to assist projects to fill in any missing funding gaps,” Art is quoted in the document. “Development can be very expensive, and these projects would not come to fruition without some type of public assistance.” Tim Rogers, the chairman of the Renewal Wheat Ridge board at the time, is quoted in support of TIF money as “a perfect example of reinvesting in a neighborhood to improve it. I am excited about the future of this type of reinvestment increasing for the city as we start to generate revenue from other projects.”

Rogers added that TIF funds will become more crucial in future years, as the city focuses on attracting development that will create jobs for the local economy. “We need more employment opportunities within the City of Wheat Ridge that can support a family and that means something above service-level jobs,” said Rogers. “The city is working hard and rolling up its sleeves and competing as best it can to attract those businesses.”

TIF has ‘outlived its usefulness’

Some government-watching and think-tank organizations, such as the Independence Institute, have criticized the use of TIF money for economic development. “It was to address slums, blight and areas that endangered public health and welfare,” spokesman Mike Krause said in an interview. “The language specifically mentioned people living in squalor. I think while you might find a few isolated places where that is still the case, TIF is something that’s really outlived its usefulness.” Urban renewal authority language in state statutes requires a project be located in a “blighted area,” or “an area that, in its present condition and use … substantially impairs or arrests the sound growth of the municipality, retards the provision of housing accommodations, or constitutes an economic or social liability, and is a menace to the public health, safety, morals, or welfare; …” Krause also noted the funding method unfairly keeps other taxing entities – such as water, fire and school districts – affected by a new project from receiving enough increased tax revenue to pay for the increased service costs while the bonds are being paid off. “So those other entities must either cover their added costs or go to voters for a tax hike,” he added. “It’s actually a tax hike without a vote.” Krause said the state legislature had recently amended urban renewal authority statutes to help address that funding issue. Now, sponsoring governments must enter into revenue sharing agreements with affected entities on new TIF arrangements. Krause also referred to a recent Jefferson County District Court ruling that invalidated Wheat Ridge voter-approved restrictions that would have required any TIF agreement over $2.5 million be approved by city voters. District Judge Margie Enquist ruled the city measure could not pre-empt the state’s supremacy on the issue. “What we want to see is free market growth, but TIF uses privatized profits for socialized risks because it’s spread out among taxpayers,” Krause added. “It’s kind of like the chicken and the egg. Developers say if there is not TIF money, projects won’t get built. But maybe that’s just in the first place. Projects most likely will get built, but politicians want them built now.” Krause also noted the cities of Estes Park and Castle Pines dissolved their urban renewal authorities in 2010, while the state of California outlawed TIF funding. “They did that because it was a success,” he said. “It eliminated squalor, slums, and blight. We think Colorado should do the same. If local governments want to use their own money for economic development, they can do that. They don’t need an urban renewal authority or TIF money, and they can answer to their own taxpayers. And in this booming economy we have right now, we should we pay developers to build?”

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WHEAT RIDGE MAYOR My First 100 Days as Your Mayor out to our city’s citizens yields some very interesting and rewarding experiences. I was honored to be invited to the retirement etween the time I’m writing this column celebration for Dan Ward, the principal and when you’re probably reading it, I organist at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, will be passing about 100 days as the mayor who devoted 40 years of his life to inspired of Wheat Ridge. I am honored and humbled musical ministry. I joined with the city’s to serve in this office and wanted to share faith community and the Wheat Ridge some of the activities in which I have been Police Department (WRPD) in a timely involved on your behalf. I divide the work discussion of safety and security at our between “in city” and “out of city.” I’ll touch houses of worship, and joined on some of the “in city” activities a full congregation to celebrate below and will discuss the “out of the life of Kent Davis, one of city” activities in a future column. the founders of Wheat Ridge. I One of the main duties of also helped celebrate the Wheat the mayor is to preside over Ridge Chamber’s new executive city council meetings and study director and joined Cambridge sessions. Starting with my Park for their annual HOA investiture six days after the meeting. election, I have presided over five The holiday season meetings and four study sessions. provided many opportunities While I had a general familiarity to celebrate Wheat Ridge – the with the order of service, the lighting of our community tree “devil is in the details” and I’m Bud Starker on the Ridge at 38th and being still a work in progress on some able to tape a live television interview on of the details. One of my major objectives CW2/FOX31 with Right Coast Pizza to as the hearing officer for these meetings is promote our city’s event. My heart was truly to develop a clear and consistent tone that inspired as I joined members of the WRPD, provides a fair and efficient process in an city staff and many community volunteers open and welcoming environment. to wrap hundreds of donated gifts to bring In addition to dispatching the more joy to children in a season meant for giving routine business of the council, we have had and joy. many highlights to brighten our meetings Our children are the key to our future and showcase the life of our community. The and I am pleased to have been able to meet Wheat Ridge Pom Team joined us one night with Josh Cooley, the new principal of Wheat to celebrate their state championship and on Ridge High School, and join the finish-line another Boy Scout Troop 329 presented the celebration at the Farmers 5000. (I’m not a colors and led the Pledge of Allegiance. runner yet but will see what spring brings!) I’m One of the best ways to know what’s excited about the great offerings at the school, happening in our city, and to let your elected from STEM (science, technology, engineering officials know your feelings on any issue, is and mathematics), to sports, to the Career to speak at the public comment section of Explorer program providing expanded our meetings. Council welcomes your input workforce development opportunities for and I have worked to create a space that students, and many areas in between. I have welcomes our citizens and their feedback. But the work of the mayor extends far Continued on page 10 beyond the walls of City Hall. Reaching

n By

Bud Starker


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LOCALWORKS UPDATE Let Me Introduce Myself

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health center serving Jefferson, Gilpin and Clear Creek counties. I am thrilled to continue the good work I began at Jefferson ’m Krista Lewis, and I’m excited to Center and do my part to ensure the vitality, introduce myself to the community as the strength and health of Wheat Ridge and its new Executive Director of Localworks. citizens. A little about me: I was so fortunate Wheat Ridge’s unique charm is its to grow up in the foothills of Boulder as it small-town feel in the heart of a vibrant instilled in me a profound appreciation for city. I was immediately drawn and connection to nature. I try to the collective pride of the to spend as much time in nature community, and how wellas I possibly can – walking/ connected the residents, hiking/contemplating. In my businesses and leaders are to youth, my interests and talents one another. Localworks’ entire were solidly in the creative arts, purpose is to uphold that sense of and so I decided to pursue that pride and connectedness, while path for my college career. I advancing Wheat Ridge as an graduated from the University engaged, healthy and sustainable of Colorado with a Bachelor of community. With community Fine Arts in theatre, which has members as the catalysts for that prepared me for success, believe advancement, I could not help it or not! Naturally, my training Krista Lewis but be impressed and eager to helped me hone my presentation join the cause. Community development, at skills, but it also taught me how to its best, empowers individuals and groups improvise, make difficult choices, work of people – from all walks of life – with the with a limited budget, and understand the skills and opportunities they need to affect human condition. It did not take me long to change within their communities. realize that this particular skill set would be I want to encourage healthy dialogue well-suited for work in the nonprofit arena. and collaboration, so that Wheat Ridge can A seasoned fundraiser, I have had the be an example for others to follow as we privilege of working and/or volunteering sustain this community for another 50 years with many wonderful nonprofits in the and beyond. Localworks will be conducting Denver metro area over the last 20 years a listening tour for the remainder of 2018 – eight of which were in Jefferson County. to do just that. We will soon announce I place high priority on making a positive dates, times and locations for some impact through my work and have a passion upcoming forums intended to re-introduce for establishing new partnerships and Localworks to the community and inspire discovering innovative ways to collaborate that continued dialogue. Stay tuned! across agencies and fields. Krista Lewis is the new Executive Di Before joining Localworks, I was the rector of Localworks. Director of Development at Jefferson Center for Mental Health – the community mental n By





Merci, Todah, Gracias

Keeping Up With The Charters

Carlin will have better feedback from the community. our years ago, the Wheat Ridge Ridge I am very excited to have been invited to Gifted & Talented (GT) program the Stevens Elementary committee to study welcomed 30 students into their classrooms. the feasibility of a dual language program. This year they have 130 students. I spent Being trilingual, I’m all about learning new two days with a group of seniors to talk ways to communicate with people from about their experiences in and out of school. around the world. Students learning new This will be the first group to graduate from languages will develop quicker and have an an advantage not only in the job the full program. With career market but also in simply being plans that span neurosurgery able to communicate with more and film making to teaching people in their community. It and journalism, these students is an amazing experience to come from vastly different watch young students become backgrounds and have equally proficient in math or science, diverse ambitions. When I asked and, add to the mix, doing it them for their thoughts on the in a new language. Students GT program, they made it very at Stevens have been building clear that the program did not satellites and submarines lately. define who they were. In fact, it This new principal and her staff was their diverse personalities Guy Nahmiach have created an environment and learning styles that made the that has students racing to their GT program what it was. Next year’s enrollment is slated to seats every day. push the 200 mark. When you consider Another celebrating principal in our the $4,500 per student brought into every community is Jeena Williams. The Manning school, this will more than pay for the School has a long wait list for next year! This program including the additional activities used to be the norm up until five years ago, but parents decided that homework for the used by these learners. There are many success stories in this sake homework was no longer acceptable class. Most are academic and without the and that their kids did not need a “boot fanfare of the STEM program. This group camp,” and started sending their kids to includes a GT student that skips an entire other schools. Principal Williams was very year and gets accepted to Harvard. We also quick to share her new vision for the school, have two GT students that just qualified for and after only a few months, families are the prestigious Daniels Fund Scholarship. flocking back, preferring the newly thriving Trust me, if you have a student at home and inclusive environment of the Manning that’s always been ahead of their class and Middle School. is building computers or developing a new Finally, a word of thanks. We spend more language in their room, or a young person hours of the day finding blame and pointing that is just itching to be challenged, enroll fingers at people or situations that we might them in the WRHS GT program and watch not agree with. But sometimes a “thank you” them flourish and develop amazing positive is so much more powerful in acknowledging not so much the issue but the time and effort relationships. Pennington Elementary will have a new that person made. A “thank you” to the principal as Tim Carlin (Everitt Middle Jeffco Board of Education for volunteering assistant principal) will be stepping into for a position that is second-guessed every that position. With a new expeditionary- second of the day and to Dr. Glass for his style learning, students will visit museums, vision and leadership that energizes those grocery stores, the GreenBelt and other at the school level to teach and motivate all places where combining real life experiences children and their parents. And of course, as leads to better levels of retention and always “thank you” for reading. n By

Guy Nahmiach


understanding. Whether or not the extended day program is still needed, I trust Mr.

Contact Guy Nahmiach at 303-9995789 or

SCHOOL VISITOR PASS Our Community Makes Prospect Valley Special n By

Mike Collins


hen Community Superintendent Jose Martinez handed me the keys to Prospect Valley Elementary School seven years ago, I had no idea what I was in for. Jose told me, “I need someone to be the Mayor of Prospect Valley.” Of course, I knew what he meant...and I also knew the job would include a little more than “smiling and slapping backs.” Little did I know I would land at a school that would change how I look at all schools. Prospect Valley has shown me how powerful a school can be when everyone works together, for kids. I’ve seen kids come to our school complete with track records that would make any school official begin twitching. I’ve seen those same kids turn into model students and citizens that beam with pride. How does this happen? It happens when a school community embraces every child, no matter what their situation is. When staff members work alongside community members and parents to give kids all that they need to learn and grow. It happens when a school community decides that academic growth, student support and parental involvement are what they want for their children. When I say school community – I

mean everything and everyone that makes our school special. It’s the teachers who demonstrate patience and kindness on a daily basis. Teachers who work on Friday nights and Sunday afternoons to make sure they are ready for Monday. Teachers who participate in the school’s 5K run, the school dance and the talent show...because they want to. It’s the tutors like retired lawyers Jim Cherney and Tim Burke and retired pediatrician Dr. Bob Braden, who all show up like clockwork each week to help 6-, 7and 8-year-olds. It’s folks like our clinic aide, Brenda Cross, who has served the kids and families of Prospect Valley for 28 years. Who could forget retired teachers like Ann Rutkofsky, Sue Monaco, Betty Weller and Jan Hutton? These four women, who served the community for a combined 130 years, are all still involved with the school. It’s the parents, the staff and the students who model and look out for each other. The support, the positive climate and most of all the relentless pursuit to give every child what they need. It amazes me how an overall positive environment changes kids...and I see it Continued on page 11


spirit” as a new organizational value for Jeffco. This is coming to life through the creation and re-investment in innovative Demand for our charter schools is at a school models across Jeffco – including in double-digit growth. What are they doing our neighborhood schools. in there that has families flocking to them District-wide, you we already see a while we have some schools struggling greater focus on STEM, problem/projectwith enrollment?  With Compass having based learning, career/technical a 600-student waitlist, what education and experiential ingredient can we add to our education (students learning neighborhood school recipe by doing). We already have to make it as tasty and “in wonderful arts and music, career demand” as charter schools?  exploration options, and (GT) Most families in Jeffco gifted/talented programming in choose their neighborhood neighborhood schools in Jeffco schools. However, the district – and we need to build onto that. does offer a robust number of One clear example of school choices through charter this is happening at Pennington schools (public schools which Elementary. Pennington is still a operate through an agreement between the Jeffco board of Jason E. Glass, Ed.D. neighborhood school, but it will also follow and Expeditionary education and an operator) and Learning model, which gets kids into option schools (district-managed schools projects in the community and beyond which have a specialized purpose or focus). as part of their learning. Another is work The kinds of specialized programming we are doing to create more arts-focused available through our charter and option options across Jeffco. schools has increasingly become popular We are proud of all our school options over the past decade. Schools with focus in Jeffco and want them all to thrive and areas such as Montessori, Core Knowledge, succeed. You can expect a lot more of this problem/project-based learning, and kind of specialization in our neighborhood focusing in on special programs for schools, all centered on shifting to greater kids with specific disabilities has grown hands-on learning experiences for kids. tremendously. This is an exciting time to work in education School choice and specialization are here in our community – and a wonderful time to to stay and it’s something our families and be a kid in Jeffco! students want more of – so, Jeffco Public If you have a question for our new Schools must adapt and evolve to meet the Superintendent please submit it to Guy@ wants and needs of our community. or call it in to 303 Within our new strategic direction, we’ve 999-5789. intentionally put forward “an entrepreneurial n By

Jason E. Glass

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No Gym? No Problem – Head To The Park n By

Meghan Godby


hanks to the mild temperatures we’ve been having lately, we’re not just limited to snow sports this winter. In fact, outdoor recreation opportunities abound. This is a great time to make some progress towards your health and fitness goals; January may be over, but we can still piggyback on the magic of a New Year. As you may have guessed, however, this is also prime time for local gyms and recreation centers. And as facilities experience an influx of new members, this can translate into more crowds and potentially longer wait times for fitness equipment. Does this mean your workouts need to be on the backburner? Absolutely not. While you’re waiting for the New Year rush to wear off, consider heading to Hayward Park, located on the corner of West 29th Avenue and Wadsworth in Wheat Ridge. Thanks to a $5,000 grant from Jefferson County Public Health, the five-acre park now boasts two pieces of outdoor fitness equipment - an elliptical and a static combo station. The equipment, which was purchased from Greenfields Outdoor Fitness and installed in November of 2017, takes up a small footprint but still allows for a full body workout. The elliptical may lack the fancy screens and controls found at traditional fitness centers, but it will still help you

Dreadmill Continued from page 1

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in the very unsexy gymnasium of the Wheat Ridge Anderson rec center were grandmothers, Jazzercise fuses cardio, yoga, Pilates, kickboxing and dance, and will very much kick you in your gluteus maximus, and you will probably go back for more. As a guest at Ahr’s class, I joined a group of nearly twenty women who sashayed, kicked, sweat, crunched and pumped for an hour. After 10 minutes I was seeing stars, at 11 minutes I was exhausted, and on or around the third round of side-kick-lungeish maneuvers, I could only laugh. The woman in front of me appeared to be in her late 50s or early 60s. She had the poise and rhythm of a trained ballerina and the body of someone who stayed as fit. Another woman to my left modified her moves as it suited her and offered a supportive smile and understanding “it’s ok” when I apologized, worried I was throwing her off. Kimberly Giles, 53 of Edgewater, was 80 pounds heavier in 2006 when she tried Jazzercise. A “yo-yo dieter,” Giles was hooked. She admits she stepped away from Jazzercise to try out other programs and a gym, but she was unmotivated. She came back. “This is the only thing that keeps it off.” Christine Meyer took her first class when she was 28 years old and eventually became an instructor. Now 65, the Golden resident has few, if any physical complaints, and doesn’t supplement her Jazzercise regimen either. “You don’t have to do anything else if you do this regularly,” said Meyer. “You’ll see for yourself: you’re going to be worked out from your neck to your toes.” She wasn’t exaggerating. It was evident speaking to many of the women at class that the program wasn’t intimidating or competitive yet there was camaraderie, and enthusiasm from the instructors, to stay motivated and challenged. There are no spin-off products to buy into and its month-to-month annual rate and class availability makes it a commitment without pressure, but as Ahr reflected after class, it’s a promise of an hour of the day spent feeling good, and that means many of her classes see between 30 and 40 attendees . At Fitness Together, Dias recounted asking a former boss to share the secret to

squeeze in some cardio and strengthen your lower body. The static combo station can accommodate up to three people at once and allows for a complete upper body and ab workout (think sit-ups, pull-ups and dips), with no need for extra weights or special accessories. Matt Anderson, analyst for Wheat Ridge Parks and Recreation, helped land the grant and is excited to bring this equipment to the community. “Since [it] is so new, we have not received much feedback yet,” Matt explained, “but the goal of this project is to increase physical activity for residents and employees near Hayward Park." The two stations have explanatory signage, so you won’t be scratching your head trying to figure out how to use it. The equipment is suitable for most persons over the age of 14 (as always, check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program), but Hayward Park has a small playground to entertain any younger members of your group. If you’re feeling up to it, consider heading over to Crown Hill Park once you’re done. The 242-acre park is just a few blocks away. Featuring a wildlife sanctuary and miles of trails (paved and unpaved), it’s the perfect end to your workout. At the end of the day, not only will you have gotten some fresh air, but you’ll also have worked every major muscle group. And the best part? It didn’t cost a dime. his success. “Just love them,” he told Dias. “He told me ‘If we take care of them, they’ll keep coming back. And here, it’s more than just jumping jacks,” Dias said of his studio’s personal approach. “If we can maneuver our way into someone’s heart, that’s what gets people to grow. I want someone to try and become more confident, and a lot of times it takes going deeper into the psyche.” An initial session with Dias is really an introduction to each other, and Dias assesses not just physical condition, but mental and emotional, while exploring what the individual’s goals are. Finding that right fit can be the fun part. Most facilities offer a free initial session or discounted day pass to give new customers a feel before committing, making it possible to experience several facilities in a week – provided you aren’t too sore. Club Pilates, with locations in Edgewater, Lakewood and around the country, offers a free half hour intro which gives some meaning to the complicated system of ropes and pulleys that is Pilates. From there, guided exercises at varying levels help to develop one’s core strength. At Break the Stigma Fitness Studio in Wheat Ridge, however, one needs an invitation. Described as the first cannabisfriendly fitness facility in the country, Break the Stigma Fitness was founded by in 2017 Jennessa Lea after suffering through years of illness and subsequent opiate addiction from pain management of Ehlers Danlos Syndrome – a connective tissue disorder. Since Break the Stigma is on private property, one must be submit an application for an invitation to a drop-in session or membership. From there, you can experience yoga, high intensity interval training, and cardio classes infused with cannabis and nutritional and training support. With so many stereotypes and misinformation surrounding the benefits of cannabis, Lea explained, she is passionate about providing an opportunity for people of all backgrounds to explore what she experienced in cannabis’ benefits as a fitness and life-changing supplement. Whether you’ll find motivation through a group or one-on-one training, the fitness options in the metro area are vast. Exploring new approaches and adventuring beyond the dreadmill may make the difference between the resolve to reach your fitness goals, or reaching for an extra donut. – FEBRUARY 13 – MARCH 12, 2018 – NEIGHBORHOOD GAZETTE

n By



Finding Fitness in the Information Age

Stress Less, Love More

Tawny Clary


n the age of information, we know much more about our bodies than ever before. This gives seniors a bigger advantage than previous generations – the opportunity to get in shape and stay in shape. The source of this information age is part of the other advantage seniors have, today – technology. Our physical self-awareness mixed with today’s available machines, monitors, apps and ideas draws so many possibilities for us to stay fit; and every day, more and more seniors are taking advantage of what’s around. Cities are not short to notice the increase in seniors and senior activity. Some places in the area of Wheat Ridge partner with companies such as Silver Sneakers. Silver Sneakers is a membership-based fitness program for seniors who are 65 and older. Seniors must apply to see if they qualify. Facilities like the Active Adult Center in Wheat Ridge, Planet Fitness at Lakeside and Wheat Ridge Recreation Center have partnered with Silver Sneakers to allow seniors more accessibility promoting health and fitness among senior residents. Check out to find out if you are eligible. Some gyms like 24 Hour Fitness offer Silver Sneakers classes as well as some of their own – like Aqua Zumba. If you’ve heard of the Latin American, dance-based workout known as Zumba, just imagine


This practice can bring your heart rate down almost immediately. It relaxes the blood vessels, which lowers blood pressure, and it ellness is much more than nutrition can actually increase the gray matter in the and exercise, although those are brain over time. Right after meditation you certainly huge factors. Did you know that may feel a sense of wellbeing and serenity. most doctor visits are due to stress-related People often feel like decisions are easier to illness? Stress is linked to the leading causes make and creativity flows. of death including heart disease, cancer, Gentle stretching is accidents, lung ailments and also beneficial for reducing cirrhosis of the liver. stress and helping the flow of We cannot avoid stress, but energy. Since our bodies are we can choose to regulate the constantly sending messages sympathetic nervous system, to the brain, when we relieve the “fight or flight” mode, and tension in the body, it signals to reduce the impact stress has on the brain to relax. You might try our lives. There are a number of incorporating gentle stretching techniques that may be helpful. into your daily routine, either in The first and simplest the morning or throughout the technique is one you can do day for a break. anywhere. Inhale through the Cheryl Spriggs The key is to soften and nose, imagine expanding the relax the muscles, not to be forceful. If lungs completely, exhale through the nose we try to force a stretch, the muscles may and imagine releasing tension throughout tense up rather than release. Try things like the body. Just a few breaths can make a shoulder shrugs, wrist and ankle circles, difference between reacting to a situation spinal rotation and neck stretches. with anger versus responding thoughtfully. Nutrition is an important component It can also determine whether you store the also. Enjoy lots of foods that reduce stress in your body or let it go. inflammation in the body like vegetables, Breathing through the nose is one way fruits, herbs and spices. The effect is twoto activate the parasympathetic nervous fold: you get the reduction in physical system, which keeps the body regulated. inflammation and the better you eat, the Every time you activate this system you better you feel! reinforce the behavior and it becomes easier Cheryl Spriggs is a stress management to handle stress. specialist at Lutheran Medical Center and Another effective method to support a St. Joseph Hospital. calm nervous system is regular meditation. n By

trying it in the water. Another type of fitness in the water that is growing in popularity is Ai-Chi. It is the same idea as Aqua Zumba. Ai Chi takes the Tai Chi workout into the water. This provides seniors the balance benefits and stress reduction of Tai Chi with the strengthening and flexibility improvement of water aerobics. In or out of the water, the other great part of fitness classes is that they provide socialization – an important aspect of mental well-being as well. Luckily, that same technology and information mentioned above can bring you to websites like where you can find senior groups whose sole focus is working out, running, etc. There is even a Singles over 50 Hiking Group! Finally, back to the technology again...a fad that has only been advancing over the years is wearable fitness trackers. And of course, as we learn more about our bodies, they become less of a fad and more of a stagnant tool. After all, this is the age of information, right?! In most cases, fitness trackers go on your wrist. Some, like the Fitbit selection allow you to monitor right from your wrist. Others have little to no information on the band and require you to use a connected app on your smartphone. This allows more information to be stored and less battery life to go through on the tracker. To find out more if these are right for you, check out “A Guide to Wearable Fitness Trackers” on


Cheryl Spriggs


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he patient was in obvious distress, unconscious, not breathing, no pulse. The crew of West Metro firefighters immediately started administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), pushing forcefully and rhythmically on his chest. Their goal – to get the patient breathing and his heart pumping again. While this scenario played out with a mannequin, in a training room, the aim was to prepare the crew for real life situations. Every year, West Metro Fire Rescue routinely answers more than 22,000 medical calls. And, a number of those are potentially life threatening, like a heart attack, where seconds count. And where quick and decisive intervention results in better outcomes – and higher patient survival rates. For years, manual CPR has been the standard for patients with cardiac problems. And, while thousands have been saved as a result of properly administered CPR, for fire crews, the dilemma has always been continuity. Patients that need immediate transport to the nearest hospital have to be moved – onto a gurney, into an ambulance and then into the hospital’s emergency room. And, crews often have to administer other treatments at the same time they’re giving CPR, which may mean pausing CPR compressions. The best CPR, according to medical research, is CPR that is continuous. The solution is a high tech machine – called a LUCAS device – that performs CPR compressions for firefighters so they can tackle other aspects of critical patient care. “The benefit of using the LUCAS device

is that we’re able to do perfectly efficient CPR while we’re starting IV’s, while we’re giving cardiac medicines, or doing a number of other procedures,” said Lieutenant Mike Binney, West Metro Fire Rescue. “It limits the interruptions and the science shows that the longer you pause in between compressions, the less effective the CPR.” West Metro will be adding LUCAS devices to several ambulances over the next month and crews have been training with the new technology on a special mannequin since the beginning of the year. The mannequin has CPR feedback software, which gives crews a comparison between their manual CPR and the LUCAS CPR. During the training, the crews start with manual CPR, then attach the LUCAS device, which takes over chest compressions on the patient. The compressions are performed by a piston-like attachment, which can be adjusted for the size of the patient so that the compressions are right for them. “It’s going to be a game changer in the way that we manage cardiac arrest patients,” said Binney.

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ow many chargers do you have at home? How about in your car? I have a charger for every generation of iPhone, iPad and laptop… my son Dylan of course has his own chargers for his Samsung phone, calculator for school and his video game remote controller. We have chargers for the cordless drills and other tools. Could we not get everyone in the same room and say, “Hey, love the different products but can we all agree on the same chargers?” Apparently this would be impeding on the progress and innovation of technology. Apple’s Lightning cable allows a larger threshold of a voltageamperage combination and extracts or facilitates the electric current in such a way as to charge your phone faster. Tesla’s electric car charging mechanism is different but “better” than other electric cars on the market right now. But that’s a whole other conversation. Here is the good news, appliances all plug into the wall outlets the same way… well not your dryer or air conditioning units. But that’s because the power requirement is so much more. But industry standards do exist and so your fridge and microwave and even your phone chargers, no matter the brand, all fit the same way into the outlet. Unlike the rest of the world where different countries have different “plug requirements.” Creating standards and an equilibrium in usage needs can help save dollars for the consumers but also room in our landfills and keep that “junk drawer” from overfilling. Technology can advance with better products, but the option for “faster” or “stronger” can be left as a personal choice.

Sustainability does not mean spending more dollars. It simply means doing more with what we already have. Yes, you can buy a fancy new composter that rotates and attracts the heat from the sun and matches the color of your shed. But you can also use scrap wood to build a box and throw your vegetable peelings in there. The outcome is exactly the same. It’s a personal choice. Last week, many were expecting the Wheat Ridge’s Sustainability group to ask taxpayers to fund various programs and payroll for full-time positions at the government. This is exactly what turns off people from a green lifestyle. Sustainable practices that help our future generations are simple habits by citizens put into place in their own lives that together make our city a cleaner and healthier one to live in. It is a personal choice to recycle, grow a garden, walk or bike to work. It’s not about a government imposing any kind of law or extracting any dollars from your hardearned income to manage the way you live your life. Green living starts at home, not in an elected official’s office. Wheat Ridge has a rich history of farming and living off the land. Before phone chargers started complicating our lives, citizens worked together to build not only an actual city but a sense of community. Home owners that can agree to use the same garbage collector on each block, organize neighborhood fruit and vegetable exchange programs and even create recycling centers. Wheat Ridge has a long list of commissions and committees that offer opportunities for volunteers to join and contribute to to the welfare of our city. It is up to us to choose the difference we make and the kind of city we hand over to future generations. – FEBRUARY 13 – MARCH 12, 2018 – NEIGHBORHOOD GAZETTE


MOUNTAIN VIEWS Accessible Community Resources n By

Patricia Lilliston


everal Jefferson County and RTD programs offer seasonal, one-time or ongoing assistance and service. The Action Center, Meals on Wheels, AARP Tax-Aide, and Access-A-Ride provide support for individuals, families and seniors in the metro area. The Action Center offers intervention and self-sufficiency programs. Homeless and emergency utility assistance is available. Seasonal services include the distribution of supplies, food and gifts to meet back to school requirements, and the hope for a Thanksgiving or December holiday. Selfselect grocery, clothing, personal care, household banks, and connections with Outreach partners are additional program services. To receive services at the Action Center, one must be a resident of Jefferson County or homeless. Prior to participation, a photo ID, proof of residency, and birth certificates for children must be presented. The Action Center is located at 8755 W. 14th Ave. in Lakewood. To initiate service, call 720-2154850. Meals on Wheels will deliver a hot and nutritious noon meal daily to the homebound or those in Jefferson County unable to prepare a balanced meal. Meals consist of meat, fish or a casserole, vegetables, fruit, bread, margarine, dessert and beverage. Attention is given for diabetic or critical food necessities. In addition to safeguarding malnutrition, the delivery driver helps to monitor the client’s daily well-being. This program is funded through direct donations from the client, their relative or friend, the United Way, and individual or group fundraising donations. To inquire about receiving meals, call 304-725-1601 between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Tax-Aide offers free, individual assistance with tax preparation to taxpayers with particular attention for those 60 and older. IRS-certified volunteers are available on a walk-in schedule through April 14, at the Arvada, Standley Lake, Belmar and Golden libraries. Seniors should bring previous year’s tax return, social security card, photo ID, and pertinent 2017 tax-related information to the AARP Tax-Aide site. The Arvada Library, located in Olde Town at 7525 W. 57th Ave., allocates space for this service. For additional information, visit Access-a-Ride is an RTD (Regional Transportation District) option that provides local travel service in the Denver metro area for individuals with disabilities. Access-aRide is available during the same days and hours as the RTD local bus service. The transport service involves curbside, door to door, and if requested, driver assistance for passengers who make regular trips to the same destination. To qualify for Access-a-Ride, one of two requirements must be met. Commuters need to be unable to get to and from a bus stop, board independently a lift-equipped bus or be unable to complete the bus trip unaided. A functional evaluation and physician’s statement is needed to verify the disability. To learn more, call 303-299-2960. Would you or a neighbor benefit from one or more of these available resources? If not, donations of money or time is accepted. Call. Give. Volunteer. February – The Month of Transition and Celebration The month of February is clearly considered a transitional month. A seasonal shift in the air begins to stir, serving as a reminder that spring is coming. In addition, the second month of the year, although fewer in the number of days than other months, holds notable calendar dates prompting opportunity for recognition and celebration.

Since 1976, the month of February is celebrated as Black History Month. Carter Godwin Woodson initially created the first Negro History Week in Washington, D.C., in February of 1926. Born in 1875, the son of former slaves, Woodson was a noted AfricanAmerican scholar, educator, historian and publisher. Woodson realized that the role of his people in American history was either ignored or misrepresented by scholars. He believed that education and increased social and professional contacts among blacks and whites would help eliminate racism. Considered the “Father of Black History,” Woodson died on April 3, 1950. Two days after the much-celebrated worldwide day of romance, Valentine’s Day, arrives the festive holiday of the Lunar New Year on Feb. 16. For Chinese communities around the world, the lunar new year is the most important and most festive holiday of the year. With a calendar dating from the third millennium BCE, the earlier celebration was a period when farmers were allowed to rest; family members would then travel to celebrate with loved ones and cheer the old year and welcome in the new. Today, the day is tagged as the Spring Festival with gifts, food feasts, firecrackers and seasonal good wishes bestowed among the merrymakers. With the March calendar looming, February will soon transition into spring Be advised: “Beware the Ides of March.” Power to the Polls – Colorado Voter Registration On Jan. 20, women in cities nationwide gathered, raised their signs and marched to champion a collaborative theme of Power to the Polls. The 2018 Women’s March heartens the need to increase voter participation though the registration of new voters. Voter registration in Colorado is simple. Colorado residents can register to vote by mail, email, fax or in person at locations throughout the state including the Department of Revenue and the Division of Motor Vehicles. To be eligible to register to vote in Colorado, an individual must be a U.S. citizen, lived in the state for 22 days immediately before the election, 16 years of age, but 18 years or older by the date of the election at which you intend to vote. Eligible residents cannot be serving a sentence or on parole for a felony conviction. To register to vote in person, visit one of the following locations. The Jefferson County Clerk and Recorder office is located at 100 Jefferson County Parkway, Suite 2560, in Golden; call 303-271-2560. The Jefferson County Elections Division is found on 2500 Illinois St., Suite 1100, in Golden; call 303-271-8111. In addition, all Division of Motor Vehicle locations will assist with voter registration. For email and fax options, a Colorado voter registration form, and additional contact information visit www. Nationally, millions of people don’t vote every election because they missed a registration deadline. Register today. Vote.


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Great networking happened this evening at January Biz Mix at Amici’s Restaurant. Thank you to those who attended and Amici’s for hosting and providing delicious pizza!

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to work. I have to carefully plan my days. In both music and dentistry, you have to be kind of a perfectionist.” He says he can be picky and obsessive. “When I practice music, if I can’t play it perfectly 10 times in a row I start over. If something’s not ideal, it drives me bonkers. That said, I’m a perfectionist at dentistry and at the piano, but nothing else.” Garrison was 8 years old when he began to study the piano. By sixth grade, he was accompanying junior and high school choirs. “I played for church every Sunday, from fifth grade until I graduated,” he said. Garrison grew up in St. John, N.D., a small farming town on the Canadian border with a population of barely 300 people. “My mom was my history teacher for six years,” he said, “and she played drums in a band called ‘Tickled Pink.’ My dad was a really good singer. Some families have good athletes, some have musicians. “My first piano teacher was also a teacher at my school. She was a good mentor in the sense that she could tell I wanted to work very hard and didn’t put me on a particular track. She led me but let me do my own thing at the same time. Technique was never a problem for me. “In seventh grade, I was studying with a gentleman who was more classically trained. I didn’t take piano lessons from that time



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until halfway through college. In dental school, I started studying with Tamara Goldstein, another North Denver resident, and I still do.” Garrison knew when he was young that he wanted to be a pianist, but he also knew that it’s always been difficult for musicians to make a living, even during the times of the greatest composers like Haydn or Mozart. In eighth grade he began considering dentistry as a career. The leader of his youth group was a dentist. “He seemed to have it all – a good job, respect in the community.” Garrison shadowed him and soon developed the idea that becoming a dentist would support his creative need to play the piano. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Jamestown in North Dakota, Garrison went to dental school at CU Anschutz Medical Campus in Aurora, graduating in 2012. “When I graduated from dental school, I thought I’d work in community health,” Garrison said. “I moved to Steamboat Springs and worked at a clinic in Craig. Then a job opened in Denver at Interstate Health Center at 38th and York. After two years, I became the clinic director. It was great to oversee a staff working together to develop goals and a mission that would allow us to treat our patients well, enjoy work and each other’s company. My rules were: don’t be late, don’t be lazy, and ask what can be done to help somebody else.” Garrison assumed that he’d stay in community health, but his piano playing life

was getting busier and busier and the clinic was a full-time job. The idea of starting a private practice made sense. Talks with one of the staff dentists, Dr. Carley Janda, evolved into their opening a private practice together (City Roots). “We had gone to dental school together and were on the same page about the appropriate way to provide health care. “[Dentistry] is one of the few professions in which you can choose how many hours to work and still make a decent living. I like it more than I thought I would. It’s fun to work with patients to, hopefully, better their lives. Going to the dentist is not an easy thing for most people.” He joked that getting people to come to the dentist is like pulling teeth. “I love helping people to enjoy coming to the dentist. Keeping up to date on changes in dentistry is the hardest thing. Advances are being made all the time. But patient interaction – that’s my favorite part. “Piano-wise, people ask me what I want to accomplish, and I’ve already done more than I anticipated I ever would in my life. I never would have believed I’d be working with a Grammy-winning mezzo soprano (Michelle DeYoung). I’ll be playing a concerto on Feb. 17 with the Boulder Symphony ( composing-the-end). In July, I’ll play at the Colorado Music Festival in recital with Michelle DeYoung (coloradomusicfestival. org/concert/scheherazade/). “I feel very blessed that I’ve been able to do the things I’ve really cared about.”

Wheat Ridge Mayor

ATATs also donated a half-dozen or so refurbished bicycles to needy kids that day – talk about a great afternoon! Coffee as a meeting paradigm is alive and well in Wheat Ridge and to which I have added myself as a participant. It’s been an opportunity to get to know citizens who may have seemed political opponents but turned out to share much more in common than not. I discovered a common desire to honor that which is best of our history and to make our city a welcoming place to live. So far, this short 100 days has been long on people to meet, things to do and places to go. I am excited by the work and honored by your trust. Please email me at bstarker@ or call me on my office phone 303-235-2800. I look forward to seeing you around town.

Continued from page 4

attended school district meetings to discuss the future of public education delivery in our community, and met with concerned citizens over the critical need for low-cost, high-quality childcare in our city. Continuing an initiative from my predecessor, I have encouraged the Environmental Sustainability Committee in their work to make our city more sustainable and joined them in a visit to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Tuning up my bicycle, I rode with the ATATs (Active Transportation Advisory Team) to deliver tons of books to elementary school children, feeling first-hand some of the benefits of riding my bike around town and watching the delight of children receiving books to forward their quest for knowledge. The

Contact Wheat Ridge Mayor Bud Starker at or 303-235-2800.


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6789 W. 44th Ave. | 303-424-1881 | – FEBRUARY 13 – MARCH 12, 2018 – NEIGHBORHOOD GAZETTE


WHAT’S HAPPENING Now Taking Applicants For Wheat Ridge Police Volunteer Academy The Wheat Ridge Police Department is accepting applications for its 2018 Volunteer Academy scheduled to begin Tuesday, March 20. Classes are held from 6 to 9 p.m. every Tuesday night for six weeks at 7500 W. 29th Ave. Graduation occurs on Tuesday, April 24. Academy Participants learn about all the aspects of community policing and the role they can play as volunteers for the department, according to WRPD release. Police and civilian personnel will present lectures and demonstrations in order to give participants an understanding of the department's mission, practices and operations, and well as such areas as community relations, crime prevention, Crisis Intervention Training, personal safety, and wildlife safety and recognition. Those who are interested must complete an application, an interview, and submit three references as well as agree to a background investigation. Applicants to the Volunteer Academy must be 18 years of age or older; willing to sign a Waiver of Liability; not have any felony, domestic violence, or significant or recent misdemeanor convictions; and not be a registered sex offender. Volunteers who graduate from the academy attend monthly dinner meetings on the first Thursday of the month and agree to participate in special events and commit to volunteer opportunities that arise, including Trunk or Treat, Operation Blue Santa, Carnation Festival, clerical assistance, speed monitoring, Walk and Watch Program, and shuttling out of service fleet vehicles. For more information and an application, visit

House Need Paint? Brothers’ Paint-A-Thon Accepting Applications Nonprofit Brothers Redevelopment’s Paint-A-Thon program is accepting applications for its 40th Paint-A-Thon anniversary season. Between March and September, the Paint-A-Thon crews will paint 100 or more homes for incomequalified senior and disabled homeowners – at no cost to them. Through its Paint-A-Thon program, Brothers Redevelopment has painted more than 7,250 local houses with 133,000 volunteers. Nominate a neighbor, friend, family member or yourself by calling 720-339-5864, or visiting To qualify, homeowners must be 60 years or older and/or have a disability, must own and occupy their Denver metro area, and plan to live in it for at least 12 months. The home must be no taller than one and a half stories – and in need of painting. The Paint-A-Thon program offers qualified homeowners the ability to devote limited resources and fixed incomes to other important costs, such as medication, groceries and bills, without having to forgo maintaining their most important investment – their home. Painting a home can cost upward of $5,000. For more information, contact Brothers Redevelopment at 720-339-5864 or, or visit

Open House for Law Enforcement Explorer Scout Program on March 8 The Wheat Ridge Police Department is holding an Open House for the Law Enforcement Explorer Scout Program on March 8, from 5 to 7 p.m., at 7550 W. 29th Ave. The WRPD reintroduced the Explorer Scout Program in 2013 with Post 6901

named to honor the badge number of Jack Bramble, the interim Chief of Police for the city when the department was established. The Explorer Scout program consists of youth ages 14-20 years old who are interested in learning about law enforcement as a career. The Explorer program offers area teens the chance to get real-world police knowledge and leadership experience while providing service to the community. The Explorers participate in an academy designed to provide them with basic law enforcement skills. They then assist the WRPD and the community as volunteers while earning ride-a-long hours with patrol officers. To apply, contact Sergeant Jon Pickett at 303-235-2914. For more information and an application, go to the city website www.

Violet’s Venue Brings Blues to Wheat Ridge Violet Vostrejs and her four children opened Violet’s Venue in the Northwest corner of the Strip Mall on 26th and Kipling Behind Davies Chuck Wagon (10151 W. 26th Ave., Unit B) in December. “We wanted to establish a classy bar and music venue to be your own warm and inviting neighborhood place where you can go and enjoy great drinks, pizza, games, free pool, live music and sit by the huge fireplace,” Vostrejs told the Neighborhood Gazette. “Our pool table is regulation size with real pockets, No quarters required. We have a large stage and dance floor!” Weekly evening events include Pool League on Mondays, Karaoke Tuesdays, Ladies Night Wednesdays, Acoustical Night Thursdays, and live bands Fridays and Saturdays. “We are currently in the works to start a Sunday Blues Jam,” Vostrejs said. “We have a variety of board games for the kids and adults.” For more information call 303-2320717 or visit on Facebook.

Buy Tickets for League of Women Voters Author Lunch Fundraiser, March 10 The League of Women Voters Jefferson County will host an author and lunch fundraiser on Saturday, March 10 at St. Anthony Hospital from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 11600 W. 2nd Place, Lakewood. Colorado authors D.D. O’Lander, Emily Littlejohn and Arvada photographer Grant Collier will speak about their books, which will be available to purchase by cash or check. O’Lander ( ) has cultivated the Irish gift-of-gab with a passion for World War II history, which is reflected in her novels: “Starling: Emerald Target, Book I” and “Irish: Emerald Target, Book II.” Emily Littlejohn (www.emilylittlejohn. com) was a 2017 Colorado Book Award finalist for her debut novel “Inherit the Bones.” “A Season to Lie” is the second book in a mystery series about Detective Gemma Monroe. Arvada resident Grant Collier ( is a professional photographer, well known for his book, “Colorado: Yesterday & Today.” He traveled throughout the state taking photos from the exact spots that his great-great-grandfather, Joseph Collier, took his images over 100 years earlier. Ticket orders are due by Feb. 28 and may be purchased at Tickets will be held at the door. The cost of $27 includes lunch. Proceeds help support the League’s advocacy work and are non-tax deductible. For more details on the authors and their books, visit The League of Women Voters of Jefferson County, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, and

influences public policy through education and advocacy. For more info, call 303-238-0032 or email

Wheat Ridge School Traffic Community Forum Set For March 14 The Wheat Ridge Police Department will hold a Community Forum on “School Traffic Issues” on Wednesday, March 14, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at City Hall in City Council Chambers, 7500 W. 29th Ave. The panel discussion will address topics including safety, speeding, crosswalks, parking and excessive traffic at Wheat Ridge schools. Attendees will have an opportunity to ask questions, and members of the WRPD traffic and crime prevention teams will be on hand at the beginning of the program to provide information. Free and open to the public, the WRPD Community Forums are designed to inform and update members of the Wheat Ridge community on a variety of topics. Throughout the year, Chief Dan Brennan, members of WRPD command staff and community representatives present on a variety of issues of concern or interest to the public. These events are videotaped and available for viewing on the city website at

Police To Offer Dog Walker Watch Class, March 20 The Wheat Ridge Police Department launched a new program last year called National Dog Walker Watch designed for dog walkers to help deter crime in their neighborhoods. The next Dog Walker Watch training class is planned for Tuesday,

March 20, 2018, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the department, 7500 W. 29th Ave. The free class is open to Wheat Ridge residents and dogs must be licensed. Dog Walker Watch encourages these neighbors to assist local law enforcement as extra eyes and ears while out walking their dog. The program enhances the partnership between police and community while providing resources so neighbors can be more aware and learn how to effectively observe and report suspicious activity. Space is limited. Pet guardians/owners can register for the WRPD Dog Walker Watch training class at ci.wheatridge.

Visitor’s Pass Continued from page 5

every day. What a powerful impact and responsibility we have in these jobs! When I think about, someday, leaving the job of principal of Prospect Valley Elementary, I usually get a little choked up. Why? Because this school makes everyone feel like they are part of something special, and you don’t want it to end. Staff, students and parents know they will be welcomed, cared for and supported when they walk through the front doors. “We are like a family,” I was told by a teacher when I first arrived. I remember walking out of school to the infamous Prospect Valley “Hug and Go” when I asked a student how her day was. “It’s always a good day at Prospect Valley,” she said. I couldn’t have said it better myself! Mike Collins is the principal of Prospect Valley Elementary. Questions for this guest writer or suggestions for future guest writers should be sent in to Guy@



Farmers’ New Principal Angles For More Students n By

Alexander Rea


heat Ridge High School has been making Farmers for a long time, established in 1886 to be exact. That long standing success is there because administrators have reacted accordingly to hurdles along the way. First year Principal Josh Cooley has his sights set on one of his first hurdles with getting more students to attend the Farm. “If you look at the overall trend of Wheat Ridge High School for the past six years, although we’ve had spikes here and there, there has been a general decline in enrollment. So it was actually brought up in my interview, in regard to how I would address the issue,” said Cooley. The location of Wheat Ridge presents the challenge of a large field of competition for other schools to attract students from surrounding areas. Just to name a few, schools like Lakewood High School, Golden High School, Thomas Jefferson High School, and Arvada West High School are all logical alternatives for Wheat Ridge-based lives. “In this day and age, there is a lot of choice out there. The kids who live right across the street aren’t going to come here just because they live across the street. So how do we do a better job of marketing ourselves, so kids choose to come to Wheat Ridge,” Cooley explained. Under the auspices of the Wheat Ridge Community Foundation, the high school even purchased an advertisement within the Neighborhood Gazette that mentioned numerous successful Farmer graduates in all types of work. “I think there are some really great programs that we offer, that have been here for a long time, people just may not be aware of them. So it’s our job to bolster that awareness, to help get these great programs some attention,” added Cooley. Principal Cooley also targeted the

revamping of the Fall Showcase to help improve awareness of academics. The Showcase acts as a preview into the school year, mostly directed at incoming freshman and their families. “When we did our Showcase night back in November, I asked the head of each department, to talk academically about the things we do. We didn't leave out sports and activities, as they are important to high school life, but first and foremost is our academics,” said Cooley. While attending Wheat Ridge High School, one thing I remember noticing about school culture was how athletics were the only thing people were talking about. I don't believe that sports are the only thing that people cared about, but it wasn't until the emergence of the STEM/STEAM programs that the athletic conversation was really contested. “It’s easy to fall into; look, I love our athletic programs; they are very important, but at the same time we are here for academics. That is why this school was built, to prepare kids for the real world,” said Cooley. On top of wanting to give out a great education, schools need more enrollment of students as it is directly tied to funding. According to Jefferson County Public Schools’ 2017/18 Budget Plan, each school receives $7,483 per pupil just from the state itself. So the more students that attend a school on a regular basis, the more available funds for that school. “I love the idea of attracting students from other areas, but right now I want to focus on who are the ones that live in our attendance area but are thinking of attending another school, and why that is? So that’s my next step, asking those students why they chose another school, and making sure they were aware of everything we have to offer. I don’t expect to change their minds, but that is good information that we can use moving forward,” said Cooley. It’s important for high schools to keep

in contact with surrounding elementary and middle schools as they all eventually feed into the high school population. “We’ve also opened up more involvement with Everitt Middle School and Manning Middle School to help point those students our way,” stated Cooley. This is similar to the action that was taken when I was at Prospect Valley Elementary in Kindergarten. I remember taking a class field trip to the high school where we attended a event in the gym. Everyone in my class wore shirts stating the scheduled year of our high school graduation, “Class of 2016.” So we knew right then and there, we were all lined up to attend Wheat Ridge High School. “That’s something I would love bring back, or at least those type of community events. I want kids in fourth grade to know that they are future Farmers. That's something that is going to develop as I familiarize myself with the surroundings,” said Cooley. It hasn’t even been a full year of service for Cooley, but his energy and ideas shine bright to accompany the blue and gold. He even admits his work is still cut out for him. “Still have a lot to do, but we have made some good steps.”

NEW PRINCIPAL JOSH COOLEY has his sights set on clearing one of his first hurdles: getting more students to attend Wheat Ridge High School, which has experienced an overall decline in enrollment in the past six years. PHOTO: COLEMAN ERICKSON/WHEAT RIDGE HAYSTACK

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Neighborhood Gazette – February 2018  

The February 13—March 12, 2018 issue of Neighborhood Gazette, serving Wheat Ridge, Applewood, Mountain View & Lakeside Colorado.

Neighborhood Gazette – February 2018  

The February 13—March 12, 2018 issue of Neighborhood Gazette, serving Wheat Ridge, Applewood, Mountain View & Lakeside Colorado.