AT THE HEART WITH ART – Melinda Stewart’s “Strawberries n’ Cicadas” is part of her art series of anatomical hearts. Stewart is the next featured artist for Wheat Ridge’s Meet the Artist event on Thursday, Feb. 20, 5:30-7 p.m. at Kataluma Chai, 7300 W. 38th Ave. PHOTO COURTESY MELINDA STEWART
By Cyndy Beal
Proposals for new buildings and businesses are sprouting up on Wheat Ridge’s horizon.
Sprouts Farmers Markets has plans to open a store on the southwest corner of Kipling Street and 38th Avenue in January 2015. Sprouts would be the anchor store, with other retailers and a senior housing complex additionally proposed for the blighted shopping center.
Sprouts owns and operates 160 stores in eight states, 25 in Colorado.
The 11.7-acre shopping center site, which contains four parcels of land, was deemed blighted by the city in late 2009.
By J. Patrick O’Leary
State representative Sue Schafer has chosen not to run for a fourth, two-year term, opening the House District 24 seat to a field of new candidates. At press, three contenders have announced their intent to run for the office: voter rights and women’s advocate Jessie Danielson; Edgewater City Councilman Kristian Teegardin; and former Wheat Ridge City Councilman Joseph DeMott.
Elections for the office of Colorado House of Representatives will consist of a primary election on June 24 and a general election on Nov. 4.
Candidates for the office must be at least 25 years old, a U.S. citizen and reside in the county or district in the 12 months prior to the election. They must also collect signatures – anywhere from 400 to 1,000 – and file them with the Secretary of State by March 31 to appear on the ballot. (For details, download and read “How To Run For Office” at www sos.state.co.us.)
By Jerry DiTullio
Family Tree’s Gemini Program Closes
The Gemini Program, a family reunification program serving runaway and homeless youth for more than three decades, has closed down. Changes in the philosophy and frequency with which county child welfare departments utilize Gemini’s services have had an unfavorable impact on funding, resulting in the closing of the program last month. Commander Jim Lorentz says this will limit the options for future placement of troubled and vulnerable juveniles in the area. All other services provided by Family Tree will remain operational.
Driving Distractions Addressed
In a recent study of 15- to 19-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes, 21 percent were distracted by the use of cell phones. Distracted driving includes texting, using a cell phone or smartphone, grooming, using a navigation system, watching a video, and other activities that cause drivers to take their eyes off the road. Wheat Ridge’s police address this problem through education and enforcement. On his own initiative, Corporal John Bowman developed an educational presentation for drivers of all ages called “Aware and Alive,” which can be presented to the community upon request. The department uses social and print media to get safety messages out to the community, and patrol officers have stepped up enforcement along major city traffic corridors.
USA Pro Challenge Returns
World-class cyclists will once again race through Wheat Ridge on their final stage from Golden to Denver on Sunday, Aug. 24. The route will be similar to the one used in 2012. This is an opportunity to see the best riders in the world, many of them fresh from the Tour de France. Specific details on road closures will be announced and residents notified closer to the event.
Kipling Trail Project Update
The city is finalizing plans to construct a 10-foot-wide, concrete multi-use trail along Kipling Street between West 32nd and 44th avenues. The project will improve the interconnectivity of the trail system and provide a safer pedestrian route to Clear Creek, Discovery Park, the recreation center and nearby schools. Utility lines on Kipling Street between 32nd to 35th avenues will be buried as part of the project. A neighborhood meeting was scheduled at the Recreation Center earlier this month to discuss the potential disruption to residents and business during construction.
By J. Patrick O’Leary
The Wheat Ridge Business Association launched its annual membership drive on Feb. 1, with the goal of adding 50 new members to its ranks. With the theme “Awesome Happens When You Join WRBA!”, the recruitment drive will run through the end of April.
People interested in learning about the organization are invited to attend a monthly meeting as a guest, free of charge.
“It’s a great organization of people who care about business in Wheat Ridge and the surrounding areas,” says Loretta DiTirro, WRBA President. “We want to bring value to our members and their membership. We do this through our monthly breakfast meetings where we educate, connect and train our membership and guests. But we can only get better if we increase our membership base.”
Benefits include the monthly breakfast, the weekly “Tuesday Tidbits” email blast, networking opportunities, and a chance to promote business in the community.
Meetings are held the second Tuesday of the month (March 11), 7-9 a.m., at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling St.