CAROLERS LENT A FESTIVE AIR to last year’s Holiday Celebration at the Green, located on the north side of 38th Avenue between Upham and Reed. The popular event will return Dec. 8, with family-friendly activities, pictures with Santa, live music, a horse-drawn carriage and hot chocolate and s’mores. For more details visit ridgeat38.com. PHOTO BY JOYCE JAY
BY J. PATRICK O’LEARY
Wheat Ridge will swear in a new mayor and four new councilmen this month, after voters picked two to fill seats vacated by mayoral candidates and replaced two incumbents.
Term-limited mayor Jerry DiTullio unseated current District I councilman Davis Reinhart in a four-way race in which the winner garnered just 31 percent of the vote. While in District IV newcomer Genevieve Wooden dethroned current councilman Joseph DeMott in a relatively low-turnout contest.
Current District II councilwoman Joyce Jay battled and beat District III’s Mike Stites for DiTullio’s soon-to-be-vacant mayor’s chair. Voters gave Jay’s former seat to Zachary Urban, and Stites’ to Tim Fitzgerald.
DiTullio, Urban, DeMott and Dick Matthews actively campaigned together with mayoral candidate Stites as part of a “From Different Paths…Moving Forward Together” platform. Voters rejected three of the five, including Stites, but Jay’s seat was filled by Urban, who campaigned on Stites’ slate. Stite’s seat was filled by Fitzgerald, who defeated the Stites-aligned Matthews. Stites-aligned DiTullio ousted Reinhart from District I, yet District IV incumbent DeMott lost his seat to Wooden, a supporter of Jay’s.
What this means for future council decisions is not clear.
Stites voted against submitting a sales tax increase to the voters in this election, DiTullio exercised his mayoral veto to keep it off the ballot, and Urban penned a column deriding the increase. Yet Jay also voted against the increase as a council member.
Most candidates on the Stites-led ticket opposed recent changes to 38th Avenue, especially parking and lane reductions, and actively questioned city surveys showing early success of the changes. Yet their two victories were offset by two losses, and did not appear to add additional “nay” votes to council for that topic.
To play this game of political musical chairs, candidates raised a combined total of $52,985.16 and spent $45,653.18 through the first campaign-reporting period (ending Oct. 24), according to the first of two campaign reports filed with the city. The numbers provide of snapshot of fundraising and spending 12 days before the election; the final figures won’t be available until after the Dec. 5 final campaign-reporting deadline.
By Laura Poole
Holiday Celebration, the annual gala that revels in the joy of the season, is nearly upon us. Dec. 8 will mark this year’s festival with all kinds of fun, family-friendly activities that will lead up to the lighting of the 25-foot evergreen. Let the kids meet Santa, ride the Polar Express, drink hot chocolate, ride on a horse-drawn carriage, and much more.
Hosted by Ridge at 38, a Holiday Celebration kicks off at 3 p.m. at the Green, located on the north side of 38th Avenue between Upham and Reed streets. Free activities for the family include getting a picture taken with Santa and his elves, carolers, live music and performances, a horse-drawn carriage, crafts for kids, a Polar Express-inspired trackless train ride, and more. Ridge at 38 is also very proud to promote local and unique artisan shops to better connect our community, so feel free to browse around to find unique holiday gifts from vintage clothing to fine art and jewelry.
There will also be free hot chocolate, cider and cookies being handed out all night, and all the fixings for s’mores will be available in front of Right Coast Pizza. Stores will open their doors and have specials and snacks, and there will be a festive competition to see who has the best storefront. The lighting of the tree will commence at 6 o’clock and everyone is invited to watch as the traditional evergreen sparkles and shines in front of Wheat Ridge 5-8 School, on the west end of 38th.
“We’re hoping to have just as many people there having a great time and enjoying themselves in Wheat Ridge,” said Wheat Ridge 2020 Events and Communications Coordinator Mara Owen. “It’s just been great watching Ridge at 38 grow and watching all the businesses really getting along with the community.”
One of the sponsors of the event is Wheat Ridge 2020, a nonprofit organization that works with the City of Wheat Ridge to improve and sustain the community. Last year the executive director, Britta Fisher, came to the city and suggested a bigger space for the festival so it could grow; and grow it did.
By Cyndy Beal
As the state continues to hash out details and taxation on retail cannabis (marijuana) and related products, Wheat Ridge and Edgewater have made their decisions.
On Jan.1, 2014, both cities will allow their existing medical marijuana dispensaries to additionally operate as retail marijuana businesses.
Medical marijuana dispensaries and persons in “Good Standing,” per the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division, were allowed to apply for retail marijuana licenses on Oct. 1.
Both city councils voted to allow retail marijuana centers within their borders. Presently there are just under a dozen medical marijuana dispensaries, with five in Wheat Ridge and four in Edgewater. (Edgewater has another in process.)
Edgewater’s City Council voted unanimously in favor on Sept. 19, and Wheat Ridge City Council voted 5-3 in favor on Oct. 14.
A common concern with those opposed to retail marijuana in Wheat Ridge is a possible increase in under-age consumption.