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Trunk or Treat Turns Seven, Oct. 28, on The Green

By J. Patrick O’Leary

What started as two parents’ attempt to continue an annual children’s Halloween party after Martensen Elementary School’s closure has grown into a community-wide celebration attracting crowds of more than 3,000 people.

Trunk or Treat will mark its seventh year on Saturday, Oct. 28, 4 to 6 p.m., on The Green, 7101 W. 38th Ave.

Billed by Localworks as a fun, safe trick or treat for kids and their families with participation from firefighters, the police, businesses and community members, the free event boasts a haunted house, car-trunk-decorating contest, “Thriller” zombie dancers and, of course, candy.

Kim Harr served on the local PTA when Martensen closed down, which put an end to the school’s annual Halloween party. She and her husband, Chad, wanted to continue the celebration, which featured candy distributed from the trunks of automobiles decorated for the holiday.

“We could try this in the parking lot of the (Wheat Ridge) middle school,” Kim recalls. “That’s when they started revitalization of 38th Avenue, so it was a good idea.”

The couple organized the event, and paid for printing and posters out of their own pocket. Then-chief Kelly Brooks of the Wheat Ridge Fire Department stepped in to help, as did then-board-member Tom Abbot of Wheat Ridge 2020 and then-city-councilor Joyce Jay.

“We ended up with 200 kids” and eight cars, she said.

Last year there were 3,500 people, 20 volunteers and 40 cars, according to Localworks. This year crowds could reach 4,000.

The middle school is now Stevens Elementary, but the parking lot continues as the venue. Participation has doubled every year, with new attractions added.

The second year, Localworks – then called Wheat Ridge 2020 – took on the event to cover insurance costs.

In year three, Chad decided the event needed an old-fashioned haunted house, the second-most-popular attraction, run entirely by volunteers. This year the house’s actors will be orchestra and choral students from Wheat Ridge High School.

Rise Dance Company will kick off the event by performing a zombie-themed “Thriller” dance, as they have for several years.

The Kiwanis Club will once again set up and run games during the event.

Kim said a costume parade would be “too big” with the number of participants, but first, second and third prizes – typically gift certificates provided by sponsors – are handed out to winners of the trunk-decorating contest.

Founding sponsors – organizations that have started and continue to support the event – include the Neighborhood Gazette, Lakota Sky Environments and Compass Mechanical. St. Peter and Paul’s Catholic Church is a supporting sponsor, providing $500.

“We are looking for additional candy sponsors,” adds Ashley Holland of Localworks. “Any person or company that donates 10 pounds of candy or more will be recognized at the event.”

Costumed revelers need only show up to participate in the free event. People wanting to decorate their vehicles and hand out treats can sign up on the Ridge at 38 web site, at

“They don’t have to, but it does help us plan,” said Kim, as there is enough room in the parking lot.

Two weeks away from this year’s event, what’s still needed?

“The biggest thing we always need is the candy,” Kim said. “We try to supply extra candy if they run out.” Trunk-or-Treat participants are asked to come with 1,500 to 2,000 pieces of candy each. Donations can be dropped off at Brewery Rickoli, Clancy's Irish Pub, Colorado Plus, Infinitus Pie, Personal Achievement Martial Arts, and Right Coast Pizza.

As always, the event wraps up by 6 p.m.

“It’s always been from four till six for safety, as it gets dark pretty quickly,” Kim explained. “We want to be able to see everyone coming in and out of parking lots.”

It also saves the cost of setting up lights.

“It’s always been very family friendly, for all ages to enjoy.”

For more information, visit; or contact Locaworks at 720-259-1030.

Mental Health First Aid Classes Offer CPR for the Mind

By Gwen Clayton

The Jefferson Center for Mental Health is offering free Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) classes to the public through the end of 2017.

“One in five people in their lifetime will experience a mental health problem,” said Stephanie Schiemann, Director of Marketing and Public Relations for the Jefferson Center for Mental Health. “If you look around and think about your five neighbors or your family, chances are very good that you know somebody who’s got depression, anxiety, substance use or other mental health conditions.”

MHFA teaches people how to recognize, respond to and assist with potential mental health issues and crises using a five-step action plan. The classes are provided free through Dec. 31 to Jefferson County residents, courtesy of the Community First Foundation’s Lutheran Legacy Fund. The Foundation awarded the grant to the Jefferson Center to facilitate the MHFA Jeffco Collaborative – a group of 13 organizations that have a shared vision and commitment to deliver free MHFA training to employees, family, friends and members of the public.

“Community First Foundation wanted to take all of our initiatives to the next level and really saturate Jefferson County with mental health first aid, and take it to all corners, with the goal of making it as common as CPR in Jefferson County,” Schiemann said. “Coming together was a really nice way of us creating that shared mission and then the strategic plan for how to move it forward.”

Once the group established a strategic plan, the members started talking about specific audiences that hadn’t yet been reached with mental health first aid. They developed target audiences and through the networks of the collaborative, sought opportunities to offer the class.

Members of the Collaborative include Community First Foundation, Jefferson Center for Mental Health, West Pines, Jeffco Public Library, Jeffco Public Schools, Metro Community Providers Network (MCPN), Vietnam Veterans of America, Jeffco Public Health, Jefferson County Housing Authority, Edgewater Mayor, City of Westminster, Lakewood Police Department, Arvada Police Department and The West Chamber of Commerce.

“Mental Health First Aid training has increased knowledge and improved recognition skills of our staff, providing tools for real-world application – both professionally and personally,” said Belinda T. Smallwood, Manager of Professional Development for Metro Community Provider Network. “Staff who complete the program often comment regarding the value of the training, sharing they feel more prepared to offer support and get appropriate help for those who might be experiencing a mental health crisis.  As a result, we are even better positioned to serve the needs of our patient population.”

Jarred McNeely, Director of Education for the Colorado School of Trades, agrees.

“MHFA is important to myself and my staff in that it gives us tools to better support our students,” he said. “My staff is better prepared to identify possible problems, ask the tough questions, and direct students to resources that are available within our community. In turn the support we can provide the students allows them to focus on school and be more successful as students. I believe that is the goal of any school, and MHFA helps us attain that goal.”

Jefferson Center for Mental Health has been providing Mental Health First Aid since 2009. Other members of the Jeffco Collaborative have been providing the training to their employees for the past two or three years.

Schiemann said the most common mental health conditions locally and nationally are anxiety and depression. While mental health issues are present year-round, the holiday blues can be particularly troubling.

“Extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even sentimental memories that accompany the season can be a catalyst for the holiday blues,” wrote Laura Greenstein in an article published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). “Some can be at risk for feelings of loneliness, sadness, fatigue, tension and a sense of loss…A lot of seasonal factors can trigger the holiday blues such as less sunlight, changes in your diet or routine, alcohol at parties, over-commercialization or the inability to be with friends or family.”

“MHFA gets people talking about mental health and mental health problems,” Schiemann added. “We’re having that conversation and learning more and understanding more about what it really is and what it really looks like and how prevalent it is.”

One aspect of MHFA training is battling stigma and the public’s perception of those who struggle with mental health challenges.

“It prevents people from accessing care, or telling other people that they’re struggling for fear of being labeled a certain way, or losing a job or a relationship,” Schiemann said. Stigma looks different in different communities. For example, employees worry about being labeled as incompetent, and parents dread the thought of losing their children. Veterans may fear being perceived as being weak or labeled as dangerous.

“Actually, the vast majority of folks with mental health challenges are more often the victims of violence rather than the perpetrators,” Schiemann said.

Interested parties can sign up for public MHFA classes through the Jefferson Center, or schedule onsite training for organizations that gather a group of 20 to 30 students. To date, the Jeffco Collaborative has trained more than 3,500 people through this program.

For more information, visit or call 303-432-5155.

Britta Fisher, The Force Behind Localworks

By Elisabeth Monaghan

Have you met Britta Fisher? Until Sept. 29, she was the executive director for Wheat Ridge-based nonprofit Localworks, an organization where Fisher spent the last 11 years. The Neighborhood Gazette had an opportunity to meet with Fisher just before she left Localworks to discuss how she came to be the organization’s executive director.

Fisher’s path towards Localworks began in 2005, when she and her husband were looking to purchase their first home. Not finding anything in Denver, Fisher and her husband decided to heed their Realtor’s advice and expand their search by “crossing Sheridan Boulevard.” In doing so, the Fishers found a ranch house in Wheat Ridge that was perfect for them. Because Fisher believes in actively participating in her community, she quickly set out to familiarize herself with her new neighborhood and learn about its people and policy makers.

Among the first individuals Fisher spoke with while exploring her new community was then-City Council member Wanda Sang. Their meeting took place just as the City of Wheat Ridge was passing its neighborhood revitalization strategy. That strategy included the creation of a nonprofit whose purpose was to facilitate and encourage appropriate development in Wheat Ridge.

Upon discovering Fisher’s enthusiasm for her new neighborhood and interest in being an active member of the community, Sang felt Fisher would be a great fit for the newly formed nonprofit, which at the time was called Wheat Ridge 2020. Fisher happily joined the organization as a volunteer, while working full time for a different nonprofit in downtown Denver.

After volunteering for about a year, Fisher was asked by the executive director of Wheat Ridge 2020 and members of its board to join the organization as an employee. It took some convincing, but within months, she took them up on their offer.

Two years later, when the organization’s executive director left, Fisher stepped in as interim executive director. After conducting a national search, the hiring committee realized Fisher was the ideal candidate and in 2009, they made her the full-time executive director. In 2015, the organization changed its name to Localworks.

Under Fisher’s leadership, the organization earned the 2014 Governor’s Awards for Downtown Excellence winner in Marketing and Branding for its work on Ridge at 38 Brand and Marketing Plan: Ridge at 38 Leadership Committee. This past March, Localworks was named nonprofit of the year by the West Chamber, which serves Jefferson County. Also this year, Fisher was among the Denver Business Journal’s 40 outstanding professionals under the age of 40.

While Fisher is pleased with the recognition she and Localworks have received, she is most proud of the changes she has seen her community undergo.

When she started at Localworks, Fisher says Wheat Ridge was mostly a bedroom community. Today, more residents and businesses are very much part of the community, volunteering for or participating in activities like the Ridge at 38 Criterium and Brewfest, RidgeFest, and Trunk or Treat. It is the welcoming spirit of the Wheat Ridge community and the willingness of its residents to get involved that has helped fulfill Localworks’ mission to promote the city and make it a more vibrant and sustainable community. With the numerous festivals and family-friendly activities that Localworks has helped create, there are ample opportunities for those who want to get involved.

“One of the things that makes Wheat Ridge special is if you want to make a difference in your neighborhood, in your community, you can,” said Fisher.

Fisher is leaving Localworks to be the executive director for Mpowered, a financial health nonprofit that believes in financial security for all Coloradans who want to learn about money management and participate in coaching to achieve an individual definition of financial success. Fisher says she will miss the Localworks’ staff and its board of directors, but she knows she is leaving the organization in good hands. Carolyn Doran and Ashley Holland will serve as interim co-executive directors while the Localworks’ board of directors searches for Fisher’s replacement. (The board will make an announcement when it has launched its search.)

If you did not have the opportunity to meet Fisher while she worked at Localworks, there’s a good chance you’ll run into her at a community function or at the local grocery store. She may be leaving Localworks, but she and her family will continue living in Wheat Ridge and doing their part to ensure it remains a vibrant and caring community.

Who’s Running For Wheat Ridge City Council

Compiled by Gwen Clayton

Wheat Ridge City Council candidates running on the November 2017 ballot were required to file paperwork with the city clerk by close of business Aug. 28. The following week, the Neighborhood Gazette emailed questionnaires to the hopefuls, along with a request for a high-resolution headshot photo, to be published with their responses to the questions below:

1. What is your name, position running for, occupation, previous occupations, how long you've lived in the city, and any personal details you want readers to know about you.

2. Have you served in public office before? If so, what position, where and when?

3. Have you volunteered in your community? If so, what position, where and when?

4. What are the three most important issues facing your city, and how will you address them if elected?

5. Please provide basic contact information: Website, phone number, email, social media, as well as name of candidate committee and chairperson.

Responses are published verbatim, although they may have been edited for length (character limits were included in the questionnaire), readability, potential libelous content, offensiveness or poor taste.

The Neighborhood Gazette does not endorse candidates. Individual staff members may be involved in political campaigns, but they do not speak officially for the newspaper.

Please Note: Due to a production error, we inadvertently omitted Tim Fitzgerald’s response for the “volunteer” portion of his candidate response in the print version. It is listed in it’s entirety below. We apologize for the error.

District I Candidates

Janeece Hoppe (incumbent, uncontested)

Who: Owner Compass Mechanical Heating & Cooling, Owner All Points Electrical, Owner 7014 -7020 west 38th ave , previous Owner of Compass Construction. I have lived in Wheat Ridge since October 2011, with my Husband & 3 daughters.

Public Office: In November 2015, I was appointed to fill City Treasurer Jerry DiTullio’s City Council Seat for District 1, Wheat Ridge CO, where I am currently serving the public.

Volunteer: 2011-2015- Localworks; Construction Committee, Treasurer, Vice President, President; 2011- Current- Wheat Ridge Business District; Board Member; 2012-Current- The Family Tree; Development Committee; 2014 – Current- WRHS Poms Treasurer.

Most Important Issues:

• There are many important issues in our community and to pick just three is difficult, however I believe it starts with having economically viable commercial areas. To be able to address other issues within our community we need to have a strong and diverse sales tax base. We need to support our existing commercial areas; we can do that trough the WRBD grant programs and joint marketing efforts. We also need to pro-actively identify areas for redevelopment both in the current environment and for long term plans.

• We need to make Public Safety a priority, by supporting the Police Department with their man power needs for pro active patrolling and code enforcement. Also, by addressing the accessibility needs in our community we can create and maintain an attractive and inviting community for all residents, all generations.

• We need to diversify our housing options, we need more “move up” size and priced housing, we also need more quality affordable housing. We can address this by updating our NRS, continuing the ADU conversations, and pro actively looking at our zoning and building codes. We also need to address the storm water and drainage issues many of our neighborhoods have.

Contact: or 720-556-9425.

District II Candidates

Rachel Hultin

Who: I’m a mom, 4th generation Colorado native & 5 year Wheat Ridge resident. I worked 18 years in real estate & am now the Bicycle Colorado Strategic Initiatives Director.

Public Office: Not yet.

Volunteer: Created Wheaties Academy, grassroots leadership Localworks program. Formed WR active transportation community group. 2014 City Council Partnership Award. Started Pints & Policy. Full list on website.

Most Important Issues:

• Lead with authentic growth. I care about keeping Wheat Ridge wonderful with a plan to preserve our heritage and a vision to create a better tomorrow. I pledge to protect our neighborhoods and create opportunities for small business while pursuing quality national retailers. Working together, we’ll identify policies to address affordability and transportation options to maintain our quality of life.

• Build strong neighborhoods. I put people first because people are the heart and the strength of Wheat Ridge. I’m a champion for improving safety on our streets. I’m passionate about strengthening local schools to be Wheat Ridge proud. I’m dedicated expanding programs so seniors can stay in our community and I pledge to reform code enforcement to be more reliable and responsive. And trees. Lots of trees!

• Ensure Wheat Ridge is welcoming. I care as much about how we do things as what things we do. From how we welcome businesses and ideas to how we treat neighbors, I value transparency, diversity, inclusion and respectful participation across generations. I promise to preserve Wheat Ridge’s small town character and to build on its history as an exceptional and wonderful place to live, work and play.

Contact:, 720-464-7446,,,, Registered agent: Kristi Davis, Campaign Manager Kristine Disney.

Zachary Urban (incumbent)

Who: City Council Member District 2, Running for Re-Election, Married, 2 Children, Self-Employed, Grew up in Arvada, Homeowner in Wheat Ridge for 10+ years, previous renter in Wheat Ridge.

Public Office: Elected to 4-year term Wheat Ridge City Council Member 2013; Governor Appointed to the Colorado Board of Real Estate Appraisers 2007; Appointed to Commissioner Jefferson County Housing Authority 2014.

Volunteer: Board Member Lutheran Medical Center Foundation; Commissioner Jeffco Housing Authority; Volunteer Girl Scouts of America; Operation Care Package: Colorado; Neighborhood Gazette Columnist (all present).

Most Important Issues:

• Recently a District Court Judge ruled our Charter provision limiting the use of Tax Increment Financing(TIF) was a matter mixed state concern and as such may not be enforced. If the will of the people can so easily be set aside, which issue will come up next?  I appreciate the benefits of Urban Renewal and the use of TIF, I see greater benefits in being a home rule city. I choose to fight for what it means to be a home rule city, rather running rough shot over the will of citizens.

• A Better Way is a program deemed successful by City of Albuquerque to clean up their city and help the homeless at the same time, we must adopt this program here. A solid day’s work is where I learned many lessons and continue to learn to be a contributing member of our community. Being stuck in a rut, leaves the homeless fending sunrise to sunset hand to mouth is a cycle that must be broken, so let’s give them a chance to give us a solid day’s work.

• As opioid prescription drugs deaths goes down, heroin deaths continue to grow. This isn’t just about drug users; police, first responders, and K-9 units are at risk of exposure. Our goal should be to save the lives of all involved in this crisis. Increasing access to medically assisted treatment, while reducing the stigma for those seeking help in recovery is a good start. We will work with partners across the state to alleviate the pressures and risks placed on our police and first responders to stem this tide.

Contact: 720-252-5930 Neighbors to Elect Zach Urban, Zach Urban Chairperson

District III Candidates

Tim Fitzgerald (incumbent, uncontested)

Who: Councilor- District 3 / retired / publisher's agent / moved to WR as a 1st grader in 1945.

Public Office: I am up for my second term as Councilor for District 3.

Volunteer:I served as a volunteer Driver Coordinator for a homeless family program and am currently a driver. I also have been a tutor at a halfway house serving parolees and "direct-placement" prisoners.

Most Important Issues: The city has a number of difficult issues that needs to be addressed:

• Renewal of blighted areas and empty storefronts. We need to keep doing what we have been doing. The Council along with city staff and management have shepherded renewal of difficult and blighted sites at 38th and Kipling where there is now a Sprouts; at 38th and Wadsworth which will soon have a small shopping village, a Lucky's Market and residences. The former Cabela's site is progressing towards a complete re-birth with "eatertainment", and shopping- all with a connection to the greenbelt. Many other areas are also in progress.

• The Gold's Center - all involved have been trying to assist this area with no luck. So far, 2 quality anchor tenants have failed to sign on the dotted line.

• Wadsworth redevelopment - as Wadsworth begins it's 2-3 year journey to a new visually attractive major street there is opportunity to encourage upgrading businesses and their physical appearance along the corridor.

• The Wheat Ridge income challenge- as a city we receive about 70% of our income from sales and use taxes. As people switch to online shopping, which is mostly untaxed, we must find a way to adapt.

• The world is rapidly changing. Resisting change is futile; it will happen without our input in an uncontrolled and unpredictable way. Instead we must prepare for change and guide it to benefit our city and thus ourselves.

Contact: Tim Fitzgerald, 720-360-0871,,

District IV Candidates

Virginia Ruth Baranowski

Who: Ruth Baranowski, Candidate for City Council District 4 I am an Artist, a social media manager and mother of one. I have lived in District 4 for 7 years.

Public Office: No I have not.

Volunteer: Chair of the 2016 D.I.R.T task force, Current Board and Committee Member of the Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival.

Most Important Issues:

• Wheat Ridge is a city with a unique take and great agricultural history but we must admit to that we are a city. As such we must look to improving our infrastructure, working on building up our affordable housing, improving our schools to build stronger neighborhoods and keeping our agricultural history alive by moving to sustainable and green practices. District IV has the ability to leverage the Gold Line as an attractive location for young professionals and families by encouraging developers to build more affordable housing or pay into a land trust to increase the diversity of housing in the area.

• We must turn our schools into true community centers, with programs that eliminate the stressors not only our students but also their families, building up our neighbors and encouraging our vulnerable communities to engage in the city they live in.

• It is important to keep the character of Wheat Ridge alive, while continuing to move forward. We have made great strides in improving safety of pedestrians and cyclists when building or upgrading street infrastructure but we have neglected the impact our streets have on our natural ecosystems. We can continue to honor history as a rural farming town and our future as a city by strategically designing landscaping and paving that capture and filter rainwater before it becomes contaminated runoff. In urban rights, such green infrastructure of stormwater may include tree planting, rain gardens, wetlands, permeable pavement and more.

Contact: You can learn more about me at, and reach me at my personal cell phone 720-258-6445 or email at You can find me on Facebook at Ruth Baranowski for City Council and I encourage you to reach out with any questions or comments. Neighbors 4 Ruth.

Valerie Nosler Beck

Who: Val Nosler, City Council4,Resiliency Outreach Mgr @ CO Dept. of Local Affairs, Resume avail:, lived in Wheat Ridge 3 yrs, 2 kids, 1 husband, family settled 45th & Wads in 1890's.

Public Office: No I have not served in public office. I have worked as staff for US Rep. Mark Udall (DC) 2004-2007, US Sen. Evan Bayh (DC) 2008, Mayor & Gov. Hickenlooper (CO) 2009 - 15.

Volunteer: Activate38 Coalition 2017, Home on 2015 Mid Century Modern Tour, Sts. Peter & Paul Volunteer, Localworks Volunteer, Problem Gambling Coalition of Colorado Board 2017, Colorado Territorial Daughter.

Most Important Issues:

I am the 5th generation in my family to raise their kids in Wheat Ridge. I am running for City Council because I bring expertise and a fresh perspective our community needs. I am the only candidate running in District 4 that has the skill set to collaborate with state agencies, special districts, neighboring communities, residents, business and other stakeholders to solve problems and get positive outcomes. I am running for council to advance Wheat Ridge so that it can thrive for generations to come.

We must advance welcoming & safe neighborhoods with creative low cost upgrades to help keep walkers & bikers of all ages safe. These upgrades will inform permanent infrastructure improvements to make our streets safer so we can access parks, public transportation and neighborhood schools.

Now is the time to create a community outreach task force to address needs for residents in our community impacted by or experiencing homelessness.

Join me and support thriving business in Wheat Ridge. In District 4 businesses are conveniently located near Clear Creek trail, I-70, great restaurants, shopping and Lightrail. Let’s recruit new business by showcasing all Wheat Ridge has to offer! Wheat Ridge is at a pivotal crossroads and must find other sources of revenue. Let’s build on the great work that has been done and grow our sales tax revenue by promoting Wheat Ridge businesses and entice new business to move here.

Contact:;; 303-350-0772; Committee: Val For Wheat Ridge 4; Registered Agent: Dave Petersen; Facebook: Valerie Nosler@ValWheatRidge4; Instagram: @valnozbeck303 #val4wheatridge

Leah Dozeman

Who: Leah Dozeman, Wheat Ridge City Council District IV, Program Director at Personal Achievement Martial Arts, Homemaker, Lifelong resident, Colorado native.

Public Office: I have not served in public office, but I did run for City Clerk of Wheat Ridge in 2011.

  Volunteer: Carnation Festival Board: Secretary, 4 years; Parade Chair, 2 years. Participant/mentor: Wheaties Academy. Vice-President of Pennington PTA. Member of Wheat Ridge Historical Society and The Grange.

Most Important Issues:

• Wheat Ridge is nestled in between the hustle and bustle of downtown Denver and the relaxing Rocky Mountains. It is a “bedroom” community that nostalgically upholds its unique identity of being Wheat Ridge (not to be compared to or likened to any neighboring city) and an independence that we take pride in. We are considered a N.O.R.C (Naturally Occurring Retirement Community) where many people come to live and only leave when they have passed away. The challenges with the aging population or lifetime/longterm residents is that they have a difficulty embracing change, EXCEPT when they are agents of that change. The key to Wheat Ridge is reaching out to the community and those that are seen as the "naysayers" and to listen to them. Hear their thoughts, their concerns, and their hopes. When they feel as if they are a part of the process, they are often more at ease and receptive to the change.

• Within District IV, over half of the houses are rentals and thus the neighborhood school, Pennington Elementary has one of the largest mobility rates in Jefferson County. Pennington was recommended for closure by the District last January and I was able to organize parents and community members that fought and were successful in preventing Pennington from being closed. We have few families with young children and thus not enough kids to fill our schools, which is why many school closures have happened or been proposed in our community, which I believe has and will continue to negatively affect our growth. People look for quality schools when determining where to settle down with their families.

• We need to support quality schools in our neighborhoods, they are the backbone of our economy and our community. I would like renters to feel invested in our community by loving the community so much that they decide to buy a home in the area when the opportunity arises. I would like to attract young families by developing the areas of WR that are undeveloped or blighted.

• The hotels in District IV make up a majority of the crimes reported in our city and I would like to continue the targeted policing of those areas and encourage those within the area to update and maintain properties, in order to reduce crime. We need to address the homelessness concerns, including the illegal camping along the greenbelt. We as a community need to be able to direct those experiencing homelessness to the organizations within Wheat Ridge and the county that can offer them help and resources, whether it be mental health services, housing, or assistance such as those that Pennington offers to its families that have fallen on tough times. It takes working with EVERYONE to get things done and solve the issues we face everyday, that is my promise as a councilor. I plan to be a leader that builds bridges to bring community together.

Contact: Leah Dozeman,; 720-301-9598;; Citizens to Elect Leah Dozeman

Candidate Committee: Registered Agent: Korey Stites; Treasurer: Anthony DiTullio; Sara Stites; and Dominick Breton.

Andrew Rasmussen

Who: My name is Andy Rasmussen, and I am running for City Council. I am a licensed Electrician for Namaste Solar. I moved to Colorado right after college in 1999 and moved to Wheat Ridge in 2015.

Public Office: I have never served in public office before.

Volunteer: I currently serve on the Wheat Ridge Environmental Sustainability Committee. Please see the city website for more details about what the committee has been doing.

Most Important Issues:

Growth. I support planned growth for the city. I believe that Wheat Ridge is in a unique position due to its physical location and relatively low home prices in the metro area. I would like to see the city develop commercially, but not residentially. What I mean by that is I would like to see the major commercial corridors see changes, but leave the residential neighborhoods mostly unchanged except perhaps for some pedestrian improvements. This is in line with the current Comprehensive Plan and I would like to help continue the good work already completed along these lines. In addition, I believe strongly that future multi-family development should include some portion of affordable housing.

Community Development. Having attended many City Council meetings and other community gatherings in Wheat Ridge, I believe that we could bring in more community members to the process. If elected, I look forward to reaching out to my community and organizing regular neighborhood meetings where I would hope to listen more than anything as I got to know my neighbors and understand how they feel about all of the important issues our great city is facing.

38th Avenue. I support the 3 lane alignment of 38th Avenue. I have heard from people on both sides of this issue, but believe that in the long run the 3-lane more pedestrian friendly plan would help to create the "downtown" feeling business district that the City wants. I hope to see an area similar to Olde Towne Arvada or downtown Golden in Wheat Ridge, but to do that we must make some changes. I do believe that the final stage of implementation should be sent to the voters in order to approve funding for the new plantings and pedestrian friendly improvements that we would add in order to move in that direction. Plus, I would like to see a little more attention paid to 44th Avenue improvements while we improve 38th Avenue.

Contact: Website: Phone: 970-403-2665 Email: Social Media:

Candidate Committee: Andy Rasmussen for City Council District IV Chairperson: Linda Grantham

New Movement on Redevelopment of 20th and Depew in Edgewater

By Joel Newton

The Edgewater City Council meeting on Sept. 21 was full of residents optimistically waiting to hear news on the mostly vacant property at 20th and Depew.

For those who have lived in town for more than 20 years, the optimism is reserved because this property is the parking lot of broken dreams. Since the City of Edgewater purchased the land in 2004, there have been many plans for how to redevelop the property, but all of them have fallen apart.

Plans have included using the space as a civic center, an ice-skating complex and numerous other ideas. At the council meeting it was stated that someone even came to city staff with a plan to use the land as a drone port. Most recently, Trinity Redevelopment had plans to redevelop the site, but those plans sat dormant and the city moved on.

Now there is a new developer coming in with plans for what the site at 20th and Depew could become. At the council meeting, staff from Littleton Capital Partners (LCP) outlined their ideas for redeveloping the site. LCP has successfully completing projects along 38th Avenue, at the former St. Anthony’s site and in RiNo. They hope to keep the original buildings on the site and renovate them. They showed mockups of the former King Soopers building as a food hall like Avanti with a brewery and possibly a natural food market. Then the other buildings on the site would be renovated to hold craft retail offerings like high-end wine, beer, restored furniture and other options. There was no mention of incorporating the only remaining tenants on the property, Depew Liquors and La Cascada.

First Reading of the Purchase, Sale and Development Agreement between the City of Edgewater, the Edgewater Redevelopment Authority and Littleton Capital Partners passed unanimously, followed by a final vote on Oct. 5. Now Littleton Capital Partners will work to find investors and tenants for the property over the next few months and the plans will be developed further.

“I am cautiously optimistic Littleton Capital Partners will meet the terms and conditions set forth in the Purchase, Sale and Development Agreement,” said Edgewater Mayor Kris Teegardin. “I look forward to further information and progress that points to the final sale of the property.”

40 West Residences Completed, Celebrated Grand Opening

  Archway Housing & Services celebrated the grand opening of 40 West Residences, located at Colfax Avenue and Gray, on Oct. 5.

  The new residences will serve a range of populations, including low- and extremely low-income veterans, a critically underserved population in the Denver Metro area, according to Gateway.

  Located a mile from the Lamar Street Station, 40 West Residences is a four-story, 46,663-square-foot building comprised of 54 one- and six two-bedroom units, 25 of which are set aside for homeless veterans. Archway has secured 25 project-based VASH Vouchers to benefit the veterans, in partnership with the Department of Veteran Affairs – VA Eastern Colorado, the Colorado Division of Housing and HUD.

  Jefferson Center for Mental Health, the VA, and Rocky Mountain Human Services will also provide supportive services, assisting veterans in stabilizing their lives, according to Archway.

  The total development cost of the project was $15 million, and Colorado Housing and Finance Authority awarded tax credits.

  Archway’s mission is to change lives by providing housing and related supportive services that engender a safe environment and teach community skills for families with very low to moderate incomes.

  Visit for more information.

Fate of Lakewood’s Strategic Growth Initiative ‘In Limbo’

By Jennifer LeDuc

Although Lakewood City Clerk Margy Greer ruled against a protest attempting to squash a citizen’s petition to install stronger parameters around Lakewood’s approach to development, voters will still not be able to vote on the grassroots initiative at the polls in November.

Less than a week after Greer’s Sept. 18 decision, Steven Dorman and his attorney Dennis Polk filed a complaint in district court against Greer, the city, and two initiative proponents, stonewalling the Strategic Growth Initiative.

Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships, a citizens group, developed the initiative, circulated the petition and submitted it to Lakewood City Council in August.

Dorman filed a protest on Aug. 21 against the city’s acceptance of the petitions, which supported putting the initiative in front of city council or on the November ballot. Polk also responded to an email dated June 7 sent to “Friends of Lakewood” from Mayor Adam Paul soliciting advice to ensure the door of opportunity is not shut on Lakewood and stating that Polk could be counted on “to help resist these types of measures.”

Dorman, a retiree and vice chair of the JeffCo Republican Party who moved to Lakewood several years ago, asserts the initiative violates the rights of property owners, although attempts to find property he owns within Lakewood, or Jefferson County, were unsuccessful.

Dorman’s complaint did not come as a surprise to her office, explained Greer. During protest proceedings Polk asserted he’d take the case to the district court if Greer did not rule in favor of his case.

Since Dorman’s complaint was filed, Greer’s “heard nothing” from the court, so when, or if ever, the initiative would go before city council or voters is unknown.

“When somebody files an initiative petition there’s no guarantee it will ever get on the ballot,” Greer explained. “They (the petitioners) did try to get it to me on time.

“We’re just in limbo,” she continued. “That’s the main thing. City council can’t act on an action that’s under protest or appeal.”

City council can adopt the initiative, which is unlikely given the majority of members publicly against it, or send it to a special election to be held within 90 days of their decision, an effort potentially costing Lakewood an estimated $300,000 said Greer.

Dorman’s protest not only disputes the language of the petition’s summary, which was drafted by the city clerk’s office, but also the weight and degree of attestation made by circulators to the notary publics who verified the collection of the signatures. It’s as complicated and nuanced as it sounds, and on Thursday, Sept. 7, nearly seven hours of argument and testimony, as well as legal fees, were spent scrutinizing the process and the intentions of the people involved in bringing the initiative in front of residents to decide upon, and whether attesting to something in the presence of a notary bore the same weight as raising one’s hand and swearing under oath, and whether that was even called for.

At the hearing, following Polk’s request to serve 74 subpoenas over the Labor Day weekend, dozens of witnesses, including petition circulators as well as notaries, some from area banks and under representation of their financial institute’s legal counsel, were called to testify on the process by which they attested to the collection of petition signatures.

David Votava, a Lakewood resident and a petition circulator, testified at Thursday’s hearing. Polk asked, as he did of other circulators, if Votava raised his hand and swore “under oath” to the truthfulness of the collection of signatures when they were notarized.

“My signature was the affirmation of my oath,” Votava replied.

Under questioning by the attorney representing the Growth Initiative, former Secretary of State Scott Gessler, Votava revealed that he served as a notary in the Colorado Statehouse for 12 years, notarizing documents for senators and staff, and said he never followed the oath procedure Polk suggested.

“For 12 years you never did that?” asked Gessler.

“No,” affirmed Votava.

Contesting that the petition accurately explained the 14-page initiative in just two sentences, Polk also asked circulators how they explained the initiative if there were questions. Multiple petitioners testified residents were already aware of and informed on the initiative and were eager to add their signature.

What is the Strategic Growth Initiative? To quote the city clerk’s summary on the initiative and receiving more than 5,000 supporting signatures, it is “An ordinance to limit residential growth to no more than one percent by implementing a permit allocation system that limits permit requests for new dwelling units, including City Council approval of allocations for projects of forty or more units.”

The initiative’s website elaborates, stating the initiative includes the assurance of the preservation of Lakewood’s “high quality of life, to maintain property values, to encourage preservation of larger open space … to encourage redevelopment of blighted and distressed areas” and ensure growth doesn’t “exceed the capacity of public facilities and community services.”

“The initiative allows growth while maintaining quality of life for future residents,” summarized Cathy Kertner, teacher and Lakewood resident who, as a member of Lakewood Neighborhood Partnerships, spearheaded the initiative and now defends the initiative against Dorman’s protest with co-petitioner Anita Springsteen.

Springsteen, a Lakewood resident and also an attorney, asserts the process of Dorman’s protest aims to prevent voters from deciding what’s right for the future of Lakewood, setting, what she calls, “a chilling precedent for future petitions” and the democratic process entitled to citizens.

Springsteen was in favor of the growth initiative as a resident frustrated with zoning measures that seemingly were changed at will and without the public’s awareness. However as the protest moved forward, the attorney’s focus dramatically shifted.

“The whole point is the idea of punishing people for circulating petitions is unconscionable,” she said, maintaining that whether you are for or against the initiative, people should be paying attention. This is how rights get taken away, she cautioned.

Ironically, Dorman also maintains his protest is not for lack of understanding why the initiative was created, but to defend his rights as a property owner.

The supporters of the initiative “have legitimate concerns,” he acknowledged. “I have nothing but the highest respect for supporters. But I’m absolutely opposed to this method of achieving their goal,” said Dorman, who is retired. “I’m not going to stand idly by while you vote on my rights to exist.”

Lakewood Mayor Adam Paul, who vocally opposes the initiative, said he has largely distanced himself from the proceedings thus far and said he wasn’t in a position to offer a reflection on the protest hearing, but is concerned if the initiative goes to the people for a vote.

“It’s got gray areas,” he cautioned. “It’s not something to adopt willy nilly. There’s a better way to approach this and this isn’t the way.”

“We seem to have a lot of ordinances that have gray area,” said Kertner in response to the mayor’s concern. “It’s also true that if the mayor and council would pass something to address these issues we could pull the initiative.”

Paul said he does recognize people are concerned with development – he grew up here and remembers a very different Lakewood, and concedes the growth hasn’t been “perfect” but does not think an “ill conceived ordinance that melds Boulder and Golden” is the right direction for Lakewood.

“If you artificially stunt a market,” he said, “it’s going to price people out.”

In 1996 the residents of Golden, as did the residents of Boulder decades earlier, passed a measure nearly identical to the Lakewood initiative, which also caps growth at 1 percent, and is “diligently supported” according to the city of Golden’s website. The city’s website also advises “a limited number of building permits are available for new residential construction, and a permit may not be immediately available to a person requesting one.”

Evident following two separate presentations during the last city council meeting, people are already getting priced out of Lakewood, as in many communities along the Front Range, not just in Boulder. Paul feels that by increasing the number of resident-owned dwellings in the city, versus rental units, is one way to shift that trend.

Addressing presumptions by some residents that people in city government are benefitting financially by the developments, Paul dismissed that notion.

“Do I get campaign contributions from developers? Yes. It’s unfortunate I have to run a campaign with donations.” But, he said he also has “hard” conversations with developers to ensure the best direction for the city. “You have to have thick skin to do this job,” the mayor said.

Ward 2 city councilor Scott Koop disapproves of the initiative.

“The initiative does not address the needs of Ward 2 at all,” said Koop. “Ward 2 needs redevelopment, we need new buildings.” The councilor, whose term expires this year, believes developers talk to each other and are starting to question whether Lakewood is a place they want to do business, and that “hurts years of planning and progress.”

Ward 2 city councilor Sharon Vincent could not be reached for comment.

Charles Kenneth Davis, a city council candidate for Ward 2, also opposes the initiative despite feeling that “big picture thoughtfulness has been missing.”

“Blanket lockdown of city growth is not the way to go,” said Davis, who said he’s read the initiative in its entirety twice, each time coming away with a different understanding of it. “I think using the model as a tool to prevent urban sprawl is going to have some bad repercussions we can't foresee right now,” explaining that contrary to Golden’s position, there’s very little of Lakewood left for sprawl. And as supply and demand goes, as jobs in the metro area have outpaced housing, Davis said “It’s math, and it’s an emotional math.”

Kertner, Dorman, and the mayor have never sat down together to discuss the initiative or protest, although when asked separately, each said they would be willing to do so.

“I don’t think Cathy has any ill-will,” Paul said. “I sit down with everybody and anybody.”

Who’s Running for Edgewater City Council

Compiled by Jennifer LeDuc

Edgewater City Council candidates running on the November 2017 ballot were required to file paperwork with their city clerk by close of business Aug. 28. The following week, the Neighborhood Gazette emailed questionnaires to the hopefuls, along with a request for a high-resolution headshot photo.

We asked each candidate:

• How long have you lived at your current address?

• How long have you lived in Jeffco?

• Current occupation?

• Previous occupations?

• Previous public service experience, if any?

• Community involvement and experience?

• Current and previous boards and committee memberships?

• What are the three key issues facing your community? Why? How will you address them and why are you qualified to do so?

• And to provide campaign website address and other contact information, if available.

Responses are published verbatim, although they may have been edited for length (character limits were included in the questionnaire), readability, potential libelous content, offensiveness or poor taste. 

The Neighborhood Gazette does not endorse candidates. Individual staff members may be involved in political campaigns, but they do not speak officially for the newspaper.

John Beltrone

Time at current address, Jeffco: 2.5 Years; 3 Years.

Current/Previous occupation: Analyst - National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL); Financial Auditor - KPMG.

Public Service: This is my first time running for public office.

Community Involvement: For the past four years I have volunteered as a tax preparer for the Denver Asset Building Coalition (DABC), helping low-income families get their taxes done for free. I volunteer with A Little Help, an organization dedicated to connecting neighbors to help seniors thrive. At work, I helped start and lead the NREL Bike MS team which has raised over $55,000 over the last 3 years to support the National Multiple Sclerosis Society. In Jefferson County, I am spearheading an effort to better connect bike lanes from Edgewater to Golden. In Edgewater, I have been attending council meetings, participating in community events and meeting with city officials to better understand the issues facing the city. I also helped establish the group Solarize Edgewater, which educates and helps people who want to go solar.

Board/Committee Memberships: I currently serve as Board Vice-President of DABC and I am a member of Bike Jeffco (advocates for road cyclists and safety), HEALthy Edgewater (promotes healthy eating and active living), and the Edgewater Optimist Club (helps children succeed).

Key issues: "I would say that the three issues are development, code enforcement, and affordability. This is based on the 100+ conversations I have had with different people in town since I announced. Making community based policy decisions, encouraging dialogue between neighbors, and providing the tools for those in need to find help will address these problems. My professional experiences and relationships within the city qualify me to address these issues."
Contact:;; 2059 Eaton Street.

Virgie A. Carr

Time at current address, Jeffco: 19 Years; 49 years + 10 intermittent.

Current/Previous occupation: Retired; Program Assistant/CDOT & CDOHS.

Public Service: I served on the Edgewater Planning & Zoning Commission while the 2013 Comprehensive Plan was being developed.

Community Involvement: "Attend City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission meetings on a regular basis. Volunteer and participate in Colorado Senior Connections (CSC) programs and lead a few programs (Stitch & Chatter, Meditation and Stretching). Participate with the Prayer Shawl Ministry at church. "

Board/Committee Memberships: I serve on my church's Administrative Board. I participate on the CSC Planning Committee.

Key issues/how address: Key issues? Every issue is a key issue for someone in the community. Why would I pick three or even one to say it is more important than the others? They are all important to our citizens. Change is always an issue and it is the only constant in our lives. As each issue is brought forth I would speak with our citizens to ask their views and wishes. We have to look at what is the best action for all of Edgewater for now and in the future.

Contact: 2537 Ingalls Street, Edgewater, CO 80214;

Darrin Levy

Time at current address, Jeffco: 4 Years in Edgewater; 4 Years.

Current/Previous occupation: Father; Real Estate and Equities Investor

Community Organizer; Small Business Owner; Property and Construction Manager; Commercial Real Estate Sales and Leasing Agent

Public Service: United States Senate Legislative Aide

Community Involvement: As a community organizer, I worked throughout Jeffco, including Edgewater. It was my job to talk to residents about important issues and organize educational events; Father of A Child's Place student; Would be honored to serve the community on City Council.

Board/Committee Memberships: Smoke-Free Denver; Five Points Media Center; Monaco Village HOA

Key issues/how address: Our campaign is about preserving small-town values. I want to keep city government focused on the safety of our families, maintaining our roads and providing necessary services. This helps foster a climate of neighbors helping each other and working together to solve problems.

With my background in real estate, I am well-qualify to help guide the city through the civic center construction and subsequent disposition of city-owned property.

Contact:; P.O. Box 140125, Edgewater 80214.

Cory Reid-Vanas

Time at current address, Jeffco: 5 years; 5 years.

Current/Previous occupation: Family Therapist/Small Business Owner; Outdoor Youth Leadership Instructor.

Public Service: Not applicable.

Community Involvement: I have had many great opportunities to volunteer in our community by participating in the Denver Mayor's Youth Awards Selection Committee and working with Habitat for Humanity. But, for me, community involvement occurs daily through my own mental health counseling practice, Rocky Mountain Counseling, Coaching & Consulting. I have also engaged with organizations that support people with developmental disabilities and mental illness (CHARG Resource Center and ARC).

Board/Committee Memberships: Not applicable.

Key issues/how address: Edgewater is strong! Our community needs smart and thoughtful leadership to continue to grow sustainably. As a small city, we must consider our current needs and plan for the future, while remaining fiscally responsible. I will support small business development, wise updating of our infrastructure, and provide opportunities for community engagement and resources to empower citizens of Edgewater to live their dream.

Contact:; 2295 Jay Street, Edgewater CO 80214.

Caleb Rountree

Time at current address, Jeffco: Since April of last year; About 3 years now.

Current/Previous occupation: Sr. Marketing Manager for Email on Acid; Digital marketing and tech-based marketing.

Public Service: This is my first time running for public office.

Community Involvement: Since I was a small child, I've been active in legislative issues, testifying before committees in the Arkansas House of Representatives at the age of 8. Since, I've been an outspoken advocate for victims of sexual and physical abuse. I also enjoy working with children, having been a volunteer at the Tennyson Center for Children for over two years.

Board/Committee Memberships: House District 24 Captain, House District 24 Platform Committee Representative.

Key issues/how address: Using my experience in the new economy working with companies like Facebook, Google and others, I have a unique perspective and insights into how to best safeguard our community through responsible growth. We're going to develop 20th and Depew with shops resistant to the struggles of big box stores, create a more walk-friendly city, and focus on initiatives to keep our city clean including code enforcement.

Contact: 2220 Lamar St., Edgewater, CO 80214; 501-650-2747;;

Janet Spangenberg

Time at current address, Jeffco: In Edgewater since 2011; Jeffco, too, 6 years.

Current/Previous occupation: Own Cultural Phenomena – a local arts organization; I've worked most aspects of printing/publishing/graphic arts, in large corporations, non-profit organizations, small businesses & self-employed.

Public Service: I was a community activist/leader regarding redeveloping Cinderella City, the first Light Rail line, & Cultural Arts before my appointment as inaugural Chair of Englewood Cultural Arts Commission.

Community Involvement: I became part of the Edgewater community

history, and heart through Gina's Coffee Shop volunteering, and playing jazz on her little stage in 2010, a regular volunteer at the Celtic Harvest Festival, and other Edgewater events. Cultural Phenomena had a booth representing four Edgewater artists at the summer Market & Music.

Board/Committee Memberships: I am a member of Edgewater City Council, Edgewater Liquor Authority board, Edgewater Optimists Club, Lakewood Arts Council, 40West Arts, and am Council liaison to Edgewater Parks, Recreation, Historic Preservation & Arts Advisory Board.

Key issues/how address: Completion of the Civic Center; 20th & Depew; and adequate Police/City staffing/compensation require responsible development balancing environment, economic & community needs, ensuring sustainable revenue for the long term.

I have a genuine relationship in this community representing citizen concerns over four years, a working relationship with City Council, Boards & Commissions and staff, and relevant knowledge regarding projects in process.

Contact:; 2407 Lamar Street.

Providing Shelter When It’s Needed Most

By J. Patrick O’Leary

More than 50 people will freeze to death on Denver metro area streets this coming winter due to simple lack of shelter.

How hard could it be to provide that life-saving shelter? Not very. But getting those people to the right place at the right time, without disrupting the community, is a challenge.

  Although there are emergency shelters for families with children in the suburban communities surrounding Denver, there are none for individuals.

Severe Weather Shelter Network provides emergency shelter on life-threatening winter nights for single men, single women, and couples without children living on the streets of suburban communities, including Wheat Ridge and the West Colfax corridor. Its shelter season runs from Oct. 1 through April 30 each year.

Participating “host churches” open when overnight temperatures are going to be 32 degrees or colder and wet, or 20 degrees or colder and dry. The guests are transported to and from the churches from multiple pick-up and drop-off locations. A hot, home cooked meal and bedding is provided upon arrival at the church. Men sleep in one large room and women sleep in another.

The network claims in five years its 600 volunteers and 22 partner churches have helped 500 homeless – including placing 16 in permanent housing. But that took more than simply opening up houses of worship every time the temperature drops.

Prior to being offered shelter, individuals must register and be screened for the season at a registration site, in person – no online or phone registration is allowed. The process takes about 20 minutes. Volunteers at the sites also connect the homeless with resources to assist in them in moving toward a more safe and stable lifestyle. Once registered, they can show up at a “warming site” during severe weather for a ride to shelter.

“Last year the City of Lakewood allowed us to partner with them to use the Whitlock Center as a warming site, a very important part of the sheltering experience,” said Severe Weather Shelter Network’s Executive Director, Lynn Ann Huizingh. A warming site is where the homeless are confirmed as registered, checked for intoxicants, and then wait for transportation shelter.

“If they’re not in a good state, it’s not good to send them to a church. So volunteers at the warming site will call Lakewood police, who will come and take them and find them other shelter.”

“In past years our guys were gathering at the Action Center (8755 W. 14th Ave., Lakewood), waiting for one, one-and-a-half hours in the cold, continuing to drink, which elevates their anxiety,” Huizingh said. When the volunteer driver showed up, and had to assess their condition before allowing them aboard the warm vehicle, patience wore thin.

Having Whitlock as a warming site helped the network and its guests, but not the center’s staff.

“They did not feel it was good for them to continue this year, because our guests would show up early in the day, then hang out in the lobby,” said Huizingh. “They said, ‘We appreciate what you are doing, but we’re not a day site.’ Lakewood doesn’t have a day site. Now we don’t have a warming site, either.”

Although many churches along Colfax could provide that space, most have children’s programming afternoons, and the overlap of programs “isn’t a very good scenario” Huizingh explained. The network has the volunteers and coffee pots, but needs space, electricity and bathrooms from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on blustery evenings.

The network’s first night of shelter was Monday, Oct. 9, serving a total of 40 individuals.

“We are celebrating that we hit on all cylinders,” she said. “It is always a bit nerve-wracking the first night or two as we work the kinks out to begin the season well.”

As the Neighborhood Gazette went to press, Huizingh was still seeking a warming site along Colfax, although her volunteers would process guests on the street, if necessary.

“It has to be within walking distance of where majority of our guys are camping… it would not make sense to use Arvada’s warming site for guys in Lakewood. That’s why we’re looking between Carr and Pierce along Colfax, a block or two either side… Even Sloans Lake and Edgewater folks can get there fairly easily.”

“In Arvada, the city has provided a building that can be used for warming site – Olde Town, City Hall-ish – close enough to camping areas, easy to get to.”

However, the Arvada warming site and its churches will not begin sheltering until Dec. 1.

“It’s going to be a short season,” said Huizingh, who credits city staff for “taking the reins” this summer. “There’s a desire for sheltering there, but it took three years for the parts and pieces to come together.”

Volunteers are always needed.

“We continue to be in need of overnight hosts at both Applewood Community Church and Sloan’s Lake Community Church. We need drivers, especially in the Lakewood area, both evening and morning drivers. We need warming site volunteers in the Lakewood area to help us at the current pick up site and will transition into the warming site once we lock one down.”

The network’s next volunteer training session will be Saturday, Nov. 18, at Arvada Covenant Church, 5555 Ward Road in Arvada, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The network’s nearest registration sites are: The Action Center, 8755 W. 14th Ave., Lakewood; Family Tree, 3805 W. Marshall St., Wheat Ridge; and Mean Street Ministry, 1380 Ammons St.

For more information, visit, or call 720-515-9313.

Backyard Bats Benefit Just About Everybody

By Sally Griffin

Bats are blind flying mice that attack you, get tangled in your hair, suck your blood, and give you rabies. So, they must be crazy. Right? Not so fast! There are a number of misconceptions about bats that I want to clear up.

First, bats are not related to mice. In fact, they are probably more closely related to us than to rodents. According to the Living Webster Dictionary, bats are one of a group of mammals of the order Chiroptera possessing a pair of leathery wings which extend between the fore and the posterior limbs. The former are specially modified for flying, while the bones of the forefeet are extremely elongated. Chiroptera translates into “hand-wing,” which seems pretty accurate. Bats are the only mammals that can fly. They are also one of the most varied species.

Bats are not blind. All bats can see and some, even, have good eyesight. Many types of bats have small eyes and use echolocation to navigate, but this doesn’t mean they are blind. Echolocation or biological sonar is a very refined system, even more so than radar. Bats can detect a single strand of human hair and will usually avoid it. Bats don’t attack people and get tangled in their hair. Bats may fly toward you if they are trying to get away from something or to eat a bug that you may not have noticed above your head. Usually, this is a mosquito. Mosquitos like to dive-bomb people from above. Plus, bats don’t build nests, so your hair would not be of interest to them unless it is harboring a large number of mosquitos or moths. So, then, they would just be helping you with your problem.

There is only one species of bat that likes to drink blood: Vampire bats. They live in Mexico, Central and South America and prefer the blood of cows or other livestock to human blood. In fact, most bats are afraid of us and avoid us as much as they can. Most bats are insect eaters. The more than 1,300 types of bats make up one-fourth of all mammal species. And they can be very different in size. The Bumblebee Bat, the smallest of the species, has a wingspan of six inches. In contrast, the largest bat, the Malayan Flying Fox, has a wingspan of six feet. Thank goodness, these bats don’t have vampire proclivities.

Less than one percent of bats have rabies. Like all mammals, bats can get rabies. When they do get rabies, they are very sick and usually die without contact with humans. However, if you see a bat on the ground or during the daytime, it might be sick. You should not try to handle it, keep children and pets away and call for help. If you feel that you must remove the bat before animal control or wildlife technicians get there, only do so while wearing a long-sleeved jacket and heavy gloves.

Bats are not crazy. They, however, do almost everything upside down, except go to the bathroom (which would be really crazy). They are very sociable and live in large groups called colonies. They have only one baby a year. Bat babies often weigh almost one-fourth as much as their mom when they are born. (Can you imagine a human mom birthing a 30-pound baby?) Bat flight may appear crazy because they often fly in a figure-eight pattern, at up to 50 mph, while they hunt down the 2,000 to 6,000 insects that they eat every night. They do their hunting at night for the simple reason that is when there are the most insects, like mosquitos.

Bats’ eating preferences make them very beneficial to have in our backyards. They also help farmers by consuming agricultural pests. A 2009 Journal of Medical Entomology study compared mosquito populations in areas with bats to areas without bats. After two months, the one with bats had a 32 percent reduction in mosquitoes compared to area without bats. In fact, most environmentalists will tell you that bats are the most environmentally friendly and least risky way to combat mosquitoes. Chemicals and pesticides carry heavy risks for both humans and other wildlife. Yet, the world is a dangerous place for bats. Although they provide important environmental activities, they are declining world-wide, largely due to human activity. That is why many environmentalists and others are recommending people install bat houses.

There are several reasons for attracting bats to your backyard. First, of course, is pest control. Bats can also help by providing guano for fertilizer. Guano is the polite name for bat excrement, which, by the way can be used for fertilizing backyard plants and flowers. Guano is packed with nitrogen and phosphorous. Lastly, bats’ nightly display of aerial acrobatics can be an amazing thing to watch from your back deck.

According to Bat Conservation International, Inc. ( ), here are some tips to get you started:

• Bats prefer to roost on buildings or other large wooden or concrete structures. But they may roost on poles. They don’t particularly like trees, unless they are dead. Bat houses should get at least six hours of sun each day. The south or east side of a house or barn is ideal. Interior temperatures should be as warm and as stable as possible.

• Best places for bat houses are 20 to 30 feet from trees and 12 to 20 feet above ground or the tallest vegetation. Locations near fairly large water sources, preferably within a quarter mile or less, are the most successful in attracting bats.

• If you have a cat, keep her inside at night, especially during the summer months when bat mothers are taking care of their young. Cat attacks are one of the most common causes of bat casualties.

• To provide them with a varied diet of insects, plant night-blooming plants, flowering annuals and perennials, and fragrant herbs and shrubs.

• Tall designs like multi-chambered nurseries and rocket-style houses perform best in attracting bats. But it may take two years for bats to find your bat house. Occupancy may only be 50 percent in urban and suburban areas.

• Put a shallow tray under the bat house to collect the guano. Don’t use a bucket or deep container, because baby bats can fall from the bat house and get trapped.

• Many Colorado bats hibernate elsewhere during the winter, so you need to make sure that non-bat residents, like wasps, don’t take up residence while they are gone.

I don’t know where the slang use of “batty” as “insane” or “odd” came from. Bats are very useful wildlife and there are many benefits to keeping them around. So, the next time someone calls you “batty,” be sure to thank him.

Meet Rick Dailey, RMCAD’s Gallery Director

By Sally Griffin

Community resources that many people do not know about are the art galleries at Rocky Mountain College of Art + Design (RMCAD). The college has bachelor’s programs in nine areas of art and design. An important part of these programs includes providing places filled with creativity and enlightenment. And many of these places or galleries are open to the public. The person in charge of these galleries is Rick Dailey.

As Gallery Director, Dailey curates numerous exhibitions each year in RMCAD galleries. He and his staff support students by installing their work around campus and in their Graduation Exhibition.

Dailey manages five galleries. The Philip J. Steele Gallery, named after RMCAD’s founder, is the largest gallery space. Annually, it hosts five to six visiting artists, three Graduation Exhibitions, and the Annual Student Exhibition, as well as the Bi-Annual Faculty and Staff Show.

The Rotunda Gallery is the second largest gallery and features student, faculty and visiting artist work.

The much-loved Rude Gallery is a petite space that showcases student, faculty, and local artists.

The remaining Alumni and Student Galleries focus on representing the diverse work being created by RMCAD students.

Dailey has worked at RMCAD for almost a year and a half. Before that, he was the Studio Coordinator of Photography and New Media at Anderson Ranch Arts Center. He is also an artist in his own right.

“I am a studio artist in sculpture, photography and installation; I also have a background in graphic design and art education,” said Dailey. “Becoming an artist wasn’t a decision – I am compelled to create.

“My practice allows me to process my social environment by engaging in self-reflection and dialog with others through my art. Creating is how I choose to communicate and, at times, contemplate my own struggles with societal limitations and injustices.

“Becoming a Gallery Director has allowed me to expand my own practice by being in critical dialog with a diverse set of national and international artists.”

Dailey has big plans for the galleries at the college and he encourages the public to join him and his staff at all the galleries and the Visiting Artist, Scholar, and Designer (VASD) Program events. The lineup for the 2017/2018 galleries season began with Denver-based artist collective Hyperlink in the Philip J. Steele Gallery, RMCAD faculty Joshua Field in the Rotunda Gallery, and a collaborative show of Kim Putnam and Tya Alisa Anthony in the Rude Gallery. These exhibitions ended Oct. 5.

The next big multi-gallery opening is slated for Oct. 19: New York-based artist Lauren Clay and Florida-based artist Selina Román in the Philip J. Steele Gallery. In conjunction with Clay and Román, Denver-based artists Paul Keefe and Justin Camilli will be showing in the Rotunda Gallery. These exhibitions will be the finale of the 2017 visiting artist exhibition series. On opening night there will be a public reception from 4 to 7 p.m. to celebrate these amazing artists.

Starting the 2018 gallery season, Dailey is teaming up with Gretchen Marie Schaefer, head of the VASD Program, to bring London-based artist Sophie Clements to campus. Clements’ solo exhibition and lecture will occur on Jan. 16, 2018, in the Mary Harris Auditorium and Philip J. Steele Gallery.

To find out more about the VASD program, visit

Dailey welcomes the local community to attend opening receptions and pop in anytime during the show dates. Exhibitions at RMCAD are free and open to the public. He specifies that exhibitions typically rotate every five to six weeks, so there is always something new for RMCAD students and the public to see.

RMCAD has found the perfect location for their campus and galleries on the old JCRS (Jewish Consumptive Relief Society) campus, located at 1600 Pierce St. If you have never been to the campus, it is the site of the JCRS TB Sanitarium and later the American Medical Center, a unique collection of lawns, gardens and buildings that more closely resembled a college campus than a medical facility, according to RMCAD’s website. The school purchased the site in 2002 and has taken great care to preserve the history of the beautiful campus, while also modernizing each building to serve the evolving needs of their art and design students.

The Philip J. Steele Gallery is located towards the east side of campus near on-campus parking, and the Rotunda, Rude, Alumni and Student Galleries are located in the central part of campus. Visitor parking is available on the north side of the Texas Building, the first building you encounter as you enter the campus. Please enter through the north entrance of the Texas Building

Visitors are asked to check in during normal open gallery hours at the Information Desk located in the first-floor hallway of the Texas building to get a parking and visitor pass. Checking in helps the staff know who is visiting the campus and gives them an opportunity to point people in the right direction.

Gallery hours are Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., except for observed holidays. The opening receptions are usually on Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m.

To stay connected with gallery programming and other RMCAD events, visit or Or email the Philip J. Steele Gallery directly at to join the email list.