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RidgeFest Now Chock-Full of Chalk Art, Sept. 9

By Ashley Holland

AChalk Art Festival will be inaugurated at this year’s RidgeFest, Saturday, Sept. 9 from 3 to 9 p.m., in the heart of the Ridge at 38 district. RidgeFest is a free family-friendly event highlighting the agricultural heritage and handmade/homemade appeal of Ridge at 38 and the entire Wheat Ridge community.

In addition to the new festival, the event will feature four bluegrass bands, a classic car show, cottage food contests, an international heritage festival, vendors, food trucks, local beer and wine, and lots of kids’ activities.

Wheat Ridge resident Olivia McLeod and her family will head up the Chalk Art Festival with the support of the Wheat Ridge Cultural Commission. McLeod has a passion for chalk art and recently won the People’s Choice award at the 2017 Denver Chalk Art Festival. The artists will work all morning and afternoon to create unique works of art. Between 3 and 6 p.m., RidgeFest attendees will witness the artists finishing their pieces. After 6 p.m., attendees can view the finished work.

Quickdraw Homegrown Music will kick off the bluegrass concerts at 3 p.m. Heartstring Hunters is the second act at 4:15 p.m., and Thunder and Rain will follow at 5:30 p.m. This year’s headliner, Jeff Scroggins & Colorado, will take the stage at 7 p.m.

This year’s cottage food categories will be bread, fruit pies, and jams/jellies.

Those interested in showing off their classic car or their winning recipe can learn more about competing at Ridgeat38.com. Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are also still available. Contact CDoran@WeAreLocalworks.org for more information.

Ridge at 38 is Wheat Ridge’s central commercial district, located on West 38th Avenue between Sheridan and Wadsworth Boulevards. It hosts a variety of events designed to foster a close relationship between the merchants and the community.

Localworks is a community-based, non-profit development corporation advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community. Both community and economic development work is done through activities and investments affecting the housing, businesses, policies and identity of the City of Wheat Ridge.

For a full schedule of RidgeFest events, visit Ridgeat38.com.

Farmers 5000 Fuels High School Academics, Sept. 17

By J. Patrick O’Leary

The start of the Wheat Ridge Farmers 5000 5k race will take place at 9 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 17, at Wheat Ridge High School, 9505 W. 32nd Ave. The classic road race raises over $20,000 each year for the school while promoting physical fitness and community spirit.

The Farmers 5000 features a flat, fast course on neighborhood streets near the school. It typically attracts about 500 runners, and an equal number of volunteers, family members and spectators. The current course record and fastest-ever Farmers 5000 time is 15:19, set by Dewi Griffiths in 2013.

The race includes an elementary school challenge to promote not only physical fitness in our youth, but to also promote a sense of community within all of Wheat Ridge.

This year the businesses of Wheat Ridge can showcase their fitness and be part of a competition to be named the “Fittest on the Farm.” The Wheat Ridge business with the most employees registered and competing on race day will be awarded a Gold Level Sponsorship for the 2018 race, a $1,500 value. Fee is $25 per business.

The cost for the run/walk is $35, with discounts for alumni ($33), and youth and Jeffco staff ($25). Fee for the Elementary School Challenge is $10, and the Fun Run, $5 (no t-shirt).

There is a $100 cash prize for the first-place overall male and female, and gift certificates from Runners Roost Lakewood for first and second runners-up. The top three male and female runners in all categories will receive a gift certificate from Apple Ridge Café; categories are 8 and under, 9 through 12, 13 through 15, every five years thereafter, and 80 and over. All entrants are eligible for prize drawings at the race finish, courtesy of area businesses (but must be present to win).

  Early off-site registration is available Sept. 1 through 16 (noon) at the Wheat Ridge Recreation Center, 4005 Kipling, or Runners Roost Lakewood, 7978 W. Alameda.

Participants can also register online through midnight, Sept. 15; mail-in registration must be postmarked by Sept. 8. All mail-in registrations and online registrations made before 2 p.m. on Sept. 12 may be picked up at Wheat Ridge High School on the following dates: Wednesday through Friday, Sept. 13 through 15, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Saturday, Sept. 16, 9 a.m. to noon; and race day. Sept. 17, 7:30 to 8:30 a.m.

The community event is organized and carried out by volunteers, who perform planning and coordination as well as race-day logistics and operations. Volunteer information and sign up can be done online.

Race participants are encouraged to park in the student lot on the north side of Wheat Ridge High School, at 35th and Holland Street; access is off of 38th Avenue, as 32nd Avenue will be closed to traffic. 

Visit www Farmers5000.org.

Painting Parties Uncork Creativity

By Gwen Clayton

The concept of paint-and-sip parties sprung up several years ago as a way to combine instructional art with wine tasting. These types of parties have been popular for anyone looking for an interesting option for date night, girls night out or even corporate teambuilding workshops.

Nicole Anderson is one of the instructors at Teller Street Gallery and Studios in Wheat Ridge. She's been leading step-by-step painting parties at the shop since 2012 and claims the designs are appropriate for all skill levels.

“Being a teacher for five years, I kind of know how a beginner starts,” she said. Anderson holds a bachelor’s degree in fine art and has been teaching children’s art in after school programs in the Denver metro area for the past 10 years. At the Teller Street Gallery parties, she said some of the students’ favorite designs have been the Colorado flag, Denver skyline and the Red Rocks landscape. With Halloween coming up, she'll be working on some skull paintings and other haunted scenes.

“People get to explore their creative sides,” Anderson said. “It’s just relaxing.” The paintings are done with acrylic paint so they dry quickly enough for people to take home after the party.

Local artist Merissa Freudig also uses water-based acrylic paints for her mobile painting parties business. A photographer by trade, she came back to her bristled roots six years ago when her wife suggested she augment her photography business. “I went to one of the [paint-and-sip] places and thought, ‘This would be so much better in your home,’” Freudig said. “So I started it as a mobile painting-party business.” Freudig’s Paint at the Edge are frequent events at the Edgewater Inn and other local restaurants. In July, she led a group creating a dragonfly design.

Bernadette Soehner has attended Paint at the Edge parties in the past with fellow hockey moms, and she plans on attending more in the future. “I think they’re a great social outlet and a confidence booster too,” she said. “I don’t think the cost is outrageous per person and it’s fun to bring home a piece of art.”

Freudig has been an avid artist since the age of eight. Clay modeling, watercolor painting and drawing were her media du choix until she grew up and had to start thinking about a career. “I got my degree in photography, thinking it would be a way to make more money than through art,” she said. “So, it’s funny how I went full circle and just came back to the painting, because that was my number-one passion.”

Today, Freudig still has her photography business, and in addition to her painting parties, she is a licensed art therapist. “I started seeing how powerful it is for other people,” Freudig said. “Typically people always enjoy themselves, but it can bring out some bold emotions. I've had people cuss out their paintings, and I'm like, ‘What's going on over here? Let's work through this.’”

Earlier this year, Freudig received her master’s degree in Transpersonal Psychology/Art Therapy from Naropa University in Boulder. “It’s basically the same thing as talk therapy, but you’re using art as a different language, a different way to express your emotions,” Freudig said. “I love doing the parties, but I wanted to do something that gave back more, something bigger than myself.”

To find out when the next Paint at The Edge event will take place, follow Painting Parties on Facebook at @PaintingParties. Cost is $25 per person and includes supplies and canvas. Food and drinks are available for separate purchase, and happy hour prices are offered during the painting party.

Teller Street Gallery and Studio is located at 7190 W. 38th St. in Wheat Ridge. Business hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 2 to 6 p.m. with paint-and-sip parties held in the evenings. The class schedule can be found on the Teller Street website at www.tellerstreetgallery.com. The parties cost $30 for supplies and the canvas. Wine, beer and non-alcoholic drinks are available for separate purchase. Outside alcoholic beverages are prohibited. Group discounts and private parties are available. Anderson is offering a $5 discount to Neighborhood Gazette readers who mention this article.

For more information about Paint at the Edge, call Merissa Freudig at 303-909-2202. Edgewater Inn Pizza is located at 5302 W. 25th Ave.

For more information on Teller Street Gallery, call 303-424-9273 or find them on Facebook at @tellerstreetgallery.

Election Races Set for Wheat Ridge, School District

By Gwen Clayton

The the City of Wheat Ridge as well as the Jefferson County Board of Education will conduct elections Nov. 7. Interested candidates must file nomination petitions before Aug. 28 with the respective city clerk or school board office.

For the City of Wheat Ridge, one seat in each of districts I, II, III and IV plus the mayor are up for election. As of press time, Notices of Intent have been filed by the following:

Mayoral candidates:

Joseph DeMott and William Starker.

District I candidates: Janeece Hoppe

District II candidates:

Rachel Hultin and Zachary Urban

District III candidates: none

District IV candidates:

Leah Dozeman, Virginia Ruth 

Baranowski, Andrew Rasmussen and

Valerie Nosler Beck.

All positions serve four-year terms. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age on Election Day, a registered elector and a Wheat Ridge resident for one year. Nomination Petitions must be turned in to the City Clerk's Office at 7500 W. 29th Ave.

An election forum is scheduled for Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. The event will be hosted by the City of Wheat Ridge and Wheat Ridge Chamber of Commerce.

For more information, contact City Clerk Janelle Shaver at 303-235-2823 or visit www.ci.wheatridge.co.us.

Three out of five directors are up for election this year in the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education, including District 1 (Incumbent: Brad Rupert), District 2 (Incumbent: Susan Harmon) and District 5 (Incumbent: Ron Mitchell).

Requirements for School Board candidates include: Must be registered to vote; must be a resident of the school district for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election; must be a resident of the director district in which he or she is a candidate; and must not have been convicted of a sexual offense against a child.

Filing papers can be picked up at the Jeffco Public School Board/Superintendent Office located at 1829 Denver West Dr., Bldg. 27, fourth floor, in Golden.

For more information, call 303-982-6500 or visit www.jeffcopublicschools.org.

In all Colorado elections, once declared as a candidate, each person must meet filing requirements under the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA). Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

Take a Tour of the Unexpected – Mid Century and Modern Homes

By Ashley Holland

Localworks’ Mid Century and Modern Home Tour, set for Saturday, Sept. 30, from 1 to 5 p.m., is a four-hour open house tour that allows mid-century and modern enthusiasts to view six spectacular homes. In general, the homes on the tour were built in the 1950s and early ‘60s or newly built in a modern style. Each home features its own striking and unique design.

The tour – held every two years – attracts people from all over the region hoping to gain some inspiration for their own homes. The tour is limited to 400 tickets and has sold out in the past, so those interested in participating are encouraged to get their tickets early.

This year’s tour also features a raffle for an Eames chair and ottoman. For only $25, raffle participants are entered to win this classic piece of furniture valued at $4,500. There will be a tour after-party at modmood/RETRO Consignment for tour attendees and raffle participants. The winner of the chair – who need not be present – will be announced at 6 p.m.

Localworks is a community-based, nonprofit development corporation advancing Wheat Ridge as a vibrant and sustainable community. It is comprised of members who contribute to a movement of positive progress for Wheat Ridge. Both community and economic development work is done through activities and investments affecting the housing, businesses, policies and identity of the City of Wheat Ridge.

Learn more and find tour and raffle tickets at WeAreLocalworks.org.

Progress Being Made in New Developments

By Elisabeth Monaghan

For years, Wheat Ridge residents have been told positive change is coming to parts of the city in need of sprucing up or redevelopment. Fortunately, it looks like there finally is progress on some of these long-awaited projects.

The developer of Corners at Wheat Ridge, at the corner of 38th Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard, is preparing to begin vertical construction on that site. The TIF-funded project will include 80,000 square feet of retail and more than 230 new market-rate apartments.

Not far from that location is West 38th Avenue and Upham Street, where Wazee Partners are working on a mixed-use development, including 160 new market-rate apartments and 80,000 square feet of retail space. According to Tyler Downs, a principal with Wazee Partners, the new Vectra Bank building is now under construction at the site. Once that building is completed, which Downs says should be in about six to eight months, Wazee Partners will break ground on the planned mixed-use community and build the balance of the development.

In its August 2017 newsletter, the City of Wheat Ridge Economic Development Division provided updates on additional developments underway. One such project is Perrin’s Row, which is a community of energy-efficient row homes on 38th Avenue and Depew Street, and Kipling Ridge, a shopping center at the southwest corner of Kipling Street and 38th Avenue anchored by Sprouts Farmers Market. Two additional developments under consideration are a Hacienda Colorado restaurant and a new retail building and maker-space facilities on 44th Avenue at Jellison Street.

Additionally, plans remain in place for the Wheat Ridge Ward Road RTD rail station, which will take riders from the G Line directly to Union Station.

For more information about any of the projects currently under development in Wheat Ridge, contact Steve Art at 303-235-2806 or sart@ci.wheatridge.co.us.

Election Races Set for Cities, School District

By Gwen Clayton

The the cities of Edgewater and Lakewood as well as the Jefferson County Board of Education will conduct elections Nov. 7. Interested candidates must file nomination petitions before Aug. 28 with the respective city clerk or school board office

  Voters in the City of Edgewater will be electing a mayor as well as three city councilmembers. The mayor serves a two-year term while the city council members serve four-year terms. Incumbents whose terms expire this year include Mayor Kristian A. Teegardin, Mayor Pro Tem Todd Riddle, and councilwomen Laura Keegan and Janet Spangenberg.

  To be eligible to hold an elected office in the City of Edgewater, a person must be at the time of his or her nomination: A citizen of the United States; at least  23 years of age; and a registered elector. Additionally, such person must have resided within the City for one year immediately preceding the election and have no convictions for embezzlement, bribery, solicitation of bribery, perjury, subornation of perjury, or any offense involving fraud.

  There will be a meeting for all candidates on Sept. 1 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers, located at 2401 Sheridan Blvd.

  For more information, contact City Clerk Lenore Pedroza at 720-763-3002 or visit www.edgewaterco.com.

  In the City of Lakewood, there will be an election for one seat in Ward 2, which includes the neighborhoods of Morse Park and Eiberhood as well as sections of West Colfax and 40 West Arts District. Current representatives are Scott Koop and Sharon Vincent. Koop's term expires this year, while Vincent remains until 2019.

  Candidates must be 21 years old, a citizen of the United States, a registered voter in the City of Lakewood, a resident of Lakewood for at least 12 consecutive months preceding the date of the election, and a resident of the ward you wish to represent. Any person elected to office must continue to live within the ward from which he or she was elected throughout the term of office.

  A Candidate Affidavit must be submitted within 10 days after an individual becomes a candidate and before circulating any petitions. A person is a candidate for election if the person has publicly announced an intention to seek election to public office, or has received a contribution or made an expenditure in support of the candidacy. All candidate committees shall register with the City Clerk within 10 days after accepting any contribution or making any expenditure. All committees must report all contributions received and all expenditures made as defined in Lakewood Municipal Code, Chapter 2.54.

  Candidate packets are available at the City Clerk’s Office, located at 480 S. Allison Parkway in Lakewood. For more information, call 303-987-7080 or visit www.lakewood.org/candidateinfo.

Three out of five directors are up for election this year in the Jefferson County Public Schools Board of Education, including District 1 (Incumbent: Brad Rupert), District 2 (Incumbent: Susan Harmon) and District 5 (Incumbent: Ron Mitchell).

Requirements for School Board candidates include: Must be registered to vote; must be a resident of the school district for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the election; must be a resident of the director district in which he or she is a candidate; and must not have been convicted of a sexual offense against a child.

Filing papers can be picked up at the Jeffco Public School Board/Superintendent Office located at 1829 Denver West Dr., Bldg. 27, fourth floor, in Golden.

For more information, call 303-982-6500 or visit www.jeffcopublicschools.org.

In all Colorado elections, once declared as a candidate, each person must meet filing requirements under the state’s Fair Campaign Practices Act (FCPA). Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Election Day.

The Solar Eclipse and Eye Safety

By Jill Bert

Iwant to express concern that I have about the upcoming solar eclipse on Monday, Aug 21. There are serious risks associated with viewing a solar eclipse directly, even with the use of solar filter glasses.

We have to keep in mind that the school will encounter the inability to control every aspect of this exercise. The glasses are made for adults, do not fit children well and should not be used without direct parental supervision.

If the solar glasses do not filter out 100 percent of the harmful UV rays, if they are not used absolutely perfectly, or should there be a manufacturing defect in any of them, this will result in permanent and irreversible vision loss for any eye exposed.

Just like sunburn to the skin, the effects are not felt or noticed immediately. I have a great fear that I will have patients in my office on Tuesday, Aug. 22, who will wake up with hazy, blurry vision that I cannot fix. It is a huge liability for the school to direct students to watch the eclipse even with the use of solar glasses. There is no absolutely safe way to do so other than on TV.

The biggest danger with children in school is ensuring proper use without direct parental supervision. As the eclipse passes over Denver, the moon will block 90 percent of the sun. Because so much of its light is blocked by the moon, if one looks at it without full protection, it does not cause pain as looking at the sun does on a regular day.

Normally, if you try to look at the sun, it physically hurts and you can’t see anything. During an eclipse, however, it is easier to stare for a bit … and even less than 30 seconds of exposure to less than 10 percent of the eclipsed sun, you can burn a blind spot right to your most precious central vision. With solar glasses you can’t see ANYTHING except the crescent of light of the sun.

Kids could have a tendency to want to peak around the filter to see what is actually going on up there. As Denver is not in the path of totality, there will be no time where it is safe to view the eclipse without the solar filter.

One failure, just one, where education and supervision fail, will have the ultimate devastating consequence.

Dr. Jill Bert is the owner of Lakefront Eye Care, a medical and pediatric optometry practice in Edgewater.

Watch the Eclipse at Edgewater Library, Aug. 21

Watch the historic solar eclipse the safe way, Monday, Aug. 21, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., at the Edgewater Library, located at 5843 W. 25th Ave. Thanks to the generosity of the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Research Corporation and Google, the library has eclipse glasses to give away! Available while supplies last. Suitable for all ages. The event is free.

For more information, call 303-235-5275 or visit jeffcolibrary.org.

Help Keep Bears Wild

By Sally Griffin

How many of you had a teddy bear when you were younger? How many of you have one now? At our house, we have a substantial collection and our excuse is that our grandchildren still play with them. There is a story that the Teddy Bear Tradition started here in Colorado when the staff of the Hotel Colorado (Glenwood Springs) made a cloth bear for President Teddy Roosevelt when he came to Colorado to hunt bears. Hence, the name: Teddy Bear. But a stuffed bear is quite different from a bear in the back yard.

Colorado cares about bears. Colorado has several laws that deal with bears. The most recent is a 2015 bill that called upon the Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW) to study the issue of bear-human conflicts. They reported what they found in December 2015, in a report entitled, Human-Bear Conflicts. This report, if you are interested, can be found on the CPW website: www.wildlife.state.co.us. The report explains:

Within the last several decades in Colorado, an increasing number of human-black bear encounters and conflicts have generated media headlines, alarm from some citizens and concern from local governments and the Colorado State legislature… Along with the rapid expansion of human development and associated changes in land use in Colorado, black bears have learned to forage on a variety of widely-available human-provided food, including garbage, livestock, crops, fruit trees, bird seed and pet food… Human injuries caused by bears remain rare in Colorado when compared to the overall size of human and bear populations. However, as humans continue to encroach on bear habitat and bears continue utilizing human food sources, CPW believes the number of conflicts and encounters will increase, as well the likelihood of human injuries and deaths.

In the past couple years, bears have been spotted in Wheat Ridge, Arvada, Parker, Centennial, and Boulder. A scholarly male bear cub even made it to the University of Denver. CPW research shows that when these bear invasions occur, only you can prevent problems with bears. So, it helps if you are informed about bears:

1. Because bear populations are hard to keep track of, people may assume that increases in human-bear conflicts are caused by increases in the number of bears. However, research shows that as bears gain experience with human food, they pass it on to their offspring. This behavior is probably the source of additional conflicts without an associated increase in the number of bears.

2. Bears are smart. They are curious, adaptable and have good memories. With a nose that is over 100 times more sensitive than humans, they can smell possible food from as far away as five miles. And once they find food, they will be back for more. Most bears are naturally shy. While not particularly nocturnal, they may travel at night to avoid people. They are very wary of people and unfamiliar things, and they tend to run away from what they think is dangerous.

3. Bears are hungry. Keep in mind, bears only eat about six months each year. And the closer it is to winter and hibernation time, the more desperate they are to find food. In order to survive hibernation, a bear must consume over 20,000 calories per day during late summer and early fall. Over 90 percent of a bear’s natural diet is grasses, berries, fruit, nuts and plants. But they are opportunistic omnivores that will eat whatever they can find. Bears, attracted to human food sources, may damage property, vehicles and even homes to get to that food. They don’t know they are doing anything wrong. They are just following their nose to the most calories they can find. For instance, a 50-pound bag of bird seed, stored where a bear can get to it, has almost 90,000 calories. A bear feast that is worth the effort of burglary.

4. Bears that find food around homes and campgrounds often lose their natural wariness around people. Even though black bears are not naturally aggressive and seldom attack, they are still strong, powerful animals who don’t like being cornered. A bear on its way to food doesn’t like anyone or anything getting in its way. Mothers trying to feed both themselves and their cubs will go to extraordinary lengths.

Colorado Parks and Wildlife is the agency charged with protecting and preserving the state’s wildlife. Bears that get comfortable around people can destroy property or even threaten the safety of people. These bears are called habituated bears and often must be destroyed. Every time CPW must destroy a bear, we lose a little piece of the wilderness that makes Colorado so special. If bears show up in your yard, take a picture from inside your house and then find a way to make them very uncomfortable. So here is what CPW suggests to avoid conflict with bears:

The biggest attraction is garbage. Most of what we think is trash, smells like food to a hungry bear. Most trash cans are easy pickings for a bear. Once a bear figures out how easy it is to empty our trash, they will come back on a regular basis. Never leave trash or recyclables out overnight. One study reported that putting trash out in the morning, as opposed to evening, can reduce the likelihood of bear visits from 70 percent to 2 percent. If you must leave trash outside, get bear-proof containers, build a bear-proof enclosure or install an electric fence. Clean out your containers regularly with ammonia or bleach. Bears hate these strong smells.

Bird feeders are a big attraction for bears. After all, seeds are a natural part of their diet and the seeds in, on, and below the feeders seem like an open invitation to bears. CPW recommends that you not feed birds during the months that bears are active, which is mostly late spring, all summer and early fall. If you don’t want to stop feeding birds, then bird feeders need to be 10 feet off the ground and 10 feet away from anything they can climb to get to the seed. Clean up regularly under the feeder and do not leave the bird seed bags anywhere that a bear can break into. They can smell the bag from a long way off and, remember, a bag of bird seed is like food gold for a bear.

Don’t feed bears or put out other food that would attract bears. Don’t forget to clean off your grill after every use. Don’t leave anything that smells like food in your car, including trash, coolers and, believe it or not, air fresheners. If you have fruit trees, you want to pick it before the ripening smell attracts the interest of the hungry bear and pick up fallen fruit which, of course, smells heavenly.

If you are interested in more information about bears, the CPW website, www.wildlife.state.co.us has information on Living With Bears, A Home Audit Checklist On How To Discourage Bears, Deterrents That Can Teach Bears To Stay Away, and A Keep Bears Wild Pledge.