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Mad Men Raise Money for RRCC Foundation

By Gwen Clayton

It’s a beautiful sunny day with mountains to the north and the Denver skyline to the south – an easy sell, even if you’re not a Madison Avenue advertising executive.

But it wasn’t Don Draper who brought more than 200 people to The Club at Rolling Hills on the weekend of June 24 through 26. It was the local community as they attended the Mad Men on the Rocks Gala and Annual Golf Tournament.

The Foundation at Rolling Hills is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization formed in 1999 with the mission of raising funds for the benefit of worthy charitable causes in the local community. Since its inception, the Foundation has raised more than $2 million, with most of the money staying in Jefferson County. Every year, the Foundation Board chooses a different beneficiary. In 2017, that recipient was the Red Rocks Community College Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, established in 1991 with the vision of removing the financial barrier and helping students of all income levels access higher education.

“We look for organizations that have very low administrative costs as we like to know that our donation is going back to the community, which is why we donate,” said Foundation Board member Barb Lutz.

The main beneficiary receives 75 percent of the proceeds of the gala and golf tournament. The remaining 25 percent is distributed among smaller organizations requesting donations.

Each year’s gala has a different theme, which is chosen by the main beneficiary. This year, the RRCC Foundation chose Mad Men on the Rocks – inspired by the contemporary television show set in the 1960s about an advertising agency on Madison Avenue in New York City. Festivities included a poolside cocktail party, followed small bites the club house and live music by “Rat Pack” singer Steven St. James, as well as party games, a photo book and a helicopter ball drop.

In addition to the admission price, the gala raises funds raised through live and silent auctions.

Beneficiaries for the Foundation funds are chosen a year in advance. For the 2018 gala and tournament, the Board has chosen the Arvada Food Bank. Last year’s theme was Superheroes. The event brought in $168,843 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of the Rocky Mountains. Funds for this year’s gala and golf tournament have not yet been totaled.

For the Saturday night gala, the club itself donates the facilities and food and everything else, excluding labor that the Foundation needs each year. For the Monday tournament, the club donates the course as well. Attendees this year totaled 176 for the golf tournament and more than 200 for the gala.

The Foundation’s Board, comprised of Rolling Hills members, receives and reviews applications from potential beneficiaries each year.

“When choosing our main beneficiary,” said Board Member Aimee Petri, “the Foundation looks for a self-sustaining organization that can field a golf tournament and fund-raising gala.”

The beneficiary’s responsibilities will include fund-raising, sending invitations and other tasks affiliated with event organization.

“I think the Foundation is one of the things that makes the club so special,” said Marta Kostelny, marketing and membership coordinator for The Club at Rolling Hills. “We are one of the few clubs across the nation that has an active foundation. On top of that, we have a really great, welcoming, warm membership.”

The Club at Rolling Hills boasts ones of the premier golf courses in the Denver metro area. They also have family programs such as junior golf, junior tennis, junior swim and junior dive.

“We’ve got a mountain scenery and feel up here, but we’re not too far from the city, which is nice,” Kostelny added.

The Club at Rolling Hills values philanthropy.

“We have a lot of great, influential people who are members of the club,” Kostelny said. “[The Foundation is] an avenue for them to volunteer and give back and help the community.”

Donors wishing to contribute to the Foundation or the annual gala do not need to be members of the Club at Rolling Hills.

“If you have anything that is close to your heart, or anybody is working with an organization that is looking for donations, you can find applications on our public website,” Kostelny noted. “We encourage people to reach out and ask for donations, give donations, and keep an eye out for the annual gala and golf tournament.”

The Club at Rolling Hills is located at 15707 W. 26th Ave., in Golden. For more information, call 303-279-3334 or visit

Data Shows Flooding Risk Likely to Drop, But Hazards Remain

By J. Patrick O’Leary

The City of Wheat Ridge is drawing up new floodplain maps, which indicate a lower flood risk in some areas and may reduce flood insurance premiums. It’s part of a project initiated by the city late last year to revise the existing maps to reflect more complete streamflow data.

“We’ve never had a 100-year flood in Clear Creek,” said Mark Westberg, project manager and floodplain manager for the City of Wheat Ridge, referring to data used to support existing floodplain maps. “We’re either wrong or due for one.”

Flood Hazard Area Delineation (FHAD) study maps mark the boundaries of a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA), an area with a one percent risk of flooding each year – in layman’s terms, the 100-year floodplain. The maps identify areas where homeowners with federally backed loans are required to purchase flood hazard insurance, alert people to flood risk, and affect building permits.

One percent sounds small, but over the course of a 30-year mortgage, a Special Flood Hazard Area has a 26 percent chance of flooding, which is a nine times greater risk than fire, according to the city.

The Army Corps of Engineers used typical hydrology (rainfall and runoff) calculations in creating the current maps, circa 1979, according to Westberg.

“Since good gauge data is often not available, the hydrology calculation route is the one that is most often done.”

More than 100 years of stream gauge data is being used for the revised map. Two sets of data – from stream gauges monitored by the United States Geological Survey between 1911 and 1974, and 1975 to today – show a 31 percent reduction in flood flows. For example, Clear Creek, downstream of Kipling has a flood flow of 10,000 cubic feet per second, down from the previously used calculated flood flow of 14,550 (downstream of Lena Gulch).

“We think the floodplain will go down,” said Westberg, “but we have no idea at this point whether it is six inches or three feet. In some places where it’s very wide, a lot.”

How many residents would be affected by the change, and how?

Data from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), presented at the city’s most recent (March 29) annual floodplain open house in city council’s chambers, shows that 206 single-family residences are located in local Special Flood Hazard Area. Of the 260 insurance policies issued under the NFIP, 203 are in the hazard area, and 57 are outside. The insured property is greater than $62 million, with total annual premiums of $232.041. Inside the hazard area, the annual premium is $1,328; outside, $450.

Premiums are affected by a property’s elevation above or below the Base Flood Elevation, as well as coverage and deductible. Wheat Ridge’s Class 6 status under NFIP’s Community Rating System allows a 20 percent discount on premiums; the city is being reviewed for Class 5 status, which would allow a 25 percent discount. Only nine other Colorado communities are rated Class 6 or better; only four are Class 5 or better, according to NFIP.

“We have been extremely fortunate in that over 50 percent of floodplain is preserved as open space or parks,” said Westberg. That limits the amount of damage to private property, but lives are still at risk.

“My biggest concern with the ‘campers that we have along in our open space is the risk associated [with] flooding,” said Westberg. “We do have a city wide Early Warning System that targets the open space areas to warn of things like floods. But in the midst of a noisy storm, those warnings are not always heard.”

The city has 15 sirens throughout the city, concentrated along creeks.

Although draft mapping will be completed in September, the federal government’s adoption of the Physical Map Revision was originally anticipated in January 2019, with an effective date of July 2019. But Westberg said the schedule has been delayed.

Starting with a presentation to the Urban Drainage and Flood Control District – originally set for August but now February or March – that board will officially approve or adopt the FHAD.

“The FHAD would then be sent to the Colorado Water Conservation Board (CWCB) for review and acceptance. The CWCB is the state agency that oversees floodplains. Once the CWCB accepts the FHAD, then it would be forwarded to FEMA for review and approval.”

Surprisingly, neither the recent hailstorm nor the 2013 rains resulted in major flooding.

“The storm this year was mostly very large hail without a lot of rain, so we did not have any reported flooding associated with this storm,” Westberg said. “The storm in September 2013 had more rain and small hail. With that kind of storm the small hail is often washed into low areas and causes drainage systems to clog. We had a fair amount of localized flooding with that event. However, Clear Creek did have much more flow than what would occur in a large snow melt event.”

That’s not to say Wheat Ridge is in the clear till next spring.

“We could still see flooding once the monsoons hit and always present a danger for residents and visitors who walk or play along Clear Creek and around our local ponds and lakes,” said City Public Information Officer Sara Spaulding. Never driving through standing water, checking bike trails for flooding before setting out, and keeping an eye on small children are all good safety reminders, she said.

For more information, visit

Donald & Rhonda Dominick – Raising Our Newest Astronaut

By Nancy Hahn

Wheat Ridge residents Donald and Rhonda Dominick took the job of parenting very seriously and dedicated themselves to parenting their two sons.

“We always told Matt and Andy to strive to be the best you can be,” Rhonda explained, “and never felt there were times in school when you just skate-by.”  Both parents expressed that their sons were quite different, but each had active interests to follow. For example, Matthew wanted to have a part in the school musical; while Andy said, “I’m going to be on the stage crew.”

In May, Donald and Rhonda received a call from the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston. Before being told the reason for the call, they had to assure the caller that no one else was in the room and no one else would be told.

“Can you believe it?” Rhonda asked. “That kind of secrecy?” Then they were invited to the Space Center for a special ceremony.

“And we haven’t come back to earth, yet!” Donald says.

The ceremony announced the selections for the 2017 Astronaut Candidate Class. Matthew Dominick, Lieutenant Commander in the U.S. Navy, was one of the chosen candidates. Families of the new astronauts were given a V.I.P. tour. Mr. and Mrs. Dominick, as well as Matthew’s wife and daughters, toured the entire facility. They were able to examine space suits and space capsules. A complete mock-up the space station was constructed inside a huge swimming pool, so the astronauts can practice in an environment simulating zero gravity. Rhonda Dominick was able to explore it. She laughed and said, “I told Matthew that I got in the Space Station before him.”

Donald Dominick noticed after Matthew was chosen as an astronaut that no one is surprised.

“Our friends, Matthew’s friends, his physics teacher from D’Evelyn; everyone is pleased for Matthew and for us, but never surprised,” he said. “Looking at Matthew’s story, he set this course years ago.”

Both parents agree that Matthew set goals for himself and reached them from a young age. In sixth grade in Wilmore Davis Elementary School, Matthew worked hard in mathematics and science.  He wanted more. To ensure that Matthew had access to the advanced courses he wanted, he began at D’Evelyn Junior/Senior High School in seventh grade. The rigorous program was perfect for him. Matthew also participated in sports and other activities. College, the Navy, flight school, and advanced degrees each brought him closer to being an astronaut.

The story of Donald and Rhonda Dominick is not the story of parents who chose a path for their children, then nudged and cajoled them along that path. These parents acknowledged the paths their children chose. They did what they could to provide the tools to travel that path and cheered from the sidelines. Congratulations to them all.

Five Festivals & Fairs For Family Fun

By Sally Griffin

The definition of a festival is “a celebration or an occasion for joy, often with a program of cultural events.” A fair is “a public exhibit of culture and particular achievement, often combined with entertainment and sale of products.” Lucky for our area, we have plenty of both. Summer is the best time for joy, celebration and fun. I know I remember how much fun my siblings and I had with carnival rides and games, parades, music, food and special treats. This year, we want to remind you of five festivals or fairs that will take place in our parks and streets.

Carnation Festival

  The Carnation Festival is a celebration of the Wheat Ridge community since the city’s incorporation in 1969. Once named the “Carnation Capital of the World,” Wheat Ridge embraces its heritage through this spectacular event. Celebrating its 48th anniversary in 2017, Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival will be filled with food, music, culture and fun for people of all ages! The main events are held at Anderson Park, 4355 Field St., from Aug. 11 to 13. The parade takes place between Ames and Upham Streets on West 38th Avenue on Saturday, from 9 a.m. to noon. The parade is preceded at 7 a.m. by a pancake breakfast at the Grange Hall.

Events include:

• An expanded car show with hot rods, imports, exotics and muscle cars

• The Zoppé Circus, one of the few old-fashion, family-run, one-ring touring circus left in the U.S.

• Vendor fair with food, art and specialties for people of all ages

• Music that will make you want to get up and dance, including Country Jam on Friday, Throwback Saturday with a new take on old favorites, and Sunday Cruising and Classic Rock

• Fireworks on Friday and Saturday night at 9:15 p.m. at the baseball field

• The Annual Art League Member show will give you a chance to view and purchase fine art works from local artists

• Wheat Ridge students will demonstrate their handiwork in the Student Garden Art Bench Auction. You can bid in a silent auction for these one-of-a-kind benches.

Festival admission is free, but the circus admission is $20 general, $25 VIP and children under two are free. The Spaghetti Dinner, presented by the fire department, is served from 4:30 to 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday. Cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids under 12. The Chili Cook-off will be on Aug. 12 with a $5 suggested donation for public tasting. The Beer Garden will provide water and soft drinks for $1, craft beers and wine $6, and  Bud and Bud Light available for $5.

Jeffco Fair & Festival

There is fun coming at the Jeffco Fair & Festival, happening Aug. 10 through 13 at Jeffco Fairgrounds. Attendees are treated to interactive, engaging and traditional fun with a focus on locality to ensure there is something for everyone. Lasting four days, it is Jeffco’s biggest celebration of the summer. The Fair and Festival combines the entertainment and activities of a festival while using a fair approach to support and showcase 4-H, youth programs, equine, livestock and agricultural elements that have long been a part of Jefferson County.

Events are numerous at the Fair and Festival, and select highlights include:

• 4-H members Horse Show and Trail Classes and Gymkhana

• 4-H animal viewing, project viewing and Rabbit Hopping and Bunny Costume Contest;

• Kids Science Safari, a fully interactive children’s museum and Kids Discovery Day, that features additional activities and entertainment for the younger children

• Outdoor Adventure Zone to get a taste of the active, enriching outdoor adventure we have in Jeffco

• Petting Farm and Pony Rides

• Professor Newton Science Show with some of the most incredible, interactive science experiments you’ve ever seen

• Reptile Adventures to learn about reptiles and the important role they play in nature;

• Milestone Seven VIP Wrestling Event and Pro Wrestling Event

• Gladius the Show, featuring high-flying aerial stunts from horses

• CPRA Rodeo and Ranch Rodeo

• Inventor Faire, showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness;

• Meet SURLY from the movie, “Nut Job 2”

• Pie Eating Contest, presented by 4-H members and open to everyone

• Mutton Bustin’ for children 4 to 7 and under 60 pounds who will ride sheep out a chute and into the arena and

• Music events

The cost is $5 for ages 13 and up, kids under 12 are free. The Gladius Show, both wrestling events, the CPRA Rodeo and the Ranch Rodeo all have additional costs ranging from $7 to $30. Most tickets to these events include same-day general admission for the Fair and Festival. These tickets can be bought now at

Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Festival

The 20th Annual Blues & BBQ for Better Housing Festival is coming up! On July 29, people from throughout the Denver metro area will gather at Citizens Park in Edgewater to enjoy the best local music, craft beer and local food and to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Metro Denver. This fundraiser has donated over $172,000 towards building homes for families in need. With nine awesome local bands, local restaurants and local breweries, the festival builds community through music! The event goes from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday. Parking is available in the old King Soopers parking lot at West 20th Avenue and Depew Street. General Admission is $10 for adults, kids 12 and under are free. Tickets do not include food, that must be paid to the individual food vendors.

The band line-up is: Cup A Joe, 11 to 11:45 a.m.; Wild Love Tigress, noon to 12:45 p.m.; Funk Knuf, 1 to 1:45 p.m.; Stacey T and the Big Difference, 2 to 2:45 p.m.; The Symbols, 3 to 3:45 p.m.; My Blue Sky, 4 to 4:45 p.m.; Six Foot Joe and the Red Hot Rhinos, 5 to 5:45 p.m.; The Duke Street Kings, 6 to 6:45 p.m.; and The Austin Young Band, 7 to 8 p.m.

Breweries include Edgewater’s Joyride Brewing, Boulder’s Upslope Brewing Company, Arvada’s Odyssey Beerwerks, Lakewood’s Denver Brewing Company, and Lakewood’s Westfax Brewing.

West Colfax MuralFest

The third annual West Colfax MuralFest will be Saturday, Aug. 12, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It is held in the heart of 40 West Arts District at Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 W. Colfax Ave., in Lakewood. This plaza is home to two art galleries, an award-winning brewery, and Casa Bonita, where weekend visitors to this nationally known restaurant run in the thousands. This free arts festival features juried artists who create an outdoor gallery of murals. These are then celebrated in a one-day festival with art, music, food and creative activities, including:

• Music by Legitimate By Friday, Land Lines, and Jolly Green Love Machine

• Trolley mural tour to view murals outside of the immediate festival area

• Interactive Kids Tent with street art station, mini-mural, and takeaway printing

• Food Trucks, with Burgerchef, Deer Creek Pizza, Steady Smoking BBQ, WonWeyVeg, Rocky Mountain Snowflakes and Tacos El Huequito

• Beer Garden with WestFax Brewing and

• 12 exhibits, including, among others, sculpture, games, jewelry, leather goods and wood and metal fabrication

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

The Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) celebrates the culture, contributions and accomplishments of Colorado’s Asian Pacific American communities. Dragon boat racing was a unique competitive sport to host here. Now, it is the largest dragon boat festival in the country. CDBF features more than 20 food vendors in two Taste of Asia Food Courts, a huge Asian Marketplace of gifts, artisans and organizations, a Wellness Village where health is the focus, Dragonland interactive children’s area, and over 100 performances on five stages that feature traditional Asian to contemporary Asian American culture. You can enjoy Chinese fan dances, watch authentic martial arts demonstrations, rock out at the Band Stage or the Cultural Unity hip-hop stage!

This year’s festival will have, as usual, free admission. Events happen on July 29 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and July 30 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and include:

• The Opening Ceremony starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, featuring Chinese Buddhist monks chanting and blessing the festival and competitors, followed by a beautiful, spiritual, traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony with invited dignitaries to awaken the spirit of the dragons within the race boats;

• The dragon boat competition, an ancient sport with origins in China more than 2,000 years ago, that dozens of teams look forward to every year;

• The Colorado Anime Fest, bringing classic and new anime favorites to CDBF since 2015;

• The CDBF Marketplace, a dream bazaar with merchants from every corner of Asia and the Pacific;

• The opportunity to eat your way across Asia and the Pacific Islands, bite by bite, without leaving Denver, at two food courts; and

• Five Performing Arts Stages showcasing both traditional and contemporary Asian-American talent from within the community.

Hail’s Ripple Effect on the Community – More Than Roofs

By Tawny Clary

Hail. It is described by the National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) as “a form of precipitation that occurs when updrafts in thunderstorms carry raindrops upward into extremely cold areas of the atmosphere where they freeze into balls of ice.”

But what is it really?

For Colorado, it is fear of damage costs, skepticism toward strangers doing honorable work and renewed education on how to better prepare for the next storm.

For the City of Wheat Ridge this year, it is 3,360 inspections completed in the first nine weeks since the city’s largest hailstorm on record. It is six additional inspectors with 814 billable hours from the same time frame. It is 2,256 online roofing permit and inspection applications submitted in a month. (City Treasurer Jerry DiTullio shares all of this information from the bi-weekly permit report on his page,

Colorado’s May 8 hailstorm takes the cake in the top 10 most costly hailstorms in Colorado with a current estimated total of $1.4 billion, according to the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association (RMIIA). The RMIIA explains, “Colorado’s Front Range is located in the heart of ‘Hail Alley,’ which receives the highest frequency of large hail in North America and most of the world.” Years of this kind of weather would lead us to believe we would be armed and ready for these catastrophic storms. Yet the monumental effect of hail never ceases to catch us off guard.

In less than a half hour, a short-lived, but forceful army of falling hail means businesses close due to extensive and expensive damage; employees find they have no jobs to go to the next day; residential roofs sit partially finished for days due to miscommunications and backup in available manpower.

For the city and its people, a piece of hail turns into long lines with deadlines getting pushed back, frustrations and loss of patience. It turns into unanticipated revenue costs of $968, 708.26 in just two short months since the storm, per the city treasurer.

It doesn’t stop there. Each piece of hail has another purpose wrapped up inside it. It becomes neighbors helping neighbors. It becomes more job opportunities and purpose for contractors, glass and auto repair companies, rental car companies and insurance. It becomes a facelift for neighborhoods whose property values go up with every new roof and each can of new paint followed by revived landscape and updated materials. Entire industries are there for residents and business owners in the recovery from the disruption that a little ball of ice can cause.

Help comes from unexpected places. Even U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) perked up to help businesses struggling from the aftermath of the storm. By early July, the SBA announced the availability of low-interest federal disaster loans in Jefferson County for “small businesses and individuals with uninsured losses to a residence or business.”

Finally, the months after a hailstorm are a true testament to how effectively a city functions and to the character of its community. It brings to life the reality of expectations. On June 2, Mayor Joyce Jay reported on her Facebook page that the normal amount of roof building permits issued were “15-20 per day” and that number “has gone up close to 100 [per day], right at a time when we are down to one trained permit technician!” This led to a backup of application processing time. The city reported each altered wait time, as the chance to obtain a roofing permit went from waiting in lines at the processing office to online submissions only, to a wait time of three to five days for processing and finally extended to five to eight days for processing. Miscommunications happened between roofers and inspectors, residents and the city. However, the city put in all its efforts to resolve blunders and controversies. When residents spoke up, the city moved as quickly as they were able to adhere to requests and complaints of its people.

While Wheat Ridge was not the only city with a surge of roofs and properties needing repair, the city was hit the hardest by the largest, most damaging hail in the metro area. According to, the 80033 ZIP code (which included Lutheran Medical Center) incurred the bulk of the storm. Even with its own large costs of repair to take care of, Lutheran Hospital came together as a community to help raise funds for its low-income employees who incurred vehicle damage from the storm.

By the end of May, The Insurance Journal estimated there would be “150,000 auto insurance claims and 50,000 homeowners claims” filed as a result of the May 8 storm. Of course, it will be difficult to know the real impact of the storm for months or even years. The only impact we will see until then is our own.

Though we never seem to be prepared enough for the outcome of a hailstorm, we learn a little each time about human compassion and the ability to evolve from such disasters.

People are much like hail in the storm after the storm. NSSL explains, “hailstones bump into other raindrops and other hailstones inside the thunderstorm, and this bumping slows down their fall.” When we look at our own communities, do we slow each other down from the fall or do we slow each other down from progress on our destined journey?

So, what is hail? It is a mirror of the human spirit. While human beings can’t move as fast as a tablet or smart-phone, calculate precise completion time nor meet work expectations flawlessly day after day, we still persevere with the hope that the sun will rise again and that our collaborative diligence will gradually melt away yesterday’s damage one day at a time.

Micro Grants Available For Community Improvements

By Nancy Hahn

The West Colfax Community Association (WCCA) is providing an opportunity for your community organization, civic group or nonprofit to make a positive impact in the West Colfax community through Micro Grants. Micro Grants range from $250 to $1,500. The positive impact of a project could be something that promotes safety, improves the business climate, adds beauty, or educates. The project must, clearly, benefit for the public.

Civic groups, for example, the Rotary or the Optimists and 501(c)(3) nonprofits, like the Action Center, may apply. Neighborhood organizations with great ideas (Two Creeks or Morse Park, for example) are, also, eligible. Local individuals with beneficial ideas and a willingness to see a project through may, also, apply for a grant.

When you walk through West Colfax, what do you notice that you love? What do you notice that could be improved? Maybe, your group has noticed a public area with no benches or bike racks. Is there an open grassy area that would be a perfect place for shoppers to sit in the shade and take a break, if only there was a little table and a few chairs? A brick raised bed full of colorful plants can be, also, a great seating area. Sculptures can be decorative and, also, an opportunity for great photographs. If you are a business owner, you may have an idea that could benefit both business and customers. Bike racks added to a parking area or by the front door of a business are convenient for customers. Public water fountains are splendid on hot summer days, too.

A public school might want to start a school garden or provide a great learning experience for students. Grants could provide students with speakers, demonstrations, or hands-on experiences that will spark imaginations, deepen understanding and encourage lifelong learning. A contest to design public art or an artistic crosswalk could involve students and beautify the neighborhood.

In order to apply for a grant, your group must be willing to see the project through if you receive the grant. You must, also, be willing to provide 25 to 50 percent matching funds. The project must be for the public good. Along with your proposal, you or your group must have a letter of support from a member of the West Colfax Community Association. You must agree to notify the WCCA within 30 days of the completion of the project and send a photograph of the project. To receive the grant the WWCA must feel that your organization has the ability to complete the project. The next grant submission deadline is Sept. 1.

For more information visit


Open Space Pursues Plan to Improve Mountair Park

By J. Patrick O’Leary

Mountair Park and the border area between Edgewater and Two Creeks neighborhood may be getting better lighting and a host of outdoor recreation programs next year, thanks to a coalition of community organizations and local governments.

To kick-start the project, Jefferson County Open Space will be applying for a grant from Great Outdoors Colorado’s Inspire Initiative, which aims to connect youth and their families with the outdoors through the work of collaborative coalitions working in communities across Colorado. The money – a couple million dollars – will be used to create a recreational model using “programs, pathways and place,” according to Avery Scheuch, Diversity and Inclusion Specialist with Jefferson County Open Space.

Open Space is one of about 20 project partners, which also includes the City of Lakewood, seeking to make east-central Jeffco a priority for improvements.

“Priority number one is making the park [Mountair] feel safe,” said Scheuch. That includes investment in infrastructure – new lighting, for example – to make it an attractive place for those who live within a 10- to 15-minute walk.

Investments will also be made arts and a host of other programs, connected to the new Edgewater Civic Center.

“One of the cool things planned is a gear library – fishing poles, etc.,” she explained. Open Space has been doing community outreach for the past year to determine what residents want.

The City of Lakewood was looking into “pioneering” an urban ranger or naturalist program if grant funds become available, she added.

“We realized there’s this area of the county that’s underserved,” said Scheuch. “So we’re trying to shift that paradigm.”

The focus area stretches from Wadsworth to Sheridan, in a corridor north of West 6th Avenue and south of Arvada.

“It includes Crown Hill Park, yes, but not much is offered there, either,” she said. “So we decided to focus on this area because it has the least amount of resources focused on the outdoors.”

Scheuch said the grant application for the GOCO grant will be submitted this month, with an decision expected in November.

“If we get the GOCO grant, great, but if not, we’re getting a little more creative,” she said. Open Space will look for funding elsewhere to pursue the plan.

Until the funds are secured, Open Space is working on other programs. It is partnering with GOCO’s Generation Wild Campaign, which encourages children to spend more time outdoors and connect with nature. Targeted at young families, its “100 Things to do Before You’re 12” checklist contains activities easy and hard, from digging up worms and climb a tree to climbing a 14’er and building a snow cave. The list can be downloaded from

Wildlife in the City: Urban Moose

By Sally Griffin

On Father’s Day this year, a time when fathers were looking forward to enjoying their golf game in Arvada, a moose decided to join the games. Yes, I mean that big, four-legged, dark-furred ungulate with velvety-horns, that can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. If you have ever been close-up to a moose, this sight would not have a good effect on your golf game. But the local police had experienced this before and worked with Colorado Parks and Wildlife to tranquilize and tag the young juvenile male. They, then, relocated him. Most moose and other wild animals will usually stay where they are moved to according to Jennifer Churchill, spokesperson for Colorado Parks and Wildlife. However, this moose evidently has decided that he likes the urban scene.

A week later, the same moose, our urban moose, showed up at Flatirons Crossing in Broomfield, hanging out around a men’s haberdashery. After seeing how much traffic he could stop (and, trust me, you don’t want to challenge a moose with your car), he bedded down at Men’s Warehouse for several hours. This time, a veterinarian and Parks and Wildlife officers tranquilized him. After staggering around for a few minutes, he was finally loaded into a trailer. This time, his new place of residence is South Park, which in no way could be called an urban setting, but it does have female moose who might tempt him to rethink his urban ways.

Before the 1980s moose were seldom seen in Colorado, particularly not in urban settings. Now the Colorado moose population has far surpassed the state’s target maximum number. While moose in Minnesota, Montana and Wyoming are dwindling, Colorado moose are thriving. There are 2,995 moose in Colorado, according to the 2016 post-hunt estimate, a 17 percent increase, and 70 live in the Front Range west and north of Denver. Moose here, along with other cold-weather species, like lynx and wolverines, have found the high altitudes to their liking.

Another factor may be that they lack natural predators in Colorado’s high country. Mountain lions and black bears seem to avoid them and go for easier prey. Probably smart on the predator’s part, because a mama moose is ferocious in protecting her offspring.

“They aren’t really afraid of many things because of their size,” according to Churchill. Parks and Wildlife is examining how many moose we can sustain and whether they can co-exist in close proximity to people. There is concern that moose looking for new territory may have increased conflicts with people. Particularly, if we have urban moose that prefer the city to the country.

Unlike our sociable, urban moose, most moose are solitary and roam alone. With their dark fur, they blend well into the pine forests in the mountains. And they are big! As mentioned before they can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. They lack upper front teeth and use their lower teeth to consume as much as 70 pounds a day of vegetation. They swim well. Their legs seem too long for their body. For big animals, they are quite swift and can run at speeds up to 50 miles per hour. Their vision is blurry, but, they have keen ears and big noses that precisely detect smells. Long, coarse hair keeps them warm, even above timberline. Their long head, overhanging snout, and bell (the swinging flap hanging from their throat) gives them a distinct silhouette. The flattened antlers on bull moose can reach up to five feet in width. However, in younger bull moose, it is not uncommon for them to have antlers similar to those of an adult male.

The moose breeding season, or rut, begins in mid-to-late September and runs through October. Both bulls and cows are aggressive during breeding season. The bulls set up territories and attract cows with low grunting sounds that can be heard for long distances. Cows give birth in May and June. If the habitat is good twins, are common and, perhaps, even triplets. Moose may live up to 20 years in the wild.

According to the Parks and Recreation website, the survival rate of collared moose is 90 percent or above for adult bulls and cows. Approximately 75 calves are born to every 100 cows, and 21 percent of the calves born are twins. Since release, 42 of the collared animals have died. Seven deaths were related to capture. Seven of the animals were killed by vehicles. Three died because of old age. The rest were killed by hunters or indeterminate causes.

In recent years, as can be expected, moose-human conflicts have arisen. Some have been deadly. The former Grand Lake mayor, Louis Heckert, on his walk to church, was repeatedly butted by a moose and later died of his injuries. A toddler was trampled in Grand County when a moose charged out of the forest. A number of hikers have been stomped and injured severely. Dogs can make the situation worse. Probably, because the moose regards dogs as predators, the moose will become extremely aggressive. Parks and Wildlife provides the following tips:

• Keep dogs on short leashes.

• Move slowly.

• Back off when moose put their ears back, roll their eyes or appear aggressive.

• Carry a wildlife pepper spray.

• Keep a safe distance.

Having seen moose up close in Minnesota and while on vacation in Canada, in my opinion, the only safe way to observe a moose is with binoculars – even urban moose. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t dig out my binoculars if our own urban moose returns.

For information on viewing and hunting moose, and their introduction into Colorado, go to:

Latinos Dance Between Books, Art

By Gwen Clayton

Ayoung Latina shuffles and sways around tables set at various angles in a large room at a local library, the sound of Spanish guitars fills the air. As she passes around each table, she gracefully sets down one book and picks up another as if changing partners. Lining the sides of the room are colorful paintings with icons of Latino culture. The crowd watches in wonder as they absorb the beauty and charm of what they are experiencing.

The event was called Danza Entre Libros Y Colores. The show, presented by Association Culturelle de’Escritores y Artistas Latinos (ACEAL), was an afternoon of local Latino music, dance, books and poetry held July 1 at the Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales Branch Library on Irving Street.

The woman dancing was Sandra Ruiz Parrilla, director of ACEAL and organizer of the event.

“This event is to coach parents to let the kids get more into art and literature,” Parrilla said. “Not just kids but adults in the Latin Community. Most people just come here to work, work, work and they forget about their art. They forget about their talents. We’re trying to get people involved in this world of art and literature.”

Parrilla herself is a published author. Her book, “Invierno en el Crepusculo,” was released in April 2014.

Parrilla and her friends formed ACEAL two years ago as a cultural association promoting Latino writers and artists. In their early stages, they hosted poetry nights and literature workshop, but this year’s Danza Entre Libros Y Colores was the first to combine all aspects of art and culture.

Eight local authors, both Latino and non-Latino, were invited to bring their books and sit at tables during the event. Each author was given a few minutes during the program to talk about their books, with translators on hand to interpret English and Spanish.

There were also live performances by local musicians – one mariachi duo and a solo acoustic guitar player with a beat box to keep rhythm – and three painters exhibiting their works. Empanadas, tartas and other Argentinian fare from Maria Empanada Restaurant fed the crowd. The finale was the dancers – not professionals, but rather everyday people who love the culture and want to celebrate the arts.

For more information on ACEAL, call Sandra Ruiz Parrilla at 720- 620-3162 or Like the group’s Facebook page @acealcolorado.