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Diverging Diamonds, W Line, Greenway and Wadsworth Widening

By Mike McKibbin

Remember when roundabouts were the latest answer to ever-increasing traffic congestion on Colorado highways?

Despite some misgivings, they seem to be an accepted part of traffic engineering, even in big box store parking lots.

Get ready for diverging diamond interchanges, including one at Interstate 70 and Kipling Street in Wheat Ridge. It was one of several transportation-related projects city manager Patrick Goff described in a recent unofficial State of the City address.

According to Wikipedia, diverging diamonds have been used in France since the 1970s and the design was listed by Popular Science magazine as one of the best engineering innovations in 2009. Such interchanges, also called a double crossover diamond interchange, moves traffic on the non-freeway road across to the opposite side on both sides of the highway bridge. That means motorists on the freeway over or underpass briefly drive on the left side of the road. The crossover “X” intersections are usually controlled by traffic lights. Right turn lanes are placed before the crossover intersections.

The Colorado Department of Transportation plans this interchange to be similar to U.S. Highway 36 and McCaslin Boulevard in Louisville. However, Kipling Street would remain under the I-70 bridge.

CDOT described the overall project to include I-70 from Ward Road to Wadsworth Boulevard and 44th Avenue to 51st Place on Kipling Street. The first potential improvements are the eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane from Ward Road to Kipling Street and the westbound I-70 off-ramp with associated changes at 49th and 50th avenues. Other changes are planned to the north and south frontage roads and local area streets, along with an eastbound I-70 auxiliary lane from Ward Road to Kipling Street.

CDOT completed a planning and environmental linkages study in July 2013. A National Environmental Policy Act environmental assessment and preliminary design began in 2016. Leah Langerman, public involvement coordinator in the transportation business unit of David Evans and Associates — a CDOT project contractor — wrote in an email that the environmental assessment is expected to be released for public review and a final public meeting held to gather comments in early 2019, followed by Federal Highway Administration permission to proceed.

The NEPA study will help CDOT and Wheat Ridge pursue funding by showing the need and the specific improvements to address the need, Langerman noted. CDOT has also recommended this project be included on a proposed ballot initiative for transportation funding in the November general election, she added.

In an interview, Goff added the design will require right-of-way purchases from adjacent property owners, which he expected would take some time.

Light Rail This Summer

The much-discussed and long-delayed G Line Ward Station light rail project received Colorado Public Utilities Commission approval in March that allows further testing of the same crossing technology that caused the Regional Transportation District headaches on the A Line to Denver International Airport. Still, Goff said light rail service between Wheat Ridge and Union Station in downtown Denver could begin later this summer.

As part of that effort, a $12 million project includes reconstruction of adjacent streets, a new traffic signal, pedestrian bridge over the light rail tracks, pedestrian access improvements and public amenities, Goff added. Transit-oriented development is envisioned at the station.

“The vision plan includes an outdoor recreation focus since there are a couple of large lakes there and we could maybe develop that into a regional park,” Goff said.

Three residential and commercial projects are also planned, with around 300 townhomes, 200 apartment units and 6,000 to 8,000 square feet of commercial space, he added.

Greenway Project

Goff said a 2011 plan called for a greenway project on West 38th Avenue between Sheridan Avenue and Wadsworth Boulevard. It included temporary road changes from four to three lanes, with turn lanes in the middle in each direction. The goal was to spur more pedestrian and cyclist use of the corridor and new amenities to make it more attractive, Goff added.

“We had a lot of support for it, but we couldn’t get (City Council) to approve the project,” Goff noted. “But it’s still a priority.”

City Council did agree to a small greenway project on land owned by Jefferson County School District R1. A memorandum of understanding between the district and city allows its use for events, Goff said.

“But we need a more official plaza area, something like an informal gathering place with a small amphitheater,” he added.

The city is selecting a design firm and public input will be sought, Goff said.

Since 2011, 38th Avenue has seen much commercial development, such as a new Vectra Bank.

“Some of that is due to the vision that’s in the plan,” Goff said.

Multi-family housing has also been proposed for the corridor. Motorist speed has dropped with the change from four to three lanes, he added, and several annual community events are held along the street.

Funding has not been identified for the project, with initial estimates in the $5 million to $10 million range, depending in part on how many lanes of traffic to permanently allow, Goff said.

Wadsworth Widening

Widening of Wadsworth Boulevard between 35th Avenue and I-70 to six lanes, with a two-way bicycle lane, continuous sidewalks, streetscape improvements and RTD facilities is estimated to cost between $45 million to $60 million. The city has offered a $7 million match to obtain funding from other sources, Goff said. He anticipated the project could start around 2021 and pointed out the lengthy environmental assessment process could delay that timeline, as could protective measures for five identified historic properties in the project area.

Wheat Ridge’s Cultural Commission: What It Does, What’s Its Vision?

By Elisabeth Monaghan

In 2002, the Wheat Ridge City Council created the Cultural Commission as a way to promote cultural arts in Wheat Ridge and foster cultural enrichment and education opportunities for the community.

Wheat Ridge residents who have lived in the area for a long time know it is a charming city with a swath of talented artists, ranging from musicians, singers and dancers, to visual artists, writers and film makers, but until recently, there had been an awareness gap of these artists and their contribution to the Wheat Ridge community.

When the Cultural Commission first began, city council spent time researching and seeking out community members to sit on the commission. Fast forward to the present, where the city has grown in population and in the arts. Suddenly, people are expressing their interest to be part of the commission, which is comprised of nine members, all of whom are selected by city council. As Cultural Commission Chair Diane Robb explains, the Cultural Commission has become more popular, which means it is more visible. This means, for the time ever, the Commission has become relevant.

“In fact,” says Robb, “we have become so relevant that this past spring, city council approved a resolution for the Wheat Ridge Cultural Vision, and that is big news.”

Undertaking a cultural vision was no easy feat, but the commission believed a vision would allow them to better identify what it was doing, and what role it played in enhancing the profile of the arts and artists in Wheat Ridge. With this in mind, the commission spent three long days brainstorming, compiling ideas and identifying the different elements, entities and communities in Wheat Ridge that make this city culturally unique.

To ensure its cultural vision would be sustainable, the commission looked at what other communities have done to create and implement an effective cultural vision. The commission also conducted community surveys and worked closely with the city.

Over the course of these meetings the commission clarified that the concept of cultural arts is more than just public art; it encompasses visual art, performing arts and literary arts.

The end result of the Cultural Commission’s effort is a cultural vision that addresses how it will engage the community and its artists going forward. With the vision in place, Robb hopes it will unify all of Wheat Ridge around the community’s cultural activities.

Gay Porter DeNileon, who is the at-large representative on the commission, points out that its goal is not to put on or organize all of the community’s cultural events, but to provide support, be available as a resource to all those involved, and participate in the events. For example, the commission does not coordinate Ridgefest, but it is involved in the event and will sponsor the Chalkfest activity for the second year.

Porter DeNileon emphasizes the commission does not focus solely on public art installations.

"Public art is a very big portion of what we promote, but we are also interested in the whole culture surrounding Wheat Ridge – all of the activities and all of the artists that live here.”

Porter DeNileon also is adamant about wanting people to know the commission has taken an inclusive approach.

“We recognize the eclectic and diverse personality of this city and we want to make clear that we do not dictate to anybody about what art is.”

One of the Cultural Commission’s best-known programs is Wheat Ridge Reads. Now in its seventh year, Wheat Ridge Reads partners with the Wheat Ridge Library and Wheat Ridge High School to promote literacy. Each suggested book is written by a Colorado-based author, and more than 100 students from Wheat Ridge High participate in the program, where they meet with the local authors to discuss their books and learn more about their work.

As part of the its mission to be a resource to the artists and the Wheat Ridge community as a whole, the commission is developing a comprehensive list of cultural events taking place in the community. For artists, this list will be a vehicle to let the community know about upcoming shows or exhibits. For the community, the list will inform them on what activities or shows are coming up.

Robb is delighted with the support the commission receives from the community, including the local government, whose buy-in has paved the way for the Commission to successfully execute its cultural vision.

“From the commission’s inception, every mayor in Wheat Ridge has been an advocate for Cultural Commission,” says Robb. “Jerry DiTullio is the person who said in 2010, ‘We need a Kevin Robb sculpture in Wheat Ridge,’ and DiTullio then created a funding avenue for the sculpture.

“Joyce Jay really encouraged us to create a cultural vision, and now Bud Starker is also 100 percent behind us. I find it exciting that city council is also enthusiastic about what we’re doing. They always ask us, ‘How can we help you?’ They always tell us, ‘Let us know what you need.’”

Now that the Cultural Vision has been developed, Robb and Porter DeNileon say the commission is ready implement it, but the work will not happen overnight.

“It took us over a year to develop the vision, and it will take time to implement it,” as Robb explains.

Once the cultural vision is in place, the commission will have the resources to promote Wheat Ridge’s artists and connect them with their neighbors. This, in turn, will help maintain the city’s charm and reputation for its local artists, while generating community support for these artists and their work.

“We want everyone in the community to experience the vibrant culture of Wheat Ridge,” Robb explains. “We want arts and culture to be relevant here, and we’re helping to make that happen through this cultural vision.”

To contact the Cultural Commission about any local art shows or events, email Cultural@ci.wheatridge.co.us. To learn about cultural activities taking place in Wheat Ridge, check out the Cultural Commission’s page on Facebook – www.facebook.com/MeetTheArtistWheatRidge

Renewed Life For Merritt Memorial Methodist Church Building

By Ken Lutes

Generations Church is conducting services in the Sloan Lake neighborhood where members of the Merritt Memorial Methodist Church worshipped from 1902 to 2016.

Founders of Generations Church, Jody and Mandy Earley, were able to rent the Merritt building at 23rd Avenue and Irving Street in July of 2017. They started informal services at their West Highland home in 2015 but soon outgrew the space and began public services at Valdez Elementary School the next year.

The Earleys are pleased with the growth that Generations is experiencing in its current home and consider the growth to be a sign of relevance. The average weekly attendance at Generations is about 65; when Merritt closed, the congregation had fallen well under 15, according to the Rev. Paul Kottke, United Methodist Church’s district superintendent at the time. He also stated that church attendance in the U.S. was trending downward, a sign of the “saturated lives” people have these days.

“A lot of connection and community does happen on line and at meetups where people find community in different ways,” Jody Earley says, “but the message and purpose of the church is as relevant as it has always been.

“There are many metrics by which to measure the success of a church. Although church attendance [in the U.S.] is declining, one of the things for us is being the church to our community. We’re not just waiting for people to show up on Sunday morning. We’re more intentional about reaching the community outside of these four walls.”

The Earleys believe that what keeps a church relevant is a sincere connection to its community and the commitment to service. In the church parking lot is the church’s white truck/van with “Hope” painted on its sides.

“In September,” said Mandy Earley, “we’ll use the Hope truck to help get 10,000 bags of non-perishable food to families in need, and to food banks as well. We try to be supportive of what people are doing, to let them know we appreciate them and that there’s no strings attached.”

“We’ve taken cookies to North High, Edison Elementary, Lake Middle School, Fire House 12, and the District 1 Police Department,” Jody Earley said. “The Hope truck could also be used to help someone less fortunate to move. We plan to fill it with school supplies for schools this fall.”

The Earleys met in their home state of Oklahoma in 1998 at a church summer camp. “We married in 1999 and had our first child while living in Tulsa,” Jody Earley said. “We thought we’d spend the rest of our lives in Tulsa. Then we felt a calling to move out, but we didn’t know where.”

In 2003, they found themselves serving at a church in Gaithersburg, Md., a suburb of Washington, D.C.

“It was in the process of moving to Maryland that we thought maybe someday, several years in the future, we would pastor a church, which in today’s vernacular is called ‘planting a church.’

“Thirteen years later, we ended up here in Denver, with our four girls, all of whom go to public schools,” said Mandy Earley. “We really just fell in love with the city.” Looking for a family-oriented community, the first neighborhood that stood out to them was Stapleton; another was Washington Park.

“One day,” Jody Earley said, “we were in Highlands Square [32nd and Lowell], and we felt this was the neighborhood we were supposed to be in. A door to opportunity opened, and we ended up with a house in West Highland in 2015.”

Mandy Earley says they operate the church like they do their family. “Jody and I lead the church together. In our home, where we have our four daughters, we make decisions together. We work together, side by side, and bring our own strengths to the table. My background is in early childhood development. I help with kids and lead in a lot of areas.

“I think the church is beautiful when both men and women work in partnership to bring their strengths to the table, and I think that’s been one of the greatest changes that I’ve seen in the church.”

“We are a Christian church, but not a church just for Christians,” Jody Earley said. “Whether people are skeptical, or have a different faith background or maybe no faith background, they are welcome. We are intentional about being a place where people can belong even if they are unsure what they believe.”

When Merritt Church closed in 2016, the property was sold to developer Lance Nading, who intended to convert the interior of the historic church and the adjacent building into a community coworking space. Nading says that’s still his long-term plan, but right now there’s no hard timeline.

“The more time the Earleys have to grow their church, the stronger they’ll be when they do leave,” he said.

Former longtime members of Merritt Methodist Church, Shirley and Mary (last names not given), regularly attend Generations Church. Jody Easley said they told him as long as there’s a church at 23rd and Irving, they’ll come.

“I like to believe that the founding members from 1902 are looking down and smiling on us and cheering us on,” he said.

For more information on Generations Church, visit www.generations.city.

Heigh Ho, Heigh Ho, It’s Bike to Work We Go

By J. Patrick O’Leary

Businesses, cities and citizen groups in Sloan’s Lake, Lakewood, Edgewater and Wheat Ridge will host breakfast stations, after-work parties, free snacks and beverages and help from bike techs and Bike to Work Day, Wednesday, June 27.

The annual Denver Regional Council of Government event is a grassroots effort by cities, counties, transportation planners, community organizations and others in the metro area to educate commuters about the benefits of using two wheels to get to work. Cyclists can pick up free water, refreshments and food on the way into and back from work at hundreds of temporary stations throughout the Denver metro area, including two in Edgewater, one along the W Line in Lakewood, two in Sloan’s Lake and three in Wheat Ridge. Participants who register online have a chance at winning prizes, as well.

Edgewater Business Association and Edgewater Collective are teaming up to provide a bike tech, coffee, drinks and other goodies for bikers riding to work at The Edgewater 25th Avenue Station (25th  Avenue and Sheridan Boulevard), from 6 to 9 a.m.

“This is the second year that we have worked with local businesses to run the station at 25th and Sheridan,” said Edgewater Collective Executive Director Joel Newton. The City of Edgewater ran the station the previous six years.

“Our goal in organizing a station at the entrance to Edgewater is to encourage active living and biking to work,” he said. “We also love to showcase our great small businesses here in Edgewater.”

Also in Edgewater, Northern Lights Cannabis Company and Rupert’s on the Edge, on northwest corner of 20th and Sheridan (2045 Sheridan), are offering breakfast, drinks and coffee from 6:30 to 9 a.m. It’s Northern Lights’ and Ruperts’ fourth year of sponsoring a station. This year they are also giving away some fun items to make your commute “roll” along.

Just across Sheridan in Sloan’s Lake, Native Roots Foundation is also hosting a breakfast station from 6:30 to 9 a.m.

On the W Line path at Mountair Park (West 13th Avenue at Depew Street), the City of Lakewood will provide breakfast burritos from Santiago’s Mexican Restaurant, breads and pastries from Great Harvest Bread Co., hot coffee from Village Roaster Coffee, KIND granola bars and fruit from 6:30 to 9 a.m. For the afternoon commute, Lakewood is hosting an after-work station for food, fun and festivities in Belmar Plaza.

Also on the return route, AFC Urgent Care Highlands is staging its first Bike to Work Day Station on the north side of Sloan's Lake near West 26th Avenue. From 3:30 to 6 p.m., AFC will be offering water, bandages, lip balms, hand sanitizers and more. They’ll also have a first aid kit on site.

Farther north near the Clear Creek Greenway, a mid-day Laradon’s Bike Party takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Prospect Park Pavilion, 11300 W. 44th Ave., Wheat Ridge, featuring a bike tech, snacks, water, yard games and music. In its event listing, Laradon said is was planning to team up with Trader Joe’s to provide water and snacks, and have a few recumbent bikes on hand to try out. They’ve also invited a bike mechanic and food trucks, but at press were awaiting confirmation.

Not to be outdone, Wheat Ridge will be the site of two Star Wars-themed Bike to Work Day stations, sponsored by the Wheat Ridge Active Transportation Advisory Team (ATATs) Right Coast Pizza, Dairy Queen, Jefferson County Public Health, and others.

“Awaken With The Force!” with Darth Vader will take place 6 to 9 a.m. at “The Death Star” (aka the Dairy Queen), 6790 W. 38th Ave., off the bike lane at Pierce Street. Starting at 6 a.m. for early risers, the station features coffee, orange juice, breakfast burritos (plus a gluten-free) option, fruit and snack bars.

“We promise nourishment, lots of Star Wars-themed fun and the best selfie you'll take all morning,” according to the event listing.

On the way home, the fourth annual Pedal to Patio: Stars Wars, Beer & Pizza bike party takes place at the Right Coast Pizza pizzeria, 7100 W. 38th Ave., 4 to 7 p.m. The bike party offers free locally crafted beer, fresh-from the oven pizza, tunes, prizes and “a completely voluntary tandem ride with your favorite Sith Lord.”

Check the event website for last-minute changes to stations and locations; there was to be a breakfast station at 26th and Kipling, the north edge of Crown Hill Park, but the listing had disappeared from the map as the Neighborhood Gazette went to press.

To register, visit http://biketoworkday.us. Station maps and listings, information on bicycle safety and commuting, and other details are also available online.

Festivals And Fairs Coming To Your Neighborhood

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. It is that time of year that is the best time for joy, celebration, and fun. I remember how much fun my siblings and I had with carnival rides and games, parades, music, food, and special treats when we were growing up in this area.

This year, we want to remind you of several 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 designated as Carnation City, Wheat Ridge embraces its heritage through this wonderful event. Celebrating its 49th annual festival in 2018, Wheat Ridge Carnation Festival is one of the longest running festivals in Colorado. It has a reputation that attracts people from all over the state.

The Festival will be filled with food, music, culture and fun for people of all ages! The events are held at Anderson Park, located at 4355 Field St., Aug. 10 through 12. 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:

  • On Sunday, a car show will be in the middle of things and will include the 1957 Chevy originally bought by the grandfather of Festival Chairman, Joe DeMott;
  • The Zoppe Circus, a favorite among Festival participants, is one of the few old-fashion, family-run, classic one-ring touring circus left in the United States;
  • The Vendor fair will have food, art and specialties for people of all ages;
  • Music events will include a KISS tribute band among 11 other bands representing sounds from “turbo-charged” Celtic music to Blues Brothers Chicago-type blues;
  • Fireworks will be held on Friday and Saturday night at 9:15 p.m. at the baseball field; and
  • The Annual Art League Member show will give you a chance to view and purchase fine art works from over two dozen local artists.

The parade theme this year is “Deep Roots.” The Parade Committee is calling local artists to submit an original design that embodies the history of Wheat Ridge. These will be put on commemorative plates that will be given to parade winners.

Festival admission is free, but the circus admission is $18 general, $23 for VIP seats and children under two are free.

The Spaghetti Dinner is served in its own tent from 4 to 8 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday; cost is $8 for adults, $5 for kids under 12.

The Chili Cookoff will be on Aug. 11 with a $5 suggested donation for public tasting.

The Beer Garden and Food Court will be open Friday from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday from noon to 11 p.m., and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

thecarnationfestival.com

Colorado Dragon Boat Festival

For the 18th year, the Colorado Dragon Boat Festival (CDBF) celebrates the culture, contributions, and accomplishments of Colorado’s Asian Pacific American communities. Dragon boat racing is an ancient sport, with its origins in China over 2,000 years ago. It was a unique competitive sport to be hosted here 18 years ago. Now, it is the largest dragon boat festival in the country with 52 teams competing. The number of teams has steadily increased every year from the original 16 teams.

The festival features more than 20 food vendors in two Taste of Asia Food Courts, a huge Asian Marketplace of gifts, artisans and organizations, Dragonland interactive children’s area, and five stages that feature traditional Asian to contemporary Asian American culture. The Gateway to Asia provides quieter dances or musical sets, as well as demonstrations ranging from Japanese flower arranging to Chinese calligraphy to Thai fruit carving.

This year’s festival will have, as usual, free admission. Events happen on July 28 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and July 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It features the following activities:

  • The Opening Ceremony starts at 10 a.m., Saturday, July 29, with a cultural spectacle, featuring Chinese Buddhist monks chanting and blessing the festival and all the competitors, then performing a beautiful, spiritual, traditional Eye Dotting Ceremony with invited dignitaries to awaken the spirit of the dragons within the race boats.
  • At 10 a.m. on Sunday, there will be a Japanese Obon Dance at the Main Stage. As usual, the public will be invited to join in the fun.
  • The Colorado Dragon Boat race is a unique summertime competition that over 50 teams now look forward to every year.
  • This year, Noble Energy will sponsor a scavenger hunt to help celebrate the diverse Asian communities in the Denver metro area.
  • Since 2015, CDBF has partnered with Colorado Anime Fest, to bring classic and new anime favorites to the festival.
  • On both Saturday and Sunday, there will be Spicy Ramen Eating contests, where you can compete against other festival attendees to see who can finish a bowl of spicy ramen.
  • Shopping in the CDBF Marketplace every year is like shopping at a dream bazaar with merchants from every corner of Asia and the Pacific.
  • One of the ongoing highlights of each year’s Colorado Dragon Boat Festival has been the opportunity to eat your way across Asia and the Pacific Islands — bite by bite, and without leaving Denver.
  • The festival’s five Performing Arts Stages showcase both traditional Asian and contemporary Asian American talent from within our communities.

Colorado Scottish Festival

  The St. Andrew Society of Colorado will hold its 55th annual Colorado Scottish Festival in Edgewater’s Citizens Park (on Benton Street between 22nd and 24th avenues), Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 4 and 5. The event returns to the Denver metro area this year; the 2017 festival was held in Snowmass Village. (It’s not to be confused with the Celtic Harvest Festival, which was cancelled in 2017 after a seven-year run in Edgewater.)

  The Society promises to provide all the classic elements of a world class Scottish Festival and Highland Games: Scottish heavy athletics caber tossing (the “telephone pole” event), Scottish Highland dancers, Scottish country dancing, the pipe bands from around the state, whisky tastings, Clan Village, Colorado’s own Renaissance Scots, living history, Scottish food, British Dogs, British Cars and Parade of Clans.

  For more information, visit www.scottishgames.org, Facebook at ColoradoScottishFestival or Twitter at @ColoradoNessie.

Jeffco Fair & Festival

There is fun coming at the Jeffco Fair & Festival, happening Aug. 10 through 12 at Jeffco Fairgrounds. Lasting three 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, so only major activities are listed below:

  • 4-H members Horse Show and Trail Classes and Fashion Review;
  • 4-H animal viewing for swine, rabbits, sheep, goats, poultry, steers, horses, dogs, llamas and alpacas;
  • All About Science, the perfect blend of education and entertainment, featuring audience participation and a bunch of surprises;
  • Petting Farm, Pony rides, Barrel Train, and Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull;
  • Milestone Eight-VIP Wrestling Event and Lucha Libre Pro Wrestling Event;
  • CPRA Rodeo, Ranch Rodeo and Cowboy Church;
  • Inventor Fair, Red Rocks Community College’s interactive science exhibits, 3D printing, Robotic Escape Maze, and Kids Wind Tunnel Design Challenge;
  • Pie Eating Contest presented by 4-H members and open to everyone;
  • Mutton Bustin’ for children ages 4-7 and under 60 pounds who will ride sheep out a chute and into the arena;
  • Canine Stars- Stunt Dog Shows;
  • Daily Flag Retreat Ceremonies;
  • Home Brewing Competition;
  • Music events;
  • Carnival games and rides.

The cost is $5 for those ages 13 and up, kids under 12 are free. Both wrestling events, the CPRA Rodeo and the Ranch Rodeo all have additional costs. Most tickets to these events include same-day general admission for the Fair and Festival. Carnival rides, one-day wristbands will be available for $30. These tickets can be bought soon at www.celebratejeffco.com/.

West Colfax MuralFest

The fourth annual West Colfax MuralFest will be on Saturday, Aug. 11, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., held in the heart of 40 West Arts District at Lamar Station Plaza, 6501 W. Colfax Ave. The plaza is home to two art galleries, an award-winning brewery and Casa Bonita. 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 Pandas and People, Graham Good and the Painters, Maya Bennett, plus an additional band TBD.
  • Interactive Kids Tent with street art station, mini-mural, and take-away printing
  • Food Trucks, with Burgerchef, Deer Creek Pizza, Steady Smoking BBQ, WongWeyVeg, Rocky Mountain Snowflakes and Tacos El Huequito.
  • Beer Garden
  • Art exhibits.

http://www.40westarts.org/Event/3337cb54-90f0-4dda-a696-ea40b6bf80ad

Blues & BBQ

The 20th Annual Blues & BBQ is back. On July 21, 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. 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, July 21. 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, which is purchased from individual food vendors.

The band line up includes The Symbols, The Dale Cisek Band, Teledonna, My Blue Sky, Wild Love Tigress, Ryan Chrys and the Roughcuts, Ricky Earle Band featuring Cherise, Eef and the Blues Express, and The Duke Street Kings.

http://bluesnbbq.com/

Jamming on the Jetty

Jamming on the Jetty will again offer up live music on the Sloan’s Lake jetty to benefit local charities, Saturday, July 7, starting at 3 p.m. It’s the fourth incarnation of the festival, which began three years ago.

This year’s bands will be Sloan’s Lake neighborhood favorite Dyrty Byrds and Coal Town Reunion, according to Mayo Schiavone, who is helping to organize the event. The emcee will be Brad Laurvick of Highlands United Methodist Church, with special guests Denver councilmen Rafael Espinoza and Paul Lopez.

“Last year we had over 500 local attendees and this year the goal is 750 plus,” said Schiavone. New this year are vendors selling merchandise, food and drink.

Geared toward all ages, there will be water sports, games for children and free giveaways.

Attendees are invited to bring a picnic basket, umbrellas andblankets.

Bienvenidos Food Bank is the beneficiary of this year’s event, receiving all proceeds raised by sponsorships.

Sponsorship and other details can be found at the JammingontheJetty.com website, or check out its Facebook page, www.facebook.com/jammingonthejetty.

Performances In The Park

Bring your lawn chairs or blankets. Make it a picnic. Wheat Ridge provides free outdoor, concerts and performances on Wednesdays for the whole summer. These events are very family friendly. Come to Anderson Park, at 4355 Field St., for Children’s Shows at 10 a.m. Then bring back the whole family at 6:30 p.m. for the free concerts, featuring:

  • June 20, Magic Rob Ryan, followed by Chrys & the Rough Cuts;
  • June 27, Eric West, Music Phat Daddy;
  • July 4, Bradley Weaver, Papa Juke Band;
  • July 11, Beth Epley, Rheinlanders;
  • July 18, Kusogea Nobe Drum Ensemble, Chico’s Malos Salsa Band;
  • July 25, Puppets & Things on Strings, Michael Friedman Band; and
  • Aug 1, Ann Lincoln, Magic Hot Tomatoes

https://www.ci.wheatridge.co.us/1490/Performances-in-the-Park

New West Colfax Creamery: A Cool Place With A Cool Mission

By Laurie Dunklee

It’s hard to miss Little Man Ice Cream’s giant milk can in Lower Highlands (LoHi), especially in the summertime when a line of people waiting for scoops extends around the block. Owner Paul Tamburello is hoping his new Little Man Creamery on West Colfax will attract similar crowds — for business reasons, of course, but also because selling more ice cream means he can help more food-challenged people around the world.

Little Man’s Scoop for Scoop program donates a scoop of rice or beans, for every scoop of ice cream sold, to food-challenged communities in many countries.

“We focus on Guatemala, Cambodia and Haiti mostly,” said Tamburello. “We hope to do more in Peru and Uganda.”

The new Little Man Creamery, on Colfax and Tennyson, will be Little Man’s production facility as well as a new place for the neighborhood to gather.

“The design is the inside of an ice cream spinner,” said Sarah Smile, administrative assistant for Little Man. “Everything is curved and there are slanted lines to make you feel like you are spinning around. There will be a slide for the kids and adults.”

She said the creamery will have a factory vibe, with visible wires and beams.

“A conveyor belt will run from the customer counter back to the kitchen, to send empty buckets back and receive full ones.”

The 6,300-square-foot space is a late 1940s commercial building that was three separate shotgun units, says Tamburello.

“‘Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory’ was my favorite movie growing up, so that reflects in our stores,” said Tamburello, regarding the whimsical renovation. “Retail is changing, and retailers need to step up their game and provide experiences for people. I want people to walk in and say, ‘Oh my gosh,’ and have an amazing fun experience.”

The 2,000-square-foot kitchen will produce 10 times the amount of ice cream that’s currently made in the LoHi Victorian that also houses Little Man’s offices.

“Our kitchen is tiny, and it’s impossible to keep up with demand,” said Smile.

She estimates that the 300 gallons per day produced now will become more like 3,000 gallons — to both sell and generate more donated food for hungry people.

Scoop for Scoop began in 2008 to help communities in need. To date, Little Man has delivered approximately 2.5 million scoops to hungry people in nine countries, through one-time missions following disasters and long-term commitments to build up food resiliency. Little Man employees volunteer their time to deliver the food overseas, or Little Man partners with reputable organizations already engaged on the ground. All goods are purchased in local markets.

Tamburello was inspired to start the program after he volunteered with several international medical relief organizations.

“Seeing how the people lived provided my impetus to help with nutrition. Scoop for Scoop is not a marketing tool; we don’t talk about it a lot, we just do it.”

“Just doing it” came from his parents, who modeled a philanthropic lifestyle, Tamburello said. “My parents were committed to helping others. My mother said that helping is part of who you should be, whether you’re religious or not.”

Tamburello said Little Man is named for his father, who was small in stature but had a big heart.

“He was one of 12 children and he helped support the family once he finished third grade, working alongside his father in the ash pit. He carried the idea of helping people throughout his life.”

Tamburello said his greatest reward is seeing the impact of the program on his young employees.

“When our young ‘scoopers’ go on a mission trip, I see them get engaged and excited. Some of them have become Peace Corps volunteers. They learn that philanthropy isn’t what we do when we’re rich; it’s what we do whether we make $10 an hour or much more than that.”

Smile, a former “scooper,” looks forward to engaging the West Colfax community at the new creamery.

“The kitchen is enclosed in glass, like a microbrewery, where people can watch the process of making ice cream. The spinners will be hung where people can watch us pour in the mixings. When the ice cream is done it goes on a conveyor belt to the freezer.”

As at the LoHi location, the creamery will host dances and other activities. A stage in the front window will showcase swing dances led by live bands. Next year the creamery will install glass garage doors on the north side, looking out onto a patio.

Tamburello hopes for a revitalization of West Colfax as a destination, much as parts of East Colfax have become. Challenges include the lack of parking and pedestrian-friendliness.

“CDOT (the Colorado Division of Transportation) and the city need to allow parking on West Colfax,” Tamburello said. “On East Colfax that was an impetus. Parking helps make it a destination because it slows traffic and provides a buffer between the sidewalk and the cars, making it more pedestrian-friendly.”

In addition to the creamery, slated to open in mid-July, Little Man is rolling out four other locations, including Sweet Cooie’s in Congress Park, a ‘50s-era soda shop that opened in February 2017. Slated for completion in 2018 and 2019 are Constellation in Stapleton, featuring a 70-foot replica wing from a Lockheed Constellation airplane; Churn Ice Cream in Fort Collins, a 22-foot lumber churn bucket; and an as-yet-unnamed store in Park Hill. 

Prairie Dogs – Necessary, Not A Nuisance

By Sally Griffin

Prairie Dogs are cute little fuzzy creatures with a strong sense of family and one of the most sophisticated language systems among wild creatures. But the numbers of these creatures have been decimated throughout their range by almost 95 percent. Habitat loss, bulldozing, poisonings and recreational shootings have contributed greatly to this loss.

State officials and environmentalists have realized that the loss of these creatures has great impact among other animals. Black-footed ferrets are in danger of extinction because prairie dogs are their only food source. Prairie dogs are a key species to nine other species, such as hawks, owls, foxes, ferrets and many others who depend on prairie dogs for food. We are in the process of trying to save these fuzzy, vocal rodents because they are food — in fact, the only food for some species, like the ferret.

However, it seems we that are coming to realize that in addition to providing food and shelter to other animals, their burrows actually enrich the soil and improve plant growth because water can flow underground. Prairie dogs are one animal that will locate their home in overgrazed areas so that they can see predators before they get too near.

Prairie dogs live in underground burrows that have many tunnels, chambers and, occasionally, dams to control water. Burrows have defined nurseries, sleeping quarters and toilets. They also provide listening posts where sentinels can keep tabs of predators outside and warn other members of the prairie dog town. They spend a lot of time building and rebuilding their homes. Other animals, such as burrowing owls and snakes, are glad to take advantage of the prairie dogs’ work.

Although prairie dogs live in large, close-knit communities, they won’t hug and kiss just anybody. Prairie dogs do interact through oral contact or “kissing” and by grooming each other. But this kind of interaction is limited to family groups. They play and chase each other and get into family spats. Family groups are the most basic units of prairie dog society. Being highly social, these family groups then collect together into colonies or “towns.” These towns can span hundreds of acres and may contain 15 to 26 family groups.

In addition to hugging and kissing, prairie dogs have developed some of the most sophisticated language skills among wild animals.

Con Slobodchikoff, an animal behaviorist from Northern Arizona University, discovered that their communication system is surprisingly advanced. Not only do they have different warning calls depending on the type of predator – coyote, dog, human, hawk – they also construct sentences to describe what a particular predator looks like.

By showing captive prairie dogs several simple silhouetted shapes such as triangles, circles and squares, Slobodchikoff also determined that they can come up with new calls to communicate to each other about things they’ve never seen before. This, he maintains, is evidence that these animals have a highly developed language that they can use to name any potential threat.

And they have different responses to different alarm calls. For instance, hawk alarms mean everybody dive into your burrow immediately. Coyote alarms indicate the need for observation, then further alarm calls will warn everyone as to exactly what the coyote is doing.

Prairie dogs also have a group communication signal, the meaning of which nobody is exactly sure. This has been mostly observed among black-tailed prairie dogs. It is the territorial call or “jump-yip” display. The prairie dog will abruptly raise its chest up, throw its forefeet into the air and land on its butt while making a high-pitched “wee-oo” sound. A jump-yip from one prairie dog will usually cause others to do the same. Just like a wave at a football game, jump-yips can travel through a whole colony. It’s like prairie dog-popcorn. Some experts think this may be an “all clear” signal to let a colony know that a predator has moved on. Other experts think it is a way to make sure that other dogs are paying attention to their surroundings. Still others think it is a way to have fun together. Or it could have to do with disputes over territory. It could also be a way to get others to provide up-to-date information on predators, so the one who started the jump-yip can spend more time hunting for food. No one is exactly sure why there are jump-yips, but this activity is fascinating to researchers and will certainly be a central part of future studies.

Here are some other facts about their surprisingly complex world:

  • Their entire mating session is just one-hour long. They mate just once in early winter for only one hour. They have litters of three to eight pups, of which only about half survive their first year. They live in tight-knit family groups called coteries. These coteries have one or two males, several females and the females’ new pups. Males may move around from coterie to coterie, but females stick together for life.
  • They are cousins of the squirrels in your back yard. Other close relatives are groundhogs, chipmunks, marmots and woodchucks.
  • They are not a passive form of food. They can run up to 35 mph. They can be fast, skilled fighters with sharp claws and teeth. It takes a while for black-footed ferrets to learn how to catch them and to learn that they will fight back.
  • They are very susceptible to bubonic plague, acquired from infected fleas (another species relying on prairie dogs as food). Many colonies have been wiped out by it. But biologists have developed a vaccine to help protect prairie dog towns from the plague.
  • In 1900, the largest prairie dog settlement on the high plains of Texas was 100 miles by 250 miles and contained an estimated 400 million prairie dogs. Imagine the delight of the black-footed ferret that found that prairie dog town.

Theodore Roosevelt wrote, “Prairie-dogs are abundant… they are in shape like little woodchucks and are the most noisy and inquisitive animals imaginable. They are never found singly, but always in towns of several hundred inhabitants; and these towns are found in all kinds of places where the country is flat and treeless.”

Who’s On Your Local Primary Election Ballot?

By Mike McKibbin

Colorado House and Senate races are among the decisions facing Democratic and — for the first time in state history — unaffiliated voters who cast their ballots for party candidates in the Tuesday, June 26, state primary election. Ballots began to be mailed to all registered voters on June 4 and must be returned by 7 p.m. Election Day.

Unaffiliated voters who did not choose a party preference online at govotecolorado.com (but remain a registered unaffiliated voter) or in person at any voter service and polling center in the county where they are registered received both Democratic and Republican ballots, but can only vote one party’s ballot. If both are filled out and returned, neither ballot will be counted.

With no Republican primary races for these offices, here is information from the Democratic candidates’ websites Neighborhood Gazette readers will choose from:

House District 24

House District 24 includes all or parts of Wheat Ridge, Edgewater, Arvada, Lakewood, Golden, Lakeside, Mountain View and unincorporated Jefferson County communities of Applewood, Fairmount and West Pleasant View. The current officeholder, Democratic state Rep. Jessie Danielson, speaker pro tempore of the House, is seeking the District 20 state Senate seat. Republican candidate Arthur Erwin, artforcolorado.com, will face the winner of this race.

Monica Duran, monicaduran.com, helped lead the campaign for Wheat Ridge Issue 300, a 2015 citizen-led effort against what was felt to be out-of-control development. Duran currently serves on Wheat Ridge City Council and previously served as a director or board member for several organizations.

Duran noted she would stand up to the President Trump and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos agenda of privatizing education, support better teacher pay and expanding vocational and technical training programs so every student is on a path to a good-paying job.

To help fight rising health care premiums, Duran wants to let Coloradans purchase health insurance through the state’s Medicaid program, if it is a cheaper public option.

Duran also supports women’s rights and pro-choice legislation, along with gun control measures that keep weapons out of the hands of violent and unstable people, guns out of classrooms and military-style assault weapons off the streets.

Kris Teegardin, kristeegardin.com, has helped support people with intellectual and physical disabilities and severe and persistent mental health issues. He worked nearly 10 years as a Jefferson Center for Mental Health vocational counselor and health care coordinator.

Teegardin was an Edgewater City Council member, then mayor for six years. He remains active in the Metro Mayors Caucus.

Teegardin would support investing in good-paying jobs like skilled trades and access to affordable higher education, transportation and infrastructure, neighborhood and public schools, attracting good companies by preserving the environment and promoting healthy lifestyles, work to protect and expand universal health care and its programs to all Coloradans, help the state address the lack of education funding due to the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, support teachers and help level the playing field for struggling students.

He also vowed to fight to preserve public lands and land, air and water quality through more renewable energy and clean energy jobs, along with allocating more funds for oversight and inspections of natural gas lines and hydraulic fracturing sites to ensure citizen and worker safety.

Senate District 34

Senate District 34 includes parts or all of Denver, Sloan’s Lake and the West Colfax corridor between Sheridan and Federal boulevards. The seat is currently held by Democratic state Sen. Lucia Guzman, the assistant minority leader. State senators can serve two consecutive four-year terms and Guzman cannot seek re-election. The primary winner will face Republican candidate Gordon Alley, pastorgordonforcolorado.com, in the November general election.

Julie Gonzales, julieforcolorado.com, is the policy director for the Meyer Law Office in Denver, which specializes in immigration law. In 2005, she helped organize a coalition of low-income families, unions, community organizations and environmental activists to pass an agreement at the Gates Rubber Factory redevelopment that directed tax dollars be spent on affordable housing, a clean environment and jobs that paid a living wage.

In 2006, Gonzales organized students at three high schools to ensure Denver Public Schools offered a college-preparatory education to all students and help plug the school-to-jail pipeline. In 2009, she co-founded the Colorado Latino Forum, a statewide grassroots organization to build the economic, educational and political power of Latinos across Colorado, and in 2013 was elected board chair.

Gonzales helped draft the ASSET bill that allowed undocumented Colorado students to attend college at in-state tuition rates and created immigrant drivers’ licenses. In 2017, Gonzales helped pass legislation to ensure no Denver resources were spent on immigration enforcement.

If elected, Gonzales vowed to fight for affordable homes, high-quality education, jobs that pay a living wage, a clean environment, universal health care and civil rights.

Alan Kennedy-Shaffer, kennedyshaffer.com, a civil rights lawyer, noted he represented clients who successfully challenged President Donald Trump’s travel ban and women’s access to birth control.

Currently a captain and Judge Advocate General in the Colorado Army National Guard, a criminal justice lecturer and Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado-Denver, Kennedy-Shaffer vowed to fight for progressive values and issues, such as ending climate change, supporting immigrants, defending the rights of women, LGBTQ people, workers and democracy. He also called for more investment in affordable housing, accessible transit, teachers, small businesses, cannabis and living wages.

Milo Schwab, miloschwab.com, started his law firm three years ago to focus on civil rights and workplace discrimination. He also works with Denver startups and small businesses.

Schwab noted he will fight to address climate change and build a clean energy grid, to ensure anyone who works a full-time job can afford housing and a decent standard of living and improve education funding.

In his first year in office, Schwab stated he would introduce legislation to guarantee all employees 12 weeks paid leave while caring for a newborn or seriously ill family member at home. He also planned to help address the homeless issue with policies such as rapid rehousing for those on the brink of homelessness and supportive housing to the chronically homeless.

To help reform the criminal justice system, Schwab would pursue policies that explore alternative courts and punishments with the goal of rehabilitation and restoration, close private prisons in Colorado and end mass incarceration.

House District 4

House District 4 includes all or part of the West Colfax corridor between Sheridan and Federal, Denver North and West, neighborhoods of the Highlands, Villa Park, Sloan’s Lake, Barnum, Berkeley, Sunnyside and Sun Valley. The seat is currently held by Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon. State representatives can serve no more than four consecutive two-year terms and Pabon cannot run for re-election. The winner will face Republican candidate Robert “Dave” John in the November election.

Amy W. Beatie, beatieforcolorado.com, served a one-year clerkship in 2001 with then-Colorado Supreme Court Justice Gregory J. Hobbs, Jr., focused on water law, criminal, condemnation and taxation cases. Beatie left her private law practice in 2017 to lead the Colorado Water Trust. She remains the nonprofit organization’s executive director and is an adjunct professor at the University of Denver law school.

Trying to make sure the state’s strong economy benefits everyone, improving the quality, accessibility and affordability of education and protecting the environment are issues Beatie planned to focus upon in the legislature.

Serena Gonzales-Gutierrez, serenaforcolorado.com, is a youth counselor, social caseworker and director for the Denver Collaborative Partnership.

As an elected official, Gonzales-Gutierrez wants to ensure education is accessible and affordable from early childhood through college, address affordable housing with legislation and funding and sponsor legislation that combats climate change, protects public lands, water resources and clean air.

Noting a need for transit-oriented development, improved pedestrian, bike, car and mass transit in the state’s major corridors and neighborhood streets, Gonzales-Gutierrez promised to be a strong steward of state transportation funds.

She also pledged to defend and uphold federal law regarding pay equity, protect and advance women’s rights, support policies that increase state resources for mental health and substance use treatment, access to inmate diversion programming and to prepare inmates for re-entry into communities.

Calling passage of the Colorado Health Exchange one of the best legislative successes in recent years, Gonzales-Gutierrez would urge Congress to keep Medicaid intact, fund reproductive health organizations and provide subsidies to keep insurance premiums affordable.

William Edward “Ed” Britt, britt4co.com, is a graduate of the Colorado Institute for Leadership Training that has produced more than 50 Democratic state legislators and many other elected and nonprofit leaders statewide. He works in senior health care benefits and umpires high school baseball. In the past, he worked in consumer protection at the Colorado Attorney General’s office and at the Auraria Higher Education Center, Colorado Department of Revenue and the Retired Enlisted Association for military veterans.

Britt, who petitioned his way on to the ballot, recently helped draft legislation to aid people who face small municipal or petty offenses. He noted the Colorado Bureau of Investigation had often misreported those offenses, which led to the denial of gainful employment and housing. Left without the means to support themselves, faced with dire situations or no place to live, the cycle of food stamps, Medicaid or other support mechanisms was unbreakable, he added.

As a state representative, Britt pledged to address reforms in education, housing, urban renewal and support the elderly and military veterans.