What’s Happening – February 2023

AT 2:21 A.M. ON JAN. 1, WHEAT RIDGE’S Lutheran Medical Center welcomed Aiden Lee Firster into the world, according to Communications Manager Sarah Ellis. He’s the first child of Kristen and Ryan Firster, and weighed in at 7 pounds, 14.1 ounces. PHOTO COURTESY LUTHERAN MEDICAL CENTER

More Fire Hazards And Invasives To Be Cleared From The Greenbelt, Thanks To A Grant

More mitigation and removal of fire fuels and invasive species from the Wheat Ridge Greenbelt will take place this fall, thanks to a $61,650 grant awarded by Great Outdoors Colorado (GOCO) to the City of Wheat Ridge in late December.

“This project is a priority for Wheat Ridge for several reasons,” said Andrew J. McDonald, Forestry and Open Space Supervisor for City of Wheat Ridge’s Parks & Recreation. “Trends toward increased risk of wildfire conditions, the spread of invasive species, and increased visitation have created an urgent need for management action along Clear Creek. 

“Due to the growing population in areas surrounding Clear Creek, fire suppression has been traditionally used to prevent the spread of natural fires which has resulted in a surplus of available fuels in the form of ground cover, woody debris, dense vegetation, and standing dead trees. This project will reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfire, decrease the spread of invasive species, and maintain ecological balance as well as the safety of the community.” 

The six-week project will include maintenance, treatment and mitigation work along nine miles of Clear Creek, six miles of the Clear Creek Trail, and 300 acres of forested open space.

Mile High Youth Corps (MHYC) will do the work, building on similar work completed by the Corps and the city’s Forestry Division between Nov. 7 and 17 last year in the area between Johnson and Creekside Park, clearing more than 50,000 pounds of vegetation and debris from the Greenbelt, according to McDonald.

      “Invasive species are a problem in the Greenbelt because they are species that can out-compete native, desirable species and spread rapidly, causing dense vegetation buildup and “overcrowding” the forest,” McDonald explained. “If fire mitigation is not done, this dense buildup of vegetation can lead to catastrophic wildfire.”

–J. Patrick O’Leary

Craft Old-Fashioned Valentine’s Day Cards At Historical Society’s Second Saturday Social

Valentine’s Day is only a few days away, and the challenge of what to give loved ones looms large. A hand-crafted, original Valentine may just fit the bill. Stop by our Second Saturday Social on Feb. 11, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Baugh House (44th Avenue and Robb Street), and explore the skill of crafting old-fashioned cards. We have all the supplies you’ll need, from paste and lace to make a Victorian delight, or modern messages that will entertain your loved ones. Make a special card for that certain someone, and then make another to donate. Volunteers deliver Valentines to local assisted living centers where they are extremely popular.

We’re excited to show off the progress we’ve made on the Century-long Story. Currently, volunteers are just finishing work on the Sod House (aka the Soddy). Whereas the Johnson Cabin illustrates the decade from 1859 to 1869, a time when goods from back east arrived via horseback and wagons, the Soddy reflects a time toward the end of the 1800s when the railroad brought supplies, and life was not so hard-scrabble. 

The Historical Park museums are open Fridays, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. We are happy to accommodate your needs and glad to make appointments for tours on other days; just email or call us at the contact information listed below.

Currently, we’re in the middle of the annual membership drive, a time for all annual members to renew their memberships. Current members will receive new membership cards.

For more information go to our website at wheatridgehistoricalsociety.org, email us at wrhistorical@gmail.com, call 303-421-9111, or stop by the Red Brick House Fridays at 4610 Robb St., and be sure to follow us on Facebook.

New Prospect Valley Elementary Replacement School Opens

Students and staff of the Prospect Valley Replacement School joined GH Phipps and MOA Architecture to celebrate the ribbon cutting for the opening of the new Prospect Valley Elementary Replacement School, located at 3400 Pierson St., in Wheat Ridge, according to a recent press release from Suter Media Relations. The Jan. 5 celebration included a school open house and tours.

The approximately $20 million, 60,000-square-foot project was completed on behalf of the Jefferson County Public Schools. The school replaces the previous structure that was built in 1967 and provides the elementary school program in Wheat Ridge with additional classroom space and room for expansion. 

The new school boasts “a highly efficient floor plan with core community spaces located at the center of the building, building on the school’s strong sense of community,” per the release. “The building also incorporates a variety of breakout spaces, creating connections to the outdoors. The building design incorporates playful elements with circular windows and bright ‘pops’ of color that enliven the façade. The library media center, with its large glass walls, serves as a ‘beacon’ for the school, clearly indicating the entrance.”

Wheat Ridge Promotes Allison Scheck And Marianne Schilling

The City of Wheat Ridge announced the promotion of two senior leaders within the city in a Jan. 10 press release.

Allison Scheck, who previously served as administrative services director, was promoted to deputy city manager, where she will continue to direct the Administrative Services Department, while helping guide strategic planning, according to the announcement.

Marianne Schilling, who previously served as assistant to the city manager, was appointed to assistant city manager, where she will continue to provide guidance to the city manager on city council directed initiatives, special projects and policy research.

In her new role, Schilling will also direct and lead the city’s new neighborhood resources initiative to address complicated community and neighborhood issues, according to the release.

“Both of these women are exceptional thought leaders in the local government space, and I am delighted to have this partnership as we continue to provide exceptional service and innovative strategies to Wheat Ridge residents,” said City Manager Patrick Goff in the release. “The advancement the city has seen over the last four years can be credited in part to the knowledge and experience of Allison and Marianne.”

Scheck has been with the city four years, and is an expert in operations, logistics, events, budgeting, marketing, public relations, strategic planning, fundraising, management, process improvement and change management. She holds a master’s in public administration from the University of Colorado.

Over the past four years Schilling has worked as a special projects manager, then a supervisor leading and directing four employees and several important initiatives, including the city’s response to homelessness, sustainability, race and equity, and other community initiatives. She holds a master’s in public administration from North Carolina State University.

Wheat Ridge Seeking Members To Serve On City Boards And Commissions

The City of Wheat Ridge is seeking residents to serve on boards and commissions as openings become available this March, per a recent press release from the city.

Positions are open on the Board of Adjustment, Building Code Advisory Board, Cultural Commission, Liquor License Authority Board, Planning Commission and Renewal Wheat Ridge. Applications are due by Feb. 12.

Generally, applicants must live in the district of the position to which they are applying, however, residents from other districts may be considered, per the release. Serving on a board or commission allows residents to help improve their community in a meaningful way.

“Being part of the Cultural Commission has been an awesome way to get to know my community better and help create the town I want to live in,” stated Cultural Commission Member Celia Daly in the release.

For more information and to apply, visit: https://www.ci.wheatridge.co.us/1127/Boards-Commissions

Suspect Arrested In The Killing Of Wheat Ridge Convenience Store Clerk

A person driving the stolen vehicle of a local homicide victim was taken into custody the morning of Jan. 6, according to Wheat Ridge Police Department Public Information Officer Joanna Small. 

Small said the night before police responded to reports of suspicious activity at a Wheat Ridge gas station/convenience store at 12300 W. 44th Ave. Inside they found the clerk and owner shot and killed. A review of the store’s surveillance system revealed the suspect had attacked the clerk, shot him, then fled in the clerk’s vehicle.

A nationwide BOLO (Be On the Lookout) was issued to all law enforcement agencies, and Indiana State Police were able to recognize the victim’s vehicle. Following a chase, the suspect was arrested.

Missing Man With Dementia Found Safe

The Wheat Ridge Police Department reports it had located and safely returned a 70-year-old man with dementia, who was reported “missing and endangered” the evening of Jan. 2, according to an email alert issued by Public Information Officer Joanna Small.

Last seen at the Key Bank in Lakeside around 4:30 p.m. that day, the man was wearing a black or camouflage baseball hat, a blue plaid jacket, gray sweatpants and gray shoes. In addition to dementia, the man was reported to have diabetes, high blood pressure and heart issues.

Shortly after emailing a request for help to the media that evening, the man was located on West 38th Avenue.

It’s Official: Intermountain Healthcare Is Now Intermountain Health

  Intermountain Healthcare – which operates Lutheran Medical Center – officially changed its name to Intermountain Health on Jan. 23. The change was announced in 2022,

and was based on feedback by consumers, patients and employees, and their needs and expectations of a health system, according to an announcement released that day. It also updated its logo to reflect the name change. 

  The updated look associated with the name change will gradually be phased in over the next several years, per the release, with the more noticeable early changes occurring on Intermountain Health’s websites and with digital tools available to patients and the community.  

  Headquartered in Utah, Intermountain Health operates multiple clinics and hospitals in Colorado and six other western states. Intermountain is a nonprofit system of 33 hospitals, 385 clinics, medical groups with some 3,900 employed physicians and advanced care providers, a health plans division (SelectHealth) with more than one million members, and other health services. 

Miss The Bus (Or Train)? RTD Has Made Some Service Changes

The Regional Transportation District (RTD) made service changes to select light rail lines and local, regional and FlexRide bus routes on Jan. 8. The changes support RTD’s System Optimization Plan (SOP), which prioritizes its “regionally focused, high-quality transit network that delivers strong connectivity to equity communities and transit-supportive land use corridors,” according to a recent press release. 

Locally, changes include:

• Rerouting of Route 76 (Wadsworth Boulevard) between Interstate 70 and Olde Town Arvada Station, adding two new stops along the route while serving all existing stops along the route 

• Minor schedule adjustments were made to Route 44 (West 44th Avenue) to increase on-time performance.

• Minor schedule adjustments were made to the W Line (Light Rail Golden to Denver) to improve train sequencing and connections to the E Line while also increasing on-time performance

Elsewhere in the metro area, notable changes to service include:

• Consolidation of the C and F rail lines with the D and E lines, respectively

• Expansion of weekday service hours of Route 30 

• Splitting of Route 12 into two routes (Route 7 and Route 12)

Some proposed service changes didn’t go into effect, however: 

• A change to Route 10 could not be made due to lack of opportunity for operator relief at the terminal

• A change to Route 15L was deemed not necessary to accommodate schedule changes on Route 15

RTD said changes were made in addition to schedule adjustments for a number of lines and routes to increase on-time performance and operational reliability. 

RTD adjusts its schedule three times a year to address ridership changes and activities such as traffic patterns, economic factors and customer feedback that affect its system, per the release. It claims some of the changes support increases in ridership, improvement of on-time performance and increase in service reliability. However, it said another reason is to adhere to the collective bargaining agreement between RTD leadership and the Amalgamated Transit Union 1001, which ensures appropriate time for operator breaks.

For a complete look at the changes RTD made, visit the Service Changes page of the website – rtd-denver.com – or call 303-299-6000.

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