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Youth police academy students Grayson Engel, Justin Sour, and Cole Sansing are headed to U.S. Marine Corps boot camp this summer. Photo by Freda Miklin
It has long been recognized by the City of Greenwood Village that one of the keys to a strong, safe community is maintaining a healthy relationship between its public safety professionals and its citizens. GV sponsors regular free programs to encourage its citizens to get to know its police officers in a non-stressful setting.
One of those programs is the youth police academy, a one-week summer program that grew out of the citizens’ police academy for adults. On June 3, 30 teenagers, split evenly between boys and girls, met at GV’s city hall to begin a weeklong program.
GVPD Patrol Operations Commander Joe Bradley introduced the program. Participants were given inside access to the entire GV police department, where they saw holding cells, high-tech police equipment and a real, working 911 center. Later that week, they traveled to the Arapahoe County Courthouse and even the Arapahoe County Jail. The teens learned about how police officers conduct traffic stops, maintain control during arrests and how crime scenes are investigated. Students also were introduced to K-9’s (police dogs), learned about how police officers are taught to drive in a pursuit, and even how they handle a bomb threat.
On their first day, the teens were told that when a person is arrested, police technicians not only photograph their faces, they also photograph any tattoos the person has on his or her body to assist with identification. They learned that most police records are considered public information, except for those involving juveniles–unless they are prosecuted as adults–and sexual assaults. They learned that the GV 911 center has access to live video from cameras in light rail stations, parking lots of large retail centers and hotels around the city to help officers detect and investigate crimes.
Grayson Engel, Justin Sour, and Cole Sansing were enthusiastic participants in the youth police academy program. All three just graduated from Cherry Creek High School and are headed to Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego this summer for three months of boot camp, followed by a four-year commitment to military service. Asked what led to their decision to enlist, all three said that they are eager for the challenge and they view the military as an opportunity to be a part of a brotherhood and a tight-knit community. To Sansing, being a Marine means “being the best version of yourself.” Asked if our country’s current involvement in active wars led them to hesitate to enlist, all three young men answered definitively, “No.”. Asked if college was in their future plans, Engel, Sour and Cole all said that they planned to stay in the military as a career. College might be a consideration later in life, but none of the three saw it in their plans now.
Former Cherry Hills Village resident Jim Nicholson has been elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Visitors of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.
The Board advises the President of the United States on the morale, discipline, curriculum, instruction, physical equipment, fiscal affairs, academic methods and other matters related to the U.S. Military Academy and the Corps of Cadets.
Nicholson was initially appointed to the Board of Visitors by President Donald Trump in June 2018.
Nicholson, himself a Distinguished Graduate of West Point, and a retired Army colonel, is senior counsel at Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck. He serves as chairman of the Daniels Fund, and was U.S. Ambassador to the Vatican, and secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs.
CONTRIBUTED BY MADD
Mothers Against Drunk Driving® (MADD) Colorado and presenting sponsor State Farm® are encouraging all teens to #ProtectUrSquad this graduation season by making a pledge to not drink alcohol or consume cannabis under age 21. Teens can promote the #ProtectUrSquad hashtag on social media and encourage their peers to make healthy choices while celebrating the end of the school year.
#ProtectUrSquad is part of MADD’s Power of You(th)® program, sponsored by State Farm, to empower teens to make smart, healthy choices and resist peer pressure to drink or consume cannabis before age 21. As part of Power of You(th)®, MADD joins its partners around the country to host school and community events and highlight tips and real-life examples of underage substance use consequences from MADD’s teen booklet and on the powerofyouth.com website.
“Young people who drink are a danger to themselves, their friends and others,” said MADD National President Helen Witty. “My daughter’s life ended when a 17-year-old made the deadly decision to drink alcohol and smoke marijuana – then get behind the wheel of a car with a group of her friends. My daughter, Helen Marie, had just turned 16 when she was struck while rollerblading on a bike path just a few blocks from home. She died a sudden, violent death. Her teen killer went to prison. Countless lives changed forever, including mine. MADD is grateful to State Farm for helping share the important message that teen alcohol use alters – and takes – lives. About 4,300 teens die each year from this epidemic. Two out of three of these deaths do not involve a vehicle.”
This year’s focus, #Protect -UrSquad, is about encouraging youth groups to support each other by agreeing as a group to avoid underage drinking and never ride with someone who has been drinking or consuming cannabis.
“State Farm is proud to support MADD and the Power of You(th)® program in their efforts to help keep teens safe,” said Tamara Pachl, Public Affairs Specialist with State Farm. “We encourage teens to take a stand by sharing positive messages, engaging their high schools and friends, and helping to promote safe and healthy communities.”
Cannabis and alcohol are drugs associated with serious developmental problems for those consuming these substances under the age of 21 while the brain and body are still in a rapid period of development.
“Please have fun, but keep yourself and your friends safe by not drinking alcohol or consuming cannabis under the age of 21,” Witty said. “This is a season of celebration. Let’s keep it that way.”
View the Power of You(th) booklet and learn more at www.powerofyouth.com.
SUBMITTED BY THE CITY OF CENTENNIAL
The City of Centennial has created Spark Centennial, a pilot program that provides the community the resources to create temporary one-of-a-kind pop-up events. The City will assist citizens in the development of these events to help to spark interaction and connect the community by bringing new life to Centennial’s shopping centers.
The City will provide planning resources and up to $4,000 to make a pop-up place a reality.
Everyone would love to see one-of-a-kind creative events! Examples of Spark Centennial pop-up places might include:
Anyone can submit ideas for Spark Centennial pop-ups that will draw people to area shopping centers.
Everyone is encouraged to submit ideas and applications early whether they are from students (with the support of an adult), to HOAs, civic associations and businesses. Applicants do not need to live in Centennial but they should demonstrate a tie to the city. Pop-ups must be held within or near Centennial shopping centers.
Events must be held throughout the year. Funding will be offered on a rolling, competitive basis and may run out.
The City anticipates fueling pop-ups that last a few hours up to eight months.
Learn more and submit an idea statement today at www.centennialco.gov/spark.
Changes to the Arapahoe County Residential Building Code were adopted by the Board of County Commissioners recently to better align with state standards and improve access to in-home child care providers.
The newly adopted code allows providers to accept up to 12 children, which is currently the limit permitted by state licensure. Previously, county rules only allowed in-home providers five or less children before fire suppression modifications to the home were required.
“There’s such a great need in our community for quality daycare options,” said Commissioner Jeff Baker, chair of the board. “This change in our building code will allow for more families to take advantage of affordable and safe child care and ensure the success of small businesses.”
Under the new regulations, in-home child care providers must have specific means of egress, including two exits, fenced yards, specific locks and latches for exits. Providers are required to maintain third-party monitoring of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, a technology advancement that alerts emergency services so day care staff can focus on life-safety in the event of an emergency.
“Staff collaborated with multiple agencies and providers to find safe solutions for the gap that existed between state and county regulations,” said Bryan Weimer, director of public works and development. “The code amendment is a win for our agencies and residents to find more child care options from providers who offer the highest standards in safety.”
The county’s new regulations can be found at www.arapahoegov.com/540/Building. Residents can view licensed daycare providers at www.coloradoshines.com/search.
Steve Roper, president of Roper Insurance and Finance, Miranda Ross, actuarial director Kaiser Permanente, Chris Tholen, EVP of Colorado Hospital Association and Kim Bimestefer, executive director Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing are with Andrew Graham, board chair of the South Metro Denver Chamber.
BY FREDA MIKLIN
The Business Leaders for Responsible Government arm of the South Metro Denver Chamber met at the headquarters of AAA Colorado, Inc. Greenwood Village April 17 to hear from a uniquely qualified panel of experts in health care costs.
Steve Roper, president of Roper Insurance and Finance, explained that health insurance is simply risk pooled sharing and that premiums are set on a national basis. Employers offer health insurance as a benefit because it: 1) is deductible to the employer and not taxable to the employee; 2) improves employee recruitment and retention; 3) helps keep employees healthy; and 4) is the right thing to do and employees expect it.
A big problem is that employees pay little attention to what they are charged by service providers. They are only interested in their deductible and copay amounts.
Miranda Ross, Kaiser Permanente’s actuarial director, told the audience that small group (two to 100 employees) rates are largely determined by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). She said that Kaiser’s small group rates have been very stable, going up only 3.5 percent in 2019 when the statewide average was 7.3 percent. Ross said deductibles on less expensive plans have gone up because of ACA coverage requirements.
Kaiser, acknowledged to be a leader in cost-saving policies, is achieving new savings by: 1) making sure patients get the right care in the right place: e.g., urgent care versus emergency room, full service hospital versus freestanding surgical center; 2) using telehealth: over half the patients who used this service did not have to visit their doctor in person; 3) using a Kaiser Permanente in-house pharmacy.
Kim Bimestefer, executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, put the cost of health care in dire perspective, sharing that it consumed 32 percent of median household income.
From the governmental side, Bimestefer pointed out that Medicaid comprises 33 percent of the total Colorado state budget because 1.3 million Coloradans qualify for Medicaid. Before the ACA, the maximum income level to qualify was $11,000 per person. After the ACA that number went up to $16,000 per person. As a result, the uninsured rate in Colorado dropped from a pre-ACA rate of 13.8 percent to a post-ACA rate of 6.5 percent.
In Colorado, 39 percent of health care dollars go to hospitals, 26 percent go to doctors and clinics, and 11 percent go to prescription drugs.
With no certificate of need, Colorado has the second highest hospital construction cost in the U.S. Hospital overhead costs have risen 9.2 percent in Colorado over the past seven years while the national average was 4.7 percent.
On April 27, UC Health, which has already increased its statewide footprint from one hospital location in 2009 to 10 in 2018, will open another new 340,000 square-foot 87 inpatient-bed community hospital in Highlands Ranch, along with an 85,000 square-foot medical office building.
Hospitals in Colorado have been steadily acquiring physician practices, thus giving the hospitals control over which hospitals doctors refer their patients to, as costs for services delivered in hospitals outpaces costs for the same service in doctors’ offices.
From 2009 to 2017, hospitals costs grew by over 58 percent. Even though patient volume increased only 14 percent, hospitals’ margins increased by 250 percent.
To drive more consistency in hospital charges and quality, Bimestefer and her staff is working with the Colorado Hospital Association to identify centers of excellence for specific treatments, where it can direct patients for the best care for their specific needs at the most reasonable price. They are also encouraging purchasing alliances and the elimination of freestanding emergency departments.
The state department of health care policy and financing is working on controlling Medicaid prescription costs, which total $1 billion annually. The largest challenge is specialty drugs, which have comprised 75 percent of the increase in total drug costs from 2012 to 2018. These drugs are so expensive that even though they account for only 1.25 percent of Medicaid prescription, they consume 40 percent of Medicaid’s drug dollars. What’s worse, these drugs are so expensive because of the cost of marketing and administrative expenses, not research and development. The myriad of television advertisements for specialty drugs is being paid for by all of us. There is also the well-known phenomenon of extraordinary drug price increases on older drugs, which led to a criminal conviction for securities fraud of one pharma executive last year.
There are several pieces of legislation pending at the capital to combat some of these challenges, including the out of network bill to prevent unexpected balance billings to patients and insurance companies and exchange reinsurance bill.
SUBMITTED BY THE 18TH JUDICIAL DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
Spring and hailstorm damage go hand in hand, making it “high season” for contractor complaints. Given the numerous complaints law enforcement receives this time of year, now is the time to consider steps to take for repairing a roof or property in the event of hail or storm damage. Consider the following:
The greatest number of complaints are against door-to-door contractors, especially those who come knocking right after a hailstorm.
The most common complaint type is contractor nonperformance—the homeowner gives money up front to an untrustworthy contractor who may or may not begin the work and then disappears—closely followed by poor quality of work grievances.
If the loss to the consumer exceeds the $7,500 amount for small claims court, the consumer may have to risk hiring an attorney to file a lawsuit. Consumers may end up winning judgments that they can never collect.
Under the Colorado Mechanics Lien Law, subcontractors and suppliers have the right to place a lien on an owner’s property if they are not paid by the contractor for the work they performed on the home. The law insures that subs/suppliers are fairly paid for the value they provide to a home as a result of their work.
Do your due diligence:
Door-to-door contractors are not necessarily scam artists but doing business with one out of sheer convenience is risky.
Research all prospective contractors. Ask your insurance company for a recommendation. Review the business on the Better Business Bureau website at www.bbb.org. Things to look for include the length of time the company has been in business and the number of complaints the business has received. How the business handles such complaints is often revealing.
Check with the building department in your city or county to see if the contractor is licensed.
Get at least three bids. Many companies will not request any payment before work is completed. A roofing contractor is prohibited by law from waiving your obligation to pay your insurance deductible.
Understand the contract before signing. The contract should have a start and end date, and a clause that indicates how disputes will be handled. Understand your obligation if the insurance company does not pay for something. Once the work commences, get all change orders in writing.
Get a signed lien waiver from the contractor when you make your payment to insure that all subcontractors and suppliers have been paid to avoid a lien being slapped on your home (see Mechanics Lien Law, above)
Understand your rights under the Residential Roofing Services statute. A roofing contractor must disclose their surety and liability coverage insurer and provide the homeowner with written notification that the roofing contractor shall hold any payment from the residential property owner in trust until the roofing contractor has delivered roofing materials or has performed a majority of the roofing work on the residential property.
Electronic recycling services will be offered to Centennial residents on April 20, from 8 to 11 a.m. at the Centennial Civic Center, 13133 E. Arapahoe Rd. Before you arrive, please review the list of accepted/not accepted items. No vehicles will be permitted to enter the parking lot after 11 a.m.
In exchange for this free service to Centennial residents, please bring a nonperishable food item as a goodwill donation to support the Centennial Youth Commission food drive.
The event is being sponsored by Jacobs, the City of Centennial’s contractor for Public Works, Code Compliance and Facilities, Park and Fleet Maintenance services and requests you pay special attention to the following:
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