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Chamber President Touts Benefits to Law Enforcement, Community
Citing concerns of overcrowding, recidivism and fiscal responsibility, South Metro Denver Chamber President and CEO Robert Golden joined Arapahoe County Sheriff Tyler Brown and other community groups in supporting Measure 1A this week.
“It will cost less to build a new jail than to continually fix the sanitation and electrical issues at the current building. It’s a net savings over time,” Golden said. “The proposal also provides much-needed funding for mental health, job training and other services to help these folks find jobs and become contributing community members after they’ve paid their debt to society.”
The Arapahoe County Jail was built in 1983 and designed to hold 386 inmates. A series of renovations, adding bunks and modular buildings has increased its capacity to 1,200.
The measure was referred to the ballot by a unanimous vote of the Arapahoe County Commissioners. If passed, it would increase property taxes by about $5.66 per month for the average home in Arapahoe County and raise $46 million per year. Revenues will fund construction of a new jail in Centennial and support programs to address mental health, substance abuse, job training and other programs.
Brown said the measure will improve safety at the jail and reduce recidivism.
“Overcrowding and unsafe conditions at the current jail compromise the safety of everyone- inmates, visitors and staff alike. The Arapahoe County Detention facility is badly in need of infrastructure improvements, technology upgrades, and adequate space to deliver the programs and services vitally needed by our inmates,” Brown said. “1A will improve conditions at the jail and expand the programs needed to improve safety and help keep inmates from re-offending.”
Denver Academy (DA) is a top school in the nation dedicated to teaching diverse learners, including those with dyslexia and ADHD. Attend DA’s Open House on Saturday, November 2, from 8:30 to noon and find out how we teach each child the way they learn best! Open House attendees enjoy a personal tour of the 22-acre campus by a Denver Academy Student Ambassador and DA Staff will provide information about the school’s student-centered approach to learning. Denver Academy offers differentiated instruction for each student and enrollment is available NOW and for the 2020-21 school year. Visit denveracademy.org/openhouse. No RSVP necessary. Can’t make the Open House? Call 303.777.5161 to schedule an appointment.
BY FREDA MIKLINGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
On October 7, at the request of Council Member Judy Hilton, who was absent, Greenwood Village City Attorney Tonya Haas Davidson presented a proposal during the city council’s study session to raise the age for possession and sale of tobacco and e-cigarette products from 18 to 21 in Greenwood Village.
Maura L. Proser, DrPH, MPH, public health prevention and policy manager of Tri-County Health Department, which serves over 1.5 million people in Adams, Arapahoe, and Douglas Counties, appeared at the GV city council study session to speak in support of Hilton’s proposal. Proser said, “We know that youth are using tobacco products and nicotine products at very alarming rates. We have seen more than a twofold increase in youth using electronic devices from 2013 to 2017. We are expecting that number to increase when we see the 2019 data that will be collected this year from high schools.”
She reported that the City and County of Denver recently raised the age for sale and possession from 18 to 21 and noted that doing so keeps the age for buying tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, consistent with the age to legally purchase alcohol and marijuana. Although it is not legal to sell marijuana in GV, it is available in other nearby communities including Denver.
Proser explained further that “Nicotine impacts the brain while it’s still developing.” She also talked about “the social factor,” noting that “15, 16, and 17-year-olds hang out with 18 -year-olds in school. They don’t hang out with 22-year-olds,” so raising the age of purchase to 21 will reduce youth initiation and youth use of tobacco. Similarly, Proser said that while some 15 to 16-year-olds might use fake identification to pass for being 18, it’s much more difficult for a teenager to pass for 22.
Pointing to the change in the law in Denver, Proser said, “We want to look at consistency across the area…Nobody wants to be that city where Denver’s kids go to buy tobacco.”
City council member Anne Ingebretsen asked, “Is Centennial looking at doing this as well?” Proser said they are considering it. Council Member Jerry Presley asked what the strategy was in going to local governments instead of the state, pointing out that if GV changed the age to purchase tobacco products to 21 and Centennial kept it at 18, it might not be as effective. Proser agreed, saying that that’s why Tri-County was “trying to work on all of our communities.” She reminded the city council that the statewide “smoke-free air” standard came about after “momentum built in local communities.”
Council Member Steve Moran asked Police Chief Dustin Varney whether this change would be difficult to enforce. Varney responded that it would not. Ingebretsen wondered whether enforcement of the raised age for purchase and use of tobacco products and e-cigarettes might damage the relationship that GV school resource officers have developed with teen-aged students? The city attorney pointed out that it was already illegal for high schoolers to buy or use tobacco products because they are mainly under the age of 18, thus the change would not impact most high-schoolers.
Council Member Dave Kerber posed the oft-asked rhetorical question, “How do you respond to the argument that you can serve in our armed forces and die (at the age of 18), you can vote, you can get married without your parents’ permission, but you can’t smoke?”
In the end, all the members of the city council agreed that the law should be changed to raise the minimum age to buy or possess tobacco and e-cigarettes to 21 in Greenwood Village. As of today, the tentative published agenda for the next GV city council meeting on October 28 contains a new city ordinance to do just that.
BY DORIS TRUHLARGOVERNMENTAL REPORTER
A Centennial woman told the City Council Monday night that a drone in her neighborhood has caused her to feel “violated” and that the drone has invaded her privacy, resulting in a “horrendous experience.” She urged the council to do something about the drone.
Jane Worthing, of 6675 S. Williams Street, in District 1 of Centennial, described her neighborhood as being “nice” and “quiet.” She said the drone, “flew in a circle” over her and followed her to a park.
Additionally, Worthing said the drone had come to an area outside her bathroom when she was getting ready to go to bed. She asked the council to help her find a solution to the situation. Worthing said she has talked with neighbors about the situation, and that she represented not only herself, but ten other neighbors in the immediate area near her home.
Worthing said that the person flies the drone above 400 feet, which she said violates Federal Aviation Authority rules. “It’s disturbing,” she told the council. She added that she does not feel “comfortable” walking her dog in her own neighborhood.
City Attorney Robert Widner said the council could have a study session to discuss Worthing’s concerns, and determine whether there is something that can be done about it.
Worthing said the individual flying the drone is a man in the neighborhood who does not have a “regular job” and who lives with some of his relatives.
It appeared likely the council will have a study session in regard to the issue.
Vaping and e-cigarette use was the topic of an extensive discussion by the Centennial City Council at its regular meeting Monday night. The council approved several measures to help curb the use of vaping and electronic cigarettes.
The measures will likely come back to the council at a future meeting, perhaps before the end of the year or early in 2020. Two residents, Bob Doyle and Tracy Doyle, appeared to be instrumental in the council’s consideration of the issue and spoke to the council about it. The council appeared to be extremely receptive to adopting a series of restrictions related to electronic cigarettes and vaping.
The Doyles reside at 16166 E. Progress Place in Centennial. Tracy Doyle is a Technical Assistance Coordinator at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. The Doyles asked the council to take steps to “shut off” use of electronic cigarettes. They told the council there is a vaping shop close to Smoky Hill High School.
Tracy Doyle said the issue is “very important.” She urged the council to serve as “a leader” in placing restrictions on electronic cigarettes and vaping. The Doyles had a handout which stated that “nationwide data” shows that “almost 70 percent of high school e-cigarette users are using a flavored e-cigarette and half are using a menthol or mint flavored” product.
Their handout also stated that “[n]ational data shows a dramatic increase in middle school and high school e-cigarette use and Colorado has the highest high school e-cigarette use rate in the country at 26%.”
Among the restrictions that they urged the council to consider are raising the minimum age for sales of tobacco products to age 21, from age 18, and banning the sale of flavored tobacco. They urged the council to be a “leader” in restricting vaping and the use of e-cigarettes. They also said the city should not wait for the state to take action but should lead the way in adopting restrictions on vaping.
It appeared that the council is extremely receptive to adopting at least some, if not all, of the restrictions suggested by the Doyles.
The Centennial City Council held a public hearing on an ordinance that will somewhat increase fines that may be assessed for traffic violations in the city. The increase is $25 per violation, with three-point violations resulting in a $100 fine, four-point violations going up to $125, and five-point tickets resulting in a $175 ticket.
Additionally, there will be a $200 fine for parking illegally in a parking space marked for handicapped parking.
Municipal Judge Ford Wheatley was among the city staff making the presentation to the council. He told the council that he has some discretion on the fines for traffic violations. There are approximately 8,000 traffic tickets issued per year, he told the council.
No one spoke against the fine increase. The presenters told the council that the increase in fines will put Centennial “in the middle of the road,” in terms of the fines levied by cities. The Centennial Municipal Court only hears cases resulting in a maximum of six points.
Councilwoman Carrie Penaloza commented to Judge Wheatley that it appears he uses his “discretion in a good way.”
In other business, the council heard a report by Wyatt
Peterson, a member of the city’s staff, about the installation of charging stations for electric cars. There are two stations, one at City Hall, 13133 E. Arapahoe Rd., and the other at the city’s facility at 7272 S. Eagle St. Each station can charge two vehicles at the same time.
In the future, the City Manager likely will have the authority to adjust the charging fees, in order to cover operational costs.
There is almost no place left in Greenwood Village where new one-acre single-family residential development is possible.
After a series of events that true believers saw as godly miracles in answer to their prayers, the Resurrection Anglican Fellowship (REZ) church was able to purchase a 4.5-acre property at 9200-9250 East Belleview Avenue last year for $1,890,000 from Alpert Development Inc. to become their long-sought permanent home.
REZ’s plan was to sell off part of the property, which was zoned residential, as two 1-acre, single-family detached residential lots. After working out details about access to the property from Belleview Avenue and the impact of headlights from the new homes into the adjacent Coral Place neighborhood, on May 6 GV city council approved the necessary amended special use permit, planned unit development, subdivision improvement agreement, and final plat to allow the residential lots to be developed.
On October 1, REZ architect and lead representative for the project Lawrence Depenbusch told The Villager that a neighbor had expressed interest in the lots within two days after city council approved the plan. Both lots were under contract within 30 days. He said the design is nearing completion for one of the houses and he expects construction to commence next year.
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