Archive for December, 2006

The Holiday Blizzard of 2006

December 28, 2006

Rick Gardner wrote a nice post on his Golden history listserve comparing last week’s storm to storms of Golden’s past. I inserted it below for those of you that haven’t yet seen it.

Also, I received quite a few emails and verbal comments about our snow removal efforts in the city and want to echo those here: as far as I can tell, city staff did a fantastic job of quickly and efficiency removing snow and making the roads safe across the community. The high-profile problems that Denver and other communities faced further highlight how solid our own efforts were. I know there were a few problems here and there – there is always room for improvement – but on the whole they really nailed it. And of course if you know of any problems please let me know so staff can figure out how to better deal with them next time.

Huge kudos to the snow removal crews.

I write this, of course, as tonight’s storm is doing its thing.  I’m confident our snow removal crews will do a bomber job again.

Rick’s Musings on the Blizzard of 2006:

By now I trust many of you out there, as am I, am digging out from our
latest historic snowstorm, the Blizzard of 2006! This time around finds
me personally sealed up at home, faced with some 2 feet in the driveway
while half the family is elsewhere including out of state in much balmier
Texas. From time to time I have rifled through Internet websites to gain
a reliable report on what Golden’s snowfall total is, to compare to our
historic storms of the past. I suppose I am the more or less official
compiler of these reports through time, which somewhat reliably covers
the years of this valley from 1858-today. I am not certain if my
research has been complete enough to cover all the great snowstorms
(there are storms in 1946, 1959 and some others I’d like to check out),
but it’s a pretty good record of our largest snowstorms nevertheless.
I am quite well sure the blizzards of 1913 and 2003 are for certain our
top two storms on record, and 1885 with the top 24-hour snowfall.
So far preliminary report has Golden at 34.5 inches, recorded from
3 miles southwest of Golden, a number not out of line with our
surrounding communities, but I am striving to find a report for Golden
itself. You can compare 2006 here with our historic snowstorms on record:

December 4-5, 1913 – 60 inches
March 18-19, 2003 – 50.5 inches
April 22-23, 1885 – 36 inches
December 24, 1982 – 34 inches
November 27, 1983 – 25 inches
December 24-25, 1891 – 15 inches
November 18-19, 1930 – 14 inches
October 24-25, 1997 – 14 inches

Largest 24-hour timespan snowfalls:

April 22-23, 1885 – 36 inches
December 24, 1982 – 34 inches
November 27, 1983 – 25 inches

Recycle Your Christmas Tree!

December 27, 2006

Per a city news release:

If you have a live Christmas tree, the City encourages you to recycle it at an appropriate location. Golden will provide tree recycling beginning Dec. 26 at the Splash recycling facilities. Just take your tree to the parking lot at the Splash and follow the posted signs to the appropriate tree recycling area at the far end of the lot.

If you have questions about tree recycling, contact City Forester Dave High at 303-384-8141 or dhigh@cityofgolden.net.

Air Quality Rules Strengthened

December 18, 2006

The Colorado Air Quality Commission voted yesterday to improve smog reduction requirements for oil and gas drilling operations in the Denver Metro area (yup, as a matter of fact there is a lot of oil and gas drilling in the Denver Metro area, mostly in Weld County) and across the state. This is a major deal: it’s not every day that clean air advocates overcome vigorous opposition from the oil and gas industry to help reduce pollution.

Back in October I successfully encouraged the Denver Regional Council of Governments to strongly support the proposed air quality improvements. As I’ve pointed out many times, Golden suffers from some of the worst air pollution on the Front Range, and most of it is the result of traffic congestion and industrial emissions elsewhere in the region. I am really pleased that the Commission voted as they did.

A new citizen group called Rocky Mountain Clean Air Action led the effort, and they write more about it on their Denver Ozone blog.

LaFarge Offers Community Grants

December 18, 2006

LaFarge West just kicked off its annual “Building Blocks of Our Community” program. Through the program they provide grants to help pay for construction materials for local community projects. I just inserted the entire press release below:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACTS:
December 13, 2006

CONTACTS:
M.L. Tucker, 303-657-4329 (office), m.l.tucker@lafarge-na.com
John Van Voorhis, 303-657-4371 (office), John.vanvoorhis@lafarge-na.com

DENVER – Lafarge West, Inc., the Rocky Mountain region’s largest supplier of construction materials, is hosting its annual “Building Blocks of Our Community” grant program, that offers up to $30,000 for the construction materials (aggregate, asphalt, concrete, or a combination thereof) needed to realize one local community group’s dream project.

Now in its eleventh year, the Building Blocks of Our Community grant program is available to local grassroots community groups in Arapahoe, Adams, Broomfield, Denver, Douglas and Jefferson Counties that have little or no access to public or other private funding sources. Interested groups must complete an official Building Blocks of Our Community grant application and submit it to Lafarge by Monday, January 15, 2007. An application can be requested by sending an email to buildingblocks@lafarge-na.com. Questions about the grant program may also be directed to this email address.

“We developed this program as another way for our company to remain connected to the cities and towns that we also call home,” said Bob Cartmel, President of the Western U.S. region of Lafarge. “We’ve already donated more than $290,000 to ten local grassroots community groups that are making a difference in neighborhoods throughout the metro area. Every Lafarge employee takes great pride in this program because it gives us a chance to show how our products can transform a piece of land into a shared source of pride for an entire community.”

Each year, Lafarge receives around 50 applications for its grant program. A blue ribbon panel of judges who represent different sectors of the metro area will review the applications and select one proposed project that they believe has the highest priority within the scope of the funds available. This year’s judges will select a grant recipient by late January 2007.

Past projects awarded a Building Blocks of Our Community grant include: a multi-use volleyball/tennis/basketball court; a youth baseball facility; a youth skateboard park; a concrete foundation for a youth treatment facility; construction materials for a local historical museum; a new parking lot for a residential treatment facility; landscaping and a parking area for handicapped drop-off at a local community center; improvements to a community center for immigrant workers, a base for a synthetic baseball field designed for children who use wheelchairs and prosthetic devices, and a parking lot and concrete for a child abuse education and treatment facility.

# # #

LAFARGE WEST, INC.
10170 Church Ranch Way, Suite 200, Westminster, Colorado 80021
Telephone: (303) 657-4000 Facsimile: (303) 657-4037

Cities for Climate Protection Campaign

December 16, 2006

On Thursday night city council approved a proposal to join the ICLEI Local Governments for Sustainability program.  We joined several hundred other cities around the country in the program, including Denver, Ft. Collins, and several others in Colorado).  Their Cities for Climate Protection Campaign makes available some resources that I think we’ll find helpful in our own Golden Sustainability Initiative, including access to their emissions analysis software and other sorts of technical assistance.  Our commitment through this program is pretty straightforward:  a) conduct a greenhouse gas inventory and forecast; b) establish a greenhouse gas emissions reduction target; c) develop an action plan; and d) implement the plan and monitor our results.  This will all tie in nicely to our broader Golden Sustainability Initiative process and goals.

Along these lines, also know that I’ve been working with staff and others to figure out what the community process is going to look like so that we make sure it’s both useful and productive.  I’m hoping to have that ironed out by the end of the year so we can stay on track with our plan for the community process early in 2007 (probably February).

Some Reflections on the Supertower Bill

December 12, 2006

I am pretty disheartened by the last few days. As I wrote in a response to one of the many emails in my inbox this evening, regardless of whether you support or oppose the proposed tower, the issue of the last several days is how our elected representatives should make decisions that affect us. I believe deeply that government should conduct its deliberations and make its decisions in the open. I supported televising our city council meetings for this reason. I supported posting our agendas and documents on the web for this reason. I maintain this blog and regularly send emails to my constituents for this reason.

I respect the right of Senators Allard and Salazar to make decisions I disagree with, but I think it was extremely disrespectful of their constituents and of the democratic process to try and sneak through a decision like this – a significant and controversial decision – under the cover of darkness, in the last few days of the session, without any warning, with no deliberation or discussion, without any hearings, and without even informing the affected parties (except the Lake Cedar Group itself, which presumably wrote the bill from which they will now benefit so greatly).

And in this case, the issues are significant. To what extent should one local community bear the impacts and risks associated with a regional project? Is it appropriate for Congress to usurp the ability of a local government (in this case Jefferson County) to make its own land use decisions? Is it appropriate for Congress to pass a bill that specifically benefits a single corporate entity (in this case the Lake Cedar Group)? Whatever your answers are to these questions, they are serious questions and deserved better than a dark-of-night rubber stamp. I believe deeply that democracy – messy and inefficient though it may be – depends on the government acting openly and transparently. What happened over the past several days was precisely the opposite.

Incidentally, Coloradolib (“More federal trampling of local concerns”) noted some of Senator Salazar’s campaign contributions, and Colorado Confidential (“Congress Does Zoning”) gave a somewhat detailed account.

NW Parkway Bonds Take Another Dive

December 4, 2006

In case you missed it, the Northwest Parkway’s bonds were downgraded again last week. The Northwest Parkway has about $420 million in outstanding bonds, and Fitch Ratings downgraded these bonds to CCC+ (from BB-) with a “negative” rating outlook. As Fitch Ratings explains it, a CCC rating “means that default is a real possibility and capacity for meeting financial commitments is solely reliant upon sustained, favorable business or economic conditions.”

The Old Capitol Grill is Back

December 2, 2006

As Rick Gardner reports, “one year and twelve days after fire threatened to destroy this downtown Golden landmark, the Old Capitol Grill is now reopened!” I had a beer there a few nights ago and thought it looked great – it felt really similar, in fact, but brighter and more polished. I am very grateful to Brian Hunt (the owner), the Golden Landmarks Association, the city, and everyone else who contributed to doing such a thorough and earnest restoration.

The Denver Post ran a nice story about the Capitol Grill reopening as well.