New Study Shows Link Between Highways and Lung Damage in Kids

January 29, 2007

The Denver Post a few days ago ran a story (which it pulled from the L.A. Times) on a new study showing that children living near busy highways experience serious lung problems that can lead to lifelong respiratory problems.  As the Post article explains:

“Children living near busy highways have significant impairments in the development of their lungs that can lead to respiratory problems for the rest of their lives, University of Southern California researchers have found in the largest and longest study of its kind.
The 13-year study of more than 3,600 children in 12 Southern California communities found that the damage from living near a freeway is about the same as that from living in communities with the highest pollution levels, the team reported Thursday in the online version of the medical journal Lancet.”

The fact that the Highway 93 is only 80 feet from the Michell Elementary playground and 300 from the front door is certainly cause for concern.

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Bike Museum Open House

January 28, 2007

(From Steve Stevens)

The annual open house for Golden Oldy Cyclery (as part of Golden’s “Heart and Soul of Golden” Month) will be on Sunday, Feb 4, 2007 from 1:00 PM to 4:30 PM.

In addition to the usual antique bike displays, Victorian cycling poetry readings, Colorado cycle history photos, and general good times, there will be:

  1. Bike riding lessons (weather permitting) on high wheels;
  2. Book signings by local authors Portia Masterson (“Bicycling Bliss”) and Linda LaBlanc (“Beyond the Summit”);
  3. Tuba Solo of Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built for 2) chorus by a flaming amateur…. in the Victorian tradition of the bicycle bands from the 1880/90s;
  4. Harpists who attend will be invited to play on the 1929 Lyon & Healy Semi – Grand Gold Leaf Harp which was in the White House in Washington, D.C for 45 years playing for Presidents as well as heads of states who visited (just think of the DNA which it has seen and felt). It was there from just before the Wall Street Crash through the Resignation of Nixon;
  5. Banjo players will be invited to play on the 1880s Fretless banjo which was custom made for my Great Uncle Elmer who performed with it in Vaudeville;
  6. Tuba players will be invited to play on either the 1880s Copper tuba or the 1930’s Silver Tuba …. as long as the songs are bicycling focused;

A possible addition (if all logistics work out) will be a running of the beta version of the Powerpoint talk on “Colorful Colorado Cycling – the early years”.

There are some newly arrived old bikes this year – which have interesting features.

Please see the updated web site: http://www.goldenoldy.org for a preview.

Address: 17224 West 17th Place, Golden, Co 80401-2509

[Thanks to Judy Denison for highlighting this in her email newsletter.]

View the Elevation of Guanella Reservoir

January 16, 2007

With the completion of the Guanella Reservoir, by our best growth and water use projections, Golden now has a secure 100-year water supply.  The reservoir is located on the West fork of Clear Creek near Empire (just this side of Berthoud Pass).  One of the reservoir’s unusual feature’s is its use of alluvial storage, meaning that some of our water in the reservoir is actually stored underground.  You can see the elevation of the water in the alluvium (user name is Golden and password is water) and the elevation of the reservoir itself (8620 is full).

Patching Golden’s Streets

January 14, 2007

As a result of the severe weather over the past few weeks, the city hired an asphalt contractor to begin patching damage The long-term patches require hot mix asphalt, but because it’s not available this time of year we rely on cold mix patches to tide us over until the spring. City crews have been cutting ice, opening drainages for melting snow, plowing, and then starting to do the pothole work. The freeze-thaw temperatures we’ve been having (although not during this sub-freezing spell, of course) is perfect pothole-creation weather.

To report potholes please call Ron Reavis at 303-384-8155.

Golden’s Community Survey

January 13, 2007

I’ve been on a bit of a blog and email hiatus but the year is off and I’m back. The City of Golden periodically conducts a community survey, hiring an independent consultant to ask a random sample of citizens questions about the city and local government. We just received the results from the survey we conducted late last year and they are interesting and gratifying. The biggest story, I think, is that Golden residents remain overwhelmingly satisfied with the overall direction the City is taking. Eighty-nine percent agreed (both somewhat and strongly) while only fourteen percent disagreed. Some other highlights:

  • A large majority (17% strongly and 47% somewhat) said that the Golden city council shares their vision of Golden.
  • City staff received extremely high marks (e.g., nearly ninety-percent gave an overall impression of good, very good, or excellent based on their most recent contact with a city employee).
  • Both Channel 8 and the Golden Chamber of Commerce ranked pretty high as sources of local information while the Golden Informer (the city’s newsletter) ranked extremely high. The Golden Transcript (our local newspaper), interestingly, saw a significant drop in the number of people who rely on it as a source.

I think surveys are inherently pretty limited in their value, so I don’t think a survey every couple of years tells us the entire story, but it’s still pretty useful and the results are encouraging.

You can download the entire community survey results as part of next week’s city council packet (8.7 MB, beginning on p. 15).

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).