Arrangements, mutually beneficial to employer and employee alike, that accommodated individual lifestyles, family commitments and emergency needs. The 73,000 number comes from the U.S. Department of Labor and is part of the 4.2 million nationally that DOL claims are recipients of its warmly embracing beneficence.
Would that life worked so simply. It is worth noting that to explain its new rule, DOL used two cartoon characters, Sam and Mattie, not two human beings. Sam, the voice-over explains, will "have more of his own time" to do the things he likes.
"Sure, you might not make more money, but think of all the free time you'll have to look for a second job," noted Noah Rothman in Commentary magazine with bull's-eye irony.
The new rule affects salaried employees, not hourly paid employees. Hourly employees are paid overtime no matter what their annual pay. But certain employees, white-collar workers performing supervisory, managerial or administrative duties, are currently exempt from overtime pay after a $23,660-a-year threshold. The threshold increases to $47,476 on Dec. 1, and it needs no congressional approval to take effect.
If you think this increase only fair, think again.
"Entry-level management positions are going to disappear, and those employees will fall back to hourly jobs," said Juanita Duggan, president and CEO of the National Federation of Independent Business. "Obviously, that means higher costs for millions of small businesses regardless of whether they're making more sales, generating more revenue or dealing with other rising expenses. Many are struggling now, and they'll have to make tough choices that might affect the very same workers the Department of Labor thinks it's helping."
Added NFIB's senior legal counsel, Beth Milito: "Struggling small-business owners can't afford to pay more in overtime pay just because the Department of Labor says they should. Businesses can only afford more in payroll if they increase revenue, something the government is powerless to make happen. Most small-business owners will have to limit employees' hours and career opportunities."
But then, Duggan and Milito would say that, wouldn't they? That is the tone taken by The New York Times in an editorial praising the new overtime rule. "They (employer groups) have said that employers will cut base pay if forced to pay overtime, but that appears to be an idle threat."
Had, however, the Times editorial board read more than its section that day, it would have come across a story by their reporter, Sarah Max, who analyzed the options available to employers: "They (employers) could even cut the base salaries of those who regularly work more than 40 hours ..."
Across the political divide from the Times, The Wall Street Journal put it right on the money: "The irony is that salaried workers will enjoy less personal flexibility once they have to record their hours, and those who become hourly wage hands will receive even less."
Indeed, as business owner Kelli Glasser put it in Max's Times report, "If somebody needs to pick up a sick kid or go to a doctor's appointment, we let them do it because we know that at some point they'll make up for it. Once you start tracking hours, all that changes." Added businessman Lior Rachmany in the same article, "I think you get a better product when people are paid a salary. When a person knows there is a task to get done, it will get done, not on the clock." Rachmany, reports Max, "said he would probably end up hiring more entry-level employees and minimizing overtime pay for his affected salaried employees."
Finding real-life portrayers for DOL's overtime script after Dec. 1 will be a most difficult casting call. Watch for Sam and Mattie the sequel.
Tony Gagliardi is Colorado state director for the National Federation of Independent Business.
The cause of the barking knocks at the door and enters looking pale, frightened and annoyed.
It's famous art expert Lionel Percy (John Ashton), who has come at Maude's request to view a painting she bought in a thrift store --; which she is certain is by Jackson Pollock, the famous Abstract Expressionist artist whose distinctive drip paintings are worth millions.
Percy spouts his credentials, including Princeton, the Metropolitan, the Whitney, his numerous books, including "Art for Dummies ..." He is called for art consultations around the world and accepts a limited number of clients, he tells Maude in a stuffy manner.
She says she is a carpenter and has lived at the Sagebrush Trailer Court for 33 years.
"You are hardly the art collector I usually encounter," he admits. "How did you come upon this painting?"
She brings out the painting, purchased for $3 at a thrift shop, and he looks hard and almost immediately says it is not a Pollock. "How do I know? It's connoisseurship."
She has done some homework about his past and pushes him hard to change his mind ...
"Bakersfield Mist," presented in a regional premiere at the Avenue Theater in Denver, is written by Stephen Sachs, an award-winning Los Angeles director, based on an actual incident. It had a London West End premiere and is playing in theaters across the U.S.
Ashton and Boes, veteran actors, maintain a confrontational atmosphere with a number of funny one-liners throughout the 90 minutes. Who gets to decide on what is good art and are they actually qualified?
If you go
"Bakersfield Mist" plays through July 2 at Avenue Theater, 417 E. 17th Ave., Denver. Performances: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays. Tickets: avenuetheater.com, 303-321-5925.]]>
We explored the realms of creativity, paused to meet some interesting characters and delved into the worlds of magic, science fiction, fantasy and gaming. Here we've gathered some of our favorite photos of the three-day event.]]>
And the Jefferson County Public Library has been busy updating its technology for the benefit of patrons and staff.
"We're getting in sync with the rest of the world," said Pam Nissler, executive director of the public libraries. "We have a community that wants and deserves this technology."
Since Jan. 1, Jeffco libraries have updated 150 computers --; 90 of them are for patron use, and the rest are for staff.
The biggest thing with the updates, said IT Director Pat Klein, is faster processors. However, updates also include enhancing security and efficiency of networks by upgrading servers, switches and firewalls. And 12 outdated early literacy station computers were replaced.
In general, updates on computers occur about every three years, Klein said. But the library is "playing catch up" because of financial constraints, and some of the computers hadn't been updated in about six years, he added.
Other improvements in technology the library has done is being able to offer "more robust and interesting databases" and new resources, Nissler said. New online resources include the New York Times Online; TumbleBooks, which is an online collection of animated talking picture books for children; and Mango Languages, a language-learning system that offers self-paced online instruction for 12 languages. Still to come within the next few weeks, Nissler added, is lynda.com, which is a self-paced learning tutorial with courses in software, creative and business skills; and Consumer Reports Online.
"We're all about giving people equal access to information and opportunity," Nissler said. "These days, that means giving people access to the tools and technology they need to participate fully in the global digital community."
Technology is one of four areas the library system promised to improve for the community with the passing of the mill levy initiative approved by voters in November.
The four promises, Nissler said, are technology updates, restore hours, increase books and materials and catch up on maintenance and refurbishing projects.
Because it passed, the mill levy increased to 4.121 mills, up from 3.425 mills in 2015, meaning an $8 million increase --; total revenues of $34,453,776 --; for the library. In January, the library's 2016 budget was approved by the Library Board of Trustees and the Jefferson County Commissioners, allotting total expenditures of $32,396,129 for the four promises.
The library is seeing some happy people, Nissler said.
"People (have) noticed that their vote for the library mattered," she said. "It's exactly what we hoped would happen."
In the first week of April, library hours increased from 51 to 65 hours that the larger libraries are open, and as of June 1, $2.8 million was spent on new books and materials.
Security systems are being upgraded, additional Wi-Fi hotspots are being added, Wheat Ridge will be getting new windows, the parking lot at Lakewood will be redone, Golden is receiving sewer repair and all the libraries are getting some landscaping improvements. All of these things, Nissler said, are not as exciting as new stuff, but they are necessary improvements that protect the taxpayer's investment in the library.
Both in-person and website visits by patrons are up, Nissler said, including an 8 percent increase in program attendance and a 14 percent increase in circulation --; books and materials that people are borrowing from the library.
Libraries have always been about getting information out to people, said Angie Grischkowsky, teen services librarian at the Golden Library. But information these days, she added, "doesn't just come from books anymore."
The Golden Library is piloting a makerspace/playscape program that the library is calling DIY (Do it Yourself) Lab.
"More people are wanting to come to libraries to create and do and work with other people," said Debbie Ridgell, Golden Library supervisor.
The DIY Lab is offered for people of all ages, she said, with the different programs available divided by age groups. The labs offer all sorts of things for people to explore --; rotary tools by Dremel, mini robots, sewing machines, electronics experimentation kits, digital media and a drone, among other things.
It's important for children to be able to apply STEM --; Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics --; concepts to keep up in the world, said Lalitha Chittoor, a library patron of Arvada who was attending the Thursday night DIY Lab in Golden with her 5-year-old daughter Madhvi.
The DIY Lab, she said, "provides exposure to kids to learn about recent technology ... It gives them additional knowledge to help them compete in the real world."
"It's more hands-on than the school can provide," said Sharon Binkley of Golden.
The trend in learning is being able to do so in spaces that offer interactive and collaborative activities for all ages, said Leah Capezio, patron experience associate at the Golden Library.
"A place to tinker, have fun and experiment," she added.]]>
These young children can move cereal, crackers, berries, little cars, Lego pieces or a game piece across a board of Chutes and Ladders and other similar games. Help them if they double count or skip a number while they learn one-to-one correspondence. Memorizing counting one to a hundred may be impressive, but counting only helps children with math if they understand what they are saying.
Learning to add
Once they can count and understand one-to-one correspondence up to 10, play with addition. Start by adding one to a small number. Use their favorite cereal. If they have one piece and add one more, count how many they have now. Point out the answer is the next number. After some practice, add two using cereal, Legos, cars or something else concrete that they can see and touch. Play this as a game and insert this teaching time into playtime. Some preschool children can keep adding up to 20 or higher. Other children need to wait awhile. Every child is different.
Learning should be fun and playful. Spread out the adding over many days and practice until the concept is mastered. Take turns being the teacher. It's helpful for your children to play the teacher. Using the math vocabulary and explaining to someone else will help them understand, practice and remember. Other family members will love to see what young children are learning and give them compliments.
Learning to subtract
Preschoolers also like to play with subtraction. Place three Cheerios on the table. How may are there if we take away one? How many are there if we take away one more? How many are left if we take away the last one? Use the word none and zero, an important concept.
Practice taking away one from other numbers up to 10. Interchange the word "subtraction" with the words " take away" since in math they will need to know both expressions for a while. Again, use concrete items they can see and touch while they talk through the process and explain to you what they are doing. Eating cereal pieces or berries is a good activity. They can take away little objects from a pile. Start with subtracting one. Then try two and more. They can count how many they have left.
Practice while doing ordinary random things they love to do.]]>
"It is a great experience to get out where the Bronco play and go against teams from larger schools," Bob Baker, offensive coordinator, said as he watched the team in action. "We are a small school that will play 2A in football this season so this is a special experience for us."
There were 82 teams in the tournament. D'Evelyn and Bear Creek were the only two local teams that made it to the June 18 single elimination tournament played at the Bronco training facility at Dove Valley. Bear Creek lost in the first round of the tournament but the 16th seeded Jaguars played 17th seeded Lincoln and won the game 21-7 to advance to the second round against No. 1 seeded Strasburg. The Jaguars flexed their scoring muscles and won the game, 28-0 to get to the quarterfinal.
The team played well but they lost in the quarterfinals to eventually tournament finalist Fairview.
The Bronco-sponsored tournament ran from June 15 to 18. The teams in the tournament were divided into four team pools for round robin play during the first three days of the competition.
D'Evelyn finished 2-1 in pool play and scored a lot of points which qualified them for a spot in the 18-team single elimination tournament, June 18 at the Bronco Training Facility.
Passing is the name of the game in 7-on-7 football. The game matches backs and receivers against linebackers and defensive backs.
The quarterback has four seconds to throw the ball. Yardage is gained by completing a pass and the receiver can add to the yardage by running the ball until he is touched with two hands by a defender. Rough play is penalized.
In the Bronco 7-on-7 tournament, teams play 10-minute halves with a running clock for the first eight minutes. The clock in the final two minutes stops for situations like incomplete passes and a player going out of bounds. A touchdown is seven points and an interception is three points.
Coach Baker said it the upcoming season will be different because the Jaguars are now in Class 2A in football and will face all new opponents.
"We should be fine in the new league," he said. "We have about 50 kids out for football which is about average for us. Once again we will be a passing team like we were last year when we led all classifications in the state in passing."
Senior Christian Cedillo, one of the returning lettermen, said playing in the tournament and at the Bronco training facility was a great experience.
"The tournament gives me a chance to bond with my teammates," he said. "It also gives us a chance to show we are a very competitive against all the teams like the big school team we beat in pool play."
Cedillo, who plays wide receiver, quarterback and defensive back, said the playing in this type tournament provides valuable experience.
"We see teams from all over the state in a tournament like this," the senior said. "It is valuable because we see and get to play against formations, pass routes and defensive styles by teams we won't see during the regular season. It is a good experience plus is a lot of fun for all of us to play here where the Broncos practice."]]>
The college's Digital Art Forge debuted the first 30 seconds of its virtual reality comic book, "Rough Draftees," and Fourth Axis games, an independent video game company comprised of RMCAD students, let attendees play an early level in the "Children of Uum" game they are developing.
"It's been really fun and challenging working on this project," said Sean Brown, chair of the college's animation and game art department. "Once we're done with this comic, I'd love to have our group keep working on other projects."
Both the Digital Art Forge and Fourth Axis had full panels the morning of June 17, during which they talked about the projects and answered questions from interested comic fans and gamers.
In both panels, designers highlighted the artistic possibilities of using virtual reality technologies to enhance storytelling.
"As storytellers, virtual reality gives us a wonderful power," said Ross Moreno, lead writer with Fourth Axis. "Virtual reality puts you in the character's shoes so easily, but that doesn't mean you should tell a story flippantly."
There are some unique challenges when working in virtual reality, including what Fourth Axis calls "comfortability," which means making sure movement and gameplay aren't disorienting or cause motion sickness.
Fourth Axis hopes to have a demo of the game finished within a year, but this will depend on time constraints and fundraising.
"We want to create a space that feels alive," said Daniel Burchinal, lead animator with Fourth Axis. "We're using virtual reality to show you a world that is cohesive, immersive and unique."]]>