The year that was for Jefferson County

Posted 1/2/18

The year 2017 was one of note for Jefferson County. Here is a whirlwind recitation of some of the stories that filled our pages this previous calendar. Combining public safety services CHEEZO lives …

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The year that was for Jefferson County


The year 2017 was one of note for Jefferson County. Here is a whirlwind recitation of some of the stories that filled our pages this previous calendar.

Combining public safety services

CHEEZO lives again — Following a temporary shutdown of the Child Sex Offender Internet Investigations (CSOII) Unit — which is recognized by its mascot CHEEZO — an official transfer of the unit from the district attorney’s office to the sheriff’s office allowed it to continue its work of protecting children against internet sex crimes.

On Feb. 2, Jefferson County Sheriff Jeff Shrader swore in four people to continue the CHEEZO unit in the south precinct of the sheriff’s office.

CHEEZO has two main components to it. One is public education on safety concerning internet crimes, and the other is investigations into identifying perpetrators of sexual internet crimes against children.

The temporary shutdown was prompted in the later months of 2016 because of a complaint that the district attorney’s office was in violation of ethical rules because CHEEZO investigations took on assumed personas during undercover operations.

Colorado law allows law enforcement agencies to conduct deceptive investigations tactics, but lawyers — including the law office of the district attorney — cannot. The CHEEZO unit was developed by a married couple who are certified law enforcement officers, but the problem was that the unit was housed in the district attorney’s office.

It did not take long for the Sheriff’s Department to restart the program.

“CHEEZO is alive and well,” said Pete Weir, district attorney for the 1st Judicial District, which includes Gilpin and Jefferson counties. “This great work will continue.”

JeffCom 911 — Come 2018, a new Jeffco communications center located 433 S. Allison Parkway in Lakewood will become effective.

JeffCom 911 is the consolidation of several Jefferson County public safety and emergency dispatch services to one centralized location.

Its eight member agencies are Arvada Fire, Arvada Police, Evergreen Fire Rescue, Golden Police, Lakewood Police, Jefferson County Sheriff, Wheat Ridge Police and West Metro Fire Protection. JeffCom will also serve 23 smaller emergency response agencies in the county.

Initial discussions began about five years ago and an intergovernmental agreement for JeffCom operations became effective in June 2016.

Golden’s fire and police departments, West Metro Fire Protection and the Jeffco Sheriff’s Department are scheduled to be fully integrated in February. Arvada’s fire and police departments and Wheat Ridge Police will transition in March. The final two agencies, Lakewood Police and Evergreen Fire Rescue, will transition in April.

Rooney Valley controversy

This time last year a development fight was brewing between two beheamoths, dinosaurs and a car dealership.

On Jan. 11, dozens of area residents, some dressed up quite dino-esque, braved cold temperatures to rally at the Jefferson County courts and administration building in Golden to either learn more about the proposed rezone to land located near the west side of the C-470 and Alameda interchange — close to the geologically significant Dinosaur Ridge — or to make sure their voices of opposition are heard.

Although the Jefferson County commissioners’ decision later that month on the land’s proposed rezoning resulted in no car dealership on the property, the future of the area is far from settled.

“Whatever comes along in the future will be well-inspected,” Linnea Hauser, vice president of the Dinosaur Ridge Neighbors group. “And opposition will be taken if need be. We’ll be right on top of it.”

The two parcels of land, totalling 70.5 acres, is owned by Three Dinos, LLC. Although the Board of County Commissioners limited commercial lot sizes, and disallowed an auto dealership, the land’s zoning has long permitted a variety of commercial and light industrial uses such as office buildings, retail, banks, restaurants, medical supply/drugstores and laboratories.

Speaking on behalf of Three Dinos at the Jan. 17 meeting, a representative said what people don’t understand is that the area has been zoned for development for a decade.

“They want it to remain open space,” he said, but “that’s just not where we are right now.”

One hundred years ago on Lookout Mountain...

Buffalo Bill’s burial — This year marked the 100th year of William F. Cody’s, aka Buffalo Bill, burial on Lookout Mountain.

To commemorate the special occasion, a number of community members endured a frigid and gusty evening at the Buffalo Bill Museum & Grave on Lookout Mountain on Jan. 10.

Then, later in the year, about 75 members of the Cody Family traveled from across the U.S., Canada and as far as England to gather in Golden July 27-30 for a family reunion. They participated in the activities for Buffalo Bill Days, an annual three-day celebration in downtown Golden which took place July 27-30 this year, and a special wreath laying ceremony on July 28 at the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave.

Boettcher Mansion birthday — Boettcher Mansion on Lookout Mountain also celebrated a 100th anniversary in 2017.

Charles Boettcher, a German immigrant who became a prominent Colorado business entrepreneur, built the mansion to serve as a family summer home and seasonal hunting lodge. He called his retreat Lorraine Lodge, and, built with native stone and timber, it was completed in 1917.

Boettcher died in 1948, but in the 1960s, his beloved granddaughter Charline Breeden purchased the property from the estate, and willed it to Jefferson County upon her death in the late 1960s.

In 1975, the mansion was renovated and opened as the Jefferson County Conference and Nature Center. It was renamed Boettcher Mansion in the late 1980s, and was listed on the National Register of Historical Places as an arts and crafts style landmark in 1986.

A special community celebration of the mansion’s 100 years took place on July 27.

Mother Cabrini — Dec. 22 marked the 100th anniversary of the death of Mother Cabrini, the patron saint of immigrants. She is known for her dedication of caring for the poor, uneducated, sick, abandoned, and especially, Italian immigrants.

In 1904, Mother Cabrini established the Queen of Heaven Orphanage for girls in Denver. She also opened a girls summer camp, that opened circa 1912.

Although no longer a summer camp for girls, the Mother Cabrini Shrine still hosts individual and group retreats, and people who visit the shrine for mass or as a quiet, peaceful getaway place to pray, meditate or reflect.

Hellos and farewells to county faces

Donald Rosier — Jefferson County Commissioner Donald Rosier is vacating his county commissioner seat one year early to become the general manager of the Sterling Ranch Community Authority Board.

Rosier, a Republican, represents District Three, which is the southern part of Jefferson County. He was elected to the seat in 2010 and re-elected to serve another four years in 2014. He is term limited next year.

The vacant position will be filled by the Vacancy Committee of the Jefferson County Republican Party. That person will serve the county alongside Republican Libby Szabo, who is chair of the Board of County Commissioners; and Democrat Commissioner Casey Tighe.

John Zabawa — After a career with the Seniors’ Resource Center that began in 1981, John Zabawa, 66, retired from his role as president and CEO of the Seniors’ Resource Center on Aug. 31.

Monica Roers, a woman with more than 20 years of experience in leadership roles with nonprofit organizations, assumed the position on July 11.

The Seniors’ Resource Center is a nonprofit provider of information, services and advocacy for seniors. Its programs and services, which are designed to help seniors remain independent and living in their own homes, expand to 10 counties in the Denver metro area.

Col. Don Davis — In February, the Jefferson County Board of County Commissioners selected Col. Don Davis, 49, to become the new county manager. Davis assumed the role on May 1.

He replaced Ralph Schell, who retired in March. Schell was the county manager for seven years, and had a 30-year career with parks and open space.

Davis has a 27-year military career under his belt, during which he held various leadership roles. He was deployed overseas five times, and received a number of awards and medals. He moved to Colorado two years ago with his family when he was assigned the role of Chief of Strategy and Campaign Plans for United States Northern Command and North American Aerospace Defense Command based in Colorado Springs.

Jeffco EDC — Sam Bailey was appointed as president and CEO of the Jefferson County Economic Development Corporation (Jeffco EDC) in 2016. It became effective on Jan. 3, 2017.

However, Bailey resigned about seven months later, and in August joined the Metro Denver EDC to become its vice president of economic development.

Steve Friesen — Steve Friesen, 64, a published author retired from his position as director of the Buffalo Bill Museum and Grave at the end of September. His career with the museum began in 1995.

Friesen has plans to write, travel, and continue to do museum consulting.

Perlmutter’s brief campaign

U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter (D) of Arvada entered into the 2018 Colorado gubanatorial race, only to withwdraw three months later on July 11.

He also announced that he would not to run for re-election to keep his seat as house representative for Colorado’s 7th Congressional District. However, on Aug. 21, Perlmutter announced his decision to run for re-election to keep his House seat.

The Colorado’s 7th Congressional District covers much of Jefferson County, including Golden, Lakewood, Wheat Ridge and Arvada, as well as much of Westminster, Thornton and Northglenn.

“I love this state,” Perlmutter said. “As a Democrat in a Republican congress under the Trump White House, I’m going to make the best of it that I can.”


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