On Monday, March 12, 2018, South Metro Denver Chamber hosted members from The International Visitor Leadership Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State (DOS). The Multi‑Regional Project entitled “Women and Entrepreneurship,” is being administered by Mississippi Consortium for International Development and conducted from February 26 to March 16, 2018.
South Metro Denver Chamber joined the program by inviting the nine women, from around the globe, to a luncheon with chamber members and staff to explain the role a Chamber of Commerce holds within the business community.
Discussions covered the social, economic, and political factors that influence and encourage women as entrepreneurs, owners or managers of small, medium, and large‑scale businesses and the barriers they face. Members shared insight into societal barriers facing entrepreneurs, especially women, and best practices in overcoming these restrictions.
“It was great to meet women from all over the world, in different roles, who share a common goal: helping women in business in their communities to succeed and grow. I was honored to be a part of the conversation on how the Women in Business group of the Chamber is helping women succeed and give them ideas that they could take back and share,” explained Heather Howerton, Chair of Women in Business.
The attendees will share with their networks back home, the impact of women‑owned businesses on the U.S. economy and how to continue to explore the progress of women participating more fully in the global economy.
The Office of International Visitors seeks to provide a broad and balanced range of perspectives in the International Visitor Leadership Program. To this end, programs include a variety of appointments with individuals and representatives of organizations whose opinions do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Government
Greystone Technology is now offering in-person, and online, training courses for Office 365, Sharepoint, and Cybersecurity. They can also create a customize training specific to your company needs and specific toolsets your company uses. These training courses can help you and your employees become more productive and effective using the technology you already have.
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If you haven't heard yet, take note: Light rail service will temporarily shutdown at the Lincoln and County Line stations along Denver's southeast corridor. The closure is scheduled to begin on Friday, March 16 at 9 p.m., and open back up after 3 a.m. on Monday, March 26.
Dry Creek station will act as the end of line over the course of the shutdown, but what if you live or need to travel south of Dry Creek station during that time? Whether you're visiting for one of the many big events in Denver during that time, normally use those stations for your commute or just need to get some much-needed shopping time in, we've got your back.
Here's how to manage getting around the closure when you need to go or come from south of Dry Creek station:
Free shuttle buses
You'll still be able to park at either the County Line or Lincoln stations, it's just the train service and platforms that will be off limits. Of course, parking there does you no good if you can't get anywhere afterwards.
Luckily, RTD is contracting with several private charter companies to provide free shuttle buses between stations. From Lincoln station an express bus will take you straight to Dry Creek station, and vice versa. There will also be an All Stop bus, which adds an extra stop at County Line station.
If you need to make it to the Park Meadows area, be sure to catch the All Stop bus from Dry Creek or Lincoln stations and get off at County Line.
Remember to look for charter buses, as they won't have the RTD logo on them.
Shuttle service begins around 4 or 5 a.m. most days, depending on which route you need. For more details and the full schedule click here.
Lyft it up
RTD has partnered with Lyft to provide ride discounts for passengers affected by the station closures. This might be the best option for those who need to travel south of Dry Creek station, since you can not only get directly where you need to go, but enjoy some potential car karaoke.
Lyft is offering 20% discounts on up to five rides during the length of the light rail closure. Note that there is a maximum discount of $5 per ride.
To claim your discount, all you have to do is use discount code DRYCREEK20, or go here: lyft.com/invite/drycreek20
The light rail service should not disrupt regular bus service in the southeast Denver area in any way. Stop by RTD's online trip planner service if you need to get south of Dry Creek on wheels instead of tracks.
If you're staying at a hotel south of Dry Creek station, most of them offer free or super-cheap shuttle service. Requesting one to take you to Dry Creek should be a breeze, but make sure you ask them whether they'll be able to pick you up when you get back.
Shuttle drivers also tend to know the best local eats and things to do, so pick their brains while you're riding. And don't forget to have a little cash on hand to tip the driver.
Driving a car
If you're visiting Denver during the light rail closure and were hoping to avoid renting a car, you can definitely get away with it - just make sure you've given yourself some extra time.
But driving is of course another option for getting around the closure, but with one of the biggest volleyball tournaments in the country, several spring breaks and general nice weather expected to already increase traffic during that time, be prepared for some extra bumps.
And remember that if you're heading into downtown Denver from the southeast corridor, parking is hard to find and expensive, and parking spaces at Dry Creek station and stations north of it are expected to tighten up with increased demand.
Driving your own car is certainly a good option, but keep in mind the few extra obstacles you'll need to plan for.
Keep in mind the work being completed is weather dependent. If a nasty storm rolls in, be sure to check with RTD to see if the schedule has been adjusted and tweak your travel plans accordingly.
Now that you know all of your options, getting around the light rail closure should be a breeze.
Still looking for more info? Check out our need-to-know guide to the closure.
Audubon Society of Greater Denver and Children’s Hospital Colorado South Campus Bird Feeder Dedication
Highlands Ranch, CO - The Audubon Society of Greater Denver (ASGD) is partnering with Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) South Campus for a unique program to connect children to nature through bird watching. On Thursday, March 22 at 1:00pm, the Audubon Society of Greater Denver will be hosting a bird feeder ribbon cutting ceremony at Children’s Colorado South Campus. ASGD is donating two bird feeders and Denver bird identification guides to the hospital for the enjoyment of the patients and their parents.
“It has been proven that a connection with nature provides many health benefits. Since birds are everywhere, and are easily attracted to bird feeders, they provide a great first connection to our local wildlife without having to travel. Birding is relaxing and a great stress reliever,” said Karl Brummert, Executive Director at the Audubon Society of Greater Denver.
Brummert added, “Spending time with children, really getting to know the birds who share the habitats in our community, is a wonderful pastime for families. Any habitat and any season is good for birdwatching. Even watching bird behavior can provide great enjoyment.”
Volunteers from the Audubon Society of Greater Denver will be available on select days in the waiting rooms at the hospital to assist visitors with identifying the birds that visit the feeders in the courtyard and talking about why birds are an important part of our environment.
“We are thrilled to partner with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver and bring a unique and educational activity to our South Campus location. We appreciate their expertise, passion and generosity to make this opportunity possible for our patients, families and staff,” said Christy Dobson, director of Corporate and Community Relations at Children’s Colorado.
The ribbon cutting ceremony will be hosted by Children’s Colorado South Campus in Highlands Ranch. We invite guests to join us on Thursday, March 22 at 1:00pm for the event. The ribbon cutting will be a perfect kickoff to the first week of spring.
The City of Centennial is currently accepting applications to fill openings on the Planning & Zoning Commission. Terms are for a 3-year period for which a stipend of $25 per meeting will be paid to each attending committee member. The Planning & Zoning Commission reviews land use, rezoning and variance applications, and other land use matters. Meetings are the second and fourth Wednesday of the month at 6 p.m. at the Centennial Civic Center located at 13133 E. Arapahoe Road.
Applications may be obtained on the City website or from the City Clerk by calling 303-754-3324.
Application deadline: Friday, April 6, 2018 at 5 p.m.
Construction is under way at the Wings Over the Rockies' Exploration of Flight/Boeing Blue Sky Aviation Gallery campus at Centennial Airport. Progress can be tracked at https://explorationofflight.org!
To help commemorate the opening, and have a little fun along the way, Wings Over the Rockies is collaborating with Launch Pad Brewery in Aurora to create a special “Wings Beer” for our Blue Sky Opening event. The beer, called “Remove Before Flight”, will be an orange/honey Belgian ale. This easy-drinker is a fun way to engage with a community partner and is one of the only museum/brewery collaborations that we are aware of! It just makes sense in the “State of Craft Beer”.
“Remove Before Flight” will be tapped during the Blue Sky Gallery’s opening weekend and available at Hops in the Hangar on August 11th. Watch the video of our brew here - https://youtu.be/BmVg2Ne9pmw
It seems like a week without any mention of sexual harassment, wouldn't be much a week at all in Colorado; but rest assured, news on that front is limited.
There was a press release issued by Senate Democrats to urge the Senate Republicans to "do something" about Sens. Jack Tate (R-Centennial) and Randy Baumgardner (R-Hot Sulfur Springs) who have both had investigations finish that deem accusations against them credible. Senate Leadership has not made any public announcements since last week when they asked Denver District Attorney (former state Rep.) Beth McCann to investigate the charges.
This week, was still light in terms of bills being heard though as Republicans and Democrats around the state met to caucus on Tuesday.
According to the Secretary of State (SOS), 34 people have filed paperwork declaring they are running for governor of Colorado. Among them, there are about eight candidates that will give this race a real shot, according to analysts and political strategists.
For Democrats, the leaders are: former state Treasurer Cary Kennedy, Lt. Governor Donna Lynne, former state Sen. Michael Johnston, Congressman Jared Polis and businessman Noel Ginsburg.
Kennedy was the big winner on Tuesday night, having the support of more than 50% of voters that showed up to caucus, which is typically about six percent of registered voters. Support from at least 30% of voters means that a candidate has officially "made the ballot." The only other Democrat to reach that threshold was Polis.
For Republicans, state Treasurer Walker Stapleton, state Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, businessman (and nephew of former US Senator Mitt Romney) Doug Robinson, and former state Rep. Victor Mitchell are leaders. Yet, differing from the Democrats on process, the GOP does not assign delegates through a poll.
Of the four, Coffman is the only top Republican officially seeking to earn a spot on the ballot solely through the caucus, some consider that to be a risky path as she doesn't always align with Republicans on litmus-test issues. The true test will be at the state assembly, where the official votes will be cast.
For the rest of the Republicans and for the Democrats as well, caucus is only one of the two (not mutually exclusive) paths to the ballot.
One way, as has been mentioned, is caucus. There, a candidate tries to break through the potentially risky gauntlet of the grassroots caucus-and-assembly process. The other option is to bypass that route completely with a typically costly effort to go directly to the ballot via voter petitions.
Stapleton is likely doing both. He considered to be leading the pack for the GOP. He is submitting signatures and also had a strong showing at caucus. This strategy could place him as "top line" on the ballot, first in a potentially long list of candidates to from which to pick.
Johnston, the former state Sen. with over $1 million to spend in his campaign fund, also went both routes. He submitted more than 20,000 voter signatures last Wednesday in his bid to qualify for the ballot in Colorado's governor's race and, his campaign boasted, those signatures were collected exclusively through the use of volunteers. Johnston also went to caucus, but only had support from about eight percent of caucus-goers.
As he was the first to return his petitions, he secured a significant strategic gain in the crowded Democratic primary since a voter's signature only can count once. That means if someone signed a petition more than once, the campaign to turn that signature in first is the only campaign to get credit for that supporter.
To qualify for the ballot, candidates must secure 10,500 signatures from registered party members - 1,500 in each of the state's seven congressional districts. It's a tough threshold to meet and typically candidates pay canvassers to collect signatures on their behalf. According to people familiar with the matter, those signatures can cost upwards of $15 each.
At this point, it is likely Johnston's name will appear along with Kennedy and Polis' on the ballot. Lynne is working to get access to the ballot via the petition path as well. When it comes to the primary, it won't just be partisans that the candidates will have to impress. Thanks to new laws voters passed in 2016 by the state legislature, those who are unaffiliated with a major political party can participate in either party's primary.
Appealing to moderates and independent voters may make the difference in this large field diverse candidates. For right now, it seems like anybody's race and when it comes to the General Election, it is too early to tell who could come out on top.
The governor's race continues with the next major marker being the county assembly and the session is officially half way over, but huge issues remain unresolved. Rumor has it that the coming weeks will bring a new transportation funding bill, reform to the Public Employees Retirement Act (PERA) and more messaging bill from each chamber.
A desperate tone filled the chambers at the state capitol this week; many wondering what will happen to the legislators accused of sexual assault. A vote on Friday afternoon, after hours of heavy and heartfelt testimony from both sides of the aisle, resulted in most members supporting expulsion of Rep. Steve Lebsock (Thornton).
The accounts of the five women who made official complaints about the actions of Rep. Lebsock were all found credible this week by a third party independent investigator.
On Tuesday, the details of the two month investigation were revealed in a confidential document provided to the legislature. By Wednesday, a redacted version of the document was leaked to the press and public. The 35-page brief, detailed eleven offenses allegedly committed by Rep. Lebsock. He was accused of soliciting women for sex and subsequently retaliated against those women and his colleagues when these accusations were brought to light.
While no criminal charges were brought against the representative, the investigation at large has tested the credibility of a workplace harassment policy that tries to balance victims' privacy concerns with transparency in government. Some criticized the process as opaque and claimed that it lacks consistent enforcement standards and pushed for standards that would be typical in a criminal case.
Criticism of the process was championed by Republicans in the House, some of whom believed that only the voters have the authority to remove Rep. Lebsock from office. Yet, that opinion represented a small minority of members.
Rep. Lebsock, on Friday evening, was expelled from office on a bipartisan vote of 52-9. Minutes before the final vote was taken, Rep. Lebsock changed his voter affiliation from Democrat to Republican in one final blow to House Leadership.
Right now, there is not certainty regarding when that registration becomes effective. Questions remain about whether a county clerk needs to take action and regarding the rules about expulsion.
Rep. Lebsock becomes the first Colorado House member expelled since 1915, when Rep. William Howlett was ejected after he perjured himself in a bribery investigation.
Hoping for better days again. Until next time!
Session highlights provided by:
(Centennial, COLO) The City of Centennial and Ting Internet executed an agreement for Ting’s lease of fibers in the central ring of Centennial’s fiber optic backbone. Ting will lease 12 fibers from the City’s 432 strand fiber backbone for a term of 20-years. The City will receive a one-time payment of $302,500 for the lease as well as an annual payment of $4,325 (with a 3 percent annual escalator) for operations and maintenance. The lease payment and operations and maintenance payment are consistent with industry standards.
This fiber lease agreement is the first for Centennial, since construction of the City’s fiber backbone began in 2016 when Centennial City Council approved the $5.7 million Fiber Master Plan. The Plan demonstrates the potential benefits that a neutral, carrier-grade fiber backbone can provide to the City and its stakeholder agencies. The City completed construction of its 20-mile central ring of fiber, with construction on the west and east rings of fiber currently underway. The entire 50-mile City-owned fiber backbone will be completed by end of this year.
“The City is very pleased to see this agreement with Ting executed. Voter approval of the ballot question in 2013 allowed the City this opportunity to use our existing fiber network to complete a backbone to improve technology and attract private sector telecommunications providers to Centennial. It is very exciting to see the goals from just a few years ago come to fruition,” said Mayor Stephanie Piko. “We are looking forward to our businesses, community anchor institutions and residents benefiting from the completion of the City’s fiber network.”
When complete, the fiber backbone will connect and complete the City’s underground infrastructure, connecting to key City sites and other community anchor institutions. Centennial’s backbone will enable both existing and new broadband providers an additional option with the goal of making it more feasible for broadband providers to deliver superior and more competitive choices and services for consumers.
“Municipal broadband is essential 21st century infrastructure and vital for economic development,” said Centennial Fiber Commission Chair Ken Lucas. “When City Council approved the Fiber Master Plan, the intent was to allow opportunities for open access to the City’s backbone, enhancing Centennial’s infrastructure for businesses, residents and government agencies. Entering into this agreement with Ting demonstrates opportunities that will result from the execution of the Master Plan.”
From specific connection points on the City’s fiber backbone, Ting will construct its own local fiber network within select neighborhoods in order to offer its Gigabit services to residents and businesses. Ting has begun construction of local fiber to residents in the Willow Creek, Walnut Hills and Hunters Hill areas with plans to expand throughout the City.
"We're excited to bring fiber Internet to Centennial," said Adam Eisner, Ting's Vice President of Networks. "With network construction now underway, the City's fiber backbone will be a key component of our deployment.”
Ting is a subsidiary of Tucows Inc., a public company, based out of Toronto, Canada.
View information about Centennial’s FiberWorks Program.