OREO THE GOAT SAYS CHEESE for the camera at Five Fridges Farm in Wheat Ridge. On April 30, Clear Creek Organics and Five Fridges Farm will join other local producers and suppliers at the Wheat Ridge Local Food Festival at the Mountain Phoenix School from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. See What’s Happening on page 10 for further details regarding the festival. PHOTO BY CYNDY BEAL.


Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Special District Election May 6

By J. Patrick O’Leary

Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District will be asking voters to increase its mill levy from 7.5 to 12.5 mills, as well as to elect three board members, in its May 6 regular special district election.

           The increase is expected to raise $1,663,296 in 2015, and pay for general operating and capital expenses, including replacing older fire apparatus, renovating and constructing buildings, and the personnel costs necessary to continue the current level of service.

           WRFPD’s board of directors voted 5-0 to ask taxpayers for the 5 mill increase at its Feb. 19 session. The board had discussed, in at least three meetings, the findings of a Blue Ribbon Panel report on challenges facing the district, released at the board’s Jan. 15 meeting.

Read more: Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Special District Election May 6


2014 Kite Flite Festival

Anderson Park • 4355 Field St.

Saturday, April 26 • 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

All activities take place on the soccer field and open fields near the pavilion.

First-come, first-served parking is free.

10 a.m.                  Registration at Welcome/Registration booth.

10:30 a.m.            Kite Crafting Competition

11 a.m.                  Midway opens, judges announce Kite Crafting Competition prizes.

11 a.m.                  Kite giveway tickets available at Welcome booth;

                             drawings held every 30 minutes, starting at 11:30 a.m.

11 a.m.-noon        Toddler Kite Fly, south field near playground.

11 a.m.-noon        Non-wind parachute kite relay race, ages 10-14.

11:30 a.m.             Fifteen-minute kite flying lesson by Adam, south field.

Noon                   Art students from Wheat Ridge 5-8 display winning kites.

Noon-1 p.m.         Parachute kite relay race, ages 15+ (second round).

12:30 p.m.            Fifteen-minute kite flying lesson by Adam, south field.

1-1:30 p.m.           Senior Kite Flite, ages 50+, north field.

2:30 p.m.              Fifteen-minute kite flying lesson by Adam, north field.

3 p.m.                 Mass kite ascent.

All day                Kids’ crafts in the pavilion: Build a wind sock, decorate a kite,

                             make jewelry, paint a pot and plant a seed.

                             The Kite Hospital will assemble any kite purchased at the Festival.


Wheat Ridge Art Students Kick It With Painted Shoes

By Cyndy Beal

Sometimes a sneaker is more than just a shoe. Sometimes a shoe can be a work of art.

           Wheat Ridge High School’s (WRHS) Fresh 23 class, 22 advanced painting students and one video student, has once more submitted four pairs of their customized, painted sneaker creations to Vans Custom Culture art competition.

           Each pair of white shoes is customized with one of four themes: action sports (boards and bicycles) music, art and local flavor.

           Starting on April 25, after judging, the top 50 schools (10 from five regions) then move to peoples’ choice; to cast a vote for WRHS in the southwest region go to http://sites.vans.com/customculture.

           WRHS art teacher Frank Scaglione said he is confident that their sneakers will make it to the top 50, as they have every year since the contest’s inception in 2009.

           The idea of art students painting Vans shoes started with a conversation between Scaglione and friend Shawn Gruenhagen. Gruenhagen, a Vans’ shoe representative, had too many extra shoes on his hands, many mismatched pairs.

           Later a video of the students and their customized shoes was sent to Vans and the company liked the idea and started their custom culture contest, based on the WRHS video.

           Over the last five years, the contest has grown from 100 to 2,000 schools nationwide competing to become one of the five finalists who fly to New York City. One school from the five finalists is selected to win the grand prize of $50,000 for the schools art program.

           So far WRHS has not made it to the final five portion of the contest.

           “This is the year,” said Scaglione of Fresh 23 winning the top five and maybe the grand prize.

           When Scaglione was asked what the art program would do with $50,000, he was not sure, but they would definitely do a large art project and “would honor the whole 23 family, including alumni,” he said.

           The 2014 theme is “Across America,” which includes four collections:  Bred to Shred, Colour Theory 101, You Wild Colorado, and Jazz Hand. Each shoe represents one of 22 U.S. cities.

           On April 12 Fresh 23 held their annual spring performance, set to music to a near standing-room-only crowd in the WRHS auditorium. The performance and following showcase featured the 22 pieces of student sneaker art, and cumulated in a video.

           Later in April the public can get another close look at the WRHS art creations at the Arvada Center for the Arts and Humanities, 6901 Wadsworth Boulevard.

           Opening reception for the 43rd Annual Jeffco Schools Foundation High School Art Exhibition is April 21 from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. The district-wide exhibition includes an awards ceremony at 7:00 p.m.  


Who’s Running for WRFPD’s Board of Directors?

The Neighborhood Gazette invited all candidates for the three open seats on the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District’s board of directors to provide a brief statement on why they are running for the position, and what they hope to accomplish, should they be elected on May 6. Here are their responses:

Ronald L. Benson

           I am running as an incumbent for a four-year term on the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District. I was asked to serve the remaining year of a term that began in May 2013. My wife and I have lived in Wheat Ridge for 16 years. I believe very strongly in providing an adequate tax base to allow the WRFPD firefighters to keep the citizens safe and to also keep themselves safe. I am in support of the WRFPD’s 5-mill levy election. The passing of this issue will enable the WRFPD to remain as a valued asset for all district residents.

Monica I. Duran

           I am running for the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection Board because I believe in the fire fighters, their sacrifice and the community they serve.

           We have an opportunity to move forward with the lessons learned from the past. With strong leadership, dedicated firefighters and our community, we can build strong relationships with accountability and transparency. As an elected board member, I will always remember that I am here to serve the best interest of our fire department and community. At the heart of my campaign is the Wheat Ridge Fire Protection District motto: Doing the right things at the right times for the right reasons.

James R. Johnson

           I’m a retired WRFD firefighter. I’m still interested in the helping this district maintain the excellent services the fire department provides to the Wheat Ridge fire district. I hope to stay involved as this fire department as it has meant a lot to me for many years.

           If elected I would like to see this department move forward with good leadership and financing to support our fire personnel with the proper training and equipment that is necessary to provide fire and EMS services to the residents of this district.  

Robert “Kent” Johnson

           I am running for the board because I want to be involved in the fire department. I myself served on the Edgewater Fire Department for 23+ years and would like to be able to serve the community and be part of this department. I have experience with budgets and the way the department runs, and feel that my input is valuable.

           What do I want to accomplish? I think that the board in the last year has made great strides to change the way we do things … that and [to] be more transparent to the public and make this department the best one around. Thanks for your vote.

Leonard F. Ortiz

           I am a candidate for change. Over the past five years the WRFPD has attempted to grow from an all-volunteer force to a semi-professional agency. The transition has not gone well. The board and the past chief did not use the 2010 tax increase as promised. Today, the district is asking for another increase in order to “catch up”.

           Unfortunately, the 2014 increase if passed will not save the district. It will be status quo or worse. If elected, I will ask for the resignations of the three board members who are responsible for the problems. I have asked prior and was denied. I will attempt “damage control” for two years and if the district is unsuccessful, I will ask for the merger to West Metro or Arvada FPD.

                  This is about public safety for the best bang for the buck.... nothing else.