Monthly Archives: September 2008

GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES FALL HEALTH CARE OUTREACH MEETINGS

 
Gov. Bill Ritter today announced a series of community outreach meetings on health care reform to be conducted this fall, with the first meeting scheduled for Friday in Salida and next week in Grand Junction and Durango.

 

These meetings follow the “Governor’s Dialogue on Health Care Vision and Values” sessions held statewide last November and December. Those sessions helped inform Gov. Ritter’s “Building Blocks to Health Care Reform” legislative package, which won 100 percent approval from the General Assembly during the 2008 session.

 

The package expands children’s health care, improves efficiencies in private health insurance and public programs, increases transparency and accountability across the system, and identifies further strategies to expand access to cost-effective, quality care. 

 

Community leaders from the health, business, and civic sectors have been invited to attend these roundtable-style meetings to discuss our state’s progress toward comprehensive health care reform and provide input on policies and priorities in the coming years.

 

“The best public policy is developed when all stakeholders are invited to the table to share their perspectives,” Gov. Ritter said. “I look forward to learning even more about Coloradans’ priorities for health care reform in our state.”

 

The Governor’s Office of Policy and Initiatives will host meetings in 10 communities across Colorado:

 

Friday, Sept. 19: Salida, 8:30 to 10:30 a.m., Heart of the Rockies Regional Medical Center, 
1000 Rush Drive

, Shavano Conference Room.

 

Monday, Sept. 22: Grand Junction, 3:30 to 5 p.m., Community Hospital, 
2021 N. 12th St

., Grand Junction, Lower Level  Conference Room.

 

Tuesday, Sept. 23: 3:30 to 5 p.m., Mercy Medical Center, 

1010 Three Springs Blvd.

, Durango

, Conference Rooms A & B.

 

Dates and cities for the remaining meetings follow, with times and exact locations pending:

 

Oct. 20: Steamboat Springs

Oct. 21: Greeley

Oct. 23: Limon (morning)

Oct. 23: La Junta (afternoon)

Oct. 24: Alamosa

Nov. 6: Colorado Springs

November: Metro Denver

 

The Colorado Trust has provided support for these community meetings to convene, inform and engage Coloradans on health care reform.

 

GOV. RITTER & LT. GOV. O’BRIEN SCHEDULES FOR TODAY

Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008

 

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.        Lt. Gov. O’Brien will co-chair the P-20 Education Council meeting.

 

Location: Jeffco Public Schools board room, 
1829 Denver West Drive

, Bldg. 27, Golden.

 

6 p.m.                          Lt. Gov. O’Brien will speak to the fall meeting of Progressive 15 and present awards to the Alumni of the Plains.

                                   

                                    Location: Brighton Depot, 
269 E. Bridge St.

, Brighton.

 

Evening                      Between the first and second quarters of tomorrow’s nationally televised University of Colorado vs. West VirginiaUniversity football game, Gov. Ritter will present CU-Boulder Chancellor Bud Peterson with a proclamation honoring CU for its efforts to convert Folsom Field to a zero-waste and green sports venue. The presentation will take place on the field.

 

                                    Location: Folsom Field, Boulder.

 

 

GOV. RITTER & LT. GOV. O’BRIEN SCHEDULES FOR THURSDAY

Thursday, Sept. 18, 2008

 

10 a.m. to 2 p.m.        Lt. Gov. O’Brien will co-chair the P-20 Education Council meeting.

 

Location: Jeffco Public Schools board room, 
1829 Denver West Drive

, Bldg. 27, Golden.

 

6 p.m.                          Lt. Gov. O’Brien will speak to the fall meeting of Progressive 15 and present awards to the Alumni of the Plains.

                                   

                                    Location: Brighton Depot, 
269 E. Bridge St.

, Brighton.

 

Evening                      Between the first and second quarters of tomorrow’s nationally televised University of Colorado vs. West VirginiaUniversity football game, Gov. Ritter will present CU-Boulder Chancellor Bud Peterson with a proclamation honoring CU for its efforts to convert Folsom Field to a zero-waste and green sports venue. The presentation will take place on the field.

 

                                    Location: Folsom Field, Boulder.

 

GOV. RITTER APPOINTS ‘HAPPY’ HAYNES TO HIGHER-ED COMMISSION

 

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he has appointed Allegra “Happy” Haynes of Denver to the Colorado Commission on Higher Education. Gov. Ritter also named new members to the Colorado Lottery Commission and Colorado Tourism Office Board of Directors.

 

Haynes is currently the assistant to the superintendent of Denver Public Schools for community partnerships. She served on the Denver City Council from 1990 to 2003 and as council president from 1998 to 2000. She was Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper’s liaison to the council from 2003 to 2005.

 

She serves on the boards of the Colorado Children’s Campaign, Stapleton Development Corp. and Foundation for Educational Excellence.

 

She is a 1971 graduate of Denver‘s East High School, and she earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Barnard College atColumbia University in 1975 and her master’s degree in public affairs from the University of Colorado in 2002.

 

Gov. Ritter appointed Haynes to a term expiring July 1, 2010. Appointments to the 11-member Colorado Commission on Higher Education require Senate confirmation. The commission sets policies for all state-supported institutions of higher learning.

 

Gov. Ritter also announced additional appointments today:

 

Colorado Lottery Commission

 

Dana M. Franzen of Monument, for a term expiring July 1, 2010.

Betty J. Martinez of Pueblo, for a term expiring July 1, 2012.

 

Appointments to the five-member commission require Senate confirmation. The commission governs the operation of the state Lottery and conducts hearings on granting or suspending licenses for Lottery sales.

 

Colorado Tourism Office Board of Directors

 

James E. Durr of Eckert, for a term expiring June 1, 2012.

 

Appointments to the 13-member board are for four years and require Senate confirmation. The board sets and administers policies regarding expenditures from the Colorado Travel and Tourism Fund for promoting travel and tourism activities that benefit the state.

 

For additional information about the Governor’s Office of Boards and Commissions, including details about how to obtain an application, please contact the office by clicking here, emailing boards@state.co.us, or calling 303.866.6380.

 

GOV. RITTER SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY (SEPT. 17, 2008)

 

Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2008

 

10 a.m.                        Gov. Ritter will join dozens of county clerks and county commissioners at a news conference to urge Colorado voters to cast their ballots during early voting or to vote by mail. Expecting record turnout and a lengthy ballot, election officials are encouraging voters to avoid long lines on Nov. 4 by taking advantage of early voting and vote-by-mail options.

 

                                    Location: West Steps, State Capitol.

 

Noon                           Gov. Ritter will deliver remarks during Colorado Education Commissioner Dwight Jones’ inaugural “Commissioner’s Cup” luncheon. The Commissioner’s Cup luncheon will celebrate 39 schools that are beating the odds and closing achievement gaps. The event will also formally launch the Colorado Legacy Foundation, a nonprofit founded by the Colorado Department of Education to partner with business leaders and philanthropists for entrepreneurial public education endeavors.

 

                                    Note: The event starts at 11:30 a.m.

                                   

Location: Donald R. Seawell Grand Ballroom, Denver Center for the Performing Arts, 14th and Curtis.

 

 

GOV. RITTER WELCOMES MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS TO COLORADO


 

Gov. Bill Ritter today welcomed Medal of Honor recipients and their families to Colorado during the Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s annual convention at the Sheraton Denver Hotel (formerly the Adam’s Mark).

 

Of the 100 living Medal of Honor recipients, 65 recipients and their families are in Denver for this year’s weeklong conference. Gov. Ritter is honorary co-chair of the convention’s Host Committee along with Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper.

 

“The sacrifices you and your families have made for our country is something we shall never forget,” Gov. Ritter said. “It’s a debt we shall never be able to fully repay. From our own City of Pueblo, which we call Home of Heroes, we have four Medal of Honor recipients, the highest concentration of recipients of any city in the United States. Your service to the security of our nation and establishing our presence around the globe is vitally important, because as we know and as you have shown, freedom isn’t free.”

 

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in theU.S. armed services. It was created by Congress in 1861 and the medal is bestowed by the President of the United States.

 


GOV. RITTER ANNOUNCES FEDS APPROVE FARM ASSISTANCE

 

Gov. Bill Ritter announced today that the federal government has approved a secretarial disaster designation for dozens of Coloradocounties that sustained agriculture losses due to drought and freezes earlier this year.

 

Colorado farmers and ranchers hit hard by difficult weather conditions will now be able to receive federal aid,” Gov. Ritter said. “I’m pleased this declaration has been approved.  Colorado‘s agricultural community is a vital part of this state’s economy, and this can be an important tool during this difficult time.”

 

Gov. Ritter also is expected to seek a disaster designation for six counties for hail, drought and snow: Alamosa, Larimer, Pueblo and Saguache (for hail); Fremont (for drought); and Custer (for excessive snow).

 

Here is the text of the Sept. 15 letter from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Edward Schafer to Gov. Ritter:

 

The Honorable Bill Ritter, Jr.

Governor

State of Colorado

Denver, Colorado 80203

 

Dear Governor Ritter:

 

Thank you for your letters of July 25 and August 7, 2008, requesting a disaster designation for 24 Colorado counties due to losses caused by drought and freezes that occurred in 2008.

 

The Department of Agriculture (USDA) has reviewed the Loss Assessment Reports, along with the additional information submitted by the State Executive Director, Farm Service Agency (FSA). Based on this review, USDA has designated that there were sufficient production losses in all 24 counties to warrant a Secretarial disaster designation. Therefore, I am designating all 24 Colorado counties as primary natural disaster areas, in two separate disaster designations, as follows:

 

Designation Number 1: Drought that occurred during the period January 1, 2008, and continuing:

 

Primary counties: Adams, Arapahoe, Baca, Bent, Cheyenne, Crowley, Douglas, EI Paso, Elbert, Huerfano, Kiowa, Kit Carson, Las Animas, Lincoln, Logan, Otero, Park, Prowers, Pueblo, Teller, Washington and Weld.

 

Contiguous counties (In accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and

Rural Development Act): Alamosa, Boulder, Broomfield, Chaffee, Clear Creek, Costilla, Custer, Denver, Fremont, Jefferson, Lake, Larimer, Morgan, Phillips, Saguache, Sedgwick, Summit and Yuma.

 

Designation Number 2: Freezes that occurred during the period April 25 through

May 11, 2008:

 

Primary counties: Delta, Fremont, Otero and Pueblo.

 

Contiguous counties (1n accordance with section 321(a) of the Consolidated Farm and

Rural Development Act): Bent, Chaffee, Crowley, Custer, El Paso, Gunnison, Huerfano, Kiowa, Las Animas, Lincoln, Mesa, Montrose, Park, Saguache and Teller.

 

This designation makes farm operators in both primary and contiguous counties eligible to be considered for low-interest emergency loans from FSA, provided eligibility requirements are met. FSA will consider each application on its own merit by taking into account the extent of losses, security available, and repayment ability.

 

Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Edward T. Schafer

Secretary

 

 

GOV. RITTER SEEKS FOREST-HEALTH FUNDS FROM FEDS


Gov. Bill Ritter has asked the federal government to free up millions of dollars to help fight the pine beetle epidemic, prevent wildfires and pay for other healthy-forest initiatives in Colorado.

 

The request comes in the form of a letter to U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, asking the department to award up to three long-term, 10-year forest-restoration contracts to private vendors in Colorado.

 

The department currently awards only short-term stewardship contracts, but Colorado‘s new Forest Health Advisory Council says vendors require the stability of longer-term contracts.

 

The Governor’s letter follows passage of Senate Joint Resolution 08-010, sponsored by Sen. Dan Gibbs and Rep. Christine Scanlan, which requests that the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and Colorado State Forest Service work together to identify and implement up to three long-term stewardship contracts.

 

“A broad spectrum of stakeholders agrees that long-term stewardship contracts are an effective tool for bridging the gap between collaboratively identified forest management priorities and the lack of resources and/or industry to accomplish them,” Gov. Ritter said. “This is an example of how we can maximize funds to keep our forests healthy and protect our communities.”

 

Here is the complete text of the Governor’s letter:

 

September 11, 2008

  

Secretary Ed Schafer

U.S. Department of Agriculture 
1400 Independence Ave., S.W.

 Washington, DC 20250

 

Dear Secretary Schafer:

 

At the recommendation of Colorado‘s new Forest Health Advisory Council, I am writing to request your assistance in facilitating the implementation of long term stewardship contracts in national forests in Colorado.  Despite broad and diverse support in the state, we have not been able to make use of this tool due to the Federal Acquisition Regulation requirement (FAR 17.104) that specifies that the United States Forest Service (USFS) must fund cancellation ceiling amounts for a multi-year stewardship contract at the time the contract is approved, thus tying up potentially millions of appropriated dollars that could be used to treat acres on the ground. 

 

The Colorado Bark Beetle Cooperative, the Front Range Roundtable, and other forest-based collaborative groups have collectively identified several million acres of forestland in Colorado that need treatment to restore forest health and/or protect communities and watersheds from fire. 

With current treatment costs ranging from $400 to $1,000 per acre, we are unable to accomplish this work in a reasonable time frame using existing resources.  We must find a way to reduce these costs.

 

One way to reduce management costs is to engage the forest industry in accomplishing the needed treatments.  Unfortunately, much of the woody material removed during forest treatments in Colorado is small in size, does not fit traditional forest product markets, or is otherwise unmerchantable.  In addition, much of the state’s locally based forest products industry is gone, meaning new investments in harvesting and processing capacity, as well as new markets for non-traditional materials, will be needed to address the forest management workload.

 

It is difficult for small contractors or companies to invest in the type of industry needed in the state unless they can acquire loans for business start-up, equipment purchases, and other business expansion efforts; and lenders are often reluctant to provide such loans unless a long-term supply of wood is clearly available.

 

A broad spectrum of stakeholders agrees that long-term (e.g. 10 years) stewardship contracts are an effective tool for bridging the gap between collaboratively identified forest management priorities and the lack of resources and/or industry to accomplish them.  Section 323 of Public Law 108-7 allows the USFS or the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) to design multi-year forest restoration and wildfire risk mitigation plans that offer local forest contractors a sustained supply of work and/or material with which they can secure the necessary collateral and resources needed to sustain or improve their businesses.

 

Land managers have been working for more than three years to develop a multi-year stewardship contract for Colorado‘s Front Range.  During their 2007 and 2008 sessions, the Colorado General Assembly joined this effort by passing resolutions asking the USFS Regional Forester for the Rocky Mountain Region and the BLM State Director to collaborate with the Colorado State Forester in implementing up to three long-term stewardship contracts in Colorado.  This initiative has been stymied by the prohibitive requirements in the Federal Acquisition Regulations described above.

 

After trying unsuccessfully to obtain either administrative or legislative relief to these requirements, we are appealing for your assistance in finding a resolution that will enable us to move forward with long-term stewardship contracts in Colorado.

 

I understand that you were able to visit the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest where long-term stewardship contracting is being successfully implemented in the White Mountains of Arizona.  This project is a singular, yet extraordinarily successful example of how a multi-year contract can bring together forest industry and diverse stakeholders to collaboratively accomplish priority forest treatments.  We would like to see similar success in Colorado.

 

I look forward to hearing from your office regarding how you will help us address this barrier to long-term stewardship contracting inColorado and achieve our mutual interests in restoring forests and protecting communities and watersheds. 

 

Sincerely,

  

 

Bill Ritter, Jr.

Governor

 

CORRECTED: GOV. RITTER APPOINTS NEW JUDGE TO ARAPAHOE COUNTY COURT BENCH


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Addison Lloyd Adams of Aurora to serve as an 
Arapahoe County Court

 judge within the 18th Judicial District.

 

Adams has served since 1998 as a District Court magistrate in the 18th Judicial District, which serves Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert andLincoln counties, primarily handling a domestic relations docket.

 

Prior to that, Adams was a partner in the Adams & Post Law Partnership; a trial attorney and public defender in Arapahoe, Adams andDenver counties; a solo practitioner; and an assistant attorney general.

 

Adams earned his bachelor’s degree in 1969 from Hampton University and his M.A. in public administration from the University ofColorado at Boulder in 1974. He also earned his law degree in 1979 and a master’s in social work in 1993, both from the University ofDenver.

 

The appointment is effective Jan. 13, 2009, to fill a vacancy created by the appointment of the Hon. Christopher Cross to district court. The appointment is for a provisional term of two years, and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. Thereafter, if retained by the voters, the term for a county court judge is four years. The current salary for a County Court judge is $123,067.

 

GOV. RITTER APPOINTS NEW JUDGE TO ARAPAHOE COUNTY COURT BENCH

 

Gov. Bill Ritter today announced the appointment of Addison Lloyd Adams of Aurora to serve as an 
Arapahoe County Court

 judge in the 18th Judicial District.

 

Since 1988, Adams has been a District Court magistrate in the 18th Judicial District, which serves Arapahoe, Douglas, Elbert and Lincolncounties, primarily handling a domestic relations docket.

 

Prior to that, Adams was a partner in the Adams & Post Law Partnership; a trial attorney and public defender in Arapahoe, Adams andDenver counties; a solo practitioner; and an assistant attorney general.

 

He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado in 1974, a master of arts degree from the University of Denver in 1979, his law degree from DU in 1979 and a master’s degree in social work from DU in 1993.

 

The appointment is effective Jan. 13, 2009, to fill a vacancy created by the appointment of the Hon. Christopher Cross to district court. The appointment is for a provisional term of two years, and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. Thereafter, if retained by the voters, the term for a county court judge is four years. The current salary for a County Court judge is $123,067.