Tuesday, September 29, 2009



Gov. Bill Ritter announced today he has directed more than $7 million in federal Recovery Act funds to support nearly 10 different K-12 education programs to help reduce the dropout rate, enhance teacher compensation, and improve Colorado's chances of winning a federal "Race to the Top" competitive grant next year.


"These investments reflect my ongoing commitment to the promise that all Colorado students be given an equal opportunity to succeed," Gov. Ritter said. "Using Recovery Act funds to grow innovative programs will strengthen Colorado's education system and maintain the momentum for education reform we've created over the past few years."


Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien chairs Colorado's P-20 Education Council and is overseeing the state's Race to the Top grant application. "We're already doing groundbreaking work to improve the skills and knowledge we provide students in classrooms throughout Colorado," Lt. Gov. O'Brien said. "These strategic investments will allow us to continue leading Colorado forward, and they'll pay untold dividends down the road by putting us in a stronger position for the Race to the Top competition."


Today's announcement includes $1 million to restore the state's alternative compensation grant program, $500,000 to develop the state's first educator identifier data system (matched with $400,000 in private funds), $1.5 million to dramatically expand the Teach for America program in Colorado, and $2.5 million to enhance the state's renowned Colorado Growth Model data system. 


In addition, Gov. Ritter directed that $1.3 million be used to reinstate a National Board Certification Stipend Pilot Program. Teachers will be eligible for $1,600 stipends, or $4,800 enhanced stipends for those who agree to serve in low-performing schools where highly effective educators are needed the most.


"We deeply appreciate Gov. Ritter's support for these important programs," Education Commissioner Dwight D. Jones said. "It's critical that Colorado advances meaningful, long-term reforms and invests in teachers who strive to meet rigorous national standards and accept challenging assignments."


Other programs included in today's announcement:


·         $53,000 to help initiate the new Colorado ASCENT program, which was created by House Bill 09-1319. Colorado ASCENT is the nation's first statewide program that will allow students to simultaneously pursue high school and community college degrees, which will keep students in school, lower the dropout rate and help graduates find better jobs quicker.


·         $300,000 to help launch the new Office of Dropout Prevention and Student Reengagement. The office was created earlier this year by HB 09-1243. "This is just the jump-start we needed," said Rep. Karen Middleton, who co-sponsored the legislation. "This funding will help us reduce Colorado's dropout rate and increase the odds of long-term success for our kids. It is time to drop-kick our dropout problem and help all children stay in school and graduate."


·         $200,000 to reinstate the state's National Board Assessment Stipend program.


·         $25,000 for Principal Leadership Academy grants.


Monday, September 28, 2009



Tuesday, Sept. 29, 2009


8:30 a.m.         Gov. Ritter will open Day 2 of the three-day Western States Water Council 2009 Symposium. The conference brings together water and land-use planners to explore innovative solutions to the water challenges facing the West. Location: Red Lion Hotel, 4040 Quebec St., Denver.


3 p.m.              Gov. Ritter will deliver keynote remarks at an Urban Land Institute Speaker Series Event, "Finding Your Place in the Sun (and Wind) – What Colorado's New Energy Economy Means for Land Use." Location: Denver Athletic Club, Grand Ballroom, 1325 Glenarm Place.


6 p.m.              Lt. Gov. O'Brien will deliver remarks at the unveiling of the Mordecai Children's Garden featuring Richard Louv, author of Last Child in the Woods. Location: Denver Botanic Gardens, Mitchell Hall, 007 York St., Denver.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009


Gov. Bill Ritter today announced that Veterans Green Jobs has been selected by the state energy office to provide weatherization services to income-qualified households in a six-county region of the San Luis Valley.
"We're proud to have these service veterans join our New Energy Economy," Gov. Ritter said. "These men and women have served their country admirably in the military, and now they return to serve again to help Colorado families reduce energy costs, increase our energy security and decrease our carbon footprint."
Veterans Green Jobs will provide weatherization services in Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla counties. The $1.1 million contract runs through June 30, 2010, and calls for Veterans Green Jobs to weatherize and improve efficiencies in 240 homes.
"We are honored to have the opportunity to provide weatherization services for the residents of the San Luis Valley," said Brett KenCairn, CEO of Veterans Green Jobs. "Veterans Green Jobs is also excited to incorporate the dedicated Valley residents who have been previously providing these services. In working together as a team, this weatherization program enables veterans to continue their service to the country by helping families save money, reduce energy consumption and environmental impacts, and build and protect a more energy-secure future for our nation."
"I am tremendously pleased to see Veterans Green Jobs being named the weatherization provider for the San Luis Valley," said state Sen. Gail Schwartz, who serves on the Veterans Green Jobs board and whose district includes much of the San Luis Valley. "Veterans Green Jobs is the embodiment of three issues that I am firmly committed to: supporting our veterans as they return home, promoting job growth in the clean energy industry and working toward American energy independence."
"It's high time we give our returning vets the respect and the good jobs they deserve," said Rep. Dennis Apuan, who represents Fort Carson in El Paso County.  "With job training preparing them for a career in a growing sector, and with the leadership skills learned in the military, our vets are ready to lead us into the New Energy Economy."
The Governor's Energy Office, through 11 local partners – including Veterans Green Jobs – is significantly expanding its weatherization services to income-qualified households under the Recovery Act.
With nearly $80 million in additional funding provided over three years, Colorado plans to weatherize more than 10,000 homes, cutting utility bills for low-income families, reducing pollution and adding jobs across the state.

Monday, September 21, 2009


Monday, Sept. 21, 2009


12:30 p.m.      Gov. Ritter will address the South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce. Gov. Ritter will discuss the state's economy, including Friday's announcement that the unemployment rate has declined 0.5 percent, and how the recession is impacting the state's budget. Location: 6840 S. University Blvd., Centennial.


Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2009


9:30 a.m.         Gov. Ritter will be joined by veterans from the nationally recognized Veterans Green Jobs organization to announce the Governor's Energy Office has hired Veterans Green Jobs to weatherize about 240 homes in the San Luis Valley over the next year. The counties are Saguache, Mineral, Rio Grande, Alamosa, Conejos and Costilla. The $1 million contract is funded by the Recovery Act. Location: Governor's Office, State Capitol.




Friday, September 18, 2009



Gov. Ritter joined federal, state and local officials today for a White House-sponsored urban sustainability tour of Denver. The tour was part of a nationwide Obama administration initiative to create more livable communities through economic, land-use, transportation and energy-efficiency sustainability efforts.


Among those also on today's tour: Denver Mayor John Hickenlooper, U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet, U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Shaun Donovan and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson.


The group toured Union Station, traveled on RTD light rail and visited the South Lincoln Park neighborhood. During the tour, HUD Secretary Donovan announced $10 million in Recovery Act funding for energy efficiency efforts in the South Lincoln Park neighborhood homes.


"Colorado is poised for a strong economic recovery," Gov. Ritter said. "As we move forward and grow, we must create livable places, open spaces and sustainable communities. Working with partners like Mayor Hickenlooper at the local level and the Obama administration at the national level, Colorado has become a national model for how to build sustainable 21st century communities."



Choose Outdoors, a Colorado-based national nonprofit coalition of outdoor recreation interests, honored Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien for her work this year in reconnecting kids to the outdoors. Just this month, Lt. Gov. O'Brien is finishing up a statewide tour of 11 forums that highlighted efforts that encourage children to spend time outside. Lt. Gov. O'Brien was honored yesterday at a Colorado Kids Outdoors Forum in Silverthorne.


"Getting Colorado's kids outdoors is important for their entire well-being, including their: health, balance, behavior, understanding their world, and their ability to learn," said Lt. Gov. O'Brien. "Colorado's love of the outdoors and nature is a tradition that we need to pass on to our children and grandchildren or we will lose an entire generation of stewards."


Choose Outdoors recognized Lt. Gov. O'Brien for her "efforts connecting Americans to the land through outdoor recreation and for instilling the appreciation of natural environments to future generations."


"Now more than ever, we need a focused and coordinated effort to increase the awareness and support for getting young people off the couch and involved in healthy outdoor activities,"  said Choose Outdoors President Bruce Ward. "We are proud to honor Lt. Gov. O'Brien for her leadership in developing the statewide forums that serve as the perfect catalyst for the development of an effective strategy."


Lt. Gov. O'Brien will conduct her final Colorado Kids Outdoors Forum in Golden on September 23 at the Colorado Mountain Club. Her office will issue a report on the tour and an action plan for next steps in late October. As part of the tour, Lt. Gov. O'Brien also requested suggestions from kids across the state on what should be included in the Colorado Kids Outdoor Bill of Rights.  Their final responses are posted on her website at www.colorado.gov/ltgovernor.


Thursday, September 17, 2009



Friday, Sept. 18, 2009


10:15 a.m.       Gov. Ritter will join EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood, HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan, White House Director of Urban Affairs Adolfo Carrion and other leaders for an urban sustainability tour. The Denver stoppart of a nationwide multi-city initiative will highlight innovative city, county and regional efforts to integrate transportation, land use, housing and environmental sustainability. The group will arrive on a light rail train at 10th and Osage for a tour of the South Lincoln Park Homes and will end with a White House Urban Affairs Community Forum focusing on sustainable communities in urban areas. 


Locations & Details:


10:15 a.m.: Officials will tour South Lincoln Park homes and the 10th and Osage Light Rail Stop. Media access time: 10 a.m. Press conference immediately follows the tour.


1 p.m.: Officials will participate in a White House Urban Affairs Community Forum, King Center, 855 Lawrence Way, Auraria Campus. Media access time: 12:45 p.m.


For logistical questions only, contact Caroline Hughes at caroline.e.hughes@hud.gov.




Wednesday, September 16, 2009



Gov. Bill Ritter announced today the appointment of Thomas Francis Mulvahill of Louisville as a District Court judge in the 20th Judicial District, which serves Boulder County.


Mulvahill is currently a partner at Chambers, Dansky & Mulvahill LLC, a position he has held since 2002. From 2002 to 2003, and again since 2006, Mulvahill also was an associate municipal judge for the City of Lakewood. Since 2008, he has also been an associate municipal judge for the City of Brighton.


Prior to his current work, he was an associate at Carrigan, Chambers, Dansky & Zonies. He also has served as a deputy district attorney in the Second Judicial District 1990 to 2000) and chief prosecutor/deputy city attorney in the Lakewood City Attorney's Office (1987 to 1990).


He received his B.S. from St. John's University in 1984 and his J.D. from the University of Colorado School of Law in 1987.


Mulvahill will fill a vacancy occasioned by the retirement of the Hon. Morris W. Sandstead Jr. on Sept. 30. The annual salary for the position is $128,598, and the initial term of office is a provisional term of two years, and then until the second Tuesday in January following the next general election. Thereafter, if retained by voters, the term for a District Court judge is six years.  


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Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009


6 p.m.              Lt. Gov. O'Brien will deliver the keynote address at the Charter Schools Growth Fund Dinner, which kicks off a two-day Educational Entrepreneurs Showcase.  Location: Westin Hotel, 10600 Westminster Blvd., Westminster.


6:30 p.m.        Gov. Ritter will deliver remarks at Denver Health Medical Center's annual dinner for the medical staff. The Governor's remarks will focus on health-care reform at the national and state levels and how the state is addressing safety-net services during the recession. Location: Westin Tabor Center, Tabor Auditorium, 1672 Lawrence St., Denver.


7:30 p.m.        Gov. Ritter will deliver keynote remarks celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and honoring longtime Latina activist Margaret Atencio at a reception hosted by the Colorado Democratic Party Latino Initiative. Location: Pipefitter's Hall, 6350 Broadway, Denver.     


Friday, September 11, 2009

Press release

The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing announced today that Medicaid has increased how often smoking cessation medications may be prescribed to help clients quit smoking. This common sense policy change results in improved health for clients and decreased Medicaid costs by decreasing hospitalizations and provider visits.

The expanded benefit gives providers the option to prescribe up to two, 90-day drug therapy treatments each year to aid in smoking cessation. This is an increase from a 90-day drug therapy per lifetime. Studies show that it takes an average of seven attempts to quit smoking and the health and economic benefits outweigh the cost of medications. In order to receive the benefit, a client must get a prescription from their physician that indicates the client's intent to enroll in counseling.

Tobacco use is the single leading cause of preventable illness and death in the United States. Each year, more than 430,000 Americans – including 4,700 Coloradans – die prematurely from smoking-related diseases. Today, 17.6 percent of adults in Colorado use tobacco. 

"There are over 470,000 clients receiving benefits through Medicaid and 34 percent of the adults in the Medicaid program use tobacco," states Dr. Sandeep Wadhwa, state Medicaid director. "The last time the nation smoked at this rate was in 1977. Clients enrolled in Medicaid use tobacco almost twice the rate of other Coloradans. By providing additional tools for clients to achieve their smoking cessation goals, the probability of success increases significantly. Colorado Medicaid's goal is to improve the health and functioning of our clients in a cost-effective manner. Increasing the pharmacological options for providers to help clients quit smoking supports this goal."

The benefits of smoking cessation increase as time passes.
At 5 years:

    • From 5 to 15 years after quitting, stroke risk is reduced to that of people who have never smoked

At 10 years:

    • Risk of lung cancer drops to as little as one-half that of continuing smokers
    • Risk of cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, bladder, kidney, and pancreas decreases
    • Risk of ulcer decreases

At 15 years:

    • Risk of coronary heart disease is now similar to that of people who have never smoked
    • Risk of death returns to nearly the level of people who have never smoked

The Department and the Governor's Office thank the Tobacco Cessation Sustainability Partnership, TCSP, for all of their invaluable help in developing this new policy. The TCSP includes representatives of the American Cancer Society, American Heart Association, American Lung Association, Chaffee County Public Health, Colorado Association of Health Plans, Business Health Forum, Colorado Clinical Guidelines Collaborative, Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, Colorado Medical Society, Colorado Tobacco Education and Prevention Alliance, National Association of Hispanic Nurses, Colorado, National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado Denver Center for Behavioral Health and Wellness

Thursday, September 3, 2009

PSA on H1N1 Flu Prevention Features Governor Ritter

DENVER- In a public service announcement released today by the Colorado
Department of Public Health and Environment, Gov. Bill Ritter sends an
important message to the people of Colorado about how they can protect
themselves and their community against influenza.

The public service announcement is being distributed to television and
radio stations statewide and is available at http://tiny.cc/0Y9J1.

Ned Calonge, the state's chief medical officer, said, "We
appreciate the governor lending his voice to our H1N1 prevention
campaign. He appreciates how important it is for people to be prepared
this upcoming fall and winter to avoid the flu," said. "While it is
difficult to predict how severe the H1N1 flu will be, we know there are
steps people can take to protect themselves and prevent the flu from

In the public service announcement Gov. Ritter reminds Coloradans to
get the recommended vaccinations. He also encourages good hygiene
practices to reduce the spread of flu such as frequent hand washing,
covering coughs and sneezes, and staying home from work or school when

"Have a plan in case your family gets sick," he says, and, "if
necessary, people may need to ask their employers or teachers if they
can work from home to keep the flu from spreading to others."

Calonge cautioned Coloradans not to forget about seasonal flu amid all
the discussion around H1N1, "Getting vaccinated is the single best
thing people can do to protect themselves from seasonal flu. Every year
an estimated 36,000 Americans die as a result of seasonal flu."

Many doctor's offices, clinics, grocery stores, pharmacies and public
health departments already have received seasonal influenza vaccine so
people should plan to get their flu vaccination. The vaccine for the
2009 H1N1 flu still is being tested in clinical trials and won't be
available under mid-October or early November.

To locate a local flu clinic or for more information about H1N1 and
seasonal influenza, visit the department's Web site at
www.colorado.gov/nofluforyou or call the Colorado Health Information
Line (CoHELP) at 1-877-462-2911.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien today announced an unprecedented $80 million for distribution to cities, counties and schools to offset impacts from energy development, strengthen local economies and improve the livability of Colorado communities.
Some 509 cities, counties and school districts will receive a record $80.4 million from the Local Government Severance Tax Fund and Federal Mineral Lease Fund.  
"These funds come at a critical time and will help local agencies and schools maintain quality services," Lt. Gov. O'Brien said. "These direct distribution awards will allow local officials to decide how best to invest these funds and make the biggest difference in their communities."
The Colorado Department of Local Affairs oversees the distribution of funds derived from energy and mineral extraction. Senate Bill 08-218 and House Bill 08-1083 authorized a new method and formula to determine the direct distribution of energy impact dollars. These new factors, coupled with an increase in revenue generated by the industry, resulted in a record-high distribution amount.
"With families, businesses, communities and schools struggling in this tough economy, I am proud that we were able to protect these direct distribution funds even when closing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall over the past few months," Gov. Ritter said. "These funds will help lead Colorado forward by strengthening our economy, assisting schools, saving and creating jobs and improving the quality of life in our communities."
Prior to the passage of SB08-218 and HB08-1083, direct distribution was based on the number of employees in the energy impacted communities in which they resided. Under these new laws, other factors are also considered, including: drilling permits, production, employee residence, as well as, for sub-county distribution, population and highway user miles. Last year's distribution amounted to $24.7 million from the Severance Tax Fund and $8 million from the Federal Mineral Lease Fund.
"I am thrilled to see local communities receive this funding today," said Sen. Gail Schwartz, co-sponsor of SB08-218.  "These communities have all been impacted by oil and gas activity and have been responsible for generating these funds.  Thanks to Senate Bill 218, a significant, extensive, bipartisan effort, this funding will go a long way in helping communities."
With the new formula and increased production levels, the Severance Tax Fund provided $44.5 million and the Federal Mineral Lease Fund generated $35.9 million.
"One of the aims of this bi-partisan bill was to support impacted communities when extraction activity was down," said Secretary of State Bernie Buescher, a former House member and co-sponsor of SB 218. "Clearly, these dollars couldn't have come at a better time."
Susan Kirkpatrick, executive director of the Department of Local Affairs said, "We know the importance this distribution means for communities. These funds help communities address the impacts of development, processing, or energy conversion on their infrastructure and capacity to improve the livability of their communities."
For a report listing distributions by local government recipients go to:


Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2009

10 a.m.            Lt. Gov. Barbara O'Brien and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs will hold a news conference to announce the unprecedented distribution of $80 million to local communities and schools from the revised Severance Tax and Federal Mineral Lease Direct Distribution Programs. Rifle Mayor Keith Lambert and leaders with the Colorado Municipal League and Colorado Counties Inc. also will take part. Location: West Foyer, State Capitol.


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