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Local News

  • A senator in the house: Bennet makes appearance at South Jeffco house party

    Wine and beer. Cheese. Mini pizza rolls.

    Standard fare at many house parties, but the gathering at Paula Noonan’s house Feb. 27 had a little something extra that went a long way in explaining why her South Jeffco home was packed that night: Michael Bennet, Colorado’s newest U.S. senator.

    Bennet, a Democrat from Denver, was selected by Gov. Bill Ritter on Jan. 3 to fill the void left when Sen. Ken Salazar was named secretary of the interior. The appointment became official Jan. 20.

  • Jeffco way behind in processing food stamp applications

    Jeffco leads the state in failing to process applications for food stamps on time, and officials are blaming the situation on a soaring number of applicants and inadequate employee training.

    Federal law mandates that counties are responsible for processing food assistance applications within 30 days, and states must achieve at least 90 percent compliance or face sanctions. Colorado currently processes just 74 percent of applications on time and could face more than $1 million in fines from the federal government.

  • Forecaster takes dim view of economy

    Now that the economy has been blown out of the water by reckless real-estate lending and a massive $800 billion stimulus plan is in the works, don’t expect things to get much better in the next few years.

    The downturn that began in the fourth quarter of 2007 gathered momentum in 2008 and landed full blast in 2009, and it will continue into 2010 and beyond, said Keith Hembre, chief economist with U.S. Bancorp of Minneapolis.

    Hembre’s credentials include being designated one of “the top five economic forecasters for 2008” by Business Week magazine.

  • Death takes a holiday: Unincorporated Jeffco seeing longest murder drought since late 1940s

    On July 23, 2007, a Realtor arrived at a home he was selling on Scenic Drive just west of U.S. 285, about halfway between Indian Hills and Aspen Park.

    A body was on the lawn. Robert Alurac, a 41-year-old Lakewood man, had been murdered.

    There hasn’t been a murder since then in unincorporated Jefferson County, a stretch of 590 days as of March 4. That’s the longest Jeffco has gone without a murder since the late 1940s, when there were no murders between November 1948 and February 1951.

  • Wakeman officially named county attorney -- finally

    Jefferson County has a new county attorney.

    Well, sort of.

    Ellen Wakeman was named county attorney Feb. 24 after serving for more than two years as the acting county attorney. She stepped in when her predecessor, Frank Hutfless, resigned in January 2007 and has been running the show ever since.

    “I’m very optimistic about a new era for Jefferson County,” Wakeman said.

  • Growing pains: Taj Mahal expansion will create security dilemma

    Jefferson County is set to spend nearly $9 million to expand the county courts and administration building, but the expansion will create security challenges that have yet to be resolved.

  • Jeffco leaders again look to citizens for budget advice

    Jefferson County officials are hoping a panel of county residents can offer fresh ideas on how to grapple with more than $277 million in construction, equipment and maintenance costs through 2013.

  • Conservatives rally to protest as Obama signs stimulus bill

    A scene of political theater featuring a live pig, a roasted pig and oversize checks made out to each American family for $30,000 unfolded on the west steps of the state Capitol Feb. 17, as conservatives rallied in opposition to President Obama's economic recovery legislation.

    As Obama signed the $787 billion economic stimulus bill at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science, hundreds rallied just a few miles away, deriding the president and the legislation.

  • Coffman lays out agenda as Jeffco's new congressman

    The country's financial malaise has made Wall Street bankers mighty unpopular these days. But coming in a close second are politicians, who are scrambling to address an economic recession that seems to get worse with each news cycle.

    In that vein, it's not hard to guess what freshman Rep. Mike Coffman's focus is right now in Congress.

  • Jeffco commissioners ax internal audit department

    The Jefferson County commissioners eliminated the county’s internal audit department on Feb. 17, citing the need “to reduce administrative overhead costs” and saying the department’s functions were duplicative.

    But the now-former internal auditor said that’s not the reason at all.

    Susan Johnson, who lost her job along with her assistant, says it’s all about accountability.