http://www.columbinecourier.com/todaysnews/rss.xml en Charter schools seeing enrollment growth http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/charter-schools-seeing-enrollment-growth <img src="http://www.columbinecourier.com/sites/www.columbinecourier.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/news-homeschool01-gc-012115.jpg" alt="Jarett Mason provides Oliver Palmer, a home-schooled child, a mandolin lesson after school at Aspen Ridge Church." title="Jarett Mason provides Oliver Palmer, a home-schooled child, a mandolin lesson after school at Aspen Ridge Church." align="left" hspace="6" width="128" height="85" /><p> Jeffco&rsquo;s charter schools saw significantly greater enrollment growth than district-managed schools in the last year, and advocates say that greater availability of choice, high academic expectations and options for home-schoolers are responsible.</p> GOP legislator named to county commission http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/gop-legislator-named-county-commission <img src="http://www.columbinecourier.com/sites/www.columbinecourier.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/web-mug.jpg" alt="Libby Szabo" title="Libby Szabo" align="left" hspace="6" width="57" height="85" /><p> <span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">A Jeffco GOP vacancy committee has named state Rep. Libby Szabo to take over the remainder of the term of former county commissioner Faye Griffin.&nbsp;</span></p> <p> Szabo was elected in November to a third term in House District 27, which includes western Arvada, and served as assistant minority leader for the House Republicans.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p> Petition signed by 6,500 seeks resignation of school board majority http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/petition-signed-6500-seeks-resignation-school-board-majority <p> <span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">A petition signed by 6,554 Jeffco residents calling for school board President Ken Witt and board members John Newkirk and Julie Williams to resign caused a stir at the board&rsquo;s meeting on Thursday evening.</span></p> <p style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;"> Jeffco parent and petition organizer Molly Snyder told board members she is not affiliated with the teachers union, the Jefferson County Education Association.&nbsp;</p> 2014 called a good year for economic development in Jeffco http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/2014-called-good-year-economic-development-jeffco <p> <span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">Jefferson County is thriving in terms of its economic vitality, said Doug Bene, executive vice president of the Jeffco Economic Development Corp.</span></p> <p> In 2014, 2,213 jobs were retained and created in Jeffco, and new capital investments totaled $488 million, he said during a recent presentation to the Jeffco Open Space Advisory Committee. Other good news is that the unemployment rate in Jeffco has dropped to 4.4 percent.</p> Improved website makes Jeffco parks information easier to access http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/improved-website-makes-jeffco-parks-information-easier-access <p> An enhanced website for Jeffco Open Space provides easier access to information about county parks and trails.</p> <p> Clicking on new drop-down boxes on the Jeffco Parks and Trails page brings users to a comprehensive list of parks and amenities they offer, as well as photos.</p> <p> &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve got more photographs and have added a horizontal navigational tool,&rdquo; said Thea Rock, spokeswoman for Jeffco Open Space.</p> <p> The Web page also has information about activities and events at parks, trail rating guides and alerts about closures.</p> SHERIFF'S CALLS http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/sheriffs-calls-152 <p> <strong style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">A victimless crime</strong></p> <p> SOUTH PIERSON STREET &mdash; Stolen from the yard before dawn on Dec. 21: a flock of 25 pink flamingo lawn ornaments. Potential suspects include the Miami Syndicate and the West Dorado Neighborhood Improvement Association.</p> <p> <strong style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">All the linens and housewares they can eat&nbsp;</strong></p> Two members resign from urban renewal board http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/two-members-resign-urban-renewal-board <p> <span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">The board of Littleton&rsquo;s urban renewal authority is searching for two new members.&nbsp;</span></p> <p> Jim Taylor, chairman of the board for Littleton Invests For Tomorrow and a former City Council member, announced his resignation at the end of the LIFT board&rsquo;s Jan. 8 meeting. Board member Dale Flowers also announced his resignation Jan. 8, because he had moved outside Littleton about a year ago.&nbsp;</p> Pet owners warned about coyote attacks http://www.columbinecourier.com/content/pet-owners-warned-about-coyote-attacks <img src="http://www.columbinecourier.com/sites/www.columbinecourier.com/files/imagecache/thumb85/news-coyote10-pz-011415.jpg" alt="Nathan Pendleton, a Jeffco program assistant, shows kids differences among the skulls of several species of wild dogs. South Jeffco pet owners are being told to stay with their animals at all times outdoors during coyotes&#039; mating season. " title="Nathan Pendleton, a Jeffco program assistant, shows kids differences among the skulls of several species of wild dogs. South Jeffco pet owners are being told to stay with their animals at all times outdoors during coyotes&#039; mating season. " align="left" hspace="6" width="128" height="85" /><p> <span style="line-height: 20.3999996185303px;">South Jeffco residents are being warned not to leave their pets alone, even in a fenced-in area, after coyotes killed three area dogs since the first of the year.</span></p> <p> Carla Zinanti, the sheriff&rsquo;s animal control manager, said the increase in attacks has been centered near South Kipling Street and West Belleview Avenue, and also near Lilley Gulch Park. Zinanti said seven dogs had been attacked since Jan. 1, with three of them killed.</p>