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Cost of electricity driving up rates for IREA customers

By Barbara Ford

IREA customers have seen at least a 16.5 percent increase in the cost of heating and lighting their homes since the beginning of December and should prepare for an additional 6.5 percent boost starting Jan. 1.

However, IREA will freeze rates after the Jan. 1 increase in an effort to cap rising energy costs that are passed along to its 138,000 households, according to Bill Schroeder, manager of public affairs for the Intermountain Rural Electric Association.


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Elk Run debuts comfort care suites

By The Staff

“Be careful what you wish for!” laughed Lisa Rogers, director of resident services at Evergreen’s Elk Run Assisted Living Community. “This started as the glimmer of an idea less than three months ago — and now look where we are!”


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Luckylure offers free Christmas trees to families in need

By The Staff

Luckylure Christmas Trees in Evergreen is about to kick off its annual tree giveaway for area families in need.

Starting today, 25 Christmas trees will be available for any foothills families who have experience job loss as a result of the ailing economy.

Glen “Rocky” Brougham, owner of Luckylure, has also presented checks to the Evergreen fire department, the Elks Lodge and the Seniors’ Resource Center as part of a 16-year tradition of contributing to the community.


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Evergreen resident Stephanie Villafuerte, 43, is stepping down as the nominee for the job of U.S. attorney for Colorado.

Villafuerte withdraws as nominee for U.S. attorney

By Vicky Gits

Evergreen resident Stephanie Villafuerte, 43, is stepping down as the nominee for the job of U.S. attorney for Colorado.

U.S. Sen. Mark Udall and Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar submitted Villafuerte’s name for consideration along with the names of William Thiebaut Jr. and John Walsh III in February. She currently works as the governor’s deputy chief of staff.


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Merit pay awards not affected

EFPD delays decision on cost-of-living raises

By Vicky Gits

The Evergreen Fire Protection District board voted to postpone a decision on whether to authorize cost-of-living raises pending the results of a market-wide pay analysis.

At the regular meeting Dec. 8, the board adopted on a 3-2 vote a 2010 budget that included funds for as much as a 3.5 percent cost-of-living adjustment. But whether or not the money is forthcoming remains to be seen.

Board members Charles Simons, Jeff DeDisse and George Kling voted in favor of the budget. Chick Dykeman and George Goldbach voted against.


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Planning board gives vacation rentals conditional OK

By Vicky Gits

Commissioners Jim Spaanstra, Shirley Johnson, Joe Siccardi, Jim Allred, Larry Anna, Jim Cole, Richard Olson, Rick Nelson and Alan Jones were in attendance. Allred excused himself from the vote because he was not able to attend all the hearings.The decision is a recommendation only and next goes to the Jeffco commissioners, which make the final decision.

Under the recommendation of the planning body, the Board of Adjustment would be empowered to grant a special exception for short-term vacation rentals in unincorporated Jefferson County, under certain conditions.


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Jurors give county critic symbolic damage award

Zinna wins lawsuit against former commissioner

By Emile Hallez

Longtime county critic Mike Zinna won his First Amendment lawsuit against former commissioner Jim Congrove on Wednesday when jurors awarded him the sum of $1,791 — a number that corresponds with the year the Bill of Rights was ratified.

The former talk-radio host and gadfly blogger alleged that Congrove and others violated his First Amendment rights by taking steps to prevent him from speaking at public hearings and to halt his investigations into county government.


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Moore fired as county administrator

By Emile Hallez

County Administrator Jim Moore was fired Dec. 9 in a unanimous vote by the county commissioners.

Commissioners Kathy Hartman, Kevin McCasky and Faye Griffin voted to terminate Moore's employment with the county effective immediately. It was not revealed what, if any, severance package he would receive.

Neither the board nor County Attorney Ellen Wakeman answered questions about the terms of Moore’s firing.

“We have issued a statement that this stands as the official position of the board,” McCasky said. “No further comment.”


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Zinna case against Congrove goes to jury

By Vicky Gits

Jurors are deliberating the lawsuit by longtime Jeffco critic Mike Zinna against former county commissioner Jim Congrove. The suit alleges that, in 2005 and 2006, Congrove targeted Zinna for investigation, defamation and harassment, in violation of Zinna’s First Amendment rights.

A commercial photographer testified Dec. 7 in federal court that he had a falling out with Zinna after Zinna failed to pay him for work he’d done on the website Coloradoexposed.com.


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Acclaimed pianist to visit for holiday concert

By Barbara Ford

Acclaimed pianist Romayne Wheeler will bring his particular brand of musical magic to Evergreen for a holiday family concert event on Dec. 19 and 20.

Wheeler, who lives full-time in Mexico, is an internationally known concert pianist who composes and performs worldwide concerts and donates the proceeds to an indigenous community in northern Mexico.


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