By Joseph Lekarczyk
In the interest of full disclosure, let it be known that the author of this article is married to the Mayor.
The Lyons Board of Trustees (BOT) held a workshop prior to their regularly scheduled meeting Monday night (February 7) to discuss the job description and duties of Paula Randazzo, an intervention counselor at the high school whose salary is jointly funded by the Town, Boulder County, and the St. Vrain Valley School District. Lest anyone worry that the subject was not at the forefront of everyone’s mind, the discussion did eventually come around to medical marijuana.
Randazzo and Student Resource Officer Brit Fell (Boulder County Sheriff’s Office) were on hand to answer questions about their experiences with students concerning drugs and alcohol at the school. Randazzo indicated that she has not personally seen an increase in the incidences in her work, and Fell stated that the numbers of cases of police referrals (all incidences of drugs or alcohol on campus are referred to law enforcement) has increased from one, to four, to seven over the last three years. It wasn’t made clear whether this increase was due to a change in policy and/or reporting or some other factor. He did make a reference to the “infinite campus” (a means via the internet that parents can monitor their child’s academic progress) and then it got a little confusing, because he stated that there hadn’t been any suspensions or expulsion due to drugs or alcohol for this current year.
Fell also shared the results of a poll he had just taken that day (he admitted it wasn’t “scientific,” but it was enlightening) among twelve students at Lyons Middle/Senior High School, four 8th graders, four 9th graders, and four seniors. He asked them: Do you feel the use of marijuana by students is more prevalent now than three years ago? Do you feel that medical marijuana has led to a more acceptable attitude toward marijuana use? and Do you think that the presence of medical marijuana centers gives a negative perception about Lyons to people from out of town? The answers were “yes” by 100 percent of the twelve students asked for the first two questions, and split fifty-fifty for the third (all four seniors said yes to the third). Fell also cleared up a misconception that six or seven students had dropped out of school this year. He indicated that one student had elected to attend an online option, and the other six students had actually transferred because their parents had moved either out of state or out of district. He added that as far as he knew, none of those moves were precipitated because of a fear of drug use at the school.
Then it was on to the regular meeting after a few audio glitches were somewhat worked out. Lyons Substation Supervisor Sgt. Kevin Parker reported that, “three local youths had been issued summons for graffiti under the Apple Valley Bridge.” He added that at this point there isn’t any evidence to tie the hooligans to the Meadow Park-Post Office-Elementary School capers, but that the investigation is “ongoing.”
There were two public hearings and second readings for ordinances, the first to amend the Town’s annexation regulations. This issue drew a half dozen responses from concerned citizens. The concerns included: the clarity of the language, public notification, zone changes at the time of annexation, environmental impacts, disclosure of development plans prior to annexation, leaving money on the table, giving away leverage, losing qualities of Lyons that we love, and keeping the intention of public awareness and input. The big concern, taking away the public’s right to vote on annexations of over five acre parcels that were owned by a governmental entity or were deemed unable to be developed (a PCDC recommendation), was struck from the ordinance at the behest of the BOT before the public hearing got started. One speaker, representing the owners of a nine-acre parcel at the intersection of Rts. 66/36, did come out in favor of allowing annexation of up to ten acres without putting it to a public referendum. Most of the issues were discussed and dealt with by the Board, although seemingly not to the full satisfaction of all of those who spoke, and in the end a few minor amendments were added to the amendments, and the ordinance was passed in a 7 to 0 vote.
The second public hearing and second reading of an ordinance involved use and allocation of water by the Town of Lyons from the Big Thompson Water Project and the Northern Colorado Water Conservancy District. This is an annual “housekeeping” item, and was passed quickly with no public comment and very little discussion. Likewise the consent agenda, consisting of: the January 4 BOT meeting minutes, the January accounts payable, an Arbor Day proclamation, and a resolution involving the collection of taxes between Boulder County and the Town of Lyons, sailed through with a 7 to 0 vote.
Under general business, the Trustees voted to have the Town of Lyons Electric Department purchase the equipment and assets of the Lyons Christmas Light Show (in Sandstone Park) from Kyle Miller. He will continue to set up the displays, and train other staff members on how to operate the systems. The Board also authorized Administrator Victoria Simonsen to submit a WaterSmart Grant on behalf of the Town.
During Staff reports, Simonsen announced that Downtown Lyons had been selected as one of the 2011 top-ten finalists for the DRCOG “Live Work Play” contest. “Live Work Play,” not to be confused with “Eat, Pray, Love,” will shine the spotlight on 10 great places, events, and projects in the livable communities throughout the Denver metro area over the next three months, culminating with a “People’s Choice” award on April 13. Stories about the ten finalists will be featured in the 5280 Magazine, and on the Channel 9News over the next few months (lots of great publicity for the community). There will also be an opportunity for the public to vote online, beginning Thursday, February 10, at the website http://www3.drcog.org/LiveWorkPlay. So we need everyone in the community to get on board, and go to the site and vote! As they say in Chicago, “Vote Early, and Vote Often!”