Each February since 2008, Commerce City’s Spread the Love food drive has encouraged residents to donate peanut butter and jelly for local food banks. The period after the holiday season often finds food banks receiving fewer donations at a time when food is in high demand. The economic impacts of the pandemic have led to increased food insecurity and even greater demand for local food banks to assist our neighbors needing a helping hand. 

Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are high in protein and easy for kids to make without adult supervision, making Spread the Love an ideal way to donate and help local food banks. The city distributes donations of these and other non-perishable goods to the Adams County Food Bank and the FISH of Commerce City Food Bank at Our Savior Lutheran Church.

Donations of peanut butter and jelly are accepted throughout February at drop-off locations throughout the city: 

Commerce City Civic Center, 7887 E 60th Ave, Commerce City, CO 80022
Municipal Services Center, 8602 Rosemary St, Commerce City, CO 80022
Bison Ridge Recreation Center, 13905 E 112th Ave, Commerce City, CO 80022
Eagle Pointe Recreation Center and Active Adult Center, 6060 Parkway Dr, Commerce City, CO 80022

Cram the Cruiser
The highlight of our annual “Spread the Love” food drive comes as Commerce City police officers encourage residents to fill police vehicles with donations of peanut butter and jelly for local food banks. Officers will be posted in front of both King Soopers stores in Commerce City for the event to chat with shoppers and give kids a look at their patrol vehicles while they collect donations.

WHAT: Cram the Cruiser food drive event
WHEN: TBD
WHERE: TBD

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Climate activist and Oscar-winning actress Jane Fonda delivered a message Thursday morning to the people who live in north Denver and Commerce City after she received a tour of the 80216 zip code, known as one of the most polluted zip codes in the United States.

“We will fight with you,” she said.

Fonda visited the neighborhood and talked with local activists on behalf of her political action committee, the Jane Fonda Climate PAC, to hear stories about pollution in the neighborhood and to ask how she can help.

Fonda’s PAC focuses on electing state and local leaders who show a strong interest in reversing climate change and ending the country’s reliance on fossil fuels. The PAC supported Denver City Council members Shontel Lewis and Sarah Parady, who were elected last year.

Although Fonda said she has visited Denver frequently, she was unaware of Commerce City’s plight until Harmony Cummings, director of The Green House Connection Center in Denver’s Elyria-Swansea neighborhood, decided to reach out and invite the longtime activist to visit.

Fonda is appearing Friday at Colorado State University for a public talk with university president Amy Parsons about climate and democracy. So she agreed to make time for Cummings and other environmental activists in the community during her trip to Colorado.

“I never knew about Commerce City and this situation,” she said. “I didn’t realize how dangerously polluted it is and how unresponsive the elected officials have been. This is something I care a lot about.”

Fonda spent about 45 minutes listening to local environmental activists talk about Colorado’s poor air quality and how it makes people sick. They spoke of nosebleeds, headaches and cancer.

She took notes on a legal pad with a pen that had a plastic red flower attached to it. By the time the locals were finished talking, Fonda was wiping tears from the corners of her eyes.

“I’m very moved by your spirit,” she said. “You’re local people fighting, standing up and often winning.”

Lucy Molina, an environmental activist who lives just blocks from Suncor Energy’s Commerce City refinery, was so overjoyed by Fonda’s visit that she cried when the two met. Molina narrated a short bus tour around the neighborhood as she sat next to Fonda.

Actress and activist Jane Fonda tours a neighborhood in Commerce City on Thursday, Feb. 1, 2024. Fonda was in the city to hear community members from the Elyria-Swansea and Commerce City communities regarding pollution from Suncor, Purina and the adjacent stretch of I-70 affecting their health. (Photo by AAron Ontiveroz/The Denver Post)

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The bus traveled down Brighton Boulevard to see the Suncor refinery — one of the largest polluters in the state — along with Waste Management’s garbage transfer site and the high-profile red-and-white smoke stack at Xcel Energy’s Cherokee Generating Station, an electricity plant powered by natural gas.

Fonda also got a big whiff of the Nestle Purina pet food factory during her visit as the Green House Connection Center is just across Interstate 70 from the plant.

“You smelled it when you got here,” Molina said. “Don’t say you didn’t. This is what we live with.”

Molina and the activists asked Fonda to continue supporting local political candidates with strong environmental credentials and asked for her to use her fame as an actress to raise national awareness about their community.

“I’m just honored to bring national attention to this environmental racism,” Molina said. “We are a sacrifice zone.”

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Adams County – The Denver Post

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COMMERCE CITY, Colo. Police in Commerce City are asking for the publics help after a man attempted to kidnap a young girl near an elementary school Wednesday.

The teen girl was walking from the Second Creek Elementary School area between 4:30 and 5 p.m. Wednesday when she was followed by a man for about three blocks, according to a news release from the Commerce City Police Department.

Police said she was able to contact her parents, who then called 911 immediately.

Investigators said the girl provided a very detailed description of the suspect and the car he was driving, describing him as a bald, Hispanic man in his 30s with a longer dark-colored beard and a snake tattoo on his outer left forearm.

The girl told police at the time of the incident that the suspect was wearing a white t-shirt and black pants. The car was described as gray/silver in color with tinted windows, some damage to the front fender on the drivers side near the headlight, and possible taillight damage on the same side.

If you or someone you know is able to help police find the suspect, you are asked to call the Commerce City investigative tip line at 303-289-3626.

Denver 7+ Colorado News Latest Headlines | January 18, 11am

Commerce City

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As summer approaches, Commerce City Parks and Recreation is excited to announce that registration packets for their state-licensed summer camps are now available. These camps are a hub for children and teens to explore, learn, and grow in a safe and nurturing environment.

Registration Packets Availability

Parents can now access the Summer Camp Registration Packets at both Recreation Center locations and online through the provided link. However, it’s important to note that these packets will not be accepted until the official registration dates.

Registration Dates and Contact Information

For residents, the registration window opens on February 13th at 5 pm, while non-residents can start registering their children from February 14th at 5 pm. These dates mark the beginning of an opportunity for kids and teens to engage in a variety of fun and educational activities, from arts and crafts to outdoor adventures.

In case of any queries or need for additional information, parents are encouraged to reach out to Megan Krabbe, the Recreation Coordinator for Youth Services. Her role ensures that every child’s experience at the camp is both enjoyable and enriching.

A Diverse Range of Programs

Commerce City Parks and Recreation’s summer camps offer a wide array of programs. The Youth Camp Venture caters to younger children with activities like swimming and field trips, while the Adventure Trek provides older kids with exhilarating experiences like whitewater rafting and survival skills training. There’s also a special ‘Leaders in Training’ program for teens aspiring to work with children, emphasizing leadership and supervision skills.

Community Trust and Anticipation

The overwhelming positive feedback from parents in previous years highlights the camp’s success in providing a memorable and beneficial summer experience. With registration quickly approaching, Commerce City Parks and Recreation is ready to offer another season of fun, friendship, and learning, solidifying its role as a cherished part of the community’s summer offerings.

Learn more on the Commerce City Recreation Website.

The last of the four founding classes at the STEAD School will be entering this fall. Current eighth graders, this is your chance to get in on the ground floor of one of the most exciting, engaging high school experiences you could imagine. Check it out: www.thesteadschool.org/enroll

The Thunderhawk Pride marching band will be stepping off to represent rural communities across the state.

KUSA RSS Feed: local

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BE GREEN THIS HOLIDAY SEASON and recycle your natural Christmas tree with the city. Six free drop-off locations

Six free drop-off locations are open until Jan. 14, 2024, to let you dispose of your tree at no charge. The Parks Division will mulch the trees and use the material along the city greenways and trails. Approximately 384 trees were recycled last year.

Trees should be natural and free of all ornaments, decorations, and stands. Wreaths, tree limbs, synthetic trees, bushes, and shrubs are not accepted for recycling. Contribute your tree and help keep the city beautiful throughout the trails system.

Drop-off locations:

Look for fencing and signage, clearly marking the recycling drop-off areas at each location. For additional information, contact the parks operations hotline at 303-289-8183.

Click here for more information

A growing herd of 250 bison, re-introduced at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge to help restore toxic wasteland to the native short-grass prairie, often descends through a floodplain to reach First Creek and cross to northern half of the refuge.

But torrents of water spilling off the rapidly urbanizing parts of Denver and Aurora east of the 25-square-mile refuge have torn into the floodplain, carving a gully that blocks the bison from crossing the creek.

“This is a human-created challenge resulting from all the development,” biologist Sarah Metzer, the refuge’s supervisory ranger, said. “Bison are nimble animals but they’re going to have a hard time moving across this creek and getting up that other side.”

Biologist Sarah Metzer, looks over flood damage at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Denver on Dec. 12, 2023. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

The deepening gully has become an obstacle for both the recovery of a genetically robust herd of bison and the broader mission of revitalizing this land, where the U.S. Army produced chemical weapons and the Shell Oil Co. produced the pesticide DDT.

“The bison won’t graze on the land across First Creek because now they have to go all the way around,” Metzer said. “That land is not going to get grazed. All the ecological benefits of having bison here are for naught.”

Federal wildlife biologists managing the refuge have a plan to reconstruct the floodplain, starting in January, with estimated costs ranging from $40 million to $61 million. They also hope to be ready to withstand additional pressures that will come with continued growth around the refuge and a warming climate.

It must be “restoration on steroids,” refuge manager David Lucas said.

Runoff increased gradually over three decades following the development east of metro Denver to create Denver International Airport, housing such as Denver’s Green Valley Ranch, Aurora’s $800 million Gaylord Rockies Resort and Convention Center, along with roads, shops, restaurants and parking lots. Development changed water flows as rain hit roofs, asphalt and concrete.

Historically, First Creek flowed intermittently, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The floodplain reconstruction calls for re-contouring land and creating a curving creek, extending the length from 5.3 miles to 7.7 miles. The new floodplain then would be able to carry far more water toward the South Platte River.

Federal biologists have used bison, herbicides and prescribed fire to restore a native short-grass prairie that existed before 19th-century human settlement. The bison — a dozen were introduced in 2006 — have thrived, with some bulls weighing more than a ton. The toughest challenge for refuge managers, until now, has been crowd control as metro Denver residents and Colorado visitors flock to see the bison. Refuge visitation this past year exceeded 950,000, shattering previous records.

But sustaining the bison, let alone allowing the herd to grow, requires access to sufficient prairie grazing habitat.

Lucas pointed to floodplain areas where runoff this year cut gullies six feet deeper. He recently began training to operate large yellow earth-moving machines himself.

“We have to increase the floodplain capacity. We are building resilience.”

Bison graze in a field at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Denver on Dec. 12, 2023. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

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The measurements from a USGS stream gauge near Pena Boulevard along First Creek show water flows increasing from “intermittent” around 1991 toward a steady flow of 4 to 8 cubic feet per second. This year, runoff surges pushed creek flows to nearly 800 cfs, a record, exceeding surges up to 420 cfs after northern Colorado’s 2013 floods.

To solve the problem, federal refuge managers are working with engineers from the Mile High Flood District, a taxpayer-supported agency charged with managing water runoff across a seven-county area where flows across 40 municipal boundaries create challenges.

“There definitely could be changes in the way land is developed when it comes to stormwater management,” said David Skuodas, the MHFD’s director of design, construction, and maintenance. “Imagine a neighborhood that looks completely different, with a lot more green space, a lot more open space.”

The runoff across the refuge has also created problems for Commerce City, which sits between the refuge and the South Platte River. Last summer, the runoff flooded 96th Avenue, a major thoroughfare, forcing a month-long closure. Public works crews had to install additional concrete culverts to deal with the drainage.

“Closing 96th Avenue definitely was a challenge. It’s a major truck route and trucks had to go up to 104th Avenue, which is already congested during peak hours,” city engineer Shawn Poe said.

“Commerce City would be receptive” to a reconstruction of the First Creek floodplain, he said. “It would slow down the water and ease our conditions.”

Biologist Sarah Metzer, stands near an area of flood damage at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge in Denver on Dec. 12, 2023. (Photo by Helen H. Richardson/The Denver Post)

Efforts to capture stormwater and reduce flooding have been successful elsewhere in the area.  In Denver, for example, the city re-opened buried portions of Montclair Creek in east-central Denver and city spokeswoman Nancy Kuhn said it plans to improve the drainage for the Irondale Gulch area, and the East 56th Avenue and Uvalda Street area, both near the refuge.

The refuge bison herd grew this year with 50 calves. If grazing routes to northeastern prairie grasses are maintained, bison eventually may be more visible for DIA travelers arriving in Colorado and rolling toward Denver at a long-planned turn-out along Pena Boulevard.

However, the completion of the floodplain reconstruction will depend on funding. Refuge officials said they’re hoping federal infrastructure grants may be available. Starting in January, crews of existing refuge staffers will begin initial work on an initial $11 million portion of the project

“We desire a natural prairie landscape that will support prairie species, including bison,” Lucas said. Natural systems work better for our wildlife and they thrive. Natural systems are far more resilient. But we must consider that the larger First Creek Basin is highly altered.”

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Adams County – The Denver Post

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