Drugs & Kids: Taking on a Surmountable Public Health Challenge

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In 1898, The Bayer Co. commercialized their new pain reliever — a little off-the-shelf number called Heroin. At the time the opioid was considered a wonder drug. In 1996 Purdue Pharma started selling OxyContin. In 2016, the U.S. averaged 115 opioid overdose deaths a day.

We start with the opioid epidemic because it’s topical. It’s in the news and on our minds. It’s also but a single chapter of the broader substance use and abuse story. The opioid epidemic, as an illustrative case, can seem insurmountable. And drug abuse issues in general can produce similar thinking. Can anything be done, or are we helpless in the face of this massive problem? The Public Health and Environment Division in Broomfield, Colorado say something can be done.

The division is launching a Communities that Care (CTC) program to address youth substance abuse. CTC is a program of the Center for Communities that Care out of the University of Washington. “The CTC process begins with a youth survey to identify a community’s risks and strengths. Based on these data, CTC helps communities select and implement tested & effective prevention programs and policies. CTC also helps amplify programs already working.”

For Broomfield, the plan was to (1) convene a group of experts (steering committee) who work with youth and have some connection to youth substance abuse, (2) gather quantitative data and community input, (3) provide the steering committee with the data and input, and (4) have the steering committee make recommendations on what factors Broomfield should focus on.

The group, the steering committee, would be charged with recommending two to three factors for Broomfield to focus on, selected from CTC’s overall 32 factors. The factors a community selects help determine which strategies a community will employ to address youth substance abuse. Factors are separated into “protective factors” and “risk factors.” To oversimplify it, protective factors are proactive things that keep kids from getting into drugs, while risk factors are the types of events and influences that can lead a kid to getting into drugs. Which to focus on? Which will have the most effectiveness? Which is most influential in Broomfield? Answering those questions were the charge of the steering committee.

Gathering community input sought to get an on-the-ground understanding of drugs and kids in Broomfield. This is where CDR came in.

CDR had two jobs on this effort – collect the community input by conducting a series of interviews and help the steering committee make a consensus decision.

But why all the trouble? Broomfield had the authority to make a decision on which factors and strategies to select. Alison Long, Director of Health Promotions at Broomfield Public Health and Environment, said, “It is challenging to work with a group of residents from different disciplines and perspectives to come up with recommendations on how to address the complex problem of youth substance abuse. But when the coalition was able to reach consensus based on community input, we gained buy-in and support for our goals that would have been more difficult working as an individual organization.”

She spoiled the endgame there a little. But, she’s right. First, the steering committee passed a consensus-based recommendation to Broomfield. They recommended Broomfield focus on (1) School and Community Opportunities for Prosocial Involvement (Protective Factor) and (2) Early and Persistent Anti-Social Behavior (Risk Factor). And, the work of obtaining community input from schools, police, health care providers, youth who were former users, parents of kids with addiction, and other nonprofits created a big team, who’s invested in this issue; who wants to collaborate to make meaningful change on the issue; and who bring unique knowledge, resources, and ideas to addressing the issue. That’s to say, by getting community input, Broomfield not only got key information. They also got partners.

In the end, Broomfield is taking on a massive challenge, using tested strategies to do so, tailoring it to meet Broomfield’s unique needs, and founding it – using CDR’s help – on community partnership.

To learn more about CDR’s public health work or community assessments and data analysis write Taber Ward (tward@mediate.org) or Jeffrey Range (jrange@mediate.org).

 

Update: Colorado Wildlife and Transportation

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From 2005-2014, the total average cost of wildlife-vehicle collisions to Colorado citizens (not including the value of the wildlife killed and impacts to wildlife populations) was $57.3 million/year. In addition, there are an average of 3.3 human deaths as a result of wildlife-vehicle collisions per year and many more wildlife deaths. The Colorado Wildlife and Transportation Steering Committee is working hard to decrease these numbers.

In November of 2017, CDR posted this article about a new initiative addressing highway permeability in Colorado’s wildlife migration corridors. Since then, CDR has begun coordinating efforts between CDOT, CPW, FHWA, USFS, Mule Deer Foundation, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, and the Southern Ute Indian Tribe focused on Colorado’s wildlife and transportation integration. A Steering Committee has been formed to “provide safe passage for people and wildlife in Colorado,” and leaders from both the west and east slope are participating in the conversation. To achieve their goal, the group will identify ways to incorporate wildlife crossings into highway planning as well as look at habitat restoration along migration routes.

Currently, the initiative is in its formative stages and is working on both West and East Slope Wildlife Prioritization Studies. These studies, led by CDR partner JACOBS, will help the Steering Committee identify both highways and roads as well as species to prioritize when incorporating wildlife movement and habitats into highway planning. Once this data is collected, CDR and JACOBS will work together with the Committee to determine pathways for effectively sharing data across agencies and with the public. In addition to developing Committee buy-in for the initiative, CDR will be developing a broad engagement and education strategy across the state.

CDR is spearheading Steering Committee coordination and is committed to keeping the momentum from the successful 2017 Wildlife and Transportation Summit going. CDR has facilitated two Steering Committee meetings in 2018, establishing the group’s mission, vision, and goals through July 2019. Additional meetings are planned as the group begins to work on forming education opportunities, partnerships, and procedures.

We will continue to update you on education opportunities in your area and post group updates as they arise.

For more information contact Taber Ward. (tward@mediate.org)

Getting To The Heart of Conflict

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GETTING TO THE HEART OF CONFLICT

A Workshop with Author BERNIE MAYER

Sponsored by CDR Associates, Univ. of Denver Conflict Resolution Institute, and Cathy Schultheis, Co-Chair of the ADR Section of the Boulder County Bar Assoc.
RESCHEDULED FOR
May 4, 2018 from 8:45 – 2:00

Bernie Mayer, is well known to many of us as a founding partner of CDR Associates, and a long time mediator and conflict specialist. In this small, interactive, ½ day program, Bernie returns to Boulder to work with us on how to best understand the most essential conflicts our clients face and the biggest obstacles we encounter in helping to deal with these in a constructive way. He will ask us to look beyond interests to the underlying human needs that drive conflict and to contend with the polarized view that clients, and many of the professionals they work with, hold about the nature of their conflicts and the choices they face.

• The workshop fee of $99.00 includes lunch. Space is limited. First come first serve. CLE Application is pending.

• 7560 Monarch Road in Niwot, off Highway 52, just east of IBM

• RSVP to Cathy Schultheis at (303) 652-3638 or email at cathyboulderagent@yahoo.com. Your registration will be confirmed promptly.

Bernie Mayer, PhD, is a Professor of Conflict Studies, in the Program on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Creighton University. He has provided conflict intervention for families, communities, NGO’s, unions, corporations, and governmental agencies throughout North America and internationally for over 35 years. Bernie’s most recent book is The Conflict Paradox, Seven Dilemmas at the Core of Disputes. Earlier books include: The Dynamics of Conflict, Beyond Neutrality, and Staying With Conflict. Bernie received the 2015 John Haynes Distinguished Mediator Award, presented by the Association for Conflict Resolution, the 2013 President’s Award presented by the Association of Family Conciliation Courts, and the 2009 Meyer Elkin Award, also presented by the AFCC.

A Bernie Mayer BEYOND INTERESTS.doc FOR MAY 4TH (2)

Generosity and Wisdom – CDR Partner Louise Smart

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It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of CDR Partner Louise Smart. Louise was an instrumental member of the CDR team for over 20 years–developing our nationally renowned transportation practice area, mentoring and training hundreds of practitioners, as well as authoring numerous influential guidance documents that integrated dispute resolution concepts with transportation decision making. Her commitment to crafting practical positive change was wide-reaching.

Thank you, Louise.

New Staff

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Jeffrey Range

Jeffrey rejoins CDR with nearly a decade of experience internationally and in the U.S. He’s worked with government agencies, NGO’s, and companies in areas including land use, development, environmental sustainability, and organizational effectiveness. Please contact Jeffrey at jrange@mediate.org

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Spencer Dodge

Spencer assists in the design and facilitation of meetings across a broad spectrum of issues. Receiving his Master’s in Conflict Resolution from the Korbel School of International Studies at the University of Denver, he is committed to enhancing honest, collaborative processes by building relationships, solving problems creatively, and engaging with a diverse range of stakeholders. Please contact Spencer at sdodge@mediate.org

It’s All About the Context – Facilitating Transportation and Community Decision Making

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The I-70 Mountain corridor is the gateway to the Rocky Mountains from the Denver Metro area. It offers breathtaking views, access to unique and historic mountain communities, and rich natural heritage and resources. The corridor serves as a recreational destination for the world, a route for interstate and local commerce, and a unique place to live and play.  I-70 is also federally designated as a high priority corridor, a significant part of the defense network, a major east/west continental corridor, and a major economic corridor for Colorado.  For many local communities along the corridor, I-70 is the lifeline, primary access, and only connection to other communities.

Current I-70 roadway geometry is constrained with narrow shoulders and tight curves that impact safety, mobility, accessibility, and capacity for travelers and residents.  CDR has been working with the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) in partnership with local jurisdictions, landowners, and a variety of stakeholders along the I-70 corridor, to implement a Context Sensitive Solutions (CSS) process that will result in solutions to improve the westbound highway and the communities along the road. The goal is to develop transportation solutions that respect the unique environmental, historic, community, and recreational resources in the study area. Additionally, improvements are needed to lessen delays caused by peak period volumes.

Preliminary options have been developed during the Concept Development Process, and will now be moved forward in the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) process and toward implementation over the next few years.  As the process transitions into NEPA, CDR Associates will continue facilitating and engaging a diverse stakeholder group – from county representatives, recreational rafting and cycling groups, US Forest Service, businesses and residents.  Our goal is to provide a forum to effectively develop and communicate a shared vision and goals for the corridor that will safely and efficiently move people and freight while respecting and prioritizing the communities, ecosystems, and wildlife.

Contact: Taber Ward or Jonathan Bartsch

Wildlife and Transportation Summit: Providing Safe Passage for People and Wildlife

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We’ve all seen it: the unrecognizable remains of some beautiful animal on the side of the road that happened to try and cross traffic at an inopportune time. Unfortunately, this sight is all too common for those living in Colorado – in 2016, the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) reported nearly 7,000 wild animals killed by passing trucks and cars, resulting in two human fatalities and almost 400 injuries.

With the largest elk herd in North America and a rapidly expanding population, different agencies including the Colorado DOT, Colorado Parks and Wildlife (CPW), United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) are coordinating to alleviate strains on migratory animals as well as animals residing near high speed corridors.

While determining how to practically solve this growing problem is complicated, recent coordinated action has provided direction. To this end, in June 2017, CDR spearheaded the design and facilitation of the Wildlife and Transportation Summit in Silverthorne, Colorado – a two-day multi-agency, interdisciplinary conference hosted by CDOT, CPW, and FHWA. The Summit established partnerships and developed recommendations to improve highway safety and protect wildlife populations.  Summit attendees included multiple state agencies, USFWS, the US Forest Service, legislators, the Nature Conservancy, private landowners, the freight industry, foundations, academia, and wildlife experts.

CDR focused on building momentum and finding common goals among policymakers, agency staff and public-private stakeholders to develop strategies and identify funding for wildlife crossings, mitigation work and herd migration.

The Summit focused on issues, including:

  • wildlife migration and permeability
  • animal-vehicle collisions
  • highway safety
  • highway mitigation features (fencing, overpasses, underpasses)
  • partnership opportunities

What’s Next?

Summit recommendations were recently presented and discussed with the Transportation Environmental Resource Council (TERC), a Colorado inter-agency forum. CDR will be working with CDOT, CPW, and FHWA to facilitate and implement the Summit recommendations and develop an Action Plan beginning with a focus on the West Slope of Colorado beginning in early 2018.

Contact Taber Ward or Spencer Dodge for more information.

CULTURE SHOCK: Boulder’s Public Participation Working Group – FINAL REPORT

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The verdict is in: The City of Boulder needs to change the culture of public engagement. After almost a year of research, discussion, deliberation and drafting, the Public Participation Work Group (PPWG) produced their Final Report – the report is currently on Boulder’s PPWG website and was approved  by the City Council.

Root problems identified by the PPWG include: lack of understanding of how public engagement and decision-making processes work and lack of consistent productive public conversations. As a result, this leads to frustration, anger and disruptive behavior, even for the “happiest City in the country.” The PPWG worked to support a fundamental shift in the way Boulder culture is played out by: 1) Changing the Culture of Public Engagement and 2) Utilizing a Comprehensive Decision-Making Process to enable community members to play the appropriate roles in partnership with the City of Boulder and key decision makers. The PPWG emphasized that this process will take time, require resources, and ought to be evaluated to measure improvements and modify accordingly.

In our last edition of CDR’s “Talking Points,” we provided a snapshot of the PPWG deliberations and the desire to re-vamp Boulder’s public engagement processes. Six months later, the PPWG’s Final Report provides five key problem statements and a road map to address these problems through a series of cultural shifts and decision-making process recommendations. The report is directed to everyone in Boulder – as the responsibility of good public participation is shared among community members, the City of Boulder Council, Staff, Boards and Commissions, decision-makers.

One of CDR’s strengths was highlighted during this process:  designing and implementing public-involvement processes to fit the specific community needs.  CDR facilitated the successful conclusion of this challenging and complex process by reaching agreement with the PPWG members and gaining approval from the Council.

For us, the PPWG process provides an opportunity to improve the community where we live and work.  Going beyond the mechanics of public involvement and focusing on the culture and principles of public participation can result in improved decision-making and stronger relationships.

For more information: Contact Taber Ward or Jonathan Bartsch

Oil and Gas Development in Colorado: Is Consensus Possible?

BROOMFIELD, CO -MARCH 15: Workers build homes in the Anthem subdivistion near the spot of the proposed Sheridan pad, that could have up to 40 wells, in Broomfield, March 15, 2017. A rebound in oil prices is spurring a rebound in drilling, including close-in to residential areas. (Photo by RJ Sangosti/The Denver Post)

CDR facilitated the high-profile and challenging Broomfield Oil and Gas Comprehensive Plan Update Committee (Committee). A 14-person, citizen-committee, comprised of diverse and divergent perspectives regarding oil and gas, worked for over six months to develop a consensus agreement that was adopted by the Broomfield City Council.

Background

Oil and gas development has been important to Colorado for decades. As both Colorado’s population and the international demand for oil and gas have continued to climb, oil and gas development has encroached on urban and suburban areas, while cities and towns have sprawled towards historic oil and gas areas. Landowners are sometimes frustrated to learn about the state law that allows a “split estate.” Split estate means that surface property rights are the landowner’s rights to the surface of the land and mineral rights are property rights to the minerals beneath the surface of the land. These mineral rights can be “split off” from surface rights, meaning minerals beneath the land can be owned by a separate entity. Mineral rights include a mineral owner’s right to explore, mine and produce the rocks, minerals, oil, or natural gas below the surface of the property. This includes the right to enter upon the land and extract those minerals or receive royalty from the extraction of the minerals. In Colorado, the fact that surface and mineral rights for the same area of land may have different owners can result in disputes.

Update Committee

In response to public concerns and anger toward an oil and gas proposal that would site multi-well pads near residential areas (some sites included over 40 wells per pad), the City Council organized a transparent and citizen driven effort to develop regulations and guidance for oil and gas contract negotiations and memorandums of understanding (MOUs).

Broomfield convened a public forum at the 1st Bank Center that attracted thousands of concerned community members (in-person and live streamed) and later formed the Update Committee that prioritized the health, safety, and welfare of the residents and environment of Broomfield, as part of the Comprehensive Plan.  The Committee members also recognized, as part of their charge, the need to allow mineral rights owners’ reasonable access to their mineral property. The Council charged the Committee with this technically complex and controversial task.

The Committee organized itself into four subcommittees: Health, Community Impacts, Planning, and Legal.  The Committee met at least two times a week for over six months. Numerous experts presented to the Committee on a range of topics to better inform the deliberations from air quality and noise standards to property values and state policy.

Consensus Agreement

CDR facilitated the Update Committee’s consensus agreement working through numerous contentious issues, framing the problems constructively and encouraging frank and creative problem solving. One of the essential elements of the effort was the strong technical, legal and policy support from the Broomfield staff.

The six-month facilitation resulted in comprehensive, strategic, and far reaching recommendations. Both the process and the substantive recommendations are seen to be a model for other communities facing similar challenges. These recommendations require state of the art technology and target regulation to mitigate, to the extent possible, negative impacts to the community and the environment.  Recommendations from the Update Committee include: Air Quality, Groundwater, Environmental Assessment, Oil and Gas Facility Siting, Application Process and Requirements, Pipelines, Setbacks, Traffic, Visual Screening, Insurance and Bonding, and Enforcement.

Click here to view City Council Resolution 2017-160 and the adopted Comprehensive Plan Update Chapter on Oil and Gas, adopted on September 26, 2017.

For more information contact: Jonathan Bartsch or Taber Ward

CDR Welcomes – Taber Ward – Program Manager

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Taber is an attorney and facilitator with a focus on building partnerships, collaboration on transportation issues, regulatory design, and legal and policy analysis.   She has worked with a range of public and private agencies and organizations to solve problems, reach decisions and resolve conflicts.  Taber’s work includes convening stakeholder groups, consensus-building and working with agencies and non-profit boards to improve decision-making processes, increase understanding and rebuild trust. Taber is adept at working across and between sectors with social entrepreneurs, activists, government, non-profits, and business leaders.

Taber earned a law degree from the Colorado Law School in Boulder and practiced public health and natural resource law for the State of Colorado. She also founded Mountain Flower Goat Dairy, a non-profit urban agriculture project with a mission to train the next generation of farmers while providing humanely produced dairy products to the community.  Additionally, Taber has previously worked with Boards of Directors and Executives, run business development teams and facilitated government affairs and policy efforts.

Taber is an integral part of the future of CDR, currently working on a variety of challenging and exciting transportation, wildlife and public involvement efforts.

In her free time, Taber can be found mucking around with goats or on a hike in the Colorado mountains and walking her dog.

If you would like to know more, find Taber’s contact information here.

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