Top stories of the year


Posted 12/30/13

It has been a year of change for Golden with well-respected community leaders stepping down to new faces on city council next year. There was a lot to report on this year but here is a list of some of the top 10 stories listed in no particular …

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Top stories of the year



It has been a year of change for Golden with well-respected community leaders stepping down to new faces on city council next year. There was a lot to report on this year but here is a list of some of the top 10 stories listed in no particular order.

A few community leaders say goodbye to Golden

The city saw the voluntarily resignations of some of the city’s most valuable movers and shakers including Gary Wink, president and CEO of the Golden Chamber of Commerce; Chris McGee, executive director of the Bicycle Racing Association of Colorado; and Mike Heller, executive director of the Golden Urban Renewable Authority. More time with family seemed to be the central theme of reasons why Wink and McGee decided to move on, with Heller moving on to take a job with the City of Thornton.

Highway 93 and 19th St. Project Approval

CDOT approved plans for the Highway 6 and 19th St. intersection as part of the “Golden Plan” approved by CDOT and Golden earlier in the year. The project was approved as part of CDOT’s Responsible Acceleration of Maintenance and Partnerships (RAMP) program totaling $580 million in a statewide effort to expand Colorado’s transportation system. Golden receive $20 million from the state for the project. The approval was a win for city council that has fought long and hard with the county for its plans for WestConnect. No schedule is set for construction at this time.

Earth Treks makes a home in Golden

The largest climbing center in Colorado and west of the Mississippi is right here in Golden, totaling 29,000 square feet with 48 feet high climbing walls and more than 450 routes and boulder obstacles. The large facility opened right on time, complete with solar panels provided by local company Buglet Solar.

Earth Treks owner Chris Warner reported they have 600 members and counting.

Guests can receive a day pass for $19 and rentals are available for climbing shoes, harnesses, belay device, and chalk bag. A whole rental package for gear is available for $11. Check out the complete website at

Local business voted ‘best’ in Denver Metro Area

Goozell Frozen and Coffee at 1200 Washington Ave., was voted the Best Froyo Shop in Denver for 2013, putting them ahead of other frozen yogurt chains like Menchie’s. Using pure, kosher certified yogurt with 100 million cultures per gram pro-biotic, Goozell strays from powder mixes. The unique froyo shop with a Turkish twist offers up to 18 different flavors available with toppings as diverse as their frozen yogurt.

Downtown Development Authority picks up GURA project

After discussion and some confusion over the funding of a DDA, voters approved its creation in the November elections to take over the downtown development initiative started by GURA. Two main sources of funding will be applied to the DDA, a 5 mill levy and tax increment financing or TIF which is a funding tool for local economic development organizations such as the DDA or GURA. The 5 mill levy will be applied to residents and businesses within the DDA boundary, which is separate from the city’s mill levy, and a Golden Downtown General Improvement District levy. It will take some time before DDA is established but board members are expected to be appointed by spring or early summer.

Dan Thoemke receives community recognition

Though quite humble in person, Dan Thoemke has been a driving force in the city of Golden when it comes to uniting a community through charity work and faith. As director of Community Faith In Action, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the facilitation of the collaborative work with most of Golden’s churches known as the Together Church of Golden, Thoemke has been the catalyst in some of the city’s most recognizable charitable works. Among these are the Neighborhood Rehab Project Day of Service and the remodeled school bus for the Snack-n-Wagon under a supplemental feeding program called Golden Backpack. That project has been so successful it influenced a young teen, Spencer White, to create a new bagging system for the program for his Eagle Scout Project. Thoemke received the Mayor’s Award of Excellence in September where he was recognized for his continual contributions to the city.

Golden’s notorious offenders sentenced

Judith Eakins, 54 of Wheat Ridge, received a 10-year sentence to community corrections after embezzling $160,341 from Golden High School. While working as the school’s financial secretary, Eakins stole money from the school’s annual functions including homecoming, prom, football events and theatre productions. In a separate theft case, Eakins was given six years of probation after stealing her ailing mother’s social security and pension checks totaling $30,000. A district judge ordered Eakins to pay restitution to GHS first, to the sum of $57,167.

In an emotional sentencing, David Reathman, 65 of Golden was given a 48 year sentence for the murder of his wife, Barbara Reathman, 70. On March 25, 2013 Reathman strangled his wife while she slept, and later tried to kill himself as part of a murder-suicide attempt he had planned for weeks, according to a Golden city police report. Barbara Reathman’s family attended the sentencing with a statement read by Reathman’s daughter Julie Campbell who described the hardship and pain caused by the death of her mother. David Reathman stated to police that he killed his wife as a way to escape their financial issues; he and his wife were married for 37 years.

Gerald Hurley, a convicted sexually violent predator, raised public concern when notification was received that he would be living in Golden. Gerald Hurley, 50, was convicted of two counts of sexual assault on a child in 2003. Although police would not discuss Hurley’s case, other media outlets reported that back in 2002 Hurley and his wife were discovered by Jefferson County Human Services to not only be neglecting their six children, but also sexually and physically abusing them. Although Hurley was released on July 25, 2013 and promptly registered with the Golden Police Department on July 31, he left Jefferson County sometime around Aug. 17 or Aug. 18 to go to Wisconsin where he was picked up by police on an unrelated charge and is currently in custody. When released, Hurley plans to return to Golden, according to Detective Stacey Galbraith of the Golden Police Department.

History exhibit just for Golden

The Golden History Center came up with the most intriguing exhibit yet this year titled “Made in Golden” which focuses on local innovators to hit the national and international stage including Coors, Samuel Reed, Epilog and Spyderco. Interactive features have been integrated into the exhibit with an exploration for why innovation occurs. The exhibit is ongoing and there is much to see and do. Ticket prices are set at $3 for adults and free admission to children six and under. For more information on the exhibit visit:

NREL finishes new building and laboratory

The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory or NREL continues its advance towards innovative technology and energy through the latest addition to the campus, the Energy Systems Integration Facility or ESIF. The 182, 500 sq. ft. facility houses 200 offices, 15 innovate laboratories, and several outdoor test areas. The ESIF building finished construction two months ago, and is the largest addition to the NREL campus, costing $135 million. The facility provides enough indoor space for hundreds of guest scientists and sub-contractors to test and research their work. The four main areas of research for the ESIF building is high performance data and computing, fuel cell development, electrical systems and thermal energy. The new labs offer scientists the chance to create fuel cells on site, and work with nano materials, liquids, gases and even plasma.

Beer Talks for TED followers

Golden Beer Talks, a new and informative discussion forum influenced by TED talks and sponsored by Golden Radio and has had a successful start which was seen during their November talk titled “Beer and Health” with Kinn Knudsen, beer consultant. Topics will vary every month so it was just coincidental that in November, “Beer Talks” talked beer. Talks are held every second Tuesday of the month (except December) and held at the Windy Saddle Café at 1110 Washington Ave. at 6:30 p.m. Drinks and food is provided by local brewers and the Windy Saddle’s talent chef. For more information go to

Comedy nights in Golden

Comedy at the Alley is a new venue at Miners Alley Playhouse which kicked off Aug. 29. Miners Alley has never had a comedy night, and Len Matheo, co-executive director of Miners Alley is hoping it will take off and establish itself as a respectable comedy club. It shouldn’t be too hard to accomplish since Matheo’s talent recruit, Meridith Grundei is able to pull local talent that have some serious skills to tickle the funny bone. Stand-up comedy to improvisation is among the acts performed. Upcoming schedules can be found online at Tickets are $12 and $10 for Colorado School of Mines students with a school ID. Shows start at 8:00 p.m. with doors and lounge opening at 7:00 p.m. Draft beer, wine and cocktails are available at the bar.

Although the Transcript did not report on it, the Buffalo Rose has its own Stand Up Comedy Show as well, with tickets priced at $10 for people 21 and over. Schedules can be found at

crime, Gary Wink, GURA, CDOT, Coal Creek Canyon, flooding


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