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News Release

Larimer County Announces 2014 In-House Innovation Awards!

Department: Board of County Commissioners
Release Date: May 27, 2014

Contact Information:

L to R: Commissioner Steve Johnson, Sheriff Justin Smith, Nancy Remington, County Manager Linda Hoffmann

On May 21st The Board of Larimer County Commissioners  honored innovation by County employees with the 2014 Innovation Awards. Now in its third year, there were two Grand Prize winners, three Finalists and six Honorable Mentionsfor staff who have devised innovative, groundbreaking or novel approaches to providing Larimer County services to citizens.

Grand Prize Winners:   
  1. AED’s for Public Schools (Automated External Defibrillators), Nancy Remington, with the Sheriff’s Office, saw a significant life saving need within our community and took initiative to meet that need. Nancy is a School Resource Officer for Larimer County, and in 2012 discovered that some Larimer County elementary and middle schools did not have AEDs. The schools are rural and often served by volunteer Emergency Management Services. Nancy believes that AEDs are essential and began to solicit funds to place AEDs in the rural schools. To date, 7 schools now have AEDs. Nancy Remington says she will take her $2,500 Grand Prize Award and put it back into her program which will buy two more AEDS for schools. This means all nine rural schools where she is assigned will have an AEDs. Nancy will continue to work with other districts to continue this program. 
2.      Workspace Redesign, an innovative design to create a dynamic workspace for Larimer County employees. The team designed an innovative workspace, unlike those that currently exist in the public sector. The workspace is designed to accommodate more staff in existing space, mobile staff who don’t need a full time space, better utilize space not being used, and provide more opportunities for collaboration among child protection caseworkers. This innovation is collaboration between the Human Services Children, Youth and Family Division and the Facilities staff at FITD. The Workspace Redesign Team, led by Ginny Riley, Human Services Director and Facilities staff, will receive a $2,500 Grand Prize Award. This team will also receive a plaque to put in their new workspace recognizing their efforts.
Finalists are:
Automated Pay Stations is an entirely new way of providing citizens access to our parks related to purchasing the park permits. The Natural Resources Department has located automated pay stations at eleven locations throughout Larimer County and used solar and cellular technology to support the pay stations! The installation of these machines radically transformed our fee collection system. This Finalist Team: Dan Rieves, Shannon Barnes, Travis Rollins and Bob Loomis of the Larimer County Natural Resources Department.
Network of Care, an innovation that revised the way Larimer County citizens can access information on long term services and supports for themselves or for their loved ones.   The Larimer County Office on Aging implemented the Network of Care, an innovative searchable website that provides an easily accessible on-line resource directory of services and supports. The Finalist Team:  Lynda Meyer (Manager), Linda Rumney, Tina Corrigan-Hugo, Katy Mason, Lynette McGowan, Wendy Schleppy, Carol Seest, Monica Becker, and Amber Frazel of Larimer County’s Office on Aging.   
Strategies for Self Improvement and Change in Work Release is an innovative introduction to programming in the Work Release program at Larimer County. Strategies for Self Improvement and Change is a 10 week psycho-education curriculum introduced to sentenced county male Offenders in the Work Release Program, directed toward reduction of recidivism rates and alcohol and drug use. The current program in the past year has 46 graduates in the past year with a successful 8.51% rate of relapsed criminal behavior, compared to the all resident rate of 19.03%. The Finalist Team committed to innovation at the Alternative Sentencing Department includes Jennifer Koenig, Keelia Conrad, Brenna Rush, Laurie Stolen (Director), Kathy Prevost, Lori Whitson and Michael Ruttenberg of Community Corrections Department.  
Honorable Mentions are:
Behavior Management and Family Cohesiveness - an Innovative program used to keep inmates connected with their families and/or support systems outside of the jail. Inmates are allowed to order phone time on a daily basis allowing them to call family and friends. This connection is believed to reduce negative behavior, as well as, support the children and families of the inmate. The team committed to innovation at the Sheriff’s Office includes Vicky Connell, Dianne Bacorn, Heide Hillmann, Scott Boyd, Donald Knab, Sal Coca, Lisa Schleueter, and Clint Burkholder.  
Bike Safety Program - an Innovative program addressing the needs of our correctional residents in being safe while riding their bikes in the community, as bikes are the resident’s primary mode of transportations in most cases. This includes education on safety and bike repair, proper lighting, training staff on teaching safety courses so they can be offered on a regular basis. Effective bike repair and safety allows residents to meet their programming requirements and keep citizens and the residents safe while biking on the streets. The team committed to innovation at Community Corrections includes Beth Corbitt, Diane Castenallos, Alex Vanderheiden, and Miguel Mondragon.  
Career Transition Team (CTT) Project Hedgehog - innovatively collaborated with one of their scholarship recipients to revamp CTT's intake process for job seekers pursuing occupational training. This collaboration resulted in a credential for the scholarship recipient, a more organized work environment for CTT, and a straightforward experience for Larimer job seekers pursuing occupational training scholarships. The team committed to innovation at the Workforce Center includes Megan Loritz, Mark Johnston, Christa Menning, Nancy Murray, Marilyn Goerge, Marcy Rahner, Linda Stovall, Leah Diana, Terra Eyl, and Tanya Perry.  
Criminal Justice Division Training Tracking - an innovative idea to meet the training tracking for approximately 180 employees in the Criminal Justice Services Division, Sean Grogan exemplified the "KiS" (Keep it simple) principle. Sean approached the County IT team to determine the feasibility of CJS sharing the staff training calendar and registration process on the County bulletin board. Sean and the IT staff worked together to complete a full roster of training opportunities for CJS staff to sign up for and attend through this already existing feature. Sean Grogan is the Alternative Sentencing Department (ASD) employee nominated for this program by ASD Director Laurie Stolen.
Compelling Story of Need or Purpose Addressed through Innovation. Ella Gifford-Hawkins epitomizes innovation. She has time and time again reinvented the Works program – meeting ever changing budgetary limitations while at the same time holding true to the values of respectfully identifying how individuals who are receiving TANF can meaningfully move forward to self sufficiency. This incredible skill has been beautifully demonstrated again with our latest funding reduction – she has once again risen from the ashes and creatively found the best of what we do as we move forward. Ella Gifford-Hawkins is the Workforce Center employee nominated by Christina Urhlich-Jones for this program.
Life Skills Services “Providing support and guidance for positive daily living” - an innovative program supporting families due to high risk needs of dependency, neglect and abuse. This program provides life skills such as household management, parenting coaching, family conflict management, assessment of community resources to support a safe environment for visitations, promote a safe caregiver relationship with the children and to enhance parenting skills to promote parents independently providing safe and appropriate care of their children at all times. The Human Services team supporting this innovative program is Sarlene Wells, Michell Ambrosek, Pat Lewis, Elisabeth Tryon, and Rebecka Strand. 
Larimer County sets aside $5,000 for the awards and it can be given to one project or split up among multiple Grand Prize winners who also receive a trophy as do Finalists. All participants receive recognition and a certificate.
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