Denver mayor in town | SteamboatToday.com
Christine Metz

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Denver mayor in town

If you go What: A meet-and-greet with Mayor John Hickenlooper Where: Centennial Hall When: 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday

Steamboat Springs does not have a mayor to call its own, but residents and visitors might run into one of the state’s better-known mayors this weekend.

Denver Mayor John Hicken-looper will be spending the holiday weekend in Steamboat Springs. Although the visit will be a chance for him and his family to relax, it also is an opportunity for him to talk about health care issues.

“The real truth is, we love Steamboat. It is a beautiful place to spend the weekend. If we can do good and have some stimulating conversation, so much the better,” Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper is scheduled to hold a meet-and-greet with the public from 1 to 2 p.m. Saturday at Centennial Hall.

Northwest Colorado Vis-iting Nurse Association Exec-utive Director Sue Birch met Hickenlooper almost six months ago at a function for the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation’s Livingston Fellow Program. At that time, she invited him to come visit Northwest Colorado.

“I wanted to share with him all the wonderful, progressively wonderful things going on with the town — arts, culture, health and human services,” Birch said.

While Hickenlooper is in Steamboat, Birch said he will meet with selected health and human service members in the community to discuss the VNA’s rural aging model and its work on a community health center.

Joining Hickenlooper for the discussion about the community health care center will be his friend Margaret Flinter.

Hickenlooper served with Flinter on the steering committee for community health centers in Connecticut 35 years ago, he said. Flinter also is a colleague of Birch’s as a Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow.

Flinter serves as the vice president and clinical director of Community Health Center Inc., based in Middletown, Conn.

Flinter made plans to come to Steamboat for the holiday weekend, and Hickenlooper said he was encouraged to come up at the same time to share his experiences in rural health care.

“He has been extremely successful with collaborations and partnerships,” Birch said. “We are delighted he is sharing his experiences with us.”

In the past few months, community members from Routt and Moffat counties have been meeting to discuss the possibilities of creating a community health center to serve the increasing number of uninsured or underinsured residents.

Hickenlooper was elected as mayor in June 2003. In April, Time Magazine named the first-time politician one of the top five big-city mayors in America.

“He is a great individual. I think the region needs to be supportive and encouraging in him taking more prominent roles in the state,” Birch said. “He has a tremendous amount of integrity and is successful in what he does.”

— To reach Christine Metz call 871-4229 or e-mail cmetz@steamboatpilot.com