Today's Features

  • With a cloud of dust billowing behind her, Deb Zack drove her black Jeep along the narrow dirt roads high above Idaho Springs. She navigated the sketchy dirt lanes on the north side of Virginia Canyon with familiarity.

    Zack is a project manager and reclamation specialist with the Colorado Division of Reclamation, Mining and Safety’s inactive mine program.

    And she’s been quite busy.

    It’s estimated that Clear Creek County has some 3,000 inactive mines, with 22,000 abandoned mines in the state.

  • Looking to escape the small town where she grew up and see the world, Tina Barber-Matthew joined the Air Force in 1989.

    What she described as a fairly normal office job in the military changed forever on Sept. 11, 2001. In the subsequent years leading up to her retirement in 2011, Barber-Matthew, 48, deployed multiple times to Afghanistan and Iraq.

    Sometimes under fire, the mother of two young children worked with translators and taught American-style journalism to Afghani reporters.

  • After warming up by dancing like angry leprechauns, it was time for the serious business of rehearsing the works of William Shakespeare.

    Well, maybe not quite so serious.

    On Oct. 28, Clear Creek High School students practiced their lines for the fall production of "I Hate Shakespeare!" The play is a parody of the works of the legendary bard, yet the cast also hopes it serves as a gateway to his more famous works.

  • Classes at the Edgar Mine in Idaho Springs offer a hands-on experience for the estimated 250 Colorado School of Mines students who attend each semester.

    Most of the students who come to the mine these days are majoring in petroleum engineering, while the mine was originally built to produce gold and silver. But the skills the students learn and the projects they work on at the mine are similar to what they’ll need in their own industry, according to School of Mines professor Bill Eustes.

  • Every morning before Steven Zacharias comes to work, he walks 2 miles up Guanella Pass to get ready for his day, which entails walking around Idaho Springs.

    “I just got in the habit of doing it when I first moved here,” Zacharias said. “It gets my day started. I get a clear head. … I like to get the cobwebs out first thing in the morning.”

    Zacharias, Idaho Springs’ new code compliance officer, spends much of his day moving at a brisk pace through the city’s streets and alleys.

  • “Love what you do and do what you love.”

    — Ray Bradbury

    Retired Clear Creek High teacher Conradt Fredell willingly gave up his hobbies —woodworking, gardening and music — for seven weeks to return to his other love: teaching.

  • The mood-altering, atmosphere-warping sounds of club music spilled onto 16th Avenue moments before the Idaho Springs block party started on Sept. 24.

    Surrounded by a group of fellow high-schoolers, 15-year-old disc jockey Josh Reagon tested his equipment while several people in Citizens Park began to dance.

    Josh, a Clear Creek High School sophomore, was recently hired by the city to DJ for the block party. Josh started DJ’ing almost two years ago.

  • Editor’s note: Clear Creek County is home to a budding recreational marijuana industry — an industry that has blossomed statewide since recreational sales became legal on Jan. 1, 2014. Since then, the state has received $76 million in fees and taxes from this burgeoning business. This is the fourth installment of a series that will trace the marijuana process over the next several months from seedling to sale, and will follow the money that flows into state coffers.

  • Moments after a raucous, patriotic-themed Clear Creek High School homecoming parade in Idaho Springs on Sept. 11, soldiers, police and state and local officials gathered near the Veterans Memorial Tunnels to commemorate the project’s completion and renaming.

    The recently widened and renamed Veterans Memorial Tunnels on Interstate 70, formerly the Twin Tunnels, underwent the name change last year after local veterans took the plan to the state legislature.

  • In the mid-1800s, quilting bees were an important social event, with women chatting and laughing as their sewing needles worked in the fabric.

    Fast-forward to 2015, and the Mount Evans Home Health Care & Hospice angel-making workshops also are important social events, with women chatting and laughing as they spread glue, cut cardboard and prepare handcrafted angels.

    In addition, angel-making helps Mount Evans continue to provide services to area residents.