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Today's Features

  • Three male inmates in orange jumpsuits are walking down a narrow hallway in the Clear Creek jail on their way to an appointment. Most of the men are covered in tattoos, have spent years in the jail, and will likely spend many more in prison.

    Closely watched by guards and cameras, they enter a small room and are greeted by three retired teachers and a ton of knitting supplies. They greet one another with friendly, genuine smiles.

    "Hey, how are you doing?"

    "Good to see you again."

  • When Timothy Homack was 7 years old, he had a feeling that someday he would operate trains for a living.

    “I know it’s weird, but I had this vibe. It was just like, ‘You’re going to run trains when you get older,’” he said, remembering the time he and his family visited a park in Arizona that showcased a decommissioned engine.

    “And I’m like, ‘These things are out of date. They’re dinosaurs,’ ”

    Homack remembers thinking. “I didn’t think much of it.”

  • It's almost lunchtime, and the food looks appetizing: grilled chicken breast sandwiches marinated in wing sauce, golden french fries and brownies.

    Food prepared in the Clear Creek County jail has long had a reputation for being tasty and well-prepared — and that's by design. Special attention is given to the meals prepared by two county employees and anywhere from two to six inmates, because good food is a longstanding tradition at the jail and part of its institutional philosophy, said Sheriff Rick Albers.

  • Ground was broken April 21 for the first of eight homes at a Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity development in Empire.

    Kathleen O’Leary, Habitat’s executive director, said the home’s foundation will be dug in the next few weeks, and the organization will begin looking for volunteers to build the house in June, with completion expected in November.

    Cheri Brown, her husband, John Caldwell, and their grandson Steven Hanners will live in the home. The Idaho Springs residents currently live in an apartment.

  • Several dancers kept time with Glenn Miller’s “In the Mood” performed by the big band king of swing during the Enchantment Under the Sea Seniors Prom on Friday.

    But when “Zoot Suit Riot” was played by contemporary swing band the Cherry Poppin’ Daddies, things got really busy on the dance floor.

    Sea-themed decorations such as paper fish hung from the ceiling in the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge. A DJ played swing and big-band music, the kind that will get people out of their seats and onto the dance floor.

  • Abby Shifflett was not discouraged upon learning she would be required to volunteer and take classes in order to continue receiving food assistance.

    "I was actually kind of stoked," the 26-year-old said.

    Shifflett had received benefits for the past two years, but this year it became mandatory for Clear Creek residents without dependents or disabilities seeking food stamps to take part in the Colorado Employment First work-experience program.

  • A good old-fashioned carnival describes the scene at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Springs on Friday afternoon.

    Hundreds of children and their families turned out for the second annual event, which this year will help a family in the county with a child with cancer and the Clear Creek Children’s Choir.

  • Editor’s note: Beneath the unassuming Clear Creek County courthouse is a 30,000-square-foot detention facility that houses as many as 80 inmates at a time. Last year the self-contained county jail held 787 arrestees and served 52,391 meals. It regularly provides medical attention, education and other services for detainees and inmates. This is the first of a three-part series exploring the inner workings of the county’s jail.

  • Elected official, firefighter, father, husband, musician, storyteller, friend and mentor — Tom Hayden was remembered in a host of tributes, live music and memories on Saturday.

    Hayden, a Clear Creek County commissioner nearing the end of his first elected term, died unexpectedly on Feb. 29.

    Nearly 300 people gathered in a field on Upper Bear Creek to remember Hayden’s life and times, with a dozen friends and family members sharing their memories.