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Features

  • Clear Creek veterans recently honored local Daryl Betts a month after he was recognized by the consul general of South Korea for his service in the Korean War.

    Betts and other Korean War veterans from Colorado received the Ambassador for Peace Medal on Dec. 21 from the consulate, which represents South Korea, and Betts was recognized again by the Idaho Springs American Legion.

    The Ambassador for Peace Medal is given by South Korea to U.S. soldiers who served in the Korean War.

  • A commemorative Mass marking the 100th anniversary of a fire that destroyed Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church in Georgetown was held Jan. 2.

    A spark from the noon train on Jan. 2, 1917, set fire to the roof of the rectory on the northeast side of town. High winds soon spread the flames to the church. Parishioners carried out statues and paintings before the building became an inferno and its roof fell in.

    The building, at 9th and Taos streets, has been the congregation’s home since 1919.

  • From the unexpected death of a county commissioner to the long-sought deal to bring a clinic to the county, there was no shortage of news in Clear Creek in 2016. Following is a recap of some of those stories.

    Tom Hayden dies at age 60

    Clear Creek County Commissioner Tom Hayden, 60, died of natural causes Feb. 29 at his home near Upper Bear Creek Road.

    Hayden was completing his first four-year term as a commissioner and was planning to run for re-election as an unaffiliated candidate.

  • A Clear Creek couple are trying to provide an incentive for middle school and high school students to do their best every quarter.

    Ed and Shirley Smith, 51-year residents of Clear Creek County and owners of two casinos in Black Hawk, have for years provided $5 for every A that seventh- through 12th-graders earn each quarter in core classes: math, science, English and social studies.

    Each student has the potential to earn up to $20 a quarter or $80 a year. Generally, about 240 of the 365 students in the high school and middle school earn rewards.

  • As a group of volunteers tramped through the snow with their dogged companions, it was an hour of whining and barking. And that was just the humans.

    For the third month in a row, members of the Idaho Springs rec center’s hiking group have participated in “Hike with a Shelter Dog” at Charlie’s Place in Dumont. The shelter hosts this program for the hikers and any other volunteers who want to join on the third Monday of the month at 10 a.m.

    According to shelter manager Sue LeBarron, the event is a win-win situation.

  • The sanctuary at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Idaho Springs has a few seasonal additions — a cloth depicting the town of Bethlehem under the altar, purple banners on either side of the tabernacle, and a wreath with four candles.

    The whole scene calls to mind the word the ancient Romans used: “adventus,” or arrival.

    In the weeks preceding Christmas, Catholics around the world — along with other Christian denominations — celebrate the season of Advent, a time of spiritual preparation before Jesus “arrives.”

  • A trip to Disneyland is pretty special for most kids, but it was ultra-special for Clear Creek High School student Libby Blum.

    Libby, who just turned 16, visited Disneyland with her moms courtesy of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which arranges experiences for children with life-threatening medical conditions. Her wish was to hug Chewbacca, an 8-foot-tall, hairy Wookiee from “Star Wars.”

  • With the boundless energy of a 6-year-old, Steven Hanners zoomed through the house, racing around the legs of the adults, occasionally giving out hugs and thoroughly exploring his new home.

    His excitement was shared by his grandparents, Cheri Brown and John Caldwell, who stood in the living room of their Blue Spruce Habitat for Humanity house in Empire during a dedication ceremony Dec. 1.

    The three-bedroom house at 64 S. Avery St. is the first of eight Habitat houses planned in Empire over the next three to four years.

  • Most people see a chair as merely a place to sit. For Jonathan Gerspach, though, a single chair can represent hours of work — designing, measuring, building, crafting and finishing.

    Gerspach, a Clear Creek County resident, is a woodworker and furniture craftsman, and his passion for the work is demonstrated by his dedication to it. Each week, he spends 60 to 80 hours building custom furniture: headboards, tables, benches, desks, pergolas, chairs and dressers.

  • Brett Dhieux believes in helping those who have served.

    On Veterans Day, Dhieux stood outside the United Center in Idaho Springs greeting the small crowd filing into pews for the annual ceremony.

    Dhieux is a patrol deputy with the Clear Creek Sheriff’s Office, a former firefighter and a veteran of the Persian Gulf War.

    Dhieux’s grandfather and uncle served in the Navy, and in 1987 he decided that if he was going to join up, then it had better be the Navy as well.

  • Imagine that you don’t know how to use a smart phone. Or are unsure how how to “Google” something on the Internet. Or you can’t open Microsoft Word to type this sentence.

    Some people reading this don’t have to imagine.

    A fair portion of seniors, both in Evergreen and nationwide, never learned those computer skills, and are now at a disadvantage in the workforce because of it.

    However, Evergreen Christian Outreach is working to change that.

  • To get his students’ attention, Rabbi Jamie Arnold starts singing a catchy, simple song. Within a few seconds, the 20 or so classmates interrupt their conversations and join in. Then the group pauses for reflection.

    “Take a breath like it’s your first,” Arnold tells them. “Enjoy the breath like it’s your last.”

  • Halloween 2016’s final act played out in Idaho Springs on Saturday afternoon, featuring a cast of hundreds, dramatic staging, plenty of prop comedy, full-audience participation, and what was arguably the year’s best performance by a chicken.

  • Once upon a time, people found a mystical forest near their town. No matter what they threw into the forest — beer cans, televisions, couches, animal carcasses — it all magically disappeared. The forest seemed to swallow everything the townspeople dumped there.

    To their chagrin, local residents have found the magical portal where all this trash has spewed out — at various turnouts along Squaw Pass Road. And, on Oct. 26, they gathered to clean up these illegal dumping sites.

  • Editor’s note: Three volunteers with the Alpine Rescue Team have reached the milestone this year of serving on 1,000 missions. This is the first time since the team’s creation in 1959 that any of its 800 members has reached this landmark. Of the 80 or so current members of the team, the closest will not reach 1,000 missions for another four years. For the average member of Alpine Rescue, it will take 20 years to come close. This story is the final installment of a three-part series profiling these volunteers.

  • Editor’s note: Three volunteers with the Alpine Rescue Team have reached the milestone this year of serving on 1,000 missions. This is the first time since the team’s creation in 1959 that any of its 800 members has reached this landmark. Of the 80 or so current members of the team, the closest will not reach 1,000 missions for another four years. For the average member of Alpine Rescue, it will take 20 years to come close. This story is part one of a three-part series profiling these volunteers.

     

  • Making snow is a science.

    Since the beginning of October, Bobby Babeon has tirelessly coordinated seven snowmaking guns around the clock to prepare the slopes of Loveland Ski Area for the 2016-17 season.

    Babeon, Loveland’s trail maintenance and snowmaking manager, and his crew are carefully monitoring the temperature and the humidity. If it is 28 degrees and fairly dry, the guns act like giant snowmaking sprinklers.

  • Teachers at Clear Creek High School/Middle School participated in a yoga class on Friday — clearing their minds and creating a sense of calm — before spending the day catching up on their work while students enjoyed a day off.

    Principal Elizabeth Gardner said the class’ purpose was twofold: to help teachers find some internal balance — as they typically spend their days interacting with students and parents — and to provide a fun activity for the staff to do together.

  • Between the circus performers, face-painting, bouncy houses, snow cones, music and more, Dynamite Days attendees enjoyed the pleasant weather and family-friendly fun in downtown Idaho Springs on Saturday.

    The Idaho Springs Chamber of Commerce hosted the fourth annual Dynamite Days, with five musical acts, 26 vendors and an expected attendance of 500 to 700.

    Chamber executive director Phyllis Adams said the event earned its explosive moniker because it was started during the widening of the Veterans Memorial Tunnels on I-70.

  • Listen to music. Fish in the stream. Roll in a giant Zorb ball. Pan for gold. Climb a rock wall. Play with the snow. What can’t one do in or around Clear Creek?