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Features

  • 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.

  • Idaho Springs resident Amadee Ouellet calls herself a "homeless business owner" who makes and sells artistic wands and hunts mushrooms in the woods.

    In the summer, Ouellet said, she "moves around" — living out of her tent on U.S. Forest Service land. In the winter, when it gets too cold to live in her tent, Ouellet said she lives in a motel where she can pay rent by the week. (People are allowed to camp at a Forest Service site for 14 days, by law.)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Following are short profiles of area workers encountered doing their jobs around Clear Creek.

    Fred Nelson, snowplow driver for the Clear Creek County Road and Bridge Department

    If the road is clear of snow and ice the morning after a storm, thank Fred Nelson and the other snowplow drivers at the Clear Creek County Road and Bridge Department.

  • A small army of marching groups, a battalion of vehicles, squadrons of mules and clowns, and thousands of bright-red fezzes gathered early Saturday morning on the north side of Idaho Springs.

  • A Clear Creek County donkey recently captured the prestigious triple crown of burro racing, the first time in 15 years a local animal has held the title.

    Runner George Zack and 18-year-old burro Jack won the 29-mile Burro Days in Fairplay to the summit of Mosquito Pass on July 26; the 12-mile Buena Vista Gold Rush Days Pack Burro Race on Aug. 2; and the 20-mile Boom Days Pack Burro Race in Leadville on Aug. 9.

    For the tenacious donkey and the Broomfield resident, the third time was the charm, having narrowly missed out on the triple crown twice before.

  • 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 third installment of a series that is tracing the marijuana process from seedling to sale, and will follow the money that flows into state coffers.

  • A little rain didn’t dampen the spirit of a driver inside an earth-shaking ‘32 Ford Roadster — or, for that matter, the spirits of any of the classic-car connoisseurs at Friday’s third annual Hot Rod Hill Climb in Georgetown.

    The two-day event drew about 100 hot-rod enthusiasts from across the country. The re-enactment pays tribute to the original Hot Rod Hill Climb races of 1953 and 1954 on Guanella Pass.

  • Robert Marlin — a man called a "living legend among the emergency medical services community" in Clear Creek County — died on Saturday, Aug. 1.

    He was 63.

    Kelly Flenniken, Marlin's daughter, said her dad was very committed to the mountain community, from his work at the ambulance service and coaching daughter Cameron's Little League teams when she was younger, to volunteering on the Loveland Ski Area ski patrol. His grandchildren, Phoebe and Piper Flenniken, meant the world to him, she said.

  • Following a missing hiker’s scent as it moves through the air is something 7-year-old Hiydn does well.

    Set loose to run through the wilderness, the black Labrador retriever homes in on someone needing help, then returns to her handler, Jeff Sparhawk, to lead a rescue team back.

    This is not unlike a highly trained version of Lassie alerting the homestead that Timmy fell into a well.

    When someone needs rescuing in Clear Creek County’s wilderness, the Alpine Rescue Team is often the first called.

  • For 5 miles I ran through mud and a torrential downpour in my work clothes, one white-knuckled hand gripping the lead rope for a burro named Jack.

    It was a Monday evening, and I was in training for the 14th annual burro race in Idaho Springs, and it was my third burro racing class at Bill Lee's ranch southwest of town.

    Saying it was challenging was like saying the sun is hot. But as Captain Kirk once blithely informed Mr. Spock of his reason for doing something extremely difficult: "Because it's there."

  • Editors note: This is the fourth and final part in a series interviewing Clear Creek residents who want to bring aspects of farming and agriculture into their homes and backyards. Sometimes called “backyard homesteaders,” they are looking to be more self-sufficient and are raising everything from ducks to bees.

    Bugs, plants, fish and worms populate the thriving ecosystem at Adam Ledoux’s house in Empire.

  • A member of the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge has been named district Elk of the Year for the first time in recent memory.

    Cindy Teuling, an Idaho Springs native and police department employee, recently received the honor, which recognizes her commitment to both the Elks Lodge and the community.

  • Folks who love to ride the rapids in Clear Creek haven’t had this much fun in years.

    Heavy rains and snowmelt on high have led to a big boost in business at rafting companies in Clear Creek County in recent weeks. Water levels in Clear Creek are running 25 to 30 percent higher this year than last year at the same time, said Brandon Gonski, general manager at AVA Rafting.

  • "Swimmers," each wearing two wetsuits, gloves, life vests, helmets and fins, plied the waters of a raging Clear Creek at Lawson Whitewater Park on Saturday to help volunteers train for future water rescues.

    To kick off the exercises, a team of two "swimmers" jumped in the water slightly above the whitewater park. As they were swept downstream, rescuers along the shore threw ropes to them and pulled them in. 

  • Editor’s note: This is the third part in a series interviewing Clear Creek residents who want to bring aspects of farming and agriculture into their backyards. Sometimes called “backyard homesteaders,” they are looking to be more self-sufficient and are raising everything from ducks to bees.

    It’s hard to say how it first started, but chickens, geese, ducks, pheasants, turkeys, quail, horses, mules and most recently peacocks have made their way to the McNeil home.

  • My grandfather is 90 years old this week.

    He is a member of the generation that fought a world war, a forgotten war and a cold war. Those conflicts helped forge our nation into what it is today.

    Henry Dahl is a veteran. He was a helicopter test pilot and was featured on the cover of “Life” magazine during the Korean War. His careers included taxi driver, corrections officer and prison camp warden.

  • The Idaho Springs Historical Society’s newest president, Rick Wells, hopes to bring more young people and technology into the museum.

    Wells was recently chosen to replace former president Omer Humble, who stepped down to again try his hand at retirement. Humble said he was thrilled that Wells, who has been active in the Historical Society, will be his successor.

    Wells, a registered nurse with St. Anthony Hospital, moved to Idaho Springs two years ago. He began volunteering with the Historical Society because of his passion for the past.

  • When Mary Lou Rutherford was a teenager in Chicago, she watched as the troops left the city by train to fight in World War II.

    The tracks ran behind her home, and she could hear the train building up steam as it approached.

    “I ran out in back and waved to the soldiers, and they would hang out the windows — and one guy said, ‘Honey, when you’re 21, call me,’ “ Rutherford said, laughing.