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Features

  • Bill Gorsky uses his hands — with help from a chainsaw, hatchet and chisel — to bring wood to life.

    The 67-year-old former mining engineer has created furniture, musical instruments and sculpture that now have homes throughout the country. Creating items out of wood has been his passion and livelihood since the 1970s.

  • Compiled by Courant staff

    From tunnel construction to elections to tragedy and flooding, 2013 brought a variety of news to Clear Creek County. Here’s a look back:


    Jan. 16

    Outbreak of influenza hits Clear Creek

  •  “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

    — John F. Kennedy 

    The value of volunteering in a small community is something that the county’s deputy assessor, Tammy Foley, has taken to the bank.

  • With chestnuts roasting and holiday cheer at the ready, Georgetown is gearing up for its 53rd annual Christmas Market on Dec. 7-8 and 14-15.

    The outdoor European market runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. along Sixth Street and features events including wagon rides, museum tours, musicians, visits from St. Nicholas, and the Santa Lucia children’s procession.

    Attendance at last year’s Christmas Market was considered the best in years, largely because of unseasonably warm weather.

  • By Stephanie DeCamp

    Staff Writer

    The Bluebell Fire that started June 3 in Evergreen saw first responders working around the clock to keep the flames at bay, and to their surprise — amid all the chaos and danger — a lemonade stand appeared nearby to quench their thirsts.

  • It all happened so fast.

    One second the young elk buck was sticking his nose through the half-closed safety netting surrounding Greg and Shauna Chase’s backyard trampoline, licking snow off the canvas. The next he was bouncing around inside it, looking equal parts surprised, confused and delighted.

    “It never happened before,” says Greg. “We have elk in the yard all the time, but they never showed any interest in the tramp.”

  • It’s a fact of life for the good folks at Loaves and Fishes that as the year’s merriest season approaches, so arrives the season of Clear Creek County’s greatest need.

    “There are a lot of jobs here in the summer,” explains Sherron Slavens, current director and longtime champion of the hard-working Clear Creek and Gilpin County food bank. “Most of those seasonal jobs ended weeks ago, and a lot of people are either unemployed or underemployed. A lot of families are starting to feel the pinch.”

  • The enthusiasm was contagious among the vendors offering services to veterans at the second annual Veterans Helping Veterans event on Saturday at the Elks Lodge in Idaho Springs.

    The vendors from 19 organizations, including everything from the Department of Veterans Affairs to holistic medicine to educational resources were raring to go to help veterans find services they need and are entitled to. Vets could get flu shots and dental health screenings. There even was a booth with gently used clothing.

  • We hear a lot about noxious weeds these days, which makes me wonder why some plants are called weeds, and others are not. Just what is a weed?
    According to authors of various weed books, the simplest definition of a weed is any plant that is growing where people don’t want it. A bit more finely defined by the authors of “Weeds of the West,” they are “a plant that interferes with management objectives for a given area of land at a given point in time.”

  •  “A curious boy asks an old soldier …

    ‘How did you lose your leg?’
    And the old soldier is struck with silence.”

    — Edgar Lee Masters

  • The second annual Veterans Helping Veterans event wants to attract attendees from Evergreen and Clear Creek and Gilpin counties.

    Planned for Nov. 16 at the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge, the day-long event will provide a venue to help inform veterans about free benefits and provide health and education programs. 

  • The ubiquitous but anonymous reach of the Internet and ultimately the caring of Clear Creek residents led to the rescue of a stranded canine last week. 

    An 8-year-old dog was rescued from the far bank of Clear Creek on the eastern side of the county after a photo of the pooch in her predicament had appeared for a month on Facebook. The photo debuted on Craigslist on Oct. 5 and another appeared Oct. 20, then the images made their way to numerous Facebook posts.

  • One of our most interesting birds is the western scrub-jay. This bird is not regularly found in Evergreen, but it is found in Kittredge and in Red Rocks Park. 

    It is not a forest bird, but it is a bird of the scrub-land area. You can tell if you are in good jay country just by looking at the shrub growth. It can be found regularly in the scrub oak along the road, which is the Morrison entrance to Red Rocks Park.

  •  While my family was here to celebrate my birthday, I had the opportunity to visit Echo Lake. We drove up for one last trip before snow puts an end to our mountain driving in hopes of showing my family the beautiful aspen gold of our autumn.

    However, rain and wind had done their work on the high aspens because the trees were blown bare. From a distance, it looked like there had been a forest fire because all the gray trunks and branches looked like smoke across the mountains.

  •  As autumn arrives, all birders across the northern states begin to wonder if it will be a good finch winter. This is not just wishful thinking. It is based on the fact that for many years, some winters have produced large numbers of northern finches in the northern states, and some years, they have extended much further south along the Appalachian Mountains.

  •  Last Friday, Oct. 4, we all awoke to find a cold wet snow had covered our evergreens and golden aspen with inches of white. It was beautiful but brought an abrupt end to summer. It also brought back memories to me of other first snows.

  • The Jewish community in Evergreen and surrounding areas is preparing for the High Holy Days — a time of spiritual reflection, repentance and renewal known as the Days of Awe.

    This year’s celebration begins on the evening of Sept. 4 with Rosh Hashana and continues through Sept. 14 with concluding Yom Kippur services.

    The High Holidays are a time to restore and draw down spirituality for the new year, a time for people to renew their blessings in the Jewish tradition, said Rabbi Levi Brackman of Judaism in the Foothills in Evergreen. 

  • Early Labor Day morning, when many people were still sound asleep, the smell of blueberry pancakes, bacon and sausage drifted down the road like a siren song from the Historic Alice Schoolhouse in St. Mary’s Glacier.

    At 8 a.m., a small group had gathered for the fund-raising pancake breakfast, but by 9 a.m. the crowd had grown as large as their combined appetites.

  • Although the greatest number of wildflowers bloom in spring or early summer, there are some that do not grow as quickly, so they don’t bloom until late summer or early fall. One of these is the common milkweed.

    When we moved to Evergreen in 1965, I could not find any milkweed anywhere in the area. It was only when we dropped down to Golden or Loveland that I began to see milkweed, and it continued to be common out on the plains along roadside ditches and creek banks where there was a little more water available.

  •  Dynamite Days were held in Idaho Springs on Saturday. The event, named for the blasting that occurred to widen the Twin Tunnels on I-70, offered vendors, food booths, a children’s magic show, live music and a street dance.