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Features

  • For 36 years, Silver Plume residents have donned the guises of dashing heroes, heroines and mustachioed villains for the annual Silver Plume melodrama.

    A local institution, the event raises funds for the nonprofit People for Silver Plume that go to restoring the town’s historic buildings.

    For many of the volunteer actors, participation in the Plume Players is as much about having a good time as it is supporting a worthwhile cause.

  • Clear Creek Courant co-founder Carol Wilcox Stiff chronicled the lives and events of her adopted community for nearly 30 years.

    The longtime Idaho Springs resident recently died of natural causes, and her body was found in her home March 25 by a neighbor. 

    “As typical with a small town, everybody somewhat watches out for each other, and the neighbors had a key to the house,” said Idaho Springs Police Chief Dave Wohlers.

    Wilcox, 73, was born June 9, 1939, in Omaha, Neb., and was the mother of three and grandmother of eight.

  • Paying no heed to the chilly weather, more than 30 residents bared their heads in a show of hairless solidarity on March 20 to raise money for childhood cancer.
    For a third year, students from the Clear Creek Rite of Passage program at the Mt. Evans Qualifying House hosted a fund-raiser for St. Baldrick’s childhood cancer research at the Idaho Springs Elks Lodge.

  • We moved into this house on April 19, 1965. That’s nearly 48 years ago, but many of you may recall the article I wrote about trying to find a pygmy owl that we heard calling that first night.
    Unfortunately, I do not hear pygmy owls calling as much as I used to. Their call is much more often heard than the owls are seen, for these tiny owls can disappear in a clump of pine needles or other foliage, and they are ventriloquists. They are not where you think they are.

  •  I woke up very early one day last week. It was still pitch black outside, and I thought I heard running water. I jumped up, thinking I must have left a faucet running in the bathroom. But no, the sound was from outside.

    I settled back in bed and listened to the wonderful sound of rain on the roof and water gurgling down the gutter pipe. Wonderful because it was a sound I hadn’t heard in months.

  • On Friday, March 8, all the weathermen were forecasting another severe snow. By Saturday evening, they had been proven to be right, with another foot of snow on the patio picnic table. On Friday, I was having lunch where I could watch the birds at the feeder. It was a busy sight with all of the winter moochers trying to fill up before the snow came. There was nothing new or especially interesting to be seen, but when I moved closer to the window to see if there was anything on the ground under the feeders, there was a sudden explosion of flight as two mourning doves took off.

  • Eight-year-old JJ Stimens runs like the wind — and on March 3, he won two gold medals in snowshoeing at the 2013 Special Olympics Winter Games at Copper Mountain. 

    The event, held at the ski resort for the past 25 years, brought out 250 athletes, 300 volunteers and 75 coaches. JJ has high-functioning Down syndrome, and during his first state meet, JJ tore up the 10-meter and the 50-meter courses.

  • The Georgetown Community Garden project recently received a big green thumbs up, and construction could begin this summer.

    With the help of an $8,000 grant from the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District, garden organizers hope to apply for a $40,000 Great Outdoors Colorado grant.

    The project will provide garden plots to Georgetown residents to rent through a collaboration among the town, Georgetown Community School and the Clear Creek School District. 

  • Like most kids, Carlson fourth-grader Ivan Garcia spends his days learning English, arithmetic and science. But after school, he learns about what 1800s British journalist Pierce Egan termed the “sweet science” — boxing.

    Ivan and a handful of other elementary and middle school students learn the intricacies of boxing at Clear Creek High School under the tutelage of Beau Campbell and his 12-year-old Clear Creek boxing program.

    Many of the students are preparing for the 2013 Colorado State Golden Gloves Tournament starting March 20.

  •  The round table on my patio looks like a huge coconut cake with 15 inches of snow on it. The peripheral lights look like giant ice cream cones. The good fairies came during the night and plowed my driveway. The birds are flocking to my feeders. Yet, despite 15 inches of snow, my heart sings, “Spring is here!”

  • If you are lucky enough to live in one of the stream valleys, you may have some box elder trees growing near your house. I hope you will make time to really watch them for at least a few minutes every day.

    Not only are box elder trees interesting in their own right, but they also seem to attract many birds, especially when they have many seeds hanging on their branches. Box elder is the name by which most of us know this tree, but botanically, it is known as Acer negundo.

  • Editor’s note: The Clear Creek Courant is celebrating its 40th anniversary of serving the residents of Clear Creek County. This year, the Courant will reprint portions of past articles from its four decades and will publish a series of stories about former employees. While the faces and names have changed over the years, the Courant still believes in producing reliable and award-winning content. See next week’s interview with Courant co-founder Carol Wilcox.

     

    From Jan. 11, 1974

  • Twelve little girls in a line, decked out in a variety of pink outfits, ran in slow motion to the synthesizer-heavy soundtrack of Vangelis’ “Chariots of Fire.”

    A handful of moms chuckled at the spectacle from the hallway of the Georgetown Community Center on Feb. 6 during the rec-district-hosted “Youth Dance with Nuria” class.

    Nuria Leighton, dance teacher and county resident, led the procession of hilarity. Moments before, the girls were dancing to the theme song from “Hawaii Five-0.”

  • Winter is now deeply entrenched in spite of some exceptionally warm days and spring-like temperatures. We still need snow, but selfishly, I am pleased not to have it.

    We need the moisture right now for we had a long, dry summer. However, we will need rain badly by the time spring and more tourists return to the mountains because the large amount of dry grass will present a wildfire problem this spring.

  • As I predicted a few weeks ago, this has become a redpoll winter. Over this past weekend, at least four different reports were on the Denver Field Ornithologists Rare Bird Alert.

    Besides these, I have had several calls from people who think they may have had some at their feeders and one from Sandra who sent two good photographs of redpolls at her feeder. You could clearly see the black around the base of the bill, and one photo caught the tip of the white wing bar.

  •  What would we do to put a bit of color into the winter season if it weren’t for the willows?

    Willows line our streams with lush green growth all summer, much of which turns yellow in the fall to join the brilliant golden display of the aspen. These old leaves eventually wither and fall, leaving just the woody skeleton of the willows. 

    This is where the winter color of willows appears, and as spring approaches, the sap begins to move upward to the tips of the branches, and he color intensifies.

  • Hulking uncomfortably in an aisle of hair curlers and makeup supplies, I repeated myself to the beauty-store clerk as she stared up at me.

    “Mustache wax,” I said. Then, after a delicate moment, I pantomimed a 19th-century gentleman with a bemused eyebrow quirk, as he straightened his long mustache ends. “It’s for a — costume party.”

  •  When I go down Little Cub Creek Road, I always look for a small cluster of Gambel’s oak, which grows on a scruffy southwest-facing slope just south of Mountain Park Road. It is a clump of small trees. Although they have single trunks and are tree shaped, they are little more than shrubs. 

  • Editor’s note: This is the first of two installments on local residents caring for loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease.

    By Stephen Knapp

    For the Courant

    One sunny morning in 2008, longtime Evergreen residents Bob and Jean Jacobus were running some errands about town when they happened to pass an unlucky motorist wrestling with his spare tire in the breakdown lane.

    “Look at that guy changing his tree,” Bob remarked.