•  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.

  •  It has been a sunny day but considerably colder than it has been. I assume that means the cold front is moving in and temperatures will be more what we normally expect in December.

    It has also clouded up and that may mean we are going to receive a bit of snow that the weather forecasters have been promising.

  • Braving the cold wind on the 23rd Street bridge above Clear Creek, more than 20 people gathered in Idaho Springs on Dec. 7 to remember the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941.

    For those who organized the event and spoke, paying tribute to the great generation that answered a call to fight was important no matter how many attended, or how long ago it was or how far.

    The Pearl Harbor attack by the Japanese spurred the United States to enter World War II.

  • By Stephen Knapp

    For the Courant

    Just when you thought the good folks of Idaho Springs couldn’t do Christmas any better, they did it better.

    Last Saturday’s merry menu of festive fetes was a triumph of yuletide unity, knitting together the city’s several separate seasonal celebrations into a single seamless Christmas sweater big enough to warm every heart in town.

  •  Crowds huddled together under a brilliant moon and enjoyed the sounds of children singing holiday songs and the unseasonably warm weather on Nov. 24 as Georgetown officially kicked off its holiday season with the annual tree-lighting celebration. 

    Live music and the smell of wood burning from a bonfire filled the air as crowds mingled between Rose and Sixth streets. The event was hosted by the Georgetown Parks and Recreation Commission, and local restaurants provided free hot chocolate and apple cider.