•  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.

  •  Thanksgiving has come and gone, and winter will soon begin to settle in. It is not bitter cold today but colder than forecast. This is no doubt due to a high overcast, which appears to be much thicker than expected.

    With no sun breaking through, we have not warmed up as much as the weather forecast had expected. Christmas is still a month away, but if you have listened to your television programs, they are selling it like it was tomorrow.

  • At the height of the Gold Rush, 1,600 mines were developed in Clear Creek County, and the now-abandoned mines severely damaged the local watershed over the next 150 years.

    In the 1990s, the watershed was in desperate need of an ally and found it in the Clear Creek Watershed Foundation and its unpaid president, Ed Rapp.

    Over the years, Rapp and the watershed foundation have completed countless mine remediation and rehabilitation projects, including the Doctor, Dibbens, Minnesota, Sydney and McClellan mines.

  • By Sandy Barnes

    Staff Writer

    Even though he no longer lives in Brookvale, Paul Fiorino is fascinated with the community and its history. 

    “Everything I do now is Brookvale-related,” said Fiorino.

    Nestled in a picturesque corner of Clear Creek County where Bear and Yankee creeks converge, Brookvale was once a thriving resort that attracted visitors from afar. 

    The 19th-century hotel in Brookvale was known as Sisty’s, named after the man who founded the town.

  • Outfitted in a medley of the macabre, Georgetown Community School students wound their way down the center of town from the school to the county courthouse as part of a longstanding Halloween tradition on Oct. 31.

    Tourists and business owners stopped to watch the colorful procession.

  • In seven seconds, longtime Idaho Springs resident Cindy Moore went 171 mph in her 1,000 horsepower, alcohol-injected dragster to win the Western Colorado Dragway 2012 Superquick Championship in Grand Junction on Oct. 6. 

    With the help of her crew chief and husband, Kevin, Cindy beat out 16 of the competition’s fastest cars to win the championship.

    In August, she also won The Wally trophy — the National Hotrod Association’s most coveted racing award.

  • Ignoring the frigid October wind, a group of children explored Empire’s new playground at Minton Park on Oct. 28, while town officials held a chilly ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the first improvements to the park in 20 years.

  • The first snow is always so beautiful that I am forced to admire it even though I’m not a winter person.

  •  On Monday, Oct. 15, Mike Krieger phoned to let me know that he and Kathy had their first Clark’s nutcracker at their bird feeder near Bailey. These big, gray, black and white members of the crow family look like a small gray crow with black wings and tail. They are strange birds that act like they couldn’t decide whether to be a crow or a woodpecker.

  • Some of the strongest men in the world gathered in Killeen, Texas, in early October to prove who is the strongest of them all. The answer is a Clear Creek County resident.

    After two years of coming in second for his age and weight division, local Mark Cucinella, 62, squatted 452 pounds, bench-pressed 314 pounds and dead-lifted 463 pounds to win gold at the International Powerlifting Federation’s World Master Championships. In doing so, Cucinella beat out competitors from Germany, Estonia and Canada.

  •  The first snow is always a surprise to me. No matter how many weather reports I listen to, I can’t quite believe that it is really going to snow. This is partly due to the fact that we frequently have a very warm day ahead of a cold front that brings the snow.

    That was truly the case last week because Friday, Oct. 5, was a beautiful late summer day but despite the weather forecast, I couldn’t believe it when I woke up Saturday morning to see snow.

  • Forged in Boston, the 1,200-pound cannon was used against the Confederacy during the Civil War.

    A “12-pounder” — so named because it could fire 12-pound “Round shot” shells — the cannon was brought west to Idaho Springs more than 100 years ago to commemorate the War Between the States.

    Seventy-five years ago, Bruce Bell said he remembers playing on the cannon in its current location on the Idaho Springs Library grounds. At the time, the library was also City Hall and the police station.

  •  On the night of Sept. 26, a cold front moved south through this area, and the morning of Thursday, Sept. 27, definitely was chilly. The high mountains wore a new dusting of snow, and my yard was filled with gray-headed juncos and white-crowned sparrows.

    All day, these two birds drifted through the area. Not in any hurry once they were out of the snow, they continued to drop down from the high country where they had nested.

  •  Over the years, my late husband, Bill, and I drove the highway to the summit of Mount Evans many, many times. It was one of our favorite places. We loved the high mountains, and Mount Evans was one of the good guys because he wore a white hat (of snow).

    I loved the alpine botany, and Bill always looked for the nesting birds and especially for a black swift flying over. We both were impressed by the silent grandeur of the Continental Divide, and the serenity and peace in the high mountains. In some way, we both seemed to feel at home there.

  • A ribbon-cutting ceremony on Sept. 22 to honor the completed Idaho Springs Cemetery Improvement Project is a dream come true for local Lue Howard.

    Howard has put her heart and soul into the project for the past year to do cleanup and document tombstones in the 138-year-old cemetery.

    The project also included volunteer work and local grants to build 30 concrete stairs, a new shelter and a sign/map of the area. A host of volunteers, the city and a $2,000 grant from the Clear Creek Metropolitan Recreation District helped make the project possible.

  •  September is such an unpredictable month. It is a lovely end of summer with warm sunny days and cool nights. It is gray cold days with scattered showers. It often brings the first snow, which usually melts the next day, as well as our first frost. It wants to be summer, but winter is pushing at the door so hard that it will soon be in, whether we like it or not.

  • When part-time Georgetown resident Joan Naylor heard that a little-known lake above town shared her last name, her path to the past inevitably led to county archivist Christine Bradley.

    The lives of the two women have been intertwined for the past two years as Naylor sought information about the lake’s history and its possible ties to her family. For Bradley, who acts as the springboard for many historic book and novel projects about Clear Creek, it was all in a day’s work.