• The robin that Loie found in my yard during the Great Backyard Bird Count on Feb. 14 was most likely not a returning spring robin. It was one of several that usually winter in the area. There were 30 American robins reported on the Christmas Bird Count last December.

  • Joy Crane moved from California to the Idaho Springs Senior Center in 2003 because of her son’s connection to the area.

    After nearly a lifetime living in Southern California, the 98-year-old is still adjusting to Colorado’s winters.

    Crane said she moved to California in 1945 from Indiana, where she grew up and went to school.

    Having lived to be almost 100 years old, the former teacher has seen significant history unfold before her eyes.

  • Between the worn covers of Caroline K. Jensen’s journal lies nearly four decades of her fascination with symbolism and light.

    From the initial concept to photographs of the final result, the book is a tribute to the craftsmanship behind her stained-glass windows. Her work can be found across the United States — and in Idaho Springs’ own St. Paul’s Roman Catholic Church and Zion Lutheran Church.

  • After George Jackson’s initial discovery of gold in Idaho Springs, mining fever swept the area. With the onset of warmer weather, droves of prospectors flooded up the valley in the spring of 1859. Finding all the good spots taken in the area Jackson pioneered, many continued west in search of sites where fortunes could be made. And they found some.

  • The rusted buildings of the Stanley Mine have sat silent on the south side of Clear Creek for nearly 100 years.

    With an aging exterior whose windows appear like missing teeth, the site has offered Interstate 70 motorists a look into Idaho Springs’ rich mining history.

    Soon the site, and the 4 miles of tunnels beneath what once was one of the most profitable gold mines in Clear Creek County, will likely be coming back to life.

  • Of all the words one might use to describe Idaho Springs,  “normal” doesn’t readily come to mind.

    “Everything has been strange,” 91-year-old Dottie Dieckman says. “The only way to ever describe it is that it’s Idaho Springs.” And Dottie knows. For 91 of her years, she’s been here.

  • Bob Dylan once said a lot of musicians can’t stand touring, but that for him it is like breathing.

    “I do it because I’m driven to do it,” Dylan said.

    Gabrielle Louise and David Rynhart, ready to don Dylan’s rambling shoes, stopped by the Clear Creek Courant on their way to perform at the Hard Rock Cafe in Empire last Friday to talk about living in Colorado, vegetable-oil-powered vehicles and life as vagabonds.  

  • The year 2008 brought Clear Creek County newsworthy events small and large, in arenas from politics to crime to development. Following is a look back at some of the Courant’s top stories from the past year.

    Springs man critically injured in hit-and-run accident

    Paul Savage, 44, of Idaho Springs was taken to St. Anthony Hospital in critical condition after being run over by a Jeep in front of his house on Jan. 10.

  • GEORGETOWN — The usual sight of hotrod Jeeps tearing around Georgetown Lake was not in evidence Jan. 3 and 4, the weekend Our Gang 4 Wheelers was set to begin its season. Thin ice was to blame, marking an unusual gap in the four-wheel-drive racing club’s normally solid-as-ice schedule.

  • At the Jackson monument in Idaho Springs, amid the cold air and silent school parking lot, it’s easy to imagine 150 years ago an adventurer and fortune hunter carefully crawling through waste-deep snow to a knoll overlooking a river.

    On Jan. 7, a group of locals and dignitaries will stand by the massive boulder monument for an event that will kick off a year-long celebration of the 150th anniversary of the gold rush, which started with Jackson’s discovery and subsequently led to the birth of Idaho Springs and the state of Colorado.

  • The United Center’s floor shook Friday night as young people and their parents stomped their way through an African dance lesson.

    Two Zimbabwean drummers representing Kudzidza, a Boulder-based nonprofit, transfixed an audience of about 50 with an appealing presentation of percussion and voice designed to create a cultural bridge while raising funds for those living in a country where the daily news is mostly bad.

    Georgetown Community School brought the musicians to Clear Creek County. A morning assembly in the school gymnasium preceded the evening concert.

  • It’s not easy being away from home for the first time. And that’s even more true when you’re in a place known for its cold and snow, and home is a balmy 77 degrees — and more than 5,000 miles away.

    Micheli Dubien first came to Colorado from Brazil to learn English as part of a worker exchange program. But her time here was anything but easy. Living accommodations were expensive and crowded. When Micheli first came to the U.S., she lived with 11 people. Those who couldn’t find rides to their jobs hitchhiked.

  • Mike Morris is soft-spoken and nonchalant when he talks about the time he’s put into volunteering for the community over the past 35 years.

    But the old axiom “actions speak louder than words” has never been truer than when looking at Morris’ volunteer history.

    In recognition of Morris’ service to the community, the Clear Creek commissioners passed a resolution Dec. 23 recognizing his substantial contributions to the county — and it’s easy to see why.

  • No one can deny the typical Clear Creek voter is an independent thinker — just as no one can deny that those independents have been steadily and increasingly voting Democratic for the last four years.

    But many people might not know that one man is behind one of the most successful political outreach campaigns in Colorado.

    "I don't think it would be a stretch to call Randy the godfather of the modern Clear Creek Democratic Party," said local liberal activist Jerry Fabyanic.


    Political roots run deep

  • After undergoing three fairly invasive surgeries and losing the only family he knew, Gamma refuses to let the dog days bring him down.

    The 4-year-old Rottweiler-shepherd mix, a resident of the Clear Creek/Gilpin Animal Shelter, isn’t hung up on appearances, but he appears more than ready to find a new family.

    Gamma underwent his third operation last week at Colorado State University, where veterinarians removed overactive glands that had produced a saliva pouch under Gamma’s chin. The pouch has greatly decreased in size since the surgery.