by Carin Kirkeggard
The pools in Castle Pines North (CPN) are still buried under the most recent snow and temperatures are dipping below the freezing mark, but before long, kids will be counting down to the last day of school and the CPN swim team, the Castle Crocs, will begin their third season.
The winter months are the perfect time for swimmers to hone rusty swimming techniques in preparation for the upcoming swim season. While there is no age limit to become a member of the CPN swim team, each swimmer must be able to complete one lap of a 25 meter/yard swimming pool using any combination of strokes, without stopping or grabbing on to the side of the pool or lane rope in order to become a member of the swim team.
Each season, the swim team requires all participants to swim one length of the pool before being allowed on the team. “We had to turn away about a dozen swimmers that couldn’t pass this requirement last summer,” said Kathleen Steffe, 2008 Castle Crocs board member and parent representative. Parents who have young swimmers interested in being a member of the Castle Crocs swim team should consider enrolling in a local swim instruction program to ensure success with the tryout process for the team.
Without an indoor pool located in CPN, residents are able to find swim instruction in various facilities in surrounding communities. Safe Splash Swim School, found just off Lincoln Avenue in Lone Tree has been a sponsor for the Castle Crocs and has a wide range of times and lessons for every swimmer ability. For further information, check out the website at www.safesplash.com.
The Castle Croc’s 2007 coach and current Master Swim Coach at Castle Rock Recreation, Kevin Millerick, is also offering swim instruction and stroke improvement. To reach Millerick email Contact by email.
Since its inception in 2006, the Castle Crocs have been providing a healthy recreational experience that promotes child and swimmer development in a fun and positive way. The team strives to make the experience family friendly, convenient and affordable for each member.
“Last year we really focused on building a strong foundation with technique work. In 2008 we are going to continue to build on those swimming skills and also add in more of the fun factor with social events and activities. Swimming is such an important life skill and what better way to have fun and get fit at the same time!” said Steffe.
The Castle Crocs will be holding registration in April for the 2008 swim season. Visit the Castle Croc website for information at www.castlrcrocs.com. Also, look for future articles in The Connection for dates and times of registration.
As a nonprofit organization the Castle Crocs are run by parent volunteers. To offset costs in running a swim team, the Castle Crocs are always looking for support from local organizations and businesses. Interested parties should contact Contact by email for further information.
by Elean Gersack
Planning a team practice or party during the next few months? There are currently three parks in Castle Pines North (CPN) available by reservation: Coyote Ridge Park, Daniel’s Gate Park and The Retreat Park.
Soccer fields are available at all three parks and baseball fields are available at Coyote Ridge Park and The Retreat Park. Requests for spring practices are currently being accepted and field assignments will be made during the first week of March. There is no field use fee for teams with members who reside in CPN.
Looking for an outdoor location to host a birthday party, team party, baby shower, or family picnic? The picnic pavilions at Coyote Ridge Park and The Retreat Park can be reserved at no cost for CPN residents.
It is simple - just visit www.cpnmd.org/reservations.php, complete an online request form and email it to Contact by email. For more details, contact Jan Walker at the CPN Metro District at 303-242-3267.
by Terri Wiebold
The past few months have brought many changes to Castle Pines North, including a welcome change in seasons. This winter CPN residents have seen blankets upon blankets of white snow. Many have asked what impact, if any, becoming a city will have on snow removal procedures in CPN.
The answer is that there will be NO changes to the procedures currently in place. Snow removal in CPN is a community-wide effort with responsibility shared by many parties:
The Douglas County Public Works Department plows most public streets in CPN. Due to specialized equipment, logistics, timing, available funding and manpower concerns, a snow removal priority has been assigned to each street.
County-maintained roads are plowed based on the following prioritization criteria:
1. Arterial Roadways
Arterials are major roadways having high traffic volumes over medium to long distances and are used for inter-regional, inter-county, and intra-county travel needs.
2. Collector Roadways/School bus routes
Collectors distribute traffic between arterial and local roads, serve as main connectors within subdivisions, and linking subdivisions together. Collectors usually do not provide direct access to private property.
3. Local Roadways
Local roads provide for low-to medium-traffic volumes within subdivisions and provide direct access to residences or private property.
Once arterial roadways are cleared, equipment is deployed to clear collector roadways and school bus routes. Residential roadways and cul-de-sacs are addressed when arterial and collector roadways are completed. Douglas County Public Works will continue to provide snow removal to CPN for at least one year following incorporation. For more information, please contact Douglas County Public Works Operations at 303-660-7480.
The Castle Pines North Metro District is responsible for plowing sidewalks and trails along major streets and in parks in the community. For questions regarding snow removal on CPN’s open spaces and trails, please contact the Metro District Parks & Open Space Manager, Charlie Fagan, at 303-688-8550, ext. 20.
Neighborhood HOAs are responsible for snow removal on any private streets, sidewalks and trails along designated HOA common areas, as well as driveways and sidewalks of town homes and patio homes. For single-family homes, individual homeowners are responsible for removing snow and ice along sidewalks adjacent to homes.
Because snow removal responsibilities in CPN vary by neighborhood, the Master Association has established a neighborhood-specific directory on its website for homeowners to reference. Go to www.cpnhoa.org and click on the “contacts/services” link, and then click on the “snow removal” link.
by Elean Gersack
Spring break is just weeks away. Plan ahead and enjoy some memorable family activities right here in Colorado. From state parks to museums, there is much to do and see close to home.
Castlewood Canyon State Park
2989 South State Highway 83, Franktown
This beautiful retreat is located just to the southeast in Franktown - about five miles south of Highway 86 and Highway 83. Enjoy educational programs, hiking, picnicking, and a rock-climbing wall. A daily park pass is $6 and an annual pass is $55 with park hours from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit
Chatfield State Park
11500 N. Roxborough Park Road, Littleton
Bike, hike, camp, ride horses, or boat at the Chatfield State Park. Park hours are from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. For more information, visit http://parks.state.co.us/Parks/Chatfield.
Garden of the Gods
1805 N 30th Street, Colorado Springs
Looking for something out of the ordinary? Venture south to the amazing geological rock formations at The Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs. Hike, bike or take a guided walk tour through this historic Colorado nature park. For more information, visit
Roxborough State Park
4751 North Roxborough Drive, Littleton
Unique rock formations, plants and wildlife make Roxborough State Park a must-see for all. Park hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Biking and hiking, as well as snow shoeing and cross county skiing, are favorite activities at Roxborough. For more information, visit
Museums and Attractions
Cheyenne Mountain Zoo
4250 Cheyenne Mountain Zoo Road,
For a change of scenery, consider exploring the zoo to the south – Cheyenne Mountain Zoo in Colorado Springs. This beautiful location offers some steep climbing, so in addition to viewing some amazing animals, enjoy a good cardio workout. For more information, visit www.cmzoo.org.
The Children’s Museum of Denver
2121 Children’s Museum Drive, Denver
Located just off of I-25 and 23rd Avenue in downtown Denver, The Children’s Museum is the perfect creative learning venue for toddlers and young children. For more information, visit www.cmdenver.org.
The Colorado Railroad Museum
17155 W 44th Ave., Golden
For the conductors out there, make a trek to the historic Colorado Railroad Museum. On March 22, the Bunny Express takes ride with special guest, the Easter Bunny. Other upcoming special events include the School’s Out Steamup on May 31 – June 1, Father’s Day train rides on June 14 - 15 and A Day Out With Thomas in September. For more information, visit www.crrm.org.
Denver Museum of Nature & Science
2001 Colorado Blvd., Denver
The new exhibit, “Gold”, opens on February 15. Take a journey of wealth and status and view more than two thousand pounds of the shiny rock. Witness some inspiring views during the current IMAX film, Alps. For more information, visit www.dmns.org.
The Wildlife Experience
10035 S. Peoria, Parker
Located just east of I-25 and Lincoln Avenue, The Wildlife Experience offers wildlife exhibits and an extreme screen iWERKS theater. A new exhibit, Survivor: Jamestown, opens February 2 and takes visitors on an interactive look at 1607 and the New World. Explore the “Land Down Under” with the iWERKS film, Australia, which runs February 2 through August 1. For more information, visit www.thewildlifeexperience.org.
Sir Bouncealots and Castle Crafts Café
3194 N Industrial Way Unit O, Castle Rock
Kids will enjoy hours of jumping fun as well as arts and crafts at Sir Bouncealots. Parents can access the internet and drink coffee while the kids play. For more information, visit www.sirbouncealots.com.
Rock’n & Jam’n Indoor Climbing
7390 S. Fraser St, Unit E, Centennial
For kids and adults ages six and older, this indoor climbing facility offers the tallest and steepest climbing walls around. For more information, visit www.rocknandjamn.com.
by Elean Gersack
No need to venture far to celebrate the holiday of love. Check out local businesses for gifts, dinner, flowers and more.
The Bundt Shoppe
Those who have not yet tried a cake from The Bundt Shoppe are missing out. The delectable cakes are perfect for any occasion. In honor of Valentine’s Day, The Bundt Shoppe will offer a new flavor for February – Sweetheart Cherry. This cake is made with White Vanilla and Red Velvet Cake swirled together and then loaded with cherries and chocolate chips.
The 3-inch “Bundtie” can be wrapped in decorative cello and tied with ribbon for just $5.95 - perfect for a special teacher or co-worker. For complete pricing information and to order, call The Bundt Shoppe at 303-422-8638.
The Flower Shop at Castle Pines
Castle Pines North’s local florist, The Flower Shop, offers beautiful custom floral arrangements. Call or stop in soon to order the perfect bouquet for that special someone. For more information, call The Flower Shop at 303-663-8835.
La Dolce Vita
Want to enjoy a special night out with your sweetie? On Valentine’s Day, La Dolce Vita will host five courses of Italian cuisine for two – with or without a wine pairing for each course. The regular menu will also be available. Reservations are highly recommended. Call La Dolce Vita at 303-663-3421.
Castle Pines North’s locally-owned pizzeria, Little Italy, celebrates Valentine’s Day with one-topping heart shaped take-n-bake pizzas. Each is just $5. Also, enjoy garlic cheese bread – free with any order. For more information, call Little Italy at 303-663-2111.
Sanctuary Day Spa
Give your Valentine the perfect gift from your heart with a massage or couples romance package from Sanctuary Day Spa and receive 25 percent off any additional treatment. Call 720-733-9700 for details or to schedule an appointment.
Cook up a romantic dinner for two at Entrée Vous. To celebrate the holiday, Entrée Vous will offer couples cooking sessions during the month of February. On February 2, 9 and 12, couples participating in a session will receive a complimentary side dish. All couples will receive chocolates, a long stemmed rose, and a digital photo to capture the memory of the unique dinner-making date.
Make plans to cook ahead and enjoy a romantic Valentine’s Day dinner at home. For more information or to register for a couples cooking session, contact Entrée Vous at 720-733-3719.
by Terri Wiebold
The Castle Pines North (CPN) Metro District recently honored two of its employees with an “Employee of the Year” award. District Manager Jim McGrady publicly recognized and at the District’s annual holiday party in December.
“We strongly believe that the time has come to award performance and also publicly recognize an employee who has shown initiative, demonstrated creative problem solving skills, shown an ability to work independently, and has worked tirelessly for the betterment of the District and its facilities,” said McGrady.
This is the first year the Employee of the Year Award has been given, and the District selected Van Epps and Johnson to share the honor.
Van Epps is the parks and open space foreman and has been with the District for more than six years. Van Epps has been instrumental in plowing and snow blower operations in order to clear the District’s 14 miles of trails each winter, which proved to be quite an undertaking these past two winters.
Additionally, Van Epps took on the responsibility last spring of repairing all of the District’s irrigation systems and is in charge of installing a new state-of-the art irrigation system. Previously a good deal of this work was contracted out, costing the District more money.
According to McGrady, CPN is the first major irrigator in the state of Colorado to install this new system, and as such, received a $56,000 grant from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. “Because of John’s willingness to step to the plate and perform this work in-house, the District has saved tens of thousands of dollars annually,” he said.
The District also honored Karl Johnson with the Employee of the Year award. Johnson is the District’s maintenance supervisor and is responsible for maintaining the District’s eight lift stations, 90 miles of water and wastewater mains with nearly 600 hydrants, and thousands of water valves and manholes.
In addition to maintaining this system, Johnson managed several major projects in 2007, including a video surveillance program and a hydrant leak detection program, which will save the District upwards of 20 million gallons of water each year.
“Johnson’s initiative and willingness to implement these programs has almost single handedly enhanced the value and appearance of the District’s infrastructure, saved the District thousands of dollars in lost water, and has proactively implemented a true preventative maintenance program,” said McGrady.
The District honors these two outstanding employees for all the work they have done over the years and for making Castle Pines North a better and more enjoyable place to live.
Learn more about the Metro District at www.cpnmd.org.
by Anthonette Klinkerman
Nutrition studies at school have spilled from the health and Home Economics classes into the cafeteria. Douglas County School District hired Brent Craig as the new nutrition services director last summer. His goal is to wean the schools from previous food service contracts by June 30, 2008.
Instead of the prepackaged selections from food service corporation giants, Craig is picturing healthier items made “from scratch.” Saving money at the expense of proper nutrition for students did not make sense to him.
Current warehouses need improvements in order to keep fresh menu items stored, but Craig sees this as an opportunity to create both community and student involvement as new food items are developed.
The recent nutrition revamping has been in the works since 2004, when the U.S. Congress passed the WIC Reauthorization Act. The act states that all school boards of education focus on wellness by addressing nutrition standards, physical activity, and nutrition education.
Craig feels that “excellent food” is a big part of this process, and he is confident his team can meet this new standard.
Timber Trail Elementary (TTE)
690 W. Castle Pines Parkway
Castle Rock, CO 80108
TTE Letter Writers Meet Pen Pal
Fourth Grade students in Ms. Karen Kolibaba’s class received a visit from the pen pal they adopted as third graders. Josh Leany, a soldier the students chose as a pen pal more than a year ago, dropped in to meet the students who had sent him cards, letters, and lots of good wishes. Leany, who was accompanied by fellow soldier Wes McDonagh, ate lunch in the cafeteria with his new friends and even stayed to play a game of kickball.
CSAP testing is just around the corner for students across the state. TTE students have traditionally done well on the test, earning the school an “Excellent” School Accountability rating from the state for the last four years.
“We don’t ‘teach to the test,’” said Principal Michelle Radke. “This is a way to see how students apply the knowledge and skills they have learned. To get ready, students should get a good night’s rest, eat a healthy breakfast, and have a fun time doing their best.”
Watch DOGS Wanted
At the beginning of the school year TTE launched a program to get dads involved in volunteering at the school. Watch D.O.G.S. (Dads of Great Students), which is coordinated by Timber Trail dad Kevin Cooper, allows dads to sign up for a whole day of
volunteering at the school and includes time for dads to help with security, safety and learning activities.
“We ask that dads who want to participate donate one day per year to the school,” said Cooper. “Many employers encourage volunteer work, and some even pay their employees to participate in programs like this.”
Dads who are interested in volunteering with the program should visit the school office for more information.
Brush up on your knowledge of all things trivial, and then sign up for Timber Trail’s first-ever Trivia Contest. The event, which will be held at the Castle Pines North Community Center on February 23 is open to anyone who is interested on a first-come, first-served basis. Tickets are $20 per person or $200 for a 10-person table. The evening’s topics will run the gamut from sports to music, history to cooking.
Rock Canyon High School (RCHS)
5810 McArthur Ranch Road
Highlands Ranch, CO 80124
Second semester has begun, and events are plentiful. The past two Spring Fashion shows have been such a success, RCHS is preparing for the third. The fashion show is dedicated to after-prom fundraising, and is a way to showcase Spring fashions modeled by the students. Log on to the school website for more details.
Other website downloads include 2008–2009 course guides, parts one and two of the December newsletter, Denver Nuggets second annual School District Community Night- February 2, and guidelines for parents who wish to take out a personal message space in the yearbook for their ‘08 graduate.