2019 news from 80108
By Patte Smith, photo by Tim Gamble
The front page story and barren photo from the inaugural issue of The Castle Pines Connection featured the excavation of a parcel of land that would later become American Academy charter school and Elk Ridge Park.
From its humble beginnings at a strip mall in Lone Tree to a thriving campus in Castle Pines, American Academy (AA) has experienced growth and stability over the past 10 years. When the Castle Pines campus opened in 2009, the enrollment of students doubled as was planned, and has stayed at approximately 800 students. In 2013 and 2017, AA opened two additional campuses in Parker.
A new and innovative program of next-level STEM challenges for middle school students was launched in 2015. The program teaches specific, real-world engineering skills using actual engineering tools to solve actual engineering problems.
AA’s mission recently expanded from a STEM emphasis to include a STEAM emphasis that recognized the need for a visual performing arts program. The STEAM program has grown immensely in size and success.
Following the opening of AA, the city has made some significant roadway improvements that have had a very positive impact not only on the school, but the park and surrounding community. And, of special note, the staff and parents of AA would like to thank the City of Castle Pines for the roundabout on Lagae – “it is great!”
Sports teams at AA like volleyball, basketball, soccer and cross-county have grown over the years, and Elk Ridge Park is the school’s home field for soccer and cross-country.
Elk Ridge Park
Not only for sports, Elk Ridge Park is a roaring success for the City of Castle Pines. “Since the park opened in 2011, it has been a keystone in our community and is the location of many community events and special community-wide gatherings,” emphasized a city official. “This includes thousands of residents who attend the Run Wild and Party in the Park events.”
In 2018 alone, 19 different sporting groups/teams rented field space at Elk Ridge Park for practices, games, tournaments and camps. There were 25 pavilion rentals for birthday parties, sports team events, family picnics, Scout events and school field trips. The park has grown in popularity over the years, and families, kids, people walking their dogs and sports teams can always be found enjoying the park and playground.
By Terri Wiebold; photo courtesy of the City of Castle Pines
When the inaugural issue of The Connection was published 10 years ago, the City of Castle Pines was marking its first birthday. Last year was the 10th anniversary of the City, and along with a celebration of the uniqueness of the community and the people who live here, we commemorated the journey with a literary recap of the incorporation effort and some of the initial challenges the new City faced.
One of the first stories we covered in 2009 about the new City was the contemplation of becoming a home rule city. For reasons having very little to do with the pros versus cons of becoming a home rule city, a charter commission was not established at that time and no question was placed on the 2009 ballot regarding home rule.
Fast forward to July 2018: Castle Pines City Council unanimously approved an ordinance which set into motion the first steps needed to transition to home rule.
In the November 2018 coordinated Douglas County election, the citizens of the City of Castle Pines voted 61 percent to create a Home Rule Charter Commission (Commission) with the purpose of proposing a governance structure that would dissolve the current dependence on the state legislature and improve Castle Pines’ ability to address local issues at a local level.
A Charter is a community’s “constitution” and most important guiding document, according Castle Pines City Manager Michael Penny. It outlines the structure and organization of its government and the powers and limitations of municipal officials and agencies.
In drafting the Home Rule Charter (Charter), the commissioners utilized data compiled from the Colorado Municipal League on charters from across the state, consulted city staff, solicited the opinions and views of citizens, and employed legal counsel experienced in municipal law.
Upon establishment of the Charter, the commissioners committed to the following:
• Governance processes will be open, accountable, and responsive to the citizens.
• Elected officials will have the ability to develop processes that allow them to make decisions and act quickly and responsibly and can change over time.
• Checks and balances will be put in place to protect citizens’ right to be heard.
• Citizens will have recourse if they disagree with decisions made by their elected representatives through recall and initiative processes.
• City staff will function efficiently, effectively and professionally under the governance model.
• The Charter will support and acknowledge the flexibility needed for Castle Pines to grow, evolve and respond to future circumstances.
According to Commission Chair Geoff Blue, “our vision as a Charter Commission has been to create an enabling document that provides Castle Pines with a responsive and efficient government that is able to legislate as appropriate for our citizens while remaining accountable to them.”
Key provisions of the proposed Charter include:
• Recognition of the council-manager form of government, with flexibility in organizational structure to allow Castle Pines to adjust to new demands and changing circumstances as the City grows and prospers
• Requirement of voter approval to implement or increase any city-collected tax, consistent with the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR), regardless of whether TABOR may be repealed or amended at some future date
• Implementation of effective checks and balances by, among other actions, providing broad powers of recall, initiative and referendum
• Accountability for responsible use of public funds and for the conduct of the City’s business on a balanced budget basis
• Establishment of a structure for the efficient and orderly conduct of the City government, while also providing for and encouraging citizen participation in the affairs of the City.
Blue asserts that this foundational Charter “puts the citizens and community of Castle Pines first and gives them the ability to control their government so they can ensure their interests remain paramount.”
Last month, the Commission gave a public presentation of the proposed Charter and incorporated feedback from citizens before later presenting the Charter at the final public hearing (as of press time) set for January 30, where the Commission would formally adopt the Charter.
On February 12, the Commission will present the Charter to City Council at a 5:30 p.m. study session prior to the regular City Council meeting at at the Douglas County Libraries – Castle Pines. The public is welcome to attend. On February 26, City Council will refer the Charter to the citizens of Castle Pines for a special election to be held on May 14, where residents will vote to either support or reject the Charter.
Submitted by the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce
Most of us find comfort in the fact that unexpected hardships probably won’t happen to us or our families. Those things happen to others, right? After all, what good comes from worrying about what might or could happen?
As an organization, the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce realizes that although the probability of an unexpected hardship may be small for each of us as individuals, it is almost certain to touch at least a few of the members in the organization as a whole. Further, it understands that hardships impact many members of the broader community each year. To make the scenario a little more conceivable, think about your immediate social circle: Do you not know anybody who has been impacted by any of the following hardships in the past 12 months?
Unexpected death or terminal diagnosis of a spouse
Separation or divorce
Loss of income or ability to provide financially due to unemployment or health reasons
Financial or emotional toll on a family for assuming the care of a parent
Because this will inevitably impact its membership and the community, the Chamber has put together a presentation to share a few key pieces of information that could help make all the difference for you and your family should random misfortune land at your doorstep. Its panel of presenters will include community members from its board of directors, as well as a financial expert it is bringing in from out of state. The presentation will include both financial and legal professionals and will be delivered in a manner consistent with the Chamber’s commitment to being of service to the community.
Sure, the topics are heavy, but that is not where the emphasis will be. The focus will be on the positive. The presentation will outline a few key conversation points to consider, followed by easy action steps to take, should you decide this is something you would like to address. Plus, to make sure the evening is enjoyable for all, the Chamber will provide complimentary appetizers and beer and wine to all attendees. To register for this free community event, visit www.castlepineschamber.com/sudden-independence-speaker-series.html.
By Catalin Varela; photo by Terri Wiebold
In the inaugural issue of The Castle Pines Connection published in February 2009, David Weaver (then Douglas County sheriff) wrote a guest editorial piece titled “Do the right thing and others will follow suit” about the importance of safe driving.
For the past 10 years, Weaver has continued to make a positive impact and has served the Douglas County area in multiple capacities. Weaver served as Douglas County sheriff from November 2006 to July 2014, when he was sworn in as Douglas County Commissioner, which he viewed as an honor and another way to serve the community. Weaver left the seat as Douglas County Commissioner in April 2018 to accept the position as U.S. Marshal for the District of Colorado, which he was appointed to by President Donald Trump.
Weaver mentioned that his heart has been in law enforcement since he was a child, and he considers himself very service-minded. He stated that in every position he has held, his question has always been, “How can I better serve the community?” His incredibly caring approach to law enforcement is displayed even further when he stated, “It is never my job to judge. It is my job to get the people who are struggling off the streets to protect everyone.”
Weaver said receiving the job of U.S. Marshal was a long process, taking 16 months of background investigation after submitting his resume. The U.S. Marshal Service was formed by the Judiciary Act of 1789 during George Washington’s presidency, making it the oldest federal law enforcement agency in the nation. U.S. Marshals have a very broad scope of duties, and it is because of this that Weaver said he is very grateful for the partnerships and team work between all U.S. Marshals. He is looking forward to what the future holds and to continuing to create a safe community for his children and grandchildren to grow up in.
By Susan Helton; photos courtesy of the Howarth family
The Castle Pines Connection and Woody Howarth, builder/designer and president of Sterling Custom Homes, Inc., have a long history together, almost to The Connection’s very beginning. In 2009, Woody and his company stepped forward to help neighbors who had lost their home to a devastating fire. Just four months after Woody and his team began work, and seven months after the fire, construction was complete, and the family moved back into their home.
Woody came to Colorado in 1990, after selling a business in Florida that he enjoyed for almost 25 years. “I was gifted with the opportunity to move wherever I wanted,” stated Woody. “I chose Colorado because of the vast outdoor opportunities and moderate climate.”
Knowing Woody would not commit to a venture without complete confidence in its success, his family encouraged him to start Sterling Homes. “The greatest satisfaction – and greatest challenge – with building and running this company is being able to create a perfect heirloom home for our clients that exceeds their expectations,” Woody stated.
Woody and his wife, Amy, have been married 28 years. Their daughters Paris and Sterling are the light of Woody’s life. School and friends keep the girls busy, but Woody tries to spend every free moment with his family.
The Howarth family enjoys the outdoors: fishing and hiking along the Platte River near their home and boating at their Florida home. Woody loves 70s music, from classic rock to disco and folk. “It’s a mood thing,” stated Woody. He attends several concerts and 70s parties each year. For 10 years, the family has supported the Professional Bull Riders and attended Denver’s rodeo. Woody loves the Denver Broncos, and alma mater University of Michigan football. The Howarths delight in hosting dinner parties for clients.
Woody trained as a craftsman at his father’s side. His father was a wood craftsman, mechanic and carpenter, and inspiration for Woody. Together they worked on projects most weekends until Woody moved out, rebuilding cars and remodeling homes. Another of Woody’s inspirations is motivational trainer Tom Colatrulio. “He helped me understand the possibilities of success working with my mind,” stated Woody. “My father helped me understand the possibilities of success working with my hands.”
By Michelle Post
The Golden Rule states, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” And this rule not only works for life and business, but for the internet too. One question I often get from business owners is, “How do I get more reviews?” There are two answers to this question: 1. Ask for reviews and 2. Give reviews.
Don’t just be a taker and want more reviews for your business, but be a giver and give reviews to the companies you interact with every day. It has become too easy for us as a society to use the internet to share negative reviews. However, speaking for myself, I know I have more positive experiences every day compared to negative. We have three incredible tools at our disposal every day: Our authentic voice, technology (cellphones to be specific) and the internet. Using this combination of tools, we can share the love quickly and easily.
As business owners, it is essential to do unto others as we would want them to do for us. Therefore, share some love by giving reviews. I encourage you to make a list of the vendors you work with, the service providers who you regularly use, and the products (software, hardware, tools) you use to run your business. Then commit to writing one review a week for one person on your list. You will be surprised how much it will do for your social worth.
I am not encouraging you to do what I am not. I am following my own advice and am creating a list and have scheduled a weekly task on my calendar to share the love by writing reviews. If you want to “share the love,” create a short video review and post it into your social media streams and tag the person/service/product you are reviewing. Share the love in 2019 and watch how love comes back to you.
By Patte Smith; photos by Lynn Zahorik
“The Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce (CPCC), established in 2008, has changed significantly over the past 10 years as the city has grown and changed,” explained Executive Director Amy Shanahan. “Our membership has doubled during the past three years – close to 400 members, the staff has increased from two to four individuals and we moved to a new location.”
Giving kudos to original organizers Sharon Kollmar and Carla Kenny, Shanahan noted that the solid reputation these ladies built of being welcoming and friendly while offering value and commitment to members, holds strong today. “Those standards still drive the CPCC – connecting our members with one another and with our larger community.”
The Chamber’s Business After Hours and Business Over Breakfast programs for members continue to be a success, as well as the Engage Speaker series for residents that began in 2014. New programs such as Lunch and Learn, New Member Mixer and free social media training for members to learn skills are now offered, and for the past two years the chamber has hosted a special event on Colorado Gives Day that highlights nonprofit organizations.
Community events are a key highlight of the Chamber’s offerings and they keep getting bigger and better. Business member booths at the events offer residents the chance to get familiar with chamber members and neighborhood businesses, while enjoying entertainment together.
In 2018, more than 3,000 families and friends gathered for Food Truck Frenzy to enjoy live music and nosh on good grub. Party in the Park attracted approximately 4,000 people who came together for an evening of food and drinks, kid’s attractions and an amazing fireworks display put on by the City of Castle Pines. Other annual favorites are in the works for 2019 – Vino in the Village, Birdies, Bogies and Business, Run Wild, Trick or Treat Street and Holly Jolly Brunch.
For more information about membership or events, visit www.castlepineschamber.com.
Article and photo by Terri Wiebold
Being a business owner, large or small, comes with many challenges and is often a thankless job. There are those days, however, when someone shares a compliment or acknowledges a job well done and all the bad stuff seems little in comparison.
For these business owners, that day came last month in the form of recognition at the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce annual membership luncheon.
The recipients below were selected as large business of the year (Christian Brothers Automotive), small business of the year (Allstate), business person of the year (Woody Howarth), nonprofit of the year (Hide in Plain Sight), community member of the year (Melissa Coudeyras), ambassador of the year (Greg Anderson) and volunteer of the year (Brad Mahoney).
Please join the Chamber and The Connection in congratulating these worthy recipients!
Article and photo by Terri Wiebold
Build it and they will come. That was valuable advice I received 10 years ago when contemplating publishing a free community newspaper that was 100 percent based on advertising revenue.
Well, one of the critical components to building a quality newspaper every month is featuring interesting and relevant stories, written by very talented individuals who care about the community.
The Connection is thrilled to welcome three such talented individuals – all of whom live in the community – to our writing staff. Special thanks as well to veteran Lisa Crockett, who despite having moved to Minnesota in 2015, has been a part of our Connection family since our first issue and continues to write for us today!