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Gove Creek happenings: the Dakans and frontier justice

By CPC | October 29, 2023
old photo from the 20th century

Have you ever hiked Sandstone Ranch?  It is a grand, sculpted piece of Douglas County open space inventory bounded by Gove Creek and located south of Highway 105 and the Perry Park Road intersection. In 1870, 30-year-old Civil War veteran William “Allan” Dakan soloed westward to claim a cabin on lower Gove Creek, near blacksmith…

Paul Dannels’ legacy is a beautiful one

By CPC | October 29, 2023

Friends, family, neighbors and the community came out to celebrate the legacy of Paul Dannels on September 24 for the fourth annual walk to benefit Paul’s Mystery Ship to End ALS. Paul was a good man with a gentle spirit, and for 34 years he served as the district manager of The Village at Castle…

One howling good time

By CPC | October 29, 2023
dog eating cake

A debt of gratitude was paid to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office’s (DCSO) K-9 Unit and officers for keeping our community safe 24/7/365.  At the Friends of Douglas County K-9’s 12th annual Howling Good Time Gala, funds were raised so that K-9 heroes are given the best healthcare, equipment and support during their careers and…

Join the city’s leaf and pumpkin recycling event

By CPC | October 29, 2023
jack o lantern sitting in leaves

Get ready to embrace the spirit of fall as you participate in the city of Castle Pines leaf and pumpkin recycling event on Saturday, November 4, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Elk Ridge Park. No bags will be accepted at the event; all leaves will be emptied out of the bags on-site.  These…

Gala raises funds for the arts

By CPC | October 29, 2023

Tri Arts Project (TAP) hosted its inaugural fundraising gala, The Art of Giving, October 14 at the Barn at Rancho Vaya Con Dios in Castle Rock. The western-themed event was attended by town officials, local artists and patrons, and raised $65,000 toward the goal of creating a place in Castle Rock for the education, presentation…

A butter board for which to be thankful

By CPC | October 29, 2023
butter with different toppings on festive orange platter

I’m way too middle-aged to spend much time on TikTok, but I’m not ashamed to say that in the last few years, most of my cooking inspiration comes from 30-second videos.  Shot on phone cameras and created in the well-lit corners of Gen Z apartments (shared with an unholy number of roommates, no doubt), I’ve…

HOA2’s second annual fall festival

By CPC | October 29, 2023
green park with pumpkins on ground

Residents had a fantastic time at the second annual HOA2 Fall Festival on Sunday, October 8. This event took place at the clubhouse and was organized by the neighborhood social committee chair, Rudy Will. From 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., families enjoyed a variety of activities: face painting, a petting zoo, a food truck and…

Retired Air Force major fulfills life-long dream

By CPC | October 29, 2023
senior and 2 kids

Retired Air Force Major Carl Armani, who turns 85 later this month, fulfilled a life-long dream of flying in a WWII British Spitfire fighter plane.  His family surprised him with an early birthday present in August while visiting his son and his family who live in England. “It was on my bucket list,” said Armani. …

Former college soccer player inducted into Hall of Honors

By CPC | October 29, 2023
four people in formal wear holding honors

Dr. Kelly McDonald Freeman described it as a full circle moment when she returned to her alma mater to be inducted into the Texas Athletics Hall of Honors at the University of Texas in Austin in September. “It was an amazing weekend of festivities and ceremonies,” said Freeman, who lives in the Winterberry neighborhood with…

Creating a healthier home

By CPC | October 29, 2023
plant in pot inside home

It is a fact of life we are exposed to multiple toxins every day, and our bodies do an incredible job of detoxifying – to a point.  Experts say it is about the cumulative load of toxins and everyone has their own threshold of when the body becomes overwhelmed and affected by the amount of…

Season of football

By CPC | October 29, 2023
group in blue outside on turf

The Castle Pines Athletics NFL flag football program ended this fall with new champions winning the Super Bowl.  The program will pick up again in 2024 with registration beginning January 1.  For more information visit By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Castle Pines Athletics

Girls ready to fly off to the next level

By CPC | October 29, 2023
young girl outside in construction machine

The HOYA Foundation is an organization that works with the U.S. Department of Transportation to garner support for small businesses that work in the transportation and construction industries.  Based in Arvada, the nonprofit hosts an annual expo, Transportation and Construction Girl, a program that encourages young women to pursue careers to meet the workforce shortage…

Buffalo Ridge students think outside the box

By CPC | October 29, 2023

Students in all grades at Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE) are thinking outside the box and solving problems in the Learning Commons.  This school year, library time was added to the rotation schedule, where classes rotate between physical education, art, music and library each for a week every month. Librarian Aimee Valuck facilitated a fun critical…

American adventures with Antoine

By CPC | October 29, 2023
five people standing inside airport holding sign

The Stotz family welcomed an exchange student from the south of France to their home in the Forest Park neighborhood for the school year.  In only three months, there have already been many adventures and new experiences for all of them. Earlier this year, Stacy Stotz saw that Antoine was looking for a host family…

Girls flag football kicks off at RCHS

By CPC | October 29, 2023
group of girl youth standing together outside

In 2022, the Denver Broncos made history by inaugurating the first-ever Girls High School Flag Football league in Colorado.  Collaborating closely with the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA), Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) embarked on this three-year pilot program with the goal of making flag football for girls an officially sanctioned CHSAA sport across…

Weightlifter builds strength in retirement

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Pete Mentz is a strong man.  In fact, he is a world champion weightlifter, but it took retirement to achieve it. Mentz has a compelling journey.  He had not done regular exercise since he was a gymnast in high school. “People like me need an ejection button to get off the couch and go…

City launches online map to show development projects

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The City of Castle Pines has launched the Development Activity Map (DAP), an online tool allowing citizens to keep track of ongoing and proposed development projects. The DAP provides information on land use projects to include commercial, residential, parks and more. One notable feature of the DAP is its ability to stay current throughout the…

Zoning update to Parkway Plaza Development

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The City Council of Castle Pines unanimously approved an adjustment to the Parkway Plaza Development’s zoning regulations on August 8. The development will occupy the southwest corner of Lagae Road and Castle Pines Parkway, directly west of King Soopers.  The adjustment will add self-storage units and a pet daycare to the applicable zoning uses for…

Roundabout coming to Lagae and Happy Canyon roads

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  As part of the City of Castle Pines ambitious 2023 Road Solutions Initiative, residents can look forward to a significant upgrade in road safety and traffic flow at the intersection of Lagae and Happy Canyon roads.  This eagerly anticipated project will introduce a roundabout as an improvement to the I-25 and Happy Canyon Road…

Breaking Blue: U.S. Marshals Service

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) invited alumni from its Citizens Academy program for another riveting class about multi-agency task forces and partnership with the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS), the primary law enforcement arm of the Department of Justice.  Movies like The Fugitive and U.S. Marshals or the television show Manhunters: Fugitive Task Force have…

Tax relief on the horizon for Douglas County homeowners

By CPC | September 27, 2023

For homeowners in Douglas County, there is good news.  In September, the Board of Douglas County Commissioners in its capacity as the County Board of Equalization approved Douglas County Assessor Toby Damisch’s recommendation for an across-the-board reduction of 4% in assessments for single family residential property owners.  This would provide an average of $223 in…

New Douglas County library open in Castle Rock

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Douglas County Libraries (DCL) celebrated the grand opening of its new Castle Rock library on Saturday, August 26.  The new library is located at the same address as the former library, 100 South Wilcox Street. Grand opening events kicked off with remarks from library leaders and special guests, confetti cannons, and a breakaway banner…

Charging your car and mind at the same time

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  At first reading, it might seem like another business news brief shared by Douglas County officials, but it is about much more than a news bit being pushed out in the local news sites. The gathering of Douglas County commissioners, Colorado Energy Office representatives and CORE Electric Cooperative leaders at Glendale Farm Open Space…

National Prescription Drug Take Back Day

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is holding its annual National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, October 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  The program “aims to provide a safe, convenient, and responsible means of disposing of prescription drugs, while also educating the general public about the potential for abuse of medications,” according…

Finding justice for child victims and their families

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Corporal Randy Allen of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO) is passionate about helping the youngest and most vulnerable crime victims.  Allen has been with DCSO for 15 years.  He spent the last seven years in the Major Crimes Division and the last three specifically with a Child Exploitation and Human Trafficking Unit joint task…

Journey Church expands

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Exactly one year from the start of its construction, Journey Church commemorated its new Castle Pines expansion with a grand opening celebration on September 10.  The $8 million expansion includes a larger auditorium which seats 515, up from 350, and has doubled the kids’ space, with an added room for middle school and high…

A shopping experience for a good cause

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The Outlets at Castle Rock hosted its 18th annual Shopping Extravaganza on September 9.  Each year, patrons purchase a ticket for the one-day event and shop guilt-free as $20 from each ticket goes back to nonprofits, some in Douglas County. Other perks include exclusive discounts and activities, two prize-drawing tickets providing the opportunity to win…

Help & Hope is looking for help

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Help & Hope Center volunteers in front of the King Soopers on Saturday, September 23 asking for donations of canned food, toiletries and other non-perishable items. One of the volunteers noted, “We are low on items now, and with winter coming, it is imperative that we have enough for those in need.” For more information,…

Teen wiz kids and teacher create tech success

By CPC | September 27, 2023
black and white photo of group of people

During the height of the pandemic, there was a shortage of not only hygiene products like hand sanitizer and toilet paper, but schools faced a shortage of teachers.  After his wife Jean came home from a school board meeting at Douglas County School District, Thad Dupper decided to get certified as a substitute teacher and…

A dog named Dewey

By CPC | September 27, 2023
dog on paddle board

  Dewey is all things a pet owner wants in a dog.  He is a nice size to fit in a lap but large enough to play, explore the outdoors and protect the property.  A mix of 16 different breeds and left astray on the streets of New Mexico, Amy Griffin and her family rescued…

Get in the photos

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Abby Watkins lives a very full life in which she prioritizes family.  “Life’s too short to sweat the small stuff,” Watkins exclaimed.  As a professional photographer, jazzercise instructor, wife, and mom to three kids, two dogs, and three cats, Watkins has perspective about how precious life is and how fast time flies.  “Grab those…

Family conquers Colorado’s 14ers

By CPC | September 27, 2023
family standing on top of mountain

Linsay and Ryan Shirley are always up for an adventure,  whether it is traveling the world, riding roller coasters at amusement parks, or hiking and camping near Colorado’s high peaks.  Shortly after getting married in 1998, Linsay’s dad, Steve Williams, took the newlyweds to hike Mount Sherman, one of Colorado’s 58 mountains more than 14,000…

Restoration for human trafficking victims

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Ten years ago, Sedalia resident Jonathan Spencer learned more people are enslaved today than at any other time in history.  There are an estimated 40 million people trapped in various forms of trafficking around the world. Spencer spent 25 years as an environmental engineer, but over the last decade, he took a hiatus to…

The best decorated house?

By CPC | September 27, 2023
halloween decor

Do you have your house or yard decorated for Halloween? Send us photos of the best decorated house you see in the neighborhood – or send in your own – by October 15 to for a chance to win a $50 restaurant gift card.

Employees honored with financial scholarships

By CPC | September 27, 2023
group of cccp employees

  The County Club at Castle Pines (CCCP) honored 14 employees this fall with $89,000 in financial scholarships. In 2013, the CCCP created a scholarship foundation to identify recipients for scholarships for deserving Club employees to help with educational expenses.  Scholarship criteria are based on scholastic honors, community service and involvement, work ethic and tenure,…

Raising big bucks for youth mental health

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The Aspen Effect (TAE) held its annual fundraiser, Cars & Cowboys, on September 9.  Through a variety of programs, the nonprofit strives to build resiliency in youth by forming a mentor team in an environment working with horses and other farm animals. The event was held inside a beautifully refurbished barn on the west side…

All about Autumn Crossword

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Across 1. Place to keep fireflies (2 words) 5. ___ canto (singing style) 8. Risk getting bleeped 13. Play the siren 14. Sea eagles 15. 1970 World’s Fair site 16. Machu Picchu builder 17. Vast and empty 18. Written in mystical letters 19. Blessing 21. Shrek-like 22. Bad luck curse 23. Favorite fall dessert…

Scary stories to read in October

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction, and scarier too.  First published in 1966, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote arguably birthed the true crime genre.  Since then, we have witnessed an explosion of true crime interest across several forms of media – from books, magazines, movies and television shows, radio programs and podcasts.  This month’s…

October Modern Manners

By CPC | September 27, 2023
Graphic of Thoroughly Modern Manners

Dear Readers, It’s that time of year, the holidays are looming and so are the many social obligations we might consider.  It’s time to revisit the RSVP or to put it more simply saying YES or saying NO.  Yes, I love parties!  I love to host parties.  I love to attend parties, but even Mrs.…

New to the neighborhood?

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  A vibrant sense of community is one characteristic that sets Castle Pines – the 80108 ZIP code more specifically – apart from other Colorado communities.  Neighbors know each other, they spend time together and they support each other.  If you are a new resident, you have likely already experienced this firsthand.  The same holds…

Pino’s 9/11 fundraiser tradition

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  The seventh annual 9/11 Eat for a Cause community fundraiser was held at Pino’s Italian Kitchen & Bar.  All monies raised went to the OneGoat Foundation, a nonprofit that helps first responders fill a funding gap when they are injured on the job. More than $4,000 was raised from a percentage of proceeds of…

Persistence and desire: the Doepkes of Lake Gulch

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Why do men, like my German father, leave families and cross oceans and plains for a dream?  What type of energy drives them, despite all obstacles, known and unknown? Frederick and Charles Doepke must have agreed that their dream was possible when immigrating to the United States in 1853.  Finding Minnesota not to their liking,…

Frosting that’s a piece of cake

By CPC | September 27, 2023
cupcakes with orange frosting

  There are a number of television shows about cake.  Like, a lot.  It almost seems like there are too many, but I think I have binge-watched nearly all of them.  I am a big fan of cake, both in real life and on the screen.  When I see these shows, I am constantly envious…

Aging Resources celebrates five years

By CPC | September 27, 2023
man speaking at podium

  Aging Resources of Douglas County (ARDC) celebrated its fifth birthday on September 7 at the Healing Gardens at AdventHealth of Castle Rock.  ARDC is a nonprofit providing free supportive services to older adults to help them age independently.  Some of ARDC’s programs are chore and delivery services, transportation and the companion program. “We had…

Five Bright Sunbonnets: An invitation

By CPC | September 27, 2023

In 2019, friend and former rancher Dennis Niewoehner suggested that I author a collection of stories about the many remarkable characters from The Castle Pines Connection’s “Wildcat Lore” column.  As I began, the challenge grew and I uncovered more in-depth history of the settlers, as well as the influencers and facilitators who impacted them on…

Super cinnamon

By CPC | September 27, 2023
spoons and cinnamon sticks on wood tray

  A few of the joys of fall include sipping a pumpkin-spiced latte sprinkled with cinnamon, holding a mug of hot apple cider with a curl of cinnamon bark, and taking a bite of a freshly baked apple pie, featuring cinnamon.  Since ancient times, the fragrant spice of cinnamon, with its sweet and slightly spicy…

Ways to boost the immune system

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The immune system is constantly regulating outside threats and working to keep our entire system in balance.  We know maintaining a robust immune system is crucial for overall health and well-being, especially as we head into the season of spending more time indoors and with others.  So, what can we do to set our immune…

Another successful fundraiser

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Congratulations once again to Ladies 9 in the Pines for another successful breast cancer fundraising event on September 21 at The Country Club at Castle Pines. This year, the annual tournament and awards luncheon raised a record amount of close to $160,000 – and is still counting.  Still to come … Club General Manager Perry…

RCHS celebrates homecoming

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Rock Canyon High School’s homecoming was the week of September 18 with events held every day to celebrate.  Volleyball tournaments, powder puff football games, parade, bonfire, football game at EchoPark Stadium and HoCo dance were some of the annual traditions for the Jaguar students and parents.   Caption by Hollen Wheeler; courtesy photos

9/11 Stair Climb at Red Rocks

By CPC | September 27, 2023

The annual 9/11 Stair Climb at Red Rocks Amphitheater honors the lives of Americans lost on 9/11/2001.  After a few brief speeches, a moment of silence was observed and the Colorado Emerald Society Pipes and Drum Band played “Amazing Grace.”  The climb then began for the 2,000-plus attendees, which included firefighters from across the state…

A global opportunity in friendship

By CPC | September 27, 2023

DCS Montessori is committed to providing cultural experiences with middle school students.  In 2017, now- retired DCSM teacher Ryoko Fusatani began a partnership with Shibaura Institute of Technology Junior and Senior High School.  Each year, the Japanese high school sends roughly 30 students to DCSM for a day filled with language and cultural exchanges.  Fusatani…

Yogis for life

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Timber Trail Elementary (TTE) kindergarten teacher Mary Hastings is much more than a primary schoolteacher.  She is also a 200-hour, certified yoga instructor who began the after-school and summer camp program, “Yogis for Life,” for interested kindergarten through fifth graders. “I strongly believe the earlier a person begins their yoga practice of connecting their mind,…

Timber Trail Red Shirt Rookies reignite

By CPC | September 27, 2023

  Red Shirt Rookies (RSR) is an extension of Special Olympics Project UNIFY, a strategy for engaging schools to use sports programs and educational tools of Special Olympics to create a place of acceptance, respect and human dignity for all students with and without intellectual disabilities.  The Red Shirt Rookie club of TTE has reignited…

New school year = fun events

By CPC | September 27, 2023

Everyone loves a party, and what better way to get excited for the school year than with a back-to-school bash?  Each year schools throughout the nation host back-to-school events to connect families and friends and ease the anxiety students may have for the new school year. Community schools Buffalo Ridge Elementary (BRE), Timber Trail Elementary…

Rock solid business selling hops

By CPC | September 25, 2023

With more than 50 years of hospitality experience, Rock Solid Restaurants opened its third Colorado location of its eatery HopsnDrops in Highlands Ranch. The eatery is well-known outside of Colorado, particularly in the Pacific Northwest, with 16 locations in Washington and four locations in Oregon. Since its initial launch in 2009, the owners of Rock…

Where the horses run free

By CPC | September 1, 2023
horses out in field

If you have ever visited The Wild Animal Sanctuary (WAS) in Keenesburg, you know how much the people that run it love the animals. It is a call of the wild — dedicating a life to not only rescuing some of our wildest creatures, but caring for them long term in an environment that honors…

DCSD opens two new campuses

By CPC | September 1, 2023
logos for 2 new campuses

The Douglas County School District (DCSD) opened two new high schools in August:  Legacy Campus in Lone Tree (10035 South Peoria Street) and VALE Campus in Parker (15653 Brookstone Drive). Legacy’s focus is getting students the training and college accreditation they need if they are looking for a specific career path.  The career “pathways” Legacy…

Resident feedback on parks, proposed ballot measures

By CPC | September 1, 2023

Nearly 150 residents provided feedback to the City of Castle Pines about upcoming parks and open space projects during a pair of open houses in early August. The open houses – the first on August 2 at the Castle Pines North Metro District (CPNMD) headquarters and the second on August 9 at The Exchange Coffee…

Catch and release fishing at Rueter-Hess Reservoir

By CPC | September 1, 2023
man and son fishing at sunset

Catch and release fishing opened at Rueter-Hess Reservoir on August 4 and will run through October – Fridays through Mondays, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., by reservation only. Twenty-five anglers per day, with valid Colorado fishing licenses, will be allowed to fish for the stocked walleye, yellow perch, largemouth bass and channel catfish, to name…

The perfect blend of his parents: safety in schools

By CPC | September 1, 2023
officer standing in front of school

Like most individuals in public safety professions, Lyle Peterson cannot imagine doing anything else with his career.  It is a calling for Deputy Peterson of the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office (DCSO). Peterson attended Cal State University in Los Angeles and graduated with a degree in criminal justice and a minor in sociology.  He moved to…

Commemorative license plates now available

By CPC | September 1, 2023
license plate design from kid

In 2022, the DMV launched a statewide contest for residents to create art for new license plates to commemorate Colorado’s 150th anniversary, which will be in 2026. More than 300 entries from 216 citizens participated and 34,000 Coloradans voted on the results.  The two winners were chosen by age group: one in the under 13…

Speaking of license plates…

By CPC | September 1, 2023
4 license plates in colors

The DMV is bringing back history and for a good cause.  Authorized in the legislature last year, Coloradans can choose from four historical license plates. The black plate, sometimes referred to as the “blackout,” hearkens back to 1945.  The blue plate replicates Colorado’s 1914 visitor license plate and the red represents the 1915 license plate. …

Interactive wildfire map gives information to prepare

By CPC | September 1, 2023

Wildfires are the number one natural hazard for everyone in Douglas County.  There is a tool on the Douglas County website that contains an interactive map for wildfire mitigation that educates about the risk at an individual’s home or business. Simply enter your address and learn the risk of wildfire at or near your property,…

Rotary and principles by which to live

By CPC | September 1, 2023
lady with white background

The Village at Castle Pines resident Lisza Gulyas just finished her term as president of the Rotary Club of Denver (also known as Club 31) for the 2022 – 23 term. For several years, Gulyas was seeking a Rotary Club in the Front Range and chose Club 31, which was founded in 1911 and is…

AdventHealth celebrates 10 years and a new name

By CPC | September 1, 2023
2 men standing in front of hospital

Brent Spenst (left), AdventHealth’s Rocky Mountain Region CEO, and Dr. Devin Bateman (right), chief medical officer at AdventHealth Castle Rock, helped celebrate the transition that now has AdventHealth directly managing hospitals that were previously overseen by Centura Health.  The occasion on August 3 also marked the hospital’s 10th anniversary.  Spenst served as CEO of AdventHealth…

Story time at Ziggi’s Coffee

By CPC | September 1, 2023
snow white reading to kids at coffee shop

As a former school teacher, education is near and dear to Michelle Wiley’s heart. “I really enjoyed reading to my three kids as they grew and loved coming across books they enjoyed reading over and over,” stated Wiley, owner of Ziggi’s Coffee in Castle Pines.    Wiley recalls how much fun her children had –…

Sky Ridge celebrates 20th anniversary

By CPC | September 1, 2023

Members of the Castle Pines Chamber of Commerce joined in celebrating the 20th anniversary of Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree on August 17. Caption and photos by Terri Wiebold

The Connection is seeking writers

By CPC | September 1, 2023

We are looking for creative and motivated community members to join our team of staff writers for The Connection. To be a successful, you must be able to meet strict deadlines and possess excellent written and verbal skills.  A great staff writer is able to thoroughly research and write compelling copy, conduct interviews, and be…

Each piece is a masterpiece

By CPC | September 1, 2023
couple poses for photo

      It is not often in these modern times that one gets invited over for afternoon tea or snacks and delightful conversation.  Charlene Chorn is such a host.  Not surprisingly, she welcomed me into her lovely home with the table set with a fine bone China snack set that would have made the…

Airing greatly

By CPC | September 1, 2023
lady sitting at home with balloons behind her

Adriana Hawk left her home of Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia), a familiar life and her loving family to find love and participate and contribute her unique talent to the American success story. With both of her parents having Hungarian heritage, Hawk grew up in a trilingual household.  In fact, she is fluent in four languages –…

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