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Start the New Year off right, left, right, left…

By CPC | January 1, 2021

By Patte Smith; photo courtesy of the Grant family This January 1, head outside to get some exercise and enjoy the beauty of nature. First Day Hikes are held throughout the country and at participating Colorado state parks. Visitors can take self-guided tours on the trails in the parks. Some of the parks offer fun…

Inner strength found through loss

By CPC | January 1, 2021
Photo of Ashley Jones

By Shaun Kernahan; photos courtesy of the Jones family The biggest hurdle in the life of a 14-year-old should be transitioning to high school, but for Ashley Jones, it was the biggest and most impactful year she had ever encountered. It started one evening when she was at a neighbor’s house babysitting. It wasn’t until…

Explore ways to stay fit at home

By CPC | January 1, 2021

By Chris Michlewicz With some fitness centers currently limiting capacity due to restrictions, millions of people are looking for ways to exercise at home. Fortunately, there have never been more do-it-yourself options to stay or get fit. The new year brings with it resolutions to exercise more, and whether there is follow-through depends on many…

An original holiday performance

By CPC | January 1, 2021
Photo of students musicians

By Julie Matuszewski: photos courtesy of Briea Berry The sound of the holidays was alive in the Glen Oaks neighborhood of Castle Pines. A group of talented students from Timber Trail Elementary and Rocky Heights Middle School produced and performed a 20-minute outdoor holiday performance for their families, neighbors and their instructor, Douglas County band…

12 Days of Covid

By CPC | January 1, 2021

Information and photo provided by American Academy Students Westley Green, Louise Green and Kiera Meyer all love to sing and participate in school plays. This year, the American Academy Castle Pines campus held a musical-themed holiday door decorating contest. These talented Castle Pines students wrote and performed their rendition of The 12 Days of COVID.…

BRE fourth grade students dive into history

By CPC | January 1, 2021
Photo of BRE student diorama

Article and photos by Celeste McNeil Fourth graders at Buffalo Ridge Elementary traditionally invite parents into the classroom to showcase their research skills and knowledge of Colorado history. As with everything else this year, the showcase looked a little different than in the past. This year the showcase was completely virtual. Students learned broadly about…

From quarter horse to iron horse

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Brett Wiebold; courtesy photos In the age of Teslas and Zoom meetings, it’s difficult to picture a world moving at a snail’s pace. Bandwidth limitations are infuriating by modern standards, and who doesn’t feel a pang of annoyance when it takes more than a few seconds to download an email? Not so long ago,…

Passenger rail service

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Could it pass through Douglas County? Article and photo by Chris Michlewicz A proposal to bring passenger rail service through Douglas County as part of a larger Front Range transit effort could be gaining steam. The State of Colorado’s Southwest Chief & Front Range Passenger Rail Commission is looking at three possible routes to connect…

Capacity restrictions for Colorado’s COVID-19 dial

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; chart provided by the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment According to a public health order issued by Governor Polis, Douglas County moved to the level red category (severe risk) on the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s (CDPHE) COVID-19 dial effective November 20. The six colors indicated on…

Send packages early this holiday season

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard This holiday season will likely see more online shopping, which means anyone looking to send holiday gifts and greetings should get their packages and cards sent early. For residents looking for close shipping options, the Castle Pines community offers two choices – United States Postal Service (USPS) and United Parcel Service,…

Nonprofit helps keep assistance local

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Chris Michlewicz The roots of a novel idea to enable businesses to directly help their own community are growing out of Castle Pines. The concept behind the Community Impact Fund, a nonprofit founded by Castle Pines resident and technology development entrepreneur Judah Musick, is simple but profoundly effective. Businesses of all sizes want to…

Financial relief for local small businesses

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Information provided by the City of Castle Pines and Douglas County Both the City of Castle Pines and Douglas County recently announced the establishment of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) grants to provide financial assistance to local small businesses. City of Castle Pines – The City’s grant will reimburse small…

Debbi Haynie – Castle Rock Senior Activity Center

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Debbi Haynie’s favorite activities – hosting a senior mystery trip

Crafter discovers her career in a most serendipitous way Debbi Haynie, 19-year resident of the Stonecroft neighborhood in Castle Pines, has lived in many places throughout the United States – including Arizona, Nebraska, Texas and California. “Growing up, my dad worked for Hormel, so we moved about every four years,” Haynie reflected. Debbi and her…

Ice Castles, a frozen delight

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of sliding through chilly tunnels of ice

Article and photos by Lynn Zahorik; courtesy photo In a time where the word “frozen” refers more often to a record breaking movie than weather conditions, a castle of ice will be drawing a lot of attention this winter in Summit County. Making its fourth appearance in the small town of Dillon, just 90 miles…

All aboard the Game Train!

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of painting of old train

Article and photos by Chris Michlewicz A restaurant that combines an immersive travel-by-train experience with hundreds of board games is entertaining stir-crazy families and groups of friends during challenging times. Game Train, located in the Promenade Shopping Center on the southeast corner of County Line Road and University Boulevard in Highlands Ranch, opened in April…

Traffic guru living his best life in the pines

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Jayson, Gina, Jolene and Jaylyn Luber

By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of the Luber family As a kid in suburban Detroit, Jayson Luber would listen to the radio and dream of being an on-air personality. He thought about how incredible radio could be, how it transports listeners to a different world, and he’d walk around with a tape recorder, narrating the…

Dogs at your service

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Kathy Fallert; courtesy photo Pets provide health benefits. According to studies, pets can increase fitness, lower stress and improve happiness. Service dogs encompass all of these abilities, and combined with training to perform specific tasks, help individuals with disabilities. An emotional support animal (ESA) provides comfort just by being with a person. An ESA…

Cutest Pet in the Pines Contest

By CPC | December 1, 2020

The Castle Pines Connection has teamed up with The Pet Stuff Place, Animal Care Center of Castle Pines, Camp Bow Wow – Castle Rock, Lone Tree Veterinary Medical Center, The Last Paws, Allstate Insurance – Tammy Lopez, and State Farm Insurance – Nick Ainsworth to bring you the eighth annual Cutest Pet in the Pines…

Explore the history of Colorado on a scenic railroad

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Patte Smith; courtesy photo Historic trains are a special experience while viewing colorful Colorado and learning about its railroad history. There are several scenic train rides throughout Colorado, some on narrow gauge tracks. Several lines offer themed and seasonal excursions, including special Christmas and Polar Express trains, so be sure to check each website…

Places of worship to celebrate the season

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Patte Smith As of press time, it was unknown whether in-person services will happen this year. In recent months, many congregations have transitioned to virtual church services. The following are included because of their proximity to the Castle Pines community or because they have contacted us directly and requested to be included. Check specific…

Shining a light on the angels in our community 

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard For the past five years, The Connection has featured a different nonprofit organization with ties to the Castle Pines community in our Angels Among Us segment. The goal is to introduce our readers to a variety of organizations that are doing the daily work of providing assistance for those in need,…

Douglas County Gives … where we live

By CPC | December 1, 2020

In conjunction with Colorado Gives Day – the annual statewide movement to celebrate and increase philanthropy – the Douglas County Community Foundation (DCCF) features Douglas County Gives as a way to support local nonprofit organizations and keep contributions and donations in our community (see E Guide insert page 13). Douglas County Gives is a DCCF…

Birth of the model train

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Model train

By Bryan Goodland Many people grew up with a small model train circling the Christmas tree. In the 1800s the railroad and trains were an integral part of everyone’s lives. Trains provided access to an ever-expanding nation and an opportunity to build wealth in a time when industry was burgeoning. As the railroad industry grew,…

Gift giving outside of the holiday box

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Lisa Nicklanovich Like everything this year, gift giving might look different this holiday season. At the heart of it, giving a gift is a way to reconnect with the people we care about. This year has presented many challenges in connecting with our loved ones, so thoughtful gifts will be especially appreciated. Some ideas…

Singapore: Asia for the tepid

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Article and photo by Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photo Singapore, you say? I first visited Singapore in 1987 and last in 2017. It stunned my senses both then and now. Once a tiger-infested malarial swamp claimed by the British in 1795, Singapore became a republic in 1965 when it detached from Malaysia. By 1987 under its…

Holiday tipping etiquette

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Mrs. Abramovitz, would you talk to us about holiday tipping? – CC Yes, dear ones, tipping can be one of the most stressful and confusing aspects of etiquette; add in the holidays, and it can become overwhelming. The holiday season is indeed upon us, and this is the time Americans choose to thank those who…

The Polar Express – Do you hear the bells ringing?

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of cover of The Polar Express Book

By Lisa Nicklanovich The description inscribed on the book jacket of the beloved holiday book The Polar Express cannot be said better: “A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical train to the North Pole. The Polar Express makes its way through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a…

Books and bundt cakes

By CPC | December 1, 2020
stack of books

By Lisa Nicklanovich; photos courtesy of Mindy Burns Of the 500 books Graham Burns has “read” so far, his favorite is That’s Not My Elephant… or any of the Usborne touchy-feely books by Fiona Watt. Graham is 4 1/2 years old, and with his mom’s help, he has taken on the 1000 Books before Kindergarten…

December Crossword Puzzle

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Colorado Colossus: General William Palmer

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of William Jackson Palmer

By Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photos Before Castle Rock and New Memphis were settled, a traveler on the First Territorial Road (Daniels Park and later, Santa Fe), would have seen a circular stock pen owned by John Craig. Craig’s small community became known as Round Corral. When William Palmer’s Denver & Rio Grande Railroad puffed through…

Boreas Pass railroad:

By CPC | December 1, 2020

an outdoor adventure into the past Article and photos by Claire Bauer, intern writer; courtesy photo Colorado is home to many historically rich sites that were once hubs of commerce, but now offer beautiful outdoor adventures. Take Boreas Pass, for example. It’s a picturesque road named after the Greek god of the north wind, located…

Christmas Tree Recycling

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Information provided by Douglas County Christmas trees may be recycled at free facilities located in Douglas County. Trees are mulched, and the mulch is available at some locations to residents while supplies last. To recycle Christmas trees, remove all ornaments, lights, tinsel, garland, plastic wrap, tree stands, wire, rope and nails before recycling. Trees that…

Family recipes are heirlooms

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photos If you are lucky enough to have family recipes handed down to you, whether they are handwritten recipe cards, newspaper clippings or in an email, you know it’s a responsibility. You want to keep these family heirlooms safe and accessible for future generations to use and enjoy. Just as there…

Holiday pancake mix

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Holiday pancake mix for festive gifting Article and photo by Lisa Crockett It’s the time of year when indulgence is on the menu, and no holiday tradition embodies this idea more than a delicious breakfast. What’s more celebratory than starting the day with special once-a-year treats in the company of family and friends? As an…

The food lab – Goodie Train

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Food Lab Holiday-Train-2

Article and photos by Lisa Crockett

Medigap special enrollment

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Information provided by Colorado Department of Regulatory Agencies For those who are thinking of buying or changing a Medicare Supplement (Medigap) policy, here are two important reminders for Colorado beneficiaries. Only beneficiaries who were eligible for Medicare prior to January 1, 2020 can still purchase Medigap Plan C or F. Do not be concerned if…

Older adults urged to remain vigilant –

By CPC | December 1, 2020

stay connected during pandemic By Chris Michlewicz Officials who hosted a telephone town hall meeting to discuss how COVID-19 is affecting Douglas County seniors urged older adults to stay the course. Douglas County Commissioners Abe Laydon, Lora Thomas and Roger Partridge were joined by Tri-County Health Department Executive Director Dr. John Douglas and local senior…

Keeping everyone safe on the road

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Bryan Goodland Driving in Colorado at any time of the year can be a challenge. From unpredictable lane closures and road maintenance to traffic and weather, a road trip can easily become a nightmare. Getting older only adds to these challenges and can make driving even more difficult. The Colorado Department of Transportation is…

Entrepreneur creates sauces and goodwill

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Castle Pines resident David Bloom (left) and former Denver Broncos offensive end Mark Schlereth

By Chris Michlewicz; photo courtesy of David Bloom David Bloom is a shining example of the entrepreneurial spirit that runs deep in the City of Castle Pines. Bloom, who lives in The Canyons neighborhood, is the man behind the recipe for Stinkin’ Good green chile sauce, a regional favorite that can be found on store…

Local author publishes first book

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of author Brandi Kernahan

Article and photos by Shaun Kernahan For nearly three years, Brandi Kernahan has called Castle Pines home. She lives with her husband, Shaun, son Patrick and dog Fenway. Kernahan has spent the better part of the last 15 years working in the health insurance industry, where she hoped to turn her criminology degree from the…

Music video shoot in Castle Pines

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Local musician Billy Wills

By Shaun Kernahan; courtesy photo  

Working hard and enjoying life: Crystal Arbuckle

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Crystal Arbuckle

By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Crystal Arbuckle Castle Pines resident Crystal Arbuckle is no stranger to hard work and persistence. The mother of four children, she grew up in a large entrepreneurial family in eastern Oregon, near the Idaho border. The family business was Fry-Bake Shoppe, a bakery in the small farming community of…

Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act insurance

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; with information provided by Connect for Health Colorado The Affordable Care Act (ACA) 2021 open enrollment period for purchasing health insurance for the coming year began November 1 and runs through December 15. Castle Pines community residents and small business owners can find the 2021 available health insurance plans through the…

RCHS Cross Country Races to State Championship

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Kathy Fallert; photo courtesy of Jennie CartwrightBy Kathy Fallert; photo courtesy of Jennie Cartwright The Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) cross country team went to the state championship at the Norris Penrose Equestrian Center in Colorado Springs this year. As reported by Dan Davies, head cross country coach at RCHS, “We closed out the…

Super Bowl XI Champs

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Super Bowl XI Champs

Information and photos courtesy of CPA Football season in Castle Pines started and ended with dedicated hard working young athletes who love to play the game. The Castle Pines Athletics (CPA) NFL flag football program played seven games, as well as a playoff game. The teams that advanced met one last time, on the Elk…

Weighted blankets; winter warmth and therapy

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Pics of weighted blanket

By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photo “It’s like a hug,” said a resident about her weighted blanket. More than comforting, research suggests weighted blankets may benefit people with anxiety, autism, ADHD and insomnia, among other conditions. Filled with poly pellets, weighted discs, or glass beads sewn into sections, weighted blankets apply pressure that mimics a therapeutic…

Journalism educator receives Pioneer Award

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Kristi Rathbun, MJE, journalism teacher and adviser at Rock Canyon

By Lisa Nicklanovich; Photo courtesy of Kristi Rathbun The Connection congratulates Kristi Rathbun, MJE, journalism teacher and adviser at Rock Canyon High School (RCHS) for receiving the 2020 Pioneer Award from the National Scholastic Press Association (NSPA). The Castle Pines Connection has been collaborating with Rathbun for many years. Nearly all of The Connection’s student…

Twinning at RCHS

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Maddy Merritt, RCHS intern writer; courtesy photos According to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics, the rate of twin births rose 76% from 1980 to 2009. The children that were born toward the latter part of that time frame are now in high school. Throughout the halls of Rock Canyon High…

DCL Learning Labs

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard During this atypical school year, the Douglas County Libraries (DCL) is offering a helping hand by providing professional support opportunities to study, experiment and learn for all grade levels. For middle and high school students who might be struggling with online or hybrid learning, DCL hosts dedicated space for students to…

Kindergarten registration now open

By CPC | December 1, 2020

Kindergarten registration is currently open for the 2021-2022 school year at Castle Pines elementary schools. Eligible children must be 5 years old by October 1, 2021. Copies of the child’s birth certificate, immunization record, and proof of residence are required, along with the registration packet. Buffalo Ridge (BRE) and Timber Trail (TTE) registration process consists…

BRE students thank veterans

By CPC | December 1, 2020
BRE students drawing thanking veterans

By Celeste McNeil; photos courtesy of Kelli Weinreich This Veterans Day, students from each grade at Buffalo Ridge Elementary took time to recognize the service our veterans willingly give to our community and nation. The effort was spearheaded by physical education teacher Kelli Weinreich. “I asked if classes wanted to make Veterans Day cards. I…

From dentistry to teaching

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of Scott Draper

By Julie Matuszewski; photo courtesy of Scott Draper “Timber Trail Elementary is an amazing place and I couldn’t be happier to be there,” stated Scott Draper, the newest addition to Timber Trail Elementary as the school’s art teacher. Draper has not always been a teacher. He traveled an unconventional path to becoming an elementary art…

Service Dogs of DCS Montessori

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of DCS Montessori dog Yampa

By Julie Matuszewski; photos courtesy of Denise Glenn, DCS Montessori Canine Partners of the Rockies raises and trains service dogs for mobility assistance, autism support and intervention facilities. DCS Montessori (DCSM) is one of many proud partners that assist in training and raising these dogs to go on to do great things outside the classroom…

Working together in unity

By CPC | December 1, 2020
Photo of DCS Montessori kids

Information and photo courtesy of DCS Montessori  

80108 student athletes sign letters of intent

By CPC | December 1, 2020

By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy photos After National Signing Day in February, many high school sports and activities were canceled or postponed, making it a challenging year for high school athletes with ambitions of playing their sport in college. When we learned some schools were having students sign letters of intent in November, we contacted all…

Wide Open Saloon

By CPC | November 4, 2020

By Chris Michlewicz; courtesy photos When roughly 2,000 people showed up for Wide Open Saloon’s opening weekend in Sedalia the second week in March, owner Todd Hills saw a dream fulfilled – a dream that was 10 years in the making. In 2009, Hills hosted Wednesday night bike nights in the parking lot of Top…

Honnibrook Craft Meadery

By CPC | November 4, 2020

By Carin Kirkegaard Mead, fermented honey and water, is the oldest documented alcoholic drink. Evidence of its fermentation was discovered in Asian pottery vessels that dated between 6500-7000 BC – making mead even older than beer and traditional grape wine. The ancient Greeks called it the “nectar of the Gods.” Vikings drank it out of…

Oh, give me a home …

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of buffalo

By Lynn Zahorik; photo courtesy of Julie Lamb Joining the ranks of the American bald eagle as an official symbol of our country, the American bison was named the national mammal of the U.S. in 2016 to recognize its historical, cultural and economic importance. According to the American Bison Society, bison were “integrally linked with…

Historic Sandstone Ranch

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of Sandstone Ranch

Douglas County’s newest open spac Information provided by Douglas County; photo courtesy of Flannery Cool Douglas County’s newest open space resource, the 2,038-acre Sandstone Ranch, is one of the largest and most historic properties in Colorado. It is now open for public access. The official public access opening follows an extensive planning process that culminated…

Town home project receives final approval

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Skyline Ridge at Castle Pine

By Chris Michlewicz; renderings courtesy of Norris Design City of Castle Pines residents will soon see more construction activity south of the city’s business district as a new town home development takes shape. The Castle Pines Planning Commission unanimously approved a site improvement plan in late September for 187 town homes between Lagae Road and…

Risk reduction = reward

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Article and photo by Terri Wiebold In celebration of October’s National Fire Safety Week, The Exchange Coffee House, located in The Canyons development on the east side of I-25 in the City of Castle Pines, hosted South Metro Fire Rescue for a fire escape planning day. South Metro Fire Rescue Risk Reduction Specialist Einar Jensen…

Haven’t voted yet?

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Patte Smith As of October 1, there were 277,850 citizens registered to vote in Douglas County. Democrats numbered 54,353, Republicans 106,176, Unaffiliated 113,270 and others 4,050. While many citizens mailed or cast their votes during Early Voting in October, Ballot Drop Box locations will be available 24 hours a day until 7 p.m. on…

Neighbors walk in support of Larry

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Article and photo by Carin R. Kirkegaard On an ideal fall morning in October, neighbors gathered in Castle Pines to walk with Team Larry and show their support in helping to find a cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Larry Harms, longtime resident and director of the Rocky Mountain Chapter of the ALS Association was…

Coyote Ridge Cleanup

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Carin R. Kirkegaard; courtesy photos Castle Pines resident volunteers gathered for the first Clean-Up Castle Pines Day event hosted by the Castle Pines North Metropolitan District (CPNMD). The Coyote Ridge Park basketball courts, skate park and the surrounding scrub oak was the group’s primary focus. They picked up trash and even removed recliners that…

IREA online portal puts power in comsumer hands

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Puts “power” in consumer hands Information provided by IREA; photo by Terri Wiebold The Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) recently launched My Power, an online portal that transforms customers’ access to energy use information. My Power gives IREA customers with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters the ability to better view, manage and analyze their usage…

Dave Whalen, Country Club at Castle Pines

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Enjoying all that Colorado has to offer By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of the Whalen family Few transplants have embraced the Colorado lifestyle as quickly and enthusiastically as Dave Whalen. By weekday, Whalen is the chief operating officer and general manager for the Country Club at Castle Pines. By weekend, he and his wife of…

Backing the blue in Castle Pines

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Kathy Fallert; courtesy photos Castle Pines resident Shane Lapp, a strong supporter of law enforcement, first responders and the military, organized a Back the Blue event at Berg Haus in Castle Pines last month. The well-attended event honored Lieutenant Brian Murphy. Murphy is a former Oak Creek, Wisconsin police officer who was shot 17…

Arc donation center opens in Castle Pines

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Article and photo by Terri Wiebold In the past few months with extra time at home, residents have had an opportunity to clean out garages and organize closets. For those looking for a place to donate the accumulation of items, the City of Castle Pines has a new resource ready to take the gently-used clothing…

It’s a beautiful day in our neighborhood

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Information and photos courtesy of Village Castle Pines Garden Club Yes Mr. Rogers, it was a beautiful day in The Village at Castle Pines neighborhood. The Village Castle Pines Garden Club’s (VCPGC) Drive-Through Event at the Summit Club last month brought neighbors together. The purpose was to welcome all 160 of their fantastic members with…

U.S. Flag Code – displaying the flag

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Manners are about doing the good thing, the right thing and the honorable thing. I’d like to dedicate this month’s column to all the men and women who have served honorably in our U.S. military. Veterans Day will be observed on Wednesday, November 11. I’d like to encourage our citizens to raise their U.S. flag…

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