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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…

Giving back this Christmas

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Operation Christmas Child Logo

 By Steve Whitlock Are you looking for a way to give back this holiday season? Operation Christmas Child, collects shoebox gifts filled with fun toys, school supplies and hygiene items and delivers them to children in need to demonstrate love in a tangible way. For some of these children, the gift-filled shoebox is the first…

Autumn Art Walk

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Photos by Terri Wiebold and courtesy of Jan Comstock The perfect fall day was the backdrop for local artists to feature their wares at the second annual Autumn Art Walk in The Village at Castle Pines. To view a slideshow of the event, visit

Is solar energy a good choice for your

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Chris Michlewicz Colorado’s 300 days of sunshine a year are not only great for outdoor activities, they are welcomed by homeowners who have solar panels on their roof. By the end of 2019, more than 2,900 customers of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA) had rooftop solar systems interconnected to its grid, generating more…

When pigs fly – part II

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of paper mache pink pig with witch hat

Last month, we featured a story about Ron Di Donato, a 72-year-old retired excavation company owner who used recycled copies of The Connection to create a flying papier-mâché pig as a means of slowing traffic. He has since added a Halloween witch’s hat and a mask to his creation. Our story caught the attention of…

Open-air markets

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Celebrate the holidays at several open-air markets By Patte Smith In downtown Denver, Skyline Park’s open-air Urban Holiday Market located at 16th and Arapahoe Street, is Saturday, November 7 and Sunday, November 8 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Get an early start for Christmas shopping strolling through the market full of arts and crafts,…

A parade for generations

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of elephants at Macy's parade NY

By Bryan Goodland; photos courtesy of Macy’s   Whenever someone mentions Thanksgiving, family traditions immediately come to mind. Maybe your family gets up early to run in an annual Turkey Trot or they gather around the TV to watch the big game or maybe they tune into the annual Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If you…

Buffalo plaid

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of Buffalo plaid fall basket

By Terri Wiebold; photo courtesy of Kneaders Bakery Buffalo plaid is a term used to describe the pattern created when two colored yarns – traditionally red and black – are woven in stripes to create large intersecting blocks. The result is a third block of color that is the combination of the other two. Made…

Trick or Treat Street

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Julie Matuszewski On October 24, neighborhood children of all ages made their way through Castle Pines Parkway and The Village at Castle Pines Shops in search of favorite Halloween treats. Local business windows marked with a pumpkin guaranteed the visitors prepackaged treats and goodies from a safe distance. Businesses without a retail location also…

Daniels Park Wellhouse gets a new roof

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of Daniels Park Wellhouse

By Celeste McNeil; courtesy photos Throughout the month of October, HistoriCorps, a nonprofit that preserves historic structures on public lands has been working to reroof the Daniels Park Wellhouse, in addition to repairing the structure’s siding and rehabilitating its windows. Daniels Park is a Denver Mountain Park, listed on the National Register of Historic Places…

Volunteers extend a helping hand to the world

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Chris Michlewicz; photos courtesy of Project C.U.R.E. A nonprofit focused on getting used medical equipment and surplus supplies to healthcare facilities that need it most has the help of two Castle Pines women. Tammy Dawson and Amy F., both of whom work in the healthcare industry, have a combined 11 years of volunteering experience…

The Sandstone Ranch: a quilted masterpiece

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photos Near West Plum Creek’s headwaters, Sandstone Ranch’s story is rich and colorful, a stitched-together history of many pioneers. The earliest was Charles Richardson, an 1873 homesteader who claimed the first parcel. A year later, a bold woman for the times, Elizabeth Robinson of West Point, Illinois, homesteaded and became his…

Thanksgiving movies to kick off the holiday season

By CPC | November 1, 2020
What's Cooking? movie poster

By Lisa Nicklanovich; courtesy image Christmas movies get all the love. Thanksgiving movies tend to remind us how messy and dysfunctional families can be, or maybe joyful in comparison when we gather them around the table. For that sort of film, see Pieces of April, The Oath or Home for the Holidays – noting that…

Planes, Trains and Automobiles

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photo of Planes, Trains and Automobile movie

Thanksgiving lessons By Steve Whitlock; courtesy photo If you’ve seen the 1987 film Planes, Trains and Automobiles, it likely increased your awareness and appreciation for the acting abilities of Steve Martin and John Candy. Their duo forms arguably one of the best comedy teams in modern film. Of course, it’s the writer, John Hughes, who…

William F. “Buffalo Bill” Cody

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Old photo of Buffalo Bill Cody

An American original By Joe Gschwendtner; courtesy photos An unsullied hero is rare in these times. Unusual too, is a person who defined an era and culture simultaneously. William F. Cody was an egalitarian when civil rights were ignored or violated in a rush to settle new frontiers. If, as parents today, we seek antidotes…

A walk with nature: Sandstone Ranch

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Walk with nature: A hike through Sandstone Ranch Article and photo by Julie Matuszewski; courtesy photo Father of the mountains John Muir once said, “In every walk with nature one receives far more than he seeks.” Muir was right; being in the outdoors improves one’s memory, reduces anxiety and helps with creativity. Walking with nature…

Furrever friends found at adoption event

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Lynn Zahorik, photos courtesy of Brittany Arellano The ‘awww’ factor was in full force when Operation Secondhand Paws (OSP) teamed up with Farmers Insurance Silverhart Agency to host a pet adoption event in early October. The nonprofit rescue agency brought two litters of puppies and one litter of kittens that were available for adoption…

Pandemic pups in Castle Pines

By CPC | November 1, 2020
Photos of pups in Castle Pines

By Lynn Zahorik, courtesy photos As more time is spent at home during the coronavirus pandemic, many people have decided to add a furry new member to the family. They are turning to animals for emotional support and companionship to counteract the challenges of social distancing, working from home and remote learning. Since March, a…

November crossword puzzle

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Buffalo or bison?

By CPC | November 1, 2020

By Kathy Fallert; photo courtesy of Julie Lamb The question of whether the Daniels Park herd is a herd of buffalo or a herd of bison is a common one. For the record, they are bison. There are two types of buffalo: Cape buffalo and water buffalo. They are native to Africa and Asia. Bison…

Getting older: senior pets

By CPC | November 1, 2020

Article and photo by Kathy Fallert November is National Senior Pet Month. Regular readers of this column know my three dogs, 2-year-old Otis, 9-year-old Tebow and my senior Sadie who is 12. I understand very well the different needs of an aging pet. Sadie has always been a hard-core athlete. Her stamina could outlast the…

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