A family of hawks recently built a nest in a tree outside the front door of the church at 11755 Tara Lane. Officials from the Colorado Division of Wildlife advised church leaders to get used to them.
"They said there's really nothing we can do, just cordon off the area and try to keep people away," said LDS stake President Chad Larsen.
The family of four hawks, a male, female and two juveniles, are protected by the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits people from moving or dismantling the nests of migrating birds such as owls and hawks.
Larsen said he found out about the nest when he received a call from a parishioner about a 4-year-old church member who was scratched by one of the hawks. The boy, Beckett Turek, wasn't seriously hurt, and his mother, Chantelle, said he was "pretty stoic" about the encounter, though he did want to leave the church through the back door on the day of the incident.
Church staff braved the divebombing birds as they set up caution tape and warning signs, effectively eliminating most of the church's parking.
Greg Bashaw, the church's director of public affairs, said the congregation has been accepting of their guests, even though some have left the building to find a hawk or two sitting on their cars.
"I'd say the congregation thinks it's pretty cool," Bashaw said. "They've become celebrities... They're huge and they're beautiful."
Bashaw said the hawks buzzed over church staff as they set up the tape and signs, but they've spent most of their time since resting in the nest or hunting in a field across the street.
The lack of parking complicated proceedings during a recent state conference at the building, but it also gave Larsen a theme for his sermon.
"I just said that we should all be more hawklike, more protective of our families," Larsen said. "We should all make our homes a refuge, or nest, and cordon off our homes from the outside influences that can harm us."
The hawks are expected to linger at the nest for up to another three weeks as the juveniles get ready to strike out on their own. But they may be back.
Wildlife officials said once hawks find a safe nesting site with a good food supply, they tend to return year after year.
"We'll have to stick that on the church calendar for next year," Bashaw said. "'Watch for hawks.'"]]>
The survey program was approved by the board of education in July. A committee made up of DCSD employees and School board President Meghann Silverthorn chose Denver-based research firm Corona Insights from seven survey companies.
The goal of the meetings is to "understand the opinions, priorities, and perceptions of constituency groups regarding public education in Douglas County and to use this data to inform and develop future priorities and direction," according to Corona Insights.
Those who cannot attend the meetings are able to provide input and comments online at dcsdk12.org/district/community-survey by clicking the "Let's Talk" tab.
Employee Town Hall: (Open to DCSD employees only)
Wednesday, Aug. 24 6:30 p.m., Douglas County High School
Wednesday, Aug. 31 6 p.m., Legend High School
Community Town Hall:
Thursday, Aug. 25 6:30 p.m., Castle View High School
Coach: Dustin Pfeiffer
2015 record: 1-9
League: Mt. Wilson
Players to watch: Nolan Laufenberg, OL, Sr.; Brayden Lucero, SS/RB, Sr.; Jack Kane, DT, Sr.; Hunter Slater, OL, Sr.; Dominic Ursetta, WR, Sr.; Jaylen Jackson, RB, Jr.
Team strengths: Depth and a strong sophomore class.
Team weakness: Replacing lost defensive players.
From the coach: "The sophomore class is very driven to success. They want it. We have a good foundation to work with on defense."
Coach: Gene Hill
2015 record: 2-8
League: Mt. Antero
Players to watch: Andrew Larson, OL/DL, Soph.; Sean McCarty, WR/WB/DB, Sr.; Mikey Blais,. RB/WR/DB, Sr.; Micah Smith, OL/DL, Jr.; Stoan Slaybaugh, QB/DB, Jr.; Jake Archuleta, FB/LB, Sr.; Aaron Kim, DB/RB, Sr.; Dylan Leston, TE/LB, Sr.
Team strengths: Versatile players, offensive line, running game and defensive pursuit.
Team weakness: Learning to play and trust the system
From the coach: "We have a lot of good football players. We have a lot of outstanding kids who need to experience some success and I believe things will start to snowball in our favor."
Coach: Stephen Robbins
2015 record: 6-4
League: West Metro
Players to watch: Nick Ciccio, WR/FS, Sr.; Trey Botts, OL/DL, Sr.; Jake Dack, OL/DL, Sr.; Justin Kenny, OB/DB, Jr.
Team strengths: A good combination of size and speed with a majority of the starters being seniors.
Team weakness: Depth on the varsity level is limited.
From the coach: "Our first 11 can play with most anybody, but we will have to do a great job of coaching up the younger players so they can become role players. Overall our ability to make big plays will be the difference in wins and losses."
Coach: Brian Lamb
2015 record: 5-5
League: Mt. Evans
Players to watch: Eric Hommel, WR, Sr.; Cade Chapman, OL, Jr.; Michael Keen, WR, Sr.; Griffin Cahey, OL, Jr.; Ryan Fichtner, S, Jr.; Brandon Martinez, LB, Sr.; Trevor Williams, DL, Jr.; Zach Hanna, LB, Jr.
Team strength: More experience with many juniors returning that gained experience as sophomores.
Team weakness: Lack of depth at many positions, with only 13 seniors on the roster.
From the coach: "We have continued to improve at Rock Canyon over the last three years. I believe we will have our best team yet.. We play a very tough schedule this year, so we will have to raise our level of play every week."
Coach: Rod Sherman
2015 record: 12-2
League: Mt. Lincoln
Players to watch: Dylan McCaffrey, QB, Sr.; Noah Elliss, DT/OT, Sr.; Christian Elliss, Sr.; Curtis Chiaverini, Sr.; Devin Noth, C, Sr.; Blake Stenstrom, QB, Jr.; Joshia Davis, RB, Soph.; Jack Walley, WR/CB, Sr.; Mitch Howell, DE/TE, Sr.; Hayden Courier, OL, Ben Kozan, DE, Sr.
Team strengths: Team chemistry, defensive line, outside linebacker, quarterback, tight end.
Team weakness: Four offensive linemen need to be replaced and tough non-league schedule.
From the coach: "We will be tested early with two strong out-of-state opponents and then we will play three of the top five teams in Colorado. This testing should develop our team and force us to improve in hopes of making a strong post-season run."
On her chest is a vertical scar from the first open-heart surgery she had when she was eight weeks old. She's had two more since.
But that doesn't stop her from doing what she enjoys.
"It's really you can't do it if you don't want to do it," she said. "And I like doing things."
Schott was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect called persistent truncus arteriosus when she was two months old. The rare heart defect is present at birth and means one large blood vessel leads out of the heart instead of two separate vessels, according to Mayo Clinic, an online healthcare publication.
As a result of the heart condition, "oxygen-poor blood that should go to the lungs and oxygen-rich blood that should go to the rest of the body are mixed together," the site says, which causes circulatory problems and may be fatal if left untreated.
Since 2007, Schott's parents, Leslie and Chad, have been on a mission to spread awareness and raise money for research on congenital heart defects through their Play for a Heart Tennis Tournament.
The fundraiser was first co-hosted in 2007with Tennis Plus at Redstone Park in Highlands Ranch. The Colorado Athletic Club Inverness hosted the event through 2011 as it started to grow.
To date, the Schotts' fundraiser has raised about $130,000 for pediatric cardiology research and is now a Children's Hospital event.
After taking a hiatus from the fundraiser due to work and other obligations, the Schotts have scheduled a tournament for Sept. 17 at Redstone Park, 3280 Redstone Park Circle. Unlike past years, high school tennis players can participate. Sponsorships for all ages are available.
High school players are scheduled to play from 1-3 p.m. and adult players from 3-7 p.m. Teams consist of six to eight players with one designated captain.
Through fundraising and spreading awareness, the family hopes to see more regenerative procedures for children with heart defects.
"If we can do anything --; we just want to make it less invasive," Leslie said.
Schott had open-heart surgery at 2 months old to reconstruct her heart. She underwent her second surgery when she was 9 years old at Children's Hospital Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus.
Her second surgery went "perfectly," her parents said, until she went into cardiac arrest while in recovery. Doctors performed CPR for 34 minutes before she was put on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) --; a heart-lung machine that oxygenates a patient's blood.
Doctors were worried her brain wouldn't function properly, Leslie said.
"But it does --; she's a very smart kid," she said. "Some know her as the miracle kid at Children's Hospital."
Her parents said they hope the fundraiser will enable Children's Hospital to expand its ECMO program.
Max Mitchell, Libby's surgeon at Children's Hospital, said ECMO machines are citical for pediatric patients with heart and lung problems.
"It greatly enhances the ability to do a high-risk heart surgery because we have a backup if things go wrong," he said.
Schott is a healthy teenager but she deals with the psychological challenge of having a diagnosed heart condition. She avoids certain activities that are hard on the body, such as running and hiking. And she undergoes an electrocardiogram (ECG) test once a year to check the electrical activity of her heart.
Her family has high hopes for future of congenital heart defect treatment.
"Hopefully," Leslie said, "medical science advances so there doesn't have to be another open surgery."]]>
This may indeed be a good idea, and as a result, we could benefit.
But this is not the way to find out about it. Transparency is important in all things that affect "we the people" locally and nationally.
Thank you, Colorado Community Media for keeping us informed.
Now I am not the first one to share this next bit of advice when it comes to pointing fingers and placing blame, and I am sure I will not be the last one to share it with you either. But we have to remember that when we point the finger of blame at someone else, there are usually three fingers on our hand pointing directly back at us.
Obviously it's the media's fault for corrupting the election for Donald Trump. There is no question it is the previous secretaries of state who should be blamed for recommending the use of personal email accounts for Hillary Clinton. It must be the other driver's fault for beeping their horn when we swerved into their lane while reading a text. And it is clearly the umpire's failure to call balls and strikes accurately that leaves a batter walking back to the dugout in contempt of a called third strike. And it is never the salesperson's fault for losing an opportunity, it must have been the prospect or customer who screwed up the deal.
Even some of the elite athletes from around the globe, the world's finest physical specimens, were found pointing the fingers of blame on weather conditions, the city of Rio, officials, and other reasons they may have missed out on earning a medal. Now don't get me wrong, I am not saying it's everyone, it just seems to me that it is happening more and more and being accepted and even tolerated more and more as well.
There is nothing like a great victory speech. I love an inspiring business leader, athlete, coach or politician who can talk about the dedication and commitment that it took to win, and do it with grace, confidence, and conviction. But I think I enjoy seeing and hearing from people who lost and who handle the loss with even more grace and courage. The business leader who finds herself sharing why the stock of the company went down, recognizes where the mistakes were made, and doesn't place blame anywhere else but squarely upon her shoulders. The coach who says we were just outplayed and lost to a great team. The athlete who congratulates the winner and commits to working harder and preparing better for the rematch. The salesperson who says they were simply outsold. The driver who recognizes that texting and driving is a really really really bad idea.
We love to accept the accolades for success, but for many of us it is just too hard to accept the ownership of our mistakes. Maybe we do it to save face, so that we look better in front of family, friends and co-workers. Maybe we just can't believe that we are actually capable of fault, living with the mentality of "It's not me, it's you."
If there were a way to keep count, track records, and give awards for making mistakes, that may be a contest that I could actually win. I sure have made my share along the way. How about you? Do you own up to your own errors and losses or are you someone who prefers to point the finger of blame at someone else? If you are, just look down and you will see three fingers pointing right back at you.
I would love to hear your thoughts on finger pointing and placing blame at email@example.com. And when we take ownership and accountability for our own mistakes and losses, it really will be a better than good week.
Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the former president of the Zig Ziglar Corporation, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.
The same goes for humor.
There isn't a single musician or humorist that we all can agree on.
The Beatles probably come close.
Steve Martin probably comes close.
But I am sure some of you are shaking your heads.
There is music that I refuse to listen to, and there is music that I can't get enough of.
There is humor that I avoid, and there is humor that makes my day.
I have a great dentist. She has a staff of 20. I spend a lot of time with them, and with their music.
I don't need an anesthetic most of the time.
But I notice others tapping their feet.
That's exactly what I mean.
Someone somewhere is buying Taylor Swift tickets.
Someone somewhere is buying Kanye West tickets.
"It ain't me babe."
I told Jennifer about our first television. Television in America was new then, and it made stars out of some pretty odd ducks.
Milton Berle, for one.
I was a kid, but I didn't get it, and I still don't.
It was the same thing with Lucy. Not funny.
I watched singers like Johnny Ray and Teresa Brewer.
Then one day on "Bandstand" I saw Buddy Holly. Game on. Rave on.
My mother took my sister and me to a movie house to see "Fantasia."
Bingo: Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky.
I sat cross-legged on the living room floor and watched Ernie Kovacs.
I didn't know the word "ingenious" yet.
On date nights in high school, I dated my radio.
All we had was Top 40, and it was better than nothing, but it wasn't very inspiring.
You had to dig deeper. I found out about doo-wop for one thing.
I listened to the B-side of "Blue Moon," the Marcels' biggest hit, and thought "Most of All" was better.
Doris Day movies and Jerry Lewis movies were intended, I think, to amuse me. "M*A*S*H" and "Friends" and "Seinfeld" were intended to amuse me. No, no, no, no and no.
If it has a laugh track, I refuse to watch it. It's telling me when to laugh. It's telling me that something that isn't funny is funny.
P.G. Wodehouse was a wit. Garry Marshall, rest in peace, was not.
"Happy Days" was not.
Gary Larson was. "Where have you gone, Gary Larson, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you?"
Our first television didn't come with a remote.
And I wasn't allowed to change the channels.
So I sat there and put up with Ralph screaming down Alice's throat.
"Why is that funny?" I asked my father.
A few years later, Archie treated Edith like she was a dope.
"Why is that funny?"
One day I heard Louie Armstrong's "Stardust." Supernatural.
Years later, Woody Allen used the same recording in "Stardust Memories."
Like him or not, his soundtracks are brilliant.
Allen is brilliant too. Others think he is a self-absorbed creep, and probably would rather watch Kathy Griffith at midnight.
I know someone who turns on her car radio, finds her favorite station, and leaves it there, no matter what.
She puts up with Hall and Oates.
I couldn't do it.
She puts up with Adele, Jimmy Buffett, and Garth somebody.
I couldn't do it.
Here's your homework: watch the YouTube of Steve Martin's tribute to Paul Simon at the Kennedy Center in 2002.
It's good humor and good music.
Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Charter schools are tuition-free public schools that operate with increased autonomy through a system of waivers from certain requirements. They are an integral part of public education in America. Yet these public schools increasingly find themselves under attack in Colorado and across the United States.
The Colorado Education Association and its allies backed efforts to complicate the waiver process for charter schools during Colorado's 2016 legislative session. This alliance also aggressively opposed efforts to fund charter school students equitably under voter-approved property tax increases, thereby perpetuating a system under which Colorado charter schools annually receive roughly $2,000 less per pupil than their traditional public counterparts. This shortfall partially explains why charter school teachers make nearly 30 percent less on average than their traditional public colleagues.
These assaults defied any credible policy logic, but they provided an opportunity to rally anti-charter forces against the expansion of parental choice in public education. This begs the question: What exactly are they rallying against?
Charter schools in Colorado now educate a higher percentage of minority students than non-charter schools. They also outpace the state in the percentage of English-language learners served. Although public charter schools serve a lower percentage of low-income students than their traditional public counterparts, the gap is narrowing. The percentage of low-income charter students has roughly doubled since 2001.
Colorado charter schools continue to serve a lower percentage of students who require special education. However, a 2014 study on the subject in Colorado indicates that these differences are primarily explained by differences in application patterns and student classification, not the systematic "counseling out" of special education students often alleged by charter opponents. In fact, the study found that significantly fewer students with individualized education plans exited charter schools than exited traditional schools at the elementary level. There was no significant difference in exit rates at the middle school level.
When it comes to academics, charter schools tend to surpass traditional public schools. With only a handful of exceptions, the 2016 State of Charter Schools report found that charters outperformed non-charters in both proficiency rates and student growth on statewide assessments. Though more analysis is needed, these positive results appear to hold true for both the older TCAP assessment and the newer, more difficult PARCC assessments.
Most importantly, the explosive expansion of Colorado's charter sector indicates that these schools are serving a significant - and growing - demand for educational options on the part of Colorado parents. The state's first two charter schools opened in 1993-94. By 2015-16, that number had grown to 226 - an 11,200 percent increase.
Charter enrollment growth has dramatically outpaced non-charter enrollment growth, and the gap continues to grow. In 2015-16, charter schools served more than 108,000 students statewide. That represents a 30 percent increase in enrollment since 2011-12.
Though individual reasons for choosing a charter school vary, it is clear that Colorado parents are seizing opportunities for educational choice in droves.
None of this is to say that all is perfect in Colorado's charter sector. Charter school four-year graduation and post-secondary enrollment rates lag significantly behind those of traditional public schools in Colorado. These gaps are largely explained by the charter sector's higher proportion of online and alternative schools, which often serve extremely difficult populations of students. Yet demography must never become an excuse. As always, there is work to do.
Even so, it is clear that charter schools in Colorado are meeting the needs of an increasingly diverse population of students. Meanwhile, the sector is expanding rapidly to meet the demand of parents hungry for educational options and opportunities.
Charter opponents will no doubt continue to fight the tide. But standing between parents and the educational options they know their children deserve is unwise, and I have little doubt about which side will prevail in the end.
Ross Izard is the senior education policy analyst at the Independence Institute, a free market think tank in Denver.
Jackson Crist of Highlands Ranch kept the ball in the fairways.
Douglas County's David Roney saw the extra work on his driving pay off.
Those three players had the top scores in the Aug. 18 Continental League golf tournament at South Suburban Golf Course in Centennial.
Blackwood was the medalist with a 2-under-par 70
"I putted pretty well, got off to a good start and made a few birdies," Blackwood said. "I made five birdies. Everything was in sync. There were no bad shots. I hit the ball well."
Crist, a senior, bogeyed the 18th hole but finished with an even-par 72 following an impressive approach shot than wound up a foot from the cup.
"On the front nine, I started off birdie, birdie," Crist said. "I had four bogeys in the round and I made three birdies on the back nine but bogeyed my last hole. I didn't miss a lot of fairways. I didn't make any big numbers."
Roney, also a senior, finished with a 1-over-par 73.
"I've been working on my drives and I kept it in the fairway," Roney said.
Regis Jesuit was first in the team standings with a four-player total of 302 strokes.
Heritage was second at 304, led by Blackwood. Also for Heritage, Ryan Way had a round of 75, Jordan Phong 77 and Cam Jajaj an 82.
Mountain Vista placed third with a consistent showing led by Nick Kim's 3-over-par 75. Chris Rapp shot 77, Evan Wilkinson 78 and Elisandro Aragon 79.]]>