"I picked up cans on a dirt road that doesn't exist anymore," he said.
His interest in the history of Highlands Ranch, along with raising his 11-year-old daughter in the unincorporated Douglas County community, are what inspired his first book, titled "Images of America Highlands Ranch."
It will be released to the public on Aug. 1.
The book is part of Arcadia Publishing's "Images of America" series, described as an "ambitious collection of chronicles that accurately capture the essence of what gives each American small town, neighborhood, and downtown its unique flavor."
The 127-page book tells the story of Highlands Ranch from the first homestead owners in 1859 to the current happenings, including the closing of Town Center's Tattered Cover in 2015.
The book is dedicated to "everyone who takes part in making Highlands Ranch history," Johnston wrote, "including all who have lived, worked, visited or taken part in an event."
The cover is a sepia-toned photo of the Highlands Ranch Mansion and more than 200 black-and-white photos fill the pages.
The Highlands Ranch Metro District, the Highlands Ranch Mansion and the Douglas County History Research Center contributed most photos, but Johnston took recent ones with his iPhone 6.
The format, he said, makes for an easy read.
"This book is ideal for someone who wants to catch up on Highlands Ranch history, but doesn't necessarily want to spend a lot of time on it," Johnston said.
For the past year, Johnston a director of software engineering by day --; spent weekends and nights perfecting his book. Each chapter has a different focus, including early homesteads, mansion and ranch history, the development of a planned community, outdoor activities and the building of that town feel.
"I think my favorite thing was tying it all together and making a cohesive view of Highlands Ranch history," he said.
Johnston had help from historical society members, including board member Nancy Linsenbigler.
"This book is a first," she said. "We are all really proud that we could put together --; in one place --; the history of Highlands Ranch clear up to present day."]]>
The event helps dispose of chemical waste properly, prevents pollution and protects the people handling garbage.
Accepted items include household chemicals, oil, batteries, tires, pesticides, antifreeze, fluorescent lights and propane tanks. Items are unloaded for guests so they don't have to leave their cars.
Volunteers are needed for two shifts, 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. To learn more, contact Kari Larese at 720-240-4909 or email@example.com.]]>
Residents can safely and responsibly recycle electronic equipment, including computers, monitors, keyboards, fax machines, telephones, cellphones, radios, auto electronics, printers, palm pilots, computer mice, laptops and stereos. Televisions cost $40 for sizes up to 42 inches. The HRCA asks that televisions over 42 inches be brought directly to Techno Rescue, at 779 Peoria St. in Aurora.
There is a suggested donation of $20 benefiting the Highlands Ranch Community Scholarship Fund and Cultural Affairs Association.
For more information, visit www.HRCAonline.org or call 303-791-8958.]]>
Imagine my surprise when the land I was assured by the real-estate agent was open space in the Dougco Master Plan, became a five-year construction project build-out, complete with granite caprock demolition, and thousands of houses, schools, etc. I sit here as I write this, practically unable to think with the back-up beepers and pounding of rock crushers behind me, in what used to be a family farm above the canyon.
Shame on me for believing what a salesperson told me, and not going to the Dougco planning department to check what possibilities might be the future of that ridgeline. As my husband and I discuss where we will go next (over the banging, beeping and smashing), I wonder why it is that "progress" demands a blind eye to the beauty and history of yet another Front Range area. Truly, the out-of-state ownership of these properties would be the answer, but is there no stewardship from those who live in Castle Rock? Does the tax you receive from the continuing build-outs assuage any niggling guilt about the destruction of the hills and ravines of the terrain that made Castle Rock?
And what about the quiet and peace of the surrounding properties (not subdivisions)? After 65 years, I am so discouraged with the urban sprawl that is covering a once historic and serene valley, that I cannot stay and watch it devastated. But with the constant noise and hullabaloo from the back of my property, I suspect I will never be able to sell. Maybe some out of state developer?
Everyone is calling for things to de-escalate but nobody knows how to start. I would like to offer a suggestion. Silverthorn and Reynolds (not the whole board or a representative of the board) could offer a well-publicized apology.
It could go something like this: "To Grace Davis, her family, and the public at large: We, Meghann Silverthorn and Judith Reynolds sincerely apologize for our actions in March regarding our closed-door meeting with Grace Davis. Although our actions were not technically illegal, we realize in retrospect that they were not in good judgment. We are not perfect and occasionally we fail to do the right and honorable thing as we know we should, especially as leaders, and for that we are sorry. We now realize that we were acting out of our own fear and insecurities and we were thinking more about ourselves than about the well-being of others. Grace Davis and all of the protesters should not be made to feel retribution for participating in peaceful acts of protest in this country. That is a violation of our rights as citizens, and we are sorry that we contributed to one of the first experiences of that nature for many of these kids."
I suggest humility as the first major step in de-escalating tensions between the school board and the community. That would be so refreshing! We need to recognize that instead of simply stating our points of view louder, as both sides are doing currently, or changing the subject or turning inward and holding our meetings without comment, we should try a different approach.
If we don't, our problems will not dissipate but only intensify. I know I personally would have a higher level of trust and respect for a leader who is capable of apologizing. We can't afford the time to stand around wondering what to do.
The answer is obvious. Please rise to the challenge.
I am thoroughly sick and tired of the manufactured crisis around student Grace Davis and the acrimony it has resulted in. If the recently elected minority directors Lemieux, Ray and Vogel think their job is to stir up division and distrust in the community, then they are doing a very good job of it. However, I think they were elected to make sure that teachers and schools function to the benefit of our students.
I think it's high time they took their responsibilities seriously and started working with their counterparts and compromise as needed to get some work done. Do something constructive for our kids' education - do your jobs!