While I only encountered good teachers in the district, what about innercity areas where children are forced to attend the school near their home, rather than an excellent school where they could succeed? This actually happened in Washington, D.C., with Obama forcing the kids to return to their local ineffective school in spite of their great success at their charter school.
I have taught in Douglas County schools, in a private school in this district, and my grandson attended a charter school in Parker. What I learned was that all children have different learning styles and some schools are better for them than others. Who better to make that choice than the parents? (Not the unions.) Competition only leads to improvement, and my hope is that changes will be made this year in the department of education so every parent can choose the school that best serves their child.
I'm 24 years old. I'm originally from California. I've lived in Colorado for about 11 years --; we moved out here for my father's work. I'm an avid snowboarder --; I go to Copper and Winter Park.
I'm also studying to become a pilot. I'll be graduating from Metro State University this month. I've always had a passion for flying and being in the air. I'm not sure where I'll end up --; it depends on the company I fly with.
I have two dogs --; a 15-year-old Lab named Shadow and a 2-year-old Shiba Inu-border collie mix named Zeus.
My rec center gig
I'm a lifeguard. I watch over everyone in the pool and make sure they are safe. I'm mostly at Southridge but sometimes they send me to the other rec centers in the area.
To train, I had to take a four-day class where I learned CPR, first aid, how to rescue people out of the water. I've been working here for almost two years --; it's been pretty smooth, no crazy experiences.
My favorite thing about it is that I like serving people and helping them.
The holiday season
I like the atmosphere of kindness. It's the season of serving others and helping others.]]>
In her introduction, she writes about how she has always been fond of short stories, citing Eudora Welty, Somerset Maugham and Ernest Hemingway as inspirations. This would be a nice gift, or gift to oneself, to read on a winter evening, with a hot cup of tea close at hand.
"The Caretaker" tells the reader about a 19th-century farm family in November 1875. First, Mama insists on bringing the cow, Nellie, into the house to give birth to a calf, so the calf won't die in the freezing weather. Mission accomplished. Then Mama goes into labor and young daughter Selma must take the horses and wagon through the storm to fetch the local midwife, so Papa can stay with Mama. A nicely written story about family love and support, which was a finalist in the annual Women Writing the West Laura contest for short stories in 2009.
"Snow Angels of San Marcial" is set in New Mexico, where young Angelina wants to plan a Christmas gift for her recently widowed mother, who works all day at the pottery plant in Socorro. She hopes that her two feisty brothers will cooperate ... This one won first place in ByLine Magazine's Christmas Fiction contest in 1998.
"Carpenter's Crib" tells of a young woman, Lauren, recently widowed, who stops at a carpenter's shop in her small Colorado town to order a crib for her baby son. The young carpenter is also widowed and an attraction develops ... Tragedy threatens his small business ...
"The Christmas Gift" is a story of single young Miriam, who is on the train to Denver to deliver her orphaned baby nephew to an older sister who lives there with her husband and family. She grows so fond of him that she wonders if she can part with him. Sister is newly pregnant and not so inclined to care for this little one ... A traveling rancher is also on the train and with subsequent meetings in Denver, he and Miriam connect and the future for the pair plus the baby looks much brighter. This is one of Amazon's Top Ten Young Adult short fiction choices for 2014.
Finally, there is an excerpt from Breene's novel, "Journey to Sandcastle," a novel set in Colorado's San Luis Valley. Two Hurricane Katrina victim head to Colorado to search for an orphaned little girl's grandfather --; and find a place together. Colorado history fans may want to find the whole book.
Breene, a University of Denver alumna, worked as a fashion illustrator in San Francisco. She scouted for book settings in the Colorado Rockies with her husband, including Leadville, the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, Great Sand Dunes and Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She is a member of Colorado Romance Writers, Romance Writers of America and Women Writing the West.
Books can be ordered from Amazon. Information about the author can be found at lesleebreene.com.]]>
"It is a very competitive market," Park Meadows General Manager Pamela Schenck-Kelly said. "From an economic standpoint, you have to do everything to make sure the people choose you as a shopping destination."
During the holidays, Park Meadows generates about 35 percent of its total retail sales for the year, Schenck-Kelly said. The usual 55,000 visitors a day almost triples the Saturday before Christmas, she said.
The mall invested more than a million dollars into decorating for the season.
"This year, we went a little wild and put in all these colored lights in the trees," Schenck-Kelly said. "We wanted to go along with a classic theme. When you walk in, you walk into an alpine Colorado village."
Complimentary gift wrap is made available to shoppers Thursday through Sunday, and every day after Dec. 15.
Holiday events also serve as a form of decoration for the mall. Schenck-Kelly said performers from the Lone Tree Arts Center will present parts from "It's a Wonderful Life" during the weekends leading up to Christmas. Santa is another holiday perk as he waits to interact with children in a North Pole escape near Dillard's. While waiting in line, a holiday fairy interacts with children to ease the wait.
"I think it is all very classy," Teavana employee Taylor Keivit said. "They did a nice job of decorating but not going overboard."
Nordstrom is the most popular store at the shopping resort during the holiday season, Schenck-Kelly said. Park Meadows' addition of new e-commerce stores, including Nespresso, Amazon and Apple, are add-ons that Schenck-Kelly believes will be popular this year.
Park Meadows recently added 14 new energy efficient solar panels in early November that will help with the extra electricity being used for the decorations. Schenck-Kelly said Park Meadows is reducing kilowatt usage in double digits every year.
With employees parking off site and being shuttled to their jobs, more than 500 parking spaces will be freed up this season. The usual 6,600spots get to 95 percent capacity 200 days a year, Schenck-Kelly said. The parking spaces are even closer to being filled to capacity during the holidays.
"Our staff is trained to treat a visit like having your best friend over for dinner," Schenck-Kelly said. "You don't have to put a wreath on your front door or set the table nice, but when you love someone, or you love your customer, you want to make it demonstrative."]]>
He went into his sons' room and pulled back the curtains, he said. Sunlight filled the space.
"There is no life without grief and loss," Ryan Laber said to a room of more than 100 people at the service, "but there's also no living without the light brought to us, the light we create and the light we share."
Laber stood at the podium of St. Philip Lutheran Church, the church in south Jefferson County affiliated with his sons' preschool. He read off a sheet of paper, tears in his eyes.
"She wanted nothing but for Ethan and Adam to have a mother they could depend on, a mother that felt well," he said of Jennifer. "In her mind, they deserved the utopia each of them had brought to our lives."
Immediate family members sat at the front of the chapel. Friends and families with children filled the remaining seats. They shed tears. Some placed an arm around the person beside them.
Christiana Sparks, a neighbor of the Labers, shared memories of Jennifer, Adam and Ethan. Their kids would have play dates, they would watch each other's pets and have family barbecues, she said. She described Jennifer as a great, protective mom, Ethan as smart, and Adam as a gentle giant.
"Those boys adored you," Sparks said to Ryan Laber.
Pastor Brad Doty led guests through a series of prayers and songs. He emphasized how important it is for those struggling with depression and mental illness to speak up and find help.
"We grieve the effects of depression," he said," and we, in our hearts, grieve what Jen's depression caused her to do."]]>