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Features

  • Reading can be its own reward. But it doesn’t hurt to win a prize for reading a book.

    The Jeffco Public Library kicked off its Summer Reading Club on Sunday with celebrations across the county. The club gives readers from preschool age through adults a chance to win prizes for finishing books and other activities, said Bethany Candelaria, the library’s marketing manager. 

  • Colorado is home to one of the most diverse butterfly populations in the country, and the beauty of that variety is on full display this summer in South Jeffco. 

    The Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfield opened the new Butterflies at Chatfield exhibit last weekend, a collaborative effort between the gardens and the Butterfly Pavilion. The exhibit is one of a kind in Colorado, featuring only native plants and butterfly species, said Mary Ann Hamilton, the pavilion’s vice president for science and conservation. 

  • Hudson Gardens is abuzz with several thousand new residents.

    Members of the community beekeeping program installed several new hives at the honeybee garden on Saturday. The 16 volunteer beekeepers help manage the gardens’ 17 hives.

    “Beekeeping is a blast. … In fact, my family has gotten to the point that if someone asks me about bees, my family starts saying, ‘Oh no, we’re going to be here for hours,’ ”said Marca Engman, who has a hive at Hudson Gardens for the second summer in a row.

  • About 100 people gathered Saturday in Clement Park to mark the 15th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings. 

    The event, organized by the nonprofit gun-control group Colorado Ceasefire, also honored victims of mass shootings since Columbine, including the Aurora theater shootings in 2012 and the Arapahoe High School shooting late last year. 

  • The long line of brake lights that snaked around Red Rocks Amphitheatre in the predawn darkness of Easter Sunday told the story for Shawna Moench.

    “The fellowship here and seeing how many people came to worship God like this is amazing,” Moench said. “Seeing this many people is great. You think sometimes as a Christian that the faith is waning. But then you see a line of cars all the way to 470 and Morrison. Our faith is strong. It resurrected my faith.”

  • One act of violence can have a lifetime of repercussions. 

    For most of the 200 or so people at this year’s Courage Walk at the Jeffco government center, those repercussions are well known. The event brings survivors and victims’ families together to pay tribute to those lost to violence and to survivors of violent acts. It concludes in the Courage Garden behind the Taj Mahal.

    It also gives attendees a chance to connect with others who understand their pain. 

  • Firefighters don’t have time to iron out kinks in communications equipment during a wildfire. 

    That’s why about 25 firefighters from the West Metro Strike Team were in the Willowbrook subdivision in Morrison on March 18. The team, which includes personnel from West Metro Fire, along with the Arvada, Fairmount, Golden and Wheat Ridge fire departments, practiced deploying resources to the neighborhood. 

  • Cows are marvelous creatures. And that’s no bull.

    The Littleton Museum paid tribute to the bovine residents on its two working historical farms with a Bovines are Divine Day on March 29. Visitors learned about how Littleton’s founding fathers and mothers depended on cows every day.

    And gave them a chance to moo like a cow. 

    “It was funny to see people mooing,” said Jade Roulston, 10, whose friends competed in the mooing contest. “It’s been great.”

  • Sometimes our struggles define us. 

    For Ashley Berry, a 14-year-old eighth-grader at Summit Ridge Middle School, her battle to overcome bullying was a defining struggle in her life. 

    “When I was in fifth and sixth grade, I was dealing with a lot of bullying issues,” Berry said. “… I didn’t really know how to cope with being bullied.”

  • For a group of high school students, the road to rock stardom starts in Littleton. 

    Divide Zero, winner of the 2013 Foothills Park and Rec Battle of the Bands, is promoting its first full-length album, “Reflections.” The year-long project, which the band finished late last year, has been a life-altering experience for the pop-punk quartet of high-schoolers.

  • Littleton has what it thinks is a bright idea. 

    The city has begun talks with Xcel Energy about taking over ownership of the 66 streetlights downtown. 

    Currently the city’s 3,200 or so streetlights are owned and maintained by Xcel, and Littleton pays the utility a flat yearly fee for the lights’ energy use. 

    Any changes the city wishes to make to the lights — whether it be to replace a light with a different design, use a different bulb or repair a broken pole — are limited to the services Xcel provides.  

  • They celebrated the good doctor / the only way they knew how. 

    By telling silly stories / and mooing like cows. 

    More than 30 kids and their parents were at Littleton’s Bemis Library for an early celebration of the birthday of children’s author Dr. Seuss on Sunday. 

  • A little one-on-one time for fathers and daughters is a good thing — especially if it involves a two-step.

    The Foothills Park and Recreation District hosted 100 father-daughter pairs Saturday at its Daddy Daughter Valentine Ball at The Peak Community Center. The evening dance gave the fathers and daughters a chance to make some special memories.

    And to cut a rug or two. 

    “It’s been great. I taught her to do a little swing dancing, and now she won’t let me off the dance floor,” said Robert Rivera. 

  • Littleton’s Bemis Library wants to start a conversation about race over the next three months. 

    The library’s “Created Equal: America’s Civil Rights Struggle” discussion series kicked off Feb. 5  with the first of four films aimed at sparking a conversation about the struggle by African-Americans for equality in the United States. 

  • The house had become a prison for Jeaninne Kasa. But that was before the Zephyr Express.

    Kasa, 54, has a progressive form of multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease that attacks the central nervous system. Within two years of her diagnosis in 2010, the former elementary school teacher had lost the ability to walk up and down the stairs in her home near Lilley Gulch Park. 

    “Oh, boy, it was hard. I was depressed,” Kasa said. “We went through a lot of troubles back then.” 

  • An American bald eagle seems like a strange visual aid for a talk about the dangers of drugs. 

    But for almost 20 years, Arapahoe County sheriff’s Deputy Brian McKnight has used birds of prey to start a conversation with kids in Littleton on the dangers of alcohol, marijuana and cigarettes. 

  • It’s one thing to make a new year’s resolution to get in shape. It’s another for that resolution to last until the end of the year, let alone the end of January.

    Keeping that resolution isn’t about just willpower and self-control — you have to find a way to enjoy working out, said Tami Adams, fitness supervisor for the Foothills Park and Recreation District. 

  • Light of the World Roman Catholic Church hopes it is less than a year away from completing a plan started almost 35 years ago. 

    The church, on West Bowles Avenue at South Oak Street, is set to break ground on an expansion that will provide a permanent worship space for parishioners. The current worship space, which seats about 700, is in a room originally designed to be a multipurpose area with no permanent seating or altar space. 

  • On a day when frigid temperatures frosted South Jeffco, parents braved the snow and cold to give their kids a chance to play on the ice. 

    Dozens of beginning ice skaters took to the rink at The Edge Ice Arena on Saturday for Foothills Park and Rec’s Give Ice Skating a Try Day. 

    The aim of the free lesson and skate rental is to spark a life-long love for being on the ice, said Lezlea Zessin, Foothills’ figure skating director. 

  • Political changes from 2012 reverberated into 2013 among the Jeffco commissioners, with an opposing political view spicing debates over several key issues.

    The addition of Casey Tighe, the first Democrat elected to the Board of County Commissioners since 2006, gave Commissioner Don Rosier a sparring partner on several issues, including whether Jeffco should raise taxes and whether the county should be on the record as opposed to new gun laws.