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Features

  • Several a-fungi-anados gathered at Flying J Ranch last Friday morning to learn about mushrooms in the mountain area of Jefferson County.

    “We have between 2,000 and 3,000 mushroom species just in this area,” said Mary Beth Carpenter, a volunteer with the Lookout Mountain Nature Center.

    About a dozen people showed up for “Beyond Pizza: What Everyone Should Know About Mushrooms.” Carpenter led the talk on families of fungus.

  • The mountain air in Morrision last weekend was full of the sounds of polka, the clanking of beer steins and the smell of fresh-made bratwurst.

    Denver’s Biergarten Festival, sponsored by the Colorado chapter of the German American Chamber of Commerce, brought the feel of a Munich Biergarten to the foothills as a way to help celebrate German culture, said chamber President Fred Beisser. The chamber’s goal is to promote business and cultural ties between Colorado and Germany.

  • The sacrifices made by U.S. soldiers on foreign battlefields during World War II and the support from Americans back home are the focus of a new exhibit at the Littleton Museum.

    “Littleton Goes to War: 1941-1945,” a year-long exhibit that opened July 5, not only traces the arc of the global conflict but also shows the major roles that places like Littleton played, said museum director Tim Nimz.

  • Littleton kids got the inside scoop on bubbles recently — by getting inside them.

    Bubble Lady Nancy Winkler brought her "bubble-ology" presentation to Bemis Public Library on July 1, demonstrating how to make unbreakable bubbles, educational bubbles — and how to put a youngster inside a bubble. 

    Winkler uses everything from granny curlers, pasta strainers, fly swatters and coat hangers to create her bubbles, eliciting “oohs and aahs” from the youngsters, who don't always manage to stay seated during the performance.

  • A sea of blankets and lawn chairs covered Clement Park as thousands waited for the night sky to be illuminated with fireworks on July 3. 

    The Foothills Park and Recreation District’s Red, White & You celebration drew a massive crowd looking to start the July Fourth holiday early. Despite some evening rain showers, the event drew an estimated 30,000-35,000 people. 

    The evening featured live music, kids games, food vendors and a 15-minute-long fireworks display that capped the night’s entertainment. 

  • The sound of a fire truck’s siren has drawn countless children to press their faces against the window to catch a glimpse of a big red truck flying by. 

    “It’s so neat to see the kids faces as they ride the truck,” said Steve Guardado, the organizer of the Mile High Hook and Ladder Club’s Fire Parade and Muster. “And it’s not just kids — 90-year-old grandpas want to ride up top. They’re grinning from ear to ear.”

  • Even a hailstorm couldn’t stop the party in Littleton. 

    An early-afternoon storm on Saturday left hail, branches and leaves covering the streets hours before more than 1,000 people were to descend on downtown for the Main Street Block Party. 

    Yet the mess Mother Nature left was no match for the downtown merchants, said Greg Reinke, president of the Historic Downtown Littleton Merchants Association. 

  • The rain left South Jeffco just in time for residents to go out and get wet.

    A handful of people were out enjoying the sun and water at the Columbine West Pool this weekend. The pool, operated by the Foothill Parks and Rec District, opened for the summer on Saturday.

    “This is our first time coming to this pool,” said Carrie Mulholland. “It’s hot, and we don’t have a pool in our neighborhood, so this is perfect.”

    Mo Korbel, Mulholland’s friend, said she takes her kids to the pool frequently during the summer.

  • 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.