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Features

  • Editor’s note: The Columbine Courier is following Ashley Bissel’s journey through her treatment for brain cancer. This is the second installment in an ongoing series.

     

     

    An oversized three-month calendar hangs on the wall above Ashley Bissel’s bed. The days are crossed out with a heavy pink marker, the way a student would mark off the weeks till the end of school or an overworked professional would note progress toward a tropical holiday.

  •   Ashley Bissel is staring at the ceiling, trying to think of butterflies.

    She lies on a platform, her head held motionless by a white mesh mask that looks like a prop from a low-budget sci-fi movie. Technicians in white coats circulate around a sparse room and prepare equipment, as her mother cradles her hand.

    Then the time comes for everyone to leave — everyone except Ashley, who raises her fist. In it is a novelty foam brain, which she gives a pronounced squeeze. The symbolism is lost on no one.

  •   Call South Jeffco pianist Lisa Downing an impressionist. Call her a neoclassical artist, or even a closet metalhead. But avoid the term “new age” at all costs.

    “It’s kind of an unfortunate religious label that isn’t appropriate for the music,” said Downing, whose most recent album, “A Delicate Balance,” has fared remarkably well — on new age charts. “I think we all wish there was another thing to call it. … I personally tend to call it ‘piano impressionism.’ ”

  •   Thriftiness and space exploration may not seem like words that rest well in the same sentence, but a visit to education entrepreneur Mark Palmere’s summer camp might cause one to reconsider that notion.

    At Space Voyage Academy, which is not affiliated with NASA, students ages 5 to 16 combat summer brain degradation with flight simulations on antiquated computers and exploration in inflatable space vehicles crafted of sheet plastic and duct tape.

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    Henri Darricau stands between two uniform lines of elementary students, who face one another and anticipate their coach’s commands.

    “Everybody, ready now. Face your opponent,” he said. “Put your masks on. … En garde! … Fence!”

  • One of mountaineering’s rock stars, who is famous for summiting the world’s 14 highest peaks without supplemental oxygen, recently shared the secret of surviving 32 years of exploring some of the most dangerous terrain on Earth.

    “You have to be cautious, train right and listen to the mountains,” Ed Viesturs told a sold-out audience of 150 at the American Mountaineering Center in Golden on April 10.

  • When Tony Compel began to wonder what type of restaurant would thrive in South Jeffco, all he had to do was look at what was missing.

    Myriad Mexican restaurants are in evidence, pizza places proliferate, and fast food certainly can be found. But there seemed to be a dearth of places offering a fresh-cooked breakfast.

  • Making the perfect pizza crust is a delicate art.

    Flour, water, yeast, sugar and salt are the only necessary ingredients, and the perfect combination is crucial. Adding just enough yeast gives the crust a characteristic, mild flavor. Too much yeast will make the crust as bloated as a balloon. And the temperature of the water had better be just right.

    It’s a balance South Jeffco’s Bob Bruso knows all too well — because he’s spent decades perfecting it.

  • Tatum Moore is a beautiful 3-year-old girl. She and her older sister Tanner are very similar: silky blond hair, striking blue eyes and enough frenetic energy to power an 18-wheeler.

    But there's something different about Tatum. Her parents call her a "silent angel," a term used lovingly to describe their daughter's lack of communication skills. She likes to play like any normal child but can't always make her hands do what she wants them to.

    Tatum Moore has Rett syndrome.

  • If you don’t suffer from migraines, you likely know someone who does. The prevalence of migraine headaches is high, with attacks occurring in 17 percent of women and 6 percent of men each year. Many people with recurrent headaches actually have migraine without realizing it. Migraines are often very debilitating and adversely affect the quality of life of those that suffer from them. Despite this, there are many things that can be done to help treat migraines.

  • I want to live in a world where seniors don't have to live in nursing homes and are able to spend their last days surrounded by the comforts of their own homes.

  • While we’re making plans for the holidays, there are several steps pet owners can take to help ensure that the celebrations are pleasant and safe for furry friends.

    Beginning with Thanksgiving and continuing with Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Christmas and New Year celebrations, the holidays are a time for giving and sharing. From holiday decorations to seasonal plants and the stress of guests in your home, your plans for the season should include some thoughtful preparation and sharing with your pets.

  • LOL. OMG! BRB. TTYL.

    That means: “Laugh out loud. Oh my gosh! Be right back. Talk to you later.”

    The above translation can offer help for parents trying to fathom their teens’ obsession with cell phones and texting. And when those same teens are baffled by their elders’ objections to between-course correspondence at the dinner table, they too can benefit from a little cross-generational translation.

    Enter South Jeffco resident Michelle Cimino, author of “Cell Phone Etiquette: Observations from a Mom.”

  •   Columbine High School teacher Paula Reed had some issues with Nathaniel Hawthorne’s classic novel “The Scarlet Letter.” A 10-year chronological gap in the story prompted a horde of student questions in the two decades Reed has taught the material.

  •   Black-belt taekwondo instructor Ken Parks is looking for a few good castaways. They’re the folks he had in mind when he opened Red Rocks Alternative Martial Arts, South Jeffco’s newest dojo that’s a little less Stephen Oliver and a bit more Napoleon Dynamite.

    “The ‘alternative’ person gets lost. I kind of sit around the herd and just look for the ones who fall off,” Parks said of the traditional martial arts experience.

  • Major activities, accomplishments

  • Inside a tiny flower shop opening Monday in Morrison, happiness and hope have found a place on the shelves alongside plump roses and ruby-red glass vases.

    Christine Knowles plans to open Red Rocks Floral & Gifts on Feb. 1. For her, it’s more than a dream — it’s the best therapy money can buy.

  •   Air Force pilot Jim Walters was flying from Montgomery, Ala., to Panama City, Fla., when all four radios on his plane short-circuited. The rain was pouring, and a dense fog obscured the land below.

    “There we were with 40 minutes of fuel left about 20 miles from an airport that’s fogged in,” he said. “That was probably as close as I ever came to jumping out of (an airplane) and having to explain to the colonel why I just crashed a multimillion-dollar jet for being an idiot and flying in the rain.”

  •   Ten-year-old Jett Moore was just a bit nervous.

    He stood near the entrance to the imposing Denver City and County Building, about to be given a tour of its historic bell system. And the South Jeffco resident seemed far younger than anyone else scheduled to play the bells.

    “He walked up to the building, and all these people are going through security, and he said, ‘I can’t do this,’ ” said his mom, Sandy Moore. “ ‘Just look how old everyone is.’ ”

  • While we’re making plans for the holidays, there are several steps pet owners can take to help ensure that the celebrations are pleasant and safe for furry friends.