Archive for December, 2017

From Castle Rock Police.

The Castle Rock Police Department is deeply saddened regarding the loss of Deputy Zackari Parrish. Deputy Parrish was formerly with the Castle Rock Police Department for 2 years and 5 months prior to joining the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office.  

Zackari served the Town of Castle Rock with honor and dignity.  He truly loved being a police officer and embodied everything it is to be one.  He was an excellent officer, a good friend and a committed husband and father.  Our thoughts and prayers are with the Parrish family.  We ask that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers as well as the officers and civilians recovering from their injuries.”  

Donations can be made to the Douglas County Sherriff’s Office Fallen Officer Fund,

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Flags lowered for fallen Douglas County Deputy

Gov. John Hickenlooper today ordered flags be lowered to half-staff statewide on all public buildings immediately until sunset Tuesday, Jan. 02, 2018, in honor of Douglas County Sheriff’s Deputy Zackari Parrish.  

Parrish, 29, died in the line of duty on Dec. 31, 2017, of injuries sustained while responding to an incident in Highlands Ranch.

Parrish has been with the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office for seven months. Before joining the Sheriff’s Office, he worked for the Castle Rock Police Department.

He is survived by his wife and two daughters.

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Five deputies shot, one killed in Douglas County near County Line and Colorado Boulevard; suspect believed to be dead

Staff report

One deputy was killed and four deputies were wounded during a shooting the morning of Dec. 31 at the Copper Canyon Apartments in Highlands Ranch, the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office has reported on Twitter.

The sheriff’s office reported in a Tweet at about 9:30 a.m. that the suspect also had been shot and was believed to have been killed. The suspect’s identity was not immediately released, nor were the names of any of the deputies.

Two civilians were shot by the suspect in the incident at the complex in the area of South Colorado Boulevard and County Line Road. Their status was not immediately available.

Reports of a domestic disturbance came in to the sheriff’s office about 6 a.m. Dec. 31. During the investigation, shots were fired and multiple deputies were injured.

Major roads near the apartment complex at 3380 E. County Line Road were closed for several hours. The following agencies were put on accident alert: Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, Parker Police Department, Lone Tree Police Department, Castle Rock Police Department and Colorado State Patrol.

Due to the size and cope of the investigation an emergency shelter has been set up at the East Ridge Rec Center, 9568 University Blvd. in Highlands Ranch.  Anyone displaced from their homes is invited to head there.

To show support, Douglas County Commissioner Lora Thomas arrived at the shelter shortly before 10 a.m.

“This is just heartbreaking,” said Thomas, who served for decades in law enforcement. “With my state patrol days, it just brings back that law enforcement is a family.”

Messages of condolence for the deputies also poured in on Twitter.

“If you are heading to church this morning, please say a few prayers for the officers battling in the hospital and the friends, families and coworkers of the fallen Officer. We can’t thank you enough for your service and sacrifice,” the Parker Police Department said.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with our DCSO family. We are heartbroken by this morning’s incident,” Littleton Fire Rescue tweeted.

Those who were shot were taken to area hospitals, including Littleton Adventist and Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree.

If you would like to donate to the Fallen Officer Fund of the Douglas County Foundation, go to

Colorado Community Media will post more details here as they become available. 

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Douglas County changing precinct boundaries

Some Douglas County precincts are bursting at the seams, officials say. So, voters can expect changes to certain precincts once the county implements new boundaries come February, in time for the 2018 primary and general elections.

“We are in substantial growth in Douglas County and this is just one of the aspects of growth,” Douglas County Clerk and Recorder Merlin Klotz said.

The Douglas County Board of Commissioners approved plans to change precinct boundaries on Dec. 19, although as Chairman Roger Partridge remarked, they didn’t have much choice.

State law allows the county a maximum of 2,000 registered voters in each precinct. Klotz said his office reviews population levels every two years to determine which precincts are nearing that limit. They also look at where development is occurring to predict where growth is coming.

County legal staff explained that once officials are aware precincts have reached or outgrown the 2,000-person maximum, they are required to act. Failure to do so could result in a misdemeanor, with a penalty of fines or jail time.

Klotz said the county’s number of registered voters has grown approximately 17 percent, or about 35,000 people. Boundaries were last redrawn in 2015 when the number of precincts went up from 145 to 155.

In 2018, they’ll jump to 168.

The process of determining which precinct boundaries to adjust and where to create new precincts altogether involved the clerk and recorder’s office, the county demographer, GIS representatives and leaders from each of the county’s registered parties.

That team identified areas like Sierra Ridge and Stepping Stone as needing new boundaries. The sizable Sterling Ranch development did not affect precinct boundaries this year, but likely will when boundaries are redrawn next, Klotz said.

“The next time, Sterling Ranch will probably do some slicing of precincts over there just because I expect them to be selling a substantial amount of houses,” Klotz said.

The county cannot change boundaries again until 2020, he explained, because current precincts will be used for the next census. And at the county’s pace of growth, Klotz said, he’s certain there will again be changes to precincts when that time comes.

“It’s your guess as to what we’re going to be in 2020,” Klotz said.

He added that the process of mapping out precincts can be tedious. Boundaries should follow natural barriers, they shouldn’t overlap state House or Senate or county commissioner district lines or other similar boundaries.

With Colorado’s status as a mail-in ballot state, however, Klotz said the need for precincts has “diminished greatly.”

“It used to be a major function of the election itself,” Klotz said. “Today, it’s basically for the census and party needs.”

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Suspect in officer-involved shooting faces felony charges

The suspect who was shot and wounded by Castle Rock police officers on Christmas Eve is facing felony charges.

Charles Walter Rees, 67, could not attend his first court appearance on Dec. 27 because he had not been released from the hospital. His bond was set at $500,000 and he is being held in the Douglas County jail on four counts of felony menacing, a Class 5 felony.

Castle Rock police officers shot Rees the afternoon of Dec. 24 after they responded to reports of a suicidal person at a home on Sierra Drive in Castle Rock, according to the arrest affidavit. An unspecified number of officers were placed on paid administrative leave, according to town officials.

A town news release the day of the shooting said officers had entered the home when the suspect pointed a weapon at them, prompting them to shoot their weapons in response.

The arrest affidavit says Rees was armed with an unloaded pellet gun manufactured to resemble a handgun when he was shot by police in the arm. Rees was transported to the hospital under police guard and underwent surgery.

As Rees moves through the court system, the 18th Judicial District Critical Response Team is conducting an investigation to determine if police were legally justified in their use of potentially deadly force. The Castle Rock Police Department is simultaneously conducting an internal investigation into the shooting, a town spokeswoman said.

The arrest affidavit says authorities frequently received calls from the Sierra Drive address. In the 30 days leading up to the shooting, Rees had reported he was suicidal, the affidavit says.

The Dec. 24 incident unfolded after authorities received a 911 call in which a man said, “if anyone shows up, they are going to get shot,” according to the affidavit. A woman could be heard in the background.

Police dispatch called the phone number and spoke with a woman who said she was Rees’ wife, that he had been drinking and that he was suicidal. She told police he had an unloaded pellet gun, although he believed it was loaded.

The affidavit states that six officers responded to the area. Once there, they spoke with Rees’ wife after she exited the home. She told police Rees was alone in the house, but officers entered the home after they believed they heard a man and woman arguing, the document says.

After they entered the house, officers heard a television in the living room and ordered Rees to make himself and his hands visible. Rees eventually walked to the end of a hallway where, according to the affidavit, he “looks at officers and then swiftly pulled out a handgun and points it at the officers.”

The affidavit says two officers fired their weapons — one fired a shotgun loaded with bean bag rounds and the other fired with his patrol rifle.

In follow-up interviews, the affidavit says, the two officers stated they believed Rees was pointing a real gun at them.

A spokeswoman for the 18th Judicial District said there is no timeline in which the investigation of the incident must be completed.

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Look back and forward

Jennifer Green, Castle Rock mayor

What was Castle Rock’s biggest accomplishment in 2017?

2017 was full of a number of accomplishments in Castle Rock. The reopening of Festival Park in downtown ranks as a wonderful achievement and provides a great place for the community to gather for years to come.  The town adopted a new comprehensive plan, a new transportation master plan and new water enterprise master plans — all of these plans seek to ensure a vibrant future for our town. We also continued the investment in the safety of the community, with additional police officers and the start of construction of a new fire station on Crystal Valley Parkway.

What opportunity for the town are you most looking forward to in 2018? 

The successful completion of the WISE project in 2018 will provide a new source of renewable drinking water for Castle Rock from our water partnerships in the metro area. We anticipate the start of construction for the initial phase of the Collaboration Campus in 2018 — this innovative effort with Arapahoe Community College, Colorado State University and Douglas County School District will bring a greater variety of higher education opportunities to Castle Rock. We also have transportation improvements coming along Founders Parkway, at Allen Way and Crowfoot Valley Road, and at Wolfensberger and Coachline roads. ​


Nanci Almquist, Larkspur, real estate agent

What was most memorable for you in 2017?

We have moved a lot in the last year and a half, so moving back to Larkspur into our house that my husband built was kind of like going home again. And, my mother was in a horrible accident about a year and a half ago and just getting her well enough to be able to live back on her own again, that’s probably most memorable for me.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

Just looking forward to seeing what God has in store for me in 2018. Am I going to volunteer more? Who’s he going to bring into my life? What am I going to be doing? Just looking forward to that.


Sharon Vandel, Castle Rock

What was most memorable for you in 2017?

I would say our Mediterranean cruise was definitely memorable because I won’t forget it. Just the places that we went. We went with my entire husband’s family, from grandparents all the way down to grandchildren. I would call it organized chaos. Also, getting a part-time job that’s very flexible. I’m just going to be an assistant in an office for Northwestern Mutual, and I can work out of my home.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

I’m most looking forward to this year of media blitzes and confusion and chaos to end and to start fresh in 2018 with a job. Just focusing on something more positive.


Leah Christians, Castle Rock, Douglas County High student

What was your most memorable moment of 2017?

My most memorable moment of 2017 was when I went to a Junior Olympic cross-country race, and I placed 16th out of 200 competitors. We competed in Tallahassee, so we got to travel to Florida.

What are you most looking forward to in 2018?

In 2018 I’m most looking forward to having a fresh start, to make new goals for myself. I want to take my mile time down to 5.25, and look forward to running for Douglas County High School.

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South Metro Football Players of the Year: Stanley, Stanton stood out

Cherry Creek’s Dimitri Stanley and Jacob Stanton of Chaparral headline the 2017 Colorado Community Media All-South Metro Football Team.

Stanley, the all-around senior wide receiver, was selected as the Offensive Player of the Year. Stanton, a senior linebacker, was honored as the Defensive Player of the Year.

The 26-player All-South Metro team was selected by CCM’s sports staff, with input from area coaches. Players were eligible from schools in the Littleton Public Schools District, all public and private schools in Douglas County, and Englewood and Cherry Creek high schools.

Stanley, the 6-foot, 178-pound University of Colorado commit, did a little bit of everything for the Bruins. He was a wide receiver, occasionally ran the ball, played some cornerback, returned kickoffs and punts, and was the team’s punter.

“I could have had a better year for the amount of targets I had but the time I actually had the ball I did pretty well,” said Stanley, whose father Walter played two seasons at CU and 11 seasons in the NFL. “It was better than last year definitely and it was kind of the way I wanted it to go.”

He finished with 81 receptions for 1,192 yards and 20 touchdowns. He had 1,526 all-purpose yards. As a junior, Stanley caught 65 passes for 970 yards and 13 touchdowns.

Despite being double and triple covered at times, Stanley made several highlight reel receptions.

“We work on those in practice, and practice makes perfect,” he said. “I strive to make those catches in a game, and when I do, that just makes it that much better.”

Stanton was the leader of the Chaparral defense and had 128 total tackles with 19 tackles for losses, including four sacks. He intercepted one pass, had three pass deflections, caused seven fumbles and recovered two.

The 6-foot-2, 220 pounder was also a force on special teams, with two blocked punts and two blocked field goals.

“With all the hard work I put in during the off-season, I came out and had a way better season,” Stanton said. “It was a pretty decent year for me.

“I didn’t set any goals for myself, I just wanted to go out and have a good season. So I guess that would be a goal of mine and I reached that for sure.”

Stanton averaged 11.6 tackles a game as a senior and 9.1 in four seasons at Chaparral.

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Fly fishing show highlights a rising sport

Fly fishing isn’t Part of the show, it IS the show!” That is what the show’s promotional materials proclaim and that makes the Jan. 5-7 event at the Denver Mart, 58th Avenue and I-25, such a special outdoors happening. The Fly Fishing Show has become a popular annual fishing attraction for Front Range fly anglers. And the show’s interest is growing.

Maybe you have not tried casting a fly line in Colorado? Or perhaps you enjoy other fishing pursuits and assume fly fishing is an interest for the select few. Between 2000 and 2014 fishing license sales increased from 630,000 and 765,000, with most of that increase coming from new fly fishing anglers. Nationwide fishing license sales have increased by 11 percent and fishing tackle sales are up 16 percent.

Fly fishing is the fastest growing fresh water angling interest. It is estimated there are 50 million fly fishing anglers in all 50 states. Interestingly this appears to exceed the numbers who play golf (21 million) and tennis (13 million).

Trout Unlimited, Inc. has played a big role with US Fish & Wild Service and the various states wildlife and fishery agencies in preserving and restoring river and stream waters. Colorado Parks & Wildlife have has been leaders in this growing angling interest in the Mile High State. This agency has provided access to 2,000 lakes and reservoirs and 9,000 miles of river and stream fly fishing waters; 37 of the 42 state parks offer fly fishing opportunities.

The Rocky Mountain Region accounts for 33 percent of national fly fishing gear and tackle sales while in Colorado alone almost $2 million is added to the state’s economy from the fly fishing industry.

The January Denver Fly Fishing Show features a grand door prize to a premier fly fishing destination in northwestern New Mexico on the richly populated San Juan River. The winner can take a friend for three nights with two days of guided fishing. Grand prize trip value is $1,980.

Show times will be 10am-6pm on Friday, 9am to 5:30pm Saturday and 9am to 4:30pm on Sunday. In addition to vendors who offer high quality gear and experienced advice and suggestions for new or seasoned fly anglers, 19 skill classes will be offered by fly experts covering casting, fly tying, technique elements including nymph fishing, still waters, youth fly fishing, fly tying, streamer strategies and how, where and when to find trout.

Parking is free. Tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance at 814-443-3638 or

Ron Hellbusch can be reached at

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The 2017 All-South Metro Football Team


Quarterback: Alex Padilla, 6-2, 190, junior, Cherry Creek

Had a 125.6 quarterback rating, passing for 2,678 yards and 40 TDs.

Running back: Dominic Bettini, 5-9, 170, junior, Highlands Ranch

Rushed for 1,679 yards and 16 TDs and had only one fumble in 240 carries.

Running back: Spencer Lambert, 5-9, 180, junior, ThunderRidge

Carried the load as a dual threat and had 1,265 rushing yards.

Wide receiver: Dimitri Stanley, 6-0, 178, senior, Cherry Creek

All-purpose standout that caught 81 passes for 1,192 yards.

Wide receiver: Ryan Thibault, 6-3, 190, senior, Valor Christian

Versatile big-play receiver who averaged 18.8 yards per catch.

Wide receiver: Tristan Smith, 5-11, 170, senior, Mountain Vista

Offensive captain had 880 receiving yards and 13 of the team’s 25 TD receptions.

Offensive line: Blake Carette, 6-3, 280, senior, Arapahoe

Air Force commit is a three-time all-conference lineman.

Offensive line: Max Bruner, 6-3, 280, senior, Ponderosa

Big help to an offense that averaged 370 yards and 40.7 points a game.

Offensive line: Preston Rose, 6-3, 255, senior, Valor Christian

Inspired by family football culture and anchored line with twin brother Peyton.

Offensive line: Drake Nugent, 6-2, 260, junior, Highlands Ranch

State shot put champion was a standout two-way player.

Offensive line: Michael Lynn, 6-3, 300, junior, Cherry Creek

Hard worker who has developed into a highly regarded prospect.

Utility: Luke McCaffrey, 6-2, 180, Jr., Valor Christian

All-purpose athlete was a quarterback, receiver and kickoff returner.


Defensive line: Mason Knighton, 6-5, 240, senior, Ponderosa

Force up front with 64 tackles and four sacks.

Defensive line: Trevor Szilagyi, 6-5, 260, senior, Valor Christian

MVP of the defensive front with 24 tackles despite often being double teamed.

Defensive line: Tate Wildeman, 6-6, 250, senior, Legend

Highly regarded prospect had 61 tackles, six sacks in eight games.

Linebacker: Jacob Stanton, 6-2, 220, senior, Chaparral

Had 128 tackles and four blocked kicks.

Linebacker: Nick Clancy, 6-1, 195, senior, Douglas County

Finished season with 96 tackles including 6.5 sacks.

Linebacker: Issac Wilson, 6-2, 190, junior, Chaparral

Had 109 tackles, including 13 sacks among 24 tackles for losses.

Linebacker: Ethan Fraiser, 6-1, 215, junior, ThunderRidge

11 tackles for losses among total of 109 tackles.

Defensive back: Justin Boyd, 6-1, 175, junior, Legend

Ball hawk had seven interceptions and 30 tackles.

Defensive back: Zach Wilson, 5-9, 159, senior, Rock Canyon

Had five interceptions, 10 deflections and 45 tackles.

Defensive back: Chad Muma, 6-3, 200, senior, Legend

Returned from injury and had 77 tackles, three sacks and an interception.

Defensive back: Chris Ditzenberger, 6-2, 172, senior, Cherry Creek

He was in on 65 tackles, had four interceptions and four deflections


Punter: Issac Power, 6-2,185, senior, Ponderosa

Averaged 41.3 yards with 12 of his 20 punts inside the 20-yard line.

Place kicker: Brian Brogan, 5-8, 160, soph., Valor Christian

Had 60 kicking points, going 36-36 on PATs and on 8-9 field goals.

Returner: Brelan Griffin, 5-8, 155, senior, Highlands Ranch

Averaged 27.1 yards on kickoff returns and 19.6 on punt returns.

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Letter to the editor: Can the liberals be trusted?

Will the 56 percent of the liberal voters of Douglas County, the ones who got rid of the “bad guys” in the last election for DC School Board, be able to use their community organizing skills to convince the 44 percent who voted for the Elevate candidates as well as all the non-voting Douglas County residents to RAISE OUR TAXES to support our schools?

Will voters trust them when the first thing they do is spend money looking nationwide for a superintendent, when they all claimed to be happy with the present interim superintendent Kane?

The new board listened to an informal poll taken on Facebook by an organization of Douglas County parents. Their poll was 600 people and guess what? 469 were in support of a national superintendent search.

How unbiased do you think that poll was?

The board will get the answer when they ask all the citizens of the county to fund their liberal agenda for our public schools. Maybe all the liberals in the county will be willing to dig into their own pockets and pay more taxes when that election occurs.

At forums, the winning candidates were all in favor of rushing that tax election. Do the math. How many people voted for the school board? How many will vote in a tax election? Possibly more than voted for the liberal school board.

Mary Ann McCoy

Lone Tree

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