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Editorial cartoon for March 8, 2018

Posted 3/8/18

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‘It’s important everybody’s involved in this’

Zoe Wilson was the youngest person at a Democratic caucus at Rock Canyon High School in Highlands Ranch. The 18-year-old wants to see Cary Kennedy win the governor’s race this November, she said, standing in the cafeteria with about 40 other residents.

“She seems to really check off all the (bullet points) and I want to see another woman run,” said Wilson, a bubbly senior at the high school.

Gage Cook, 12, attended a Republican caucus at Chapparal High School in Parker in support of his father, who is a district captain.

“I do want to know more about the tariff on solar panels,” Cook said. “But mostly I think I’m going to hear a lot of politics, politics, politics, some liberal talk, more politics and I’m really hoping there will be cookies.”

For various reasons, residents attended caucuses across Douglas County and Colorado the evening of March 6.

They gathered at community areas such as libraries, churches and schools to select delegates to send to party assemblies on March 24. At the assemblies, delegates will help decide which candidates will be on the primary ballot for county, regional, state and national offices — ranging from sheriff to Congress. The primary election this June will narrow down the field to one candidate per party who will compete in the November general election.

Some caucus-goers said they felt it was necessary to be involved on the most basic level, which was in their own backyard. Others wanted to learn more about the process or voice their opinions on candidates.

Stacey G., who would like her name withheld for professional reasons, was seated alone at a table at Rock Canyon. At the caucus prior to the presidential election in 2016, she recalls about 30 people around her precinct’s table.

Not enough people are participating where it counts, she said.

“They are marching and on Facebook complaining and saying how much they want things to change, but they won’t show up to a caucus because they don’t understand the system,” she said.

Republican precinct captain Jeff Rudolph has been attending caucuses since 1988 and said he feels strongly about the process. He tries to get others to understand the importance of the caucus.

“It’s important everybody’s involved in this. This is the most direct impact you can have on a local level,” said Rudolph. “This is where all the delegates are decided. But since it’s an off year, we won’t get a huge turnout. Which is disappointing.”

Caucuses also provide an opportunity for residents to meet their neighbors and discuss local, statewide and national issues. Precincts are decided by the physical boundaries of an area.

Democrat Katharine Knarreborg, 32, sat across the table from Gail Frances, 72. The two agreed on funding public education with public dollars and ensuring women’s healthcare.

Knarreborg strongly supports healthcare for all, she said.

“I think it’s embarrassing for our country that health insurance isn’t something that everyone can have and afford,” said Knarreborg.

At Chaparral’s caucus, Heidi Cook voiced concerns about issues involving schools.

“I’m a teacher, so I’m heavily invested in what’s happening with education,” said Cook, 51. “This caucus is ground floor, where early decisions are made. If you’re not willing to get involved on the ground floor, then you can’t complain. The issues are decided here, not just the candidates.”

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March 6 Council: Animal Code discussion, roadwork contracts, Castle Rock Water documents approved

Your Town Council representatives meet twice a month, and during those meetings Councilmembers make decisions that impact residents and business owners. Stay up-to-date on those decisions with this meeting summary.

Animal Code discussion; Council gives direction on next steps
As a home rule municipality, the Town of Castle Rock has its own set of laws and codes. It’s prudent for a local government to evaluate its laws from time to time to ensure they are up to par with current legal best practices and local culture. That’s why Town staff started a review of the Town Code related to animals in 2017.

Following research and community feedback, Town Council heard a presentation on proposed changes to the Town’s animal code. Proposed changes include a staff recommendation to replace the current breed-specific ban with a two-tiered, behavior-based system.

Council discussed the proposed changes and heard from community members during public comment. Ultimately, a majority of Council directed staff to come back to a Council meeting at a later date with a draft ordinance to formalize the proposed changes. Get details of the proposed changes and provide feedback at

Watch the Council discussion.

Tax dollars at work: Council approves work contracts for annual road maintenance
Proper maintenance extends the lives of our local streets and makes the most of our investment in roadways. Town Council approved a series of work contracts Tuesday to complete necessary maintenance as part of the Town’s annual Pavement Maintenance Program.

The Pavement Maintenance Program concentrates residential roadwork to one of five defined areas each year on a rotating basis. Additionally, primary and Downtown streets receive repairs as needed. The goal is to reduce costs by increasing efficiency, while reducing disruption to neighborhoods.

For 2018, the Town is investing $11 million in road maintenance. The funding is primarily from the Town’s Transportation Fund, which includes revenues from sales tax, motor vehicle tax and building use tax.

Residential work is planned for Founders Village. Additional roadwork will occur along main roads Downtown, along Woodlands Boulevard and along Meadows Boulevard.

View a map of the work and sign up for project update emails at Work is expected to start in April and last through late summer.

Watch the Council presentation.

Keeping up with Castle Rock Water
Castle Rock Water customers have embraced the call to conserve. Whether it’s abiding by a designated watering schedule, participating in a Water Wiser Workshop or planning water-efficient landscape for the yard, this community knows that conservation is key. On Tuesday, Town Council approved a series of agenda items necessary for the department to continue its work to meet the community’s water needs.

The Parker Water and Sanitation District Wheeling Agreement was approved by Town Council Tuesday. This is the final agreement needed to officially bring WISE water to Castle Rock. The community should expect the first drops of imported water by early summer.

Additionally, Town Council reviewed and unanimously approved several planning documents related to water: the 2018 Water Use Management Plan, the 2018 Conservation Rebate Incentive Program, and the 2018 Landscape and Irrigation Performance Standards and Criteria Manual.

The Water Use Management Plan is the main planning document that helps recognize where conservation will make the biggest impact. New to the plan this year is a watering schedule for HOA and commercial customers and an expiration date for Water Wiser certification.

Watch the Castle Rock Water section of the agenda.

Coming up
The next Town Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 3. The Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 has been canceled.

Questions? Email all Councilmembers at, or find your Council representative at Plus, sign up for email updates by clicking the “Get Email Notifications” graphic link. Updates are expected to include both summaries of top Council items as well as previews to Council meetings.

Get a full agenda for a Town Council meeting at Plus, watch Council live at or catch a recording there after the meeting. Town Council meetings are also broadcast live and played again at regular intervals on Comcast Channel 22 and Century Link Channel 8.

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Hate is a hunger that consumes with no chance of being sated

Hate” is a brutal word. It’s final, and it comes without nuance. It gets the job done if your vocabulary is, uh, um, like, limited, or if you need something right now in the heat of the moment.

“I hate you” works if you are a marginalized teenager.

“I hate you” works if your old Datsun won’t start.

“I hate you” works if you are on a cabbage-soup-weight-loss diet the week before your wedding.

I have not used the words “I hate” before in my columns, but if I were to use them, I’d use them like this: I hate hate groups.

I strongly, incontrovertibly, irreversibly dislike many things.

Opera. Can’t take it. Don’t understand it. Perhaps if they sang in English? Nah. Not even then.

Failures to say “Thank you” get my goat.

However, I don’t hate anything or anyone enough to parade or prank, bully, bomb, target, burn to the ground, or call in the Weathermen.

Others love to hate.

Noelle Phillips wrote in The Denver Post, “In 2017, 21 hate groups called Colorado home, representing a wide swath of extremist views such as white supremacy, anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim and anti-LGBT views, as well as black nationalist groups known for hating Jews and white people.”

This is concurrent with all of the other strong dislikes that are going around the president, between Republicans and Democrats, and amid the perception of “toxic masculinity” in our culture.

The “Summer of Love” is long gone.

I have heard some strange things coming out of these hate groups. They love their kind. How can you love someone who is a hater? It’s antithetical.

White supremacists love other white supremacists?

Crips love other Crips?

Neo-Nazis love other Neo-Nazis?

I strongly dislike rap. So I don’t listen to it. Live and let live. I’m not headed to Kanye’s with a pipe bomb.

In some parts of the world, hating is a career. With June weddings coming up, how many of you have booked Syria for your honeymoon?

My mother and father not once said, “Son, we hate the Russians.”

Nor blacks, Jews, or gays.

I think my father strongly disliked Ohio State. But that’s different. And I know he respected the university.

The Wolverines versus the Buckeyes is referred to as a “friendly rivalry,” and that’s what it is most of the time.

It’s not “The Troubles.” That was the conflict between Protestants and Catholics in late 20th-century Northern Ireland.

As an educator, I was sometimes strongly disliked, especially at the end of the semester when grades came out.

Grading degrades education, but it’s always hanging around in the atmosphere. If a student accepted his or her grade, fine. If not, I saw a bad moon rising, from grievances to false claims to favoritism to you name it.

Over the difference between a C and a B, my life could turn into a leathery turmoil.

Admittedly, I look for errant and excessive human behavior to scaffold many of my columns. But I don’t wake intent upon bringing anyone down.

What a life it would be to plan against others all day.

“Honey, where’s my bandolier?”

The truth? This is a county, a state, a country, and a world that comes with verdant campgrounds for the intolerant.

Craig Marshall Smith is an artist, educator and Highlands Ranch resident. He can be reached at

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Sticking with it and sticking to it — a recipe for success

A couple of months ago, many of us made our commitments to our New Year’s resolutions or our goals for this year.

Law of averages and historical data tell us that there is a certain percentage of us who have already abandoned our resolutions and goals.

Can you believe that? Of course you can’t, because that is not you, it is not who you are.

Maybe it is a friend of yours or maybe it is someone from work, those are the people who set aside their dreams and goals and have decided to wait again until next year to pick up the chase. But it certainly is not you.

You may have had a temporary setback, we all do, but you realized that a temporary setback is all that it was, and you are once again in the pursuit of your own success.

A slight slip up in your diet, a day or two missed from the gym, a little extraordinary spending, or a chapter or two missed from writing your book … no worries.

For others it might be a problem, for you, you are resolute in your commitment, you have already jumped back in and are charging hard again, or you have realized where you fell off the path and you are committed to starting again today. It happens to us all and it is OK.

Believe it or not, there are even people who have determined that setting goals or trying to live up to New Year’s commitments aren’t reality at all. They believe that only other people have the ability to set goals, have dreams, and do what is necessary to achieve success. It can’t be for them, as success and winning are only for other people. But that is not you, you stand firm in your desires and how you define success. You are driven with purpose and know that you are one of those people whom others only talk about when it comes to achieving greatness.

When given a rope, there are some people who use that rope to pull other people down. Instead of climbing the rope or holding on to the rope to be pulled forward, they exert all of their negative energy and try and pull others down as they give up on their own goals and dreams. That is not you. You are the one who, when passed a rope, you pass it along to the next person because you are already beyond any need for the rope. You are the one who uses the rope to lift others up so that they too can meet and exceed their goals and dreams.

Oftentimes people give up too soon. They only set far-reaching long-term goals. So, when the first obstacle comes along, it seems like a barrier that they cannot get around, and they have already been defeated. They see their goal as being just too far away. This is not you. You have set near-term goals and milestones that you know pave the way to future long-term success. Any obstacle or barrier seems like only a pebble on the path of achievement and you step on it and crush it as you press on.

Although many people do set their goals or commit to resolutions on the first of the year, many will submit to the first temptation that takes them off course. That first doughnut or bagel brought to the office, that first chance at having a beer after work instead of the gym, that first chance to ditch church and instead hit a powder day (OK, that one might be forgiven, just as long as it is a powder day). Again, this isn’t you, you have a very clear path, a strong sense of will power. When you are looking back weeks or months from now you will embrace and cherish the sacrifices that you have made in order to remain on your journey of success.

Others quit. You stay the course. Others make excuses. You own your setbacks. Others can only see what’s right in front of them. You see all of the successful tomorrows of your life.

So how about you? Whether you made New Year’s resolutions or set goals for yourself or not, I would love to hear how you are doing and how you stay on the path of success at And when we can stick with it and stick to it, it really will be a better than good week.

Michael Norton is a resident of Castle Rock, the president of the Zig Ziglar Corporate Training Solutions Team, a strategic consultant and a business and personal coach.

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Yoga is practical method to achieve more ease in aging

“Yoga” can be kind of a taboo word. You might have heard it’s all about spiritual healing and heavy breathing in a sweaty room. Maybe you think it’s just for trendy California youngsters or runners who want to improve their knees. The truth is this: Yoga has something to offer everyone.

Yoga improves strength, flexibility, and balance. It also assists in filtering mental chatter and promotes calm and clarity. Through a focus on breath and movement, we become aware of how the body and mind work together.

The goal is not to put your foot behind your head; the goal is to have the ease of movement that you need to live your life the way you want to live it. To reach the top shelf. To get on and off the floor easily to play with children. To get in and out of chairs and cars independently. To dance, hike or play pickleball. To live with less pain. To create stability and awareness in order to prevent falls.

As adults, we don’t often practice balancing. In yoga, this is a primary focus. Single-leg standing (with or without a wall or chair for support) trains the body and mind to work together to make adjustments at the ankle and hip. While flexibility and strength tend to decrease with age, the regular practice of yoga reduces the effects of aging and supports a full, active and meaningful life.

It’s never too late to begin a yoga practice. The perception of yoga might be that it is for the very strong, flexible, and young, but the reality is that people of all ages, stages, sizes and abilities are finding that yoga is a wonderful tool for a healthy and vibrant life.

There are variations that permit you to get the full benefit of each posture without any crazy contortions. Props like chairs, blocks, bolsters and walls will support your practice. These modifications and variations make yoga accessible and effective to all who are interested in participating.

Professor Mark Clarke, age 71, of Highlands Ranch began yoga two years ago. Here’s what he has to say about his experience: “I had been retired a couple of years and was looking for a way to keep in shape. A friend recommended yoga, so I checked it out. I discovered that, contrary to my impressions, yoga was not an exclusive club for youthful contortionists, but rather an ancient practice for self-discovery full of enthusiastic and friendly people. The physical side of practice was just what I needed — improved strength, balance, and flexibility. And the philosophical aspect — the integration of calm reflection into the day — provided a structured way to relieve stress and increase awareness.

“I spent a month or so visiting all the yoga studios in the area and talking to the instructors. (The first session is often free or reduced fee.) I found people to be sincere in their convictions about the benefits of yoga and eager to answer my questions. There seems to be an almost infinite number of types of yoga and it was easy to find the ones I wanted. I now practice three or four times a week. I feel better and have gotten rid of all the little aches and pains that were bugging me. And, the hip pain that I feared was going to require surgery has yielded to the regular attention that yoga sessions have provided. Yoga has made a significant contribution to my quality of life.”

Practicing yoga is a fun and rewarding adventure. It will help you find comfort in your skin, graceful movement in your body, and clarity in your mind.

Jen Wilking is a physical therapist, yoga therapist and yoga teacher. You can learn more about her blend of yoga and physical therapy for wellness and injury prevention at This column is hosted by the Seniors’ Council of Douglas County. Please join us for our next meeting on April 5 at Parker Senior Living by Morningstar, 18900 Mainstreet, Parker. Our presentation and community conversation will begin at 10:15 a.m. The topic will be alternative medicine, which includes yoga therapy, massage therapy, acupuncture and aromatherapy. Jen Wilking will be one of our guest speakers.

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School walkout planned for March 14

Some Douglas County students are planning to join schools across the nation in a walkout at 10 a.m. March 14.

The event, called “#Enough National School Walkout,” is in response to the Feb. 14 shooting at a high school in Florida that left 17 dead. Students are protesting for Congress to take action on gun violence.

“The walkout in its entirety will get people to question the why,” said Macey Moyer, a senior at Mountain Vista High School. “Even if it doesn’t change their minds, it will get them to look deeper into the issue.”

Moyer’s journalism class is expected to participate in the walkout, the 18-year-old said. Other students are awaiting approval from the school’s principal.

Schools that are registered with the protest organization behind the movement, Women’s March Youth Empower, include ThunderRidge, Rock Canyon, Douglas County, Highlands Ranch, Castle Rock Middle, Sagewood Middle, Sage Canyon Elementary and Valor Christian, a private high school in Highlands Ranch. The plan is to leave class for 17 minutes — one for each of the victims in Parkland, Florida.

Emily Mastalerz, a freshman at Valor Christian, is organizing a walkout during lunch the following day, March 15, so students won’t miss exams or chapel. She hopes at least 10 students join her outside of the school for 17 seconds of silence, followed by a speech she plans on giving. Mastalerz doesn’t know much about the politics behind the issue, she said, but she doesn’t think people under age 18 should have access to guns.

“I decided it was time for some of the students to step up and start doing something to get a safer education,” Mastalerz, 14, said. “Even though we are young and we are children, we still have the power to step up and do what we can, even if some of us are too young to vote.”

A list of all schools participating in the national walkout is available at

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Boys volleyball takes first step toward being sanctioned in Colorado

Boys volleyball has been trying to open the door to get the sport sanctioned by the Colorado High School Activities Association for around 20 years, according to John Prusinowski.

Well, boys volleyball at least got its foot inside the door when the sport, girls wrestling and unified bowling were approved Feb. 21 by the CHSAA Board of Directors to begin pilot seasons.

Prusinowski is president of the Colorado Boys High School Volleyball Association which has started play this spring season with 56 teams and will be under the watchful eye of the CHSAA during the two-year pilot program for both boys volleyball and girls wrestling.

“It’s the first step with the CHSAA with their new by-law,” said Prusinowski

The CBHSVA was started in 1996 with nine teams and is funded and administered by volunteers with the purpose of promoting boys volleyball and overseeing the sport to facilitate sanctioning by the CHSAA.

Under a newly adopted CHSAA by-law, boys volleyball, girls wrestling and co-ed unified bowling were the first to have pilot programs be considered. However, the Classification and League Organizing Committee, the Sports Medicine Committee, the Equity Committee and the Legislative Council are hurdles the three sports have to clear in order to gain support their sports.

Several steps have been outlined by the CHSAA to gain accreditation. For instance, boys volleyball must continue to show support from athletes and schools, plus the Equity Committee — which virtually stalled the sanctioning attempt of boys volleyball last fall — will have to be satisfied. However, the fact that girls wrestling is also a pilot program will help.

News that boys volleyball is a pilot program has stirred interest.

Rock Canyon coach Kyler Barker, who played volleyball at Chaparral as a high schooler, had 22 players out for the team when the program started but had 49 try out last month, and he actually had to made five cuts to fit players onto three teams.

“The pilot program legitimizes the activity,” said Castle View coach Kevin Cochran.

Many school athletic directors allow boys volleyball to use their gyms free of charge and some schools award varsity letters for boys volleyball. Others award club sport letters.

The CBHSVA rules dictate that players’ grades are monitored by coaches; athletes and parents sign and adhere to a code of conduct; and coaches must follow concussion protocol.

Seven new teams have joined the CBHSVA this season, including an Adams 12 team that will play out of Thornton High School. There are three divisions in the 5A CBHSVA league and there is a 3A league for programs with new teams with new players. Many teams are co-op teams with players coming from other district schools.

Area schools that have boys volleyball teams include Castle View, Cherry Creek, Arapahoe, Ponderosa, Rock Canyon, SkyView Academy, Valor Christian, Heritage, Legend, Faith Christian, D’Eveyln, Mountain Vista, Wheat Ridge, Thornton and two-time defending 5A state champion Ralston Valley.

Boys volleyball hopes to be a sanctioned sport for the spring of 2020.

Chaparral community service project

Chaparral head boys basketball coach Tellus Truesdale was seeking a way to have his players become involved in community service.

His assistant Jeff Riley and team mother Stacey Giles had the idea for Chaparral players to help teach younger elementary-school children. Pine Grove fifth-grade teacher Michelle Parker also liked the idea.

Wolverines freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity players rotate so they don’t miss a lot of school and go to Pine Grove elementary school twice a week to help Parker’s students with reading, writing and math and sometimes demonstrate a few basketball moves.

“It has worked out great,” said Truesdale. “The kids loved having our guys come over and really looked up to them. It helped the guys in our program to understand that people are always watching them and that the decisions they make have an impact on more than just themselves.

“There’s a built-in accountability. They can’t tell the kids to listen to their teacher and do their work if they’re not doing the same things themselves.”

Parker’s Pine Grove class came to a Chap game this season armed with signs with the players’ names on them.

“Younger kids love having the high school players come to class,” said Giles. “The students worked hard for them and they got to see positive role models.”

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Photographer sheds light on capturing the night

Landscape photographer Glenn Randall has written extensively about mountain climbing and photography and after 20 years, has focused on the photography part — developing a special skill for portraying the night sky, especially the Milky Way. He says new DSLR cameras are so sensitive that they have made it possible to record the night sky as we see it. He will speak about that special focus to the Englewood Camera Club at 7 p.m. on March 13 at Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, 6400 S. University Blvd., Centennial. (Use the south entrance.) New members and guests are welcome to the monthly second Tuesday meetings.

Opera singers to compete

Free operatic performances are available for the public. The Denver Lyric Opera Guild will be holding its annual competition for singers on a professional track and visitors are invited to attend for an hour — or all day. It will be at a new location, Denver’s Calvary Baptist Church, 6500 E. Girard Ave., at South Monaco Street. Preliminaries will be from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on March 10 and Finals will be from 1 to 5 p.m. on March 24. A panel of three professional judges will hear 42 competitors in preliminaries and a different panel of three will hear 15 finalists. Several judges have been affiliated with Central City Opera and Edward Parks sang the lead in “The ®evolution of Steve Jobs” in Santa Fe last summer.

Brass and bagpipes celebrate

Denver Brass, Celtic Colorado Pipes and Drums, Wick School of Irish Dance, Rocky Mountain Highland Dancers, Joanna and Ian Hyde — fiddle and guitar — and tenor Todd Teske will perform in a St. Patrick’s Day celebration at 7:30 p.m. March 16-17 and 2 p.m. March 18 at the Newman Center’s Gates concert Hall, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., Denver (DU). Tickets start at $26,

Genealogy gatherings

Columbine Genealogical and Historical Society meet at Lutheran Church of the Holy Spirit, 6400 S. University Blvd., Centennial. From 1-3 p.m. March 13 will be “Rocky Mountain Honor Flight” by Mary Denise Haddon. From 9:30-11:30 a.m. March 20 will be “Ancestry DNA Matches: Who are All of Those People and Why Do I Care?” By by Wendy Dillenschneider, genetic genealogist. From 1-3 p.m. March 20 will be “Getting to Know Uncle Moses: Building a Portrait of an Interesting Ancestor” by Greg Liverman, professional genealogist.

Focus on microbes

“The Unseen World” will be a talk with author Eugenia Borg (“Microbia: A Journey into the Unseen World Around You”) and Colorado Public Radio host Ryan Warner at 7 p.m. March 16 in Hamilton Hall at the Newman Center, 2344 E. Iliff Ave., Denver (DU). Tickets:

Douglas County Libraries

Writer Chris Bohjalian will appear at 7 p.m. March 12 at Highlands Ranch Library, 9292 S. Ridgeline Blvd., to talk about his new novel, “Flight Attendant.” Sale and signing follows. Register at 303-791-7323. Also at Highlands Ranch: Brad Meltzer will talk about a new thriller: “The Escape Artist” at 6:30 p.m. March 16. See above to register. Book lovers will meet to hear about staff recommendations at 6:30 p.m. March 7 at Roxborough Library, 8357 N. Rampart Range Road.

Arts in Parker

Neil Simon’s “Laughter on the 23rd Floor” plays March 16 to 25 in the newly renovated Schoolhouse Theater, followed by the Parker Symphony’s “Friday Night Jazz: Charlie Parker with Strings”; March 31: Comedy and Cocktails with Jeff Wozer; April 1: Chamber music from the DU Lamont School of Music: “Tchaikovsky in Florence.” Tickets:

Magic show

Theatre of Dreams, 735 Park St., Castle Rock features magician Michael Ammar in an all-ages show at 7:30 p.m. on March 16, 17 — Sunday matinee possible. Reservations:, 303-660-6799.

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Build it and burn it to learn it

At this point in their training, a group of firefighter recruits from across the Denver metro area have learned the basic skills. They’ve studied all about hose work, personal protective gear, forcible entry, etc.

But a training exercise on March 2 when three actual structures were burned to the ground gave them real-life experience on a fire’s behavior in a burning building.

“It shows them how fire behaves in a structure,” said West Metro Fire Rescue Capt. Steve Hildebrandt.

“We want to teach them those skills before they get into a live fire structure.”

About 30 recruits from West Metro Fire Rescue, Castle Rock Fire and Rescue, Littleton Fire Rescue and Tri-Lakes Monument Fire Protection District, plus a few students from the Firefighter One Academy at Red Rocks Community College, participated in the training.

It took place at the West Metro Training Center, 3535 S. Kipling St. in Lakewood.

The recruits are about a month into their training, Hildebrandt said, and they’ve had a couple live-fire training experiences, such as a dumpster fire. They will get about eight to 10 more live fire trainings before they graduate this May, he said.

“It’s great to be able to witness the fire’s behavior that we learn about in the textbooks and in the classroom,” said Brian Willer, a recruit for West Metro Fire Rescue. “To be able to see it in person is eye-opening. We saw how fast fires can move and grow in intensity.”

The exercise included first building three small structures that each replicate different construction types commonly found in the community — modern and legacy construction, and an unfinished basement.

It is an advantage to be able to build the structures because it familiarizes the recruits with what is out there, said Nate Peery, a recruit for Castle Rock Fire and Rescue.

“It better helps us understand the hazards we face to serve the community,” he said. And “we’re here to serve the community.”

The demonstration is not only a learning experience for the recruits, said Ronda Scholting, West Metro Fire Rescue’s public information officer, in a press release.

It “also shows homeowners just how fast fire can move,” she said, “and how important it is to have an escape plan in case of emergency.”

Every live fire training exercise is beneficial because they train the recruits on how to operate safely, said West Metro Fire Rescue’s Lt. Dan Fahrney.

“It’s so they can stay safe,” he said, “and protect the community.”

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