| PostIndependent.com

Sunday profile: Community egg hunt is more than a church gathering

For senior pastors Mark and Tasha Bintliff and children’s pastor Shawn Roessler, the New Creation Church annual Easter egg hunt is much more than a game.

“The Easter egg hunt is really dynamic lesson in that it is less about the Easter Bunny, and more about really understanding God’s giving in Christ and the eggs, and the gifts that are in them,” Mark Bintliff said.

Bintliff said that when he first started brainstorming with his team 13 years ago, he wanted to have a bigger impact and benefit to the community through an event, bringing a broad group of people together.

That’s when a team member came up with the idea for a free community Easter egg hunt.

“We just decided to go for it,” Bintliff said.

It began with a strip of grass and about 100 children.

“Even at that, we underestimated. So we had to run up to City Market to get some extra candy,” Bintliff said. “It’s gone from about a hundred, to last year when we had almost a thousand.”

Bintliff said he had no idea if it was going to be a bust or a boom.

Over a decade later, the Holy Saturday event is still going strong, growing every year at the church property just beyond Canyon Creek east of New Castle.

“I love having the Easter Egg hunt on our property. I love having all the kids come out,” Pastor Tasha Bintliff said.

“Really, for many people it is an introduction, just coming out for that. It lets them know we are here,” she said. “There are new people every year that we get to meet from our community — just knowing there are great things happening here, the Easter egg hunt really brings people to that.”

Every year, it takes 150 volunteers for the church to organize the event that usually spans less than two minutes.

“The people that volunteer are incredible,” Mark Bintliff said. “We have an amazing group of volunteers, they are the key to pulling off the event.”

Shawn Roessler has been coordinating the event since 2011.

“We start planning in January, bringing our volunteers on board,” she said.

After ordering supplies, the church asks its church members to adopt a box and help fill the plastic eggs with candy and prizes.

“It is incredible how much planning goes into the event that only lasts moments,” Tasha Bintliff said.

With the help of 20 volunteers, the church hides 16,000 eggs for the event.

“It takes about an hour and a half to spread them out,” Roessler added.

Some of the eggs have white tickets hiding inside, and the children can bring those back to church on Easter Sunday, where they have the opportunity to win more prizes.

“It is a really fun day for the kids, and it’s the best thing we do all year,” Roessler said.

“The reason we have this, is because we really love our community and just want to be able to reach out to them, not just in something that’s fun, but reach out and draw them into the message about how much God loves them and how much Christ did for them because of that love,” Mark Bintliff said.

“This is just one way that we can make it really fun, family oriented, but the impact of it is really much deeper.”

kmills@postindependent.com

Glenwood Council selects Jonathan Godes as city’s 53rd mayor

A newly seated Glenwood Springs City Council elected Councilman Jonathan Godes Thursday night to serve as the city’s 53rd mayor.

Outgoing mayor Michael Gamba could not seek re-election because of term limits, after eight years as the city’s Ward 4 council representative.

In accordance with the city’s charter, the people do not elect the mayor of Glenwood Springs, but rather sitting councilors every two years.

After being sworn in, three newly elected council members — at large Councilman Tony Hershey, Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Willman and Ward 4 Councilwoman Paula Stepp — jumped right into the nominating process.

Hershey nominated Ward 2 Councilman Rick Voorhees, Stepp proposed at-large Councilwoman Shelley Kaup, and Willman gave a nod to Godes.

All three accepted their nomination, and the first of three votes was called.

“In this first round we have three votes for Jonathan, two for Shelley and two for Rick,” City Attorney Karl Hanlon read aloud.

With Godes then in the runoff, Council did another round of voting between Kaup and Voorhees to see which of those two would face Godes. Kaup won 4-2.

“I remember a student council election that went this way. I lost,” Hershey quipped.

Some have questioned why the city’s seven-member council elects the mayor as opposed to the Glenwood’s roughly 5,200 registered voters.

“That leaves us with the top two candidates being Shelley and Jonathan. So your next ballot should produce a mayor,” Hanlon stated before the final vote.

As City Clerk Catherine Fletcher collected each councilor’s final vote, all eyes were on Hanlon and City Manager Debra Figueroa as the two counted the white, paper ballots.

“There ought to be jeopardy music playing,” Councilman Steve Davis joked during the final counting process.

Then, at 7:16 p.m., Hanlon announced following a 4-3 vote that Godes was elected the 53rd mayor of Glenwood Springs, and that Shelley Kaup would serve as the city’s mayor pro tem.

Todd Leahy, the city’s previous mayor pro tem also could not seek re-election because of term limits. Ahead of Godes’ being named mayor and Kaup mayor pro tem, their predecessors had a few, final remarks.

“Just make the right decisions for Glenwood. Leave all of your national stuff at home. Leave all of this stuff you see on the TV at home. It doesn’t belong here,” Leahy said.

Added Gamba, “In closing, I would just like to say I am honored and humbled to be the mayor of our city for the last four years, and I wish the staff and the incoming council the best … thank you.”

mabennett@postindependent.com

Glenwood soccer rolls to 6-1 win over Eagle Valley

Displaying some impressive ball skills and tenacious physicality, the Glenwood Springs Demons girls soccer team rolled to an important 6-1 win Thursday night at Stubler Memorial Field over the visiting Eagle Valley Devils in 4A Western Slope League action.

In years past, the Demons and Devils were good for a tightly contested match with goals being hard to come by for both teams.

Not this year.

The Demons showcased a high level of skill on the ball that head coach Joe Calabrese had only seen in small glimpses in years past. That skill helped the Demons rack up chance after chance against the Devils in the league battle, leading to the 6-1 win, marking the 15th straight win at home for the Demons, dating back to April 13, 2017.

“It’s our home, and we feel really confident here,” said Celia Scruton, Glenwood’s junior defender. “We’re in front of our home fans and on our field where we practice. We have advantage with our throw-ins and we just feel so much more confident at home. We have pride here, and it’s important for us to win here.”

Glenwood jumped on Eagle Valley quickly as freshman Ella Johnson scored the game’s first two goals in the opening five minutes, giving the fans in attendance a sign of things to come on the night.

“It was incredible for us as coaches to see that [early start],” said Calabrese. “We’ve been working on more of the mental side of things, so for them to build off of what happened Wednesday and come out the way they did today and sustain that for the majority of the game was fantastic. I couldn’t be happier with that.”

Johnson opened the scoring at the 3:02 mark, thanks to a throw-in along the left sideline by senior defender Ashley Weir. Johnson settled the throw-in and one-touched it to senior forward Levyn Thomas, who worked the give-and-go with Johnson, leaving the freshman wing streaking down the left sideline in on goal. Johnson fired a low, line-drive shot inside the left post for the 1-0 lead.

Nearly a minute later, Johnson made it 2-0 thanks to a throw-in from the right sideline by sophomore Reese Goluba. The throw-in found Johnson in the middle of the attacking box, where the freshman tapped home a rolling shot to the far left post for the 2-0 lead that took the wind out of the Devils’ sails early. Glenwood’s fast start wasn’t by accident either, as the experienced Demons weren’t overly happy with their performance Wednesday night at home against Palisade. That frustration coming out of a 3-0 win over Palisade led to the intensity level for the Demons being high at kickoff and led to a focused, balanced attack all game long.

“Everyone seemed to struggle mentally last night,” said Thomas. “So tonight as a team, we made a pact to have a more positive attitude and bring each other up. That really correlated to each player working really hard and focusing tonight. We ended up having good passes to feet and good touches; our simple, fundamental skills were good today, and that showed.”

“I thought we were much better tonight, honestly,” said Scruton. “Our energy was up, and players were talking to each other. We made it a goal to work on our energy, intensity, and communication tonight, and I feel like we were successful in doing that.”

Up 2-0, things really opened up for the Demons as Glenwood controlled possession throughout the game. Sophomore Tatum Lily had two great looks on goal via headers off of great throw-ins by Goluba, and junior Summer McSwain fired a shot off the crossbar midway through the first half off of a corner kick by Johnson.

Despite struggling to finish chances early and truly put the Devils away, Glenwood didn’t panic. That confidence paid off at the 26:42 mark as Thomas made it 3-0 for the Demons off of an assist from Lily.

Lily worked down the right wing and slipped around an Eagle defender along the back line to the right of the goal before firing a low cross through traffic to the left boot of Thomas. The senior teed up a shot that grazed off of the inside of the left post and into the goal for a 3-0 lead.

Eagle responded quickly, though, as junior Adie Schumacher took advantage of a Glenwood turnover deep in their own end and slipped a shot past diving Glenwood sophomore goalkeeper Abby Scruton to make it 3-1 with 10:14 left in the first half.

Glenwood atoned for the mistake late in the first half as freshman Sydney Reinhold, making her varsity debut for the Demons, received a cross into the box after a long run down the right sideline by senior Sierra McKinney and fired a shot inside the left post to make it 4-1. Reinhold’s goal came on her first varsity touch and was really set up by McKinney’s quick counter from defense to offense after a failed corner kick by the Devils.

“That’s the level of play that we want here,” said Calabrese. “When the younger girls come in and want to be part of the varsity program — this program — it takes a lot of work. That transition to be able to make an impact that young is an incredible thing to do. Our program is fostering those opportunities for girls like Sydney or Ella to come in and make the impact that they’re making.”

Holding a 4-1 lead coming out of the half, Glenwood continued to string together scoring chances, but Eagle senior goalkeeper Zoe Booth made a number of early saves in the first half on Goluba and Lily that kept the Devils close.

The Demons broke through in the second half as Johnson found Goluba in the box off of a corner kick for a header just underneath the crossbar at the 19:18 mark of the first half for a 5-1 lead.

Reinhold then put the finishing touches on the 6-1 win, sliding into the box to redirect a terrific cross from Thomas into the net for the 6-1 win.

“Their defense seemed to be pretty spread out,” said Thomas. “Our attacking forwards stayed out wide and dragged defenders outside, and that created a pretty big gap in the middle that were able to find that gap, play the ball through and get some crosses off and get chances on goal.”

With the win, Glenwood improves to 7-3 (6-2 in 4A WSL) on the season.

The Demons travel to Fruita Monument Saturday for a non-league battle with the 5A Wildcats at 11 a.m.

“We have to stay confident and believe in ourselves,” said Scruton. “We know we’re a good team and can play at that level, but we have to play how we play. We have to play Glenwood soccer because when we do, it’s really good.”

jcarney@postindependent.com

Theatre Aspen announces casts for 2019 summer season

Theatre Aspen has announced the complete casts for its summer 2019 productions of “Guys and Dolls,” “Little Shop of Horrors” and “God of Carnage,” along with a slate of special events for the season.

“One of the most distinctive things about Theatre Aspen is its ability to provide a home to so many artists, on and off-stage. In this packed and exciting 2019 season, we are delighted to be welcoming so many alumni back to the Hurst Theatre,” producing director Jed Bernstein said in the announcement.

The 2019 Theatre Aspen company of actors includes Travis Anderson (“Guys and Dolls:” Angie The Ox; “Little Shop of Horrors:” Wino #1/Puppeteer) Heather Botts (“Guys and Dolls:” Sarah Brown; Cabaret Series), Kevin Michael Buckley (“Guys and Dolls:” Calvin, Havana Waiter; Cabaret Series), Galyana Castillo (“Guys and Dolls:” General Cartwright; Little Shop of Horrors: Crystal), Christian Conn (“God of Carnage:”: Alan), Jon Cooper (“Guys and Dolls:” Benny Southstreet; Cabaret Series), Ray Demattis (“Guys and Dolls:” Arvide; Little Shop of Horrors: Mr. Mushnik), Robert Ellis (“Guys and Dolls:” Seldome Seen Kid; Cabaret Series), Rosharra Francis (“Guys and Dolls:” Hot Box Girl; Little Shop of Horrors: Ronette), Jonathan Gomolka (“Guys and Dolls:” Harry The Horse; Cabaret Series), Dion Greer (“Guys and Dolls:” Nicely, Nicely; Little Shop of Horrors: Audrey II), Joan Hess (God of Carnage: Veronica), Torsten Hillhouse (God of Carnage: Michael), Alisha Jury (“Guys and Dolls:” Hot Box Girl; Little Shop of Horrors: Chiffon), Julie Kavanaugh (“Guys and Dolls:” Adelaide; Little Shop of Horrors: Audrey), Nevada Koenig (“Guys and Dolls:” Hot Box Girl; Cabaret Series), Christopher Carter Minor (“Guys and Dolls:” Lt. Branigan; Cabaret Series), Tony Roach (“Guys and Dolls:” Sky Masterson; Little Shop of Horrors: Orin), Alice Sherman (God of Carnage: Annette), Blakely Slaybaugh (“Guys and Dolls:” Nathan Detroit; Cabaret Series), and Blake Stadnik (“Guys and Dolls:” Rusty Charlie, Joey Biltmore; “Little Shop of Horrors:” Seymour).

As previously announced, “Guys and Dolls” will run June 21 to Aug. 17 and will be directed by Tony Award nominee Hunter Foster. It will be choreographed by Lisa Shriver (first season), with a creative team that includes Eric Alsford (music director; sixth Season), David Arsenault (scenic designer; first Season), Nikki Moody (costume designer; second Season), Aaron Spivey (lighting designer; first Season), David Thomas (sound designer; 12th Season), and Jared Janas (hair & wig designer; second Season).

Carbonell Award winner Mark Martino returns to Theatre Aspen for a remarkable eleventh time to direct and choreograph a newly reimagined production of “Little Shop of Horrors,” running July 11 to Aug. 17, alongside Elise Kinnon (associate director and co-choreographer; sixth Season) and a creative team that includes Eric Alsford (music director), Markas Henry (scenic designer; second Season), Kevin Brainerd (costume designer; eighth Season), Aaron Spivey (lighting designer), David Thomas (sound designer), and Diana Ben-Kiki (hair and wig designer; fourth season).

Rounding out the main-stage season is Yasmina Reza’s play “God of Carnage” (July 17 – Aug. 3), directed Karen Azenberg, Artistic Director of the Pioneer Theatre Company, in her first summer at Theatre Aspen. The creative team for “God of Carnage” includes Markas Henry (scenic designer), Kevin Brainerd (costume designer), Aaron Spivey (lighting design), and David Thomas (sound designer).

Additionally, Theatre Aspen Education’s Summer Conservatory Program will present a limited-engagement student production of The Wizard of Oz (July 25 – Aug. 10) on the main-stage, directed and choreographed by Elise Kinnon and designed by the 2019 Theatre Aspen Apprentices.

Complementing this year’s main-stage presentations, the season will also feature several special events throughout the summer, including a Season Sneak Peek on Sunday, June 16 at the Hurst Theatre; the return of the Theatre Aspen Cabaret Series, now expanded by popular demand to three dates: June 30 (Caribou Club), July 14, and August 4 (Jimmy’s); in collaboration with the Aspen Music Festival, a one-night-only presentation of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “South Pacific: In Concert” on Monday, July 22 in the Benedict Music Tent; and the Theatre Aspen Apprentice Program Showcase on Sunday, Aug. 11 on the Hurst Theatre stage.

Season passes went on-sale April 15 and can be purchased online at theatreaspen.org or by phone at 970-925-9313. Singe tickets will be available May 8.

Glenwood Springs soccer’s Leo Mireles signs with Colorado Mesa University

One of the best players in Glenwood Springs soccer’s long history accomplished a first under veteran head coach Wayne Smith, Wednesday, as standout senior midfielder Leo Mireles signed with Division II Colorado Mesa University, becoming the first D-II player under Smith’s guidance. The signing comes one year after Smith sent his first player ever — Alonso Pacheco — to the collegiate level at D-III Elmhurst College.

Mireles earned the 4A Western Slope League Co-Player of the Year award in his senior season, as well as a first team selection, and earned first team all-state after leading the Demons to the 4A state semifinals in a year in which the senior midfielder scored 14 goals and added 18 assists. For his career, Mireles — who played all four years on varsity — finished with 30 goals and 31 assists, marking one of the best varsity career’s in Glenwood history.

“It was amazing to get those awards,” said Mireles. “At the beginning of the year, I didn’t believe that I would get those awards, but after the year I was proud of myself because I worked so hard and things were starting to come together. My goal was to take our team far into the playoffs, so to be able to accomplish those goals and to get those awards was unbelievable.

“When it comes to my standing in program history, I don’t really put much thought into that. That’s for other people to discuss,” added Mireles. “I don’t like talking about myself in that regard; I don’t like to label myself like that. That said, I definitely worked hard for it. It just feels really good to hear people say that about me.”

Now, Mireles heads to the collegiate level with the Mavericks, allowing him to stay close to home, while also breaking new barriers for the Glenwood program.

“It just means so much,” said Mireles. “It means so much to the program and to my teammates. It shows my teammates that they don’t need to go to Denver all the time for exposure in soccer, and the style of play that Wayne [Smith] likes to play as a coach works.”

One of the best midfielders in the state, in terms of possession and pushing the play forward for Glenwood, Mireles set the school record for assists in a career with 31 and played an integral part in the Demons’ deep state playoff run last fall. With the ball routinely on his left boot, Mireles made players around him better, all while remaining an unselfish player.

Unlike other soccer players in the valley, Mireles remained local throughout his four years, playing local club soccer with Glenwood Springs, making a trip to Europe with Scandia United. That local development showed not only the underclassmen in the varsity program at Glenwood that a collegiate scholarship can be achieved here in the valley through soccer, but also the young kids in the valley playing youth soccer. Smith was quick to add that Mireles took advantage of every single opportunity offered to him throughout his career, allowing him to succeed and grow as a player to what he is now.

“We’ve now proven that it’s possible; it’s a real achievable dream,” said Smith. “That’s what we want to do here is develop good, young men and talented soccer players. That’s what we set out to do early on here and it took some time, but now we’re sending kids to college to play soccer and we’re having success as a program. That’s huge for us. The success we had last season as a program was key for us, and hopefully that opens up some doors for more opportunities for younger kids in our program.”

The success last season was part of a long-term progression that saw the Demons improve from 7-8 in 2016 to 9-6 in 2017 before putting it all together for a program-best 13-5-1 in 2018, culminating in a trip to the 4A state semifinals at Legacy Stadium at Cherry Creek High School. At the center of that was Mireles, who played within the system set in place by Smith and his assistant coaches, leading to loads of success as a team.

“He’s just such a creative midfielder,” said Smith. “He’s the type of player you want to have. I’ve been quoted as saying that talent is overrated; it’s what you do with that talent. It’s how you apply it to the team. The one thing I always loved about Leo is that he’s humble in a sense. Obviously, he knows he’s a great player, but he is such a great fit for the team and the style of play that we look to achieve. He’s not a showboat or a ball-hog or anything like that; he understands what our system is, implements it and fits really well into it because he’s the guy that creates a lot of our attacking stuff.”

Despite all of the talent on the field for the Demons last season, and with the attack starting and often ending with Mireles, the senior captain was quick to point out it was much more than just talent for Glenwood last season. It was discipline, and that should help the future Maverick succeed at the collegiate level under CMU head coach Todd Padgett.

“In previous years we didn’t really have that discipline from our senior leaders, and that’s something we aimed to change last year,” said Mireles. “That discipline was the difference against high-level teams, and that really helped carry us to the semifinals.”

Following a great senior season and a tremendous career at Glenwood, Mireles said the decision to head to CMU under Padgett was easy, largely due to the style of play, which is similar to what Glenwood plays under Smith. Having a chance to play so close to home where he can play in front of his mother Maria, and sister Sofia, was key.

“Their style of play was a big selling point,” said Mireles, who went to ID camps at CMU and had a chance to get a good feel for the Maverick program. “When I was down there the coaches told me how other programs in the RMAC [Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference] like to play long ball and just kick and run, whereas CMU plays wide and possess the ball a lot. That’s the style I like to play, so it made a lot of sense. Having it be close to home was very important too; I love that.”

Mireles’s role in the first year isn’t quite clear at this point, but the Glenwood senior — who aspires to study something in the medical field at CMU — has a goal of working into the first team under Padgett. Mireles joins a talented CMU program that finished 13-4-5 last season. But if the last four years of Mireles’s time with Glenwood is any indication of what he can achieve at the collegiate level, it won’t be a surprise if the skilled midfielder achieves his freshman goal quickly and has an impact on the 2019 Mavericks.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Area nonprofit Arc of the Central Mountains supports those on the autism spectrum and their loved ones

April is Autism Awareness Month, but for the Arc of the Central Mountains, it’s a year-round job to raise awareness, provide support networks and lobby for those with autism.

The local nonprofit was founded in 2017 and, after securing funding through Arc Thrift Stores along the Front Range, was able to open its doors in the summer of 2018 in the Aspen Professional Building next to the Post Office in Glenwood Springs.

Affiliated with the national organization, The Arc, the local chapter Arc of the Central Mountains serves Garfield, Pitkin, Eagle and Lake counties.

“There is still a lot of mystery around autism, but it really is a very acceptable and accepted diagnosis,” Arc of the Central Mountains Executive Director Jill Pidcock said. “People who have autism can really contribute to the community, to jobs to socialization and I think that just an overall inclusion in the community is super important. It is a broad, broad spectrum.”

According to autismspeaks.org, in 2013 the American Psychiatric Association combined four different autism diagnoses into one diagnosis known as Autism Spectrum Disorder. The four diagnoses were autistic disorder, childhood disintegrative disorder, pervasive developmental disorder-not otherwise specified, and Asperger Syndrome.

Now a high school student, Pidcock’s own son was medically diagnosed with autism at the age of 3. Pidcock said that her son was average on the autism spectrum and emphasized, again, just how broad the autism spectrum was.

“You would look at him and not think that he had autism,” Pidcock said. “When he does have a meltdown or an anxiety moment, it is typically misunderstood by those around him because it is not something that you openly expect is going to happen.”

Pidcock explained how there were those who experienced many more challenges cognitively, but like her son still fit on the autism spectrum — a spectrum Pidcock referred to as horizontal, as opposed to vertical.

“People always think that Asperger’s means that children are much more advanced and have a much higher cognitive level, which typically is true but that doesn’t mean that they are not completely affected by autism,” Pidcock said of how the autism spectrum was not a hierarchy of intelligence. “It’s just a different set of needs.”

Pidcock credited organizations like the Roaring Fork Autism Network as a great support system for those on the autism spectrum as well as their loved ones. She hopes to build upon that through the Arc of The Central Mountains.

“[The Roaring Fork Autism Network] was actually created by two moms who have children who have an autism spectrum disorder, and they came together for this very reason,” Pidcock said of the network, which still exists today.

Pidcock said that support systems, particularly in rural, western Colorado communities were not always easy to find, but she hopes to continue to fill that void.

Additionally, the Arc of The Central Mountains works with state representatives and senators concerning bills going through the legislature.

“Autism is considered a pre-existing condition,” Pidcock said. “We want to make sure that any time there is something that is going to keep benefits or grow benefits … that we stay in touch with that.”

This legislative session, the Arc of the Central Mountains has thrown its support behind two bills.

HB 19-1269 deals with issues related to private health insurance, as well as Medicaid coverage of behavioral, mental health and substance use disorder services.

HB 19-1028 adds autism spectrum disorders to disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.

Today, autism affects an estimated 1 in 59 children in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control.

mabennett@postindependent.com

A new place for youth to get back on track

YouthZone ushered in a new era on Thursday as community members gathered for the official opening of the youth organization’s new building in downtown Glenwood Springs.

YouthZone, which provides youth programs, including diversion and support services in conjunction with law enforcement and the courts, hosted the grand opening of the new building at Ninth and Blake; the former Glenwood Springs Library location.

“My involvement with YouthZone started 40 years ago when I took my son to one of the first classes YouthZone offered,” Marci Pattillo, board president for the organization, said at the celebration. “I’m thrilled to be here with you.”

YouthZone officials hope the new space will serve as a Glenwood Springs base for future generations for years to come.

YouthZone Executive Director Lori Mueller said she thinks the new space will “offer us brand new opportunities that didn’t exist before.”

During the grand opening celebration, she called the process of acquiring, renovating and opening the new building a heartfelt community effort as community members across Garfield County donated time and money to see the project completed.

The organization purchased the building from the city of Glenwood Springs last year, providing 9,000 square feet on two floors for the organization to use.

While the cost of the building was around $900,000, according to Mueller, moving and renovation costs pushed the project to closer to $2 million. She said reaching that total was made possible only through community donations, which included $600,000 from the Garfield County commissioners.

Commissioner Tom Jankovsky said at the grand opening that he hopes YouthZone will spend another 100 years in the building. He explained that the commissioners invested in the project because they wanted to invest in the community.

“It’s an investment in our youth and community,” Jankovsky said. “YouthZone gives [kids] the opportunity to make amends.”

He said that he’s known kids who got in trouble, went to YouthZone and now have big families and are positive contributors to society.

YouthZone serves over 1,000 youth and families per year from Aspen to Parachute through support services like teen and family counseling, substance use education and intervention, Restorative Justice and more.

Research shows that less than one in 10 clients re-offend during their time with YouthZone, according to the organization, compared with a state recidivism rate of more than 25 percent.

azorn@citizentelegram.com

Roaring Fork’s ‘Shorty’ Williams calls it a career

Just two years after retiring from teaching, Larry “Shorty” Williams is calling it a career as a basketball coach.

A staple on the boys’ sideline for the last 11 seasons in Carbondale, Williams epitomized everything that was Roaring Fork High School basketball.

But, due to the time commitment needed to continue to coach at a high level, Williams decided to step away from his post last week, ending a total of 27 years as a basketball coach for the boys and girls programs in Carbondale.

Williams, a Roaring Fork graduate, was on the sideline as an assistant coach for the Roaring Fork girls’ three straight state championships from 1989-91, and later served as head coach for the girls team. He took over the boys’ program after former coach Roger Walters resigned, promoting Williams from the C-team to the varsity head coaching position.

After so many years of spending time each day in gymnasiums, on buses and in meetings trying to improve the Rams, Williams wants to settle down and enjoy family time.

“It just got to a point where I wasn’t enjoying going to open gyms and camps in the summer,” said Williams. “I used to love that stuff, but it’s just a major time commitment.

“I still love the kids and I love coaching, but after 27 years it just became too much.”

Aside from working roughly 30 hours a week at his part-time job, Williams said he hopes to get back into some duck and pheasant hunting. He also wants to spend more time watching his grandkids play basketball and other sports, now that he’s stepping away from the varsity program.

void to fill

“He and I had been talking about it,” said Jade Bath, Roaring Fork’s athletic director who also played for the Rams when she was in high school.

“It was kind of one of those things that I was hoping wasn’t true,” she added. “I just respect him so much and enjoy working with him. I looked up to him when I was little. It’s hard for me [to see him retire] because a part of Roaring Fork is leaving.

“It’s more than just basketball when you’re talking about Shorty. He truly bleeds blue and gold and loves everything about this school.”

In the last 11 seasons as the head coach of the Rams’ boys program, Williams won three 3A Western Slope League Coach of the Year awards.

In that same 11-season span, Williams compiled a record of 141-91 (.607 winning percentage), including a league record of 87-45 (.659 winning percentage) in 11 seasons, winning a league championship in 2012-13 when he helped lead the Rams to a 20-4 (15-1 3A WSL) record, reaching the second round of the 3A state playoffs.

Williams has always had the Rams near the top of the league standings, making for a tough out each night in a loaded conference.

league respect

“His first year as a head coach was my first year as a head coach, so we’ve always had to go against him,” said Coal Ridge High School head coach Paul Harvey. “He’s a class act, hard worker and a tremendous coach.

“It’s a huge loss for our league. His teams were always ones you wanted to play earlier in the year because they were going to improve late in the year due to coaching.”

The news of Williams retiring from coaching spread fast and seemed to take the league by surprise, which says quite a bit about the impact he’s had on the game of basketball, and how revered he is within the basketball community on the Western Slope.

“I’m kind of surprised he’s retiring, honestly,” added Harvey. “I just really got the sense from him that he was going to keep going and going as the boys coach. But his influence is all over the town. He’s done a tremendous job with that program from the top down, and you can see that with the young kids they have coming. Carbondale has a rich history of basketball, and Larry’s right there in the middle of it.”

After so many seasons coaching basketball, Williams has had a chance to impact a number of lives. Now that he’s stepping away and reflecting, he hopes there’s a message that consistently got across from his coaching methods that’s stuck with players after they’ve moved on from the program.

“The message that I hope got across was things that we preach every day, work ethic, always try your best, and to be a good person and do what’s right,” said Williams. “Do something for each other. Whether it’s a job or it’s a team, you’re a part of something bigger. I just hope that the kids took it to heart and it carries over into their marriages, life as parents, or whatever comes next for them.”

finding a good fit

Although he’s officially retiring from coaching, Williams said that it will be hard to stay away from the game completely. Depending on who the new head coach is, Williams hopes he’ll get the chance to step in and help the new guy when he can, but added that there’s a fine line there where you don’t want to step on anyone’s toes.

“You want it to be the new guy’s program, so it’s important to be careful there,” added Williams.

Bath said that the coaching position is posted and is open to any and all applicants, but that the program hopes to select the right person not only for the program, but for the community, as well.

“It’s hard to try and fill the shoes Shorty is leaving,” said Bath. “This program deserves a good head coach to follow him. Hopefully we can find that coach, get through the transition period, and keep up that tradition of Roaring Fork boys basketball.”

jcarney@postindependent.com

Glenwood girls soccer bounces back, shuts out Arvada West 2-0

Goals from sophomores Tatum Lilly and Maya Elias led the Glenwood Springs Demons girls soccer team to a 2-0 win at Stubler Memorial Field Saturday afternoon over the visiting Arvada West Wildcats, stretching the Demons’ home winning streak to 13 games dating back to April 13, 2017.

Playing at home does wonders for the Demons under head coach Joe Calabrese, as Glenwood usually controls possession and brings an extra level of intensity to home games. That winning streak started after a 2-1 loss to the Palisade Bulldogs in overtime on April 13, 2017. A week later at home on April 18, 2017, the Demons rolled to a 5-2 win over the Coal Ridge Titans and haven’t looked back in nearly two full years.

“These girls are very prideful about playing here,” said Calabrese. “I know that the success we had here last year has really pushed us to do well this year. It’s a hard place to come and play, especially when we show up ready to play.”

The Demons certainly showed up to play Saturday afternoon looking to bounce back from a tough 4-1 road loss to Steamboat Springs Thursday night in 4A Western Slope League action. Taking on the Wildcats from the 5A Jefferson County League, the Demons controlled the game right from the opening kickoff.

Junior Summer McSwain had an early chance just under five minutes into the game for the Demons after corralling a loose ball from Elias off of a throw-in. McSwain settled the ball down just outside of the attacking box, but fired just high and to the right over the Wildcat goal.

Wanting to win the first 15 minutes of the game, the Demons easily accomplished that as the Wildcats didn’t muster any sort of attack against Glenwood sophomore goalkeeper Abby Scruton as the stellar back like of junior Celia Scruton, senior Leigh Anne Johnson, sophomore Maddie Moser, and senior Ashley Weir — which was missing senior centerback Julia Mulhall — turned away Arvada West repeatedly early on, leading to counters for Glenwood.

“It’s pretty incredible that when you have key players out of the lineup, it just doesn’t faze them,” said Calabrese. “We have great depth and that really showed today. I was very, very pleased with that group back there.”

Thanks to a number of chances, the Demons wore down the Wildcats early, leading to Lilly’s strike at the 18:52 mark of the first half. Senior Zoe Harbour gained possession along the right wing and fired a cross into the box, where Lilly was able to get a boot on it and slip the shot past Arvada West’s goalkeeper, giving the Demons an important 1-0 lead.

Trailing 1-0, the Wildcats put together their first scoring chance of the game as junior Madison Pixler cut into the box and fired a right-footed shot on net. Abby Scruton easily scooped the shot up off the grass for the save, shutting down Arvada West’s first chance of the game.

Later in the first half Arvada West junior Hailey Johns put a good charge into a shot from 30 yards out, but the shot had too much on it, leading to the ball curling wide left on the windy day as the two teams went into the break with Glenwood holding what seemed to be a commanding 1-0 lead.

Coming out of the break, the Demons struck quickly as freshman Ella Johnson streaked down the right wing, evading a Wildcat defender before stopping and firing a bouncing cross into the box. Elias, waiting on the far post, tapped in the bouncing cross just 2:20 into the second half for a 2-0 lead as the young guns for Glenwood had a big day up front.

“Both goals were great buildups, and they were certainly team goals,” said Calabrese. “If you look at who scores for us each game, it’s a mixed bag, which is something we’re trying to do here collectively.”

Holding that 2-0 lead, the Demons continued to control the pace of the game, quickly shutting down Wildcat chances while mounting strong scoring chances at the other end.

Late in the game, Glenwood senior Sierrra McKinney nearly capped off a goal that would have been one for the highlight reel. The senior nutmegged a Wildcat defender, cut right, and fired a laser of a shot on goal from roughly 20 yards out. Unfortunately for the senior, the shot continued to rise on the windy day, slipping over the crossbar to negate a strong scoring chance.

Arvada West had a late chance off of a corner kick as junior McKenna Fowler found herself open in front of the net with the ball at her feet, but the junior fired wide right trying to best Abby Scruton. That shot was the final chance of the game for either team as Glenwood picked up the 2-0 win, bouncing back in a big way at home.

“It was huge,” said Calabrese. “We really established what we’re trying to do this season. Things are really starting to take shape today, and I couldn’t be more happy with how the girls performed today. They were able to hold that level of intensity for the most part today, which was really pleasing.”

The win sees Glenwood improve to 4-2 (3-1 in 4A Western Slope League) on the season. The Demons return to action Thursday, April 11 on the road at Rifle for a rivalry matchup with the Bears.

jcarney@postindependent.com

Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy (CORE) Act gets day in Congress, supporters and opponents testify about act’s merits

The Colorado Outdoor Recreation & Economy Act, a sweeping public lands bill focused on Colorado, had its first hearing in Congress on April 2 with the House Natural Resources Committee.

The bill, which combines four previously introduced public lands bills protecting 400,000 Colorado acres from development, is being pushed strongly by its primary sponsors, Rep. Joe Neguse (D-Boulder) in the House of Representatives and Sen. Michael Bennet, a Democrat, in the Senate.

Of the four original bills, the most significant for Summit is the Continental Divide Recreation, Wilderness and Camp Hale Legacy Act. That bill would permanently protect 98,000 acres of the White River National Forest in Summit and Eagle counties, as well as designate Camp Hale, the historic birthplace of the 10th Mountain Division located near Leadville, and its surrounding vistas as the nation’s first National Historic Landscape.

Neguse, who represents Summit and Eagle counties in Congress, told the Summit Daily that he made the CORE act a priority based on promises he made to constituents on the campaign trail, as well as to continue the legacy of his House predecessor, Gov. Jared Polis.

“It’s clear conversing with folks in Summit County, this is a bill they deeply support,” Neguse said. “It has been endorsed by every county commissioner, every mayor in Summit and a multitude of outdoor organizations.”

Former Summit County Commissioner Dan Gibbs, who now serves in Gov. Polis’ cabinet as the head of the state’s department of natural resources, was invited by Neguse to testify to the committee in favor of the CORE act.

In his testimony, Gibbs emphasized that the CORE Act and its subsidiary bills were painstakingly negotiated with many different Colorado stakeholders over the past decade.

“I felt like there was a really great balance at bringing many different stakeholders — the firefighting community, the towns, the ski resorts, mountain biking and recreation user groups — to nonstop stakeholder meetings to figure out what is appropriate (in regard to wilderness boundary lines),” Gibbs testified to the committee.

However, some aspects of the bill are facing opposition, particularly from oil and gas interests and foresters, who believe it goes too far to limit economic development and forest management.

Rep. Scott Tipton (R-Cortez), who represents a portion of Eagle County and the Western Slope, is not on the House Natural Resources Committee, but was invited by the chair to preside over the hearing and question witnesses as one of the CORE Act’s bundled bills — the Thompson Divide Withdrawal and Protection Act — affected his district and constituents.

While acknowledging that he had heard constituents and concerned groups voice a lot of support for the CORE Act, Tipton was concerned that the voices of some of his constituents — such as Garfield County’s commissioners, who oppose the permanent withdrawal of oil and gas leasing in the Thompson Divide area west of Carbondale — were not being heard.

“I think it is important to note that we do have differing opinions that are in my district, that may not have had their voices heard in the development of some of this legislation,” Tipton said.

Tipton rattled off a number of letters from groups that opposed the act due to the limits it posed on certain recreational and work activities, such as motorized vehicle use. Among the opponents to the CORE Act are the Colorado Off-Highway Vehicle Coalition, the Colorado Snowmobile Association and the Trail Preservation Alliance.

David French, acting deputy chief of the National Forest System, also testified to the committee that the U.S. Forest Service, while approving of a majority of the proposed protections, objected to certain portions of wilderness designation, including significant wilderness designations in Summit.

French testified that certain wilderness designations ran afoul of a 2002 forest management plan intended to prevent wildfire and make use of timber resources, and that wilderness designation would prevent motorized vehicle and machinery use necessary for forest management.

When asked about French’s opposition to certain portions of the bill, Neguse downplayed the objections. Neguse said that the forest management plan French mentioned was out of date, having not been updated within 15 years as mandated by law, and did not reflect current conditions and forest management needs. Neguse also said that the concerns did not reflect those of the community who actually live in the areas affected by the legislation.

“The forest plan and wilderness designations we develop here in Washington should reflect the views of the people who live in these communities and the people we represent,” Neguse said. “In this case, I believe the CORE Act does that.”

Gibbs, a certified wildland firefighter, countered French’s opposition in his own testimony. Gibbs told the committee that the CORE Act provided the necessary flexibility in language to allow for forest management, ensuring public safety would not be threatened by wildfire. Gibbs once again brought up the exhaustive attempts to include stakeholders in the process as proof that the community supported the plan.

“Half of this room is full of Coloradans who would say the exact same thing, that (the CORE Act) was really collaboration-based,” Gibbs said.

On a follow-up question, Neguse asked Gibbs directly if he felt the CORE Act would put Colorado communities at risk of wildfire.

“No, I don’t,” Gibbs answered. “I feel the language (of the act) gives flexibility where it’s most needed.”