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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 5 May 2019  

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Bill Radford

  Faces of Black Forest
  From custom jewelry to a hot rod
  By Bill Radford

   Don Spurr has been making jewelry for 45 years — and he is ready to be done.
   
   "I'm just tired of it," he said. "And I've got a hot rod I want to work on."
   
   Don and Linda Spurr closed the doors to their Black Forest Jewelry last month, with their eyes firmly set on retirement.
   
   "I tell people we're on a slippery slope," Linda Spurr said. "While the bones are still rattling, it's time to get out of here."
   
   While loyal customers will no longer be able to turn to Don for his custom-made jewelry, there still will be a jeweler in the familiar spot. McNulty Jewelers, which has a shop in Colorado Springs, is set to reopen the Black Forest store as a second McNulty location on May 18.
   And while the Spurrs will no longer be running their business, they will still be happy to call Black Forest home; they live just a few miles from the shop.
   
   "Back when we moved here, it was not a popular place to come," Don said. "People would be like, 'why would you want to live out there?'" But with the Colorado Springs area getting so crowded, their 5 acres in Black Forest provide "a nice little oasis,” he said.
   
   Not that Black Forest hasn't been growing, too.
   
   "It used to be if you saw somebody on the road, you usually knew them," Don said. That’s no longer the case, and rush hour can bring "major traffic."
   
   "It's always been a double-edged sword for us," Linda said of the growth. "As a merchant, that's great, more people. But; as a resident, not so much."
   
   Black Forest has been a great place to raise their kids; she said. They have a son and a daughter. Their daughter, MaiLe, and her husband own Black Forest Pies & Grinders, and recently opened a second location in Monument.
   
   Don and Linda, both Midwesterners, were high school sweethearts; they've been married for 53 years. After serving in the U.S. Navy, Don had plans to become an art teacher; "Until I did student teaching, and realized I didn't like kids," he said with a laugh. So he started making jewelry. “I've just been doing it ever since."
   
   Linda has had a variety of jobs, including cosmetologist, real estate agent, hairstylist; and working at Current in Colorado Springs. At Black Forest Jeweler, Don designed jewelry and Linda did everything else. She said she was "the inventory-control clerk, the janitor — whatever else needed to be done.”
   
   Don was working for Kaye Jewelers when they moved from Kansas to Colorado in the early 1980s. (It was their second try at life in Black Forest; they had moved to Black Forest a few years before and had bought property, but sold it and moved back to Kansas after Don was unable to find work.)
   
    Don opened Black Forest Jeweler about 20 years ago, first operating out of the backside of a garage, then moving to the log cabin at Black Forest and Shoup roads. It was not a comfortable spot, though, with the furnace in the attic blowing the heat down, but the floor always cold. "Our feet were freezing," Linda said. When they moved the business to its final home in Black Forest Square, "It was a move uptown for us," she said.
   
   Business has largely come as the result of word of mouth. The Spurrs didn't do much advertising nor did they have a website. But Don had built a following in the area from his many years of jewelry design. And business hasn't just come from locals; people visiting Colorado from across the country have found Black Forest Jeweler over the years. "We have quite a clientele," Linda said.
   
   It is the customers they'll miss most. But a couple of weeks before closing, the Spurrs were looking forward to not reporting to work. There was that hot rod for Don to work on; for Linda, retirement is a chance to engage in her passion for stained glass. On that first workday when they don’t have to head to the shop, Linda said it would be "a hallelujah day."
   
   Black Forest jeweler: Linda and Don Spurr have said goodbye to Black Forest Jeweler and hello to retirement. Photo by Bill Radford
   
   Pull quote: "While the bones are still rattling, it's time to get out of here."
   
   Cleanup day for Section 16 one photo by Leslie
   By Leslie Sheley
   On April 6, the Black Forest Trails Association held their annual Section 16 spring cleanup day; volunteers collected about 35 bags of garbage.
   Cheryl Pixley, event coordinator for the Black Forest Trails Association, said this was the best turnout of volunteers they have had in a few years. More than 60 people pitched in to clear the trails of litter and debris.
   Pixley said the BFTA adopted 2 miles of Section 16 about 20 years ago and have been cleaning it annually ever since.
   They have had enough volunteers the last two years to clean the entire 4 miles of the trail, she said.
   The volunteers included residents and others, 40 youth and adults from Black Forest Cub Scout Pack 70, 15 members of the Cavalier Riding Club and members from several churches in Black Forest.
   “It is such a great opportunity in particular for the youth to come and help because they get to see the consequences that littering causes,” Pixley said. “We picked up about 35 bags of garbage this year and 38 last year.
   “Can you imagine how much garbage there would be on these trails if no one cleaned them up?”
   
   Black Forest trails: More than 60 volunteers picked up about 35 bags of trash April 6 for the annual Black Forest Trails Association cleanup day: among the volunteers, (left to right) back row — Cheryl Pixley, event organizer; Kristin Havens from Black Forest Cub Scout Pack 70; front row — Marykay Carroll, Sue Garrett and Cindy Halsey from the Black Forest Community Church.
   
   A grant to keep history intact three photos
   By Leslie Sheley
   History Colorado has awarded La Foret Conference & Retreat Center in Black Forest a $200,000 grant for the restoration of the Ponderosa Lodge.
   The Ponderosa Lodge, built in 1928, was once the summer home of Alice Bemis Taylor and her daughter, Alice Doree. Taylor was well-known in Colorado Springs for creating the Colorado Springs Day Nursery, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Taylor Memorial Chapel at La Foret. She also financially contributed to many local causes.
   Larry McCulloch, executive director of La Foret, said bids are out to contractors that specialize in restoration work. The grant allows two years for the completion of the project. “The first grant we received covered drainage work, replaced rotten logs and finished a roof inside the building, which was previously the kitchen,” McCulloch said. “This grant will continue identifying and replacing more logs, mostly around the foundation, renovate the windows, screens, doors and hardware.”
   This grant is a 3:1 grant, with funds coming from “generous” donors equalling $66,700, McCulloch said. “We are responsible for one-third or $66,700 of the $200,000 total,” he said. “The State Historical Fund pays two-thirds, or $133,300.”
   McCulloch said the Ponderosa building looks exactly like the original, except for the fire escape, which was added in the 1950s to meet fire regulations.
   He said he believes Taylor picked this site for the Ponderosa because of the views of Pikes Peak from her windows and front porch. Generators on the Ponderosa ensured electricity from the beginning, McCulloch said.
   There were two bedrooms on the main floor: one for Taylor and one for her daughter, he said. “The original pie safe is still in the kitchen; it’s a cooling safe to keep critters out of baked goods and is set up so air can flow through,” McCulloch said. Along the balconies and above are original wood carvings of the heads of animals.
   Brad Carroll, assistant executive director, said all of the light fixtures are handcrafted and original; and the two large tables they assume were used for dining and reading are still in the building. The curtains are original, but they have been re-lined and shortened, McCulloch said. The original red painted bedroom furniture is still there, Carroll said.
   “One of the closets is tin-lined to keep the critters out in the winter so they could store things in there,” McCulloch said. In an original picture of the Ponderosa, there are two wooden bear sculptures on the fire mantle. “The bears left with Doree after Taylor died in 1942,” McCulloch said. “Her lifelong friend brought them back to LaForet in 2010, per Doree’s request after her passing; and they have been sitting on the fireplace mantle ever since.
   “This building is 91 years old, and we hope to preserve it for another 100 years.”
   The Ponderosa hosts meetings, weddings, worship services and workshops. For more on History Colorado, visit https://historycolorado.org.
   BF Ponderosa: This is an original photo of the “big” room at the Ponderosa Lodge at La Foret. Photo submitted
   BF Ponderosa: The Ponderosa Lodge at La Foret was awarded a $200,000 historical grant, which will be spent on replacing logs around the foundation, renovating windows, screens, doors and hardware. Photo by Leslie Sheley
   BF Ponderosa bears: These original bear sculptures left with Alice Bemus Taylor’s daughter after Taylor died in 1942. The daughter requested that the bears be returned to the Ponderosa Lodge after she died. They have been on the mantle ever since. Photo by Leslie Sheley
   Black Forest seniors receive scholarships
   By Leslie Sheley
   The Educational Opportunity Foundation of the Black Forest held their annual awards banquet April 17 at La Foret Conference & Retreat Center in Black Forest; 12 local seniors each received $1,500 for their academic pursuits.
   
   Black Forest resident Laura Lollar was the guest speaker. She has been coaching and mentoring more than 20 years for people seeking guidance on careers, leadership, interpersonal communication and business. Loller discussed education and training, and told the students, “Give yourself permission to start over. ‘It’s never too late to be who you might have been,’ as George Eliot said. And do your best; do something that matters.”
   
   Nancy Billiard, secretary of the EOF, said any graduating senior living in Black Forest is eligible to apply for the scholarship. To qualify, the student can be from a public, private, parochial or home-school with plans to attend a four-year or community college or a vocational or trade school.
   
   In 1965, Rev. Nick Natelli, pastor of Black Forest Community Church and Edith Wolford, who was a long-time forester and educator (Edith Wolford Elementary School is named after her) started the EOF. The goal has always been to assist high school students living in the Black Forest area with their education costs.
   
   
   Billiard said they are grateful to Ent Federal Credit Union and La Foret for their sponsorship of the banquet and to all of those who donated to the scholarship fund.
   
   “We think the banquet is a lovely way to honor our recipients. … Our motto has always been, the best investment a community can make, is in its young people,” Billiard said.
   
   About 65 people attended the banquet. Billiard said they normally have about 90 to 100 people, but many could not attend because of the change in date, prompted by the weather.
   
   Photo by Jackie King, treasurer of the Education Opportunity Foundation
   
   BF EOF: Twelve seniors from Black Forest each received a $1,500 scholarship: (left to right) Gretchen Venema, Anna Ruff, Haley Dyer, Sydney Nelson, Joey Lujan, Abbey Meier, Josh Meleski, Torrie Brodish and Samantha Picchi. Not pictured: Sarah Gardner, Rachel Gardner and Drew Kroeker.
   
   All recipients attend Pine Creek High School except Abbey and Josh, who attend Lewis Palmer High School.
   
   Easter Egg Hunt in Black Forest
   
   Caption for both photos: Ready, set, go: Parents and kids are in the hunt for Easter eggs at the Black Forest Easter Egg Hunt, sponsored by the Black Forest Fire and Rescue Department. The event was held at the La Foret Conference and Retreat Center on April 20. Photos by Brad Carroll
  
Linda and Don Spurr have said goodbye to Black Forest Jeweler and hello to retirement. Photo by Bill Radford
 
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  Cleanup day for Section 16
  By Leslie Sheley

   On April 6, the Black Forest Trails Association held their annual Section 16 spring cleanup day; volunteers collected about 35 bags of garbage.
   
   Cheryl Pixley, event coordinator for the Black Forest Trails Association, said this was the best turnout of volunteers they have had in a few years. More than 60 people pitched in to clear the trails of litter and debris.
   
   Pixley said the BFTA adopted 2 miles of Section 16 about 20 years ago and have been cleaning it annually ever since.
   
   They have had enough volunteers the last two years to clean the entire 4 miles of the trail, she said.
   
   The volunteers included residents and others, 40 youth and adults from Black Forest Cub Scout Pack 70, 15 members of the Cavalier Riding Club and members from several churches in Black Forest.
   
   “It is such a great opportunity in particular for the youth to come and help because they get to see the consequences that littering causes,” Pixley said. “We picked up about 35 bags of garbage this year and 38 last year.
   
   “Can you imagine how much garbage there would be on these trails if no one cleaned them up?”
  
More than 60 volunteers picked up about 35 bags of trash April 6 for the annual Black Forest Trails Association cleanup day: among the volunteers, (left to right) back row — Cheryl Pixley, event organizer; Kristin Havens from Black Forest Cub Scout Pack 70; front row — Marykay Carroll, Sue Garrett and Cindy Halsey from the Black Forest Community Church.
 
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  A grant to keep history intact
  By Leslie Sheley

   History Colorado has awarded La Foret Conference & Retreat Center in Black Forest a $200,000 grant for the restoration of the Ponderosa Lodge.
   
   The Ponderosa Lodge, built in 1928, was once the summer home of Alice Bemis Taylor and her daughter, Alice Doree. Taylor was well-known in Colorado Springs for creating the Colorado Springs Day Nursery, the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center and the Taylor Memorial Chapel at La Foret. She also financially contributed to many local causes.
   
   Larry McCulloch, executive director of La Foret, said bids are out to contractors that specialize in restoration work. The grant allows two years for the completion of the project.
   
   “The first grant we received covered drainage work, replaced rotten logs and finished a roof inside the building, which was previously the kitchen,” McCulloch said. “This grant will continue identifying and replacing more logs, mostly around the foundation, renovate the windows, screens, doors and hardware.”
   
   This grant is a 3:1 grant, with funds coming from “generous” donors equalling $66,700, McCulloch said. “We are responsible for one-third or $66,700 of the $200,000 total,” he said. “The State Historical Fund pays two-thirds, or $133,300.”
   
   McCulloch said the Ponderosa building looks exactly like the original, except for the fire escape, which was added in the 1950s to meet fire regulations.
   
   He said he believes Taylor picked this site for the Ponderosa because of the views of Pikes Peak from her windows and front porch. Generators on the Ponderosa ensured electricity from the beginning, McCulloch said.
   
   There were two bedrooms on the main floor: one for Taylor and one for her daughter, he said. “The original pie safe is still in the kitchen; it’s a cooling safe to keep critters out of baked goods and is set up so air can flow through,” McCulloch said. Along the balconies and above are original wood carvings of the heads of animals.
   
   Brad Carroll, assistant executive director, said all of the light fixtures are handcrafted and original; and the two large tables they assume were used for dining and reading are still in the building. The curtains are original, but they have been re-lined and shortened, McCulloch said. The original red painted bedroom furniture is still there, Carroll said.
   
   “One of the closets is tin-lined to keep the critters out in the winter so they could store things in there,” McCulloch said. In an original picture of the Ponderosa, there are two wooden bear sculptures on the fire mantle. “The bears left with Doree after Taylor died in 1942,” McCulloch said. “Her lifelong friend brought them back to LaForet in 2010, per Doree’s request after her passing; and they have been sitting on the fireplace mantle ever since.
   
   “This building is 91 years old, and we hope to preserve it for another 100 years.”
   
   The Ponderosa hosts meetings, weddings, worship services and workshops. For more on History Colorado, visit https://historycolorado.org.
  
This is an original photo of the “big” room at the Ponderosa Lodge at La Foret. Photo submitted
 
The Ponderosa Lodge at La Foret was awarded a $200,000 historical grant, which will be spent on replacing logs around the foundation, renovating windows, screens, doors and hardware. Photo by Leslie Sheley
 
These original bear sculptures left with Alice Bemus Taylor’s daughter after Taylor died in 1942. The daughter requested that the bears be returned to the Ponderosa Lodge after she died. They have been on the mantle ever since. Photo by Leslie Sheley
 
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  Black Forest seniors receive scholarships
  By Leslie Sheley

   The Educational Opportunity Foundation of the Black Forest held their annual awards banquet April 17 at La Foret Conference & Retreat Center in Black Forest; 12 local seniors each received $1,500 for their academic pursuits.
   
   Black Forest resident Laura Lollar was the guest speaker. She has been coaching and mentoring more than 20 years for people seeking guidance on careers, leadership, interpersonal communication and business. Loller discussed education and training, and told the students, “Give yourself permission to start over. ‘It’s never too late to be who you might have been,’ as George Eliot said. And do your best; do something that matters.”
   
   Nancy Billiard, secretary of the EOF, said any graduating senior living in Black Forest is eligible to apply for the scholarship. To qualify, the student can be from a public, private, parochial or home-school with plans to attend a four-year or community college or a vocational or trade school.
   
   In 1965, Rev. Nick Natelli, pastor of Black Forest Community Church and Edith Wolford, who was a long-time forester and educator (Edith Wolford Elementary School is named after her) started the EOF. The goal has always been to assist high school students living in the Black Forest area with their education costs.
   
   Billiard said they are grateful to Ent Federal Credit Union and La Foret for their sponsorship of the banquet and to all of those who donated to the scholarship fund.
   
   “We think the banquet is a lovely way to honor our recipients. … Our motto has always been, the best investment a community can make, is in its young people,” Billiard said.
   
   About 65 people attended the banquet. Billiard said they normally have about 90 to 100 people, but many could not attend because of the change in date, prompted by the weather.
  
Twelve seniors from Black Forest each received a $1,500 scholarship: (left to right) Gretchen Venema, Anna Ruff, Haley Dyer, Sydney Nelson, Joey Lujan, Abbey Meier, Josh Meleski, Torrie Brodish and Samantha Picchi. Not pictured: Sarah Gardner, Rachel Gardner and Drew Kroeker. Photo by Jackie King, treasurer of the Education Opportunity Foundation
 
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  Fighting fraud
  Submitted by Stanley Beckner

   Fraud and ID theft in Colorado were the subjects of the April Chapter 1100 meeting program, presented by Mark Fetterhoff, the AARP ElderWatch program manager. He discussed the 10 most common scams in Colorado in 2018 and fielded many questions from the membership about nefarious operators who attempt to prey on individuals. 
   
   Mark also described the recent changes within AARP that involved the foundation and the publication of the “Smart Tips” and “Scam Alerts” by ElderWatch. Currently, Scam Alert bulletins and Smart Tips for consumers can be viewed on the Chapter 1100 website and on the AARP Fraud Watch Network.
   
   ElderWatch, based in Denver, partners with Chapter 1100 to provide an annual FREE shredding event in Black Forest. This year, the free shredding is June 15, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. This is the 11th year this service has been available to the public. The shredding is an ongoing effort to reduce the exposure of citizens to possible scams or identification theft by providing a safe means of destroying sensitive personal documents. The professional shredding service is provided free as a service to the community. No reservations are needed to participate. Simply bring your personal documents for shredding and enjoy a free cup of coffee and a pastry. A voluntary donation of cash or some non-perishable food items for charity would be appreciated. Fight Fraud – Shred Instead!  
               
   After the outstanding potluck lunch, President Ray Rozak discussed several upcoming chapter activities, including the Black Forest Festival in August. He also obtained membership approval to donate some specific future funds to Shield 616, a local nonprofit (501(c)3) charity formed to get local police department personnel armor packages to protect them from rifle threats. The armor package includes a ballistic helmet, plate carrier vest, rifle rated armor and a trauma kit.
               
   Recently, Chapter 1100 members participated in a community service outreach project by helping fabricate Easter baskets for underprivileged children locally and in the San Louis Valley.    
               
   The Black Forest Chapter meets the second Wednesday of the month. Details can be found on the chapter website at https://aarpchapter1100blackforest.weebly.com/index.html or by contacting Ray at 719-495-6767 or Stan at 719-596-6787. 
   
   Upcoming chapter activities include a May 3 board meeting at a local IHOP. The usual membership meeting is at noon May 8, and the monthly senior social is May 22. The chapter meeting and senior social are both held at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. All are welcome.  
  
Chapter 1100 president, Ray Rozak (left); AARP ElderWatch program manager Mark Fetterhoff, (center); and Jim Belk, shredding event project leader, met to discuss plans for the June 15 free shredding event at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. Submitted photo
 
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  Mark your calendar

   The AARP FREE community shredding event will be from 9 a.m. to noon June 15 at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. Three boxes or paper bags of unneeded personal and financial documents will be shredded by a professional document shredding company. Reservations not required. Fight Fraud – Shred Instead!   
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  No fee senior social

   A monthly informal occasion for seniors is the no fee event. They meet in the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road in Black Forest.
            
   Seniors are welcome at the Black Forest AARP and Black Forest Lutheran Church monthly informal gathering, held at the Black Forest Lutheran Church Fellowship Hall at 12455 Black Forest Road. The social is from 1 to 4 p.m. the fourth Wednesday of each month, and all are invited to socialize, play games, work on hobbies or to simply sit and talk about “whatever.”  Light refreshments are available. For more information, contact Lavonne at 719-494-1276.
  
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  Black Forest Women’s Club

   The next meeting of the Black Forest Women’s Club is May 9 at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. The parking lot is in the back. Use the ramp and go in the first door on the right. Coffee and refreshments will be served at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting begins at 10 a.m. The May program will feature Victoria Randazzo, who will talk about downsizing. Visitors and guests are always welcome. For information, call Carol at 719-495-3846.   
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