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And they who for their country die shall fill an honored grave, for glory lights the soldier's tomb, and beauty weeps the brave.
– Joseph Drake  
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 5 May 2017  

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  On the street in Black Forest
  By Breeanna Jent

   The New Falcon Herald ran into a native Black Forest resident, Meg McGilton, age 20, while she was grabbing a sandwich at the local Subway restaurant off Black Forest Road early on a Wednesday evening. McGilton is a full-time nursing student at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs. While she studies to become a registered nurse, McGilton also works part-time at R&R Cafe. She took time to answer a few questions before she enjoyed her sandwich.
   
   NFH: Where is your favorite spot in Black Forest?
   McGilton: I really love R&R Café! I’ve been working there for about four years, but I would go there all the time even before that.
   
   NFH: What do you want Black Forest to be in five, 10 or 15 years?
   McGilton: Honestly, I think it would be nice if it grew a little bit; but, on the other hand, I really like it now. It’s a small town; there’s a sense of community. Really, I would like it not to change.
   
   NFH: Do you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day?
   McGilton: I do! Normally I go downtown (Colorado Springs) for the parade. Obviously, (the name) McGilton is very Irish, so we always go all out!
   
   NFH: What’s your favorite thing about St. Patrick’s Day?
   McGilton: It’s really fun to dress up!
   
   NFH: Where’s the best place you have vacationed?
   McGilton: I would have to say Hawaii. My older sister lives there, so it’s visiting family and being in paradise.
   
   NFH: Do you have any uncommon or bizarre talents? What are they?
   McGilton: I can touch my tongue to my nose. I discovered that back in probably the third grade. Everyone tries it at one point!
   
   NFH: If you could live anywhere in the world — money not a factor — where would you live and why?
   McGilton: I would probably still live here in the United States. Probably still in Colorado. It’s beautiful here.
   
   NFH: When you were a kid, what did you want to be “when you grew up,” and why?
   McGilton: I wanted to be a nurse! I really love science, and the industry is always growing. I’m fascinated by the human body. I really like being in a field that’s always growing.
  
On a Wednesday evening, Black Forest resident Meg McGilton sat down with The New Falcon Herald while picking up dinner at the local Subway restaurant. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
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  Black Forest Together has contributed $1 million in three years
  By Breeanna Jent

   Since its inception in 2014, Black Forest Together has accrued thousands of hours of volunteer time and completed hundreds of projects in the effort to help Black Forest and its people “recover, rebuild and restore their lives,” according to the mission statement.
   
   Following the 2013 Black Forest Fire, which burned more than 14,000 acres of land — Colorado’s most destructive wildfire in history — volunteers saw the need to address the devastation, and they established the organization.
   
   Each year, BFT publishes an annual report describing its efforts to fulfill its mission.
   
   The overview of BFT’s 2016 Annual Report states the organization completed 72 “volunteer-based recovery/restoration” projects and logged 4,000 volunteer hours last year.
   
   Since 2014, BFT has completed 250 projects and contributed 40,000 volunteer hours, equaling about $1 million in in-kind contributions to Black Forest, according to the report.
   
   The organization continues its restoration and prevention projects in 2017, and is set to contribute 8,500 seedlings to areas destroyed in the fire, said Ken Clark, Black Forest Together director.
   
   “We will start registering families (for a seedling donation) in April,” said Clark, who joined the organization in 2014.
   
   The 2016 report states, “Black Forest Together is the only organization in El Paso County still providing forest recovery and restoration assistance to Black Forest residents impacted by the Black Forest Fire.”
   
   Also, BFT’s Forest Recovery & Resiliency Program focuses on home and neighborhood projects, community education and outreach.
   
   The program has six focus areas: “forest recovery and reforestation; erosion control to mitigate flash flooding and protect watershed safety; reduction of fuels to prevent another catastrophic forest fire; transplanting live trees from a healthy forest that is being mitigated to burned forest land that requires restoration; the Black Forest Community Wildfire Protection Plan Update Project; and community education in best practices in forest health and a shift to a shared responsibility model between municipalities, private industry and residents to create a fire-adapted, resilient community.”
   
   Clark said, “We do everything from chipping projects to fence rebuilding, but we figured out that cleaning up is expensive, so we also focus on preventative measures,” including fire mitigation.
   “We’ve mitigated about 300 acres of land so far,” Clark said. “We just completed a 25-acre shaded fuel break along Shoup Road.”
   
   Shaded fuel breaks mitigate wildfire threats in areas where natural fires have been suppressed, leading to a buildup of combustible vegetation.
   
   “We also do tree donations, so if some people have smaller trees on their property that they don’t want there, we will spade those up and give them away to other residents who want to restore their land,” Clark said.
   
   Since BFT’s inception, 275 trees have been donated and transplanted through its tree donor program; 250 trees are waiting to be donated; 50 acres of land has been reforested; the survival rate of trees is 90 percent; and $25,000 to $30,000 has been saved by transplanting trees instead of residents purchasing those same trees, according to the annual report.
   
   In 2016, 117 trees were donated to six homeowners.
   
   The report states that “all BFT 2016 programs were made possible through generous donations from local foundations, individuals and state/federal grants.”
   
   The 2017 seedling donation program will provide seedlings to 200 area families, made possible thanks to donations from the U.S. Forest Service, the Arbor Day Foundation and AC Golden Brewing Co., Clark said.
   
   Families who would like to register for the seedling program can visit the BFT website, http://blackforesttogether.org, for more information.
  
Black Forest Together Forest Director Ken Clark stands outside the BFT Resource Center, just off Black Forest Road in Black Forest, Colorado. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
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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 AARP
  Heart Month celebration
  Submitted by Stanley Beckner

   The Feb. 8 meeting of the Black Forest AARP Chapter # 1100 featured two exceptional guests. Jeremiah Mora, Associate AARP State Director-Community Outreach from Denver, presided at a celebration of the chapter officers elected for 2017. Jeremiah, representing the AARP Colorado State Office, administered the Oath of Office to the new 2017 chapter officers.
            
   Black Forest Assistant Fire Chief Jim Rebitski also presented information on what to do and not to do while waiting for police and medical assistance if someone happens to witness a traffic accident. Calling 911 first is extremely important. Chief Rebitski discussed safety measures necessary in a traffic accident situation, and the reasons proper procedures are critical to the safety of the accident victims and the person who has stopped to assist.  
            
   Prior to the meeting, the chapter also recognized February as “Heart Month” by hosting a two-hour presentation by Chief Rebitski, outlining the varied signs of a possible heart attack or stroke in men and women. Twenty-five people attended the free program, which was open to the public. The audience learned that indicators of a heart attack for women are different than the indicators for men. The chief stressed that if in doubt about the condition or wishes of the distressed person, immediate action is needed to get the person to a hospital where doctors can accurately diagnose and combat the situation. Individuals were cautioned not to delay taking action or attempt to drive themselves or friends/family to the hospital. Calling 911 for an ambulance is the best way to transport someone to the hospital; plus, paramedics can save valuable time by starting the medical treatment en route to the hospital and also by expediting the hospital admission paperwork.
            
   After the usual potluck lunch and program, Patricia Dix, chapter vice president, held a short chapter business meeting.  She covered several pending subjects on the chapter operation, and reminded the membership that the March chapter meeting will take place at a buffet in downtown Colorado Springs. The chapter has outings such as this twice a year, as well as a picnic in July at a local park. Several committees provided brief reports on activities throughout the month. Linda Siebe updated the chapter on the volunteer transportation service and the Colorado State Forest Service program to provide seedling trees and small shrubbery for home landscaping. Two new members were also welcomed to the chapter.
   
   Individuals interested in visiting or joining the Black Forest Chapter can contact Pat at 719-418-5347 or Stan at 719-596-6787.
  
Delicious heart-themed desserts line the table at the February AARP meeting, as Jeremiah Mora prepares to cut the cake.
 
Black Forest Fire and Rescue Assistant Chief Jim Ribitski presented two informative programs to the Black Forest AARP Chapter # 1100 at the Feb. 8 meeting.
 
Jeremiah Mora, associate AARP state director-community outreach, shares a light moment with some of the newly installed Black Forest Chapter officers. The trophy for best AARP chapter in Colorado for community service was recently awarded to the Black Forest AARP Chapter for the eighth consecutive year. The new chapter officers are (left to right) Stan Beckner, Lavonne Hidy, Linda Siebe, Rita Fitzpatrick, Pat Dix and Waldo Pendleton. Jeremiah Mora is holding the trophy.
 
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