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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 7 July 2017  

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  On the street in Black Forest
  By Breeanna Jent

   Black Forest residents Tom and Nola Lange - age 75 and 77, respectively - were wrapping up their dinner on a Tuesday evening at the Subway restaurant in Black Forest when they took a moment to share bits and pieces of their lives with “The New Falcon Herald.”
   
   The couple were just days away from celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary. Married in Corpus Christi, Texas, on March 11, 1967, the Langes have three grown children. The two shared their thoughts on Black Forest and life in general.
   
   NFH: How long have you lived in Black Forest?
   
   Tom Lange: Well, we moved out here in 1983, after I retired from the Air Force in Sunnyvale, California. We moved the whole bunch out here. We looked for a house in Black Forest because we heard it had the best school district.
   
   NFH: What do you do for a living?
   
   Tom Lange: I am retired after 20 years with the Air Force. I retired as a major.
   
   Nola Lange: I am a retired registered nurse.
   
   NFH: What do you like most about living in Black Forest?
   
   Nola Lange: It’s peaceful, and we have nice neighbors.
   
   Tom Lange: We are close to town, as well. Not too far from groceries!
   
   NFH: Where is your favorite spot in Black Forest, and what makes it so special?
   
   Tom Lange: We like our house! We like our location. We’re in the middle of the forest.
   
   NFH: What do you want Black Forest to be in five, 10 or 15 years?
   
   Tom Lange: I’d like it to stay exactly as it is.
   
   Nola Lange: I’d like to see this place kept rural.
   
   NFH: What is the funniest, or most memorable April Fool’s joke that has ever been played on you, or that you have played on someone else?
   
   Tom Lange: I don’t have one particular memory that sticks out. I was born on April 1, so I do have good memories of being little. My parents would always do something special for me on my birthday, give me a special gift. I’m one of seven (children). (Nola) is one of two. (Nola was born on Leap Year – Feb. 29.)
   
   NFH: If you had to choose one thing that you were most passionate about, what would that be?
   
   Nola Lange: I would have to say I’m pretty passionate about children, especially those who are in poverty or have been abused.
   
   NFH: What book do you think everyone should read at least once?
   
   Lange: “Catch-22” (by Joseph Heller). It teaches you about the horrors of war and how it can be absolutely insane. Recently, I also read Donald Trump’s book, “The Art of the Deal.” I think anyone who wants to understand our new president would be well-served by reading that book.
   
   NFH: Who is one person alive today that you would like to have dinner with, and why?
   
   Nola Lange: I’d like to have dinner with our president. Why? Because I have a lot to tell him!
   
   NFH: What food will you absolutely not, under any circumstances, eat? Why?
   
   Nola Lange: Probably broccoli, because I don’t like it that much and brussels sprouts. I don’t like those at all, either.
   
   Tom and Nola Lange declined to have their picture taken.
  
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  Church in Black Forest opens its “treehouse” for kids
  By Breeanna Jent

   Four years ago, First Baptist Church Black Forest envisioned a building just for children. On March 19, the church celebrated the completion of the building, with a ribbon cutting ceremony and plenty of fanfare.
   
   It took just six months from the groundbreaking to the buildout — the opening is a few months away from the church’s 50 anniversary in June.
   
   “Back when we first opened in the ‘80s, we served maybe 10 to 20 families every week. There were talks about possibly closing our doors,” said Family Pastor Breck Merkle, who came to the church a little over a year ago.
   
   Today, he said, FBCBF has 1,100 members - half are under the age of 21. Recently, Merkle said the church welcomed 11 new junior members in just one day.
   
   “We are a rapidly growing church. It’s really great to see how the Lord has worked, and how he has blessed us,” he said. “This building really came to be based on our need.”
   
   The building is aptly named the Treehouse Children’s Center for its playful treehouse design — inspired by the Biblical story of Zaccheus, who climbed a sycamore fig tree to see Jesus. The center is a one-story, 10,368-square foot building that connects the church’s main sanctuary with its student ministry building.
   
   A playground area and café are among its features, along with a check-in counter, a freestanding classroom, a kitchen and a large assembly room that can easily be divided into four classrooms; with sound-proof partitions.
   
   First Baptist Church was able to construct the new building debt-free, thanks to a capital campaign.
   
   One month before breaking ground on the project, the church also paid off its mortgage on the main sanctuary, which allowed them to procure a loan for the new building through the Baptist Foundation of Oklahoma, Merkle said.
   
   “It’s been amazing to see God’s work,” he said.
   
   To design and build the structure, FBCBF called on Worlds of Wow, a comprehensive design firm that assists in creative services to help its clients nationwide bring their facilities to life.
   
   “We wanted to be sure that the Treehouse Children’s Center is a place for our children to be excited to come and be a part of what God is doing at FBC,” Merkle said. “Worlds of Wow has really captured the vision and made this an immersive place for our children.”
   
   The vision is evident in the Treehouse’s motto, featured on a playful mural near the check-in counter: “Kids who love meeting with Jesus, growing in Jesus, and going in Jesus’ name.”
   
   Merkle said, although the building is part of the church, it can serve the community as well.
   
   “It’s been a vision of mine that the children of Black Forest or even Colorado Springs can utilize this space, and we can provide for their needs,” he said. “This building means that we are able to bless our local families with a safe, fun environment for their children to learn and have fun. We pray that instead of mom and dad convincing the kids to come to church, it’s the kids who drag mom and dad to church, if that makes sense.”
   
   The church, which is located at 10915 Black Forest Road, also has the facilities and ability to continue to be “a big base” for residents and organizations in the area, he said.
   
   In addition to the new building, the church is undergoing other renovations in its main sanctuary, including new carpet, new wood flooring and fresh paint.
   
   For more information on church services or ministries, visit http://blackforestchurch.com.
  
(left to right) Larry Cumley, project superintendent with Copestone General Contractors; Nathan Derwick, project manager with Copestone General Contractors; and First Baptist Church Black Forest Family Pastor Breck Merkle pose on March 7 under the new children’s center mural. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
The new Treehouse Children’s Center at Black Forest Church has lots of amenities for kids: a playground area and café, a freestanding classroom, a kitchen and a large assembly room. Photo submitted
 
The church has plenty of kids to fill up the center. Photo submitted
 
The Black Forest First Baptist Church hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony and a big celebration for its new children’s center: from left to right, Greg Morgan, building chairman, Breck Merkle, children’s pastor and Cole Mitchell from the Black Forest Church. Photo submitted
 
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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
  Stay tuned: shred event in June
  Submitted by Stanley Beckner

   The Black Forest AARP Chapter, in conjunction with ElderWatch Colorado and the Black Forest Lutheran Church will provide a FREE opportunity for citizens to safely destroy personal documents on Saturday, June 10, from 9 a.m. to noon in the parking lot of the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. A professional shredding company will shred the documents. All paper documents and cardboard containers will be recycled.
   
   Voluntary donations in the form of non-perishable food or cash would be appreciated. All donations will go to benefit those who utilize the Black Forest Cares food pantry in Black Forest. In the past, this community service event has yielded hundreds of pounds of food, and over $1,000 in donations.
   
   Individuals interested in visiting or joining the Black Forest Chapter can contact Pat at 719-418-5347 or Stan at 719-596-6787.
   
  
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