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“I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was six. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph.”
– Shirley Temple  
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  Volume No. 14 Issue No. 12 December 2017  

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  BF Women’s Club — long tradition of service
  By Breeanna Jent

   Since its inception almost a century ago, the Black Forest Women’s Club has supported its community while also providing women with the opportunity to socialize and create new friendships.
   
   Today, the BFWC continues this long-standing tradition of service to Black Forest and to each other.
   
   With about 50 members, the club meets once a month at the Black Forest Lutheran Church. All women are welcome, and there are no qualifications to become a member.
   
   The club, established in the early 1920s, was born out of a sewing circle, said Carrie Robertson, a member since 1971 and the outgoing club president. The group originally called themselves the Black Forest Ladies Club.
   
   Eventually, the Colorado State University Extension (CES — Colorado Extension Service) reached out to community clubs, offering educational material and lessons, Robertson said. In time, the club became known as the Black Forest Extension Homemakers before breaking off from the extension service and becoming its own club, the Black Forest Homemakers.
   
   In 2011, the organization changed its name to reflect more modernized ideals.
   
   “One of the things that kept me going (with the club) is that we have such good programs. There’s always an opportunity to learn something,” Robertson said.
   
   And BFWC vice president-elect Carol Cadle agreed. “It’s fun. It enriches your life,” she added.
   
   As the vice president, Cadle, who joined the club in 2004, is responsible for organizing the meeting programs, which vary each month — but consistently remain educational and informative.
   
   In the past, the women have heard from emergency medical technicians, learned how to get rid of clutter and listened to a presentation from a woman who visited the Holy Land. Cadle said the programs are educational and informative.
   
   Additionally, the BFWC hosts fundraisers to benefit the club and the community. The club provides a cash donation for the Black Forest Log School and the Black Forest Log School Park; conducts maintenance each year at Eastonville Cemetery; and hosts fundraisers to present children in need at Edith Wolford Elementary School with gift cards for Christmas.
   
   Each meeting is an opportunity for the membership to select charitable programs and organizations to support, Cadle said. Some organizations the club supports include Wild Blue Animal Rescue and Sanctuary, Black Forest Together, the Salvation Army and Black Forest Cares Food Bank.
   
   “It really makes me feel good that the money raised goes right here into our community,” Cadle said.
   
   Not only does the BFWC give back to Black Forest, but also members of the club support each other.
   “I’ve enjoyed the good fellowship. We support one another,” Robertson said. “When someone is sick or has something going on with their family, we’re there for them.”
   
   “It’s good for people to get out, and you make friends,” Cadle said. “The things we do for the community are also fulfilling. It’s just a really fun group. We enjoy it.”
   
   Robertson envisions the club growing to better serve Black Forest.
   
   “I feel the club has the opportunity to grow right now,” Robertson said. “I feel things are moving forward and (the club) is trying to find new ways to incorporate new ideas.”
   
   Each meeting includes refreshments, a meeting and a program. The club meets monthly at the Black Forest Lutheran Church, 12455 Black Forest Road. Refreshments and coffee begin at 9:30 a.m. Meetings begin at 10 a.m.
   
   Visitors and guests are always welcome. For more information or to join, call Carol Cadle at 719-495-3846.
  
Black Forest Women’s Club member (and vice president-elect) Carol Cadle (left) enjoys spending time with fellow club member Kari Mirk at the Log School in Black Forest in June 2017. Camaraderie among members is one of the club’s goals. Photo submitted
 
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  Lavonne Hidy: volunteer extraordinaire
  By Breeanna Jent

   Lavonne Hidy believes home is where life begins; home is where your story begins; and home is where the heart is.
   
   Hidy calls Black Forest, Colorado, home. Her strong roots to the forest are displayed in words on a banner that hangs above the memory wall in her home. The attention-grabbing centerpiece exhibits family photos and news clippings posted to a wooden frame made from refurbished wood burnt in the Black Forest Fire of 2013.
   
   A native of Boulder, Colorado, the 86-year-old moved to Black Forest from Steamboat Springs, Colorado, with her late husband, Jim, in 1959. The couple established themselves in the forest, where they raised their three children.
   
   The Hidys were deeply involved with their community; to this day, Hidy is active with Black Forest Lutheran Church; she is a Friend of the Black Forest Log School, where she is also a docent; she is a member of the Colorado Springs AARP Chapter #1100; and regularly volunteers at the Edith D. Wolford Elementary School. For the last 24 years, she has worked with the Academy School District 20 Senior Tax Exchange Cooperative, a program that allows seniors to volunteer in schools in exchange for property tax credit.
   
   In addition, Hidy was actively involved with her own children’s activities, serving as a Girl Scout leader and as a den mother for the Cub Scouts.“I just felt like if my kids were going to be in activities, their mom needed to be involved, too,” Hidy said.
   
   She continues to work to preserve the history of the Black Forest community, which includes keeping alive the memory of her good friend, Edith Wolford, the retired principal of Edith D. Wolford Elementary School, named after her in 1969.
   
   “Today, children don’t know why the school is called Edith Wolford Elementary, and we wanted them to know why,” Hidy said.
   
   She and a friend contacted those who knew Wolford, and worked with the school library to create a tribute case that included memories and photos of Edith.
   
   Hidy and her husband also loved the outdoors. For 13 summers, they worked as campground hosts for the Colorado State Parks Department and the National Forest Service in Colorado. They enjoyed nature, but often dealt with emergency situations like rescuing lost hikers.
   
   “That was probably the best time of our lives,” Hidy said. “We lived simply. We had no electrical hookups or running water. I must’ve painted 100 picnic tables and outhouses! We started volunteering in the ‘90s; and, even then, we could see kids were getting too dependent on electronics. We wanted the children to learn more about the forest … to appreciate it and live a simpler life,” Hidy said.
   
   In 2007, the Hidys were named as the Keepers of the Keys of Black Forest.
   
   Despite later tragedies that befell Hidy seemingly all at once, she has persevered.
   
   In 2013, Jim Hidy passed away following a brief illness. The day of his memorial — June 11, 2013, — Lavonne Hidy lost her home in the Black Forest Fire.
   
   “I thought the metal roof would protect the house,” she said. “But when I came home it had melted on top of everything. There was a lot lost in the fire: antiques, family heirlooms. It’s hard to think about that, but life goes on.
   
   “My daughter told me, ‘Mama, God wants you to start a new chapter in your life.’ My faith really got me through that. People were so good to me and they still are.”
   
   On Feb. 12, 2015, Hidy moved into her new home, rebuilt on top of their original plot of land.
   
   “It’s home,” she said.
   
   Hidy answered a few fun questions.
   
   NFH: What is your favorite Christmas tradition?
   
   Hidy: I love the candle service on Christmas Eve. I never want to miss that. I also love the carolers, and I love to bake. There are a lot of special things I bake at Christmastime. Through the years, I’ve also made a lot of Christmas gifts, and that’s more meaningful to me than giving someone something store-bought.
   
   NFH: What are you looking forward to in 2018?
   
   Hidy: Getting healthier! I need to do my exercises faithfully so I can keep active.
   
   NFH: Where is the most interesting place you’ve ever visited?
   
   Hidy: I loved Niagara Falls. I could have stood there forever and watched that huge bout of water — wondering where it all came from and where it all went.
   
   NFH: If you could talk to any historical person, alive or dead, who would you talk to? What would you like to discuss?
   
   Hidy: At this point in my life, I’d love to talk to Edith Wolford. I would reminisce with her and ask for her opinion on how schools have changed. She was such an educated woman, and I admired her more than any woman I’ve ever known ... . She knew everyone’s name and she always gave me great advice about different situations. When times were changing and I was having trouble, she would say, “Lavonne, maybe it’s time for a change.” I felt really close to her. When she passed away, I was lost. I can usually handle funerals because I know it’s inevitable and they’re in a better place. This is why I enjoyed doing the memorial wall for her so much. She was a real special lady. We had a great friendship.
  
Black Forest Faces: Black Forest resident Lavonne Hidy poses at her home in front of the mural painted by local artist Donna Hartley. Hidy, 86, was a victim of the Black Forest Fire in 2013, and rebuilt her home on the original plot. Photo by Breeanna Jent
 
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  Alpaca Extravaganza
  By Breeanna Jent

   Hundreds of visitors from the Black Forest area and beyond attended the South Eastern Colorado Alpaca Breeders’ 12th annual Alpaca Holiday Extravaganza Nov. 18 and Nov. 19, hosted by the Black Forest Community Club in Black Forest, Colorado.
   
   The free family event showcased an entire series of products made from or relating to alpacas, including fashion apparel, art and other accessories.
   
   Fifteen local alpaca farmers and artisans were on site for the two-day event.
   
   “This is first of all an educational opportunity,” said Peter Ziek, a founding member and current president of the SECAB. “We bring our alpacas and allow people to learn about them. But this is also an opportunity to show what you can do with alpacas, and purchase alpaca products that are all handmade.”
   
   In time for the holiday shopping season, shoppers were treated to 13 stalls where they could purchase alpaca fleece products. Everything from hats, sweaters, gloves, scarves and socks to other goods like lampshades, rugs, artwork and crafts relating to alpacas was available for purchase - including the alpacas themselves.
   
   Outside the community center, breeders answered questions about their alpacas and allowed visitors to touch and interact with their animals.
   
   One educational poster board described how alpaca products are made. With fur soft as cashmere, warmer and stronger than sheep’s wool, and coming in 22 natural colors, there is much that can be done with alpaca fleece.
   
   First, the animals are halter-trained, allowing their breeders to handle and lead them. On shearing day, the alpacas get their teeth trimmed to assure a correct bite, get their nails trimmed and their annual vaccinations.
   
   After it is sheared, alpaca fleece is cleaned, sorted and graded for the softest feel. Then, it is turned into goods.
   
   Black Forest resident Jamie Lujan, 23, brought her friend, Rachel Mader, 22, to check out the goods and the alpacas. It was their first time attending the event.
   
   “(The alpacas) are so cute and all the stuff inside is so cool,” Mader said.
   
   The women fed and posed for photos with the alpacas outside as Ziek, in his own alpaca pen, spoke to several visitors about the animals.
   
   Ziek, who owns Black Forest-based Wild Hair Alpacas LLC, has been raising alpacas with his wife, Barbara, for 17 years. As a former project manager for IBM and his wife a former middle school teacher, the couple searched for ways to spend their time when they retired, Ziek said.
   “We found these animals and fell in love.”
   
   Today, they raise 100 alpacas on their 35-acre farm in the north end of Black Forest on Mountain Shadow View, just north of Hodgen Road. Barbara Ziek is also an artisan, using the alpaca fleece in her work.
   
   Peter Ziek also helped found SECAB, which provides local support and resources to new alpaca farmers.
   
   “Most of us were new to alpacas and wanted a local support organization,” Ziek said. “We noticed an awful lot of us did not have someone to call to help us when we had questions about the animals. People were also having trouble selling (their alpaca products), so we put together our first event to help. We had such a great time we decided to do it again the next year, and the year after that, and so on.”
   
   The event has grown over the last decade, now attracting more than 1,000 people and selling about five times the goods. All funds from the sales go directly to the participating farmers and artisans.
   
   But Ziek and other local alpaca farmers and artisans also see the event as a way to share their love for the animals.
   
   Indigenous to the high Andes regions of South America, alpacas are “domesticated versions of vicuñas, South American ruminants that live high in the Andes,” according to a Nov. 2, 2015 article titled “Facts About Alpacas,” written by Alina Bradford and posted on the Live Science website.
   Bradford states there are no wild alpacas, because the people of South America began to domesticate them about 6,000 years ago. Alpacas are used mainly for their soft wool.
   
   They breed once a year, are herbivores, and are highly social creatures.
   
   “You can’t be depressed around alpacas.” Ziek said. “They are good with kids and very gentle to be around. They have very nice temperaments, and they’re smart and inquisitive. ... I try to get alpacas in front of the public as much as I can.”
  
Rachel Mader gets a friendly nuzzle from a female alpaca at the South Eastern Colorado Alpaca Breeders Alpaca Holiday Extravaganza in Black Forest, as her friend, Black Forest resident Jamie Lujan amusingly watches.
 
Two 18-month old male alpacas (Nicholas in the background and Derrick in the foreground) eat and pose for visitors. The alpacas are owned by Peter Ziek, owner of Black Forest-based Wild Hair Alpacas LLC and one of the founders of the annual Alpaca Holiday Extravaganza.
 
A 4-year-old female alpaca eats in her pen while she checks out all the visitors at the South Eastern Colorado Alpaca Breeders’ 12th annual Alpaca Holiday Extravaganza Nov. 18. Photos by Breeanna Jent
 
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  AARP Black Forest
  Veterans celebrated
  Submitted by Stanley Beckner

   The military veterans and widows were recognized at the Nov. 8 meeting of the Black Forest AARP Chapter. Carl McDaniel of the El Paso County Veterans Service Office provided an update on the issues surrounding the Camp Lejeune water contamination compensation for Marine veterans. He also discussed the status of the work now starting at the Pikes Peak National Cemetery near Colorado Springs, and answered questions from the many veterans and widows present.
            
   In addition to a catered Thanksgiving meal, Chapter 1100 members collected 17 holiday stockings for the Salvation Army. Sharon Fulton, a volunteer with the Salvation Army Woman’s Auxillary and a Chapter 1100 member, received the stockings, some of the nearly 1,200 that will be collected and distributed to needy children and teens across the area. Sharon also described the needs of the various Salvation Army charitable activities that benefit all ages.
            
   The recent AARP Colorado Award Winners from the local area were also identified, including the five Chapter 1100 AARP Community Service Award winners: Donald Dinwoodie, Ray and Linda Rozak, and Chuck and Shirley Karlstrum; the AARP 2017 Program Award recipient, Helen and Don Von Gunden; the AARP 2017 Community Partner Award to the Black Forest Lutheran Church; and the AARP 2017 Business Award to Cindy Richardson. The AARP 2017 Chapter Cup was awarded to  Chapter 1100 for the ninth consecutive year.
            
   The next AARP Safe Driving class in Black Forest will be held Jan. 16 at the Black Forest Lutheran Church.  Those interested in attending should contact Stephen at 719-597-5683.
            
   The next Black Forest Chapter meeting will start at noon Dec. 13. The program will feature the Fermatas Recorder group. Those interested in attending should contact Stan at 719-596-6787 or Chuck at 303-807-6933.
  
Sharon Fulton, volunteer for the Salvation Army Women’s Axillary, (left) and Lavonne Hidy, Chapter 1100 project leader, display the holiday stockings filled with items from chapter members for the Salvation Army.
 
Veterans recognized at the Nov. 8 Black Forest AARP Chapter meeting were (back row, left to right) Carl McDaniel, El Paso Veterans Service; and Chapter members Willie McCurdy, Anita Wolfe, Ray Rozak, Stan Beckner, Don Dinwoodie and Ken Fulton. (Front row sitting), Jim Belk, Chuck Karlstrum, Louis Schwarzman, Waldo Pendleton, Electa Beckner, Herb Guild and Allen Campbell.
 
The chapter also recognized widows of veterans: (left to right) Gwen Burk, Rita Fitzpatrick, Anna Skinner, Pat Dix, Beverly Schaab, Helen Von Gunden and Lavonne Hidy. Photos 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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