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As we rush around buying presents, we must always remember that “our presence rather than our presents” is one of the greatest gifts we can give.
– Catherine Pulsifer  
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  Volume No. 16 Issue No. 12 December 2019  

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Michelle Barrette

  By Michelle Barrette

   We often receive emails or phone calls from our readers, asking us to address many issues: water, roads, development; a lack of sidewalks and bicycle paths — and so on. The most common issue is the lack of recreational opportunities for kids and teens — like places to hang out with friends.
   Communities like Woodmen Hills and Meridian Ranch have recreation centers, but those are not all-inclusive; and they are limited in what they can offer.
   What the area needs is a community recreation center, which can have a huge impact on everyone in the community, from kids to seniors. Community recreation centers can offer a myriad of activities, which can deter loitering activity, mischievous and criminal behaviors and gangs. Centers provide a safe environment and a refuge for at-risk youths and latchkey kids.
   Community centers also offer activities for seniors, helping them avoid isolation and boredom.
   We need a community center that provides space for a variety of physical activities, from basketball courts to areas for martial arts, yoga, dance and gymnastics — and a plenty of exercise equipment. Community centers are hubs for social clubs. Craft and art classes, woodworking, etc, are often offered at the centers.
   A well-rounded center also has opportunities for mentorships and programs for personal growth and healthy lifestyles.
   My ideal community center would also offer a ninja course for kids, a climbing wall, plenty of play equipment and a swimming pool.
   Bring businesses, residents, developers, Realtors, philanthropic organizations, the senior group, the chamber, police and fire together — and I think the idea is worth a conversation.
   One challenge I can think of is transportation to the center. We would have to come up with ideas on how to make sure that all kids and teens and seniors can get to the center.
   The senior group proposed the idea of a senior center many years ago — I can’t remember the details of its demise but a lot of growth has happened since that seed was planted. It’s time to revisit the idea.
   And soon we will “revisit” the beautiful fall in Colorado, as the Aspen trees turn to gold. Many of us, including me, will head toward the high country to get the best view of the green leaves of summer turning to a shimmering gold. One of the best local views of Colorado’s fall colors can be seen about 30 minutes or so from Falcon. Take a ride west on Highway 24 and look down into Manitou Springs, where the brush is not only gold but red and orange as well. It’s a picture perfect glimpse at the wonderful world of fall.
   According to Out There Colorado, Aspens are found between 6,900 feet and 10,500 feet and make up about 20 percent of Colorado’s forests. The height of the viewing season is from mid-September to mid-October, but those time frames depend on temperature, moisture and weather in general. Aspens usually turn faster at higher elevation sites. has created an interactive map to determine peak fall colors across the nation for 2019. According to the site, patches of color will appear in western Colorado as early as Sept. 14, with full color in most of the state by the end of September. Leaves in the northwest part of Colorado are expected to peak around Oct. 5; in the north-central and southwest areas of Colorado, peak viewing is closer to Oct. 19. By the end of October, the colors are gone — and then the snow starts to fly!
   School is in full swing now, so we’ll be amping up our series on education. This month, Lindsey Harrison reports on concurrent enrollment (college and high school), career and technical education and work-based learning programs. I think it’s great that the district is paying attention to the needs and aptitudes of the students — what a benefit to the future of the students.
   Also, Sept. 11 is Patriot Day, which is a day to honor the people who died in the terrorist attacks on American soil 18 years ago. I was talking about this to someone recently, and she mentioned that children born in 2001 are 18 today. The don’t remember Sept. 11. Their perspective, however, is no different from my generation’s perspective on Dec. 7, 1941 — Pearl Harbor.
   I hope you enjoy September and have a chance to see those awesome fall colors.
   See you in October
   - Michelle
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