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  Volume No. 17 Issue No. 2 February 2020  

None Black Forest News   None Business Briefs   None Community Calendar   None Did You Know?  
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Bill Radford

  Faces of Black Forest
  Pastor offers an all-inclusive place of worship
  By Bill Radford

   Marta Fioriti, the new pastor of Black Forest Community Church, said the church is small but mighty.
   "They act more like a verb than a noun," she said. "I've never been in a church that has been so active and so strong in what they do."
   Fioriti became pastor in mid-April; she previously was minister of faith formation at Broadmoor Community Church in Colorado Springs. Both churches are members of the United Church of Christ.
   BFCC has declared itself an "open and affirming" church. "No matter who you are or where you are in life's journey, you're welcome in this space," Fioriti said. In particular, she said she wants to reach out to people who are "on the margins" — those who because of race or ethnicity or age or sexual preference "don’t feel at the center of privilege."
   That welcoming spirit attracted Fioriti to the job at BFCC. The daughter of an Italian immigrant, she grew up in Washington, D.C. –- a diverse community that was "super open,” she said. When she went off to college in West Virginia, she remembers being shocked by a friend who told her she didn't want LGTB people in her church.
   "That was the first time I had ever heard anything like that," Fioriti said. "I remember saying, 'What do you mean? Who cares?'"
   That innate concern for those "not like the rest" eventually drove her to the United Church of Christ. While her family wasn't what she would call particularly religious, "I think we appreciated what church meant and what it was about, and what it was trying to do in the world."
   She was active in the United Methodist Church. After she earned her bachelor's degree in Christian education at Wesleyan College in West Virginia, the church gave her a full scholarship to attend Wesley Theological Seminary in D.C. But she struggled with the church's attitude toward the LGTB community, and decided she needed a break after her first year at the seminary.
   While Fioriti did not complete her education at Wesley (she later earned her master’s of arts in pastoral and spiritual care from Iliff School of Theology in Denver), she did meet her husband, Roger Butts, at Wesley. They have three kids: Norah, 15, Nick, 14, and Nina, 11.
   The family lived in Davenport, Iowa, before coming to Colorado Springs in 2009 so Butts could lead High Plains Church. He is now a full-time staff chaplain with Penrose-St. Francis Health Services. Fioriti's first job in the Springs was at First Congregational Church.
   Does the couple often talk shop? "That’s all we talk about, mostly," Fioriti said, with a laugh. "If it’s not church, it’s justice issues; it’s political issues that ground us in our values."
   One issue close to her heart is immigration. As the daughter of an immigrant, Fioriti said she has a “very personal message” that she shares with the community.
   She has a blog post to share her message. "Today, I showed up for my Papa who immigrated in the late sixties to this country a few years before I was born to him as an American," she wrote in June, after attending a protest on the steps of Colorado Springs' City Hall. "I would forever be a first generation Italian. I showed up for his Papa who came to America, twice at the turn of the twentieth century to make some money and then return to the old country. Today, I showed up for the Africans, ripped from their land, to unknown hospitality. I showed up for the Italian and Irish immigrants, who only wanted to work. Work with their hands, work with their strong backs, just work. Today, I showed up for the Japanese, the Mexicans, the El Salvadorians. Today, I showed up for the children who lay in tents and detention centers this very week."
   Fioriti acknowledged that generally she has to walk a fine line when addressing hot-button issues because she has to respect that people are "on a spectrum of beliefs."
   "This is an extremely complicated time to do ministry," she said.
Marta Fioriti is the new pastor of Black Forest Community Church. The rainbow flag that hung above the church door this summer marked LGTB Pride Month. Photo by Bill Radford.
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  Black Forest brewpub, mug club and running club
  By Leslie Sheley

   U.S. Air Force Col. Donovan Routsis retired in September 2017, and then pursued his dream of owning a brewery, which opened March 22 in Black Forest.
   Routsis had been searching for a place to open his microbrewery. He found his spot at 11590 Black Forest Road. “I knew the minute I walked into the place that this is where the brewery would be.” The space used to be a coffee shop, with a fireplace and painted raised trees on the wall; the shelving behind the bar is made from reclaimed wood from the 2013 Black Forest fire.
   The Black Forest Brewery is a true brewpub, where the beer is made and sold on the premises. Bags of hops are stacked in plain view and the backroom brewing space is visible through windows. “The windows are so that people can look through and see what everything looks like, but no one can actually touch the kettles in case they are hot,” Routsis said. The fermenters are named after his wife and two daughters.
   Because the wastewater system is limited, he will stay small — and the leftover waste products, like the hops, are given to the Black Forest Meadery for their sheep, he said.
   Routsis serves 10 house beers on tap, soon to be 11. He also serves Holidaily gluten-free beer from Golden, Colorado; 3 Hundred Days of Shine moonshine from Monument, Colorado; Cockpit Craft spirits from Colorado Springs; wine from Sette Dolori Winery in Black Forest and mead from Black Forest Meadery. Local restaurants provide food, and Chef Eric of Boz Catering LLC often puts on brunches for the brewery, Routsis said.
   He started a mug club based on the German tradition, the Stammtisch, which is an informal group of people who get together to socialize. Routsis said he had 100 mugs made up when he opened — people could buy one and become part of the mug club. The mugs are placed on shelves above the bar, with each member’s name below the mug. Watercolor paintings by one club member, Paul “Gilby” Gilbertson, decorate the walls at the brewery.
   Another club member, Jason Daily, wanted to start a running club at the brewery. Routsis said, “It’s based on the Volksmarch in Germany where families, friends or individuals walk through the forests and pick up sticks to keep the underbrush area clean.” Sometimes, they have picnics or stop at a restaurant afterward. Daily and his family make signs so people know where to run, he said. One fun sign shows a bird with his beak pointing the way. The runs are 3.2 miles or a 5K, along with a 1-mile walk. The running club meets every Thursday at 5:30 p.m., and everyone is welcome to join them. However, Routsis said, “The trail is not paved, it is a bit challenging, and there are hills, so if you bring your family or a stroller, make sure it’s meant for off-trail paths.”
   On July 19, several people gathered for the weekly run, despite temperatures in the high 80s. People stayed after the run to enjoy food, libations and social time.
   Roustis said he plans to host a trivia night and have three mug club functions a year. Board games also provide family fun.
   The relationships he has developed are not only with customers but also with Black Forest businesses.
   “We close at 9:30 p.m. on Saturdays, and I encourage my patrons to head over to The Chicken Coop across the street, and my staff often go over and dance,” he said. “We work with Black Forest Pies & Grinders, and the patrons can order pizza from them; and they will deliver it here to the pub. We have participated in activities with R&R Coffee Café, and support Black Forest Together.”
   The brewery will have a float in the Black Forest Festival and participate in the outhouse race, Routsis said. After the festival, the brewery is having an “adult pine derby race,” he said.
   To accommodate more families, Routsis bought the space next door and is renovating it. “I didn’t like it when families would come and there would be no room or it would be too noisy, so when the space next door became available, I bought it. … We will have family style tables and benches on that side.”
   In the early 90s, Roustis was stationed at Peterson Air Force Base. “Military is our family; and, when I retired, I wanted to be somewhere where I could help build community,” he said. “I want this business to be about the community, the gathering place.”
   For more information on Black Forest Brewing Co., visit their Facebook page.
After retiring from the U.S. Air Force, Col. Donovan Routsis pursued his dream of owning a micro-brewery, which opened March 22 in Black Forest.
Members of the Black Forest Brewing Co. mug club and running club gather every Thursday at the brewpub. Photos by Leslie Sheley
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  Black Forest Fire Rescue open house
  By Mark Stoller

   The Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District opened Station 1 for the second annual Community Open House on Saturday, July 14.
   Special attractions included Flight For Life Colorado and UCHealth LifeLine helicopters, access to the Black Forest Fire Rescue fire trucks and ambulances, emergency preparedness gear from Black Forest Tactical Supply, health information from UCHealth and Centura Health Penrose Cancer Center, free food courtesy of Centura, and free Kona Ice courtesy of UCHealth.
   Black Forest Fire Chief Bryan Jack, while grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, said, “This is our way of giving back to the community in appreciation for all of their support.”
   Lori Morgan from UCHealth Trauma Services conducted two Stop the Bleed classes. The intent of the course is to teach and empower bystanders with bleeding control techniques while waiting for emergency service personnel in the aftermath of a catastrophe.
   A special vehicle extrication demonstration was conducted as well. The Black Forest firefighters were quickly able to turn a mangled wreck in to a no-door convertible in just under four minutes to free their “trapped victim.”
   Firefighter Thomas Garmong is the Black Forest Fire Rescue volunteer coordinator. During the Open House, he said, ‘We have nine volunteers right now and would love to have about 20. To be a volunteer, you must have an Emergency Medical Technician – Basic rating.”
   Black Forest Fire Rescue will conduct a Fire 1 Academy to teach firefighter skills, Garmong said. Classes are held in the evenings and a set schedule of Saturday sessions also is required. At the end of the academy, personnel will be qualified firefighters with additional certifications in HASMAT (hazardous material) and wildland fire.
   Individuals interested in becoming a volunteer for the Black Forest Fire Rescue Protection District can contact Station 1 at 11445 Teachout Road: 719-495-4300.
Black Forest Fire and Rescue sponsored their second annualopen house July 14 to thank the Black Forest community for their support. Photos by Mark Stoller
Members of the Black Forest Fire and Rescue firefighters demonstrated their ability to turn a mangled vehicle into a no-door convertible in less than four minutes to free a "trapped driver."
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  Four generations of ranchers
  By Leslie Sheley

   Edward Russell and his wife, Elisabeth Kelly, were the original homesteaders of an 80-acre ranch in what is listed as Table Rock, in the Territory of Colorado. The abstract shows the deed was signed June 25, 1869. The property is in Black Forest.
   Table Rock Cemetery is on the property at 20345 Black Forest Road. Along with 20 acres, the cemetery’s property was donated to offspring of the original Russell family. It is a small cemetery, with about 24 people buried there, including the John Russell family and others who died of a small pox epidemic, according to tombstone Fences surround the tombstones; some have sunk into the ground and others are hard to read because of weather and time. Patricia Neely said an occasional genealogist will come by or call and request to see the cemetery.
   Throughout the years, the property passed through several families. The homesteaded property became part of Patricia Neely’s family when her aunt, Alene French, bought it. On the Table Rock acreage is a plateau near the ranch. “The local Native Americans used to camp on top of the plateau,” Neely said. “You can still see the rings where the tepees were and where they did some of their ceremonies. It was common for them to take some of the cattle to butcher, and the government would just reimburse the rancher.”
   Neely’s father, Van Hollingsworth, bought the then 763-acre ranch from French around 1962. Hollingsworth originally ranched in Pueblo and worked for Mountain Bell; when he moved to Table Rock, he had Herefords, horses and pigs. His wife, Alma, had a large arrowhead collection; and, one day while looking for arrowheads, she found a cave with a bison hump in it, Neely said. She obtained permission from the State Archeological Society to excavate it — then called it the Bison hump shelter.
   Table Rock is a large area with many acres separating the neighbors. Neely said, “My father used to have a yearly hog roast and would invite everyone around the Table Rock area … he had a great sense of humor and a good relationship with his neighbors.”
   Neely lived on the ranch with her family while she was growing up. “I just loved it here,” she said. “I loved being on the ranch, having my own horse, just the different lifestyle.” She and her husband, Pat, live near the ranch and have about 80 cattle that roam the ranch property. They moved there years ago so she could help her father after her mother died. Neely’s daughter Amanda Henegar, her husband Asher, and Neely’s brother, Lee Hollingsworth, now own the property. Neely has kept up with the history of the ranch and owns the original abstract that lists all the owners and dates.
   Neely and Henegar both like antiques; Neely has an original sewing machine and bench from the ranch; Henegar has a couple of original pieces in her ranch home.
   The property and ranch has mostly stayed the same through the years, although a milking barn was added in 1923; Hollingsworth added an enclosed porch. The Henegar’s live there now with their two daughters, which makes four generations of ranchers. Neely said they are remodeling the outside, but the inside will stay the same. A 30-foot well on the property hasn’t been used in three years, but Neely said they plan to get it running again soon.
   “You wouldn’t believe how many people have stopped to ask what she (Henegar) plans to do with the ranch,” Neely said. “There were a lot of people who were afraid she was going to tear it down, and they are all glad to hear it’s going to stay.” Henegar is also planning to have chickens and maybe more cows in the future. Although her husband isn’t a rancher by trade, he said, “I’m a dentist by trade, a rancher by heart.”
   Several pictures of the Table Rock community are shown in the book, “Thunder, Sun and Snow,” by Judy von Ahlefeldt.
Four generations have homesteaded in Table Rock. Photo by Leslie Sheley
Edward Russell and his wife, Elisabeth Kelly, were the original homesteaders of an 80-acre ranch in Table Rock, in the Territory of Colorado. Photo submitted
About 24 people are buried at Table Rock cemetery. Fences surround the tombstones, but some have sunk into the ground and some are unreadable. Photo by Leslie Sheley
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  Editorial: Black Forest Fire Department
  Where we Started and Five Years later

   As an elected Black Forest Fire Rescue Board member for the past five years, I have seen and been a part of major changes in our fire department and the community. Working with our new Fire Chief (Bryan Jack), department officers, firefighters (paid and volunteer), and devoted community members, we are moving forward from the devastation that fell upon Black Forest.
   On the financial side, with outstanding treasurers on the fire board, past and present (Jayme McConnellogue and Jack Hinton), we have a budget that has produced positive reserves. This has enabled us to assist and complete projects in many areas, for example: purchase of new firefighting equipment for the station and vehicles, purchase of new medical equipment for the ambulances, purchase of a new brush truck and utility vehicle (with snowplow}, and a new fire engine which will be delivered in 2019. We have also made upgrades to the fire stations. The bulk of our financial savings and reserves have been utilized to retire numerous district debts, in the past year we have paid off Station #2, an ambulance, water tender and a fire engine. All of these debts were paid off five years early which saved the district taxpayers thousands of dollars in interest payments. Additionally, we were able to hire a fourth firefighter per shift this year, this moves us closer to our full-time staffing goal.
   From a cooperation standpoint we have implemented a rapid automatic response system that has multiple agencies responding to emergencies at the first sound of the alarm. We have improved communications, transparency and citizen support through numerous programs, such as firewise assessments, mitigation projects, and public education outreach. To accomplish this we have partnered with Black Forest Together and created a separate local cooperator group. The cooperator group is available to assist the Fire Chief during emergencies with specialized equipment, and could be utilized during wildland fires, flooding, blizzards or any other significant event. Furthermore, we have implemented a peer support group and a Chaplin program (with assistance from CSFD), to aide both the fire department and the community. Lastly, we have strengthened our working relationships with all local fire departments, the El Paso County Sheriff's Office, the local Home Builders Association and the El Paso County Board of County Commissioners.
   This is just a small sample of accomplishments within your fire department and community that has happened in the last five years. With thousands of hours of fire and medical training, our department is showing what can arise from the ashes of a terrible wildland fire in a short period of time. Our firefighters are getting the support they need so they can face any future emergency. I am proud to work for our community and our fire department, alongside the rest of our hardworking board members: PJ Langmaid (Chairman), Rick McMorran (Vice Chair), Jack Hinton (Treasurer), Dave Hoffpauir (Member).
   Rick Nearhoof
   Black Forest Fire Rescue Board Member
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  AARP Black Forest - Serving the community
  Submitted by Stanley Beckner

   The Black Forest Chapter 1100 of AARP was busy serving the community in June. The annual free shredding event took place the first Saturday, and the remaining four Saturdays in June the chapter participated in the Senior Resource Council Golden Guidance Series of free events in Colorado Springs. These events featured subjects of primary interest to area seniors. Every June event was a successful outreach to citizens of the greater Colorado Springs area. In all, chapter members contributed almost 700 hours of volunteer services to the community in June.
   Chapter members were also key organizers of the monthly Senior Social event, an outreach to anyone who would like to spend an afternoon chatting, working on personal hobbies or playing dominoes in an informal atmosphere. Membership in the Black Forest AARP Chapter is not required to participate in the Senior Social activity. 
   The July board meeting included planning for the annual chapter picnic of food, fun and games, which will be held in a local park in July. The August schedule for the chapter includes partnering with St. Francis Hospital and Black Forest Fire and Rescue for a community blood drive; plus, the chapter will participate in the annual Black Forest Festival.
   Anyone interested in participating in community service and informal social events is welcome to visit a chapter meeting. All are welcome! For more information, call Ray at 719.495.6767 or visit our website at       
Volunteers receive personal documents to be professionally shredded during the annual AARP Chapter free shredding event on June 2. Photos submitted
A Chapter 1100 volunteer (center) discusses options for seniors with an attendee at one of the four SRC Golden Guidance Series of events in Colorado Springs.
Some attendees at the monthly Senior Social in Black Forest prepare to playdominoes, work on personal hobbies or chat over light refreshments.
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  A picnic and more

   The annual Black Forest AARP Chapter picnic was more than an enjoyable picnic. In addition to the fried chicken, side dishes, watermelon, ice cream, lemonade, games and good socializing; the chapter took this occasion to contribute to three local charities and to recognize businesses and organizations that support the chapter.
   Chapter President Ray Rozak presented a donation check to Rev. Marta Fioriti of the Black Forest Community Church to help restore the original Log Community Church in Black Forest. Lavonne Hidy accepted a donation check on behalf of the Black Forest Cares Pantry and another for the Black Forest Community Log School Park Foundation Inc. The donations were the chapter members’ way of contributing to make the community strong. The money for these donations came from various chapter fundraising activities over the past year.
   As a thank-you from the chapter, each of the merchants who assisted in the publishing and distribution of the chapter newsletter was invited and recognized. Several other organizations that recently partnered with the chapter in meaningful ways were also invited to attend the picnic.
   Paula Blair, case manager at Tri-Lakes Cares, discussed the many ways Tri-Lakes Cares supports the community through its pantry programs, seasonal programs for children and ongoing financial assistance, along with medical referral programs.
   The chapter will have a sales booth at the upcoming Black Forest Festival on Aug. 11. The proceeds from the booth will be donated to Hope Restored, a disaster relief organization, for the purchase of a new chainsaw needed for the free removal of burned and dead trees from the private property of fire victims of Black Forest.
   Update: On June 25, at the monthly Black Forest Senior Social, Leif Garrison, a board member for the Black Forest Community Club, officially received the Chapter 1100 donation check from Lavonne Hidy.
The Black Forest AARP Chapter 1100 picnic at the Black ForestRegional Park was well attended by members, friends and community partners. Photos submitted
At the picnic, AARP Chapter 1100 President Ray Rozak presented donation checks to local charities represented by Rev. Marta Fioriti (left) and Lavonne Hidy.
Leif Garrison accepted the donation to the Black Forest Community Log School Park Foundation from Lavonne Hidy of AARP Chapter 1100. 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 Women’s Club

   The Black Forest Women’s Club is taking a break for the summer, and will resume in September. Call 719-495-3846 for more information.   
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  Black Forest festival

   Don’t forget the annual Black Forest festival on Aug. 11. Festivities include a parade and pancake breakfast, goat milking and soap making demonstrations, pony rides, outhouse races, children’s games, booths, the USAFA Wild Blue Country Band — and much more. For more information, visit   
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